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June 2011

(Almost there!)


Today's my last day of teaching - at our church, not here at home with the boys - so my time will free up considerably in the next few days. I do hope you've all been well!

Things have been seriously crazy here lately and I'm really looking forward to the long holiday weekend. I'm also looking forward to having time again for the simplest of things - looking over my calendar, catching up on emails, working (playing!) with my journal, and digging my way through my (now overflowing) reading basket. I'm itching to work on my file crate notebook, too - especially because I owe you all a post on that project!

And ... I miss posting, too. :)

But I just had to take a few minutes this morning, to pop in and say hello, and to thank you all for your lovely birthday wishes for Bookworm! He had a wonderful day, and truly enjoyed reading through all the birthday messages. As you can see above, we had a homemade cake per his request - his Nana's yellow cake with chocolate fudge frosting (his favorite!). I used a bag of "Peppermint Patty Pieces" as a happy, albeit humble, embellishment. (Btw, his big gift this year was this. He's having fun figuring it out!)

Well, I must be off for now ... it's back to the salt mines, lol! I have notes to type and print out, children to feed, and a bag to pack with books/props/and snacks. (Honestly this has been a terrific, if exhausting, experience - teaching a 7th grade religious education class - squeezing a whole curriculum in one week!)

So, please know I'm thinking of you all and appreciating every comment that gets left ... I will be catching up with you again just as soon as I can!


Guess who just turned 16?


Yesterday was the first full day of summer ... and it was also our Bookworm's birthday!

It's sounds cliche, I know, but honestly, how time has flown by ... I can't believe we have a 16 year old! Here's a post I did way back in my first year of blogging - Bookworm had just turned 11! There will be so many changes ahead for Boowkorm this year - he'll be learning to drive (ack!), making his Confirmation, thinking about college and he's eager to get a "real" job. And yes, he's now taller than both his parents! He's such an amazing young man - kind hearted and sincere, so smart and funny. Today we're celebrating all that he is and the promise of all that's to come ... 

God Bless you, Bookworm! We love you so much! Here's to an exciting year filled with all kinds of new adventures! 


Happy Summer!

"That beautiful season the Summer! 
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; 
and the landscape 
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood." 
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


The Summer Solstice arrives at 1:16 p.m. today, the longest day of the year. But from here on out, every day gets just a little bit shorter, so let's enjoy the light while we can!

Have a great Tuesday, my friends!


It's easy to be brave ...


... when Thanksgiving is still five months away.

Well, this was a surprising suppertime visit! We haven't seen wild turkeys in some time, but this fella (or gal - can't be sure) strutted right into our yard (scaling the fence with ease) and honed in on the dried corn and seed under the feeders. He (or she) also seemed to like the dandelion leaves ... of which our yard has plenty. ;)

And I again must apologize for such spotty posting of late! I know I sound like a broken record but we are just so very busy these days. I hope to write more once we get past the Fourth. Until then we're up to our elbows in things like field trips, book groups, playdates, soccer games, birthday parties and religious ed. classes to boot! (Not to mention wrapping up another academic year!)

For example, today we attended a wonderful field trip with our homeschool support group -  we rode a duck boat tour of Boston! I took lots of pictures and I hope to have them up sometime this week.

In the meantime, I hope you all are enjoying this lovely time of year. I will be back again just as soon as I can ...


Happy Flag Day!


Here are some ideas for celebrating this lovely American holiday:

Listen (or sing if you're inclined!) to patriotic music.

Make a flag cake or flag-shaped cookies.

Serve up a "patriotic" breakfast: spread a piece of toast with cream cheese, dot a few blueberries in the upper left hand corner and make stripes with lines of diced strawberries. Or, even easier, just sprinkle blueberries and strawberries (or raspberries) over vanilla yogurt.

Design a "family" flag. What would it look like? What symbols represent your family?

Haul out, inspect, and hang your American flag for the summer.

Organize an impromptu neighborhood parade.

Research flag etiquette. (There are rules, you know!)

Learn about Betsy Ross and assemble a sewing kit for yourself. (What a fun summer project that would be ...)

Watch America Rocks!

Read a neat book about the Stars and Stripes:

Our Flag: A Little Golden Book

The Flag We Love

Stars and Stripes: The Story of the American Flag

But most of all, try to take a moment to admire our beautiful flag and honor it in any way that is fun and feasible for your family.

