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July 2007

Themes and Plans for September

The days are stormy, the nights are steamy - it must be the end of July! Daisycircle

These are the days I like to take refuge in the cool (if not always quiet) of my shady home, sipping a glass of iced tea and delving into plans for the months ahead. I've already shared my dreams and schemes for August, but here are some thoughts on September:

Nature: Lingering summer, a first taste of fall ...

  • goldenrod ~ appearing alongside the road, a sure sign of summer's end
  • seeds ~ in so many forms - bristles, burrs, whirring helicopters, bursting wildflowers
  • milkweed pods ~ soft white fluff floating by
  • apples ~ ripe in the orchard at last
  • honey ~ It's National Honey Month!
  • bees ~ busily gathering the last bits of summer
  • Michaelmas daisies ~ tiny wild asters at the end of the month
  • The Autumn Equinox (23)
  • The Full Harvest Moon (26)
  • green tomatoes ~ clinging to withered vines
  • cool misty mornings, hot afternoons ...
  • a first tinge of color in the foliage
  • at the doorstep: chrysanthemums, cornstalks and kale

Food: Farmers Markets, Pantry Shelves and Bake Sales

  • applesauce ~ homemade, with just a touch of cinnamon
  • granola bars ~ just right for a soccer game or nature hike
  • baking days are here again!
  • picalilli ~ using up the last of the green tomatoes
  • alphabet soup ~ a must for lunch on the first day of lessons
  • blackberry jam tarts ~ before Michaelmas, not after
  • baked apples ~ a cozy breakfast on a chilly fall morn
  • the first Sunday pot roast
  • hand pies filled with the last fruits of the season
  • autumn shaped linzer cookes with homemade jam
  • homemade spaghetti sauce ~ fill up the freezer!
  • angel food cake ~ on the Feast of the Archangels

Faith: Ordinary Time continues ...

  • The Month of Our Lady's Seven Sorrows
  • The Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary (8)
  • The Feast of the Holy Cross (14)
  • Michaelmas/The Feast of the Archangels (29)


  • clean the kitchen thoroughly (well ahead of holiday baking)
  • organize art materials
  • set up pantry shelves/downstairs freezer
  • clean fireplace and check heating system
  • new shoes, slippers and pajamas for the fall
  • review chores and allowances
  • work on homemade Christmas gifts and orders
  • hang autumn garland and lights

Family Life:

  • Labor Day (3)
  • New academic year kicks off! (4)
  • New NFL season kicks off - Go Pats! (6)
  • Fall parish barbecue
  • Grandparents Day (9)
  • My grammar school reunion
  • (Not) Back-to-School Picnic
  • Planning meeting with homeschool support group

Stories: (Themes ~ harvest, homes, seeds, bees, apples, dragonflies)

Field Trips:

  • the farmers market
  • the orchard:
    • apple-picking
    • a harvest hayride
  • a building site
  • the library (get a card for whoever has come of age)


  • make leaf crowns and name the Autumn King!
  • make paper lanterns
  • dry apples and hang on a string
  • tell apple stories (find the stars inside)
  • nature puppet stories (based on backyard tales)
  • make up a fresh batch of homemade play dough
  • bake homemade pretzels
  • make a family handprint cross
  • make pinwheels on a breezy day
  • make felt library card pouches
  • make blackberry jam
  • plant spring bulbs in the garden
  • make harvest soup

So much to look forward to, as there is every year! What are some of your favorite things about the month of September?

Well, I'm going to start updating my sidebars soon (now that I've got my new template all set - I think!). I plan to put up some monthly book lists to begin with and then I'll see what else I can come up with. ;)

Have a lovely last day of July!

My Snow White Moment

Laugh (or perhaps cringe) if you must, but it is one of my fondest wishes to sit beneath my spruce tree and hand-feed a bird, a chipmunk or a little red squirrel. Well, today I nearly got my chance!

This picture below shows just how close this little fella came to the tips of my tennies:


I didn't technically hand-feed him, but I had scattered some seed on the ground right in front of me and he came as close as this and ate to his heart's content. I was not quiet - though I did keep still. As I watched, I carried on a conversation with Bookworm who was watching from a dining room window above. This went on for a good five or ten minutes! It was such a simple joy ... the cicada was buzzing off in the woods, the shade was cool beneath the evergreen canopy, and all these tiny creatures all around me.

There were four chipmunks in all, and they are truly amazing to watch up close! Their fur is beautiful, their tiny paws so clever, and their eyes so bright!

You can see below how he filled his pouches rather nicely.


I think keeping these windows open all the time (except in extreme heat when we use the AC) has helped normalize our voices to the little critters who call our yard home. I've noticed lately when I pass through the gate into the feeding area, the squirrels and birds don't rush off like they used to. They startle at the first creak of the gate, but often stay where they are and continue to feed as I fill the feeders. I talk to them quietly, feeling a bit like Snow White - though, no, I don't sing - as they watch me from a slight distance.

The chipmunks appear to be most trusting, though today as I sat there snapping pictures of the one above, I heard a small noise behind me. Bookworm said one of the gray squirrels had come up close behind me and sniffed me!

I also wanted to show you the lattice-work Bill put up beneath the dining room and family room additions:


Before he did, this area was open and I think this is where the neighborhood cats would lie in wait to pounce on some poor unsuspecting critter. I recently witnessed our neighbor's cat Fluffy get two birds within two days (a chickadee and a titmouse) and that was it. I asked Bill to put this barrier up right away to provide some form of protection for our little visitors.

I have to tell you, also, about our hawk sightings today; they were quite dramatic!

The first one happened on our way home from speech, when a large red-tailed hawk swooped in front of our van and landed on the side of the road. That in itself was amazing, but when he took off almost immediately again, we realized he was carrying - as we could see plainly - an enormous and dangling snake!! Goodness, the boys were whooping with excitement! (Poor snake, I thought, and I'm no fan of snakes.)

A bit later on, back at home, I was getting lunch ready and Bookworm was sitting by the windows watching the feeders, when he suddenly cried out and banged on the window. I ran over to see what it was: a HUGE red-tailed hawk (just like the one we had seen on our drive) sitting right outside our window in the spruce tree. After noticing a small white-breasted nuthatch frozen in fear near the base of the tree trunk, I clapped strenuously (hanging out the window a-ways) and he calmly sailed off into the hazy blue sky.

