Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I was looking through my older posts and came across this post where I announced my 5th pregnancy. I can't believe it has been over a year since I announced I was pregnant with baby number five. I asked for prayers for the health of our baby and for the strength to be a mother of five children. I thank all of you who prayed and I thank God because those prayers were answered. Benjamin is a healthy baby boy and I am a cool, calm, and collected mom. Ok I may be exaggerating the last part.

It does seem with every child we are blessed with the easier it is. The baby is always more relaxed and calm, it may be because mom and dad are more relaxed and calm.

Benjamin has brought so much joy to our family in the four short months he has been with us. My five year old is constantly telling us how glad she is that we had another baby, even if he is a boy. She says she would like us to have another baby only if it's a girl. I tell her she will have to settle for our dog and bird who are both girls for right now.

As I looked back on the posts before my pregnancy announcement I came across a poem I posted. I am not sure if I knew I was pregnant when I posted it, but I know I didn't know Little Ben was going to be a boy.

This poem will forever be Ben's Christmas poem, to him from me.

The Mothers Song
Eskimo poem translated by Peter Freuchen

It is so still in the house
There is a calm in the house,
The snowstorm wails out there,
And the dogs are rolled up with snouts under tails.
My little boy is sleeping on the ledge,
On his back he lies, breathing through his open mouth.
His little stomach bulging round-
Is it strange if I start to cry with joy?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An Advent Breather

I have been running around like a mad woman trying to get Christmas together for the big day. Since I do most of my shopping online I have really been running around like a mad women in my head. I have been staying up at night fretting over what presents I should buy, who did I forget, am I spending too much money, you know the usual.

Today I took a breather, I just let it be Advent today and wow did it feel good. The whole family woke up bright and early to get ready for the 8:30 am Liturgy my son's third grade class was doing. We got everyone ready in the nick of time. Well two of our children were late for school but we made it to Mass on time!

I sat in the pew with my husband and my two younger children and just felt a sigh of relief. No shopping, no dead lines, no worrying if the sweater I bought for Aunt Betty was the right color, none of that. It was just Advent and it was beautiful.

I love Christmas, I love to celebrate the birth of our Lord. I love Santa and being with lots of family, but I think I would get lost in all the shuffle if it wasn't for Advent.

I work every year to be more in tune with the preparing for Christ's birth we Catholics call Advent. This year I am doing better than the last. I seem to find little nooks where there is nothing but Advent, like today at the third grade Liturgy or like the other day when I opened my front door and heard the Church bells playing the song Noel.

I find that each year I get better at not being too busy to catch these beautiful glimpses of Advent.

May the rest of your Advent be blessed with joy and beautiful glimpses.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Make Your Own Baby Toys

My little Benjamin will be 4mo old this Christmas and there is really not to much he can play with at that age. Also baby toys are a bit on the pricey side. I am lucky to have a second hand shop close to me where I can purchase the expensive baby toys for about $1 or so.

Like the adults who enjoy receiving homemade goodies, children enjoy it too. There is something about homemade toys that make you feel loved. If you have children you probably have a mountain of plastic toys in your home. If you threw some away your children probably wouldn't miss them. But then you have the special toys, in my children's case the wooden toys grandpa makes, the dolls grandma made, all those toys are loved in a different way and would be missed if something happened to them.

I am not a toy maker in any way but I came across these very cute and very easy toys that a person with no experience can make.

These toys will save you money and I am sure will be cherished for years to come.

I made this bunny and it turns out very cute. If you already have the sewing supplies all you need is an old T-shirt. For the stuffing you could use the stuffing inside an old stuffed animal you have or get a stuffed animal at the thrift store and use that stuffing.

This is adorable for Christmas or any time.

Here is an easy pattern to make a soft ball for baby to play with.

I love this one. The chick is so cute and colorful not to mention easy to make.

Make a cute little kitty out of a towel.

These are just a few of the homemade toys I have come across. Go HERE and HERE to see more homemade toys and how to make them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Frugal Homemade Christmas Gifts-Apple Butter and Apple Bread

Christmas is right around the corner and for me this time of the year is a challenge when you are trying to be frugal.

I went to a baby shower recently and all the gifts were homemade by the mom-to-be's family. The guests went ga-ga over these homemade gifts. People like homemade gifts from the heart.

I was thinking homemade would be the way to go this holiday season. I need to watch my pennies and at the same time give a little something to my friends and family.

Everyone likes to eat, and I thought a jar of homemade apple butter and apple bread or muffins would be perfect.

I can start right now and by the time Christmas rolls around all my gifts will be ready to go.
Another plus is apples are in season right now and VERY cheap at the fruit markets and orchards.

Homemade apple butter does not have to be hard, go HERE to read how making apple butter in the crock pot is super easy.

If you don't know how to can you can go HERE to get instructions and tips on canning.

Now for the apple bread or muffins. I made THIS RECIPE and it was delicious!

Canned apple butter will last a long time and when you bake your bread you can put it in the freezer.

When the gift giving season comes around, thaw the bread, grab your jars of apple butter, and you're ready to put a smile on someones face for Christmas!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Beans and Rice, Rice and Beans

If you are familiar with Dave Ramsey you know his saying "Beans and Rice, Rice and Beans" if your not, Dave uses this saying when he is helping people get out of debt and get control of their money situation. Basically he tells people to do whatever you can to decrease your debt, save money and build a financial future, even if it means you will have to eat "Rice and Beans" while you are doing it.

My family is following the Dave Ramsey plan but we have yet had to go in the rice and beans direction. I was thinking that we do like beans and we do like rice so it would not be too hard to literally eat rice and beans.

Here are two blog post that I came across which take the saying "rice and beans" and make it a reality, and these ladies make it sound good!

Whether you want or need to eat rice and beans for a week, or you are looking for frugal meals, or if gosh darn it you just like rice and beans these posts are for you.

You can go to How to Eat Rice and Beans For a Week, by Money Saving Mom and this post HERE by But First,We Have Coffee.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Frugal Recipie- Pork Shoulder Tacos and Taco Soup

These are favorite recipes for my family. They are my favorite because my husband does all the cooking in one day and the rest of the week I only need to heat it up, plus they are delicious!

