Talk with me over Tea!

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

Hi all!! Happy Wednesday! We are almost to the weekend! I usually write this post in the morning but that didn’t happen today, so instead we are “talking” over tea this afternoon. It’s a chilly but sunny day, and I am sipping on a warm cozy cup of mint tea before we get to the rest our schooling for the day.

Aren’t these “mumkins” so happy and adorable? I had to get one for our porch, they just make me smile! We were at the flower and garden center because they had little photo opps set up – very smart on their end because I had to take Wyatt of course, and ended up buying this mum. I’m sure many people fell into their clever scheme…

Last Friday is usually project/errands/field trip day and I spent a few hours in the morning packing up my grandmother’s china to convert my china cabinet into an art cabinet – at least for a few years.We live in a small house and I have to use all my space as wisely as I can. Turning it into something useful and more functional was a better choice, although I did get a little sad. But, the china although it is beautiful and I love it – I never used it. So for now it is an art supply area and I am loving it honestly. It feels more like us, and is cheerier and brighter. We can sit at the table and finally all of our supplies are close to hand. I don’t have to go searching in many different areas around the house anymore! I have the stuff we use the most on display, and then other supplies stored in the drawers underneath. Today we are doing an art project in the new space and I am super excited. My world is small but I am happy!

I still have a big day ahead of me after I finish up my little tea break. We have science, a little reading, a little math, and our small art project still to do. Then when we finish up, I need to get working on our bedroom. We are finally, finally getting to painting it this weekend! It is such a pain though to move out temporarily. All you all who have moved or are moving, my hat is off to you because that is so much work. I wish I could magically touch the tip of a paint brush to the wall and have it just fill in like it does in Photoshop. Lol. Oh well. It will be a pain for a short time but I will be so happy when it is done. I’ve been wanting this for literally years!

Billy and I are falling back into our autumnal eating menus (pun definitely intended), and we are enjoying this return to comfort food. Pork tenderloin, stews, pot roast, roasted chicken, the list goes on. I have been squirreling away meat all summer, buying extra if it was on sale in case prices went crazy this fall and winter, and I feel very Ma and Pa Ingalls with our larder feeling full. Except we didn’t do any of the actual work, so thank you farmers out there for doing that. I am putting together an order for Azure Standard as well, to help fill up the pantry, and making a run to Sam’s Club, because we are not cool enough for a nearby Costco. Is this like an ancestral type memory, to feel like we have stored up food in the fall? I like to live in tune with the seasons, even though our rhythms are so different than those long ago.

Do you live or eat differently in the fall? I know that we do. Last night my friend and I chatted each other and we were both under blankets watching something Agatha Christie and drinking something warm. Absolute perfection.

And that is about all I have time for right now! Let me know what’s going on in your world!


Chit Chat Coffee Time

My week this week was just…blah. Not good, not bad, I can’t quite say what I even did this week. It was just sort of like a week on autopilot. This upcoming week we are taking a break from school, maybe I just need a refresh.

This morning we left bright and early to go to a different garden center. I was joking with Billy that this particular garden center is the one ALL the butterfly people talk about, so we had to be cool too and check it out. I am hoping to help raise monarchs this year so I needed to go to the cool garden center too. And honestly, it was really cool.

My friend who has done the whole monarch thing for years gave me a list of milkweed I needed, particularly common and swamp. I found those and grabbed them, and added some prairie milkweed and also a kind with a very interesting name. They had tables set up with types of butterflies and their host plants which made it really easy to shop. I also picked up a butterfly bush and a few forget-me-nots. They have a butterfly house but it is not open yet, so we will have to go back to check it out.

We went first thing in the morning and no one was there. I love having places practically to myself. We had just planned on Billy and Wyatt hanging out in the car but when I saw it was so empty and open, I called Billy and told him to join me inside, and I am so glad we did, we had a great time. I feel like they just needed to serve coffee and it would have been perfect. (Hint hint Barsons if you read here – set up a little coffee area for people to buy coffee, I am sure it would do well.)

