Previous month:
June 2015
Next month:
August 2015

July 2015

Friday Bits & Bobs ~ Summer Days

Happy-almost-Weekend, my friends!

I just have a few things to share with you today ... some pretty late summer images I thought you'd like to see. (Ack, did I say, "late" summer? Where has the time gone?)

Tickseed 1

This is tickseed (Coreopsis) that is growing abundantly in our front yard. I adore all that yellow, and boy, the bees love it too!

August paper 1

 More yellow - this is the August scrapbook page in my homemade weekly planner. Isn't it pretty? I think sunflowers are a perfect symbol of August ...

(And by the way, Tanya asked me recently how I am using/liking that planner and the honest answer is - to be expanded upon in a future post - I do love it, but I don't use it consistently. And that's partly my fault - and partly the fault of the planner's layout. Luckily I never filled all the pages out so I can re-work them from August forward. So I have been re-tooling the design because I need it to act more as a theme book and less of an agenda ... a place for sketching out ideas and activities (live-love-learn) but not necessarily appointments and household events. But more on all that soon!)

Archie and book 1

What could be cozier than a cat curled up in your lap as you read a good book while a storm rages outside? Archie times his visits well - when the toddler is sound asleep for a good hour or more!

Morning glory blossom

The first morning glory blossom on our lamppost vine ... pretty in purple. Not sure what's going on with the leaves there, but something is finding them very tasty!

Grasshopper in grass 1

One of those gorgeous grasshoppers I mentioned in an earlier post. Thy are such interesting creatures ... you'd never guess what they look like sitting still after you've seen them in flight.

Riley takes pics 4

And finally, this is a "selfie" from the other day - my younger boys and I, sitting in the sunroom, watching as storms pass over. Earlybird, who as many of you know, is autistic, used to have a strong aversion to picture-taking ... but lately he's not only been open to it, he's even requested it!

Well, my friends, I hope you all have a great weekend ... I will be hammering out those ed. reports with intention to finish and mail them bright and early Monday morning. (Taking a brief break for a haircut! Boy-oh-boy do I need one ...) And once I have the reports out of the way I will focus on my new day-book and sharing with you all how I'm using it ... and big-picture, school year planning ... as well as my binders! Must talk about binders ...

I get so geared up to get organized at this time of year, don't you?


See you here again very soon ...

p.s. Don't forget to look for the Full Blue Moon tonight!

My New Day Book! (post one)

Day designer 1

Happy Tuesday, my friends!

(I teased this pic on Facebook the other day, but wanted to share it here, too!)

So this is a new daily planner I bought at Target over the weekend because - well, first off - I'm absolutely weak when it comes to Target, especially in the planner aisle - but also, I have been feeling really out of control with my daily planning lately. I have so much "to control" each day - so much on my plate - and I use a lot of tools to keep track of it all - the cleaning, dinners, homeschooling, appointments, tasks, budgeting, writing, seasonal ideas, etc. So when I flipped through the Blue Sky Day Designer I found it quite tempting ...

I liked the colors, the font, the paper, the overall set up ... with my Target goggles firmly in place, I could envision it working for me, perfectly. Now, whether it proves to be perfect remains to be seen, but I am hoping to use this agenda (modeled after the Whitney English Day Designer) for as many areas of my planning as I can - maybe even a bit of journaling. There seems to be plenty of space to play with ...

(You know, I have been truly out of the loop when it comes to popular planners - so stuck on making my own, I guess - but apparently Erin Condren, Emily Ley, and Whitney English have really cornered the market when it comes to pretty/efficient planners! Pinterest is full of ideas on how to use them to your liking ... let me know if you're using any of these! )

Anyhoo, I am only just starting to use it - like, yesterday - but I will do a very thorough post in the near future about just how I am using it and how I am liking it and what I'm doing to make it work for me. (Going on the premise that it WILL work for me, lol.)

Note: It was $19.99 for those interested, which I don't think is a bad price at all for a daily planner, because that's a lot of pages! (It runs from July 2015 - June 2016.) And it's quite sturdy and portable, with metal coil binding and plastic covers. There were also other styles in this "Day Designer" line - very pretty florals and interesting shapes (including a horizontal weekly planner I found appealing). They're worth a look if you're in the market for a planner!

