fortnite, or fortnight?

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Today we were all in the living room and I said, “Seth and Sarah come sit on either side of me like the good old days and I will read you a book.”  And they did.

When we got to this page (and to a certain word) all the gamers in the room started cheering and clapping until Sarah clarified, “It’s two weeks.  A period of two weeks.”

outside & inside the house


Grace and I found a Garden Center yesterday pretty close to home.  It was big, exciting, and bright and full of ladies of all ages filling their carts to the brim with annuals, perennials, potting soil, pots, vegetable plants, fertilizer, tools, and mulch!  I said, “I’m NOT going to get distracted by wanting alllllll the flowers!” and then I admit I did indeed became a tiny bit distracted which made her wander off to some flowering trees over in the quiet back corner while I made up my mind, eventually, to buy two huge RED hanging baskets and two RED watering cans planted with RED geraniums.  They look wonderful against our YELLOW house.  I now have the Memorial day//July 4th bunting up, too.  Home Sweet Humble Home.

Meanwhile, inside the house:


I also picked up this little cabinet from a (new-to-us) Thrift store.

It has become our Scrap/Art-booking cabinet.


Grace promptly ran off to find some books to put on top of it.  Mary Oliver poetry, a book I’m reading, a book she JUST finished, and one of her beloved Dictionaries.  (She has a weakness).


Inside the cabinet there are removable shelves for our books and papers.

My scrapbook is on top, then Grace’s and then Sarah’s.  We each have one.  We glue anything and everything inside of them.  Someday I’ll take a few videos of them to share. Joanna does them with her girls, too, and when we’re together we love to spend time looking through each other’s books.  We also mail each other papers to include in them, too.


Again at the thrift store, I couldn’t resist this 1070’s child’s tablecloth with Raggedy Ann and Andy on it.  Seeing it made Sarah remember that she had a Raggedy doll (which used to be Grace’s).



Guess what?  My Christmas Cactus is blooming again!  It gives me great joy (rather like a christmas joy!)  Two buds; one small and one just-about-to-open.


Sherlock sleeps in his favorite bed all day long (he reminds us of a taco in a shell, so his new nickname is Taco-cat which is the same backward and forward, David told me).


Parker was sleeping so soundly on my bedroom floor that I had to stop and check his breathing.  He’s fine just really tired.


My current read; Grace and the boys listened to the audiobook when they were still homeschooling years ago and I remember how much they loved it.  I was in the mood to try reading some Newbury Award books that I missed as a child, so I pulled this one off their shelves.  I think of them as I read it.


I found this one just sitting on the couch.  I’m guessing Grace is reading it because I mentioned that I wanted to go see Laura and Almanzo’s house next summer but that she probably wouldn’t want to go with me because “you never really read the books like I did as a child.” To which she became slightly offended and said yes she did too read them.

This morning Grace couldn’t find packing tape.  I told her where to find it.  She couldn’t find it.  I went to check and found it promptly.  Then she could not find her shoes.  I bent over to look under the coffee table.  “They’re right there under the coffee table.”  “HOW DO YOU DO THAT?”  She was impressed.  “You’re like a MEDAL-DETECTOR of lost things!”

I felt really proud of myself.  Someday when you’re a mom you’ll hone this skill, too, Grace.

HONE:  refine or perfect (something) over a period of time.

tasha tudor book finds

DSC_1487 1“When I’m working in the barn or house I often think of all the errors I’ve made in my life. But then I quickly put that behind me and think of water lilies. They will always eradicate unpleasant thoughts. Or goslings are equally comforting in their own way.”  ~Tasha Tudor

Jacob is doing fine in Vermont, he is so busy we don’t hear from him very often but all his texts end in that happy LOL face — yellow circle with a big grin and laughter-tear eyes.  He’s very busy with football; conditioning, practices, and meetings.  I read the group text this morning in which he confessed that he finally put the sheets on his bed…after three days.  He read the blog post I wrote and had to text me and say “great I’m crying right before my meeting, Mom.”  oops.  He’s coming back home next Sunday to get Ethan but Rich and I will be in PA getting Grace settled so we will miss seeing him.  Vermont is an easy state to visit from Connecticut, I honestly LOVE the drive to the college because I pass several very nice antique stores and the Vermont Country Store, which is an amazing place to shop for unique items, including food.

