7 Quick Takes Friday


I’ve been in major Picnik denial. Of course I knew “the ants had invaded” and all that, but the idea of finding a new photo-editor that didn’t require me to know anything about anything was sort of overwhelming. Picnik was so easy to use! I didn’t even have to know what I was doing!

I started bee-bopping around the web, looking for my new photo-editing hangout. I was on the prowl for a lazy mama’s alternative to Photoshop. I’m pretty sure that if I had to learn Photoshop, I’d break out in hives. Daily.

The verdict? PicMonkey. It’s set up, as far as can tell, exactly like Picnik, and it loads about a bazillion times faster on my computer, so I was really rather thrilled at the discovery. I thought I’d share in case some of you are still biting nails and muttering expletives over the Picnik closure.

Not that I was doing that. Or anything.


I just love pictures where Posy is poking her tongue out all cute-like. :)

I was reading through the (very short) teacher’s guide to Phonetic Zoo not too long ago, and I stumbled across this bit of advice:
Smile a lot, and don’t feel you have to continuously point out [the child's] errors.
Frequency will do its job.
Isn’t that such sound advice for all of parenting? I think it’s my new mantra. A little done every day, with Mama smiling all the while. A method that pays dividends, I’ll bet.
This is another gift from San. I must say, it’s awfully fun to receive mail from the other side of the world- especially when that mail is hand-knit and goes on a perfect little Posy-Pie of a baby.

Have you seen the OnTheWay website yet? I just stumbled on it via Pinterest, and it looks awesome. You type in your starting point and your destination, and it tells you all the cool places to stop along the way. Go check it out.
You’re welcome. :)

I’m not planting a garden this year. I think I’m ready to let go of guilt and accept that gardening is just not my thing. When we lived in Tacoma, we had a pretty big garden that yielded over 50 pumpkins, several types of berries, and a whole slew of vegetables, but I’ve decided that I just don’t enjoy gardening enough to justify all the time it takes.The last couple of years, I’ve tried my hand at smaller gardens to see if that was more my “thing”. Nope.

This year, I’ll help Tulip plant some flowers and she can do her thing with them. She lives and breathes flowers, so that will bring her a lot of joy. Instead of planting our own fruits and vegetables, we’ll support our local farmers and spend loads of time at the u-pick farms on Greenbluff. I’m happy with this plan.


So, I feel like an idiot. Here I am reading all about how modern kids’ lit is chock-full of relativism and secular humanism, and what do I go and let my daughter get from the library? Elsie Dinsmore. They’re old, they’re supposedly “Christian”, and they look perfectly harmless. No inverted archetypes or hidden relativism here, folks! Nope- instead, they’re blatantly anti-Catholic. Which is fabulous, right, being that we’re CATHOLIC, so they attack our family’s very CORE.


I should win Homeschool Rockstar of the Year award for that, right?

The only redeeming factor here is that my ten year old happens to be the lovely kind of child who talks about anything and everything she reads, so when she stumbled across the gross misrepresentation of her faith, she brought it to my attention. I imagine it would have been a very confusing book for her to read if she hadn’t talked to me about it. At any rate, we were able to have a good conversation on the common misconceptions about Catholicism (you know, the big ones- like Catholics bow to statues and worship Mary and such).

Live and learn, yes?

Go visit Jen for more Quick Takes!


  1. #2- So. Very. Cute. Both of you! I’m old enonough that I wouldn’t know whose cheeks to pinch first :)

    #6- I’m right there with you. My kids want a garden, though, so that is their summer project this year. THEIR summer project.

    #7- I know a lot of non-Catholics who won’t touch Elsie with a ten-foot pole. A friend of mine rails against Elsie quite often, and she is most definitely *not* Catholic. You’ll like this post:

  2. So the other night I tilted my android my husband’s way so he could see your precious Posy. Can you guess what he said? “Watch out or you might get baby fever!” Little did he know you forewarned your readers at the beginning of that very post. Really, how cute can she get?

    As much as I love Phonetic Zoo in practice and in theory, the program does not seem to making a dent in my kids’ ability to spell words correctly when they write letters, reports, history pockets, etc. I honestly have no idea if the problem is my kids or the program, but if you are ever interesting in taking our unused Level B CDs off my hands, just let me know and I will ship them out. It would be a great excuse to include something scrumptious for Posy and shower her with one more gift!

    In the meantime I will be taking a long and hard look at the Logic of English program that includes spelling, phonics, and grammar and report back.

    One more thing – so glad we never sprung for the Elsie books. We do have most of the American Girlhood books, outfits, and two or three of the dolls, but the girls have never alerted me to anything anti-Catholic in them. Not that there isn’t. But now I am wondering . . .

  3. She looks totally adorable in that vest. Thanks for sharing the pic it made me smile, we’ve had a difficult few weeks with health issues and so you’ve lifted my day, bless you for that!

