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Seasonal Learning, Spring Week 2: "Spring Is Soft"

(A free printable!)

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March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb ... (traditional folklore)

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Hello, my friends ... I hope this post finds you and your loved ones safe and well. What a long strange week it's been ...

We're all doing fine here ... still hunkered down of course, as is most of the world these days. Counting our blessings, while praying fervently for an end to this awful virus ... 

Anyhoo, I wanted to pop in today to share the next installment in my Seasonal Learning series, and this week we're exploring the idea that "Spring is Soft." You'll have to check out my PDF (linked below) to find out just what I mean by that!

A few highlights: pussy willows, lambs and baby animals, gentle rain, warm sun, soft earth and fresh air! Plus we're getting ready for Easter and we're doing some spring cleaning as well!

Ok, here 'tis:

March 30-April 5, 2020: "Spring Is Soft"

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Please let me know if you have any questions or problems with any of the links. (I've had some trouble getting mail from Typepad, so feel free to email me directly: drhanigan AT gmail DOT com.) As I mention in my plans, I have a Pinterest board for each week's activities and you can find this week's pins here. :-)

As always my PDF is printable and free for your personal use and is filled with many links to stories, activities and recipes, etc. Also, as always, I must note that we do not plan to do everything on this plan! But I do find it fun to brainstorm these ideas and I do hope you find it useful for you and your own dear ones!

Ok then, I'll be off - but thanks so much for stopping by today ... I pray your week ahead is a good (safe and healthy) one!

Take care of yourselves and your loves ones, my friends ...

I'll see you here again very soon!


Seasonal Learning, Spring Week 1: "Sleepy Seeds"

(A free printable!)

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Hello, my friends ... I hope this post finds you well.

And, my .... what a few weeks it's been. I hope and pray you are all safe at home with your loved ones and that you're all feeling well. We are all ok here - just taking things day by day and trying to be as careful as we can be. Massachusetts, like many other states and countries around the world, is now under a stay-at-home advisory, so aside from going out for groceries and essential supplies (medications and such) we are just not leaving our home these days. Thankfully, Bill can work from home and the older boys are doing their college classes online, and Earlybird is working with his ABA each day for several hours. Renee has been an amazing support for us through all of this and we are grateful ABA is considered an "essential business."

In the meantime, Little Bear and I are plugging along with our homeschooling, enjoying the novelty of having everybody home at the same time as well as the lovely surprise of an early spring. As I mentioned in my last post, I am going to be sharing our nature-based lesson plans with you all here, in case they might be helpful to someone, especially those who are new to the whole homeschooling gig! Most of our activities and books are geared toward younger children but as you will see, some of the ideas can be easily adapted to include older kids, too. For reference, Little Bear is six years old and we are doing first grade at home.

My hope (and my goal) is to publish these posts weekly, as we go along in our own homeschool journey. The PDF below is for this current week, but aside from the connection to The Feast of the Annunciation, the theme of "seeds" can be explored at any time throughout the spring.

Ok, here it is, the first weekly installment:

March 23-29, 2020: "Sleepy Seeds"

Please let me know if you have any questions or problems with any of the links. (I've had some trouble getting mail from Typepad, so feel free to email me directly: drhanigan AT gmail DOT com.) As I mention in my plans, I have a Pinterest board for each week's activities and you can find my sleepy seeds pins here. :-)

Well, I'll be off for now, my friends, but thank you as always for stopping by. I say this every time, but I've never meant it so sincerely: please take care of yourselves and your loved ones ...

I'll see you here again very soon!


Tea @ Dawn's ~ Cheers to a New Year + 3 Giveaway Winners!

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Hello my friends and Happy New Year! I hope your 2020 is off to a great start!

I'm here today to share a cup of New Year's tea with you all, and to announce the three winners of my latest planner giveaway!

So I'll just start by putting us all out of our suspense, shall I? :-)

The three readers whose names were drawn randomly for my giveaway are:

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1. Mary Alice Phillips

2. Michelle M.

3. Van

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Hooray! And congratulations, ladies! I will be in touch later this weekend to ask about cover choices and mailing details. :-)

Thanks to all who participated in my giveaway and for all the kind, cozy comments. You all shared so many wonderful and inspiring ideas for enjoying the winter season. I have made note of each idea and look forward to contemplating them all in my upcoming Deep Winter Tea series ...

