7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 181)

July 20, 2012 | 35 comments

— 1 —

Evidently there was an Intergalactic Babysitters Summit, and it was decided that all capable young women of babysitting age would go out of town for the next few weeks. I’ve got to find a way to infiltrate these things. I could put my hair in pigtails, don a Justin Bieber t-shirt, and shout from the back of the room, “Hey, gals, I think it would be fun to skip that silly ol’ mission trip and the European backpacking vacation and babysit for the Fulwiler family instead! Who’s with me?!”

Anyway, if I seem to be barely clinging to life for the next few weeks, that’s why. (Well, the lack of babysitting, and this.) Yes, of course, this is a chance to do fun family things together, but we were already doing fun family things together. It’s light outside for approximately 50 hours a day right now, and that’s a looooooot of time to fill with five extremely energetic little kids. The other day we went to the pool and had a picnic and blew bubbles on the front porch, and when we came back inside I looked at the clock in despair to see that I still had seven hours until my husband got home. Any semblance of sanity I have from now until mid-August will be sponsored by Netflix.

— 2 —

When my husband pulled his car into the driveway the other day, he saw smoke seeping out of the opened windows, and could hear the discordant beeping sounds of every fire alarm inside the house going off. Joe ran in and found me standing over a smoking oven, the approximately $15 in various high-end meat products I had just purchased at the grocery store now looking like a pulsating blob that was somehow both liquefied and on fire. “I’M TRYING A RECIPE I FOUND ON PINTEREST, ” I shouted over the fire alarms, “BUT I THINK IT MAY HAVE BEEN A PRACTICAL JOKE.”

He took in the scene for a moment, then, in an unfortunate moment of manthink, he asked, “Why would you try cooking things you find on Pinterest when you could go to other websites that have hundreds of ratings and reviews for each recipe, so you know which ones work?” I contorted my face dramatically into a what-a-dumb-question look, but he couldn’t see it through the plumes of smoke pouring out of the oven.

Later that night I saw that Grace posted this picture, a Pinterest “natural cleaning solution” that was so bad that her husband was left with no choice but to employ a frowny-face emoticon:

…And then I read the comments to see that a bunch of other women had done the same thing, with similar reactions from their husbands.

I think it’s time to start a support group for husbands whose wives are on Pinterest.

— 3 —

I just love those e-cards that people post on Pinterest, and had been dying to create my own. It seemed like something that would be right up my alley, since it involves writing, inane commentary, and wasting time, but I was always at a loss. I couldn’t figure out exactly what the “rules” of the meme were. I would pull up the “create your own card” site and find myself devoid of all inspiration. All I could come up with would be awkwardly true-but-not-at-all-amusing stuff like, “I’m tired. It’s better not to be tired.” Then, finally, after the aforementioned kitchen-on-fire incident, I was hit with a flood of inspiration. I present to you my first e-card!:

— 4 —

I keep telling my husband that he needs to write a homeschooling book. If nothing else, I want to read it. I’ve never set aside the time to get him to lay out all the details of his philosophy, but it is very intriguing to me based on what I do know:

For one thing, he knows about education. He graduated from Yale undergrad in three years with honors, then got a law degree from Columbia and an MBA from Stanford (as well as doing half the coursework toward a Masters in Computer Science while he was at Stanford), and recently became a CPA as well. He and his equally crazy-educated friends are always emailing back and forth about the future of education, and are up to date on the very latest innovations in these areas. He’s also mentioned that it would be nice if at least one of our kids went to his alma mater.

Now (here’s where it gets interesting) whenever he sees me planning the homeschooling lesson of the next day, he always seems shocked by these efforts, and makes comments like, “Whoa, that’s a lot of work!” and “Man, I wouldn’t do that if I were in charge of homeschooling.” The slightest show of effort on my part is met with some combination of both amazement and bewilderment, as well as remarks that “Joeschooling” (my term, not his) would involve a fraction the effort that I am currently putting forth.

So. What we know about Joeschooling so far is that it a) involves low stress and little work for the teacher, yet b) still gives your kids a shot at Yale. I’ll let you know as soon as I have details.

— 5 —

Want to read something really interesting? Go check out Dorian’s post about rewarding behaviors vs. rewarding outcomes, specifically as it pertains to weight loss and eating habits. I found it fascinating to see which motivators work for different personality types. E.g. I tend to do well with classic goal-setting (“I’m going to aim to get eight hours of sleep tonight”) whereas Dorian explains that people with her personality type tend to do better when they focus on their behavior, independent of the outcome, and reward it accordingly (“I’ll put a marble in my jar if I go to bed at 10:00 tonight”). I think it’s a topic well worth thinking about, since it’s ultimately a question of how to motivate yourself to break free from inertia and make positive changes in your life.

— 6 —

I think my neighbors might be afraid of me. At the very least, I probably have some kind of reputation, with people nudging to one another and whispering, “There she goes” when I pass by their windows. First I was going jogging in street clothes, leaving people worried that some sort of calamity had happened from which I was fleeing. Then I almost collapsed from social-awkwardness-induced exhaustion a couple of times. Then I got the Skeletoes. And last week I took it to a whole new level by going jogging in the most torrential downpour this area has seen in a long, long time.