Eating leftovers is a key way to save money on your groceries and if a recipe tastes great there should be no problem eating it again the next day. You can always spice up leftovers with added ingredients and different side dishes.

I have a family of seven and the Pork shoulder Tacos and Soup could last us all week if we wanted or needed it to.

Pork Shoulder Tacos

One Pork Shoulder (I buy one for about $12, this size gives a huge amount of meat)

Two sliced onions

Two diced jalapenos

Three garlic cloves

Half a pack of bacon

Two Limes

Spice Mixture (We don't measure the spices, we put how much we like, but we come out with a full cup of the spice mixture)

Garlic powder
Onion powder
Cayenne pepper
Black pepper
Chili powder
Little cinnamon

Cut the shoulder into three equal pieces.

Put the pieces of the pork shoulder in a large pot and cover it with water.

Add half of spice mix

Boil it for two and a half hours

Once the meat easily breaks apart, pull it out of the water
remove the fatty parts and shred the rest with two forks.

(Keep the liquid in the pot you boiled the shoulder in, this will be for the soup)

In another pot, cook the half pack of bacon.

When the bacon is done, remove it and add two sliced onions, two diced jalapenos and three garlic cloves to the bacon grease and cook until the onions are soft.

Add the shredded meat to the pot with the onions. Add the remaining spice mixture and the crumbled cooked bacon. Mix it up and cook it for about 5 minutes

Squeeze Lime Juice on the taco meat before serving.

Put The pork shoulder Taco meant on your tortillas and add any fixings you would like.

(You will need to save some of the shredded Taco meat for the soup, but trust me you will have plenty.)

Pork Shoulder Taco Soup

One large can of Chicken broth

Six Roma tomatoes

Two onions

Four garlic cloves

Salt and pepper to taste

Add Chicken broth to the water you boiled the pork shoulder in. We use equal amounts water to broth, which makes a full stock pot, (about one large can of chicken broth.)

In a blender blend...
Six roma tomatoes
Two onions
Four garlic cloves

Take the blended ingredients and add to the broth.

Add the shredded pork (As much or as little as you want)

Heat for about 10 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

The soup is delicious on it's own but you can add tortilla chips, cheese, noodles or whatever you would like.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Coupons For Troops

You can help out the Troops by sending them your expired coupons.

Go HERE and HERE to find out how to send these families your expired coupons.

You can also go HERE to adopt a base. This website gives clear instructions on how to send the coupons.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Weighty Matters

Baby Ben will be one month old tomorrow. Time sure does fly by.

Now is the time for me to get back in shape and loose the baby weight. I am going to use Weight Watchers to slim back down. I love this way of eating because it keeps me accountable for everything I put into my mouth. I have joined Weight Watchers before in between pregnancies and I lost weight in a short amount of time and I felt healthy while doing it.

I found a great Weight Watchers Blog that shares recipes and valuable tips. You can view the blog here.

I won't know my weight until my Doctors appointment later this month. (I got rid of my home scale) I am not going to obsess over the numbers, I am going to judge my success by the way I feel.

Wish me luck!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Say Hello to Baby Benjamin!

Here he is! He was born Aug 10th and today he is two weeks old!

God has blessed me with the calmest most wonderful newborn.

He has stolen my heart just like my other children. I am madly in love!

He is doing great and I am recovering well. The delivery was uneventful, thank God. It was a quick and easy surgery.

Thank you for all your prayers and well wishes.

Peace and Love

Thursday, July 9, 2009

One Month

I have one month to go before I see my beautiful son. I have been doing some complaining these last couple of months, the swelling, weight gain, not being able to lay down when I want to. Having to go to the Doctors twice a week for non-stress tests is not fun, especially when I have to take the kids with me.

Now that the end is near I found myself thinking, what was I complaining about? This pregnancy wasn't so bad. It actually went by fast and was uneventful.

I don't know how things will go, if this will be the last time I am ever pregnant again. I really do not like being pregnant, but the thought of NEVER being pregnant again makes me feel a little sad.

Pregnancy and giving birth is a miraculous thing. There are sacrifices, pain, and worry, but then to think about the life that is created wipes everything bad away. God is so good and generous with His gifts. Even the ones that are wrapped in swollen ankles and stretch marks.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

NameThat Baby!

I am having a hard time naming this new little guy we are about to have. My husband is pretty much going with anything I am coming up with. I just can't make up my mind.

So far my favorites are Gabriel and Damien. What do you in blog land think of these names?

All my other children have three syllable first names and I would like to keep the trend going. We love Catholic names. Our last name is Italian, that doesn't really matter but I don't think a name like Bob would go well with our last name. :)

If you have any suggestions for a boy's name I would love to hear them.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Double Trouble...Do I Need a Double Stroller?

I am a stroller fanatic. I love to buy strollers, used of course. I had a double stroller with my first two children and I used it all the time, now I am kind of over the double stroller thing.

I have a sit and stand that I want to sell because I can't push the darn thing and I almost cut my leg off trying to fold it up and get it into my van!

One of my recent favorite finds was a Peg Perego single stroller that I found at my local thrift store for $9.00! It is in excellent condition and it can be a front facing stroller or a carriage type that we all know is just the cutest. I love this stroller and really don't want to give it up for a big heavy double.

When the baby is born Oney will almost be three years old. I could put Oney in the single stroller and get a Moby Wrap for the baby. We will only be going for neighborhood walks anyway.

What do you think, do I need a double stroller?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Catching Up

I can't believe I only have 90 days until the new baby arrives! Actually I will be going into the hospital on Aug. 10th to have this little angel. Time went by so fast. I am doing good, I feel incredibly heavy and get worn out fast, but that's to be expected.

My baby brother is getting married and our family is so excited! My mother is in her glory planning and getting things ready. She loves this kind of thing. Everyday she has something new planned or an idea she wants to share. I love to see everyone so happy.

