Friday, July 8, 2016

7 Quick Takes Friday


All my children know that rubbing alcohol removes permanent (Sharpie) pen from just about any surface. "Get the rubbing alcohol down, Mama!"


One early morning, when I was groggily drinking coffee with three of five children snuggling with me on the couch, I sent the three-year-old to retrieve a book for me to read him but, as he got to the basket, he said rather calmly, "Mama, there is a mouse here."

The mouse

It is a good thing to have a nine-year-old boy, and I feign that I am, not so much being a ninny myself, but am training him for the future when I instruct him to go get a new mouse trap, load it with peanut butter, and come back to lay it in place.

Of course, when the mouse just sat there, moving no more than about a centimeter at a time, I realized that he must have been sick or injured.

So, then I had John retrieve a Tupperware and place it over the mouse, who didn't even run away.

After another sibling was woken up to view this excitement, they all observed the mouse for a while before I carried it outside to dispatch it. (I must really love my husband, who I was letting sleep in after about a week on the road and very late nights, or he would have been fulfilling his normal Mouse Duty.)


Meals of the Week 

. . . shared to show that "My career is homeschool mother, not gourmet chef!"

  • Saturday
    • Home late from hiking, so had to scrap my planned dinner and assemble randomly frozen 'popcorn chicken' and boxed macaroni and cheese for the kids, a microwave burrito for me, and a chicken-and-bacon thing for Chris (frozen from Costco).
  • Sunday
    • I can't remember . . . 
  • Monday (Independence Day)
    • Party at a friends' home
  • Tuesday
    • Hot dogs
  • Wednesday
    • Pizza at home (I can't call it "homemade pizza"--what do you call those premade shells and sauce one buys and assembles at home? Home-Assembled Pizza?)
  • Thursday
    • Taco night
  • Friday
    • Planned: Quiche, sauteed mushrooms, green salad--none of which the children will eat, so who knows what entire second meal I will cook.


Josey (3) treasures his Spiderman tricycle--not that he even knows who Spiderman is--which I bought for two dollars at a garage sale. He values it so and he calls it his "motorcycle."

One day this week, while he was snuggling with me upon his waking up from a nap, he said, "For my birthday, I want a new motorcycle--a Batman motorcycle" (not that he has any idea who Batman is, either).

I threw out an affirmation ("Oh, you would like a new motorcycle") followed by a few evasions such as, "We'll see," and "You have a good motorcycle already."

Then he said, "If you give me a new Batman motorcycle, I want you to write my name on the back."

"Oh? You want me to write JOSEY on it?"

"I want you to write 'JOSEY LOVES MAMA' on it!"

And then my heart melted into a puddle . . . Is this how a mother feels when her tough biker son gets a tattoo of her name on his muscular bicep?


Family Books of the Week (in progress or completed)

  • Read-alouds
    • "Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints" (Loreto Publications, originally published 1894)
    • "Daniel Boone, Wilderness Scout" by Stewart Edward White (1922)--quite interesting so far and quite academic for youth, e.g., 20 pages written on the mechanics of rifles
    • "The Jungle Books" by Rudyard Kipling (1894)  (audio CD)--finished. I'd never read more than the well-known Mowgli story, so it was neat to listen to the entire collection. My favorites were "Rikki-Tikki Tavi" and "Her Majesty's Servants."
    • "The Bronze Bow" by Elizabeth George Speare (1961) (audio CD)
  • Mama
    • "Guidance to Heaven" by Cardinal Giovanna Bona (written in the 1600s)--daily holy reading
    • "The Holy Mass" by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1805-1875)--daily holy reading since Easter, goal to finish within a year
    • "The American Martyrology"--daily holy reading
    • "The Yearling" by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1938)
    • "Cold Comfort Farm" by Stella Gibbons (1932)--Humorous with skilled character paintings, but one of those books that is more crass than I remembered from having read it (numerous times) a decade ago.
  • John
  • Mary

As we ponder what books to allow or encourage our children to read, this piece gives insight: "Are Today's Schools Giving Children 'Worthless Literature' to Read?" by Annie Holmquist

Parents do have a right to keep twaddle out of our homes. There is a balance, a fine line to walk, a gentleness to encourage good books that will broaden the mind and strengthen the soul while quietly steering away from worthless books. That said, I do outright disallow most twaddle, even if that means that we're perusing a fabulous bookstore and the children are bringing me fluffy books that are number 47 in a series of nonsense books about a rainbow unicorn. 

In my experience now, of about four years so far of having independent readers, the child whose twaddle request is rejected experiences momentary disappointment, and then, three chapters into Mark Twain, the child will declare, "This is my book!" Then the only 'problem' that week is that the 7-year-old will continually sneak off to read more of Tom Sawyer when she has other tasks . . . and that is a good problem to have.

(A discussion for another time is the corollary to television: refusing to turn on yet another cartoon and making the kids watch instead some nice, black-and-white live action family movie.)


What a busy week! We took the week off of school, except for music and math, because of so many activities: Independence Day on Monday; regular music lessons and my Light Weigh meeting on Tuesday; a piano practice reward of a visit to a cafe, as well as a swim play date on Wednesday; a birthday party on Thursday, Football Friday today . . .

Breakfast at a French cafe in Pineville

Random bonus pic capturing the fact that Mary gets antsy and needles me if I don't often enough preview Catholic newspaper articles for her to read. She points to headlines and asks, "Mama, please read this to tell me if it's okay!"

Reading newspapers over breakfast, like Mama


“Home should not be just a place. Rather, it must be THE place. All else should be ‘outside.’ Home should be the center of activities and interests. It was built for births, courtship, marriage, and death. It is maintained so that children might grow, trained by precept and example – so that they will develop spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, just as they do physically.”

– Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik (1913-1982). The Catholic Family Handbook


  1. We've had not just one mouse, but three over the past week! One obviously a mama, the other two probably her babies. I'm hoping that's the end of it. The scampered by us, bold as brass. But the peanut butter lured them in, too.

  2. I loved #5 as it is so apt for what we are going through. This gives me courage!!

    What an outpouring of love from a 3 year old's heart! Melt! You are clearly a most beloved person in his world; it is truly a gift the be 'mother'!
    Hooray for motherhood! :)

  3. Oof. Twaddle. Since our relatives know we like books, we have been gifted a fair amount of twaddle over the years. It just disappears in the middle of the night. Isn't that odd? :)