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May 2014

A Parenting Book Giveaway!

My friends, I have an extra copy of an absolutely wonderful book from which I've gleaned much parenting inspiration ...

First Teacher

You Are Your Child's First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin Dancy

I've had my original copy for well over 10 years now but last fall, when we found out I was expecting again, I really wanted to re-read that book ... however, I couldn't find it anywhere! So what did I do in a fit of hormone-fueled impatience? Well, I ordered a new copy, of course. And then what did I find just last week after coming across a box of packed books from the move? Yes, that would be my original copy!

So, I'd love to offer this new copy to a reader here at my blog. It's a thick paperback full of lovely ideas and suggestions for raising your young child in a gentle, Waldorf-inspired home ...

Creating a nurturing home environment, establishing soothing routines and a seasonal rhythm, encouraging imaginative play and meaningful creative activities.

The author comes from a Waldorf education background, and while I don't subscribe to the deeper philosophies of Rudolf Steiner (Waldorf's founder), I do appreciate the Waldorf approach to parenting, home life and to some extent, homeschooling. So much of this book resonates with me, though, and my own mothering style ... and when my older boys were little I read it again and again ... and now I'm thumbing back through it with my new little one in mind. It's a good refresher course for this "new again" mama!

So, if you would like a chance to win my extra copy of You Are Your Child's First Teacher, please leave me a comment below. Any comment will do ... just say hi! Or ask me a question, whatever you have time for ... and on Monday I will announce a (randomly chosen) winner!


And in my next post I will be sharing that long promised tour of Little Bear's nursery - we finally moved his crib into his bedroom last night! And he had a pretty good night's sleep ... woke a couple of times but was soothed back to sleep ... but best of all woke up SO happy in his new room! I watched him on the monitor, looking all around his room and making happy little sounds. I was glad to see he was OK with waking up somewhere other than Mama and Daddy's room!


Well my friends, I hope you have a nice Friday, and be sure to leave a comment if you'd like a chance to win this book. I'll look forward to hearing from you, and good luck!

See you all here again very soon ...

Happy Ascension Day!

Lilacs ascension

Beautiful lilacs from our old house. How I miss their heavenly fragrance ...

(Bill doesn't miss the sneezing, though!)

Popping in to say hello and wish you all a nice Thursday ... Little Bear had his one-year check-up this morning and he did quite well. (So did his mother.) We didn't cry until the very last shot! (There were three in all.) Such a brave little man.

And now we're home to enjoy the rest of this beautiful spring day. A bit on the cool side (barely nudging 60) but that sunshine is so lovely. And all the greenery around us!

So what's for supper then?

Well, here it will be meatloaf, peas and new potatoes. And some hot buttered biscuits beside. Vanilla meringue cookies and sorbet for dessert. A nice spring dinner I think.

What's on your menu this evening?


Tomorrow I have a book "giveaway" to announce and hopefully this weekend I'll have the Desk Do-Over (part 2) to share ... For now though, enjoy the rest of your Thursday, my friends ... see you here again very soon!

A Little More Birthday ...

 My friends, would you indulge me just a few more pictures of our birthday boy's big day?


O birthday 1

Well, he first had a wonderful Birthday Breakfast. There were pancakes with mixed berries and vanilla whipped cream. Red, white and blue for Memorial Day!

O birthday 19

A bit later that morning he had A Birthday Bath ...

O birthday 8

All fresh & clean, and decked out in his holiday romper, having a little fun with his Daddy. 

O birthday 15

After a quick cookout (chicken dogs and turkey burgers!), it was time for ... Birthday Cake! We're having Little Bear's "official" party in a few weeks, but for today, we of course HAD to indulge in a special cake just for our sweet little guy! This was an organic lemon cupcake, topped with buttercream frosting ... delicious, but he mostly just mushed it around. 

O birthday books 5 

And then, just before bed, a few Birthday Presents!

O birthday books 3

So lucky to have big brothers to help ...

O birthday books 6

Little Bear received three new books and a soft, stuffed elephant.

