Saturday, May 31, 2008

Menu until the conference...

Well, the going away party last night was very nice. Eva made a clay butterfly for the exchange student to take home with her. We are definately going to miss her!

I came home with almost an entire bowl of potato salad (I made two bowls for the party), and a small cooler full of beef (the in-laws raise cattle, and gladly gave up some hamburger when we told them that we were going to be a little short on money for a while.) Today we also pick up our SHARE for the month. So, I went ahead and planned out meals until we leave for the homeschooling conference on Thursday evening. Breakfast around here will be the usual "fend for yourself" affair, as I am NOT a morning person! Hubby often makes pancakes or waffles on Sunday mornings, but that's about all the cooking that gets done. If we run out of cereal and yogurt, I'll make muffins the day before.

Saturday Lunch: Ham sandwiches with spreadable cheese and potato salad
Saturday Dinner: Hamburger helper, baby carrots and oreo cookie pie (it was part of our SHARE, honest!)

Sunday Lunch: Ham sandwiches with spreadable cheese and potato salad (again!)
Sunday afternoon: Make tortillas
Sunday Dinner: Tacos with tomato and avocado (from SHARE) and coleslaw (cabbage from SHARE)

Monday Lunch: French toast (from leftover bread) with oranges
Monday Dinner: Italian sausage, potatoes and onions (all from SHARE) and coleslaw

Tuesday morning: Make a bunch of hamburger buns
Tuesday Lunch: Burgers (either sirloin or buffalo, both from SHARE) and leftover salad or veggies
Tuesday Dinner: Chicken, rice and broccoli casserole (I don't have a recipe yet, but the chicken and the broccol are from SHARE, and I generally have rice on hand)

Wednesday Lunch: Sloppy Joes and fruit or veggies
Wednesday Dinner: Salmon, rice a roni and cauliflower (cauliflower from SHARE, salmon has been in the freezer forever...)

Thursday Lunch: Leftovers - clean out the fridge.

So, hopefully this will all work out or be adaptable enough to do, and then I won't have to worry about the kids eating for a few days while they stay with grandma!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

So far so good...

Well, the using what we have from the pantry thing is going pretty well. Wednesday night we had angel hair pasta with a sundried tomato and olive pasta sauce. Yesterday we had pancakes and mixed fruit for lunch and brats on homemade hot dog buns (I REALLY need to practice these...they always turn out flat and lumpy...) with oven fries and corn for dinner. Today I was on to make our priest dinner as well, so for lunch we had crockpot BBQ pork...I threw in both pork roasts that we still had in the freezer and cooked them overnight. I sent the pork, two hamburger buns (homemade...I also need work on these!) carrot and celery sticks, and hubby bought a bag of chips and a can of iced tea because he was worried about Father not having enough to eat. We had the pork with veggies for lunch, and I am making penne with pasta sauce and garlic toast for dinner right now. (Okay, I stockpile pastas and pasta sauces...)

Tomorrow we'll have the leftover pork over biscuits (canned, because I still have some!) with some sort of side (probably oranges, we have a ton!) Then in the evening we have the going away party for MILs exchange student. I'm bringing a large potato salad...using up the rest of our potatoes and eggs. (We'll get a few more potatoes from SHARE on saturday) So, saturday, we'll have ham and cheese sandwiches on homemade bread with something. Saturday night, since we'll have new SHARE stuff will be when I figure out a couple more days.

Father's homily tonight has me scratching my head. He talked about how to throw your cloak away was like giving away your life. When the guy threw his cloak away to follow Jesus, Jesus asked him what he wanted. So Father said that we had thrown our cloaks away by giving up everything to come to Mass, and that we should ask Jesus for what is deep in our hearts.

I think I'll be pondering that one for a while...particularly juxtaposed against yesterday's homily...

The Sons of Thunder

Well, we are pretty lucky this week, because Father is doing a series of audio presentations and discussions this week. That means that we had and evening Mass yesterday, have another one today, and one will be available on Friday (I don't think we'll make it on Friday, as my MIL is having a going away party for her exchange student that leaves on Sunday!) Neither one of us is up for two hours about Luther after Mass...particularly since we'd have to decide who got to stay at church, and who got to take the squirrely girls home!

