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 our last week of our summer homeschooling sessions. It was a good week! We started one of Wyatt’s ancestry weeks where we learn about the places his family comes from, and our first stop was Hawaii! Billy is Hawaiian and I felt like it was a good week to end the summer learning on. Otherwise, our week was just a week – nothing super exciting happening around here. We have been spending our weekends working around the house, just puttering around. We have been working on little projects, like this soap we made!

Read Last Week:

Finished up the last bit of 100 Things to do in a Forest and posted my review. I also read Enduring Spirits, which is the newest in the Witches of Palmetto Point series I began and devoured at the beginning of the pandemic.

Reading this Week:

I am super excited to begin this one! I have loved the first two in the series and have high expectations for this third installment in The Vine Witch series.

Posted Last Week:

Homeschooling Summer Edition: Hawaii

Friday Favorites, Artist Series: Potters!

Book Review: 100 Things to do in a Forest

Watching:

We are still watching Father Brown and finishing up The Umbrella Academy. We added Wild Bill and Teenage Bounty Hunters to our watchlists though to start as soon as we finish up. Wild Bill is on Britbox and stars Rob Lowe in a British series – should be fun!

That’s all from here this week – stay safe everyone!

Homeschooling, Summer Edition: Hawaii!

Our final week of summer homeschooling! I wanted to end our summer session with something fun – and also meaningful. This week, Hawaii week, was the first of our Heritage Weeks that we are going to start working on this year, that focus on Wyatt’s ancestry – and what better way to end the summer with a week “in” Hawaii.

Billy’s grandmother, so Wyatt’s great-grandmother, was a born and raised Hawaiian, and so was her family for as far back as you can go. Wyatt and I talked about how Hawaii is a chain of Islands in the Pacific Ocean, read about Hawaiian legends, gods, and goddesses, talked about the native plants and vegetation (including pineapples and coconuts of course, with a tasting!), surfing, volcanoes, geckos (although not like our gecko), sea turtles, and listened to Hawaiian music, especially ukulele music. Wyatt liked Elvis’ version the best. He learned Hawaiian words, like aloha, ohana, and mahalo, designed his own surfboards, and made a grass crown. We also talked about the importance of tattoos in the Hawaiian culture, and gave this little tough guy a few temporary ones.

Resources Used:

Coconut Learning Pack and Mini-Hawaiian Adventure from The Masterpiece Studio

Volcanoes Unit Study – Stephanie Hathaway Designs

Books Read:

Tell Me a Tattoo Story || Hi’aka Battles the Wind || Maui Hooks the Islands ||Maui Slows the Sun || Pele Finds a Home || Hina || The Magic Ukulele || Secrets of the Seashore || Nerdy Babies Ocean || Ohana Means Family

We of course also watched Lilo and Stitch, Moana, and a Disney short called Lava, which was adorable!

It was a great way to end our summer session! Next week we have a vacation week, as we rest up for his first week of homeschool kindergarten! (wish me luck!)

Friday Favorites, Artists Series: Potters!

I have a serious love of pottery – I love the sustainability, the artistry, the idea that I am actually using something that is not only functional but beautiful as well. Every Christmas there is a Potter’s Market that I love to explore and buy gifts at- I don’t know if it will happen this year unfortunately, so thank goodness for the internet and online shopping! I already have quite a few favorite artists and I am constantly shoving my phone in Billy’s face and exclaiming “Billy! Look at this! Isn’t this awesome?” while he sort of chuckles at my enthusiasm. He is used to me after over twenty years together. Anyway, I wanted to share a few of my favorites!

I LOVE everything that Tara and Matt from Pitch Pine Pottery design. Their creations sell out so quickly online and I never seem to catch the restocks in time… maybe tonight I will get lucky since they are restocking TODAY at 8 pm EST in their Etsy store. If you are interested set an alarm, things go fast! They do have a high price tag but I think the price reflects the amount of work and love and artistry that goes into each piece. I am totally coveting these fox mugs!!

I also really love Lochbroom Pottery! This potter is from Scotland, and her designs reflect her love for her homeland and it’s wildlife. Highland cattle and rabbits and thistles and puffins – so perfect! I have a thistle tattoo in honor of my Scottish grandmother, and have her china tea set with a thistle pattern that I use for special occasions. I love this little thistle plate! You can find her store here.

Next up is Earth and Empathy Ceramics. I love nature and am a little boho eclectic and this shop is chock-full of items that I love. I love the minimalist style but also the wonderful designs – the moons and rainbows and the planter that says Mother Earth… love them all. But it is these little guys that really make me smile! You can find Earth and Empathy Ceramics here.

