Hey all! I hope those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving had a wonderful holiday. Now that Thanksgiving is over, I feel like I can go all out on Christmas everything! We decorated and put up our tree this weekend, as the snow fell outside. However, that meant I had to move a ton of plants and now my office and kitchen look like mini-jungles. Which I am not upset about. We had originally planned to drive to Dayton, OH and hike a trail there that has a troll event happening. It looks so awesome! However, the weather forecast was not great and I didn’t want to spend three hours for just one way in a car if we were getting a blizzard. So, another time, hopefully.
Read Last Week:
I love this fun series! It was good to revisit the characters and their lives. And that awesome lighthouse library!
Reading This Week:
I am kicking off the winter reading season with this middle grade Christmas murder mystery. A tween British cozy! And I love this cover!
Posted Last Week:
Not much! Just two posts then I took the rest of the week off for the holiday.
We finished up the Great British Baking Show – I loved this season!! And the winner was my favorite all the way through, and I love when that happens! All the contestants in the final were phenomenal though. We are also watching Wheel of Time, which is excellent but I have never read the books so I can’t compare. My husband seems to be pretty happy with it though, and he read them all. We also finished up Schitt’s Creek. I have watched it at least twice before, but this was Billy’s first time watching and he is now a convert.
And that is it from our little corner of the Mitten! Hope you are all doing well.
Wow week 4 already!! The description for this week as copied from The Thousand Book Project is:
Week 4: (November 22-26) – Stranger Than Fiction with Christopher at Plucked from the Stacks: This week we’re focusing on all the great nonfiction books that *almost* don’t seem real. A sports biography involving overcoming massive obstacles, a profile on a bizarre scam, a look into the natural wonders in our world—basically, if it makes your jaw drop, you can highlight it for this week’s topic.
The book I chose for this week, and I only chose one, is one that I read quite a few years ago but it has stuck with me all this time.. and I just realized I made sort of a dad joke there. That was unintentional, honestly.
This whole event is so crazy to even consider. And terrifying! A giant tank of molasses burst open in Boston’s North End, flooding the streets with two million gallons of molasses, even causing a 15 foot wave. The horror of being caught in that flood is unimaginable. People and animals died, building were crushed in that dark tide of molasses, which reached speeds of 35 miles per hour. There is even a legend that on warm days, you can still catch a faint scent of the molasses rising from the streets.
This book was bizarre and tragic, and like I said, a book that has stayed with me for years.
Last week was pretty good. Not very eventful, but good still the same. My birthday was Tuesday and it was a nice, quiet day and evening. We got my favorite street tacos and had a “car picnic” surrounded by total darkness and it was really cool honestly. Billy, my mom, and I got our booster shots so that is done as well. Wyatt and I have been having a fantastic month of homeschool – I really am hoping to share about it soon, but I keep running out of time and the post keeps getting longer!
Read Last Week:
I kept it light and read Wendell Berry’s book of poetry, The Peace of the Wild Things. It was beautiful, as I expected.
The title poem was my favorite.
What I am Hoping to Read This Week:
So I have been a little weird about reading lately, books just aren’t fitting right. This is the one I have lined up – I am going back to an old friend, The Lighthouse Library Mysteries.
We have been all over the place with television lately. We are watching The Brokenwood Mysteries, The Great British Bake Off, and we just started Wheel of Time, which is Billy’s favorite book series of all time. I have never read it so it is all new to me. I did really enjoy it though – and Rosamund Pike is in it, and I really like her as an actress.
I mentioned Wyatt has been requesting songs on our Alexa in the morning and we have been waking up to whatever random choices he makes, or Alexa makes. This week we heard some good stuff honestly – The Lumineers, Of Mice and Men, Simon and Garfunkel, Lord Huron, John Denver, and The Sound of Silence by Disturbed, which is amazing. It is one of Billy’s favorites and I must say, there is something about laying in bed in total darkness with the lead singer’s voice rolling out over you. It’s so deep and powerful. It was sort of otherworldly.
And that is about it from around here! I hope all is well in your world!
Life lately has been about appreciating all the moment in our lives. The things we may normally gloss over, seeking out that next big thing. Long rides in the dark, sharing a blanket on the couch while watching cartoons with your six year old, warm tea in a solid mug, snowy mornings.
This majestic buck stepped out into the clearing for a quiet moment. We stood for a few moments, jut watching each other in silence. I hadn’t been expecting him, nor him, me. I heard him before I saw him – I am sure the reverse was true as well.