In the meantime, I am valiantly trying to finish up the school reports this week ... the year-end progress reviews and next-year ed. plans I send in every August. I'm about halfway through and hope to be mailing things off next Monday. Once I get that major challenge out of the way I will be turning my attention to PLANNING and not just with this day planner but with the whole "school" year ahead. One thing I am realizing (and I do this every year but for some reason don't take myself seriously) is how very much I NEED to be much more organized with our home learning materials and records. Because once again it is nearly August and I am scrambling to remember what-all we actually did last year ... because I know we did stuff! We did a lot, if memory serves! But why didn't I take better notes??

So on top of this day book I am also re-organzing my homeschool binder and the way I plan and review our lessons each week and how I store materials, etc. Next Summer I want to be able to breeze through these reports - with less stress and time away from my family - because I have so much information to draw upon!

So more on all that very pretty soon ... :)

I hope you are all having a good week ... it's VBS week in our parish ... and hot as you-know-what in New England. Every day brings 90° and high humidity and afternoon storms ... but you know what? This is Summer! The dog days of Summer are here to stay it seems ... and I'm glad for it, to be honest.

So take care of yourselves and your loved ones, my friends, and please stay tuned ... I will be back here again to chat sometime soon!

Thoughtful Thursday ... Nature Study

Butterfly on coneflowers 1

Butterfly on coneflower 2

Butterfly on coneflower 3

 "But it's not enough to merely exist," said the butterfly, "one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."

(Hans Christian Anderson)

I love how easy nature study can be ... especially in midsummer, when life all around us is bursting with color, sound and smell!

Over the past few days we've been noticing a pretty orange butterfly visiting our herb patch. We can see this spot easily from our kitchen window, along with several bird feeders and the woodsy woods beyond. It's a view I never tire of - and I'm grateful for it each time we sit at the table. Well, while I was watering my pots yesterday, I saw this handsome fella again - perched on a coneflower without a care in the world - and hastily drew the phone from my pocket to snap some pictures. Back inside I showed the family my photos and we started to discuss what kind of butterfly it could be ... not a Monarch surely, but a familiar orange and brown/black ...

A quick google search later (our field guide of choice these days) and a match was found - or so we think:

A Great Spangled Fritillary

It's our best guess!

I made a note in my daily domestic journal - which sits open on the kitchen counter - re ~ the name of the butterfly and the flower it was enjoying. Also under yesterday's date, I had notes about the weather (beautiful summer day! 80s and low humidity at last! brief showers late afternoon ...).  Looking back over those notes I see I also wrote about the blueberry breads I made - and the rhubarb we harvested (tons, because that plant is going crazy) and the grasshoppers that are active along the stone wall ...

Doesn't that all sound so summery ... ? :)

So it wasn't any major project or investigation - in fact, the boys were only marginally aware of my "butterfly moment" ... but they were aware. Nature, as always, was happening around them. It does its thing all the time, whether we pay it attention or not. And, I think, (hope), they couldn't help but absorb some of my curiosity and delight over this simple event. They've watched me embrace life this way this since they were little ...

Another time perhaps I would have stretched this experience into a more involved project ... a big butterfly study or craft or report. A formal journal entry with a poem or quote (like the one above) ... or even a butterfly walk through a local Audubon locale. And all those things are fantastic activities - but they do come with some planning and effort. I love planning those types of things, but honestly, what makes up the the bulk of our family's nature study is simply just being aware - tuning into the elements, the seasons, even our own senses. Remembering where we are in the year, and how it shapes our day. Becoming familiar with the flora and fauna in our own little corner of the world - the trees and plants and birds and bugs and the small furry things that run across our yard. I think that kind of "accidental" learning is equally meaningful when compared to formal studies. The things we know in our bones don't have to come come from books or documentaries or craft kits. They come from an awareness and understanding of the very world around us ... a kind of knowledge we carry with us wherever we go ... and however old we may be.

