A Pretty Perfect Day

There is nothing I like more than heading to the woods on Easter morning. And we had a beautiful morning for our hike! But first of course, Wyatt had to find his Easter basket – and when he did, he promptly ate a Reese’s Peanut Butter egg, just like his mother always did. They are the best! Just try and change my mind.

We grabbed coffee and granola bars and hopped in the car, the sun shining, the grass a vibrant green, the sky so blue. Nature was showing off it’s beauty for sure. The roads were empty, and we had the woods to ourselves too, with the exception of all the little creatures that live there.

There is a peace to be found in the woods, even with a six year old. The quiet of the morning, the only sound that of the birds singing their morning songs, and the woodpeckers tap-tap-tapping on the trees. Wyatt loves to listen for the woodpeckers, I think they are his favorite. I love them too. And yesterday, we had a rare spotting! A pileated woodpecker! I have been looking for one for ages and then yesterday, there it was! They are uncommon in our area but you will occasionally see them if you are lucky. And yesterday was my day! I was so excited. I tried to get pictures but I only had my camera phone so they are not the best. We actually saw two, I am sure they were a mated pair.

We also stumbled across bees that we called dirt bees, but after some googling I think they are called Mining bees. I could be wrong though.

On the way home, we stopped to listen to the spring peepers.

Then in the afternoon we just relaxed. We had two driveway visits but for the most part we just chilled out for a few hours before ordering dinner. I decided that this year since it was just the three of us we were going to order Middle Eastern, one of our favorites. I had rice almond salad which is so darn good, hummus, and of course, hot bread. Wyatt loves the bread too, but otherwise he stuck with chicken fries.

After dinner we went to my brother’s for a fire, and hung out with them, my mom, and my SIL’s mom. It was so nice, especially after a long winter inside and not really seeing anyone. The kids played in the yard, the adults drank their adult beverages around the fire and talked and laughed and it was so so nice to be with family again. By the time we were ready to leave, both kids were covered in dirt and chocolate – pretty much the perfect ending to a fantastic day.

If you celebrate, what did you do? If not, how was your Sunday?

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

We had an eventful week last week! This week should hopefully be less so, although it was all good things at least. I declared Spring break for us for this week, until the Tuesday after Easter Sunday. I think we all need it! I am definitely planning on reading more this week – we will see if it happens. I also hope to get some fun creative time in for Wyatt and I, and maybe Billy too, depending on his work schedule. I feel sort of like I have been in a rut of homeschooling and cleaning and hoemeschooling and cleaning and taking care of all the life in this house – which I love but I need a bit of a mix up. I did start back to work for my cousin a few hours a week, from home. That is a nice change honestly, something new to think about. And I have been continuing work on my ancestry. It’s been a fun mystery to unravel.

Read This Week:

I finished The Farmer’s Daughter and posted my review as well. I really enjoyed this book! I am so so close to being finished with Sheepish. I love it but I am just slow boating my way through it I guess. I have learned so much from it honestly, and I am finding it sort of fascinating. I will finish it hopefully in the next two days and post my review later this week.

Reading This Week:

I am so excited to start Skymeadow! I have been planting seeds and tending my little sproutlings this week – some have gotten so big already! It’s also time for my yearly re-read of my favorite book ever, Watership Down. I have read this book more times than I tell you, and have gone through four copies. It never gets old to me, this tale of brave rabbits forging their way into a new life.

Posted Last Week:

Chit Chat Coffee Time Post

Homeschool: Rainbows and Sheep

Book Review: The Farmer’s Daughter by Lisa Howeler

Spring Bucket List

Watching:

Not too much really, honestly. We watched some of Monty Don’s Gardener’s World, we watched an episode of The Blake Mysteries Ghost Investigations. We were so confused and didn’t know we had wandered into the spin off of a popular series that had a different main character. After some googling we learned there was a lot of dramatic back story! So we might start at the actual beginning. For our Saturday night movie night we watched Get Duked. This move was insanely bizarre but I have to be honest, I loved it. It was bonkers but we both enjoyed it. It was the crazy we needed I guess.

