Homemade lunchables

My kids love lunchables. I let them have them every once in a while. They would eat them every day of the week if I’d let them. So I came up with a better solution inspired by the Eating Game. 

There was posted on Facebook a picture of an ice cube tray and a different food in each of the 14 spots. What a great way to get a balanced meal! 

I am starting with seven different foods. It takes a little more time but their enjoyment is so worth it. I can put heated peas and carrots on one end and cold yogurt on the other. I can cut up sandwiches to add protein with peanut butter. I can add treats like marshmallows and brownie bites without ruining their whole meal. I can see at a glance if the meal is balanced with veggies, fruit, protein and dairy. 

They love their personal lunchables.

What I don’t need

I’ve found packing meals to go on the Daniel Fast to be a bit difficult. Beans and oatmeal don’t travel well in a cooler. I might could take a salad but that wouldn’t give me much energy so I’ve opted for peanut butter sandwiches and string cheese.

When this fast is over, I’m not going to bring back what I’ve discovered that I don’t need.

1) Meat – I don’t miss it. No sense in spending the money on it if I can live without it. I’ll continue to buy meat for husband and kids and fix pots of rice and beans for me.

2) Coffee – It is possible to function in the morning without it. And that eliminates an appliance off of my counter as well as coffee and filters from my cabinets.

3) Sweet tea – I’ll drink some green tea and herbal tea when the fast is over. But sweet tea is too easy to over-indulge in. It’s easy to use a significant portion of calories on sweet tea without adding significant nutrition. Mostly water from here on out.

What I’ll be keeping

1) Milk and eggs – I’m not going to be drinking milk but may eat yogurt, some cheese and have scrambled eggs every once in a while. We need B12 which we get from animal products and would sustain permanent brain damage without. Vegans get it from processed, enriched foods or supplements. My view is that if you can’t obtain it naturally through your diet, then something’s wrong with your diet.

The exception is that I’ll accept what is served to me when visiting friends and family. This is my choice to give up certain foods and beverages in solidarity with the poor of the world. I can’t be imposing that on others.

Simplifying my diet will free up space, time and money.

Where did we get the Bible?

I attended a church service yesterday that was wrought with inaccuracies and confusion over where the Bible came from. I wanted to confront the pastor about it but it was a lengthy list to put straight so I had to ask the Lord to put his arm around me and his hand over my mouth. I have spoken with two Baptist pastors that were very knowledgeable about the origins of the Bible. But since have spoken with several including ministers that are hanging on to half-truths or just really bad information. So although that particular pastor probably won’t read this, I hope to help shed some light on the history of our Bible.

The pastor said that the biblical canon was decided at the Council of Nicea. The Council of Nicea was attended by more than 300 bishops. They condemned the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ. They set the date for Easter. They also declared that God the Father and God the Son were of the same substance. The Bible was actually discussed and listed at the Council of Hippo (393) and the Council of Carthage (397).

He also said that it was decided by “head priests” and “high priests”. This gave the impression that it was established by Jews. It was bishops that attended councils. Catholic bishops that were responsible for a certain geographical area. There may have been Jewish Christians but it was not the Jewish priesthood that was involved in this. The Jews would not have listed the New Testament books since they had rejected Jesus as the Messiah.

There were a lot of letters by Paul and Apostles among others. The Catholic church established which ones they believed were inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Catholic New Testament and the Protestant New Testament are exactly the same. However, if Martin Luther had been able to have his way, we would not have Hebrews, James and Revelation.

The Septuagint was a version of the Old Testament translated by 70 Jewish scholars in Alexandria, Egypt sometime between 250 B.C. and 100 B.C. It was warmly welcomed by Jews outside Palestine. These were the sacred writings adopted by the early Greek-speaking Christians. There are more than 300 direct quotations or paraphrases in the New Testament from the Septuagint Bible. So there is no doubt that the Catholic Christian writers of the Apostolic Era had adopted the Septuagint as their own.

The Septuagint includes all the books of the Protestant Old Testament as well as what the Protestants call the Apocrypha (Judith, Tobit, 1st Maccabees, 2nd Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach and Baruch). Because the Christians took the Septuagint over so completely, the Jews decided to adopt their own version. Part of the reasoning behind removing these books was that it had to be written in Hebrew. However, when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, parts of these books were found in the original Hebrew manuscripts. The Protestant Old Testament is also missing parts of Esther and Daniel.

