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September 2008

*Autumn Housekeeping Notes*

Autumnstrip

We've just returned home from Earlybird's therapy, and I'm popping on while I wait for the water to boil to do a quick post. (Annie's for lunch, in case you're wondering.) First of all, what a lovely day. It's not quite raining, though you can feel how much it wants to ~ the skies are dense and gray, the air is cool and slightly damp. While we waited for EB at therapy, the older boys read their book group selections and I pulled out my trusty notepad. So, what was on my mind? Oh, lots of things, but for the time being I concentrated on fall, and in particular, fall housekeeping. I started jotting down things to keep in mind as the calendar flips from September to October, and before long my page was filled ...

* Have down comforter cleaned; launder autumn duvet and shams.

* Launder flannel bedding and fleece blankets.

* Review housekeeping routines; adjust as necessary.

* Check on snow gear: boots, jackets, pants, hats, gloves, etc. If anybody needs new things, purchase or order them now.

* Same goes for winter pajamas and slippers.

* Tweak the menu plan to reflect the season - heartier meals, fall fruits and veggies.

* Schedule a work-in-the-yard Saturday to rake, clean up garden debris, store outdoor furniture, etc.

* Plant spring bulbs (snowdrops, crocus, daffodils) before the ground freezes.

* Plan a fall foliage jaunt for one Sunday afternoon.

* Prepare homemade cocoa mix, mulling spice bundles and replenish tea drawer as necessary.

* Visit the farmstand for autumn keepers: apples, onions, potatoes, squash.

* Put up jars of pearsauce and applesauce.

* Schedule cars for regular maintenance. Stock up on winter road supplies.

* Make a list of winter storm supplies to stock at home: snow-melt, flashlight and batteries, battery-operated radio, candles, etc.

* Plan a night to visit the country fair.

* Stop by Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte. :)

* Visit the Hallmark store for autumn greeting cards (birthdays, anniversaries, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc.).

* Make plans for our anniversary in October: dinner out with Bill, family dinner with the kids.

* Inventory craft supplies and note what needs replenishing. (Keep in mind holiday projects with the kids and long dark winter days ahead.)

* Stock up on cold and flu season necessaries: vitamins/supplements, herbal teas, honey drops, medicines.

* Clean and inspect birdfeeders. Place seed order with wild bird store.

* Arrange fall mums, asters and pumpkins around front steps.

* Begin a holiday planner - assemble Thanksgiving and Christmas lists, etc.

* Start snapping potential Christmas card pictures.

* Refresh the nature table with autumn treasures.

* Launder cozy throw blankets; store in large basket handy to gathering areas.

* Set out fall book baskets.

* Set out autumn decor including table linens, candles, garlands and mini white lights.

* Decide on Halloween costumes early, allow for any orders/delivery time.

* Set up a gratitude tree ahead of Thanksgiving.

* Make and freeze pie crusts and sugar cookie dough for the holidays.

* Buy Christmas stamps at the end of October.

* Register to VOTE!

Now, I'm sure of two things: A. there are lots more items I could add to this list, and (or should I say, but), B. I'll never get around to doing all of them! As I like to say, though, it's a good thing to get it all down on paper. ;)

So, what tasks are on your fall housekeeping list? I'd love to hear your ideas, too!

Autumnstrip


*D is for Dragons (Michaelmas Week)*

It's a dark and wet Monday morning here in New England, but at least we escaped the brunt of Hurricane Kyle. This weeks looks to be a showery and cool one - iffy for outdoor activities - but we'll keep our fingers crossed. A full and busy week stretches ahead of us - lots of things to learn, lots to do around the house, a couple of outings planned, and a few feast days to honor ...

Here are my notes for the week ~

Of note: Michaelmas, EB's therapy (OT and ST), apple picking, Book Group for the older two, The Feast of St. Francis (our family patron)

Math: daily Saxon lessons, review tests

Language arts: vocabulary and spelling work, assigned writing: biography page for history, assigned reading for book group (The Land of the Silver Apples/Bookworm, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street/Crackerjack), vocab test/BW, spelling quiz/CJ

History: Story of the World Vol. 4: chapter 2 "The Crimean War" - read "The Charge of the Light Brigade," learn about Florence Nightingale/ do short biography report, update timeline chart

Science: prepare "medical records" for each family member (SOTW activity), pre-order The Way We Work by David Macauley (to purchase during B&N's Educator Week beginning 10/11), set up Health/Anatomy notebooks (create dividers), clip articles from Globe Health/Science section

Religion: St. Michael coloring page/angel prayer, Magnifikid, St. Francis Day - nature walk/birdfeeders/blessing of pets

Kinder theme: D is for Dragons/Michaelmas

  • Bake donuts one morning for breakfast.
  • Play with knights and dragons, cape and crown.
  • Do watercolor painting on the deck.
  • Observe the difference between dry and wet.
  • Make lanterns for Michaelmas.
  • Dig in the dirt and plant spring bulbs with Daddy.
  • Help with making dinner.
  • Read "The Song of the Michaelmas Daisy Fairy."
  • Observe the dark of the night of the New Moon (9/29)
  • Go on a nature walk and look for:
    • Michaelmas daisies (or wild asters)
    • possible gnome homes
    • changing leaves
    • dragonflies
    • wood duck nest
  • Make dragon bread to serve with harvest vegetable soup.
  • Go apple picking at the farm.
  • Play "duck, duck, goose."
  • Read My Little Book of Wood Ducks
  • Play with wood duck puppets (make up nature story).
  • Read new issue of My Big Backyard.
  • Learn the Guardian Angel prayer.

Lots to do, or hopefully do. It's good to at least get the ideas down on paper. ;)

And now the week is officially off and running ~ the boys are up, the waffles have popped, the dryer just buzzed and I've taken the ground beef out of the freezer. I'd best be rolling ...

Have a great week, everyone! :)


The Simple Woman's Daybook ~ September 26th

Simplewomandaybooksmall

~ Do stop by Peggy's for all the Daybook links this week. ~
***
Outside My Window ... a gloomy, wet morning - puddles line the street, and the birds are all over the feeders. (And the feeders, I see, got ransacked last night.)
***
I am thinking ... about the weekend - TGIF! - and all the things I want/hope/need to get done ...
***
I am thankful ... for my new camera (that replaces the one that broke). I can't wait to take foliage pictures this weekend!
***
From the kitchen ... I have butter softening on the counter in hopes of making chocolate-chip pan cookies later today. Dinner will be chicken parmesan sandwiches with a side of roasted garlic potatoes.
***
I am wearing ... a black scoopneck tee, black pants, red slippers.
***
I am creating ... a handcraft basket for the fall.
***
I am reading ... the newest Spiderwick book with Crackerjack, one chapter a night before bed.
***
I am hoping ... I don't get the cold I feel coming on ...
***
I am hearing ... the CD I have playing in my laptop.
***
Around the house ... a big ole pre-weekend tidy.
***
One of my favorite things ... a dark rainy day with nowhere to be.
***
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: ... How about for next week: Michaelmas, apple picking, book group and my long-awaited haircut on Friday. :)
***
Here is a picture thought I am sharing ...
Culprit
The culprit in action!
***
I hope you all have a wonderful day!

An Abundance of Autumn Goodness!

Here, as promised, is the gigantic roundup of comments from my Autumn Book LeavessquareContest post. (And I'm not kidding when I say gigantic - there are 149 comments below!) As you all know - because I can hardly talk about anything else these days - Fall is my favorite time of year. Well you don't have to take my word for it (Reading Rainbow, anyone?), here are a whole bunch of reasons to embrace the season at hand in all of its earthy, crunchy, golden, cozy goodness.

