Everything I ever needed to know about style I learned from my kindergartener.

Before having kids, I swore to myself I would not let my daughters dress themselves.  My mother did, and I cringe when I look back at photos and see my clothing choices from my youth.  (“How could you let us go out like that?” is a frequent refrain when my siblings and parents and I look at photo albums together.)  Then I met my firstborn, who has had a mind of her own ever since she popped out. . . . Read more at The Mirror.

Guess who?


A Book that blew my mind

Plus a few others

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs: This book blew my mind and changed how I look at our society.  What effect does it have that many (most?) African-Americans are products of rape that occurred generations ago?  What are the spiritual ramifications of that?

Like many conservative-leaning people, I puzzle over why race is still an issue in this country.  (Please don’t verbally stone me here, I know this is sensitive, contentious topic.)  I’m not a racist; you’re not a racist (I don’t think).  What’s the big deal?  I tend to attribute racial inequality to the breakdown of the black family, which I attribute to the sexual revolution, the welfare state, and certain aspects of the civil rights movement gone wrong.

I still think that but . . . for hundreds of years black people in our country never had a chance to have a normal family life.  Rape was an inevitable fact of life for many (most?) black women.  At least that’s the picture this book paints, and I’m inclined to believe it.  White slaveholders impregnated their slaves, fully intending to use and sell their own children as chattel, enriching themselves by adding more slaves to their stock.  How could we possibly be over that in 150 years?

So, I took a reading break after that little pick-me-up, but in the last two months I also managed to read

My Life In France, by Julia Child: This is charming.  I wrote a few more thoughts here.

The Soul of A Lion: A biography of Dietrich Von Hildebrand by his wife, Alice Von Hildebrand.  Von Hildebrand was both an influential Catholic philosopher and a brave opponent of Nazism during World War II.  I’m glad to have read about him, although the book could have been written better.

I’m hereby acknowledging that I’m Not Going To Finish a few books:

Kisses From Katie,  by Katie J. Davis and Beth Clark: How terrible is it that I wrote a blog post about this book before finishing it?  Katie’s is an amazing, inspiring story, but it isn’t written very well.  Read about Felicity White’s concept of how the book should have been written; she would title it In Uganda They Call Me Mommy.  I like it.

Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend: This book has a lot of important concepts, but by 75% of the way through it got repetitive.  (A few more thoughts on applying it to parenting here.)

Boundaries With Kids: I didn’t get very far here.  Again, great ideas but repetitive of the first book and of other parenting books I’ve read.

A few others are going on the To Finish Eventually shelf:

Shirt of Flame by Heather King, Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, by John Gottman, and The Joy of the Gospel: Evangelii Gaudium by Pope Francis:  Someday, someday, starting with the latter.

What have you been reading?  What have you shelved?

I haven’t stayed within 140 characters per book; nonetheless, I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for Twitterature.  Happy weekend!


My “Forever” Menu Plan

WordPress tells me I’ve written many more posts tagged “menu plan” than “movies.”  My, how times change.


Last winter I came up with a “forever” menu plan and grocery list: a list of recipes I could make every week, with a corresponding grocery list.

Forever menu

Forever grocery list

It worked for a while, then I fell off the wagon big time.  We joined a CSA over the summer and what we ate varied based on what vegetables we got each week.  Aaaaaaand we also ate a lot of fast food and convenience foods.  And we made last-minute trips to the grocery store several times a week.

I’m ready to get back into meal planning again (and we all know blogging about it makes it real).  I’m starting with my forever menu plan, with a few additions.  It gets old, but it’s something.

Our menu is pretty beef-centric, because we buy a hundred pounds of beef at a time from a local farmer-friend.  I throw some chicken and sausage into the mix for variety, and some tuna because fish is nutritious and stuff.

