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Spring Planning on a Windy March Day ...

Spring planning 1

I'm having such a nice moment here today, I just had to snap a picture and share ... :)

It's been rainy all morning but the skies are starting to brighten and the wind is really picking up ... my boys are all close by, keeping themselves busy with one thing or another. I'm tempted to open that window and let in some fresh air; though it may be brisk, it would be lovely to hear the skittering of leaves and the clear birdsong ringing in the woods ...

So with a little time "to myself," I decided it was a good chance to sit down and do some work in my planner. Today I'm focusing on the pages devoted to Early Spring goals - personal and household. On the lefthand side (not shown, folded under) I've attached a copy of my Early Spring overview, and on the right, I have a listing of the aforementioned goals. To prompt my thoughts I like to look over my calendar and seasonal notes and then decide what things need doing ... and what things I'd like to see done. These often become two separate lists!

Now you all know how much I love planning - seasonal planning in particular! - and lately we've been talking a lot about SPRING planning. (A timely topic indeed, with the Vernal Equinox but 18 days away!) Well, today I want to mention a new resource I've added to my "favorites" shelf - one written by a dear friend and kindred spirit - one I know you will love as much as I do! It is a new publication from Cay Gibson, The Spring Beehive Planner, and it is the second in a series of planners Cay is publishing through her Etsy shop (found here). You can see its lovely cover pictured above in my reading basket. 

(And you might remember back in November, Cay generously donated her Winter Beehive Planner as a prize in our Planner Party giveaway!)

Well I was tickled to receive Cay's package last week and I'm having such fun paging through it! I adore her style, the format and size of the book, and all of Cay's charming suggestions. There are many ideas to consider for ourselves with reminders of what happens when, and pages for personal notes throughout March, April and May. There's also room for meal planning, nature sketches, monthly goals and "prayerful pondering." Reading Cay's planner makes me so excited for Spring, and reminds me that there is time for it all of that seasonal pleasure, if we only make time for it! Thoughtfully, and with balance ... weaving the seasons right into the very fabric of our home and family life. And that's just what seasonal planning should do - remind us of all the comforts and joys a season may offer, and lead us (and our families) gently towards them. 

If you'd like to read more about Cay's planner I hope you'll pop over to her Etsy shop and take a look! March has only just begun and Spring is right around the corner! So the time is right for planning ...

(Well, the time is always right for planning in my mind!)

My friends, thanks so much for stopping by today. Coming up, we'll be talking a lot about Spring things here because you can be sure some of the notes I've made in my planner will end up as posts!

Spring bags, Spring stories, natural Spring cleaning, Spring correspondence, etc. ...

But for now I will leave you all with my thanks for reading and my very best wishes for your evening ahead. I hope your week's going well ... and I hope to see you here again very soon! 

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Friday Bits and Bobs

Flowers in vases

Happy Friday, my friends! Popping in early to share a few links with you all ... :)

Now, are you looking for some meatless menu planning inspiration today? Here are a couple of older posts of mine with lots of great reader suggestions in the comments:

Meatless Menus? (2011)

Lenten Meal Planning (2015)

And here is a wonderful post from my friend Meredith, "Meatless Meals for Lent." Lots of links and ideas there! And also not to be missed is this post - "Five Meatless Dinners" from my friend, Chris! There's a Lenten link-up at the end of that post with even more meatless ideas!

Here's another spot for Lenten meal inspiration, Leaflet Missal's post, "8 Delicious Lenten Recipes for Meatless Fridays." I can't wait to try the hot cross buns on Good Friday, and the Passion Fruit Cheesecake on Passion Sunday!

Speaking of Leaflet Missal, here are "7 Ideas for Celebrating Lent Your Way" - filled with simple Lenten suggestions - and one of them was mine! I was so honored to be asked to participate in that article. :)

And here's a wonderful, witty and thoughtful post from my friend Karen called, "Five Reasons Lent is Hard on INFJs"- I read this with much interest, as I happen to be an INFJ too! (What is an INFJ you might wonder? Click over to Karen's and find out!) So much of her post had me chuckling and nodding my head ... 

And leaping away from Lent for a minute, there's another post I've been meaning to share with you all for some time, especially because recently someone asked me about my "mid-year review" and how I go about it. And to be perfectly honest, I am quite behind this year! I am hoping to work on this important project this weekend - a wee bit past the mid-year mark, ahem - but here's an old post of mine describing my process ... BUT! Even better, here's a fantastic post from my friend Mary Ellen about her mid-year review AND there are printables!

Ok, final link! (I think!) My friend Shirley Ann has updated her blog, Under an English Sky, and you must pop over and take a look. It is just lovely and always filled with great ideas, pretty crafts and lovely tours of England. She has a new series called "The Crockpot Chronicles" and her first recipe is perfect for Lent! I will be avidly following this series as I LOVE using my crockpot at this time of year.

