Browsing Tag

tea time

Books We Read, Homeschooling, Literature, Poetry

Most Beautiful, Imaginative Art and Poetry Books Ever

Our family has a favorite modern day artist. His mind-bending, beautiful images take us on an exciting trip into the surreal every time we view them.  His artwork stimulates our imagination and leaves us wondering how it is created so perfectly.

Meet: Rob Gonsalves

Rob is a Canadian artist who creates illusions in his art that will intrigue every viewer.  You can find him on facebook and you can find his images in several places online.  Our favorite place to view his artwork is in the four picture books he has illustrated.

Art and Poetry come together in these beautiful books by Rob Gonsalves.

Continue Reading

Homelife, Poetry, Uncategorized

My Favorite Hot Tea Flavors

A hot cup of tea is the perfect way to start my day and relax in the evening.  Want to know what is steeping in my house?

cuppa tea

{Affiliate links below.  Thanks for your support of Not Before 7.}

Harney and Sons: Hot Cinnamon Spice  

This is my favorite flavor.  If you like to eat red hot candies, then you are sure to like this black tea.  Described as “Black Tea with Cinnamons, orange and sweet cloves,” this tea is a fantastic addition to your morning wake up cup!

Harney and Sons: Vanilla Comoro

Presenting another delicious flavor by Harney and Sons.  This black tea is flavored with vanilla just about perfectly.  You can purchase it in tea bags or loose leaf.

Harney and Sons: Holiday Tea

Clearly, I enjoy tea by Harney and Sons because all of their flavors are fantastic and I could go on and on. This is the last one I will mention specifically. This spiced black tea is perfect in the winter during the holiday season or anytime during the year.  While you can find it in the stores during the Christmas season, you can purchase it online anytime!

Tazo: Awake English Breakfast

This is my favorite Starbucks “go-to” tea.  This English Breakfast flavor is very bold and will deliver on its promise to keep you awake!  But you don’t have to pay a Starbucks price if you want to buy it to brew at home.

Celestial Seasonings: Sleepytime Vanilla

I rarely do an herbal tea.  In general, Celestial Seasonings aren’t my thing, but I can break this one out in the evening if I need something decaf and calming.  This tea is mild and has a great vanilla taste.  It is easy to find at your local grocery store or you can buy it online.

Celestial Seasonings: Cinnamon Apple Spice

This is an herbal flavor that I actually get excited about.  The smell is delicious and the cinnamon and spices blend so nicely together.  I love to sip this tea in the evening, on my porch while enjoying the cooler weather in the fall.  This tea tastes like “fall” to me.  Break it out in October and enjoy a cup.


Brave Writer, Homeschooling, Poetry

Themed Poetry Tea Time: Tea with Marilyn Singer

Each week, our family routinely sets aside time to enjoy a Poetry Tea Time together.  The table is set, the drinks and snacks are served, and poetry is shared aloud.

Tea Time with Marilyn SingerOn a typical week we bring favorite books from our own collection or from a recent library trip to the table.

But this week was a bit different.  Inspired by this interview with Marilyn Singer at Poetry Tea Time, we had a themed teatime with Marilyn as our featured author.

To prepare for our special tea, I requested all of the books available by Marilyn Singer at our local libraries.  Thankfully, this creative poet has written a large number of poetry books with diverse themes.

I began our tea time by reading an interview with Marilyn to the kids.  A podcast was also available, which I listened to on my own, but the kids weren’t up for forty minute podcast.  After learning a little bit about our featured poet, we were ready to dig into her books and our snacks!

{This posts contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting NotBefore7}

IMG_4643Right away, my youngest child gravitated toward the book, A Stick is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play.  This book was filled with fun poems for all readers, but it was particularly perfect for my youngest reader.  He was able to comfortably read a few poems out loud for us.

Marilyn’s well-known reverso, or mirror poetry, can be found in several books.  Her fairy tale reverso poems were found in both Follow Follow and Mirror Mirror.   Our family was fortunate enough to also find her most recent release, Echo Echo, at our library.  Echo Echo is a book of reverso poems based on stories from Greek Mythology.  This wasn’t our first time reading these reverso poems, yet it was fun to revisit them again with more background knowledge of the poet!

Inspired by what we just read, we ended our tea time by attemping some reverso poetry of our own.


Daniel, age 6
May’s coming                        I’m waiting
I’m waiting                         May’s coming


David, age 9
Have fun                            Ripstiking
Ripstiking                         Have fun


Patricia, age 11
No!  I will                                I’m safe.
Never!                                      It’s over.
Will I go back?                     Will I go back?
It’s over.                                   Never?
I’m safe.                                    No, I will.

My attempt:
Jekyll and Hyde Come to Tea

Poetry.                                      We stop!
While reading                        Never will
we sip tea.                                we sip tea
Never will                                while reading
we stop.                                     poetry.

We had a great time, but boy was it challenge to write these poems!  The process gave us a whole new appreciation for Marilyn and her creativity.

I did take the time to email Marilyn about our experience with her books and I shared our poems with her.  Her email can be found on her website and she responded within 24 hours!

Some of our favorite titles by Marilyn include the following titles.

Nature/Outdoor Focus

A Stick is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play (illustrated by LeUyen Pham)- games and outdoor fun easy for kids to relate to

IMG_4641-001How to Cross a Pond: Poems About Water (illustrated by Meilo So)- beautiful monochromatic watercolor illustrations

Turtles in July (illustrated by Jerry Pinkney)- Marilyn’s first published poetry book with poems about animals and beautiful illustrations by Jerry Pinkney

Fireflies at Midnight (illustrated by Ken Robbins) – my personal favorite

Poems for Fun and Learning

Creature Carnival (illustrated by Gris Grimly) – silly, fun poems about mythological creatures such as Nessie, Cerberus, and the Kraken.  My nine year old son took this one to bed with him and loved it!

Rutherford B Who was He?: Poems about our Presidents (illustrated by John Hendrix) – rhyming poems about each of the presidents in order of their service

Reverso Poems

Mirror Mirror and Follow Follow (both illustrated by Josee Masse) are based on fairy tales

Echo Echo (illustrated by Josee Masse) is based on Greek Mythology

Author themed tea times are a great way to get to know various poets.  I am sure this won’t be our last one.

Have you read any of Marilyn’s poetry books?  Do you have a favorite?

(NotBefore7 is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to