Friday, September 21, 2018

A trip, a book review, and some thoughts on travel and culture (7QT)


We just got back from an extended weekend trip (actually it was a full week-- Sunday to Friday) and it was officially the longest I have been without kiddos in tow for literally A FULL DECADE - since the day Molly was born.  I dug deep into the recesses of my soul and rested as hard as I could while still being inspired by an awesome city.  As doting parents, we doted and doted and doted on our adorable children when we got home and were reunited. I missed these kids- each and every one- so very much. I will say that when Conrad erupted into peals of laughter (and the kid literally could.not.stop. laughing one night soon after we got home), I was downright giddy as I delighted over my sweet boy.  #thankful

Vacation away

Our trip/vacay was absolutely lovely.  Stephen's co-workers asked how I was doing, and they wondered if I was okay, as I was exploring and touring the city alone while he was job-training. (I mentioned in an previous post that we were going to Santa Monica, but we ended up in San Francisco for the duration of the week).  He said, "Oh, she is fine!" And the truth is, I was OVER THE MOON excited about the arrangements. I had a plan. Drink coffee, visit coffee shops and bookstores around the city, take an uber, explore.  I ended up walking all over the city as well as taking an uber to Haight/Ashbury, where I ended up shopping in about 20 vintage stores (AND I ONLY BOUGHT ONE SHIRT).  We went to the symphony and ate good food and drank good wine every evening, so it was like a vacation together except with lots of time for me to explore my old haunts and places I have always wanted to re-visit.

San Francisco!

In order to maximize our time there and take full advantage of this opportunity, I planned ahead a little bit by writing down areas of town I would like to see or visit again.  I then allowed myself to "get lost" the first day- AKA start at Union Square, got my bearings, wandered and explored, then wrote down a little map from what I learned about areas of town that day.  I drank a ton of coffee, and my Starbucks Americano in an adjacent hotel lobby was the best cup of coffee I have had in a year at least. Maybe more.  I visited the LOCAL bookstores City Lights and The Booksmith, trying to soak in the culture of the West coast.  I also shopped local in terms of food, clothing, and restaurants as well.  The only chain I allowed myself to visit was IN-N-OUT and Urban Outfitters because Duuuuuuuuh.   I also tried to acquaint myself with the lay of the land, by going somewhere with a good view (and almost passing out)- AKA Telegraph Hill.  I saw Coit Tower, a pretty monument to Christopher Columbus, and a GORGEOUS view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Did I mention the gorgeous view from that park made me almost pass out. (Haha) We did get to spend some time with his co-workers and eat out with them and establish some ties with them as well!


Molly has truly been obsessed with horses (toys, books, shows) since she was little.  Thus it seems her destiny that homeschooling has afforded her time to take horseback riding lessons. And wouldn't you know Frances and Madeleine were not too far behind in showing interest. (Madeleine starts her first Pony Pals lesson today).


Homeschool this year as a first timer is going really well. Seton is good and we are taking it (somewhat) slowly.  Molly has read around 11 books so far. Book girl has read Nancy Drew, A Little Princess, Geronimo Stilton books, and she is re-reading Percy Jackson! Phew!  Leisure time and love of books seem to go hand in hand. At least in this girl's world.  We found the Geronimo Stilton tv show via Amazon Prime, and now we are using that and education videos on Youtube (Davy Crockett anyone?) for our educational screen time. We watched the Salt and Light video on St. Kateri Tekakwitha and it was a hit with our kids. And now I know how to spell it. Hahaha. If you know of any other educational videos or youtube channels to recommend, hit me up!! I'm @tacywb on instagram.

Lesson planning

What I am enjoying about homeschool is the sense of purpose it gives to my days.  I may not be passionate about some aspects, but what I am passionate about is inspiring others to love reading and to love to learn. In this way, homeschooling is very satisfying.  I love to sit with coffee, my lesson planner, and the Seton texts and plan out a fulfilling, productive homeschool week.  Despite my anxiety over the less-than-ideal aspects of homeschooling- namely dying to self and sacrificing some of my me-time, I can see why this is a fabulous choice for our family. It continues to feel like the right decision for us right now and for the foreseeable future.


