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July 2014

Pucker up ~ It's National Lipstick Day!

Victorian woman's face

Good Tuesday morning, my friends! I have a quick question for you today:

Do you wear lipstick, and if so what shade?

I myself wear it on occasion. On a daily basis I use a simple vanilla lip balm just to keep my lips moist. If I'm leaving the house I do apply a light bit of makeup and that includes a hint of lip color. I like shades that are a near-match to my natural color, with just a bit of a boost. I cannot wear anything pale, nude or frosty. And pink and orange don't suit my coloring at all - I need something in the red zone.

:)

I used to wear a particular shade of Neutrogena lipstick called Rose Suede - I don't think they make it anymore. These days I am more apt to wear Burt's Bees Red Dahlia (which is actually quite sheer) and just recently I received Philosophy's Frosted Animal Crackers Lip Gloss as a gift - not something I would have chosen for myself, but it's actually quite light and sweet. It adds just a bit of shine - a touch of "glam" if you will. (And it's super tasty, too!)

Burts bees

Animal cracker gloss

If you have a moment, please drop me a note and let me know your thoughts on lipstick. And as always, have yourself a great day!

See you here again very soon ...


Just another Monday morning ...

And of course (as usual!) I had my morning all planned out ...

I was going to be so productive, and get a real jump on the week! I was going to make phone calls, send emails, pay bills, make a quick stop at Facebook, and then spend some time catching up at my blog. Oh! And I have all these lovely file folders, pretty papers and fresh binders just sitting around, waiting for my attention ...

But then we had - of all things - a TORNADO warning! Roundabouts 10 a.m., as I was reading The Tale of Peter Rabbit to Little Bear, the severe weather alert went off on my iPhone - two alerts, actually. The first was a Flash Flood warning - which was not surprising considering the donwnpour outside - but then another warning sounded - and this time it was a Tornado Warning! I quickly checked the local news and sure enough they were urging us to seek shelter! So next thing I know I'm marshalling my troops down to the basement - cats, too!

(I had them pose for a picture, of course.)

Tornado warning 1

 Earlybird was a bit unnerved, but Little Bear took it all in stride.

Tornado warning 3

As the 4th born, he's always ready for the next "adventure."

Tornado warning 2

But I love how he looks to his big brothers for reassurance. He truly adores them!

(And Earlybird settled down, once we got a movie playing for him.)

The Warning finally expired after a half hour, and we headed back upstairs. It was still raining like crazy, but our area was spared any damage. A town closer to Boston had an actual tornado touch down and there was much damage to many homes and roads! We have dear friends who live in this town and I was very grateful to hear from them that all was well.

It's sunny here now, and sizzling hot! They said all this heat will keep the atmosphere "turbulent" and we could have strong weather again this afternoon. Crazy weather, indeed! New England is known for its severe winter weather - snow, ice, blizzards, etc. - but thunderstorms are commonplace at this time of year. And now even tornadoes it seems ...

What kind of severe weather do you see where you live?

***

Well, my friends, it's time for me to make these kiddoes some lunch ... I have so much to share with you, so many posts "perking" but time is short these days. I will post whenever I can but please know, even when things go quiet here, I am thinking of you all and wishing you well!

Thanks so much for stopping by - see you all again very soon!


3 Cheers for the Bonnie Prince!

Bonnie princes 1 

Yesterday, the wee Prince of Cambridge - aka George, or William and Kate's boy - turned one! And to celebrate - because we're a bit English ourselves, and we have a little prince of our own - we made some wee carrot muffins for a late morning tea. (And by "tea," I really mean pear juice for the younger boys and cold coffee for me. The older boys had milk.)

Of course, Prince Little Bear had to bust out his crown for the occasion ...

Bonnie princes 9

He also practiced his newly acquired (and very prince-like) skill of pointing ...

Bonnie princes 6

 Cake, Mama ... I want cake.

Bonnie princes 10

And so ... cake was had.

Bonnie princes 2

Bonnie princes 3

Bonnie princes 7

Bonnie princes 5

It's hard work being Prince ...

