Previous month:
May 2014
Next month:
July 2014

June 2014

And so it begins ...

Happy Monday, my friends!

Well, I hope you all had a nice weekend! It was quite a BIG weekend around here ... lots going on, popping around, out and about, but mostly because a certain Little Bear we all know and love began ...

O walking 1

O walking 2


(It's hard to show "motion" in  photos, but I promise you, this boy's on the move!)

This should not have come as a surprise to us, of course - over the past couple of weeks, LB has been taking a tentative step here and there, but this weekend he really got things rolling. He began standing from a crouch (that is, without using anything to pull himself up) and walking a few steps on his own before stopping himself as if in shock, lol. Sometimes he just sits back down, and sometimes he fusses a little and wants me to pick him right up. He's not one for change this boy, much like his mama ... but oh, the changes are always a-comin with these little ones, aren't they? Things are about to get very intresting around here ...

O walking 3

 Oh, the Places You'll Go! 

Today is your day. 
You're off to Great Places! 
You're off and away


So Little Bear is 13 months old now (as of a few days ago), which I think is about average for walking. Bookworm was 14 months and Crackerjack was 12 months ... Earlybird was quite late - around 20 months, as all of his developmental milestones we were well off the mark.

How old were your children when they began walking? If you have a moment, please let me know in a comment below.


As always, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing in our joy. Enjoy your evening, and I'll see you here again very soon!

A Bevy of Baby Birds

I spent some time visiting my aunt and uncle today, and as I first arrived they quietly pointed out a planter hanging by their front door. Nestled inside the pink impatiens were several baby house finches, about a week old. I used my iPhone to take pictures and was quite pleased to get a few good images!

Thought you all might like to see ... :)

Baby birds 1


Baby birds 3

I think I count about five birds here ...

Baby birds 4

So very sweet ... though I must admit they look a bit like muppets to me, lol!

Well, I hope you're all having a nice weekend ... it's just beautiful here, in the 80s with sunshine and low humidity. Lots going on - visiting, errands, housework, soccer, Mass and a shower for my very dear cousin. So glad there's nice weather on hand for all these endeavors. Oh, and I'm still having SUCH fun with Pinterest! Getting my boards set up (28 at last count) and filled with pins. How many boards are too many, lol? I fear I can't seem to stop.

Well my friends, thanks so much for stopping by - hope you enjoyed the nestlings pics! - and the rest of your weekend as well. :)

See you here again very soon!

Hello, Fellow Pinners?

Pin 2

Good Wednesday morning, my friends! I hope this week's treating you well. :)

Well, as usual, I'm days late and dollars short on something everyone else is already up and running with - story of my life, lol! - but this weekend I finally joined Pinterest! And I love it!

Now, I've had people gush to me about Pinterest for a couple of years now. I've seen that little red P pop up all over the web (here at my own blog in fact!). I've even tracked links to my posts back to Pinterest (usually those of the file crate variety) and thought, Huh ... I wonder how this all works?

Well, I finally took the plunge and signed up for an account - and now I see what all the fuss was about! It's absolutely wonderful. So much fun and extremely useful!

So for the five other people who are perhaps unfamilar with Pinterest, I will tell you about my experience so far.


Once I created an account, I had a page (much like a Facebook wall) and here is where I set up "Boards" ... which are sort of like online bulletin boards. I'm a real collector of things as you know - gathering scraps of information and inspiration that usually, if found in a magazine or newspaper, go into my journal. Stuck in there with good old-fashioned Scotch tape and handwritten notes. But what about all those websites and images I find online that I want to save and refer back to again? Some things I've actually printed out to clip and store (as in an image) or save in a file (as in a recipe). Obviously that can be a bit impractical.

Well I've had this sidebar of bookmarks on my laptop - recipes, craft projects, articles, etc. - growing steadily for years. It has not been the best way to store these inks - certainly not the most organized way! So I've been going through those bookmarks and sorting them into my Pinterest Boards. I open a link, see if there's a Pinterest button (and there usually is), then "pin" the link to one of my Boards, depending on its topic.

A few of my Board topics so far:

Baking ... Nature Crafts ... Feeding My Family ... Natural Housekeeping ... Punch Recipes ... Woodland Things ... Home Learning ... Autumn Goodness ... Getting Organized!

