Sky Feed

Seasonal Planning: Why the Moon?

During the Planning Chat Workshop this morning, someone asked why I write the moon phases in my planner ... and it's a very good question! Because it got me thinking about why I enjoy seasonal planning so much ... and in the case of the moon's phases, while we may not be amateur astronomers or anything, I still find it useful information to have on hand ... and here's why. :)
For one thing, the full moons, as named by the Native Americans, are tied in with the season in which they fall (Sap Moon, Pink Moon, Flower Moon, Thunder Moon, etc.) and sometimes I include them in our nature study plans. So for example, we might schedule a maple sugaring field trip (a popular local tradition), during the week of the Full Sap Moon ... and that week might be assigned the theme, "melting/sap/thaw." Actually, there's a lot of science and history to be tied in with this topic! We could investigate what conditions are needed for the sap to start running (freezing nights, but day temps above 50) and what it signals to the trees (and the rest of us): Spring is truly on its way! Or maybe we'd learn how the early colonists "discovered" maple syrup (thanks to the Native Americans) and I might even plan a maple-based dinner one night. The younger boys have such fun with all of this, but I think the older boys enjoy these family activities as well.
It's also helpful to know when a new moon will occur (which means, no moonshine) because it's easier to see the stars on a "moonless" night. And perhaps that's something I would like to do with the boys as part of our home learning that week or as one of our family "adventures." There are also several meteor showers that occur throughout the year and some are easier to view than others - especially when they take place during the darker sky of a new moon! So it's handy to know whether the moon is waxing or waning when scheduling these kinds of seasonal activities in my planner.
Beyond all that though, I like the idea of my planner serving as an old-fashioned "almanac" of sorts, so I include weather notes and simple observations of the nature around us. (Two deer in the yard just now ... heard a raven in the woods ... spotted a fisher cat on Main Street this morning!) I even check the Weather Channel app on my iPhone when doing my weekly "look ahead" planning!
Another example of seasonal planning, and this one applies to both nature's seasons as well as those of the Church ... this week we'll be celebrating the Feast of St. Agnes, and our weekly theme is "snowflakes." For years now I've tied snowflakes with this saint's day (because of the tradition of St. Agnes's "flowers") and there are certain crafts and comforts I like to weave into our week. Snowflake science, baking and stories, so many options! Not must-dos, but may-dos. And as it appears we may be in for some snow here late next week, I'll make a point to get the boys outside to really experience the season, this depth of winter ... does it smell like snow? Feel like snow? Look like snow? What signs are telling us snow is on the way?
(Now, I was just writing these very notes in my planner for next week and that reminded me I have a half-written post in which I show you how I'm using my printable planning sheets. (In other words, with the spaces filled in!) I am also going to make the monthly calendars I showed you in my planner tour available as PDFs this week in case you'd like to use those as well ... so stay tuned!)
So anyhow, this question really made me smile and think for a bit about why I spend so much time finding out about nature and then working it into our family plans. It's something that brings me a lot of personal joy - tying my energy and inspiration to the season - but it's created a lot of fun traditions with my children as well! :)
So if your family, like mine, enjoys checking out the night sky from time to time, here's a great calendar for 2016 astronomical events, including full moons and shooting stars, etc. And as of today (or tonight) we are on the way towards the January full moon WHICH -  according to my planner - takes place next Saturday. It's the Full "Wolf" Moon this month and there is some very interesting history tied into that ... but I'll stop there because as usual, I'm getting carried away!
But speaking of the Planning Chat Workshop this morning - it was such fun! I hope you could join us, but there is still a way you can listen in - click HERE to sign up for the replay as well as the links Mystie, Jen and I shared from our blogs. I would love to follow up on some of the points and questions that came up during the talk, so please leave me a note or zip me an email (bysunandcandle AT gmail DOT come) if there's something you'd like to see in a future post!
For now though, I am going to sign off and enjoy the rest of this slow, snowy Saturday ... I hope you do the same! But thanks so much for stopping by! I will see you all here again very soon ...
🌛 🌝 🌜🌚

November Nightfall

It comes so early now ... the night. And some might say too early, but it's all just part of that rhythm. Outside there's a fading of color and a sharpness to the air ... while inside we have our lights burning and there are extra blankets on the beds. At this time of year the comforts of home seem all the more comforting, but the outside is still welcoming too, especially on evenings like these ...

