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Happy Things on a Dreary Day

It's quite a miserable day here - weatherwise, I mean. We're having an unpleasant mix of steady rain, cold air, dark skies... and yes, there is some snow in the forecast. Eek!

I'm working on a rather long planning post, addressing some recent - and not so recent - questions on the FCS (et al), but it's taking me a good bit of time to get it all wrapped up. So in the meantime, and in light of this dull day, here are some happy things to share with you all ...


A few pretty Thanksgiving cards ~ I have myself a little collection. :)


A hardworking honeybee, making the most of these last autumn days.


A fading - yet still gorgeous - hydrangea blossom, basking in the setting sun.


Our Archie, sound asleep on the "cat" window seat. He could care less that it's raining.


Also fading - and also still gorgeous - golden chrysanthemums ... the subject of my new blog banner. (And please pardon my appearance while I reconstruct here a little - I'm pretty rusty on Typepad template tweaking.)


Some very yummy Thanksgiving magazines. I'm such a sucker for magazines, but especially at this time of year.


The view through my back family room window ... can you imagine, Bill wanted to chop this tree down?


We'll have our first cups of cocoa this afternoon, in (dubious) honor of the first snowflakes heading our way. (As I mentioned above, this evening we expect a wintry mix - nothing that will stick, but enough to gnarl traffic.) I bought this packet of "pumpkin pie" hot chocolate up in Maine (I think at Stonewall Kitchens - I went a little nutty in there, so it's hard to be sure). The boys are very eager to try it, though I will probably enjoy a cup of plain homemade cocoa with Earlybird. That's a little more my speed. 

Well ...

I hope you enjoyed sharing in my little "happy thoughts" for today. And I do hope you all are having a nice Thursday, whatever it looks like out your window. I'm going to sign off for now ... I'm getting peppered with lunch requests, and goodness knows those grilled cheeses won't toast themselves!

See you all again very soon ...


Friday (Animal) Fun

I have a couple of amusing/amazing animal websites to share with you today: Cute Overload (how I adored the red squirrel post this morning!) and Animal Tracks, a weekly photojournal at These are so much fun to share with the kids!

And remember - it's Endangered Species Day! We're adopting the Florida Manatee this year - we'll learn all we can and save what we can towards a donation. The "mysterious manatee" happens to be the cover story of the current issue of Your Big Backyard, and by the way, this is a great book all about endangered and extinct creatures --> Extinctosaurus: Encyclopedia of Lost and Endangered Species. A very colorful book, filled with interesting facts. We've had our copy for years so it might be hard to find ...

But for now, I'll leave you with a fun(ny) animal photo of our own:


(The top squirrel was either sleeping or playing shy.)

Have a great weekend, my friends!


Wednesday Q & A


Good morning, my friends ...

Well, Earlybird has the big-bad cold now - he woke up with a barking cough, and cranky as all get out, proclaiming, "I'm sick now!" So we're doing an impromptu mini-unit on germs this week - how we get sick, and how we can stay healthy. In the spirit of things I've set up a new book list called "Winter Health Study" and we'll be making some nutritious fruit smoothies and soup. Nothing like hands-on learning, right? ;)

Anyways, while I'm here, I wanted to catch up with some of the questions that have been left in recent comments ...

Oh! I've wanted to read Artful Blogging for the longest time! Do you like it? ~ Jen

It is an absolutely beautiful magazine, Jen. Lots of delicious eye candy, and some very inspiring stories and helpful suggestions. It's one of those magazines you can just flip through and absorb visually - and that would be enough - but even better when you can find the time to sit and read through the articles. Somerset magazines are quite expensive so aside from this gift issue I've only purchased AB once before. (I think it was a birthday treat to myself last year lol.) One thing I did come away with - besides maybe a bit of blog envy, lol - is a wish for a better camera. The photographs are just so clear and beautiful! My envy shames me a little though, because I am really very happy with my Cybershot. It's easy to use and that's why I use it so much - no lenses to mess with and I basically ignore the special settings. Still, I look at all those yummy pictures and ... sigh. ;)

Now, I have to admit to feeling a bit jealous that you have Where Women Cook....I have been searching high and low for at home in Florida and points in between. I guess I'll have to order it. Are you enjoying it? ~ Mary Chris

Mary Chris, I received both Artful Blogging and Where Women Cook as Christmas presents, but I have seen them at Barnes & Noble. They are absolutely beautiful and so inspiring! 

