Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

The Best Month of Fall October 3, 2021

It’s the best month of fall! Or really the best month of all! October is my favorite!!! I’m ready to embrace all the autumn traditions, eat all the yummy treats, revel in all the beautiful colors, and celebrate all the birthdays! (So. Many. Birthdays.) October is simply the best and it’s finally here. Some people countdown to Christmas. I countdown to October. For some this is spooky season, but we don’t really do spooky in this household. As Graham said this week “it’s pumpkin season!” That feels more accurate. Bring on all things orange!

We got a jump start on the October birthdays by celebrating with a friend who also has an October birthday on September 30th. It technically wasn’t October yet, but all three boys were less than a month away from their birthdays, so it was acceptable. It was funny because all the kids got books (shows you what type of moms these boys have). My guys got slime as a part of their gift. Let’s just say that slime isn’t a staple in our household… My boys are years behind the slime trend until now. Those containers of slime are seriously the best birthday present they ever received. Okay, not really, but they are big fans. Now that the first birthday gifts have been exchanged, the boys are anxiously counting down to their actual birthdays and family celebrations.

Our first autumn tradition of October was a visit to the corn maze. I like to visit the corn maze early in the season so it’s less busy. I’m thankful my hubby and boys (mostly Owen) love to read maps. Without them guiding me, I would wonder aimless until I stumbled on the exit by accident. The corn maze with my boys takes less than an hour and that is going through two separate mazes. I almost feel like we should do a timed challenge because it feels like a race. Left up to me, it would be a full day endeavor. So glad God made my guys with decent directional skills. They certainly make up for my lack!

Other autumn adventures for me include reading Jane Eyre for the first time. It’s been referenced enough recently that I decided I should read it for myself. Thanks to watching random movie clips over the years, I know the basic plot of the novel. If I didn’t know what was coming I would be rightly spooked from time to time. Even though I don’t do spooky, this book has those October vibes all over it.

I met up with my forever friend, Maggie, for lunch yesterday. Hashing out life with this dear friend is one of my favorite things to do! She is an amazing woman and I am so thankful we get to walk alongside each other through all the ups and downs of life. I had a fantastic mini pizza and mini piezookie at BJ’s Brewhouse. My soul and my tummy left our time together very happy!

It’s been a drizzly sort of day here despite the fact that my weather app says it’s not raining. Sundays are a favorite with me recently. We usually don’t have plans and I’m back to watching online church so it’s a good, settled in at home kind of day. I’ve done some tidying to reset for the week. I watched church while baking my October sugar cookies. Very cozy and yet productive vibes. After a couple days of back-to-back activity, it’s nice to have no where to go and really nothing pressing to do. Rest days at home are the best! And with that being said, I’m going to hunker down to do some journaling and reading. Not a bad way to spend a day!

A rare and wonderful sight! Trying my best to raise readers! This week Owen had a new book arrive and he was jazzed. Graham followed suit with his school reader.
I also made chocolate chip cookies for our birthday play date this week. A classic for company!
Love our family outings on Fridays! So much fun!
If I didn’t know the paths met up this would stress me out.
Meeting Jane
Love my time with Maggie May!
These are a few of my favorite things!
 

What I’ve Been Reading – September 2021 September 30, 2021

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 2:55 pm
After a lot of fiction the last few months, I added some non-fiction back into my reading diet. I adore fiction, but it was nice to have a change and process some interesting topics.

