Do You Need a Couples Retreat?


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I love this movie. SLE and I have watched it several times, and each time it makes us laugh and think. We’re a lot like one of these couples. Who are you and your spouse most like?



Changing Teams!


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Like many parents our age, my husband and I suddenly realized we turned into “Them”. You know, “them”? Those faceless, nameless people you swore you’d never be like? The ones that haven’t opened a newspaper in three months, but can tell you all about the side effects of a Dimetapp overdose. The ones that care more about the latest gossip kicked around PTA meetings, than about what the stock market is doing. The ones that drive around with honor roll stickers on their minivan’s bumper, and send mass emails about the dangers that lurk in food coloring. The ones that roll their eyes when you mention words like “sleep” and “bar”. Yeah, those people.

And the worst part of it is; we can no longer feel sorry for the bedraggled woman in front of us at the supermarket, just because all her kids are screaming and one of them blows his nose in his hand. After all, our son ran into the backyard this morning wearing nothing but a smile, and just the other day, he bit his sister without any provocation whatsoever. No more feeling superior, no more thinking: “We would do that differently if we were parents.” We are parents, and we’re not doing things differently at all.
We have changed teams.thebook-g

Luckily, now that we’re in our forties, we are no longer concerned about our image the way we were twenty years ago. Or are we? Have we really matured beyond caring about how things look? Perhaps we stopped worrying about the right Nikes, only to start obsessing over the right parenting style. This, after all, is the information age; the thought that we might not have access to all the answers is simply inconceivable.
So we hit the books, we observe and discuss, we analyze and we fret. Surely, if we study hard enough, we can master this impossible task; just like in college, where, if you flunked your class, it was usually your own fault. Failure was the consequence of being too lazy, engaging in too much partying, giving in to too many distractions. Then, when things looked really dire, you’d give yourself a swift kick in the butt, cancel all your social obligations, and pull your grades up. Our generation grew up with the adage: you can do anything if you just work hard enough. We Google our day-to-day parenting conundrums, hoping that next website will give us all the answers, or at least tell us we’re O.K.

The problem is, we are not in college anymore, and parenting is not a Major with a clearly outlined curriculum. If only someone would design an app for this.

Written by Annette Wright

Man Vs. Woman (written by the woman): So I Hit the Camaro


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Approximately 2 falls ago I gave my husband permission to purchase a manly machine.  Well let me restate that, we came to the decision together that for my husband’s 40th birthday he would purchase an American muscle car… a 2010 Chevy Camaro in cyber camero

The next two years went off without a ding, dang or dong in the car.  Oh wait I lie… Mr. Sorensen backed his car into our oldest son’s car the very next morning after or son said “dad you have the Camaro at a weird angle, you are going to his my car.” to which Mr. Sorensen replied, “I know how to drive it will be fine”! Well it wasn’t fine! Damage was minor I admit but visible none the less.

Let me restate the color of my husband’s car before I continue the story.  It is grey which in the sun it is a shade off the color of cement, however on a wet cloudy day it is the color of cement.  On a cloudy Wednesday we (as in all the members of the Sorensen household minus the husband) got into the rather large SUV and began our journey over to the church for youth group.

I would like to state again that it was cloudy outside, it was winter and we were heading into night hours so visibility may have been less than ideal.  We have a crack in the garage floor that tends to heave during cold weather.  I have grown accustom to slightly laying on the gas to exit the garage over the heaved crack. I had also been startled a couple of weeks prior when I accidently hit the garage foor.  I may have been cranking the wheel to angle the SUV left out of the garage but I couldn’t really say either way.  That particular evening Mr. Sorensen decided to leave his “baby” sitting in the driveway.  His mirror was lingering on my side of the driveway even.  Well long story short.  We all got into the truck with the radio playing a very sing-along type of song and the next thing I know my husband is crying!

I backed out with Mr. Sorensen standing by his car waiting to get into the passenger’s side and as he watched I hit the darn car!  No I didn’t total it, yes it is still drivable but Lord you might think I shot him in the chest as he hit the truck with is fist yelling, “STOP”!  Well I did…after I sunk my rear right corner of my bumper into his left side passenger fender.  Whoops!

I immediately got out of the vehicle and offered my condolences in the way of …”Oh my God, I am so sorry” and the infamous, “I didn’t do it on purpose”.  However my sorrows quickly faded as he told me he was going to vomit then through his finger up at me and said, “DO NOT follow me into this house, I need a few minutes without seeing you.”  Really??!!! WOW

He was on the phone with the body shop faster then I could spit out I’m sorry again.  It took him a few minutes but he eventually talked to me and said he was sorry about how he treated me.  All is fine in the Sorensen house hold again…crisis survived but my check book is very unhappy!

