7 Quick Takes and Goodbye for Now (Again)

I have a major deadline approaching, and I am in serious crunch-mode, so I thought it a good idea to take an official break from the ‘ol blog again.

But, before I leave you, here are some seven tidbits for this Friday:

1. This article made me feel less terrible that I’ve wasted so much time in the evenings watching Arrested Development lately (re-watching the oldies; indulging in the new season). I know the article was only semi-serious…but really, Uncle Oscar as Father Zosima?! However, G.O.B. as Dmitry is quite spot-on.

2. My mom makes the. best. homemade doughnuts you will ever taste. They are seriously amazing. I doubt fried unicorn could taste better than these.

I’ve really been trying hard to cut out all processed sugar and to be moderate in our consumption of grains, especially wheat…but…sometimes there needs to be exceptions.

And this was a major exception. I paid for said exception with a stomachache later, but it was worth all of the caloric glory in the moment:

donuts 1

donuts 2


3. I have been on a quest for a leak-free sippy cup, preferably stainless steel. I bought  one [over-priced!!] a few months ago, but for some reason Philomena couldn’t drink out of it well. Plus, it still leaked a little.

But, this Kleen Kanteen sippy…. Look!

kleen kanteen sippy

[That bottle is full of water! No drips!]

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am. And if this bottle lasts for a few years, they have all sorts of replacement nozzles for different ages and needs. I am sold. So sold.

4. Sam Adams does their seasonal brews well. And I would like to give my stamp of approval for Porch Rocker. It is lemon-y, without being too sweet. Ryan thought it a bit too fruity for his hop-obsessed palate, but I thought it was perfect for outside summer drinking [which, incidentally, is the best kind]. So there.

5. Like I said, we have been working hard to stay on the somewhat-whole-foods bandwagon lately. However, I definitely have a sweet tooth. So, we’ve been experimenting with all sorts of frozen treats that use fresh ingredients and natural sweeteners.

Chocolate mint ice cream! Strawberry frozen yogurt! Chocolate peanut butter ice cream!

Some day I hope to compile some of these recipes for you in a somewhat-coherent manner. For now, you will just have to trust me that homemade, natural ice cream can be just as good [better???] than the frozen aisle of the grocery store.

6. My husband [who needs to blog again!] is the best spouse and daddy in the entire universe. Don’t even try to argue with this fact, because you will lose.

He is going to roll his eyes and shake his head at this, but I don’t care.

I have been absolutely on high-stress mode lately. With the major deadline to fulfill in just a few weeks, almost every second he is home, I escape behind the closed door of our office/laundry room or to a frigidly-air-conditioned coffeeshop.

Ryan has been truly heroic [no exaggeration] in taking on many of the duties of home life– cooking, cleaning, laundry, toddler entertaining. And he hasn’t complained. Not once. Not even a little under-the-breath muttering [as his wife is so inclined to do on occasion all the time.]

I remember when we were pregnant, Ryan talked about how he didn’t want to be an “assistant mom” [sadly, a role in which many men are relegated], but rather a father. And unlike all of my lofty parenting goals I set during pregnancy, he has fulfilled his masterfully.

Every morning, Philomena takes my hand as we walk around the house looking for “Da Da!” We both tear up a little on the weekdays when she realizes he is nowhere to be found.


7. Like Ryan, my mom, my sister, and my mother-in-law have really been picking up the slack for me lately. Almost daily someone watches Philomena for at least a few hours, so I can get some work done.

And Mena is in heaven. She loves her cousins and her grandmothers fiercely. I actually think she’ll be a little disappointed when our days don’t involve a trip over to someone else’s house. Just boring Mommy.

That’s it for now. I’ll see you sometime in late July. [Hopefully.]

Go to CD for more quick takes.



meal plan: week of May 27

Back by popular [??] demand…

Monday I am going to be gone for dinner, so the husband shall fend for himself. He’ll probably thaw some soup from the freezer [an exciting Memorial Day, eh?].

Tuesday- I am going to attempt this quinoa and cabbage salad. I’ll probably double it, so I can have it for lunches throughout the week. Also, I think I am going to cook up a chicken breast and add it to the mix.

