Vloggers to chill out to

This year, more than ever, our house has had to find new routines and be flexible. While Billy is at work, Wyatt and I are pretty much at home all day, doing our thing – homeschool, art, playing. All that good stuff. And we have a great time together. But Wyatt is an extrovert, like his dad. He is nonstop, go go go all day, and his speech has improved like crazy this year, which is awesome and amazing and I love it. But as an introvert, there are days that by the time Billy gets home that I need some quiet alone time to decompress just from all the chatter and play. I love my child more than anything in this world, but mama needs a break sometimes!

So, on those nights, after dinner is done and all cleaned up, Billy starts bath time and I take a glass of red wine or a cup of mint tea, and hide myself away for a bit. To take a much needed deep quiet breath, and just chill, quiet my mind. In these moments I am too scattered to read, I don’t want to watch a television show, and I have found that Youtube works perfectly to fill the transition for me from go go go get it all done to evening and calm down time (that is what I call it for Wyatt- calm down time). I have found a few that are so quiet, gentle, and serene. I just sip my beverage and watch and listen. They are soothing and picturesque and inspiring.

The first is Fairyland Cottage. Her beautiful lilting accent, her slow way of living, her home and lifestyle make her videos a treat to watch. She shares about simple, quiet living, minimalism, nature, plants – all things that I love. And she makes tea a lot and I weirdly love the sounds of tea being made. I think it makes me think of when I was a little girl, and I would wake up and hear my mom in the kitchen, making her own tea, remembering that safe feeling I had knowing I was warm and cozy and my mom was there.

Another Youtube vlogger I enjoy has a similar name! The Cottage Fairy. Her videos are so beautiful, full of majestic landscapes, snow, meadows, books, dogs, and her bunny Mr. Darcy. She is an artist and a teacher and loves reading and lives in a tiny house. She also talks about living a very simple lifestyle. She painted a running rabbit over one of her doorways, and it looks so cute. I think I am going to ask Billy to do that here…lol.

The next one is a little less solitary and slow living, but still is very soothing to watch most of the time. Trout and Coffee is a young guy just kind of living the best life, in nature, vintage cars, great experiences. And good coffee too apparently. His videos have spectacular shots of landscapes, the kinds that make people dream.

These are my top three favorites for taking a beat, decompressing, restoring some peace and quiet in myself before getting back to it. Sometimes we just need the space to be able to take a deep breath and relax for a few. This is a gentle escapism. Just grab your tea and a blanket and get cozy, and turn off for a minute.

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

The past few weeks have seen some changes around here! Wyatt lost his first tooth (and swallowed it!), our dishwasher died and we decided to not replace it, Billy is still working away on the office, and as of the time that this post goes live, we will have a new creature added to our household. All you southerners, especially Floridians, will laugh – we are adopting an anole tonight. Going to the pet store for crickets and mealworms is dangerous. I might need to go to a different pet store. Last time my friend Kelly ended up with another frog, this time its us, and anoles. I saw them and they are so scared and stressed out! I read they turn grey/brown when upset, and these poor babies are brown. They are only a few dollars each, and I have all of the supplies needed for one so I am going back later. I spent this afternoon cleaning up Harry’s old tank and accessories for it. *Updated* I went and got one! We named him Dash. He’s like the one from Death in Paradise!

Read Last Week:

I finally finished my books!

I enjoyed them both so much! I hope to get a review of at least Wintering up soon.

Reading this Week:

I have heard so much about Brene Brown and I have never read her before. I am looking forward to this one! And I started The Tourist Attraction already and it is a fun little read. The main character Graham, reminds me of Luke from Gilmore Girls.

Posted Last Week:

Currently, February

Full Wolf Moon Howl

January Wrap-Up

Watching:

All Creatures Great and Small and The Hardy Boys this week. I have also been watching a lot of YouTube people. I have found some great quiet, relaxing people to watch. I plan to share them this week!

