A Christmas Meme!
The Loveliness of Advent

Odds and Ends

This is not a very coherent post, I'm afraid. There were just so many little things today that I wanted to mention - nothing of great importance and yet, I didn't get a chance to sit down and create a post around any one thing. And now it is getting late and we're all getting ready for bed, so I will weave a quick recap of the day - all those little stories gathered up into one rather long and rambly post. :)

Morning in the Garden

Very early this morning I went outside to fill the feeders. I try to get outside for 15 minutes or so before Bill leaves for work every day - and while he's inside shaving and dressing (and keeping one eye on the kids), I putter a little outside. I retrieve the paper from the end of the driveway and then head out back to check on the feeders. It's been kind of dark lately so I don't do much looking, but I do listen. I love this time of day; it's so simple and quiet. I can hear the crows off in the distance, the wind rushing through the woods and the chickadees scolding me to get on with it already and just fill up the feeders. :) I got to thinking about the upcoming Field Day and what this time of year means to me. I kicked around a few of my own thoughts and plans for the winter garden - the one I watch outside my windows and the one I carry in my heart until spring. Here are a few pictures:


Spruce branch - new cone buds, I think?


Tiny, withered but stalwart dandelion.


Eastern sky, from our deck, dawn.

My Christmas Kitchen

I am on a mission to make over my kitchen for the holidays. I'm not talking paint or hardwood or anything like that. I'm just talking clean countertops, baking space, merry music and good smells.

To that end, I spent an alarming amount of time cleaning in the kitchen today. In all the Thanksgiving rush I've kind of neglected a few corners, crooks and crevices of late. So I tore apart the windowsill which had accumulated a number of unrelated items (pencil sharpener, pumpkin pie spice, two marbles and a paintbrush for instance) along with a healthy (make that unhealthy) amount of dust. I polished the woodwork and I even took out the screens to clean them thoroughly. (That never happened however, they are still sitting in our tub!) Once the area was spiffy, I put up a few Christmas candles:


Candle light, burning bright ... help me wash my dishes tonight. :)

Next I tackled the lower corner cabinet - the one with the revolving shelves. This is where I store most of our canned goods and other pantry supplies (as well as, for some unknown reason, the crockpot and toaster). I found a small box of Hodgson Mills Cornbread mix so I cooked up some cornbread muffins for lunch. I also discovered 4 overripe bananas and 3 enormous butternut squash hiding in the baking pan cabinet. (I have no idea how they got there, though I'm guessing Earlybird had something to do with it.) I baked the squash for about an hour or so (split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and flesh lightly buttered). They came out pretty well!


I scooped out and mashed the insides and got quite a bowl-ful of squash! I will freeze it in baggies in 2 cup measures - just the right amount for my favorite quick bread recipe. I didn't get around to the bananas. If they are still viable I will bake them tomorrow - Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins is what I have in mind!

National French Toast Day!

I'm sorry I didn't post this earlier today so you too could incorporate French toast into your menu plan today, although it's possible you think serving French toast for dinner is a rather nutty idea! It is, yes, a bit nutty. But it is also delicious and fun! We make ours with whole wheat bread, organic milk and eggs and a dash of pure vanilla. To round out our meal I roasted chunks of apples and turkey kielbasa. Ooh, it was all so good.

Now you might wonder how I found about National French Toast Day - it being, I would guess, one of the lesser known American holidays. Well, this morning I found in my in-box, a charming e-newsletter from mystery author Susan Albert called All About Thyme: A Weekly Calendar of Times & Seasonings.  It sounded so informative and inspiring, I signed right up! True confession - I have not read any of Ms. Albert's books (though my mum is a big fan). I do have The Tale of Hill Top Farm (from the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter) on my bedside table ... where it has sat these many, many months. After the holidays, I will get through that book!

New Blogs to Read

I've been thinking about handcrafts and herbs a lot lately. (Not so much in the doing as in the wishing-I-was-doing.) Here are a few great websites I have been enjoying:

Our Homeschool Bulletin Board

I got our bulletin board all done at last! I will post all the details tomorrow. :)

One Last Thing

Oh and one last thing - little, but definitely not fun and possibly problematic. You remember how my husband is recovering from Lyme Disease? Yes, this would be the man who spent the whole weekend working in the yard raking and blowing leaves and this morning woke me up with the news that he had a deer tick attached to him. Oh, for pity's sake, didn't the frost kill the little buggers off? Apparently not. We removed the tick and he dropped it off at the lab for testing. And do you know he just finished his anbtibiotics course last week? Sigh ... any and all prayers would be most welcome!

And One Last Photo

This has nothing to do with anything, I just love it. I call it Boys in Leaves:


Bookworm (in purple) is underneath all this!

So there's the round up of odds and ends! I wish you all a good night and God bless!