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April 2012

I ❤ My File Crate Folders!

Files banner 1

And here's why:

Because in the midst of all my calendar clutter and planner pickiness, the file crate system has never failed me. Sure, it could use some fine-tuning, but it also works great as it is. Week after week, I don't really have to think about it - I just grab a new folder and set it to work.

And each May when I reach the end of my year's worth of folders, before I go out and buy a new supply, I ask myself:

Is this system still worth my time, money and effort?

My answer is always, YES.

So this past weekend I pulled the last folder from my '11-'12 stash and then I prepared for a new year. I'm always surprised when a year goes by, and I'm suddenly in need of more folders! And I'm not sure why my folders run May-April, it just worked out this way.

New fcs 3

A new file crate (drawer now, actually) filled with a fresh batch of folders!

Now, unless you're willing to pay big bucks, the color choices for file folders are pretty limited. Generally speaking, there are primary colors, pastels, neon shades, earthy tones, and good old-fashioned plain. You can find patterned folders, too, but the cost adds up when you need to buy at least 52 of them! This year, as you can see above, I chose plain manila folders because I liked how clean they looked. I'll play around with the planning sheet I attach to the front of each folder ... that's where I can get creative. :)

{And yes, I could recycle the folders year to year - that would be the economic/efficient/ecoogical thing to do. But I have a real thing about crisp and fresh office supplies, so I "splurge" on new folders every year. The old folders do get recyled - right in the paper bin, alongside the old newspapers and magazines.}

So here's my last folder of this year (left), sitting beside first folder for next (right):

New fcs 2

I wanted to point out (and I'm sure it's nothing you've not thought of, if you're a file folder user yourself), I find it very convenient to use a small bulldog clamp to secure the file "innards" when I'm taking the folder along with me. I just clamp the spine of the folder and then I don't have to worry about its contents spilling out when the folder is mobile.

So, tomorrow I'll continue with the "file folder love," in a post revealing what's inside the folder this week. I'll give you a peek in mine ... I'd love a peek in yours as well!

For now, though, I'll be off ... but have a great night my friends, and as always, thanks so much for stopping by. I will see you here again very soon!


Drumroll, please?

Earlybird and I are very happy to announce the winner of our Arbor Day Giveaway!

It's ... Joan Clark!

And here is Joan's lovely comment regarding her favorite tree:

"My favorite tree is the Redwood. The only place it grows is along the Northern California coast. It is one of the tallest trees but what I think makes it extra-special is it's root system. Unlike a lot of trees, the roots of the Redwood tree are very, very shallow. They don't have tap root growing deep into the ground to help anchor them and help hold them upright in stormy, windy weather. But the Redwood tree stays upright because the shallow roots reach out and intertwine with the roots of the Redwood trees growing nearby. Because of the intertwined roots the trees "help" each other. They remind me of the way family helps each other through the storms of life and the importance of the family connection."

Congratulations, Joan! I will be in touch later today to arrange mailing details, and I hope you and your family enjoy The Happiness Tree as much as we have. You will be pleased to know the Redwood is, in fact, one of the trees featured in this book - indeed, it's plays a starring role. :)

And THANK YOU you to everyone who helped with Earlybird's project! We had 62 replies to our Arbor Day poll! We have not yet tallied the individual tree votes, but our results will be featured in EB's science fair project and my forthcoming newsletter. I really enjoyed reading all your thoughts on trees and why you chose a particular species. Some had to do with a tree's qualities while some were tied to fond memories ... and all were just lovely to read.

Now, a few of you asked Earlybird to share his favorite tree, and when asked, he immediately replied:

A Christmas Tree!

So I thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts and help out my boy with his project. I've said it before, and I'll say it again ... I have the absolute nicest readers anywhere. Honestly, I appreciate your support and encouragement so much!

Well, have a marvelous Monday, my friends ... I'll see you here again very soon!


Masterpiece Monday ~ Birdsong (& OUAT)

Masterpiece logo

Well, first of all my friends, I must confess, I did not watch Birdsong, part two last night. I had every intention to do so, but then a busy weekend caught up with me and I made the game-time decision to head to bed early. So tonight I will finish Birdsong, but please feel free to chat about it here in the comments today ... I'll chime in sometimes tomorrow.

Now, I did watch Once Upon a Time with Bill and the boys. And we all commented on how much is happening at last - after weeks of little plot progression - but now there's just one or two episodes left to the season! Isn't that always the way?

