November 30, 2010


 with trees grey and bare
 sturdy evergreens beckon
 content us til spring


I'm playing Tuesday Through. . .The Winter Window hosted by Swedish House . 
This is the view from inside our hayshed down our driveway by the pond. The bridge is in the background and the pond is covered with a thin layer of ice. Winter IS on its way.

                               happy day!


I love Advent calendars, especially the ones that have activities
One year we made a simple paper advent calendar and wrote different book titles on the back to read each day. It was a fun time to look forward to and snuggle. 

I came across another Advent calendar I wanted to share. It's on Natalia's blog, Make Monthly
It would be perfect for children because it allows them to open a small box each day. And they follow the directions inside. The thrill of opening gifts never ends! 

Read all about it here.

                              happy day!

November 29, 2010


There's still time to make a holiday collage with all those cards you couldn't part with from past years. 
We have used many to make gift tags, but some cards we loved and wanted to save so the idea of a collage came to mind. We can bring it out year after year and enjoy it.

We found an old frame with a picture we didn't care about and used the other side. ( Think use what you have!) Then we cut up our saved Christmas cards and glued them on the way we liked.
We started in the center with the sun, but I wish we had left the space open and ended with the sun, so the rays came out over the other pictures. Oh well, Live and learn :)

We also made another one with just words. This is a good one to hang at eye level so people can read the messages.

Once we filled in as much as we could, we colored the background with marker.

Simple and fun and it becomes your own personal art piece. It would be a fun project for a child too!

                 happy day!


A quote for today

Your heart is a sun -
Joy its stars,
Faith a moon, shining in your darkness...
~Terri Guillemets

                                       happy day!

November 28, 2010


We all want to be remembered in a good light, with warmth and kindness, don't we?  But let's face it, not every day are we filled to the brim with positive energy.  

There are highs and lows and good and bad. But what matters most is what we make of them. We can strive to make life more positive and happy for ourselves . . . and everyone else, even though it IS hard to be every thing to every one!

We can make changes. A new minute follows every minute, a new hour every hour, and a new day every day. There is always time to try again. . . anew.

But how unfortunate some people focus on the not so perfect times and that will be the memory they choose to remember. Is it human nature? I don't know. 

Try as we might, we cannot always be cheerful, talkative and upbeat. I can attest that I have my moods. I am far from perfect. I have also realized that I am a very private person and really need my times of solitude. 

It is important to recognize what you need and how you need to live your life. You are living it for you and you need to tend to yourself before you can care for others in the best way possible.

Perhaps a particular day I just didn't feel well and the last thing I wanted was to host company and be social, so I was more on the quiet side. Does that mean I don't care or I dislike them? 
Of course not.

 I might have even heaved a big sigh and rolled my eyes when I saw the total disarray in the other room, 
or maybe I finally admitted that I do not want people jumping on my couch,
or I didn't wave because I didn't even recognize them with the glare of the sun in my eyes. 
Does this mean I am not respectful? 
Of course not. 

People need to cut others some slack and strive to see the good in people. Everyone has something to give. I like to give people second, third or even fourth chances, you never know what that can mean to a person in need. 

Noone really knows what goes on in another one's life. Suppose your heart ached from a loss of deep trust, or suppose you got some bad news and were trying to make sense of it all, or suppose you were dealing with a health problem you have not yet shared. 

All of our experiences affect our mood and how we act in the world. One cannot always act *positive* if inside they are holding onto their world by a thread.

There are those who will never see the good and we know that. But we don't need to follow nor take it to heart. They will reinforce how we don't want to live. 

We can make those changes we need in our own lives, to be more positive and to love ourselves all the more.  We can ask ourselves, over and over, what small step can I take to make our lives more joy-filled
We need to live for ourselves and not worry about what others think and the memory they may choose to keep. I will always remember words from a friend:

"It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of you when you're comfortable with your self"    
~ Rue Kream

On the brink of the upcoming holidays, no matter what you celebrate or what you believe in, we are all people who make up this glorious earth
Take the time to look deeper, make the extra effort to get to know someone, practice those random acts of kindness. Choose a positive memory to treasure. Not only will it help someone else, you will feel the benefits over and over again, deep in your heart.

"Beneath the glitter and the lights, 
rests the heart of Christmas,
pure, simple, loving."

happy day, happy heart, happy memories!

November 27, 2010


 Use your empty summer flower pots to make a haven for the birds this winter. . . and invite a child to help.

Collect pine boughs and other greens and insert them deep into the soil of the pot. If it is already frozen just add some hot water until it softens enough to insert the branches and it will freeze again to secure them tight. 