(You may just want to pour yourself a nice hot cup of tea or spiced cider before digging in!)

Many, many, MANY thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts! :)

********************************************************************

Fall is my FAVORITE season. My favorite part about it is the crispness of the air and the smell of burning firewood that gives it a wonderful fragrance. ~ Kellie

Ahh... Fall... I remember reading something about that "season" once! Though living down here in New Orleans, where we were having a heat index of 101, oh, about a week ago... well, about as "Fall" as it gets is that it's USUALLY cool enough that I don't feel dehydrated after taking my twins to the playground and wearing their baby sister in a sling the whole time! We have been having a post-hurricane cool spell... highs in the 80s rather than the 90s. After May and June and July and August, though, I'll take what I can get! ~ Jenny

My favorite thing about fall... my youngest son's birthday (he was born the first full day of Autumn 2003), in fact.. you will be announcing the winner of the contest on his 5th birthday. Or maybe, it's the anniversary of when I met my husband, which is also September? Or maybe it's the fact that it's the harbinger of my favorite season.. winter. Or the fiery, rustling leaves. Or the camping. Or the cool breeze? Or the relief from hotlanta summer? Or Thanksgiving? Or AAHH! I could go on. I love fall. ~ Candy

Fall is definitely my favorite season--what's not to love? But warm apple crisp and a hot cup of coffee for breakfast might just be the best part of it all! ~ Celeste

I love being able to still open my windows, and feel the cool breeze blowing all through the house. Hearing my wooden wind chime just on the porch, and the tree dropping it's leaves all over. Yay, Fall! ~ Nicole

Looks like I'm not alone in loving talking about fall! :) My favorite part of fall is quite ordinary - it's the ride down two of the main streets/highways near our home, and how stunning they look with their leaves changing against the dull gray of the sky. It takes my breath away, every year! ~ Amy

My favorite part of fall is apple picking and making concord grape jam. :) ~ Rebecca

My favorite thing about fall is that my house starts to smell like pumpkin and apple cider again. Once fall starts the pumpkin bread starts baking and all sorts of yummy smells fill my air that were missing during the heat of summer. I love the cooler days that make it possible for me to bake things without the AC having to run constantly just to keep the house from being the same temperature as the oven. Plus, the colors that start to show up outside during the fall are so beautiful. Ok, so maybe fall is my favorite season ... ~ Cassidy

Fall is the season that best invigorates me. Our first child was born in October and somehow that made my favorite month even better. ~ Sylvia

We really don't get any fall weather over here until about October. After a swealtering summer, the cooler air is a welcome change. Our leaves and most plants stay green, but I like seeing all the changes in other parts of the country. ~ Bean

I love everything about fall (and every other season, really). I love the look of bright reds and oranges against a gray sky; the fallen leaves crunching beneath my feet; the smells and tastes of pumpkin and apple baked goods; and the feel of a good, thick sweater being thrown on before heading outside to rake leaves. But mostly, I think I love watching my children revel in those fall pleasures that only children can -- like jumping in that raked-up pile of leaves. ~ Realmomma

We love our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. My daughter LOVES this trip and it is so much fun to watch her take everything in. ~ Pam

My Favorite thing about fall is the crispness in the air, and the shorter days! ~ Gemini

My favorite thing about fall is the cooler temperatures (we can FINALLY be outside without feeling like we're being tortured!) and the beautiful leaves. ~ Jennifer

Fall is my favorite season. Nothing is better than apples picked fresh from the orchard and baked into an apple pie all in the same day! When I was a kid I loved the cool breezes and the changing of the leaves. ~ Natasha

I have red and brown gingham wallpaper in my kitchen and in only a few short weeks the sun will set just at the right spot to shine a golden light to form a long rectangle on this small portion of wall by my stove. Makes me think of God smiling on me as I stir boiling chili. :) ~ Michelle

Fall is my favorite season. I decorate with all the autumn colors, even my hair is a coppery-red. It's the best time of the year for walks, especially when apple pie is waiting for you! ~ Paula

Pumpkin Spice Latte! 'nuff said. ~ Amy

My favorite thing about Fall: I was married in the fall with all it's beautiful foliage surrounding our moment of Glory. I truly love the vibrant colors and take joy in long nature walks during this spectacular season. I believe it shows us all of God's wonderful masterpieces. Fall renews our spirit, to take us through the sometimes long and hard winter months. The crisp morning and evenings. What a delight for nature lovers. ~ Patti

I love the crisp smell in the air, the changing leaves and the fact that birthdays, Advent and Christmas are all soon to come! ~ Amy

I love the moment when I first smell the burning of logs in fireplaces as I stand in the crisp, cool air. ~ Hallie

I love that fall brings a shift in our activities from inside to outside. The summer months are so brutally hot here that we spend most of it indoors or running from house to car to where ever. Now, we can start enjoying the cooler days (well, upper 80s). ~ KC

According to my teenage daughter: frothing cider, maple mocha coffee at Borders, the smell of apple pies, brown sugar, and warm vanilla, raking leaves and jumping in them, planting mums, chunky sweaters, and curling up with a long forgotten book in the crisp fall air. To that I would add apple picking, the first fire in the wood stove, my warm fleece pullovers, and my favorite autumn devotional. Can you tell autumn is our favorite time of year? ~ Veronica

I love fall with all the golds, browns, reds and orange colors. (In fact the colors of my living room.) I love making all kinds of pumpkin baked goods. Cookies, breads and cakes will soon fill my house with their spicy smells. ~ Gwyn

What do I love about fall? - The cooler temperatures. I live in central Florida, where we don't get all the beautiful fall colors (unfortunately), but fall does bring milder temperatures so I can finally spend some time outside without risking heat exhaustion. ~ Janne

Here in the high desert we only have about two weeks of fall, but those two weeks are lovely, the weather is cooler, the trees are colorful and the tumbleweeds bloom. I especially like that the weather changes, it starts to cool off at night, finally. God Bless ~ Robynn

The fall is my favorite season. Here's a whole post of reasons why. I hope you have a happy one! ~ Cheryl

I love the change in weather...cooler, crisper....I love the baking that we do with spices and pumpkin...I just love celebrating a new season! ~ Caroline

Like everyone else I can name so many small details of fall ~ colors, sweaters, wood fires, snuggling together under blankets, warm beverages, etc...~ that make me smile.... but if I were to sum it up fall means ANTICIPATION OF PEACE! Before long the landscape will be bare and grey but fall is the great reminder to live in the moment, to soak in the glory of nature, and to prepare to rediscover the comforts and coziness of our home and each other. It is this nesting and anticipation of quiet, early nights spent together that is warmer than any sweater, wood fire, or cider! ~ DnSMum

I love everything about fall....but cooler crisp days spent outside wandering through the leaves must be my favorite!!!! We are going out to do that now!!! ~ Alisa

A big pot of hot apple cider hanging over the fire pit... Ummm, the smells of autumn. ~ Karen

Well, I love everything about Fall, so that's tricky. Mostly I love the cooler weather, but the colors, the smells, putting the oven back on again...so hard to choose just one. ~ Dorothy

I love the colors of fall, pumpkin bread baking in the kitchen, fire in the fireplace, drinking cider on the porch with a blanket... Hmm so many things. It is my favorite season! ~ Jacqi

My favorite thing about fall is the changing of the leaves. We live about ten minutes from the Blue Ridge Mountains in central Virginia, and the view is just breathtaking. It's so much fun each year to watch the top of the mountains change color and then work their way into the valley, then do the reverse in Spring. I love both seasons, but Autumn, as I prefer to call it, is definitely my favorite! ~ Kim