So here it is:

Main meal:

  1. Pot roast with potatoes and carrots
  2. “Bare minimum mode” chicken, carrots, and potatoes, with salad or a frozen veggie,
  3. Steak with sautéed mushrooms and onions, with baked potatoes on the side, with salad or a frozen veggie,
  4. Crock-pot chicken with black beans, corn, and Rotel tomatoes, served over rice,
  5. Tuna mac & cheese (kind of like Jenna’s recipe, but with macaroni and peas instead of egg noodles and broccoli, and with some cheddar in the sauce)
  6. Chili with rice and cheese
  7. Omelettes

Some extras:

  1. Beef stew
  2. Chicken and dumplings (from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook)
  3. Sausage with potatoes and apples (or with bell peppers and banana peppers)
  4. Man-pleasing chicken
  5. Pasta and meat sauce


  1. Oatmeal
  2. Cold cereal (just stocked up at the discount grocery store)
  3. Scrambled eggs & bacon (occasionally)
  4. Apples and peanut butter

Secondary meal:

  1. Leftovers
  2. Peanut butter and nutella sandwiches
  3. Rice cakes with peanut butter


  1. Fruit
  2. Baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, sliced bell peppers (the girls eat a lot if I set out a tray while I’m fixing their meal)
  3. Gold fish crackers
  4. Pretzels
  5. Fruit cups
  6. Cashews

Shopping list (I think this includes everything for all the recipes above, but I might be missing a few things):


  • Apples
  • Other fruit
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Baby carrots
  • Lettuce for salad
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Bell peppers


  • Individually frozen chicken breasts or thighs
  • [ Beef : chuck roast, stew beef, ground beef, steaks]
  • Pre-cooked sausage (kielbasa or similar)
  • Bacon

Pantry items:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Rice
  • Raisins
  • Smucker’s creamy peanut butter
  • Nutella
  • Sandwich bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Cold cereal
  • Salad dressing
  • Canned diced tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Canned tuna
  • Jarred banana peppers
  • Rotel tomatoes or salsa
  • Canned black beans
  • Canned kidney beans
  • Canned mushrooms
  • Canned corn
  • Chicken or beef broth (unless I make it myself)
  • Mustard
  • Maple syrup
  • Elbow macaroni
  • Grated parmesan (sorry Jenny)
  • Rice cakes
  • Flour, oil, spices, etc. as needed
  • Snack foods


  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Block cheese
  • Shredded cheddar
  • Cream cheese
  • Milk
  • Half & half

Frozen food:

  • Peas
  • green beans
  • broccoli
  • edamame
  • Bell pepper
  • diced onion

Happy eating!  I’m linking up with Nell for Week Eats and with Org Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

Movies I’ve watched, sneakers I’ve ordered, and what I’ve been into

1. Here are some movies I’ve watched over the past month (or so):

I Don’t Know How She Does It:  This was worth the $2.99 to watch it on Amazon.  Not as good as the book, but an entertaining, feel-good-in-the-end story of a stressed-out working mom.  I read the book back when I was working a lot more hours (litigating, at that), and it stressed me out because it was a bit too close to home.  But now the movie just makes me laugh.

Better Off Dead: I had to buy a used VHS copy of this movie, but I finally saw it.  Really funny!  Over the top but not stupid.  To be honest, I liked it but Pat really liked it.  It had that badass-underdog-has-his-day-gets-the-girl theme (like Ferris Bueller).

How To Marry A Millionaire: This was fun.  Material for lost of cultural commentary (basically, we’ve lost all our class; also, does golddigging even work nowadays, with everyone giving it away for free?  To a limited extent, see e.g. Anna Nicole Smith, but boy has the game changed).  Mainly though, it was fun.

The Bling Ring: Fascinating real-life crime caper about a bunch of bratty high schoolers who burglarized celebrity homes.  It has the same dreamy feel of Sofia Coppola’s other movies, Marie Antoinette (which I liked) and Lost In Translation (which I didn’t).  The Bling Ring is only about an hour and a half, which is the perfect movie length to me.

