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Grace Notes





:: Loved the bliss of being home alone for three days. A gift from my family so I could devote time to creating my new workshop (details soon), but so grateful they decided to come home a day early. Four days would have been too long.

:: Simple food, it really is the best kind. 

:: Moments of overwhelming clarity. Seeing it all come together.

:: Knowing that when he and she are next to me, I am better. Maybe we're all better.

:: Tonight, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. Pretty sure Hard Times will be played, also hoping David's song, Ruby, makes it onto the playlist. And Revelator, that would be so good too. (Okay, I've put my requests out there, now I'll release all expectations...)

:: Happy my parents get to enjoy this beautiful lake view from their new living room in Northern Maine. 

:: Reminiscing about the simple days of border crossing with Canada. It was fun to go back and forth so easily as a kid. (Well, it's still simple to cross, not so simple to come back.)

:: Loving Emily's appreciation for her relative's thick French accents. 

:: Watching people live out their dreams. Doing so not because everything aligned perfectly, but because they stopped waiting for the ideal moment and just went for it. 

:: This morning's sunrise, the sky completely ablaze.

Just the Sort of Day We Needed




























A morning filled with pumpkin cake baking (with my variation of orange cream cheese frosting), an evening filled with chamomile tea and cake slices, enjoyed by everyone. Between the two? Hundreds of acres, two mamas, and five girlfriends. (And one father who saw fit to head off on a solo journey in another forest. Too many ponytails and giggles, perhaps?)

Our family has a lot of 'busy' that is happening right now, some of it a little stessful...exactly how many balls can we have in the air at once? This day was all about filling the cup and loving the moment.

A perfect tonic, one that should be repeated soon and often please.




































Each time I visit, I leave telling myself to make a wardrobe filled with those dresses... was there ever a more perfect thing to wear?

A favorite place, a perfect day with family. Simpler times (in some ways) to reflect on and learn from as we enter a new week. So very grateful for that, as always.

{ Old Sturbridge Village }

Early to Rise

Recently, some of my blogging pals have been talking about the things they don't do, as a nod to accepting our imperfections. I certainly have plenty of those. They invited readers to share their own lists too. I thought it was pretty cool that women were encouraging each other and dispelling the myth that any of us does it all.

In a way though, it makes me a little sad that we feel the need to stop and make "I don't do this" lists for ourselves. Especially if it's in response to the feeling of not living up to life on the internet or the persona of a blogger. (This wasn't the only point of the exercise, it just got me thinking along these lines.)


I've never thought any blogger is free from life's challenges, disappointments or dinner dishes left in the sink overnight - no matter how lovely her pictures and words may be. I appreciate blogs as a snapshot of someone's life, a snapshot that is literally shared in the world's largest and most public forum. 

It is okay to share carefully, with boundaries, and in a way that feels comfortable to you and to your family. I'm a big believer that our blogs represent not only ourselves, but those around us as well. 

Don't get me wrong, I love a mix of "focus on the positive" and snarky/vulnerable/raw/funny/political type blogs, I just don't have expectations beyond what is offered. I get it that what I'm reading isn't the whole story. Nobody owes me their whole story. 

All of this to say, I'm going to start getting up early again...


Yes, that was the original point of this post! Sometimes I receive "how do you do it all" emails and I never know how to respond without sounding trite. The truth is, I do manage to accomplish quite a bit - but I work from home, we homeschool, and my daughter is 13 (not that 13 doesn't come with a lot of work, but it's a different kind of work than changing diapers and nursing babes). I'm sure I have more pockets of time in my day than many people. It doesn't mean I have unlimited time though. I definitely don't do it all, but it's never occured to me that I should.

Lately I have found myself with an increased workload, for my own school work and business. It's time to look creatively at the schedule again! This happens to me a few time a year, I imagine some of you can relate to the whole reassessment of things


When I was a young mother, I had a feeling the years requiring the most out of me would be the infant/toddler years and then the teenage years. The elementary years, I expected, would be the breather (relatively speaking). It seems that feeling was accurate.

Teenagers need presence from their parents. Not to just oversee and set rules and say no and choose their friends... but to love them big time and tell them they're gorgeous, brave, and kind... to take them out to Starbucks for no reason and to make their favorite meals so the dinner table is the coolest place around... to reserve judgment whenever possible so their trust in us builds... to say yes more than we say no. 

Some people say you can't be friends with your child. I don't agree. I strive for the middle ground where parenting and friendship coexist. We raise our kids telling them "anything is possible" and then we tell ourselves our relationship with them can't be a certain way. 

Anyway... I'm going to start getting up earlier! (I swear I had no intentions of rambling today.)

I've written before about my early morning times of uninterrupted productivity. Whether it be for sewing or writing, getting up early has always helped me to accomplish more in a day. Time for my own work, and the time needed for my homeschooling family.

For the last six months I have not used an alarm clock. I have not gotten up early at all! I've been going to bed later, and rising naturally 8 hours later... like clockwork. Imagine that! 11pm - 7am, a little experiment in going to bed and rising naturally, something I had never done before. It was glorious, for a while.

