7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 225)

July 19, 2013 | 47 comments

— 1 —

I have a brilliant idea! I was trying to think of ways to get back into the swing of blogging now that the book is done, and I decided that I’m going to commit to posting every day next week, from Monday 7/22 to Sunday 7/28. Like all my brilliant ideas, this one promises to make me wish I didn’t have a brain so I wouldn’t get myself into these messes, but at least it’ll give me a chance to clear out some post ideas I’ve had sitting around for a while.

If you have a blog, you should join me! I’d love to follow along with others who are up for the challenge. I’ll put up a linky list on Sunday where you can post a link to your blog if you’re planning to post every day next week too.

— 2 —

I finally re-did my About Me page. Check it out and let me know what you think! It’s surprisingly hard to put one of those together. Luckily, I had lots of inspiration when you told me about some of your favorites.

— 3 —

A friend of mine has been taking a series of household management classes that are being offered at our parish, and she told me about an exercise that I thought was really interesting. Try this:

  1. Get out a sheet of paper, and write a list of all the activities you typically try to complete in a 24-hour period — don’t pause to analyze it, just write as quickly as you can.
  2. Break the tasks into small components to make sure you don’t miss anything (for example, instead of “kids’ bath time, ” list “running bath water and rounding up kids, ” “kids in tub, ” “washing hair, ” “drying and getting dressed, ” etc.)
  3. Next to each item, write the amount of time that this activity requires for you to do it without rushing.
  4. Add up the time.

If it goes anything like it did for me, you might be surprised by just how far away from 24 your total is. It’s lesson 1, 784 for me that modern life tempts us to put waaaaaay too much on our plates.

— 4 —

Here’s a tip that I’ve found surprisingly useful, that you’ll like if you plan to do the exercise from #3: Google Drive’s spreadsheet program is great at adding time. (Microsoft Excel technically does it too, though I found it much harder to use.) In Drive you can input blocks of time in the 00:00 format (e.g. an hour and ten minutes would be 1:10), then have the program add the total time for you. This is indispensable for time management exercises, or for the critical work of creating playlists to go with 30-Day Shred videos.

— 5 —

We recently discovered that the grave of my great-great-great grandmother is at our family cemetery that’s a few miles away from here. I knew I had relatives there that went way back, but, I didn’t know they went that far back. Anyway, my main takeaway was this:

This great-great-great grandmother and other relatives arrived in Texas back in the mid-1800s — and if you’ve read Empire of the Summer Moon, you know what fun that must have been. Therefore, you would think that I would have inherited a hardy set of genes that would enable me to go pick cotton for 12 hours in 105-degree temperatures, or at least go check the mail without stumbling back in the door and gasping about how I’m going to die of heat stroke. And yet that is not what has happened at all; in fact, I have one of the most delicate constitutions of anyone I know. I am shocked anew by the Texas environment every single day of my life, and have all sorts of sensitivities that my Texan relatives find absolutely precious, like my qualms about being stung by scorpions while I sleep.

My mom grew up in the northeast and is descended from Irish immigrants, and it’s like my body knows that and is screaming, “No! This is all wrong! Run immediately to the nearest location that is cold and rainy and covered in clouds!!!”

— 6 —

When Joe and I met, we worked for a web metrics company that was one of the pioneers in the field (like Google Analytics for major corporations). He was a product manager and I designed the client interface, so we spent all our time analyzing traffic to websites. We learned a lot about traffic patterns and what they mean, which I always enjoy applying to blogging.

Earlier this week my post about survival mode got a ton of traffic (thanks for the links and shares!), and we had a ridiculous amount of fun analyzing the data as a flood of new visitors came in. (Yes, we are huge nerds.) A few insights that fellow bloggers and/or stats nerds might find interesting:

  • Most people left the site after reading the 21 Tips for Survival Mode post. However, of those that stayed, they tended to stay a long time (i.e. there were far more people that stayed for 180+ seconds than stayed for 30 – 60 seconds). Implication: People decide quickly whether they’re interested in new sites or not, and tend to feel strongly about their decisions.
  • When visitors to the Survival Mode post clicked on anything else, it tended to be the link to the home page. Implication: When people would like to find out more about a new blog they’ve discovered, they go to the home page to look for fresh content.
  • The link that was most clicked on within the post was the one about finding your sleep personality, which is interesting since it was pretty far down the page. Implication: People like information that’s customized to them.
  • There was a lot of traffic directly to the sleep personality link, I guess from people sharing that after they read the survival mode post. Interestingly, visits that began on that page were 20% more likely to look at other content on the site than visits that began on other pages. Implication: No idea.