BW told me he had been watching the little red squirrel when the hawk flew down and almost snatched him but a nearby gray squirrel - get this - jumped on the hawk and seemed to bite at his wing! The hawk was not too ruffled by this; he just flew over a branch or two. By the time I had arrived at the windows, the squirrels had made a clean getaway. If it were not for that nuthatch stuck out in the open, I would have tried to get the hawk's picture, but you know, you've got to have your priorities!

Well, things have settled down now - the feeders are back to all business. As I type, I'm watching a downy woodpecker at the suet, a nuthatch at the seed cake, a gray squirrel in the tray, and the doves enjoying the spillage underneath ... all the while imagining my next "Snow White" moment. :)

A New (Old) Cookie Jar!


We're in the middle of a major re-construction of our basement, and as Bill works down there he finds all kinds of long-forgotten things and sends them upstairs with one of the boys to "ask mama if she wants to keep this." Well, late yesterday Bookworm came up to ask me about this familiar face - my grandmother's chicken cookie jar!

I haven't seen this in ages. It brings me right back to my grandparents' cool white kitchen with the brick red floor. To canisters filled with staples like sugar, flour and lollipops, and drawers filled with heaps of freshly laundered dishtowels. To the windows that looked east at the sunset and the heavy wooden stool perched just beneath the telephone. And to this chicken cookie jar, always filled with Nabisco Cameo cookies, which were not my favorite, but always tasted good washed down with a glass of milk.

(Cookie Update: My brother just called me to say that the cookies we ate at our grandparents' house were not Cameos as I thought, but Vienna Fingers. And right he is!Thanks, Matt!)

Grandma gave us her cookie jar long ago, but when we moved into this house (seven years ago this summer) we must have shelved it and completely forgotten about it! Well, later today I hope to have it filled with some cookies - possibly, some oatmeal-chocolate-chip. I have all the ingredients on hand and it's raining like crazy out there. Sounds like just the ticket, don't you think?

Oh, and say, how do you like the new blog colors? I'm still tinkering with the backgroud - it's not quite the pale periwinkle I'm looking for - but I like my new floral banner which seems to say "late summer" to me. :)

Have a great day, everyone!

What's in a Name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."


They're not roses, and I don't know how they smell, but they are still awfully sweet little flowers, don't you think?

My friend Heather sent me pictures of this pretty wildflower which recently sprung up in her garden. Niether one of us have any idea what it is, so I offered to post it here and see what you all think ...


So ... what do you all think? :)

A few things to consider:

  1. This plant is growing in New England.
  2. It is about 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall.
  3. The bigger leaves belong to Heather's peonies and hostas.

I hope someone can help us! Please leave a comment if you think you know the name of Heather's mystery flower!

Catching up with Questions

Some questions have popped up after a few recent posts, and I am attempting to round them up in little (or in this case, lol, not so little) posts. This morning, it's more about the journal. :)

After my last post, Elizabeth asked:

I have a question about your written journal. What do you do when it gets full? Do you store it away? If so, are they taking up a lot of space? Also, if you are pasting craft ideas that you find in your journal, how do you find them when you need them? I mean, if you remember a craft from 2 years ago, how do you find it?

When my journal is full, I wrap a rubber band around it and store it along with other retired journals. The bulk of them I keep under our bed in a plastic storage box, the most recent ones I keep on my bookshelves in the learning room.


As for finding ideas later, what I do is to revisit my journals at least once a year, to comb through the pages for timely ideas and inspiration. (I explain a bit more about that here.)

So, these days I am looking back over my journals from August through November, gathering ideas for the fall season ahead. (Yes, I count August as fall; late summer is just a prelude to autumn in my mind.) On my "fall planning page" I write down anything I see in the journals that I may want to remember this year.

Let's say I am poking through my August journal from last year and I come across a small blurb about the Perseids meteor showers, an annual astronomical event. Aha, I think, I completely forgot about that and yes, that is very much part of the rhythm of August - shooting stars in the late summer night sky.

So I write down on my fall planning page: Perseids meteor showers. Then I look up the dates for this year, add them to that note and then also record them on my monthly calendar:


Of course I immediately see that the showers are peaking on Crackerjack's birthday and I can't help but envision star-shaped cupcakes after supper that night!

And now I have a better chance of remembering the Perseids, which I might otherwise have forgotten, or perhaps remembered too late. What will I do with this information? Well, for starters we'll plan to watch the skies (and the weather reports) that week. I also might make up a little shooting star story for Earlybird, and we might make a felt star to go along with it. The older boys might read books about meteors or check out NASA online. As a family we might even plan a backyard campout for that night!

Of course we might not do any of this, but the point is, we could. ;)

Now, coming across an idea like the autumn felt bookmark craft, I would add to my fall planning page: autumn reading bookmark (felt), along with where it can be found: 6/11 Journal, 7/27 (6/11 is the start date on the front of the journal and 7/29 is the date I pasted in the page). I would also put a sticky note on the journal page (sticking out like a bookmark) so it would be easy to find. What's fun about ideas like this one is that it kicks off other ideas, too.Immediately I am thinking of making up an autumn book basket and a cozy reading corner at home, crafting little library card pouches, setting up small handcraft baskets, etc.

But usually, craft ideas like that one (a whole page or multi-page article) end up in my folders. In the case of a particularly exciting or eye-catching craft, such as those felt bookmarks, I tape it into my journal. It's just a quirky thing - it might be an extra step to someone else - but it clicks for me. If I didn't have the urge to journal, everything would probably just get filed.

Some tear-outs go right in a weekly folder (or, as it may be, a recipe file). For instance, last month I found some wonderful Fourth of July craft and centerpiece ideas in Country Living magazine. I tore them out, and filed them in the folder marked "June 30- July 6" which of course is the week next year in which Independence Day falls.

And next summer, as I approach summer, I will be looking through those files for ideas and - I will decide then if I want to work these crafts into our schedule. Maybe we'll be hosting a party for the Fourth and those old-fashioned cracker and chrysanthemum balls will be just the thing.

And I hope this in part answers a recent question from Mary Ann:

What is the difference between your daily notebook and those weekly folders? How do you decide what goes in which one? Are the folders more school stuff v. the notebook more you? Just curious!

Well, yes and no. :) The journal is very much me, but, as a homeschooling mum, there are lots of teaching ideas and academic themes in there. No work samples or anything, though. Well, I take that back. A few weeks ago, Bookworm took a Saxon placement test to see if he could skip Math 8/7 and begin Algebra 1/2 this fall. He passed and was postively ecstatic. It was such a cute, happy moment, that I taped a copy of his test into my journal. (The actual test was filed.) It was timely to summer and a milestone for Bookworm - a moment I wanted to remember when I one day look back. :)

I will post more about the weeky folders soon AND I have a post cooking about my weekly homekeeping routine. Hopefully touching base with a few more questions. But right now I have three little boys clamoring around me asking for things like lunch and lemonade. :)

Happy Weekend!

