Hello December!

Well, here we are! December! And Michigan is behaving appropriately right now, with cold and snow right on cue for the holiday season. I love snow – until the end of February, when I am ready for it to be gone and for spring to arrive. But this month is the month of the Full Quiet Moon – when we have our longest, darkest nights, when we need to snuggle in our homes, eating all the good comfort foods, warming up with delicious hot chocolate and tea, reading and crafting and for the days when we are feeling squirrely, invigorating wintry hikes that refuel our spirits.

Before we move on, let’s take a look back at some of my favorite November moments.. and I just realized I never blogged about Wolfenoot! I will do that soon.

I’m pretty excited about Christmas this year. I started shopping months ago, I am all in on books and movies and music, and really, just everything. We are hoping to have a jam making day with my brother and his family soon, along with a Winter Solstice celebration with just the three of us. And frankly, I want to spend this month enjoying my family, the small moments, the quiet moments. The nights watching the snow fall gently outside, going for rides to look at Christmas lights, those hushed hikes through the woods in winter. Watching the birds at my bird feeders, and hoping for a glimpse of the little baby possum who likes to hang out here as well. I used to jam our schedule all of up – now I am going for quality over quantity. Although, I wouldn’t mind one activity..maybe the lights at the zoo? Or the Holiday Nights event at Greenfield Village, but just me and Billy, like a (gasp) date night? What is that even, I don’t remember. Hmm…maybe both?

As you all go about your months, savor these moments. Do the things that fill you up and make you smile. That restore your soul.

Nonfiction November- Week 5: New to your TBR

I can’t believe we are at the end of November already! This month flew by. But then, they all seem to these days. This week for Nonfiction November it is a wrap up week, where we share the books we have added to our TBR lists over the month. I always add way too many but I figure I will eventually get to them all, right? I fell a bit behind this month, so I think I missed some posts when trying to catch up, and I am sure I have forgotten a few I meant to add to this list – but I guess that just means Nonfiction November is not quite over for me, and I still have some reading opportunities out there.

This week is hosted by www.theocbookgirl.com.

So without further ado..my newest additions!

Swiss Watching: Inside Europe’s Landlocked Island – Entering the Enchanted Castle

Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year – Silver Button Books

The Power of Ritual – Silver Button Books

A Place in the Woods – The Intrepid Arkansawyer

On Island Time – Lesley’s Book Nook

Wilding – Liz @ Adventures in Reading, Running, and Working From Home

English Pastoral – Books Please

When Mountain Lions Are Neighbors – The OC Book Girl

The Tiger – Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction

Rush Oh! – Books are my Favorite and Best

Lost at Sea – Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out

The Haunting of Alma Fielding – Christopher @ Plucked from the Stacks

Finding the Mother Tree – Unsolicited Feedback

Seven Fallen Feathers – The Book Stop

This is always such a great event to participate in! Now, let’s see how many I read before next November!

My Little Handmade Holiday Gift Guide for Little Ones

Of all the gift guides I create, this one is always my favorite. Probably because I am always saving different ideas all year round for the kiddos in my life, my son, my nieces, my cousin’s daughters, my favorite people to buy for! I love to buy them handmade gifts, and support small artists and business – I of course still buy stuff from Amazon and made of plastic and Wyatt is also getting a new tablet this year, but he is also getting a special small toy box for dress up clothes, as this kid of mine loves to dress up and pretend, much like I did as a kid. And he is getting a special toy this year too, that I am very excited about.

This post contains Etsy affiliate links from which I would make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

DIY Kaleidoscope: I love this so much. It is perfect for those outdoor adventures, hiking, picnics, just playing in the yard. Kids love to collect small bits of nature, and this gives them a unique way to keep and play with those treasures.

Nature Explorers Kit: Normally I skip over kits like this, as I think it is usually some overpriced box filled with things I can do myself. This one however, also contains nature activity cards filled with ideas for exploring and involving mindfulness as well as a great assortment of tools for exploring!

I found this Etsy store earlier this year and fell in love with these little rag dolls! A Button and A Stitch sews up small dolls “perfect for small hands” and I love the diversity offered! There is a doll for every child in this shop – including my own child. The special needs doll line almost made me teary. Braces, G-Tubes, limb differences, Cochlear implants – representation is so important for all children, to have a toy or a book that they can see themselves in. Wyatt always gets so excited when he spots a character in a book that uses a wheelchair or a walker or braces, so I am really looking forward to seeing his reaction to this doll. You can find the links to the two pictured above here and here. Be sure to check out all of the dolls in this collection!

All the kids in my life love to make things and craft – and sometimes it is easier to have a put together kit rather than pull all the pieces together.

