{SQT} Milestones, Makeovers, and Cannoli


We reached a major milestone in the Mantoan house this week- Addie is driving!


No really, I’m fine. She spent her first six hours behind the wheel with a driving instructor so by the time she drove us all to fencing the other night, she was doing pretty good.


There was just this one turn….

In NJ, you can get your permit at 16 if you go through a driving school. Then, once you get six months under your belt, and you turn 17, you can take your road test for your license. So, if all goes well, we’ll have another licensed driver, and a huge increase in our insurance premium, by the end of the year! YAY!


What’s it like writing a book on a deadline? I’m glad you didn’t ask!


Coffee in the mug, gin in the glass, repeat.


But hey, I still found time to redesign the blog!


To be honest, I was waiting to take a mid-afternoon walk with Tony, and his phone meeting was going long, and I didn’t want to start something major and then have to stop, so I started tinkering and before I knew it, my site was redesigned and we didn’t walk because his meeting ran an hour over into bus drop-off time. If I would’ve known that from the get go, I could’ve been productive…but hey, it’s the blog facelift I didn’t even know I needed!


Very few things frustrate me as much as being interrupted. Sure, I can distract myself constantly, but if I finally buckle down to do something and someone asks me to stop when I’m in the zone…


So I try to carefully plan to get my writing done when the boys are in school and the house is quiet. Of course I’m also homeschooling, so it’s not like there’s six hours I get to sit and take my time with. And now, for some reason, even though we’ve got less than a month of school to go, there’s all sorts of “surprise” half days, and teacher in-services. PLEASE- I just need to finish this manuscript; can’t you stick to a consistent schedule for a few more weeks?!?!?! Plus I find my usually self-motivated homeschoolers taking longer breaks, wandering around the house aimlessly, and trying to extend their meals into two or three courses. PLEASE- just finish these last few chapters and stop acting like you have no idea how to do your assignments!!!! I love experiencing the highs and lows of public school AND homeschooling at the same time!!!!!!!


Radically switching gears; does anyone have experience using ‘Fluent Forever’? We watched a Tedx talk by the creator and he released a new app recently. He makes it seem so easy (…almost too easy) to learn a new language that I’m wondering if it’s really all it’s cracked up to be. We have a large Spanish speaking population in our town and I thought it would be useful to pick up Spanish. It also seems like something I can do when I’m tired and would normally scroll Facebook; to instead grab my phone and work on a foreign language. I’m familiar with DuoLingo, which I’ve used quite a bit in the past, so I’m curious to know who has used both and can give me the low down.


Praise for small town living ahead: walking to fun events downtown! Last night was the usual Third Thursday events, and tonight will be a classic car show with live music, food trucks, and rows of vehicles the boys will drive dangerously close to in order to inspect the chrome. In the coming weeks they’ll be a Memorial Day parade, a food truck festival, another Third Thursday, July 4th parade, and later in July there’s an Italian festival complete with a procession containing a large statue of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel! (The boys did ask if there would be any public executions, but I said I didn’t think so.)

The wheelchair accessible antique shop containing tons of old military memorabilia was a hit. Teddy said when he’s an adult, he’s going to come back and buy all the knives. Awesome.

When you have to pack up everyone in a handicap van and worry about where to park and whether or not things will be accessible, it becomes easier to stay home than to take a chance on an event that winds up being difficult or impossible to take part in. But living somewhere like our new town where many things are accessible and there’s a wealth of things to do is a fun new experience for our family. I don’t think I’ll ever take it for granted.


Also- there’s a shop that sells cannoli and gelato that’s wheelchair accessible. I rest my case.

Everyone is so excited to get out of the house together!!!
Fulton was more than happy to eat a cannoli the size of his forearm.

Now it’s you turn! Write down a post and link it up below. Be sure to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Quick Takes. I look forward to reading your posts! (Only after writing this post did I realize how poorly the GIFs appeared. Sorry! Clearly not a highlight of this new theme! Hopefully, there’s a way to fix it I haven’t discovered yet.)

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  1. You continually surprise me with how often you can keep up with a total blog redesign! It looks great. My blog is almost 5 years old and I’ve done the design a grand total of twice… although to be fair, that’s pretty representative of my style in general. Some people enjoy decorating and redecorating various rooms of their house… I want to do it once and leave it that way until I die.

    May/June in public school is killer. Every day it’s a half-day/field trip/movie day/pizza party/class Olympics/end-of-year concert/promotion ceremony/spirit day… I hope you make it.

    I’m sure Addie is a competent young lady and a quick learner, but… good luck. We’re almost there and it’s bizarre to think of my own child shuttling me around in a 2-ton projectile through oncoming traffic but HAHAHAHA IT’LL BE FINE.

  2. Jenny – Once you hand the keys to your daughter and say, “Go pick up your sister at school” or “get milk on your way home from class” – you will hear choirs of angels singing . The freedom of having another driver in the house is worth the exorbitant insurance increase. I lost my most recent teen driver to college this year and it’s been tough having to do all the school runs and shuttle service. (The next teen in line wasn’t able to take drivers ed in school, so in Illinois she had to wait until 17.25 yrs to get a permit, and then she can’t get her license until 18. It’s torture for her!)

  3. Teen drivers are nerve-wracking as all get out. But the first time my son drove the kids to some dopey 4H event that I didn’t have to go to……glorious! You probably already know this but if you only have two vehicles but three drivers, the premium isn’t too awful because they’re considered an occasional driver. We did have to get a third vehicle so he can go to work and for his dual enrollment at college but even then, all three vehicles are so old that the increase is still pretty doable.

  4. May is killing us too with extras everywhere. I am impressed you have time to blog, let alone work on your book.
    I usually read on Feedly. Your site redesign looks great there, but when I click to look at your site, the mobile format wraps all your headers (eg, “Lyceum” and “perfection” are cut between two lines. A way to live out your subtitle, I guess. I love that there are more accessible options in your new town. Hooray!

  5. Wait till you see the huge carnival that accompanies the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel!! Have you visited Royal Crown ice cream yet? Their homemade blueberry is to die for!

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