7QT Good Friday–serious topics, serious sugar

1. I’ve been reading Interior Freedom by Fr. Jacques Philippe.  It brings up some of the same points that are in Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman. It’s always a good sign when you hear the same message from very different sources (one a French, Roman Catholic priest, the other an American, married, Protestant woman).  I wanted to share some quotes with you–it would make this post at least generally apropos for Good Friday–but then I misplaced the book.

2. I followed the Candida diet for March, the less-restrictive version anyway.  It’s basically–no added sugar whatsoever, no fruit, no refined starches, no alcohol.  The idea is to starve off excess yeast in the body.  I had one major cheat but overall substantial compliance, which was a lot better than my no-sugar attempt in January.

I didn’t lose any weight, nor did I experience any noticeable improvements in health.  Bleh.  I was hoping to lose some weight  because that diet was really really hard.  I am so weak.

On the upside, though, it did loosen sugar’s grip on me.  Even though I had a big binge for a couple days when I ended it, I’ve since gone back to a very low sugar, low carb, way of eating, and it’s not nearly as hard as it used to be.  I eat a bunch of eggs and beef, as many vegetables as I can manage, lots of avocado, some rice and potatoes, limited dairy, and I feel great.

3.  Until this evening, anyway, when the girls and I had an Easter treat-making extravaganza.  Now I’m having heart palpitations from the sugar in all the frosting I sampled:






4. We picked up a copy of Family Circle’s March issue

and the girls bamboozled me into making the treats featured on front.  I never do this type of thing but here we are.  I think I’m a softie.

Fortunately, they are thrilled with the results.  Girl 1 doesn’t even mind that little sister couldn’t form flowers on the cake that looked like the picture in the magazine.

5. Just now?

“He’s got the whole wor-rld/ in his hands/ He’s got the whole wor-rld in his hands. . . . Mommy, does God really have the whole world in his hands?”

“Uh, no not really.  But God is bigger than the whole world.  And he’s taking care of the whole world.”

“Where is God.”

“uh . . . in heaven.  But he’s here with us too”

“Does God really get nailed to the cross?”

“Uh, he did, on Good Friday.”

I’m not ready for all this; I’m really not.  I guess I need to buy a catechism book for her?  Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is wonderful but it’s not comprehensive at this stage.  I feel like Girl 1’s conception of God, heaven, earth, death, the afterlife, the universe and everything is very confused.  The education she’s gotten from me has been haphazard, at any rate.

6. Blog posts I’ve thinking about lately: The He/She Generation by Joseph Sciambra

when civilization is in decline there is always a rabid return of superstition; a form of moral panic occurs when society throws off all traditional means of self-regulation and censorship: the Church and the force of public decency are disregarded and silenced.

Currently, the most popular and widely apparent form of this reaction towards a slip into barbarism is the phenomena of tattooing, piercing, and body modification. These forms of self-flagellation are an attempt by the unknowing penitent towards order; a desire to recreate the body in an age when life is becoming more and more anaesthetized and disassociated.  [This reminds me of scenes in the book, Children of Men by P.D. James.]

Crossing gender is the most extreme example of this need to make sense with our bodies out of the present-day senselessness.

and also his post on The Gay Michelangelo: A Portrait of the Artist’s Lifelong Struggle With Same-Sex Attraction (is this historically accurate?  I suspect it’s a debated topic but obviously the author has researched it more than I)–this author has a perspective unlike that of anyone else I’ve read; his writing is clear-sighted and far-reaching and poignant and gets to the heart of things; the subject matter of some posts is extremely explicit and disturbing.

On a lighter note: Would You Like Fries With That? and its follow up What We Have a Right to Expect From College: what is the point of a Catholic higher education?  Does it have to be all liberal arts?  Does everyone need to study the liberal arts?  Lots of good questions here.

7. I hope you all have a blessed Good Friday and a lovely Easter!  Click over to Kelly for more quick takes posts (if she’s doing 7QT on Good Friday?  Perhaps not.  We’ll see.)

What I wore Sunday, what I brought in my purse, what I thought in my head

I’ve been meaning to get back to the What I Wore Sunday link-up for a while now.  So here’s what I wore to Mass today:


The dress is by Aryeh, but I found it at Goodwill.  Nice to have a warm sweaterdress (or tunic) this time of year.

And here’s what I found in my purse mid-Mass: a sandwich baggie full of bacon, ’cause you never know.  The sad thing is I can’t remember when I put it in my purse or exactly why.