Wednesday- Family Dinner

Thursday- baked ziti from the freezer, with a salad

Friday- pizza

Saturday- plans outside the house

Sunday- some kind of lasagna. I cleaned out my pantry the other day and oddly found like three boxes of noodles. I might do a Mexican-ish lasagna: inspiration here and here and here.



7 takes in 10 min

Alright, I’m giving myself a 10 minute break from working to do these takes. And the countdown starts now. (Go to Jen for more quick takes.)

1. Blogging has taken a backseat to “life” This is definitely a good thing, because life has been crazy. But blessed. I realized I haven’t even been posting meal plans. I keep forgetting to do it on Mondays, and then Tuesday just seems tooooooo late in the week for it. I apologize to the two of you who read them.

2. I made these chocolate chip cookies the other day (grain free/gluten free/low sugar). Ryan is a passionate cookie-lover, and he actually said they were decent. I dared him to guess the main ingredient…

Avocado! [No.]

Flax seed! [No.]

I guess you’ll just have to click on the link to see for yourself. I *will* be making these again.

3. I have tried more recipes for granola bars than any sane person should. However, they’re always too crunchy or too crumbly or not sweet enough…

…until now.

A mom in my playgroup brought these granola bars the other week [ironically titled “playgroup granola bars.”] I was astounded by their chewiness. Perfect texture. Perfect level of sweetness.

I tried them for myself, but made some substitutions [of course]- white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose; 1/2 cup of sucanat sugar instead of the 3/4 brown sugar; dried blueberries [overpriced!!] instead of raisins. The perfection of texture was not compromised at all.

Oh! And I froze some of them, and they are still chewy after thawing. WIN.

4. I went to bed last night at 9:15. That was the earliest I’ve been to sleep in months…maybe years?

5. #4 was the best decision I’ve made in a looooooooong time. Friday Morning Sarah was eternally grateful to Thursday Night Sarah’s wisdom.

6. Philomena’s hair fits into pigtails now! Prepare to go, “awwwww…”:

pig tails

7. I know everyone has probably seen these articles already, but regardless both of these made me pause and are worth your consideration:

How I Almost Became the Smug Mom” by Haley – Mena sounds like her little girl…and yes, it is easy to think it is something “we did,” but really, I know she was just born with a laid-back temperament. No smugness here.

The Important Thing about Yelling” – I know probably 100 of your Facebook friends linked to this article yesterday, but if for some reason you missed it or were too lazy to click on it yesterday, I really encourage you to take the time to ponder it today. A lot of her comments really hit home for me. Maybe I’ll get deeper about that when I have more time.

Blah! It’s been 15 minutes. How did that happen?

Happy Weekend.

7 Quick (?) Takes

I am in major procrastination mode…so, I want to take a long time with today’s post, but I probably shouldn’t…We’ll see which side of me wins.

1. It might be a sign of my immaturity, but for some reason this made me laugh a lot. [Stars are just like us!]

2. As did this. [You know I love me some Les Mis, but I chuckled nonetheless.]

3. Someone on Facebook pointed out that we graduated from college on this day 10 years ago (!!!!!!!). My immediate reaction was to feel old. Very old.

However, upon further reflection I was able to think about just all the amazing experiences God brought into my life in this time. A year of missionary work in Belize. Six years of teaching in Atlanta. Graduate school in both England and Denver. An epic walk across Spain.

And yet, He brought me back to where I started. To marry I man I kinda-knew. To have a baby. To buy a house 3.3 miles from the one where I grew up [no, I didn’t know that mileage off the top of my head. Thank you, Google Maps].

It has been a truly tremendous 10 years.

But, I still feel old.

4. As I [not dramatically at all] announced on Facebook, I decided not to return to my one-day-a-week teaching next year. Really, it was only half a day, so it’s not as if my weeks will change that drastically. I suppose what struck me most was the fact that I’ve been at the front of the classroom in some way or another for 10 years…so, the symbolism of not identifying myself as a “teacher” (in the strict sense) really hit me. Oh, I am sure I will return some day, somehow. And I’m still in the field of education and catechesis with my work I do from home [and I should be doing now, in fact].

Yet, it feels like an end of an era.

5. Not to get even more deep on y’all, but… As we all know, this Sunday is Mother’s Day. Remember to keep in your prayers all those women out there who struggle with infertility, who would so desperately want to celebrate this day. These couples have been on my heart so strongly these past couple years (especially in the months after our loss). I can’t say that I totally understand how their cross, but I can certainly offer my prayers and love.