So I wonder what it will take to get Emma to believe? In the curse, the tales, the savior role she must play? If she doesn't accept and believe, August is doomed (as are the rest of the Storybrooke characters) ... and what about Henry? The previews from next week indicate he's in trouble of some kind. That will probably be the key to Emma's acceptance. I think only her love for her son will motivate her to take that leap of faith.

And oh my gosh, the whole "Regina attempting to seduce David" thing was pretty awkward. I can only imagine it must come back in some way, because otherwise it seemed pretty pointless. I mean, what was her intention? To hurt Mary Margaret in some way? To keep true love from winning? Of course David was as hapless as ever, but fortunately he put the kibosh on Regina's advances pretty darn quick. Side note: Did you know the actors who play Snow and Charming are a couple in real life?

So, I'm very curious to see where this all ends up in a couple of weeks ... whatever happens, I'm sure we'll be left with quite a cliffhanger! And I'm quite eager to hear about your television viewing this weekend! What did you watch and what did you think? Please leave a comment below ...

I will catch up with you all again soon!


Some Happy Weekend Things

Hello, everyone ~ I hope you're all having a nice weekend! We're enjoying beautiful spring weather here in New England. It's bright and brisk and feels just like spring should. So I have some photos and thoughts to share with you ... just a few simple, happy things.


First of all, I stopped at my favorite paper-craft supply store yesterday:


And they kindly allowed me to take pictures. Doesn't it look yummy?


When I visit this shop, I always feel a little like a kid in a candy store ... and very happily this time I had a gift coupon to use for my purchase!

Speaking of which ...


I bought some lovely floral papers, vintage looking stamps, tea-themed stickers and a package of small, ivory doilies.

I also "splurged" on the newest copy of Where Women Create and The Herb Quarterly. The current issue of THQ focuses on "The 2012 Herb of the Year" which is the Rose. (Which is SO much easier to work with than last year's Horseradish, lol. Next year it's Elderberry, by the way.)


And did you know that next week (as in, the week leading up to Mother's Day) is "National Herb Week?" I'm thinking a trip to the nursery is in order. ;)

There were also many "happy" things to find in the yard this weekend ...


The lilacs are in full bloom (so early!), and just look at these little beauties ...


Our lily-of-the-valley plants are really spreading out ... they have the sweetest spring scent.

Our red azalea bush is also in bright bloom:


It will hopefully help entice our friendly little hummingbirds back to our yard. Remember Our Happy Hummers from last year?

We also put up our feeders yesterday, filled with freshly made hummingbird nectar. According to the Mass. Audubon Society this week is the perfect week to put out hummingbird feeders.


Now we just sit back and wait ... 

Of course, Archie would take a more proactive approach.


(He's actually crying at me because he does not like to be left inside while we're all outside. He so wants to be a real boy. Archie and Oliver are strictly indoor cats, however, so the screens are as close as they get to the great big outdoors.)

Speaking of my feline fellas, here are Archie (left) and Ollie (right) watching Bill work on the front steps this morning.


I love how they're always all up in our business, lol.

And finally, one more picture to share, an early morning shot of our church ...


It never looks prettier than it does at this time of year, when those twin trees flanking the entrance are in perfect bloom.


Well, my friends, I'm going to sign off for now, as it's getting quite late in the day. Early tomorow I'll have the "Masterpiece Monday" post up so we can get the conversation rolling (including Birdsong, part 2 and Once Upon a Time), and then I'll announce the winner of Earlybird's Arbor Day Poll & Book Giveaway. Thank you again for the terrific response! I find your votes so interesting, but I especially enjoy reading the little stories and memories behind your selections. It's quite clear we all have a real fondness for trees. :)

A file crate post is also in the works, because it's that time of year again! I almost had it done in time to publish today, but then I got busy with some thing or another. (Isn't that always the way, lol?) So look for that post coming up, too.

Have a good night, everyone! See you here again very soon ...

Tea & Company

Tea table 1

Happy Weekend, my friends!

It's been a busy-busy day, but I wanted to pop in quickly to show you this beautiful photo. It really had nothing to do with me (or my camera) and everything to do with my friend, Debbie. She had us over for a visit yesterday, and I just had to show you the lovely tea table she set for us ... there was lemonade and chocolate-chip cookies for the boys, and tea and lemon pound cake for the moms.

She has such an eye for beautiful things - beautiful, vintage things, especially.


Also, while I'm here, I want to say thank you to everyone helping with Earlybird's Tree Poll. We'd love to gather more comments! He's excited to tally all your votes!

Have a great evening, everyone ... I'll be back again soon!