Autumn is so much fun! It's the "beginning" of so many things, and the "end of as many! it's the crisp air, the colors, the hot coffee, cool nights in front of a fire...reading about the Jewish Fall festivals, and other ways different people celebrate harvest...and the candy in the aisles in the stores...it's the prelude to the Big Winter Sleep...it's beef stew and pea soup and hot cider, and everything wonderful! Blessings! ~ Barbara

My very favorite thing(s) about fall...apple butter and football games and sweatshirts and cripy air and boiled peanuts! Oh the boiled peanuts are a must! ~ Shannon

My favorite thing about fall: the temperature here in NC is FINALLY low enough to be able to do more outdoors than just run from AC to AC to pool. ~ Shannon

My favorie thing about fall here in Florida is that it brings us one step closer to the cooler months of winter. :D ~ Carolyn

I love the colors of fall. In fact we just painted our living room a beautiful shade of deep pumpkin orange. I also love the smells of fall-pumkin bread, gingerbread, cinnamon, etc. ~ Crisanne

What I miss about fall is the changing colors of the foliage. The deep reds, browns and oranges and the brillant yellows that fill the sky. I miss picking apples, then finding our way back to the barn at our favorite orchard for hot cider and warm broccoli cheese biscuits. I miss these things because we live in Florida where we don't have the wonderful foliage change until December or January, so to get in the fall mood we bake our pumpkin bread, make some warm cider and read from our fall book basket. ~ Stephanie

I love the way the river's marsh grass looks during this fall season. I love the way it is only in the 80's and my children think they need long sleeve shirts. Most of all I love the rhythm of scheduled days after winging it all summer. ~ Tracey

FALL - changing leaves, apple picking, sweatshits and football :) GO EAGLES :) baking, Halloween & Thanksgiving, preparing for winter & Christmas, cooler temperatures and warmer fabrics :) I love it all!!! ~ Heather

I love apple day. It is a set tradition in our life !!! ~ Clarice

My favorite thing about fall. There are so many! The colors, the apples, cooking comfort food, the fires in the wood stove (and outside), falling leaves, pumpkins. If only fall would stay and winter would never come. ~ Mom to 2 Boys

This year I am waiting to see what will be my favorite thing about fall. I say that because I am a New England girl and this year we will be spending 90% of the season in Oregon. What will it be like here? I THINK this is when the rain returns. And, in the mountains it starts to snow. So, it will be interesting! ~ Melissa R

I love Fall for many reasons, but my favorite has to be watching my 2nd grade students discover all the visible changes outside. Today they were so excited to see some of the leaves changing on a tree! They spent their recess today finding different trees that have started changing around the school yard!! Amazing! ~ Jamie

For me, it's all about the smells of autumn...the crisp, brisk mornings; the smell of a bonfire in the back field; the aroma of spiced apple cider on the stove and pumpkin bread in the oven. ~ Adriana

I love the sound of the wind blowing the leaves down the road and the smell of the harvested fields being burned. (Now I live in a city and don't get to smell that anymore.) I also love anything pumpkin, apple cider, and all the lovely harvest decorations people have out. ~ Christina

I love Fall!! It's my favorite season! One of the many things I love is the cool of the morning and getting to wear sweaters again! ~ Lora

I love the cool nights and chilly mornings when the kids just want to stay snug in their pjs a little bit longer... and they can because they don't have to catch a bus!  ~ Janene

I was raised in Montana and moved to New England several years ago when I started college. For me, fall in New England is like fall nowhere else. The colors are amazing--when I spent one fall in back in Montana after being out here for a few years, I was homesick for New England! Also, my husband proposed to me in Mid-October and our son was born a year to the day later, so fall is when our little family begain. ~ Kellie

Ah, Fall. Out here in the California Mojave Desert, it means the daytime highs stay below 100 and the night time gets cool enough for a blanket. It's as if the earth has survived another hot season and is catching it's breath....as am I. ~ Helen

I love the smells - the burning campfire wood, the pumpkin breads, hot chocolates, cold noses on my little ones, and re-introducing flannel sheets! ~ Liz

Definitely a fall lover here! Hands down my favorite season. Full of the smells of cinnamon apples and pumpkin pies and a crispness on the breeze as you smell the smoke from wood stoves in the air. Not to mention the warm colors of goldenrod yellow, cranberry red, and pumpkin orange! Love it! Blessings to you ~ Melissa

I LOOOOOOVE autumn. When August begins, I am ready for fall. Some of my favorite things about fall are baking, watching the leaves change into all my favorite colors, and the cooler weather. When my oldest son was little, we would go to a Chestnut tree in a nearby park...the same tree every year. We'd gather chestnuts, and our favorite part was peeling away the shell and discovering the shiny chestnut inside. Once an angry squirrel started chucking chestnuts at us from high above our heads. Thank God we got away unscathed!!! ~ Heather

Fall to me is lots of color! Orange, yellow, red, cranberry! It means hot apple cider, apple butter on toast, the shape and color of maple and oak leaves, cool days, time around my fire pit with family, Alabama football, woolly bear caterpillars, annual trip to the Smokey Mountains and local Indian reenactors cooking outside and the smell of the smoke! I am so in love with Fall! ~ Susan

I love digging out the winter recipes and doing some marathon baking--great smells, warm comfort. ~ Lydia

What I love most about Fall is setting up my pumpkins on the front doorstep, canning and making applesauce! ~ Mary

Fall is my favorite season! That is why we decided to be married this time of year...sixteen years this year:) I love the changing leaves, the smell of the crisp air and all the baking to look foward to. ~ Christine

The crisp clear air delicately scented with a touch of wood smoke, and the brilliant blue of an October sky. ~ Alice

I absolutely love fall. The smell of cinnamon and cloves baking in something "pumpkin". Digging out my socks again. Finding those rich smelling candles and burning them throughout our learning day. Windows wide open with colors spilling into our home. AHHHHHHHH! Fall. ~ Lisa

Like many of your other readers, fall is also my favorite season. Things I love during this time of year--the colors, my birthday, pumpkin picking, apple picking, the temperatures, Indian corn, baked goods, the smells, Thanksgiving. ~ Ashley

I love how, at a certain time during the fall, all the mosquitoes are gone! ~ Amy

I love fall as well, especially since I didn't have it for the first 21 years of my life(we lived in florida)-but now that I live in Tennessee, I get to enjoy the magic of the colors, the breeze, the excitement of the children, the taste of pumpkin and sweet potatoes, every year! ~ Aimee

I never win at anything, but I don't mind singing my praises of autumn! The autumnal equinox falls on my son's birthday, so first off on my list of what I like about fall! Fall is one of our favorite seasons: college football season, apple and pumpkin picking time, and Halloween. The fall foliage in the mountains in our drives through VA and PA, especially to the Penn State games. I love the the saints of the season, like the Archangels, St. Francis, St. Therese, St. Cecilia, to name a few. And I love the month of November, praying for the Poor Souls, visiting the graves. I love the cooler days and nights and the feel of the cool grass, which has returned to its lush green, under my bare feet. ~ Jennifer

The "burning" smell in the air---the harvest moon---wearing sweaters---giant maple trees full with golden yellow leaves (a view of these leaves out my dorm-room window was a true comfort to me when I had pneumonia in college for weeks on end, and to this day they are comforting and hopeful!)---and cooking/baking---roasts, apple pie, brownies, and pumpkin soup! ~ Angela

Fall... ahhh, where to start? I pine for the autumn breezes, I long for the changing leaves, I dream of pumpkins, mums and the promise of first frost. Alas, we have been in FL for the better part of a decade and dreaming of fall is all I can do for now. ~ Jen

Crunch, crunch, crunch, on the way home from the lake today...and then honk, honk, honk over head. The sounds of fall are here. ~ Marcia

Here in the Nova Scotia highlands, I love the mornings best in autumn. From my front porch, the mist sits low in the valleys and the hills glow orange in the early sunshine. I can smell woodsmoke and when I look toward the village, I can see all the little white houses with smoke coming from their chimneys. I think about all of my neighbours, cozy inside. It's quieter now than it was on summer mornings. I just breathe deeply and fill my lungs with the crisp air. ~ Rebecca T.

