Hello, March!

I am so excited for March! We are starting it out right too – this morning is Wyatt’s fifth birthday and we went on a little mini-vacation as a family. It’s been almost a year since we traveled anywhere and this little house we are staying in is so charming! Wyatt loves that there is a piano…

Today we plan on doing some hiking and visiting some new nature centers, then following it up with ice cream and dinner out. A great way to begin the month of the worm moon!

Then next weekend we have Wyatt’s family party, which should also be a blast, fingers crossed. And then of course, St. Patrick’s Day too! Our family is super Irish and St. Patrick’s Day is a good excuse to get together and eat food again.

This month is such a hopeful month for me usually – the beginning of spring, and so called the worm moon because this is the month that the little worms in the ground start wiggling their way up to the surface. We are going to start a worm composting farm this month, something I am not super excited about but Billy is. Lol. But it means spring really is on the way, soon we can be outside gardening, and in the sun, enjoying spring blooms after a winter of cold and gray. The birds will all be back, singing and chattering away in the mornings, and we will see the sunshine more. I am going to start all my seeds pretty soon, hopefully when we get home, and see their happy little faces popping up.

We also have a fun month ahead of us in Exploring Nature with Children – we have birds and their nests, spring ponds, spring equinox, and snails all ahead of us this month, and I love all of these things! Wyatt and I jump started our bird week last week, reading about and even making a few birds nests together! We had a blast. Snails should be particularly fun, at least for us, since we do have our own little snail, Sampson.

We have a pretty simple month ahead, but one full of promise of spring. But for now, I am going to go celebrate with my big time five year old!

February Book Tallies

I started this in January and liked it so much I am keeping it going! I’ve got a few ideas cooking about how to do this post, but for this month, I am keeping it simple.

Let’s start with what I read!

Like last month, I read six books. I read Around the World in 80 Trees a few pages a day for the whole month, and it was really cool. I learned so much about different trees! Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts was one of my favorites this year so far, and I enjoyed diving back into this Eva Gates series. The Willow Tree Hall books were happy little reads, and I loved The Hands-On Home so much I bought my own copy, since I had checked it out from the library.

Wyatt and I also read about the same amount of books as last month, 27 books. I posted about our Valentine reading, and I am planning a February post soon hopefully.

Our money saved by using the library was still pretty amazing, ending up at $610.35. Combined with last month’s total of $656.10, I am at $1266.45 for the year so far!! However, I did buy a few books for myself this month, spending $29.88 on a few of the books mentioned above. The library continues to be one of our favorite places, and I love how it is the same library I used to go to. Lisa at Boondock Ramblings also posted this month about visiting her new-old library. I love reading about everyone’s library memories!

I posted two book review posts, and finished two nonfiction books as well, for my nonfiction reading challenge! I am feeling pretty happy about that – although I still need to do those reviews…

And that’s it for this month’s tallies!

Friday Favorites..

I am so behind this week. Wyatt didn’t have school Monday or Tuesday, due to his teacher being sick and no sub (if you are a teacher who needs a job, move to Michigan! Huge shortage), then snow days the rest of the week! We are also going on a short trip to the west side of Michigan next week so I am getting ready for our family vacation. It’s been nuts!

I did find some neat stuff during the time I was able to be online though!

I was most excited about this discovery – free Imagination passes to Dollywood for pre-k children born in 2015 and 2016. I signed Wyatt up for one right away! You don’t have to make reservations or commit to a certain time either, it’s good for the year. We have been talking about going (I love Dolly and Wyatt loves country music and Billy loves us so..) and this might be the year! I am thinking maybe fall. If you are interested, you have until March 15 to reserve your free pass! Also if anyone has gone and has trip hints and tricks let me know!

I have begun watching a few YouTube channels lately, mostly on in the background when I am cleaning or folding clothes, and one I am really enjoying is Northern Heart. It’s all about Maria and her life in the Swedish countryside, but also some of her struggles that brought her there to that slower paced life. It is such a cozy, warm vlog with definite hygge goals.

Since Wyatt was off this week, we had a lot of time to work on Exploring Nature with Children! We combined this week’s curriculum with next week’s – birds and a field trip to a new nature center, hiking spot, etc. We will do our field trip while on vacation, so this week we focused on birds and their nests. I hope to do a post next week, but this face can’t wait..

This book review post over at Superfluous Reading about The Year Without Summer by Guinevere Glasfurd. I have always been interested in this period in history, ever since I learned that it influenced so many writers and artists – including Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein that summer..

