these days


Yesterday morning I walked out of the house into a sparkling fall day.  In my hands was a little vintage fiesta plate of leftover banana bread and cereal milk from breakfast, to serve the hens.  They seemed to enjoy the treat.


They explored the grass along the fence.  There are five full grown hens and two half-grown ones.

We do not let the little ones stay outside for very long because the cats come over to try and hunt them.  The poor things.



I gave them a bowl of chick food in a yellow fiesta bowl.  The way they hop in and out of the bowl, peeping and scratching food everywhere, is amusing.


The leaves were turning.


The fall flowers were in bloom.

My heart was singing.


You are the joy in my morning
You’re my song of praise
Just like the new day dawning
Flooding my world with grace.


Isn’t this green and pink combination BEAUTIFUL?


Caleb was home sick from school yesterday.  He had an upset stomach and a high fever.  He was on the couch curled up in his soft blanket and as much as I was able, I was sitting by him.  The children are so needy and love to have me near when they are sick.  As much as I hate to see them suffer, and as long as I know it’s only a common children’s illness, I confess– I love the cuddle time.

Caleb likes to talk.  It was an eye-opener to me when he said, “You know why I bury my head in the couch to sleep?  Because I don’t want my picture taken.”  My heart was so sad to think that I unknowingly made my poor boy uncomfortable with photography, it’s just that I think he’s so cute.  He doesn’t like the feeling that I’m taking pictures when he’s sleeping.  I told him I would never take another picture of him unless I knew it was okay and I asked him first.  He told me that one day he was falling asleep on the bus and a couple of girls took a video of him.  It bothered him.  I told him some things he could do about it, such as telling them that their Dad doesn’t want videos taken of him, or going to the principal or the bus driver for help, or asking them to delete the video.

We seem to be living in a time when privacy isn’t understood or desired.  I know that I personally love to share on my blog, but there is a part of me that almost envies that time not so long ago when families were in their homes and their lives were virtually unknown to the rest of the world.  They had their own private and intimate lives within the walls of their “nest”, special and meaningful only to them.

It is something to think about.

(I asked Grace about this, too, and she said she was absolutely fine with me taking pictures of her whenever I wanted.)


I asked Caleb if I could take this picture and he agreed.

Rich and I purchased a coffee table and a loveseat this weekend.  We needed more places for people to sit when they come and visit us and we were thankful to find things that we didn’t have to order and wait for.  Ethan Allen was having a floor sample sale on a lot of their furniture.  Both pieces have small problems but in our family we would rather buy things on super-clearance-sale WITH a problem, then to pay full price for a perfect piece that will get scratched the next day.

The maroon throw at the end of the love-seat is the latest loved comfort with everyone….it’s our very first electric blanket….and the children are all so very appreciative.  Ethan had it last night after football practice when he was shivering cold.  Seth fell asleep under it when he was sick last week.  Sarah had it this morning when the house was chilly.  Seth accidentally called it the “electra blanket” and the name has stuck.  We love our “electra blanket”.


I have been having fun freshening up the house (after an inspiring visit to my friend Lydia’s house).  I had Rich and the boys move the piano from the living room to the new addition and so far we all really like it in there.  You can’t tell by the photo, but there is still a good amount of room between the table and chairs and the piano, so we don’t feel squeezed.

I bought our first full length tablecloth, long enough for our big table.  It’s a linen fabric with golden leaves stamped on it.   We have 8 chairs around the table, and one bench that seats 2.

I also bought the mirror on the right side of the picture.  It’s reflection brings in even more of the sunshine.


I’ve been longing to use more of the rhubarb from my garden that Mr. G so thoughtfully gave me to plant before he moved last fall.  I found a great recipe for a pie.  I used a store-bought crust, and baked it yesterday afternoon.  Everyone liked it.

Rhubarb Pie

5 cups sliced rhubarb
6 rounded Tablespoons flour (an odd measurement…it’s basically 1/2 a cup)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Let rhubarb mixture stand at room temperature for 20-25 minutes, then stir and add to a pastry lined pie plate.  Sprinkle on top of the filling 2 Tablespoons melted butter, 1 Tablespoon flour, and 1/4 cup brown sugar.  Place the top crust over and pinch the edges to seal.  Poke top of pie with a fork and bake in a 400 degree oven 45-50 minutes (or until done).

Recipe adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks,  A Return to Sunday Dinner, by Russell Cronkhite.


I love candlelight, and these days, my favorite is a chocolate layer cake candle from Yankee Candle.  The children, especially Ethan, hate it because it smells so realistic that they are disappointed when there aren’t brownies or chocolate cakes in the kitchen (only rhubarb pie).  The candle holder makes me laugh, it’s also from Yankee Candle, and it’s a spoof on Snow White and the seven dwarfs.  I told the children it’s me and the seven of them.  “But where’s Dad?” they asked.  “He’s at work!” I reply.


After Seth got home from Kindergarten we went outside to play.  Sarah cut a chunk of her hair off a few months ago so it doesn’t fit into a ponytail unless I use about five bobby pins.  Still cute.


“Mom, bring your camera!  David has a snake!”


