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.