Sundays are Special Feed

Scenes of Spring ...

Happy Monday, my friends! I hope your week is off to a great start. :)

Are you enjoying the unfolding of Spring as much as I am? Oh my goodness, it's just one happy surprise after another ... and yet there's such a comforting sense of familiarity as well. This is what I love about the seasons ... there's so much joy to be found on so many levels! I've been out and about taking pictures like crazy (with my phone, that is - unfortunately my camera is on the fritz) and I'd like to share them this morning if I may ... 

Purple and white crocus

Prettiest little crocus I've ever seen - love how these tough little blossoms push their way through all manner of leaf litter and rocky soil.

Forsythia joy 1

Forsythia branches for the nature shelf ... they keep getting moved as Oliver (the cat) keeps finding them and knocking them over.

Flower books

 Some inspiring library books - we're planting lots of flowers this year!

Grunt 2

Remember that lovely rhubarb I showed you last week? I finally got around to using it on Sunday ... Bill was outside chopping wood (a felled tree to make way for an apple orchard!) and I had soup simmering on the stove ... the boys were all around the house and the windows were open and it all felt so homey and good. Just as a Sunday should. :)

Felling trees 3

Bill had lots of helpers once the "felling" part was over. :) And I'm busy googling "things to do with fallen trees and branches" on Pinterest. Can't let all that good wood go to waste!

Light it up blue

 This is our blue light for the month of April (Autism Awareness) ...

Bunny chocolate

This is Mama's Easter chocolate, because it's white. :) I finally succumbed to temptation and had a few nibbles with my tea ...

Spring pajamas

Remember those "pretty spring pajamas" I mentioned in relation to the washing machine fiasco earlier this month? Well thankfully they made it out in one piece, and surprisingly none the worse for wear. I love them so much - the print is called, "Dawn Floral." :)

Ducks 2

Final photo - we had a lovely sunrise visit from a pair of mallards the other morning! The Mrs. was quite brave and waddled about the yard while the Mr. enjoyed the temporary vernal pond in our front woods. I rushed from window-to-window snapping pictures and I think I startled her because she very suddenly ran back towards the pond and the pair of them took off into the sunrise ...

Well my friends, I must be off, but I hope to see you here again in a few days. I'll try to have a housekeeping post up later this week ... or maybe a file crate post as I'm working on the new folders right now ... or perhaps something for Earth Day, St. George's Day or Arbor Day? :)

So please stay tuned!

And thanks so much for stopping by ~ Blessings on your day!

Sunday ☼ Snippets

Just jotting down a few thoughts from my day ...

There's a PBS preview here ...with a bit more information on Downton Abbey AS WELL AS a new Martha Stewart Cooking show! As many of you know, the MARTHA show was cancelled this year, and though I must admit I was an infrequent viewer, I will miss that big pretty studio she had! Actually, I still like her original show best - the one set at Turkey Hill, where she just showed you stuff but didn't try to "banter" with celebrity guests. Still, it's nice to know she'll continue to be a presence on TV! (And here's another article about the new Martha show from way back in April. Clearly I've been out of the loop!)

This was a beautiful song sung at Mass this morning. I'm sure I've heard it before, but it really struck me today ...

I just love it. 

I have more skls/bnls chicken breasts in the crockpot today - which means more shredded chicken for salad, pizzas, wraps, etc. I'll keep my portion plain, since I'm pretty sure it was Bill's bbq sauce - or rather, the chipolte pepper in Bill's bbq sauce - that set off my crazy reaction.

(Note to self: call an allergist first thing tomorrow.)


And Crackerjack took this picture of Archie ...

Sleeping archie 1

He's holding his own - still sneezing now and again, but also still acting completely normal otherwise (eating/drinking/playing, etc.). Hates the meds of course, but what can you do?

But I love how we all flock to the learning room, whether we're learning or not.

Sunday snippets 4

But really, when are we not?

The older boys are at a "big boy" birthday party this afternoon, so EB and I made crafts and had "Sunday Sundaes" at home. The boy just loves to paint, and he'll paint whatever I give him ... though funnily enough, he absolutely refused to paint rocks today, lol ...

