7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 141)

— 1 —

IT’S OVER!!! My husband took the fourth of four CPA certification exams this week. Assuming he passed (oh please, please…) this is huge news. I’m not sure exactly how long he’s been taking classes or studying for this thing, but it’s somewhere around the timeframe of FOREVER. For the past year and a half we’ve been doing six-day weeks so that he can study on Saturdays, so we feel like we’ve been let out of prison. Last night we went out to dinner to celebrate the end of this era, and I toasted him for being a JD, MBA and CPA. He mused aloud, “Now if I can just become a certified Linux administrator, we’ll be all set.” I think he was kidding…but ordered another drink in case he wasn’t.

— 2 —

Having the CPA exam over with means that it’s time for me to get back to the book! For those of you who are new readers, let me explain: I have this bizarre hobby (or perhaps an illness) in which I like to write words in a double-spaced Word document and pretend like they’re going to be published one day. Every year or so I make a dramatic announcement about how I’m all finished and now have a book. This is promptly followed by another announcement that either I hate it or my agent hates it, then something comes up that means I have to shelve it for months at a time, and there’s usually a surprise pregnancy somewhere in there. And now the cycle begins again!

— 3 —

Here’s a cool way to give back to your church that doesn’t take a ton of time: Consider starting a meals ministry. I’ve mentioned before that our parish has a wonderful program where women (and a few men!) take turns making meals for our priests, who are usually too busy to cook for themselves. We have enough volunteers that each person only needs to cook about once a quarter, so it’s not too much strain at all (I usually just make an extra large portion of whatever I was going to make for our family). Our priests really appreciate it, and it’s a way for us to thank them for the wonderful job they do.

This subject recently came up when I was talking to a priest from a different town, and he said wistfully, “Wow, that would be so wonderful to have something like that!”…but he hated to ask his parishoners to start something like it in case it didn’t work for them. So I’ll say it for him: If you feel moved to do so, consider asking your priest if he’d like a meals ministry to cook for him!

— 4 —

That reminds me: My tupperware cabinet is killing me. Thanks to the blessings of having so many people cook for us after we had the baby and my involvement in the meals ministry, we have a ton of to-go containers, and they’re all jumbled in one cabinet. The process of finding an appropriately sized container with a matching lid makes me lose my will to live every time. So, organized people, I’m asking you: Is there some clever solution to disposable container organization? I know that one idea is to keep only a few different sized containers of the same brand so that it’s simple to find sizes and lids…but I hate to throw away perfectly good containers when folks bring them over as part of food gifts. Anyone have any thoughts? You would be amazed at how much it would improve my quality of life if I could get a handle on this.

— 5 —

Fr. Robert Barron‘s new series is about to be released. I can’t be the only one who got chills at this trailer (which I found through Matt Warner — thanks!). Press that little button on the bottom right to treat yourself to watching it on full screen:

Also, can you imagine how much spiritual attack he must have been under while creating this? (That might sound crazy, but that stuff is real, and it’s no joke.)

— 6 —

Jodi of Sew FearlessΒ is looking for a post that sounds good:

Unfortunately, I don’t think I wrote it. (I suggested this one, or an as-yet-unwritten one called “I Drink a Lot, ” but those weren’t it.) I bet there is a good post out there, though, offering practical tips for moms of crawling babies. Anyone got anything for her?

— 7 —

Yesterday I heard from a bunch of folks that some of my posts mysteriously went missing from the front page of my blog, with no rhyme or reason, without any consistency from one computer to another. This did not bother me at all; I handled it prayerfully and calmly, intrigued by the challenge of solving such a delightfully mysterious puzzle. Or not. Now picture the opposite of that, including irrational threats of physical harm to my computer, and you have an idea of how I took it. Anyway, if you missed my prestigious awards ceremony on Wednesday, go check out a great list of blogs!

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Comments

  1. says

    Tuperware – it’s always such a mess! Thank God I moved recently and got it under control. And that’s only because I had to box it all up to move out of our house! Now I have to figure it out at my parents’ house! Boy, talk about difficult.