(Speaking of crockpots ... I made this yesterday and it was so delicious. Next time we'll have some some crusty bread to sop up the soupiness, but it paired very nicely with rice pilaf. I just adore artichokes!)

Well I lied, lol - this will be my final link! Have you noticed my new nest button over on the lefthand sidebar? I have started a separate blog called Our Family Field Guide where I am storing nature notes and pictures. I won't be posting quite every day, but hopefully often enough to capture that "rhythm of the year" I find so fascinating and nurturing. I recently found this quote and it struck such a chord with me ...

"There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature." ~ Rachel Carson

Yes. :)

So I hope you'll stop by once in a while and see what we're up to, what we're discovering in this beautiful world all around us. 

Well my friends I will let you go at last - but I hope you all enjoy this day and I thank you for spending a bit of it here. This weekend I have a couple of Book Party posts in queue - and I can't wait to share them! (Would love to hear from you, too!)

See you here again very soon ...


Our Planning Chat Replay

Planning is such a fun thing to do ... and talk about! And it's something I talk about here a lot as you all know! Well, yesterday I took part in a wonderful live planning chat with two lovely ladies, Mystie from Simplified Organization and Jen from Wildflowers & Marbles. We discussed many different aspects of planning and how we organize our days ... including how we handle it when our days are, perhaps, not quite so organized! We also took live questions from the folks following along, but you can still watch a replay of our talk, if you'd like!

You can access that here:

Live Chat Workshop: Planners, Processes & Problems

If there are any follow-up questions I can address, or points from the talk I can expand upon or clarify, please leave me a comment or drop me a note:

bysunandcandle AT gmail DOT com

I look forward to discussing more "planning points" soon ... because the New Year is at our doorstop! And I am all about getting myself and my planning ready to roll ... but for now, I wish you all a very good day!

Vintage birds on branch

See you here again sometime soon ...


❄ Linkies & Little Notes

Good Morning, everyone!

❄ There's a lovely post by Divina at beauty of picture books today ... and I'm quite honored to be mentioned! Her Friday focus - passing along our precious picture books once they've been outgrown, a topic I touched upon recently here at my blog. Stop by Divina's and take a look around - it's a beautiful spot! I very much enjoyed her post on February books as it features the works of Elsa Beskow - and we're big fans of Ms. Beskow around here! (Current favorite: The Story of the Snow Children)

Speaking of beautiful books, what is the most recent book you've purchased/borrowed from the library - for yourself or your children? To enjoy with the kids, I ordered Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella by Jan Brett last week. For one thing, we LOVE Jan Brett books and have been collecting them for years, and for another, her latest title is set in "a snowy Russian winter" ... which fits in nicely with our Olympics study this month. And last month I ordered A Fine Romance by Susan Branch, about her trip to England with her dear sweetheart, Joe. I'm only on the first chapter, just soaking in the goodness of her charming illustrations and witty prose.

Here's an article about making naturally-tinted Valentine's goodies. Earlybird can't have artificial dyes/flavors, but he gets a kick out of colored frosting like any other child! I'm glad for this reminder because this is the last weekend before Valentine's Day which means anything I want to have on hand - for crafts/gifts/goodies - I must procure and organize this weekend. Despite the vast amounts of seasonal planning I do routinely, I'm often caught unawares by little holidays like this.

Look at this gorgeous home office made out of a storage closet: An Amazing Closet-Turned-Office. I just love the colors as well as the overall set up and it just so happens I have a closet just like this downstairs beside the laundry. I wouldn't need something quite so fancy, but I do need a crafting spot ... a place for my glue, glitter, stickers, paper collection and whatnot. Hmmm ...

And finally, a quick weather report:

Russian winter

Cold, snow ... and that's about it!

:)

Skies are brightening, Little Bear's waking ... time for another cup of coffee! Have a Happy Friday, my friends ...

I'll 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.)

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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?

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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! 


One year sets, another year dawns ...

Snowy sunrise 2

Happy Sunday, my friends!

I hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was very nice, but as usual, it was over way too fast! And now a brand new year has arrived at our doorstep, which means it's time for a new calendar ...

Hooray for calendars! Do you have yours yet?

It's no secret that I just love calendars. You might even say I'm a bit obsessed. Some years I make my calendar - or planner as it is also known - and some years I buy one. Some years I do a little of both. And some years I end up creating and using more than one ...

But every year I vow next year to find THE perfect calendar, lol!

Well I do find a real comfort in the rhythm of the seasons and the liturgical year, so for me it's not only helpful, but truly enjoyable to brainstorm what's ahead - events, holidays, feast days, natural happenings, etc. This "schedule" plays a big part in my overall planning when looking at the big picture (the year in full) as well as more incremental planning: months, weeks and days.

