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Mama at her office

My friends, I am checking in quickly just to say hi and let you know, I am still here! All is fine - I'm just not finding the time I'd like to post this week. Firstly, Bill was quite sick with what turned out to be, thankfully, nothing worse than a middle ear disturbance. (Water in the ear = vertigo + nausea, which, fyi, does not pair well with strenuous activity like say, roof shoveling.) He's doing much better, I'm happy to report. :) And today we had Earlybird's neurology appointment, which is always a bit of an ordeal. EB is not one for doctor appointments - or long rides into Boston! - but I am happy to say it went very well. My dad accompanied us (taking the edge off and providing EB with comfort and support) and my mum was here to babysit the little guy so we didn't have to drag him in with us. Crackerjack was a huge help to her on that front! So EB checked out fine and was so well behaved at his appt. ... and it just feels so good to have it behind us! As for the weather, we haven't had a lot of snow this week (relatively speaking ) but the temps have been extremely low and we're readying for more snow followed by rain - this weekend. New Englanders are being warned to remove snow from our rooftops (in fear of roof collapse) ... so there's the weekend project!

Goodness, I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining, I just wanted to explain why this week has been a little "off" and it's been difficult to find time to post. I am working on a rather large (ok, very large) post about my new cleaning calendar ... and I really want to post that one next. So once I finish that up (nearly there now!) I'll be back. In the meantime, wishing you all a very nice weekend ...

I will see you here again very soon!

p.s. Photo of "Mama in Her Office with Her Trusty Assistant" by Bill.


Lenten Meal Planning

Good Friday morning, my friends!

Lent specials in circular

Some of you saw this picture on my Facebook page last night, but I'm sharing it here, too ... because it just makes me so happy to see Lenten specials in my grocery store circular! For one thing it reminds me - it's that time of year again! - and for another, it's nice to think that even a giant supermarket chain is aware of certain faith traditions. Here we have delicious treats for Mardi Gras (or Shrove Tuesday as I like to call it), and plenty of seafood specials for "Fishstick Fridays."

But anyway, it reminded me that Ash Wednesday is but a few days away! And during Lent, we abstain from meat on Fridays (some folks do so all year), so my weekly menus must be adjusted. But I'm a bit compromised in that Bill is not a fan of fish - so fish sticks are served at weekday lunch only!

I was wondering, then, if I might ask you all about your favorite meatless meals? 

Also, if you observe Lent in your home, do you have some specialties you always look forward to through the season?

For me that would be a pancake supper on Shrove Tuesday, corned beef on St. Patrick's Day, baked donuts on St. Joseph's Day, homemade custard on Rose Sunday and a lovely brunch on Palm Sunday ... etc.

Here's an old post about this very subject, one I plan to read over later today, but I think it's always good to revisit a topic when it's timely. Happily, there are always new thoughts to share ... as well as new voices to share them!


In the meantime, it's a bitterly cold day here - highs in the teens - and there's another snowstorm arriving tomorrow evening. Happy Valentine's, indeed! I have no idea where we'll put another foot of snow, but I guess we'll need to figure that out!

(Needless to say, Spring seems an awfully long way away ...)

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

January Journal Work

January journal 4

Happy Tuesday, my friends! Hope your week's going well ...

So yesterday, as the snow blew and blustered outside - and while the baby napped - I got around to a little domestic paperwork. It being February, I pulled last month's journal pages from my binder and filed them in my Yearbook binder behind the January tab.

I then sat down with a piece of paper and some sticky notes (and a cup of cocoa!) to do some indexing and I thought I'd share with you what I wrote down ... it might give you an idea of the kinds of things I "journal" about and also, some of my deep winter "thoughts and themes" might strike a cord with you! :)

The whole process took me about 30 minutes. I flipped through the journal pages and read over each notation/clipping. If it was something I would want to remember (or return to) I jotted it down on a loose-leaf "index page." (Which would later be added to my Jan-Feb binder.)  If it was something I needed to act on soon or record on another list, I jotted it down on a sticky note ...

