Bullet Journal Feed

A Cute Easter Craft & Holiday Plans!

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Hello my friends, and Happy April! I hope you are all doing well. :-)

Today I'd like to share a couple of quick things with you:

~ a cute little craft my mum and I did with the younger kids, and ...

~ a peek at my notes for the upcoming Easter holiday!

First though - aren't these pansies just gorgeous??

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Earlybird and I purchased them at a local nursery yesterday and I just think they are the cheeriest little flowers! Bill and EB will plant them in the pair of black urns that stand on either side of our front door. Those beautiful shades of purple and white and yellow ... they speak to me of spring! And how fun they will be to sketch in our journals this week! 

In fact, this would be a nice poem to memorize in April:

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But now for that cute little candle craft we worked on this past week!

There were two parts to this project - the eggshell candles and the painted wooden egg cups. I'll start with the eggs as I got these ready a day ahead. Basically I just followed instructions I found online to make these candles. I started by coloring fresh eggs with a PAAS coloring kit. (And by "fresh" I mean, I didn't hard boil them or blow out the yoke first.)

If you follow me on Instagram you might have gotten a peek at my eggs the other day ...

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And I must mention these sweet little egg custards made with maple syrup and milk - one of my favorite treats to serve in March, when the hens start laying and the sap starts running! And yes, those are our hens' eggs in that basket on the right. :-)

Now, I did all of this on Wednesday, because my mother was coming over on Thursday to help with the craft. I know Mum loves custards and I also remember fondly all the times she would make them for my grandmother (who found eating difficult in her last years). This custard is just so smooth, comforting and nourishing and my grandmother just relished it. I did too!

Don't you just love family recipes like that? πŸ’•

Ok, now for the next part ...

First Mum and I cleaned out the eggs' innards. We did this by poking the top of the egg with a teeny-tiny screwdriver I found in Bill's hardware drawer and then made the hole bigger with our fingers, scrambling and then dumping out the yolk.

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(Unsurprisingly, the kids did not want to help with this part!)

Next we peeled the shells down so the egg had a small cup shape, and once fully dry, I prepared the eggs for the beeswax ...

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For this craft, I ordered candle wicking from Amazon and it came with stickers for the metal disk at the bottom of each wick (to secure it to the base) as well as wooden sticks drilled with holes for keeping the wick straight as the wax sets.

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We next melted a few beeswax bars in a makeshift double boiler - a clean can with tin foil molded to the bottom sitting in a small pan of simmering water. The tin foil helps keep the can from scraping the pan. (I learned that lesson the hard way, lol!)

Once the beeswax was liquid, we carefully poured the wax into the egg shells. This is very tricky - you need a steady hand! - so I had Bill help me with this part. He used tongs to hold the can because of course, it was very hot!

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Now as the egg candles cooled, we set up to paint with the kids at the table. I had purchased some unfinished wooden egg cups on Amazon for this craft. Mum, the kids - and even Bill! - and I set about painting them in any way we wished. We mostly chose springy colors and themes. The egg candles were ready by the time we finished up and so here's the final results:

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These little egg candles will be set on our dining tables on Easter Sunday. I'm so pleased with how they came out! 

Ok, now for a peek into my planner ... :-)

Pictured here is my go-to, all-around, everyday planner. It is a Wonderland 222 planner plus notebook. I keep both books in a leather/canvas cover and I love the ease of flipping back and forth between my monthly/weekly planner and my daily journaling pages. This particular section shown below is in my journal and as you can see I've devoted a two-page spread to my Easter plans and notes ...

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The floral paper is something I added in myself - I have a whole pad of these lovely papers, but for the life of me I can't remember where I found them! I used a Tombow adhesive applicator to adhere the stationary to my planner page. On this page I simply brainstormed all the preparations I'd need to make leading up to Easter Sunday.

On the right-hand page I jotted down pertinent dinner details (date/time/guests) and added (again, with Tombow) a pretty pastel week-at-a-glance. I always like to plan the nitty-grittiest of details in the final week before any big event!

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Also on this page I've started a list of cleaning tasks. I will obviously be referring back to this spread very often over the next two weeks!

Lastly ...

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I found a sticky note pad with - yes, coordinating colors! I'm using it to work out the menu. It's still a work-in-progress as  you can see!

Well, my friends, I hope you enjoyed this post, and I hope wherever you are and however you celebrate, you are able to enjoy this new season of new life and loveliness. I also hope and pray you and your loved ones are happy, safe and well. πŸ™πŸ»

Thanks so much for stopping by ... I will hope to see you again very soon!

Love,

~ Dawn


Advent Plans in my Bullet Journal + 2021 Planner News!

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Hello my friends, how are you?! I hope you are all staying healthy and safe. My family and I are all doing fine - though I cannot believe it has been more than two months since my last post!

Time certainly flew by this fall ... but I'm happy to say that the eye strain, headaches and neck pain that kept me from spending long periods of time on my computer or working in my planners, these past several months seems to be finally subsiding. I just wrapped up about 8 weeks of physical therapy and that seems to have made such a difference! Home exercises plus postural changes -  as well as an awareness of when I'm overdoing it - will hopefully keep this condition under control and in the new year I hope to be a more consistent blogger! :-)

Now, something else that's hard to believe? The Advent season is upon us! And of course Christmas is just around the corner ...

As some of  you might remember, a few years back I made up a multi-page printable Advent planner and I'd like to share the link (updated for 2020) today with you all:

Preparing for Christmas (a Dawn@Home Planner)

As for my own seasonal planning this year, I have been working a lot in my little bullet journals lately. Goodness, but I missed them this summer! I was able to get back to bullet journaling a couple of months ago and I'm happy to say I completed a whole journal for September and October. These two months together I call the season of "early autumn," and so I am now currently working on a new journal for Late Autumn (November-December). And this is where I've been doing most of my Advent planning! Would you like to see a few of my pages?

First, here is a spread I made for two special seasonal countdowns - Gratitude Month (November) and Advent (December):

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And here is a peek at my December monthly calendar:

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Next, and as seen in my top photo, here is our main Advent themes overview:

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As I've discussed through the years, we follow a nature-based, Waldorf-inspired Advent tradition. Each week leading up to Christmas, we explore and wait alongside creation - moving from one natural realm to another.

I found these lovely images on Pinterest:

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And the Advent verse is from the Winter Kindergarten book from Wynstones Press.

On the right-hand page I jotted down my ideas for each week:

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And here is this week's planning spread, reflecting our seasonal theme: "Sticks, Stones & Garden Bones."

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The page shown above is meant for weekly "seasonskeeping" notes as well as any nature observations and photos I'd like to save. I fold it in half so I can still see the right-hand page of my weekly spread.

And speaking of that right-hand page!

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In my next post I'll share pictures of our Advent activities and decorations, but here is a quick peek at some of my crafting materials:

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❀ 

Ok, now for that planner news I mentioned in my title!

So ... the bad news is ... I had hoped (really, really hoped) I would have a little shop (of some sort) open this autumn which would allow me to sell my homemade planners. Alas, the aforementioned health issues pushed that goal somewhere way, way off-track. I am absolutely not giving up however, and will shoot for a "dawn at home" planner product to sell sometime mid-next year.

There are a lot of variables to figure out - and I could certainly use advice if anyone has any! - but I will keep you all posted! In fact, in early January I will start a mail-list for those who are interested in purchasing a planner once they are available. So - and I know I say this A LOT - please stay tuned!

But ... all that said ... I WILL have 2021 planning sheets to share with you all, as usual, and they will be printable and free for your personal use! I will post those PDFs just as soon as I'm able along with a post on how to make up your own homemade planner, as I do, using these sheets in either a binder or by having them spiral-bound at the copy shop.

And that my friends, is all I have time for today, but I thank you sincerely for joining me! And I thank you, as always, for your patience and kind support and encouragement. I hope you and your loved ones are safe and happy - please be well and take care of each other!

Peace & Light,

~ Dawn

drhanigan AT gmail DOT com


Tea @ Dawn's ~ All Creation Waits, Welcome Winter & Gingerfolk!

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Hello my friends and Happy Sunday! Thanks so much for stopping by for Tea today.  :-)

With Christmas just around the corner, this is the last of my Late Autumn Teas - but I would like to continue in the new year with a follow-up series of "Deep Winter Teas." I haven't an official schedule or a list of tea themes in place yet, but will let you all know my plan just as soon as I can ... most likely I'll have information to share in my very next Tea which I'll host on January 3rd.