Someone wasn’t happy until she got her own photo shoot:

Nov 23 2014

Also, here are some crafts the girls and I made Saturday.  I can’t believe I made crafts.  I’m so not the type.  But my kids are and, like the song says,

Love, love changes everything/ brings you glory/ brings you shame/

Love makes fools of everyone: all the rules we make are broken.

love will never ever let you be the same.

I was feeling quite poignant with the construction paper, googly eyes and glue.  (I checked out this book at the library and it had some good Thanksgiving ideas.)

IMG_7597 IMG_7598

By the time I started on this guy, Girl 1 was like, “Um, that’s enough turkeys, Mom.”  Girl can’t wait for Christmas.


In other news, recently I read Simcha Fisher’s A Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning, which I recommend.  I liked her description of finding God’s will for our lives:

. . . Oh blip.  My Kindle’s dead, and I can’t find the quote on the internet.

Anyway, she wrote something about how life isn’t a maze where you get to a box at the end labeled “God’s Will” and you open it up to find either, “Good job” or “You failed.”   Instead, it’s like a parent trying to dress a toddler, where there a few different shirts to choose from and the parent [God] says, “Okay, let’s find a way to make this work.”

It’s kind of out-there, right?  Is this orthodox?  Is this heresy?

So, in Magnificat this morning I read this quote from Pope Benedict XVI:

God does not have a fixed plan that he must carry out; on the contrary, he has many different ways of finding man and even of turning [man’s] wrong ways into right ways. . . . The feast of Christ the King is . . . a feast of those who know that they are in the hands of the one who writes straight on crooked lines.

Pretty nifty huh?

Happy Sunday evening, and best wishes for a good Thanksgiving week!

What I’m Into–September

1.  Arts and crafts: I’m not into them at all.  At all.  But Girl 1 is.  So now I am too, and Girl 2 as well.  Our fireplace is covered with paper napkin snowflakes.  Today they’ve moved on to Halloween decorations.


2. Thin Within:  Weight Watchers is out, Thin Within is in.  I can eat whatever I want, and I never have to be hungry, and I’m still (slowly) losing weight.  The catch?  I can only eat when I’m hungry and I stop when I’m just barely full.  So hard, but exactly what I needed to work on.  Kind of like Geneen Roth but from a Christian perspective.

3. I haven’t been reading much else lately, recovering from my book binges of the last few months.  Our book club is reading  Incidents In the Life of A Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs, so I’ll start that soon.  I know it’s super sad, so it’s taking me a while to get the nerve to dive in

4. Movies: I’ve watched a lot of movies, the main criteria being finding it for free on Amazon Prime or at the library.

Footloose: Continuing my 80s kick.  I’m finishing it as I type this.  Looking forward to a big dance finale at the end.  I should spend more of my life dancing.

10 Things I Hate About You: Funny watch this movie about high school seniors, which came out when I was a high school senior.  Now I get what the fuss about Heath Ledger was about.  That and why all the kids kept singing, “You’re Just Too Good To Be True” over and over again on the bus to World Youth Day 2002.

The Prince and Me: Slight Julia Stiles kick here.  (Round-faced girls of the world, unite!)  This was cute enough but I got bored and fast-forwarded to the end.

Hope Springs: Another movie starring Meryl Streep as the long-suffering wife of a jerk.  Only in this one the guy comes around.

High Fidelity: Waste of time, tho Jack Black is pretty funny.

High Spirits: Watched this on fast-forward the whole way through.  (Don’t ask.)  Thus, a slightly lesser waste of time.

Rounders: About poker.  Entertaining enough.

Moonstruck: Sweet, despite Nicholas Cage.  Why don’t they make rom coms like this anymore?

Big Wedding: Just awful

Next up: Moms Night Out, on Jennifer Scott’s recommendation.

5. Pandora: This was a big thing ten years ago?  More?  But it’s still the only way I listen to music.  I’ve put together what (I must admit) is an easy listening station.  Most of the songs are from before I as born.  But they put Adele on there so that’s something right?

Be careful if you “like” Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen because they will play every single damn one of the 234354353 covers every musician and his uncle has made of it.

I never get tired of hearing this song:

6. Consignment Sales: For the first time, I sold some stuff at one of those biannual kids’ consignment sales.  Between it and a pre-sale that a friend hosted, I net about $40.  I spent $47.  So . . . worth it?  I dunno.  It’s a lot of work for the return it brought.

