“Mama, boo boo heart”

+ J. M. J.
Today my two year old little girl came up to me and said, “Boo boo toes. Kiss it, please?”

I obliged.

“Mama, boo boo hand. Kiss it, please?”

I obliged.

“Mama, boo boo heart. Kiss it, please?” And she held her chest.

I obliged.

“Thank you, Mama. Kiss you, please?”

“Yes.”

She obliged.

“Thank you.”

 

^_^

 

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No More Hectic Mornings

Something has clicked in the past two weeks. If I get up before anyone else–have some quiet time, work out, take a shower, get dressed, start breakfast–then the whole family is more peaceful and productive. When Mom is in order the whole house has room to be ordered. All this time I have found the weight of that task to be a burden I didn’t know how to deal with so I didn’t deal with it at all! Now I see that it is a greater burden to be consistently unorganized!

The alarm has gone off at 5:30 these past two weeks so that I do housework and get myself ready for the day FIRST. My house has never been tidy for so long because of the Before Bed Routine. Meals have never been done, nor laundry clean AND folded AND put away like this. It is so wonderful!

The best part of this has been that I have a hold on my life rather than my life running me!! (Yeah, yeah. Cheesy.)

So on Monday when Therese started preschool I added something else: Therese has her Wake Up Routine that has to be finished before she can get milk. She has been in a twin bed since Sunday night so I jumped right on teaching her how to make her bed herself the very first morning.

We are !EXCITED! about getting ready for the day so she stays interested.

1. When she gets out of bed and walks into our room to wake up Mommy, I say, “Good morning, Therese! *hugs and kisses* How are you doing this morning? Let’s potty!”

2. Then we make her bed and Therese is sure all four of her Eeyores are tucked in. It doesn’t matter that it is still messy. (Though my perfectionism is tempted to “fix” it.) The comforter is turned up. The pillow’s at the head. She is proud she did it herself.

3. We kneel down by the bed and make a morning offering.

4. Then we get dressed. (She helps Mommy lay out her clothes the night before. She is starting to remember we do this every day so she is excited when she remembers getting dressed is the next thing.)

5. We brush our teeth. Therese has Pinkie Pie toothpaste which has made teeth brushing SO MUCH EASIER. This child used to be impossible every morning and night, but now we announce, “Let’s see Pinkie Pie and brush our teeth,” she screams “Pine-key!” (in slow motion–soo cute) and she wants to keep brushing and brushing. :p

6. After Mom hands her the toothbrush so she can get a turn to brush her teeth herself Mommy fixes her hair on the bathroom counter. Then she looks in the mirror and says, “tunka Mama,” (thank you) and asks for a dab of lotion to put on her cheeks. I’m pretty sure this is her equivilent to the makeup she watches me put on…..

7. Finally, we go to the fridge where her little graphic chart is hanging low on the fridge. We draw bright stars to check off everything we did, going over them. The last thing on the list is a cup of milk. When she sees it she, without fail, bounces up and down saying “MEEEE MEEEE! …..PEAS!” (milk please). She toddles away content with her milk completely ready to go for the day within 15 minutes.

We can start our school day by 6:45 so that we can leave for the office by 7:50. Yay!

A healthy view of human sexuality leads to a healthy view of the Human Person & the Family.

 

There is a worldview that many people around our little family have that all things involving the realm of sexuality/physical affection shouldn’t be brought to light, talked about, and pretty strictly out of public society. This view holds a partial truth but it is not the Truth because it is not entire and it is imbalanced. Being a witness to the Truth is difficult when you are believed to be risque!

– pregnancy should be hidden as much as possible & spoken of as little as possible

– having several children is a sign of being “unable to control worldly/primal desires” rather than selfless

– breastfeeding is okay for a little while, but never in public and should be switched to bottle-feeding as soon as is possible

– sex & physical affection are imperfect because they are of the body and not the spirit

– the more children you have, the less money you have…..and the less you have, the less God is in favor of you

– showing physical affection–holding hands, a man kissing his bride on the forehead or touching the small of her back–isn’t prudent as it implies something

The God-given, natural law truths of the matter are logical,  balanced and divinely inspired (seen throughout Scripture & natural law–The Theology of the Body):

– The ‘Theology of the Body’ …. the physical human body has a specific meaning and is capable of revealing answers regarding fundamental questions about us and our lives. (1)

– Sexuality between man and wife is a reflection of the more perfect union between God and man.

– In God’s eyes, physical affection is encouraged! Do we enjoy giving hugs because it is animal-like? Or do we enjoy hugs because God put that desire in us toward the good as a selfless gift to another? Which makes more sense in the big picture?

– Physical affection between married persons: The union between man and wife is so exclusive and sacred that it is veiled. “A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a garden locked, a fountain sealed.” Song of Songs 4:12. And that isn’t flaunted.

To show affection in front of your children, and it differs for everyone, is a healthy way to show them how to communicate eros, an inward self-giving love communicated with the body. Parents have a duty to teach responsible eros to their children.

