Tuesday Morning Coffee Catch Up

Hello everyone!

I have been getting weirdly excited about organizing and redoing little areas of our house. I have also been weeding through some of our things and donating and selling them, clearing out some of the clutter of things we no longer need or enjoy. We must be a family of magpies the way we hang onto things! Last week I tore apart our homeschool supply area in the basement, set up a little work station that has my binding machine, paper cutter, and miscellaneous supplies, organized the shelves, filed stuff in my filing cabinet – and basically just organized to my heart’s content. Next I need to focus on the areas where we will actually be doing our schooling – Wyatt’s desk area in his room and at our dining room table. I think I might put my grandmother’s china away for a little bit and rework the china cabinet to hold supplies – and maybe a new reptile tank… I mean, why not right? Lol. I think we would all like a snake, but as the caretaker I don’t think I could do the feeding. Ick. And what if it escaped? I read that snakes can be tricksy little Houdinis! So probably never a snake.

I am also working on ideas for our first day of school, to make it feel like the first day and special, which can be sort of hard when you homeschool. I did take Wyatt back to school supply shopping the other day (and I have since decided that for all future Target runs I will leave my two guys at home as they zoomed through the store without stopping every 100 feet to look at stuff) and let him pick out some stuff to use. I will say he has eclectic taste!

I mean, I did pick up some other stuff too – a few odds and ends from that Dollar Spot right when you walk in, like a United States puzzle since we are studying the U.S. this year, a planet puzzle just because it was $3 and wooden, that little fox vase in the top photo, a little wooden gnome all ready for autumn and holding a pumpkin ($1 everyone!), and of course I needed to make sure we had a supply of the basics to start the year. We needed new crayons, more glue sticks, a fresh sketchbook for Wyatt. And then of course I had to add a few shirts for Wyatt to the cart, as they were on sale for $8 each. We can cross the first day of school shirt off the list because we found the perfect one, blue with little lizards on it. Or maybe it will be the 70s vibin shirt. I guess we will see which he chooses that day!

We had my little niece’s birthday party yesterday. No surprise, Mermaid Girl wanted a mermaid theme! Well, mermaid/fairy, her two favorite things right now. It was a weirdly autumn like day, very cool temps, and I even found some yellow leaves on the ground. It was a very fun day though, the kids enjoyed playing on the playground, I enjoyed visiting with family, and of course eating the cake. We also took a little nature walk which was lovely. Lake Erie was looking mystical and perhaps, full of mermaids…

Tell me, are you Team Mermaid or Team Fairy?

I am super excited about my tiny baby Brussels sprouts! They have taken forever to grow. While I was checking on them, my little neighbor cat came to peep under the fence at me. He always startles me with how much he looks like my Maggie!

I cut back on raising butterflies this year, but I couldn’t help but bring some caterpillars in. This one was my eleventh Black Swallowtail of the summer. Sadly, I have had zero Monarch eggs or caterpillars on my milkweed. They were declared endangered this year, and frankly, I can see a huge difference myself between this year and last year. I have only seen a handful floating and flying about this this summer, and one of my friends whose backyard is an official Monarch waystation has seen about 50. Her numbers are often between 300-600 a summer, so this summer is dismal. Hopefully something can be done to increase their numbers before they are extinct.

And I don’t want to end on that depressing note! Let’s see…hmmm. Here is a photo of my pretty silly Miso to lighten the mood!

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 full of business. Getting organized and set up for school, gathering supplies, clearing out overgrown areas of the yard, starting PT again, and lining up a whole new round of appointments for kiddo. Just a productive, yet tiring, week!

Thanks everyone for the feedback on Abebooks and Thrift Books! It was very helpful information!

We also took a little trip to the library. We may have checked out a few books. We were laughing that there was barely room left for Wyatt in the wagon! (We are still waiting on his wheelchair – that is a fiasco that I may address in another post.)

Read Last Week:

I reread Wild is the Witch so that I could give it a proper review. I also started Willa of the Wood but wasn’t in the mood. I will have to try again another time.

Reading This Week:

I am reading the Mindfulness book above by Cheryl Fisher and it is really full of such wonderful information. I am taking note of some things I want to start to integrate into our days, such as a “time away” area filled with natural elements to touch and and play with and smell and soothe. The outdoors has always been beneficial to Wyatt (and us) and this book is giving me some great new ideas. And since I am reading something nonfiction and sort of textbooky, I am also reading a book by one of my favorite authors, who is always a go-to when I need something cozy. I haven’t read this particular title in a long time either so it is almost like reading it for the first time again.

