By Kelsey on June 8, 2012 34

5 Questions for You

five questions

OK friends, I need some help. Below are a few questions I’ve had lately and I know you guys are smart and I trust you. So if you have an answer to or opinion on any of the following, please leave a comment or send me an email!

  1. Do you think date nights should exclude conversations about your kids?
  2. Does anyone know of a great marriage counselor in Des Moines? Or ideas on how to find one?
  3. How can I fall in love with my slow cooker? I’m probably the only person who has burned soup in one before.
  4. How did you know when you were ready for another child?
  5. How far past the sell-by date will you eat eggs?

Do you have any questions for us?


Flowers above were purchased from Lilac Saloon.


I love my husband, my kids and the Internet.

  1. 1) We try to not talk about our kids on date nights, but sometimes it’s the only time my husband and I can get caught up on cute stories, how our daughter’s doing in school, or struggles we’re having with them. We do try to make the date more about us and our relationship, but it really is hard.

    2) I live in NY, so I don’t know. Check with your pastor, he may have great ideas on finding a Christian counselor!

    3) When you figure it out, let me know. I had one that was amazing, then it broke. We got a new one, and either it doesn’t cook things or it burns them :(

    4) Well, #2 was a surprise, but #3 was planned. It’s something I just knew. It felt like something was missing, that there should have been another person at the table or snuggling on the couch while reading books. It’s something you’ll feel, whether it’s in a few months or a few years. Our kids are all about 2 1/2 years apart, and it’s a great spacing. One of my girlfriends’ kids are all about 18 months apart, and another one’s kids are 4 years apart. You’ll just know when it’s time :)

    5) Hmm…if it doesn’t smell or look funny when I crack it, I use it. Probably not the safest thing, but we’ve never gotten sick! I’d love to know if there really is a time frame in which to use them…

  2. I don’t really know about the rest, but eggs stay good for a while. In Europe, eggs are sold and stored at room temperature – they are more hardy than we treat them, I think. I have used eggs that are probably over a month old to make things like scrambled eggs, but I’ve heard if you’re baking you will get better results if the eggs are fresh.

  3. 1. I think if one of you feels the need for the conversation to be baby-free, then you should make every effort to do that. Otherwise, I generally think that any kind of forcing when it comes to conversaions will make things strained and unnatural.
    3. You are not alone! For me the key was to make sure I followed the recipe more precisely (turning things up or down at the right time).
    5. You definitely know when eggs are bad because they smell awful. So if they smell and taste normal, then I wouldn’t worry about it!

  4. 3. Mine cooks hot, so I have to put things in at lunch rather than in the morning for the to be just right for dinner. I love my Crock-Pot cookbook.
    5. I’ve heard eggs last up to 5 weeks past their date. I’ve definitely eaten/used them one-two weeks past the date. I think the smell test is a great recommendation.

  5. Wasting food feels like throwing away money to me, especially living on my own in a larger city. So I’ve looked into #5 before. If eggs float in a bowl or pot of water – get rid of them. If they stand upright in the water, you can boil them and make egg salad or deviled eggs.

  6. 1. I don’t have any input being single and childless but I imagine it would be nice (but probably not always possible) to exclude convos about the kids? Or maybe limit them?
    2. Again, no help, sorry.
    3.I think pulled pork is the answer to this. Anything that makes pulled pork easy and tasty is loveable in my mind (I give love a bit freely, maybe?)
    4.Yep, again, no help. Sorry.
    5.I’m really a stickler for dates. I know I don’t need to be but I am, almost to the point of being irrational about it. I think the smell test would work and like Amy Jo said, if they float, they’re off (save yourself from the smell test in thsi case!).

  7. Melanie Johnson June 8, 2012 at 9:45 am

    1. I don’t think you should put rules on your dates. It’s natural that you would want to talk about your kids. If you say you’re not going to, then you inevitably will and then feel like you’ve failed at your date. Talk about whatever makes you happy!