It’s nice to have all that stuff out of my house, and have something to show for it (namely . . . more stuff, but newer stuff that I wanted . . . I think).  The things I sold would go for little to nothing on eBay and probably wouldn’t do well at the local consignment store, either.

I read a blog post by a woman who supposedly makes thousands of dollars selling at these things, and I have a lot of trouble believing it.

Still, there’s something satisfying about it.  I just like buying and selling stuff.

7. The search for a signature scent, or at least something new: the hunt continues.

8. I’m still obsessed with Myers Briggs.  I compulsively try to guess the MBTI type of everyone I know.  Pretty sure Girl 1 is ENFP.  I was reading the description of that type last night and though, “Aha!  That explains a lot.”  Maybe it’s dangerous to categorize a kid so early.  But it’s healthy, I think, to think about how certain traits might be part of her personality that need to be worked around, not rooted out.

. . . Linking up with Leigh Kramer.  Thanks Leigh!  (Also, possibly with Jen for Seven Quick Takes at a later date.)

My Outside-the-Lines Child Growing Up

Sweet Girl 1, you matured so much this summer.IMG_6761

You learned to ride a bike.

You taught yourself to whistle.

You taught yourself to snap your fingers.

You can put your hair in a ponytail by yourself.

You persevered in swim lessons, even though you didn’t want to put your face in.

You conquered your fears and took an airplane ride and discovered it was fun.

You attended vacation Bible school and enthusiastically participated in the songs, crafts, and games.  You loved learning about Jesus.


You play with your little sister.  You watch out for her.  You treat her tenderly (most of the time).  She worships the ground you walk on.  She never wants to be away from you.  She wants to be you.



You can draw in the lines.

You can draw in the lines.



I like to think of you as my outside-the-lines child.  I hope you always will march to the beat of your own drum.

Drawing in the lines, though, gives you so much satisfaction.  You take joy in making beautiful works of art.


As your skills increase, your frustration decreases.  You can focus so much longer now on a project.  You take pleasure and enjoyment in your work.  (And I’m grateful for Montessori’s insight that a child’s play is really her work.)

You have become more capable, more focused, and more independent.


Being your mommy now involves less headache and more heartache.  My heart aches at your beauty, inside and out.  My heart aches because you are not really mine.  You are on loan to me from Someone who loves you even more than I do.

Sweet five-year-old girl.

Sponsored Posts Poll, SPIDERS, and (Non) Sexy Shoes {7QT}

— 1 —

This past week, for the first time, I got offers to do “sponsored posts,” where a merchant sends me a product for free in exchange for my writing a post about it. Up until now, all I’ve gotten are requests for free publicity (which, by the way, I ignore).

I’m $0.99 in the hole for this blog, having bought an iPhone picture editing app. If you count the hours and hours I spend, calculated at my rate as an attorney, I am definitely thousands and thousands in the hole. That’s probably not an accurate calculation because even if I didn’t blog I probably wouldn’t do more legal work than I am now. Still, it would be nice to make some $ for my time. Also, I’d eventually like to upgrade my blogging platform and get rights to “thisfelicitouslife.com” without the pesky “wordpress” in there. But that has a price.

So yeah, it would be nice to make a little moolah, or at least free stuff. I kind of agree with Grace that “if you can make some mascara money off of your blog . . . that’s great.” Of course if she makes mascara money, I’m looking at . . . bubble gum ball money. But that’s okay, I like bubble gum.


WordPress don’t ‘low no sponsored posts ’round here/

WordPress don’t ‘low no sponsored posts ’round here/

We don’t care what wordpress don’t ‘low/

We’ll do those sponsored posts any- . . .

Uh, no, actually, I won’t.  No sponsored posts for me.  Never mind.

— 2 —

So, I guess you can see which way I’m leaning. Still, I ask you, as an academic matter:

On a related note, this article “Ten Things That Make Your Blog a Hot Mess,” has some good tips, I think.

— 3 —

I went spider egg hunting Thursday.


We have (what seems to me) an infestation in our basement. A dead black widow showed up in front of my washing machine last year. Scared the crap out of me. I called the exterminator, who looked around and said, basically, “You don’t have a real problem. Don’t waste your money hiring me to spray.” I appreciated the honesty. Gotta love a small town, family-run business.