You get the gist, I'm sure. The possibilities are endless! But what a great way to actually SEE and USE the images and information we need! So far I have 15 boards and have been happily - dare I say, obsessively - pinning links to my boards.

 The other side to Pinterest seems to be that it's a social network as well. In that, you can follow other "pinners" and they can follow you. You can pin other people's pins and vice versa. I stumble across things online quite often, but in case I need more to choose from, there are thematic boards to "follow" with links of all kinds. I can peruse these pins at my leisure and re-pin on my own boards if I choose.


So as I said above, I see what all the fuss was about! I avoided Pinterest because it seemed like just one more thing to keep up with - and I can see how it can suck you in and keep you very, very busy - but it truly does provide a great service. :)


Well my friends, are you on Pinterest? If you are, how do you like it? What am I missing in my "explanation" above? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

In the meantime, I hope you have a great Wednesday ... take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and I'll see you here again very soon!

ETA - I absolutely should have said/asked - PLEASE share your Pinterest links here if you'd like! I would love to check out your boards! :)

Garden Gab: Growing Food

Lets grow a garden

Happy Thursday, my friends! It's been a while since I did a Garden Gab post ... but yesterday, as I read to Little Bear, this topic came to mind. The above illustration is a page from a beloved book called Let's Grow a Garden by Gyo Fujikawa. Have I mentioned Gyo Fujikawa books before? Oh, how I love them. The sweetest little children's books, filled with 1970s goodness. I will have to do a post about them soon ...

Anyhoo! Before I get too far off-topic, I thought I'd ask this question of you all:

>> Do you grow any of your family's food? <<

In light of rising food costs (not to mention growing food safety concerns), and of course, Summer itself, I think this is a timely topic. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

My wish list for food I'd like to grow for my family:






squash (zukes, winter)








(The green items are things we are currently growing.)

I'd also like to commit to making more of my own food and not relying on so many pre-packaged and processed foods - but that's another topic for another time!


I hope you all enjoy your day and look forward to hearing from you!

Monday's Musings

Peonies in jars 1

I shared this picture on Facebook recently so this will not be new for some of you - but the jars ("vintage" Ball) and the flowers (peonies from our yard) just make me so happy I had to share it again here. :)

Speaking of happy, I hope your Monday's been nice and your week's off to a good start. Did you all have a nice Father's Day? Ours was lovely ... weatherwise and otherwise!

In honor of this special day, here I am with my Dad and my brother, Matt.

Fathers day 1

I think I can speak for my brother when I say we had an absolutely wonderful childhood. Happy and safe, comfortable and secure, the kind of childhood one remembers fondly and hopes to bestow on their own children. And I know Bill feels the same way about his family ...

Fathers day 15

(Three generations in one frame: Grampa, Daddy and Little Bear.)


"Anyone can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a Dad."

These words are very true and I am blessed to have a few special men in my life. So today I am wishing a - belated but sincere - Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!

May God Bless you with all you need as you care and provide for your families. Strength, wisdom, patience, faith, courage ... your hearts and arms open to the love all around you.


Thanks so much for stopping by my friends ... see you here again very soon!

Happy (Friday)

O giggling in sleep

Yesterday Little Bear woke from his afternoon nap a bit cranky ... so I brought him into my bedroom and laid him down on my bed where I was folding some laundry. Well, it must have been the perfect snuggly spot, because the boy just fell right back into a deep sleep. So I kept folding and a few minutes later I noticed LB had started giggling. He was still sound asleep, mind you - but he was giggling!

So I grabbed my phone and started taking pictures ...

O giggling in sleep 2

(Super quietly, of course.)

O giggling in sleep 3 

Must have been a good dream!


Well my friends, I hope that was a little something happy to brighten your day. And I hope you all have yourselves a nice Friday - Friday, the 13th, mind you ... and a full moon as well! Now, admittedly, I can be a bit supersitious sometimes (it's the Irish in me, after all) but Friday the 13th is, and always will be, a most fortunate and blessed day in my book ... because my Crackerjack was born on Friday, August 13th!

Have yourselves a great weekend, everyone ... see you here again very soon!

Domestic Bliss: Little Stool by the Fire

Stool 1

My aunt gave us this pretty stool at Easter and she thought it would be a nice little spot upon which Little Bear might "perch." He's right at that age (and size) to do just that!

