Lenten Journey

“At this time, make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position and that your seat belt is correctly fastened”….it’s Ash Wednesday, here we go!! Today is the official day of take-off, our Lenten journey begins today. Did you pack accordingly? Do you have your itinerary ready? What about shoes, did you pack the right shoes? You don’t want to get blisters! The truth of the matter is most of us are spending more time contemplating footwear for a mini-vacation than we do our entire 40 day Lenten journey. Why? Because, when that flight attendant rolls her cart on down the aisle we will just abstain from pop or alcohol and we’re good, done! Lent just means you give up something, right? If we think of Lent as a Journey and we just gave up drinking something on a journey, without any additional attention to details we wouldn’t get much further than the airport. Thus, what if we treated our Lenten journey with the same respect, time, & attention to detail that we would treat any other journey?

When you take a journey somewhere you need to:

1-Research and map out your journey

When you go on a trip you usually first determine the date of your journey, any special considerations that need to be made, and map out the days

  • Lent begins Wednesday March 6th and ends Thursday April 18th
  • Sundays are not included in the 40 days of Lent
  • Sundays we go to Church
  • Ash Wednesday & Fridays during Lent we abstain from meat

 

2- Make list of items you will need to pack

  • Prayer
  • Fasting
  • Almsgiving

 

3-Make your itinerary

  • Get out your calendar/planner and plan your 40 days of Lent

 

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CLICK HERE for Walk the Lenten Path Calendar

Once you’ve planned for your journey accordingly all that’s left is to make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position & let the Holy Spirit take flight!

How does your itinerary look? What will you be adding to and/or abstaining from during your Lenten journey?

 

Redirecting our Family’s Focus for Lent

I have been reading the book, Balancing it All, by Candace Cameron Bure for our playgroup’s book club. It has really brought some topics to light regarding family and what my influence is a parent and wife.  It has had me reflecting on ways to redirect my family’s focus and I cannot think of a better time to employ positive change than during Lent.

Coming to the conclusion that I have been slacking as a mom was not easy to admit. Slacking how? Well, structure for one. 2014 has not started off well. With all the snow days and the uncertainty of what the week holds I have become too flexible, too lenient, and structure has fallen by the wayside. I have fallen into a horrible pattern of just doing things myself.  Landry, dishes, cleaning rooms, emptying trash, etc. to the point of exhaustion. I had never worked so hard and yet, I was being a lazy mom.  I haven’t been nurturing in the evening, I raise my voice more often than I would like to admit, and I have not been doing the things I enjoy doing with the children, like reading stories and saying the Rosary in the evening.Thus I have come to the conclusion that the following need to be implemented in order for our family to redirect our focus on what is truly important, growing together in faith.

I have narrowed it down to 3 main areas in our lives that distract us away from God and God’s plan for family: Stress, Screens, and Materialism.

1)      Start our Mornings off right. Instead of the kids having breakfast alone while my husband showers and gets ready for work and I run around like a chicken with its head cut off in search of pants, clean underwear, homework, etc. Everyone will be responsible  (with a little guidance from mom) for their own clothes, book bags, etc. the night before and we have breakfast together. The family table need not be limited to dinner. Why not start the day off together. Over breakfast I will be reading LENT FOR CHILDREN, A Thought a Day, by Family Feast and Feria. My hope is to then have a short discussion and end with a prayer.

2)      Be accountable for Screen Time. We currently have four televisions in our home and a laptop. The television in the living room has the Wii, Netflix, and cable. The television in the basement is hooked up to a DVD for viewing movies. And the laptop has educational websites and games the children enjoy. Just the other day I realized that between video games, Netflix shows, educational websites, and girls watching a movie that we were each entertained by a screen for 5 hours straight!! It is embarrassing to have to admit but owning it is the first step. We will be eliminating cable. But let’s be honest, that isn’t the main culprit. Netflix, though amazing as it is, is very addicting. I mean who doesn’t long to know what happens in the next episode? You definitely need to have self control when it comes to Netflix. But sometimes that willpower doesn’t kick in naturally so, in order to limit screen time I have purchased a kitchen timer for each of the children and we will be implementing the 2 hours or less screen time chart. Each week the children will receive the chart and they will be held accountable for their daily screen time.

