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February 2013

Crafting Confessions

Remember when I showed you all this?

Well, six weeks later, this is as far as I've gotten ...

Knitting progress 1

Knitting progress 2

As you can see, progress has been slow - but I think I've finally found my groove!

(In my defense, I had a good bit done last month when somebody got his hands and/or paws on it and the whole kit and kaboodle came undone. I felt so defeated I put the project aside for the time being.)

But I'm back at it now, and I finally got the first square knitted (or is it knit?) and today my mum showed me how to tie on a new color. Hooray for a new skill! I'm knitting strips of these colored squares to eventually sew together into one good-size baby blanket. These are the little one's nursery colors - spring green (shown in the link above), buttercream and soft aqua blue. :)


What crafts are you working on these days?

Wednesday Q & A: Due Dates, Desserts & Diet

Pink-blue butterfly

Good morning, my friends! I thought I'd do a little Q&A catch-up today ...

Now and again I am asked when I'm due, and I can tell you my "official" due date is May 27th (Memorial Day) - and that's (wow) three months from today! I tend to deliver close to my dd - Bookworm was born one day late (the day after the summer solstice), Crackerjack came two days early (two days before the Assumption) and Earlybird arrived a whole week early (just in time for his Papa's birthday!). But we'll have to wait and see what this baby has planned ... ;)

Yesterday, Michelle asked:

Can you share the recipe for the potato and leek soup? I think you have mentioned it before but I couldn't find the recipe. I bought leeks at the store today in hopes of making it Friday.

I'm trying this one, Michelle: Martha Stewart Potato Leek Soup. It sounds earthy and delicious - a perfect supper for the first of March. :)

Why leeks you might wonder, dear readers? Well March 1st is The Feast of St. David, who is the patron of Wales, and leeks are a national symbol (alongside the daffodil). Traditionally they are worn on a lapel, but I prefer the idea of serving them in a meal ...

Are we Welsh? No. But we're Catholic, and I enjoy working simple faith traditions into our everyday family life. Over the years they bring us a familiar, fun comfort - and happy memories, as well. :)

Now, Jen asked:

I wondered if you make a dessert almost every night? I think I would weigh 300 pounds if I ate all the yummy desserts you serve! :-) Which brings me to another question, I have noticed that there are always (or usually!) seem to be delicious sweets in your home? How do you keep your girlish figure, Dawn? Do you squeeze exercise into your already-busy schedule? I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

Ok, lots of points to touch on, Jen!

I do serve dessert at every dinner, but I don't always make it myself - and it's not always something big or special. I usually have simple cookies (vanilla wafers, gingersnaps, oatmeal raisin) or plain ice cream/frozen yogurt on hand. My family really enjoys a little something sweet after a meal and I feel as long as we keep it proportionate and nobody has issues tied to sweets, we're ok. I also try to keep our desserts as natural (homemade) and fruit-based (seasonal) as possible.

Honestly, I'm a big believer of "all things in moderation," so we don't forbid sweets, but we do monitor them. Earlybird is the only one of us who has a weight issue, and that is tied tightly into his autism: eating is an addiction for him - he literally wants to eat all the time. But it's not so much sweets he wants, but rather, carbs and dairy. And actually he rarely eats the family dessert - he's usually pretty happy with a couple of low fat "Fig Newmans" or a few graham crackers after a meal. Currently we're working with him on portion control and making healthier choices ... and this would be a great topic for a future post! I'll start a draft now. :)

But I do enjoy desserts, I'll admit! And I also love to bake. In fact, Bill, looking over my shoulder at this draft just said, "You love to bake stuff but you never eat it!" Which is not entirely true - I do allow myself to have a small sweet a day - but I don't eat it at night after supper, because that gives me heartburn. So I usually save my "sweet" for midday. I don't know if that makes a big difference, but I've heard it said it's wise to limit calories late in the day. And if I'm having a cupcake with lunch I'll only eat half a sandwich instead of a whole. I have to keep my meals small because I tend to have slow digestion - if I eat too much in one sitting my stomach can't deal.

Now, do I exercise?

Well, um ... no. 


