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Holiday Tea at Dawn's ~ Cozy Nests (Pt.2)


Hello my friends, and Happy Monday! Welcome to part two of last week's Tea post! (Yes, I am a  bit "off-schedule" here - but that's the way of things lately! Please see my updated Tea schedule at the bottom of this post.)

Now, to continue with our conversation on "cozy winter nests," I thought I'd share some pictures of my own special spot as well as some thoughts on how to go about creating your own! I'll get to the nest photos in a moment, but to begin with, a quick word about the tea set shown above ...

Some of you might remember this pinecone tea set from the days when my older boys were little. I came across these darling dishes at the Christmas Tree Shoppe for a song and just knew immediately they were perfect for our nature-loving, woodland-based homeschool! My boys and I had "seasonal tea" regularly throughout their childhood and this basically involved milky tea or cocoa (or maybe hot cider) and something yummy (and hopefully homebaked) as well as read-aloud or puppet story. This sweet set began with bowls and plates, but those are long gone! I still have a small set of mugs, the charming tea pot and one little bowl which I use to hold tea bags. Happily nowadays both my younger boys love tea, too - and so the homeschooling tradition continues!

In the above photo we were enjoying a special "candy cane" cocoa for St. Nicholas's Day, our traditional treat on this feast day. I usually hook candy canes on the mugs of hot chocolate (aka bishop staffs), but had forgotten to pick up some natural ones at Whole Foods. (You may recall we have EB on a special diet free of artificial colors and flavors.) So instead, I just added some organic/natural peppermint extract to the simmering milk and mixed it with our homemade hot cocoa blend.

I've been keeping this pretty tea set on a high shelf in my kitchen but have decided to bring it down and keep it handy - it won't get used otherwise! And so our pinecone set has found a home in my "cozy winter nest ... I'm keeping it on a tray so it can be moved about as needed. 


(Notice the little Lego on the corner of that table? That would be a Minecraft pick-ax, in case you didn't know.)

Ok, now back to our NEST discussion!

I'd like to first talk about a list I made for myself when I began setting up my nest. I first asked myself some questions about the concept of "keeping cozy" and then brainstormed some general ideas. My first list just appeared rather randomly in my doodle notebook ...


This is my brain dump, and as you can see it's a bit of a mess! I use it for writing out weekend plans and shopping lists ... and lots of odd bits and bobs, too!

I then refined my list to be clearer and more "presentable," lol ...


I'll keep this list in my December planning pages. :)

Here's my own Cozy Winter Nest breakdown. I would encourage you to ask yourself the same questions!

Why? Because there's a long cold winter ahead and instead of dreading it, let's make the best of it. Why not feather a cozy little "nest" for ourselves - a spot exclusively for comfort and joy - where we can hunker and hibernate till spring?

Where? This will be a space where we can rest and replenish our winter "stores" - ideally out of the way of the general household hubbub.

What? What will make this spot comforting? What items will bring joy? This list will be different for everyone!

When? How often can we actually BE in our nest? Will we roost here daily or will it serve as an occasional retreat?

Now, I think I've probably addressed the "Why" question pretty thoroughly by now so let's skip to the "Where." It is my firm belief that your nest can be ANYWHERE ... from a whole separate room to the end of a couch and/or bookcase ... even a dedicated window space can serve to enhance your level of winter coziness.

(I think it's helpful to start by brainstorming WHAT your ideal nest looks like and then look around your home for a fitting spot.)

Personally, my nest needs to be somewhere a little apart from family "traffic," but still close enough that I feel I'm handy to my kids if they need me. So I've claimed a portion of our living room for my nest, and here are some pictures I took the other day ...




This is the epi-center of my nest - Mama's Reading Chair!


It's a bit old, it's a bit squishy - but I love it! I keep a small table next to it for my tea mug (etc.) and I use an ottoman on the other side for planners. There are also plenty of baskets about for books!


(The basket beneath the ottoman holds catalogs and coupons.)




Cats are a nest must-have - even when they're being naughty!


A birdfeeder outside the window is another must ...


And plenty of natural light plus cozy lighting!


Library loans are kept nearby - it's handy to keep them all together.


I like to fill the coffee table with seasonal reading materials ...

IMG_2610 (1)

And there needs to be special spots for the cats to snuggle in, natch.


Cats are natural-born nesters ... :-)


And blankets are always a draw!

Nesting kitties

And they too love sunny spots ... in the winter, a south-facing window provides soul-soothing warmth and light.

Other essential nest items not shown include:

journal-keeping supplies: notebooks/binders, pens, scissors, tape, clippings to add

children's storybooks: my nest is a GREAT spot for read-alouds!

music: I like the Pandora app; currently I'm listening to old English Christmas carols.

video: I use my computer for watching DVDs - now showing, "Take Peace: A Corgi Cottage Christmas."

correspondence: notecards, stamps, address book, etc. I'm working on Christmas cards at the moment!

candles: I have scented candles here and there but I like battery-lit ones for every day use.

hand lotion: I keep Curel at my kitchen and bathroom sinks but a tube of lovely rose-scented cream in my nest!

What would you add to my list? :)

As for the "When" question ... well, for myself, I enjoy "nesting" every day. Because I'm up so early, I start my day here (I'm talking 4 a.m.), and I also sit here at least once a day to read with Little Bear and/or Earlybird. On the weekends I try to have a block of time devoted to keeping "office hours," and here is where I like to work. If you're used to being in your nesting space you will naturally gravitate there, but if it's a new idea to you, you may have to create an actual nesting schedule! At least to begin with. Begin by feathering this space as you like, and then consider how often you can indulge in a little nesting behavior. Let your loved ones know this is important to you, and if you have to write it on the family calendar then do just that!

Because a nest of our own is a help as much as it is a haven. It's a place where we might battle winter's darkness and soothe our world-weary spirits. It's a place to cultivate creativity and bask in the comforts of home. Even if all the space you have is a kitchen window-sill, arrange a few special things there (a pot of herbs, a picture frame, a nourishing lotion, a scented candle) and let that be a place you go for a moment of mindfulness each day.

There's so much more to say about the benefits of "nesting" but I will wrap up for now. That said, I would love to revisit this theme after the holidays - say mid-January. The next month is busy for most of us, with Christmas coming and all, but once Epiphany's come and gone, I will take a fresh look at my nest and see how I can spruce it up for the "deep winter" months. I think for many of us there is a sense of melancholy when the festive season has passed and the pretty decor of the holidays has been packed away. But let's not let that happen! We'll come up with a wonderful winter plan and see ourselves through the long cold weeks ahead ... 

Now, about my Tea schedule going forward! I have to be honest with you all and myself - I had hoped to sneak in another Tea post mid-week, but instead I will stick to my original schedule and be back on Monday with our next Holiday Tea. Our theme will be "O Christmas Tree" and I will share pictures of our home's holiday decorations, plus we'll talk about the upcoming Winter Solstice.

For now I will say goodbye and thank you all for joining me ... I'd love to hear your thoughts on Cozy Winter Nests so please drop a comment if you have the time! I'd also love to see YOUR Christmas trees, so please consider sending me a picture if you are able: drhanigan AT gmail DOT com.

Take care of yourselves and your loved ones, my friends ... see you here again very soon!

It's a Working Weekend!

Planner puttering 1

Hello my friends, and Happy November! 

I just wanted to pop in to say I have carved out this whole weekend to work on my homemade planner! So that means I will be sharing updated planning sheets for 2019 with you all very soon!

Planner puttering 1

Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying their weekend, wherever they are ... it's blustery and bright here in New England!

