Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Quick Meatless Meals - Every Friday - All Year Long

he journey of Lent provides an opportunity to walk more closely with Jesus, who desires our presence, sometimes more than we desire His. May we be vigilant in our sacrifices and strong in resisting temptation, and so get all the more “caught up” in the love of God through His Son’s cross and resurrection. -from St. Anthony Messenger

 Happy Tuesday.

Here in Fort Worth, it is VERY hard to concentrate. 1) our street literally looks like a sheet of ice. It's 27 degrees outside (woohoo); and 2) We are supposed to get 2-4 inches of snow overnight.  At this point, we don't know if we are having Co-Op on Thursday, baseball try-outs on Thursday night OR if we are driving into Dallas on Friday because... 3) we are expecting another round on Friday morning.

Some people don't like it. AND I have grown to appreciate the warm/sunny Texas Winters. However, it's so much fun for the kiddos. I can not begrudge them that! Thank you God for the cold and the ice/snow.

It's Lent... and as a Catholic Family, we can not eat meat on Fridays during Lent. In our home, we make every concerted effort NOT to eat meat on Fridays all year long.  We also pick at least one other day/week to go meatless because it's better for our budget.  But Canon Law states that if you do not abstain from meat on Friday's you must perform another penance. This is also something that is inherent to the United States. Most other countries still practice abstinence every Friday. Many traditional U.S. Catholics do as well.

Today I am linking up with...
We love fish and we eat it grilled, baked, fried, broiled... Salmon, Cod, Tilapia, Swai, Chilean Sea Bass (Grilled only) and more. To tell you all the ways we enjoy fish and seafood, I would sound like the guy in Forest Gump, who says, "boiled shrimp, fried shrimp, etc..." We are from the Gulf Area (Houston) and I lived in Florida for 13 years... if you don't like seafood, you are going hungry in our home.  So I'll spare you the blah blah about that.

We are also a busy family. Not busier than you, perhaps. Not busier than most. But don't you find that you really need quick meals these days? I do. Quick and healthy.

I think the most important thing to do is be creative. Almost ANYTHING you make with meat can be made meatless. For instance, I took a few Pot Pie Recipes and over the years, came up with this:



To be honest, you could do much more with it, including adding beef and other things in place of the chicken. Make it your own. I don't mind... I'm no cookbook author, I'm just a cook. lol

Here are a few tips:

In Pot Pie, use squash, bell peppers and other sturdy/meaty vegetables in place of your meat.  In tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, lasagna - use fish/shrimp or just veggies.  Here are a couple of meatless recipes I've blogged about:
Here is a picture of it:


Some of my go-tos are:
  • Beans & Rice. 
  • Loaded baked potatoes (without bacon) & salad.
  • Breakfast for dinner.
  • Mexican Food:
    • the other day for lunch, we had avocado and onion quesadillas with apples and milk on the side.  Add a nice salad and that is dinner.
    • Put cheese, veggies and seafood in an enchiladas/tacos instead of meat.
  • Soups:
    • Tomato Bisque
    • Veggie/Noodle
    • Clam Chowder
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Oven Roasted Veggies
    • Sweet Potato Wedges
    • Portobello Mushrooms.
I just want to encourage you to make what your family likes.... and to have fun with it. Don't stress out.

I hope my post has helped you in some way.

Hugs & blessings,

Em

Monday, February 23, 2015

Moments...It's Finally Winter

Em's Daybook - Vol. 6


"I will attempt day by day to break my will into pieces. I want to do God’s Holy Will, not my own." — St. Gabriel Possenti


Happy Monday.

Overnight, winter came. YAY. It's always super exciting to see the white stuff, EVEN if it is just ice. Seems like it will be cold and icy here over the next few days. Sigh. We have had a fire going since Saturday and our house is toasty while the ice is pervasive outside. Bread baking, lego playing, x-box too. Just a family weekend. I know - boring! lol

[caption id="attachment_5372" align="aligncenter" width="482"]finally winter FINALLY WINTER! WOOHOO![/caption]

I hope and pray your weekend was good. This weekend we did a lot, but nothing. lol

TODAY, I’M…

Thankful For

  • Fire in the fireplace.

  • The ability to limit social media.

  • Peace in maturity.

  • Being a Wife/Mom


Thinking About…

Complaining. I read a story recently, Dear Complaining Mom, and BOY did it make me think. Now, I am not a super-complainy person, because people who complain all the time get on my nerves (sorry, but they do). HOWEVER, I do say things like, "I'm so tired." "I wish there were more hours in the day." "I would love to go back to work so we can have money for vacation." "why is there so much laundry?" etc. And you know what, those are complaints too. They really are.

Think about it... every time we make a statement about something we don't like, it is a complaint. And really, should we be? It's so hard not to make a comment about anything from other drivers to someone's outfit to eating the same foods on a regular basis.

It's complaining and we need to I need to work on it.  I can not determine if you do too, but think about it.

Reading…

  • The Temperament God Gave You. Our group is on Chapters 4/5.

  • Family Lenten Readings


Wifing…

Linking Up with Elizabeth's Marriage Monday Post - Project P31 - A Trustworthy Woman.
"Our calling as God's women is to live life in such a solid way that our husband never worries or wonders about our character or our management of our home, our finances, or our time." ~ Elizabeth George, Beautiful in God's Eyes.

In the post today, she talks about being trustworthy, so that your husband never has to worry about your purity, your values, your housekeeping, your caring for his children, etc.   And I am happy to say, he scored me VERY HIGHLY in everything except finances. It's my fatal flaw and one I am working hard to fix. Not that I lie to him about what I spend. I am good at budgeting, it's the saving I'm not good at.  So I pass with flying colors for trustworthiness, but need to save some of what I budget. LOL
Project P31, Mission #2:

Our mission for this week to examine our character and conduct and determine if we are trustworthy in every area of our lives. Can others trust you to be a woman of your word?  Can they trust you to fulfill your responsibilities? Can you be trusted to govern yourself and live wisely in this age of "anything goes"? What areas do you need to work on as you strive to be a Model P31 who is worthy of trust?

Please check out her posts. They are so good. They always make me think and remind me there are many things I can do better.

In Our Kitchen…

This week, Marque is traveling... when he is gone, Christopher and I eat simple meals, probably from the freezer. Plus, Thursday night (weather permitting) we have baseball tryouts and Friday night we have dinner out after a field trip to Dallas Aquarium.

If I wrote it out, it would look something like this.

