Kris Mares

Just a woman trying to love Jesus and others a little bit more…

A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband – Part 3 August 10, 2015

Filed under: A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband — Kris @ 5:15 pm
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I picked up this fun little story/cookbook again.

1000 Ways0001

I still love the idea of it and the history behind it. And since Racer and I have a goal to invite people over for dinner more often, it’s a fun project to start again!

Intro Post

Part 1

Part 2

“Let’s have someone over for dinner!”

“Sounds like a great idea!”

I invited a colleague and his wife over for dinner and Girlie and I set about the preparations.

“Mommy, what did you like to cook most with Grandma?” “Ummmmm… this tastes good!” “What’s a white sauce?”

The dinner prep was done and extra ground beef was ready for later in the week. Everything was made from scratch! All that was left was prepping dessert and getting the table ready. Of course a little Candyland and vacuuming were also in the mix!

The table was set with the good dishes (can you even have those with kids around?). And we were ready for our guests!

It’s an interesting thing to serve guests something you’ve never made before. They asked what they could bring and I replied “Grace for untested recipes and good Scrabble words!” They brought both. The conversation was good, the kids we relatively well-behaved and food was decent. The Scrabble game was fun too! It’s nice to just hang out with friends. We tried not to “talk shop” but it happens. But good conversation is good for the soul.

Best comment of the night happened after our guests left. Racer says. “I like him. He wears socks with his sandals!”

Menu: Boubons (like a mini meatloaf) with tomato sauce, Potatoes Anna (like scalloped potatoes with hard-boiled egg mixed in), Stuffed Green Peppers (my first time making them), Baked Cottage Pudding with Lemon Sauce (like a cake with lemon drizzle)


That’s Why God is Good August 3, 2015

Filed under: Marriage — Kris @ 7:34 am
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Marriage is hard.  God is good.

This year, Racer and I celebrated 10 years of marriage and hard work. It’s been a lot of hard work. We both brought luggage into our relationship. His parents divorced when he was young. I had been married and divorced. He had expectations. I had expectation. Our premarital counseling was minimal. We did read a great book together (and I highly recommend it to anyone considering a second marriage), but we were pretty ill-equipped for this journey together.

That’s why God is good.

I have not always been a good wife. I still have bad days when I rant and rave and want my way. But over the last 10 years I’ve learned that God brought me a good life partner. Racer is a good match for me. Even though we are very different (in a LOT of ways), he balances me and challenges me and loves me when I act unlovable.

That’s why God is good.

Over the years, I’ve prayed for my husband a lot. Friends have prayed for my husband. I’ve prayed for him to change, to be different, to do things different, to have a different vocation – basically I’ve prayed for God to change him into something he’s not. In the process, God changed me. That’s the funny thing about prayer. If we are really listening for God’s direction, it’s often us that gets changed in the process. I’m a much better wife now than I was in the earlier years of our marriage.

That’s why God is good.

The main thing we have going for us, is that we are trying to keep the main thing the main thing. For Racer and I, keeping God in the center of our marriage and family life is the main thing. God, marriage, family, vocation. Those are our priorities and in that order. We have to have an ear to God’s calling for us. We have to have a solid relationship to stand as a solid foundation for our family and vocations. In this season of life, we are busy with kids and work and stuff. But we have committed to having a date night – out of the house and it can’t include groceries or Wal-Mart – once a month. Sometimes it’s late at night, but we need that time together. Being intentional about our committment to each other is keeping us strong together.

That’s why God is good.


A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband – Part 2 June 9, 2011

Filed under: A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband — Kris @ 11:32 am
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“Daddy’s home!” I said as soon as I saw the Thunderbird pull into the driveway.  “Go wash up and get ready for dinner.” As soon as Racer came in the door, he was pounced on by four of the children.

“Dinner’s ready, so let’s sit down.”

“Steaks!” exclaimed Racer.

“I’m just glad it’s something I really like” said Blue.

“What’s for dessert?” asked Professor.

We prayed and everyone started to eat and share conversation. I explained to Racer how I had been to Aldi and Food Lion earlier in the day and was able to stay under the grocery budget for this week. Getting what I can at Aldi and then shopping the sale and “red tag” meat at Food Lion allows me to keep a low grocery bill and still have steaks on occasion. “But don’t get used to having steak too often, because they aren’t always cheap! And, remember that dinner tonight needs to be your lunch tomorrow” I warned Racer.

