Wednesday, March 31, 2010


This is our second spring in New England and our last.  We are moving out west this summer so we couldn't miss visiting a real New England sugar house this month.  
My mother was here from Oklahoma for a visit and on our way home from church Sunday we saw this sign out on the road and made a quick turn.

It is amazing that something so sweet and delicious comes from a little hole tapped into a tree.  They still drill a hole and attach a bucket just like Laura describes in the Little House series.  There is a little new technology, but it is old fashioned goodness just the same.
My boys were fascinated by the machinery of course.  The bubbling vat of sap, straight from the tree, heated by a wood fire.
The gentlemen were happy to explain the process and show us around.  We even tasted some samples.
We were especially fascinated by the grades of syrup.  The earlier run is lighter in color and sweet and buttery in flavor.  This is classified as Grade A maple syrup.   The later run is cooked longer to condense the sweetness and is much darker in color and has a stronger more caramelized maple flavor.  This Grade B syrup was our favorite!  In fact I bought a 1/2 gallon jug.
  My Saturday morning pancakes eagerly await.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Life is so busy that we tend to let minutes slip by uncounted, undocumented, unnoticed.  Those moments hold the potential for special memories to be cherished a lifetime. And yet I let my attention be drawn away by the never ending list.   Why do I feel that urgent pull to wash dishes, organize the pantry, and post on my blog but miss those little minutes that make relationships?

Blogging is funny.   You just stumble into people you would never meet in your everyday life.  Total strangers but people like you.  Recently I found Jenny.  She started a weekly post called Sixty Seconds on Tuesday and asked others to join in.  We will share just a minute each Tuesday that we want to remember. 
One minute, one photo, one sentence, one memory.

 Still for a moment, except for the movements of his fingers, making music on a damp spring day.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Spring is finally awakening in New Hampshire.
My list of 1,000 gifts continues.

86.  spring lambs
87.  finding those first signs of growth
88.  the start of baseball season
89.  little girls who play baseball in princess dresses
90.  warmth enough to shed the coat but keep the mittens
91.  the soft patter of rain on the roof gently waking me
92.  patterns and design in God's creation
93.  finding something new on every walk
94.  charming New England scenes
95.  the sweetness hidden inside
96.  visits from grandparents
97.  silly gifts 
98.  treats created together...
99. ...with sweet messages hidden inside
100.  notes written in a child's handwriting
101.  another creation from a grandmother's hands
102.  for a mother who helps find the bottom of the laundry pile, sweeps the floors and  finishes long suffering sewing projects for me on each visit
103.  having someone else in the house who speaks knitting
104.  knowing I've passed 100 on the list
105.  and that finding gifts in abundance in easy.
Thank you God for visits, springtime and your many gifts.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


  Always in a blur of motion.
Frequently climbing,
or swinging from something.
Always carrying  weapons,
or sticks,
 or balls.
Looking for the next adventure.
I can never keep up!

Friday, March 26, 2010


One thing I love about the spring is shedding the boots for some fancier footwear.  These are my favorites.  
If you were in my home you would hear this conversation.
      child #2 :  "Hey, look at mama.  Why is she out there taking pictures of her feet?"
      child #3 :  "That's funny."  (opening door)  "Mama, WHAT are you doing?"
      child #4 :  "I LUV your shoes Mama.  There are so pretty!"
      child #1 :  "It's for her blog thing."
I love these shoes.  They just make me happy.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I have FINALLY finished London by Edward Rutherford.

I am a big fan of historical novels.  I never loved history as a school subject.  I never dreaded it either.
(I save my hostile emotions for Algebra.)  

In the homeschool community there is a term for great books that are full of interesting characters, accurate historical facts, cultural details and beautifully crafted narratives.  They are called "living books" rather than textbooks.  I enjoy reading these books and sharing them with my children.  They are fascinated with history as a result. They often act out historical time periods in their play.  It cracks me up when we are walking through the woods and they are on the look-out for attacking Huns.  Maybe it's a little nerdy,  but I like it!
I don't know if it is a snoozefest to read other people's book reviews, but it's my blog and I love books so suffer through folks.
I bought London last summer for $1.00 at a library book sale.  It took me five months to read.  It was a great book even though it took me way too long to get through it.

London is a unique story in which the main character is a place not a person.  It's much like a collection of short stories.  Each chapter introduces you to characters whose future generations you meet in later chapters.  It begins with the Romans arrival in Britain before Christ and ends with London recovering from WWII.

The ancient world and the Middle Ages are such dramatic times that it makes for stories full of suspense and danger.  The description of London during the plague was fascinating.  Did you know that Catholics were (wrongly) blamed for the Great Fire of London?  Only a handful of Puritans came to America.  The rest stayed behind and were deeply involved in politics and scandal  in London.  The expansion west and the great American railroads were the financial ruin of many English fortunes.  I wish I had taken notes because there were many fascinating facts.  Because the United States has deep roots in British culture there were also little tidbits of interest; things we do, say, or use in modern times that come from slang words,  phrases, cultural practices, etc described in the book's various time periods.

It's good stuff!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


It's easy to count gifts on a Sunday evening.  On the weekend Daddy's home.  There is no schoolwork to do.  The weather is warming and the children have played outside for hours.  The songs of praise and encouraging words are still rattling around in our heads from the morning at church.
Life is good.
But then there are those days that gratitude does not come easily.  One child is sick, the others can't seem to get along, daddy's out of town, the laundry is mountainous, the car won't start, nothing is getting accomplished, emotions run high, worry sets in.  These days are hard.  And I am glad when they are over.
But then the sun sets...
...and then it rises.
Usually the next day is brighter.  
It's difficult to find the gifts on days when I feel miserable.  It's difficult but necessary.

67.  dishwashers
68.  tissues with lotion
69.  DVD players on long car trips
70.  really good ice cream
71.  hand knit socks (thanks mom!)
72.  feather pillows
73.  new buds providing color in a brown landscape
74.  Dinner with old friends...
75.  ...sharing hamburgers, onion rings, milkshakes, and conversation... 
76.  ...4 adults and 10 children surviving dining out.
77.  friendships that thrive despite the distance
78. having a friend who shares my story
79. sunlight on colored glass
80. watching my children share adventures
81.  primitive art work discovered 
82. the never ending imagination of children in the woods 
83.  brightly colored boots drying in the sun after the day's expedition
84.  hearing "I love you Mama" at bedtime, despite my impatience with them during the day
85.  the gift of a new day - a fresh start each morning

Thank you God that you have promised new joys every morning.

P.S.  I recently heard someone say they don't like to visit blogs that depict life as "all rainbows and unicorns".  I understood what they meant by the statement.  Life is not all sunsets walks and blooming flowers. "Keeping it real" is a phrase I hear often.  However, my gratitude is just as real as my misery.  I choose to focus on the gratitude because one or the other becomes a daily habit.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Goodbye Winter!  It was fun having you.
 Today is the first day of Spring,
 so it's time for you to be going now.
  We look forward to having you back another time.
Thanks for the memories. 
Oh! And don't forget to take your snow with you.

Friday, March 19, 2010


There is no free lunch.
Even royalty have to soil their hands around here.
Actually, she doesn't soil her hands because she wears white satin gloves in the kitchen.  Don't we all?
She is really serious about her cooking...
and her accessories.