7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 218)

May 24, 2013 | 55 comments

— 1 —

Thank you so much for all the wonderful responses to my publishing announcement earlier this week! I’m so frustrated that I wasn’t able to reply, especially to all the kind words on Twitter. (Man, you know your life is crazy when you can’t even find time to procrastinate on Twitter.)

Things have just been so, so, so, so, so overwhelming ever since the baby came home. I can barely keep up with anything. To give you an idea: Christy wrote a perfect summary of what my days are like right now in her first take here, and I have had a tab open in my browser for a week to remind myself to leave a comment saying, “Yes, that is my life!” but I cannot seem to get to it because…that is my life.

— 2 —

When Yaya calls you and tells you that she has found a “terrifying” bug in her yard, it’s time to call an evacuation helicopter. I mean, this is the woman who knocks down wasps’ nests and then just stands there and chills while the angry insects swarm around her, before eventually crushing them with her bare hands. She’s nonchalant about being stung by poisonous arachnids while she sleeps, she threatens gang members with violence, and she finds scorpions in cups to be charming kitchen accessories.

So when I answered the phone to hear her screaming about some “terrifying” but that the kids needed to come see, I should have known that it would be as awful as this:

These insane-o centipedes are venomous, and their stings are said to be far more painful than those of scorpions. Oh, and they can cut you with their dozens of creepy little legs and inject venom into you just by walking across your skin.

I have seen one of these things on my property once (and I shared my heart about that experience here), and now I shall live the rest of my days in terror at the thought of encountering one inside the house. Enough of this useless bug spray nonsense; I need a flamethrower.

— 3 —

I’m sorry. I don’t think you understand the full awfulness of this thing. You can’t really tell how big it is from that picture, so here it is with a common object next to it to give you a sense of scale:

Well, that’s how I perceive the scale, anyway. And I need to make sure that you didn’t miss THESE, the needle-sharp dual DAGGERS at the end of its tail:

I should really stop now before I get a cease and desist letter from the legal team at the Texas Tourism Department.

— 4 —

On a brighter note, I did a juice fast this week! It’s not exactly a Perfect Health Diet thing, but I figured that juice-only fasts might avoid the risk of metabolic endotoxemia from too much fructose since you’re drinking each serving when your liver’s glycogen stores are low (which is probably stupid and wrong, but anyway…) I just bought the Naked brand of juices that my grocery store carries, and I lived on those for a couple of days.

I did it because I felt like my body needed a rest from the work of digestion to help it fight this never-ending sinus infection, and it did seem to help. Amazingly, I wasn’t hungry! Also, I felt good: my energy level was strong, despite not getting much sleep at night, and I didn’t even miss eating. I won’t go into the weight loss side, since we’re all focused on healthful diets and not vain concerns like a number on the scale, but instead will simply say that it was a good experience and I’ll probably do it again soon.

(Ha ha! Just kidding about the weight thing. I lost four pounds in two days.)

— 5 —

Speaking of health and weight and whatnot, I’m trying to get into a good fitness routine. I’m jogging again (looking as glamorous as always), and I can’t decide whether I’ll go back to Body for Life or Lindsay Brin’s Postnatal Boot Camp DVD for strength training. What I love about Brin’s DVDs is that they’re targeted at moms who have recently had babies, and all the workout ladies (or whatever the term is for the people demonstrating the moves on the DVD) are mothers themselves. Also, for whatever reason, my kids love to do it with me, which always leads to a scene more ridiculous than you could possibly imagine.

Anyway, hit me with any thoughts you have about workout routines that don’t require monthly fees and can be done in or near one’s home. Do we like Jillian or is she too crazy? Do we think that buying books about jumping rope is the very definition of absurdity, or is that just Joe? I am all ears. After feeling so bad for so long, I am extremely motivated to get back into great health.