Snow!!! Our first snowfall of the season happened Sunday. Our family loves snow, in a big way. We decided to just go for a ride in it, but couldn’t resist popping out here for a photo.
My birthday came and went – it was a nice quiet low key day. I got my free birthday Starbucks (chai latte), snuggles from cats, street tacos from my fave place, which we ate in the car in the full dark watching the trees and the water, our tacos sharing the space on the armrest between us while Wyatt ate his cheese quesadilla in the back. As an adult, I can honestly say my birthdays are always so different! I’ve celebrated at Epcot on my honeymoon, in the hospital with a sick Wyatt (and stayed up for 36 straight hours as well); I won tickets to the opera once, where we got to sit in the best box seats and visit the fancy VIP intermission room with drinks; dinners at nice restaurants, and at small diners. I have loved them all.
We’ve cracked open geodes this week, spent time poring over the rocks and minerals I’ve been collecting for months now for Wyatt’s science unit, and just basically hung out this past week.
I like having an idea of what we are going to be up to, but for the most part, I am enjoying letting things and moments just happen lately.
It’s snowing!! Not hard, and not fast, but definitely snowing. In our house, this means Chinese takeout for dinner. It’s just a little tradition that we have, the first sign of flakes means that we order Chinese food.
I feel a Gilmore Girls rewatch coming on.
We had a different sort of week. Wyatt got a vaccine on Wednesday and I never know how to plan around those, in case of any reactions. I guess it is leftover from when he was a baby. So I planned a lighter week and then when he was completely fine, used that time to catch up on housework. It was getting a bit cluttered up in here. I also met up with my friends for a wine night at my friend Kelly’s house – it was a much needed time with them, it’s been a few weeks and it was really good to catch up. Then Saturday I dragged my mom to Target for her first trip to a store in two years. Once we got there, bright and early before most of the world was awake, we had a great time shopping together. We picked up a few presents, some necessary items, and just some weird fun things too. Saturday night my brother and SIL, Billy and I, dropped our kids off at our mom’s house and then the four of us headed back to my brother’s for pierogi takeout and some time to chat without the kids. It was short but fun – it has been way too long since just the four of us have hung out like that.
Read Last Week:
Nothing. Nada. I started The Wild Silence but I am not in the right place to read it right now. It is way too emotional and sad for me – we have recently had some events around here that have been tough, and I need to read to escape. I will come back to this book at a later date.
Reading This Week:
Since I am having such issues lately settling on a book, I decided to pick up a book of poetry, and Wendell Berry is such a wonderful writer. I am looking forward to enjoying his words this week.
Billy and I have been watching The Great British Bake Off. It is so good this season! I mean I always love it but I love all the contestants this time around. We also started Broken Wood and that is really excellent too.
Wyatt has been waking up the house this week by asking our Echo Dot to play music. We have a few set up around the house that we love to set to play everywhere, so that when we listen to music we can hear it all around us. Anyway, Wyatt has been asking Echo to play a song and “she” randomly chooses one that she thinks we will like. And normally, yes. But at 6:45 am, not always. We have gotten used to it though and have begun to really enjoy it. We have heard Sunny by Bobby Hebb, Happy by Pharrel Williams, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot (which had the anniversary of its wreck the other day), Lord Huron, Jolene by Dolly Parton, and Fire and Rain by James Taylor. Honestly the only one I did not enjoy that early in the morning was Happy. It was a bit too energetic before coffee!
And that is about it for us! What is happening in your world?
Sunday was another bright and beautiful day! And we had plans to visit my dad and stepmom out in the “country”. They live about an hour and a half from us, in a small town in Michigan. The cute type of town that has antique stores, a small local hardware, a toy store, a tea shop, and a other little boutique shops lining the four streets of downtown. My stepmom had invited us out, asking if Billy could help my dad with a few projects around the house, and threw in the promise of a meal – and that she would watch Wyatt so I could wander the downtown for some alone time. We would have gone despite the promises, they are family, and family helps family. But, I couldn’t pass up the call of some time shopping by myself either.
The drive was easy and pleasant, and we pulled into my dad’s driveway about noon. We piled in the house, the scent of bubbling soup on the stove greeting us as we walked through the door. Their house has a room with a wall of windows that I am in love with. I would 100 percent be sitting there summer or winter, looking out into the yard over tea or a glass of wine in the evenings, coffee in the morning. I can never have enough windows or light. We went in and visited a bit, then Billy headed off with my dad, and I kissed my kiddo goodbye and headed out for some shopping.
