Monday, February 27, 2023

Prayers for Will

Last weekend, we had a terrible accident in my family.  My brother-in-law, Will, fell from the top of a 24 foot ladder while cutting a tree branch.  He sustained tons of injuries and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance (he should have been medflighted to Boston but there were no available helicopters).  He was in the ICU for four days as they tried to control his pain and figure out all of his injuries.  

The surgeons say he is so lucky to have survived this fall.  

Thankfully, Will was moved to a rehab hospital yesterday to receive intensive therapy before he can have the surgeries he will need.  He is the main breadwinner for the family and he will be out of work for a long time on his road to recovery.  My sister, Maura is a nurse (luckily!) and so strong and their three kids are handling this the best that they can but their world has been flipped upside down.

 I set up a GoFundMe for their family because so many generous people have asked how they can help.  Please feel free to share, donate or most of all PRAY for a speedy recovery for Will.  Thank you all!

Friday, February 24, 2023

Week in Review: February Vacation, Double Birthdays and That's What He Said

After eating my way though the last few days before Lent, I really felt this meme:

Phil and I took the youngest three kids to a hotel on the Cape for a night.  They had some fun activities for kids like a make-your-own sundae bar, bonfire with roasted marshmallows, big indoor pool, scavenger hunt and a huge breakfast buffet.

The teenagers were able to keep themselves and the dog alive for 24 hours, so that was great. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Fat Tuesday Thoughts About Lent

 Ugh, Lent starts tomorrow.  

So of course that means I've been adding cookies to my morning coffee and indulging any other food craving this past week, knowing that soon I'll be giving up these treats.  

And you know what?  

I feel gross.

I feel physically gross with the added sugar and lack of healthy eating.

I feel mentally gross with the loss of any semblance of willpower.

I feel spiritually gross with the laziness accompanying my prayer life.

So why do I think that indulging in junk food, staying up late to watch *one more* episode, working out less, and praying half-heartedly is living the good life?

It's actually quite the opposite.

Choosing the hard things and staying disciplined is actually what brings me true joy.

Eating healthy makes my body feel light and lean and capable.

Working out gives me an energized high and a good attitude.

Praying keeps me calm and centered and allows me to reflect on all of my blessings.

Working hard for my family and then spending time with them makes me feel so accomplished.

~ Hard doesn't equal bad just as easy doesn't equal good. ~

We know this!  I know this!  And yet the temptation is always there to choose the easy way out.  Our world loves to give us permission to do what feels good; just binge-watch a season of a show, just eat the fast food, just drink and smoke to stop the feelings.  But where does that leave us?  Feeling gross.  Feeling empty.  Feeling lazy and unfulfilled. 

Great achievements only happen through great sacrifice.  Think of any professional athlete, they continually choose to do the hard work to get to their goal.  Parents choose to put their kids needs before their own.  Service men and women give up everything to fight for the freedom of others.  

If my goal is to become a saint (which it is!) then I need to take the steps to get there.  Every unselfish action done for another, every offering up of a want, every struggle met with prayer all adds up to make a more worthy saint.

Lent is actually a gift.  It's our annual training program for Heaven.  A time to refocus on our weaknesses and strengthen our spirits.

This Lent, I want to try and remember that a life of service, a life of sacrifice, a life spent loving others is what will truly bring happiness, if not in this life then definitely in the next.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Week in Review: Super Bowl Sundaes, Valentines, and Marcia Brady

It feels like it's been awhile!  Hi!  How are you?  It's been equal parts busy + nice weather + sickness + sports + fun around here.  Let's recap, shall we?

On Friday, the high schoolers had a winter pep rally and Eamon played in a few minute to win it games.  Here he is (with his cousin Tommy) in the game he won:

Maggie is a happy girl because she got up the courage to tell the Varsity basketball coach that she wanted to stay on the JV team for the rest of the season.  The Varsity coach totally understood after this drama-filled year.  The JV coach was fired (quit?) and the assistant AD is taking over as coach.  He used to be the girls JV basketball coach and he is the Varsity Soccer Coach and all my kids love him, so she is excited to play for him.

Om Saturday, the little kids got their valentines ready to pass out in school.  Brendan couldn't write his name small enough on each treat so he wrote his initials, which are unfortunately, B.M.  If you know, you know.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Week in Review: Yummy Ramen, Basketball Drama, and Finished Stairs

 Happy Friday!!  Can you believe the Super Bowl is this Sunday?  We are still trying to tighten up the menu for game day, which is the most important part of the day, obviously.  I tried a new recipe this week that was delicious, but it doesn't make the game day menu because it's too messy...  

Thai Coconut Curry Ramen

Maggie has been playing up to Varsity Basketball, which should make her proud and happy but instead is making her wish she could stay solely on JV.  She doesn't know the plays and feels like an imposter on this team.  There has been lots of coach and player drama and she really wants to quit next year.  It always makes me sad when they stop playing a sport that they have played for so long because I regret quitting violin and ice skating, but it's her life so we shall see.

Age 15

Age 6

Monday, February 6, 2023

Ask Me Anything: Morning Routines, Breakfast, Lunch, and Snacks, Oh My! and Small But Mighty Marriage Advice

Lots of curious inquisitions about our morning routines and what we eat during the day, and I am here for it!