Fiction

  • Finale by Stephanie Garber – This was the conclusion to the Caraval series. I loved the first book and had reservations about the second book, so I was curious if I would like the third book. The answer is yes! I did like it. I enjoyed seeing the story from the perspective of both sisters. As a finale to the series, I was surprised with the ending.
  • Mirage by Somaiya Daud – This book was Courty’s fiction pick this month. It’s a story of a girl kidnapped from her family to be a body double for a mean princess. While it sounded appealing, I will admit that this book fell a little flat for me. I didn’t love it or hate it. I just learned that it’s the first book of two which makes sense since the ending left a lot of questions unanswered. I now have book two on hold at the library. Maybe book two will improve my opinion.
  • Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery – My monthly dose of LMM. I love visiting Prince Edward Island. These two novels are about Anne’s children. Rilla of Ingleside is a favorite of mine, but the WWI plotline always makes me cry.
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig – This novel takes a look at the value of life and getting a chance to see if the grass is greener on the other side. The main character tries out different versions of her life based the many directions her life could have gone. It was interesting and a good reminder that we are here in this life for a reason. Our lives matter in ways we don’t realize or understand.
  • Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay – A lovely novel about a girl coming out of the foster system who is given a grant to go to grad school. She must write letters to the founder of the foundation that offered her the grant while she’s in school. I loved that the main character was a book nerd who lived through classic characters and then learns to live and love in the real world again.
  • A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter – This book is about a girl who sells moths so she can give herself a better education and future. It’s set in the swamps of Indiana and the sequel to the novel Freckles (which I enjoyed immensely). While I’m not very interested in swamps and moths, the story is wonderful.
  • Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong – This new release felt like a classic rom-com when I read the description. The main character uses a list from the 1950’s to find dates while her brother’s roommate films the escapades for a YouTube show. Super cute and very funny!
  • Resort to Love Series by Angela Ruth Strong – Love Finds You in Sun Valley, ID, Finding Love in Big Sky, MT, Finding Love in Park City, UT, Finding Love in Eureka, CA, Finding Love in Seaside, OR – I’ve owned the first book in this series for years, but never knew it was a series until this month! The series follows five brothers each taking their turn to find love. It was a fun to reconnect with characters I met years ago and see how the whole family story came together.

Non-Fiction

  • Don’t Over Think It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life by Anne Bogel – This was Courty’s non-fiction pick this month. I’ve never read Anne Bogel before and as you can see from my next two books listed, I binge read all her works this month. Over thinking is something I struggle with and this book was both practical and encouraging. This was one of the better books I’ve read on the subject.
  • Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel – I love talking personality! I’m a huge fan of the Myers-Briggs assessment and the Enneagram. One of the funny moments from this book is that Bogel thinks my ISTJ personality is similar to Marilla Cuthburt in the Anne books. The older I get, I will admit that I understand and relate to Marilla more. The connection made me chuckle.
  • I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel – This small book made my soul smile. A whole book dedicated to the love of books and reading made me feel understood. As an avid reader who often feels like I’m alone (or weird) in my intense love of reading, this book felt like finding a kindred spirit.
  • Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation by Kristin Kobes Du Mez – I’ll be honest, this book was heavy and very political. As someone who avoids politics, I knew it would be a difficult read, but I’d heard enough about the book that I wanted to read it for myself. This book left me with lots to process. It reminded me to seek Jesus above culture. Hard topics can lead to beneficial processing and this book provided that for me.
  • People to be Loved: Why Homosexuality Is Not Just an Issue by Preston Sprinkle – This was a staff read by our church this month. The topic gripped my heart, especially as a parent. I know it’s important to process this topic so I will be prepared for conversations with my kids and others in the future. I appreciated Sprinkle breaking down both affirming and non-affirming perspectives. He did a great job of sharing his study of what the Bible says and how to love a community of people who have been deeply hurt by the church. This is a resources I will return to in the future. I am grateful for the personal wrestling I had to do while reading this book. It was a worthwhile and impactful read.
  • Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst – A friend lent me this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect based off the title, but I knew I’ve enjoyed TerKeurst’s books in the past. The book spoke to controlling our emotions and the meltdown spiral that can happen – especially when rubbed the wrong way by those closest to us. I gleaned wisdom and good reminders from this book.
 

