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August 2009
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October 2009

September 2009

A bit more on the lesson planner ...

One of my readers, Dawn V., asked about my lesson plan book and I was able to find it online when I did a quick "google" just now. (That's officially a verb now, right?)

It is made by the Elan Publishing Company out of Meredith, NH. I buy mine every year (and have done so for years) at my favorite local teacher shop. It used to cost me around $5; now it's closer to $10. It's a great price for a very efficient plan book. Here's the link (planner #208).

The lesson book is divided into a grid of five vertical blocks (days of the week) by eight horizontal blocks (subjects). All the blocks are lined which I love. 

My eight blocks are designated in this way:

General Notes (events/activities/appointments)
Earlybird's K/1 activities
Earlybird - other (extra things we did)
American History
Science/Nature Study
Crackerjack & Bookworm - other (extra things they did)

(I should point out I do use my children's real names in my planner lol.)

I always write in pencil and I use colorful post it notes for jotting down random ideas and observations. I check items off as they are accomplished and fill the planner in over the weekend for the most part. During the day, the planner lies open on the kitchen island with the weekly file folder open beside it. 

So far it has worked fairly well. :)


I hope that helps Dawn, and whoever else was interested in knowing more about the lesson plan book! 

New & Old in the Learning Room

So clearly I'm finding it hard to fit posting into our back-to-school life. I am trying to do better, still looking for that balance - always looking for that balance it seems. How are you finding your new school year - off to a good start I hope? :)

It was such a gorgeous day here yesterday - sunny, warm, windy. Golden in the way that only early fall can be. I spent the morning at the doctor's leaving the kids with independent work to complete under their nana's watchful eye. After lunchtime we got a bit more done, but soon I called it a day (ringing the dismissal bell as it were) and turned my attention to the housework that got neglected over the weekend.

And of course you know how I get when that soft afternoon light starts filling my learning room with a cozy cheerful glow. I took some pictures of this and that - a few new things to show you, a few same old, same old. I hope you enjoy a little of both. :)


Our September nature shelf - filled with books, nests, examples of autumn seeds, faded flowers gone to seed, a few shells and bits of sea glass from summer jaunts.


These were the first turned leaves we found at the end of August. We always make a big deal of those first pretty leaves.

These are just some flowers gone to seed. I liked the way they looked here in the shade and the sunlight.


So this is kind of fun new idea! I made this up as a way to display the daily date for the kids. The beige doily is actually a large piece of scrapbooking paper. I used small clear self-adhesive pockets (found at a local paper store), and cut word-strips purchased at the teacher supply store to fit inside. We change the pockets up day by day. 


My meal planning basket - inside is a baggie of coupons and a small planbook for marketing lists and weekly dinner menus. I will post more on this new (and so far successful) system in a future post. :)


My work corner - clear plastic bins with craft and lesson supplies, tote bag with bulkier teacher manuals, my pocketbook, etc. The good old file crate in the corner, cat basket above/in-basket below. (The cat basket used to hold magazines but I gave up trying to keep Smokey out of it and instead placed a blanket in there for him.)


More work space - The Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady open to a pretty autumnal verse, my current reading pile (the first in the Mistmantle series (for book group), The Gift of an Ordinary Day and the latest Spiderwick), my ridiculous stack of magazines and my lesson planning materials:


Planning Binder (I have a thing for owls if you haven't noticed).


A peek inside - it's still a work in progress.


My weekly lesson planner - in which I write down all 3 boys' lessons for each day of the week.


And of course, the file folder for this week. :)


A close-up of my pretty pencil mug - it's actually a creamer I love filled with silk flowers, writing instruments and a Halloween pop I bought at Whole Foods (just for fun).


Earlybird's bulletin board, where I display things he's working on. Below the board is a small nature shelf just for EB:


Seed examples (pinecone, helicopter, acorn) and a poem/prayer book open to a particularly lovely page.


New letters for the wall - soon to be painted dusky blue.


And finally, a new little mascot - a gift from my friend Beth. :)

Hope you enjoyed this peek at a few new things in our learning room this year! And I also  hope you are all enjoying the unfolding fall. Be back again just as soon as I can! :)

Heartfelt Thanks ...

... from my family to all of you kind readers. 
We are so grateful for your thoughtful and comforting messages about Penny's passing. It is a hard week for us here, missing our girl - we're all off-track and distracted. It will be a few days before I can sit down and blog - I have a homeschooling/learning room post in the works - but wanted to make sure to thank you all for keeping our family in your prayers. It means the world to us, truly.

Be back with you all soon ... have a wonderful week, my friends. :)


We'll Miss our Dear Little Penny ...


