Wolfenoote!

Happy Howly Wolfenoote!

Wolfenoote is a holiday that was imagined by a little boy across the world from me. A holiday he created to honor wolves and also people kind to dogs. It is a simple holiday really – eat roast meat, enjoy a cake made to look like a moon, and if you are a dog lover or kind to dogs, you can hide gifts in your house for loved ones to find. Our family thought this was a fabulous way to spend the day after Thanksgiving, and had a great time making this new holiday a new family tradition! 

We began our celebrations at the Detroit Zoo, where we went to visit the two wolves that live there, Wazi and Kaska. We took our time warming up in the log cabin that houses a photograph gallery that is meant to dispel myths of the danger of wolves and to educate people about this beautiful animal. We usually breeze through, but today really took our time looking around at the exhibit, as well as at Wazi and Kaska. They are both stunning, but Wazi is gorgeous with her white coat. The top photo I took of her in the summer, today they were both taking a nap near the front of the acreage, as the zoo has dedicated two acres to their habitat. 

Afterwards, my husband ate “roast meat” (an Arby’s roast beef sandwich lol) alone, as I am a vegetarian and Wyatt doesn’t like it, but the spirit was there for all of us. And later we opted to decorate sugar cookies with white frosting to make our moons, as cake was just a little too much today after the eating excesses of yesterday.

We also decided in lieu of gifts for ourselves, that we would “adopt” a wolf from the Wolf Conservation Center in New York. They dedicate themselves to educating people about wolves, “their relationship to the environment and the human role in protecting their future.” They are home to three packs of wolves – their Ambassador wolves, Mexican Gray Wolves, and Red Wolves. There are only 114 Mexican Gray wolves left in the wild, and zero Red Wolves. Yep, zero. They were declared extinct in the wild in 1980, and efforts have been made to get these wolves onto a road of recovery. 20 wolves reside at the Conservation Center. The story is a sad but interesting one, if you want to read about it on their site. 

My son is currently choosing between “adopting” Zephyr or Trumpet – although all are adorable and equally deserving. Once the decision has been made, I will have to update! Here they are if you want to read about them. **Update- Wyatt chose Zephyr, and gave his photo a kiss even. Lol.

Zephyr
I think this guy is a handsome one!

We had a great time with this holiday, and it was kind of fun to do something so different. And I really loved that this came from the mind of a 7 year old boy. 

Happy Wolfenoote! 

Book Review: Snowlicious

snowlicious I received a free review copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary:

A fun, flirty friends-to-lovers holiday romance. ❄️
Snow’s falling, carolers are singing, and holiday lights are twinkling. It’s the most wonderful time of the year to get out of the friend zone…

At least that’s what Mike is hoping. But his best friend, Thea, is seriously lacking in holiday spirit. In fact, she’s hot-and-bothered in the wrong way when her ex steals her entry in the Festival of Trees competition. Now, she needs to find the Best Tree Ever so she can win the competition before her florist shop loses business.

The catch? Thea’s using this opportunity to exert her independence and stand up for herself, but Mike can’t pass up the chance to play Secret Santa and lend her a helping hand.

Such an expression of holiday giving couldn’t possibly backfire, right?

My Thoughts: 

This short and sweet little book was a great holiday read. Fast and fun,  an easy way to slide into your holiday reading slowly.

Mike and Thea have been friends since childhood – yet they have begun wanting more than just friendship from each other, and while Mike is ready to cross that line of friendship into something more, he is not sure that Thea is. But the magic of Christmas time makes everyone hopeful and brave with the promise of the season, and Mike is willing to go the extra mile to show Thea that will do anything for her. Including giving her the opportunity to decorate his firm’s Christmas tree in the annual competition, after her own tree is snatched away from her by her ex.

I really loved these two characters, and they had some serious chemistry. I enjoyed how fun loving and realistic these two felt – sometimes you read characters that seem like people you could bump into on the street, and Thea and Mike felt that way to me. This book was a great escapism and the snowy imagery was perfect.

All in all, a fun little read! I want to find the other books in this series now!

 

Perfect Pairings – A Book and Toy Holiday Gift Guide!