Blessings to all,

~ Dawn

A Tale of Four Carts ... ❤


Hello everyone, and Happy Hump Day! If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen one or more of my recent posts in which I gush over my brand new rolling "caddy" carts. Well, I'd like to share them here too, because I'm having such fun setting them up!

But a bit of backstory first ...

I have admired these rolling carts for years now, ever since longtime reader, and Moscow-friend, Mic shared hers for my "Autumn Cozy Nest" series. Mic's pretty cart, in that iconic robin's egg blue, lives in her family's study room and holds all kinds of happy desk and craft supplies. When I saw Mic's picture - with her neatly stored pens, notebooks and purse, plus a couple of my favorite books tucked in there too - well, my heart just went all a-flutter! And then later on my friend Jen shared how she was using her own lovely cart on Instagram - and once again I found myself coveting another's cart just a little! Well, since these pretty carts were made by IKEA, I made a mental note to get myself right over to our local IKEA, only ... I never seem to get over to IKEA! (It's actually not quite local, but a bit of a drive from here.) But those carts have never gone off my radar ...

So then recently I was shopping at Michaels Arts & Crafts for Easter stuff when I found these remarkably similar carts made by a company called Recollections and they not only looked well-made but came in a wide-range of soft colors - PLUS they were ON a really good SALE! So honestly, what could I do but buy one? Or ... um, four?

Well, I did start with just one ... I hemmed and hawed a bit over the color, finally deciding on the charcoal grey because I planned to park it in my family room and we have a lot of gray in that room. Back home I set Bill (and his helper) to work putting the cart together ...



Bill said it was a cinch to assemble (how could it not be with that kind of help, right?) and seemed quite solidly made. In fact, he was so impressed with the cart - and my plans for it - he hardly twitched an eyelid when I returned to Michaels the very next weekend (before that sale ran out!) and came home with a few more!

(Ok, each cart was on sale for $23 and change so, not exactly a cheap investment, but I made sure I had specific intentions for each cart before I splurged. I don't mean to make it sound like it was nothing to drop $100 on home storage!)

Anyhoo, here's a little tour of our carts and their new homes ...


In the family room: The GRAY cart quickly became Little Bear's because he just loved it so. It's already logged many miles! This cart holds (a portion of) our vast cars and trucks collection as well as LB's favorite vehicle-themed books. I used a few bins I already had here too, so LB can lift out a bin at a time (in theory) and keep things a little tidier than they might otherwise end up. He can also wheel his car collection to other rooms if he wishes.

The bottom bin holds "monster trucks" and the middle bin holds the interchangeable parts of a set of wooden, buildable trucks while the bin at the very top holds assorted matchbox-sized cars (and planes). We actually own far more than the vehicles seen here (we've been raising boys for the past 22 years so this should not come as a surprise!) but I whittled down the family room assortment to these few bins. We can switch trucks out every so often to keep things fresh!

And next ...


In the learning room: The AQUAMARINE cart holds the younger boys' curricula and various educational resources including my lesson planning notebook, teacher guides, Earlybird's clipboard (which holds his daily seatwork), a current board game and a few favorite flash card sets. I've parked this cart near the worktable where EB works with his therapist every day. (You'll hear more about this cart in my "Learning Room Tour" post coming up soon!)

Now the white cart ...

IMG_6058 copy

Ended up in the library! And it holds my 17 yo Crackerjack's academic materials - binders, textbooks, reading assignments, etc. - so they don't clutter up his (already cluttered) desktop. CJ was a little skeptical about his need for this cart (he keeps most of this in his backpack) so I may end up finding a different use for it ...

And finally ...


In the kitchen nook: The ROSE-GOLD cart sits by my command central and holds various notebooks, post-its and notecards. I also parked my week-at-a-glance calendar here but have since moved it back to the countertop. I roll this cart out of the kitchen to my computer desk in the family room from time-to-time - if company's coming or on weekends when command central closes up shop. Of course I can't help but notice this cart's shade matches the coil-binding in all of my favorite notebooks! :)

Ok my friends, I guess that's a wrap! I hope you enjoyed seeing how I'm using my new rolling carts - as I mentioned above, I'm really quite happy with the way they are made and the way they look and the way they are organizing several areas of our family home! Toys, books, notebooks, and more books! I can always use help in corralling these types of things. Little Bear's play is more creative (and the mess is easier to manage), our lesson-times (and my lesson planning) are smoother and I'm able to quickly pick up my planning paraphernalia when needs be.

And four carts are a lot, I know - but I AM thinking of getting yet one more cart (should they go on sale again) in our kitchen proper ... we're getting rid of an old trash compactor and one of these carts would fit perfectly in it's place. I think it might be a good spot for storing produce that usually ends up (all over) our counter - apples, onions, potatoes, garlic, etc. But we shall see!

Well always, thanks so much for stopping by, everyone ... take care of yourselves and your loved ones ... I'll see you here again very soon!

A Late Winter's Tea ... (and a Winner!) ❤


Hello my friends, and Happy Friday! Goodness, is it ever a BEAUTIFUL day here in New England! The temperature, as I type up this post, has soared to a balmy 73 ° ... the sun is shining ... the birds are singing ... the snow is melting ... we even spied a chipmunk darting across the backyard! What a tease this weather is though, as I'm sure we still have plenty of winter ahead (March can be quite snowy in our parts!). Still, this is a lovely break - a fresh mental breeze to awaken one's winter-weary spirit. 

But in spite of this day's decidedly spring-like behavior, I'm here to share a cup of Late Winter's Tea with you all! And at the very end of our Tea I will tell you who won my Day Designer giveaway! You can of course, jump down to the end of the post to see who that might be ... ;)

So for today's tea I am using a very pretty cup and saucer set - a gift from my dear friend, Emma. I love the red toile pattern and shape of this set - especially the handy little nook for a snack! Today's snack is a couple of oatmeal-raisin cookies - but as you can see - and as I noticed after I took this picture! - someone had made off with one of the cookies! Ahem! ;) The tea is a new one for me - Newman's Own English Breakfast. Not my usual afternoon tea as this one is fully caffeinated and rather bold-flavored, but on this particular day I was in need of an energy boost!

So I prepared my cup and moved out to the library where I've been busy cleaning this week - haven't really done that since this was December's "Christmas room" - and I'll have a post with a tour in a bit because it's slowly becoming our Spring room. :) I just got our Lenten mantle organized and I'm now working on our homeschool shelves and my writing desk ... as well as our liturgical bookcase! Yes, this room was in dire need of a lift! (Not to mention a good dusting and sweeping!) I love the light here at this time of day though ... the sun sets just behind the woods outside the window shown above and below ... the light lingering later and later each day. I use this desk as a spot to sit and write ... rather than compute (my computer desk is out in the family room). It's a more feminine "mother's desk" and I love changing things up as the seasons turn ... :)


Also shown in the these photos is my brand new spring purse! I had some birthday money just burning a hole in my pocket, and spotted this pretty bag at TJ Maxx. Honestly, I was just running into the CVS next door but that robin's egg blue really reached out and grabbed me, right through the store-front window! What I really love about this bag (aside from the color and the affordable price) is the softness of the bag itself. Very flexible but with a sturdy bottom. And roomy! Plenty of space inside for all the things I like take along with me when I'm out and about ...

(A more detailed Spring purse post to come!)


It's not often I can spend a lot of time here puttering in notebooks and writing out letters, but I try to get here a few times a week. I have some things set up in this room to keep Little Bear busy (toys and puzzles, puppets and books) while I sit for a bit, and there's always the promise of "a story or two" once Mama is done. :) 

Speaking of books ...


