7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 67)

January 29, 2010 | 54 comments

— 1 —

My mother-in-law, Yaya, was here all this week, leaving me to wonder once again why we do not have our own reality TV show. (For those of you who don’t know what I’m referring to there, read this or this.) Also, in proof that her zeal for potty training knows no bounds, she decided that it’s time to start potty training our youngest. Who is 11 months old. I will admit that it actually kind of worked, in the sense that she did use the potty whenever Yaya put her on there. I kept trying to silently mouth “Don’t encourage her!” to the baby when Yaya wasn’t looking, but she would just chew on her fist and giggle.

— 2 —

While Yaya was here I spent a lot of time writing at a local English tea shop. I loved being there, except for the fact that their tea was so nasty. It tasted delicious, but at the bottom of the cup there was always this layer of mushy sludge. Occasionally I’d catch the British owner looking at me, and she’d smile and ask me how I liked it. I’d smile back and say that it was lovely; I hated to tell her that she didn’t know how to make tea. Poor woman.

— 3 —

IMPORTANT PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Per the above, this morning I learned some critical information about English tea traditions: when they serve you tea, there will a small object on the saucer next to your teacup. It will look remarkably like one of those all-natural brown sugar cubes, leaving you to wonder why they gave you an extra piece of sugar when you have plenty in the bowl on your table. Before you plunk it in your drink and start stirring it around, as I have been doing for more time than I’d care to admit, you should know that IT IS A COOKIE, not a sugar cube.

One wonders what the tea shop owner thought as she saw me drop a cookie into my drink, mix it in, and then grimace as I scraped the sludge out of my cup when I was finished. Probably something like, “Poor woman.”

— 4 —

While I’m on a roll, here’s another one from the “Why Do I Leave the House?” files: Last week my two-year-old’s Mother’s Day Out teacher let us take home the cherished class storybook. It’s a little story with the same style as the famous book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, only with pictures of the children in her class (e.g. “…I see PAYTON looking at me!”)

I knew this had disaster written all over it. Between pushing the baby’s stroller, gingerly holding artowrk with wet paint, getting jackets out of backpacks, signing everyone out and chasing down escapee toddlers, our trips from the school building to the car are like something out of The Iliad. So I lost the book.

The next time we were at class, I didn’t know how to break the news — I felt so terrible about losing the irreplaceable class book. I thought I, umm, might even tell a little white lie, just to emphasize how very much I appreciated it, lest the teacher think it was lost out of carelessness. “We sure did love reading it!” I was all set to exclaim. “Last night she asked us to re-read the page with Reese on it over and over! We must have read it ten times this weekend!” And, after that, I would tell her we misplaced it.

For a long time, I will be debating whether it’s more of a lesson that you should never tell white lies or that people like me should be kept away from society that the teacher interrupted me before I had a chance to speak and said, “Hey, Jennifer, you forgot to bring the class book home last time!” and handed me the book.

— 5 —

A reading update: I just finished Lit by Mark Karr and Four Witnesses by Rod Bennett, which I look forward to reviewing soon. Now I’m about to start A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken and The Story of the Church by Alfred McBride. Anyone else reading anything good?

— 6 —

In case anyone’s wondering why I always read two books at a time, it’s because I always have an “upstairs book” and a “downstairs book” going. The upstairs ones are usually ones that require some serious thought, since I can read them at night when the house is actually quiet. The downstairs ones are more light reading, something I can escape into while sitting at the kitchen table if I need a break from the chaos to recharge my batteries.

— 7 —

Funniest comment I’ve received in a while: A couple weeks ago, Matt of St. Blogustine wrote:

I have to ask….Am I the only GUY who ever does this 7 Takes thing?…I suddenly feel like I’ve stumbled into the ladies underwear department at Sears….*blushing*

No worries, Matt! 7 Quick Takes is an equal-opportunity carnival, with guy bloggers like Darwin and Fr. Christian Mathis being semi-regular participants. But, yeah, they’re usually outnumbered by chicks. We need to hear from more men!