Have a great Tuesday, my friends!


Weed? Wildflower?

In the eyes of a child, they're one in the same.


And so I love clover - it seems like a part
Of the sacerdest sorrows and joys of my hart;
And wharever it blossoms, oh, thare let me bow
And thank the good God as I'm thankin' Him now ...

(From "The Clover," by James Whitcomb Riley)

My take on this week's Snapshots around the World theme:


What's your favorite?

Wishing you all a wonderful Monday!


Our Pentecost Balloon

A quick and easy craft I made yesterday with Earlybird:


We glued a white dove cut-out (with flaming tail) to a red balloon, and added a few red streamers for flourish ...


Then we tied it to our deck where it bobbed and bounced in the breeze!

This morning it's cool and drizzly so we took the balloon back inside. Bill is making pancakes which we'll have with leftover raspberry sauce, diced strawberries and whipped cream - yum! Tomorrow promises to be just as rainy, so instead of cooking out, we'll "cook in" with our Foreman grill. We like to grill turkey burgers and serve them with cheese, assorted toppings and toasted buns. To round out our Sunday supper, we'll have warm dill potatoes and a nice fruit salad on the side ... and for dessert, something light and white.

Have a great day, my friends. See you here again very soon!


Friday Photos

Sorry I haven't had much time to post this week! It certainly was a busy one, and I, for one, am really glad it's the weekend! :)

So ... any big plans for you and yours? Tomorrow we've got soccer playoffs (did I mention our team earned first place this year?!), a few errands to run and many to-do's to get done ... and then the next day is Pentecost Sunday. If it's a nice day (the forecast is iffy right now) we hope to cook-out. And I might be persuaded to bake something nice. :)

Here are a few pictures from the memory card this week:


Storms moved through just about dinnertime last night.


A slightly blurry, but beautiful, damselfly resting on our herb plants.


Bill spied this handsome brood as he pulled into his office parking lot yesterday.


A Friday task: neatening the pocketbook, readying it for running errands.


Our William Shakespeare rose bush.

Well, I'm off for now ... I hope you all had a nice week, and I also hope you enjoy a safe, happy weekend. See you all again very soon!


Underfoot, Inside and Out

Good Tuesday morning, my friends! Here is my entry for this week's Snapshots around the World theme ... "Underfoot."


On my walk back in with the morning paper ...


A sunny spot in the family room ...


Retrieving a ball in the backyard ...


On my way to the laundry room, a glimpse of the playroom floor (in its usual state of disarray) ...

Stop by the SatW blog for more entries ....

And have a great day, everyone!


Sweet Summer Bites

~• Strawberries-and-Cream Mini Muffins •~


Kelly asked me to share this recipe, and of course I'm very glad to! I originally found it in People Magazine; it was featured in a special section about the Royal Wedding. The recipe is by Nigella Lawson (whose "Domestic Goddess book" I love) and very easy to whip up. Tender, fragrant and moist, these are perfect for this time of year - when local strawberries ripe and ready to pick!

Kelly, you can find the recipe here. Just click on the "recipe" tab. :)

Note: these are pretty sweet, so play around with the sugar amount if you'd like. I liked them as they were (they reminded me of the very best strawberry jam) but Crackerjack found them "too sweet." (Which stunned me, lol!) Also, in humid weather, they spoil quickly, so keep them someplace cool if you can ... or eat them all up in one go!

(Another side note ~ I remember one year for Mother's Day, back when Bill and I were first married, I baked fresh strawberry breads for all the moms and grandmoms. They were so very good! I'm pretty sure I followed a recipe from one of these two lovely cookbooks. I haven't looked at those books (shower gifts, if I remember) in a long time, but I treasured them for many years. I'll have to go digging downstairs this weekend.)

These days I've been in a real baking mood, which is kind of odd considering we're on the cusp of summer - hardly the time of year to enjoy one's "warm, cozy" kitchen! (Hot and stuffy, more like.) Earlybird and I enjoy watching food television together, and the other day we watched Martha Stewart prepare some gorgeous pound cakes. Now to my mind, pound cake is perhaps the perfect summertime dessert - it pairs so beautifully with sweet seasonal fruits and fresh whipped cream ... maybe a drizzle of lemon glaze or berry coulis. A cool - but still comforting - dessert. (I'm a cake girl, but I'll admit hand pies and fruit crisps make a strong case for perfection as well.)

