The Moon Feed

Reds and Greens and Orange and Blue ...πŸ‚

(And yellows and browns and black!)

Happy Friday, my friends! Here's a little bit of Autumn from my home & garden to yours ... πŸ’›


















Autumn is truly settled in around here as you can see - inside and out! The weather has been just glorious, as it tends to be in New England at this time of year: brisk, bright and OH the colors! Although ... we are expecting a brief return of summery weather this week - 80s even! - but since St. Luke's Day is this Tuesday, I'm not one bit surprised. ;)

Why you might wonder? Well, have you ever heard of St. Luke's Little SummerAccording to The Old Farmer's Almanac ...

Lovely, summerlike days that occur around October 18 are called St. Luke’s Little Summer in honor of the saint’s feast day. In olden days, St. Luke’s Day did not receive as much attention in the secular world as St. John’s Day (June 24) and Michaelmas (September 29), so to keep from being forgotten, St. Luke presented us with some golden days to cherish before the coming of winter, or so the story goes. Some folks call this Indian Summer, but that officially occurs between November 11 and November 20.

This brief warmup may be unseasonable, but it will be nice ... because any day we can throw open our windows and spend time outside comfortably is a gift. Dark and gray days are coming, I am ever aware! I can feel my internal clock slowing down, taking its cue from the world around me. The crickets are still chirping but more slowly, and the breeze is a noisy rustle as crisp leaves shake from their branches and head for the ground. I don't mind this slowing down though - in fact, I relish it. It's all part of life's rhythm and, after all, we humans are part of that great cycle, even if we can ignore it with all our modern conveniences! I feel it's a good thing to embrace the season's changes ... I've been turning more of my attention to the inside of our home (and the inside of my head), concentrating on domestic comforts and inner lights - cooking, reading, writing, planning, nesting ... preparing my family for the long winter ahead.

Anyway, speaking of domestic appreciation, here's my dinner menu for the coming week. It's been way too long since I've shared this (and to be honest, it's been too long since I've been consistent with meal planning)!

S - (Full Hunter's Moon) Hunter's Stew (A chicken-sausage/sundried tomato dish served with rice - one of Bill's specialities!)

M - (Practice night) Baked ziti, meatballs, garlic bread, salad

T - (St. Luke's Day) - Burgers on the grill, corn-on-the-cob, farmstand salad, fries

W - (It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on TV tonight!) - grilled cheese with tomatoes and ham, chicken soup, apple-pumpkin dump cake & steamed almond milk w/spiced pumpkin marshmallows

T - meatloaf, roasted multi-color carrots, stir-fried broccoli & whole grain rice

F - (Practice night & Bookworm home for the weekend!) - crescent dogs, baked beans & brown bread, tater tots

S - (Family Anniversary Lunch) - leftovers since we'll be eating a big lunch!

Well I guess I'd best wrap up now, as this post is getting rather long ... but as always I thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend and would love to hear how your autumn is unfolding if you have a chance. In an upcoming post (hopefully sometime this week) I will give you a tour of my new desk and chat a little about how I'm keeping organized these days. I am also working every moment I get on the next set of seasonal planning sheets. I'm hoping to have Late Autumn pages available to you well before the end of the month!

Take care of yourselves and your loved ones, my friends ... see you here again very soon!

p.s. Don't forget to watch that moon rise tonight! πŸŒ

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 ...
πŸŒ› πŸŒ 🌜🌚

Masterpiece Monday: Indian Summers

Indian Summers

Anyone watching this?

Last night - with the Supermoon rising outside our window - we watched the premiere of Indian Summers, the newest Masterpiece Theater program ... and we were intrigued! A beautiful setting (India, Summer of 1932) and a cast of colorful, intriguing characters. I thought it might be fun to share our thoughts each Monday morning, just as we once did with Downton?

(Speaking of that moon - did you see it last night? WOW!)

Let me know what you think if you have a moment ... in the meantime, thanks for stopping by and I will see you again soon. In fact, this afternoon I have a dinner menu post to share! I finally got a weekly plan in place and I will share it with you later today. :)

Be well and take care!

Favorite Resources for Seasonal Planning

Seasonal resources

Hello my friends, and Happy Thursday!

I hate to wish time away, but I do love the promise of a new week! So on Thursdays I try to schedule myself an "office hour" in order to sit down and look at "what's what" for the coming week. So today, as I was combing through some of my favorite seasonal resources (searching for a dragon bread recipe for Michaelmas next week), I remembered that a few folks have asked me to share a list of said resources. So below I've done just that ...

