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

We had a pretty ordinary week last week. Which was perfectly fine. Homeschool, I worked for my cousin, and that is about it really. Yesterday we attended something called FrankenFest which was neat, and then later on had a late night fire with my brother and his family. The kids were up late, we were out late, it was fun. I remember those occasional late nights when I was a kid and they always seemed so magical.

Read Last Week:

I read this book in two days – it was a fun fast read! I hope to do a review post of a few of the books I have been reading this week.

Reading This Week:

I have been wanting to really work on reading more own voices books for various reasons and seem to have fallen down a rabbit hole. I started Onigamiising last week and am really enjoying it. And when I requested Gichigami Hearts from NetGalley I didn’t realize the two books were written by the same author!

Posted Last Week:

Snippets of Life Lately

Our Butterfly Project – The Final Update

Watching:

We are still watching Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple on BritBox. They are so well done! Although in the last one that we watched, one of the characters at the end killed another character very unexpectedly. My husband and I looked at each other in surprise and he said “Well that got dark quickly.” Which made us laugh since we are watching murder mysteries. We also started the LuLaRoe documentary LuLaRich and we are fascinated by it.

Snippets of Life Lately

Life lately hasn’t been anything too out of the ordinary, just the regular comings and goings, homeschool, appointments, drinking coffee, taking care of my wee creatures, visiting with friends, reading some books. Wyatt and I picked flowers from the garden and pressed them. Nothing exciting but I am a person who is happy and content with a low key life. In fact, Billy and his co-workers all put money in to buy lottery tickets together as the jackpot was some large amount of money, and they were all talking about what they would do with it if they won. Some of the answers were buy property (this was Billy’s answer too), pay off debts, vacations, shopping sprees, etc. When Billy asked me, I said I would buy two mourning geckos and two dart frogs. In case you are wondering, this would cost about $100. And a few books too. I apparently dream big y’all. Although, buying property would be awesome, but Billy seems to have that under control.

Yesterday I dropped Wyatt off at my mom’s in the morning and met my sister-in-law for coffee and a walk in the woods. Where we promptly nerded out looking for mushrooms. At one point we were crouching down on the ground grabbing a shot of a mushroom and had to laugh at what anyone stumbling upon us might think. It was a great way to start the day though, with conversation and coffee and a walk in the fresh air.

I also got my glasses this week! It is so nice to have them while working on the computer and when reading. Since I only need them for reading up close, I bought one of those eyeglass chains to let them hang when I don’t need them. I love them – they have decorative bats on them, so I felt like they were seasonally appropriate.

I also took my mom to a pain management specialist. She has been having issues with her back for a while now and was dragging her feet about going to a doctor. We finally got her to go and we learned that it is more than likely her SI Joint – and the treatment sounds very promising and like it is easily treatable. It was a great relief to finally get an answer and to find solutions! Pretty soon my mom will be back to her own level of mobility again.

We were supposed to go on a camping trip starting Monday; however I looked at the weather forecast and it was promising storms so I made the decision to cancel. I am not a great camper and I didn’t want Wyatt’s first camping trip marred by storms and rain either. A wet camping trip does not sound fun to me. Billy agreed on that as well, but he still has the time off so I think we are going to take a few day trips next week. I have some ideas but nothing concrete. Today we are actually going to a Franken-Fest at Fort Wayne in Detroit. I have no idea what to expect but if it is not fun or too crowded, we can still walk around the grounds. It is sort of spooky there – the old fort and out buildings are crumbling, although they are being worked on by a historic preservation society. They have been there since the civil war, I think? I will find out today!

I am starting to feel surrounded…

How are things going for you? Anything exciting? Or just living life?

Our Butterfly Project – The Final Update

So here we are. All of my monarchs have grown up and flown away. I have about twelve black swallowtails in chrysalis, and one straggler caterpillar I found the other day outside and brought in before a big storm. I worried it wouldn’t make it, so I have one last lonely caterpillar hanging out.

I think we are all going to miss them, even the cats.

As you can see, two decided my hair looked like a good place to hang out. I was pretty nervous that they were going to get all tangled up in it and get injured lol. I carefully extracted them and they flew away. I think it was a goodbye.

I released my last monarch on September 12. I named her Persephone and she took off before I could get a photo. She was quite large, and I believe she was a super monarch, heading for the south. Hopefully she will return to me next year, that would be pretty cool!

