Meal Menu Monday

Hi everyone!!

I am sitting here, making my grocery list and meal menu for the week and I have to share that I am SO excited about or “new” fridge!!! It is a full western size fridge!! I am now able to  pre-cook and freeze food and really stock up from week to week. I am very grateful for my friends who sadly have moved to Australia but have generously given us this fridge! Now we just have to figure out what to do with the other one…. not as easy of a task in Japan and very expensive. It works out for both parties though, it was cheaper for them to give us the fridge and not have to pay for disposal and it will be cheaper for us to dispose of the small fridge then it would have been to buy a full size one (and get rid of the small one!) so win-win!

This week the temperature is expected to drop a bit to the mid-teens (50s for my American friends and family) So I have been looking for some warm hearty meals to start us into the cooler temps. We have been blessed to have very warm months this fall. It’s already November and I still am only wearing a light jacket in the evenings.

Our menu this week looks like this:

Monday Lunch: Chicken breast, consume vegetable soup, soy beans, cut fruit, mixed nuts, and I juiced some fruits and veggies together to make an after-gym drink for Sweets. (Spinach, pineapple, kiwi, strawberry and carrots)

Dinner: cheese-burger casserole,  green salad

Tuesday Lunch: left over casserole, mixed veggies in marinade, cut fruits, granola bar

Dinner: Chilli and baguette, tossed salad with sour cream and avocado

Wednesday Lunch: No cook day!

Dinner:  fruit pie and apple cider dessert – Restaurant for dinner with friends visiting from Singapore, dessert at our place afterwards

Thursday Lunch: Left over chili, bread and crackers, cut fruit

Dinner: Slow cooker chicken in mushroom soup , steamed spinach, asparagus and carrots

Friday Lunch: beef stir-fry, soy beans, cut fruit, mixed nuts

Dinner: Ramen soup with corn and bean sprouts, steamed broccoli and gioza

Saturday Lunch: Ham and cheese melt sandwich, corn soup, soy beans

Dinner: Chicken and steak fajita, pumpkin soup

Sunday: No Cook day!!

Too shy to pray

A short time ago I posted about the book “power of a praying wife.” I can not tell you how much this has helped me to help focus on my marriage as whole and to not take our life or love for granted. It also helps me keep God in the center. Remembering that the only thing that can keep us strong is Christ Himself.

I continue to pray for my husband daily, and as things come up I apply more time and effort in the more urgent areas. However, one thing I have recently noticed is that Sweets and I do not pray together as we used to when we were courting. When we started our relationship, he began coming to Sunday night prayer service with me. This is a time of worship and prayer only. We are asked to not speak to one another during this time and to focus on the Lord.

Of course praying for and with each other is expected and encouraged (just not conversation, and it is not the time for counseling.)  Sweets and I prayed together every Sunday during those months of courtship and now on Sunday nights we still pray together the same. But when we were dating, we would pray before each of our dates many times, and at the end to really ask the Lord to make a way for us, or make clear the path we should take  and protection going home ect..

Once the Lord gave us Blessing for our marriage, I suddenly became too shy to pray in front of Sweets! I am not sure why this is! And now that we live together, we pray every meal but that’s it (as far as together  I mean – he still prayers on his own on the balcony every morning and I still pray on my own after he leaves for the gym.) But aside from meals or Sunday nights we just don’t seem to make it a priority together.

I am hoping to make a change in this though. First I have to get over my shyness and pray out loud for my husband! Does anyone else struggle with this?!

I want him to know what I am praying so that he can agree and I know that this will be an intimate act between us as well. I always felt that connection and closeness when we were dating. Now more than ever we need to keep this a priority I think, maybe it will help even greater in our communication (which is still in need of adjustment in many respects!) Thank goodness for unconditional love, and the grace to acknowledge this early on. I truly have a wonderful man, friend, lover and companion!

Now that I am bursting with thanksgiving to the Lord for my husband, I will take this opportunity to share with him how much I love, appreciate and respect him….and pray together – for many more years to come!

Blessings to you!

Meal Menu Monday

Hi everyone! here is this weeks meal menu for the week. This is such a great help to me to keep motivated and on track with not only making sure to prepare healthy meals for my husband but also to not fall into a lazy cycle of packaged foods or worse having to leave what to eat up to him from day to day.

Now I say this not as a shame to Sweets or that he is lazy, sexist or overly traditional in his view of roles in the family. No this is my joy! I am so happy to have a husband and I just want to take care of him, make his life easier and be a blessing to him in any way that I can.  I always want him to be able to say “my life has greatly improved since I married Bree”. We both work full time, we both have busy schedules, and because of that I have  to intend acts of service for my husband other wise, we are liable to carry on as previously, just taking care of ourselves from day to day….only in the same apartment.  This is not my dream.

