This Week – Banned Books Week

It’s Banned Books Week. I hope to get at least oft challenged book read this week.

This past week my book club met in person and we were all there! I don’t remember the last time all 10 of us made it to the same meeting. We discussed two books, but I only finished one, The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki. It’s a very interesting historical fiction about a woman who inherited a fortune and had better business sense than men sense. I liked it quite a bit, but would have liked it more if there had been more of a focus on her as a woman outside her four failed marriages. I’d still recommend it to historical fiction lovers, I learned a lot!

I posted about how our homeschooling is going so far this year here. These are the books we read for Peru. The two picture books and Where Is books were great.

Sharuko: Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello by Brown and Chavarri is a fantastic picture book, with the story told in Spanish and English. Tello is still much beloved, even all these years after his death in 1947.

Fourteen Monkeys: A Rain Forest Rhyme by Stewart and Jenkins shows the 14 monkey species that live at Manu National Park, one of the most diverse parks anywhere in the world. 

Where is Machu Picchu? by Megan Stine not only told of the country’s favorite destination, but also of some of the history of the Incas and the Spanish conquistadors.

Gage and I are also listening to The Series of Unfortunate events series and finished 3 and 4 this week. He’s addicted. Fiction isn’t his favorite so to see him excited and wanting to talk about them makes me very happy.

I’ve read 220 books of my 300 yearly goal.

On the Screen

Jason and have been watching the Sandman series on Netflix when we’ve had time, but hat hasn’t been often so I think we’re only halfway through.

We watched the first episode of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power with Gage.

This gave us all of the laughs we needed last night!

Plans for the weekend

Jason is staining our deck and then we’re headed to Lake View Cemetery at Gage’s request. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree 🙂 What’s going on with you this weekend?

This Week – NYC

I tagged along with Jason to NYC this past week and had a great time, even though I came home a sneezy congested mess. I tested negative for Covid on Wednesday night and yesterday, but still being careful around the kid. I don’t feel like I’m getting worse so I’ll just assume I came home with the big city crud that my body isn’t used to, lol.

I was able to visit The Strand, my favorite NYC bookstore, for visit #12 in Zibby Books 22 in 22 bookstore challenge. I love this place. Eighteen miles of books makes for a magical morning.

Charles Dickens writing desk.

I also visited the New York City Public Library Treasures collection, a perfect activity for a rainy afternoon.

We did more of the usual NYC things and a few that were new to us. We’d never taken the tram over to Roosevelt Island so that was fun. From there we took the ferry to downtown and we’d never done that before either. We lived there in 2000 for almost 6 months and we visit every 5 years it seems. The last two times we’ve taken Gage so it was kind of fun to just make it the two of us this time.

I never posted about my August favorites. I read 26 books, but only 5 adult books. Homeschooling has begun so it’s been a J book parade over here!

My 6 favorites were
When You Are Mine by Michael Robotham
Year One by Nora Roberts
Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle
Walking To School by Eve Bunting
The Mutter Museum by Anna Dhody
A Giraffe Goes to Paris by Mary Tavener and John Harris

In the next few weeks we’ll be learning about Peru, Australia, and Egypt, so if you have any book or movie recommendations please send them my way.

We’re headed to a battle of the high school bands tonight since it’s right in town at the football field. What are just up to this weekend?

This Week – School Days

From last week’s travels to Michigan.

Summer is effectively over as Gage started 6th grade this week. As his teacher, I’m giving him an A for the week! There are a few things I still need to put in place, but feeling good about where we are right now.

We’re doing things a little differently this year and part of that is structuring an hour or so of our day with a focus on a country of his choosing. This last week we learned about France. We read books, tried a few French recipes, drew landmarks and colored classic paintings, learned a few French words, played with maps, listened to music, watched a few videos, and, of course, the more time consuming things like writing out timelines and facts. He picks the country of the week and I do the research, lol. Next up, the UK so feel free to leave me any great recommendations for the week!

