7 Quick Takes - 7-in-7 Style

Friday, February 28, 2014


Fact:  Writing 7 posts in 7 days is not really a challenge for me because I mostly don't write anything of substance when I blog.  Thinking/writing anything remotely deep are not my strong suit.

Fact:  I love having my feedly crammed with new posts at all times because all the people are writing all the things!

Fact:  I'm trying so hard to keep up with all the posts that I hardly have time to comment on any of the posts.  Which I assume is why there has also been a dearth of comments on this blog!  Soooo if you've been writing posts this week and I haven't been commenting, it's just because there's no time to write AND comment AND read all the other posts!


A while back Andrew and I found a starter set of legos (NOT duplos!) on a good sale, so we bought it to put away for when the kids got older.  I got it out yesterday to buy some time while the babies napped and  they loooooved it!

Cecilia made a candle.  With an eye?  Then she got REALLY upset because John Paul told her it was flammable and she didn't WANT it to be flammable.

Because it's a candle.



So now we're at the point where we're getting started with regular legos and Andrew and I really want MORE legos so we can build all the things but then we remember that these are toys meant for children and we can't just buy all the things...  But at the same time, we're grown-ups so we CAN buy all the things if we want to, right?

Sigh.  Maybe we'll all get some in our Easter baskets?


Cecilia in her little "ballerina bun" is just too cute for words, right?  I'm amazed that I got her to wear that blue shirt - she's so fickle about the clothes she'll wear, but she decided she wanted to wear a blue dress like Cinderella and I convinced her that since she doesn't have a blue dress, a blue jumper and blue shirt would be perfect.  And it worked!

Gotta love it when that happens :)


How long does it take you to cook dinner?  An hour?  Half an hour?  I'm wondering what's normal...

Usually we give up TV for Lent but we've *just* gotten to the point where the babies are happy watching a show or two in the basement with John Paul and Cecilia so that I can get dinner started.  And usually 45 minutes to an hour is enough for me to get stuff ready, but I'm wondering if I just take too long to cook?  Or need to simplify what we eat?  Or maybe just let them keep watching TV because it's the only thing that works right now!


This week's posts:

In case you can't get enough of twin birth stories, I've opened a link-up for them!
Sometimes I actually let the kids help me in the kitchen: Ricotta Gnocchi recipe
John Paul decided I'm 40: On Premature Aging
More hilarious quotes (and another link-up): What They Said, Volume 9


And some of my favorite posts from others this week:

Because I'm sure you have time to go read more things, right?  

And if you want to read EVEN MORE THINGS, check out everyone else's Quick Takes!

What They Said, Volume 9

Thursday, February 27, 2014

It's been a pretty funny February for us - here are some gems from this month:

Cecilia, balancing precariously: I'm make suring not to fall!
John Paul, laughing: Make suring! She means making sure!!!

Nothing is so funny as grammatical errors to this kid... 

Theme Thursday: Fences
The babies' first words upon waking yesterday morning:

Mary Claire: Baa la la la! (reminding me of her current favorite sandra boynton book)
Elizabeth: Up!
MC: Puppy! Woof woof!
Elizabeth: *high-pitched pretend barking*

Who needs adult conversation?

Mary Claire, looking at a picture of a stegosaurus:  Huppo! (Hippo)
Me:  No, that's a dino.
Mary Claire:  Hop, hop!!!
Me:  *sigh* 

Me:  What's your favorite season?
Mary Claire: Baby!
Cecilia: Orange!
Elizabeth: Dee-sa! Baby! (Jesus!  Baby!)

Homeschooling's going great over here, why do you ask? 

Cecilia:  Is St. Valentime real, mom? Can I dance for St. Valentime in heaven?

I'm sure he would appreciate it... 

Cecilia, wiping her nose with a wipe: Sometimes at night I pick my nose!


Cecilia, talking about every Women's Olympic event: Is she gonna get a pink medal?

As a consolation prize? 

Cecilia:  Could I have milk please?
Me:  Sure honey pie!
Cecilia:  Why did you call me honey pie?  I'm cutie pie!

I've got some nerve. 

Cecilia, singing a song of her own composition: 
When will it be mooorning tiiiime...  
Moses got da hooooly iiiinnocents, 
and Gabriel, Gabriel, Gabriel, Gabriel, 
and Jesus was boooorn in da staaaable, 
and Jesus is sweeping on da haaaay, 
and I have not seen dat for a whiiiile!

We'll be arranging it for wind ensemble soon - get ready! 

