Goodbye May, Hello June!

Goodbye, May. Hello, June.

Is it just me or did May just whiz by like a race car at the Indy 500?

I don’t even know how we are already to June but we are.

Our May was busier than I expected it to be. There were homeschool trips, library visits, various outings, family days, and then the everyday homeschool lessons and finishing up the school year.

In the beginning of the month, I decided that we would focus on the arts for the month of May in homeschool. Little Miss and I especially focused on various art styles and artists, music and composers, and learned about various instruments. We spent more time doing art and listening to different styles of music.

Also at the beginning of the month, we traveled to a city near us to visit a comic shop and take in the sights. We stopped at a playground on the way back from the city and spent some time there letting the kids be kids.

Later in the month, we had a homeschool gathering at our local library where Little Miss picked out books and was able to pet a pig, which was thrilling for her.

Also in May we visited an alpaca farm as part of another activity with the homeschool group.

We visited the library quite a bit and I’m sure will be doing the same in June. Little Miss has discovered her love of books and I’m very excited by that.

In May I said I would take a photo a day for the entire month. I did not do very well at that, but I did try to take more photos than I had been taking. I plan to stretch the Photo A Day for May into June (which doesn’t rhyme like A Photo A Day in May) to make up for some of the days I lost in May. Who knows, maybe I will try to do it all summer. I always love looking back at my summer in photographs when Fall rolls around.

We spent a lot of time on the trampoline at the beginning of May, but not as much toward the end. The heat keeps Little Miss and me inside a lot. I am pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but the trampoline actually belongs to the neighbors who are nice enough to put it up for Little Miss to jump on. They put it up this year for when their grandsons visit as well.

As for what I watched and read in May, I detail all of that in my Sunday Bookends post, but I will say that I participated in Spring of Cary with Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs so I watched a few Cary Grant movies. I also watched a few mystery shows (mainly Poirot and Brokenwood Mysteries) on my own or with my husband.

I did not read as many books as I would have liked to have for the month of May. I did, however, finish Fellowship of the Ring, which was my goal for the month of May. I was determined to finish that book, since The Boy and I started in way back in February. It was a personal accomplishment for me, even if it sounds a bit silly.

I also finished writing my own cozy mystery, Gladwynn Grant Gets Her Footing and it is now being edited and will be released July 18th.

Now looking ahead to June.

This past week we finished the bulk of our homeschool lessons with just a couple of things to do each day. Next week we will do a few more things just to wrap up what we need to do before we meet with the evaluator and then the school year is done for about two and a half months.

After I receive the summary from the evaluator, I will submit it and the paperwork that states that I plan to homeschool again next year all at the same time, which by law needs to be by June 30th.

We will have a short break with no activities scheduled but on June 20th the local library’s Summer Reading Program will begin for Little Miss. There will be various activities a couple days a week.

There will also be Vacation Bible Schools throughout the summer that I’m sure we will attend at least a couple of. There are two that are going to be held in our little town and I know that we want to try to go to at least one of them.

I’m sure June will also be full of plenty of playdates with Little Miss’s friends or hangouts with The Boy’s friends.

For reading, I have a couple of cozy mysteries on my list to read, a couple of books by author friends, and a book from the Anne of Green Gables series. I often plan what I will read in a month but I don’t usually read the books I say I will because I am a mood reader. My mood may change and that means my list will change. I do, however, want to finish the books by my author friends. I’ve been looking forward to reading the one author’s books (A.M. Heath) for a while now and the other author friend (Jenny Knipfer) has written a book in a genre I don’t usually read and I want to try it out.

These are the books I am currently planning to read in June:

How about you? How was your May and what are you looking forward to in June?

Looking back at October and Ahead to November

It’s hard for me to believe that we are almost to the end of 2022. Here we are in November already! It’s crazy to me. This year has flown by for me.

October was a fairly busy month for us with a lot of errands and activities. Little Miss also turned eight in October.

Many of those activities during the month tried to or did interrupt school days and we had to make up our lessons on other days. I am not sure what November will bring but hopefully, there won’t be as many activities during the week. We did start to get into the homeschooling groove in October though I always feel like I am not doing enough. Little Miss and I are plowing through her Reading book, which is actually a book we are finishing from last year. We are winding up our first-grade math so we can jump into second-grade math. She is a second grader this year and the curriculum we are using doesn’t actually say which grade it is for, but I think it is still first-grade math. We’ve started skipping some lessons because Little Miss already knows it and it’s become repetitive for her.

