7 Life Hacks for Wives

7 Life Hacks for Wives

Every mom needs a few life hacks.

The Urban Dictionary defines a hack as a clever solution to a tricky problem.

Being a wife is a tricky problem–it shouldn’t be, but it is.  The world–the culture that I live in bombards me with images and ideas that make me think I have a problem.  What I need is a clever solution to fight back.  So here are 7 of my life hacks for being the wife I want to be:

Television, movies and magazines tell me I need more romance, passion and intimacy. What I really need is a hack for contentment in my marriage.

1. Be Content Life Hack

Distraction and busyness drain my attention from my husband.  What I need is a hack to help me remember how to make him a priority and show him that I adore him.

2. Adore Him Life Hack

The problem with social media is that I begin to believe that everyone I know has a perfect husband, a perfect house and a $10,000 vacation every year.  What I need is to be thankful for my real husband and the real pictures of sweet memories posted on my not so perfect but real walls.

3. Be Thankful Life Hack

Guilt is a problem for me.  I often feel as if I am not being or doing enough. I seem to remember all the negatives with razor sharpness and they cut into me painfully.  What I need to do is challenge myself to small successes every day and to let go of the negative.

4. Be Challenged Life Hack

The problem with communication is me–this gift was left out of my genetic box. The solution is work and I promise I have been working hard on this for 25 years–still a problem but not giving up!  This hack is from my hubs because he is better at it.

5. Communicate Well Life Hack

The simple things, that is what counts–hundreds of simple gestures all piled up together.  But the problem is if you get busy you forget. That’s what happened to me and my husband noticed.  The solution is a simple hack for giving little bits of love.

6. Love with Actions Life Hack

The problem is that my husband needs encouragement.  He has a lot of pressure on him and I am often guilty of adding to it! The solution is a hack to remember what he needs to hear from me and to tell him.

7. Speak Kindly Life Hack

Wives, do share! What are the most helpful life hacks that you can’t live without? 

 

Related Resources:

7 Life Hacks for Moms

7 Life Hacks for Marriage

6 Life Hacks for Husbands

7 Life Hacks for Dads

Posted On: July 21, 2014     cat-folder Love This 2 Comments

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Baked ‘Fried’ Chicken, Sweet Potato Casserole, No-Bake Cookies

This is a delicious, easier, and less messy alternative to frying chicken in a fryer or skillet.  But, it still tastes like fried chicken – yum!

Baked ‘Fried’ Chicken in a Bag

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds chicken, cut into pieces (you can also use skinless chicken)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon sage (if you don’t have sage on hand, the recipe will still work)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Melt butter in a 9×13 inch baking dish in the pre-heated oven.
  3. Mix flour, salt, paprika, sage and pepper together in a large Ziploc type bag. Add chicken parts to bag and shake until well coated.
  4. Place chicken in the baking dish skin side down and bake for 20 minutes. Turn pieces and bake another 20 minutes until tender and juices run clear.

The Best Sweet Potato Casserole Ever

Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 c packed brown sugar
  • ½ c all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ c butter, melted
  • 1 c chopped pecans
  • Marshmallows – optional

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, milk, salt, ⅓ cup butter and vanilla. Mix together and pour into a greased 9”x13” baking dish. (Your casserole can be frozen at this stage.  When you are ready to cook, proceed to Step 2.)
  2. To prepare the topping, combine in a separate bowl the brown sugar, flour, ⅓ cup melted butter and pecans. Mix together and crumble over sweet potato mixture. Bake uncovered at 350°F (175°C) for 35 to 45 minutes.
  3. If desired, add marshmallows to the top of casserole during the last 15 minutes of baking.  Check periodically to make sure marshmallows do not burn.

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies

Older children can make this treat on their own!  No baking required—just stirring in a pot on the stove.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ¼  cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½  cup milk
  • ½  cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ salt
  • ½  cup chunky peanut butter
  • 3 cups uncooked oatmeal

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, cocoa, milk and butter.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally for one minute.
  3.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, salt and peanut butter until well-blended.
  4. Stir in oats.
  5. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto waxed paper, or lightly greased foil or baking sheets.
  6.  Allow cookies to cool for at least 1 one hour before bagging or boxing for gift giving.
Posted On: July 11, 2014     cat-folder Sunday Suppers 1 Comment

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BBQ Pulled Chicken, Scalloped Potatoes and Red Velvet Cake

Crowd pleaser meal that is what this meal is–the potatoes are loaded and the cake is the Merrill Family favorite cake in the world.  To keep it simple we did not picture this with a vegetable but you know you should–every child needs a little green.