What I’ve Been Reading – August 2021 August 31, 2021

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 11:49 am
Magic, fairy tales retold, and Anne!
  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – Scarlett, Cress, Winter, Stars Above – I loved The Lunar Chronicles! I bought the books after I finished the series because I knew I would want to read them again. These sci-fi retellings of classic fairy tales remind me of why I love the television show Once Upon a Time. I am fascinated by taking a well-known story and adding a modern/new twist on the beloved tale.
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer – After reading The Lunar Chronicles, this prequel to Alice in Wonderland came recommend. It’s the story of how the Queen of Hearts became heartless. While I found the tale interesting, I will admit that I’ve never been drawn to the world of Wonderland. This book didn’t compare to The Lunar Chronicles, in my opinion.
  • My Lady Jane by Cynthia Han, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows – This book was a hilarious and irreverent re-take on English history. The book has vibes like The Princess Bride and it had me laughing out loud. The magic in the book was a surprise to me since I really knew nothing of the plot before starting it. I liked how the authors humorously rewrote history to create their own version of a happily ever after.
  • Caraval & Legendary by Stephanie Garber – Caraval was the August book of the month for Courty’s Book Club (which I follow on Instagram). I loved it and couldn’t wait to read the next book in the series. I was impatient for the book copy of Legendary to arrive at my library so I snagged the audiobook version which was available without delay. Caraval was magical, full of suspense, and the main character was very relatable to me (a sensible, cautious, protective older sister). Legendary is told from the perspective of the risk-taking, younger sister. The magic in Legendary is also darker than the first book, which I didn’t love. I’m learning that I don’t prefer audiobooks so that might also be why enjoyed Legendary less than Caraval. I’m waiting for the final book in the series now. The last book is told from the perspective of both sisters, so I wonder if I will like more.
  • The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson – When I’m looking for a quick, sweet read, I turn to Melody Carlson. There is also something fun about reading a Christmas book during the summer. The Christmas Shoppe featured in this novel was magical so it fit well into the theme of the month!
  • The Anne of Green Gables Series by L.M. Montgomery – Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne’s House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside – I was able to get six of the eight Anne books read this month. I always like a little LMM in my month readings. Visiting Anne and Prince Edward Island is like a visiting a beloved friend.

 

Wet & Wild August 8, 2021

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Family Time,Parenthood,Simply Me,Travels — Amy Scott @ 7:26 pm

August is off to a wet and wild start! The boys are halfway through swimming lessons and they are going swimmingly! Owen has taken to swimming lessons like a fish to water. He is in his element when he is in the pool. Graham’s week started off a bit rocky, but now that he knows what to expect, he is doing great. We were in the hot tub last night and Graham wanted to show me how he blows bubbles and what his pencil point hands look like. Both sets of grandparents came by to watch swimming lesson this last week. The boys loved showing off their skills and for Graham, I think the cheering section was a big confidence booster. We can’t wait for another week!

Swimming lesson definitely count as the wet part of this post, but we’ve also had some wet weather move into the PNW. As a true Washingtonian, I’m all for cool, cloudy days. I even love some drizzle (when I don’t have to be out in it). Our weekly adventure found us at the Oregon Zoo this Friday – in the drizzle! Of all the days to go to the zoo… Actually, it worked out in our favor. The zoo wasn’t too crowded and all the animals were out. While we did get a little wet, we weren’t soaked and we dried out quickly. We hadn’t been to the Oregon Zoo in over a year and they’ve completed some major construction since the last time we visited. It was a blast revisiting one of favorite places. We had a wet and wild time!

Back in October, you might remember that our children’s ministry at church hosted a Fall Family Scavenger Hunt. Our family participated and had so much fun earning points for completing challenges. Jeremy is hosting another scavenger hunt this month and we are in it to win it. Well, not really… But we’re having a good time. Some of the challenges we’ve enjoyed so far are making Jello Jigglers, making chocolate chip cookies, making popsicles (we apparently like food challenges), and having a water fight with squirt guns and water balloons. Grandpa and Grandma might have been outside walking when the water balloons were filled and they may have been ambushed by two wet and wild boys. Such good summer memories!