I have a small table at the end of the desk which holds reading materials and an in-basket. A small bin holds notecards and seasonal cards. In the foreground are two sets of our favorite seasonal picture books - one set by Gerda Muller and the other by Eva-Maria Ott-Heidmann. These are wordless picture books with the loveliest illustrations celebrating the many nuances of the year. My boys have loved these books for years - we just pore over them and talk about what we see in the pictures, what might be going on. I try to keep them together and out of the general stash of board books- not just to keep them in good shape, but also so I can look through them myself from time to time!

Also in this picture you can see we have our window open ... that made tidying this room all the more enjoyable! The little baskets were Little Bear's doing - he was collecting (wooden) eggs to set aside for Easter. :) And an open window always invites the kitties out from wherever they're slumbering ...


Needless to say we got ourselves outside for a bit!


Late winter is such a special time of year ... spring comes so slowly, and each little hallmark is a treasured gift. The brighter days, the softness of the air, the change in the birdsong ... the dripping and melting ... and resulting muddy puddles!


The boys attempted to shovel away any lingering snow patches from the driveway ... while I just closed my eyes and enjoyed the warmth of the sun, the freshness of the air. What a glorious day! (Note the double-trunked tree in the background - my favorite oak.)

Ok, now before I go and before I get to announcing my giveaway winner ... here's a look at a little project I'm having fun with right now:

Homemade planner 1

Homemade planner 2

Some of you might remember last year I made myself a homemade weekly planner. I loved that notebook so much - though I ended up not using it as I'd hoped to. Well, I determined to try again ... so I ordered myself the very same notebook!


These Fringe notebooks really do it for me. They're just beautiful - inside and out - and perfect for my needs. Love the binding, the paper, the covers! So I am tweaking how I organize the insides (learning from last year's mistakes!) and taking it very slowly. So far all I've done is this ...


A dated reference calendar washi-taped into the front cover. :) I'm counting pages and sketching grids now, and will share more details very soon. (Would you all like a how-to post on diy planners?) This one, which is meant to organize our family's seasons, will run Spring through Winter, and since we are on the very doorstep of March I'd best get cracking!

More to come on this project, but for right now I'd like to finally announce just who won my extra Day Designer planner! And so after a random drawing I am happy to announce that the giveaway winner is ...


Congratulations, Beth! I hope you enjoy the planner! I will be in touch this evening to arrange mailing details and then get this planner out to you ASAP!

And my sincere thanks to everyone for taking the time to leave me such wonderful comments. I loved reading each and every one of them and am grateful you took the time to share your thoughts with me! Your very kind words, thoughtful suggestions and interesting questions are all much appreciated. And you've all got me percolating with ideas and inspiration! So I printed out the comments thread and highlighted each topic area mentioned (color-coding them, naturally). I will keep these pages in my binder and work up a list of "posts to come." I will say you definitely like organizing and planning posts the best! There was also many mentions of homeschooling, seasonal celebrations, meal planning, homemaking and weaving our family faith into everyday living. Lots of tea and chat posts, too! 

DSC03340 (1)

So stay tuned for all kinds of posts to come ... but for right now, before I go, I'd like to answer one question that popped up a couple of times ...

"Why do you call your mother, "Mum" which sounds so very British?" :)

Well, I have to say I think it might be a New England thing as I have other local friends who call their moms "Mum," too, but I think for us it's just a family thing. My mother called her mother "Mum," and her mother (my grandmother) did the same. My maternal great-grandmother was Scottish - as in, came here from Scotland - so I'm thinking perhaps this is where it began.

So there's that! :)

My own boys call me Mama - although as they've grown older that has pretty much morphed into, "Mom." :)

So that's all for today, my friends ... but I do hope you've enjoyed my post and as always I thank you for stopping by! Take care of yourselves and your loved ones ...

I will see you here again very soon!

A Tale of Two Desks ...


Last autumn I blogged about my "new" desk in the family room, and since that is where my computer is, that's where I do most of my working/planning/blogging.

waves hello from computer desk *

Consequently, it is also the spot where most of my "desk mess" accumulates! Planners, papers, receipts, pens, rulers, cups, washi tape, notepads, coupons, catalogs ... etc.! But as I've mentioned before, I also have a "writing desk" in the library (shown above). I call it a writing desk because I envision time spent crafting my book here and penning letters to faraway friends - a la Jane Austen - but mostly I dash off quick thank you notes and/or get sidetracked by the view ...

So I don't sit here to write nearly as often as I'd like, but I still like having this space should I need it ...

Well, this morning I decided to celebrate "National Clean Off Your Desk Day" by cleaning off my desk - but I chose the easier desk! I mostly had to remove a few Christmas decorations, a large stack of magazines, Crackerjack's homework and an overflowing basket of received Christmas cards (with envelopes) that need to be sorted and stored. I tweaked the decor a bit for the winter season and wiped down the desktop ... and then enjoyed how the morning sun lit it up!


Now, if I was really brave I'd post a picture of how my other desk - the computer desk - looks on this national holiday ...

* deep breath *

Ok, hang on ...


Now, this was taken at 5 p.m. - there's no sun streaming in any windows to speak of right now - but it's not quite as dark a corner as it appears in this photo. And maybe you can see it for the mess that it is - or maybe not - but suffice it to say, it's definitely not "cleared off." And it's not very organized at the moment.

(Confession: The basket you see in the lower lefthand corner was added to the desk at the very last minute - to hold a whole bunch of debris scattered around and behind the monitor. Now THAT was a crazy mess. And I really must remember to look back through that basket before I lose sight of some potentially pertinent information!)

But ... I don't have time to tackle this hot spot today, so it's just going to have to wait a bit! Clearly I'm not letting the disarray slow me down, lol ... I'm finishing this post in this very spot with kids and chaos all around me. But sometimes you just have to let go of the vision and work with reality, right? Well, most times, I'd say.

So there you have it - a tale of two desks! My pretty writing table ... and my built-in workhorse. I'm grateful to have both of these cozy, sometimes-clean and sometimes cluttered, corners in my life. :)

Enjoy the rest of your evening my friends ... see you here again very soon!

A Tour of My New(ish) Desk!


Hello my friends, and Happy Friday! Today I'd like to give you all a little tour of my new desk. :)

Well, I call it "new" because I've only been using it for a couple of months, but the desk itself is not new. Actually, it's been here since the house was built back in 1985! (We've been here since 2013.) It's a great spot for sure, but I resisted situating myself here because, A. up until recently I had a (portable) laptop computer and, B. "sitting down time" was pretty scarce. (If I found myself sitting down there was usually a Little Bear in my lap!)

Also, I really didn't want to clutter up this corner of our family room ... it's the main gathering room in the house and it's hard enough to keep it neat without adding my own parpahernalia to it. And if you know me, you know I am someone who has a tendency to amass a bit of clutter - nice-looking clutter if I may say so, but still, clutter indeed. Ahem.

Anyhoo, when my beloved Macbook died in August (thankfully leaving behind its hard drive), circumstances lined up in such a way that I "inherited" my 17yo son's computer. (He was building himself a new PC per his dearest birthday wish.) So now I really did need a desk for my desktop computer (as opposed to a kitchen counter where I usually parked my laptop) and I suddenly saw this built-in desk in a whole new light. Sure it's smack dab in the family room where all the FAMILY usually is - but it turns out that's OK. It's hard to sneak away and get stuff done for any length of time on my own, though I had a good run there for a while when Little Bear was napping regularly (I'd work on my laptop in a chair parked next to his crib). But these days if I'm going to sit down and spend some time working (or let's be real, surfing) on my computer, it's going to be accomplished with my kids all around me. So these days - case in point, this day - I'm sitting here at this desk while Little Bear and Earlybird play with trains and Matchbox cars and there may be an episode of Peppa playing in the background ...