Sunday snippets 5

And I had planned to do this frame craft mid-week, for the Feast of St. James, but we made them up today since the mood was just right. :)

Sunday snippets 6

EB did the painting, I did the pictures. :)

And in another window ...

Sunday snippets 2

I love putting starfish and sand dollars in the windows at this time of year. I'm not sure if this is strictly a New England thing, or more of a coastal thing, but I see them here and there and they always make me smile ... so I hope our "seaworthy" windows make passersby smile, too. :)

Going a bit further with the shell theme - since shells are a symbol of St. James - I'm planning to make lemon madeleines and scallops provençal this week, and we may make this adorable seashell koala craft. Of course, I've been hunting high and low for my madeleine pan without any luck ... but I did find the minifig cake pan! Just in time for CJ's birthday next month! (You're not going to believe this, but he'll be 13!)

Lately, we've been enjoying the goldfinches enjoying our lavender bed ...

Goldfinches in lavender bed 1

I had kind of been kicking myself (as I do every year) for not doing much with our large patch of lavender... but seeing how dearly the birds love it, I feel somewhat less guilty.

Also, I wrote out a rather lengthy post on how I get ready for a new school year, since I've had a few requests for a post of that nature. Alas, I was on Benadryl at the time, so it needs a little polishing before it posts, lol.

(It should be up sometime tomorrow!)

Well, I'm going to sign off now, my friends - I expect my older boys and Bill home any minute, and I'm sure they'll be eager for supper. I hope you all had a nice weekend ... and I wish you a lovely Sunday night. 

I'll see you here again very soon ...

A Crafty Gift for Teacher

Teacher gift 5

It's that time of year again ... another academic year's coming to a close, so it's time to think about teacher/coach/instructor gifts. It may come as a surprise to some, but most homeschoolers also take classes - and therefore have teachers! - outside of the home. My kids have all taken outside classes - here and there, now and then - so we too have teachers to thank at the end of the year.

Anyhoo ... today we worked on a craft for the older boys' art teacher. Mrs. James teaches art at their tutorial center and she is just the nicest woman. AND she's a wonderful teacher! I'm planning to bake cookies for her later this week, but the boys wanted to make something for her, too.

And so, after much discussion and brainstorming, we came up with a handmade planter pot. It was a very easy and quick craft, so I thought I'd share it with you all.


So we settled ourselves on the deck on this LOVELY afternoon and set to work ...

Teacher gift

Last week I bought plain terra cotta pots (at Michaels, $1 apiece) and a bag of tiny craft seashells (approximately, $2). The rest of the supplies we had on hand - paints, brushes and glue. We also bought a flower plant this morning at the farm.

Crackerjack and Earlybird set right to work ... both of them LOVE to paint!

Teacher gift 13

Here are the flowers we chose, because they remind us of Mrs. James - sweet "Marguerite" daisies in a shade of vibrant yellow. :)

Teacher gift 12

Crackerjack worked on the base coat of his pot ...

Teacher gift 10

And then he added a pattern. He tried to use colors that would compliment the seashells.

Teacher gift 2

Earlybird gets very absorbed by the "paint" aspect of any craft. He really loves to mix and play with colors.

Teacher gift 9

That's Bill in the background, planting the herbs we picked up today at the farm: sage, English thyme, rosemary, basil, mint, etc. I think this is the fastest turnaround we've ever had - usually our plants linger (and wither) a good week or so before we get them planted.

After Bookworm had trouble getting the seashells to stick (his portion of the project) the boys roped Dad into helping ...

Teacher gift 14

The trick seemed to be applying a good dose of glue (we used Mod Podge) and then sort of smooshing the shells into the glue.

Teacher gift 3

Once the pot was dry, we planted the daisies.

Teacher gift 8

And here's Earlybird's pot ...

Teacher gift 7

(When I asked him who he made his pot for, he replied, "You!" And apparently we need to find "pink" flowers for this pot. )

The final project:

Teacher gift 6

A whole family collaboration!


Well, my friends ... I hope you all had a nice weekend. Ours was very nice ... busy yesterday with soccer and house stuff ... then today started early with Mass followed by an RV ride up north to a favorite farm. We were home by lunchtime though - armed with herb plants and cider donuts - not bad!