Help with a Poll? Enter a Giveaway!

Happy Friday, my friends ... and Happy Arbor Day, too!

The Happiness Tree

So I was gathering up our "tree" books for this week, when I came across The Happiness Tree. It's such a sweet, colorful book - a unique celebration of trees and the feelings they inspire - but, alas, my boys have outgrown it. So in the spirit of Arbor Day, I'd like to recycle our love for this book, and pass it on to another family who will enjoy it as we have. :)

From the back cover:

"So begins the magical journey from seed of hope to forest of happiness. This ode to trees invites readers to discover life's true gifts ~ peace, courage, love, generosity, tolerance ~ as revealed by our precious forest friends. The story and paintings, accompanied by lyrical tree biographies and an index of state trees, sing with reverence of the natural world and everything good in life." 

So here's what I'd like to do!

First, whether you're interested in the book or not, we need your help with a poll!

Earlybird will be participating in his very first science fair next month and the theme we're working with is "The Fantastic Forest." The results of this Arbor Day poll will not only help us with our poster, but they will also appear in my "Spring into Summer" newsletter!

So to partake in this poll, I would ask you to answer the following question for us ... and Monday morning I will pull a name from the comments to win our copy of The Happiness Tree. (If you don't want to be included in the giveaway, just let me know in your comment ... we'd still love your help with our poll!)

So ... Earlybird's Arbor Day question for you is:

~* What is your favorite tree (and why)? *~

And if you'd care to share a happy tree memory, please do! We're very excited to hear your response! We are big fans of trees, for so many reasons. They are beautiful and strong ... they provide for, and even protect us in many different ways. There is a lot to love about trees!

I hope you can help out with our poll, but most of all I hope you all have a nice day. As always, I thank you sincerely for stopping by ... I will see you again very soon!

Arbor day tree

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson


Sorry for the test post, folks ... I'm trying to add something new to my blog, but I really have no idea what I'm doing. Hopefully if I figure this out there will be "buttons" after each post that will allow you (or me or anybody!) to "share" a post in some way.

I'm really behind the times, aren't I?


p.s If you see buttons below this can you let me know? Lol.

What's in Your Library Bag this Week?

Our haul this week includes:

Library bag 1

Let's Go Home: The Wonderful Things About a House by Cynthia Rylant

(This one's for Earlybird, part of our ongoing "homes and shelters" study. I love Cynthia Rylant books and I adore Wendy Anderson Halperin's illustrations - so cozy, inviting, and nostalgic.)

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

(I saw this book mentioned and/or reviewed in several places a few weeks ago - it's set against the Titanic tragedy, so it garnered a lot of buzz. It's an interesting premise and I love historical fiction, so ... I'll give it a try!)

The Apron Book: Making, Wearing and Sharing a Bit of Cloth and Comfort by EllynAnne Geisel

(This looks like a colorful and interesting book! I'd love to make myself an apron ... a potential summer project ... I'll choose a very simple pattern, since I have little to no sewing experience. ;))

Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson

(The younger boys and I are studying/exploring fruits & vegetables this spring ... and Bill loves fruit desserts best of all ... plus I love cooking "in season" ... so this book seems a good fit! First to try: an "apple and rhubarb pandowdy.")

The Miracle Worker

(Crackerjack is learning about Helen Keller at the moment. We'll view this movie as a family over the weekend.)

Farmer Boy Days adapted from The Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder

(A read-aloud for EB, who's learning about farms and farming this year.)


Also on the hold shelf, to be picked up later today or possibly, this weekend:

Shakespeare's Flowers by Jessica Kerr

(I mentioned this book in my Shakespeare post ... I'm pondering a summer unit study.)

At the Farmers' Market with Kids: Recipes and Projects for Little Hands by Leslie Jonath

(This goes hand in hand with the farming study *and* the fruit and vegetable study. :))

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

(For Bookworm's "Brit Lit" discussion group; this is the May selection.)

... and, finally ...

The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making by Alana Chernila

(As discussed in yesterday's post - this actually isn't available yet, but hopefully it will be soon. I love to make stuff from scratch ... one of my "Earth Day" resolutions this year is to use less packaged/convenience foods and learn how to make/bake more things at home using preferred ingredients. I think this book will help me with this endeavor!)

So I'm in a curious mood today ... a little later on I'm going to ask you about file folders, but right now I'm wondering ...

*** What's in YOUR library bag this week? ***

Leave a comment if you'd care to ... but either way, have a great day!


John James Audubon's Birthday ...

