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

Happy December! Last week was a whirlwind! I got busy crossing things off of my to-do list and I feel like although I was a whirling dervish I have a lot of things in motion and set up for a fun December for our family. I also took my mom Christmas shopping – in actual stores. I am so much more of an online shopper and maybe most people are now, as the stores were practically empty. I feel like in the past they would have been packed – however we were practically the only people in most of the stores we went to.

Read Last Week:

These two were just the relaxing type of books I needed last week! Outfoxed was good, but not my favorite in the series. And A Highland Christmas a was a short little read about one of my favorite fictional towns, Lochdubh.

Reading This Week:

My birthday was a few weeks ago, and my mom and dad both gave me some birthday cash, which has been burning a hole in my pocket for a while. I knew I wanted to buy books, since I rarely treat myself to actually owning a book but I always make my choices carefully as for what I want to put in my collection. I decided on a few different collections and editions of books, including a few of the Harper Collins Special Edition books. The first title I added was this Agatha Christie – isn’t it beautiful? I also picked up this gift edition of All Creation Waits, a sort of nature advent.

Posted Last Week:

‘Tis the Season Cinema: The Muppet Christmas Carol

What Wyatt’s Reading – November

Tuesday Morning Coffee Catch Up- Owls and Christmas Pictures

Watching and Listening:

We have been watching Christmas movies like crazy! We watched The Muppet Christmas Carol, Spirited with Ryan Reynolds, and The Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas Special. Spirited was really good! I was sort of meh about watching it but then I ended up loving it! And we also really liked Guardians of the Galaxy. Mantis cracks me up. Plus Kevin Bacon!!!

Last night we watched Three Pines on Amazon – and it was fabulous. I can’t attest to its accuracy as I never read the book (I really should read this series!) but wow, it knocked our socks off.

In tv land, we have been watching Grantchester and the Ring of Power. I have to admit, Ring of Power is good but a leeeetle bit slow for me. I can’t watch them every night either. Grantchester is also a bit slow honestly.

If you were in LOTRO world, would you rather be a hobbit, elf, or a dwarf? Billy picked dwarf, I picked elf, and my brother picked the Harfoot Hobbits.

Anyway, that’s it from my little corner of Michigan! How are you all doing?

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

Hello! I hope that everyone had a great week! Ours was super busy for days but we had a blast. I need to spend some quality time with my Christmas to-do list today – so much to bake and make and do and see! I am super excited and I know my boyo is as well!

Read Last Week:

Last week I finished up the two books I had started the week before, and then made inroads into a third.

I enjoyed Lovelight Farms – it was a cute little friends to lovers romance set on a Christmas tree farm. I enjoyed it but I am not sure I will read any others in this series.

A Study in Charlotte was a really interesting take on the Watson/Homes theme. I especially liked the Watson family guide to taking care of and understanding their Holmes. Lol. It was a fun read but also really well done.

And I am only a bit of the way into Outfoxed but I loved the previous two books in this series so I am sure I will love this one as well. There is an entirely fox themed gift store in this little town, which to me sounds like a wonderful place to shop. I am all about the rabbits and foxes!

Reading This Week:

I love these cozy mysteries set in the highlands of Scotland. Hamish Macbeth is a comfort series for me that I love to return to again and again. Lochdubh is a quirky, crazy little town, full of personality.

Posted Last Week:

‘Tis the Season Cinema: White Christmas

Wednesday Morning Coffee Catch Up

Homeschool Journey:Minnesota, Gwen Frostic, Evergreens and Boreal Forests

Watching and Listening:

For all the holidaying we did last week, we still managed to get in some down time together. Frankly, some days we were plopped lifeless in our bed recovering from the busyness but we were definitely happy and relaxed.

In movies we watched Enola Holmes 2, White Christmas, and See How They Run. I absolutely loved Enola Holmes 2. Millie Bobby Brown did a great job, the plot was interesting, and um, hello, Henry Cavill. However, I really enjoyed See How They Run! It is a movie that revolves around the longest running play ever, The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie. Sam Rockwell is in it and I love him in everything he does and this was no exception. He didn’t have his quick mischievousness in this movie, but instead was a sad, drunk detective but also, a good one? Saorise Ronan played the constable who was the upright eager beaver with a great enthusiasm for her work. There was a Wes Anderson quality about this movie as well which we really appreciated.

