Early Spring Tea Feed

Tea @ Dawn's ~ Early Spring Ponderings + Free Printables!


Hello my friends, and Happy March!

Well, despite its extra day, February really seemed to fly by - and here we are beginning a new season. In the liturgical world, Lent began last week and in the natural realm, we are just 18 days away from the start of spring. (This year the equinox falls on March 19th - the earliest since 1896!)

Most of us in the northern hemisphere know however, that winter absolutely loves to linger ... and spring is perpetually running late. And here in New England our weather has been a little messed up - in that, it's not actually been all that messy! It's been a fairly mild and practically storm-free winter, and case in point here is my local forecast for next week:

Please excuse me while I knock on wood - because that forecast is astounding for the first week of March! (And the week after that looks just as mild, if perhaps a bit more showery.)

So ... "in like a lion?" Maybe not so much. And an early spring in the cards? Well, so said the groundhog, and if it comes to pass, I for one will be very pleased. Because the only thing I don't like about New England winters - and yes, I do like them! - is that most years they just don't know when to quit! By March we're often still knee-deep in snow and I am positively longing for even the subtlest signs of spring ...

Speaking of ...


This was last week in my little Katie Daisy journal, which I'm currently using mostly for nature notes. I've been trying to jot down every little nuance we notice - and we notice a lot as you can see! There have been plenty of little signs of spring's approach - chipmunks scampering, owls hooting, skunks digging, woodpeckers drumming ... and holy moly, the red-winged blackbirds have returned to the marsh!

March is chock-full of interesting nature, and while we're on that topic - here are two resources I think you'll enjoy:

Wild Kids Magazine March 2020

And, this great nature calendar from The Massachusetts Audubon Society:


(I use this every month with Little Bear to see how much we can observe!)

By the way - have you seen the preview of the 20-21 Katie Daisy planner cover? It premiered on Instagram this week, and I just love the blue floral design - with touches of my favorite yellow!

51vviSkoPFL._SX364_BO1 204 203 200_

(You can pre-order on Amazon, and I believe the publication date is May 8th.)

Ok moving on now - As you can see in my top picture, on this bright and brisk St. David's Day I am enjoying a cup of Barry's decaf black tea in my beloved Royal Tara china. (The set I inherited from my grandmother - the set I supped from as I learned to love tea as a child.)

Traditionally I like to make daffodil cake on this feast day, but that was just not in the cards today. (I might make it next weekend when Crackerjack is home for spring break.) Instead I nibbled on some Girl Scout cookies, a treat my husband picked up at the grocery store yesterday. (Though they're called "shortbread" cookies now, long-ago Girl Scout that I am, I prefer to call them by their original name, Trefoils!)

So as I enjoyed my tea by a sunny window, I set about editing my latest seasonal planning printables ...


And here they are, fresh off the presses!

Early Spring Planning Packet

My 14-page booklet includes forms for organizing various seasonal events, brainstorming comforts and joys that are special to this unique time of year, tracking early spring phenology and exploring the March and April full moons. My planner is also peppered with seasonal quotes and vintage illustrations (found on Pinterest) and is free for your personal use!

Also, since Easter is just around the corner (6 weeks and counting!) here are some extra Easter planning sheets from my Printables archive:

Easter Prep Worksheet A

Easter Prep Worksheet B

Easter Sunday

Easter Memories


I really have such fun assembling these planning sheets, and I hope you also find them fun - and useful!

(Next up will be Late Spring and I hope to have that posted by the end of April.)

Now for the liturgical season ... Lent is upon us! And I thought I'd share a couple of things we did (and did not do) this past week, in the spirit of "keeping things real." Because as usual, my best laid plans went seriously awry and I had to make a few "adjustments."

So you might remember in my last post, I had originally planned to take Little Bear to Mass on Ash Wednesday morning so we could receive ashes at church. Then we would swing by the craft store so we could pick up the supplies for creating a new and "glittery" ALLELUIA for "burying." (An old Catholic tradition.)

And what happened instead was ... well, not quite that.

After an extremely stressful morning with Earlybird (who is back to resisting school and having a very hard time with the side effects of a certain medication - which he is now weaning off of ) we just could not make it over to church. We didn't hav the time and I didn't have the wherewithal to be perfectly honest. As it was, I had to have EB's ABA therapist come to the house to help me get him ready - ride with us even - and we arrived at school quite a bit little later than usual.

Clearly Mass was not going to happen, so instead Little Bear and I made ashes at home. :-)


To do this, we simply burned one of last year's palms and mixed the ashes with little holy water.  I found some instructions in The Catholic Home, a lovely book I've had on my liturgical shelf for ages. Then I said a little blessing and made the sign of the cross on Little Bear's forehead. Then I let him do the same to me.

It was a simple activity and perhaps a tad unconventional, but Little Bear seemed to enjoy the experience very much. And to be honest, I relished the quiet togetherness, and appreciated the reassuring comfort of home.

