The Simple Woman’s Daybook — June 23

the Simple Woman’s Daybook
is hosted by Peggy at the Simple Woman.

FOR TODAY June 23, 2008

Outside My Window…Beautiful, blue sky.  Looks like it will be a wonderful day.
I am thinking… It is so nice that Ashley is back home from here retreat.
I am thankful for… My very comfy blue slippers.
From the kitchen… My husband made scrambled eggs this morning.  He is the best.
I am wearing… Brown capris and a white top.
I am creating… I left my knitting at my Mother-in-laws over the weekend… sorrow.
I am going…  To take the kids to the park or the Grotto today, I haven’t decided which yet.
I am reading… The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Laundry, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell and It’s All Too Much.  Same as last week.  Omniovre should be done this week.
I am hoping…  That my sinuses clear up.
I am hearing… Just the computers running so far… very quiet morning.
Around the house… My summer Fling Starts today. Today is the Kitchen’s day.  I need to menu plan.
One of my favorite things… My pooh-bear coffee mug
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Not sure yet, I need to come back to this one.
Here is picture thought I am sharing…

Catholic homemaking · Food · Homemaking · Mary Mary and Martha · My world

Serving sizes, serving less and eating better

Jan Steen — Wirtshausgarten

Recently I have been reading “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by  Michael Pollan.   At the moment I am about half way through, but it has been expanding and reinforcing my growing concern about food.  Not just what and how much we eat, but also how the actions we take as individuals in acquiring our food shape and change the world around us.  It has also given us our latest running joke.  “hey, guess what you’re eating”  — “CORN”.  It will eventually get old, but we will run it into the ground and stomp on it a few times before we give it up.   But back to diner. 

Gestational diabetes has been the worst part of my last two pregnancies, but it has also been positive in helping me focus on two important facts.  I need to eat better and I need to exercise more.   These facts were drilled how when I met with the nutritional councilor who talked about managing the carbohydrates I eat and balancing my menus for better nutrition.  The other item she highlighted was serving size.  Portion control is important.  Not just to my waistline, but to the family budget as well.  

Rethinking serving sizes for health: Portions have gotten larger over the past 20 years.  To see this in a compelling way check out Portion Distortion from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.  (They also have a nice menu tool  where you can input your menu and see a breakdown of the calories, fat and carbohydrates. )   I know as I have gotten older I have seen this on my own plate.  I have allowed myself to be tricked into the idea that  more is better with regards to food, but that is just not true.  More is unhealthy.  The most expensive calories you buy are the ones that you over eat.  They cost money to purchase, time to store and cook, and money down the road dealing with health problems, they cost time to burn off, and they hurt your quality of life.  They are not a good deal.

Reason dictates that children need less food than adults, teens need more, older adults need less, but when I look at most serving suggestions (including those on packages and in reciepies) there is one serving size.   Menu recommendations for children usually reduce the number of servings, but this doesn’t work so well when I am cooking for the whole family.  So instead of changing the number of servings I am changing the portion size.

My typical family diner serves two adults (one serving each), one teen (1.5 servings), one older child (1 serving) , two younger children (.75 servings each)  and a toddler (.5 serving).  So basically I need 6.5 servings for the family for breakfast and dinner and 4 servings for lunch and snacks and box lunches for 2.5 plus “on the go” snacks for 2.5 serving.   But these can not be the bloated serving sizes that have crept onto our dinner plates, especially on the higher calorie items.  I will admit my visual judgment on what a serving is isn’t so great.  I need to measure and weigh items so that I can train myself to better judge what a serving is.  The Clevenland Clinic has a good resource for determining serving sizes.  I have a small kitchen scale and measuring cups and that pretty much lets me see what a serving size really is.  One of the fun things I did with the children we to take their favorite breakfast cereal and measure out one serving.  It was significantly less than what they had  been pouring out for themselves when they had the chance.  

Increased serving sizes leads to waste: When I cook too much it is almost guaranteed that at least some of it will go to waste.   Studies have shown that children under five won’t on their own eat more no matter how much you put in front  of them.  They stop eating when they are full.  But children older than five will eat more if there is more in front of them — to a point.  Too much food served up means food that is brought to the kitchen that need to be tossed.  Leftovers are great for boxed lunches especially, but more than one or possibly two days worth is a complete waste.   It will sit in the refrigerator until it resembles some misbegotten science experiment and then be tossed.  The second most expensive calories that you buy are the ones you don’t eat.

The sweet things in life: We are not machines.  We don’t just consume our food for energy.  We have a complex relationship with food, it is part of our culture, our family life and a real pleasure.  Or at least it should be.  Fast food, eaten quickly, on the go and alone doesn’t have anywhere near the same satisfaction as a well cooked meal, eaten with friends and family around the dinner table while talking over the days events.   Likewise we can’t eat ourselves into happiness.  While we might enjoy a piece of chocolate cake are we really going to enjoy a huge piece more than a small severing?  What is better, the small piece savored slowly or the huge piece eaten quickly?   A friend of mine once said, “With thing that you eat just for the taste just a taste should do.”  Smaller servings, prepared carefully and served in pleasant surrounds have a satisfaction that super-sized bloated servings just can’t match.   Taking the time to make food special has the double benefit of making less food more satisfying.

