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