I'm sorry I did not have time to catch up with comments this weekend, but I will do so just as soon as I can. I truly appreciate your time and thoughts, and as always, your support. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing in our day ... 

I will see you all again very soon!

Pentecost Sunday Supper!

{The Feast of Pentecost celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the 12 Apostles and Our Lady, 50 days after Christ's Resurrection. In the Catholic Faith, this marks the birth of our Church, as well as the end of the Easter season.}

We've had a full and lovely day ... Mass was beautiful this morning ... the vestments and altar linens were all done in red, adorned with golden flame and white dove. There was a display of fruits and burning candles on the altar. And our pastor gave a wonderful homily about finding God in silence ... remembering to quiet ourselves and our souls so we can hear Him. And as he spoke, he quoted Mother Teresa:

"We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence ... We need silence to be able to touch souls."

I'm not sure I've ever heard that before, but it really speaks to me. :)

After Mass, as detailed in this post, we visited the graves for Memorial Day, and throughout the balance of the afternoon we worked around the house and yard. One "emergency" trip to Staples for printer ink, but otherwise just a fairly typical, quiet Sunday. :)

But this is a special feast day for us, and so our dinner menu reflects that distinction. Tonight we're cooking over flame (chicken and veggie kabobs), and enjoying a fruit salad ...

Pentecost 6

... and ending our meal with delicious "birthday" cupcakes!

Pentecost 5

(One for each Apostle, plus one for the Blessed Mother. Tender white cake, buttercream frosting, and a flaming candle set atop each.)

"Fire gives us light and warmth, and that's just what the Apostles were given: light to understand all that our Lord had taught them and the warmth of the love of God which made them ready to give their lives to spread His Kingdom over the world."

(From The First Christians: The Acts of the Apostles for Children by Marigold Hunt)


Well, my friends, I hope you've all had a nice weekend! If you're from the US, then tomorrow you'll (most likely) enjoy one more day "off," as it's Memorial Day, a very important national holiday. We'll all be at home, and Mum and I have a nice cookout planned for midday. There are many things to be thankful for this weekend, including the brave men and women who serve our country as protectors of freedom. We'll remember them in our thoughts and prayers ... especially as we raise our flag, and watch those fireworks over the woods late at night ... we have much to celebrate ... much to appreciate!

See you all again very soon!

Sunday Night Supper ❤

Bill at the grill

My man, manning the grill. :)

Sunday sundae

Dessert for the Kids: "Sunday Sundaes."

(Because Sunday's a special day, you get a special dessert. :))


And it was such a lovely evening ... the light at this time of day is so pretty.

Idyllic night 2

I love how our woods "catch" those last fading rays.

Today we saw a bunny in our yard, a hummingbird at the feeders, and I spent some time admiring the new leaves on the big old maple tree ...

Spring leaves

(Hence the new banner.)

And when Bill came in from grilling, a cold beer in one hand and a plate of steaks in the other, he said: "Here's the thing: You need to see the idyllic in the everyday." 

That just became my quote of the week.

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful evening ... only ten minutes till Once Upon a Time! But I still have a kitchen to tidy and Bill is currently reading EB a bedtime story - thank goodness, for that DVR! And then after OUaT, and after we've sent the older boys to bed, Bill and I will settle in to watch Sherlock. I've heard such good things about it - I can't wait to tell you all what I think! So I'll see you here again early tomorrow ... but thanks so much for stopping by tonight!



Palm Sunday Breakfast

Happy Palm Sunday, everyone! And Happy April, too!


Goodness, but it was a beautiful morning ... quite sunny and fairly mild for April first. In fact, I wore a light sweater to church - not a jacket! (Though admittedly, I shivered a bit on the way in and out.)