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. Genny @ MyCup2Yours
2. It Feels Like Chaos
3. Michelle Potter
4. violingirl
5. Elizabeth Mahlou
6. Sarah Reinhard – Music Takes
7. Blair’s Blessings
8. Therese (Aussie Coffee Shop)
9. Sharon
10. Stephany
11. Tami @ The Next Step
12. gracia
13. Kathleen@so much to say, so little time
14. Pharmgirl
15. Mary @ Hope Echoes
16. Jaime@ Under the Fig Tree
17. Anne Bender
18. Jackie
19. just Lenae
20. Katherine @ The Domestic Church
21. Deanna@notlukewarm
22. Erin @ Seven Little Australians Plus One
23. Mary @ Passionate Perseverance
24. Pam@mosaicsynapse
25. Happy Geek
26. Sara @ AShowerofRoses
27. Laura
28. Gill-Life of a Photographer
29. MommyMonkey
30. ThatMarriedCouple – Meet Cricket
31. Rose @ Adventures in Savings
32. Sarah @ This Heavenly Life
33. Secret Lives@ Young Mom
34. Living with Three Hobbits and a Giant
35. BettyDuffy
36. Kelly @ Love Well
37. Tracy@The Secret of Living
38. Chelsea @ Roots & Rings
39. Wendy from Zoom: just random
40. Kim@talklesssaymore
41. udubalum mama
42. Dakotapam
43. Jamie @ A Rough Diamond
44. Julie at Elisharose
45. majellamom
46. Transitus Tiber
47. Kim@Starry Sky Ranch
48. Rachel@Testosterhome
49. Trena @ The Third Prayer
50. Milehimama @ Mama Says
51. Carrie@SAHM
52. A Smile of a Thousand Secrets
53. Marie @ Filling My Family
54. Fr. Christian Mathis
55. Christine@Good Company
56. Lisa @ Dear Mary
57. Joy @ joy in the morning
58. Diane
59. Jordana @ Curmudgeonry
60. Sarah @ Fumbling Toward Grace
61. Cheryl
62. Sarah @ Passing for Normal
63. Kathryn (Bookworm)
64. Scarlett @ Frankly My Dear
65. Monica @ And I’ll Raise You 5
66. Koala Bear Writer
67. Phyllis @ Life on Windy Ridge
68. Pam @ Everyday Snapshots
69. Molly @ Just Simply
70. Aimee@ The Mother Load
71. Joy @ Joy In This Journey
72. Rachel
73. Nadja @ Patch O’ Dirt Farm
74. Papua Girl in Dallas
75. Mama Fuss
76. The Praying Mom
77. Michelle aka Catholic lady
78. Christina@Mrs. Broccoli Guy
79. Angie @ Many Little Blessings
80. Maggie @ From the Heart
81. Diane @ At Least Three
82. Kate @ La Vita Bella
83. Rachel
84. Ashley Siferd
85. Peony Moss
86. Clare
87. Sara@Coffee Randoms
88. Matching Moonheads
89. Kerrie @ The Forgotten Kitchen
90. Just a Minute
91. Michelle @ made4joy
92. Judy @ A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings
93. Jess @ One Wild and Precious Life
94. Christian H (male!) @ Thinking Grounds
95. Catherine @ Adventures in Domesticity
96. Michelle
97. Always Jason
98. Lucy The Valiant
99. Dorian Speed @ Scrutinies
100. Jen H @ Almost Domestic Mama
101. rachel @ montana missionary
102. Matt
103. A Broader Mark
104. Julie
105. Missus Wookie
106. Elena @MyDomestic Church
107. Julia@ Blessed Obscurity

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.


  1. Genny

    My daughter started potty training at about 11 or 12 months… and it worked! πŸ™‚

    Writing at an English tea shop sounds wonderful. I loved your photo of the teacup too.

    And that comment! I laughed out loud at that one. Too, too funny. Thanks for sharing that!

    Have a great weekend, Jennifer!


  2. Chris

    Jennifer, as an Englishman let me tell you that one of the pleasures in life is dunking. Dipping your biscuit in your 'brew'. Anyone interested in the science of this should go to

    Or if you want a laugh watch Britain's most popular comedian talking about his experiences of dunking.