    2. I’m actually a Marriage and Family Therapist so I would recommend finding one on or going to the Psychology Today website and searching for one. There are both Christian and non-christian counselors on both sites! I would make sure to go to one who specializes in couples counseling.

    3. I love my crock pot and use it all the time. There are some great recipe websites and blogs for crock pots. I use mine the most for beef like pot roasts and beef stew. You can also stick a whole chicken in with some seasoning and it will come out super moist and yummy!

    4. I was ready for #2 when I sufficiently couldn’t remember how tough it was to have a newborn. ;) that was after about 18 months. We just had #2 and they are exactly 2 years apart. It’s tough having a demading 2 yr old and a newborn, but it will be nice when they’re a little older.

    5. I keep eggs for a long time. I think I’ve used them 2-3 weeks after the exp. Date.

  8. Like you guys, my husband and I are new parents with our son right at 4 1/2 months and yeah we talk about him on dates. But its more like intentional planning about habbits to start forming with him and not cute stories. We are trying to be intentional parents and so after we enjoy adult discussions usually we will go over things with Ezra that lay ahead and plan. Personally I love love love my crockpot, try a simple roast or on the weekend a lasagna. My lasagna takes 20 min to make and 4 hours to cook. Maybe if you can’t force yourself to love it, maybe try freezer cooking one weekend to see if it helps out? Also for Mike and I we would like to wait till Ezra is one year before having another Lord willing, but we keep in mind that children are a blessing from the Lord and be sensative to His will for our lives and our family and not our plans. Fortunely we don’t have the answers, but the Lord does. And in that there is great hope!

  9. 1. I don’t think so. I think it’s shouldn’t consume date night but I wouldn’t make a rule to exclude any conversations about kids.

    2. I do not, I would say what someone else said about asking at Church would be a good idea.

    3. First, make sure you have a good one. Spending a little bit more for a bigger one with a timer is worth it. Second, try recipes from this blog : . She also has a cookbook with many of the recipes.

    4. I have no idea on this one. I only have stepchildren. Plus, I’m sure it’s different for every couple. Having two sisters that are close to my age, I think it’s nice to have children fairly close in age. I’m talking a couple years apart, not saying you should turn around and have another child right away.

    5. I don’t really like eggs. I will usually use them a day or so after the sell-by date though.

  10. 1) We try not to but sometimes it’s the best time we have to communicate about topics around our kids that take a bit of thought or conversation without distraction. We try to limit it. I guess it’s all about finding balance.

    2) I personally don’t but I have two dear friends from seminary that are pastors in the area and I can ask them who they refer to if you like. Your pastor at church should also have someone that is professionally trained that they refer to.

    3) My mom recommends starting cooking with your slow cooker on the weekends until you get a feel for the temp/time, etc. Once you get a few successful meal under your belt and get a feel for your cooker you can adventure out to leaving it on while you are at work.

    4) We are not ready yet (we only have one and she’s 14 months) and here’s how I know. First, I want to enjoy each of my kids and I think that can be best achieved by spacing them out. Also, this includes providing the best resources for them which we can provide better when they are spaced out. And like you I struggled post-partum. Mine was a bit different because we moved across country a month before my daughter was due, but I need the time to mentally, emotionally and physically recover and the time to better prepare in all those categories before another. Although I remember when my daughter hit the 3-6 month phase thinking “this is amazing! I could totally have another right now!” But because we want to help our children through college so they don’t face the same struggle we did paying for school and because we dont’ want to compromise on childcare (because it’s SO expensive and if you multiply that by two we might have to make a compromise) we want a little space between them.

    5) My mom (who grew up on a farm) has the general rule of 10 days past and I generally follow that. But I bake muffins so often (hello quick breakfast and healthy snack!) that they usually don’t hang around that long.

    And playing along–I know you are barely getting by Kelsey, but I was curious about how you were getting back into physical shape? You look so good! And some women are just lucky enough to just be back in their pre-preggers clothes but I was wondering how you were doing that! Thanks so much!