And did I remember to say "Rabbit, rabbit" first thing upon waking today? Why, yes - yes, I did - but only because it was 2 a.m. and Earlybird was talking in his sleep ... and, light sleeper I am, I was awake. So there I was lying in bed, straining to hear what he was saying - to determine if he required help, or was just talking ragtime - when it hit me: Rabbit, rabbit! Lol. So now I'm set for a month of good luck (or so the old tradition goes). And it began with EB not actually waking up, but staying asleep ... though unfortunately, I could not do the same ... *yawn*

Anyways, today we had a little breakfast after Mass. This is one of my favorite days all year ... there's just something about Palm Sunday - I've loved it dearly since I was a young girl. :)


This is a coffee cake I picked up at that bakery on Friday. To be honest, it was not as good as homemade ... but it was still quite nice - especially to have something all ready. :)

We also had a Palm Sunday "punch," toast with fig butter, assorted sweets and a lovely ricotta/ham pie as well as a winter squash quiche my mum brought.


It seems like we had a lot (I tend to do food for 20 no matter how many I'm serving, lol!) but this was a very easy meal to pull together. After all, it was mostly prepared things - we'll be doing enough cooking next weekend!

And not surprisingly, with all those good smells wafting around, Archie was lurking about ...


("Am I invited to Palm Sunday Breakfast?")

And here we have EB, Crackerjack, Papa, Bill (a bit obscured by the forsythia), Uncle Matt, Bookworm and Nana.


Sunday mornings don't get much better than this. 

Here's my sunshiney mug ...


... filled with the caffeine that keeps me sunshiney, too. ;)

And here's our palm cross:


We had a palm cross for many years, but it finally fell apart, so I "splurged" on a new one last weekend. We usually hang ours on our front door (or as in this case, the sliders to the deck) but the stake design intrigues me ... is this meant to stick in the ground?

And here's another lovely cross, this one in front of our church:



Well, my friends, I hope you've had a nice Sunday, too. I must say, I'm quite excited about our television plans tonight! First we'll watch Once Upon a Time with the older boys ... then we'll shoo them off to bed and tune in to Masterpiece Theater ... Great Expectations begins promptly at nine. So I'll be back here tomorrow morning with my "Masterpiece Monday" post ... where we can chat about all our viewing experiences, the good, the bad and the ambivalent.

In the meantime, take care of yourselves and your loved ones. I hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend. :)

Devil's Food Cupcakes and Blackberry Punch ...

It must be Michaelmas!


And a very happy Michaelmas to all!

We started our celebrating a little early this year ~ we had some dear friends over for a visit yesterday afternoon, and so, in honor of the feast day upon us, I made up some sweet, symbolic treats.

The "devil's food" cupcakes are topped with buttercream frosting and pierced by colorful cocktail swords. (Miniature replicas of Michael's own valiant weapon.) At the top of the tier I placed an image of the archangel himself (something I found online and printed out on cardstock), and at the very bottom of the arrangement, lurking beneath, you see one of our (many) dragon toys. 

Then I mixed up some blackberry punch ...


This is simply an Ocean Spray 100% juice blend (cranberry-blackberry-blueberry), mixed with ice, fresh blackberries and a splash of club soda. It was very refreshing on this warm autumn day!

If you're familiar with the legend of St. Michael, then you know blackberries are no longer fit for consumption after his feast day. And this would be because the devil, as he was cast out of heaven (at the hands of St. Michael), landed in a thorny blackberry patch. He spat upon the berries, thereby poisoning them for the rest of the harvest year.

My boys get such a kick out of this feast day! They always have and I hope in some way they always do. :)

Later today Earlybird and I will make a small Michaelmas lantern ...


We've made lots of lanterns through the years - some made from glass, some from paper, some from tin. Some were quick and easy - some were more ornate. Well this time our lantern will be very child-friendly. I found this little plastic "paint bucket" at the craft store. (It was near the wedding paraphernalia.) Today we will cover it with a thin layer of glue and some torn bits of colorful tissue paper. Once dry, and as the light fades from the day, we will pop in a battery-operated tea light and place it in a window to shine.

Simple, seasonal fun.


Have a great Thursday, my friends ... see you again sometime soon!