Discussing animals at the zoo

Cecilia:  Some day I would wet a farm animal out of it's gate and it would be my pet!
John Paul:  I would like a pet sheep some day!
Cecilia:  And I would like a pet sheep too!!!
John Paul:  A sheep would be my most talented pet!
Me:  And where would you keep your sheep?
Cecilia:  Um, I would kind of wet it sweep in YOUR bed, Mom!
Me:  ...No, I don't think a sheep would sleep in my bed...
Cecilia:  And it would poop in da gwass!!!

Glad we got that sorted out. 

Cecilia, doing a "trick" while brushing her teeth:  Wook at meeeeeee!
John Paul:  Don't jump into the bathtub!
Cecilia:  I'm not!  I'm just standing here for hours and hours!
John Paul, disgusted:  NOT hours and hours, Cecilia.

He has been imitating Andrew's outfits lately...  Although Andrew doesn't have a cape to go with his plaid shirt and sweater vest.

John Paul gets it into his mind that Elizabeth needs to be punched...

Me:  John Paul, when would it ever be okay to punch your sister???
Correct answer: Never.
John Paul:  Maybe when we're boxing.


Cecilia, watching a Canadian figure skater: Someday, when I'm grown up, I want to have a daughter like her.
John Paul: Mmhmm! Me too!

Aim high - aim for a daughter who's four times your age... 

Me: John Paul, you're so strong!
Cecilia: And God is SO so stwong!

And there's our hierarchy.

That's all I've got!  Link up your favorite funny quotes using the link-up tool below:

On Premature Aging

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

John Paul has been using a little flashlight clock to fast forward time in our world - first he fast forwarded to his 7th birthday to convince me it was time for his First Communion.  Then to his 16th birthday, so that he could drive.  He took many a pretend trip to Trader Joe's, Safeway, Giant, Costco, The Dollar Tree (to get a solar-powered pig for his birthday, apparently), and TJ Maxx (that last one always perplexes me, because I think he's been there once ever?), and then asked me, "Mom, how old are you now?  It's 2025!"

At which point I realized, "Wow, suddenly I'm almost 40..."

And I can't even imagine that point, you know?

For years and years I imagined what my adult life would be like, particularly at this point (27, 28 in a couple months).  And I'm pretty much exactly where I anticipated I'd be - married with 4 kids (I expected three but, you know, twins).

"And how old will Mary Claire and Elizabeth be?"

"Well, when you're 16 they'll be 13."

"Hi teenagers!  Teenagers, hi!!!  And how old is our baby boy?"

"We have another baby boy?"

"Yup.  He's...  3."

"And what did we name him?"

"Damasus."  (This has long been one of his favorite boy names - Abbey, looks like we've got you covered!)

These hands?  Not full enough!

13 years from now, where do I hope to be?  Where do I expect to be?  Honestly, I have no idea.  The only virtual definite is that we'll be driving a cargo van.  Other than that?  I'll let you know...

I'll have even more awesome quotes for you tomorrow - be sure to link-up for another edition of What They Said!

Kids in the Kitchen: Ricotta Gnocchi with Tomato Cream Sauce

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I was first introduced to gnocchi (those beautifully tender potato dumplings) when my sister returned from studying abroad in Rome for a semester.  But there was no way I'd ever try to make these myself - cooking potatoes, ricing them, trying to find just the right texture with the eggs and flour...  Forget it!

Fast forward several years and Trader Joe's potato gnocchi became a staple in our house, and for good reason - they're relatively inexpensive, cook up super-fast, and are so yummy and filling!  Andrew and I had just started observing meatless Fridays after we got married, and gnocchi was an easy way to vary the pizza/pasta pattern we tended to follow.  But I was still terrified to try making them from scratch!

So of course it was when John Paul was a little over a year old, and I was just into the second trimester pregnant with Cecilia - my cooking mojo was back!  I wanted to eat all the food and I wanted to MAKE all the food!  Like gnocchi!!!

You can imagine how surprised I was that ricotta gnocchi was a thing.  So you mean I don't have to peel all those potatoes?  I can just...  Open a container of ricotta?

There I stood, mixing and rolling and cutting while feeding John Paul cherry tomatoes in his high chair (and eventually just giving him some dough - yup, I fed raw eggs to my one-year-old...) and it was so worth it.

This was the first recipe I ever used, and still is the one I mostly follow - today we quadrupled it (and I made John Paul do the math!) because I like to freeze half and we kind of love gnocchi in our family...

