Language of Flowers Feed

Dewdrops or Diamonds ... ?

You decide. :)

Dewdrops 2

A day of rain followed by a sunlit morning = sparkling greenery in the herb patch!

Dewdrops 1

This is Lady's Mantle, one of my favorite "green" plants.

More vibrant green to be found in these ferns which grow widely - and wildly - around here:

Ferns banner 2

Some folks find ferns rather ordinary (and perhaps a bit invasive), but I do love them. In the language of flowers they mean ~ magic, fascination, confidence and shelter. I like that they ring our property like a quiet, feathery guard.

O project 6-14 2

My younger boys "weeding" a pear tree while Bill readies a raised bed in the background. I love this picture, taken at the end of a hazy, summery day ... :)

Such is the magic of nature ... I'm just relishing these lovely June days. It's 70s and sunshine for us here all week, with very little rain. Picture-perfect blue sky, and bright green all around, warm sun and cool air, as we near the Solstice on Sunday ...

How is Summer unfolding where you live?

I hope you all have a nice Wednesday ... see you here again very soon!

Pretty in Pink: Peonies!

It must be June - the peonies are in bloom!

Peonies in bloom 1

I teased a blossom on Facebook yesterday but now there are many more popping!

Peonies in bloom 2

Pale and mid-pink as well as soft white ...

Peonies in bloom 3

They make the loveliest bouquets, too - in a teacup or pitcher. 

Peonies in bloom 4

This arrangement started out on a table in the foyer, but curious little fingers could reach ... and grab and tip ... and so promptly they were moved to the living room mantle!

Peonies in bloom 5

I love how they look here, I must admit! You can't tell from this photo of course, but that is a pure beeswax taper standing just behind the flowers. I purchased a pair (as well as a dozen tea lights) at a local farmer's market last month. They smell amazing.

Pretty peonies have even "popped up" in my reading basket lately!

Peonies in bloom 6

 (I'm a sucker for pretty book jackets - aren't you?)

Now, speaking of little fingers ... well, I have a post to share with you all with lots of pictures from Little Bear's SECOND birthday! Yes our baby is TWO! I can hardly believe it - seems like he just got here! And as you can expect, he's keeping us very busy ... he is quite the active, inquisitive, happy little fellow. :)

So that post will be up soon, I hope. Along with more from the household calendar and my herb garden and a closet re-do project, too! My computer issue - the one where it moves about as fast as molasses - still persists, however there is good news - a new modem has been ordered and is on its way! We are hoping and praying this will be the remedy we need. It has been awfully difficult to work online for months now. It's a first world problem for sure, and I hate to complain, but it is frustrating all the same!

So my friends, I will leave you for now but thank you sincerely for stopping by. I hope all is well with you! How goes your June? Are there peonies blooming in your garden? What favorite flowers do you anticipate every year?

Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday, everyone ... see you here again very soon!

* The peony, in the Language of Flowers, means bashfulness and compassion. *


Happy Things Thursday ...

Carnation day 1

Today is National Carnation Day, my friends! Carnations, in the language of flowers mean: fascination, devoted love and other nice things depending on color. (White as above ~ sweet, innocent, lovely.) I just adore this flower - for one thing it's January's flower (my birth month!) and well, it's just so sweet and unassuming. The rose's less fussy, more economical cousin. :) It smells amazing, too ... I'd love to find a body wash in this scent!

Rainbow papers

A rainbow of lovely seasonal papers, one for each month of the year ... not entirely sure what I'm doing with them yet, but you can be sure I'll show you once I've figured it out!

Oliver in bookcase

My Oliver, such a sweet kitty. He loves to sit on bookshelves and chair backs and in baskets. Well, anywhere really ... out of traffic and near a sunny window if possible.

O project 29 1

Me and my little man. He finally got his mama to join him in the play-tent set up in the sunroom. I fit in there ... just ... and we read books and talked about trucks and took pictures until it was time for lunch. Then we had spaghetti and toast ...

Love days like these.