The Boy and I are reading a classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and he says it is boring but he says that about everything so he’ll just have to suffer through.

The days and nights became a bit cooler with a couple nights of frost. The leaves fell off the trees faster than I would have liked but first, it was only around our house. There were still a lot of leaves on the hills in other areas the county next to us. T

Then this past Sunday I noticed that the hills around my parents’ house were completely bare and brown looking. This, of course, usually means that winter will be here soon, which I am not looking forward to much this year for a variety of reasons. Sometimes life seems dark and gloomy on its own. It doesn’t need the weather to add to it.

I do like that winter means slower days where we don’t often have to rush off to an activity or I don’t feel as guilty if I don’t get the kids outside into the sunshine.

Little Miss spent many of her days jumping on the neighbor’s trampoline, which we are really going to miss this winter. It’s brought us a lot of fun.

We took a couple of mini-hikes of excursions involving nature during the month of October as well.

Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs and I finished up our Spooky Season Cinema Monday and are looking forward to a Christmas Season Cinema (not sure that will be the official name or not) starting the week before Thanksgiving.

For reading in October, I finished a couple of books, including two with Little Miss (Paddington At Work and The Year of Miss Agnes).

For me, I read: The Do Over by Sharon M. Peterson, The Uncertainty of Fire by Stephanie Daniels, A Quilters Holiday by Jennifer Chiaverini, and started a couple I didn’t finish, one of which I may never finish at this point.

For November I hope to do a No News November or an Almost No News November by reducing my news intake since most of the national news isn’t news anymore anyhow, but political propaganda.

We have three birthdays to celebrate, my son’s, my aunt’s and my husband’s and of course Thanksgiving. Other than those celebrations, I don’t have anything super exciting planned for November. I will be editing Shores of Mercy to get it ready to release on January 31 and will also be working on another book for National Novel Writing Month, thought I don’t plan to finish that book.

So how was your October and what are your plans for November? Anything exciting? Let me know in the comments. I love catching up with you all.

Looking Back at July and Ahead to August

I opened my back door this morning to let all three of our animals out and the wildlife that had been enjoying our yard scattered. The squirrel who had been looking for nuts darted up a tree and the blue jays quickly flew away. This is probably because our dog is a barking nuisance, and our cats are psychopathic killers.

It became more evident in July what a killer the youngest cat, Scout, is. We’ve lost count of how many carcasses we’ve found around our house. Birds. Mice. Moles. So far I’ve watched her run across the yard with a mouse, a baby bird, and a small snake in her mouth.

I had to wrestle a baby bird from her one day while the mama bird screamed from the tree tops, but the bird was too young to survive out of the nest and died the next day. I had placed it in a bird house high up, away from the cat, but I think the mom abandoned it to take care of the other babies. Another day I pinned her down to allow another young bird to escape.

A few days later, though, my husband reported there was a dead bird laying in front of our side door like some kind of ominous warning. A week after that my dad found a dead bird in our sideyard.

Twice I distracted her to save the lives of two mice. The Boy says my last attempt failed when he found the mouse later in the day squished in the middle of the street in front of our house.

It’s like an Alfred Hitchcock movie at our place these days. We have a woodchuck in our backyard, but so far Scout has brought him down. He’s four times her size, but I have no doubts she could do it.

So looking back at July, I remember a month of death courtesy of Scout. I’m sure our older cat Pixel has killed many things as well since she’s done so in the past, but she seems a little more private about her killing sprees. Scout likes to do it in the backyard while we are all out there so she can show off her murdering prowess.

July was an extremely busy month full of various activities such as trips to swimming pools, playdates with friends, running errands, parades, a carnival, an anniversary, outings, going to movies, watching flowers bloom and die, family visits, and gymnastic classes.

I shared a ton of photos of the month earlier today in a separate post, but I’ll share a few here as well.

Toward the beginning of the month, we attended the firemen’s parade and carnival in the town my husband works in, which is also the town where the high school I graduated from is located.

