Bits-n-Bobs Feed

Nature Notes, YouTube & Long Lost CDs!

(How's that for a mixed bag?)

Well, good Tuesday morning, my friends! I hope your week's going well ...

First order of business ... Nature Notes! Remember that little log I used to keep on my sidebar over there on the left, just beneath my picture? Well, I'm going to start those back up again, now that Spring is coming and we have a new property to explore. Look for that sidebar list to reappear sometime later today (roundabouts naptime, lol).

Here's a little preview though, a happy sight this morning:

Chipmunk 2


Secondly ... are you all aware that Susan Branch (of blog and books fame) has a YouTube channel? Oh my goodness, what fun!! Bill has a way of playing YouTube videos on our bedroom TV, and we watch together in the evening - after supper when Earlybird has gone to bed and Little Bear is on his way ... I'm cozied up on the bed with my laptop and Bill is rocking LB on his shoulder. Lately we've been watching British realty shows and electric car videos, but tonight he found the SB channel for me and ... I was just ... ENTHRALLED.

O watching susan branch

(So was Little Bear!)

SB has all these short videos posted - little vignettes she narrates, showing us her home and beautiful surroundings. Making sugared pecans, collecting bittersweet, sharing favorite mugs and angel chimes at Christmas ...  and her trip to England!! If you are a fan of Ms. Branch, you will absolutely love watching these videos, I promise. They really bring her books to life. 

I took a picture of this scene just to show you what I mean ... 

Susan branch channel 1

This video was entitled, "Petals." So lovely.

Over the years I've had folks ask if I might consider doing YouTube, but I've never really seen how that would work. Watching these videos last night, though has opened my eyes. Not that I'd have even a fraction of what SB has to offer, but I can see how fun it would be to show "in person" some of the things I try to share through photos and words. I'll have to think on this one a bit more, but with Bill's help I think I could do it ... so stay tuned!

And finally, I am so excited this morning because I just found a long-lost, much beloved CD of baby music and I can't wait to play it for Little Bear! I'm actually listening to it right now on my laptop, as I just uploaded (downloaded?) it to my iTunes ... and oh, the memories! I listened to this disc over and over and OVER with my babies and it is such a sweet reminder of baby-days-bliss. I thought this CD was lost, so just the other day I ordered a new copy - and then this morning I found the original! How funny ... but I bet you know what that means ... I'm going to do a giveaway!! I will post all the details very soon, but it will be such fun!


Ok my friends, that's all I have for now ... Little Bear's morning nap is ending (as the noises from the monitor suggest) and lunchtime is nearing ... but I'll be back again soon! As always, thanks so much for stopping by and have yourselves a great day ...

Blessings to you and your loved ones!

Thursday This & That

A few notes on this fine, frosty morning ...  some newsy bits to share. :)

1. Earlybird did very well yesterday wearing the ambulatory eeg - he only fiddled with the contraption once (the itching was driving him crazy!) but we were able to get it all back in place, using gauze and tape we had at home. The hospital visit was quick - they used dissolvable glue so it all just washed off. He's not a fan of head washing - or hair cuts for that matter - so it was a little rough on him - but, thankfully, quick! So now we wait for results, and a follow-up with the neurologist next month. We're greatly relieved to have this behind us ... I honestly felt an eeg might be beyond our reach. I hope and pray this gives the doctors information that will ultimately help them help Earlybird.

Speaking of help, we are grateful to my mum who once again made the situation so much better not just for EB, but for all of us ... and to our friend, Laura, who helped get our Crackerjack home from his afternoon class. And of course, to everyone here who shared prayers and kind words - thank you, thank you, so much. I'll keep you all posted on EB's journey.

2. And now, as life gets back to "normal," we find ourselves officially in Lent. So I changed the valance on the liturgical bookcase this morning, from green to purple ... 

Purple sheers 4

My friend Debbie gave me this lovely set of sheers last year - and how happy they make me! They look perfect in the library, in the liturgical corner. (I have that "library tour" post nearly ready to go - I will have it up, most likely, tomorrow.)