  • Last Night - Pork Chops & Salad

  • Tonight - Spaghetti (sauce & meatballs from the freezer)

  • Tomorrow night - Cobb Salad (with my home-made chicken cutlets)

  • Wednesday night - Breakfast for Dinner

  • Thursday Night - Soup & Sandwich (leftover chicken cutlet sandwiches)

  • Friday - Eat Out

  • Saturday - Roasted Chicken, Egg Noodles & Veggies


Faith Matters...

Yesterday was the First Sunday of Lent. The Catholic Church has many feast days and it was also the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter! In my house, it just means we read about it. We honor and celebrate Peter.

One of yesterday's readings was about God's promise to never destroy the earth with water, ever again. It occurred to me as I was listening that God never said he wouldn't destroy the earth or people, just not with water. Sigh.

The Gospel Reading (Mark 1:12-15) was about the Temptation of Christ. The last verse calling us to "Repent and believe in the Gospel." It opened up great dialogue over brunch about how we can never hope to live up to Christ's standards, but that we can and must resist temptation. We must trust God and live the way He wants us to.

We talked about being the best Christian we can be; striving to be honest about what we need to work on; and asking for forgiveness. Repenting is sometimes a hard topic for children. However, repenting and embracing our penance(s) is what helps us stay on track to get into Heaven. I hope I am saying this right. I'm not a theologian.

Praying For…

  • Our Nation & World

  • Mental & Physical Welfare of friends & family.

  • Our Pope and Clergy.

  • For more joy in the little things…

  • The softening of people’s hearts!


Captured…

This is what my dining table looks like. Sigh. I have two weeks to get them done. Dontcha want to come help me paint?

[caption id="attachment_5371" align="aligncenter" width="500"]peg doll painting 1 Sigh, painting peg dolls is not easy. LOL[/caption]

I hope and pray your week goes well. Stay safe wherever you are. We are supposed to have more winter weather this week. SO keep us in your prayers.

Love, Hugs & many blessings,

Em

 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Small Success Thursday...

Dear God, let us preach You without preaching, not by words but by example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what we do, the evident fullness of the love our hearts bear for You. Amen.  -from Seven Saints for Seven Virtues

Hiya Sisters.



Today is Thursday. Is it not a success that we are alive and well? Yes it is! HA. I won't count it as one of my three, but each day reminds me to be happy I'm awake another day. I know I know - I'm sappy! I get it!  On with my successes.

Success #1. My family rarely gets to go to Ash Wednesday Mass together. Last night was the first time in three years. Usually, Marque is traveling (last year he was in Israel)... but we were so pleased he was with us this year.

Success #2. Do you ever have those moments where a question has been bugging you and you finally do a little detective work... and get to an answer? Well - our cable bill is $56/month. Our package is $19.99. But they charge fees that are $35+. I never knew that. By the time we pay the $12 DVR fee and the $7 Joey fee (hopper) and the $8 protection fee and taxes... it translates to NOT worth it. We did so well without TV. That dang Free iPad... well people - it's not really free. You're welcome for that. Hmmph.

Success #3.  I have not argued back with my child in a couple days. I'm just not going to. He may, in fact, be the mouthiest kid in the whole world. But I'm not getting sucked in any more. Nope! You see, I am working on MY reaction. Sigh. I'm worn out. HA

I have to be honest with ya, I am not sure there are exciting successes... so #4 will be this... My house is at least semi-clean. My meal tonight is partly cooked. I'm organized for a quick run to the grocery store later AND so far, we are having a great Lent.

I love to play along. But I confess, I am not sleeping well. And I actually read that lack of sleep can cause brain damage. Oh man that made my husband and I giggle... explains a lot, no?! haha

Anyway - it is supposed to be 70 for a couple days before it goes back to 40's. We are hoping for Math test and writing a paragraph and then park with friends tomorrow.

Praying for you all this Lent.  I need to catch up with some reading. You all have a great rest of your day.

Link up with me and the ladies at Catholicmom.com for Small Success Thursday!

and let me leave you with humor...


Blessings,

Em

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Gift of Love - Lent Begins!

Happy Lent! Reflective Lent! Happy Penances! Happy Sacrifice!

What's the right thing to say on the first day of Lent?  I love Lent. I love it because to me it is peace. It's more my nature... reflective, thankful, togetherness, family prayer and prayerful activities.

In the past, I have posted all the numerous things we do for Lent, For the Love of Lent,  Budget Friendly Lenten Meals, Ready or Not, Lent is Almost Hereand several more (search Lent if you want to see more). But this year, I'm focusing on the heart of the matter - the heart of my family...MY HEART! And my heart needs the peace and love of God to be at the forefront.  It's time to embrace LOVE (see above) and to understand how important it is to love others as yourselves.


Please read the Pope's Lenten Message for 2015. Here is how he starts it:
Lent is a time of renewal for the whole Church, for each communities and every believer. Above all it is a “time of grace” (2 Cor6:2). God does not ask of us anything that he himself has not first given us. “We love because he first has loved us” (1 Jn 4:19). He is not aloof from us. Each one of us has a place in his heart. He knows us by name, he cares for us and he seeks us out whenever we turn away from him. He is interested in each of us; his love does not allow him to be indifferent to what happens to us. Usually, when we are healthy and comfortable, we forget about others (something God the Father never does): we are unconcerned with their problems, their sufferings and the injustices they endure… Our heart grows cold. As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about those less well off. Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference. It is a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront.
One of my thoughts before Lent started was about our Hearts. The Heart of my family... my heart... my son, my husband, etc. So when I read that Pope Francis is encouraging us to purpose to have a heart like Jesus (all the time, not just Lent), I rejoiced.
"Make your hearts firm!" James 5:8  ~ Pope Francis said, "During this Lent, then, brothers and sisters, let us all ask the Lord: “Fac cor nostrum secundum cor tuum”Make our hearts like yours (Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference."
This evening, we will go and receive our Ashes... as a reminder that we came from dust... as a reminder that we are to be somber and remember all the things our Lord did for us, that He was born, lived His life, and then died for us... for our Sins, in honor of His Father's beautiful and perfect plan.

I'm not somber. I'm giddy with thankfulness. If I tried to tell you everything I'd been through in my life, you'd wonder why I wasn't sitting in a corner rocking back and forth. I have a word for you - FAITH! God literally saved me. It's like I get to give more than usual back for Lent and I'm so happy to do it.

People will say, "but Em, you are loving, you are kind". I will say, "yes, mostly... but there is always room for improvement!"

I can tell you what I won't do. I won't watch The Passion of Christ. I won't lament my past. I won't be sad and bleak. And I won't overwhelm myself or you with all the things I am doing. To be clear, I know the story of the Passion. I will participate in the Stations of the Cross. But watching that movie was too much for me. I get it. I adore our Blessed Mother for all she sacrificed in my humble name... though she did not know me. She gave her SON to die for me and you. I do not need to see Him whipped or hear His bones crack. I can't take that. I'm sorry.