Bonnie princes 8

But someboday has to do it!

:)

Enjoy your Wednesday, my friends ...


Calendars: Comfort & Joy

Happy Tuesday, my friends! And how goes your day?

So as most of you know, I have a real love for calendars ... I talk about them ALL the time and I always seem to have a new one to describe and debate. Thankfully, I seem to have a receptive audience for all my prattering - because from years of conversations (online and otherwise) I know I'm not alone in my calendar obsession love!

:)

Now, I like calendars in all shapes and sizes, whether I make them or buy them. In fact, I think it's safe to say I have a bit of an addiction ... because I just lose all sense when I encounter fresh, pretty calendars. I was at Paper Source the other day - ran in for a birthday card - and spent more time than I really had to spend just poring over their lovely calendar display. I'm so drawn to calendars for aesthetic and emotional reasons; simply put, they're nice to look at, and hold so much promise. I love to feel their paper and imagine how I could "doctor" them up a bit to make them work better for me ... with added pockets, sticky notes, tabs and whatnot ...

But anyhoo!

Today I want to show you the calendar purchases I made last week, and just arrived yesterday afternoon. I'll be talking more about calendars in the upcoming weeks, but for today here's what's making me smile ear to ear ...

Sb package 2

A Susan Branch 2015 Desk Blotter Calendar!

It's been a long while since I used a blotter-style calendar ... because although I do love the idea of desk blotters, I find them somewhat impractical to use. For one thing, I'm hardly ever sitting at my desk, and for another, that big pretty page is most likely going to get spilled on, scribbled on, scratched up or otherwise defaced by children or cats in some way that will drive me absolutely bonkers until I can move on to the next month.

But this calendar I just could not resist. I have coveted it since last year when I first saw it displayed on the Susan Branch website only to discover they were *gasp* sold out. (Nothing like the words "sold out" to fan the flames of desire!) So this year when it was announced on Facebook that SB had 2015 desk blotters in stock, I leapt at the opportunity to order one. I wasn't even sure how I'd fit it into my current calendar system, but I just knew I had to have this calendar. 

Because look how pretty ...

Sb calendar 1 

... and sweet.

Sb calendar 3

 So seasonal and homey ...

Sb calendar 2

How could I resist?

And while I was at it, I ordered one of these too ...

Sb pocket calendar

I'm using this very same pocket calendar right now (the 2013-1014 version - a gift from a sweet reader friend) in my purse and I've found it extremely handy. I don't like to tote my big master calendar out and about with me, so I keep this tiny one in my bag for making appointments at the dentist/doctor/hairdresser etc. Once a week (or so) I "sync" it up with the master calendar I keep at home.

So, there you have it!

:)

Have you ever used a desk blotter stye calendar? Is there a particular style you return to again and again?

More calendar talk to come, my friends ... for now, have yourselves a great evening and thanks so much for stopping by!

See you all again very soon ...


Late July Weekend

Purple coneflower

Happy Monday, my friends!

The Summer season is well underway, and things are really growing around here - both flora and fauna! I thought I'd share some of the photos I took this weekend. It was an atypically busy one for us - Crackerjack spent the weekend away at a sleepover, Bill and I enjoyed a dinner out with some of his work friends, and we visited a flea market on Sunday morning. What a fun place that was -  there was so much to see! Everything from antique furniture and vintage books to braided rugs, wrought-iron arbors, funny hats and sunglasses!

I hope you all had a nice weekend - and I hope you enjoy my pictures and notes. :)

Hydrangeas and raspberries

The hydrangeas are getting big! I love the deep pink shade. And the raspberries are starting to appear ...

O raspberries 1

O raspberries 2

He's getting so big! Fourteen months next weekend ...

Also growing like a weed - the wee bunny who calls our front yard home:

Baby bunny on walk 1

(He is just too precious, but I'm a bit of a wreck over him ... I fear for his safety! We live in a very wooded area filled with hawks, owls, fisher cats and weasels. I hope he keeps safe!)

More nature study with Little Bear who just loves it outside ...

