Monthly Review: March 2022

Hello, friends!

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Happy April! Today, I bring you my Monthly Review for March. I hope you enjoy reading!

Writing

As writing goes, my friend Anna and I finished the project we’ve been working on for months now called Love Times Two – It’s a little over 10K, which was about the word count we were aiming for. As of right now, we’re working on editing. We may indie-publish it later down the road, but we’ll see. This project has been so much fun to write, and I am blessed to have such an amazing co-author. ❤

I’ve finally made some progress in my main work in progress (WIP), The Bensons – I’ve been trying to get the motivation to just sit down and write on this project, and I finally did that. I wrote almost 5K on it the past two weeks. (Which is a low word count for me, but I’m getting somewhere I think!)

I finished my article for The Young Writer Blog and submitted it! Right now, I’m just waiting for it to be published, I’m hoping it will be sometime this month, but we’ll see. That’s been a lot of fun and hard work to write, but I’ve really enjoyed the process.

That wraps up writing for this month!

Reading

I’ve done a lot of reading this month again; I just got some books from the Library too when my younger siblings went to get their library cards. A few of my favorite books from this month:

The Line Tender by Kate Allen

This book was amazing! A friend recommended it to me a few months ago, and I finally got around to reading it.

The wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

I had to read this for school; I was kind of dreading reading it because I haven’t enjoyed a lot of the books I’ve had to read this year, but wow. I was wrong! This book might be one of my new favorites, at least one of my favorite middle-grade mysteries. If you’re looking for another historical fiction, middle-grade mystery, this book is for you. I also really enjoyed the audiobook version of it too.

the teacher’s funeral by Richard Peck

This book was really hilarious in a lot of different ways, but with a good plot too. Like The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, I was not expecting to enjoy this, but once again, I surprised myself and I did! Apparently, I need to slow down in my judging books by their covers, yes?

Annie’s war by Jacqueline Levering Sullivan

I’m not yet finished with this one but I’ve really enjoyed it so far. It has a really interesting plot, and it carries an intriguing message. I’m really excited to finish it and see how it ends.

Doing

Goodness, a lot happened in March! A few highlights:

Our trip to Lutsen! This was a super fun trip, and it was such a blessing to be able to go and ski there again. You can check out my blog post on it if you want to hear about it more.

We also had our last ski trip of the season too! We snuck in one more trip the week after we went to Lutsen, it was so slushy; there were puddles at the end of a lot of the runs, but I guess that’s what it’s like when you ski in the Midwest in March. :p By the end of the day, we were skiing with no gloves – And Malachi and Tyler, our cousin, skied in short-sleeved shirts the whole day. It was so warm!

We made pretzels one afternoon which was quite fun! I’d been wanting to bake them again for a while, and I finally got my chance.

All the younger kids enjoyed helping roll them out and getting them into pretzel shapes.

Ahh, they turned out amazing! Some of them lost shape in the baking soda bath, but other than that, they were great. We used this recipe in case anyone is looking for a good pretzel recipe.

I’ve also helped a lot with tapping trees for making syrup! I’ve already done two posts on this, so I’m not going to go into detail. You can read Part One here, and Part Two here. (Keep an eye out for the third and final post coming up along with signs ups for the syrup give-away.)

It’s been awfully cold the past few days, we’ve gotten a lot of rain, snow, and hail, with few sunny days. One time we had all four of them together! The weather here can be so weird at times. But the cold weather hasn’t discouraged my younger siblings from getting out their bikes. I even have had to face the cold because I was so tired of being in the house all the time. So Mercy and I have taken a lot of walks, and there has been multiple soccer games and capture the flag too.

I wrote a lot of letters this month too, around 10 I think. I also got a second penpal too which is super fun.

I got a new set of watercolors too which have been a lot of fun to try out too. :’D

That’s about it! I ended up having a very busy March, hopefully, April will be slower, but I doubt that with Track starting up for my older siblings. 😜

How did your March go? Have you ever baked soft pretzels? What’s the weather like where you are, do you have Spring or are you still waiting?

Thanks so much for reading, friends! ❤

Photography Challenge: collab with Alicia

Hello, my friends!

For today’s post, I have a collab I am super excited about! A few weeks ago, I asked Alicia @ Alicia Marentette if she wanted to do a collab, and she agreed – We decided on doing a photography challenge where come up with a list of things to photograph, and share the photos! So that’s what I will be sharing today.

To get started, here’s a list of all the things we took photos of.

Time for the real photos now.

1. Spring

To be honest, I had a really hard time finding a photo in this category. Spring is not here yet; it’s been in the 30s all week, and it was hard finding something springy. But then, one of my younger siblings found this little bird’s nest on the ground. I definitely think of seeing birds building their nests as part of spring.

2. fLOWERs

Ooh, I love these flowers! It’s actually an old photo because as I mentioned above, we do not have any flowers blooming yet. It’s so pretty though!