So how did they get removed? Martin Luther put them in the back of the Bible declaring them useful to read but not the inspired word of God. Even the 1611 King James Version included them. They were removed completely in the 1800’s by English and Scottish Bible Societies that refused funding to printers that chose to include them. Many Bibles are beginning to include them again in the back. Some seminaries require that you use a Bible including the 7 books for your studies.

Some will say that the Catholic Church added them back in the sixteenth century at the Council of Trent. This is another myth. The Latin Vulgate was translated from the oldest available Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic manuscripts including the Septuagint and the New Testament by St. Jerome (382-404) at the request of Pope Damasus I. This was the text used for mass. It was declared official in light of Martin Luther’s actions. But nothing was added or taken away by the Catholic Church. They have stood in defense of the Sacred Scriptures for centuries.

So why did Martin Luther and others remove parts of the Bible and attempt to remove even more? And why are there such errors in how we got the Bible? Well, if you believe that the Bible is your only authority, it would be hard to follow the teachings of a man (Martin Luther) who really butchered it. He removed and attempted to remove parts that didn’t jive with what he believed.

We have to be careful, lest we attempt to do the same thing. If we believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, we don’t get to pick and choose what we want to follow. This is why I am Catholic. I have found that their teachings are so closely tied to exactly what Jesus told us to do. And they can show so many correlations with what we do today to what Jesus told us to do and all the way back to how it was foreshadowed in the Old Testament. If you ever get really into studying it, it will give you goosebumps. The Bible comes ALIVE! Living and breathing God’s truths into us.

Wants vs Needs

I’ve been on the Daniel Fast for five days. I’ve lost 5 lbs, probably mostly water. When you don’t drink enough water, your body retains it. When all you can drink is water, there’s no doubt you’ll get what you need. I’m not starving. I’m not miserable. I would love to have something sweet but I don’t NEED it.

I’ve really been evaluating what I need and what I want. Sad to say, that the typical American life including my own is more about what we want than what we need. It’s all topsy-turvy. Jesus didn’t spend his life pursuing wants but instead focusing on what people needed whether it be health, life, freedom from demons, food, wine, or a Savior.

To follow Christ, my life needs to be way more about what I, my family and others need and WAY less about what I want. So what are our true physical needs?

1) Clean air and Clean water – These are needs so we all need to be doing our part.

2) Food from seed – This is the food that God gave us in the Garden of Eden. That includes grains, legumes, nuts, fruit, vegetables and herbs.

3) Shelter from the elements – Our home should be able to protect us from the wind, rain and cold and provide escape from the heat.

4) Sunshine – to help our bodies to develop Vitamin D

5) Some source of B12. This vitamin affects the nervous system and our blood. It is present in animal products. It is present in much smaller amounts in plants. It is possible that it may be produced in our own bodies. But to be on the safe side, it is probably a good idea to include eggs and milk, especially for children.

It’s such a simple list. We need to be environmentalists. We need to have a garden or support someone that gardens. We need to take care of our homes. We need to get outside daily if possible. And we need to have some chickens and a goat or two or again support someone who does.

It’s exciting! When you remove all the excess consumption, you could easily feed your family with a good sized garden, two goats (and a buck or a neighboring farm for breeding purposes) and a flock of chickens. Beehives would be a good addition. Bulk items like grains, beans and rice will be good to have on hand. If we lived simply, we could go months between trips to the grocery store.

As a new Catholic, it’s been a joy to study the lives of the saints. So many shared this in common. They denied themselves the pleasures of this world. They had a detachment from worldly possessions. I watched a movie called Back to Eden. It speaks of how God takes care of the sparrows and how much more he cares for us. Raising your own food takes a lot of work. But it’s not nearly as complicated as we make it out to be. I’ve just barely scratched the surface of no-till gardening this year and I’ve eaten a lot more from my garden that in the past despite the awful heat. I can’t wait to get started in our new home this fall.

Daniel Fast

I saw a post by a Facebook friend about her breakfast on the Daniel Fast. I read a lot about it on this website. I was in the middle of a major IBS episode and in a lot of pain. That seemed like a meaningful way to remove any offending foods.

I came up with a simple plan. Oatmeal with fruit and spices for breakfast. Salad from the lettuce in my garden for lunch. Rice and beans for supper. It is easy to plan and uses a lot of what I already have on hand. Doesn’t require any special purchases. Not asking for my family to participate, I am cooking meat, dairy and dessert dishes for them.

