July 27, 2016

Currently July 2016

Currently - July 2016 on Shutterbean.com

Currently I am:

Hoping that my Mom is OK. She had to go to the hospital this week. Please keep her in your thoughts!

Cooper has poison oak ALL OVER his body right now. It’s so bad. We are on day 5.

Btw, he’s been with me for almost 3 weeks straight. It’s been fun/interesting/awesome/crazy. Figured out day 2 that we needed structure. Like…..SO BAD. We made a calendar. We’ve revised it a million times since. We have a loose structure. But, it’s been good. We both thrive on structure….but I’m reeeeeeeally trying hard to find a good balance of getting my work done and it’s not been easy. As a result, I’ve been drinking more coffee and pondering how there are people out there who have the patience to homeschool their children. Like… with more than one child!  Homeschoolers, I salute you.  I am enjoying waking up later in the mornings, though. Silver lining times 1000. Also….how am I ever going to wake up early for school next year?

Watching Chef’s Table while I work at night. It’s been a really good thing to have on in the background. Sometimes music stresses me out when I’m trying to write. Wait. Everything stresses me out when I’m trying to write. Meanwhile, Casey’s been working with episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 in the background. I’m not sure how he’s getting anything done. #donnamartingraduates

Googling/researching/watching youtube videos how to make my own raw cat food.  The only thing that’s been working for both Ella & Rosie is Rad Cat but between the two of them that is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much money.  Does anyone out there make their own raw cat food? Please tell me what you do!

Amazed at how loving Cooper is with the cats. He’s learning how to be patient. Still unsure about picking them up. We’re working on it. Though, he keeps telling me how he prefers Rosie over Ella and I tried to tell him, “Well, sometimes that just happens, but it’s not something you need to talk about (ALL THE TIME). Like, I’m sure people have a favorite child but they don’t say anything because that would hurt someone’s feelings.  His response,”You don’t have a favorite child. You just have me.” That’s when I blurted out, “YOU’RE MY FAVORITE CHILD!”  I thought that was the end of the discussion until he told me five minutes later that Rosie will always be his favorite. Ok, then.

Dipping my toe back into the bullet journal system.  I gave it up for a few years back because I got distracted with a binder system that I couldn’t keep up. Now I need something new…. UGH.  But now I am struggling with the size. Do I want my journal to be 7.5×10 or 5×8.25?  Do I want it to be ruled, have graph paper, dots or just be plain white paper? What’s your favorite size? Also, I realize that I have so many dang notebooks that I’ve never finished. Notebooks and lipsticks are both things I have too many of…but I think I gave up my hope of ever turning into a lipstick fan because I’m not even sure when the last time I bought lipstick was. #carmexbeforebedandthatsit

Went through Cooper’s closet like I had planned to on my Summer Bucket List.  this month. He’s keeping it clean. We’re working on it together. This is good. This is really good. I hope we keep it up.

Eating a version of this salad all summer. It’s too hot to cook.

Painting our laundry closet right now. It’s going to be a dark gray (big surprise!) with white accessories. I hope to have it done so I can show you next week. Meanwhile, I’m compiling images on Pinterest to help me figure out our master bedroom.

Been looking for an in between tote bag & a pouch/clutch. I ordered this one on Etsy. It had been on my wishlist for years. IT IS AWESOME!  I love the pouch because it’s good to grip onto, but sometimes when I’m out shopping and I have things in my hands, I can’t easily put my phone in my bag and it’s all a clustercuss.  So I’m loving this one.  Although, just watch. It won’t be big enough one day and then a new search starts.

Resisted Pokemon Go for awhile. Downloaded it and then freaked out the whole time that my kid was going to drop my phone.  We haven’t opened the app (that takes FOREVER TO LOAD) in a week. Does that mean I can delete it now?

Thinking about getting a travel steamer. I blame Joy.

Daydreaming about our Tahoe trip soon. I think we’re going horseback riding this year. I hope my horse’s name is Buttercup.