  3. Sarah Reinhard

    My favorite recent reads lately have been Go to Joseph, by Fr. Richard W. Gilsdorf, Mary and the Christian Life, by Amy Welborn, and the first of Mark Shea's Mary, Mother of God trilogy (Modern Myths and Ancient Truths).

    (Because it is impossible not to reply to a request for reading material. :))

  4. Blair

    LOL about the English tea. And inquiring minds want to know…Does Yaya ever read your blog? Glad to participate in the Quick Takes today!

  5. Sharon

    Woo-Hoo! I get to be the first to leave a comment! I'll have to say that "7 Quick Takes" is becoming my favorite meme to read and post. (Guess it's time to check out some of the links here.) Right now I'm reading "Stones Into Schools," by Greg Mortenson. I'm almost finished but it's taking me longer than it should because I go between that and reading Twitter updates on my phone! :p

  6. Little M

    Wow, your MIL really has a thing for potty training! My daughter is 21 months and we've decided to wait a little longer because I'm due to have a baby this week and we think it would be a little too much stress/change at once. When she gets used to having a little sibling around we'll start training -hopefully that will be sometime in the first few months -not years!!!

  7. Tami Boesiger

    Poor woman, you cracked me up today.

  8. Kathleen@so much to say, so little time

    #s 2 and 3–HILARIOUS!

    #6–this is me, too. It's the "while I nurse" reading upstairs. Glad I'm not the only one.

  9. Anne

    Love your tea story! And I especially love the story about the book at school. Been there far too many times I'm sad to say, but, I survived! Thanks be to God!

  10. Multiple Mom T

    LOL about Matt…I often feel that way about being a Protestant among many Catholics!

  11. BusyNothings

    I love A Severe Mercy — one of my favorite books. I just finished Donald Miller's A Million Miles in A Thousand Years, which I hope everyone reads. Here's a link to his lovely blog: http://donmilleris.com

  12. Pam Elmore

    Oh Jennifer, you make me laugh. (Thank you for the advice about the English tea!)

    And you make me think.

    I'm really looking forward to your review of Lit. That's a book on my I-want-to-read-it-but-I-don't-really-want-to-read-it list. And I know I can trust you for a thoughtful review. (One funny thing: I knew the author was a woman, so I was confused when I saw "Mark Karr"… but now I see it's just a typo by a writer who has a ton of things on her plate.)

    Once again let me tell you how much I'm looking forward to your book! I'm so glad you had time to work on it!

  13. Laura

    Glad to be back, even though I'm adding to the chick side of the ratio!

    As for #4, isn't God good? How wonderful to be stopped before things got really messy πŸ™‚

    God Bless.

  14. Christine

    I can't believe your youngest is 11months already…I keep thinking you have a newborn that you're taking care of all the time. How quickly time flies.

    I love A Severe Mercy, it's a great book. Enjoy! He has a sequel too if you enjoy it.

  15. Young Mom

    Oh my goodness I laughed at 3 and 4! I can totally relate.

  16. Mary

    I am so glad you are getting "alone" time to finish the book. I am so looking forward to reading it.

    I had to laugh about the tea cookie. The first time I was at "high" tea at a very hoity toity hotel I did the same thing and there were actual "gasps" from my table. Oh well, I guess i needed the extra liquid fiber!

    Happy Firday!

  17. Tracy

    I also usually have two books going at time, sometimes 3. One that is serious, the other lighter – it works well for me. Especially with the heaviest reading, I need an escape occasionally.

  18. Jessica

    Regarding #4 . . . the Holy Spirit was certainly blessing you! This reminds me, of course, of the time when you nearly told your little friend Riley a "white lie" about Snowball. (I try to keep that event in my mind whenever I'm tempted to bear false witness!)

