Thoughts for Thursday

What am I cooking for dinner tonight?  Bacon chicken with cheesy bacon mashed potatoes and green beans.  Sound good?  Well that’s because everything is delicious with bacon.  And the key to happy gluten free living is bacon.  If you have been living on this planet for more than 18 months, you know that bacon is amazing, and goes well with all foods.  Ever seen that Jim Gaffigan standup routine about bacon?  Go here for a laugh.

But back to our meal.  Thursday night is the one weeknight where our family does not have outside activities.  Our entire day is free, with the exception of regular school and home obligations.  So on Thursdays I try to make a nicer sit down dinner.  We eat at our dining room table.  I have the children help me cook.  We drink wine (okay, I drink most of it, but still).  It is as fancy as it gets for an ordinary time meal.

Here is the recipe — (remember, bacon is key and covers all mistakes).

5 chicken breasts, tenderized, salted and peppered and slit open to stuff with cheese.  Saute in butter/olive oil until brown.  Stuff with slices of your choice of cheese and then bake until finished (around 35 minutes) at 350 degrees.  When finished, sprinkle with small pieces of cooked bacon.  Serve with mashed potatoes (also add cheese and bacon to those) and string beans.  I’ve been known to add some more bacon to the string beans, but I have issues.  I’ve never heard a child complain about eating their veggies when they are mixed with bacon…

What are my weekend plans?  Soccer, Soccer, and Baseball.  Yes, two soccer games and a fall baseball game on Saturday.  We are hoping Sunday will be a day of relaxation as we spent last weekend driving to Michigan and back, which was about 20 hours of driving with 5 little ones the car.  It was a great time catching up with old friends, but we are exhausted.

What are my prayer intentions for the day?  For a friend who is pregnant with a very sick baby boy.  For her peace and strength in the coming months as they make a birth plan and prepare to meet and say goodbye to their baby.  And also, for myself.  I have been feeling very down lately regarding the state of our country.  The culture of death so evident in the debates makes me both angry and sad.  I fear for our Church if this administration is re-elected and starts to fine our good organizations because they refuse to comply with laws that make them purchase contraceptive and abortifacient drugs.  I know these are all things outside of my circle of control, and I’m praying hard to remain focused on those things that I can control, like the day to day service of my family.  I am also praying for a spirit of peace and trust.  There will be times when our church is persecuted and times when it is not.  I cannot control the laws that will unfairly fine our Catholic organizations, but I can maintain a sense of peace that God has a plan.  Times of persecution ultimately make our Church stronger.

What can my children do instead of watching T.V.?  They can play outside and practice soccer.  I have started to make soccer practice part of our afternoon school routine.  I send them out with a specific practice list.  They seem to enjoy it AND make even better use of their free time afterwards.

What have I done for my marriage this week?  My husband and I had an at home date night last night.  We’ve had some communications issues lately, and we talked about the need for us to get away sans kiddos in the coming months.  I’m hoping we can make that happen.

What am I reading?  Nothing!!!  I’ve been so busy that I haven’t gotten a new book (I finished the Hunger Games this summer) and I’m looking for something light and fun to read.  Any suggestions?  I’m pathetic and most of my reading lately has been just blogs and news.  I’d like to change that.  But I did sign up for a daily passage from the Catechism for this year of faith.  If I stick to that, I will read the entire Catechism this year.

What is one product that is making my life easier? 

He’s even cuter now that he knows his letter sounds.

Leap Frog Letter Factory (video).  I don’t normally promote videos for kids, but this is just amazing.  For 2 months I was working with Gus (age 4.5) on letter sounds.  He regularly forgot the vowel sounds, other than letter A, and I was a bit discouraged.  I ordered this 35 minute video.  He watched it 3 times and had the letter sound of every letter in the alphabet memorized.  Within two weeks, he read his first words.  Gus loves music, and I think the song based approach in the video was exactly what he needed.  And I’ll also add that Claire (newly 3) now also knows her letters and most of the sounds.  As a homeschooling mother of 5, I’m all for cutting some corners and this was definitely worth the $10!