Bendy Snakes Wool Felting Kit: I learned how to wool felt a few years ago and it was so fun! I think this snake version would be perfect for little hands!

Woodland Animals Sewing Kit: This one is so adorable! And cracks me up because this is the sort of thing I am sewing right now. Lol. I am slowly learning…and I think these projects would be cute and a great way to introduce needlework to a child. (with supervision of course)

Little Birder book: Isn’t this book gorgeous? The illustrations, the introduction to birds, I love everything about it. There is also a matching journal for older kids too!

Yeti/Big Foot Stuffed Plush: Soo cute!! I sort of want this for me. I mean, everyone needs a cuddle now and then. And his little happy face!

Rainbow Rock Crayons: So these caught my eye since Wyatt has been learning about rocks and minerals lately. They are just so colorful and pretty! Also, the size encourages that pincer grip and fine motor skills as well.

A little breath of spring in these next two ideas! When the winter starts to seem long, these would be fun to work on as we wait for the return of spring and summer and longer days, sunshine, flowers, and all the little butterflies and bees.

Kids Sewing Kit: I love these bright and cheery designs!

Flyers Kit: Oh, I love these. I can just imagine them brightening the windows in winter!

And finally, a little something for a little bit older child! These porcelain animal necklaces from CampHollow are adorable and little works of art. They come in so many different animal variations as well – this little owl, Siamese cats, hedgehogs, river otters, butterflies, dinosaurs, and many more!

Happy Holidays all!

My Sunday-Monday Post!

My Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer
Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Hey all! I hope those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving had a wonderful holiday. Now that Thanksgiving is over, I feel like I can go all out on Christmas everything! We decorated and put up our tree this weekend, as the snow fell outside. However, that meant I had to move a ton of plants and now my office and kitchen look like mini-jungles. Which I am not upset about. We had originally planned to drive to Dayton, OH and hike a trail there that has a troll event happening. It looks so awesome! However, the weather forecast was not great and I didn’t want to spend three hours for just one way in a car if we were getting a blizzard. So, another time, hopefully.

Read Last Week:

I love this fun series! It was good to revisit the characters and their lives. And that awesome lighthouse library!

Reading This Week:

I am kicking off the winter reading season with this middle grade Christmas murder mystery. A tween British cozy! And I love this cover!

Posted Last Week:

Not much! Just two posts then I took the rest of the week off for the holiday.

Nonfiction November – Stranger than Fiction

Book Review: Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

Watching:

We finished up the Great British Baking Show – I loved this season!! And the winner was my favorite all the way through, and I love when that happens! All the contestants in the final were phenomenal though. We are also watching Wheel of Time, which is excellent but I have never read the books so I can’t compare. My husband seems to be pretty happy with it though, and he read them all. We also finished up Schitt’s Creek. I have watched it at least twice before, but this was Billy’s first time watching and he is now a convert.

And that is it from our little corner of the Mitten! Hope you are all doing well.

Book Review: Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

Goodreads Summary:

A collection of intersecting stories set at a powwow that bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride.

In a high school gym full of color and song, Native families from Nations within the borders of the U.S. and Canada dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. They are the heroes of their own stories.

Featured contributors: Joseph Bruchac, Art Coulson, Christine Day, Eric Gansworth, Dawn Quigley, Carole Lindstrom, Rebecca Roanhorse, David A. Robertson, Andrea L. Rogers, Kim Rogers, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Monique Gray Smith, Traci Sorell, Tim Tingle, Erika T. Wurth, and Brian Young.

My Thoughts:

I 100% loved this book. So many different stories, different traditions and view points that all come together in this one gymnasium in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the intertribal powwow, Dance for Mother Earth. Every story was connected in some way, and it was fun to pick up on those intersections. This book offers so much traditional and cultural information from so many different tribes and walks of life, where one can learn about food and dress and stories; about prejudices and trauma, connection and family. I also enjoyed the glossary at the end.

Although I enjoyed every story, I did have a few favorites. In Fancy Dancer by Monique Gray Smith, Rory finds connection to family, old and new, through dance, while dealing with the trauma of an abusive father, who is no longer in his life physically but still is very present in Rory’s mind. Bad Dog by Joseph Bruchach was also a favorite of mine, as was What We Know About Glaciers by Christine Day. But my very favorite was Indian Price by Eric Gansworth. I thought that story just had so many layers to unwrap and examine and learn from.