My friends, a quick question ... I am writing out my new housekeeping routine (new house + new baby = new list!) and I'm wondering ... how did you come up with your own list? Of things that have to be done on a daily basis (or weekly, monthly, yearly etc.). Pinterest is full of cleaning schedules and the like - and you can be sure I've been combing through them - I'm just curious about others' housekeeping methods and thought I'd ask. If you have a moment, please leave me a note below.

And enjoy the rest of your Thursday!

See you 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!

In Today's News:

A Blizzard, A Baby & Bathwater

Though not in that particular order ...

Local Weather

Today's top story: A BLIZZARD hits New England!

Blizzard 2

The above photo was taken last night, about 7 p.m. We had 14 inches at this point ...

But by daylight we had nearly double that!

Blizzard 4

(Today was to have been Earlybird's EEG at Children's Hospital in Boston ... needless to say, it's been rescheduled for a later date. His MRI is next week.)


Calendar & Quiz Pages

January brings the snow ... and calendars! Of all kinds. Here are my two page-a-day calendars, sitting side-by-side upon my desk (my purse calendar lies flat just below) ...

Downton abbey page a day calendar

 I have always used the Mary Engelbreit calendar (going back how many years I can't count) but this year I could hardly resist (at 50% off!) a Downton Abbey version as well. Who wouldn't love a little Downton to start their day?

Today's quote:

"Downton is a great house, Mr. Bates, and the Crawleys are a great family. We live by certain standards and those standards can at first seem daunting."

Do you remember who said that?


Recipe Box

While poring over my January journals, I found a neat bath recipe I'd saved ...

Carnation bath 1

This is from a magazine called Herb Quarterly (issue: Spring 2009). I was hoping to get this made up in time for my birthday (carnation is my birth flower), but as it needs three weeks to steep I'll be a bit off. That's ok, though - I think it will make for a lovely foot bath on a cold winter evening.

(Very easy to mix up: 1 cup fresh carnation petals, 6 clove buds, 4 cups lukewarm white vinegar - combine and let steep for 3 weeks. Strain and pour into a clean container. Pour 1 cup of scented vinegar into a full bath and stir well.)

Here's a link to another sweet scented bath I saw online at Elizabeth's yesterday ... I'll need to pick up some new essential oil(s) and some fresh epsom salt in order to make this one up. Out comes the marketing list ... 

Society Pages

And in other news, Mr. Little Bear tried a sippy cup for the first time yesterday! He was mostly amused by the cup itself - the water inside, not so much ...

O sippy cup 1

O sippy cup 2

O sippy cup 4

O sippy cup 6

(Sorry, the staff photographer got a bit carried away!)

Well, my friends, I'd better "go to press" as my deadline is looming large ... in other words, the little guy is about to wake up from his nap! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, enjoying your family and friends, and perhaps, depending upon your locale, the weather as well.

{Drop me a note below if you have a chance: have you ever had 23.8 inches of snow?}


Blessings on your day ... see you here again very soon! 

November's Favorite Flower

Mum 1

The chrysanthemum is the flower of the month ... and my favorites are "football mums," those ginormous blooms that arrive just in time for Thanksgiving (and homecoming games, for which they are named). These amber hued blossoms look especially nice in my old beanpot ... they made a lovely centerpiece at last Sunday's luncheon.

Just something nice for today ... I wanted to share.


In the language of flowers, the Chrysanthemum means: "You're a wonderful friend, cheerfulness and rest."

A Tea for Shakespeare's Birthday

KG boy and girl with garland

As I mentioned in my earlier post, today is England's National Day (aka St. George's Day), and it is also the birthday of one of the most famous Englishmen, William Shakespeare. As an American of English descent (on both sides!) as well as a self-confessed Anglophile, I feel this is a fantastic day for my family to celebrate! (It's also the feast day of a great Catholic saint - Crackerjack's favorite - so there's that as well. :))

So I pulled out my olde Norton Anthology of English Literature from my college years (which I've since given to Bookworm for "Brit Lit") and perused some of the Bard's sonnets. I even read a couple out loud in case anyone was listening. (I don't think they were, lol.)

