7 Quick Takes: This, That and the Other Thing

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It’s National School Lunch Week, so what did I do on Wednesday? I forgot to pack Little Brother’s lunch. (Bad mama!) At his school, you have to order hot lunches a month at a time, and Wednesday was the first day in a while that he hadn’t ordered. I don’t know if I looked at the wrong date on the lunch calendar or just went on autopilot as if he had ordered lunch, but he had the snacks I packed him, and no entree. (“Hot lunch” at his school gives you an entree and nothing else, so I make sure he gets an apple, a yogurt and a treat each day–plus 50 cents for the snack sale. He has something at snack time midmorning, then has whatever’s for lunch on top of that.) When I realized this on Thursday morning, I apologized. Profusely. Now, he didn’t mention it at all on Wednesday, but once I acknowledged my mistake on Thursday, he sulked all morning long.

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Do you pack lunches for your kids? I’ve discovered a pretty good way to get apples to school in lunchboxes without bruising. After washing the apple, I wrap it in a paper towel and then put it into a round plastic container that’s *just* big enough to hold it. Any 1 1/2-cup container will do the job.

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I updated the iPad to iOS 7 and really liked it! As I write this, I’m doing the same with my phone. It’s taking FOR.EV.ER.

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Yesterday I used one of my “work” blogs to rant about a traffic-safety issue. What do you think? Am I wrong? (No, I’m not in trouble for saying this.)

…why do we abandon all other safety concerns once the car is parked? As I was coming home the other day, I rounded the corner and slammed on the brakes–because a toddler had jumped out of the cab of the pickup truck parked across the street, right into the middle of the road. Her dad followed her, with an infant in his arms.

Seriously. Why would you have a child get out on the street side when there’s a perfectly good sidewalk available?

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dyfamWant to read a good book? My friend Erin McCole-Cupp’s second novel was just published for Kindle. Titled Don’t You Forget About Me, it’s a murder mystery with a scientific twist and ’80s pop songs for each chapter title. It even made me cry–and it made me crave Italian food. If you don’t have a Kindle, the print version will be available on November 1.

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tomato pieErin’s book is the reason I learned about Tomato Pie. You don’t have to be from Philly to eat it. I liked it so much, I learned how to make it! Erin and I are kicking around the idea of a Tomato Pie Taste Test one of these days, but you can try my recipe now.

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I got an upgraded inhaler this week, since that sinus infection has kicked off my asthma. While I was at the doctor, he gave me a flu shot. I hope the sore arm is worth it, and I hope the $65 inhaler does the job. (What am I breathing in here? Solid gold?) And that’s with a prescription plan. All I know is, I’d better be able to sing on Sunday without having an asthma attack at the end of each verse.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes: Last Chance to Win a Free Book Edition

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Want to win a FREE book? Of course you do! You’ve got until tonight at midnight to put your name in the hat to win a copy of Small Steps for Catholic Moms by Danielle Bean and Elizabeth Foss.

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In my latest Tech Talk at CatholicMom.com, I highlight an app that has been really helpful to me. I really relate to the Grinch, when he is bothered by the Noise! Noise! NOISE! NOISE!!! But since all the noise doesn’t seem to bother anyone else around here, I had to find a workaround.

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Number of times I’ve gone to the gym in my lifetime before Sunday:  0.

Number of times this week I’ve gone to the gym:  3.

Hubs, Middle Sister and I all joined the gym around the corner. I want to gradually drop that baby weight, plus the after-baby weight, since the baby is now 11 years old. Surprisingly, I don’t hate it. I just use the treadmill for about 30 minutes. I’d thought I would listen to podcasts while I work out, but the music in the gym is too loud (see Noise! Noise! NOISE! NOISE!!! above) so I just watch the news on the big TVs.

One disconcerting thing, a couple of days this week, was walking in to the gym at 5:30 AM and finding a child, about Little Brother’s age or so, wandering around the reception area all alone. I’m guessing his grownup was working out someplace in the gym. It was kind of sad. 5:30 in the morning, and this kid has obviously been there for a little while; he’s fully dressed, looks wide awake and is just meandering around among the machines and tables and chairs. And it must be nothing new because no one else in the place seemed to bat an eye at seeing a kid there that early in the day. Our gym does offer child care, but not at that hour.