(Side note - there is a matching desk on the other side of that window seen in the above photo. This desk is used by Earlybird and that too is getting spruced up for his computer time and homeschooling! More details in a future post.)

Now, before I get on with the tour, I want to note that I am still getting settled in, so things may get moved around a bit. I like how things are working so far though ... and I do find myself sitting here quite comfortably when the opportunity arises!


So the monitor is parked in the middle, natch. Along the wall I have a month-at-a-glance calendar on the left - and to be completely honest I don't really need a wall calendar but I loved the look of this one - crisp white with LINED boxes and soft gold dots. (Plus, you know me and calendars.) I got it at Staples. On the right side of the monitor is a bulletin board which I will discuss in more depth in a moment. (Martha Stewart brand, also found at Staples.)

I bought the decorative boxes recently at Joann Fabrics where they were on sale and I could hardly resist. The artwork is so pretty and the shades complement the desk nicely. (Speaking of color, another side note - I do love the painted woodwork here. All through the house actually. The former homeowners did a bang-up job choosing paint colors and this green, as well as the green in my kitchen, is probably my favorite - mostly because I know I wouldn't have thought of it myself!)

Inside those boxes I have extra office supplies like pencils, pens, hi-lighters, post-it notes and washi tape. These are the ones I use the most ... my main stash is just beneath in a cabinet - along with stickers, binder clips, glue sticks and clothespins. (See below.)


(You might recognize that yellow ball as our Michaelmas meteor ... yes, that had to go into immediate hiding once the younger boys wouldn't stop fighting over it. I had forgotten I stashed it in there when I went to take this picture, lol!)

Back to that corner for a moment, though! 


I also have a small index card bin here (with monthly dividers and a card for each day colored according to the liturgical season) ... favorite mini binder clips are perched on the edge of the bin and my new daily prayer book sits just behind. :)


If I'm going to be working at my computer for any length of time, I take my Day Designer (my daily planner) with me. I park it in the space to the left of my keyboard. (I usually keep my DD at the kitchen counter so I can check in with it frequently throughout the day.)

Above the monitor is a banner I made recently - an important reminder! - and an overhead light that doesn't work presently. (We're working on getting the right bulb for that fixture and then this whole work area will be much brighter!)


So a bit about the screenshot, lol, because I know you're probably wondering! That is a very pretty planner I puttered around with on the Blue Sky website. A spiral-bound, monthly-weekly affair one can personalize and then order online. I REALLY don't need another planner, but oh ... isn't this pretty? :)

Ok, to the right of the monitor is my bulletin board and more storage ...


Fyi that bulletin board is very easy to put up with adhesive tabs on the back. I found some shimmery copper push-pins to use here - to hold some visual inspiration (I tend to hoard lovely greeting cards and so display them with the seasons) as well as a few notes re ~ library password and Bookworm's class schedule, etc. Also here (beneath the owl card) is Little Bear's most recent pediatrician's report which gives his vitals, doctor contact info. and dosage information.

Beneath the board is another pretty storage box (I'm a sucker for these can't you tell?) and in this one I have craft materials for current or upcoming projects. Right now there are vintage Halloween cards to send with Earlybird, a set of paper turkeys for a Thanksgiving project and materials for our Advent countdown. The trick is to remember I put these things here, lol - but it's vital to keep these things out of the line of my younger boys' vision. ;)

In the rectangular basket I keep bills to pay, statements to review, correspondence to answer, a plastic pouch for monthly receipts and my little shopping notebook. Also tucked in here is Mama's Pink Stapler, and all my business/appointment cards held together with a binder clip ...


Tucked in the very corner of this desk is my Catholic reference book-of-the-moment and two lovely notebooks I bought at the Paper Source recently. Let me show them to you a little closer up ...

New notebooks

You know how sometimes you find - and I'm talking to my fellow paper-nuts here - a notebook that just works really well for you? The size, shape and feel of it is perfect and you just want to find all kinds of uses for it? Well, this is what happened to me with these little beauties. I bought the blue one a few weeks ago and have turned it into a "to-do" kind of journal. I then ordered the pink one online (did not dare visit that store again in person - too tempting!) and am turning it into a daily joy journal of sorts.

Ok, back to the desk ...


When I established myself at this desk I realized I needed a writing/work space as well as a computer area. I had Bill move an old table of ours (originally my grandparents') to the right of my desk chair. I like to turn to my planner/binder as I work and this is a fairly efficient set-up for me.

So on that table ...


A lamp, which casts a very cozy if not very bright light on the area! My favorite page-a-day calendar, my stack of current magazines (piled in order of read first to last, favorites on bottom!), my homekeeping binder, file crate and an in-basket.


I will have to do a separate post about how I'm using my binder as part of my overall planning system. I think I've finally found a daily-weekly combination that works for me! (Monthly-weekly-seasonal planning in the binder ... as well as my daily journaling ... but the daily nitty gritty planning takes place in my Day Designer.) 

My file crate sits nicely here on the table ...


Weekly file folders, seasonal file folders, teacher's planbook standing up in front along with printable nature-study calendars and in the way back of my crate I have a folder for all our homeschooling particulars - any correspondence, HSLDA paperwork, town/school paperwork, etc. The in-basket holds things - any old things - I come across through the week that I want to look at during my weekend "office hours." In there right now is last month's journaling pages for review, a couple of pieces of mail to look at, a storytime craft made by Little Bear (not sure how that ended up in there, lol!), my Advent book for perusal and planning, and a "just moved" announcement from a friend.

Above this work table is a framed Tasha Tudor print ...


My grandparents had this framed for me as a high school graduation gift back in 1987. It brings me such pleasure for so many reasons!

Oh, and while I'm here, let me show you yet another storage box I bought just yesterday and slipped under my work table ...



This one will be for Christmas planning and prep ... I've already stashed a couple of catalogs in there!

I keep my "briefcase" on the floor ...


(In here are this month's home learning books ... I try to find all the books we'll be using ahead of time and pull them out as we need them.)

Now, looking around my "corner office" I have a nice view out the window to my left ...


... although that couch is very tempting!

And there's a small seating area behind me for "client meetings" ... ;)




The table and chairs were originally my parents' and they are actually patio furniture but I love how they look here and the wicker is surprisingly comfortable. I envision having the boys sit with me here individually to review homework and perhaps talk about the week ahead, expectations etc. For Little Bear it's mostly about sharing Mama's tea and playing with puppets. :)

Above my desk are bookshelves full of the older boys' books and a few special nicknacks ... some of that aforementioned "clutter!"


I added those pretty wooden leaf lights just the other day - they add a nice touch on gray days and dark autumn evenings!



And if you're thinking that's a glass of wine right there in that last picture, well ... you'd be guessing right. :)

Last shot ... office motto:



Well my friends, this was a rather long post and I thank you for stopping by to read and share in my "desk joy!" Aside from needing a little more light, it's working out very well for me. I've been here at the desk all morning (well, since 6 a.m. till now which about two hours later) since Earlybird and I are the only ones up and he's out here in the family room using his iPad and watching PBSKids. I'm on my second - make that third - cup of coffee but it's now time to rally the troops and get our Saturday started! Soccer game and family lunch ... applesauce in the pot and meatloaf in the oven ... much to do and many memories to make!

Hope you all have a great weekend ... see you here again very soon!