— 6 —

The other day I got all fired up about making the perfect Cosmo. It was going to be a special treat after another grueling week; in fact, I was so motivated to do it that I actually made a special trip to the store to get cranberry juice — and let me just tell you, getting out to the store when you have six kids under age nine is NO JOKE. From the time we left until the time we returned, the trip took the better part of the afternoon.The shopping experience was deeply traumatic, in large part because there seems to be something in the air in our grocery store that sends my two-year-old into Turbo Crazy mode. I barely kept her from jumping out of the cart, shattering everyone’s eardrums with her screaming, and sweeping clear all the shelves.

When I got home I looked over my haul with satisfaction. I got milk and cream, some spinach, stocked up on summer sunscreen, and even remembered that new can opener that I’d been meaning to pick up for months. And then I barely restrained myself from clawing at my eyes and screaming as I realized:


After slumping into a chair and staring at a wall in abject despair for a few hours, I decided to improvise my own recipe. The only juice we had in the house was the kids’ juice boxes, so I went with that. The resulting momtini was surprisingly delicious.

Here’s the recipe, adapted from this one:

  • 1 jigger vodka
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 oz from Capri Sun or Juicy Juice box
  • Lime and sugar for garnish

Mix all ingredients together in a chilled glass (preferably a martini glass if you’re fancy enough to have one). Wipe lime wedge around rim then douse with sugar for garnish. Guaranteed to make you pick up on the hidden brilliance of Barney that you’d never noticed before.

— 7 —

Hurray for three-day weekends, and God bless the men and women who have died in the service of our country.



  1. TracyE

    1: I hear you on the busy; on the bright side you posted on your blog!!!

    2-3: I should tell my dad I’m pretty much never coming to visit him in Spring, TX. Not with bugs like that. We have bugs in FL, but they don’t bite….they’re just creepy.

    4: HOW do you juice fast? Don’t you miss chewing???

    5: Jillian is my go-to video….it’s a love/hate…..right now hate, so I’m ignoring her

    6: Yay for Mom-ingenuity!

    7: Ditto on the long weekend and praise God for our men and women who died serving our country.

  2. Mary @ Parenthood

    Time to move further north 🙂

    My hubby already decided he is never going to visit your neck of the woods based on your scorpion stories, but now we are wondering why people haven’t abandoned the state altogether. Eek!

  3. Kathy

    I’m loving the juice box Cosmo!!!! We are a little North of you so I’m hoping and praying I NEVER see that insect of death in my yard – if it is in my house then we may well have to demolish and rebuild “I wonder what the deductible would be on that”

  4. Laura

    Doubly convinced not to move to Texas with the rest of the country! I love the improvisation with the juice box. What is that saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention”? There you go.
    My go-to exercise routine that has done wonders for me is P90X. It helped my back problems and I’ve gotten a lot stronger, more flexible and feel so much better – and I do it in my basement…along with my children, too.

  5. Deanna

    Fasting is a good way to jump start your good health plan. I’m starting to appreciate fasting for its own sake as well.

  6. christine

    That is one nasty bug I hope to never encounter. With our family’s track record, if we lived in Texas, there would be thousands of them all over the yard. At least in Indiana, none of our plaques are deadly.
    There is nothing that frustrates me more than a trip to the store with the children to purchase one thing that I then forget to purchase. NOTHING!
    Good for you, getting over the frustration and making the drink anyway!
    I pray you either get some sleep or life calms down a bit for you.

  7. Ute

    Ha! I hear you on the centipede! I will never forget the day my kids asked me for a ziplock bag and came back to present to me the 5 inch long venomous centipede that they caught with their bare hand – it was alive!!! And then I could tell you the story of one getting under my fridge, and I had to kill it myself because my husband was deployed. But… I spare you the nightmares. By the way, this all happened in “paradise” = Hawaii.

  8. Amelia

    I really like T-Tapp for fitness. I think it’s the best system out there, and very do-able for all fitness types and it really does work and get results. Plus, I think it’s better for you than some of the other DVD’s (and it doesn’t require any bonus equipment) and doesn’t really carry any risk of injury.