In television we watched Derry Girls (the newest season), finished up the GB Baking Show, and that was it. Derry Girls cracks us up! It is funny and endearing and also very very moving. I usually finish up every season crying. It is set against the tumultuous political background of Northern Ireland, and while much of the show is mainly teenage hijinks and shenanigans, there is real depth and seriousness as well.

And that’s that from around here! What is going on in your world?

‘Tis the Season Cinema: White Christmas

Now that American Thanksgiving has passed, Christmas is definitely in the air!! And maybe just maybe we will get more snow! We had some last week – this week though has been like springtime in Michigan and no, thank you. It’s the holiday season and I for one would like some snow. Much like the characters in this week’s movie, White Christmas!

Lisa from Boondock Ramblings and I have been watching the same movies and posting our thoughts on them since September, when we started with spooky movies. Now, to celebrate the winter holidays we have moved on to holiday movies!

Sigh. I LOVE this movie so much. I have watched it every year for as long as I can remember, some years with blankets of snow outdoors, some years, like this year, that I am dreaming of our own White Christmas.

Is there anyone alive that doesn’t know the words to all of the songs? I can sing my way through this whole movie, although only in the privacy of my own home. When I googled where I could watch this movie, I was happily surprised to see that I could go to the movie theater and watch it. How cool that the theaters are screening it! However, then I couldn’t be in my pajamas with my tea and a blanket, so I opted for watching it at home. And, I could sing if I wanted to. Which I did.

In case you haven’t seen it: It’s post WWII, and army veterans and buddies Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) have become a famous entertainment act, and a pretty darn famous one at that. They get a letter from another old army pal asking them to go check out his sisters’ act and offer any advice. So, they help a guy out and visit the show. Enter The Haynes Sisters – Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy (Vera-Ellen). As they perform, both men become almost instantly smitten. Phil and Judy cook up a plan to get Bob and Betty together; meanwhile, Bob is learning that it was Judy that contacted them, not his old army buddy Benny. Anyway, lots of other stuff happens, including an escape from the police, and then comes one of my favorite scenes.

I dream of old timey train travel! However every time I have actually taken the train somewhere (Chicago a few times) it hasn’t really been very picturesque or idyllic. Lol. Maybe I have missed that golden era. The four are on their way to Vermont, and are dreaming of snow. Much like me today.

They arrive in Vermont though to find absolutely no snow! They head to the inn the sisters are performing at for the holidays, a quaint little Vermont inn that makes a living off of people seeking fun in the snow. When they check in, they are told they aren’t needed as there are no guests because, you guessed it, there isn’t any snow. They are all standing about when in walks another old friend and army pal, but not just any ordinary buddy, but their old General. Turns out he owns the place and the four resolve to help drum up business to help the General out. It gets pretty involved, with Bob and Phil getting their entire act to travel out to this little inn for a special holiday show.

Then lots of other stuff happens, romance and singing and buttermilk by the fire, miscommunications, and a special plea on the Ed Harrison show for any of the General’s old Division who can get to Vermont by Christmas to get there, “to give the nicest Christmas gift to the nicest man”.

Then my next favorite scene where all his men who did heed the call surprise the General and well, they sing.

This part always gives me goosebumps and makes me cry. From here we head into the final scenes of the movie, including of course, the iconic scene where they sing White Christmas and the set moves and you can see the beautiful Currier and Ives style outdoor scene, where it is indeed snowing, finally.

This movie is so perfectly heartwarming and lovely. All the actors in it play their parts to perfection, and you can never doubt the dancing skills of Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen or the beautiful voices of Crosby and Clooney. This is such a Christmas classic, you just can’t go wrong watching it.

You can find Lisa’s post here.

Next up is one of my all time favorite Christmas movies – A Muppet Christmas Carol. Yep, Muppets. When Lisa asked me to let her know what movies I absolutely needed us to watch, both of mine were intended for children. And done by Jim Henson. I’m not sure what this says about me but that is ok.

Wednesday Morning Coffee Catch Up

This morning’s brew is Seattle’s Best, Post Alley. It is seriously perfect today. This morning is chilly but I have the electric fire on to warm up the room. And we are on Thanksgiving holiday starting today! We both are ready for this break.

