Thursday, May 31, 2018

Monthly Recap ~ vol. 55 ~ May 2018


The end of school is always a crazy time. We had graduations from Pre-K and Kindergarten and we are gearing up for homeschool in the fall. May in TN has been beautiful. We had a *very* mild spring and rather than complain (about how we went from winter to summer) I will just say I enjoyed all of the extra cool days this year.   I won't talk about how hot and humid it is now. haha.  LOVE rain though.


Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

When I was in high school,  I remember my friend Susan musing, "Don't you wish you could go back in time and read Jane Eyre for the first time, again?" Never, ever forgot her saying that or the subsequent gushing.  I think this book is up there for me. The experience of reading it for the first time was like, "OH YAY.. tonight I get to read some more of that book." I was constantly eagerly anticipating reading it.  It did not disappoint in the least and I easily give it 5 stars.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

I was glad to finally read this.  Mixed reviews. I don't agree with Gilbert's worldview, but I think she is a good writer and has an insightful intelligence. Do I recommend the book or movie?  I mean, I'm glad I heard this story and the travels are exciting and inspiring.  That being said, her new age ideas have probably and will probably steer people wrong.  Be aware of the lurking evangelism underneath the exciting adventures.

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

I had mixed feelings about this book. What if Monica Lewinsky changed her name and moved cities after the scandal, is kinda the premise of this book.  She milks the scandal element quite a bit. I mean, I would give this book 3 stars because it is a quick read, but it feels like a filler novel in Zevin's repertoire. Start with The Storied Life.

Rosie by Anne Lamott

Each time I read Lamott, I think, "Can this book really be as good as her other books? Probably not." But then by the end, I'm like... YEP YAY. Lamott has done it again. Despite salty language and extreme politics (not so much in this book though regarding the latter, but definitely the former), she is SO GOOD. Such a good writer. I think she is still standing at number one for favorite author.
FIVE stars.
riding bikes to the library!


The Good Place

Heard about this in the blogosphere and Kristen Bell stars.  I liked it! I could see why it only got one season, but on the other hand, I enjoyed almost every episode immensely and it had many genuinely funny and crack-up worthy moments.

Father Figures

I got this fast paced Owen Wilson comedy at the redbox and watched it alone. However, when I recapped it to Stephen, he said he wished he watched it with me. It really was so funny I was wiping tears.  Multiple times. Choo Choo train!  HAHAHA sooooo funny.

New Eyes Art lessons   this is my friend who has her own art lessons on youtube. it is a great channel, go subscribe! :)

May was also a good month for us in terms of "Live Art." We went to see Cirque du Soleil and saw Beach House in concert.


I am brewing and stewing and brainstorming about a post or a book or some type of thing concerning Kids + Summer...  I think we have something planned every week this Summer... travel, VBS, Camp(s), my sister's visit. It is going to be insanity. But fun insanity!

in the mean time:

Posts About Taking Care of Kids in the Summer:

Staycation 2.0- Tips and Tricks

{Interested in planning all the ins and outs of an awesome staycation with your kids? Look no farther!}

101 Things to Do This Summer, Besides Take a Cat Nap

{Brainstorm your way into Success; I guarantee this post has a ton of fodder for your own session :)}

Crafting Our Way Through Summer

{This has Summer-specific Crafts and Art, also explaining "art station"s so that the kids stay busy while you're doing the Craft of the Day}

Preparing Our Home For Summer Crafting and Art

{This Post is Very Helpful, as it has links to all of my supply lists for building a Craft Cabinet on a Dime!}

Just for Fun:

If you are on the fence about using instagram, or if you're in the market for photo-editing apps, I wrote a post about that and you can read it here:

How I Edit Photos (And Make Graphics) Using Apps on my iPhone

My New blog:

As I told ya'll I started an Arts and Crafts blog...... you can read my Embroidery post here.

Linking up with Leigh!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Teaching Self-Control to Children

Just popping in here because God has laid some things on my heart, and I thought it would be better to share than to pretend that this isn't going on.

Every time we go to the doctor, the kids are given a check-up, and I am given a form to fill out to give the doctor some idea of their development.

