Monday, August 31, 2009

Weekly Menu

Here is the menu for this week at the Pohlmeier house! Enjoy!

Motherhood Monday!

I LOVE my monthly calendar. It is so helpful for me to have an overview of what to expect each week for every family member. It is also useful for me when I am menu planning. One look at the calendar and I can see which nights I need to prepare express meals, and which nights I can plan on cooking something that requires a little more time and attention. My calendar is also a helpful tool for monitoring saints feast days and other special family celebrations. It is just easier for me to have all important commitments in one central location rather than having to try and keep all those dates in my head. I have found it to be an invaluable resource for our family and my planning!

Check out the Pohlmeier family activities on our September Calendar!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Snippets!

I was invited to join a meme on the Catholic blog This That and the Other Thing. Every Sunday Catholic bloggers gather here to share their Catholic posts for the week. Here are the posts that I will be sharing this week:

Pray for the Conversion of Sinners


Marriage Matters Thursdays


Model of Motherhood

Hope you enjoy the posts, and don't forget to check out the other Sunday Snippets!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Frugal Fridays!

With increasing food prices, I am always on the lookout for a deal at the grocery store. I have found four key ways to cut down our grocery bills.

Buying the Generic Brand

Although there are a few items that I consistently buy name-brand, most of what you will find in our cabinets and refrigerator is store brand products. For the most part, I have found them to be the same quality and significantly cheaper than their name-brand counterparts. Although, sometimes between coupons and store promotions I can splurge and buy the name-brands!

Coupons
It is best to find a store that will double your coupons. One grocery store I use is Kroger, and they double coupons up to $.65! Sometimes I can even combine a manufacturer's coupon and a store coupon to get a great deal on an item!

Store Promotions

Every Tuesday I run to the mailbox to discover what great deals are in this week's grocery add. Then I look to see what coupons I have. With luck my coupons will match some of what is in the store add! This means great savings for me and my family. Also, if a store is having a great deal on a staple item, I stock up. For example, if toothpaste has recently been 10 for $10, you will find a closet full of toothpaste in the Pohlmeier house!

Manager's Special

Our grocery store has special price tags that identify when an item is on manager's special. I particularly like to look at the meat that is marked down. Often our store will significantly mark down meat that needs to be sold in the next day or two. This is how I buy our meat. I can stock up when it is on sale or on special and then just put it into the deep freeze until I am ready to use it. I have also found items like mouthwash, face-wash, socks, and cereal on special. Usually, they are discontinued or poorly selling items that the store wants to discard, so they are marked down for quick sale.

With a little planning you can get some great deals at the grocery store. If you combine store promotions, coupons, and items on manager's clearance you can stock up your kitchen for significantly less money, and sometimes you might even end up paying nothing for an item. This, combined with menu-planning, can really help you stretch a food budget.

Here is an example of a recent trip to Kroger where I combined coupons, store promotions, and items on manager's clearance!

What I bought for $17.29!

2 loaves of Wonder Bread (These were actually free after I combined coupons and store promotions.)
2 large boxes of Hefty quart size one-zip bags (These, too, were free after coupons and promotions.)
1 package of hot dogs
2 package of pop-tarts
2 packages of deli-fresh cinnamon rolls
3 pounds of marinated turkey tenderloin
10 Lunchables
1 gallon of milk
3 packages of sandwich cheese
1 package of Banana Popsicles

Pray for the Conversion of Sinners!



Today we celebrate the feast of St. Augustine! What an amazing feast day to remind us to pray for the conversion of sinners. Through the grace of God and the unceasing prayers of his mother, St. Monica, St. Augustine not only converted, but became a bishop and doctor of the Church!

On an interesting note, today is also the memorial of St. Moses the Black. Check out the parallels between the these two saints, who also share a feast day!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cooking with the Kids!

Here are the pictures of the kids making heart shaped cookies in honor of St. Monica. They had a great time, and the cookies tasted great, too!















Marriage Matters Thursdays!

