Homemade Christmas: A Blessings Box
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Field Day: The Early Autumn Edition

"Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower." ~ Albert Camus

My, how quickly the year is turning! Every day brings us a new bouquet of autumnField_day_button_2_6 delights to enjoy. But with every passing day we are that much closer to the cold and quiet time of year ~a time when the world, both inside and out, slows down and catches its breath. Nature's last dance is its merriest ~ there's so much to see and to do! And as hard as it can be to slow down, nature needs this time of rest - and so do we!

What better time then, for another Field Day? A day to leave our desks and books behind and explore the beauty of the autumn landscape together? We've been both far afield and close to home and have lots of stories to tell! So lets spread out the blanket and pass the apples and cheese; it's time to open our Field Day journal again ...

And once again our journal pages are graced by Marcie's lovely nature photography. You will find her pictures all throughout my post. And I can hardly wait to add some new journal pages such as these - a wonderful suggestion made by Jennifer of St. Therese Academy!


A rainbow in Marcie's backyard ... beautiful!

Nature and children go quite naturally together, especially, it seems, when there are bugs involved! Many a squeamish mother has found a new appreciation for these tiny fascinating creatures - and all thanks to her children!

For instance, my friend Beth and her family spent a recent afternoon enjoying the company of a 5-inch praying mantis. I can't tell you how pleased I was that she quickly thought of me and called me to tell me the news! LOL - that one might think of me when they catch a really big bug is a true honor. :) Beth's boys had fun with the mantis (and I'll bet Mike and Beth did, too) and it seemed the critter didn't want to part with his newfound friends! Here is one of the photos they took:


He does seem quite friendly, doesn't he?

You might remember a while back we had quite a spider thing going on here at By Sun and Candlelight? Well, it was nothing compared to what Maria and the Tater tots and Ladybug gang have going on! Such an interesting spider story has been unfolding! And don't miss their other insect pictures (including a praying mantis and some dragonflies)!

Speaking of dragonflies (and damselflies), Krisann of Isla de Esperanza brought her family to a festival celebrating the insect order known as Odonata. They learned lots - including a lovely poem - and share it all with us!

Sometimes the best way to enjoy the connection between children and bugs is to listen to them tell the story themselves! (Meaning the children of course.) Mary Beth does just that in her charming post about caterpillars at Blossoms and Bees. Excellent tips, and a gripping story as well!

And, after a visit to a butterfly festival, Marianna of the S/V Mari Hal-o-Jen was inspired to learn more about a particular and popular butterfly, one she fondly calls Danaus plexippus - otherwise known as the Monarch!


This one Marcie caught on camera - such color!

Moving higher up the food chain, snakes are also making their autumn debut here and there. I remember my dad showing us garter snakes in our yard when I was growing up. I certainly had little or no fear of them then. How do I feel now? Well, I'm not sure, but I did find the following posts quite enlightening!

The gang at Cay's Cajun Cottage has found all kinds of evidence of snakes in their yard - and that evidence is really something! Leave it to the boys and the dogs to sniff out the signs. :) JoAnna of Parente Adventures also has a few snakes in the yard and a couple of neat pictures to share! Meanwhile, Susan of Chicken Spaghetti recounts a few snake adventures of her own and recommends a book for beginning readers. I truly appreciate Susan's suggestion, for when it comes to snakes, I think a book is just my speed. :)


Oooh, baby cardinals - what a shot!!

Who can think of fall without their thoughts quickly turning to the orchard - all glistening and golden in its autumn beauty?

Here's another post from Cay's Cajun backyard - and this one about a more pleasant discovery! A pear harvest of their very own - what a gift! I can almost smell them! Oh, how I wish I could try a piece of that pie. :)

Lindsey's family at Just Enjoy the Journey is having plenty of orchard fun too - and learning all about apples while they're at it! What says autumn better than little hands wrapped around gleaming apples? Lindsey has many delightful ideas for stretching this special time of year across the curriculum.


This has to be the cutest bunny I've ever seen.

Forming a close relationship with nature, I firmly believe, begins right outside our very own back doors, as well as right within our very homes! This is the heart of nature study. It's great to spend time outside, but its just as important to foster a sense of joy in the seasons. That joy will lead to a spark, that spark will form a connection and the next thing you know you're all in the thick of it!