I leave you with this thought, it was sent to my inbox this morning in an email:


Happy Ash Wednesday. Be blessed during Lent and always.

p.s. I think I told you all this, not that you are clamoring for me on FB, but I won't be there except on Sundays, during Lent. I need a break. I have a great variety of friends. But sometimes, FB just gets on my nerves... so I took it off my phone and iPad. You know how to reach me though. AND I will check FB messages (since I admin a few groups).

And please check back here and on my craft blog. I'm hoping not being on FB frees up plenty of time. <3

Relish His Love and love others... you won't regret that!

Hugs & Blessings,

Em

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Moments...Pancakes for Dinner and Peace for Lent

Em's DayBook - Vol . 5

Be joyful, and you will spread joy. Be joyful about your faith, and your Catholic faith will catch fire in the lives of those you evangelize. - from Joyful Witness

By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus. –Mother Teresa of Calcutta -from Seven Saints for Seven Virtues

Happy Tuesday,

There are two quotes above because I started this post on Monday. And frankly, I like them both. You're welcome!

Yesterday my husband took off work. We were going to attend a field trip with a group here in FW. But it was cold and dreary and frankly we took the opportunity to stay home and relax. You see, our weekend was nothing but busy.

This weekend we visited (and I volunteered at) a homeschool conference. We also went to hear Dr. Ben Carson speak (highly recommend it). We baked, cleaned, prepped for this week and yesterday - we relaxed.

Before I start my post, I'm unplugging a bit this Lent. So, if you follow me on FB, please make sure you like my blog pages:
TODAY, I’M…

Thankful For
  • Lent and the Holy Spirit

  • The sacrifices Our Lord and His Mother made for us.

  • Peace in maturity.

  • Gorgeous Weather.

  • Family & Friends...

  • & YOU!
Of course, as always, I am thankful for many other things.

Thinking About…

1) Lent.  I have been struggling with all the Lent Posts... Do this activity. Give this up. This one and that one till my head spins. And all along, I'm thinking - Dear God, I just need rest. I need to be WITH YOU! Then I read this post from Father Aidan Keiran ~ The Little Way of Fasting. God bless him. It's just what I needed. To be clear, whatever your heart tells you to do, whatever YOU want to do with your children to help them understand the message and season of Lent, please do it. But in our house, we just need simplicity and the peace it brings. Here is a quote from his post:
St Therese of Lisieux teaches us that the “Little things done out of love are those that charm the Heart of Christ… On the contrary, the most brilliant deeds, when done without love, are but nothingness.” These words made me realise that the way I had been approaching the Lenten fast in the past was wrong. Lent is not a test of endurance. It is not even a test of discipline (even though we gain discipline as a by-product). Lent is a little test of LOVE. It is quality the Lord is interested in – not quantity.

I don't have to do bazillions of things. I just have to do whatever I do - with Love. If that is one thing daily - then so be it. For the Love of God and all He has given up for me.

Last year, I wrote about Lent in For The Love of Lent. Chris @ Campfires&Cleats mentioned that post in her blog post today. So if you are here from there, click on the link above.

2) ISIS. Praying that our government will stop the partisan rhetoric and go after ISIS before they grow bigger. I think we could do away with them if we went after them as a world. But they have FEAR on their side. Fear is a sin that has crippled many...

We must stand together with the God Fearing parts of our world and swiftly end them!  I will post no articles. I'm sick of seeing them myself. But you know what is going on with them if you are over 14 years old. Pray and draw closer to the Lord.

Reading…

  • The Temperament God Gave You  – I am reading this with a Women’s Book Club. It’s not very well run, because I’m running it and frankly I’m a procrastinator. HA It’s on FaceBook. Catholic Women’s Book Club. Join if you like.

  • Trim Healthy Mama – because I need to make changes… and do them in a way that won’t set off too many alarms with my family.

  • School books and a few other things.
Wifing…

Honestly I am not linking up with anyone today. But go check out Elizabeth's Marriage Monday Post.

As for wifing, I just try to be the best wife I can be. I'm thankful for my husband - for his patience, for his balance of me, for our family we are building together.

In Our Kitchen…

I spent my weekend baking, etc. Well - Sunday. Two loaves of Rye bread, some fruit (banana, strawberry, blueberry) muffins for the freezer. Cookie bars for the freezer... and a few other things.
Money Saving Tip.  Many of you shop WalMart. Please download their Savings Catcher App. Each time you go, you scan the receipt and they tell you your savings. I typically let mine accumulate. This past week, I used my $15+ that was saved up (on an e-card (print out and take with you)), and on that receipt I saved an additional $11.53 that my husband took back a few days later for eggs and a few things. Check out the WalMart Savings Catcher.

This week, our menu looks like this:

  • Sunday – Meatloaf and Brussel sprouts.

  • Monday – Roasted Chicken, green beans and leftover pinto beans.

  • Tuesday – Pancakes! It's Shrove Tuesday and Pancakes is a tradition. Join us @6pm. I can always make more. (see pic)

  • Ash Wednesday – Fish!

  • Thursday – Leftover chicken & mushrooms over rice (or pasta)

  • Friday – Shrimp Tacos (last Friday we had fish).

  • Saturday – Pork Chops on the grill if the weather is good.
Faith Matters - What is Shrove Tuesday?
Traditionally viewed as a day of repentance, Shrove Tuesday has become the last day for celebration and feasting before the period of fasting required during the Lenten season. The name "Shrove Tuesday" is derived from the word "shrive", which means to confess and receive absolution. The name denotes a period of cleansing, wherein a person brings their lusts and appetites under subjection through abstention and self-sacrifice.

The concept behind this practice is found in 1 Corinthians 9:27, where the Apostle Paul states: "I buffet my body and make it my slave..." Ironically, Shrove Tuesday has evolved into a day of frivolity and indulgence, during which people participate in as much pleasure and self-gratification as they can before Lent begins.

The Origins of Shrove Tuesday
Shrove Tuesday originated during the Middle Ages. As in contemporary times, food items like meats, fats, eggs, milk, and fish were regarded as restricted during Lent. To keep such food from being wasted, many families would have big feasts on Shrove Tuesday in order to consume those items that would inevitably become spoiled during the next forty days. The English tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday came about as a way to use as much milk, fats, and eggs as possible before Ash Wednesday began. In France, the consumption of all fats and fatty foods on this day coined the name "Fat Tuesday" or Mardi Gras.

