Of Street Urchins and Earrings

Things Street Urchins Say logoOne of the Street Urchins has pierced ears. And he wears fairly BIG fake-diamond earrings. (At least, I’m pretty sure they’re fake. If they’re not, then whatever adult gave real diamond earrings to a kid in middle school has more money than brains.)

Hubs has been warning this Urchin, ever since he showed up sporting rapper-worthy ear jewelry, that he can’t wear his earrings in the pool. Earrings and pool liners don’t mix.

The other day when the Street Urchins were here, no one was swimming. The Kid has swimmer’s ear and would rather not swim at all than swim and wear earplugs but not be allowed underwater. So they were playing Kick the Can, which involves lots of hiding in two adjacent backyards.

Suddenly the whole pack of them, minus one, burst through the back door.

“[Earring Urchin] lost his earring!”

“It might be in the pool!”

Wearing only one earring and dripping wet, that last Urchin came inside as I asked what he was doing in the pool with jewelry on.

“I didn’t mean to go in the pool…”

Now, they routinely use the pool and pool deck as hiding spots for Kick the Can, but it’s a little hard to go into the pool without meaning to when the pool is above ground.

I sent the whole crew back outside to search for the earring. Daughter got into the pool because none of them would. Instead, there were four boys muttering excitedly about metal detectors and waving iPhones 6 inches above the grass as they crawled around the yard.

It seems there’s an app for that. Quite a few, in fact.

Whether those apps are real or not is another question (kind of like the Street Urchin’s earrings). This might make a good Science Fair project for the Kid for next year, though. And maybe a good Tech Talk for me.



Small Success: Getting Things Done Edition

Small-Success-Thursday-400pxThursdays at CatholicMom.com begin with a look at the past week’s Small Successes!


I’ve been inspired by my friend Lisa Lawmaster Hess and working on getting things a LITTLE more organized around here. It’s a slow process. I did figure out that the set of small rocking chairs behind my desk, while cute, were too much of a temptation for me. They’re toddler rockers–one for each of my kids–and 2 are so small that no one but a small child can sit in them. So…they became tables for my Desk Overflow.

too much stuff on couch

I took All The Stuff out of those chairs (and out from behind those chairs) and it pretty much covered the whole sofa.

So I moved an upholstered chair into the space where the rockers had been, because I know I won’t pile stuff onto that chair. Then I put away All The Stuff.

And my living room looks a lot nicer now.


It’s time to get ready for Lent, and I’ve been working hard over at Cook and Count to load up all the meatless recipes I can find. You can find all of them right here:  Meatless Recipes at Cook and Count.

Grilled Veggie Burrito:  recipe coming soon to Cook and Count!
Grilled Veggie Burrito: recipe coming soon to Cook and Count!

There are more to come, and as I post them, you can access them through this same link.

(AND I learned how to add a copyright line to my photos!)


If you’re reading this through a link at CatholicMom.com, that’s because I successfully installed the link tool in the CatholicMom post. I’m in training right now to be the Substitute Blogmother during Sarah Reinhard’s upcoming maternity leave. (And she is super patient while she gets me up to speed on All The Things.) This was my very first linky-thing, and it worked! It worked!


In other CatholicMom.com related news (AKA more shameless self-promotion), I have two posts about Lent that you might want to visit. Click on over!

Book review of 40 Days, 40 Ways

Tech Talk:  Lenten Inspiration from CRS Rice Bowl

Share your Small Successes at CatholicMom.com by joining the linkup in the bottom of today’s post. No blog? List yours in the comments box!

© 2015 Barb Szyszkiewicz

Small Success Thursday: Crazy Week Edition


At CatholicMom.com, we take a moment every Thursday to celebrate those accomplishments that make our week. My schedule has been packed this week, but there are a few things I’m proud to mention.


I put away the Christmas tree over the weekend.


We have a HUGE artificial tree–probably a good 6 feet in diameter–and it takes up a lot of room. We do not have the box for the tree, as it was given to us by friends who couldn’t fit both a gigantic artificial tree and a Rottweiler in their living room. What we DO have is an enormous chest freezer in our backyard shed. It came with the house, but when we tried to plug the freezer in, we found that it doesn’t work. So the Christmas tree, which divides into three parts, lives in the freezer when it’s not in the living room.

We couldn’t get two of the pieces of the tree apart when we first took it down, and with the snow on the ground for months on end, no one wanted to help drag it into the shed. So it sat on our enclosed back porch–it was too cold to use the porch anyway. Finally this weekend we got the pieces apart and I stowed them in the freezer, where spiders and crickets cannot take up residents in its plastic branches.

And I have my porch back–just in time for the nice weather.


I survived three days in a row of substitute-teaching for grades 5 through 8. Even though I’ve known most of these kids since they were in the primary grades, they need to test their limits every time, and they always seem surprised that I don’t put up with much.

On Monday it was raining so we couldn’t have recess at lunchtime. Back in the classroom, the kids all gathered around the computer and googled each others’ names, commenting on the pictures that came up. On Tuesday the playground was still wet so they had to stay inside. They asked to use the computer.

“So you can google each others’ names and then laugh about what you see? No. I think you did enough of that yesterday.”

They just looked at me with wide eyes–they didn’t even try to argue back. Then they found a deck of cards and started a game.



9 percent crazySpeaking of kids and using the internet for ridiculous things and online safety in general, I have a Tech Talk up at CatholicMom.com today about that very subject.

And along the same lines, read this article and go change your passwords. That’s at the top of my to-do list for today.

Do you have a Small Success (or three) to share? Visit the link-up at CatholicMom,com!