7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 13)

December 12, 2008 | 43 comments

— 1 —

I officially love hosting 7 Quick Takes Friday — it’s a new weekend tradition that when I have a moment of free time for web surfing, I eagerly use it to read everyone’s posts. They’re all so much fun to read, and a great way to get to “know” other bloggers. So, from here on out, I’ll do 7 Quick Takes Friday every week unless otherwise announced.

Also, I got the idea the other day that I if I were to make this a really classy meme I’d create a proper logo to go with it (like Shannon’s lovely Works for Me Wednesday banner). So now I must have a logo. You cannot imagine the vast amounts of time and energy I’m going to waste over-analyzing this endeavor.

— 2 —

Southern hemisphere readers: does it bother you that the holidays are in the summer? Or is it what you’re used to?

I ask because I’ve lived most of my life in warm climates where white Christmases are unheard of and it’s not unusual to wear short sleeves to New Year’s Eve parties, and I’m still not used to it.

— 3 —

Doing Christmas cards this year has reminded me: one of the advantages of having the most secular wedding ever is that our conversion offered easy opportunities for conversations about the faith when shocked friends heard that we’d become orthodox Catholics.

I remember when our 2006 Christmas newsletter went out with the announcement that both of us were converting, you could tell how long the post office took to deliver mail to various parts of the country by how long it took the phone to ring with calls from bewildered friends. A day after the cards were mailed we got the “YOU DID WHAT?!” calls from friends in Texas; it took two days for friends in other parts of the South to call; three for friends in the Great Plains regions; and four days later our phone rang with friends on the East and West coasts asking if we’d lost our minds.

— 4 —

Now that it’s winter again, I want to rave about how much I LOVE my Twelve Months of Monastery Soups cookbook (which I originally discovered through the lovely blog Joyful Chaos). Benedictine monk Br. Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette shares the soup recipes that he uses to feed the brothers at his monastery and, as you might expect, they’re delicious, cheap, simple, and seasonal to both the weather and the liturgical year.

If you’re looking for a great gift idea: give a loved-one this book along with a pot of soup made from one of the recipes!

— 5 —

I’ve been trying to figure out why it is that I perpetually have a basket of clean laundry sitting in the family room, waiting to be put away. For a while I thought the problem was that I don’t have self-folding, self-storing clothes (I still think that’s a large part of it, actually). Then I thought it was because I still haven’t had time to do that epic closet re-org that I’ve been planning for, oh, two years, and it’s just too much to ask that I endure the overwhelming drudgery of cramming clothes into my overflowing, non-color-coded, non-Container-Store-grade closet racks.

Then I was reading Pioneer Woman‘s home and garden blog yesterday and I realized: the problem is that I don’t have a laundry room like the one in her guest house. After taking a moment to estimate if that thing is actually bigger than my whole kitchen or not, it became clear to me that I would not have any laundry problems if I had all that space and all those drawers and that amazing top-of-the-line washer/dryer unit; nay, I would not have any problems at all.

Anyway, as I sit here blogging with said basket of laundry sitting there not putting itself away in front of me, I find it refreshing to know what the problem really is.

— 6 —

Isn’t BooMama’s Christmas Tour of Homes the best idea ever? I really want to participate…the only problem is that my efforts at Christmas decorating are very, ahem, un-tour-worthy.

In my great desire to join in the fun I’ve been half tempted to do it anyway. I imagine posting a picture of me sitting on the couch, Photoshopping in a thought bubble above my head that shows me imagining some living room featured in the holiday issue of Martha Stewart Living. Maybe I could also use Photoshop to take out the decaying Halloween-era pumpkin you would see in the background of the picture of the Advent wreath. I could perhaps feature a shot of my children yet again mistaking our long hanging Advent calendar for a Tarzan rope. And I could end with a picture of our street with houses lit in gorgeous, elaborate light displays, pointing out the dark one in the middle as ours, a lone string of lights haphazardly draped kind of across the front window, making some sort of artistic statement like, “HEY WE HAVE THREE KIDS UNDER FIVE WITH ONE ON THE WAY THROW US A FREAKING BONE HERE PEOPLE.”

If BooMama is giving any kind of awards for this event, I’d be sure to win Most Real.