Speaking of ...

Here's what I'm planning for our next series of seasonal Teas!

I'll be sharing a cup of wintry Tea here at the blog every other Sunday afternoon. No more Fridays I'm afraid, friends. I decided Fridays were just too "full," usually coming on the heels of a rather busy week, and it seemed I usually needed an extra day or two to finish my post! So Sundays it will be ...

Here is my proposed series schedule:

January

12th

26th

February

9th

23rd

I'm still considering the themes for each Tea, so stay tuned on that! I'll most likely announce them on Instagram & Facebook early next week.

So I do hope you'll join me on these upcoming Sunday afternoons! I'll have the kettle on of course, and there will be something yummy to go along with our sweet, steaming brew. I will discuss a little of this and that ... wintry delights, homey thoughts, current crafts and children's books - plus of course, there will be planner peeks!

Speaking of ...

Here is how my own 2020 planner came out:

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I was really taken with this golden "brocade" paper and decided it would make a very pretty planner cover! I love vintage florals as you all know, so this sprawling damask rose pattern really resonated with me, especially in light of my chosen "Word of the Year" which is ...

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This year I decided to use a word generator (thank you, DaySpring!) and I was very happy with my result. First of all, I liked that the site had me answer a series of questions before generating my word because it makes the results seem more authentic. Although at first glance I thought, "Huh, bloom? Well, haven't I already done that ... since here I am a soon-to-be 51 yr old married and happy mom of four?"

But then I looked up the meaning of the word, and considered how I might apply it to my new year ...

๐ŸŒธ to mature into achievement of one's potential

๐ŸŒธ to flourish in youthful beauty, freshness, or excellence

๐ŸŒธ to shine out : GLOW 

๐ŸŒธ to become more apparent or fully expressed

Now, I'm not so sure what I can do about the "youthful beauty" part lol, but I do try to take good care of my skin! And in fact, I plan to chat about "skin care regimes" in an upcoming post. :-)

As for the rest of it ... well, I really like the sound of all those words and phrases. They're all so lovely and encouraging and I think it all just might fit with my 2020 hopes and goals ...

Because I have some big plans this year and I'm going to need to be brave - I'll need to push myself a little and I'm not really a pusher! - but the time has come for me to try to bloom and, dare I say, flourish - a little. See, I was thinking ...

A flower only blooms when it's been nurtured and shown patience. It needs quiet time in the darkness, and it needs a little room to sink its roots. It enjoys the cozy and quiet ... and it's all very safe and comfortable. But eventually that tender seedling has to be brave enough to grow - to push through its earthly barrier - and seek LIGHT and therefore, Life.  

A flower in bloom is truly living its best life then, the life it was preparing itself for all along!

So I just really, really love that metaphor - cliche though it may be. And this year, I'm going to try very hard to live like that little plant ... to acknowledge my anxieties, but be brave, by drawing strength from my (well established) roots. I hope to break out of my comfort zone this year and stretch myself a little ...

But most of all, I hope to become more ... ME. The "me" I've kept planted in my heart since I was little ... the me I've perhaps left untended a little too long.

What I've done so far is to draw up a page in my bullet journal - not ready for sharing yet, but I will - with the word BLOOM in a center circle and then sections (or petals, if you will) of "passion and purpose" spread out all around it. On that little page I hope to iron out more concrete 2020 goals and incremental steps to take - and around that center circle I've written the words:

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." Lao Tzu

And on the practical side of things - I do hope to actually grow a flower garden this year! I say this every year - THIS year I will grow FLOWERS! - and every year I find other things to do but grow flowers. (Or let's say, they find me.)

So this year gosh darn it - I WILL grow that flower garden. And maybe I'll learn another life lesson or two as I do.

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Now, have you chosen a word for 2020 yet? I'd love to hear about it if you'd care to share!

Back to my planner now though ...

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Here's a peek at my January title page ... set amongst some colorful, home learning paraphernalia. (Yes, we're back to business next week!)

I'm really quite happy with how my planner came out this year, and I will have a full tour for you all in an upcoming post.

In the meantime, here are a couple of New Year traditions I enjoy keeping each year, and first thing I do ...

