Vintage, Whimsical, Creative YouTube Channels I Love

So sometimes when I want to just sit and veg to recharge my batteries, I enjoy watching YouTube. I am an endlessly curious person (nosy) and I love reading blogs and watching YouTube and following people on Instagram because I am always interested in what other people are doing and how they are living. I don’t envy their lives but I do usually learn about new things from them and sometimes I am just plain entertained.

I watch booktubers, homesteaders, and then just people who defy a category in my mind. They share their whimsy, their creativity, their vintage style, and I love just putting my feet up for a minute or two, drinking some coffee or wine, and tuning out to them.

Let’s start with..hmm.. Rachel Maksy. I may have mentioned her here before, I don’t remember, but I love her videos and what she shares. She makes the coolest stuff, and isn’t afraid to try things – like a vintage Creature from the Black Lagoon lady costume. She describes her style as grandpa, she has great vintage hair styling videos, and she is quirky and talented. My favorite video – her recreation of Evie from The Mummy.

The next YouTube channel is one that I just started watching, Dainty Diaries. She just does the cutest little cottagey things, and I enjoy watching her gardening content, which is different than the gardening content I watch on the homestead channels. This one has an aesthetic to it, rather than planting food to eat, which is also something I am interested in. This is more…I’m growing things and doing it in a pretty way. I haven’t watched too many yet, but the one I have liked the most so far is her video about making a hedgehog door in her garden gate.

Sage Lilleyman is an Australian woman who posts uploads that are vintage living related – sewing, housewife stuff, etc. I used to watch this British show where a family would have their house turned into a different decade and they would live like that for a week, and it fascinated me. I will never get over the woman who had to get fully dressed up and scrub her front stairs. Anyway, Lilleyman’s YouTube reminds me of that show, just on a smaller scale.

With Love, Kristina is another vintage living type channel. She uploads about books, slow living, body positivity and vintage style. She is another newish one that I watch so I haven’t seen too many but I have enjoyed the ones I have watched. My favorite is her video on living the perfect hobbit day. I would love to have a hobbit day! (Hmmm… maybe we will….)

And finally, Darling Desi. She is a whimsical watch for sure. She is just always so happy and romanticizes everything, loves to read (particularly Jane Austen) and has such an enthusiasm for everything. I love to watch her seasonal videos and book reviews in particular. I can relate to the seasonal type stuff she does, as I like to live that way as well – although with less style and frolicking.

If you need an escape or just want to see some vintage styles, check these ladies out. I would never dress this way, too time consuming for me. A Get Ready With Me Post would be like ten minutes. I never wear makeup, have wash and go hair, and am super happy in my super casual clothes that I can get dirty in outside with my kid or while painting or whatever, but I still like to dream about some alternate universe me who maybe does do this.

Have you watched any of these? Do you have any suggestions? Let me know!

Morning Coffee Catch Up

It’s a rainy morning this morning, and the birds are quiet. I wasn’t awakened by the sound of our blue jay friends or the song sparrow today, but by the sound of the rain pattering against the window, one of my favorite sounds. (I feel like I am the last person on the planet to discover ASMR videos on YouTube and I never realized how much I enjoy listening to just sounds, like crackling fires and rustling leaves and coffee or tea being poured)

The past weekend we were big time homebodies. I think we needed it after our last few weeks of crazy! We played in the yard, where I planted a few new flowers in the ugly hole that pulling the cola plant left in the butterfly garden, and Billy and Wyatt munched on lettuce from the garden like a couple of bunnies. And speaking of rabbits..I discovered they are the critters who are nibbling on my strawberries! I guess they came to the right place since this gardener is such a fan of rabbits.

Our front garden is getting wild looking, and I love it. It’s like a ramble of raspberry, lavender, brunnera, yarrow, lupines, milkweed, and snap peas. And I love how the lupine leaves catch the dew like little cups of fairy water.

We did leave the house and yard one time – for ice cream at the park!