It’s the holiday season! And if you are anything like me, you are not the shopping type! Lol. I don’t like to go shopping, and so I do 99.9% of my shopping for the holidays online. I don’t even Black Friday shop – that sounds terrifying! However, my husband and sister-in-law go every year together, early in the morning – my brother and I usually meet up for breakfast later in the morning. This year, I have more kiddos than ever to shop for – and isn’t that the best part of Christmas? The joy on kids’ faces is what makes Christmas, whether it is from the sheer wonder of the season, the decorations, the excitement, the family get togethers, and of course, for kids, no matter what we think or teach, it is in part, the presents. I mean, they are kids. It’s fine. I teach minimalism and mindfulness and all that to Wyatt but he is still 3, and toys are awesome. And that is fine too. There is always a balance! 

I love a good theme. I can’t help it. I like when my presents all match a central idea I have. And I thought I would share some of my ideas with you! I of course, always give a book. My cousin’s two children, the oldest in our family of kids, know without a doubt that their gift from me will contain a book. But I also love to pair the book with another gift, a toy or something else that goes with the book (gloves and Little Women for example, for older kids!) to kind of round it out. This year, I have my son, my three little nieces, two nephews, and a few of my cousin’s children to buy for. And I have had a great time compiling some ideas! Most of these are items I have bought for Wyatt or have on my list for another kiddo! 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for Usborne Books, a company I completely stand behind and love their products. If you buy something through one of these links, you won’t pay any more, but I will receive a small commission. I put an * next to the affiliate links. All other links are not affiliate. Thanks!!

For the Stargazer:

  1. GeoSafari Jr. My First Telescope   2. What Are Stars? book by Usborne* 3. Moon by Britta Teckentrup   4. Phases of the Moon Peg Dolls   5. Uncle Goose Constellation Blocks   6. Lottie Stargazer Doll 

For the Artist:

  1. Faber Castell Beeswax Crayons   2. The Day the Crayons Quit   3. Paint Me a Picture* by Usborne  4.  U.S. Paint Supply No Spill Cups  5.  The Usborne Big Book of Colors*   6.  Melissa and Doug Tabletop Easel

For the Dinosaur Lover

  1. Fossil Hunter Lottie Doll    2.  Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs  3. Dinosuar Party by Melissa and Doug  4. Melissa and Doug Dinosaur Play Rug  5. Dinosaurs Before Dark  6. Usborne Dinosaur Activity Pack*

For the Little Naturalist

  1. Melissa and Doug Binoculars   2.  An Extraordinary Ordinary Moth  3. Bug Hotel by Usborne*   4.  Melissa and Doug Bag of Bugs   5.  Melissa and Doug Bug C (just remember to free them!)  6.  Birdhouse by Usborne*

And there you have it! There are of course so many themes and options and books out there to choose from, these are just a few of mine. Have fun avoiding the crowds! 

My Sunday-Monday Post

 

First, my heart is breaking for all of those suffering in the fires. I just cry over the news these days, as I am sure many of you do as well. I am planning on becoming more of an activist for our environment – I have always done what I could, I’m a vegetarian, recycle, use sustainable goods when I can, but I can be much better and much more active.

We celebrated my birthday yesterday, and it was just a small little family dinner out, which was nice. Today we went to the Detroit Institute of Arts with my brother and his family, which was great. Wyatt seemed to enjoy it, until naptime came and went and we were still there. Then he got a bit cranky… Tomorrow morning Billy and I are having a date morning, and going for a hike while Wyatt hangs out with his grandma at home. I am looking forward to an invigorating walk in the woods, to clear my head and and relax!

Read Last Week:

I finished up Virgil Wander – hands down one of my favorite books of the year. Absolutely loved it. And now,  I definitely want to fly a kite at night in the middle in the snow.

I also read Snowlicious, a short and sweet little romance. It was a great read to follow up my two more serious books! Quick and easy and fun. And snow! Review this week.

And finally, The Glorious Life of the Oak by my favorite nature writer John Lewis-Stempel. I ordered this book and had to wait two weeks or so for it to come in from England. I was so excited to read it, and I loved it! Another short and quick read, all about, well, the life of the Oak. Lol. I found it pretty interesting! I had planned to read Heart Berries, which sounds amazing, but also heartbreaking. I couldn’t deal with more sad this week, so I skipped it for now. I will go back to it because it does look really good.

Reading This Week:

house of dreams

I am starting this book about L.M. Montgomery this week – as well as trying to read Anne of Green Gables again. I think I am more in the mood for it than I was last time.