I’m enjoying a rare evening home alone as I type this. My guys are out scouting and checking trail cameras. I’m between books at the moment so I took this evening to watch Finding You which is a movie based the book There You’ll Find Me (see my July reads post). I don’t usually let myself eat popcorn for dinner while watching a chick flick. This was a special treat! I also love comparing books to movies. I laughed that even when I have a movie night it’s still related to books. The bookworm in me is strong! With that being said, it’s time to find a new book and snuggle in for the last bit of my quiet time.

Taking a deep breath
My phone is super old so the zoom quality isn’t so great. That doesn’t stop me from documenting!
Homemade popsicles for the scavenger hunt
Another scavenger hunt challenge
Wet and wild at the Oregon Zoo
We saw so many animals up close!
These boys had a blast with the water balloon challenge
The bonus of a rainy summer day!
Dahlias from Jeremy’s garden
Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon!
 

What I’ve Been Reading – July 2021 July 31, 2021

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 11:23 am
Big News!!! I made it to 100 books this month! Woo hoo!!! 138+ books is my goal for 2021. I want to beat my 2020 record.

Books by Melody Carlson – One of my favorite fiction authors!

  • The Legacy of Sunset Cove – Harbor Secrets, Riptide Rumors, Surf Smugglers, Turning Tide – This series focused on prohibition and WWI times in a small town on the Oregon Coast.
  • Christmas in Winter Hill – I was in-between books so I went searching for a light, quick read. I decided on this book because I was feeling Christmas in July vibes.

Books by Jenny B. Jones – A new-to-me author this month!

  • There You’ll Find Me – This book was shared with me by a friend and started my binge-reading of Jenny B. Jones. This book also came out as a movie this month called Finding You. I’m curious to watch the movie now.
  • Save the Date – The characters in this book tie into There You’ll Find Me so I had to check it out!
  • I’ll Be Yours – The only other Jenny B. Jones book my library had – band geek and football star romance. Not my usual read, but I enjoyed it!
  • Sugar Creek Series – A Sugar Creek Christmas, His Mistletoe Miracle, The Holiday Husband – Okay, again, Christmas in July vibes and a tie into the first two books I mentioned. These three holiday romances got me to 100 books with holiday cheer!

Books by Marissa Meyer – I started The Lunar Chronicles this month since they came recommended from multiple friends.

  • Cinder – I enjoyed this sci-fi fairy-tale retelling of Cinderella. I look forward to completing this series through my local library. The hardest part is waiting my turn to each book!
  • Fairest – While waiting for the next book in the series, I jumped at the chance to read the prequel that explains the backstory of the evil queen.

Books by other authors –

  • A Tangled Web by L.M. Montgomery – My monthly dose of LMM! I love this interwoven story of two clans and their obsession with who will inherit a family heirloom.
  • A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey – This was Courty’s Book Club fiction pick of the month. I loved all the baking and that the story took place in England.
  • Things You Save in Fire by Katherine Center – This was loaned to me by a friend. It was interesting to read about a female firefighter as she re-established her career at a new station and falls in love with the rookie. The book has a strong theme of forgiveness for healing and I loved that message!
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – This is the second book I’ve read by this author and it was so much better than the first one. The WWII content of the book was heavy and the ending left me crying.
 

