The Service of Motherhood

On the heels of being content with the role of motherhood, I thought this morning how being a mom is like being a missionary, but with little or no recognition (and that’s OK!).

While I held my puking daughter this morning, washed the vomit from her face, and bathed her in warm water, all I could think about was being a servant like Christ calls us to be.  I thought of Mother Teresa who cared for sick individuals who were cast out by society and how she wiped their pussing sores, how she held them tenderly as if they were Christ themselves and the work of caring and cleaning for a child with the stomach flu took on so much more meaning.

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My thoughts led to my new love that has taken a while to implant in my heart: Opus Dei.  How they really enforce how the everyday work you do, in the vocation you’ve been called to is sanctifying work that draws you closer to God.  There are times where I feel like clearing the table and washing dishes is more than I can handle.  The mundane task of wiping the dirty table, putting away laundry and dusting the mantles sometimes seems useless and unimportant.

The Veggie Tales song from the St. Nicholas movie plays in my mind daily now (probably because the kids watch is every morning): “I can love because God loves me, I can give because He gave.  Jesus’ love is why I’m smiling, why I give every day.” which reminds me why I am doing what I am doing as a mother.

(I took a short break from typing this to rock my daughter and get thrown up on.  There was more throw up on me than the rocking chair, Chloe or in the bucket.  Bet you just loooooved that visual eh?)

I don’t actually have that much more to say.  Both my children are sleeping and I’m going to take advantage of this time by taking a very long and in-depth prayer time.

7 Quick Takes (vol. 17)

I haven’t done one of these in a while!  Linking up today with Jen from the bitterly cold, -40C central Alberta!

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I love that this weather kept us home so that I could get a major amount of cleaning and organizing done.  Most successfully today was cleaning the fridge (a chore I will do once maybe every two years):

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Little People are my new loves, especially the Disney princess ones.  Chloe cut out naps cold turkey about 3 weeks ago.  Ever since then I’ve been trying to assemble “Quiet Time” bins so that she will spend at least an hour playing quietly while I have some of my own quiet time.  I went to Superstore one day to look for items and these toys had a shelf price tag for only $5!  I thought that was great compared to the regular price of $7.99.  So I grabbed three packages and headed for the checkout.  When they rang up as $5.47 I was able to SCOP one of them thereby getting it for FREE and the other two they gave to me at shelf price.  I used a $10 Superstore gift card that I redeemed using Pampers points and got all three of these for FREE!

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Books!  I love books, especially educational books about the faith.  Lately I’ve been going on to Amazon.ca and putting book after book after book into my cart, lingering over the “checkout” button, but pressing “save until later” instead.  I have a lot of books and right now with Christmas coming, I probably shouldn’t spend $50-$100 on books.  I’ll get these gems, but it might have to wait a month or two.

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In reference to the above post, that’s ok because I DID buy ONE book on Monday.  At the last Opus Dei recollection there was a talk about the Liturgy of the Mass and its importance.  They mentioned two books that were excellent on this topic; one was

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They said that this book was excellent, but a very heavy read so they recommended an easier read:

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I ordered “The Lamb’s Supper” and received it in the mail yesterday!  I can’t wait to start reading it.

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Fitting into size zero skinny jeans should have actually been my #1 this week.  I went to American Eagle on Monday and bought two awesome pairs of skinny jeans for $60!  Not only was the price great, but it felt amazing being 16 1/2 weeks pregnant and being able to do up the button on size zero pants!  Not sure how long I’ll be able to keep buttoning them up, but so far so good!

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Another great deal I took advantage of what a Joovy Big Caboose Sit and Stand Double Stroller for only *drumroll* $55 dollars!!!  Regular price this bad boy is $379.99!  I went through shop.ca and used a whole bunch of promo codes and rebates and THAT is how I’m going to cart around my three children come May 🙂

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Last, but not least, today is the feast of St. Nicholas and it did NOT go like I planned at all.  Usually that would result in bitter disappointment, but today I must have been graced with an abundance of graces and blessings because I’m honestly ok with that.  Tomorrow we will be celebrating St. Nicholas’ feast and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Stay warm!

Preparing for St. Nicholas Feast Day!

This is our first year incorporating the celebration of St. Nicholas’ feast day into our family!  I was briefly raised with the whole Santa Claus idea until my mom put a halt to it when I was around 8 years old.  As I’ve grown in my Catholic faith and am learning how to raise a family in that faith, I’ve decided that I don’t want to even go near Santa Claus, but celebrate his Catholic origins instead.

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St. Nicholas’ feast is widely celebrated in Europe where children will put shoes near the door, by the fireplace or even outside to receive a small gift “from” this saint (usually gold coins, fruit and/or some other small token).  The tradition comes from the generous spirit of St. Nicholas who was very wealthy and gave to those in need.  The coin/shoe tradition comes from St. Nicholas helping three poor sisters who could not afford a dowry to marry, so they were at risk of being sold into slavery/prostitution.  Upon hearing this, Nicholas anonymously tossed some coins down their chimney and the tradition says the coin purses landed in some socks that were drying by the fireplace.