Friday is Journal Day

I found this little blurb in the August issue of Better Homes & Gardens, and since we've been talking about journals lately, I wanted to share it here:

The Joys of Journaling

"Feeling inspired to start a blog? Great, but don't throw away your handwritten journal just yet. Journaling and blogging serve two very different functions. Blogging is a performance - you're not just writing for yourself, you're writing for a digital audience and hoping that their response will validate you. That undermines the honesty achieved when you're writing for your eyes only, says James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin.

Journaling is private and therapeutic. Writing about your experiences - especially the difficult ones - can help strengthen your immune system and lower your blood pressure, according to Dr. Pennebaker, who has researched this topic for decades. Researchers are not convinced that taking your diary digital will result in the same benefits.

That doesn't mean that blogging is bad. "Blogs serve an important social function by bringing people together who otherwise wouldn't be and allowing them to learn from one another," explains Dr. Pennebaker. So when you want to compare strategies on a situation others share, like dealing with a disease or raising twins, blogging can help you connect. But when you want to search your own soul, you're better off with a pen and paper." ~ Tammy Tibbets

Some interesting food for thought!

Now, I certainly don't think of my blogging as "a performance," but I can see the professor's point. The scribbles I write in my journal are usually more brainstorming than soul-searching, but they are completely raw. What I share here in my blog - though honest and open - is, obviously written in a way that I hope will make sense and appeal to people who stop by. Journaling is entirely off-the-cuff for me - like a running stream of consciousness - whereas my blog is where I corral (some of) those thoughts into something (hopefully) worthy to share. You all don't want to read my monthly budget (which, for better or worse, I keep in my journal), but you might want to read a post I write about budgeting.

Now for some truly yummy food for thought, I also wanted to link you to a post by Jennifer at the S/V Mari Hal-o-Jen: Christmas in July. In it, she shares pictures of her lovely journal and planner pages. Reading all about it made me so happy and quite inspired! It's so good to know someone else is on the same page! If you have a journal to share, please do leave a link - I think we journalers can really benefit from sharing how, and what, we journal.

Speaking of my own journal, my current one is filling up steadily, getting nice and fat with clippings, notes and other things. I thought I'd share a few pictures of the most recent pages:


As I've mentioned previously, I like to add bits and pieces from favorite magazines to my journal. Mostly these are small blurbs or images interspersed between hand-written notes, but sometimes a whole article grabs my attention; I add these too. On the left is a page I taped in on the horizontal; I fold it over to keep it neat inside the journal (you can see the page open below). On the right is a page (cut to fit) from my Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion. I loved this quote and illustration - I'm convinced that's a homeschooling moment. ;)   


This is a really cool project I want to remember - embroidered flowers on felt bookmarks. The type reads: "For your autumn reading list, check out Kristin Nicholas' embroidered felt bookmarks, another project from Colorful Stitchery." I LOVE the idea - and the look - of "autumn reading" bookmarks, so, into the journal this article went.


This is yesterday's page spread, which shows more of a balance between actual writing and bits and pieces from the newspaper and a magazine. (My budget notes are under the sticky.) It all seems silly but it really feeds my creativity to do this. I take comfort in both making these pages and reading them back over again. I don't know what that says about me, but I've done this since I was a little kid. It's how I process, I guess.

But part of the process needs to be doing something with the information I put in here. I can easily let weeks go by without revisiting what I wrote. This is ok when it's just red squirrel ideas and weather reports, but not so good when it's things like "Reschedule the dentist" or "Cancel haircut before Thursday." So I'm adding a new task to my overall weekly routine: Read back over journal pages from last week.

I've earmarked Fridays as the day to do this. Originally I thought it would be a good weekend activity, but really, Friday made more sense - by looking it all over ahead of the weekend, I can update my Saturday errands list or plan to spend extra time on a project I've envisioned.

Well, here it is Friday, and I'm paging back through my journal pages from last week; for fun, I thought I'd give you an idea of what kinds of things I put in there:

  • notes on a post about planner q&a
  • the discovery that we have 3 and not just 2 red squirrels (!)
  • the arrival of my Harry Potter book at 2:59 p.m. on Saturday :)
  • an HP bookmark from Barnes & Noble
  • a clip from Time about JK Rowling
  • a savory scone mix (for baked ratatouille)
  • several articles on, and reviews of, HP
  • a funny comic that had the boys and I LOL one day
  • an article on a local planetarium I want to visit
  • the insert from EB's paint set describing plant-based dyes
  • a sticky note from my doctor's appointment last week
  • an ad for Oak Meadow, a curriculum I'm chatting about with friends
  • potential blog post ideas
  • a magazine clipping on fall fantasy movies for kids
  • a sketch of a possible window seat for the dining room
  • book notes from my brother who stopped in the other day
  • the above quoted BH&G article
  • the web address of a lovely local restaurant
  • the titles of kid magazines I renewed
  • several pages of notes for my conference talk
  • a nice little sketch of Uranus by EB
  • a print out from Jan Brett's website about an October book signing
  • a picture of a wraparound "tree" bench by Orvis
  • notes on the new movie Arctic Tale
  • a sticky note with list of office supply items to purchase
  • clipping of weather map from newspaper showing current temps.
  • bunch of random to-do's
  • July budget and bills
  • notes from a conversaton with EB's speech therapist
  • three pages of notes on EB's kindergarten plans

Nope, not a lot of soul-searching there - more downloading I'd say. :) But this list represents a week's worth of thoughts for me, and looking back over it I get shades of "the week that was" ~ HP7 was on its way, I was working on my talk, red squirrels were at the feeders and summer was in its prime ...

One final note to this post before I wrap up. If you are a big magazine reader like me, a journal is a great way to get your money's worth. I can clip anything I like - small images or whole pages - and tape it down in here. Then I can recycle all those glossies with a clear conscience and leave my basement shelves open for other things.

Well, I'm off now as it's getting late in the day and I have plenty to do around here before we launch into the weekend. It's plenty hot here - 90s and ever so muggy ...

So says my journal, anyway. ;)

Have a great night! 