And that is it from here this week! Stay safe and well everyone!

Currently… February

It is time for Anne In Residence’s monthly Currently post where we answer one word prompts about different things we are doing and feeling. I always love the insight I gain from these, taking inventory of my own life. Let’s begin!

Loving: All the plants right now. I read somewhere that plants make people happy and they really do! At least our house feels so cheery now with all of our green and life. I am also loving that so many people I love and care about have completed or at least started getting the vaccine. One of my best friends is a respiratory therapist who worked through one of the earliest hotspots and she has completed her vaccine, which makes me sigh with relief. My dad, my stepmom, my aunt and uncle have all begun the process. My mom is still waiting for her invite to get one. Hopefully soon! We are also really enjoying doing some redecorating in our rooms – it’s been a long time since we have and everything just feels happy and cozy!

Reading: I read so much non-fiction last month! This month I am going for a little bit lighter reads – this one looks so cute!

Wishlisting: I am always wishlisting stuff! I buy stuff without a second thought for the kiddo; for myself (unless it is a plant these days, but that is cheaper than therapy..) I wait. Right now my wishlist is full of art for our office redo and also a Lore t-shirt from the Etsy store JunipersDen. I am a patron of JuniperFox and all the animals that live within that sanctuary, and my favorite little werewolf looking fox Lore passed away last week. The shirt is on backorder right now but I have it on my list!

Fancy Fox Art by FainaLorah || Wild Rabbit Lino Print by RoseAgarDesigns ||Lore T-shirt from JunipersDen

Remembering: My aunt Barbara. We had such a close relationship my whole life and I still can’t believe she is gone. I still reach for the phone to call her, I still hear her laugh. I miss her with my whole heart. Monday would have been her birthday; February 12 is the anniversary of her passing. I miss her and think about her all the time, but this month more so.

Sharing: Just recently, these groundhog cupcakes I made for Groundhog’s Day! I made a bunch and handed them out to my niece Dinogirl, the little neighbor girls, and my friend Kelly’s daughters. (and Kelly) I got the idea from Beauty in Ordinary Things. These were a lot of fun to make, but more fun to eat!

What about you? What have you been loving, reading, wishlisting, remembering, and sharing?

Full Wolf Moon Howl

Two years ago I signed us up for the Kids Moon Club, an online “year-long journey and community tied not to keeping up, but looking up.” I wanted Wyatt to be a part of something, to have some sense of belonging to a group, even an online community. And this was such a good choice. The community of people are amazing and gracious and joyful, artistic and sharing and lovers of nature as we are. And the first year that we participated Wyatt made some tremendous gains, saying some of his very first words – snow and moon. February is the month of the full snow moon, it will always be a little special to me for that reason, but January is the full wolf moon, which is always just fun honestly.

We spent our homeschool day learning about Arctic wolves. They are beautiful majestic creatures for sure. Then we made Wolf Paw cookies, while singing along to the Snow album from the Okee Dokee Brothers, with special emphasis on the song Howl, of course. For dinner we had a very meat centric meal, to be wolflike, with pot roast and meatballs on the menu. (Wyatt loves meatballs) And of course, enjoyed our cookies afterwards.

There was to be a collective howl at 7 pm for the full wolf moon, and I invited my family to howl along from their homes, which sounds pretty odd but it was fun. It was kind of neat to know that we were all doing the same thing together, at the same time. I kind of get why wolves do it. (Although you can see Marlow wasn’t too big of a fan) But the fun wasn’t over yet. We cuddled up on the couch all tumbledy-cozy under blankets, Wyatt still wearing his little hat I made, and read Wyatt’s Gray Wolf letter that was his letter for the month from the Writings from the Wild subscription he has. It was super cute honestly, and really interesting. We talked about how the wolves use their tails to block the cold from their noses, and compared it to how our fluffy cat Miso does the same thing, curls all up tight with her tail in front of her face.