Trigger warning – this next section contains pictures of baby mantids so if you are not a fan of creepy crawlies, just keep scrolling! I understand not everyone enjoys them like our crazy family!

Our ootheca hatched! I did decide to bring it in. We used a giant water bottle with gauze over the hole to keep it in, and we have been checking on it a few times a day. And Sunday morning the container was alive and teeming with the newborns! We took them outside and let them go. They were sort of cute! ( I did take some video. It’s on my Instagram if you are curious)

And that is it from around here! I hope you all are having a wonderful start to your week!

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 a weird week! Already a short week due to the holiday, we also had Wyatt’s EEG that was on Wednesday and Thursday. So, I didn’t get much done last week, and still feel like I am trying to play catch-up. I will get there, eventually though. Wyatt did great during the whole EEG, and I hope we get the results tomorrow. It’s so hard waiting!

Reading:

I didn’t read last week. I just never got the chance. I usually read at bedtime but this past week I was asleep almost as soon as I got into bed. I did manage to line up a few books I want to read though, and started one last night. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the other from our interlibrary loan system.

I started Fuzz last night and I love it – although it is not making me less nervous about running into a bear in the woods. I picked this one up after seeing it on a blog – maybe Aj at Read All the Things? And I am looking forward to The Cherry Robbers – it sounds amazing.

Wyatt and I are reading Charlotte’s Web at night. He loves it so far. The kid is obsessed with pigs these days so I thought he would probably like it.

Posted:

What Wyatt’s Reading – May

Hello June!

Book Review: Mystery in Rocky Mountain National Park by Aaron Johnson

Backyards, Parks, and Birthday Cake

Watching:

At night Billy and I are watching When Calls the Heart, and just finished up season 9 last night. It just makes me feel all happy to watch it. We are also watching Outer Range, which is crazy, weird, but addictive. Like what the heck is going on?? I need to know. It is sort of like Longmire meets a Larry McMurtry novel meets Twin Peaks.

And that is it from around here! What is going on in your hood?

What Wyatt’s Reading – May

We had a really good reading month, full of books about the outdoors and nature!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.

The Hike was one of our absolute favorites this month and it is definitely going to be purchased for our own library. We loved the story of these three little girls heading off on an adventure together, but it was the illustrated pages that we really enjoyed. We loved finding all the hidden and not hidden plants and animals throughout the pages, and reading the labels, discussing whether or not that it is something that we have spotted on our own hikes. We also loved the sketchbook drawn by one of the characters.

I usually love Cynthia Rylant, and Home is Where the Birds Sing is a lovely book but we were both lukewarm on it. I think it was just a little too young and maybe gentle for my now rough and tumble seven year old. It is a great book however, just not quite right for Wyatt right now.

Zonia’s Rain Forest however was one that Wyatt really liked. Zonia is friendly with so many of the animals in the rain forest that she lives in, and Wyatt loved all the different rain forest creatures represented. It does have a deeper message about respecting our planet as well. (I have this one added to our cart as well, since I hope to do a rain forest unit next school year.)

A few years ago I read an article about how there is a lack of diversity represented in children’s picture books particularly when it comes to spending time outdoors. Since then I have kept an eye out for books that do depict this diversity; I know that it is something important to me as well, finding books that show disabled children enjoying the outdoors or frankly, just disabled children doing anything besides educating others about their disability. Anyway, when I saw this on the shelf at the library I made sure to add it to our stack. At the time I had no idea that it was written by the activist and founder of @brownpeoplecamping, Ambreen Tariq, who advocates for “diversity, equity, access, and justice in the outdoors”. (check out her website for more info!) Fatima’s Great Outdoors is a fantastic read, and I particularly loved how Fatima seemed to gain confidence from nature. I also loved the strong family connection. Wyatt loved the camping itself – he is pushing for a camping trip soon.

Rafa Counts On Papa is another wonderful read. Papa and Rafa share a love for knowing how much and measuring, for anything at all. This was another of Wyatt’s favorites – he also likes to know how much as well.