Watching:

Riverdale, Reign, YouTube junk and that is about it. Not much tv happening over here.

Posted Last Week:

Book Review: Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane

 

How about all of you? What is happening in your corner of the world?

Book Review: Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane

snowfall on lighthouse lane

Goodreads Summary:

Lose yourself in the magic, charm and romance of Christmas in the Pacific Northwest as imagined in JoAnn Ross’s heartwarming Honeymoon Harbor series. 

Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, Jolene Harper is forever indebted to the mother who encouraged her to fly—all the way to sunny LA and a world away from Honeymoon Harbor. Although Jolene vowed never to look back, returning home isn’t even a question when her mom faces a cancer scare. Which means running into Aiden Mannion all over town, the first boy she ever loved—and lost—and whom she can barely look in the eye.

Aiden’s black-sheep reputation may have diminished when he joined the marines, but everything he’s endured since has left him haunted. Back in Honeymoon Harbor to heal, he’s talked into the interim role of police chief, and the irony isn’t lost on the locals, least of all Aiden. But seeing Jolene after all these years is the unexpected breath of fresh air he’s been missing. He’s never forgotten her through all his tours, but he’s not sure anymore that he’s the man she deserves.

Despite the secret they left between them all those years ago, snow is starting to fall on their picturesque little town, making anything seem possible…maybe even a second chance at first love.

My Thoughts:

This book was the perfect start to a holiday reading season line up. It’s not a Christmas book, although, Christmas movies of the Hallmark sort are talked about! It was a fun, easy read about starting over and reconnecting with the “one that got away”.

I thought Aiden’s character was great – a real hero, the epitome of what a sheriff of a small town should act like.  Returning to Honeymoon Harbor from a stint in the military and then as a cop in LA, he finds that being a sheriff of the town he grew up in suits him. He cares about his community, the people he serves, and despite the fact that he used to be a big city detective, he takes his new position very seriously. He is a family man, cares about animals, and is just a good guy. His past haunts him however, both in his professional life and the memory of the rebellious boy that he used to be, and he has some demons to work through and figure out. Jolene is a bit too blithe for me, or lacking something. I had a hard time connecting with her character – she didn’t seem to care much about some major things that happened to her at the beginning of the book, and it was kind of weird. She, like Aiden, is returning to Honeymoon Harbor after a long time living away, to be with her mother during a health scare. She is on the brink of beginning a new chapter in her career life as well, and is able to use her time back home to gather what she needs and really think about her options.

The two find that their connection is just as strong as ever, and can’t be denied. Both have ties to their past still lingering, and must deal with these issues as well.

Honestly, that is my only complaint about this book. I felt that there were way too many threads and plot lines going on – I think it really watered the book down a bit. Had there been fewer, Ross would have been able to really flesh out the ideas that were left. As it was, I felt some of the issues were a bit throw away, and when they would pop up I would be like, “oh yeah, I totally forgot about that”.

Otherwise, this book is a good solid read to put you in the holiday spirit without going overboard before the holidays, if you are waiting until after Thanksgiving to dive headfirst into the winter holidays. It is not a Christmas romance, but they do celebrate Thanksgiving!

 

Thanks for Little Bird Publicity for the chance to read and review this fun holiday read! I received a complimentary review copy from Little Bird Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

My Sunday-Monday Post

Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date
I didn’t get as much reading done as I wanted to last week, but I did get more family time in. So I guess it was a good trade. 🙂 We just did some little things, but sometimes that is all you need.
Read Last Week:
I am almost done with Virgil Wander. I love it!! It is one of those books that you know you are going to love the minute you open it and start reading. Just the writing alone!
I made some headway with Braiding Sweetgrass. I love it, but it is slow reading for me, and sometimes I just need to escape when I read, and last week was one of those weeks. I am still reading it, but it’ll probably show up on my blog here for a while. Lol.
Reading This Week:

Two totally different type books, and I am excited about both of them! I going to finish up Virgil then move on to these. Heart Berries is only 143 pages and Snowlicious is only 107 pages so they are both pretty short reads.

Posted Last Week:

Finding a Morning Rhythm

Snapshot Saturday

Watching:

We are watching Riverdale (whoa!), Sabrina, Reign (just me), Lore, and the Great British Bake Off! I love that show. I think we are going to start baking more on Sundays, especially as it gets colder – and it has already snowed, so I think that time isn’t far off.