So whether a nature "event" is planned out and hands-on or simply exists in the background of our busy lives, I feel it matters. I think my boys - my computer-loving, sci-fi/fantasy, gamer boys - are growing up with a real feel for the seasons and an instinctive awareness of the nature around them. Sometimes we take the time to delve deeper, as we will do this academic year with organized outings and scheduled topics - but there will also be plenty of everyday, effortless moments ...

I'll make sure of it. :)

Meanwhile, as I mentioned previously, I am drafting a formal nature study program for the academic year ahead. It will involve multiple ages and abilities (toddler, special needs and high schooler) and it will follow an outline of monthly topics/habitats. I will be very happy to share my initial outline with you all here ... and I hope to have that for you (and myself!) sometime next month.

Well my friends, you all know I can go on and on when I get talking nature, but I'd best wrap up for now. I have a tired baby who's covered in dirt and grass and lunch stains and very much in need of a bath and a nap. He met a dragonfly this morning and was enthralled ... 

O with dragonfly

And his mama, naturally, was thrilled to watch that moment unfold ...

See you here again very soon!

Calendar News!

Good Tuesday morning, my friends! :)

I just wanted to pop in quickly and let you all know that Susan Branch is stocking her new 2016 calendars right now! I remember several of you inquired about the pretty desk blotter I got last year as well as the nifty little pocket calendar I carry with me in my bag ... and since they sell out fast (especially the blotter) I wanted to pass on the news!

Here are the links, in case you are interested ... 

Susan Branch 2016 desk blotter calendar


Susan Branch 2016-2017 (24 month) pocket calendar


Aren't they lovely?

It's a great time of year to talk calendars as many of us follow an academic year and so, our planners follow suit. The shops are filling up with all kinds of calendars and planners these days - along with back-to-school supplies! - and I find myself tempted by all those pretty new papers ...

Buy a planner, make my own? It's the eternal question!!

Well my friends, enjoy your day and thanks so much for stopping by! Let's talk calendars again in a future post ... what are your thoughts on calendars at this time of year? :)

I will see you here again very soon ...

(p.s. MomAgendas are back in stock, too!)

A File Crate Tweak!

Well, it's been a LONG while since we've talked about the "FCS," but I must show you all something new I've been doing with my file crate ... nothing earth-shattering mind you, but a fresh little "tweak" I've found quite helpful! Since I know some of you use the FCS, too, I thought I would show you what I've been up to ... :)

Now I know a lot of folks hang a month-at-a-glance calendar in the front of their file crate, and I think that's a really handy idea - in fact, I've done that myself - but I prefer to use my large-grid, two-page-per-month calendar for monthly planning, storing it flat in my binder so I can flip to it, and write in it quickly and easily. So as pretty as that hanging calendar was (so pretty), it just wasn't very functional. (For me.)

So I removed the calendar and brainstormed what I could display here instead. After a bit, I decided this would be the perfect spot to display my week-at-a-glance planning! And here is how I did it.

Fcs news 1

To the front of the crate I attached a Martha Stewart Home Office Pocket (with removable adhesive). I had this pocket on the side of my refrigerator where it held some random papers. It attached to the front of the crate fairly well, but because it had been hanging on the fridge for well over a year, the adhesive was a little weak. So I used the small metal clips for added strength.

Now I took this handy-dandy peel-and-stick weekly calendar pad ...

Fcs news 2

(Something I picked up at Paper Source ages ago - yet never found a good use for!)

And attached it to the front of my current weekly file folder ...

Fcs news 3

It fit nearly perfectly - I had to trim the very edge of Sunday so it wouldn't go over the edge of the folder. I added some sticky notes below the calendar which I will use for lesson planning notes/goals each week - one for each of my boys (11th, 6th and pre-preK next year, lol). (The small orange note might hold some notes about my college boy that week! Something he's up to or studying for, a big event or something he needs ...)

So instead of sticking my current FCS folder inside the cover of my master binder as I've done in the past (somewhat out of sight, hidden beneath my domestic journal pages), I have it stored, front and center, in that clear pocket.

Fcs news 4

In this way, I can easily see "what's what" this week thanks to that nifty calendar on display! And it's very easy to pop things into the folder itself as well as lift it out to look for a paper I might need.

