When in Doubt…

When in doubt…cook some bacon.

Things usually go uphill for at least a little while.

Food is on the Mind

My non-Lenten-but-feeling-Lenten diet has been quite the battle. Most days it has been a sad experience. I still miss cheese the absolute most.

All things considered, I am mostly managing, often without complaint! It is difficult to come up with something to eat if I’ve left it last-minute. However, I’ve found a millet-based muffin (quickbread) that is something I can eat without any guilt. This is awesome. My first bread-like product! Unfortunately, I ate them all before I remembered I could snap a pic. Next time, my dear folks. I’m sure you’re riveting with anticipation. Sure. Of. It.

My new favourite (but perhaps not the most healthy) meal is bacon topped avocado with a roasted tomato.

I think I need to use ham instead of bacon most of the time. Just cause, you know, the animal fat is super high in this version. I’m not opposed taste-wise! Just calorie wise and combined with the avocado. But boy, is it ever delicious.

Conferencing and Travel

I attended our SK homeschool conference last weekend in Regina. We worked it into a family visit (inlaws), and I also went to three parishes to promote the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program, as we’re holding a training session for Catechists in April *squee!* [If you’re in the area and would like more information, you can check out the website for SK Atriums.]

I’m not terribly impressed with the SK HS conference; it has a very strong Evangelical push with a decidedly creationist view of history, which I find distasteful and wrong. There were two sessions I appreciated – one was on Autism and the other was regarding managing anger and working from logic rather than emotions during problems that happen at home. I was very happy with both of those presentations. I just wish there were more I would be impressed with at the conference. In my opinion, religious sessions should be kept to workshops rather than keynotes when the association is meant to be for everyone, regardless of faith or non-faith.

That being said, I’ll be going to the Western Canadian Catholic Homeschool Conference in Edmonton again this year. I didn’t think it would work initially because they have it on the weirdest days ever (a Thurs-Sat rather than Fri-Sun). I think it’s because they decided to host it right on the weekend of Palm Sunday, which perhaps might not have been the wisest choice. But it might have been the only choice for them too, I don’t really know. At any rate, it’s the one weekend of Lent that Andy doesn’t have anything major going on at the parish, so he’s free to stay and watch the kids without concern. I’m thrilled to go back and hopefully chat with the nice nun who runs the Paulist Press vendor table. I love her so much, and if my memory would serve me better, I’d have her name memorized. This year will be my year, though, I’m certain of it.

All this is to say that life is still continuing on. We’ve had a change in school expectations for the year, which I’m writing about I’ve written about at CatholicMom, so be sure to watch for that.

As you can tell, we’re full of the cra-to-the-zed life here. How’s your crazy going?

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Attempted Recipe: Fail

I became all inspired to attempt a cauliflower-pizza “dough” recipe thanks to Pinterest, only slightly disheartened by the number of recipes that used cheese or egg as a binder. Quick recap:

I’m currently not eating:

and for some reason

As you can see, my options are limited in regards to what I can use for the bottom of a pizza. Nevertheless, I persisted. And, at least this time, it was a fail. I have an idea for trying again, but it makes it more time-consuming and this was already time-consuming enough. Ultimately, it is the cauliflower to blame. And further to that point, also my non-dairy cheese, which is okay when sprinkled in soup, but not great on a pizza-type dish.

Cauliflower pizza dough failure

The first thing I did was toast quinoa. Why? Because I made quinoa flour to help fill out the dough. So, I toasted then ground.

Next I shredded the cauliflower. We have a handy attachment to the food processor (best use of Air Miles ever). Another option would be to use a ricer and rice the cauliflower. I don’t have one of those things.

I also didn’t cook the cauliflower because I wanted to try the base made from raw cauliflower first.

Then I sifted the quinoa (top right photo), mixed it into the cauliflower, added rosemary, basil, and salt, and two “eggs.” I used Bob’s Red Mill egg substitute, which uses no gums, and it seemed to work really well for the purpose of binding. I included a close-up of the ingredients.

Then I flattened it out on a baking sheet (on parchment) and baked it for 20 minutes at 400F.