My husband kisses me when he gets home from work & my daughter knows to the extent she is now able that “Papa is showing Mama he loves her and that is healthy.” A toddler interprets that it is Good–they give selfless, affectionate hugs so freely themselves.

When parents show “physical affection is bad/hidden” it inspires in children the very opposite of what God writes on our hearts, that physical affection is primal and imperfect, rather than a healthy communication of an interior, self-giving agape love.

That mindset led Hugh Hefner,  who said his childhood “lacked true affection,” (2) to saying, “Prudishness isn’t right!” and beginning the Playboy mindset of giving into self-serving desires rather than self-giving love with one spouse as God has written on the heart of man. He was right, physical prudishness ISN’T good. His solution isn’t good, either, as it says “ALL physical affection unordered must be good.”

So, as with all things, finding balance is God’s plan for us. Physical affection isn’t taboo in God’s book & we see it in natural law. But when it is not self-giving it is self-serving. And in a self-serving society, no wonder there is such misery and chaos.

Super Duper Porridge for Super Babies

+ J. M. J.

Fitting good food into the mealtimes of a short-attention-spanned toddler can be a challenge. That’s where Super Porridge comes in (Super Baby Food, Ruth Yaron, 1998).

Super Porridge is whole grain(s) blended into powder and made into cereal.

High Protein Super Porridge (9+ mo for higher calorie & activity needs) is blended whole grain(s) & legume(s) and made into cereal.

Maybe I went off the deep end. I thought, “There are many healthy foods in our kitchen with nutrients, complex carbs, fiber, protein, good fats…why not put them together into toddler hot cereal?”

SUPER DUPER PORRIDGE

In a blender combine:

1/2 cup dried beans (here 2 Tbs each garbanzos, lentils, green split peas & great northern)

2 Tbs quinoa

1 heaping Tbs flax seed

1 heaping Tbs wheat germ

1 cup whole grain (oatmeal shown here)

Then BLEND that puppy about 2 minutes, until very smooth.

It will be a soft, very fine flour. Store this dried cereal in an air tight container.  Can you see the green split peas? Didn’t think so. They won’t turn the cereal green. 😉

Every 1/2 c dry cereal = boil 1 cup water (or bring milk to a constantly-stirred simmer). Cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Optional: add things like fruit or yogurt. Serve it up. Store leftover prepared porridge  2-3 days covered in fridge.

Mothers

+ J. M. J.

Stay-at-home moms, sometimes what you do may seem mundane but you’re investing in your children’s and spouse’s eternity & a better society.

“In the first place, the worker must be paid a wage sufficient to support him and his family. That the rest of the family should also contribute to the common support, according to the capacity of each, is certainly right, as can be observed especially in the families of farmers, but also in the families of many craftsmen and small shopkeepers. But to abuse the years of childhood and the limited strength of women is grossly wrong.”Mothers, concentrating on household duties, should work primarily in the home or in its immediate vicinity. It is an intolerable abuse, and to be abolished at all cost, for mothers on account of the father’s low wage to be forced to engage in gainful occupations outside the home to the neglect of their proper cares and duties, especially the training of children.”
 
– Pope Pius XI, in his great social encylical Quadragesimo Anno
 

2 of 30 Things: 3 Fears

30 Things, Day 2. Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears. Okay, 3 worldly things:

 

1. Living without my husband.

Okay, this one sounds morbid. But it also means he living in another location than with our family. It must be a natural fear but that doesn’t make it any less real.

 

2. Dense places.

Wide, open spaces and uncrowded towns are peaceful and therein lies a 360-degree scope. Hills and trees are beautiful, the city is exciting and cultured–but after a while claustrophobia gets the best of me and (can’t believe I’m saying this) I miss seeing the horizon from one end to the other in all directions.

 

3. Tornadoes

This is a love/hate relationship because I LOVE the rain that comes with thunderstorms! But not tornadoes. They are one of the easiest natural disasters to outrun because a good basement is all it takes. But that doesn’t make them any less scary!

Day 1 of 30 Things: 20 Randoms

+ J. M. J.

Meme from this blog. It’s also a fun date night idea. 🙂

1. List 20 random facts about yourself.

1. I want to learn how to sew.

2. My dad named me.

3. After my short lifetime of not really caring for purple, it’s really starting to grow on me.

4. Bad Catholic is my favorite blog.

5. When feeling down, I read books by the Duggar family and they make me happy. 😀

6. I’m the slowest diaper stuffer in the history of man.

7. Every time I visit a used book store I look for a big Berenstain Bear book I loved as a kid but don’t remember anything about other than that it was full of lists and classifications.

8. In college I owned a lionhead rabbit named Grif.

9. I love having my daughter help in the kitchen.

10. I have an irrational fear of toothpicks.

11. The saints I asked at Confirmation to be patrons of my life were St. Augustine and Mary.

12. I asked my husband to change my Facebook password for me so that I can only log in once a day.

13. I have seen every episode of the first season of Timmy Time 9 times.

14. God willing, I would like to have a book published by the time I’m 35.

15. At this time I do not have a “5 year plan.”

16. I lost my engagement ring shortly after DD2 was born when it still couldn’t fit on my finger.

17. I want to live in the Rockies. My husband wants to live in Appalachia.

18. Peaches are my favorite food.

19. Every time I write the word arithmetic I say in my head “A Rat In The House May Eat The Ice Cream.”

20. I don’t like Oreo creme–just the cookie part. 😉

Feast of the Trinity – Braided Bread

+ J. M. J.