Chit Chat Coffee Time Post

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

It was a pretty eventful week! Billy got his first vaccine, I got my first vaccine, and Wyatt had his last physical therapy for a while – his therapist of five years took another job! It was bittersweet, we loved her so much. They were such a good team. But maybe this just means something better is around the corner, and we know that Stacy will be helping more kiddos in her new job that need her too. We are going to miss her so much though!

So. There happened to be a pet store next to the Kroger where I got my vaccine, which was perfect I thought, since we needed to get crickets for Harry and Dash anyway. So after I waited my fifteen minutes we popped on over. Well, Billy did. I waited in the car with Wyatt. Billy came back out a bit later, holding our bags of crickets (have you ever bought crickets? They pop around in the bags like popcorn and it is sort of weird and disturbing) he told me to go in and look at the leopard geckos. BIG MISTAKE. I went in, peeped at the little leopard geckos, and then..the sales lady started talking to me about how one of them was really underweight and tiny, and they believed it was having some ahem..bathroom issues. And how it needed a home with someone who knew what they were doing and was familiar with leopard geckos. And how they were doing their best but they were worried. So guess what we have now?

A little teensy tiny leopard gecko. Isn’t she pretty?? We have to give her warm baths right now and make sure she is eating the appropriate size food but so far she is doing well. We went with another Harry Potter themed name and called this cutie Luna, after Luna Lovegood, my favorite character in the whole series. So now we have a Harry and Luna, and our little anole Dash. And we are done. I mean it. No more. I swear. Our house is too small for our growing menagerie! I am starting to feel like the Durrells – which is not necessarily a bad thing, if you go by the tv show Durrells, I kind of loved their life. But no – we really are done. Unless it is a sheep or a goat or a highland cow or a duck.. although none of those are allowed in my city limits so I guess we are done. Unless we move. Or make a pond to attract ducks – it won’t be like I am keeping them, only enticing them to the yard.. hmm….

Wyatt also lost his second tooth this week! This time however, he did not swallow it. He was laying next to me on the bed, listening quietly to the book I was reading. Or so I figured. I glanced over at him and he had the funniest expression on his little face. And I could hear a weird clicking sound from inside his mouth. I’m pretty sure I exclaimed “Did you lose your tooth? Let me see. Open up!” When he opened wide I saw it was missing and had to dig around as he was having a hard time finding it. He had been trying to find it with his tongue I guess but was unsuccessful. I did not want him to swallow this one too, so my interference was necessary. But we had a tooth to put under his pillow for the tooth fairy this time!

As soon as I finish this cup of coffee (did I tell you we replaced our ailing coffee machine with a percolator? I always think of Pete Martell and Twin Peaks when I say that.) we are taking a long drive to the farm. And I will not bring home a live animal. I placed an order from Trillium Woods Farm and we are picking it up. Before the pandemic, we were slowly trying to migrate to using local farmers when we could, and we placed a few orders from Trillium. Then with the pandemic, we reverted back to the easy. Now we want to resume our practices, for so many reasons. I like knowing the food chain my food came from, and small family farmers need the support! I would love to find a local source for eggs but that is proving to be difficult.

How are you guys this morning?

Book Review: The Farmer’s Daughter by Lisa Howeler

Goodreads Summary:

Facedown in manure.
The metaphor of where Molly Tanner was laying in relation to the path her life had taken in the last six years was not lost on her.
She had been sure that by now, eight years after graduating high school, she’d be out on her own. Instead, she was still living on her parents’ farm in rural Pennsylvania, still sleeping in her old room, her mother still cooking her meals and washing her clothes, and still, obviously, slogging through manure.
There is a lot about Molly’s life that is out of balance to her these days. While she’d always imagined herself involved with her family’s farm and country store, she now wonders what else life might have to offer. Maybe it’s time to leave the farm and see what else is out there. But can she leave her family’s four-generation farm when hard times threaten to shut it down?
And what about farmhand Alex Stone, her brother’s best friend. The tone of their banter in the barn during the morning and afternoon milk sessions was changing; exactly how Molly couldn’t explain, other than to say it was less juvenile and more — dare she say it? Flirtatious.