The Catholic Home

Baking Bread with Children

All Year Round

Festivals, Family and Food

Ceremonies of the Seasons

Vintage Notions

Mrs. Sharp's Traditions

A Child's Seasonal Treasury

Book of the Seasons


The New England Butt'ry Shelf Almanac

China Bayles' Book of Days

A Book of Feasts & Seasons

Catholic Traditions in the Home & Classroom

The Nature Connection

A Continual Feast

The Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady

The Ancient Celtic Festivals: How We Celebrate Them Today

The Catholic Parent's Book of Feasts

In addition to my books, I also rely on old journals, some magazines, a few websites and good ol' google when planning our family's seasons. There's more information and inspiration out there than one could possibly need in a lifetime! The trick, I think, is identifying what will click with YOUR family at THIS time, and knowing how to balance ideas with reality ...

Now, I've had most of these books for years, and I've read them so many times I could probably recite them in my sleep, but I still like to page back through them from time to time. Sometimes an idea pops out at me that perhaps didn't resonate before ... sometimes I just enjoy reading the words of someone who is enthralled with the same things as me. :)

When I'm brainstorming ideas for celebrating the seasons, I like to use a wide blend of resources - Catholic, Waldorf, Nature/Science, Home/Garden, New Age or Earth-based traditions. When I'm looking for seasonal ideas I don't worry if the author and I differ on fundamental life issues. In every year there are so many things to observe and honor in both the natural and liturgical season ... so I look all over for ideas ... you never know what will strike a chord! Obviously I do have many Catholic books since A. we are Catholic and B. we follow the Church calendar of feasts and observations ... but the rhythm of nature is embraced by people of all walks of life. Some folks are more attuned to that rhythm than others, but honoring nature is just being human - aware, interested, awed.

Anyhoo ... I was going over thoughts and ideas for October in general and next week in particular - which is such a busy week for my nature-loving, Catholic homeschooling family! We have a bunch of neat things coming up - a Full Hunter's Moon (a Blood Moon-Supermoon-Lunar eclipse to boot!), the Feast days of the Archangels (aka Michaelmas), St. Therese, the Holy (Guardian) Angels, and - AND - our family patron saint, St. Francis. Oh! And the new month of October begins, so don't forget:

Rabbit, Rabbit!

I won't try to do every last thing of course - the dragon bread may wait till next year - but I will certainly pick a few activities to plug into our week. I've been busy in my lesson planner, consulting my calendar and the weather app on my phone - looking at where we'll have a chance to get outside ... where we might have a chance to sit down and craft or bake or read a special book ... what we might pray over or talk about ... all those little moments that take some forethought and preparation, perhaps a bit of extra energy ... but have us looking back later on and saying ...

"Yeah, that was a really good week."

Well my friends, the night is now approaching and I'm taking too long to finish this post, so I'll stop here ... and hope I made sense. ;) But at least there's the book list! I'd love to hear about your favorite seasonal resources ... drop me a note if you have a chance!

In the meantime, as always, thanks so much for stopping by ... take care of yourselves and your loved ones ... I'll see you here again very soon!

Creating Seasonal Themes: Corn Week!

Corn 1
(Plus a bit of book news at the end!)

Happy Wednesday, my friends! Sorry I've been a bit out of touch lately ... we've had a lot going on here at the house these days!

We're gearing up for a new year of home learning, and we're getting Bookworm ready for his move back to BC, and we're starting Earlybird on a new, daily, home-based, fairly intensive, behavioral therapy. All very good things, but all things requiring a lot of time, energy and attention. (And did I mention, energy?) Also, as August winds down, we're trying to squeeze the very last drops of goodness out of this fast-fleeing season ... we'll have warm weather here for several more weeks, but for all intents and purposes, Summer pretty much ends after Labor Day.

So I thought I would share some of my notes for this week with you all! As I have mentioned before, I enjoy shaping my family's year by assigning seasonal themes to each week. This helps me weave in all the little comforts and joys of the season I might otherwise overlook. And though I really get into planning these themes out with all kinds of details, I try not to set my expectations too high. Because real life often runs over my plans, and a particular "theme" might not get explored very much ... so some years we might manage something small (a special recipe, perhaps) while other years we might go all out and really work that theme into our homeschooling and home life! Either way, I think it's always good to have a plan. And to be aware ... I think as seasons pass, the beautiful rhythm of the year truly wraps itself around my family however much attention we pay it. That is my end goal! :)

Anyhoo, this current week is devoted to the very timely topic of CORN. In New England (and I suspect, across much of the country) corn is in its peak season these days. Corn-on-the-cob is just heavenly right now - partaking daily is not out of the question - and cornstalks will factor into our home decorations in the coming weeks ...