The Feast of Saints Anne and Joachim

My month-at-a-glance calendar tells me that Grandparents Day falls on Sunday, September 9th, but perhaps an even more fitting day to celebrate our grandparents would be today, the Feast of Saints Anne and Joachim, parents of Our Lady and patrons of parents and grandparents alike.

Here are a few quick ideas for anyone who wishes to honor their grandparents today or anytime:

  • Place photographs of your children's grandparents in a place of honor today - the fireplace mantel, the dining room table or the prayer corner, perhaps. Add flowers from the garden, pretty stones or shells the children collect. Place a small candle next to each frame to light as you pray.
  • Send a little care package to grandparents who live far away. Add a handwritten note, some goodies and crafts made by the children. Tuck in a prayer card of St. Anne and St. Joachim, asking these beloved saints to watch over your dear family members.
  • Together with your child, decorate a frame to hold a picture of their grandparents. This would be nice to keep in the child's bedroom.
  • Arrange to spend some time visiting with grandparents - if not today, soon. Plan a little tea or invite them to Sunday dinner. Ask them to tell you about their lives when they were young.
  • Start a small photo album for pictures of times spent with the grandparents. Add to it after each visit. (A lovely Christmas present, perhaps?)
  • A beautiful book to share with your children today is Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs by Tomie de Paola.
  • Consider visiting a nursing home, taking along a basket of treats to pass out.
  • Ask your pastor if there are elderly parishioners who could use help with any number of things - a ride to Mass, lawn work or just company.
  • Share memories of your own grandparents with your children today.


According to A Continual Feast, a traditional food for today is a fruit tart. You could make up one yourself, using what fruit you have on hand, or pick one up at the grocer's. But do you know what I think would be a fun treat, especially for small appetites (young and old)? How about those little individual-size graham cracker pie crusts? Fill them up with vanilla pudding or yogurt and top with chopped fresh fruit ~ voila! A tiny fruit tart to share with your grandma or grandpa, or to enjoy in their honor today.

A beautiful Thursday to you all!

Cookies and Cockles on St. James's Day


For me, one of the key things to remember when celebrating the liturgical year, is to keep things as simple as possible. Certainly some weeks - especially those around Christmas and Easter - the projects will be more involved: Advent calendars, O Antiphon houses, Lenten charts and Paschal candles. But for the most part, on most weeks, I like to keep our plans really easy - because if they're easy to do and prepare for, then they are easy (or easier) to fit into an already busy week.

Today, the Feast of St. James, was a good example of keeping things simple. On the one hand I had lots of ideas. (Which tends to happen when you know so many wonderful resources and own as many idea books as I do.) And, if all I had on my plate this week was to plan a feast day celebration, it might have made sense to tackle some of the more involved projects. Then again, maybe not. I do find that the weeks things are kept simple and understated are the ones that my boys enjoy the most.

For today, I planned a little after-lunch treat, some nice madeleine cookies I found at the store. These are plain butter cookies baked in the shape of a shell. (The scallop shell is the symbol of St. James, and you can read more about why further down in my post.)

Now, in my orginal notes I mentioned some crazy idea about purchasing a madeleine cookie pan and whipping up these cookies from scratch. Then reality set in and I realized the pan was a bit expensive, and the recipe too time-intenseive. Thankfully it is quite easy to find madeleines at the store; these were from my regular supermarket and by golly, they were good. (More like little pound cakes than cookies.)

Next we set about making a small, easy St. James Grotto. Again, lots of ideas swum in my head - most involved holy cards, cardboard boxes, seashells and a piping hot glue gun. Now, I do have all these things on hand, but I decided to go with something much easier to prepare:


A small glass candle holder set upon a white china plate. I placed a tealight inside and let the boys "embellish" the inside and outside with craft shells. The tiny size filled in right around the candle, while the small white shells fit perfectly around the edge of the plate. This was a particularly nice project for Earlybird, who often finds the crafts we do beyond his attention span. But spilling and sorting shells? Right up his alley.

I'd like to share with you this passage about the tradition of making small shell-and-candle grottos on this day:

"Why grottoes? St. James, like all the other Apostles except for St. John, was eventually martyred for his faith. He met his death in the year 42 in Jerusalem at the hands of Herod Agrippa. His body was later brought to Spain and buried there. The journey was a difficult one by sea and so the symbol of the saint became a scallop shell. The place of his burial  - Compostella in Spain - rapidly became a great centre of pilgrimage. Today the great shrine still stands and still attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. In the middle ages, many pilgrims went there from England. To raise money to help the poorer pilgrims, it became a tradition to build small grottoes of scallop shels - people would pay a penny, light the candle in the grotto, and say a prayer for the pilgrim." (Source: A Book of Feasts and Seasons)

Now, I don't allow my children to light candles just yet, but for fun, I had them rustle up some change and "pay" for the privelage of blowing out the flame, which they actually enjoy even more than the lighting. We set up a large shell and one by one the boys plunked down their coins, said a quiet prayer for the poor, and then blew out the flame. I acknowledged each generous gesture and promptly re-lit the candle for the next "pilgrim." This was great fun and a memorable way to honor the day. On Sunday, the boys will drop their "shell money" in the poor box at church.


Another quick and easy centerpiece for the day would have been our red novena candle (the liturgical color for today) similarly surrounded by shells. We bought ours at the same grocery store where I found the cookies. They're nice to have on hand - look for them in the ethnic foods aisle.


There are plenty more St. James Day ideas and information at my friend Jenn's, and do check out her food blog for recipe ideas. I know this feast day is associated with eating oysters, but I was glad to read that any shellfish is appropriate for today (not a big fan of oysters, myself). So Bill is bringing home scallops from a local take-out place for supper, along with corn from the farmstand and a batch of crispy fries. It will make a tasty, fun meal. :)

If you wanted to tie today's feast into the natural world (something I enjoy doing), you could plan a picnic by the sea. Spend the morning collecting shells and then dig into a pasta salad (shell-shaped of course!) for lunch. Or if it's raining, you could stay home and spend an hour or so making shell candles (we did back in January, as shown in this post).

Now with all this talk about seashells, I want to take a moment to mention the upcoming Loveliness Fair, celebrating the joys of the seashore at A Wink and a Smile. (Such a lovely blog ~ I could sit and listen to that music all day! Love Harry Connick.)

All told, this week's liturgical "tea and a craft" took about half an hour. Time well spent, I think, and some nice memories made.