Books I read this week

50 French Phrases. *****stars. Did a great job of making learning fun with games on each spread.
Love Warrior. ****1/2 stars. Glennon Doyle’s earlier memoir of the breakdown of her marriage. Her vulnerability and honesty always draw me in.
A Giraffe Goes to Paris. ****1/2 stars. A super cute picture books for younger kids based on the true story of Zarafa the giraffe.
The Mutter Museum. ****1/2 stars. If your kid likes a little bit of gross this is the book for you!
Coco and the Little Black Dress. ****stars. A fun picture book for the little fashionista.
The Paris Apartment. ***stars. ho-hum thriller.
Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma. ***stars. The day he played at the US-Mexico border.
France: Enchantment of the World. ***stars. It was textbook-like.
France: Country Insights. **stars. Outdated.

I read 9 books this week. I’ve read 205 books of 300 yearly goal.

Movies & TV

Jason and I have watched the first 3 episodes of The Sandman on Netflix. We also watched The Age Of Adeline last night.

Plans for the weekend

Well, it was going to be school planning, but I just saw on the news that it’s One World Day at the Cleveland Cultural Gardens and I LOVE this event so I may have to go. Do you have plans for the day?

This Week – Paris is July Fail

This whole month has been something of a anxious mess for me and Paris in July had to be left behind for sanity’s sake. I’ll try and give it a go next year.

Gage finished his sixth, and final, week of camp, so it’s been a fun summer. I went to my yearly family weekend with 12 of my aunts and cousins for the first time since covid. We rented a B&B in Jeffersonville, Indiana and it was a great weekend, but also a bit stressful since I had to walk the fine line of having a blast and trying to make good covid choices. The time with the women of my family was much needed.

Tomorrow we start half days of homeschool and I still need to come up with our concrete schedule and activities. On Tuesday, I’ll work at our primary election so my mom will take over substitute teacher days two days in. I’ve been called for jury duty next week and the week after that we’re on vacation to Michigan. Today will be spent trying to figure out our school schedule in all that mess.

On to the books! I finished 17 books. Six adult books and 11 kids books with Gage or in preparation for school.

Gage and I started reading this series together and it’s my favorite book of the month. Why? Because Gage still looks at reading as a chore and this book actually had him looking forward to our reading time. The whole book is a foreshadowing of terrible things happening to three orphan siblings and my kid can’t resist a train wreck. We’re reading book 2 now.

Time is too short for more. Hopefully, calm will prevail this week. Has your July been crazy too?

This Week -A tough one

It’s been a week of unsettling news and I’m still feeling very sad about Friday’s Supreme Court news. I don’t think the government has a say in ANY health decisions made between a woman and her doctor. And as someone who had a miscarriage at 6 weeks I can say that my experience reinforced my view that conception may mean possible life, but it doesn’t mean baby. I can’t believe we’re at a place that if my miscarriage happened now it would be considered suspect.

On a positive note, Jason and I went out to an actual restaurant without the boy for the first time in over two years last night. We ate outside which is really what I’m comfortable with at this point. We made it to the bottom of the strawberry daquiri 🙂

Gage finished up his third week of camp with his fourth starting tomorrow. This week he’ll be going with two friends and we’re going to carpool! As a stay at home mama I’m usually the one to trek the kids around if necessary, but this week those working moms have insisted on covering 3 days. I am grateful.

Books finished

To Marry and to Meddle by Martha Waters, 3.5/5 stars, 336 pages, 2022

Lady Emily has spent her life being perfect so that no touch of scandal could touch her cash strapped family. Lord Julian Belfry needed this pristine reputation to bring respectability to his theatre. It was a marriage of convenience. Will these two, both looking for acceptance from their parents, fall in love along the way? It is a romance after all!

My favorite character was Cecil, the kitten who brought bloodshed to their wedding night 😽. This is book 3 in the Regency Vows series and can be read alone, as I did. But I do wish I’d read the first two so I could have spent more time with Emily’s friends.

Read Dangerously: The Submersive Power of Literature in Troubled Times by Azar Nafisi, 4/5 stars, 256 pages, 2022

Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times by Azar Nafisi is pure delight for lovers of literature and its power of illumination. My book club read her bestseller, Reading Lolita in Tehran, a few years ago and I loved it for all that I learned about Iran. In this book,as an American citizen now, she takes on current America.