I have been on the site Facebook quite a bit. It is great to get in touch with people from school, family, and current friends.

I have been reading Dante's Divine Comedy. I like the book but without the notes after each chapter I would be lost.

It is a blessing that things are quiet and a tad boring around here. In a few months it will be full force action with the new arrival, summer vacation, and the busy weekends. So for now I am going to enjoy these lazy boring days.

God Bless

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Good and The Bad

We had a wonderful Easter. Lots of food, fun with the family, and candy as far as the eyes can see.

I think I did well during Lent. We stayed on our tight budget sacrificing every way we could. I slowed down during prayer and made it a point to pray more. Now that lent is over and Easter has come and gone it is important to continue what I started during Lent.

I would like to work on my attitude. My life is so blessed and I could not think of any other way I would rather live, so why do I find myself in a bad mood with a bad attitude more often than I would like to be? Maybe it is because I am not the person I really want to be and the only way to become that person is to surrender to God.

When I was in Church during the Easter season I looked around and I saw the statues and the crucifix covered in black drapes, no flowers, and things were really somber. I felt scared as I thought this is how life would be with out our Lord in it, dark and draped in blackness. I thanked God for being in my life and I could not wait for Easter morning when the Church would be full of life again.

As I pondered my attitude it came to me that I am at my worst when I drape a black cloth over our Lord and try to take control myself. It is the times when I shut Him out, not intentionally, but it is when I let myself belong to the world and my desires more than belonging to Him.

I want to feel like Easter morning. I know this can't be possible all the time, but it is worth a try to make it happen most of the time.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I have been neglecting this blog. Things are going well with my family. My Mom's test came back negative, thank God. My pregnancy is going well and everyone is doing good.

I just finished reading Gone With The Wind. My grandmother was always reading this book and watching the movie and I thought it was probably boring and never had any interest. I was wrong. I loved the book and I can't wait to watch the movie.

During these last few days of Holy week I will not be posting on this blog. I will be back after Easter, hopefully with interesting things to write about.

May the Lords blessings be with all of you though the Easter season and always.
Have a happy Easter!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Can You Turn Off The Sun?

Bug and Oney were playing in their bedroom. The only light was coming from the sun shining through the window. Bug asked me if I could turn off all the lights, I told her they were off. She pointed to the window and I said that is the Sun. She then told me to go ahead and turn off the Sun.

It is funny how kids view their mom. In their eyes moms can do anything, even turn off the Sun. Mom will always be there, nothing bad can happen to mom.

I thought the same thing as a child. I saw my mom as someone who did not need rest, who did not need her own time, who was in all senses a super woman. Of course as I got older and became a mother myself I grew to know my mom as a women and a friend.

Feeling that I had a mature relationship with my mom I was surprised at my feelings of the news she gave me last week. During a doctor exam a lump was found. My mom, being the woman that she is was not going to tell me, but she needed a shoulder and I am so glad she came to me. I took her to the doctor and I was able to be with her while she had surgery. We will know the results this week.

I was surprised at my feelings because the first thing I thought was this could not be anything bad because nothing bad could happen to my mom. She is a strong super women and bad things just can not happen to her.

I had a lot of time to think about my mom and mothers in general and how the love they share with their children is indescribable. It scared me to think what the world would be like not to have my mom in it.

I thought about a mothers love and I realized that a mothers love is like a warm blanket wrapped around their children. No matter how old you get, if mom is near to you or far away, if you think about her you feel the ever present love around you. Would this blanket go away when mom left the world? Would I be left shivering in the cold? I am sure it would feel like that for a while but I firmly believe that mothers were put on this Earth to give us a tiny imperfect taste of God's love.

God is love, and the blanket I felt around me was His, even though he used my mother and her calling to help me to understand, it belongs to Him. And when the day comes that God calls my mom home I will not be in the cold because God's love is like a mothers but perfect in every way.

Things concerning my mom's health seem to be optimistic and she is doing well. Even though she is an imperfect human being and can not turn off the Sun, I will forever be grateful to her for answering the call to become a mother and to help me see the little glimpse of love God has for me and all his children.

Please pray for my mom's health and all mothers who do their best to let God shine through.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

We Are Having a Boy!

We found out yesterday that the sweet little baby that is on it's way will be a boy!

I took the kids to view the ultrasound and we were all in anticipation to find out if this little one would be a boy or a girl.

My oldest son Lil D was being his witty self and then my maturity level went down to that of an eight year old boy. Lil D was making me laugh and I had to tell the woman doing the ultrasound more than once that I was sorry for laughing. We had fun.

Lil D had a lot of comments as he watched the baby on the monitor, one being that he was glad he is not a woman, and I think he said, this is disgusting a couple of times. Miss my oldest daughter's comeback was, "You don't know what natural beauty is."

When we finally knew it was a boy I looked at bug and saw the tears starting to roll down her cheeks. She was not as happy as everyone else. She stopped crying when Miss told her having a baby brother meant that Miss and her could share a room with bunk beds, that made Bug feel better. Lil D's response to his little sister was, "Don't cry Mama can make you a baby sister."

It was a very interesting doctors appointment.

I could not be more excited to have another little man in my life. It is a wonderful gift.

Monday, March 16, 2009

7 Things I Love About My Parish (A Meme)

Tabula Cerata has tagged everyone who reads his post 7 things I Love About My Parish.

1. The Parishioners

I absolutely love the parishioners of my parish. They are so welcoming and care so much about our parish. They will give as much of themselves as they can to keep it going. When Oney was in the hospital my family was given a big statue of the Blessed Mother to keep at at our home. We were also given healing oil and many prayers. They are always full of smiles and always complement my children even if they weren't behaving that well on Sunday.

2. Our Priest

Our priest is young and full of life. He is witty and funny. He is very smart and just got us out of a debt that was over a million dollars! He is good with children and knows how to keep them interested in their faith.

3. Our Deacons

Our deacons are about the sweetest bunch of men I know. One in particular gives homilies that make me cry every time. Their hearts and their words show how much they love the Lord and how much they care about the people of our parish.

