Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Hello, Mr. Groundhog~ Did You See Your Shadow?

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Celebrating Groundhog Day



When the kids were little, we loved celebrating all the fun holidays. I wanted those days and lessons to be fun, engaging, and educational. I still can hear the giggles and laughs. I remember one Groundhog Day years ago, when I used the dog's hedgehog toy and a flashlight to recreate Punxsutawney Phil's adventure. I honestly can't remember if he saw his shadow that year, but the kids had fun having him crawling out of his home. We used a cut up cardboard box as his burrow. As he ventured out of the hole, the kids held the flashlight above him bathing him in light and casting a shadow on the floor. If you don't want him to see his shadow you could use some stuffing to create a cloud.

We read a cute story about a groundhog names Gregory.


                                                      

We checked out a copy from our local library. It was a cute little tale about a shy groundhog names Gregory. He feels brave when his shadow is near him. The book was written Don Freeman. He's the author of the Corduroy books that Theresa was so found of.

I did find a wonderful selection of new books online that may be just as cute.

Children's Books about Groundhog Day






Add this cute little groundhog mascot to your classroom! You can use him to see if he sees his shadow.






It's days like this that made our learning fun. I miss those days of when my kids were little. You could find opportunities for learning everywhere, especially through play.
Want to make Groundhog Day special for your kids? Here are a few ideas we've used over the years.

Coloring Pages
Cute selection found here
Groundhog seeing his shadow
Coloring pages and fun worksheets
4 Adorable coloring pages (they are so cute)
Coloring pages for all ages


CHILDFUN has a fantastic collection of ideas to use with kids of all ages. I'm sure you'll be able to find at least one activity to do!

One site we used a lot when the kids were little was Enchanted Learning. On this site, they have worksheets, crafts, art projects, and printable books. For Groundhog's Day, they have plenty of ideas to make the entire day a learning adventure. One of the projects we did was create groundhog masks using paper plates. You can search the page for all kinds of ideas. 

Bake some groundhog cookies or cupcakes.

No Bake Groundhog Day Cookies 
Groundhog Cupcakes

Groundhog Day Cupcakes
Photo Credit~ Craftcreatecook.com



To go all out, pick up some cute Groundhog Day shirts for the kids!



Want fun activities have you done to celebrate Groundhog's Day?


Till Next Time,
Monique



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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Friday, January 24, 2020

My Top Ten Read of 2019

Disclosure~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you. 


Book Review


Wow! Where did 2019 go? It sure does seem that the years are flying by quicker and quicker. Last year, I participated in the Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge. I placed my goal at 80 books, but I actually read 104. I can't believe I read that many books last year. I decided to share my top ten books from 2019. So without further ado, here are the 15 books in no specific order.





1. Thin Air by Lisa Gray

Private Investigator Jessica Shaw is dedicated to searching for missing persons. She's used to getting anonymous tips while working on cases. While on the road, she receives a photo of a three year old little girl kidnapped twenty five years ago from Los Angeles and is stunned to recognize the little girl as herself. Suddenly, she's trying to discover the secrets about her own life. What will her past reveal?



2. The Memories of Us by Vanessa Carnevale

Your life can change in one moment! When Grace Ashcroft wakes up after a car crash with severe amnesia, she must choose whether to live a life through other people's memories or start a new life on her own. This is a charming story about finding what means the most to you ad finding your home.



3. Wish Me Home by Kay Bratt

A simple story about a young woman searching for herself. Then enter an adorable dog. Cara Butter is stranded in Georgia with only her backpack and a few dollars. The last thing she needs is a hungry, stray dog, but he somehow found her. Cara sets off for the Florida Keys to see the home of her literary hero, Ernest Hemingway. With Hemi, the stray dog she's named, by her side her journey takes plenty of unexpected twists and turns. Strangers become friends and make her question everything she knows. Cara finds as her journey unfolds, her life does as well... in ways she never could have imagined.



4. The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

A search for the truth. A lifetime of lies. In the early morning hours, Abi  Knight wakes up with the dreaded phone call no mother wants to ever receive. Her teenage daughter, Olivia has fallen off a bridge and on life support. To Abi's surprise, Olivia is pregnant and must stay on life support for the baby. Abi sees the angry bruises on her daughter's wrists and vows to discover the truth. Heart broken and grieving the loss of her daughter, Abi sets out to discover the truth about her daughter's life.



5. Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah


A mysterious little girl teaches two strangers how to love and trust again! Joanna Teale, returns to her graduate research project on nesting birds. She's determined to prove her recent hardships...loss of her mother, a battle with breast cancer, and lost love have not broken her. She throws herself into her work until a small girl appears at her cabin in the woods. Ursa, the little girl from the stars, has been sent to witness 5 miracles. At least that is what she claims. With the help of her neighbor Gabriel Nash, Joanna sets out to solve the mystery of this young, precocious girl. When everything begins to fall into place, all the painful secrets will be forced out into the open. All three of their fates will be left to the stars.