O nature study leaf

 LB has such a fascination with leaves right now! And he's all about pointing. Like a little prince, he just sticks out that tiny finger and points, silently, at what he wants. Lol. And if he's outside he wants leaves. To smell them, touch them, pick them ... I think I might make a little Leaf Book for him, his very first nature journal!

And here's something the boys and I spied near the mailbox ...

Indian stovepipe

Have you ever seen this before? This is called "Indian Pipe," aka "Ghost Flower" or *shudder* "Corpse Plant" - which is just a bit eerie, but makes for a GREAT nature study lure! 

Oh, and here's a quick "selfie" taken at Earlybird's request - we were on our way to pick up pizza, a one-in-a-while treat for EB. Little Bear is in back with Bill but you can't see him in his rear-facing car seat!

Pizza selfie

And finally, how about a picture from the flea market?

O and daddy todd farm

Wearing Crackerjack's hat and Daddy's $1 sunglasses ... Little Bear was quite the hit!

:)

Well I'll wrap up now, but I hope this week treats you well ... any travel plans or special events coming up? We're mostly sticking close to home this summer, working on things around here, and getting ready for a family party in a few weeks. Trying to savor every last drop of summer's comforts and joys!

{Before I go ... a quick bit of planner talk. This week I am refreshing my file crate folders as well as my planning binder, and I find myself wondering if I need a daily agenda/planner of some kind. I'm a bit stuck on the idea ... trying to figure out how to work that aspect in. It's such a tricky balance - keeping things simple and straightforward, but still covering all the bases. Anytime I have a quiet moment these days - usually when nursing or rocking the baby - I find my mind juggling these kinds of things. And yet I must remind myself not to overthink it! I can easily think myself into circles!}

Be well, my friends - see you here again very soon!


Nature Study: Mid-July

Bunny in grass 1

 Baby bunny who lives beneath the ferns out front ...

Purple coneflowers

 Pretty purple coneflowers ...

Rainy driveway

Rainy driveway...

Caterpillar ODD 1

Very odd caterpillar!

We have a rather large and noisy sparrow family at the feeders these days, as well as bright yellow goldfinches and a sweet cardinal pair. Also, just this morning I spied a cedar waxwing in a bush just beyond the patio. This makes me awfully happy!

What kind of nature have you noticed this month?

Thanks for stopping by, my friends! Hope you're all having a good week!


Happy Monday!

Hello, my friends ... long time no chat! I'm sorry I haven't had much time to post lately, we've had a lot going on and I haven't really had a chance to just sit down and write. But I wanted to pop in quickly this morning afternoon to say "hi" and let you know I am still here! And all is well - just busy with the family, the house, and lately, some birthday celebrations. :)

For instance, this past weekend we celebrated Bill's birthday ... with a nice family lunch on Sunday and a "Date Night" on Friday (our first in a LONG time). His birthday cake request this year was ... not lemon, not butter-whiskey, but ... banana bread, lol! So I made it a bit sweeter than usual and my mum whipped up a delicious cream cheese frosting. A few sparkling candles ... and it was a hit!

Bills bday 13

For Sunday lunch I served crockpot barbecue chicken on soft kaiser rolls - a new recipe that I'm happy to report was quite delicious! Even the baby liked it! (It was very mild - I left out the red pepper flakes.)

Things on my "docket" this week ... working on The Plan for the baby's big party next month (fyi: owls are out, elephants in) and ed. plans and reports ... and a new batch of File Crate Folders! I'm adding some new things to the FCS this year and I will post about all that just as soon as I can. :)

Party folder 2

Well my friends, I do hope you all are keeping well and enjoying your summer ... thanks so much for stopping by and for your patience during my slow times. I will see you here again sometime soon!

❀


"What is a Home?"

