Friday, July 29, 2011

7 Quick Takes, Volume 6

DISCLAIMER: If you get a sense of deja' vu right around Take Number Three, I apologize. A few of these takes are already on my other blog, Musings of a Catholic Mom. Since they're somewhat food- and/or book-related I decided to post them here too; sorry if some of this seems repetitive. And it's likely my next "7 Quick Takes" post here will have at least one repeat from Musings too. I'll try not to make that a habit.


On a recent weekend, we went camping in Shenandoah National Park (too see some highlights, click here). On Saturday night after returning from the town of Luray after attending Mass and eating dinner out, we built a fire and roasted dough boys for an after-dinner treat.

What are "dough boys," you ask? Just some Bisquick mixed with a little water, wrapped around a stick and cooked over a fire. (I like to call them "Biscuit-on-a-stick.")

Curly put some butter and kiwi jam on his. These would make a great camping breakfast, don't you think?


In my most recent post at Musings of a Catholic Mom, I talked about how I want to make my blogging more authentic (and on that one I want to be authentically Catholic; even here I like to bring my Catholic faith with me sometimes), and I want both my blogs to be reflections of who I really am, not glossed-over versions of myself and my family life.

Therefore, I'll tell you what REALLY happened when we made the dough boys. The kids were all excited because they had just made them the previous week at a nature camp they had attended. I dutifully poured some Bisquick into a bowl (even though I really didn't want to bother with making them--it was late and I just wanted to relax by the fire with my Hornsby's Hard Cider), mixed it up with some water, and let the boys have at it. Well, Moe was very upset because the dough was sticky, and when he tried to put it on his stick, it got all over his hands and made a big mess. "OK," I said, "Why don't I just put a little more Bisquick in it and make it less sticky?" (Remember, I'd never done this before.) He kept complaining that I wasn't doing it right. Even when Curly showed him how to knead the dough to make it smooth and easier to handle, he was having none of it. I finally asked him to show me what I needed to do, and he said he didn't know because Ms. L, the camp leader, had been the one who made the dough and given it to the kids. He whined so much that Joe and I almost banished him to the tent for the rest of the evening unless he pulled himself together. Thank goodness he eventually did.

And you thought there was no drama in my family.


This week Moe is visiting Joe's parents. We've had a tradition these last several years that each summer, one of the boys gets to spend a week with them. It's a great way for them to bond with their grandparents, and the boys always look forward to when it will be "their turn." For about two days before Moe left, I kept finding myself on the verge of tears thinking about how much I would miss him. He's having a great time with his grandparents, of course, and even with only one of the boys gone the house seems quiet. He calls us every night and tells us about his day, and I know I won't sleep well unless I get a chance to say good night to him. I'm feeling a little guilty, though, because yesterday when I made my homemade hamburger buns (I've posted the recipe here and here), I realized I could use a REAL EGG and REAL MILK since there wasn't anyone in the house allergic to them. We excitedly went to Chick Fil-A for lunch; a place we usually avoid because they fry their stuff in peanut oil. And the other day at Costco I grabbed a bag of tortilla chips--not our usual brand, but one we like better but never get because they're cooked in (you guessed it) peanut oil.

He's coming home Saturday, and I can't wait. Having everyone home is much better than getting to eat at Chick Fil-A.

(Oh, and I also bought Honey Nut Chex, too. I realize now that I haven't missed much.)


Speaking of cereal, check out what I found in Target not long ago:

I remember growing up, seeing that on the grocery shelf every time I would go with my mother, and she would never buy it. It was always Raisin Bran and Grape Nuts and Special K in our house. I would be extremely jealous when I would visit friends and notice that THEIR mothers let them have it.

Of course I got some and you know what? It tastes like Captain Crunch. Which my mother would never buy either, but when I got to college it became a staple food.


I finished Stieg Larsson's Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy, and I'm glad I did (a couple of times the graphic sex and violence almost made me quit reading. Almost.) I've decided that the main character, a troubled young woman named Lisbeth who has multiple piercings and tattoos and doesn't relate to people very well, is a female version of Jack Bauer. On second thought, she is a combination of Jack and his computer-savvy friend Chloe, without whom Jack would never have survived many of his run-ins with the bad guys. Not only does Lisbeth habitually hack into other people's computers, but she manages to survive a number of brutal attacks--including (SPOILER ALERT) being shot in the head point blank and then buried alive. My favorite part of this series? When Lisbeth (ANOTHER SPOILER) is about to be murdered by a monstrous villain who feels no pain, and she grabs a nail gun and shoots nails into the guy's feet, pinning them to the floor. Brilliant!


Now I'm reading two books at once: one e-book and one I checked out from the library. My current e-book is C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters. I've read almost half of it now. It's definitely not what I expected--instead of reading like a novel, it's a series of letters written by a demon (Screwtape) to his nephew Wormwood, offering advice on how best to turn a good man away from God and to the Dark Side. Very eye-opening. Screwtape could easily be talking about me.

I'm also reading Long Way Down: An Epic Journey By Motorcycle From Scotland to South Africa, by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. (Yes, I mean THAT Ewan McGregor, as in Obi-Wan Kenobi.) In 2007 ( I think) Ewan and his best friend Charley took off from northern Scotland on motorcycles, along with a team of support people--cameramen, a doctor, producers, fixers--and rode all the way to Cape Town, South Africa for a TV series called Long Way Down and to do some charity work for UNICEF. (In 2004 they rode around the world for their TV series Long Way Round; there is a companion book for that one too. For more about Ewan and Charley's adventures, click here.) Anyway, Joe and I had watched the Long Way Down series on DVD, and I'm enjoying reading Ewan and Charley's accounts of the trip in their own words.

By the way, did I ever tell you I'm a biker chick wannabe? Someday I want to climb on the back of a Harley (straddling my husband!) and ride across the USA. Joe doesn't share that dream. *sigh* Maybe when they make Long Way Up Ewan and Charley will pass through my town. That would be the next best thing.


The other day on my Facebook news feed, I found a fun post from Nicholas Sparks' Facebook fan page: a link to a website,, and a three-minute video of Nick talking about his novel, A Bend In the Road. I did a little searching and discovered that Nick recorded little tidbits there about all of his books from The Notebook to At First Sight. I spent entirely too much time online last night, a good-sized chunk of which was watching these videos. Click the book titles to see them!

The Notebook

Message in a Bottle

A Walk to Remember

The Rescue

A Bend in the Road

Nights in Rodanthe

The Guardian

The Wedding

Three Weeks With My Brother

True Believer

At First Sight

In my next post, I'll share some delicious grilled tuna that was inspired by At First Sight. I'm having to bend my own rules a little bit for that one; the only time anyone cooks (besides grilling steaks and hot dogs, which I think happens in every one of Nick's books) is in the epilogue. I don't think I can do that one in context without revealing the ending. I'll figure something out.

Check out my other blog, Musings of a Catholic Mom, for another Quick Takes Post (as I mentioned, some of it is repetitive, but most of it is not), and for even more, be sure to visit Conversion Diary, the official "7 Quick Takes" hub!

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