Time for Two

Making Time for your spouse is important

Time for Two

My husband and I just returned from a one week holiday at an adults only resort (Sandals Royal Hicacos). We specifically chose an adults only resort because of the lack of children at such a place. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children. If I’m not taking them on vacation though I don’t want to spend my time looking at other people’s kids so that I can then feel guilty all week that I left mine at home. You see what I’m getting at? There was a definite need for time without the kids. I don’t even feel a little bit bad about that. I know there are some out there that never go anywhere without their kids and kudos to you. I have a deep respect and awe for you moms with unending patience.  I, however, am not that person. I am a better mother when I get a chance to regroup.

My husband and I try to get time away just the two of us as often as we can. We are blessed that my parents are young and healthy and can’t wait to have their grandchildren all to themselves. We have not gone for a week in a couple of years though and decided it was time to carve out some time for just the two of us.

The week was about us and it took a couple of days to get into it. We were a little lost without the kids. At first we talked about them a lot. How much we’d like them to see Cuba. How much fun they’d have on the beach. “What do you think they’re doing right now?” “Oh, they’re at skating”. “Nanny’s probably reading a bed time story right now” “Guess they’d be at school by now”. “Do you think the dog is driving my dad crazy?”

Then something happened. We started to relax and the conversations started to veer away from the kids and on to each other. We talked about each others business, sharing things we had forgot to at home. “You never told me that.” “I didn’t? Really.” We made a point of telling each other how proud we were of the other for all the things they’d accomplished. We talked about long term plans and short term goals. Things were brought up that may have started an argument at home but instead was met with an open mind. We got drunk and flirty. We had long baths and naps together. We snuggled. We slept in. We put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on our door.....a lot.

This is what we’ve come back with. We decided that we would ban talk of houses, cars or adding another dog for one year. We determined that the only way we would make it through this insane year was to live and die by a schedule. We determined our break times so that when it gets really insane we know that we only have so many more weeks/days/sleeps to our next time with family (currently March Break at Disney with the kids - Disney encourages you to bring your kids. Go figure.) We agreed that above all family came first. Very often we lose our priorities when work pressures start to mount. We are to be each other’s conscience when that happens.

We came back stronger for our children. We came back rejuvenated and ready to face what promises to be a very crazy year for both of us. We’ll be able to exchange knowing glances at one another now when it seem so very unmanageable.

I also brought the Do Not Disturb sign home with me.


Uptight Me

I'm Not Made for a Nudist Beach

Uptight Me

Varadero beach in Cuba, is a vacation paradise. Miles of white fluffy sand that meet shallow turquoise waters brings thousands of Canadians a year to enjoy it’s beauty. Last week my husband and I couldn’t wait to get down there and enjoy the first day of our vacation. We were greeted at our beach entrance by our cabana man who set us up with a million dollar view under a thatch umbrella. Ahhh, this is the life. Sun, surf, sand and........ what the what?

Yes, it seems that those very worldly Europeans like to vacation here as well and aren’t aware of my uptight Canadian sensibilities. About ten minutes into our lounge fest, a couple from Europe decide to set up camp right in front of us. Where our chairs were facing the water and away from the sun, this couple set their chairs up in the opposite direction so that we are literally staring at each other. As if this isn’t awkward enough, the woman sits straight up in front of me and removes her top. Great. Now my million dollar view is obstructed by a set of boobs. This is so wrong.

They are not even a nice set of boobs I might add. They are saggy, one is bigger than the other and they flop to the side, falling into her armpits. This is exactly what mine would do if left to their own devices, but I’m not opening mine up for critique am I. No, mine are tucked safely away in a bikini top. I look to the left, to the right, I read for awhile but inevitably my eyes keep being drawn to the boobs. It’s not long before we are surrounded by other topless women. It’s now getting hard to avert my eyes.

The waitress comes by to take my drink order. “ Two pina colada’s please and keep them coming”.

Now this is where it gets really fun. Or painful. I’m not really sure. The pina coladas were obscuring my emotions at this point. No, I did not pull a “when in Rome” moment. Instead, topless woman’s husband, who by the way is wearing a Speedo (insert automatic gag reflex here) rolls over on to his stomach and proceeds to pull his swim suit down so that he can now tan his ass. Seriously? Where does one go that they need to have a tanned ass? I’m pretty sure you’re getting all the Vitamin D you need without tanning your butt buddy. I tell my husband that if he rolls back over and tans his junk, I’m outta here.