Originally beginning on Sunday, Shrove Tuesday was a three-day celebration that culminated in large feasts on Tuesday night. By the beginning of the 20th century, however, the event was restricted to the Tuesday observance. Carnival became associated with Shrove Tuesday, in part from the Spring Equinox celebrations that were practiced by the Romans and the ancient tribes of Europe. The word "carnival" comes from the Latin carnem levare, meaning "to take away the flesh". However, in the New Orleans and Rio de Janiero celebrations, public revelry and carousing have become the tradition for Carnival around the world. It was mostly as a result of the Carnival celebrations that the Church restricted the observance to a single day.

Shrove Tuesday Traditions
Shrove Tuesday has a variety of customs that have derived from different regions around Europe and the Americas. As previously mentioned, England began the tradition of serving pancakes, and for this reason the day is known as "Pancake Day". In addition, there are the annual Pancake Day Races, where contestants dress in aprons and scarves and race down a course flipping a pancake in a frying pan or skillet.

In Eastern Europe, the Carnival celebrations include boisterous processions where people in large masks parade around and play jokes on bystanders. The masks are often caricatures of individuals from traditional folklore. Men and women will dress as one another and engage in gendered mimicry. The day is filled with eating, drinking, fortune telling, and practical jokes.

Perhaps the most prominent customs are the balls and pageants in New Orleans and Rio de Janiero. Like Eastern European celebrations, participants wear masks and costumes, many of which are quite flamboyant and elaborate. Rio has a parade of multi-colored feathers, which include hundreds of dancers dressed in costumes decked with feathers, all dancing the samba. In New Orleans, Mardi Gras includes a variety of parades featuring grand floats and giant effigies of eccentric characters. There is much eating, drinking, and dancing, as well as practical jokes and humorous street plays.

For many Protestant believers, Shrove Tuesday holds no particular significance. For Catholics and Anglicans, however, the day is still observed with confession and absolution, in addition to modest feasting and rejoicing.

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 Praying For…

  • Our Nation & World

  • Mental & Physical Welfare of friends & family.

  • Our Pope and Clergy.

  • For more joy in the little things…

  • The softening of people’s hearts!

Captured…

I saw this and it's such a quick read and fantastic reminder of what is important (see the three things that are truly constant).

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Only in Texas... a star made of Cowboy hats. This is at the Convention Center. Yeehaw.

hat star

This is NOT a co-op week, but we do have a lot to do this week - like Paint Peg Dolls for a swap. You know, AND SCHOOL! lol

I hope to blog a little more... without the distraction of FaceBook, I should be able to.

Have a great rest of your day all.

Love, hugs & blessings,

Em

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My Child ... The Saint?

Human beings are the beneficiaries of a God whose greatest delight is in giving presents to those who approach.  -from Accidental Theologians


Happy Wednesday!

I had a few moments to myself this morning, to pray and ponder. And I was thinking about a story I recently shared during a conversation with Melanie Jean Juneau. She posted a story called Pre-Natal Memories on Catholic Bloggers Network. In the conversation I shared a story with her about our son, Christopher.

When Christopher was four, I was putting him to bed one evening. And putting  him to bed at that age, meant reading the Children's Bible, singing songs (some that we made up), telling stories (that I made up), and whatever else he could get me to do in order to delay bedtime. HA! So annnywaaaay, here is the story (I looked it up in my "things Christopher has said" file):
Christopher blurted out, "mom, men can't marry men and women can't marry women!" I said, "who told you that?" (I know what you are thinking... why that question? Well, at the time, we had a male couple living next door. Wonderful guys... and I didn't know if an ugly neighbor had said something in front of the children outside... I mean, who knows, right?) So he said, "I just know!" I said, "but how do you know, did someone tell you?" He said, (dead seriously), "mom, I was with GOD for a long time before I was with you, and HE doesn't like that!" I said, "God told you that? You were with God?" He said, "yes, before I was with you and dad. I still remember it!"

Of course, my mind was racing. My child REMEMBERS being with God before he was with me?  What does this mean?  So, I shared the story with a Priest, who said that Christopher was very special and perhaps would be a Priest himself.  Christopher stated he wanted to be a Policeman before he was the Pope.. and that was the end of that.

Sure I think of it, from time to time, but do I really GET what he said? Do we really listen to our children and grasp the enormity of what their souls experienced before they came to be with us? God knows them before he knits them in our womb... so was my child really in tune with God before he was born? before he was in my womb? I wonder...

Then I think, what is MY responsibility as the mother of a child who had (maybe still has) that memory? I am not sure it is different than any other parent. You see, I believe all of our children were with God first.

Jeremiah 1 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

1 The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, 2 to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. 3 It came also in the days of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of King Zedekiah son of Josiah of Judah, until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month.

Jeremiah’s Call and Commission

4 Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” 6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” 7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.” 9 Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me, “Now I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”

You can read the rest here: Jeremiah 1: 1-19

If we listen to Our Lord... He puts words in our mouths. He guides us. How much more does He guide our children, who are so much more innocent than we are... who are much more open to Him in some ways, because life-experiences have not tainted their thinking?  I could go on and on...

My husband and I were stunned that our son said he was with God before us. In fact, my husband jokingly said Christopher should get us the winning lottery numbers in an attempt to make us laugh. lol Sigh. Adults can be so unopened to God in the small things...

In our Catholic Faith, we have many child Saints. Stories are shared about them and what they have gone through... but I wonder, how long did they "know" God? If they knew Him before they were born, is that why they are so special to Him? To all of us? It's something to think about? I found a great article on Child Saints. I'm sure there are MANY more. Child Saints As Role Models. Check it out.

4 year old collage

I would LOVE to hear your stories telling things your children have said to you about God!  And, of course, I wonder... will my child be a Saint? I don't know if he will be a Saint or not. But I'm watching and listening MORE. And God is in control, so.... I just want to do my part.

Have a great rest of your Wednesday!

Hugs & Blessings,

Em

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Frugal Pantry Tip - Repurposing...

When we keep our eye on God, we discover that we are both lowly/sinful (humility) and made in God’s image (graced). By focusing on God, the soul avoids illusion and avoids getting mired in the pettiness and misery of our sinfulness.  -from Accidental Theologians

Happy Tuesday All.

Today my post is not about a new recipe, per se. It's about creating foods out of leftovers.   I call it Repurposing. I mean - doesn't that sound better than Leftovers.

I make it a game sometimes with my son. You could have a contest to see who can come up with the best idea for repurposing food. You know? Make it their idea!

I am going to share with you an EASY PEASY repurpose with foods. Ready? So last Friday, we had fish and chips. Home-made fries... YUM. Whether your fries are home-made or store bought, you can make hash browns out of them.  We needed to use the potatoes, so we had plenty left over.

