The Best Weekly Marriage Ritual You Need to Start Practicing NOW

I am SO excited to share this today. Seriously, this incredible golden nugget of advice just fell into my lap today at my MOPS meeting and I simply can’t not spread it as far and as wide as possible.

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I want to keep this fairly short, because you deserve to be able to get to the goods. This is truly life changing advice and I’m dying to implement it into my own marriage TONIGHT.

I do want to give just a smidgen of back story because the source of this advice to me absolutely deserves her credit. This advice was delivered to our MOPS group today via a lovely young mom named Sarah. This advice came to Sarah via a woman she knew who sat Sarah and her soon-to-be husband down and told them she was going to give them advice and that it was going to serve as her wedding present. You might think, “gee, thanks!” but after you hear it, if you’re like me, you totally see that this is an absolute gift. A gift that keeps on giving. It’s incredibly easy to implement weekly. It’s easy to remember, and the rewards are endless. Truly. As soon as Sarah started talking I felt compelled to take notes. I could just tell that she was dropping some serious wisdom on us…

So the way it was put to Sarah, this is an exercise that is intended to be performed weekly “until either one of you dies of Jesus returns.” Why? Because marriage is a relationship that takes and deserves constant communication, fine-tuning, and adjusting.

Here are the guidelines: 

  • Make real time for this exercise. Wait for the kids to go to bed so that you have time alone to really focus on each other. Turn off all distractions.
  • Do this exercise once every week around the same time. Sarah and her husband call them Tuesday Talks.
  • Sit closely facing each other. This might feel a little awkward, but marriage should have space for this level of intimate communication.
  • There can be no defending, contesting, interjection, or explaining. You will make your statements to the prompts, and then you will listen to your spouse make theirs.
  • It is a safe place with no topics off limits. You can address everything from work, extended family, child rearing, sex, finances, housework, dreams, goals, etc. If you feel that it is important enough to be said, then say it.

There are three statement prompts. For each prompt make three statements. Keep the statements straight-forward and honest. Here are the prompts: 

  1. I assume that….
    (ex: I assume that you had a good week at work today, I assume that you have something that is bothering you, I assume that you are unhappy with me, etc… This has to do with something that you’ve assumed about your spouse, but perhaps haven’t addressed with them or that they perhaps haven’t expressed to you and that has created a space for you to make assumptions. These can be good or bad.)
  2. I don’t like it when….
    (ex: I don’t like it when you put your dishes in the sink instead of the dishwasher, I don’t like it when you stay at work late, I don’t like it when we don’t talk, I don’t like it when you touch me this way, I don’t like it when the house is messy, etc… the goal here is to address things that bother you in a safe and unemotional, but direct way. These are things your spouse may or may not be aware of, or they may not be aware of how much they really mean to you…I mean, to make it to the top three list of the week, they have to mean a lot to you or them, right?)
  3. I appreciate it when….
    (ex: I appreciate it when you make the bed, I appreciate it when you surprise me with flowers, I appreciate it when you give the kids a bath, I appreciate it when you kiss my neck, I appreciate it when you massage my back, I appreciate it when you make my favorite meal. This is an excellent way to communicate your love language to your partner. This affirms them and lets them know what you could use more of to fill your cup. This also gives you insight into what you’re doing that is having a positive impact on your spouse. Maybe you try to get the house spotless every afternoon before they come home from work, but all they really want is a hug and a kiss and a packed lunch the next day.)
  • Then, after you have each made your nine statements, don’t talk about any of them for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, if there is anything regarding those nine statements weighing heavily on your mind, sit down together and discuss them calmly. This 30 minute buffer gives you time to process what has been said and to work through it on your end and to try and see it from the perspective of your spouse. The discussion time, if needed, is intended to give you space to perhaps provide context to your spouse about their assumptions and to appreciate and understand why they may have made those assumptions.

I’m absolutely in love with the simplicity of the exercise! I love how easy it is to implement and to carry on forever. I love it offers opportunities to communicate in a safe way. I love how you can address things that your spouse might not know bother you, but that you finish up with letting your spouse know what they’re doing right. I love the opportunity it offers me to see what my spouse needs more of from me and how I can be a better wife to him this week.

The way it was put to Sarah was this way: When your spouse does something that bothers you and you don’t voice it in a safe and even way, it’s like wearing a backpack and putting a rock in it. And you just keep loading these rocks in your backpack until it’s absolutely full and the next time a rock appears, you throw it, and then you tap into the rocks you have packed up and you’re just hurling more and more rocks at your spouse that they didn’t realize you were packing up. This is a safe place to unload your rocks from the week, and it finishes with a note of positivity to reinforce your spouse and their efforts. And as Sarah put it, it’s amazing to see the “I don’t like it whens” turn into the “I appreciate it whens.”

Anyways, I’ve loved being married (we’re going on six years this spring!), and I so appreciate when advice like this comes my way. Communication is the key, and I love how this simple approach provides such an easy and safe way to address the goods and the bads regularly so that we can fine tune as we go to make sure that we’re still meeting our spouse’s needs and showing them love in a way that they appreciate.