That was also the week both my daughter and my dad had fainting or near fainting spells. A couple of weeks later my son also had a brief fainting spell. We believe my daughter’s actual fainting spell was related to drinking orange juice too fast and not being able to get a breath while my dad’s and The Boy’s were brought on by dehydration and not eating properly. None of them had to go to the doctor but if it happens again to any of them, they will be in a doctor’s office.

My husband was busy with rehearsals for a small part in a musical put on by the local community theater throughout the entire month of June and July with the musical being performed toward the end of the month.

My days were filled with taking Little Miss to my parents’ pool and turning on the sprinkler for her and her brother. I also took her to gymnastics every Monday (or a Saturday or two if we missed our Monday class), went to dinner with my husband for our 20th anniversary, watched the boys unload wood we bought for our woodstove this winter, helped Little Miss pick blackberries, watched Little Miss jump on the neighbors’ trampoline, meet the neighbor’s grandsons, visit my neighbor who broke her ankle, avoided political events, read a lot about Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables series, read through four Ramona Quimby books, cooked a ton of meals, washed a bunch of dishes after our dishwasher broke (ugh! Have to do that today too!), and shopped for groceries three times. Honestly, looking back at all the photos of what we did in July makes me very tired.

As I look ahead to August, I am certain there will be many more pool visits, sprinkler runs, playdates with friends, outings, grocery trips, and errands, but there will also be plans being made for school, which I plan to start on August 31.

For the last couple of years, I have followed a similar schedule to local schools, which start the first week of school on the Wednesday prior to Labor Day. This gives my kids a three-day school week the first week, a four-day the second week (with a day off for Labor Day), and then five-day weeks after that. This year, however, I am considering a four-day-a-week homeschooling schedule, leaving Fridays for fun activities or, well, quite frankly, grocery shopping since I have to drive half an hour to get groceries and by the time I get back a good chunk of my day has been eaten away.

Speaking of school, I had planned to give Little Miss lessons every other day in Math but so far that has not panned out. I hope to remedy that in August so that we don’t have to completely start from scratch when we get back into the swing of things at the end of the month.

The month kicks off Wednesday with my mom’s 78th birthday and after that, we don’t have any other birthdays or anniversaries we need to remember for the month. September is when our birthday and anniversary season picks up with my birthday in the middle of the month and my parents’ anniversary at the beginning. At the beginning of October is Little Miss’s birthday. At the beginning of November is The Boy’s and my aunt’s birthday and at the end of November is my brother and sister-in-law’s anniversary and The Husband’s birthday (which are actually on the same day).

But before we get to autumn (which I am really looking forward to this year! Cool mornings, warm tea or cocoa, beautiful fall colors, etc.), we have to finish summer and we still have a whole month. Temperatures have been perfect the last few days but they are set to rise again this week, which will be perfect for swimming and hiding inside. We have a playdate scheduled for tomorrow, a birthday party for my mom on Wednesday, a trip to a town near us on Friday, which will include grocery, clothes, and book shopping, so already my week is filling up.

So much for the relaxed, easy-going summer, I thought we would have, but at least most of what we’ve been doing has been fun.

How about you? How has your summer been going? How was your July and what are you looking forward to in August?

Looking back at April in photos and otherwise

April was torture weatherwise. Not only did it snow in late May, leaving heavy wet snow, but the rest of the month was mainly cold, wet, and gloomy.

We did have a few nice sunny days and we took advantage of them as much as possible.

We didn’t really do too much exciting in April. We picked up some local beef at a butcher. That was about the extent of our excitement.

If you want to see what blog posts I shared last month, you can access them on the archive drop down menu in the sidebar at the right.

I did share a post about why I had been writing less fiction and a few other ramblings about my writing and fiction. I also shared a post about how to find your creative spark again when it comes to writing.

I hope to share more blog posts in the month of May. For some reason, May often seems to be a productive blog month for me.

How about you? How was April for you? Productive? Wet? Cold? Warm? Stormy? Dull? Or Exciting? Let me know in the comments.

In the meantime, here are some photos from our month, including a few from today, the last day of April, when we noticed our tulips were finally blooming. We also watched a bee buzzing around looking for flowers to take pollen from and let him know he will probably have to wait another week or so.

