Honeymoon – A Place Where Time Stands Still

honeymoon

My Honeymoon Advice: Go on one! (But don’t treat it like any other normal vacation)

A honeymoon is a true necessity after getting married. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You don’t have to go somewhere exotic. You can even have a honeymoon at home if you want! The important thing is having quality time together to celebrate your new union – just the two of you.

Our wedding was beautiful and perfect – but the preparing was so stressful. It was a busy day that flew by with little time for us to reflect on what just took place. Fast forward to the honeymoon which felt like a land where time stood still. We could take time to look at one another and exclaim, “You’re my husband’ and “You’re my wife”! “We actually did it!!!”

honeymoon

We spent five days at Sandals White House, an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica – it was heavenly. We did nothing but sleep, eat, drink, read, swim, and sleep some more.

You stressed enough over your wedding, do not stress over your honeymoon. I’m a huge planner with a capital P. I like to plan out every hour of a vacation to make sure we fit everything in, to make sure we see EVERYTHING. So, for this tip, I decided that a honeymoon and a vacation were not one in the same.

honeymoon

We decided we wanted to go some place where everything was decided for us. No extra day trips to discuss and make compromises about. No early wake up calls for tours or museums. Don’t get me wrong – I love all that stuff, but during our honeymoon the biggest decisions we had to make was “what bathing suit should I wear today?”, “what should our next drink be?” and “what type of massage should we get?” (massage was the best part of the week by the way!)

honeymoon

honeymoon

A brief history on the origin of  honeymoons:

The word honeymoon dates back to the Norse word “hjunottsmanathr”. Northern European history describes a story of a bride being abducted from a  neighboring village. The abductor, the husband-to-be, takes his bride into hiding for a period of time. Once the bride’s family gave up their search, the bride groom returned to his people.

The Scandinavian word for honeymoon is derived, in part, from an ancient Northern European custom in which newlyweds, for the first month of their married life, drank a daily cup of honeyed wine called mead.

You can see how today’s idea of a honeymoon is a result of this folklore. We had the urge and need to hide away from the rest of the world for a blissful period of time – even if we no longer consume a honeyed wine meant for fertility – we definitely imbibed in drink and food!

honeymoon

We took the time to relax. It didn’t take me long to let go of planning and just do nothing. It was a celebratory week and we felt like celebrities. Going back to the real world and work was an adjustment and I still haven’t lost the 5 pounds I gained eating ice cream every night! There will never be another trip or time like your honeymoon, relish in it!

honeymoon

honeymoon

Home Made Peanut Butter

I love peanut butter. I really really love peanut butter. Peanut butter on toast, peanut butter on pretzels, peanut butter on ice cream, peanut butter and Fluff, peanut butter and chocolate, peanut butter and celery, peanut butter and apples… Ryan feels the same way. We were going through jars of Skippy’s natural peanut butter with honey in a matter of days.

I decided to be smart and try to make my own peanut butter. Since we eat it by the spoonful it seemed best to try to avoid all those preservatives.

peanut butter

I decided to be smart and try to make my own peanut butter. Since we eat it by the spoonful it seemed best to try to avoid all those preservatives.

It’s simple and saves you a few bucks as well.

Here is what you will need:

Ingredients:

16 ounces of dry roasted UNSALTED peanuts

1 teaspoon of salt

1.5 table spoons of peanut oil

2 tablespoons of honey

Directions:

1. Place all the peanuts in your food processor and blend for 6 minutes. Pause to break up the peanuts and scrape them off the side. Don’t be discouraged if the peanuts are still crumbly looking after a few minutes. Just keep processing it!
2. After six minutes add the oil and the honey. Continue to process for another 8 minutes until the peanut butter is nice and creamy.
3. Once you have the desired texture, taste and add salt as needed. Once your peanut butter is creamy, taste it and add a bit of salt if you like.
4. Store in an air tight container in the fridge and stir before every use.

Be sure to use unsalted peanuts – I first made the mistake of using salted peanuts and ended up with a way too salty spread. 

Feel free to add other ingredients s as you wish like Chocolate, hazelnuts, cinnamon, more honey etc. Have fun!! I can’t wait to make cashew butter!