Posted Last Week:

Book Review: Wild is the Witch

10 on the 10th

A Morning at the Fair

Watching and Listening:

Billy and I were on a roll with Only Murders in the Building Season Two, but then decided to hold off and let more episodes build up. Martin Short cracks me up! We decided to start the newest season of Death in Paradise while we are waiting. It will always hold a special place in my heart because we started it during Wyatt’s newborn phase, which was crazy. He was tiny, we needed to feed him a certain amount of food every three hours, but he also had acid reflux and needed to be held upright for thirty minutes after eating. And it took him forever to eat the smallest amount, like a 4 oz bottle would take 30 minutes. Billy and I did lots of just sitting and feeding Wyatt, and we subsequently watched a lot of tv. One of those was Death in Paradise and tiny baby Wyatt would shimmy his little body and chest pop to the theme song every time, without fail, which would make me laugh and smile. And he still loves the theme song and will stop what he is doing to dance to it!

Tonight we are watching our classic movie chosen by Lisa at Boondock Ramblings, His Gal Friday. I am looking forward to getting all cozy with some tea and watching. I am so ready for fall, y’all!

As for listening, I am still listening to Night Owl Podcast but sadly just listened to the last episode. The host has been unwell so he is taking a break. I’ve also been catching up on Lore.

And that’s my little update from our house! What have you been watching, reading, or listening to?

10 on the 10th

Today’s 10 on the 10th is hosted by Marsha in the Middle, with questions by Gail of Is This Mutton. 10 on the 10th is the creation of Leslie from Once Upon a Time Happily Ever After.

This month is sports themed!

  1. Were you good at sports at school?
    • Hmm. I wouldn’t say I was good at anything that involved running. Lol. I was however a pretty good swimmer. I swam butterfly and freestyle for our high school team and I loved it. And I usually placed pretty high at meets!
  2. What are your three favorite sports to watch on TV?
    • Olympic Swimming, the Tour de France, and I love the winter Olympics, like all of the events. I tried to name my favorite events the last they rolled around and I ended up naming almost everything, except hockey. I used to watch the Detroit Red Wings play on television a long time ago but haven’t for years.
  3. Do you regularly watch any live sports?
    • Just the Olympics and the Tour de France.
  4. Does the Olympic medal ceremony make you emotional when your country wins a gold?
    • Yeah. Although like Marsha, I cry for any country who gets gold. I think about how those athletes must be feeling and boom, tears.
  5. What sport or fitness activities do you enjoy now? 
    • Hiking in the woods? I also love yoga but I haven’t done it in so long. I had hoped to get back to it this fall and looked into it but the classes don’t work with my schedule so.. I don’t know. Maybe I can just do yoga at home, an online class or something.
  6. Did you ever have a sporting hero who was your pinup?
    • No. I watch more sports now than I did even when I was younger. I always had band or actor posters.
  7. What’s the most memorable sporting occasion you can remember? 
    • When the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 1997 or 1998. My cousin had a huge viewing party, and had constructed a faux Stanley Cup for us all to drink out of. Then we all piled into our cars and headed downtown where everyone was driving around and yelling and celebrating in the streets. It was a lot of fun. I was probably..22 years old so it was a good time.
  8. Is anyone in your family outstanding at sport? 
    • Um, no. My grandpa was a fantastic swimmer though. And bowler.
  9. Name three sports you try to avoid on TV.
    • All the footballs, basketball, baseball.
  10. Who’s the sports personality you admire most in 2022
    • I do not have one. I should probably watch more sports?

What about you? Are you sporty?

Classic Movie Impressions: To Catch a Thief

Lisa at Boondock Ramblings and I have started recommending classic movies to each other this summer, and this go round she recommended To Catch a Thief for us to watch. I had just suggested two very heavy movies in a row to her (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Streetcar Named Desire) so I lightened it up with Elvis and Blue Hawaii for her. You can read her review here!

If you are unfamiliar with this film the basic premise is that a former jewel thief, John Robie “The Cat”(Cary Grant) has to defend his reformed reputation and innocence when a cat burglar begins stealing from the rich tourists in the French Riviera, and everyone assumes he has returned to his old ways. Francie (Grace Kelly) is a wealthy American woman who is clever and bold and much more different than one would think under her icy blonde exterior.

So far, this movie is my favorite of Lisa’s picks for me. I absolutely loved every bit of it. I am an absolute sucker for cinematography and this movie is gorgeous. The water, the villas, the street scenes, the composition of scenes – it is easy to see why cinematographer Robert Burks won an Oscar for this film. So many scenes took my breath away with sometimes just their simple beauty! There is a scene where John and Francie are in her rooms, watching the fireworks and verbally sparring, with Francie goading John into revealing to her that she has figured out who he really is. The lighting, the shadows and use of shadow, the colors, the costumes, the placement of where the actors stand and sit is perfect.

