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Preview: Confessions of a Hot Carmel Sundae

Confessions of a Hot Carmel Sundae

Updated: 2015-09-16T11:07:43.887-07:00


Movin' on up!


I finally did it: I got my own domain. Please update your bookmarks and readers with my new location.

Heard around the house


Hypertot: Daddy, Daddy! Curtain Climber's on the table!
Daddy: Ok, I'm coming.
Hypertot: No, it's not ok! Curtain Climber's on the table!

Ah, the little literalist.

Update on Curtain Climber


He's doing well, healing remarkably quickly. He doesn't act like he's in pain except occasionally. Thank you all for the prayers. I know that they have helped a LOT.

Prayers for Curtain Climber


Please pray for our Curtain Climber (aka Hot Stuff). He just spent the afternoon in the emergency room after grabbing a mug of hot cocoa and spilling it down his front. He's not in any danger, except for infection, but he has a lot of pain from second degree burns. He's currently sleeping through morphine, but he's going to have some suffering over the next few days. So please pray for him, that his pain won't be unbearable, and that he'll heal extra fast. This is no way for him to ring in his new year or approach his first birthday. Thanks.

Might I suggest a New Years resolution?


If you do nothing else for yourself, make a commitment to work toward getting out of debt. If you don't know how to do it on your own, I highly recommend Dave Ramsey's help. We're just getting started with The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness(image) , and for the first time in years, we have a degree of financial hope. I can't tell you the value of peace of mind, but even better is knowing that it isn't misplaced. We've already made progress, and we only just started. I highly recommend it.

Marry Well!


Today marks the sixth anniversary of the smartest thing I've ever done. I hope you'll bear with me for a moment while I pat myself on the back. I married one of the kindest, smartest, funnest, manliest, and most fertile men I have ever met. And despite three well-rehearsed "You! You did this to me!"s, I have never, even for a two-second pause, regretted it.So in the spirit of annual tradition, I would like to share a few words about how to marry well.Choosing a partner:Don't expect change. A husband or wife might change over time, but you can't expect it or force it. Don't marry anyone who isn't just what you want to be married to right now. A boyfriend or girlfriend who manipulates you is not suddenly going to become honest after the wedding date is chosen. A fiance who belittles you is not going to miraculously discover what a gem you are after rings are exchanged. Your loved one will have faults, yes. But you have to ask yourself if these are faults you are willing to live with for the rest of your life. Don't approach marriage thinking "if it doesn't work out, we can always get divorced." People who think of divorce as an option are not likely to try very hard to make things work. Don't marry someone who doesn't think you are the best thing that has ever happened to him or her. You deserve to be appreciated, and not just loved but cherished.Do communicate. If at all possible, take a marriage prep class, or attend an engagement retreat like Engaged Encounter, or go for premarital couples counseling. There will be areas where you think or assume that you are on the same page and it turns out that you are not. Most of these are minor hurdles that can be worked out with just a little bit of communication; but if it turns out that one of them is a deal breaker for one or the other of you, better that you should find out now, not after you've established a life, started a joint checking account, and bought a car together.Do make decisions together about finances and children. Before you marry. Even if your decision is not to decide yet, make sure you both agree on it.Keeping a spouse:I like to tell my sons that the best way to have a happy marriage is to treat their wives the way my husband treats me. For the benefit of those who don't know my Charming and Patient Husband, I will elaborate a bit here.Accept your spouse. That doesn't merely mean pretend to tolerate. Really accept him or her for what he or she is. There is nothing in the world that will help a person blossom into the best they can be better than genuine, unconditional acceptance. It heals past hurts, it raises future hopes, and it makes life a lot smoother.Appreciate your spouse. Don't merely overlook faults. Look, actively look, at qualities. And then express your appreciation verbally. Let him know that you are grateful for his hard work. Let her know how her smile warms you on a bad day. Never let the kids get between you. Your kids will one day grow up and move out; hopefully your spouse will not. Don't fight in front of the kids. Don't contradict them publicly about child rearing. There will be times you disagree about how to handle something, but discussion should always be respectful of the other person, and private. The kids do not need to see places where they can drive wedges to get what they want. Nor do they need the insecurity of wondering if they will have both of you in their lives in the future.Be the best person you know how to be, even in the areas of your life that don't affect your spouse. It inspires admiration. Don't just be generous with your spouse; also be generous with others. Smile warmly at the whole world, not just the person you love. It affects your entire outlook for the better, and it really can help your spouse to want to be a better person, too. I know that when I see my husband being kind to strangers, it reminds me to be kinder. When I see him being generous, it makes me feel proud of h[...]