We are big garlic and onion people. If I'd had bell peppers, we'd have used those too.  We usually cook breakfast meat and make the hash browns in the same pan. If there is a lot of grease, pour some out. OR if you don't want to use the cooking grease, you can use olive oil.

  • First clean and then dice all the veggies you are going to use.
  • Then brown them in the pan.
Onions and Garlic Browning
  • The fries are already cooked, so just dice them.
  • Add them to the pan.
There is no right or wrong. You can see they are not diced perfectly.
  • Then you can spice them up. We use salt & pepper and sometimes cumin or season salt.
  • Cook until they taste like you want them too. We give ours a little more color... some of them are crispier.
  • Whatever we feel like.  We then make eggs and eat breakfast.
Plus, there is alway some to pack into two breakfast squares for the hubs to take to work for breakfast.

The bottom layer is hash browns, then scrambled eggs and two sausage links.

If you are counting, that is dinner for three people, breakfast one day for three people, and two take along breakfasts.  Not bad, ay?

Two more examples about repurposing food:
  1. Turkey Enchiladas - made out of leftover turkey.
  2. Meat Sauce - made out of frozen burgers I found in the freezer
BOTH YUMMY!

I have tons of new recipes to blog about at some point, but right now, I'm still working on using what I have and repurposing the leftovers. And to be honest, it feels kinda lame to be talking about repurposing food... but you know, it just may give one of you an idea... and then, it will be worth it.

I am going to link up with Try a New Recipe Tuesday, because I believe repurposed foods are new recipes. I hope it meets the criteria.

Have a great day!

Blessings all,

Em

Monday, February 9, 2015

Moments...

Weekly DayBook - 2015, Vol. 4

"We must stand up for the rights of our neighbour who is suffering from injustice; we must defend them all the more vigorously because we see Jesus present in them. Surely this is our duty because of our love for others for his sake. We have no right to be 'sleeping watchmen' or dumb watch-dogs. Whenever we see evil we must sound the alarm."  — Blessed Charles de Foucauld

Happy Monday All!

If you read the above quote and you believe in God, you know our jobs are NEVER done, here on earth. We must stand up for our Christian brothers and sisters... and anyone else we see being treated poorly. It's hard isn't it? To be nice when others have wronged you? Don't I know it...  Before I get to my post today, I wanted to tell you about Ginny's Post: Random Acts of Kindness. Check it out.  You know, sometimes all we can do is be kind and smile through the pain... whatever it s.

Um - it's BEAUTIFUL here in Fort Worth. We are in the 70's for the next few days. On one hand, I miss a good snow storm, but on the other hand... it's so nice to have the house open or to hike with family.

So yesterday, early afternoon, we decided to check out Eagle Mountain Lake. We have friends who go there often. It is gorgeous. AND it's chock full of history. Cowboys & Indians and plenty of wildlife... you know all the good stuff.  Enter Emily! Sigh...

Ok, I'm dreadfully overweight. My body is weak (due to spinal damage and lack of exercise (let's be honest).... and it was CHALLENGING and I was not so nice to my husband and son... who were only trying to help me. But I was hurting and I fell (slipped) and I lack confidence. Sigh. So there I was, amongst the beauty... and though I enjoyed lots of it, I did not make it fun for my family.... that, I regret. I actually had a few panic attacks... I just didn't think my body could do it. I did it... but I fought myself. Literally mind over matter.

And so, we are going back again and again, so we can enjoy family time together, and so I can master it.  Remember, my word this year is DETERMINED! And so, I found this Bible Verse. I will take it with me. I will memorize it and say it over and over:
Colossians 1: 11-12 ~ 11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled[a] you[b] to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 
God uses many moments to tame our egos. Sigh. We need to listen to Him!

TODAY, I’M…

Thankful For
  • Great Weather.
  • My husband has no tumor.
    • Thankful for him in general!
  • The right/privilege to homeschool!
  • Our Catholic Faith
  • My friends & extended family
  • Paper crafting…
  • Catholic Bloggers
  • YOU!
Of course, as always, I am thankful for many things. My list is endless. I just try to keep it interesting.

Thinking About…

Complaining. I wish I could stop the every -day complaining. The "they don't drive right", "OMG what is that person wearing", "I wish I had..." kind of complaints in my immediate surroundings (friends and family). I am/We are so guilty of it.

My Grandma Helen always said, "someone always has it worse", and she was so right. Sure, we don't want to hear it.... but it's true.  We are so stuck in the "have to haves", "must watch ____ show", etc.  that none of us have freedoms... or the resources to be free. Free from debt... free from chaos, etc.

But WHY?
  • Why do we care what someone has on?
  • Why do we care that a neighbor hasn't mowed their lawn?
  • Why do we act like people driving are out to get us?
  • Why can't we be happy with what we have?
  • Why can't we be good stewards of our earth?
  • Why are we self-conscious?
  • Why do we care what others think as long as we know GOD is happy with us?
  • Insert your own WHY here!
I REALLY DO NOT KNOW! Dang the humanity of it all!  I am better at some things than others... I know you are too. But don't you ever wonder why we can't just live happy lives and stop the madness that is whining and complaining?

Reading...
Wifing...

Elizabeth is hosting a P31 Series called Marriage Monday: Project P31. Today's post is called A Rare and Valuable Jewel (as in, don't act like I did yesterday while hiking - HA).

Here is part of her post:
The adjective describing this woman has been translated virtuousexcellentnoble in charactercapable, and good in various translations of the Bible. The actual Hebrew word chayil means strength, might, wealth, or army, and when used elsewhere in Scripture is most often translated as army or men of valor. So, when I think of this woman, I think of a woman who is strong, capable, courageous and worth an entire army to her family and her nation!  In fact, her value is priceless!

I've always wondered why the virtuous woman was not compared to a diamond, instead of a ruby.  But a little research taught me that a top quality 1-carat ruby is worth twice as much as a 1-carat diamond!  In fact, I learned that a clear, transparent, and faultless ruby of a uniform deep-red color is the most valuable precious stone known to man!  Such rubies are the rarest of the most precious gemstones and a large (5 carats or more) translucent ruby is worth millions of dollars!
I know that I am priceless to my husband. But am I worthy of it? In many ways yes... but in some, NO! Thank God he loves me. And thank God he knows how hard I try.