We love brilliant blue skies and crisp days! ~ Joann

These are all such great comments... Fall is my favorite season, too. I love fall foods, the perfect temperature, and, this year, as fall draws to a close, baby Jesus' and our own baby's birth will be just around the corner! ~ JC

We love the fall. All cozy, candles, colored leafs. The smell of fall. WOW! ~ Kathy R.

I love everthing about fall...colors, smells, family time and that it means that the Christmas season is right around the corner. It is also just after my wedding anniversary. This makes me even more thankful each and every year for the gift of my husband..my love. ~ Nancy

I love fall because it means celebrations! My mom's birthday, my birthday and our wedding anniversary! Also loving the still warm sun and just chilled air! Today we celebrated by writing Happy Fall in front of our house in chalk and blowing bubbles in the park! ~ julia

The colors of fall, the crunching of leaves under foot as we walk and cool crisp mornings are some of my favorite things about fall. The cooler weather also triggers my urge to crochet. ~ Theresa

I love the excitement of the new school year, the smells of all the delicious comfort foods baking in the oven on a chilly evening and I love hearing the crunching of leaves underfoot as we take our nature walks. ~ Tina

Amber lights and fall decorations in the learning area, apple-picking, home-made apple butter, just everyone settling into being together more at home after summer break. ~ Becky

I love Fall storms. I love the look of bright yellow leafy trees against a grey sky. ~ Melissa

Sweaters. Warm Tea Pots. Thick socks. Cozy slippers. Crisp Mornings. Down quilts. Fresh windswept sheets. Baking. Routine. The feeling of a fresh start.... ~ Kristie

I enjoy so much about the fall! I love that I get to celebrate my anniversary during this season. I love watching the trees turn their colors. I love going outside, that the weather begins to turn a bit cooler so playing outside isn't so HOT. I love going to the pumpkin patch with my kids. ~ Rachel

Here in the south, I love the break from the humidity, and being able to do some baking & decorate! :) ~ Elizabeth

Living in CA I love that Fall brings us the longed for RAIN! ~ Jennie Lou

I love the cooler weather (we're in the hot, hot desert), the smell of pumpkin bread baking in the oven, and apple cider. ~ Marla

I love all the colors and scents of autumn, the coziness of the cool days and cooler nights, and the promise of even cozier days to come... ~ Susan W.

I have never experienced fall because I live in sunny Singapore. But through your beautiful blog, I have experienced all the colours of spring, summer, autumn and winter. I hope to one day visit a place like your hometown. ~ Alice

I echo just about every comment about fall. I also like driving through the mountains and seeing the pink and red hills. ~ Sarah

Golden afternoon light that spills over everything casting a magical glow. ~ Tamsen

Oh I just love Fall. Its my favorite time of the year. I love so many things about it. The crisp cool air. Apple picking, warm cozy fires in the fireplace. Blankets and snuggling, roasting marshmallows, oh we do that in the summer too, but outside. I just adore Fall. I love anything Harvest and Thanksgiving is wonderful too. ~ Deezie

Some of my favorite things about Fall... Finally warming the house with the woodstove, and wearing the beautiful wool socks my mother sends us. The smell of my favorite pear and pineapple pie in the oven. Apple picking, and watching my boys gleefully fire the pumpkin cannon at our local corn maze! ~ Kristina

Fall is one of my four favorite seasons because I love fall books, fall food, fall colors, fall clothing, fall everything! It is such a brilliant display from God before we've settled into the greys, blues, and whites of winter, another series of lovely, but in a completel different way! I love Fall! ~ Kathryn

My favourite season is fall (autumn over here). I love the leaves turning different colours & then the piles of them on the ground, crunching as you walk on them or simply tossing them in the air. ~ Andrea

My favorite autumn things are foraging (elderberries, mushrooms, rose hips) all the beautiful autumn colours (golds, scarletts, oranges) & all the wonderful autumn baking (breads, pies, muffins). ~ Lynn

I adore Autumn, the colours - gorgeous browns, reds and oranges, the sounds - crunching leaves on walks and the smells from the wonderful soups, stews and pumpkin pies to the earthy smells of bonfires. I enjoying starting to be more inside based with cosy fires and wonderful crafts, knitting, sewing ... creating. Extra blankets on the bed, flannel sheets. Slowing down. ~ Denise

I love all of the beautiful colors of the trees and the way the air smells. ~ Betsy

My favorite thing about fall is LSU football. :) ~ Amelia

I love everything about fall! If I had to choose my favorites though, it would be the temperatures, apples, harvesting and football! I also enjoy getting back into our homeschool rhythm with one while the other spends her days at our local Catholic school, everyone happy where they are, and loving all the bounty of the season! Cheers ~ Penny

Fall in Western NY - what's not to love, Grape harvest, Bumper Apple crop this year, Giant pumpkins . . . I especially like the falling and collecting of Horse Chestnuts here in our yard at Chestnut Hill. Maybe we should have been called Nut Hill as we also have English Walnuts and Black Walnuts!! Stunning Sunny week here! Enjoy! ~ Carol

I love fall for many reasons. Here in inland southern California the summers are so long and glaring hot, that when fall comes the softer, subtler golden light is a welcome change. Fall is also the season of apple harvest up in the mountains near us, so we can pick apples and make all the delicious fall treats we love so much! ~ Amy

I L-O-V-E everything about fall-do I have to pick just one thing? The colors are rich and earth-toned. The smells are spicy and cinnamon-ey (is that a word?). The sounds are leaves crunching beneath feet and geese on their way South for the winter. I just love going out on a crisp fall day and coming in to a house filled with the smell of pumpkin bread baking and drink a cup of warm cider- YUM! ~ Jennifer

I love the smells of fall; the farms, the apple orchards, the pumpkin patches, the crisp air. I love everything about fall. ~ Julie

I love fall for the chill in the air that makes me want to cuddle up with my family. The cozy warm colors of fall inspire me to think beautiful thoughts. The falling leaves remind me of God's love for us. Fall is a time reflection. ~ Nori

Wood fires...colored leaves...fat pumpkins...the garden work winding down...frost on the gate. ~ Mrs. Darling

I can't wait to rake leaves into a big pile and let my 3 year old play in them! I have such good memories of doing that as a child...I am excited to share them with her. ~ Angela

Fall is my favorite, I love everything about it, but I especially love pumpkins--real ones, ceramic ones, sewn ones, wool ones, in all different colors. I just love the shape, the look, they are my favorite fall item to decorate with. I almost want to leave them up year round! ~ Janna

What do I love about fall the most? In the SF Bay Area the fog goes away for a while and there's a chill in the morning, just enough for a sweater and socks. Farmers markets overflowing with autumn's bounty. Apples! That's what I love the most. Apple cider, apple pie, apple crisp, and a crisp, juicy apple in my hand!!! ~ Lisa