    • hey Cara! when we hit the 3-month mark for some reason i had feelings of wanting another baby SOON. did you “grow out” of that feeling once your little girl became mobile?

      also, regarding your question, yes, i am back in my pre-pregnancy clothes. thank you for your kind words. i’m one of the lucky ones and the weight basically just fell off, as annoying as that sounds! part of it was due to my loss of appetite with my PPD, i think. nine days after she was born i was weighed at the midwife clinic and i had lost 24 pounds. the last 5 came off gradually, i think (we don’t have a scale so it is hard to know for sure). i am back down to my pre-prego weight now, although i’m not sure my stomach will ever be the same!

      • Kelsey, I did sort of “grow out” of that urge to have another SOON! I think part if it is so hormonal/emotional–it was like a combo of my hormones still balancing themselves out and changing to continue bonding with this new little one and that the parenting thing actually turned out to be fun and A interacting more. We knew that since my pregnancy was easy but the post-partum was hard (and still not something we wanted to go through just yet, even with a new game plan) we should wait, give it some space and give me all the time i needed to heal emotionally/spiritually. And not that our marriage was in jeopardy or anything but give us time to get back on our feet as a couple and figure out what it meant to be a couple AND parents.

        Plus as she got more and more fun and we got the hang of the parenting thing better and better I just turned my energy to soaking up this time as best as I could, rather than being fatigued from a new pregnancy. A little space means I can enjoy each of my kiddos at this super fun phase and enjoy all the joy that it brings. Plus mobility puts you back at ground zero productivity wise and that definitely inspired us to stick to our original plan! Because you do have some awesome months where she is so fun to be around but you can put her in the exersaucer and cook dinner without her trying to climb in kitchen cabinets and trying to “help” unload the dishwasher ;)

        As for the weight–you go! I mean for goodness sakes something needs to be easy about all this, right?! I don’t have much and am back in pre-pregnancy clothes but it took a while so I was just curious! And I don’t think my stomach will ever be the same either! But helpful hit, it did get better when I started applying the Shea Butter to it (you know the stuff you use during pregnancy!).

        Hope this helps!

  11. I don’t really have much to say to help, but I just wanted to let you know that my husband and I burned everything in our slow cooker! Everyone told us it was impossible, and I don’t know what was going on. We eventually gave it away. I have always felt alone in this, and everyone always makes a horrible face when I tell them we burned soup, etc. in our slow cooker. I actually smiled when I read that you burned soup in yours, so I had to let you know you’re not alone!

  12. This post made me smile :). Here’s what I can add, it’s not much.

    1. No, I don’t think date nights should exclude any topics. We do try not to talk about our daughter the whole time on dates. However, there are important conversations we need to have about her and she’s so darn cute, how could we not share in the delights she brings each day?

    2. I don’t live in Iowa so can’t help with a recommendation for a counselor. The church is a good idea. I found ours through our employee assistance program at work, so if your employer has something like that, it could be a good place to look.

    3. I can’t say I love my slow cooker either. One time I did BBQ chicken that worked well. I put 1lb of whole uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the cooker with a little bit of water and some BBQ sauce (maybe 3/4 cup?), set it on low and after 6 hours or so, shredded the chicken with two forks. It was easy and tasty and yet, I have only done it once…

    4. We don’t know if we are ready for another child now or ever. I’d love to hear others’ thoughts. Some days I think our little family of 3 is complete, just the way it is. Other days I long for my daughter to have a sibling. I can’t imagine her growing up without a brother or sister. On the days we are just getting by and feeling overwhelmed, I can’t imagine adding to our family.

    5. I would probably let eggs go a few days past the sell by date, or eat them as long as they look and smell Ok. Honestly, my husband is pretty picky about that stuff and would insist I toss them out way before I think it’s time for them to go. So I would eat them until my husband protests :)

  13. 1. Nope. The baby is a huge part of your life now. How can you exclude talking about her? I think if my husband wanted to impose such a rule on me it would make me upset, especially since I’m a stay at home mom. I mean, I’m with the baby all the time and he does lots of cute stuff and I want to talk about it with his father. I don’t see the harm. I think it might make things a little tense if you say you can’t talk about a certain topic. Talk about whatever you want.