Prayer is so important, and so I am going to devote another post to this topic. Last week I discussed the importance of praying for your spouse. Not only must we pray for our spouse, but we must pray WITH our spouse. Once again this is something that I find easier said than done.

Somehow it seemed a lot easier to find the time to pray with each other before the kids came along. Not that we would trade the kids for anything. Now it seems anytime we try to pray together the kids need us, or there is a tiny chorus of crying vying for our attention. It is like they have a radar that alerts them to when mommy and daddy our trying to do something grown-up, and therefore they must intervene and cause disruption. So lately we have learned to pray with the kids. We have learned to pray together amidst the chaos and to pray alongside are children, who through their play and cries, are offering their own prayers to God. Sometimes we pray evening prayer aloud while I fix dinner, sometimes a Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet in the car, and on a rare occasion we are able to pray morning prayer together before the kiddos arise!

However, there is one time that we are committed to where we pray just as a couple. There are no distractions or interruptions, just us. It is a simple routine, but it is our prayer time. Our time to come united as a couple to present our needs and thanksgivings to God. Every night the last thing Jason and I do before we go to sleep is list our intentions, and pray and Our Father and Hail Mary. Although very simple, this is our commitment to each other and to God. I know that we receive many blessings from this time each night!


Model of Motherhood!



Happy Feast Day, St. Monica! St. Monica is the patron saint for mothers, alcoholics, and married women. Her example of motherhood is one that I can only hope to model. She is a model of patience and constant prayer. She never stopped praying for those close to her heart. Her prayers and example helped lead her husband and her son, St. Augustine, back to the faith when they strayed.

St. Monica was a holy wife and mother, fasting and praying for those she loved, so that they may convert and turn their lives to God. What a constant reminder her life is to me to constantly be praying that my husband and children stay close to God and walk in His light. And what an example she is for the power of prayer and perseverance.

To celebrate her feast day today the kids and I will be making heart shaped sugar cookies to symbolize her undying love for her family and her God!

O God, Who observed the devout tears and pleading of St. Monica and granted to her prayers the conversion of her husband and the penitential return of her son, Augustine, grant us the grace to implore Thee also with earnest zeal, so that we may obtain, as she did, the salvation of our own soul and the souls of those belonging to us. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Little Baseball Nut!

Cardinals, here I come!










Monday, August 24, 2009

I've waited 27 years for this!

Dear Clare,

Thank you for being my precious princess! Thank you for being my little girl! And thank you for finally allowing me to fulfill my dream of putting bows in my little girl's hair. I love you!







Weekly Menu

Here is this weeks menu. There are a couple repeats from last week due to excess leftovers. Enjoy!

Motherhood Monday!

Letting go is so hard to do. It seems that I always have something to do or something that I should be doing. Sometimes it is so hard for me to just relax and savor the moment.

I love having my schedule, it is very helpful and keeps me on task. However, something that I have learned is that I cannot let the schedule drive me. I cannot let "staying on schedule" become my first priority as a mother. My first priority must be to be a mother to my children and to serve them in all of their needs. This may mean that instead of washing the lunch dishes and scrubbing the floor during nap time, I cuddle with Isaac when he needs that extra love and attention. It may mean spending the whole morning holding Clare just because that is what makes her feel secure. Sure I may have more housework to do later, or we may be eating sandwiches for dinner, but ultimately I have to remember that my children are more important than any dinner or clean house.

And then there are the rare moments when it is me who desires to put all other tasks aside in order to just embrace the moment with the kids, the moments when Isaac or Clare falls asleep in my arms, and I desire nothing more than to hold them in my arms and cherish the precious gift I have been given. There is nothing more peaceful for me than holding my sleeping children and thanking God for my blessings!



(Clare 2 days old)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fruit Pizza

I made a fruit pizza for a brunch we attended on Saturday. It was SUPER easy to make, and I got a lot of compliments about the taste. Here is the recipe if you want to make it. I based it on a recipe I found in Taste of Home.

