Puddles and Pinecones

Over the weekend the weatherman predicted torrential rain storms, flooding, and then to top it all off, ice. Well, it did rain, a very drizzly cold rain that did do a little flooding, and raised the rivers and creeks a little bit higher. We had plans to stay inside and do fun things there for most of the day and night, but..we couldn’t resist a little splashing in puddles first!

Wyatt wears AFO’s – braces for his feet to help him stand stronger when he is working on walking and standing. We love his braces, they are great tools to help him. But they also make it hard to buy shoes and boots, boots especially, as we can’t really manipulate his foot into one with the stiff braces. But we found that Butler boots have enough give in them that they slide fairly easily right over the braces – so we ordered him a pair of bright cheery yellow boots, his favorite color, and perfect for adding some sunshine to a dreary day. Then it rained and we got our wish to go stomp around in the puddles!

The cutest little stomp and splash ever!

While we are all excited that we found boots that work with his needs, Wyatt is more excited about the fact that he now has gumboots like the character and kids on one of his favorite shows, Scout and the Gumboot Kids! This very morning while we were watching one before school (they are short and perfect for a moment like this!) Wyatt went and got his boots out and started putting them on, just like Scout and the Gumboot Kids. Gumboots are another name for rain boots, or wellies, whatever you want to call them, and this show is adorable, with nature mysteries presented by a felt mouse in his own little cardigan and gumboots. The episodes are short, with a quick mystery that includes clues, and a mindful moment, which I am hoping to incorporate more of into our lives. The talented Jessie Farrell also provides the music and song for these episodes, with lovely lilting tunes that are so catchy that kids don’t even realize they are learning as they are singing along. As a companion to the Scout series, there is also Daisy and the Gumboot Kids, and Daisy is a crafty little mouse full of ideas for nature crafts. We love these shows and I love the inspiration they provide, while teaching Wyatt about all sorts of things – caterpillars and butterflies, space, agates, trees, dinosaurs are some of our favorites!

Not only is this series on television, they are now a series of books published by Firefly Books! We were lucky enough to receive a set of four signed books before Christmas, and now that the holidays are over, we really have time to spend looking through them together and talking about what we read. These books are beautiful, with full page artwork that captures the eye and attention, as page-size photos of the characters that Wyatt loves, solving the mysteries on paper within a book! Each book also contains two pages of field notes that relate to the mystery, mindful moments, and a nature craft. There is so much within the pages to inspire creativity and learning! We have been having a lot of fun with them. We also received a cute little coloring and activity book, a signed CD of Jessie Farrell’s music for the show, and stickers!

Today we spent some time reading through the books a little after school – Wyatt likes to “read” them to me too.

After we read about bird feeders and butterflies, I had a book and craft set up in the other room waiting for us.

We read the book, The Wooden Timekeeper, and talked about conifer trees, pincones, and the rings on trees, and how when you count them you can find the age of the tree. Wyatt really liked playing with the pinecones and petrified wood the best.

I showed him the pictures in the book of the craft, and let him choose whether we made an owl, bear, or mouse. My sweet boy chose to make an owl, my favorite! It was a group effort, with him doing the gluing while I helped out with the placement and cutting. We had a great time reading and making this little owl together! And look how cute!

Scout and the Gumboot Kids and the series, both on television and the books by Firefly Books are such a great resource for kids to learn, and entertaining and cute to boot! (yeah, see what I did there..)

Thanks to Firefly Books for the wonderful gift of the books, CD and extra little fun things!

My Favorite Reads of 2019

Hey all! I can’t believe it is this time of the year already! Wowzer. I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday or at least a few great days in December.

I feel like I read some pretty great books this year! I don’t keep up on my Goodreads very well – I get about halfway through the year and forget, so I can’t give stats which is a bummer, because I love everyone’s stats posts. Goals for next year! I know that I read a lot of nature books, thrillers, some magical realism, cozy mysteries, and some romances. And probably some other things too! I also participated in Paris in July which was so fun, and also Nonfiction November, which was pretty spectacular. I feel like I have a great idea of what to expect of them both next year and I am looking forward to them both again.

As I look back, some books I just really liked. My list is sort of based on just what I actually really loved, whether it was a bestseller or not – just a book that I really couldn’t stop reading and wanted more of when I was done. So, that being said, here they are!