Where Women Cook, like AB, is also filled with lots of "eye candy" ... beautiful pictures - of food, dishes, cooking spaces, and some yummy recipes as well. I've only skimmed this issue so far - but I'm excited to dig in and read more thoroughly. Some of the women featured in this month's issue include ~ Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman), Joy Stinger (who raises makes lovely honey and wax crafts), Serena Thompson (The Farm Chicks), and MaryJane Butters (MaryJane's Farm). Scrumptious recipes are featured throughout, too ~ like Blackberry Scones, Meaty Lasagna and Saltine Caramel Bars.

Both Where Women Cook and Artful Blogging are splurges for sure, but well worth the money spent - for the information and inspiration!

I have 2 questions from older posts since I have exhausted my own search. 1.) Where do you purchase the 2010-11 Academic Daily planner and did you add the tabs yourself? 2.) I loved those autumn sheets. What brand? ~ Sherrylynne in Mpls

Sherrylynne, I buy the daily planner at my local Hallmark Paper Store, but I found it online here, too. And yes, I added the tabs myself - I think I bought them at Staples - possibly Target.

The sheets are from LL Bean, but I don't think they carry them anymore. For the record, they are incredibly soft and wash up so well. I definitely recommend LL Bean bedding in general. :)

Did you make those pizellecookies? They look yummy as does that poundcake. I'd like to try them both ~ Jan

I didn't make the pizelle cookies, Jan - they were an impulse buy at the supermarket down the street, lol. I've always wanted to try making pizzelle cookies - I'm not a big fan of anise (which is, I believe, the traditional flavoring for these delicate cookies) but I do love pizzelles made with vanilla or citrus. I like to serve them on the Feast of St. Agnes - a saint who is special to us - as "St. Agnes Snowflakes."

I've had my eye on this pizzelle maker for some time ... and I also like the idea of making homemade ice cream cones with pizzelle cookies. Especially since EB can't eat commercially made cones. 

It is funny that you posted a food post today because I read a book this week that reminded me so very much of you. It is called The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. Have you ever read it? Such a lovely book! ~ Jackie

I have not read that book, but my library has a copy so I'll definitely be checking it out! Thank you for the recommendation!

Not that I have a lot of time for reading, but I am always grateful for good book recommendations, so please readers, if you have some - lay them on me! ;)

I was checking out some of my favorite sites and found this place and immediately thought of you. These are the cutest journals. ~ Nancy

Nancy, that is such a neat site! I loved looking through the journals they have posted there ... very inspiring! Thanks for the link. :)


OK, I think I've caught up with all the questions and links left for me recently. Thank you SO much to everyone who stops by, and special gratitude for those who leave an encouraging comment, or a helpful link. I appreciate each and every one of my visitors.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone ~ hope your week is going well!

What's Up Wednesday?

Just some random things popping around in my head today ...


This is our Happy "Family Birthday" Cake ~ a two-layer butter cake with penuche frosting. SO delicious!

Wet and windy here today - we're going to lose a lot of our pretty foliage this week.

This came out yesterday and I'm itching to own it. I'm remembering when I met Ina a few years ago at a book signing in Boston - that was such a fun day!

The dark-eyed juncos arrived last week - on October 19th to be exact. :) These little snowbirds disappear every spring (heading north for the warmer months) and then pop up again in mid-fall. This almost always corresponds with the time when the chipmunks go underground.