My Dad is a doctor, but the funny thing is, I have always been irked by "Physicals." What about have a Spiritual check-up?

The reason I am bothered by the concept of only checking the child's physical health (or even some woo-woo 'holistic' healthcare), is that I think certain concepts should be rote in a child's mind and heart by a certain age.

Your child is "Developmentally Delayed" if they do not understand the following concepts:

1.  Self-control

You know the one marshmallow now or two marshmallows later?  Our kids get a treat after Mass if they're good.  They have been known to hold the bag of candy all through Mass.  I don't think I would have been able to do that as a child, but I'm glad my children are learning how to sit still and kneel by going to weekly Mass.  Does your example of self-control rub off on your children? :)

2. Telling the truth

The conscience is the most important thing that develops in a child.  If they do not learn to tell the truth, and to let their conscience be their guide, they are emotionally immature.  A child must have a yearning for the truth at a very early age, or they are missing something essential in their make-up.

3. Patience

Children should learn to be calm, wait out a conversation if provoked, count to 10 if angry.  If impatience crops up again and again, or if anger gets a foothold, a priest may be seen for the casting out of demons. Counseling is always a good idea as well. (I have been to many counseling sessions- it is good for everyone!)

4. Sharing and Getting Along With Others

Your child may not be up to speed with peers if he or she is unable to take turns, be generous, kind and unselfish.

All in all, learning to wait with peace and joy and live life with the fruit of the Spirit is the best way to raise your children.  {Correct me if I'm wrong}

If your negative attitude is rubbing off on your children or the people around you, I strongly urge you to get counseling.  Your children are too precious to hinder in any way, most especially in this way.

If someone tries to tell you that you are immature, delayed, or behind in some way, don't let them bully you.  God judges the heart.  He sees what is inside.  I wish someone had told me that I would be bullied as a young Mom by other mothers who thought they had this parenting game figured out better than I do (Even mothers with children who are younger than mine).

"Do NOT let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, conduct, love, faith, and PURITY."  1 tim. 4:12

~God Bless~

Friday, May 25, 2018

How We Are Surviving the Summer So Far (Art camp, Pets, and General Insanity) 7QT


Art Stations

Today is the last day of school! We are gearing up for a fun Summer. I talked about doing art stations last Summer, but when I wrote that post it was "sort of" working, but not really.. I'm happy to report that with more practice (a little...) it is working very well for us now. We had been doing it slowly, and that's fun, but Frances had the idea to do it fast, and that was a lot of fun!  Don't worry about the kids doing art for a second then asking to move onto something else.... even though it says "fast" this will keep them busy with art for quite a while.

How Fast Stations works:

Make an example piece of art using multi-media. I used pens, markers, stickers, paint, and repurposed crayons.

Set up the stations for each type of media.  A station for pens, one for markers, one for stickers, one for paint, and one for repurposed crayons.  Have the kids use the same piece of paper, and rotate around the table, quickly adding decoration to their art using the art supplies from that station.

Ask them to think of their own version of "art stations." I'm sure there are a million ways to do this! ;)

Usually we do a main "craft of the day" and this time, it was melted crayons made into repurposed crayons using a regular ol' muffin tin! Easy peasy....

to make NEW crayons, out of old, peel paper, break up into pieces, spray muffin tin with cooking spray, and bake on 275 for 10 min. Let cool at least 10 min.  Remove.  To give your art that melty look, use a hairdryer! :)


Our new pet gerbil

We got a gerbil!  After the turtle fun we had over Spring Break, I realized how much entertainment a pet provides, so we were in the market for a pet.  I was worried because we do have two cats. With Summer coming I was willing to take a risk and I knew it would be a source of good fun entertainment from my own good experiences as a child. Considering that the kids were entertained for a solid 48 hours with petting, feeding, watching, and taking him for 'walks' in his hamster ball, I suppose I was right.

