Currently…November

Currently.. is a monthly prompt hosted by Anne in Residence.

I am writing this a day early, on election day so I have lots of feels going on right now! My kiddo is napping and I am drinking my millionth cup of coffee, tucked under a blanket, listening to a podcast while I type. I had a tough time with the prompts this month!

Appreciating: Well, this is an easy one, My husband of 20 years, today. We have been together since we were seventeen and he is still my rock, my best friend, my fellow explorer of this world and parenting, my love, just my everything. We have grown and changed so much over the years but we have always grown in the same direction.

Ordering: Christmas gifts and baby firepits for our porch, which we think we are really going to need this fall. Also anniversary gifts and er, my own birthday gift..

Planning: Our winter projects, my reading list, small celebrations for the three of us for Thanksgiving, comfort meals. I made cottage pie the other night and we ate it with cider to toast with. It was delicious and perfect for the cold blustery day we were having!

Perfecting: Not much! Lol. We are working on our pie and bread making this month, which is becoming a tradition. Other than that, I guess I am perfecting how to be cozy and hygge. Lots of tea, blankets, books, warm sweaters.

Wearing: At the beginning of fall, I ordered a few new things and I am loving this sweatshirt cardigan I bought from Tentree. It is cozy and warm and has a hood, plus little thumb holes. And pockets! It is perfect.

That is it for this month! Stay safe everyone!

Goodbye October, Hello November!

It’s a big day here in America, and I know most of the country is feeling anxious and worried about what will happen should their candidate not win. It is just more uncertainty for a year already filled with uncertainty and upheaval. It’s a rough one, I know. I am trying my very best to look past this day and moment to the things I can control (a mantra of mine this year!) I am also drinking lots of tea and eating chocolate.

October flew by. We had some good times! Time outside, exploring, with friends, with family as best we could. We even celebrated our first snow of the season with Chinese takeout, a long time tradition of ours! We splurged and ordered from a fancy Chinese restaurant in Detroit, The Peterboro. That bao was amazing…

This month Billy and I celebrate our 20th anniversary – tomorrow, actually! That is crazy to me. Aren’t we still just 20 years old? Lol. Then, my birthday is midmonth, on the 16th. I am not sharing that number though. We have some ideas in mind to make this month as special as we can despite the circumstances. I am busily putting together our lesson plans for the rest of the month and December, thinking of ways to socially distance and see our family, which in Michigan might get tricky with this weather, planning new creative projects to try. And it is pie month for Billy and I!

Whatever this month holds I am trying to keep looking forward and keep on keeping on.

Stay safe everyone!

Nonfiction November: Week 1 – A Year in Nonfiction

It is my second year participating in this challenge and I am very excited about it! I feel more prepared this year – last year was such an amazing experience and I was like a crazy kid let loose in a candy shop – all the books!! Week one takes a look back at your year in nonfiction, and is hosted by Leann @ Shelf Aware.

I have had a weird year of reading this year – I just couldn’t always focus on reading like normal. I still managed to read some fantastic books this year, including more nonfiction than I normally read.

Not tons, but I feel like this was a good amount for the reading year I had this year. By far, my favorite and most recommended nonfiction read this year was The Call of the Wild and Free. It was a book that resonated in my bones, and I knew that this was the journey I wanted to start with my son. I had a feeling we would be homeschooling this year, and then when I read Arment’s book, it brought everything together for me. Wyatt has cerebral palsy that mainly affects his mobility, with some developmental delays, and Arment said something in her book that just rang so true for me – that in the classroom, the focus is on the disability; at home, the focus is on ability. (I am paraphrasing here) I know that this is not the right solution or experience for everyone, but it works for us, at least right now.

It sparked a year of reading more books about homeschool and alternative types of schooling, about creativity and adventure. And I still have two more of this type on my shelf, waiting to be read. I have found inspiration not just for our homeschool, but also for our everyday lives in these books. It just works for us!

Last year, I was introduced to just how many fabulous nonfiction topics are out there waiting to be explored. There really is a book out there for everything, and for everyone. I think this year, I am just excited to see what everyone else is reading, what their interests are, and to maybe find a few new topics of interest to learn about as well. I also “met” so many new people and found new blogs – the community that arises from this event is incredible, and I am looking forward to that aspect as well!