So anyway, back to when I visited Aunt Colleen two weeks ago now.  We had an afternoon just the two of us.  Her girls babysat Seth and Sarah (they are the best babysitters).  I wish I had taken more pictures with Colleen that day.  We stopped first at an antique store that was inside of a big huge old house.  We had just as much fun seeing the inside of that house as we did searching for treasures.

Then, we found a consignment shop basically in the middle of a very quiet shopping plaza, one of those places that you hesitate going inside because they don’t seem to have much business.  However, we entered the store and had a simply delightful time prowling around and I was very excited to find Seth a Derek Jeter tshirt for only 2 dollars AND……..(this is most exciting)…..on a shelf of children’s books I found……


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This was the one I was most amazed by….because when I opened the cover I saw….


….that it was signed!!!  (swoon)

My friends, it was ONE DOLLAR.  ONE DOLLAR.

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The first one was published in 1971, and this one was written in 1997.


“But then Caleb thought his end had come:  He tripped over a taunt rope in a clump of hemlocks where he had thought to conceal himself.  He fell flat, giving his chin a nasty whack.  He just managed to retreat, undiscovered, to the shelter of some rocks that were covered by bushes.”  

Naturally, the fact that there is a CALEB in the books makes them even better, as that is the name of my own dear fourth son, who is currently 12 years old.


The third book I bought (they were each one dollar) was a copy of Tasha Tudor’s Fairy Tales, and as it was very similar to the Bedtime Book (already tucked away on a shelf at my house in CT), we promptly left it with Aunt Mary, on her porch, with a note.  She loved Tasha before I even did (as did my Mom).

When I got home I pulled all my books out of their various places in the house to take photos of them.  It’s been too long since I last READ them (I’m currently reading Harry Potter #3) so I plan on doing that very soon, while wearing a long skirted old fashioned dress, a kerchief on my hair, while turning off the electricity in the house, seated next to a huge dollhouse I made myself, with lit candles, a stuffed owl, and tea that I brewed also myself in old English chinaware!  Oh and I cannot forget the big vases of flowers from the garden, using homemade goat fertilizer to make them bloom extra lushly.

(dreams, only dreams)

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This book is a treasure for lovers of old fashioned gardening.

“Daffodils are an optimistic flower, and foolproof. You know what Shakespeare said:
That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty.”

…I plant them in big clumps with a trusty shovel. I make several large holes all around and put quite a few in. That’s why it makes such a spectacular look when they bloom.”  ~Tasha Tudor


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Mother Goose book (of which I have two copies). . . . .

(all these books have been found in my wanderings through library book sales and second hand shops)

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(She passed away in 2008 at 92 years of age)

“You should see my corgis at sunset in the snow. It’s their finest hour. About five o’clock they glow like copper. Then they come in and lie in front of the fire like a string of sausages.”  ~Tasha Tudor


Another page of her delightful drawings.  I have a print which I really need to get framed one of these days…..its of a small girl holding a chicken.


This newsletter/catalogue was tucked inside one of the books.

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Joanna gave me this cookbook for Christmas in 2001, she is also a fan.  All the cool girls are.  (wink)  If you haven’t seen her work, I challenge you to find her books at the local library and enjoy a quiet hour or two turning the pages, you will be whisked away into another world for a time, and come back gently with a soft smile on your face, determined to maybe try a few of the things she loved so much; her pets, cooking, gardening, drawing, creating.


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This huge hawk sat at the top of our old dead pine tree for well over an hour early yesterday morning.  As soon as I woke up I found myself down by the pond, in a soft rain, trying to get a good photo.

It’s beautiful.


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(Sarah was wearing her sister’s glasses).  These three were cute yesterday, visiting on the porch, so I had to get a photo.


They brought me my camera, “We took pictures outside,” they explained, “he’s in the trash can.”  ooooookay…….


Apparently they were pretending that he was Bugs Bunny (which explains the teeth) and because they didn’t have a proper rabbit hole, they used the almost-empty garbage bin.  Yuck!

“I enjoy doing housework, ironing, washing, cooking, dishwashing. Whenever I get one of those questionnaires and they ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It’s an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren’t stupid because you’re a housewife. When you’re stirring the jam you can read Shakespeare.”  ~Tasha Tudor

without even trying

The blog is a spiritual practice of sorts; because with it, I can intentionally go back through the moments of daily living, remember and savor them, and press on with gratitude.