Just a note - if you can't find (or don't want to buy) that particular sticky-pad - you could use regular post-it notes (cut to fit) instead. I was going to do just that before I remembered I had that handy pad! (I - *ahem* - might have a wee problem with hoarding "potential" office supplies.) You could also use plain or lined paper cut to fit, attached with pretty Washi tape ... OR you could draw a weekly grid right on the folder itself!


Now, the sticky notes you see above are actually stuck on the outside of the pocket. I have one for the week's dinners, one for blogging ideas and a to-do list for the week. I posted them below the week at a glance so as not to cover up the calendar grid. (Which has not yet been filled in - I promise you my week is not as quiet as it appears above!)

All of this sits right above my master binder which sits - as it always does - open to my current day's journaling page. I also have a small reading pile here and my laptop off to the left. Here's the "jetty" which I use as my "command central" ...

Fcs new 5

It does not look that clean at the moment, lol! There's a lot of stuff there now ... but you can see how it's a very central part of our home. If I'm going to grab a few minutes to pop online, check my lists or write in my journal - this is where I'm going to do it.


Well, my friends, this post grew longer than I intended, lol! But I hope it was fun to read ... whether or not there's an FCS in your life! I will keep you posted as I continue to tweak my command central. I always get inspired at this time of year as Summer rounds the bend and another "school" year approaches ...

For now though, I thank you for stopping by and wish you all a very pleasant evening!

Hope to see you here again very soon ...

Bits & Bobs ~ Summer Pleasures

 Hello, my friends ~ and Happy Friday! I hope your week went well. :)

I have just a few "bits and bobs" to share tonight .... 

Farm pickup

Above you see the splendor of our weekly CSA share! Summer's garden bounty is amazing, isn't it? Our share this week included A LOT of green "leafiness," some sweet-smelling basil, a couple of summer squash, a bunch of red onions and leeks and an overflowing pint of blueberries ... a little bit of heaven on (from) earth! Now to use it all up ... :)

And this pic, well, it just melts my heart ...

O project 7-15 3

"Teaching children about nature should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives." ~ Fr. Thomas Berry

How I am enjoying drafting nature study plans for next year! It will be a multi-age (and grade) project, as Crackerjack is now done with lab sciences ... and there will be much to explore in each season, for us all!

Hydrangeas bloom 1 

And how about these hydrangeas? It's definitely their moment!! They are blooming like CRAZY and in the most wonderful array of pink, purple and blue ... the soil must be *perfect* in this spot. (Soil acidity affects color and vibrancy.)

(I consider hydrangeas as our wedding flower, because my florist used these blooms for my bridesmaids' bouquets ... they wore billowy, floral dresses ... but he had to work with whatever "shade" they had reached by our October wedding date! I was watching hydrangea bushes all fall, wondering - blue, green, pink, purple? - and happily it was a long, mild season that year. (The bouquets were mostly blush, auburn and green.)

Hydrangeas are a symbol of Summer, I think, as are ... "beach" reads!

Summer reading

I haven't been to the beach yet, but my reading basket is certainly overflowing with "summer reads"! I love catching up on my "fun" reading over the summer ... the library is such a blessing, is it not? My reading basket holds:

The House of Velvet and Glass

Lost Lake

The Witch of Belladonna Bay

Summer Secrets

The Signature of All Things

Enchanted August


A Lady of Good Family

The Irresistible Blueberry Bake Shop & Cafe

What are you reading this Summer? :)


Well my friends, I hope you all have a great weekend! I'm so glad you enjoyed the pocketbook post! That was so much fun to put together. I would love to do another "share your stuff" kind of post ... any suggestions? Also, Michelle suggested a Q&A post which I have not done in some time ... that would be fun, too! Let me know if there are any "random" questions you'd like to answer, and I'll start a draft ...

Speaking of drafts ... I have in queue a post about my binders (yes, really! finally, lol) and another about a new and nifty "FCS" trick I've been using and can't wait to share! 

Ok, I'm off now to start supper for these hungry men all around me ... I wish you all a very pleasant weekend and thank you all, as always, for stopping by!

I will see you here again very soon ...