(We have a thing for elephants, Little Bear and I.)


Thanks so much everyone, for all the kind birthday wishes! Little Bear is now offically, ONE - a toddler I guess. *sigh* Where on earth did that year go, honestly ... ?

I hope you are all having a nice week ... thanks so much for stopping by and sharing in our joy. I will see you all here again very soon!

Happy 1st Birthday, Little Bear!

O birthday 4

My friends, today our littlest man is ONE year old!

I can hardly believe it ... it seems just like yesterday I was asking you all to "sit down" because I had a "little news" to share ...


And now here he is... learning new things and doing new things ... sprouting tiny teeth, climbing all over, bouncing to music and humming when he eats ...

I can never thank God enough for blessing us with this dear child.

O birthday 5

He is such a joy!


"Keeping it Real"

Real 4

So here's a new mini-series of posts with no set schedule - they'll just pop up now and again as the mood (and mess) strikes ...


I thought I'd take random pictures of funny/messy/real moments in and around my home and share them at the blog. Because, despite my fondness for sunny/happy/pretty pictures of tea cups, songbirds and grinning babies (etc.), my life is much more than that. I am in fact beset by all the same "dailiness" as everyone else ... and some days are more "daily" than others!

My desk do-over pictures inspired me to try this ... because so many of you expressed surprise and thanks for sharing something so "revealing." And to be honest, I was surprised that so many of you were surprised! My friends, I promise you, my life is so, so far from perfect. That's not to say I don't LOVE my life and feel immensely blessed by all I have ... just that, in addition to all the good stuff, there are plenty of stresses and challenges and sadness and fears ...

And messy desk drawers, just like everyone else.

So today, as I corralled the baby in a room in hopes of getting a little folding done, I grabbed my camera and took a snap. Just so I could share with you all this very real part of my life ...

Real laundry 13

Our clean laundry (almost) never makes it out of the basket.

Currently we have four baskets full of clean laundry that needs to be folded and put away. Or just worn as needed. And who am I kidding with four? Because these baskets are clearly overflowing. That's more like six baskets' worth, easy.

I'd like to say this problem arose because we have (sorta) recently moved to a new house and/or because we (kinda) recently had a baby - we're coming up on a year on both fronts - and so we're just "off track." But honestly, it's always been this way, to some degree.


Well ...

1. We have too many clothes, plain and simple. Not that we're clotheshorses, mind you - we just never throw anything out. (How could I with four sons? We keep it all.) There are too many clothes in rotation - clothes that are out of size, out of season. Bureau drawers are packed with things that should really go into storage. But try finding a "spare" weekend somewhere to address this issue? Not likely.

2. I just can't seem to stick with a laundry schedule. On my neatly written-out weekly routine, I have Mondays and Tuesdays listed as laundry days ... but do you know what I almost never do on Mondays and Tuesdays? (If you guessed laundry, you would be right.) Instead, I end up washing clothes a bit at a time, here and there, through the week. And then, on the weekends, when time is a bit freer, I run some marathon cycles. Unfortunately, I never seem to catch up.

3. I pretty much do all the laundry myself and I'm only one person in a family of six. I really need to get these boys doing their fair share! But I'm kind of particular about the way laundry gets done. I like things separated correctly and I don't like the washer over-stuffed. And I like to launder the baby's clothes (and some of my own) myself ...

(There are probably other reasons that I'm not owning up to at the moment, but that's all I can think of right now.)


My friends, do any of you have this issue? Does your family sometimes dress themselves straight out of the laundry bin? I certainly don't lose sleep over this, but I do wish I could get a handle on it. I hate when Bill's late leaving for work because he couldn't find any clean socks.

Well, that's all I have for the moment ... I do hope your week's wrapping up nicely. Thanks so much for stopping by and checking in ... take care of yourselves and your loved ones and I'll see you all here again very soon!

Weekly Bits of Domestic Bliss (Reprise!)

