Making a Family Thankful Tree

It’s definitely time. I need to venture into the barn attic and bring down the makings for our family thankful tree.

thankful tree

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Making a Thankful Tree with my family is always one of the highlights of our year. It’s that awesome. So click here to read all about it.

Seriously! See you there.


12 Things to do With Fall Leaves

I’m always somber this time of year; sad to see summer fading. To get out of my funk, I focus on the vibrant beauty that next month will bring and think of things to do with autumn leaves.


While I realize that Sweet Summer can only offer a few more stray weekends of her long, warm days before she tucks them away for another year, I allow myself to start opening my tight grip on these fleeting warm New England days. In truth, I’m ready for a new season.

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5 Tips for Gardening with Kids

It’s dirty. It makes you sweat. It takes many months of hard work before you ever reap rewards. So is it really possible to enjoy gardening with kids?


I think Robert Brault, an American operatic tenor who must create melodies in a garden as beautifully as he does on stage, answered that question well with a query of his own: “Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden?”

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Celebrating Teens’ Independence


I became the new owner of the most amazing old treasure at our library book sale. It’s dusty. It’s huge. It’s a tome of words… a dictionary printed in 1920.

A daughter sauntered over to me as I perused the historical fiction table and announced I had to see THIS. She knew I’d love it. She pulled me three tables down and a row over. “Look!” was her one-word invitation to glance at the richly marbled end papers and water stained, worn, embossed cover as she gingerly turned some of its thousands of pages of vernacular expressions, idioms, and agricultural and botanic terms from 1920.

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Unique Yuletide Book Reports… yes, book reports

Every December we drag out a large box of unique book reports that my daughters began compiling many moons ago. Why would we revisit a crate full of elementary- and middle-school book reports every yuletide season? Because they aren’t chicken-scratch-filled, wide-ruled papers exuding uninteresting details of easy-reader books that no one will ever read again. They’re origami ocean creatures, Shrinky Dink Anne Shirleys, mini Sculpey clay cakes that announce “Eat Me,” and many other handmade Christmas ornaments reminiscent of characters, scenes, and our favorite quotes from classic books we’ve read together over the years.

Our Family Reading Tree A Unique Book Report, Christmas Style

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5 Reasons We Should Tackle a Project With Our Teens

When we, as parents and teenagers together, roll up our sleeves and delve into a project around our homestead, everyone tends to be pleasantly surprised at the outcomes.

Parents and Teens working together

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Don’t Miss this Autumn Jewel: the Harvest Moon

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Or so Anton Chekhov wrote. I’m reminded of the quote as I scratch “Harvest Moon” on a Sunday square of the calendar.

Harvest Moon 2015

As a writer, I wholeheartedly agree with the Russian author.

As a teacher, I instruct my students to interrogate all of their readers’ senses.

As a New Englander, looking forward to the approaching Harvest Moon that will bathe our homestead in cool, penetrating splendor in the crisp autumn stillness, I have to rephrase Chekhov’s truism.

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Loving science, even if you’re a Language-Arts-kinda mom

In The Book Thief, Markus Zusak describes words as “clouds, waiting to be held and wrung out like rain.”


Zusak is right. When dropped gently–like summer-day raindrops–or strung together painstakingly, on tip-toe, the perfect combination of words rumble through one moment of our life and never leave. But did you notice what Zusak did with his allegory? Much to my joy–since I’m a language-arts-kinda girl who feels inadequate teaching science to my homeschooled daughters–Zusak combined natural-science and language arts beautifully Continue reading