Favorite flowers, a gift for a 3-year-old, cupcakes, squishy Easter gifts, and baseball (7 Quick Takes)


What’s your favorite spring flower? I never can decide. I love the yellows that kick off spring, especially the forsythia and the daffodils. Then we move into the cherry and magnolia trees. Then come the dogwoods and the azaleas. I love all of it.

Last weekend we were shopping for some juniper to put on a hill we have in our yard, and my husband remembered that I’ve been wanting a butterfly bush. We picked one out, and he planted it. I am so excited for it to bloom and grow. Then the butterflies will come.


Our niece turned 3 this week! This is the niece who is my goddaughter, if you’re keeping track, Treasa and George’s second daughter.

Being an aunt is serious business, and I take gift selection seriously. But this year I thought of my sister Treasa and how she has four children 4 and under. I decided I would order a book I could record my voice into to spare her and my mother some reading time.

I ordered a Frozen book, and when it came, I realized that not only did I get to read the book. I also had the chance to sing, “Let It Go” on the last page.

Now, singing is something I do in the car, in the kitchen, in the shower, and lots of other places—but not usually for posterity in a recording. But our niece has never seen Frozen, and she’s 3. So I knew it would be fine.

What I had overlooked was my built-in audience. My sons had to watch me record the book. They took turns recording the whole event on my phone. I ended up singing the song countless times, not because of any vanity about my performance, but because I couldn’t figure out when I was supposed to start with the music.

Elsa did a better job, but—for the record—she didn’t perform with a 9-year-old dangling from her neck.


Yesterday I met a friend for coffee at a bakery, Cake by Jason, I hadn’t visited yet, and the cupcakes and donuts looked incredible.

So, on my way out, I bought six cupcakes to take back to work with me, and they were a hit. Now I want to take my children back to pick out some donuts. There were donuts with Coco Puffs on top of them that I’m pretty sure even children who aren’t big baked goods fans would like.

And yes, it is still Lent. It’s Palm Sunday this weekend and Holy Week next week. No more cupcake posts until Easter.


I love Lent. But at this point in Lent I’m a little tired of Lent-ing. Holy Week can be so extraordinary, though, that I’m almost looking forward to seeing how that week will unfold.

Then at the end we will find Easter. And this year I have another reason to look forward to the joy of Easter, a book I ordered from Blessed Is She with daily prayers and actions to help live out the Easter season more fully. It’s not a journal, so there’s no writing involved, and you can use it every year. My copy is here, but I haven’t opened it because…well…it’s not Easter yet! But soon. You can find out more about it here.


If you’re getting Easter treats for anyone in your world, and especially if that anyone is a boy between 9 and 11, you might like to know about these mesh squishy balls. I happened to be in a drugstore with my children last week, and we walked down the seasonal items aisle because drugstores have the best (though often overpriced) seasonal stuff. And there were the mesh squishy items of their dreams.

I have to admit, they are pretty wonderful, though the mesh on one may not have lasted 24 hours. But since you can buy them in bulk for about $1 a piece, I’m not sure expectations are that they are durable. But they certainly are fun.


Note to self: I should probably find out whether I am hosting Easter dinner. What do you have for Easter? When I host, we usually have lasagna and bunny-shaped desserts. I had forgotten that last year I didn’t plan our menu until Easter morning until I went to find my blog from last year to show you our bunny-shaped ice cream. So this year I’m really planning ahead.


Baseball season is underway! We had our first game on a gray, somewhat drizzly evening, and the players loved it—especially our player, who played first base and left field, made it to base, and even ran home. Baseball is his thing, and I’m so happy it is.

I’ll be even a teensy bit happier when the weather is better, but that’s one of the best aspects of baseball. The weather gets more and more pleasant as you work your way through the season. Soccer is the opposite. Soccer starts beautifully and then deteriorates into colder and colder days until you’re bundled up on the sidelines wondering whether you can watch from your car.

Many people love soccer. I love soccer in my Facebook feed, for example. But baseball season I am on board with. Bring it on—heavy on the sunny, spring days, please.

Find more quick takes at Kelly’s blog, This Ain’t the Lyceum, and enjoy a wonderful weekend!

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.