Let's Talk ... Pocketbooks!

Aka - purse, handbag, bag, tote, and/or satchel! Whatever you might call it (and what do you call it? I'm curious!) let's talk about the thing you use to lug around all your STUFF when you leave the house. (I was surprised at how many readers didn't recognize the term "pocketbook!" I guess it must be a "Yankee" thing?)

Anyhoo ... here's a little tour of the bag(s) I'm using this Summer. With a toddler in tow these days I need something roomy and sturdy!

Summer bag 3

 This is called a "Bean's Reversible Tote, Medium, Bandana Print" ... I can't link it because it appears it is out of stock. Which is a shame because it's a really excellent bag! (Scratch that - here it is - and it's on sale! I was torn between the green and orange ...) I am quite partial to LL Bean tote bags, as longtime readers know. They last FOREVER and are incredibly versatile.

For a wallet, I have been using this handy little thing for ages ...

Summer bag 4

 It's a Vera Bradley "zip-around wallet" in Kensington print. It has a pouch for my cell phone which makes it indispensable. I can just grab this (and wrap the loop around my wrist) when I need to run in somewhere quick.

And here's how I pack up my bag ...

Bags 7

This is the bottom layer if I'm taking Little Bear out with me for an extended period of time. In that case I pack diapers and wipes as well as a change of clothes and baby-safe sunscreen, board books ...

Bags 10

And here's the rest of the stuff (it holds a lot!) ...

Bags 11

  • wristlet wallet (phone, change, cards, money, i.d.)
  • tissues, tinted lip balm
  • aforementioned diapers and wipes, hand santizing wipes, board book, sunscreen
  • sippy cup with water (for LB)
  • bubbles
  • my current book
  • shopping notebook and coupons/receipts pouch
  • pocket-size appointment book
  •  blue zippered pouch holds: emergency kit, hand cream, dental floss, hand sanitizing spray, a feminine pad, emery board, antibiotic cream, band-aids, citrus drops, small tube of ibuprofen

 In the top picture you see the outside zip pocket. In here I have my keys and another lip balm. (I can never pack too many lip balms!) I also keep sunglasses *and* reading glasses in there because I need them to read labels, credit slips and such!


Now, this is a smaller - but still roomy - Summer tote I bought a few years ago at T.J. Maxx. I use this if I don't need the really big bag - or if it matches my outfit, lol. (I have several tops that coordinate with this bag!)

Bags 8

And here is a very pretty little cross-body bag I bought several years ago, along with a matching wallet ...

Bags 9

It reminds me of Cath Kidston, a British designer I love - but it's from Target! I use this if I'm out without kids - running a quick errand, at a hair appt. or some such. For example, this very morning I used it when I met a dear childhood friend for coffee. It held all I needed and nothing more!

So ... there are my Summer pocketbooks in a nutshell. And now let's hear from some friends who sent me thoughts and pictures to share ...


From Arlene:

Bags 2

Bags 13

Dawn, I LOVE purses and I love organizing. I like this purse because it has a double zipper, hence the name the Dooney and Bourke Zip Zip Bag. I chose the bright green for spring. I do have to put things inside north south instead of east west to get them to fit. My Vera Wallet, my Dooney chevron stripe make up pouch and my Vera glasses holder which I keep my sunglasses in! I also carry a little paper notebook as I am not good at putting notes on my phone. And my phone fits in its own pocket in this purse but it was not there as I was using it to take the photos.  I have ordered a new Vera fall purse that should arrive this week. 

 Arlene, I love this pocketbook!! I love the vibrant color, the shape, and the way you fit everything in so neatly ... and I would love to see your fall purse sometime! I do love me some Vera! :)


From Amy:

Bags 1

 Fun topic!  Here's a picture of my summer handbag - I do change it out for every season. I LOVE my summer handbag, just purchased this summer. I love the bold navy and white rugby stripes, the preppy red monogram and the fact that it holds a few file folders (work related) along with my travel makeup bag. The fabric is also coated so it can withstand a summer surprise rainstorm. I purchased it at Lands' End.

Amy, this bag is right up my alley! I love roomy totes, navy and white stripes are so summery, and that bright red monogram is wonderful! I have a soft spot for monograms!