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I’m still coughing my head off after last week’s sinus infection, but I no longer sound like Bea Arthur. I’m a baritone now.

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It’s time to do one of my Very Favorite Things! We’ve started rehearsing for the Festival of Lessons & Carols, an Advent musical program that’s held at a local Catholic church just before Christmas each year. This is my third year participating; I play guitar (for the songs that require it) and sing, from the instrument section, with the altos. I also marvel at the incredible musical talent that my friend, who directs this program, manages to assemble every year. I love singing and playing with musicians of this caliber. It makes me stretch!

— 6 —

Little Brother has started rehearsing for a Christmas play; he’s in the local community theater’s production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. He plays Charlie Bradley, who is directly to blame for the “feral” family’s participation in the Christmas pageant. Basically, he has been cast opposite a bunch of kids who are playing Street Urchins. Art imitates life, I guess.

— 7 —

College tours with Middle Sister continue; next week we’ll be visiting a university right near where I grew up. I think my mom is going to meet us for lunch. Looking forward to that!

BONUS! Big Brother will be home this weekend for “fall break.” We miss him! Now I need to think about what to feed him while he’s here.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes: Feast of St. Francis Edition

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A Whole New MeaningToday is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi! Pax et bonum!

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It’s also First Friday, and normally I’d be at school today, going to Mass with the school kids (and, since it’s October, praying a Rosary with the school kids too). But nooooooo–I’ll be home today, because I have an ear infection and a sinus infection. Hopefully the antibiotics will kick in soon.

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I’m kind of frustrated; it seems that every time I get all motivated to make a GOOD lifestyle change, something comes along to mess it up. I had gotten off to a good start with walking for exercise; then I injured my foot. I had begun to figure out a time-management system that was working for me; then I got sick and have gotten almost no work done all week. Will I ever be able to stop playing catch-up?

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The Dad was most understanding last night when he came home from work an hour late and found me asleep on the couch with no dinner made…he took Little Brother to pick up a pizza, then stopped at the Chinese restaurant for my all-time-favorite panacea, Egg Drop Soup.

They gave him Hot & Sour instead. Whoa, that was spicy. But he’s a good guy. He went back and got the right kind of soup. That’s chivalry, right there.

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Maybe the chivalry is rubbing off, because Little Brother washed the dishes.

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MamaBrag time:  Big Brother was honored this week by the Society for Information Management in Philadelphia; he received their Future Leaders Award. One IT student from each Philadelphia university receives this honor.

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small steps tourA little later this morning I’ll be hosting a giveaway of Small Steps via the CatholicMom.com Small Steps Blog Tour. Don’t miss your chance to win a copy of this devotional. It’s not just for moms of young children! The page that was “randomly” chosen for me contained a reflection that touched me deeply. Nothing random there–nothing at all.

I really don’t believe in random when it comes to things like that.

 

7 Quick Takes: Hopalong Edition

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Because it’s too much fun–I’m back with more Quick Takes. Thanks to Jen at Conversion Diary for hosting!

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I got all kinds of organized and scheduled this post ahead of time because Friday is my Crazy Day. I love Friday because I spend 5 hours of it at Little Brother’s school, volunteering in the library. I get some time at lunch to do a little research for my book, and some time to actually EAT lunch, and I’m done around 1:15 after Little Brother’s class is all finished.

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The Continuing Saga of My Foot. My diagnostic powers (with the help of the esteemed Dr. Google) rival those of House, it would house
seem.  (It’s not lupus!) The doctor confirmed yesterday that I have tendinitis in the perineus longus tendon, which comes down around the back of the ankle on the outside of the foot, then continues under the sole of the foot. I was treated to a rather painful examination (“YES, it hurts when I move my foot that way!”) which culminated in a cortisone shot. No crutches and no more ankle brace, just 30 minutes of ice daily, and call back in 2 weeks if it’s not better.

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Tomorrow Notre Dame plays Oklahoma. My friend, author Katharine Grubb, went to OU and even set one of her novels on campus (you’ll have to wait until next year to read that one) and she’s been posting all kinds of propaganda on my Facebook wall. I won’t even get to see the game:  it’s our turn to play at the Saturday night Mass at our parish’s other “worship site”  (or, as one of the other guitarists calls it, “the away gig.”) I mentioned to Father that it’s really rough to have Saturday-night music duty on game days, and even though he’s a Domer himself, he told me to stop planning my life around football games. wear green

At church tomorrow, I’ll be the one wearing green.