  9. Rita @ Open Window

    Hey, if you have time to read a book about jumproping, it sounds like a win-win! And maybe it’s time for you to discover my new favorite thing in life–drive-thru grocery pick-up. I found two chains in Maryland that offer it for a $5 fee. Five dollars? So I don’t have to get the children out of the car? And I only have two–not six. My sons don’t like it because they don’t get to point to 300 things they want on each trip and hear me say “nonononononono,” but it’s such a breeze to order online, pull into a spot four hours later, hand someone a credit card, and drive away with the car loaded with groceries. I always forget something, but I forget something either way, and this way we spend ten minutes at the store. I’m so excited for your book, by the way!

  10. Marjorie S.

    I know that you are not a fan of centipedes, frankly, neither am I — BUT my oldest daughter was fascinated with insects, so I had to pretend not to despise them too much. At least in the literary sense. Children’s author Lynn Reid Banks, who wrote “The Indian in the Cupboard, also wrote a very funny book about a centipede entitled “Harry the Poisonous Centipede” (you can find in on Amzn used). It is written from Harry’s point of view as he encounters “Hoo-mins” with their “hairy-biter feet.” Harry is quite disobedient and learns the hard way that his mother really does know best and that listening to your friend’s crazy ideas is not wise. Your girls might really like it. We listened to the audio version. The reader had a lovely British accent which made the story even funnier. I don’t think I will ever like REAL centipedes, but we still love Harry 🙂

  11. Carol@simple_catholic

    Oh gosh, centipedes are so disgusting! And the one you just posted about has to be the most disgusting of all!

  12. Jessica

    Jen, I’m sure you already know this as an experienced Mama, but for anyone who does not . . . be careful not to over-exercise or over-diet while breastfeeding. Your milk can take a drastic hit – just ask one of my best friends, whose plentiful supply completely dried up when her second baby was only six weeks old. She said having her figure back so quickly was no consolation and she was surprised that her doctor had not forewarned her.

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      Good points. Unfortunately I’m not breastfeeding now. I hung on as long as I could, but it just stopped working after a few weeks. Breastfeeding has always been insanely difficult for me, even with the support of amazing lactation consultants.

      • Martha

        Ditto, Jen. Just wanted to let you know that there are other good Catholic (NFP even!) moms out there who cannot get nursing to work, even with the frustrated help of LLL women. Oh yeah.

  13. Lauren (LPatter)

    from the bug stuff to the jump-rope book to the shopping trip and the juice-box-cocktail, this is one of my favorite quick takes I think – I’m just smiling big and smh and kind of cracking up. Great way to start my day. Off to the shower while dad is still out with the 2 yo taking 4 yo to preschool! Have a great weekend!!

  14. Anabelle Hazard

    Congratulations on your book! It’s going to be out in kindle, right? And in case you plan on raffling it off here, I better start my novenas to be THE one out of 50,000 who will win it.

  15. Sarah Reinhard

    Jen, one of my friends who knows my aversion to anything with the HINT of the e-word in it sent me a link to this scientific 7-minute workout. While I haven’t gotten around to it yet, I just might. She said it’s not a pleasant 7 minutes, but it is only 7 minutes.

    And thank you for pretty much convincing me that Texas, while seemingly the home of nearly all of my favorite Catholic bloggers, is NEVER going to be my destination again. Duuuude. I think I’m going to have nightmares tonight…

  16. Cate

    1. Congrats! So much respect for all of the Ignatius Press works. Can’t wait to add yours to our collection!
    2. & 3. Thanks for those nightmares! 😉
    4. Juice fast rocks, but I’m a fan of green juices! Takes more getting used to, but going heavy on the leafy greens instead of fruit helps avoid all of that fructose. I’m even MORE obsessed with green smoothies. By blending instead of juicing, you keep all of that awesome, healthy fiber!
    5. My truest love of fitness dvds is P90x. Tony Horton is goofy and makes me laugh when I most want to curse. Don’t let the “hard core” labels get you! As he says: just do what you can do, then jog in place or keep your body warm to the end of the sets. You will work up to it in no time. Though fair warning: it’s completely addictive. (Oh and my 7 year old LOVES to jump in and power through with me. The 1 year old just likes to laugh and crawl under my “bridge” will I’m doing downward dog). Also, check out the Zombies, Run! app. It rocks and has completely gotten me back into running. Plus, you have an excuse for that charming post-workout look: “Dude, I just escaped two zombie hordes. Whattayado?”

