Sunday, January 18, 2009

March For Life 2009

Our family is 100% pro-life. I realize that some people are offended by the term "pro-life" and would rather we use "anti-abortion" instead. Yes, we are against abortion. But our pro-life stance goes deeper than just abortion. We respect human life from the moment of conception until natural death, and we believe that it is up to God and not us to decide when life begins and when it ends. We do not support euthanasia, the death penalty, or unjust wars. We believe that it's our responsibility to protect the innocent.
One thing that we are not is "anti-choice". I'm willing to bet big money that everyone reading this understands how babies are created (including myself, for all those folks who think it's witty to ask me "Don't y'all know what causes that?" ) We all know that sex creates babies. We all know that contraceptives can and do fail. We can choose to say "Yes, I'm willing to take on this responsibility, knowing full well what the consequences may be" or we can choose to say "No, I'm not ready to accept the possibility of those consequences."

“My body, my choice!” “Keep your laws off my body!” Sure. But there is another body to consider here, besides your own. Should you have the choice to rip an innocent human being apart limb from limb? Do you even know what happens during an abortion? Click here or here. I warn you, these videos are hard to watch, but if you identify yourself as "pro-choice", don't you think you should be aware of what the choice you are "pro" entails? This is the body that is affected by choice.

“It’s not a baby, it’s a fetus.” Have you watched the videos above yet? A fetus is just another stage in human development. Before you were an adult, you were a child. Before you were a child, you were an infant. Before you were an infant, you were a fetus. Before you were a fetus, you were an embryo. My point here is that from the moment of conception, a separate, unique, human entity is created. By the time that most women realize they’ve missed a period, a tiny human heart begins beating. Abortion stops that tiny human beating heart. The real question here is when should you have the choice to kill an innocent human?

My favorite one is this:
See my blog for comment on this one.
This one sums up for me the “pro-choice” mentality well. This is the crudeness, the lack of respect, the self-absorbed, instant gratification mentality that plagues our society. My dear woman, I am thinking outside your box. I’m thinking of the destruction of an innocent human life. I’m thinking of the way having an abortion will change your life forever, whether you realize it or not. Do you understand the risk of complications (including death) from “safe”, legal abortion? Do you realize that so many women are psychologically scarred by abortion that there is a name for it—Post-Abortion Syndrome? Yes, I AM thinking outside your “box”. Are you?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Our Virtue and Saint of the Week

As part of our homeschooling, we try to incorporate a new virtue and learn about a new saint each week.  I also pick a memory verse for memorization that follows our theme. (St. Jerome wrote "Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ"!)  I use Catholic Families Today's schedule as inspiration. 

This week's virtue is JOY! After beginning our homeschool day with prayer, we talk about what it means to be full of joy, how we act when we are full of joy, and how when our hearts are full of joy, there is no room for other things--like anger or meanness. We listen to an upbeat Christian CD and dance around the den for awhile to show our joy.  This week's virtue has been one of my favorites so far, and I think that the dancing around the den while praising the Lord will be a good way to start every morning from now on! 

The Scripture verse that we will memorize this week is from John 16:22.  "...I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you." Jesus was telling his disciples that He would have to leave them shortly, and that they would be sad for a little while.  But He promised to return, and the sorrow in their hearts would be turned to joy! 

Our Saint for this week is St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.  Mother Seton was a mother of five, a young widow, and a teacher. She was also the first person born in the United States to be canonized a saint.  We've read about St. Elizabeth Seton's life, we've colored a coloring page, and we will ask St. Elizabeth Seton to pray for us during our family prayers this week.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I Know Beans

One day recently, I went to the grocery store and spent $159 and some change on 2 weeks worth of groceries for a family of seven. The woman behind me remarked on my food choices, wondering if I am also on "a diet" (she was) because of all the “healthy” foods in my cart. I explained, “No, this is just the way we eat...we are a family of seven and I try to be frugal and feed my family healthy foods.”
This reminded me that I’ve promised numerous times over the years to share tips and recipes with various mamas. It has taken me awhile, but here are a few.

One of the things I do to save money on groceries is to plan our meals. Every two weeks, on payday, I sit down and write out menus for the next two weeks. I look at the days that Bear or I are working, what activities we have going on different nights, and anything special coming up, and I plan accordingly. On the nights I know I’m going to be busy, I plan crockpot and bread machine meals. Voila, supper is done! Helps cut down on the temptation to get some processed quick-fix thingie. Or eat out.