But enough gabbing on my part! Here are some of my thoughts:

The Full Green Corn Moon will rise on Saturday, August 29th @ 2:35 p.m., and it's a Supermoon this month! We'll have to be sure to look for it after dark and plan a special farmstand supper - starring corn, of course! - for that night. 


We'll visit a local corn field ... we drive by it often and always marvel at its size. This time we'll stop the car and get out - observe the field, its sounds and smells. What wildlife is flying overhead or scurrying underfoot? What do we hear? (Is that the corn making that sound?) What can we smell? (Vegetation, earth?) How does the air feel right now? (Hot, humid?) Now, we won't touch these stalks because we don't have permission, but we might visit a local farm and ask to do just that. I'll see what our schedule allows and how much interest has been piqued. Before we go, we'll take pictures of the cornfield from various angles. 


We'll visit our favorite farmstand and buy plenty of ears of fresh corn. We'll ask where the corn comes from and how many ears they sell each day. We'll buy some to eat and some to use for exploration/activities ...

At home, we'll pile some ears on the table and take out our colored pencils and sketch pad: "Still Life with Corn!"


We''ll enjoy some nice books from the library all about corn:

Corn book 2

The Life and Times of Corn

Corn book 1


Corn book 3

Corn is Maize

Corn book 4

The Popcorn Book

Corn book 5

Raccoons and Ripe Corn

(These might be in a basket or set up as a display on a nature shelf.)


We'll play some pretty lullabies ... and discuss how/why corn was so important to Native Americans

Corn music

Under the Green Corn Moon (Native American Lullabies)

For craft day we'll make a corn husk candle - a small glass votive surrounded by corn husks with a tiny beeswax tealight tucked inside. That will look nice on our table! (We could also try making this or this ...)

Or we could try making a corn husk doll (and research the history behind it) ...

We will pop popcorn for snack ... and we might even make marshmallow popcorn bars for a tasty treat!

We might do a taste test: boiled corn vs. grilled corn. 

On baking day we will make a pan of corn bread, and serve it with honey butter.


We'll learn a poem called "A Green Cornfield" by Christina Georgina Rossetti. We'll add that poem to our nature journal, along with our pictures/sketches.

 The earth was green, the sky was blue:
I saw and heard one sunny morn
A skylark hang between the two,
A singing speck above the corn;

A stage below, in gay accord,
White butterflies danced on the wing,
And still the singing skylark soared,
And silent sank and soared to sing.

The cornfield stretched a tender green
To right and left beside my walks;
I knew he had a nest unseen
Somewhere among the million stalks.

And as I paused to hear his song
While swift the sunny moments slid,
Perhaps his mate sat listening long,
And listened longer than I did.


We'll consider "Kansas Corn Field," a painting by artist John Steuart Curry in 1933:

Corn 2


I also have notes for some Indian Corn activities but I'm not sure if I can get it at the nursery yet. Also, those might wait for a later week in the fall. This week is really more about fresh, or green, corn. :)

So there, in a nutshell (or a kernel!) are my simple ideas for celebrating the goodness of corn during this last week of August. Remember - they're all just possibilities! I can't imagine fitting them all in in any one given year.

How do you enjoy corn at this time of year? Perhaps you grow it yourself or have a favorite recipe ... let me know in the comments below! In the meantime, and before I go, I wanted to mention my book briefly, because I've had a few people ask recently about how my progress is going ...

So, I have been working on it this summer - here and there, not as often as I'd like! - but it took me a while to get going because I wasn't entirely sure WHAT I wanted to write about. I have a few subjects I enjoy very much and there are a few topics people ask about more than others ... well, I finally found my focus! And that enabled me to get rolling ...

I am going to do a book about the file crate system - describing how I do it (and why) and the basics of setting a system up for yourself. That will be the first half of the book ... the second half will focus on seasonal learning (and living) ... and how I use my FCS to manage my family's year. So my hope is to have an outline of 52 (weekly) *seasonal* themes to present  along with activities and books and observations. And tips for using the folders to make it all happen! (Or most of it ... some of it ... well, you get the picture!)

