Sunday, March 30, 2008

30-Something and Lovin' It!

A friend of mine just turned 30 this past Saturday and she wasn't exactly excited. So...this is for all my young friends out there turning 30 and dreading it. Girls, I don't get it. I was standing in line at my favorite store, Walmart, and saw a young actress on the front of a magazine and the headline was "When I turned 25 I had a quarterlife crisis." Huh? Is 25 considered old now? I looked forward to turning 30. Am I the only one? I was so foolish in my 20's that I saw 30 as a brand new start. I felt like I was finally a woman and not a girl. I felt mature for the first time. I felt like I finally knew something about life and the world we live in. Here are just a few things I've learned since turning 30.

1. People take me more seriously now that I'm 30.

2. I have been through enough to find out who my real friends are and now I can be pretty sure my friends are for life.

3. I have finished the "trial and error" twenties and now I know more about what I want and how to get it. I'm still dreaming but now I'm also doing.

4. I have experienced enough loss and heartache to appreciate life more and not take so much for granted.

5. I'm still cool but I no longer care whether or not other people think I am cool. :) And I'm still young but not near as stupid as I was.

6. I'm more certain of myself and less certain of myself. I'm more confident in some areas and some things I spoke so confidently of in my 20's I have since been humbled about which has been a good thing.

7. One of my mentors once told me that the longer you live, the more you trust God because you've seen him come through again and again and again. I think this is probably true. It seems to be so in their lives. Think about those older women you respect and admire. Is this true of them?

8. In Jewish writings, 30 is considered to be the age "worthy of leadership". The bible tells us specifically that Joseph was 30 years old when he entered Pharaoh's service and it is estimated that Jesus himself started his ministry at age 30. I figure if it's the best age for Jesus, maybe it's the best age, period. My older friend Nancy has a theory that we are all 30 in heaven because she says it is the perfect age.

Anyway ladies...I have to say that I didn't have children when I was 30 so maybe it was different. I did celebrate in style though. My wonderful husband arranged for some of my friends to surprise me. We rode around Nashville in a limo, visited some hot spots, I rode on the back of a Harley with a stranger, and I wore a tiara and a big pink boa the entire night. We spent the night in a hotel suite where my husband had 30 roses waiting.

It was a blast so I recommend fully embracing your 30's. I plan to for the 2 1/2 years I have left before 40. I'll have to get back to you on that one. I plan to celebrate even bigger for SURE! Any word on turning 40 from some of my more experienced friends out there?

Finally I'll leave you with this funny quote I found.

Turning 30 by Andy Rooney
This is a partial excerpt written by Andy Rooney from CBS 60 Minutes

Andy Rooney says: As I grow in age, I value women who are over 30 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 30 will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask, "What are you thinking?". She doesn't care what you think.

If a woman over 30 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do. And, it's usually something more interesting.

A woman over 30 knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants and from whom. Few women past the age of 30 give a damn what you might think about her or what she's doing.

Women over 30 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you, if they think they can get away with it.

A woman over 30 has the self-assurance to introduce you to her women friends. A younger woman with a man will often ignore even her best friend because she doesn't trust the guy with other women. Women over 30 couldn't care less if you're attracted to her friends because she knows her friends won't betray her.

Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 30 is far sexier than her younger counterpart.

Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk if you are acting like one! You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

So let' hear it from my 30+ friends out there! What have you learned?

Back From The Beach And Needing Motivation

Well, we are back from the beach. It was pretty chilly except for two days where we actually got a little bit of sun. We had a great Easter with my mom and the girls and a good time overall except for one thing...putting on that bathing suit. Every year it's the same thing when I unveil the pasty whiteness. I'm disgusted. This year is particularly bad because I could only fit into one pair of shorts that I own and they were tight. My fat jeans are tight for crying out loud. Now, this is not me saying I'm a big fat whale. This is me saying I either have to lose weight or buy a new summer wardrobe. And I will NOT buy a new summer wardrobe.