However, now it is so humid and hot outside that we have unloaded it all and are waiting until it cools off a bit. I found a few butterfly eggs on my rue this afternoon and gathered it up. I am actually getting my mom in on this too, and I am taking her these first eggs from a black swallowtail. I think she will enjoy it!

I have spent the past few weeks working on our final month of lessons for kindergarten! I can’t believe this year is almost over! We are going to spend a month finishing up our regular curriculum and we will also be spending some time learning about the ocean and ocean animals. And mermaids, per the request of my niece. Then I get to start planning for next year, and I have to be honest I am really excited about that. We will also be continuing school throughout the summer but more informally. We are spending July immersed in learning about Italy, as part of our family ancestry studies combined with geography. It should be a lot of fun. And delicious as I am going to use it as an excuse to eat all the pasta and tiramisu that I want.

I hope you are all having a good day so far! Enjoy the weekend!

Chit Chat Coffee Time

This week was a week of reunions. On Tuesday, my little group of friends got together in person for the first time since last fall – thank goodness it is now warm enough to do so! We were down a person in our crew who couldn’t make it which was a bummer, but the three of us who were there were just talking and laughing the whole time and it filled my soul. I went home feeling so refreshed – these women are so important to me and I was so glad to be able to hang out with them again.

Then later in the week, my brother and I tore off the band-aid and got together. So, on Thursday I got to see a sight that brought tears to my eyes. My son and my niece reunited, playing and laughing and giggling together, as they played pirates and got into general mayhem together. Then, on Friday, I went and picked my mom up and we hung out. She and Wyatt had such a blast – reading books, playing on the floor, singing. I got to show her my newly remodeled office, and introduce her to our menagerie of critters. Harry even came out of his hide to see what was going on, and as a nocturnal gecko he usually sleeps during the day.

Marlow was also happy to see my mom.

This week I have also been busy looking through the new curriculum I purchased for Wyatt for next year. Can I say I am super excited about it too? There is a whole unit on rocks and minerals that I can’t wait to “dig” into with him – I even learned of two places to take him next year as little field trips as part of this unit, the Fossil Park in Sylvania, OH, which is about an hour away, and then there is another place about four hours north of us that we may plan an overnight trip around. I am genuinely looking forward to starting next year.

This actually came up when I was hanging out on Tuesday with my friends. None of them homeschool, or want to homeschool, which I get. It’s not for everyone. It is the right thing for my family though, at least right now. And we are enjoying it. My friend said something though that gave me an existential crisis for a few days though – totally well meaning, of course, she loves me, but she said she doesn’t want me to lose my identity and who I am, as I am not just a homeschool mom. I went home and have been thinking all week about just who I am. I came to the conclusion that no, I am not “just a homeschool mom” but yes, it is a big part of my identity right now. I am a mom. I love homeschooling Wyatt, and shaping his education. But the rest of me is the same – I am the same person that I always have been. My priorities might be different, but that happened when I became a mother. I’m still a reader, an animal lover, a nature enthusiast; I’m still painfully shy unless I am with people I am comfortable with, a cheerleader for those people that I love, but also very blunt and plain speaking. I’m a fixer, a problem solver. Curious, creative, with a quick temper at times that I have spent the past few years working on. I still am a daydreamer who wants a few acres of land with animals and bees and an orchard, to travel and see different places. It’s a weird thing to think about . How do we define ourselves? By our likes and dislikes? Our personality? We are more than what we do, that is for sure. My husband is more than a computer guy. One of my friends more than a respiratory therapist, another more than a stay-at-home mom. Anyway, just something I have been lightly pondering this week. Lol.