Picking up the camera creates a feeling of expectation that there will be an image to record.  An image just for me, a moment that speaks to my heart as a woman, a child of God, a homemaker, or a mother.

Each time I download, edit, study, is an opportunity to say “thank you”.

If other people happen to read it, enjoy, relate and want to be friends; that’s the icing on the cake!


The kitchen is where I go when I want a safe place….cooking shows are what I watch when all of life seems painfully overwhelming.  Eating and drinking is something I never take for granted.  To eat food without discomfort in the mouth or stomach; what a reason to praise!  I love cooking and baking and serving.  (cleaning up, not so much; only because my kitchen NEVER stays clean, it’s too busy).

I made kuchen on Saturday morning (we were having a snow day).  It was a buttery yeast dough, pressed into a pie plate and left to rise.  Then, a sprinkling of fruit and a topping of sugar mixed with egg, cinnamon, and cream.  Baked in the oven, and eaten with whipped cream.


It was gone in no time at all.

I want to make it a few more times before I post a recipe because I made it according to the cookbook but want to tweak it a tad before I am satisfied.  Although, even as it was, it was super delicious and my husband said over and over that it was good (and he’s not a sweets type of guy).


I gave David a photography lesson on taking pictures of cats that don’t want to look at you.  “shake a plastic bag up by the camera”….. nice shot, Dave!


“Mom, can I make one of those orange things that smell like pine?” asked Seth.

It took me a little bit of questioning before I figured out that he was thinking of pushing cloves into an orange, and it was so adorable and random that of course I right away said yes and jumped off the couch to find my jar of cloves.

meanwhile, outside the snow was falling, falling


And Seth was in a laundry basket, working on his orange while the rest of us watched a live steam of Ethan’s wrestling tournament on the internet…….


The other funny thing Seth needed on Saturday was iced tea.  Nothing would make him happier than some iced tea….so I got out my Aunt Colleen’s recipe and made it.  I tend to think that cravings have a purpose and for the most part, should be satisfied.  He also requested that he drink it “from that white owl mug”.  As you wish, little prince.

And lest you think I spoil him, I did NOT let him stay home from school today even though he did his very best to try to convince me he was in agony with a stomach ache.


Sarah was asking her Dad all that snowy day if she could go outside with him as he plowed the driveway.  The next morning, bright and early, her wish came true!  It was adorable.


“How did you know I was taking your picture through the window?”

“I saw the light on your camera!”


On Sunday, we traveled about an hour to take Seth, Caleb, and David to their first wrestling meet of the season.  On the way there, I told this long story about the unsatisfactory fiction book I had finished (it was mixed in with “pulitzer prize fiction” search on amazon!! and it was a piece of garbage!) UGH.  I told him the whole story very animately and how ridiculous it was and when I was done Sarah piped up from the back seat and asked if the name of it was If God is Good.


I am constantly thrown off kilter by my children.  How on EARTH would she think such a thing??

“Because I saw that book on the coffee table.”

“OH.  No, Sarah, THAT book is really really good.  The book I was talking about was called The Life we Bury.”

And I thought to myself, “She notices stuff I didn’t realize she noticed.  Nothing gets by her.”



Now that’s some flower!  I’ve had the grandest time watching this Christmas Cactus grow an itty bitty bud to a big, strong blossom.


“What’s this, Sarah?”

“My New Years Resolution.”


So it was pretty funny that the chapter we read this morning was about two little girls who decide to make other people happy.

The housekeeper said it would make her happy if they left the kitchen so she could scrub the floor.

The Mama said she was already happy.  But they wanted to make her happier.  “Just keep being my good little girl and then I’ll be quite happy enough.”

The old Grandfather said he was happy just to see them come and visit; but this time they insisted on DOING something to MAKE him happy so they cheerfully decided to take him for a walk outdoors until…. he asked if they didn’t think they had walked enough?  He was so weary he went to bed and they tucked him into it.  “What was the best part of your day, Grandfather?”  “Getting into this nice warm bed, I’m very tired.” was his answer.  They THOUGHT he would say, “Being taken for a walk.”

