7 Quick Takes Friday


I woke up from an afternoon nap today and found that the girls had baked cookies, brewed tea, and set a lovely table for today’s Feast of the Visitation. Without them, I wouldn’t have remembered that today was a feast day at all.

Girls only! (Snap wasn’t home).


We weren’t all quite as prim and proper as the big girls at teatime:

But we did all like the cookies! :)



We finished school today! We are now officially on summer break. Feels SO good.  I was really hoping to move to a year-round model (with maybe a month off for summer and Christmas, and lots of breaks scattered throughout the year), but it doesn’t make sense to school through a summer with brand new babies, does it?

Instead, I’m creating a summer learning chart to keep everyone on a light track: math, quiet reading hour, piano practice for the girls, and quick-and-dirty phonics practice for Snap. I’m hoping this will keep everyone’s brains from melting over the summer (or are my kids the only ones who ask for waaaaay too much screen time during summer break?) and will facilitate a smooth transition in the fall. We’ll see how it goes.


 From my Instagram feed:

I’m 31 weeks along and measuring 39. There’s already six pounds of baby in there, believe it or not! (My back can believe it- it huuuuurts). I went to the doctor yesterday and found out that both babies are head down (Hooray! Think they’ll stay that way?) and everything looks good.

I am, however, teetering on the edge of bedrest because my contractions are constant and have booted up intensity-wise. So far, though, so good. I do think I was freaked out enough by the real prospect of bedrest to start taking everybody’s advice to heart, and stop working on projects around the house. Sigh.

My #1 project, of course, is getting these boys big enough to be delivered without having to pay a visit to the NICU. Doc says that will only happen if I rest way more than I think I need to. No more sorting and arranging bedrooms, bins and bookcases. And I promise I won’t do what I did last time and go all hog-wild on the chandeliers and light fixtures. (My husband is about to chain me to the couch, anyway, so trust me when I say I’m really waving the white flag of surrender.)


Prim wants me to thank you all for your help with her math assignment. She also wants you to know that eggs won by a landslide! Here’s how it all broke down:


I know that lots of you out there are both homeschooling and expecting a wee one (or two!), and Mystie gave me such wonderful advice in the comments of this post, I’ve got to pass it on. She mentioned that my plan still looked a bit ambitious to her, seeing as next year is going to be heavy on the babies, light on the hard-core academics. I asked her what she would cut out if she were me, and this is what she had to say:

If my own experience with pregnancy and new ones is similar to what yours will be, I’d say go with what you have while you can, if you can. Try it out and see if you can do it for a while, or keep it on hand if you end up having the oomph for it later.

Honestly, I’d say if you get in math, the reading hour, the things the kids can do themselves, and the classes others are doing for you, you will have a strong year.

For the things you have planned to do one-on-one, I might try setting some goal like 15-20 minutes per day with each to touch bases and just pick one thing that most needs to be done (even if that’s just conversation some days or checking up on independent work). Or, give each child a day of the week for 30-45 minutes of one-on-one lessons. I’d pick one area you think each child needs most to grow in this year and focus on that. 

You’re probably going to have to go by feel. I think it’s good to have what you listed out as available options, but I’d probably let spelling and writing go first. And don’t feel bad if there are math + audio book days. :) Remind yourself of the big overall picture and not the snapshot of particular days.

Praying is essential! Don’t let that one drop if you can manage it at all.

And take care of yourself, because taking care of yourself is how you are taking care of those precious little ones – and not just the ones in your womb. Praying, Bible reading, church/mass are all essential ingredients in taking care of yourself, as well as eating well.

You’ll all be fine! Trust God and He will carry you all through, even though you may look back in another two years and not be exactly sure how it all happened. :) It looks like a muddle when you’re in the middle, but it’s ok.

Good stuff there, yes? I actually printed it out for those days when I’m thick in the muddle.


One more picture, because…

Curls! And crayons. Anytime, anywhere- give that girl some crayons and she will be happy as can be. This week she discovered bath crayons. Delight! :)

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  1. says

    Yes, please, rest!! Every day you keep those little guys in where they belong is gold! Our 7yo dd spent 90 days in the NICU, and while you’d never know it to look at her now, I wouldn’t recommennd it. :o)

    The tea looks lovely — yay girls! And those curls are precious. :o)

  2. says

    You must be doing an amazing job with your children. That’s amazing they knew about the Feast day and made it so special.