Well, have a lovely evening, my friends. See you sometime tomorrow ... :)

Homekeeping Today

Because it's Wednesday, it's Kitchen Day, so I have on my docket:Threebirdsnestleaves

  • Clean out the refrigerator:
    • Discard any old food.
    • Wipe down shelves with clean cotton rag and hot water.
    • Note what needs replacing, or needs to be used up.
  • Look through freezer and cabinets:
    • Discard any old food.
    • Brush or vacuum out any crumbs.
    • Note what needs replacing, what needs to be used up.
  • Wash counters, stovetop and kitchen island.
  • Clean sink and surrounding area.
  • Flush drain with boiling water.
  • Wipe down appliances with damp cloth.
  • Wipe down counter stools.
  • Neaten hot spot (corner counter that holds cookbooks and, ahem, stuff).
  • Mop kitchen floor (after supper/bedtime).
  • Organize trash and recycling for the morning:
    • Tie/bundle/bag and take out.
    • Clean out trash bin; add a drop of lavender oil before replacing liner.
  • Plan and prepare for weekly food shopping:
    • Begin marketing list.
    • Look at grocery flyer.
    • Organize coupons.
    • Clean out pocketbook.
    • Check online balance; record in budget.

Now, will I really do all of this? Well, the honest answer is I'll try. It all needs to be done, after all. Plus, a few things I delegate out to other members of the family - in particular the mopping and trash concerns. :)

I also need to write out bills to mail and to go over the budget. I should have done this last weekend, but I've been under the weather - today is catch-up day! Speaking of budgets, I saw a fabulous post on budgets by Meredith at Like Merchant Ships this morning. Truly inspiring! I've never used the envelope system, but I remember at one point my parents did. It makes sense - we can all stand to use our credit cards less often, right? Particularly as we head into the holiday shopping season.

This all ties into the planner I'm trying to make up. I would like my daily pages to correspond with these kinds of tasks. So, for instance, my Wednesday July 25th page would list - not only that it is our dear friend Charlie's birthday and St. Jame's Day - but these particular "Wednesday" tasks as well. I'm still working on (working out, working over) that project and will talk more about it as soon as I have, well, something to show!

Have a beautiful Wednesday, my friends!

I find a heaven in the midst of saucepans and brooms." ~ St. Stanislaus Kostka

Themes and Plans for August


I've been poring over old journals and seasonal idea books, brainstorming some themes and plans for the upcoming months. I really love this time of year - it's still summer and yet there's that hint of a new season just around the corner ...

With the buzz and bustle of fall not too far off - the time is ripe for enjoying the most of what's left of summer! I am working on a list for the rest of the year, but for now, I'll share what I've jotted down for the month of August - which begins next week!


  • sunflowers (harvest and hang for the songbirds)
  • the seashore (picnic on the beach, go tidepooling)
  • crickets (count chirps to check temperature)
  • fireflies (catch in a jar to admire, then release)
  • cicadas (listen for that familiar "heat bug" whine)
  • bats (watch for them just after sunset)
  • shooting stars (Perseids peaking August 13th)
  • thunderstorms (have a storm candle ready)
  • orb weavers (beautiful webs sparkling with dew)
  • crows (make a scarecrow)
  • morning glories (their time to shine is now)
  • dragonflies (great backyard hunters)
  • The Full Green Corn Moon (8/28)


Visit the farmstand for ~

  • blueberries (pancakes, slump, buckle, pie)
  • watermelon (punch, sorbet, jello cake)
  • corn (hot and buttered, corn pudding, corncakes)
  • tomatoes (homemade sauce, tomato sandwiches)
  • zucchini (zucchini bread, zucchini everything!)


  • Lammas (1)
  • Our Lady of the Snows (5)
  • The Transfiguration (6)
  • The Assumption (15)
  • Our Lady of Knock (21)
  • The Queenship of Mary (22)


  • Clean out the learning room; refresh supplies.
  • Order winter outerwear.
  • Take Christmas card picture (or begin trying).
  • Begin Christmas planning notebook.

Famly Life:

  • National Watermelon Day (3)
  • NFL Preseason begins (5)
  • VBS week!
  • 4Real Conference (11)
  • CJ's 8th birthday (13)

Stories: (Themes: blueberries, grain harvest, corn, crows, country fair, seashore)

Field Trips:

  • the farmer's market
  • the seashore
  • a cornfield
  • blueberry picking


  • make a seashell frame
  • work on a shell collection
  • work in the garden; visit one
  • go on a bug hunt
  • watermelon seed-spitting contest
  • make corn husk folk
  • make felt shooting stars
  • grind grain
  • bake homeade bread
  • polish the learning tables (with beeswax polish)
  • hang sunflower heads for birds
  • gaze at the stars
  • make apple picking totes
  • set up nature table for the new year

Now, it goes without saying I don't plan doing all of these things! :) But it's still fun to think about them anyway. August is just full of delightful things - tell me, what are some of your favorites?

It came. I read. I loved.


But I am not going to spoil anything for anyone.

I don't usually read a book so fast, but I was living in fear of newspaper headlines and internet news - I didn't want to know how it ended until I could find out for myself. And now that I know, I am going back to re-read the whole thing and absorb.

I have no one waiting in queue. Bill still has to read number 6 and Bookworm is itching to get on with The Return of the King so he's not in any rush.

When a respectful amount of time has passed, I'll be happy to review and discuss. For now I'm going to digest and keep what I know to myself. :)

Strangers in the Night

That internet break I mentioned will just have to wait until after I post these pictures!

Roundabouts 9 p.m. last night, Bill and I were watching Northern Exposure in the family room, all the windows wide open, enjoying the soft evening breeze when we heard them ... the unmistakable rattle and scrabble sounds of raccoons at the feeders. We hurried over to the dining room windows, (camera in hand, of course) and turned on the outside spotlight ... and saw not one or two, but five raccoons at the birdfeeders!

A big mama and her four little babies!

Obviously we snapped pictures like crazy (so tricky at night!) and promptly woke the boys to come and see. Here are the best of the bunch:


The mama and two of her babes ...


They all climbed very well ...


... like little acrobats!


This one wanted the seedcake in the cage ...


And don't you know, he got it out!


This one went straight to the seed tray ...


Same shot, different lighting ...


They were pretty quiet, just little grunts and squeaks.


It doesn't seem so here, but the babies were quite small.


The mama kept her eye on me as I snapped pictures.


She never ate, just kept the lookout!   

The raccoons were quite aware of our presence, especially the mama. At one point someone on the next street let off fireworks and that startled them all up in the tree. After a few minutes, they clambered on down and set back to the business at hand - emptying our birdfeeders!

