Help for the Artistically Challenged and Cheese You Won’t Soon Forget


Oh. My. Word. What have I gotten myself into? We are two weeks into school and I am exhausted. Oh, the schooling is going quite well. But the extra-curriculars just might kill me. Rather, the effect might be that my home simply collapses under a layer of filth. Honestly, by the end of each day this week, it was all I could do to get the dishes done and the kids in bed before I collapsed on the couch. Nary a stitch of laundry was folded, nor a broom or washcloth lifted. I wonder why I thought it would be okay to schedule something every single afternoon?! In what universe have we ever thrived under those circumstances?!

Now before you working moms start throwing rocks at me, I get you! I worked full time until Aliya (my second) was born and then part time for two more years. What’s really killing me is that now we are home all day. We make a horrific mess all morning (schooling, playing, honey-badgering), and then we have to rush out as soon as naps are over. By the time we get home in the evening we have to rush rush rush to get food on the table, then clean up and bedtime.

Still, I don’t really want to quit any of these lessons… yet. I find myself contemplating doing one of those cook-everything-over-the-weekend-and-freeze meal plans. Do you have experience with those? We’re on a fairly limited diet right now, so it would just be meats/proteins, I suppose, and then chopping ingredients for a salad to have on hand in the fridge? Any suggestions welcome!



These Phone Bloks are so cool. So so cool. I hope they become a reality someday soon.

Tell me, why hasn”t someone invented these sooner?


My exhaustion is (or possibly will be) made worth it by the girls’ joy at their classes and clubs.







The first photo above is in the gym, while Aliya watches Gianna and waits for her own class to start. The other two photos are them showing off for Daddy when we got home. They never wanted to stop practicing! I warned them that they would be sore the following morning, and they scoffed at me. Sure enough, Gianna got out of bed this morning asking, “Why do my bones hurt?!”



They drew these. With their hands. (And chalk pastels.) Don’t ask me what their art teacher does, because I have no idea. I actually don’t think I could have drawn those pieces. I’ve asked a dozen different ways whether they got help from their teacher and the answer appears to be no. Amazing, right?



Speaking of art: Parents, have you seen this website, Art History Mom? She gives really amazing book suggestions, activity ideas, and other ways that you can enrich your child’s art experience at home. I devour each and every one of her posts, and often add her book recs to my library list or Amazon Wish List. Here is her most recent article, 5 Easy Ways to Foster Art Appreciation with Art Books.



At this moment, I sincerely wish I wasn’t such a hyperbolic person. I wish I had never told you that anything was “the best” or “exquisite” or “life-changing” before, because now you might not believe me when I tell you this:

If you love cheese, you simply must buy this:


Do you know what this is? It’s cheese, from Cyprus, that you grill. The description on the box says it has “the texture of mozzarella but the brininess of feta.” I had it the other day for the first time and I swear the Earth moved a little. I’ve never had anything like it, and I know now that my life was sorely lacking.


This was my salad for lunch. Romaine, baby kale, heirloom tomatoes, avocado, capers, and HALLOUMI CHEESE.


Shameless Plug!

I’m running my 6th monthly edition of 3 Reasons I Love Catholicism right now. If you’re a Catholic blogger and new here, or if you forgot about it, here is your official invitation to write a simple post on things you love about our Catholic faith.

As I implied above, I’m artistically challenged. This applies to home design and decoration, too. I’d like to budget a small amount each month for buying cool artwork. Do you have favorite place to purchase art/decorating items?

Jen’s got more Quick Goodness, although I can’t promise you any cheese. Sorry ’bout that.



  1. We’ve done the cooking ahead before and it’s fabulous. Once it’s all in the freezer that is and you pull it out and BAM…dinner!!! The actual cooking of it is messy and time consuming, but truly….well worth it!
    TracyE recently posted…5 Faves of this weekMy Profile

  2. First, I’ll admit to you that I’m quite artistically challenged and while my kids are creative enough, they would not be able to produce that artwork. Wow. Very beautiful.
    Thank you, thank you for posting a link to Art History Mom. I have a note here by my computer reminding me to find her site since someone else just mentioned her last week. You just saved me the time of looking, now I can go link over there. Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚
    As for meals, I’ve found that it has made a huge difference to make up a menu for a couple of weeks. I make my grocery list, go shopping and everything is ready for me to throw it together. I usually prep the meal (when possible) in the late morning or during lunchtime so that it’s ready to throw in the oven or cook at mealtime. It has saved me time and the stress during the daily “what’s for supper/” routine. I have seen a ton of pins on Pinterest for the monthly meal prep, but just haven’t dived in on that just yet. May be worth it.