4. Our Music director

Our music directer is awesome. She plays and sings beautifully. It does not matter if she is playing traditional songs or contemporary, she does a wonderful job. During lent she has some prayers sung in Latin. I have no idea how to say them but I love it. She is great.

5. Generosity

The generosity of my parish is unbelievable. As I mentioned before we just got ourselves out of a debt that was over a million dollars! We were able to do that because we have a driven priest and a parish full of giving people. When it comes to gifts and food for the poor, people in my parish give with abundance. It is wonderful to have such a giving parish.

6. Children

The kids are involved in our parish. We have a children's Mass, Stations of the cross that is performed by the kids, and of course the Christmas pageant. Children are encouraged to give food to the poor each week, and we now have a cool youth group that is full of great ideas for the younger people in our parish.

7. Reverence

My parish and the way Mass is done there is so beautiful and reverent. I feel so close to our Lord and I can feel that the real presence of Jesus Christ is there.

I can go on and on about how much I love my parish and what it means to my family and me.

If you are reading this you have been tagged. Let us know the 7 things you love about your parish.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Frugal Friday: Corn, Bacon,and Potato Chowder

1/2 pound of bacon
1 small onion, diced
3 Tbs flour
1 quart milk
1/2 pound frozen corn
4 or 5 potatoes (about a pound), peeled, cubed, and simmered until tender
salt and pepper to taste
a few sprigs of parsley
paprika for garnish if you like

Cook the bacon in a large pot. If you cook a few slices of bacon just for this, drain all but 3 Tbs of the grease from the pan. Set the bacon aside and chop it.

Cook the onion in the bacon grease 5 minutes or so, until softened. Sprinkle the flour in and stir. Cook over medium-low heat 2-3 minutes, stirring almost constantly. Stir in the milk slowly. Turn the heat up to medium and bring to a boil, stirring almost constantly. Turn the heat down but make sure it's still simmering and cook a minute to thicken the base of your soup.

Add the corn, potatoes, bacon, salt and pepper. Heat through. Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What's Happening?

Life has been going pretty well for us. The changes we are making seem to be positive and making all of us comfortable and happy.

I posted before about how Big D and I are doing the Dave Ramsey plan to be debt-free. This plan really works! Before when Big D would announce he was going to do the bills you could feel the tension in the air. Since we have been on this plan every time he does the bills he has said, "This is awesome!" You can't beat that kind of reaction.

Being disciplined about money and living below our means, and we are living way below our means, has not been as hard as I thought it would be. Thinking about a debt-free future keeps me focused. The hardest part of this whole thing is saying no to the kids and to other people.

It gets complicated when others ask you to do things that we don't want to spend money on and we have to explain what we are doing and why. Some people say, "Good for you." others give us a weird look and change the subject. We will continue to push on.

We had one good day of weather. It was sixty degrees and sunny. My mood on that day changed instantly. I don't know if it was the sunshine or if it was because the kids played out side most of the day.

I put on some Lime Coolada lotion, relaxed with my front door open and made believe it was summer. Can you tell I am really ready for some nice weather!

Then it went back to being cold and now it has been non stop rain. Oh well I know spring is coming and soon my spirits will be lifted.

My little niece was baptized at the beginning of the month and Big D was given the honor of being Godfather. He is very proud of this honor given to him and he wrote a beautiful post about Baptism. The post is titled The Applause From Heaven.

School is going. I guess it is going well, we are getting the work done and I am trying to make it as fun as I can, but I have been so tired and not motivated at all. I am doing the best I can and the kids are learning, I guess that is what matters.

The time change has me all messed up. Since the time change we have all been waking up at 9am. That is late for us. It seems the day goes by so quickly now. But I love how it stays light out longer into the night. I think it is around 5pm and when I glance at the clock it is 7:30 at night.
It is taking me awhile to get used to this change.

My pregnancy is going well. All my tests have come back normal. We will be able to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl on St. Patrick's Day. I can't wait, I hope the baby cooperates!

I am grateful for my life and how drama free it is. I am grateful that the biggest news I have is about the time change and the weather. Some may say it is boring but I say it is blessed!

That's all folks, have a blessed day!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Interview With a Four Year Old

Four year old children are wonderful little people. They have such an innocent view on life and the people they share their life with.

Here is an interview I did with my four year old daughter Bug. It was interesting and funny to see how she thinks of me.

1. What is something mom always says to you?
You love me.

2. What makes mom happy?
When I give you a hug.

3. What makes mom sad?

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
You make funny faces.

5. What was your mom like as a child?
You wanted a book.

6. How old is your mom?

7. How tall is your mom?
This big (She reached as high as her little arm could go)

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Cook dinner

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
You and Daddy play games together.

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
Princesses would dance with you. (Maybe she means Dancing With the Stars, or maybe I will have a role in the movie Princess barbie?)

11. What is your mom really good at?
Your good at drawing.

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Your not good at making a monkey.

13. What does your mom do for her job?
You get suckers.

14. What is your mom's favorite food?
Tomatoes with cheese on it. (?)

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
You give me my books and you make my bed.

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

17. What do you and your mom do together?
We like to play Dora games.

18. How are you and your mom the same?
We love each other.

19. How are you and your mom different?
We have different color eyes.

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
You show me pictures, you help me do my ABC's.

21. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Frugal Friday: Clam Spaghetti

Clam Spaghetti

This Recipe serves 8
1 (16 ounce) package uncooked spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (6.5 ounce) cans chopped clams with juice
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
fresh parsley, for garnish

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the garlic 1 minute, until tender. Mix in the clams and juice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup.
3. In a large bowl, toss the spaghetti with the sauteed clams, chopped parsley, and Parmesan cheese. Garnish with parsley sprigs to serve.


Monday, March 2, 2009


Thank you for all your prayers. My Aunt had her surgery and is now recovering. The cancer did not spread.

We are hoping for a speedy recovery and praying that she has the strength to make it through her chemo.