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I always make note of the first bird I see each year, and this becomes my personal "Bird of the Year." This year it was the bird shown above, huddling in the azalea bush outside my front window, awaiting his turn at the feeder ...

The White-Throated Sparrow!

And once again, my first reaction was less than impressed ...

"OH, a sparrow. How ... common."

But then I looked up the symbolism of the sparrow and boy, did that make me smile! Because according to folklore, Sparrowโ€™s message is this ...

โ€œWe do not have to be the loudest voice in order to be heard.โ€
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(I like that - a lot!)

Also according to folklore (legend/myth what have you),  the Sparrow symbolizes:

creativity
simplicity
joy
protection
friendliness
community
productivity

And thatโ€™s just a nice long list of worthy goals to weave into my 2020!
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What was the first bird you spied this year? It's not to late if you haven't seen one (or noticed one) yet. Take a peek out your window right now! (And then come back here to let me know what you saw!)

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Another favorite (personal) tradition, is beginning a new journal on New Year's Day, and I almost always include this pretty clipart on the very first page ...

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I've been using my little bullet journals as the place for notes, lists and random clippings. Do you keep a journal as well And if so, where do you keep it?

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Now, our New Year's Eve is usually quite calm - i.e. we stay home and go to bed early - but we do love a little celebrating on New Year's Day, itself! Over the years it has become a family tradition to have my folks and my brother over for a family luncheon, and this year our menu was as follows:

New Year's Day Citrus Punch

English Roast with Carrots, Potatoes and Thyme

Brown Rolls and Biscuits

Garlic Couscous

Roasted Butternut Squash

Eggnog Cake

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I've linked the roast and cake recipes above but the punch is just something I made up. I used a large bottle of Cranberry-Blood Orange Juice Cocktail, plus some plain orange juice and a liter of Sprite. I added some sliced Cara Cara oranges for a festive touch!

A social media tradition I've come to treasure each year is the popular "Best Nine" or "Top Nine" grids. Here is how mine came out ...

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As I said in my original Instagram post (thank you, TopNine!) I think this grid nicely sums up my social media self - because I'm all about my kids, my planners, and our special needs journey!

Clockwise from top left: Earlybird's first successful Target shopping trip, EB practicing phone skills with Nana and Papa, my filled-to-the-brim planner carts, a still from the video of EB's end-of-year awards ceremony, EB's first day EVER at school, EB and me on our way to (or more likely from) school, my planning-the-planners post-it note outline,  EB's well earned smile and in the center, yours truly surrounded by my dear children on my 50th birthday last year!

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Now before I go I should make sure to mention the TEA in my very first picture! (This is a Tea post after all, lol.)

What I'm drinking today (or yesterday actually, when I first sat down to type up this post) is a plain old black decaf - what I had near at hand, in other words! I have a bit of a sinus thing going on right now - no fever, so not quite an infection knock on wood but a lot of pressure and a little bit of pain - and in addition to frequent steam showers and Sudafed, and the neti pot and twice-daily Emergen-C, I'm drinking a LOT of fluids and mostly a lot of hot tea.

(Would love your prayers/healing thoughts that this goes away soon ... some of you might remember I'm allergic to nearly all antibiotics! My fingers are tightly crossed I can fend this off with natural remedies.)

My tea snack shown on my plate is part of one of my near year's resolutions - or goals as I prefer to call them - a handful of blueberries and an orange. Trying to be better this year about my nutrition! Better fuel = better energy!

Also shown in that top photo, the corner of my homemade planner and - another New Year's tradition - this year's Mary Engelbreit Page-a-Day calendar! I honestly can't remember how long I've been using them, but I simply cannot do without this sweet little daily calendar. It's something I truly look forward to each and every day .... :-)

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Something else I'm very much looking forward to ...

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I'm going to see this on Sunday! And I can't hardly wait. I'm not sure anything can replace the 1994 version of this story in my heart - because that one is lovingly entwined with a memory of my dear maternal grandmother, with whom I first watched "our" Little Women brought to life. But the trailers I've seen for this most recent depiction look oh-so-amazing and the reviews have been out of this world!

Have you seen it yet? What have you seen most recently? Are there other things you're looking forward to on the big (or little) screen this year?