3. Now, if you look over on the righthand side of my blog you will notice a sunny little "sign" for my "Kitchen Chat" series. Divina made that up for me, isn't it lovely? And wasn't that kind? If you click on that button it will take you directly to the Kitchen Chat archive ... and I'm thinking this will run longer than 4 weeks. There's so much to discuss! Even once we re-start Masterpiece Mondays, there's room for both posts, I think! 

Next week's topic (3/10) will be: Menu Planning. That seems to be another hugely popular topic. So if you'd like to join the conversation, please jump into the comments! (First post on Seasonal Eating is here.) And if you have a blog yourself and would like to link in, feel free to grab the button and share your thoughts in a post at your blog. We'll have lots of fun!

And here we have Little Bear, "helping" me get my marketing book back in order. He's great at culling those outdated coupons. :) 

O coupon help 1

4. Lastly, how sweet are these?

Peter rabbit baking decorations

A Peter Rabbit cupcake decorating kit - a real "find" at HomeGoods last week. Perfect for Easter of course, but I may save them for Little Bear's 1st birthday in May. That would be a darling party theme, don't you think?


Well, my friends, I hope you all have a nice Thursday ... thanks so much for stopping by, and stay tuned for more on all those things I mentioned above ...

I'll be back here again very soon!

Bits-n-Bobs: Blessings

Counting my blessings tonight ... thought I'd share a few happy things with you all!

It was rainy here this morning, quite dismal and gray ... but roundabouts noontime, the skies cleared and all that autumn sunshine poured forth ...

Autumn sunshine yard

Looks even prettier glinting off that rain-soaked foliage!

(As we took these photos, Earlybird and I, we heard off in the distance, of all things, a train whistle. Well, as some of you know, EB is a HUGE train buff so he first went absolutely still - then his wide eyes swung to mine and we both exclaimed, "A TRAIN!" We have no idea where the nearest tracks are, but they're near enough we could hear that whistle! So very exciting.)


Had a lovely visit today with Nana (my mum) and two special aunties. We shared cups of tea and recipes, sitting by the sunny kitchen window. Visits with dear friends and family do so much to refill the tank, do they not?

Uncle Matt (my brother) sent along some delicious "pumpkin toaster pastries" - which will make a perfect Halloween breakfast tomorrow morning!

Pumpkin toaster pastries

And a lovely surprise! A houswarming gift from a dear friend ...

Hearth 1

(A peek at our family room hearth, as well!)

Blessings plaque

Blessings, indeed!

And some yummy magazines arrived in the mail today ...

Yankee + magazines

That's the Yankee with the Susan Branch article I mentioned a few days ago ... cannot wait to sit down with a cup of tea and dig in!

And finally, nothing quite so beautiful as a sleeping baby ...

Sleeping baby

(And nothing quite so crazy as the mother who wakes said baby when she snaps that must-have picture!)

Have yourselves a lovely evening, my friends ... see you tomorrow on All Hallow's Eve!

Weekend Journal ~ Fall, Food & Furniture

Hello, my friends, and Happy Sunday!

First let me say I'm sorry my posting has been slow lately - to be perfectly honest, I've been pretty slow myself! Little Bear has been waking every two hours at night for the past couple of weeks and frankly, I'm exhausted! Lol.

Anyhoo, I have a few minutes to pop in to say hello and share a few things with you all.


First of all, how is the weather where you are? It's been quite nice here in New England - very autumnal with brisk air and bright skies. I'd say the foliage is just past peak now ... the wind has been littering the streets and yards with droves of crisp, crinkled leaves. All the subdued color, bared bark and dark chilly afternoons make me think of Thanksgiving ...

*3 quick links*

A lovely article at Susan Branch's blog about a "behind the scenes" article in the upcoming Yankee magazine. Lots of pictures to drool over - her home on Martha's Vineyard is so cozy, all decked out for the holidays.