Copernicus- "Copper" was a good pet. BUT _-- this story is a bit sad, but it has a happy ending.  Suffice it to say.... YEAH, Hint hint it has something to do with cats.  We may or may have had a cat tip over the cage. Copper was gone for 24 hours but we found him under the oven and put him back.πŸΎπŸ˜‚

Our contractor Bob Demarco installing a 3rd story window

Renovation Progress

The painting of walls has commenced.  They installed windows as part of fire code. This photo was taken whilst I was trying to keep little people from walking anywhere near the ladder. Mostly my general insanity could be chalked up to our lack of storage space and the fact that we can't put any.thing. away without an attic and two closets. Brush? Random linens? Medicine? As I have mentioned.  They finally cleaned it out, though, and although it doesn't yet have a door, we were still able to utilize it for our bajillion and two bins of stuff-ola. :) But that doesn't mean that our other spaces are not filled to capacity with all of our junk that has yet to be rearranged with the attic being unfinished.

We now have to wait for Stephen's new closet to have shelves!  In the mean time, please don't ask me to do any extra chores. My life is waaaaaaay too complicated right now to stress about extra things. With painters in the way as extra guests as well as contractor, his assistant carpenter, etc. it is just still too cray cray for me to think straight, much less push myself in any capacity. I keep thinking about Anger (the character) in inside out and I mentally blow fumes out the top of my head as I ask myself over and over again all day long.... "where should I put this???"

By the way, change another dirty diaper!!!!! #wrath #gotoconfessiontacy

Reviving Ye Olde  Art Cabinet

We used up the last of the paint from our Spring Art Camp.  Every year my "art supply list on a dime"  changes a little bit, but that always depends on what we plan to make.  This year it holds:

-crayola tempera paint
-shaving cream
-sharpies and scented markers
-glitter glue
-paper- regular and cardstock
-popsicle sticks
-puff paint

Here's the eternal conundrum: Over-plan and then stress when you lose control (fail to plan, plan to fail) or fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, AKA let the Spirit lead ... and feel more peaceful, but by 4pm you are so frantic at the prospect of boredom that you breakdown mentally?

I vote Make a Plan. It's so much more fun that way, too.  Build into your schedule times to "let the spirit lead" and "practice the peaceful presence of Jesus" and you can have the best of both worlds.  (This is hypothetical of course).


Poetry and Drawing Books with Shakespeare

In preparation for homeschool, and inspired by Celeste Cruz, I loved this instagram from my friend Rochelle. (IRL) I am gearing up and hoping we will be doing some Shakespearean memorization combined with art this fall in our homeschool curriculum.

meanwhile this girly pie is full of silly humor and cuteness :0)


Playing Outside & Molly's veggie garden

Playing outside has been the biggest lifesaver for living life as a family of 8.  I can just say go to the front or back yard and the kids will find something to do, be it swimming, bug-hunting, or games.  Usually it is imagination games, but I have NOTHING wrong with that!  They are so much happier when we play outside. The best part is, I'm finally not pregnant, so I took Frances on a bike ride to the library and that was so much fun.  A sign of many to come, I"m sure!

Life hasn't been easy with a pre-toddler aka one-year-old and I'm feeling the middle-age burnout really deeply and probably semi- for the first time. It is so humbling.  BUT Molly has become quite the gardener, in spite of my failings! She is growing lettuce, morning glories, and radishes. Golly gee, I'm so proud of her. I mean look at what she can do. She could do anything!


My Reading Progress

Reading has been a wee bit slow this month.  I"ll talk more about that in monthly recap, but I'll just say this: every year before the MMD reading list comes out, I experience a dry spell. I can't tell you how eagerly I anticipate her reading suggestions for the Summer each year.  I finished two books, then I tried reading two of the books on my list for the month, but they were too slow. When I have some money saved up, I'm going to go buy everything on THE list.

linking up with Kelly

Friday, May 11, 2018

What Do You Want, Besides The Love of God in You? (7QT)


Right now I'm reading Eat, Pray, Love. This is the famous book from the early oughts, (2006) about Elizabeth Gilbert's journey to three countries in search of balance between pleasure and prayer.  I have seen the movie and I know how influential this memoir was back in the day, and how it continues to be pervasive in our culture. I'm just glad I'm not in the dark about it anymore.