I know I should - I really should - and I am always meaning to start! But the truth of it is, I just can't find the time ... or energy ... or motivation. Generally speaking, my weight stays about the same even without "formal" exercise ... but I know exercise is about way more than staying trim - it's about heart health and flexibility, etc. I have this conversation with my doctor at each annual physical!

Ideally, I'd be walking/using the eliptical a few times a week and doing some yoga or stretching every day. It's in the back of my mind that once I've recovered from this baby's birth I will get serious about doing something "formally" physical, a few times a week. I'm sure it won't be as easy to shed baby weight in my 40s as it was in my 20's and 30s!

As for watching my figure, well I try to stay aware of how my clothes are fitting - and if things feel snug I know I need to be a little more careful with my food choices for a week or two. All that said, I could definitely stand to eat healthier - I don't eat nearly as much produce as I should and I tend to shy away from whole grains. Our family food goals this year include eating less processed food, and eating a more varied (seasonal/local) diet - more food for a future post!

But Jen, I too would love to hear opinions on this subject ...

How do we moms fit exercise into an already busy schedule? Better yet - how do we find the energy to do said exercise if and when we have the time?


Well friends, I'll wrap things up here since this post is getting long and my time is getting short. Time to rattle my older boys' cages and get on with my day. I do hope your Wednesday's a good one, and if you have questions or comments, please leave me a note below!

See you here again sometime soon ...


Amazing Grace & Girly Stuff :-)

Amazing grace 1

philosophy: life is a classroom. we are both student and teacher. each day is a test. and each day we receive a passing or failing grade in one particular subject: grace. grace is compassion, gratitude, surrender, faith, forgiveness, good manners, reverence, and the list goes on. it's something money can't buy and credentials rarely produce. being the smartest, the prettiest, the most talented, the richest, or even the poorest, can't help. being a humble person can and being a helpful person can guide you through your days with grace and gratitude.

This is what's written on the side of my brand new bottle of shower gel. I used it for the first time yesterday, and I fell in love with the product as well as the message. In fact, it really got me thinking - as I stood there, soaking in that wonderful warm water - and I wanted to share these thoughtful words here.


Now, I don't wear fragrance as a rule. For one thing, strong scents mess with Earlybird's sensitivities (behavioral and physical) and for another, my sinuses can be rather tetchy. So I don't wear perfume, but I do like lightly scented bath and shower products. Well, for my birthday last month, my mother gave me a jar of this because I had been complaining about my itchy belly ... and I absolutely LOVED it. I use just a small dab every morning and night, and not only does it moisturize my skin beautifully, but the scent is just so gentle and soft. 

So last week I ran out of my usual body wash - which, oddly enough, though I've been using it for years, started smelling "off" to me lately - and I decided to splurge a little (ok, a lot) and treat myself to a bottle of this.

As I mentioned above, I used it for the first time yesterday and I am quite happy with its very light scent - a clean, fresh and feminine fragrance. Much like the cream linked above, just a bit lighter ...

But it was that intriguing message on the front of the bottle that really caught my eye ... such a nice bit of inspiration, reminding us how to achieve true personal grace: by showing compassion and forgiveness, feeling gratitude and reverance ... displaying humility and good manners ...

And all this from a bottle of soap!

Doesn't matter where I read it though, it's lovely food for thought. Something nice to reflect on every morning as I get ready for a brand new day. :)


Dear friends, is there a particular scent that you love? Do you like to try different things or do you stick to what works? Please leave a comment below if you have the time to share your thoughts ...

And have yourself an amazing day!

Menu Monday

Happy Monday, my friends! And "cheers" to a brand new week!

Menu tab 1

Since "Masterpice Mondays" will be on hold until 3/31 (when Call the Midwife returns) I thought, for a bit, we might talk "menu planning" on Mondays ...

