Autumnal Daybook

For today… Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Outside my window… it’s early here and the birds have just started coming to the feeders in front. Two little chickadees are here right now, but I notice the Titmouse is not with them as usual…maybe he’s in the back? I’ll have to check. Yesterday I saw a woodpecker on our swingset. I haven’t seen him for a few years. He doesn’t like to travel too far from the little wooded thicket of our treeline out back, but he made it up to the swingset…I’d love it if he would come up to the feeders this winter for some suet. He’s so lovely! And our family of crows are feasting in the front yard right now. I cleaned out our pantry thoroughly yesterday (and it is just glorious!) and in so doing I finally accepted that my family was not going to eat the one bag of stale cereal in there…ever. Sigh. So, happy breakfasting my little crow friends! 🙂

We harvested our volunteer pumpkins finally! Would you believe we got 9 pumpkins as volunteers in our compost bin? 2 were rotten, but the rest look very festive on the steps of our front porch!

I wanted to pick up some pansies last weekend for the big pots on the front porch, but my cart was so full by the time I got to the garden center I felt discouraged…and didn’t. I think a trip to the nursery would make a nice afternoon sometime soon, and it’s next door to our favorite birding shop! I smell weekend plans!

The tips of leaves on trees are just starting to hint at color around here…our Ash has some golden leaves, and there is one tree back in our treeline that is already quite crimson, but I can’t remember the name of it right now. It’s pretty though. I really need to get out to the front garden and trim and tidy up a bit.

I am thankful for… the way the sun comes through the windows in the fall and winter months. The sun is lower in the sky and comes through our kitchen window where we have no less than 8 prisms hanging. The rainbows are so cheery in the kitchen. Peanut was thrilled the other day because a rainbow “landed” on his hand while he was eating his lunch. Some of my most cherished memories of my childhood and life at home are of hunting rainbows in mom’s kitchen! Aren’t treasured memories a delight? Of all the things I’m certain my parents worried over and spent hours trying to figure out on our behalf, it’s the simple things like chasing sunshine and rainbows that linger in my memory and bring me back home. I pray that it may be so with my children as well.

From the kitchen… I’ve been cooking and baking and it’s been wonderful – apple crisps and puffed pancakes and deep dish pizza pie! Oh, how I love autumnal cooking! Yesterday I made the first large pot of our spiced tea! There is absolutely nothing better on a cool afternoon than a warm cup of spiced tea…infused with cinnamon and cloves! Mmmmm….

I’ve been dreamily flipping through the pages of the King Arthur’s Flour catalog in the evenings. Can I tell you how much I love that maple leaf pan?! I didn’t get it though…but I wanted to. Do I get points for self-restraint? Nope! ‘Cause of this and this and this. I just love King Arthur’s catalog – and there’s no better time to replenish delicious extracts and try something new in the kitchen than right now!

I hope to finalize my autumn menu plans this weekend and do some work on my autumnal master grocery list. I tried to get some of my autumn menu plans up here last night…but I didn’t finish it….maybe soon.

Autumn always inspires me anew in the kitchen – there’s something about cooler temperatures and a warmer palette of meals to choose from that welcomes me back into the kitchen. I feel a renewed sense of enthusiasm. I’ve spent the last week working in little kitchen zones – tidying, polishing, rethinking, simplifying. The Doodlebug helped with the rethinking a great deal! I emptied, purged, and re-tidied my pantry and it looks absolutely amazing now!

Sweet Pea and I wiped down and polished all the wooden butcher blocks and wooden surfaces in the kitchen with our favorite polish and everything has a lovely warm glow now and smells so delightful! I cleaned out all the cabinets that were a melange of “stuff” – you know the ones that you just sort of stuff *whatever* into thinking that one day you’ll clean it out and find a better home…this weekend was the “one day”.

And I set out a new crimson checked linen tablecloth with matching crimson napkins which makes the kitchen feel so warm now! So, with a renewed and organized kitchen space I am re-energized in the kitchen!

I am wearing… a khaki skirt with a cheery light green knit 3/4 sleeve shirt. And because it’s chilly here today, I’m wearing my taupe microfiber tights with my little brown ballet flats.

I am reading… lots of cookbooks as I set in place my autumn menu plan!

I am hearing… the boys play with legos upstairs. They just woke up. Other than that the house is very quiet save the occassional “caw-caw” meeted out as a thank you for the stale cereal from Mr. Crow.