My Thoughts:

I was thoroughly captivated by this story. The main character Molly is so sweet and endearing and funny and tough all at the same time, and I really enjoyed reading her journey!

Howeler has a definite gift for writing, particularly dialogue and humor, but her imagery is also not to be overlooked. She self-describes herself as a writer of fluff on Instagram, and while this book did have it’s fluffy fun flirty moments, it dealt with some serious, real life moments as well, without taking things too far to the dark side. Farming is hard work, and in today’s world, even harder as farmers have to compete with factory farms and changing ideas on food and health. Dairy farmers in particular have been hit hard, and the suicide rate is alarmingly high for this demographic. How can small family farms compete or make money when the chips are stacked against them? It take a real love of the land and for what you do to keep at it, day after day, laboring intensely in longer than 8 hour days, that is for sure. Howeler touches on this struggle in a way that has you fired up to get out there and patronize all those small farmers to help them! (and in fact I did – I placed a meat order with a small farmer and also with our local dairy farm too)

That aside, the love story between Molly and Alex – phew! I may have needed to fan myself a few times while reading their interactions. As Christian fiction, this is a “clean” romance, but that doesn’t make the heat any less intense. I loved their moments together, their ease and familiarity, their friendship, their mutual respect for one another – all such important building blocks in a relationship. The fact that they liked the way each other looked was just icing on the cake.

The other characters in this book were just as compelling. I found myself wrapped up in Molly’s parent’s story, the story of Robert and Annie, wanting to know more! Am I hoping there is a book called The Farmer’s Wife in the works? Uh, yeah you bet I am! And Molly’s brother and his girl Ellie, they deserve a book – good thing there is one being written as I type this. I am willing to bet as well, that maybe just maybe, we will get a book about Molly’s bestie Liz too.

This book made me laugh out loud, worry, cheer – I ran through all the emotions while reading it. I fell in love with this little corner of the world and family and can’t wait to read more!

You can find Lisa Howeler’s blog here: https://lisahoweler.com/

Her instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/lisarhowelerwriter/

Spring Bucket List

I am always inspired by the seasonal bucket lists Leslie over at Once Upon A Time and Happily Ever After posts, and while I did make a fall list, I forgot about winter. But I am back for spring!

I always have a million lists going. Lists of dinner plans, books to read, homeschool ideas, and now that spring is here, gardening plans. And well, intentions are good, right? I do about half most of the time. But for spring, there are some things that I want to absolutely do this year.

Home and Garden Projects

So now that the office is pretty much done except for some shelves and my own fun decorating additions, I want to work on our bedroom. It’s also been the same color for 20 years and needs a big refresh. So, even if we don’t get anything started, I want to pick colors and rethink our furniture as well. The furniture we have, with the exception of our bed, is also twenty years which would be ok if they had stood up well during those years. My dresser is ok, I just need to replace the drawer pulls since a few are broken, but Billy’s dresser – I am not sure what the heck happened to it. So, I want to at least get a plan in place for our room.

Last year our garden got sidelined due to lockdown and injury. This year, it is a priority. We have decided to go with a no-dig version of gardening so I am excited to get started on it! I also want to make sure we have a butterfly garden, complete with milkweed.

Health

We are big hikers but that is not always enough for exercise for us. We both *may have* gained some weight during the last year and I would like to be a little healthier. For me, I want to go back to buying from local farmers as much as possible. This was harder in our area with everything that was happening, and now that hopefully things are getting better (even though numbers are still crazy here, what the dillio Michigan?) I am hoping to get back to our sustainable habits that we had been practicing. Better for us, and better for the environment, and better for small farmers!

I also want to start practicing yoga at home again. I find this very hard right now, with my kiddo. I think I am just going to have to suck it up and wake up earlier a few days a week.