Crafting my summer playlist.  I still can do that, right? We have all of August to enjoy it.  Here’s the thing about me and music. I don’t listen to music like most people do. To me, I find great comfort in listening to a song over and over and OVER again until I get sick of it. Then I don’t want to hear it again for another 5 years. Current songs I have on repeat: Disparate Youth |   Eyes  | One Dance | My House  (do those links even work?) (I think you have to have spotify)  What are you listening to?

-JULY 2016

Feel free to type up your currently stream of consciousness in the comments.

It feels good…like a nice brain massage for people who love lists.

  • Marianne

    Just wanted to send you some good wishes for your mom….hope she’s feeling better!

  • Alex

    Good thoughts for Mama Castagna! And poor Cooper with that poison oak, hope he’s better soon too!

    I’m so impressed by all you’ve been doing with Cooper this summer, we’ve farmed our 8 year old off to camp and grandma for most of the summer. Are you incentivizing the clean closet? If so, how?!?!

    • Tracy

      I’m not giving him incentives this time around. I think the incentive is having a clean room! But each night we do a check and we see what needs to be straightened. It’s really the books all over the place that he has an issue with. I wonder where he gets that from…..

  • Monica B.

    Me too, I’m sending good wishes for your Mom. I loved reading this post. Ugh, on the poison oak, and when temperatures are hot it’s worse. Good thoughts for Cooper’s healing. Does jumping in the ocean help?? You know, in the previous post, I thought “Cooper is an illustrator” – just my thoughts from my viewing point over here on the east coast. 😉 I also need background sounds, mostly soft music without words, and usually one long piece, that I replay over and over, maybe switching to a different one as I wind down. The journal thing! I struggle with size, lines, paper quality, pen type, etc. And I have quite a few unfinished journals. I was steady eddy in my journaling until a few months ago….for some reason I’ve fallen off my rhythm, and my frustration rises. For me the size depends on the type of journaling. But it seems if there is variety, I feel more undecided. My art, my journaling is very important to me and it feels very discombobulated right now. This is a long-standing struggle in my life. I do love lipstick and I do wear it. I struggle with a purse – it has been one of my life long struggles. It’s such a personal thing, and the real solution doesn’t seem to exist. (Psst, I’m a bit older than you so I feel I can say this since I’ve been purse struggling for since forever.) Raw cat food – maybe instagram – I think I saw one there. And your kitties are just the cutest. May I suggest the steamer? It’s a fab item to have – so compact you will use it when not traveling – won’t have to lug out the iron and ironing board as often. No Pokemon for me – I’m safety conscious and that takes things to a new level! 😉 TAHOE?!?! Can’t wait to see those pics. Thanks for encouraging “stream of consciousness” today. May good things, good news find it’s way to you this week. I really enjoy coming here! And the food always looks delicious. Happy Wednesday!

    • Tracy

      Love your stream of consciousness!
      I have three journals the same size. One is graph paper. One is ruled and one is white.

      I’ve abandoned the graph paper. I love it but I also find it confining when drawing.

      definitely getting myself a steamer.

  • Paula

    Sending positive thoughts your way for your Mom and for Cooper. Hopefully everyone is well and not so itchy very very soon.

    I too am trying to figure out being at home with my own kid this summer. Emily is turning 2 in August and she is on the go constantly. Also when did the full on meltdowns and tantrums start cause those are super fun whether it be at the library, trying on shoes or when I give her water instead of milk (the horror!). We are trying to get into a rhythm and before you know it she will be back at the dayhome and I will be back teaching at the end of August. Structure is definitely best as is routine when it comes to summer.

    Currently baking up a storm with all the summer fruit and then trying not to eat all the baking (the struggles is real).

    Just realized that every weekend till the end of summer is booked with weddings and birthday parties. Summer will fly by and that is bittersweet as I return to work in the fall.

    Reading all the Gretchen Rubin books I can get my hands on and trying to apply those skills for habits and general happiness.

    Currently obsessed with the following podcasts when out and about walking or berry picking: More Perfect, Around the Table, Reply All, The Popcast, Happier, The Great Debates.

    Currently doing home renovations. We just painted our living room and the rock fireplace in different shades of grey. Still trying to decide if I like it and am now on the hunt for a big piece of art to put on my walls or maybe I need to do a gallery wall…

    All. The. Coffee. All day. Every day.