In addition to just cooking though, sweets is working very hard to get in shape and lose weight. (Those who know anything about me know that I MUCH PREFER chunky men) It is true. I like slightly heavy men. BUT Sweets is very unhappy with his weight right now and as a supportive wife I need to help him to reach his goals. I cant be cooking him meals that will counter all the work he does at the gym and the running he does everyday. I have to do a lot of research to know how much he is lifting to see how much protein is recommended and I also have to be mindful to not serve hardly any (or very little) carbs at dinner but to pack in his carbs in the morning or at lunch, this way he has all day to burn them off.

This weeks Menu:

Monday Lunch: Peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat, and yogurt with pineapple and carrots in the blender, granola bar.

Dinner: Chicken and mixed salad with red and yellow peppers and avocado

Tuesday Lunch: Vegetable curry and rice raw cut veggies, cut fruit and mixed walnuts, almonds and raisins.

Dinner: Salmon baked with dill and lemon slices and olive oil, spinach, steamed carrots

Wednesday Lunch: Eating out

Dinner: on our own

Thursday Lunch: vegetable soup, ham sandwich on wheat, cut pear and tangerines, granola bar

Dinner: Fiesta skillet ( a variation of this with 1/2 the pasta noodles double the salsa), mixed salad with raisins, apples and raspberry vinaigrette

Friday: Lunch: Leftover fiesta, soy beans, granola, cut pineapple and tangerine

Dinner: Shephards pie, steamed mix vegetables

Saturday Lunch: homemade pizza with red and yellow peppers and mushrooms, salad

Dinner: Chilli party with friends. French bread and veggie with dip

Sunday: No cooking day!

Happy Eating!

Meal Menu Monday

To start off the week, I have to admit that I slacked a bit. I was CRAZY busy this Monday. Sweets and I got back from Church camp on Sunday night and I had a ton of errands to run Monday morning, as well as starting a new Bible study group early Monday afternoon (11:40-2). in addition I go to language lessons from 4-6pm Monday evenings and then to top it all off this Monday I was also meeting a couple of friends for dinner from 7pm.

So I felt totally insane and on the run the entire day!

Now that you can get a grasp of how I was feeling this week, please cut me some slack with this weeks menu hehe

I also want to note that I do not usually have a breakfast menu, this is because Sweets goes to the gym every morning at 7am, so he gets up before me and always has the exact same thing for breakfast (three eggs, a banana, a smoothie and granola)band I tend to also eat the same thing morning after morning (Honey nut cheerios or raisin toast with butter) So our meals are for lunch and dinner  -only 4 nights a week. (We also eat an ice-cream cup for dessert every night after dinner) Also keep in mind we live in Japan. I prefer to home-cook more western style food but at times it may sound a bit different. I tend not to use  recipes and just throw the things together, but if there is a recipe you would like please ask and Id be happy to send it your way.

Monday Lunch: rice, ginger pork, lightly steamed broccoli, carrots and beans, yogurt, 2 chocolate chip cookies, handful of walnuts.

Dinner: Meeting friends, Had Chicken breast with BBQ sauce and mixed veggies ready for sweets to steam when he got home from work.

Tuesday Lunch: Tuna pasta, pineapple chunks, soybeans, handful of almonds, walnuts and some chocolate covered raisins, yogurt,  granola bar

Dinner: Sauteed thinly sliced steak, green peppers and bamboo in soy sauce mixture with a side of rice and miso soup

Wednesday Lunch: beef, salad, yogurt, rice, granola bar, tangerines

Dinner: (Sweets and I do not eat dinner together this night! No cooking!)

Thursday Lunch: Cream Gratin with chicken and macaroni, soybeans, pineapple, mixed nuts, yogurt and cookie.

Dinner:  Lemon baked Salmon, Avocado and tomato salad, baked potato with salsa

Friday Lunch: Beef Stew with chunky bread, steamed veggies, apple slices, yogurt, granola bar

Dinner: No cooking day!

Saturday Lunch: Left over Beef stew, yogurt, cookie, raw sliced carrots and soy beans

Dinner: Lemon pepper chicken, tossed salad, vegetable soup

Sunday: No Cooking

“Find out who you are, and Do It On Purpose”

A famous quote from a famous country singer. I loved it from the fist time I heard it  ( in A Walk to Remember). I am often reminded of it from day to day and week to week. Not because it was so profound or even that life changing of a quote for me at the time, but because it has a meaning now that I have decided with all my heart to live ON PURPOSE!.

One of the common ideas that seems to permeate most people’s lives these days is happenstance, or in other words allowing life to happen and dealing with it as it comes.

Now, generally this doesn’t seem like a bad way to live. In fact, in some cases it is the best idea! Life will happen! I know it, you know it! We have all been affected by “life” and many things we can’t choose, prevent or even prepare for. In these cases it is of course best to take it one day at a time, and deal with it as is fitting.