I can’t believe this is the first time I had ever read Anne. Now I love her to pieces. And The Wolf Wilder was so so good. If you are going to read it, read it when it is cold – and if you live somewhere warm, just turn that air conditioning way down! Lol.

My love for these two books is real. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating touched my soul, and The Wood I read first, and then read aloud to Billy and Wyatt over the course of this year, that is how much I loved it. John Lewis-Stempel is one of my very favorite authors to read and I am slowly making my way through his books.

I am pretty sure this is the first time I have had two graphic novels on my list! I absolutely adored Pumpkinheads, but what can you expect from Rainbow Rowell, but greatness, in my opinion. And Brazen – I picked this up on a whim at the library then read it cover to cover without stopping during Wyatt’s nap. I never reviewed it properly but it was seriously amazing.

These are three new to me authors – and I believe Luanne G. Smith and Glendy Vanderah are new authors in general! I loved each of these books for different reasons, but I can’t wait to read more by all of them. Read my review of The Vine Witch here, and Where the Forest Meets the Stars here. And hey I did review Brazen! A mini-one in the same post as Leaving Time!

Hands down my favorite book of the entire year. I am always a little skeptical of big best sellers for some reason, but when Gulfside Musings posted that she loved it, I gave it a shot. And I am so glad that I did. It was everything – nature and mystery and emotional. It was spectacular and I recommended it to everyone I know.

What Wyatt's Reading – December

This is a very image heavy post, I apologize! We read like crazy this month! When I returned books to the library the other day, I could barely lift the bag, and this is with us going every week as well. I check out books for the month and also weekly, and rotate them out. The favorites we keep for the time, which is only one week longer than we are allotted (I of course renew those) and then some we read just once and they go back. And then of course our own well stocked library here at home contributes to our reading…. Anyway, I have listed here our favorites this month, some Wyatt’s, some mine, some both of us.

Wyatt is a big fan of the Duck and Goose books, as well as the Bear Stays Up books. I like the Bear Stays Up books too, they are cute! And I also like Duck and Goose purely because sometimes you need a quick fast read, and those are perfect for that. We also really loved Marion Dane Bauer this month, reading Winter Dance and The Longest Night quite a few times. I enjoyed Long Night Moon, and discovering different names for the different full moons and it was well done between the illustrations and text. Owl Moon is a winter favorite around here – this is one of the first books we ever bought Wyatt, and we read it to him all the time. And I have to admit, I checked out The Christmas Quiet Book as a hint to my child…. lol. An introvert raising an extrovert over here.

Jingle Bells and My Christmas Treasury are great reads for learning about how Christmas is celebrated in other countries, something I have loved since first reading about it in My Christmas Treasury when I was around Wyatt’s age. I actually had to buy that book used, I couldn’t find it anywhere! Bear’s First Christmas is just beautiful and a story of a bear waking up in the winter – it’s a long one but good. Wyatt loved Christmas Wombat and Merry Christmas from the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and I have to admit, I did too. I love A Homemade Together Christmas, about a family who opts to make their gifts that year. A very sweet story told in a very easily accessible way for kids. Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree has been a favorite of mine for years, and Wyatt really liked it too. I love this tale of how one tree can make so many different families happy! Then Wyatt’s two stand out favorites this year – Little Christmas Tree and The Animals’ Christmas Eve. We probably read these two books a million times. The Animals’ Christmas Eve is about the stable animals remembering a long ago Christmas in Bethlehem, while Little Christmas Tree is well, about a Little Christmas Tree in the woods, and all the other flora and fauna in the woods. It is beautiful and glittery and has little lift the flaps.

Did your families read any good picture books this month? Let me know, we are always looking for more!

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 am in overdrive mode – is anyone else? Lol. I must have been on super coffee last week, because I feel like I did all the things. I finished shopping, read three books, posted here like every day, and still managed to get breakfast with a new friend, get my hair done, go to work at my job, and make cookies with my friends. Along with all the other regular things we all have to do every week. ‘Tis the season I suppose! This week coming up has far less on the calendar.

Read Last Week:

I have been waiting forever to read the Queen of Nothing and it did not disappoint! I loved this book and these characters. Holiday by Gaslight was delightful – I have such a love for Victorian/Edwardian Christmas books. When I was maybe a senior in high school, my mom started gifting me Christmas romances, all set in those eras and since then, I have loved them. The Glittering Hour was also fabulous. I read it as part of a blog tour, and it was beautiful but also a tearjerker.