Barbecue Pulled Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs chicken breast
  • Hamburger buns
  • Cole Slaw (optional)

Dry Rub:

  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Wet Drizzle:

  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine brown sugar, paprika, salt and pepper rub over chicken.
  2. Combine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, mustard, garlic salt and cayenne stir to mix well. Drizzle 1/4 of vinegar mixture over chicken. Cover and refrigerate remaining vinegar mixture.
  3. Place chicken in slow cooker and cook on low 10 to 12 hours or on high 5 to 6 hours.
  4. Use the remaining vinegar mixture to baste the chicken several times throughout the cooking process. If you don’t have time to baste the chicken, then you can always pour the entire vinegar mixture over the chicken prior to cooking!
  5. Remove meat and drain. Chop or shred meat.

Serve meat and onions on buns. If desired, top sandwiches with coleslaw.

 

Scalloped Potatoes

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 large onions
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 3 lbs. baking potatoes
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (of your choice)
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Generously butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
  2. In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  3. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. Mix together the salt and pepper.
  5. Peel the potatoes and thinly slice into rounds. Spread one-third of the potatoes in an even layer in the prepared baking dish and season with about one-fourth of the salt mixture.
  6. Top with one-third of the cheese and half of the onions and season with about one-third of the remaining salt mixture.
  7. Top with half of the remaining potato slices, half of the remaining cheese and the rest of the onions, seasoning with half of the remaining salt mixture as you go.
  8. Finish with the remaining potatoes and cheese and season with the remaining salt mixture.
  9. In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium-high heat until it is simmering.
  10. Pour the hot cream evenly over the potatoes.
  11. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet.
  12. Bake for 1 hour.
  13. Remove the foil and continue baking until the potatoes are tender, coated with a creamy sauce and golden brown on top, about 30 minutes longer.
  14. Let stand for about 5 minutes, then serve hot.

 

Susan’s 4-Layer Red Velvet Cake

red velvet cake, cream cheese frosting

Ingredients for Cake:

  • 2 ¼ cups Buttermilk
  • 3 cups Oil
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • ¼ cup Red Food Coloring
  • 2 tsp Vinegar
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 5 cups Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3 tsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 cups Sugar

Ingredients for Frosting:

  • 2 sticks of Butter at room temperature
  • 24 oz Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3 cups Confectioners’ Sugar
  • 2 cups Pecans, chopped

Directions for Cake:

  1. Combine and mix first six wet ingredients.
  2. Slowly incorporate remaining dry ingredients, mixing until well blended.
  3. Spray four 9-inch pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F.
  5. Allow cakes to cool completely before removing from pans.

Directions for Frosting:

  1. Using a hand mixer, cream together butter, cream cheese, and sugar until smooth and creamy.
  2. Place the first layer on a cake plate and place a dollop of frosting in the center of the layer
  3. Using an offset spatula (or any flat knife), spread the frosting to cover the top of the layer, but don’t worry about the sides.
  4. Stack another cake on top of the first layer and repeat the frosting process, do this for all four layers.
  5. Put remaining frosting on the top of the cake and using your spatula, frost the sides of the cake, applying any decorative swirls or marks you desire.
  6. Sprinkle the top and sides with nuts.
Posted On: July 04, 2014     cat-folder Sunday Suppers 1 Comment

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Pulled Pork, Slaw and Corn Muffins

This is a great meal to enjoy with your family and friends on any summer holiday! It is so simple to make, leaving you more time to celebrate!

Pulled Pork Meal

 

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork 

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs. pork shoulder or butt
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley
  • 1 ½ tsp. oregano
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Anaheim peppers, seeded and sliced
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. Season pork with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the pork and cook for 5 minutes per side (until browned).
  3. Remove from heat and transfer to the slow cooker.
  4. Add remaining ingredients to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours (until fork tender).