I am quite looking forward to an upcoming Masterpiece series, Sanditon, based on an unfinished final novel by Jane Austen and interpreted by screenwriter Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice, Little Dorrit, Les Miserables). It looks to be an 8-episode series, and begins on PBS on January 12th - so Happy Birthday to me! Another MP multi-episode series to start later this year, Miss Scarlet and the Duke, also looks amazing! See the trailer for the former here and the latter here.

I'm eager, too, for Dr. Dolittle later this month, starring one of my longtime favorites, Robert Downey Jr. (How I WISH he would make one more Sherlock Holmes movie!) And coming to Netflix at some point this year is a series I am SO excited for - The Bridgertons. It's a little known fact (at least outside certain circles) that I am a HUGE historical romance fan, and one of my favorite authors is Ms. Julia Quinn. Her eight-novel series about a fun and fabulous family living in regency England - The Bridgertons - is just wonderful and I am beyond thrilled to see it on screen!

Well my friends, I have kept you here far long enough, but I thank you, as always, for stopping by to read and "take tea." I hope you all have a lovely weekend ... and Congratulations again to Mary Alice, Michelle M and Van!

As I go, I will leave you with one of my favorite Alcott quotes:

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I will see you here again very soon!

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Printable Planning Sheets! Plus, WEBINAR news!

Blueberry week

Hello my friends and Happy Monday! I am so excited to share a couple of super fun things with you all today!

First of all, I have some more seasonal planning sheets for you! These are for the remaining months of 2018, and I do hope you enjoy them! (Please let me know if you have any problems opening these PDFs, or if - heaven forbid - there are mistakes!)

September 2018 Planning Sheets

October 2018 Planning Sheets

November 2018 Planning Sheets

December 2018 Planning Sheets

(Please stay tuned for info on 2019 Planners this fall.)

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And now for more details on the webinar I mentioned earlier this month, and that exciting event is coming up THIS FRIDAY, AUGUST 17th!

Here's a link with all the info and a sign-up form:

Homeschool Connections: Inspire Virtual Conference 

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"This FREE online conference will provide you focus to ramp up your planning efforts while invigorating your outlook for the upcoming school year."

(Did I mention this webinar is FREE?!?)

My dear friend Mary Ellen Barrett will be interviewing five different folks on various homeschooling topics, and honestly I am more than a little overwhelmed by the amazing company I am in: Jennifer Mackintosh, Dave Palmer, Tony Agnesi, and Bonnie Landry! I feel truly honored and humbled to have been asked to join this panel of gifted and accomplished speakers!

Now, when you sign up for INSPIRE, you can choose which talks you wish to "attend" - they begin with Jennifer's at 10 a.m. and end with mine at 2:45 p.m. (eastern time). My talk is titled, "Seasonal Homeschooling: Cultivating a Gentle, Grateful Year," and not surprisingly, I'm still working out my notes! I do hope to have some helpful thoughts to share, a few favorite resources to show you ... and well, you just KNOW I will have a big cup of tea in my hand! :-)

Ok, so that's all for today, but I will have another post (maybe two!) to share this week as we get closer to Friday. I have some PDFs in mind to create and there MAY be a GIVEAWAY in the works!! So please stay tuned, and I will see you here again very soon!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

p.s. Top photo: Sunday office hours - it was a "big mug" kind of day!


Homeschool Thoughts, Lists & News, etc.

(A bit of a hodgepodge today!)

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Happy August, my friends! It sure is hot and hazy here, but I love how the flowers just glow in the summer sun these days. And everything is so green ... I just love this time of year!

Well, I wanted to pop in quickly this morning to tell you I am *thisclose* to finishing our school reports - I just need to finalize Earlybird's ed. plan for next year. His reports are always a bit tricky because, as a special needs child, my plans must be thorough, but flexible, and his progress is not always so readily apparent. I have to put a lot of thought into what we will learn and how I will teach him these things. And because of his learning style and challenges, my methods are not always as clear-cut as just say, ordering a "Grade X Curriculum." Thankfully he does make progress each year ... I just have to really look back through all we did in each subject to remind myself (reassure myself) how said progress was made and measured.

(For example, this year he listened to audiobooks - something he didn't couldn't do before - and in this way we "read" several classic books together. I couldn't ask him to fill out a quiz or write a report, but I could - when the time was right - ask him questions about what we'd heard that day and to re-tell parts of the story, which I would write down.)