As for the remaining black swallowtails, they can overwinter. On October 1st, I will be putting them in cold storage to protect them until spring.

Next year, I am definitely tagging. So next fall all of you down there in Texas be prepared to check tags on monarchs and see if they came from my house!

The statistics: This summer I released nineteen female monarchs, twenty male monarchs, nine male black swallowtails, and six female black swallowtails (of my own). When Chrissy was gone I released about fifteen butterflies that were hers that she had raised. And I named all of mine – all 54!

Starting from the beginning, July 5th, the first day I released butterflies this summer: Arthur Blue, Barbara, Marion, Jerry, DeWayne, Faye, Janet, Larry, Scarlet, George, Peter, Frank, Captain, Wendy, Penny, Loki, Thor, Odin, Freya, Cavendish, Kerouac, Jack, Sarah, Ice Cream, Fitzgerald, Orion, Wilde, Andromeda, Bellatrix, Cordelia, Leo, Oberon, Juliet, Orlando, Apollo, Soleil, Cielo, Cosmo, Portia, Konane, Leilani, Makani, Skye, Maisie, Millie, Jinx, Winnie, Hazel, Mamie, Guthrie, Percival, Primrose, Whitaker, and finally, Persephone.

I may still end up with a black swallowtail or two but my numbers won’t change too much now. I am already looking forward to next year! Next spring I plan on writing a post on how to do this yourself if you are interested in it. It is easy and inexpensive, and I love it. It never gets old watching a butterfly eclose or waking up to see one had been born overnight. Then setting them free, watching them fly high and wondering where their journey will take them next! And just being part of something that helps out their population is so rewarding. If you are curious about the next step, you can read about it here!

I can’t express how much I enjoyed this. I can’t wait until it all begins again next year!

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

We had another great week of homeschooling! We are still finding our way through the new school year, but everyday gets easier. I am having my own time management issues, juggling house stuff, blog stuff like visiting everyone’s blogs, and just plain taking a minute to breathe and relax, but I will get it together. We have been sticking pretty close to home right now, without many outings lately – just taking care of business around here lately. I feel a bit like the squirrels running around our yard, stealing apples, burying nuts in our lawn, preparing and organizing and doing. And reading – I have been reading more in the past few weeks than I read all summer! I am ready for the slowness that fall and winter bring.

Read Last Week:

Small Favors by Erin A. Craig : I loved this book and could not put it down! It was such a good read! It’s a toss up which book of hers that I have liked more, House of Salt and Sorrows or this one – right now, I would say this one, but I love them both.

Reading this Week:

I have both of these and I don’t know which to start first!! Gichigami Hearts or The Lost Apothecary – both sound excellent.

Posted Last Week:

First Day of School, Flowers, and a Frog

For the Love of Mushrooms

Late Summer at the Village

Homeschooling: Our Curriculum

Watching:

We have not watched too much or anything different. We are still watching Schitt’s Creek, a rewatch for me, the first time for Billy, and Agatha Christie’s Marple. We are always startled when we see a “big” star in that show – Carey Mulligan, Julian Sands, Richard Armitage, Timothy Dalton (although I 100% think of his role in Hot Fuzz when I see him now) As we move deeper into fall, we will be adding in more scary, spooky movies and show too. I am ready!

And that is about it from our little house here in the mitten. What has been going on in your world?

Homeschooling: Our Curriculum

Here we are again, homeschooling! First grade this year! Last year we had so much fun learning together, that I am really excited to be homeschooling again. We are still working on our routine and rhythm, but I feel confident at least about our curriculum. It was an easy decision, as I went with the same curriculum we used last year for the most part. I like the basic scope of the curriculum, and its focus. It is also budget friendly compared to other curriculum out there.

If you are new here, Wyatt has been homeschooled since Kindergarten. He has cerebral palsy which creates the need for some creativity and accommodations with the lessons, which I feel is really well suited to homeschooling. I can keep working on things that we need to spend more time on and move on when we are comfortable, and go quickly through lessons that he picks up easily. I can tailor to his strengths at home, rather than try to make him fit into a system that may not work for him right now. I also found a Blossom and Root First Grade Cohort Group on Facebook! This group will move up together each year. It has been so helpful already!

