Christmas Day Programming

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Just to let everyone know, if you are interested in some quality Christmas Day programming, tune in online at wftsradio.com and see what they have listed for the day. They don't post their programming schedule ahead of time, unfortunately, but if you check periodically throughout the day, they will usually update.

My guess as to their programming for Christmas Day is that it will probably have a few talks about Christmas, probably by Father Jenkins and Mother Mary Bosco, and perhaps some sermons from yesterday (Sunday 12/24/06), the day of Christmas Eve. Perhaps even some Midnight Mass sermons or music.

There will surely be some Christmas Carols sung by the Daughters of Mary played in the extra space in between shows. The sisters sell their music online, and you can listen to pieces of the songs.

I wish you all a very Blessed Christmas!

The True Meaning of Christmas

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"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was made nothing that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men: and the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him. He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light. That was the true light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His won received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God: to them that believe in His name: who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God...

And the Word was made flesh,

and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-14


Sleep, Holy Babe
A Christmas Carol

Sleep, holy Babe, upon Thy mother's breast,
Great Lord of earth and sea and sky
How sweet it is to see Thee lie
In such a state of rest.

Sleep, holy Babe, Thine angels watch around,
All bending low with folded wings,
Before the Incarnate King of Kings
With reverent awe, profound.

Sleep, holy Babe, while I with Mary gaze
In joy upon that face awhile,
Upon that loving Infant smile
Which there divinely plays.

Sleep, holy Babe, now snatch Thy brief repose,
Too quickly will Thy slumber break,
And Thou to lengthened pains awake,
Which death alone shall close.



Let us not forget the greatest Christmas gift of all...

"For God so loved the world, as to give His only begotten Son, that whosoever should believeth in Him, may not perish, but may have everlasting life."
John 3:16

What a reminder of the perfect example of giving, of love, of sacrifice...an innocent Child, Who we think of, helpless and innocent in the manger, knowing what His destiny will be. The epitome of purity and innocence...a baby. But not any baby--the divine Infant, Christ Jesus, Who was begotten without sin, lived without sin, and yet died the death due a sinner...Who took on the punishment for us all, so that we may be saved. And think of Mary and Joseph, looking down upon their Son, knowing all the prophesies spoken of the Messiah, and knowing at least in part, the sorrows He was someday to endure.

What a great gift of love and sacrifice it was for Mary to say "yes" to God when she was asked to carry the Son of God, knowing the ridicule she would endure, knowing the sorrows that would pierce her heart. How many among us would want to have a child, knowing in advance, and for certain, that horrors and sorrow would befall our child, and that we would have to watch and suffer in silence? And yet, in perfect obedience, she did not question, but simply said "yes". St. Joseph, too, must have had such great faith. Knowing not only that his Son would suffer greatly, but that he, his foster-father and the leader of the family, would be able to do nothing to protect Him. He took on a great burden for the love of God. He was told in dreams to take Mary as his wife, to flee with his family to Egypt, and eventually to return to Nazareth. Each time, he simply obeyed.

Love, sacrifice, and redemption. These are the true gifts we should cherish this Christmas season. This is what Christmas is all about.


Christ, the Light of the World, Is Born!!!

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Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

"And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him up in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them, and they feared with a great fear. And the angel said to them: Fear not; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people; for this day is born to you a Saviour, Who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you: You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will. " Luke 2:6-14

"O come, all ye faithful,
Joyful and triumphant,
Come ye, O come ye
To Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels.
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord."



Problems with the Kimkins Link

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I posted this as an answer to a comment, but I thought I'd repeat it here in case anyone else was interested.

One of my readers said the link to the Kimkins website wasn't working. I don't know what happened, Blogger seemed to eat it...it turned into some kind of Blogger link. I have fixed it now. If it happens again, please let me know. I'll list it here, too: Kimkins Website

I would love it if anyone interested in Kimkins use my link to get to it...if you sign up, I do get credit for it, and get a little "kickback." After a while, I figured if I'm going to extoll the virtues of the site and give them free advertising, I might as well get something out of it!

But I'd recommend the diet even if someone chose not to use my link. I really believe in the diet, it's the only one that worked really well for me. Atkins was good too, but Kimkins is faster, and has great hunger control if you're faithful to it. The best thing about the website is that if you join, you not only get all the info and support you need (very personal, too, you can ask Kimmer herself any questions), but also it is a one-time fee. So even though I'm pregnant now, I can still visit the site if I want, but if I don't, I can just jump back in a year from now when I'm ready to go on the diet again, and there's no additional costs.

I'm really struggling not being on the diet now. I miss the hunger control, but most of all I miss feeling good. My mood swings and some of the depression are back. I need to find more carb balance. There's got to be a way to eat healthy for my baby and not suffer from carb-induced depression!

I'm happy to answer any questions about the diet. I know the website doesn't give a lot of info about it up front. You can also look at my November and December posts from this blog and from my other blog, Weigh Out Of Control for more details.

And to anyone on the diet, good luck!

Meditation on theJourney to Bethlehem

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"At that time, there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. " Luke 2:1-5

The journey to Bethlehem would have been difficult for anyone during the time of Jesus' birth. Walking long, dusty, rocky roads along with many other travelers and their animals who were also seeking out the cities of their ancestors' birth for the census. But one can only imagine the experience of Mary, who was nine months pregnant at the time.

Those of us who have been pregnant know only too well how difficult it is to bend over, get up out of bed or out of an easy chair, to do even the simplest household tasks. If you've been unfortunate enough to have to travel by car or air or to move during your last weeks of pregnancy, you know the fatigue and discomfort this brings. But imagine how weary and uncomfortable Mary must have been...likely she tried to often shift positions on her donkey, or get down occasionally and try to walk, only to have to somehow get back up on its back because walking was too difficult. Sleeping on the hard ground at night would have been a nightmare. Needing to stop often to rest, or drink, or answer nature's call would have made the trip even longer.

It is no wonder that by the time they reached Bethlehem, for all Joseph's planning and effort to get his wife there in time to get her a proper and comfortable room, they arrived too late. Once there, they were so late that there was not even room on the floor of an inn for his patient wife. Poor St. Joseph must have felt so awful! Imagine his worry and desperation, and how guilty he must have felt that he couldn't even provide his wife a bed, knowing she was ready to give birth. Though it was through no fault of his own, he must have been beside himself...exhausted, worried, sick with guilt, and desperate to find her somewhere, anywhere she could be comfortable. It was enough that his poor wife would have nowhere to give birth, but the idea that the Son of God should be born in a public alleyway if he did not find somewhere soon...it must have been more than he could bear. But he continued on, likely both of them praying and having faith that God would provide them a place.

In the end, they were told of a stable. The idea must have been disappointing to Joseph, but no doubt by this time he was grateful because now at least Mary could be made somewhat comfortable, and they would have privacy. The relief they felt upon reaching the stable must have been palpable. Mary, weary and in great discomfort, must have been very glad indeed to rest upon the straw, and was no doubt joyful that the birth of her Son was near. Mary, who was present for the birth of her cousin, St. John (the Baptist) and possibly other relatives, knew what to expect, but St. Joseph, being a man alone with no midwife to help, and not having any intimate knowledge of his wife, must have been concerned and very unsure of himself. He prayed often for strength and wisdom, to be able to aid Mary in any way he could, and that the birth might go well and easily for her.

"O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel."

It's Official!

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Blessing # 5 is on the way! I tested positive last night. I'm kind of surprised. I usually don't test positive until I'm two weeks late. Although I'm not sure when the date of my last period was (poor recordkeeping, lol) I didn't think I would test positive til next Tuesday or Wednesday. I don't feel pregnant, really. I guess I feel tired, but not overly so. Going to bed at an insane hour lately is probably responsible for that. I also had been feeling lately that I just could not do the diet anymore. Which is probably my body's way of saying "stop dieting, you're pregnant, you dummy!"

Anyway, I shouldn't be surprised, since unfortunately I stopped breastfeeding at five months postpartum. (I plan to do everything in my power to avoid that happening this time around.) I should be more surprised that it took so long to get pregnant! But God knows what is best, which is why we trust Him with the size of our family. I had a year between the last two pregnancies, and felt ready when I got pregnant. I feel that I'll be ready for another baby when this one comes, but I wasn't quite feeling ready to be pregnant yet, lol! I don't at all mind the first trimester...it's the third that I hate. It's been getting harder each time. But I shouldn't complain. My pregnancies have been relatively easy. God has blessed me that way. It's probably to make up for the fact that, due to circumstances beyond my control, I've been forced to have all four of my children by cesarean.