After the main meal was finished, we got out the dessert – strawberry shortcake! The whole meal was a hit.

Here was our menu: pan-fried steak, red potatoes in cream, peas, lettuce salad and strawberry shortcake.

Bettina’s Recipes with Kris’s Flair (and portion needs)

Pan-fried steak(6 portions)

  • butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 3lbs steak (whatever can be found on sale)

Melt a little butter in a skillet (I love my cast iron skillet) over high heat. Place a steak in the pan for a short time on each side (to sear it) then cook it to desired doneness. After each steak is cooked, place it in a warming dish and keep it in the oven on 200 degrees. Each steak can be seasoned (after pan-frying) with salt, pepper and small bits of butter. Remove dish from oven and serve steaks hot!

Red Potatoes with Cream

  • 6-8 red potatoes
  • 10 oz. container of Philadelphia cooking cream
  • water
  • pan and drippings used for steaks
  • parsley

Peel and half potatoes. Cook in boiling water until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain off the water and shake the pot to make the potatoes mealy. In the pan used to cook steaks, mix the cooking cream with the meat drippings. Add water as needed to make the sauce the desired consistency. Pour the sauce over the potatoes. Sprinkle with parsley (I used dried, but fresh would be nice).

Strawberry Shortcake

  • 6T shortening
  • 6c flour (I use a mix of white and whole wheat)
  • 2c milk
  • 1t salt
  • 3T baking powder
  • 3qt strawberries
  • 2c sugar

Cut the fat into the flour, salt and baking powder until the consistency of cornmeal. Gradually add the milk, using a fork to mix. Do not handle any more than absolutely necessary.  Toss the dough upon a floured surface. Flour your hands and divide the dough in half. Shape each half and place it into a round pie pan. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Cut shortcake into pie wedges. Serve by splitting each piece through the center and placing strawberries (crushed and sugared) over top. Whipped cream is optional!


A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband – Part 1 May 22, 2011

Filed under: A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband — Kris @ 5:27 pm
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“What’s for lunch?” asked everyone after church had let out. Usually, on the rare Sundays that Racer is home, we debate whether to go out to eat, or to just cook at home.

“I’ve got it all figured out. Lunch should be ready quickly, so Blue go right in and set the table. Professor and Girlie, you two put play clothes on and then come down and help.”

I had made oatmeal and flaxseed muffins the night before – along with some strawberry preserves – and the rest of the meal shouldn’t take too long. Girlie even helped with toasting the bread!

As we ate, everyone tried everything. Blue enjoyed the preserves and all agreed they’d be great on pancakes! Racer and Professor both agreed that the Creamed Tuna would be better next time without “the red things.” The biggest hit on this warm May afternoon? The hot chocolate!

Here was our menu: Creamed Tuna on Toast, canned peas, muffins with preserves, hot chocolate with marshmallows.

Bettina’s Recipes with Kris’s Flair (and portion needs)

Creamed Tuna on Toast (6 portions)

  • 3T butter
  • 3T flour (I was out and used mexican corn meal/flour)
  • 3/4t salt
  • 1 small jar pimento (drained)
  • 3c milk
  • 9 slices of toasted bread
  • 3 cans tuna

Melt the butter over medium heat, add the flour, salt and pimento. Mix well. Gradually pour in the milk. Allow the mixture to boil one minute. Stir constantly. Add the tuna, cook one minute. Place one layer of toast in a 9×9 glass pan and spoon some of the creamed tuna mixture over it. Continue layering toast/mixture until toast is gone, putting the last of the tuna mixture on the top.

Hot Chocolate

  • 3 squares of semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 3T sugar
  • 2c water
  • 6c milk
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • marshmallows

Cook chocolate, sugar and water until fully melted and combined. Stir frequently using a whisk. Add milk gradually and bring to a boil. Whisk frequently. Add vanilla. Allow to stand a moment. Pour into cups and add marshmallows to each cup.

Strawberry Preserves

The recipe I used included only berries, sugar and water. It turned out yummy, but pretty runny. I’ll work on this again and let you know. I did get the “canning” process right and my tops are sealed!


A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband – Intro May 21, 2011

Filed under: A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband — Kris @ 1:02 pm
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Over the last Christmas season, our family got to spend a few days at Racer’s mom’s house. While we were there, I was perusing her cookbooks. On the shelf, tucked in between some very modern looking books, was a yellow book with this cover:

Now, since Racer’s mom has been divorced for many years, I was wondering why this old book was on her shelf. When I opened it up, there was an inscription. Handwritten in blue ink are names that show the book was a wedding gift from Racer’s paternal grandmother (now deceased) to his mom. What an incredible find on a cold winter day!

