Morning Moments Feed

Tuesday Tidbits: Frost, Frosting & Wintry Fun!

Frosty sunrise window

Happy (frosty) Tuesday, everyone! :)

I have just a few quick things to share today ... but first! What is the weather like where you are right now? It is SUPER cold here in my neck of the woods - in fact, I don't think we'll see 20°! Theres snow on the ground (a few inches) and plenty more on the way this weekend ... but such is January in New England!

Now, a few of you asked about my birthday cake frosting - it is a favorite in my family and one my mum is expert at making! It's called "penuche frosting" and it is buttery and sweet and fudgey in texture ... here it is if you'd like to try it sometime:

Penuche Frosting

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
hot water

Melt butter - add brown sugar. Bring to boil. Lower heat and boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add milk and bring to boil. Cool to lukewarm.

Gradually add confectioner's sugar and beat.

Add hot water if too thick.

Also, while I'm here I wanted to mention - for those of you on Pinterest - that I have a few new boards set up. These are each specific to my seasonal planning and I'm using them for links to go along with ideas, activities and special days coming up. So here is the January-February board if you'd like to take a peek. :)

2016 Planner: January & February Links

If you are not on Pinterest, I can do a post with links sometime if that would be helpful. I just added some wolf coloring pages this morning in light of the Full Wolf Moon coming up this weekend! :)

Snowflake lesson 1

This week our seasonal theme is "snowflakes," and I have some fun things planned for the boys - the bigs and the littles! Something I'm working on this week, too - and I meant to mention this during the planning chat last weekend - is the concept of craft bins for seasonal planning and organization. Someone asked me not too long ago (and forgive me for not remembering who) how I keep the craft materials and other resources for the week organized ... and believe me, it's a challenge! I haven't really tackled the craft bins we moved from the old house - nor the craft storage here in the new house! My thought is to have bins for the seasons though - and as I plan and prepare for certain projects I will add those items we'll need to those bins. There should be six bins in all once I'm organized, and you can be sure I will post about them once they're established!

Kitchen window poem

And finally, I had to share this pretty page from a book I have displayed at my writing desk right now. I think I've shared it before, but it's worth another look. It's such a lovely sketch - a mother having her tea and gazing out her kitchen window ... taking such joy in her "lot" in life, days spent at home with the children. The stanza below resonates with me so much ...

***

She has a kinship with the earth
Though busy in her own domain,
And comprehends its noble plan
From just a kitchen window pane.”
(Milly Walton)

Well my friends, I will be off now, but as always, I thank you for stopping by! It's a busy week of lessons, therapy and activity here ...  Bookworm's back to campus and our relaxing holiday routine is well and truly over. I'll be posting as I can, though - and there are lots of planning posts coming up! In my next post, I will show you my planning sheet "in action" so you can see how I'm using it for seasonal planning. And I am currently working on the next set of printables (Early Spring) as well as a big post about making time in your schedule to DO the planning! Giving all the WHAT a WHEN! I also have a couple of "cozy nests" posts in the works ... 

So I hope you'll stay tuned! Enjoy the rest of your day and I will see here again very soon ... :)


Wordy Wednesday*

*So named because this post was meant to be wordless but as usual, I can't help myself ...

Ww sun in stairwell

 The stairwell as I walk down to get a second cup of coffee - so pretty, I had to snap a pic! (My first cup was brought to me by Bill - he gets up with Earlybird, I stay in bed with Little Bear.) There are a few moments each day when the rising sun hits the east-facing windows just right and the house floods with morning light. I love this time of the day - a moment filled with quiet, light and promise.

Ww temp reading

 The weather app reading on my phone - it's been a scorching few days here in New England!

Ww red squirrels

 Two of our tiny red squirrels, enjoying seed I scattered on the deck in relative peace - usually they don't care to share!

Ww lesson plans file crate

A close-up of my file crate - love all those snappy folders! - with my homemade lesson planner stashed in back. I am trying to tweak the folders a bit to do more for me this year ...

Ww learning room

Getting things organized in the learning room ... for a day-after-Labor-Day start! I relish this time of year ... need to get maps up, bags organized, books arranged and supplies re-stocked!

Ww baby days

And my little fella. :) He found this "old" toy when we were downstairs at the laundry ... he trucked it upstairs, placed it up on the table, and got himself into a chair so he could play (work). I love how hard he's concentrating here ... :)


Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday, my friends! See you here again very soon!


A Picture Book Giveaway!

Morning tea and books

Good Wednesday morning, my friends! A cold winter's morning here, and I have a giveaway to tell you about, so please read on!

I'm up early (natch) - it's still dark - and I'm sitting here in my little library, surrounded by beloved books and baby things - this is "my" room, and this is my time. When Earlybird is up (but quietly playing in the other room) and the rest of the family (Little Bear included) is still sleeping. The heat is clanging in the pipes, the tea is hot in my cup, and the cat is nestled into the loveseat beside me ... It's barely six o'clock, and sure, there's a part of me that wishes I was still sleeping, too ... but there's a bigger part of me that's grateful to be awake and feeling well (if not exactly well rested), with a little time to gather myself together before the day starts rushing at me ...

