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Hi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2!

I made this salad today with fresh parsley from my garden.  The last produce from my garden…and it was delicious!

This is my husband’s favourite.  When I make a huge bowl (double recipe) of tabouleh, it’s gone in  a couple of days – and that’s mostly because of my husband and I.  Even though I adapted a recipe I had, I found one at Healthy Blender Recipes that matches mine, except I leave the mint leaves out of mine and add crushed garlic.   Make sure to wash your veggies well.


  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, riced (I hold the head over the bowl and thinly slice the outer layers until I reach the middle core.  Discard core.)
  • 1-2 medium tomatoes, finely diced (I include the whole tomato – minus stem)
  • 1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced (both green and white parts, both ends discarded)
  • 1 bunch of parsley, thinly sliced (discard tough stem ends)
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 1/3 cup of lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed (add to the dressing)
  • 1 tsp. salt

Follow the directions at Healthy Blender Recipes.

You can also find it at Musings by Melina.







doughnutHi!  My name is Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2!

Deep fried food – the ultimate comfort food as the cold weather creeps in.  Fall has definitely arrived!

It was quite chilly today as I took my rosary walk, but the trees with their colourful leaves were beautiful, and the dried leaves on the ground were crunching underfoot.  I have to admit, I take WAY too much pleasure in crunching leaves!

This recipe was passed on to me by my mother-in-law, a favourite of my husband’s while he was growing up.  The nutmeg adds just the right amount of flavour, and a coating of cinnamon and sugar top them off nicely.

We usually make these in the traditional doughnut shape, but one Easter I used a bunny cookie cutter and made rabbit doughnuts that were very popular…so use your imagination and create something unique!


  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cups milk

Measure flour and add baking powder, salt and nutmeg; stir well to blend.  Cream sugar, butter and vanilla thoroughly.  Beat in an egg one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add dry ingredients and milk alternately.  Chill dough 2 hours.

Roll out 1/2 inch thick.  Dough is very sticky, flour generously.  Cut into doughnut shapes using a doughnut cutter (you can alternately use 2 different sizes of cups).  Fry in 375°F oil (I usually use Canola oil, but any vegetable oil will work).  I use a wok, but my mother-in-law used a cast iron pan.  Just make sure the oil is deep enough for the doughnuts to float.  The dough should rise to the top right away.  Make sure to flip the doughnuts in the oil to cook both sides.  It doesn’t take too long.  Cook in batches, removing the doughnuts and placing on paper towels or paper bags for oil absorption.


Mix granulated sugar and cinnamon to taste in a bag.  Add hot doughnuts and shake to coat.  Remove and cool before eating.


10 Back to School Lunch Websites

Hi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11, and Grandmelina to 2!

Back to school with delicious lunches!  It won’t be long before lunch becomes routine, but we can start the year off in style.

I had the privilege of helping out at Summer Camp with the Salesian Sisters this year. One thing I noticed was the great variety of lunches kids bring with them.  Moms are so clever!  I homeschool my kids, and they grab their own lunch, but I love these ideas and hope to use some of them when we go to camp again next year and head out on our field trips.

school lunch 1

Vicky Barone has some great kid and mom friendly lunches.  Check them out.

Also check out more great lunch ideas here, and be inspired!  Your kids will thank you:

Kids Activities Blog

Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

Belly Full

Happy Money Saver

Spend with Pennies

Ditch the Carbs

Keeley McGuire – Allergy Friendly Fun Lunch Boxes

The Krazy Coupon Lady


And why not top it off with some fun lunchbox jokes?  Free printable here from the Crafted Sparrow.

Or some inspirational lunch box notes.  Free printable here from Happy Home Fairy.


Matthew 16 – A Time to Celebrate!

Mercy and love will heal our country


Time to celebrate!  Parades, games, water fun and fireworks.  Family, neighbours and strangers together to celebrate.  Red and white everywhere.

And food!  Everything of the red and white variety, everything of the barbecued variety, everything of the Canadian variety – maple, Nanaimo, butter tart and poutine…

This celebration came just in time for me to be reminded of everything good in my country.  Facebook was filled with 150 reasons to celebrate our great country.  So much to be thankful for!

Happy 150th birthday, Canada!

It came just in time, because lately I’ve been looking at my country and getting discouraged by what I see.  I turn on the news and learn something new about my country that makes my heart sad.

Matthew 16 is both a rebuke and a reminder.

‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.  Mt 16:3

I see the signs and I’m filled with sadness, but Jesus rebukes me and reminds me that I’m forgetting something.

Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Mt 16:9

Looking at history and all the miraculous things that have happened in our beauty filled country remind me that God has been present along the way, and is still at work today. From the first missionary who set foot in our land and erected that first cross, to the present day Bishops, so many care about the people of this land.

On this day, the 150th birthday of Canada, from sea to shining sea, our Bishops stepped up to altars in every diocese in our country and consecrated our land and our people to the loving heart of Mary.  They also see the pain and suffering of our people, and they are seeking a solution from Heaven.  A miracle just like the five loaves for the five thousand.  It happened then and it will happen now, with Mary bringing people to the loving heart of her Son Jesus.