We turned off the spotlight and let them eat in peace. We had a feeling this was the first time they've visited this year - it seemed a lesson was going on - but I'm sure it won't be the last!

Well, it's six a.m. now and I'm signing off, really and truly! All the earlybirds are at the feeders just now, including the cardinal pair, the doves and jays, the titmice and chickadees and the little red squirrel who must think that by getting here before the grays wake up he has a chance to eat in peace, lol! Ooh, and a red-bellied woodpecker who is SO shy I can never get his picture; he always flies off at any slight noise or movement. I am going to let him be because I want him to feel comfortable coming here. Maybe at some point, after he gets used to all our noises as most of the critters have, I'll get a picture of him. He's quite a big and handsome woodpecker!

Well, have a grand weekend everyone, and if you're an HP fan, Happy Reading! Thanks for stopping by ...

My Journal: A Happy, Humble Hodgepodge

Good Friday evening, my friends!

I will be signing off shortly for a weekend internet break, but before I go, I wanted to address a few of the questions that popped up about my daily notebooks. Now this may be way too much information for some, but I know I love reading about how other folks notebook and journal, so I'll carry on. (And if you do notebook or journal, I would love to hear about it ~ please leave a link to your post or a comment below!)

But before I get on with detailing my journal, I wanted to answer a question left by my friend KC about the books I pictured in my previous planning post:

"Are those books on your table listed on your sidebar? I love the liturgical ones you've listed but was wondering about the others."

Thanks to KC, I realized a whole lot of my favorite seasonal books were not listed anywhere on my blog! So I just added a new Typelist called "Seasonal Fun" on my righthand sidebar. (It may still be on the bottom left; Typepad is slow sometimes to update.) Between these books and the liturgical year books (not to mention all the online friends I am grateful to know) I find it an immense joy to plan out my family's year.

Next, Lucille asks:

"Is it because you are timely in pasting things in your journal that they end up being 'seasonal'?? You know, just fall stuff in the fall ones for example? (This way you can look back ...?)"

Yes, this is pretty much how I do it - I fill each day's page with notes and bits and pictures that reflect that day and ultimately, the time of year I am in, plus the one I am looking towards. So my August notebook has plenty of summery things in it, but also, because my brain is in plan-ahead gear (and all the fall issues and catalogs are arriving in my mailbox) there are also a lot of autumn ideas. The same holds true for each season; in my October notebook you'll see all kinds of fall thoughts and mementos, but plenty of holiday planning!

When I revisit my journals I get a real feel for a season, but I also re-discover ideas and plans that I can use again, or perhaps for the first time. In my notebook I write down a lot of ideas - and I hardly ever get around to doing all of them (or even most of them!). By keeping them written up in my journal, they are there for me to consider in years to come.

For example, I might come across a flyer for a fall fair we never attended and make a note to try and go this year. And I just saw a note from late last July when I wrote away for a local audubon site's fall program guide; I added that to my to-do list for next week. I also found a list of picture books that are wonderful fall reads. I would not have remembered any of this if I had not seen it written down! (I am definitely a visual learner!)

I guess if I called my brain my hard drive, these notebooks are my back up files, lol!

These journals are filled with - oh, gosh, anything and everything! Basically, if I think it then I write it, and if I can tape it down, in it goes.

I jot down notes throughout the day - things to do, things to remember, what's going on in nature or with our family, in our community, the world. Sometimes I get sentimental and reflective, but mostly I'm just keeping tabs: a good sale to check out, a new fruit at the farm stand, a show to Tivo next week.

I tape in lots of stuff as embellishment - items I've clipped out of the newspaper, a magazine, a newsletter or something I've printed out online. The other night Bill and I went to see the new Harry Potter movie - I taped in the ticket stub the next day. I suspect tomorrow I will receive an email from Amazon alerting me that the new HP book has been shipped - I will print out that email, cut it to size (possibly folding it in half) and add it in as well.

Here, as an example, is my journal page from the other day:


It's probably hard to see, but here I have a page from my Mary Engelbreit calendar (I happened to like the quote, not to mention the artwork), a review of a set of Hogwarts building cards (a possible birthday gift for CJ next month), a newspaper clipping of Thomas train recalls (must go through our stash this weekend), a blueberry cake recipe, a new line of flooring from Martha Stewart (we're in the market for flooring at present) as well as notes on squirrels at the feeder, a woodpecker sighting, a party date to mark in the calendar, a food-shopping schedule change and an idea for our "blueberry study" next month.

Complete hodgepodge, I know! But it all makes perfect sense to me. :)

The above picture also shows my usual journaling spot - parked at the short end of the L-shaped kitchen island. To the left of the open journal is the magazine I was flipping through that day (I really like that "buzz" graphic and cut it out for the next page - the colors are summery as is the word itself.) Above the notebook is the phone, the tape dispenser, a collection of clippings to add in, my favorite pair of scissors, some grocery flyers to look through and my calendar. Off to the right is my laptop.

Keeping these things out in the open, smack dab in the middle of things, allows me to "pop on and off" - dash a quick note, peruse one or two pages, check things online briefly. Sitting down would be nice, but really, how often do any of us get to sit and work on "personal stuff" for any length of time?

Now, it goes without saying my journals would probably not seem very interesting to others - because what's neat to me may or may not be neat to anybody else! (I was going to post pictures of journal pages, but they all seemed so random, lol!) But that doesn't matter, these journals are for me - they are very personal and a way for me to be creative and expressive, a way to capture a moment and my thoughts and my world as I see it, in an easy and fun way.

The other thing I try to do, is to work in a set time each week (usually over the weekend) when I can go back over the previous week's pages, in case there are things that I'll need to remember going forward. That's the catch, see - pouring every little bit of thought into one place does take the pressure off remembering it all (a bit like a pensieve, isn't it?) but I have to make the time to revisit all those thoughts in order to make any use of them.

One more question and then I'd better wrap up because as usual I'm getting carried away. :) I'd like to talk a bit about the size and style of notebook I use.

Patricia asked:

"What are the dimensions of your tote bag and daily notebook? I have medium totes for my children but your bag looks a little smaller."

Well, my bag is an L.L. Bean medium size boat-and-tote bag (with long, rather than regular length handles). It probably appears smaller because it's so stuffed to the gills, lol!

