Monday, August 29, 2011

Goals

I think I need to simmer down just a bit.

I have been doing a lot of research on healthy living, and while that's a positive thing, I've noticed that I haven't been taking care of the other important parts of my life.  Obsessing over using white sugar vs. honey or organic vs. regular produce is stressing me out.  It feels like it's a never ending can of worms; once I feel like I've made progress towards a more healthy, traditional lifestyle with our food, something else pops up.

The result of all my time researching healthier lifestyle changes is that I feel inadequate.

While I think it's important to work on improving ourselves throughout our lives, I've felt like someone's expecting me to be able to bench press 200 pounds.  I am just not capable of making that amount of change all at once- at least not yet.

So, I've thought deep and hard about why I do things.  Why do I feel the need to improve our lifestyle?  Why on earth do I cloth diaper (and even enjoy it)?  Why do I shop at three different stores for groceries? Why do I stay at home instead of getting a job?  Why do I want to have more children? Why do I cook food from scratch? Why do I do all these things when sometimes they are just plain difficult?

The answers, for me, are two fold.  First, I enjoy it.  I love seeing improvement.  I love to make things more beautiful.  I love cooking something that tastes fantastic.  I love knowing that I saved a bunch of money because of the work that I've done.  I love watching every moment of my children growing up.

Second, and I think this really is the clincher, I am trying to nurture an eternal family with strong, enduring bonds.  A few weeks ago I was struck with the what this means to me: I am in charge of giving my children the best possible circumstances to grow up as strong, successful people with motives governed by a perspective for the long term.  I am trying to help ourselves become the best we can.

Typing that out made me feel a little stressed out. Deep breaths, Alicia. Deep breaths.

I think understanding the why- my motives and desires- will help me determine my priorities for my family.  I don't need to stress out about the fact that I am (as yet) unwilling to give up white sugar or lysol.

It's okay for me to rearrange my priorities for what will work best for my family.  And that realization has helped me get to a place where the perspective is a bit clearer.

On that note, I want to share with you a goal I've made for myself over the next year: I am going to read the standard works all the way through.  So that means I'll be reading the Old Testament, New Testament, the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.  Originally my plan was just to read the Old Testament because, I'll be honest, I've never read it all the way through.  I've studied certain books of it, but never the whole thing.  So I planned it all out and I made a schedule!

There are 1,581 chapters total, so that averages 4.3 chapters a day over the course of a year.  I assigned myself 4 chapters a day with 5 chapters every 3 days, but when I wrote it all out I had 5 days left over (next year has a leap day)- perfect for days when I'm too sick/tired/busy/crazy to read.  We'll see how it all works out.

I just have felt so much relief and peace with my little epiphany.  Not that this is an occasion to slack off- far from it- but I finally feel like it's okay if my priorities are different than everyone else's, and that is a great thing.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The "Proper" Way to Cut a Melon

Sorry I've been away for a while! Summertime has been quite busy for us. 

I have been working on a few sewing projects that I hope to have up soon, including the elusive diaper cover tutorial. For now, I wanted to share with you a great way to get the most out of your melons, as they are certainly in the peak of their season. 

Back when Stephen and I first got married, I bought lots of oranges and cut them up as a snack.  He looked at my cutting job and said, "What did you do to those?"  Another time I was helping my sister-in-law prepare food for a family dinner by cutting up a melon.  She glanced over at my work and said, "Here, let me help you with that."

Apparently I used to cut my produce in a not-so-mainstream way.  Or my in-laws are food snobs.  Either way, I want to show you the best way to cut a melon so you get the most out of it with the least amount of work (don't worry, my in-laws are great people and have shown me the light- at least when it comes to food prep).



Step 1 Cut off the ends of your melon (where the stem was) making sure you cut through part of the flesh (ew, that's a weird word) and not just the rind.
 
Step 2 Set the melon on its end. It will now balance quite well, making it easy to cut.

Step 3 Cut the rest of the rind off, cutting into the flesh (about 1/4-1/2" away from the rind- and it's still a weird word) following the curve of the rind. Cut all the "white" off.

Step 4 Admire your work. Isn't it pretty?  Now cut it vertically in half straight through the middle.

Step 5 Lay each half on their sides.  From here on out, you can cut it into whatever shapes you want, but I like cubes.  Cut horizontally every 1" to 1 1/2" so the pieces will be mostly even.

Step 6 Cut long-ways keeping the same spacing you used going horizontally.  See where this is going?

Step 7 Now cut the other direction, again using the same spacing, and voila! Beautiful fruity cubes!

I love cutting my large fruit this way.  I put my melon in a big tupperware container and it's ready to go for any of our meals, plus I don't have to worry about the kids eating the rinds.  However, I've always wondered what pickled melon rind tastes like (Laura Ingalls Wilder, anyone?).  Anyway, good luck!

P.S. My way of cutting oranges is better than Stephen's. Just kidding. To each their own.