Crust
1 roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough

Cream Topping
1 eight ounce package cream cheese (at room temperature)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 container of whipped topping

Fruit Topping
Strawberries
Blueberries
Red Grapes
Mandarin Oranges
Kiwi

First pat cookie dough onto a pizza pan and cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. Let cookie crust cool. While cookie is cooking and cooling, mix together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Gently fold in whipped topping. After crust is cool spread cream mixture over it until smooth. Layer fruit on top of cream cheese mixture. Chill.



Friday, August 21, 2009

Our Lady of Knock

Today we celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Knock. This would be a great opportunity not only to teach your children about Mary, but also about Ireland. Today I think we will take some time to talk to the kids about Our Lady of Knock, and then we might have a dance party to some Irish music! Have a wonderful day!




Blessed Mother, pray for us today.
Lead us ever closer to your Son.
Help us on our path to Heaven.

Frugal Fridays!

Times are tight. I'm sure we have all been affected in some way by the recession, so on Fridays I will try to post some money saving tips and techniques. To start off the posts I would like to discuss the family budget. I have found the family budget to be invaluable. Being a stay-at-home mom means that we have to be cautious with our money. I am so thankful for the gift of being able to stay at home with our children, and the least I can do in thanksgiving for this to make sure we are being good stewards with our resources.

I am the one responsible for maintaining our family's budget. Of course, we decide how and where to allocate the money together, but I am the one who is charge of calculating the budget and maintaining it daily. I use an Excel balance sheet to organize and monitor our transactions. Each category of our budget has an individual balance sheet, which I keep in a budget folder on the computer. The following categories are what make up our family's budget.

  • Mortgage (includes taxes and home insurance)
  • Dental insurance
  • Home repairs
  • Entertainment/clothing
  • Tithe
  • Food
  • Gas
  • Miscellaneous (household items, baby needs, stamps, etc.)
  • Christmas/birthday/anniversary
  • Home utilities (Gas, water, electricity)
  • Phone/Internet/cable
  • Health Savings
  • General Savings
  • Car repairs
  • Auto Insurance
  • Retirement
  • Income Tax returns
We re-evaluate our budget every July. This is because July begins a new pay period for Jason, which usually means an increase in pay. Every year we decide how much we need in each category. Some categories are fixed each year and each month. For example, I know that every month our mortgage is going to be the same amount. We first go through our categories and calculate all of our fixed expenses. Then we figure out what is remaining and divide that money among the other categories, such as food, entertainment, and presents. I am very precise in budgeting, so every penny is budgeted, and every penny is later accounted for as it is spent. Once we figure out how much we need in each category we divide it by 12, since Jason in paid monthly. Then every payday, I input that amount of money into the balance sheet on Excel.

Throughout the month as I make purchases I subtract that amount from the appropriate category. In order to make this system work we ask for a receipt for EVERYTHING. Yes, I am one of those annoying people who will ask for a receipt for an item that costs $.49. Then we place receipts in the designated place in the house until I can input them into the balance sheet. Keeping track of our spending allows me to monitor where our money is going and helps me to know how much money we can spend each month. I, of course, always like to set the goal of underspending in certain categories, so it ends up being a competition with myself sometimes. If I do have excess in a certain category I roll it over to the next month.

I imagine that some people may find this budget to be constricting. However, I find great freedom in knowing I have a certain amount of money to spend on certain items. We always prayerfully consider how to be stewards of our resources, and God has always blessed us. Our budget has been a tremendous tool for us and has helped us manage our money wisely. Living on a budget has helped us achieve our goal of me staying at home.

Luke 14:28-30
For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish. ‘”

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Marriage Matters Thursdays!

Prayer is key in a marriage. This week I would like to share my thoughts on praying for your spouse. Marriage is a vocation. Part of my vocation is to help my husband become a saint, and enter into Heaven. I am Jason's prayer warrior! I am an intercessor for all of his desires and needs. It is my vocation to pray for him throughout the day, while I am attending to our home and children. Below is a list of specific ideas I use to help me pray for Jason. Personally, I find it easier to stay focused on prayer when I am praying for and about specific items.