    What I end up doing, is when it gets completely unmanagable, ok well more like a few months after it has become completley unmanagable, I’ve taken to pulling it all out and letting the baby play with them on the floor while I keep all the really good tuperware and recycle all the “extra” I can’t beliebe it’s not butter or cool whip containers that have piled up… well actually it would seem I’ve only done this twice since 2008 – one time per baby, well, ok three times including the recent move… good luck!

  2. says

    Anxiously awaiting the “I Drink a Lot” post. Love reading these each Friday. Will definitely be using the list on #7 to procrastinate all day long. You know, in between keeping my children alive and such.

  3. Christina says

    A post that reminds me of the one Jodi might be thinking of is this one:
    http://jenniferfulwiler.com/2009/08/7-quick-takes-friday-vol-47.html It is actually a Quick Takes post but if you look at #3…it refers to “Bare Minimum Mode” when the baby is 4-10 months…so maybe it’s not the right one, but it’s the post that I thought of! πŸ™‚

    If anyone has any solutions to Tupperware…I’d definitely appreciate the advice as well!

    And congratulations Jen on having your husband finish the testing! Blessings as you begin working on your book again!

  4. says

    Congratulations for your husband!! I actually started my first day of university today… *notices accomplishments of Mr. Fulwiler* …nevermind πŸ˜€

  5. says

    Congratulations to your husband! I still remember you talking about how his diploma says “Yalensis” and you assumed that was a place in Texas, or something along those lines.

    Re: Tupperware – I’d find another use for them. Did you need more plastic food storage containers before you had a baby? If not, you probably don’t need them now…at least, in my house what would happen is I’d keep filling them up with leftovers and forgetting about them entirely until I had created an entirely new species of slime mold in my fridge. So I try to only have as many as I’ll reasonably need. But they are good for holding spice packets on a shelf or broken crayons, which everyone needs more of.

    • says

      I was going to say something along the same lines. In a recent post you mentioned losing pieces of various toys with small parts. Maybe you could re-purpose the containers into small parts storage solutions?

  6. says

    Congrats to your hubby! πŸ™‚ My suggestion regarding the tupperware drawer is to follow my example and have a house fire. It solves SO many of the “excess junk” problems, you have no idea. I now have ONE complete new set of Rubbermaid containers and I am very, very happy. Of course I still can never find a lid…

  7. says

    The wait for Fr. Barron’s Catholicism Project seems interminable. He is such an excellent teacher and the trailers look stunning. It will not be long now.

    Your note about watching videos full-screen is something I have wondered about. Do typical blog readers (particularly the non-bloggers) realize that is available and use it? I hope so. Watching great videos at postage stamp size loses so much.

    My entry this week… World Youth Day in reality and as portrayed by the mainstream media. A fallen SEAL and his dog. Abortion honors for Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Rick Perry signs the pro-life pledge. Susan G. Komen, still more than meets the eye. A simple explanation of the economic crisis. Puppy dreams.

  8. says

    I hate trying to match lids with containers so now I put the lid on the container and put it in the cupboard which means I only have room for like 5 containers. When I get a new one I immediately chuck an old one. Once someone came into my kitchen in a helpful way and carefully took all the lids off the containers and stacked them separately (which Of Course saved tons of space). As soon as they left I pulled everything out and put all the lids back on, muttering to myself in an angry way. As I write this, I can feel that I have Too Much Emotion about all my plastic Tupperware so I’m going to go away and have a nap.

  9. says

    Blessings, blessings! Congratulations on your husband’s last exam! Yeah! I get it with the book … one more tweak, one more fact to check, a chapter to be reworded, etc. I will say a special prayer for you today!!

  10. says

    Holy cannoli… a JD, MBA, and CPA? Has anyone ever told your husband that it’s okay to not accomplish everything this is to accomplish in the world? Is he going to win the Tour de France next?

    Seriously, though, congrats to him! I’m sure your whole family is thrilled and very proud. And good luck with the book!

    And LOL @ the as-yet-unwritten “I Drink a Lot” post.

  11. Jackie says

    Congrats to your husband – and to you – for the CPA finish. I remember when my hubby was studying (years ago) for his architecture exams – it was a year long process, and hard on everyone! So enjoy the extra time!