I miss those early morning hours with a quiet house to myself, so much took place during that time. I'm ready to return to an early to bed, early to rise routine. The dark evenings will help with that. 


So, to sum up this jumbled post (nettle tea does not have the same punch as caffiene)... I'm totally imperfect, the blogs I read are enjoyed for what they are (nothing more or less), and I need to get myself up earlier so things like 'work' and 'school' don't make it onto the "things I don't do" list. That would not be a good thing.  

And really, the early morning hours are far too magical to be missed.

Dark Months, Pink Flowers

Right now I have yeast proofing in the kitchen. We haven't had bread in a couple of weeks, it feels like a good day for sandwiches. I use very hot water (steaming hot) to proof my yeast, how about you? They say to use warm water, but I never do. Years ago I started to use very hot, just as an experiment, and the results were so much better I've never gone back. 


I have to get back to the kitchen in a minute to knead the bread dough, I just wanted to pause this morning to take note of two things - dinner in the dark, and geraniums.

We've entered the months of dark dinner hours and after school visits from friends lingering past sunset. Sometimes I feel challenged to stay with the day once darkness comes, preferring to cozy-up on the couch with a glass of wine than prepare a meal and clean up afterwards. But when we all pitch in, and stay focused on making our family meal happen, it is of course the highlight of my day.

Last night we sat around the table for over an hour. We chatted about our days, laughed, told stories, made plans. Muscling through my internal clock's desire to close the day, we instead shared the most enjoyable part of it, and I was reminded (yet again) to work hard at maintaining the evening meal. My goodness the dinner table has such power.

Throughout the winter I tend to buy flowers once a week. We split one bouquet from the store up into many smaller ones and place them around the house. The color, the fragrance, the way they uplift... we love fresh flowers. But flowers do come out of my grocery budget and we are all being extra mindful of that these days.


This winter I've brought my pink geraniums inside and have them sitting proudly next to south facing windows - in my front living room and the back family room. Two rooms with flowering plants! Usually, they wind up in the basement in front of (darker) windows, waiting for their springtime exit to the out doors. They do manage to hang on until spring, but don't necessarily get the love and attention they deserve. They don't blossom much in the basement, and the few flowers that do appear, we don't get to enjoy much.

A master gardener told me that if I bring them inside, place them in a south facing window, scrape the top inch or so of soil off and replace with fresh compost, they will flower nearly all winter. That is what I'm trying. So far there are many flowers, both in full bloom and getting ready to bloom. I think there are eight potted geraniums in all, it sure would be lovely if they continue to flower through the dark months of winter. 

Have you ever tried this? I'm so excited to have flowering plants all winter! 

Yesterday I felt it in the air, the feeling of 'there's no going back to summer now.' Hello cold months ahead, let's be good to each other. You bring the snow, I'll bring the flowers.

A Monday Morning List


:: I'm so pleased with the early morning light. It will continue to darken of course, but for now, beautiful mornings.

:: Time to hunker down and further ritualize the dinner hour. Making it as lovely and magical as possible will help motivate me through the darkness outside my window. Perhaps a new playlist or two...

:: Tired but satisfied after a weekend with four soccer games and helping my parents pack up their home of 34 years. Packing resumes this afternoon.


:: Happy to be staring at a new to me stack of Everyday Food back issues. The only thing I took from my moms (wait, there were two tote bags too) during our first day of packing. Not bad, I will not bring a whole bunch of stuff into this house...

:: I read somewhere (Denise, was it you?) about a mom that gives her kids back issues of Everyday Food (appropriate to the current month) to plan the weekly dinner menu. I'm going to try that for the next few weeks and see how it goes, I like the idea. May need to boost it up with extra veggies and whole grains though. 

:: I have one sewing project to complete; recovering a particular chair that has been waiting for six years now! Other than that I'm declaring the sewing room closed until after the new year. Focusing on other projects for the next few months.


:: Feeling grateful for a husband who coached my girl's soccer team through an undefeated season. (Not a simple task to coach fourteen middle school girls.)

:: Been reading through my old herbalist course (Rosemary Gladstar) lately. Something that draws my attention every spring and fall. 

:: So in love with the familiar comfort of chamomile tea right now. 

:: I believe that Pinterest is the very best filing system ever. 

:: Feeling like I need to step up my game this month, fantastic deadlines will be here before I know it! 

:: Realizing that my parents' move to the Canadian border means we'll finally need to get those passports. (Gone are the "friendly border" days of my youth.)

:: Ready to start a new week, I'm such a fan of Mondays.

She Thinks it's "So Cute!"


She's been saving. Now we have a ukulele in the house... and she's following ukulele loving people on twitter. Who knew there was such a culture? This morning she came down the stairs strumming a tune. I think the soft and warm Hawaiian sounds will be even more beautiful come February. 

Wishing you a beautiful weekend!