We also celebrated my mom’s birthday this week! We went to my brother’s where the kids happily played outside and the rest of us chatted and hung out. I am in love with this photo of Wyatt – he looks so happy and content here. Plus I love those overalls I bought him to play in. I got them at a work wear store online, and they are so well made. And most importantly, have reinforced back pockets which we need for our kid who scoots around on his bottom most of the time right now while we work on walking! I can’t even tell you how many pairs of pants we go through in the summer…

Anyway – I have probably rattled on enough for today. What is going on with you guys?

Chit Chat Coffee Time

So, the weird April snow that we had didn’t last too long, thankfully. The cold weather did bum me out though, honestly. I am in total springtime mode and I really need the weather to participate fully. I am just done with going out in the cold weather, so we were sort of homebound for a few days.

I saw this meme and thought it perfectly summed up how I try to live my life – I know some people make family “mission statements” – maybe I should just print this and hang it up in our house as ours? Lol.

Speaking of the Earth the other day was Earth Day. I don’t usually go crazy on Earth Day, we just read a few books and I had hoped to have a picnic outside. But you know, surprise cold. So, I set one up in our house. I put a blanket down and surrounded it with plants from around the house and we hung out there for a bit reading about some important people – most notably Jane Goodall and Johnny Appleseed, and also Greta Thunberg. Politics aside, that little girl has accomplished so much and is a fantastic example of the power of kids, honestly. I think kids can get overlooked so often and dismissed, when sometimes their voices have so much to add to the conversation! I had also ordered little Jane and Jubilee peg dolls for Wyatt a million years ago and had them waiting to give to him when we finally read about Jane. He really liked Jubilee. But who wouldn’t, it is so cute!

We also flipped through one of my books, The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane. I love this book, it’s little poems, and gorgeous illustrations by Jackie Morris. But the inspiration behind the book sort of breaks my heart. The lost words are the words about nature that have been dropped from the Oxford Junior Dictionary, words like acorn and magpie and otter, of all things! Willow, newt, fern! These words have been replaced by words pertaining to technology, words like cut-and-paste, and blog. How come there is not room for all? Are we going to raise a generation of children that when presented with an acorn don’t know what it is, or the word for it? That won’t know that from just that tiny little seed, a whole giant oak tree grows? Who don’t see little fairy caps, or when reading Peter Pan, not know what he gave to Wendy as a kiss? Our house is filled with nature and our collections, acorns and ferns and lizards and feathers and rocks and yes, a praying mantis. I have ants on the way and this week we are making worm jars. When I think of Wyatt’s education, I want it to include everything, including a love of the little things and the nature that surrounds us.

Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday – last year we were under a stay-at-home order, so we are happy that this year we can have cake together in my brother’s yard. I am looking forward to it!

I will leave you with the song that Billy and I have had to listen to a billion times this week. It is Wyatt’s new favorite, but it is an old song.. you probably know it. (for the record, my favorite Beatle is George.)

Chit Chat Coffee Time

It’s been a week! Wyatt is finding his voice more and more everyday, and I am so thankful for this. Also, I was sort of unprepared for the onslaught of words and constant chatter! I was a quiet kid; I am a quiet adult. My husband was a chatty kid, and a chatty adult – it appears our son is like his father. And I am glad and thankful but some days, I just need to find some quiet corner and peace out for a minute. Fun backstory: Billy and I met in fourth grade, when we were in the same class. I was super quiet, never said a peep. Billy got in trouble constantly for talking. So, our teacher put us at the same double desk assuming that Billy might stop talking if he sat next to the quietest kid in the class. Didn’t stop Billy from talking to me, but I did get pictures drawn for me everyday in return. I wish I still had one of them! He also used to ask me for my lunch and being the timid kid that I was, I gave it to him. He never demanded it, just politely asked if I was going to eat my whatever it was that he wanted, and I handed it over.

Billy also treated himself to a critter – a ghost mantis. I was not super enthused about this critter actually, at first. I like bugs but outside, not in as a pet. Plus, I thought it looked sort of creepy. Then it arrived, and it won me over. (however the centipede that was in our bedroom yesterday made me run still not a fan of all bugs..)