Christmas Eve


If anyone wants to give me a Christmas present, please consider a donation to your church building fund, if you have one.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to men of good will!

Carmelite Final Promises


You may have noticed I've been more absent than usual recently. I'm trying, in addition to holiday cleaning, to prepare spiritually for OCDS Final Promises. For those who don't know, OCDS refers to the Secular branch of the Order of Carmelites, Discalced. A secular, sometimes referred to as "Third Order," is a member of a religious order who is not a nun, friar, monk, sister, or brother. In other words, we are attached to our order by prayer, spirituality, study, work, and charism.

The Discalced branch of the Carmelites was founded by St. Teresa of Avila, with the help of St. John of the Cross, in response to a need for reform in the then lax attitude toward the Rule of Life of Carmelites. In a time of great religious upheaval, Teresa found herself heading a convent where benefits and privileges were granted based on family wealth and favoritism, and where the rules were practically ignored. One of the rules that she reinstituted was the traditional habit, which included sandals, not shoes. Her reform was originally known by many popular names, but the name "discalced," meaning shoeless, was the one that stuck. St. John headed the male reform, at St. Teresa's request.

Today, the original Carmelite order (OC) and the Discalced Carmelites (OCD) make up separate orders with separate lines of authority and slightly differing spirituality, but they share a history and charism, as well as maintaining mutual "authority" over the Brown Scapular. The Brown Scapular, the symbol of both Orders, represents a smaller version of the brown habit of Carmelites. Both Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross have been named Doctors of the Church, and recently so was St. Therese of Lisieux, another Carmelite saint.

My name in Carmel is Mary of the Feet of Jesus. Please pray for me as I prepare to make my promises permanent on Saturday.

Permanent Marker on Computer Monitor


What do you do when you realize that a Monkeytot has written on your LCD (or other kind of) screen with permanent marker? You ask Artgal. And Artgal promptly tells you to use a dry erase marker to clean it. And it works.

One caution: use Heloise's advice, and wipe into the mark, not out from. If you wipe across your mark, it will smudge the dry erase ink and need more cleaning.

Happy Birthday, Joel


My Charming and Patient Husband is now the same age as me for a few brief months. Why not head over and wish him a happy birthday?

A thought for today


We hear the message all around us, almost constantly: be kind to yourself. Give to yourself. Love yourself. Above all, you are the master of your own fate.

But sometimes, the greatest blessings are surprises.
Sometimes, the happiest parts of life turn out to be not the things we plan for ourselves, but those that are given to us.
Sometimes, we don't pursue joy, but joy pursues us despite ourselves.

When life hands you the unexpected, instead of lamenting the plans it interferes with, take a moment to consider how very many of the greatest blessings in life are those that we didn't plan. God loves throwing a surprise party. When He throws one for you, be ready to show up.

Note to Hypertot


I don't care how much you like or dislike bar soap. You can't wash your hands with toothpaste.

Phonics Resources


As some of you know, we are teaching our four year old to read. Now, he's a very bright child, but he is also hyperactive, and sometimes has a hard time sitting still long enough to really learn. He also has an extremely literal language style, so sometimes we need to approach a subject from several perspectives to get its fullness across. After a lot of searching and experimenting, I'd like to share a few things that have really worked out well.StarfallIt's a website loaded with games and music, and Hypertot loves it. It is his favorite thing to do. I mean that literally. They sing songs that teach short and long vowels. They lead children through the process of sounding out letters in stories phonetically. They organize by particular phonetic rules, so it can be done in logical groupings or in the order of your own phonics program. And it's free. I can't recommend Starfall enough.Bob BooksThis is a series of books that spend more time teaching by doing than instructing rules. Each book focuses on just a few letter sounds, and the books progress toward increasingly difficult phonetic concepts. The beauty of these books is that they give even the earliest reader the opportunity to read a real book, with just a few words on each page. And they do this not by having a limited vocabulary reader and memorizing words, but by using phonics progressively. The only downside is that the set comes in very small books.Victory Drill BookThis book is not a phonics book, but can work well with a phonics program. It focuses on increasing fluency and speed, by having children read lists of phonetically related words without any other context. It might sound pointless, having lists of words without any story, pictures, or context; but actually the lack of context is the beauty of this program. It forces a child to read the words, not guess them. It also begins to teach them the concept of onsets and rimes (the beginning sounds and end chunks of like words), by presenting similar words together in a list. This is not a stand-alone program, but it can be very useful for building fluency, or for supplementing another program or collection of materials.Reading PathwaysThis I chose because it meets a very specific need for us. Hypertot was having a hard time making the transition from reading individual phonetic sounds to reading words. He would read every word as a collection of sounds, and by the time he had the word sounded out he couldn't remember what he'd already read. Reading Pathways actually works a child through the transition from sounding out letters to reading words phonetically. It brings a child to reading "whole words" without a whole language approach but rather a phonics approach. I have never seen any other product like it, but I can tell you that Hypertot showed a stunning and immediate improvement in his comprehension from the moment we began using this book.[...]