I just found out it's today!

The Massachusetts Audubon Society was asking its members to report in on chipmunk activity, and since we just spotted our first chipmunk of the year, I jumped into the conversation ... and that's when I noticed another member wishing the late Mr. Audubon "best birthday wishes."


Well! As long-time members of the MAS (and life-long nature lovers), I consider this a great day to celebrate in some small way or another!

First, we could learn more about the man himself, and the society set up in his name. There are things to read online, but I also found a 55-minute documentary called, John James Audubon: Drawn by Nature. It is available on Netflix as "streaming" video, which means you can watch it immediately if you subscribe to that service (which we do). This will be something nice to watch with the kids after dinner!

There are (of course) a few books at the library I'd like to check out ...

The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon

John Audubon: Young Naturalist

John James Audubon's Journal of 1826: The Voyage to the Birds of America


And naturally, we took extra-special care to fill all our birdfeeders today!

Now, speaking of special days that are nature and history related ... tomorrow is Arbor Day ... and I have a very special post planned for that. :)

Hope you're all having a great day!

Wednesday is Kitchen Day ...

And here is what I just requested through interlibrary loan:

Homemade pantry

The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making by Alana Chernila.

The Boston Globe has a big article today about this book, and that's how I first heard of it. (How I love Wednesdays - it's Food Pages day!) I immediately looked Homemade Pantry up at Amazon, and then checked my local library's website ... and sure enough, there are a couple of copies in circulation. But since both are checked out, I added myself to the wait list ... and I can be patient ... when I must.


Well, I hope you all have a nice day. Wednesday is my "kitchen day" which means I spend some time in there cleaning and taking stock ... starting a shopping list for the weekend and a menu for next week. Oh, and did you know it's National Zucchini Bread Day? That seems like rather odd timing since zucchini is such a summer garden staple ... but it also freezes well, so chances are one might have a package of shredded squash stashed away in the deep-freeze. Two cups worth would fit my quick bread recipe quite nicely!

Have a great day, everyone ... I'll be back later to check in.

Feast Day Food & Fun!

Good morning, my friends! Here are a few pictures from our St. George's Day celebration ...

Saint george's day 4

In the early afternoon I baked up some carrot-wheat muffins ... and once they were cool, I topped them with a light cream-cheese glaze.

The very top muffin was emblazened with the Cross of St George:

Saint george's day 3

But hark ... what was lurking below?

Saint george's day 6

The dragon!

(Such an ugly old thing, isn't he?)

So after a "fish and chips" lunch, we read our favorite feast day book, drew our own dragons (Crackerjack did a whole scene from the story), and went on a quest to find every dragon toy we had in the house. We also enjoyed a little English snack - the aforementioned muffins and milk (a proper cup of tea for me). Before we ate, Crackerjack was "knighted" with the honor of playing St. George ... and he handily slew (i.e. ate) the old dragon.

As for the rest of our supper, we had ...

Saint george's day 1

Cottage Pie*

* Which is something like shepherd's pie, only topped with sliced potatoes instead of mashed. This recipe calls for dark beer, ground beef, rustic veggies, and a handful of thyme. I'm not 100% sure it's a traditional English dish, but I do know it's delicious as I've made it before!)

Roasted Asparagus*

* With a few drizzles of olive oil and shakes of parmesan cheese. I could eat asparagus every day in the Spring when it's so fresh and tender.

Rhubarb Crisp*

* Now, I was going to try making a Rhubarb "Fool" as that truly is a traditional English dessert - and it would have tied in nicely with Shakespeare's birthday - but Bill can't have dairy and much prefers a crisp anyway. This particular recipe has apples and rhubarb which is delicious and a bit different.

Parsley-Swiss-Romano Bread*

* We get this wonderful bread from a favorite local farm shop. It's delicious split, buttered and toasted.


So it was a very nice feast day, I must say! Combining all the very best things: fun, food, faith and family. Another memorable day to file away in our hearts.

Have a wonderful Tuesday, everyone! I will see you here again very soon!

A Tea for Shakespeare's Birthday

KG boy and girl with garland

As I mentioned in my earlier post, today is England's National Day (aka St. George's Day), and it is also the birthday of one of the most famous Englishmen, William Shakespeare. As an American of English descent (on both sides!) as well as a self-confessed Anglophile, I feel this is a fantastic day for my family to celebrate! (It's also the feast day of a great Catholic saint - Crackerjack's favorite - so there's that as well. :))

So I pulled out my olde Norton Anthology of English Literature from my college years (which I've since given to Bookworm for "Brit Lit") and perused some of the Bard's sonnets. I even read a couple out loud in case anyone was listening. (I don't think they were, lol.)