So to start, here's my dinner menu plan for this week:

Monday, February 25th

meatloaf, roasted winter veg, buttermilk biscuits

pound cake with warmed fruit

Tuesday, February 26th

toasted meatball subs, steak fries, salad

Wednesday, February 27th

roasted chicken thighs, diced sweet poatoes, rice

carrot cupcakes with maple-cream cheese glaze

Thursday, February 28th

leftovers OR

baked ziti, parmesan broccoli, garlic bread

Friday, March 1st (St. David's Day)

leek & potato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches

daffodil cake

Saturday, March 2nd (Dr. Seuss)

spinach and ham quiche (green eggs & ham!), salad

letter cookies

Sunday, March 3rd

grilled chicken fajitas, Mexican potatoes

ice cream with "sangria" fruit sauce


Now I must confess, this all looks pretty good on paper. ;) And I really do enjoy making up menu plans - going by what's in season and any special days on the calendar - but it almost never works out quite the way I designed. Some days I just scrap the plan and we eat homemade pizzas or leftovers or whatever else seems easy enough to get on the table. Then the chicken or beef goes in the freezer for another day ...

But I find it always helps to have a plan, and I try to get my plan worked out the Thursday before the weekend so I can purchase any necessary ingredients during my Saturday shop. Having a plan and the ingredients on hand is half the battle - making time (and finding energy) each day the for actual dinner prep is the next hurdle!

So what are you serving your family this week? Do you try to go by a plan or do you like to wing it? Please leave a comment below if you have thoughts to share and the time to share them!


Have a great Monday, my friends!

Friday Fun: Slowcooking, Cherries & Snoooooow

Happy Friday, my friends! I hope this post finds you well.

Thanks for all the encouragement and suggestions regarding a possible FCS video ... it seems I've got some thinking and planning to do! I also feel inspired to get cracking on my weekly planning sheet - *digging up old copies and seeing what's what* - and thanks for the feedback on feedburner ... so far it seems to be working pretty well. :)

I have just a few things to share with you today ...


First of all, I'll definitely be checking into this series of posts this weekend:

Slow Cooker Freezer Meals

Each part (there are four) features several family-friendly recipes for the crockpot - to be prepared ahead - ingredients only - and then frozen in plastic bags. You end up with all these flat frozen bags of ready-to-go crockpot meals - I LOVE this!! How great it would be to have several of these meals stocked for after the baby arrives? (Plus crockpot cooking is wonderful for the hot summer months.)

Speaking of slowcooking, Bill has me looking at this Healthy Slowcooker, to replace the old Rival we are currently using ... anyone have experience with this model? Or, may I ask, what kind of crockpot do you use and are you happy with it?


And today is the 22nd of February - on this day in the Catholic calendar we celebrate The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, which takes on a bit more significance this year as we're soon to begin the process of electing a new pope. I'm starting a very simple conclave study with the younger boys today to continue throughout Lent - or until a new pope is chosen, hopefully before Easter! We're a bit intrigued by the buzz surrounding our own Boston Archbishop, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, so that will be a neat angle to follow ...

The 22nd is also George Washington's birthday and I love to make a cherry cobbler on this day. (Referencing, of course, Washington's alleged childhood indiscretion with a rather unfortunate cherry tree.) So a cobbler will be made later today using up a can of cherry pie filling I had in the pantry. :)


And yes, the snow is still coming - though with less impact than originally forecast. It will begin sometime tomorrow afternoon and last through late day Sunday ...

This is the updated snow map for our area:

Weather map 5

We'd be in the purple neck of the woods ...

Here's a short video preview from PBS featuring a glimpse of Call the Midwife and Mr. Selfridges.

 Sundays This Spring

I'm thrilled to learn CtM will be moving to the 8 p.m. time slot. That is music to this oft-exhausted, expectant mama's ears!

By the way, Sarah asked about catching up with CtM and as best I can tell, full episodes are no longer available on the pbs website. The first season is out on dvd now - perhaps it's available at a local library? Netflix has it as well.


Will you be watching the Oscars Sunday night? I have yet to see even one of the best picture nominees, but we do have Argo in our Netflix queue. And - Oscars aside - I'm itching to take the kids to see Oz: The Great and Powerful, which, going by the previews looks pretty fantastic. I'm hoping to pull together a field trip for opening day.


Well I think I've chewed on your ears long enough, lol! Just wanted to pop in and catch up and wish you all a very happy weekend. :)

I'll back to "check in" again soon ...


New Subscription Service

Dear friends, 

More nitty-gritty blog business ~ thanks for bearing with me!