I am also loving this Instagram account!! Who else loves Wes Anderson, raise their hands? I find his work so visually appealing, and this Instagram is so fun!

View this post on Instagram

_____________________ Herring Era Museum | Siglufjörður, Iceland | c. 1996 • For 50 years, the town of Siglufjörður, was at the center of a herring boom that swept Iceland and transformed its economy. Thousands of workers flocked to this tiny hamlet to find work in what was dubbed the “Atlantic Klondike.” Though the industry collapsed in 1969, the Herring Era Museum remains to tell the tale of the boom years of Iceland’s Herring Adventure • In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, fishing technology made great leaps, and Norwegian vessel owners began fishing the open waters with great success. Herring towns soon sprang up, and hundreds of icelanders found employment processing the catch, until domination of the industry eventually changed from Norwegian to Icelandic hands • Salted herring was a staple food of many European countries, particularly vital during the two world wars. The industry was so crucial to Iceland’s economy that it accounted for between 25-45% of the country's export earnings at its height • One of the most important ports in Iceland, Siglufjörður (aka Sigló) was the site of the first processing plant, and had twenty-three salting stations and five reducing factories. Because the fish spoiled quickly, hundreds of “Herring Girls” were employed to process the catch as it came in. They lived in boarding houses and were paid by the barrel. An entire genre of Iclandic pop music is dedicated to them • When the herring failed to appear in 1969, the industry completely collapsed. Sigló and other port towns suffered a severe depression • Twenty years later, a group of local volunteers banded together to renovate the Roaldsbrakki–an old Norwegian salting station from 1907, and turn it into a museum remembering the Herring Era. The government-backed project opened in 1996 and has 5 exhibits, including a boathouse, slipway, boarding house, and even salting demonstrations • Know more? Please comment below! • 📸: @amypresleyart ✍: @elalalaney 📰: @wikipedia + @atlasobscura + sild.is • #AccidentallyWesAnderson #Archigram #AccidentalWesAnderson #WesAnderson #VscoArchitecture #Vscotravel #herring #Pursuewhatislovely #lcelandTravel #VisitIceland #iceland🇮🇸

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And this is my cue to stop….

What about you all? What social media are you imbibing? What are some neat things you have found this week?

British Cozy Mysteries – TV

Warning: Consuming this post may lead you down a slippery slope of new television addictions, that could result in the paid subscriptions of Acorn TV and BritBox…

I had to include this… Wyatt goes into hysterics whenever Billy or I imitate Sam the Eagle saying “the British Way”...

The other week I stumbled upon an article that said that British Cozy Mysteries are the hottest television trend this year, and I totally could relate. That is pretty much exclusively what we watch in our house these days. I posted the article on my personal Facebook, saying that apparently Billy and I were not alone in our love for these shows, and I was pretty amazed at how many people commented that they are the exact same way! Fellow fans were just popping up left and right, sharing recommendations, sharing their favorites, asking which ones to watch. It was crazy! But it made me wonder how Billy and I got here, to this point. I am pretty sure I had never heard of any of these shows a few years ago, and now all of a sudden we are all in. I mean, I had always been a reader of of cozy mysteries, but the only one that was British at all was the Hamish Macbeth series. Which I still love!

So we started talking about it. Probably the very first one we watched was Hamish Macbeth and that was eons ago, so we didn’t really count it. Watching it didn’t spark an addiction, it was more because I was a fan of the books, and at the time it was pretty hard for us to watch any other shows anyway. Then we realized it all really began when Wyatt was born.

Wyatt was a teeny tiny little preemie peanut, 2lbs 13 oz at birth. When he finally got to come home 6 weeks later, the feeding schedule was pretty grueling, every two hours and it took us literally a half an hour to get him to eat, and then afterwards we had to hold him upright for another half an hour due to acid reflux. We spent A LOT of time just sitting and feeding him. Pretty much our whole existence like this for 6 months. So we watched A LOT of television. And we tried to find quiet, peaceful shows, because we didn’t want to wake him up if he was sleeping. One day Billy found the BBC Farm series – Tudor Farm, Edwardian Farm, Victorian Farm, War Time Farm on YouTube and we just devoured them. They were absolutely fascinating to us! (Edwardian Farm is my favorite!) But, then we ran out of them. And then I remembered the series All Creatures Great and Small, based on the books that I had loved a child. So, we watched those as well, until they swapped out the Helens and we stopped watching. But at this point, the damage was done. We were hooked on British television, although not yet the mysteries.