  3. says

    That is so awesome. I love your girls!! And thank you for resting! I’m so sorry your back is hurting. I can’t even imagine how I would feel with twins in there! They can definitely stay head down from this point on…praise God for that bit of news!

  4. says

    Head down!! Woohoo! There’s no room for them to move;) If you rest those babies will stay nice and comfy in there! It seems like you shouldn’t have much trouble getting your incredible children to pick up the slack. Wow. I’m always impressed with your kids– they are wonderful people! Loving those curls!!

  5. Kara says

    I love that your girls surprised you with a feast day celebration! That is sweet and wonderful (and shows what an awesome mama you are). Love that belly pic, but so sorry your back hurts. Yes, REST, REST, REST!!! Keep those babies in there a bit longer! I think I’ll do the same as you…print out Mystie’s advice to read over once my twins arrive.

    By the way, my husband figured out I can leave a comment when using chromium web browser. I don’t know why mozilla won’t let me??

    And Posie is so sweet. Looks like she had fun with those bath crayons.


  6. says

    I love so much about this I don’t know where to start. There’s a lot of heart in your home, that’s for sure. Heck, there are three hearts just inside *you*!

    Stay well, in every way. xo

  7. says

    Oh my goodness your girls are amazing!!! That’s the best naptime wakeup ever – we still need to find a good way to celebrate the Visitation, since it’s the twins’ feast day…

    Please please please rest!!! And drink a ton of water. I would spend as much time as possible just lying on the couch or in bed, and if the kids needed something they had to wait until I was already up because I needed to pee. And I made it to 37 weeks with no NICU time!

    That advice is excellent – 10-15 minutes/day per child might be impossible at times, but if you can do a lot of work with them while you’re nursing, you should actually be able to get a lot done once you have the hang of tandem nursing. We’re at the point now where the twins don’t want to nurse at the same time because they would rather claw at each other, but luckily I can usually get them to nap at the same time, so that’s when I get my time in with the big kids, poor neglected things…

  8. says

    Well done for listening and i am praying that you get those boys to as near as possible to term.

    San xxx

    A big wave to Prim and Tulip for the impromptu party!!

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!

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  1. Lori B says

    #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. says

    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. says

    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. says

    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. says

    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!

    • says

      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. says

    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. Laura says

    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

    • says

      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. says

    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. says

    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. says

    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!

7 Quick Takes Friday

[A fun way to share all sorts of stuff that your readers might find interesting/amusing but that wouldn’t qualify for a full blog post.]


I have to share this quote, from an email I received just yesterday by one of my very favorite online friends. It captures so beautifully what it is I’m aiming for in our homeschool. Thanks for the conversations, Tracey- keep ’em coming!

So, my current goals are a lot of what you and I have discussed again and again. To be present to my children. To enjoy life NOW, instead of looking at these years as preparation for the future. Not researching endlessly for the things that work best in other families. There is a lot of inspiration and there are a lot of great ideas available, but it all comes down to DOING it. Not planning it. Not over-thinking it. LIVING it. Time spent together. Following inquiries. Learning new things. Revisiting things we love. Progressing through the skill areas. A little at a time. Enjoying life. Being patient and kind. Sharing great books. Playing. Discussing. Thinking. Working side by side.


I’m listening to all of the Harry Potter books on audio again. Did you know that there are people out there who have never ever read Harry Potter? Even once? Isn’t that crazy?!!! I must admit to being jealous- what a treat to read Harry Potter for the first time!!! It’s funny, though- the 2nd time around is just as good. [contented sigh]

(p.s. Listening to Harry Potter while scrubbing the bathroom really does make the job much more enjoyable.)


I knew it wouldn’t take long for someone to ask why I don’t have reading listed anywhere in my school plans for next year. :) I didn’t forget to add it- I did it on purpose.

I happen to have a very strong opinion about required reading. I think it grows non-readers more often than it grows avid ones. That it creates a need to bribe children to read (summer reading programs, for example), and then children stop reading for pleasure and instead read for prizes. And I think all those reading comprehension workbooks and assignments are (to be quite frank) a complete waste of time. I can easily determine whether or not Primrose understands what she is reading by having a casual conversation with her about it. And, really, if a child doesn’t understand what’s happening in a book, she won’t keep reading it. Unless she’s going to get a prize, of course. But then, we’re back to bribery. ;)

In our home, we read as a way of life, so it’s only natural that there are certain times of day when reading always happens. After lunch, I read from our current chapter book; before bed, we read a stack of picture books. And random read-alouds are scattered throughout the day, whenever the mood strikes. We read to find out answers to our questions, to learn more about what interests us, to hear a good story. But assigning Primrose to “read the story and answer the questions at the end of the chapter”? No way. Not happening.

