Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Faith & Family

I have to take this time to tell you just how beautiful this magazine is! I signed up to receive a free copy (it's published 6 x's a year) and just got the November/December issue yesterday.
Ladies, it's gorgeous!! Glossy pages, sturdy composition, fabulous color...Oh. My. Gosh. I just love it! Yea, Faith and Family!!
Of course, I crave good Catholic material. We went to the library yesterday to get a few books for my son and I picked up one of Mother Teresa's books, No Greater Love. It's like water to the thirsty soul.
Which brings me to the point of this post. Do you find yourself wading in the waters of your faith and experiencing a disconnect of sorts? Maybe it's just me, but society today seems to be either secular or mainstream Christian. Where does a good Catholic mom fit in? How can we live our faith and grow relationships with other moms? Can we be in the world, but not of the world?
Let me first say that I am absolutely, positively an amateur on this subject as I am a convert of 3-1/2 yrs. So, with that out of the way let's figure out a way to swim in the deep blue waters of our Catholic faith.
For me, committing myself to pray the Rosary on a daily basis has been an enormous help. I find that I always go to Our Lady when I am feeling the weakest. She knows. She's been there, done that, got the t-shirt! But...She was bathed in the Lord's graces. She can lead us to her Holy Son and we need her intercession. If at first you don't succeed, try Our Lady!
A bloggin' Catholic mom whose post I most enjoy also has a divine love for Our Lady. She has an email group you can join where she publishes, "Mary Vitamin, Your Daily Recommended Allowance of Marian Devotion".
I also try to devote at least 1/2 of my daily reading - blogs, books, magazines, etc. - to Catholic material. I enjoy so many Catholic Moms' blogs and have learned so much. Although I've never actually met any of these moms, you begin to feel a closeness and a faith connection. It's great to hear how they deal with life in their home and how they are cultivating our Faith in their families.
I also enjoy podcasts from www.sqpn.com . I can't even begin to list the available topics at this site, but suffice to say it's loaded with great Catholic stuff!
Well, stranger-friends, these are just a few things that have helped me to grow in our Faith, remain loyal to the Magesterium and maintain a Catholic culture in our home.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Beth Moore GiveAway!!!

I just love a GiveAway, don't you? Well, Lisa over at The Preacher's Wife is having a GiveAway that is gonna absolutely, positively bless someone's socks off!! Go check it out!
The drawing will be on Monday, October 29th, so enter now!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Frugal Olive Garden Dinner

I don't know about you but I love going out to dinner. The prices, though, can be steep to feed the entire family. One of the kids favorite places is Olive Garden so I've come up with a few recipes to re-create the Olive Garden experience at a fraction of the price!

Pasta e Fagioli
1lb ground beef, browned and drained
1 sm (1cup) onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lg (1cup) carrot, julienned
3 stalks (1cup) celery, diced
15oz can of tomato sauce
12oz can of V-8
2-14 oz cans of diced tomatoes
15 oz can kidney beans
15 oz can great northern beans (or navy beans)
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
1 pkg Datali pasta (or any other small tubular pasta), cooked and drained

Sweat onion, garlic, carrot and celery in large soup pot for 10 minutes. Add beef and simmer 3-5 minutes. Add rest of ingredients (EXCEPT PASTA) and simmer for 1 hour. During the last 10 minutes add cooked pasta.

Serve with garlic butter bread sticks (I buy a box of 6 or 8 at Wal-Mart for less than $2) and Caesar salad.

If that's not enough to satisfy you or if you're entertaining, try adding Spaghetti or Lasagna or Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo.

Quick Alfredo Sauce (from my favorite...The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook)
1/2 cup butter (I wouldn't substitute margarine...hey, I didn't say this was the 'healthy' version)
1/2 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 TBS chopped fresh parsley
1/8 tsp nutmeg (optional)

Cook butter and whipping cream over low heat until butter has melted. Add cheese and next 3 ingredients; add nutmeg if desired. Pour over pasta and toss well.

(one note - this sauce will separate as it cools; it is best eaten the same day it is made as in my experience it does not reheat well)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Works For Me: Color Coded Calendar!

Well I've already admitted to being a freak of sorts when it comes to organization so I might as well let you in on one of my favorites.

I color code my calendar! Veggie Boy is blue, Saucy Girl is red, The Coach is orange (school colors) and I am green. By using colors I eliminate the need to write names with activities. My calendar has one week on two pages so each day is...well, not small but not huge either. By not writing names with everything I save space and can fit all the activities, appointments, reminders, etc. on each day! And, at a quick glance I can see who has something scheduled without trying to visually wade through the blue/black ink.

On Monday I asked for your input in creating a Home Management binder (by the way, I've not heard from you yet!) so my calendar will be a part of a larger notebook come January. I can't wait to get started on it.