As I looked closer at the book, it is part novel and part cookbook. The story tells of a young woman and her first year of marriage. The cookbook tells the recipes for the wife’s various kitchen endeavors throughout that first year. For a wonderfully inexplicable reason, I love this book! Add it’s age and the family history surrounding it… well, I asked Racer’s mom if I could have it. She obliged and the book came home with me.

So now, I have this idea for a new adventure. I am going to try to “recreate” this book. I’ll use Bettina’s recipes – making them modern day – and try to tell a story of how/when I cook them. Before I started though, I had to set up my “emergency shelf.” Here is what I needed (according to Bettina):

  • 6 cans pimento (I only purchased 3) – $3.87
  • 6 cans tuna – $3.90
  • 6 cans salmon – $11.94
  • 6 jars dried beef (I’m not sure what this is and couldn’t find anything that might be equivalent)
  • 12 cans corn – $5.88
  • 12 cans peas – $5.88
  • 6 cans string beans – $2.94
  • 6 cans lima beans (butter beans for any needing help like me) – $4.14
  • 6 cans devilled ham (I got something like Spam) – $10.14
  • 6 cans tomatoes – $3.30
  • 6 jars pickles – $8.94
  • 6 jars olives (I got home and only had 5 in my bag…) – $4.95
  • 6 small cans condensed milk (Aldi’s only had the 12 oz cans) – $7.74
  • 6 boxes sweet wafers (I got party crackers, 2 boxes each of 3 flavors) – $8.34
  • 1 lb box of salted codfish (not sure what this is and couldn’t find anything that might be equivalent)
  • 3 pkg. marshmallows (2 each of big and mini) – $3.76
  • 3 cans mushrooms – $1.65
  • 2 pkg. macaroni – $1.58

So my emergency shelf is set up and I’m anxiously awaiting my first story/recipe! Are you ready to start this journey with me?


It’s been 6 years… May 16, 2011

Filed under: Marriage — Kris @ 1:06 pm
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Just a few days ago, Racer and celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. Not long in the grande scheme of life, love and marriage, but each year is a bigger deal for me. Why? Well, because in my first marriage, I didn’t even make it to five. So each year Racer and I celebrate, I reflect on how much I’ve learned and what I’ve done differently and what we are doing right together.

I know that we don’t have the answer to a perfect marriage. We do a lot of things wrong. Here are a few things I’ve learned – about myself and marriage – along the way.

1. Having a shared faith is first. While Racer and I may disagree on certain aspects and fine details of christianity, what has been so important for us is a common reliance on God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Our foundation is the same. Having the same foundation makes it a lot easier to move forward in building our marriage and our family.

2. I really don’t need, nor do I want, to be right all of the time. It’s too much pressure to feel like I have to always have the answers.

3. If I am missing my spouse and feeling lonely, I need to work harder at connecting with him. In my first marriage, there were times that I felt lonely, bored and disconnected. Instead of reaching out to my spouse, I filled that void with activities – more work, dance class, Limp Bizkut fan sites… silly stuff really. These days, I’ve learned enough to talk to Racer about feeling disconnected and lonely. While we may not agree on how to go about fixing that, at least we are communicating and that is an improvement.

4. Spouses need to talk about money. Even though it’s really hard and can lead to a lot of disagreements, money talks have to happen. Spouses need to be working toward the same financial goals.

5. I need a level, even-keel partner who can balance my emotions. I tend to get hot-headed, overly emotional and on my soap box. Racer is able to listen, breath, take the hit and then move on. Most of the time, he can recognize that it has nothing to do with him and that I need a venting place and a strong place to let it all out.

6. Marriage is hard work. It’s not easy. It isn’t the rainbows, roses and happy endings you get in books, tv and the movies. Marriage is full of compromises and hurdles and stumbles and screw up and failures. What really matters, however, is how you deal with all of that. I’ve learned that my greatest ally in making it through is the man who I have beside me. (And sometimes I actually follow him!)

Racer and I aren’t perfect. Our marriage is a work in progress. We’re learning and loving and growing together. To me, that is the most beautiful thing of all.