I am not a huge shopper by nature – but I don’t mind a turn around an antique store. I can spend some time in one, just marveling over the things being sold. Little teacups, pieces of furniture, old photos and paintings and clocks and watches and jewelry and wooden boxes – well, you know. I love to look at the old photos and wonder about the people in them, what were their lives like, how did their photos end up for sale. I always look at the books, and usually buy one or two.
As it was Sunday, half the stores were closed. But that didn’t stop me. I had the streets to myself. The stores to myself. I just wandered through happily looking at the wares, picking things up, imagining. Listening to the conversations of the people who worked there. (Sadly, one woman had just lost her dog the night before.) And I even purchased a few small things, although quite a few objects were calling my name. One of my friend’s is all about antiques – her whole house is pretty much all antiques and is insanely gorgeous. One day I will do a photo tour of it as it doesn’t seem real. But anyway, she has a talent for finding perfect pieces. I am not that person, but I will spring for some things that catch my eye. My style is more eclectic/boho than antique but it is still fun to putter about.
I liked both of these pieces but left them in the store. But I am loving that little bench and I feel like I need it in my kitchen. I have a library card catalog in my kitchen right now that I want to move to the basement to our art area to fill with art supplies, and a little bench might be nice there instead. And I have no idea why I liked that small chest of drawers – it just appealed to me. But, I wasn’t buying furniture Sunday. I was more about enjoying the look around and the time.
I did buy a few little things though.
I have always loved Gwen Frostic, and whenever I spot her art or books in the wild, I buy them. One of my favorite things that I did this year was visit her old art studio in northern Michigan, so when I saw that they had two of her books of art and writing, I knew that I was buying them. And one is even signed! Then that little sugar and creamer set was just adorable, with its pastoral scene. And only eight dollars for both pieces, which to me seemed like a deal!
After perusing the shops, I strolled the streets, which were peaceful.
Before I knew it I had explored the whole downtown – ending at the Tecumseh Brewing Company. I contemplated having a drink outside but decided not to this time, and opted to head back and see how the kiddo and grandma were doing.
Kiddo was doing wonderful – when I walked in he and my stepmom were enjoying a small picnic on the floor of raspberries and blueberries. He was perfectly happy and content. Grandma had given him ice cream as well, and they had a good time throwing “snowballs” (the plush version). The three of us hung out for a while before being rejoined by Billy and my dad, and we sat down to a delicious lunch of tortellini bean soup and sandwiches. I love that soup! I make it all the time but mine is never as creamy as Shellie’s. I think I need to let it simmer longer. Or something.
Before we knew it, it was time to head back home. It had been a great day visiting and we are planning on going back soon. It is much nicer to see them in person these days!
And now – the giveaway!
If you read here, then you might know that I love John Lewis-Stempel, a British nature writer. I am in love with his work and my husband has gifted me through the years with his books as Christmas gifts. And as my birthday is next week, I am going to make like a Hobbit and gift a copy of The Private Life of the Hare – it is a short read about hares, and is simply gorgeous as well! To enter just drop a comment below and make sure I have your email address. Winner will be picked at random and contacted via email. Sadly, only U.S. only for this giveaway this time. Giveaway ends November 15th at midnight – the night before my birthday! And if you just want to comment but not enter that is cool too! Just let me know!
We have been keeping active around here, between trick or treating and learning and hiking and just having small little adventures.
Let’s start with Halloween! We found a small bakery on a spur of the moment roadside stop that turned into some of the best doughnuts I’ve had, and did some trick or treating with my brother and his family. Halloween is Wyatt’s favorite so I was happy to get him back out there. We did about six blocks total on my brother’s street, but that was the perfect amount. Plus my brother’s street goes all out – Wyatt got 10 full size candy bars! Remember that excitement? The street went all out this year, with decorations and a festive atmosphere. Some of the houses even handed out treats for parents, that were for people 21 and over. As costumed kids picked their candy, parents could pick their poison – cans of beer, jello shots, gummi bears soaked in vodka. I have never seen anything like it, honestly. Lol. Perhaps that contributed to the festive atmosphere! This year we used the wagon with Wyatt, but we have high hopes that next year he will be using his walker, or even walking on his own!
Then Saturday we took a walk in the woods, looking for mushrooms and beavers and whatever else we could spot. It was gorgeous out – the light was trickling like warm honey through the leaves, lighting the trail up in warm yellows and oranges. It was beautiful.