So, I admit it's a little neurotic but hey...it Work's For Me!

Don't forget to visit Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer for more Works-For-Me Wednesday tips!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tiny Talk Tuesday

During a conversation regarding whether or not we'd attend a homeschool fieldtrip...

Me: Do you want to go see Slim Goodbody?
Veggie Boy (9) : Mom, he's been doing that for, like, a hundred years and I saw him last year. He's lost his luster.

(ok, Veggie Boy is not so tiny anymore, but he still says the funniest stuff sometimes.)

Check out other Tiny Talk Tuesday postings at Not Before 7.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Recipe Update

Last week I tried out a new recipe for Spicy Beans and they were GOOD. I had to separate out a couple of servings into a small crock pot for Veggie Boy and the kids enjoyed their version.

Here's the recipe...roughly anyway...I'm not very good about measuring stuff out.

One pound of pinto beans into the crock pot (with plenty of water) on high
Add jalapenos (I used half a jar of the nacho-style with juice)
Add a chopped onion
Add chili powder (maybe a tablespoon?)
Add salt & pepper to taste
Add a splash or two (or three) of Worcestershire sauce

Brown one pound (more or less) of ground beef and drain. Add to beans.
Add any other meat you'd like :-)...you could add in ground sausage or smoked sausage...I added about 7 strips of raw center-cut bacon (I cut them into bite size pieces)

Cook on high for 6+ hours - the longer the better

Top with grated cheese and serve with cornbread (and sweet tea, of course!)

Happy Eating!

Home Management Journal

Ok stranger-friends, I freely admit to being an organizational freak. So in that spirit I am requesting your wisdom and experience with home management journals, binders, notebooks, etc. I've read of some calling it their "control journal". Do you have one? What do you include in it?
I know that Crystal uses a Homekeeping Journal and I've seen a few posts regarding it. I might have to buy one of her ebooks to get the 4-1-1. I thought maybe a few of you are as crazy about organization as I am and would have some fab idea's for me!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sit Down, This Is A Big One!

I've decided to take the plunge and announce that .... drumroll, please ... We are homeschooling! (well, Veggie Boy anyway) Wow. That's wasn't as scary as I had been anticipating.

In "A Change in Perspective" I shared how God was working on me through my weekly bible study. The topic for the week that followed was 'control'. Ouch. Those first two weeks were really hot topics for me. Each day was difficult to open the study guide and delve into another day of soul searching and realizations. It wasn't easy, but I did it. I released the idea of homeschooling to God. I had to completely trust that He would let us know when/if it was to happen.

Because I had done a lot of reading about homeschool, we had begun to develop goals and expectations for our children's education. It was becoming increasingly apparent that they were not being met at Veggie Boy's school. I conferenced with the teacher, counselor and principal all on separate occasions to no avail. Without going into the details and reasoning for our position, I'll give one example...his teacher (whom I might add was a PE teacher for 15 years, a sub for the last 2 yrs in another district and now in the classroom - 3rd grade TAKS no less) told me that her teaching "style" was to do a lot of boardwork followed up with worksheets to reinforce the lessons...80+ worksheets in 3 weeks of school!! Again, 3rd. grade. Eight and nine yrs old. Enough said?

When I requested a syllabus/scope & sequence/curriculum outline from his teacher I told her that it was difficult to bridge the gap between home & school if I don't know what school is doing. Once I get a graded paper, I cannot help...it's graded. Anyway, she promptly printed out all 42 pages of TEA's TAKS guidelines for 3rd grade. When I told the coach about this situation, he said that we should homeschool.

I released the situation to God, quit carrying the homeschool card in my back pocket and trusted that He would show us when/if.

Blessings, stranger-friends!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Provided by FLMNetwork.com
How 'bout them Cowboys?!

Okay. I know I've been away from the blogshere for a while, but keeping with up daily life and a blog can sometimes get a little hairy. I truly enjoy writing my thoughts and sharing the on-goings of our life, but sometimes I need to just direct my attention elsewhere. Thanks for sticking around!

This week's menu will be pretty normal. I am trying to add a new recipe each week, so I'll let you know how they turn out.

MONDAY - Spicy Beans (*New Recipe*), Rice (for the kids), Cornbread

TUESDAY - Ritzy Chicken & Fresh Spinach

WEDNESDAY - Pasta (this is a busy afternoon/evening full of dance so we eat a light dinner between classes)

THURSDAY - Southwest Chicken (Crock-Pot) over rice or in a tortilla

FRIDAY - Dinner at the Fieldhouse...The Coach's game is Saturday night, so he is hosting "Dinner & A Movie" for the players on Friday night (he likes to know where they are...you know, "It's 10pm...do you know where you're football team is?" He will.)

Be sure to check out the other menu's at I'm An Organizing Junkie!