Karen spent a lovely afternoon Introducing the World to her toddlers - no further from her back door than a few steps. And all they really needed were a few weeds to consider - a sweet early nature study lesson for her wee ones. :)

What joy there is to be found in a garden - especially one made in honor or our Blessed Mother. Meredith and family of Sweetness and Light created a beautiful fall container garden for the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. What a meaningful activity for her children; what a lovely spot to spend an autumn afternoon, reflecting on the seven sorrows of Mary!

Margaret, my favorite Minnesota Mom, also explores the joys of the autumn Feast days. Her post encompasses many of autumn's brightest blessings - in nature, faith and home - and she offers us many wonderful ideas, links and recipes to celebrate!

I would follow Elizabeth's Real Learning reading lists anywhere - especially one tailor made for autumn reading! I can say it no better than she does here: "My goal was to acquaint my children intimately with the natural world near our home and to develop a love for natural history writing and illustrations. Perhaps more importantly, I wanted to embrace with them the world God created for us, to be inspired and to rest in the comfort and splendor there." Now see, Elizabeth, this is why you inspire so many.

Angel's family at Three Plus Two celebrated the first day of fall with a beautiful morning of art! Their mural is stunning - the epitome of autumn expression. Angel also shares a few more nature craft ideas!

Jennefer of Three Sons and a Princess captures the essence of autumn in her post filled with fond memories of her favorite season. And isn't that the best way to instill a love for nature's seasons in our children - to share with them all the joys to be had? This fall will truly be most special for Jennefer's familiy. Such a blessing, indeed.


Yes, he's real - sunning himself in sunny Louisiana!

Of course once we do step outside, there is just so much to see and do! The possibilities are endless. Some of us have the good fortune to experience nature by the water!

Violet's Promptings explore one of the first signs of the season in her area - the return of Merganser ducks for the winter. And now I ask you, what creatures are cuter than otters? I once saw some in California many years ago on a family vacation out west. Violet shares several photos of a mother and baby otters feeding on the edge of a river. (Click here, here, here, here and here!)

Dana of Principled Discovery took her children to a gorgeous saline marsh recently to do a little nature journaling and enjoy all the shades of fall. Well, in Nebraska, it turns out the primary shade of fall is yellow - which happens to be my favorite, btw - so Dana, I think you are very lucky indeed! Especially to live in such a beautiful area!

O.K., this is a little bit self serving, but the other day my husband took over the reigns here at BS&C to blog about his recent whale watching experience! He really enjoyed the trip - and I was amazed at how much he had learned about whales!


A newly emerged viceroy butterfly - lovely!

The signs of the seasons are always abundant in the woods - perhaps even more so in the autumn. Between the flora and the fauna there is something to see and hear at any given moment - whether you're deep in a forest or just in the wooded area behind your home. Find a nearby nature trail to follow and you're in a for a real autumn treat.

Marjorie of Lettres de mon Moulin takes us on a fungi hunt! Wonderful specimens may be found underfoot in the autumn woods. Look carefully! Marjorie has provided excellent information and links for those interested in this magical mycology.

Jennifer and family at As Cozy as Spring just returned from a camping trip to New Mexico! Together with her daughter, Jennifer came up with a personalized alphabet reflecting all the wonders they came upon! Hiking and camping are terrific autumn activities - I'd say A is for awesome, Jennifer!

Theresa and her Lapaz Farm gang always have the neatest nature study going on, no matter the season, and today is no exception! Wait till you see all their interesting tree-study activities! It was a full day, for sure!

And last, but certainly not least, Valerie of Barefoot and Pregnant shares a beautiful post all about Buckeyes and Hickories - and the FUN she and her children have had with this woodland adventure!  And Valerie, those feeders look promising - keep us updated!

Remember Marcie's hummingbirds? Here are more!


The woods are full of fairies;

The sea is full of fish;

The trees are full of golden leaves;

Let's make an autumn wish."

~ Anonymous

What would my autumn wish be? Oh, perhaps just to have a chance at a real Field Day such as this - filled with good friends and all of autumn's bountiful blessings! Thank you SO much to all who participated in this latest adventure!

I do hope you all have enjoyed hearing about our day - there will surely be another one before too long. Perhaps you'll have some mid-autumn nature to share in our next Field Day? :) Please let me know - and I'll let you all know when the next Field Day ~ The Mid-Autumn Edition will be!