Friday, May 29, 2009


Let's start this list with a question, shall we? Oh wait, that was a question right there. Shoot.

What I really want to know is do any of you homemakers out there have a bread machine that you recommend, or do you tough it out and do all the work yourselves?

I'd like to start making our own bread, but I am strangely intimidated by all yeast-related recipes. We're talking epic fail many times over.

Let's just say that I would have been your go-to gal for the unleavened bread at Passover.

But if I had a bread machine . . . well, there would be no stopping me.


A friend once told me that she liked it when I didn't clean up too much before she came to visit because it made her feel better about her own house. I laughed, but over the years I have discovered that I agree.

I like it when I drop in on friends and they have a basket of laundry in their kitchen or some dishes in the sink or stacks of shoes (preferably mismatched) at the back door. It makes me feel like I have come into a real person's home because -newsflash!- other people have laundry too!

So today, before a friend stopped over, I decided not to straighten up too much. I moved the most hazardous toys out of the front hall, but that was about it.

Guess what? We had a great time.

The van was in the shop recently, and despite my best efforts, I realized it is really next to impossible to fit four children, two of whom are in full size car seats, into a Honda Civic. Thank goodness Fiver is skinny.

The kids, however, thought riding in Daddy's car was the best thing since the invention of the wheel. It was all Sally could do to keep her itchy trigger finger off of the window button. All I heard was "zshhht, zshht" as the window went up and down about a thousand times.

That got me started thinking about why we never played around with the windows when we were kids, and I realized it was because we had to use the handle to CRANK the ding-dang things open. Not as cool.
And then that got me thinking about those lighters in the car that my Mom always let me push to heat up, and the cigarette vending machines in diner lobbies (loved those!), and rotary phones and LPs and no answering machines and those original "car phones" that were the size of bricks and came in their own briefcase (my Dad had one for his job).

And then I sniffled for the "good old days", and BLAM, I turned into my mother.


I know this is going to sound grouchy, and I also know that by admitting this I am risking expulsion from the country, but can I just say how tired I am of having eco-consciousness crammed down my throat at every turn?

I think I've talked about this before, but I consider being good stewards of our resources to be a natural part of my pro-life beliefs. To me, being pro-life means taking care of our bodies, our planet, and our neighbor; living simply and within your means; living in a non-disposable way, especially in terms of human life. It's all on loan anyway.

But it seems like every other commercial points out all the ways I could be saving the earth if only I cared enough. If I don't buy a cloth bag from my grocery store, then I am a BAD CITIZEN.

Hey, I've been doing this stuff all along! In fact, my mom had us "going green" back in the eighties when the nation practically lived on Styrofoam and no one recycled.

I don't need celebrities telling me how to save some energy or be more frugal (!). Enough with the popularity-contest brand of eco-browbeating.


We're not sending Sally to preschool in the Fall; she will be staying home and attending the prestigious HomeFront Family Academy. The curriculum is heavy on the domestic arts and hospitality industry.

I have found that most people who ask me about it are divided into two groups.

Group one contains the moms who are all "Right on sister! She doesn't need no stinkin' preschool! That's a construct by the state which makes parents feel like they are bad for not sending their kids to school. But they are BABIES, man! Good call."

And then Group Two has the moms who say things like, "Well, if you think that's best, but really she might be a little behind when she gets to kindergarten. I mean, I'm sure she's smart, but school is so COMPETITIVE now. They are really teaching material that is two grades ahead of their class, so kindergarten is really like second grade. Plus, aren't you afraid she might have trouble adjusting socially?"

I've only talked to one person who accepted the decision without comment. And that was Rob (oh I kid!).

I'd just like to say that I don't think all preschool is bad. In fact, I love preschool. It's my favorite schooling time period. Francie and Fiver both went to and enjoyed preschool tremendously. The art projects alone get me all verklempt, but I just don't think it's necessary for Sally right now.

Someone said to me, "You want to be selfish and keep her home. Good for you!"

Is it really selfish to keep my own young child with me? Am I depriving some preschool of the breathtaking wonder that is my child's mind? I don't think so.

I am her mom and I'm not ready to let her go and she's happy to be with me. I'm smart enough to know that won't last forever. Why waste it?

Maybe I'll change my mind when she's four, but the drumbeat for preschool as soon as your kid is three just chafes me a little. It might be good, but it's not everything.

And no, I don't think she'll be stunted socially. At least not any more than my other kids. She has two older siblings and a younger sibling -- I think she'll be able to navigate the educational food chain once she gets there.

In fact, she may be too social for them right now!


We are on Day Four of The HomeFront Corp. Puke Watch.

Fiver has missed four days of school, and has eaten a total of one piece of toast and half a cup of applesauce. IN FOUR DAYS.

It's wearing us all down, especially Fiver. I pray that he bounces back soon.


I know this will make me sound old, and soon I expect you'll hear me lamenting my bursitis and worrying about those kids and the noise they call music, but when did kids start drinking coffee all the time?

I distinctly remember being told that coffee was a grown-up drink, not something that was meant for kids (and I was raised in a large Italian family that didn't think twice about putting a little vino out for everyone). As a little girl, I would imagine pouring myself a nice hot cup of coffee every morning, and I thought that was surely the most salient sign of becoming an adult.

Now I see kids younger than my own walking around with all kinds of coffee drinks. I realize that many of these drinks are more like a dessert, but they are still coffee-based.

Am I totally out of the loop? Does everyone give their kids coffee drinks now? I just don't know anymore.

Now if you'll excuse me, Grandma needs to go put some salve on her joints.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary and have a great weekend, my friends.


  1. posted this at 5 a.m.! Where to start...