Do your kids read Ranger Rick? It will be a sad day in this household when my children are no longer interested in this lovely magazine. (I may have to keep subscribing just for myself, lol!) Guess who on this month's cover?


We also like Your Big Backyard. Earlybird and I get a lot of use out of these wonderful publications.

What are your Halloween plans? We have a potluck supper/costume party to attend and then of course there will be tricks-or-treats on Sunday night. In between we'll be carving pumpkins, roasting seeds, baking donuts and making up a batch of this. Costumes this year include a gladiator (Bookworm), a purple phantom (Crackerjack), and good ol' Charlie Brown (Earlybird). :)

Looking forward to the start of November, trying to decide what kind of Grateful Tree to make this year. I want to have it set up on Monday (Nov. 1st) so I'd best get my act together! I'm also preparing a remembrance shelf for All Souls Day (Nov. 2nd). Photographs of late loved ones will be set out and surrounded by tealights and little pots of marigolds.

Thinking ahead to holiday reading, I have a request in at the library for Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas. (I'm just putting off the inevitable - I'm sure I'll buy a copy for our Christmas collection.) I just love the Fletcher books ~ for the charming illustrations as well as the overall message. 

I plan to make a batch of vanilla sugar this weekend. It's always nice to have a well-steeped supply for the holiday baking days. Btw, as I googled a recipe for vanilla sugar, I came across this mouth-watering blog. Those pictures - oh my!

Well, that's "what's up" this Wednesday! As I finish this post it's raining hard and the leaves are falling fast. (Though it's rather mild, and I can hear a goldfinch singing through my cracked open window.) Still, a good day to stay in and stay dry ...

Hope your week's going well! :)

A Few (Random) Friday Thoughts

Heading into the long holiday weekend, enjoying a quiet day here at home, watching the skies for signs of Hurricane Earl. Still organizing photos from the beach trip the other day - I'll post those over the weekend. :)

~*~ Working in my journal today - I've been neglecting it lately. I also have a bunch of magazines piled up in my reading basket: a lovely new Victoria, The Autumn Baking Sheet from King Arthur Flour, Mary Jane's Farm, Living Crafts, Country Home (SO excited this is being published again!) and the Jamie magazine from England. 

~*~ Speaking of Jamie Oliver - my new favorite TV show is Jamie at Home on the Cooking Channel. (I have his book of the same name on hold at the library.) I love the backdrop of this show - it's set in his English home, against his English garden. His cooking is earthy and fresh and I love all the British-isms, too. :)

~*~ Recently we got a new sectional for the family room (in a deep chocolate brown) and my favorite thing to do in the evening is to curl up on the chaise end and watch some TV or read. I can't wait till it's cool enough to have a fire in the fireplace and add a soft throw blanket or two at the end of the seat. :)

~*~ Calling around to local farms enquiring about green tomatoes - I was really hoping to make piccalilli this year! (It's kind of a Labor Day tradition for us.) So far it's been a fruitless search - nobody seems to have green tomatoes on hand! 

~*~ But speaking of Labor Day, this is always the last day of summer vacation for us, and it's also always the day we revise the chores lists for all family members. Who's been doing what - and who can stand to do more - that kind of thing. :) 

~*~ Before he left for work this morning, Bill brought in our bikes, and took down our tent and secured outdoor furniture and any stray toys. We're not expecting the full brunt of Hurricane Earl, but the winds are supposed to be pretty high overnight.

~*~ Do you know what I love? I love the smell of the dryer vent outside my kitchen windows - it reminds me of being a kid, playing outside and smelling that distinct homey smell. Knowing my mother was just inside (or my grandmother perhaps), at home with us, keeping the household humming. Very comforting. :)

