Peach cake season, stacking cups, fireworks, reading, and more (7 Quick Takes)


The peaches are ripe! Run, run, run to your nearest grocery store or farmers market and buy some peaches to make a Baltimore peach cake. It’s so easy and so yummy. Here is the recipe.

In fact, if you mention to someone you are planning to make a peach cake, you might just get a dinner invitation. That’s what happened to me this week. Maybe the peach cake was the one invited to dinner, but my family and I were also included. So it worked out well for all of us.


Children ask you difficult questions. Just when you think you’ve handled the hardest ones, here comes another: “Why do people always say, ‘Oh, deer’? Why don’t they ever say, ‘Oh, donkey’?”


Even though we’re having hot and humid July weather, our children are still enjoying soup almost every morning for breakfast.

My father always told us that you should eat ice cream for dessert in the winter because it would lower your body temperature and make you feel warmer.

So maybe eating soup during the summer makes you cooler. There’s only one way to find out.



Are you an international stacking cup champion? Our boys have been wanting to get into this sport for a while now. The other day we happened to be at a consignment shop and there it was—a double set of stacking cups with two timers and two stacking mats. And you won’t believe this. It glows in the dark.

It was only $6, so we had to buy it. And don’t ask me what I spent on batteries for the two glow-in-the-dark timers. Let’s focus on how much we saved.

Anyway, the boys are masterfully learning how to stack cups. It’s incredible to me how fast they are. I don’t know whether they are ready for international competition, but I would say we are definitely getting our $6 worth out of the set.


I wasn’t sure how well our family’s summer reading program would go, but so far awarding “Buettner Bucks” has been going well. They are reading up a storm, and their parents have not yet gone broke shelling out rewards. I am considering it mostly a success a few weeks in.

Yesterday when we had a doctor’s appointment for one of the boys, his brother brought a book and read as he walked in and out of the appointment. The doctor said, “You really have your hands full!”

I laughed but inside I was thinking, “This is the least full my hands have ever been.” I have only two children, and both of them were walking along fairly quietly. One had his nose inside a book. Sometimes I wonder whether medical school should include a course in how to engage in small talk that doesn’t leave your patients scratching their heads later.


One day I would like to take my children to see fireworks at a real show, but I don’t want to deal with the crowds or the parking challenges. And I know how cranky we would all be for a few days after a very late bedtime.

So on the Fourth of July I took our boys for a walk through the neighborhood instead, and we watched our neighbors sending fireworks up into the sky.

I’m not sure the shows were legal, but they were nearby and mostly fun to watch. And we came home when we were tired.


Have you ever had spaghetti pizza? I first encountered it when I was in college at this little Italian place called My Place that was just off campus. It was amazing, and I enjoyed it many times, but I thought it was only available there.

But a college friend who is also from Baltimore found spaghetti pizza at Pasta Mista. So yesterday we met there for a spaghetti pizza lunch date. Yum.

She brought presents for the children, who were thrilled to see that she had light-up yo-yos! Then we went shopping for used books at Ukazoo.

Spaghetti pizza, a reunion with a college friend, and used book shopping all in one day? Life is good.

Read more quick takes at Kelly’s blog, This Ain’t the Lyceum, and have a wonderful weekend.

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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.