I could go on and on, but it might get too exciting.

— 7 —

Next week should be interesting. I have no idea where I’ll find the free time to write a blog post per day. I may have to resort to just sharing funny stuff I find on Pinterest…which might not be a bad thing.


Have a good weekend!



  1. nancyo

    Joining you in the post-everyday project is tempting – I’ll have to think about it. But I’m excited to see what you come up with!

  2. J.R. Baldwin

    I love the idea of posting every day next week – which, coincidentally is NFP Awareness Week and it’s when I’m supposed to take a technology break… Decisions! I also like the time break-up idea: so much to do, and yet time slips into oblivion.

    I love the graphic at the end – may need to print that off for our coffee maker!

    • Lisa Schmidt

      A post-a-day: brilliant, Jen, BECAUSE I HAD THE SAME IDEA! I’m doing a series in conjunction with NFP Awareness week, too. Just a simple Q&A each day about NFP’s most commonly misunderstood facts. Plus Thursday is the 45th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, so we’ll highlight that, too. Looking forward to linking up with you.

      Aside, back in April, I caught wind of a “Blogging from A to Z challenge” where a few thousand bloggers blogged Monday through Saturday, working their way through the alphabet during the month. I signed up, and had really terrific analytics that month. It was a terrific writing challenge. But … three months later, I still haven’t blogged on “Z” yet. I CAN’T FINISH. Maybe I should called on Blessed Zelie Martin for some z-inspiration.

  3. Laura

    Ooooooh, I’ll join in the posting every day! I’ve been majorly slacking in that department (other than my 7QT) and need to get my fingers and brain back in action. Can’t wait to see what everyone writes!

  4. Nichole

    My friend always makes her kids look in her cup of coffee when they whine in the morning. Her rule is no whining before mom has finished her cup of coffee. Her son now asks her if she’s done before he’ll beg for anything! I with I could train mine like that.
    I’ll join you next week. No promise of quality content though!

    • Patty

      If I were her, I would keep a half full cup of coffee beside me all day long.

  5. Francine

    I don’t know if I could come up with the material for posting every day… I lead a boring life. Love the new ‘about me’ page, Jen! It draws you in and makes you want to read more!

    I just want to take a moment and celebrate that I’m in the top twenty this week – new PR!

  6. Carolyn@4Life4Life

    Re your “About Me” page. It’s quick! and long. and good. I align with your introvert descriptions so very much. Brain in a Jar! I might need you to explain this to my husband one day because he doesn’t get it, really.
    Glad to have you back, and congratulations about your book!

  7. Ann-Marie

    I love the new about me page. You mention YaYa, but I don’t get the full glory of all that is YaYa, ya know? Perhaps a link to the post where she saved a scorpion for the kids to play with? I love that you have links to some of my favorite posts from that page. Well done.

  8. Meghan

    I really like your ‘about’ page!

    Here is an idea I had that I do not have the dedication to try, but maybe you would want to try as a means to a blog post per day. You can join all the link-ups!
    On Monday there is the Mystery Ingredient (this week is mustard, I believe) linkup at HouseWifeSpice.
    Not sure if there is a think on Tuesday, but there are two on Wednesday, so you could post one a day early and link it up on Wednesday. Those would be What We’re Reading (again at housewife spice) and Five Favorites (which you obviously know about already).
    Thursday is Theme Thursday at ClanDonaldson. Take a photo that fits the theme of “askew” and link it up!
    Friday is for Quick Takes.
    Saturday is another one I’m not sure of, but you could always type out your love story, because Grace’s linkup is still open.
    And last but not least, What I Wore Sunday.
    Join all the link-ups!

    Also, thought you might like this, The Introvert and The Extrovert:

    • Anabelle Hazard

      this is a great idea. I don’t know if I can do them all but link ups are w wonderful way to meet friends. Thanks.