  19. TaraS

    That is hysterical! I immediately thought, reading #2,"I have never heard of an Englishwoman messing up tea. Jennifer must be doing something wrong." πŸ™‚

  20. Dakotapam

    I usually have several books going as well. I have bed reading, and nursery reading. I'd like to say I'm reading something deep…but I'm not! The deepest I get is my daily devotional reading!

  21. Jamie

    Oh, I really felt your anxiety over taking home the class book!!

    I love hearing from good Catholic men, so I hope more join in soon!

  22. Amy

    At our house it goes something like, "Wucy, Wucy, what do YOOOOOOU see?" So cute.

  23. Milehimama

    Oh, I've got you beat! I have an upstairs book, a downstairs book, and a PURSE book! LOL

    I would love to spend time writing at an English tea shop! That sounds lovely.

  24. :-)

    Love your blog so much!!

  25. Fr Christian Mathis

    Once again, I am slow at getting these posted. Wasn't sure if I was up to blogging today, but then I saw your last quick take and couldn't let my brothers down by being absent this week!

  26. Cheryl

    Now I need a cup of tea!

  27. Sara

    Hi Jennifer,

    Just wanted you to know that I loved the article you wrote, "The Two Lists." I saw it on InsideCatholic.com. It's the clearest article I've read on abortion in a long time. And by clear, I mean it was clearly & directly stated, as well as level-headed and not too emotionally charged (even though I'm sure you could get very charged about it all!)

    Secondly, I am huge fan of your blog & I was so happy to read today that you are starting "A Severe Mercy"! That is my favorite book. A little cheesy at times, but overall…just a delightful "light" read. πŸ™‚ I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it!

    Take care – God's peace be with you!


  28. Hope T.

    I love A Severe Mercy. If you are a crier, have plenty of tissues ready.
    I am reading A Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs. It manages to be both entertaining and highly thought-provoking.

  29. Rachel Gray

    Re: your tea adventure, that's a good example of why it pays to be polite. Think how embarrassed you'd have been if you'd complained about the sludge!

  30. Ali

    I read A Severe Mercy this past summer, and it moved me profoundly. I absolutely loved it.

    You might want to read Pillar of Fire by Karl Stern. It is his conversion story–to Catholicism–during WWII. He was a celebrated psychiatrist. Though I am an Orthodox Christian, I found it wonderfully spiritual and historically enlightening.

  31. Dawn Farias

    Oh, I enjoyed these! You had me laughing. Thank you so much!

  32. Marie

    The Help by Stockett

    THe History of Love by nicole krauss

    The Virtue Driven Life by Fr.Groeschel

    And if you have never READ it, Pulitzer Prize winning,Gone With the Wind by Mitchell

  33. Diane

    You'll love A Severe Mercy. (But I hope you're putting that one upstairs!) I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it!

  34. Kate

    Loved your recount of your English Tea experience! I always feel so on-the-spot when I've been to a tea, like I don't know what I'm doing and everyone around me does!

    Can you send Yaya to my house? My 2 1/2 yr old is almost done for daytime… I think? But I have a 13 month old and another one the way in June, so if she could knock down our diaper budget… πŸ™‚

  35. Peony Moss


  36. oceansandmountains

    I have been meaning to participate in 7 Quick Takes for a while, and finally here I am!

    I'm so glad she had the book the whole time, thinking you've lost something important is the worst!

  37. Monica

    I just love the "lost book" anecdote! And the two tea entries were classic. Thanks for a great 7 quick takes. –Monica

  38. Roxane B. Salonen

    Jennifer, you never fail to have me laughing at some point during you Quick Takes "episodes," but this little scene of you stirring up tea with a cookie? Well, once again, I had to share it with someone, so my daughter and I laughed together. Your self revelations are very effective! I am imagining the discerning eye of the tea lady, and you smiling ever-so-sweetly back at her. Oh, and I love the upstairs/downstairs book idea. I've been reading more than one book at a time these days, and I never used to do that. But come to think of it, one is usually heavier reading, and one, lighter. Ha! You've helped me discover something about myself. πŸ™‚ Blessings in your weekend and continued adventures with your sweet family.

  39. Christian H

    I'm a guy! I do this thing pretty much every week!

