{SQT} Bats, Ice Cream Cake And Keeping Everyone Happy

Nothing like trying to cobble something together the day after a successful post. No self-imposed pressure hear folks.

1. I start by sending you elsewhere to read the wisdom of the Universal Homeschool Mom translator. There are several I could add to this, many, many of which might include Latin, but I’ll save that for another day.

2. Now that the temperatures are dipping and the end of September is creeping up, I can start looking forward to fall and the migration of bats from our house. The thought had just occurred to me early this week that we hadn’t had too many in the house this year when we had two sightings in one week. One bat was already deceased and quickly disposed of and I thought well, I can handle that. Then later that night one got loose upstairs. But after a couple hours of waiting, it refused to come of of it’s hiding spot, which we suspect is in one of our closets. Taking no chances the girls and I slept downstairs. I’m still monitoring everyone’s closets and barking “SHUT THE DOOR!” and shoving blankets and pillows and heck, socks and underpants into any crevice a bat might creep out.

photo (67)
To pass the time until the bat was found, Edie created this life-like model.

3. Because bats do creep under doors. I know because once a bat appeared out of nowhere in our bedroom while I was reading. I screamed for Tony and dove under the covers. His response was to come upstairs and shut the door to our room, leaving me in there alone with the bat. After the bat actually tried to attack me through the covers, it crawled under our bedroom door into the hallway where Tony was standing with a blunt object. I of course locked the bedroom door, shoved a pillow at the base of it so the bat couldn’t get back in and then told Tony he was welcome to come to bed once the bat was disposed of.


So no matter how cute and lovable a Thriller dance off makes them look, they are evil. I can’t wait until I can send my husband back up on the roof to shove more spray foam and steel wool into the crevices of our home, thus hopefully deterring them from holding their midnight raves in our attic again next year.

4. Sunday was the Nativity of Mary and yesterday was the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary. If I was some really awesome Catholic blog, we’d be all over this with a blue cake and coloring pages and crafts and deep reflective stuff. But instead, I just made a homemade gluten free ice cream cake.

photo (68)

It’s not pretty but man, does it kick Carvel’s butt. Happy Birthday Blessed Mother! I ate an extra piece just for you!

5. Just in case you’re curious/ hungry.

  • Ingredients:
  • Several packs gluten free cookies. (It’s a great way to use cookies that you purchase to try and ultimately hate because some manufacturers equate gluten free with crap.)
  • Two quarts ice cream
  • Various sundae toppings
  • Whipped cream; the artificial stuff.
  • Directions: Soften one quart ice cream. Crush the cookies and spread a layer on the bottom of a 9×13 pan (or smaller if you have will power). Spread a layer of softened ice cream over the cookies. Top with more crushed cookies. Add a layer of sundae topping. Freeze for about an hour. Soften second quart of ice cream. Remove cake from freezer and top with second layer of ice cream and sundae topping. Cover top of cake with a layer of whipped cream. Freeze for a couple hours. Remove and enjoy!

Our version used some homemade gluten free chocolate chip cookies that were too crumbly and a quart of Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream and a quart of chocolate marshmallow ice cream. I also used caramel and dark chocolate hot fudge for the toppings.

6. (and 7 because it’s long) Β I seriously suffer from a bad case of blogger envy. When I find myself obsessing over someone else’s popularity, I try to recognize my feelings as what they are, one of the seven deadly sins, and root it out with prayer and a hiatus from reading other blogs. Lately though, it seems I’ve been questioning my own content. Many bloggers that explode onto the scene write very strong opinion pieces. People either love or hate it and flock to their site with comments.