For the record, that was not my intent. I mean, I did notice that the clouds were getting a little gray. Okay, they were black. And that ominous booming sound could have been thunder, but it also could have been my three-year-old overturning the children’s bookcase again. Anyway, I began my run, and it was sprinkling a little bit, but I thought it was fine — refreshing, really. I was bopping along, listening to my iPod, then I took a left onto a long street that runs through our subdivision. When I looked up, I gasped. In front of me was what could only be described as a WATER WALL O’ DOOM, moving toward me at a surprising speed.

I twirled around and started running back toward the house at a pace I didn’t even know was possible, occasionally glancing back over my shoulder in terror, the way one would move if being chased by a serial killer track team. This seemed to cause alarm for the drivers of the cars that drove past, as they had not yet seen the WATER WALL O’ DOOM. Then, when I still had four blocks to go, the storm caught up to me. I was now sprinting through the downpour, mascara running down my face, wearing my weird shoes — though still listening to my iPod, because this kind of moment really called for a soundtrack. One car kind of slowed down as if to offer me a ride, but when it got a closer look at me it sped off.

— 7 —

I love, love, love this song from Gym Class Heroes, especially that it has an inspiring Olympic theme. There are a few PG-13 words, so wait until little ears aren’t around to turn the volume all the way up and blast it.




  1. Kendra @ The Nerdy Wife

    It’s ok, I think our neighbors think we are very strange too. Yay social awkwardness!

  2. Karianna@Caffeinated Catholic Mama

    I haven’t tried many Pinterest recipes… I mostly just like the pictures! But I will say, we use a Vinegar/ Water solution… but I have found that adding some Peppermint Oil makes it tolerable. For some reason, vinegar/water solutions remind me of ketchup.

  3. Kara

    Your meme is perfect. Lol!! I have tried many recipes off pinterest and a lot of them were actually pretty good. But now and then you get one that’s like, seriously? I just wasted time and money on this? Blargg.

    You have the funniest running stories ever. I imagine I would have similar awkward experiences if I tried to run. I’ll just stay home.

  4. MightyMighty

    I love your husband’s take on homeschooling. Can’t wait for the Lazy Mom’s Guide to Raising Prodigies to come out!

  5. Sarah @ Basic Ingredients

    I LOVE your e-card!! I laughed out loud. The pictures on Pinterest are what get you!! Thanks for the humor, I always enjoy your quick takes. 🙂

    • mary

      The e-card IS great!

  6. Leah @ Unequally Yoked

    I’d love to read more post on your homeschooling approach, from you or your husband!

  7. Rhonda @ A Naptime Novelist

    You make me laugh! So funny. Unfortunately, I have no other interesting / useful / intelligent comments, though I was trying super-dupah hard to come up with something so as to be a combox cheerleader – it’s 1:02 a.m. here. 🙂 Thanks for writing for us, and for hosting! 🙂

  8. Faith

    I love your sense of humor. Sitting here laughing at the computer at 4:54 am.

  9. Gail

    Great song – I love inspiring Olympics stories… I so wish we had tv reception at this time of year!

  10. Mamabearjd

    I would love a Joeschooling manual – sometimes I think I’m homeschooling just so I don’t have to go back to practicing law! Pintrest…I love…..I hate.

  11. Mary @ St Henry II

    #5: That was a really interesting post! Gave me some good ideas for motivating myself to actually use that gym membership I’m paying for.

    #7: I love that song! I’d actually thought about using it as the song in my Quick Takes sometime. (When I do 7 Quick Takes, take #7 is always a song.)

  12. Tania @ Larger Family Life

    Great minds and all that, Jen! I had a play at making some e-cards too. In fact I made some Large Family E-Card comebacks. Come on over, you know you want to join in! 😉

  13. TheresaEH

    ouch and wow,,,,i think i just threw out my back watching that video eh! 😉

  14. Smoochagator

    Am I right in thinking that this is the first time you’ve mentioned your husband’s name in a post on your blog? I feel like I know you so much better now. And your husband totally cracks me up. He must be a big-picture person who has lofty educational ideals but gets fuzzy on the details of how to achieve those goals. Which is not a bad quality to have, as leaders have to be able to see the forrest for the trees. But it’s got to be discouraging to be told frequently that your efforts in homeschooling are unnecessary and over-the-top. You often mention that your default laziness setting is somewhere between slug and amoeba. Perhaps you should just tell him that you’re not actually doing this for the kids’ benefit but as a form of penitence 😀

    And I seriously LOLed at the WATER WALL O DOOM story. I’m not the only one who thinks moments in life need a soundtrack? Good.

  15. Sara

    That Captcha is out of control! Seriously surprised I passed inspection.—Oh wait, I didn’t on the first try! Or the 2nd.

    Anyway, I have only a few years left of homeschooling, please, PLEASE tell Joe to write his Joeschooling book quickly! If the method requires so little work, so should the explanation!