The Old Married Couple February 28, 2011

Filed under: Marriage — Kris @ 10:22 pm
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Over the seasons, I’ve watched The Bachelor and The Bachelorette on and off. It’s fun to dream about going on the fantasy dates, try to guess which person will get chosen and my favorite, go to the gossip sites to get the scoop and hear the “behind the scenes” stories. I have no illusions that the show is “reality.” In fact, it’s pretty far from it. Sure, the emotions are real in the moment, but the situations are pretty manipulated to create emotion. Late nights, alcohol, crazy schedules and being away from friends/family will make anyone more emotional.

I do enjoy seeing the fantasy dates though. I crack up a little because I think “who really goes on dates like that?” Really, can’t they just do a regular Olive Garden and Tinseltown date? What about a race and bowling with other people – no special treatment or shutting down so you have the whole place to yourself? I think the people who need the fantasy dates are old married couples.

And I don’t really mean old. I just mean couples that have been married for a few years, have kids, life has happened and turned out differently. They haven’t had “fantasy dates.” Shoot, they may not have even had a regular “date night” in a while. That’s what happens when you’re in the trenches of living life and raising kids. Taking care of necessities takes priority and sometimes the opportunity for romance gets replaced by “Can we run to Walmart while we’re out and pick up toilet paper?”

So ABC, I’m officially proposing a new show – “The Old Married Couple.” The concept is that there is a couple that’s been married awhile. They’re raising a family and the flame that once burned bright has dwindled because the couple spend their energy on taking care of necessities instead of taking care of each other. Sure, the love is still there, but it’s buried under diapers, homework, sports practice, bills, and college savings accounts. This couple needs time to reignite the fire that was once all-consuming. They need a chance to be together – uninterrupted by daily chores – and dream again. They need a chance to remember why they fell in love.

So ABC, instead of putting people together that almost always break-up anyway, why not help married people stay married? Why not help strengthen families by strengthening married couples? Why not show love stories that are real? I’d watch that every week, every season (instead of just sometimes).

P.S. If you run with this concept ABC, Racer and I better be on the show! I would love to have fantasy dates with my hubby!

P.P.S. Yes, I’m guilty of going to Walmart on date night. And the grocery store.


How does your Valentine “hear” love? February 14, 2011

Filed under: Marriage,Motherhood — Kris @ 2:22 pm
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It’s Valentine’s Day and everyone (well, most everyone) is celebrating love. For those of us with spouses, significant others or children, learning how to love the “right” way can be hard. Racer and I love very differently. We “speak” and “hear” love in very different ways. The idea of Love Languages by Gary Chapman helped me understand how to better love the people in my family – and how to better articulate how I need to be loved.

So, to better understand me, I took a Love Language test. You can go HERE to take a Love Language assessment. You answer some questions about what you prefer – A or B. Then at the end the test taker receives their scores in each of the five areas: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. The area with the highest score (or two) is the love “language” you hear best. Knowing the “language” of your spouse and children can help you better speak love in a way it will be heard.

Take me for example. I’m not a gift receiver. I often think that going out and buying a gift for someone is just an easy way out – buying their love. Not that I don’t appreciate people thinking of me, but most of the time, the gifts are off the mark and not something that is “me.” At Christmas time, our family makes a “wish list” so that people can know what to get that would be appreciated and useful. For me, it’s mostly useful stuff. I appreciate that someone gives me something off my list, but I get disappointed if it’s not what I specified (for example they got me pink and I specifically said green). I know it sounds awful. I really am appreciative and I know they didn’t have to get me anything. I know. But at the same time I think “What would’ve been so hard about getting a green one?”

Part of that is that I can be hard to please – I’m working on that. Part of it is also that I don’t speak “gifts.” Not my Love Language. I’d much rather have you give me 10 hours of free babysitting so I can grocery shop without kids. I’d much rather have you come and scrub all my windows for me. I’d rather be given a foot massage. I’d rather have you take the time to go out and pick up the think that I want instead of me doing it. I’d know I was important if you took time to come and have a cup of coffee and a conversation with me. I’d rather have you DO something than buy something. Can you guess what my Love Language is? Acts of Service comes first and Quality Time comes second. To me, gifts often feel like I’m being bought off. And I try to show my family how much I love them by making sure they have healthy, good food to eat, clean clothes to wear, a relatively picked up house, etc. I love by serving.