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”  Mt 16:15

The solution comes down to individuals like you and me.  Each heart that is turned to Jesus, the Son of God, will be filled with mercy and love.  And mercy and love will heal our country.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  Mt 16:24

Action.  Jesus is asking us to reach out to our neighbours.  Share His mercy and love, and speak of Him, so that He can bring them also to His loving Heart.

Jesus’ love for us is so great that it is limitless.  His Heart is so big that it has room for every person.  We can turn to Jesus and find the love and the healing that we need in our lives.  His mercy and love flow from His Heart and cover our whole land.

Can you picture it?  I can.  Healing rays coming from the Heart of Jesus and covering our whole land.

If each person in this great country of ours is touched by the Heart of Jesus and guided by His mother Mary, we will not only be healed, but we will be strong and whole and a witness to the power of prayer.

So fall to your knees and join the Bishops and faithful of our country, and pray, just as I am.  Pray for love and mercy and healing, and ask how YOU can make a difference.  For His sake tell your neighbours the good things that God has done for you.  For Jesus will win the battle for our country, and He will do it one heart at a time.

It is, and will be, a time to celebrate!

For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.  Mt 16:27

YOUR TURN:  Read Matthew 16.  Take out your Bible and read it or read it online here. Read the scripture and listen with your heart to what God’s Spirit is saying to you.  Then write it down in your journal.  You will enjoy being able to see God at work in your life.

ABC BIBLE SHARING:  A great way to read your scriptures.  Follow the ABC Bible Sharing Method here.

PRAY:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.  This prayer is short but powerful.  Repeat it to yourself over and over, asking Jesus to reveal His Heart to you.


Matthew 15 – Mercy and Summer Prayers

Matthew - a journey through Matthew

Hi!  I’m Melina, Catholic homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2!

Dear Jesus, I come before you today.  Open my heart and my mind as I read Matthew. Help me to understand what You are trying to say to me, and to see what You are trying to show me.  I love You.


This devotion is following a similar format to the ABC Bible Sharing Method.  I encourage you to not only read this devotion, but read Matthew 15 yourself, and see what God has to speak to YOUR heart.  You can do that while following along with us, or even better – get together weekly with a group of friends and share with each other how God is working in your lives.

How to follow the ABC Bible Sharing Method.

You can read your own Bible or read an online version like the one below.  I like to use my own Bible so I can highlight, circle and underline those things that stand out for me.

You can find Matthew 15 here.


My challenge from last week’s devotion was to spend my first hour at adoration doing just that – adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  We have adoration at our Parish only on the First Friday of the month, and now that the kids are all older and don’t need me at home all of the time, I try to go for more than one hour.  I make this time my monthly retreat.  The Blessed Sacrament is exposed for 5 hours, and sometimes I am able to go for all 5 hours, but I go for at least 2 hours.  I take the time to adore, but I also spend the time praying my rosary, reading my Bible, and writing down in my journal what God has been doing in my life lately and what He is speaking to me during my adoration time.

That being said, I don’t think I have ever taken a whole hour to just gaze on the Blessed Sacrament and to sit and kneel in quiet adoration with no other distractions.  Even though my mind did try to wander at times, I always brought it back to the task at hand – the task of adoring Jesus for who He is, for what He has done, for what He is and for what He has done in MY life.

This hour reminded me of the pure awesomeness of Jesus, and was an hour of pure peace.  I will definitely be starting all of my monthly adoration retreats in exactly the same way.

Now on to today’s devotion…


It is not what goes into a man’s mouth that makes him impure; it is what comes out of his mouth.  What comes out of the mouth originates in the mind.  verses 11 and 18

Again, this whole idea of impure words is speaking to me, probably because this is a weakness of mine.  The more often I pray my rosary, the more often I have good thought and speak good words.  As you can imagine, that is a great incentive for me to pray my rosary, and I pray anywhere from 5 to 20 decades each day, with 20 being my daily goal.

So praying the rosary daily, as well as spending time in monthly Adoration, fills my mind with good things.  It helps me to guard my thoughts and speak good words.  It is a real struggle at times for me to think good thoughts, especially after I’ve been hurt.  But daily I lift those struggles up and allow God to fill me so that the words I speak hopefully will be from Him, full of love and mercy.

Already my life is filled with challenges in living a faith filled life, but God is still calling me to more.

Now on to this week’s challenge for me.


Lord, Son of David, have pity on me!    Verses 22

My Bible uses the word “pity” in verse 22 while many other translations use the word “mercy.”  Mercy is not a new theme for me to be meditating on, but it is certainly what God is bringing to my mind over and over these days.

The Jesus Prayer says “LORD JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, HAVE MERCY ON ME, A SINNER.”  It is short, and it is simple, but it is filled with much truth and insight.  It is meant to be repeated over and over, a form of unceasing prayer as mentioned by the Apostle Paul.

It is called a Prayer of the Heart.  The very act of repeating these words turns our heart towards the love of God, lays open our heart with all the ugliness of sin, and bring us to the healing Heart of Jesus.