Stool 2

Lovely linen seat with "vintage bird and letters" design. 

Stool 5

"Look at me, Mama!"

Stool 6


It's been muggy and mild here lately ... how is June shaping up where you live?

Have a wonderful Wednesday, my friends!

Bits of Domestic Bliss: Bread Pudding

Good Monday evening, my friends ... I hope you've all had a nice day! It was a mild and muggy June day here but I still felt the urge to bake something warm and cozy! Something like ... old -fashioned bread pudding!

This dish made me happy for three reasons ... 1. it used up a good chunk of leftover French bread, 2. it's, as I said above, old-fashioned - nostalgic even, and 3. the flavors are some of my favorites: vanilla, orange, cinnamon and cranberry. :)

Here's the recipe link and a few photos I took as I prepared it ...

Bread pudding 1

Bread pudding 2

Bread pudding 3

I'm serving it tonight after supper with some freshly whipped cream ... but I might have snuck sampled a bit of it at lunchtime ... just to make sure it baked all the way through. ;)


Our dinner tonight:

crispy chicken legs (new recipe, sounds good!), sweet potato puffs, steamed broccoli with lemon butter, and the rest of the leftover French bread served up as garlic toasts.

(I bought two loaves of French bread to make overnight French toast for my brother's birthday brunch on Sunday - but unfortunately I didn't get around to making it. I'm glad it's not going to waste!)

Before I go, a note of sincere thanks to Rain, for helping me identify the birdsong I posted about this morning ... it appears we have a wood thrush in our midst! I have only ever seen a thrush once at our old house, so it makes me intrigued and pleased to know we have one here as well.

Have a great evening, my friends ... see you here again very soon!


Birdsong at dusk ...

VH nest 1

Good Monday morning, my friends!

I hope you all had a nice weekend. I'm just popping in quickly today to share a short video I took last evening. There is a bird somewhere in our yard that sings each evening, just as the sun sets, and I would love to identify it ...

If you have a moment, would you take a listen and let me know your thoughts?

(I couldn't get the video to paste in my post, so here is a link to my Facebook page which should open whether you have a FB account or not ... please let me know if it doesn't.)

Well, I hope you all have a great Monday ... it's rather showery and warm here, very much a June day.


See you all here again very soon!

live * love * learn

Sunny walk

I just wrote about this little moment in my journal and wanted to share …
    "As we stepped outside, Earlybird took a deep breath and exclaimed "Oh wow! The air smells so good! Warm and ... fresh!" 
First of all - great language skills, EB! Nice pronunciation and descriptive words! But how about that wonderful observation? He absolutely nailed it - it is a perfect June day, sunny, breezy and warm. 
Continuing down the drive, we observed: a buzzing, leaping insect of some sort (grasshopper?), a plump green caterpillar, two “stuck-together” butterflies (ahem) and a brilliant blue damsel fly. EB also found a rock that he is absolutely *certain* is a meteorite. He brought it inside to clean up and set upon the nature shelf …"
As I walked back up to the house, with one child ahead of me, hopping between sunlight and shade, and another child clinging to my hip, I wished I could freeze this moment in time. It felt precious to me. I didn't have my camera on me - not even my phone - so I closed my eyes and made a memory in my heart. Then I wrote in my journal.
Sometimes the "lesson plan" doesn’t go as planned … some days are rocky … some weeks work better than others. But moments like these remind me why we do this in the first place, this crazy thing called homeschooling. It's about more than just how we learn - it's about how we live and love, too.
Live * Love* Learn
R's meteorite
And always take time to smell the air.

A Nursery for Little Bear (At last!)

O bedroom 12

We're so excited that Little Bear's nursery is finally ready for him! (And vice versa!) So I thought you all might like a little tour?

O bedroom 11

When we bought this house last spring we knew immediately that this small sunny bedroom would be the nursery - it has some neat features that are perfect for a young child, and the wall color was just right, too! But up till now it has served mostly as a "storage zone" ... for reasons having to do with time, energy and a little one who still wakes through the night. But the time has come for him to sleep in his own room (or so we hope) so we got this room all cleaned and prepared ... and finally, a few days ago we moved in his crib.