What is challenging me lately?  The Year of Faith.  I admit that I was completely unaware that this was a Year of Faith until Mary Alice posted about it last week!  I felt out of the loop, and wondered why I hadn’t heard about it at Mass.  Apparently our Pastor discussed it several times and on each occasion I was dealing with a toddler or nursing infant.  While that is a decent excuse for my ignorance, I need to get my act in gear!  I’m going to try to take my kids to daily Mass on Friday (something I gave up on after my 3rd child was born).  We aren’t doing our homeschool co-op this semester and so Friday morning is available.  I’m also going to do some extra spiritual reading and spend some time in prayer regarding my own faith.  I admit that I am very practical, and so I struggle with the idea of faith.  I believe because I’ve rationally determined that there is no other way.  I believe because I see faith as practical and it makes sense to me.  I’m a skeptic who tends toward seeing faith as a moral code, a way to live a good life.  When it comes to actually believing in things unseen, and really taking a faith filled leap toward a more radially loving life — I struggle.  I know that faith is a gift, and so I get lazy and just assume that God was a little less generous with me in that department.  But I can certainly ask for more grace in this area.  And so I’m going to take this year to pray specifically for an increase in Faith.

  • Tony

    1. It seems that the green beans could use some bacon as well.
    2. Forty Hours this Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Be there.
    3. Luke 17. Even the Apostles asked for an increase in faith.
    4. Read “The Silver Linings Playbook”. I have not read it, but I have heard it’s good, the author is from Collingswood, and it’s coming out as a movie soon.

    • Kellie “Red”

      I read the Silver Lining Playbook when it first came out! It was good, and you would love it Tony. Lots of football and local Philly stuff. And yes, I’m going to cook extra bacon for the green beans.

      • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com Mary Alice

        I heard a radio interview with the author, it seemed really interesting. I have been thinking a lot about something he said: we equate optimism with ditziness and pessimism with intellectualism, and that is pretty unfair. You don’t have to be dumb to be hopeful and joyfilled. As a melancholic, I have to be really careful about inhabiting sad places, including films and books, because they stick with me in a really intense way. He was smart to realize that for a melancholic high school student, one terribly sad book after another in English class is really tough to take. Even for little kids, my son really struggles with the fact that so many kids in great children’s literature are orphans, and he (and I) can’t really enjoy Annie because just the concept of orphans makes me so sad!

        Also, I love all that bacon! What brand do you use, and do you try to avoid nitrates/preservatives?

        • Kellie “Red”

          I purchase a super thick kind that is $11.99 per pound. I don’t look for nitrites but focus on taste. I have to live a gluten free life, so I indulge whenever possible! But I wouldn’t be surprised if it was nitrite free because it is sooooo good and expensive. I also sometimes buy it from the local farm (I know this is nitrite free) and that is also around $12 per pound and very good.

  • Laura Kasemervisz

    Hi Kellie, I just finished reading the collection of short essays called THIS I BELIEVE 2. I picked up the book because I wanted something easy to read…I’m pregnant and I fall asleep after about 3 pages regardless, so this book was perfect as that was the length of every essay. Although many of the essays are not light-hearted per se, it was easy to read and very interesting. Your thoughts on faith in your post reminded me of Fr. Richard Rohr’s essay in the book (which is available online at: http://thisibelieve.org/essay/21932/). I found his article, which embraces the mystery of faith, to be a very comforting message against the overly rational/practical part of my brain.

  • http://thisaintthelyceum.org Kelly Mantoan

    Mmmmmm…bacon. My kids would inevitably pick it out of the green beans. I also cook some foods in bacon fat which ups the yummy factor.
    I just put that Leap Frog DVD on hold at the library. Since we lost our nurse, Fulton is refusing to do school with me. Not that I’m freaking out about PreK, but just knowing he’s bright and can do the work, and gladly did it with someone else but won’t with me, is infuriating. You’ve got my hopes up now. I’m expecting similar results from this movie, if not, you’ll be hearing from me.

  • Erin

    Thanks for the LeapFrog suggestion. My son is 4 and I too have been struggling with him with letter names and sounds. My first daughter is 6 and this experience is totally different. We are getting ready for a trip to Savannah (~15 hrs in the car from MI) and this will be perfect. It will be interesting to see how my 2yo absorbs it. Thanks again. Erin

  • Kate e

    I just finished two middle grade fiction novels that were both fabulous. Perhaps a little pre-read and you can then recommend them to Gianna at the right time? Hattie Big Sky and Moon Over Manifest. Both historic fiction. Both amazing female protagnists. Great stuff, not too heavy but engaging for sure. Now I’m reading Sharon Creech’s newest book The Great Unexpected and remembering why she is such a genius.

  • Kellie “Red”

    Thanks for all these book recommendations!

  • JMB

    My book group just finished The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. It was good – it’s a story about three adult sisters who return home to their small Ohio town where their father is a Shakespearean professor. I enjoyed it – especially since I have three sisters and my father was a big fan of WS. Another interesting memoir we recently read was Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton. This I really enjoyed.