After we read our letter, it was time to choose which wolf we were going to symbolically adopt from the Wolf Conservation Center in New York! A bucket list item for me is to camp there, with the wolves. You don’t actually get to camp with them, but close to them which would be so fun! After COVID I am moving that up the list. Every year we choose a wolf to “adopt” – the first year we picked Zephyr, the second year Deven, and then this year Wyatt picked Lighthawk, a Mexican Gray Wolf.

Over the course of the month, I explored the world of wolves myself. I listened to the Lupinology podcast on Ologies with Alie Ward, which was so fascinating I listened to it twice. Then I watched the mini-documentary Call of the Coastal Wolves, about the sea wolves of Vancouver Island, which was beautifully done. I plan on reading more about these interesting creatures. Paul Nicklen, a National Geographic photographer, joined them on this journey. I follow Nicklen on Instagram and his photos are otherworldly and gorgeous.

We have a few more activities left to complete before the new snow moon moves in, the forest story and our wolf coloring page, but overall this has been a fun month. We are looking forward to the snow moon of February!

January Wrap Up!

I started these wrap up posts sort of last year, then abandoned it in March. I was doing book tallies, with how much I saved by using the library but with our library being closed for half the year last year, it didn’t quite work out. So, I am bringing this back, in just a smaller, different way. I always love reading everyone else’s versions of these and I think this will be fun to look back on at the end of the year.

Books Read

Not many – it was a slow reading month for me! However, in a first for me, every book that I finished was non-fiction!

Movies Watched

I loved every movie we watched this month. We always kick off the year with a rewatch of The Big Year, one of my favorites ever. We watch it every New Years Day! I also watched two Lily James movies and didn’t even intend to. She was just all over my tv this month. Rebecca and The Dig are available on Netflix; The Secret Garden and The Big Year are available on Amazon.

Recipes Made

So I had determined that I was going to return to cooking and baking this year, after letting meals become repetitive and easy last year. And so far so good! I hate every photo I take of food, so I am going to share the photos from the OG blogger and chef that created them instead – it will do the dishes the justice they deserve.

Chickpea and Dumpling Soup || One Pan Greek Lemon Chicken || Ultimate Slow Cooker Pot Roast || Lemon Garlic Butter Salmon with Olives and Feta

I was a vegetarian for twenty years until last year – it just became too hard, my child was always under the growth charts in weight and only wanted to eat meat, my husband is a meat eater, and I decided to make my life a little easier with cooking and make one meal instead of two every night. So for now, I am eating meat and it is weird, it is the first time in my adult life I have ever made it. So it is full of experimentation. I also love anything with lemon or olives or feta, I am really into that flavor profile, and so is Billy, so that is a bonus. I have to be honest, we had the salmon last night and it was fantastic. But then tonight we fried up the leftovers, scrambled up some eggs, and put it all on tortillas and it was amazing. I am so full right now. That was hands down my favorite of the month – we got it in right in time to make the January list! It was good to get back in the kitchen and play around again.

How about you all? Eating anything good? Watched any good movies? What are you reading?

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 busy! We finished up our Arctic month of learning, worked on a few rooms of our house and sprucing them up, and then celebrated the full wolf moon with the Kids Moon Club. I also visited the cutest little houseplant store and picked up a pinstripe calathea for myself and then noticed they had a mini monstera which my sister-in-law has been looking for so I grabbed that one up too. I have two plants on order and I think I am good for now – until my office is done I am out of room for more! We are in the final stages of getting it done and I am so excited!

Read Last Week:

Last week by the time I got a chance to read I was falling asleep after ten minutes so I didn’t get too far, so I am still reading the same books! I am almost done though, so close!