Vintage house clipart

Of Note: 

Victoria Day (19), Town Election Day (20), St. Rita of Cascia (22), Memorial Day Weekend (24-26)


Everything is SO green! Temps near 70 this week with mostly sunny skies, a few showery spots. Very "Spring in New England." Such a pretty time of year - lots flowering, new things to identify. And the hummingbirds have returned! 


Extra laundry this week. Put away winter clothes. Sort through summer clothes.

Bring plants to graves on Sunday.

Mow back lawn, weed front garden. (boys)

Buy geraniums for planters.

Start planting ..

Hang (our new!) American flag.

 Dinner Menus:

M - homemade pizzas

T - honey garlic chicken over wild rice, roasted cauliflower

W - (turkey) tacos in shells

T - kielbasa & vegetable roast, couscous

F - grilled panini, steak fries and soup

S - leftovers

S - cookout!

Baby Days ...

We're nearing Little Bear's 1st birthday!

Time to move the crib into the nursery ...

The little fella is in need of a hair trim ... the hair over his ears is bugging him, though I am loathe to cut any of it!

O curls 1

Learning Themes:

Bees - identifying (from a safe distance!) what kinds of bees visit our yard. 

Memorial Day: what it means, family traditions

Excited About ~ Working On:

 Designing invitations for Little Bear's birthday party. 

Planting our own organic rhubarb!

Rhubarb plant 2

I bought this rhubarb for $10 at our village plant sale this past weekend. I am so excited to finally grow our own rhubarb!

Working on my planner-binder. It's a mess, plain and simple, so I'm rethinking the whole thing. Again.


Catch up on emails.

Look into Wordpress as an alternative to Typepad.

Organize summer education plans.

Locate missing book boxes.


Well, Good Wednesday morning, my friends!

I thought it might be nice to revisit my weekly domestic journal ... it's been quite a while since I updated it! This was meant to go up on Monday but then Typepad had its troubles, so here it is today. I will aim to update this journal every Monday ...

Hope you all have a great day ... thanks so much for stopping by!

A Woodsy Little Tea ...

Good Tuesday morning, my friends!

Well, it seems Typepad is back in working order this morning, so I'm here to say Hello! I hope you all had a nice weekend. I'd like to share a few pictures of a little "moms' tea" I hosted Sunday afternoon for a few dear friends:

  Moms tea 2

I used my beloved pinecone tea set, the one I bought for a song at a discount store many years ago ... I set the tea table up in the living room where we gathered, in front of a sunny window. And for refreshments, we had strawberry-rhubarb coffee cake (purchased from a local farm) and tender butter spritz cookies ...

Moms tea 4

... there were also fresh strawberries to nibble on and, of course, there was tea! (Black English Afternoon Tea to be exact.)

Before my friends arrived, I arranged a samplng of our woodland blossoms into jars and pitchers - azaleas and lily-of-the-valley as well as a clump of the yellow archangel which is, quite frankly, taking over our property. Invasive, but quite pretty.

Moms tea 5

 Fourteen years ago, I started homeschooling alongside these dear ladies ...

Moms tea 1

We try to meet, at least once a year, for a little "tea and conversation" ... to catch up and compare notes. Years ago (though it seems like just yesterday!) we were discussing curriculum and co-op - nowadays we're grappling with college decisions and life "after homeschooling." (Though a couple of us are still in the thick of it!)

Speaking of which, this little guy was thrilled to be part of the "tea," because otherwise it was a "child-free" event ...

Moms tea 8


It was such a fun day and I loved having them all here ... hope to do it again soon!

Moms tea 7


Well, thanks so much for stopping by and letting me share my day with you ... I hope you enjoy your Tuesday, my friends!

I'll be back here again very soon ...

Welcome Home, Little Hummers!

Hummer 2

Hummer male 1

Good Sunday morning, my friends! I hope you're all having a nice weekend ...