I also loved how Grace Kelly’s character in this movie had hidden depths. On the surface she looks like an ice princess, with her blonde gorgeousness, her seeming aloofness – and then she slowly reveals that underneath that demeanor she is a little bit of a thrill seeker, that she is more hot-blooded than cold, and she is bold and goes after what she wants. She pursues Robie with single minded purpose, and pulls out all the stops including a chase scene along the coastal road which ends in a picnic with chicken and beer. She had her own version of “catching” a thief, it seems.

“The Cat” may not be immune to Francie’s charms but remains undeterred in his pursuit of the imposter thief. He follows his instincts, and lands on his feet after a dramatic rooftop scene where Robie confronts the thief amidst a hail of bullets. Because it can’t be too easy, right?

I just want to say that Jessie Royce Landis, who portrays Kelly’s mom Jessie Stevens, is also brilliant in this movie. I loved her sort of rough beginnings, her lack of regard for her own wealth, her taste for bourbon, and how she seemed to just embrace life despite missing her late husband Jeremiah. Her character was a lot of fun to watch in every one of her scenes.

Overall, I completely loved this movie, the charm and the beauty, the easiness that Kelly and Grant seem to have with one another. The surprises that made me turn to Billy with wide eyes, laughing, like when Kelly lays one on Grant soon after meeting him, totally breaking that ice princess facade. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to watch it!

Up Next:

We have chosen our movies for next time! For Lisa, I picked The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, at my mom’s suggestion. And Lisa, with her husband’s input, has picked His Gal Friday for me. Feel free to watch with us and chime in with your impressions next time!

Hello, August!

It’s August! And you know what that means – fall is right around the corner! But first – August. Here, gardens are usually lush and overflowing, days are hot, and everyone is scrambling to fit as much fun and outside time in before school starts again. Even though we are a homeschooling family, I feel the urgency to not waste a second more than I have to. These long, lazy days don’t last forever and we will eventually have to hit the books again.

We ended July on a bit of a bummer – Wyatt and I had Covid. The rest of July was pretty spectacular though, so I have to be happy for that, and thankful that we had mild cases. August however is looking to be a good looking month though, if we do even a few of the things I am hoping we do. Peaches, sunflowers, the Renaissance Festival (it will be Wyatt and Mermaid Girl’s first time and they are going to love it!), birthday parties, and things closer to home too, like raising caterpillars and reading and swimming. Eating cold watermelon at night with Billy, the evening glass of wine, farm markets, the wild and vibrant colors of the zinnias growing in Billy’s wildflower patch.

I am of course, looking ahead to school starting. I have lots to gather and prepare (and there is a metaphor in here that is eluding me this morning as I type). I have to organize our supplies, finish lesson plans – we are flexible but I do have plans. I need to keep working on the literary arts curriculum I am creating for Wyatt – I have made it to December and I have to say I am super excited about my choices and what I have put together already. I have field trips to plan, and I still have to convince Billy to build an addition onto our house for a sun room/plant room/homeschool room… (ok that isn’t going to happen but hey a girl can dream).

We still want to squeeze a camping trip in somewhere – I love the outdoors guys but I am not a camper, unless sleeping in a cabin or an RV counts. Right now I am daydreaming of reserving a night or two in an Airstream somewhere rustic, but I know my husband wants the whole camping experience with Wyatt, tent and all. I can maybe do one night? Maybe I will just sleep in the back of the Subaru…

Anyway, I am going to wrap this up here! How about you? Any plans for August?

Sunday Morning Coffee Catch Up

Photo by lilartsy on Pexels.com

Last week was a long week. Wyatt threw up once after swimming last Friday (the 22nd) and we thought maybe it was just because he had swallowed water or something. But then Saturday he started coughing and was congested, so we gave him a home test, which almost instantly turned positive for Covid. Billy and I just stared at it for a second, in disbelief. We had had a busy week, but all were in medical buildings with screening and mask requirements – except for one. His speech therapy appointment Tuesday afternoon. Due to the nature of speech therapy, he can’t wear a mask. And since it houses many speech therapy rooms, etc a lot of kids are not wearing masks. When we looked at the timeline, it fit.

We immediately called Wyatt’s pediatrician, who told us not to panic (too late!), told us to treat it like a cold, and to also call Wyatt’s neurologist. His neuro team also told us not to panic but to bump up one of his seizure meds for two days in case of fever spikes. He thank goodness did not have any fever spikes but we were happy to have such a good medical team for our kiddo. Once Wyatt was settled, I went out for a PCR test. Which came back negative but two days later I became congested with a sore throat and tested positive as well, which I knew was coming. How could it not?

