Dec 18, 2017

A Family Christmas Tradition

One of our favorite family traditions is a simple gift exchange, dressed up with friendly, family competition, and focusing on the recipient.  This is one of the easiest ways we taught our autistic sons about giving.

Drawing names of family members is an event in itself.  We usually serve sparking apple cider or some kid friendly beverage that is special.  We write our names on a square piece of paper, fold, and put in the hat.  Going from oldest to youngest, or youngest to oldest, or some predetermined order, we draw the names.  We keep it secret for about 30 seconds.  The mystery is part of the fun.

Then we reveal who we drew and try to determine who will go shopping with whom.  We go in teams.  Mom and Dad "captain a team" and each take two boys shopping. The first team to purchase gifts, return home, AND gift wrap said presents and put them under the tree won. The prize is usually the losing team makes hot chocolate for the winning team.

After dinner on the 24th, we open our family gifts. We open the gifts in the opposite order of how we drew names. It is simple fun for just the immediate family.

So we think about the other person.  The boys have tried to buy what they wanted, but we ensured they purchased what the recipient wanted by having a list of what each boy wanted ahead of time.  As the years have progressed, the boys initiate the process now.  Some of the boys have moved out, but they return to continue the tradition.  That is the best present of all.

P.S.  A red bow on a shopping bag counted as wrapped.

Sep 18, 2017

Monday Meme: Positive Attitudes

Dear MOMS,

We may be stressed.  Just thinking of what needs to be done today can be overwhelming.  Sigh.

I have to do this…
I need to do that…

Change that thought!

I want to do this…
I get to do that…

Smile!  😀

Positive attitude can influence so much.

Jul 14, 2017

Instant Pot Recipes

This week, the 8 quart Instant Pot was on sale through the Amazon Prime Day ($40 off!!).  With so many friends (including myself!) taking advantage of this awesome deal, I thought I'd share our Cuppa Catholic Instant Pot recipes (to date) all in one handy dandy post.  Just click on the name of the recipe, and it'll take you to the post that one of our awesome Cuppa Catholic moms shared.

Enjoy and Bon Appetit!!  

Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes and Bacon

Tuscan Chicken Stew

BBQ chicken sandwiches

Baked Potato Soup

Family Favorite Rice Pudding

Tuscan Chicken

Turkey Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

Chicken Fun Bowl 

Potato and Summer Squash Soup

Mexican Beef


These next four recipes weren't written as Instant Pot recipes, but follow the ingredient list and choose the "slow cooker" setting and these will work great too... (I'm a little bit of a fwaidy cat and more liquidy things like the ones listed below, I would not choose the pressure setting - only the slow cooker setting)

Easy Black Bean Chili

“Not My Family's” Spiced Cider

Easy Taco Soup


And, just in case you are like me and you haven't taken the plunge to try desserts in your Instant Pot, here is THE best cookie recipe.  Kim was totally right - it's "a personal thing"!  And she has hit the jackpot with the best recipe I have found.  So, crank up your oven, mix these up and bake away.  Enjoy the deliciousness!!

Please do share and comment what YOUR favorite Instant Pot recipe is!!

Jul 3, 2017

Monday Meme: Love and Honor

"With freedom comes responsibility."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

We have free will.  God lets us choose. Look at how Christ dealt with the people.  He said his peace and then let them choose to follow him or not.  That does not mean the decision is easy.  It is a choice, just like love is.  Love is a choice.  Love of one’s spouse.  Love of one’s family.  Love of one’s country.

What will one do to show his love?

What is a person willing to give to protect?

Christ showed the ultimate love:  giving of His life for others.  

This holiday weekend, we stand in awe of those who chose to love, and showed that love by sacrificing self.

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
~John 15:13

Jun 21, 2017



Mainly, it is uninterrupted family time.  I love summer.  Vacation, picnics, movies, outings, swimming, etc.  Until you say bathing suit.  Then dread sets in.

Mammas sometimes have a rough go fitting into those tiny things, and if we are lucky enough to get one on, we become very subconscious of how we look.  We curse that snack or bite of ice cream.  We cringe as we pass the mirror and affirm that we will ditch the extra cream in the coffee.  We tie a towel around and proceed outside.  Then swim?  HA.  Out of the question.  Who wants to hear the snide comment of the extra baby pounds or the years are starting to take their toll?  The body shaming may not be overt, but we feel it.