    2. Sorry, I don’t.

    3. Not a fan of my slow cooker either. :-/

    4. I just wrote a blog post about this not too long ago! I basically talked about how I am finally open to the idea of having another baby, but I also know right now is not the right time. I don’t want to have two kids in diapers at the same time! Hah. I think you will just know when/if you are ready. Everyone is different. I know that for me I am not a huge baby person (even though I love my baby) so I need a break from the baby stage before I dive back in.

    5. Use the float or sink rule. Put the egg in a bowl of cold water, if it floats, it’s no good.

  14. Q: Do you think date nights should exclude conversations about your kids?

    A: While I get the premise for this, it is hard to avoid. They are a part of your life, and thus, come up in conversation. We focus more on the fact that we simply get alone time with each other and let the conversation steer itself.

    Q: How did you know when you were ready for another child?

    A: Are you ever really ready? ;) How did you know you were ready to get married? Both are questions that do not have a specifically defined answer. You will know when the time is right. If the question makes you gasp, sigh, or gives you those anxious butterflies upon asking it to each other or to yourself out loud, then it is probably wise to wait. ;)

    Q: How far past the sell-by date will you eat eggs?

    A: I grew up on a farm where eggs did not come in nifty cartons with expiration dates. You can tell if an egg is good or bad by putting it in a glass of water. If the egg sinks, it is good. If the egg floats, it is not good. It will float when it is bad because of the extra gasses it produces internally when it is breaking down and not good to consume. Trust me. You can even Google it. =)

  15. 1. Can’t really answer this one since we don’t have kids yet. However when baby S arrives, our goal will be to set aside a specific amount of time that includes no baby talk.

    2. Not from your area, but I encountered the same struggle when trying to find a good one in our area. We have a great Christian counseling center that I’ve heard a lot about other the years, so it made sense to check them out. They just so happened to have a satellite office near where I work, so we just went for it. Best decision we have ever made. I think people have a stigma with going to counseling like it means your marriage is in bad shape, but that’s not true at all. We have been able get over issues that kept coming back up and had prevented us from having the best marriage possible. We don’t go weekly or even monthly sometimes, but we plan to go as needed forever. We are especially excited to go to counseling as we prepare to bring a child into our family. It’s going to help us prepare for this transition in a way we could not do on our own. It also helps our counselor has 7 kids!

    3. I feel you on this one. I don’t love mine either. I try to get creative when using the crock pot, so I am more inspired to use it. I like to put all the ingredients together the night before, stick it in the fridge overnight, and then cook during the day while at work. I’ve never made soups in my crock pot. That may be blasphemy, but I have better success making soups and chili’s on the stove. I use it mostly when making pulled chicken because there are so many different meals you can make with it. Pinterest has helped tremendously with finding recipes. is still my favorite website for healthy meals, and she does a pretty good job of showing all the how-to’s.

    4. Can’t help with this one. We’re still waiting for the first. :-)

    5. I agree with the float/sink rule. If it stands upright then they need to be used quickly. Also you should use cool water when testing freshness this way.

  16. 1. Yes, for the most part, if you can. In my opinion, although parenting consumes a great chunk of your lives at the moment, it’s important to have some great conversation about other things once in a while (you had stuff in common before making a baby, right?).

    2. No. I hope that everything is going all right!

    3. Start out with something simple and foolproof, like chili or stew.

    4. You never really know. If one or both of you does not feel ready, why not wait? Can you afford it? Can you handle two babies at a time? If things are rocky at the moment, adding another little one to the mix is not going to change your level of happiness.

    5. Everyone seems to agree on the floating thing.

    • Thanks, CC. Our marriage is great, but we both agree that it can’t hurt to make it even better!