So, first, here's a look at my January Journaling:

* spiced white hot chocolate (crockpot)

* first bird of the year (robin)

* blessed chalk handed out at Mass on Jan. 1st

* picked up liturgical wall calendar at Mass

* color of the year announced ("marsala" by Pantone, "guilford green" by Benjamin Moore)

* a scattered list of Jan-Feb themes to incorporate into the season ... (ex. winter citrus, birthday joy, hand-written letters, Burns Night dinner, seed catalogs, snow days, candles/warmth ...)

* book idea: "A Few Nice Things for New Year's Day" ~ a first family walk, first bird, first sunrise, happy jar, pic-a-day, thank you notes, Christmas card review, old-fashioned movies & popcorn, roast dinner ...)

* in the MSL D/J issue: leftover eggnog latte recipe, citrus-spice candle craft

* Jenney C.'s almond milk-gingerbread latte (FB)

* Twelfth Night - beer-braised beef & parsnip stew

* Little Christmas/Three Kings Day 

* Tasha Tudor Museum Newsletter (order back issues)

* craft: wintery jar-candle centerpiece (twine/yarn around ball jar rims, red candles, set in vintage metal cake pan, greenery/berries/pinecones around the jars)

* Downton Abbey "manners guru" interview

* lemon curd recipe for scones (Boston Globe Magazine)

* aggressive coyote noted in neighboring town

* little notes on Little Bear's words and actions

* spied a weasel on next road over

* Boston is the US 2024 Olympic bid!

* "Winter was a time of some leisure on the farm." (quote from Yankee Magazine article)

* book theme idea: "Winter Cheer"

* observed a large flock of robins by library in next town

* spotted a large hawk in tree by mailbox

* heard a woodpecker knocking in woods

* Patriots are going to the Superbowl!!!

* tag-team scribbles by Earlybird and Little Bear

* purple Ball jars idea - Lent, Advent Garden (solar lantern lids)

* Feast of St. Agnes ~ snowflake cake (white with apricot jam)

* National Hot Tea Month

* "Skills Every Child Needs" from Parents Magazine (social graces)

* football-shaped snack ideas (People Magazine)

* National Handwriting Day

* "A Blizzard of Historic Proportions"

* National Catholic Schools Week (1/25-1/31) ~ post idea: how do we weave our Faith into our homeschool/home life? 

* craft idea: paper chain with links for each day in holiday/seasonal papers

* Superbowl goodies (craft/recipe ideas)

* Downton Abbey TV Guide cover

  January journal 3

I filled four sticky-notes with items that need more immediate action:

* info. re ~ a dermatologist to give to Bill

* lesson ideas re ~ American Tall Tales (listening to these with EB) - logging, map of forests in US, tree types, where do legends originate (map), Niagara trip?

* Holy Week Cleaning outline

* Wall-a-Week Cleaning schedule

* summer project: cooking lessons with boys (per BW's request)

* for EB's portfolio - Popular Mechanics for Kids dvd, "Mom, did you know pollution is bad? It comes from cars and buildings ... and it's really bad."

* Ask Magazine, Feb. issue: Fire (Candlemas/February learning theme)

* passwords created recently to record in binder

* a friend's birthday to add to calendar

* weekly news quiz in Globe (for Crackerjack)

* meal rotation idea (4 meals x 7 days = 28 meals/month)

* craft binder - monthly bunting, a "mama" smock for seasons and storytelling

* pick up a beef pie from local farm (per BW's request)

* Great Zoo of China - a book to check out at library (for BW)


So now my main binder has just a couple of journal pages so far ... but I'm sure by the end of February it will be filled up once again!

January journal 2

Now, before I go I want to show you this particular clipping (above) that I added to my January journal ... it's from a Paper Source catalog and I just set up this very set of chalkboard squares (rectangles, really) on my kitchen wall! I can't wait to show you how I'm using them ... they look fantastic! I'll tell you more in my next post. :)

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

Happy, Happy February!

Snowdrops vintage artwork

And Happy Monday, everyone!

Well, it's quite a day here in New England - we're waking to another snowy morning (a foot or so expected by dark) and another Superbowl win for my beloved Patriots!! So as you might guess, we're just a WEE bit excited around here! :)

I'm so enjoying the magazine comments in my last post - I'll be in there shortly to catch up - but I'm running on fumes this morning after three late nights in a row (we had a night owl baby on Friday and a college reunion dinner on Saturday) so I'm behind on EVERYTHING. Feeling grateful for well, first of all - coffee! but also - my lists and my habit of planning ahead. It's keeping me a little bit focused as I gather my wits this morning.