6. Aaaaaand since we’re on the topic, let’s also keep in mind those singletons, who desire so fervently a family of their own, but for whatever reasons haven’t been able to find the right person. I was there for many years, so I can empathize. And it sucks. But, it’s also a time in which God can do great things (see #3 above).

7. Here is my fav picture from Instagram this week. Combining her two great loves: outside and books.

Mena porch swing

Go to CD for more quick takes.

meal plan: week of May 6

I realized I never posted a meal plan last week. Don’t worry, you didn’t miss much. We just had Totino’s pizza every night.


[Or am I?]

Monday- A few weeks ago, my friend Mary made an amazing chicken curry soup. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, so I absolutely have to try it.

Tuesday- Spinach and ricotta lasagna. I will also try her recipe for homemade ricotta.

Wednesday- family dinner

Thursday- One of Ryan’s fav websites, art of manliness, is having a special “month of sandwiches.” He has been drooling over them the past few weeks, so I told him to pick one for us to make this week. He chose this. Yes, please.

Friday- Chickpea curry. [Inspiration here, with adjustments explained here.]

Saturday- TBD…Ryan has his last final of the semester this day, so I’ll definitely make something special.

the return of the 7 Quick Takes

I haven’t done one of these in a while.

As usual, there is no theme and very little coherence.

1. Philomena had a runny nose on Wednesday, and I had a slight tickle in my throat last night…but I woke up this morning feeling as though I had been run over by a bus [and not a lame school bus, but rather a full-fledged city public transportation bus]. I am definitely a pathetic, dramatic sick person: any graces that come from bearing my cross silently and “offering it up” are completely missed.

So, I called my mom. Obviously.

2. The living saint that she is, Grandma was at my doorstep in less than 15 minutes to pick up Mena. This allowed me to take a two! and-a-half! hour! nap! It was glorious, absolutely brilliant. I seriously cannot think of the last time I took a nap that long. I woke up not feeling great, but at least I was functional.

My mom brought Philomena back right before her naptime, which lasted three! hours! Thus, I was actually even able to get some work done today.

3. The events of today just reaffirmed how incredibly blessed I am to have so much family nearby. Both my and Ryan’s entire immediate family lives within 20 minutes of us. And each one of them is so extremely generous with their time and love for us.

I know this sounds a little cheesy, but well, it’s true. Amidst my morning of self-pity, I was able to say a few prayers for those parents with young children who do not have close family nearby. I honestly don’t know how you do it!

4. Alright, enough deep thoughts for today…

Like I mentioned previously, I am working on getting some more order in my life. We do a fairly good job of keeping the majority of the house tidy on a day-to-day basis.

However, there are those certain areas [which happen to coincide with the places no one else usually sees] that I let get reeeaaaalllly out of control.

For example, my closet:


[only my side is pictured…but, trust me, Ryan’s side is immaculate in comparison.]

This was so embarrassing, that I *almost* lied and said “I forgot to take a picture of the ‘before,’ so you’ll just have to trust that it was bad!”

Anyway, last week I spent countless hours purging and organizing. The result:


[not pictured: two FULL trash bags of clothes to give away!]

5. Philomena’s newest “thing” is pointing at the computer and saying “ho! ho! ho!” And no, she is not asking to see the fictional man in red from the North Pole. Instead, she is a latecomer to the music trend of 2012, and is obsessed with this song.

If I try to be sly and play something else (even from the same band), she’ll give me a confused look and say, “ho? ay?”

6. She figured out that my iphone ipod plays “ho ho” too. I can’t do anything with it without her wanting to grab it to hear the song. This afternoon I was trying to get a video of her rocking her dolly (so cute!), and instead this happened. [Although I am a terrible videographer, in this case the shaky footage is because she was trying to grab the device the entire time.]

7. Philomena also spends an oddly significant amount of the day bent over to see the world upside-down. We’ve been trying to get a picture of this, and Ryan was successful the other day:


You’re welcome.

Enjoy your weekend! If Kansas weather doesn’t go all bi-polar on us again, hopefully there are some walks and parks in our near future. Or maybe we’ll build a snowman.

See Jen for more takes.