 Now, I have a St. George's Dinner planned for tonight, but I thought I might incorporate some kind of dish to represent Shakespeare. So I googled a little but alas, all I could find was a "Shakespeare's Tea." Apparently it was mentioned in The Winter's Tale (act 4). I don't have the specific herbal ingredients on hand, but I thought I might add them to my garden plans this year. They are all readily available, easy-to-grow plants.

Here's the recipe, just in case you're curious:


    • 1 cup dried lavender flowers
    • 2 cups roughly cut dried peppermint
    • 1 cup dried summer savory
    • 1 cup dried sweet marjoram
    • 1 cup dried whole calendula flowers


  1. Here is a dried tea blend to keep you young and warm-blooded all winter!
  2. Collect your herbs mid-summer and rub off the stems when dried.
  3. Crumble the Peppermint leaves to match the size of the other greens.
  4. If your Calendulas are huge, break in half when dry.
  5. Use 1 tsp per cup.
  6. In a pot add 1 tsp per person and 1 for the pot!
  7. Steep 3 minutes.


How neat! 

And if you happen to have a copy of China Bayles' Book of Days (an absolute favorite of mine) for today's page there is a checklist of herbs and flowers to include in a Shakespearean-themed garden. They all show up in one way or another throughout his works.

(If you don't have that boo,k and you're intersested in the checklist, let me know in the comments below - I'd be glad to type it up and send it to you. :)

Now, I may not devote a whole garden to this particular theme, but a few planter-pots would be fun! Maybe a windowbox devoted to the herbal tea mentioned above? Ooh, I can just imagine the possibilities! This would make a great summer homeschooling project, methinks! I can see a whole notebook devoted to Shakespeare ... poems, narrations, research ... nicely embellished with pressed herbs and flowers related to his works. In fact, I just requested this lovely little book from our library, and I've added a project page behind the May tab in my Yearbook binder ...

But I'm getting carried away now (as I'm wont to do), so I'll wrap up what was meant to be a quick mid-morning post!

I hope you're all having a lovely Monday - rain or shine, busy or no. Thanks so much for stopping by ... I will see you again very soon!

Masterpiece Monday: Birdsong, pt. 1

Masterpiece logoSo last night we had the return of Once Upon a Time (after a three-week hiatus) ... and there were some big reveals concerning Mr. Gold/Rumpelstilskin and the enigmatic August Booth. What did you all think about that? What do you think August's really up to? And David tried to make amends, but to be honest I'm just so tired of him. He's so far from what I would consider a Prince "charming" I almost don't care if he and Mary Margaret find "true love" again. (I know that sounds harsh ... it might be the early hour and lack of caffeine talking, lol.)

And then we had part one of Birdsong ... which I enjoyed, though I kept thinking I would not. It was beautifully shot ... the French countryside (in the flashbacks) was so lush and serene. Such a contrast with the present day trenches of WWI ... so harsh and ugly with violence. I really had not read up on the story beforehand, so I was surprised by its direction. I knew the protagonists were lovers, but I did not realize she was ... SPOILER! ... married. Was she being abused, or just very unhappy? I could not really figure that out. I know her husband was not intimate with her, but did he verbally (perhaps physically) abuse her about it?

Although I'm not all that crazy about Stephen Waysford (not sure if it's the character or the actor yet), I was glad at the end of last night's show he ... SPOILER! ... was not dead. I really like the supporting cast - particularly Firebrace and Weir.

So next week we'll watch the conclusion and see how this rather somber story plays out!

Well, I hope you all have a nice Monday ... it's raining like crazy here today! It's St. George's Day (belonging to Crackerjack's favorite saint - and England's national day) and it also happens to be Shakespeare's birthday ... so for lunch today it's "fish and chips!" (Fishsticks and tater tots, lol.) And I'll see what I can do about a somewhat "British" supper. :)

See you here again very soon!

Our Bake Sale for Autism Speaks!

Well, after much planning and plotting, the big day finally arrived ... and I'm very happy to report it was a HUGE success!

Not only did everything go smoothly (thanks to lots of kind people, and many helpful hands) but - more importantly - we raised over seven hundred dollars in donations!

($770.42 to be exact - and every cent goes to Autism Speaks!)

My homeschool group mamas (and kids) worked so hard, and so well together, to pull off this Bake Sale. It was not only successful, but it was a whole lot of fun!