 Now, I have a St. George's Dinner planned for tonight, but I thought I might incorporate some kind of dish to represent Shakespeare. So I googled a little but alas, all I could find was a "Shakespeare's Tea." Apparently it was mentioned in The Winter's Tale (act 4). I don't have the specific herbal ingredients on hand, but I thought I might add them to my garden plans this year. They are all readily available, easy-to-grow plants.

Here's the recipe, just in case you're curious:


    • 1 cup dried lavender flowers
    • 2 cups roughly cut dried peppermint
    • 1 cup dried summer savory
    • 1 cup dried sweet marjoram
    • 1 cup dried whole calendula flowers


  1. Here is a dried tea blend to keep you young and warm-blooded all winter!
  2. Collect your herbs mid-summer and rub off the stems when dried.
  3. Crumble the Peppermint leaves to match the size of the other greens.
  4. If your Calendulas are huge, break in half when dry.
  5. Use 1 tsp per cup.
  6. In a pot add 1 tsp per person and 1 for the pot!
  7. Steep 3 minutes.


How neat! 

And if you happen to have a copy of China Bayles' Book of Days (an absolute favorite of mine) for today's page there is a checklist of herbs and flowers to include in a Shakespearean-themed garden. They all show up in one way or another throughout his works.

(If you don't have that boo,k and you're intersested in the checklist, let me know in the comments below - I'd be glad to type it up and send it to you. :)

Now, I may not devote a whole garden to this particular theme, but a few planter-pots would be fun! Maybe a windowbox devoted to the herbal tea mentioned above? Ooh, I can just imagine the possibilities! This would make a great summer homeschooling project, methinks! I can see a whole notebook devoted to Shakespeare ... poems, narrations, research ... nicely embellished with pressed herbs and flowers related to his works. In fact, I just requested this lovely little book from our library, and I've added a project page behind the May tab in my Yearbook binder ...

But I'm getting carried away now (as I'm wont to do), so I'll wrap up what was meant to be a quick mid-morning post!

I hope you're all having a lovely Monday - rain or shine, busy or no. Thanks so much for stopping by ... I will see you again very soon!

Sunday Stuff

First, and most importantly, GO PATS!!

Ok, now that I've gotten that off my chest (*wink*), here are a few pictures from my sunny, snowy Sunday. Just a hodgepodge of things from my day, today. :)

When we got back from church, Earlybird alerted us to something "funny" going on on the deck. At first glance, nothing seemed amiss - the snow was piled high, the morning sun was casting shadows across the wide expanse of white ...

And then we saw a little fluffy gray puff in the middle of the snow ...


... and then a bit more ...




The squirrel had dug himself a very deep burrow - getting down to the seed thrown out a week ago or more. He'd dive down and practically disappear, then pop back up again (covered in snow - he was quite a sight) to nibble on his treasure.


Such a clever fella. ;)

Later on, around lunchtime, I arranged some bright orange carnations in a quickly embellished jam jar:


(I just glued an ecru lace flower to the front of the jar.)

Did you know that the carnation is the official flower for January, and National Carnation Day falls on the 29th of this month? It would be fun to do this carnation experiment (more details here) during the last week of January. Start it on the Monday (maybe give each child a separate flower and cup with his own shade of dye) and by Saturday (the 29th) your flowers should be deeply tinted. If your children keep nature notebooks, they could draw sketches (or take photos) and keep notes on the project.

Carnations are my favorite cut flower ~ I especially love their sweet spicy scent ~ and by the way, carnations mean fascination, love and good luck. Not bad for such a humble little flower!

After the flower arranging (that sounds so Victorian, doesn't it?) I sat down for a delicious cup of decaffeinated vanilla tea (my new absolute favorite) and some not-quite-so-delicious yogurt:


Lol, I've never had Icelandic style yogurt before, but the orange & ginger flavor sounded so intriguing I forewent my usual Stonyfield and bought a few cups of this. It was not as sweet as I like, and the texture was much thicker than I was used to ... still, with some honey stirred in and a bit of whipping, it made a nice snack in the end.