Sometimes when I describe this it all sounds so straight forward and simple - these are my two favorite topics, after all! It seems like the two sides of the equation should work well together ... I need the folders to make the plans happen! But it's possible I may need to separate the two topics ... goodness knows I can get wordy!

(Case in point, this post.)

I will most likely be self-publishing so I'll need to do a WHOLE lot of research into that. I have my eye on a neat contraption that will allow me to bind things at home ... and I am looking into permission for using things like scrapbook papers and poems, illustrations, etc. 

Much to do, much to do! But I'm excited ... so I wanted to update you all .. and I will of course keep you all posted. For the time being, if you have a prayer to spare, or good energy to send, I would be grateful ... I'm desperately trying to find the time in my new schedule to just ... get 'er done!


Thanks so much for stopping by my friends ... enjoy the rest of your Wednesday and I will see you here again very soon!

Friday Bits & Bobs ~ Summer Days

Happy-almost-Weekend, my friends!

I just have a few things to share with you today ... some pretty late summer images I thought you'd like to see. (Ack, did I say, "late" summer? Where has the time gone?)

Tickseed 1

This is tickseed (Coreopsis) that is growing abundantly in our front yard. I adore all that yellow, and boy, the bees love it too!

August paper 1

 More yellow - this is the August scrapbook page in my homemade weekly planner. Isn't it pretty? I think sunflowers are a perfect symbol of August ...

(And by the way, Tanya asked me recently how I am using/liking that planner and the honest answer is - to be expanded upon in a future post - I do love it, but I don't use it consistently. And that's partly my fault - and partly the fault of the planner's layout. Luckily I never filled all the pages out so I can re-work them from August forward. So I have been re-tooling the design because I need it to act more as a theme book and less of an agenda ... a place for sketching out ideas and activities (live-love-learn) but not necessarily appointments and household events. But more on all that soon!)

Archie and book 1

What could be cozier than a cat curled up in your lap as you read a good book while a storm rages outside? Archie times his visits well - when the toddler is sound asleep for a good hour or more!

Morning glory blossom

The first morning glory blossom on our lamppost vine ... pretty in purple. Not sure what's going on with the leaves there, but something is finding them very tasty!

Grasshopper in grass 1

One of those gorgeous grasshoppers I mentioned in an earlier post. Thy are such interesting creatures ... you'd never guess what they look like sitting still after you've seen them in flight.

Riley takes pics 4

And finally, this is a "selfie" from the other day - my younger boys and I, sitting in the sunroom, watching as storms pass over. Earlybird, who as many of you know, is autistic, used to have a strong aversion to picture-taking ... but lately he's not only been open to it, he's even requested it!

Well, my friends, I hope you all have a great weekend ... I will be hammering out those ed. reports with intention to finish and mail them bright and early Monday morning. (Taking a brief break for a haircut! Boy-oh-boy do I need one ...) And once I have the reports out of the way I will focus on my new day-book and sharing with you all how I'm using it ... and big-picture, school year planning ... as well as my binders! Must talk about binders ...

I get so geared up to get organized at this time of year, don't you?


See you here again very soon ...

p.s. Don't forget to look for the Full Blue Moon tonight!

Signs of ... well, not spring exactly, but ...

 With all the snow melting this week - thanks to the January thaw - we've discovered a vernal pool in the front woods! (Or what we hope is a vernal pool - there was definitely no water here last summer and fall ...)

Icy creek 2

Icy creek 4

 I am so excited to think we might hear peepers in our front yard this spring!

How's the weather where you are? Are you, like me, pining for spring? It's dangerous to start "pining" in January ... we really have quite a ways to go.

Another quick nature note: be sure to look for the Full Wolf Moon tonight - interestingly, it's a "micro-moon" as explained here. It will be the smallest full moon of the year.

Well, I hope you're all having a good week ... see you here again very soon!


Weekly Bits of Domestic Bliss

VH nest 1
Of Note

Mum's birthday (26th), Cyber Monday (26th), A Charlie Brown Christmas on ABC (28th), Full Beaver Moon (28th), Feast of St. Andrew, Patron of Scotland (30th), B&N Educator Discount Day (1st), First Sunday in Advent (2nd)


Quite chilly, in the 40s - mostly sunny. Flurries on Tuesday.

Beautiful bittersweet vines growing alongside the river out back.

Make plans (themes/practical considertations) for winter nature walks.