    I have the same tupperware problem occasionally – I just make extra food and send it home with my grown children telling them they don’t have to return the container. Or I share with a neighbor or co-worker. Works every time!

  12. says

    I’m so unorganized with my leftovers. My roommate has all these nice containers and tries to be all organized and I fail miserably. I’m in the same boat. I hope he passed the CPA!

  13. elizabethe says

    Re: Tupperware.

    Why do we value mere things more than we value our own piece of mind?

    You are letting these tuppeware rob you of precious moments of your life that could be less stress ful.

    If it’s causing you anywhere near the amount of stress my untamed tupperware caused me before I got rid of it and limited myself to two different kinds that all stack nicely, it is NOT WORTH IT even 30 seconds of your SANITY every day to keep around a tupperware that costs maybe 1.50.

    GET RID OF IT (same with the toy pile, Jenn, value your sanity and stress-free life more than the stuff you are keeping around).

    Why don’t you donate it to the meals ministry?

  14. says

    My tupperware solution isn’t perfectly organized, but it works for us. I have 3 plastic baskets. One for round, one for rectangle, and one for square tupperwares. This way the kids can put them away and when I look for a lid, I’m at least in the right ballpark.

    Congrats to your husband!

  15. ARM says

    My tupperware solution: Since my last move, I started storing the containers and lids separately. The containers are in a milk crate in a cupboard and I have devoted a shallow drawer to the lids. It felt like a waste of precious drawer space at first, but I find I’ve had way less frustration matching up lids and containers.

  16. says

    I do a couple of things with plastic leftover containers. The ones I regularly use for my house/fridge go into two drawers: round and square/rectangular. I just keep the ones I love and stack them, with lids standing on their edges where I can see them. I keep other containers, with lids on each one, on shelves in the basement/garage. Those are for food I give away. Way back when, I labeled same size lids/containers with a Sharpie number – the “2”s all matched each other. That system actually worked pretty well.

    My big problem is glass jars… hate to toss the good wide-mouth ones and the spice-sized ones.

    • says

      That was my suggestion, too – a friend’s mom labeled lids and containers with matching numbers – kind of like Garanimals! (This works on puzzles, too – flip a completed puzzle over and write a number or letter on the back of each piece – so all of one puzzle gets and “A,” the next puzzle gets a “B” on each piece, etc. – the preschool teachers did this and then when a stray piece turned up, they knew just where it went!)

  17. says

    Congrats to you both, and you especially for being so patient with the process. It’s hard to be the one “doing less”in the world so another spouse can accomplish something like that. Not that anyone could say that you don’t do anything Jen.

  18. says

    Your description of your bizarre hobby cracks me up!

    As for tupperware, no advice. Just empathy. I’ve given up, and given it over to my toddler as the one cabinet in the kitchen that’s not off-limits to him. He LOVES to stack and re-stack the tupperware, take it out of the cabinet, put it back in, and generally make a mess. The tupperware I actually want to use is kept way up high out of little people’s reach. At least I have a happy baby who’s entertained with tupperware so I can cook.

    I got a good laugh out of that twitter exchange yesterday (on my brand spankin’ new twitter account). I Drink a Lot? Love it. Reminds me of this quote I just saw in the back of Forbes: “Advice for mothers: Moms are becoming much more real in terms of admitting that the job is a difficult one and that a nice glass of wine at the end of the day sure helps.”

  19. says

    I like to pretend that I leave my tupperware cabinet a wreck just for the sake of emergency entertainment for the boys. As long as it’s in a cabinet close to the floor, with a child-proof lock that requires your permission to enter, it works well for that previously mentioned age group of 6 – 12 months (and older). THis is reason enough for me to justify not organizing mine anyway πŸ™‚

  20. says

    Wow, congratulations to your husband! I was happy to be a double major in college, but he must be one of those above and beyond the beyond kind of people! As far as tupperware, I usually go through it and donate to my poor college friends or the local goodwill. Anything without lids is either repurposed or definitely sent to Goodwill. Regarding storage solutions, what about putting lids of the same size in IKEA magazine holders? Then you can put the magazine bins beside your bowls which are stacked by size, making it nice and neat and not too difficult to maintain? Also, thanks for the link to Gimp!