For my journal I use a Mead 3-subject spiral notebook, 9.5x6 inch size. This is actually a break in tradition for me, because I have always used a large 5-subject 11x8.5 inch notebook in the past. I'm trying to get comfortable with the smaller size because I think, especially considering how full I stuff them, the notebooks can be somewhat unwieldly when full.

I always use very plain notebooks for my journals. In the past it was always an Office Depot brand notebook (the paper is smooth and lightly lined), but I've had a hard time getting them without perforated pages. (Perforated pages tear out too easily when a notebook is handled as much as mine are.) This is why I went to the smaller size originally; its pages are not perforated. Now I find I like the convenient size, though I miss all that "canvas" space.

Using such a cheap, plain notebook as my journal is very freeing for me. Certainly there are beautiful journals out there, but if my journal was too fancy or fine, I would hesitate to slap any old thing in there, or to use up too many pages, or I'd worry about my handwriting, lol. In short, I would hesitate to mess it up, and actually I want my journals kind of messy. I don't even mind a bit of a coffee stain or a smear of jam from little fingers -because this is my life (coffee, jam and little fingers and all) and that's what I'm trying to capture.

I will try to post again next week about this subject as there were a few more questions I wanted to answer about the notebook, the folders and planner pages. For now, I must sign off - I am working on a project this weekend AND that new Harry Potter book is coming tomorrow. I'll be "internet-free" for a bit.

And thank you for the links and helpful advice many of you sent my way - every little bit helps and is fun to consider - because you never know when or where you'll find just the thing that makes your planning (journaling, filing, etc.) work best for you.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Poetry Friday: Song of the Nightshade Berry Fairy

I've chosen this particular poem today as we happen to have a great vine of nightshade growing along the back fence. I mentioned it in an earlier post, and showed you a picture of its green glossy fruit, but today I found the berries all changing over to their autumn colors. Quite early it would seem!


The boys were oohing and ahhing over the "juicy" looking berries, so I thought it a good time to listen to the words of Cicely Mary Barker's Nightshade Berry Fairy, and heed the warning within:

“You see my berries, how they gleam and glow,

Clear ruby-red, and green, and orange-yellow;

Do they not tempt you, fairies, dangling so?”

The fairies shake their heads and answer “No!

You are a crafty fellow!”


“What won’t you try them? There is naught to pay!

Why should you think my berries poisoned things?

You fairies may look scared and fly away –

The children will believe me when I say

My fruit is fruit for kings!”

But all good fairies cry in anxious haste,

“O children, do not taste!”


(Note from the author: You must believe the good fairies, though the berries look nice. This is the Woody Nightshade, which has purple and yellow flowers in the summer.)

In case you're curious about what the nightshade flowers look like, here's a picture from June:


You can find lots more nature poems in the Cicely Mary Barker series, but in the meantime, stop by Mentor Texts for the Poetry Friday Round Up, and, remember ...

Tread gently now, there may be a Flower Fairy underfoot ...


We need help in identifying this beetle, the biggest we have EVER seen:


(Please click image for a bigger, better view.)

Well, it's been quite an afternoon for nature study! This bug was spotted just minutes after the toad sighting we described earlier today. There we were, back at the windows, finishing our lunch and watching the birds and squirrels beneath the spruce tree, when Bookworm exclaimed: "Hey what's that big beetle out there?"

Now, my first thought was: How on earth can he see a beetle from way up here? My second thought was - upon spying said enormous beetle, from which, mind you, the squirrels and chipmunks fled: What on earth is that bug and should I grab the camera or call animal control?

No, no, I'm kidding. Really. I did in fact grab my camera and, as the specimen was trucking though the bark mulch, I started snapping pictures. It was hard to focus in on a moving target so finally I got him onto a piece of paper and barricaded him in with a few bricks (humanely of course; I never touched him). I placed a quarter next to him for size comparison, because let me tell you - he was BIG. Never seen a bug so big - other than a butterfly or moth.

So, any ideas on what we have here? We spent a bunch of time poring through field guides and came up with some kind of long-horned beetle - a prionus like this one seems to match, but we can't make a firm i.d. Any advice would be great!

Oh, and just so you know, we let him loose after his photo shoot, and, just like the toad did earlier today, he ran straight under the family room addition. Heaven only knows which species would be the worse for wear at that meeting!

Hey, Big Fella!

We were eating our lunch just now when Bookworm spied a huge toad beneath one of our birdfeeders. He sent me outside with the camera to get a shot, and naturally, I was happy to oblige:


This was as close as I wanted to get as he was rather larger and bumpier than any toad I've handled before. (Thank goodness for zoom lenses!) He hopped away from me slowly and then, spying an ant on the foundation wall, paused for just a moment - then ZAP! - he ate the ant in half a second or less! Quite nonchalantly, he then continued on his way, disappearing beneath our family room addition which is where we suspect most of our toad population resides. A "knot" of toads they would be called, though my favorite nature author would call them a "blessing." All bumpiness aside, I would tend to agree. :)

"In the early years we are not to teach nature as science, we are not to teach it primarily for method or for drill: we are to teach it for loving - and this is nature study." L. H. Bailey


Thank you to everyone who left such nice comments after my planner post last night. I am working on a follow-up post with the autumnal ideas I mined from those books and my journals. I will also try to answer a few of the questions you have. Until then, have a lovely afternoon ... :)

Thinking out Loud: Planners and Planning


Ah, organization - I could talk about this subject at great length. In fact, I have it very much on my mind these midsummer days as I prepare for the new year ahead. This week I'm devoting my spare time to analyzing and tweaking the system I use for planning and keeping up with our family life. I would also like to make a smidgen of sense at the conference, so I need to do some thinking. And since blogging helps me think, here I am thinking out loud. :)

Today I laid out some of my favorite resources as well as my main planning tools. I am planning out the fall season, and to do so, I like to look back through favorite books and old journals to remind myself of what's coming up and what we might do to celebrate - among other things - our Catholic faith, the nature we love, and our learning at home.

But, as I plan, I am trying to streamline my planning. Does that make sense? I tend to use more materials than I probably need - and I also have a thing about making my own stuff. Rarely do I find something commercially made that suits my needs to a T.

Above you see my workspace this morning - books, journals and files - and in the foreground you see, from left to right:

  • a month at a glance calendar I customize with color
  • a homemade planner I made up inexpensively
  • a humble journal where I capture my everyday thoughts

And now for a few notes ...

My month at a glance planner: I've shown you this one before, but I'm going to show it to you again. ;) It is a thin, spiral bound 14-month planner made by At-a-Glance. It's called the DayMinder, but it is virtually impossible to find a link online. Yet every year my local office supply store carries them, so I would think they wouldn't be hard to find.