A book review!

Not to drastically change the subject, but I wanted to include in this post a review of an excellent book I was able to get my hands on this week.  Bloomsbury press sent me this lovely picture book, Pope Francis: Builder of Bridges written by Emma Otheguy and illustrated by Oliver Dominguez. This is one I would whole-heartedly recommend for children of all ages, and even particularly the 5-9 range, judging from the reaction of my children.  Each page has an absolutely lovely, intricate illustration of the Pontiff (a word meaning bridge-builder), with a stunning telling of his history, his witness in the world, and his goals as Pope.  Jorge Bergoglio is illuminated as a strong believer; this book demystifies him as someone who cares for the earth as we see in his encyclical Laudato Si, and the people and animals who live here.  Children will learn that his heart is especially, deeply with the poor, something he has demonstrated time and again.  This lesson comes to the wealth-permeated West with a vigorous staying power.  What I really like about the un-sentimental telling of his life and work, were the specific examples throughout his life and papacy that have again and again pointed straight to God, and to his love for the poor. The end of this picture book includes a timeline and glossary, denoting the moments of ministry for which Pope Francis has come to fame, using it for God's glory.   Read it! Buy it!  It comes to you highly recommended and I give it 5 stars.*

A lovely view

The GOLDEN Gate Bridge (Using the Golden filter from A Color Story)
The Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi in SF, pray for us!

I'm thankful to be back to blogging. If you read to here---  Thank you! I appreciate you visiting and reading my little corner/space on the internet!  Please come back!  God bless.

*Although I normally do blog promotions, I jumped at the chance when I was offered a complementary copy of this book from Bloomsbury Press.  The opinions are my own.

Linking up with Kelly!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Seven *Quick* Quick Takes (7QT)

Church Scandal

NPR covered the church scandal and I have so many thoughts (too many, really) to address this in totality here.

Needless to say, it is painful as a Catholic to hear this news.

I think I have surpassed my "honeymoon phase" with Catholicism and my Catholic faith. I suffered the seven year itch, and came out stronger in my faith in the end.  I was really struggling with anger for a while toward what I felt was some backwardness in the South (in general and in the Church) including political views held and mediocrity in regards to faithful Catholic living in a practical, pragmatic sense.

I can't imagine being betrayed by my priest or bishop or in any way feeling mistrust in those in leadership over me. Despite my frustrations with Catholicism in the American South, I have never had a reason to dislike my own priests or leaders in our parish community.

I am hoping that this challenge makes us stronger.  I think we are growing and we can come out flourishing and much stronger on the other side.  In the mean time, we need to pray - I recommend and suggest praying a nightly rosary for as many nights as you can in an effort to bring peace to an extremely sad situation.

New job

In other, more happy news..... Stephen got a new job! He basically got a promotion and raise, and we feel really successful when you consider that the company that hired him, Carbon Five, does work for Disney, Conan O'Brien, etc. and has offices in NYC, San Fran, and LA.  We feel surprised and blessed at this God-given task he has before him.  I'm really proud of him.

Upcoming Travels

That said, we will be traveling together to Santa Monica, California in a few weeks for his training. I can't wait!  But it does make me feel a bit busy and overwhelmed what with homeschool, his job and responsibilities, and general busyness of packing and arranging childcare and other arrangements for us to leave.

Upcoming on the blog

I am probably going to be taking an extended break from blogging until mid to late September.  I feel as though I need to focus on homeschooling, and with our travels coming up, I have a feeling I will be a little less than focused.  Follow along with our fun adventures on instagram. also have a Facebook page.