Zesty Peach Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups chopped, fresh peaches (about 3 medium peaches)
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. diced fresh jalapeno (more or less depending on personal preference)

Directions:

  1. Combine the peaches, onion, lemon juice, and jalapeno in a bowl.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Let sit for at least 10 minutes for the flavors to meld together.

Cole Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of prepared coleslaw (carrots included!)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp. ground red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place slaw in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients, whisking together well.
  3. Pour vinegar mixture over slaw and toss to combine. Let stand 30 minutes.

Corn Muffins with Raspberry Filling

These yummy corn muffins with raspberry filling are definitely a crowd pleaser! The perfect side to go with this summer meal.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • ½ pound butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup raspberry jam

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line 12 large muffin cups with paper liners.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine milk, butter and eggs.
  5. With mixer on low, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  6. Spoon batter into liners (3/4 way full) and bake for 20 minutes exactly.
  7. Let cool, pipe the jam into the muffin using icing bag or Ziploc bag (just cut the tip off the corner!)

For more recipes like this one, visit eMeals.

Posted On: June 27, 2014     cat-folder Sunday Suppers Leave a comment

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Sometimes It Hurts to Be Silent in Marriage

Sometimes It Hurts to be Silent in Marriage

I am pretty chill about most things. This can be a good quality to have for marriage and a bad quality.  On the one hand, I am more flexible than my husband who is more defined in his opinions.  He likes to think about dinner—I don’t really care where we go to eat.  There are times when he likes quiet—I am game for 5 kids spending the night any time.  On the other hand, he is clearer about what is important to him and we all know it. I am not clear. There are some things I do care about, but my family doesn’t always know what that is because I tend to do the wrong thing—I remain silent.

It hurts.

And it can hurt in different ways.

Sometimes I am silent about my desires because I don’t want to be a bother.

For example, my birthday is just a few days after Christmas and the exact same day as my husband’s. So, it’s tough to feel special because gifts have already been given ad infinitum and who is going to spearhead the “party?” Me or Mark…it’s his birthday too. Normally I don’t really mind, but recently I had a big year birthday and felt quite forgotten.  Should I have felt left out? I never made a big deal about my birthday before, so my kids and husband didn’t make it a big deal.  But it was a big year, so I had a different expectation in my mind.

I was silent when I should have said something.  Ouch, it hurt my feelings. I should have told my family I wanted to do something special for my special birthday.  They would have done it—they love me and would never want me to be disappointed.

Sometimes I am silent because it does not seem worth the discomfort of a sticky conversation.

My husband, Mark, is a born and raised attorney.  His dad is an attorney and he and his brothers all went to the same law school.  They are good, really good at point, counter point, case closed.  I am not. My passions are deep, my emotions are high, and my thoughts are not always well organized when they come out of my mouth.  Mark is more articulate than me and it is a lot of work on my part to make a point.  So when I weigh the cost of silence versus expressing my opinion about a sticky situation, I often choose the lesser of the two and remain silent.

When I am silent in these situations, it often hurts my heart because my passions run deep.  When I feel deeply about something and I stuff it, it really hurts. What’s worse is that, at some point, that passion will erupt.  Not pretty. It comes out venting and angry after building up for long periods of time.  Rather than silently stuffing, I should speak up.

I have learned that silence in marriage may be costly in the end.

If I don’t speak up, I hurt myself in the end. I have found one little trick to my silent dilemma.  I write an email.  It sounds a little chicken, but it works for me because I get the chance to really organize my thoughts. And I can get it all out without being questioned or side tracked.

I just used this trick the other night with awesome results.  Mark had been allowing our youngest to do something that we never let our other kids do.  I mentioned it to him but he didn’t see my point.  It was late at night and I was not feeling mentally alert enough for a stimulating conversation, so I went silent.  But I was very convicted about the parenting of our son and I didn’t want to let it slide.  I went downstairs, wrote it out, and emailed it to Mark.  He opened it the next morning (always better in the morning) and came to me and simply said, “You’re right.”

Ahhhhhhhhh, so easy.  My heart felt so good.

It can take years to find tricks that make a marriage work well.  What is your tendency? Are you silent or outspoken?  And do you have a trick to make either work?

Posted On: June 25, 2014     cat-folder Marriage 13 Comments

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