For Language Arts, Science, Nature, and Integrated Art and Math, we are using Blossom and Root. Blossom and Root is all about wonder, discovery, creativity, books.. all things I value very highly and want for Wyatt in his learning. This year I had a choice of two different language arts programs through Blossom and Root, and it was a tough decision! The first choice was based on more nature based stories that were a little more old fashioned, and then more modern picture books as the second option. I went back and forth a few times before finally deciding on the more modern version. The scope is based on values and morals, like appreciating what you have, working together, and other character building traits for the first half of the year, while the second half focuses in on fairy tales and folk tales from different countries, introducing new cultures and geography into the lessons.

The Science curriculum covers so much about Earth and Earth science this year! I am super excited to dive into it. There are also extra “Book Seeds” that cover different topical events as well, such as climate change. The past two weeks we have spent discussing the rotation of the Earth, and how it effects seasons and daytime and nighttime, and we are moving on soon to layers of the Earth. The Nature part of the curriculum is more about observing and interacting with our natural world. Things like building insect sanctuaries, painting the weather, making nature necklaces, etc and then keeping a nature journal.

The Integrated Math and and Art … is more art I guess than math, so we supplement math with a more traditional curriculum but still do the lessons from Blossom and Root, more as art with some math involved. We are learning about Kandinsky right now, which is a lesson for me too, since I never learned about Kandinsky in school.

For history, we are using Passport to Adventures from Waldock Way this year. I didn’t see the need for a super intense history program this year, and I felt like this would introduce history in a fun way to Wyatt, which was important to me. I feel like kids get off on the wrong foot with history sometimes, thinking it is boring and I wanted to try to cultivate a sense of excitement about it. This curriculum is completely based on the Magic Tree House books, and we have started off slowly, doing only a few of the activities a week to start. So far so good!

For math, we are using Math Lessons for a Living Education. I feel like this is well paced for Wyatt, and he enjoys the stories and hands on activities that are a part of these math lessons. I also like that this keeps up to pace with the public school as well, just in case we decide sending him back to school would be more beneficial, although that is not where we are right now. For now, everything is going well with homeschooling.

I have to be honest though. These first two weeks felt a little off to me. Like we had lost our zest and magic. And I realized I was trying too hard to be “school” and leaving out what made us, us. I plan to shake things up next week, and add in those extras that made our school special.

Stay tuned to see where our year takes us!

Late Summer at the Village

Last Friday I met my sister-in-law and niece at Greenfield Village for an early morning visit. I love it there so much, and as Wyatt and I ease into school, I hope to work some mornings there in to our schedule more often. But, this visit was just for fun, a last little vestige of summer before Dino Girl started school.

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful morning either – not too hot or chilly, and the sun was shining and the sky was so blue. Perfect really. I had my wagon for Wyatt, and my niece wanted to ride in there with him too, so my SIL and I took turns pulling it around while we walked and chatted. And admired all of the gardens!

We made sure to stop and visit at our favorite houses, the Cotswold Cottage and the Dagget Farmhouse. I always joke if the world went sideways for real I would move in to the Cottage at the Village. It’s a real cottage too, moved here stone by stone from England.

And this farmhouse, I love everything about it. When we were there they had the interpreters inside making dye from flowers and spinning wool. The kids were enthralled with the spinning wheel; Wyatt kept asking to do it, while Dino Girl had lots of good questions about the process.

From here we wandered into the last, big garden. The kids were good sports but were starting to fade a bit by this time. And they were ready for the ice cream we promised them. We still had about twenty minutes before the frozen custard opened though, since it wasn’t even 11 am yet, so we rolled up into the garden. I love a late summer garden. I feel like the flowers are throwing all their colors at us, their last final hurrah before they completely fade away in the fall. Like look at me, look at me! So we did.

Finally, finally, it was time for frozen custard!

This little building is so sweet, isn’t it?

We got our treats, ate them up, and by this time, it was time to head home. I had my eye doctor appointment that afternoon so I needed to get back and get ready, yuck. It was a very relaxing way to end the week though, and we had the best time.

For the Love of Mushrooms

Fall is in the air my friends! And now that summer is starting to taper off into much cooler evenings, I am leaning in hard to autumn and all that comes with it. Including all things mushrooms (except the er, medicinal use sort) Then I learned yesterday that September is National Mushroom Month! Who knew mushrooms had a whole month of recognition? I didn’t, until my Alexa informed me yesterday. And seriously, mushrooms totally deserve recognition, let’s face it. I love mushrooms! They are so adorable, and I get so excited when I spot one in the wild. And they are so versatile, with a whole vintage and earth mother vibe, but also can get funky too, with the psychedelics and that woo-woo Alice in Wonderland stuff. And they are tasty in soup and on pizza.