Last night was one of those nights full of so many different emotions. My cousin invited us over for a family get together, to celebrate his and my birthdays, just like when we were kids. We are a year and four days apart and as far back as I can remember, Brian has been there, a constant companion in my life. We were raised to be as close as siblings and when my brother was born six years after me, five years after Brian, it was the three of us together.

Brian lives in the house my uncle built with his own hands, where we spent every holiday growing up. So many memories in this very room, gathered in a similar circle in that very spot with Brian and Devin and Meghan and Michael, the final cousins to our group of five.

Watching my son play with his cousins in that room in that spot filled my heart to almost overflowing. Watching him play as part of a group of kids almost made me cry with happiness, as it is not something I get to see my sweet boy do very often.

I guess I am feeling sentimental this morning, reflecting about family and memories, the way that the holidays inspire us to do. My brother told me last night that he had similar feelings, with his daughter, my niece. Standing in front of the house, asking if they could please stay just a little to play some more he remembered doing the same thing, asking our mom the same question in the same place.

It was a good night.

Speaking of good nights – pizza night was a success! Last Saturday Devin and Chrissy and Mermaid Girl came over for our first attempt at pizza making with from scratch dough. We were going with just classic toppings for this time, and I went to a local Italian market to shop for sauce and cheese and pepperoni. I also liked the look of those chestnuts but I have no idea what people do with them. So I left them behind.

Billy made up the dough way ahead of time, per the instructions, and split it into separate balls so that everyone could make their own little pizzas later on.

The kids loved making the pizzas! In fact, Mermaid Girl made hers as well as her parents’ pizzas, and Wyatt made mine and his.

Jeanie from Marmalade Gypsy sent me the recipe (well one of them) that they use for pizza dough and wow was it delicious! It is a keeper for sure!

And that is where I am at this morning!

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you have a wonderful one. If not, then I hope that you have a wonderful next few days and weekend!

Homeschool Journey: Minnesota, Gwen Frostic, Evergreens and Boreal Forests

This past week has been my favorite so far! Wyatt still is declaring his love of John Henry week but I know he is enjoying this section as well because he is a tree/nature kid.

We are also stretching last week into this week since this week is a short one due to the holiday. We both really need the break but this unit has been a good way to finish before five days off.

Hmm, where to start? Let’s start with social studies and Minnesota. Can I just say that I now want to move to Minnesota? It seems to have everything our family loves. We always talk about the basic information about the state, how to find that information, where the state is on the map, and what region it is in. Then we move on to the good stuff, the interesting facts and moments to remember. Wyatt chose for his favorite things about Minnesota the candlelight hikes that Zipper Bay State Park has, but especially the International Wolf Conservation Center. Wyatt loves wolves – I really need to get this kid to a wolf conservation center soon. I was surprised about the hike but not too surprised – he loves being outside, and night hikes especially in the winter because of all the Kid’s Moon Club stuff we did when he was really small. I need to start that up again! I, of course, want to go to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, as well as F. Scott Fiztgerald’s house in St. Paul. It’s pretty cool that Minnesota has both prairie and forests. I could totally see our family taking a long vacation through Minnesota one day soon.

Our science curriculum had perfect timing – we are “embarking” upon a study of evergreens and boreal forests. Or wait, was it me that had good timing? I even put up our artificial Christmas tree in Wyatt’s room to give a sense of being in a forest. Or at least near a tree. This week is Wolfenoot, a completely made up holiday so I plan to incorporate a little more wolves into our learning this week – it all just ties together so well! We will decorate the tree for December too. He will dig it.

For language arts, we read Let’s Go Home by Cynthia Rylant. I love her books so much. This one was a wonderful read about homes and how special each room is. Wyatt then had to write a little about his favorite room – his bedroom – and why. He chose it because of all his books and the tree!

Art this week we learned about an artist near and dear to my heart, Gwen Frostic. She is originally from my hometown, graduated from my high school, and lived eventually up north in one of my favorite areas. We visited her studios and printing shop two years ago and it was sort of a dream come true for me. So I was super excited to do a few lessons on her art with Wyatt. I could literally go on and on here, but I won’t bore you.

Billy was excited because this was a dream realized. He told me he has wanted to experiment with lino cutting for a while now and he got to do it. So Sunday afternoon art was more demo than hands on for Wyatt, but then today we turned some of the pictures into holiday cards and that was all Wyatt.