      I’m thinking we should probably wait on the next kid, but I’ve had moments where I’ve REALLY wanted another. Eric would like to wait. Rooney brings us a lot of joy and because we’ve already agreed that we’ll try for another, to me it kind of feels like our family is “incomplete,” if that makes sense. We could probably afford it, but because I don’t know what it is really like to have a baby past 3 months of age, I’m thinking we need to hold off. She will be mobile soon and I’m sure that will change our lives! :)

      • Speaking from experience, having 2 children is much more work than having 1. We spaced ours 3 years apart (firstborn turned 3 just 2 weeks after the second was born)and it was PERFECT! Still challenging those first few months and we’re not out of babyhood yet, but it’s about as good/easy as it could be without feeling like we were starting all over again. I knew we were done as soon as our second was born (used to think I wanted 4 kids). : )

  17. I can just tell you from the standpoint of having 2 kids. You don’t want to have two kids in daycare! Wow we were not ready for the cost!

  18. I have slow cooker love.
    I always cook things longer, on the lowest setting, adding a more water than you think is necessary.

    My go to recipe is lamb shanks – you brown french trimmed lamb shanks (which the butcher will prepare, its basically lamb shanks with the fat cut off) in a pan and then add them to the slow cooker with crushed tomatoes, celery,carrots, stock, assorted herbs, red wine, tomato paste. Tastes amazing.

  19. Our a/c has been on the fritz lately so I have been experimenting more with my Crock Pot. Last week I made “baked” potatoes and they were pretty good. Just wash potatoes then I like to season the outside because the skin is my husbands favorite part, and wrap in foil. That’s it. You can smell when they are done. I would also recommend Don’t give up on the crock pot because dinner ready when you need it, to me, it’s a mother’s saving grace.

  20. I’m assuming you don’t want my advice on #5? :)

  21. I just started reading your blog a few days ago. I found it on Pinterest because of your nursery pictures (WHICH I LOVE!!!). We are trying for a kid soon! So, I have been busy planning and dreaming.

    My husband and I are very busy. So, we use the crock-pot a lot!! We bought and returned several different crock-pots until we found the right one. We finally found one we love. We have Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Slow Cooker. It is about $50 at Wal-Mart. It has a timer on it and two heat settings. If it finishes cooking before we get home, it goes on warming mode. So, we will modify the cooking time to accommodate for the time it will be on the warm mode.

    For recipes, I loooove the crockpot girl recipes. Here is there website.

    The crockpot girls are also on FB and other people post tons of recipes that are great as well.

  22. Do you think date nights should exclude conversations about your kids? **No! Obviously there may be a problem though if you can’t think of *anything* else to talk about.
    Does anyone know of a great marriage counselor in Des Moines? Or ideas on how to find one? **I don’t but I’d recommend looking at the list of MFT that are participating providers for your insurance (and cross referencing that with church recommendations if that is important to you).
    How can I fall in love with my slow cooker? I’m probably the only person who has burned soup in one before. **The library! There are a ton of slow cooker recipe books you can check out and try out different recipes. Chili and enchilada stacks are why I love my crock-pot.
    How did you know when you were ready for another child? **For me personally, I needed to be consistently getting 7+hrs of sleep per night before even broaching the subject. I wanted closer than the 3yrs apart that I ended up with (don’t assume that the second time conceiving will be as easy [or hard] as the first), but it’s ended up being pretty perfect. Now, if you’re not even sure you want another (like we are about a possible 3rd) it gets more complicated…
    How far past the sell-by date will you eat eggs? **I bake a lot so it’s rarely an issue, but I think 14 days seems legit.

  23. Many of my answers to your questions would be repeats this late in the game…but in regards to #2, the book Love and Respect would be great to read as a couple until you find a counselor.

  24. I do love the randomness of these questions!
    1. No kids yet, but I try not to give Josh our “Adoption To Do List” on date night and I appreciate it when he doesn’t bring up “The Budget” on date night! Sometimes we just have to, but I try to avoid it on that night.

    2. Can I give you a hug?! You know how I feel about counseling!! I hope you find a great one.

    I have no idea on the rest! :D

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