Did I mention the car is cyber grey?  The color of wet cement? crashed camero

Written by Rachel Sorensen

Taco Cupcakes


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My facebook friends have been introduced to my attempt to make cupcakes for my Beloved’s birthday.  It was a stunning defeat, to say the least.  Word to the wise…if yer outta eggs and decide you’re gonna replace them in a baking recipe, you should damn well know how the eggs are acting in the recipe.  Binder? Leavener? Know it before you start.  Or you could end up with this:


Baking is about ratios.  For someone who is perpetually adjusting (or disregarding) recipes, it’s better to just stick to cooking fun foods, and leave the baking to the pros.  Like my mama! She makes the best pies.

Anyhoo.  Tacos.  As cupcakes. Awesome.

If you’re a Pinterest fanatic like me; you may have already seen the taco cupcake recipe floating around.  It looks AWESOME. But a little less than (my version of) healthy.

So I thought I’d tart it up a bit.

Starting with my homemade freezer salsa verde.

homemade mmmmmm

Taco Cupcakes

You need:

  • An Oven
  • A muffin pan
  • Wonton wrappers (2 per Cupcake)
  • Red and/or Green Salsa
  • 1 cup or so of cooked Black Beans (canned is fine)
  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Turmeric
  • Black Olives (optional)
  • A pile of shredded Cheddar Cheese (hubby always grates too much.  I think it’s so he can eat it.)
  • assorted taco awesomeness (I’ve chopped up and cooked onions and squash and tossed it in these suckers.  Amazing.)
  • Guacamole for topping

Preheat your oven to 375.  Grease your muffin pan with your greasy goodness of choice.

Gently heat the black beans in a saucepan, add cumin, chili powder, and a bit of turmeric.  Do this to your taste.  I love cumin, so it gets a little crazy in my kitchen.

Place a wonton wrapper in as many cups as you’re gonna make. (leftovers.  seriously.) Dollop some black beans and salsa (and whatever other extras you like) in each cupcake.

green salsa tacos

Sprinkle some black olives and cheese on them.

Now press a second wonton into each cup, sealing in the first layer.  It doesn’t have to be pretty.

Make your second layer just like the first.  Black beans, salsa, extra fixins, black olives and cheese.

Pop those bad boys in the oven and bake for about 18 minutes.  You decide when they look crispy enough for ya.  Let them sit for about 5 minutes, then pop em out.  Use a butter knife to release the edges if they get stuck.

These are the red salsa ones…yummo.

We ate them with lemon-garlic asparagus, but a salad would rock it too.

Bless and Enjoy!

beverage pairing: Jargaritas. Seriously.

Katelin and Tanner- This Could Be The Wedding Every Girl Dreams About!


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Tanner and I grew up 20 miles apart from each other. We didn’t actually meet until we both moved to Omaha and I took a job at the same Best Buy in which he was working. He’s a bit shy, so it took a while for our friendship to start. I first knew he was interested in me when he came in during his night off, with a few buddies to “pick up” some things he had forgotten. I called him out on it later, by saying I knew he was bringing in his buddies to see what they thought about me. Shortly after that he asked me if I’d want to hang out after work some night, I told him I’d love to… but it would be kind of hard to get ahold of me if he didn’t have my number (which of course he never asked for).

Our relationship started slow, as neither of us was looking to settle down. We hung out a few nights watching movies and just getting to know each other a little more. I think it all changed the night of Halloween at a party at his place. We had such a great time together just laughing, dancing and playing drinking games. Even in a house full of guys, he was the only one I was drawn to. Toward the end of the night I made the move and went in for a kiss. After that night I knew he was someone I wanted to be with for the long haul. As cliché as it sounds, it was one of those you just know when you know kind of things. Two years later we moved into together. We just purchased a home together this year.

The thing I love most about him is how calm and laid back he always is. It also annoys me to no end, but I think it has the most to do with why we have made it so far. My family has always said it takes a special kind of man to put up with us hard-headed women and Tanner is an expert at dealing with my crazy. He just gets who I am without me having to explain, and that’s something I’ve never had in previous relationships. I like to think that I’m able to deal with his crazy as well, although mine seems to surface a bit more. We both have that small town upbringing which is important to us; we just complement each other very well. We make sure to do things that each of us enjoy as our interests are very different. We really just enjoy each other’s company, even if it just a lazy night on the couch catching up on our shows.