Posted Last Week:

Homeschool: The Arctic Weeks 3 & 4

Galentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Brief Thoughts on Recent Reads

Watching and Listening:

We are still watching All Creatures Great and Small, I love it to pieces. We are also watching Secrets of the Castle on Amazon Prime as we have found we really like these historical shows about life in different eras. This one has the same people that are on Wartime Farm, Edwardian Farm, and Victorian Farm so that is a bonus. We are also watching The Hardy Boys and are finishing up The Queen’s Gambit which is amazing. Anya Taylor-Joy is gorgeous and does such a fantastic job. For our movie night last night we watched The Dig with Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes, and Billy and I absolutely loved it. I was pretty emotional yesterday for a bunch of reasons and that movie actually made me a bit teary in different parts. It was excellent.

As for podcasts, I am still listening to a bunch of true crime – Morbid and Redhanded mostly. I am also still listening to Ologies and Lore as well. Speaking of Lore.. my favorite little fox Lore from the Juniper Fox lady died Thursday night from surgery complications. I woke up to that news on Friday and it made me teary as well. He was such a cute little werewolf fox and had come such a long way!

So that is my news from around here. Stay safe and well everyone, and have a good week!

Homeschool: The Arctic Weeks 3 & 4

We are saying farewell to the Arctic today, finishing up a few last fun activities (a snow morphing arctic adventure and arctic animal track scavenger hunt) before moving on next week, and I think I am going to be sad. We had such a good time with this theme this month! It was a great way to start the year.

The past two weeks we learned about arctic foxes (my favorite), harp seals, beluga whales, walruses, and arctic wolves, which I timed to learn about on the night of the full wolf moon. We had quite a bit of fun with the art projects – the little salt dough clay seal turned out as cute as the narwhal did, the walrus was a fun thrown together project, and the fox was fun but sort of messy, which everyone hated. My mom and my niece do the same theme with us every month, which makes it more fun honestly. We have video chats once a week where the kids can show off their projects and work to each other and it is just a nice end to the week. Then they digress into showing off their toys and then being silly, but that is ok – they miss playing with each other!

We did a small “research” project, kindergarten style, at the end of the month, where each kid picked their favorite animal that we had studied and did a special paper on that animal, to kind of check what they remembered, etc. My niece chose the harp seal as her favorite, and Wyatt picked the narwhal, our very first animal that we did. He loved the arctic animal yoga we did this month too – I have to admit I liked the arctic hare pose and the beluga whale breathing as well. Lol. He will randomly and spontaneously do the narwhal pose, and it is so cute to hear him say it. Dinogirl’s favorite switched throughout the month, from narwhal to fox to seal, before settling on seal- Wyatt was pretty sold on either narwhal or polar bears the entire month. It was also a good month for speech for us, with a few really great breakthroughs.

We read quite a few books, but both kids loved the book Arctic White, and I agree it is a wonderful one. In the book, the girl and her grandfather live in an igloo, so we discussed how an igloo is a traditional home that is not really a home type anymore, that the Indigenous People of the arctic live in permanent, modern housing like Molly of Denali does. We did talk about igloos and their construction which was interesting, I learned a new word, catenary, which is the curve that an igloo forms – not a half circle shape. The kids thought a house made of snow was really cool, no pun intended. We tried our hand at building igloos out of sugar cubes. Wyatt and I were not successful, despite much trying…

My mom and niece were better engineers – my mom figured out a support system. She is much better at that sort of thing than I am.

We were planning on finishing up our unit by taking a field trip to the zoo to see the polar bears and wolves and the arctic fox but coincidentally, arctic air moved into the area and it is so cold! I didn’t feel comfortable taking Wyatt out into it, so I made new reservations for Valentines Day. We are also supposed to get a snowstorm tonight – the perfect entrance for our month long unit on snow and snowmen and all things winter!

Resource Round-Up!