Being pregnant does explain why, since I've gone of the diet in the last week, I have gained back HALF of what I lost!!! If I eat properly in the first trimester, I tend to lose a little weight. Then I stabilize in the second, and gain in the third (partly due to getting tired of "watching" what I eat). This time I plan to follow either the Weston A. Price diet or the Blue Ribbon Baby diet. I've heard good things about both. The first I believe is a good, all-around healthy way of eating for anyone. Some people with wheat or milk allergies tend to find they can tolerate wheat and milk on this diet, when they eat it as the diet prescribes. The second diet claims to virtually eliminate the risk of pre-eclampsia and toxemia. I have had pre-eclampsia with my second pregnancy, and I had gestational diabetes with the fourth. I hope proper diet will help me avoid such complications.

I still plan to reduce my carbs (Americans eat WAY too many) but in a way that is healthy for pregnancy. Most of my carbs will come from fruit and vegetables, and homemade, organic whole wheat bread. I want to get a grinder for grinding wheat berries for fresh flour. Whole wheat begins to lose nutrients within hours of grinding.

I hope everyone is having a good Advent!

God bless.

Temporarily off diet

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I've decided to go off the diet temporarily. My cycle is late, and I suspect I am pregnant. I don't feel pregnant, though. My husband says I don't "look" pregnant (he can always tell from the changes in my body). But just in case, I'm going off the diet temporarily. This diet is very very low carb, and not suitable for pregnant or nursing women. I'll let you know what happens. I never test positive until I'm two weeks late, so I have another week to go.

"Confirm Clearly" Pregnancy Tests Are Giving False Positives

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This is a shame to hear. I am soooo glad I didn't buy these. I was thinking about it, since I could get pregnant at any time now. Bad enough to waste the money, but what about the emotional scars that such a test could give? Pregnancy tests can often give false negatives, but not usually false positives. Imagine how terrible it would be for a woman who has been trying to get pregnant for a while? Sheesh!

Check this out. Apparently Tammy's husband is pregnant!

Learning About Sin

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Okay, I admit it...I'm feeling a bit of maternal pride, lately! My four year old son has gotten to that stage where he is really growing as a person. Sometimes I think he is being a better example to me than I am to him.

We often read him religious picture books that we have acquired. These are often kept put up, and taken down on occasion or when we go to Mass. (They are easily torn.) We have them on subjects such as angels, St. Joseph, the Crucifixion, Easter, praying, Bible stories, Mary, and one about a little girl who led a remarkably holy and short life. His favorite by far is the one about "Jesus dying on the Cross", as he says. He sometimes takes it to naptime with him, and will study it for the longest time. He remarks often that "someday I want to be a priest, so I can teach the Roman soldiers a lesson about God, so they won't go to Hell". He says this also about pirates, mean people, and various other "bad guys." Oh, and he also wants to be a firefighter. I suppose it would be a good combination, because then he could save sinner from real fires and the fires of Hell!

He asks me sometimes whether something is a sin or not, and if it is a big sin or a little sin. Naturally I tell him all sin is bad because it offends God very much, Who is perfect and should never be offended. But I also tell him about the differences in sin, and that although all sin is bad, all sin is not equal. I'm glad to see that it is something he wants to learn about, yet is not inordinately preoccupied with it.

Not long ago, he was chastised and sent to his room for some offense. I wasn't there at the time. After a few minutes, he was allowed to come downstairs. Without being asked, he went to my husband and apologized, and said "Daddy, while I was up in my room I kneeled down and told God I sinned and asked Him to forgive me." Awwwww! What a sweetie. I have to give my husband credit for that one--he often has before-bed talks with my son on such subjects as forgiveness and mercy. And of course, it's always good to have Veggie Tales movies for reinforcement of those lessons!

Mommy, I Made a Sacrifice!

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Recently, this is what I hear quite often around the house. A while back, while watching the cartoon "The Day the Sun Danced", which is about the story of the children of Fatima, I explained to my four year old son what sacrifice means. In the video, the children were making little "sacrifices" to God for the sake of poor sinners. They would give their meager lunches to poor children, say prayers, and offer up their own sufferings as a sacrifice for the purpose of earning extra grace for sinners, that the sinners might accept God's grace and save their souls. The children did not want sinners go to Hell.

My son asked many questions, and has a pretty good grasp on the concept. When he doesn't feel like sharing his toys, sometimes he will pause thoughtfully, then walk over and give the toy to a sibling. Then he'll run smiling to me and say "Mommy, I made a sacrifice! I gave my toy to my brother, even though I didn't want to." The first time he did this, it brought tears to my eyes. I'm so proud of him!

The funny thing is, he doesn't quite understand that you can only offer up your OWN sacrifices to God. When his sister hurts her foot, he will say "mommy, I'm offering up her pain as a sacrifice for poor sinners." I tell him that is very nice, but since it is her suffering, then she has to be the one to do it. LOL, he still doesn't quite get that part!

The children are very giving towards each other. Although they don't always share, and there are plenty of squabbles over toys, they are learning to be kind to one another. The teaching about sacrifice just makes it easier to do. My son has really taken this to heart, and has made him think more often about the needs and feelings of others.

I am glad that we have that movie to remind the children about sacrifice. Many of the problems of this world could be solved today if people had the proper attitude about love and sacrifice. Love IS sacrifice. If you are not willing to make some sacrifices for the ones you love, then you do not truly love them. This is why so many marriages fail today. People think it is all about the emotion, the passion, and most of all, the fun. Once it isn't fun anymore, once hard times hit, once a sacrifice is required of them, they want to get out of the marriage. Suddenly they are bored, or have "fallen out of love", or it is just "too hard". They act like fourteen year olds with their first summer job: "Gee, it's not fun anymore, I think I want a new job." If we train our young people to understand that true love is sacrifice, then they will know that when marital hard times hit, it's time to roll up their sleeves and do some hard "work" to make the marriage better.

The Bible is filled with examples of love being sacrifice: "For God so loved the world, as to give His only-begotten Son" 1 John 3:16. God sacrificed His Son for love of us. Jesus was willing to suffer severe torture and death for love of us. Mary stood by and watched in agony as her Son was slaughtered, never raising a hand to stop it...because although she loved her Son, she also loved God and wanted to obey Him, and she loved all of us too, and knew that her Son must die so that we might live. All these are examples of true love, with the love of God and Jesus being the only perfect love. Although we are not capable of such depths of love, we should aspire to emulate it.

If we are not willing to make sacrifices for others, then we love ourselves more than anyone else, even more than God. That's not to say that we should make all sacrifices every time. But we should have a general attitude of being willing to sacrifice. This comes more easily in regards to our children...but when it comes to our marriages, to our fellow man? Not always easy.

I'm glad my son has learned this lesson early. He truly loves his younger siblings and (most of the time) has their best interests at heart. If only I could more often follow his sweet example!

Patience is a Virtue...passed on to your children!

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As some of you know, patience is something I have struggled with, especially in the area of child raising. I didn't see having four children as all that much harder than three, but I'm entering a stage now where my infant daughter is becoming more demanding. I often find myself with four children demanding my attention at once, with so much going on that I end up snapping at one or more of the children, before I even hear what they are saying. This can produce many problems, including one child feeling like I don't want to hear what he has to say, or another child feeling like he has no way to express himself. That is why I have really been working on this lately.

I've found that being on my new diet has helped. I am rarely depressed anymore, and have a lot more energy and patience. I also have recently realized that the discipline problems I've been having with my two year old have most likely stemmed from a frustration of not being understood. He sees his older siblings talking and being listened to, whereas he is still learning new words, and didn't know how to properly assert himself and be heard. Instead of stating what he wanted, or telling someone how he felt, he would just scream. Or should I say, shriek! He was throwing himself on the floor often throughout the day, and having fits. Believe me, I know the fault is mine. Somehow along the way, he got a little bit spoiled, and adding that to his excitable temperament...well, let's just say it's a bad combination.

My solution? First, I spent a day or two being extremely patient with him, and instead of punishing him on the first offense, I would explain to him that he needed to use his words like a big boy, and tell me what he wanted, or tell his siblings when he wanted them to stop doing something. I might give him one more chance after that, then he would be disciplined. When I saw him use his words instead of screaming, I lavished him with praise and affection. After a few days, he was really getting the hang of it. I also noticed that he went through a maturing process around the same time (I say halleluia when this time comes in every child's life!) and he has not only started talking more and behaving more "grown up", but is also obeying better, wanting to help out more, and learning to be nicer to his siblings. He is even learning to share and make sacrifices for them now, like his older brother does.

Ah, the blessings of a (slightly) quieter house!

Line Training: A Variation of Blanket Training

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After hearing the virtues of blanket training a baby on many websites, including the Duggars, I decided to Google it. I found a post on Prarie Frog Blog about a variation of this, called Line Training. I'm having trouble accessing any Homeschoolblogger blogs lately...I'm assuming it is down. So here is a cached version of the post, which is below another post about spoon feeding a baby.

Basically she used strips of webbing (woven strap material) instead of a blanket. She started training with a square made of the webbing and used it in place of a blanket, then after that she just used a line of it across a doorway. I like this idea. Much cheaper and more portable than baby gates, and it gives the baby a lot more room than just a blanket area.

I'll be trying this myself on my nine month old daughter, who is getting more interested in exploration. For some reason, she was OBSESSED with my end table full of remotes, books, etc. But when we put up the Christmas tree...nothing. She didn't even notice the giant, wide, sparkly tree in the corner. After lighting it, she BARELY noticed it. Then suddenly a week later, there she is with an ornament in her mouth. Yikes! Time for some training. Right now I'm just not leaving her unattended with the tree, and saying "No!" if she goes to touch it. She's actually listening about 90% of the time...the other 10% she waits til I'm not looking and makes a second grab for it, lol. I love the idea of line training, because instead of having a big gated off area in front of the tree, I can just tape down a line around it. Hmmm, maybe I need to do this with the two year old who is NOT obeying 90% of the time when I tell him to stop stripping ornaments off of the tree!

Pine Cone Christmas Decor

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The time has arrived for Christmas decorating. Boy, it feels like I just took my decorations down a few months ago. Wait a minute, I DID just take my decorations down a few months ago!

No, I'm not quite that bad, but I did keep them up until probably late spring. Hey, we leave ours up until February 2, the Feast of the Purification, and by then I was eight months pregnant. Give a girl a break! We got the tree down before the baby came, just not the rest. ;-)

Anyway, I want to do a better job this year, so I'm making plans. Problem is, my empty wallet isn't agreeable to my plans! So as usual, I am coming up with some low cost/no cost decorating ideas, and I'll share them as I find them. And first on my list: pine cones.

Pine cones are an ideal Christmas decoration, as most people can scrounge them for free. I filled baskets with them last year, and arranged them artistically on shelves and around our Nativity scene. I also tied ribbon to them and used them as ornaments on our sparsely decorated tree. You could also hang them along the top of window treatments, dangle a bouquet of them topped with a bow from an archway, use a styrofoam cone and hot glue pine cones to it to make a pine cone tree, or find a way to string them together to make pine cone garland or swags. You can also paint them in gold paint, or roll them in glue and dip in glitter, if you want the mess (yikes). Just google "pine cone Christmas decoration" and you'll come up with many ideas.

Now, if you don't have pine trees, where do you get them? Ask a neighbor, friend, or family member who has pine trees. Or collect them from a local park or a state park. Don't trespass on private property, and find out first if it's okay to take pine cones off of public trees (I can't help you with that one). If it isn't, pick clean ones off the ground...I wouldn't think that would be a problem. Take the nice ones and leave the ugly ones to go to seed. You can also buy them at craft stores, but they won't be cheap. I got a dozen from Walmart for about $3. They were cinnamon scented, which I loved...for two days. Then the scent was gone. Don't waste your money on scented pine cones.

The craft ideas for pine cones is limited only by your imagination...pine cone Santas, snowmen, wreaths, firestarters, you name it. You don't need a lot of money to make a home pretty for Christmas.

Happy decorating!

Post-Thanksgiving

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Sorry to be away so long. I've been so wrapped up in my diet that I've neglected this blog. Too much going on: updating my Fitday several times a day, posting my weight in two or more places online, and keeping up with two weight loss blogs (and only one of them very well).

I'm that kind of person--I get obsessed with something for a while, then move on to something else. But I'm not doing that this time. I need to lose this weight too badly. The diet is going very well. I've lost almost twelve pounds in the last two weeks. The first week is always a lot of water weight. I expect to lose at least three pounds a week, although I'm hoping for more. I'd like five, that would be great. Some women have lost 6 1/2 or 7, but I don't want to get my hopes too high. I love this diet. My hunger is non-existent, and I cannot believe how little I am eating. It was impossible to eat so little on the plain low-calorie diets.

On this diet, I'm eating small amounts, but I am full. And not the Ugh-I'm-So-Full fullness, but the kind of fullness you feel when you are satisfied but not at all stuffed. I don't think I ever felt that before. I was never sure if I was satisfied or not, until I was really full. And I was always afraid that if I didn't eat enough before bedtime, I would wake up starving, and ruin my sleep by having to get up for a snack (this usually only happened during pregnancy, but I started to feel this fear all the time). I normally kept snack bars by my bedside during pregnancy or nursing in case that happened, but I had gotten to the point that I kept a box there even when I didn't really need it.

Before this diet, I was feeling completely out of control in my eating habits. I felt like I was losing it. I felt like an addict. The last few months I actually found myself going to find food as soon as I didn't feel full anymore. It was insane! Now I don't think about food that much at all, and when I do, it's only "gee, that sounds good". I can handle that. I need to make sure I eat, so I don't get those thoughts. Yes, sometimes I forget to eat! Although usually I know I need to eat, but I'm too lazy to make something, lol.

I am so much happier. I don't feel depressed anymore. I'm much more patient with my kids, and most days are good days. More importantly, on the bad ones, I DON'T go running to food. I admit there was one horrendous day where I was tempted, but I overcame it. Before, a day like that would send me running to the store for a bunch of junk food.

Not only that, but for Thanksgiving, I made a Kimkins-friendly meal for my family. My husband is on the diet too, and has been SOOO supportive. My kids eat what's put in front of them, and they liked it (they normally have high carb breakfast and lunch, so I don't always add carbs to their dinner). The only off-plan item on the menu was a low carb pumpkin custard with whipped cream. Basically a crustless low carb pumpkin pie in custard cups. They were about 6 carbs each. Now, I do admit to eating TWO :-0 but I kept my total carb count to 22 (no net carbs here), so I only went over my limit by 2 carbs. I'm really proud of myself!!

Anyway, I'll try to post a homemaking-related article soon!

Weight Loss Updates

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For those who are interested, I will be posting updates on my weight loss on my other blog, Weigh Out of Control. I try to keep this one mostly about homemaking. I will definitely be updating the other blog as often as I can.

Thanks Michelle! ;-)

Happy News!

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(EDIT: WildAngel6, STOP SPAMMING MY BLOG!!! Please get your own blog and trash Kimkins there. I'm not 100% for Kimkins anymore, but if I was, that would be my business. MY BLOG, MY OPINIONS...not yours! You have spammed me at least a half dozen times, and apparently you don't get the hint when I delete your anti-Kimkins SPAM/advertising comments. One more time and I'm reporting you to Blogger.)

I have started a new diet, and I think I'm really going to like this one. It's called Kimkins. It's a lower fat version of the old Atkins, with no Frankenfoods. It starts out with Kimmer's Experiment, very similar to the Stillman's diet: all meat, seafood and eggs, nothing else. Except just enough NEEDED fats to cook, if you feel you need them. I use a tiny bit of mayo for deviled eggs, a bit of butter for cooking, and a tablespoon of cream for a couple of scrambled eggs. They say it will kill your hunger and put you into ketosis. You do KE for 3-5 days, then do regular Kimkins.

On this diet, you use no artificial sweeteners, except for diet sodas if you need them. Everything should be natural foods, and you should choose lean meat like chicken or leaner cuts of steak. Minimize fats...just what you need to make your menu work. The diet should keep you from being hungry, but if you're hungry, eat. Your diet should end up being very low calorie once the hunger is killed. Last night I had 6 ounces of fish and two scrambled eggs, and I actually was satisfied. I wasn't hungry til noon today. And........

I lost almost five pounds in three days! Whoo hoo!

I started at 260, and I'm down to 255.2. The scale is my friend now. And I am feeling SOOO happy.