3. Sunset

Mmm, this sunset is gorgeous. Sunsets are some of my favorite things as you have probably already figured out by now – I love the clouds in this one.

4. morning SKY

This is honestly one of my absolute favorite photos ever. ❤ It was such a beautiful (And early) morning to be out on the beach to see the sunrise. And the trees too.

5. Animal

This is from one of trips to Lutsen a few years ago. It was really neat being able to go that close to this seagull so we could get a picture. He was just sitting there on the railing while we were up looking at the view, and I just snapped a photo.

6. Colorful

I wasn’t sure what to use for this one; then my Mom had the idea to take the kids out to our monkey line that we all got our birthdays last summer and get a picture there. I love how it turned out, and it is definitely very colorful.

7. Clouds

I always love looking at clouds – One of my favorite things to do is just to lay down in the grass and stare up at the clouds. (When the grass is dry, and there are no siblings with soccer balls nearby that is.)

8. Books

I just got some new books from the library, and they were perfect to grab a picture of! Have you read any of these books?

9. RAIN

I’m not sure if this one counts. . .I realized too late that I didn’t have any photos of rain, so this was the closest I could come. It’s a mud puddle from when all of the snow melted and it rained, so I think it counts?

10. Roads

Ahh, I love this one! These two roads are glorious in the morning when the sun’s shining, and that morning was no different. I love the shadows especially.

12. Peaceful

Kook at water droplets coming off the wave. And even though I’ve said this multiple times about the photos in this post, I love this – Especially the icy/crystal look to the wave.

13. Artsy

I had a really hard time deciding what to use for this – Finally, after coming up with a bunch of ideas, but none of them seeming like they would fit, I decided to look up some inspiration. I found this photo of the ice on our creek melting, and it seemed to the fit the “artsy” look. What do you think? Is it artsy?

14. Water

I have so many favorite pictures of water that it took me a while to decide. But I picked this one because I love the lighthouse and the bridge.

15. Indoor

I LOVE the shadows and the light here.. One afternoon I noticed the hydrangeas shadows from the outside shining through the window, it was so pretty! This is probably my favorite indoor photo I’ve taken.

And that’s it for the day! Did you enjoy seeing all of these different photos? Which one was your favorite?

Before you go, make sure to check out Alicia’s post here.

Have a beautiful day, friends!

A Family Vacation at Lutsen

Hello, my friends!

Last week, my family and I went on a vacation to Lutsen, Minnesota to ski, enjoy God’s wonderful creation, and have a bit of an escape from everyday life. We had a lovely time and it was wonderful to ski up there again. Today, I’m going to be posting some of the photos I took, as well as a few of the adventures we had. It’s going to be quite a long post, so get ready!

We started the 7-8 hour trip off at 6 o’clock in the morning. We drove for about 15 minutes, and then we came across this sign and had to turn back around, because of water on the road. It had rained the night before and the rivers had escaped it’s banks.

After that little adventure, we were back on the road–backtracking our original route and going in the opposite direction and then finally getting headed on a road in the right direction that wasn’t flooded.

I loaned Zekey my pens, and notebook and he thoroughly enjoyed coloring, while all of the other kids slept.

After about 3 hours of driving, we stopped at a Kwik Trip to get gas, and grab some donuts for breakfast.

It was so foggy out! ^^

While we drove, I amused myself by finishing up a letter to one of my pen pals. A great way to make the time pass!

Once I finished my letter, I just sat and watched the scenery go by. Look at how tall this tree is.

We took our second stop at Olive Garden for lunch. We decided to get carry out to get back on the road faster. Eating in a car with 9 other people is a bit chaotic, but it was delicious.

Once we had finished lunch, we got right back to driving again. I’ve always loved driving through this city because of how much there is to look at it and you can see Lake Superior almost everywhere. We’ve only driven through a few times, so it’s always interesting and you are always seeing something new. We drove over this huge bridge which I thought was really cool!

There were all of these cute little cottages along the edge of the Lake.

Ooh, these factories are always something to see–Look at all cranes and that huge boat!

We always pass through this really neat tunnel called Silver Creek Cliff. (Wait, is that the name of the tunnel or the cliff? Maybe both. :’D)

The view from inside the tunnel

Once we were out of the city, and tunnel, the view isn’t as interesting. It’s wooded and you can see the lake occasionally through the trees. So, I got a turn with the iPad and read some of my friends’ blog posts that I’ve been meaning to catch up on.

After a bit, we could see the lake more! I love this picture! It’s a bit blurry, as a lot of the other ones are because I took these out the car window, but I do like it a lot still. It was so cloudy out!

Then, I worked on writing my blog post for that week!

Sorry for the terrible photo. 😦

At long last, we reached out destination, Lutsen Mountains!