Thanks again to everyone!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Frugal Friday:Mom's Rice and Bean Vegetarian Enchiladas (Lent Friendly)

My family loves these enchiladas. It is my own recipe so there is no measuring. You can add as much or as little ingredients that will fit your family size.

The recipe below gives me two 9x13 dishes of enchiladas. I freeze the second batch for a quick dinner.


Large flour tortillas

One large can or two small cans of red enchilada sauce

One box of Spanish rice

One large can or two small cans of re fried beans (If I am making this for lent I use the vegetarian re fried beans)

One can of whole kernel corn

Shredded cheddar cheese (I like sharp cheddar) Directions:

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees

Cook Spanish rice according to package directions. When the rice is done add the can of corn, some cheese and some of the enchilada sauce to moisten.

Spread out the tortillas. Spread the re fried beans on the tortilla then spread the rice mixture on top of the re fried beans. Fold each end of the tortilla inwards and roll into an enchilada.

Pour some of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish. Place your rolled enchiladas into the baking dish, pour the rest of the sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top.

Bake in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Prayers needed!

I just found out that my aunt, the youngest of my mom's sisters has cancer. It is in her pancreas.

This woman has been through so much in her life. She lost her husband to cancer, lost her 15 year old daughter in a car accident, and she has also lost two infant twin sons.

When will her suffering end? I want to yell to God, "Give her a break already!"

I know everything happens for a reason and I can't pretend to know Gods plan. I hold on to Him for strength and I pray that my aunt does too.

If the cancer is only in her pancreas she will have surgery tomorrow to remove it. If the cancer has spread to her stomach there will be no surgery, she will have to go through chemo.

Please pray that the cancer has not spread. Please also pray that my aunt finds comfort in the Lord no matter what conclusions the doctors come to.

Thank you very much.

Martha or Mary?

One of my favorite bloggers Cathy at From the field of Blue Children has given me some thoughts about Lent.

Cathy's post Thanks is all about how little things like giving thanks to the Lord can mean so much.

After reading this post I started thinking about Jesus and when he went to the house of Mary and Martha. Martha kept busy cleaning, preparing food, and making the house perfect for her Lord. Mary sat at Jesus' feet and just wanted to be with him.

I am a lot like Martha. My family says Grace before every meal. Everyone sits at the table hands folded and gives thanks. I on the other hand am running around getting drinks, cleaning up messes, dishing out food while I am saying Grace.

While at Church or praying at home I always have my next task in the back of my mind. What do I have to do next, what do the kids need, what did my husband ask me to do?

I believe that Martha was doing what she thought was best to show Jesus how important he was. I think I can do that as well in my daily tasks but sometimes it is good to be Mary,to forget everything and put all of our attention on the Lord. Even if that means a quick little thank you to God or to others as Cathy mentioned in her post.

To be honest I think I will always be more like Martha, thinking about and praising God while my hands are busy, but I hope to let the quiet actions of Mary in as well.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Give It Up

Being pregnant I am not required to fast this Lent. I will refrain from eating things like the two paczki I devoured last night.

What will I give up this Lent? I am going to continue to give up my materialistic ways. I want to turn to God when I need a boost rather than a cute pair of flats that I think will make me happy. Turning my thoughts away from all the "stuff" I want will help me turn my thoughts to God,only He can give me the "stuff" I need.

As I was thinking about Lent and what I can add or give up I read a post from Jennifer at her blog "Et tu?" The post is titled Why My Life Is Better Since Becoming Open To Life.

Reading this post gave me ideas on how I will reflect during Lent, by embracing my vocation and not gritting my teeth wondering when my time will come. This is my time and I want to make the most of it.

I will be giving up some things, like being a slave to consumerism and I will be adding some things, like loving my call to being a wife and mother.

Who knows, maybe after all is said and done I might find a cute pair of flats in my Easter basket.

Have a blessed Lent

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Congratulations to My Husband!

Monday was a special day at my house. My husband, after four years of full time college took his last class. He is now a college graduate!

Four years of full time school and full time work has been a sacrifice for my husband and for are whole family. I am so proud that he kept to it and did what he set out to do, get a degree, and now he has one.

Having a degree is such a great accomplishment and I am so happy that my husband was able to do this even though he got a late start on a college education.

Congratulations Dear, your hard work paid off and I am so proud of you!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Frugal Friday: Mom’s Homemade Chicken Soup

Mom’s Homemade Chicken Soup

Last Friday I posted a roasted chicken recipe. If you are being frugal I would hope you saved the chicken carcass to make soup. If not that’s ok you can make this soup without it.

This is my own recipe so there is no measuring, here we go, Mom’s Homemade Chicken Soup.


One Chicken Carcass (left over from dinner) if you don’t have this or you would like more chicken in your soup then I use a four-piece package of chicken thighs-Bone in.




Potatoes (optional)

Chicken Bullion (optional) I have learned that if you make the soup with chicken on the bone and you use enough salt you really don’t need bullion.



Egg noodles (or any type of soup noodle you may like)


Cut up all vegetables and put them in a large pot. How many vegetables is up to you. Put in the Chicken carcass, chicken thighs or both. Fill the pot almost to the top with water and set it on the stove to boil.

If I am not using bullion I like to boil the soup until it reduces a bit that way it becomes more concentrated with chicken goodness. Use salt and pepper to your taste.

Take out carcass and pick all the meat off of it that you missed at your last dinner and throw it back into the pot.

If you are using Chicken thighs take them out and do the same as I stated above.

Cook soup until vegetables are tender. I boil my noodles in a separate pot and dish out the noodles and the soup separate, that way if I have soup left over I can freeze it without having mushy noodles in it.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Going Back

I registered the kids for school today.

The oldest three are going back to our parish school next year.
This was a tough decision for me but after a lot of thinking and praying I feel this is the best for our family.

The first thought that came to my mind was am I giving up? This is not some project I am working on, these are my children and doing what I think is best is not giving up in my opinion.

I think this year has been great for the kids and me. We have become closer, I have learned patience, and I have seen what my children are capable of academically. My favorite part is no homework, which will be missed.