What’s missing in our current discourse? Nuance and empathy. These are things that you can find in great literature, especially those books that go against the norm and force you to think about what’s being said. She takes on politics, democracy, freedom, and Trump by analyzing some of the greats like Morrison, Baldwin, Atwood, and Plato.

It’s a book to be loved by anyone who has spent time reading literature. I mostly listened but had my hard copy handy to mark up thoughts I wanted to revisit. She’s got some powerful stuff in here.

There are 5 sections and in section 3 I was so moved that I put one of the books she talked about, Places & Names: On War, Revolution, and Returning by former marine Elliot Ackerman, on hold at the library. He writes fiction now, but this is his memoir.

This was in my latest #gettbr box and it was just what I needed. It’s not an easy read, but one I’m glad someone chose for me.

I talked about Remember Whose Little Girl You Are by Ellen Nichols for a TLC Book Tour here.

On the Screen

We watched two little known movies this week.

I LOVED The Devil All the Time on Netflix.

American Hangman was interesting, but had some problems for me.

We’re in the middle of the mini-series, The Night Manager and are really liking it.

Plans for the weekend

Yesterday was so busy so I promised Gage a quieter day today. We’re going to visit a few houses on the Parade of Homes and he’s got to visit a home to get directions for his next pet sitting/plant watering gig.

What’s up in your corner of the world?

This Week – Nature

Gage spent the week at a nature camp with a friend this week and had a great time. The Nature Center of Shaker Lakes is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Cleveland, even having made a half hearted attempt for us to move there a few years ago. It didn’t happen, but I loved that after dropping Gage off at camp I could walk and enjoy the neighborhood once again.

I visited two independent bookstores for the Zibby Books 22in22 challenge to visit and log 22 bookstore trips this year. Loganberry Books in Cleveland Heights and Appletree Books in Cleveland were visits 6 & 7. It’s never too late to sign up. There are prizes 🙂

What I read

I shared my thoughts about both here.

I’ve finished 161 books so far this year.

On the Screen

We finished season one of the comedy show Ghosts, so much fun. And we finished part one of season four of Stranger Things. So looking forward to the conclusion next month.

We also watched the Netflix movie The Wrath of God, an adaptation of the book The Book of Murder. Jason thought the psychological thriller was boring, but I really liked it.

Puzzle finished (with a bonus Sammi)

Plans for the weekend

We’re going to the toy store today to pick up a game and for Gage to spend some of his money. Tomorrow we’ll serve Jason breakfast in bed (he’s requested waffles) and go over to my parent’s for a bit to mark the day. What do you have planned this Father’s Day weekend? Or the long weekend if you also get Juneteenth off on Monday?

This Week – Summer Break!

We have a 6th grader in the house! Woo hoo! We had a little party in the backyard. I reflected a bit on our two years of homeschooling and I’ll share here…

We fell into homeschooling at the beginning of Covid and I’ve discovered a whole new world, one with ups and downs, but ones we choose for ourselves. I love having relaxing mornings, walks at lunchtime, fieldtrips of our choosing, experiments that start because of an interest, Outschool for having quality led classes that I can choose at a moment’s notice if needed, flexibility to take trips when we want to, and more time together as a family. I even feel like my degree in education comes in handy.

It’s not exactly what I thought it would be, even now two years later, but it’s been that dirt path, the one I always want to take when exploring a new place. I’ve learned as much as Gage, not just the academics, but how to a become more patient, flexible, and present person. Gage will be finishing up 5th grade tomorrow 🥹 and I’ve had the pleasure of being his teacher and his student.

Gage finished his first week of summer camp this week and it was good for both of us. He has five more weeks at different camps, three of those weeks he’ll be going with friends so that’s a plus.

I hosted my book club this week for the first time in two and a half years and it was great to get together and for me to host! We’ve only had people over for outside gatherings since Covid and this was the first time I actually had to prep the house, lol.

What I finished this month so far…

reviewed here.

I’ve read 159 books so far this year.