To quadruple:

Two 15 oz. containers whole milk ricotta
8 eggs
2 cups grated parmesan 
4 tsp salt
4 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp pepper
4 cups all purpose flour

If that parmesan isn't freshly grated, run it through the food processor to break it up a bit.  And I'm using more garlic powder next time - I wanted it a little more garlicky.  If you happen to discover you're almost out of all purpose flour, substituting whole wheat flour & bread flour will work fine (I used a 1:3 ratio).

1. Mix together all ingredients but flour until well-blended.  
2. Gradually mix in flour until incorporated, adding more if dough is too sticky.
3.  Divide dough into sections and roll into one-inch ropes on a floured surface (don't overwork it or it'll get too sticky - the kids learned this the hard way!).
4.  Cut into 1/2-inch pieces with a dough cutter (this is where the kids were actually helpful) and place on floured baking sheet.

Displaying 2014-02-25_11-12-35_8.jpg

So tedious making sure they don't stick together...  Tedious if you're a grown-up, but it's a perfect task for a 4-year-old!

Here's where I froze half and stuck the rest in the fridge until I was ready, which makes this a nap-friendly "craft" that's actually useful for you, too!

5. When you're ready to cook, boil a pot of water and drop gnocchi in - when they float, drain and sauce!

And that tomato cream sauce?  You can go the homemade route (which I do every month or so - so easy to whip up a batch and can it all!) or just use your favorite jar of store-bought sauce and add cream until it tastes delicious to you!  Top with parmesan and serve hot.

Every single child I've ever had absolutely adores gnocchi.  This is one meal they will all gobble down with no problem!

Total time?  1.5 hours, from set-up to clean-up.  Meaning the kitchen was spotless by the time that 1.5 hours was over, PERFECT for when the babies were napping!

A Very Awkward (but still cute) Refashion

Monday, February 24, 2014

"So easy!" said Pinterest.
"You could do it in 15 minutes!" said the internet.

2 hours later (thank goodness for long baby naps!), the shirt from our Goodwill pile was refashioned from a shirt to a dress and then to a tunic and headband thanks to maaaany mistakes...


After (I think the expression says it all!)
(Yes, that's a bunny tucked into the neck)

Mistakes:  First I sewed a sleeve on inside-out, and then I had to rip out all the stitches to get it off and ended up making holes in the fabric so I had to cut quite a bit off and the sleeves maaaay not be the same length and the shoulders DEFINITELY are not the same.  But didn't you know that Cecilia has very pointy uneven shoulders?  Totally her fault, not mine :P

Then she REALLY wanted me to make a headband out of the bottom, so I hemmed the bottom and cut off the excess and wouldn't you know it, by the time I was almost done I ended up making another accidental hole in the fabric, so I had to hem it AGAIN to fix that, which downgraded it from dress to tunic...

Would it have been smart to perhaps google "how to sew on a sleeve?"  Yes, oh yes it would have.  But I would have had to go ALL the way upstairs!

So there you have it.  Awkward.  But she LOVES it!

Don't laugh, Emily.

Next thing you know, I'll be whipping up matching denim jumpers for the me and the girls faster than you can say "Seton!"

Homeschool Musings, Baby Tricks, and Emerging Mullets (7 Quick Takes)

Friday, February 21, 2014


I'm writing this while halfway catching up on old episodes of The Bachelor from this season.  I don't even know why I'm still watching...  All I have to say is this: Juan Pablo is super SUPER creepy and Sharleen, WHY did your parents spell your name that way???

This may be the worst season ever.  Although Jake and Vienna...  Man, that was bad.


Andrew and I decided this year we're going to go to the IHM National Conference (conveniently located less than an hour from our house) and I'm really looking forward to it!  Will you be there?

I'm also kind of hoping that going will help me figure out what materials (if any...) we want to use with John Paul for "kindergarten" this coming year.

He turns 5 in July and all the experienced homeschoolers (well, Amelia, Dwija, and Micaela) say to "redshirt" him this year for kindergarten so that we don't have to "officially" declare that we're homeschooling and have to prove "progress" at the end of the school year.  And considering we could do absolutely nothing academically for the next 3 years and he would still be right on track with kids that age, I think we'll stay low-key while we can...


Buuuut he tends to do better behaviorally if I have academic activities for him to do because he just reeeeeeeeeeally loves reading and math and all that, which is why Wednesday night when we got home from Costco and I said, "Okay, do you want to play now or do math problems?" his immediate response was, "MATH PROBLEMS!!!"

But of course we have to alternate between addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  Why master one when you can master them ALL?  And yeah, he can do anything I throw at him.  Which is why I'm not reeeally concerned about "homeschooling" for the most part!


