“Man Meals”

I work several evenings this week, which is a problem, because I’m pretty much always the one who cooks dinner. Since I know Kara is perfectly happy to eat things like cheese, fruit, and crackers, I wanted to make it easy for Steve to fix real meals for both of them. Like so:

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Steve laughed when he saw them. “Did you find that on Pinterest?” he asked. I told him I hadn’t, and he said it should be on Pinterest. “Man meals,” he called them.

So here they are. Just for Pinterest.

Mix all the dry ingredients together for a one-pot meal. Write any instructions on the top of the container with a dry-erase marker.

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What Else Is There?

No, this isn’t going to be some ponderous philosophical post, just a little bit of how I’ve been answering the question at 8:30 after Kara’s asleep, What can I do now to relax? What to do with my free time? Because I’ve not been so good at using it… I’ve mostly just been going to sleep early.

There have been a few crafts, but the only one I can remember right now is, with the help from my awesome friend Mary, making training pants for Kara. With a little inspiration from Pinterest, we (she) sewed the thickest part from some of Kara’s old pre-folds onto Kara’s new panties. Voila! Training pants. Now when Kara has “accidents” (of which there haven’t been nearly as many as I’ve expected from a 22-month-old), we don’t get puddles of urine on the floor.

But the main thing I’ve been doing is rediscovering how good it feels to write. Not to write creative stories, though I like doing that too—but to use a pen on paper and just write something. So, friends and family, I’ve been writing you letters. And they’re very strange, disconnected letters, because my art of letter-writing has gotten very rusty. They’ll get better. I hope.

I’ve tried to do some more reading, too… but I’m not a responsible reader. When I find a good book, especially a fast-paced one, I cannot put it down. Which was fine when I wasn’t a parent, but it doesn’t work so well for me now. It leaves Steve taking the full burden of entertaining our manic daughter in the evening (and also means I miss out on what is often the funniest part of the day), and it also means I go to bed way too late. I got a couple of slower-paced books (Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights), but I still get in trouble of I pick them up before Kara’s actually sleeping. And it’s so hard to walk past them during a slow time and think, Just a couple of pages. Then 20 minutes later my understandably cranky kid is demanding how much longer she’s supposed to entertain herself when I’m sitting in the same room doing, apparently, nothing.

What hobbies have you been neglecting as the necessities of life creep up on your “spare” time? Have you done anything to reclaim them?

My Love Affair

It’s time for me to come out and admit it. I’ve put it off, because no one wants to hear about it, but it’s all I ever feel like writing about. So here it is:

I have a love affair with food.

It’s only intensified in the last three weeks. Ironically, it’s because I went on a diet. I started the South Beach diet again and discovered that there are so many delicious, healthy recipes out there, I hardly knew where to begin.

Know what we had on Sunday? Zucchini lasagna. That’s right: lasagna with zucchini instead of pasta. It was incredible. I had my main dish overflowing with vegetables that even Kara loved eating… with a side of vegetables! Tonight, we’re having eggplant pizzas. I made it once last week, and it’s just one we had to make again.

When I went to the grocery store, hardly anything in my cart was processed. I had my eggs, my dairy things (milk, yogurt, cheese)… and a ton of fruit and vegetables. And I can take these boring raw vegetables and turn them into delicious, filling, hot meals. Day after day. And I can keep losing weight while I do it! (Seven pounds down, 2 1/2 weeks in… just in case you were wondering.)

What’s not to love?