Reading the Rest of the Month:

I am just posting the books that are on my nightstand lol. I have these lined up to read the rest of the month and since I probably won’t be posting at all the week of Christmas, or really after the 20th, I thought I would share them all. They all look so good! Half Spent Was the Night is a tiny little thing, so I will be done with that in no time flat. I also started the Karen White book the other day, and I am really enjoying it.

Posted Last Week:

My Almost Last Minute Outdoor Inspired Gift Guide

My Almost Last Minute Kid’s Gift Idea Guide

Book Review Shorty: Wrapped Up For Christmas

Our Week in Photos

Book Review: The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey

Watching:

Christmas movies! We are also watching Shetland (season 3 blew us away!) and Virgin River.

What is happening in your world?

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 finished up my Christmas shopping for all kids under 12 in my family last week! My family decided a few years ago to just buy for the kids and not really for the adults anymore so this means, I am almost done! I need just a few more things, including a few small things for my husband, as well as teachers and therapists, then I can say I am finished completely. I wanted to be done by December, but I am ok with where I ended up. This morning (Saturday as I write this) we are heading to a pottery market; my mother-in-law sells her pottery at this art show so we go to support and I usually also pick up little things for Wyatt’s team while I am there. So, hopefully I will be finished with them today! It is also my husband’s work Christmas party tonight and I am looking forward to going. It is always a good time.

Read Last Week:

I finished Wrapped Up for Christmas! It was a fun little Christmas read, chockful of Christmas spirit and happiness, perfect for this time of year. Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy! Review coming up soon!

Reading This Week:

The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey. I received this book as part of a blog tour and I am about halfway through. I plan on finishing and reviewing at the beginning of the week! I don’t usually post photos like this of covers from my Instagram but I had such fun with this one. My friend and I spent a morning styling this one together at her house with her collection of antiques. We had a great time and I feel like we will collaborate again!

Posted Last Week:

Hello, December

Book Review: 21st Century Yokel

Watching:

The Great British Bake Off (previous seasons again), Shetland, and then we watched Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas last night. Wyatt is also watching Scout and Daisy and the Gumboot Kids – these are such fast and quick little shows, like five minutes, and he loves the music and nature mysteries. I get ideas for projects for us to do together as well!

What Wyatt's Reading – November

It has been a great reading month for Wyatt and I! It was the Beaver Moon this past month, so we read a bunch of books with beaver characters. We also read a lot of fall books, with owls and Thanksgiving, and then threw in a little winter there at the end. Here is a round up of our favorites!

Thanksgiving in the Woods and Owl Moon are two favorites around here. We all love these two books. I would love to one day have a Thanksgiving out in the woods, under the trees like the family does in that picture book. How magical it would be! Owl Moon is one we gave Wyatt for his first Christmas – Billy and I go on an owl walk every year with our local Metropark (sometimes more than one) to call owls to get a glimpse. We went last Saturday and just being in the woods at night is a treat. We can’t wait to take Wyatt – he is just not quiet enough right now. Lol.

Wyatt really loved The Mukluk Ball, Sophie’s Squash, Owl Sees Owl, Look Whooo’s Counting, and The Little Snowplow Wishes for Snow. That one was so cute honestly. And the Little Snowplow has a birthday in early March, just like Wyatt! Bird Count and Winter is Coming were both wonderful, but too much for Wyatt right now – a little long for him. Winter is Coming is beautiful though, I actually enjoyed reading it for myself. Lol. It was lyrical and beautifully illustrated, and I loved the descriptions of fall ending and winter coming. I loved that the author described the sound of a goose as gray and sad and eternal. It just seemed so perfect. That is one I am definitely buying for our home library. We were talking last night about what signs in nature symbolize the end of the year to us, and geese flying south is definitely one of them around here. Is there anything that says winter is coming to you, besides the dropping temperatures and maybe snow or rain?

Nonfiction Nov – Week 5 – New to TBR

I made it to Week 5, the final week! This has been a wonderful month of finding not just new reads but whole new blogs and people! My only regret is that I didn’t have enough time to visit everyone and reply all the time. My blogging hours are limited to when my son is in school three mornings a week, which is usually an acceptable amount of time, but this challenge needed a little more than that. I do plan on trying to go back and comment, and finish visiting those I missed though over the next week or so.