Anyhow, Father's homily last night was very interesting...and a chunk of it spoke to me about our current situation with hubby's job.

Of course, the reading was James and John wanting to be seated at the right and left sides of Jesus when he comes into his kingdom. Father pointed out that they didn't even ask, they mostly demanded...they told Jesus "this is what you can do for us!" rather than asking Jesus "what can we do for you?". Of course, so often we tell Jesus what he can do for us, but don't think to ask what we can do.

Beyond that level, Father talked about gifts. We may ask for spiritual gifts, but if we are not using the spiritual gifts that we already have, why should we be asking for more? Even if we look at physical things, we (particularly Americans) have a bad tendency to always want more. If we are going to do something, we often go buy something to get the project done rather than making do with what we have. We probably already have something that will work almost as well as what we could go out and buy, but we tend to go buy things instead.

From my own experience, I see this a both us and people around us. I grew up in a family where my dad wouldn't be able to find something, and so he would just go out and buy a new one. Of course, now as adults, we have a garage where we are pretty sure we still have something, but if we don't take care of what we have, we won't be able to find it to use it when we need it.

So, going with the whole cut back on work seems really simple to say let's just take on a second job somewhere (which we are not ruling out, yet) but it is probably better for us physically and spiritually if we work within what God has provided for us, and use our resources in the best way we can. So, I guess our real challenge right now is that of stewardship. Because, after all, God will provide for us. We are not in danger of losing our house, we will be able to keep food on the table, and we even have enough money for luxuries such as satelite TV and internet service.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hubby's hours were cut...

Well, recently hubby came home from work with the news that his hours are being cut. The office has 3 clerks, one ended up getting a full time position (all three used to be part time) a while back, and while hubby's boss's boss is doing something else for the company, another guy is doing his job. On his first day he informed hubby's boss that the office was allocated fewer hours than it had been before. In fact, he tried to cut back the hours available to fewer hours than the office is open per week (not sure how that one was supposed to work!) So, it looks like for the forseeable future, hubby will be getting about 25 hours per week. For a long time, he's gotten close to, if not over 40 hours a week. The good news is, when we first made the move to this job and this town, he was promised between 20 and 30 hours per week, and that still was a better deal than his old full time job!

The problem being, we have grown accustomed to more hours...I no longer work part time...and we have one more mouth to feed than we did on the old job. So, we are trying to figure out what to do...

Of course, this major hours cut won't hit the paycheck for two more weeks, but yesterday hubby brought home his paystub, and it was several hundred dollars lower than his previous half dozen or so paychecks. So, we pulled out the old Dave Ramsey paperwork, and planned every dollar on paper, on purpose. (I have to admit that we should be doing that all the time, but we haven't been in 2008 at all...)

So, here's the fun part. I have $30 budgeted for groceries this pay period. Basically, that should keep us in milk...if I'm really lucky, I might be able to buy a dozen eggs as well. Fortunately, our pantry is pretty well stocked. We don't have much meat at the moment, but we do have our SHARE order to pick up this Saturday. Obviously all meals will be cooked at home.

Part of the reason the grocery budget is so low is that hubby and I are going to the Rocky Mountain Catholic Home Educators Conference in Colorado Springs in a week. Fortunately, we have already paid the conference fee and already paid for the hotel room (thank goodness for priceline...we got a two star hotel room with a kitchen for $34 a night!) So, we have to pay for food while we are there (we budgeted $50) and of course, a good chunk of money had to be budgeted for gas.

So, I'll be working on a two+ week meal plan, and I'll probably post it here sometime soon.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My New Theme Song...

