Tuesday, October 31, 2017

monthly recap vol. 49 ~ October 2017

Happy Halloween, ya'll!

October, oh, October.  This has been an interesting month.  I would describe it best as "overwhelming."  I do love the changing seasons (although here, our leaves don't really fully change until people are singing Christmas carols).  The kids had to dress up already for a Trunk or Treat event at our in-laws' church.  After reading Percy Jackson in its entirety, Molly wanted to be Annabeth Chase for Halloween. So Annabeth Chase, it is!  We did a DIY of this look and this

Having six kids is enough to qualify for a loud, boisterous, busy-busy-busy life.  The overwhelm is mostly from the added stress of preparing for Halloween, keeping things clean (as usual), and keeping kids obedient as the weather changes.  Here in TN, we have highs in the (sometimes upper) 80's the first half of the month, and the second half of October is usually mid-70's with sometimes lows in the 40's. A few (a handful, really) of days we have highs in the upper 50's or in the 60's.

Stephen finally finished a project that has been on his docket for some time! Finishing the fence! I'm thrilled! He had to take two days off from work, the first day pre-treating it (pressure washing every square inch) and then applying Thomson's Water seal. The weather was PERFECT. :0) ~ He bought a sprayer and a long brush. The seal claimed "clear," but I love the finished color. It looks like stain, so I don't have any idea why it's called clear. But anyway, I love it!

Stephen has a saying, the 2x4 rule, "Costs twice as much, takes four times as long as you think!"
So, so, so, so TRUE. (!!!) After he did the math, he had to go back and buy another {huge!} container of seal. Point taken. :)

Conrad is a really sweet baby. He was baptized earlier this month.  He gets comments everywhere we go. It is bittersweet. He has just started solid foods.  As he is probably our last baby everything feels uber-special and like something we just can't afford to take for granted!

Stephen is teaching him how to talk (already, as per usual with all of our kids!) and I am teaching him to be a (someday) gentleman!  #manners  On the right (in the photo above) is pictured Stephen's out-of-this-world barbecue chicken. YUM/Slurp!


This was my book stack for this month. Two of these books were for my kids. :0)  I was definitely on a YA kick this month.  I am trying to read as much as I can as this year winds down! Pressure is definitely *on.*

tea with Agave nectar

I have upped the ante on my Reading Challenge, and I'm proud to say I think I might meet my goal for the year! Hey 2017, not so shabby after all! #we'llsee

So, for October, I finished Bridget Jones' Baby, (funny funny) The Giver, (love) The Unexpected Everything (liked it pretty well, but it *definitely* felt like YA fiction to me), We Were Liars (loved this and it made the crossover from YA to adult-pertinence quite well), The Fault in Our Stars (read about it on goodreads--I agree!), and Summer Island. (good!)

After hearing a bit of buzz about Kinsella from her recent book My Not So Perfect Life, I decided to check out one of her older books from the library, The Undomestic Goddess. This was from 2005, but I have to say, I really enjoyed it! I've read too many books that don't have a satisfying ending to know that her style is something special.  She can write and wrap up a plot well, but if that were not significant enough, she is also really, really funny. Humor like this is also hard to come by! So all in all, I give this book 5 stars!

I can safely admit to a lot of light reading this month. It was a fun month of library visits, though!! Although I'm working through my list for November, I have plans to get slightly more serious about many things, namely reading less YA and more grown-up fiction and perhaps a classic or two (or one....).

Here's that reading challenge link again!

~Funny things they say~

Annabel: Let me in! Let me in! (Wanting to go outside)

Annabel: Can I watch PG Masks?

Little Girl at our parish: {talking to her little brother} Do you know the story of Noah's ark?  The animals boarded a big ship, and they sailed to a new land!

Annabel: {tears off diaper, poops on floor} Mommy, that's Dog Poop.

Annabel: Let me out! Let me out! (Wanting to go inside)

Stephen: We used to listen to this song when we dated. {talking about me}
Madeleine: (deadpan, serious face... looking at me and Stephen) You dated?

Madeleine: Dove Cameron is Liv and Maddie and Mal from Descendants.
Tacy: I know... she's famous!
Madeleine: (deadpan, serious face) She is?