Looking back at October ahead to November, reading and otherwise

I actually managed to finish a couple of books in October and start a couple more.

I don’t read as fast as others who share and link up on Readerbuzz’s Sunday Salon and Caffeinated Reviewer’s Sunday Post and The Book Date’s, What Are You Reading post, but I enjoy the books I do read so I figure it’s all good. I read them in between working on my own stories, homeschooling a 12-year old and 5-year old, cooking dinner, editing photos for stock photography, and occasionally cleaning the house (being a housewife is not necessarily my calling).

I won’t have as much time for reading this month since I’ve decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month and hopefully finish the sequel to A Story to Tell and maybe even make progress on Fully Alive.

I’m ahead of the game for NaNoWriMo since I already have 27,000 words for A New Beginning and about 14,000 for A Fully Alive but both books need a lot of work, plot and character development.

But I do plan to read some books this month and on the list to either start or finish include:

  • The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (to finish)
  • Light from Heaven by Jan Karon (to finish because I just started it)
  • The Misadventures of Tumbleweed Thompson by Glen McCarty (starting. It’s a middle school book for my son’s homeschool group book discussion).
  • The Hobbit (I know! I’m still reading it! I’m pathetic!)
  • All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot (to finish)
  • The Dog That Whispered by Jim Kraus (to start)
  • Just Me On This by Donald Westlake (to start)
  • Leota’s Garden by Francine Rivers (to finish)

Books I finished in October:

  • In this Mountain by Jan Karon
  • Memphis & Me by Diane Moody
  • The Runaway Pastor’s Wife by Diane Moody

I’m also reading Paddington Marches On by Michael Bond and Stuart Little by EB White with my 5-year old daughter at night. I love when she asks me to read to her to help her fall asleep, though it is frustrating when she falls asleep in the middle of the story and I want to know what happened. I can never figure out if I should wait to finish the story with her the next night or finish it. (Both books are broke into individual stories.) Sometimes I just go ahead and finish it and read it again the next night.

Our autumn leaves were pretty much completely annihilated by heavy wind and rain this week but we found these cool leaves I have never seen in my life in Pennsylvania at a playground near us.


I have no idea what tree they are from but they were awesome. My daughter wasn’t really into throwing the leaves up in the air for me to take photographs but my son helped a couple of times.


We had stopped at the playground after a funeral for my husband’s great aunt, who passed away at the age of 90 last Sunday. I was ready to go home since when I drove to the funeral I realized I had forgotten some photo albums my husband’s cousin had wanted and had to drive 15 miles back to my house and 15 miles back down to give her the albums. But my children don’t play at playgrounds as often as they used to so I took some photographs of them and then sat in the van reading Jan Karon while they played with a couple of little girls who had come to the playground as well.

Coming up this month my son and husband both have birthdays (my son will be 13 on Thursday and my husband will be … a certain age .. later in the month) and my brother and his wife celebrate their 23rd wedding anniversary (on the same day as my husband’s birthday). We don’t have anything super exciting planned for November beyond recognizing those milestones. We will be plowing forward on homeschooling for both children and hunting for a house closer to my husband’s job and my parents during the month as well. I am planning a post later about house hunting. The post will be entitled “The soul-sucking process of house hunting.”

As for what I was watching in October, I watched a lot of a British sitcom called One Foot in the Grave (but Amazon only offers up to season three thorough Britbox so I may look for a DVD collection that can be played on American DVD players) and also watched Paul: Apostle of Christ, which I rambled about here.

On my blog in October, some of the subjects I rambled about were: autumn, a little about books and movies, and a bit about writing fiction.

I also blogged about:

For Fiction Friday in October I shared:

On my blog this month I’ll be continuing to share A New Beginning, the sequel to A Story To Tell, for Fiction Friday every week, or at least every other week. I’m sure I’ll ramble some more about my children and I’m sure I’ll share more photographs of whatever I see throughout the month. I’ll probably blog about what I’m reading or lessons learned during NaNoWriMo and maybe even some insights on God (because, you know, I’m someone people turn to for thoughts on God. Har. Har.).

So, how about you? What are you reading, watching, or up to?