Rest assured, my children read (and are read to) every single day. But I’m not assigning it, and that’s why I left it off the plan.


If you have a high schooler, go check out Theresa’s new science course. Golly, I want to have a high schooler just so I can follow along with this year’s unit. What fun!


I have not forgotten that some of you are patiently waiting for my conversion story. I’m just nervous, that’s all. A conversion story is rather personal, and I’m struggling to find the right words to accurately describe my faith journey- I don’t write well enough to convey the depth of it. But I am working on it, and I do realize that well-written or not so well-written, I ought to share it.


This is a great time to read this post at High Desert Home, if you are hoping to have a simple, relaxed, and lovely homeschooling experience.


Look what I served for dinner on Thursday! Gluten-free goodness: it’s kielbasa, fuji apples, and sweet bell peppers, skewered, basted in a dijon mustard/honey mixture, and grilled. Thanks for the recipe, Meghan. We’ll be making this one again and again. YUM.

Check out more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.

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  1. says

    I wandered over from conversion diary and wanted to drop a line to let you know how heartily I agree with your philosophy on required reading. I was home schooled and had only one year of required reading, reading comprehension, book reports, etc. It was the biggest waste of time. My siblings and I were all avid readers, but we resented having to pick books from a short list and it was obvious in our work. After that year we read whatever we wanted and most lunchtimes were taken up with excited discussions on our latest finds. The classics are so much better when you discover them for yourself.

    BTW, my mother read aloud to us almost every night and it wasn’t required, but we’d all come and listen, even when we were well into our teens. Good memories :)

  2. says

    Those skewers look great! I love fuji apples…mmmm.

    And I love your no-forced reading plan. What better way for kids to understand that reading happens in and around every day life, rather than being some dreaded step to take along the way.

  3. says

    I just finished Harry Potter 6 and I’m half into 7, both for the second time around. I forgot how fast these huge books read! and it’s just as good the second time. :)

    I’ll happily wait for your conversion story til you’re ready to share. I asked because my husband and I are prayerfully considering conversion.

    The only part of reading we plan to make required is learning to read. My mother would buy a giant box of books at the beginning of the school year and kind of casually say, “here are some new books to read” and let us read them in whatever order or amount of time we liked. The only requirement was for us to tell her what we’d read and a bit about the book.

  4. says

    I loved reading your 7 quick takes. The longer I read your blog, the more I realize that we share very similar philosophies about so many things. I liked the quote from your friend…she’s a wise woman.

  5. says

    The recipe:

    Cut up 3 bell peppers, 3 apples, and 2 kielbasa into chunks. Skewer. Mix up equal parts of dijon mustard and honey in a bowl. Brush the skewers with the mixture as they are grilling. I think mine were ready in about 15 minutes- you just want to grill until the meat is hot and the the apples/peppers are softish.


  6. says

    Gasp…I am one of those people who has never read Harry Potter. I started reading it once, and just didn’t get into it. I know — horrible, huh? ;)

    I totally agree — a conversion story is so all-consuming to try to write. When I have tried to tell people about ours (as a whole experience in one story), it’s hard. I feel like it’s incomplete to tell it all at once. But, I suppose, when you consider that I thought about it off and on for years, then we prayed about it for months once we had decided, and then throw in another 10 months for the actual process. That’s a lot of time to sum up in one story! Good luck putting yours together!

  7. says

    “And, really, if a child doesn’t understand what’s happening in a book, she won’t keep reading it.”

    Thanks for saying this — I’ve had several teachers tell me about how my kid reads well but comprehends poorly — but she reads constantly and loves it. How can you love it if you don’t understand it? No one sits for hours reading the phone book. . . . they don’t get that she’s just very shy and wary about answering questions, she understands but can’t explain it to them.
    Great post.

  8. says

    Just reading this post and the menu on the right, I am really interested in your schooling style. I think I learned most of what I know off school hours!!! :)
    No kids yet, but when the time comes I’ll think about it.

