The Sound of Falling Leaves -- a Mommy Time Review


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I have to admit I do not read that many adult books these days. I am always reading my review pile and lately they seem to be middle grade or young adult books. But I jumped at the opportunity to review this new novel by Lisa Carter. I love mysteries and it is one. I love some romance--it's in there. And I love God and yes religion plays a part as well. This book is right up my alley. It is The Sound of Falling Leaves. I have to say it has been hard to wait for this week and Friday to share this book with you. I loved it that much! This week is the Blog Tour for the book so I had to wait.

Review of Stories of the Saints -- a Book to Celebrate All Saints Day


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

I grew up Protestant and did not learn about saints. We now go to an Episcopal church which is still Protestant but recognizes the saints. Plus Steve is Catholic so he wants Hazel to know about the saints. With All Saints Day coming up I thought it was the perfect time to share today's book, Stories of the Saints by Carey Wallace and illustrated by Nick Thornborrow. 

Dorktales -- a Funny Podcast Series for Families


Disclosure: I was paid a nominal sum for sharing and reviewing these podcasts with you. All opinions are my own.

In our world today we have just about everything at our fingertips. We can give our kids our smart phones or tablets to entertain them. Kids today are glued to the television or some form of technology. When Hazel was young we started her at a Waldorf school. One of the things I loved about the Waldorf philosophy was the no technology rule. They actually took it even further for the younger kids. They encouraged storytelling without books or with wordless books. The philosophy believed that preschool kids' bodies were developing so fast at that time that the body should be allowed to do its growing without the burden of trying to work to learn letters and words. The art of storytelling seems to be gone especially during this pandemic. However storytelling is important for our kids' development. From stories kids learn virtues and good character especially from stories that demonstrate it. Kids will often copy the behavior they see or hear about. This is why we turn to fairy tales over and over. The basic tales have good overcoming evil over and over again. The honest, kind, good people are rewarded while the dishonest and cheaters are punished or lose. 

The ABCs of Black History--Upcoming book to teach young children about Black History!


Disclosure: I was sent a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Last week I did our last Black Lives Matter Series post and said I was going to focus on Native Americans but this book passed my way and I have to share it with you. This book is coming out in December 8, 2020. The book is The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez and illustrated by Lauren Semmer. 

Beautiful Origami Paper Wreaths -- Crafty Sunday Review


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book (and the origami papers) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Did you know that yesterday started World Origami Days? World Origami Days run from October 24 through November 11 each year. October 24 was picked because it was the birthday of Lillian Oppenheimer. She started the first origami group in the United States as well as being one of the founders of British Origami Society and OrigamiUSA. November 11 is Origami Day in Japan and thus why it was picked to end the celebration. (Source) In celebration of World Origami Days it seems we should create some origami, so today I am reviewing an origami book. All of the papers I am using I have shared previously but they all come from Tuttle Publishing

Mommy Time Posts--Otomi Journal and Quilt Update


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this journal in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Do you make time for yourself? For self care? As mothers we tend to have the weight of the world or at least of our homes, families and work on our shoulders. It is hard to find time. A friend recently shared a post on Facebook of a conversation between two women. It involved finding time to meet God in mountains. In the Bible men are often climbing mountains and meeting God. Women however are back tending to the house and family. Does this mean women do not have God in their lives? No, the conversation shared that God knows the role women play and meets them at home. God is always with us to care for us because we don't have the time to just take off and climb a mountain. However it is important for us to take the time to take care of ourselves. I have decided to try to share products, activities and things about self care and mommy time on Fridays. First a quilt update. A few weeks ago I shared a review of Wintertime Shimmer. I decided to try the wall hanging option and instead of winter try to capture the beautiful autumn colors outside. I still have to do the applique on it and am planning on putting a female cardinal on instead of the male. (Yes I have an obsession with the female cardinals.) Anyway, here is the pieced portion of the quilt.

 I have to say it was very quick to piece and I love the pattern. I may make a winter one as well. I do find quilting, sewing, and crafts as part of my self care. I have a strong need to create and if I ignore the pull towards crafts I find myself lost. 