    Love and cyber hugs San xx

  4. Ooh! Love the bright little knitted dress on precious Posey-pie! Since my visit there, I have taken up knitting once again (thank you for the renewed motivation Prim:), I found a pattern for Posey that I liked, brought it home, and have spent over 40 hours working on it, then pulling it all out and beginnining again. I’ve started over over 60 times, no lie!I have discovered that my stubbornness to succeed, which is a trait I’ve carried most of my life, falsely appears as tremendous patience to some:) I truly am just plain stubborn! I am now on about row 21, and have not had to start over (yet)! Yea! I think this little dress will be ready about the time Posey-pie has a little one herself! I’m determined however! Toughest pattern I’ve yet tackled. Love your quote at the beginning of this blog about how frequency will do the job. I am seeing this big-time in the classroom, so are the kids. It’s amazing how such a simple step can make all the difference in one’s success with a task, be it reading, writing, math facts, riding a bike or…knitting! :)

  5. Love the quote. Very Montessorian and perfect motto for parenting. And marriage. And most other relationships I can think of.

    Like the picmonkey. But I still say you could learn LR

    I am so pleased when the kids bring things they read to my attn. My mommy mentor yrs ago used to sit up with her dh in bed at night and read every single bk the kids brought home or previewed the movies. Every one. That single practice could probably save a fortune in study guides and lesson plans and heartache. That is my theory, untested as it may be for my clan….

  6. Anonymous says:

    Love this post and the quote…definitely words to live by! I hope I don’t offend you by asking this…here goes…Is there a new generation of Catholics and/or has the faith changed over the last several years? I totally believe what you are saying about YOUR faith, but my mother in law is Catholic and does the exact things you say are false. She does worship Mary and her church continues to teach idolatry toward her statue. I even saw a paper at her home today that has a prayer to Mary written on it and she was told to pray to Mary each day by reading the prayer. I don’t want to offend you, I just read this and saw the paper at my MIL’s etc.. and it just seemed like you could help me sort through all of this. Especially since after talking with my MIL several times, we still don’t know if she has a true relationship with the Lord. :-( Just wondering if some churches are in fact still teaching this. Thanks!

    • Hi there! :)

      No offense taken whatsoever. I’m a convert from evangelical Christianity, so I completely understand where you’re coming from.

      First off I should say that if your MIL is Roman Catholic (and I assume she is), then there is no difference between her set of beliefs and mine. The Church has not changed its doctrine over the generations. But maybe I can shed a little light on these two issues (Marian devotion and bowing before statues)?

      We don’t worship Mary, but we do indeed venerate her (as in, show her a tremendous amount of respect and adoration- she is, after all, the Mother of God). When Catholics “pray to Mary”, we are actually asking Mary to pray for us. However, we are not worshipping her as we do when we pray to God.

      Mary is the Mother of Our Lord, and He, during his time on earth, never refused her requests. Much as I can call my friend and ask her to pray for my sick child, I can go to Mary- who stands in the presence of God in Heaven, and ask her to pray for my sick child. That is what we mean when we say that we pray to Mary. We ask for her intercession, not because we cannot go to God directly (we can), but because we know that Jesus listens to his mother. It’s much like going to your pastor and asking him to pray for you (or for any specific prayer request), except that Mary is the Mother of Jesus and is in the presence of Him in Heaven and so she carries, you know, more weight. :) We show her a tremendous amount of respect because she is worthy of it.

      As for bowing to statues, we do kneel/bow before statues but we do not bow to statues. Catholics have never worshipped statues (or Mary, for that matter). We only worhsip God. We do, however, out of a sign of respect (and because putting our bodies into a posture of prayer often precedes putting our spirits into an attitude of prayer) kneel to pray. And we often gaze upon statues or crosses or crucifixes when we pray as a method of keeping our thoughts and our minds on Christ. Statues are aids- they help us stay focused. They themselves are never worshipped, though to an onlooker who sees a Catholic bow before a statue and pray, I can understand why they may suspect otherwise.

      Does that help at all? I was raised in an evangelical Christian home (my father was a pastor for some time, even) and converted to Catholicism just 8 years ago. I converted as I was attempting to convince my husband that Catholicism was erroneous and that he should leave the Church and attend my protestant church. I began to read about why Catholics believe what they believe, and became convinced that, actually, the Catholics had it right. :) I do understand where you’re coming from, and I’m happy to chat via email about these or any other questions you might have. I’m at amongstlovelythings-at-gmail-dot-com.

      Peace and blessings!