Book Facts Meme


The woman known to My Charming and Patient Husband and myself as Aunt Betsy, and to most of the Blogosphere as Ms. Kitty tagged us both with this one. As usual, nobody but nobody is faster to jump on a book subject than Joel ... I think he may be considering legally adding "Bookworm" as a second middle name.

So here's the lagging wife with hers, under the directions to list seven random or weird book facts about myself.

  • I prefer biographies to most other kinds of writing. That doesn't mean I don't like others, but I just have a rather morbid fascination with bios. I used to think it was because I felt guilty reading fiction, but I'm beginning to realize that it just seems so much more interesting knowing that what I'm reading is true... or at least perceived as true by the author. Autobiographies are especially fun, because you can psychoanalyze the author as you read, and nobody really cares if you're accurate about it or not.
  • Most books that I've actually finished started out on the back of the toilet. Once I'm about halfway through, I take it out of the bathroom to rush through the rest.
  • I've read Jane Eyre nine times. The first time, when I was in fifth grade, I got into the habit of lying at the foot of my bed after lights out so I could read by the light from the hallway. When I reached the end, I cried -- not because it was sad, but because it was finished.
  • I share a birthday with Charles Dickens and Laura Ingalls Wilder, a fact that has always pleased me, since they are two of my favorites. (I also share with Saint Thomas More, but I haven't read any of his writing yet.)
  • I collect composition books. I really can't say exactly why, but I just love them. When I buy or open a new one, it feels like pure possibility. I love the ones with unique covers, and I enjoy decorating the regular marbled ones.
  • I love used books, because knowing that a book has been previously enjoyed seems like an "added value."
  • My favorite Bible translation is RSV, partly because it is beautiful, and partly because it is recognized by both Catholics and Protestants. I also rarely admit to liking the NAB, which Joel refers to as "Nice And Bland." But it's easy to read and find things in, and sometimes easy is good.
And the final instruction is 7 tags:
Christine at Ramblings of a Catholic Soccer Mom
Laura at Catholic Teacher Musings
Cassie at A Blessed Life
Deanna at Deanna's Corner
Barb at SFO Mom
Sharon at The Bird's Nest
Stacey at Housewife in Flip Flops

Heard around the house


Artgal: "Nothing against Depp as an actor, but he needs to stop enabling Tim Burton."

Note to Monkeytot


Remember when I said you couldn't put a bandage in your nose? I'm sorry, but you can't put one in your mouth, either. It just won't work.

Healthier Coffee


If you want a quick and easy way to less guilty coffee, consider switching from half and half to evaporated milk. It contains about the same number of calories, but is much lower in fat. You will be surprised at how creamy it is, and it is more nutritious. Plus, for those on a budget, it costs less than half as much.

Note to Monkeytot


No, you can't put a bandage in your nose, even if it is bleeding.