Our Assignment was this Mission below. I have answered the questions HONESTLY below.
Project P31, Mission #1:

Our mission for this week to focus on what's going on "beneath the surface" of our lives.  Are we spending time with the Lord and in His Word, learning to think His thoughts and value what He values?  NOT ENOUGH. I'VE BEEN SLACKING. BUT I PICKED IT BACK UP AND I SEE A DIFFERENCE. Are we carefully monitoring what we allowing to enter our minds and hearts, so that we can be pure and blameless in His sight? YES. BUT I BELIEVE THERE IS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT ALWAYS.  Are we submitting ourselves to the pressures He brings into our lives, knowing that He is using them for a purpose -- to fashion us into a rare and priceless "ruby?" IT IS HARD TO SEE EVERYTHING AS HAVING A GOOD PURPOSE... BUT IN THE END, WE MUST SEE LIFE THAT WAY. PRAISING GOD ALWAYS, EVEN IN THE HARD TIMES.

Never lose hope ladies (and gents). We are all capable of change, through Him! I believe we have to continue to work on ourselves and set a good example. Thanks Elizabeth for another great post.

In Our Kitchen…

We had a great week last week, and this week is starting with steak! Yep, after our walk yesterday, we ate a late lunch, so none of us wanted steak for dinner (I know).

This week, our menu looks like this:
  • Sunday - I had pretzels, humus and cottage cheese if ya wanna know the truth! My guys had equally snack meals.
  • Monday - Steak, Roasted Veggies, Mashed Potatoes
  • Tuesday - Beans & Rice
  • Wednesday - Shepard's Pie
  • Thursday - Leftovers
  • Friday - Shrimp Tacos
  • Saturday - Unsure. Probably an early dinner and then we are going to see Dr. Ben Carson speak at a homeschool conference.
I am going to try to post a quick, money saver, food repurposing post every week on Tuesdays. It may be a new recipe. But it may just be a way to spiff up leftovers. Check back for that tomorrow.

 In Our School…

We had a great week. I will try to find exciting things to talk about in school at some point.

Try not to panic or laugh... but I think we are changing back to MODG (for next year). I know I know - more work for me in many ways. But if I am being honest, the Principal and I talked about it. And though Seton is rigorous, my child HATES the repetitiveness of it. He likes Memorizing poems and such. So, back to the classical education style, we go. I know, right? I really thought he liked it... but he's a pleaser (sometimes) and he was trying to make it easy on me. But he is miserable. And people, when a child is miserable, they can't learn.

School has gotten so difficult, I really considered putting Christopher in Public School - I know! But he said, "mom, but I can't pray in Public School. What if they make fun of me for praying before I eat?" Sigh. I have no argument for THAT particular logic.

Plus, I think a happy student will make a happier school. I really thought Seton was better for gifted students... but I forgot that not all students are gifted or learn in the same way.  Plus, I'm not sure Seton is for GIFTED students or just more robotic in their teaching. I know - live and learn. Two years ago, I jumped ship from MODG. I didn't think it was challenging enough.

But my challenge is ME. What? Yes... more on that, another day. lol

We have decided not to do Co-Ops next year. I find them unwelcoming and cliquish. I know - that is likely just me. But as a mom who is 10 - 25 years older than most moms I know... let's just say, my experience has taught me this.  We will, instead take music and art lessons... something like that.

Praying For…
  • Our Nation & World
  • Mental & Physical Welfare of friends & family.
  • Our Pope and Clergy.
  • For more joy in the little things…
  • The softening of people’s hearts!
Captured…

My guys on the trail.
About half-way through, we rested. This is ME!
Lake water is very low, but beautiful.

 This is a group of trees whose roots are intertwined.

I told you... JUST GORGEOUS!

This week is a Co-Op Week. We are studying Saint Francis of Assisi. The children LOVE him, so it should be fun!

Today I am linking up with the following great ladies…
And now, I my student stayed up too late last evening. And he woke up nauseated because of it. Awww.... so now I have to wake him up and get school started.

Have a great rest of your day all.

Love, hugs & blessings,

Em

Friday, February 6, 2015

Successes, Quick Takes & Miscellaneous Wit...

Only sinners have the patience to listen to the stories Jesus tells. The self-righteous hear them but don’t listen. Hearing happens when the ears and the brain team up, but listening happens with the                                                     ears of the heart. -from Startled By God


Happy Friday All!


Let me describe the scene as I survey my home... I did shower and dress this morning. But honestly, for me, I got little else done. No make up. Yes, we did a couple hours of school. But then we fell asleep. The couch and recliner have blankets on them... the dining table has a completed puzzle (that I may or may not ever buy puzzle glue for and have framed)... the kitchen had unloaded dishwasher items in front of the cabinets they go in (except the items are on the counter).... it's 6pm and dinner is not going yet. The classroom is a disaster. But in my defense (Um - of course, I get a defense), it is also the craft room, mail center and part office. I say part office, because my computer sits in the living room. If we move upstairs, I'd have to be honest and tell you there is not a MADE bed in the house. Our bed is so uncomfy because the mattress we bought a few years ago just sucks... they replaced it... still sucks.... SOOOO we sometimes sleep in the guest room. Meanwhile - I take that back, Christopher has the only made bed. HA But then there is the playroom... Lego everywhere. The end.

You're welcome. You see - NO ONE IS PERFECT!  Least of all "this girl".

About my week...

Linking up @ Catholicmom.com for Small Success Thursday (so, Jaime did it last week on Friday... I can too, right? HA!).

Small-Success-Thursday-250px

Successes:

1) NO TUMOR! Six years ago, my husband had a seizure and was in the hospital for a week. He was diagnosed as having a severe inner ear infection and vertigo. He has had severe headaches since then. About six weeks ago (or so), Marque had another bad episode while in Colorado. So I made him see our doctor the day after he returned. Then he went to a Neurologist. During the exam, the doctor asked if anyone had ever followed up on the tumor in his right frontal lobe. EXCUSE ME! Um no, that would be no, we had never been told that.  Long story short, it's gone. Whatever it was vanished. Now... there is another issue, but I am not going to blog about it. Sigh. We think it's manageable.

2) DINNER WITH FRIENDS. We so enjoyed dinner with friends. YAY It's a rare treat to go to dinner during the week. I did tell ya'll about Prince Lebanese Grill, right? If you live in DFW - TRY IT!  And let me just add, we also visited friends.... THAT was fun too.

3) SWIMMING IN HEATED POOL. I read. My son swam. Win-Win. Here's a picture.

IMG_3096

Meanwhile, we stayed in a hotel overnight. I didn't' have to make dinner or breakfast/lunch the next day. Honestly - Fantastic little overnight.  My husband brought us goodies from his conference too - BONUS!

Linking up with This Aint the Lyceum's 7QTF

seven-quick-takes-friday-2

Quick Takes:

7 Things We are Doing This Weekend.

  1. Picking up pottery from a pottery painting excursion with friends.

  2. Making cards....

  3. Going to A Casino Night. We've never been to one and are excited.

  4. Playing Outside in the fantastic weather.

    1. my guys will be practicing baseball.