I just added a new link over there at the top of the lefthand sidebar titled, "Email Subscriptions." If you click on the green text directly below that title ("Subscribe to By Sun and Candlelight by Email") that should prompt a pop-up menu into which you can type your email address, thereby "subscribing" to my blog posts by email. I have done this with my own email address, and as this is my very first post since doing so, I will wait and see if it works as it should!

I really hope this works - and I hope it helps some of you who have had trouble subscribing to my feed!

Blessings on your day ...

~ Dawn

File Crate System ~ Video?

Good Thursday morning, my friends!

File folders 2

Julie left a comment the other day about my file crate system, and I thought I'd answer it here in my morning post ...

I absolutely love the system you have come up with, and plan on putting one together myself. So, thank you! Do you have any videos of how you put together/use your system? If not, do you plan on creating any? Thanks so much!

Hi Julie, and thank you for your kind comment! I'm glad you found my post helpful, and though I don't have a file crate system video at this time, I have been asked about this before ... and I do think it would be a fun project! But I'm not sure exactly how to, A. make a video, or, B. share it here with you all. Luckily I have some pretty tech-savvy guys in my household, so I'll pick their brains and see what they think ... any suggestions would be welcome from friends and readers!

And it just so happens I am getting close to the point in the spring when I "refresh" my whole file crate - putting aside last year's folders for year-end reports, and setting up a whole new set of folders for the academic year ahead. And though I've done many posts on the FCS before, I think it might be fun (and helpful?) for me to explain how I set up and use the system, "in person."

Now, I'm not sure how quickly I'd pull this project together - and this just might be the coffee talking this morning, lol - but it would hopefully be sometime in the next few months. Preferably before this baby arrives in late May!

So any thoughts are welcome, even if it's just to say you'd be interested in seeing something like this, and I'll set to work figuring this out. Currently I'm in the midst of setting up a "feedburner" account in order to allow readers to subscribe to my blog posts by email ... and I only just figured out how to reply to comments individually - something that's only taken me about seven years to figure out! ;)

Thanks again, Julie, for bringing this idea up, and thanks to everyone who stops by to visit me here in my corner of the web ... I hope you all have a great Thursday.

See you here again very soon!


4 things that made me smile today ...


1. Re-doing my chore cards ...

New chore cards

The old ones had gotten rather dog-eared, and some of the tasks were outdated, so I made up a brand new set. Love those soft rainbow colors!

2. A new package of file folders ...

New file folders

It always catches me by surprise when my file folder crate reaches "full circle." I'm nearing my annual "refresh time" so I picked up some crisp new folders at Staples the other day. This time around I chose some soft brown recycled folders ... still working (ever working) on the planning sheet to "go with."

3. A batch of homemade hot fudge sauce ...

Fudge sauce

It's National Chocolate Mint Day, dontcha know! And I happen to be a BIG fan of chocolate + mint ... have you ever grown chocolate-mint (the herb)? It's lovely! Well, I had grand plans to make these today but extra time and energy were hard to come by. (And not that I don't adore Girl Scout cookies, but EB can't have them.) So instead, I bought some mint-chocolate ice cream and cooked up some of this sauce to make it all kinds of special. (Fyi, I'm craving chocolate something fierce these days - even though it gives me terrible heartburn!)

4. Something funny & sweet my middle man said ...

Since I was feeling super-tired today, I told the boys I was going to lie down for a rest ... So Crackerjack asked, "Are you really tired today, mom?" And as I crashed on the couch I said yes (or maybe I just nodded, I forget) and then CJ said:

"Well, that's a good thing isn't it? It means the baby's working really hard at growing something!"


What made you smile today?

Masterpiece Monday: Downton Abbey Season 3, Episode 7 (Finale)

Da 3

Good Monday Morning my friends ...

I did in fact stay up last night to watch Downton Abbey's third season finale ... and I do have lots to say ... but I will register my thoughts in the comments below, rather than here, because I really don't want to spoil anything for anyone who has not yet caught up. So for right now - moments after waking, and before I've had coffee - I'll just say this:


That was a doozy of a finale and there's MUCH to discuss!

So please feel free to share your thoughts below and I'll join you just as soon as I've had my coffee, woken up a bit and gathered my own thoughts ...



My friends, for some reason I cannot get my LONG comment to post in the comment box (the one with all my thoughts on the show) so I will be posting it here, directly below. I hope anyone who has not seen last night's show knows not to read on!

