Sunday, September 30, 2018

Books I Read In September

I read 10 books this month!  I could not believe it when I sat down to compile the list.. but that might explain why my house isn't the cleanest or the most organized right now.  Ha!  To be fair I did manage to read three of the books while on vacation; I just love reading in the car.  I know many people can't do that but it really helps pass the time.




1.  Slightly South of Simple by Kristy Woodson Harvey - When Ansley's three daughters decide to move home for the summer she knows it's going to be a busy season.  Her oldest daughter's marriage is falling apart and she's more than 6 months pregnant.  Her middle daughter is struggling to raise two kids while her husband is once again deployed to another county and her youngest daughter is starring in her first major role; which just happens to be shooting nearby.  When her old childhood boyfriend shows back up in town and her mother hurts her ankle forcing Ansley to bring her mother into the house too she knows that her life, while full, is slightly south of simple.


2.  The Perfect Summer By Luanne Rice--  This is another book my sister bought me for my birthday and I really enjoyed it! When her husband never returns home one idyllic summer afternoon Bay's life completely changes.  She finds that her husband was in the middle of an investigation by the FBI and as she struggles to uncover the truth of what happened while still protecting her children she's left questioning what love really means.

The Perfect Summer (Hubbard's Point/Black Hall Series Book 4) by [Rice, Luanne]

3.  Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews-- Best friends Ellis, Dorie, and Julia are renting a house in Nags Head for the whole month of August. But they didn't expect to encounter a hot new neighbor, a dumpy house rental, a mysterious stranger living with them, and all the life changes that force them to make some life choices by the end of their month together.


4.  The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank-- This story, told through the eyes of various family members was quite touching.  Set on the shores of South Carolina as a hurricane is brewing off the coast Maisie, Liz, and Ashley (grandmother, mother, & daughter) are about to be reminded of just how important family is even though they might drive us a bit nuts at times.


5.  Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer-- After Carley's husband passes away and she learns that he didn't leave her with much money she decides to turn their home into a Bed & Breakfast.  Juggling this new business, the disapproval of her over bearing in-laws, trying to keep her friends' secrets, and just trying to keep afloat in general Carley learns that she's much tougher than she originally thought.  But is she tough enough to risk it all for love and happiness again?

Heat Wave: A Novel by [Thayer, Nancy]

6.  Home Front by Kristin Hannah-- This is probably my favorite book from this months collection.  Jolene is a mom, a wife, and a pilot.  Her marriage is on the rocks when Jolene gets deployed.  Determined to shield her family from what war is like her letters home are filled with stories and pictures that only show one side of what her life is like.  Her husband is struggling at home juggling being both mom and dad to their two girls while also trying to work on his cases as a public defender. 


7.  Dear Thing by Julie Cohen-- When Romily offers to be a surrogate for her best friend and his wife she has no idea the upheaval all their lives will go through. On the surface it seems like the perfect plan; Romily already has one daughter and no desire for any other kids, Ben and Claire have been trying for years to have a baby of their own and Romily knows they'd be wonderful parents, but their plan stirs up a whole hornet's nest of reactions from them all.


8.  Trespassing by Brandi Reeds-- A Kindle First book from a few months ago, I finally got around to reading this on vacation and it was pretty gripping.  Veronica begins to fear she's becoming mentally ill like her own mother did when her daughter begins speaking of an imaginary friend and her husband goes missing.. just like her daughter claims her imaginary friend told her he would.  Now a suspect in her husband's disappearance, Veronica begins uncovering a series of secrets and lives that could put both her and her daughter in danger.

Trespassing: A Novel by [Reeds, Brandi]

9.  We Were Mothers by Katie Sise--  Another Kindle First book that I got to read this month and another gripping tale.  Told from the perspective of a few different women in one upstate New York community we learn that there are secrets in every marriage and that most women just want what is best for their children.  I really can't say much more about the plot without giving some major story lines away but it was soo good!

We Were Mothers: A Novel by [Sise, Katie]

10.  Reunion by Hannah Pittard-- When her father commits suicide, Kate is on a plane contemplating her life's choices.  Soon she finds herself on another plane headed to her father's house where she meets up with her sister and brother and all her father's assorted ex-wives and their children.  Kate learns so much about herself in the four days in her hometown.  

Reunion: A Novel by [Pittard, Hannah]


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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Our Favorite Nature Themed Picture Books

We incorporate nature into our homeschooling in so many ways!

We go hiking most every week.  We visit aquariums, zoos, and nature centers. We've raised butterflies, hatched ladybugs from larvae, watched tadpoles turn into frogs, and even resuscitated a dehydrated hummingbird we found in our garage.

We've taken classes at our nature center to learn about clamming, fishing, nature journaling and more.  We once went out on an ocean research vessel and learned all about the ocean animals in our region.  We've taken classes through our local zoos over the years learning about habitat, animal adaptations, and more.



But one of our favorite ways to learn all about nature is to read.  Even though my kids are all in middle and high school we sill read lots and lots of wonderful picture books.  I look for books with beautiful illustrations and moving stories.

You can read the rest of this post at the 30 Days 30 Ways Blog Party where 29 other bloggers and myself teamed up with Kimberli at Mommy N Me Inc for a whole months worth of inspirational blog posts about including nature in our homeschools.

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Friday, September 28, 2018

Weekly Wrap-Up: The Week We Went Hiking Twice

We had a great week even if it was a quiet week.  With our temperatures plummeting and lots of rainy/ gray days I wasn't motivated to do much at all this week.  Thankfully the boys were content to work on schoolwork and spend their time at home too.  We did try to get out of the house whenever it wasn't raining and managed to hike twice!