November sunset 1

November sunset 2

November sunset 7

November sunset

November sunset 3

November sunset 4

Sunset, 4:20 p.m. Sunday. Just before the Patriots Game.


How wonderful for a little one to get all rosy-cheeked and leaf-littered on a cool autumn evening ... then to come inside for a warm bath and a good supper before bed. I love teaching my children to appreciate our days in ALL seasons and by "teaching" I mean, sharing my own joy right alongside them. That's the best lesson, I think - what we show them. Because those little eyes watch us so closely! Little Bear might not read his mama's blog yet, but I know he can read my moods ...

You know, I've been working on that book of mine, and trying to figure out just where I'm going with it ... getting distracted sometimes, or maybe even a little defeated ... but when I look back at this post, I can see it. This is what makes me tick, and this is where I zoom in: on the simple, little joys ... the easy, homey comforts. Every week brings something new to learn and share ...

As organic as it seems it should be to just follow the seasons and accept nature's rhythm, I find that Life As We Know It often gets in the way. So I create a little structure - weekly themes and file folders - and hope that by planning ahead we'll make more of the moment. The seasons pass so quickly - not to mention the years! So this week we're watching our world get sleepy and dark and we're feeling grateful for things like light and warmth (and peace) ... in nature we're observing a fallen log and exploring the tart curiosity of cranberries, while baking breads to bring to neighbors across town ... 

November days - are they dark? Yes, they can be. But dull? No, they don't have to be. There's much to be thankful for and so many ways to explore this big, blessed world. It is my hope to highlight these joys in each week of the year ... to work them into my "plans" so they become more than just ideas, but actions ... and then to share them all with my family, and you!

So anyhow ... that's where I'm at right now. I mostly just wanted to share all these happy photos and then I got carried away. (You all know how I get.) And now I'm watching another (early) sunset, lighting a candle on our seasons shelf, and conjuring some good smells in the kitchen ...

And putting the laptop down, for now. But I'll be back here again sometime soon ...

(Good Night!)

A Rainbow Connection?

My friends, what a neat surprise this was! Have any of you ever seen a rainbow in the sky - when there's not a speck of rain in sight? It's been clear and dry all day, but Bill just spotted this tiny rainbow hanging right up there in the middle of the sky ...

Rainbow in middle of sky

Not a full arc as you can see - just a short swath of color. So unexpected ... it's all the more beautiful!

Had to share the moment, I feel filled with joy and wonder. :)

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend ... 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!

Advent: Moments of Peace & Joy

{Earlybird update at bottom of post.}


Advent peace sunrise 

I've noticed my "peace" moments tend to happen in the morning ... I think this is when my day is still fairly simple and it's easier to be mindful of the blessings around me. As the day progresses, things get a bit noisier and more active ...

For instance, right now, it's 8:30 a.m. and Little Bear has just gone down for his morning nap. The middle boys are in the midst of their breakfast and the funny pages ... there are chores to get to, and lessons to lay out, but I'm taking this little break for myself. I'm sitting somewhere quiet and typing away, feeling creative and connected ... But wait - I hear footsteps ...

Shhh, you don't see me here!


Sometimes, though, peace can be found late in the day, too ...

As the kettle boils and the sun sets, I find myself busy in the kitchen ... I take a moment to breathe a short prayer, light a candle in the window. A real, honest-to-goodness, wax-and-wick candle, one that burns slowly and softly. Not as brightly as those electric candles, perhaps - it requires more thought and attention - but it's real. I can't ignore it, my eyes return to it, the children ask about it ... the lighting of a flame - an ancient gesture in a modern life.

Advent peace blue candle


Advent joy book 1

A sweet, old-fashioned Christmas ABC book ... those illustrations remind us how beautiful a simpler life can be.


And a feast day craft - easy and rewarding:

Advent joy ornament 2 

A plain wooden ornament, painted with natural watercolors ... a precious picture printed out and cut to fit in the middle ... but no glitter to be found? How about a sprinkle of kosher salt?

Advent joy ornament 1

Looks so pretty in the lights of the tree ...

Advent joy o looking at tree



Now, for a note on Earlybird ...

He is doing well. He is taking the medicine better and better each day. He gets a dose every 12 hours (by dropper) and so far, aside from a decreased appetite, it doesn't seem to be affecting him adversely. Most importantly he has not had a seizure since last Tuesday night.