3)      Stop being a slave to the stuff! I spend way too much time assisting the children with cleanup of their rooms and family room. I would rather be spending that time doing something fun with them/as a family. The problem is they simply have way to much stuff.  More stuff than their little minds can process. No child needs 30 Barbie’s; in fact the most they could play with at one time is 2, maybe 3. They also have an exorbitant amount of books, some are even duplicated. What we don’t have is adequate storage or space for all the stuff. Thus the stuff has got to go!  I would love to sell tickets for $25 to enter my house and take what you can carry then use the funds for a family vacation. Unfortunately the hubby wasn’t to keen on a bunch of strangers perusing through our home so the next option, downsize. All nicer items will be sold to a secondhand store (children could use that money for their rice bowls), other items will be donated, and some have simply seen better days. I also like the fact that through this process the children can learn what is truly important and it isn’t the stuff, it is the people, their relationships, and most importantly their relationship with God. It is hard to have a relationships with God when you are surrounded by so many distractions a.k.a. Legos, Barbie’s, Power Rangers, cars, princess, etc. would love to do what this mother did, and who knows once I get started we still might…Why I took My Kids Toys Away.

I will also be incorporating the activities on this site, 40 Ideas for 40 Days.

Does your family have Lenten practices? How do you redirect your focus during Lent? Please share.

Fish McBites Fix and Giveaway!

Picture it….Friday morning and I have accomplished the impossible.  I have dropped off our 1st grader at school, managed to complete all our grocery shopping for the next two weeks, with my little helpers no less. Translation, there were a few hurdles (potty visits, begs for obnoxious foods, visiting the fish aquariums, and cleanup isle 15) but I rocked it! If there was a motherhood grocery shopping Olympics I just won the Gold!  

I packed the groceries into the car and then gave myself a minute to bask in the success of my grocery shopping skills. Then it was on with the remaining errands. Thankfully this winter weather is good for something besides sledding, groceries can sit a few minutes longer in the car so momma can check off a few more items from her ‘to do’ list. I continue on to the gas station, bank, and I was on my way to drop off preschool tuition when I heard a little voice from the back seat say, “I am hungry”.  As I glanced down at the clock I realize that there is clearly not enough time for me to complete my last errands, unload groceries, and then make lunch.  It would be way too late and there wouldn’t be enough time for nap time/quiet time before having to pick up my 1st grader and quiet time keeps momma sane so that was nonnegotiable. The solution? Drive-thru!

I don’t care what anyone has to say, when you are in the throes of a ‘to do’ list with a preschooler and toddler becoming restless in the backseat after just coming off of an intense grocery shopping spree eating in the car quickly becomes an embraceable solution. So I pulled into the nearest McDonald’s promising the kiddos Happy Meals since they were so good while I ran errands. Then I remembered, it is Lent. Shoot! How does a mom back pedal from that promise? While trying to determine how I was going to explain to the children that McDonald’s ran out of Happy Meals and consequently, in lying to my children added Confession to my ‘to do’ list. But as I came around the curb I saw it, it was beautiful, a sign that indicated that Fish McBites are in Happy Meals!

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So the kiddos got to have their Happy Meals with fish McBites and I gave them a try too. To be honest I was pleasantly surprised by the crispy, tender, big flavor taste of the flaky Alaska Pollock bites!  And after further research I also like the fact that the McBites fish, wild-caught Alaska Pollock, like all of McDonald’s fish, is from a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified sustainable fishery http://www.msc.org/.

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They were so yummy last Friday that I decided to get them again this Friday.  McBites are this Mom on the go’s go to fish fix for Lent. There is nothing better than after a long week of running kiddos around, laundry, etc. than to get a break from meal prep, cooking, and clean-up, yep McDonald’s does the dishes. Score!  Don’t you deserve a break today (kicking it old school…remember this slogan?)?

Cue the Giveaway…

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Enter to win this awesome Fish McBites prize pack consisting of: Fish McBites branded items including, t-shirt, hat, koozie, and $10 arch card all in a drawstring bag!

To Enter:

  1. Follow Mom on the go in Holy Toledo facebook page (please like from your personal facebook page and not a business, for some reason only the personal pages are counting on facebook now)
  2. Follow Mamaof3onthego on Twitter
  3. Follow McDonald’s on Twitter https://twitter.com/mcdonalds_NWOH
  4. Once you have completed a numbers  1-3 please post a comment indicating you have done so

Winner will be randomly selected Wed. February 27th.

Good luck!

Disclosure: I was given the Fish McBites Prize pack and coupons, no other compensation was received, and all opinions expressed are my own.

Red Lobster: Where Moms Vacation!