I wrote an earlier post about an episode of PRIMETIME where some people lost weight because otherwise they faced the threat of their spandex photos being shown on national television. Jeff and I came up with a credible threat of our own and I lost the weight last year. I kept it off for about 3 months only to go on a couple of great vacations in the summer and send myself spiraling back into tight jeans. I also recently wrote a post on gluttony and while I have been less of a glutton on most days (not including of course my vacation on the beach...why is this always my excuse?), it hasn't been enough to lose weight.

So I was pondering this as Jeff and I walked down St. George Street in St. Augustine and Jeff had a great idea! What if this time, he could offer a credible reward? I couldn't imagine something he could offer that wouldn't be something I could give myself or be cost prohibitive. But he did! Now just to make it more fun I'm going to keep my reward a secret until I receive it but it's goooooood. So I have my motivation and I'm ready to go. I started yesterday with Slim Fast. Slim Fast is hard to do but it's very clear cut and I'm hoping to do it for two weeks in order to jump start the process. I'm going to have to really exercise this time as all my previous weight plus five extra pounds came back. I have eight weeks to undo as much damage as possible in order to get my reward. I do wish it was as easy to develop good eating habits as it is to go back to bad ones. I wish it was as easy to exercise as it is to stop. I wish broccoli tasted like chocolate cake. I wish, I wish, I wish.

Anyway, I'd love for you to share two things:

1. Your best diet/exercise tip for getting started and staying motivated.
2. Any scripture or quote that is inspiring and motivating towards this goal.

Please don't try to give me any of your leftover easter candy. Don't invite me to chik-fil-a for the next eight weeks. And if you catch me consuming a Starbucks peppermint mocha...feel free to give me that "look". Let me know if you have a weight loss goal in mind yourself. Memorial day weekend is eight weeks from now. Anyone want to join me on this quest?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Antics

Well, another Easter has come and gone and it was definitely not without some antics. It all started on Saturday night. Before putting the girls to bed we had them sit their Easter baskets out so the bunny could fill them up. They went to bed with visions of chocolate eggs and marshmallow peeps dancing in their heads. After a night of March Madness, I was the last one up. A little after midnight, Jeff popped into the den and said, "We forgot to do the Easter baskets! Where's the stuff?" I thought of the near tragedy of the girls waking up and coming to the living room only to find empty baskets, the joy of the Easter bunny ended at the tender ages of 4 and 2. I'd like to say I forgot about the baskets because I was deeply meditating on the true meaning of Easter but the truth is that I have submitted for a couple of days now to the March Madness and after everyone else was asleep I sat down in the TV room with my computer and some headphones and finally caught up on LOST. This is what I was meditating on well into the night. Thankfully, Jeff was jolted out of a deep sleep with the reminder of the morning to come. I had to wake my mother to find out where the chocolate was. I had enlisted her help for the chocolate portion so that we could avoid melting on the way down to Florida. I suffered this tragedy as a child. My sister and I took our baskets to church when I was 5 or 6 so we could take them to Grandmother's with us and when we came back out to the car, those hollow bunnies with candy eyes were nothing but an inedible mess that coated everything in the baskets.

Anyway, we filled the baskets and went to bed and all was good and right in the world. The girls slept through the night and woke up cheerful and sweet. They enjoyed digging through their baskets, eating jelly beans for breakfast, and hunting for the eggs that the Easter bunny "hid" around the room in the most obvious of places.

Amazingly we were all up early enough to make it to the sunrise service on the beach. We dressed in sweats, packed up some blankets, poured some coffee and headed out. In St. Augustine you can drive onto the beach. It was a very well organized event. There were hundreds of people and the cars were directed by volunteers with orange lights to perfect rows on the wide beach. There was no wind and it was the warmest Easter morning I can remember in a long time. The service was wonderful, the sky was beautiful, and I was reminded of the significance in scripture of the sun and the son rising in the east....I was also reminded that the tide was coming in and our van was parked precariously close to the edge. Jeff ran back to move the van and was able to move it right next to an exit, much closer to where we were sitting. So when the service ended, we were one of the first ones off the beach and one of the first ones to arrive at The Oasis for breakfast. The Oasis is a great little bar/restaurant just off the beach that has great cheeseburgers. This was my first time to eat breakfast there. We weren't quite quick enough to get a table downstairs in the restaurant area so we ended up sitting upstairs at the bar. Yes, I had my two young children sitting on barstools at 8:00am on Easter morning. We were served breakfast by the bartender. Do you have visions of "Sweet Home Alabama"? It wasn't as bad as it sounds I swear. We had a great breakfast and a great morning all the way around. Basically, for the first half of the day we were batting a thousand. Our plans were to hang out back at the house until 2:00pm when we would take the girls to the clubhouse for a big Easter Egg Hunt.