And so far so good!

So here's Little Bear sitting smack dab in the middle of his room. I'm taking this picture from the doorway.

O bedroom 4

(It's a small room but I'm going to give you all the angles!)

O bedroom 6 

Stepping into the room and looking to the left ...

O bedroom 27

A wonderful built-in desk for someday ... but for the time being, a spot for special books (including parenting books), toys and Mama's coffee cup, etc. (The top shelf holds special hats and shoes!)

O bedroom 10

I might be sprinkling this post with a few pictures of Little Bear ... just so you know. :)

 O bedroom 16

So this is the same crib that all our boys have slept in - I'd say it's served us well! It still has its soft green flannel sheet but with warmer weather upon us, I'll be switching to this cute cotton print very soon:

O bedroom 40

Along the north wall there are bookcases for displaying wooden toys and more books ...

O bedroom 5

I can't tell you how happy I am to see these toys played with again! (Not to mention how glad I am we saved them!) The baby doll on the top shelf was given to a nearly 2 year-old Crackerjack when I was expecting Earlybird. My mum knitted his hat and scarf.

O bedroom 24

 Still more favorite books line the windowsills (which at present, need to be propped open). Owl Babies is definitely Little Bear's favorite book so far. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Baby Beluga and The Very Hungry Caterpillar run a close second, third, fourth.

O bedroom 29

A basket of binkies and "chew toys" as we call them. Little Bear is cutting some serious teeth these days!

O bedroom 9

This rocker is one of a pair (its twin is in our master bedroom). They are the most comfortable rockers, and once belonged to my grandparents. On the back of the chair is a knitted blanket made by my mother for Little Bear. (Started by me then abandoned, lol.) These were the nursery colors I picked out long before we found our new home. So you see how well the colors matched up!

O bedroom 2

My favorite kind of selfie. :)

O bedroom 3

The other bookcase ...

O bedroom 7

 Bird puppets, wooden elements, BOOKS and a sweet rabbit (led) candle. A shower gift from my godmother, Kathy.

O bedroom 1

 As I sit in the rocker just this very minute, this is what I see ... such a lovely day.

Ok, other side of the room ...

O bedroom 35 

The handsome cherry hutch was a gift from dear friends whose children had outgrown it. It's a very comfortable spot to change Little Bear and has wonderful storage.

O bedroom 22

 Nursery essentials ... diapers, wipes, soothing lotion, herbal salves and a comb for unruly toddler hair.

O bedroom 23

The cubbies hold a few meaningful items ... a cross-stich birth announcement made by Bill's mom, the What to Expect books, a baptism frame (yet to be filled) a picture book that Earlybird and I picked out for the baby and an "engineer bear," a gift from Little Bear's Papa (my dad). More special books and blankets on the very top shelf.

Now this ...

O bedroom 36 

This is what convinced us immediately, that this had to be the nursery! This is a loft bed, just the right size for a young child ... for sleeping eventually, but wonderful for cuddling and reading and puppet plays, too.

O bedroom 30

 I don't have any linens for it yet ... I am still trying to find a resource for special-sized sheets.  

O bedroom 25

Lovely baby quilt handmade for Little Bear by Bill's godmother, Anne.

O bedroom 38

 Won't this be fun? :)

Little Bear's first nap in his new room ...

O bedroom 32

There is nothing so precious as a sleeping baby!

Well my friends, I hope you've enoyed this tour of Little Bear's nursery. Since I took these pictures, Bill has installed some nice room-darkening shades and hopefully those will also contribute to better sleep for LB ... and for us all!

And here's hoping you are all doing well, and enjoying your week so far. I thank you for stopping by and will look forward to see you all again very soon!


And we have a winner!

I'm very happy to announce this morning that Beth B. has won my extra copy of You Are Your Child's First Teacher!

Beth, I will be in touch soon to arrange mailing details ... and sincere thanks to all for participating!

Have a glorious Monday, my friends ... see you later today with a nursery post!


p.s. Ok, here's a thought ... I know many of you were interested in this book and its concepts, and as I happen to be re-reading it now, I think I will post chapter summaries and my own thoughts as I move along. I may not cover every chapter, maybe just the sections that really speak to me ... I will share here with you and then we can discuss. Does this sound good? I think it will be fun. :)