As I mentioned, we do very little processed or refined foods normally. We drink water or milk (though the benefits of drinking milk—especially pasteurized and homogenized--are debatable, we are still in the habit.) Snacks are fruit/veggies, cheese, nuts, sometimes yogurt or Kashi crackers, or homemade snacks. And we substitute beans for meat on most nights. Beans are cheap! They also are high in protein, fiber, antioxidants,, I’m sure I’m forgetting something. But they really are good for the heart. Aside from using beans in chili, soups, and the good ol’ ham and beans, there are many other ways to eat beans. Here are a few of our favorite frugal bean/legume recipes...

Greek-Style Beans
1 pkg dry white beans
1 can tomato paste
1 TBSP lemon juice or juice from 1 lemon
1 med onion
Garlic cloves, however many you like! I use at least 2
Dried oregano, a few shakes
A bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can black olives
Soak, drain, and rinse beans as you normally would. Cover beans with water, add the rest of the ingredients except olives. Simmer til tender, I think I usually cook them around 3 hours? I’ll have to start paying better attention. Break olives in half and add. I serve with a nice green salad and homemade breadsticks or couscous.

Bean Burgers
1 pkg dry beans, cooked (any kind will do—we’ved used pinto, kidney, black, and navy)
1 cup rolled oats
1 egg
2 TBSP soy sauce
garlic (optional)
onion (optional)
Mash cooked beans. Mix in egg, rolled oats, and seasonings. Shape into patties, and fry in 1-2 tsp of a healthy oil (like olive oil) until browned. Serve on whole wheat bun with hamburger fixins! Even my picky eater will eat these. 

Sweet and Sour Lentils with Rice
1/2 c. dry lentils
3 c. water
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T honey
1 T soy sauce
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 c. water
1 t. cornstarch
1 small onion, sliced
2 T oil
Bring 3 c. water to a boil and cook lentils for 25 minutes. Drain and set aside. Combine next 5 ingredients and bring to a boil. Spoon out a little of the liquid and mix with cornstarch to make a thin paste, then add to liquid mixture. (This is so cornstarch doesn't lump.) Saute onion until soft. Add cooked lentils and mix well. Add lentil mixture to sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve over rice, with steamed oriental vegetables.

Spicy Black Bean Soup
1 medium onion
4 medium garlic cloves (or 2 tsp minced garlic)
1 bag dried black beans
½ tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can green chilies
Salt & pepper to taste
Frozen corn
Soak and drain beans, cook with spices until almost done. Add corn, cook until done. I usually serve this with cornbread and a salad.

Split Pea Soup
2 TBSP olive oil
1 each medium carrot, celery, and onion, finely chopped
1 bag dry green split peas, rinsed and picked over
1 can broth + 4 cups hot water
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
Salt & pepper to taste
Sauté veggies in oil until softened. Add these and the rest of ingredients to peas. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce heat so liquid is simmering. Cook until peas are very tender, about 1 to 1-1/4 hours. Remove bay leaf. Transfer mixture to a food processor and pulse until almost smooth. Return to pot and heat until hot, adding more water, if necessary. Soup should be rather thick.

Refried Beans
1 pkg pinto beans
1 TBSP oil
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 med onion, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Soak and cook pinto beans as you normally would. Heat oil in skillet and sauté onion and garlic until tender. Mash beans, add spices, and transfer to skillet, stirring until heated through. Serve as a side dish to your favorite Mexican meal, or roll up in flour tortillas with some cheese and picante sauce to make burritos.

2 cups cooked chickpeas/garbanzos
1 TBSP lemon juice
3-4 cloves garlic (or 2 tsp minced garlic)
¼ tsp cumin
2-3 TBSP tahini or peanut butter
1 TBSP parsley
2 tsp olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Drain liquid from chickpeas, reserve some. Blend ingredients in food processor until smooth, adding more liquid if needed for desired consistency. Serve with whole wheat pitas, toast, crackers, or as veggie dip.

Chili verde
1 pkg dry white beans
2 cans green enchilada sauce
1 can green chilies
1 med onion
Salt & pepper to taste
Soak, drain, and rinse beans. Put all ingredients in the pan, bring to a boil, and simmer til beans are tender. (Add water if needed.) Serve with brown rice and a salad.

Hoppin' John
1 pkg dry black-eyed peas
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf
Salt & pepper to taste
1 can tomato paste
Bacon or ham pieces (optional)
Soak, drain, and rinse peas. Add all ingredients to pot, with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer til peas are tender. I like to serve with cornbread or brown rice and steamed cabbage.