That's where we had our first strikeout. We got all gussied up in our Walmart dresses (yep, Walmart) and emptied the Easter baskets so the girls could fill them up at the big hunt. When we got to the clubhouse we realized something wasn't quite right. There was a curious surplus of older people eating a quiet meal and a curious lack of screaming young children scrambling for eggs. Turns out, the big event was on Good Friday. Suddenly, my heart started pounding as I had visions of two small girls in pink dresses with empty baskets being drug kicking and screaming back to the house. Thankfully, the manager had a box of about 20 leftover eggs. I assume these were the eggs that were hidden a little too well and were left on the lawn to be discovered over the next couple of days. She let the girls grab them up and they were left thinking this was the easiest egg hunt in the history of the world. We played on the playground for a few minutes, and then headed to the cheesy beach shop to buy Big Sister some flip flops. So I'm thinking, "Wow, we spent an hour getting everybody dressed up and hair fixed just right to go buy flip flops at WINGS." Anyway, everyone was happy in the end. We had a great Honey Baked Ham for dinner, a great visit with some friends, and went to bed early.

With all the fun and craziness that comes with two little girls and any imaginary holiday character I think they are starting to get what it's all about. We did the Resurrection Eggs with them a couple of times at home and by the time we got to Florida, Annie was able to go through them with my mom and tell her the whole Easter story. The sunrise service was my favorite part of the day. There's something about that very literal sun rising that stirs your soul to the meaning of the literal SON rising. The sun rising in the east is such a significant picture all through scripture so I will leave you with Ezekiel 43:1-5 because it perfectly describes those moments on the beach with my family.

1 Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, 2 and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory. 3 The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he [a] came to destroy the city and like the visions I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown. 4 The glory of the LORD entered the temple through the gate facing east. 5 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Kids say funny stuff all the time. I try to write the really memorable ones down in a journal for my girls but today just took the cake. Big Sister said so many funny things in the span of two hours my cheeks hurt from smiling. But first you need some background.

This past week we were riding in the van and listening to a kid's praise CD. We were listening to a song that went:
We fall down, we lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus
The greatness of mercy and love at the feet of Jesus
And we cry holy, holy, holy
We cry holy, holy, holy
We cry holy, holy, holy, is the Lamb
Okay, now if you read my earlier blog on forgetting lyrics you know I'm no expert but Big Sister heard me singing loudly and corrected me by saying, "No mom! It's hony, hony, hony." Yes, with an N. I tried to argue with her but she wasn't having it and all week she's been singing hony, hony, hony. Another thing that happened this week is that she's learning the ten commandments at school. This week she learned Don't commit adultery. So naturally, I asked her, "What does that mean?" Her answer, "It means that when a mommy and daddy are married that they always stay together and love each other and don't go apart." Well, I guess that was right in a sense...right for a 4 year old anyway. That brings me to today.

Today I took Big Sister to see The Music Man at The Coach's school. In the earlier part of the show, the main character, Marion, and her mother have a little spat. Big Sister looked at me and loudly whispered, "They are talking mad like me and you in the car when I said hony, hony, hony and you said holy, holy, holy. Remember when we were talking mad at each other?" Obviously, her perception of arguing is "talking mad". No comment. Anyway, at one point, I don't even know what they said on stage but she leaned over and said, "Did he say crap? I think he said crap." I didn't even know she knew the word crap. Later in the show when Harold Hill and Marion the Librarian met at the footbridge, Marion had changed into a white dress. Big Sister, in her loud whisper again, said, "Look! They're getting married!" About a minute later, when they parted ways, she exclaimed, "No! They can't go apart! That is adultery momma!" I mean, what do you do? I stifled a laugh and said, "SHHHH! It's okay." All throughout the show she initiated all the applause for each number, horse-laughed whenever something funny happened, and at the end turned to me with a head tilt and big smile and said, "I just LOVE happy endings." I just wanted to squeeze her. At the end of the show she wanted to go up front and tell all the actors hello, so I walked her up to the front. The actors were gathering on stage for some pictures. She was in awe of them and they were all very sweet to her. As we left the auditorium she said, "Mom, they all thought I was SOOOOO cute." I know, I have my work cut out for me, but attending the musical with her was such an experience and I can't wait to take her to another one.