  17. jeannette

    I have used Lindsay Brin and Jillian both. I think they are both great but I switch them depending on my mood…Jillian can be a bit to take some days:) I also throw in some P90X if my son insists on working out with boys instead of girls!

  18. Christine

    Re #5, I’ve recently started working out using PraiseMoves (http://praisemoves.com/) which is a Christian alternative to Yoga. It’s got the same strength/flexibility sort of workouts, but none of the hindu & new age nonsense that comes with yoga. Instead the workouts are done to scripture meditations… it might sound a bit cheesy, but I love it! And I feel great on the days I remember to do it 🙂

  19. Amy2boys

    I’m a Jillian 30 Day Shred fan. It’s not mean or too difficult and it absolutely works. And I’m never living in Texas after reading your blog. I may never visit again. This centipede thing is just horrible!

  20. Monica

    30 Day Shred by Jillian — encouraging, not too mean. There are different levels you can choose, and the workouts, including warmup and a short cool down, last about 22 minutes, which is my kind of workout these days. Also, I feel like I’ve worked out afterwards, and see the difference in my body. My kids like it, too, but there is one workout in which she says, “Literally kicking yourself in the a**.” So far none of my kids have picked it up, but they also think that word means donkey, so maybe that’s why.

    Grocery store — I feel your pain. Lots of recipes have gotten by without the forgotten ingredient, because it IS an ordeal! The best, though, was when I went to the liquor store while very pregnant and hauling three kids. I didn’t forget anything there, but I could only imagine what the employees were thinking. High points in the life of a mom!

  21. Rakhi @ The Pitter Patter Diaries

    I love the martini! You do what you gotta do. And God bless you for hitting the store with all mini-peeps in tow. Just two sometimes sends me into convulsions and straight to the mini bar.

  22. Mary Pollock

    I love Jillian! Only 20 minutes and I lost 2 pant sizes in 2 weeks! The only thing that has helped me shed the baby weight I’ve been holding on to! Plus, in the 30 day shred videos she isn’t really mean at all, sort of awkward because I don’t think it’s natural for her to not be yelling 😉

  23. Nichole

    That bug is absolutely terrifying and would give me nightmares. We recently have been invaded by spiders (non-poisonous but still horrifying) due to the property management company re-landscaping, and I think it’s grounds to be released from our lease.

    Also, I’m so glad I’m not the only parent who steals the children’s juice boxes when I’m in need a cocktail.

  24. Lisa

    Thanks for the drink recipe! I can’t drink now being pregnant and due in November, but…..since you brought drinks up… Didn’t you say one time your husband makes the best margaritas? Please, do share the recipe complete with what type of tequila he uses! My hubby couldn’t make a decent margarita if his life depended on it. Thank you thank you thank you! And…if I’m confusing you with someone else, my apologies…not getting a whole lot of restful sleep around here, but you wouldn’t know what that’s like. 😉

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      Yes, he does! I thought I already posted it but I guess I didn’t. I’ll do that soon! 🙂

  25. Sherry

    I would never leave my house without a flame thrower if I saw that thing on my lawn. –just saying…and I am a Texan too. Relocated to Maryland, but still, this is the type of creature that causes one to make a list….of things to ask God about one day….WHAT WERE YOU THINKING when you created this creature?

  26. Bill Burns

    Thanks for take 3. I needed a laugh today.

  27. Connie Rossini

    I’m so glad we don’t have scorpions or monster centipedes here. Somehow, even though I’m the only female in the house, I have become the designated bug exterminator. I don’t like them any more than my 4 boys do, but I’m not one to go limp over an insect.