By the way, I purchase Harney & Sons teas at the Barnes & Noble cafe, though you can find them online too. I really want to try this Valentine's blend next month - made with chocolate and rosebuds!

And just look how our amaryllis is doing:


We started the bulb last month, and to be honest I had no idea if anything would come of it. I was pretty sure I planted it all wrong ~ in an ill-fitting container, with barely enough soil. But the plant thrived in our front (south-facing) window, and just today we were rewarded with this bold bloom:


And lastly, while Bill was cleaning out the linen closet today he found this:


I haven't seen this figurine in years ~ it used to be on the bathroom vanity, but as our children moved into their (active and curious) toddler years, it proved to be too much of a temptation. It must have somehow been placed in the closet and promptly forgotten ... but isn't it lovely? It was a gift from my mum at my first baby shower (for Bookworm), oh so many years ago. I think it's safe to move back out now. :)

(As for what possessed my husband to take on such a project today I have no idea, but when voluntary cleaning's involved, I ask no questions).

Before I go, here's a glimpse of just how icy it is here:


This is the birdfeeder that hangs outside one of the family room windows. It faces west so it doesn't get a lot of sunlight through the day. Needless to say, the ice has been well preserved!

So there are a few snapshots from my day. It's been a cold and bright Sunday ... a good day for puttering inside. My "puttering" included arranging the flowers and decorating the "vase," clipping Sunday coupons, and baking an artichoke dip for Bill to take to my folks' (where he and Bookworm will be watching the big game). I also put the final touches on my brand new "home+faith+seasons" binder and added a few new hanging folders to the file crate. (I've already started posts on both those projects, so look for details sometime this week.)

Well, I hope you all are having a lovely long weekend. If you're not a New York fan, please say a prayer for my beloved Pats ~ that they play their best and have a great game!

And if you are a New York fan, well ...

"May the best team win!" ;)

See you all again very soon ...

Winter Learning with Earlybird

Happy Friday, Folks!

So first of all, my support group meeting last night went great! It was a small group but we talked A LOT about blogging ~ my blog, other blogs, how and why one blogs, etc. I will write up the minutes from our conversation and get them posted over the weekend. Many thanks to the kind ladies who ventured out on a cold January night to listen to me blab on (and on) about blogging and all kinds of other random off-topic stuff. :)

I must say, all that talk last night really got me excited to blog again! I hope to overhaul the design of my blog as well - for one thing, these sidebars are ridiculously outdated ... and for another, I'm getting tired of these colors ... have to see what I can do about all that!

But for today I thought I'd share a few things I'm doing with Earlybird this week. The first pictures show our "Carnation Experiment." If you're a homeschooler, I'm sure this activity is familiar to you ... we set it up with my mum the other day (EB calls these Nana's flowers):


I bought a bundle of white carnations at the supermarket - goodness do they smell nice - and we placed a stem in a small clear glass filled with water and food coloring. I kept one flower aside in plain water for comparison.

And here is how the flowers looked the next day!


Aren't they pretty? Magic flowers! (This would be a neat Valentines, Easter or Mother's Day activity with the kids - you could even look up what different colored flowers mean.)

 The boys all enjoyed the experiment (and Bookworm had some interesting insight on color absorption from a lab he did at BU last fall) but this was really all for Earlybird. And let me tell you, he was thrilled. We have started a small science notebook for his observations - mostly photographs, simple words and a few drawings, too.

Here's a peek at our Winter Word Bulletin Board:


(Btw, I did not make those snowflakes! They came pre-cut in a package.)

And at the nature table we have a page from a favorite book on display:


This is the loveliest book - Our Apple Tree by Gorel Katrina Naslund. It's a sweet tale of the seasons in the life of an apple tree, as told by the two little elves who call it home. Lots of gorgeous, finely detailed illustrations inside. Next month we'll visit our local orchard to find an apple tree to "adopt" this year. It will be fun to see how it changes through the seasons.