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Well, we're really down to the wire now aren't we?! So how are you all doing? If you celebrate, are you ready for Christmas? Or do you (like me) feel like you could use just a little more time? And I mean this both practically and spiritually speaking. As much as I try to absorb the beauty of Advent, and to make the season meaningful for my family - it always seems like the weeks fly by ...

And then there's me, torn between trying to slow down and trying to keep up. I do love to be organized and efficient - but I don't want any of us to feel overwhelmed or over-spent. I think that's perhaps one of the best arguments for keeping a planner and using it consistently - not necessarily to get MORE done, but to make room in our days for MORE of what's meaningful to us ...

A calm and peaceful home environment is very important to me - especially as the mom of an autistic child who struggles with anxiety and overstimulation. This is why I come up with these detailed plans for keeping Advent in such a way that our time is spent on slow-lane activities - like making homemade gifts, baking goodies, watching holiday specials, and getting out in nature. Inevitably however, reality intrudes upon my "quiet little Advent plan" and then there's a last minute flurry of activity thrusting me out into the world for things like forgotten gifts, tip monies, feast day ingredients - batteries! - etc.

For the most part however, these past couple of weeks have been quite lovely - and now this mama bear has all her cubs around her in the ol' family den! Bookworm (24) is taking his last final as I type up this post and Crackerjack (20) came home from college a few days ago ... Earlybird (18) finished school on Friday and Little Bear (6) and I are on a little break from (formal) homeschooling. The younger two will be back to school/homeschool after New Year's and the older two will be back at classes later in January.

Speaking of all my kids - here is our Christmas card this year!

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(front)

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(back)

(With thanks to my cousin, Kristen, for taking our family photo on Thanksgiving Day! The photos of the younger boys on the back are their "class pictures" this year.)

Now, let's get on with our Tea, shall we? As you see in my top photo, it's a rather basic tea for me this week - a favorite seasonal blend served in one of my sturdiest holiday mugs. I've had this set of mugs (and a matching pitcher) before I was even married! I like to serve the boys cocoa or wassail in these mugs (and eggnog in the pitcher), but they do a bang-up job holding a generous amount of tea, too. I snapped this pic as I worked in my bullet journal the other night, sitting beside our tree. I didn't even have a snack with me at the time, though I do have some lovely ginger "folk" cookies in my oven right now and oh my GOODNESS do they smell good!

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Cookie making is a holiday activity I've unfortunately let slip the past few years, and everyone misses it. Especially my husband who fondly remembers Christmases when his mom was busy baking in the kitchen and he and his siblings were gobbling up his grandmother's snappy and spicy gingerbread men. So Little Bear and I made up a batch of dough this week to keep in the fridge so we could bake cookies whenever the mood struck.

Here's my little kitchen helper ...

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So earnest ... ❀

So as I've mentioned in previous posts, our Advent journey is nature-based, celebrating the wonders of God's beautiful creation. The first week was all about the HOPE of heaven and earth (stars, stones, shells) and the second week focused on the PEACE of the plant kingdom while in this third week of Advent we are finding JOY in the animal realm - in particular those that live in our local habitat but most especially those that live in our own home!

Here's a peek at my planning for this week in which "all creation waits" ...

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And here is my journal spread open and set on our sunny work table ...

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I love our wooden animal collection but perhaps never more so than during Advent!

Here are some of the books we read this week ...

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... and this is the verse I read aloud:

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(The lovely poem comes from this book, a favorite resource among Waldorf homeschoolers. I use each seasonal volume ALL THE TIME in our seasonal homeschooling!)

Speaking of books, do you have favorite holiday stories you return to year after year? 

The page spread below is from one of my favorite Christmas books - Baby's Christmas by Eloise Wilkin. It's a very simple little story depicting sweet and precious Advent activities in a home with a few small children and every page is just like this one here ...

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This picture just says Advent to me - that sky, that snow, the birds at the feeder and the natural decorations in the window. Not to mention the little ones bundled up singing carols! I read this book with Little Bear this week and we really looked this page all over. I pointed out the birds and how beautifully they blended in with the celebration - perhaps the birds were listening to the children's voices, maybe they were singing along themselves? We noticed how the sunset sky looked just like the one outside our own windows - Advent colors, in fact! I thought this whole scene complemented our theme this week nicely ...

We also spent a lot our "school mornings" making crafts this month. I love to craft, but try to be mindful of making things with a purpose and using materials responsibly. Here's what we've been up to ...

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HOLIDAY SPICE SACHETS 

Exploring seasonal spices on St. Lucia's Day ...

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I placed whole cloves, cinnamon sticks and star anise in a small bowl and then let Little Bear go at them with a pestle ...

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Boy did he enjoy grinding those spices! A satisfying activity and wonderfully fragrant as well!

We next filled a little muslin sachet bag with our "holiday spice" blend...

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... and then hung it in the tree!

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(I made the little tag using a snowflake craft punch and some natural brown card stock.)

This is the book we read on St. Lucia's Day ...

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... and this is the cinnamon-maple biscuit bread ring we made for tea!

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("Tea" being a child-friendly, gently spiced juice blend - but we called it "Glogg.")

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Also last week, we expanded our little Advent Garden ...

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The beeswax candle (supervised closely and nestled in pebbles for safety) represents a gift of the bees.

Meanwhile, Oliver stood guard ...

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Let me tell you, it's been quite a challenge, keeping the cats away from this little shell-, stone- and moss-filled garden ... but look how prettily it it sits on our table, echoing the late-setting sun in the distance:

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(Not to worry - I blew the candle out as soon as we were done taking pictures!)

Another craft we had much fun making last week was a merry mini mitten made from sheep's wool and felt ...

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MITTEN ORNAMENT

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We began by cutting out mitten shapes from the red felt, and a snowflake shape from the white. (This was mama's job and I used that craft punch again to make a snowflake stencil, then traced the shape onto the felt with a marker.)

We placed a bit of sheep's wool in the center of one mitten half, and sprinkled it with a wee bit of catnip ... that was all Little Bear. ;-)

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I could have sewn the edges together and honestly that might have been the better plan, but instead, we used glue to seal the mitten and attach the little snowflake embellishment.

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This is a project that might be too fiddly for little hands alone, but with a big person's help it should turn out ok!

Although ...

We hadn't taken into account just how NUTS our cats become when there is catnip in the house!

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I'm not sure about other cats, but catnip does not make my fellas all dreamy and happy and relaxed. Oh no ...

MY cats go absolutely feral ... beserk, even! So we quickly realized the pretty mitten with its bits and bobs would be torn apart in a heartbeat (and most likely ingested) so instead we decided to hang the mitten high up on our tree.

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(I just glued on a little ribbon edging and made a loop for hanging.)

A wonderful story to go with this craft - and for wintertime in general:

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The Mitten by Jan Brett.

We are BIG Jan Brett fans and have nearly all her books in our collection. I have a very happy memory of taking two (or maybe three) of my kids to a small bookshop in Cambridge many years ago, to wait in line for an author signing. The wait was long and I remember my kids were a little cranky but Ms. Brett was quite lovely!

Returning to the present though ... because if you get me waxing nostalgic this post will become very long indeed!

On another day we stumbled upon a wooden shape I had in my craft stash, and when Little Bear declared it "the perfect stable," we decided to fancy it up a bit to represent each layer of creation ...

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COZY CREATION CRECHE

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We first gathered some stones and sticks from the yard ...

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... and brought the lot of it inside.

(As  usual, Archie considered himself project supervisor ... ahem!)

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Stones were applied to the foundation of the creche, and trimmed branches were fitted along the framework ...

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Our last step was to glue bits of (craft) moss and lichen to the rooftop:

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A very simple but very satisfying craft!

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I asked Little Bear what should happen inside our stable as we move closer to Christmas - and he's mulling that one over, considering our vast animal collection and some wooden peg dolls his mama has set aside for a nativity scene ...

But in the meantime, we talked about another big event approaching - the changing of seasons this weekend! So as the week drew to a close and the first day of Winter loomed near, we made up little treats to honor the many types of wildlife that visit our backyard ...