Why I'm Pro-Life


I could post on this subject a million times and have something different to say each time. Today, I want to give the un-reasons. The I'm not pro-life becauses.I'm not pro-life because I'm conservative. Yes, I am more conservative than liberal, but I am not a "my side at all costs" conservative. I'm liberal on several issues, at least at heart. I oppose the death penalty. I believe that society must help those who need help (though I frequently disagree with modern liberal thinking about how that help should occur, I tend also to disagree with conservatives on the subject). I am not afraid to disagree with the "conservative" canon when I think it's wrong.I'm not pro-life because I'm a Republican. In fact, I'm only marginally a Republican in many ways, because I believe that conscience must always come before party affiliation. This ties in with the previous comment, because I believe that conscience must always come before political persuasion of the non-party type, also.I'm not pro-life because I hate women. I love women, and I love being a woman. In fact, I am pro-life because I'm sick of the bum deal that men are giving women in abortion. Abortionists (mostly men) are making a pretty penny off of women by selling their wares, and pushing, and hawking, and instructing, and indoctrinating, and luring. I've seen women (girls) forced into abortion clinics to have abortions against their will. I've known women who were in situations where someone tried to force them to have abortions against their wills. I know three such women very closely. Which brings me to my next not. I'm not pro-life because I'm anti-choice. I have seen too many instances where "pro-choice" politics and individuals have fought against individual and group choice. When "pro-choice" organizations like Planned Parenthood fight against informed consent (the right to a sonogram and accurate pregnancy information before making a choice about abortion, for example) it tells me that they are not concerned with women's choice at all, but only with the bottom line.I'm not pro-life because I'm judgmental. I want people to stop judging girls and women for being pregnant. First of all, I am, and you are, a sinner and unworthy to cast the first stone. Second, premarital sex may be a sin, but babies are never a sin. Let me reiterate that: Babies are NEVER a sin. Got that?I'm not pro-life because I'm mean. I think it's mean to pressure women into a painful and psychologically damaging procedure. I think it's mean to dismember a human being because he or she is an inconvenience. I think it is mean to treat any human individual as a political issue or tool, rather than as a person. I believe that whenever possible, we as a society should be compassionate. And killing people is not compassionate.I'm not pro-life because I'm Catholic. Yes, my faith requires me to uphold the value of human life. But frankly, I would be pro-life even if I were an atheist, because every human being has inherent value and I do not believe that one has more value than another, just because of age. And I do not think you have to be a Christian to believe in human worth.I'm not pro-life because I "just don't understand." Yes, I do understand that for many women carrying a child and having the pregnancy become public knowledge can be traumatic and even have devastating repurcussions. Yes, I do understand financial difficulty. (Ask anyone who knows me; boy, oh boy do I understand that one.) Yes, I do understand fear, and having one's life plans interrupted, and having to make sacrifices. I've been through all of[...]

Heard around the house


Me: Just think, if you were related to Esmeralda, you'd have to have Esmeralda at every family dinner.

Artgal: But if you were related to Aunt Clara, you'd have to have Henry the Eighth at every family dinner.

Heard around the house


Artgal: "I hate it when I get cinnamon down my shirt."
me: "Yeah, I always hate getting cinnamon down my shirt."
Covarr: "Is this the voice of experience, or is this Instructables again?"

Another use for old socks


I just can't bring myself to throw away old socks. I'm sure that the moment the trash collector comes, the partner will turn up, even though I haven't been able to wear the pair for two years because I'm not sure there is a partner.

Enter the pony tail holder. I keep running out of them. They break or get lost. And I do not wish to damage my hair with old fashioned rubber bands. If I cut the cuffs off my old socks, not only do I feel like I'm not wasting the sock, but I restock my pony tail holders for free, and with cute colors to boot. And they are much gentler than all rubber bands and many store-bought scrunchies.

Note to Monkeytot


While I appreciate your generosity with the baby, I wish you would stop feeding him. Snickers bars and horseradish stroganoff are really not ideal baby foods.

Whiteboard Idea


I get these bees in my bonnet. When we're lucky, they're inexpensive or they pass. Today, it's a moneysaving idea, and I'm looking forward to implementing it as soon as I get a chance to get out of the house. It's a personal whiteboard for each kid old enough to read.

If you homeschool, you probably do whiteboards, too. Or if you have a big family, with kids who keep different schedules. Or if you're looking for the perfect housekeeping "method" or chore chart. Today's idea is simple. I go to Dollar Tree and buy some inexpensive frames that are hangable. If they don't have hangable ones, I'll buy a picture hanging kit there, too. We're looking at maybe three bucks. I slip a thick piece of white paper or card stock into each one, and I hang them. Instapresto, white boards. They won't stain like the ever popular tileboard (the stuff they make shower walls from) or those shiny cardboard signs. They can be washed, and it won't ruin them. And they already come with a frame and ready to hang. One for each person, so I can write down chores when I think of them, or take phone notes, or whatever is needed. And they'll be a whole lot more attractive than most commercial whiteboards that cost more. Dollar Tree usually has whiteboard markers, too.

Feel free to copy the idea or pass it on.

Everydae is Sundae


Or it will be, soon. My apologies to the two or three readers who have glanced at both blogs, but I'm about to begin the process of shutting down Carmel Everydae and moving its contents gradually over here. The reason? I didn't have the energy to keep up two blogs and actually try to get readers. And if nobody is reading, it would be easier to use a diary. I never really did anything to announce the other blog, so few people wandered over there. So if you are one of the few who was curious enough to see what I was posting over there (mostly money savers, helpful hints, and other Heloisey type things, I apologize for reposting here what you've read there. But the plus side is that it will increase the frequency of posting here.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled laundry.