I am so grateful to have met such wonderful families who are so supportive. I consider them my friends and I know we will continue to be even though we won’t be homeschooling anymore.

Our decision came down to what am I capable of. I have learned that I do not hold up to my own standards when it comes to teaching, and I don’t have the desire to do so. That may sound harsh but it is the truth.

I just want to be mom again. Teach my children the things that I am good at teaching and leave the rest to the professionals.

Another big part of this decision is the arrival of the new baby. Oney will be three and I will have a newborn. I look forward to just having babies in the house while the older kids are at school. It is the time where I can focus all my attention on the littlest ones.

I trust our parish school and the teachers, that made the decision a lot easier. My children have always been happy there. I do not look forward to the homework, but I think this year of homeschooling has taught me how my children learn and I think I am better equipped to have the patience and understanding it will take to get them through.

I have so much admiration for families who homeschool, it is not for everyone, but those who do it and do it well are very special people in my book.

I will treasure the last moths of homeschooling my children. I will also treasure the traditional school days my children have in their future. We have learned so much and met people who we will always cherish. This is a bittersweet change for me but I am confidant things will be alright.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Can't Buy Me Love

I posted about our new family budget. The first holiday, Valentines Day, came and I did not have the money to get Big D a card or a bottle of wine. I had some spending money left over and went to the drug store and purchased .99 cent candy for the kids, Big D got some fruit twizzlers, and I bought myself a box of chocolates, handed them to Big D when I got home to hand back to me.

Big D put on some Tony Bennett and made his famous spaghetti, good and cheap.
We ate dinner together as a family while the crooners crooned in the background. We then watched some T.V. said the rosary as a family and called it a night.

Our first budget holiday was wonderful. The kids got a treat; we ate a good meal, spent time together, and I was able to have my chocolate when everyone went to bed.

It was a nice Valentines day, love was in the air and money was still in the bank.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Frugal Friday Lemon-Pepper Roasted Chicken Recipe

Most of us are looking for ways to save money. A good way to save money and keep within a budget is to cut back on the grocery bill.

I am going to post a frugal meal recipe every Friday. These recipes are some that I cook often, have tried, or will be trying in the future.


Lemon-Pepper Roasted Chicken

From Good Housekeeping

1 whole 31/2 lb Chicken
1tablespoon olive oil or butter
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
¼ teaspoon of pepper
¾ teaspoon of salt
½ cup water

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Remove bag with giblets and neck from chicken cavity; discard or reserve for another use.
2. In cup, mix olive oil, lemon peel, and pepper. With fingertips, gently separate skin from meat on chicken breast. Rub lemon-pepper mixture on meat under skin. Tie legs together with string. Rub chicken all over with salt.
3. Place chicken, breast side up, on rack in small roasting pan (13" by 9"). Pour 1/4 cup water into roasting pan. Roast chicken 1 hour or until juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced with tip of knife and temperature on meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh reaches 175 degrees F.
4. When chicken is done, lift from roasting pan and tilt slightly to allow juices inside cavity to run into pan. Place chicken on platter. Let chicken stand 10 minutes to allow juices to set for easier carving.
5. Remove rack from roasting pan. Skim and discard fat from pan juices. Add remaining 1/4 cup water to pan juices; cook 1 minute on medium, stirring constantly. Serve chicken with pan juices.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The B Word


This can be a bad word for some people. I know it has been a cause of worry for Big D and I. We have done budgets before and what we have done in the past is budget all our Bills and let the little things we buy in-between fly with the wind. These budgets don’t work well for us.

In the future I would like to see Big D retire comfortably, help our kids with collage, cars, homes etc…the only way to do this is to seriously budget. Big D and I are not money savvy in anyway and budgeting our money is always in the back of our heads, so when the forth person mentioned Dave Ramsey’s plan to me and how well it is working for them I decided this must be a sign and Big D and I got on board.

We did our budget last night. It was stressful because we had to account for every single dime we made per month, from haircuts to toilet paper we had to find room in the budget. When we completed the first draft we noticed we spent way more a month then Big D makes, imagine that. So we had to cut certain things down and that is where the sacrifice came in. We did it, we budgeted for everything we could think of and I believe we had .43 cents left over.

We are using the baby Steps Dave Ramsey suggests in getting rid of debt and saving money.

Everything Dave Ramsey says is easy common sense but it is hard to do especially if you are like me and like to have “things” when you want them. The hardest part of this plan is the dreaded D word, Discipline.

We have a budget for everything under the sun now and it feels good, but I know it is going to be hard when the kids want things or when other people want us to do things that are not in our budget and we have to say no. It will be hard at first but the goal is to think long term and what we want for our family’s future.

One of Dave Ramsey’s ideas is to have money so you can give it away. Sounds crazy but dear friends of ours have told us the same thing. For some reason the more money you give away the more you will have. I don’t know how this works but it does.

I look forward to be financially comfortable so I can help out my friends and family who need it, give more to the Church who does so much for us and those who are in need. This is a major goal of ours as well.

With Lent around the corner and since I cannot fast I was thinking of something I could do. One would be to pray more and the other is to acquire discipline to make this plan work, not only for my family but eventually to help people and my community. It may take a while to get there but I am happy to have started the journey.

One last thing about this plan is you can go to Dave Ramsey’s website and buy the materials he suggests, or you can do everything for free. You can down load the budget; view the baby steps, and get his books from the library like I did. You can do all this for free if it is something you would like to try.

I pray that the dreaded D and B word will not be dreaded anymore, and that in doing this my family can focus on God and each other rather than money and Stuff.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Lil D!

I cannot believe my little man is eight years old! Time flew by. My chunky monkey baby is now my handsome funny man.

Lil D is the sunshine of my life. He is my loving wise guy who will crack me up any chance he can get.

He is all boy but also very loving and affectionate. He is not afraid to give mom a hug or put his head on my shoulder even if his friends are around. I hope that never changes.

He knows more about Star Wars than any other human I know, and he is pretty good at the Bible too.

He has my heart always and forever.