    Also when it comes to journalling just do it. I have three notebooks that are all the same size (I could have picked different ones but I found eliminating choice caused less stress and gave me more time). One is for writing down things about my daughter I want to remember, one for rants and writing down stuff so I don’t obsess over it and the other is for school to take to meetings and such in order to take notes or write never ending to do lists. I too have more notebooks than I can count but finally said I couldn’t buy anymore until I used what I had. That gave me the motivation to write more as when I use a notebook up and get to the last page I feel incredible satisfaction that I have used something up and been writing.

    • Tracy

      i have a blueberry crisp in my fridge that laughs at me every time i open the fridge.

      Gretchen Rubin is awesome. I chatted with her once when I was at a conference and she has the most amazing energy.

      Thanks for the podcast recommendations. I’m currently enjoying to This American Life and Invisibilia.

  • ann

    Poor Cooper! If you do not have Tecnu soap on hand, I highly recommend it. It’s the only thing that saves my husband, who seems to get poison ivy just by looking at it.

  • ruth

    love this!

    i wish i was still on vacation (got back this past weekend after one week away and am realizing that one week is NOT ENOUGH). also, sometimes wish i were a teacher just to have summers off. living on cold brew. trying to think about what other outdoor adventures we can have this summer. feel like the house is a mess but don’t want to take the time to clean it because: summer! also realizing that summer is now my favorite.

    clearly a theme here… enjoy these fabulous summer days!

    • Tracy

      i’m enjoying slow summer days myself! looking forward to a better schedule in the fall but trying to enjoy every last bit before the pace picks back up again.

  • Ronni

    Nosy! And I’m sure you’ve answered this question before, but have you quit your other job to blog full time or do you do your other job from home?

    You and Casey should check out Angie Tribeca. I think you’d like it.

    A friend has a 2 year old son and I told her to follow you on the snap because I just know she’ll love seeing how much fun you and Cooper have together as he grows.

    • Tracy

      I’m working on the transition soon! Angie Tribeca? Off to google search now!

  • hillary

    I love these posts!

    Revving up for a road trip. Excited/nervous/dreaming of sea air.
    Questioning how to successfully transition my career. Still.
    Eating all the fresh corn.
    Talking to my vegetable garden. Hoping it will flourish.
    Also talking to the new, tiny baby in my belly.
    Wondering what became of your book proposal.

    Sending healing vibes to your mom.

    • Tracy

      Oh congrats on growing a baby! how exciting!
      sent the first round of the book proposal off for editing. working on it!

  • Christina C

    Hope all is well with your mom, I hate hospitals and I work in one, ha!

    Currently can’t find a watermelon that taste good, I have bought over 20 this summer and they have all been cut open tasted and then put in the trash 🙁 tell me your secrets to finding a tasty watermelon #firstworldproblems

    • Tracy

      I’ve had bad watermelon this summer too! They haven’t been sweet. What’s the deal?

  • Amy U

    Sending positive thoughts for your mom and your family as well. Hoping Cooper gets relief soon. Take care of yourself, be kind to yourself and hang in there!

  • dana828

    Positive thoughts for your mom! Hope all is well.
    Also, your snaps are my favorite. 🙂

    Stream-of-counsciousness lists are my jam. Especially lately…
    My daughter got her braces off this morning. My son turns 13 on Sunday. My dad turns 79 on Friday. It’s all a bit much this week. Dad’s coming on Friday for the weekend and I wish I was looking forward to it more than I am. He stresses me out. He stresses my husband out more.
    Work is frustrating the hell out of me lately and most of the issues are out of my control. I just need to learn to step back and let it go. Also, can I be my boss’ boss? Because I really think I’d be so much better at it than he is sometimes…
    In 10 days we leave for a sort of last-minute summer road trip to the farm. As far north ND as you can get without hitting Canada. Looking forward to seeing some family we haven’t seen in 7 years, and having some time to just do NOTHING. Because there is literally NOTHING to do up there. Seriously. I don’t even think they have WIFI. I need to find some good books…(suggestions??)
    My daughter requested that I put her in charge of planning next summer’s vacation–road trip from Portland to San Francisco (we live in IA so we’ll fly to Portland and home from SF). I sent her a ton of links and told her to have at it. Can’t wait to see what she comes up with. Travel planning is my most favorite thing in life.
    At least I’ve been getting my fill of patio beers and cocktails this summer. Priorities.