From Shirley:

Bags 3

Bags 4
Bags 5
What fun to be able to contribute to one of your blog posts again. I also love talking (and seeing) handbags and what's inside, planners etc. I have 5 handbags in rotation - depending on mood and season of course. Three of them are really good (but not designer) bags and the other two are what I would term as 'fashion handbags'. I love having 'fashion handbags' in my wardrobe as they are inexpensive and oh-so-pretty. 
I have just moved into one of my 'Fashion handbags' for the summer. It's a really cute black and white stripy bag. It has a stiff bottom section which is great as it doesn't flop about and fall over and then a fun stripy fabric top - as you can see in the picture.
Peeking inside you can see that I really only carry the essentials. This summer we have a few friends from South Africa visiting so there is going to be quite a bit of sightseeing. I don't want a handbag that is too heave to carry around. So I'm keeping it light and only carry around what I really need.
Taking a closer look you can see my gorgeous fluro pink Filofax (planner). This is my newest addition to my Filofax or ring- binder planner system. Like my handbags I like to swap my planner into season relevant binders. It's just fun ☺. The fluro pink definitely screams 'summer' to me. On top of my filofax planner is my Windows phone which I love - for the summer it has a cute little floral case.
  I have my purse with all my cards and cash (when I carry it), a little makeup bag which has my lip liner, various lipsticks, a touch-up set of make up (although I don't generally wear a huge amount of make up other than mascara and lipstick so I think that might have to come out) and and emery board inside. There is a little tin which has some headache tablets, band Aids and some womanly necessities. Sunglasses {natch} and happily I have had to use them quite a bit this summer already lol - not always the case in England! I have a small bottle of hand sanitizer and some aromatherapy headache gel which I prefer to use before popping a tablet. I also have a small notebook (the little floral one in the picture) which is my shopping list book. This one often lives on the kitchen counter so that I can jot things down as I need them. Then it gets slipped back into my handbag when I walk out the door. 
BTW I had to google what a 'pocketbook' was lol. Here in England a pocketbook is simply a little notebook, but in the U.S it seems to refer to a wallet, purse or handbag!
Shirley, your bag is gorgeous! And I also love the vivid pink planner as well as the floral phone case! I am still trying to find the "perfect" size planner to take out with me ... I will have to think on that a bit, but you have inspired me! :)


From Melissa:

"My Backpack Purse"

I have used the same purse (I call it my backpack) for about 10 years. I had a similar one for 2 years prior to that which I replaced when it fell apart. What happened in my life 12 years ago that caused me to move from years of using a purse like this? 

Bags 14

You probably have guessed it, a baby.
I didn’t want to tote around a diaper bag all the time, I can’t stand to have a purse hanging off my shoulder (they don’t stay put and I was used to being hands-free!) and small backpacks were in stores everywhere. It was enough to fit a diaper or two and other “baby stuff”. So began my tiny backpack life.

Bags 15     Bags 16

Here’s a tour of my backpack, right now, without cleaning out anything that may be embarrassing! 

Bags 17

Zipper #1 – smallest on the front

I rarely use this zipper. I keep in it important things that I don’t need often. 
1. My son’s small brush for cleaning his braces. (from diaper to braces!!)
2. A key change thing that fell off a long time ago.
3. A note about a documentary I read about somewhere.
4. This GREAT macro lens for my phone camera!

Bags 18

 Zipper #2 – larger zipper on front

I use this zipper a million times a day. This is the spot I have to clean every few days or it gets to be full of all sorts of things, mostly receipts.
1. Wallet. I always use tiny wallets, some cards and that’s all that fits.
2. Lip stuff.
3. Hotel room key (business trip!)
4. A coupon that needs to be moved to my coupon file in the car.
5. Cash. I usually don’t have cash but I got some cash back at a store a few days ago. I sometimes have coins it the bottom of this zipper area but I prefer not to so I try to empty it out often.