So, the boys gave me new hummingbird feeders for Mother's Day - the old one fell one frozen morning last fall and smashed apart - and yesterday Bill placed them on the breakfast nook window. Now, sometimes it can take a while for birds to find new feeders, but we'd had a few "fly-by's" over the past week - which made me very eager to get up those feeders! I guess migrating hummingbirds can home. :)

And now this very morning we've had not one, but two little hummers visit the new feeders! We'd been watching a tiny female while we sipped our coffee and fed Little Bear first breakfast, when suddenly a male showed up - separately - to sip. Oh boy, we knew there'd be trouble! Soon enough they crossed paths and then the fighting began!

So the lower feeder shown above has since been moved to a spot about 20 feet away. Apparently hummingbirds are quiet territorial, but I'm hoping these two can "play nice and share" - at least at a safe distance!


I'm often asked if we make our own hummingbird nectar (we do!) so I thought I'd share the recipe we use which I found in Welcoming Wildlife to the Garden: Creating Backyard and Balcony Habitats for Wildlife. It's very quick and simple to make; I keep it stored in the fridge (for up to 3 weeks):

Boil 4 cups fresh water and then stir in 1 cup sugar. (Do NOT use honey!) Boil the sugar-water for five minutes then let the solution cool before filling the feeders.

Do you have any hummingbirds in your garden? They are such fun to watch. Here's a nice little article about hummingbirds with suggestions of plants to grow to attract them. I bought some bee balm and foxglove at the village plant sale yesterday, so I'm off to a good start!

Well my friends, thanks so much for stopping by ... I hope you enjoy your day and I'll see you here again very soon!

Garden Gab: What's in YOUR Garden?

Garden gab 1

Good Friday Morning, my friends! And welcome to our very first "Garden Gab!"

It's a great time of year to talk about gardens, and today's question is this:

What is blooming in your yard right now?

Or maybe your neighbor's yard or the park down the street. What does this time of year look like in your landscape? One of the things I have loved about blogging is getting to "chat" with people from all over the world. I love hearing how different - or similar! - things can be from one place to another.

Here in New England we are in the heady midst of full-blown Spring. Everything is SO green and all the flowering bushes and trees are popping out in pink or white or purple, etc. But it's all so brief - the daffodils are already drooping and the purples azaleas are pooped!


So, here's my list:

yellow and cream daffodils

lavender-blue forget-me-nots

Gg blooming 12

pink & white bleeding hearts


Gg blooming 14

white & purple wild violets


white azaleas

  Gg blooming 15

 grape hyacinth



And now for some lovely garden views and thoughts from dear friends ...


From Mary:

Gg blooming 1

Gg blooming 2

Gg blooming 3

Gg blooming 4

Gg blooming 5

Gg blooming 6

"As you will be able to tell from the pictures, I enjoy placing a lot of "art" around the garden. I especially love religious statues. The Blessed Mother watches over my kitchen garden of basil, while St. Francis welcomes you to the backyard garden. Then a Celtic Cross is placed in the middle of the backyard garden. And of course it wouldn't be a Texas garden without a Texas stepping stone! ;-)

On either side of the Celtic Cross is "Texas Tarragon" (Mexican Marigold) which is called such because it tastes just like tarragon. In the fall it will produce a beautiful yellow flower. And the stepping stone with my son's hand and the dog's paw is such a treasure. My son made it for me last Mother's Day.

Overall, the backyard garden is a bit thin this year. Just a few tomato plants and the rest are well established plants - Italian oregano, assorted thyme, mints and some chives. But there are two reasons my garden is limited this year...we are in a drought and can only water once a week...and...back in February, which would have been prime planting season here in the Texas Hill Country, I was having a major operation followed by 8 weeks recovery (but all is good now!). So instead of a lot of gardening - we Texans pray for rain. :-)

Oh! And the cracked stepping stone that says "Welcome to Our Garden" holds a special place in our heart. It survived when a small tornado touched down in the area years ago - luckily, we were all spared and the stepping stone wasn't that much worse for the wear!"