Also, I called the pediatrician before the exterminator, to ask about the toxicity of having the basement sprayed. The dr. said not to bother, because we probably have “tens of thousands” of black widows in our yard.


So fortunately this year all I’ve seen are HUGE ugly wolf spiders and various other non-black widows. But still, they don’t belong in my basement.

— 4 —

Girl 1 had a little friend over a few weeks ago. They were playing in our basement/toy room area and saw a spider. I was busy (blogging) and didn’t feel like getting off my tush, traipsing downstairs, and killing a spider for them. Theys saw it; they weren’t about to touch it. Even if it were poisonous, it’s not like it was going to attack them.

Anyway, Girl 1’s friend said, “At my house, my daddy always kills spiders.”

Me: “Does your daddy get up from what he’s doing and go downstairs and kill them every time you see one?”

Little friend: *Pause* “Umm, we don’t really have spiders at my house.”

Good for you.

— 5 —

On Tuesday I made the girls Play-Doh (again!), using a different recipe by following this video (which Girl 1 enjoyed watching over and over). They girls played with it and ate it. I wasn’t worried because it’s non-toxic. I fondly remember the super-salty taste of the play dough my mom made years ago for me. But then . . . .

— 6 —

Girl 2’s eczema flared up again, a little. Oh yeah, homemade playdough is made with flour which has, duh, gluten . . . .

Her eczema still comes and goes since then. Is it remnants of the playdough in her system? Is it tomatoes (those definitely affect her somewhat)? Pineapple? Apples? Dairy? Eggs? Is her skin just sensitive to everything?

I kind of wish I were not so overeducated or of a different generation, so I could just feed her Kraft Mac N’ Cheese and red KoolAid with a clear conscience. But I’m not. So I can’t. So I don’t.

I’m trying to keep her on a limited diet for the next few days, sticking with foods I’m sure are safe, to try and pinpoint the irritants. But it’s hard to do with Ms. Picky around as the big sister.

— 7 —

Anyway, enough kvetching. Good news: my ugly sandals are chic! Christina Binkley of the Wall Street Journal says so! Apparently, my sandals say “I am woman. Hear me shout: My feet are happy.” Boo-yeah. Or at least, they almost are chic. Turns out, my sandals should be comfortable without being “actual comfort shoes.” Whatev, Ms. Binkley. What. Ev.

Have a good weekend! Thank you, Jen at Conversion Diary, for hosting today’s yesterday’s link up!

Homemade Play Dough (With Jello!) For the Reluctant DIY-er

My eldest daughter, at age four, really likes playing in the sandbox and with play dough. She really needs to work with her hands in that way. Today is drizzly and cold, so the sandbox is out. All her play dough dried out a while ago. What to do with the looooong afternoon looming before me?

These days I avoid leaving the house when I am outnumbered by children. (I’m not brave like Ana.) So going out to buy more is out for now.

I’ve been reading about the DIY link-up at Time Flies. I didn’t plan to participate because, ordinarily, I hate crafting. I’m okay with DIY (do it yourself), but I don’t much care for DIM (doing it myself). I mean, why make play dough when I can buy a three-pack of it (off-brand) at the Dollar Tree? But like I said, going to the store this afternoon is O-U-T, so here I am throwing my hat into the crafting ring. (Does this count as crafting??)

Here’s the recipe I followed, from Modern Parents Messy Kids:

I saw that this recipe calls for Jello! and remembered an ancient box of Jello languishing in the back of my pantry. I don’t have food coloring on hand, so this seemed like the way to go.


The ingredients are here. (I don’t want to copy it without permission.) If you don’t have Jello, you can try this recipe. I haven’t tried it myself, but it’s from Martha Stewart. So it must be a good thing. 😉

We mixed all the ingredients. I didn’t have regular cooking oil, so I used extra-virgin olive oil. Nothing but the finest ingredients for my girls! It looked disgusting at first, but it worked out fine.

This is how it looked before cooking:


This is how it looked after about 15 minutes on the stove. I stirred almost constantly; amazingly, the girls amused themselves. It was the consistency of a store-bought tub of cake frosting.


I then kneaded it for another 15 minutes or so, adding about one-half cup flour a few spoonfuls at a time, until it was no longer sticky and felt like regular play dough.

IMG_1441[1] IMG_1439[1]


Be sure to read the directions here for all the details. Apparently this dough will last several weeks if you keep it covered and in the refrigerator.

Thank you Ana for hosting this link up!

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