We sit on the sidelines, vowing to diet and exercise.  That accomplishes nothing but probably hatred for ourselves.

While having good health is good, what should we focus on? What is really important?  The priority is God and souls.  Then everything else falls into place, including our physical beings.  That includes having a healthy view of our bodies.  Keeping them in the best shape, given our calling and obligations is a must, but not with obsession.

1 Corinthians 10:31 states:
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

That includes what we see at the movies, where we vacation, what outings we do, not just bathing suits.  What we consume through our senses matter.  So is that ice cream really important?  The Good Lord has given us a body to glorify him, so how we treat it and view it reflects back to God.  We should not be ashamed of our bodies.   We may have produced children, so we carry extra “padding”.  Our age creeps up, so we go “south” a bit.  God created us to love, and that includes our own beings.  Not vanity, but to take care of ourselves.

So, enjoy the ice cream, maybe not as much, but show Glory to God in the sense of taste.  Go see the movie or visit the Grand Canyon, and glorify God through sight.  Maybe pass on the movie with the risqué scenes.  Enjoy the picnic with the family.  The running and jumping, maybe even swimming will be enjoyable as it glorifies God through touch, hearing, and smell.  (My husband always barbeques for a picnic, and the smell is wonderful!!)

And if someone should “suggest” how to lose weight to Mamma, just smile and reply, “You are beautiful too.”  Is there any better way to glorify God?

May 31, 2017

Outgrowing Does NOT Equate With Failure

Children outgrow clothes and baby talk.  Teenagers outgrow (hopefully) bad attitudes and self-centered choices. Young adults outgrow late night parties and frivolous spending.  So what’s left for adults to outgrow? Aren’t we supposed to make sound choices the first time and establish lifelong habits?  Yes, of course we are, however we’re human and there really are things we can outgrow.
Maybe you set a course for your marriage long before you exchanged vows.  Then one day you’re reflecting on the difficult times you and your spouse have been experiencing recently and you realize  the ways in which you communicate have changed.  At one time, you used to sit down every night and hash out the details of your day, but all of a sudden there are children and activities and no more nightly conversations.  Here is where it’s very important to recognize that you’ve outgrown something that needs to replaced.  Communication in any relationship is essential but especially in marriages.  Let the past stay there, don’t focus on what can’t be anymore and look for new ways to spend time with your spouse.  

If you’re a homeschooling family, that in itself is adventure, but along the way your family size has increased, kids have gotten older, and you find yourself getting “bored” of the same old thing.  Homeschooling no longer seems like the fun adventure it used to be when the first kids were little.  Stop. Take some time to write down or reflect on why you started homeschooling to begin with so many years ago.  I guarantee that you’ll start to notice that there are just simply things your homeschool has outgrown, that just don’t work anymore for your family.  That’s perfectly fine because again we are changing constantly.  With all of that in mind now you can look at what you want for your homeschool going forward.  Is it time to switch curriculums or maybe just change up a textbook here and there?  Are you “bored” because you need a fresh space to school in or a new fun gadget to making teaching easier or more fun?  Maybe there’s a personality (or two) that would benefit from more time with you or even away from you?  No matter how you answer those questions, remember that your homeschool is what you make of it and recognize that not all change is bad.

I’m not certain what your home life looks like, but I can guarantee mine is a whole bunch of joyful chaos.  Within that chaos are some good things and some not so good things.  Maybe you’ve experienced what we have here – a day or a week where everyone seems off and the house seems exceptionally messy and the chaos is more than everyone can handle!?  Well, if you haven’t, praise be, but if you have then you know that those times usually point toward the need for prayerful reflection on how to get back on track.  Since I feel like an expert at these “derailings” I can say with confidence that I usually find that we’ve outgrown (even if just temporarily) our current routine.  So these are the times when we might change up chores, meals, seats in the van, night time buddies, etc.  Pick the area or areas that a little change might spice up your home life again.  Don’t be afraid to try something completely out of the ordinary!  It will either be a big hit or big flop, but either way, you haven’t committed your life to it so no worries.

So yes indeed even adults can outgrow something!  The biggest challenge for us, though, is realizing and accepting that it’s okay.  We aren’t failures, we haven’t permanently scarred anyone if something doesn’t work.  Reflect, pray, and make a change.  It could be fun!

May 22, 2017

Making Forgiveness Easier

Forgiveness is easy, when compared to the correct subject.