So we started looking about for more, and landed on Death in Paradise – not always super quiet but that was ok. Wyatt was getting a little older and we didn’t necessarily have the same requirements for our television watching. And he really enjoyed the theme song, and would do this little dance with his arms when it came on which was adorable. So we watched the seasons that Netflix had and then ran into the Great British Bake-Off, which of course is one of the best things ever, right? And from here, we were really off and running – we found Acorn TV first, then Britbox, and watched some Agatha Mystery movies, including And Then There Were None which was fabulous! We watched Agatha Raisin, Shakespeare and Hathaway, Father Brown (which is now my name for groundhogs because I saw one that lived right near a church last summer and checked on him all the time), Mapp and Lucia, The Bletchely Circle (Billy), Land Girls on Netflix, and most recently Shetland, but I think that is more of a crime procedural than mystery, as well as Doc Martin, also not a mystery. Miss Fisher, too, although that is an Australian show. And we are so grateful that we have a plethora out there to choose from! Everyone we have talked to has a different recommendation or favorite – Vera, Midsomer Murders, Foyle’s War, to name a few. So those are on our list.

So what is the draw? The article said that it is the soothing quality of these shows, and I have to agree wholeheartedly. Sure they are about murders, but all these quaint small towns, justice being done, there is no real sex or violence. In fact, sometimes Billy and I expect guns to be pulled and out pops a knife in the bad guy’s hand. It blows our minds that these police don’t have guns, and it just goes to show just how far the gun culture in America has trickled down into everything. There is no huge sense of danger or peril that keeps us full of anxiety (ok me) – it is a different type of murder altogether, one that can be followed up with a cup of tea at times. These shows are just fun and easy to watch. Although, we do have one question – why do British actors seem to get swapped up so frequently? Sometimes even in the same role, like no big deal? Maybe it is a big deal, but we just aren’t aware of it living over here. We talk about that too, how we are not familiar with British celebrities, although we are getting better all the time! (Like spotting Richard from Death in Paradise as Stewart in Doc Martin! We felt pretty cool)

I can’t choose a favorite, exactly, but I will say Death In Paradise is right up there, although I am not watching next season. I have my triad of lady sleuths I love, Agatha Raisin, Lu from Shakespeare and Hathaway, and then Frankie Drake, although she is on Canadian television. Shetland is probably one of the best television shows we have ever watched, hands down. But since we are still making our way through this mega-genre and have years to catch up for, we are still making up our minds for our favorites as we go along.

What about you? Are you a fan of British television, or cozy mysteries? I know some of you who read here live in England, Scotland, Ireland.. what do you think of this American obsession? And, any recommendations?

I’ll be waiting with my cup of tea for your answers..

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

I didn’t get much reading done last week, as Wyatt was home sick, poor kiddo. I of course caught his cold, although a more mild version. I have my fingers crossed we are feeling better soon, because our family “UK dinner” is this weekend! I have decided on an Irish Beef Stew, and I am hoping that this is actually a thing in Ireland. If it’s not don’t tell me yet! Lol. It should be a fun night though. My cousin has been hard at work perfecting his Yorshire Pudding, and I have to say, his look like the best efforts our family has made since my grandma used to make it.

Read Last Week/Reading This week:

That being said, I have not been able to really read or focus on anything. I did download and start one book, and I hope to settle down and read it this week. I still also have The Starless Sea sitting here unopened.

By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates: I read Spook in the Stacks back in October, and decided it was time to circle around and start the series from the beginning. I didn’t read much but I did enjoy what I have read so far! (Amazon)

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern: My husband finished this and is singing its praises so hopefully I get it started this week.

Nonfiction I am reading:

The Hands-On Home: I am a very seasonal person, so I am really excited to start this book!

Around the World in 80 Trees: I am continuing to read this every week, here and there.

Posted Last Week:

I am so glad I prepped some book reviews last weekend!

Book Review: Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts

Book Reviews: Willow Tree Hall Series 1-3

Friday Favorites

Watching:

Locke and Key, Grace and Frankie, and Doc Martin. He is still kind of harsh but I feel like I understand his character so much more now, especially after a couple of key episodes.

Friday Favorites

I think you might all know by now I love a list. I also love the idea of sharing what I am loving – and I hope that you will share some things that you love as well! It just feels so positive to me, and some days I just really need a reminder of the good stuff. I have started these posts before and then not kept up with them, or deleted them for various reasons. This week has actually been a pretty tough week, and I wanted to reflect on the things that made me smile or made laugh or made me think, or just straight up entertained me.