We spent the week resting and healing, and for me, worrying. I drove my friends and family crazy I am sure but with their help I managed to stay mostly calm. I drank tons of tea with honey, ate chicken noodle soup everyday for lunch, kept hydrated, and laid around as much as my bounce back quickly kid would let me. (which I was grateful for, Wyatt bouncing back so quickly). I was congested, husky voiced, and a little tired. That was probably one of the hardest things, being sidelined. I missed my college roommate reunion! One of my friends from college was visiting from Australia, where he moved after meeting and falling in love with his wife, an Australian woman from Perth. I see them so rarely for obvious reasons, and this was one other time I missed them. I will probably have to wait five years again now, which is a huge bummer.

At least I had my little buddy to hang out with. And my cats and my reptiles and my caterpillars. They distracted me when I needed a distraction. I daydreamed about adopting a goat. And an English Angora rabbit, because look at this little floof!! I want to kiss it and hug it … my husband calls me Elmyra from Tiny Toons and it is not an unfair comparison sometimes.

Billy and I watched lots of Virgin River because that was just the tv I needed, I attempted two audiobooks, and mostly scrolled the interwebs. On Thursday Wyatt was growing increasingly bored but as he had just passed day 5 and I was not there yet, we were still housebound – and pretty much are until day 10. And I was still pretty gross. But I rallied enough to set up this rock painting activity for him. His rocks were so…artistic. I thought they were beautiful.

I didn’t go outside much over the week, because I wasn’t interested in adding allergies to the mix, but I did sit on the porch a few times and was surprised everyday by some new and wonderful sight. Goldfinches perching on my lavender, eating seeds from flower heads, a baby robin, just a new fledgling sitting on our porch rail, unafraid. A hummingbird even swung by and hovered in front of us, saying hello for a few seconds before disappearing in a blur. And, I found giant swallowtail butterfly eggs on my rue! So, despite a pretty crappy week, there was some beauty to be found in it.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge is hosted by From This Side of the Pond

This is my first time participating and I am excited about it!

1. According to author Gary Chapman there are five love languages-words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts. Which one is yours? 

For what I like to receive, quality time. Is that what this means? I tend to be a doer for other people, so I think I show my love through nurturing.

2. What are five foods you eat every day? 

I am not sure there five foods I eat every day that are the same.. Let me try though… toast with jam. Cheese. Right now, watermelon. I’m almost there! Ok..carrots! I love carrots so much. And..the fruit snack I always sneak from the pouch before handing it to Wyatt.

3. Five places you’d love to visit?

Italy. Scotland. Ireland. The Pacific Northwest and Nova Scotia.

Photo by Silvia Trigo on Pexels.com

4. Something you’ve done recently that deserved a ‘high five‘?

Planned a few fun small activities and one awesome mini-getaway to a tiny house on a farm.

5. Give us five 5-letter words that describe your July. 

Books. Fruit. Trips. Dates. Farms.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I am sitting in my bed looking around and thinking I really want to refresh our bedroom. I have wanted to do this for a while but we have kept putting it off and I think I am going to prioritize it pretty soon. I am 100% over this wall color (that I never wanted, the husband chose it and I have never been a fan lol), I want my art hung, and my husband needs a new dresser. I am moving this project up the list!

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 busy week – so many appointments! Wyatt had a neurology appointment that went well, and we were referred to an epileptologist for the breakthrough seizures we are still seeing. He also had speech and OT. And I had an appointment too! I went to a new doctor and I really liked her. I always find it hard to switch doctors but my old doctor and I have never clicked, so I took the plunge and it paid off.

Read Last Week:

I loved this book so much!! Definitely my favorite read of the summer so far.

Reading This Week:

I started this the other night and I am already sucked in. And this cover! Gorgeous!

Posted Last Week:

Book Review: Wildwood Whispers by Willa Reece

Classic Movie Impressions: The Thin Man

Morning Coffee Catch Up

Watching and Listening:

We finished up Stranger Things and I was pretty emotional over it. Lol. It was so good though! Billy and I have a line up of shows that we want to start or catch up on – The Brokenwood Mysteries, The Umbrella Academy, Dark Winds, Only Murders in the Building, and Virgin River. We have been feeling a bit of “tv show hangover” from Stranger Things so we stuck to our fall back easy show Murdoch Mysteries, and then started Virgin River Season 4 last night. I needed something light and easy and these were great choices. This week we will probably mix it up with Virgin River and another one – but we are disagreeing on which one. My vote is for either OMITB or Brokenwood, and Billy wants to watch The Umbrella Academy. So we are in a tv show standoff!