Why We Are Celebrating This Feast

1. I really want to start living the liturgical life of the Catholic Church and make our faith something we LIVE and not something that just happens on Sundays.  One way I’m working on that is by trying to implement suggestions from Hallie’s Book “FEAST! Real Food, Reflections and Simple Living for the Christian Year”. What a great time to start this than at the beginning of the Liturgical year!

2. Santa Claus is a twist on the true story of St. Nicholas, but I find that the celebration of the two are quite different.  Growing up I always wondered why Santa preferred the rich children to the poor children who couldn’t even afford food or clothing.  My little sister upon finding out that Santa wasn’t real was confused by the unintentional lie and asked, “Is Jesus not real too?”  I want my children to grow up knowing truths and celebrating these truths!

3. As the children get older and ask about the gifts they received, I will tell them that St. Nicholas was a follower of Christ and gave generously because he loved our Lord.  We’re giving gifts on this feast to mimic this generosity.

How We Are Celebrating This Feast

It’s our first year celebrating and I wanted to go ALL OUT.  I read blogs, e-books, pinned things on Pinterest and had big plans.  Today is the day before the feast and I’m letting go of some of these big plans in order to simplify and remember why we are celebrating.  So this year, we won’t have fancy St. Nicholas styled cookies, we won’t have any fancy decorations and we don’t even have a book.  But that’s ok.  We have many, many years to build on this tradition.  Instead:

1. The kids will place their shoes/boots by our fireplace tonight.

2. Tomorrow morning Ryan’s shoe will be filled (I can’t resist treating him too).  I can’t decide when to give the kids their shoes as I’m sure Ryan would like to be there, but at some point they will get their shoes.

3. We have a simple St. Nicholas movie they can watch and colouring sheets for Chloe.

4. During the morning we will prepare for our charitable act.  We decided to be an example like St. Nicholas and provide some things for someone less fortunate than ourselves.  This year it is a single mother we know who is in great need.  So tomorrow morning, I will get the kids to help put some basic household and food items into a basket and we will deliver it.

5. Supper will be a feast!  Chicken with mashed potatoes and maple glazed carrots.  We will have dessert, but I haven’t decided what that will be yet.  We will end the day with a special prayer to St. Nicholas, thanking him for his example in the faith and his generosity.

 

30 Days of Frugal Meals – Days 1-7!

I was trying to decide how to go about my “30 Days of Frugal Meals”.  My weekly grocery shopping trips always include items that are on sale, have coupons for, are sporting the discounted stickers, and so following Louisiana Bride’s meals wasn’t going to work for me.  So here’s what I did.

Thursday is when the flyers come out, but I’m still not receiving mine yet.  So early Friday morning (during my second cup of coffee, Ben’s nap and Chloe’s Dora movie) I scanned the online flyers to see what was available and made my list.

Because of 15% off Tuesday (items bought on 15% Tuesday are not always meal planning items), I knew I’d have to make two trips for groceries this week for sure.  This was my 15% off “Tuesday” (one location in Sherwood Park let’s us get our 15% off on the Monday so we can stack as well) using coupons:

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What did this get me, you ask?

– Free eggs
 – Free Lindt chocolate
 – Free Neumans Organic Alfredo Sauce
 – Free Eggo Minis x2
 – $1.99 Organic Milk x2
 – Free Batteries x8
 – Free Lays Chips x2
– Free Happy Planet Butternut Squash Soup
 – Free Happy Planet Juice x2
 – Free Melitta Coffee x2
 – Free Vaseline Spray x2
 – Free Tresemme Shampoo
 – Free Tresemme Conditioner
 – Free Catelli Pasta
– Free Quick Oats

Once my list was made and my coupons sorted, I threw some kiddie snacks into my purse and drove the 2 minutes to Superstore to see what treasures and goodies I could find.

#1 Sunday – Hamburgers & Hotdogs!

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Because this was Ben’s birthday party we had to serve 16 people, but managed to still find a sweet deal! 

Breakdown:

1. Hot dogs (1 dozen) $2.97 (sale) x2

2. Hamburgers (8 pack) – $9.98 x2.  With this amazing deal from Superstore, we couldn’t go wrong.  All we had to do was buy the burgers!

3. Chips, juice, pickles, bunsFREE with burger purchase!

4. Hotdog bunsFREE from when we moved in!  My sister bought way too many and so we froze them.

5. Birthday cake – I made his cake with ingredients that we already had.

6. Beverages$2.50. I made iced tea ($5 container/used 1/2).

7. Veggie Platter – Ben’s godparents brought the veggie platter so we didn’t have to pay for it!

Cost of this meal to feed 16 people was under $30!

