Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Breakfast Made Easy

My husband grew up eating cereal for breakfast. He still loves it to this day. I cannot stand the stuff. It's too sugary and hurts my teeth. I also don't like the way the stuff tastes, but it is easy on busy mornings.

My mornings are busy and early these days. If I get out the door without breakfast, I feel dizzy and lethargic until I put some food into my body. I have been on a mission to find well balanced breakfasts that are simple and fast. I don't mind precooking some food, I just don't want to do it in the morning.

Here are some ideas I have come up with:

1. Hard boiled eggs, 1/2 a bagel with a piece of fruit- I can boil a few eggs Sunday night to last a few days through the week.

2. Bacon, toast and a piece of fruit- I can cook the bacon ahead of time and just heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds in the morning.

3. Fruit, plain yogurt and granola with nuts-  This is an easy breakfast that requires very little prep time.  I have found that walnut pieces are the least expensive type of nut. They're a good source of protein and fat ( great for starting the day!)

4. English muffin, slice of cheese and a piece of fruit- just pop in the toaster and you are ready to go!

5. A bagel and cream cheese with a handful of nuts- It can't get any easier than this!

What simple and easy breakfasts work for your families?


Monday, January 21, 2013

Lower Your Standards

I started my rotations at the hospital just over 2 weeks ago. The work is so enjoyable, but I am still overwhelmed. I chatted with the CathSorority girls about helpful ideas to keep my house clean. So many of them offered such helpful advice like:
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes each day to clean
  • Turn cleaning into play time, so my daughter can participate 
  • Hire help (a girl can dream)
  • Break up all the cleaning duties so it seems less intense through out the week
Then I had a realization, maybe my problem isn't that my house is too messy, maybe its that my expectations are too high. Perhaps now, is as good a time as any, to give myself and my family a break. 

I have been such a grouch lately. My poor husband got the brunt of it, when he didn't jump at doing the dishes, when I asked him at 10 p.m. one night. I was unreasonable.

On Sunday the parish priest used his homily to make such a profound statement. He said that some of the parishioners have come up to him and said that while they really enjoy his homilies, sometimes they wish he would use the homilies to convince the congregation to repent. 

The priest said that while repenting is important, he would rather his parish be a place of refuge. He said that the world is brutal and is always telling people what they are doing wrong. He wants the truth of the love of God to be spoken from the walls of his Church. The love of God will make people feel like they are home and cared for---and that will keep people coming back. 

I will say his philosophy certainly has worked on me. 

Given my recent overwhelmed state of mind, I realized that the statement the priest made can also be applied to each families' home. My worry and frustration causes my family to not want to be home or to not feel welcomed. 

Accepting imperfection, while trying to become better can make a home so much more welcoming. 

I'd rather a messy house, then a frustrated family.

When you are in a challenging season in your life, what expectations do you let go?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mom's Best Guacamole

This is my mom's recipe for guacamole that she created from a few different recipes. It is a little heavy on the onions, because we are onion lovers! Hope you enjoy!
  • 3 ripe avocados 
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 tbsp garlic minced or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
Just mash the avocado and stir in remaining ingredients! This would go great with fajitas, rice & beans!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Year of Faith Series: Days in the Chapel

I started the Year of Faith Series as an attempt to further explore my faith and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Through this series I will dive deeper into specific faith filled moments in my life, teachings of the Church, and new ways to strengthen my faith. I'd love for you to join me in this journey throughout the Year of Faith, declared by Pope Benedict XVI. If you are interested in doing a guest post in the series about your faith journey please email me @coffeewithmamaleigh@gmail.com.

Shortly before we moved about a month ago, strangely, I found myself with some time to myself before I needed to pick my daughter up from preschool. I decided to head across the street to our Church. After circling the Church, trying every door, I realized that only one door to the entire building was open.

I made my way inside and just sat there for a while. I love going into Churches or chapels when they are empty, I always have.

Back in high school, when I coached volleyball for the local Catholic middle school I used to spend time in the chapel every day after practice. I did it out of habit, not because I was this devout Catholic. In fact at the time I was really struggling with my faith. I spent about 30 minutes every day in the chapel  with a note pad writing out plays and line ups for the girls. I'm sure that isn't exactly what God had in mind...

There is something about just showing up that God honors though. He knew I was coming to him for help, even though I never asked. He's smart like that.

It reminds me of when my mom would ask me to clean my room when I was younger. Reluctantly I always agreed to do it. I would tell her, "Ok, I'll do it. I won't like it though". Despite my attitude, just by going through the motions, my room eventually became clean.

I think God works the same way. I went to the chapel. I went through the motions. I told God, "I'll show up, but I'm not going to like it". But my heart became clean anyway. He worked in me, and made me believe. God dissipated my doubts. He made me trust in him and his timing. In the tiny chapel, alone, He gave me a sense of peace I didn't have before.

As I sat in the Church, kneeling before the Tabernacle, I remembered those days and thought about all the people in this world who could find a sense of peace and trust in God like I did, if only they'd show up.

As I left the chapel that day I felt myself wondering, "How do you convince people to just show up so God can work in them"?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hopes for 2013

I am officially back to blogging after a whirlwind of holidays, trips and stomach flu. All of it was wonderful, minus the stomach flu of course. Watching your 3 year old vomit all night is, well, heart wrenching and exhausting!

Now back to the point of this post---I'm not big on resolutions, because I tend not to stick to them. However I have decided to make a list of things that I would like to do this year. This list has been written with the expectation that not everything on the list will be accomplished. It is a guideline I have made for myself to keep my goal on track. Here it is: 
  1. Learn to sew- I have watched friends and family make these beautiful creations and mend clothes like it's nothing; it's time I learned how to do the same!
  2. Plant a garden- At least plant some flowers in 3 big planters outside, and not kill them right away.
  3. Get my master's in occupational therapy and pass the national boards- Only 6 more months until I am cleared for graduation. YAY!
  4. Have a part-time job
  5. Run a 10K- Running is something I am not crazy about. I'm convinced that once I start doing it for real, I won't mind it though.
  6. Learn to knit- This goes with sewing, it's one of things that I should be able to do.
  7. Read more books- I am currently working on a list of books that I'd like to read that apply to many different areas of my life.
  8. Make clay ornaments for Jesse tree in time for next year- This was a project I got started on this year, and only got about half way though. I love the tradition of the Jesse tree and think it would help my family to grow in our understanding of the lineage of Christ. 
  9. Blog more- I love blogging! My goal is between 3-4 times per week. 
  10. Intentionally pray once a day
  11. Save money for a down payment for a house- A decent house around us cost at least $160,000, but more likely around $200,000-$215,000. My dream home has at least 4 bedrooms (for lots of kids eventually) and an enormous backyard. I'd like to save close to half the amount for a down payment. My husband, I'm sure, would tell you that it is an impossible goal. My hopes are still high!
What are your resolutions or hopes for 2013?