The best part is that this is a quick weight loss diet. You can expect to lose 4-7 pounds a week, if you're faithful. That sounds like a lot, and I know somepeople will criticize (but not here on my blog, please)but if you think about it, it's much better than weight loss surgery. Gastric bypass patients are told it is safe for them to lose up to 1 pound per day. But they take on the risks of surgery, permanent reconstruction of their anatomy, and the inability to absorb much of the vitamins and nutrients from their food. There is non of that on this diet. Kimmer, its creator, lost 200 pounds and kept it off for a couple of years now. She lost 160 in SEVEN MONTHS, then 20 more in three months, then the last twenty over a couple of years. She went from 318 to 118. Her website is www.kimkins.com.

She does charge $40 for a lifetime membership to the site now. But if you google "kimkins" you'll come up with a lot of low carb forums where she previously posted advice, and where her followers still post today. I haven't joined her site. I'm doing the diet for a couple of weeks first, then if I like it, I'll join. Everyone says it's very helpful to have access to her and her forum, and if the diet works it would be worth it.

I am feeling SO happy right now. For the first time, I can actually picture myself thinner in six months! My goal is to lose as much as I can before I get pregnant, then if I do, I'll switch to Atkins maintenance. I'm really hoping I can get down to 200 before I get pregnant again. That would be AWESOME! Then I can easily wait til after the pregnancy to lose the rest.

WOW! I just realized if I get down to 200 I might be able to fit into store-bought maternity clothes. Cool!!

Mr. Clean "Menace" Eraser

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If you or someone you know use Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, please check out this post about a child who received chemical burns after rubbing them on his skin.

I use these on rare occasions. I plan to lock these up with other household chemicals. I'm trying to transition to natural cleaners based on vinegar or baking soda recipes, but I will keep my Magic Erasers for emergency permanent marker clean up. Just one more example about how dangerous products are marketed to unsuspecting consumers with no warning of deadly side effects.

Labelmaker!!!

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Yes, my friends, I have finally joined the ranks of the organized! Okay, you've got me, I'm still not organized...but I'm working on it! This week I have been in an organizing frenzy (okay, okay, a "frenzy" for ME). I bought new toy tubs, reorganized the small toys in little boxes, and actually labeled them this time with...(da da da DA)...my new labelmaker!

After coveting labelmakers I've seen for my entire life, I finally decided it was a justifiable expense, and purchased the Dymo Letratag handheld labelmaker. I got it for $20 at Walmart. It looks similar to the labelmaker pictured above, but is a darker color and a appears to be slightly different from that model. Looking back, I wish I'd spent the extra money on the P-touch I saw at Sam's club for $30 that came with extra tape and could do a variety of sizes of labels. *sigh* But I like my label maker anyway.

I had so much fun labeling every thing in site. I labeled most of the lightswitches in my house (this house is a wiring nightmare, and there are switches everywhere...and not where they make sense), some of the new Lock & Lock containers I bought to organize my baking cabinet, all the plastic shoeboxes I'm using for toy storage, and a few drawers and shelves. Last night I was sitting in my chair, labeling to my my heart's content, when suddenly, the unthinkable happened....


I RAN OUT OF LABEL TAPE !!!!!!!

It was horrible. It was unexpected. My heart sank. No more labeling? I was desperately trying to come up with a way to afford to buy more label tape, but alas, it will have to wait til Friday. Apparently, 13 feet of label tape doesn't go that far. I think my husband is worried that this will become an expensive hobby. But I assured him that once I had the entire house labeled (yes, I will label my whole house, lol) then my label tape "habit" should slow down.

So despite the current hold on my labeling activities, I'm still really excited to have a labeler. It just looks so neat and tidy and organized when things are properly labeled. :-)

Halloween: To Observe or Not Observe?

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Next week is Halloween, a day most of us remember from our childhood as a time to dress up as our favorite character and roam the neighborhood in search of sweets. As I have always been a chocoholic, you can imagine how much I loved it. However, there has been a Halloween "backlash" lately among some Christian families, who consider Halloween to be un-Christian.

I have to say, I agree. There are a lot of reasons why, but a basic reason is that there is just something wrong with decorating your house and yard with skeletons, witches and gravestones, donning a demonic-looking mask, and going door to door demanding candy from neighbors who are forced to participate whether they want to or not. It's true that many children dress up as a princess or cartoon character, and that many families decorate with smiley pumpkins and friendly-looking ghosts, but I feel that it sets a precedent that can cause problems down the line. When the children grow up, will they want to dress as a princess or Buzz Lightyear? Or are they more likely to dress up as a French Maid, Freddy Kruger, or a demonic-looking madman with a fake axe buried in their skull? There is just an uncomfortably dark aura that surrounds the activities of Halloween. And though there are ways that some would say are "family-friendly" options for celebration, it's still something I'm not comfortable participating in with my family.

So what do we do on Halloween? Nothing. It is not a day of celebration for us. Now, I'll admit that because my family celebrated Halloween when I grew up, I often have to fight the impulse to buy a cute costume that I might see, or hang onto a flyer announcing candy giveaways at the local mall...but I realize that it is just nostalgia driving me, and I don't give in to such impulses. When Halloween night rolls around, I will be giving out candy (because I don't have much choice--if I don't either my house is egged or I am dubbed the neighborhood Grinch) but my children will be in the basement playing with their Dad. They will not be witnessing the ten year olds with demonic, blood-dripped rubber masks, or teenage girls with multi-color hair and an outfit that is more of a stripper get-up than a Halloween costume.

I won't be giving my children any candy on Halloween night. November 1st is All Saints Day, and as a major feast day (a day of religious celebration), this means the day before it is a vigil day--a day for prayer, fast, and abstinence (from meat) in preparation for the next day's celebration. Young children are not required to fast or abstain from meat. But to keep with the spirit of a vigil day, they won't receive candy, although that is my personal choice, not a mandate of the Church. They will, however, get candy leftovers the next day--but not a whole bagful!!

I don't know if Catholics of the New Mass observe All Saints Day as a holy day of obligation anymore or not. It's been a decade since I stopped attending the New Mass. But this is how my family practices, as my grandmother did and all her ancestors before her.

Ironically enough, there are many traditional Catholics who would disagree with me, and routinely celebrate Halloween. This is in spite of the urgings of the priests from the pulpit each year. Some people just can't (or won't) give up all the nostalgia of passing on the Halloween pasttime. They can't imagine letting even one opportunity for amusement pass their children by. But just as children can live without an Xbox (really, they can), they can live without trick-or-treating.

Many people are shocked when I say we don't celebrate Halloween, and some are rude enough to tell me to my face that I am "depriving" my children. Depriving? I think they'll live if they don't wander around the streets in the dark begging candy from strangers that at best will give them cavities, and at worst could be poisoned. My kids don't miss it, because they've never had it. They'll be having just as much fun playing with their dad and getting (minimal) leftover candy the next day...and we know where the candy has been. I haven't heard them complain yet. And since they will be homeschooled, they won't be aquiring the bad habit of whining, begging, complaining, and comparing what they "get" compared to their school friends.

I don't think people who celebrate Halloween (in a non-occultish way) are bad, I just don't agree with the choice. And I'm VERY against it if one incorporates anything of the occult or demonic, even in a "joking" manner. Occult "magic", death and mayhem are no laughing matter.

So if you come to our door on Halloween, you'll get candy and a (required) smile, but you won't be hearing "Happy Halloween" and you won't be seeing any witches, ghosts or gravestones. You will, however, get a lot of candy...I can't be trusted with a bowl of candy the next day! ;-)

Recording Online Radio Programs

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There is a website online that some of you may be interested in. It is WFTS Radio. The programming consists of radio talk shows with priests on various traditional Roman Catholic topics, Gregorian chants, hymns, Sunday sermons, and a talk show with Dr. Donsbach on natural health. They also play an audio recording on Sundays of the Latin Mass, and talks given by a Mother Superior to ladies (but are often enjoyable to men as well).

There is a programming schedule every day. I think it plays 24/7, I'm not sure...but I think the programming repeats itself at night. You can download the programs for about $5. I think it's a little steep for 30 minutes of programming that most of the shows are, but I understand it is necessary to help with the tremendous costs.

