“Sarah, Sarah come back!”  I cried.

But it was too late.

She was gone……..out the door and down the steps to celebrate the weather.


Seth wanted to know if there would be a snow day.

“NO” we said.

It was just the first snow and it was only in the air, with no accumulation on the ground.

Off to school they went, and off to run errands I went.

…….. back home with enough time to do housework, build a fire, and read.



DSC_0764“We need, above all things, to slow down and get ourselves to amble through life instead of to rush through it.” ― Alan Watts

DSC_0771“A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest.” — Einstein

DSC_0778“…..happiness and comfort do not depend on the wealth of this world. The things of the world will not satisfy the desires of a soul.”  Matthew Henry

fullsizeoutput_5c69“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive; to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” — Marcus Aurelius


A  L I T T L E  M U S I C


M O R E  T H A N  O N E  C A T


O N E  G O O D  B O O K


C R A C K L E S & O W L S


Honey Cinnamon Bars


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • GLAZE:
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water
  • Additional toasted chopped walnuts, optional


  • Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, beat sugar, oil, honey and egg until well blended. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gradually beat into sugar mixture. Stir in 1 cup walnuts.
  • Spread into a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown (edges will puff up). Cool completely on a wire rack.
  • For glaze, in a small bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar, mayonnaise, vanilla and enough water to reach desired consistency; spread over top. If desired, sprinkle with additional walnuts. Let stand until set. Cut into bars. Refrigerate leftovers.
Editor’s Note

To toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

notes:  next time I will use slightly less oil (maybe replace half with applesauce.)
             I did not toast any nuts.



Dearest Father in Heaven,
Bless this child and bless this day
Of new beginnings.
Smile upon this child
And surround this child, Lord,
With the soft mantle of your love.
Teach this child to follow in your footsteps,
And to live life in the ways of
Love, faith, hope and charity.
~Gaelic blessing

We had a full and fun summer with just enough boredom, chaos, and lack of schedule to make the first day of school somewhat of a relief.  Okay, maybe I’m speaking for myself.  I was wondering why I wasn’t sad in the least to have children get on the bus a few hours ago and I think it is because there were no major changes this year….no one is going into their senior year, no one is entering High School for the first time, no one is going off to college for the first time.  “Sigh” everything’s sort of the same as it was a year ago.


David saw me get the camera and said, “No”, but even as he said it he was getting up off the couch to go to the door…….he knew it had to be done and maybe I’m fooling myself but I think he was glad that I was still going to take photos just like all the years before.  He is in 10th grade now and will turn 16 in a month.  Caleb is 13 and in 8th grade.  My heart swells with pride and love when I look at them.  They’re just so great in typical teenager boy fashion.


Seth is in 4th grade this year and has the same teacher that his big brother Caleb did in 4th grade, and he’s excited that he has a man teacher for the first time.  We visited his classroom yesterday and he was thrilled to discover that he had several of his good friends in his class.  Seth took special care in putting together his first day of school outfit which I thought was adorable.  He grew a lot this summer, into a big solid boy.


Sarah had an entire new outfit that I bought for her yesterday (she even picked it out herself with no help from me because I was busy chasing Seth around the store).  But at the last minute, she went with an old- but stain-free-, comfortable- but pretty-, shorts and shirt.  Then she grabbed the kitten and jumped.

Sarah is in 3rd grade and has the same teacher that both David and Caleb had in that grade!  She also has a male teacher for the first time and he’s just the nicest man, we see him and his family around town often.  It’s such fun to have repeat teachers, and really get to know them.

Jacob, Ethan, and Grace are all off to college and settled into their dorms.  The boys share a room which has no air conditioning so they sweat and swelter, and Grace has her very own room which I am sure is a relief to her after having to share with Sarah all summer.  I’ll do a better update about the college kids eventually.

After I waved the kids onto the bus, I got dressed, tidied up the house, gathered up laundry, and emptied the dishwasher.  I also let out the chickens, and had to shampoo Seth’s rug.  Now I’m done with chores I’m going to the garden center to spend my rewards cash before it expires in 2 days.  I guess it’s time to get some fall mums.

Thanks for stopping by, friends, it’s a beautiful day.

You are loved.

PS, kids I’ll be home and waiting with cookies when you get off the bus.


don’t cry, kids


I agree, it was a wonderful long dreamy dream of a summer; the summer of ’16.  But it’s over now and you must go back to school today.


I love how Grace started High School with two brothers by her side and is ending High School with two different ones.


She’s rather full of herself.  David said, “Will you please get off me?”  And I said, “Uh oh, Grace, I bet Caleb will be taller than you are by the end of the year.” and she lifted her head to try to gain a few more inches.  Then she ruffled his hair and said, “Caleb you have nice hair.”  “He has the best hair of the family,” I say.  “No, Ethan does,” she replied.  “What about my hair?” said Dave.  “And Seth has the nicest eyes,” Grace continued.


There was wet stuff coming from the sky but it was only a gentle light rain.


They go to two different schools this year so they ride separate buses.



For the 7th year running, the winner of the “best eyes” in the family contest!


They melt me.


Seth got on his bus and then it was just the two of us….”Let’s sit on the bench together and wait.” she said.  So we did.


“I’m going to make lots of new friends this year.” she decided.