An Open Letter From Young Catholics @ First Things

~6 &7~
TV shows

We have been watching the show New Girl with Zooey Deschanel on Netflix.  We laugh hysterically at the antics (especially that of Max Greenfield), but sadly it is *not* edifying in the least. Frustrating when something that makes you laugh also offends you.  Our culture is-- and can be-- so backwards.


linking up with Kelly

Friday, August 10, 2018

Setting Up Our Homeschool Space and Rhythm (7QT)

Yes, we are now officially homeschoolers.  (yay!!!!) We started on Monday!  :))  Leading up to the day, I kept wondering if it would feel horribly stressful or peaceful having all the kids at home with me. So far, it has felt very peaceful to get into the new rhythm and enjoy our new (5 bedroom!) space!

Here are some thoughts I have had this past week.... some relate to homeschooling and some are just thoughts from my random stockpile of ideas, opinions, wax on, wax off.


An unlikely friendship can be life-giving. This article from Buzzfeed "This Guy formed a real, heartwarming friendship with a woman who did his nails for 3 years and people are touched."  I love reading the back and forth texts, and I love hearing how this boy became more confident in himself as the friendship blossomed and they both found their voice.  It just proves and goes to show that the touch of human kindness never goes wasted.


David Sedaris is funnier than you.  Seriously though, his essays in his new book Calypso had me heartily chuckling out loud. He has many jokes in each short, readable essay.  I loved the origin of the title and his fiasco with the turtle (won't spoil it for you but rest assured I will be thinking of Grandaddy for a long time to come.... and spitting out my wine in comical laughter every.single.time). Sedaris is so funny, I think he could easily spend more than 2 hours talking without repeating himself a dozen times and on top of that, easily send me into hysterics. Did I mention David Sedaris' "Santaland Diaries" as a live performance was my (very) first date with Stephen?!  We laughed at the exact same things-- the best sign. :)


Our new space doesn't cure everything that ails us.  You can still hear Conrad screaming in his new bedroom. He was formerly sleeping in a large closet, in a pack n play, so I'd say it is an improvement in our way of life, though. Nothing will ever cure what is ultimately my feelings of inadequacy.  That kind of faith in this choice has to come from God.  Material things, possessions, a large bank account, etc do not provide peace of mind and I think that lesson was a long time coming but it's definitely one I've accrued over this past year.


I learn some new significant life lesson every decade of my life.  In my childhood, I learned to trust God. In my teens, I learned how to recover from heartbreak.  In my twenties, setting out on the adventure of life with a husband and new baby, I learned how to trust my own thoughts and beliefs and establish them apart from my parents. Now in my thirties, I'm learned how to relax and trust more in relationships. I was hashing this out recently with Stephen,  and I realized that in my twenties, I was very suspicious of people and I would confront them for their sins and problems (in particular, Stephen) and in doing so, I forced them to admit or confess to something they weren't necessarily guilty of. Now I'm learning that all of those accusations and suspicions were rooted in fear.  Stephen really does love me.  I've stopped trying to convict him (and others!) and I am so much happier than I used to be.


Homeschooling really does make more time for the things we love to do.  In particular, read. Frances has a new-found interest in Shakespeare.  Molly spends hours everyday in the afternoon and evening reading and reading and plowing through books. She is interested in honest Abe Lincoln! Going to the library has become an adventure and a delight. If the rest of the year is anything like this first week, it is going to be great.


It works well to split up the classes almost evenly between me and Stephen.  I'm teaching English, Religion, and History according to the Seton method. We do classes. This youtube channel has been a challenge to me as a homeschool Mom.  Here is her first day back. We weren't sure how we would spilt it, but we decided to have Stephen do Science and Math classes at night. I do read-alouds and foster a reading-friendly environment during the day. The kids have an hour of educational screen time (they can do Xtra math, Bob Books, and ask me if you have any other apps in mind).
Gingko fruit


There is no doubt that homeschooling is saving us money, but that's not why we're doing it. Listen: we prayed about this decision for months before withdrawing our kids from a parochial school that we loved. It is true that tuition would be more costly than paying for curriculum from Seton.  Ultimately, though, in praying together intimately for about 6 months, Stephen and I longed for our kids to do things like fall in love with reading, get along better with each other, grow in the love of God and the nurture of the Holy Spirit. And it doesn't hurt to have more time and freedom to travel and do field trips. But that is precisely where we are saving.  I won't be running nearly as many errands and doing as many outings, because my days are spent with fulfilling, exciting work as I educate my kids in academics as well as the wisdom of God and the foraging of nuts and seeds. (completely free!!!!) So win, win.