What I’ve Been Reading – June 2021 June 30, 2021

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 2:58 pm
I’ve started a race with 2020 Amy to see if I can beat my book total for last year. Right now I’m one book ahead of where I was last year.
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – As a fan of every film version I’ve seen of this book, I decided to give the book another go. I tried reading it probably a decade ago and couldn’t get into it. My reading style has changed over the years and I found Little Woman delightful upon a second attempt.
  • I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown – (Courty’s Book Club Non-Fiction Pick) I’ve seen Austin Channing Brown’s work highlighted by other authors so I knew this would be a deep read. It was profound and eye-opening. Brown’s personal experiences are both heart-breaking and inspiring. This book is the kind of book that you can’t just read and walk away from. It demands that you see the world differently now that you know and that you respond with this new knowledge.
  • Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter – This book was recommend by a friend. I had never heard of it or it’s author before. It’s a story about an orphan who finds himself working in the Limberlost swamp of Indiana protecting timber for a logging company. He earns an appreciation for nature and has a wild adventure while in the end figuring out his past. There is a sequel to this novel that I have on hold at the library. I can’t wait to revisit the Limberlost.
  • The Princess Who Believed in Fairy Tales by Marcia Grad – A friend ask to read this book with her. It’s a psychology book that is set-up as a fairy tale allegory. The story unfolds like Pilgram’s Progress where the princess sets out on a great journey to learn the truth and recover her life. Not my typical read, for sure, but very interesting.
  • Smart Money, Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey & Rachel Cruze – This was a gift from my father many years ago. I read it when I received it, but Owen was only a baby at the time so the principles felt far off from our reality. Now that I have two elementary-aged kiddos, I wanted to refresh myself on these concepts, especially after going through Financial Peace Junior with the boys this school year. This is such a practical book and I plan to implement some of it’s concepts this fall.
  • The Hope We Hold by Jeremy & Jinger Vuolo – I am fan of the Duggar family. I might not believe all the same things they do, but I still find them fascinating with their big family and their media platform to share their faith. This book is written by Duggar daughter, Jinger, and her husband, Jeremy. It was a behind the scenes look at their relationship and their journey together so far. I found it a very interesting read since I watched their “courtship” on their TLC show.
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows – This my third time reading this book. It’s one that I will probably read every year because it’s just so good. This post-WWII story about the German occupation of Guernsey is the best kind of historical fiction. I learned so much through this heart-warming and at times heart-wrenching novel. The Netflix movie of the book is pretty good, too!
  • The Making of Biblical Womanhood:¬†How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth by Beth Allison Barr – From Barr’s personal experiences as a pastor’s wife in the Southern Baptist church and her profession as a history professor, this book is powerful. I heard the hype over this book and I wanted to see for myself. I’m so thankful a book of this nature has been written. It clearly sets women free! As a champion of women in ministry this book stirred my heart!
  • The Glided Ones by Namina Forna – (Courty’s Book Club Fiction Pick) I will be the first to admit that I would have never found this book without Courty’s book club. Like her fiction pick last month, I’m not drawn to mythology. In this novel, the main character finds out she is different from the other girls in her village and is offered a position as a warrior to defeat beasts that plague their land. It has a strong feminist message. I found the tale interesting , but it was a little too violent for my tastes.
  • The Legend Series by Marie Lu (Legend, Prodigy, Champion (not pictured: audiobook), and Rebel) – My sister-in-law recommended the first book in this series to me. I’m all for finding a new series because one book leads to many more! I’m also a fan of post-apocalyptic writing. How does the author envision the world after the fall of the United States? The first book was the best in my opinion, but I enjoyed reading to the resolution of the final book.

 