I actually shared this schedule - a breakdown of days of note for 2014 - back in October, but I thought, given how close we are to New Year's, it might be helpful to share once again, so here's a link:

2014 Seasonal Calendar

 I find such a special joy in creating my own planner, because homemade planners can be tailored to meet each family's needs. I'm working on mine for the new year - slowly, oh so slowly! - but while we're talking about planners, I wanted to mention this free printable 2014 planner for Catholic mothers. It was created by Amanda at Planning on It and it looks lovely! Take a look and see if it might suit your needs - it's so generous of Amanda to share her planner with others in such an accessible way!

I'd love to hear about your calendar/planner for the new year. Are you excited about it? Tired of it? Indifferent perhaps?

I'll post more about what I'm using this year, once I get it a little further along. Right now it's sort of a combination of purchased materials and handmade ... but "putter time" is not as plentiful as it once was so I'm a little behind schedule ... I've vowed however, not to fret that come January 1st I may or may not have THE calendar I want at my fingertips!

:)

Well my friends, I hope you all have a wonderful day, and thanks so much for stopping by ...

See you here again very soon!


"Bring Back Home Ec!"

Happy Sunday, my friends! I hope you're enjoying your weekend ...

I just wanted to pop in quickly and share a link to this neat article which I read in the "Ideas" section of the Boston Sunday Globe. Very interesting stuff - lots of valid points. I would like to expand upon it, but my time is a bit pinched right now ... suffice it to say I think bringing "home ec" lessons back to the classroom (and the home!) is a wonderful concept.

And not just any old "home economics" class, but ... "a forward-thinking new kind of class that would give a generation of young people - not just women, but everyone - the skills to shop intelligently, cook healthily, manage money, and live well." (Ruth Graham, "Bring Back Home Ec!")

So take a looksee if you have a moment, and let me know what you think. In the meantime, have yourselves a lovely evening  ... I'll see you here again sometime soon!

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Angels on Wednesday

Good evening, my friends! I hope your Wednesday's been pleasant ...

Here in New England it's been so lovely ... one of those days I wish I could bottle up and keep forever ... or at least until next year! Today was so gorgeously sunny and warm, it felt like Summer's goodbye kiss. The kind of day I would have loved to grab my camera and drive around town seeking out good shots. :)

* Well, today also happens to be the Feast of the Guardian Angels and it always makes me think of my grandmother, whose go-to prayer was the familiar favorite, "Angel of God, my guardian dear ... " To this day that's Crackerjack's bedtime prayer.

In fact, I have two special ladies on my mind this week - my Gram and Bill's Grammie, who were both "angels" to so many people in their lives. Gram's patron saint was St. Francis (whose feast day is Friday) and Bill's grandmother's patroness was St. Therese whose feast day was yesterday.

Grammie, Gram and Me

Both of these dear women taught me so much about living a good, holy life - about serving my loved ones and enjoying the small things in life. How I wish they were still with us.

* A sweet little book for this week ... one I usually request from the library but forgot to this year:

Angels book

Angels, Angels Everywhere

* Here's a long-ago post I wrote filled with "angel" crafts and a recipe for angel kisses. A bit of feast day fun for the littles ... goodness that seems just like yesterday.

* And here's a neat link for you: 25 Pumpkin Desserts to Eat this Fall. Oh my. And speaking of pumpkin, I am excited to try this intriguing recipe for a "Pumpkin Steamer." I adore steamed milk - Bill and I visited Nantucket many years ago and one foggy evening I enjoyed an almond steamed milk before we retired to our inn. It was so soothing and delicious! I've been a fan ever since. :)

What's your favorite pumpkin food: sweet, savory or otherwise?

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Must be off now, my friends ... have yourselves a wonderful evening!


Good Morning Links ...

Happy Friday, my friends!

Just popping in very quickly to share a few links I came across this morning:

How to Raise Financially Savvy Kids (Forbes)

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How-To: Hankie Holder (Martha Stewart Kids)

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Exclusive First Look - Interior Pages from Sherlock: The Casebook (Sherlockology)

(Yes, I've pre-ordered a copy!)

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I was up very early today (just could not sleep past four, I'm afraid) so I had a little extra time to putter online. I'm very excited about that Sherlock book! And speaking of Sherlock, Bill and I are planning to re-watch the series starting this weekend, while the boys are looking forward to Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, freshly arrived from Netflix. Crackerjack has re-read that series at least a dozen times ... he absolutely loves it!

Ok, so I'm off for now ... but I will see you here again very soon ...

Have a bright and blessed day!



A Few Late Day Links

Two about budgeting ...

How I Saved My Family $600 a Month on Groceries (Today)

4 Things I Do to Keep Our Grocery Budget at $200/mo. for a Family of Four (Parents)

Two about our beloved DA ...

Downton Abbey Season 3 Trailer (iTv1)

Downton Abbey Star Dan Stevens Off to Broadway - But Will He Return? (Huffington Post)

And one shameless (sheepish) plug ...

Thursday, September 6th 2012 (Daily Bits of Domestic Bliss - my housekeeping blog)

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Have a great night, my friends!