So tomorrow he has his first test - an EEG. To prepare him for the procedure, we have to keep him up till midnight tonight, then let him sleep till 4 a.m. - wake him then, and keep him awake until the test at 10 a.m. Now - his blog name is not Earlybird for nothing - this is a child whose self-imposed bedtime is 7 p.m. Who sometimes begs to go to bed. So we really have our work cut out for us tonight ...

 My friends, my deepest thanks for your continued prayers ... I will post an update on his testing as soon as I am able, but please hold my boy in your thoughts and prayers. This will be difficult for him and I'm sure confusing, too. Bill and I are taking this one step at a time, just doing what needs to be done to the best we are able and keeping EB as comforted as we can. Your support, suggestions and encouragement mean the world to us!

Well, I hope you all have a lovely Tuesday ... relish the blessings in your life today and look for those little moments as you are able. Drop a note and share them here if you have the time ... and I'll be in touch just as soon as I can.

Thankful Thursday: Small Things, Great Joy

Bc sunset moon

Bookworm texted this picture to me from the BC campus about an hour ago ...

Here at home I had just said to Bill, "Wow, look at that sunset!" (which looked much like the one from yesterday's post) when a few minutes later my phone buzzed with BW's text. He was on his way back from class and was similarly amazed by the striking evening sky. He snapped a picture and sent it home through cyberspace.

It makes me so happy to think that my years of "teaching" my kids to slow down and take notice of nature have made an impression. That I've instilled in these boys an awareness of, and an appreciation for, "the small things" ... things like full moons and first frosts, warmly lit windows on a rainy day ...

Bc gasson hall

... the surprise of sunlight and shadow ...

Bc bench in sunlight

... and of course, that beautiful night sky.

Bc sunset 2


I try to always be mindful of those small things that bring such great joy ... how blessed I am to have children who mirror and magnify that joy. 

(All pictures by Bookworm.)

Enjoy your Thursday evening, 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)


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!


All Hallows, All Saints and All Souls ...

Good Morning my friends! And Happy November!

I'd like to share a few pictures from our Halloween, if I may. It was a lovely day - and a dry, cool night. A real mix of clouds and sun (and clouds and moon) and that crisp October air. Very autumnal.

We always begin our holiday by making note of the sunrise ...

Halloween 1

We were out and about earlier in the day, and then after lunch it was all about finishing up lessons and getting ready for our night!

Usually, Bill does the pumpkins with the boys, but with the hurricane and all, it just did not get done. So it was up to me to oversee the project - and wield the knife! - though I told the boys I drew the line at handling pumpkin guts, lol.

Halloween 2

The cats were fascinated with the whole process. :)

Halloween 3

Here are Crackerjack's designs: one "funny face" and one "fearsome face."

Jack o lanterns 1


These two jacks were placed on our front steps, nestled into garden planters on either side of the front door.

Some treats of the healthy kind ...

Halloween 4

And otherwise. ;)

Halloween 5

Throughout the afternoon I tidied the house, decorated a Halloween cake, and baked a couple of carrot breads with Earlybird. I also put on my favorite Halloween movie of all time ~ Meet Me in St. Louis, which may seem a strange choice, but if you remember the Halloween scene ("Tootie's the most horrible! She's the bravest of them all!") you'll know why I love it. :) 

At last the sun began to set ...

Halloween 6

And Halloween night was upon us!

We live in a quiet, sprawling neighborhood so we get a LOT of trick-or-treaters. I'm always anxious over the amount of candy we've purchased - will it be enough? One year we nearly ran out, and I was rifling through the boys' snack stash to see what I could add to the mix!

And we are very fortunate to have wonderful friends gather with us each year for tricks-or-treats. It's fun to see how the kids have changed each year! The dads take the kids around the neighborhood while the moms stay at home to pass out candy (and chat).

Bill took this picture (with his phone) of our younger boys out and about:

Trick or treat 4

Earlybird was a soccer player - though he insisted he was "just Earlybird" - and Crackerjack was a skeleton.

Once the gang got back from trick-or-treating, we had cider and cake ... and then the candy-trading commenced!

Trick or treat 2

 Our group shrinks a bit each year as the older kids get busy with various activities - for instance, Bookworm was at class last night and it felt strange not to have him with us! But that's what happens as life moves on - things necessarily change. Of course, next year our ranks will grow again - we'll have a new little one joining us! I mentioned that last night and Crackerjack piped up:

"I can't wait to take the little papoose out trick or treating!"