(And sorry for the odd formatting - Typepad's really messing with me today!)


Ok, so here's what I knew before last night's episode, because, try as I might, it was impossible to avoid ALL spoilers before the new season aired …

I knew Dan Stevens was not renewing his contract …

I figured they would kill off his character because a split did not seem probable - or even believable - and there's no way they would replace him with another actor.

I then stumbled upon some article somewhere that referenced Matthew's "death."

So I knew a bit of what we were in for last night and that made it a smidgen easier to deal with. "Steeling" myself for the tragedy. Of course, they totally amped up Matthew's sweetness and likability in this episode. Made it even harder to think he's gone.

I was glad he got to see his son and died (most likely, instantaneously) knowing such happiness.

I was also relieved they cut the scene (and the season) at that point - I really didn't want to experience the family grief and fallout. Too tragic and so soon after Sybil's death. I'm hoping next season has a bit of a time jump so we don't have to live through all that.

(I could have done without the close up of Matthew's bloody face, however. That was not an image we needed to take with us.)

I am feeling, perhaps unreasonably, quite upset with Dan Stevens for leaving the show, I must admit!! I avoided all the stories about his departure when they broke last fall but I got the feeling people felt he was getting a bit too big for his britches. Which is probably unfair to say, but it still feels like a slap that he'd up and leave because Downton was "monopolizing" his career.

I wonder how/if Mary will change/cope with this development? She was really sliding into the "Mary of Old" in this last episode, with her snobbishness and meanness returning. Chalk it up to pregnancy hormones perhaps? But there was foreshadowing with her admitting she hoped to always be "Matthew's Mary" in the future which makes me think she'll either be her old self once he's gone OR she'll honor his memory by trying to be the woman he loved so deeply.

So glad the baby was born safely, and how nice for them all it was a boy! (Does this mean even if someday that mysterious cousin Patrick returned - and was validated - Downton would still be safe because Mary's son would come before Patrick in the lineage?)

I shudder to think how Isobel will react to Matthew's death. I almost wanted her to entertain Dr. Clarkson's attempted proposal because A. I think they'd be nice for each other and B. she can use the support now that her son is gone.

Other storylines ...

I felt so badly for Branson ... and I was so annoyed with that maid!
I said to Bill, not that I'd begrudge Tom finding someone to share his life someday as I'm sure Sybil would have wished, but that maid was so pushy and annoying! I was glad he didn't return the attention (though I agree with Mrs. Hughes he did nothing to discourage it) and it broke my heart when he broke down and admitted how deeply he misses his wife. I think he's been in limbo not really knowing who he is in life without Sybil. I am looking forward to seeing where his character goes next season. (You don't think he and Mary might eventually gravitate towards each other?)

Glad Mrs. Patmore's feelings were not hurt by that piggish shopkeeper. I remember that actor from a pbs miniseries that aired last year (can't think of the name right now) but he played a similar - and even slimier - character in that and it really turned my stomach watching him "flirt" with all those women. Ugh.

Mrs. Hughes is still just so wonderful. She's really become the voice of reason in this series. And I love how she "mothers" her flock. Love how she handles Carson, especially.

Happy that the tension between Thomas and James has been resolved. I still think their "friendship" will be difficult since Thomas is obviously still crushing on Jimmy. I find it very interesting how they are slowly (perhaps) redeeming Thomas in subtle ways. 

Daisy and Ivy are friends - hurray! I was very happy to see that. :)

Over at the Duneagle - just how delicious was all that Scottish scenery?! I absolutely loved the whole visit. I'm glad they showed us a little more about Rose and why she's acting out as she does. I had a feeling she'd be a new character and now that she's coming to live at Downton I wonder what role she will play.

Shrimpie and Susan - how awkward! She was just terrible and I wondered if this was a new development (hormonal issues?) or if she'd always been so difficult. I was glad that Shrimpie enlightened Robert to the real facts - had he modernized (as Matthew is/was pressing for Downton) his estate and fortune would still be his. What a timely wake up call for Robert.

O'Brien is still wicked of course, but I was glad she outfoxed that Wilkins maid. What an amateur, lol!