Bags 22

Zipper #3 – front/top large compartment

This rarely gets used. Right now it has some stuff I got for a car trip.
1. Gum and tic tacs. I usually have a small pack of gum in here but the tic tacs are something new, I got hooked on them a few months ago.
2. Lollipop. Lollipop emergencies sometimes happen.
3. Tiny hair clip. For when my bangs end up a disaster and they need to be pulled back.
4. Hotel pen. 
5. Japanese wood pen. LOVE this pen. No one touches this pen but me! It was a Christmas gift from hubby. He always gets me cool stocking stuffers from
6. Martha Stewart sticky notes which I got from my local recycle store for about 5 cents a pack! I was using them when I was reading one of Ben Hewitt’s masterpieces.

Bags 20

Middle compartment – closes with a snap

1. This is a huge open space. Right now it’s empty. It usually has a few tissues at the very bottom. I use this area to carry my beverage o’ the day, a book, stuff I need to get from in the house to the car. It’s my main carry area. My keys clasp around the top of the strap and hang securely in this section. I always keep them there so I can always grab my backpack and go without looking for keys or digging around inside a compartment. They hang securely into the compartment so that they don’t jingle when I walk.

Bags 21

Zipper #4 – tiny zipper inside large middle compartment

This is another rarely used spot. I keep very important things in here.
1. Credit Card Flashlight
2. Finger Flashlight (hmm, there seems to be a trend here!)
3. 2 tampons
4. Ricola drop
5. Elastic (for a MacGyver moment!)
6. Tax exempt form for purchases for my homeschool group
7. A Sacagawea dollar
8. A round piece of fake ivory from a scrimshaw class

Bags 23

Zipper #5 top/back large compartment

1.Cinq-o dice game that has been in there for years for when we need something to occupy us.
2. Kashi bar
3. Playing cards (box is in tatters. The elastic, item 5 above, belongs around this box to keep the cards in). We use these often.

Bags 24

 And that’s the grand tour! My backpack usually weighs close to nothing, light as a feather on my back. It gets heavy when I have a drink and a book stuffed in there. About once a year I think about getting a new purse, but then I realize that this one still suits my needs 100% and is in great condition. Someday I will get back to using cute purses again!

Melissa, first of all - wow! Thank you so much for all these great details! I love that you outlined all the things you take with you in your bag. I appreciate these kinds of lists because they help me think about what I might want to take out myself! And you truly stick to that old "adage" - keep nothing you don't find to be beautiful or useful. I enjoyed the stories behind your stuff!



Well, my friends - I hope you've all had fun on our pocketbook tour! This is a favorite subject of mine! I am very grateful to Arlene, Amy, Shirley and Melissa for taking the time to share their bags with us ... and I am very happy to know I am not alone in my pocketbook obsession! I have many bags to choose from so it's hard to rationalize a new purchase, but with every season comes a "tug" to look for a new bag. Something that will reflect the mood and serve the needs of the season. For many of us, our bags stand in as a little "home away from home" while out and about ... and if you are a mom (or grandmom) you know that everyone will be looking to you when someone needs something ... a band-aid, a hand wipe, a distraction from a long drive or waiting room visit!

Always good to be prepared is my motto!


Enjoy your Tuesday evening, everyone! See you here again very soon ...

Posting Schedule - Update!

Rosa rugosa 1

Blessed Sunday, my friends!

I hope you are all enjoying this lovely weekend ... it's a hot one here, and a busy one for us, too! Bill's birthday was yesterday so we spent a happy day celebrating with family. And today we have a house project going - the boys are helping Bill clean the gutters! - and later on we have a baseball game to attend ...

All this to say - I'm going to delay the "pocketbook post" till Tuesday, and that will give me tomorrow to pull it together. So if you were hoping to send me something for the post - you have an extra day! :)

Before I go, here's a pic of the birthday boy himself - with all HIS boys!

Bills bday 17 (1)


Thanks so much for stopping by, everyone! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and I will see you here again very soon!

p.s. That's a rosa rugosa shrub in bloom at the top ... I'm hoping to get lots of hips in the fall!

New Email Address!

Well, not new exactly - just not wrong! Lol, I am sorry if you had trouble sending me your pocketbook photos ... It seems I mis-typed the email address in my previous post. You can reach me here at:

bysunandcandlelight AT comcast DOT net.