Linking up with Kelly what what

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

monthly recap vol 57~ July 2018 Reno is done!

My new (FREE)  e-book, see below for details!


Lately, I've been thinking about and pondering our decision to homeschool and I HAVE SO MANY THOUGHTS(!!!!). As you will see in the following long paragraph.   This fall everything is going to change. I know it would be so easy to put our kids in school. That's because I know that life well now. Molly will be in fifth grade this year.  I know how I would get it all done. I would be planning Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner a month in advance.  I would drive, keep the littles busy, do homework, bed routine, and early wake-up and get dressed calls. There would be involvement in school activities and extracurriculars.... picnics and meetings and meet-and-greets.  And that feels .... SAFE.  But what my heart of hearts says is that life should not be safe. "Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing" says Helen Keller and this has been our chalkboard all Summer. I keep feeling a thought: "Get rid of all your crutches, Tacy."  It is too easy to let others' take my children's education into their own hands. I have to do hard things for me and for our family.  The time has come, and now for us that means homeschooling. I'm nervous-- super nervous!-- because it is a huge deal. But as our plans come into clear focus, I'm more excited than anything else. More excited than ever before. More devoted and on board for this decision than ever before.

We're treading in deep water, but in the midst of murky doubt, here are the things keeping me afloat- more than a lifejacket-- my lifeboat if you will.  As I've prayed, these thoughts have bubbled to the surface of the tide pool of doubt.  First, God is in control. Second, I believe God supplies grace. Third, I believe that when we delight ourselves in God he gives us the desires of our heart. If we give, receive, and depend on help of those available -- our co-op, our priests, tutors, babysitters, church, friends, and family--- then we will be fine. God is love and he loves us. "O Israel hope in the Lord," for there is nothing to fear and so much to hope in!  And more than that (depending on those around me) homeschooling is fulfilling work. Preparing a space for my kids to learn, feeling able to influence them, and planning lessons to seep and steep into their hearts is rewarding! For a shot of encouragement, check out the Google Docs I have attached below in links.


This month was AMAZING for my reading life, and that is in large part because I read two books on the way down to FL and two on the way back. (7 hour drive, plus more with stops for little bladders). I am trying to meet my goal to read a little over a book a week this year.  See my goodreads reading challenge here.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
5/5 stars
Satisfying, interesting, delightful read and I definitely recommend it!

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham
4/5 stars
Confusing, but interesting look at the Tulsa, OK race riots of 1921.  I learned a lot and it stretched me intellectually with plot twists and many characters. I recommend it!

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
3/5 stars
I wanted to absolutely love this. It was a very quick read, and the shortness appealed to me.  I also enjoyed the easy-reading style since I read it in a noisy car on a road trip.  All in all the storyline seemed a little less than amazing, I suppose.

One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiler
4/5 stars
This was great and I didn't have anything bad to say about it by the end. For some reason it left me with a weird and completely and utterly random hankering for hot dog powder.  Or queso. It was like a shot in the arm of encouragement for following your dreams while raising a family. Like Jen I have six kids, I'm Catholic, and I love to write. I had all the feels many times while reading, because it resonated so much with me. Also, quick and easy read and perfect for a road trip.