Tonight is the eve of the Feast of the Holy Trinity.

And to celebrate with food (duh….of course we’re celebrating with food, is there another kind?),

we baked braided bread!

Cell phone cameras never do justice.

Using this recipe for Awesome 1 Minute Ciabatta Bread, after rising, the dough was separated in 3 parts and braided—3 Divine Persons, 1 God.

(If I had older children this would be an edible theology lesson–the best kind.)

Onion powder, fresh parsley, quinoa and garlic sprinkled on top.

Per directions, we popped it in a 400˚ oven for 25 minutes.

Try to hold off cutting into it for 10 minutes so it doesn’t cave in.

And then add copious amounts of butter before consumption because, hey, we’re celebrating the wondrous Most Holy Trinity today and everything is better with more butter.

Total Family Makeover

+ J. M. J.

“The family that prays together stays together.”

It stores our blankets. It is within reach of a very daring and precocious little one year old. It’s covered in water stains. I picked it up for $5 five years ago at a garage sale. And it is the most important thing in our home. It’s our home shrine/prayer corner.

The fact that there is now a place dedicated to praying in our home, reminding us to take a time out to praise God and seek His help in spite of so much going on, caused an immediate change in our home.

1. There is peace in our home! It is a tranquil chaos. The tone of the day is set when we don’t “get around to” praying–there is a set place and it is first thing. The girls aren’t running on all cylinders right out of bed so they are still and pay attention.

We tell Jesus we love Him and thank Him, consecrate our day to Him. We tell Mama Mary we love her, ask for all graces for all of us, and ask her to help us imitate her Son. We ask St. Joseph to pray for us. We ask our guardian angels to guard us from all evil and guide us to virtue that day. It’s also a time we bring up any prayer intentions and practice basic prayers with D1. She has most of The Sign of the Cross down and knows the Rosary has something to do with “Ail Harry” over and over again. XD

And, who would have thought, the routine to pray at the same time together did a 180 on our life. Things are calmer and less stressful because the tone of the day has been set.

2. Routine keeps things running like a well-oiled machine. Going back to the same place at the same times every day improved our time management. DH and I thrive on things happening routinely at the same time. In our home it’s easier to prioritize and more difficult to put things off being reminded we need to go pray now.

So rather than playing with the girls until 5:00 and it’s supper time and there’s nothing ready to eat, knowing Thérèse expects to go say “hi” to Jesus after her nap puts me in the right mindset to start getting things done. When lifting my heart to God it gives me drive to please Him, and that means doing what I have to do in my calling, which at that moment happens to be putting supper on the table.

3. It’s a holy reminder to be good to one another. The old adage, “The family that prays together stays together,” is so so so true. Not only are we going to God together as a family throughout the day and that in itself is awesome, but it is an ongoing reminder that: God, You are so good to me. Help me be good/patient/kind to others. It’s a recurring examination of conscience, and Lord knows we all need that

4. Bedtime Rosary (even if just a decade) & prayer marks bedtime. Going to bed on time sets the tone for tomorrow.

I only wish DH and I had started this before the kids arrived when it would have been simpler, without so many things demanding our attention and physical exertion. But there is no time like the present!

We are really trying to make it a month without “skipping”. We really want to, with God’s help, build this ongoing good habit in our home so that we can serve one another and take His love to the world by serving others. (Cheesy, yes, but it’s the truth!)

Pax Christi!

Whole Wheat Jam Muffins

made with spring blush jam & peach

Strawberry, rhubarb, pineapple and peach inside!

My mom starts canning this time of year. This means our family is treated to things like strawberry rhubarb jam, Polish dill pickles and habanero apricot jelly from fruit that was picked a week ago, so our jelly hasn’t been sitting in a warehouse for a year. Oh. Yes. Fresh jam. I love my mom.

The problem is that the toddler won’t eat jam on toast. Well, she’ll eat the jam but ignore the toast.

What cured this dilemma? Why, not-too-sweet-but-just-sweet-enough jam muffins!

I adapted this recipe from The $5 Dinner Mom Cook Book generic muffin recipe, pg 269.

___________________________

Whole Wheat Jam Muffins

Makes 6 large or 12 mini muffins.

1 egg

1 1/2 Tbsp oil

3/4c jam, or mixture of jam and any fruit mashed together

3/4c whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp wheat germ (optional)

1 Tbsp flax seed (optional)

—-

Preheat oven to 350˚

Mash fruit (if applicable) and jam in mixing bowl.

Add egg and oil.

Add dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Pour into muffin tin, greased or silicone/paper muffin cups.

Pop in the oven 15-20 minutes.

___________________________

D1 and I made ours with Oma’s Spring Blush jam (strawberries, rhubarb and pineapple) and an old, soft peach needing to be used.