Well, now that I've got us all dreaming of summer desserts, I'd best go check my oven. I have a lasagna baking for dinner tonight and boy, does it smell good in here!

Have a great night, my friends ... stay safe and be well. See you again here very soon.


Just lookin' around on a Friday afternoon ...

Our lupines are back in fine force this spring!


My little work corner, all tidied up for June.


The irises have really spread and are blossoming beautifully!


I spent time working in my journal today ...


A patch of pretty weeds ...


The focus of the nature shelf this month: hummingbirds.


Strawberries-and-cream muffins in the making ...


They were delicious!

I hope you all had a lovely week, and I wish you a happy and safe weekend. 

Be back again very soon!


Eerie Light, Wicked Night ...

... but a beautiful Ascension Day morning.


We had quite a night here in Massachusetts, with some areas faring much worse than others. Severe storms were rampant across the area, but the real trouble came from multiple tornadoes that tore through the state, causing destruction and death (four confirmed, God rest their souls). We only saw heavy rain, hail and high winds here, but it was a scary evening, I tell you. My prayers this morning are with the people of Springfield and its surrounding towns. The governor has declared a state of emergency and I think many are just in shock; wild weather like this is not the norm for New England.

The picture above was actually taken last night around 8 p.m., just before a final band of storms passed through. The light that flooded the sky was so strange and yet eerily beautiful - a luminescent and pale peachy-gold.


And now it's absolutely beautiful here this morning - clear, dry, fresh. In fact, the next several days promise to be near perfect. I feel very fortunate that I'm looking out at a quiet street, pretty lawns, and solid trees - but my heart goes out to those whose morning does not feel so safe and secure, and especially to the families of those who were lost.

I hope you all have a nice Thursday, my friends. Giving thanks this morning for many things ... including thanks to all of you for stopping by!

A Beloved Childhood Book


My mum found this tiny treasure in her attic the other day and I recognized it immediately ~ my little Kate Greenaway's Birthday Book!

I've been enthralled with Kate Greenaway for as long as I've "known" her (and thanks to my grandmother, I knew her at an early age). Throughout my childhood I collected little books - coloring books especially - that featured Kate Greenaway's lovely, old-fashioned drawings. I remember watching my mum (who was the best "colorer" ever, anywhere, hands-down) gently shade in the pretty pictures and bring them to life. I also remember honestly wanting to live in Kate Greenaway's world!

I had such fun flipping through this book the other day, I thought I'd share a few pages here with my readers. I'd imagine I have some kindred Kate Greenaway fans reading my blog!

Inside the book I have the names of all my family and school friends (boys and girls, young and old). I also have some cute "domestic" notes regarding family habits and my "babies" (i.e. dolls) and their basic needs. Lol, I guess I started young!


Each day of the year has a birthday verse, note space, and a small illustration. 

Some note spaces were assigned a birthday girl's or boy's name; some note spaces were filled with my third-grade thoughts. :)


And this is how I knew the book was from 3rd grade - that was the year we went to Disney World (1977)! That last note reads: Cynthia Betsy Riley, Newborn Gerber, Baby Aspirin, Jonson clothes. Lol, I was such a little mother - to my (real) baby brother and my baby dolls as well! Apparently, March 8th was "Cynthia's" birthday.

The book is also filled with beautiful, full page, full-color illustrations ...





Another note page ...


I have to smile at my eight year-old self, so earnest in her note-taking ... and seeing all the names of my grammar school classmates was a fun stroll down memory lane. 

 Now, if you'd like ~ tell me your birthdate in the comment box below, and I will "read" you the Kate Greenaway poem for your special day. (Check back this evening and I'll update the post.)

Here's the verse for today (June 1st):

Windmills, like weathercocks, turn with the wind,

And change, as indeed they may;

Some little folks are exactly the same,

Perhaps this is their birthday!

As always, thanks for stopping by ~ I hope you all have a great day!


*Evening update: I've just left a comment with all the birthday verses - I hope you enjoy! I'm happy to do more - please feel free to leave me your birthdate if you'd like, it's fun reading all these quaint little poems. :)