{SQT} Applying for the Job of the Future Today and S’more

It is taking all my mental energy to pull together Seven (seven!!) Quick Takes this week that don’t revolve around food. I’ll try to leave my complaints in the past, and regal you with tales of yore, or tidbits of yore.

seven quick take friday 2

1. The other HUGE stressor hanging over my head right now is the fact that my husband is currently looking for a new job, as his current job will probably not exist in a month or so. We’ve seen it coming for a little while, but only recently have we started telling family. Honestly, both he and I see this as a great new opportunity. Last time Tony was laid off, he wanted to move into a different aspect of software design but was pigeonholed due to his previous experience. His current job took a chance on him, gave him tons of opportunities to work with and learn new software stuff and because of that, there’s a lot more out there for him to consider this time around. So for now, I’m confident that this is a stepping stone to something great; I’m really at peace with whatever happens, but that doesn’t mean the uncertainty of the future isn’t a bit stressful.

And applying for a job has changed dramatically, even since five years ago! You don’t just sent in a resume and cover letter in a nice envelope anymore. Now, you design a resume, or create an online, interactive Prezume. One company is asking for a one minute introduction video to be included! And Tony’s been doing a bunch of phone interviews (which is great in a house full of noisy kids) instead of face to face. He’s also a reluctant LinkedIn user who has suddenly been shoved into the deep end of social media interaction. It’s a whole new ball game, with me playing supportive wife and editor.  If Tony can’t find a job, the back up plan is for me to start handcrafting fine art resumes and LinkedIn profile portraits for the next generation of job hunters. Prayers it doesn’t come to that!

Follow Kelly’s board Resume/CV design on Pinterest. 

A couple of these pins inspired my redesign of Tony’s resume.

2. Tony could also have a future in blog tech support. My blog was down for hours and hours this week due to all sorts of security breaches that we believe originated from our host. Thank goodness my husband knows how to pick through lines of code to find the corrupted files and delete them. I think he addressed the problem as best he could from our end and we’re looking at new web hosts. (In the mean time, if you ever click over here and get weird ads, a malware warning or this:


just assume we’re working on it.)

3.  Every Lent we purge the house of sweets, and every year I miss junk food immensely. This year, it’s worse since I’ve weeded out ALL added sweeteners. In doing so, I discovered just how much food has added sugar. I’ve also noticed how much some foods really need just a bit of sweetness to bring out their optimal flavor. Nowadays, things are sweetened so we taste the sweetness, and the main ingredient is overshadowed. But a little sweetness can really help to enhance many foods without the overpowering taste of sugar. I love a good spiced chai latte, but from a coffee shop, it’s usually reminiscent of chai syrup. However drinking a chai with only coconut milk tastes like crap. Both extremes are bad. I really hope come Easter, I can strike that balance between bringing out the full flavor of a meal or beverage without noticing the added sweetener.

4. At the suggestion of several readers I picked up ‘In This House Of Brede’ by Rumer Godden and finished it this week and loved it. It was less gritty than ‘Five for Sorrow Ten for Joy’ but an engaging story most of the way. I told my daughter’s I would make them read it when they were older as they sought to discern their vocations in life. Even though I am not a nun like the main character, Dame Philippa’s struggle and  abandonment of self to God’s will is something that still spoke to me in my vocation as a wife and mother. How often do I put myself and my desires in the way of God’s plan for my life?

5. I took part in a great homeschool link up over at California to Korea and Ordinary Lovely recently. The entire hop wraps up today at Waltzing Matilda so if you haven’t checked it out, do so. Lots of great pictures that show home education comes in all shapes and sizes and types of pajamas.

  6. Our local library branch is always collecting and selling used books; 50 cents for a paper back, $1.00 for a hardcover. Even though we’re bursting with books, I can’t help but check out the selection and I always get excited when I see someone has emptied their house of old books. This week I discovered several old school readers, a wonderfully illustrated book entitled “Science with Milk Cartons!” and this gem


Sure, most of the games are completed but it’s VOLTRON!! My kids don’t get it and want to know why Voltron has cats for hands and feet. We exist on different planes altogether.