~*~ Thank you for all the Lipsmackers tips and reminiscences! I'll be scouring online to see if I can find that Toasted Marshmallow flavor I loved best of all. For the record, I also liked Bubble Gum and Sour Grapes. ;) Oh and yes, Penny I remember Love's Baby Soft as well! It was the first fragrance I was allowed to wear on a regular basis - the small bottle of Tinkerbell cologne spray I kept on my vanity paled in comparison to the pretty pink parcel I received for Christmas that year - I believe the set included a set of eau de perfume, powder and ... maybe it was lotion? I can't recall. But I can recall the lovely fragrance that made me so feminine and so grown up! My mum wore beautiful perfumes - and I always loved the way she smelled, especially when she was going out somewhere with my dad. But best of all I loved her Jean Nate after-bath splash. That's another smell from my childhood. :)

~*~ Oh, and for Melissa from Australia, who asked about s'mores ... S'mores are a delicous treat, and I believe, the name came from a contraction of "some and more" - as in, you'll want some more! They are, traditionally, a camping treat because they're so portable and easy to make: two layers of graham cracker, a layer of chocolate bar and stuck in the middle is a marshmallow that's been toasted over an open fire. They are soooo good. I never thought about it, but perhaps they are an American thing?

~*~ And finally, here's one of my precious red squirrels snacking on the withering raspberry vines this morning ...


I hope you all have a lovely, safe weekend - holiday weekend if you live in the States. Be back again just as soon as I can ...

Weekend Outlook


Saturday morning here, and it's rainy and cool. Bill let me "sleep in" a little bit, which was so lovely. I actually didn't sleep - once I'm awake, that's that - but I did sit up in bed, with the lights on and the window cracked ... I sipped my coffee slowly and read a new book. Listening to the rain falling, a bird song I didn't recognize and then a crow off in the woods - it was such a nice, comforting way to wake up. Most mornings are, by necessity, 0-60, but today I let my circadian rhythms catch up with my plans.

So what are those plans? Well, it's the weekend (hooray!) and as usual I have all kinds of things on the docket...

~ Bill and I will be heading over to check out a horse farm where Earlybird will start hippotherapy soon. Mum's coming to watch the boys so that we can relax and concentrate. I'm really excited to see what this place is about!

~ Then, I have the usual run of errands to complete - including a stop at (big surprise!) Barnes & Noble, where they're holding a book for me. It's called The Mob (Book One in The Crow Chronicles), and it sounds very intriguing. I think it's considered "teen" fiction, so I will pre-read this before handing it over to Bookworm. (Who, by the way, will be a teen in a matter of weeks. Ack!)

~ We're getting close to planting weekend so I want to stop at the nursery at some point to pick up herbs, flowers and veggies. I will hold off from buying containers, though ~ I have asked Bill to pull out any planting pots we have on hand so we can take an inventory before buying anything new.

~ This rain is supposed to move out soon, so at some point Bill will be mowing the lawns (back and front). Before that happens I will take a quick walkabout to scoop up all the violets (etc.) sprouting up within the overgrown grass. There's no reason to waste all those pretty wildflowers!

~ We're also going to gather some clover from the backyard to press into our field journals. I thought this would be a nice way to spend Trinity Sunday afternoon. :)

~ Oh, and of course there will be Cranford tomorrow night! I'm sad this is the last week, I've enjoyed it so much. But I can hardly wait to find out how it all ends ...

Before I head out of cyberspace, a brief note on the top photo. Pictured there is my new summer mug - I found it on clearance at a local HomeGoods store. Isn't it pretty? I love blue and white. (Speaking of which have you seen the new issue of Victoria?) The mug has that perfect feel in my hand and was handpainted in Portugal so I don't think I'll be putting it through the dishwasher. This will be my herbal tea mug. :) Below the mug is some weekend reading - the Summer issue of Living Crafts (delicious), a new book about nature activities that I am loving (great ideas for Nature Club next year), and a quick little read about fairies. I saw this book at the bookstore recently, and though obviously aimed at girls - of which I have none, lol - it still looked so inviting, I couldn't resist. The illustrations were lovely but the title really grabbed my attention: Firefly and the Quest of the Black Squirrel. (You all know how I feel about squirrels.) And then on the first page I learned the little heroine of the story is homeschooled ... well, I had to have it. ;) And while we're on the subject of children's books, I'm going to try to carve out time to update our booklists on the sidebars - they are seriously out-of-date.