6. We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels

At her great aunt's house, Elizabeth Balsam discovers a series of mysterious items...locked doors and hidden graves. As she searches for answers to her questions, she uncovers the remarkable stories of two very brave women. These women have left behind a legacy of  love, resilience, courage in the face of war, racism, and plenty of misunderstandings. Elizabeth quickly discovers that the past is never as past as we might think it is. You'll be taken from present day to 1960's Detroit and the Underground Railroad of the Civil War.



7. Lost and Found by Danielle Steel

New Yorker Madison Allen, a renowned photographer takes a cross country journey to reunite with the men she loved and let go. After a fall from a ladder and a doubts about her life, she's spurred by old memories to take an adventurous road trip. Did she make the right choices all those years ago? As the miles and days pass by, Maddie's life becomes clearer and in focus. A new future starts to form in her mind. This a deep story about love, motherhood,family, fate, and the path our lives lead us.



8. Three Sisters by Susan Mallery

This story is about three women whose friendship is about to change their lives forever. Andi Gordon, Deanna Philips, and Boston King are three friends facing changes and challenges in their lives that will change them forever. The three women come together by fate and by their strong bond of friendship survive the difficulties life has thrown them. They soon will discover what they are truly made of: laughter, tears, and love. It's a classic story of the bond between friends.



9. The Island by Elin Hilderbrand

A family in upheaval after a cancelled wedding. An island summer escape is filled with heartache, laughter, and plenty of surprises. Birdie, Chess, Tate, and India head for the beautiful, rustic Tuckernuck Island, off the coast of Nantucket. There are no phones, no televisions, no stores. It a place without any distractions. A place where they can escape all their troubles. Before their summer ends, the women will uncover truths, old loves are rekindled, and new loves will make themselves known. It's a story about sisters, daughters, mothers, and ex-lovers, and long kept secrets. It's the perfect summer read!



10. The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate

After her elderly neighbor, Lola Poole passes away, Tandi Jo Reese is put in charge of cleaning out Lola's Victorian house on Hatteras Island. Tandi never expects to find anything of importance, but that all changes when she discovers 81 decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Lola's youth to her final days. Hidden in these carefully decorated boxes is the story of a lifetime. Hopes, wishes, fears, and thoughts. Tandi learns about an extraordinary life filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that changes everything for her.



11. The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

An remarkable historical tale of friendship and courage between three women and the ring of female spies during World War II. It's 1946 in Manhattan. Grace Healey is rebuilding her life after losing her husband during the war. One morning while walking through Grand Central Station, she discovers an abandoned suitcase. Unable to resist her curiosity, she opens the case and discovers a dozen photographs of different women. Without thinking, she quickly tucks them back in the case, takes the suitcase, and leaves the station. Grace learns that the bag belonged to a women named, Elanor Trigg. Elanor was the leader of a ring of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Grace finds herself drawn into the story of these courageous women. An exciting story inspired by true events.



12. When We Were Young by Karen Kingsbury

"What if you could see into the future and know what will happen tomorrow, if you really walk that door today. Pay attention. Life is not a dress rehearsal."

After reading my first Karen Kingsbury, I quickly found I loved her charming stories of faith, love, and family. This a classic story about second chances. The story features the well-loved Baxter family.Noah and Emily seem to have the perfect life. At least that is what their social media lives portray. But the camera can hid those less than fairy tale moments. Like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Noah gets the chance to see how life can be and can change. Through some strange events, Noah learns what truly matters....faith, love, and family.



13. Never Tell by Lisa Gardner

Murder Mystery...a not-so-classic who dun it. A man is dead, shot three times in his home. His computer has been shot twelve times, and when the cops arrive at the home, the only one there is his pregnant wife who is holding the gun. D.D. Warren sets out to discover the truth. She quickly realizes that the truth is a devilishly elusive thing when it comes to this case. As she peels away the layers, the half-truths and the lies are revealed. She begins to wonder how many lies can one family have.



14. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

A story about friendship. We first meet Kate and Tully in 8th grade. Kate, the smart, quiet one and Tully, the reckless, wild child become fast friends. We get to see their friendship grow and change over the span of 30 years. Like most friends, their relationship has its share of ups and down. This books is for anyone who has fond memories of growing up with their neighborhood friends. This is a wonderful story of a generation of women who were blessed and cursed by the choices they've made. Sounds familiar right? Readers will see themselves in the characters. They'll see their lives in the pages they read. Promises, secrets, love, betrayal, but in the end it all comes down to the on person, who truly knows you. If you have a friend from childhood this book is for you. be sure to pass on to your friend too.
 



15. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

I have to admit I had never heard of this tragic American scandal before I read the book. I was shocked to learn that poor children were kidnapped and then sold to wealthy parents. Of course, this was all done for the best interest of the child. It's sad to think about all the families that were destroyed over the years. This story is based on true facts introduces readers to the Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage in Memphis during 1939. The lives of Rill Foss and her her four younger siblings are changed forever when they are kidnapped off their family's Mississippi River shanty boat. We follow the trials and tribulations of this amazing young girl as the years pass by. 

"Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong." (Goodreads)




Did you read any great books this year?
I'd love to hear what your favorites were!
Be sure to sign up for the 2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge! I love loggin my books. It helps me remember what books I've read. I can't tell you how many times, I've picked up a book I thought was new only to discover a few pages in that I had already read it. I can't be the only one that happens to..can I? You can find me on Goodreads!


Book reviews


Till Next Time,
Monique


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Monday, January 20, 2020

Happy Homemaker Monday~ January 20, 2020

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.




Diary of a Stay at Home Mom


Good Morning! I finally found some time to join in on Happy Homemaker Monday again. This year has been crazy. The kids have co-op on Monday, so Monday mornings (heck...the entire day) are a little hectic. Today, I was able to drop them off and come back home. No errands or activities planned today.

So welcome back to another edition of Happy Homemaker Monday. Be sure to stop in and visit with Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and visit for a bit.

So let's get on with the good stuff before I have to pick up the kiddos.


~The weather~

It's COLD!!! It was 19 degrees when I dropped off the kids this morning. The real feel was in the single digits. It's way to cold for this girl. The older I get, the more I hate the cold temperatures.

Monday~ Sunny, 31*
Tuesday~ Sunny, 34*
Wednesday~ Sunny, 38*
Thursday~ Mostly Cloudy, 43*
Friday~ Cloudy, 42*
Saturday~ Showers, 42*
Sunday~ Showers, then Snow, 41*



~How I am feeling this morning~

I've been trying to eat healthy since the new year. I've had some stomach issues and am trying to heal my gut. Yesterday, I we went to a party and I ate some chips and a cupcake... now my stomach is not too happy. I knew I shouldn't eat the treats, but I gave in. I definitely feel better when I don't eat sugar or processed foods. So back to real, whole foods for me. 
and I'm a little cold this morning! I'm so grateful to cozy sweaters and my Ugg boots.


~On my mind~

Oh boy! Lots and lots of things. I'm thinking of school for next year....classes, co-ops, college, etc. Having students in high school is so stressful. I worry about school. I worry about their future. We always want what is best for our kids, but how do we really know what that is. I know I should pray and place in in God;s hands, but I have to tell you that is a whole lot easier said than done. How do we let our babies go? I know that's what our goal is as parents, but that doesn't mean we don't stop caring, loving, or worrying. Life was a whole lot simpler when they were 5.

~On the breakfast plate~

Coffee of course. I grab my to go cup and headed out the door this morning. I sipped my coffee, while Michael drove. He has his learner's permit, so I get to be chauffeured around. When I got back home, I ate two eggs. Sadly, the eggs were store bought. Our girls have been slacking in the egg department lately. I can't wait for the longer days again, so I can have m farm, fresh eggs again. 


~ On the menu this week~

Monday~ Sesame chicken craps
Tuesday~ Pulled pork
Wednesday~ Tuscan chicken with potatoes
Thursday~ Italian chicken with zucchini
Friday~ Turkey meatballs
Saturday~ Herb roasted chicken with roasted vegetables


~From the camera~



~Looking around the house~

Christmas is all down. I honestly thought I hadn't forgotten anything, but I found a air of candlestick on the counter a few days later. The house needs a good vacuum and the wood floors need mopped. We've had rain and snow, so the floors have a few dog foot prints. With five animals in the house, the floors never stay clean.



I started organizing the school/sewing room. I've got the school stuff organized, now I just need to get my sewing area done so I can start quilting and sewing again. I've missed sewing and crafting, so I'm thrilled to be able to have a room again. 
~Chore I'm not looking froward to today or this week~

~On the reading pile~

I have two physical books started...




The Guest Book by Sarah Blake




Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts


I've also ordered two new cookbooks in the last few weeks. Since dear hubby wants to lose weight and I need to feel better. It's no fun feeling sick all the time, we've been following a whole 30 approach to meals. I love the two cookbooks I've ordered so far. Easy recipes that taste great!

                               


~To relax this week, I will~

I honestly don't know. If I can get the sewing room done. I'd love to get back into quilting or finish a few of the kids scrapbooks. I'm only a few years behind. 

~On my prayer list~

Praying for all the people traveling to Washington D.C, for the March for Life this Friday.
Our nation that seems so divided. I pray we can wok together and find a way to peace.


~Devotional/Bible Verse~

“The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for all that He, in His goodness, sends to us day after day.”  
~St. Gianna Molla




Till Next Time,
Monique



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