File Crate System: Refreshed & Ready to Go!

Fixing File Crate 1

Happy Tuesday, my friends! I hope your week is going well ...

I have a quick post to share today - just a glimpse of my file crate all spiffed up for the spring. :) But what has me really tickled this morning is I just figured out how to add "text"  or "talk bubbles" to my photos! Lol, I've only been blogging, what - nine years now? - and finally figured out how to do this!

Anyhow, it's been a while since we talked "file folders," and though I have been using mine, it's been somewhat neglected ... sitting out in a corner of the living room on a desk I'm never at ... so I decided to move it front and center on the kitchen counter where i do most of my work. I also just added new folders for the coming year and got them all written out and it just all looks so pretty (I think anyway ...).

Fixing File Crate 4

(Aren't those talk bubbles neat?)

I use plain manila folders and hanging folders in a "recycled" brown shade. Each hanging folder holds one season (two months) worth of folders. Generally, that's about eight or nine folders.

Fixing File Crate 2

I found a really neat washi tape with a "date" stamp that works well here! And it lifts easily so I could most likely reuse these folders next year. I also used another tape that has the months printed in rainbow colors - this works well, too. In each hanging folder there is first, a folder for general seasonal things - clippings, printouts and planning pages - and then come the individual weekly folders.

I park the crate itself (a plain plastic bin I bought at Staples) right on my kitchen counter, in front of my work station. It's a bit of clutter, yes - but I can move it very easily somewhere else if needed. I will do a separate post about the rest of this work area - which currently includes a master planning binder, my reading pile, a bills basket and ... a calendar ... or maybe two.

I'm having a bit of a calendar crisis which I need to hash out with you all, lol.

Fixing File Crate 3

I have my main planning calendar in my binder (shown above) but there is also the one hanging on front of the file crate ... and the one hanging on the kitchen wall ... and the one sitting on the counter NEXT to my binder .... sigh. I'm hopeless, lol!

Ok, this is all I have time for now and I do apologize (yet again) that I am so slow at posting these days. I honestly think about this blog and all of you all the time ... but free time just does not materialize on most days! I know I don't have to tell you all this - and I know you all are in the same boat, lol! Busy people we all are - busy with the important things, first and foremost - our families! I will never not blog though, so even when it's been a bit of time, please know I will be back! I'm also trying to devote time each week (if not each day) to writing that book I'm always talking about ... and I've toyed with the idea of taking a blog hiatus while I do that ... but! I think instead I will just try to post on occasion, as I can, and put more of my writing time and energy into the "book" project. Because as much as I like to imagine it might - it's not going to write itself, lol!

As always, I thank you for your patience and understanding ... and for reading! Always, for reading ... and please leave a comment if you have time! Are you using a file crate these days? How is it working for you?

Looking forward to catching up again soon ... take care and be blessed! 

Sweet Little Red Tables

Happy Friday, my friends!

I wanted to show you a couple of neat new things in my home office space ... both are gifts from my mother. The first is a pretty red and blue skirt, tailored to fit around an old table that serves as a second desk in this room.

Red tables 2 

This table is actually the bottom half of a little white hutch we had in our very first kitchen! The skirt dresses it up a bit and hides the age/wear and tear. I picked the fabric out and Mum sewed it up for me - we attached it with sticky-back velcro dots!

Red table print

Next is this tiny and cheerful red table, just the right size for Little Bear ...

Red tables 1 

Long ago, it was once mine (though it was a soft yellow then) ... and before that it was my mother's ... and before that, it belonged to my Great Aunt Frannie! We think it's about 80 years old or more. Clearly it's well made to have lasted so long!

For now I placed a favorite puzzle of LB's and a few books on it. Eventually I'll add a small chair and he can sit and draw/color etc. while Mama works at her desk just beside. 

Red tables 4

(And p.s. I know it's been some time since I followed up on that Desk Do-Over post ... it's a-comin' I promise!)

My friends, I hope you all have a lovely weekend ... did you see any snow today? We woke to the prettiest, softest snow falling ... everything was just covered ... but then it melted away as the sun came out later in the day. Still very cold, though! Unseasonably cold through the weekend!

Thanks so much for stopping by, everyone ... see you here again very soon!

The Desk Do-Over (Part 1)

My friends, do you have a desk of your own? A place where you can sit and work on whatever it is that needs your attention - bills, letters, lists, correcting, computing, etc.? I myself do have a desk and I'm very grateful for it ... though these days it's not quite my own. These days I'm sharing it with Crackerjack ... and between the two of us, we've made it a right mess!

So ... I've decided for Mother's Day I am going to ask Bill and the boys for time to work on my workspace and get things back in ship-shape. Because for goodness sakes, it really is getting out of hand! And besides being a real eyesore, it's also quite inconvenient in regards to household paperwork and management.

Case in point: This morning I searched in vain for a particular piece of paper that I was really quite certain I would find in one of these drawers. This was after stashing yet another page-a-day calendar page in one of said (overstuffed) drawers. I got a bit frustrated with my desk - and myself - and decided it was time for a do-over!

So, I thought it would be fun to share my do-over here at the blog. (How could I not?) And in the spirit of full disclosure, I start today with the "before" pictures ... I'm hoping the "afters" will look a lot better!


Here's the desk in question, as it looks this very minute, in the corner of the living room/library:

Desk do-over 1

There's really just too much stuff here - extraneous stuff at that - and not enough open space for working. The computer is Crackerjack's as is the sweatshirt, the action figures, artwork and headset. Everything else - and the baby - is mine.


Ok, drawer one, upper left ... *deep breath* ...

Desk do-over 2

This is supposed to be a budgeting drawer ... I see no evidence of "budgeting" here, do you?

Drawer two, lower left.

Desk do-over 3

I don't even remember what this one was supposed to be. It's just a deep pile of junk right now.

Now, in the very back corner of the desk we have a random stack of books and comics, cables/wires, and a pair of binoculars because, hey - where else would you look for binoculars when you need them other than behind the computer monitor?

Desk do-over 4

Drawer three, upper right ... yikes ...

Desk do-over 6

This was my correspondence drawer which rapidly became THE place for bags of stickers.

Drawer four, lower right ...

Desk do-over 7

The household files drawer. These aren't so bad, actually - just way under-utilized.

And ... this is the cabinet at the base of our liturgical bookcase. I call it my "molly mcgee" closet ...

Desk do-over 5

Little Bear calls it Heaven.


Ok, so there we have it! I have laid bare all my desk secrets, lol ... and as you can see I have my work cut out for me. I will have a Part II post ("the after") up sometime next week ... assuming I get the Mother's Day gift I'm truly hoping for! :)

Now, some of you saw on my Facebook page a tease of a nursery photo ... but a quick note. I am working on a post about Little Bear's nursery, and I thought I would post it today, but I need a little more time ... we still have yet to get his crib in there! Yes, my friends, Little Bear is finally ready to move out of our room and into his own ... I can't wait to show you his new digs. Fingers crossed it means better sleep for all!

For now though, I'm wishing you all a happy week ahead! Let me know in the comments below how your desk is working out for you these days, if you have one. Do you ever let things get as messy as this? (Please say yes, lol.)

Thanks so much for stopping by, everyone ... see you here again very soon!

File Folder/PaperTray Center

As I mentioned in a recent post, I went to the Container Store this past weekend - with a generous gift card burning a serious hole in my pocket - and this is one of the things I picked out:

File tray center 1

File tray center 2

Pretty neat, huh?