In the Fall, our family loves making pumpkin muffins on Sunday. Then, we have a yummy snack to reach for during the always-hectic Mondays. ~ Nicole

I love the cozy feelings of Fall. A time to slow down. It is nice to take walks in the cooler weather & make pumpkin bread and cookies. Oh, and my birthday makes it extra fun too!  ~ Kristal

I love that the kids are coming back to school . . . crunching colorful leaves . . . hot cocoa . . . baked goods smells from my oven . . . and knowing the holidays will be coming! ~ Shawna

My favorite thing about fall is watching scores of children trundle off to school, then snuggling on the couch with my sweat-clad children to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and a picture book. And perhaps a piece of freshly made apple crisp. ~ Sarah

I love the way fall smells. I lived in San Diego for about four years and even there, where there is very little change in seasons, fall had a special smell. When I moved to the midwest, I could smell it really strong again. I just love it. So peaceful and cleansing. ~ Jo

One of the reasons we moved back to OH from CA was because I missed the fall so much! 4 of my 7 children are fall babies! Fall is cool mornings and warm sunny afternoons. No more AC, apple picking, harvest festivals, cooking all kinds of treats again. Fall is nurturing. ~ Kate

Down here in the deep South, we are just beginning to get cooler temps (highs in the mid 70s to low 80s) and the humidity is beginning to lessen. That is probably what I like most--just the hints of something to come. It is also a great time to get outside after the sweltering heat of summer! ~ Dana

With the turn of the seasons comes new vegetables at the market. The stands are filled with root vegetables, fresh for the earth, hardy enough to withstand the winter chill--there is something about the squashes and pumpkins, especially the giant butternut squash, that inspires me to cook. Thick corn soup with herbed dumplings or garlicky butternut squash with penne--warm food for the soul. I love fall cooking. ~ Michele

This year I'm especially loving the rain, but I love every part of fall! :-) ~ Phyllis

I love Autumn. It's my favorite season and I'm enjoying it tremendously with my 4 young children. I am planning on having 2 families over tomorrow morning and having an "Autumn Celebration". i'm making Autumn Butterscotch Coffee for us ladies. And the kiddos and I are going to make Caramel apples and fall leaf placemat. ~ Tabitha

I used to love apple picking, pumpkin patches and fall foliage. Now that we live down south, I relish the days when the thermometer only reaches 90 degrees. ~ Margaret

I love fall because it is like a second spring each year in reverse. ~ Michelle

One of my favorite things about fall is being able to be outside more often, as where we live here in the south, it gets quite hot in the summer months. I also love all the rich, warm colors of fall along with the smells of spice, wood smoke, and pumpkin bread baking in our oven! On a side note, my kids love playing in our many leaf piles! ~ Patricia

It is hard to pick one thing I love about fall. Fall is my very favorite time of the year, from the beautiful colors, to the wonderful spicy smells of nutmeg and cinnamon!
And, I love football. :)
~ Karen

Conkers - they are such a beautiful colour and so tactile, and playing Conkers was a main autumnal pastime in childhood. ~ Nic

The lower humidty and the sun sinking lower in the sky. Plus all the beautiful colors. ~ Bethany

The sun low on the horizon, crisp mornings and breezy afternoons, beautifully colored leaves, the smell of cider and spice, signs of harvest in the country fields, fresh new homeschool supplies, snuggling under cozy throws for reading time, delicious smell of baked goods and casseroles from the oven...I'm so happy to be experiencing a "true" fall this year! We recently moved to the Midwest from the desert Southwest. ~ April

I LOVE snuggling down at the end of a nice fall day. It's the perfect temp to snuggle under a blanket on the rocking chair outside. Throw in a little Godiva Hot Chocolate- YUM! ~ Cortney

There is a certain coziness of Fall that I've never experienced in other seasons. Walking the neighborhood in the evening and realizing that its getting darker earlier, nature has one last burst of vibrant color before it slips into is annual hibernation, and the oft mentioned fragrance of burning wood. More than anything, I associate fall with falling in love; moreso than spring. It may be because my husband and I started dating in the fall, but I've always found the crisp air, changing leaves and soft sunlight to beckon feelings of romance! ~ Anne

Fall is my favorite because it slows us down. The crisp fresh air brings promises of sweet smells in the kithcen and cozy nights by the fire place. Fall always brings my prayer life to a stillness and look forward carmel. Contemplation and expectation is how i describe the state of my soul during this time of the year. ~ Dessie

As a military family, we never know where we will be each Fall. Or, if we will be together. Even though my body may be thousands of miles from that cold snap in the air and the beautiful palette of leaves, my soul awakens. Each Fall I am reminded to focus on today's blessings. In all the craziness of this world, the gift of Fall is a cherished one indeed. ~ Beth

With Fall, comes a different smell in the air. The wind changes, the nights grow cooler and the trees somehow look sleepy from a summer of the hot baking sun. The shadows even appear longer. Fall is my favorite season! ~ Jeanette

I love fall because it will always be full of memories of a day's drive to the Shenandoah to see the mountains painted in all the fall colors, pulling those little prickly things of the bottom of our pants after a romp through the pumpkin patch, the smell of ripe apples in the orchard and my father, the man from Peru (where he only grew up with 2 seasons) who fell in love with nature's splendor in autumn and taught all his children to love it as much as he does. ~ Maria

My favorite thing about fall is the smell! Everything just smells differently... The air especially. And, after a long summer, I enjoy saying goodbye to sunblock-scents, and welcome apples, cooking squash, baking, wood-burning fires, a general crispness in the air... ~ Jen

Fall ... the colors, the smells, the knitting! ~ Mary

Fall is birthday season here (7 b-days in 7 days within my extended family). But my favorite part is the crisp evenings, and going apple picking! I love being able to turn the oven on the make something warm and tasty for the girls before bed. Ah, Autumn! ~ Angi

I just love fall! I love the change in foliage colors, the crispness of the air, the blue September skies, and football! ~ Elizabeth

I think the crisp and crunchy things. Crisp air and apples. Crunchy, musty grass and leaves. ~ Alicia

Fall is my favorite season, my favorite part is all of it, but probably the smells, and finding the perfect cozy sweater to match with jeans and I get to bring out my favorite slippers. :) ~ Jenna

My favorite thing about fall this year is teaching my three year old what it is! Yesterday, on our walk, the wind started blowing and he said, "Mommy! It's FALL!" Then, when the breeze died down, he said, "Oh, Fall is gone." ~ Betsey

Fall baking is fabulous, and so is taking a day to go to a nearby ski resort to ride the ski lift to the top of the mountain and see all the beautiful colors for miles. But my favorite fall tradition is putting together the 3 scarecrows for our front garden - we dress them up in our kids' old clothing to look like our 2 sons and daughter - the kids get to color or carve their own "heads" out of pumpkins!! ~ Linda

I enjoy the colors of fall! It inspires lots of creativity in me. But, my favorite is that fall ushers in the baking season in our home---apple crisp, pumpkin bread, pies, etc, etc! ~ Daniele

I love the sense of anticipation fall brings with it; you know it is going to be winter soon, the holiday season is approaching and everyone seems to be more energetic now that the oppressive heat has lessened. (I live in Texas!) ~ Hani

I have several favorite things about Fall. The one thing I love is the weather change. It's incredibly hot where I live, even now. I love the opportunity to throw open the windows and just sit and enjoy God's whispering breezes around me. ~ Feisty Irish Wench