Tana asks - How do you do breakfast at your house? and Berna asks - What school week breakfast ideas do you have for the kids?

Hi Tana and Berna! We are very lucky that our children's Pre-8th grade Catholic school qualifies for the city's free lunch program. This means that each student who attends the school does not have to qualify individually, everyone is eligible. So we take advantage of this perk, and our children eat the free lunch AND free breakfast each day. They each pack two snacks a day in their lunch box (one fruit and one other snack) and that's all we have to think about until they get home from school.

The high schoolers (we have three this year) are not part of the free lunch program anymore, and lunch at their high school is very expensive so they pack a lunch just about everyday. If they want to treat themselves to some chicken tenders and fries from the cafe, then they can use their own money for that. One of our boys always packs a ham and lettuce sandwich with snacks, one boy packs leftovers from dinner, and our girl packs a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with snacks most days. They typically grab a protein shake for breakfast and drink it as they run out the door. Their favorite protein shakes are these and these.

On the weekends or in the summer, we make a big breakfast once or twice a week, like the sweet bread french toast and bacon we made this past weekend:

The other 5-6 mornings a week, they are eating cereal or "cookie oatmeal" which is just oatmeal with some peanut butter and brown sugar and milk mixed in.  The teens will cook themselves eggs a lot, as they are always trying to eat lots of protein.

Theresa C asked - Whenever you take pictures of food, I can't help but notice your Fiestaware. Do you collect certain colors? Do you ever add to your collection?

Hi Theresa! That red plate up there is Fiestaware, good eye. We have four different color plates (three of each) in red, orange, yellow and teal. You can see the other colors in this old dinner picture below. The little boys were using plastic plates with dividers that they liked. I keep thinking we will get rid of the plastic plates and just let everyone use the breakable plates but I haven't brought myself to do it yet!

Which leads me to a question Elisabeth asked - If you could give a new married couple just one sentence of advice, what would you say?

Elisabeth, I would say that they should buy a king sized bed (my number one marriage advice!) and don't bother registering for china.  Just get some good everyday plates and you won't feel guilt everytime you look at that expensive china you never use.  I bet you were expecting some deep answer and feel I owe you a refund ;)

Back to the food questions...

From Berna - Do your kids eat snacks when they get home from school?

So Phil does the afternoon pickup of kids from school (I do the morning drop off) and I get home about an hour after them so I'm not involved in snack time. He gives them a small snack, usually a fruit and a protein like apple slices with peanut butter or grapes and a cheese stick. We eat dinner pretty early, between 5-5:30, so they don't need much.

Kate asks - What do you and Phil pack to eat at work everyday?

Hi Kate! On Sundays I make a big pot of soup - this week is Chicken Tortilla Soup and I made the corn tortilla strips in the air fryer to be healthy.

I made it in the crockpot and threw the bone broth in there frozen.

Air fryer tortilla strips

We divide the soup into ten glass bowls with lids and each grab one of those in the mornings plus a greek yogurt. We keep kashi peanut butter cereal in our offices to add to the yogurt. Phil makes coffee and a breakfast smoothie for us each morning, that we take to go. The smoothie has protein powder (or greek yogurt), almond milk, fruit, collagen, and chia seeds. So I drink my coffee at work at 8:00, then my protein shake around 9:30. I eat my soup for lunch about 1:00 (I walk on my lunch break) and have the yogurt as an afternoon snack around 3:00 before I head home at 4:00.

Finally from Tana - Do you have tips to get out of the house on time?


We have the elementary school kids lay out their uniforms the night before (including socks, underwear, belt), pack their snacks and fill their water bottles. In the morning, they just have to get dressed and grab their backpack which is ready to go.

The teens are on their own, but they have learned from their younger years and they pack their lunches the night before, pack their sports bags, charge their laptops, and get their backpack ready to go. They do laundry at night if they have a game day uniform they need, etc.

Phil wakes up and will make the smoothies and coffee, then help the little guys get dressed and wake up the teens. He leaves first by 7:00 at the latest and takes whatever teen is ready to go with him to the high school where he works. I need to leave at 7:15 so I start yelling reminding the youngest boys to get in the van at 7:05 which takes them ten minutes usually). I drop them off at 7:30 and drive to work for 8:00. The teen driver takes another car to the high school with whomever else needs to go with him (that didn't ride with Phil) about 7:25.

The doggy goes out to pee and then gets the place to herself :)

Friday, February 3, 2023

Week in Review: Brady, Birds, Basketball and Bluey

 Shall I start with the biggest news of the week?

Just kidding, saw that one coming.  Kraft seriously wants to rehire him so he can retire as a Patriot...that...I didn't see coming.

It's been Catholic Schools Week and the kids have been dressing up (or down) each day depending on the theme.  The highschool had a Dress As Your Favorite Teacher Day and Maggie (and her cousin) chose to dress as the Campus Minister, who is also their Varsity Volleyball Coach.  

Too bad the photo cut off their shoes because they are all wearing Crocs, her signature style!

The elementary school had a Crazy Hair and Socks Day and the three little boys had some fun, with help from Dad and Maggie: