Friday, December 16, 2022

7 Quick Takes about Auto Schools, Dilemmas with Ricotta Cheese, and Nativity Plays that Aren't Wholly Appropriate

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


We knew it was coming sooner or later, but our pet rat Scout passed away on Monday. Rats don't have a very long life span on average, and it was time. Scout has actually been on the decline for a while, so it definitely wasn't a surprise and actually came as a little bit of a relief.

Scout (the gray one) and Piper (the brown one) cuddling in their cage.

We're not really sure how to gauge how much her cagemate Piper misses her. They did fight over food a lot, but I'm sure they were buddies, too. Piper refused to come out of her house for about two days after Scout died, so she must've been grieving in her own rat way. My son and I just read Where the Red Fern Grows so let's hope that situation isn't going to happen. 


My 16-year-old is learning to drive and she's using a different auto school for her road lessons than her older sister did. And this one is WAAAAAAAAYYYY better.

I say that because when she has a road lesson, they will pick her up at the house. That's right. I don't have to take her to the driver's ed place or anything. It's so convenient!

Unfortunately it's also more awkward when she forgets she had a lesson and they pull up in the driveway waiting for her, which also happened this week.


I was cleaning out my fridge and I made a small pile on the counter of things I needed to use up. The hardest was the ricotta cheese, which I bought for a recipe my daughter was making, and she only used half the carton. I've eaten ricotta about twice in my life so I had no idea what to do with it.

After some Googling, I ended up with a recipe for orange cranberry muffins with ricotta that was just perfect, because my pile also included a partial bag of fresh cranberries left over from Thanksgiving.

Put these in my face.

These muffins were so delicious, I think I have no choice but to make them again. But I used up the last of the ricotta, so I would have to buy more, and most likely I'd use up the cranberries but then have leftover ricotta again... 

So does anyone have tips on what to do with half a bag of fresh cranberries before I get myself into this vicious cycle?


Usually our winters are pretty quiet when it comes to kids' sports and after-school activities, but this year a few of them said they wanted to be in stuff. It's only a few weeks into the season and I'm already regretting signing them up. Turns out, I need that time to hibernate.

How do other parents of large families coordinate this problem? I feel like no one child is overscheduled, but since I'm the taxi driver for everything I personally am ridiculously overscheduled. 

Speaking of which, I recently read an article called I Spend 24 Hours a Week Driving My Kids Around and my first thought was "Twenty-four? That doesn't sound too bad." I'd kind of like to time myself for a week in the name of curiosity, but I'm also kind of scared to find out. 


Without warning, a YouTube video from a channel called Foster Parent Partner showed up in my feed one afternoon, and you know how the rabbit hole goes. When I looked up from my phone, it was dinnertime and I'd cooked nothing for my kids. 

Which was ironic, since the reason I didn't feed them is that I was binge watching videos on caring for hypothetical foster children I don't currently have.

(Before you get excited, I should say that we're not thinking about fostering right now although it's a possibility in the future. It's just YouTube. The YouTube algorithm thinks I should be thinking about fostering, so now I am.)


My first-graders class asks volunteers to come in and share their family's holiday traditions. Other parents have come in to share about Diwali and Hannukah, and today I went in to share our Christmas tradition: decorating with nativity sets. I did the same thing in my oldest daughter's first grade class a million years ago (well, twelve) and it was really fun.

I brought in our Fisher Price nativity to show the kids, and after talking about it we let them play with the pieces. As always, it took about 2 seconds for it to transform into an action set: "AAAAAHHHHH! Baby Jesus is falling off the cliff!! Let's save him! Quick, get the wise men!"

It reminds me of last night, when I saw my kids pushing Jesus around in a makeshift car seat:

The creativity never ceases to amaze.


After all that, I feel like sharing a slightly more reverent nativity scene, so here's a beautiful one I saw on Wednesday as I was leaving the temple for my church:

I've been volunteering there twice a month and I'm absolutely loving it. My post-writing game is kind of weak right now, but should I attempt to write one on the temple and what I do there? Would you be interested in reading about that?

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Kim said...

We also add mandarin oranges.

And yes, write that!

PurpleSlob said...

RIP, Scout. The driver's school sounds great! Yes, write about that.

Jenny in WV said...

Ricotta cheese makes a great dip for raw veggies and crackers. Mix in some salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.

Anonymous said...

You let the wise man take baby Jesus away in his cart? You don’t even know him! He could run off with him and then where would we be? 😉

AnneMarie said...

That makeshift car seat is hilarious and adorable! Those muffins look awesome, too-I'm saving that recipe! For leftover cranberries, we recently made a smoothie-Greek yogurt, fresh cranberries, bananas, spinach, milk, and a little bit of maple syrup. it was pretty good! I've also made scones in the past with cranberries, too. Ricotta cheese is wonderful as well-we like to put it on homemade pizza or use it as a topping for pancakes or crepes (with a smear of jam)

Kimberly Condie said...

Ricotta cheese is for lasagna. I make a pretty yummy Cranberry orange bread.