Summertime Vibing

Every morning this week while Wyatt has been eating breakfast, I’ve been ducking out to the garden to gather strawberries and check for caterpillars. (so far just Uno, Dos, Tres) Every morning I have returned with a handful of red, ripe strawberries, just the perfect amount to have with my own breakfast. When I planted my garden this year, my heart was heavy as I thought of my uncle, who always shared this joy with me. I texted my cousin about it, and he said that this year my garden would have a special protector in my uncle. And I think he was right. While we may not have a lot of berries everyday, we have more than we have had, and it is just the amount I need.

He would be tickled about the flowers that I have planted, the tomatoes that are growing, the little creatures I have spotted the past few days, which included a hummingbird moth last night, and then this morning, a hummingbird. I stumbled out of bed, my guys still lazing about sleeping, and plopped on the couch. I glanced out the window just at the the right time to catch a beautiful iridescent hummingbird buzzing around the lavender. I was so excited I ran back to the bedroom to tell Billy – I felt sort of like Snow White. Lol. I did manage to capture a blurryish photo of the hummingbird moth. I couldn’t believe I was seeing it! It is the second I have ever seen and they look like such weird little creatures, that at first you think what is that?

It’s been a pretty good week, despite the disgusting humidity and heat we have had. I am not a fan so we tried to make the most of our days in other ways – including an ice cream date with my cousin and his girls, whom we haven’t seen in person for months and months. I have missed them so!

I went with lavender ice cream. It got so melty so fast but it didn’t matter, it still tasted fabulous. I haven’t had it in two summers so I was so happy to be reunited with it.. and my family too of course. (Billy got black cherry and Wyatt mint chocolate chip with peanut butter cups. It’s called Grasshopper)

I also got my haircut. My hair was so long guys, down past the middle of my back that I can’t tell you enough how good this feels to have it shorter. Sure, it will be like a nimbus around my head during the heat of summer, but it feels so much lighter. So a cut for summertime. Wyatt is next. And he has asked for blue hair which threw me for a second, but, I agreed. Not all over blue, just a few streaks, and the stuff I bought washes out in one shampoo. I am waiting until the movie Luca is released next week, which is about a mermaid? merman? boy. We are going to do Wyatt’s hair and my niece’s hair as well.

This week was sea turtle and shark week for our homeschool science lessons. I talked a little about this on Tuesday in my World Ocean Day post so, I didn’t do a whole homeschool post this week. I think I will wrap it all up in two weeks instead, but I just love these turtles the kids made. I also surprised them with shark teeth I had bought downtown, which they were excited about. And then my kid almost swallowed his being funny and putting it in his mouth like it was his tooth. That kid. I tell you. If he had, it wouldn’t be the first tooth he swallowed this year, just the first that wasn’t his.

We have some running around to do today, some projects to wrap up, and I hope to pick up an iced green tea from Starbucks along the way. I also am hoping to make my dandelion lotion bars that I started way back in May!

What have you all been up to lately?

10 on the 10th!

10 Questions About Summer:
Today I am linking up with Leslie at Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After and her 10 on the 10th for the first time. Check it out here!
  1. What will make summer successful for you this year?

I think for summer I want one that is relaxed and happy. That is what would make summer successful for me. Lots of bonfires, picnics, hanging out with friends and family over drinks in the yard, simple dinners, playing and learning and exploring during the day with Wyatt. And – at least one monarch to visit my yard and lay eggs!

  1. “500 Days of Summer,” “School’s Out for Summer,” somersault, “The Boys of Summer,” “Summertime Blues,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” dog days of summer, “Endless Summer,” “Summertime and the Living is Easy”…which of these phrases resonates most with you and your plans for the summer of ’21 and why?

Well, looking at my list from above, I am going to go with Summertime and the Living is Easy.

  1. What do you look forward to doing this summer that you couldn’t do last summer because of C-O-V-I-D? What plans did you have last summer that had to be postponed, altered or canceled all together?

I would LOVE to travel to northern Michigan this summer. I am not sure if that is in the cards but that would be a definite return to normal for us. Hmm. Maybe I will start looking into that. Also visiting our favorite places again, places like the zoo and Henry Ford Greenfield Village.

  1. Name something you will track this summer. Steps, calories, Weight Watcher points, money spent, books read, miles traveled, workout sessions, laps swam, miles run, gatherings with friends.  How will you track it?

At first I didn’t think I was going to track anything – but then I realized I am going to track the number of butterflies I raise and release! I think I will probably only have Black Swallowtail and hopefully Monarchs but you never know what little caterpillar will inch its way into the yard. I have my first three Black Swallowtails hanging out already, tiny caterpillars just eating their way through the dill and the rue. I have named these three Uno, Dos, and Tres.