It has me thinking about how a) someone should write a Catholic version of this book. Instead of meditating, yoga, and Hindu religious practice, a person could write about growing in spiritual faith as a Catholic  and b) how we all have something in common as humans and that is our desire to learn how to love.  Often, like Gilbert writes about learning to meditate and pray to Hindu gods, I have trouble with self-control because I must figure out what I want, how to ask God, how to pray and ask, and then how to act on that.  If I named to you all of the things I want (perfect body, perfect soul, perfect patience, to name a few), I would probably go on so long I'd catch cancer and die before finishing my list.  Before I die, I want to travel! see the world! again!  I want a perfect house!  A mansion! perfect furnishing and seasonal decor!  I want x number of kids and this many boys and girls! I want to be more fit with bags of money and a large bank account! I want, I want, I want.

I hear God speaking in the midst of all of this, and I hear him audibly asking me Tacy: "What do you *want*?"  What do you really want, my daughter Tacy? And I think the biggest thing that comes to mind is to be consumed by the fire of your love.  Maybe this: "Communion with God through Jesus Christ, which can be found in the Eucharist."  I want holiness, because if I have the self-control of holiness, that will give me things I think I want (I will be more healthy, happy, and whole).  Loving God and loving my neighbor- these things sum up the 10 commandments. Eastern religions water down the truths of the Bible, but ultimately Gurus in India are like any other guru in the U.S.  Often they're hard-working, they teach universal truths, and perhaps they are even called by God (Gilbert makes this case) they get people in good shape. (And, of course, make money out of the whole deal!) But obviously, they are missing the direct link to God which is Jesus Christ.

(Why would you want or prefer the watered down version when you can have The Real Thing? I'll never know).

Blogging Agenda

My craft-blogging (soon to be obsession- just you wait and watch!) has been put on hold.  I was so excited about my first crafty item in the plan or works.... sewing a pillow cover for the new kids' bunkrooms in our attic.  I bought the fabric, cut it, and pinned it.... then I looked around for the plug for my sewing machine, and I could not find it anywhere. This may have something to do with has everything to do with the fact that all of our CLUTTER is out of storage.

So, what should I do? My dilemma is: buy a new cord for my Brother machine, or wait until I can look more thoroughly for the cord I'm assuming is hiding somewhere in my bedroom!



It was Madeleine's 6th birthday this week, and Conrad is TURNING ONE on Sunday.  My how time flies!!!  We had an immediate family-only party on Madeleine's actual birthday (Monday) and we plan to celebrate with bigger bash (double birthday party)with extended family from around our town, this weekend.

Renovations & Plans

I think we'll be done renovating our attic in early June.  It has been very slow going which is to be expected, but also humbling.  If I had to sum it up in a word I would say "DISTRESSING" because.... we lost our storage space and we lost two closets.  We had no home for ANYTHING. We got rid of bags and bags of stuff, and yet we have plastic bins of off-season clothing and decor, as well as camping stuff, sheets, and towels, and anything else you might imagine being held in storage, PLUS Stephen's clothes.... and it is invading all of our upstairs bedrooms.

As soon as the contractors finish our attic, it turns out there was enough space to create a large storage closet.  As soon as they are done, we can move all of the CLUTTER back up into that closet. Until then... I CAN'T FIND ANYTHING.  And it is really hard and annoying. Especially when you want to sew.

just a super cute baby!


You all know the song from Bye Bye Birdie "We Love You Conrad"?  You can go watch it here. The funny thing is, I met some friends of friends.... the husband was a newly hired English professor at my alma mater Covenant College.. Really nice, super nice couple.  His wife thought my name was Tancy and I just could not stop laughing about that.... I have gotten everything from Stacy to Tracey to Casey but never  Tancy.  Then she started singing a passionate rendition of the Conrad song from the musical, and it cracked him up! Now when he's eating I'll pull it up on my laptop and we watch it together.  He loves the song (and he loves music - maybe more than any of my other kids have!)

A really funny interview


If you haven't seen Jimmy Fallon's interview with Blake Shelton where he does his own version of "I'll Name the Dogs," you need to go see it.  Skip to near the end to see him sing the song.  I guarantee this is the funniest thing you will see all week. ever see in your life.  I just can't explain the whole Jimmy making fun of country music, but this song just begs to be mocked, don't you find??