List of Prayer Ideas
  1. His work
  2. His fears
  3. His choices
  4. His protection
  5. His trials and temptations
  6. His relationships with friends, family, and co-workers
  7. Our marriage
  8. Our family
  9. His fatherhood
  10. His faith
  11. His strength and perseverance
  12. His peace of mind
  13. His health

Tag! You're it!

Tag has become the new favorite game for the kids to play. They especially enjoy the game when mommy and daddy run around and play, too! How can we resist playing with faces like these?





(Clare, realizing we are coming for her!)


(Isaac is it! Isn't he scary?)



(Run away, Clare!)



Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Way to go St. Edward School!

Here is an article that appeared in The Arkansas Catholic that featured St. Edward Catholic School. We our so proud of Jason and his school! Way to go St. Edward!





If you want to see more things about the church and school, check out their website!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Constant Prayer

Isn't it amazing how the one thing we need to do most in our day, so often gets forgotten or rushed through? I find that my most peaceful, relaxed and just good days are the days that I make prayer a priority. Here is a beautiful prayer I came across, that I think is a perfect way to start a day!

"I love You, O my God, and my only desire is to love You until the last breath of my life. I love You, O my infinitely lovable God, and I would rather die loving You, than live without loving You. I love You, Lord and the only grace I ask is to love You eternally...My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You, I want my heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath."

~St. John Vianney, The Cure d' Ars

Monday, August 17, 2009

Motherhood Monday!

One thing that has been very helpful for me in both budgeting and time management is menu-planning. I menu-plan weekly in order to maximize savings using both weekly sales and coupons. I often use the planned left-overs mentality in order to save time and money. It has been very helpful to me to know each day what I will be preparing for dinner, and to not have to worry about what the evening meal will be. It also helps me when I go to the grocery store. I come with a list of exactly what I will need, and buy only what is on the list. Unless of course, I find an unannounced deal or something special on manager's clearance. I am a firm believer in the family dinner, and this is the way that I ensure that each night there is something for dinner to eat!

Click the link below to see this week's menu. Let me know if you want any of the recipes, and I will post them to the blog!

Menu

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Feast Day Celebration!

We had a great time at The Wonder Place! The kids really enjoyed using their imaginations and playing with other little ones their own age. It made me very happy to see them having such a great time. We also really enjoyed our lunch with daddy! Enjoy the slideshow!


Cooking with the Kids!

Isaac and Clare have just discovered that they love to help me cook. Some of my favorite memories as a child were helping my mom and grandma cook, so I am happy to have them in the kitchen with me. I also find it to be a great teaching moment. I use it to work on counting, measuring, and vocabulary. Honestly, it can sometimes take more time to accomplish my cooking task with their help, but I think it is worth the extra effort. Here are some pictures of the kids after they helped me bake some brownies.










Friday, August 14, 2009

Happy Feast Day Isaac Maximilian!



This week has been full of special days, and today we are celebrating the feast day of St. Maximilian Kolbe! St. Maximilian Kolbe was a martyr during World War II. He chose to die in Auschwitz in the place of a man with a wife and children. When I was 10 I actually had the privledge of meeting the man who Saint Maximilian Kolbe saved. He came to my home parish, named after St. Maximilian, to share the story. It was an AMAZING experience that I will never forget, and I am so glad that I can share that story with my children.

To celebrate both Isaac and Clare's feast days we our going to The Wonder Place today. It is basically a kids play place full of fun and exciting things. They just so happen to offering admission for $3 today, so I thought it would be a special treat. We also are going to get to have a special lunch with Daddy today at McDonalds. And of course, Isaac will be choosing tonight's dinner menu! So in honor of his special day we will be eating his favorite food...Lasagna!

St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for Isaac!



Thursday, August 13, 2009

Marriage Matters Thursdays!

Jason and I celebrated four years of marriage on May 28. The past four years we have learned many things about each other and the vocation of marriage. We have discovered that marriage is full of great joys, but that there are also many struggles. We have learned that God must be the center of our marriage, and that prayer is essential! We have also come to realize the importance of self-sacrifice and unselfish love.