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 good week last week! We spent a lot of the week preparing for the little Halloween party my sister-in-law was planning for the kids. It was small and outside, and masked. It was perfect for our kiddos to do something to celebrate the holiday. Wyatt went as a raven. Dinogirl was a butterfly, and my friend’s daughter was a mermaid. They painted pumpkins, made slime, and took turns hitting the pinata. We were home by 3, and we made nachos for dinner and watched The cartoon Legend of Sleepy Hollow followed by the Johnny Depp version. A different kind of Halloween but a good one.

Read Last Week:

So, I tried the Kelley Armstrong and couldn’t get into it. I think partly because I had just read a similar feeling book the week before that I hadn’t enjoyed – I will try reading A Stitch in Time again because I was actually enjoying the actual writing, just not the story line, if that makes sense. I ended up pulling an old favorite out and reading it.

Reading This Week:

Something about November makes me want to read moody water books, and this one looks fantastic. I am also reading a book for nonfiction November but I am going to share that at a later date.

Posted Last Week:

Homeschooling: Bat Week

Tiny Mini-Post: Edgar Allen Poe and Ravens study

The Wild Hunt

Watching:

We are watching Vexed (Acorn via Amazon) which is pretty funny and easy to watch, just what we wanted! We are also watching the Bake Off, of course, and Sherlock.

And that is from our corner of the world. Stay safe everyone!

Homeschooling: Bat Week!

Happy Halloween!!

I thought bats were the perfect choice for Halloween week! I love it when I learn along with Wyatt, and I learned some interesting things myself this week.

It was such an interesting topic I guess, that Miso wanted to learn too.

On Monday we talked about the parts of a bat, and we looked at a few different kinds of bats that live here in Michigan. There are around 1300 species of bat in the world; Michigan has nine different types living here. We did little bat number puzzles, a bat memory game using little bat cards I made, and read some books.

Tuesday we focused on the different types of homes bats make, what it means to be nocturnal, and echolocation. Then Wyatt made the cutest little bat caves!

Wednesday we talked about bats as pollinators. I loved this topic, of course, and I think we are going to plan a night garden for bats this year. Did you know bats are main pollinators of the cacao plant? We need them for chocolate everyone! Also agave and avocados, so thank a bat if you enjoy margaritas paired with guac and chips.. We also made brownies in preparation for our video chat tea party we were planning on having Thursday with my mom and niece, who were studying bats along with us all week.

I loved our little tea party! We ate our snacks, I read spooky nursery rhymes in honor of Halloween, and just chatted with each other. Dinogirl and Wyatt love to have show and tell over chat, so Mom and I kind of just sat there while they showed each other a bunch of stuff.

When I planned this week, I didn’t know it was also bat week for the NPS! So I had to last minute add some content for that of course. So we talked about Carslbad Caverns, a total bucket list trip for Billy and I, and about the mass bat exodus from the caves. One day! Wyatt also completed a Junior Ranger packet for Carlsbad Caverns and got his certificate, which felt sort of anti-climatic since it was all from our living room. When we visit one day we will do it again.

We also worked on a few other things, letters and the -at word family, math and history. We read books and watched videos and just had a good week. Next week is owl week, one I have been really looking forward to for a while. We love owls!

Resource Round-Up!

Bats Pack from In All You Do (free)

Bat Pollination from Fiddlesticks Education

Bat Cave Craft from Crystal McGinnis

Junior Ranger – Carlsbad Caverns

Books Read:

(This section contains Amazon Affiliate Links)

Nightsong || Bats at the Beach || Bats in the Band || Good Night Bat! Good Morning, Squirrel!

Listened to/Watched:

Earth Rangers Podcast – Big-Eared Bats and Big Cat Countdown

Wild Kratts – Bat in the Brownies

Bats Echolocation Song

And that is it for this week! Happy Halloween and stay safe!

Tiny Mini-Post: Edgar Allen Poe and Ravens Study

Ok so, this study was for me. I love Edgar Allen Poe and I figured it was Halloween, Wyatt likes birds, let’s just go for it – but kindergarten style.

This was a very small special unit study that took us just a few hours over two days. We spent some time discussing ravens, which Wyatt loved, so much so that it was what he decided he wanted to be for Halloween. We kept it simple, talking about how clever and smart these birds are, how they like to play and have been spotted sliding in the snow for fun, and about their distinguishing features. Then we made that cute little hand print raven! The next day, we tackled Poe. Basically, I summed up Poe’s life in a kid friendly manner, and about how he was a writer. Then we read a few books, and watched the Molly of Denali episode with a raven in it. And that was about it! The rest of the week we used some fun scarecrow inspired fall printables mixed in with our normal curriculum, and it all came together very nicely!