From Shirley:

Gg blooming 7

Gg blooming 8

Gg blooming 9

"I have attached a few pictures of our garden. One was taken just after the lawn was cut, it always looks it's best then. ;) I think the thing I love best about my garden are the views across the countryside - no matter what the weather or what is happening in the garden, the views just steal the show! Flourishing right now would have to be my patio pots - they are full of lovely bright colours that make me smile when I see them. My foxgloves and peony's are looking like they are going to be blooming in the next week or so - I'm looking forward to seeing them in all their glory!"


From Tammie:

Gg blooming 10

"Here is a photo of my granddaughter, Mollie, taken on Mother's Day,with the bleeding heart that just bloomed a few days ago. I love how her dress matches the color of the flowers so perfectly!"
From Elizabeth:

Gg blooming 11

"I love making Fairy Gardens. They are fun. Hobby Lobby and Joannes has many Fairy Gardens things in stock. I love looking for little things to make my Fairy Gardens with."


From Kellie:

"I have no pictures yet, as the flowering season here in Wisconsin is at its very beginning - and that includes our trees! But I'd love to share what I've got growing and what my dreams are for this year's garden!

My focus for my main non-food garden is birds and butterflies. Most of what I have planted has been carefully researched to attract a variety of birds and butterflies native to our area, including hummingbirds and the Monarch butterfly. Here are some of my highlights!

Trumpet honeysuckle vine
several varieties of salvia and sage
Cardinal flower
flowering tobacco

Birds in general:
Black-eyed Susan
Compass plant
Prairie blazing star

Red milkweed (Monarchs - I have heard their population is critically low, so I have planted several of these!)
Butterfly weed

And a couple of plants I have just because I love them - Shasta daisies and peonies (from my grandma)." 


Well my friends, I hope you'll jump in and join our first Garden Gab! I'd love to hear what is "in season" where you live. With summer upon us, I hope to host another Gab sometime soon ... future topics include:

From Garden to Kitchen

Gardening with Children

Creating a Sacred/Serenity Garden

And perhaps we'll throw "A Garden Party," too!

But as of right now, I'm shying away from naming a "set day" for Garden Gab since I can't seem to keep to my own - or any! - schedules these days. Lol. For instance, this post is going up later than I'd hoped ... but it's been a rather "slow" week for me ... not getting much done around here ... for several reasons but chief among them, a certain little guy who is cutting new teeth! He's wakeful at night and extra needy of his mama ... and this makes for slow (but sweet) days.

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend ... thank you so much for stopping by and to those lovely ladies who sent me submissions, I thank you truly for your support and encouragement!

See you all again sometime soon!

Library Love ❤

Library books

I'm so enjoying getting to know our new library! Yesterday the boys and I spent some time looking through the stacks, and above you see my picks this week ...

Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms

... just love the Fletcher books!

The Tasha Tudor Cookbook

... which I actually own but haven't been able to find in a while.

Pickled Pantry

... thinking ahead to summer preserves.

 Healthy Snacks for Kids

... time to make some changes around here!

A Basket of Apples

... such a pretty book, nice recipes, too

The Well-Ordered Home

... love the title, and concept!


So ... what's in your library bag this week? :)

Well my friends, I hope you all have a nice Thursday ... it's a bit gray, but quite mild here today. So nice to have our windows open letting in all that fresh (albeit pollenated) air. Achoo! I'm working on my desk do-over today and hope to have something to show you by the weekend. I have a sweet little "helper" who does his best work while slowing down the process, lol.

Also, I'm hoping to have the Garden Gab post up tomorrow. Many thanks to all who've sent photos and thoughts - I appreciate your participation very much! And of course, there's plenty of room for more ... so if you're inclined, please email me your garden pics here:

bysunandcandlelight AT comcast DOT net

I'll see you all again sometime soon!

Little Bear Meets the Birds

Longtime readers might remember all the nature toys and bird puppets I used with my boys when they were younger. Well, they've long outgrown those sweet puppets and stories, but of course we kept them all in storage ... and I'm so glad we did, because we now have our Little Bear with whom to enjoy all that imaginative play once again!

And yesterday, as we were working on his nursery, I handed him a few puppets, giving them a little squeeze so he could hear their sounds ...