(various types of) interlocking seams! :0)

One More Blog post over at Lavender's Blue

Hey what would I do without my friends at Kelly's to help me be patient by giving me a friendly ear while I RANT about all things renovation and staying patient in the midst of distressing and humbling (very humbling) circumstances.


 I Will Be Strong (and one of these days I'll stop complaining like a woman in her third trimester).

#tiredofthecomplainingyet #iwillhangon

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Monthly Recap vol. 54~ April 2018


The BEST smelling bouquet of roses, lavender and lily of the valley from my April garden.

Progress on our attic storage renovations (we are turning it into bedrooms for the kiddos.) The drywall is done! We've seen so much progress with construction generally as well as electrical. We - meaning contractors--- they're awesome if slow, but it takes time !!!!-- still have to put in hardwood flooring and (white) paint ... plus install light fixtures and getting everything ready bedding-wise. I'm guessing another month at least. That would put us at early June, here's hoping (cheers)!  But if you want to see what we have picked out you can view the Attic color scheme on Pinterest; you can see the sconces we picked (LOVE)  one will go over each bed. The quilts we picked are from clementine kids: he basic breakdown: Boys: Mint Sconces/Grey Quilts Girls: Mint Sconces/Peach Quilt. Pillows will tie their color schemes together.


I tore through my stack this month!


1. you should read this essay collection by Ann Patchett. It is that good.
2. You should read Station Eleven.  I'm starstruck by her sci-fi storytelling and it has a nice subtle twist that kept me guessing until the end.
3. You should read Bookshop on the Corner. my Scottish happy place. clean/fun/gorgeous writing/ adorably lovable characters / protagonist.
4. You should read Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. It is SO good. Oxford bred writer with fantastic taste - fun storyline and hysterical if moody storytelling. #LOVE

I pretty much nailed it when it came to my selections this month! Hurray!


My Spring playlist May She Will Stay

Also: Beach House concert with Stephen my love! :)


Saw The Big Sick with Stephen, starring Kumail Nanjani (from Portlandia fame) and we both thought it was hilarious. It had triggers but honestly I thought the way the doctors dealt with the illness by medically-induced coma was somewhat hopeful in a strange way.  I know if you have medical triggers I just hit them all with that synopsis, probably (AND I DO) but it was dealt with in such a real, emotionally raw way and I say see it!! It is sooooo funny.

~Kids Are Reading~

raisin' em right

We went back to Parnassus Books in Nashville, this time Molly and Conrad came with me!



This is how you pronounce Prince Louis @ Harpers Bazaar

Alfie Evans' Dad to Prosecute for Murder @ The Daily Wire

"Italy gave baby Alfie citizenship and upon the request of Pope Francis there is a helicopter ready to take the baby to seek treatment if the courts allow. Baby Alfie is currently off his life-support and fighting for his life as medical staff is instructed to not help, but let him die."

Quit Social Media. Your Career Might Depend on It @ The NY Times (by Cal Newport, author of Deep Work)

I have a lot of thoughts about this article.  What do you all think about the points he makes? We can chat in the comments, as I know this is soooooooo controversial and thought-provoking.  :0)


my snobbery has been fulfilled at last

For me, the warmer months always scream "ice-cream." I happen to be terribly picky about ice-cream and I pretty much won't eat it or order it unless it's chocolate chip cookie dough, from a fro-yo place, or from Coldstone or that type of place. To me ice-cream is like eating a plain avocado vs. guacamole. It has to have big (I want to say chunks of but that just sounds nasty) flavor. But when I saw this, I knew I would have to get on that train and try it asap.  The gourmet guacamole of ice-cream.



I finally got my hair done for the Summer!

My new craft blog, which you can read here

I'll be posting there every Wednesday.

Follow me on Insta, Twitter, on Pinterest, or Google Plus if you want! Enter to win This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett.  Giveaway began with my last post. Let me know you followed me all around the web in a comment and you might win! Let's hang out!

This post is definitely short for a monthly recap. I'm putting more energy into my Lavender's Blue community!