What I’ve Been Reading – May 2021 May 31, 2021

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 7:00 am
So many books this month!
  • Emily’s Quest & Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery – I enjoyed reading these books for the second time. The first time I read the Emily books I was a bit harsh on her because Emily (while similar) wasn’t as endearing as Anne. However, after reading a LMM biography and learning that Emily is most like Montgomery herself, I read the Emily books in a new light.
  • The Story Girl & The Golden Road by L.M. Montgomery – These books were the inspiration of one of my favorite childhood shows – The Road to Avonlea. While the novels don’t actually take place in Avonlea, the setting is just as picturesque and the pages are filled with childhood joy, drama, and mishaps.
  • The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid – I picked this book up after finding out my copy of The Story Girl came from Prince Edward Island. This book is part coffee table picture book and part biography. LMM’s love of nature is evident in all her writing, especially her love of PEI. The pictures in this book are beautiful and give you glimpse into the world that LMM grew up in.
  • The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World by John Mark Comer – This was an April Book Club Pick. I enjoyed learning from Comer’s personal experiences and how he turned his life around. There was a big emphasis on scaling back on technology and living a purposely slower life. I can see how the principles in the book have been a benefit to my own life, especially over the last year when life got a lot slower for our family.
  • From Social Media to Social Ministry: A Guide to Digital Discipleship by Nona Jones – I heard Nona Jones share about this book at a conference recently and was sent a copy of the book for attending. This book gave me lots to think on in the ways of using social media (specifically Facebook) for discipleship. The church often uses social media to get information out into the community with the hopes of getting the community into their doors. The pandemic shifted in-person in a big way this last year. What if we used social media for discipleship and life-change, not just sharing information?
  • Mommy, Teach Me to Read: A Complete and Easy-to Use Home Reading Program by Barbara Curtis – A friend let me borrow this book as I move toward teaching Graham to read. I found it very practical and useful. I took notes and I hope to apply some of what I learned in this book in the near future.
  • The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease – This book is filled with research and testimonials of the power of reading to children. As a book lover myself, I hope to pass a love of reading on to my kids. As we head into more free time this summer, I especially hope to make read-aloud time a part of our everyday experience. This book is a great resource with read-aloud suggestions for all ages at the end of the book.
  • Win The Day: 7 Daily Habits to Help You Stress Less & Accomplish More by Mark Batterson – I love Batterson’s take on processing the past, making the most of today, so you can set yourself up the future. We can’t change the past, but we can process it in a healthy way so it doesn’t hold us back. We spend so much time worrying about the future that we miss the present. Being human means we live one day at a time. How we live each day sets us up for our tomorrows.
  • The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place by Andy Crouch – I feel like I did a course in technology and proper habits this month. This book is a great resource for parents who want suggestions for reigning in technology. It clearly states the reasons why technology needs a proper place with practical takeaways for how to accomplish that task.
  • The Nature of a Lady (The Secrets of the Isles – Book 1) by Roseanna M. White – This was my Mother’s Day book. I enjoyed the mystery and the history in this book. I learned about Isles of Scilly for the first time. I love when fiction introduces me to a new place.
  • A Portrait of Loyalty (The Codebreakers – Book 3) by Roseanna M. White – I enjoyed the final book in this series. It’s focus on photography and photo editing in World War I was interesting.
  • Lore by Alexandra Bracken – This was a book club pick and outside of my usual reading choice. As someone who isn’t a fan of Greek Mythology, I struggled to enjoy the characters. The book had some Hunger Games vibes (which I liked), but overall was too violent for me.
  • Women and Children First by Gill Paul – This book was recommended by a friend. It starts with the sinking of the Titanic and then follows a small cast of survivors as they recover from the incident. I wanted to like it more than I did. The history was fascinating, but I couldn’t enjoy the characters like I had hoped.
  • I’m a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson – A friend let me borrow this book and it was laugh out loud funny. Bryson shares his thoughts on living in America after two decades of living in England. His insights are hilarious and was the perfect read for a mood booster.
  • The Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah – This book was a recommended by a friend. It was sad, hard book to read about Leningrad, Russia in WWII. It unfolds like a fairy-tale and a mystery. While it has a “happy ending” – it wasn’t the ending I was expecting and left me sad.
  • Share Your Stuff. I’ll Go First.: 10 Questions to Take Your Friendships to the Next Level by Laura Tremaine – This was my teacher appreciation gift! Tremaine offers 10 questions to go deeper in your friendships and then answers them herself. It was a unique flow for a book. I could see myself using this book for a book club in the future or going through it with a friend.
 

The Little Things May 29, 2021

I have so many little things to share today. I guess I’ll just dive in! This week was the start of our summer schedule. The kids did three days of summer school. We took Thursday off since I got my second COVID vaccine that morning. The kids were very excited that our long weekend got to be a day longer. I love the flexibly of our new schedule. Week one was great!

I’m thankful my second vaccine is behind me. It certainly lived up to the hype. Fever, chills, aches all over. I didn’t sleep Thursday night and as a result I was exhausted yesterday. Thankfully, by getting vaccinated on a Thursday, my hubby has Fridays off and he was able to take care of the kiddos while I had a down day. Jeremy is always industrious on his day off. He enlisted the kids’ help in building a canopy to cover part of our back deck. Now in the summer we can have shade over the table and in the winter we can have cover over the hot tub on rainy nights. We’ve really enjoyed the process of getting our yard ready for summer. I look forward to reading a good book in the shade while my kids run amok in the yard!