Anna - so sweet that she learned the Scottish reel for her Scottish husband. :)

Edith - oh .... Edith. What are we to do with you? I have to say I was surprised and intrigued that she decided to give in to Gregson's affections. THIS will be a huge scandal. They can never marry - not until his infirm wife has passed away. So what - will she live with him in sin? See him socially? Sleep with him? It's going to be messy and immoral, I think. But in keeping with her becoming more of a "modern" woman I guess. Really pulling away from what is expected and tolerated at that time.

Ok, these are my initial thoughts ... scattered though they are! I will be very eager to hear what you all think and will jump in again as I can through the day.

Final quick note - the preview of that new series, Mr. Selfridge, looks quite intriguing!! I had not heard of it before but will definitely be checking it out. Something to carry us over till Call the Midwife returns on Easter Sunday.
(ETA - I just checked into it, and it seems both shows begin airing on 3/31 - a double treat!)

Have a great Monday, my friends! Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts!

A Quick Question for Subscribers ...

(Or those who might be trying to subscribe.)

My friend Chris recently informed me that she's been unable to subscribe to my blog's feed, and I just can't figure out why. She's just getting an html code (in a pop up) when she clicks that Subscribe button (see above). So, I was was wondering if anyone else has had trouble doing this ... I know a lot of folks use blog "feeds" to keep track of new posts.

Now, I must confess I don't really know how the whole process works. I used to use "Bloglines" to keep track of blogs I was reading but no longer do so. On my Macbook I have an application called "Reeder" which keeps track of website feeds I wish to follow. By clicking on a site's "subscribe" button my "Reeder" app opens and an "Add a subscription" menu pops up with the chosen site's feed and a "Subscribe" button. I click the button and the feed is added. (I just did this with The Pioneer Woman's site to test it out.) When Bill set this "Reeder" up for me, it imported all my old feeds, so I can't check my own blog's feed because I already get it! Lol, does that make sense? But I can see the "By Sun and Candlelight" feed is working all right in my Reeder - all my posts are up to date.

(I apologize if I'm using any incorrect terms here - I'm really not well versed in this subject!)

Dear readers, if you've had trouble with my "feed" - at present or in the past - please do let me know. Maybe I can check in with Typepad and see what is what. Or if you have a different way of following my posts, please do share!

And as always, thanks for any help! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday ... I'll see you here tomorrow morning so we can chat about tonight's FINAL Downton!!


Bump Shot!

(26 weeks on Monday!)

Bump shot 26 weeks


Well, I had a lovely time today, joining several dear housemates from college to celebrate our friend Nancy's birthday. We met at The Cheesecake Factory for lunch - and delicious cheesecake, of course! When I got home, I had Bookworm take this picture for me since I was somewhat "gussied up," lol.

I feel like my "bump" is much bigger than it actually is! But I'm feeling well and baby's doing great - he continues to be very active at all hours of the day - and particularly the night. He and I have just about three months to go ...

(I should mention, those fancy-shmancy bracelets are actually "seabands" which I've been wearing for morning sickness. The nausea has thankfully passed, but I still wear them - I'm not taking any chances!)

Hope you're all enjoying your weekend! Are we all quite excited (perhaps nervous?) for Downton tomorrow night?


Spring Nesting: Getting things started ...

Ok, I'm pushing things a bit because really, spring is nowhere in sight, but ... Lent has begun and that naturally turns my thoughts to spring cleaning. And though I may be only six months pregnant, my "nesting" instinct has really kicked in! So Wednesday morning, with the sun streaming through the windows, and the screens letting in just a little breeze, I set to work in the learning room ...

My first stop was my reading corner which had become a complete mess.

Lr 13

(Convenient, how I only got the "after" shot, isn't it?)

The chair was pulled out (not by me) and the floor and walls were vacuumed and wiped down. Everything came off the shelves - the books were sorted and the shelves dusted before they were rearranged.

Lr 2

Lr 4

Lr 3

Lr 8

Even when I don't even have time to crack open a book, just seeing them all lined up so prettily is enough. Sometimes. :)

Next, I cleaned up the chair itself and then had the boys push it back into place.

Lr 10

I next sorted the bins in which I keep my reading materials, journaling stuff and weekly file folders ... then I washed down the desktop (oy, was that a mess), under the chair mat (ugh) and organized my end of things ...