  28. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    I haven’t had a chance to comment in a while since, you know, I just pushed a baby out of me and all. But, I wanted to pop by and congratulate you! So…BIG CONGRATS 🙂

  29. Dwija {House Unseen}

    Only 26 weeks until my next momtini. I think I can, I think I can….

  30. Jessica

    Love the idea of a momtini…too bad I keep buying those watered down juice boxes…maybe I can dig out some apple juice out of the pantry.
    And super scary centipede. Ick. Made my skin crawl!

  31. elizabethe

    Every single one of these takes made me laugh out loud. Thanks for linking to that yaya post because I had missed that one.

    But I have to say the MONTINI is GENIUS! There must be some kind of internet award you can get for that.

    re: take 1. Just before my third was born (she’s 9 months now) I thought I was a terrible lazy total slacker of a housekeeper and that I basically sat around all day eating bon bons. but then I had her and I realized that I had been doing a whole heck of a lot of work every day to keep the house in a basic-if-not-perfect state of orderliness because NOW that I was actually doing nothing it was a total wreck. I couldn’t even keep up with dishes.

    But now I miss that phase so much, even though it is soooo hard to be on a two hour tether there is nothing quite like having a little newborn in your arms.

    Plus, Maybe you don’t have time to procrastinate on twitter. But you have done two blog posts this week, invented a drink, and are exercising regularly.

    I envy you your regular exercise more than anything. Please post about how you do it, because I am ready to put these kids in a cage so I can do my exercises in the morning or maybe lock them outside or something, and I only have three.

  32. Rebecca

    Oh lord…that millipede thing. I live in Texas. I may never leave my apartment ever again…

  33. Debbie

    You always keep me smiling. I like Jillian’s shred and the zombie run ap. I love the ap because every run the story changes with new characters and missions. The variety and unpredictability keeps me running.

  34. Britt

    Jillian…I love to hate her 🙂 Seriously, it’s the best workout I’ve found. There isn’t anything I’ve done that gets me toned as quickly as hers does, and it’s only about 25 minutes. The Ripped in 30 has 30 second intervals, so it makes it so doable. I would recommend it!

  35. Marian

    Jillian Michaels “The Shred”.
    Pros: 25 minutes start to finish, and you have actually worked out! Very efficient. I can almost always find and talk myself into 25 minutes. Good to have in your arsenal. 3 levels, starting fairly easy.
    Cons: As with any video, boring with repetition. I turn her on mute and play my own music, since she doesn’t actually use the beat of her music much anyway (anther con for my dancin’ soul, but overcome by the down-to-business efficacy of it all).

  36. GeekLady

    I knew I was clever for cultivating a love of cranberry juice in my toddler. Apple juice was a special treat, if he asked for juice, he got cranberry juice. First I cut it with water, until he complained that I was cheating him, now he drinks it straight. Crazy little boy loves the stuff.

    Doesn’t solve the problem of running out of vodka though.

  37. Suzette @ jambalaya

    Oh I am nearly in tears at the thought of you busting-up the juice boxes….ohhh..my…gosh….(giggling like crazy)

    I award you:


    (more giggling!!)

  38. Monica

    Love the momtini! Mothers are nothing if not resourceful! 🙂

  39. Jess

    Jillian’s 30 day shred is awesome to so with kids around because who has more time than that to work out really? My new favorite though is Lauren Brooks kettlebells. She has an awesome 12 min workout which I love. I am also preggo with no. 4 and just started her pregnant kettlebell workout, so far so good!

  40. Connie

    Lifelong Texan myself until 5 years ago. Some of the icky bugs here are bigger and/or more abundant here in Costa Rica where I now live. I guess living in Texas helped me take the bugs here more in stride.

    Jen, I just sent you an email with a suggestion that COULD possibly help with your sinus infection situation, especially if they’re frequent.

    God bless you.