However, you can also download Replay Radio for $30-40, which can record audio and/or video streams online. Then you can listen to the programs through your computer, or download them to your iPod or MP3 player. We just got Replay Radio, and so far we like it. It's pretty easy to use, it's kind of like TiVo (sort of) for your computer

If you do regularly record WFTS, I would suggest sending what donations you can to help them out. I really enjoy it, and their listening audience is growing by leaps and bounds. According to the radio host, people all over the world are now listening. It's very clean, extremely traditional, and enjoyable

Shopping Success!

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Until now, I had used some of my own shopping suggestions at one time, but never managed to do all of them at once. But today I did, and what a difference! My itinerary included getting gas, stopping at the thrift store, picking up a few things at the health food store, a lot of shopping at Sam's Club, and gettting several things at Walmart. It was supposed to include a grocery store trip too, but it was late and I was tired.

Now, this trip still took a long time--almost five hours. But considering the number of stops, the amount of shopping being done, and the forty minute drive (each way) to and from the city where Walmart and Sam's Club is, I did pretty well. I actually remembered both Sam's freezer bags, paper and plastic bags, and my clipboard and list. I would have had a calculator, but all of ours are missing in action.

I used my grocery store shopping list, filled it out, and on the back I listed each store I was going to, in order, and the items needed at each store, in order according to the store's layout. I checked off each item as I went. I was organized! It was fabulous! And my buying went so much faster. I avoided the many sections in Walmart which are filled with tempting items to buy, and stuck (mostly) to my list. I didn't have to back track for missing items at all.

The only thing that did go wrong was I forgot the bag with the containers in it that I had planned to use at the health food store. I was bringing them with me to fill from the store's bulk section, where you can buy flour, sugar, grains, etc. by the pound. Next time I'll make a "bring with me" checklist, and check it twice--once in the house, and once in the car, right before I leave. I had my bag of containers ready next to my purse, but forgot it somehow.



I've solved the calculator problem by buying the coolest organization tool: a clipboard with a built-in calculator. I'd seen them before, but this one is better, because it's not just a flat clipboard...it's actually a clipcase. You can put papers inside it (like extra blank shopping lists--how organized!) and there is a carry handle. So cool! It was ten dollars.

Forgive the dim lighting in the picture...I need to add more lightbulbs to that list!

This solves another problem as well--my other clipboard was UG-LY! I was thinking of painting it, then I saw an organizing blog with an altered clipboard. Here are two examples: Decorative Clipboard and
Altered Clipboard

It can fit a paperback book inside, for reading in long Walmart lines. Couldn't figure out how to rotate the picture, but here's the inside:





All in all, it was a very successful trip. And my feet didn't hurt TOO bad...meaning I didn't have to crawl up the stairs once I got home!

Organize Your Grocery Shopping, Part 2: Shopping Lists

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If you've ever gone shopping without a list, you know what a bad idea that is. Unless you've got a photographic memory or are buying only two things, you know something will be forgotten.

The most important thing you can do--and I think most of us do this--is to keep a pad of paper attached to the fridge for quick jotting down of needed items. I use a shopping list pad, which is attached by magnets to the fridge. I also like to use a magnetic clip with a pen clipped in it stuck on the fridge next to the pad. Write down anything you need as you use it up, or as you notice your supply is low.

Before you go shopping, make a menu for the coming week. Many people check the grocery store flyers first, and plan their menu around items that are on sale. Go through the fridge and cabinets, and figure out if you are in need of anything on the list. Also check for normal pantry items that you might be running low on. Don't forget things like pet food, infant needs, and household items. Then sit down and transfer the items from your list onto another piece of paper, organized into sections based on the arrangement of your store's aisles. For example, use headings like Pharmacy, Household Items, Baby, Dry Goods, Canned Goods, Ethnic Foods, Condiments, Dairy, Meat, Produce, etc. The headings should be listed in the order that they come in the store, according to your normal shopping path.

When you use your list in the store, be sure to check off or cross off items as you put them in your cart. This is why I always try to have a pencil on hand. When I try to just check the items off "mentally", I inevitably overlook something. Double check your list before you get in the checkout line. Even with a list sometimes I somehow forget something, and you don't want that to happen when half your cart is unloaded on the belt.

I always use a calculator while I am shopping. I am amazed how even going down the last two aisles in the store without adding up the items can put you way over budget. The thing I hate most is when I'm halfway through shopping, only to look down and realize my calculator shut itself off. AAAAARRGH!! I try to remember to push a button on the calculator at least once each aisle, preferably two times or more. If I'm comparing prices on an item for a while and not adding items in the cart, I will add "0" just to keep the calculator running. But a better way is to do a subtotal at the end of each section of the list, and write it down. That way, if your calculator turns off halfway through shopping, all you have to do is add up the subtotals from each section of the list, then add on the items you've picked up since your last subtotal was written down. Most of the time when I enter the prices on the calculator, I round the number up, for ease of calculating and because that way I know for sure I'll stay under budget. So a $4.66 item becomes $4.75. It leaves room for error...and with me, there's always errors!

In the next installment, I'll talk about the Master Grocery List.

Organize Your Grocery Shopping, Part 1: Be Prepared!

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Grocery shopping used to be fun for me. No, really, it was! Back when I was single, of course. I would stroll leisurely through Walmart, stopping to check out the new stuff or page through magazines, comparing one item to another, with nary a though to the time. I could spend two to three hours there, and that's a lot for someone who only has one person to shop for. Even when I had only one child, it was fun, because my husband would watch the baby and it was my time away. Sometimes I would stop at a bookstore afterwards and sit for an hour and read.

Fast forward to today's reality. I hate shopping. I have so much to shop for, and inevitably I end up forgetting things, and criss-cross my big behind and aching feet back and forth across the humongous store, pushing the dead weight of a loaded grocery cart before me...and sometimes (a lot of the time) pregnant. And then standing in line...don't even get me started. Is it just me, or does every store in the world decide to hire new, inept cashiers right around the time I hit my eighth month of pregnancy?! Suffice it to say that my once beloved Walmart trips are now nightmares. And since Walmart isn't that close anymore, and there is a grocery store here in town that is pretty cheap on prices (and great on specials), I often choose the closer store. Here is how I have learned to prepare for my grocery trips (if I remember...hey, I'm a work in progress):

I always try to remember to have an insulated freezer bag in my car, preferably two. I bought these at Sam's Club, and they're more convenient than a cooler. This is a must for Sam's Club trips, as it is a half hour away, and otherwise the frozen food would defrost before I got through the mile-long checkout lines! I also have (finally, duh) started remembering that PRICE CLUBS DON'T HAVE GROCERY BAGS, so I carry paper and plastic bags saved from local store trips. I keep these inside the freezer bags. The trick is to put the freezer bags on top of my purse when I head out to Sam's or else I'll leave them in the car. Yes, I will, I'm that bad! I also have to remind myself that after bringing the groceries into the house, I need to bring the freezer bags back out to the car or I'll forget them for the next trip.

Next, I always have my list with me. After about a dozen times of losing my precious list in Walmart (either it fluttered out of the cart or I placed it on a shelf as I inspected some item), I realized that small scraps of paper are too "risky" for me. Now I have a full page printout that I like to take on a clipboard. Hard to lose a whole clipboard, even for me! I bring a pencil for crossing things off. You can clip it to the clipboard, but I suggest tying it with a string so you don't lose it or drop it constantly. It's also important to have a calculator, unless you're rich, or you're just that good with numbers. More on the grocery list and calculator in subsequent posts.

You should bring the weekly circular with you, or pick one up at the store if you don't have one. I didn't check mine often, til I started going to this local store that has incredible deals--both specials and store coupons. I've gotten over $25 worth of groceries free. It never fails that the week I forget to check the ads is when they have a fabulous sale. Although they are good about posting signs for sale items and re-stocking items through the week.

Finally--and you should know this one already--dress comfortably and EAT BEFORE YOU GO! And I don't just mean a snack, eat a meal. Once I ate before going to Walmart--just a small lunch--but I was in Walmart for so long that by the time I drove there, shopped my way through the main part of the store, and then got halfway through the food section, it had been hours, I was starving. Not a good idea! You will buy way more food (and more junk) if you're hungry.

The next installment I will discuss how I make up and use my shopping list, plus other shopping list suggestions.

Kitchen Tip: Dishtowel Trap

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How many times has your toddler delighted in pulling the dishtowels off of your oven door? How often does your preschooler race through the kitchen, only to knock them from their spot five seconds after you re-hung them? If you're like me, the answer is "about twenty times an hour." I was soooo frustrated, tired of picking them up and re-folding and hanging them, and tired of going through extra towels because the clean one was knocked on the dirty floor. THEN I came up with a brilliant solution! (Okay, brilliant to me.)