Now and Then: This was okay.  I remember when it came out way back whenever and finally watched it.  Lots of fun late 60s pop tunes.  I had to listen to “Knock Three Times” over and over the next day.

O: Supposedly based on Shakespeare’s Othello.  Mostly about high schoolers having sex and playing basketball.  Couldn’t make it past the first fifteen minutes or so.

Thanks For Sharing: A movie about sex addiction that was funny but still had the appropriate gravitas.  Really.  A few scenes I skipped but overall a good movie, I thought (in contrast to most critics, apparently).

(All of the above are on Amazon Prime, as best I recall, except Better Off Dead and Now and Then.)

I want to watch They Came Together, a spoof on romantic comedies.  I planned to watch Mom’s Night Out, but I saw a trailer and it looked sooooo dumb.  I couldn’t do it, Daily Connoisseur recommendation or no.

2. Today Girl 2 and I noticed a rip in her dress.  She said, “Uh Oh!  Like in Little House!”  (Pronounced “Wiwl Howse.”)  She remembered seeing this picture in Little House in the Big Woods, and the summary I gave her, several days ago:

photo (2)


Is she brilliant or is she brilliant?  Girl 2 needs a post of her own here someday soon.  She is wonderful (and terribly two).  She takes up just as much of my time and attention as Girl 1 (actually, more).  She just doesn’t confound me as much, so she doesn’t get as much virtual ink.  I think she is ISFJ.  She’s definitely more IS and J to Girl 1′s ENFP personality

3. I think I found THE ONES!  (I’ve been searching for just the right casual cold-weather, non-boot shoe.)

Puma’s Caroline wedge sneakers.  Cute right?

They’re on super sale right now at a lot of online stores.  I guess they were hot last year and are washed up this year but who cares.  I just ordered them to try out in two sizes.  They got iffy reviews on comfort, so I’m apprehensive.  Update to come when they arrive.

4. We were so very into Halloween around here.  It’s not my favorite holiday, but Girl 1 was very taken by the elaborate decorations in a yard down the street.  She wanted us to keep up with the Joneses.  We didn’t, not by a long shot, but not for lack of her trying.


I got the Charlie Brown Halloween movie (the one about the Great Pumpkin) from the library for the girls to watch.  They’ve learned all sorts of great things from those classic Charlie Brown movies: words like “stupid” and “blockhead” and sayings like “never walk into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker.”  Girl 1 kept saying “wet sucker, wet sucker” over and over again and cracking up.  How does she know the most inappropriate things to say?

Somehow I’m not sorry.  I love Charlie Brown.

5. Amazon Prime music!  It exists!  Why did I not find this out until a few weeks before it’s time to cancel our Prime subscription?  I made the sorry old mistake of signing up for a 30-day Prime membership trial and then didn’t cancel it in time.  Our year is up this month, when I’ll cancel it and go back to Netflix.  But I’ll miss Prime music.

6. Modern Mrs. Darcy wrote a good post about what makes a good book club read.  It reminded me of a post I wrote a little while back for Mary’s blog, about five of my favorite non-conventional book club reads.  Check it out!

7. Happy weekend everyone!  I’m linking up with Jen for 7 Quick Takes and (very late) with Leigh for What I’m Into .



This is typical.

A post with no advice.

I’m enjoying Julia Child’s My Life in France.

This morning I tried making scrambled eggs as directed by Julia’s instructor at Le Cordon Bleu.  I stirred the raw eggs together gently and poured them into a buttered pan set to low.  I waited three minutes, at which point Julia indicated the eggs would form a custard consistency.  Well, three minutes on my electric stove set on low did nothing to these eggs.


I set the timer for another three minutes.  While I waited, I pulled out Joy of Cooking and compared their scrambled eggs directions to Julia’s.  Both say to use low heat; Joy says to beat the eggs more.  Joy discusses the eggs’ forming “creamy curds,” which kind of grosses me out.

Three more minutes were up, and I stirred the slightly-cooked eggs around, keeping them on low.  It would be a while.  Good things come to those who wait.