Then, the sick neighbor didn’t become happy when they sang many many songs (until they were hoarse!) to her.  She was expecting the typical basket of food and not a never-ending repertoire of singing.

They give a bouquet of wildflowers to the hired man; later they find them in the compost heap.

They decide to give up trying.

But then they learn of a sick classmate and they made her happy by giving her a doll and a book.



My word of the year 2016 was COMPASSION and it especially pleased me to see this in Seth’s homework folder recently…..

“Your child is learning that people can show their compassion or others by saying something kind or doing something helpful.”

“Learning about how to show compassion for other people helps children take action on their feelings of empathy.”

I thought to myself, “what is the difference in *making people happy* and *showing compassion* and I think the answer is *the heart*”

Making people happy comes from ideas in your head.  It’s a job you decide to do.

Showing compassion is feeling empathy in your heart and THEN acting on that feeling.

However, it DOES make people happy when you feel empathy and compassion toward them and DO something to show you care.  How funny!

I think I’ll explain it better to the children later on today and see what they think.

I do know that Sarah was cold yesterday.  As I rubbed her little bare arms with my hands she said, “Your touches make me warm.”

That’s all it takes, and I was blessed by her sweet words.


Happy Monday!

“I’ve had enough.  I’m not going to make any more people happy.”
But we did, all the same, because the next day Miss Johnson told us that Martha, a girl in our class, wasn’t coming back to school for a long time.  She was very, very sick and had to stay in bed several months.  That night, before I went to sleep, I lay awake thinking about Martha, and then I decided to give her Bella, my most beautiful doll.  This was because I knew that Martha didn’t have any toys at all…..In the morning when I told Anna that I was going to give Martha my doll, she went to get her nicest story book.  And after school we went over to Martha’s house……My, oh, my how happy she was!
“When we were outside the door, I said to Anna, “Isn’t it funny, now we’ve made someone happy without even trying.”

The Children of Noisy Village, by Astrid Lindgren (who also wrote Pippi Longstocking!)

onward and upward


I took a little road trip on Friday to get our son Ethan from college.  He has this whole week off from school and it’s been such a thrill for the whole family to have him back home again.  I texted him when I arrived at the dorm and he had a big smile as he walked out to where I was parked.  We both did.



I stopped at the Vermont Country store and it was the best store to browse around in.  I bought some cleaning supplies and learned from the lady there that my clothespins are coming apart because I have always just left them pinned on the clothesline after taking down the laundry.  She said I have to keep them in a tin or a clothespin bag.  I’ve been hanging out the clothes for 20 years and never knew this.  I thought they just weren’t making the clothespins like they used to.  I am still a bit skeptical but I am certainly going to try it and see if they keep breaking.  (I use the ones with the spring in the middle).  And would you look at this kitchen goods display and all the King Arthur Flour things?  I’m going to have to do my Mom’s Christmas shopping here.

Ethan and I also stopped at a little independent bookshop which was fun, too.

It goes without saying that we will be making this trip several times this year so it will be fun to get to know other towns….Vermont is beautiful!  I would be happy to take along any friends who might want to join me in retrieving Ethan throughout the year so we can stop at neat little shops.  🙂


Ethan surprised his girlfriend Tessa that night by showing up at her house for pizza with no warning.  They were one happy couple all weekend long.  He is leaving in a little while to pick her up from school.  (they have been dating for a year now) Sarah adores Tessa (the feeling is mutual).  When I saw them hugging I said, “let me take a picture!”


Out and about for football games.  Seth and Caleb both won their games this weekend.


Ethan and his best friend Zachary….both with a good month or more of college under their belts.  And of course Parker the Dog is happy to see his boys again.

Ethan has a bad cold so I’ve been torturing him with cough syrup.

The two of us went on a walk together this morning and I brought along my camera to photograph some of the beautiful fall colors.



The sun is shining for the first time in days.  It brightens everything, including our moods.

(just like Jesus–The Son)



I loved this scareCROW on one of our neighbor’s lawns.


looking up into the trees

We saw a hawk and a crow flying after each other (in an argument over something)

We saw a dead toad, a dead squirrel and a dead goldfinch during various times in our walk. Which was sad and rather odd.

Aren’t you glad I don’t take pictures of EVERYTHING????


looking up again

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.