One of my favorite self care activities is journaling. There are times when the emotions are too much and I just need to let them out. I find my journal helps with this. Do you love journals? Hazel and I love them and tend to collect them. I was fortunate enough to get sent this beautiful Otomi Journal to review.

This journal has embossed Mexican embroidery design all over the cover. It is based off the traditional embroidery of the Otomi People in Central Mexico. They are an indigenous group to Central Mexico.

Inside the journal there are lined pages. Then every fifth page of so a print from the traditional embroidery appears. They are animals or flowers. 

I love the little surprises of the print. The pages themselves are thick and a good quality. I haven't started to use it but plan to keep track of some health data so I know what to tell doctors when I have appointments. Nowadays they tend to be telehealth appointments so it is important to be able to tell my doctor everything I need to since she is not really examining me. 

Plus if I get my act together I will be able to use it to track my diet and exercise. How would you use a journal? This one is absolutely beautiful. I love the added touch of its culture. They also have Otomi Notecards if you would prefer to send the beauty to your friends and family. I would love to hear how you are doing some self care these days!

Review of Cleo Porter and the Body Electric -- where Fiction and Reality Meet


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Great Depression, the Great War, the Great Recession and now the Great Separation. Today I get to share with you a new book that is amazing it was published this year and written before this year. As we are living through the Covid-19 Pandemic and thinking about wearing masks and social distancing, imagine if the pandemic was even worse and thus the Great Separation. Before we knew about Covid-19, Jake Burt wrote Cleo Porter and the Body Electric. And that is amazing!!

Twelve-year-old Cleo Porter lives in an apartment with her mother and father. The apartment has no doors or windows. It has a chute where drones drop off deliveries. The only human contact is with one another and everything else is done through simulation. In 2027 there had been an awful pandemic caused by Influenza D. The virus mutated with every person it moved to so there was no cure and it wiped out half the population. The solution was to lock everyone into apartments without doors or windows and have no outside physical contact. It has been decades since the last known case of Influenza D but the people live this way because it is safe. Cleo wants to be a drone surgeon like her mother. She has been studying to become a doctor from an early age and has a big test looming over her. But then something really strange happens. A medicine package gets delivered to their apartment with someone else's name. Everyone says it is impossible. The medicine is for brain swelling and it could be life or death. Cleo is worried for the unknown person. She feels the need to get the medicine to her, but how? The only way in and out of the apartment is the delivery chute. Cleo manages to get out with only machines to keep her company. She is off on an adventure that will change her whole life.

Can we start with how eye-opening this book is while living through a lesser pandemic? It puts our struggles into a different light. Social distancing and masks for a matter of months (or even a year) are nothing compared to never seeing the real sky and meeting people in person. There are messages throughout the book as well including from one of the people who chose not to be locked away. There are so many interesting depths to this book as well as questions that could be used for a class discussion. I put together some discussion questions for you. 

The story itself is intriguing and pulls the reader in. It flows and is suspenseful. You want to turn the page and continue reading to find out what happens next and to make sense of this new world. I hope you will check out this book. I know I told Hazel a bit about it and she wants to read it next!

Two Beautiful Picture Books about Growing Up and Mindfulness


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Today I am going to share with you two absolutely beautiful picture books. The books are recommended for pre-K through grade 3. One is about becoming a big girl and putting away toys and the other is about learning to meditate. The first book is Nasla's Dream by Cecile Roumiguiere and illustrated by Simone Rea. 

Black Musicians and Entertainers #blacklivesmatter Series


How has the world changed in the last six months? The fight is still going on for Black rights. There is so much hate and violence as well as peaceful protests. We are in a Movement and we can decide how we are going to respond. We can sit back quietly and watch or we can take part. There are two sides and depending one where you fall you can take action. Know that sitting back quietly and watching is an action. It is accepting what you are seeing. I know at times this summer I have wondered if my actions, my posts, my discussions are making any difference. I even considered giving them up. But I knew in my heart I had to try to make a difference and help there be change. Today we have come to the end of my list. My short list. A list of names to research and share with you because Black lives are part of everyone's history. Black people matter! Although this will be my last post in this series for now, I know I will continue it again. I know there will be future books that share about Black lives, as well as more people to feature. If you have Black people I should feature please leave their names in the comments or contact me.  But I also know I want to focus on Native Americans for Native American History Month. I know we need to also focus on them as they are suffering with Covid and not making it much into the news. 