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I’ve been reading and reviewing a bunch of books! Right now in my review pile I’ve got Stephanie O’Dea’s new cookbook, 365 Slow Cooker Recipes, and I’ll be writing up something on my cooking blog about that. Yesterday I made some Sweet Corn Chowder from that cookbook–it’s a good Meatless Friday lunch.

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Things I’m Pondering (of the technological variety):  should I update my iPhone 4 to the new iOS? How about an iPad 2? Pros and cons, anyone? Is there a huge learning curve? I know there are features I won’t be able to use on my devices. Will the features I CAN use be worth the update? Will some apps not work so well if I don’t update? I’ve been dithering about this all week. (First World Problems)

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Things I’m Pondering (of the non-technological variety):  someone told me that because I said I would “never” accept a certain situation, God has gone and dumped that very thing on me and put me in a position where I really can’t refuse. I think that statement paints God as pretty passive-aggressive–which is certainly not how I think about God.

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Epic “Things Parents Say” Quote of the Week: “We are NOT having a creamed-corn fight!”

7 Quick Takes: Lucky Day Edition

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I enjoyed the 7 Quick Takes last week, so I figured I’d go for another round. It’s Friday the 13th, but so far it’s been a pretty good day. I’m not superstitious, but even compared to a regular Friday, it’s been good.

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We’re going to a show tonight! The community theater’s production of Little Shop of Horrors opens tonight. Many in the cast and production staff have worked on shows before with Little Brother, so it will be fun to see them in this production. Plus, Girl-Group style music. I heard a preview. These girls can SING.

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My foot isn’t broken. I saw the doctor Monday, had an X-ray yesterday, and am now waiting almost 2 more weeks for my podiatrist appointment. Meanwhile I’m sporting a fabulous lace-up brace and VERY fashionable (but super-supportive) New Balance sneakers–or a pair of VANS Middle Sister bought, wore twice and abandoned. Those are my “formal” shoes. Since they’re a size too big for me, they can accommodate the brace.

– 3 –

I’m back in the school library and loving every minute of it. Library Cuteness Moment of the day is courtesy of the very sweet kindergarten child who, on her way out, thanked the librarian for “letting us borrow your books.”

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Little Brother made my extended stay (through lunch) worth my while. He hugged me, in public, when his class came in AND when they left. Some of his friends gave me high-fives as well. It’s neat to see these kids, whom I’ve known since kindergarten, growing up (most are taller than me now) and talking to me about the books they choose.

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21 balloonsLittle Brother found out about some guy who plans on using a balloon cluster to cross the Atlantic Ocean, so I chose his library book for him today:  The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois. This kid needs to learn that Pixar didn’t come up with the idea first. BONUS:  other kids in his class saw him with the book and are interested in reading it when he returns it.

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Here’s the note Hubs found at Little Brother’s desk when he went to Back to School Night yesterday:

Dear Mommy and Daddy,

Thanks for coming to my school. I really appreciate you coming to Back-to-School-Nite. (Name) and (Name) are the best middle school teachers.

Love,

(Little Brother’s first AND last names, followed by the Sports Star version of his signature.)

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SCB run back to schoolLittle Brother’s picture is in the diocesan newspaper. He’s the boy in the front row with the black shirt and gray shorts. You’ll notice that he’s also airborne. That’s pretty much par for the course for him. The kid is a perpetual-motion machine.

The even better news here is that MY picture did not make the paper. BIG sigh of relief right there.

7 Quick Takes: Meatless Friday Edition

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Early this morning while I was on Twitter, I was emailing myself so many tweeted links to 7 Quick Takes that I figured I might as well join in and read them at the source.

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honey-lime-fish-fillets-298x400Meatless Fridays–they’re not just for Lent anymore! (Actually, they never really WERE just for Lent.) Honestly, it’s not that hard to have a meatless meal once a week. Have you noticed that CatholicMom.com has been featuring a meatless recipe each Friday? I’ve been contributing several of these. Today we’ve got Honey-Lime Fish Fillets and, on the side, Spinach & Pasta with Garlic.

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Though I really do love to cook and try new recipes, I’m not gonna lie. I’m glad tonight is pizza night. We’re getting takeout.