So there you are, my weekend in a nutshell! I hope you all have a great one, and I will be back again to chat sometime soon. :)

Good Things

On a cold autumn night, how great is a warm bed made up with flannel and down?


And there's nothing like a fat glossy Martha Stewart to read at the end of the day! ;)

And speaking of Martha, as I was going through our clothing this weekend, sorting through piles to give or pack away, I came across this very old tee shirt. As you can see, it is no longer a good thing ...


This shirt once proudly proclaimed Martha's slogan in crisp white and soft baby blue. Now it's just a tattered and faded remnant ... but I've had it at least 10 years! There's no way am I going to part with it now! Where I'd wear it I have no idea, but still.

Well, I might be in need of a small blog break - computer time is pretty scarce these days. The boys are still down for the count with these darn colds! (Crackerjack, in classic middle child fashion, keeps asking me who is the sickest, but I've got to tell you (as I did him) its a three-way tie.) So of course we didn't do anything remotely "schoolish" today - unless you count listening to vague bits of French through countless showings of Ratatouille. Oh, what a lifesaver! A treat from my mum to her boys. A funny movie all of us could (and did) watch and enjoy (again and again) - definitely a good thing. ;)

At Long, Long Last ...


Victoria is back! 

Ladies, if you haven't yet taken out a subscription, consider putting it at the top of your wish list! The November/December issue, which arrived in my mailbox just today, looks divine. I am waiting for just the right quiet moment to savor it page-by-scrumptious page ...

And, best of all, they haven't changed a thing! The "new" Victoria sports the same cover style and page layout as well as a familiar font. I don't know about you, but as thrilled as I was that Victoria was coming back, I was nervous they might have retooled it somehow. But no, it is just as lovely as I remember. There's even an article about Tasha Tudor in this issue, and another one written by that Victoria favorite, Tovah Martin!

Oh, just like old times. :) Now, who would care to join me in a cup of celebratory tea?

Afternoon Comforts

Just some happy random pictures of my afternoon to share with you all. :) It is a gorgeous day here ... balmy, blustery, golden. Sure, it's a tad hot for late September, but the heat provided the perfect excuse to break my no-caffeine-after-two rule and mix up what could be my last iced coffee for a while ...


The above picture started this post. I loved looking at that glass with its creamy cool concoction inside. I loved the dinosaurs in the background (Earlybird's) and the scattered journaling materials. So everyday, yet so comforting. That glass is old - it belonged to my grandparents before it became my own. The glasses have game birds etched on them (barely noticeable now) and I love them.


Oh yes, and just to the left of my coffee glass is my current pile of goodies - my autumn magazines. I am savoring them slowly, in bits and pieces as I get a chance. I usually leave one open on the island counter, and flip through it as I can. But that Country Living issue has a fabulous article all about author and illustrator Susan Branch (who needs a magazine of her own, I think!), and I halted right there when I got to it, marked my spot and set it aside. I was not going to read such an article standing up at the kitchen counter, without a cup of something soothing and sweet! No, I am going to read it tonight, curled up in bed with a cup of decaf. chai tea. That's how you read an article about Susan Branch. ;)

I am also reading that book at the top, one I ordered sooo long ago from my most favorite book catalog, Chinaberry. Its full title is Under the Chinaberry Tree: Books and Inspirations for Mindful Parenting, and it is just that. Perfect, and that too I'm reading slowly, a few pages at a time (with some underlining and notetaking along the way). 