As for what I love about fall, it has to be the return of the rain. I live in a small town in the Seattle area - maybe you've heard that it rains a bit here ;) - and the sound, smell and feel of the rain inspires our family to drag out our soft quilts, favorite books, candles, hot tea and cookies. I say 'let it rain!' - just don't ask me what I think about it in February ~ Rebecca

My favorite things about fall are the changing of the leaves, the crispness in the air and the prompting to bake things with pumpkin in them. We don't get a dramatic change here in So. Ca, but it is there if you look for it! ~ Jenny in CA

Fall is my *FAVORITE* season too! I love everything about it. All the leaves changing colors, the cooler temperatures without the rain (at least here where we live), all the wonderful feast days as well as my anniversary! Pulling out candles and baking cobblers.. I could go on and ON! :) ~ Jessica

My boys would say "apple crisp and apple cider". But my favorite things are the changing leaves and the cool evenings and wearing sweaters. ~ Greta

I really love when the leaves change color. I am also a fan of Halloween. I love seeing all the cute little costumes. ~ Ilissa

I love cooler weather, fresh notebooks and sharp crayons, harvest time, country fairs and sweaters. ~ Amy

One of my favorite parts of fall.... APPLE CIDER DOUGHNUTS!!! ~ Leslie

I love autumn, it's my favorite time of year. The last few years one of my favorite things have been your lovely ideas which you share so generously here. So I pick you as my favorite autumn resource. ~ Mary Ellen (Thank you so much, Mary Ellen!)

********************************************************************

Now, after reading all those lovely comments, how can you possibly not be excited for fall? ;)

Thanks, once again, to all my readers - for reading and commenting, and just making me part of your day. :) If, after reading this post you would like to add your two cents, you are more than welcome to add to our growing list of autumn goodness - leave me a comment below and I'll add your thoughts to this post!

Have a great afternoon, everyone!


Drumroll, please ...

We just pulled a name from the basket, and I'm pleased to announce that the winner of my extra copy of The Story of the Wind Children is ...

**Wendi**

Congratulations, Wendi! I hope you enjoy the book as much as we do! Please send me an email (drhanigan AT comcast DOT net) so I can make all the necessary mailing arrangements. :)

And a very big THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the Autumn Book Contest! As I mentioned before, I plan to gather all your lovely autumnal comments into one big post sometime soon. (I'm tempted to say later today, but we'll see how the day goes.) Either way, it will be up soon!

To give you all a little preview of that big Fall post coming up, here are Wendi's thoughts on Autumn ...

Fall is my absolute favorite season!! The beautiful changes in the leaves, the crisp air, the smell of woodburning fires, cozy soup, and football. All of this however is unrivaled by the melancholy of pulling plants out of the vegetable garden which have served us so well all summer and yet we continue to be overjoyed with the fall harvest - squash, potatos, pumpkins, sweet watermelon, popcorn and the promise of a fall pea harvest. What bounty the earth provides as she slows down to prepare for the winter ahead. I think there is a lesson there. Don't you?

Oh I agree, Wendi! So beautifully said!

You know, this was so much fun, I might just have to do this again. If I come across any more books to add to the donate pile, I'll make sure to offer them here first! :)

Have a Wonderful Wednesday, everyone!


~Book Contest Update~

Good evening, my dear readers!

I want you to know that I am SO enjoying reading all of your Book Contest comments, and I am delighted to have so many replies to my post! I will continue collecting comments until first thing tomorrow morning (which for me is roundabouts 6 a.m.) at which point the boys and I will do the drawing and I'll announce the winner here shortly thereafter. :)

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to leave me a note ~ reading all those lovely autumn sentiments has made me so excited for the season at hand! In fact, I am going to do a whole post devoted to all your wonderful ideas very soon!

Have a wonderful Tuesday evening and Autumn Blessings to all!


~*An Autumn Book Giveaway!*~

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In honor of today's Equinox, I have decided to host a little autumn book giveaway here at my blog! You see, I recently discovered that we owned, not one, but two copies of The Story of the Wind Children, a precious book by Sibylle Von Olfers (whose more popular work, The Story of the Root Children you might know). I was going to add the extra copy to our donation pile when it occured to me perhaps one of my readers might be interested? :)

Well, if you are, please leave me a comment below, telling me something you love about fall. I will collect all your names in a basket and have the boys pick out a winner - to be announced bright and early Wednesday morning. :)

I will then send the winner her copy via post just as quickly as I can - it really is a sweet and fitting story for this time of year. In fact, we'll be using it in mid-October as a big part of our "Wind and Seeds" week.

So drop me a note if you're interested! And by the way, that picture was taken while we were camping in New Hampshire - when, surrounded by mushrooms and acorns and twirling helicopter seeds as we were, I couldn't help but wonder if we might spy our very own wind or root children in some mossy nook or cranny underfoot. ;)

Good Luck everyone, and Happy Fall!


Happy Autumn!

"Delicious Autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." George Eliot

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The Autumn Equinox occurs precisely at 3:40 this afternoon! Do you have any special plans? I'm still thinking about mine, but here's a little Fall Meme I did last year ... Tag yourself if you'd like, and have a great Monday! :)


The Week that Was ...

Last week, that is ... (the one where I went totally MIA) ... and what a week it was!

It flew by way too fast and it seemed I hardly got anything done - certainly not, ahem, any blogging - and yet it also seemed I was always busy doing something. Not ever enough, though. (Do you ever have weeks like that?) First of all, we had our camping trip to recover from, then we had a new therapy protocol to adjust to, and an MIT class to attend, a first Nature Club meeting of the year to partake in, an annual Planning Meeting with my homeschool group to help run (from the sidelines of course, but still) and oh yes, a birthday party for my 9 year old to throw. And enjoy.

And then clean up afterward.

Phew.

Well, I'm back, and I'm so sorry to have been away so long - and with no word at all. I hope all of you had a good week, last week (maybe a bit less hectic than mine) and I will catch up with you again sometime soon.

Off to watch the Emmys ... that's tonight, right? ;)

P.S. My camera's broken. Sob.


~*Camping in Pawtuckaway, NH*~

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Well, I wrangled with my computer this morning and got it to cooperate for a while ... still very slow going with the picture-uploading, but I managed to get these up for now. But, since I used up most of my "allotted" online time doing that, my notations will be brief - but hopefully they'll make sense, lol. I do hope you enjoy these pictures though, we had a blast!

Our campsite:

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(That's not our RV - it belongs to Bill's folks. They graciously let us borrow it, arriving beforehand and setting everything up for us.)

Bookworm and Crackerjack, standing tall:

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Earlybird's favorite activity was throwing rocks in the water, and since the campground was situated in and around a huge lake, he had ample opportunity:

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Bookworm spent the first day making a detailed map of our site. You've gotta love that home learning instinct ... :)

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Crackerjack asked me to take this picture, so I feel obliged to share it:

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We love to bike as a family, and this was a magnificent place to explore:

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The beautiful marshes were showing the earliest hints of autumn color:

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I took a lot of mushroom pictures, because there were just so many kinds! I won't bore you with them all, but this one was particularly interesting:

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Nightfall brought a campfire and, of course, smores ...

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And what would smores be without scary stories?

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I crept out early in the morning to snap some pictures of the mist rising over the lake:

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And the sun rising in the woods:

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We headed out early to go fishing; the sun rising over the lake was breathtaking:

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And so we fished, in the quiet misty morning. Have you ever heard loons calling? Oh my, so hauntingly beautiful ~ eerie even, when for a very brief moment I thought they were wolves! A bald-eagle soared overhead for about a minute, giving us a wonderful view. I filmed it, but didn't get a still picture.