Callahan Ceramics is another that sells out before you can snap your fingers – and you can certainly see why if you scroll their Instagram feed. The colorways are simply gorgeous! I had such a difficult time deciding which photo to use on this post – everything is just so darn beautiful! And I love their slogan of “One of a kind pieces for everyday.” They have a range of products, from pins to watering cans to mugs to wall hangings and more. Their next restock is the 23rd so if you like their stuff, set a reminder! You can find their store here.

This next one is a local favorite, for over 100 years. Pewabic Pottery in Detroit is an historic landmark, and they do so much for the ceramic community. I love dropping in and picking up gifts for myself or others, and I also used to go to their special events, like the garden party. They weren’t able to have one in person this year, but hopefully next year will be better for us all! Find them here – they have so much to explore on their site! Also, shout out to Two James pictured below as well – they are a Detroit distillery that was extremely active in helping the city and community during the height of the pandemic in Detroit. Pre-Wyatt you could find Billy and I and friends gathered around their bar, enjoying a few cocktails on the weekends.

And I can’t end this without mentioning my own personal favorite, my talented mother-in-law. She makes amazing pieces and is so creative – and lucky for me, I am gifted with them all the time!

Book Review: 100 Things to do in a Forest

Publisher Summary:

In an age when people are in search of new and more fulfilling experiences to replace screens and bring families together, this book explores 100 ways to connect with nature and discover the benefits of forest fun. From bushcraft activities like whittling and firelighting to spiritual pursuits like forest bathing and meditation, forest educator Jennifer Davis has brought together activities for people of all ages, helping them to connect with their forests and woodlands, while discovering the healing and restorative benefits of a life lived outdoors.

My Thoughts:

I found this book to be such a fun read, full of great suggestions and ideas! I originally started reading this as an e-galley but I could only get it to load on my phone, and I really don’t like reading on my phone. I had read enough of it however, that I knew I wanted to add it to our family’s collection of nature books – so I ordered it. I am so glad that I did. This book will be one to return to for new ideas throughout the seasons!

A few favorites: A dice-rolling walk, the silence of twenty things, leaf pinning, and a wishing tree. There were a few ideas in the book as well, that did not necessarily need to be done in a forest, just outside. I was happy to see that we already do a few of them, such as wassailing our apple tree in the winter and canopy gazing, one of my favorite lazy Sunday picnic day activities.

Sometimes with list books, I find that there are more suggestions for things I would never do or try than I would actually do. This is not the case with this book though – there were more ideas that I want to try than not, although there are a few I will skip.

This book is also gorgeously illustrated! I am so happy that I splurged on a physical copy as I loved flipping through and looking at the illustrations. They are dreamy and beautiful!

This is a fun book, and definitely a book for those looking for a few more ideas for outside time – which I think many people are doing right now. I could see having our family take turns picking a random number on the weekends and opening the book to reveal our adventure for the day. Overall, a great addition to your home library!

Thank you to NetGalley and Laurence King Publishing for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review!

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 weather here last week was super gross, and Wyatt and I had to stay in more than we usually do. We did have a picnic lunch on my mom’s lawn one day, visiting my mom (socially distanced) and then I had a socially distanced night at my friend Kelly’s. But really, it was a pretty slow week around here! I did get one of my big book orders in that I had placed for Wyatt’s school year, which was super exciting for me. It took me back to when I worked in the school library and all of our orders would start showing up – just on a much smaller scale.

Read Last Week:

Mary Stewart is a go to author for me, and this one was no different. Love revisiting her every so often.

Reading this Week:

I had started this a few weeks ago, but I was reading an egalley version and for some reason I could only read it on my phone, which was annoying. I had read enough of it though to know I wanted it, so I ordered it. I will finish reading it this week – I am so excited! This book is gorgeous by the way. Review soon.

Posted Last Week:

Mini-Post: A Morning in the Country

Mini-Post: What’s Growing On?

Homeschooling, Summer Edition: Space

Watching:

We are watching a few things – The Umbrella Academy, Evil Genius, and Father Brown. Evil Genius is insane. My brother had told me to watch it a while ago, and we are just getting to it. It takes place in Erie, PA, a place that some of my extended family has lived, so I was intrigued just by that alone.

That’s about it on my end. Stay safe everyone!

Homeschool, Summer Ed: Space

This was a great unit – we covered a brief overview of Earth, the Moon, constellations, and space exploration, and it was really fun. This was our second to last week of our summer homeschool – we are going to have one more week then we will be off for a week before we start Wyatt’s first day of Kindergarten!