However, this is not the case with everything. Nor should it be. Specifically in our marriages. This is a dangerous belief and it is (in my opinion) destroying marriages all around me.

Why would I have this opinion? Because ALL of the stuff I have been reading about for marriage and listening to people talk about, seems to point to this idea. Those marriages in which the couples are so in love and they think they always will be and they are just living on love… tend to me miserable a few yrs down the line. They  think love will take them through anything and everything but they actually are not making any purposeful effort to keep the passionate love alive.

These are the people I hear that think how it is in the first few months or year of marriage is how it will always be. They mistakenly believe as long as you love it will all work out. BUT I don’t hear these people talk about how to KEEP the love alive, how to serve their spouse and how to make sure they are a blessing and not an annoyance or burden to their lover’s life.

These are the people I hear complain that their husband or wife “used to ____”. or they are the ones who say things like “enjoy it while it lasts”. It’s sickening, because so many people assume and live with a reality where the best days and years of their marriages are behind them and “somehow” it all just ended, stopped and is no longer like this anymore.

It made me wonder (and worry!) Why? What makes things change so drastically. Why are people who were once madly in love now resentful and apathetic? It really made me have to look at the big picture of what was going on and the common thing I note is that most of these people let life happen and do not choose to do anything on purpose…especially anything to stop allowing life to suck the love out of their marriages.

So, that brings me back to my theme for the month (maybe year!) Live on purpose. Love on purpose and above everything else choose your attitude on purpose.

Once you (and your significant other)  are making choices, planning for certain expectations and doing things on purpose to demonstrate love, appreciation and service to the other then it is easy to see that life has no chance to creep up and steal the passion out of these relationships. It is easy to see the contrast in people, who are happily married for 10, 20, 30+ years. These people love to talk about marriage! They are worth listening to, and their example is worth following.

I am ever the student, learning as much as I can about my life as a Christian women and now a wife as well. I see lessons in every relationship I come across and take the chance to talk about this with all of them who give me a few minutes to observe and ask.

There are the couples I learn from because it brings fear and worry that I do NOT want to end up like that. and others who are such great examples and it make me look at them and say THAT’S how I imagined marriage to be!

Blessings

Direction over Intention

I am sure that I am not alone when it comes to feeling like a failure as wife, a friend and more importantly as a Christian women.

I frequently do and say things that I am regretful of nearly the second they come out of my mouth. I am constantly ashamed and even surprised by my behaviour or words, even though really I shouldn’t be all that surprised since I did nearly the same thing earlier this week!

I continuously feel frustrated that I am not able to live up to a higher standard and even more frustrated that I am not the women I want to be, let alone hoped to be by this point in my life.

This week Sweets and I had to have some necessary (and some unnecessary) chats about future things, money, and expectations ect..) I know that most of this is due to us living abroad and we constantly need to evaluate and stay on the same page for future hopes, dreams, plans and expectations. Contract discussions are coming up in the next 2-3 months and we both need to be sure and secure in what we agree to with out current companies. (We really want to try our very best to live by “yes be yes” and ” no be no”, we would both hate to agree to a contract only to find that a move to North America was on the radar a few months later.)

I admit that I do not always handle these conversations very gracefully. I am  outspoken and I grew up in a rather harsh, tension filled home much of the time (though not all of the time as I have many great memories, and miss my family  while I’m here) However, our family communication consisted of screaming, yelling and hollering at each other – this was what would be normal conversation in most other peoples homes. So I still have that natural reaction/response in conversations that dig a bit deeper than “whats for dinner?” or talking about our day at work.

I despise this part of me and desperately want to change for both my husband and the Lord especially. A gentle and quiet spirit. I cant even imagine that could be me, but that is the goal! A gentle and quiet spirit, maybe if I say it enough I will start to associate with it! haha

I know that just identifying the problem is not enough, we also need to dig deeper to the root of the issue, and also come up with specific steps and a plan to change and get from where we are to where we want to be.

I am currently reflecting on my own habits, responses and reactions to various parts of life that really disappoint me as a Christian women wanting to serve the Lord and be more and more like Him.

I am realizing that (at least for me) just knowing what is wrong in my personality is not the same as becoming what is right. So my current project is underway. (ME!)

I have decided to start with What/ Who I want to be, and who I think I am. Working backwards to determine steps I can take that would bring me to this desired destination. The problem is that often times the person I think I am is actually not at all what others may experience. They may not see my good intentions through failures if I am consistently offending, raising my voice or any other poor response I likely have. Even though deep within my intention is nice, if my actions do not more often reflect my intention then it doesn’t matter what I intended! The best thing I ever learned (and I may end up posting more about this book later at some point)  is that direction NOT intention determines the destination. (Andy Stanley Principal of the Path)

I can intend as many things as I want but if I am not actively heading in that direction I will never end up there. I actually do not know what my plan of action will look like as of this second. I just know God wrote the end from the beginning and so it may be a good place for me to start. I want to be the kind of wife my husband will not only be proud of but that he can be very thankful for. I want to be the  gift from God to his life. Proverbs 18:22, 19:14, 31:10.