And the cards. They turned out super cute and I think we are going to make a few more.

What We Used:

This section contains Amazon Affiliate links. In addition to the curriculum I am creating for him, we also use curriculum from The Good and the Beautiful, The Waldock Way, and Blossom and Root for phonics, reading, science, and social studies.

Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing the Trees || V is for Viking || North Woods Girl || Let’s Go Home || Nature’s Friend

Gwen Frostic Art Lesson – Teachers Pay Teachers – The Michigan Art Teacher

Gwen Frostic Studio

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

Hey all! I hope you have been having a great weekend so far!

Read Last Week/Reading This Week:

I didn’t get as far as I wanted in my reading! I started two books and am halfway through A Study in Charlotte and over halfway in Lovelight Farms. I remember the days before Wyatt when I would three books at least a week. Now I am lucky to finish one! I am enjoying both of my reads though, very much, especially Lovelight Farms.

And when I finish I am picking this one up. I have read and loved the previous two in this series so I am excited to read this one. Plus -a fox! If you know me or read here often you know my weakness for rabbits and foxes.

Posted Last Week:

Saturday Morning Coffee Catch Up

Handmade Holiday Gift Ideas for Children

Tis the Season Cinema: A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong

Homeschooling Journey: North Dakota, Edward Hicks, and Peace

I also want to mention that I participated in the Weekend Traffic Jam over on Marsha in the Middle’s blog last week and my Gift Guide for the Armchair Detective was picked as a favorite and featured on this week’s Traffic Jam post! I felt so tickled that people liked it; I had such a good time putting that post together! (and just bought myself the Agatha Christie character t-shirt with some of my birthday money)

Watching and Listening:

Billy and I are all caught up with both American Ghosts and British Ghosts! We are sad. At least we can expect a few more from the American version – I think?

We are also caught up on Miss Scarlet and the Duke and the Great British Baking Show. We started The Rings of Power and I do like it, I just can’t watch it every night. We also want to watch Enola Holmes 2 and Where the Crawdads Sing, and we have White Christmas all lined up for the ‘Tis the Season Cinema posting I am doing with Lisa at Boondock Ramblings.

As for listening, I finished up the podcast Down the Hill about the Delphi murders, which ugh. I hope they caught this monster.

And that is it from my snowy corner of Michigan! Hope all is well in your world!

Handmade Holiday Gift Ideas for Children

This gift idea list is always my favorite to create! I have so many kiddos in my life and I love looking for fun, unique gifts for them all every year. I usually get them something I know they want, but also..a little something I want them to have too. I love the idea of potentially giving a gift that becomes an heirloom or is something they save forever. This list is made up of items I have added to a favorites list as ideas for my own family members and I love sharing these ideas with you too!

Pirate Rag Doll || Mermaid Doll || Pirate Map Making Kit

Yarr! Wyatt is OBSESSED with pirates right now and I know he is going to love this little pirate! I actually ordered this already, and it is in the process of being made. This shop, A Button and a Stitch, I included in last year’s gift idea guide and I love them so much I am including them again. There are all sorts of dolls, including special needs dolls and POC dolls. I emailed the shop owner to see if she could give this pirate AFO braces and she is! I am so excited, and I know he will be too. Update: it’s here and it’s perfect! I also immediately ordered two more dolls for my nieces.

And because I was looking for pirate stuff for Wyatt, I came across this pirate map making kit. I am thinking Santa might be delivering this as well to a certain little boy this year.

And since we are at sea, we can’t leave out mermaids. These dolls are so beautiful, the colors, the craftsmanship looks amazing, and that hair!! Dreamy.

Wooden Warrior Set || Sew Your Own Sock Dragon Kit || Marshmallow Catapult

This wooden warrior set looks so cool! All the kids in my life are huge into imaginative play and I love how well made these look! I would totally play with this if I were a kid! Perfect for little knights and shield-maidens! Note: These are from the Ukraine. All the reviews I read have said that the orders have arrived on time but it is something to consider.

I am in love with that cute colorful sock dragon!! I sort of want one – I mean it does say it is for kids and adults. It says it is for kids 8 and up but obviously use your judgement. I would consider this for a little bit older kid but I do know some 8 year olds capable of this project. It is just so happy looking, I love it!

