Thursday, February 23, 2017

Reasons to Not Give Up Anything This Lent

Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday are upon us, meaning another joyous Lenten season is on the horizon! Do you know what you will be giving up this Lent? While many people may dread this time of year because of the sacrifices they may plan to make, it is a liturgical season that I look forward to each and every year.

Have you thought much about what you will be giving up this year? Like many of you, I have been pondering this question long and hard, and came to the decision that I will not be giving up anything.

Why?

Well, in 8th grade, I gave up junk food and pop so I could fit into my cotillion dress.


My senior year of high school, I started running a few times a week so I would look better in my prom dress.

My junior year of college, I gave up drinking on weekdays and cursing (partly for God; partly to break bad habits).

Does this sound familiar to you? If it does, you are in good company, which is why I come before you with this request: Don't even bother giving up anything this Lent. 

Now, before you begin sending me emails condemning my sentiments, just hear me out. Instead of giving up anything this Lent, consider taking up something that will teach you about your faith, evangelization, and/or deepen your relationship with Christ. 

Need ideas? Here are 5 things to take up this Lenten season:

1.) Adoration
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This is something that I did last Lent and absolutely loved! Each Wednesday, my toddler and I would make a special afternoon out of attending Adoration and would spend up to a half hour with the host (depending on how my 2-year-old was feeling that day) and then go to lunch to enjoy some special time together. As a work-from-home mom of two busy boys, I don't get to go to Adoration nearly as often as I would like (or should), so having this special time carved out to go made the Lenten season even more meaningful.

2.) Serve
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Whether you work in a soup kitchen only once these 40 days or do something for someone every day, go out and serve your fellow man without expecting anything in return. The world will not only become a better place, but so will your heart!

3.) Daily Scripture
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This is something else that I have done the last 4 Lents that I cannot recommend enough: Find out what the daily Gospel readings are (or download an app like Laudate), carve out some quiet time each day, read, and reflect. (Whenever I do this, I also check out the daily reflections on Laudate -- they are VERY helpful and make the readings a little easier to understand!)

4.) Bible Study
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Want to take your daily reading to a whole other level? Join a bible study! If you live in a bigger city, there is a good chance your parish already has a number of studies available -- take advantage of this! If you live in a smaller parish (like my parents do), form your own with friends and meet weekly for dinner, discussion, and fellowship. Need a suggestion? Check out either 33 Days to Morning Glory or Consoling the Heart of Jesus, both of which are by Fr. Michael Gaitley.

5.) 90/10 Tithe
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I had actually never heard of this concept until last week on EWTN, but the way it works is this: We are all taught that we are supposed to tithe 10% of our income pre-tax, right? But instead of tithing 10%, some people go WAY above and beyond by tithing 90% and living off the other 10. How cool would this be to do during Lent? Not only would you be helping your church, but you may also learn something new about yourself (like, maybe you don't need your daily $5 latte to get by!). Not quite ready to make that big of a jump? Try adding an additional $10 or $20 to weekly tithe during this Lenten season.

Now I want to hear YOUR suggestions! What are your plans this Lent? Will you be giving something up or adding something new to your routine? Let me know in the comments. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Creamy Chicken Chimichangas with Chile Lime Sauce

Okay, so I know that I haven't been the best at regularly posting here on Living Like Martha (which is a BIG no when you are trying to grow a new blog!), but I am in the midst of getting my plan of action together, so please stay tuned!

In the meantime, I just HAD to share these sweet, savory, and oh-so creamy chicken chimichangas that I made for dinner last week. I found this recipe for baked chicken chimicangas on Six Sister's Stuff website, but ended up making so many modifications and changes to it that I figured I would just re-write it and share it with you, my awesome friends! Without further ado, here is my recipe for yummy Creamy Chicken Chimichangas with a Chile Lime Sauce:

Ingredients:
  • 2 (4 oz.) cans diced green chiles
  • 2 (10.5 oz.) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • Fresh lime juice (to taste)
  • 8 oz. plain green yogurt
  • 1 (8 oz.) package shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 lb. rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 12 flour tortillas
  1. Pour chiles, soup, and desired amount of lime juice into blender, pureeing until smooth. 
  2. Once pureed, pour into saucepan and heat over medium, stirring occasionally. 
  3. In a large bowl, stir together yogurt and mozzarella cheese until well blended. Fold in chicken.
  4. Evenly divide mixture into 12 tortillas, folding each tortilla around filling. 
  5. Spray 9x13 and 8x8 pans with non-stick cooking spray and add chimichangas. 
  6. In a preheated 350 degree oven, bake chimichangas for 15 minutes. Pull pan out, turn over chimichangas, and bake for another 15 minutes.
  7. To serve, place chimichanga and plate and drizzle with warmed chili lime sauce. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Mass Box Review

Disclaimer: I was neither asked nor compensated for this review. The good folks at Mass Box have no idea who I am and have no idea that I am writing this review. All opinions are my own. 

My 3-year-old Jackson is a perfect combination of both my husband and me.

From me (and my side of the family), he gets several of his facial features, sense of humor, play-it-safe attitude, and love of naps.

From his dad, he gets his laid back personality, great head of hair, likeness of sports, and deep love of creating things with his hands. 

I love seeing the world through this little boy's eyes and being able to spend every minute of every day with him and his baby brother. One of his favorite things to do on our days at home is to craft and create (which, like I previously mentioned, he gets from his dad, not me), so I am always looking for fun and creative things for him to do. 

That being said, you can imagine my excitement when I ran across an ad for The Mass Box on Facebook

Just what is The Mass Box? As per their website, "The Mass Box is a program for 3-7 year olds to help your family get ready for each and every Mass with craft supplies, kids missals, and coloring sheets delivered every month to your door!" Genius, right? I was all set to sign up my 3-year-old for the subscription, but changed my mind upon seeing its $20 + shipping monthly cost. 

A few months after first seeing the ads on Facebook, I saw another one, this time advertising their New Year's special that included half off boxes PLUS free shipping. After seeing this, I was sold and got Jackson all signed up. Less than a week later, our first Mass Box arrived at our front door, chock full of pre-sorted crafts and instructions pertaining to each Sunday's Gospel reading. 

Jackson showing off this week's craft: A decorated lantern to signify that we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).
To demonstrate just how bad I am at crafting, I ruined three different pieces of paper (even after reading the directions/watching the helpful video) and eventually had to break into our construction paper stash just to get a good lantern!
Everything we needed to make our Epiphany of the Lord craft (which I ended up gluing onto a piece of construction paper and gifting to my parents -- they loved it)! 
Terrible picture, but crafting at the dining room table is kind of a family affair.
My little crafter has absolutely loved helping me with the weekly crafts in our box and I have loved having the opportunity to not only teach my children the faith, but learn more about it myself! 

While I do absolutely love the Mass Box and everything the company stands for, I did end up canceling our subscription for the time being... but hear me out! After receiving the box, I completely agree with the $20/month + shipping price tag (there is A LOT that goes into researching and curating the each week's craft, PLUS the cost of materials) but thought that everything was still a bit too advanced for my newly-turned 3-year-old. I think that once my little guy can handle cutting, precise drawing/coloring, etc., a little bit better, we will renew our subscription -- but in the meantime, I wholeheartedly recommend this subscription box for any child 3 1/2 + and think it would make the perfect gift for grand kids, godchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. 

For more information on Mass Box -- or to begin your subscription -- be sure to visit their website

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