Well, now Halloween's a thing of the past, and we have two lovely feast days to celebrate: All Saints today, and All Souls tomorrow. By necessity, I'm keeping plans simple this year ...

Today we'll clean and fill our feeders and spruce up the nature corner in honor of our family patron, Saint Francis. And those of us who can make it will attend morning Mass.

For tomorrow, I'll arrange our altar of remembrance - we have little baby food jars all clean and ready to turn into votives. And if the weather's good and we have time, we'll stop by the cemetery to pay respects and maybe do some grave rubbings. And perhaps I'll bake those donuts I usually bake on Halloween morning (but did not this year) and of course there will be "Mexican" for supper. :)

Simple joys, really - little ways to stay connected to our Faith and all its lovely traditions. I just love this time of year ... it feels like an ending of one season and the beginning of another. And so it is - we're nearing the start of the holiday season as well as a new liturgical year ... and of course, the natural year is winding down swiftly as well.

Well my friends, I'll be off. I hope this week's been kind to you, and I wish you all a good day ...

See you here again very soon!

A Birthday Dinner for Bookworm :)

Dinner @ TH 4

Last night we took the older boys to a favorite family restaurant, in celebration of Bookworm's 17th birthday. I've been coming to this restaurant for special dinners since I was a little girl, so it's more than just a really good meal - it's a place where many fond memories were made. Both Bill and I said last night we felt my grandparents, especially, were "with us" in spirit ... they loved treating family and friends to a special meal here. And oh, how they would have enjoyed treating these boys ... they truly savored the whole experience!

So Nana (my mum) came over to have dinner with Earlybird and Bill and I headed out with the older two ... we were just a few minutes ahead of this crazy storm:

Dinner @ TH 7

As we arrived at the restaurant, the skies opened up and we just made it inside ... where there were fireplaces going, and soft candlelight. So very cozy!

Here are the boys with their salad courses: Crackerjack's is nothing but lettuce, while Bookworm's has just about everything on it!

Dinner @ TH 10

And here is Crackerjack with me ...

Dinner @ TH 11

And Bookworm with Bill ...

Dinner @ TH 9

Lol, I think my wine glass is present in each and every picture! I truly savored this glass, though ... it's a Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon.

Dinner @ TH 3

The food, as usual, was fantastic. We don't go out to eat much at all - for one thing, it's expensive (and we do live on one income) and for another, we have a special needs child so restaurants are not always easy for us. But a few times a year we do treat ourselves, and most of the time it's here. It's hard to pick anywhere else because the food is always excellent! And as I said above - this place is so special to us. :)

In the top picture you see Bookworm with a lava cake they brought out to him (a lovely courtsey). He shared that with CJ and enjoyed that very much - but he still ordered (and almost finished) his favorite dessert: a Swiss Chocolate Bread Pudding au Caramel. (And yes, it tastes as good as it sounds!)

When we left the restaurant, the skies were starting to clear, and look what we spied!

Dinner at TH 14

And a little further up the road, we saw the full rainbow - and it was complete!

Dinner @ TH 12

I don't think I've ever seen a complete rainbow before!

So it was a very nice night, and now I think the birthday celebrations have come to a close. (Though Crackerjack leaned over at Mass and whispered in my ear: "Hey Mom, it's St. John's birthday - are you making a cake?" Lol, I probably will.)

We have more summer birthdays to look forward to - several famliy members enjoy summertime birthdays, including Bill in July and Crackerjack in August. Will we end up at our favorite restaurant again? We just might!


Well, my friends, I hope you are enjoying a nice weekend. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing in our joy. I hope you enjoy the rest of your Sunday ...

I'll see you again very soon!

Friday Felines ...

 (Plus a few other things.)

Well, I couldn't let a Friday go by without posting a few pics of my fellas! They've been in mighty high sprits today (they must sense it's a Friday), and as I type up this post, Archie is furiously batting a pencil around the kitchen floor, while Ollie is staring down the dishwasher, which is currently operating in "heavy wash" mode - quite exciting. (You all know how he feels about the dishwasher.)

So here are a few recent photos of my kitties, in all their marmalade glory. :)


Archie, asleep in the front window.


Archie, the "school mascot."


Ollie, helping me arrange flowers.


Archie, striking a pose.


Ollie, helping me make the bed.

(Why yes, I keep my camera with me when I make the bed ... don't you?)