  21. says

    First, congratulations to your husband. Hoping he passed! Second, he totally sounds like my husband who seems to get a kick out of having as many letters as humanly possible behind his name. It doesn’t help that we also have the longest last name imaginable, so setting up business cards must be a challenge for his employer.

  22. says

    I forgot to weigh in on the Tupperware situation. If you can’t bear to throw away perfectly good containers (and boy do I understand that feeling!) and your city doesn’t accept them for recycling (my city only accepts plastic bottles) then I agree with the above comment that you ought to donate them to Goodwill. I also wanted to suggest that you might try repurposing these containers creatively, maybe by using them as drawer dividers in the kids’ room to hold baby socks or barrettes or other small items that tend to get lost? Or use them in the bathroom cabinets or linen closet to corral feminine hygiene products, medicine bottles, bars of soap or travel-sized bottles, etc. I also have two small plastic “to go” boxes in my entertainment center – one for new batteries, and one clearly labeled for “dead” batteries that need to be recycled. (Our city doesn’t take batteries, but our library collects them for recycling!)

  23. Paula says

    I keep lids in a drawer. Round lids together, square lids together, etc. I stack them with the smallest lids on top so I can see each lid as I look at the pile. Containers go in a cabinet, also sorted with smaller containers inside larger containers of same shape. (Maybe your oldest kids could put them away by size for you- though I find that it takes just about the same amount of time as throwing them in the cabinet.) I have found that this system makes it very easy to find what I want, and is not hard even for an un-tidy person (me!)

    By the way, I look at your blog every day, and really enjoy it.

  24. says

    #2 had me LAUGHING out loud, literally. I was *just* talking to my oldest about writing great papers for her classes {10th grade} when I pulled up the laptop and wanted to see what you were up to on 7 quick takes. I read it to her and we both had a good laugh. Thanks. πŸ™‚

    Glad you have been “sprung” from jail, too. πŸ™‚

  25. says

    My thought on plastic dishes is to keep only a few that go together well, and DONATE the rest. That way you don’t have the guilt of throwing them away.

    Congratulations to Mr. Fulwiler!

  26. says

    As for tupperware, I feel your pain. My only two suggestions would be: 1) give meals away in them; and 2) use them to organize other things around the house, i.e. all those annoying little accessories to the toys. You know, this one is for Barbie shoes/etc., this one for Imaginext pirate swords etc., and so on.

  27. says

    Congratulations for your husband and the fam! Though it might not be fun, there are many things in life that come up and put a book we’ve long been working on and hoped to have published on the back burner. As long as you don’t turn it up to 451F, there’s still hope:)

    It’s been a rough week, and I would really appreciate some extra prayers if you get the chance. Please and thanks.

  28. says

    Spiritual attack is absolutely real. Look at Mel Gibson. Nothing will convince me that spiritual attack wasn’t involved in that.

  29. Perpetually Pregnant Papist says

    You do NOT want to see my tupperware monstrosity. It’s pretty bad, honestly. :-/

  30. says

    You can fly me to Texas and I can organize your entire house, not just the tupperware cabinet or take said pieces and stack w/i each other. Take said lids and organize by size in largest container, put the lid to largest container that now houses lids under the container. A place for everything and everything has a place. πŸ™‚

  31. Katy says

    I definitely got chills watching the video. I was privileged to see a 30 minute “preview” at World Youth Day. It looks amazing.

    Also, every time I see the clips from Lourdes I get so excited. I was there for the first time right before WYD!

  32. says

    Congrats to you and your hubby on his acheivements! How exciting for your family!!
    Love reading your blog … would love even more reading a book from you! Thanks for letting me link up!

  33. Julie says

    I also can’t stand when my plastic storage containers get into a jumbled mess, so a couple of years ago I embarked on a new system and it’s working really well for us. We have one set of more sturdy (Rubbermaid?) containers that we reserve for daily use. They stack neatly and it’s easy to find matching containers and lids. They’re kept in a deep kitchen drawer. For the more flimsy “disposable” containers that folks trade back and forth, I keep a decent supply in the back of my pantry. When I’m preparing food for someone else, I use these and don’t expect (or want!) them back. When I receive food from someone else, that’s where the containers go. When this pile gets too big, some of it’s tossed in the recycling bin. Or the baby’s toy box — little ones love containers!