Is this something that you can see yourself implementing in your marriage? What’s the best marriage advice you’ve been given?

Snickerdoodles

Perfect Snickerdoodles

The story is a simple one: I was in kindergarten and my teacher made the most delicious snickerdoodles, so at the age of five, I begged her for her recipe. Having the puppy dog eyes that I have, how could she resist? Twenty-one years later, I still use the very same recipe. Although it’s a picture of the recipe my teacher wrote out for me. My mom won’t let me have the original (written on a regular sheet of notebook paper) because I signed my name to it.

Snickerdoodles are one of those recipes that we all have in our baking repertoire, but I’m a little picky about mine. I don’t like snickerdoodles that are too cakey; I prefer mine to have a crisp exterior with a chewy inside. I also don’t like when people omit the cream of tartar. That’s the ingredient that gives you that oh-so-subtle tang that hits you right in the back of your cheeks and perfectly balances all of the sugar. It’s the ingredient that separates the snickerdoodles from the sugar cookies. And if you have a chance, in a crowd of sugar cookies, always be a snickerdoodle. Sweet, spicy, and a little tangy.

I’ve found that when making cookies, it’s important to follow the recipe, but it’s more important to pay attention to the dough. For instance, this recipe regularly calls for 2 3/4 cups of flour, but for this batch I only used 2 1/4 cups. Why? Likely because my cage-free eggs were smaller than normal. Had I continued to add the flour, my dough would have come undone and dried out. So, when you see the recipe at the bottom, know that you need to be aware of what you’re doing when mixing. Always add the flour a little bit at a time. But I’m sure you knew all of that already. I added a picture of what your dough should look like for reference. And speaking of dough…

Here’s what you need:

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I woke up at 4:30 this morning to make these. You can still see the laundry I folded the night before on my kitchen table.

You’ll cream all of your dry ingredients together with the butter flavored shortening until it looks gorgeous and yellow like above.

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Then you’ll add the eggs and stir until you have a nice smooth mix. Then you’ll add the flour a half of a cup at a time.

Keep your eye on your dough. You want it to come together, but when you touch it, you don’t want it to stick to your finger.

But you definitely don’t want it dry to the point that it can’t absorb any more flour. This below is perfect. See how it’s just come together?

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Then you’ll scoop your cookies and roll them in a mixture that is one part cinnamon to three parts sugar. Or you can adjust it to your preference. I sometimes like more cinnamon than that. You can just wing it!

Regardless, the result is delicious sweet and tangy cookies. And your house will smell absolutely divine.

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Perfect Snickerdoodles

  • Servings: about 30 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
1 cup (1 stick) butter flavored Crisco
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 1/4 – 2 3/4 cups flour (depending on how dough is coming together, don’t over add flour)
Sugar & Cinnamon for rolling dough in

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Cream together Crisco, sugar, salt, soda, and cream of tartar.
3. Add eggs and mix thoroughly.
4. Add flour in 1/2 cup at a time until dough is wet, but not sticky.
5. Portion out dough using a cookie scoop (about 2 tbsp portion) and roll dough balls in sugar and cinnamon mixture.
6. Place on cookie sheet far apart (I do 2 columns and 4 rows).
7. Bake for 9 minutes and immediately remove from baking sheet to cooling rack.

Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

Forgotten Cookies: Like Biting into a Cup of Hot Chocolate Topped with Whipped Cream

Forgotten Cookies

Welcome! This is one of my favorite and most famous recipes!

However, to chase my big dreams, I’ve moved operations over to my new and improved blog!!! I’d love for you to check out this same tried and true recipe THERE!

I’m so thankful that you took the time to stop by, and hope that you enjoy the new site and subscribe to my monthly Mom Bob newsletter over there!

Thanks again! ♥

Crispy Ranch Kale Chips

Kale Chips Pinterest Graphic

Kale chips: they’re delicious in their own right. They’re not as carb-y as potato chips by a long shot, but I almost think they’re better! The texture is so satisfying!

I sometimes regret that my first kale chip was homemade because I can’t stand store-bought kale chips simply because my homemade ones are so much better. It’s not unusual for me to eat an entire bunch of kale in one sitting once it’s been “chipped.” It’s just so ridiculously delicious!! And so guilt-free! (The only guilt I feel is because I don’t share them!)

Before we start with the recipe I’ll just give you a couple of quick tips:

– A little seasoning goes a long way, so don’t add too much lest your chips be too salty. It’s helpful to pour this seasoning into a spare salt shaker because you won’t use all of it, and you can use it next time you make chips.

– Take it easy on the oil to save calories and fat. Take the time to carefully rub each leaf down with oil until it gleams like a woman tanning on the beach.

– You MUST buy the Hidden Valley Dips seasoning and not just the regular Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning. The taste is not the same, and the Dips tastes significantly better.

Now, here’s what you need:

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Yeah, seriously, this is it!

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Remove the leaves from the thick middle stems, and give the leaves a good couple of rinses in a bowl.

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Now, you can get a nice fancy salad spinner. They’re great to have.