Watch for the full moon Wednesday night.


Put up Christmas decorations.

Do outdoor lights/decorations.

Begin online Christmas orders.

Organize boys' holiday outfits, haircuts.

Dinner Menus:

M - pesto pasta, crescent rolls (boys' fave), leftover meatballs

T - meatball/tortellini soup, garlic rolls

W - pulled chicken salad wraps, leftover soup

T - taco potatoes (ground turkey), fiesta salads

F - homemade pizza night, raw veggies/dip

S - *takeout*

S - pork roast, potatoes & squash, apple-cheddar muffins

Desserts: Scottish shortbread, oatmeal-fruit cookies, peppermint-brownie sundaes (Sunday Sundaes)

Dear Baby ...

(14 Weeks)

I felt you move for the first time on Thanksgiving morning! Oh my, what a wonderful feeling!

Feeling much less nausea these days! Just a little when I take my prenatal vitamin and sometimes around suppertime.

Keeping to home as much as possible - a quiet schedule helps my energy level!

Earlybird has noticed Mama's belly, but when he asked "What's wrong with your belly?" and I answered, "Well, it's getting kind of big, isn't it?" he simply shrugged and said, "Yeah, wow!" Nothing else, lol.

Learning Themes:

Waiting for Winter

"Animals of Christmas"

Work on using nice language - how we speak matters.

Christmas "food shopping" lists with EB.

Excited About ~ Working On:

A simple, peaceful Advent ~ reducing noise and clutter, both visual and auditory.

Bill set up "Classical Christmas" music for me on my phone - I park it on the kitchen counter with little speakers ... soothing background music for this time of year.


Bring home the tree this weekend!

Address/stamp Christmas cards.

Watch Take Peace: A Corgi Cottage Christmas (on loan from library).

Brainstorm "teacher gifts" with the boys.


Happy Tuesday, my friends! I hope your week is off to a great start! I apologize I am so behind on comment replies ... I will be catching up over the next few days. (I always seem to think I have much more time (and energy) than I actually do!) I truly appreciate the time and thought you put into your messages. :)

Well, have yourselves a good day ... I will see you here again very soon!


Friday Photos: Farm, Food & a Full Moon

Happy Friday, my friends!

Here in the States it's Labor Day weekend, also - and perhaps less fondly - known as the last summer weekend. (I'm actually thrilled - this is my favorite weekend all year!) Bill has some time off from work, so I was able to run out on my own this morning to get some pre-weekend errands done.

My first stop: our local farm, where this sunflower field caught my eye ...

Brooksby sunflowers

Isn't it lovely?

But my farm business today was all about these beauties ...

Green tomatoes 1

Fifteen pounds of green tomatoes, just the right amount for picalilli!

(I love to make picalilli at this time of year - my mum and grandma and I used to do this together and it holds many fond memories for me. And we all love picalilli served with our favorite fall suppers ... pot roast, meatloaf, sour cream chicken, etc.)

I'll blog about the process on Monday - I'm still gathering all my supplies. :)

Next up: a quick stop at the bookstore, where I treated myself to a quick bite to eat ...

Barnes & noble breakfast

A slice of quiche (delicious but very rich) and my first cup of pumpkin spice latte - they just started serving it yesterday! (And it was as yummy as I remembered.)

Now, this picture I took last evening ...

August blue moon

I'm awful at night photos, but I had to share this ... it's the waxing Blue Moon which will truly be full tonight. (It's not actually blue in color, but rather, it's rare because this makes two full moons in one month.) Be sure to watch for it rising this evening!

And August sure is going out in style ... the weather is quite hot today, 90 some-odd degrees, windy and dry. Tomorrow brings the first of September and, according to the forecast, some wonderful weather ... sunny and highs in the 70s! We are hosting Crackerjack's (rescheduled) birthday party tomorrow so that sounds just about perfect. :)

Well, my friends ... I'm off to get more things done on my list, but I wanted to stop in and share these thoughts and photos and wish you all a very happy weekend. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones ...

I'll see you here again very soon!


Midsummer Beauty

Midsummer 5
Midsummer 3

Midsummer 2

Midsummer 1

Midsummer 6

Midsummer 4

Yesterday was Midsummer's Day - also known as St. John's Day (the Birth of St. John). The weather was lovely and we spent a good bit of time outside ... I roamed the yard taking pictures of this and that. Above we have a tea rose blooming at sunset ... my pink and orange coneflower plants  ... an abandoned bird's nest ... the tiny bunny who calls our yard home ... and the Midsummer Eve moon - a milky crescent perched high in the western sky.