  34. says

    Isn’t it nice when some huge project is FINALLY over? I’m personally looking forward to celebrating later this semester that my husband is FINALLY finished with his MA.

    Blessings!

    Ruth

  35. says

    Haha your last take was pretty funny πŸ™‚ How about instead of bringing priests a meal , invite them over for dinner? I think people stopped doing that .

  36. says

    I love the idea of starting a ministry to cook for priests! Such an easy way to say thanks, and to make sure they are getting some healthy food. Definitely going to try to start this in our area!

  37. says

    Tupperware: it’s eternal. I weed mine out and store the extras in the basement so if I miss any size, I can “shop” there first.
    Also: are you oldest old enough to play the “lid matching game?” Mine actually loved it the first few times (and I got it, you feel very accomplished and they felt very grown up).
    Then, when you are preparing a meal to take to someone, you go down to the basement (do you have a basement? wherever your storage space is) and “shop” there for the sizes you are giving away.
    Good luck and have a blessed weekend!

  38. says

    I’m really looking forward to that new series! Can’t wait for it to come out! And SO happy that your hubby finished the CPA – mine is in the midst of the CFA exams and they are grueling as well. Have a great weekend!

  39. says

    You can try organizing by containers and lids. I have a rectangular container that I put in all my lids and the matching containers are right next to it. Just makes less mess to go through.

  40. says

    Wow, your husband is amazing!! I started studying for this exam twice (I have my BS in Accounting, and my MBA) and gave up due to work schedules or pregnancies. I think I’ve finally accepted the fact that I won’t be a CPA, and I got a job in private accounting instead πŸ™‚

  41. says

    Hey, when you write the “I drink a lot” post, can you include what to do when you 10 month old suddenly refuses to wear a diaper… but won’t sit on the potty?

  42. says

    Tupperware: ***Keep the lids on the bowls when they are stored.*** If you are tempted to separate them out because you can keep more of them that way – just remember that your fridge probably doesn’t hold more space for leftovers than your tupperware shelf does, so all those extra tupperwares couldn’t be used anyway. (Fill your space with your favorite or most-used tupperwares; you can store one or two to keep for give-away meals, but keep the lids on those too.) Seriously, I cannot believe how much wasted time and effort I’ve saved myself when I started doing it this way. (Which I believe I originally came across this solution in that ADD organizing book you recommended awhile back.) When putting the tupperware away, you may think it’s easier to just toss the lid and bowl in separately, but that half-second of putting the lid back on saves you 5 minutes of searching for a workable combo later on. Plus, it looks much neater this way and saves all of that back-of-the-mind aggravation that a clutter-y place makes.

  43. says

    Congrats to your husband – fingers crossed and prayers said that he passed and is truly finished :)!

    Tupperware – how I hate to love thee.

    Have a great weekend and thanks for hosting.

  44. says

    I keep my lids in a grocery bag and the containers as neatly stacked as possible. So I still have to dig through a bag, but it is not too hard. I usually find the lid quickly. It works for me.

  45. says

    Congratulations to your husband (and you!) for this big accomplishment!

    As far as Tupperware goes, I’m in the same boat as you are. If you find a solution that doesn’t take up a ton of space, please let me know.

    Thank you for sharing that Catholicism trailer! I had not even heard about this series. But I now plan on finding it and tuning in. It sounds great.

  46. says

    Congratulations to you and your husband from a former CPA. I passed the exam way back in the dark ages (1981) when we had to drive 2 hours to the state capital, take it with pencil and paper and no calculators!!, sit for all four parts at once (or only the parts you still needed to pass if you didn’t pass it all the first time) which took two and a half days, and wait almost three months for the scores. (Sorry, I realize that sounds like a “when I was your age I walked to school two miles both ways” story.)

