Friday, December 10, 2021

7 Quick Takes about People Who Really Hate Elf on the Shelf, a Life-Changing Housework Hack, and Defusing Dangerous Explosives at Home

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

This post may contain affiliate links. If you use them to buy something, I get a small commission (this year I'm shooting for seven schillings to buy a Christmas goose like Ebeneezer Scrooge) at no extra cost to you.


I got stuck behind a school bus making the rounds and noticed a pair of cotton legs with elf shoes sticking out beneath the emergency door in the back.

I've seen it with witch legs as a Halloween decoration, and always thought they were kind of a cute throwback to the house that landed on the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz. 

Seems a little dark for Christmas, but when you're driving 40 screaming kids around at 7AM five days a week, who am I to judge? You celebrate Christmas your way.


Clearly this wasn't thought all the way through, but getting white dishes is not a good idea. Utensils leave gray scratches all over them.

Every once in a while, I'll go through and scrub the marks off, but it's a lot of work and frankly I don't like doing it.

Until I realized I could use power tools. 

I got this set of cleaning attachments for a power drill as a gift one year (best practical Christmas gift ever!) for cleaning the shower, but for some reason I'd never thought to use them on the dishes until I saw my brilliant husband using them to clean the sink.

It's magical. The process that used to take days now takes an hour. The secret ingredient: a powder cleaner called Barkeeper's Friend

I won't insult your intelligence by pointing out which half I've already done.

If you have white dishes, this stuff will be your BFF, too.

[Insert your best Owen Wilson impression here.]


In the last Take, did I say my husband was brilliant? He's more like a mad scientist.

His workplace sent us a bunch of meat from Omaha Steaks as a holiday gift, and knowing he'd want to do something with the dry ice it came packed in, I texted Phillip at work to tell him we had a free lump of dry ice in the kitchen.

As predicted, he had ideas. He came home that evening with juice and wanted to try carbonating it with dry ice. I thought he'd read some directions or something but that's not really how he rolls, so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when the container instantly ballooned up, threatening to destroy everything we love.

The bottom swelled like a beach ball, and the entire container swiveled like a canon getting ready to aim and fire. Everyone ran out of the room. The kids hid behind the curtains. I started yelling at Phillip to get it outside before it explodes because we were NOT cleaning a gallon of sticky soda off the ceiling.

Grabbing a rug and using it like a riot shield, Phillip quickly got it outside and no one was harmed.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Life with Phillip is a lot of things but it's never boring.


Thanks to our two musical teenagers, there's constant music going on in our house, either on the violin or the piano. It's so lovely to listen to, but there's one problem: they're getting old, and when they leave the house in the next few years they'll need to be replaced.

Unfortunately, none of the younger kids are particularly musical (although they all take piano lessons as it's our requirement for giving them free room and board.) So I've been thinking about it, and inspired by the movie Inception I've been trying to plant the idea in their heads that music is awesome.

They've been mostly neutral, although they did enjoy this "cool cello video:"


My 17-year-old had her first band concert since the pandemic began. It was a fun concert, but let's be honest: is there anything sillier than a band mask? 

If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing one, a band mask is a regular mask with a hole cut in it. (No really, it's a real thing, Google it if you don't believe me.) Because you guys, it fools the coronavirus. It's used to regular masks and won't know that the holes are there.


Our road was recently repaved which was is really nice, but they kind of messed up the end of our driveway. Our driveway started to crack at both corners and they repaired one side but left the other. Here is the picture I sent the highway department:

It's covered in snow now and I've been assured they'll come back to do a driveway apron in the spring to fix it. Fun times.


I've been really into alternative Christmas trees lately. You know, things that have the general suggestion of a tree but aren't really a tree. Do you have a favorite?

Of course I loved our trigonometree from last year, and I this one from the foyer at church just caught my eye:

Replace the pinecones with ornaments (they're hung on nails) and you've got yourself a Christmas tree.

This year, though, some of our kids wanted a "real tree" so we quickly ran to the store and bought one before they run out. We don't have time to decorate it or even set it up straight in the tree stand right now, but at least it's in the house. 

Crooked, of course.

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

I got to see 2Cellos in concert, they are delightful!

PurpleSlob said...

Phillip was just showing the kids what "Not to do"!!

Kassie said...

I bought the drill brushes and they are a game changer! My fifteen year-old was doing the tub, and when he 'finished' I asked if he remembered to scrub such-a-such place and he said, "Oh, I forgot! I'll go do that right now!" in a very upbeat voice - much better than the huffy tone usually taken when I point out something he forgot to do. Then he was practically rubbing his hands in anticipation when I mentioned that the rounded brush may work better for getting in the corners. In all honesty it has only been about two weeks so who knows how long the hype will last, but I'll take it as long as I can!