Also, it's is Candlemas and Groundhog's Day - and as I understand it, Punxatawny Phil saw his shadow so we're in for six more weeks of winter. (Like we couldn't have guessed that, lol! I'm surprised he was able to dig his way out of his den!) And on Candlemas I like to have a new supply of tea lights blessed at church ... unfortunately I won't be getting out the driveway in time for morning Mass! I bought these wonderful beeswax tea lights that I plan to use in a seasonal/liturgical way this year ... I might stick them in my purse and see if Father can bless them next Sunday. :)

Candlemas 2

Also, February 1st is the Feast of St. Brigid, patroness of Ireland and dairy farmers. We'll be reading the wonderful Brigid's Cloak at some point today, Irish tea, and there may be "shepherdess pie" for dinner. :)

Ok, I'd best be off as the house wakes up around me ... off to grab another cuppa and finish my marmalade toast! I hope you all have a great day, and once again before I go, I must say ...

O in pats hat





I wanted to mention this fun little promotion here because I know many of you, like me, just love those Christmas coffees! On occasion, you know. Not all the time or anything. But this is a very brief offer so I thought I'd pass it on. For more details, read here.

Which drink would you choose? Peppermint mocha, gingerbread latte, eggnog latte? I heard a rumor there is also now a "chestnut praline" drink ... and that sounds very interesting to me.

(For the record, I almost always go with peppermint.)

Now, while I'm here I also wanted to mention that starting on Monday, November 24th I am going to host a weekly tea here at the blog that will run throughout Advent. This will be a post about what I'm drinking and making and thinking in regards to the season. Details to come in a bit - still working them all out - but I would love to make it a group effort if we could.


Cheers to yummy Christmas drinks, my friends! Have yourselves a good night.

"Bring Back Home Ec!"

Happy Sunday, my friends! I hope you're enjoying your weekend ...

I just wanted to pop in quickly and share a link to this neat article which I read in the "Ideas" section of the Boston Sunday Globe. Very interesting stuff - lots of valid points. I would like to expand upon it, but my time is a bit pinched right now ... suffice it to say I think bringing "home ec" lessons back to the classroom (and the home!) is a wonderful concept.

And not just any old "home economics" class, but ... "a forward-thinking new kind of class that would give a generation of young people - not just women, but everyone - the skills to shop intelligently, cook healthily, manage money, and live well." (Ruth Graham, "Bring Back Home Ec!")

So take a looksee if you have a moment, and let me know what you think. In the meantime, have yourselves a lovely evening  ... I'll see you here again sometime soon!


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

Happy Monday, my friends!

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

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

Bulbs 1

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

Apple blackberry crisp 1

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

Apple blackberry crisp 2

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

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

* Ok, another gratuitous Little Bear pic ... 

Owen trouble 1

Here comes trouble, indeed! ;)

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

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

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

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

Acorn family

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


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

An unreal morning here in Boston ...

We woke to the news that there is a manhunt underway in the Boston area. Overnight, the two marathon bombing suspects were found - after they shot and killed an MIT police officer, carjacked someone (who was thankfully released unharmed) and then engaged area police in a gunfight which left one suspect dead. The other suspect is on the loose (apparently with weapons and bombing materials in his possession) and the entire city of Boston is shut down today - as well as several neighboring towns. People have been told to stay indoors and lock their doors. Public transportation is shut down and many colleges have been closed for the day, urging their students to stay inside.

More details here.

It's just unreal ... I fear for what is unfolding in our community. I am praying for the MIT officer who lost his life as well as our Boston community, and hoping this resolves quickly, with no further loss of life.

My friends, please keep Boston in your prayers today ... and wherever you are, be safe and well.

I'll check in again later today.


Please pray for Boston ...

Boston 2
The Boston skyline, viewed from a north shore beach.

Waking with a heavy heart this morning, realizing there are so many layers to this tragedy ...