Ok. This marshmallow catapult. We got a similar one for Wyatt at the Renaissance Festival over the summer and it is such a fun toy! Wyatt and Mermaid Girl both had fun playing with the display ones at the festival and Wyatt enjoys playing with it at home. You can use it with marshmallows, pompom balls, etc. Soft things in our house. Plus if you have cats and you shoot off pompom balls the cats love it… to chase! No shooting at actual animals please.

Wooden Bow and Arrow || Nature Satchel || Art Boxes

Another version of a Renaissance Festival purchase. My niece got a little archery set and she loves it so much. This shop has two sizes, small and large.

I had hoped to share Billy’s nature satchels here, but they just aren’t ready yet! He has been working on his own version of adventure bags made from leather, but it’s been slow going, as things made with love are. Anyway, I also really like this one! Most kids I know love to collect on their walks – acorns, leaves, rocks, twigs, chestnuts – anything of interest and this bag can hold more than their little pockets, or their parent’s pockets for that matter!

I am in love with this art box!! I 100% need it for my own little artist, although with his birthday in March, it might be a birthday gift. It comes with art supplies too!

Wooden Puzzle || Felt Merino Animal Slippers || Double Handle Rainbow Mug

I love this simple puzzle. You can buy one, or you can purchase one base and a set of the puzzles themselves. I love the bright colors and adorable illustrations.

Gah! I miss being able to dress Wyatt in sweet little clothes sometimes! I love these cute little slippers for toddlers. They come in other animals as well, but I of course love the foxes best.

You can never have too many rainbows around!! Perfect for hot cocoa season. I also like the double handle for a firmer grip – for Wyatt it would also be good OT!

I hope you enjoyed this list of ideas!! A few tips for Etsy shopping. Make sure to check country of origin and shipping dates, and shipping costs. If you have any questions message the shop owners – most are so quick to respond and if not, that could be a red flag. Also, if you install the Etsy app on your phone and allow notifications for this time of year, you will get notified when an item you have favorited has gone on sale!

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

Hey everyone!

It was a pretty good week around here! Wyatt had a good appointment with his epileptologist last Tuesday, which was an appointment I was pretty anxious about. But, it went really well! I also got the call that his actual wheelchair is being delivered the 21st, thank goodness! His loaner has been a blessing but it is also maybe been loaned out a few too many times, as the brakes work half the time, and now the armrests have both fallen off. I tied one on with one of Wyatt’s pirate scarves and the other we just push up out of the way. His therapists and I just sort of laugh at how it is like some sort of like the jalopy of wheelchairs. One more week!

Read Last Week:

I loved my return to the world of Mitford. I needed their kind of generosity and compassion in my life the past few weeks and it was a wonderfully gentle read. I had started another book, The Hills is Lonely, but I couldn’t get into it. I think it was more my mood than the book, so I will try again at a later date.

Reading This Week:

I guess I am more in the mood for light and fluffy or cozy and mysterious. Lol. And, if you have seen my last few posts I am early on the Christmas train this year, but well, I guess I need a little Christmas.

Posted Last Week:

10 on the 10th – Holiday Memories

Holiday Gift Guide for the Armchair Detective

‘Tis the Season Cinema: The Man Who Invented Christmas

Librarians Not to Mess With

Homeschool Journey: Wayne Thiebaud, Missouri, and desserts

Watching and Listening:

Billy and I have been watching Ghosts, The British Baking Show, and the past few nights we have watched Agatha Christie’s Ordeal by Innocence, which was excellent!! I loved it!

We also started watching holiday movies for the fun of it, and as part of the ‘Tis the Season Cinema series I am doing with Lisa from Boondock Ramblings. Next up is A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong, if anyone else wants to watch along with us.

As for listening, a lot of podcasts. With the recent developments and arrest in the Delphi case, I started the long series podcast Down the Hill by HLN.

Musically, we are listening to a lot of vintage music playlists on YouTube. And of course, Taylor Swift.

And that about sums it up for me this morning! How are things in your neighborhood?

10 on the 10th – I mean 12th. Holiday Memories!

This post took me a bit longer than normal – I wanted to make sure I put the right amount of thought in. 10 on the 10th is hosted by the lovely Marsha at Marsha in the Middle!