I wandered over to my laptop, clicking to Pinterest.  Isn’t this dress lovely?   I got disgusted with all the many many “how-to’s” and  “improve your life in five easy steps” pins.   How many of these people really know what they’re talking about?  And if they do, are they really saying anything new?   I had a revelation that I don’t want to be a blogger with a bunch of “how-to” lists and Pinterest-y graphics.  I kind of always knew that but now I really know it.  I might do a graphic here or there when the mood strikes, or a how-to when I really and truly know how-to something.  But . . .

Oh yeah my eggs.

They had hardened into a solid sheet, a rubbery egg pancake.  Julia and Joy would put aside their differences and unanimously disapprove.

I chopped the eggs into chunks and ate them, thankful for all the butter I had used.

scrambled eggs

No how-to’s on scrambled eggs here!

Bon appetit!

It’s the time of year for … new shoes.

Casual flats, warm enough for the colder months, comfy enough for all day every day, cute and not orthopedic of you please.

Oh, and if they could be compatible enough with socks, at least so they don’t look dumb if I wear them with unobtrusive socks and long pants, that would be greaaaat.

It’s getting too cold for sandals. And some days you don’t want to pull out your boots. And I’ve taken the SAHM’s no-clunky-athletic-shoes-except-at-the-gym pledge. (I just made up the part about the pledge.)

My pink Minnetonka mocs worked pretty well for the past year. But they’re showing their age. I’m not sure a professional cleaning would be cost effective, or effective at all. Plus they have absolutely no support.

A cute pair of sneaks could work. I don’t think I’m edgy enough (*snort*) to wear those slip on things that used to be just for grandmas and toddlers but are now what all the cool kids are wearing.

Or even keds. Keds just look like grandma shoes on me. Especially with socks.

Okay everything looks worse with socks.

I think I’ve written about this at least once a year.

My yearly shoe dilemma.

What are your feet wearing these days?

Ever have one of those days . . .

where you still haven’t brushed your teeth yet,

and lunch was a battle,

and the five-year old is in time out until she’s ten year’s old,

and you just picked up the Candy Land cards from all over the floor,

and the two-year old just found your secret stash of Christmas presents,

and the two-year old is still boycotting her lunch,

and you ruined the alfredo sauce that you were planning on making for the meal you’ve committed to bringing someone tonight,

and (just this once) you pop open an after-lunch beer,

and it spills all over your yoga pants and your Birkenstocks,

and you mutter something under your breath,

and the two-year old giggles,

“Mommy said !fuck!”

And it’s not even noon yet?

Nah, me neither.

Happy Monday.

Marriage to an INTJ

In which I critique my husband’s personality.

1. Pat’s birthday and our anniversary are around this time of year.  Lately I’ve been thinking about how much Myers-Briggs helps me understand him.  We’ve known each other for 14 years, been a couple for about 12, been married for 8.  And only now, I’m getting to the point–with certain traits–where I realize, “This is just who you are.  I’m not going to change it.  I don’t need to change it.”  (I’m a person with many pet peeves.  Lucky Pat.)

So first of all:

INTJ is one of the two rarest of the MB personality types, which makes me suspicious whenever someone calls himself INTJ.

For the record, Pat took the official test for work (the type you actually have to pay for).  He got the results and was like, “Okay, whatever,” as was I.  At the time, neither of us knew anything about the MBTI.  It wasn’t until several years later, when I started learning about Myers Briggs, that I looked back at his results, saw “INTJ” and thought, “Aha!”

So, just sayin’.

Here are some facts (or likely facts) about INTJs that I’ve come to accept:


INTJs do not love broadly.  They love specifically and intensely.

Thanks for picking me, hon!


Dark blue represents areas of the INTJ brain that are most active (ie need little stimuli before use). Light purple represents areas of the brain that needs a lot of stimuli before use. White areas represent areas where little activity goes on until a LOT of stimuli is present.