Tanner proposed to me on February 9th after a day of house searching. That weekend we were planning to spend the weekend at a friend’s place and were packing a bag together. He packed while I finished getting ready. As I was putting my last few items in our bag I opened the lid and found the engagement ring sitting in the opened box. I couldn’t believe it. I instantly started crying and jumped on him and hugged him. I couldn’t stop looking at how beautiful it was. I’m not sure he actually even asked me to marry him but it was evident that the answer was a yes. I later found out that he had the ring made and the center stone was from his mother’s ring. She passed away when he was in high school. I know how much she means to him and that just makes this ring so much more special. I know how much he really does love me just by knowing he wants me to have something of hers. When I asked him why now, he told me that it’s been wanting to do it for a long time and was trying to find the right way to ask. He knew I wouldn’t want something huge and elaborate, just a simple way. He said he knew I would want to share this with my closest friend and since we were heading there it was his perfect opportunity. He just knows me so well. We are really excited to start the next stage in our relationship.

tanner and i

Preparing for a wedding has been really stressful and we haven’t even really dug in yet. We decided we wanted to wait until we got moved into our new home before we started. But being a girl I couldn’t wait, so I’ve been looking in a few things. The most fun part to me has been picking out our colors and deciding what our wedding party will wear. We are doing an outdoor wedding and a little more casual than most. As fun as it was to put together a guest list, it’s got us both a little stressed. We have large families and this wedding is going to be a lot bigger than we expected. It will be about half our budget just to feed everyone! The expenses part has been stressful, but thankfully, with the help of some friends we have learned ways to cut costs anywhere available. The bridal fairs here in town are really helpful as well. You get to meet different vendors, caterers, photographer, dj’s, etc. all in one place. They have drawings for grand prizes which has helped us with some of our planning. After winning a prize for Tip Top Tux, it made the decision for us on where we are getting our groomsmen dressed.  The rest of the planning will be put on hold until we move. But the thing I’m looking forward to the most is the dress shopping and to spend that time with my mom and sisters.

Speaking of the Bridal Fair. While I was looking at different vendors that were there my friend talked me into signing up to be the next Billboard Bride. I was reluctant at first but she insisted. I joked with her that of all the things I signed up for, this would be the one thing I win. As luck would have it, I’m currently in the top ten. Voting starts this week to narrow us down to three. From there we will go through an interview process where they will choose the winner. I’m not exactly sure what all this responsibility entails, but what I do know is that I will be featured on the Billboards to promote the upcoming bridal fair in August. I will be on some other promotional materials as well as walking in the fashion show.

Becoming the next Billboard Bride did start out as mostly a joke to me. However, now that I’ve made the top ten I’m eager to win it. I think it would be an amazing experience and from what I hear from the past few brides they loved every minute of it. I would appreciate any help with voting I can get. To vote, you will go to Omaha Bridal Showcase Facebook page where they will post a voting link starting on Sunday, April 14th. Voting will run until Saturday, April 20th and you can vote once a day. A new link will be posted every morning during the contest at 8am.

tanner and meWritten by Katelin Samek

Better Get Cozy: Bachelor Weak (Pun Intended)


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When I search my memories, I remember being a bachelor. I remember it in a certain way though… Now that it’s been so long ago, I remember it in a “rose colored glasses” sort of way.  I remember not being particularly answerable to anyone, if I wanted to watch a particular show? I did it. If I wanted to play video games? I played until I felt like I was done. I did all of these things without having to be diplomatic or particularly responsible about it. I know that if I were a bachelor today this is not how it would work . I know this because  for 9 days at the end of march I lived like a bachelor. My wife was states away in Appleton, Wisconsin while I held down the fort in Fremont, NE.

At first the idea seemed keen. I love my wife dearly and would miss seeing her for that long but I had this idea in my head that since my attention would not be split I would have a focus seldom seen before. Without demands from an exterior sources I’d be productive, so productive in fact that I would have time to spare for… being… un… productive. (okay it wasn’t a GREAT idea but it was an idea I was very excited about) What I found out instead, however, was that I rely on my wife even more than I realized.. particularly when disaster strikes and, of course, it did.

I started out by simply leaving my things laying “wherever.” Who needs a prearranged location for things?! Well certainly not a bachelor! A bachelor can leave all of his stuff on the kitchen counter. Little did I know how much I would regret that.