Happy Birthday Lil D, may God bless you and may the force be with you!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

I believe I have posted before about our experience with RSV or Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Our youngest, Oney, developed RSV when he was less than a month old. He was hospitalized for a week and was in critical condition. Thanks to Children’s Hospital he recovered.

Our experience with Oney was the first time I had ever paid attention to RSV; I had not known any children who had contracted this.

I am hearing of more children getting RSV. My niece has it right now; she is on breathing treatments but is still wheezing. She is 7mo old so hopefully a hospital visit won’t be necessary. I just talked to a friend who’s youngest daughter has RSV, she is two and now this friend has just informed me that her 6mo old niece has just developed pneumonia from it, very scary stuff.

The season for RSV is from November to April and can differ from region to region. I am so scared of this new baby getting RSV and I am going to be very careful.

The new baby will only be 4mo old at Christmas time and my family does a lot of traveling to see different family members. I don’t think the new baby will be traveling next Christmas. This is when Oney contracted RSV. Big D and I will have to split up while one of us stays home with the baby and the other takes the older kids to do the Christmas rounds.

I am going to be a stickler for sanitation (something that annoyed me before) No sick people allowed around baby, not even if they have a sniffle, lots of hand sanitizer, and spray for doorknobs and such.

I have never been this type of person with the other kids, but what we went through with Oney and hearing about all these other cases really scares me. I may be going over board and all our efforts may not stop the new baby from getting sick but I would rather be safe than sorry.

Please keep these sick little ones in your prayers.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Marriage Preparation

Very good friends of Big D and I have been in charge of the Marriage Preparation classes at our parish. I believe they have been doing the marriage prep for over 20 years.

They have decided it was time to pass the torch along to Big D and Me. We have been facilitating the classes for about four years now and it has been a little overwhelming trying to take full control over this program.

Although it is overwhelming, these classes are important to me. We get a chance to help couples begin their life together in love and in faith for the rest of their lives.
It is special to me that I can be a part of this time in their lives and hopefully help them achieve the life long Sacrament of marriage.

When Big D and I went to our marriage prep class we were not active in Church, our class was more of a lecture and I really can’t remember what was said to us.

The reason why I love our marriage prep class is because it is all about the couples, they are the ones who talk about the issues, teaching the couples around them and Big D and I always learn something too.

Some couples come to the class knowing how the Catholic Church views marriage and some don’t. For those that do they bring much knowledge and insight to the group and for those who are just getting married in the Church because it is “family tradition” it is wonderful to help them understand how much more this Sacrament is. How God wants them to succeed and by inviting Him into the marriage it will succeed.

God saved my marriage seven years ago, including Him into the bond Big D and I shared is the big secret we have for our lasting marriage. If it was not for His presence we might have fallen into the selfish traps so many marriages fall into these days. At the time I did not fully believe “letting go and letting God” would do anything to fix what was broken in our marriage, but it did and in little time.

What we are hoping to accomplish in these marriage prep classes is to get the couples to see the spiritual Sacrament of marriage, to keep God involved right in the beginning, that if they build their marriage with God as their foundation, nothing can tear it down.

I hope we are successful in helping these couples, I hope we can do half the job our friends have done.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tinkerbell or Bust

We are going to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl. I am more into getting things ready rather than being surprised, and I find knowing the gender of the baby helps with the planning.

I did not know how serious the gender of this baby was going to be until Bug and I had our brother/sister talk. It went something like this…

Me- Are you excited to have a new baby brother or sister?

Bug- Yes, if it is a girl I am going to call her Tinkerbell and if it is a boy I am going to punch it in the face.

Me- (shocked into silence)

So Bug and I had a talk about how newborns need lots of love and care from big sisters no matter if they are a boy or a girl. We also talked about how completely unacceptable punching a baby in the face is.

I have been quizzing her on the brother and sister thing in order for me to understand that she understands she may not hit a baby brother. Now when I ask her if she is excited about her new baby brother or sister she says…

Bug- I want the baby to be a girl, but if it is a boy I will not punch it in the face because that is mean and babies need love.

I am happy with that answer, but I will still be keeping an eye on little Bug.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pregnancy Workout

During all of my pregnancies I tend to gain a lot of weight, fifty to sixty pounds to be exact. By the time I am in the end of the third trimester I am pretty much miserable.

This time I have decided to try to change that and exercise during this pregnancy. I made myself do my workout today and I am happy that I did.

I am not trying to lose weight or even maintain my weight, what I am hoping for is a normal amount of pregnancy weight gain. I am also hoping that working out will ease tension and keep my body loose. I just have to stick with it.

The pregnancy workout that I use is called The Perfect Pregnancy Workout. The instructor is Karyne Steben who is a world-class acrobat formerly with Cirque du Soleil.

She is in her third trimester in the video and looks awesome!

What I like about this video is you can do beginner exercises or the advanced. There is no cheesy remarks or music, the person who narrates talks in a calm and quiet voice. The exercises will get your heart pumping and you can feel the burn in your muscles.

I also like that the instructor is in such great shape, it makes me think twice about having three peanut putter and jelly sandwiches before bedtime.

If you are looking for a good workout to do through your pregnancy (with your doctors ok of course) I recommend The Perfect Pregnancy workout.

Now lets see if I can keep this up.

Monday, January 19, 2009

You Got A Friend

I have had the opportunity to meet wonderful people who I consider friends. People I have things in common with, can spend time with, and care about. Friendship is an important part of life.

When I make new friends it is an exciting experience, but I don’t think anything beats the feeling of old friends. A good thing is that new friends will turn into old friends and that is the beauty of it.

I have two friends who have been through the good, the bad, and the ugly with me, and I thank God they have still decided to stick around.

We have been through the awkward adolescence, the crazy teen years, and the more settled adult life together. We know each other inside and out. There is something special about having people in your life who know every single thing about you.

As we got older, the marriages and children came. New jobs, school and other responsibilities come up that take away time spent with my friends. We may not see each other for weeks, but when we do get together it is like putting on your favorite pair of shoes that you have had for a lifetime, comfortable and familiar.