Another web article, this one about grocery savings. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but I find it helpful to remind myself on these points from time to time. How are you all doing with your meal planning and marketing these days?

And for my last link ~ how about some Spiced Ghost Pancakes on Halloween morning? 

And finally, remember my beloved red furniture from the old house?

Cozy corners 2

Well, we finally sold that dear old house this past week so that meant we could move up the final bits of furniture we'd left behind ("for ambiance"). Feels so good to have my Mama's chair back! We've arranged the set in the living room, a room that's slowly becoming "my room" as it's filled with my desk and reading materials ...

Cozy corners 3

(Yes, I went a little nuts with the subscribing when we moved!)

Well my friends, that's all I have time for right now ... please know I'll be here just as much as I can. I'm always thinking about posts and things I want to say (new ideas or answers to comments) but those free moments are not as plentiful as they once were!

Enjoy your evening, everyone ... I'll see you here again very soon!


happy little hedgehog ❤

It's hard to justify new baby clothes when one is having her 4th child of the same gender, but really ... when the clothes are this cute, how can one possibly resist?

Hedgie 1

Hedgie 3

Hedgie 2

Love the autumnal colors and I've always been quite fond of hedgehogs! Tagging Penny from VT and Shirley Ann from England on that! ;)


And speaking of Michaelmas (which I was the other day), Bookworm texted me a picture of this gorgeous statue of St. Michael the Archangel which stands in one of his classroom buildings at BC.

Michael statue

* And finally, our supper tonight has an "Octoberfest" feel: turkey kielbasa roasted with diced potatoes, zucchini and red peppers, served with crescent rolls and Octoberfest beer (for the grownups, natch).

Have a great evening, my friends!


Monday Bits-n-Bobs (+ a few leftover from the weekend)

Happy Monday, my friends!

I hope you all had a nice weekend. I have a whole bunch of notes and pictures to share this evening, things I "jotted" down while I could ... :)

* Bought our spring-flowering bulbs at the nursery Saturday morning. Hope to get them in the ground sometime this week (but more likely next weekend).

Bulbs 1

* On Sunday I made an apple-blackberry crisp in honor of Michaelmas ...

Apple blackberry crisp 1

As legend goes, when St. Michael threw the devil out of Heaven, he landed in a blackberry bush, and so, those fruits are cursed (i.e. no good for eating) after Michaelmas Day. I love to serve blackberries in some form around - but not after! - this feast.

Apple blackberry crisp 2

This recipe was new, but proved to be a keeper for sure!

(Note: I used Macintosh apples, not Granny Smith as did the author.)

* Ok, another gratuitous Little Bear pic ... 

Owen trouble 1

Here comes trouble, indeed! ;)

* Did you hear that HRH Prince George (Kate and Will's little one) will be christened on October 23rd? What a special day that will be for the royal family - and for England as a nation. Fun to watch for the rest of us, too! (It happens to be a special day for Bill and me as well - it's our 20th wedding anniversary!)

* Our priest's homily on Sunday was so beautiful, it moved me to tears. Half of it has already leaked out of my brain, but I know the message was to A. appreciate the small things (slow down and see them) and to B. see Jesus in everyone and allow that to lead us to do good works. I'm wildly paraphrasing but nothing beats a really good homily to inspire your week. :)

* So apparently it was National Coffee Day yesterday, and how on earth did I not know this? Well, I have marked it down in my calendar for next year. (And yes I do have a 2014 calendar already!)

* In each of the houses we've lived (there have been four), I gather together a mini "acorn family" made up of acorns found in the yard. I keep them on the nature table, sometimes on display, sometimes tucked in a treasure jar. Well now we have our new little family for this house - complete with one extra acorn this time!

Acorn family

* One last thing: Don't forget Rabbit-Rabbit tomorrow!


Enjoy your evening, my friends ... see you all again sometime soon!

Wednesday Bits-n-Bobs

And here I was thinking it might be a slow news day, but then we had ourselves a little morning adventure: our first mouse in the new house!