  40. Anonymous

    11 months is a perfect age for potty training. Parents wait so much longer now than they did 50 or even 20 years ago. In part it's probably because modern disposable diapers are much more convenient than cloth ones, and the kids are more comfortable in them so they aren't motivated to learn to use the toilet. Still, there's no need for most two-year-olds to still be in diapers. Let Yaya do her thing.

  41. Catherine

    My mom told me that she thinks that my generation was potty trained so early (18 months or so) because our parents used cloth diapers with pins and no diaper services. Nowadays, we have disposable diapers or cloth diapers with velcro wraps and diaper services, etc. In other words, letting a kid wait till they're ready to potty train isn't as big a strain on us as it was on our moms. So, both my kids potty trained right before they turned three. So, I can see where Yaya is coming from. Thankfully, my mom and MIL didn't worry too much about our kids potty issues. Although I have some interesting stories about my kids and potty training – maybe I'll blog about them one day! Great post today.

  42. rachel

    i'm squeaking in at the last moment … but it's still technically friday here!

  43. Matt

    I had to squeek in as well. I'm sure it's still Friday somewhere in the world.

    And thanks for the spotlight! You have quite a large audience, if my sitemeter referral numbers are true…

  44. abroadermark

    Love the irreplaceable class book story! Sounds very much like something that would happen (has happened?) to me.

  45. alwayswithme.wordpress.com

    Okay, so I couldn't sleep and decided to do a Quick Takes post even though it is 3 a.m. Saturday.

    I have at least two books going at all times as well. Currently I am listening to two books on tape and reading as well. There are just too many good books to read!

  46. Erin J

    Jennifer, Thanks for the comment on my blog! I followed the link to yours and the first thing I read was …"making me wonder why we don't have our own reality TV show."

    I laughed out loud and read it to my husband who was in the middle of a poopy diaper. He laughed too at that and your story about English Tea. Great post!

  47. Marla Taviano

    The upstairs/downstairs book thing is brilliant.

  48. Carrien

    I just read Mother's Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes? Not certain of the last name. It was first published in 1946.

    It's remarkable and charming little book, that values such things as character, ingenuity, hard work, family, etc. It's a fast read. I now think everyone must read it.

  49. 'Becca

    Why on earth would you NOT want to potty-train your 11-month-old and avoid the struggles you've had with your older children?????

  50. Saila

    Please share your thoughts on "A Severe Mercy" when you're done! It's one of my favorite books and I'd love to hear what you think. πŸ™‚

  51. Chris

    Good reading:

    Robert Hugh Benson:
    Come Rack
    Come Rope!

    Lord of the World

    Kevin Leman: Have a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child's Attitude
    Behavior & Character in 5 Days

    When Your Best Isn't Good Enough: The Secret of Measuring Up

    Hillaire Belloc: Europe and the Faith "Sine auctoritate nulla vita"
    Characters of the Reformation
    The Crusades: The World's Debate

    Christopher McDougal: Born to Run

    Scott Hahn: Hail, Holy Queen

    Elizabeth Warren
    Amelia Warren Tyagi: The Two-Income Trap

    Joseph Ratzinger: Jesus of Nazareth

    G.K. Chesterton: Orthodoxy

    Robert Louis Wilken: The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God

    Baroness Emmuska Orczy: The Scarlet Pimpernel

    Andrew Lang: The Crimson Fairy Book
    The Pink Fairy Book
    The Brown Fairy Book
    The Blue Fairy Book
    you get the idea.

    Alessandro Barbero: The Day of the Barbarians

    William Westney: The Perfect Wrong Note: Learning to Trust Your Musical Self

    Howard Pyle: Men of Iron
    The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire
    The Story of King Arthur and His Knights

  52. LenaDeeAnne

    Enjoy reading your posts. Stumbled on the 7QT idea via Mighty Maggie. Couldn't figure out how to add my link to the list, so here it is, my second attempt at 7QT, in my blog, The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman:



  1. 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 173) : Conversion Diary - [...] it occurred to me that this is actually not the first time I have had an issue with drinking…

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