I have not had a lot of time to really blog or comment much this week, but I have been reading blogs all over the place. I like to read it all, too. I like to read about books and deep thoughts and what people are buying at the grocery store and what they are wearing. I am all over the map. I just like to know, I guess. But this week I read a blog post that really sparked me up, and that was What’s Nonfiction’s review of Quit Like a Woman. Fantastic review, and really got me thinking about so much. I had so many feelings on this topic!

These snowdrops that we saw this week! Our first true sign that spring will really happen! We have a bit of winter left, but I feel hopeful that spring is on its way!

I am also seriously addicted to Parisienne Farmgirl’s YouTube videos! I feel like I share her values, but she is so pulled together and classy and Parisienne about it that she is goals. Plus, her food that she makes looks amazing! I am hoping to do a deep dive of her channel soon to see if she shares any of her meal planning. She also makes me want to go thrifting and get out in my garden like right now. And now I want a plaid apron too.

I always do an experimental meal every week, one I have plucked from Pinterest and the one I just made was so darn good!! It is called Mediterranean Tuna Salad and it was so fresh and yummy, we couldn’t get enough of it. We liked it so much it is back on the menu for the upcoming week! We always rate our new recipes and have decided this is a solid five out of five, and would be great in the spring, summer, or as a winter pick me up when you need that taste of freshness and green. I should add I am not a fan of regular tuna salad, so the fact that I liked this is amazing. But, no mayo so that is probably key.

This Buzzfeed article on book nook shelf inserts that are so magical and lovely and whimsical – I am totally doing this. I am so in love with this little Fairy Forest! I love things that spark my own creativity and give me ideas!

marlasings / Via reddit.com – via Buzzfeed for me!

This kid. Playing cars together, and my son, who has a speech delay, told me that his Elmo needed a “Buckle, mom” after Elmo flew out of the car that I had so dangerously and precariously perched him on top of. But that Elmo, he’s a risk taker. See him all Game of Thrones on a dragon there. Still no buckle…

Tanglewood Hollow, always a favorite of mine – but this maple sugaring post grabbed my attention, especially since at Wyatt’s upcoming party we are doing a maple sugaring event..

What about you? Anything catch your fancy this week? What have you been enjoying?

Book Reviews- Willow Tree Hall 1-3

Ah this little series was such a fun series to read! When I found it on Kindle, I thought I would give it a go. The covers were so inviting, the premise sounded promising, and I really needed something light and easy. And this series lived up to all of those expectations!

Love Begins at Willow Tree Hall starts with the story of Annie and Sam. Annie is the housekeeper for Willow Tree Hall, and de facto caretaker for its two elderly residents, Arthur and Rose, a brother and sister duo. Their respective grandsons and grandnephews had careers that took them around the world and they never seemed to find their way back home too often, especially eldest grandson Sam. Sam and his brother Will therefore were unaware of just how decrepit and crumbling Willow Tree Hall was becoming – or really even how much help their loved ones needed. When Arthur has a fall that lands him in the hospital, Sam soon learns what is going on at the Hall, and things slowly but surely begin to change…

Summer Secrets at Willow Tree Hall centers on Annie’s best friend from school, Eleanor, and one of Sam’s musicians that he manages, Tom. Eleanor finds herself back in her hometown after an extended time away, and is drawn to the Hall while she takes her care of her mother, who has injured her foot and needs help taking care of her menagerie of animals. I think that was my favorite part, all the animals in this book! They are not front and center by any means, but they endear me to Eleanor and her mother. Then a stray English Setter enters the scene, and he stole my heart. I had my own scared, skinny, stray English Setter at one point named Penny, so Dylan was a great bonus for me.

A Winter Wedding at Willow Tree Hall is all about Will and Skye. Will is still hanging out in the Alps, managing his construction company and many short relationships – until he isn’t anymore. He lands back at the Hall, at odds with his situation and himself, truth be told. He has been harboring a secret for a very long time as well, that has been slowly poisoning him and his relationships, with his family and in love. Skye and her Airstream had planned on just a quick stop at the Hall on her way to stay with her sister, after a lifetime of taking care of people while neglecting her own dreams and desires. She learns she has inherited half of a Lodge on the Hall’s estate – and the other co-owner is Will. Their story was my favorite of them all!

There is nothing too intense about these reads, and they are perfect for that reading escape, curled up in your favorite spot with your favorite beverage.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for books, where I will make a small commission if you were to make a purchase, at no extra cost to you.