We watched another episode of How the States Got Their Shapes on Friday.  We are just LOVING this series!  After the episode was done we read two picture books for science/history and then the boys settled in to work in their math books.  After doing a bit of reading Ian headed to work with his grandfather and the younger two boys and I packed lunches and headed out to go meet up with our hiking group.  We hiked for a good hour or so and then enjoyed a picnic lunch at the park.  We had the whole place to ourselves and were rather reluctant to leave.  We stopped at Target on the way home to get Alec some new pants and pick up a few snacks to hold us over until I can make it to the grocery store.  Ian was home by the time we arrived back but he left again just before dinner to meet up with my husband and his family to help set up for a little remembrance ceremony they're holding for my husband's grandfather.





Saturday morning Ian headed off to work with his grandfather and then came home to help my husband take the boat out of the water for the season.  We all changed into some nice clothes and headed out for the remembrance ceremony honoring my husband's grandparents lives.  His family worked hard to find a beautiful spot and had a wonderful monument made complete with photos.  His grandfather served in WWII so there were servicemen in attendance to honor his memory and lots of family and friends to share memories with.  Alec spent most of the day with his nose buried in a book.  After the luncheon was over and we had helped clean up our family headed out to the Cheesecake Factory and had a lovely dinner in honor of Evan's birthday.  We also had to buy the younger two boys some new sneakers and it wasn't surprising that both boys went up in shoe size... but I think someone needs to remind my boys that their shoe size does not have to match their age!




He did have nice clothes on UNDER his sweatshirt

Ian headed off to work bright and early Sunday morning with his grandfather.  The younger boys and I spent a quiet day at home.  I worked on my blog for quite some time and they battled with their Yu Gi Oh cards, played video games, and watched TV.  I began cleaning through the younger two boys' drawers and cabinets seeing what we needed to buy for fall... turns out Alec needs just about everything since he grew so much this year.  After lunch Evan wanted to go to Target to buy some more Yu Gi Oh cards with his birthday money and Alec came with us to start buying his fall clothes.  Once home the boys battled cards and I cleaned the turtle tank.  After dinner everyone pitched in to make fresh homemade apple pies.

Evan reading about all his new Yu Gi Oh powers



The boys and I spent a quiet day at home on Monday.  We watched our How the States Got Their Shape video for the day, read a few science books, worked on math, reading and spelling and made some apple butter in the crock pot.  The younger boys played outside and battled cards.  Ian and I played rummy and cleaned out his turtle tank.  In the afternoon we went for a walk up to the mailbox to collect our mail and get some exercise.  We cleaned through our coat closet and found ski pants, winter coats, and boots for the boys (though Alec will need a new coat and boots).



Other than Alec's karate class on Tuesday we didn't go anywhere. It as such an awful rainy cold day that we had no desire to do anything.  The boys worked on a bit of schoolwork and spent most of the day playing video games and watching TV.  After dinner Ian went out into the blacksmithing shop with his father and began working on a key chain holder.


I had to go and do groceries Wednesday morning since we were quickly running out of food in the house.  As soon as I got home we unloaded the car and the boys got right down to work.  Evan was leaving for a birthday lunch with his grandmother and we wanted to get our schoolwork done before he left.  We watched an episode of How The States Got Their Shape, finished up the second chapter in our science book and then each boy worked on their math and reading.  While Evan was gone Alec and I made some mini Twix cheesecakes for Evan's family party this weekend.  The sun made a mini appearance in the afternoon and so I dragged all three boys to a local park so that we could go hiking.






We saw a few trees that looked orange and when we got up close we realized it was fungi covering the bark!
We had plans to meet up with some friends of ours to go bowling on Thursday.  They had been unable to make it to Evan's party and wanted to do something fun with us.  The boys did watch another history/geography episode and each worked on math and reading.  I had also set up some slides and invited them all to check out the various leaves, seeds, and turtle shell fragments under the microscope before leaving.  We had a wonderful hour of bowling!  It was so much fun!!  We were home by lunch and after lunch I tried out a new Chex mix recipe then the boys and I went for a walk/ bike ride.  Ian and I walked while the younger two boys rode their bikes.  It was a beautifully sunny fall day and we just HAD to get out there and take advantage of the weather.

Our slides; Alec had asked me last week if we could look at green, yellow, red, and brown leaves under the microscope to see how they differ.  







Weekly Weight Loss Tracker

Saturday I weighed myself and found that I was down a total of 10.6 lbs!  I was thrilled to finally break through that 10 lb mark that I've been periodically focusing on since Mother's day.  Then pretty much blew it when we went out to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.  I ordered my meal from their skinnylicious menu but even ordering just one slice of cheesecake meant I was blowing my calories for the week through the roof.  I have to admit.. at the time that chocolate cheesecake sure seemed worth it!

I spent the rest of the week trying to avoid the scale and half- heartedly exercising but I also ate ice cream or fresh homemade apple pie most days so I didn't have high hopes that I could get back down to Saturday's weight.

Thursday morning I weighed myself and while I didn't get back down to Saturday's weigh I am only 1 lb away so that's not too bad.  You'll notice we were more active at the end of the week too so that helped.

This coming week I want to make sure to weigh myself daily, exercise each day for 30 minutes, and track my calories and food intake each day.  I need to consistently be working at this!!

In case you missed it on the blog this week:














How was your week?

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