Fun · My world

Saturday at the Cinema

One thing I have always gotten a kick from is the old time “mental hygiene” films.  They cover everything from What to do if a nuclear bomb strikes to How to know if you are ready for marriage.  Today I recommend this little gem “The New Girl”  it is the rather melodramatic story of a company that hires its first black secretary.   There are a couple of things that interested me.  First, it shows the real fear and discomfort of being the “different” person, our heroine’s mother reads her the riot act in order to inspire her not to give up or give in and most importantly to get herself down to the office and face those people who she fears.  On the down side it rather glosses over the fact that there are some people who’s deep set prejudices won’t go away just because the boss gives them a good talking to.  But overall, considering its time period the film shows the tension of its time and provides a good example of creating positive change and an atmosphere of acceptance.

Have fun

Catholic stuff · My world

What is Catholic life like?

This question interests me in that it is so very difficult to answer.  Being Catholic can mean living in any country, any culture and anywhere in the world.  The answer could take a lifetime to explain and your personal answer would still be unique.  So I think I might start answering it one aspect at a time.  Today’s answer: Living a Catholic life means following the precepts of the Church.

The precepts of the Church: 
While the Church doesn’t lay down a firm “one-size-fits-all” mentality for being Catholic but the catechism has distill the most important elements into a short list called the Precepts of the Church:

1. You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.
2. You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.
4. You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
5. You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.

Now of course this isn’t an all encompassing list of what Catholic should do.  It is just the short list, the absolute minimum that one should doing.


A boy’s prayer.

I am passing this prayer request on for a family in my homeschool group.  Their son had a growth on his toe removed earlier this year and it grew back requiring a second surgery which their insurance wasn’t going to cover.   Here is her latest email:

I wanted to give you all an update on Joshua.  I am still in awe at the generosity of his Doctor for not only doing the surgery for free up arraigning the surgery center and the anesthesiologist for free also.  We made cookies and Joshua made him a thank you card but I have been feeling that I needed to do more.  Yesterday Joshua went to have his stitches taken out and I truly believe God let me know what I was supposed to do for him.  I am now asking for all of your help in this.  Joshua told his Dr. “Happy Fathers Day”.  His Dr. replies as of now I am only father to two dogs he then said that sometimes it is hard for some woman to have a baby. He then went on to say that he and his wife would like nothing more then to have a baby.  Joshua then said I will pray for you every day so you can have a baby.  I saw how touched he was by this and said if it happens in the next couple of months that it will be because of you Joshua.  I realize at this point this is what I can do for him.  I ask you all for your help in this.  I know how powerful the prayers in this group are.  Could you all please help me in this a say a prayer for Dr. Jason S. and his wife so that they may know the joys of parenthood.

Thank you and God Bless- 
I hope you will join me in praying for this special request.


Homemaking · Mary Mary and Martha · My world

Catholic Homemaking


One of the recurring themes on this blog has been Catholic Homemaking.  That is a natural reflection of who I am, this blog is a journal of sorts and an outlet for my rather overactive brain to explore things that are important to me.  My husband and I were joking the other day about what a husband wants from a wife, the cliché sex, cooking, cleaning and rearing children was tossed out and we both laughed.   I suppose it is the flip side of the idea that women want to marry someone who will be a good provider and a good father.  Stereo types, not the whole store, but still relevant in a sense.  

A husband and wife are the ultimate sacramental partnership.  Together they guide their household.  Someone has to do the cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, educating the children, handling the bills and the shopping, bringing home the paycheck or running the business, both partners need security and intimacy.  How exactly the day to day work of living breaks down from couple to couple is entirely up to them.  I certainly don’t have the answers for everyone — actually I am pretty sure there is no one single answer but I have noticed that people tend to fall into certain groups.  The duel income families, the ultra-traditional families, the two-very-independent partners families all seem to have a great deal of trouble relating to one another.  Every family has decided on its own prioities and it can be difficult to respect the point of view of others when their priorities are far off from your own.  

I would hope that anyone reading this who would flinch at the fact that I often write from a more traditional point of view would realize that this is a reflection of choices that my husband and I made long ago and are very happy with.  We have chosen a life style that reflects our priorities and tastes.  I certainly wouldn’t say that anyone should agree with me or that if they don’t they are making some grand mistake.   And I am sorry, trying to post comments with negative critics on my faith or life style choices are not going to convince me to change my faith or any other aspect of my life.  

So I write always from my own perspective.  I am Roman Catholic, I am primarily a homemaker, I homeschool four of my children, I have a little cottage business, I keep this blog, I am crazy about my husband and very blessed by my children.   Most of what I write is for me.  I write to help organize my thoughts, improve my life, record where I have been and occasionally rant about things in the culture around me.  I hope you enjoy your visit here.