— 7 —

I had some other story I was going to tell, but after I wrote the first six earlier today I took a break to decorate our first-ever family Christmas tree with the kids. It was great, but I’m now so exhausted that I’m going to go track some tinsel upstairs and collapse into bed.


Below is a Mr. Linky list if you’d like to add a link to your own 7 Quick Takes post. (1) Make sure the link you submit is to the URL of your post and not your main blog URL. (2) Include a link back here.

I look forward to reading your posts!


  1. Lizzie @ Lizzie's Home

    In answer to no. 2 –

    It’s not that uncommon for an Aussie Christmas to be in the low to mid thirties (celcius)…85-95ºF. Some years have seen 40ºC (104ºF).

    There are two types of Christmas celebrators in Australia. Those who will take the (usually) warm weather to heart and head down to the beach for a barbecue, or if they stay at home, stick with cold meats and salads.

    Then there are those who just can’t give up on a traditional Christmas dinner of turkey (or other roasted meats), and all the trimmings (perhaps this is a throwback to our UK heritage?) Yes, even if the footpath is hot enough to fry an egg.

    I’m in the second group.

    I guess we are used to it by now. People who do ‘all the trimmings’ keep cool indoors with the AC, LOL. Water pistols and wading pools are common children’s gifts. And yet the funny thing is, even though we’re in the height of an Aussie summer, we still sing songs like Frosty The Snowman, Jingle Bells (sleigh ride), White Christmas. We still watch traditional (okay, American) Christmas movies which usually revolve around Christmas snowfalls.

    Personally, I’d LOVE to experience a Northern Hemisphere Christmas…and yes, it would be a bonus if there was snow. Even during winter (where I am on the southern coast of Oz) we don’t get any snow. Hot chocolate and a roaring fire fits SO much better with the traditional Christmas in my mind, LOL. In reality, we’re more likely to be playing cricket in the backyard or running through the sprinklers (scratch that – Australia is under water restrictions and we’re banned from that now!).

    Some years are a bit different. This year we’ve had such a mild start to summer (long, dry ‘summer’ will probably extend well into March now, sigh) and the projected forecast (as semi-accurate as this is) is for a mild day, low to mid twenties (70-75ºF). Personally I’d rather have this than a scorcher!


  2. Laura

    The soup book looks good. I could use some easy, cheap meals right about now!

  3. Sara

    My laundry doesn’t put itself away either. My house has 4 bedrooms and one could easily expect 5 people to live here, but I think the laundry room is still too ridiculously small for that. There’s just room for my machines and a small sorter, and me. I’m always afraid someone is going to come in the garage door while I’m bending over and knock me out!

  4. Potamiaena

    LOL I’m throwing you a freaking bone here, people! You are hilarious and intelligent and a blessing to the world. Thank you so much for your great blog!

  5. Shelly W

    Love it about the laundry. I have the same problem! Actually, I just wish laundry did itself all the way around–I truly detest laundry. But then again, I detest cleaning of any kind, so, basically, I’m a princess. Or at least I’d like to be a princess.

  6. Kathy Grubb

    2. As for the weather thing, I have the opposite problem every Easter because my mom (from OK) sends frilly sheer dresses for the girls. I’ve lived here 13 years and it’s always been no warmer than 45, rainy and snowy. I decide, ten minutes before we leave for church, that we have to drag out the thick tights, boots and Christmas dresses. (SIGH!)

    Hey! I was first!

  7. Sandy

    My washer and dryer used to be in the basement and the laundry mountain was unbearable. My dh moved the laundry room upstairs to our walk-in pantry off the kitchen (where the original owners of our house had built shelves around the laundry hook-ups). The laundry still didn’t put itself away but it was better. The thing that finally worked for me? I got rid of all the laundry baskets! That forced me to fold the laundry as soon as it was done in the dryer as I couldn’t dry another load until the dryer was empty.

    Now, even though there’s only two of us, the folded laundry sits on the dryer for days waited to be put away. It doesn’t help that my closet and dresser drawers are a mess and that’s why I dread putting clothes away.

  8. Sugar Mommy

    so what exactly are “quick takes”? 7 random thoughts? 7 things about your week?