  41. Joy @ Caspara

    That is one freaky centipede, even if not the size of a school bus!! We just moved to Hawaii, and I’m feeling grateful that there are no snakes to worry about here!! But, then again, there are cone snails, box jellyfish, man o’wars, and sharks in the water. Trying not to think about that too much!

    As to working out, I don’t know. I alternately love and hate Jillian. I do Insanity sometimes, and I like it okay, but that countdown timer thing at the bottom of the screen annoys me. But I feel like both of them deliver results. I’ve been having a ton if fun with Zumba DVD’s. They’re fun and not pretentious. I can actually smile, if not crack up totally doing them, but I really work up a sweat too and feel toned. My husband says he can see my body getting more fit, too.

  42. JC

    I read #2-3 and wondered if giant- centipede stories were going to become another feature. Then I mostly forgot about it because of my brother’s wedding Saturday. I went out to the venue–a Villa overlooking Lake Georgetown–to help them get set up for the wedding and reception, and had no sooner gone into the groom’s/groomsmen area to hang up some garment bags then I heard a lot of screaming and commotion from the main reception room. My brothers and I rushed out to see what was the matter.

    Sure enough, all of the bridesmaids (though fortunately not the bride herself) were standing in large semi circle and pointing and screaming at the very same kind of centipede, which was rearing up and walking menacingly around the reception area floor.

    We pretty much sprang into action from there. I moved the ladies away from it–there semicircle pretty much guaranteed that it was going to not crawl through the doorway to the outside, but rather was going to go into the groom’s area. The brother who was the groom kept and eye on the centipede, and the other two of us went to look for something to actually fix the problem. Resources: several pocketknives, a small handgun, and a coathanger. The knives were definitely too short, and the risk of ricochet (plus the likelihood of a freaked out bride/set of bridesmaids) meant that the gun was out, so we went with the coathanger.

    Basically, my other brother did his best-manly duty and snagged the thing on a coathanger and then took it somewhere far away to get rid of it. Luckily, it’s kin never bothered us again, but what a start for a wedding day!

  43. Jennifer

    I think workout videos are perfect for moms because of the flexibility they provide. I actually just did a post on my favorite workout videos if you want to check it out: http://www.littlesillygoose.com.

  44. Micaela

    This one had me cracking up. Heavens to Betsy, that bug is a monster!

    I love your juice box momtini!

    I just started running and also doing a workout video called T-Tapp. The lady is a bit quirky and dorky but the exercises are GREAT for moms. Highly recommend so far. Oh! And the Basic workout is only 15 minutes long which is about all my kids can handle of me standing in front of a TV and not paying attention to them. 😉

  45. Elizabeth

    I thought I would hate Jillian, but after deciding I really needed to do something about my awful physical condition, I spent $9 on the Ripped in 30 DVD and I love it! I’m on the last week and I am impressed. She really delivers – I have ab muscles, which after having 3 babies in 3 years and working out zero times, I did not think was possible. She’s kind of annoying (I wouldn’t say mean) but there’s subtitles and I mute it. Works great! My hubby is so impressed I think he’s going to try it 🙂

  46. Melody

    Awesome Quick Takes post! Over the weekend I visited South Texas anddrove past Austin on the way down and back, and thought of you! 🙂

  47. lisa

    loved the juice box cocktail! only a mom would understand!

  48. Monica

    Jennifer your post is hilarious! Although, I have not had little ones for quite a while. My son’s are adults on their own, you brought back the memories of how much fun it was shopping with kids LOL…

    God Bless YaYa, she has such crazy awesome spunk.

    I love the momtini great idea! LOL..

  49. priest's wife (@byzcathwife)

    “momitini”- love that!

    This morning…my husband was faked-scandalized that I had a half-full bottle of hard apple cider in my hands, clearing the table for breakfast…nope- I’m not morning-drinking, it just takes me about 24 hours to get through one drink!

  50. Patty

    I love how the last sentence of #5 flows so seamlessly into the first sentence of #6. Haha! You always make me smile.

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