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The foliage is just starting to turn up in New Hampshire - but here and there we'd see a spot of vibrant color:

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A hint of things to come:

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We came home with tons of acorns and this interesting rock which we thought looked very  much like it could be a fossil ...

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Well, that turned out to be a rather long post after all! I hope you enjoyed our New Hampshire pics - we had a great time and hope to try camping again soon! Speaking of soon, I'll be back before long - just keep your fingers crossed I get these hairy computer issues resolved ...

Have a great day! :)


September's Palette: An Autumn Wayside Walk

Oh, I wish I could really and truly share yesterday's "feel" with you all: it was a gray, breezy and warm day ... the promise of rain was thick in the air. So very September. :) We brought Earlybird to therapy and instead of sitting in the waiting room as we usually do (with books and notebooks and other things to keep us busy), we took a little jaunt out to the wayside - to an overgrown area near the roadway that was positively burgeoning with life, bursting with the miracle of autumn.

Wayside1

I've had my eye on this little area, suspecting there was more to it than just the blur of greenery we barely notice as we drive by, as we do once a week at least. I'm glad we finally made the time to take this walk because there really was so much to see! We'll add these photos to our nature notebooks, and turn to our favorite field guides for help with identification.

Please allow me to share with you our finds, a sampling of September's palette:

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A milkweed pod, releasing its seeds to the air.

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More seed pods and seed heads.

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A dragonfly so large it seemed prehistoric, lol.

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A bee perched on goldenrod, burrs below.

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Cattails hinted at wetlands within.

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Milkweed, perhaps?

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The delicate jewelweed vine.

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Not sure what this is!

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A dragonfly at rest.

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Doesn't this look like a seed fairy?

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A lovely little copper butterfly.

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Could this be an astilbe plant? Growing wild?

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Fly away home ladybug, to someplace warm!

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A mass of Michaelmas daisies, or wild asters.

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September's herald, goldenrod.

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These pretty seed heads look like jellyfish!

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Do you see the bird on the rocks?

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Purple loosestrife - pretty but very invasive.

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Tiny, young acorns.

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Deadly Nightshade - pretty but poisonous!

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Perhaps an owl nests in here?

Looking back over these photos, I can remember the stillness of the day, the increasing breeze that hinted at storms approaching, and the loud hum of insects that seemed to drown out the passing traffic. It was one of those mornings when I am particularly grateful we homeschool, because days like this are too fleeting - I'm glad the boys and I got to spend this time savoring September together.

Well, I hope you enjoyed our little autumn walk, and I hope maybe it inspires you to check out a little wild wayside near where you live. You'd be amazed how much is going on in there!

Ands always, thanks for stopping by ... I'll see you all again sometime soon! :)


And the suburban adventures continue ...

So.

I was sitting here just now at the computer, finishing up lunch, plugging photos into a post about our morning nature walk, and talking on the phone with my mother (yes, that would be called multitasking) when my eyes, as they often do, strayed to the birdfeeders outside my window ...

Now, it's not uncommon to see a critter - as opposed to a bird - inside, or as the case may be, outside the feeders. But there was something funny about the tiny dark shadow I spied jumping around inside the large tube feeder hanging in the cherry tree. I could see him (a chipmunk, I determined) making repeated, one might say, frantic, attempts to exit via the open top and/or the small feeding holes on the side.

So I told my mum I'd call her back, slipped on my Keds, and then I was off - into the backyard, thunder and lightning be darned ...

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Do you see what I see ... ?

Yep, he seemed to be stuck, good and fast; the fella could just not find his way out. Naturally I took pictures of the poor startled thing before remedying the situation.

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I think I pretty much negated any Snow White complex I might have harbored by choosing to photograph first and rescue second. Nonetheless, after securing these shots, I quickly and gently set the feeder on the ground so that the little guy could get out.

(And it took him a while to do so - he waited till I was inside the house before he ventured out - but at last he ran off into the surrounding shrubbery.)

So there you have it folks, the very latest installment in our ongoing (and seemingly endless) wildlife adventures. Stay tuned, for I'm sure there will be another before long.

Goodness knows, there's never a dull moment around here. :)


Look who came a-calling last night ...

It was a mild and breezy evening, so we had all our windows open and it was just before the boys headed off to bed when we started to hear the little noises ... the squeaks, the rustling, the banging and clanging. We knew immediately who it was that had come to call, but we were surpised by just how many pairs of eyes greeted us in the dark!

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We counted four in all - but there was possibly a fifth coon higher up in the tree. They were pretty small, so we think this is a litter of cubs.

Back at the end of August we observed two daytime visits by one big lone raccoon. At first, I was concerned that she might be sick (coons being nocturnal creatures and all), but she was not acting strangely. She seemed mostly just to be perusing for food. I put a call into the dog officer who told me it is not all that unusual to see raccoons out and about at this time of year. Most likely she had a den of nursing kits somewhere and she had to squeeze in a little time for herself to feed and attend to business while they slept. (I know just how she feels, lol.)

And now of course, checking the feeders this morning, there's not a bit of seed left in any of the feeders. I suppose I could be irritated about it, but those coons are just too much fun to watch. And they don't mind being watched, either - they're certaily not what I'd call skittish creatures.

Well, I'd best be getting this day going - but I have to tell you, I can feel the wind changing out there. The morning haze is burning off, the cloud cover is creeping overhead and it's a chilly gust of air coming through my window.

So I'm off to batten down some hatches. Have a great Tuesday, everyone!


A few more colorful feathers ...

... to add to the Autumn Nest.

September's upon us and cold weather is not far behind. It's time to warm up our homes with baskets, blankets, candles, lots of books and a bit of nature's bounty ...

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Bill moved the reading chairs back into the family room this weekend, and parked them close by the fireplace. He then turned the fireplace back on, and moved the air conditioner downstairs. The boys and I have been busy putting leaves and letters in the windowpanes; as we move closer to Advent, they'll be replaced by snowflakes and window stars. I placed soft throw blankets over the back of the chairs - and according to weather reports, we might even need them by the end of the week!

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Within easy reach of the armchairs are baskets of autumn books and favorite woodland puppets ~ all tied up with a golden pumpkin bow. 

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Because we still have several weeks of good weather before us - October is prime-time in New England - the deck set stays up for a while longer.

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I love little garden flags, and this one's a favorite. Over the next few weeks we'll plant hardy mums and fall asters here, maybe even some kale. And there will be pumpkins aplenty before long.

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My kitchen is so dark, it's impossible to get a good picture - but I had to try! All along the windowsill I placed our very own home-grown Jack-be-Littles. If they last till Halloween, I might core them and place tealights inside each one. Wouldn't that be a cozy sight on a dark fall afternoon? :)

Well, that's all for now folks, but I'll be back again soon. Hope your week's off to a good start!


*A Sunday Evening Hello*

Just popping in to say hello on this sunny September Sunday ~ I hope your weekend is going well!

It's pretty quiet around here this afternoon. Hanna has gone out to sea, leaving in her wake a day that is sparkling, breezy and warm. Feels almost like football weather, but not quite.

Speaking of football ... the Pats played their first game of the season today, and in the spirit of things, I changed into my new pink Patriots tee just moments before kickoff. (I'm sure that's why they won, and obviously I must wear this shirt every Sunday from here on out.) Of course it wasn't good news for our quarterback, Tom Brady - we're hoping and praying he'll be OK.