    Off to work. :/

    • Tracy

      good luck with doing nothing! I hope to have a little of that in our Tahoe vacation! 🙂

  • erica

    hope all goes well with your mom!

    Also that bag has been on MY wishlist forever as well! one day i will bite the bullet….almost got it for my birthday one year and chickenend out b/c of the leather straps. She offered to make it for me with my own pleather straps if i sent it to her, but then was nervous it wouldnt stand up as well. one day….

    • Tracy

      treat yo’self!!! That’s so cool that she was going to make it vegan for you!

  • sarajane

    – Best Wishes to your Mom!
    – Seconding Tecnu for poison ivy/oak. This stuff is the only thing that really seems to do the job on our poison ivy.
    – Not sure if it has raw cat food, but I make my own doggy “gruel” from “Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats” The dogs LOVE it and have lived to ripe old ages, since we started feeding them the “gruel” (it has an oatmeal base, hence our nickname of gruel)
    – I vote for Moleskine Cahier gridded notebooks.

    Currently in my life:
    – We’ve adopted a new rescue pup. How to help her assimilate without alienating the first princess dog.
    – How to fit the new king-size bed into our vintage bedroom that 2 dogs sleeping with us necessitate.
    – Need a new late summer tote/briefcase bag
    – Also need to sort through my existing bag inventory, first (but probably won’t)
    – Do I really want to host 10 people + 5 dogs at our lake house for Labor Day Weekend?
    – I REALLY love Moscow Mules this summer (and will need to keep drinking them Labor Day weekend…)

    • Tracy

      oooh! a king sized bed. I bet you need one with all the dogs 🙂

      do you want to host that many people? well….you are giving them a wonderful experience so there’s that. If you do it, try to go in with the thought of making things easier on yourself. What can you do to make things easier? How get you get help from your guests?

  • Maureen

    Hope your mom feels better soon. Your blog is so much fun to read and so very informative, I too have too many lipsticks and way too many markers instead of notebooks. I listen to the same song over and over too…have you listened to Humble and Kind by Tim McGraw. A great song to listen to when you start your day. I listen to it at least five times in a row in the morning for the last month or so.
    Hope your son recovers quickly from the poison ivy….hate when my boys aren’t feeling good. Looking forward to when you have a book…I bet it will be awesome!

    • Tracy

      Oh! I’ve never been a country fan but maybe I’ll listen to that song and see if it become a repeat listener!

  • Heather

    Sending positive thoughts your mom’s way!

    It’s dark and stormy outside and I’m hoping that’s why my kids decided to go crazy and do everything in their power to be difficult the past 24 hours. I have a bullet journal and I really liked it, but then I don’t know what happened… it just fizzled so I’m back to my regular planner which is meh, but I’m not sure I have the time to spend on a bullet journal as a planner so I’m thinking of how else to use it to keep everything organized because I have at least 5 notebooks floating around with lists, notes, plans, etc. Not going to worry about that now, though, because all I can think about is getting through the next week or so. My husband had his wisdom teeth out, developed an infection and has been in the hospital for 3 days. My house is a mess, my kids are a mess, my cats are a mess… my life might be a mess right now. I just need home and feeling well because I have too much going on and I need some actual me time where I’m not wiping anyone’s butt or being grabbed or constantly touched. I’m really looking forward to Monday – I’m taking the day off and getting another tattoo. Is it in our budget? No, but I’m not cancelling. The universe always provides and I think I just need a big ole glass of wine and relaxation tonight. End.

    • Tracy

      ooooh what did you get for your tattoo?

      i don’t remember when my bullet journal fizzled…but it sure did! It’s a practice…and i didn’t make time for it.

      hope you get some me time. Fight for it! you deserve it, mama!

