7 Quick Takes: June 28 Edition

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Well my friends, I'm linking up with Jen again.  You know, I had great hopes of writing a wonderful post for today.  That did not happen.  It is not going to.  I spent all of my computer time yesterday and today making a photo book on Shutterfly.

I am a Shutterfly addict.  I've been doing pretty good lately - but then I received a coupon for a free photo book (you still have to pay the $8 shipping, but whatever).  I've tried their various products in the past but this is the first book I've done. I am super excited to see it in print.

Google Reader is about to cease to exist. July 1 Google will be removing one of it's most wonderful services.  I'm in a bit of a panic.  I've been ignoring the little warnings that pop up every time I log in. Maybe if I ignore them enough they'll just go away and Reader will stay.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a replacement reader?  Please let me know!  I'd appreciate it!

This past weekend was spent with some of my extended family at our "Ancestral Lake Home" - once owned by my paternal grandparents, now co-owned by their children.  It's a lot of fun!  I was reminded yet again that I am really blessed with an incredible family.  As one of my aunts pointed out: not every family can pull off sharing a cottage for multiple generations without ever having a major fight. 

Speaking of that, we left after everyone else.  We arrived home from a day of less then pleasant work to find this wonderful bag of chocolate in the fridge.

My birthday? Why yes....it is around this time if you were wondering.  More chocolate?  Why yes I'd like that too. 


Six?  I think that really 5 Quick Takes should be sufficient.  It seems I run out of things to talk about after #5.  Maybe I should make a rival link up of only 5.  The lazy, uninteresting, uncreative people's link up. Anyone interested?

Well, since I am going for 7, I guess I can tell you all about terrible storm that blew through here the other day.  Branches down everywhere. Wires down everywhere.  Our neighbor's power box was ripped out of her house.  It really frustrates me that all the wires are above ground around here.  I grew up a spoiled child in a place where nearly all wires and cables of any sort were buried deep below the ground.  I believe everywhere should get with the times and invest in burying their lines.  Their less likely to be destroyed by falling branches and it sure looks a lot tidier too.  Just a thought.


On Waste

My neighbors across the street appear to be moving.  Most likely moving on short notice.  I never really got to know them - a single mom with 3 kids.   People were always coming and going, and now people having been buzzing about all afternoon and evening emptying the contents of the home onto the beds of two pickup trucks and carting it away.

Except for the giant pile of "trash."

Not the neighbors, but you get the idea.
American homes generate a ridiculous amount of waste on a day to day basis.  That alone is a crime, but what's really killing me right now is that a lot of this "trash" is seemingly usable items the family simply doesn't need any more and does not want to take.  Okay, so just some of it is.  I hope that she is getting better beds to replace the 6 duct-taped mattresses lying in the heap.  But why are her male friends gleefully carrying bookshelves, TV stands, and other furniture items down to the curb and then smashing and kicking the heck out of them?  Why not at least leave them standing for the evening with a sign saying "free?" 

I'm kind of hoping the rocking horse and kid's picnic table survive the madness and maybe I can ask her for them.

The most nonsensical part of this scene is that all of these people are living in "poverty."  I see this so often at work.  Many of those in poverty are the worst stewards of the resources they have.

I don't understand.   I would have paid her for a couple of those shelves, but before I could open my front door they were destroyed.  Can anyone explain?

She could have sold them for money, which she almost certainly needs.  She could have given them to a friend - I'm sure she knows someone who could use them.  But now she's just deprived herself of money, or her friends of the goods, and added to the ever-growing morass of waste consuming our world. 


7 Quick Takes: June 21 Edition

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It's finally the end of the week!  Time to link up with Jen. I have not improved in the timely-posting department.  At least not by much.  I guess I am better by an hour.  Can you believe I even started a draft days ago and still couldn't get it out earlier?  Thank you to anyone who actually reads this.


If any of you who read last week's 7 Quick Takes were wondering, yes, we did make it to the Old2Gold sale.  It was pretty crazy.

The organizers recommend that people have an idea of what they want so they can make a bee-line for it.  The thing they should really emphasize is that you really should only plan on getting one category of goods.  Even if you have a seemingly short list of 3 things (say, organizing bins, sweaters, and a bookcase) you will realistically only get one of those items.