Me: Molly, it looks like your hair has gotten curlier!
Molly: I am fine with that, as I am *not* bald.

Stephen: Are you eating some food?
Annabel: Nope, it's just french fries.


I have been ashamed to admit that I've enjoyed the country station a little bit (ok a lot) recently. I really like Kelsea Ballerini right now. She has some good lyrics, and her sound is a bit more polished and a little less twangy than a lot of stars at the moment.  If you want to listen to one good song, I recommend "High School" (I also like Yeah Boy and the lyrics of Peter Pan).  Watch the video right here.  

As for my kids, they are literally *obsessed* with Descendants 1 &2, and the song The Space Between might be my favorite thing to come out of Disney for a while. (maybe since Frozen?)  I know... high stakes. :0)


Stephen and I watched Spartacus (yes the oldie!) and Arrival on two different date nights.  Both very good! I would recommend the latter if you're looking for a good recent flick -- it makes excellent date night material.


Finances in Marriage @ Into Your Will

Trump Impresses the Media (or tries to...) @ CNN

Does anyone want to start a book club and read this book?  Raise your hand, and you'll be my BFF! (actually to be perfectly frank, Stephen is my BFF so ... slot taken!)  But maybe we could still do lunch.

linking up with Leigh Kramer as per usual for the What I'm Into monthly recap link up.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Candy Corn- themed fall art camp ~ 7 ideas!

Not sure if you remember, but if you've been reading my blog for any length of time at all, you know that I love to do art camp with my girls.  My oldest 3 girls Molly, Frances, and Madeleine especially love art projects. What better time than when the kids are home for Fall Break?

If you want to see our past art camp projects, you can see Easter art camp here and Fall art camp 2016 here.

snack time, inspired by this Monster Munch
having fun!! *

For this year, we used this candy corn template...
idea (1)

It looks best with a template.

idea (2)
Here are the candy corn people that we did. (pictured above!)

idea (3)
We also made a pumpkin banner (Frances and Madeleine) and a candy corn banner (Molly). 
Here is a cute banner tutorial.

Idea (4)
This was a big hit with my kids!
enter #allthepompoms

Print, Trace, Cut it out, and then Decorate!
paint, glue pens, 
(bits of paper and pom poms), and stickers!
Go crazy... I recommend glue pens! :-)~

idea (5)

I had the girls trace the candy corn template, then decorate the various candy corns using collage 

idea (6)

Jackolantern faces using these walmart stickers (similar)

idea (7)
An "I Love Fall" painting with a pumpkin for the "Fall" piece

idea (8)
Candy Corn footprints using paint!

orange and yellow glue pens at work!

finished project! fun and no need to decorate after all of that! :0)

This year, we decided to do it with a "Candy Corn" theme, because I wanted to keep it a theme we could follow through on with our snacks, without getting too fancy... because if you know me, then you know I like simple and nothing too expensive (ever!). ! :)  I tried doing all the fancy snacks for Easter art camp last time, but the sugar intake got out of control.

This time, I just made one big batch of "Monster Munch"-- popcorn, caramel corn, pretzels, graham crackers, and CANDY CORN!  :)  I replenished the supply a time or two, and every time we did crafts, I would pull out a big plastic bag of it and pour some into our "candy dish."

Honestly, it was delicious and the kids chowed down every time I brought it out. And it was super cheap. WIN!

enter #allthecorny!  /:D
Now you shall go forth and try your own #artcamp

*Q: Why are your kids wearing uniforms if they were on fall break? A) we finished (some of) the projects this week after fall break was over.  :)

Friday, October 13, 2017

weekly minutiae vol. 33~ reading and fall break recap

This has been a very good, albeit busy week. The kids were on Fall Break, which means, a break from the usual grind, but utter chaos having six kids at home all week, trying to entertain them, and keep them busy (enough)!

Knowing myself, I took a break from my usual mid-week post to focus on the kiddos here and getting some more reading under my belt.  I'm trying to read 60 books this year, and I'll be honest: it has been harder than anticipated.....  basically,  because I had a baby in May, and, this is the highest book goal I have ever made for myself!  Having Fall Break this week, any extra time was spent reading-- another reason to shy away from blogging for a bit, and these littles and espesh the baby have definitely kept me on my toes.

