7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 198)

November 30, 2012 | 44 comments

— 1 —

The Minor Revisions producer just emailed this to me:

Minor Revisions

Guess what they asked me about that led to those kinds of facial contortions: A) Cilantro, B) Air travel , C) Scorpions, or D) The Poop Fates.

(The answer is C…though they could have gotten a much better shot if they’d asked me about eating fried scorpions topped with cilantro while stuck on a plane experiencing turbulence with a toddler who has just discovered how to take off her diaper.)

— 2 —

As the show continues to come together, it is impressed upon me just how much these kinds of things all come down to the editing. I say without a shred of false humility that the raw footage alone carries the potential to be one of the most boring programs ever produced in the moving picture format. I mean, just imagine a shot of me slowly washing a dish, then putting it in the dishwasher, then looking up and saying, “Heh-heh. Time for laundry!” So when I say that the clips I’ve seen look genuinely entertaining, and I think that Minor Revisions is going to be a fantastic program that’s really fun to watch, 100% of the credit is due to the producer and the editors. The work that they’re doing borders on wizardry.

— 3 —

So the producer emailed me this week and said she could use a shot of us homeschooling. For whatever reason, they didn’t get any of that footage when they were here (NOT because our school year didn’t start until October-ish, and there was nothing remotely education-related going on in this house during that week in September. Nooooo way.) Anyway, she asked if I could take our little Flip video camera and get a quick shot. It was a more difficult request than it would seem, since there are no adults around to serve as camerapeople during homeschool time, and our Flip is perpetually low on batteries.

Then yesterday an extremely non-tech-savvy friend stopped by just as we were getting out the school books, and I pressed her into service to help me capture this scene. She reacted to the camera as if I’d handed her a ticking bomb, and the red Low Battery light was blinking. In other words: This is all I was going to get, so this clip had better work. I hit Record for her, ran over to the table, and cheerfully announced to the children that it was time to start school. I triumphantly pulled out a worksheet and announced that we were going to engage in a fun and educational game of pretending to write checks, where you put the numerals in the little box, then spell out the amount on the long line. My son protested loudly, “BUT YOU’VE NEVER TAUGHT US TO WRITE REAL WORDS!” I glanced at the camera, then shot him a look of dramatic feigned confusion mixed with barely restrained anger and a very fake smile. And then the battery died.

Let’s just hope that they’re planning to use this as SILENT footage.

— 4 —

As it turns out, the first Sunday of Advent was not last weekend. Oddly, the Pope did not jump to reschedule the entire liturgical year to make it match what I proclaim on my blog.

What happened was that, earlier that week, an acquaintance said in passing, “Do you believe that Advent starts this Sunday?!” I thought it was a rhetorical question, but evidently she was honestly asking. Anyway, anyone who lit their wreath in vain last Sunday has now learned a valuable lesson about relying on me for liturgical year advice.

— 5 —

I have met my Christmas card sensei. I thought I was a Christmas card guru; in my ignorance and pride, perhaps I even had fleeting fantasies that I had a lock on this holiday tradition. Then I received my friend Kathryn Whitaker‘s card, and saw her post with pictures of children working quietly to put them all together (with seasonal tunes playing in the background), and had a phone call with her in which she revealed that she always has the cards in the mail before December 1, even on the years that she hosts a big Thanksgiving feast. As she spoke, from somewhere in the ether I heard the sound of a kung fu gong, and the phrase, When the student is ready, the master shall appear.

— 6 —

Anyone have any family-owned businesses they want to promote where folks can do some Christmas shopping? Feel free to leave links and recommendations in the comments.

— 7 —

There have been some rumblings about doing a local viewing party for Minor Revisions. It sounded like fun to me, but when I floated the idea to Joe, he regarded the entire thing with suspicion. “So, people are going to be there, and I’ll be there, and people will be watching me on the television, while I’m standing there…?” he asked with great concern. I pointed out that it’s kind of like having people come watch a presentation of your vacation photos, to which he said, “Exactly!” I think he’s softening to the idea. I’m going to keep working on him.



  1. Kendra @ The Nerdy Wife

    Hahahaha, that’s great about the homeschooling “shoot.” I hope for your sake that they show it in a positive light and skip your boy’s fun little quote 🙂

  2. Dwija {House Unseen}

    Oh my gosh. Your face in that freeze frame is my fave. I smell a new twitter avi!

    Also, I stayed up way late and then realized I could maybe be first FIRST! to link up with you if I just waited a couple of seconds, but nononononono….apparently this is a thing and there are eleventy-seven other people who wait to do this? No wonder I’m always number 153 or whatever!