I’ve always played it safe and avoided controversy because frankly, I have enough issues in my real life that I can’t get embroiled in an online combox fight over abortion or NFP or whatever. I choose to keep it mostly positive and light-hearted around here. But maybe if I hope to reach a broader audience I need to step outside my comfort zone and tackle some tough issues. But then I wonder, do people really care what I think about these things? Who is going to be converted by my writing? When does anyone sway from their own opinion, no matter how poorly formed, by reading a blog post? It seems to me that controversial posts only cement each sides opinions even more. My conversion was a slow gradual process brought on by lots of reading and thoughtful conversations with my husband, a story repeated by several converts I know. Convincing someone of the validity of an argument, or the Catholic perspective on an issue, is futile unless that person is receptive to hearing you out. And I don’t think most people are receptive. I think most people read blogs to help more finely tune what they already believe, not to understand a different paradigm altogether.

So I guess I’ve always chosen the route of quiet example, even if it costs me some popularity and page views. But I’m wondering if I should change my longstanding policy. Thoughts?

Be sure to leave your heart felt comments below and then swing back to Jen’s for more Quick Takes brimming over with thoughtful content.Β Β (Like the Chardonnaydo, Β which I’m totally going to try to convince my son to make as a Lego stop motion film.)


  1. The route of quiet example is highly underrated, I think. I read your blog on the regular (that is, when I remember [via QT linkup or a shared link on twitter], and don’t take that personally — I just find feedly/RSS feeds too overwhelming and stressful). You write well and share good things that don’t bring me down into a spiral of frustration. πŸ™‚

    There’s nothing wrong with that, whatsoever. Every rare once in a while I’ll write something “controversial” — but the reality is that it’s highly normal for my Catholic audience to read, and if anyone else stumbles upon it, I probably did such a horrible job explaining my ‘controversial’ opinion that they’ll stumble right away without a question or piqued interest.

    Anyway. TL;DR: Keep on doing what you’re doing, if it works for you!

  2. Oh, no. I will pray for you to have some blog-related consolations or something. Your blog is perfect like it is. I hate those rabid mouth-frothers (in a totally Christian way of course). Every time I’ve been reeled in by that kind of blog, I end up unfollowing it sooner or later. If I need that kind of drama I’ll get on Facebook. (Ha ha, kidding! I’ll turn on the news.)

  3. I like your quiet, funny, quirky blog – found it through FB. Also, one of the most terrifying encounters of my childhood was with a bat! Hoping for their swift departure!!!

  4. I love your blog as is! You keep it real – have a wicked sense of humor – and I enjoy reading what you write πŸ™‚ I have unfollowed many a Catholic Mom blog because I felt the content shifted from honest writing that reflected what really mattered to the author to selling out and contriving controversial posts just to snag some more page views. With that said, I will say that it is fine to write about something controversial when/if you feel called to do so – your sincerity and honesty will come through in the post. What is problematic is when posts are sensationalized just to stir up drama. I always cringe when I read such posts because I equate to having a Mommy Bloggers show up at a PTA meeting buck-naked – yes, that is one way to create a captive audience for whatever message your conveying – but it is definitely not the most effective or well-reasoned approach to sharing your ideas. Yes, the page views will show that you’re attracting all kinds of attention but it’s not going to be the right kind of attention!

  5. “But then I wonder, do people really care what I think about these things?” It’s a fine line I think…and I struggle with this too, although I shy away from controversial topics more because I don’t think I’m a good enough writer to handle them. On the one hand, facebook, twitter, blogs, etc. have made us all think far too much of our own opinions, lives, and writing. But then again, people come to your blog because they like how you write and are attracted to how you portray your life. So you tend to feel kinda of obligated to give them what they want… I don’t know, just keep on being your hysterically sincere self πŸ™‚ We all love you!

  6. Boo for bats in the house – we had them in our first apartment when we had just gotten married. So creepy.
    I say, write what you like. I am the same way and rarely embrace “controversial” topics though I’ll insert a line here and there with something I think. I love how real you are about the everyday, so keep it up! You’re one of my faves!

  7. Oh my gosh, we had bats once! Then we had some batman come and install a tube in our attic with a door that would let the bats out but they could not get back in…and voila, no more bats.

    Honestly, I can’t stand blogs that write such controversial and strongly opinionated posts all the time. It’s so obvious to me that they are doing it for the ratings, and then when I leave a comment disagreeing with their opinion, they get offended. Ummm, if you’re going to write so passionately about your opinion, don’t be surprised that somebody may disagree with it.