Oona and the Shark – I picked this one up for me. I wanted to read it so I checked it out with our books. And I loved it. I loved how Oona was an inventor and shared her inventions, and I love how she worked so hard to become friends with Stanley the shark. She and Stanley were not making a connection until Oona realized that Stanley liked order and quiet. And the illustrations were very well done. Wyatt wasn’t super interested in this one but I loved it.

However, The Girl Who Wore Snakes was hands down Wyatt’s favorite. Ali is a little girl who falls in love with snakes after a classroom demonstration. She buys up all the snakes in the pet shop and wears them around proudly, believing them to be beautiful. They remind her of the sun and the earth and everything in between. However, not everyone agrees with her – until she finds that one kindred spirit who does. I think we both loved this book because we are apparently also kindred spirits with Ali. This one is hard to find to purchase but we did get it at the library easily.

Hello June!

And goodbye May!

How are we in June already? Has this year flown by for anyone else? Is this just what happens, the years start to just fly by? I try to live slowly, do things at our own pace, and enjoy the time we have but even still, that is not possible all the time is it? We still have obligations to keep, appointments to go to, and little by little our days fill up. However, it is now officially the summer season, which means nights around the fire, cooking meals on the grill, food straight from the garden, lazy mornings, lots of trips to the zoo and Greenfield Village and all that other good stuff that happens in summer and I am going to do my best to keep us present and mindful.

June is the month of the strawberry moon, which is one of my favorite of the full moons. We are part of the Kid’s Moon Club hosted by Wilder Child, although we don’t do as much with it anymore. Maybe we will this month though. The word for the month is savor, as this month reminds us to savor all the sweetness of summer, running barefoot through the grass, swimming in the pool, catching and releasing fireflies, ice cream on the porch at night. And of course, strawberries. Our own strawberry patch is wild this year! It really spread and I can’t wait for the strawberries to begin to ripen. We are so close! I usually duck out first thing in the morning to pick them for breakfast, hoping to beat the birds and squirrels. Sometimes they win though, and that is ok. I can share.

Later this month we are going on a family trip to the Traverse City area with my brother and his family, my mom, and my sister-in-law’s mother. We all went in and rented a house that has a little private beach area and a fire pit and are excited to spend a long weekend there. We also have a few trips to the wineries planned this year, while the guys hang out with the kids. We have at least one beach day, some sightseeing, and hopefully some Moomers ice cream in our future. I am excited for the kids to have a family trip together, and we hope to go to this same place every summer to establish a tradition and some great memories.

I do have some other little trips lined up, to farms and farm markets and and hopefully, fingers crossed, a few date nights for Billy and I!

Yesterday we spent some time outdoors, in our favorite picnic spot. Billy and I were doodling and drawing and journaling while Wyatt was busy exploring around us. I had the opportunity to play around with my Wildflower Workbook by artist Katie Daisy (I love all of her stuff!) and one particular prompt had me thinking about what would be in my wildness tonic. I thought of so many – the call of a blue jay, the fiery leaves of autumn, snails and pine trees and acorns were some that came immediately to mind. I thought this was such a neat idea that I posed the question to Billy and Wyatt. I was so surprised at how many of Billy’s answers were related to water, and Wyatt was all about trees and birds.

What would be in your wildness tonic? Are you looking forward to anything in particular this month?

Book Review: Mystery in Rocky Mountain National Park by Aaron Johnson

Goodreads Summary:

Secret codes, lost landmarks, and hidden clues in real locations.

This first book in the National Parks Mystery Series takes young readers, ages 7 to 12, on a fast-paced adventure set in the heart of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

The Story
Before Jake’s grandfather died, he was on the trail of a centuries-old mystery. And he has entrusted that mystery to Jake, leaving behind a set of hidden codes, riddles, coordinates, and other clues that lead Jake and his friends on a scavenger hunt through ten of America’s most treasured national parks.

In this illustrated and page-turning adventure, young readers will develop a love for reading while learning about natural history, wildlife, ecology and conservation, integrity, character, and friendship.