Today brings a gray and mild morning ... it feels nice, actually - the soft breeze coming through my window as I type up this post. Heavy rain will be arriving in a few hours - thunder and all - so we'll plan our day accordingly. How I enjoy having the freedom to do that. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by, my friends - I hope you have a wonderful day! Take care of yourselves and your loved ones ... I will see you again sometime soon!


Did you see that moon?!

Full strawberry moon

We did, albeit briefly ... the skies cleared just long enough last night for us to get a good goggle. And wow, did we goggle - it was so huge and bright! And the clouds were just whipping over and past it ... it was like something out of a movie, I tell you. 

(And this picture does it no justice at all. But I had to at least get a shot to remember it by.)

And there will be a partial eclipse of June's full "Strawberry" moon very early this morning, so check it out if you can. We're in for a few days of driving rain so I think we got our one and only shot to see this spectacular full moon last night.


Well, my friends, Happy Monday! Hope your week gets off to a great start!

See you here again very soon ...


The Full Flower Moon ~ It's Tonight!

Moon flowersGood evening, my friends, and Happy Weekend!


I am popping on very quickly to tell you all (in case you didn't know), that tonight's full moon, "The Full Flower Moon" is the largest we'll see all year. (Something to do with how close the moon is to the earth, I think? But I'm not 100% sure, I'll have to get back to you ...)

If you have a moment (and clear skies) take a peek - I bet it will be quite a sight!

See you all again very soon!


Field Trip to the Farm!

Oh, what fun we had today!


This afternoon we attended a field trip to a local Audubon center. We hadn't been on a field trip in a while, so this was a nice treat for us all. What made it all the nicer ... Bill took the day off to join us, and drive us out to the farm in the RV!

And it was such a glorious day ... nearly 60 degrees and so bright and sunny. As usual, I took TONS of pictures, so I thought you all might like to see them. :)

Here's the entrance to the farm ...


And my guys heading down the path ...


First we hit "Bird Hill."


Where we saw ...


Crows, ravens, pheasants, hawks (as below) ...


... barred owls ...


(We called them, Sarah and Percy and Bill ... anyone know what book that's from? It's a favorite of ours.)

And finally, a great horned owl!


(I know it's hard to see through the grated fencing, but if you click on the photos they will open up and the birds should be easier to see.)

Next, we headed over to the sheep & goat barn ...


... where we met two little lambs who were born just today!


So precious ...




Inside this barn (all around the farm, actually), there was a lot of interesting info posted, like this lambing chart:


And this "Sheep to Sweater" display board:


Though the air was cool, the sun was quite warm. We were very glad we wore boots, because there was lots of mud ...


... and melting ...


And much dripping everywhere.


This is what 'early spring' looks like in New England!

Here are a few more farm animals we met ...

The rooster.


(Noisy fellow, he.)

The sow.


(Just two years old, and already a good mama.)

Some goats.


(These are the sun-loving youngins.)

Next we encountered a chicken on the path.


Quite free range, and almost friendly.

And here we have the Barn Cat.


Clearly, striking a pose.

And just look at these guys!


A flock of wild turkeys taking advantage of well-stocked feeders.

Earlybird was most fascinated by the farm equipment - the tractors, and harvesters and such - but we could just not get him to slow down for a photo! But I'm still going to post this one because it shows how tall Bookworm has gotten recently!


(If you remember, I'm 5'5." He's over 5'7" now.)

Next ... while Bill, Bookworm and Earlybird stayed with the larger group, Crackerjack and I headed up to the Audubon Shop with our friends ...


Such a delightful shop - a nature lover's absolute haven!


Well, I was weak of course, and bought a few things - with my member discount naturally! I bought a solar system place mat for EB, two new field guides (one for butterflies, another for dragonflies) and new nature journals for myself and the boys.

After saying goodbye to our friends, CJ and I headed back out. For a moment, we contemplated venturing down this intriguing path ...


But in the end, we stayed put and explored this neat solar-powered structure:





Very cool! 

More solar goodness:


And one more picture of me and my boys ...


It really was such a nice day. :)

And here's my "chauffeur," ready to escort his brood home ...


Once safely home, we set about our evening routines, and then a call came in from my friend, Kim. Kim (of coupon binder fame), was the one to organize this field trip, and she called me from the road to alert me to the rising moon!