It was really a diet rather than a fast for the first couple of days. I had eaten oatmeal without sugar or honey. The fruit and spices help but still not very palate-pleasing. The third day (this morning), I baked a sweet potato and wasn’t sure how palatable it would be without butter and brown sugar. I ate it plain. It was warm and filling.

And it broke my heart.

I consider this a major sacrifice and there are millions of people all over the world that would feel rich with a whole sweet potato for a meal. How selfish I am! I worry about my excess baby weight, my coffee or my next treat. People are starving! Why am I living in excess when they have so little?

So it is officially a Daniel Fast. At least 40 days of eating as Daniel did in the Bible. Eating this way, God blessed him and his companions. Only vegetables, grains, fruit and water. No meat. No dairy. No sugar. No leavening (yeast). Fasting for solidarity with the poor all over the world.

St Augustine said this: First and foremost, clearly, please remember the poor, so that what you withhold from yourselves by living more sparingly, you may deposit in the treasury of heaven. Let the hungry Christ receive what the fasting Christian receives less of. Let the self-denial of one who undertakes it willingly become the support of the one who has nothing. Let the voluntary want of the person who has plenty become the needed plenty of the person in want.

In Matthew 25, we read: 34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36  naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40  The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’


First refurbished piece


I like it! The color is called Dark Granite by Olympia. It’s a sophisticated shade of brown with a touch of gray. I think it’s dark enough to be paired with black bookshelves and not clash. That makes it so versatile. I learned that foam brushes that were suggested on one diy site just don’t cut it. It was torn up halfway through the project. I also think I’ll invest in some wood putty for the next piece. But perfect for my first attempt.

Finding my inner Interior Designer

Part of growing up is finding yourself. Finding where the affirmation of others’ dreams and desires end and where the likes and uniqueness of you begins. I still remember when I started listening to Santana in college. I loved his wonderful talent and no one introduced me to him or said that I should like him. It was me taking my own path. And we all can account stories of finding our individual preferences in food, music, fashion and whatever.

I have not had any clue what to do as far as interior design. I figured that it just wasn’t my talent. Turns out that I just hadn’t found my vision yet. I didn’t know what my style was. So I’ve been living in a hodge podge of hand-me-down furniture, crafts and what-not. Hand-me-downs are a wonderful thing. I envied the stories of people who took a whole bunch of junk and made it all work together to reflect their style and character. Could not for the life of me figure out how to do it for myself.

There was always something holding me back. I liked shabby chic but I don’t like peeling paint and rust. I liked country decor but there’s only so much checkerboard fabric and country blue hearts a person can take. I like contemporary colors of maroon, navy blue and hunter green but after a while, all you see is darkness.  I liked the modern look with minimal colors like black and white with little punches of color in the accessories. But I really didn’t like the harsh look of black and white. I wanted something softer.

My husband and I decorated our bedroom for last year’s anniversary gift. We bought new bedding, lighting and fixtures for our bathroom. Our color scheme was chocolate brown, rose red and green. I really didn’t think of using that throughout the house til recently.

A light bulb moment happened today when I thought of slipcovering everything that I could in a cream white fabric that was sturdy and able to withstand quite a few washings between pets and kids. And then it occurred to me, that since the tv stand and crib that we got recently were in a dark brown and the antique record player, antique sewing machine and bedroom suite were in dark brown, why couldn’t I paint everything else to match in either dark brown or the cream white. I could go ahead and refurbish the dressers for the kids’ rooms and paint them with green, blue and pink. Then accent the drawers with chalkboard paint.

With all the basic pieces in a simple pallete, I could add punches of color with the green and red. I could paint my dining room table or cover it with some dark hardwood flooring and then paint the legs with the green that I’ve picked out. I would be able to find pieces that function in our spaces and look coordinated.

So here’s my goal. I’m setting myself a budget of $1000. This won’t be House Crashers. This design project will be the whole house and probably take a year or more between homeschooling and housekeeping.

I’m excited! I bought a quart of dark brown paint, sandpaper and a paint brush for a little over 18 dollars. I’ve put the first coat on an old end table that was in dire shape. I did it by the light of the porch light after I got the kids to bed. I just couldn’t wait til tomorrow to get started. Here’s the before and during pics. I can’t wait to share the after pics.

It had terrible water damage when I got it from my grandmother years ago.

I like sanding much more than I thought I would. I love the smooth surface.

Hoping to get a second coat on the table tomorrow and get pics after it dries.

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