  5. Signing Christopher up for Baseball.

  6. Going to Mass.

  7. Relaxing (YEAH RIGHT!)... With cooking, cleaning, etc... is there really time to relax? Hopefully.


Lame quick takes I know...

But I am have nothing witty to add. My wit has LEFT the building. I think it's napping. Anywhoooo... I'm going to go make fish & chips for my family. It's Friday and that means meatless in our home.

Ya'll have a good one...

Love, Hugs & Blessings,

Em

 

 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Moments - Em's Daybook

Daybook - 2015, Vol. 3









"Think well. Speak well. Do well. These three things, through the mercy of God, will make a man go to Heaven."
— St. Camillus

Happy Tuesday!

Today we are having school, then we are going to go a town or so over and spend the night with Marque in a hotel while he attends a conference. Hey - the boy loves an indoor pool AND tonight we are having dinner with friends @Prince Lebanese Grill. Marque and I saw the restaurant on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives several years ago and we ate there on our Anniversary that year.  Everything made from scratch. We love it.

Guess what I forgot to tell ya'll. There is a blog called Will Write for Tomato Pie. And she interviewed me as part of the Working Moms series. Check it out HERE! And yes, yes I do work.

TODAY, I’M…

Thankful For

  • The thought of 70 Degree Days! (we will have two this week - don't hate!)

  • My husband

  • The right/privilege to homeschool!

  • Our Catholic Faith

  • My friends & extended family

  • Paper crafting…

  • Catholic Bloggers

  • YOU!


Of course, as always, I am thankful for many things. My list is endless. I just try to keep it interesting.

Thinking About...

Parental Rights. I think we are all entitled to believe what we want; raise our children how we see fit (of course I'm not talking about abuse or drugs or anything unseemly); and I think as parents we should RESPECT other's choices.  There is a difference in disagreeing respectfully and being belligerent and ugly.

  • We homeschool.

  • We eat mostly fresh foods. Natural food. I personally think MOST organics are just paying for the name. But Natural is the same in my book (mostly).

  • We are Catholic.

  • We discipline our child and teach manners.

  • We vaccinate. (You did know that was coming, right?)


About vaccines... The sin of EGO, PRIDE and FEAR are so rampant on both sides of this major issue (probably most major issues). So much so, it's enough to make a normal person ill. I'm personally sick of hearing about it (you know, which is why I am blogging it).

I personally feel time and statistics have proven the value of vaccines. I would not, knowingly, use a vaccine that is created from aborted fetal tissue. As a Christian, I can not condone that. NOR do I believe it necessary.  HOWEVER, I prefer to derive my facts from what I believe are LOGICAL sources. Most importantly, I would NEVER be a fan of taking someone's liberty/dignity/choice away.

I prefer articles like this: Dear Anti-Vaxers, We're Not Mad At YouRoald Dahl's Heartbreaking Take on Vaccines AND Matt Walsh's - So Should We Just Round Up the Anti-Vaccine Parents and Ship Them to Guantanamo? Here is what he said on FB about it:
This is my "anti-vaccine" post that isn't an anti-vaccine post but a pro-freedom post. That distinction continues to ellude many, despite my stating upfront that my own kids are vaccinated. Now, please click the link, read, and share, but I have a few other points I'd like to make:

1) If you believe in forced vaccinations because you're afraid of unvaccinated people, but you aren't stringently anti-illegal immigration, then you're a hypocrite.

2) If you believe that parents don't have the right to decline a shot for their kid, but do have the right to murder their kid, then you're a hypocrite. And seemingly insane. It's possible to oppose forced vaccinations and abortion, but I don't see how any sane human being could support forced vaccinations on the logic that the unvaccinated MIGHT hurt another child, but oppose abortion regulations on the logic that we have an absolute right to directly hurt and kill children. It makes no sense. It's nonsense. And people who hold these two views lose the right to be taken seriously. 

3) As I've stated now a hundred times, this isn't a post about the pros and cons of vaccines per se. But please don't tell me that there isn't "any good reason" to decline a vaccine. We've already covered kids who are sick with cancer or some immune deficiency. And then you might have ethical objections to the fact that aborted babies were used in the development of some of these drugs. And then you might have a religious objection. And then you might just be super cautious and nervous about the potential side effects, of which there are many, even if rare and unlikely. There are plenty of reasons why someone might decline a vaccine. I didn't decline them, but someone might, and that doesn't make them kooky or psychotic. Whatever the reason, we're entitled to them, and you don't have to agree. That's the essence of liberty.

Opinions and living the life WE see fit are about personal liberty. It is past time for Americans to learn that we have to protect our rights and the rights of others... not impose our opinions on others to the point we take their rights away.

I am not talking about MORAL issues or saving someone's soul. I'm talking about valuing their right to do things their way.... as you would want the same in return.

If you don't like it that your friends don't vaccinate - keep your unvaccinated children away from them. If I had a baby, I probably would choose to keep my child away from people who don't vaccinate.... just because I would not want to take any chances. But that is MY RIGHT!

  • Just like  homeschooling...

  • Just like  going to whatever Parish Church we want...

  • Just like  eating Organic vs. Non-Organic...

  • Like wearing my veil in the presence of Christ...

  • Just like so many other choices...


In four words or less:

  • MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!

  • PUT ASIDE YOUR EGO!

  • MAKE YOUR ADVICE HELPFUL!


Why can't we all just GET ALONG?!

Wifing...

Check out The Marriage Monday post Aspiring to Become a Model P31! love it. I love her posts because they are common sense. We all know we will NEVER be perfect. But we can try to be a more loving and virtuous wife, right?

As a Catholic woman, I love that she focuses on Mary as our end-goal (in terms of the kind of woman we want to emanate). She says,
"Perhaps it will help if you realize that it wasn't a man who gave us this description of the ideal wife -- it was a woman! This woman was the wise mother of a young prince who would one day be king!  After teaching him some important lessons about leadership in verses 1-9, she taught him the characteristics of the type of wife he should seek in verses 10-31. Because he was still a lad, she organized the list of qualities to look for in a wife into an acrostic poem based on the Hebrew alphabet. That means that each line of this section of Scripture began with one of the 22 consecutive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This format made it easier to memorize and recite these instructions.  So, in other words, what we have here are the ABC's of Godly Womanhood!"

I don't try to be MARY, because I never will be. But I do strive to learn from Her and be like Her. Does that make sense? I don't have to be intimidated by anyone's perfect image because THEY are not ME!

