Saturday, September 26, 2015

Meal Plan

M: oatmeal (B), chicken broccoli alfredo (D)
T: cereal (B), leftovers (D)
W: crockpot breakfast casserole (B), beef and mushrooms over rice (D)
T: baked apple pancake (B), cheeseburger soup (D)
F: muffins, fruit (B), bean burritos (D)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Finding Time

Something I've been pondering for a while. How do we as Moms of Many Young Persons make sure to prioritize our needs while taking care of the rest of the family? If there is something I regret since moving here, it is not prioritizing my needs. Suddenly our schedules and lives changed big time. Alan was around on a regular basis which should have helped but actually make it harder to get the time I needed to myself. Why? I was used to having all sorts of time to myself after the kids went to bed and only having to worry about my plans in the evenings. Getting time alone to relax could be as simple as putting the kids to bed early. Add another adult into the mix and it actually made it harder. Plus the kids were older and suddenly had activities outside the house in the evenings. So taking care of me went on the back burner. Big, huge mistake.

So now I have gotten much more intentional about finding ways to prioritize my needs. No, I am not the helicopter Mom who sits front and center at the kids' sport practicing and watches their every move.  I may attend most sessions and pay attention for a time but I figure God gave me an hour or two and I should use it properly. This is not to say I find the kids' sports boring. I don't and would never say that. I vividly remember how deeply it hurt me to have my parent say that to me when I asked why they never bothered to attend any of my sporting events since they did attend them for the other children. Being told that they didn't want to because it was boring was like being kicked in the gut. Then they wondered why I stopped inviting them to things. Figure it out folks. Tell me my interests are boring to you and then get offended when I stop including you.  Sigh. I digress. So what do I do now? I enjoy the quiet with a book. Or catch up on a quick nap while sitting in the tack room. Pay the bills and do the budget. Last year karate time meant me taking a walk around the building when the weather was nice. Occasionally the time is used to run errands alone. Admittedly, now that our oldest son does most of the driving to karate and Boy Scouts, my evenings are different. I'm home more often than not now so I actually have to get on the treadmill every day. And, yes, I've gotten a bit selfish about that time. I've learned that if I don't take care of me, I can't take care of you. And, no, I'm not ok with kids coming in to bug me while I am exercising. Seriously, just leave me be. It will pay off in the end.

So what would my advice be to those Moms of lots of little people? Remember your needs, too. Put yourself first at times. If you neglect yourself, you will burn out. You will get sick. You will be unable to care for your family. Carve out some personal space and guard it. You are more than worth it. Don't listen to the people who say me time is a bad thing. I do think you can take it too far but a little time for yourself pays big dividends for the rest of the family.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Meal Plan

M: cereal (b), pot roast (d)
T: oatmeal (b), pork cutlets, spatzel (d)
W: bagels, fruit (b), stuffed cabbage rolls (d)
T: waffles (b), beef stew, rolls (d)
F: eggs (b), macaroni and cheese with broccoli (d)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Planning Ahead

Serious question. Give me some comments. If you are of the mindset to keep your house stocked with emergency supplies, what items are on your must have list. I'm trying to work on improving our emergency supplies in the next year and looking for suggestions. We have 100 hour candles, some basic first aid supplies (definitely need to work on that one, it's been a crazy year medically speaking), a couple emergency blankets (really should order a few more to keep in the cars), the basics in the pantry. I need to find flashlights that the boys don't ruin after one camping trip. Or just keep ours out of their hands. I need to work on a real plan for alternate heating and cooking sources as well. But give me your must have suggestions please. What would you never want to be caught without.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Thankful Tuesday

Today has been a slightly crazy day. Time to step back and count our blessings. I'm super thankful for guardian angels and kind strangers. A fixed freezer even if the repair was crazy expensive. A full freezer and pantry. The gift of hand-me-downs. Being able to still do 4 or more miles on the treadmill. Crazy kids. The mess and clutter because it means we are abundantly blessed. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of all the light underneath the chaos and struggle.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Meal Plan

Do you ever make a meal plan, then go shopping and find deals that cause you to revamp your meal plan when you get home? Today was one of those days. We are sticking with a simple crock pot friendly meal plan this week so I can spend some time getting our pears canned (the trees are full).