That being said, I got really lucky!  While we didn't get a bike we were hoping for (those things sell out super quick), I scored the totes I wanted, plus some random goods picked up along the way.

Sorry the pyrex didn't make it in the first picture. 

Total spent: $26  -  $16, plus $5 admission per adult.


Michelle over at My Domestic Monastery wrote a really great post earlier this week: TV is Not Evil.  The issue of my little guy and screen time is something my husband and I worry about frequently.  I hope I can share my thoughts and experiences in more depth soon.  In the meantime, head on over to Michelle's post.  


My little guy loves watching Spot and recently discovered Peep and the Big Wide World.  He LOVES Peep and his friends Chirp and Quack. The other day in an effort to pull him away from watching one more segment, I found some coloring pages and printed them out.  He was so shocked to see his new favorite characters on paper and not the computer that after staring wide-eyed, jaw agape for minute, he buried his head in embarrassment.  (See more below.)   Then he got over his high emotion and colored with reckless abandon. 
You know you're a Mommy Blogger when you post your kid's "Works of Art"

Embarrassment?!  We are approaching the "Terrible Twos" as people like to call the wonderful 3rd year of life. I'm sure there will be a lot of strong feelings and emotions going on, but that is part of this developmental stage. Just this past week embarrassment walked on stage. 

Our friend Therese and her son came over to visit on Tuesday.  My little guy was so excited to see his buddy, but being an awkward toddler who is still figuring out how to share, he didn't really know how to handle it all. 

At one point he came out of the room where he and his friend were playing.  He tripped a little.  He didn't really fall, and he certainly didn't get hurt, but the fact that he tripped, even a little, in front of Therese caused him to hide his head in shame.  He wouldn't look up until I came over and told him it really was okay and Therese didn't think less of him for it.

We had a few more similar incidents through the week and I'm sure there are many more to come.  I find childhood development fascinating all the way around, but this growing awareness of emotion and social interacting is particularly intriguing.  Anyone know any good books about it?  I'd love to read up.

Speaking of reading up, at the suggestion of a friend, I picked up this book. I'm very excited to start it this weekend.  I'm also super excited because said friend is planning on making a tour of major historical sites throughout the mid-Atlantic.  Since I'm so jealous that I'm stuck in the Midwest and can't join her, I've been pushing her to blog the experience.  Stay tuned.  I think she finally has a blog title! ;-)

Lastly, I'm looking forward to this weekend.  I get to hang out with some of my extended family!  It's going to be blast!  Hope you all have great weekends too.


Pinteresting: Scratches Vanquished by Nuts

I love Pinterest.  It took me awhile to realize its value, but once I did I was hooked.  It's a wonderful place to get ideas and inspiration.  Yes, sometimes you do have to take things with a grain (or few) of salt. But isn't that true of everything on the internet?

While it might not be the most exciting of series, I thought I'd share various projects and tips gleaned from the boards of Pinterest.

Here we go!

Ever had some nasty scratches on a wood surface you'd wish would go away?  I have lots.  Particularly on this lovely toddler bed we recently acquired.

Idea of the Day: Rub a raw nut across those scratches and watch them fade away!

Walnut and Brazil Nuts are preferred - their oily flesh is perfect for the job. (Don't forget to take it out of the shell first, silly.) I only had raw almonds on hand.  They accomplished the job decently.

Here's how it turned out:

I'm still hoping to pick up some walnuts and test them on some of the more difficult scratches. But that's not too bad is it?

Certainly a handy trick I'll keep in mind.


7 Quick Takes

Linking up with Jen's 7 Quick Takes seems to be one of the cool things to do these days, so here I am jumping on the bandwagon.  I might slip and fall off though.  Try not to laugh too hard.

Speaking of, Martha, who did her Quick Takes at a reasonable hour, asked:
 "time to write those posts is so limited. So, other moms who blog with little ones- answer me this: HOW DO YOU DO IT?!?!?!?!"
Martha, if you get an answer, let me know.  In the meantime my solution is blogging Friday's post at 11:20 on Friday night.  Eeesh.

Maybe I'll just fudge the time stamp and pretend I'm so organized.