We saw a flock of bluebirds.   I wasn’t able to get any good photos because I didn’t have a good zoom lens with me.  There were about 10 of them flying about.  The farmhouse at the end of our street has bluebird houses which were obviously greatly appreciated this summer.





He walked barefoot because he’s ours country boy.  He has a straw in his mouth, too, but you can’t see it.



I rescued this fuzzy caterpillar from the road (lots of things are getting hit lately, as I mentioned earlier)…….


And would you look at this spider?   It’s exquisite!  I’m so glad we stopped and took a closer look at it.


Just a couple more random photos:


My brother Dave sent me this photo of Dad’s truck full of pumpkins and their puppy!  (I like how his white socks are all different sizes)



Sarah and I finished another book!  We read The Adventures of Benjamin Pink and it was delightful.

I read to her whenever we have some free time together and the other children are always welcome to listen with us, too, but she is the only one committed enough to stay snuggled up next to me.  The others do their own thing as they listen.  We started our third book this morning, it was one that I bought at the bookstore in Vermont with Ethan.

Well, it’s been a busy morning of digging pennies out of the garbage disposal, finding water leaking in the bathroom and calling the plumber, doing laundry and dishes, grocery shopping, taking Grace her purse at the school, cleaning up the house after a busy weekend, texting Jacob after he had a check up (perfect!so thankful), walking 3 miles with Ethan, and getting dinner started in the crock pot.  It’s been necessary and nice to sit and blog for a little while here with my friends (and Ethan sound asleep on the other couch).  Thank you all for reading along.  I pray that each of you who stop by here today has a very blessed and beautiful week.  I thank God for my friends and for this outlet where we can share and get to know each other.

Remember….you are loved.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

reading out loud


Sarah and I have about 15 minutes every morning to ourselves because out of the five children, her bus comes last.  With the remaining time, as we wait, I have been reading out loud to her.  We just finished this one.  We enjoyed it so much that we read it in the evenings, too.

Littles to the Rescue, by John Peterson.  Published in 1968, purchased from a library book sale.

what my brother did for me


About a week or so ago, while my poor brother Dave was in pain passing a kidney stone, he read my blog post about how and why I was a fan of Rosemary Wells.

And guess what that thoughtful guy did without me knowing a thing about it?

He emailed Rosemary Wells with the blog link and she read it!

She emailed him back and said thank you for the once in a lifetime review and asked for my address so she could mail my family the newest books.

They came today!


I love how she wrote “For Shanda’s family”.

I will treasure these books for the rest of my life.


I already read them out loud to Sarah, of course.  She liked the Warthog’s wedding story best because it had an *ibunny phone* all throughout out it, with a flap she could lift in order to see a map.   The green dot on the map was where Max and Ruby were in the hotel as they searched for a lost wedding ring.

Anyway, aren’t brothers the best?  I’m so thankful to have three of them and Dave is now my absolute favorite because of what he did.  (((LOL) only teasing, Nate and Isaac!)))

To think, she saw my post!!  And sent me two hardcover books!

It was just the uplifting mail we needed today because………..


…….tomorrow little Sarah bird is going back to the hospital for another surgery.

This one is to fix a “congenital obstruction of the ureteropelvic junction.”  The surgery is a “robotic UPJ/pyelopasty”.

It is expected to last 6 hours, or more.

This obstruction is what the doctors believe caused the large amount of kidney stones which they removed in January.  She also has reflux but they told me that as a rule they fix the obstruction first……..ugh. (hoping we are reaching the end of this adventure but I know we have a few months and procedures left)

Gratefully, Sarah is happy.  We are all acting like it’s an exciting sleepover with Mama.  She knows that she will get to watch movies in the middle of the night if she can’t sleep.  And during the day she can go to an art class and the family resource center and the toy room, so in the knowledge of these joyful prospects, we conveniently forget about the surgery part.  And besides, she’s asleep the whole time and it doesn’t hurt when you’re asleep!  (that’s what we overheard her telling Seth in a very authoritative voice).

We have our bags packed.

The best part for me is that Rich has the entire week off and will be with us the whole time with no pressures to get back to work.