Well, I've been a fan of They Might Be Giants for quite a long time now. The great thing is that they now do children's music. Quite a while back we purchased "Here Come the ABCs" off of ITunes, and it has been the whole family's favorite. Hubby was reading TIME a few weeks ago (I don't understand why he reads that just ticks me off every time I pick it up!) and they had an article that talked about the new shows and music that are becoming available to the generation now raising young children (did you know that Yo Gabba Gabba! was created by one of the guys from Devo?) In the article they mentioned that They Might Be Giants had a new CD out "Here Come the 123s" So, naturally we downloaded that album, too. On it is my new theme song:

Seven Days of the Week (I Never Go To Work)

Oh no, no I never go to work
Oh no, no I never go to work
Oh no, no I never go to work
Oh no, no I never go to work

On Mondays I never go to work
On Tuesdays I stay at home
On Wednesdays I never feel inclined
work is the last thing on my mind

On Thursdays, it's a holiday
And Fridays I detest
Oh, it's much to late on a Saturday
And Sunday is the day of rest

Perfect for a housewife, huh? And a great rhythm for scrubbing the counters in the kitchen. (Verse 2 is pretty entertaining to me, as a former band geek, too!)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bible Study Suggestions?

Well, it's been about the same around here...though we were enjoying nice weather for a while and taking lots of picnics. It's been really windy the last few days. Luckily, no tornados very close to us yet.

Last night I had my young women's study group. We've been doing the "Full of Grace" study by Johnette Benkovic. It's been a little bit trying...we have 13 women in our group (according to our address list!) and of those 13, 4 have made it to all (or nearly all...1 of the 4 hardcore women had a baby in there, and took a week off!) There are about 4 more ladies that show up fairly regularly, but don't really have our group as a major priority for a variety of different reasons, and then we have the rest who have come to anywhere from 0-2 sessions (out of 6, so far!)

The priest who was here when the study group started told the two women who helped get it going that we needed to split because the group became too large. We never did split at his advice, mostly because no matter how the group got split, there would be hard feelings all around (too many of the women are related!) The next priest told us that it would naturally become smaller, either by a natural split, or people just dropping out of the group as time went on. I think we may be at that point. Of the 6 sessions 4 had exactly 5 people at them.

So, we are coming close to the end of the "Full of Grace" study and I am doing some research for possible things to do next (being the biggest dork in the group, I always volunteer to research stuff...I have no life!)

So, what we are looking for is:
-Something less intensive for the summer months (considering maybe a DVD format study)
-Something that is an actual Bible study. The group tried one once (before I joined) and people didn't really take the time to look up the scripture verses, so it was a major flop. Hopefully something that will be challenging, but interesting.
-Perhaps something by Kimberly Hahn...her name came up as a writer whose writing style is comfortable and understandable for most of us (a couple people just cannot stand Johnette Benkovic's speaking style...mostly everyone is okay with the reading part of the study.
-We do really enjoy the multimedia formats, I think...but definately anything with a talk for each group session would need to be available on DVD, as we all don't want to stare at each other while listening to a CD.

Any thoughts? Great Bible studies/Catholic studies that we should consider?

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Tightwad Gazette

Wow! Just getting around to reading a few blogs today since we've been running around most of the week. Kinda bummed that I missed the mother's day free downloads at CurrClick (don't know if there was anything good, so I don't know if I missed anything!)

But then I found this link to an interview with Amy Dacyczyn over at Like Merchant Ships. And from there, I found this link to another article with a short quote from her. My favorite thing from the article is her thoughts on the internet now. Since I first was introduced to her in 2000, and since I grew up in a very technologically advanced family (I had my own computer at age 5...we were on the internet in the early 90's, etc) I always found her thoughts on computers and the internet very dated.

Whimsy actually first introduced me to the Tightwad Gazette...after borrowing her copy, then checking out all three earlier volumes from the library multiple times, I bought the book, and I still use it and read it pretty frequently. In fact, I may need another dose soon, as saving for a car has been harder than I had anticipated back in December!

I just was so tickled to find out what she is doing...So, it was cool to just stumble across this today!

Cast FREE!!!

I almost forgot! Yesterday we took Charlotte into the doctor and she was declared as good as new! No more splint, and she still is pointing to her arm and babbling incoherently about it!