I think constellation day was our favorite. We started by looking at the Skyview App on my phone, laying on the floor of his darkened bedroom, seeing where the constellations were in the sky. We talked about how we couldn’t see them since it was daytime, and how when the sun went down then we would be able to see them. I dug out his Uncle Goose constellation blocks that we got him a million years ago, and he had a blast building tall towers with them after we looked at some of the constellations. We ended by playing a game of Night Sky dominoes. They weren’t really dominoes though, more like heavy cardboard shaped liked dominoes with illustrations on it. They were pretty cool.

Wyatt also made his own constellations – he chose a house and snail lol. I drew them out and he put the stars on.

We read about Vincent Van Gogh, and Wyatt painted his own version of Starry Night. He also painted a moon, using a foil ball as a stamp, and did an Earth lacing activity. It all looks so pretty hanging in our den. We have one project left, and we are waiting until tonight to do it as a family – an Oreo moon phase activity. Anything that involves Oreos, I am there for.

Resource Round-Up!

Solar System Lacing Cards – Little Spark Company

Moon Phases Unit Study – Stephanie Hathaway

Books We Read:

(contains Amazon Affiliate Links)

Vincent Can’t Sleep (such a gorgeous book!!) || What’s Out There? || The Usborne Big Book of Stars and Planets || What Are Stars? (Wyatt loved this one the best) || Moon (another gorgeous book) || Night Sky Dominoes (not a book)

Videos:

Caitie’s Classroom – Stars and Moon

Caitie’s Classroom – The Night Sky

Caitie’s Classroom – Let’s Pretend to be an Astronaut

Wyatt loves Caitie so we lucked out with so many videos this week!

Mini-Post: What’s growing on?

I felt like it was time for a garden update. Our garden did not go as we had planned way way back, during the winter. That fun breakfast with my sister-in-law planning, how my husband and I drew up a blueprint of where we wanted things, then…lockdown. Then, my husband’s broken elbow. We had beds never dug, seedlings that never made it into the ground – but we persevered, and started again. We had to cobble a garden together in parts, my brother kindly came over and rototilled a few spots for me, we planted in containers. And while we didn’t plant anywhere near what we had intended, it felt good to just get some seeds in the ground.

My pumpkins are my favorite. I have always wanted to grow them, and they have taken off like crazy. Literally, they stretched out across our entire yard. I have a long term plan for our little pumpkin patch – if Halloween is cancelled, which I am feeling like it will be, we are going to do a Charlie Brown Halloween and wait for the Great Pumpkin to arrive while sitting in our pumpkin patch, next to a bonfire. And I am sure I will be drinking cider and eating stew or chili. So grow pumpkins grow! Although, I am a little concerned. Some of the leaves are a little funky! I need to google that, unless someone here knows what is happening?

My cucumbers are utter chaos. Like seriously it is anarchy in their corner. Weeds grew up along the fenceline and the cucumbers attached themselves to them, while also refusing to climb the trellis Billy built. And maybe we will get a cucumber or two? I planted seeds late, so whatever we get I will be happy with. They look pretty though, even among the chaos.

We transplanted our strawberries to this bed as well – they were living in a strawberry planter that got knocked down by strong winds and shattered. They are alive and kicking though so I am looking forward to what they do next year. Cabbage lives here too, along with the dill that the black swallowtail butterflies love so much… and grasshoppers. So many grasshoppers.

Our experimental peanuts are doing ok, I think? I can’t tell. Our radishes did fabulous! They were delicious on baguettes with butter. So yummy!! My carrots did fairly well too. My beets however, failed spectacularly. I am going to replant and see how a fall crop does.

In the front of the house, we have flowers, lavender, lemon basil, swiss chard, and our raspberry bushes. The lemon basil is enormous – almost as tall as me! I am turning it into flavored salt this week. The raspberries are so sweet and delicious, and it is so fun to run out there and pick a few to eat. We don’t have many, just enough for a little treat. And I have learned I don’t like swiss chard.. that was a substitution at the nursery. By the time I felt comfortable going, the lettuce and spinach was gone. I grabbed a few swiss chard but I am not a fan, which I didn’t realize.

What about you all? Any successes? Failures? Things you would do differently? I would love to hear!

Mini-Post: A Morning in the Country

Every summer, we take a family trip to the orchard to pick peaches (and sometimes blueberries). This year we realized it was a pretty perfect family activity, even with our present circumstances. So, Friday Billy took a vacation day, we packed our lunch and our blanket, and headed out to the country.