All of this in 12 little, but very powerful words.  Our whole faith is summed up in these words.  And the act of repeating these words and allowing them to transform our lives, brings us to the MERCY of Jesus and fills us with mercy towards others.

The Jesus Prayer

I was first introduced to the Jesus Prayer in the Russian spiritual classic “The Way of a Pilgrim.”  I spent years praying and being changed by this little prayer without realizing the importance of this prayer in the Orthodox churches.  I only knew what I gained from this prayer.  I grew in the awareness of mercy.

I just finished praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet Novena for a couple of special intentions, and I saw God already starting to work in those relationships.  The Novena brought me through the Feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  When I started the Novena, I didn’t realize it would, but praying the Mercy Chaplet while meditating on the Heart of Jesus brought me to an even deeper appreciation and understanding of the His Mercy and of Our Lady of His Mercy.

I want to continue meditating on the Mercy of Jesus, and I will do that by praying the Jesus Prayer daily for at least 15 minutes, as well as meditating on Mercy while praying my rosary.  Summer is the perfect time to do this.  I look forward to taking daily walks and praying.  I’m anxious to see what more God has to teach me.

It may look like I’m spending a lot of time in prayer, but after I get used to spending a certain amount of time in prayer, and it becomes a part of my daily schedule, it always feels like there is time for more.  But I started off small, and it has grown over the years. Instead of being overwhelmed by prayer, I encourage you to look at your schedule and to see when is the best time to schedule it in.  You will never regret it!




Matthew - a journey through Matthew

Hi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2!

Dear Jesus, I come before you today.  Open my heart and my mind as I read Matthew. Help me to understand what You are trying to say to me, and to see what You are trying to show me.  I love You.


ABC Bible Sharing Method with blue heart

How to follow the ABC Bible Sharing Method.

You can read your own Bible or read an online version like the one below.  I like to use my own Bible so I can highlight, circle and underline those things that stand out for me.

You can find Matthew 14 here.


That was because John had told him, “It is not right for you to live with her.”

Matthew 14:4

This isn’t really a favourite verse of mine in the good sense, and it always fill me with discouragement.  John was killed because he boldly spoke the truth.  It’s really kind of scary, for we also are called to speak the truth.  Sometimes.  This particular truth – “It is not right for you to live with her” – seems to be particularly hard for people to hear.  They’ve already convinced themselves that there is nothing wrong with it.  But if this is you, you really do need to change your lifestyle at some point to be able to hear and accept God’s truth.


When Jesus heard this, He withdrew by boat from there to a deserted place by himself.

Matthew 14:13

I read the book Poustinia by Catherine Doherty recently.  In there, she talks about taking yourself to a secluded place (your poustinia) to pray.  She shows that the prayers offered there are for the community and if the community needs you, you leave the poustinia to serve. Afterwards, you return to prayer and the poustinia.  So the service is a prayer and the silence is a prayer.

Even though both is a prayer, my challenge today is to find some quiet prayer at adoration –  to spend a good hour just adoring before my “busy” prayer of rosary and scripture reading and journal writing.

YOUR TURN!  What has God spoken to your heart today?


Matthew - a journey through MatthewHi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2!

Dear Jesus, I come before you today.  Open my heart and my mind as I read Matthew. Help me to understand what You are trying to say to me, and to see what You are trying to show me.  I love You.


ABC Bible Sharing Method with blue heart

How to follow the ABC Bible Sharing Method.

You can read your own Bible or read an online version like the one below.  Different versions can sometimes bring greater clarification.  I like to use my own Bible so I can highlight, circle and underline those things that stand out for me.

You can find Matthew 13 online here.


Sluggish indeed is this people’s heart; otherwise they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back to me, and I should heal them.

Matthew 13:15

First we become as little children (Matthew 11:25) then we change our hearts (Matthew 12), then we can become true disciples of Jesus.  We will see, hear, understand, turn back and be healed.

A sluggish heart is the last thing that we want when we’re following Jesus.  We want our heart to flutter when we hear His name spoken.  We want our pulse to quicken when we know we’ll be seeing Him.  We want our time with Jesus to be special.

What if…Jesus was the love of our life?  How different would our life look?

Then our whole world would revolve around Jesus.  We would talk about Him in that voice reserved for those in love.  We would get lost in thought, in the middle of a busy day, just thinking of our love.  He would be our first thought upon waking in the morning and our last thought before falling asleep at night.  We would re-arrange our schedule just so we could spend time together.

Now THAT is what we want.  To fall so deeply in love with Jesus that our hearts change, not because we are told to, but because we WANT to.

Now THAT is what we want - 2


“Why do you speak to them in parables?”  He answered:  “To you has been given a knowledge of the mysteries of the reign of God, but it has no been given to the others.

Matthew 13:10-11



Jesus spoke in stories so that people could understand what He was speaking of.  The disciples understood more, but the stories helped to clarify things for them too.

I will take time this week to think back to when God revealed certain truths to me and share that story.  My kids LOVE to hear stories of my past.  This week I will focus on stories about learning from Jesus – the what and the how.

YOUR TURN!  What has God spoken to your heart today?