Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window...

the kids are making berry juice.  It's a complicated process.


1.  Pick (potentially poisonous???) berries from my holly bush and place them in the bottom of a trash can.

2.  Add water.

3.  Use a stick or some other large paddle to smash berries, thereby making the water purplish/pinkish.

4.  Beg to bring disgusting berry water to science class so to impress science teacher.

5.  Ignore mother when she repeatedly asks you to not put your hands in the berry juice.

6.  Make sure she sees you completely submerge your hands into the (potentially poisonous???) concoction.

7.  Watch as she flips out no one is listening, dumps the entire trash can of "jam", and ends the hours of berry juice making fun.

I am thinking...

about the book Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.

The author, Jen Hatmaker, fasted an entire month for 7 months in a row on one of the following:   media, stress, possessions, shopping, food, clothes, and waste. Lots of good food for thought in this very readable book.

I am thankful...

I'm finally starting to feel settled after our move back to the East Coast.  I saw an acquaintance from Church on Saturday at the grocery store and we hugged when we saw each other.  We chatted for a few minutes in the frozen aisles about kids and school and child-induced insanity.  We laughed.  Then we went back to shopping.  Two years ago, I wouldn't have recognized anyone at the grocery store.  Now, I do.

I don't feel so isolated anymore and it's really good.

In the kitchen...

Patrick went to a friend's house for dinner last night.  With him absent from our table, I didn't feel guilty about serving this pasta dish, which is difficult to re-create for someone on a gluten/soy/dairy free.  It was awesome.

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4

1 lb box of large pasta shells

12 oz ricotta cheese

2 cups chopped spinach (fresh or frozen)

3 cloves of garlic (pantry)

1 egg beaten (pantry)

Salt and pepper to taste (pantry)

3 cups simple tomato sauce (recipe below)

Note - If you are using frozen spinach thaw it first and squeeze it in a clean dish towel to remove the excess liquid.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Combine the cheese, egg, spinach, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Once the pasta is cooked and drained (do not rinse the pasta) stuff the shells with the cheese mixture, place them in 13x9 inch baking dish and cover with simple tomato sauce and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is heated through.

Simple Tomato Sauce

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4

2 tbsp olive oil (pantry)

¼ cup diced onion

2 cloves of minced garlic (pantry)

3 cups diced tomatoes

1 tbsp dried basil (2 tbsp if using fresh) (pantry)

Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 3 minutes before adding the garlic. Allow the onions and garlic to sauté for 1 additional minute before adding the remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat and cook for 6-8 minutes.

I am wondering...

if I'll ever have time to do the things I like to do again. 

The beginning of the year has kicked my butt.  Perhaps it's because I'm pregnant, perhaps it's because we're trying something different with the homeschool academy, but I am busy all the time.  Last night I sat down to write and I had no energy left.




I don't foresee this any change in my lack of energy/time combo changing in the foreseeable future.  It's just the way things are right now.

It is what it is.

Whenever these seasons of life occur, I wander down the "maybe I should just close this whole blog down".  I read books and blogs by women who have more children than me and who--somehow--manage it all.

But I'm struggling.

And I'm tired.

I feel like I may be tired for the rest of my life.  

I am reading...

Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess


Dietrich Bonhoeffer's biography

(I'm gonna finish this one.  I'm determined.)

I am looking forward to...

surprising the kids with a trip to

Hershey Park

.  Some dear friends gifted us with tickets they weren't using and we gratefully accepted.  We typically avoid theme parks and the like because they are too expensive for a family of 7.  (The tickets are about $40 a pop per person, which makes a place like Hershey Park too steep for the Duggan's to justify.)

But this little gift fell from the sky and I'm so grateful.

The kids don't know we're going but on Saturday morning, we're hitting the road early and taking everyone to the land of Chocolate.

It will be


their dream come true.

I am learning...

how to deal with teenagers.


Don't get me wrong, I enjoy teenagers.  I've always said I think I'll be better with teenagers than I am with toddlers.  (Be quiet those of you currently living with adolescents; I'll find out in time whether or not this is true. Please, let me live under this illusion.  Just this one, Okay?  Thanks.)  Teenagers are cool.


I've been out of a high school classroom for over ten years.  And in that time, I've forgotten that

you must be on top of teenagers

.  They are going to try to bend the rules.  They are going to assume you have lost your mind and don't remember what you said.  They are teenagers, this

is what they do.  Just like toddlers throw temper tantrums because you gave them the wrong color sippy cup, teenagers try to shirk responsibility. 

Piaget labeled all of this in his famous stages.  It's developmentally appropriate and stuff.

 I don't mind it; I'm just getting used to it again (and it doesn't help I'm not exactly on top of my game right now.)

Around the house...

He looks harmless.  But he's annoying.  And smelly. 

we have been invaded by stink bugs.  I attribute the infestation to two things:

the unseasonably warm weather we've had this Fall

and the cracks and crevices in this 200 plus year old house. 

Typically, the cold weather usually kills these buggers off before they overtake us, but this year?

Not so much...

I went to war on those pesky critters for over an hour yesterday.  My assistants, Meaghan and MB, vacuumed while I sprayed them down with a solution of liquid Dawn soap and hot water.  It did the trick in every place except the girls' room.  I think those nasty creatures are coming in through the window somehow and whatever we accomplished yesterday has been completely undone today.

It's disgusting.

Meaghan told me she spent last night hidden under the covers so stink bugs wouldn't crawl on her.  We may be evacuating the girls to sleep in different hindquarters this evening lest we get the bug problem under control.

Any suggestions?  I'm open.

(John and I discussed insect bombing the house but supposedly there aren't any insecticides that will get rid of these Asian creepy crawlers.)

A favorite quote for today...

"I like your Christ.  I do not like your Christians.  Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."  Ghandi

One of my favorite things...


Every morning, I force down a few swallows, but for whatever reason, I just cannot do coffee this pregnancy.  I'm dreaming of my first delicious cup sometime in late November.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

I'm running a children's book club this week, homeschooling, teaching grammar, driving players to soccer practice, visiting Hershey Park, and overseeing arrival at appropriate Boy Scout activities.

A peek into my day...

Cupcakes for book club