The blocks are large and lined, the paper is comfortable for pen or pencil, and I find it very easy to write quite a bit inside each block. It is light and handy for taking along with me when we go places like speech therapy or the orthodontist or a homeschool group meeting - any place where I may need to see my upcoming schedule and find free time for a commitment.

As you can see from the other materials I have a thing for "gussying" up my planning tools with patterned paper but so far I have not found a way to spruce up this calendar on the outside. But something I have done on occasion is to make the insides a bit more colorful, shading the tops of each day's block with the liturgical color:


It really isn't much work at all. I just grab a few of the kids' colored pencils and shade in the top portion of each block. First, though, I write in any feast days in ink so they stand out. It's subtle, and yet helpful I think when envisioning the big picture.

I write as much as I can in this planner - appointments, feast days, birthdays, full moons, things I want to Tivo, lol - and if I could, I would use this alone as my planner. It's the first thing I use when I go to plan out the the coming week. But I find there are things I need to write down I can't seem to fit on these pages. Like, if I am going to a meeting and I need to remember to bring a few things, I don't think I have room here to jot that note down. If I want to serve scallops on St. James Day - do I note it here, or write it down somewhere else? Perhaps I work these month-at-a-glance pages into a homemade planner somehow (see below)?

Hmmm ...

Homemade planner: Very much a work in progress, but I thought I'd mention it because it is a neat way to make up a notebook for yourself lickety-split and on the cheap. What I did was to take the pages I wanted in my planner (printed out at home), along with a piece of thick cardstock for the back (thin cardboard would have been better) and a sheet of scrapbook paper for the front, over to the office supply store and had them "wire-bind" it all together for me. They offered to put a clear plastic cover on it, but I declined. $3 later I had my notebook all ready to take home:


I did this once before, a few years ago and I found it helpful. The key is deciding what should go in there - too much and it becomes cumbersome, not enough and it proves inefficient. And the reason why I don't use a binder for this (which has the advantage of pockets and sheet protectors etc.) is that I can't write comfortably in a binder. I need something that lies flat like a spiral-bound notebook. Of course once you've spiral bound something it's hard to add anything in ...

Hmmm ...

I should mention that in a previous post I showed you a daily planner I was using (Franklin it was; I had even added stickers to its front for pizazz) and it almost worked - except I really needed to see that daily task list. And the general layout was not what I needed - I don't have so many appointments and certainly not many (if any) daily business expenses.

I will post more about this homemade planner once I get it the way I want it. I just thought I'd throw the general idea out there in case anyone else has ever thought about making their own planners. You can wire-bind all kinds of things at the copy shop for very little money - great for home learning projects like work samples, unit studies and scrapbooks.

Daily journal: Oh, my beloved little journal - a humble 3-subject wirebound notebook (no perforated pages please!) in which I record all kinds of haphazard things - notes, reminiscenses, clippings from magazines. I use this all day long, and plug in news clippings, recipes, ticket stubs etc. I cover the front in scrapbook paper and add a small calendar sheet from the day I begin this new journal (I use a Mary Engelbreit Page-a-Day calendar). I used to use a standard size notebook, but now I use a smaller, more managable size. Since it's easier to tote around, I use it more - and the more I journal the more I remember and reflect.


Looking back over the notes from the past week is one of the things I do as I plan out the new week. Often there is something written down in there I want to follow up on. Years later, I still look back through old journals to remember things that happen at certain times of the year. I find this particularly helpful around the holidays.

And finally, below is my tote bag which is kind of like my briefcase. I think it is a great idea for mums to have one bag where they keep all their planning tools and anything else they like to have at their fingertips daily. For me it's the Food section of the paper, a ziploc baggie that holds things to tape into my journal, along with a pair of scissors and tape, current magazines to read, my VBS leader manual, this week's folder and all the things I mentioned above:


So, I'd best be off now to get supper going. Well be eating around the kitchen island tonight since I'm not moving all these resources off the dining table till I'm well and done! Who knows when that will be, though - I'll be tweaking for a few more weeks at least!

"Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up." ~ A.A. Milne

The Earlybird ... Spots the Deer!

Just now Earlybird ran up to the glass doors looking out at the backyard and called over to me:

"Wook, wook! A deeah!"

Now, I first thought he was saying "a geese" - which just goes to show I hadn't had enough coffee yet - but when I joined him at the windowpanes, sure enough he had seen a deeah, and right in our neighbor's backyard:


EB looked up at me, eyes wide and said, "Oh My Dearness!"

What a nice way to start this quiet, misty morning. I hope your day is starting off nicely, too. Thunderstorms moving in around here .. I'm off to get that second cup of coffee. :)

Why God Made Moms ...

A friend from church sent this to me way back in January and I just came across it as I was cleaning out my files. I hope you get a chuckle out of it - it's very cute! :)

Brilliant answers given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?

  1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
  2. Mostly to clean the house.
  3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?

  1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
  2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
  3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?

  1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
  2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?

  1. We're related.
  2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of little girl was your mom?

  1. My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
  2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess is pretty bossy.
  3. They say she used to be nice.

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?

  1. His last name.
  2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook?
  3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did she say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mom marry your dad?

  1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my mom eats a lot.
  2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
  3. My grandma says that mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?

  1. Mom doesn't want to be the boss, but she has to because dad's such a goofball.
  2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees stuff under the bed.
  3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than Dad.

What's the difference between moms and dads?

  1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
  2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
  3. Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.
  4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time?

  1. Mothers don't do spare time.
  2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?

  1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
  2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?

  1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
  2. I'd make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
  3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

Now I wonder what our kids would say to those same questions ...? Maybe it's better not to ask, lol!

The Joys of Little Boys

"A mother of little boys works from son up till son down."Loveliness_logo

But it's the very best kind of work, in my humble opinion. :)

Around here we know one or two (or three!) things about little boys, so I am eager to read through Monica's Loveliness Of Little Boys Fair, which is up today at Small Things.

Because as well all know, there's way more to little boys than snips and snails and puppy dog tails. OK, there might be some of those things (save for the dog tails, Heaven forbid) but there's also plenty of laughter and unlimited love. Some would say we mothers of little boys are lucky, I would say we're divinely blessed!

And mark your calendars for the next summertime Loveliness Fair - the Loveliness of Summer Reading. It will be hosted by Sarah at Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering next Monday, July 23rd.