Another fun little thing this afternoon - I came across a folder jam-packed with stuff I saved from Autumn 2005. Little clipped bits of magazines and things I printed out online. Like a treasure trove of goodies from long ago, just in time for another fall this year. I made up a whole two page spread in my journal:


Let me tell you a bit about what's there, if I may. This is a rare page with no actual writing by me - just visual inspiration. On the far left, a clipping from an herbal magazine about Angelica which I just learned is a traditional herb for Michaelmas (the archangel - hence the name). Also, there are some pictures of a beautiful woodland-themed Halloween party (with berried candy bark, meringue mushrooms, colorful sugared leaves and caramel apple cider). At the bottom is a label from a jar of pear baby food. Oh, the memories in that label! Earlybird was 3 in '05 and he still loved baby food! You see, he couldn't eat applesauce, so he'd have "babysauce" instead. I would make a cinnamon pear bread from 5 jars Of Healthy Times Juicy Golden Pears (yielding two loaves) and we all loved it! I especially loved the little moonlit owl label. I had this whole teatime thing dreamed up - mini pear breads and warmed juice served on a woodland picnic ... Boy, does my imagination get away with me - and that's just what journals are for!

On the right is a quote I liked, more autumnal pictures (a basket of apples and a platter of candy acorns), a strip from a new sheet of scrapbooking paper I love, and a book I am longing to order - Baking Bread with Children, forthcoming in February from Hawthorn Press. The last thing there is, of all things, a Waldorf school newsletter blurb - about a Halloween garden party for young children. I loved their ideas so much, I saved the piece for future reference.

And now I have no blogging time left as bedtime is upon us once again. Thanks for letting me share all these afternoon comforts with you. I hope you all have a great night. That evening breeze is just wonderful, isn't it? 

A (Free) Museum Day!

Have you heard about this? I just read about Museum Day in my homeshool support group's newsletter. You can learn more at, but the gist of it is:

"Museum Day is a nationwide event taking place on Saturday, September 29, 2007 where participating museums and cultural institutions across the country offer free admission to Smithsonian readers and visitors, allowing for one day only, the free-admission policy of Smithsonian's Washington, D.C.-based facilities to be emulated across the country."

You can find out what museums are participating in your state here. Here in Massachusetts we have a LOT to choose from! I am very torn between the MFA and the Harvard Museum of Natural History. We've been to the former (though not in many years) but we've never visited the latter. Either would be great fun!

This, of course, means I'll be making up a basket full of books about museums! A few I have in mind:

Oh, and I just might stick in a copy of Night at the Museum for a fun movie night, too! ;)

I also remember a wonderful article on museum trips in an old issue of Martha Stewart Kids (why, oh, why they ever stopped publication is beyond me). I couldn't find a link to it, so here are some tips I gleaned from the article, which was authored by Theresa Robinson. And I must note, I offer these tips fully realizing that many of you are, in fact, seasoned and intrepid museum visitors; city-driving chicken that I am though, we are decidedly not. ;)

These are not my words, but straight from the article itself. I'm just quoting the sections I zipped with my highlighting pen:

(Some) parents seem to believe that a gallery-by-gallery six-hour grand tour is the only way to "get their money's worth" from the trip. In truth, the best way for you to benefit from museum visits with kids is to reset your priorities. Make it a goal to find one astonishing sculpture, one painting that prompts a conversation, one eye-opening exhibit. Then, leave if you'd like.

"Establishing a relationship with museums is the first step for children in their development of an aesthetic sense - their idividual appreciation of artistic beauty," says Sharon Shaffer, executive director of the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center in Washington, D.C.

Gather information from the library or Internet about the exhibits you will be seeing, and talk about them in advance.

The museum's education department is a great resource for guides and brochures.

If your child will want to draw pictures or take photographs, call ahead and inquire about any restrictions.

(Neat website:

When you arrive, take a few moments to look over a map of the museum with your child.

Ask open-ended questions about what she is seeing. Jot down your child's own questions as they arise; part of the fun will be going home and finding the answers together.

A plastic sandwich bag hung on a clipboard with binder clips keeps colored pencils close at hand for making sketches or jotting down details like names and dates.