#2. Monday – Spinach Lasagna Rollups

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I made homemade spinach dip using cream cheese and frozen spinach that I already had.  Toss in some onions and garlic and voila!  A really simple, healthy, delicious and FRUGAL meal! 

Breakdown:

1. Lasagna noodles$1.77/box

2. Spinach $1 – (already had it in the freezer)

3. Cream cheese$3 (already had it in the fridge)

4. Organic pasta sauce$1

Cost of this meal to feed 4 (with leftovers for Ryan the next day) was approximately $7!

#3. Tuesday – Homemade Mushroom Soup

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Last week at Superstore, there were a bunch of mushrooms for 50% off clearance.  When I saw that, I knew we’d be having mushroom soup this week (I ended up freezing some and giving some to a friend as well).  I used my cream coupon, bought no name stock, and already had butter, onions, spices etc to use for my recipe.  I can’t remember the exact breakdown for this meal, but remember the total.

It cost me approximately $6-$7 (out of pocket that week) to make 3 meals of mushroom soup instead of the regular $12-$13 it would have cost to make the same amount of meals.

#4. Wednesday – Sausages, Perogies & Salad

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Breakdown:

1. Sausages – $13 but since we only used half the pack, I’d say $6.50

2. Perogies – $1.98

3. Organic Salad – under $2 (can’t remember exact amount).

4. Ranch dressing – FREE with stacking

5. Tomato – FREE from neighbours garden

Total cost of this meal to feed 4 people (with leftovers for all of us) is roughly $10.

#5. Thursday – Chicken, Pasta & Fresh Veggies

So my kids got sick starting Wednesday night and it was a loooooong night.  I was just happy to get a yummy and frugal meal on the table, and completely forgot to take pictures.  We BBQ’d chicken thighs, made pasta topped with butter and cheese, and had broccoli & cauliflower.  Chloe and Ben enjoyed it, and we even received a “Thank you for supper Mommy!” from Chloe!

Breakdown:

1. Chicken thighs – $10 (10 thighs).

2. BBQ Sauce – FREE (from a purchase earlier in the summer).

3. Pasta – FREE (from 15% off “Tuesday”)

4. Veggies – FREE (leftover veggies from the birthday party).

5. Cheese & Butter – 700g of cheese cost us $6.99 last week and butter $2.99.  We only used a tiny bit of each, but I’m not up for calculating that breakdown :P.

Total cost of this meal to feed 4 people (with leftovers for all of us) is slightly over $10!

#6. Friday – Grilled Cheese

Well, no one reeeeeally needs to see pictures of grilled cheese, do we?

Cheese – $3.50 (ish) for a package of Cracker Barrel Sliced Swiss.  MMMMM!

Bread – $0.89 for a LOAF of bread from Safeway (50% off sticker on it)

Total cost of this meal to feed 4 people is roughly $4.39.

#7. Saturday – Homemade Pizza

By this point I was starting to feel sick and hoping I didn’t catch what the babies had.  We made pizza dough in our bread machine and used some leftover Italian sausage, onions and cheese for the toppings.  This one is a little harder to breakdown because we made the dough at home.

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Breakdown:

Dough – Unsure (10kg of flour was $6.99, yeast was $9, water was free)

Italian Sausage – “FREE” (cost was figured into what we made with this meat earlier in the week).

Organic Pasta Sauce – $1

Onions – Aprx. $0.33 (the bag of 6 medium onions was $1.97)

Cheese – $6.99 for 700g.  We used about half the block so, apx $3.50.

Total cost of this meal to feed 4 people (with leftovers for Ryan on Monday) was over $4.88.

PHEWF!  That was a lot to type up.  This week’s meals cost approximately $73!

Hopefully this post wasn’t too long and boring for you.  I think I’ll try doing a post daily now instead of weekly.  That might be better for all of us.

7 Quick Takes (vol. 16)

I haven’t been blogging much this week because we’ve been pretty busy.  Doing what, you ask?  I’m not 100% sure, but it might have been enjoying the gorgeous September weather we should have had in July.  Here’s what I have to say for this week.

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This.  Is.  Delicious!  Absolutely perfect for a hot, summer’s day!  I’m sure it would taste even better with vodka in it, but we had none.  I managed to get this bad boy for FREE at the last Save-on-Foods 15% off day.  Currently, I am looking at the Facebook coupon trading pages to find more free product coupons so I can indulge in this happy pleasure.  Regular price is $4.99.

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(Photo Source)

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Fancy Nancy is our latest “go-to” book to read; at least for Chloe, that is.  It’s a cute series of books of a little girl who looooooves to be fancy.  Instead of saying “Fancy Nancy” Chloe will say “Nancy Nancy!”.  It’s adorable.