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SOLSTICE "TREE" TREATS 

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Oranges are such a lovely wintertime treat - healthy and delicious, their shape and color reminds us of the sun which is now growing stronger every day. I sliced some oranges for Little Bear's critter treats but set some aside for drying in my oven (200Β° F for 2-3 hours). I love using dried oranges in festive winter garlands.

Little Bear meanwhile, set to work ...

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Crunchy peanut butter smeared on pinecones and tp rolls, rolled in black oil seed ... orange and apple slices, too!

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All ready to go!

We like to choose a tree (or bush) for an outdoor "Solstice Tree" each year, and this is where is where we hung our treats!

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We also remembered to honor our chickens with a few treats on this cold snowy day ...

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Our hens just love black oil seed and (not shown) a tray of sweet corn kernals is always a hit.

But we were not yet done with our Solstice gifts!

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We made a sun shape from seed on the patio - how fun!

And as we watched the last sunset of autumn slip behind our western woods, we spied squirrels enjoying our simple offering ...

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Goodbye until next year, dear Autumn ... and welcome back, Sun!

Now before I go I want to remind you all that there is just one more day left to enter my "Winter Comfort & Joy Box" Giveaway!

Thank you to all who have left comments and/or shared my posts here and elsewhere online. You may leave comments again here on this post if you'd like and tomorrow evening (Monday, December 23rd) I will go through all the names and then ...

I will be announcing a winner!

So please stay tuned and as always, I thank you for joining me for Tea! I hope you all enjoy your Sunday ...

I'll see  you here again late tomorrow!


Tea @ Dawn's ~ Advent Week 1 "Heaven & Earth"

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Hello my friends and Happy Sunday! I'm sorry I had to postpone our Tea for a few days ... Little Bear had a miserable chest cold this past week, which in addition to being awful for my little guy to endure, really put us off our usual routine. The things I usually post about here - nature play, baking, crafting, planning - just were not really happening at all! But by the end of the week we were feeling a bit more like ourselves, and we began getting back on track, starting with a little ...

 

NATURE PLAY ❄️

The other big story of the week was the arrival of our first really big snow! As you can imagine, Little Bear was simply champing at the bit to get outside and play, nevermind his coughing and sniffles. Happily, by Friday I was able to bring him outside for about 20 minutes  - for a short nature trek during which we watched birds, observed tracks in the snow, and just generally stomped about enjoying the pretty winter preview. (Technically it's still Autumn for 13 more days!)

At one point it started snowing again lightly and we just looked up and watched the tiny flakes swirling down ...

"Like angel kisses from Heaven," I told Little Bear who, admittedly, looked at me a bit askance at that out-of-the-blue metaphor. But I love looking to nature for connections with our faith and sharing them with my children. Our whole Advent celebration is intimately tied with the different realms of creation. So we also talked a bit about Heaven itself - which is a really big and somewhat scary concept for a small child to ponder, and one that I'll keep very simple and light for now. (Heaven is where God lives and it's also where people we love go when they die.)

I also explained to LB that often we refer to the sky and the universe itself as "the heavens" ... and this includes all the wonderful things that exist therein: the sun, the earth, the moon, the stars, and so forth.

Speaking of ...

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Here's my sun & moon wind-chimes bearing the brunt of the snowstorm! I have always loved sun and moon images, especially those that entwine the two icons together. 

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And here is my Little Bear ... so happy to be outside, even if it was only for a short while!

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These are some tracks we spotted in the driveway. Deer, perhaps? We haven't looked them up in our field guides yet.

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You know, if you have to be trapped inside on a cold snowy day, a wonderful way to pass the time is by watching the birds at your feeders. Here are a few of the photos we took this past week, beginning with this handsome Cardinal pair. Some folks believe that Cardinals are messengers from Heaven, a sign a departed loved one is thinking of us. True or not, I know I always think of my grandparents when I spy a Cardinal pair. They introduced me to birdwatching when I was just a little girl, and how I loved sitting at their kitchen table, drinking tea and watching the birds visit, becoming familiar with all the different varieties. My grandparents lived not too far from the city of Boston but because they reliably filled their feeders, they attracted a wide assortment of species. Northern Cardinals and Purple Finches were particular favorites of my grandmother, as I recall. ❀

Here are a few more ... I really couldn't help myself!

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White-throated Sparrow (with Chickadee in background).

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A female House Finch, eyeing me over her shoulder. I can just hear her saying, "Ahem, yes - may I help you?"

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The White-Breasted Nuthatch, a rather jaunty fellow related to woodpeckers.

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A Mourning Dove sitting high in a tree, but not so high she didn't notice me with my big camera in the kitchen window!

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The sweet little Black-Capped Chickadee - so energetic and friendly! He also happens to be the Massachusetts State Bird.
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A pair of Goldfinches, toughing it out at the height of the storm. It amazes me how resilient birds are - in the depths of a snowstorm, they're flocking to the feeders because literally every minute of every day counts when it comes to survival!
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Peek-a-Boo little Tufted Titmouse! These birds are pretty bold. The only ones aside from Chickadees who don't fly away when I'm right in the window snapping shots.
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And finally, two birds who are rather dear to me: the Dark-Eyed Junco and the Carolina Wren. The Junco is a true harbinger of seasons changing - and you all know how I feel about the seasons! Juncos leave New England right around Easter (journeying north) and return just after Halloween.

I had thought the Carolina Wren was also a migrant (to the south, though) but we have a pair of them who seem to be staying put. Wrens are so loud and cheerful and this one's song is especially vibrant, quite recognizable once you're aware of it. If I do this right, you should be able to hear it here. (I'm referring to Song #1.)

Anyhoo, back to our Tea now, and the theme of our week which, as my post title informs, is "Heaven & Earth." Our Advent is really getting off to  a slow start - we have all our Christmas decorations down from the attic but they're just sitting in my bedroom at the moment. (And what a mess, THAT is!)

We do have our tree up but it's still standing bare in a corner of the family room. I am not at all - well, not very - anxious about being so "behind" in our decorating, though. This "soft start" actually works pretty nicely with my intention of keeping things slow and simple in the weeks leading up to Christmas. We did set up the children's nativity corner and our earthy little Advent garden. More on those topics below, but first let me tell you a little about my tea shown in the top pic ...

But for Heaven's sake - where are my manners? I have yet to offer you all, my dear readers and friends, a cup of your own! Please do sit down and be welcome ... take a cup and a tart and let's get comfortable. I'm apt to chat on for a bit, as you know ...

 

BAKING 🧁

Today's tea is a truly delicious blend, a new twist on an old favorite: Earl Grey with Lavender. I am drinking it with a little honey and perhaps some steamed vanilla milk if my husband has a chance to make some before be runs out for an errand. This would be much like a "London Fog Latte" which some of you might remember (because I mention it all the time) is my favorite after-dinner drink.

Beside my tea (again, referring to the top photo) is one of the star tarts I made with Little Bear just this morning. So VERY yummy and quite easy-peasy, anyone can make them in no time!

Here's what we did:

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I used pre-made dough I happened to have in the fridge (courtesy of Thanksgiving pies that never came to be) and we simply rolled out the dough and used cookie cutters (approximately 3" size) to create little shapes. We placed a dollop of apple pie filling in the round shapes (having chopped up the apples a bit) and orange marmalade in the stars. 

Next we crimped the edges with the tines of a fork, brushed the tops with a mixture of lightly beaten egg and whole milk and then finally sprinkled the tarts with raw sugar.

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Into a 400Β° oven they went and they baked for about 17 minutes.

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Aren't they cute? Like little homemade pop-tarts. :-)

(Full disclosure, I found the general idea for these goodies on Pinterest. I just kind of went with what I had on hand and the "star" theme we were working on this week.)

And OH! Speaking of baking ... did you all know that this coming Thursday (12/12), on ABC, a new season of The Great American Baking Show: Holday Edition will be airing? The show runs at 9 p.m. - and for those with young ones (or young hearts), just before the show  beginning at 8 p.m. are two children's specials: Olaf's Frozen Adventure (8) and Toy Story That Time Forgot (8:30).)

I make note of these kinds of things in my planner(s) because if I didn't ... I'd kick myself for missing out! Thank goodness for DVRs though - with my early bedtime, I'll be viewing these shows during daylight hours!

So let's talk a little then about ...