One reason I wanted to read this book is because I have actually attended this powwow, as a college student way back when. Billy and I went for one one of my classes, we tried Fry Bread, sat in the stands as the dancers made their way in to the sound of the drumbeats, felt the excitement that was charging the air around us. At the time, I admit, I had no real idea of what I was actually witnessing and participating in by attending. So much went over my head, and now, as an adult who has read more and experienced more, I can look back and see what I didn’t see then. I am hoping to take Wyatt to this powwow in a year or two, as it is open door to anyone who wants to go. To quote Fancy Dancer, “Native people travel from all over to go to powwows, but non-Natives are welcome too. That’s part of the beauty of the powwow, the sharing of cultures.” I look forward to the next time we go, this time taking with us more knowledge.

This book is a wonderful collection of stories for middle grades, and I highly recommend it for any classroom or home library!

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Children’s Books for the chance to read and review this book!

Nonfiction November – Week 4 Stranger than Fiction?

Wow week 4 already!! The description for this week as copied from The Thousand Book Project is:

Week 4: (November 22-26) – Stranger Than Fiction with Christopher at Plucked from the StacksThis week we’re focusing on all the great nonfiction books that *almost* don’t seem real. A sports biography involving overcoming massive obstacles, a profile on a bizarre scam, a look into the natural wonders in our world—basically, if it makes your jaw drop, you can highlight it for this week’s topic.

The book I chose for this week, and I only chose one, is one that I read quite a few years ago but it has stuck with me all this time.. and I just realized I made sort of a dad joke there. That was unintentional, honestly.

This whole event is so crazy to even consider. And terrifying! A giant tank of molasses burst open in Boston’s North End, flooding the streets with two million gallons of molasses, even causing a 15 foot wave. The horror of being caught in that flood is unimaginable. People and animals died, building were crushed in that dark tide of molasses, which reached speeds of 35 miles per hour. There is even a legend that on warm days, you can still catch a faint scent of the molasses rising from the streets.

This book was bizarre and tragic, and like I said, a book that has stayed with me for years.

My Sunday-Monday Post

My Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer
Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Last week was pretty good. Not very eventful, but good still the same. My birthday was Tuesday and it was a nice, quiet day and evening. We got my favorite street tacos and had a “car picnic” surrounded by total darkness and it was really cool honestly. Billy, my mom, and I got our booster shots so that is done as well. Wyatt and I have been having a fantastic month of homeschool – I really am hoping to share about it soon, but I keep running out of time and the post keeps getting longer!

Read Last Week:

I kept it light and read Wendell Berry’s book of poetry, The Peace of the Wild Things. It was beautiful, as I expected.

The title poem was my favorite.

What I am Hoping to Read This Week:

So I have been a little weird about reading lately, books just aren’t fitting right. This is the one I have lined up – I am going back to an old friend, The Lighthouse Library Mysteries.

Posted Last Week:

Nonfiction November – Week 3: Become the Expert

Mini Post: Little Moments in Mostly Photos

My Little Bit Outdoors, Little Bit Bookish Holiday Gift Guide

Watching and Listening:

We have been all over the place with television lately. We are watching The Brokenwood Mysteries, The Great British Bake Off, and we just started Wheel of Time, which is Billy’s favorite book series of all time. I have never read it so it is all new to me. I did really enjoy it though – and Rosamund Pike is in it, and I really like her as an actress.

I mentioned Wyatt has been requesting songs on our Alexa in the morning and we have been waking up to whatever random choices he makes, or Alexa makes. This week we heard some good stuff honestly – The Lumineers, Of Mice and Men, Simon and Garfunkel, Lord Huron, John Denver, and The Sound of Silence by Disturbed, which is amazing. It is one of Billy’s favorites and I must say, there is something about laying in bed in total darkness with the lead singer’s voice rolling out over you. It’s so deep and powerful. It was sort of otherworldly.

And that is about it from around here! I hope all is well in your world!

My little bit outdoors, little bit bookish Holiday Gift Guide

I have been having way too much fun browsing for gifts online this year. There are just so many great makers and creators out there! These items are a little bit outdoorsy, a little bit bookish because that is what I tend to look at the most! A few of these are on my list for others, some on my list, one or two I have even purchased and put away for Christmas already.

This post contains affiliate links from Etsy.

Leather Journal: These leather journals are customizable with nine different stamps and can be further personalized with the name of your loved one. They can hold a field notes notebook as well as a pen and license, debit, card, etc. I actually plan to buy two of these for two special people in my life. I just need to decide on color and customizations!

Let Us Go Then illustrated book: Ok. So, this is something on my own list but I adore it. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot is my all time favorite poem. This little book contains an illustrated rendering of the poem, alongside the lines of the poem itself. It is printed on matte paper and I think it is just so cool looking, honestly. This company also offers the book in different poems, as well as notebooks and journals.