On the screen

I posted about my April and May movies here.

Last week, during a night of horrible insomnia, I watched these back to back to back. I have no excuse except I wasn’t in my right mind. And I’m more than a little miffed that the third, the supposed end of the trilogy, is only the first part so I didn’t even get the ending, however ridiculous it might be.

Jason and I are currently watching the latest season of Stranger Things. Anyone else binged it?

Plans for the weekend

Gage and Jason went swimming at a friend’s house yesterday while I went to the library to do some work for the Friends. As treasurer I have more to do today since our board meeting is tomorrow. I’m also hoping to do the fun job of clearing the homeschool bookshelf and starting fresh. Something that will look worse way before it looks better, but I will feel so much lighter when it’s done.

Hopefully you have something more exciting planned for the day.

This Week – Sunny Days Ahead

This Memorial Day weekend feels more somber than celebratory after 19 4th graders and 2 teachers were gunned down in their classroom this week. I am choosing to keep some of the sadness there as a reminder that change will not be easy and it will take a lot of people just as heartbroken as I am to make change happen. This photo is from the church just up the street from us.

We have a picnic with friends planned today and the Memorial Day ceremony and parade in our town tomorrow and then 4 days left of school! The days will be easy as he finishes up his online Outschool classes and his last days with his reading tutor with no difficult work with his mama, just some fun little projects.

My computer now shuts down randomly around a dozen times a day, which is why posting and commenting hasn’t happened. Hoping to make this quick and get it posted before I see the evil blue screen.


How To Draw Cool Stuff: A Drawing Guide for Teachers and Students by Catherine V. Holmes. 4/5 stars, 255 pages, pub. 2014

I loved it and will be using it with our homeschooling next year, something that Gage and I can do together for art. There are lesson plans and detailed instructions. The first section was all about defining and practicing the elements of design with lessons on shading, foreshortening and more. I love how each of the cool things to draw is broken down and perfect for easy, no planning, lessons. This is the first of a series and plan on checking out some of the others too.

I was on a TLC Book Tour with this book this week, but my computer frustration stopped me from posting here.

Three fantastic kids books this week! We loved all of these. I included one shot of each book in the order they’re pictured.

Rock by Rock: The Fantastical Garden of Nek Chard was a great picture book biography about the Indian Chard who secretly changed the landscape in his town. We watched some of the videos on YouTube since it is still a thriving tourist attraction in India. He died in 2015.

Colors in Nature is such a beautiful book about color. Definitely one to have on the bookshelf.

Wait, Rest, Pause: Dormancy in Nature. Fantastic photos and short, easy to understand information. Perfect for every classroom.

We’re trying to read our way through the Dewey Decimal system (by 100s), so when we browse the shelves the number one thing we’re looking for is length, the shorter the better. This is not something I normally recommend, but when your challenge is 100 books you do what you have to do 😁

I’ve read 155 books so far this year.


We watched the new Lincoln Lawyer series based on the Michael Connelly books on Netflix and really liked it.

All Good Things, 2010. We watched this knowing it was based on a true story and by the end we were wondering how the movie makers were sued. So, we spent some time reading about it after the fact. Interesting story with great actors.
Senior Year, 2022. I watched this during a night of insomnia. Silly.


Loved this dual puzzle from Galison. They are both so beautiful and worthy of being gifted to wine loving friends. Or a perfect summer activity with a friend over a glass of Rose. They were both individually bagged and around 250 pieces each. 
Another fabulous piece of art from Art & Fable. I’m in love with anything trees and this puzzle with the matte pieces was a joy.  This was from my puzzle subscription service, Completing the Puzzle, and they’ve not let me down yet. 

This Week – Teacher Work Days

After almost two years of homeschooling I discovered something this week. We need teacher planning days too! I reached a breaking point on Tuesday and cancelled all of Gage’s mom school time for the rest of the week. He still had a few Outschool classes and his reading tutor two days, but I disconnected from the school day completely and we’re both so much better off for it. The plan is to homeschool next year and, rest assured, there will be a scheduled teacher planning day once a month so that a another breaking point isn’t reached. There are so many posts I finally feel like writing about homeschooling, but I’ll save them for another day.