We have a terrarium all set up for it in my office but right now it is too tiny to go in there. I guess it wouldn’t be able to find it’s food! So for now it lives in a little glass jar with a mesh top. We named it Poe. When it gets bigger it will look like a leaf! I mean, I guess it looks like one now but it is tiny and hard to see.

I listened to a podcast the other day, Our Numinous Nature, where the host Philippe talks about being a person who gets excited about all the small things, all these critters and wonders of nature, and how sometimes you might feel weird but really who cares? As you can imagine, I identified so hard with this. And it is one thing I really want to teach Wyatt, to be curious, to look closely at the world around us, to ask questions. To not care what people think and just be himself. He will have a harder row to hoe with his disability, I know this, but I want him to feel proud and confident and feel free to pursue what makes him happy. And if he wanted to be an artist and nature writer when he grows up, I would totally support that… hint hint Wyatt. (I kid, I want him to do whatever he wants as long as he is happy and kind)

Speaking of art, my dad got him an easel for Easter and he got a chance to use it yesterday. We have been doing free paint Fridays together, and we are enjoying it. I put music on, we sit at the table, and we both work on our own painting projects. My brother has actually been painting with his daughter at night too, and I love this. Art, like nature, is something I always want to be accessible to our family.

Billy and I have been watching The Irregulars all week. It is so good, although the connection to Sherlock is very thin. In fact, it is almost basically a completely re-imagined world of Sherlock Holmes so far removed I wouldn’t even call it a Sherlock show. However, if you can look past that, and enjoy television shows that have paranormal/supernatural themes, then you might like it, because Sherlock stuff aside, it is a fun show to watch. We are also watching a lot of the YouTube channel Weed Em’ and Reap. I for sure want a goat now. Why are they so cute!! This family has a farm right in the middle of their suburb in Arizona and that blows my mind. My city won’t let us do anything cool like that. And they have a Luna too! They have other animals too, geese and chickens and pigs, but the main focus is definitely the goats. You can find them here.

Well, I better start getting ready for the day. I have to pick up groceries, drop off my niece’s birthday gift, and meet my brother at my mom’s to help pack up her house that we are getting ready to put on the market for her. Busy busy all day.

What have you been up to?

Chit Chat Coffee Time Post

It’s a pretty good Saturday morning. I have a fresh cup of coffee, the sun is shining through the windows of my office, cats at my feet, and I can hear my husband and son singing along to “their” song, Starting Over by Chris Stapleton. They sing it together every morning and then again when Billy comes home from work. It is pretty catchy.

My break week started with more work than I had planned but then ended much better. I actually spent a lot of time running around getting things done that needed to be done. Our lease was coming to a finish so we needed to work on that, but me being me, I could find the registration for the Jeep for 2018, 2019, then couldn’t find anything more recent and it took me a while to locate it. I was finally victorious though and we traded the Jeep in for ..the same car. Another Jeep Compass, black. I just didn’t want to deal with anything else right now with the pandemic numbers rising in Michigan again so I just went for easy.

Anyway – before we picked up our new car, Wyatt and I wished bon voyage to our old Jeep with a McDonalds car picnic, with chicken nuggets and french fries and Sprite – because fountain pop is the best version. Then it was goodbye old Jeep, hello new one! And look, my new one had a hidden little fun thing – a gecko under the windshield wiper! It was meant to be..

We did do some fun things though this week! We had a small playdate with my niece and my mom one day, we were testing the waters of expanding our bubble. Right now we kept it short and we all wore masks but hopefully by the beginning of next month we will be able to loosen up a little bit. My brother and his wife are going to keep pretty locked down still so we will be able to have Wyatt be with them, hopefully maskless is the goal. And we are going to allow grandparents visits with masks for now, but this is a big step for us! Wyatt is on the high risk list so we still need to remain vigilant and safe. But the two kids had a blast, giggling and laughing and playing hide and seek.