Or you can be like me, and you can dump your damp leaves out onto a large kitchen towel, like theseIMG_4282

Collect all of the corners and edges hobo style in your fist, and give them a vigorous shaking about to dry them! (Peep that episode of Poldark in the background! I think Aidan Turner is such a babe, but I get frustrated with how impulsive Ross is. More power to Demelza.)

Drying salad leaves this way has always worked like a charm for me, and it saves me some room that a salad spinner might have taken up!

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Then spread all of your kale leaves out on you baking sheet evenly. You can totally use an olive oil spray to reach every leaf, or you can drizzle portioned oil over the leaves. Either way, you’ll need to rub these down with oil to make sure every square inch is covered in a light layer. This ensures crispy chips!

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Then you can follow with a sprinkle of seasoning before tossing them in the oven! And then viola! You don’t even have to try to resist eating them all fresh out of the oven! I usually do!

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They have the best texture! I love biting into those gorgeous, crispy kale curls! Is that too weird to say?

Crispy Ranch Kale chips

  • Servings: Just enough for me
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

1 bunch of Kale
1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dips seasoning
1-2 tbsp of olive oil

Directions:

1. Remove kale leaves from large middle stems
2. Thoroughly rinse leaves in a bowl 1-2 times and dry
3. Evenly spread out on baking sheets and drizzle with oil
4. Rub leaves to evenly coat each leaf front and back
5. lightly dust with seasoning
6. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until crispy
7. Eat immediately, or if you’re a better person than I am, store in an airtight container for up to 4 days

Enjoy!

Easy Cinnamon Roll Casserole

Cinnamon Roll Bites

Every other week I attend a MOPS meeting, and it’s absolutely no exaggeration to say that it’s often the highlight of my week/month. It’s been an absolute God-send to be a part of a community of women and mothers who I can sit down with to chat and enjoy a tasty breakfast potluck without all of our beautiful children running around and chewing on each other. It’s the source of all of my sanity sometimes. Except on mornings when it’s my turn to bring something for the potluck.

Now don’t get me wrong! I love cooking for others, and I love being able to bring something tasty and hot for our little mom breakfast. But I’m usually super pressed for time in the mornings before MOPS because two toddlers, right? But I love bringing in something warm, because as moms of little bitty ones, we don’t often get the privilege of a hot breakfast.

For the potluck, we typically do two savory dishes, two sweet, and two sides of fruit. When I sign up for savory, I love to bring in a classic breakfast casserole, but sweet can be a little tougher. There’s obviously the option of taking in muffins, and Lord knows that I’ve never met a muffin I didn’t like, but sometimes I’m in the mood for something a little bit more special!

So that’s why I love about these little cinnamon roll bites! They’re minimal mess to make, and they’re impossible to mess up. They’re sweet and quick and easy to transport! And if you have an insulated casserole carrier, then they’re guaranteed to arrive still warm and gooey. But they’re also tasty after they’ve cooled off.

They’re perfect for a MOPS meeting, an early Sunday school class, Christmas morning, or even coffee at home with friends! So let’s dive in!

Here’s what you need:

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You can easily cut this recipe in half and just use one package of biscuit dough if you have a small group. But I like the larger recipe because it takes the entire stick of butter. I don’t like having little butter nubs in my fridge 😉 And legend has it that if you make a recipe and don’t leave a butter nub, the calorie fairy automatically cuts all the calories of your dish in half. That’s just kitchen lore, but I’m pretty sure it has to be true.

You’ll cut up the biscuits into fourths.

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And then toss them in the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Don’t be afraid to be generous with this coating. The calorie fairy is coming, after all. Arrange the coated biscuit bites in the baking dish in no particular order. Just make sure they’re evenly-ish spread around.

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Then melt the 3/4 (6 tbsp.) of the stick of butter and pour it over the coated biscuit bites. Don’t be shy about getting in there and making sure they all get an even coating of butter. Sprinkle in a little more of the cinnamon sugar if you feel moved to do so (I usually do feel so moved).

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Then toss these beauties in the oven at 350° for 25 minutes. Using the last of the butter, whip up the glaze after you’ve pulled them out of the oven, and drizzle it all over the hot cinnamon bites using a spoon.

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Make sure you use up all of the frosting, because waste not, want not and all of that.

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Gooey Cinnamon Roll Bites

  • Servings: 16-20
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
2 12 oz packages of Pillsbury Biscuits (original)
1 stick of salted butter
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 cup of powdered sugar
4 tsp of milk
1 tsp of vanilla

Directions:
1. Mix the brown sugar with the cinnamon in a bowl. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Cut each biscuit into fourths, and toss the biscuit bits in the cinnamon sugar to coat thoroughly.
3. Arrange coated biscuit bits semi-evenly in a 9×13 baking dish. They do not have to be in a single layer.
4. Melt 6 tbsp. of the butter and pour evenly over the biscuit bits. Sprinkle on a little more sugar if desired.
5. Bake biscuits for 25 minutes.

For glaze:
1. Melt remaining 2 tbsp. of butter.
2. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and 4 tsp. of milk and 1 tsp. of vanilla.
3. Stir until it’s all combined. (why did I make this a separate step?)
4. Drizzle over hot cinnamon biscuit bites generously. Don’t be shy about it!

Enjoy warm!