Friday, April 21, 2017

That's Some Damn Good Coffee

(We're studying plants this week. Also bonus pokemon)

My friend, Kelly, recently took me to Colonial Williamsburg and while there, I discovered Aromas Coffee.

So, let me start the story, because I can't simply jump to the conclusion. We were staying in a very place, but they didn't offer coffee for their coffee pot. We decided to pick up some coffee while we were out and I didn't want to get just any coffee. I wanted a souvenir coffee.

We found ourselves at Aromas on Prince George Street. The place was crazy packed. Did they sell their coffees? Luckily Kelly is crazy boss when she wants something and she marched up and asked if they sell their coffees by the bag.

The barista was sweet enough to give us small cups so we could taste their drip coffees and we both fell in love with Brandy Alexander. Like this coffee is serious good. I'm not crazy for flavored coffee, but it is so good. According to their website, it flavored with notes of distilled wine, chocolate liqueur and creme. Crazy good. 

(A view from the cafe tables at Aromas)

But tragedy! They didn't have any in stock to sell. Consider me weeping! So we both bought two cups of Brandy Alexander and purchased their Magnus Brew to take with us. A very strong bold coffee but if you like dark coffees, this was delicious as well. (No Brandy Alexander, but still tasty.) 

I wasn't overly sad, because I was sure they would sell the Brandy Alexander online, right? 


I got home and it was not on the site at all. Now I'm really weeping. So what do I do? In an uncharacteristic move, channeling Kelly, I email them and ask if it's possible to get a bag. 

Geri contacted me right away, having checked with their roasters to see if they were still offering this coffee. It was! And gosh darn it, Geri (bless your heart) put the listing up on their site just for me so I could buy it. 

Today was my first brewing day. Today! I had a cup of some damn good coffee!

(Mine all mine!)

Disclaimer: I am not being paid anything for this post. I really, truly love this coffee and I want everyone to buy a bag, because it is so good. 

But I did totally mean to reference Twin Peaks. Good on you for catching it.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Giveaway: Literary Yarns by Cindy Wang

What! A giveaway so soon. Why not!

I was fortunate to work with Cindy (aka Geeky Hooker) as a tester on a few patterns for her new book, Literary Yarns: Crochet Projects Inspired by Classic Books and she sweetly sent me a free contributor copy!

Since I've already preordered a copy, I'm giving you a chance to win a copy and get a little raven buddy I made from her pattern.*

This book, you guys! It's awesome! If you're into collecting amigurumi books, this one needs to be on your shelf. It's a heavy duty hardback book featuring 22 adorable patterns.

I've included a few photos of the book here. Can everyone say, "cute! Cute!! CUTE!!!"

(Hello Cutie!)
(This is the pattern I worked on! It's so cute!)
(Shut up! Isn't this an adorable set?!)
How can you win a copy of this crazy cute book? Enter the handy-dandy Rafflecopter widget here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Now this cutie-poo Raven, is not a pattern in the book. Instead you can receive his pattern FREE when you preorder the book. Quirk Books is offering the pattern for  FREE to preorder from any retailer. All you need to do is email a photo or screenshot of your receipt with the subject line “LITERARY YARNS PRE-ORDER” for a free copy! Click here for full details.

And if you aren't lucky in raffles like myself, you can always preorder a copy of Literary Yarns: Crochet Projects Inspired by Classic Books. It's releasing May 2nd, so what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Exploring Nature

I'll be the first to admit, I'm not an outdoor person. I have no need to be outside. I'm not a big gardener and most of the things I need to do require I stay inside, so I'm not the best about getting my children out of doors. I do have a note to remind myself to get them some out of the house time and usually we're pretty good about getting out on nice days for at least an hour or two.

I try to remind myself that getting the children out is good for them, but in the back of my head, I can hear all those deadlines chanting, "you're wasting time. you're wasting time." But I can't be the only person who struggles with these sorts of things, right? Oh gosh, please tell me I'm not.

Anyway, yesterday we went outside to enjoy the warm weather. The children went exploring through the woods on our property, pretending to be paleontologists and finding stick "bones" to bring back and explore.


Bear made friends with a little ladybug, which refused to leave him, so it rode on his hat the entire time and even hung around while they played in the sandbox. We finally had to pick it off his hat and place it on a plant. I was worried its wings had been damaged until it flew back onto him from the plant. A very friendly ladybug indeed.

Both children came inside, a sandy, dirty mess, but they had fun and for once they didn't fight with each other or dump sand on each other's heads, which is a thing and it's a nightmare at bath time.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Guardians Enamel Pins

Have you gotten into the enamel pin crazy? Because I have.
I honestly tried to avoid it for as long as I could, but when my favorite artist, K. Ryan, started making pins, I had to jump on board.

Today, not much is happening at home, so I thought I'd have fun and share some pins I like.

First, check out the Guardians series by K. Ryan. They are currently only available through this Kickstarter and are gorgeous! Of course I've already pledged!