Creative

I have been delving into needle felting, thanks to my stepmom. I saw a cute bird’s nest that I want to try, and some pretty daisies. I also would love to start working on watercoloring too.

Personal

The Curly Girl Method. I just discovered this and I am just now starting this hair journey. I have to say, even for just starting out, I am liking the results! I also learned I have 2b waves. My hair has always been a source of frustration for me. It is almost impossible to straighten, it can get humongous in humidity, and I don’t have a ton of time to mess with all the hair stuff now anyway that I used to do. This is pretty quick and easy and makes my waves more defined and less clumpy. I want to continue this and keep it up!

What about you? Any plans or goals for the season?

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

Spring is starting to wake the earth up around here! We spent some time gardening yesterday, getting one of the beds ready, and I planted a few cold hardy seeds as well – radishes, carrots, parsnip, and spinach. It felt good to be getting started. I also started 72 seed cells inside as well – tomatoes and flowers and cucumbers and all kinds of things. I did wind up in tears at the end though – grief sneaks up on you and just smacks you down. I missed my uncle fiercely in that moment. And I have to move on or I will start crying again. SO. I did get a few new plants! The first photo is a string of pearls – I named it Mamie for my great-aunt who always loved to be fancy and wear jewelry. And then I have a little swiss cheese Monstera that we named Gremlin. (our big Monstera is named Goblin so it seemed fitting) Plants make me happy.

Read Last Week:

I did not finish either of these, but I am completely loving both of them. I am about halfway through The Farmer’s Daughter and it is fantastic. I am only maybe a 1/4 of the way through Sheepish but it is so good! Sheepish is well timed for our homeschool week this week as well, when we are going to learn about sheep. When I finish The Farmer’s Daughter, which I will probably finish early this week, I am going to start this book. I have a real theme going on around here…

Posted Last Week:

Chit Chat Coffee Time Post

Homeschool: Leprechauns, Clover and Snakes, Oh My!

Book Review: Mission in Paris 1990

WIP: Office Redo

Watching:

We finished up This Farming Life on Britbox and whenever that shows ends, I am sad. I hate waiting until the next one. Lol. We are also watching Discovery of Witches. We watched The Intelligence of Trees last night which was fascinating!

And that is about it from here! How are you all doing? Stay safe everyone!

Chit Chat Coffee Time Post

Image by 이정임 lee from Pixabay

Happy first day of Spring! I can feel the sunshine in my soul today everyone! It is freezing out, only 25 degrees or so, but the sun is shining and happy and the light is returning. Birds are singing earlier, flowers are peeping, and it is that time of rebirth and growth and hope. I am making plans and lists for the garden, and today I am going to finally start some of my cold weather seeds. The radishes, the beets, the carrots, some of these more cold hardy crops are getting started today. I have been binging homesteading and gardening YouTube videos all week, and grabbed a new stack of springlike books from the library at curbside too. I’m ready to let this daylight in, after these dark winter months. I love those quiet, cozy months, but spring has a way of sneaking in and releasing such joy.

I have another reason for feeling so happy today – Billy gets his first vaccine today! I get mine on Monday. This is such an important step for us due to Wyatt’s health, and while we will still be in the group of people who need to be more cautious, it is also a huge feeling of relief. Although I am super nervous about this! Change and new things and the unknown can really create some anxiety for me and this is a trigger. I am focusing on the positives, about expanding our bubble to my brother and his family and my mom because they are going to stay locked down with us, about seeing my friends again, even if we are masked in places, it will be fantastic just to be with them. We already have a morning out planned, to go to a few local nurseries and pick up veggies and flowers for our gardens.

Wyatt is ready for spring too, with his new haircut! Billy gave Wyatt a home haircut the other day and I have to admit, tears welled up in my eyes over how grown-up he looks here! Where is my baby??

We also picked up some local honey yesterday! We are using most of it to make mead – it will be our first attempt. We were hoping to make it and be able to drink it at summer solstice, but this won’t be ready to drink until at the earliest in August. It will be fun to do though, although I did think about people making moonshine and going blind, but Billy assured me that wouldn’t happen.