Then yesterday Wyatt and I finally had our painting party! He loves to paint, and we don’t get to do it as much as he wants. So yesterday we spent a good chunk of time just having a blast painting. I got a book for Christmas that is supposed to teach you to watercolor, so I played with that a little and painted this fern! It is designed to teach technique and color mixing and has the picture faintly outlined for you to fill in following the directions. It was fun and I feel like I did learn from it!

Our menagerie is also doing well. Our new addition Luna is growing which is good and we are down to one gecko bath a day, rather than two. Here is my little family of lizards… Harry playing at being a jungle gecko, Dash, and Luna taking a little bath.

Today I think we are going to play a bit in our garden. Tomorrow we are going for a hike and ordering Middle Eastern for dinner, before meeting up with my brother, mom, and my SIL’s mom for a fire at their house. The first of the year, and I am so excited!

Happy Easter to all who celebrate, and have a great weekend friends! How is your week treating you?

Chit Chat Coffee Time Post

I’m really enjoying these quick little snippet posts! I think Bella from Over the Teacups had a good idea with her posts that are conversational, like she is having tea with you, and I feel kind of like that is what these posts have become, a little catch up of our week over coffee. So grab a cup and feel free to share with me in the comments about your own week!

I am typing today from my office! Billy got it basically done, enough for me to use, and I am in love with it. And so is Wyatt – I didn’t anticipate him wanting to be in here all the time too, but that is ok. I am glad that he is enjoying the new space as well, and I have always been a person who feels there is no room a child can’t be in and play in and feel like it is their room as well. So there is a basket of notebooks and crayons, a toy or two, and then the other day he wanted to do his school work in here. So we did! I will do a post about the office after I get the curtains hung and some of the art as well; the totally empty white wall over Dash’s tank bothers me. We are hanging shelving on the wall behind the desk – which for now is an old table until Billy gets a chance to build a desk for me. He is getting a big break for now though!

This week was also Wyatt’s birthday week! It turned into a week long slow celebration. Tuesday was his actual birthday, and he had video chat and driveway visits from loved ones, and a big day of opening gifts. Lots of surprises and goodies for this kiddo! We had another day where we just played with his toys and read his books, then Friday Billy took a day off and we went out for a family day. We asked Wyatt what he wanted to do, and he requested the zoo again, so off we went.

My cousin gave Wyatt this Edgar Allen Poe doll. It cracks me up!

My mom also temporarily moved into my uncle’s condo – she is much closer now, like a ten minute drive instead of 30, and we can start getting her house ready to sell without her being in there. It just makes things so much easier for everyone, and we are so grateful to my cousin for allowing us that opportunity. My mom is also double vaccinated now so yay! I am going to pop over tomorrow morning (masked) and help her set up an area for my niece to use as her homeschool space. My mom has been pretty isolated for so long now, with the exception of her bubble of my brother, his wife, and my niece, that we are trying to get her used to what is our new normal slowly – like getting used to people being in masks, etc. It will be good to spend some time with her. So now, my mom, dad, stepmom, Billy’s parents, two aunts, and an uncle are all double vaccinated. My sister-in-law got her first one on Thursday, and three of my cousins have either one vaccine or are done. Billy, my brother Devin, and I are in the next phase so that should be coming up pretty quickly.

And if we were really at coffee together, I would probably be sharing about my plants and lizards, so here is my new plant baby, a raven ZZ. I have wanted one for a long time so I finally went for it. I got it from Amazon actually, and I am pretty happy with Amazon’s plants so far. This one arrived in great shape, and I sent one as a surprise to my friend in PA, who was tired of seeing so much snow, and hers arrived in good shape as well. (I sent her a rattlesnake plant, part of the prayer plant family because I love them)

And then Harry being all dramatic, just because..

How about you all? How was your week?