7. Ye olde blog is three years old this week. I’m underwelmed, but that’s probably the lack of carbs talking. If you’re curious;

Very First Post

Top Viewed Post Ever

Least Viewed Post Ever (it can stay that way too, no worries)

Need a take? Share your first, top viewed and least viewed posts this week! As always, I look forward to reading everyone’s Quick Takes!  

This Post is Whole30 Approved

Lent is off to a great start. (And by great, I mean great for Lent.)

I know I said I wouldn’t bore you with talk of my Whole30, and for the most part I’m keeping all relevant discussion to my Facebook group, but I thought I would post an update on what it’s been like, thus far, to complete a Whole30 on the off-chance you were considering doing one at some point in the future (or needed reassurance to never attempt one under any circumstances.)

A typical day:

I’ve been sleeping like a rock, so much so that I immediately fall back into a deep slumber after turning off the alarm.


Okay, no really, THIS time I’m getting up….for reals…..ZZZZZZZzzz.


Nothing like a cup of black coffee! And for breakfast, eggs! Again!


No decision fatigue here!

The kids are supportive of my decision to get healthy and are open to trying new foods themselves…someday in the distant future.


My daughters are deriving no pleasure from that block of cheese or slice of pizza.


Do you want to know about the effects of all the added fiber in my diet?

Okay, moving on…

With my new-found mental clarity, I easily multi-task while constantly thinking about all the food I can’t have. Errands, housework, checking schoolwork; my life is progressing as usual with only minor hiccups as I adjust to this new, healthy way of eating.


Time to make dinner without my customary glass of wine. It’s okay though because I know I’m making choices to better my health!


My husband is completing the Whole30 too, so together we provide each other with accountability and support. (Tony wouldn’t let me take a picture cause he’s grumpy.)

cute couple

Artist’s rendering of how we’re doing.

By the end of the day, the kitchen is a disaster from cooking everything from scratch, but with all my new energy, I’m tackling chores like a boss.


I’m starting a new Lenten tradition; eating on paper towels with our fingers! Yay!


But in all honesty, I think the first week is the hardest. It can only get better right? And I keeping telling myself that this restricted diet is still better than the regular diet of many people around the world. I’m trying to not “disfigure my face” (except for that artists rendering), but go about my day as usual, just with a heaping helping of cashews and almonds.

How is your Lent shaping up? If you’re still in need of some spiritual reading may I suggest,

No wait, sorry, I meant:

Alright, I’d better get back to my three-hour meal planning / grocery list session. Plus, I need to swing over to the butcher to donate a pint of blood and my right arm so we can afford some pasture raised beef next week. If you’ve got a favorite Whole30 recipe, share it in the comments and I’ll read it while thinking about pizza!

Today’s post is dedicated to all the ladies in the TATL Whole30 Lenten Discipline Group; you are the wind beneath my wings. 

{SQT} Thanks to All the Betters

seven quick takes friday 2

Wowzers; last week I felt too wiped out to write much of anything. Even the thought of staying up late, listening to early 90’s rap, drinking wine and hammering out some Quick Takes seemed like another item on the ‘To Do’ list. But y’all stepped up in a big way! I had 113 link ups last week! That’s the highest amount ever since I was made the captain of the Cunard of link ups. Part of me feels like all I’ve been doing since last Friday was reading everyone’s great posts (oh, and some deep spiritual meditations and other edifying literature…totally). Here, in no particular order, are seven of my favorite Quick Takes from last week. (And keep up the good work! You never know when I might include your take in a future post! That’s an incentive right???)

1. From the Coalface – SMART Goals for Lent 

The SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and/or Relevant, Time based) criteria was new to me, and I like the way Lucy used it to outline her goals for Lent. How often I’ve said I’ll give up this or that but without any concrete ideas or steps, it was very easy for me to get off track. She give this example:

Read the books that have had been on my bedside table for the past 12 months… This is probably not the best approach to choosing Lenten reading but necessary for me.

S – Specific : There are 7 books and 40 days for Lent. This gives me about 5 days per book. Each book has already had a part of it read (this is what I do, I start a good book then find another book that’s great and never actually finish the first one.)

M- Measurable : I will post a blog on each book on the day I finish it to mark it off (this will help me keep track of how I am going and also if I have actually processed it).

A- Achievable: If I replace online reading with actual book reading I will fit it in.