I’ve always been a fan but I am happy to see them getting some recognition. Lately, I feel like their is a resurgence in mushroom decor that hasn’t been seen since the 1970s – and I’m not complaining! I went on Etsy the other day looking for some throw pillows for our bedroom, and found a bunch of neat things.

(Etsy product links are affiliate links)

First, those pillows that led me down the rabbit hole. Aren’t they adorable? We are doing our room with nature accents and I love all three! I don’t think our bed needs all three, but they are super cute. I could not tell you which is my favorite either, because I love snails, mushrooms, and moths. And then I stumbled into some t-shirts. I love the simplicity of the “be down to earth” embroidered t-shirt, as well as the message, but then the “Morels Are Calling” shirt is also really cool. Morel hunting in Michigan is on my bucket list too, so there is some truth to this shirt. I have heard that people literally fight over them in the woods though! I would probably go out with a guide and a group, as I know Northern Michigan has some guided hunts in the spring, I believe.

That toothbrush holder just makes me smile, which might be a good thing in the morning when I need a bit of a smile, as I am not a morning person. (unlike my child) Mushrooms are all cute, but the Amanita is the cutest. I have only spotted two while hiking before and I totally nerded out when I did. I also love the moody autumnal feel of the black and gold mug, while the mushroom tea cup is perfect for a cuppa while reading. I saw that they make mushroom coffee. Anyone ever try that? I would love to hear what you think of it if you did!

I also spotted these masks that are not only mushroom themed, but also bugs! Be still my little nature loving heart. I ordered Wyatt some science and nature themed masks from Piccolina and was so bummed they were sold out of the adult sizes, and when I saw these on Etsy I decided I will have to order them. They are just too cool. The pet tag caught my eye as well – first because I have a gecko named Luna ( who does not wear a collar of course) but I do have three cats. Hmm. But which cat to wear it?

I feel that I would be remiss to not mention some other mushroom favorites while I am at it! If you like podcasts, definitely listen to Alie Ward’s Mycology with Dr. Tom Volk pod on Ologies. And don’t miss Fantastic Fungi on Prime Video. I think it might also be on Netflix. It was sort of mind blowing and all the cinematography is amazing. And finally, one of my very favorite autumn soup, this Wild Rice and Mushroom soup from Gimme Some Oven. It is absolutely delicious, smells amazing when it is cooking, and is perfect for those chill fall evenings, especially if you have been outside all day. (or even an hour!)

So what about you? Mushrooms are so polarizing. People love them or hate them. Yay or nay?

First Day of School, Flowers, and a Frog

Last week we started homeschooling again – I can’t believe this kid is in first grade! Where does time go? I am pretty sure he was just a tiny baby like yesterday. Here we go again, barefoot and crazy hair and all!

We are still finding our rhythm, the pace of our day. First grade is a little more demanding but I still want it to be enjoyable and not a chore. I want Wyatt to look forward to our learning time everyday, and with only week one under our belts, we are still muddling through. We will get it though. I am hoping to do a homeschooling curriculum post this Friday; I am so excited about what we are doing this year and want to share!

We visited Belle Isle and the new garden installation, the Oudolf Garden. It was so beautiful! This garden was designed by Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf, after he received a “love letter from Detroit” written by the volunteers of the Garden Club of Michigan. Apparently he was impressed by the energy of our city. Oudolf has designed places like the High Line in New York, as well as the Toronto Botanical Garden to name a few. It was pretty neat to see this four season garden and know that a famous garden designer was behind it all.

I enjoyed walking around the gardens with my family, but I was also really excited to move on to the next part of our day – adopting a Pacman Frog. As you all know, I am a lover of all creatures and my sweet little Dash passed away recently. My butterfly project will be finished soon, and I feel like our house will feel sort of empty, or as empty as it can feel with three people, three senior cats, two leopard geckos, and a ghost mantis sharing 900 square feet can feel. But there is always room for a few more, right? Especially a Pacman frog. These frogs are not really a pet you can interact with physically. In fact, handling them is not good for them. And sort of not good for you, as they have teeth and can bite as they are aggressive eaters. They also spend a lot time just sitting in one place burrowed down. Am I selling this frog or what? Lol. However, they are super cute and easy to care for and kind of just what I was looking for. They can live in a smaller tank, and don’t require too much. Plus, cute, again. I think she might be a chocolate mint pacman, but she could just be the “normal” version. Either way, we loves her already. So without further ado, meet Freddie the Frog!