  • Preeti

    Hope your mom feels better soon! Ditto for Cooper.

    For the bullet journal system, I highly recommend looking at http://bohoberry.wpengine.com/. She has great articles on that. Also the #PlanWithMeChallenge on FB & instagram (It’s a rabbit hole though!). I’ve been using a ruled Moleskine 5×8, but I’m thinking of switching to a dot grid since that’ll help me use the habit tracker in a horizontal layout without having to stress over the writing-on-lines ocd issue. Hope this helps!

    • Tracy


      i am really liking the dot grid lifestyle. maybe this is my answer!

  • Merideth

    Your mom and family are in my thoughts. It’s terrifying when our loved ones are in the hospital. Sending love. I just finally took up bullet journaling last month, and I’ve been loving it! I bought a medium sized (probably 5ish inches by 8ish) dotted Moleskine because I could find one in stores… I love the versatility but wouldn’t hate if it was bigger. My favourite part is I started using it as planner and journal all in one – in the extra space for each day I write what I did, what the weather was like, I doodle… It organizes me and is a creative outlet all in one.

    • Tracy

      yes yes yes! my problem with the bullet journal is that i feel like i need to have a clear separation of to-do lists and then projects. this time around i split it in half and do all of my project mapping in the back of the book. I hope that it works longterm! It’s always a process of wait and see.

  • Beth

    Currently streaming in my mind:

    Focus on the task at hand.
    (words of wisdom from my brother that are on repeat in my head.)

    I feel like I’m back in my twenties, unsure of a career, trying to find a house to rent and living pay cheque to pay cheque.

    Living out of a suitcase is not fun, it is when its a vacation and not a work relocation that hasn’t worked out.

    Missing my childhood cat whenever I see other cats, her name was Cuddles and she was my world!

    I have 2 dogs, 1 was mine at the start of marriage and other my husband’s, I’m with Cooper in having a favourite which makes me feel like a bad puppy mom.

    I’m getting better at running again which feels like a triumph in all this craziness.

    I want to get my body into a lake but I’m scared of my swimsuit.

    I get to see a good long time friend soon and I’m over the moon excited about it!

    Putting the intention of finding a home and setting roots out into the universe, taking lots of deep breaths.

    I hope your mom is on the mend Tracy, xo

    • Tracy

      i am always scared of my bathing suit.
      sometimes i wish i could just walk around in my underwear at the beach.
      i think i’d feel more comfortable.

      great job on the running! with all the craziness I am SURE it helps you feel better!


  • Nicole Russell Willis

    I hope your mom and Cooper both feel better soon!

  • Julie

    Get the travel steamer! I use it probably twice a week even at home because it takes less time than an iron before work!

  • Shawna

    Sorry to hear about your mom! And an itchy kid too! I’m sure they’ll both be better soon!

    Bullet journaling is my new thing right now. Like in bad addiction sort of way. I prefer the Leuchtturm1917 dot grid. Graph paper would freak out the OCD brain of mine so I can’t even go there. I’m really digging the B5 size, not sure about the inches but it’s the same size as my iPad 2. I have the normal A5 size but since I write big I prefer the larger one. And the paper is SO nice, perfect for fountain pens and Staedtler pens.

  • Victoria

    Sending good vibes into the universe for a speedy recovery for your Mom.

    Just sending a note that the purse you purchased is a great one! I bought one at a craft sale here in Canada and it has stood the test of time. I’m approaching my third year with it (including two very harsh Montreal winters and several very heavy rains), and it is in great shape. It also holds a TON of stuff! Hope you enjoy it!

  • Jane M

    Chin up – things will get better – at least THIS is what I keep telling myself! Things are not going the way I envision, but I’m trying oh so hard to get things going positive for me and my family. Take Care! Positive vibes sent your way!

  • Meredith

    A) Glad to hear your mom is doing ok.
    B) Mother/Child time in summer is awesome. And soooo exhausting.
    C) Your snap of taking a moment to breathe-totally resonated with me. Sigh.
    D) Sharing with you 2 of my “toe tapping, good mood summer Spotify playlist” songs:
    That Man by Caro Emerald I Will Follow You-RIVVRS

    • Tracy

      1. thank you!
      2. it is. OMG IT IS.
      3. oh that makes me happy! are you taking breaks too?
      4. Thank you! Looking up now!