Note: If printables include penguins, save those for a separate unit, as they live in the South Pole, not North

Little Spark Arctic Animals

Preschool Mom Arctic Animals

Arctic Animal Fun Pack

Arctic Animals Like Cold book

Arctic Animals Learning Pack

Books:

(Contains Amazon Affiliate Links)

In Arctic Waters || Baby Beluga || Arctic White

Videos, Art, Experiments and Extras:

Build animal dens out of mini marshmallows

Build igloo from sugar cubes

Paper Plate Arctic Fox

Wild Kratt’s episodes: Horn and Tusk Power, Baby Tooth

Kids Teaching Kids Harp Seal

Wild Explorers Arctic Fox

Arctic Animals Who’s That

Welcome to the Ice House Read Aloud

Canadian Encyclopedia “Igloos”

How to Build an Igloo

Galentine’s Day Gift Ideas

February can feel so gray and dreary and long, especially if you are in a northern state, and Valentine’s Day is like the pink and red burst of cheer right in the middle. Like a rainbow on a rainy day, it makes what could be a gloomy day, happy!

Now, we don’t go crazy for Valentine’s Day. Just little things to make each other smile, maybe a special breakfast with the boy (I am thinking waffle hearts this year!), a fancy dessert at dinner, but just something to make the day a good one.

This year, I don’t even have to buy Valentine’s stuff for Wyatt’s class and teachers and other staff, since I am homeschooling. We did buy Valentine’s for him to give to his cousins and also his friend Eloise; he is super into painting right now, and he picked out Valentine’s that included a little tray of watercolor paints. They are super cute and I know he is excited to hand them out. Then I started wondering just what I was going to get Billy, and my friends this year too for Galentine’s Day. I don’t usually get them anything, but I would not have made it through this year without them! And we could all use a pick me up, especially now! So during quiet time today, I did a little online window shopping and found some super cute things for less than twenty dollars each!

Sterling Silver Strawberry Earrings || Pink Princess Philodendron Pin || Scrunchie || Otter Enamel Pin

I guess I was really thinking pink when I was looking! I am in love with all of these honestly. Those little strawberry stud earrings make me think of the 80s and summertime, but in a more grown up way. And I am all about enamel pins right now – they are so shiny and colorful! I love the Pink Princess Philodendron pin, because we are all of a sudden plant people, and even a cutting for one of those plants is like $300! Then these lovely soft scrunchies! The one that says “You’re like REALLY pretty” cracks me up. My niece bought me a Christmas scrunchie from her Secret Santa at school last year, and I love it for showering on days when I am skipping my hair. And finally, these super adorable otters! I love that otters hold hands when sleeping so they don’t drift away from each other.

Be the Sunshine Enamel Pin || Rainbow Planters || Pinky Promise Tee || Variegated String of Hearts || How to be a Wildflower

Ok, I told you I am obsessed with little enamel pins right now – and that Be the Sunshine is so perfect. Sometimes we have to be the light that we are looking for. The rainbow planters are just adorable, and would look so happy with a cute little succulent hanging out in it on a desk or counter. That pinky promise tee is adorable as well – it makes me think of all the crazy conversations and laughs I have had with my crew over the years. And that plant!! If you are a plant person, you know. A variegated string of hearts! What! It is so pretty and I love it.. Finally, Katie Daisy’s book, How to be a Wildflower. I have this book and I love it. It is an inspiration and a spark of whimsy and color and cheer when you need it.

I am missing my friends like crazy this year! We were supposed to take a girls trip to Mackinac/Mission Point this fall that has been postponed, our monthly book clubs, our nights out, lunches, brunches. Just hanging out in each other’s houses! We have zoom calls now, but hopefully when the weather breaks we will be able to get together again at least in backyards. For now I see them from six feet apart and for as long as we can stand the cold or virtually through a screen. Hopefully one day soon we will be out again together!