But I AM starting to get manipulatives and science experiment materials and things like that - I hesitated for a while because John Paul doesn't seem to need any of that, but then I remembered that we've got three younger kids who will proooobably not have John Paul's insane aptitude for numbers, so the investment can't hurt, right?

And I ordered Cecilia her first workbook because she soooo desperately wants to use John Paul's but she has no idea how to read or what to do!  So I ordered her this workbook and will very likely spend every day yelling at John Paul for trying to do every single page in her workbook...


And speaking of buying all the things, I was able to use a lot of Amazon credit from the affiliates program to pay for quite a bit of that, so thanks so much for that!  Every time you click an Amazon affiliate link from this blog and purchase ANYTHING, I get a percentage of the purchase!  Which means the kids will be making their baking soda and vinegar volcanoes with something besides spoons and old plastic bowls!

Remember when there were leaves on the trees?


We're entering one of my favorite ages - I think 18-24 months is the sweet spot for my kids - they're SO funny, but also so sweet and a lot less willful (for the most part) than older toddlers.

One of my favorite tricks they always learn?

Always funny.  Always.

And Mary Claire saw a picture of a kid in a book raising her arms, so now she does it aaaaaaaall the time.  We're supposed to say "SO BIG!" and then she goes back to business.  Never smiling.  Just important business.

So Elizabeth tries to do it too...  But hasn't quite gotten the hang of it because she only ever raises one arm!


Do you see?  That little hint of a curl on the back of her head?  Ohhhh I am excited for those adorable baby curls!

Linking up with Jen - check out all the other cool bloggers!

Sibling Weddings, Patron Saints, and Gollym

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

And nothing particularly interesting...

Edit: Why did I spell that "Gollym?"  This is what happens when proofreading is not a thing that I care about...

Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter


Andrew had Monday off and took the big kids to the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine.  Obviously they loved it because it was a place, but I just can't stop giggling at the fact that Cecilia keeps accidentally calling her "Saint Ewizabef Ann Satan."

Then Cecilia was wearing her multicolored rosary bracelet (from the gift shop that day) on the potty, and apparently having a difficult time...  I heard, "Mom, I'm pwayin' Hail Mary's to help me poop!!!"

*Fun fact:  The patron saint of constipation is apparently St. Vitus (source), who is the saint I got when I did Jen's Saint's Name Generator...


On Sunday Cecilia told me, "Mom, I don't want to nap alone.  I want to nap wif my brudder."

John Paul agreed, and an hour-and-a-half later he came looking for Cecilia's tiara.  

"It's on the kitchen counter." I told him.

"No, her wedding tiara!"

"Oh, it's in the playroom."

"Good, now we can start the wedding!"

Photo: Apparently this is what happens when I let them nap together...

Presenting the happy couple? Or perhaps not so happy...

Somewhere in there the tiara got lost again...  Have you ever seen a couple so happy?  The upturned collars kind of kill me.  

{also funny}

Then two days later, one of John Paul's first actions upon waking was to get back in his suit so they could have another wedding...  And this time apparently Cecilia went the ballerina princess route for her dress:

Do you guys want to pose for some wedding pictures?  No, get the sword out of your mouth!

The juxtaposition of their faces here just kills me, as does the chocolate on their lips from their "wedding cake" (chocolate chip banana bread)

Do you see Cecilia's beautiful rosary bracelet?

Wook at my cat!

You see my cat???

John Paul, you're supposed to look happy!

No, HAPPY, not creepy!

I just...  This is why siblings aren't allowed to marry each other.

End scene.

There was a VERY traumatic moment before the second wedding when she wouldn't wear the tights he brought her and he kept yelling, "I DON'T WANT TO SEE YOUR UNDERWEAR!"


I reminded him that he's not allowed to marry his sister and he was REALLY upset until I listed some girls that he COULD marry because he's not related to them.  He very happily chose Ava.  And then remembered that he wants to be a priest


Princess Scraggle-Hair looks so cute, right?

Until you realize she has positioned herself on the shoe mat so she can eat all the salt that has fallen off everyone's shoes.  This is far less disgusting than what she does when she's sitting on the potty.  Nasty.


And this cutie pie has managed to grow approximately three very long hairs that are always in her eyes unless I sweep them to the side, so it's looking like a veeeeery brief hair cut or perhaps hair plucking may be in order soon...


The wisps!  One day she will be rocking a luxurious mane and there will no longer be any resemblance to Gollum!

I'm a really bad mom.


Who's up for another "What They Said" link-up?  I've got a bunch of quotes sitting unused in my drafts folder...  I did it on the 27th last time, so let's shoot for next Thursday and I'll keep it open for longer since it's just a monthly think now.
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