  • Melissa

    I’ve never done this stream of consciousness so here goes…..
    I’ve got nothing does this mean I’m comatose?
    Wait, here we go..have giant dog whose mission is to become surgically attached to my leg: referral to surgeon pending 😉
    Offspring #1 is an adult of 22 who just does what he does extremely chill gent..forgot to tell heart that he isn’t six anymore
    Offspring #2 at sixteen has declared herself the safe sex educator of her group of friends which is both nauseating and uplifting at the same time.Can a heart grow grey hair?
    Separated for the past few months, dating sounds exhausting, never understood what people meant when they said ‘ i’m not ready’ but went on a few dates and ‘wowza’ I realize it now.
    Boss on maternity leave so having different locums every few weeks so some a joy some…well, that’s how you figure out who the joyful people are.

  • Jen

    Hope your mom is doing okay!
    At home on maternity leave with my 10 week old and have to go back to work in 2.5 weeks. Dreading it but also not wanting or able to be a SAHM. Nervous about navigating a hectic job with the added pressures of baby/lactating/childcare….Have always loved your posts about Cooper, especially now as the mama to a little boy.
    Don’t know anything about raw cat diets, unfortunately.
    As an OCD human being, my now constantly messy/disorganized household
    Is driving me a little batty.
    I would hate graph paper or lines in my journal because they’re so confining but I also hate how difficult it is to maintain orderliness without some external constraints. #writeswithaslant
    I haven’t had a single good watermelon this year either. I’m choosing to believe it’s a bad watermelon year as I’ve always prided myself on choosing excellent watermelons. That, or this baby killed my watermelon superpower? It’s crazy how much can change after gestating a human. And such random weird stuff too….
    I’m sure I’m one of many, but have to chime in and say that I would be SO terrifically happy if you and Joy decided to podcast again!

    • Tracy

      you aren’t the only person who hasn’t had a good watermelon this year!

      Good luck with the transition into working again. Remember to be kind to yourself and brace yourself for constant shifts and evaluation of what you need/what’s important to you.

      It would be fun to podcast again but it’s not entirely up to me!

  • susan

    I used to work in a holistic/natural pet food store and learned a lot about pet nutrition. There are lots of dehydrated raw foods out now. Check out http://www.thepetbeastro.com for brands/advice and they can ship direct to you. My current cats (rescued at 7 years old) did not like the frozen raw, but love a dehydrated version (Stella & Chewy’s).

    Hope everyone, cats included, get and stay healthy!

  • Joy

    Your first two streams hooked me. It has been such a challenging summer in my house, health-wise. Almost looking forward to fall just to be able to put the season behind me. Summer with kids is always a challenge–mine are 19 and 13-the challenges just evolve. Routine is so good, though, I could not agree with you more. I’m finishing a full renovation of my master bath. I have room for 2 or 3 pieces of art including one big space that is visible from outside the bath. Need something warm (or with a warm frame) since the bath is white and marble. Any suggestions? Enjoy the rest of your summer!

    • Tracy

      what colors do you already have in your bathroom?

      What kind of challenges do you see at 19 + 13? I am so curious to see what the future holds for us!

  • Ashley

    First, glad your mom is ok. Second, an update about the linen sheets – I got mine from West Elm (Belgian Flax Linen – on sale), and we are loving them!

    • Tracy

      Awesome! I have been super happy with ours that I got from Target! I can’t wait to make our bed cozy for the winter 🙂

  • D

    our vet recommends either the recipes in this book by dr. karen becker (https://www.amazon.com/Beckers-Real-Food-Healthy-Dogs/dp/098253311X) or the recipe posted by dr. lisa pierson (http://www.catinfo.org/).

    i’m doing the one by dr. pierson right now. so far so good. it is so much more affordable to make it from scratch at home— plus its fresh and you can control the quality of the ingredients.


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