The tragedy of those killed, like the 8 year old boy who was waiting at the finish line for his dad, a marathon runner. (God bless him and keep him.) His mother and sister were also seriously injured. How does this family go on?

And the tragedy of the 140+ injured, some critically, by the blasts - like the two brothers, both laid-off roofers who were there to cheer on a friend. They each lost a leg.

As well as the tragedy of all who were there at the scene and will be forever impacted by the horror they witnessed on what was supposed to be a proud and historic day.

And then of course, there's the Marathon itself which will forever be tainted by this tragedy.

There are so many levels of grief it seems impossible to grasp ... I guess all we can do is lend our support in whatever way we can.

And so please join me in praying for all those affected by the tragedy, and for the beautiful city of Boston. In the midst of all this, I watch in pride and awe at how the community is responding ... local and worldwide ... coming together in strength and support.

There is so much light being infused into the darkness ... and the Light is always stronger than the dark.

We are safe here ...

Dear friends, thank you for your concern. We are all safe and sound here, although shocked and deeply saddened by the tragedy unfolding in Boston. Bill was actually not at work today (we toured a campus with Bookworm) and we learned of the situation shortly after returning home. It all still seems unreal. 

We are saying our prayers for all those injured by the explosions today ... and thank you all for your prayers for our community.


Holy Smoke!

White smoke                                                                                                    photo credit: Boston Globe

 Just a few minutes ago, we learned that a new pope has been elected! What an exciting day for Catholics around the world!

Habemus Papem!!

We have a Pope!



Pope Francis I

With love and prayers for Pope Francis I!

Snowflakes for Sandy Hook ...

A friend of mine shared this on Facebook and I wanted to pass it along to my readers:

Newtown snowflake project
What a wonderful and meaningful project. A perfect craft for the Winter Solstice tomorrow ~ creating snowflakes for the Sandy Hook children. Earlybird does not know about the tragedy, but he certainly knows what it means to make something special for someone who needs it. :)

Blessings to you all on this last day of Autumn ... 

~ Dawn

Just a thought ...


"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

~ J.M. Barrie

Anger only fuels more anger - while Kindness breeds tolerance and respect. Everyone is so quick to judge and feel slighted these days, but maybe if we all showed a little more compassion - even in the smallest, most (seemingly) insignificant moments - there would eventually be less conflict in the world.

When tragedy rocks us, we look for the big answers, but maybe we need to start small?

World peace is a noble ambition, but the power of peace is within each of us. If we can find it within ourselves, why not share it and spread it around?

Weekly Bits of Domestic Bliss

VH nest 1
Of Note

Winter Solstice (21st), Fourth Sunday in Advent (23rd)


Alas, it's looking more and more like a green Christmas. After a chilly, rainy start the week, we may see some flurries over week's end.

The Solstice brings the shortest day of the year. We'll make time to watch (and record) the sunrise and sunset. We'll also make some homemade nutty-fruity treats for the birds & squirrels.


Finalize Christmas Eve/Day menus.

Order ham.

Major fridge clean-out.

Party food/libations shopping over weekend. 

Last batch of Christmas cards mailed out.

Write out checklist for pre-Christmas cleaning.

Organize Christmas outfits.

Christmas Baking later this week!

Last minute online orders.

Dinner Menus:

M - baked ziti, leftover meatballs (from EB's party), salad, toasted rolls

T - squash soup & grilled cheese/turkey panini (leftover deli from EB's party)

W - grilled chicken tenders, rice, roasted vegetables (leftovers make great wraps for lunch the next day)

T - homemade pizzas, tossed salads

F - Solstice Supper: beef cottage pie, solstice bread, spiced cider, lemon "sun" cake

S - *leftovers a la Daddy*

S - turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn muffins, cranberry sauce

Dear Baby ...

(17 Weeks)

You are a very active baby, my little one! I'm feeling lots of movement every day - little pops and twirls. Daddy and I were watching a documentary on The Beatles and you seemed particularly rambunctious! So much so that Daddy could feel you from the outside!

Mama has some labwork this week and we're praying everything is OK.

Learning Themes:

The Winter Solstice

"Animals of Christmas" continued - donkeys!

Excited About ~ Working On:

Watching Christmas specials with the kids, when it gets dark in the mid-afternoons. I love it when the house is lit only by Christmas lights.