Well, that's all for me today - off to get the kids started on breakfast and lessons. I hope you all have a fabulous Friday and I'll see you all again very soon. :)

 Thanks for stopping by!

A pansy for your thoughts ...

Well, I made good on at least one of my promises this weekend ... I saved all the wild pansies in the front lawn, plucking their cheerful faces from the grass just moments before the mowing began ...


So now, what to do with all these pretty little blooms? Well, before they wilt, I will press them in between sheets of newsprint and stacks of large heavy books. The result will be lovely dried blossoms, ready for cards or bookmarks, or the pages of the family field journal.

Here are some I've already done:


(I couldn't help pressing some of the flowers with the roots still attached; I liked how earthy and authentic it looked.)

And while we're on the subject of flowers, don't forget to keep an eye out for the Full Flower Moon this evening! You know, I'm thinking some little moon-shaped (flower-topped) cookies will be just the thing to serve after dinner tonight ... :)

Happy Monday, everyone!

Cake and a Craft for The Annunciation


To be perfectly honest, I was a bit tired after yesterday's shindig, but I still wanted to do something special with the boys for today's Feast, The Annunciation of the Lord, (technically, a Solemnity, but a day to rejoice nonetheless). On this day last year we brought roses (and, ahem, rocks) to a nearby Marian statue, but this year I was determined to stay in. Between the rain and the snow, it was downright unhospitable for even a brief outing, so while the flakes fell fast and furious, and the boys finished their math, I got started on the cake.

Now, you're probaby saying to yourself, "She baked a cake? Didn't she say they had a whole bunch of desserts leftover from yesterday's party?"

(Well yes I did ... and we did (still do) ... but nothing Earlybird can eat, and I wanted him to have something fresh and festive for today. Besides, I love to bake.)

Anyhoo. I had wanted to try making homemade angel food cake, which is a traditional food for today, but at the last minute I realized I don't own a tube pan! (How can that be??) I wasn't sure if a bundt pan would cut it, so instead, I reached for a lemon cake mix I had on the shelf. So easy, and I kind of liked how golden it came out. :)

And with all the time I saved using a box mix, I made up some lemon whipped cream with EB:


(Picture by Bookworm.)

Then, I turned a Ziploc bag into a makeshift piping tube ...


And got fancy with the whipped cream ... :)


(More photos by my Bookworm.)

And we fished blueberries out of the fruit salad to place all around ...


All that was needed was a pretty centerpiece - so I plucked a few leftover tulips (aka "Mary's Prayers") and voila ~


A fun, yummy feast day treat!

As the boys ate, we read about the Angelus, and I showed them this famous painting. I also showed them the Daily Missal you see below; it has just come into my happy possession. It was printed in 1959 and belonged to my grandfather. (Thank you so much, Mum and Uncle George!)


Here's the lovely page for The Annunciation:


And then it was time to get our hands dirty!


I read a suggestion in this lovely book to plant marigold seeds on this feast. (Marigold = Mary's Gold.) The boys have been itching to plant something, so a few dixie cups and some potting soil later, and we were good to go! :)


Note the variety of Marigold = Crackerjack! Which of course, made his day. ;)

First we scooped the potting soil into the cups carefully:


Next we fished out the seeds:



And each of my boys prepared his own special cup:


Bookworm added the water:


And now the cups will sit in a window full of spring sun. (Once it returns!)


And there you have it, our day in a (rather large, chatty) nutshell. (Though I left out the part about the flock of wild turkeys that passed through ... that caused some excitement around here!) I hope your day was a good one, too. Good night for now ~ I'll see you all sometime tomorrow.

Flowers of Blue

Sweet fragile weed, while thus I viewForgetmenots2

Thy softened tint of constant blue,

I pray in life whateโ€™er my lot

May those I love Forget-me-not.

         (Mary Pirie)

As we begin the long President's Day weekend, I wish you all good health, much happiness and abundant time spent with your loved ones.

See you all soon ...