Soup for January, the beauty of a sky and snow, a new hoverboard, an Epiphany house blessing, and more (7 Quick Takes)


Something about January puts me in a soup mood. This week I made Italian wedding soup using this recipe.

I thought it might be complicated to make, but it was easy enough. The most difficult part was that it took time to roll all the small meatballs.

I didn’t trust that the recipe was calling for enough noodles, so I may have gotten a little carried away with the amount of pasta I threw in. But you can never have too many noodles—especially in soup.


The other day my son yelled for me to come and look outside. I hurried, wondering what it could be.

“Look at the sky!” he said. “Isn’t it beautiful?”

And it was. It wasn’t anything completely remarkable. Some people might even have said it was ordinary. But he was struck by the beauty. My children often make me realize I need to appreciate the simple, ordinary beauty of the world more often.


The snow this week was certainly lovely.

There is something exciting about the first snow of a new year, and it was a fun amount of snow—not enough to snow us in, but enough to play in, and it melted away after a few days.

I dread getting caught in snow and ice while driving.

But snow can be so magical.



Our younger son had asked for a hoverboard for Christmas, but my husband and I were nervous about buying one. They looked dangerous. I told our little boy in advance that he wouldn’t be receiving one for Christmas, and he accepted that, but after Christmas he kept longing for one. And he received enough money from his relatives that he could afford to buy one.

So, I reached out to friends and talked with them about their children’s hoverboards, and we finally relented. We went online and ordered him a hoverboard. Then we counted down the days ’til its arrival.

The snow delayed its delivery, but the hoverboard finally made it to its destination. And the boys are both having a fantastic time with it. I’m not going to try it myself, but I do enjoy watching them ride it around the basement.


My older son loves the molasses cookies Grandpa bakes, so I asked my father to share the recipe with me—and he did.

I baked them, and I couldn’t wait for our son to taste them.

I thought they tasted pretty good.

But the verdict came down from the molasses cookie enthusiast: “They’re not as good as Grandpa’s.”

Maybe next time.


For once I remembered to bless our home with the Epiphany house blessing. We used the chalk a priest blessed for us years ago when our boys were very young. We asked him to bless a whole box of chalk, so we have plenty. Our great-grandchildren may use it to bless their homes one day.

I wrote the blessing over the door outside, and then we prayed the blessing inside where it was warm.

The Christmas decorations are starting to come down at our house, which is a little sad, but it also feels like the right time. Besides, we have to get our Chinese lanterns up for Chinese New Year, which begins Jan. 25.


If you see a sign at a restaurant that says, “Immediate seating available,” what would you think that means? I thought it meant you could walk into the restaurant and get seated. So, that’s what we tried to do.

Me: “Hi, we need a table for five, please.”

Hostess: “OK, I can seat you in 30 minutes.”

Me: “Oh, the sign says, ‘Immediate seating available.’ So, I thought that meant that immediate seating was available.”

Hostess: “Yes, we have immediate seating. I can seat you in 30 minutes.”

Maybe “30 minutes” didn’t mean “30 minutes,” but I didn’t wait to find out. We took our business elsewhere and were seated immediately—even without a sign.

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