Goldfinches Galore


This spring we have been blessed with goldfinches galore.


Earlier today my oldest daughter counted 15 goldfinches on the feeders and on the patio below. They were more rampant than dandelions.


Of course, watching these cheerful little yellow birds come and go really brightens our day.


As I mentioned a few days ago, tulips also bring us joy. If you walked by our house, our tiny patch of tulips probably wouldn’t catch your eye. We only have a few. But they pose so nicely when I photograph them.




“Let all things their Creator bless, and worship Him in humbleness. O praise Him! Alleluia!” -Saint Francis of Assisi

Just Call Me Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison once said, “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”

He also said, “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”

Well, prepare to be astounded, ladies and gentleman, because I took a pile of junk food and invented something that astounded myself. I say this with utmost giddiness because I’m a journalist married to an engineer and rarely get to invent much of anything except stories and an occasional logo.

Necessity breeds invention and as a transplant to Minnesota, I’m here to tell ya, s’mores are a summertime necessity. This is a cabin-crazed, bonfire-loving culture. But how does one keep the key ingredients easy to find and easy to transport from kitchen to fire pit when the fire finally reaches its s’mores-perfect status and children begin begging and drooling?

Well, please allow me to introduce…

(insert drumroll here)

The s’morganizer.

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This attractive caddy holds two bags of marshmallows, a dozen Hershey bars and 27 graham cracker sheets.

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Don’t worry. I doubt I’ll be seeking a patent. Technically all I did was spend $11.99 on the caddy at Target and then borrow a black Sharpie from my 10-year-old. But let me assure you I’m taking full credit for inventing the word s’morganizer.

Perhaps next year my engineer hubby will introduce the new and improved s’morganizer 2 featuring a cool way to keep the Hershey bars below 86 degrees en route to the cabin.

But until then, I should simply mention that no Hershey bars were consumed in the making of this invention or in the writing of this blog post. That, folks, is the real miracle here.

Happy s’morganizing!

For the Fairies of Hollow Oak

A friend of mine introduced me to fairy gardening when my oldest was still in preschool. Her neighbor, a master gardener, runs a fairy garden supply store nearby. It didn’t take much to convince this mom of two little girls that fairy gardening was an essential thing to do.

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The big sister is the leading fairy expert of our family, having had two fairy-themed birthday parties. Having read many fairy poems by Cicely Mary Barker and a few books on the topic of building fairy homes adds to her expertise in this field.

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Using some natural supplies imported from Oregon by a very special aunt, the big sister built this lovely fairy home at the foot of our hollow oak tree. Isn’t it darling?

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My youngest daughter and I built this A-frame style fairy dwelling. I think this image was captured before she added some flowers.

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Fairy gardening is so enchanting. Find a little spot and give it a whirl!

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Marching Boldly into Spring

The calendar says spring arrives tomorrow.

Typically, we Minnesotans find ourselves still under a blanket of snow on March 20 and searching eagerly for any small hint of spring. Usually, the calendar and maybe a few robins are the only hints.

Here are the first robins we saw last spring.

It’s not easy when March and half of April comes and goes while the snow does not.

But this March is exceptional. It’s marching boldly into spring.

On March 1, while wandering about in the freshly fallen snow, we saw fuzzy buds on the trees.

On March 10, the first robin flew in and rested at the bird bath.

By March 12, the snow was nearly gone, and it was warm enough to play outside for hours without a jacket.

On March 16, the robin was getting pretty cozy at the bird bath, and my children were digging through bins in a feverish search for shorts and t-shirts. Last week was quite possibly the best spring break weather ever recorded in this otherwise-usually-frozen state.

Yesterday, my husband actually turned on the air conditioner — for a few hours — because it was nearly 80 inside and outside.

This week the tulips have begun poking through the dirt, the lilac bush has started budding, and even the grass has commenced to look faintly green. And we’ve spied many songbirds besides the robins. We’ve seen cardinals, blue jays, and goldfinches.

After ballet class today, a brief rain shower came our way. The girls — ever so jubilant — quickly grabbed their gear and headed out to test the conditions under their new umbrellas.

But the rain ended ever-so abruptly.

Yet the wind continued ever-so fiercely.

Later this evening we had more rain along with a little thunderstorm — which was little but still just big enough to make the little sister nervous at bedtime.

So the girls are camped out together in sleeping bags, keeping each other safe from the thunder and whatever marches in overnight.

After a good rest, perhaps they’ll have more opportunities for umbrella testing tomorrow.

Feb. 21 is an Official Snow Day

One of the downsides of homeschooling, from a parent’s perspective, is having to make so many decisions. Which math curriculum? What spelling book? Do we skip learning cursive handwriting? How much time should we focus on this period of history? Should we continue with this language program or switch to another method? The list is endless.

Likewise, one of the best parts of homeschooling is getting to make decisions about your daily schedule. That’s so true today — we decided to declare Feb. 21 an official Snow Day! When there’s 3 inches of fresh snow and conditions are finally perfect for sledding and snowman-building, fractions and spelling words can wait until tomorrow!

Happy Snow Day!