My Thoughts:

This was such fun middle grade read! I am such a fan of national parks and the outdoors and mysteries that I was excited to receive an ARC. I am very picky about the ARCs I choose to read; I get too nervous since I can be so wishy-washy about finishing books at times. However, I was super excited about this one and it hooked me from the very beginning.

Jake’s family is setting off on a multi-month road trip through the national parks and while that is already exciting for Jake, it gets even better. While they are at his grandmother’s house saying goodbye before the trip, he receives a gift that his deceased grandfather arranged for him. A scrapbook of photos, which Jake soon learns contains a secret code, and the start of a mysterious scavenger hunt.

Jake’s family is sharing their trip with Jake’s cousin Wes and his family, and also long time family friends and their daughter Amber. Jake at first doesn’t want to share this special hunt with Wes and Amber; for him, it is something special that his grandfather designed for Jake and he wants to keep that close. But after the group of parents surprise the three kids with their own summer project, he learns it is easier and more fun to work on the mystery as a group.

Jake, Wes, and Amber surprise them with an opportunity of a lifetime – the space and time to explore and hike on their own in the parks. This works out well for the kids since they have their own secret mission and that would be hard to do under the eye of the parents – especially since one of the first clues Jake receives is rather cryptic and hints at some danger! The kids are required to set up an itinerary, including the projected time they will be back, and present it to the parents the night before the hike for approval. They also are instructed on the three biggest dangers when hiking, how to avoid them, and what the ten essentials are that they should take on any hike. I loved this part of the book, and how practical skills were included within the story.

This book had a fast paced plot, that I imagine will hold the attention of young readers. I know that it held mine and when it ended I was not ready, I wanted more story!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I love the sense of adventure, the mystery, the history and nature, and all the opportunities for taking little “rabbit trails”. I can see readers wanting to learn more about so many different topics – ciphers, morse code, wildlife skills, mountain biking, history, the list goes on and on. I am looking forward to following this adventurous mystery to the end!

You can find the author Aaron Johnson and series information via any of these social channels:

Instagram: @nationalparkmysteryseries

Facebook: @nationalparkmysteryseries

Twitter: @npmysteryseries

GoodReads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20691108

I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Backyards, Parks, and Birthday Cake

The weather this weekend has been beautiful, and we have been making the most of our days outside. Wyatt has been that kind of tired every night that comes from playing outdoors and honestly, so have Billy and I!

Saturday we tackled parts of the yard! I had a cola plant (that does smell exactly like cola!) that was getting too large and spreading too much in the butterfly garden, so we yanked. Like Monty Don says, if it doesn’t give you joy, get rid of it. So we did. Now I have an empty spot in there that I can fill with something that does make me smile. And Billy made a super cool discovery when pulling it out – an ootheca!

I tucked it into another plant but..I am seriously considering putting it in an aquarium and bringing it in to watch it hatch. I am still debating this though. It might be more up close nature observation than even I can do. (Also have I mentioned Wyatt wants a snake? I’m not sure about that either!) This ootheca is probably filled with hundred of baby mantis. We would release the babies of course, but can I handle seeing that many? It would sort of coincide with our current read aloud, Charlotte’s Web. I don’t have a spider egg sac handy and this would be sort of similar. So, I am debating it for educational purposes but it might be too much for me.

We also were inspired by a YouTube video to put in a tiny wildflower patch. Billy has wanted a cut flower garden for years but we just never have gotten around to it. But, we had space and seeds and the manpower so we put one in. Right now it is a weird little patch of dirt that is not too much to look at but hopefully we get some wildflowers soon!

After that I put on my headphones, switched on Going West, my current favorite true crime podcast, and started cleaning like a maniac while Billy took Wyatt to the park. It’s challenging to take kiddo to a park, especially if it is crowded. He has to scoot around and with kids just flying around it is dangerous. Billy found a park that was empty though and Wyatt had a blast!