M: oatmeal (b), hot dogs, pasta salad (d)
T: bagels, fruit (b), steak and blue cheese roll-roll-ups (d)
W: yogurt and granola (b), ravioli, salad (d)
T: cereal (b), pulled pork, coleslaw (d)
F: eggs and toast (b), spinach tortellini soup (d)
S: waffles (b), pizza (d)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Happy Birthday Blessed Mother

Our slightly pathetic Mom is pregnant and tired and her computer is dead so she couldn't print anything nice birthday party for the Blessed Mother. Seamus enjoyed himself.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Meal Plan

S: pancakes (b), pork chops, corn (d)
M: oatmeal (b), chicken parm casserole (d)
T: yogurt and granola (b), cheesy bean dip, veggies (d)
W: breakfast casserole (b), beef and rice (d)
T: eggs (b), burritos (d)
F: cereal (b), Mac and cheese with broccoli (d)

Lunches will be leftovers if we have them, corn dog muffins, quesadillas, sandwiches if we make bread, whatever else we come up with.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

A Weekly Update

So how has your week been going? Things are a bit hectic around here as usual. The large chest freezer needs a $500 part to fix it. A part that is on back order. Until who knows when. The title we need to get rid of the car is missing somewhere in the house. Don't judge me. I used to be organized once. Then life beat on me a bit. Alan and I went out for a "parent/teacher conference" last night to discuss the craziness of the homeschooling this year. We come home to find someone had tied the van to the car using the slack line. No, I won't tell you who so don't ask. Someone also used the staple gun to put staples into the bumper on the van. Someone else tried to blame said issues on the sheep. Right. I just don't think so but thanks for the laugh kid.

My attempts to make sure we are well stocked with easy to grab food and snacks once the baby arrives are currently being sabotaged by the children. Apparently when something is located behind a locked pantry door, this indicates to my minions that they should immediately devour everything they can. And then dump the empty boxes and wrappers and such things where they stand. Right. Because this won't irritate me or anything. Or cause me to now keep said pantry key on my person at all times, including when I leave the house. Or rant at them like a crazy lunatic. I can only imagine the stories they will tell their children.

I have successfully managed to get several freezer meals put together and into the freezer but given that I am severely anemic and sort of supposed to be taking it easy, we will probably work our way through at least half of them before baby #12 arrives.

We have successfully survived the first full week of homeschooling. A few bumps in the road with the dual enrollment program (don't ask, headache) and the on-line school for child number 3 but I think we will get all the kinks worked out this week. Ellie's box of projects to keep her busy is rather popular. Now to work on the putting everything back into the box when you are done with it part. And maybe making a batch of play-doh to keep her and Robert still. Seriously, when it's not around all the time, play-doh has magic powers and can cause the most squirmy of children to just sit still and be quiet.

Seamus has discovered the joys of emptying the cabinets in the kitchen. We are now on the hunt for decent child locks again. No, not the ones that use magnets because we will lose the magnets or a child would use them to find out what happens when you put a magnet near the tv or computer or something. But the plastic locks seem flimsy  and just don't hold up.Yes, we need child locks for my sanity so I hope we find something soon.

So there's our week in a nutshell. Hope life is being equally interesting for you.

Mass Books for Kids

How do you answer that age old question of what to do with the young children during Mass? I know we've gone through many different ways of managing young kids and seem to have settled on you just expect them to learn to be quiet and bring as few distractions as possible. Because there are few things as annoying as an older child dragging in a toy store or a Happy Meal or a tablet loaded with movies to Mass. Seriously, that sort of thing really bugs me.

One of the few things we will allow our kids to have during Mass are kid friendly Mass books. But how do you know which ones are worth the money? Today I am sharing my views on the books by  Catholic Icing and Holy Heroes.
The booklet by Holy Heroes is really two books in one. On one side, you have the prayers of the Mass. Flip the book over and you'll find a collection of Best Loved Catholic Prayers.  You can also purchase an audio CD to go along with this book with the Holy Heroes kids leading your children through all of the prayers.

The Holy Heroes book does, however, lack pictures. It has a very simply layout that focuses almost exclusively on the words of the various prayers. This allows for more information but means the book is best suited for an older child. The audio CD that can be purchased with the book is great for using in the car to help your kids memorize prayers or during family prayer time. This section of the book includes prayers such as the Angelus, Memorare, the St Michel Prayer, and several common prayers in both English and Latin.  I love this book for the middle kids in the family.
The Mass book by Catholic  Icing is called A Picture Book of the Mass. This book focuses exclusively on the prayers of the Mass. I love this one because of the amazing pictures. The booklet is illustrated using old masters paintings. With at least one picture on every page, it keeps the attention of younger kids. Older kids also enjoy the paintings but this one is my go to book to grab for the toddlers. Even if they can't read the words, they are captivated by paintings in the book.

Price wise, both books are just about the same. Both companies also offer bulk discounts so these would be great books to buy for religious ed classes or homeschooling groups or vbs or just to donate to your parish. They are both soft cover booklets so if yours live in the diaper bag like mine do, they will show wear and tear after a while. But the affordable price makes them easy to replace.  As nice as the hardcover formal books many of us received  as First Communion gifts are, these books are a little more convenient for younger children or larger families. You also know that your purchase is supporting a small at home Catholic business. Which is a win-win situation for everyone.

All opinions in this post are entirely my own. I was not compensated in anyway for my review. Just sharing one Mom's opinion.