On the way home, I asked her what her favorite part was. She said, "When they got married. And I know what your favorite part was mom. The kissing part. Because you and daddy kiss all the time." I just agreed. After all, there's no "talking mad" with her. And I think it's pretty great that she thinks momma and daddy are kissing all the time. As for the rest of it, I have no idea where she gets it. :)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Running the Race

I ran today. A little. (Right now my sister Holly is picking herself up off the floor) I hate to run. I don't know what it is. When I run, all I can think about is when I can stop. A couple of years ago my sister Holly and my mom decided to come to Nashville and run the Music City Half Marathon. Holly called me one night all excited with a BRILLIANT idea. "Music city marathon...blah, blah, blah...thought it would be great if we ran as a family." My response? "Hell no. Holly, I don't even want to run down to the mailbox much less a half marathon." I know that's not very christian but that is exactly what I said. I know her. She envisioned us all running side by side, wearing matching T-shirts, smiling ear to ear the whole way, and crossing the finish line with hands clasped together and held high while everyone took pictures. I envisioned getting 3/10 of a mile into it and desperately needing a port-a-potty. I envisioned the effort it would take to figure out ahead of time where all the water stands would be because heaven knows...I would be visiting all of them. I envisioned me humiliating myself and wanting to DIE. was just so beautiful it made me want to run. A little.

My dad loves to exercise but he doesn't like to run either. Years ago, when he was the Georgia state director for FCA, they asked him to run in the Peachtree Road Race. Thousands of people run in the race every year. Somehow he way underestimated the whole miles/kilometers conversion and thought he could just show up and run. Well, just as I envisioned, he had to stop at every water stand along the way.

There were all kinds of people running the race. One guy ran in a tuxedo. To my dad's utter humiliation, about halfway through the race, two people in full-blown chicken costumes blew past him. But of all the people running the race, it was clear that those who were interested in running well and even winning weren't wearing tuxedos or chicken outfits. They had stripped themselves of anything that might hinder them from running their best.

I can't help but think of Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us
throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let
us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
The word that is translated as "everything that hinders" literally means a mass or weight. It was a word used to describe how an athlete would ready himself for action by removing excess weight or even excess clothing. Notice the verse says, "everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles..." These weights may not be sins. There's nothing wrong with tuxedos and chicken suits...but they aren't made for running. What are the weights that you may be carrying that may hinder you from running the race marked out for you? Too many commitments to too many things? Preconceived ideas? A relationship? Guilt? Unforgiveness?

Greg LaMond, two time Tour de France winner was once interviewed about his training and was asked whether or not he lifted weights with his upper body. He said no because he didn't want any more weight on his body than was absolutely necessary to pump his bicycle at the level he wanted. He said that if he got on the scale in the morning and was one pound over the weight he knew he needed to be, he was horrified until he lost the pound. If only we could look at our own hearts and feel horrified over the extra weights we are carrying. If only we were so concerned about removing the things that hinder our relationship with Christ.

One last note, Greg LaMond said that he usually wouldn't notice the extra weight...until he reached the mountains.