This was his reaction:

O bird puppets 3

 O bird puppets 1

O bird puppets 2

Lol, he first looked out the (open) windows as if looking for the "real" birdies making those sounds! And then he just looked puzzled ... yet intrigued ...

And - if I may so - pretty darn cute, too!


Well my friends, I hope you're enjoying your week so far ... this morning I'd like to remind you that soon I'll be starting up my "Garden Gab" series and asking you about what's growing in your yard right now. If you'd like to send me a picture of your yard (or a plant or tree you are fond of) please email it to me at ...

>> bysunandcandlelight AT comcast DOT net <<

I'd be honored to include it in my post!

(And thank you to the ladies who have already sent me their pictures, I am behind on my emails - and everything else it seems - but extremely grateful for your participation!)

Note: I originally said 'Wednesday' for Garden Gab posting, but it might be a bit later in the week ... I'll of course keep you all "posted." ;)

And I'll see you here again very soon!

Mother's Day, 2014

Good Sunday evening, my friends! I hope you all had a nice weekend, and I hope all you mamas out there had a lovely Mother's Day, too!

Here in New England, it was a spectacular day ... perhaps one of the best all year. Sunny and dry, highs in the 70s ... sparkling I'd call it. :) Felt a little bit like summer, but deliciously spring-like as well. A day that seemed like an impossible dream back in March, when it was still snowy and bitterly cold ...

But enough of all that weather talk! I'd like to share some Mother's Day photos with you all if I may ... :)

Mothers day 1

Pretty china, all stacked and ready ... these were my Gram's Irish dishes and I treasure them. I miss her so much but especially so on days like this when she was always such a big part of the planning, the preparations, and of course, the "party" itself.

A memory of Grama I shared with the boys this morning ... she and I drank a lot of tea through the years, and she always used her fine Irish china. Always. And do you know what that made me think? That made me think that I was as special - as important - as any company that might come calling ... and she was a popular lady; she had a wide circle of friends. But I always knew I was at the top of her list (along with my brother and cousins) ...

It might seem a small thing, but sharing her china cups with me was one way she showed me how important it is to live life while we have it to live ... to share life while we have it to share ...

Mothers day 3

 Champagne flutes for the bellinis ... one for Mum, one for me. :) I tied a violet sprig (freshly plucked from the yard) and a silky green ribbon to the stems ... a little special touch.

Mothers day 25

More tiny blossoms - jonquils and forget-me-nots, also from the yard ... I love the "lavender-blue" shade of the latter!

Mothers day 6

The sweets table, filling up fast! 

Mothers day 30

A bit of homemade, a bit of store-bought ... 

Mothers day 4

 My favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon? Visit with family. And share a nice meal with the family. I feel fortunate to have these days for such endeavors.

 Mothers day 5

 I decided to set up tables in the sunroom because it was such a nice day and with the windows open, there was quite a refreshing breeze. There was a long table to seat six (not shown) and this table for the two ladies of the day ... my Mum and myself!

 Mothers day 7 

Strawberry Bellinis ... pretty yummy! Made with fresh berry puree, orange juice and Prosecco. Sort of like a smoothie ... only just for adults. ;)

Mothers day 22 

I love that Earlybird (who was having a bit of a tough morning - as he tends to on big days like this) came over to pose with Little Bear and me. Baby O was having his own little shy moment, having just woken from a nap.

Mothers day 10 

Cruisin' .... on a Sunday afternoon. :)

Mothers day 11 

Me and my fellas ...

Mothers day 12 

We joke that my bright pink polo is ... A. clearly Mama's shirt and, B. Mama wears it all the time. (What can I say? It's comfortable ... and nursing-friendly.) So we decided to build around it for Mother's Day - everyone wore a polo, even the baby! In all kinds of springy hues. :)

Mothers day 14 

Little Bear's favorite mode of transportation these days ... up on his Daddy's shoulders! Note the solar panels in the background. I have Bill working on a "guest post" to describe how and why we went solar. :)

Mothers day 16

My wonderful brother ... the boys look up to him so much.