Billy and I also treated ourselves to a holiday coffee from Starbucks! Billy ordered the Caramel Brulee Latte, while I ordered the tiny baby sized Chestnut Praline Latte. I ordered a tiny one in case I didn’t like it – then wished I had sized up since it was delicious!
Yay!! This is always my favorite week of Nonfiction November! I think because, like most readers, I read a fiction book that gets me thinking about a certain topic that sends me off on a quest for more knowledge. It can be a setting, a lifestyle, a theory, anything catches my attention. Last year I went off on a real journey that was really coastal/water themed. Fishing villages in particular. Yeah, don’t ask. Not sure why. But, it happened. My pairings this week are centered around this particular theme.
So.. these two are pretty different, obviously. One is a whimsical, lovely romantic type story and the other tells the straight truth, the realness of these people who work the trawlers and fishing boats off the coast of Cornwall, the loneliness and hard work, but also the good times as well. However both have that closeness of connection and community, knowing your neighbors, your people. I greatly enjoyed both of these books.
Jenny Colgan is actually one of my favorite go-to comfort read authors. Her books never fail to capture my attention and make me smile. This book may in fact be one of the reasons I spun down the path of wanting to read about small fishing villages. And Cornwall. Dark, Salt, Clear was just a fantastically written book about the lives of the people in Lamorna, which may not be as whimsical but was a book I greatly enjoyed.
And while these are not books or even documentaries, two movies that I loved last year were both set in small fishing towns.
These are both fictional, but Fisherman’s Friends is based on a true story. And filmed in the same village that Doc Martin is, if you are a fan. Blow the Man Down does not take place in Cornwall although it is set in a small fishing village. It is also a dark comedy, while Fisherman’s Friends is more of a feel good film.
And as I am writing this, I think I want to revisit this little interest of mine! I still have a bunch of books on my list to read that fit this topic/theme.
Happy November everyone! It definitely feels like fall around here these days and I am here for it. Billy and I celebrated 21 years married last week – we didn’t do much, just ordered Italian from our favorite local Italian restaurant, including dessert (that tiramisu!! so delicious) but it was still a nice night. We have had so many different types of anniversaries through the years, from big deals – our weekend anniversary trip to NYC and eating at Les Halles at the top of the list – to quiet evenings like the one we just shared, or the year we ate Chinese food in our car while a crazy electrical storm raged around us outside. We don’t care what we do, as long as we are together. We can be happy doing anything.
Yesterday was a spectacular fall day! Wyatt has been learning about beavers for his November nature study, so we went for a hike along the water, with the intent of spotting beaver signs. It was a success! We inspected quite a few trees that had been gnawed through, gathered some wood shavings that were around the base of a tree, carried around fistfuls of leaves, and did some mushroom spotting. We stumbled on puffball mushrooms and Billy showed us how if you push on them, you can visibly see it squirt out the spores! It was pretty cool.
Read Last Week:
I am not quite finished with this book but so far I am really enjoying it. It seems perfect for middle grade to add some reading diversity.
Reading This Week:
I am so excited to read this! Although, I have a feeling I might be sad at the end. I loved The Salt Path and I have been wanting to read this next segment of the journey.
Posted Last Week:
I’ve been a busy bee this week, visiting blogs for these two blog events!
Billy and I have been watching Locke and Key – we have one episode left and we were definitely left hanging last night! We also watched an episode of the newest season of The Great British Bake Off. I was waiting until November to start it and could feel super cozy. Wyatt has been watching the newest episodes of Molly of Denali (which I am so excited about too!) as well as Gumboot Kids and Let’s Go Luna.
As for listening, I have been listening to the podcast The Wild with Chris Morgan quite a bit the last few days. It’s very soothing to be honest. I also listen to Lord Huron, my favorite, on repeat some days. I am always so curious what other people listen to. If you want to drop in the comments what you have been listening to I would love it! I am not a music person; I generally listen to the same stuff over and over and I have artists that I love, but I also am happy listening to just whatever is playing wherever I am.
Coming up this week:
I hope to finish my two books, for one. I have a few blog posts planned too – Nonfiction November Week Two, a round up post of what has been happening with us lately, and a holiday gift guide. Wyatt and I have a fun week of school planned (although he gets a shot on Wednesday so we will see how he is feeling Thursday), and I also signed up for an online..gathering? It is called A Cozy Gathering, so I guess gathering is the right word. It has topics about nourishing soups and crafts and such – I am looking forward to it!
And that is it from my little corner of Michigan! What is up with you all?