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

The week before Christmas was not what I was expecting – little man came down with a fever at school and I had to pick him up early, poor kiddo. Then I got sick. We were laid a little low for a week there, and it was not fun. I hate when he is sick. So that week before Christmas was filled more with anxiety and kleenex than I had planned on! Thankfully we were all better by Christmas!

Read Last Two Weeks:

I picked this up at the library purely for the festive cover and of course, the owl. I am such a bird nerd that I couldn’t pass it by. I really enjoyed it! It was just what I needed during the craziness of the last two weeks. And best of all, I learned there are 26 books in this series to go back and enjoy. Lol.

Reading This Week:

I am not sure which will be my first book of the year, but I am super excited to read them both!

Posted Last Two Weeks:

Quick Reviews on Some Holiday Reads

A Great Holiday and a Return to Routine

What Wyatt’s Reading – December

My Favorite Reads of 2019

Watching:

Christmas movies. And Shetland! We just finished the entire series and thank goodness there are more coming – we were blown away by how amazing this series is. We also just started Lost in Space season 2 – Billy is a bit more into it right now than me but that might change hopefully.

Thanks for visiting my blog! I am looking forward to seeing what you have been up to as well!

My Favorite Reads of 2019

Hey all! I can’t believe it is this time of the year already! Wowzer. I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday or at least a few great days in December.

I feel like I read some pretty great books this year! I don’t keep up on my Goodreads very well – I get about halfway through the year and forget, so I can’t give stats which is a bummer, because I love everyone’s stats posts. Goals for next year! I know that I read a lot of nature books, thrillers, some magical realism, cozy mysteries, and some romances. And probably some other things too! I also participated in Paris in July which was so fun, and also Nonfiction November, which was pretty spectacular. I feel like I have a great idea of what to expect of them both next year and I am looking forward to them both again.

As I look back, some books I just really liked. My list is sort of based on just what I actually really loved, whether it was a bestseller or not – just a book that I really couldn’t stop reading and wanted more of when I was done. So, that being said, here they are!

I can’t believe this is the first time I had ever read Anne. Now I love her to pieces. And The Wolf Wilder was so so good. If you are going to read it, read it when it is cold – and if you live somewhere warm, just turn that air conditioning way down! Lol.

My love for these two books is real. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating touched my soul, and The Wood I read first, and then read aloud to Billy and Wyatt over the course of this year, that is how much I loved it. John Lewis-Stempel is one of my very favorite authors to read and I am slowly making my way through his books.

I am pretty sure this is the first time I have had two graphic novels on my list! I absolutely adored Pumpkinheads, but what can you expect from Rainbow Rowell, but greatness, in my opinion. And Brazen – I picked this up on a whim at the library then read it cover to cover without stopping during Wyatt’s nap. I never reviewed it properly but it was seriously amazing.

These are three new to me authors – and I believe Luanne G. Smith and Glendy Vanderah are new authors in general! I loved each of these books for different reasons, but I can’t wait to read more by all of them. Read my review of The Vine Witch here, and Where the Forest Meets the Stars here. And hey I did review Brazen! A mini-one in the same post as Leaving Time!

Hands down my favorite book of the entire year. I am always a little skeptical of big best sellers for some reason, but when Gulfside Musings posted that she loved it, I gave it a shot. And I am so glad that I did. It was everything – nature and mystery and emotional. It was spectacular and I recommended it to everyone I know.

A Great Holiday and a Return to Routine

I had a wonderful time with my family the last few days! From the Saturday Solstice to Sunday at my dad’s for our holiday celebration, to Christmas Eve with my husband’s parents, to Christmas Day with my family, we had busy days packed with loved ones.

On Saturday we celebrated the return of the sun, and our love of nature by going on a nature hike at our favorite metropark. We have been having some unseasonably warm days these past few days, so the weather was actually beautiful. As we walked through the woods, looking for signs of winter, a flock of geese flew directly overhead, honking their hellos. Later we made sure we fed the birds and other wild things in our neighborhood a little feast, filling up our feeders to the brim and giving them some special treats as well. We finished up our evening with a beef stew over polenta and Nantucket cranberry pie, read a few picture books, and looked back on our year of hikes, some of the highlights, some of the things that we saw along the way. We also talked about our journey with the Kids Moon Club that we took last year, where we all learned a lot! We signed up as Lifetime Members and are looking forward to this new year.