First pic is what it looked like after 20 minutes, unflipped. Second pic is what it looked like after being flipped and cooked an additional 20 minutes.

All this is to say, DON’T TRY THIS WAY AT HOME.

The cauliflower was way too pungent. It held together well, so the substitute egg mix worked. It might have been crispy if it had been flattened thinner. But the smell and the taste – too strong for me (and the next day, the house will still smell like cauliflower cooking)(in case you were wondering).

I read about using shredded chicken as a base instead (which would get crispy, and much less work). I might try that next. Or I might try cooking the cauliflower and wringing out the water (but oh! what a pain that sounds like!)

Have you tried anything new in the food department?


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It’s 2018! Amazing!

It’s crazy to think that people born in 2000 will be 18 this year. What’s up with that?

Quick-o Update

We had a GREAT Christmas and remained HEALTHY despite my mum having a cold, and heard from relatives at the in-laws that everyone got sick there. While I missed their company this year, I did not miss their lingering virus friends (it sounds like everyone swapped illnesses).

I’ve selected a saint and a word for the year, using the esteemed Jennifer Fulwiler’s tools: Word of the year

Saint of the year

My results are:

I’m looking forward to learning more about my new friend Iggy this year, and discovering what this strength might be all about for 2018.

And now, for something completely different

My body has decided it hates food.

And I miss cheese the most.

Now, jumping back a step, last year (or the year before? I can’t even remember anymore) I started having digestive issues, which I thought were related to pork. I waited months to see my doctor (not really, but close), then waited more months to see an allergist, who confirmed that I have no allergy to pork! Well, isn’t that great (bacon!), but I was still having issues. So, months later I see my doctor again, who sends me to a gastroenterologist.

While I waited months to get in to see him, I went to my naturopath who collects my blood for an igG food sensitivity test. A month later (November of this year, now), I discover that my body hates food.

My naturopath has recommended eliminating especially all the red foods for the next two years.

BUT my question is this: what do I eat? I am perplexed. She said to start with breakfast (which, for the past 20 years has been 2 eggs, without fail). I’ve managed to change that. I wouldn’t say it is nutritious, but I can meet my restrictions. But lunch? Supper? I already modify meals for Spencer (for whom we give gluten-free foods to), and I need to further modify to meet my own restrictions.

So far I’ve succeeded in eliminating eggs. I fail at the remainder of the meals. Especially because all the cheap vegetables are on my red list. I have gravely reduced everything, but I have no recipes that are dairy, wheat, nut, seed, egg, rice, lentil, yeast, and starch (mostly) free. 

Unless I eat only expensive veggies (which I can’t afford on a regular every-day basis) and only meat, I’m not sure what to do.

And I miss cheese like something crazy.

So, anyone have some good ideas?

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Life, the Universe, and Everything.

This year I have taken on the most I’ve had responsibility for in a long time. We have been having fun! Perhaps at the expense of some sanity, but we’re working it out. Two major events have happened in the last month! Let’s get right to them-

Birthday, birthday, birthday!

This wonderful daughter of mine turned 5 at the beginning of October, and I haven’t had a chance to post much about it. She chose a chocolate cake with pink icing (I love her low expectations – it is absolutely wonderful to feel that I can actually give her what she wants!) And she requested perogies and sausage for her birthday supper. More than happy to oblige!

I did a video interview with her, but it’s taken a looooong time to get around to editing it. Thankfully, it’s done now 🙂

She had a fabulous birthday (we also went to go see the My Little Pony movie in theatre), and she’s just so excited (still!) to be 5 years old. She was my first natural birth and is such a joyful, bouncy person. I’ve collected many famous saying from her. A few examples:

Cassia, showing me something: “I can just do dat. Because…for reasons.”

Cassia, while watching the Canadian gymnasts at the Olympics: “Whoa, Mommy!! Did she just do (pause) something…else?!!”

Cassia: “I went into fridge and I got out the naaabog!”
Me: “What? Nail bog?”
C: “No! Naaabog!”
Me: ..
C: “Naaabog!”
Me: “You mean eggnog?”
C: “YES!”