Lr 16

(The notebook on top that says, "Nov 2" is indeed my current active journal - the date indicates when I started it, and I've been slow to fill in this one.)

*Meanwhile, Archie enjoyed being right in the middle of things. Natch.*

Lr 7

I cleaned out the seasons corner, and asked the boys to bring the bulk of our winter books back downstairs. I am hoping to get our spring/Lent books organized this weekend. 

These are the seasonal books (and videos) for this week ...

Lr 6

And finally, I started re-working the classroom "calendar" wall.

Lr 14

I love this large family-sized calendar!

Lr 12

I'm tweaking it to reflect liturgical seasons and days that are important to us. (For this post, I'm showing the March calendar because it doesn't have any personal family information on it yet - e.g. activities and schedules, etc.)

After a while the room shone with sunlight and possibility ...

Lr 9

I still have more to do here - the windows all need to be cleaned. Badly. But that task will most likely not involve me ... and the ceiling will need dusting, and floor will need to be washed  ...

But all in good time. :)


(This is where I'm posting to you from, my little corner of the world.)

My friends, when do your spring cleaning urges kick in? Is spring cleaning a part of your yearly routine? Do you schedule it at a particular time, perhaps in accordance with Lent?

I like to spend time over Lent working through a spring cleaning plan - mostly decluttering and general cleaning - and then I spend the first half of Holy Week really giving things a nice polish and airing out. This year will most likely be a little different because I'll be in the last trimester of my pregnancy, so I'm slowing down a bit and getting decidedly less agile! Bill offered to hire someone in to help but - call me crazy! - I just can't do that. I figure I have three able-bodied and energetic young people here who, with a little direction, can help out in numerous ways. Spring cleaning is something I relish - feel free to call me crazy again! - and with a few adjustments and a little forethought, it should continue to be a relatively simple and deeply satisfying endeavor.


I'll be posting more on spring cleaning over the next couple of months, so stay tuned and please share your own thoughts on seasonal cleaning. You know I love to hear from you!

Have a great weekend, everyone - see you here again very soon!

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Hearts 1

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning


Wishing you all a very happy "hearts" day ... 

xoxo ~ Dawn

Good Morning!

This wonderful article brought a smile to my face and had me nodding my head this morning. Had to share!

17 Things 'The Princess Bride' Taught Me about Autism Parenting

I love all 17 points, but these three especially:

4. You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.

Be patient. Change and growth takes time, and there are no corners to be cut here. Every kid is working to their own schedule and developing at their own rate.

7. Success means using the right moves for the terrain.

There is no definitive intervention for autism. The choices that other people make may not be the right ones for your family, and vice versa. And that's OK. Don't ever let anyone make you feel otherwise.

9. Inconceivable doesn't mean impossible.

Your kids will achieve things beyond what you ever expected or imagined. Believe this, and they'll believe it, too.

It's good to remember that though our situations may be different, and we all face different challenges, we're not alone. This article made me smile and I hope it does the same for you.


Blessings on your day, my friends!


Our King Cake for Carnival ...

... aka Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday or just plain old Mardi Gras!

(It's also Abraham Lincoln's birthday, but that's a whole other post ...)

So here's the "King Cake" that Earlybird and I made today ...

Kings cake 1

A very simple chocolate cake drizzled with a simple sweet glaze and sprinkled with "royal" Mardi Gras colors: purple, gold and green ...

(I love how the colors reflect - perhaps not intentionally - the shades of spring's earliest flower, the crocus!)

Our cake will be served after a pancake supper this evening ... there will be stacks of pancakes, served with maple syrup and fresh whipped cream as well as a platter of roasted kielbasa and potatoes. This is our traditional Shrove Tuesday supper, which is served on the last night before Lent. (More on this holiday can be found here.)

After supper we'll bury our "Alleluia" (a wooden sign we display on Easter Sunday), and hang the grapevine Lenten cross ... and then, in honor of Mr. Lincoln, we'll watch National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets. A fantastic family movie with lots of adventure and great history trivia to boot. We plan to start it early so we can tune into the State of the Union Address at 9 p.m. :)

Have a grand evening, my friends ... see you here again very soon!