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

I know it’s time for our thankful tree to grace our carriage house walls again.

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Looney Nature Study

Nature study in our homeschool turned a little loony this week. And it was spotty. And uncolorful…

Our Backyard Book page about loons

The lake who stretches her clear waters out northward from the base of our slopping property supports an array of wildlife and picture-perfect sunsets…

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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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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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Your Child’s Small Interests Can Make a Big Impact

Encouraging a child… there are no short cuts.

If I had realized how true that was many years ago when I encouraged a daughter to  dream big with little Artist Trading Cards, I may never have encouraged her at all.

encouraging your child

If I knew then that I would invest–and still am investing–more hours than I could have imagined into her passion for little art cards, well, the journey would have ended before we even started cutting and coloring. But there are no shortcuts to any place worth going, and this has been a fun ride.

Tauna asked me to share the story over at Proverbial Homemaker today. There you’ll find simple thoughts on encouraging children in small ways that will have a huge impact.

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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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A Family Tradition: Our Thankful Tree

Most of the leaves had given in to the pull of last week’s showers to abandon their perches. Some were happy to ride along with gentle fall breezes this weekend to become crisp carpet under our Bean boots and the ducks’ webbed swaying.

It's time to hang our Thankful Tree

The ones that remain have all chosen to agree in beautiful auburn harmony that it will soon be time to let go. Just one glance out my kitchen window this evening reminds me that every stage of every season is alluring and full of grace if we just allow ourselves to see it.  Continue reading

Fight Your Feelings of Inadequacy

7 Adjectives for Fighting Inadequacy

Days that assure me I can stretch out in the cool, dew-covered morning grass? I need them.

Days that promise me I can watch the clouds conga across the bright azul field of sky for as long as I choose to? I need them.

Days that insist on no strict schedule? I need them. Continue reading

A Feathered Iambic Poem

Here I am again. My knuckles are white, my heels are dug in, and my teeth are clenched. Every year I seem to grasp onto fleeting summer days with a little more passion. Maybe because time as a whole, regardless of the season, is slipping faster as I get older.

Maybe because summer on our little homestead, even with all her tilling, planting, cultivating, and watering; even with all her breeding, tending, and feeding… summer is not as much as a time-demander as fall with all his harvesting, canning, and mulching; with all his butchering, cooking, and tanning.

cornMaybe because homeschooling will soon begin in our house for the 16th year. As much as I love it, it’s a daunting task to be facing for the 16th time.

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