Would you like to see a few pictures?


Here I am with Crackerjack Friday night, working on posters ...

Bake sale 20

Next year I will have a "poster-and-sign-making day" so that we get all the kids involved in this part of the process. Not that I didn't enjoy making that poster (I had all those new markers to work with, after all) but this is something better left to the kids.

Here are the two tabletop signs ...

Bake sale 19

So bright and early Saturday morning we were up baking ... and packing ... and some folks were dropping off goodies for transport. Bill and the older boys headed to soccer, Nana arrived to hang out with Earlybird, and I ran out to pick up balloons (and a big ole iced coffee) ... and then it was on to the store!

Now, funny story (and I can call it funny now because it all turned out ok), but when I arrived at Stop & Shop, I first went to the Customer Service to "check in." I was told to do this way back last month when I confirmed our bake sale plans (date, time, etc.) with the store manager.

So the young lady at the customer service desk calls up the manager ... and then said manager comes out to greet me ... only he tells me, with a polite smile, that "he does not remember the bake sale of which I am speaking."

(This was me --> o.O <-- freaking out.)

Thankfully though, after chatting with me for a few minutes (and my reminding him of our phone calls, the letter he surely had on file, and the permit I had in hand) he said "he thought he recalled our previous conversation" and that it was "fine" for us to set up our bake sale on that day.


(Note for next year: Get manager approval in writing *and* call a few days ahead to re-confirm!)

Anyhoo ... once my panic subsided, I headed over to the vestibule to meet up with my friends and get started on assembling our corner. We set up our two six-foot tables off to one side of the vestibule. 

Bake sale 2

We had blue tablecloths and balloons, assorted trays and baskets and little blue "place cards" for all the goodies. And by noon, we were ready to go!

The kids really enjoyed calling attention to our Sale ... 

Bake sale 3

Bake sale 7

I think those bright smiling faces brought in a LOT of donations!

Our signs ...

Bake sale 10

Bake sale 11

... and the sale tables, filled with all kinds of goodies:

Bake sale 12

We did this sale a little differently than a traditional bake sale. Instead of pricing our goodies, we just asked for donations and offered treats as our "thanks." All donations were welcome, because every little bit helps! So someone could decide how much to give and how much to take. And in almost every case people were so very generous - sometimes not even taking a treat!

Bake sale 4

As for treats, we had a really nice variety: loaf cakes, fruit breads, brownies, and cookies of all kinds ...

Bake sale 16

Rice krispy treats and cupcakes ...

Bake sale 6

... Italian biscotti ...

Bake sale 5

... chocolate peanut butter candies ...

Bake sale 8

... and adorable "cupcake cones!"

Bake sale 9

And about midway through our Sale we had a visit from Earlybird! After soccer, Bill (along with Bookworm and Crackerjack) picked up my mum and EB. They came over to see how the Bake Sale was going. :)

Bake sale 14

EB was a bit overwhelmed - it was a lot to take in, and this was not his usual Stop & Shop - but he was really excited to see us!

(After a while, Bill took Mum and the boys over to my brother's - where a construction project was underway - but he left Crackerjack behind to help me with the Sale.)

So two other little snafus to speak of ... the first was rather scary and the second was pretty funny (if not a little embarrassing).

Just about noontime, we were all standing about chatting and doing our bake sale thing, when all of a sudden alarms were sounding and the manager was running into the vestibule, shouting and chasing after this guy ... who, come to find out, was a THIEF!

Apparently he and his girlfriend "accomplice" (waiting for him in a getaway car) had some kind of scam going on, but apparently not a very slick one, because the manager figured out what was up. So the thief ran - but not before leading the manager on a chase (including a throwdown!) around the vestibule - right in front of us, and through crowds of shoppers including our own children holding those signs!

So yeah, that was a bit of a story. (Bonnie and Clyde got away, by the way.)

The other thing that happened, about a half an hour before the end of our sale ...

Bake sale 15

Some of our balloons got sucked up into the ceiling fan!

And ooh, it made such an awful racket ... and it just got worse ... very embarrassing ... so I had to go tell someone (apologize, really). The Stop & Shop people let it slide, lol - the had bigger fish to fry at the moment. (I figured since we put up with their robbery debacle, we could call it all even.)

So by 4 p.m. our Bake Sale was done, and we were packed up and ready to go. All in all, it was a fantastic experience! In fact, I've already started a "file" for next year ...

Bake sale 18

I looked it over while I enjoyed my post-bake-sale breakfast.


