Tell us about yourself and your family:

12118807_553960804756335_643623006393171267_nI am a mother of nine grown children who raised her kids on a small family farm. This meant we also raised our own beef, poultry, pork and eggs as well as most of our vegetables. While my family was growing up, I always included even the littlest children in meal prep. Three-year-olds helped mix ingredients, five and six-year-olds ran out to the garden for vegetables, eight-year-olds gathered eggs and ten-year-olds made the dessert. I valued participation over a neat and tidy kitchen and orderly meal times, but some visitors flew into sputtering, spirals of incredulity as they eyed my messy kitchen.

I feel vindicated when I look at my grown-up kids; they all love to cook and entertain, especially for each other. Just drop by for a quick hello and inevitably they will cajole you to stay for a delicious meal.

images (5) you can see most of my kids and a couple son-in-laws

Share your family's favorite meal:

We love an oven meal with one of our free-range chickens, onions, potatoes, and carrots in a huge roasting pan. Oven roasted beets and squash are thrown in whole on the lower rack because the outer skin slips off easily when they are ready and all the flavour is sealed in. If the chicken (which is 10 to 13lbs.! ) is not stuffed, then we throw in more onions and garlic in the cavity. Of course, we make a stock by boiling the chicken neck, innards, celery, even more, onions and carrots to add to the gravy. Easy to make but a feast fit for a king.

How does your book/blog/project help "feed" people spiritually?

51AvR2jFPzL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_I blog at joy of nine9 where I balance amusing family stories with Catholic art, publish my articles I write for various other sites, as well as reflections and prayers. I write from my heart, from my spirit so I hopefully connect with the heart of my readers. I joined four other Catholic Bloggers to share insights into Catholic mothering called Love Rebel: Reclaiming Motherhood.

What a charming book. I cried, and laughed (sometimes both at the same time!) The authors wrote their hearts on these pages and speak of loss and stress and every crazy emotion that occurs when you are a mother. They speak up for a dying art, the art of motherhood and the difference it makes to a child when it's done right. It is 'technically' a Catholic book but don't let that put you off. Highly recommended because it is heartwarming indeed. Brenda J Woodimage_LivingWitnesses_Podbean

I have been interviewed by three different hosts on Breadbox Media for Real-life Radio and will start taping short pieces on healing our generational family tree with Mary Graham. My latest interview was on Dec. 1. Living Witnessess

Share a Fun Fact about yourself or your family

Years ago, three-year-old Grace eyed a piece of pork on her fork, held it up in the air and asked, "Is this Josie?" Josie was the pig we had recently slaughtered. I was standing behind her, so I frantically waved in the air and mouthed silently, "NO!" All the kids around the table joined in, "Don't worry, Grace; it's just a pork chop!" Grace smiled and stuck the pork in her mouth and I sagged with relief.

Share your family's favorite grace before meals prayer

My husband's father was sure all the food additives and pesticides were probably killing us, so he always closed grace by adding, "and may this food not harm us in any way!" In his memory, with an indulgent smile, we always close with the same words.

Complete the sentence: When you join us at our dinner table, ...

My youngest is now in university but five years ago, most meals saw most of us still around the dinner table. Dinner was the highlight of the day with everyone clamoring to share their news or simply squeeze in comments into the cacophony of voices. It was a humorous symphony which sounded perfectly in tune to my ears. High pitched baby squeals combined with loud, boisterous little boys.and the quivering of a male teen voice balanced teenage girl’s chatter. Dad’s reassuring bass tones soothed my shrill calls for everyone to listen to the toddler’s newest word. The highlight of this often unruly symphony was the spontaneous laughter punctuating the entire meal.

It is a simple fact- there is no better way to form deep relationships than conversation over a home-cooked meal. In fact , there is no better way to encourage the development of a warm supportive family than with great food and relaxed conversation around the dinner table.

Copyright 2015 Melanie Jean Juneau