I almost didn’t post about his little mini-study, but I felt like the resources we used were wonderful, and wanted to share them.

Stephanie Hathaway Designs – The Common Raven Mini-Unit which includes information on Poe as well. I used a few printables that I felt would work best for Wyatt and then stored them all when we were done for another year.

Edgar and the Tattle Tale Heart by Jennifer Adams – This book is so cute! I love that it is series. I will be buying the rest! (Amazon affiliate link)

Rappin Tappin Halloween by Marylou Quillen – So this book was a fun find! Inspired by the Raven, it builds suspense in a very kid friendly way. Free if you have Kindle Unlimited, otherwise I think you can download it for $3.99! (Amazon Affiliate Link)

Handprint Raven – From Iheartcraftythings.com

And of course the Molly of Denali episode I mentioned, Return of the Ravens. There is a podcast too!

And there you have it! A little Poe from me to you on this gloomy day here in Michigan..

The Wild Hunt

A week ago I had an idea that very quickly snowballed and took shape – a Wild Hunt. I wanted something similar to geocaching, but for my fellow outdoor loving, hiking friends and family. When I mentioned it to Billy, we just started coming up with ideas left and right and started working on it immediately.

We quickly printed out this invite for the two family teams we were inviting, respectively named Team Veggiesaurus Rex and Team Unicorn Sparkles. We were Team Corvid, because Wyatt really enjoyed our ravens unit the other day and even picked a raven/crow costume for Halloween. We distributed them on a Wednesday, and gave them the basics: On the following Saturday we would text them a set of coordinates at noon, and the race would be on. There were three locations, and teams needed to put the clues back in place after finding them so that the other team could continue to play.

We really leaned into our team name too – Billy carved out a rough feather from a chunk of wood to use as a stamp for our clues, and it turned out really cool.

Early Saturday morning Wyatt, Billy, and I headed out to hide the clues. We had to start in reverse order in order to get the coordinates to put on each note, so we started with the spot we were going to hide the treasure. It was a very cold morning, especially near the water where we ended up. It wasn’t our first choice of a spot either actually – we got to the area where we planned to hide it and saw that one of the participating family’s car was there too – meaning they were somewhere in the woods! We had to change it up at the last minute and try to do it fast so that they didn’t see us; it added an extra sense of adventure and urgency!

It’s hiding spot was the stump – it turned out better than our original plan. After hiding it well, we scurried back to the car and headed to location #2! Wyatt was feeling a little tired and we were running short on time so Billy ran it out to the spot on the trail while Wyatt and I waited in the car.

Then it was on to spot one, the starting point, and this time all three of us trekked out to the spot together.

Then all we had to do was send out the group text with the reminder to leave the clues and to text me only when they found them. And they were off! They both found the first clue, no problems. But the second clue gave them a bit of a challenge – and they ended up looking for it together before Billy needed to call with a hint..

From there the teams headed off to the final spot, and the treasure! I love that they actually found it at the same time. I had a surprise for the kids – two treasures, one for each team, as I did not want any disappointed little treasure hunters!

The treasure itself was pretty simple but enough for little girls – some tiny little animals, and an assortment of polished crystals and such, like jade and moonstone. The teams decided who was going to do the next round, and we are all looking forward to it! We had a blast setting it up, and our friends had a great time doing it. Apparently the kids were so excited, which made me so happy as that was my goal all along.

And onward to the next Wild Hunt!

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 actually had activities on our calendar this week, two days in a row! On Friday we took a little trip to the pumpkin patch and on Saturday, we had our Wild Hunt, a little treasure hunt in the wild that Billy and I organized. Both were so much fun! I am planning a post on our Wild Hunt for midweek, and I am so excited to talk about it. We were also supposed to go to the library’s curbside trick-or-treat but Wyatt was pretty worn out and had fallen asleep so we missed it. I guess we are not used to doing so many things anymore! I also made bread last week, something I had on my bucket list! Check that box off! Now to keep it up. I also started prepping for Nonfiction November!