Cassia: “Mousey says ‘squeak squeak!’ Pig says ‘oink oink!’ Pooh Bear says ‘HONEY HONEY HONEY HONEY!'”

I love this independent girl so much.

Perhaps my favourite video of her is this one, though:

Over-The-Hill Birthday

And Andy turned a whopping 40 last week, so we’ve been inundated with cakes and presents over the past month.

He’s much much older now…is there a 39-and-holding group? He might be interested.  And just as he was complaining about not having any Scotch, he was bombarded.

So he’s just soaking it all in (or drinking it all up). There’s enough to last until Easter. I hope. 🙂

We kept the birthdays quiet and simple – Andy’s never been fond of large groups of people. He requested a chocolate cake (of any type) and a pizza supper. We just had prime rib the night before, so I made us a prime rib/ham/turkey pizza (split into thirds). It was pretty tasty.

So we’re done with our family birthdays for the rest of the year now. We can sit back and worry about where we’re going for Christmas.

In related news, we’re selling our awesome Poniac Vibe. 

If you are interested, please contact me! I’ll post the kijiji ad when I’ve smoothed out a glitch. We just heard someone who’s a courier say that they love Vibes/Matrixes because they’re so reliable – he rode his (in the job) for 1.2 million kilometres. Yeah. Built to last, these babies.

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Pantsuits and Salvation of Souls in 3 Points

Should what you wear prevent reception of a sacrament?

The short answer is NO. The long answer is no friggin way.

The story is a bit old, but recently I was listening to a radio show that was rehashing the case of a young girl who chose to wear a white pantsuit for her first Communion (early October). The pastor (and other church leaders) prohibited her from receiving her first Communion with the community when it was indicated that she was going to be wearing a pantsuit. They claimed it sent the ‘wrong message’ about, well, who really knows, but something along the lines of gender stances is likely the force that pushed the decision.

My belief is that the church here caused the scandal, not the girl.

And here’s why I believe the church caused scandal in refusing a sacrament.

PSUstock-Law-Gavel by Penn State via Flickr.


1. She was not in a state of mortal sin due to wearing a white pantsuit.

This is the big valid reason the Eucharist can be restricted to the faithful. There is no other valid reason to restrict Communion to the faithful who have been prepared (most pertinent to this age. Older ages have possibilities). Where do I get this from? Canon law. The law of the church. It actually has much stronger language than I:

Can.  912. Any baptized person not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to holy communion.” (emphasis mine)

“Can and must”. This is more than a ‘I don’t think I like their theology and understanding of humanity.’ There is an absolute responsibility by the pastor to provide Eucharist to the faithful. There is good reason we have this rule, which is the first rule in Canon Law under the section of ‘participation in the most holy Eucharist,’ (order matters in the Law) and largely it is there for the protection of the faithful and bring them into Christ’s salvation. Most of Canon Law surrounds this intrinsic desire that all need salvation and the Church is commissioned by Jesus to evanglize and bring the world to him.

2. Spiritual and mental preparation is what is needed, not a dress.

The next Canon says this:

Can.  913 §1. The administration of the Most Holy Eucharist to children requires that they have sufficient knowledge and careful preparation so that they understand the mystery of Christ according to their capacity and are able to receive the body of Christ with faith and devotion.

The church and its ministers have the ability to help parents prepare their children. In this process, the pastor has a duty “to take care that children who have reached the use of reason are prepared properly and, after they have made sacramental confession, are refreshed with this divine food as soon as possible” (Can. 914) (emphasis mine.)

There is no indication that white pantsuits prevent a child from preparing herself to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. It was only after the staff were inadvertently notified that she would be wearing a pantsuit that they sent a letter saying she must wear a dress. To me, this indicates that her preparation for the sacrament was sufficient.

To further this, upon reading several media articles (as well as the mother’s testament on facebook), her daughter has loved pantsuits since a young girl and has worn them on many occasions. When I was a little girl I liked dresses, but heck, not so much as an adult; I don’t like them most of the time. This girl called them ‘itchy.’ She’s allowed to dislike certain types of clothes, just like I do, and still receive Jesus.