  16. Bridget

    Thank you so much for posting that song! I’d never heard it before. It really made me think of my sweet baby girl Ella. Before she passed away, she was a fighter. She fought hard for 8 long months until she couldn’t fight anymore. She gave the doctors and nurses hell, but they loved her for it. They loved that she was so fiesty and had such a fighting spirit. This song is HER, and though it makes me cry a little bit to hear it because I miss her so much, it makes me smile to remember how much FIGHT my little girl had.

  17. Michelle

    I know my neighbors thought we were crazy when we moved in with four children out and one in utero, lol. One lady will come out and see us in the backyard…I’m balancing the baby on my hip, telling one of my girls to stop pouting, trying to keep track of the 3-year-old boy running aimlessly around the yard picking on his sisters, pulling one of the screaming girlies by the ear and yelling at my oldest to “go play with your brother!” and I see her shake her head and walk back inside, LOL

    No, really…we’re not THAT bad. but that might have happened, like, once.

    Thanks for hosting and have a great weekend!

  18. Erin

    IRT #1. Get a trampoline. A big one with a net. But make strict rules about it. Then watch the energy expend itself.

  19. Steph @ Moving to MD

    So a few friends of mine had the same idea as you about how terrible it can be when you have a Pin-fail, so we created this Pins Reviewed Blog. http://pinsreviewed.blogspot.com/

    It’s pretty self explanatory, but we all test out pins and then assign them a 4 star rating. Check it out!

    Unfortunately we’ve all been pretty busy lately, and haven’t had a chance to update it in a couple of months. Hopefully that will change soon.

  20. Melissa Spence

    Enjoying your Pinterest takes! 🙂

  21. Monica

    Further proof that you learn something new everyday. I had NO IDEA anyone could create their own e-cards! I see them all the time, but didn’t realize I could make my own!

    Now I have to think of something funny.

    Great quick takes, as always. Thank you!

  22. sara mcd

    Good song, but it’s not Bronx, but THE Bronx. Ask anyone. 🙂

  23. Ashley Anderson @ The Narrative Heiress

    In reference to #5, a helpful read regarding rewards is Alfie Kohn’s Punished by Rewards. As an educator, I wanted to know the reality of long-term loss for short-term rewards. I recommend the book for anyone interested in the nature of rewards. I need to read Dorian’s post. Thanks for sharing!

  24. Deanna

    I post only proven and tried recipes on Pinterest. My husband has his on board on my name so he can pin stuff, mainly ecards and sarcasm.

  25. Kathleen Basi

    Oh, Jen, I so needed the laughs you gave me today! Every time I read the word “scorpion,” I think, “HILARIOUS!” and concurrently, “WHY THE DICKENS DOESN’T THAT WOMAN MOVE OUT OF TEXAS??????”

    And the running thing? Totally showing that to my runner husband!!!! LOL

  26. Trisha Niermeyer Potter @ Prints of Grace

    Wow! You always have such hilarious stories. It takes talent to come up with such involved conspiracy theories as you’ve formulated this week to explain babysitting, cooking, and jogging woes. It reminds me of the adage: just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean everybody’s not out to get you. Though it would be quite interesting to hear what your husband’s version of homeschooling would look like, it is a blessing that he’s blown away by all of the work you put in to it rather than talking smack about how he would do things differently. I’m pretty sure that if you let someone take a video of you running in the midst of a torrential downpour in your street clothes wearing your Skeletoes and they put it to a suitable awesome soundtrack that it would lead you to fame and fortune the likes of which no babysitter or Ivy League school would be likely to refuse. I’m just sayin’

  27. Liesl

    I love the music that comes out for the Olympics! So pumped for the games to start!

  28. Amity

    I checked with my mom, and she agreed that homeschooling my brother and me involved a) low stress and very little work for the teacher and b) still gave us a chance at Yale. We happened not to be aiming for Yale, but we went to good colleges that we were interested in. Her recommended manual for this: “Homeschooling for Excellence” by David and Micki Colfax. I recommend the Common Room blog (http://thecommonroomblog.com/) for lots of practical suggestions for excellent but relaxed day-to-day homeschooling, particularly of littles.

  29. Gaby

    two great websites to find babysitters in your area: sittercity.com and care.com
    And if that doesn’t work, post an ad in any appropriate public place. People are DESPERATE for work- you just have to let them know!

  30. Cindi

    LOVED that Gym Class Heroes song!!!

  31. Anabelle@Written By the Finger of God

    Thanks for writing another funny post. I tell ya, it’s easier to give up meat for Fridays than skip your 7 Quick Takes. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who’s set off the fire alarm with my fabulous experimental cooking.

  32. Elizabeth Mahlou

    I loved your smoking dinner story. My daughter recently posted a picture of a distracted woman on Facebook that was captioned, “Dinner will be ready when the smoke alarm goes off.” She explained that this picture was for me, and the only reason she posted it was because she could not find one that said, “Dinner will be ready when it has exploded and is stuck on the ceiling.” So, you think little kids are a handful — just wait until they become adults and tell the world about every embarrassing moment, all of which they seem incredibly capable of remembering!

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