One of the things I do in this me-time is to check my email and a few favorite websites, and a recent find, which I mentioned earlier this month, is the charming spot - beauty of the picture book. In her postings, Divina explores and celebrates those precious picture books - the ones we love to share with our children (but will happily read on our own). My library here is filled with such picture books - on display wherever I can fit them - familiar friends who visit for a time depending on season. And I'm always happy to "meet" (buy or borrow) new friends!

Well, in today's post, Divina introduces us to a lovely young lady, Miss Lydia Grace Kadar-Kullen, who has recently illustrated her first publicly available picture book, Saint Felix and the Spider. There is a wonderful interview to read and pictures of the process to peruse ... and, an exciting giveaway to enter! By leaving your comment at Divina's post, you are entered in a contest to win a copy of this beautiful book! They'll be accepting comments until 5 p.m. next Wednesday, March 5th, so hurry on over and take a look - enjoy the read, and throw your virtual hat in the ring!

:)

In the meantime, I'm going to savor these last few sips of my cooling tea and watch the skies brighten out my windows. I'll have a little "tour" of my library for you in a future post ... I'm quite happy with how this room turned out.

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


A Citrus Craft for Candlemas

Candlemas 9

Blessed Candlemas, my friends! A Happy Groundhog's Day, too!


 I hope you are all enjoying a nice Sunday. Pleasant weather here in my corner of the world ... almost spring-like, dare I say it - the birds are singing and the light is just a skosh brighter. Nearly 50 degrees right now - way above normal - but we'll take it!

Yet according to Mr. Groundhog, we're in for another 6 weeks of winter?

Here are a few pictures from my morning ... first off, what a sunrise! One of the perks of rising so early is witnessing those beautiful first moments of the day ... as the sky changes its color and mood. I was so taken with the scene over this frozen marsh on our way to Mass, I had to pull over and snap a picture with my phone. The sun like a candle-flame peeking through those low-lying clouds ...

Candlemas 2 

And when we got home from church (with a fresh supply of blessed candles), I set to work on a little craft I'd seen in a magazine recently ...

Candlemas 7

So much easier than you might think! You start with a fresh orange ...

Candlemas 10

(And citrus is so lovely at this time of year ...)

Halve the orange and scoop out the flesh so you're left with just the white inner rind. Then take some candles (it's smart to use up old ones, but I had surplus tealights so I went with those) and melt them in a double boiler ...

Candlemas 3 

Once the wax was melted, I poured it into the orange shell, with a candle wick supsended in the middle. (I ordered these natural candle wicks through Amazon, but I'm sure they're available at local craft stores.) I just held the wick still for a couple of minutes until the wax had stabilized enough to grab the wick.

Candlemas 6

Then I pushed whole cloves into the rim of the orange, trimmed the wick, and waited for the wax to fully set.

Candlemas 12

 All done and smelling fantastic!

I think these would make really lovely Christmas gifts, don't you? Simple enough to do with the children (teacher's gifts perhaps?) - just add some pretty wrap, maybe a soft handkerchief and some ribbon. I'll be making a note about this in my seasonal planner! :)

Now, in honor of St. Brigid's Day (which was yesterday) I am planning to make shepherd(ess) pie for dinner ... just some scrambled hamburger topped with kernel corn and rich cheesey potatoes. Some crusty bread, too, and a mixed berry cobbler for dessert ...

That all sounds good of course, but I'll see what fits in! My day begins early so by necessity, it must end the same way ... and sometimes things that appear quite "do-able" at dawn, seem near impossible by dusk ... does that ever happen to you?

Well for now I'll sign off, with a wish that you enjoy a pleasant evening, and a hope to see you here again very soon ...

Blessings to you all!


Jack Frost paid us a visit last night ...

And I found his artwork quite lovely on the windowpanes this morning:

Jack frost 1

Jack frost 2

Despite the clear morning skies, we're expecting another sizeable snow today - but happily, Bill's working from home and we have nowhere to be, so a cozy housebound day will suit us just fine. I hope to finish our cards and do some more (online) shopping this afternoon ... and some thinking about holiday menus, perhaps. To say I am behind on our Christmas prep is an understatement I fear!

Hope this post finds you all well, and thank you so much for stopping by ...

See you here again very soon!


☀ Good Morning, Little Bear!

Owen's 1st crib morning

Little Bear had his first night in the "big boy" crib ~ and he did very well! LB loved his bassinet, but outgrew it pretty quickly - it became a real issue this past week after I noticed his little knees were bent as he slept!

(Did I mention he's in the 95th percentile for length?)

:)

I was quite nervous he wouldn't "take" to the crib and sleep poorly, but he thankfully slept well - from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. and then again until 5. Not too shabby!