I have so many spring things planned – trips to vernal pools, creating a wormery, looking for tadpoles, and then I am going to start raising monarchs this year as well. I did not hear good things about their numbers last year and I feel like it is one small way I can help our natural world. I am planting a milkweed patch in the yard, with a little observation area for Wyatt to help spot eggs and caterpillars. It’s going to be fun!

We also had one of our friends wake up after his long winter’s nap this week – Samson!

In case you don’t know his story, this guy rolled up three years ago-ish, right to our front door, the day before a freak blizzard in October. So we brought him in and then I felt like it would irresponsible to put him back out. So we gave him his own little house and plants and he seems pretty happy. We get a kick out of watching him slide all over the place in his slow little way.

How are you all this morning?

WIP: Office Redo

I am sure you are all maybe sick of hearing me talk about this darn office. It’s been such a process and our month long project, and it has taken up almost all of our free time. Well, Billy’s at least. He’s a good guy, the best really.

When Billy and I met, we were in high school. Once we were graduated, Billy started as an apprentice carpenter, following in the footsteps of his older brother. Billy is seriously the most talented person I have ever met. Sometimes I feel like he can do or make anything. He can sew and cook and bake and draw and paint and build things and fix computers and that is just a starting point. He’s pretty amazing really and all this is in addition to being an awesome dad to Wyatt.

Anyway, after a month of Saturdays, Billy finished with the main construction points – painting, hanging trim, caulking, and wallpapering. He worked hard and listened to a lot of audiobooks.

I think he did an amazing job. I actually just asked him to paint and picked the paint color (Valspar, Swiss Coffee). It was all his idea to add the wallpaper, which is perfect, and upgrade the trim. I am in love with his choices and I am so glad he made me slow down enough to let him follow his vision.

I was chomping at the bit to get in there as it slowly came together. My stuff was strewn all about the house, plus, it was looking so pretty! I wanted to put in my new things, my plants, my carpet, and mainly Dash to get him away from Maggie. Although, she is still obsessed.

This room has become a room everyone, including the cats, gravitates to. There is something so comfortable about it, even minus any furniture to sit on except for my desk chair. Wyatt loves to be in there, which I love. I have been slowly decorating and adding in my own things.

The only thing I am not super happy with is the cat litter cabinet. So that was not a great buy. I am going to move it into the basement eventually but for now it can sit there and hold some books. Billy is going to build some shelves to hang on the wall near the desk, and then on the wall where the cabinet is, he is going to build a floating bookcase for all my treasures and books and plants. Above that will be a gallery wall of all the art that I have collected over the years. Right now I have the wall hanging about the wild heart, which I picked up on my trip to Texas two years ago. Dash is against the wallpapered wall, on my mom’s old sewing table, and he is happy there. And, Billy is going to build a new desk as well! This one is just temporary and it does the job well. I am going to keep the design simple, sort of similar to the table honestly. I think the design works with the room very well. We still need to hang the curtains, so maybe this week sometime.

And that is where we are for now! I feel so blessed to have Billy in my life – and not just for all the things he can do, but because he is a good man, a caring one, and my best friend, co-conspirator, and fellow adventurer in this world, especially as we navigate life with this little guy.

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 Pi Day everyone! I have an apple pie baking in the oven this morning, to celebrate with pie for breakfast. I had planned to get up early and get it started earlier, but daylight savings did me in. I always have a rough time adjusting (so does Wyatt) and I am thankful that we are homeschooling – that will make “springing forward” a little easier, I am guessing. At least for us! We had a pretty slow week, just kicked it around the house all week, homeschooling and working on projects, and getting in some sunshine as well. I did spend some time researching my ancestry this week as well, and finally found the names of my great-grandparent’s parents! I have been looking for a long time and was super excited about finding them. Duncan Bell and Mary Ann Galloway – and I always loved the name Duncan!