I'll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa De Los Santos
4/5 stars
I wanted to be over the moon about this book, but it hit me and I was hoping it would smack me in just the right angle.  The mystery wasn't coming through me for me.  It was a little too trendy in style for me to get wrapped up in either the writing or the plot.  Still worth reading, though and pick it up if you're at all interested.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman
5/5 stars
This book of fantasy just made me happy. It is not as thrilling as his other books, but it is just as fantastical.  His writing is dense, creatively charged, and inspiring.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Started this but have not finished it yet! :/  I read about 1/4 and while it is very fast-paced and intricately written, the premise of a psychopath wife ultimately scared me away! lol :0))

Dance Camp! :)


The Great British Baking Show

I have an on-again, off-again relationship with baking, but when I'm on, I'm passionate and on-fire! This show is the perfect kindling for that inspiration!

The Shape of Water

This academy-award winning movie was fantastic.  I have a little bit of a sci-fi streak but what I liked about it was the old-school film feel it had with a fresh, new perspective and twist throughout. I didn't expect to like the main character, but honestly by the end I thought she was absolutely fantastic.

A Wrinkle in Time

We watched this as a family on vacation, and Molly teared up at the end of the movie. I turned to Stephen and said, We're doing something right. She was nervous that she wouldn't understand the movie but she absolutely did and by the end, she was begging to re-watch it.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This movie is definitely not for everyone, but the acting is STELLAR. I have been a longtime fan of Frances McDormand so for me = no brainer. Beware of language.



I don't have anything specific to mention about these, but they are all so good and they help me unwind or inspire me while I'm driving or doing housework!  I will say something in general about podcasts. Two of my friends asked me about podcasts this month, interested in starting to listen.  All you need is a podcast app and a pair of headphones.  THAT'S it! I use Podcruncher and love it, but I have also tried other various apps and they all work fine. Then be sure to look up the following because they are all great.  I know you can also listen to most podcasts in Spotify and Stitcher as well.

Smartest Person in the Room

Song Exploder

Sorta Awesome

Fresh Air with Terry Gross

The Jennifer Fulwiler show 

I love the gray/blue ! 

--Renovating the Attic--

The kids are actually, finally sleeping in the attic (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).  The process has taken since before Spring Break, but now that it is done, honestly I'm overwhelmingly thankful and all of the time we waited to use our space feels SO worth it. We have repainted the nursery and homeschool room blue and grey respectively. They have also been rearranged for the new set-up. The funny thing is that the day we moved into the upstairs, our church began renovations and we must now meet for Mass in the basement of our church. As soon as life is rearranged correctly at home, it feels discombobulated elsewhere. So it goes!!

No more tan rooms!
A place for read-aclouds... and again no more tan! (Did I mention no more tan?)
Throwback to ballet babes, clutter, and .... tan! :0)


Organize Your Life and Organize Your Homeschool (My NEW, FREE e-book!) This printable google docs comes in cool fonts and colors, and it is sure to get you excited and motivated for a new school year, and in particular, a new homeschool year.  I truly believe it will be helpful to anyone who is a homemaker: SAHM, working mom, Mom with kids in school, Mom with kids who homeschool. ETC!  Get re-inspired to meal plan, prepare for your week, and more.
Also check out my...

Very Productive Daily Docket

linking up with Leigh

Friday, July 27, 2018

Have Diapers, (And Books) Will Travel (7QT)


Lately the weather has been very rainy and hot.  Luckily we escaped while we could, but I was a bit nervous about our trip to Florida, because I worried it would be even hotter, perhaps even rainier, and we also were not sure if we would have a pool at the Air BnB where we were planning to stay.  We signed up for this condo because it had enough beds and the owner had said in his ad for his condo, "Fish and turtles swim right outside your window-- it is like having your own private aquarium."  It is so funny now that that was our selling point.