    1. I think one of the worst parts about having bats in your house is that they are a protected species, so in some states you can get in trouble if you remove them the “wrong way”.
      I’d just want them out of my house asap, but at least with professionals like Attic Solutions they repair any damage from the pests and take preventative measures so you won’t be scarred by the creepy little guys again.

  8. You are the first person I’ve ever heard of to have more bats in their house than us!! Sorry for that, by the way. Bats are no fun at all. Sure, outside, eating mosquitoes, they are fine and helpful, but inside the house? Heck no! Hopefully you all can take care of that problem and never have to deal with them again. (BTW, loved the upside down bats.)

    As for writing on controversial topics, don’t do it just because you feel you have to. I don’t normally write them, either, but a few times I have really felt it was time. I even wrote about abortion one time, putting in print my firm beliefs on the subject. I was impressed by the people who commented, especially those who didn’t agree with me. There is a way to do it without encouraging the yelling and name calling and other ugly things that occur.

    You said you were converted over time, from reading and conversation. People need things to read that have a calm, non-confrontational way of presenting an opinion. Did I convert anyone when I posted on abortion? Not likely. Did a few people think harder and have a seed planted? yes. Absolutely. The more people talk about it in compassionate ways, the more people will actually consider other sides.

    Guess you struck a nerve. I don’t usually give so much advice the first time I visit a blog.

    Oh, and the ice cream cake looked fabulous!

  9. I love your blog just the way it is. Continue writing about what’s on your mind whether it’s controversial or not or whether it’s a hot-button topic or not. I can always tell when a blogger is trying to write about something because it’s the issue of the day. It always appears forced and usually not as well written as they think.

    And the bats? I think Jen’s got it easy with the Scorpions. Although the bats would add some authenticity to your Halloween decor!

  10. I’ve had bats in my house before and I consider myself fairly scarred, so I am with you in Bat-Despising Solidarity!

    I get blog envy all the time. And then I think that I’m not even trying to write a blog to be popular…I guess I do blogging for reverse purposes…but I still want to be popular. Its a vicious circle. And sometimes I feel that some topics have been done to death. Why would something I wrote be any different from tens of others??

  11. Please don’t underestimate the power of your blog. My husband comes from a strong Catholic home, me not so much. I was deemed “Catholic enough” to get married in the Catholic church and we dabbled with attending mass on a regular basis. When we went, I felt like a complete fake- “Catholic enough” but not really Catholic. And I thought everyone else in mass could tell- it was obvious that I didn’t know the secret handshake. I was hesitant to take any sort of classes offered within the church- it’s kind of embarrassing to admit a lack of knowledge. I was interested in knowing more and understanding more about Catholicism though, so I found a few blogs. And then a few more. And now I know so much more- feast of St. Mary- it’s never occurred to me to celebrate Mary’s birthday- I didn’t know that was done, but maybe it will be in this house next year. Fasting for Syria last weekend? The only was I knew that was being done because of the blogosphere and I got to participate and that was great. Something tangible and small that I could do for suffering people so far away. And now, when I go to mass? The other parishioners don’t seem so foreign- they are probably a whole lot like you or Jen or Hallie or Grace, and y’all are a whole lot like ME, so maybe I do fit in there after all. And that is a lovely feeling.

    So write whatever you want- I’ll read it, controversial or not. Know that whatever you write, you are reaching people right where we are. Not in the pew at church or in a weekly catechism class, but at home where we are dealing with our own metaphorical “bats”, whatever they may be and it makes a difference in a big way. Thank you.