  1. Is there something new you look forward to trying this season? New recipe, new ‘do, new restaurant, new vacation spot?

I just got my haircut today! It has been one length for so long. Today I had long layers cut into and I love it. My stylist always straightens my hair and I look in the mirror and can’t recognize myself. I think I am going to like this cut though! But I will think of another one too.. hmm. Well, I am eating meat for the first time in my adult life so I will definitely be trying new recipes. But a new restaurant would be fun too!

  1. Share something you do on repeat every summer. Why is this activity on repeat?  Were you able to do that familiar activity last year during the pandemic?

Breakfasts with Wyatt on the front porch, and evening drink on the porch with Billy. This is how we know it is summer! It’s not anything fancy but we love it. And we definitely did it last summer.

  1. Who will you connect with or reconnect with this summer?

My parents and my in-laws for sure! My brother and his family. And my bestie crew. We are going to resume book club even for this month, and just ease our way in- meaning we are just talking about our current reads.

  1. This season how will you manage screen time for yourself and your family?

The trick this year is to manage Wyatt’s screen time! With his health conditions he gets overheated really easily so summer is hard for us. I have to find shady places and different ways to keep him busy that are inside – so maybe one more summer of picnics in our tree grove and lots of art time and different ways to play at home. The fact that we are still going to be schooling some over the summer will help. July is all about Italy and I have some fun ideas up my sleeve. Billy and I only watch an hour of tv a night so that is not bad, and keep busy the rest of the time.

  1. What project are you hoping to tackle this summer?  Something around the house?  A craft?  A gardening or outdoor activity?

We are doing a bedroom refresh this month and probably into next month too. Then, that is it for big projects. I would love to can more this year, and make jam too.

  1. How do you want to feel at the end of the summer?

I want to feel like we soaked up the best of the summer, enjoying the times with friends and family, good fresh food from the garden and farm markets, lots of lazy days and busy days both, and that we are ready to slow down and be cozy again.

How about you? What are your thoughts about this summer? Any plans, big or small?

World Ocean Day!

It’s World Oceans Day! I actually didn’t know this existed until this morning and I saw it on Instagram. The things I learn from there. Anyway, how appropriate that we are having an ocean unit this month! Let’s pretend I totally knew and planned it.

Last week I posted about our first week of our study, which was pretty fun. We focused on smaller creatures, like seahorses and crabs and jellyfish. Yesterday we started with sea turtles, a favorite of mine. We did a bunch of stuff, but we also read a few picture books, one of which was very traumatic for all of us. Turtle Tide, which is a very good book, full of honest, truthful information – but too much for our sensitive crew. In the book the momma turtle makes her way toward land, digs her nest, lays her eggs, heads back to sea. The babies are born, and make their way to the ocean. Now most of us know that the majority of these babies never make it. And the book illustrated that for us, with them being attacked and killed and eaten on their journey. True facts but I guess our kiddos were not ready for it to be so in their faces. My mom and niece were watching the read aloud on YouTube and Dino Girl was very unhappy with it and started yelling for my mom to turn it off – while I was reading Wyatt got very anxious as well, so I skipped some pages. We are apparently very sensitive over here. I didn’t even want to read about these little babies getting plucked up or the eggs eaten. Nature does what nature needs to do though.

However, the kids were so upset and wanted to know what they could do to help. We don’t live near a beach with sea turtles so we can’t do anything hands on, so we decided to adopt a sea turtle from The Sea Turtle Conservancy. We decided to make it a little service project, one that is easily attainable. It’s pretty simple. The kids will have to do a daily chore that is picked out by mom and dad and for that they will earn a dollar. When each kid gets to seven dollars which would be almost half the price when put together, then we the parents will kick in the remaining money. It looks like they might get a tracking number as well, that allows them to check in on the turtles and see where in the world they are, which is really neat!

I made the kids these little trackers so they can see where they are with their goal. (and I see there is a typo but I had a cat licking my hand the whole time I was typing…lol)

Neither one of the kids have been to the ocean, something that all of us plan to rectify next spring. We are planning a family trip to Chincoteague Island for a week long visit, something that is long overdue for all of us. My brother and his family are big beach people, so I am sure they will spend a lot of their time in the water and on the beach. The three of us are more trails people so we will probably do some beach mornings followed up by trail hiking. And we will all do the sightseeing and of course, all the pony stuff! I remember visiting Chincoteague as a tween before it was called tween, and I loved it there. It made a huge impression on me, and on my brother as well and we have always talked about going back. I am so excited it is in the works! We are taking our mom and also my sister-in-law’s mother as well, and I think it will be a wonderful time. Living in the Great Lakes State, we have giant lakes that you can’t see across, the go on and on. But the ocean is something entirely different.