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little bouquets by the kitchen sink


hugging the best cat ever

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a soft sweet neck and little whisps of blond

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a pair of cardinals that I photographed this morning from the porch, while it was raining


dear rosemary wells


Dear Rosemary Wells,

I am a fan of yours.  A very big fan.  You see, I’ve been enjoying picture books with my various children for 19 years now and your books never get old.  They are always interesting.  They are “evergreen”.   We have read many of your books. Max’s Chocolate Chicken is a favorite, Bunny Cakes, and also Felix Feels Better. So many wonderful stories.

We have known of you for years, but we weren’t exactly die-hard FANS, yet.

You see, I never really stopped to realize what an amazing artist/author you were until the other day, when I found myself at the library, filling a bag of books for my children, who are in a summer reading program for their school.  They have to read and keep track of the number of books they complete and we carefully write the titles on a list in the cupboard.

My son Seth is 7, and Sarah is 6, so they need easier books to read.  Pictures books are perfect.

So yes,  I was at the library when I came to the “W” section (organized by the author’s last name) and realized….wow….Rosemary Wells has completed an amazing and prolific amount of work as a children’s author.  I showed my sixteen year old daughter the length of the row of YOUR books, each one thoughtfully written AND illustrated by you.  We were in awe and spoke of our love for your stories.  And at that moment, I became aware that I was a true fan.  So this is a thank you to you.  My oldest child is 19 years old.  There are a total of 7 children in our home.  And we have read your books all along the way.  They are a delight and charmingly creative!


My six year old, with the long blond hair, sat cross legged by my side this morning.  She still had sleepy eyes and had just eaten her toast for breakfast.  We took Time-Out for Sophie from the library bag and she read me every word, leaning over the pages with her hair dangling and getting in the way so prettily.  “Sophie” was a hard word for her to pronounce and remember.  We were very amused by the antics of Sophie.  She threw her macaroni and cheese on the floor two times!  And then she dumped the clean and folded laundry!  But Sarah just loved the fabrics of all those pretty clothes.  She carefully studied each one and pointed her finger at her favorites that *she wished she could have * (with a sigh).


Thank you for putting humor, detail, and beauty in your drawings.  I agreed that the purple polka dotted shirt would look very nice on Sarah.


Sarah thought it was funny that Sophie had her time-out at the top of the stairs.  She wondered what the brown wall was behind her.  You see, we have bookcases at the top of our stairs.  I told her that Sophie is a mouse and so she lives underground.  I’m not sure if she was satisfied by that answer but her silence said it was the end of the question and so we moved on to the next page, the part about Granny.  Sophie kept taking Granny’s glasses right off her face!


Wise Granny knew just how to put an end to Sophie’s nonsense….by putting HERSELF in time-out.  I thought to myself that yes, when MY children were being naughty to me, I would put MYSELF into time-out, too, just like Granny.

We turned the page again to see that Sophie was now in the tub and was in the process of squirting the bubble bath clear across the room.  The book didn’t say so, but Sarah knew that Sophie was headed for ANOTHER time out.

Then the book was over and she studied all the beautiful clothes that you drew for the end paper.

We read Shy Charles this week, too, and Noisy Nora.  Your wonderful books make me smile and the children like them just as much as I do.  We think you must be amused as you work on them, as well.  Happiness & joy all around.

Thank you, Rosemary Wells!  May you continue to create for many years to come!



I sit on the grass and watch the children jump into the pond.  They say the water is great and want me to swim with them.


Sarah got brave enough…yesterday!  Now she doesn’t stop jumping.  At the end of the day when she’s sitting snuggled up to me, I smell her hair and it smells so good, like sweet perfume and pond water.


they show off for mama’s camera


I find a tiny toad.

“Tiny toads are all over the place.  There were three on me yesterday.” ~Sarah, while swimming


I bought three bags of balloons the other day and they have been an endless source of amusement for the kids.  David likes blowing them up as much as big as they will get.  Then he plays with them until they blow up.  I was down at the pond when one of his balloons popped and it was so loud my heart leapt and I thought someone had shot a gun in the woods.  I went up to the house and the boys were laughing.  Ethan said it was as loud as a cannon.

I tied four water balloons for Seth as I wrote this blog post.  (He can’t tie them and Sarah can’t blow them up.  I’m still needed. LOL)


Shooting hoops on a summer day.


scandinavian blondies on the first day of spring

(music) DSC_1575





Scandinavian Blondies

4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon almond or lemon extract
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sliced almonds (optional) (I used slivered because it was what I had)
Preheat the oven to 325.  Lightly grease a 9 by 13 pan.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the eggs well, until light colored and thick.
Add the sugar and salt, continuing to beat until shiny and pale yellow.
Add the extract, melted butter, and 1 cup flour, mixing it in gently.
Mix in the remaining 1 cup flour.