Life is relative.  What is easy for some is very difficult for others.  Math is a great example.  My two boys with autism love math.  It is very easy for them to grasp and compute.  They both took harder math classes in high school than I ever did in college.  Oh yeah, I did not take ANY math class in college because trigonometry in high school was enough for me.  I muddled through that class after endless hours of studying.  My sons breeze through those calculations without effort.  I wish I had that ability.

My boys roll their eyes at me, not understanding how I can’t grasp the simple concepts.

In contrast, I enjoy writing. It can be fun, even a welcomed challenge to me.  For my boys, writing is downright painful.  They’d rather do their Saturday chores than write.  They will even do MY chores to procrastinate that tedious task of putting words on paper.  Once they sit down to write, the dead would complain about my kids’ groans that permeate the air.  My sons equate writing to a medieval torture, and should be outlawed.

I roll my eyes at them, not understanding how they can’t grasp the simple concepts.

Then there’s forgiveness.  Admitting we are wrong is a cinch, and proclaiming our bad habits is preferred!   We can do those easily instead of letting go of a grudge against someone who has hurt us.  How can we not see that forgiveness lets us live free from angst?

Christ may be rolling his eyes as to why we can’t grasp the simple concept.

To make it easier, just compare forgiveness to a dreaded issue, like math or writing.  Maybe then we can take those baby steps and find it easier to forgive.

May 17, 2017

ImPerfect Motherhood

I told my then two year old son, Nick, to use his fork while eating.  He complied.  He picked up his fork in his right hand, and proceeded to feed himself with his left hand.  Not exactly what I pictured or expected, but he did what he was suppose to do.

That illustrates motherhood.  Not exactly what I expected, but what it is suppose to be.

I've not been a perfect mom, but I've been busy raising perfect children, five boys to be exact.  It is a work in progress.  I must continually "guide" my perfect boys.  Correct them, admonish, encourage, enlighten, cheer, etc.  The list is endless, but at some point, they will be perfect young men.  HA.  A mom must have a sense of humor.

My boys are almost grown.  If I could do it over again or give a young mom advice, I'd not sweat the small stuff.  However, I'd pay attention to the small stuff.  It's those silly moments of mistakes or unpredictable moments that make the memories.

One of my favorites was five years ago.  I purchased raw milk to the tune of $10 a gallon.  I told my boys that they had to be careful to not spill.  Of course, one of them spilled the full glass of "white gold", and they all became statues.  No one said a word, but simultaneously, they all moved their plates and started lapping up the spilled milk off the counter.  It was the funniest moment.  My boys became human vacuums, and there was not much milk left to clean.  Not one drop hit the floor.

And they were shocked when I laughed.

Then there was the time I was teaching the boys how to sort laundry and load the washing machine.  Sort by color and run a full load.  So my Nick, about ten at the time, sorted the whites and the darks.  Since neither load was full, he put both loads in, but the whites on one side and the darks on the other.  Then he ran the machine.  I had been home to see the loads sorted, but then left, thinking he had it down.  The picture tells a different story. 

To read that full story, click here.

Again, I had to laugh, and I kept teaching.

I was not always laughing.  I have shed many tears.  My heart broke when my youngest three were diagnosed with autism.  Working with teachers, therapists, and doctors, even priests, and family members... my boys are working or going to college, something beyond what the specialists thought ten plus years ago.

Prayer and laughter are a must to any mama.  We all have our journeys with our children.  Each one special.  Love them and enjoy them.  They grow up too fast.  The days go slowly, but the years speed by quickly.

I now lament the two miscarriages more than when they occurred.  I'd have a 14 and a 4 year old.  Of course, they'd be boys.  Garrett and Caleb.  I can only dream what their lives would have been, but this is also a part of motherhood.

A mother's love is the only love that, if successful, is the parting of the two.  Three of my boys have moved out.  They have had their struggles, but they call and we talk.  Maybe they take my advice or not.  That is ok.  I have done my best, and they are young men making their way in the world.

Now I look forward to grandchildren. Yes I have two, but I'd love more.  

May 15, 2017

Stay Strong, Moms!!

We can do it !  

No matter if you homeschool or send kids to school, this time of year can be rough.

The finish line is in sight, so keep up the hard work!!