 

PLANNING ✍🏻

Here's a little more about our Advent themes, beginning with a page in my bullet journal showing my four-week outline:

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So you don't have to squint, here is a breakdown of our weekly themes:

Week 1: (Hope) Earth & Sky (stars, stones, shells, soil, sun/son)

Week 2: (Peace) Peaceful Plants (evergreens, holly, herbs & spices, poinsettias, etc.)

Week 3: (Joy) Animals at Advent (solstice tree, animal gifts, manger animals, caring for creation)

Week 4: (Love) Loving Hearts & Helping Hands (home, doing for others, the holy family)

Pictured below, a little scribble from my weekly spread ...

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... a quote that works very well for this first week's theme! ✨

And here's a look at my December calendar which I must confess was completely BLANK until yesterday. 

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This is my seasonal bullet journal (Late Autumn: November-December 2019). I juggle it with a few other planners, as most of you know. Is it the simplest of systems? No. But each platform is satisfying to me - though, the "juggling" isn't ideal. I'm hoping to streamline things in the new year ... as if you all haven't heard THAT line before!

Now, before I go I'd like to talk a little about our crafting this week, since we did actually manage to squeeze a bit in, and it very nicely tied into our theme ...

 

CRAFTING 🀲🏻

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Oh yes, first. This - the before pic. The craft cupboard exploded all over my kitchen table. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Do you ever go to start some little project, something that shouldn't really take you too long, and then get completely sidetracked by a whole 'nother thing? Well, this is what happened to me the other morning. I wanted to find one particular crafting item - contact paper I believe it was - and when I pulled open the "Craft & Candle" cupboard in my kitchen I was alarmingly reminded of the holy mess that it had become. Stuff started dropping to the floor - including glass things and fragile things, and broken things in need of repair - and a tangled mass of twine, garland and ribbon landed right on my head. So that was it, enough was enough!

So I took a little time - say four hours or so - and straightened the whole thing out! And while I was at it, I grabbed a couple of "craft-ish" bins I had stashed - ahem - under my bed, too.

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But here's the after pic! Much better, yes? (And oh my goodness, who let the cat up on the table?)

Here's a closer peek ...

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Aaahhh ...

The remaining (and bulkier) craft items were stashed in a bin and bag ...

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.... and a pretty "vintage" decoupaged suitcase:

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And guess what I found? Not just one but SIX rolls of contact paper! Now we were able to get ourselves crafting ...

It's one of my favorite aspects of Advent - working with our hands, thinking with our hearts, to create meaningful decorations and gifts. Whenever possible I try to implement materials found in nature, such as these lichen-covered branches ...

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To make a little twig star!

And then with that contact paper, we made some sparkling suncatchers ...

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I find these kinds of craft projects go more smoothly if I have things prepared a bit in advance.

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Paper shapes cut out, tissue paper bits ripped ... this way it's a more enjoyable activity for both of us and we can reap the results more quickly!

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I talked with Little Bear about stars in the sky, including the Sun, our biggest and most special star. It's been fading for months now and on these dark December days, "catching" the sun where we can seems all the more important. 

I love how these little gem-filled star-shapes make the most of that gorgeous, sleepy sun ...

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Light is so precious these days! We try to notice the sunset every evening we can, especially during the seasons of Advent and Lent.

And here are the stars the next morning!

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Another craft we worked on just this very morning was a shell candle ...

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We've made beeswax candles many times over the years, and it's just such a magical process!

First I melted two small bars of solid beeswax in a makeshift double boiler. (A clean empty can sitting in a pot of simmering water.) Once the solid wax was entirely liquid, I carefully poured it into the shell while Little Bear held the candle wick straight. (I made sure he knew not to put his hands anywhere near the hot wax.)

I took over once I disposed of the can and after a few minutes the wax had set enough that the wick stayed straight.

Then we added the candle to our children's creche corner:

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Just behind the shell candle is one of our favorite storybooks for this week, The Star Child, illustrated by Bernadette Watts - who, by the way, is one of my absolute favorite children's book illustrators, particularly of folk and fairy tales.

I will show you more of our children's creche in my next post - we just moved it to this spot this weekend and we're still getting it all set up! Suffice it to say though, each week we add a little more to the creche - in layers, according to each week's theme - leading up to Christmas and ending with the Christ Child. (Actually, ending with the wise men who will soon begin their journey in the far east corner of our home.)

This all ties in with our over-arcing theme of "all creation waits." In a similar way, our nature-based Advent Garden gets brought to life, a little more each week of the season ...

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This is a simple, shallow glass bowl sitting nestled in a grapevine wreath. This week we added the "earth" layer - stones and shells. Next week we will add "plants" in the form of moss or perhaps lichen. After that, some tiny creatures will appear and then finally of course there will appear a little village ...

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It's such a small thing but I love how it connects nature and faith in a simple yet meaningful way. I find children often respond really well to symbols that represent an idea ... something they can take in and turn over ... come to understand in their own way. Our Advent Garden will take some time to fill in - we'll have to be patient - but isn't that one of the greatest lessons of this season of anticipation? Good things come to those who wait? ❀

Before I go (and I will be going soon, I promise), here is a craft we made a few years ago for this week of Advent ... it's become one of my most treasured decorations.

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All the details can be found in this post from 2015.

Now, before I go - for real this time! - I wanted to remind you that I am running a little giveaway here at my blog through the 22nd of December. I will be sending someone a box of "Winter Comfort & Joy" along with one of my homemade planners. I will be announcing a winner on Monday, December 23rd ... if you are interested, please check out this post

Here is my humble little Tea logo if you would like to share my news. (You get entered each time you comment and share!) Just please tag me wherever you post so I can keep track of who's sharing where. :-)

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Email is welcome too! You can reach me at drhanigan AT gmail DOT com. 

I look forward to hearing from you - even if you just want to say hi, or ask a question, or whatever! And I do hope you enjoyed our Tea this week. I will be back on the 20th with my next Teatime, though I may be back before then - we'll see how this week goes!

So ta for now my friends ... I will see you here again very soon!


Tea @ Dawn's ~ Fading Light, Cranberries & Frost ❀

Hello my friends, and Happy Friday! Thank you so much for joining me ... I am so pleased to welcome you to "my place" for Tea. ❀IMG_9532 (1)

As I announced last week, I am bringing back my blog "Teatimes," in a celebration of Late Autumn,Winter Holidays ... and the very comfort and joy that is Tea!

By necessity of course, my Teatimes are virtual -  but my hope is that my words and pictures will make you feel like you have truly popped in for a cozy visit. And I like to imagine you're savoring something you love while you read my post - perhaps a cup of freshly brewed coffee, mulled cider or hot chocolate if you're not one for tea. :-)

Here at my home I'll always have a pretty mug of tea in hand, and a sweet or savory seasonal snack to share ... as well as many seasonal snippets revolving around: current projects, nature news, corners of my home, kitchen notes, holiday preparations, my kids, my journals and my seasonal planners, etc.!

I am also hoping some of you will join me this season in sharing your tea virtually - whether in pics, thoughts, recipes, etc.! I am happy to include your submissions here in my post and/or link to your own post elsewhere. And please feel free to share my Teas wherever you'd like! I am grateful to my dear friend Kim of Ordinary Days of Small Things for her lovely post - I knew I could count on Kim for her enthusiasm and support! And MY goodness, just take a peek at her beautiful Teatime banner! I am quite honored by her kind words and creative design. ❀

* And this just in! Please stop by Kim's for her Teatime post today! It is chock-FULL of wonderful seasonal ideas! (Thanks so much, Kim!) *

Now, for today, I would like to offer you a comfy cup of my favorite autumn brew ... the very gently spiced and soothingly citrus, Constant Comment. Today I am serving it in a sweet little pumpkin mug (a Stop 'n Shop find!) because ... 'tis the season for pumpkins!

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Did you happen to pass these pretties on your way up my drive? It's such a lovely New England tradition - pumpkins lined up on a stone wall in the fall!

And speaking of pumpkins, the treat I'm serving at Tea today is not a slice of pumpkin bread as you might suspect ... but rather, an apple-squash variation! I followed my favorite quick bread recipe using up some leftover butternut squash and spiced applesauce from our Halloween party. The two flavors combined beautifully and the bread turned out tender and moist. This easy recipe is always a hit in our family, especially because it makes not one but TWO loaves!

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On Sunday I am planning to bake up an old family recipe called, Poor Man's Cake. It's something my grandmother made quite often and was a favorite of my grandfather's. I like to bake this for Martinmas (the Feast of St. Martin) which is this coming Monday. It's actually quite delicious and especially nice with a cup of strong Irish tea! (Grampa's beverage of choice.)