History Smashers Women's Right to Vote


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The other day my husband and I were discussing current events and the differing views in society. We are on opposite sides politically. We were discussing a bit of the discrimination going on in our country. My husband being a white, conservative man is pretty sick of being blamed. I am trying to educate him that part of the problem is he doesn't realize his part in the discrimination and how it is built into our society. We talked about history books. My conservative friends have been posting many things about how awful it is that people don't teach the traditional history any more. I asked him who wrote the history books when we were kids. I asked him which women he learned about in history. He told me the important ones, then he started listing people like Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony. I asked him if he knew who Elizabeth Cady Stanton was. He said no. I used this information and the knowledge from today's book to make my point. In fact today's book let's us know that Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote the official history of the women's suffrage movement before it was over and that is what is taught still today. 

Books to Celebrate Filipino American History Month


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Did you know October is Filipino American History Month? Filipino Americans are the second largest Asian American group in the nation. They are third largest ethnic group in California (after Latinos and Blacks). October was chosen because it commemorates the first Filipino to step foot on the continental United States. On October 18, 1587, Luzones Indios came ashore at what is now Morro Bay, California, from Nuestro Senora de Esperanza, a Spanish galleon. In 2009 the United States Congress recognized October as Filipino American History Month. (Source) To celebrate I thought we would look at some books about the Philippines and their culture. 

Learning about Indigenous Women with Map and Poster from Tribal Nations Maps


Disclosure: Aaron Carapella gave me permission to use his copyrighted photos. They are all copyrighted by his company Tribal Nations Maps.

Although some people still celebrate the holiday as Columbus Day, many are changing it to Indigenous Peoples' Day. I shared years ago about how I feel about Columbus Day. For more reasons to change the day to Indigenous Peoples' Day check out here. To celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day, I turned to my friend Aaron Carapella of Tribal Nations Maps. Years ago I had the pleasure of sharing my prize with you of one of his amazing maps. Since then he has added so many different maps and products. He has added maps Indigenous Peoples of regions of North America as well as Central and South America. 

Chapter Books Involving School


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

How is the school year going where you are? Hazel's private school started the Tuesday after Labor Day. They were doing great until last week. Hazel was learning remotely last week because she had a cut on the ball of her foot but apparently a student who had two negative tests got tested a third time and went to school before getting the results. The results were positive so the school we completely remote for three days, then the grades that were separated enough from the student were allowed back this week. All the other grades have to have a negative Covid test or wait fourteen days to come back. Hazel and I went to get tested this week. I got her negative results last night so she is finally back in school today after being home for almost two weeks. The local news here is full of public schools having issues--unions fighting with districts, outbreaks and more. So how is school where you are? Are you remote or in person or hybrid? 

Black Lives Matter-- Mary McLeod Bethune & Coretta Scott King


I only have a few more people on my list for our Black Lives Matter Series. I have been saving these two women for the end but wanted to share them because today is World Teacher Day. These two were both activists. We will start with Mary McLeod Bethune because she was a teacher!

Paper Quilling Four Seasons: Chinese Style -- Crafty Sundays Review


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I have become a bit fascinated with paper quilling. I shared my first projects previously. After trying it a bit I wanted to get some books about it. I bought a paper quilling kit from Amazon. Then I looked for some books to review. Tuttle Publishing answered my quest. Today I am going to share one of the books they sent me. Paper Quilling Four Seasons Chinese Style by Zhu Liqun and Zhu Liqun Paper Arts Museum. 

Cottontail Rabbits -- Who's In the Backyard? Series

I haven't done a Who's In The Backyard? Post in awhile. I had planned on doing my rabbits weeks ago but was having internet issues as well as a busy life. So here it finally is!! In our backyard we have cottontails. They are probably Eastern Cottontails, but there is a slight chance they could be New England Cottontails. So my focus is going to be on both species and the differences.