Regardless, I should not be up this late.  Tomorrow is Notre Dame's Old2Gold Sale.  Notre Dame students are notorious for having a lot of stuff - usually nice stuff - and also for leaving said stuff behind when they graduate and move on with life.  So the University collects it all and sells it off - a giant yard sale in the stadium - and all the proceeds go to charity. Pretty cool.  For the last several years I've wanted to go and check it out.  Each year something's come up, but honestly it runs from 7:00am to 10:00, the bulk of the stuff sells in the first hour and, oh yes, you can't line up earlier than 4:30am.

That's just scary.   I am NOT a morning person.  I repeat: I am NOT a morning person.

Neither is the Hubby, but he needs a new bike.  That's our motivation.  We'll see how this goes.

I am not a morning person.

Speaking of yard sale shopping: Dear People of the world, please consider starting your yard sales a little earlier in the day and run them until about 4 instead of noon.  Thanks.
If I ever have a yard sale there's no way I'm waking up at the crack of dawn on Saturday.

Earlier this year the city of South Bend decided to allow homeowners to keep up to 6 hens within the city limits.  Pretty awesome.  Even more awesome, our next-door neighbors immediately took advantage of this and so we get to watch 6 hilarious hens pecking around. 

They make my day every time. 

And now I'm going to bed.  Sweet dreams.


Peace Begins in the Womb - 1

This past semester I was asked what being pro-life has to do with fostering peace in the world. It's a huge question but really a very simple one:

I love Feminists for Life, and this bumper sticker of theirs says it all.

If I remember correctly, the question was raised in the context of the Catholic Church's involvement with the pro-life movement and the Church's movement of promoting peace among all of humanity. I don't think you have to be Catholic, or even Christian to play a role in both or recognize the connection between them - even if the Light of Christ does illuminate some of the details and deeper reasons.

It's simple: If we cannot acknowledge the humanity of the most innocent and vulnerable of our kind and treat them with the love and respect they inherently deserve, how can we possibly treat our enemies or those we dislike or disdain with any sort of respect?

Peace in the womb must come before all else. It is the foundation of any sort of broader peace -be it peace in one's own life, peace in one's home, peace in one nation or peace in many.

I see this first hand with the many families I work with.  I have yet to see a happy, peaceful family choose to abort one of their children, and I have yet to see happiness and peace come from  woman's decision to abort.

I see angst and strife run rampant among those who are open to abortion. I cannot recall one single case where the pregnant mother did not have strained relationships with the people in her life or society at large.

The family is the building block of society - peaceful families will build a peaceful world.  I know society would like to deny that fact, but it's true.

If our families cannot have peace, they cannot bring it to the world.

Stay tuned for more musings on this some other time....



For awhile on the old blog I was linking up with Ann Voskamp's Multitude Mondays, which now since she published her book 1000 Gifts has become her "Joy Dare."

I love the idea of counting your blessings - even the littlest - and have decided to start a new list over here.  It is such a wonderful way to stop and see the joy, beauty, and grace in the everyday.  Want to join too?

1. a cuddly little boy on my lap

2. the sweet smell of honeysuckle floating on the breeze

3. a day of work done

4. sharing memories of my childhood with the cuddly little boy

5. the little guy's growing vocabulary!


St. Thomas and Sheep

The other day was the birthday of my very dear friend, "The Roommate." Remember her from the Sober Sophomore days?

She is one of the most sweetest and most crafty people I know.  And by crafty, I mean this in two ways:
First she is skilled with her hands. She can make, paint, or draw just about anything.
Secondly, she is sneaky. In college she was known by some of us who lived with her as "Sneaky ___" because for as quiet and unassuming as she might be, you never really know what she is up to.

She is one of the greatest friends in world.

Growing up I had the joy of attending the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival almost every year. It was always so fun and exciting! I have so many fond memories of those days. Now, living so far away, I miss being able to go.

Knowing this, my dear Sneaky ex-Roommate, who now lives within driving distance of the Festival, went this year and picked up some gorgeous alpaca yarn for me. I was so surprised when a little package arrived on my doorstep!  But the yarn was not the only thing she sent.  She also enclosed three darling needlefelted masterpieces:  St. Thomas Aquinas and 2 sheep!

Aren't they perfect? This picture doesn't do them justice. The detail on St. Thomas is amazing.  I'm pretty sure she could sell those for a pretty penny.  I'll sign up as her first customer! 

So what do I do with a friend who sends me gifts for her birthday?  I guess I just have to make sure to send her one for mine...good thing they aren't too far apart! ;-)