 

✨Fading Light✨

Now, if you've followed my blog for some time then you know we like to live and learn around a rhythm of weekly seasonal themes. When my boys were little this made up the bulk of our homeschooling "curriculum,"  but as they grow, I continue to keep the seasons by fostering awareness and appreciation in our home while tweaking activities to fit our family members' interests more authentically.

So this week our seasonal theme is "Fading Light," in honor of the darkening days at this time of year. I always schedule this theme for right before or just after Daylight Savings Time ends. (We pushed the clocks back last Sunday.)

Here are some of my ideas for this week's activities as noted in my Late Autumn bullet journal:

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This page shown here is my seasons keeping page, found smack dab in between the two-page weekly planning spread! (Please see last week's post for a more thorough explanation of how I set up my journals.)

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Happily, Fading Light  is a theme that is very easy to explore, because there are so many nuances to the concept!

In Late Autumn, the earth is slowing down and nature needs her rest - the shorter and darker days means better sleep! (This is a wonderful theme to weave into storytelling with the children, especially those that are sad to see their gardens wither.)

And just like the natural world around us, we have our OWN need for rest in what is usually a very busy time of year! It can be hard to resist the pull of the "hustle and bustle," but quieter evenings and solid sleep are often just the fuel we need to keep our own inner lights burning.

Around our homes we find special ways to bring extra light into our life ... making colorful homemade lanterns, twining strings of lights through leafy garlands, setting tea lights in dark windows, taking the time to notice and honor the sunset - perhaps with a special prayer of thanks for another day together here on earth ...

Stopping the car just to marvel over a soft, milky sky...

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November's sun may be weaker than June's - but it's certainly no less lovely!

One of our favorite November pastimes is to make lanterns for Marintmas. Yesterday Little Bear and I sat down in the (sunny!) kitchen to do just that ...

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I like to try a new lantern craft every year, but this time we kept it super simple. We took a piece of watercolor paper and attached some leaf shapes with a dab of glue stick. Then Little Bear started painting (with watercolors) ...

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This boy could paint for hours - he's a big fan of Bob Ross, fyi! I love the playful shades he chose ...

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After the picture was dry we carefully peeled off the leaves ...

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And then we stapled the ends of the paper together to form a lantern shape.

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It was fun to line up lanterns from festivals past as we watched the sun go down ...

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At 4:30 p.m.!

It's a lovely, peaceful thing to sit quietly in a darkening room, appreciating the lights - and the darkness!

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(Here are two older posts  - Martinmas Day with My Boys and Lovely Lanterns for Martinmas - which show a few different lantern options. It's a very simple yet satisfying craft! One of my favorite Martinmas traditions is the lantern walk we take at dusk on November 11th. It's just us - with our lanterns - traipsing about our yard as the sun goes down, but it's yet another sweet, seasonal memory I hope my children carry with them as they go about making their own lives.)

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We can bring light inside our hearts too ... by doing things that fire us up!

❀ favorite hobbies and pastimes

❀ spending time with people we love

❀ doing things together that makes us happy

❀ remembering to be grateful for the many blessings in our life

❀ finding ways to give to others in need ... 

Kicking off the month of November with this theme of light and darkness, I thought it would be nice to weave light into our annual gratitude project! So here's what I put together ...

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Burlap ribbon runner in the front window √

LED votive candles, one for each day leading up to Thanksgiving (28) √

Kraft paper leaf cut-outs (lots) √

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Every day we write on a leaf (or leaves) something we were grateful for and/or something we did to help someone else. We place those leaves beside a candle and light it once the day grows dark.

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(The silver votives represent Sundays - when we reflect a little more deeply on the blessings we have received, and hopefully bestowed.)

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Adding one light each night, our window will be brilliant come Thanksgiving eve! Oliver apparently approves. :-)

Now speaking of Thanksgiving ...

 

✨Cranberries✨

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Next week our seasonal theme will be At the Autumn Bog  - aka Cranberry week! I'll be sharing more ideas over at Instagram in the days to come, but to begin with, here's an old post from 2011 with some ideas for exploring this tiny tart berry.

And what you see above is our attempt to create a signature "mocktail" for Thanksgiving! We'll have a lot of young kids this year at our holiday table so I wanted to have something special for them to drink. (Aside from the usual apple juice and milk!) 

We're calling this fun, festive drink a "Frosty Cranberry," and we're still tinkering with the final recipe! For one thing, I'm planning to use citrus zest-infused white sugar not this decorative red but you get the idea. (P.S. I use India Tree (plant-dye-based) Sparkling Sugars in my holiday baking.) 

Now, full disclosure: I loosely based this mocktail on a ginger-beer-based drink I saw on Pinterest, but I wanted to make it a little more child-friendly. We took a glass and wet the rim with a cut orange. We then dipped the rim in the sugar and filled the glass with ice. Next, we poured in cranberry juice, about halfway up the glass. Lastly we added crisp, apple-flavored sparkling water and it foamed and fizzed quite prettily!

The initial taste test went ... ok ... but Little Bear felt it was a tad too tart, so after I took pictures we added some orange juice which not only made it sweeter, it changed the shade of the beverage to a gorgeous "autumn sunset" red-orange. I think the kids will like it  and I am going to find some cute acrylic "glasses" for them to use - for safety reasons, natch!

In the meantime, next Tuesday night I'll mull a pot of cranberry-apple cider on the stove in celebration of The Full Beaver Moon. And you're probably thinking: what might beavers have to do with cranberries? But see I'm going with the whole "bog" theme next week ... cranberries grow there, and beavers live there!

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(Spotted at our Audubon Nature Class this week!)

Despite the fact that we live in a state rich with cranberry bogs, I'm not planning to trek my kids down to Cape Cod next week. Instead we will visit a local "quaking bog" which if nothing else features a really lovely, late autumn landscape. We do happen to have plenty of ponds and creeks in our town and if we wish, we can easily observe a beaver's lodge from a safe distance.

But, moving on ... because November's full moon is ALSO known as the Full FROST moon ... the next theme we'll be exploring is:

 

✨Frost✨

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I cannot tell you how happy we were to see that first frost this year! I think I mentioned in an earlier post how challenging outdoor activities had become here in Massachusetts (and many surrounding communities) with an escalating and extreme threat of mosquito-borne viruses. Now that we've finally had a hard frost, we can relax for a while.

Frost may kill off mosquitos (and flowers and other tender plants) but it also brings back our dear little snowbirds, the Juncos - a species we look for every year in late October. Dark-eyed Juncos are lovely little birds that fly north for the summer (leaving around Easter) and return to New England just as the cold weather returns.

I spotted my first Junco around Halloween, but have yet to get a decent picture. Here's one little fella perched in a pear tree yesterday morning!

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So this week we'll talk a little about ol' Jack Frost - I have some sweet verses to read, and a peg doll story to tell - and weather folklore in general. Isn't that vintage illustration above sweet? I plan to show it to Little Bear and weave a little story about the Chipmunk who wasn't quite ready to hibernate ... he was too busy helping his jolly friend Jack paint those leaves!

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And now for a few random things I'd just like to share ...

(By now I'm sure you all need a fresh cuppa ... and please help yourself to another slice of apple-squash cake!)

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Digging into my reading basket! It's my favorite month of the year for magazines! What magazines do you like to read?

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And here's a sunny window set up for seasonal exploration ...

We read In November every year during the first week of the month and it's just such a lovely book - that happens to feature an illustration of Juncos(!) which of course ties in nicely with our nature study. Windows is another perennial favorite - a sweet and simple tale following a young boy on an evening walk through his neighborhood, finding comfort and joy in all those glowing, interesting windows. I like to pair this book with a "windows walk" of our own one night! Our Little Bear is a wee bit afraid of the dark, so we're always looking for ways to soothe his anxiety and reassure him there is nothing to be afraid of, if we can look for the lights - while understanding the dark a little better.

And in the foreground is our gorgeous nature poetry book (a daily staple in our homeschool!) open to this week's poems. Timely too, since we had a merry bonfire just last weekend, another annual tradition around the first of November. Last week's theme was "goodnight, garden" so we were burning branches from a Halloween windstorm as well as plenty of withered garden debris.