I plan on adding some fun additions to our lessons that I found on the World Ocean Day website! They have a whole searchable database of lessons and activities that makes it easy. You just plug in the age range, duration of lesson, and learning area that you want to concentrate on and they will supply the lesson. There is a lesson on music inspired by the ocean that looks interesting. Even if we don’t actually do the lesson part, I usually play music throughout the day and I didn’t even think to add any ocean inspired music. And now, my mind is going to sea shanties too… They also have book lists, which you know I love!

Let me know if you do anything for World Ocean Day, whether it is taking action (like choosing to use reusable straws from now on or signing a petition), listening to music inspired by the sea, reading a poem or a book – anything at all! I would love to hear. Maybe you will even get to walk along the beach today!

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

Our library is back open for browsing! I went in the other day and was completely overwhelmed by all the book choices honestly, and left with one picture book for Wyatt (which was ok since I have 22 others checked out for him right now) and nothing for myself. Yesterday I attempted it again – and this time left with a nice little stack of books for myself! It was nice to chat with the staff, some of whom I have known since I was three years old! It was sort of strange as well – I was the only patron in there, there were two staff members, and that was it. No phones ringing, no kids chattering in the kids section, the copy machine wasn’t whirring – it was the most quiet the library has ever been. But I am so glad it is open again for browsing! They did a great job over the past year, filling holds, even choosing books for you if requested but for those of us who enjoy just going to the library, it wasn’t quite the same, so it was nice to be back.

Read Last Week:

I am almost done with this one, and while it is not bad, it is also not super gripping, at least for me. Not a slog, but also not one I feel like I HAVE to know what is going on. I will finish it up this week, hopefully tomorrow.

Reading This Week:

Updated: No sooner had I posted this than I remembered that I have a book I have to read this week for a NetGalley review! So my library books have to wait until I finish this one – which shouldn’t be a hardship, it sounds fantastic!!

Posted Last Week:

Homeschooling: Ocean Week 1

Currently..

Hello June!

Watching:

Jonathan Creek, although they switched it up again (S5) and it is maybe the fourth time so far? I’m not sure I like so much change! Wyatt is watching Molly of Denali, and Wild Kratts still. We haven’t watched any movies in a while! Maybe tonight, there are a few I want to see!

Currently….

It’s that time again! I’m joining up with Anne in Residence for her monthly Currently..post. This month we are talking about what we are celebrating, collecting, gifting, thinking, and trying!

Celebrating: This one is easy! We are celebrating the addition of our newest family member, born last Friday! My cousin and his wife had their third son on the 28th, named Francis (Frankie) Elias. Frankie is named for our grandfather, and I absolutely love it. He is so darn cute and I can’t wait to meet him! Mom and baby are doing great.

Collecting: Ideas and art for our bedroom refresh that we are starting this month. We loved how the office turned out so much that now we are eyeing other rooms. Our bedroom has not been repainted since we moved in twenty years ago!! It is high time to rectify that. Not only have our tastes changed it’s just been too long. I can’t wait! I already have a few pieces picked out that I want to get but I won’t let myself pull the trigger until we actually start. It will be my reward. This is one that I have in mind. If you follow me here regularly, you will know that I love all things nature and I dig this artist. I bought her fox print for the office, and I kind of like the idea of carrying that idea into another room.

(art by FainaLorah Luna Moth Art Print)

Gifting: Not too much right now? I do have my eyes open for Father’s Day gifts and ideas!

Thinking: About summer and what we want to accomplish – or not accomplish. We want to finish up the bedroom and then sort of spend the rest of the summer without projects except being together, exploring nature, having fires and drinks with family, going on picnics and visiting some of our favorite places. We want a relaxed summer, one that ends with everyday feeling that good kind of tired.

Trying: To encourage butterflies to our yard! Specifically, monarchs. The past few years my friends have all “raised” monarchs to give them more of a fighting chance at survival. This summer, I think Wyatt and I will be joining in. I planted milkweed and all sorts of different plants to entice butterflies, so hopefully we will see some monarch caterpillars hanging out in the garden soon. I am going to have my mom do it too, I think she will like it!

And that is it for this month! Check back next month where we will be discussing what we are currently eatingfeelinggoingordering, and realizing.

Hello June!

Hello June! Hello summer! I know it is not officially summer yet, but to me June is always the start of summer.