  3. Morgan

    hahaha I love the face! I’m really hoping that there will be online access to your show since I don’t have TV :/

    …and is it bad of me to hope that they’ll include that shot from the flip? 😉

  4. Joy

    Hahaha! Love the face!! I would have — maybe have done, actually — that same face for D, but only because I haven’t had nearly as much experience with scorpions!

  5. Becky

    I literally burst out laughing so loud when I read the part about the homeschooling shoot that my husband came in from the other side of the house to find out what was so funny. That is totally what would happen to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hoped that my children will make some kind of a positive impression on somebody with all of they’ve learned from their “homeschooling” and then they just completely throw me under the bus. Just the other day, we were in the store, and my one son announced that they had just gotten done with school, but that they only go once a week because they’re homeschooled (they attend an enrichment program on Wednesdays for homeschoolers so I can have a day to find my brain). The cashier said, “Oh, that’s fun. So what did you learn about today.” And without hestitation, both my boys said, “Nothing!”

    Anyway, great stuff. Thanks for the good laugh. I needed that after my own day of homeschooling. 🙂

  6. Bonnie

    They’re friends not family, but even if they weren’t I’d still LOVE Jude Landry’s prints: http://www.judelandry.com/

    Also, I loved the post about Joe. He cracks me up.

    • JQ Tomanek

      Thanks Bonnie. Just ordered a print for my mom for Christmas!


  7. Laura

    They should use that homeschooling clip because it is so typical! Why would we expect anything different??

    As for businesses, my daughters have a soap business and they have some great ideas for Christmas gift giving.

    All natural, great smelling soap: http://www.thegoatmilksoapshop.com

    Thanks and Happy Advent.

  8. Kellie E

    I own the Etsy shop The Indigo Forest ( theindigoforest.etsy.com )
    where I make and sell eco friendly goods of all kinds! My mother and father also own Etsy shops ncbeadsnbags.etsy.com & foggyholler.etsy.com Thank you for the opportunity to promote!

  9. Stefanie @ A Dreamer's Wife

    The clip of your reality show looks awesome! Congratulations! I’m interested to see who you really do juggle all you do!

    • Stefanie @ A Dreamer's Wife

      Obviously, I can’t even spell how right now with two young ones running around! So I really need to know how you do it!!

  10. Colleen

    I love your son’s comment! Boys are so honest 🙂

  11. Emily

    I can’t wait to see the show! It sounds so good! And I love your son’s comment 🙂

  12. Kathryn

    HA. Jennifer, I can’t get that gong out of my head thanks to you. Great fun, isn’t it? Next year, I vote for the husbands taking all 11 children to the ice cream place while you and I blast Christmas Pandora and stuff cards!

  13. Alisha@ThoseLandrys

    My husband is a graphic designer and sells screen printed posters in his online store,

    He’s having a 25% OFF SALE right now! There’s something for everyone – religious prints, pop culture, typography, and BEER! Check it out!
    Thanks, Jen!

    • Alisha@ThoseLandrys

      Probably would have been good to promote his name… JUDE LANDRY!

      • Kathryn

        Alisha – his stuff is awesome! From one graphic designer to another. Bookmarking that site 😉

  14. el-e-e

    Jen, I can’t wait for your show. Hope it’ll be airing in my neck of the woods! 🙂 Happy Friday!

  15. Angie

    Here’s a link to a series I just finished showcasing several people who make beautiful things that others can purchase directly from them. (Kathryn’s cards are actually included). I love supporting family-owned businesses year-round, but especially at Christmas. I love giving a gift that’s handmade, even if I didn’t make it myself 😉

  16. Kathleen Basi

    4 and 5 made me laugh out loud! Just so you know. 🙂 I wondered about the Advent proclamation. 😉

  17. Ryan Charles Trusell

    May I humbly submit the Labora Editions Adventhology for you commentors’ shopping consideration? It is a series of four short booklets featuring the writing of Brandon Vogt, Simcha Fisher, Dan Lord, and Dorian Speed.


    Also, a holiday sale on t-shirts (and no, I’m not using “holiday” in place of Christmas…)

    Also, of course, Ora et Labora et Zombies.

  18. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    I cannot wait to watch your show :)I wish they would have gotten more homeschooling footage. Honestly, I am toying with the idea of homeschooling, and I would give anything to be a fly on the wall of a homeschooling family for a month or so.

  19. JQ Tomanek

    Cool, thanks for the mention of family-owned businesses! I recommended Mr. Fulwiler a couple weeks ago when someone was looking for a CPA in Austin.

    I work for K & T Construction, my dad is partner and my brother also works here. http://www.ktconstruction.com

    Our product is a little big for the stocking and under the tree, though we are fantastic at providing the structure to place the tree.

  20. Mary Beth

    I have a young-adult daughter with Down syndrome that runs a small photo scanning and video transfer business called PSB Cubed – Photo Scanning Business by Becca.