The whole kit and kaboodle was on sale, and I just could not resist; I thought the white mesh would look nice on my white desk. And though I have great hanging file drawers in said desk, I really need to keep my weekly folders somewhere visible and convenient. So I set this up, arranging my folders by date and season ...

And today being Thursday, it's file rotation day, and wasn't it nice to pluck a new file folder from my new file folder center?


So that's all for today - just wanted to pop in and share this little bit of organizing happiness with you all. Snowing like crazy here, but very light, and mostly wet ... just one of those late winter days reminding us that no matter what the calendar might say, Nature always does her own thing.

Hope your week's going well, my friends ... see you here again very soon!


Spring Nesting: Getting things started ...

Ok, I'm pushing things a bit because really, spring is nowhere in sight, but ... Lent has begun and that naturally turns my thoughts to spring cleaning. And though I may be only six months pregnant, my "nesting" instinct has really kicked in! So Wednesday morning, with the sun streaming through the windows, and the screens letting in just a little breeze, I set to work in the learning room ...

My first stop was my reading corner which had become a complete mess.

Lr 13

(Convenient, how I only got the "after" shot, isn't it?)

The chair was pulled out (not by me) and the floor and walls were vacuumed and wiped down. Everything came off the shelves - the books were sorted and the shelves dusted before they were rearranged.

Lr 2

Lr 4

Lr 3

Lr 8

Even when I don't even have time to crack open a book, just seeing them all lined up so prettily is enough. Sometimes. :)

Next, I cleaned up the chair itself and then had the boys push it back into place.

Lr 10

I next sorted the bins in which I keep my reading materials, journaling stuff and weekly file folders ... then I washed down the desktop (oy, was that a mess), under the chair mat (ugh) and organized my end of things ...

Lr 16

(The notebook on top that says, "Nov 2" is indeed my current active journal - the date indicates when I started it, and I've been slow to fill in this one.)

*Meanwhile, Archie enjoyed being right in the middle of things. Natch.*

Lr 7

I cleaned out the seasons corner, and asked the boys to bring the bulk of our winter books back downstairs. I am hoping to get our spring/Lent books organized this weekend. 

These are the seasonal books (and videos) for this week ...

Lr 6

And finally, I started re-working the classroom "calendar" wall.

Lr 14

I love this large family-sized calendar!

Lr 12

I'm tweaking it to reflect liturgical seasons and days that are important to us. (For this post, I'm showing the March calendar because it doesn't have any personal family information on it yet - e.g. activities and schedules, etc.)

After a while the room shone with sunlight and possibility ...

Lr 9

I still have more to do here - the windows all need to be cleaned. Badly. But that task will most likely not involve me ... and the ceiling will need dusting, and floor will need to be washed  ...

But all in good time. :)


(This is where I'm posting to you from, my little corner of the world.)

My friends, when do your spring cleaning urges kick in? Is spring cleaning a part of your yearly routine? Do you schedule it at a particular time, perhaps in accordance with Lent?

I like to spend time over Lent working through a spring cleaning plan - mostly decluttering and general cleaning - and then I spend the first half of Holy Week really giving things a nice polish and airing out. This year will most likely be a little different because I'll be in the last trimester of my pregnancy, so I'm slowing down a bit and getting decidedly less agile! Bill offered to hire someone in to help but - call me crazy! - I just can't do that. I figure I have three able-bodied and energetic young people here who, with a little direction, can help out in numerous ways. Spring cleaning is something I relish - feel free to call me crazy again! - and with a few adjustments and a little forethought, it should continue to be a relatively simple and deeply satisfying endeavor.


I'll be posting more on spring cleaning over the next couple of months, so stay tuned and please share your own thoughts on seasonal cleaning. You know I love to hear from you!

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

It's File Folder Weekend!

File folders weekend 1
Well, here's my weekend project ~ going through last year's file folders and preparing the boys' school reports. It's a good day for working inside - it's quite clammy and cool. It's always interesting going back through these folders - so many things I've forgotten, all the different ways I used (and re-designed) the weekly planning sheet that's stapled to the front of each folder. I pull some things to re-file - into storage or a future dated folder - but the bulk of it all I recyle. It always catches me by surprise when we're here at this time of year once again! How is it nearly August again? Already?

Once I've gone through my folders, I'll sift through the work-baskets and school totes, as well as my own monthly calendar. I may even flip back through my blog archives if I think I'm still missing some things. As I "research," I'm taking notes, and when I'm ready to "report," I refer to last year's ed. plans so I can be sure I'm addressing all the points of our initial proposal ...


Then I start in on a brand new plan for a brand new year ...

And that's my favorite part!


So I hope you're all having a nice weekend - wherever you are and whatever your weather - and whatever projects have you busy right now! Thanks, as always for stopping by ... I'll be back here again very soon.

p.s. Update on Dad ~ They're not springing him just yet ... but he's still recovering well. A little more slowly than he'd like I think, but I guess some things you can't rush. Hopefully another day of rest will bring him even greater healing and comfort. Thanks again for the kind thoughts and prayers!

A Corner of the Corner Office

Desk corner 1

Well, it's wicked hot here today (or super-duper hot as EB would say) so we've got the ole AC going ... After supper we'll open up to enjoy the evening air for a bit, muggy though it will undoubtedly be. Then, come bedtime, the AC will go back on so that sleep is easy to come by ... Triple H weather continues over the weekend, and into next week, so this will be our routine for some time. I do hope wherever you are you're able to stay cool, too!

Now, Friday is the day I clean up the learning room, so that's what I've been up to since lunchtime ... and as I puttered and pruned, I realized I never followed up on the file bin I showed you some weeks ago. You might remember I got a new desk back in January (as a birthday gift) with a drawer made just for my year's worth of file folders. (Well, not my file folders - I didn't consult the designer or anything, lol - but file folders in general.) I do like keeping the FCS in this drawer because it's so efficient and neat - and yet - I do miss having those folders at my fingertips. I do keep my "active" folder in my planner, but I often find myself filing things for the upcoming weeks, and not that it's a hardship to stoop down and open the drawer, but it somehow seems a little bit out of the way ...

I had actually been thinking about moving the files back up onto the desk (digging out that old plastic bin) but I was tousling over form vs. function - handy files vs. cluttered desktop. This issue had been pinging around in the back of my mind for some time.


When I was at Target that day, perusing their fabulous office supply aisle, I spied this sturdy cloth bin. (Honestly, what did we do before Target? Spent less money, that's what.) The bin has a frame inside, specifically meant for hanging folders and the whole thing's covered in a smooth chocolate brown canvas. I simply loved the look of it and the trim size, but what really got me were the handles!

Desk corner 3

It doesn't take up too much space on my desktop, and it holds several hanging folders quite nicely. I am using this bin to hold the current season's folders - only two months worth, or about eight or nine weeks. There is a colored folder in front that pertains to the season on the whole (not one specific week). So right now we're in "High Summer," which includes the weeks within July and August.

Just to give you an idea, the "High Summer" folder has a summer nature almanac from Mass. Audubon, a July-August night sky guide from Sky & Telescope Magazine, our local farmstand calendar, as well as seasonal crafts and recipes that I would like to do sometime this summer. (For example, I just added this cool idea.)

Behind the folders I have room for my 2012-2013 homeschool planner (currently under construction).

Desk corner 2

So the bin is usually found up on top of the desk, but sometimes it sits on the floor by my chair. Those handles make it pretty easy to tote along with you if you have the need to do so. (I recently grabbed it when I was heading out with the kids to the library.)