We spent the long weekend fully embracing the season as much as we could. Our Friday plans were rained out – we had a ton of rain and it was cold to boot – so instead of the zoo we bought a bunch of crafts and new paints and hung out at the table just painting and creating. However, Saturday and the rest of the weekend was gorgeous and we took full advantage.

Saturday we had reservations for one of our favorite places to visit, Greenfield Village. We didn’t get to go last year so it was so nice to be back! It was a beautiful morning, sunny and mild, the perfect kind of day to walk around the village and ride the train.

On Sunday we headed downtown. We stopped in at Astoria Bakery, another favorite that we haven’t been to in a year. Wyatt and I waited in the car while Billy ran in and picked up some surprise goodies to eat when we got to our next destination, Belle Isle. Just as Billy was coming out a mounted police officer came clip-clopping down the street and kindly stopped for a photo. Wyatt was not super enthused – the horse kind of freaked him out, although he was a sweet and handsome boy named Ivan.

Loaded up with a box full of goodies, we headed further into the city to Belle Isle. We had forgotten all about the Detroit Grand Prix, and to our surprise they had started setting up for it. They didn’t have it last year but this year things are back in full swing. One crazy sort of neat thing is they set up a week or so before the race and people visiting the island can just drive around the course. So we tootled around it in our Subaru feeling cool before finding a place to park and eat our car goodies. Billy picked out a lot, apparently he felt we needed to make up for all those lost weekends. A piece of torte cake to share, a lemon muffin, and chocolate chip cookies.. we ate all of it except the muffin. The cookies were amazing!

Monday was Memorial Day and we always spend it with my dad. My dad served in the Marines and did two tours in Vietnam, and lost friends and platoon members while there, and while we all remember those who served, I know that his perspective is different. I think spending the day with his grandchildren makes it a little easier.

We had a great time all together. It was the first time that we had been to his house since last Christmas, and it was more than nice to be with each other again. I got to hug my dad for the first time in a year! The kids had a blast, and we spent practically the whole day outside, trading being with the kids, and chatting with the family. There was so much food and so much catching up to do. The day flew by and it was time to go home before we knew it.

I feel like we gave May a good send off, and we are looking forward to the summer!

My Sunday-Monday Post!

This past week I decided was going to be a break week – and I legit took a break. We got up and stayed in our pajamas until noon, hung out with my mom, went for drives, played and read books, and that was about it. It was really nice. I did call the neurologist as Wyatt is due for another 48 hour EEG, and his awesome neuro said that we could schedule an ambulatory EEG instead of in hospital. This pretty much means that we take him in, they wire him up, then we get to come home. Otherwise, I was pretty absent from most of my usual life, including social media. I hope to catch up with everyone this week, and visit your blogs!

Read Last Week:

I read Kitchen Witch by Wendy Wang which was pretty good. Last spring when I couldn’t really focus on anything, I found this series and read the heck out of them. They are all also “free” if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription. Once I finished this newest installment, I moved on to a NetGalley read, On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor. I was excited to start this one as it is set in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on the shores of Lake Superior, and as a Michigander I love to read books set in my home state. I am particularly drawn to “up north” books. So far, this one is keeping me guessing!

Reading This Week:

Once I finish up Foxglove Manor, I am going to start Between the Sea and Stars.

I have oceans and ocean life on the brain right now, as I have been planning Wyatt and my niece’s last month of school – which has an ocean theme. So as they read watery ocean books, so am I. They will be “officially” done with Kindergarten in three weeks, which blows my mind! We are going to keep learning over the summer since I am the one who will have to deal with the dreaded summer slide, so we may as well just keep going! We will have a more informal school though for the summer, and start first grade in the fall.

Posted Last Week:

One lonely book review – Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

Watching and Listening

We have been watching Jonathan Creek still, even though they switched up characters on us. It’s a good end to the night. I also had the realization last week that I might like these cozy mystery shows because my brother and I watched Murder She Wrote all the time as kids. My mom was taking night college classes and I am six years older than my brother, so I was able to babysit him while she was out. That basically meant eating nachos and watching Murder She Wrote. Lol. Anyway. I am still listening to my podcasts, and for some reason spring time makes me feel all goth which is really weird but ok. Maybe it is the rain. Whatever the reason, I am listening to The Grave Talks podcast quite a bit, which is all haunting, ghost type stuff. And when I don’t feel like ghosts, I listen to Ologies with Alie Ward.

And that is about it from our corner of Michigan! I hope you all are doing well!

Book Review: Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

Publisher Summary:

Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level-headed good girl, has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life.