    If you are interested in preserving your photos and home videos, and/or want to share those with family for Christmas, Becca would love to help you!

    Check out her website at http://www.psbcubed.com
    She is also on Facebook.

  21. Katrina Rose

    That clip sounds hilarious!

  22. The Boring Blogger

    My husband also hates cilantro. I never new an herb could cause so much passionate disgust, but he hates it that much. I guess he’s not alone.

  23. Rachael

    #7 would totally weird me out too.

    #3 Is hysterical and every homeschooler who watches it will totally get it. Of course all the homeschool critics will be screaming “I KNEW it!!!!”

    You should probably film a close up of you smiling and saying, “Honey Transubstantiation IS a real word.” Editing magic!

  24. Calee

    My company is Xist Publishing and we produce books for the touchscreen generation. If you’re going to be giving Kindles/Nooks/ i-somethings for Christmas, please consider adding a few children’s books. Even if you’re gadget adverse, we offer print editions as well. Our website is: http://xistpublishing.com

    and here are two Catholic “princess-alternative” books for the little girls in your life:
    A Necklace of Virtues (Saint Audrey) http://www.amazon.com/Necklace-Virtues-Story-Saint-Audrey/dp/0983842884

    The Queen and the Cats (Saint Helena) http://www.amazon.com/The-Queen-Cats-Story-Helena/dp/0983842809/ref=pd_sim_b_1


  25. Deanna

    So, how can a person without cable or any tv reception at all watch your show?

  26. Nicole Hahn

    Hi, Jen! I love your blog, but I never comment. However you gave me some free advertising and I will bite…We sell beautiful, handmade cord knot rosaries that are virtually indestructible and silent, which means that of course they are perfect for toddlers. They are perfect for everyone actually. We also sell candy rosaries that are perfect for St. Nicholas day or for stocking stuffers. http://www.realliferosary.com Thank you and God Bless!

  27. Liz

    Love your blog! I’ve had a gift basket business for years called The Mint Tulip. We have lots of Christmas baskets to choose from at http://www.TheMintTulip.com. (We ship nationwide too.) Thanks Jennifer!

  28. Mary Ann

    I only subscribe to a couple blogs because I could easily spend my whole day in blog-land getting nothing else done, but yours made the cut. As the mother of 11, with my youngest now 10 years old, it’s like a trip down memory lane when you share the crazy, chaotic joys of life with lots of little ones. Thank you 🙂

    I’d like to share a family business I have with my 5 sisters and 2 sister-in-laws. We make and sell Catholic jewelry at http://www.onthisdaydesigns.com.

  29. Christine Dalessio

    Last week I immediately finished reading your blog and googled Advent 2012. I was really confused 🙂 Thanks be to God it was Christ the King and we still had time! Whew!

    Couldn’t manage to pull my blog together today for quick takes – writing doctoral papers takes priority (sigh.) But am totally thrilled to be able to connect with other great people any given Friday – thanks again!

  30. Annette

    If anyone lives in the Dallas area, please visit my husband Chris and his identical twin at our family antiques warehouse at Lots of Furniture, 910 N. Riverfront Blvd. 214-761-1575. Their website is: http://www.lotsoffurniture.com/ My sisters-in-law own Cityview Antiques, they’ve just moved to their new location in North Dallas here: 6830 Walling Lane, Dallas, Tx. Call and ask for Ellen at 214-824-4136.

  31. Karen

    Per #6, can I mention a friend’s new charity that benefits an orphanage in Benin, Africa?


    This charity raises money to feed, clothe, and shelter the 20 orphans currently living there. The orphanage was founded by my friend’s brother while he volunteered with the Peace Corps in that region for two years. He continues to support it today, especially by founding Dagbe, a non-profit to benefit the orphanage.

    They have partnered with purecharity.com, which has convinced mainstream retailers to donate a percentage of your purchases into your own personal Pure Charity account. You can then donate these “rewards” to any of the charities on their site, as well as send donations via credit card. Genius, especially during Christmas shopping! Please do check it out and let me know what you think! 🙂

    Thank you and God Bless!

  32. Erin


    I have a Discovery Toys online party going on now that I invite any of your readers to shop through. I’m a new Independent Consultant selling high quality educational toys like the ones I played with as a child and my son enjoys now. I hope that starting this business will allow me to continue to stay home with him and take a little of the weight of the world off my husband’s shoulders! Order by December 14th to get gifts in time for Christmas!

  33. Tracie

    That freeze frame shot is great! Priceless.

    Kids always know exactly when to say exactly what we don’t want them to say at exactly the worst times. Now if only they could put some of that exacting power toward getting their rooms exactly clean….!

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