7 Quick Takes: Kids

The unifying theme to my 7 Quick Takes this week is kids… 7 thoughts on my kids, other people’s kids, life with kids, life without kids. Yes, I’m a couple days late, but I’m playing anyway. Ok? Ok.

7_quick_takes post1. My Kids

Here they are, in a  picture from the summer (ahh the greenness! my favorite time of year). I love ‘em, every one.

my five kids

2.  The Number

People sometimes make snap judgments and insensitive comments based simply on the number of children one has, regardless of any other factors. Anyone with a  few children is used to the complaints from those who think large families are irresponsible, the over-asked “Are they ALL yours?” and “You have your hands full!” from people who think 4, 5, 6 or more kids is TOO MANY. I’ve gotten my share of these comments, usually when I travel to Northern VA or dare to grocery shop with everyone in tow.

But there’s the other side too … the comments from those who don’t think you have enough kids. Or that you should have more by now, since you’re Catholic. Once after Mass I was stopped by a stranger, a visitor at our church, who asked,

“How many kids do you have?”
“Five?” (I wasn’t questioning my memory, but his reason for asking.)
“Five. Well. That’s a middlin’ effort for the traditional crowd.”

It was one of the more bizarre exchanges I’ve had at the Latin Mass we typically attend,  but not the only one where the number of prodigy I have has been called into question. One matron, who has a large family and many beautiful children and grandchildren, periodically quizzes me on how many children I have and how old the youngest is, now.

I’ve taken to smiling widely and saying, “Still five. He’s three. How is your family?”

3. Kids Aren’t Objects

No matter the number, our children aren’t tally marks on a scoreboard. This article by Cari Donaldson on the “Devout Objectification” of children, over on Aleteia, is a thought-provoking read.

4. Some Choose 0 Kids

Like this guy and his wife. And I think that’s terribly sad. Just… the loneliness. An empty old age. So many might-have-beens. It’s different than infertility, the choice to prevent children who otherwise might have been.

5. Some would Love More Kids

Molly writes poignantly about being a friend to someone who may be experiencing infertility… when you’re pregnant and she is not.

6. Vitamin C and Kids

If you’re 5 lb vitamin Cpart of the small group of people who read my blog this past week, you’re probably wondering about all the posts on vitamin C. I think many moms worry a lot about their children’s health, about their recovery when they’re sick, about dreaded diseases and vaccines and not vaccinating, about which supplements to give and which are a waste.

I know I do.

And the more I read about vitamin C, about the fact that humans are in the minority of mammals who don’t synthesize their own supplies of this essential vitamin, about its proven effectiveness in treating viruses  and reversing damage from toxins, the more vitamin C I buy.

Yes, they make it in 5-pound tubs. Mine should be arriving any day.

7. Kids & Shoes

I thought this little song was super cute. Marie Miller just played at our school fundraiser, and her family lives a county over, so it was cool to see her pop up on Jennifer’s blog.

I think I have the opposite problem with kids and shoes… my husband once asked if we had no shoes growing up, or a shortage, and if that was behind my tendency to buy more shoes than any one family could possibly need. (I buy them gently used or on sale, most of the time.  And they can always pass them down or on to cousins when they’re outgrown. Ok fine, yes, we went barefoot a lot.)

There you have it! I may be close to the final addition this week, but there are plenty more who were on time and they’re all linked up over at the latest edition of 7QT.

Rendering Lard from Pork Fat

We made lard this past weekend; at least, my husband did while I washed the jars , cleaned the kitchen and make pumpkin puree from a sugar pumpkin.

Homemade lard

We raised our pigs in the woods behind our chicken coop; we started them in early spring and they were ready for butchering this past week. Each weighed in at 300+ pounds and even with plenty of fat in the sausage and on the roasts and chops, there was enough to put up a dozen quarts of lard.  It’s really easy to make lard at home.

How to Make Lard

  1. Cut the pork fat into small cubes.
  2. Put the fat in the pot and the pot on a  burner.
  3. Turn the heat to low.
  4. Stir periodically as the fat begins to melt off.
  5. Ladle the melted fat through a strainer and into clean, dry mason jars.
  6. Allow jarred lard to cool.
  7. Continue ladeling fat off until there are only the browned cracklings left.
  8. Save the cracklings for baking projects, salad topping, etc.

Rendering lard outdoors

We made our lard outside this time, both to avoid creating the fatty odor indoors (we were hosting a dinner party only hours later) and to free up the stove. The propane Coleman stove was perfect.

Making lard from pork back fat

We used two different types of fat: the back fat (pictured above) and the belly fat or leaf lard (pictured below).


Homemade lard


Lard making 8

While still hot, lard is a pale yellow color:

jars of lardBut it cools to white or off-white and can easily be spooned out of the jar for cooking, baking and frying.

And just in case you didn’t know, lard from grass-fed/  forage raised pigs is a good fat to have. And it’s making a comeback:

Lard book of recipes