Back to School

law school

Yesterday was our last day of summer. Ryan heads back to law school today. This means going back to only seeing him on the weekends, unless you count the moments around 12:30 am that he sneaks into bed after getting home after a long day. Or, at 5:30 in the morning as he politely shuffles around getting ready in the morning while I’m still sleeping peacefully. See, not only is he a law student, he also works full-time at the DA’s office. I’m amazed at how he manages to “do it all”.

law school

It is hard being married to an adult student (and that’s coming from the partner who is not doing all the work). I know A LOT of people have it much harder than us– those with spouses in the armed forces or working in separate states or countries. But we face our own small struggles. Ryan is always tired and always anxious. He lives off of 5 hours a sleep a night and goes from 6 am – 12:30 am each week day. We have four more semesters to struggle through and I’m sure they will go fast. In the meantime we muddle through. This means often having to put off a few of our dreams and plans until ALS (after law school). Money and time are tight. I’m left with much time to dive into my work and day-dream about the future. We do a lot of hoping. We hope that his old beaters of a car will get us through two more years. We hope I can keep my current job. We hope we can remain in our current rental. We hope for a job after he passes his bar so we can start to conquer the mountain of student loan debt (his and mine both).

We enjoyed a lot of quality time together this summer. We made sure to really celebrate being newlyweds. Yesterday was our final salute to the summer. It was a good last day to relax and to be calm before the stress of school and work crashes over us.

We took time to enjoy a slow Sunday to take it all in. To slow life down a beat, to remember all that was and all that will be. We sat out all morning on our deck with our dog Maggie and read and chatted about how far we’ve come and what lies ahead this year. It was a picturesque last day of summer that smelled faintly like freshly sharpened pencils and shiny new plastic binders. Which to me were always synonymous with freshly minted dreams of the new school year. The bright green trees simply existed against the clear blue sky – begging to be noticed – to be admired for simply being. As I looked at Ryan and back out at the sky I could only think “this is my life” and it’s pretty beautiful.

DSC_0776

A stay-at-home Mom responds to those who say her Ivy League education was wasted

Highly recommend this article: http://verilymag.com/feature/o-alma-mater/

o-alma-mater

Education is never wasted – why is the the value of education measured in your income or position on the corporate ladder?

“My point is, when a highly educated woman is home with her children day in and day out, she weaves the riches of her education into their lives in continuous, subtle, living ways. This is a priceless preparation for a lifetime of learning. This gift is the transmission of culture.

Having received the wonderful gift of an elite education, I didn’t leave it behind. I carry it with me in who I am today. It enriches my life in ways that no salary can measure. It is worthwhile in a way no measure of productivity is needed to justify. Passing on this education to my daughter, a human being whose worth I know intimately, I see even more clearly that broadening a girl’s mind, filling it with beauty, is never, to quote Goff, “a wasted opportunity.”

Amen!

How Do You Define “Us”?

snowcouple

The equally beautiful and challenging aspect about a marriage is the fact that you are bringing two different individuals together and creating a unified unit. Of course each individual brings their own family, friends, past experiences, and traumas with them. Within this partnership, all of your baggage and all of your significant other’s baggage are blended together. This in turn delivers new surprises, both pleasant and shocking, nearly every day.

You spend a large part of your young adult life figuring out who you are as a person.  (Some of us are still trying to figure that out.) You are constantly trying to figure out how you fit into this big world and what role you want to play. Remember being in grade school and having to answer questions like “what makes YOU special?” and the age-old, “what do you want to BE when you grow up”. We were forced to write those acrostic poems –as in, K A T I E, K – kind, A – awesome, T – Talented, I – Interesting, E – Energetic. We were always taught to establish ourselves as our own unique brand.

Now that you are a couple, you are bringing two unique brands together and merging into an incorporated company. Along with both of our pasts, Ryan and I are also merging all of our dreams for the future. To ensure we are building a strong foundation to live our most fulfilled and purpose driven life, I want to be sure to take the time to talk about what our life as a team looks like. We now must once again ask ourselves those familiar questions in respect to the couple we are now part of:

How do you define “us”? What do “we” look like?

The beautiful thing about being in a life long partnership like marriage is that you have a clean slate. With the help of our shared experiences we now can create a new definition of what we want our combined future to look like. Life is certainly full of ups and downs and I still expect to go through many more changes independently and as a couple. I understand that the true definition of who we are as a couple will evolve over time. However, a lot of who you become is up to you and your partner.

This is our chance to invent something that is truly unique to us.  The important questions for me are: What do we want to accomplish before starting a family? What type of parents do we want to be? What type of family will we be? What type of couple do we want to be in our sixties?  If you don’t make the time to define your identity as a couple, life will simply make choices for you by getting in the way. This is our opportunity to start a new chapter. Don’t forget that you are in charge of choosing your own beautiful little adventure.  Who do you want to be?