  9. Lisa

    Love the new About Me page! And Pinterest never fails to give me a laugh.

  10. Kelly M.

    I think my husband would kill me if I signed up to post everyday next week, but we’ll see if I can’t win him over with some fancy scotch.

  11. Misty

    As getting back into blogging more regularly was on my to-do list as well this summer and two of my three boys will be at camp all day next week, your challenge comes at the perfect time! I’m in! (virtually clinking coffee mugs with you)

  12. Kathleen Basi

    Your mention of Google Spreadsheet adding time is exactly the answer to a prayer I was looking for. I’ve really been wanting to figure out how much time I’m wasting during my day, and the only way I can figure out how to do it is to pretend I’m a lawyer and keep track of “billables.” But the idea of having to do all that addition makes me tired! Thanks for the tip.

  13. waveless waterbed mattress

    I’m really inspired with your writing talents and also with the structure to your blog. Is this a paid subject or did you modify it your self? Anyway stay up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to look a great weblog like this one these days..

    • Rosie

      It is rare to look a great comment like THIS one these days! I hope waveless waterbed mattress sends you their product for review. It would make a great trampoline for your kids, and they’d be so busy that you would have time to post more!

  14. Renee

    #6 I always wondered what makes one post more popular then then other, on my older blog ‘how to make a kinship chart’ was the most popular. The whole blog was really about marriage and its affect on children. With politics, one would of though some of the other posts on father absence or the redefining may be more popular.

    But my popular posts seemed to be posts that there is an unmet need for discussing in social media/news.

    Who talks about kinship charts, when talking about the definition of family in post-modern culture? No one, but everyone at some point in time is interested in their ancestry. It is something one would Google.

    Pope John Paul II and his teaching of creationism/evolution was also popular a post of mine, after Stephen Hawkins took at cheap shot at Pope JP II recently. A lot of SH fans went to fact check it, and my post was linked which cited a scientific review back in the mid 80s.

    Right now Oprah’s series on Fatherless homes has been my most active one for finding.

  15. Kris

    I’m laughing about your description of your Texas ancestry vs. your Irish ancestry. My people are mostly English (WAY, way back) and I feel the same way. I have lived in Atlanta for 20 years and I STILL hate the summer temps with a passion. It’s like my English ancestry is screaming to get out, every time the thermometer climbs above 75.

  16. Amelia

    Join ALL the link-ups and you can easily get your blog post a day in. 🙂 Although, from reading your blog, you don’t strike me as joiner..so that may not be your thing. In my experience some people are joiners and some people aren’t. I’m totally a joiner…homeschool groups, church ministries, women’s bible studies, book clubs…and LINK-UPS. But, I’ve met a lot of people who aren’t really joiners, so that may not be what they feel comfortable doing.

  17. Theresa EH

    Just take a picture of one of your adorable kids and post what he/she was doing in the photo each day. tada blog post 😉

  18. Camille

    Jennifer! The northeast beckons! Maybe around Philly-ish…. lots of Catholic homeschoolers around here. Just sayin’. I like the new about me page also!

  19. Anabelle Hazard

    Jen, I second the about me page love. Or am I the fifth or tenth? I didn’t realize how important that was till you mentioned it (so I hammered one out quickly) i have missed your regular posts and I am glad you’re making up for lost time. BTW LOL on your advice to ignore other people’s idea of fun if my idea of fun is to stay home and read a book (or blog). I will do just that.

  20. Maria

    Your “about me” page is witty, interesting, informative, and honest. Good luck with the book now that it’s in the hands of the publisher … I am sure it will be great!

  21. Teresa Grodi

    WHAT?!!!! You met Br. Guy Consolmagno?!!! I’m so jealous.

  22. Kristin

    My husband gave me the same challenge!! He said for 30 days straight.

    I look forward to reading :).

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      30 days! Wow. You’re a better blogger than I.

  23. LuAnne

    Great idea – I’m totally taking up this challenge-to-post-diligently. At least for a week. I can do that!

  24. Kris, in New England

    Heh – as my screen-name implies I live in the northeast. Jennifer, trust me you’d like it less than TX these days. With the heat index the temps have been in the low 100s for over a week now and before that it was the low 90s for 2 weeks. I’ve lived here my whole life and I never like this time of year – heat, humidity, heat index – heat heat heat.