I finished 3 non-picture books this week. I’ve read 150 total books this year.

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Bauxbaum, 328 pages, 2016

I loved this book. Jessie has recently lost her mother and her father remarried and moved them across the country to LA. A new stepbrother and ultra rich private high schoolers is a lot to take, especially with no friends and mean girls targeting her.

Enter SN, who begins anonymously emailing her with encouragement and tips on how to navigate her new life. Suddenly it all becomes bearable. But who is he and why can’t they meet?

Such a rich story, full of the drama and insecurities of youth. I’m a little late to the party on this one, but happy to recommend it. Just make sure you make the waffles 🧇 .

The Cricket in Times Square by George Seldon, 134 pages, 1960

Originally published in 1960 it’s the story of a cricket from Connecticut who accidentally finds himself in the Times Square subway station. He’s taken as a pet and makes friends with a mouse and a cat. Oh, and he becomes a famous musician and hundreds of people crowd around while he makes beautiful music.

Gage and I read the first half together and then finished independently (yes, I did! I needed to know what became of Chester Cricket). It was a sweet, silly, old-fashioned story about friendship and I’m glad to have read it. I’d say this is more geared to a 3rd grader. 134 pages (with some illustrations).

It’s an oldie but goodie. Did you read this as a kid?

Edutoons: A Jumpball Melee of Editorial Cartoons About the Politics of Public Education by Ron Hill, 138 pages, 2016

We were lucky enough to get a few new board members for the Friends of the Solon Library, and one of them is the author of this book, Ron Hill . This is a few years old and a compilation of his editorial cartoons about public education in Ohio and more specifically our region. I’ve always enjoyed his cartoons in the paper and this a quick, fun read about the state of education.

This book just happened to come in with donations, but I know he has a new one out that I’ll have to check out soon.

Movies watched

As part of my teacher ‘break’ I took my student to the theater, lol.
I came for Jacob Eldori and and left with tears. (watched on Netflix)


We started the new series, The Lincoln Lawyer, on Netflix. We’re over halfway through.

What’s your favorite burnout solution?

This Week – What day is it?

I took this on our family walk last night. Beautiful, right? Life is crazy busy right now, but taking ten minutes to check in feels like a necessity for my sanity. My to do list is 15 very important, all a bit time consuming, things that need to happen in the next few weeks, all while trying to finish up Gage’s 5th grade year strong. I know I’m not the only one with a crazy May.

The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day, 4.25/5 stars, 408 pages, pub. 2017

The Day I Died is one of those dark thrillers that has as many secrets as revelations. We know the main character is hiding and moves around with her son for that reason. We don’t know exactly why, but do get plenty of hints. She’s a handwriting expert for the FBI so she gets drawn into a missing child case, an entanglement that makes her itch to flee yet again. It was a nicely paced thriller with a complicated main character. Great combo!

The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis, 4/5 stars, 384 pages, 2020

The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis is a beach read with some serious issues. Brynn is recovering from an embarrassing life choice when she runs into Eli, a camp crush from her teens, who offers her a place to live. He forgets to mention that her frenemy, Kinsey, also lives there and she is also seriously ill.

I loved Brynn’s moms. They were most definitely the best characters, full of love and spice. The story of the three roommates coming together was good, even if it ended a little too simplistic for me, but hey, that’s what summer reads are for! And the cover will look good at the pool or beach.

I’ve read 143 books so far this year.

On TV the last few weeks

We finished Ozark. I didn’t dislike the end to this series, but it lacked some of the punch the rest of the seasons had.

We watch Harlan Coben’s Hold Tight on Netflix. It was solid, like most of his book adaptations are.



Plans for the rest of the day

We’re planning a hike in the park after dinner, but right now I need to spend a few hours pulling out homeschool year together and getting it ready to be assessed. This is required by Ohio. We can choose taking a standardized test or having a teacher assessing progress. It’s time consuming, but a good way for me to personally assess what worked and what didn’t.

What about you? Anything fun this weekend?