I've seen those dishtowels with the crocheted tops that loop around a handle and button securely. I have a couple. But I don't care for the looks of them, and they are too small and get soggy too quickly. I prefer the microfiber towels I get at Walmart. So here is my solution: place the towel in the proper place (for me, the oven door handle), then take a LARGE safety pin, and pin it from behind. It must be from behind or toddlers will be determined to get it off. If you pin it carefully, so that just the smallest bit of pin catches the front layer, then it will not be easily seen. I was amazed that my younger son only tugged once or twice at it, and never tried again. Guess the game got old real quick!

It's not terribly convenient to have to change the towels if you do so more than once a day. I don't usually need to. I keep one towel for hand-drying and one for dish-drying. Why? My mom did it. The dish towel stays cleaner and drier, so I replace the hand towel more frequently. I tend to leave the front part of the towel hanging longer than the back, so I can lift the dish towel up to dry a dish (most of my dishes are done in the dishwasher). The way I tell them apart, in case you are wondering (you're on the edge of your seat now, I just know it) is that the hand towel is always a solid color, and the darker of the two. The dish towel is the lighter one, or has a print on it, and is always on the right-hand side.

One downside to this idea is that if your husband is tall and dislikes bending over to dry his hands, you'll need to put another towel in another location for him. I have dedicated the ugly crochet-top towel for this task, hanging it on a nail from the cupboard side, over the sink. Who does he think he's kidding...I've seen him use a half-dozen paper towels to dry his hands during the course of making a meal! 8-0 But it's his money, and who am I to complain if he's cooking? ;-)

Anyway, I hope this little tip helps. It works for me!

The Grocery Game?

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Many blogging homemakers have mentioned The Grocery Game. It is a website that you pay to join, and somehow helps you with couponing for your local stores. It's supposed to save time and money. Many people have raved about it. Now, I'm not much of a couponer. Coupons have died slow, crumpled, lint-covered, long-past-expiration-date deaths in the depths of my purse. I just am not in the habit of using them, so they are often forgotten. So I question whether the Grocery Game would be worth my while.

Another thought is that in my experience, most coupons are for name-brand convenience items that I don't normally buy for my family. The point of these coupons is to get you to switch brands or try a new product. I am trying to stay away from convenience foods, and when I do buy them, I buy store brands most of the time. Is this the case with the Grocery Game? Is this only for coupon-proficient, brand-buying moms?

Anyone with experience joining the Grocery Game is welcome to comment, and tell us about their experience, good and bad.

T.M.I.

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WARNING: This post may fall under the category of "Too Much Information"...discussion of female problems to follow...consider yourself warned! ;-)



I've seen on many websites that many ladies are starting to sew their own reusable sanitary napkins. My first thought upon hearing about this years ago was "yuck". After all, I haven't been a pad kind of woman since I first discovered the convenience of tampons. However, things change. You know I've shown interest in trying to get rid of disposable products from my family's lives in order to not only save money, but be more healthy (I hate the chemicals in disposable diapers). But this is one area I just hadn't investigated yet. I'm thinking about it now because my needs have changed. Here's where a little TMI comes in...

Am I the only one who has an increased "flow" problem after four kids? I'm not sure if it's the number of pregnancies I've had, or the fact that they're so close together, or my age (mid-thirties), or the fact that they were c-sections, or the fact that I am obese. But after this last pregnancy, there's been a lot more flow, and your typical store-bought products aren't doing the job. Part of this I suspect is due to my larger size...most feminine hygiene products just aren't made for larger women. I don't want to have to buy every product on the market each month trying to find something that works.

I was really mad when I bought a box of panty liners this month that turned out to be so small I thought they were for twelve year olds at most! Although I miss the comfort of the products I used to use, I am now thinking of trying to find out where I can buy the giant sanitary pads they give you at the hospitals right after giving birth. It's better than shopping at Walmart, petrified there will be leakage, just like I did when I was in high school!

Okay, end of the TMI. ;-) So now I'm thinking of making my own sanitary napkins. I've seen a variety of styles. The type pictured above was the first style I've seen that is along the lines of what I had in mind. I found them at Homemade Mama's. They are outrageously expensive, although due to the materials and workmanship, and the "reusability factor", I can understand why. But I like the design, and I'm thinking of making some of my own.

So if anyone out there has experience in making their own products, post a comment and let me know how well you thought it worked. I'm particularly interested in the various ways the homesewn pads can be made to stay in place, and what materials can be used to prevent leakage.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled (normal) posts!

Enchilada Casserole

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This is one of my husband's favorite meals that I make. I got the recipe from a lady I babysat for when I was in college.







1 lb. chicken, cooked (chicken breast okay, but leftovers of whole chicken is better)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I use more)
1 package of flour tortillas (I tend to use 6-8 tortillas)
1 can of Rotel (10 oz. can of diced tomatoes and chiles)
1 can of cream of chicken soup (regular small size can)
1 soup can of milk
a little flour to thicken, as needed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large frying pan, put in Rotel, soup, and milk.
3. Heat mixture through, stirring.
4. Add cooked chicken, stir.
5. Line bottom of a 13x9" pan with tortillas.
6. Pour some of mixture in, spread evenly.
7. Sprinkle some cheese across it.
8. Repeat steps 5-7.
9. When all of mixture and cheese is used up, layer tortillas across the top.
10. Bake til heated through and a little browned on top, usually 20 minutes.

I usually get two full layers of the tortillas/mixture/cheese, then top with final tortilla layer. You could make three layers if the ingredients were spread thinner, but I like thicker layers. I like it even better reheated the next day (if there's ever any left over!) because it tastes even better. This serves my family (two adults, three kids ages 4, 3, and 2). For larger families you'll want to add sides or make two casseroles. The Rotel will make it a little spicy, but not usually too bad, if using the Original variety. If your kids hate spicy foods, you could use plain diced tomatoes.

Anti-Catholic Blogging

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There is something I've had on my mind for a while now, that I would like to share. I have noticed more and more on some Christian homemaking blogs the tendency to bash Catholics or Catholicism. I've held my tongue, and refrained from commenting the myths and sometimes intentional slams that I've seen on these blogs, because I felt that it wasn't my place to confront someone about their opinions on their own blog. I have seen others do that, and I think it is rude. It is one thing to disagree slightly and express a different view or to ask questions, but to engage in an argument with someone on their own blog is very impolite, in my opinion. I think if someone strongly disagrees with you and just wants to rant, they should just leave your blog...otherwise, what does it say about you that you have nothing better to do than argue and name-call a stranger because they exercised their free speech on their own blog?

However, one blog I used to visit (but rarely anymore, due to this person's anti-Catholic sentiments) recently made comments about Catholics again that I just couldn't stomach. It wasn't an opinion, it was a slam against a particular person and against the Catholic faith, which was in my opinion completely misleading as to what Catholics believe. The comment was made about someone who was engaging in exactly the behavior I described above, harassing the blog owner for her opinions, and (according to the blog owner) resorting to name-calling and put-downs. Instead of dealing with the person privately, this person chose to give her readers a play-by-play of what was happening between her and the anonymous poster (nothing wrong with that, just not a choice I would have made). In the course of talking about the anonymous poster, the blog owner, in an apparent attempt to put down the poster, said:


"As the Lord Jesus Christ said 'By their fruits ye shall know them' I believe that the troll is a Roman Catholic, so she probably thinks she is getting into heaven by being a 'good enough' person, i.e. through good works."


Assuming the blog owner is giving an honest evaluation of what the poster has been writing to her over time (there are two sides to every story, and she screens her comments to that we can't see the original comments posted by anonymous), I have a problem...several problems...with her statement. She has described this poster as someone who is bitter, angry, and attempting to justify her own poor life choices by spewing venom at the blog owner for her beliefs.

1) She says "by their fruits you shall know them", then goes on to say the poster must be Catholic...because of her fruits? Because of the hateful remarks she made? Perhaps this is not the analogy the blog owner was trying to draw, but that is how it sounds. At the very least, she implies that Catholics think they can act any way they want and still get to Heaven by doing something nice once in a while. Not only is that false, but it is also a complete misrepresentation of Catholic doctrine.