One of my earliest happy Christmas memories is the year my grandfather built me a dollhouse. I loved it so much – I was so charmed by the tiny details and rooms and I had it decades. I had such fun playing with it for so long, and even as a grown person I loved it. It sadly was destroyed when our basement flooded after a torrential rain that flooded the basements of everyone in our city.

I also remember going to every single parade with my dad as a kid. I loved them so much – whether it was the 4th of July or Christmas, hot or cold, I always loved going. My dad was all about “travelling fast and light” so we could get in and get out so no chairs or blankets for us as we got older, we just parked our bums on the concrete curbs. When I was little though, I did have a giant coat and hat, as well as blankets and cocoa.

I of course remember the first Christmas married to Billy, living in our tiny little apartment. We didn’t have room for a tree so we had a tiny tabletop one but it was a wonderful Christmas. I remember he bought me the softest, warmest robe that year since it was always freezing in our apartment.

When Billy and I were younger I used to work retail at an office supply store-gift store. A lot of our customers were elderly and alone and I was friendly with them. They would come in to visit and chat- I loved hearing their stories. One man was a volunteer for a local charitable organization and told me once he had been born on Christmas and his mom named him Harold Angel in honor of his birthday. Another woman, she told me her family lived far away and that she wanted her massive Christmas village but couldn’t do it herself. So, I volunteered Billy and I to do it for her. That is probably one of the moments I realized how much I loved Billy – most nineteen or twenty year old men would have laughed and refused. But not Billy. He went with me and helped set up this Christmas village for a complete stranger basically, in her home that was a million degrees. She was so happy to have us there. She had cookies and eggnog (which I hate, especially when I was absolutely sweating in her home) but I drank a glass anyway and so did Billy.

And speaking of decorations… let me tell you about my dog Penny. She was the most beautiful, craziest, sweetest English Setter ever. We had adopted her from a local shelter and a week later we had her in the emergency vet. She had gotten into the the basement, found our fake Christmas garland full of thick wire, and eaten it. Which we only discovered when she threw it up. She had also eaten part of a magazine which actually probably saved her as it wrapped around the wire. Anyway, they did emergency surgery and she was ok, but we didn’t want to take the chance of it ever happening again and so for the 13 years we had her we never put up anything other than a tabletop ceramic tree. Not a real tree, not a fake one. Just the ceramic one for years.

The year of Wyatt was actually our first year with a tree again. Penny had passed away a few months after Wyatt was born, but we didn’t think for a while we were going to have a tree at all. Things were tight that year financially, very tight. We were surprised when out of the blue we received a card in the mail from a family friend, a woman who had known me since I was born, who had a giant generous heart, and that card had $300 in it. We used it to buy an artificial tree and to make Wyatt’s first Christmas a good one. Faye is gone now, and I get teary every single year when we put the tree up. We have discussed getting a different tree, or a real tree, but I will never not put that one up somewhere in our house.

A photo of Wyatt from his second Christmas, with our favorite Santa.

Ok halfway through!

I have another dog story. We always had the craziest dogs! This was over twenty years ago, before I was married to Billy. It was Christmas Eve, and the church my family went to was right down the street from our house so after church services that night, my whole family, aunts and uncles and cousins came over as they always did. This time though, my dog Molly was waiting. Waiting to spring! We opened the door and she took off like a shot, racing down the snowy icy sidewalks and streets on a mission to find adventure. I was distraught, upset, crying, freaking out. Everyone in my family who was able to took off, all of us in our nice church clothes, running after her, looking for her, yelling down alleys in the cold night and darkness. We eventually found her about fifteen minutes later sniffing around someone’s yard and were able to grab her collar and bring her home. I was so grateful, but now we all laugh at the craziness of that night!

I have never been a New Year’s Eve person. It always makes me sad and morose, about another year gone. I rally pretty quickly and get excited about the hope of a new year, but that night, the passing of time weighs pretty heavy on me. One of the two best New Year Eve’s I have had, that were not as a child and when staying up late was exciting, or after Wyatt was born when things were totally different, were the New Years Eves’ I spent with my college friends. I have a friend from university who moved to Australia when he married a delightful Australian woman – Dan and Irma. They are so much fun! I actually missed visiting with them over the summer because Wyatt and I got COVID when they were in town! But, they have spent two NYE in Michigan since moving and both have been full of everything happy. And more than likely many drinks.