We were lucky enough to make use of a young holly tree that our neighbor had cut down in his yard and had thrown on our shared burn pile to set ablaze in the spring. We were actually quite sad that he cut the beautiful tree and made sure it went to good use . 
So it become part of our bird haven and we will decorate with loads of holly this season.

The haven is in the corner of our deck opposite one of the kitchen slider doors, where we will have constant viewing of our feathered friends while we gather in the kitchen.
Two cattail feeders were inserted into another pot next to the holly and filled with shelled peanuts. The birds love them and it's great energy source for the colder months. The feeders can also hold sunflower seeds. We bought them here. White pine boughs complete the pot offering birds cover and a place to land .
Our haven wasn't even complete and we already had visitors! Peanut lovers!

There was even a "sweet birdy" walking around the pot waiting for any fallen remains. 
We set this up for the ground feeders, filled with Safflour seeds, which squirrels do not like.

Another pot we just filled with greenery for now. The birds can hide in there.
We also used a cedar branch we had saved, 
inserted it deep into a five gallon bucket filled with soil. We covered it with rocks and added greens. We wired it to the deck rails to keep it upright and sturdy in heavy winds and concealed the wire with pine boughs.  And now it holds suet feeders.

It is another terrific spot for viewing and we have easy access to refill the feeders.
I am especially excited to relax in the kitchen with my coffee or tea while watching the various birds.

 The Bird Haven also makes for some great entertainment for others in our household.

See if you can set up a Bird haven at your house!

Below is some helpful information about the different bird seeds and who likes what:

- Black Oil Sunflower Seeds are a premium feed.  Most birds prefer them to the striped sunflower variety. Sunflower seeds a high energy and nutritious food source packed with protein and fat and leave less waste than some other seeds.  
(Gold Finches, House Finches, Purple Finches, Cardinals, Bluejays, Scrub Jays, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Titmice, Mourning Doves, Buntings, Grosbeaks, Juncos and Sparrows eat sunflower seeds.)
-Thistle seeds (Niger) : nutritious seed  rich in protein and fat.   Thistle feeders with tiny openings limit attracted birds and squirrels do not like Thistle (it's debated). 
 (Goldfinches, House Finches, Purple Finches, Redpolls, Siskins, Juncos, and even Mourning Doves eat  thistle seeds.)
         -Safflower Seed: High in protein and fat.

                Cardinals, Mourning Doves, Finches, Grosbeaks, Jays, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Titmice, Song Sparrows, and White-throated Sparrows like Safflower.   Squirrels dislike safflower seeds. So this is a good option for those wanting to discourage unwanted "visitors".

       - Peanuts: Feeding shelled unsalted peanuts isn't messy and they are highly nutritious for the birds that can eat them.    Most birds can shell whole (unshelled) peanuts, with varying degrees of effort.  

Squirrels love peanuts. However, do NOT feed RAW peanuts to squirrels and other animals because it can seriously hurt them. Raw peanuts and other legumes contain a trypsin inhibitor or substance that inhibits or prevents the pancreas from producing trypsin, an enzyme essential for the absorption of protein by the intestine. Squirrels fed a steady diet of raw peanuts, soybeans. other legumes, and sweet potatoes could easily develop severe malnutrition. 

Roasting hulled raw peanuts for 20 to 30 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring them frequently, will destroy the trypsin inhibitor and render them suitable for feed. If that sounds like a lot of work, buy roasted peanuts but be sure they aren't salted. (Salted nuts of any kind should never be fed to wild animals.)

(  Bluejays, Scrub Jays, House Finches, Cardinals, Woodpeckers, Magpies, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Titmice, White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows eat peanuts.)

                                          happy day!

November 25, 2010


Love has no desire but to fulfill itself
To melt and be like a running brook that sings 

its melody to the night
To wake at dawn with a winged heart 

and give thanks for another day of loving.
                                                                    ~Kahlil Gibran
happy day . . . 


November 23, 2010


Take some time for you in the next few days. . . in nature. . . whether it's on your large acreage or your tiny city lot. Nature is all around you. 
Just wander . . . in nature or in your thoughts. . . outdoors 

Breathe and take in what you see . We need this time, again and again, especially during the holidays when life can feel like it's running ten yards ahead of us and we seem to be standing still.

It's a glorious time to wander as the seasons start to change, especially in our area, New England, where the air is invigorating and we need to start dressing in layers for warmth. 

The bold colors are starting to disappear but don't let it fool you. The world may appear barren, but look closer and focus in, there is still beauty abound . . . 
       to discover and delight in. 

Our eyes tend to gravitate toward the bold colors, but once they have dwindled we are able to see the little things, the intricacies of the natural world. The little things that can bring us joy.

Go ahead. . .  just wander and focus in. . .  and rejoice in the little things all around you. 

The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.  
~e.e. cummings

                             happy day!