So, as a reward for having a good arm, right after the x-ray she got three immunizations.

Also, when we traveled to the airport to pick up SIL, I forgot to grab a I decided that she was done! Had hubby pack up all the pacifiers at home and she hasn't touched one since...

I'm all about the cold turkey philosophy with pacifiers. I have to admit that I threw away the girl's bottles on their first birthdays...and then with Eva, I threw out all her pacifiers at my SIL's wedding (yes, same one!) and then we moved the next day. I really thought that I'd not be as mean with Charlotte, but I guess taking it away on a day long driving trip with an arm in a splint, and then getting immunizations the next day is ALMOST as mean as taking it away in the middle of a day long family wedding celebration on New Year's Eve Day and then moving the next day...

I'm feeling very stimulated this morning...

Economically, that is! Today is a great day moneywise...paycheck and economic stimulus check were direct deposited this morning. Now if we just get our reimbursement check from our Flexible Spending Account (we have a debit card for it, but our particular insurance will not let us use the card for copays, so we have to pay, save a bunch of paperwork, and then fax it in...I fax it in when I have 4 copays to deal with, as about 4 receipts will fit on a standard piece of paper) I will be extremely happy!

My SIL is visiting for a few days (not with us, with my MIL...but that means trips up to see her) and I drove up with my MIL to get her at the airport and meet my other SIL for lunch. On the way back home to my MILs house (where hubby met us after work) we were discussing vacations, and she pointed out that we should come visit them at some point (she and her hubby live in Portland). I told her about the vacations we have planned so far: 2 this summer to conferences, and in the Spring of 2009 to our Goddaughter's first Holy Communion...and then I was teasing her that if she just had some sort of event we'd probably show up (which I guess isn't entirely true, because we didn't fly out for her college graduation...) This SIL and her husband are in the early stages of the adoption process, as my SIL has MS and is on a medication she would have to stop taking if she were to get pregnant, and her much older husband has several siblings with genetic problems. So, my MIL pipes up with "well, maybe we'll all be going out for a baptism in a couple of years!" and then immediately apologized.

Turns out that my SIL wants to let her children choose the faith (her hubby is a nothing/neo-pagan type) and she apparently has told her mother not to mention it...I wouldn't be suprised if it was particularly not to mention it to me and hubby...

So, I think I kinda ticked her off by pointing out that she stood in a church and vowed that she would raise her children Catholic...I know that her hubby didn't make that promise, but she did. I also told her that at one point (way before we had kids) I thought that maybe it would be better to let kids choose to be baptised, as I did at 18...but that in order to raise kids Catholic or to raise them to be religious people as adults, it is important to actually raise them in the church, and you can really raise a kid in the church if you are waiting for the kid to make the decision to become'd get to be a problem right around 2nd grade relgious ed when all the other kids are preparing for FHC...and you have to explain to the priest, DRE, teacher, whoever that you are waiting for said 7 year old to make a decision to be baptised.

Sometimes I really just want to smack this particular SIL upside the head!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Okay, no postings because nothing blog-worthy is going on around here (not even menu planning, sadly!) Hopefully this is the last week of Charlotte's splint/deadly weapon. She's going to be 18 months tomorrow! Time flies...

We may be traveling with my MIL and her exchange student tomorrow to pick up my SIL at the airport for a visit (of course, I am just there to bring the girls...)

Hubby is working a very weird schedule today, so we'll see when he gets home...

I still need to call the clinic and set up an appointment for Charlie, hopefully to get x-rays and her 18 month checkup done all at the same time.

We finally scheduled our first NFP class series...though we still don't know where we are going to have the classes...I guess worst case scenario, we do them in our house!

Payday is this Friday (which I am really looking forward to!) and we also should be getting our economic stimulus check direct deposited that day, too. This paycheck is one of the two extra ones per year (we get three pay periods this month) so, there aren't any major expenses coming out of this one...hopefully it will help put us back on track for our savings goal (probably not to where I hoped we would be--$5500 saved, but still, having the money saved up is a good thing anyway.)