His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…

But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang, the Iron Order.

Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk? 

My thoughts:

I am late to the party with reading this series! I know that so many people love Penny Reid and the world she has created, and I am just getting started. I love the concept of creating this universe and allowing other authors access to it, writing books within that time and space. It’s just sort of a neat communal type creative pool that appeals to me.

I downloaded this one after reading Happy Trail by Daisy Prescott, which I loved. The Winston Brothers made an appearance in that book and I was intrigued.

This book focuses on Duane and Jessica. Jessica is a high school math teacher with a bad case of wanderlust, and dreams of following her heart’s desire of travelling the world one day. She has a pretty big bucket list and the determination to shake the dust off her shoes and hit the road. However, first she has to save money, which means teaching and living at home for a bit – also the hometown of her lifetime crush, Beau Winston, who leaves her unable to speak just by his nearness. His twin Duane on the other hand, inspires nothing but her ire. Until one hot moment of mistaken identity, that is.

This book just jumps right in, right from the get-go, and keeps the energy up the whole book. Reid did a great job of starting out big then backing off, setting up the story and challenges that the characters have to sort out. There were some big surprises in this book as well, that I never saw coming! I always like to be caught off guard, and I certainly was reading this. My friend and I were talking about feeling invested in books yesterday, and how some stories just grab you and make you part of their world – this book definitely did that. I loved watching Jessica and Duane figure out their relationship, and wondered what was going to happen the whole time, wondering how things would be resolved.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the next in the series! I am all about the fun reads right now!

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

This is such a busy busy time of year isn’t it? I feel like all the energy that is happening around us in the natural world is echoed in my own life. While bees and birds and all the little animals are busy with spring so are we. Working on the yard, school, getting back together with loved ones after a winter spent cozy at home.

Last night we planted our butterfly garden. We waited as long as we could for it to cool off but it was still sticky gross out while we were working. My face was about as red as a strawberry when we were finished. I have always always been that person who turns red from heat like immediately. It’s awesome. This morning I got up and made strawberry shortcake for breakfast – Billy and I really enjoyed it. Wyatt acted like I was giving him poison and refused to even take a bite though. Kids are crazy! I’m going to take some over to my mom in a little while – I don’t think she will act like it is poison, hopefully!

Read Last Week:

Truth or Beard by Penny Reid: This was pretty good! I picked it up since I had read Happy Trail last week and loved it, and this book is in the same universe, which is a cool concept. Penny Reid has created a world and other authors write books in that same world – it is neat. I have to say I did like Happy Trail more, but this one was still good. However, while Happy Trail was like PG-13 this one was a bit “racier”.

Reading This Week:

I am not sure – mermaids or witches?

Posted Last Week:

Chit Chat Coffee Time – where I talk about going to the garden center where I found lots of things for my butterfly garden

Etsy Artists – AAPI Edition

Watching:

Jonathan Creek mostly. We are enjoying this sort of quirky duo who solve mysteries. Jonathan Creek is a pretty interesting character – he lives in a windmill and invents magic tricks for a famous magician. He and his partner in crime-solving, Maddie Magellan get caught up in some pretty complex situations.

And that is about it from my corner of Michigan. What is going on in your world?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

 It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

I missed the Sunday posts, but I am here for Monday! We spent the weekend doing a lot of work, which needed to be done, but now I am tired! It was a good weekend though, that was punctuated by good moments as well. Friday night I had mom’s night at my friends, and I stayed out way past my bedtime, but it was so good to be with them. On Saturday night we had tacos again before going to my brother’s house for a fire and adult beverages while the kids played like crazy. So much giggling and smiles between Wyatt and his cousin.

Read Last Week:

I loved this book! I read it all in one day, and I am ready to read more in this world that Penny Reid created. Be forewarned, I am about to go on a binge.

Reading This Week:

So, the Winston Brothers are characters that were introduced in Happy Trail, and since I had so much fun with that one, I am starting this series. I need some fun reads right now.

Posted Last Week:

Homeschool Dino Week

Book Review: Happy Trail by Daisy Prescott

The Beautiful May Be Small

What We Watched:

We are watching Johnathan Creek still, for the most part. We also are glued to Weed ‘Em and Reap, a YouTube channel, and CottageFairy, another YouTube channel. Wyatt is watching Molly of Denali, Wild Kratts, and Tumble Leaf. I am still listening to lots of podcasts, and the very best one I listened to last week was the Maritime Archaeology (Shipwrecks) episode on Ologies by Alie Ward. I am loving that podcast and I hope to listen to the Cicadaology (Cicadas) episode today.