Our three Christmas’ were fun as well! Wyatt had a blast with his grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, and was a lucky little guy who received some thoughtful and fun gifts as well! Lots of dinosaurs and musical instruments and books and baking toys, and some exploration gifts from us too – including a bird call that I am currently listening to. Billy and I never exchange much with each other, we do “small” Christmas for each other and feel so happy to have received this beautiful bracelet and another John Lewis-Stempel book, about owls no less! He also bought me a warm wool hat, gloves, socks and a set of blank books. We had a wonderful few days, the best of all being all the family time.

Today we start to get back to our normal non-holiday life. Wyatt is getting all the time he wants to play and explore his new things, to just play and relax and have fun. We will have music on, a full coffee pot for me, and I will attempt to make some dent in putting our house to rights. But on some level, I enjoy doing this after a holiday, saying goodbye to some things, rearranging, making way for new. We will leave the tree up a while longer, but I really need to dig out our bedrooms which have taken a huge hit. They became a bit of a dumping ground in between holiday events!

I hope that you all are enjoying your holiday season!

My Almost Last Minute Outdoor Inspired Gift Idea Guide!

So I posted my kid oriented gift idea post the other day, and here is my outdoor inspired one for adults! These are all things I would buy my husband, have bought my husband, and/or want a version of for myself. I love everything on this list! Again, check shipping this close to Christmas before ordering.

Under $25

Field Notes National Parks Journals: So I am in love with blank books. And the National Parks. In fact you will see a lot of National Park stuff on this list, so I apologize in advance. Lol. These are so cool and you get a set of three of $12.95! (and the paper is from Michigan, my home state so bonus!)

National Park Beanie: Buying this hat helps support the National Parks, plus it looks super warm and utilitarian, something my husband loves in a hat.

Opinel Knife: Great little knife to have, according to my husband. I got him one last Christmas and he loves it. Good to work with, and feels good in your hand, according to him.

Duke Cannon Bourbon Beard Balm: My husband is a big fan of all things Duke Cannon – he has the soap, shampoo bar, and is probably getting this for Christmas….

Retro Classic Flashlight: Let me preface this by saying all the men in my family are fascinated by flashlights – my dad, my husband, my son. Not sure what that is about but whatever floats your boat! I love this one and it is a great price for a great looking flashlight.

Pendleton National Park Socks: I have been in love with this company forever and will one day own a blanket. But for now, socks for my husband work! (and for me, I am not opposed to stealing them and wearing them. Or buying some for me too)

Under $50

Printworks Night Puzzle: A puzzle worthy of your time – doesn’t this look challenging? I love it. Perfect for long dark winter nights and tea! (or something stronger)

Yeti Tumbler: This is such a great gift, and great for our environment too! We use ours everyday!

Smokey the Bear shirt: I love Smokey the Bear everything – so does my husband. A throwback to my youth, with such a great message. And, some of the proceeds from this shirt do go towards wildfire prevention education.

Zero Waste Shave Kit: So I posted beard balm above – this one is for our clean faced crew. We are trying to go as plastic free and zero waste as we can, slowly bit by bit, and I am loving this item for men who are sans the beard.

Glacier National Park Beanie: Ok, so I know I am repeating myself – two hats, two different journal sets. But I love them and they are different so…. here they are. These beanies are National Park themed by park, and there are 10 different choices, including a Smokey the Bear version!

Wilco Field Notes – A set of 6 instead of 3, and totally different in theme. I couldn’t decide which I liked better so I am listing them both!

Under $100

Oil Cloth Backpack: I like things that are going to last and take a beating – and this backpack looks like it can withstand whatever is thrown at it, including a spill from your morning coffee. Duluth also has a lifetime guarantee on all of their products as well, which is awesome!

Lagavulin Scotch: My husband’s favorite. And I don’t mind this one either! Our friend introduced us to scotch over a really good vanilla ice cream with some ground pepper on top as a dessert – and it may sound weird but it is delicious! You can get this bottle engraved too.

Pima Cotton Crew Sweater: Another Pendleton item! On sale right now but it is only for a short time! Still under $100 even when not on sale which seems like a deal!

National Park Foundation Travel Telescope: I am a stargazer. My husband is as well. And we are already teaching Wyatt about the night sky. I think this is a great idea for families to learn and explore our world more together!

Big Time Splurge:

Shinola Watch Runwell 47mm: I love that these are made in Detroit! I toured the factory and was so impressed with all of it. These are beautiful timepieces. Not super outdoorsy but beautiful.