Rose Sunday ~ A Few Notes & Photos


Here we have a light breakfast after Mass with my folks: thick slices of raspberry danish, coffee of course, and the boys had pink lemonade, in keeping with the theme of the day. :)


Take a look at this poor little finch. Do you see how his eye is all well, a mess? I spied him the other day, and we immediately suspected house finch eye disease (or I should say, Bookworm did; he had read about it somewhere) which, come to find out, is highly infectious among the varied finch species. This morning Bill took down all the feeders and cleaned them out thoroughly with a bleach-water solution. (What a good guy.) Has anyone else ever seen something like this?


I got a touch of spring (cleaning) fever and tackled the learning room for awhile. Above you see our jam-packed utensils basket. I had no good reason for photographing it - I just liked how it all looked in the sunlight. :)

Mid-afternoon I called Earlybird over to help with a new stained glass panel for our cross:


In honor of Rose Sunday, we used shades of pink to surround a picture of our Pope:


With thanks to Karen E. for the image; I scooped it up at her blog. :)


It's coming along very nicely, don't you think?


Did you know March 2nd is National Banana Cream Pie Day? Well it might not have made my March Themes and Plans, but it caught my attention anyway. So today I made mini banana cream pudding pies. I had meant to make the slightly more traditional and definitely more nutritious egg custards as I did last year on this day. But these easy desserts seemed a good pick just the same. (Keyword: easy.) They're not Feingold, of course, but EB only eats the whipped cream anyway.

The funny thing is, I don't care much for banana cream pie myself, but they were fun to make. It's the same way with quick breads. I love to bake quick breads, but I almost never eat even a crumb. My family loves to eat them though, and that's what counts, right?

And where were the older boys during all of this cleaning, crafting and baking you might wonder? Well, Bill took them into the Museum of Science for a Planetarium show all about Star Wars. Needless to say, they enjoyed it.

And where are all my fellas now? Well, after a quick supper, Bill took the older two over to church for play practice, and just a bit ago, Earlybird called it a night. So here I sit, surrounded by cats - blogging and watching Night in the Museum (which is such a good movie, btw). I have a stack of Sunday reading at my side, but now I hear my gang coming in the door, so I'm signing off for the night ~ I hope yours is a good one, and I'll see you all sometime tomorrow. :)

Sunday Fun ~ Rock Painting!

Here's a quick idea for your Sunday, if you're looking for a simple family activity, perhaps oneLeopardbutterfly that ties into today's liturgy. Maybe you have an hour or so this afternoon to devote to painting rocks with your children? :)

Having just celebrated The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, we are reminded of the Scripture from Matthew 16 ~ "And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church." And now, here's a neat idea proposed at Open Wednesday which also ties in the readings today:

"Good week to learn something about rocks! Both the First Reading and the Psalm mentions rocks. Go rock hunting. Choose the best rock you can find and paint a Cross on the rock. The Psalm refers to our Lord as "the Rock of our salvation." Talk about a rock making a strong foundation."

And wouldn't it be doubly fun to make a real adventure out of looking for "just the right rock?" I'm sure there are rocks lying in wait just outside your back door, but how refreshing it would be to take a leisurely Sunday walk together - in the woods, at the beach, or just down the street. Weather permitting of course - this is February, I realize! ;)

Perhaps this is something Daddy could do with the children while Mother prepares the worktable at home (or vice versa!): acrylic paints, paintbrushes, cups of water, newspapers (or oil cloth) and paper towels (or sponges and rags). When the children return, no doubt quite rosy-cheeked from time spent out-of-doors, the craft is ready to go.

Of course your children can paint the rocks any way they wish to! There's a great book my mum bought for the boys called Painting on Rocks for Kids by Lin Wellford. It gives lots of ideas and instructions for turning plain old rocks into all kinds of artwork. Even a simple word or phrase could be painted on a particularly smooth-sided stone. When the rocks are dry, they could be placed at your nature table or prayer corner, or even tucked in your garden.

To be honest, my own boys won't be doing this activity today, but rather, tomorrow. This morning they are off to Boston for a special outing with Bill's parents. And when they all return here later today we will enjoy some cake and ice cream to celebrate Grandma B.'s birthday. But I still wanted to post this idea here today in case it might be something someone else can use. :)

Well, whatever your plans today, I hope you have a wonderful Sunday!