At 7:30am every morning like clockwork my 5 yrs. old son asks the same question, “What’s for dinner?” Seriously!?!  And to think I was pretty impressed with the fact that I was able to come up with something for breakfast. Meal planning is exhausting. I added it up the other day and it turns out, between breakfasts, lunches, and dinners I prepare over 950 meals a year, give or take a few.  I am sure many moms are feeling the same exhaustion and pressure. The pressure to prepare healthy meals that the entire family will enjoy and not get stuck in a meal rut is overwhelming.  I am not getting paid enough for this gig! After all I am no Giada, Sara Snow, or Rachel Ray (by the way, that girl is a genius, who else could make money off a garbage bowl?).

So, what’s the solution? Go out to eat, of course! But, the cost to go out to eat can be just as overwhelming. It seems like a family of five practically has to apply for a loan in order to go out to a nice sit-down restaurant.  And if you’re fortunate enough to be approved for that loan the thought of taking 3 young kiddos out to a restaurant is enough to bring even the most prepared mother into a full fledge panic attack.  A mother’s mind floods with all the ‘what ifs’…what if the baby won’t stop crying…what if the toddler pees her pants, or worse, poops!…what if she throws a tantrum…what if your husband’s boss is sitting next to you…then upon witnessing the madness determines your husband clearly can’t oversee a firm if he can’t even control his own family, and fires him right on the spot… all because you wanted to go out to eat! Yep, as ridiculous as these ‘what ifs’ may sound these are the crazy questions and scenarios that run through my mind.

Okay so hypothetically speaking, let’s say you have bypassed the ‘what ifs’ and have been approved for that loan, next challenge, the menu? Why is it every restaurant, no matter what ethnicity assumes you want to feed your child fried chicken strips, French fries, pizza, or grilled imitation cheese sandwich!! Why must they fry everything? Shoot, at one restaurant we went to the children’s menu actually had fried mac & cheese.  Perhaps the restaurants are in cahoots with the pharmaceutical drug manufacturers.  Because at the rate they are frying everything there will be a need for a child’s Lipitor! Why can’t they have healthier options for children?

Pardon me as I step up onto my soap box….

I just want a break! I want someone else to plan, prepare, and cook the meal. I want someone else to serve, clean, and cater to my family’s needs so I can enjoy my meal while it is hot! I want affordable and healthy menu options! And lastly, if possible, maybe someone else could entertain the children. Are all these demands possible? I suppose if my husband took on another wife, but I am not down with the whole sister wives thing (the show is very entertaining this is true, but the lifestyle is not for me). Perhaps there is another option that can meet all these demands that doesn’t involve polygamy? Two words, Red Lobster!

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I vacationed ate there last week and it was A-Mazing!

I was surprised to find that Red Lobster offers so many family friendly and affordable options. In fact, nearly 60% of the dishes on the new menu are under $15 – making Red Lobster a perfect destination for a family dinner out.

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Additional menu highlights include:

•The $7.99 weekday lunch special – Weekdays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., certain lunch sandwiches, salads and soups are just $7.99. This offer includes four varieties of lunch entrees – like the new Spicy Shrimp Tacos and Wood-Grilled Burger – three types of salads and a soup & salad combo, all served with Red Lobster’s signature Cheddar Bay Biscuits. (Hello….can we say future mommy and me lunch date?)

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•Also, 5 for $5 ‘til 6 – Guests can enjoy select appetizers for $5 from 3 to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Selections include new menu items like the Sweet Chili Shrimp and Southwest Chicken Pizza, and Spicy Buffalo Chicken Bites, among others. At select locations, $4 wines and $3 beers will also be available (void where prohibited by law).  (Yep…putting that down as a Moms Night Out!! WooHoo!!  And yes, our nights end very early)

•Seasonal specials, like the current 30 shrimp for $11.99 and the upcoming Lobsterfest.  (More like Lentfest…am I right fellow Catholics?)

•As well as lighter menu options (under 500 calories) as part of there LightHouse menu. (For all you Mommas who have been sticking to your New Year’s resolutions)

  • And a kid’s menu that is beyond fish sticks. (Take that Lipitor!!)

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Are you salivating yet? No!! Well then take this……and I got to eat them when they were all warm right out of the oven!

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I ordered the Mahi Mahi with shrimp and Broccoli that wasn’t smothered in salt or butter, it was awesome! I did almost lose the Mahi Mahi to ketchup that my toddler so graciously wanted to share, but I caught it just in time!

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Red Lobster met ALL my demands; even occupied the kiddos with the activities on the kids menu, score! The experience was so relaxing, the food was so delicious, and it was an all-around memorable family outing to which the only word that really does it justice is, vacation! So, think twice before you book your next Carnival Cruise, Red Lobster is definitely the way to go!!

Disclosure: Red Lobster provided me with a gift card to try out their new and improved menu. No additional compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own.