The start of the week was gray, cold, and wet. On Monday afternoon we did a what I called Movie Matinee Monday. Owen loved the title and has asked that this be a Monday tradition. I told him maybe on wet Mondays. We watched Beauty and The Beast (2017) which is a favorite of mine and put me in a happy mood. Graham played throughout the movie, but Owen got into it. Tuesday also started out gray and cold. To add some sunshine to our day, Graham helped me make sprinkle sandwich cookies. I’m enjoying baking my way through Cookie Class by Jenny Keller. I’m positive I will be making these sandwich cookies again. They are so cheerful!

On Tuesday, I made a fun discovery. I purchased The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery online from a used bookstore a few months ago. I picked up my copy to start reading it this week and discovered a stamp on the title page. It said “Site of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Cavendish Home” in red ink with a border around it. Suddenly, I had a mystery on my hands. Did my book come from Prince Edward Island? I did some research and sent a message to the home site. I got an email reply the next day confirming that my copy of The Story Girl was purchased from their bookstore. Not only was it hand-stamped by a descendant, but the reply was from a descendant of L.M. Montgomery as well. It was a very exciting discovery for me. Visiting PEI is on my bucket list so this book only deepened my desire to go there! Someday!

As you can see my update this week is a bunch of little things. Even though it’s been a fairly low-key week around the house, we’ve managed to have some excitement and we always find fun. The little things matter. Making cookies, watching a movie together, reading a book, playing in the yard. So thankful for these small things, because really they are the big things – family, comfort, cheer, home.

Drumming his way through Be Our Guest. The arm of the couch was transformed into a musical instrument.
Such friendly and fun cookies!
My special discovery! It was the highlight of my week to find out this book came from PEI and that I got to correspond with a descendant of LMM! So cool!
Vaccine Two Complete!
Roses from my mama! Such a sweet encouragement!
Since I took this picture this morning, the shade isn’t on the table. In the cool of the morning, it’s not necessary. The shade will be great on warm afternoons/evenings. Love our party deck!
 

The Smell of Sunscreen May 16, 2021

We’ve had a stretch of nice weather. We busted out the slip and slide, set up the swimming pool, and stained the play structure in the backyard. Summer is right around the corner and we are ready! The sunscreen has come out as our kiddos run wild around the yard. We’ve had more outside time than inside time. Everyone is sleeping soundly at night after full days of activity. This is just the start of the summery vibes with plenty more fun in the sun to come!

This last week Graham reached a childhood milestone. He had his kindergarten screening. I completely forgot about it. Good thing Jeremy remembered! We are leaning towards homeschooling again next year, but we want to keep all doors open at the moment. Even if we homeschool next year, it was good for Graham to go through the process. After so much time with just family, it’s important that he can follow directions and talk with adults who aren’t relatives. He told me he wasn’t nervous at all and He came home chattering away about the experience. I’m glad he wasn’t nervous, because I sure was! I didn’t know how he would respond after so much time at home. I’m so happy that it went well!

Another exciting milestone for our family is that the little chickens moved out of the garage this weekend and into their own enclosure. They aren’t old enough to join our big chickens yet, but they are now neighbors. Having the little chickens in the garage came with a certain odor. Pine shavings also frequently got walked into the house on the socks of my little chicken checkers. It’s nice to have the smell and the mess out of the garage. Owen is thrilled with how the chicks are doing. He is quiet the chicken whisperer.

We are about to start our 36th and final week of school. I am so excited to wrap up this homeschool year. We have fun plans – especially for Graham with a preschool graduation of sorts. I’ve always been curious about homeschooling, but I don’t think I would have ever gone this direction without the pandemic giving me a giant shove. We’ve had such a fantastic year. I am thankful for my kiddos who love to learn and who have made the most of our extra time at home. I am thankful for the friends and family who encouraged me through this process. This whole experience was a grand adventure – an unexpected blessing during strange times.

