Monday, June 1, 2020


Well, it's already June. We're about halfway done with 2020 and that seems crazy in both directions. Already? Only halfway? Here's a little of what my family got up to in May...

Celebrating another birthday! C turned four and, of course, wanted a pig birthday. We played outside, played a family game of Sonic the Hedgehog, and watched a movie, along with all of our usual birthday activities.

Homesteading- We still haven't officially gotten our garden in the ground! This probably seems crazy but we're in zone 6 so it's actually only a smidge late. This is why we needed a greenhouse- to extend our growing season. We also now have two apple trees, are still (forever?) working on a fencing situation, and experienced the not-so-lovely conundrum of an almost totally full septic tank. We hit a point where we could no longer do anything with running water (hand washing, toilet flushing, dishes, laundry, showers!) so my mother-in-law graciously put us up in a hotel for a couple days until that was taken care of! We'll eventually need to upgrade that septic tank!

I was having technical difficulties switching my SK Bell Instagram and Facebook pages back and forth with the Cedar Ridge Homestead Instagram and Facebook pages which was really frustrating me. I need to be able to focus on my SK Bell page so I kinda gave up. Now Ryan has taken over for me so Cedar Ridge Homestead is going to be posting regularly again :]

-Homeschooling... Math, language arts, and preschool were all business as usual around here. We wrapped up our ocean science unit (now onto a more serious space unit!) and learned about the Victorian period in our Good and Beautiful history unit. We have officially used up our math slack-off days for the school year but we're nearing the finish line!

Reading... I read lots of books in May, many which were review books. It seems I have broken my ears because I now listen to most audio books at a 1.75 speed... I listened to seven audio books in May! Seven! (Though I admit five of them were super short). Favorites were Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire by Jen Hatmaker (She had me at chapter one, which was all about her Enneagram journey), Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin (the perfect spring cleaning book), Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (so inspiring for me as a writer, but did contain profanity), Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (A literary pandemic novel... Loved it!), and a not-quite TGTB-worthy but still lovely modern middle grade book about race in today's world, A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Renee (definitely going on my list but I haven't decided yet what grade).

My mother-in-law and I finished our buddy read, Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (we both really liked it! My friends wanting TGTB standard books will be sad to hear that it took a turn and isn't perfectly appropriate in the second half, but it was beautifully written + intruiging and we're both planning to read more Kate Morton in the future), The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod (my exact morning routine, much to my surprise! He gives a great, detailed explanation of why this all matters and works, highly recommend), and March, a graphic novel on the civil rights movement I loved and added to my kids' high school list... And a whole bunch of review books!

A Mother's Love*... This sweet little essay collection was intentionally written for all kinds of mothers, including the aunties, teachers and various other roles who mother children but are not "their mother."  Each essay was very short, as we're the accompanying biblical views of mothers, and they were written by many different women. I actually got this book after Mother's Day but it would have made an excellent Mother's Day gift!
Where is Wisdom*... This book was different from what I was expecting but I still thought it was good and my kids loved it. I expected almost a young version of a bible study of Job 28 but instead it was more of a prosaic picture book that made it work better for my girls (2-5) than for my son (7) who still liked it fine. The prose and illustrations were both lovely.
Star of Persia*... I have never read biblical fiction before but this was such a treat! I often feel a little guilty about the way reading the bible makes me feel. I love God, prayer, worship music, exploring + discussing spirituality, examining the history of Christianity... But I'm a dreamer, a prosaic word girl, and the bible is a bunch of amazing stories told without any of the extras I crave. I want to know that Noah stared at the foaming waves surrounding their boat and squeezed his wife's hand, or that Darius lost his lunch after Daniel was dragged away, or that Moses kept his hands around his staff when he spoke so no one would see how hard they were shaking. I want to know what Adam and Eve whispered in the dark, what Mary whispered to Joseph, and now I've gotten to play with Esther's story! The story was, of course, a fictional interpretation but I was well aware of that and had no trouble enjoying it and still separating it from the actual scripture. I would definitely recommend this one if you're interested in biblical fiction, though I'll admit that there was a lot of talk about the harem that made me feel really uncomfortable with the idea of giving this to my kids as teenagers. Still, I know I'll be trying some of Jill Eileen Smith's other books!

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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