Mothers day 17

Goofing around with big brothers. Speaking of - Bookworm is home for the summer! He is officically done with his freshman year of college! I can't tell you how happy this makes me, to have all of my "birdies" back in the nest. :)

Mothers day 18

 With my Mum and Dad ... since I was a little girl, I have been deeply loved and completely supported. At this stage of life I know what a blessing this is and has been.

Mothers day 19

Me with my Little Bear ... I am so grateful to be a mum again ... to have another soul to nourish and love ... how I love all my boys! God has been so good to me, and I can never thank Him enough.


Well my friends, thanks so much for letting me share these photos here with you all ... I hope you enjoyed seeing how we spent our day! How was your Mother's Day ... how your weekend? I'd love to hear ...

And I hope your new week is a good one. Mid-May already? Wow, time flies fast ...

Thanks so much for stopping by ... see you here again very soon!

Next week, new plan ...

Azaleas front window

Good Friday morning, everyone! 

A quick note this morning ... next week I'll be switching things up a bit here, and instead of meeting in my kitchen on Monday to chat, we'll gather in the garden on Wednesday to gab!

So, I wanted to announce our first topic of discussion - something light and easy to start - and that would be: What's growing in your yard right now? I'm hoping to hear about the wild and cultured things that inhabit your yard ... and you are welcome to send me a picture of your yard, garden, or a favorite plant or tree to be included in my post!

Please send any pictures with descriptions to:

bysunandcandlelight AT comcast DOT net

I'll be snapping around my yard, too ... it's our first spring here so in a way we are starting from scratch, although there are lots of pretty surprises popping up here and there. For instance, I didn't realize there were SO many purple azaleas!

Well, I hope you'll think about joining me, and I also hope you all have a nice weekend ... as well as a very Happy Mother's Day, too!

See you here again very soon ...

The Desk Do-Over (Part 1)

My friends, do you have a desk of your own? A place where you can sit and work on whatever it is that needs your attention - bills, letters, lists, correcting, computing, etc.? I myself do have a desk and I'm very grateful for it ... though these days it's not quite my own. These days I'm sharing it with Crackerjack ... and between the two of us, we've made it a right mess!

So ... I've decided for Mother's Day I am going to ask Bill and the boys for time to work on my workspace and get things back in ship-shape. Because for goodness sakes, it really is getting out of hand! And besides being a real eyesore, it's also quite inconvenient in regards to household paperwork and management.

Case in point: This morning I searched in vain for a particular piece of paper that I was really quite certain I would find in one of these drawers. This was after stashing yet another page-a-day calendar page in one of said (overstuffed) drawers. I got a bit frustrated with my desk - and myself - and decided it was time for a do-over!

So, I thought it would be fun to share my do-over here at the blog. (How could I not?) And in the spirit of full disclosure, I start today with the "before" pictures ... I'm hoping the "afters" will look a lot better!


Here's the desk in question, as it looks this very minute, in the corner of the living room/library:

Desk do-over 1

There's really just too much stuff here - extraneous stuff at that - and not enough open space for working. The computer is Crackerjack's as is the sweatshirt, the action figures, artwork and headset. Everything else - and the baby - is mine.


Ok, drawer one, upper left ... *deep breath* ...

Desk do-over 2

This is supposed to be a budgeting drawer ... I see no evidence of "budgeting" here, do you?

Drawer two, lower left.

Desk do-over 3

I don't even remember what this one was supposed to be. It's just a deep pile of junk right now.

Now, in the very back corner of the desk we have a random stack of books and comics, cables/wires, and a pair of binoculars because, hey - where else would you look for binoculars when you need them other than behind the computer monitor?

Desk do-over 4

Drawer three, upper right ... yikes ...

Desk do-over 6

This was my correspondence drawer which rapidly became THE place for bags of stickers.

Drawer four, lower right ...

Desk do-over 7

The household files drawer. These aren't so bad, actually - just way under-utilized.