Once we had checked in, we went to our condo and started unpacking. I took this random photo of lights, I LOVED the shadows//reflection it was making on the ceiling. Look at the trees!

After that, we ate supper, and then went ice skating! The rink was really nice, and it was really fun to skate since our town doesn’t have an ice rink anymore, and we haven’t tried skating on our pond yet.

It was so pretty down there! Look at all the lights!

There was also a fire going which was really nice since it was quite cold out.

Once we got on our skates, we all had to remember how to ice skate. Luke and Levi took a few spills before they caught on since they hadn’t skated every before.

I love this one of Jewel! She looks so happy. At first, she was very nervous, but the more we skated, she got a lot more confident.

We skated three times that trip! Everyone was too tired and it was too cold the last two nights we were there, so we didn’t skate those nights. Having the rink there was really fun since the other times we had come, it was a puddle!

We skied the next morning, and here is when the photos are in chronological order anymore. Mom wanted to get a picture like we do at the lake each year (Check out my “About” to see it!) I love how this one turned out.

Ahh, look at the view. It was glorious up there, God created a very beautiful world. ❤

The whole trip is quite exciting, but then there’s the gondola which adds to the excitement. It’s the only one in the Midwest too and it is the only way to get across from one mountain to the other, so we rode it at least once a day. It’s such a beautiful ride, but a bit terrifying at the beginning because it feels like you are about to drop down this cliff, but then you just coast along.

This one of Mal is probably one of my favorite photos out of this whole post. Dad wanted to try to get it with Malachi bending his skies, and I’d as he was successful. He thought it would be really fun to have the lake in the background.

Photo credit to Dad ^^

Aww, these shadows are so pretty! I believe I took them from on the gondola. They are a lot like the ones the light made on the ceiling.

One day in the late afternoon, Dad, Mercy, and I went out to get ice cream, and hopefully get some close-up photos of the lake. Getting the ice cream went fine, we stopped at this cute little general store that sold practically everything, from postcards to groceries, but getting the photos of the lake didn’t.

^^The ice cream

We wanted to go to the park we had been to the year before, but when we drove by, it wasn’t plowed at all and Dad didn’t want to risk getting stuck in there. So for about fifteen minutes, we drove looking for a place, and then once we found none, we decided to turn around. Well, apparently Minnesota doesn’t have many good side roads to turn around in, at least Hightway 61 North didn’t. We drive for a while longer and thought we were going to hit the Canadian Border before we were able to turn around.

Thankfully, we found a road to turn into, but that caused a bit more chaos. There was no dead end sign, but after about 10 minutes of just driving along, we started to wonder if it was a lane which mean it was a dead end. And of course, we didn’t have service so there was no way to look on Dad’s phone. But finally, the road ended, and we were able to get back onto the highway, and head toward the condo.

That was definitely a chaotic (and fun) adventure. Except I am a bit disappointed that we never got any pictures of the lake. Oh well, there was a pretty sunset to make up for it.

I also got post cards to send to my friends and penpals! I had a lot of fun writing them out.

Ooh, I love this sign! Moose Mountain is what one of the four mountains here is called.

The afternoon before we left, we drove up to the top of the mountain, and got a family picture. I also snapped these ones while we are there. The view was beautiful, and the ski was so blue. It almost blends in with the lake.

Ooh, you can see the gondala right there!

I love this one of the whole mountain.

This honestly doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the other photos, but there were these really pretty flowers in the snow by the top. I wonder what they look like in the summer when they are blooming and not brown and dry from winter.

We loaded up and headed home one morning at the end of the week after skiing in the morning. We were supposed to stop partway through the trip, and stay overnight so we could have more time to ski that day, but it was SO cold out that we decided not too, and just drive home. I don’t have a lot of pictures from the way home, but I do have a few.

We stopped at Olive Garden again and this time, went inside for lunch. It was really a nice way to end the trip. It was the first time we had really eaten inside a restaurant since the beginning of COVID and me and mom were wondering if any of the younger kids would remember how to eat in a a restaurant. But they did for the most part and they meal past uneventfully.

It was so sunny out and the lake was so pretty!

We drove by this really cool clock tower//building on the way home.

We had a beautiful sunset as the end of our trip set in. The last few hours of the trip seemed to go on forever, but we survived. We got a new audiobook(The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall. for anyone who’s wondering.) and listened to that. Eventually, all the younger kids fell asleep, and I tried to do some writing, but we had no service, so my document wouldn’t load. Then I just sat. We got home around 8:30-9ish, and went straight to bed.

It was a lovely trip, but I was ready to come home at the end. I am very thankful to God that we are able to go and ski. A nice break from what we usually do!

Have you ever been to Lutsen? Or rode a gondola? Or taken a long road trip? Have you read any of the Penderwick books? What did you think?

Thank you SO much for reading, friends, and have a wonderful day!

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