I started to realize that some of that “extra time” that I thought I would have… would now be spent doing some of the chores that I usually could rely on Holly to manage. In fact the first several days I spent making sure I still had clean clothes, and clean cookware that I could use throughout the week. I spent my first couple of “free” days (the days that I do not have extreme after work responsibilities) getting used to the new load of household chores and got NOTHING additional accomplished.

coffeeBut all in all, no disasters, I was still doing well just not as well as I had expected. Then the coffee incident occurred. We use a cold filtering system to brew our coffee. Which means we let our coffee steep overnight in the grounds which allows for a sort of concentrated coffee. Well, my wife will tell you that I’m a recipe guy. If the recipe calls for an ingredient in a certain measurement then that’s what I use, no more, no less. Well I decided in this instance to live dangerously and ditch the recipe… with COFFEE. I surmised that I could add additional cups of water to be steeped as long as I let it steep longer. What I did not think about… was that you could fit more water in the brewing reservoir than you could in the basin…  I mean, why would they make one of these containers bigger than the other? It wouldn’t make any sense! Well… they do. When I got up the next day I uncorked the reservoir and let the coffee begin filtering down into the awaiting empty basin as I set out about my morning routine. While I managed my morning shower, tending to the dogs, and packing my bags for work; I was blissfully unaware that the coffee was slowly filling that basin to OVERFLOWING. Remember how I said I could put things on the kitchen counter cuz I was a bachelor?  The coffee did not care that I was a bachelor… the coffee demanded a ritual sacrifice! I discovered my folly as I was rapidly running out of time… now it was time to run out the door and I find myself mopping up coffee off the counter/floor/and all my foolishly out of place stuff. I did get out of the door and off to work on time… but suffice it to say that it threw off my entire morning, I certainly was not “early” to work. This could have happened if Holly were home but… it’s not likely. My wife worked as a barista for some time and she understands these things she could have immediately recognized the foolish nature of my gambit without much thought on the the matter.

2013-03-31_09-41-51_9Having learned a vital lesson I continued through the week doing things a little more normally. However when Holly is around I fall into a routine especially around bedtime and I tend to get to bed at a fairly regular hour, this was arrested during her absence. Jesse-fueled insomnia kicked in and I found myself staying up too late. When I do this the morning routine is effected. Which is how… I burnt oatmeal. Wait? Oatmeal? How do you burn oatmeal? it’s boiling water and oats?! You’re a recipe guy and you learned your lesson?! RIGHT?! Well I did get my ratio correct, but in an effort to save pans I usually  boil the water, reduce the heat, add the oats, and set a timer… being in sleep debt I… didn’t reduce the heat, added the oats, didn’t set the timer and took my cup of coffee into the living room to read my morning comic strips on the computer machine. That is until the smoke detectors sounded the alarm that clued me to the fact that I had in fact forgotten many things. A smoke filled kitchen and a pan full of burnt oatmeal later I learned that my routines also would need to stabilize if I were to survive this week without Holly.

2013-03-31_11-30-41_881Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all fumbles and missteps, I did enjoy the time to myself but my delusions of how much I’d do and how much I’d enjoy it were greatly exaggerated. I did like having access to a car that could take me where I wanted to go without worrying whether it would get me there and back (Holly gets the ‘reliable’ car most of the time). But driving a car that I only drive semi regularly I began to discover all the things I didn’t know about the car… like if you press too hard when turning on the dome light I actually shoved the entire switch into the dash? That was news to me! And the air vents can also pop out…. huh… I did not know that.

I got a few things done and I got a few little adventures in but what I remember most were the moments that I thought “Holly would know what to do here” or “Holly would have stopped me” or even just “I wish Holly were here”. So if you’ve been craving quiet moments to yourself and you’ve had delusions of how great those bachelor days were? I want to remind you…they were overrated.

I rediscovered that “for better or worse” is inaccurate.  Because the betters are better and even the worse? It’s better.  It’s cozier when you have that someone with you to share the journey and sometimes she helps right the ship.  So until next time, better get cozy; it could be a bumpy ride.

5 Family Scheduling Tips You Need


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512px-White_Wall_ClockIt’s that time of year, again, when my family must make serious schedule adjustments. Our local farmers markets open the first weekend in May. I have 3-1/2 weeks to blend (like a mad woman), package, and get everything (read: everyone) ready. The first month is always a challenge. Getting up when the owls are still hooting isn’t my favorite thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love owls — just not at 4:15 a.m. on a Saturday. After several years of this, you’d think I’d be used to it. Not true.

My husband will take the lead role: primary care-giver. I’ll leave before anyone is awake, return in the afternoon, and fall asleep by around 6 p.m.  Then, on Sunday, I’ll wake up and do it all again — a little later — more like 5:00 a.m. (That’s actually not so bad.) Yep, the first month is tough. Our children, accustomed to mom’s rules and ways of the world, have to learn dad’s rules — which are a little different. Not bad, just different, and not in areas that truly matter (bedtime, bathing, etc.).