And ... this is the cabinet at the base of our liturgical bookcase. I call it my "molly mcgee" closet ...

Desk do-over 5

Little Bear calls it Heaven.


Ok, so there we have it! I have laid bare all my desk secrets, lol ... and as you can see I have my work cut out for me. I will have a Part II post ("the after") up sometime next week ... assuming I get the Mother's Day gift I'm truly hoping for! :)

Now, some of you saw on my Facebook page a tease of a nursery photo ... but a quick note. I am working on a post about Little Bear's nursery, and I thought I would post it today, but I need a little more time ... we still have yet to get his crib in there! Yes, my friends, Little Bear is finally ready to move out of our room and into his own ... I can't wait to show you his new digs. Fingers crossed it means better sleep for all!

For now though, I'm wishing you all a happy week ahead! Let me know in the comments below how your desk is working out for you these days, if you have one. Do you ever let things get as messy as this? (Please say yes, lol.)

Thanks so much for stopping by, everyone ... see you here again very soon!

Kitchen Chat, Week 9: Kids in the Kitchen!

Bs&c graphic 2

Good Monday morning, my friends! And welcome to another Kitchen Chat!

I can hardly believe we're on our ninth week already ... has Downton been off the air that long, lol? I think we will do one more week of kitchen-focused chat, and then we'll switch our domestic "gears" a bit and step out of the kitchen ... and into the garden!

But for today, I'd like to discuss our kids in our kitchens ...

Sometimes we want them out of our way, and other times we want them to step up and help. I love to bake with my boys, and I appreciate help with the dishes, but the kitchen is mostly a "Mama" domain.

What's it like at your house, with your kids? If you have a moment, please answer some or all of these questions in a comment below ...


Do your kids help out in the kitchen? 

What do you enjoy doing/making with your kids in the kitchen?

How do you keep your "little kids" busy while you work in the kitchen?

Any favorite resources or recipes to share?


I woud say my kids like to help out in the kitchen ... sometimes. And some of them, more than others. They're all pretty good about helping if asked ... and emptying the dishes, bagging and taking out trash and recycling, and putting away groceries are chores all on them nowadays. My Earlybird does love to help cook, especially baked goodies. He loves to help out with that when he can ...

Little Bear, up until recently, would sit in his exersaucer while I got the dishwasher unloaded, or started supper or something along those lines. Now that he's much more active he doesn't have much patience for that contraption anymore! He loves to cruise/crawl around the kitchen - which is really cute, but not exactly conducive to getting any work done!

Right now, I time my kitchen work around naptimes and/or snack time (he'll sit in his high chair and "watch") ... also, I'm very fortunate to have a fantastic babysitter in Crackerjack. When I need help, he's always happy to play with his baby brother for a while.

A few books to recommend:

Family meals

Family Meals: Creating Traditions in the Kitchen

Kids baking

Williams-Sonoma Kids Baking

Usborne children's cookbook

Usborne Farmyard Tales: Children's Cookbook

Grow it cook it

Grow it Cook It

I've also found excellent recipes to make with (and for) kids in several magazines - Kiwi, Family Fun and Parents, especially.


Well my friends, I look forward to hearing about your kids in your kitchens! I could probably say a whole lot more on the subject, but in the interest of keeping this post brief(ish) and getting it posted sooner rather than later, I will wrap things up and perhaps jump into the comments later as I can ...

So for now, and as always - thanks for stopping by! See you here again very soon ...

Field Notes ~ Our 1st Butterfly!

 First butterfly 1

This morning we spotted our first butterfly of the Spring!

First butterfly 2

 It was a tiny little thing ... pale as dust while resting, but a brilliant blue when in flight.

First butterfly 4

 Which leads me to believe it might be an Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterfly, but I'm not wholly sure on that. 

First butterfly 5

I loved how it blended right into the gravel ... such a smart little thing!

First butterfly 3

Little Bear found it very interesting!


I hope you all have a wonderful weekend ... see you here again very soon!