We wound up the evening enjoying ice cream sandwiches on the porch, watching the birds… and rescuing them. A fledgling fell from the tree into our busy street, with two nearby cats on the prowl. I couldn’t let it just fend for itself, so Billy rescued it by scooping it up in a towel and putting it back in the crook of the tree, next to its nestmate. It was so super cute!!

Sunday was another beautiful and busy day! We celebrated my dad’s 75th birthday, and it was a great day filled with family and chatter and playing outside. It was the first time I think I have really relaxed in weeks!

When your family starts an inclusive game of catch – priceless.

After my dad’s party, my brother invited us over to his house for a fire, which was the perfect ending to the day. The kids continued playing until they both wanted a snack, then ran out of steam. Wyatt was a limp noodle of a boy when we finally loaded him into the car.

It was a wonderful two days, and today..we are just being lazy. Which is pretty wonderful too.

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

Happy Sunday! I am feeling grateful and thankful this morning – the sun is shining, I have good coffee in my cup, and a cat sitting next to me. My husband and son are sharing the couch across the room from me, unlike last Sunday, when my husband was on day 7 of quarantine with Covid. Billy spent ten days in his basement office, while Wyatt and I were upstairs. We are now all back together, Billy is feeling much better although still a bit tired at times, and all is back to our normal.

I didn’t have much time for reading last week, with all that I was doing by the time I made it to bed I was pretty exhausted. I did read one book though!

I LOVED this book! It is definitely one of my favorites so far this year. A family full of magic and secrets? Yes please! If you like magical realism or fantasy, make sure to pick this one up.

I am still reading the middle grade book Mystery in Rocky Mountain National Park, and I don’t know what I am going to read when I finish. This week is sort of weird, with the holiday and Wyatt has another 24 hour EEG as well. I have a few books checked out from the library, but now I don’t want to read them. I will be looking at everyone’s blogs for some new recommendations; I am not sure what sort of reading mood I am in!

Posted Last Week:

Where I Have Been

Book Review: Beauty from Ashes by Lisa R. Howeler

Morning Coffee Catch Up

Watching:

Well, when Billy was quarantining away from us, I didn’t want to watch anything that we may want to watch together. Then I remembered I was behind on When Calls the Heart! I started watching it again and found it just as calming and happy as I remembered, which is exactly what I needed. Now, I think we might start watching Stranger Things since the new season is out. And Lisa from Boondock Ramblings has suggested The Larkins to me and we are hoping to start that as well.

Morning Coffee Catch Up

It’s been twelve days since Billy caught the ‘rona, and I am finally feeling like I can relax. He opted to quarantine for a full ten days – the recommendations all said after five days he could leave quarantine, but to wear a mask for five more days. We couldn’t see how that would work with Wyatt, so Billy made the choice to just stay locked up a few more days. It was a long long ten days for all of us. Beyond missing each other, Billy was lonely and I was working my butt off doing all the things, and with added Covid precautions that added multiple steps to things. It was worth doing, since Wyatt has an EEG next week that we did not want to have reschedule. We would have obviously, but we didn’t want to have to do that. And it seems like we made it through! Wyatt and I were cleared to take him back to therapy Wednesday, and Billy went back to work in the office, rather than his home office, on Wednesday as well. Then Wednesday when he came home from work, he came in the front door again and we all had a nice reunion! Wyatt was so excited to see his dad again! And so was I.

I tried to keep things as simple for myself as I could during that ten days – lots of sandwiches for dinner, soup for lunch. My brother dropped off Taco Bell one night for us, which we inhaled after a week of turkey and cheese and chicken noodle soup.

As an introvert who needs some quiet alone time to recharge, by the time Billy could rejoin the family I was craving some time to myself. I love my son beyond anything but phew, even I needed a break from his cute face and constant chatter. So, last night, I took a much needed trip to the library. Alone. It was quiet. Peaceful. And books! We had read all of our library books and I needed to resupply so I spent a happy half an hour there before heading home.

I am still feeling discombobulated. We are off track for school which I hate. I have an awesome farm unit lined up for the next few months and we are off to a crazy start. But it will get worked out. We are on our own timeline and I need to keep reminding myself of that.