Homemaking · Mary Mary and Martha · My world · Simplicity · Summer Fling

The Simple Summer Fling

After getting horrible side tracked the last week.  I am starting my Simple Summer Fling: One small step at a time.  It offically begins on Monday,  June 23rd.

The goal to reorganize 30 small areas of my house over the next 6 weeks.

The important points:

One — This is summer I don’t want to get bogged down reorganizing the entire kitchen in one day.

Small— one shelf, one drawer, half a closet, the top of the entertainment center.  Something that can be tackled and done in less than half an hour.

Consistant — A little each day will go a long way.

Thoughtful — I want to be sure to assess what the area’s problem is before I take it on.

Accountability — Yes, I am going to be posting before and after shots for this one.

That is it.  As with the trash-bag challenge feel free to adapt this to your own situation and if you want to join in send me a link to your blog or leave a comment here.

Blogs I Know · My world · rants

Et Tu Strawberry Shortcake?

Tell me this isn’t so — Strawberry shortcake is getting “sexed-up”.  Over at Woman Honor Thyself Angel puts her special touch to the story (do read it the pictures alone are worth the click), personally I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. 

 Why not go all the way and put all little childrens’ dolls in halter tops and short shorts while wer’e at it eh?She musn’t have freckles, or be pudgy. Uh uh. Her figure must be svelte and her skin- silky smooth.
Tighter clothes, longer hair, and of course……….. a smaller nose.
Every single female, no matter how young or what she represents- must be sexualized.

Replacing her pet cat with a cell phone? Now, that’s priceless.
After all what good is a purely innocent “childlike” figure anyway?
So, where’s her bare midriff shirt and belly ring?..Or do those accessories cost extra?

 I have written over and over about how difficult it is to raise a daughter to be modest and innocent in today’s world.  I am not even talking about my teenager.  Even shopping for clothing for my six year old requires bringing the mental eye-bleach along to deal with the “Please molest my seven year old” clothing selection.   And it isn’t as though the secular world isn’t catching on.

“Popular?…but these are our girls!”

Normally I am not a big fan of South Park,  but I saw this segment over on Hot Air and I think it says a lot about the popular culture when even the popular culture is picking up on the fact that there should be something really wrong with the way young girls are marketed to. (content warning: this is South Park the language is pretty offensive and please don’t click on it if your kids are around) The spot is also very insightful when it comes to the reasons parents fall into purchasing things for their daughters that they wouldn’t normally.   Peer pressure overrules common sense.

Quick run down for those who don’t want to watch it.  (Content warning here too)

  A new store has opened in the mall and little Wendy is disturbed.  She goes to her parents and tells them that she is concerned about “the role models young women have in today’s society”  and that “Lewdness and shallowness are being exalted while intellectualism is looked down upon”.   Her father is unmoved until Wendy declares that she is going to go buy herself a thong.  At this point Mr Testaburger takes Wendy to the mall to protest the  new store called “Stupid, spoiled whore”.   When he gets there he is confronted by the other mothers who offer their excuses for buying the store’s merchandise.  “It’s the trend, she will be unpopular if I don’t”,  “Why is it ok for men to be whores but not women?”, “I think it is empowering for them.”  At the end the mothers and slutty store girls convince Mr Testaburger of his chauvinist ways and he vows to buy Wendy whatever she wants so she can be the “Most spoiled, stupidest whore of them all.” 

The sad thing is I have heard these sort of lame excuses from parents I know.  They buy whatever is “in” so their daughters can be popular.  They give in to their girl’s manipulations to have the latest thing.  They feel that somehow if their daughters are liberated and confident in their sexuality that this will make them stronger and more independent women.   I have even been told that since I shelter my children and don’t allow them to partake in all the pop culture trends that as teens they are destined to explode in uncontrolled rebellion and hate me for making them “different”.  So far we are still waiting for our teenage daughter to become the hateful,  rebellious teen…. *tick, tick tick*,  any day now I am sure.

What is the point of making Strawberry Shortcake thinner, with no freckles, bigger eyes, longer hair – more sensual?  Why get rid of her kitty and give her a cell phone?  To make money obviously.   Make her more “up to date”, something that young girls will be more drawn to and sadly parents will buy it, girls will play with the dolls, want the toy cell phone, the pajamas and the t-shirts.   If parents didn’t buy them stores wouldn’t stock them.  It isn’t just some soul-less, moral-less corporation selling this crap to our kids parents have to take responsibility first for protecting their children from innocence shattering things.

While it may seem like a toy changing to a more “updated” look is trivial it is just one more drop in an overflowing bucket.  Nothing in an of itself, but as a cultural trend it is killing the self-esteem, self-image, innocence, happiness – not to mention endangering to morality of our daughters.  And the worst part is that we have gotten to the point where this is “no big deal”.  These girls who are going to grow up and be wives and mothers, and women you work with.   Do you really want them thinking that having the perfect figure and snazzy wardrobe are what they should be  judging themselves and other woman on?