Friday, November 19, 2021

7 Quick Takes about Dunkin' Donuts, New Counter Bliss, and a Life Hack from a Very Wise 14-Year-Old

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


We've been trying to eat healthier at our house, and recently switched to a brand of spaghetti sauce that doesn't have preservatives or added sugar.

To introduce the change, we made homemade soft pretzels (one of the kids' favorite lunches) and used the new marinara sauce as a dip. The 5-year-old ate a few bites, pointed at the new sauce, and exclaimed "This tastes like Dunkin' Donuts!"

Thinking that he loved it, I was about to reply when he added, "But not like the donuts. Like the building."

I don't even know what that means. But I don't think he liked the no added sugar.


Our kitchen counters are finished! For reference, here's the old counters:

RIP, forest green laminate.

And the new:

I still need to touch up the walls and find new curtains to match, but I love our new kitchen so much. The counters look amazing and hide crumbs amazingly well.

And I don't know what kind of Jedi mind trick this is, but it's like we have more counter space now. I mean, I know there's actually a half inch more overhang on the edges, but I swear it feels like way more.


After being "close contacts" over the weekend, my daughter's and my COVID tests came back negative. She was so thrilled to go back to school after having to stay home for a week.

I also learned that the era of free drive-through testing is over. Our pediatrician's office now requires a mandatory "provider visit" with every COVID test. (That's a fancy way to say "pointless 2-minute phone call from the doctor beforehand.")

I'm pretty upset about it, because any time any one of my kids gets a runny nose, they aren't allowed back to school without a negative test. And we can't get a test without a "provider visit." And the "provider visit" isn't covered by our insurance, so we pay $125 out of pocket every time.

Do you see how this is a problem?? There are 8 people living in this house. Someone always has a runny nose. When runny nose = $125, that is not cool.


Our living room ceiling is in dire straits. One area is a slightly different shade of white from a patch job we did back in 2017 when my son threw a ball through it, and more recently we had a leak in the roof. Luckily the water damage was only cosmetic, but it left a discolored stain in the shape of a giant letter T.

Ordinarily, I would just repaint the ceiling myself, but this particular one is 16 feet high and that's above my pay grade. So I'm getting quotes from a professional.

I've never had a painter come inside and do any work for us, but I knew it would be ridiculously expensive. So I tried to be prepared for the first guy's estimate, but I still made an involuntary noise like I'd been tasered when he showed me the final price. 

Also, I realized during the process of emailing companies that I can't spell "ceiling" to save my life. Every time, I write "celining" and have to go back and correct it.


Usually I'm freaking out by October trying to organize who's getting what for Christmas, but this year we decided to simplify things.

I'm writing a post next week about exactly what we're doing and why, but the short version is that we had a family pow-wow about it and concluded that we're going to focus on giving experiences rather than giving stuff.

Just making that decision has been so freeing. I'm so looking forward to spending the holidays having fun with the kids instead of waving them away so we can assemble and run tech support for all their new gadgets.

In fact, I've felt so relaxed and unpressured (not at all typical for this time of year for me,) I actually realized with a start the other day that it was mid-November and I had to get a move on it if I wanted to do things like find a place to go see The Nutcracker, which is a holiday tradition we do every year.


On Sunday, it was our congregation's primary program. "Primary" is the children's organization, and one Sunday a year the kids run the service, singing the songs they've learned over the last year and talking about what they've learned.

Unfortunately, our 5-year-old had a cold so he stayed home with me. The two of us watched the program on Zoom, and since I wanted him to stay engaged (and I actually like the songs they sing in Primary,) we sang with the kids on the screen.

Halfway through the program, he looked up at me and asked, "Can they hear us?"

"No," I said. "We're muted."

"Then why are we singing?" 

I didn't have a satisfactory answer to give him, but I think it was still a good idea.


You know that awkward moment when you think someone is looking a little pregnant but you don't want to say anything in case you're wrong and then you've just called them fat? 

One of the teenage girls I teach at church offhandedly mentioned the most brilliant way around it.

"If you're not sure if somebody's pregnant," she said, "Just ask how many kids they have."

My mind was blown. This kid is 14 years old and already apparently smarter than me. Why did I not think of this?

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Kelly M. said...

I always scan Groupon for experience gifts. I get ideas and deals!!

AnneMarie said...

Oof, having to shell out all that money for the sake of a negative covid test is not cool! I continue to wonder if the people who come up with all the Covid-era rules are people who do not have big families and/or very small children, and therefore have no idea what a burden and hassle that can be.

Also, I think it's very cool that you guys are going to focus on experiences! That's kind of how we've been handling things so far. I don't think we've ever actually gotten our kids Christmas presents (though we may have a small thing or two to stick with candy in the stockings) because they already get so much from relatives and they don't really "need" anything.

Terra Heck said...

The new counters looks great. Wow, that's a lot just to get a negative COVID test.

Jenny Evans (sister, not author) said...

I absolutely LOVE the new counters! And my goodness, that youth is BRILLIANT. Talk about outside the box thinking!

Laura M said...

The "hack" is very smart.