Then came the time to craft a new Alleluia ... but we couldn't dash over to the craft store because I needed to be near the phone (in case Earlybird's school called), so instead, I mined my craft stash to see what we could use ...


Happily, I found some golden alphabet stickers - had to fudge a few, making an E out of a B, and I out of an F and some Ls out of various letters - and then cut some purple construction paper into a paper cross shape.


We then piled the letters in the middle of the cross, and folded the ends in order to make a kind of pouch. (Thereby, "burying the Alleluia.")

Last step - a butterfly to hold the pouch closed and then we placed it on our Lenten mantle. 

(Spoiler alert: I will use those letters to make a colorful banner for Easter morning!)

Moral of the story - life does not always unfold as originally planned. I was really looking forward to attending Ash Wednesday mass with Little Bear, but what was most important that morning was figuring out how to best help Earlybird find his calm and courage. Once I had EB safely at school, I next focused my attention on Little Bear - reassuring him all was well, while listening to his worries. He's at the age where he's maturing beyond his autistic brother and we're trying to help him see and accept that EB's behaviors do not always reflect what we know is in his heart.

So for our giving gesture that day, we talked about how Earlybird acts out when something makes him feel scared or sad. And right now he's a little scared of going to school, and he feels sad to leave home. Those feelings are hard for any child but especially overwhelming for a child with autism. Earlybird can sometimes act out in very inappropriate ways.

We also talked about how all this makes Little Bear feel - nervous he said, and a little mad and a little sad. Feelings very similar to his brother's. I tried to reassure him that no feelings are wrong, because nobody can help their feelings ... but we can help how we react to them. And children need tools for managing their reactions. Little Bear can talk to us and he can pray with us and he can let Earlybird know, in different ways, that we're always, always on his side.

So we decided to make a card to encourage EB:


I told Little Bear I was proud of HIM for trying to see things from his brother's point of view, and for forgiving him when he says things that are not very nice or when he raises his voice or makes a mess because he's mad. Or when his behavior gets in the way of something we really wanted to do. Just like his oldest two brothers before him, Little Bear will have lots of opportunities to learn patience, tolerance, forgiveness ... and I hope to help him find ways to connect with a brother whom he likes a lot  - but sometimes resents for rather "unlikeable" behavior.

There is no easy fix, and this will be a lifelong journey - we can only take each day as it comes and take it as easy on each other (and ourselves) as well can.

Written in my journal later that day, a quote I came upon, a rather timely reminder ...

"Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself." St. Francis de Sales

How perfect and lovely is that? 

Well my friends, I hope your new month is off to a good start, and I thank you as always, for stopping by my little "home"on the web. I am grateful for your time and attention and if I may ask for you to remember our Earlybird in your prayers and thoughts and send him a little positive, happy energy. And may I ask - how are you doing ... how is your family? Have you watched any good television lately? (Sanditon, anyone?) And how is the weather where you live?

Drop me a note if you have the time, and I'll be in touch again just as soon as I can. :-) 

A Woodsy Little Tea ...

Good Tuesday morning, my friends!

Well, it seems Typepad is back in working order this morning, so I'm here to say Hello! I hope you all had a nice weekend. I'd like to share a few pictures of a little "moms' tea" I hosted Sunday afternoon for a few dear friends:

  Moms tea 2

I used my beloved pinecone tea set, the one I bought for a song at a discount store many years ago ... I set the tea table up in the living room where we gathered, in front of a sunny window. And for refreshments, we had strawberry-rhubarb coffee cake (purchased from a local farm) and tender butter spritz cookies ...

Moms tea 4

... there were also fresh strawberries to nibble on and, of course, there was tea! (Black English Afternoon Tea to be exact.)

Before my friends arrived, I arranged a samplng of our woodland blossoms into jars and pitchers - azaleas and lily-of-the-valley as well as a clump of the yellow archangel which is, quite frankly, taking over our property. Invasive, but quite pretty.

Moms tea 5

 Fourteen years ago, I started homeschooling alongside these dear ladies ...

Moms tea 1

We try to meet, at least once a year, for a little "tea and conversation" ... to catch up and compare notes. Years ago (though it seems like just yesterday!) we were discussing curriculum and co-op - nowadays we're grappling with college decisions and life "after homeschooling." (Though a couple of us are still in the thick of it!)

Speaking of which, this little guy was thrilled to be part of the "tea," because otherwise it was a "child-free" event ...

Moms tea 8


It was such a fun day and I loved having them all here ... hope to do it again soon!

Moms tea 7


Well, thanks so much for stopping by and letting me share my day with you ... I hope you enjoy your Tuesday, my friends!

I'll be back here again very soon ...

Friday "Irish" Tea

Irish Tea 1

Happy Friday, my friends!