  2. Sorry...guess I have quick fingers. I like a house that looks lived in but my OCD won't let too much clutter sit forgive me. No coffee for kids! Keep Sally home until you (her parents) think that's the right'll know when it's time. :-)

  3. I almost took notes, I have so many things to say. But then I remembered the handy "show original post" button. Yea.

    1. I am also intimidated by yeast. But we go through a minimum of two loaves of bread a week. If I made my own would it be cheaper?

    2. I think letting your friends see your house "as is" is also a sign of trust. You are saying that you trust them enough to see your "dirty side" and still be your friend. A house that is lived in will show it, and that is a good thing.

    3. My car in college had power windows that did not work. They would go down about 3 cm, but not go back up. So I had to yell at every new passenger to not touch the windows, so as to avoid the annoying whine of a barely open window. Oh yeah, the A/C was broken too, and I live in TX, in case you forgot. Fun times. Made me consider never getting power windows.

    4. I am not as green as I can/should be, but I agree with you. I am not going to do it because some celebrity or company tells me to. And if it is so important, let's make it easier and more affordable. Because the all-natural cleaning products--usually more expensive than the bad for us stuff. Let's solve that problem, please.

    5. Buddy starts kindergarten in the fall having never stepped foot in a preschool classroom. He has been to VBS and Faith Formation, but that is it. I'm a bit nervous about how he'll handle a full day of school, but he'll figure it out. I would love to have sent him to preschool, but we didn't have the money. Still don't. My kids seem to be doing okay without it.

    6. Hope the puking stops soon.

    7. Amen on the coffee drinks.

    Wow, this was a post in itself.

  4. I got a bread machine for under $5 from a Goodwill - you can get almost any manual online. That way if it didn't work out, I wasn't out a ton of money.

    I liked mixing in the machine but baking in a loaf pan in the oven, because bread machine loaves are shaped weird!

  5. Can I just say, I've been writing a post in my head about the greener-is-godlier push for months. You said exactly what I've been thinking. I'm much "greener" naturally - if you push then I'm likely to push back and just throw away the milk carton. Sheesh!

  6. you may laugh if you will, but your KitchenAid mixer might be just the "bread maker" you're looking for! After several rounds with different sorts of bread, I concluded that the most difficult part was getting the ingredients mixed well... enter the dough hook... voila... well mixed bread dough... mmmmm, maybe I'll go make some bread :-D

  7. I loved LOVED your quick takes!

    First of all, don't be so sure about the breadmaker. I've screwed it up far more often than I have a from-scratch loaf. I'm not too technical, though, and I really love to knead, so I may not be your best ally, here!

    And I'd love to come to your house so I could feel better about mine! I'm always worried about being such a mess, but you've put it in a good perspective.

    Also? I agree with the green stuff. Everyone's trying to sell their GREEN product, but if everyone would just remember not to buy so much unneccessary junk, we'd be alot better off.

    Oh, and those coffee drinking kids. And the preschool stuff...BLAM...I got totally sucked into your quick takes! Wonderful!

  8. Uh, I would NEVER give my children have met them and I am pretty sure you will agree with me on this one.

    When we were younger no one went to preschool. Sally will learn more from you.

    I have a bread machine...havent used it in does not make the bread as yummy as Wegmans. ;)

  9. Okay, bread machine...I can't help you, but I used to make all our bread homemade and it really isn't too hare. Don't be intimidated! And the smell of fresh baked bread or the taste of toast made on home made bread are totally worth it!

    The house...I have struggled with this! I guess I am too prideful but I want my house to look perfect, it never does, but I want it to. However as our family size has grown and become less manageable, I have had to let some things go. It has been a struggle but for me it came down to do I want to minister to someone in my home or do I want to lose that chance because I am too prideful. Now I think I have gone the other extreme. We have guests coming to stay with us the end of this week. We are missing a cabinet door in the bathroom, the master bath has half the wallpaper removed, We have two rooms that need to be repainted and I have Christmas presents still waiting to be hung (we are waiting for the whole painting thing). My husband is mortified, my response, "they aren't coming to see the house!"

    Do what you want about preschool, personally, I think we should let kids be kids and not pressure them at 3 years old. You know what is best for your family!

    I personally hate coffee so this is not a problem for me. But, I too am stunned by the YOUNG children who consume it. To me, caffeine is a drug, do we really want to get our children addicted to it at a young age? I don't even let them drink a whole lot of soda, so coffee is definitely off limits!

    Hope Five feels better soon! Have a great weekend!

  10. I'm with you on four!

    Oh, and I have a very easy, delicious recipe for whole wheat bread. Just let me know if you'd like it and I'll send it your way. :)

  11. Bread machine: get one! Doesn't matter what one! Don't bake in it. Just use it for mixing the dough. Then take it out, shape, rise, bake in your oven. Who wants tall square loaves with a hole in the bottom?? I'll share recipes when you say you have one.

    Preschool: I've done it all. Big Brother--one year, 3 hours X 3 days. Middle Sister-2 years, starting with 2 morningss a week and then on to 3. Little Brother--nothing except the local high school's "child learning lab" where students learned how to wrangle kids and teach them how to glue stuff and do play dough and read a story or 2. 1 1/4 hours up to 4 times a week. Trust me when I say he didn't "miss" anything by skipping conventional preschool. So I'm in Group One :)

    My kids don't want coffee. Except Middle Sister, who is all about the fads. But she really prefers Powerade or Nestle Quik in a bottle. Big Brother is Dr.-Pepper-only, and Little Brother is too young for caffeine, in my humble opinion. He's wired enough without such enhancement.


Go ahead and say it. You know you want to.