Hubby's tuxedo came in the mail yesterday...he is making his 4th degree for the Knights of Columbus in June. I pinned up the pants for hemming, and now I need to decide if I dare risk his pants with my sewing skill, or if I find a seamstress to take them up.

It was a really nice day here yesterday...we spent a good chunk of it outside. Hopefully today will be nice, too...but there has been talk of snow near Denver, so we might not get such great weather today.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

What's driving me crazy right now...

Okay, I am a control freak, and I realize this...

Yesterday was payday (YEAH!!!) So, I've been paying bills and making purchases left and right since yesterday (for instance, hubby is doing his 4th degree in the Knights of Columbus in June, and he needs a tuxedo for the ceremony...and for future ceremonies he takes part in, so I bought him a tux...paid our dish network bill, put money into Charlotte's college savings plan, etc.) Of course, NORMALLY before I do any of this, I check our checking account (online only checking) to make sure that hubby's paycheck did make it in (I don't know why I's not like his employer is likely to NOT make the direct deposit!) BUT I haven't been able to get to the website of our bank since Wednesday! I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY want to be balancing my checkbook right about now, but since hubby's wallet is at work with him (with some of the receipts from recent purchases) and since I can't get into the account to check on totals of a few checkbook is unbalanced, and I am unhappy!

I can get into our local bank's website, so I know that the portion of hubby's paycheck that goes into that account has made it in...

I also can't get into the website for hubby's retirement savings. They changed the format, and seem to be having some glitches today, so I can't even get my checkbook balancing fix by checking on the total of our investments!

I know, I am sick...

In other news, we took Charlotte to the doctor yesterday for x-rays...all of us had thought that she would be fine and ready to run around without her splint (the doc even threw away the nasty smelly splint before the x-ray!) Turns out she hasn't healed as fast as expected, and so she's got a new homemade (well, doctor the doc who was making fun of our doc last time, as our doc is on vacation this week) splint that she has taken off approximately 8 times in the last 24's going to be a long 2 more weeks! On the plus side, though...2 weeks it will be time for her to have her 18 month checkup and shots, so I should be able to kill a bunch of birds with one stone (or a bunch of cats with one blast of a my FIL has been doing recently...overpopulation of farm cats is not a pleasant matter). I don't think Charlotte will like that appointment very much, but at least it will all be over at once! I'm tired of seeing the clinic this month!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Fatty fatty 2 by 4...

Okay, I'm's a fact...and it sadly doesn't change overnight! Being fat during childbearing years as an NFP user can be very difficult. For instance...I lose a chunk of weight...I get pregnant...I gain a chunk of weight...and so on. Right now I seem to be holding steady at approximately my delivery weight for Charlotte...of course, she'll be 18 months in a couple of weeks.

So, I have to say I am probably overly sensitive about weight and assumptions and statements made about fat people. A blog that I've frequented for at least a year now just had a second post that really offended me! I hate that it offends me...not so much because I feel bad for the guy in the article, but the blogger's post just made me cringe! "Fat Guy Should THANK the State! Next thing you know this inmate will be suing the state of Arkansas because the orange jumpsuit makes him look like a pumpkin." I'm assuming she finds the whole thing funny. I don't. The guy clearly belongs in jail, and I don't believe it is the jail's duty to make his life comfortable. However, losing 100 lbs in less than a year in jail with no exercise to speak of does make me think that maybe this guy has a point.

Now if this were the only occasion where this blogger made statements like this, I'd probably be mad for a day or two and get over it and keep reading her blog. Her first post on fat people ticked me off more than the most recent one. "CURE OBESITY NOW--Two words. Eat less. Oh yeah. And stop blaming TV/DNA/peer pressure/spanking/the Pope/advertising/credit cards/global warming/George Bush/the internet/or hormones. Point to ponder and discuss with your kids: Why is gluttony one of the Seven Deadly Sins? (Hint: Kills the body and the soul.)"

I don't I being overly sensitive?? Or is it difficult for other people to believe that these statements are made by a Catholic blogger/author???