Listening.. the podcasts I have been listening to this week include Read Aloud Revival, The Folklore Podcast, and True Crime Garage. And I found a really fun music playlist on Spotify that will be neat to listen to, since I am reading A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons.

And that is about for now! How about you all?

Book Review: Wildwood Whispers by Willa Reece

Goodreads Summary:

At the age of eleven, Mel Smith’s life found its purpose when she met Sarah Ross. Ten years later, Sarah’s sudden death threatens to break her. To fulfill a final promise to her best friend, Mel travels to an idyllic small town nestled in the shadows of the Appalachian Mountains. Yet Morgan’s Gap is more than a land of morning mists and deep forest shadows.

There are secrets that call to Mel, in the gaze of the gnarled and knowing woman everyone calls Granny, in a salvaged remedy book filled with the magic of simple mountain traditions, and in the connection, she feels to the Ross homestead and the wilderness around it.

With every taste of sweet honey and tart blackberries, the wildwood twines further into Mel’s broken heart. But a threat lingers in the woods—one that may have something to do with Sarah’s untimely death and that has now set its sight on Mel.

My thoughts:

I loved every single thing about this book. Can I please move to Morgan’s Gap? There are a few things that will automatically draw me to a book (besides the cover). Magical realism (my favorite genre), witches, folklore, small towns, nature, mystery…this book has it all. I could not put it down, and dreamed my nights away in dreams of misty mountains, blackberries, homemade bread and jam.

Mel is a tough nut to crack. Hardened and honed by multiple foster homes where she was unloved and mistreated, she keeps her defenses high and her trust low. The only person she has let into her heart is her foster sister Sarah, whose death shatters that heart that is so hard to wiggle into. She makes a pilgrimage to Sarah’s hometown, where Sarah is from, where her roots were firmly entrenched before the tragedy that wrenched her away.

Here Mel slowly lowers her defenses, starting her life over in the place that Sarah had so deeply loved. She starts to make new connections, to the people who remembered Sarah and her family, to the land, to the community. And when forces start to threaten this new life of hers, Mel relies on all she has learned to keep hold of this new start, this place where she has found a home and friends.

Reece has an amazing way with words. I could feel the lushness of the wildwood, the beauty of the land and the mountains, taste the sweetness of the honey. I just about cried at one scene in the book, when Mel goes to visit the local apiarist. And phew, one scene that should be so simple is so .. er.. hot. This book is full of strong emotions, love and grief, hope and evil. This book was beautiful and wonderful and wild.

I absolutely loved this book, and I can’t wait until the next one in the series, Wildwood Magic, is released! Unfortunately that is all the way in November – but right before my birthday, so…there is that!

So go. Go now and lose yourself in the magic of the wildwood! (well, if that is your sort of thing, that is..)

Morning Coffee Catch Up

Photo by lilartsy on Pexels.com

The coffee is hot and delicious this morning! This week we are drinking Seattle’s Best Post Alley, a dark roast and dang, it is smooth.

Wyatt started swim lessons! He is super excited about going, this kid loves a pool. I had to explain though that while this is fun, it is more for learning and not playing around. That is reserved for grandma’s pool!

If you read my National Parks Jr. Ranger post, you might remember that Wyatt and I tried an online version for Denali National Park. Since we are probably not going to make it to Denali in his youth, and he knows about Denali from the PBS cartoon Molly of Denali, we started there. We completed the activity book together and mailed it in, and Friday Wyatt received the nicest letter and his badge in the mail!

Saturday night was date night! Billy and I went to our local street art fair, which is huge! We walked around, browsed, had a drink and some food, and bought a print for our bedroom. I am making a gallery wall of night time nature type prints and this one will fit perfectly! It immediately spoke to me, the moon, the fireflies, and it reminded me of our recent mini-getaway. The artists, Dennis and Christina of Arsenal Handicraft, are local to us and had beautiful artwork! They do illustration and screenprinting and I wanted to buy everything.

Sunday we did yard work, in spurts because it was super muggy. I have a ton of new bites on my leg from something, which is not cool. Our wildflower garden experiment is starting to pay off! Except, we don’t know what is a flower or a weed until it blooms! Or doesn’t, I guess? I pulled a bunch today after using Google Lens, but I left quite a bit I was feeling skeptical about. We will see! I also felt in communion with grasshoppers as they were leaping all around me as I was working. We have so many! And my caterpillar count is up to..11? Maybe 12. I have filled up most of my empty tanks so this might be it for a while.

And now I guess I’d better get a moving!