Beginning my Winter Journal ... brainstorming homey, cozy thoughts for January and February. :)

Choosing/organizing a new 2013 calendar.

Making time for a Christmas "Tuesday Tea" this week, whether it's Tuesday or not.


My heart is so heavy this morning, so full of sorrow over the tragedy in Sandy Hook. Praying for those dear little souls, such beautiful children ... I can think no further on it, nothing makes sense and it's all too terrible to process. Just feeling very protective of my own children and praying for all those involved, especially the families of those lost.

Angel ornament

Well my friends, I hope your week's going well ... thanks so much for stopping by today. I know we're all busy, especially as we enter this last week before Christmas, so posting will be slow for me ... but please know I am always thinking of you all and keeping you in my prayers.

And have yourselves a merry little Monday ...


Weekly Bits of Domestic Bliss

VH nest 1
Of Note

Jury Duty (3rd), National Cookie Day (4th), St. Barbara (4th), St. Nicholas (6th), The Feast of The Immaculate Conception (8th), Second Sunday in Advent (9th), National Pastry Day (9th)


Mild for December! In the 50s most of the week, but rain coming this weekend.

At tree farm, notice different kinds of evergreens. (Bring a field guide?)

Sketch branch of our tree for nature journal.


Clean out medicine chest. Replace outdated items.

Clean out china cupboard. Dust and polish woodwork, wash Christmas china and set up display.

Work on Christmas Eve/Day menus.

Decorate tree!

Repair tree skirt.

Prepare Christmas cards for mailing.

Dinner Menus:

M - Chinese takeout :)

T - grilled beef & cheese panini with carmelized onions, steak fries

W - baked ziti, sauteed Italian veggies, garlic breadsticks

T - breaded/baked chicken tenders, homemade cranberry relish, roasted potatoes

F - homemade pizza night, salad

S - *leftovers a la Daddy*

S - sweet potato-sausage-kale soup, parsnip-onion tarte tatin, Mexican cocoa

Desserts: vanilla cookies, gingerbread snack cake, sorbet

Dear Baby ...

(15 Weeks)

We've started to think about names, but if/when we find out your gender later this month we will get more serious about that. ;)

Mama has some tests this week - praying all is well!

Learning Themes:

"Animals of Christmas" continued (birds).

Where is Winter? Crazy climate!

Read: The Lady of Guadalupe. Discuss example of Juan Diego.

Excited About ~ Working On:

My "Advent Peace" basket - I keep it tucked beside my couch corner. In it I have: my seasonal prayer journal, my Magnificat Companion, my comfort reading, and a few special dvd's.

I am loving Thomas's Cranberry Swirl toasting bread! I buy this every year ... and it's so delicious with a little butter. Tastes just like Christmas breakfast to me!

Can't wait to meet my brother's new cat, Martini  - he adopted her over the weekend.

So happy to learn Princess Kate is pregnant! Many blessings to the royal couple and prayers all goes smoothly. (And prayers for Kate's sickness relief!)


Doing some serious thinking about how (dis)organized I am. SO many things have fallen through the cracks lately - been forgotten or messed up - I can't even tell you. It's shameful. And when we have a few busy days in a row - as I had this past weekend (all-day mime performances on Saturday, a family party on Sunday, jury duty on Monday) I feel, and fall, so behind. I don't have any answers yet, just know I have to step up, get focused and get a better handle on things.

Thinking about my jury duty experience yesterday ... I was assigned a low number, so, after a brief "once over" by the judge, I was the third juror placed in the box. However, one of the attorneys (my guess is the defense) sent me back to the pool. It was an ugly case, too - the defendant was accused of domestic assault & battery. I felt lucky that, along with the other excused jurors, I was free to go at lunchtime, but I truly felt lucky on a few different levels. The things some families have to go through ... the lives some people are leading ... makes me all the more grateful for the stability and blessings I have in my life.

Sunday is National Pastry Day and I have such fond memories of my dad buying pastries on Sunday mornings after church. My favorites were the lemon danish (and as I recently revelaled these have been a consistent craving through all my pregnancies). I would love to learn how to make pastries someday, but for this Sunday I'll pick up some yummies at our favorite local bakery. :)

Very sad to learn Everyday Food magazine will be going out of print next year. :( This has been my favorite food magazine for years - in fact, I have every issue!