Please pray for me, that I will remember to seek the Lord for strength and help and humble myself before Him frequently instead of trying all the things on my own!

Thank you so much!

 

 

 

To be Happily Daily After

So I am learning that with even just two adults in this apartment, things get messy and dirty really fast!

I can not believe the dust this place collects. We are on the 9th floor of a very busy street and I tend to keep the windows open 24/7 so it’s partly my own fault….but still!

I have to dust daily or else it honestly looks like I haven’t dusted in weeks!

I started to get a routine to help me stay on top of things! I am not crazy clean but I do not like dust. I have a feeling I would be a lot more of a “clean-freak” if we had space and storage. But storage and Japanese apartments do not tend to go together.

Here’s the things I find that save me time and help this TINY apartment stay clean.

1) After cooking, when I wipe down the counters I choose 1 row of the spice rack to wipe down also. This way I don’t have to wipe all the spices down every time but it does help the tops from getting dusty or greasy from the cooking. At least once a week all the spices and the rack are wiped clean.

2) Scrub the shower WHILE I take my shower. (I realize this works best in the stand alone shower stalls which is similar to what I have here). This is part of my relaxation therapy! I wash myself from head to toe and then I douse the shower in cream bleach. This is my favourite shower cleaner. I LOVE when things smell of bleach  (sorry to any enviro people out there.) I leave a scrub brush in the shower and just scrub it all while I pray, or sing or meditate..whatever. Then I rinse it all down and myself and I am ready to start the day. Fresh!

3) I pre-plan all my meals for the week on my day off. For me this is Monday as I work Saturdays. I look through blogs, recipe books and ideas from friends and then I put together my meal plan for the whole week. I go shopping twice a week but only from this list. Once a week would be fine back home but here a) I have a SMALL fridge and b) vegetables do not last more than a couple of days before going bad. I shop Mondays and Thursday evenings.

4) Budget. This keeps me happy, organized and feeling in power of my life. I tend to be rather frugal and cheap but I do not sacrifice as much as it may seem. Yesterday I wanted to try a new recipe that included feta cheese. The only option was  a small brick of 50g for $7. I bought it! But I do not do this every week. I tend to pic and choose my splurges and plan around them so they are used optimally and I can spread the money out across the week.

5) Low Ball. I don’t know if this is the actual term I should use here but see if you catch my drift. I put my food budget a bit lower than it likely would cost and then when I do my shopping my goal/game is always to get things cheaper than that. Of course I have more money available, no one is starving here! Sweets and I make decent money so were not sacrificing or miserable. It just makes shopping fun when I have a game or challenge. Usually I am really successful at spending less than I challenged myself even if it is just on one of the meals or by a few $ for that week. It simply makes me happy. My top budget for the 2 of us is 18$/day (500$/month) but my low ball attempt is always 14$/day ($400/month). I am not sure if this is high or normal for Canada/USA but for Japan this is pretty decent. Prices tend to be rather high, or you get a much smaller serving for the same prices so I need to buy more.

6) Do the Laundry as soon as I wake up. For me this works as I wake up usually with about 1.5 hrs before I need to leave for work. My washer takes about an hour to run through and so I still have time to hang everything out before I need to leave for work. (No dryer here, everything is and hung on the line) But having the smell of the laundry while I’m reading or making breakfast ect.. is so motivating and automatically I start the day feeling productive – which then helps me to BE productive the rest of the day. This is another reason I prefer to vacuum in the morning…I only get to do this on the mornings Sweets goes to the gym before work, but its all good!

*7) This is a special one for me. I make a point to do something loving and sacrificial for my husband at least once a day. This can be anything really. But I found that I appreciate him the most and feel the happiest about making him smile when it actually cost me something. Usually for me it is time not money. This weeks example is waking up early to make lunch for him. He has never asked me or expected this. Typically he eats cold Japanese style lunch, but  he is always very appreciative when I do this for him. It is a struggle some mornings for me to will myself out of bed that few minutes earlier to cook him a hot lunch and put it in the thermos – even just left overs need to be piping hot which takes a bit of time. It is always worth it when I see his smile! He gushes about how he is just so thankful for me and how I make his life so much better. He has told me that even when he is at work his life is improved since we married and he never imagined or expected that. This makes me the happiest!

Well, I’ll end it there today. Its been a good day!  I hope you also have/had a fabulous day where-ever you are, doing whatever you need to do!

Blessings