So I'm always looking for ways to "think outside the box" when constructing Earlybird's education, and one resource I have found immensely helpful are these fantastic (and free!) Living Learning Lists from Ed Snapshots. There are some terrific ideas here for experiential learning in all the main subjects! I've pinned these lists and printed them out to keep in my homeschool planner for use all year long ... :)

And speaking of Ed Snapshots ... well, I am just SUPER excited to have been invited to do a podcast with Pam sometime in the near future! (You can read other podcasts here ... so much inspiration!) I will keep you all posted about when mine will be happening ... I'm not sure what-all I can bring to the "podcast table," but I am SO honored to have been asked! I haven't "talked shop" in a while ... :)

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Let's see, what else? I also wanted to mention that so far I am really enjoying my new Day Designer! I will do a post on how I'm using it as soon as I can - I want to get some more "days" under my belt first - but I wanted to mention that if you'd like a peek at how the planner looks, DD offers free downloadable planning pages to try out before purchasing. Mind you, this is an example of a page from a flagship planner - the original Day Designer - not the Blue Sky version I purchased from Target. I'm still working out how the versions differ ... and how to personalize my own planner. More about that soon!

Ok - and here's a final thought for today - over the weekend I had my hair cut, colored and styled and boy does it feel good! (Some of you might have seen my "after shot" on my Facebook page.) And it got me to thinking ... wouldn't it be fun to do a "hair care" post here at the blog? I would love to chat about how we wear our hair, and how we care for it ... on our own at home and at the salon. Especially when we're busy with other things (kids, work, life!) or being careful with our budget. We could even - if people were willing! - share pictures. I will keep that in mind for sometime in my posting future - let me know if you think that would be fun and any other post ideas you might have for me! I'm always open to suggestions. :)

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All righty then ... I will be off now since my kids are clamoring for lunch and I'm the point person when it comes to that situation. For now I will wish you all a good week and hope to see you here again very soon!

Teach quote

(Saw this just before hitting "post" and had to share!)


Good Morning!

This wonderful article brought a smile to my face and had me nodding my head this morning. Had to share!

17 Things 'The Princess Bride' Taught Me about Autism Parenting

I love all 17 points, but these three especially:

4. You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.

Be patient. Change and growth takes time, and there are no corners to be cut here. Every kid is working to their own schedule and developing at their own rate.

7. Success means using the right moves for the terrain.

There is no definitive intervention for autism. The choices that other people make may not be the right ones for your family, and vice versa. And that's OK. Don't ever let anyone make you feel otherwise.

9. Inconceivable doesn't mean impossible.

Your kids will achieve things beyond what you ever expected or imagined. Believe this, and they'll believe it, too.

It's good to remember that though our situations may be different, and we all face different challenges, we're not alone. This article made me smile and I hope it does the same for you.

:)

Blessings on your day, my friends!

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Rambling Thoughts on Handwriting ~ a Fond, yet Fading Art

In looking over my January notes (handwritten notes, yes!) I see that National Handwriting Day is coming up ~ it takes place on the 23rd of the month, which also happens to be John Hancock's birthday, he of bold handwriting fame. :)

Now, I've made no secret of my fondness for paper and pen, so perhaps I'm a bit biased when I say I think this article rocks:

"Mom, what was handwriting? A novelist examines what we lose as we abandon cursive for typing."

I came across it in the Sunday Boston Globe, and it really got me thinking (as the length of this post can clearly attest). I enjoyed the article so much in fact, that I've requested the discussed book, The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwriting, from the library, and I'm quite eager to read it ... and, naturally, take notes. :)

I do love the written word however it is delivered - I relish reading and I am an avid (albeit amateur) journalist, in both a personal and public way. I write a (public) blog and I also keep (private) journals. I like to think my "voice" is authentic in both mediums, but there's something extra-special about the words I've written out by hand ...

"Thereโ€™s nothing nicer than going back over things youโ€™ve written in the past. Those things on paper do take you back to a particular time and a particular place where you were when you were writing this stuff. When I look at my book in print, I canโ€™t remember where I was when I wrote anything. When I come across one of my notebooks, I can remember." ~ Author, Philip Hensher

Journals

I write all kinds of stuff in my journals and though they are intensely personal - a "brain dump" if you will, written only for myself - I do think that someday my progeny might get a kick out of what I wrote, and how I wrote it. Maybe these journals will help them know me, and life in my time, in a way they might otherwise not.