Now, I'll be the first to admit there are Catholics out there who think they can do what they want and still get to Heaven by being "good enough"...but I've met plenty of Protestants, Born-Agains, Evangelicals, Jews, Hindus, agnostics, etc. who believe the same thing. Just because some people have a malformed conscience does not mean that all people of a particular faith do...nor does it mean that that person's beliefs are a true representation of what they are SUPPOSED to believe, according to the faith they profess.

2) She jumps to the conclusion the poster is a Roman Catholic. I am not privvy to the posts, but if the blog owner's evaluation of the poster's comments is accurate, I don't need to see them...the woman is NOT a faithful practicing Roman Catholic. I wouldn't even call her practicing. If she isn't attending Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation, receiving Communion and going to Confession at least once a year during the Easter season, and following the laws of the Church, she is not a practicing Catholic. Many, many people claim to be practicing Catholics when in reality, they are "sometimes" Catholics...which makes them Catholics by birth only, but not in practice.

There is, unfortunately, a trend today for Catholics to "pick and choose" what they believe. Why they don't just become Protestant is just beyond me. Then they could go "church shopping" for somewhere they felt comfortable. Why stay in a church when you don't believe what it teaches? If I did not believe every single thing the Church has ever taught, I would NOT be a Catholic. The Catholic Faith is not a buffet, it is a complete meal. There are a lot of things that have been allowed to happen in the last forty years within the Church, due to a weak (at best) heirarchy. The abuses in practice and preaching are unacceptable, yet they have continued unabated. This is why I became a traditional Roman Catholic: one who attends only the traditional Mass in Latin, who practices the Faith as it always was...the Faith my grandmother grew up in. I couldn't stand going to Mass anymore and watching a priest change not only the practices but also the beliefs...a man who gave clear evidence that he didn't believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. I had to find a Mass where things never changed and the Faith was retained in it's entirety.

But most Protestants (even most Catholics) aren't aware of the lack of proper teaching within the Church today. So when they hear that Catholics believe this or that, they accept it. It doesn't matter what anyone says--people lie or are mislead. It doesn't matter how any particular Catholic acts--we all meet people in life who do not act as they know they should. What matters is what is defined in Catholic doctrine...THAT is what Catholics--true Catholics--believe.

3) "...she probably thinks she is getting into heaven by being a 'good enough' person, i.e. through good works..."

The blog owner couldn't be more wrong, although she was probably mislead either by a pastor or by the current myths propogated by people who themselves are mislead or who actually know better, but continue to spread lies. The truth is, the Catholic Church has always taught you MUST believe in order to save your soul. Good works are merely an outward sign of this Faith. Good works without faith are meaningless, and you cannot save your soul through good works alone. However, if you should go your whole life long proclaiming to believe, yet never taking the God-given opportunities to do good works, then can you truly say to your Lord on Judgement Day that you were a true believer?

Catholic history is full of examples of saints who died before or shortly after baptism, yet are believed to be in Heaven. Reading the Acts of the Martyrs shows many such stories. St. Emmerentiana is just one example. She was a young girl who was stoned to death at the grave of St. Agnes because she was a Christian. The Church believes that she is in Heaven--not because of her good works, though I'm sure she performed many. Not because she was baptised--her Acts make it clear she was not. She is believed to be in Heaven because of her Faith...because she believed in and loved Jesus Christ so much that she was willing to die for Him.

It isn't my intention to debate with anyone whether "faith alone" is actually scriptural or not. I welcome anyone here to my blog. I don't want anyone to feel unwelcome or put down. I may not believe the same as some Protestants do, but I welcome them here, and want them to feel comfortable. However, neither will I pretend I am something that I am not, and by not ever talking about my faith (which I haven't up until recently), I think I was being unfaithful to myself.

It is also not my intention to put down the blog owner (who I will not name or link to, to protect her identity). It is her blog she is writing on, and she is free to believe and to write about what she wants. I did write a comment to her (only because I knew she screens them first and it would be a private communication unless she chose to post it). In it, I pointed out this recent comment on Catholics, that it wasn't the first, and that although I was assuming she didn't mean it to be, her comments were insulting to Catholics, and came across as put-downs. I was trying to let her know that if she wanted to change Catholics' opinions and get them to believe what she believed, then making comments that sounded offensive wasn't the best way to accomplish that. If she didn't care what Catholics believe, then I guess it doesn't matter how she phrases things.

I never received a reply from her. As of this writing, she hasn't posted my comment, or referred to it on her blog, which is okay by me. Probably just as well. It's likely she didn't believe what I had to say about the true Catholic teaching on faith and good works. To be honest, I'm glad she didn't respond. I was a little worried it would turn into a big debate, which is not what I wanted. I just wanted her to know, if she wasn't aware, that her comments were not being taken well by Catholics (I am not the first to remark about this particular blog). It is too bad. I like her blog in many other aspects.

I think some people don't realize how they come across to others. I'm one of them, I should know! ;-) I say the wrong thing all the time. That's why blogging is good. I can edit and re-read my posts before publishing. Less blunders that way. :-D

Read a Book Today!

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Lately I've felt like I've been under a lot of pressure. My lack of homemaking talents and inability to keep up with the house has really started to get to me. I think a large part of the problem is that I feel that I have no social outlet. I have no family or friends nearby, and haven't been able to make any new friends. I also don't have any hobbies like I used to. When I was single, I really enjoyed dancing, singing, reading, and going to social activities with other Catholic singles. Now that I'm married, I don't do any of those things.

It's not that my husband doesn't want me to or won't let me. They've just all fallen by the wayside, especially since I became a traditional Catholic. I used to go to country bars and dance. I loved to dance. Now I just don't feel that it is appropriate...not to mention I would feel like a total cow trying to dance, at my weight. I used to sing in the church choir, but with four little ones under the age of five, that is NOT possible! I would love to find other couples to be social with, but my husband isn't very outgoing with people he doesn't know, and even if we knew of a babysitter we could trust (which we don't), we couldn't afford it. Kind of hard to make friends when people realize that inviting you over means inviting ALL your kids, lol.

So I've decided I need to somehow "find myself" again. No, not in a feminist way (ugh!), I just need to rediscover some of the things I used to like doing. So this past week I started by buying a novel to read. I used to love reading novels about true crime, especially if they had to do with forensics (this was way before the CSI craze). When I became traditional Catholic, I stopped reading these because it just didn't seem right...a lot of these novels had things in them that weren't that appropriate, or were graphic (in regards to violence) beyond what was necessary to tell the story. Before I got married, I just substituted many books on the lives of the saints, older Catholic novels, and sometimes other spiritual works, like "Humility of the Heart". But books like those, for me, take a lot of concentration...something a mom of four little ones doesn't have! Some saint books I've read are good enough to really capture my attention, but the rest take a lot of peace and quiet to read. (Insert laughter from all real moms here.)

So reading has completely fallen by the wayside. Instead, when I need a break, I use the computer. The problem is, I tend to lose track of time, and spend too long on it. Not a good thing when you already don't keep up with your household duties! So I bought a book that is fiction, but doesn't have bad language or get overly gruesome. It's an easy read. In fact, I can actually read it while spending time with my kids, which is a lot better than leaving them to play while I get on the computer in another room. It has really helped me cut down on computer time. My husband and I used to read in bed together, so I'm hoping we'll start that again (if the poor man can keep his eyes open--he's been so tired lately).

Granted, I'd feel a lot better about it if I were reading something more spiritually beneficial, but I'm hoping this gets me into a reading habit again so that I can concentrate better on something religious. I've been wanting to read the Acts of the Apostles, and a bunch of books on the saints that I have by my bedside. The only bad thing is trying to read while I feed the baby--she loves to try to tear up and eat paper!

Wardrobe Refashioning

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There's a new craze out there. Well, new to ME anyway...I've never claimed to be "up" on the latest trends! I'm talking, my friends, about wardrobe refashioning. This is taking clothes you already have, or used clothes you have come across, and repurposing or "redesigning" them. It could be as simple as adding some trim or fabric paint to cover stains on a shirt, or as complex as taking apart a dress, making adjustments to it, and putting it back together to create a whole new look.