Wyatt and I spent a lot of time outside, which was awesome. Last Sunday I got us drive thru ice cream and we ate it in the park away from other people, just in case. It was so nice to be away from our house, even just for the small time.

I am looking forward to this long weekend!

Anyone have any plans?

Book Review: Beauty From Ashes by Lisa R. Howeler

Summary:

After becoming pregnant by her abusive ex-boyfriend, 27-year-old Liz Cranmer feels trapped in a prison of shame. Now a single mother she feels like the whole town, especially her church-going parents, view her as a trashy woman with no morals. That’s not how she used to think of herself but — could they all be right? And if they think that, then what does God think of her?

Ginny Jefferies, 53, has hit a few snags of her own in life. Her husband, Stan, barely acknowledges her, her job as the town’s library director has become mundane and stagnant, and her youngest daughter is having some kind of identity crisis. Pile on the return of a former boyfriend and you have the makings of a near-midlife crisis.

Can two women figure out their chaotic, confusing lives together? And how will the men in their lives fit in their journey?

Shorter description: Two women from two different generations form an unlikely friendship to work through their life challenges together.

My Thoughts:

Beauty From Ashes is the third book in the Spencer Valley Chronicles, and I was very much anticipating it as I loved The Farmer’s Daughter and Harvesting Hope, the first two. And I loved it!

First, let me say I completely loved the relationship between Liz and Ginny. I have friends of all different generations, some older, some a decade younger than me (ugh that hurts to say though lol) and I don’t think friendship needs to be defined by whether someone is of your generation or not. I loved that they so easily became friends, helped each other through some tough moments, and had a genuine, real relationship.

That is one of my favorite things about Lisa’s writing – she has a talent for writing stories that just feel so real, conversations that could be a conversation you have with a friend or neighbor. These relationships, characters, situations, conversations don’t sound fake or weird, like they do in some books I have read. These are people who could be your neighbors, in your community, the policeman that is always friendly, the librarian who doesn’t skip a beat when asked by a child for a book about boogers, and having worked in an elementary school library, I can attest that these sort of questions do come up! And while these characters and situations are very real feeling, there is humor and levity (like the booger scene) as well.

Liz and Ginny are at two very different points in their lives – Liz is just starting her parenting journey, while Ginny’s children are all grown. But both are unsettled, at odds with where they are. Liz feels like she is no good, not a good daughter, mom, or even person. Ginny is wondering what is going on with her marriage, is lonely, and sort of in a rut. The two know each other, as they have relatives married to each other (Liz’s sister and Ginny’s son) so they were not complete strangers but they had never really hung out or talked much beyond that. Their friendship begins one afternoon in the library, when Liz as an exhausted new mother, nods off while reading. Ginny offers to help watch Liz’s new baby, Bella, and from there the two just are off and running. Helping each other, but also having fun as well – like taking an art class together.

Now, the men in their lives…

Matt McGee is the town Golden Boy, the helpful policeman, the considerate gentleman, the good neighbor and friend. Someone who always makes the right choices and does the right thing, who can be counted on in any emergency – like delivering babies on the side of the road type of emergencies. And on top of all that, charming and well..hot. Like maybe you wouldn’t mind being pulled over by him for speeding hot. But Liz is feeling like the town screw-up, and less than, and certainly not feeling good enough for the likes of Matt McGee.

Ginny’s husband Stan is the love of her life, but lately he has been wrapped up in anything but their marriage. She feels lonely and ignored, and there was one particular scene that broke my heart for poor Ginny. Things get a bit more complicated when her old boyfriend arrives back in town, looking quite fit and attractive and most of all, attentive.

Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down. There is so much more than I have mentioned, bad guys and bad situations, impulsive decisions, and of course, romance. I loved this trip back to Spencer Valley and I am looking forward to the next book in the series!

The Spencer Valley Chronicles are all available on Kindle until June 30th, and I highly recommend them all!