We are a silly bunch of ladies and can get each other through most any situation with a good talk and a lot of laughs.

There is nothing in this world more important than my husband and children, but sometimes no one can understand you better than the women who have been through it all with you. I am blessed to have the best of both worlds.

You’re never too old to be a BFF. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

As Long As Old Men Sit And Talk About The Weather

It is 4 below here in Michigan and it feels like 17 below. Winter is really starting to tick me off.

This will be my 33rd winter and as I get older the more winter starts to bother me.

Weather is good way to talk to people you don’t know, especially when it is so cold. Every store you walk into someone will say, “Is it cold enough for you?” or, “Can you believe how cold it is?” Back when I was younger and people would say this to me I would always think to myself, yes I can believe how cold it is, it is was the same last winter and every winter before that.

Now I have become one of those weather-talking people. I am now the first one to tell the cashier at a store how cold I am, or talk to the person behind me in line about how I wish winter would be over. It’s weird how things change when you get older.

When Winter in Michigan rolls around I wonder why my family could not have been from a warmer state, but then I remember how much I love the other seasons and if I get through a few months of living in the Arctic, Spring will be here and all will be well.
Another funny thought went through my head today, I do not own gloves, a hat, or even a scarf. Why? I have no clue. I have a box full of winter gear for the kids but I don’t have any.

I hope winter will end soon, but it does give me something to talk about to people I may not have talked to otherwise. I can be the annoying lady in the store who is always in shock of the weather even though it has been the same every year since I have been born. So there are some good things about winter.

Can you believe how cold it is?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Formula Feeding Vs Nursing

My mind is full of all things baby right now. Most of the time I am thinking about trying to keep my breakfast down, but that’s ok.

Since I have been expecting I have heard about so many other blessed mamas who are expecting also, it is very exciting!

One thing I have been thinking about is the decision to nurse or formula feed this new baby.

Here is some background; No women in my family nursed. The only people I knew who nursed were my great-grandmothers and that was because they were poor. I have never seen a baby nursed in real life until I was in my 20’s and met a friend who nursed, but she was a hippy.

No friends of mine have ever nursed their babies; it is just known around my circle that you formula-feed your children.

Now I have some new friends who all nurse and love doing so. I think it is wonderful that they can give their babies that, I am not sure if it is for me though.

I checked out some books on nursing from the library and read them all. I have searched the Internet and mommy sites that talk about breast-feeding. Some were very informative, but I learned that there is a battle between mothers who nurse and mothers who formula feed. I had no idea such hostility existed.

I for one would never tell a mother how she should nourish her child. I have formula fed all my children and they are quite happy, secure, and loved.

I know all the pros of nursing and I think it can be a beautiful bonding experience, if the mother is comfortable and confident with it.

To judge another mother about how she feeds her baby is just well, crazy to me. This kind of thing is all over these mommy sites and it is very ugly.

I have not come to any conclusion on what I am going to do, nurse or formula feed. I am leaning toward the formula because it is what I know and I am comfortable with it. I may try nursing, who knows. I do know that I would never make a mother feel bad about the way she feeds her child.

I will keep thinking about it and whatever decision I make will be the one best for the new little one and me, and that is all that matters.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Heart Beat

Taking four children to my doctor appointment is not my idea of a good time. Everyone behaved so it wasn't too stressful. My two little ones got a kick out of seeing the ultra sound on the monitor screen.

Even though this is my fifth time going through all these procedures it amazes me every time I have the first ultrasound and see the little bean looking baby. The feeling I get when I see the tiny fluttering heart beat is always a feeling of amazement and relief, no matter how many times I have witnessed it.

It's a beautiful experience.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

We're Back

The first day back to school went well. The kids got down to business and did not complain. Lil D actually said, “I kind of missed school, is that weird?” If he is my son than yes that is weird, but I am glad he still likes school.

Miss is getting much faster at Math and is doing pretty well. I don’t think we will need an outside tutor; she has the hang of it now.

The blog The Homeschool Classroom has a post-called My Favorite Things: The Link Edition. One of the links was to a site with a free online reading assessment.

You can have your children take the reading test and you get the results back immediately by e-mail.

I hope our school days continue to go as smooth as today. We have five more months until summer vacation, but I won’t let the kids know that I am counting down the days.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Practical Distributism

Do you need some ideas on how to support economic justice, social peace, and world harmony?

Then you may want to read this article. It lists 102 ideas to do just that.

You can view the article here.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Winding Down

The holidays are winding down and I am ready to get back to my normal life. Doing too much of nothing starts to become a drag after a while.

I am going to post one last thing about Christmas before I move on. I don’t think my family has ever taken a good Christmas picture. For some reason it is beyond are ability to have everyone look at the camera and smile at the same time.

Here is an example, as you can see I must be telling everyone to please just follow the simple directions of picture taking, and as you can also see no one is listening.

This picture was the best we could do. You may notice my beautiful holiday attire. I was dressed up for Church earlier that night, but wearing dress pants held together at the waist by a rubber band was not doing it for me. Before we went to my brother’s house I made a stop at home and threw on a pair of sweats and a sweatshirt. The sweatshirt does have red on it.

Big D and I had a little New Years Eve party and we did the seven fish menu. Everyone brought some kind of seafood dish. Eating fish on New Years Eve brings good luck and prosperity. I love seafood but for as long as I can remember my Mom had made the tradition that we all had to eat a piece of pickled herring at midnight on New Years Eve.

I think eating pickled herring is disgusting and I tried to use the nauseas pregnancy excuse this year but my mom still made me eat it. Lil D loves this stuff and will eat the whole jar if I let him, gross!

We played Battle of the sexes, to play this game the females ask men questions about women and the males ask the females questions about men. When we play this game Big D and my brother tap into their feminine side and always win. They know more about female topics than they really should.

We also played Guess What I Am, it is a kid’s game but as you can see the adults had a blast playing it.

It was a great time and I am looking forward to what the new year will bring, and since I ate a piece of raw pickled fish it better bring nothing but good!