Back when Jason and I were engaged we talked with a priest who gave us a wonderful piece of advice. He told us that each day, at the end of the day, we should ask ourselves what we did for our spouse that day spiritually, emotionally, and physically. The challenge here is serving your spouse in these ways in the way that they personally need. This means thinking about how your spouse needs to feel loved spiritually, emotionally, and physically and then loving them in that way, even if it is not how you would prefer to show love. Let me share with you an example. I know that all Jason wants when he comes home from a long day at work is a hug and kiss. By greeting him with these things I can make his day and fill him up emotionally and physically. I know that these are the actions that make him feel loved and appreciated. Now what about spiritually. For me this means praying and interceding for Jason throughout the day. I try to offer little prayers throughout the day for God to guide him and sustain him. Now, honestly, I do not always succeed daily at serving Jason spiritually, emotionally and physically, but I do make an effort, and I pray that with God's grace I can learn to love and serve Jason with a more perfect and unselfish love.

I am going to include a list of ideas for how to serve your spouse spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I know for me sometimes it is just helpful to see some concrete examples.

Physical love: Hold hands, cuddle, a kiss, a hug, cook his favorite dinner, pack his lunch, surprise him by completing one of his household tasks (taking out trash, mowing)

Emotional love: Send an email, write a note of appreciation, surprise phone call, quality time together

Spiritual love: Pray and offer sacrifices for one another



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Happy Feast Day, Clare!




Our family makes it a point to celebrate feast days! Clare was named after St. Clare of Assisi. Today we will remember Clare and her patron saint. We will be celebrating by letting Clare decide what is for dinner. Clare loves noodles, so we will be having Cheese Tortellini, salad, and sourdough bread. And of course a cookie cake for dessert to celebrate Clare and her patron saint! Please remember to keep our sweet girl in your prayers today!



Monday, August 10, 2009

Update on Friday's Dinner

Dinner went very well with Father Tyler on Friday evening. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and the kids enjoyed getting to read a story with their parish priest!



Motherhood Monday!

Every Monday I am going to try and post some thoughts or reflections on motherhood/homemaking. I hope you will enjoy what I have to say. So to kick it off I thought I would share a book with you that had a huge impact on me. About a year ago I read the book A Mother's Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot. Basically this book examines the parallels between family life and convent life. The book provides a framework for a person to develop a schedule for family life that incorporates the priorities of prayer, person (your personal needs), partner (your relationship with your spouse), parent (your relationship with your children) and provider (tasks of homemaking). I have used the ideas and suggestions in this book to develop a schedule for my own family. This schedule has been incredibly helpful in helping me maintain balance and peace in my life and home. It keeps me organized and on task. It also helps me to be more relaxed. (If that is even possible.) I am going to attach the schedule that I created for the last year. Since, the move I have been loosely following this schedule. Obviously many things have changed, so I am in the process of developing a new one for our family. I will be sure to post the current one when it is finished, but I wanted you to see an example of what I was talking about.

Click here for my schedule.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dinner Guests

I really enjoy cooking and baking. I guess you could say it is what I do to unwind and relax. So it is probably no surprise to you that I enjoy entertaining in our home and inviting people to share a family meal with us. I always want people to feel welcome and relaxed in our home. And of course, I want them to leave happy and with a full stomach.

Tonight we are having a special guest join us for dinner...our parish priest. We are all very excited to share a meal with him, especially Isaac who lately has become obsessed with priests! I have decided to make one of our family's favorite meals tonight to share with Father Tyler. So here is what is on tonight's menu:

Homemade Lasagna
Salad
Green Beans

Homemade Sourdough Bread
(I always keep starter for this in the refrigerator. I usually make at least one loaf a week.)
Tiramisu (This is a super easy recipe and makes a nice light dessert. I will post the recipe below.)