Many thank to Melissa for bringing this to my attention!

Enjoy your evening, my friends ...

Hydrangeas 3

Here's a peek at my lovely hydrangea bush for your trouble. It needs pruning, I know, but it's blooming like crazy this year! :)

See you all again very soon ...

A Pocketbook Post!

Rose breasted grosbeak

Good Tuesday morning, my friends!

In yesterday's post I mentioned, very briefly, that I'd like to do a post about Summer Pocketbooks, but if you didn't read all the way to the end of the post (which was all about rhubarb crisp), you might have missed it!

(So here I am this morning to mention it again.)

Basically, I love to talk about bags (pocketbooks, totes, satchels, etc.), and what-all we might keep in there we women, mothers who work hard inside and/or outside the home ... and to my mind, each season has its own style of bag. So I'd love to hear from others about their own bags in words and/or pictures! Do you use the same favorite bag all year round or do you change them up with the seasons? Are in the market for a new purse, perhaps? Is that elusive perfect-bag still out there somewhere? 

Well ... if you'd like to send me something for the pocketbook post, you may do so at:

bysunandcandlelight AT comcast DOT net

I will run the post on Monday so you have until Sunday night to send me something, if you wish. I do hope you'll join the discussion!

Now, the bird pictured above has absolutely nothing to do with pocketbooks, but I wanted to show you all the new species we spotted at the feeder yesterday! It's a rose-breasted grosbeak and it's the first time we've seen one here at the new house. He's a really good-sized bird - about the size of a robin, with a thick beak and vivid markings. He ate well and peered in at Little Bear and myself as we had our afternoon snack ... kindly, he allowed me to get several shots before he headed back to the woods.


Ok then, I will be off on my way, but I do hope to hear from you and I wish you all a very pleasant Tuesday ...

See you here again very soon!

Ripe & In Season: Rhubarb Crisp!

Rhubarb crisp 1

Happy Monday, my friends!

Are  you enjoying the fruits (and veggies, herbs, etc.) of the season? So much to look forward to, but right now our rhubarb plant is growing like mad! With our latest harvest I made a nice crisp and thought you all might like the recipe ... 

Rhubarb Crisp - Taste of Home Magazine

When I have rhubarb on hand, I usually make a "grunt," which is very much like a cobbler ... but as the recipe calls for whipped cream in the batter - and I had no cream in my fridge - I decided to try something else. Bill really loves "oat-y" fruit crisps (or "gluks" as his family calls them) and so I went with this one because it was chock-full of oats!

Rhubarb crisp 2

One thing I like especially about this crisp recipe is its versatility - it calls for 3 cups chopped rhubarb and 2 cups chopped strawberries (which we had on hand, thanks to our farm share) OR you can use 2 cups chopped apples in place of the berries. I was thinking if we freeze some of our rhubarb it might be nice to make this later in the year when apples are fresh and plentiful. :)

And OH BOY let me tell you, the house smelled incredible as it baked ...

Rhubarb crisp 3

The filling is nice and jammy and quite sweet - to be honest, I might cut back on the sugar next time I make this. I don't mind my rhubarb a bit tart! But it's definitely a keeper for sure ... it's now pinned to my "Seasonal Fruits and Veggies" board. :)

Summer's bounty is certainly upon us and I can't wait to see what our local farm brings us this year! I'm told our pickup this week will include three kinds of peas - English, Sugar Snap and Snow - so I'll be looking for ways to use them up! (Suggestions, anyone?)

Well my friends, thanks so much for stopping by - I hope you all had a nice weekend. And thank you again for your continued patience as my blogging rhythm stalls for a bit. I am trying to find time here and there to blog as I can ... for instance, I thought I might post about my summer pocketbook next. I would love to talk "bags" - style and organization - as it's been a while since we'd chatted about that. How 'bout you? Would you care to share with my what your summer purse (tote, satchel) looks like this year? And what's tucked inside?

If so, feel free to email me a picture and your thoughts on summer bags (bysunandcandlelight AT comcast DOT net). I'll have a post up, hopefully, by the week's end.

Enjoy your week, everyone - see you here again very soon!