Now, the next few photos are just a few random things from today, things that looked pretty and made me smile ...

First is an illustration from one of my favorite childhood books, Oh, What a Busy Day! by Gyo Fujikawa.


Isn't that just the coziest snow scene?

(If you're not familiar with Gyo Fujikawa books, and you have little ones in your life ... you simply must check them out! Your library probably has plenty of copies - there are bajillions of them, and they've been around since the 60s or 70s. They are just the sweetest little storybooks, filled with happy, homey thoughts and cheerful illustrations.)

Next is my journal - I worked in it a little today. :)


Random clippings from here and there ... some Downton Abbey news, a spiced orange cocoa recipe, a winter car checklist and kitchen inspiration.

And finally, a couple of bright little primroses.


Buying primroses at the market is a January must-do!


So, it's late afternoon here now, just a few hours till the weekend ... any big plans on the horizon?

I hope to finalize my calendar designs, ink them up, and then start printing out pages. I'm anxious to get this project to the copy shop, but I'm really trying to take my time through the whole process.

And Sunday brings The Feast of the Epiphany so we'll write a blessing over our doorway, and have something special to eat after Mass. :)

Sunday also brings a new season of the aforementioned (and much discussed) Downton Abbey (!), a well as a new episode of Once Upon A Time, an ABC show we enjoy watching with the boys. We also got our Netflix movie in today's mail ... this time around it's Zookeeper. Not sure what it will be like, but the kids absolutely loved Mall Cop, another Kevin James film ... so we shall see!

So I guess I'd better wrap up, and get myself back to "work," lol ... I have pizza dough relaxing on the counter, and there are veggies to chop ... though I must admit, I'm finding my chair oh-so-comfortable right now! Maybe just a few more moments, then ... I have the new Williams-Sonoma catalog by my side, and there's a little more tea in my cup ... plus the sun is setting and the sky just looks so lovely. Truly, the top half is all mottled with fast-moving clouds and the space right above the treeline is streaked with purple and pink ...


And so another Winter night wraps around us ... cold, dark and quiet ... windows glow with welcome, headlights turn down the road, and soon we're all together again. The comforts of home are never quite so comforting as they are on a Winter's night - would you agree?

So, my friends, I'll be off now, but I do wish you all a most pleasant evening and I thank you for spending a little of your time here with me ...

See you all again very soon!

Friday Photos

Sorry I haven't had much time to post this week! It certainly was a busy one, and I, for one, am really glad it's the weekend! :)

So ... any big plans for you and yours? Tomorrow we've got soccer playoffs (did I mention our team earned first place this year?!), a few errands to run and many to-do's to get done ... and then the next day is Pentecost Sunday. If it's a nice day (the forecast is iffy right now) we hope to cook-out. And I might be persuaded to bake something nice. :)

Here are a few pictures from the memory card this week:


Storms moved through just about dinnertime last night.


A slightly blurry, but beautiful, damselfly resting on our herb plants.


Bill spied this handsome brood as he pulled into his office parking lot yesterday.


A Friday task: neatening the pocketbook, readying it for running errands.


Our William Shakespeare rose bush.

Well, I'm off for now ... I hope you all had a nice week, and I also hope you enjoy a safe, happy weekend. See you all again very soon!


Eerie Light, Wicked Night ...

... but a beautiful Ascension Day morning.


We had quite a night here in Massachusetts, with some areas faring much worse than others. Severe storms were rampant across the area, but the real trouble came from multiple tornadoes that tore through the state, causing destruction and death (four confirmed, God rest their souls). We only saw heavy rain, hail and high winds here, but it was a scary evening, I tell you. My prayers this morning are with the people of Springfield and its surrounding towns. The governor has declared a state of emergency and I think many are just in shock; wild weather like this is not the norm for New England.

The picture above was actually taken last night around 8 p.m., just before a final band of storms passed through. The light that flooded the sky was so strange and yet eerily beautiful - a luminescent and pale peachy-gold.


And now it's absolutely beautiful here this morning - clear, dry, fresh. In fact, the next several days promise to be near perfect. I feel very fortunate that I'm looking out at a quiet street, pretty lawns, and solid trees - but my heart goes out to those whose morning does not feel so safe and secure, and especially to the families of those who were lost.

I hope you all have a nice Thursday, my friends. Giving thanks this morning for many things ... including thanks to all of you for stopping by!