The stream is low so there are plenty of rocks to step on, which makes it easy to walk up and down the stream, exploring.  I got my head too close to the branch of a pine tree and it took my headband off and flung it someplace….it was black and I never did find it.

We found crayfish.


I watched this one for a little while.  It was busy, I saw it pick up an acorn-cap in it’s little legs.  It shuffled around, keeping an eye on me (the big monster?)


The boys like to eat them but yesterday I wouldn’t let allow it …. I became friends with this one.




I took this picture last night because Sammie and Sherlock were sleeping together on the couch.  Would you believe they are from the same litter?  Sherlock is so much bigger than his sister!

“What does love look like?  It has the hands to help others.  It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy.  It has the eyes to see misery and want.  It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men.  That is what love looks like.”  Augustine

10 thoughts on “these days

  1. Such a beautiful post..lovely pictures and such warm memories. I find such peace through your blog…usually during a hectic day at work. Thank you for share your beautiful photography and family.

  2. I loved this glimpse into your daily life. I’m the same way about the privacy thing. I go ’round and ’round about it in my head. On the one hand, it’s a way to store pictures and a ‘journal’ of sorts to remember things…a journal I wouldn’t normally keep if it were handwritten. On the other hand, when I have people reading my ‘stuff’ who I don’t even know, and who never say anything, it can be a little unnerving. Then on the other hand…I’ve made some really good online friendships which I cherish, and friends who I wouldn’t know half as well if not for their blogs.

    I always enjoy your photos…you always capture the essence of the entire scene. Your pictures tell a story, even without words. I keep saying that, but I wonder if I’m conveying what I really mean?

    I love Fall, and I’m so happy it’s here! Yours is beautiful already, if the pictures are a hint of it. It sounds like yesterday was a perfect weather day, and I hope today is perfect for you, too.

    …and I hope y’all are all soon on the mend, health-wise!

  3. I love your new dining room area alot, I told you that before but had to say it again. It looks so cozy and neat! Thanks for the post! I love reading them and looking at your pictures. Keeps me connected to you. XOXOXOXO

  4. What lovely days indeed. I hope that everyone is soon restored to good health! There is much fall to be enjoyed.
    I am still reading Les Miz, but I confess, it’s a “sorry” amount each day. BUT, I am enjoying it whereas before I was reading it just to read it. Now I am reading it slowly and thinking about it. So I’m still back in the section about the bishop.

  5. I just put that quote about love on my instagram last week! Poor caleb. I sure hope he gets to feeling better soon! Your house is beautiful with the sun streaming in!

  6. Beautiful! I knew you must be taking fall photos (I took a few today myself). I loved seeing the interior pictures, though, this time. I love the new addition. And I loved the Caleb stories.

  7. I have no doubt your hens appreciate being graciously served on your beautiful Fiesta Ware! If I were a hen, I certainly would! 🙂 I also agree on the privacy issue these days, Shanda. I remember, too, that the ‘old’ Xanga was a bit more ‘private’ than being here on WordPress. We had the choice to accept a follower there, and we could block someone if we needed to, but here, we can’t. It definitely is something to think about!

    Your new furniture is lovely, and such a perfect fit for you home! Love all your ‘homey’ touches, and I almost didn’t see Caleb in that photo of your living room, but I’m glad he let you take that one! I do hope Caleb is feeling better, Shanda. It was always hard to see our boy sick … but, like you, I enjoyed the cuddle time with him. 🙂

    Going to try this pie recipe soon! It looks delicious, and autumn in your area is looking mighty pretty, too! Such beautiful color in those photos! We have a few leaves turning here and there, but it won’t be too long for the vibrant colors to reach their peak with the cool nights we’ve been having. I love this time of year, and candles, too, oh, but not snakes! Doubt very much I’d be brave enough to hold a crayfish either! lol! Sammy and Sherlock are both beautiful kitties … our two are similar in size, and my smaller one looks so much like your Sammy. She doesn’t have any white on her, though. She was a stray and came to our porch to adopt us in the fall of 2007. She is a cuddly little thing whereas our ‘big boy’ is much more independent. We’ve had a lot going on in our family, and I’ve missed reading here! Blessings to you, my friend!

  8. Even the hens enjoy the Fiesta dishes! That is so cute. Your hens always look so pretty and plump. A friend brought David some eggs from her hens and he said he could definitely tell the difference from store bought.
    My Nick and Alicia, and their littles are in Maine this semester and enjoying the leaves beginning to turn! They went and saw Lighthouses, and are looking forward to other adventures.
    The new furniture looks so cozy and nice in your home.

  9. ‘Tis the season for sickness! My two wee girlies and I have been sick all week. Joy had to miss ballet last Saturday and was so disappointed … we’re all finally on the upswing, which is such a relief. Even though all three of us still sound like consumptives when we cough!

    Privacy is such a tricky issue these days. I use pseudonyms for my girls online, and no longer post pictures with a clear view of their faces on any public sites … but I confess, it always makes me sad when other people do that! I love the authenticity of real names and candid photos, it makes me feel almost like we’re neighbors. So hard to find that balance, and when your children get old enough to have their own opinion about the matter it becomes even trickier!

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