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I was simply enchanted by this beautiful artwork, found online - and it's now my phone wallpaper! I suppose one might look at this painting and find it a little eerie, but honestly, I see it as rather comforting. In the midst of all that dark and fog, the house with its beaming window, a loved one looking out from within, represents a safe, solid harbor. Dotted in the landscape are more bright beacons, welcoming other weary travelers home. 

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And speaking of welcome ... it's such a universal, human thing, to breathe a sigh of relief when we finally turn that last bend and our favorite place in this world comes into view ...

I was just pulling up our drive after dropping Earlybird at school, but I had to stop and relish that gorgeous foliage-enhanced light. I was tired (EB had me up super early and I had a whole host of things I wanted to attend to once I got home) and yet, how could I not pause and absorb all this lovely, autumnal light? How could I not take a moment to feel thankful for my blessings - for my very breath - and yes, even for the busy-ness of my day ahead. All the little things that would need my attention after one more deep and gratifying inhale/exhale ...

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And finally, here is my Little Bear at his Audubon Nature Class this week - simply thrilled to hold a garter snake! Our autumn classes have now come to an end, but we'll return to the sanctuary in January, eager to explore the wonders of the winter woods with our amazing Audubon teachers and homeschool families! 

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Well my friends, I am so very thankful to you all for joining me for tea today. I know this was a very LONG post, but I do hope you enjoyed it! I truly enjoyed sharing all these thoughts and pictures with you all ... and of course, the pumpkin-squash-apple-orange-spice ALL KINDS OF AUTUMN GOODNESS Tea! ❀

Remember, if you'd like to join me in my Late Autumn & Winter Teatimes - I'll be posting here every other week through the season - just zip me an email with your submission (or link).

drhanigan AT gmail DOT com

And of course, I'd love to hear from you in a comment below!

Enjoy the weekend ahead my friends ... I'll see you here again very soon!


Late Autumn Tea Journal: 11β€’1β€’19

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Hello, my friends and Happy November!

I am writing to you on this first day of a brand new month - and a bright new season - and it is my dearest hope that this "note" finds you all doing well. ❀

I'm here today to kick off a new series of Teatimes, and to give you all a little tour of how I set up my Late Autumn bullet journal. I am hoping to share a "Tea Journal" post every other week throughout this lovely season of late autumn and the winter holidays. Here is my tentative schedule of upcoming dates and seasonal topics:

11/8: Fading Light/Cranberries/Frost

11/22: Cozy Nests/Earth's Bounty/Thankful Hearts

12/6: Heaven & Earth/Holiday Greenery/Christmas Trees

12/20: Winter Solstice/All Creation Waits/Gingerbread

1/3: Winter Stars/Comfort & Joy/Word of the Year

In each Teatime post I will share a pretty cup of tea and perhaps a special seasonal goodie (virtually, natch!) and I will also share some of my recent bullet journal/planner pages, focusing on current seasonal themes.

So today is just a quick "working tea" because I'm all business when I have a new journal to prepare! You see my pretty mug up top and a little peek at my current journal. I've really just got the bones in place so far - this weekend I'll work on filling things in.

I've been posting about my pages over at Instagram and a few folks have asked me to share how I set up my bujo/planner. So before I get to my photos, here's a little bit about that ...

MATERIALS:

  • journal - I like this one for its smooth paper, sturdy binding, and convenient size
  • ruler - one of my dad's old engineering rulers!
  • pen - I always use Frixion Erasable pens.
  • assorted post-it notes/adhesive tabs/washi tape/paper clips/binder clips
  • pastel highlighters (also erasable) and colored pencils

PROCESS:

1. Choose my journal timeframe. I know many people use their bullet journals with no particular begin/end date in mind. They just start where they are and when they run out of paper, they move on to a new journal! I myself like to create seasonally-specific journals, so this current journal is organized for Late Autumn (the months of November and December).

2. Create a journal content list. What kinds of things do I want in my journal? See below for my content list - which is based on my own needs and priorities, though I do get a lot of wonderful inspiration over at Pinterest. I love coming across a cool idea for organizing my content in a way I hadn't considered before!

3. Mark off journal sections before putting pen to paper! I use post-it notes to set apart different sections of my journal, so I can be sure all my content will fit!

4. Label journal. Some folks create very lovely and fancy front covers for their journals. I like the look of these simple, pastel stickers I found at the craft store. Each season gets its own special hue and primary "purpose."

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5. Create page spreads. I like to sit somewhere comfortable with a large clipboard in my lap and all my supplies around me before I get started. Oh, and tea! I like to have a hot cup of tea by my side. It helps me think! This particular aspect of bullet journaling - the designing and drawing part - probably requires the most amount of your time, but once you get it all set up, you're good to go! And you know, I can honestly say ... I love it! All the measuring and counting and drawing out lines. I don't find it tedious or boring - rather, it soothes me in a way I think might be comparable to knitting or sewing. I try to pick a time for this when I can really bang out most of the planner ... but in reality I usually have to set it aside and continue my progress as I can.

6. Establish a journaling routine. Once you get your bujo set up, it's helpful to make journaling a part of your weekly (daily?) routine. I try to "work" in my journal a little each morning and again in the afternoon. This would be updating the phenology wheel, calendar spreads and writing in the actual journal portion - jotting down notes and adding clippings. I try to carve out time on the weekends for reviewing and catching up in my journal as well as checking in with some of the more goal-oriented spreads.

So just what all do I have in my seasonal journals? Well, let's take a look at this one!

MY LATE AUTUMN JOURNAL CONTENTS:

title page (1)

monthly overviews: Nov/Dec (2)

seasonal themes and brainstorming (1)

phenology (1)

teatime planning (1)

personal wellness page (1)

November calendar (2)

December calendar (2)

weekly spreads (4) x 10 weeks

reading log (2)

Thanksgiving planner (2)

Christmas planner (4)

journal index (1)

brain dump/clippings (remaining pages)

(The bracketed numbers indicate how many pages this content item will need.)

My overall design really is pretty simple. I don't embellish or sketch very much even though I definitely admire layouts done so creatively. For me, if I'm going to actually use the journal I must keep it simple. I don't have a lot of time to journal and I tend to obsess over getting something "just right." So it's better for me to keep to straight lines and little bullets, stars and hearts!

Ok - now for the photo tour! (Remember, I'm just getting started on this journal so much of it is still blank ...)

COVER:

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Not much to say here - I just really love those labels!

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TITLE PAGE:

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Title Page - pretty basic! I resisted getting too complicated here - just getting that tea mug as I liked it was stressful enough, lol! As you can see, I chose three colored pencils to shade in some of my writing: russet, plum and pine green. ❀❀❀

MONTHLY OVERVIEWS:

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I really like this basic spread because it gives me, in one glance, the real nitty-gritty of the season ahead. I've used post-it notes here for miscellaneous monthly happenings.

SEASONAL BRAINSTORMING & PHENOLOGY:

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I think it's safe to say this is my favorite spread in my whole journal! On the left is a page just all about the absolute joy that is the season of Late Autumn. I've listed our weekly seasonal themes at the top, and just below that is my seasonal brainstorming blurb ... 

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I love writing down all the little comforts and joys that occur in a season ... some are universal and some are more personal. All make me eager for a new season ahead!

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I found the phenology wheel template on Pinterest. Just do a search for "phenology wheel" and many designs will pop up. As you can see I have filled out today's slice of the wheel. I record the moon phase, the weather (my little icon indicates partly cloudy with wind), high temp and sunset time. Across the outer rim, the dates will be shaded according to my color-coded weather chart. (I forgot to do that this morning!) Here's a completed wheel from earlier this year ...

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Nature nut, color-lover and weather geek that I am - I find this hobby enormously satisfying! :-)

BLOG PLANNER & WELLNESS PAGE:

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I'm using post-it notes on this spread, because I often find it easier to organize my initial ideas with post-its! Both of these pages will require a lot more information than what I've jotted down so far, so I'll revisit this spread in a future post. To be honest, I haven't had much success keeping up with these pages in previous journals - perhaps because it's all rather personal and it can be hard to make time for "self-care," especially at this busy and stressful time of year. With that in mind, I'm committing to reviewing this spread each weekend and making sure I'm keeping up with my goals - posting as promised, and taking care of my physical and mental health!

MONTHLY CALENDARS:

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This journal is devoted to just November and December, so I only need two monthly calendar spreads. I got November's template done but I still have much to do for December!