Coffee-scented Tiramisu
(Taken from Family Circle)
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup coffee liqueur, such as Kahlua
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
24 ladyfinger cookies
1 cup strong brewed coffee
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar

1. Beat cream cheese, sugar, coffee liqueur and vanilla in medium-sized bowl for 3-4 minutes or until light and creamy.

2. Whip cream to firm peaks. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.

3. Arrange half of the ladyfingers in a dish. (I use a 9x9 pan.) Drizzle with half the coffee. Top with half the cream-cheese mixture, spreading smooth. Sprinkle with half the cocoa. Arrange the remaining ladyfingers over cocoa. Drizzle with remaining coffee. Top with remaining cream-cheese mixture, smoothing top. Sprinkle with remaining cocoa.

4. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours, or preferably overnight. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.



(Isaac helping in the Kitchen.)








First Kiss

Apparently I am going to have to keep my eye on Clare. It seems she is just too cute for her own good! A few weeks back we attended a minor league baseball game, where Clare made friends with a little boy, and well, I'll let you see what happened...



(Just watching the game with a new friend.)



(Hmmm...I don't know about this!)



(Well, Clare, here it is...your first kiss!)




Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pray for Priests!

Today our family will be having a celebration! Why? Today is the feast day of St. John Vianney, and this year there is even more reason to celebrate because Pope Benedict XVI named this The Year of the Priest, and St. John Vianney is the patron saint for parish priests.

Our family will be commemorating this special day by feasting on "French" foods...mainly french fries and french toast (ha, ha), and ending the day with ice cream sundaes! Throughout the day we will also be offering prayers for priests and seminarians, but especially praying for those priests and seminarians close to our heart! Thank you God for providing priests to guide us and tend to the Church!

Here are some excerpts from St. John Vianney's "Catechism on the Priesthood":

"The priest is not a priest for himself; he does not give himself absolution; he does not adminster the sacraments to himself. He is not for himself, he is for you."

"Oh how great is a priest! The priest will not understand the greatness of his office till he is in heaven. If he understood it on earth, he would die, not of fear, but of love."



(Uncle Erik holding Isaac after his Baptism)



Monday, August 3, 2009

Changes!


Well for those of you who didn't know our family moved to Little Rock on July5. On June 15, Jason started his new job as principal of St. Edward's Catholic School. We are all very proud of him for this accomplishment.

Of course, a new job meant moving to a new city! So, we bought our very first home. Our new house has everything we wanted...three bedrooms, two baths, a garage and a fenced backyard. God never ceases to amaze me in how He provides for all of our needs!

The kids are loving living in Little Rock. They have really done a great job adjusting to all of the changes. I am so proud of them! Throughout this transition Isaac and Clare have really become best buddies. It brings a huge smile to my face to see them playing together so well!


In other news, we signed Isaac up to play soccer in the Fall. I am looking forward to seeing him run around the field. He is so excited to play, and is very proud of his new soccer cleats!

Clare is talking more and more each day. Her new favorite word is "basketball." If you get a chance check out this link We think she is pretty cute!

Why The Little Way?

You may be wondering where I came up for the title for my blog. I love Saint Therese. For one, she is my Confirmation saint. Besides that though I love her charism and her ideas about becoming a saint. She constantly reminds me that I do not need to do large actions to become a saint, but that I can become a saint by performing small actions with great love. Isn't this what motherhood is about? Every day I go through a routine of small tasks that to many would probably go unnoticed. But this is my vocation, and so it is these very tasks, no matter how small and seemingly meaningless, that will lead me to Heaven. Therefore, if I desire to be a saint, I should do these tasks as an offering to God and with love and joy in my heart! So as I clean the bathroom, change diapers, menu plan, budget, and sing silly songs I should be mindful of the fact that this is my little way to sainthood and to the Heart of God!


Here we go...

So I have finally entered into the world of blogging. Hopefully this blog will help you keep up with what is going on in the Pohlmeier family. I will also use the blog to post my thoughts and ideas on homemaking and Catholic motherhood. I love what I do, and can't think of a better way to share my thoughts and ideas with others. Enjoy!