Well, folks ... I hope you enjoyed this (rather lengthy) look at our Bake Sale experience! I am so happy the day ran so smoothly - save for stray balloons and sneaky grocery thieves, lol. Most of all, I am thrilled we raised so much money for Autism Speaks, and I hope we might have raised some awareness as well.

Enjoy your Sunday evening, my friends ... thanks so much for stopping by ... I will see you all again sometime soon!

Friday Goodies

Happy Weekend, my friends! I hope you all had a nice day.

I didn't have much time to work on a post today, but I still wanted to pop in tonight and show you all a few things if I could. First of all ... here's the first batch of Bake Sale goodies, all ready to go!

Friday goodies 1

Aren't these cake pops pretty? My friend Amanda and her children made them and she delivered them to my house today since she can't be at the Sale itself tomorrow. I'm so excited! It's starting to feel real!

Alas, I'm a bit behind on my own baking, but so far I got the rainbow blondies done ...

Friday goodies 4

... though I still have dulce de leche cereal bars to make as well as some strawberry muffins.

Can't you just smell these beauties?

Friday goodies 6

I'm also working on the posters and signs ...

Friday goodies 5

... and I'm so in love with my new pens!

Friday goodies 2

I haven't had markers of my own in some time. And these are my favorite kind ... I had Pentel pens when I was a young girl and I'm thrlled they are still made the same way - right down to the size, style, packaging, font, etc!

And just because it's so pretty and colorful, here's a peek into a new little book I bought.

Friday goodies 7

A charming "new" take on the beloved hymn, "All Creatures Great and Small." The illustrations are so sweet.

And here is, perhaps, my favorite "Friday Goodie" of all:

Friday Wine

A glass of Barefoot Merlot, my favorite red wine. :)

Happy Weekend, indeed!

So I may be a bit scarce this weekend, due to tomorrow's Bake Sale, but I'll take LOTS of pictures and will return just as soon as I can to catch up with you all ...

But if I may - before I go - could I ask for your prayers and good thoughts on behalf of our Bake Sale tomorrow? I'm ridiculously a bit nervous because I've never done this before, and though everything seems to be coming together, I can use all the help I can get! If you remember, my homeschool mama friends have generously supported my wish to hold a Bake Sale for Autism Speaks. I have a great group of lovely women advising me, baking for me, and helping me at the table all day ... I'm blessed to have such support!

You know, I've always wanted to run a bake sale ... and of course, autism is an issue near and dear to our hearts. So I am doing this for our Earlybird, but in a way, I'm doing this for me too. It will be fun, certainly (and fulfill that lifelong "bake sale" dream of mine) but it will feel so good to raise money for this worthy, and very personal, cause. Because when we support those who are affected by autism, we support those who love them as well. :)

Thank you so much everyone - for your prayers, for your time, and as always, for your very kind attention.

Good Night and God Bless!

A Fine Spring Day

For many families in the US, this is Spring Vacation week ... but our homeschool does not take this week "off." Rather, we take a sizeable break during Holy Week, and a few days just after Easter. All this to say - technically this is a "school day" for us. However, I was ill yesterday with a (blessedly brief) stomach bug, and though I feel SO much better today I really did not have it in me to do much at all this morning. Since Bookworm was doing some lawn work for our neighbor, and the weather was just SO nice, I joined the younger two out back for some impromptu exploring ...

And WOW, has Spring ever sprung! Everything's popping up and leafing out and all a-buzz with birdsong and bugs. The air felt good - just a little bit cool - and oh my goodness, that glorious sun!

So it was fun to get reacquainted with our own backyard, and I thought you might like to see some of the pictures I snapped. This is a nice activity for the upcoming Earth Day - just walking around your own property, looking for new life and remembering what grows where ... and most of all, seeing all the possibilities. :)

So here we have perhaps the most exciting "find" of the morning ... dandlion fluff on which we make wishes!

Dandelion wishes

Meanwhile, Crackerjack got some serious height in the trampoline.

Jack in trampoline

But what is this?

Fine spring day 20

An inchworm dropped right into Crackerjack's hand!

Fine spring day 1

Marveling at the marvelous ...

Our bleeding hearts, so pretty.

Fine spring day 2

The deck - in need of a good scrub down/spruce up. Here's where we'll have our container herb garden.

Fine spring day 3

A tiny forest of purple.

Fine spring day 4

The lilacs are nearly ready ...

Fine spring day 5

Then, a dandelion discussion ensued:

Fine spring day 7

Can you eat them?