Here are a few closer looks ... I did have a little fun with sketching (not my strong suit!) and penning out seasonal quotes (more my fortΓ©!).

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I always love to list monthly folklore like birth flowers and gemstones. My mother's birthday is this month so I have a special fondness for "mums" and golden topaz jewelry. :-)

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(Fyi, First Frost is one of my all-time favorite books! I just adore Sara Addison Allen and am counting the days till she publishes a new book!)

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What a wacky turkey, lol ... I copied him from one of the boys' books. He doesn't look like a very happy turkey, does he?

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December to come ... by the way, I used a pretty washi tape to set apart these particular spreads since I look for the monthly calendars quite often.

WEEKLY SPREADS:

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This section is really the heart of my journal planner! I have a three-page spread for each week in the season. I like a vertical layout - it helps me SEE where I'm busy and not - and yes, I prefer a Monday-start. Not everyone does! I just SEE my weeks beginning on Monday and ending with the weekend. I like a to-do column up front at the start of the week, too. 

The middle page is for weekly planning: inside the fold I list out ideas for seasonal living (this week's theme is "goodnight, garden") and homeschooling lessons. The fold shown above is for "housekeeper" planning - errands, meals, cleaning and current projects. The backside of this folded page is for weekend plans and miscelleneous notes.

At the top of each page in the outer corner I list the dates of the week, the month at hand and the weekly theme as well as the moon phase. The spaces below each daily column are for to-dos specific to that day. I also list monies spent at the bottom of the to-do column.

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Naturally I couldn't help but embellish this week a little! You can also see here in this picture, the tabs I used for organizing the rest of the journal after the weekly planning section. None of these sections have anything to show yet, so I will just tell you that I have a two-pages spread for Thanksgiving planning, a four-page spread for Christmas planning, a page for my reading log, and then the rest of the journal is for ... well, journaling! :-)

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Well my friends, I hope you've enjoyed this not-so-brief tour of my Late Autumn Journal! And I thank you, as always, for joining me here ...

Before I go I'd like to remind you all that when it comes to things like bullet journaling and seasonal planning - everyone does things in their own way! Some of us do similar things, some of us do wildly different things, but all of us are doing our own thing and that's the best part about it! I think that's what I love best about "bullet journaling" is how you can customize things to suit your very own preferences.

I share the above photos and information with you all not to say ... "this is how you do a bullet journal" ... but rather ... "this is how I do my bullet journal!"

But maybe something I show you will give you a better idea of what you want, or help you see things in a new light. Or maybe you're looking this all over thinking, Hey - this gal's on the same page as me - we're like kindred spirits! And, well ... that's swell, too! :-)

Oh, and also! If you'd like to participate in a Teatime, you are most welcome! All are welcome to stop by and read/comment but I'd love to hear your take on my topics! You could post something at your own site and send me the link or you could send me a picture and your thoughts, and I will include them in my scheduled post. You can reach me by emailing me at drhanigan AT gmail DOT com. You can also reach me via Instagram direct message.

Thanks again my friends, and I hope you all have a great weekend! I also hope you said "Rabbit-rabbit" this morning! - I'm looking at you, Penny! - and to all a Happy Late Autumn ...

See you here again very soon!


Blending Curriculum + Seasonal Lesson Plans

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As I mentioned in my last post, I have not been using my Erin Condren teacher's planner on a regular basis this year. It is a beautiful planner to be sure, but sometimes it's just a little TOO much planning for me, if you know what I mean! Some weeks I appreciate the freedom of working off a big "brainstorm" list - no plans set in stone, just working within our own happy weekly rhythm. And honestly, some weeks I just don't have enough time to fill in yet one more planner!

All that said though, I feel like our homeschooling has been off-track since the holidays - those big lists aren't translating into productive days - so I thought perhaps I'd return to a more structured planning format and see if that gets our weeks running a little more smoothly.

So since it was a very pretty, sunny weekend, I took pictures of my lesson planner as I worked, and popped over here to share! I also am including pictures from my seasonal bullet journal where I began our weekly planning with a little seasonal brainstorming!

(Reminder - we are doing kindergarten this year with our youngest (5yo Little Bear), while our 17yo Earlybird (who has autism) joins in (with support from his ABA therapist) as he can. Big news on the EB front however, there are some very big changes for our boy coming up in a few weeks and I will share more on that very soon!)

Ok, here is my planner spread, alongside our battered and beloved Oak Meadow Kindergarten syllabus. (I think it's about 15 years old!) As you can see in the top picture, as I worked here at the kitchen table I was joined by the ever-helpful (yet, napping) Archibald Fred.😸

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Left-hand side of the spread ...

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I love how this planner shades its pages in correspondence with the month - eg., blue for January, pink for February and then green for March, etc.

Right-hand side of the spread which I "gussied up" a bit with some stickers. I don't usually do this but since I knew I was going to post my spread this week I was inspired!

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I do love seeing all those plans all neat and tidy. The lined boxes and smooth paper make for a very nice writing experience. As the week goes along I will check off lessons as we complete them, βœ… cross things off that we skip ❎ and put an arrow next to those items we'll push forward.➑️

Close up of how nice the blocks look all filled in!

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As you can see, I also like to incorporate seasonal homeschooling activities into our weekly plan. This week's theme is "winter citrus," and I hope to balance our Oak Meadow lessons with some activities that let us explore this particular theme.

Here are some pics to show you how I organized those ideas late last week ...

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1. Gather resources: storybooks, recipes, verses, playthings, craft materials, snack ingredients and instructions.

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2. Make and organize photocopies for activities.

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3. File photocopies into weekly lesson plan folder.

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4. Write out seasonal ideas in my "Deep Winter" bullet journal.

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5. Request books we'll need from the library. (I did this late last week. Orange in January is "in transit" as I type!)

Once I had my seasonal homeschooling ideas in order, I checked our schedule for the coming week and any "events of note." Then I
looked through our current Oak Meadow lesson, identified individual actions and jotted them down on small sticky notes. 

(I know this seems like maybe a bit of extra work and even a waste of paper, but it really helps me fill in my planner when all I have to do is sort those sticky notes!)

Referencing both the citrus ideas and OM lessons I then filled out the EC teacher planner.

And then I took pictures, natch, and threw everything in my teacher tote. Next week I will launch into our plans and do my very best to keep up with them!

πŸƒπŸŠβ„οΈπŸŠπŸƒπŸƒπŸŠβ„οΈπŸŠπŸƒπŸƒπŸŠβ„οΈπŸŠπŸƒπŸƒπŸŠβ„οΈπŸŠπŸƒπŸƒπŸŠβ„οΈπŸŠπŸƒπŸƒπŸŠβ„οΈπŸŠπŸƒ

Well my friends, as always I thank you for stopping by and hope you are all doing well! I have a tour of my "planning spaces" coming up ... as well as a peek at some of my plans for our early spring living and learning, so for now I will say goodbye ...

... but hope to see you here again very soon!


My Bi-Monthly Bullet Journals

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Hello my friends, and Happy Wednesday! 
How is your winter going? How about your new year??

I'm so sorry it's been so long since I last posted! I have in fact had a draft open on my computer for the past couple of months (months?!) but free time has been thin on the ground lately. All that said, I'm sitting down today in the mid-afternoon, to do my very best to get that darn post up at the blog before nightfall! (Or bedtime - whichever comes first!)

Anyhoo - how are you all? I hope you are all well! We are doing just fine here if perhaps stretched a wee bit thin lately from busy schedules and non-sleeping children - but that's a post for a different day! Today I'd like to give you a little tour of my seasonal bullet journal system. I actually have several planning (and tea!) posts percolating, but I'm going to keep things as short and simple today as possible. (Longtime readers know I love long posts - but I also tend to overcomplicate things which keeps me from finishing!)

Ok, onto the bujos ...

So I've posted about my journaling habits here many times before, but "bullet journaling" is a happy little hobby (some might say, lifestyle) I've been exploring just recently. Do any of you keep a bullet journal? Or any kind of journal? I'd love to hear about it if you do! (I'd especially LOVE to hear about bujos you use as self-made planners!)

I'm really still feeling my way around with this concept, but I do LOVE the idea of a bullet journal. And the way other people's journals look on Pinterest. Oh my gosh, i could waste spend so much time on Pinterest drooling over other folks' spreads!