Vintage house clipart

(From The Beauty of Motherhood)

A roof to keep out the rain. Four walls to keep out the wind. Floors to keep out the cold. Yes, but home is more than that. It is the laugh of a baby, the song of a mother, the strength of a father. Warmth of loving hearts, light from happy eyes, kindness, loyalty, comradeship. Home is first school and first church for young ones, where they learn what is right, what is good, and what is kind. Where joy is shared and sorrow eased. Where fathers and mothers are respected and loved. Where the simplest food is good enough for kings because it is earned. Where money is not so important as loving-kindness. Where even the teakettle sings from happiness. That is home. God bless it.

~ Ernestine Schuman-Heink

*❀*

A lovely quote from a sweet little book of mine. I know I have many kindred spirits reading here, who share my love of home and homekeeping, so I thought I'd share it today.

:)

Sorry my posting has been a bit slow of late - I think I'm in summer break mode, lol. I'm working on a few projects though, and I'll get back in the swing of things soon. Please know I'm thinking of you all and praying you are happy and well.

Enjoy your Tuesday, my friends ... and especially, the comforts of your own home, wherever that may be and with whomever you share it. I hope it is, above all, a place of peace for you.

See you here again very soon ... 


Flowers for the Fourth

Fourth flowers on table

On my kitchen table today:

A gathering of New England wildflowers (tickseed and asters from the yard), Macintosh apples and our Grand Old Flag (in miniature). In the background, a pretty wall hanging that was left to us by our previous home's original owners. An image of my favorite flag style: the Betsy Ross!

A very simple, last-minute arrangement, but I love how cozy it all looks.

*❀*

What's on your kitchen (or dining) table today? Do you like to display seasonal or holiday items in this spot, or perhaps on your kitchen counter? I take great joy in this very simple, homey act. Doesn't cost much, doesn't take long, but never fails to make me smile. I'm always tempted by the pretty flowers at the farmer's market, but like it best when I can use things I find in my yard. :)

Well, my friends, I'm wishing you all a lovey Friday the Fourth, and a wonderful weekend ahead. Wish it were a little sunnier here today - heavy rains from "Hurricane Arthur" are expected throughout the afternoon. Thankfully we'll be spared any damaging winds ... and there's a beautiful weekend to come, according to those in the know!

See you here again very soon!


Happy 4th of July!

Betsy ross flag 1

"When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea. He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect."

~ Adlai Stevenson

*❀*

Wherever your home may be, I pray it is filled with the blessings of peace, health and happiness. :)

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends ... see you here again very soon!


Rabbit, Rabbit ~ Happy July!

4th of july flower basket

"Like a little sailboat in the harbor at eventide, we are becalmed in July. Even the birds seem quieter; all through the day there are periods of deep quiet, a "pervading symphony of peace." We seek the coolest corners, the easiest tasks. From the fields wafts the scent of new-mown hay, and from somewhere in the distance drifts the sounds of the mowers ... On the Fourth of July we tug at the bell rope in the barn and put up the flag to wave in the hot breeze, remembering that after John Adams signed the Declaration of Independence on the first American Fourth of July, he wrote his wife Abigail that he hoped Americans would always make this day one of rejoicing and merrymaking. We follow his wishes willingly."

* πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ *

(From The New England Butt'ry Shelf Almanac by Mary Mason Campbell, ilustrated by beloved Vermont artist and Americana icon Tasha Tudor. One of my very favorite seasonal books!)

Things I love about July ...

Celebrating the Fourth with my family, hearing fireworks at night, bright orange daylilies popping up along roadsides, the steaminess of Summer, local honey and fresh raspberries at the farm, afternoon thunderstorms, morning muggies, the soothing drone of a fan at night ...

What are your favorite things about July?

If you have a moment, leave me a note in the comments box below.

:)

Well, I hope your day's going well, my friends ... I just got back in from a jaunt across town with the boys. We first stopped at a local farm for some pies and honey. Then another stop at the library for this week's hold ... and now we're back home for lunch. A nice, quiet day ... very hot out there though! ... looking forward to another episode of "Father Brown" this evening.

Enjoy your Tuesday, my friends ... see you here again very soon!

P.S. If you're looking for more July ideas, you might enjoy an older post of mine from 2008, Themes & Plans for July. I have it filed in my seasonal planner for annual reference. :)