Days of Note Feed

Themes & Plans for April (Updated!)

Daffodil 1

(Note: This is an updated version of a post I wrote back in 2008 - I added a bit of content, fixed broken links and revised event dates for the current year, 2016. I hope you enjoy - I've had such fun with this series!)

April brings the primrose sweet, scatters daisies at our feet ...

April also brings us (at long, long last), the first true Spring days: mild, soft, fresh and alive with sound and color. Nature is finally shrugging off its Winter shawl, and showering us with a warm and friendly welcome.

It feels so good to open the windows again, and to leave the house with just a sweater - or none at all! There are so many joys to expore with our children this month, and what follows is but a sampling, just my own thoughts for the season. As always, I'd love to hear yours! But for now, please join me as I consider ...

~ Themes and Plans for April (PDF) ~

Nature

  • Crocus are now in full bloom.
  • Skunk cabbage grows in marshy areas.
  • Bears are waking in the (deep) woods.
  • Daffodils are in their full glory.
  • The skies are gray one minute, blue the next ...
  • ... and so rainbows are quite possible.
  • Forsythia is bursting all over.
  • At night we hear the spring peepers.
  • Mourning cloaks are the first butterflies we'll see.
  • Returning ~ thrush, phoebe, mockingbird and catbird.
  • The smell of wild onions is in the air.
  • There could be a light flurry or two.
  • We'll have rainy days; the rivers will swell.
  • Warm days are more frequent now.
  • Juncos leave; chipmunks re-appear.
  • Humpbacks are migrating back north.
  • Time to check for ticks again.
  • Dandelions are plentiful underfoot.
  • The Full Pink Moon rises on April 22nd.
  • There are buds on the cherry tree ...
  • ... which the sparrows love to nibble.
  • Bluebells appear along the wood's edge.
  • The grass is greening.
  • The goldfinches are brightening.

Folklore

  • Gem: diamond
  • Flower: sweet pea
  • Saying: April showers bring May flowers.

Food

  • chives
  • new potatoes
  • asparagus
  • fiddlehead ferns
  • dandelions
  • radishes
  • spring lamb
  • pasta primavera
  • snap peas
  • artichokes
  • spinach
  • sorrel
  • goat cheese tart
  • rhubarb grunt

Faith

  • April Devotion ~ The Blessed Sacrament
  • Liturgical Season: Easter (Paschaltide)
  • Divine Mercy Sunday (3)
  • The Annunciation (4)
  • St. George, Patron of England (23)
  • St. Mark (25)
  • St. Catherine of Siena (29)
  • Walpurgisnacht (30)

Household (& Garden)

  • Take outdoor furniture out of storage.
  • Rent de-thatcher; aerate lawn.
  • Harden tender seedlings.
  • Plant trees and/or shrubs.
  • Clean out potting shed.
  • Establish new garden beds.
  • Prepare containers; purchase new ones.
  • Purchase summer blooming bulbs.
  • Organize garden tools.
  • Prune flowering bushes after blooming.
  • Visit the nursery for spring plants, garden structures.
  • Rake and compost leaf litter/debris.
  • Spread fresh mulch.
  • Spring cleaning (if not done before Easter).
  • Have lawnmower serviced if necessary.
  • Family meeting re ~ summer plans.
  • Turn off fireplace.
  • Turn on outside faucet.
  • File taxes by 4/15.
  • Organize financial files.
  • Clean dryer vents and hoses.
  • Spiff up the bikes.

Life

Book Basket 

Field Trips & Outings

Crafts & Activities

  • Make wilding sticks and nature bracelets.
  • Clean up litter in a local park.
  • Prepare field bags for spring.
  • Begin new nature journals.
  • Hang a hummingbird feeder.
  • Paint a butterfly house.
  • Catch tadpoles at the pond.
  • Conduct a rainbow experiment.
  • Paint rocks for garden markers.
  • Dig in the dirt.
  • Set up a nature table at home.
  • Make tissue paper butterflies.
  • Color a butterfly guide.
  • Befriend a tree; start a notebook.
  • Re-enact St. George & The Dragon.
  • Build a bluebird house.
  • Look for nests before leaves come in.
  • Update our Bird List.
  • Prepare May baskets.

Well, I think I'd better stop there, as my lists are getting rather lengthy! I do hope this post gives you some ideas for the month of April, though. I keep this outline in my home keeping binder, (alongside the other months) and hope that I remember to notice, savor or do some of these things - but I never expect to get to them all!

April is fleeting - so let's make the most of it, my friends! Happy Spring!

"The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
a cloud come over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March."
-  Robert Frost


Themes & Plans for March (updated!)