Of five little children, off to school  

Only one of them cried,

Can you guess who?


how quickly they grow



He arrived on a Thursday.  

He gave me happy baby kisses on a Friday.

We went for walks in the woods on a Saturday.

And took him to church on a Sunday.

He started school on a Monday.

We baked brownies and pancakes and mashed potatoes on a Tuesday.

He brought home a sweetheart named Tessa on Wednesday.

And left for college on a Thursday.


~for my son Ethan, on the day before we leave for Vermont.


so awesome


But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,
and through each night I sing his songs,
praying to God who gives me life.  Psalm 42:8


But thank God!  He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession.  Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.  Our lives are like a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.

2 Corinthians 2:14-15


“Anne smiled and sighed.  The seasons that seemed so long for baby Rilla were beginning to pass all too quickly for her.  Another summer was ended, lighted out of life by the ageless gold of Lambardy torches.  Soon….all too soon….the children of Ingleside would be children no longer.  But they were still hers…hers to welcome when they came home at night…hers to fill life with wonder and delight…hers to love and cheer and scold…a little.”  Anne of Ingleside, page 156




Yesterday was a big day in my life.

It was the first day of school and for the first time in over 18 years I have no babies home with me.

It’s a funny thing, though.  My firstborn, Jacob, starts community college on Monday, so really I wasn’t home alone at all.

I’m right back where I started from, home with just Jacob.

Yesterday we went to Bible study and he drove me……


Today we are going to the college to purchase his last needed text books and we just might stop by Target, too.


And by the way, little Sarah ran off the bus into my arms yesterday after school yelling, “That was so awesome!!!”

She was rather full of herself for the rest of the day.

(welcome winter, 2008)


I have this post tagged, “first days” because I’ve been taking one special photograph for each first day of the new season.  This one completes a set of four, starting with spring, then summer, fall and now this winter photo.  It’s been fun to do.  I love this picture of Caleb in the falling snow, and I used photobucket to add the quote to it.  When you leave a comment, you will see the link for “firstdays” on the side of the page, if you would like to see the other photos.



But wait!  There’s more!

Yesterday did not turn out anything like I expected, no coziness whatsoever until AFTER ALL the children were in bed….it was just so busy here.  I didn’t mention before, but I’ve got a cold.  Just a simple, common cold.  However, because I already use up 100% of my energy as a healthy person, the cold is making me loony.  The house… a disaster.  Jacob……is still sick.   Rich……is also not feeling well.  

I didn’t sleep very well last night, again.  My cold makes me wake up, with my mouth as dry as paper.  Drinking so much water means trips to the bathroom.  I had to get up to eat a snack at 4:00am.  My side of the bed is littered with tissues, all over the floor and nightstand.

Rich has things he needs to do this morning at church and so while he got ready to go, I got David and Caleb ready.  I never did get a belt on David and I burst into TEARS when I saw him leave– hitching his pants up with one hand, while proudly holding the gift for his teacher in the other.  His shoes were on the wrong feet, too.  Why was I crying?  Because of the whirlwind of stuff I had to do to get them out the door.  I had the gift for Pastor, the gifts for all the teachers, I had to wrap the gifts that were for Ethan and Jacob’s gift exchange, and get the Christmas cards in Rich’s hand.  The Christmas cards made me cry as well.  I could not find the church directory so they are all BLANK.  The envelopes are BLANK and the card inside is one of those picture cards with our names printed on….no handwritten message whatsoever.  Rich said, “Aren’t we going to put the names on the front” and that’s what got me crying.   So what do you think?  Are my cards better than NOTHING?  We have file folders in the fellowship hall and Rich can just pop one in each person’s folder, they don’t really NEED names….do they? 

I have to battle against perfectionist tendencies.  Everywhere I went this morning made me uptight.  I ended up scrubbing the glass to the wood pellet stove door (David melted bits of marshmallow to it) until Rich told me to quit being silly.  But, I like the glass spotless!  I went upstairs to dress the boys and ended up putting away an entire laundry basket of their clothes while tripping over all four boys and getting two of them dressed.  I had to get something from the bathroom and ended up windexing it because it was a mess…..and I haven’t gotten to the kitchen or my bedroom.  The boy’s room downstairs made me angry because I wanted it cleaned spotless yesterday and it only got HALF DONE.

I just want to cry.  I don’t feel good, I’m tired, my house is a mess, every where I look (well, everywhere except the wood pellet stove and the toilet seat and sink in the kid’s bathroom).  Where are my merry little Christmas elves?

During the Christmas season, no matter how much I start ahead of time, I still end up in a rush which discourages me.  Rich and the kids help out as much as they can but I do more than anyone around here, of course, and that’s okay but every once in a while it gets to be way. too. much.  And I’m silly, because the more tired I am, the more demanding I am on myself.  “I just can’t possibly get in bed unless I clean my room first and change the sheets!”  (silly and loony)

So pray for me today.  Pray that I will be able to ignore the things I should be doing and just rest.  Jacob and Grace are here, but I have banished them to their rooms. 


Love, your silly ol’ pal, ~Shanda

PS…you should see the snow coming down!  Weather wise, it’s the perfect first day of winter!  We’re in a snow-globe!  I’m glad Rich has his big truck to drive today.