Journal envy aside however, the "bujo" format appeals to me personally for so many reasons - it's creative, flexible, comprehensive and unique! Plus as a life-long DIYer, I just had to give it a go!

Basically, bullet journals meet more than a few of my most pressing planner needs:

I need my planner to be portable - easy to grab and take with me.

I like my planner to be comprehensive - all aspects of my life-planning are in one place.

I enjoy being different. I like for my planner to look like MY planner.

I desire for my planner to be intensely seasonal, a tool for connecting with the rhythm of the season at hand.

I have a few other planners as you all know: a devoted daily planner, a pretty little weekly planner, a binder "household" planner, and let us not forget my own homemade seasonal planner! I have not yet let go of any of these other planners but have instead just set them aside - just for a bit. I've been feeling the need to simplify lately, and use my limited free time as wisely as possible. I bet many of my planner-junkie friends here know what I mean when I say, it's hard to find ONE system that really ticks all the boxes. But it's also hard to truly give a new planner a fighting chance when you have a few other "systems" already in the works!

So I'm on a little planner "diet" while I delve into my bullet-journaling and see if I can make it work all on its own.

(Naturally I immediately broke my "keep it simple" bujo rule, and came up with the idea of a "system" of six journals instead of one. But bear with me - there is a method to my madness!)

As you see in my top picture, there are six journals, and each one is focused on two months, or one season. I keep the current season's journal with me (or close at hand) while the others reside at my desk.

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(They fit very nicely in this rack set inside a rolling cart. Isn't rose gold so pretty?)

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Top shot. Love the look of fresh notebooks!

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This handy rolling cart is situated right next to my "corner office" - a tour of which will be coming next week! (Finally getting it deep-cleaned and re-organized now that Christmas stuff is safely packed away.)

And now for a quick walk-through of my current bullet journal for "Deep Winter" (January & February).

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Front cover. As you can see, I haven't done much with the cover(s) yet - I'm still deciding if I like them kind of plain or if I'd like to "collage" them a little. I did use a set of pastel adhesive labels to color-code each seasonal journal. I chose a soft snowy blue for Deep Winter.

That soft snowy blue is followed by a light spring green, then deep blossom pink, sunny golden yellow, warm harvest orange, and finally, a crisp frosty lavender.

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(Note: I found these notebooks on Amazon. They come in a pack of two for $12. I ADORE these notebooks! They are a nice size, the paper is wonderfully smooth, the dotted grid helps me keep things neat and the whole kit-and-kaboodle is spiral-bound. Spiral-binding is a must for me when it comes to journals, so this one really hits the journaling spot for me!)

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Title page - pretty self-explanatory!

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January and February, at a quick glance. Dated calendars above, events of note below.

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❄️Exploring Deep Winter nature!

On the left, I listed our weekly seasonal themes and devoted a little space to seasonal brainstorming. I just jotted down any thoughts that came to mind when I pondered the season of Deep Winter ... what we do, what we notice, things we eat, etc.

On the right-hand page I have phenology wheels for the months of January and February, along with a temperature chart. I found the wheel templates on Pinterest. I shaded in the moon phases and every day I draw/write in the weather icon, high temp for the day as well as the sunset time.

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(A note on my pens and pencils. In all my planners I use, exclusively, Frixion Erasable Fine Point Pens in black. For the temperature shading I use Raffine Colored Pencils.)

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I find using practical tools like paper clips, binder clips and adhesive tabs and flags not only increases the efficiency of a planner but also adds some visual interest! I like using the flags and tabs in the midst of my journaling - sometimes I like to pause and create a list or plan and it's handy to have a way to find that list when I need it! The paper clip's job is described a bit further down in my post.

(Note the next spread was a bit personal, having to do with personal New Year's Goals, so I am skipping that part of the tour. What I did was to write out some personal "Year 50" goals as well as some Winter Wellness ideas and break them down into simple actions to insert into my schedule. That might be a post for another time!)

Ok, next comes the monthly calendar spreads:

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And it's as basic as it looks! I just drew in the grids and wrote in the dates, etc. I added washi tape to the edges of this calendar section so it's easy to find it when making appointments or plans. In the leftover white space I added in seasonal quotes and information ... something I have yet to do in my February spread!

(Note: I use Frixion Erasable Highlighters to color-code activities. Green - I'm going somewhere. Blue - the boys are going somewhere. Pink - happy things/self care. Yellow - home-based entertainment/projects. I also have a lavender highlighter for feasts and faith-related activities but I've lost that darn pen!)

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Another thing that helps me find sections quickly - paperclips!

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I use a large metal paperclip to connect the monthly calendar wth the current weekly spread. This makes it really easy to flip back and forth between my two most used page spreads!

And directly after the monthly calendars comes the weekly planning section. I used three pages for each spread ...

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The page on the left side is for the first half of the week. In the top corner I noted the week's dates (always a Monday start) and seasonal theme. I highlighted the month in blue highlighter, indicating it's a "wintry" month. The week-at-a-glance begins with a To-Do column - which admittedly is a little narrow - but since I'm comfortable writing tiny it's no trouble for me. 

I wrote the agenda's hours alongside the spiral binding, and left space at the bottom of each column for pertinent daily notes.

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I like that these columns allow for timely planning - it lets me see how full a day might be, and where there is "white space" for other tasks and activities.

The very next page is used as a "middle insert." I think it's kind of like a "dutch door" concept but I don't make any cuts. Instead, I keep it folded so I can see both sides of a weekly spread. I keep it flat in off weeks so as not to add to the journal's bulk.

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The folded middle page allows for four sections of notes: seasonskeeping, home lessons, homekeeping, general notes.

The right-hand side of the weekly spread is for the rest of the week, Thursday through Sunday. In the upper righthand corner I have the week's dates and month again along with the current lunar cycle. (As you know, I'm such an "Ooh, look at the moon!" kind of person.🌝)

There are nine weekly spreads in this bullet journal, the very weeks that make up the season of Deep Winter. (Next season's bullet journal, Early Spring, begins with the week of 3/4-3/10.)

At the end of the weekly planning section I have a two page spread for a reading log, then another spread for my thoughts on Winter Homekeeping and connecting with the season of Deep Winter (a time for resting, rejuvenating).

Next comes a journal index page where I will note anything pertinent at the end of the season - information I'll need again and where to find it.

And then begins the true "journal" section of my seasonal bullet journal ... :)

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I chose a pretty image from a New Year's card I received from my cousin. (I took a photocopy and taped it onto the page.) 

And the rest of the pages are just being slowly filled up with my thoughts and any clippings I like! These are just a few examples ...

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I'm not very strict with my journaling - I don't even do it every day, though I really wish I would. I start with the date and the weather icon/temp. and then I just ot down whatever comes to mind. Things we did, people who visited, observations of nature, ideas for seasonal meals, etc. I want my journal to be something that when looked back upon years from now, there is a sense of me, and my family and home ... and time of year! They're certainly not very exciting and perhaps not all that interesting, but I do love looking back at my journals. It's such a great way to preserve memories and inspire seasonal awareness.

I've kept journals like these since high school, but I've mostly kept them separate from my planners. In recent years however, I have tried keeping my journaling notes inside a three-ring binder, along with planning forms. While I like that idea very much, it's just not very portable ... and so I tend to work in that platform a little less than I'd like. I'm finding this small book is fun and easy to carry with me and work in whenever mood strikes.

Here is my current journaling spread:

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I added that pretty February note page but have yet to use it! Not sure if it will be a list of goals for the month or a catch-all of monthly folklore and storytelling ideas. The blue post-it note was for monitoring yesterday's daily to-dos. (I know ... I KNOW. I used this simple little sticky note instead of using a page in my Day Designer and I felt ... well, a little guilty! But a little relieved, too.)

The right -hand page has clippings to be added and you can see the little binder clip I use to mark my spot in my journal. Another handy-dandy tool that helps me find my place fast!

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Back cover - the end! :)

Well, I hope you enjoyed this tour of my little seasonal journals! I will revisit them in a future post and let you know how I'm doing with them. I will also post again to update you on how all my other planners are faring. But for now - as the darkness descends out my windows and the ovens come to temperature ... it is time for me to move away from the computer and get my family's supper started!

Thanks as always my friends, for stopping by ... and thanks too, for your patience, when I'm unable to blog. I will always return no matter how long my "breaks" ...

See you here again very soon!