Crocus

{Happy Monday, my friends - and Happy Leap Year, too! I have started the process of updating my old Themes & Plans series (eight years old and in need of some pruning!) and I thought I would start with March since that month begins TOMORROW! So I'm fixing broken links, adding new ones, and correcting dates to correspond to 2016 ... I hope you find these posts useful or at the very least provide something happy to read. 😊} 

March brings breezes loud and shrill, stirs the dancing daffodil ...

So tell me friends, how will March greet you this year? As a LION or a LAMB? Or perhaps somewhere in between? Pansyegg_2

Here in New England we've enjoyed a relatively mild Winter and this week looks to follow a similar pattern. Tomorrow (March 1st) is forecast to be sunny and 50° - not too lion-ish I'd say!

Though Old March can be fickle - chilly and gray one day, mild and bright the next - he brings with him Spring's first tender tidings - a soft breeze, a few bits of green, and the stirring of hope in our hearts. And so, with faith in Spring's return, I offer you some ...

~ Themes and Plans for March (PDF) ~ 

Nature

  • a quiet gray landscape, awaiting its green garb
  • the old March wind arrives to blow winter away
  • blackbirds returning (that squeaky gate sound)
  • drip, drip, drip - melting underway
  • pussywillows along the riverbank
  • mud, mud and more mud!
  • potholes that will eat your car in one gulp
  • forsythia blushing yellow
  • little pots of shamrocks at the grocer's
  • The Full Sap (or Worm) Moon (23)
  • migrating salamanders on mild, wet nights
  • robins hopping in the yard
  • maple sugaring in the woods
  • the first colorful crocus, tiny jonquils, too ...
  • the sun gains warmth; the days lengthen
  • skunk cabbage in wetland areas
  • fox sparrows passing through
  • lambing time at the farm
  • a surprise snowstorm is not out of the question ... ?

Folklore

  • March gem: aquamarine
  • March flower: jonquil
  • March comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb.

Food

  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • turnip
  • radishes
  • spring onions
  • early rhubarb
  • leeks
  • meatless Lenten Fridays
  • egg custards
  • maple syrup
  • shamrock shakes
  • Girl Scout cookies
  • corned beef and cabbage
  • Irish soda bread
  • Irish coffee
  • oatmeal scones
  • sloppy joes
  • donuts for St. Joseph
  • fig tarts on Palm Sunday
  • Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday
  • cheesecake
  • ricotta pie
  • lamb cake
  • baked ham

Faith

  • Month of St. Joseph
  • Liturgical seasons:
    • Lent
    • Eastertide
  • St. David (1)
  • Laetare Sunday (6)
  • St. Patrick (17)
  • St. Joseph (19) 
  • Holy Week:
    • Palm Sunday (20)
    • Holy Monday (21)
    • Holy Tuesday (22)
    • Spy Wednesday (23)
    • Holy Thursday (24)
    • Good Friday (25)
    • Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil (26)
    • Easter Sunday (27)

Household

  • Rake winter debris from yard.
  • Sweep porches, doorsteps, decks and driveways.
  • Inspect yard and home exterior for winter damage.
  • Clean birdfeeders thoroughly.
  • Plan garden plots.
  • Start seeds indoors.
  • Arrange for mulch delivery.
  • Purchase fresh sandbox sand.
  • Put windowboxes up; fill with hardy pansies!
  • Launder spring bedding.
  • Plan Easter dinner.
  • Order ham.
  • Order basket goodies.
  • Buy Easter lilies at the nursery.
  • Organize Easter clothes.
  • Shampoo rugs.
  • Take down storms; hang screens.
  • Wash windows
  • Polish woodwork with beeswax.
  • Re-stock craft supplies for the spring.
  • Organize rainy day play gear.
  • Start planning summer vacation time.

Life

  • National Craft Month
  • National Hobby Month
  • American Red Cross Month
  • National Nutrition Month
  • Irish-American Heritage Month
  • National Umbrella Month
  • March Madness
  • Peanut Butter Lovers Day (1)
  • Dr. Seuss's birthday (2)
  • Alexander Graham Bell's birthday (3)
  • Antonio Vivaldi's birthday (4)
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning's birthday (6)
  • National Mario Day (10)
  • Daylight Savings Time begins (13)
  • Uranus discovered (13)
  • National Pi Day (14)
  • Albert Einstein's birthday (14)
  • The Ides of March (15)
  • Return of the Swallows to San Juan Capistrano (19)
  • National Agriculture Day (20)
  • First Day of Spring (20)
  • National Waffle Day (25)
  • Make up Your Own Holiday Day (26)