Racer, on the other hand, speaks and hears love exactly the opposite of me. He is a gifter. Today is an example of that. I got flowers and a card. I’m giving a yummy meal and dessert – all from scratch. Having an opposite as my spouse is difficult at times. It’s hard to understand how to speak a language that I don’t hear. Imagine if your loved one only spoke Korean and you only spoke Finnish! Frustration would ensue. I have to be intentional about speaking my love for Racer in a way that he will actually hear it. He doesn’t see my cooking, laundry and cleaning as love – only as duty. What he hears as love is snuggling on the couch, holding hands in public, surprise gifts and thoughtful gifts on holidays.

I had my 3 oldest kids take the Love Language Assessment too. Speaking love to teens and children is hard, but knowing how they hear love has made it easier. Blue sees my service as duty and prefers Quality Time (difficult in a big family). Professor hears what I speak and also enjoys Words of Affirmation (he’s good at speaking that one too). Girlie was a little young to accurately gauge, but it looks like she’ll appreciate Acts of Service and Words of Affirmation. Knowing this about my children only helps me to be a better parent with them – encouraging and loving in the right way and correcting in a way that doesn’t cut deep.

So on this Valentine’s Day, instead of showing love in typical ways, I challenge you to show love in ways that your Valentine will “hear.” See if you can figure out his/her Love Language and then speak it!


Lead Me February 13, 2011

Filed under: Marriage,Ministry — Kris @ 7:25 am
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50 Things I Love About Racer February 4, 2011

Filed under: Marriage — Kris @ 10:55 am
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Back in college, I was a part of a sorority. If you actually know me, I don’t seem the sorority type. I’m not really connected to it now at all. I don’t even know if I’m officially an alumna because I don’t think I’ve fulfilled the requirements to become one. But, I digress…

The reason I brought the sorority up at all is because we had this tradition when people got pinned, engaged or pregnant. In honor of that tradition, and since I never got to participate in it with Racer, I am naming 50 things that I love about him. I won’t explain them or why they are important to me, I’m just listing them. So here it goes…

  1. He loves Jesus.
  2. He loves Professor.
  3. He loves Blue.
  4. He’s passionate about his work.
  5. He’s a better teen parent than I am.
  6. He has as type B personality.
  7. One of his spiritual gifts is faith.
  8. He cleans my car inside and out for me.
  9. He fold and puts away his own clothes.
  10. He understand divorce.
  11. He watches CSI and Law and Order: SVU with me.
  12. When he’s on the road, he calls me even when he’s dog tired.
  13. He always answers my calls (except when he doesn’t hear the phone ring.)
  14. He recognizes that he has hearing damage.
  15. Even though I really don’t like our mattress, he reminds me that a sag in the middle is better than a hump in the middle.
  16. He keeps encouraging me to breastfeed even when it’s hard, it hurts and just don’t want to anymore.
  17. He changes poopy diapers.
  18. He tolerates my recycling.
  19. He calls me on his lunch break.
  20. Blue jeans.
  21. He looks really great in a hooded sweatshirt.
  22. He stays clean-shaven.
  23. He reads my blog.
  24. He warns me when I’m taking on too much.
  25. He has two college degrees and doesn’t use either one.
  26. He told me that I actually walk the talk of the political party I tend to lean toward.
  27. He listens to me when I get on a soapbox.
  28. He thinks I’m beautiful even when by worldly standards I look a mess.
  29. He is wrapped around Girlie’s finger.
  30. He is wrapped around my finger.
  31. He gets rid of the mouse traps.
  32. He tries to limit himself to two cans of Coke a day.
  33. He takes his lunch to work when all the other guys go out to eat.
  34. He cleans the toilets.
  35. He tries to remember to make the bed.
  36. He balances me.
  37. He rides through my emotional waves.
  38. Three times he thought/knew I was pregnant before I did.
  39. He dotes on his Gramma.
  40. He adores my niece.
  41. He shows trust through ALWAYS tithing.
  42. When it comes to sharing with those in need, I know he will always say yes.
  43. He listens to my crazy ideas.
  44. When I was in the hospital with babies, he couldn’t stand to be away from me and wanted to spend every night with me and our newborn.
  45. He tried to teach me to water ski.
  46. Rockingham.
  47. He sticks up for women when guys are making rude comments.
  48. I’m not sure how, but he’s never had a speeding ticket.
  49. He thinks that “ladies first” is still important to teach our girls and our boys.
  50. He will never give up on us.

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