  7. I wish I could answer “anonymous” but my understanding of Catholicism is a bit vague… I think the most important thing Prim can learn from that experience is the whole “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Pun definitely intended! I think that for any religion, the best rule of thumb is to not judge and to be more informed prior to making blanket statements about things we don’t understand. Being brought up in a Baptist and then non-denominational Christian church I know that we were told things about other religions that were completely wrong. Maybe it was not the intent of the person making the comments, but it really is simply passing on ignorance. Some people put too much emphasis on what other people are doing “wrong” and they should just be focusing on their own faith. Some Christians believe it is their job to “save” as many “sinners” out there that they can. As someone who has walked away from that faith, I strongly suggest they mind their own beliefs and leave mine alone. In the end it will be up to me and my Higher Power.
    Sorry if this comes off severe… I am not meaning to be rude or insult anyone, I just think that in life we need an open mind to teach our children to have open minds.

  8. Anon: no, the Church has never worshipped Mary, this isn’t about “generations”. For the last 2000 years we’ve had pretty clear who’s God and who isn’t. However, as the mother of God, she does have a special place in our hearts and we do ask for her intercession on our behalf. If you are interested I know there are lots of much more educated answers. I would recommend to go straight to the source and not try to understand our faith from non-catholic sources. Also, there’s no “Sarah’s faith” and your “MIL’s faith”, there’s the Catholic faith, just one creed, one Church.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Heidi… I am not judging anyone! Sorry if it came off like I was! I was just trying to understand and knew that Sarah would help to shed some light on what my mother in law cannot explain. When I inquire to her she only replies that she does things because the “priest says to.” She does not even know why she does them. That concerns me. And Laura…I am not sure what you mean by “understand our faith from non-catholic sources” I was asking Sarah and she is Catholic! ;-) Plus, there must be a Sarah faith and a MIL faith because they see things VERY differently. And just to clarify…my MIL has told us before that she isn’t sure whether she will go to heaven or not. She is always thinking she needs to do more, give more to secure her place there, but never is sure. We are concerned for her eternity! Not because she is Catholic, but because she is so unsure of where her soul will rest, after 60+ years in church, and most of all because we love her! Sarah… thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. I appreciate your openess. I also appreciate your explanations. As I said, my MIL says things like “worship Mary” and “bow down to Mary” so that is where I have heard these terms. I will email you privately, as I don’t want to cause any grief here and because you offered so sweetly. Thank you so very much. :-D

    • I completely agree that people not knowing why they do certain faith practices is a concern. This was probably my biggest turn-off during my conversion. I would ask a Catholic why they x, y, or z, and they would have no idea! It was very frustrating for me. Of course that doesn’t make the practice of x, y, or z any less valid, but it irritated me, and I do think it’s a problem.

      I also understand your concern for your MIL’s eternity. Catholics, in general, don’t generally presume Heaven in the same way protestants do. Because scripture teaches that eternal salvation depends on the state of a person’s soul at death, we can, if we are in a state of grace (meaning that we are in friendship with God), be assured of our salvation right now, but we cannnot see the future. For example, will we commit a mortal sin and refuse to repent? Unfortunately, many choose to turn away from God in later years. Instead of speaking of being “once saved, always saved”, we constantly rely on God’s mercy. We do not speak of absolute certainty that Heaven is in our future because the only time we can redeem is right now. As a result, you’ll have a hard time finding too many Catholics who will insist that they KNOW they are going to Heaven. Does that make sense?

      Do email me. I’m happy to chat. :)

    • Anonymous says:

      Couldn’t have said many of the things you said better myself and I’ve been a Catholic for all of my 35 years; I commend your RCIA teachers (or your husband or the books you read)!
      “Work out your salvation in fear and trembling…” and “not everyone who says ‘Lord,lord’ will be saved…” It seems that the only way to understand these Bible passages is to assume we have to continually work to stay in a good relationship with Christ and thus to reach heaven.

  10. Thanks for finding us a Picnik replacement! So sad they’re disappearing, but it’s awfully kind of you to do the legwork for us. :-)

    I think it’s wonderful that Prim is eager to discuss her reading with you! Sometimes around here, it’s a bit like pulling teeth …

    And yay to you and Anonymous for that respectful and warm-hearted interchange. :-)

  11. OK, my friend, I’m about to be a very bad enabler. If you liked Picnik, you will love, love, love Instagram. Love it. And you need an iPhone or a Droid…
    I can see how this cell phone photography thing will be a niche–a very cozy, utterly beautiful niche. iPhone. Go!

  12. Erin in MI says:

    Thank you for pikmonkey. I am completely terrified and overwhelmed by photoshop. I just want to crop and beautify a few pics here and there. This is great! I had no idea. So Easy! Also, beautiful responses to Anon.

  13. I know this was written a while ago, but I just read it! I don’t like Elsie Dinsmore, and I am Protestant, simply because she is so wealthy and has a slightly unhealthy relationship with her father in later books (going to him for comfort in tragedy instead of her husband…just a little weird for my taste. I love my dad and am very close to him, but I will take my husband over him any day ;)!). My best friend also converted in a similar way; trying to convince her boyfriend at the time! I must acknowledge that without the “Catholic” faith, my own would not exist since the Roman Catholic church was the only representation of Christianity for over 1000 years on this earth!

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