Book Basket

Field Trips & Outings

  • Maple sugaring demonstration
  • Visit new lambs & fresh eggs at farm
  • Children's Passion Play at church
  • Museum of Science: Planetarium

Crafts & Activities

Crocus clipart

Now, I'd like to clarify that my family will not be observing each and every one of these March ideas! (Who ever could?!) But having them in mind - and even better, on paper - is a big help when I'm trying to weave a little seasonal awareness, organization and fun into our family life! I like to sit down once a month (usually the second to last weekend) to do a little planning ahead on the seasonal front. I make it part of my weekend "office hours." :) It might seem silly to work "seasonal planning" into an already busy family schedule, but honestly - if I didn't, it's unlikely I'd remember or even try to fit it in!

Well my friends, I've rambled long enough ... thanks so much for stopping by and I hope your March is just lovely, whether wild or mild!

P.S. I wasn't on Pinterest back when I first wrote this post in 2008 - maybe it didn't even exist yet? - but I now have boards for "storing" seasonal ideas such as the ones linked above. I will go through these links to be sure the are still valid and then add them to my March & April board.)


* April at a Glance *

Tulips

Happy Weekend, my friends! And thank you all for your wonderful comments as I passed my nine year "blogiversary." You are all very kind! :)

It is a busy week ahead as we wrap up Lent ... I am going to try to keep things in perspective as we head towards Good Friday, but it is hard when you're the one hosting the holiday! There's so much to do, bake, clean and prepare!

Today though, I thought I'd share my April planning notes with you all, since the change is upon us this week, too ... the new month arrives on Wednesday!

April is ...

* National Poetry Month

* Autism Awareness Month

* April's gem is the diamond.

* April's flower is the sweet pea.

* April's Devotion: The Holy Spirit

* April's Season: Early Spring 

* From the farms & fields: fiddleheads, rhubarb, morel mushrooms, chives, asparagus, spring greens ...

* First flowers: dandelions, forsythia, crocus, daffodils, coltsfoot ...

* In the marshy woods: red-winged blackbirds, salamanders, pussywillow, skunk cabbage ...

* Time to put out hummingbird feeders - they'll be back soon!

April Folklore: "April showers bring May flowers ... "

* Days of Note *

1. April Fool's Day, Spy Wednesday

2. Holy Thursday, World Autism Awareness Day (Light it up Blue!)

3. Good Friday

4. The Full Pink Moon, Holy Saturday, Passover

5. Easter Sunday

10. National Siblings Day

11. Archie and Oliver's Birthday, National Pet Day

12. Divine Mercy Sunday, Gladys Taber's Birthday

13. Red Sox Home Opener

20. Patriot's Day, Boston Marathon

22. Earth Day

23. St. George's Day, England's National Day, William Shakespeare's Birthday

24. Arbor Day

26. John James Audubon's Birthday 

30. May Eve/Walpurgisnacht

***

Ahhh ... April is a wonderful month! A true turning point in the year, and after this extraordinarily long winter, it will hold so many sweet surprises for us ... I can hardly wait! I'll be as patient as I can though, because each day brings something new - a subtle change in the air or the light or the feel of a day ... it's a slow process for sure, but how delicious the unveiling!

I think that's one of the nicest things about nature - even though each season returns as it did the year before, there is always that element of surprise. New birdsong, warm light, and the greening of things .... That first dandelion pushing its way through the trampled grass is a tiny miracle all on its own - it breathes some life back into our winter-weary hearts! It reminds us that - whatever we have going on, however busy we get - nature has its own beautiful rhythm and we're just along for the ride ... but what a ride it is!

:)

Well, my friends, I hope this April overview was as fun and perhaps helpful for you as it was for me! I must be off now, but I hope you all have a nice weekend, and as always, I thank you for stopping by. Wishing you all a blessed Palm Sunday tomorrow, and a lovely start to Holy Week ...

See you here again very soon!


Rabbit, Rabbit! Happy March!

Lion craft

And how did March greet you today, my friends? As a lion or a lamb?

Well, it's quite bright and calm here, but I won't let that sun fool me - the brutal cold is definitely fierce like a lion! (Not to mention the snow storm in Monday's forecast ... )

Now, a few things for the weekend ...

⛅️  Are you looking for a lion/lamb craft to do with your kids? Here's one I did with Earlybird a few years ago: Two Easy Early March Crafts.

⛅️  And here's a daffodil cake I like to make on March 1st, aka St. David's Day. It's as light and sweet as the promised spring!

⛅️  Also, in case you wanted to celebrate Dr. Suess's birthday tomorrow, here's a link to a ham-spinach quiche (a la green eggs and ham) ... it would be perfect for a Sunday brunch.