Mouse 1

All I can think of is Ratatouille when I look at this picture, lol.

Archie and Ollie were skulking around in the dining room all morning, but I wasn't really paying much attention ... after tripping over a cat for the third or fourth time though, it started to sink in that something was up. They were really stuck in this one place, and they were focusing intently on something behind the china cupboard, so I mentioned to the boys that they must sense a mouse in the wall. But as it turned out, they more than sensed it - they had that little critter trapped against the wall!

So after an appropriate amount of screaming (by me) and scrambling about (by us all) we managed to get the cats out of the room and trap the tiny mouse in a tupperware container.

Mouse 3

He was awfully cute I must admit.

Now, as it happened, Bill was working from home today, but taking a call outside, he was completely oblivious to the commotion inside. Once I had the mouse in the container I trotted him right outside (took pictures, natch) and turned him over to my husband - who, as I understand, deposited the creature in the woods out front. (Of course, I'm sure he'll just find his way back in!)

You know, in the 20+ years we've had cats not one of them has ever caught a mouse. I'm not sure if that says more about my cats or my housekeeping, but I think this move "up country" will be very entertaining for Archie and Ollie. I'm sure this won't be the last mousie to find his way inside as Winter's chill seeps into town!


Well, I thought I might have one or two other things to mention to you today, but that's all I've got for now. Actually, that's all Little Bear's giving me time for right now ... as I finish this up he's getting rather impatient in the baby swing next to me! 

More to come tomorrow, my friends ... have yourselves a good night!


Tuesday Bits-n-Bobs

* Walked down to get the paper and haul in trash/recycling bins with Crackerjack this morning (and Little Bear in the carrier) - what a crisp beautiful morning! We first spied a woolly bear on the driveway and promptly moved him aside so Dad wouldn't squish him on his way out to work! What's that old proverb about woolly bears and winter weather? We have tons of them around here!

* We also spotted more deer - three of them leapt out of our front yard and crossed the street into the woods. Beautiful!

* And finally, we heard geese overhead - our first geese honking at the new house! What a lovely sound, especially at this time of year.

* Neat bit of trivia ~ On the back of my oatmeal packet I read: "What device measures the speed or force of the wind?" The answer: anenometer, a word which was not immediately familiar, but which made me think of "Anenomes" which are also, and aptly, named "wind flowers.

* Speaking of oats, I'm trying to eat some every day as I read that they are good for lactation. I'm thinking oatmeal-raisin cookies are next!

* It was a big day for our family - we got our new library cards! I can hardly wait to dig into the new system. The library is old fashioned and lovely (though a new one is in the works) and the librarian is very friendly ... and apparently quite good at reading people. She had us pegged as homeschoolers straight away! Lol. Crackerjack also volunteered to help out once a week, picking up the community service baton set down by our Bookworm.

* Last bit (or bob?) for today ... a picture Bill took of Little Bear and myself a few weeks ago in front of the house. A little glimpse at our front door, and a rather disheveled "new"mama!

Owen and mama by the front door

The blue feet, yeah. Those are my beloved slipper socks. :)

Have a great night, my friends! 

Monday Bits-n-Bobs

Just sharing some thoughts from my day ... :)

* Walking around the yard yesterday with Little Bear, we encountered a beautiful fawn. All speckled and a little bigger than the ones we saw over the summer, this one was all alone. She just looked at us while I cooed her and told LB what we were looking at ... the fawn just flicked her fluffy white tail and walked peacefully into the woods. Such a moment ...

* Spotted this creature (a praying mantis, I believe) on our way back in from getting the mail today - he was GINORMOUS. I'd guess 6 inches or so? Positively prehistoric. ;) It took some cajoling to get Earlybird to walk by him back into the house! (He was clinging to the front door frame - the bug, not EB!)

Praying mantis 1

* And this Thursday is Johnny Appleseed's birthday which means some humble apple cake, fresh apple slices and warm cider for snack. A few favorite books and this old Disney movie that Earlybird loves.