Read Last Week:

I checked out the folk tales book from the digital library and I think I may need to buy it; I am reading this slowly and I am going to start reading a tale or two out loud at night to Wyatt and Billy. I also finished Mission in Paris 1990. It was pretty interesting – I don’t read many books that are sort of political thrillers and it was a nice change. I will be posting my review later this week.

Reading This Week:

Spring always makes me want to read about farmers and farms and pastoral life. (and rabbits but I won’t reread Watership Down until April, like I do every year.) For the next week or two I will be reading The Farmer’s Daughter by Lisa R. Howeler, and Sheepish by Catherine Friend. Lisa also blogs over at Boondock Ramblings, and she posts excerpts from her books every week if you wanted to check her out!

Posted Last Week:

Chit Chat Coffee Time Post

The PrettyLitter Review No One Asked For

A Few Quick Book Revews

Wyatt’s Birthday

Watched Last Week:

We have been all over the place with our television watching this week. Billy worked long hours, and by the time we got around to tv we were exhausted and wanted to sort of zone out. We watched the rest of Tudor Farm (a BBC show on Amazon) for most of the week, and Criminal Minds reruns on Netflix. Then we started Ginny and Georgia on Friday and it is so hard for me not to just binge it! It is so good! Then last night for movie night we watched the 2021 version of Blithe Spirits. It was ok, didn’t wow us too much, but I love all the actors in it, especially Dan Stevens and Leslie Mann, and the set and costumes were gorgeous. You can sell me on a movie by how pretty it is, and this was a pretty movie. We have never seen the original so I can’t compare it but I might need to check it out.

And that is about it from around these parts! What is going on in your neighborhood? I hope you all are dong well. Stay safe and have a good week!

Chit Chat Coffee Time Post

Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

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

I had a pretty emotional week actually. I spent so much time on the phone, which I hate. And I think I had finally had my COVID meltdown; our Governor announced that starting on the 8th caregivers of children who have special needs were eligible for the vaccine. After a year of near isolation (the disabled community and those with special needs are very high risk for severe illness) I felt like we were getting closer to having our lives back, and was buzzing with excitement. Then, I actually tried to find a vaccine. Most places I called acted like they had never heard of this mandate, even when I was reading it off the Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services website. I finally was able to find somewhere to make two appointments, one for me and one for Billy – but it fell through due to some issues at the vaccine site. This happened on the same day that I found there were complications with scheduling Wyatt’s 48 hour EEG, combine with Billy having to work overtime all week long on top of things, and it was just a lot all at once. That day in particular was a rough day. But, we are moving on and still looking and not giving up. That was definitely my low point this week.

It wasn’t all like that though, thank goodness

The weather was gorgeous this week, and Wyatt and I were able to get outside in the afternoons. I was excited to see signs of spring, with my strawberries starting to grow, little shoots emerging from the earth from the bulbs I planted in the fall, birds making nests in trees. I had to go get blood drawn this week and I had to wait in my car for twenty minutes as they stagger the number of people who can go in the office at one time. The morning was bright and blue and sunny and I could hear the chirps and tweets all around me. I happened to glance up at the tree next to my car to see it was full of Cedar Waxwings! That was the most I have ever seen at one time and it made me smile. Actually, I got really geeked and texted my husband and sent him a terrible photo from my phone , I was so excited to see them.

Today we are going for a hike and to check out the trees being tapped for maple syrup at a nearby metropark; Wyatt has been learning all about the process this week, so it will be neat to check it out in person. After Billy is going to do a little finishing work on the office, then we are hanging the curtains. I have some art to hang as well, some original framed art that my friend gave me that had been her grandmother’s (she wasn’t the artist, she just had it hanging in her house). So slowly the office is getting filled with personal touches, books and more plants and art. The next room we are going to do is the room we call the family room; it is really a large play area and also where our dining table is. It is also the room Harry lives in. Billy just needs to paint that room, and it is basically done. I am going to paint the china cabinet too, just to change the look of the room a little.

And…I am just about out of coffee so I will end here! Last week I shared a picture of Harry, this week I will share one of Dash. He is quite nimble and I catch him doing all sorts of cute little things.

Have a good one everyone!