Friday Photo


Well, it was a very busy day for the Sun & Candle household -  hence no morning post! - but I had to stop in to say goodnight, and to show you all the pretty winter sunset that greeted me as I left my hairdresser's this evening.

(You have to give Winter credit - it definitely presents the prettiest sunsets all year.)

I wasn't sure the picture would come out, since I took it at such a distance (and through power lines, no less) - but of course, I had to try. Once home I uploaded the shot and asked aloud of Bill and the boys (busy heating up leftovers for supper) ...

"Do you think this picture came out good enough to post on my blog?"

Crackerjack, without missing a beat - without even a peek! - responded:

"Mom, any picture you take is good enough to put on your blog."

Well, how sweet is THAT?


I hope you all had a nice day ... any big plans for the weekend? Will you be watching the Superbowl? Any yummy "game time" recipes to share?

We're expecting (big surprise) messy weather tomorrow, so I'm going to try to run my errands early ... not sure when I'll post again, but it won't be too long.

Thanks so much for stopping by ... I hope you all have a nice night. See you again sometime soon ...

A late day moment ...


I was bustling around the kitchen when Crackerjack called my attention to this afternoon's vivid winter sunset. He thought it looked especially "dramatic" viewed through the "wicked" icicles that hang off the house.

A very wintry view, indeed.

Have a lovely evening, dear readers. We're expecting guests in about an hour. Looking forward to a night of friends, pizza and fun ... 

See you all again sometime soon!


Fish, Ninjas and a Very Pretty Sky

 (Our Sunday @ Home)


Well, I had thought we'd be entertaining this weekend, but those plans didn't pan out, so instead it was a quiet, homey couple of days.

The skies were breathtakingly bright ...


... but the air was bitterly cold! (Apparently tomorrow will bring the coldest temperature we've seen in six years!)

We worked on a little craft that went along with today's Mass ...


... a basket full of foam fish in the cool shades of the sea. This week we'll be writing names down on our "fresh catch." :)

And here's another "craft" I "whipped up" today ...


Lol, Crackerjack has been so into ninjas lately - ever since Lego introduced "Ninjago," a new line of building sets and a weekly television show, to boot - and he's been after me to make him a *white* ninja mask. I finally googled instructions and found a neat site showing how to Make a "Ninja Mask" out of a T-shirt.  It sounded easy enough - and it was! He was very happy with the results.


(Back to work on Lego Digital Designer.)

Bill called my attention to a gorgeous woodpecker outside Earlybird's bedroom window. (I think this one's a Hairy, not a Downey.)


And then, following up on the "fishing" theme, I baked a cake for our Sunday dessert:


I tried a new recipe for this - it came from the back of the King Arthur Cake Flour box. A "Tender White Cake" made with yogurt, egg whites, and natural vanilla as well as almond flavor. It rose beautifully in the oven and the taste is absolutely divine.

Bookworm's pretty excited to sample the Swedish fish - now that he's sans braces, he's able to try gummy candy like this. Once in a while, of course. ;)

And now for a couple of sunset shots ...


... taken on our way home from leaving my van off at the dealer.


It's almost like the sun burns brighter for us at this time of year.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. They go by much too fast, don't they?

Have a good night, my friends - keep warm and stay well - and I will see you all again very soon. :)

Fire in the Sky


Ok, so I've been going a little overboard on the sunrise/sunset pictures lately, but there's just something SO spectacular about the "crepuscular" sky in Winter!

What drew my attention to the blazing dawn this morning, as I sat here with my coffee, watching "Wild Kratts" with my Earlybird, was EB himself ...

"Fire! Fire! It's on FIRE, Mama!!"

He yelled, as he pointed through the sliding doors that lead onto the deck.

Having been here before, I knew he was most likely referring to the sky and not a real neighborhood emergency, lol. I took another sip of coffee before grabbing my camera and snapping a few shots ...

... including some of the gigantic icicles hanging off the back of our house!


It's like we live in an ice castle (or maybe cottage) these days!

This would be a great weekend to A. go sledding and/or play in the snow, B. make hot chocolate and popcorn, and C. watch these movies while munching on said apres-snow treats.

In the midst of all this snow and ice, Spring feels sooo far away ... but we're due for a little January thaw around this time of the month. A little melting before the next storm moves in would be nice ... but looking at the forecast for next week, I don't think we should get our hopes up!

Well, whatever your weather and whatever your plans, I wish you all a Happy Weekend!