And it's been nice having those current folders so handy. Instead of setting things aside in a pile to file later ... I've been filing things right away - pretty much, anyways. Recently I added recipes for Monday's feast day (7/16), a doctor's appt. reminder (7/23), a recipe for Crackerjack's birthday (8/13), and information on viewing the Perseids next month (8/11).


In front of the bin is my reading basket (magazines only) which earlier today I emptied, vacuumed and reorganized. I usually keep this basket on the floor beside my reading chair ... and speaking of, I'm going to hop off the computer now - get supper started - and then sit for a bit to read. It is nearly the weekend after all. ;)

So I'll leave you at that, with my thanks for stopping by and my hope that you all have a nice weekend. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones ...

I'll be back here again sometime soon!

Friday Felines & Other Fun Things ... :D

All together now:

FF june 1 1

Awwww ...

FF june 1 2

Why yes, we did put those boxes under that bench, just for you guys. Why else would those boxes be there?

Ff june 1 3

This picture just cracks me up: Archie laying on top of Earlybird's stuff - backpack, sneakers and hat. He has a thing about being smack dab in the middle of things ...

FF june 1 4

Ff june 1 5

Ff june 1 7

Ollie, meanwhile, likes to curl up somewhere out of the way - for instance, in the basement windows:

Ff june 1 6


Today we had our last Book Group meeting of the year (June's title: A Wrinkle in Time). Bookworm gave the moms a break and led the kids' discussion this month (he's going to do this next year, too). After the meeting ended, my friend Jenney and I took the kids out for ice cream ...

Book group finale 1

Book group finale 2

A Beautiful Spring Friday - a great day to enjoy ice cream with friends. :) And while we were there we were visited by a red-winged blackbird.  

Red-winged blackbird

Later, back at home, we spotted this cool little moth(?) in the clover patch.

Orange moth on clover 1

And I'm very happy to report the lavender is blooming!

Lavender bed 1


Friday is desk day ...

Friday fun 1

Friday fun 4

Friday fun 5

 ❤ I'm a little in love with my desk. ❤

And guess what this is?

Friday fun 3

It's Crackerjack's new Lego Store Lego set!

Friday fun 2

He got this "exclusive set" last Saturday at the grand opening of a local Lego Store. It wasn't free, but you would get it for free if you spent $30 - which CJ was fully prepared to do. He and Bookworm had been saving money for some Lord of the Rings sets, so all in all, it was a pretty big day in this Lego neighborhood. :)


Well, my friends, I hope you've all had a nice Friday. Boy, did that week fly by fast! And now another weekend is upon us you have any special plans? Bookworm is taking the SAT again tomorrow (prayers are much appreciated!) and Crackerjack's team (tied for 1st place) has its final regular game of the season. Also, my "little" brother turns 40 (40!) this Monday so we'll be having a special little dinner for him on Sunday.

Lots of nice things to look forward to ...

See you all again very soon!

Pretty in Pink

Because I know some of you are office supply junkies like me, I thought you might like to see my brand new stapler:

Pink stapler

It sure is pink, isn't it? (My old one was purple.)

The old one finally broke last week after many years of good service. I think this one's pretty nifty, though. Today being Thursday, I readied my new weekly file folder, and to do so, I stapled a planning sheet to that folder's front cover. It's such a satisfying thing, the way a stapler works ... I'm a big fan of staplers.


Well, I hope you've all had a lovely Thursday ...I'm now off to get a souffle in the oven. (My very first try - wish me luck!)

How Many Tools Do You Use?

Tools 1

When it comes to managing your time, household and family?

You all know it's no secret I love planners. I'm forever talking about them, tweaking them ... tempting myself with new ones. And I'm always curious about other people's planners - specifically, what they look like, and how they use them. And this is what I've been thinking about recently ... about the tools I use and the methods I follow. My "domestic management system" if you will. :)

{tools + methods = system}

But most of all, I'm thinking about how I can simplify it all!

It would be super convenient to have ONE THING that manages EVERYTHING, but I just can't make that happen. That "thing," whatever shape it took, would just be too big and unwieldly. That said, I feel like I may have too many tools currently in use.

I'm wondering then, as my title suggest, how many tools do you use? What do you use to keep up with - and track of - your domestic duties?

 The tools I have "in play" right now are as follows:

Homekeeping Binder

Yearbook Binder

Months @ a Glance Calendar Binder

Weekly File Folders

(a MomAgenda - which is kind of on standby)

Daybook/Homekeeping Blog

Daily Chore Cards

Marketing Binder

Curriculum Binder

Clippings Journal


Reading Basket

Financial Drawer

Correspondence Drawer

Recipe File Drawer

Household File Drawer


(Am I forgetting anything? I probably am. I'm looking all around my home office right now, reminding myself what's what ...)

Now, I highlighted the "weekly file folders" in magenta because these are my favorite tools of all. (And the color matches my new banner, lol.) I'll pin most of my planning onto these folders once I figure out how.

Well friends, I'm going to end this post here because A. it's all I have time for, and B. this is more or less, step one, and, C. I'm trying to make my posts a little more manageable these days. (In other words, not so wordy!)

So have a great Wednesday night ... we're keeping things simple here on the supper front, as I just noted in my homekeeping blog. As I was cleaning out the fridge today I realized we had a LOT of leftovers to use up ... so the chicken pesto pasta will have to wait for tomorrow and tonight will be a little mix of this and that. :)

See you all again very soon!

Cleaning Up the "Mom" Corner

Fridays are the day I clean the learning/sitting room, and today I decided to spend a little extra time on my "mom" corner. It is, after all, Mother's Day weekend, and it is my sincere hope I'll be spending most of it parked right here ...


MD corner 10

So, I pulled the chair out and swept in back there (found Earlybird's long-lost Percy train) and then took apart the book shelves, which had become quite disorganized and dusty.

As you can see, I had the usual help:

MD corner 9

On the top shelf I keep my collection of Everyday Food magazines, my favorite food magazine of all. (I have every issue!) I'm going to look through them this weekend for meal plan inspiration.

MD corner 2

Next shelf down, I have yummy books I own or borrowed, and a few DVD collections, too.

MD corner 3

Just a few momentos on this shelf ...

MD corner 4

On display I have one of my favorite pictures of the boys, my reading glasses, cheerful little knicknacks and my Mary Engelbreit page-a-day calendar.

And then there's the shelf where I keep magazines to look through, and my clippings journal:

MD corner 13

I keep a pair of small folding tables beside my chair when I'm "working" in this spot. The table on the right holds my laptop, and the table to my left holds whatever it is I'm working on at the moment. 

Here I have a planning binder with next week's file folder on top.

MD corner 11

And I have to show you the cleaning checklist I stapled to the inside folder cover:

MD corner 7

This was an idea I gleaned from a kind reader, Suusi. (I loved reading how she utilizes her weekly file folders - her thoughts can be found in this comment thread.) I'm not sure I'll end up using this checklist (I already have those daily chore cards and now my online diary) but I thought I'd give it a try. I basically just took the whole weekly chore list (divided by days) and printed it out on one sheet of paper. Then I stapled it to the inside front cover (the weekly planning sheet is on the opposite side). I envision checking things off as I work through the week ... but we shall see how it goes!

And finally, here is my reading basket. I've let a lot of things pile up recently. :)

MD corner 12

I'm really looking forward to poring over all these magazines, catalogs, newspapers, etc. and working in my clippings journal a little. Puttering like this is a little slice of heaven for me.

Aside from all this reading, my Mother's Day weekend will also include an early soccer game, a trip to the nursery, and breakfast with my family after Mass. It will all wind down with a Sunday supper I have not prepared, and then my two favorite shows of the week: Once Upon a Time (season finale!) and Masterpiece Theater. (Can't wait to see what Sherlock gets up to this week!)