I was so glad she did because I was not even looking outside, so caught up was I in all the "catching up." And what a nice way to end a very nice day ... standing outside in the cool (but not cold) dusk, watching the Full Sap Moon emerge in all its March glory ...

I feel so recharged after this day spent outdoors, in the "country," getting fresh air and reconnecting with friends we have not seen in a while. It makes me want to plan all kinds of fun spring outings ... my "Nature Club" wheels are now turning!


Well, I hope you all had a nice Wednesday ... wherever it took you. Thanks so much for stopping by ... have a nice night and I will see you all again soon!

Tuesday Tea ~ A Touch of Maple

Good Tuesday evening, my friends ...


... I hope you've all had a nice day!

 I took my tea on the early side today since, as I mentioned, I had a hair appointment at my usual "teatime." So right after getting the boys their lunch, I set about baking some muffins and then turned the kettle on ...

I decided to go with a "maple theme" today because the Full Sap Moon is on the rise this week. This month's moon is so named of course, because March brings maple sugaring season - and this is kind of a big deal here in New England. :) We like to visit sugarshacks and watch "sugaring" demonstrations at this time of year - there are plenty to choose from in the area. And of course it's time to lay in our syrup stores for the year - goodness knows we go through a lot!

March's moon, it's interesting to note, has also been called the Worm Moon, the Crow Moon as well as the Lenten Moon ... And I actually spied the waxing moon on my way home from the hairdresser's just now - hanging so huge and pale in the evening sky. Beautiful!

But back to my tea ...

If you notice, beside my cup of lightly spiced tea, there is perched a small maple sugar candy. My parents brought these back for us from Vermont, and I've kept them in the fridge for a once-in-a-while treat. And as for this week's "cup," this is actually a teacup and saucer from my wedding set! Bill and I chose "English Countryside" by Mikasa for our everyday china all those years ago. We liked the versatility of the creamy white color and the look of the raised bramble pattern. And though the bridal registry associate was simply appalled we decided to forego formal china, we assured her that between mothers and grandmothers we would not want for a more formal set someday. :)

These are the muffins I baked - Refrigerator Bran Muffins:


Just for fun (and flavor - because let's face it, bran muffins can be dull) I made up some maple butter one might spread inside ...


 ... or on top, if one so desires.

(The candy was a little bit over the top - but it made for a pretty shot.)


Well, it was a gorgeous day today ... bright and cold, with lots of melting going on. With temps in the high 50s tomorrow (and the 60s on Thursday!) the leftover snow really doesn't stand a chance.

Drip, drip, drip ... that's all I hear when things get quiet enough to listen.


Now, several of you have expressed concern - and sympathy - over my ruined planner. First of all, thank you for your kindness - and yes, I am upset that it got ruined. But I have to tell you, Crackerjack felt *so* badly about it, and he just kept saying he was sorry over and over. Of my three boys he is my "feeler" (and overthinker like his mama), and I knew HE knew how important my planner is to me. So I tried not to make a big deal out of it, because I knew he'd really take it to heart ...

So I'm choosing to look at this as an opportunity to be creative again and do a little (or maybe a lot of) calendar crafting. I'll be posting about this very soon ... as soon as I can get my hands on some new materials!


My friends, I must be off now as it's getting late, Bill's almost home and I have a supper to start. Nothing at all fancy tonight - just turkey-and-cheese panini, steak fries and tossed salads. (But oh, I must mention - that schnitzel was fabulous last night!)

So have a good night, everyone - take care and be well. I will see you here again very soon!


Tuesday Tea ... and Crafts with EB!

Good evening, my friends - and Happy Tuesday!

I meant to get this post up much earlier - and I did sit down at 4 (albeit briefly) - but then one thing led to another and I just had no time to work online. So here I am now, to share tea with you all ... as well as a few notes and photos from our day. :)


So my beverage of choice this week was Earl Grey, and as a snack I peeled myself a blood orange. Are you at all familiar with blood oranges? To be honest, I'm not all that fond of them - they are striking to look at, but I find them rather bland as citrus fruits go. And yet I get all kinds of excited when I see them at the market. They appear for a short time in the dead of winter (otherwise known as February) and for me, it's like a little ray of hope that we're moving closer to spring. So I always buy a few to bring home to my family. The boys' reactions are worth the money spent anyways - "Blood oranges? Why are they called that?!" Lol. (Note ~ I bet the segments would be good in a winter compote blended with other citrus fruits and spices.)