Burned Cedar Kuksa Hiking Mug: I love this! I bought my husband a kuksa a few years ago and he takes it with him on long hikes and camping trips. This kuksa is just so individual though, with the dark burnt color of it. This one is made in Russia, but there are so so many listed on Etsy. They are basically wooden mugs that you can wear while you spend time outdoors. Update: This one sold out last night so I found two alternates. You can find them here and here!

Raised by Boooooks t-shirt: This is another item from my own list. Lol. It is not an Etsy find, but from the company Out of Print, which has so many neat bookish items! I love this one for me, but they also have so many cute kids shirts!

Fox socks: My husband and I always get each other socks at Christmas, and Billy loves socks with patterns and pictures. These are perfect for anyone who loves nature and exploring! This company seems to have socks for every hobby and walk of life though.

Storiarts Anne of Green Gables scarf: I have loved these scarves for years and years. I think they are so cool. I chose this one for the blog because I love Anne and the color green, but there are many variations in their store!

Edgar Allen Poe glass tumbler: Remember I said I already bought something? This is what I bought for my Edgar Allen Poe loving cousin. Again, if Poe is not your jam there are other choices. I will say that I am very impressed with the quality of this glass, the weight and clarity, and the box itself is very nice as well!

8 x 10 Lonely Spruce Print: This is a legit print from a tree. The image was created using the remnants of a Red Spruce in Nova Scotia. It is just so unique! I love it and am considering it for our home. But which room? I can’t decide!

Magical Great Hall candle: For me, the magic of Harry Potter was all about the Great Hall. And Hogsmeade. And the Forbidden Forest. But I loved all the descriptions of the festivities that took place in the Great Hall. Maybe all the talk of food? This candle is visually appealing, and smells like waffles? That is fantastic, in my opinion! This is one you would need to order soon though, it looks like it takes a bit to ship!

Mary Shelley Frankenstein Quote Print: This is one of my favorite quotes. You will see it pop up again next week in my Kid’s Holiday Gift Guide. Lol. I received a bookish literary print a few years ago from my sister-in-law – a quote from Jane Austen actually – and I have it framed on display in my office now and I totally love it. This would be a great addition to any book nook or office or library! Again, the shop has many choices, including one with a few lyrics from “Morning Has Broken” that is simply beautiful.

DIY Mushroom Lamp: This is so pretty! I don’t know much about this company at all (this is not from Etsy), they were actually from a suggested Instagram ad, so I want to throw that out there. I love this lamp though, and it is sort of neat that you get to make it! Perfect for that crafting fungi loving friend.. Update: So I found an alternative for this as well, that one does not need to DIY put together. It’s actually a little less expensive. Find it here!

Fire Starter: I blame my husband for this one. He loves anything woodcrafted and outdoorsy and this fire starter is pretty nifty. Billy and I once went to an outdoor survival class and we did not pass the fire starting lesson. Lol. We would definitely need something to help us out if we were lost in the wilderness. Or just camping.

Wuthering Heights LiteraTea: So this is just fun! I picked this one for this post because it is Earl Grey tea, but there are other flavors. I love the packaging and I do love a pretty package!

And with that, I am going to check my Christmas list and see what I still need to do!

Mini Post: Little Moments in Mostly Photos

Life lately has been about appreciating all the moment in our lives. The things we may normally gloss over, seeking out that next big thing. Long rides in the dark, sharing a blanket on the couch while watching cartoons with your six year old, warm tea in a solid mug, snowy mornings.

This majestic buck stepped out into the clearing for a quiet moment. We stood for a few moments, jut watching each other in silence. I hadn’t been expecting him, nor him, me. I heard him before I saw him – I am sure the reverse was true as well.

Snow!!! Our first snowfall of the season happened Sunday. Our family loves snow, in a big way. We decided to just go for a ride in it, but couldn’t resist popping out here for a photo.

My birthday came and went – it was a nice quiet low key day. I got my free birthday Starbucks (chai latte), snuggles from cats, street tacos from my fave place, which we ate in the car in the full dark watching the trees and the water, our tacos sharing the space on the armrest between us while Wyatt ate his cheese quesadilla in the back. As an adult, I can honestly say my birthdays are always so different! I’ve celebrated at Epcot on my honeymoon, in the hospital with a sick Wyatt (and stayed up for 36 straight hours as well); I won tickets to the opera once, where we got to sit in the best box seats and visit the fancy VIP intermission room with drinks; dinners at nice restaurants, and at small diners. I have loved them all.

We’ve cracked open geodes this week, spent time poring over the rocks and minerals I’ve been collecting for months now for Wyatt’s science unit, and just basically hung out this past week.

I like having an idea of what we are going to be up to, but for the most part, I am enjoying letting things and moments just happen lately.