7 Quick Takes Friday

[A fun way to share all sorts of stuff that your readers might find interesting/amusing but that wouldn’t qualify for a full blog post.]


I’m cutting back on time online (again). Steady Mom opened a recent blog post with this: “The stereotype of the 1980’s at-home mother featured bathrobe, slippers, and soap operas. Most of us would agree that’s a pretty outdated image. But I fear it’s been replaced with one that is just as damaging – a mom stuck behind a computer screen.”


I got to thinking- from a child’s perspective, does it matter if it’s a soap opera or a computer screen? I can justify to myself all day that what I’m reading online is helping me be a better mother and a better homeschooler, but all that my 3 year old sees is mom gazing at a screen. Could be a blog. Could be a soap opera. Doesn’t really matter if mom’s tuned out. So the rule stands: no being online if the kids are up or if Andy’s home. I’d better have these posts mapped out in my head if I’m going to have time to get them onto the screen.


If you haven’t seen Jen’s learning room over at Wildflowers & Marbles, you simply must go look. But before you do, go look up the 10th commandment and repeat it to yourself at least five times. Trust me, you’re gonna need it. ;)


Full disclosure: I hated reading Mr. Popper’s Penguins. The kids loved it; I thought it was ridiculously dumb. But it’s a Newberry Honor book. And all the 4Realers love it. And that means that I should love it too, right? Ay.


I bought Blue Yonder’s most recent Book of Days, and I am excited about showing it to the kids. I could see this series playing a major part in our learning adventures next year.


I work in a library. At this time of year, my job entails talking up the summer reading program with gusto. I loathe the summer reading program. Don’t get me wrong- the puppet shows, the concerts, the crafts and activities (all free!) are outstanding and we attend as many as we can. But the whole “read for 20-minutes and get a sticker; read for 10 hours and get a zoo pass” deal? Argh. That’s like telling your child that if they eat 3 ice cream cones every day all summer, they’ll get a prize. By the end of the summer, that ice cream ain’t gonna look so good. Right from the start, we bribe kids to read, and then wonder why they don’t read for pleasure. Good grief.


I just started reading Triumph: the power and the glory of the Catholic Church. It’s time for me to amend my severe lack of historical knowledge regarding the Church and its roots. It’s unacceptable, really, that before I converted to Catholicism (at the age of 22), I hadn’t ever heard that Christianity started with the Catholic Church. Somehow, all the protestant churches skipped over that little bit o’ knowledge during my many years of devout attendance. The church I attended in my teens actually taught that Catholics aren’t even Christians. Hmmm… maybe they should read Crocker’s book, too. It’s no small book, so I’m reading it with a big cup of coffee, alongside my morning prayer. Call it school. I’m digging in.


My goodness, I think I’m actually out of things to say. Imagine that. I guess it’s 6 Quick Takes for me this week!

Check out more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.

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  1. says

    Somehow the audio verson of Mr. Popper’s penguins we got from our library came as its own individual mp3 player! My 5 year old LOVED it and listened to it a few times before we took it back, and while I wouldn’t make a habit of sending one so young off with his own player and headphones, it was a relief to have one I didn’t have to read OR listen to. I recall liking it as a child, but after reading your post, I’m even a bit more grateful for that device. Off to go be productive away from a computer screen. I think I’ll go clean my learning room;)

  2. says

    Can I ask you about your conversion and how you came to decide that catholicism was the right place for you to be instead of the protestant church? This has been a topic on my mind for several months, and I’m curious to hear your story.

  3. Anonymous says

    Thanks for the reminder about the computer. SO TRUE!

    Haven’t I told you before I was stepping away? Yet here I am in the middle of the day…

    I need to reevaluate my time online as well!

    I would love to hear if you are enjoying the book. I plan to focus more reading time on the Faith and I am a little overwhelmed at the choices!

    Glad to see I can now leave comments here!

    Tracey (Connections)

  4. says

    You’re such a wise mama. I’m interested in reading that book about the history of the Catholic church. I’m not even Catholic, but I’ve been interested in learning more lately. And point #1…so true; I’m working on that to.

  5. says

    I’ve recently had that exact thought as the women you mentioned in #1. I used to think, similarly, that “well, I’m not on the phone all the time” and such, but the kids seeing my back while I’m on the computer is not much different.

    I really enjoy your writing.