Our trip

When we finally made it to our Air bnb, in Panama City FL yes there were turtles.... but/ and we were simply, absolutely shocked at how nice it was. The condo was part of a very nice resort with access to several pools, an activity island pool, hot tub, and splash pad, which a private store and restaurant. The resort set-up reminded us of Disney World.  They even had a trolley system, which was basically large 12 passenger go-carts that took you over a tiny go-cart sized bridge to the beach and pool.  The kids literally thought they had died and gone to Daniel Tiger heaven.  Also, the weather was PERFECT. It never felt much hotter than Tennessee to me, except when we were swimming in the ocean and got pretty tanned playing on the beach.  So win!


Of course in the car I had to listen to some podcasts. This podcast episode with Hollywood star Dax Shepard (of Crosby from Parenthood fame, Punk'd)  reignited my love for vulnerable midwestern conversations.  After losing my faith in my broken side of self (and consequently all humanity, in the process), this conversation with his mother is invaluable.  It reminded me of my days at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA.  We started visiting the Juvenile Hall as a ministry, and my dear friend Meredith and I made a sign in the chapel saying, "Get Re-Juvy-nated" to promote the ministry.  I think you will certainly get rejuvenated if you listen to this podcast episode in its entirety.  I've gotten burned on being vulnerable but I am reminded that we should keep having these conversations so that people walking through suffering feel less alone.  Coincidentally, she references the movie Boyhood, which I have not seen but have now bumped to the top of my list for Must-See TBW movies.

Speaking of vulnerable topics, let's talk about mental illness for a minute. Travel- even day trips- has been known to cure my anxiety.  But even with the time to re-coup and refresh in Florida, I almost had a panic attack earlier this week after we had gotten back from our trip.   I had had an espresso semi-late in the day (about 4PM), and as I was trying to fall asleep that night, I lay awake in bed and my heart was racing. I prayed a rosary, and as much as sacramentals help, medicine works wonders. I took a double dose of both my anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medicine and I definitely slept like a baby. When mental illness is aggrieved and acting up (and who knows how much sugar and caffeine play into this scenario), meds are very nice. I know it also has something to do with protein intake, snacks, etc.... BUT when you are regularly having panic attacks, I really think a reset button is one of the wisest things you can do.  It always takes a few days, but the memory of vacation and much less responsibility can really go along way in relaxing you in your mental space as well as physical.

I'm currently reading Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham.  This illuminated for me a subject which I previously did not know much about, namely the race riots of Tulsa, OK in 1921. My first complaint of this book was that it seemed to have been published - in part- because this gives voice to the minority. Then, I found out the author was white, and I was blown away (not least because the cover and premise - told from the voice of a young black girl- is confusing and there is no author picture on the book jacket).   Sometimes -- and this is going to be dicey, so bear with me-- a minority gets a job simply for diversity, not necessarily because of their skill set.  Consequentially, some of black culture, specifically writers, get(s) a bad rap.  This books takes a lot of twists and turns and you have to be really patient with the amount of detail she incorporates in all 300 or so pages of heavy dialogue and the introduction of many characters. Altogether the book did a very good job of illuminating the subject. I just couldn't believe how dense I was. Oh well, I'm just thankful to have  enough time to have read this and several other books while on vacation.

My article for Dappled Things is finally live!

Flannery O'Connor's Humorous Conception of Racism 

short but helpful (i feel) article on how O'Connor's stories illuminate the prejudice of the lower class in the South. I tried to incorporate as many details, quotations, and "Flannery-isms" if you will, from the story as I could in a short form essay.  Go take a gander.... if you dare. :)

An article worth your time

Pope Francis and Spiritual Virtuosos @ Word on Fire

linking up with Kelly as per usual!!!

Friday, July 13, 2018

A Youtube video, Summer Lessons, and Something Worth Reading (7QT)

I love this quote, and I have found it particularly inspiring this Summer!

In the mean time, I will try to keep this Post short, because I know where you all would rather be! Not inside reading blogs, that is for sure.


It is safe to say I'm obsessed with botany.  I have gotten into the habit of going on a regular 3 mile route for my walks for the nights when I do not go to the gym. I can be found stopping every few feet or so to examine a tree or plant. I may take a photograph of a leaf only so that I can plug it into my Picture This app when I get home to find out the Latin scientific name and sometimes the English name as well.