Brief Thoughts on Recent Reads

The Twenty-Ninth Day by Alex Messenger: This book completely blew me away. First Alex is seventeen years old, and in the Canadian Tundra with a group of friends, The Hommes, on a 600 mile canoe trip. Yep, 600 miles by canoe folks. And then on day 29, he is attacked by a grizzly, and survives. I have to admit, I felt like I was on this trip. We are treated as readers to the first twenty-eight days of the canoe trip – it’s ups and downs, ins and outs, the beauty and the physicality and fun that this trip was. The joy of the meals in the evening, the feeling of accomplishment – that is itself is an interesting read. (and reminds me of one of my favorite authors to read, Pam Houston) Then mix in the grizzly attack and the book becomes next level. The strength, mental and physical, that Messenger displays in this book is amazing and admirable and I would have been crying for my mom immediately, and wouldn’t shame anyone else for doing it either. I don’t want to give anything away so I won’t go into too much detail, but I was mighty impressed. And also by his friends, especially Dan, who was the leader of the group and a trained Wilderness First Responder, and had to treat Alex’s wounds in the middle of nowhere with limited supplies. Fantastic read! (Amazon Affiliate Link)

Dark Salt Clear by Lamorna Ash: Another stellar read. Ash feels herself drawn to the Cornish village and cove that she is named after and heads there to learn more about the people who earn their lives on the cold sea, fishing. I loved reading about a way of life that I knew really nothing about; I’ve sung along to sea shanties, I’ve watched The Deadliest Catch, I know every word to Billy Joel’s Downeaster Alexa, but really didn’t know what the lives of these men and women are like. And I loved learning through Ash’s eyes and experiences aboard the different ships, the different people she encountered. I was struck by one part in particular, where Ash works overnight in the fish sorting warehouse for the morning market – and the other workers talk about the monotony of the job, about how it is a way for fisherman to stay connected to their call of the sea even when they can no longer go out, how they sleep only a few hours in the day so that they don’t become shadow people. This is a beautifully written book about something that doesn’t maybe sound so interesting or beautiful on the outside. I loved it. (Amazon Affiliate Link)

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

It feels like it has been so long since I have shared here on the blog for some reason! It’s just been really a few days but it feels longer. We had another repeat of the week before – Billy working lots of late nights, Wyatt and I hanging out, homeschooling, playing games, that sort of thing. We have also been really busy with home projects, finishing up things we have wanted to do but never get around to. So that feels good and I will be happy when they are finished. I will be especially happy to have an office room again! We are getting ready to paint and I ordered a few things to spruce it up, a new rug, some new curtains. Nothing major but enough to make it feel all different. We also splurged on new dining room chairs as one of my cats has destroyed the ones we have. Thanks Mags. These are hopefully indestructible as there is no fabric on them at all! It’s been fun to rework our space a bit. We have lived here twenty years and Billy and I realized we have not done too much to change things at all in that time. LOL. My car’s service engine light came on too, and Billy ran it up to the dealership and it is some sort of transmission slipping gears issue that is thankfully covered. So my car goes in on Monday for a few days. Just a little bit longer without a car – I haven’t been driving it since the light came on, right after Christmas! With COVID and everything we had to wait until the stars aligned and Billy had a moment to take it up there. We don’t really go anywhere but it is nice for Wyatt and I to at least take a ride sometimes during the week to break things up! I also somehow got one of my besties to adopt a tiny little pixie frog from the pet store (although pixe frog is a misnomer in my opinion, they get quite huge!) I spotted it when I ran in to buy crickets for Harry and snapped a photo. It looked so cute! Apparently Kelly thought so too, because she went and got him the next morning.

Meet James Lime! (she also has a Pac Man frog named Frances Lemon)

Read Last Week:

I am still working on both of these, but I think I will be done with both of them in the next two days. I have been enjoying them a great deal! After these I am not quite sure what I will be reading. I am hoping I get approved on NetGalley for the new Erin A. Craig book Small Favors. If that happens that is what I plan to read. So fingers crossed!

Watching:

All Creatures Great and Small. LOVE this show so much. As much as the original show, if not more honestly. I have loved the books my whole life, and this show feels so perfect. We finished up Wartime Farm, and started The Hardy Boys, which is pretty good!

And really that is about it from around here! Stay safe and well everyone.