    As for tupperware storage, one thing that really helped me was to put them all in an UPPER cabinet where I could see and reach them without bending over. Then, I stacked them by shape, without the lids, and put all the lids in one large container. It’s not a perfect system because I still have to search for the lid which fits the container, but it works well enough for me.

  47. says

    See, your #4 answers #6’s question of “what to do with 6-12 month olds?” Just give them a drawer/cabinet of tupperware to play with! My 9 month old, Peter, spent 30 minutes playing with an empty water jug (the 2.5 gallon ones that are as big as he is) while I cooked dinner earlier. Total bliss!

    But really, with so many older kiddos surely you’re barely allowed to touch your babies, right? I seriously got into a “no, I’m holding Peter, you can play with him later” fight with my 3 year old the other day, lol! I’ve become quite superfluous aside from that whole feeding and clothing him thing now that there’s a little brother to play with.

  48. Tina says

    We have a group that does meals for our priests Tuesday though Thursday (they frequently have other events/invitations on the weekends). I think we each do it only twice yearly, maybe three times at most. Our coordinator makes and sends out a schedule with the names and phone numbers of those participating, and we make our own trades if necessary. As you said, our priests greatly appreciate it.

  49. Amelia B. says

    Invest $25 in your sanity for ONE brand of MATCHING Tupperware. Take all the rest of the unmatching ones, put them in a box, and store the box somewhere far away from the kitchen. Refer to the box when giving presents away, use your WONDERFUL soul-soothing MATCHING Tupperware for your own home. You will not regret this investment in your sanity!

    πŸ™‚

  50. says

    My mom’s system for organizing plastic containers is to code each container and matching lid with a letter of the alphabet, in permanent marker. Finding the right lid then becomes a simple matter of finding the matching letter. It is an especially good idea for containers that are almost, but not quite, the same size (hate that — I’ll spend five minutes trying different lids that look right but aren’t; maybe I should do this too).

  51. Cecilia says

    my old parish had a similar meals ministry but for mothers who had just had a baby or were expecting one very soon, and for people who had recently lost a family member. We didn’t need a meals ministry for the priests since they had a full time volunteer cook.

  52. says

    RE: Tupperware. I don’t know if this is a huge trick or anything, but I’m just in the habit of putting the cover on the container before putting it away in the cabinet. Doesn’t always solve the issue but at least lessens it a bit.

  53. says

    I got so sick of the mess of the tupperware that I got rid of it all and replaced it with glass pyrex. I LOVE the pyrex – much more aesthetically pleasing and I like that I don’t have to worry about whatever plastic seeps into things when I nuke things in it. I kept a very few pieces, which I have in lower cabinet that my son Judah is allowed to get into.

  54. says

    I read you all the time, and just never, ever comment. Plastic containers must be the topic that just pushed me out of lurking:)

    Once a year, I buy a new box of plastic wear with matching lids in the sizes we need~$20 or so. I go through all the old containers and match up lids and containers. Anything without a match goes to our local recycling center or to the mission. Anything that DOES have a match gets filled with cookies. My kids and I make a list of people we want to bless or encourage. They help make the cookies and we write notes or draw pictures and spend a couple of days delivering them and visiting.

    We have also used containers in the past for toys, crafts, hair clips, etc. but after awhile, there are only so many of those kinds of things that need organized. KISS–keep it simple, sister!

  55. Lucy says

    Congrats to your husband! And to you – you survived! And had a baby! This whole Quick Takes made me laugh, but I wanted to add my two cents to the tupperware discussion (I’m sure there have been tons of suggestions – I didn’t read the comments), since I also have been on the receiving end of many meals packaged in “disposable” containers. First, I keep my containers in a fairly small drawer. When I can’t close it anymore, I look at what could be used for other purposes – legos, hair clips, barbie shoes, paint tubs, etc. (I’ve even used the bigger ones in drawers to separate baby socks, kid undies, doll clothes, matchbox cars…). If there are any I particularly like for food storage, I keep them. Then I throw everything else away and go buy a complete set for $20 at Target. It seems wasteful, but my husband HATES trying to find a lid and whatever I can do to keep him cleaning up after dinner is worth the wasted “disposable” containers. I mean, they’re “disposable,” right?