Why are they called dandy-lions?

Why would somebody eat them? 

Fine spring day 8

How come our yard is the only one that grows dandelions?


Miniature maple leaves.

Fine spring day 9

Our "Friends of Saint Francis" corner.

Fine spring day 10

We filled the birdfeeders and then stood as still as we could ...

Fine spring day 12

The boys had given up but I got to see this little guy:

Fine spring day 11

While He-Who-Wants-To-Be-A-Real-Boy watched from the doorway.

Fine spring day 13

And the eldest worked hard next door.

Fine spring day 14

(He charges $10 an hour and he does excellent work.)


Lovely little seedlings ...

Fine spring day 15

Hard to see, but the cherry blossoms are starting!

Fine spring day 16

As are the new spruce cones ...

Fine spring day 17

But still, best of all, there were plenty of these ...

Fine spring day 18

"Mama, YOU make a wish ..."

Fine spring day 19

Oh, if we could bottle these days ... so that years from now we might take a big sip and remember just how very sweet they were.

Well, my friends, that was a peek into our very fine Spring day ... I hope you enjoyed your day as much as we did!

And speaking of Spring, I am currently working on the Spring Newsletter, to which many of you have subscribed. Thank you again for your interest - and your patience! I hope to have it composed and ready to mail sometime next month. So please stay tuned!

For now I'll be off ... for there's a supper to start. But have a great evening, everyone ... thanks so much for stopping by ...

I will see you again very soon!

Tuesday Tidbits

 Well, I had no fewer than three posts nearly finished in my drafts folder ... but no time today to finish even one of them! So instead, I'm just going to share a few happy things with you from my day.


First I have the day's ME print:

  Page a day

(How I love my page-a-day calendar. I "visit" it every morning, and it always gives me something to smile at and/or think about.)

Now, today was quite warm so we had all our windows open. By midday, as the sun grew stronger and the heat cranked up, I noticed a very sweet smell wafting through the house ... but I could not be sure from where it came. I finally realized it was the just-blooming viburnum bush out front! (The birds simply love our viburnum.)

So I snipped a few blossoms to bring inside ....


So pretty! But unfortunately they had to go right back outside because they triggered my allergies! May I point out that sweet little "cabbage leaf" vase? It was made my my nana (my dad's mom) many, many years ago. :)

Next we have a long-time favorite book ... Earlybird never gets tired of reading this, and surprisingly, neither do I. I liked how the cover caught the sun:

What do people do all day?

(I think this might be a future post-prompt ...)

And then we had a visit from the UPS man! Oh, how I love the rumble of that truck and the little "beep-beep" when it pulls up out front. What the UPS man brought me today was a nice little package from Cafe Press ...

Inside I found two new autism-awareness shirts:

Autism shirts

The shirt on the left says: "If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart!" And the shirt on the right says: "Loving an autistic child makes your heart grow larger." ❤

I also "splurged" on these lovely earrings ...

Autism earrings

You can barely make out the print along the edge, but it reads: "I love my autistic son and he loves me, too!"

The shirts (one or the other) and the earrings I plan to wear to our "Bake Sale for Autism Speaks," WHICH by the way, is coming up this very Saturday! I'm so very excited! There's still lots to do to get ready, but it's all coming together quite nicely. In fact, we just picked up our "approved" food permit today.

Now here's something I'm having fun filling in ...

Yearbook 1

A big lavender binder with rainbow dividers. Lots of activities, ideas and project plans for each month of the year ... :)

And a new magnet for my fridge with a thought-provoking quote:

To the world magnet

(How important it is to remember this.)

And then there was this little fella ...

Archie in cat bed

My sweet kitties never fail to make me smile! I can remember buying this cat bed - it was the first thing we bought once we were sure we were getting our cats. We thought they'd both fit inside quite nicely ... but they've grown so big, nowadays it's just one cat at a time!

Now, I didn't take a picture of my lunch, but it made me pretty happy. I used up some nearly expired wheat pizza dough and made all of us homemade pizzas. (Bill's the pizza man in this house, but I knew the dough just wouldn't last.) On my own personal pan pizza I had some pesto sauce, shredded mozzarella, sliced olives and diced chicken. Delish!

Well, I'm sure there were other happy things that happened today, but that's what's at the top of my list. (Or at least, the top of my brain.) I hope you all had some happy moments, too - and if you'd care to share them, I'd love to listen! Please leave a comment below. :)

For now though, I wish you all a pleasant evening, and leave you with a promise to visit again soon ...

Good night and God bless!