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Next week at this time, I’ll be finishing up my first Friday back at the school library. I volunteer there, one half-day per week. This is my 7th year and I love it! Usually I have Little Brother’s class, but this year his class has library on Friday afternoons. He asked me if I’d take my lunch to school and stay long enough to see his class. How can I say no to that? He’s in 6th grade! Any day now, he won’t want me anywhere near his school.

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rock n roll run back to schoolOn Monday, Little Brother’s school had its fourth annual Run Back to School 5K. I walked the mile, since I’m not quite up to a 5K or a run, in a drenching thunderstorm, with a foot injury. Not smart on so many levels. But it was for the kids!

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I also volunteered at the Run Back to School, helping out at the registration table. I saw a few kids who know me from the library, and they wanted to know if I’d be there during their class. What a sweet boost to the ego that was! And one mom asked me if I had to attend the faculty in-service the next day. (No, I’m just a volunteer. But apparently I’m a fixture. That’s fine with me.)

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My foot is still hurting. The suspicion is that it’s tendinitis; it’s just in front of my left heel on the outside of the foot. Lateral motion aggravates it, though I can walk on it without too much pain. You just have NO IDEA how much you move side to side when you’re doing laundry, cooking…I commandeered one of Middle Sister’s (many) ankle braces in an attempt to immobilize it as much as possible, and I’ll be seeing the doctor on Monday.

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Tomorrow Notre Dame plays Michigan; it’s a big rivalry, but I won’t be watching the game or even wearing one of my (many) Fighting Irish t-shirts. That’s because Pope Francis has asked us to pray and fast for Syria (and the Middle East in general) this weekend. I could give up coffee, or chocolate, or soda. Or I could “give ’til it hurts” and miss my football game. At kickoff time, I’ll be praying for peace instead of touchdowns.

fast and pray for Syria

7 Quick Takes

So, it’s been a whole week since I posted anything, and I saw Hallie’s reminder about the Quick Takes and, well, why not?  Here’s a look at the randomness of my world.

1.  I started back to “work” this week.  Since “work” for me means freelance writing, I am “working” from the comfort of my own couch.  I am thankful for laptops that allow me not to sit at a desk, because sitting in a straight chair is not comfortable yet.

2.  One of my freelance projects is a blog targeted to new parents.  Normally this project involves product spotlights and occasional recall announcements.  Yesterday I was asked to discuss the whole TIME magazine-attachment parenting debacle.

3.  I got some bread baked yesterday, because we were almost out of bread, and I didn’t have time to walk down to 7-11 and get more.  Thanks to my Dough Machine, I made some at home.  Little Brother eats large quantities of toast every morning.  A double batch of Portuguese Easter Bread should do the trick.

4.  It’s good to have some energy back, and there are some things I can do around the house now.  If someone gets me everything I need from the lower shelves, I can cook.  If someone carries the laundry to the basement and delivers the baskets of clean clothes, I can do the laundry, this ensuring that my yoga pants don’t get put in the dryer and shrink to fit the 8-year-old neighbor.  I need those yoga pants right now!  I’m healing well on the outside and trying very hard to follow directions so I heal well on the inside too.

5.  Big Brother came home from college yesterday.  It’s good to have him home.  Last night the Big Kids and I sat around eating ice cream, talking and laughing.  It was great.  But having him here is also good for my blood pressure; his school is in a not-so-great neighborhood of Philadelphia, so I often find myself obsessing over crime and accident reports on the news, google-mapping the address to see if it’s anywhere near his dorm.  For the next 3 months, I don’t have to do that.

6.  I’ve got a cookbook giveaway going on over at Mom’s Fridge!  Check it out!

7.  Things I miss because I’m recovering:  daily Mass, helping out in the library at Little Brother’s school, grocery shopping, track meets.  Things I don’t miss:  driving, vacuuming, driving, mopping, driving, washing windows, and did I mention driving?  People have asked me if I’m getting stir-crazy because I can’t go anyplace.  Honestly, no.  I can get out and walk; there’s a Panera only about 1/4 mile away, so I can walk over there.  I’m sure I cancel out the “healthy” in the walk by bringing home a caramel latte, but I am powerless over the caramel latte.

Remember, the Quick Takes are being hosted at Betty Beguiles this week.  Why not link up?