When you get home ... Set up a museum shelf or corner in your child's room where she can hang her own artwork and arrange exhibitions of objects ... Many children have a natural tendency to "curate" their own little exhibitions - selecting and arranging favorite items from among their possessions so that they go together somehow. Support and encourage this instinct; it teaches kids that by grouping objets in certain ways, they can tell particular stories.

I love this last idea most of all! I think a museum-themed learning center would be a great way to follow up our visit. Wherever we end up going, I am sure it will be a fun day -once we get past all that traffic, lol. So where do you think you'll go?

Before I go, I want to link to Cindy's Loveliness of Summer Vacations Fair. What a perfect week to relax and reflect on that time-honored tradition of family togetherness. I will have to live vicariously through all of Cindy's links since we, ahem, have not had a vacation in ... um, years? Yes, we're all about the day-trips around here, and speaking of - we're heading to the beach at the end of the week! Still, there's nothing quite like a summer vacation, is there?

Also, one more bit of housekeeping - is anyone having trouble with my blog loading or being slow? My friend Tami is having a terrible time with it (particularly, it seems, with my banner) and we want to figure out if the problem lies within my blog or her computer. Thanks in advance for your help.

Well, I'm off for now - to shuck some corn, grill some burgers and wash up a dish or two. I hope you all have a great last week of summer. :)

Q & A Round-Up

First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who stops by and kindly leaves aDaisiesmug comment or question. I'm sorry I can't always get back to each one - or that sometimes it takes me a while to do so - but I hope these little round-ups help a bit. Here are a few random questions from recent posts ...

Lindsey asked:

Dawn, do you have a favorite resource for finding prayer cards?

I buy all my prayer cards at our local Catholic gift shop. They have a wonderful display and most of the cards are .75 cents or $1. I have seen beautiful ones in the Trademark Catholic Stationary catalog; you can also order them at Catholic Heritage Curricula, Totally Catholic as well as Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

If any readers have a favorite source for prayer cards (or holy cards as they are also called), please leave a link in the comments below. :)

Paula wondered:

Where do you get your nature puppets?

We have been collecting nature puppets since Bookworm (now 12) was a baby, so we have quite a large collection! I began buying them at Wild Birds Unlimited, so I would suggest starting there if you have a local store. Since then I have been able to pick up the Audubon puppets (the bird ones with the call inside) at Wild Oats food store. (By the way, the birds aren't technically puppets - you can't put them on a finger or hand) but we still use them right alongside the puppets. Audubon Birds are also available here (I've ordered from this company before). I have also purchased nature puppets from Acorn Naturalists (which is a fabulous science and nature catalog). I particularly like Folkmanis puppets which you can purchase online and find in many independent toy stores.

Melissa asked:

Have you ever blogged about your favorite kitchen/baking items (tools, gadgets, gear, etc.)? I'd love to hear what you can't live without and/or love. Thanks!

Well, that would be a very fun post, Melissa! Last summer about this time I did do some posts on my kitchen, a few of them were for Meredith's Loveliness of Kitchens Fair:

Looking back over those posts I am more than a little shocked to see how clean my kitchen was then - and to realize how far it's come since! (Not in a good way, lol.) I feel shamed into inspired to do some scrubbing and de-cluttering, I have to say!

And, a last question from Kelly:

Just wondering what your favorite magazines were...

Well, magazines are where I spend my "pin" money. ;) I find them relaxing and inspiring, and I keep them in a special basket, all arranged in a particular order (the best on the bottom, the quick-reads up top). I read them in bits through the day (a magazine is always open on my workspace) and I clip and save anything of interest in my journal. Right now I am looking back over and clipping through last year's holiday special issues (the ones about cookies and entertaining and such). I keep a batch for a year at a time so I can look them back over before the new crop comes out in the fall.

All right, then, my favorites include:

I could name a few more, but I'll stop there. :)

I still have a few more questions to answer that are in regards to my planner and journals. I'll try to work on a post addressing those tomorrow (or very soon).

Have a great day, everyone, and thanks for stopping by!