Now you see her, now you don’t! I am seriously considering making some videos or designing an Outschool class with all of my creatures – I would love to share them and their care with elementary students somehow. One day it might be neat as well to share them in person with elementary schools as well!

I have a whole “wish list” of reptiles I would love too add to our home wildlife classroom – a Russian tortoise (a rescue one), a crested gecko, mourning geckos and dart frogs… they bring joy to our whole house, honestly. Even little crazy frogs like Freddie here. And eventually we will! For now we are very happy with all of our menagerie as it stands though.

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

We finished our first week of school and I finished two books! I am not quite sure how that worked but it did! Lol. We took Friday off and went to Greenfield Village with my sister-in-law and Dino Girl so the kids could hang out before Dino Girl goes back to school this week. And..I also got glasses. So did Billy. We left Wyatt with my mom and went to our eye exams together, where we learned we both have perfect distance vision yet have some typical sight issues that occur with aging, or so we were told. Like when I have to hold things with small print at arms length to read it… Our glasses come in on the 17th and I am sort of excited. I have been getting headaches when I read for too long so it will be nice to read without it causing one. Our vision exam was sort of crazy! It was done by a remote technician. I felt like I was in the future. The tech who was there set me up in the room with the eye thing in front of my front of my face. There was a giant monitor on the wall, and a remote technician zoomed in and did the exam, switching things digitally. Then when she was done she sent it to the doctor, who also remoted in on the monitor to explain about the results. It was wild. But it also seemed super efficient.

Anyway, on to the book stuff.

Read Last Week:

Fire Keeper’s Daughter was excellent. It might be the best book I have read all year honestly. I loved it and am looking forward to reading more by this author. I also finished up The Running Hare, which I also loved. But I love John Lewis-Stempel and usually find zero faults with his books. Wyatt and I also started reading The Magic Tree House books last week, while Billy is listening to Six of Crows and The Bone Witch.

Reading This Week:

I started this a few weeks ago and then decided I wanted to keep it for September. I am weird sometimes. But now it is September and I am excited to start it! (again) I loved House of Salt and Sorrows so I am eager to read this one.

Posted Last Week:

Book Review: Harvesting Hope by Lisa Howeler

Hello September!

A Few Short Book Reviews

Watching:

We have gotten completely sucked into Agatha Christie’s Marple series on BritBox. It is so good!!

And that is about it from our little refuge! How are things in your world?

A Few Short Book Reviews

I figured since it was back to school week for us, I should probably get to working on my own overdue projects~ and knocking out a few reviews.

Let’s start with…

Oh man, did I love this book! I’ve recommended it all over the place and at one mom’s wine night I went on and on about how much I loved this author’s writing. It is beautiful, full of nature, and also moments from an 80s childhood that I could totally relate to. The imagery and how we can learn lessons from the creatures around us was just so gorgeous and poignant as well. And it made me feel proud as well, of how I am raising my child, to observe nature around us, to know the names of bugs and birds. Nezhukumatathil shares a story in this collection of talking a class of students, young kids, who had never ever heard of fireflies. Thought they were fake, made up! I wish every child, and every adult could find such wonder in the world around us, as Nezhukumatathil does. If you haven’t read this, I urge you to do so!

I love a book set in Michigan, especially on the most mysterious of all the lakes, Lake Superior. If you have ever stood on the shores of Superior, you will know what I mean when I say it holds its secrets and has its dark mysteries. So a gothic suspense set on these shores is a match made in heaven. I really enjoyed this read, which took the reader between two times, set in the same place. Two women, each with their own set of problems. There were so many threads to this story, and each one was as interesting as the next. Definitely a book to read when you want to settle down with a cup of tea and a book with a bit of a spooky vibe.

This book was legit crazytown and I was 100% there for it. 10/10, highly recommend. It was a trippy ride all the way through and I could not stop reading it. There were shocks and surprises and twists everywhere that the reader just doesn’t see coming. My mom and I could not stop talking about it! If you like true crime and dark reads, this book is perfect for you. Even if you don’t, I suggest you give it a try!