Savory Breakfast

I recently discovered a blog called Foodmayhem. It's all things food so how could you not love it. The blog is written by a group mostly out of New York City. Each posting has a picture of the food they're blogging about. Sometimes it comes from a restaurant, sometimes a store, sometimes from their own kitchen. Anyway, I saw something I had to share. It may sound gross to some but it is my new favorite breakfast. Basically all you do is prepare one package of regular oatmeal and top it off with a fried egg and lots of salt and pepper. That's it! It's full of protein and fiber and I love it because I often crave something savory for breakfast instead of sweet. The runny yolk getting all over the oatmeal is so yummy. Anyway, if you want to see a picture (I didn't take a picture of mine this morning) go here. Enjoy! Let me know if you decide to try it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

My Other Blog

I started a separate blog for my TV commentary. Yes, my guilty pleasure. Today I wrote about Oprah's Big Give. If your interested, you can find it at Any other TV addicts out there?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Let it Snow!

Well we didn’t have quite the snow I was hoping for. Strangely, others in our small town got several inches while I’d say we had less than one. I got all the basic needs for our big snow in…you know, bread, milk, frozen pizza, chili fixins, and cookie dough. But without the snow it just wasn’t quite the same. I just felt full and fat.

But whenever I see snow I am always in awe of how beautiful it makes everything. It evens things out. The suburban neighborhood, the big city, the country farm, the ghetto, they all look the same under a solid blanket of purest white snow. That must be why God says in Isaiah 1:18 Though your sins were as scarlet, they shall be white as snow. It’s easy to picture when you have seen the pure white snow cover over the ugly, broken things of the world.

But what’s even better is that our sin isn’t just covered, it will actually be removed. John 1:29 tells us that when John the Baptist saw Jesus coming he said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” Psalm 103:12 says, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” The Bible and the language don’t really make a distinction between our sin being covered and our sin being removed because they both accomplish the same thing…our salvation, our adoption as sons and daughters, our ability to come into the presence of a perfectly holy God. But somehow the idea of it being removed is an amazing thought to me. I can’t imagine what it’s like to actually have sin not be a part of me at all.

I remember a tract I saw as a young girl. It showed a young man standing before the throne and a movie screen showing his entire life. Of course there was much remorse over all of the things he thought no one saw, all the sin in his life. Even his thoughts were there for all to see in little bubbles over his head. I remember trembling in fear at the thought of having everything I ever did played out on the big screen. Well, I don’t know what heaven will be like, but I know it won’t be like that. Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” If there is a movie screen when we get there, the only life we will see is the life of Christ. Praise God and let it snow, let it snow, LET IT SNOW!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

What I Want to Be When I Grow Up

When I think about going back to work someday, it makes my head spin. There are so many things I wish I could do. Oh, if only I could do college over again. How is anyone supposed to know what they want to be when they're only 17? I was an elementary school teacher before I stayed home with the girls. I loved my job but when I think about going back and I think about all those doesn't have the same appeal.

I do have a secret desire to work at Walmart. Yep, Walmart. I don't understand why some people get so negative about the super store thing. I think it's SUPER! I love the idea of wearing jeans and a t-shirt to work. There's something so tempting about swiping each item across the scanner and hearing that beep that let's you know it registered. (C'mon, you know yo were just as excited as me to try out a self checkout lane for the first time) I am in awe of the cashiers who seem to know exactly where the bar code is on each item and who know the PLU's for all the produce. I love the challenge of bagging the items in the right combinations. I always try to line things up on the conveyor belt in the right groupings. I mean, how frustrating to be scanning cans and suddenly have socks come across the way? And I especially love the idea that I'd never have to stop anywhere on my way home from work to pick something up because...that's right...I'm already there.

My favorite thing about Walmart? It's the great equalizer. All kinds go there. Just the other day I stood in line behind a big guy, dressed in all black, long black hair with the sides shaved, blue contact lenses, chains and piercings everywhere. Turns out he has a four year old daughter who acts just like mine. Nice guy. It's a true melting pot, young, old, rich, poor, and every color, shape and background.