3. Creating barriers to the sacraments

In response to the publicity, the church issued a statement saying that it is a ‘dress code’ issue:

“St. John the Evangelist uniformly enforces dress codes at our parish school and for religious rites,” the statement said. “We often have requests for exceptions to the dress code, ranging from sneakers to the color of one’s shirt; thus, we have consistently chosen to adhere to the dress code rather than allowing a myriad of exceptions to it.” Source

The problem with this is that it has become a barrier to the sacraments. No one has the authority to create a barrier to the sacraments where Canon Law does not have a barrier:

Can. 18. Laws which establish a penalty, restrict the free exercise of rights, or contain an exception from the law are subject to strict interpretation.

Strict interpretation means not altered in any way, shape or form. No if, ands or buts (apart from what is in the Law). Exactly as it is written, it should be enforced. This church has forced their own interpretation of the law (forcing dress code to receive sacrament of the Eucharist). This is wrong.

Their statement, to me, highlights a very poor understanding of the role the Church plays in bringing people to the sacraments for salvation. Our Church’s highest calling is to bring people to Jesus! Not to mention a poor understanding of the law of the Church.

Ask any Canon lawyer and they will tell you that all of the Church’s law must be viewed through the second part of the last sentence of the whole of the book of Canon Law:

Can. 1752. the salvation of souls, which must always be the supreme law in the Church, is to be kept before one’s eyes. (emphasis mine)

Knowing this, I ask you to read the last paragraph of the mother’s testament and tell me if you feel the church has done her right duty in this:

But I am sorry I stayed in your parish for as long as I did. I am sorry you made me dread going to Mass. I am sorry you made me question my faith. I am sorry I quit receiving communion many months ago because the feelings I have for you made me feel unworthy. I am sorry I watched you terrify my children and did nothing to stop you. I am sorry that when I spoke to my youngest daughter about the possibility of a new school she was happy to leave sje. But mostly, I’m sorry my children will never forget your hatefulness and will probably always associate those feelings with Catholicism. Source

To me, and I certainly am no expert, this seems to be a situation of abuse of power, to the point that souls are on the verge of being lost. This is explicitly against everything the Church is and who she represents.

Let’s pray that no more souls will be lost to the abuse of power. Also that the Church would rightly respond to properly rectify situations like this, in a most humble manner, knowing the damage she has caused to the beloved faithful, the body of Christ.

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What She Said

When are we going to die on the cross?

Yesterday I was struck by a comment from Cassia. While we were at the table, she asked, “Mommy, when are we going to die on the cross?”

She, apparently, has believed that we will die on the cross – that this is how we end our life here on earth. While I explained that it isn’t usually the case anymore, it got me thinking. And I remain in awe at her acceptance that believing in Jesus will eventually bring death on a cross.

There was a time in our history where choosing to be Christian meant near certain death. One only has to look at saints Perpetua and Felicity to know how real that threat was. We’ve lost that constant threat in our western society. Cassia’s comment reminded me how life-changing my decision to be Christian is – or should be. Am I willing to be put to death for my belief in Jesus? And while we can talk all we want about spiritual persecution and political persecution, there’s a finality when we think about physical death.

My answer is yes. But I do not feel brave. Nor do I feel confident. I do, however, trust. I have met Jesus and cannot deny him any more than I can deny my own self exists.

As I look at other Christians around me, even ones I’ve known for years, I do wonder if each has had at least one experience of meeting Jesus themselves. I wonder if they have that personal encounter that, in times of trouble and doubt, they can turn to and remind themselves of the person of Jesus, the one whom they’ve met and cannot deny.

For without that experience, it becomes much harder to maintain faith. Not impossible, but persecution would be much harsher to endure.

So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’

John 6:67-69

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Friendship Friday: The Friendship Project and Spiritual Friendships

Courtesy of Ave Maria Press. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

I’m all kinds of excited here to share about a new book just released: The Friendship Project. In fact, if you were to go through my ‘corrected words’ history while I’ve been typing, you’d see that I’ve misspelled it to freidhsip, friendhsip, and freidhips because I’ve been typing too fast.

Continue reading

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