The Mean Reds – a Monday Monologue

It was a long weekend. Rarely does one get a thrill out of the arrival of Monday – but I sure did this morning. I was sick in bed all weekend. At first it was a basic sore throat and fever and then Sunday it developed overnight into the Mean Reds. You know, the malady introduced to us by Truman Capote’s Holly Golightly:

Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?

Paul Varjak: The mean reds. You mean like the blues?

Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat, and maybe it’s been raining too                 long. You’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid, and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

The Mean Reds, Breakfast at Tiffany's

I was a mess – worse than a cranky toddler.  Tossing and turning in bed all day and bursting into sporadic fits of cries and tears. At one point I started to wonder if something was really wrong with me. Where were these emotions coming from? Was I just depressed from being sick in bed? Did I develop a disorder overnight? Was I…umm, pregnant? (I’m not, chill out)

But no, it was just a simple case of the mean reds. Nothing was making them go away. I didn’t realize until the skies cleared this morning that I had no idea what I wanted. I was getting so angry with Ryan for not just simply FIXING me. I’m not proud to say that I proved that old adage to be true – women do not know what they want. Poor Ryan was stuck chasing a wild goose chase trying to make me happy. He deserves a medal. Although it was probably good practice for when we do have a cranky three-year old to deal with… However, I think I was worse….yes Ryan deserves all the remaining ice cream cake in the house.

Around 9:30 p.m. the tides began to turn. Eating an ice cream sundae with everything in the pantry on it while binge watching Parenthood (no spoilers please, only on season 3!!!) finally calmed me down.

We made it through the night unscathed.

The Interestings

A positive thing about the weekend?

I did manage to finish my book.

“The Interestings” by Meg Wolitzer

I laughed and cried my way through it this weekend.

Amazing read especially for anyone who aspired to an artistic career as a youth. But heed this simple warning – side effects may include the Mean Reds. (I can think of no other cause for my short bout into insanity).

But more on the book later this week.

Monday, you brought a typical, boring yet stressful day the office – thank you. Ryan thanks you more.

Campfire Ice Cream Cake

icecreamcakeslice

I made this drool worthy ice cream cake for a girls’ dinner party this past week. When I first heard “Ice Cream Cake recipe” my gut reaction was – oh that sounds messy and hard. I recently started to really enjoy cooking and preparing new dishes – but I still tend to take a step back when I think a recipe will make my kitchen look like the aftermath of World War 3 or that I’ll have to spend a fortune on ingredients I don’t generally have lying around the kitchen.

I found this recipe super easy and pain-free. Almost amazing for how big of a hit it was! It received its name “Campfire” due to its combination of chocolate and marshmallows. It starts with a base layer of brownies (I made gluten free brownies btw), followed by ice cream layered in marshmallow Fluff and then topped with mini marshmallows and Chocolate. I skipped step number four as I do not own a hand held blow torch and it wasn’t missed. Truly yummy! Try it out!

Ingredients:

BROWNIE LAYER:  Make your own brownies from scratch – or do like I did – cheat and use a boxed brownie mix!

ICE CREAM LAYER:
1 1/2 quarts ice cream, any flavor (I used Edy’s chocolate chip)

MARSHMALLOW LAYER:
1 cup marshmallow creme
1 Tablespoon water
4 – 5 cups mini marshmallows

TOPPING:
Hot Fudge

1 large Hershey’s Chocolate bar

Directions:

1. Prepare brownie layer– Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.  Pour in your brownie mix (homemade or not) and bake accordingly. Let brownies cool completely.

2. Take ice cream out of the freezer and soften for a bit, just until it’s easy enough to mash around and spread. Spread the ice cream over the brownie layer.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together marshmallow cream and water. Stir in 3 cups of marshmallows. Spread the marshmallow mixture over the ice cream. Sprinkle 2 remaining cups of marshmallows on top. Sprinkle the chopped Hershey’s bar on top. Freeze until the ice cream is hard, at least 6 hours- but best overnight.

4. Toasting the marshmallows- If you have a handheld blowtorch, run a knife around the inside edge of the springform pan. Release the latch and remove the ring. Use a very sharp, wide, thin knife to run under the brownie layer to release it from the pan and transfer it to a serving platter. Torch the marshmallows until they’re golden brown. If using the broiler, adjust the rack so the ice cream cake will be 2 – 3 inches from the heating element. Preheat the broiler. Leave the cake in the pan, put it on a baking pan, and place it under the heating element. Broil until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan and remove the pan.

5. Serve immediately with a good amount of hot fudge. Freeze leftovers and eat as you wish, for up to one week.

Enjoy!

campfire ice cream cake