  12. I can identify with so much of #6-7. First, it sometimes feels like all the things have been said, right? And then I read another’s post and I’m like, “ooh, I should’ve written that!” I’m no big time blogger but it was easier to write when I was new and had like zero followers. And then people start to read and there’s pressure that comes with that. A friend of mine just became huge due to one plug…at first I thought that would be really cool but now I’m realizing that I sort of like flying under the radar a bit. There’s more freedom there and way less pressure. I’m trying to remember to just be me and to keep in mind my primary reasons for blogging and to blog like no one is reading. Some people will like that and some people won’t. It’s always fun when the numbers go up but it can be a very spiritually dangerous thing to desire accolades and acknowledgement and Catholic fame. When I start to think too much about that, I have to stop myself and remember that I ought only do what HE wants me to do always putting my primary vocation and my relationship with Him first. Anything else will get me into deep trouble. Like the commenter above, I tend to stop following blogs that get too big or commercialized or contrived anyway. I feel like something is lost there and I don’t want to be marketed to. And I start getting leery of blogs that begin to be contrivedly (let’s pretend that’s a word…) controversial. I say write what is in your heart. Unless it’s about more poop vials πŸ˜‰

  13. I can’t speak for others, but as a non-Christian, full-time working mom who probably shares very few demographic characteristics with you, I can give you my point of view.
    I have been convinced, or at least prompted to deeply think about views different from my own, when they are presented with a kind of quiet humility and a sort of interior joy, if that makes sense. So no, some silly proof about how Jesus just had to be God isn’t going to do it for me, but if someone talks about the thought process that led them to believe in God, or find abortion wrong, or reject contraception, it really goes a long way. That thought process should hopefully be logical, of course, but logic isn’t the heart of it — it’s the emotional truth that resonates for them, and hopefully for readers. I think Jen Fulwiler does a pretty good job of this: she’s logical, but she’s grounding it in her own experience and of course, it helps that she came from a very different perspective and is still able to inhabit that past one enough to bridge those divides.

    Of course, the MOST powerful and convincing is how someone lives their lives — rather hard to convey on a blog.

    As an example, one of the deepest levels of soul-searching came for me when I found out that an astrophysicist friend was going to become a nun. I had to really look at her, see whether she was happy, try to put myself into her shoes, and I realized that Catholicism really does provide a kind of clear compass towards happiness that is a lot less contingent and confusing than one you aim to piece together through logic or trial-and-error. I am still not really able to believe its tenets (and am not convinced celibacy is the right choice for her), but I spent months thinking about the issues.

    This is way more convincing than some grouchy pants arguing about how gay marriage is destroying society.

  14. Ellen (who commented above!) and I just had a conversation last weekend about blogging and controversial topics and readership, etc. I go through cycles of blog envy myself, but I can’t force myself to be a different writer than I am. That said, my blog is tiny and generally only shallow posts, because most things I feel strongly about have already been written in a much better way than I would be able to do. I like how you write, I think you’re funny and intelligent, and I don’t think you need to change anything! If you wanted to share, I would love to hear your conversion story, though! πŸ™‚

  15. Really I have nothing new to say, but just want to say I agree with everyone! You’re one of my favs, and I think most controversial topics have already been written about, but I DO think that if you’re moved to write on something, it’s probably going to be awesome and worth a read for most people. But deliberately trying to write on controversial topics just to get comments & hits is obnoxious. And you’re not obnoxious, so I think you’ll be fine πŸ˜›

  16. I’ve been blogging for 13 years now (I can be totally hipster about the blogosphere because I used to be a moderator on an online blogging portal called blogs4God which had Mark Shea and Amy Wellborn on it… 11 years ago) so I don’t really deal with blog envy.

    I’ve found that the more readers I have, the more people I can potentially piss off by posting something controversial, so I tend to not post off-the-cuff things on controversial topics. I joke with people that if they want to see me being inflammatory, they need to read my posts from 10 years ago when I *was* more radical in my beliefs (ah… youth) and I hadn’t mellowed out.

    As for you, I read you because I think you convey your faith in living your life inasmuch as I see from the blog. I would know less than I do about veiling if I hadn’t seen your post on it. Ditto with the Extraordinary Form. (I’m one of two Protestant members of #Cathsorority so I have learned about these things.) I would honestly rather read your blog and see your thought process and how you live your life daily than read something controversial in response to something going on in society.