Look at this beautiful Luna Moth pin by Magan Baehr. I have one already, but you can preorder one for yourself. It's a beautiful statement piece.

I just love this knitting pin by Bombasine. It's definitely on my "to buy" list.

Not all pins I love are serious business, in fact, I love cutie pins too. Look at this sweet little Babushka Chicken pin at Doctor Cat Shop. (PS. follow that link to see a cute kitty bum pin.)

Sorry for calling it in on today's post. I promise you'll hear more about our family soon, when the children aren't being awful to each other every 15 minutes.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Homeschool Preschool: Birds

(Links in this post are affiliate links and I will be making a small amount of money if you make a purchase by clicking through.  I am not being compensated for a favorable review, I just really like talking about books.)

Our Tufted Titmouse couple.

Because people seem to be interested in what we do at Bear and Bun's homeschool, I've decided to make a feature of some of our studies.

We usually have a Reading/Writing/Mathematics session daily, but I like to have also have a portion of the day devoted to "Exploration." This subject is all those fun extracurriculars that get the gears turning in little heads and they're plain fun.

This past week, we studied birds!

I love Bun's drawing of the Chipping Sparrow. Pretty good for a 2 year old!

We started out with an introduction to basic bird watching. I found Stokes Beginner's Guide to Birds: Eastern Region (Stokes Field Guide Series) to be an excellent bird watching book for the children, with gorgeous photos. I loved the organization by bird color, which helped us quickly find birds.

I also used the Merlin Bird ID app, to help with bird calls. I honestly love this app and use it pretty regularly, because Bear is always asking me what sounds a particular bird makes.

Finally combining it with Buggy and Buddy's Free Printable Bird Book for Birding with Kids.  Every day, we would sit at the sliding back door and watch birds as they visited our feeder. Bear and Bun would each draw a picture of a bird we observed, usually using 1+1+1=1's FREE Backyard Birds Montessori Nomenclature Cards and a bird from our Safari Ltd Backyard Birds TOOB, so they would have a still model to draw from.

It's Chippy!

We ended up making friends with a particularly bold Chipping Sparrow who by the end of the week was bringing a mate along to enjoy our offering of seeds. Although we aren't sure, we've decided it's a boy and it's name is Chippy. The children are now happily making up stories about Chippy and his girlfriend as they likely prepare for a new family. The children also set out 5" pieces of cotton packing twine in case Chippy would like something soft to build a nest with. I had to stop them from giving our Border Collie, Rory, a hair cut so Chippy could use his hair as well.


After lunch, we have story time and I've been reading the children stories from The Burgess Bird Book for Children (Dover Children's Classics). The children are big fans of the stories of Peter Rabbit and have been happy to hear of new adventures. The book does have photos of beautiful paintings, however the paintings are reproduced in black and white. I'm considering coloring them in with colored pencils. But for now, we're looking the birds up in the Merlin Bird ID app. (I did say I love this app right?)

A surprising hit for Bear was The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon (Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12). It was a storybook retelling of John James Audubon as a young man and Bear was enchanted by the story. I must admit I purchased Audubon's Birds of America Coloring Book so I could color the birds. I've shown Bear and he was moderately interested in the cover (Blue Jays eating eggs), but he's really not big on coloring books, to my immense disappointment. I love coloring and I look forward to a few spare minutes of coloring, someday...

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Giraffe Hoo-Haa

Earlier this month, my friend Kelly informed me of April the Giraffe. (I had been blissfully unaware of the trials of a very pregnant giraffe until now.) Kelly said the zookeepers predicted April would give birth within 24 hours. Awesome! I'd get to see a baby giraffe born! So Kelly and I stared intently at April's hoo-haa all night and not a baby was to be seen.

But now I was hooked. See, I've devoted time to this giraffe and I'm not going to give up. I WILL SEE A BABY GIRAFFE! But not just any baby giraffe will do! It must be April's baby.

Anyway, today was the day. I had just woken up when Kelly texted me. The baby was coming! So I grab my phone and tune in. Sure enough there are hooves hanging! Oh yeah! Can't be long now, right?

I made breakfast while staring at the screen. That baby's coming. Any minute. Can't look away. Can't miss the baby!

Our family ate breakfast staring at my tablet as it streamed the birth. We sat waaaay longer than usual around our empty plates waiting for this baby and finally, FINALLY! we were rewarded by baby giraffe. Ahh! I love seeing a project to the end.

Congratulations on your baby, April.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Miniature Bonsai
Here's a direct plug for my products. Again, you don't have to worry about too many of these sorts of posts, only when I have something new to share.

These are my miniature bonsai trees. They range from 3.25" - 4.75" tall. Each one is hand crocheted out of wool yarns and a one-of-a-kind piece. They are available now at Moon's Creations.

Thanks for listening to my sales plug! We'll be back to family madness tomorrow.