R- Relevant : All these books are relevant to the spiritual life & growth in some way.

T- Time based: Every 5 days I will check to see how I am going through my reading pile to keep on track.

It sounds like a great system in general and I’m mentally filing it away for Advent and New Year’s Resolution time too.

2. Dyno-mom – Living Large or How to Fit Heaps of Kids in Tiny Houses

Melissa steps in with great advice on clearing out and maintaining order when you’ve got a lot of kids in a small house. You definitely want to take a read if, like me you made a resolution to clear out the clutter, or if you jumped on board the #40bagsin40days Lenten clean out bandwagon. Believe me, this women knows what she is talking about.

You are so gonna want to kill me. But really, you do not have the room for the knick-knacks that people keep all over the place. Visual clutter will stress you and physical clutter requires moving, dusting around, carrying for, and just looking at. It has better be freaking gorgeous or irreplaceable to justify space in your little house. I took my fragile things and I gave them to people I loved when I downsized. I called a good friend and gave her my brother’s dresser, which needed repairs. Her carpenter husband made it gorgeous and her equally gorgeous kids have it. I feel better knowing that it has a good home. If you are hoarding beautiful and useful things like a dragon, bless someone with it. Spread the love around a bit.You are allowed a couple things that are just for loving on. I have four.

Preach it woman! I refuse to let any of my kids start collections of anything ceramic, or non-useful, for this very reason.

3. Preventing Grace – Loops

Anne types out what happens in my head and I understand my jumbled thoughts more when I see the way she retells them. (She’s a great read on other days besides Friday too.)

So you can see that my life is not all that fancy and that I do not think Deep Thoughts. But I don’t feel terrible because it’s February, the month of wandering around in a circle caught in mental loops of hating the weather and believing that the month will never end. How can such a short month be so long? And taking even one day off from blogging left me feeling bereft and out of control. Spent the two days I didn’t blog thinking about how sad it was that I wasn’t blogging. For Lent, I’m going to blog more! Just kidding. How could I possibly blog more. You wouldn’t have time to read it, especially if you give up the Internet for Lent. Oh my word, please don’t do that! Just vow not to go see that movie or read that book, and eat less chocolate.

4. Tea and Tchotchkes – Seven Quick Takes v.8 

Because sometimes you just want to look at funny/cute/ ‘That imagine will be seared into my brain forever’  pictures.

And there’s pug dogs!! You’ll want to squish all their faces! (Random fun fact: my spell check wants to turn ‘tchotchkes’ into either hotcakes, crotches or scotches.)

5. Martin Family Moments – Valentines, Skinny Jeans and PHILosophies 

Colleen’s husband Phil sort of steals the show (or at least shares the spotlight with the interesting Mexican bathroom signage) in take #3. You’ll have to click-through to read it but I think he, and my husband, would teach NFP in exactly the same way. (Not together though cause that’d be kinda weird.)

6. Fumbling Toward Grace – 7 Ideas for Self-Care

If mama ain’t happy, then nobody’s happy. It’s the truth, but how often do we actually take care of ourselves so we can be happier and fulfill our vocations with joy, or at least less yelling and annoyance? Sarah has some great, simple suggestions that even a harried mom can squeeze into her day or week.

Nearly all of the women I polled said that they have found some way to get semi-consistent breaks from their children and families to have time alone or with friends. As I type this, Maggie is at preschool and Mary Cate and Charlie are in the child watch at the YMCA.

Friends, the YMCA has saved my sanity. If you have one in your area, I highly recommend it. The membership fee is a sliding scale based on income, and all programming costs also follow the sliding scale. The child watch takes kids 6 weeks to 12 years old, and members can drop them off for up to two hours at a time. Two whole hours. Some days I workout for an hour, then sauna and shower before I get them. Other times I will do household budgeting or meal planning, or read for pleasure or write.

I also second her suggestion about joining the YMCA in your town if you’re able. We go as a family two or three nights a week and it’s WONDERFUL. We get 90 minutes of FREE babysitting for the youngest two, and the older three either run/walk on the track, ride these fancy stationary bikes with video games, swim, or read in the lounge while I WALK IN PEACE BY MYSELF for almost that entire time. Or sometimes Tony and I can get in large chunks of UNINTERRUPTED conversation while walking around the track. It’s made these long, cold, dark winter evenings something more than three hours of me yelling at the kids to stop running around the house.