The picture above is taken of his first waking moments ... and here he is a bit later after being nursed and changed and placed back in his crib to "hang out".

Owen's 1st crib morning 3

The crib is in our bedroom for now ... when he gets a little older it will be moved into the nursery.

**

How and where do your babies sleep? And how do you cope with not getting much sleep yourself?

Happy Monday, my friends!


Menu Monday ~ Holy Week

Easter egg pink sunrise

Wasn't this morning's sunrise just lovely? It was in our neck of the woods, anyway. We call this "Easter Egg Pink."

:)

Our Holy Week Dinner Menus

Monday, March 25th (Holy Monday)

bbq beef biscuit cups, corn, tater tots

*leftovers instead - using up food from the weekend*

Tuesday, March 26th (Holy Tuesday)

homemade calzones, salads

Wednesday, March 27th (Spy Wednesday)

silver dollar pancakes, roasted kielbasa/potatoes/vegetables

Thursday, March 28th (Holy or "Green" Thursday)

spinach salad, roast beef & radish subs, lime sorbet

Friday, March 29th (Good Friday)

*hot cross buns in the morning*

baked potatoes, soup

Saturday, March 30th (Holy Saturday)

leftovers/takeout

Sunday, March 31st (Easter Sunday)

Easter Dinner!

(separate post tomorrow)

*

(You may have noticed I'm not listing desserts this week - aside from Holy Thursday - because we're keeping things simple in preparation for Easter feasting.)

So this is the last "Menu Monday" for a while, my friends ... next week I'll put up a "Masterpiece Monday" so we can chat about the first episode of the new season of Call the Midwife!

Have a great day, everyone ... thanks so much for stopping by!

**


I ❤ Saturday Mornings

Spent some time sitting on the front steps this morning, with my camera, my coffee and my Earlybird ...

Birdwatching with EB

 Watching the birds, planes, neighbors, etc. Having a nice little chat. :)

It's a beautiful Saturday morning here, and I wanted to pop in and say, "Happy Weekend!" I am feeling better, though still reacting mildly. And Archie is on an antibiotic for 10 days to help clear up his cold. So we're both on the mend! A nice quiet weekend should do us just fine.

So have a good one, my friends! And thanks for stopping by ...

I'll see you all again very soon.



Another Morning in the Garden ...

Just before Bill left for work, we took a little turn about the yard ... it was a beautiful morning, the light filtering softly through the garden as the sun rose behind the woods ...

Morning garden 1

These interesting plants are in the birdhouse garden, and for the life of me I can't recall what they are!

Morning garden 6

Can you help?

And here are the lovely purple coneflowers, which naturalized beautifully this year ...

Morning garden 2

These are some of my favorite summer flowers, because I just love orange and pink together. But I suspect they are also a favorite of the bunnies - not for their color, but their taste. Note the frayed petal edges? I don't mind really, as long as the plants are not harmed further. But speaking of bunnies, as I took these very pictures, a good-sized rabbit flew out of the raspberry hedge, tore across the road and into our neighbor's yard! Little white tail bouncing behind him ... :)

So after Bill left, Crackerjack and I headed out to the deck to fill the hummingbird feeders and check on our herb plants. We were thrilled to see (and hear) two gray herons fly over - we've never seen them travel in pairs!

Morning garden 5

(At least, I'm pretty sure they are herons - it's kind of hard to tell from this angle.)

The herb garden is certainly feeling the effects of this hot weather (aren't we all?) so we watered and checked over the plants. One of the plants - the Chinese Lanterns - was riddled with tiny, bizarre, crustacean-like bugs ...

Morning garden 3

We have no idea what they are! Any thoughts?

And how about your favorite non-toxic method for beating garden pests? I have several books here with recipes, but not sure which is the best.

As always, I appreciate your suggestions!

***

And another update on my dad ...

Well, he heard back from the surgeon's office last night and it looks like he not only *will* be having surgery next week, but most likely on both the neck and the lower back at the same time. Not sure what that will mean for his recovery time yet - my folks have a meeting with the surgeon on Tuesday to reassess and confirm all the details. In the meantime, they're starting him on a steroid to reduce inflammation ...

Thank you again, for all your kind thoughts and prayers. They mean so much to us. I will keep you all posted as best I can. I think right now we just wait ... and hope ... and pray.

Have a wonderful Tuesday, my friends. I'll see you here again very soon.


Morning Moment

Sunrisetuesday

Sunrise, 1/4/11, 7:14 a.m.

Enjoying my coffee in bed, surrounded by cotton and down. Listening to my family moving throughout the dark house, starting their day ... a shower's running, a nose is blowing, a toaster's popping, a cat's crying in the hallway. Lifting the blinds we see the sky is on fire, and one by one we stop to admire for a moment ...

From my page-a-day calendar this morning ...

"To engage in the wonder of a child is to engage in the wonder of us all. Wonder is never out of style."

What has you wondering this morning?

:)