Pour batter into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle with the nuts.
Bake the bars for 30 to 35 minutes, until the edges are pulling away from the sides of the pan and they’re a very light gold color.  Remove from the oven and cool before cutting into squares.




As we waited for them to cool, we read a few library books…… DSC_1533

Then, we went into the kitchen to cut into the cookies.  They had baked nicely into a soft, cake like bar, and the smell of almond was like aromatherapy. DSC_1538 Unfortunately Sarah wasn’t partial to them. DSC_1543 But her Dad and I liked them very much.  (the other children are at school, so I don’t know what they think of them quite yet) DSC_1549 I especially liked the almonds on top.  Because they weren’t mixed into the batter they stayed nice and crisp, as a nutty nut should be. DSC_1554

DSC_1567 This recipe is from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion cookbook, page 191. (doubled) ******

Happy first day of Spring!

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month. ~Henry Van Dyke

Snow is in the forecast!


Our mailbox peeks out from a snowbank just like the majority of our neighbor’s mailboxes.  I saw one that was wrapped around and around with duck tape, in a furious attempt to keep it from being broken off by the snowplows.

We haven’t had snowfall in a few days but what we have, old snow, is deep and interesting.  Caleb’s school assembly was put off until the end of March because there is too much snow piled in the parking lot and as a result, not enough room for people to park.


Sarah keeps busy indoors.  She especially enjoys making herself a house out of all the couch cushions.  It’s good harmless fun and she’s always thoughtful to include her stuffed animals.


This is the look Parker always gives me when I go into the kitchen.  “Are you about to give me a treat?”


Another thing Sarah likes to do is have hot chocolate under the table.


I made scalloped potatoes and ham yesterday for dinner.


With ham from a pig that Rich’s Dad raised and butchered for us.  Delicious.


Dusted with paprika right before covering it with foil, popping it into the oven and heading off to the library.


She wore it in the car but not in the library, thankfully.


Our library looks different in the Winter.



Caleb requested books about Football.  It’s his latest passion and interest, although he assured me that does still like snakes.

I usually peruse the “NEW” bookshelf and there were some absolutely delightful books to borrow.  I read them out loud last night.

The Lion and the Bird.  A Lion helps an injured bird and they spend the winter together and become friends.  A sweet book with lots of pages of thoughtful illustrations.  Heartwarming.

What to Do When You’re Sent to Your Room, Moms of boys will laugh through this one.  I loved it.

Go to Sleep, Little Farm.  Gorgeous artwork and a lovely soothing story, creatively worded and a joy to read aloud.

Sam and Dave dig a Hole.  If only they knew what they kept missing!  I read this to Seth and he said, “Read it again!” which is a sure sign of a good book.  Drink chocolate milk and eat animal crackers while reading.

I Wish I had a Pet.  Illustrated with whimsical pictures of felt mice and other animals.  Very creative and my favorite book from the stack.


Davy’s vinegar egg experiments continue!  This one is being turned to “rubber”.  He is greatly influenced by youtube videos and he made his own tutorial.


Seth got home from school and got cozy on Sarah’s couch cushions with the remote.



Sarah’s been taking trips to the garage to ride her bike.  She’s never out there for very long.  She’s funny.




Grace has a leak in her ceiling so Rich went up on the roof to shovel off some of the snow and ice.


He said that when he was a teenager he and a couple friends drove around hiring themselves out, shoveling roofs after a heavy snowfall.  They made a good bit of money doing it, too.

These pictures were all taken yesterday.  Today Jacob is home with a bad cold.  He is currently sleeping on the couch.  Sarah and I are in the new room listening to iTunes “Princess Radio”.  I have a sleeping cat by my side.  David and Ethan will be home soon because they have a half day of school.

I have a 3:45 appointment to get my hair done.

How are you today?

Hope you have a wonderful day and spend a little time nurturing yourself.  You are loved, my friends!


scalloped potatoes and ham, my favorite way to make them
soft ginger cookies  (easy–I didn’t even bother using the mixer)