    Give me cold, snow and a fire in the fireplace – anytime.

    I’ll try the daily post as well; though my best intentions are just that.

  25. el-e-e

    Ha! I love that ecard at the bottom. I need to WEAR that in the mornings.

  26. Morag

    The good people of Great Britain are currently experiencing a ‘heatwave’ of temperatures that in some places are actually in the 80s F!!!! My poor Scottish body is currently being tortured with temps over 100F in California and it is a great temptation to mock my countrymen at home, but at least we don’t have humidity here.

  27. Colleen @ ID

    Pretty sure I am not up for the challenge to blog every day for a week, but I will read yours!

  28. monica

    Loved the new “about me page” and Joe in his banana suit. I glad your book is done and back to blogging!!!

  29. Rebecca

    Mmmm…a fear of being bitten by a scorpion in your sleep is definitely a legit fear. Especially in Texas…just sayin’

  30. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    Is it weird that I want more info on that home management class? If you’ve got it, please do share!

    And, I think I will join you on your blogging extravaganza. I need to get back into the swing too.

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      That’s all I know, but it does sound great, doesn’t it? I’m going to ask my friend for more details.

  31. jeni

    Oooh I’m so excited for the link up challenge! Bring it!

  32. Eva

    I want to live in pinterest. I really do. I started pinning Christmas stuff yesterday. Too early?

  33. Patty

    Think of all the time I could save NOT writing down each little thing I do all day long…haha.

  34. Caroline

    I would love to see another post about the Saint Diet. I recently went to their website and I would be interested to see what kinds of things you eat on the plan. How did you get your husband to come along with you or do you cook for yourself separately? Do you do a 24 hour fast while nursing? Thanks!

  35. TracyE

    contemplating the challenge, but already experiencing anxiety about when will I post, what will I write, etc, etc, etc ?????

    Blog traffic, interface, oh my. Bottom line: we are fickle people, reading tastes vary second to second and limited attention span. or maybe I’m jealous of the lack of traffic of my own blog lately. or maybe it’s because I haven’t blogged. that might bring traffic. hmmmmmmm


    Happy weekend!!

  36. Kathryn

    A friend of mine hosted a “week in my life” series last October. It was fascinating (so much work, but it’s one of my favorite series on the blog) to see what I did everyday. I mean, I know, but I didn’t *know*. I committed to blog less this summer, so I’ll miss out on the blog every day challenge, but I look forward to yours! http://teamwhitaker.org/2012/10/week-in-my-life-day-7-sunday/

  37. Erika Marie @ Simplemama

    Darn, I missed the Quick Takes again! I usually start thinking of my Quick Takes on Monday but by the time Friday comes I’m zapped. I’ll try harder next week, in fact I’ll even try blogging every day along with you!
    I look forward to your 7 days of Conversion Diary blog posts! I enjoy reading here. I’m sure you’ve already got ideas of what you’ll blog about but one day I’d love to hear/read about “why” you blog – if you know? I enjoy blogging but sometimes I wonder if I enjoy it too much or at least if I enjoy blogging more than my readers enjoy reading my blog, does that make sense? I also struggle with getting trapped in “blog” world and becoming obsessed about blog stats and trying to increase those. Sometimes I feel like blogging can be a little like high school all over again – a little “popularity” competition (even amongst good Catholic women). Do you ever/have you ever struggled with this?
    Also, speaking of following stats, I’m a nerd like you and like to know what my readers are/aren’t interested in. What program do you like to use for good stats reports? How can you tell how long they stay on the page? Can you tell how many are reading through feeds (like Feedly)?
    Sorry for the long comment and questions!

  38. Emily D.

    oooh you are a fun blogger. Found you at Sucipio.
    Congrats on the book. Can’t wait to read it. I’ve often thought about writing my conversion story as well. Glad you did.
    I am of British/Scotch/Irish decent and my family has been in Texas for 150+ years and sister, I hate the heat. I live in Fort Worth (hubby’s job) and I avoid the heat. I have to – it slays me!

    I’m going to go do a 7 quick takes post – if I think I can do it justice, I’ll link up.

  39. Amy

    I LOVE the new “About” page. Very fun to read. It’s a good reminder that I desperately need to redo mine 🙂

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