When we got there, we found we were not the only ones with this idea, even on a weekday morning. We hadn’t planned on masking up, except for in the store of course, but we put them on for the first part of our adventure due to the amount of families also wandering the orchard. We didn’t need them on long though, after ten minutes everyone else left, and we had the place to ourselves.

We took our time, looking for the peaches we wanted. It was slim pickings due to a late frost that had affected the peach crop but we still had fun. After we picked as many as we thought we could possibly use, we set up our blanket and had a little early lunch. And it was so quiet. So quiet. We are used to always hearing something – cars, people mowing their lawns, sirens, whatever. The sounds of living in the suburbs, you know? But this was so peachful (I meant to type peaceful but peach came out and I rolled with it). The weather was gorgeous, just warm enough. There was a breeze, the sky a brilliant blue, and just the sound of bird song and the rustling of the leaves. I could have stayed there all day! But Wyatt was ready to explore more, so on we explored.

It was a perfectly perfect lovely day. And now we have a ton of peaches, for jam and cobbler and pie!

We had such a great time, such a great time that I think we will organize a larger family trip for later this month with my mom and brother and his family. I am looking forward to it!

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

So I tried a new thing last week – listening to an audiobook instead of reading. I thought it would be ok, since I listen to podcasts but for some reason, I just can’t do it. I am not sure what my problem is but I wish I could pay attention to an audiobook. My week last week was all about administrative things for our house – making lists and checking stuff off. We also celebrated Billy’s birthday, Billy bought a new to us car (a 2017 Subaru Outback that he is in love with), and Billy took a vacation day Friday and we all went to an orchard and picked peaches. It was a lot of fun. Wyatt and I also got our first haircuts since February! His auntie Kellie gave us outside and masked up cuts – we both really needed them!

Read Last Week:

Can you believe, nothing? My reading is so weird this year. I did try to listen to my cherry season book, but no dice.

Reading This Week:

I have been successful with nonfiction this summer, and The Read-Aloud Family looks pretty perfect for us. And Mary Stewart is a go-to comfort read author for me – and might be what I need after reading Mexican Gothic, which was so good!

Posted Last Week:

Not much, but I did participate in the blog linky Currently…August.

Watching:

The Umbrella Academy, Father Brown…and I think that is it.

Stay safe everyone.

Currently…August

Today I am linking up with Anne In Residence for her monthly Currently.. linkup. It’s always a fun way to think about what is happening in my world right now. And for now, our world is very small feeling. We have been close to home, venturing out a wee bit more but not really. This time at home or outside has strengthened our connection with the little creatures that share our small square of land. I feel like we are spotting insects and toads and birds so much more often. And for some reason we have millions of grasshoppers in our yard! I am reminded of that summer in the Little House books, the one where the grasshoppers destroyed Plum Creek. When we walk through the yard, we are proceeded by the hops of grasshoppers moving out of our way with every step. Ours aren’t destructive, just everywhere.

Anyway.. here we go!

Choosing: Our curriculum for the year. We have decided that I am going to homeschool Wyatt this year and he is not a kid who will benefit from online distance learning, so I am plunging in on my own. I have done weeks of research and am very excited to start with our choices. We are also choosing paint colors – the big paint begins around here very soon. With all this time and heading into fall we are going to get started on freshening up some of our rooms, and I am so excited! We have made some unconventional choices for our room layouts (turning our dining room into a den and our living room into a dining room/family room) but now we want to change the colors.

Consuming: Cider! It is the summer of cider around here. I am not sure what that is about but I am enjoying all the different summery ciders. Michigan has two wonderful orchards that produce them and while I like Blake’s Rose a lot, the Virtue Ciders are the ones I usually order. I am also enjoying homemade London Fog Lattes! My neighbor surprised me with the mix from Aldi’s and while I wanted to drink it all in one day, I have been good and spaced it out.

Enjoying: So much time with my little family. And I have even been able to enjoy some socially distanced social time with my girl friends, and my family, which has been wonderful. We have been soaking up nature, going on lazy picnics in the park where we set up under a shade tree, take snacks, and read and draw until little man gets tired of it. I am also enjoying watching the few things I managed to plant grow – my pumpkins especially!

Ordering: Umm.. what am I not ordering now? Lol. Recently aside from everyday essentials, I am ordering art supplies, books for Wyatt and I, birthday gifts, and even a few Christmas gifts from one of my favorite artists. I’ve linked a few standout favorites here!

Arteza Finger Paint Set || Leo the Lightning Bug || The Creative Family Manifesto || Adventuring Together (Amazon Affiliate links)

Remembering: Summer vacations up north, festivals, art fairs, summertime date nights….

Stay safe and kind everyone!