I’ve written about this before: I don’t want to know everything they do in my absence. That might make me crazy. Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt. I’m okay with that.

Here are 5 tips for those of you experiencing “the changing of the guard”:

  1. Communicate the change, with the children, several weeks ahead. Not everyday. Here and there, make sure they know what’s coming.
  2. Stock the pantry with healthful snack options. Trust me, this will make you feel better. It’ll also help your partner.
  3. Ensure that there are “easy meals” ready to go if your spouse isn’t a cook. (Mac-n-cheese, ravioli, spaghetti … you get the idea.)
  4. You’re not in charge when the guard changes. Allow your partner to take the lead.
  5. A wall calendar is your friend! Color code appointments based on each family member. This is a great tool any time, and especially when your partner needs to take the reins. A quick glance let’s everyone know who has to attend a birthday party or some other appointment. It reduces frustration and conflict.

Do you have other tips? Share them in the comments!

Kori is a blogger at Kori Miller Writes and Back Porch Writer. She hosts a radio show on Blog Talk Radio, each Tuesday, at 9:30 a.m. CST.

50 Shades of Excitement- An Honest Book Review


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I read for pleasure and as you may have guessed I also write for pleasure.  My best friend handed me a set of books recently and told me they were a must read.  I had heard of the novels but never thought the content would be worth reading.  So when I picked up Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James I turned 50 shades of red within the first few chapters despite which I was compelled to read on.

Bondage really?!  I think I was taught handcuffs and whips were a sin?  Maybe that was chains and flogs or was it fish net pantyhose?  I am not sure what I was taught because my parents never made comment about that area of their lives.  Much like my children would never know these little books sparked my curiosity.  It is completely the business of the reader.

As I was partaking in these sinful little novels I proclaimed they sucked!  Every word every page and eventually I said every book.  However I did finish all them all and I found myself searching for related novels.  So was I really as disgusted as a spoke or was I just worried that someone would find me barbaric?

If I were to be completely honest with myself I would find that I enjoyed them. Not because they were a piece of literary genius but because they were entertaining. Sometimes it’s worth a million bucks just to mindlessly entertained for a couple of hours.  They didn’t hurt my love life either,  I found that I needed a notebook for ideas.

My mind began to wonder about which hot movie actor would play a good Christian Grey, as all good Vampire Diaries fans would probably agree it would have to Ian Somerhalder for sure!   I do not have an opinion on Anastasia, just please I hope they don’t use Kristen Stewart.

I must say the only thing that really bothered me about the books is the controlling undertones to the point of abuse, but that is the therapist in me not the romance novelist!

Scale 0-5

Romance Rating- 3, some of the subject matter got in the way of romance

Erotica Rating- 4, not quite as bad as some of the other books out there

Mystery- 2, had some but I like a little more

Thrill- 2, again had some but I definitely like more

These are the books that compare to the level of naughtiness.

Scale 0-5

  1. Twilight
  2. Stieg      Larson- The Dragon Tattoo series
  3. Sookie      Stackhouse- Trueblood
  4. Fifty      Shades of Grey
  5. Sleeping      Beauty Series- Anne Rice/Anne Roquelaure

Written by Rachel Sorensen

In keeping with Stereotypes…

My recipe this month is totally a copout.  It’s St Patty’s Day.  I may or may not have been drinking homemade irish cream already.

So you get drink recipes.  Since the Irish drink and fight, right?

Stout Ice Cream Float

A couple scoops of vanilla or chocolate ice cream in a pint glass with your favorite dark brew poured over top.  Pour slowly! It fizzes mightily!2013-03-17_17-14-04_493

Baby Guinness

Fill a shot glass 3/4 full of kahlua or another coffee liqueur.  Float a bit of irish cream on top.  (floating ain’t easy.  It helps to slowly pour the irish cream over a spoon into the shooter with a veeeerrrrryyyy steady hand.)

Irish Margarita

Use irish whiskey (we like Bushmills or Jameson, Tullemore Dew is nice too) in place of tequila in your favorite margarita recipe.  

Irish Mule

Like a Moscow Mule, but with Jameson.  Plenty of kick.

The nastily named Irish Boilermaker

Fill a pint with your favorite Irish Stout.  If yer gonna do it, do the full pint.  Pour a shot, half Irish Whiskey, half Irish Cream.  Drop the shot in the pint and chug.  Give yourself a few minutes before your next drink.  No, really.  Have some water.

Now to complete the stereotype, go punch someone who’s drinking a green beer.  Bud Light? Really? They were kinda asking for it.  

*ducks, runs into the nearest pub*

Sláinte Mhaith!