I love this idea, because as a large person, not only do I have a lot of clothes hanging around that are too small, but it is also very difficult to find clothing new (even if I had the money for it) that meet my standards. Anything I buy has to be feminine, modest, and not "loud". Modest means dresses or skirts only, nothing tight, no slits, everything covered from the base of the neck to mid-calf, and at least mid-upper-arm, if not longer. Oh yeah, and a 3X. Oh, and no straight styles, as I am very bottom-heavy after four c-sections. Needless to say, a trip to the dressing rooms in a store is not just an exercise in frustration, but enough to send me into a depression!

Wardrobe refashioning is an excellent choice for anyone who likes to recycle, who doesn't have a lot of money for new clothes, or has a lot of "useless" clothing items in their closet. One example I saw was a woman who had a dress she loved, but couldn't fit into. She took the side-seams apart on the lower part of the dress, and sewed in panels of complimentary fabric, and added some trim to the bottom. It looked really good! Another reason I like the idea, is because when I do find something that fits, it often looks very tent-like, especially on top. I don't want something tight, but neither do I want something that makes me look BIGGER than I already am!! Many projects I've seen are merely narrowing the waistline of a shirt so it's not so baggy and frumpy.

If you are interested in learning more about it, check out Wardrobe Refashion '06. You don't have to be an experienced sewer. Some ideas, like the t-shirt dress, are really easy. I don't know how to sew (I've only done one jumper so far, it was kind of funny, lol) but I'm trying to teach myself. I think refashioning what you have is a great way to to it. If it's something you never wear anyway, who cares if you mess it up?

I also think it's a great idea to re-use clothing for its material, buttons, etc. If you donate a stained item to a thrift store, they often throw it out anyway. This is a great way to re-use it, and save money too. Have you ever priced buttons? Yikes! Sewing your own clothes should be cheaper than buying them, but if you pay retail for supplies, it's more expensive. Refashioning is the way to go!

Carrots, Anyone?

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Last weekend I purchased a juicer. The Juiceman Jr. was on sale at Target for $39.99. I also picked up a 25# bag of organic carrots for $17.99 at the local health food store. They called them "juicing" carrots (aka broken or stubby carrots, lol). But they were a great deal.

Now, carrots are supposed to be refrigerated. Okay...what do I do with 25 POUNDS of carrots? I took some gallon ziploc bags and squeezed as many carrots as I could into them. It took 6 and 1/3 gallon size bags. My husband said "you need to juice every day to use these up!" LOL

The upside is: I finally found a way to get my younger son to "eat" carrots...he doesn't like to chew them, he's a lazy chewer! At least I can get in the nutrition of the carrots--I'm not worried about the fiber, they get plenty of fiber. The downside to carrot juice is that it stains, you have to be careful...oh, and the juicer makes a somewhat pulpy juice, so it can't be used in a sippy cup. Staining juice + sippy cup without the seal + one destructive kid = a disaster! Well, we haven't had one yet, because I sit with him while he drinks it. But I DO have four children, so the chances of me getting distracted and him pouring it everywhere is probably pretty high!

Meanwhile, I need to use up these carrots. Hmmm....carrot soup? Carrot cake? Carrots, anyone?

Vision Forum Contest at Life in a Shoe!

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Vision Forum is sponsoring a contest in connection with Life in a Shoe blog, for two prize packages of Vision Forum materials worth $700, plus a drawing for a couple of smaller prizes. Check it out. What homeschoolers couldn't use some free stuff from Vision Forum! I haven't gotten any Vision Forum stuff yet myself, as I just started homeschooling YESTERDAY, but I've seen some cool stuff there. They have a lot of things great for the whole family, not just for homeschooling. Check it out!

The Master Cleanse

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In my online browsing, I came upon something very interesting last week. It is called The Master Cleanse, also known as the lemonade diet. It's not really a diet, it is a cleanse, which is something you do that is meant to cleanse your system of toxins and impurities. There are different cleanses, done in different ways. Kevin Trudeau's book recommends several cleanses, especially if you need to lose weight. He mentions a colon cleanse, a liver/gallbladder cleanse, a Candida cleanse (I KNOW I need to do one of those), and a general cleanse. The Master Cleanse is the ultimate cleanse, it cleanses your whole body.

In a nutshell, you drink a lemonade mix that you make at home for at least ten days. Some people go 30-40 days, but it seems like they usually do that the second time around. During this time, you eat nothing. The lemonade mix is supposed to keep you from being hungry and give you the energy you need. You also do "salt water flushes" to help...um..."flush" you out, if you know what I mean. They also recommend senna tea, like the "Smoothe Move" brand, to help you along.

I've heard of juice fasting before, but not cleansing. I NEVER would have considered this before (heck, I can't even stay on a diet) until after I read the online journals of people who have done it. If done properly, they say you aren't hungry at all, and after a few days, you feel great, full of energy. The first few days, you are getting adjusted, and the worst of the toxins are working themselves out of your body. After day 3, your energy is supposed to kick in, and you feel alert and better than ever.

There are some "side-effects". Your tongue turns white, your breath isn't as fresh, and you might be cranky at first. You won't be hungry (as long as you keep drinking the lemonade), although you may have dreams about food, or dream you broke the fast, and you wake up upset. Usually you lose some weight, but not everyone. Some people lose a lot. It seems that the average I've been hearing on a ten day cleanse is 10-14 pounds. The most I've heard of so far is 61 pounds on a 34 day (so far) cleanse, and I think this guy was pretty overweight. Some people, in an effort to keep losing weight, continue to drink the lemonade after the fast, during the day, then eat a healthy meal at night. Kind of like a Slim-Fast diet without all the chemicals. Probably works better too, since the lemonade mix is supposed to help keep you from being hungry.

The ingredients for the drink are:

freshly-squeezed organic lemon juice
pure water
organic, formaldehyde-free, grade B maple syrup
cayenne pepper

The maple syrup add necessary nutrients and sweetness, the cayenne helps things "move along" inside you, and the lemon juice has many amazing properties. Helps keep hunger down, has excellent enzymes, helps break things up inside, etc. I was amazed when I found out all the benefits of lemon juice.

Here are more links for information:

The recipe
An online journal of one person's experience
A site with great info (same as link at beginning of post), cheapest source I've found for maple syrup
Another site to buy ingredients, get info
The Master Cleanse by Stanley Burroughs, if you're too cheap to buy the book
A juicer comparison chart, compares some brands, very informational, read it before you go running out and buying a juicer

I've heard wonderful things about how you feel after doing this cleanse. People who do them often repeat it a few times a year. A lot of people have reported having some medical conditions go away during the cleanse, and some smokers have been able to break their habit during it. It seems to "reset" the body. One young woman whose journal I read had a bad case of gout, and it was gone by the time she ended the cleanse.

Like I said, I normally wouldn't consider even thinking about this, normally. But I've done a great deal of research on it, and I am excited to try it. The bad thing is I'm home all day with my refrigerator, and I have a family to feed. I'd like my husband to do it, but there's one problem...this lemonade diet is EXPENSIVE!! I figured out that with all the supplies, it will probably cost $100-110 for only ten days on the Master Cleanse, and that's not including a juicer. You need a juicer, you get only half the juice if you do it by hand, and the most expensive part is the organic lemons. I figured almost $70 for the lemons, $28 plus shipping for the maple syrup, I have organic cayenne already, another $4-5 for jugs of purified water, and another $4-5 for the tea. The juicer, if I can't find one used, will be around $50...I plan on buying the Juiceman Jr. There are a few cheaper ones around at Target or Kmart, but I don't trust the brand names for those.

I'd love a Champion, because it's a masticating juicer, and it makes higher quality juice with less oxidation. BUT it's $230!

So I'll just be settling for a Juiceman Jr. It's only $50 at Target, and as a centrifugal juicer, it makes more juice.


I'm still trying to figure out if we can afford for me to do the cleanse. Unfortunately, being impulsive, I went out and bought two days' worth of lemons already. I'm such an idiot. Buy the lemons...THEN calculate the cost! Duh. But at some point I will do it, because I think it would be a great, healthy experience.

If you think about doing The Master Cleanse, first research it online, then buy and read the books. Everyone says you NEED to read the books. There is a yahoo group dedicated to the cleanse, but they ask you to read the book before asking questions.

If you're not interested in cleansing, look into juicing. I've been hearing great things about it, how energetic fresh juice makes you feel. The grocery store juices are "dead"...little vitamins, no enzymes, etc. I thought it would be too expensive, but there are options. My health food store carries organic "juicing" carrots, $18 for 25#. Pretty good price for organic. And many health food stores offer discounts when you buy in bulk.

Good luck, happy juicing!