May 12, 2017

Friday Feasting: Quick and Easy Chicken Packets

Quick and Easy Chicken Packets

"A quick way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken. And makes a great chicken salad sandwich, too" 


3 C cooked chicken, chopped
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened (or chevre if you have it)
2 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp fresh chives
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 tubes of crescent rolls (or homemade biscuit dough)
4 TBSP butter
½ C seasoned panko bread crumbs


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, add cream cheese, milk, chives, salt and pepper. Mix until smooth. Add chicken and combine. Set aside until ready.

2.  Open tubes of crescent rolls and unwind. Pull apart four sections, leaving two triangles together to form a rectangle. Pinch seams of two triangles together. You will have four rectangles per tube of crescent rolls. Flour counter and roll out each section to about a 4x6” size. If you have littles, just use ONE triangle instead of two. This way you will have, say, 6 large packets and 4 small packets.

3.  Using a #40 dough scoop add 2 scoops (or, approximately 2 TBSP) chicken mixture to the middle of each dough piece.  Fold over edges and sealing with wet fingers. Brush top with melted butter and sprinkle with panko. Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until brown. Serve with carrot coins and a side salad.

May 5, 2017

Friday Feasting: Indian Roasted Tofu

Indian Roasted Tofu 


1 lb tofu, firm
1 med sweet potato
1 med eggplant
1 red or orange (or red/yellow) bell pepper
1 large onion
Olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced gingerroot
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 C water, divided
½ C soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp garam masala
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Cooked rice


1.  Press tofu for 30 minutes to remove water excess. Slice into cubes and lay out on cookie sheet in single layer. Drizzle with olive oil; season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Roast in oven at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, then turn and roast for additional 10 minutes or until brown.

2.  Peel sweet potato and eggplant, then cut into cubes. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper then put on cookie sheet and spread in a single layer.  Cut bell pepper into strips, then cut in half. Cut onion into chunks. Toss all with olive oil to coat, salt and pepper. Lay out in single layer on another cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Toss then return to oven for another 10 minutes.

3.  In a skillet over medium heat, add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add gingerrrot, soy sauce, ½ c water, sugar, garam masala and cayenne pepper. Stir until heated, about a minute.  Mix cornstarch with ½ c water in a cup and slowly add HALF to skillet, stirring. Depending on how thick you like the sauce will determine how much cornstarch mixture to add. You may not need all of it. Cook for one minute then add in roasted veggies, toss to coat, then add roasted tofu. Toss gently so tofu doesn’t break up. Remove from heat. Serve over rice.

May 1, 2017

Monday Meme: May Day!!

Hey mom!!  I have today's craft and service project planned for you!

May Day flowers and baskets to deliver to neighbors, family and friends.  A small act of love that goes a ...l...o...n...g... way!

Easy peasy!!  Three simple steps...

(these pictures are 10 years worth of May Days for our family - please don't think I did all of these in one year)

#1 -  Make some paper flowers, buy or pick some real flowers.

#2 -  Make up some baskets (paper bags, paper, or paper plates work well!)

 #3 -  Delivery - ding and dash style!!

So, watcha waiting for?  Go brighten someone's day!

MAY your DAY be joyful!!!

Apr 28, 2017

Friday Feasting: Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pie

**photo credit found here**

"My five boys are not fans of sweet potatoes.  I learned to cook this pie because I didn’t know what to do with sweet potatoes, when given by a friend who loves to grow them.  When I first made the pie, I did not tell the boys what it was. They thought it was pumpkin pie, as it was spiced very similarly.  Add some ice cream with some cinnamon on top, and dessert is awesome!"

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pie


3-4 sweet potatoes
½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
¾ cup milk
2 eggs
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


Boil unpeeled sweet potatoes until soft. A fork should easily poke through the potato.  Depending on the thickness of the potatoes, 45 minutes should suffice.  Let cool.  Peel the potatoes.  Place skinless potatoes in a mixing bowl.  Add butter, brown sugar, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and vanilla extract.  Mix with beaters until smooth.  Note: Since potatoes can vary in size, the consistency may too thick.  Add 1 Tablespoon of milk until the desired consistency is achieved.  White sugar may be substituted for brown sugar to get a lighter consistency.  The brown sugar tends to thicken the texture, which my boys love.

Grease 9 inch pie pan.  Then pour mix into pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 50-60 minutes.  Check with toothpick.  It should come out clean.

Gluten option:  use a 9” unbaked pie crust.  When using a ready-made pie crust, it may need to cook a little longer.