Read Last Week:

I had planned on reading The Once and Future Witches but for some reason the digital download would never work! It was very frustrating. I ended up reading The Haunting of Brynn Wilder, which I think was one of the free Amazon Prime Reads for the month. It was a little meh for me – enough to keep me reading but I felt like I kept waiting for the haunting to happen but it was a different sort of haunting and it felt very anti-climatic to me. I never really bought the relationship between the two main characters either, unfortunately.

Reading This Week:

I am looking forward to this one! I usually love Kelley Armstrong and my husband and I are mini-book clubbing this one together. I am reading it, he is listening to it. It has been a while since we have done this so I am excited.

Posted Last Week:

Homeschooling; Pumpkin Week

A Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Spooky, Creepy, Dark and Twisty: My October Podcast List

Watching:

I can’t believe this, but we are watching Father Brown again. We just haven’t found a replacement for it yet. We are also watching Sherlock, which we are LOVING, My Dream Farm with Monty Don, Unsolved Mysteries Season 2, the Great British Baking Show, and I really want to try The Haunting of Bly Manor although I am nervous to start it because although I can read scary things, and listen to scary things, I am a wimp when watching scary things. And we are heading into the Halloween home stretch now, woohoo! Our Halloween is going to be different this year, but still fun. Chrissy is planning a little mini party, social distanced, for our kids that will have pre-made treat bags, pumpkin painting, Halloween Bingo, and hopefully a pinata, if Billy can pull it off!

Have a safe and fun week everyone!

Homeschooling: Pumpkin Week!

As we move further into fall and closer to Halloween, we have been tailoring our special unit studies to the season. This week, we studied pumpkins!

As you can see, I had many on hand for us to physically use in our study. Wyatt learned about the parts of a pumpkin, the life cycle of a pumpkin, and completed pumpkin themed worksheets. We did not get to our craft or other activities this week though due to our field trip and the planning of our Wild Hunt! (soon to be explained..)

One thing that Wyatt loves is to play memory matching games, and I find them so helpful in teaching him the vocabulary for that unit and also to work on his speech! He is doing amazing with speech lately, talking so much.

We have also been focusing a lot on letters and sight word reading – I get so excited when he recognizes words! Not many yet, but it is a start and one I am so proud of. Things come a little less easy to this kid with his delays and so every little thing is so celebrated here.

We did a fun pumpkin letter patch, and then matched upper case to lower case letters with a very fall theme.

Then we finished our week with a trip to the pumpkin patch! It was a family/homeschool field trip, as both kids were learning about pumpkins this week, and we had a blast.

Next week we turn our attention to bats!

Resource Round-Up!

Pumpkin Life Cycle Printables – 123 Homeschool 4 Me

Pumpkin Unit Study – Stephanie Hathaway Designs

Books We Read:

And that sums up our week! I am excited to start bat week next week!

As a reminder, here is our regular curriculum that we do in addition to the special unit studies every week.

Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

One of our most beloved family traditions every year is our trip to the pumpkin patch and orchard. We have been doing it since I was a little girl, when we would go with my cousin and follow it up with chili for dinner and cake to celebrate my uncle’s birthday. This year, it almost didn’t happen, for obvious reasons. But the kids have been studying pumpkins all week and we needed to find a way we felt comfortable going, if possible.

So we did! Billy, Devin, and Chrissy took a day off of work for our “field trip” this year, we got up early so we could arrive right when it opened, and we chose to go one of our favorite orchards, one that is a favorite because it is just about the pumpkins there. No rigmarole or fair like atmosphere – just an orchard, pumpkins, and for adults, a hard cider tasting room, where they make the cider onsite. We didn’t do any tasting this year but we definitely bought some to go.

We pulled up around the same time almost exactly, and headed off through the grounds, which we had all to ourselves. We kept our masks on, as good practice for the kids, and my mom as well, and maintained our distances although it was just us.

Well, us and this dog. He was with us our whole excursion and didn’t stray too far from my niece’s side. He lives there and decided to hang out with us.

It was an absolutely glorious morning – sunny, warm, a bit crisp. The perfect day for our adventure. We messed about in the orchard, laughed about our dog friend and honorary group member – we are the James Herriot Primary school after all..

Then we headed to the store area to shop for our gourds and pumpkins and all the good things. All the pumpkins were really up there so no picking through the patch for one but that is ok, much easier to lug them the two feet back to the car then all that way. We did have to run in to pay and to pick up our cider, and I also added a jar of honey from their hives to my order.

And the dog’s name turned out to be “Greater”. All Creatures Great and Small, anyone?

Happy Fall everyone!