Without a doubt our society is heading away from handwriting, so I think it's important that handwriting enthusiasts keep the "art" alive in any way that we can. So I'm resolving this year to write more by hand. Now, I already write a lot for myself, so this would mean more handwritten correspondence - for example, our Christmas cards. Although I do love our cards (Shutterfly is brilliant!), and I truly appreciate the ease with which I can order, assemble and mail said cards come (busy) December - I have vowed that next year I will take the time to write something personal inside each greeting. Whether it be a handwritten signature (rather than the pre-printed variety) or a slip of paper with a brief message of holiday cheer ... it will hopefully be something that forms a deeper connection with our family and friends. Because I think when we write someone a note by hand it links its message back to us in a way that a type-font cannot ...

"Take pleasure in your own handwriting even when itโ€™s scrappy and individual, because thatโ€™s the handwriting that your friends and loved ones will take the most pleasure in, because itโ€™s you. Do it every day." ~ Author, Philip Hensher

Recently a friend of mine commented that she treasures anything handwritten by her late father, and it made me think of those little notes I've got stashed away that were written by my grandmother ... little post-it notes in her scratchy blue ink that say "Save for Dawn" or "Show this to Bookworm." Because she was always just that way - putting aside interesting things to share with her children and grandchildren - and great-grandchildren! Gram was a great reader and her family meant more to her than anything else. Anyone who knew her knew these things about her. And yet I particularly love those little notes because for one thing, her handwriting's like mine, (or I guess I should say, mine is like hers) and for another, it helps me remember her in a very personal way. It's a comfort even - it makes me feels like she's not so far away ...

Now, I hope I don't sound preachy - I know that technology appeals to many folks as strongly as pen and paper do to me. And I'll confess, I find myself conflicted at times. Like any (relatively) modern mother I have a lot on my plate and I'm too often pressed for time. So the need to be "quick and efficient" is always present. (Annnd that's a whole other post.) But combine my love for all things handwritten with my general discomfort/inexperience with technology (not to mention my resistance to change) and it's no wonder I stick with my "old school" preferences. I know a lot of people are like me to some degree, and yet many folks just naturally gravitate towards technology.

My husband, for instance, is something of a "technerd," if I may use that term loosely and with a bit of cheek. ;) Bill understands computers, and technology in general, in a way I could never hope to; this has made him more successful in his career, and it brings him enjoyment as well. So it's no surprise he uses his iPhone for everything and then some: schedules, reminders, correspondence, shopping lists, travel plans, etc. ... all things I prefer to write out by hand. But we are equally competent in, and satisfied with, our organizational method. For the most part. :)

So I save some of Bill's emails (the ones of a more intimate nature), in a special "inbox" folder - alongside any links and cute emails the boys send me. Just as I save every card my dear ones have given me in a bedroom drawer. Preferences aside - penned or typed -communication is what's important. Love is love, however it's expressed. โค

OK, enough of my rambling! Today dear readers, I'm curious ~ how much do you write by hand these days, and what areas of your life have you turned over to technology?

Shopping lists?

Thank you notes?

Casual correspondence?

Holiday cards?

Journaling?

Recipes?

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And if you homeschool, do you teach your children cursive? Do they practice penmanship in any formal way? And if your kids are in school, did/do they learn cursive at some point?

Please leave a comment below if you have thoughts on the subject, as well as the time to share them! Generations ago - if I were a professional and this was say, a newspaper column - I'd wait for your responses to be mailed in. It's nice that in this setting we can share thoughts immediately - much more does get done with technology, it's hard not to recognize that. It is a changing and ever-progressing world, but like the old saying goes, why throw out the baby with the bathwater?

"We maintain a mixed relationship with food. Sometimes we go out, sometimes we call in for a delivery, and sometimes, like on Christmas Day, we start from scratch preparing food for people that we love. Why canโ€™t handwriting be like that?" ~ Philip Henshaw

P.S. I'm organzing my "correspondence drawer" this weekend - an annual January task - and I will be happy to share it all with you once I'm done. :)

Well my friends, as always, I thank you for stopping by today, and wish you all a happy day!

See you here again sometime soon ...

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