I read 50 books last year. I have been reading some good stuff, though! I picked up quite a few YA on my last library run.  (If you missed it, I decided to do a book spending freeze until January.  I'm getting the rest of my book for the year's reading challenge at the library!  #myresolution)

Books for the kids: Silverstein, and De la Cruz.
All the rest, yep! They're for me!  :-D
YA fiction: We Were Liars, The Unexpected Everything,The Fault in Our Stars, The Giver (Middle Grade fiction)
Normal people books: Summer Island, Bridget Jones' Baby

Frances built a lego castle (belle's!) and I have to say, she did it totally on her own. I was around to make sure no pieces were lost and they sorted by colors as each new bag was opened. Otherwise, all her! 
The kids had a blast watching/helping/playing with her!  Surprisingly this was not the source of fights (that would be the paint that I bought for Fall Break... UGH)

Frances celebrating 7 Years Old! with some of her friends from church and school!
We went out for ice-cream and it was just the special treat we needed. Frances picked the place and friends showed up and made her so happy!
devil's food cake - with a 7 made out of M&M's -- hard to see but squint and you'll see it, promise

I made my amazing pumpkin spice syrup again this year. It is so easy!

Bring to a boil 1 c. water, 3 tbsp. pumpkin, 3/4 c. brown sugar, 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves). Stir 3-4 min. until thickened. Add a shot to steamed milk and 1 shot espresso (or as many shots as you need/want! :)

#31daysofdrinks over on instagram if you so desire! :)
Kids keeping me running in all directions.... all the more coffee to keep me going!!

Conrad-- so much like Daddy's baby pictures. Here he is delivering on his epic belly laugh. Signature Conrad-- so happy, always smiling, loves cooing/babbling and always, always laughing out loud! (He loves to be tickled with our chin/hair-- and he always grabs on tight to our hair. It is super cute but it also hurts! :-0

The last day of Fall Break, we went wading in the creek.

Prayers for #peace. And I won't back down.

Friday, October 6, 2017

weekly minutiae vol. 32~ sadness and heartache

another week, another cappuccino... (no sugar, please, fyi!) :)

I didn't do a weekly minutiae post last week, because I was writing a What I'm Into, for the month of September, which you can read here.
the girls, doing a fashion show with Molly's friend on Saturday :0)

September was really hot and dry here.  I have to admit I was really bummed out on still wearing Summer clothes and sucking it up through these hot, dry days. Our yard looks burnt to a crisp. :(

This week was thankfully just more of the same... sticking to my daily routine, adding photos to my self-inflicted instagram challenge-- #31daysofdrinks, all while caring for the kids and trying to wear.them.out!
Stephen's photo... he took the kids for a hike at a local park! :)

And honestly, I don't want to bring it up, but facing the news of another gruesome mass shooting has put a huge damper on my week.

It has been humbling to read the news as the story has been unfolding, ever since Monday morning.

We are all experiencing the same emotions-- sadness, hopelessness, anger, grief, despair, and the same round and round, curious speculation: Why?

Friends, whether policy addresses mental illness, guns, lawmakers, or citizens, we all need to take responsibility.  State by state, we need to take on the challenge of violence, and do what we believe in needed in each, individual place.

You guys, we are all heartbroken. Let's put aside our differences.  Let's come together, closer than ever, as we are all humans.

Now is the not the time to argue about gun laws, as I have seen people doing all over social media.

Now is the time to love, to open up, to show grace, to pray for strength, and to pray for healing around the world and mostly here at home.

We found a baby lizard in the girls' bedroom this week... it looked like it had literally just "hatched" and crawled out of its egg and into their room!!!!

Frances on her 7th birthday!!! :)

This is our home. It is something to be proud of.  Let us learn from those who lost their lives, how to truly live life to the fullest, enjoy one another, and love one another.  Many people died dancing or singing, many family members held victims in their arms as they died, and they credited the victims as being their "best friends." This is sweet and inspiring, really.

May we all...

(full lyrics available here)

Inspiring also >>> my Aunt Gwenn knew Tom Petty personally... she went on a double date with him and her boyfriend.... to a Janis Joplin concert, no less.  She posted this pic of him in her high school yearbook. (Gainesville, FL) ;)

RIP Tom Petty