We've had a very difficult few days here. Last Friday morning our cat, Penny, fell ill. Tests were run, fluids and meds were given, and the weekend was spent at the emergency animal hospital. She was responding well - and we had solid hope for recovery - until midnight last night when we got a call she had taken a turn for the worse. This morning we made the difficult decision to put her down ...

We were blessed to have Penny for so long. Despite this sudden illness, she had a healthy and very happy long life (she turned 18 this past spring). She was a dear and affectionate kitty and a big part of our family - always near us, keeping us company and watching over us with those pretty golden eyes ...

We love you, and miss you already, sweet girl.

Well, our first week is underway ...

... and I can tell I won't have a chance to post til the weekend - but I wanted to pop in quick just to say hi! This week we have lots going on - dentist, soccer practice, first Book Group of the year, first (ever) French class, NFL season kickoff (go PATS!), my homeschool group's annual planning meeting (where I take the minutes) AND the first soccer game of the year! Did I mention Bill is now a coach? Yep, he and my brother volunteered to co-coach Crakerjack's team. Should be an interesting and invigorating experience! (So says the parent who gets to make snacks and watch from the sidelines, lol.)

My work corner this year ... 
And truth be told the flowers didn't last long - the cat kept trying to eat them.

The weather here is absolutely glorious - bright and cool - brisk even. Only in the 60s all week! 
Love it.
See you all again sometime soon ...

Happy Labor Day, 2009!

It's dawning cool and bright here in New England. Gosh, it sure feels like fall. :)

A few plans for today ...

*Decorate the front steps with mums, asters, kale and pumpkins. Tie up cornstalks and hang autumn flag.

*Start a chicken dish in the slowcooker this morning:

Savory Slowcooker Chicken

2 1/2 lbs. chicken pieces, skinned
1 lb. fresh tomatoes chopped or 15 oz. can stewed tomatoes
2 Tbsp. white wine
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces

<<Combine all ingredients except broccoli in slowcooker. Cover. Cook on low 8-10 hours. Add broccoli 30 minutes before serving.>>

(I plan to serve it with whole wheat egg noodles and an apple crisp for dessert.)

*Contemplate and reassign family chores. Re-think my own household routines.

*Run to teacher supply store for the exact kind of lesson planner I like to use. Hope they still have them in stock.

*Have Bill turn the fireplace back on and pack away the A/C.

*Fun activity for the kids: try to think of all the labor-saving devices throughout the house and what chore(s) they replaced. See if you can remember - or find out - who invented what. What would device could you simply NOT live without?

Hope you all have a fantastic holiday! 

"Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop." ~ Ovid


First Pictures!

My new camera came yesterday - and I feel like I've recovered a lost limb, lol!
On my way down to grab the morning paper I took a few trial shots:

Clover glistening with dew.

Does anyone know if this is evening primrose?

Sedum, just starting to blush its autumn shade.

Did anyone see the Full Corn Moon last night? It was glorious!
(If you're wondering why this year's September's moon is a corn moon, as opposed to a harvest moon, read here.)

Labor Day plans ~ a cookout tomorrow with friends, and lots of puttering around the house otherwise. We start our homeschool year on Tuesday and I still have lots to do to get ready. I hope to get our front steps decked out tomorrow in mums, asters and mini pumpkins - possibly a cornstalk or two. Earlybird is quite excited for the premiere of Dino Train on Monday.

Not making picalilli this year but I may cook and freeze some spaghetti sauce if I have time. And I think a savory slowcooker chicken served with noodles and an apple cobbler will make a fine holiday meal. :) 

Hope your Labor Day weekend is safe and fun. See you all again very soon. :)

Good Wednesday Morning!

A couple of things while I have a moment ... 

A few readers have asked what kind of camera I am getting, so I wanted to post a link ~ it's basically the same camera I had before (a Sony Cyber-shot) but with a few more pixels this time. According to Amazon it should be here any day now. :)

Also, I've had lots of folks comment on the grapevine ball lights we have in our learning room. They are available again at Target and currently they are on sale



These twinkling lights will lend a cozy feel to our home as the days grow shorter and darker. I have them intertwined with an ivy garland I purchased at Michaels earlier this year.

Hope your week's going well! Don't forget the full "corn" moon on Friday ~ speaking of which, I have a "corny" little post to put up later this week. :)

Happy September!

My favorite month of the year is here! 
Let's celebrate with a pretty poem this morning, shall we?

The golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.
The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusky pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.
The sedges flaunt their harvest
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brookside
Make asters in the brook.
From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With golden butterflies.
By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.
~ "September" by Helen Hunt Jackson ~