Mexican Domestic Goddess

An Unexpected Grief

Jacqui Skemp3 Comments

I lay on our sofa, bundled in a blanket. My mom sat on the opposite end, holding my week old baby, reading a book to him. 

Every day, everywhere, babies are born

Every day, everywhere, babies are kissed

Every day, everywhere, babies are loved

And then the tears flowed, and then gushed. A deluge of hot, salty streams ran down my face. My brother asked why I was crying, and my mom told him that I was just so emotional and glad that my baby was finally here. While that was so very true, the twisting ache in my chest made me realize that wasn’t the whole truth.

Just a few days earlier I had gone through the most physically and mentally challenging experience of my life. But the labor pains brought on by the birth of my son were not the first I had ever experienced. My body knew the story. It had been there before. 

In the middle of our first winter as a married couple, I sat on the bathroom floor, leaning against the hot radiator hoping to find some relief for my aching back. The pain came in waves, peaked, and eased back. They grew stronger and closer together, and after a few hours I managed to crawl back into bed. I shook, and moaned, and cried. And then the pain stopped. My husband walked me back to the bathroom, and I soon held the remnants of our first child in my hands. It was the first time I held our baby outside of my body. The last time would be when I handed the tiny casket over to my husband right before he knelt down to place our baby into the ground.

Now here I was, just two years later, snuggling a tiny new baby. I had spent so many months worried that he wouldn't make it, but he did, and he was real, and he was in my arms. He wasn't a replacement, and he couldn't take away the memory of a baby I never got to know, but he was, and continues to be, balm for my soul. His presence has eased the ache in my heart.

There was a baby who was never born

There was a baby who was never kissed

There is a baby that will forever, and ever be loved


(This blanket was knit by my aunt who made it for our first baby)

Quick Takes

Jacqui Skemp5 Comments

1. Sickies all around. Thanks to back to school stuff, and just the season, Archie and I got sick at the beginning of last week. It was so bad for me that Ian had to take a half day to come home and take care of the boys and myself. We started to get better, and then yesterday both boys came down with fevers and are still battling them. So we're hunkered down and watching an obscene amount of TV, eating left overs, cuddling on the couch, and just lowering our standards real low like. How many episodes of Creative Galaxy can we watch? The world will never know. 

2. I'm really glad I hopped back on the meal planning train last week because with all the illness going around, I really couldn't mentally handle coming up with creative meals. I got all the grocery shopping done on Monday and it saved my butt. We've been working our way through this big ol' pot of albondigas since Wednesday, and I'm not sick of it yet. 

3. It's October so we're doing October things! Last weekend we went down to the farm to visit our family, and did the usual apple and pumpkin picking thing. I'm glad Archie were healthy enough to enjoy the day before we got right back to being sick. Photo dump: 



4. Do you like to pumpkin spice your life? I hate it. I mean, I hate the lattes specifically. Did you know you can get it without coffee? It's essentially like a hot chocolate, but with the pumpkin spice flavoring instead. I've had three in the last two weeks. Sue me. 

5. I started watching Veep recently and, you guys, how did I not know about this show? I'm wrapping up season 1, and I can honestly say that I find none of the characters endearing. But it is a hilarious show. Lots of profanity, but it's perfectly timed. Ian's been watching with me, and it makes him laugh out loud, which says a lot. 

6. More details to come (I know, I know) but we've finally got a location and a date set for the Catholic Women's Blogger Network Conference (Midwest)! March 25th, 2017, here in Saint Paul, MN. So if you were waiting for a date to plan around, you've got it. If you're a blogger or an aspiring blogger, join our Facebook group here for more info, and stay tuned on the blog. We'll hopefully be announcing all of our speakers soon. 

7. If you go to Blessed Is She, you can pre-order your Advent goods. They've got a a prayer journal with daily readings, reflections, and prompts to help you in prayer during the season of Advent written by Elizabeth Foss. There's also a beautiful print designed by Erica from Be A Heart, and they're bringing the Jesse Tree Cards back again this year. You can order all of this separately or in a bundle. It's beautiful stuff, you guys. I can't wait to get mine. 

That's a wrap! Linking up with Kelly again

Meal Planning

Jacqui Skemp2 Comments

This comes up in my conversations with other women who manage the home pretty often. How do we plan meals? Do we even bother? What's a plan?

I don't have some magical solution, but I know what's worked for us. And whenever I find myself scrambling on the daily to come up with something besides take out or sandwiches, I know I need to get back on the meal plan train because it just makes life easier. 

So generally this is what our meal plan looks like:

Monday- Rice and beans with the fixin's (cilantro, salsa, lime, corn, think Chipotle sans meat)

Tuesday- Left overs (from Monday night or the weekend)

Wednesday- Bigger, fun dish (the boys are usually with grandma and grandpa this day so I have more time)

Thursday- Left overs

Friday- Meatless meal

Saturday- Another fun dish or take out

Sunday- Usually left overs or take out

So a few points.

1. I tend to cook for a family of eight. It's just the Mexican in me. I cook in bulk, and it's stuff that can be easily reheated. If the budget isn't too tight, Monday's usually include chicken on those rice and bean bowls. 

2. I try to be realistic about what I can do. I would rather heat up a pot of soup a few times a week than cook a new meal every single night. So I plan left over nights. I just have to. 

3. I also like to plan take out nights. It gives me something to look forward to. We don't always do it, but if we're just out of left overs or have the time that's what we do.

4. I like to plan a couple of fun meals. By fun, I mean, something new, or something I really enjoy cooking and eating that takes more than 45 minutes to prepare. I usually save new recipes for weekends when we have the most time.

5. I keep a running list of meals we like to eat and meals that are easy to prep. So I look at the standard meal plan that I set up, and I just plug in meals from that list. Then I can make my shopping list for the week and hopefully wont have to run to the store more than once. 

I find that meal planning, while it takes time at the beginning to get a system set up for your family, is worth it in the end because there's usually less waste, and you end up saving money on that grocery bill because that item you think you really want to try, well, ya just don't need it this week. But remember if for next week. 

And just to share what this week looks like for us, ta-da!

Monday- Sonoma Chicken Salad. Anna made this for us right after we had Archie and it's one of my favorites. It's a really easy dish that can be prepared in steps over a day or two if that works for your schedule. 

Tuesday- Left overs (either Monday's dinner or something from the weekend)

Wednesday- Stuffed Shells. I've made these for friends after they had babies, and I recall requesting this for birthday dinners as a child. I don't have a favorite recipe, I just kinda wing it, but I like to use ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, spinach, and this week, homemade tomato sauce. 

Thursday- Left overs again (don't hate- celebrate cause you have extra time now)

Friday- Fried Rice- we'll add chicken for the boys. This is usually a dish Ian makes, and I'll just have the rice and chicken precooked on hand. It's a fast dish that everyone eats and enjoys. 

Saturday- We'll be with family that day, so we wont be cooking at home. 

Sunday- Albondigas or another soup that can easily be reheated for lunches. 

What are some of your go to dishes?