And my mug today is part of a set of mugs and bowls made by my cousin, Marty. She's actually my mum's cousin so I'm not sure exactly what that makes us, lol! But she's a very lovely lady, and one summer we bumped into her at a craft fair; we were on the spectator side, she was a vendor. She had some beautiful pottery for sale, and I snatched up these blue and white speckled mugs. They're all shaped a bit differently, but they are all well sized. Excellent for tea or coffee. :)

Now, the big news for tonight is the rising of the Full Snow Moon - and actually, it's already done just that! Take a look in your sky right this minute! Isn't it gorgeous? 

And since Crackerjack had to miss my Mum's Superbowl cupcakes Sunday night, I decided to splurge and make the boys a special cake for tonight's dessert. 

EB and I call it "The Full Snow Moon Cake."

Full snow moon cake

He was ALL excited to make this with me, and honestly, it was more about mixing the colored frosting than actually eating the final results!


I had already frosted the cake with plain buttercream frosting but we set some frosting aside for the colors. (And by the way, as most of my readers know, EB is on a special diet - we avoid most artificial things like colors, flavors and preservatives. So for tinting frosting I use India Tree Nature's Colors. He seems to tolerate them well.)


Crackerjack - who is still on the mend - came over to take a peek at the proceedings. (And I must point out - in consideration of my morning post - that my sink, as you can plainly see, was a REAL hot spot today! *blush*)

Here's EB sprinkling our February full moon with snowflakes ...


Now, this was not so much a craft, as it was an impromptu science/nature study lesson. Bookworm and Earlybird "investigated" the state of the water in our yard. :)


And while they did their outside stuff, CJ rested and I started in on some candlemaking. (I think it's becoming an addiction, this candlemaking, lol.)

Now, EB and I had discussed making a "night sky" candle, one that we could light when the moon is full or if something really neat is happening in the sky. (Such as meteor showers or a planet appearance.) 

Unsurprisingly, I got a little carried away, but here's what we did ...


This side is the sunset - see the red sun at the very bottom?

(And see the extra help I had while doing this project?)


While EB painted his own project, I worked on the glass - but we chose the tissue paper colors together. (Trying to decide in what order the colors appear as the sun sets.)

He then decided the candleholder needed stars, so I let him have at it.


And here's the finished result!


See how the stars float up from the sun and into the sky? That was EB's idea. :)

And here's the moon side:


EB was quite proud of our creation!


Now, since I was in a real crafty mood, I decided to continue on and I whipped up this nifty little candle:


I am working on setting up a liturgical corner for the learning/sitting room and I thought it would be nice to have a candle just for this spot. So I used another battery-lit candle (like the one I used on Candlemas) and just glued on bits of tissue paper in liturgical colors - white, green, purple, red, pink and even blue for Marian feasts. I also added a small wooden cross (purchased in the wood section of my craft store) and embellished it a little with a golden doiley.


And ... voila!



Well, friends, that's all I have for now ... and I've certainly kept you here long enough! So I'm going to say goodbye ... But I do hope you all had a nice day ... and please let me know if you had a chance to "take tea" today.

Next week will be a "Valentine's Tea" theme, so keep that in mind! I'd love to have you all join me on that special day ...

In the meantime, please have a good night ~ Be well and God bless!

I'll see you again sometime soon ...


Did you all see that MOON?

Last evening, roundabouts suppertime, both Bill and my friend Kim called me from the road (Bill on his way home from work, Kim running errands) to alert me to the rising full moon. And what a flurry of activity it set off in this house!

At first we couldn't see the moon at all (it rises behind our woods), so every minute or two we'd drop what we were doing - this was very much a group effort - to check the sky. Picking up on the mounting energy, Earlybird thought he'd be funny and started "crying moon" every minute or so just to get us all running. The little scamp, lol. Eventually I threatened him with no dessert if he didn't cut it out. ;)

But finally we spied that unmistakable light behind the trees ...


I seem to always get "through-the-trees" moon shots, but by the time it hit the open sky the clouds had moved in for the night. It certainly was gorgeous though!

Tonight's another chance to see February's Snow Moon, as the moon becomes officially "full" today. No snow in the near future however - our forecast is for clear skies and SIXTY degrees!

(Yes, the windows will be open in this house today!)

Hope you all have a great day. I hope to be back later with something for Poetry Friday.