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>3<

So last weekend right before Ben’s birthday party I spilled Scentsy wax all over my bathroom counter top and my NEW clothes (that’s why you haven’t seen a picture of them yet).  Later in the evening, I did something very stupid: I took a butter knife to the wax and ended up scratching the beautiful counter top.  I’m trying not to be angry at myself for this idiotic blunder, but it’s difficult.

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I’m actually surprised that I haven’t spoken of this before since I watch this show EVERY WEEK!  MasterChef is my crack right now: must. watch. it. no. matter. what.  It’s getting super intense, right?!  SPOILER ALERT!  Even though I was sad to see Jessie go, I knew that the final two would be Natasha and Luca.

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Are you watching?  Who are you rooting for?  Natasha is a bit meaner than Luca, but I also think she’s the better cook, so we’re going with her.

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I haven’t forgotten about my 30 Days of Frual Meals!  This week has been so busy that I’m going to do a summary post tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

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There’s some serious stuff going on in Syria, and just reading some of it makes me sick to my stomach.  The Pope has asked that tomorrow we pray and fast for peace.  I hope some of you can join me in this.

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The only plans we have this weekend is to finish laying the stones in the backyard, continue painting outside trim, organize the basement for the furnace installation next week, watch a couple movies, eat some ice cream (DQ has Snickers Blizzards right now!  Luck for us we live 5 minutes from one).  It’s going to be a casual weekend for us.  Hope you have a good one and enjoy your weekend!  Don’t forget to link up with Jen!

7 Quick Take (vol. 15)

Friday!  Friday!  Friday!  To me, that actually means that tomorrow is a day of renos/fixing up the place.  Oh well, at least Ryan will be home!

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I miss my dishwasher.  A lot.  The other night it took me just about an hour to wash all the dishes.  There were interruptions from the children, but the main reason was that I had a lot of prep dishes and a few left over from lunch and afternoon snacks.  My sink and cupboard were full of dishes.  *Sigh*  We’ll likely buy the part needed to fix the machine, or get something off of Kijiji.  Right now I can’t justify the cost for a machine when we want to use the money for other things: like getting two new furnaces for $6000 (ACK!  Yes, our home needs two furnaces).

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My baby turned 1 yesterday which means now I have NO BABIES and TWO TODDLERS!

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We had a lovely day yesterday.  My sister came to visit and chatted with me while I did chores and birthday prep.  When Ryan came home we took the kids swimming!  Both of them had a blast until some kid pooped in the water and we all had to evacuate.  We came home for cleansing baths and showers, home made pizza and cake (looks pretty awesome doesn’t it!), and presents.  Ben’s extended family birthday party will be on Sunday.

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Today I went shopping with a friend for clothes for our kids.  I’ve shopped way too much this week and really should cut back considerably.  Anyways, I actually found some pants in the kids section that fit me: so I bought it (photo to come).  Not sure if that’s a good thing or bad…

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Moving has really put me behind in things, especially organizing the childrens clothing.  I’m pretty sure I’ve stayed within my budget of $150 for both per season (buying a year in advance for spring/summer), but now I have even MORE clothes to sort.  I have to put away clothing that’s too small, find the stored clothing for fall/winter, and pack up next year’s spring/summer clothes.  I am way too embarassed to post a picture of what this mess looks like.  I’m going to use The Better Moms post from today to try and organize these things.

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I have been trading coupons like crazy this week.  So many good ones are heading my way: free eggs, free ground turkey, free milk, free veggies, free yogurt, free cheese!  This REALLY excites me and I’m starting to take a different approach to my couponing.  Trade for the free staples.

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Cleaning a big house is a lot of work, especially with kids.  We went from a house that was just under 1300 sq feet to a house that’s just over 1900 sq feet and it’s a HUGE difference.  Most days I can only get the basics done let alone things like cleaning floors, wiping cupboards and dusting.  Yeah, in my house those are not basics.  Today actually I’m sitting down to make a cleaning plan and am following this template from Joyful Mothering but adapting it for my family.

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Last but not least, my prayer life has been getting better.  This morning actually, I got up at 6:30 BEFORE my children.  Ben was up at 6:45 and Chloe 7:10 so I did get a bit of quiet prayer time in.  My soul felt at peace, but I do believe that I released 1000 souls from purgatory while grocery shopping with my kidlets this morning.

Happy Friday everyone!  Don’t forget to link up with Jen at Conversion Diary!

30 Days of Frugal Meals! Challenge Accepted!

Join me starting September 1 for 30 Days of Frugal Meals!  The idea was inspired by Louisiana Bride and I’m feeling up to the challenge!  I’ll be posting daily what it cost me to make that meal and how my family enjoyed it.  I’ll also be letting you know how I managed to apply organic/whole foods and snacks with my purchases.  Stay tuned!  It’s going to be good times.