I am compiling all of the leaves and trees I have discovered, and I'm analyzing the differences using the handbook from Audubon- the guide to North American trees, Eastern region. I am fascinated in particular by the 'fruit' of trees, which varies from berries to acorns, to helicopters and spiky balls, to beanpods and the technical name for a magnolia pinecone, which is "aggregate of capsules." The flowers of trees include pollen. (according to the Audubon guide). Molly took this picture of me as I was retrieving a leaf from a very tall mulberry tree. The branch was just out of reach!

This {...} Youtube video

I am totally not into beauty videos on youtube (I'm being completely honest here) but this video on makeup by Emily Noel absolutely captivated me!  A review of ten items bought at Dollar Tree... and I love her conclusion so very much! Borderline hot mess, but you have to watch the video to find out if there is anything worth owning from a Cheap-y standpoint!


It has been broiling, cruel, sweltering her in the American South.  It has been hot.  Our car was in the shop for a couple of days, and I had had high hopes of taking the kiddos to the splash pad to cool off one morning. Instead, we ventured to *walk* to the nearest playground. Yes, me and 6 kiddos crossing busy streets and all of that jazz. A total of 1/2 mile there, an back.  Chugging water and seeking out shade were the things that saved us, but to be honest, the heat index of over 100 wiped me of all energy for the rest of that day.  The only thing I could do was make some cornbread and watch the great british baking show.... and I think I heated up some chili.

Lesson learned: Water and Shade, my friends. Water and shade.



We are headed out of town! IN the near future. Stephen's words: "Well, we're leaving on a Sunday, but we can still go to the early Mass."

MAN THE DUDE NEVER MISSES CHURCH.  I'm serious.  #sonofapreacherman #apostolicsuccession


I have heard from our contractor that by the time we are back from vacation, our attic will be DONE and USABLE.  Cue the choirs singing!!!! We will have a usable attic space before July is over and done!!!  They are currently: Building the railing for the stairs, finishing the white painted edging from when the stain was done, and installing lights. Hallelujah chorus.



I was hoping to be able to direct you to my latest post for Dappled Things today (on Flannery! Hurrah... ! And if not cliche, exciting), but unfortunately as we prepare to leave for the beach on Sunday, I was not able to get the last edits in in time! We will be spending a week poolside with the beach close at hand, so outdoorsy it is and writerly it is not, this week.... I suppose? Stay tuned....
teatime in progress....

{insert a preternatural "MORE?!" here}

My Recent Reading Progress

So far this month, I have been taking my time with Neil Gaiman's Stardust.   In my quest for intrigue, I'm quite happy.  This book is about witches, falling in love, innocence, and the quest that will lead one young man into close contact with a fallen star, who is actually a female character- a kind woman with I suppose you could call it, star power.  It has inspired me to believe that everything Gaiman writes is worthy of belonging on my TBR list.  And it just makes me soooooo  happy.

All in all, grateful for this Season, my friends, my family, and this sweet upcoming journey of homeschooling looming soon for us in the Fall.  #grateful #grace  #godisverygood
linking up with kelly

Friday, June 29, 2018

Monthly Recap~ vol. 56~ June 2018


Summer in the American South has been HOT and very rainy this year!  Wow June you delivered on some fantastic, beautiful, awe-inspiring Summer storms.  One thunderstorm had such intense wind that a gigantic tree on our street fell over (I think it was rotten).

I have loved watching storms roll in and agitate the trees in our yard. Did you know that watching a tree can lower your blood pressure?  (cool, huh).  Speaking of lately, we are still obsessed with the specifics of nature and botany over here!  Some trees we have discovered recently on walks nearby:

And plants/trees: this is a different variety of magnolia with smaller "pinecones":) I have loved learning alongside my kids. I'm still using the free "Picture This" app, BUT hit me up if you have a good one to recommend! :) I can't wait to start drawing them, as I have heard it improves attention span and helps you to remember the names.