7. Restless Until I Rest in Thee – Snowmageddon, Residency Interviews, Graduation Anticipation, etc.

I’ve spent a good chunk of time around pain scales; surgery complications, L&D, ER visits, etc. WHERE WAS THIS SCALE????

It would have been so. much. easier. , SO MANY TIMES, if I could have just said, or allowed my child to point to the picture of “I am actively being mauled by a bear.”  Agnes, you don’t know how many lives you’ve enriched by snapping and sharing this picture. Thank you.

What were your favorite reads of the week? Share them, along with any suggestions you have for joyfully offering up an intense desire for cheese and/or caramel.


See Me Homeschool: Lucky Friday the 13th

I’m happy to join the “See Me Homeschool” blog hop with Theresa and Micaela. Normally, I wouldn’t pick February to participate in such a thing, since by February, we’re all sort of ‘blah’, (this week is a ‘Science’ week, which means lots of NOVA specials.) But, Theresa said “just pictures” so I thought, I can handle that. And although the kids were super enthused about me taking pictures all day, (“Put your tongue back in your mouth! This is a nice picture! Look away and we’ll make it a candid! PLEASE KIDS!!!”) we still managed to show a glimpse into our daily routine. Consider it the visual representation of my interview with Micaela last year for her link-up. 

There’s no words, except where a few were absolutely necessary, because unfamiliar medical stuff is a big part of our day. Fulton’s care takes up a huge chunk of my morning and requires my older kids to work independently, whether they want to or not. Otherwise, I’ve just given the photos time stamps to show  things are going on at the same time. On this day, last Friday the 13th, there was no early morning Latin, so everyone slept in. Not an unlucky day for the us at all really.

7:35 a.m.


8:20 a.m.


Fulton is awake and needs to be straight cath’ed, i.e. empty his bladder with a catheter.



9:13 a.m.


After breakfast, Fulton sits for up to 20 minutes waiting to, ahem, move his bowels. 



9:37 a.m.


Assembling the boys morning meds.


10:02 a.m.



10:40 a.m.


11:13 a.m.



11:42 a.m.


Fulton and Teddy were supposed to go to physical therapy, but it was so cold the lift on our van wouldn’t work. It’s not unusual, which is why I went outside at this time to try it. Cancelled our appointment for the week.


11:53 a.m.



12:48 p.m.



1:36 p.m.


2:22 p.m.





Stretching and stander time counts as physical education for the little guys.


Now be sure to visit today’s other featured blogger, Mary at Better Than Eden!

Wheel Life: Conversations with Rebecca Frech

When I wanted to start a blog, I Googled every variation of ‘Catholic homeschool blog’, ‘funny Catholic homeschoolers’, etc. to see who was already out there (i.e. size up my competition.) Shoved to Them was one of the first sites I came across and I was an immediate subscriber and fan. I met Rebecca at Edel (fan girl moment!) but during the last few months her and I have struck up a great friendship, thanks in part to Facebook Chat, and the fact that each of us understands a little bit more of what the other is going through than say, the general public.

We are both homeschoolers with large families trying to help one (or some) of our children navigate through life in wheelchairs. Both of us thought we had this parenting and homeschooling thing down pat before getting blindsided with, in Rebecca’s case, an unknown illness that stole her daughter’s ability to walk  and, in mine, one, then two diagnosis’ of a neuromuscular disorder, that left my two youngest completely dependent on others for their care.

We’ve discovered the “joys” of insurance companies, the inaccessibility of many places, the uncertainty and pain that hangs over your head as a parent, and the humbling lesson of accepting charity from others.

I thought it might be interesting to let our readers listen in on a conversation, or two, of ours to get a glimpse inside our worlds, and how we cope with what many people consider an overwhelming cross. (Hint: we’re not saints, and we laugh a lot and drink just a bit.)

So sit back and listen to our first talk, and drop us a comment below, or on YouTube, with your questions for a future chat. I hope you enjoy being a fly on our wall!

To read more of Ella’s back story, visit Shoved to Them.
To learn more about Spinal Muscular Atrophy, visit my SMA page.