When I was in college I went on a mission trip with Campus Crusade to Santa Cruz, CA. We could choose from several different jobs and I was tempted to work the fryers in the fast food restaurants, seriously. But I was able to fulfill another lifelong dream...ride operator at the boardwalk. I got to take the tickets, check the safety bars and make sure they locked into place, turn the key, and push the button. And occasionally, just for fun, I'd give a free extra ride on a slow day. One ride I really enjoyed was the haunted house. I typically hate haunted houses but this one wasn't very scary and the most fun part was the job of walking the catwalk. It was a ride-through haunted house and from the catwalk you could look down on the whole maze of the house. Basically, you watched for people getting out of their cars, spitting, or vandalizing. It was so satisfying to shine a flashlight on the offender and holler down for them to stop what they were doing. It always scared them to death and they couldn't ever see where you were. It was so loud in there I could sing at the top of my lungs and no one could hear me. I would do calf raises, lunges, and other standing exercises on occasion.

I don't know what it is about these jobs. I wouldn't want to do them forever, just until it wasn't fun anymore. Maybe it's a curiosity about how things work behind the scenes. I'd also like to work at a movie theater, Disney World, the Opryland Hotel, a spa, a tanning salon. Can't you see the benfits? Maybe it's about what I can get on an employee discount. Don't think I'm not tempted by the new Barnes & Noble. So please share, what job do you secretly desire to do?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

To Consign or Not To Consign

That was the question. After pulling everything out of the bins and checking it over I have decided it's just not worth it for me. Here's why:

1. Big Sister was VERY neat. I never had to put a bib on her. She ate her peas with pointer finger and thumb one at a time. Big Sister still cries if she gets wet or messy. As a baby, I would sit her on the grass and she would try to balance on her bottom while holding both feet in the air so as to not touch the grass. Little Sister, who wore all the clothes the second time around is the polar opposite. A bib is useless because Little Sister still manages to get food from head to toe. I should either feed her naked or just put an entire jumper on her to cover her clothes. Not to mention what that girl could do to a diaper. The work that would be required to remove each stain on the clothes that no longer fit is just not worth it. The cost of Shout! and Bleach Pens alone would probably put me in the hole.

2. I have a neighbor about to have her first child...A GIRL! The few items (and I do mean few) that are in decent shape would be perfect to pass on to her.

3. This is a big one for me. Do you know what you can list as fair market value on your clothing items donated to Good Will on your taxes? Just a sample: Children’s Clothing Dresses $1-$3, Pants $1-$5, Shirts $1-$5, Outerwear $3-$8, Sweaters $1-$5, Infant Clothing $0.50-$2, Shoes $1-$6. The value you can list on furniture and adult clothing is even more worth it. If you want to know more, click here. And get this...they don't check for near invisible stains.

4. Most of the clothing my kids wear comes from Target, Old Navy, or Walmart. So needless to say, I'd be pricing most of the stuff at the listed tax values anyway.

So you can clearly see the amount of time I would spend dealing with consigning just might not be worth it for the few dollars I might make in hand. Call it denial, call it justification of laziness, I call it being a good steward of my time. Not everyone is in the same boat, some of you actually love this consigning stuff. I've been procrasting for days and trying to find good reasons to stay out of the laundry room and am finally satisfied that I can take a nap instead. Ahhhhhh.....

Favorite Meals

I just wanted to share one of our favorite meals that is SUPER easy and delicious! I am a bit of a fish snob. I usually don't like it much unless it's fresh. However, I have found a great frozen product at SAM'S CLUB. It is Blackened, Seasoned Atlantic Salmon Fillets by C. Wirthy & Co. Each fillet is individually packaged. You just pull out what you need and thaw it in the package for about 30 minutes in a bowl of cold water. I just remove from package, drizzle a little olive oil on each side, and cook on the stovetop in my grill pan about 5 minutes on each side and WALLAH! It's that easy. It's not "fishy" like a lot of other frozen fish. With it we usually have another one of our favorite products from the local Super Walmart. Mann's Ready, Set, Steam vegetables. It comes in Stir Fry, Garden Herb, or Brocolli with Cheese Sauce. You just peel off the sauce packet, put the package in the microwave on high for 3 minutes, peel off the top of the package, add sauce, stir and WALLAH! Delicious vegetable in 3 minutes! I also usually make 10 minute brown rice to go with it. So you can put together a great, healthy meal in less than 15 minutes if you don't count the thawing time. Look out Rachel Ray! 30 minute meals HAH!