⛅️  And finally, I wanted to share my Themes & Plans for March this morning - that post's been around a long time, but I still find it useful, and I hope you might too. Some of the information (first gathered in 2008) is out of date - for instance, Easter is in April this year - but there are a lot of ideas and activities for you to check out. I really should go back through those posts and cull any broken links ... I'll add it to the list!

Well, I hope you all have a nice weekend ... we have our Bookworm home for spring break so I'm on top o' the world right now. :) It is SO good to have the family all back together and under one roof. Much to come this week ... and Lent begins on Wednesday ... so I'd best get our Lenten plans assembled. Hmmm. Shrove Tuesday first though - we'll celebrate with paper plate masks and pancakes for supper!

Keeping you all in my thoughts & prayers ... see you here again very soon!


Weekly Bits of Domestic Bliss

VH nest 1
Of Note

Jury Duty (3rd), National Cookie Day (4th), St. Barbara (4th), St. Nicholas (6th), The Feast of The Immaculate Conception (8th), Second Sunday in Advent (9th), National Pastry Day (9th)

Nature:

Mild for December! In the 50s most of the week, but rain coming this weekend.

At tree farm, notice different kinds of evergreens. (Bring a field guide?)

Sketch branch of our tree for nature journal.

 Housekeeping:

Clean out medicine chest. Replace outdated items.

Clean out china cupboard. Dust and polish woodwork, wash Christmas china and set up display.

Work on Christmas Eve/Day menus.

Decorate tree!

Repair tree skirt.

Prepare Christmas cards for mailing.

Dinner Menus:

M - Chinese takeout :)

T - grilled beef & cheese panini with carmelized onions, steak fries

W - baked ziti, sauteed Italian veggies, garlic breadsticks

T - breaded/baked chicken tenders, homemade cranberry relish, roasted potatoes

F - homemade pizza night, salad

S - *leftovers a la Daddy*

S - sweet potato-sausage-kale soup, parsnip-onion tarte tatin, Mexican cocoa

Desserts: vanilla cookies, gingerbread snack cake, sorbet

Dear Baby ...

(15 Weeks)

We've started to think about names, but if/when we find out your gender later this month we will get more serious about that. ;)

Mama has some tests this week - praying all is well!

Learning Themes:

"Animals of Christmas" continued (birds).

Where is Winter? Crazy climate!

Read: The Lady of Guadalupe. Discuss example of Juan Diego.

Excited About ~ Working On:

My "Advent Peace" basket - I keep it tucked beside my couch corner. In it I have: my seasonal prayer journal, my Magnificat Companion, my comfort reading, and a few special dvd's.

I am loving Thomas's Cranberry Swirl toasting bread! I buy this every year ... and it's so delicious with a little butter. Tastes just like Christmas breakfast to me!

Can't wait to meet my brother's new cat, Martini  - he adopted her over the weekend.

So happy to learn Princess Kate is pregnant! Many blessings to the royal couple and prayers all goes smoothly. (And prayers for Kate's sickness relief!)

Miscellaneous:

Doing some serious thinking about how (dis)organized I am. SO many things have fallen through the cracks lately - been forgotten or messed up - I can't even tell you. It's shameful. And when we have a few busy days in a row - as I had this past weekend (all-day mime performances on Saturday, a family party on Sunday, jury duty on Monday) I feel, and fall, so behind. I don't have any answers yet, just know I have to step up, get focused and get a better handle on things.

Thinking about my jury duty experience yesterday ... I was assigned a low number, so, after a brief "once over" by the judge, I was the third juror placed in the box. However, one of the attorneys (my guess is the defense) sent me back to the pool. It was an ugly case, too - the defendant was accused of domestic assault & battery. I felt lucky that, along with the other excused jurors, I was free to go at lunchtime, but I truly felt lucky on a few different levels. The things some families have to go through ... the lives some people are leading ... makes me all the more grateful for the stability and blessings I have in my life.

Sunday is National Pastry Day and I have such fond memories of my dad buying pastries on Sunday mornings after church. My favorites were the lemon danish (and as I recently revelaled these have been a consistent craving through all my pregnancies). I would love to learn how to make pastries someday, but for this Sunday I'll pick up some yummies at our favorite local bakery. :)

Very sad to learn Everyday Food magazine will be going out of print next year. :( This has been my favorite food magazine for years - in fact, I have every issue!

 ***

Well my friends, I hope your week's going well ... thanks so much for stopping by today. Have yourselves a Happy Tuesday, and be sure to tune in tomorrow ... I have a little giveaway planned! :)

**