Now our NYE’s are much more sedate. Dinner with Devin and Chrissy and Mermaid Girl, music, the kids playing, a glass of wine or two, an earlyish night. They are perfection.

One of my very favorite holiday memories is the year Wyatt was born, my niece was born, and my best friend Kelly had a daughter that year too. Boom boom boom. Babies. One in March, one in August, one in September. That year Chrissy, Kelly, and I got together to make Christmas cookies. Our husbands stayed in the living room with our babies, while we baked. Kelly and I did an abysmal job while Chrissy’s we’re as always professional, but we had such a blast. And these babies!! Left to right is my friend Kelly’s daughter Eloise, then my niece Mermaid Girl, then big time Wyatt. These are some of my favorite photos of them ever.

And I don’t think I can top these three cuties so I am ending here.

Do you have any memories of holidays you would like to share? I’d love to hear them.

Holiday Gift Guide for the Armchair Detective

I am an early shopper for the holidays – I start browsing around online during the summer and early fall, and start buying by October. I am not an in-person shopper, I much prefer to do my shopping online and I have lists and lists of things saved! Sometimes I go down little rabbit trails and this was one I had to share, as I myself am an armchair detective. So this holiday gift guide was a lot of fun to create! I hope you enjoy it as well, and maybe you will find that little something for the mystery lover in your life! (or if you are that mystery lover, maybe you will find something to add to your list! I know that I have sent most of these items to my husband as little suggestions…)

This post contains affiliate links from Etsy. All other links are not affiliate links. And these are all just suggestions for fun! Please do not feel obligated or like you have to buy this stuff. If you find something you like, cool. If not that’s cool too.

L to R: Mysteries in my Pajamas || Agatha Christie Character Shirt || British Mystery Writers Mug

I solve mysteries in my pajamas all the time – at least one a night. This shirt is awesome. This design is also available as a mug and a sticker which is nice for small gifts or stocking stuffers.

Who is your favorite Christie character? I have to stick with Miss Marple for now, she still reigns supreme for me. With this shirt your favorite armchair detective doesn’t even have to try to solve the mystery of which is their favorite, they can proudly wear them all.

The British Mystery Writers mug is actually top of my list. At one point I even had it in my cart, ready to buy, and I was like no no no – my birthday and Christmas are coming! But I made sure to send it to my husband. I love to drink tea and read and watch mysteries and this mug looks so lovely – and big!

L to R: Sherlock Holmes Whiskey Glass || Baker Street tie || Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Mont Blanc

Every year I add a literary whiskey glass to my cousin’s collection and I think this Sherlock Holmes glass is the winner for this year! I did consider getting him a tie instead though, because this one is really neat. It’s fun but also understated.

And the pen – well. I have a story about that. My stepmom asked me for pen suggestions for my dad for Christmas. My dad and I LOVE fine pens – I used to work at an office supply store and that was my area – and neither my dad nor I ever added a Mont Blanc to our collection. So I was browsing the Mont Blanc site looking for something appropriate, found this one, and sent it to my stepmom to be silly. It is a lovely pen, although a bit out of the price range she was looking at. But hey, if it is within yours more power to you! Because this pen would be a treasure to have!

L to R: Sassy Nancy Drew Sweatshirt || Hunt a Killer Board Game || The Great Mouse Detective Tee

I have always loved mysteries, even as a child! Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, The Great Mouse detective Basil, Scooby Doo – I could literally go on and on. I love a warm slouchy hoodie, and this one cracks me up. It definitely makes me think of the reboot Nancy Drew show, which I love.

These Hunt a Killer board games are so cool! I have always wanted to play one, and this Nancy Drew edition is really neat! (For a more family friendly version, I would check out this new Clue Board Game )

Pendant Magnifying Glass

Finally, every good detective needs a magnifying glass. Ever since watching Miss Marple and seeing her with her pendant magnifying glass, I have wanted one. I love how vintage this one looks!

A few Etsy tips! Make sure to always check shipping costs, country of origin, and shipping time. I also like to read about the timeliness of responses when people message the shop owners. Also – if you add an item to your favorites or cart, you might get a message from the shop owner offering a discount! Sometimes but not always, obviously. If you have the app and notifications turned on for the holiday season like I do, then you will see the notification straight away! Etsy also has their own favorites pages – I spent some time looking through the picks for him list!