Well my friends, I hope your week's going well ... thanks so much for stopping by today. Have yourselves a Happy Tuesday, and be sure to tune in tomorrow ... I have a little giveaway planned! :)


My Kids Have Never Had Twinkies ...

... and now they might never have the chance!

Hostess, Maker of Twinkies and Ding Dongs, Says Closing Business


So I'm wondering if I should rush out and buy a box so my kids can at least try this longtime lunch-box treat. (If there are any left on the shelves - apparently they're disappearing fast!) I myself was never partial to Twinkies ... but I was rather fond of those swirly-topped cupcakes ... on occasion. ;)

There is hope it seems, that another company might pick up the trademark (and hopefully the recipe) and continue with the Hostess tradition. But will they still seem the same? Of course, in the event this doesn't happen, there is always the homemade alternative!

Will you miss Twinkies, dear readers? I may not have liked them much, but I'll miss them on principle, I think. Another "slice of Americana" gone by the wayside.


Allrighty, time to wrap up. I think I'll file this one under "Current Events" and "Needs More Coffee to Make Sense." :)

Have a nice Sunday, my friends!


Money Monday: Grocery $ (& a Giveaway!)


Good morning, my friends! I hope you all had a nice weekend. It's a glorious morning here in my corner of the world - quite sunny, and relatively cool for this time of year. A great day for opening up the house and letting in all that lovely fresh air ...

So, Mondays used to be reserved for Masterpiece chat* ... but today I'd like to start a conversation about money. Each week I'll pose a different question/topic of discussion and we'll see what we can make of it.

But for today I'd like to follow up on this post, and ask you all this:

How much do you spend on groceries each week, and how many mouths (human or otherwise) do you feed? If you're not comfortable revealing a dollar amount, would you say you spend more than you'd like?


I have a very hard time keeping our grocery costs down, what with three growing boys, some special diet needs, a desire to shop "organic" as often as possible - not to mention, a couple of cats! And it's been all over the news lately that grocery prices will be rising over the next year ...

Still, it's one area of our family budget where I can make a difference, so I'm constantly trying to do my best. When I'm rushed and disorganized, I end up spending way more than I mean to. But when I find time to make up a dinner plan and a thoughtful grocery list and check the flyers and clip the coupons - I spend a much more managable amount.

So I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject. :) And to "sweeten the deal" I'm going to offer a giveaway this morning ... my copy of Playful Learning, which is a terrific book, but a little young for my boys these days ... so on Wednesday morning I'll draw a name from the comments and announce a winner! (Please let me know if you're not interested in the book, and I'll keep you out of the giveaway.)

And if you have suggestions for future "money" posts, please leave those, too!

Have a great Monday, everyone!

P.s. *Downton returns January 6th - so mark your calendars! "Masterpiece Mondays" will resume early next year. :)


After the Storm

Well, it's a bright and beautiful morning here in Massachusetts ... Irene has come and gone and we're doing just fine. We never lost power and thankfully we had no flooding. But I know we were very fortunate, considering the devastation in other towns, especially up north where the flooding was quite severe. To my Vermont friends - I hope you all are OK! We're praying for you today and hoping your beautiful state recovers quickly!

Our yard is littered with tree branches (some a good size!) so the boys and I have plans to gather those branches and start a tidy bramble pile this morning. We'll fill all our feeders, too - the critters may have missed out on their daily meals yesterday, seeking shelter from the storm. We may also take a walk along the bike trail to see how the woods fared. Otherwise, we're kicking off our last week of summer vacation - I spent the weekend ordering curriculum and ironing out a specialized plan for Earlybird this fall. (I only plan through Christmas - by then I'll see where we're at and write out plans for the rest of the year.) I'm also tweaking the learning spaces - readying the materials and supplies we'll need for another year of learning at home. I have to say this is perhaps my favorite time of year! All this nice weather - hurricanes not withstanding! - and such promise for a bright and shiny new year.

Well, my friends, I hope you all have a nice Monday ... I'll be back again just as soon as I can.