Looking to the rhythm of the liturgical year… Tomorrow we celebrate Our Lady of the Rosary. I haven’t decided yet what we’ll read, but we wanted to make some white meringues that would be baked into little cups. We had planned on depositing 10 blueberries in each (one for each Hail Mary)…but a few of my little crew are feeling under the weather. 🙁 We may have to save our meringues and berried Rosary for another Feast Day.

In our learning spaces… we took a couple of weeks off from lessons and now we’re just starting to settle into a nice working rhythm again. We’re all enjoying it immensely. I just finished setting up the October nature shelf and it is so inviting! Little Peanut loves it!

A friend sent a bag of silk leaves in autumn colors and we had a few left over from a craft project. We thought they’d look perfect as a frame for our nature shelf and they do! I set out a new book which we’ve really been enjoying – Look What I did With a Leaf. Peanut insisted on displaying his collection of acorns and that set the theme for our display – we had fun painting our own acorns which I had in my craft stash, and talking about acorns and oaks in a lovely book – The Natural History of the Oak Tree. And, no fall display would be complete without our little wooden squirrel friend in front of one of our favorite all time picture books – Sara Squirrel and the Lost Acorn.

Around the house and a few plans for the rest of the week… Well, you already know I’ve been hard at work in the kitchen. I have a couple more small projects I need to finish up in here – mainly working on the bake center replenishing stocks and supplies and considering if I need a couple more glass canisters. And, I think I’ll ask Sweet Pea if she’ll mop in here for me this weekend – that will complete the kitchen tidy!

I need to get upstairs and start the fall weather switcheroo for clothes with each of the kids by pulling out their bins from under their beds, checking to see what still fits, washing, and making notes on my notecards for anything they might still need.

And, when I went through our big closet a couple of weeks ago I found a shirt of Rob’s that had a tattered collar that he can’t wear to work anymore – it’s a nice soft denim shirt – I’d like to get upstairs and turn that into a few napkins for the table. Does that sound weird? I thought it would be a good use of what’s left of the shirt. I hope to get some sewing time soon!

A moment for myself… Rob and I have really enjoyed watching the BBC miniseries on The Impressionists. I had hoped to let Sweet Pea watch it as part of her Sunflower Basket, but there’s a little too much adult subject matter for her. It’s too bad because I learned so much from it. It’s so very well done! If you enjoy the Impressionists, or are interested in learning more about them within the context of the period and their motivations, I highly recommend this series.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing…

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries. 🙂

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  1. A lovely daybook, Jen! Your kitchen looks great! (And I bet it smells great, too, with all that cooking you've been doing =) I like your fall displays, too. I got some good book ideas from those pretty shelves of yours!

    P.S. I really appreciated your fine arts post, too. Even though I don't homeschool currently, I still want to provide some of these experiences for my kids in the home … Thanks for the inspiration!

    God bless!

  2. Dear Jen,

    Packed full of so much inspiration as always! A couple of years ago I visited a wildlife centre where they had hung up small (thin) logs/branches feeder style; these had been drilled with holes which had been stuffed with peanuts or peanut butter. They were regularly visited by LOTS of woodpeckers! Could be worth a try….

    With best wishes.

  3. Nice pantry! I'm making napkins our of an old sheet top and a quilt out of my husband and son's old shirts. I love the feelig of something valuable coming from my hands out of what would have been cast off materials. I love your posts. I'm a retired Montessori/homeschool teacher, who lives vicariously through the view of your family you choose to share on your blog. Thanks for this. I'm having lots of fun pretending to be a young girl through your literature for young ladies. Thanks for all you do.

  4. My King Arthur flour catalog came yesterday, but I haven't had a chance to look at it yet! I need to make some time to revamp my kitchen as well, because I have a bunch of pie pumpkins sitting outside, waiting to be turned into bread 🙂

  5. Dear Jen,
    Wonderful post.
    I have been thinking of you lately and wondering if everything was OK. But it looks like you have been busy with your family…lovely
    God Bless

  6. I so much enjoy exploring all your links in your posts. Thank you so much for putting them together! It takes me awhile to get through each post, but I enjoy all the exploration and discovery!

    I particularly appreciate the link to the factory direct craft site – I've been looking for something like that for awhile now but I just couldn't quite figure out the right keywords!

    And I think I'm going to have to get that Leaf book – our leaves are not quite turning yet, so I have a little more time.

  7. And I just ordered those english muffin rings (I'd been thinking of a couple other little KA things I wanted to get and this was a nice little nudge *grin*) I can't wait to get them and try them out!

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