It's such a wet, gray day here - perfect weather for a cup of afternoon tea. This week I'm using one of my grandmother's Irish tea cups, and my tea of choice is - naturallyIrish Breakfast. I grew up drinking tea - at home of course, but especially with my grandparents. When I was young my Gram would prepare tea (always the white tea pot, always the Irish china) and to my cup she'd add a big spoon of sugar and a whole lot of milk. :)

Nowadays I still like my tea on the sweet and light side ... I never really got the hang of honey and lemon.

How do you take your tea?


Well, I've got next week's file folder sitting here on my lap and I'm looking over the "doings" for next week. Lots coming up ...

19th - St. Joseph's Day

20th - The First Day of Spring

22nd - My Blog-Birthday :)

23rd - National Organize Your Home Office Day

25th - National Waffle Day

I also realized I need to buy a new year's worth of file folders! I went to place something in a May folder and came to find May is already full! So this weekend I'll stop by Staples and purchase my 52 folders. I'm not sure what colors I'll go with ... I've been doing the primary set since they kind of go with my "red and green" learning room, but I'm not sure. I wish they had a greater variety to choose from ... maybe I should look at Target instead?

Well friends, I'm going to sign off ... but before I go I'd like to wish you all a pleasant evening and a happy weekend ahead.

See you again very soon!

P.S. Please forgive my slow replies this week to all your lovely comments. I just caught back up this afternoon ... I thank you for sharing your thoughts and as always, for your very kind support. :)

Tuesday Tea ~ A Touch of Maple

Good Tuesday evening, my friends ...


... I hope you've all had a nice day!

 I took my tea on the early side today since, as I mentioned, I had a hair appointment at my usual "teatime." So right after getting the boys their lunch, I set about baking some muffins and then turned the kettle on ...

I decided to go with a "maple theme" today because the Full Sap Moon is on the rise this week. This month's moon is so named of course, because March brings maple sugaring season - and this is kind of a big deal here in New England. :) We like to visit sugarshacks and watch "sugaring" demonstrations at this time of year - there are plenty to choose from in the area. And of course it's time to lay in our syrup stores for the year - goodness knows we go through a lot!

March's moon, it's interesting to note, has also been called the Worm Moon, the Crow Moon as well as the Lenten Moon ... And I actually spied the waxing moon on my way home from the hairdresser's just now - hanging so huge and pale in the evening sky. Beautiful!

But back to my tea ...

If you notice, beside my cup of lightly spiced tea, there is perched a small maple sugar candy. My parents brought these back for us from Vermont, and I've kept them in the fridge for a once-in-a-while treat. And as for this week's "cup," this is actually a teacup and saucer from my wedding set! Bill and I chose "English Countryside" by Mikasa for our everyday china all those years ago. We liked the versatility of the creamy white color and the look of the raised bramble pattern. And though the bridal registry associate was simply appalled we decided to forego formal china, we assured her that between mothers and grandmothers we would not want for a more formal set someday. :)

These are the muffins I baked - Refrigerator Bran Muffins:


Just for fun (and flavor - because let's face it, bran muffins can be dull) I made up some maple butter one might spread inside ...


 ... or on top, if one so desires.

(The candy was a little bit over the top - but it made for a pretty shot.)


Well, it was a gorgeous day today ... bright and cold, with lots of melting going on. With temps in the high 50s tomorrow (and the 60s on Thursday!) the leftover snow really doesn't stand a chance.

Drip, drip, drip ... that's all I hear when things get quiet enough to listen.


Now, several of you have expressed concern - and sympathy - over my ruined planner. First of all, thank you for your kindness - and yes, I am upset that it got ruined. But I have to tell you, Crackerjack felt *so* badly about it, and he just kept saying he was sorry over and over. Of my three boys he is my "feeler" (and overthinker like his mama), and I knew HE knew how important my planner is to me. So I tried not to make a big deal out of it, because I knew he'd really take it to heart ...

So I'm choosing to look at this as an opportunity to be creative again and do a little (or maybe a lot of) calendar crafting. I'll be posting about this very soon ... as soon as I can get my hands on some new materials!


My friends, I must be off now as it's getting late, Bill's almost home and I have a supper to start. Nothing at all fancy tonight - just turkey-and-cheese panini, steak fries and tossed salads. (But oh, I must mention - that schnitzel was fabulous last night!)

So have a good night, everyone - take care and be well. I will see you here again very soon!

Tuesday Tea & Home Comforts

Tea & magazines 4

Today's pretty tea.

Tea & magazines 1

Today's food for thought.

Tea & magazines 5

Today's home fragrance.


Today's garden surprise.

Tea & magazines 3

Today's cozy companion.

Well I hope your day was a nice one, my friends. Ours was quite busy so I was extra glad I found some time for tea. As it was steeping on the counter, Crackerjack walked through the kitchen and said, "Why do I smell peaches? It smells like summer in here."

That made me smile. :)

Allrighty, I'm off! I have a supper to cook, and I must work around dishwasher installation! Thanks so much for stopping by ... I wish you all a good evening!