  9. Jennifer @ Conversion Diary

    Sugar Mommy –

    so what exactly are “quick takes”? 7 random thoughts? 7 things about your week?

    I define a quick take as any piece of writing that’s too long for Twitter but too short to constitute a blog post. It can be on any topic.

    Basically, it’s a way to do a brain dump of little thoughts you’ve collected that you’d like to share but wouldn’t make it as blog posts in and of themselves. 🙂

  10. bearing


    Don’t fall into the I-need-a-better-laundry-room trap. I have a compact but efficient laundry room that I designed myself and that works admirably well, and I still let the laundry pile up. It’s upstairs now. Piling. As I type.

    The problem is that I don’t fold and put away laundry because I don’t like to do it. That’s the essence of the problem. Period.

    BTW, about the self-folding laundry, I should add that I am irritated every time the dishwasher’s little “Clean” light comes on. Because now that a machine has turned all my dirty encrusted dishes, pots, and pans into scrubbed, shiny, dry, clean ones, I have to open the thing up and put them away by hand. Darn that dishwasher!

    I do, I swear, laugh at myself every time for my lack of perspective.

  11. Lerin

    Thanks for the idea! I’m finally on board after enjoying like ten of these from you already!

  12. Anne Marie

    I’m with you on the laundry it is the bane of my household tasks.

    Oddly I was just thinking the other day that if we adopt more children I will have to offload this particular homemaking task onto said children in the interests of helping them earn their allowances.

    What do ya think?

  13. Mrs.KAOS

    My Husband and I looooooove twelve months of monastery soups. It really is a great cook book.

  14. Elizabeth

    I think I’ve finally solved my own laundry problem. And it has nothing to do with a fancy shmancy laundry room. 🙂 I’ll post about it next week.


  15. Ginkgo100

    Well, what I have to laugh about is the pumpkin. I have a decaying pumpkin from Halloween on my front porch. I should be cleaning it up right now, in fact, because it’s trash day. My excuse is that I’m waiting for the baby to go down for his nap.

  16. Jen

    In regards to #1 I’m so excited!! I love this “meme” and look forward to it every week. Both writing mine and taking time to visit other’s blogs. Thank you so much for hosting it!

  17. Colleen

    Thanks for hosting this Jen! I really enjoyed writing my first “7 Quick Takes”.

  18. Tami Boesiger

    I’m loving this meme too, Jennifer. It’s a great way to think back over what’s happened in my life each week. Thanks for continuing it. BOO YAH!

  19. LauraAnne

    I am a fan of Quick Takes too! I post on my livejournal account and am trying to find a way to get it to port over to blogger without any extra work on my part.

    No luck so far.

  20. nicole

    I would love to have a button for the carnival.

    I seem to have the same laundry issues. Only it is not one basket, it is more like 3-4 baskets. Still waiting on that laundry fairy.

  21. sarah p

    I am from NZ and we swelter and generally suffer through our Christmas Day. It doesn’t get really, fiercely hot here until February, but for some reason the temperature always seems to spike on Christmas Day! Perhaps it is because our family can’t quite give up on the hot meat – although it is cooked on the barbecue.

    I hate summer generally, so regret in particular that we don’t have a winter Christmas.

    I think it is so cool you have a Christmas newsletter. I know other people who do that too. I tried it once and got back only resounding silence.

    Sorry no link to a Friday post for me – I’ve been shamelessly doing seven quick takes all through the week!

  22. Mary Poppins NOT

    I left a link. This is a terrific way for me to keep up with some random thoughts in my head. Thanks!

  23. Maggie

    The soup cookbooks looks awesome! It was highly rated from Amazon readers, too. Yum! It’s -3 today, so soup sounds perfect!

  24. Emily

    I love the soup book! Sometimes you just want to make and eat soup, you know? Especially in the winter time. I am all about quick and easy meals, so I may have to get a copy.

  25. KimP

    This is the first Quick Takes Friday I have participated in and I love the concept! Thanks for this, Jennifer.

  26. beyondhomemaking

    Thank you for giving me a good excuse to brain dump at the end of the week!

    I don’t know what the deal is with my laundry, but I can get it all washed, dried and folded, but putting it away can take days. I can’t ever seem to get the job all the way completed.

