Friday, December 26, 2008

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

I was struck by something this morning. I am very thankful that we, as Orthodox Christians, have 12 days of feasting and celebrating ahead of us! After the 40 day fast, we just can't celebrate Christ's birth for one day. This morning I had to take my 3 to an early morning doctor's visit (Youngest has a double ear infection). A local Christian radio station has played 'round the clock Christmas music since Thanksgiving. We have kept our car radio on this station. When I turned on the car this morning I was jolted out of my "Christmas high" with a regular old song coming out of the speakers. How quickly we forget!

This year we started a new tradition of a 52 day Jesse Tree during our Advent prayers every night. I am so glad that these ornaments go through January 6th. We are heading down to Disney World with my family tomorrow, and our Jesse Tree is going with us. We're not ready to stop celebrating yet! Here's wishing you another 11 days of joyfully celebrating Christ's birth!

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Blog Has a New Sister!

Just wanted to let you know that I now have a 2nd blog that documents my family's home school journey. We are formally starting home school in January, but I've started posting today! Come visit at See you there!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Another Fasting Meal, Super-quick and REALLY good!

One of the meals I had planned for last week was postponed, because we attended a wonderful St. Barbara's Day Bonfire last Wednesday night. You can read about it here.

I was able to make that meal last night, and I have to say it is hands-down my new favorite fasting meal! It even has a vegetable in it that the kids didn't complain about. The best part is that you only need the time it takes to boil pasta! (Sorry to those with peanut allergies, but this is a dish with nuts.)

Spirals with Peanut Sauce

12 oz. uncooked spiral pasta (rotini)
water for boiling
2/3 c. natural creamy peanut butter (no sugar added)
3/4 c. water
3-4 T. soy sauce
2 T. white vinegar
1 green onion, coarsely chopped
1 T. honey or rice syrup
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 c. frozen green peas, thawed to room temperature

Prepare pasta in boiling water according to package directions. Meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients, except peas, in food processor or blender. Process until smooth. When pasta is done, drain well and place in large serving bowl. Add peas and sauce. Stir to thoroughly combine. Serve hot.

Recipe Note: The sauce thickens as it stands. If it sits too long, mix in more water before serving, or before serving leftovers. Serve with hot pepper sauce, if desired.

This served all 5 of us, and there was enough left over for my lunch today!

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Intercessions of Saint Seraphim

I love animals...probably too much. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy eating them, but I still have a HUGE soft spot. This started at a very early age. I was traumatized by Lassie, I got nervous every time I watched Flipper, and don't even get me started on E.T. Needless to say, my pets have always been very special to me. My empathy for animals was only dulled by the birth of my own human children!

I have always had animals, and from the age of 5, I've always had a cat. Misty was a Christmas present. She lived until I was 20. I grieved for her like I would a family member. A month after she died, I got married. A month after that my husband and I adopted Toby. Toby lived until the age 0f 7, when he got very sick and we had to put him to sleep. After that loss, I decided I was done with cats! Of course, that feeling didn't stick, and two Christmases ago, my husband gave me Goliath. He was a tiny fur-ball. He's a Himalayan Persian with big blue eyes. I fell in love. At the time, I was pregnant with my 3rd child. I had almost 5 months left in my pregnancy, and so I had time to really bond with my new "baby" and he definitely loved sleeping on my pregnant belly!

After the birth of my baby girl, he reacted typically. But things really changed when the baby became a crawler. The cat decided that my new baby was an intrusion and that he was not going to take it anymore. That's when the real trouble started. He turned our house into his litter box! The couch, the playpen, the kitchen counters, the older kids backpacks, MY BED!! You name it, he peed on it. I was horrified. I took him to the vet, but there was nothing medically wrong. We tried everything, buying another litter box, using the cleaner that guarantees it will stop a pet from marking, nothing worked. Sadly, the cat was eventually banned to the laundry room. At first, he yowled day and night. It was awful, and my prayers to Saint Seraphim were numerous. My husband was not so sad, and was already plotting the cat's demise. So for the past 3 months, the cat has been under quarantine. Then about a month ago, he started using the laundry room as his litter box. This was the last straw for my husband. I was actually accepting the fact that my fur-ball was not going to be with us much longer. I asked Saint Seraphim to guide us in finding a family that would take care of him. Then the miraculous happened. A few days ago, my husband called in the middle of the day and asked me who the Patron Saint of animals was. I told him about St. Seraphim. He said he had been feeling like we should try to help the cat one more time, and he had gotten some advice from a local pet shop.

That night, we spent about 2 hours thoroughly cleaning the laundry room, and my husband brought home a few things to try to help. He even bought the cat a toy, which in my opinion was a huge gesture! We prayed that our efforts would help. I am so happy to report that overnight my cat has completely changed!! He is using the litter box, and ONLY the litter box, he's happy, and I'm ecstatic! I've let him out during the day for "supervised visits" and he's been great. I just had to share his story. Thank you, Saint Seraphim!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday's Menu

Kids' Breakfast: cold cereal, fruit, milk

Kids' Lunch: turkey/cheese sandwich, apples, cucumber slices, roasted edamame (my kids love edamame, and these sort of look like peanuts but with 40% more protein!) juice

Family Dinner: Veggie Sandwiches, baked chips, carrot sticks
(Tuesday night is our "easy dinner" night since the 5 year-old has gymnastics)

Veggie Sandwiches

Sourdough bread slices
Avocado slices
Tomato slices
Lettuce (optional)
Cucumber slices (optional)
Mustard (optional)
Tofu mayonnaise (optional)

Toast sourdough bread. Mash avocado slices and spread on toast. Top with tomato slices and any other veggie slices and lettuce if you like.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday's Menus

My previous post admitted to the world that I am severely lacking in the menu planning department. Several of you have given me great ideas! I know there have to be others out there like me, so I've decided to share one week's worth of menus from my household, and if you can get anything from it, yay! I will preface Monday's menus by saying that my children are 8, 5, and 1. I don't require them to keep a strict fast all the time, especially the baby. My older two also pack school lunches, so we do the best we can. They do consume cheese and meat a few times a week, but we eat the same fasting dinners. I will share my children's breakfast and lunches from today, and our family dinner.

Kid's breakfast: Brown Sugar Oatmeal
piece of fruit (8 and 1 year-old chose banana, 5 year-old chose clementine)

Kid's lunch: PBJ sandwich (using a cookie cutter to cut sandwiches magically makes
them taste better)
Baked chips
baby carrots
apples (1 year-old had pears, softer on the gums)

Family Dinner: Haystacks

Ingredients: 1 onion, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
Lettuce, chopped or torn
Jalapeno peppers, sliced (optional)
1 lg. can fat-free refried beans
1 lg. bag Frit*s corn chips
1/2 bag tvp crumbles (optional)
1 lg. can tomato sauce
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can sliced black olives (optional)
Salsa of choice

Directions: Chop vegetables. Warm beans on stove or microwave. Warm tomato sauce and stir in taco seasoning. Warm tvp crumbles. Place each ingredient in bowls on table. The "Haystacks" are assembled by first placing a stack of Frit*os on plate, topping with refried beans, tomato sauce, tvp, veggies and salsa as desired.