My discomfort clearly doesn’t mean a thing to these people so I buck up and start to observe. These women are not only lying there with their husbands but they are hanging out with their friends, in more ways than one obviously. They are completely at ease talking to one another as if they were at the coffee shop. Big animated gestures result in body parts flailing around in a most unattractive way. I try to envision sitting around with my BFF’s letting my boobs catch some rays and I get a bad case of the giggles. Ummm, yeah, not going to happen.

So, what do you think? Are you uncomfortable with nudity on beaches? Is this a typical Canadian reaction or am I too uptight? Would you pull a “when in Rome” moment?


Find Your Cooking Mojo

Cooking with VH Sauces

Find Your Cooking Mojo

These are my recipe binders. 

Hundreds of recipes collected over the years from relatives, friends, magazines, cookbooks and websites. For a recipe to make it in this binder it needs to be really, really good.  I have a stack of recipes almost as high as these binders that are just waiting to be tried.  If the recipe doesn’t make the cut, it’s tossed in the recycle bin.

When I went back to work I found it difficult to juggle my love of cooking with my new schedule. Home cooked meals became a little bit of a challenge.  I had to rethink my approach.  It’s no secret, after all, that I worship at the altar of Martha and Ina. Two women with fabulous recipes and aides to help them make it. Sigh, I wish.

Here’s something else you should know.  I hate eating out. Not because I don’t like being catered to, but because it always kills me to shell out good money for bad food. Nothing beats a home cooked meal. Nothing.

So, this is how the week breaks down for us. On Sundays I do a meal plan for the week. I try to cover as many meals in there as possible.  That way I account for leftovers used for lunch and ensure healthy breakfasts. It also keeps my groceries in check so I don’t waste.  We also spend Sundays cooking and baking as much as we can for the week.  This relieves a little bit of the pressure from Monday to Friday, chaotic days for all families.

When I was asked to write a blog for VH Sauces I got pretty excited.  Did I mention I like to cook? Also I had fond memories of this Asian Meatball recipe my mom used to make using VH Sauces. But as the deadline drew nearer I had sort of lost my cooking mojo.  This is the next thing you should know about me. When I lose my mojo, all of the above is null and void.  We just finished Christmas and the cooking has been kinda non-stop around here. I felt like being in the kitchen about as much as I wanted a root canal.  Ugh. 

My husband offered to cook the recipe I had decided on and I thought, “Hmmm, why not, nobody has to know I didn’t cook it.” So I let him go to it.  I gave him the jar of Orange Ginger Stir Fry Sauce, told him where the ingredients were and passed him the recipe for Cashew Chicken.  My work here was done.  Thirty minutes later I was called to the kitchen and was presented with this.

Hello beautiful. Cooking mojo…..found. It looked so good I couldn’t believe it and did he really do this in just thirty minutes? It didn’t just look delicious, it tasted delicious too. No kidding. So, so, delicious.  I was suddenly inspired to test more VH recipes although I only had to do one. My deadline was looming but I managed to try two more.

First, I made Crunchy Asian Slaw using VH Orange Ginger Stir Fry Sauce and by enlisting the help of my six year old.

I sent this to school with them today for lunch and was thrilled when their containers came back empty.  Just so you know what a success this was, they also asked if there was any leftover for supper tonight. There was. It’s gone. 

Then I made Honey Garlic Shrimp & Green Bean Stir Fry using VH Honey Garlic Cooking Sauce. 

You guessed it. Also delicious.

So, I found my cooking mojo, I have three new recipes for my binder. I have many more at my fingertips at vhsauces.com that I can’t wait to try.  I have three meals I can whip up in under 30 minutes that will save me time through the week.  (As I said to my husband while we were enjoying our Cashew Chicken, “It would have taken us longer to get take out”.  ) I also fed my family three fresh delicious meals loaded with vegetables and they loved it.

To the kind people at VH Sauces, I’m always available for more testing. It’s hard work, I know, but somebody has to do it.

Check out more easy ways to express your cooking creativity with a little Asian flair!