For our Sunday dinner this evening, I'm making American Chop Suey ~ with extra peppers and zucchini and a loaf of garlic bread on the side. Very nice with a glass of red wine (for the grownups, of course). Have you heard of American Chop Suey? I think it might be a dish particular (some might say peculiar) to New England. I always think of serving it at this time of year because it's an easy, hearty and comforting meal - perfect for the fall.

And while I'm here I thought I would answer a few questions from my last post.

Amy asked: I love your Vera Bradley pattern - do you remember the name of the pattern?

I've had this tote for years (as evidenced by the saftey pin holding the strap to the bag, lol) but I was able to find the pattern listed here. "Classic Navy" was retired in January 2002.

Kim asked: I'm coming out of semi-lurkdom to ask where you got those lights. I've been looking online and at websites of stores in town that might carry them, and I can't find them.

Hi Kim, and thanks for saying hello! I got those grapevine ball lights at Target a month or so ago. They may have been a summer thing, but it might be worth a call to your local store to see if they have any left! :)

Amy asked: Hi Dawn - you mentioned in another post you were planning your fall menu plan - would you share that? Love to hear your ideas.

I will share my menu plans soon, Amy. (I have such a long list of things I want to blog about, it's just finding the time to write!) :) I am attending a meeting at my friend Leigh's later this month specifically to talk about menu planning, so I am sure she and I will both have lots to share after that meeting! (FYI, my menu plans are nothing fancy. Strictly humble fare - kid-friendly and easy.)

Now, I bet you're all a little tired of my morning glory photos, but I just can't resist one more - because look how they've grown!

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And maybe I'll share a few other photos from the past week or two ...

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I absolutely love autumn evenings - there is nothing like them. The boys and I sat on our front steps the other night and watched this "Charlie Brown" sky for awhile before bed. We watched bats and listened to crickets and I could literally feel summer slipping away ...

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Our "Fall Gold" raspberries are so plentiful! And they taste as sweet as they look ... amazingly, the birds leave the berries alone.

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Here's a picture of Earlybird one day last week, looking for bugs in the dirt. On this day we found a harvestman spider, a tiny green dragonfly and an enormous cicada. It was when the cicada took flight right over our heads that EB decided he'd had enough - "I go inside now, Mama," he said, handing me his magnifying glass and hurrying for the stairs. We'll look for more bugs this week, even as we begin our Apple Week.

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OK, it's been too long since I've posted a cat picture. Here's our Penny, snoozing in the front window. She's got the Lazy Sunday rhythm down pat. :)

Well, enjoy the rest of your Sunday, my friends. I'll see you all again sometime soon!


~Feathering a Fall Nest~

I've started adding fall touches throughout our home, and I thought it would be fun to show you all a little corner of our "nest" every few days. I started here in the dining-slash-learning room; the other day I had Bill put up a garland of russet silk leaves, twining them around a string of little grapevine ball lights.

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I also spent a good chunk of the afternoon neatening this corner - "my corner" - which was postively chock full of hot spots (that's FlyLady speak for clutter, lol). There was a lot to go through - the in-box, the file crate, the tote bag, my pocketbook, the bill basket - even the pen cup was overflowing!

Golly, how things had piled up. (But that's a post for another time ...)

Here's a closer look at those lights:

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I turn them on by 4:00 because I love how they look as the sun goes down ...

But, really, they look best at night:

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Kind of cozy, don't you think? :)

It's kind of ironic that as I type up this post (parked as I am right beneath those very lights), the evening is golden, gusty and warm. It reached 90 degrees today, and we had to crank on the AC again.

That's all right - it may still be summer out there, but it sure feels like fall in my heart. :) 


*Kinderweek 9/1 ~ Bugs and the Letter B*

{Please bear in mind that when I brainstorm ideas for a given theme, I know I'm not going to do them all. In fact, I'm not even going to try - but it's nice to have so many ideas to choose from. Also, because I have to work with and around Earlybird's attention span and energy levels, I don't really schedule a day's worth of activities; instead, I refer to this list throughout the week and work in things that fit the given mood of the moment (his and mine).}

Leopardbutterfly_4   

Themes this Week: the letter B and the b-sound, name recognition (identify and write letters of name), begin a photo-book "Who I Love," talk about how we can be "busy bees" (Labor Day/family chores), and bugs are all around us (late summer is a good time to see bugs) ...

Activity Ideas:

  • Search the backyard for real bugs (net, magnifying glass).
  • Watch plastic bugs "appear" in melting ice.
  • Observe plastic bugs with magnifying glass.
  • Count/sort plastic bugs.
  • Count/sort/string beads.
  • Count/sort buttons. (Set up an egg carton w/numbered sections.)
  • B – words: bugs, book, boom, ball, bees, blue, berries, butterfly, birds, bike.
  • Go on a bike ride with Daddy (to the field to spy butterflies).
  • Make bug sounds; pretend to be a bug.
  • Practice ball tossing and catching, rolling, kicking.
  • Play with boats in the bath.
  • Use playsilk to pretend to be a butterfly (wrapped in cocoon, fluttering about)
  • Move backwards, like a truck: beep, beep, beep!
  • Build with blocks, and knock them down - boom!
  • Bulldoze boulders (rocks in the dirtpile).
  • Count backwards – 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, boom!
  • Eat spaghetti and meatballs for supper.
  • Bake banana bread for breakfast.
  • Help unload shopping bags.
  • Stamp a canvas bag with bug shapes (EB's library book tote).
  • Practice slicing a banana with a plastic knife.
  • Decorate a big blue “B” with bug stickers.
  • Listen for bugs outside: crickets, cicada, bees.
  • Watch the bees buzz in the (rasp)berry patch.
  • Pick berries and count into bucket.
  • Make bubble solution; blow bubbles in backyard.
  • Poem: “Hurt No Living Thing” by Christina Rossetti
  • Music: "Flight of the Bumblebee" (Little Einstens DVD)
  • Finger puppets: beaver builds a dam, brown bear stops by to help.
  • Video: Beavers
  • Art/Crafts:
    • paint rock bugs
    • make a spider web (glue/wax paper/glitter)
    • bug coloring pages -  hang up
    • make and paint clay beads

In the Book Basket:

As soon as I can, I'll start a series of sidebar lists with book suggestions for each week's theme, but for now, it's time for me to be off. (Supper's smelling good and done in the kitchen!) So thanks for stopping by today ~ I hope your day was a good one!


The Simple Woman's Daybook ~ September 4th

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~ Do stop by Peggy's for all the Daybook links this week. ~
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Outside My Window ... a warm hazy day unfolds, a nuthatch pecks at the suet, morning glories climb all over the birdhouse.
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I am thinking ... about our officially broken computer. Rats.
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I am thankful ... I still have a laptop that works. 
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From the kitchen ... homemade pizzas with salad, fresh raspberries and cream.
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I am wearing ... sage green tee-shirt, black pants, slippers.
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I am creating ... a weekly shopping list and fall menu plan.
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I am reading ... the morning paper and the current issue of TIME.
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I am hoping ... to have enough quiet time today to place the myriad phone calls I need to place.
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I am hearing ... A cardinal chirping (over and over), a Carolina Wren in the distance, Earlybird bouncing on the couch.
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Around the house ... I'm putting up little fall touches - mini pumpkins from the garden, silky garlands, tiny white lights.
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One of my favorite things ... September days that begin cool and crisp, but finish warm and golden.
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A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: ... The older boys have Book Group today (theme: summer reading). This weekend we'll attend a family party celebrating the life of my uncle who recently passed away.
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Here is a picture thought I am sharing ...
Morningglory
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I hope you all have a wonderful day!