We both got a kick out of this one.  I have no idea how scientific this is, but it’s fairly accurate as far as I can tell.  Except that Pat’s “factual recall” is good.  Aesthetic recall . . . yeah, no.

Also these:





I treat people exactly how I want to be treated.  I leave them the hell alone.


Fortunately, I’m never on the receiving end of the following trait (because of #2, above), nor is anyone in our immediate family.  The rest of the world, be forewarned.

As an empathetic people-pleaser, I have trouble with this one.   But I’m learning the value of not giving a care what people think.

5.  Similarly:


Therefore, if we’re going to do something social, I usually need to plan it (even though I’m on the introverted side, too).



This isn’t really true, but kinda/ sorta true.  And funny.


7.  Finally, fortunately, Pat has found his career niche in software development and data science.  No surprise there!  He loves creating and mastering complex systems.

INTJ because that death ray isn't going to invent itself.

I found this chart recently.   See the list for INTJs?  Whaddya know?


Is there an INTJ in your life?  Or has Myers Briggs helped you understand a significant other?   And did you or he/she choose a career that matches your type according to the chart above?  Do tell.

. . . linking up with our favorite INTP, Jen, for 7 Quick Takes.

Would you let your daughter enter a pageant?

Mommy, I don’t want to be a ballerina anymore.”

“Okay, sweets, what do you want to be?”

“I want to be a princess.”

“Well then, you’d better marry a prince,” I thought but didn’t say.

Not until a week later did it strike me:

Maybe she means she wants to be a beauty queen.

. . . .

Read my thoughts on the matter at The Mirror and let me know yours.


I’m thinking about . . .

1. The Synod.  But I haven’t read the “working document,” or whatever it is, yet.  So, I’m trying not to spout off opinions.  Not too many, anyway . . . .

2. Joannie’s post on the same topic, and especially what she says here:

[O]ver the past six years I’ve worked with a lot of people.  I’ve encountered the human heart.  Fresh out of grad school, I was armed with the Catechism and the Summa and I was ready to beat Church teaching into every soul and mind.  Now I’m still armed with those treasures, but I’m ready to propose it.  Just as God does.  I’ve encountered a weak and frail humanity that needs love and care and healing.  It needs the Truth.  But it is too wounded to be beaten further.  It needs to be loved.

3. Gradualism, as in Sr. Theresa’s story here and Caleh’s story.  Especially Caleh’s story.  It’s been in the back of my mind ever since I read it a while ago and it is so relevant now.

4. How it’s easy for me, having lived my whole life in a protected bubble of  security, to forget how much the American family has changed.  For the worse, and children are the ones who suffer the most.  This really hit home for me the one year I practiced “family” law.  What is the right approach for people who haven’t had a stable marriage in their ancestry for generations?

And how do you keep from “being so eager to bring lost sheep into the fold that we shove out the sheep already here,” leaving them to feel like suckers?  As Caleh puts it, “the Church IS for everyone…not just for those of us who happen to sin the trendy way.”

5. I think Pope Francis gets it.  He emphasized that it takes courage to marry and have a family.

It’s a bit off-topic but, I love this little anecdote:

[Pope Francis] told the story of a woman who said her son was in his 30s, had a girlfriend, but wouldn’t get married.

“I told her, ‘Ma’am, stop ironing his shirts,’” the pope said.

6.  I really like this picture, even though it reminds me of the Jehovah’s Witnesses tracts my piano teacher kept in her music room.  I don’t know where it comes from.  I can’t read the artist’s signature.  Anyone know?  It’s called “Adoration,” by David Bowman.

Jesus with little girl

Adoration, by David Bowman

7. Speaking of people who “get it.” Kelly does.  Why am in bed, using my laptop to browse blogs, when I spent the entire day looking forward to going back to sleep?  There’s a constant tension between sleep-time and me-time.

Happy weekend everyone. Click over to Jen’s for more quick takes.