  27. TwoSquareMeals

    Mine’s not too exciting, but it gave me an excuse to actually write a post, something I haven’t done much of lately!

  28. Nzie

    I love these! Thanks for doing them every week!

    Regarding the second part of #1 – I’ve sent you an email about that from the address in my profile with the subject line “Quick Takes Banner!”


  29. clairesd

    #6. I am still laughing. That is SO my life. They are now three under 5. But we have still not recovered from them being 3 under 3 not so long ago.

  30. Starrball

    I loved #1. You sound a lot like me….

    Of course I agree you MUST have a logo.

    I linked up.

  31. Starrball

    I don’t have trouble putting my folded laundry away because I lay it all out on the bed and fold it. Then we can’t sleep in the bed until it gets put away so it goes straight in the drawers. It probably also helps to only have the 1 laundry basket, so it can’t pile up as much.

  32. Christine

    Hi Jen! This gives me a reason to blog when I’m so busy that I can’t write tons of little posts – somehow 7 at once doesn’t seem so bad.

    Thanks again, and can’t wait for the icon/button thing. Hope that doesn’t make you more anxious knowing some of us are drooling for it. 😉

  33. Martha

    Can all of y’all really get your kids to eat soup? I would love that cookbook, but my kids will eat only Chicken noodle from a can and that is IT for soup. What’s the secret? Older kids? Younger kids?

  34. beckygiggles

    So sorry. Can you delete my link at #50? I totally got it wrong and then got it right on the next one. Thanks for doing this, it really is fun!

  35. Candace Jean July 16

    Feeling guilty about #3 – I never sent cards last year and honestly haven’t thought about it yet until I read this….oh no, another thing for the list….and I used to send the BEST letters!

  36. Marian

    I love your #5. “Epic closet re-organization” made me giggle. The grand plans we have, indeed!
    It made me think of a statement made by Antique Mommy long ago, which pops into my mind every time I look at the ever-present basket that just sits there, not folding itself. It was something along the lines of this: “Before I became a mother,laundry was a Saturday morning chore. Now, it is both a lifestyle and a decorating scheme.”
    I was drooling over PW’s laundry room myself. I do our laundry in a spidery, old-house basement so, I have to confess, laundry rooms are a major point of petty coveteousness for me.

    I’ll throw you a bone on the decorating: Your home is bedecked with the beauty of the love of Christ! How’s that? ; ) After the unbelievably stressful past 6 weeks, our house is still decorated only with dead mums on the porch. ‘Cuz nothing says, “Merry Christmas,” like a pot of dead mums, you know. (Does that make you feel any better?)

    Happy weekend to you.

  37. Anonymous

    You convinced me to spend part of my Amazon.com gift certificate on the monastery soup cookbook; I skimmed it online and it looks fantastic. Thanks for the tip!

  38. Anonymous

    From another Zealander…I’d love to try a winter Xmas one day but couldn’t bring myself to miss our summer Xmas for it. The biggest downside of a summer Xmas for me is that we usually race off on our summer holidays either on Xmas day itself (to catch up with family at the beach) or boxing day.. there is so much packing and organising to do before that it can sometimes be hard to remember the peaceful, contemplative side of Xmas. On the other hand.. there are always lots of ripe strawberries!

  39. beckygiggles

    Thanks so much for fixing my mistake. I really appreciate you doing this. I LOVE your link page, too.

  40. Gail

    I went out today and found the soup book at my local Borders. Thanks for the gift idea!
    I still have old pumpkins on my front door step. The squirrels have been gnawing at them, so I don’t want to throw them out because I don’t want the squirrels to starve!

  41. The Koala Bear Writer

    I haven’t decorated either. Not a thing. I discussed a tree with my hubby. Thought about how low branches and ornaments would be very attractive to a 9 1/2 month old baby who is learning to crawl and walk. Considered the decorations in the closet. And got no further than that. 🙂

  42. Shannon, Mommy to six

    I had that soup cookbook out of the library several weeks ago and LOVED it! Seeig it on your list reminded me of it, so I added it to my Christmas list. Thanks!
    Warm regards,

  43. pearlsoftruth

    I love your humour and your great writing… you inspire me, thank you

    Amanda xoxo

    ps. I have only ever known Christmas to be sweltering hot.

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