Well, my friends, I'm going to wrap up now, as my kitchen timer is ringing it's third alarm, reminding me I need to start supper early as it is the boys' practice night. So I'll be off ... but I thank you for stopping by ... and I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

(And if you're curious what I'm serving for supper tonight, pop over to my housekeeping blog. I'll be posting today's entry in just a few moments.)


See you all again very soon!

Home Office Day: in the Afternoon

Hello, my friends ... I hope you're having a nice weekend!

Well, yesterday got completely away from me, so I was not able to get my "afternoon" post up ... and today has been quite busy (running errands, etc.) ... but here I am finally sitting down to catch up!

As promised, I took pictures through our day of how I (we) work in and around the "home office." I thought you all might like to see them. :)

First of all, I'm not the only one who makes use of this "office" space ...

HO afternoon 4

Here we have Crackerjack working on a book report at the family computer, and Bookworm reading his current Brit Lit assignment. (Archie is working on "nature study" - aka birdwatching.)

While Earlybird - already on to something else - had been busy on the floor ...

HO afternoon 3

Up at the kitchen counter I began working on next week's file folder ...

HO afternoon 2

... and I pulled a recipe from this week's folder to work on during lunch.

HO afternoon 5

The kitchen is a natural extension of my "workspace," because goodness knows I do much of my "work" in there! Today I had a tuna-pasta dish cooking, good ole mac-and-cheese, as well as a strawberry-rhubarb sauce.

HO afternoon 8

Once the sauce started bubbling, I snapped a picture and sent a quick email to Bill at work ... I thought it might make him smile.

HO afternoon 9

(It did!)

I spent some time organizing my marketing binder ...

HO afternoon 6

... while Earlybird watched a Reading Rainbow episode on the computer.

HO afternoon 7

At last it was time for my lunch break!

HO afternoon 10

Two favorite mugs - one from my mum, one from my mother-in-law. I often eat lunch at my desk ... or next to my desk, lol.

The boys always take an outdoor break after lunch (weather permitting) and the weather was so glorious yesterday I joined them. I was pleasantly surprised to find the forsythia in full bloom!

HO afternoon 17

I brought a few branches inside, but they had to be tucked up high out of (Archie's) reach.

HO afternoon 14

On top of these shelves I also have a basket of saved school work and a basket of tealight candles. (The ones we had blessed on Candlemas.)

I sat down with next week's folder and looked up a few ideas for celebrating the Annunciation and Palm Sunday.

HO afternoon 11

I also spent more time clipping coupons ...

HO afternoon 15

... and I played around with a few new notebooks.

HO afternoon 12

(Temporary daybooks - more on that later.)

I like to keep my planning tools out on the island counter during the day (the bridge between the office and kitchen), as it's easier for me to stand at the counter and work when I have a moment. But at the end of the day, it's good to have a place where I can stash everything ~ notebooks, papers, planners, etc.

HO afternoon 26

(My "Martha" corner, I like to call it. :))

On Fridays I change up EB's reading corner - putting away last week's books (St. Joseph's Day, Spring Equinox) and setting out a few new ones (ducks, rain and salamanders).

HO afternoon 16

Earlybird (who obviously prefers working on the floor!) looked through some of these books. (With Archie's help, of course.)

HO afternoon 18

A bit later on, he did some drawing in his nature notebook.

HO afternoon 19

(I feel compelled to point out - that's dirt on his face, from playing outside. He did get cleaned up at the end of the day. :))

Part of my Friday housekeeping routine is to clean the sitting/learning room (aka my home office), so I did just that ... neatening corners, wiping surfaces, sweeping the floor.

HO afternoon 22

I love it when I can open the windows!

Now, I just gave the room a cursory "clean," but periodically (monthly or seasonally), I give it a deeper cleaning. This would include washing the windows, mopping the floor, cleaning/reorganizing drawers, vacuuming cushions, dusting the ceiling fan, etc.

 Once the cleaning's done, and lessons are done for the day ... I can sit down for a bit!

HO afternoon 23

I have my computer to my right - for checking email, the news and working on my blog. And to my left, I have my journaling stuff and a "to do" list for the weekend ...

HO afternoon 25

It's nice to putter like this when I can. :)

And one last shot ... the home office in the evening ... a glass of wine, a magazine and a little peace and quiet. 

HO evening 1

(Bill had the boys outside, lol.)

I love the softness of a Spring sunset ... can you see the forsythia *bursting* with life in the background? The light is so wonderful at this time of year!


So, a full day late, there's the rest of my "Home Office Day" post. I hope you enjoyed seeing our "workaday" unfold! Now this was a pretty usual Friday for us, for an "at home" day. Many days we are in and out, running to a class or activity.

I'm going to sign off now, as it's time to get supper underway. Thanks so much for visiting me today! I look forward to "seeing" you again soon. :)

Home Office Day: in the Morning

Today is National Organize Your Home Office Day!

I thought it would be fun to take pictures through the day as I work in, and clean out, my own little "office space." So to begin with, here are some pictures from early this morning (a typical morning) in my home office ... 

HO morning 1

This is my comfy reading corner (known to all in the household as "Mama's Chair," lol). In the very early mornings I have my coffee here ... 

I always open this window to let in fresh air and allow the cats their morning "bird fix."

HO morning 2

I love tearing a page off my Mary Engelbreit daily calendar. Her artwork and quotes always make me smile. :)

HO morning 3

And then, parked up at the kitchen island I have my laptop and assorted planning materials. I don't usually have my phone out, but my inbox was acting wonky this morning so I was checking mail on my phone instead. 

HO morning 4

At this early hour, I look over my calendar and start working on a daily page.


And now it's just about 9 a.m. and time to start up my own "office hours." :) I.e. it's time to get breakfast for my now-awake-boys ... and organize their lessons ... but I'll be back again later to chat more about my "Home Office Day." I hope your Friday is off to a nice start ... and THANK YOU all so much for your kind "blog-a-versary" messages yesterday! I appreciate your kind words and loving support very much!

See you again in a bit ... have a great day!

A New Batch of Weekly File Folders ...

A "new year" all ready to go!

New batch of folders 1

Don't they look nice - all fresh and crisp? I love how ... empty ... they are and yet, so full of promise. 

As you can see, I went with plain manilla folders this go-around (rather than patterned, pastel or primary) because I am currently fiddling with the weekly planning sheet (to fasten to the front of each folder) and I thought a plain background would work best.

Now, speaking of "office stuff" don't forget, this Friday is National Clean Out Your Home Office Day. I plan to do a little spring cleanup of my own "home office" ... and then of course, I'll post all about it. :)

And if you do have a home office (room, corner, space), I'd love to hear about it! I know many of my readers are stay-at-home moms, and I've always felt we have as much a need for office space as anyone. A quiet corner, a special desk, a small portion of the kitchen counter ... even just a big, roomy tote! What we need is a place where we can keep track of what we're in charge of ... and as moms, we're in charge of a lot!

Now, I'd like to take a moment to say that I have great respect for women who work outside the home and also juggle responsibilites at home. I know I'm very fortunate to not have to work, and that I can make our home and family my sole focus. I try to never take that for granted, and I thank God (and Bill) every day that we are able to live this way. The thing of it is, all of us moms - wherever we work - without a doubt, we have a lot on our plates. You know, those many, many plates we keep spinning above our heads on any given day? So a home office - any size or scale - is a good idea for all of us!


Well, my friends,  I hope you all had a nice day ... and I hope to be here again sometime tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by ... have a good night!