So I realize that these items will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I wanted to throw some of our loves and ideas out there, even to just get the ball rolling if anyone was looking for ideas! Even if these are not the item you are looking for, you may find the perfect thing on one of these websites!

Happy Shopping!!

My Almost Last Minute Kid's Gift Idea Guide!

I’m not really a shopper- unless of course I am in a book store. And sometimes a really great eclectic gift shop like my favorite store in my town that has so many crazy things to look at. But for the most part, I am not a shopper. So, when Christmas rolls around, I start making my lists and ordering online. This year we tried to put an emphasis on things that encouraged nature or creativity, as most of the kids I know are really into those types of things. And I fully support all of those! I thought I would share some of my favorite purchases and ideas from around the internet in case anyone out there still needs a few ideas. Just make sure to check shipping dates!

For the littler kiddos:

Blackbird Call || So, this might seem like a strange choice! But there is a story behind this one for us. We took a trip in the spring to a pretty touristy area of Michigan, and of course, did some touristy shopping. Wyatt found a wooden duck call in one of the shops and decided he had to have that. The store even burned his name into it, which was cool. But from there, a new collection was born. He loves playing with wooden whistles and flutes and instruments and bird calls. We got him the blackbird call, but Imagine Childhood also has an owl, cuckoo, robin, and mallard duck available, as well as just a wooden bird whistle.

Fat Brain Build It Blueprint Puzzles: Come in a few different designs! I thought these were so cool! I like the cabin or birdhouse for Wyatt but also available as a barn or dog house.

Lincoln Logs: A classic! And it is the 50th Anniversary too! Perfect for little fingers and builders.

A kite: I am posting the one I am buying for Wyatt, but there are so many out there to choose from. Our family goes to a kite festival every summer and it is so cool to see them up in the sky, hundreds of them sometimes. We plan to get in on the action this year. Check your area – there might be a kite festival near you!

Dress Up Wings and Cloaks: Magic Cabin has the coolest selection of dress up wings and cloaks. It’s hard to decide which one to get!

Instruments: Available for all ages, from maracas and castanets for smaller kids to big bongo drums for the older ones! We took Wyatt to this class in the summer and we had a blast. He loved playing with everything, and we have slowly been increasing his collection. He has flutes and whistles and is getting a drum and pan flute for Christmas!

Binoculars: I bought these for a few of the kiddos on my list. I think they are great fun, especially on hikes, and are the perfect size for little hands.

Unicorn Sidewalk Chalk: Because it is seriously cute!

I also got Wyatt a play tent! I am so excited to give it to him, as I think he will love it. His teacher told me that he loves the one in the classroom and will go in there and look at books. There are so many out there too, from just plain type canvas to fancy ones that look like mushroom houses or whatever.

For Older Kiddos:

Fox Needlepoint Kit: My cousin’s daughter has been showing an interest in so many crafty type things lately, from drawing to painting to needle pointing and crocheting. She is the inspiration behind this one! Imagine Childhood (a favorite online store of mine as you can tell!) also has an owl and a turtle.

Pirate Map Kit: What kid doesn’t enjoy the thrill of a pirate treasure map? Now they can hide their own treasures and make a map to it!

Bow and Arrows Set: Obviously this is with discretion. But really neat.

African Safari Sun Paper Art Kit: Science and art and learning oh my!

Door Pong: I love this! I am totally getting this for my nephew.

Fold – An Origami brainteaser: Every kid I have ever met has been fascinated by origami. And most adults too.

Trekking: The National Parks Board Game: I want this game for me! I think board games are so fun and a great way for families to interact with each other.

Snow Shoes: Do you live somewhere with snow? Snow shoes are such fun! Billy and I used to laugh so hard when we would go snow shoeing together. REI has toddler versions – I can’t wait until the day I can buy a pair of snow shoes for Wyatt!

Gifts of Experiences:

Don’t forget about memberships to places like zoos, science museums, kids museums, or even a National Parks Pass! These gifts are so fun and can last all year. Usually these places have events that run all year round, and sometimes members have early access or different perks. I also highly recommend the Kid’s Moon Club – we had such a good time with it this year as a whole family, although this is probably better if the child already has an interest in this sort of thing.

These are just a few of the things that I have bought or had on my lists as ideas this year. Of course you know your family best but if you needed an idea, I hope I planted a few helpful ones!