  3. I was just thinking how grateful I am that we have NO extracurriculars at the moment! Every day?? You be crazy!! But you and your crockpot need to become besties right away.

    Also, that cheese looks amazing. Trader Joe’s is coming in FOUR weeks! SQUEEEEE!!!
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  4. Hey lady! Lali just started classical indian dance last week and just adding that 1x a wk is making me stressed! But the girls look so happy doing the gymnastics and those drawings are awesome! What?! Anyway, I tried to text ya but it was wrong number? Would you guys like a Moby wrap for kids to use on dolls?? Lali doesn’t use it anymore.

  5. That art work is amazing! Those classes are amazing! I know you are exhausted, but what a full life!

    Great places to find cool art cheap are at small town festivals or even farmers market type places. There are usually local artists who aren’t earning a living but who produce a ton of great work for the love of it, rent a booth at these things for practically nothing, then sell their work really reasonably to support their habit. I have bought some beautiful pottery this way.
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  6. The artwork is amazing!! Make sure those end up on the wall for a while. We too for the first time have something scheduled every day (I’m still adjusting). For food suggestions… I’m not big on planning ahead as something always pops up and changes my plans, so every weekend I cook a whole chicken, cut it up into pieces for two meals during the week, and then make broth from the bones. Having cooked, cut up chicken in the fridge helps me get dinner on the table fast. Teach the kids to cook, it will pay off when they are older. My 16yr old cooks dinner once a week, because she thinks it is fun. My younger one can make layered dishes (lasagna, shepherds pie).

  7. Wow..that artwork is amazing…totally!

    As far as freezer cooking goes, I’ve never been really good at freezer cooking (most of the foods we eat don’t do too well in the freezer). But one thing that does work well for me is to do food prep in the morning or whenever you are home so making dinner at night is really minimal. Have veggies all cut up. Have a pan of chicken all sauced or marinated or seasoned and ready to throw into the oven. Think about every step you need for dinner prep and then do everything you could ahead of time, during the morning and just throw everything in the fridge so it can be simply pulled out and re-heated or tossed in the oven or whatever. I find that this works better for us than freezer cooking, just because the food is well…fresher.
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  8. I am now getting in my car, and driving to the nearest Trader Joe’s (about three towns and 30 minutes away), to buy Halloumi cheese. That stuff looks AMAZING.

  9. That artwork is amazing! It looks like you’ve found a great instructor. Your enrichment schedule sounds daunting, but it also sounds like some great opportunities for the kids too!

    I’m trying to figure out how to make the dinner thing easier too – I usually plan a week in advance, but I think I need to simplify what I’m making. And then once the baby is born in Dec… I’m trying to figure out how I am going to survive! I’ve been doing more freezer cooking (have you seen the Not Your Mother’s Make ahead and Freeze cookbook? I’ve been pleased with it – her blog has a lot of recipes and tips too. and the recipe/food blog I’m also considering the menus from – I looked into it when my last was born, but there was too much processed stuff for us. Now they have a “clean eating” option that looks better. I love the premise though – an hour on the weekend to prep everything, then you just pop something in the oven/crockpot/grill and there’s dinner.

    And you are making me wish Trader Joe’s wasn’t more than an hour away… boy that cheese looks amazing!
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  10. I’ve done the freezer thing in the past with mixed results. I work full time so have generally tried to limit meal prep to 30 minutes, and my family has rather simple boring tastes. In short, at least one of the kids will groan when I pull out a cookbook and there is a 50/50 chance that at least won’t like anything different.. So, about the freezer thing–it works well for meatballs or if you like marinaded meat (put it in a freezer bag with the marinade, and freeze. The day before you are going to cook it, put it in the fridge to thaw. My chile recipe (which two kids don’t like) makes a large pot, so I freeze most of it. It is easy to make taco meat or sloppy joes in bulk and freeze meal-sized portions, but tacos take less than 30 minutes anyway.

    One thing to try is making twice as much of whatever you are making for dinner tonite and freezing half.
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  11. Wow, that cheese looks amazing, as does Art History Mom!

    I’d love to join in your link-up! How fun!

  12. I LOVE halloumi cheese – I used it a lot when we lived in the States. It’s a great change from meat. Too bad we can’t get it here in Mexico!
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    • I wish I could send you some. Somehow I don’t think it would be good when it got there. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ve always meant to ask you how safe you feel living in Mexico these days. Maybe someday you could write a post on it. (Or direct me to one if it’s already written.)