In Our Kitchen…

We just finished the Pantry Challenge. It was awesome. Just concentrating on using what we have and sticking to a budget saved us about $300 this past month.  Praying we make the same thing happen on a regular basis. Sigh.

This week, our menu looks like:

  • Sunday - We made burgers around 2pm because we knew we were going to a Superbowl party.

  • Monday - Stuffed Portabellos

  • Tuesday - Lebanese with friends.

  • Wednesday - Cobb Salad

  • Thursday - Turkey Enchiladas

  • Friday - Fish & Chips (and salad)

  • Saturday - Steaks (unless we go to Casino Night @ Church).


Here are a couple of things going on in my kitchen:

[caption id="attachment_5290" align="aligncenter" width="292"]FullSizeRender 7 Chicken Lid Holder. You can grip the side of a lid or the top of one. LOVE IT![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_5291" align="aligncenter" width="332"]FullSizeRender 3 copy I love my new toaster, and Christopher makes us cheesy toast.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_5292" align="aligncenter" width="366"]IMG_3052 Sweet Potato Wedges with brown mustard glaze. So good.[/caption]

 

 In Our School…

We are doing better than the last time we "spoke". My student is taking things more seriously and I am trying to lighten up... just a little.

Praying For…

  • Our Nation & World

  • Mental & Physical Welfare of friends & family.

  • Our Pope and Clergy.

  • For more joy in the little things…

  • The softening of people’s hearts!


Captured…

[caption id="attachment_5293" align="aligncenter" width="280"]1922171_661153187330260_310539381394854373_n Catholic Problems. HA[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_5294" align="aligncenter" width="353"]FullSizeRender ... beer with a Saint Theme. Just saying![/caption]

 

Today I am linking up with the following great ladies...

And now, I have to get packing, finishing laundry, schooling and back to LIFE!

Have a great rest of your day all.

Love, hugs & blessings,

Em

Monday, February 2, 2015

Success! We Rocked the Pantry Challenge

What matters is not spirituality, not religion, not perfection, not success or failure or this or that, but simply God, and freedom in His Spirit. All the rest is pure stupidity.  -from Simply Merton


Happy Monday.

A few things of note, then my pantry challenge news.

First... This post was going to be my DayBook, but I will do that tomorrow, or maybe even later on today! I have to be honest, for the past few years, I've lived my life perpetually behind. Do you ever feel that way?  I have to much to do, I'm unmotivated... then I make myself feel guilty... and I am happily working my way back to being more motivated and organized. Pray for me?!

Upon our tax returns I will see a naturopath and get some direction as to what is best for someone who can't take estrogen (you know, unless I want my blood pressure to be 200/100). Until then, you, my faithful readers, will just have to be patient. I thank you!  I am not complaining, mind you, just informing....   And NO - I am not giving up my regular doctor. I think modern medicine is great. But when they don't have solutions, I think it's fantastic to be able to consult someone who can present you (me, in this case) with options!

Catholic Women's Veiling Devotion Group. I left the group.  Last year, I really wanted to leave it and I did.. but I went back. When I started the group, I loved veiling and wanted to evangelize it. But in the end, all the men who tried to join, the women who want to be ugly to one-another... and the assumption that because it is MY group, I am the one who deleted this person or that... just grated on me. Not only that... but I got to the point where I wanted to say, "wear the veil, don't wear the veil, but shut the ___ up!" and I'm mature enough to know that is not a good thing. When you answer the same question 75 different ways for 18 months... when you spend your precious time deleting posts or telling women they can't say/do something because they just can't help being ugly... when women join who are so strange that they have to post pictures of themselves every day and post them online in ten different groups.. because they can't get enough attention... when you and the admin team are accused of somehow being involved in someone committing suicide (the person is very much alive and selling what she calls head coverings veils on Etsy) and her mother goes on some crazy rampage about it... when you are more traditional than not (not belligerent traditional), and you lose friends because you won't let the, tell others they HAVE TO DO SOMETHING the Church does not say they have to do - just because it used to be done... It gets old! I could go on, but I think YOU GET THE POINT! I You see, the devil is strong and I don't want any part of it.  I hope and pray the group will go on and do great things AND that the women in the group will realize the damage they do to one-another. But I want to veil in peace and enjoy the devotion I love.  Other Admin have left for the same reason. I had to step away. Any questions, read the quote above.

Pantry Challenge - Final Report.

As you know, we participated in the pantry challenge from Good Cheap Eats. Jessica has moved on to Whole 30 meal planning. I have not had a chance to read up on that, but I'm sure it is spectacular.

I can not tell you how great it feels to have a really great budget/meal planning Month.  Yes, I have always done meal plans. But this time, I approached the challenge in a different way. The challenge is going to be how we live our meal plan. We are going to (with the exception of dairy, produce, personal needs and pet needs) shop monthly. We are super excited about this. This will allow us to ONLY have things that are current (I'm still reeling from all I had to toss).

I have a spreadsheet of everything in our freezers/pantry. Well, actually I am adding to it today all the things we FoodSaved and replenished with over the weekend.

What I/we Learned This Year...

  • that I have not really done the pantry challenge right in years past, because I haven't taken it seriously. That may be harsh, but I figure, it's good to be honest.

  • That as a family of three, we really need to be careful what we buy and careful to use what we have before it ruins in the freezer.  We have so many frozen produce, sauce, and cooked beans...

  • planning breakfasts and lunches is a great idea. More work. But still good. I have resisted this in the past. But I'm into it now.

  • we can live off of about half of what we were spending IF we stay diligent. We saved over $400.

  • we really enjoy being creative with food. This we knew, but it's always good to be reminded. Leftovers can become something totally different.


Saturday, Marque and I went to Costco to replenish our meats. We have avoided it for over a month... and we enjoy Costco.  This is what our backseat looks like with Costco.  I know I know - Minecraft Books, Beer (Irish) and FoodSaver Bags, toilet paper, fruit, bagels... but no snacks and no junk. LOL Sigh.

[caption id="attachment_5285" align="aligncenter" width="500"]IMG_3078 Backseat after Costco.[/caption]

We love to buy bulk meat and split it into meals.

[caption id="attachment_5284" align="aligncenter" width="500"]IMG_3079 For us, this is 14+ meals. We are a family of three![/caption]

Additionally, we went to Kroger and bought some Cod and shrimp to round out our meats. Between the two, we have a month or so worth of meat in our freezer. And so, I start my own Freezer/Pantry Challenge Monthly.

I will share my menu with you tomorrow. But tonight is Stuffed Portobello mushrooms & veggie sides (Marque has greens. Christopher and I will have green beans).

And so - my post is done. I've got to get to my normal Monday glamour of laundry, homeschool, etc...

Have a great day.

Blessings,

Em