    It’s not to say that things like NFP don’t need to be mentioned but I’d rather hear about people actually practicing it than someone railing about the evil “sluts” who contracept. I know that Katie and Kayla of iuseNFP.Com are the reason I’m learning NFP — they’ve both had Twitter and email conversations about it with me and were willing to talk to me about it as well as give me resources and answer my questions.

    Besides… I love having someone to read who gets the point of snark.

  17. I love your blog, your posts, and your sense of humor, and because you say things in a way that I never could. πŸ™‚

    I hate that “blogger envy” is something we all have to deal with; I even had to confess it last week. I have found it is best for me to deal with it by writing about what I want to write about and not to compare my blog with other blogs. I have also come to the realization that mine is one that will never be as popular as other blogs. But I am not writing it to be popular; I am writing it because it helps me think things out and keeps all my friends and family who live out of town more in touch.

    I’d say keep your blog a place that helps you be the best, most virtuous you. This is your blog after all. πŸ™‚

  18. I’d much rather have a bat in my bedroom than the last apartment’s infestation of bees. Coming through the vents. How’s THAT for terror? (The poor dog tried to chase them while running away from them at the same time. Me, I grabbed toiletries, clothes, and called the landlord on the way out the door while texting friends to find a place to stay.)

    I like reading conversion/other-important-life-event stories from people I already ‘know,’ whether that’s from reading their blog or actually knowing in real life. It’s your blog! Whatever you want to write is going to be appropriate because it’s yours.

  19. I love your blog the way it is. If something controversial really tugs at your heart, then go ahead and blog about it. If it really means something to your, it will be great. But, I don’t think trying to write for the audience is the answer. Write what you love. Read other blogs and be inspired, and learn from them. But, don’t change just to be like them.

  20. I’ve written a few “controversial” blog posts, (One of my most recent was 12 Reasons We Don’t Use Contraception) but my readership is small and mostly Catholic, so it’s basically preaching to the choir. Do whatever you want to do. I’m of the opinion that most people are brought closer to Christ/the Church is more slow sneaky ways anyway. That’s actually one of the reasons I changed my blog name from Catholic Newlywed – because I wanted it to be welcoming to all people and hopefully someone might come across some of my posts and mentions of Catholicism and be intrigued instead of instantly knocked over the head with my faith!

  21. I don’t have anything to add that Ellen or Pamela or Rosie or Beth or all the others haven’t said already but . . . just keep on being you! Write about whatever you feel like writing about, and nothing that you just feel you “should” write about.

  22. I like your blog because it is funny, light, gives the reader an inside view of your family and how you roll and most importantly isn’t opinionated.

  23. I love your blog. Your sense of humor cracks me up and your free-spiritedness (?) is quite the opposite of me but it makes me smile. Your writing doesn’t seem forced, it seems to sort of flow sincerely from your heart. Two things that first grabbed my attention to your blog – your photo in the header and the name of your blog. Intriguing. I had to look up and see what a lyceum was. But combined with “ain’t” just sounded so irreverent to me. But in a good, fun way! Just continue to be yourself and write whatever comes from your heart!

  24. Quoting you: “Most people read to finely tune what they already believe, rather than to understand a different paradigm altogether.”

    I mean this respectfully, of course, but that’s exactly what you do, I imagine. When was the last time you seriously, receptively, and humbly read personal pieces, histories, stories, and academic treatises defending and/or illuminating positions on issues that did not fall (more or less) directly in line with the teachings of conservative Catholicism/Christianity?

    From my vantage point, most religious conservatives read to bolster their “intellectual” self-satisfaction which so clearly operates from a position of naive privilege.

    I do mean all of that transparently, and to be redundant, respectfully. Just obvious food for thought. (No, you probably won’t convert anyone, just like no one will “convert” you…since when is that the bottom line?)

    1. I don’t know Kelly personally, but since she converted to Catholicism in “a slow gradual process brought on by lots of reading and thoughtful conversations with [her] husband,” my guess is that she’s not afraid of “understanding different paradigms.”

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