And onto what I'm into.... Summer is such a great time for media. The days are longer and I feel so much more in the mood to be entertained especially with this scorcher we're currently experiencing. Hopefully that means at least a few people in the world are still reading blogs (right now!).


An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

This may have been my favorite book this month, maybe my favorite book in some time.  The writing was like a mouth-wateringly delicious meal of black Southern comfort food, with pain, sadness, and brokenness thrown in.  I would not read this if you do not want to feel the strain and heartache that is the Black American experience. But if you want a gorgeous look at marriage, life, and race, then READ IT.

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano

I will always have good associations with this book, because I finished it the same night Stephen and I went out for Thai food. I had a huge Thai tea with dinner, so I was wide awake to finish the last fourth of the book.  I should have been eating and drinking Sicilian food like pizza and granitas (Almond granitas!!!!!)

The Ensemble by Aja Gabel

To be honest, I liked so many things about this book more than I enjoyed the experience of reading it. I enjoyed the musical vocabulary and jargon, rooted in her real experiences of playing competitive cello.  There is a good podcast episode with an interview with the author.  Worth checking out.  I found the writing very beautiful and the mood very San Francisco.  I might not read anything else by this author though because it felt slow and stilted at times.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

This was a fast-paced YA romance about a Korean boy and Jamaican American girl who fall in love one day, when the issue of immigration threatens to tear them apart.  Very of-the-moment, very cheesy and YA-ish, and a simplistic almost childish style, but with a lot of heart. A sweet look at a contemporary romance with modern themes thrown in for good measure.

You can see my goodreads challenge here (and please don't ask me why Ariel's Birthday Surprise is included in my books. Because I couldn't figure out how to delete it. 😂)


Portlandia (some episodes are good and worth watching) There is a new season and I admit Fred Armisen is one of my favorite comedians living today. Just be careful of the "overboard" episodes (unmentionable much).  haha

The Greatest Showman I think this movie is underrated by critics. My family has seen it numerous times and not only that, my daughters are obsessed with the soundtrack.  I love Michelle Williams in this movie- she has a beautiful voice and she can dance.  Neither of which I would have known if I hadn't seen this movie.

Chef's Table This is my favorite show on Netflix.  I devour every episode, wishing I could taste the things I see on the screen.  It is so artful... watch all the way to the end of the season; the last episode is innovative, intense, inspiring, incredible.  Episodes in Sicily* and Indonesia were favorites.

Part Unknown with Anthony Bourdain  I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of Bourdain when he died.  I enjoyed watching some of this series... I think I watched about half of the episodes of the first season.  (I'm not sure if there are more seasons off the top of my head).  I loved the episode on Canada (although the food they eat is INTENSE), and the one on the Congo was FASCINATING.  Bourdain was a passionate, interesting person with a gift for storytelling and understanding history and politics and making them accessible. He lended an ear and in turn was able to really hear the issues of countries, especially those "not on the map" culturally speaking.

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt  Again, I devoured the new season of this show. I love it so much.  I just wish there were more episodes. As I said on Twitter, just think about how cool Tituss Andromedas is and make a show about that. I love him.


Fountains of Carrots

The Catholic Momcast

Art of Simple

Women's Work

Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey

How I Built This NPR

My June Tunes Playlist! :)


My Goodreads Reading Challenge (Come be a friend!)

Linda Holmes' piece on Anthony Bourdain @ Monkey See

Ben Folds is writing a book!

Great Summer Reading @ Catholic Mom

I am also deeply saddened and troubled by the news coming out of Annapolis. Stephen and I lived there for 6 years, and I started my first blog there. I was a writer in Annapolis, so I am very heartbroken to think about writers in Annapolis getting murdered. To all of my friends in that community-- I am praying for you right now. 😢😞

linking up with Leigh