With school wrapping up soon and the sun shinning brightly outside my window, it’s easy to see why it feels like summer is almost here. The kids smell of sunscreen. Last night we had a wash off little feet that were dirty from running around barefoot on freshly mowed grass. Life is never perfect, but it is good. I am thankful for these moments, these memories around the house with my little family.

Sun’s out! S’mores Time!
Don’t let the focus-face fool you, Owen loves reading stats. I read The Tech-Wise Family this last week and Owen kept coming over to look at the stats.
Out of this World Cookies for May!
Such a cool sky earlier this week!
Found the Slip and Slide in the garage. We got it all cleaned up and ready for fun on a warm afternoon.
The Big Chickens got some new neighbors! Owen helped moved the Little Chickens out of the garage.
More water fun! Getting the pool set-up!
Graham was ready for a morning in the yard to help Daddy!
I helped Jeremy stain the play structure. Since outdoor projects aren’t usually my thing, I had to document that I helped!
The Chicken Whisperer. They literally come flocking to him!
It’s looking like summer in our backyard!
 

These May Days May 11, 2021

Our floor replacement project was supposed to start today. But… it’s been postponed. Our flooring situation feels like an epic saga (a never ending one at that). There was an internal miscommunication with the building company and now we’re looking at the end of May or beginning of June for this project to take place. As much as I want this project behind us, I’m okay with the pause. I wasn’t thrilled to homeschool around the flooring project. With only 1.5 weeks of school left, I’ll be glad to do this project after we wrap up school. We will have summer school, but the summer schedule is lighter. Postponing the flooring project fits better later. I guess a delay can be a blessing.

When my hubby asked me how I wanted to celebrate Mother’s Day, I originally thought the house would be torn up right after the weekend. I didn’t want a busy weekend on top of a crazy week. This year I opted for a quiet day at home to read and eat my favorite foods. We ran errands on Friday and then had dinner with my parents to celebrate my mom. Saturday was my quiet day. Sunday morning was restful around the house with the kids while Jeremy worked. Once Jeremy got home, we went over to celebrate with his mom. I enjoy the flow of celebrating Mother’s Day over the whole weekend. Instead of celebrating three moms in short burst of time, it allows us to have a laid back flow to the weekend. No need to rush. Expanding the time we celebrate allows our family to be in the moment and present. Maybe I won’t feel this way ever year, but a low-key Mother’s Day was perfect this year.

Without a major construction project in the immediate future, things around our house are business-as-usual. Homeschooling, reading, baking, walking, outside time, hot tub time… All the usual things. The weather has been nice so we have been outside everyday. The sunshine reminds me that summer is right around the corner. We had a chat with the kids this week about our summer bucket list. We’re starting to daydream about how to fill our summer days. We have a camping trip on the books. I hope to visit the zoo. The kids hope to go to the beach. We’re looking forward to more play dates and backyard hangouts. The boys and I will return to church on Sundays for outdoor gatherings. We are enjoying this slower-paced Spring, but we are also looking forward the promise of Summer!

Graham directed me on how to decorate this cake. He was also my sprinkler of the sprinkles. He was so proud of our team effort. It was a bit busy for me, but apparently the 5 year-old sees the world differently!
Our final MOPS & MOMSnext craft! I might add some ribbon for a finishing touch.
My favorite place to read is a loveseat in my bedroom. These two are always close by. Here you can see the pillow fort bedrooms that they created. The orange vest were used for the construction phase and then cast off for “bedtime.”
My Saturday Mother’s Day Plans: Reading, dinner of mac & cheese with brownie sundaes for dessert, and then movie night with my hubby. Perfect day!
Mother’s Day 2021 – Love being their mama!
Silly Bedtime snuggles
Our MOPS & MOMSnext group did a fun challenge to share a picture of yourself in middle school. Here is 8th grade Amy. Awesome bangs and braces!