Also, because I am a person who takes notes on the backs of envelopes and random bits of paper, I lost one of my lists of reads and also a list with the names of the blogs I got books from. So… if you are reading this and see a book here that I have said I added but didn’t add the blogger and it is you, let me know so I can link back! I feel awful about it. Next year I will be more organized and better prepared. This was my first year, and I learned a lot and really enjoyed myself! Thanks to everyone who hosted and set this challenge up!

Which leads us to this last week, all of our new books added to our TBR, hosted by Rennie at What’s Nonfiction:

Week 5: (Nov. 25 to 30) – New to My TBR – Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction : It’s been a month full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have made it onto your TBR? Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book!

Memoir/Essays

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone : Books Are My Favorite and Best

Pancakes in Paris – Musings of a Literary Wanderer

Kitchen Yarns – Unruly Reader

Apple Island Wife – Secret Library Site

Where the Hornbeam Grows – What Cathy Read Next

Out East – Novel Visits

The Reluctant Hotelkeeper – Superfluous Reading

An Elephant in My Kitchen – Superfluous Reading

Educated – Cozy Reading Nook

The Man Who Climbs Trees – Booksplease

The Stranger in the Woods – Book Lovers Pizza

As You Wish – Sincerely Stacie

The Salt Path – Booker Talk

My Wedding Dress – Ex Urbanis

North of Normal – Kristin Kraves Books

Home Cooking – Cozy Reading Nook

Letters from Iceland – Liz D.

Iceland Defrosted – Liz D.

The Solace of Wide Open Spaces – What’s Nonfiction

Spirituality/Self Help

Welcoming the Unwelcome – Lovely Book Shelf

Tiny Beautiful Things – Book Lovers Pizza

Thriving as an Empath – Lisa Notes

The Road Back to You – Lisa Notes

If at Birth You Don’t Succeed – Based on a True Story

History

Expeditions Unpacked – Julz Reads

The Witches: Salem, 1692

A Bite-Sized History of France – Deb @ Readerbuzz

The Evolution of Useful Things

Poe: A Life Cut Short : Katenread

The Five – Doing Dewey Decimal

Letters of a Woman Homesteader – Hopewells Library of Life

Dead Wake – The Paperback Princess

I also think Bryan’s post for expert week was pretty important – so I just added the whole list. One More Page as well

The Road to Jonestown – Scifantastor

Nature

The Hidden Life of Trees – Deb @ Readerbuzz

The Wild Remedy – Jade @ Reading with Jade

Last Child in the Woods

The Big Year – Deb @ Readerbuzz

North on the Wing – Deb @ Readerbuzz

Weird and Wild Beauty – Deb @ Readerbuzz

H is for Hawk – Deb @ Readerbuzz

Wilderness Essays John Muir – Deb @ Readerbuzz

The Soul of an Octopus – Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out

21st-Century Yokel – Secret Library Site (which I already bought and read!)

Gathering Moss – An Adventure in Reading – (pretty sure this is next on my list)

Under Land – Doing Dewey Decimal

Around the World in 80 Trees – Superfluous Reading

Braving It – Musings of a Literary Wanderer

Forest Bathing – Readerbuzz

Birders – Tale of a Tribe – Liz D.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek – What’s Nonfiction

Humor

#IMOMSOHARD – Never Enough Novels

True Crime

The Crimes of Paris – What’s Nonfiction

The Poisoner’s Handbook

The Family Next Door

After the Eclipse – Rather Too Fond of Books

Then Shelleyrae had a crazy good list of women serial killers (does that sound weird? lol)

Decor

Cozy White Cottage – Unruly Reader

Cozy Minimalist Home – Unruly Reader

Travel

The Stopping Places

50 Great American Places

Don’t Make Me Pull Over

Science

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?Maphead’s Book Blog

Tamed – Kate Vane

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife – What’s Nonfiction

Bad Science – What’s Nonfiction

Quiet – Booksplease

Gender

The Gender Agenda – Rather Too Fond of Books

Books about Books

The Novel Cure – Books are my favorite and best

Fiction

Split Tooth – Lovely Bookshelf 

Cape May – Novel Visits

Podcasts

Redhanded – What’s Nonfiction