Family Centered Learning

{Making a Home} “Done!”


That was the message that accompanied this photo that Brian sent from his phone before heading home tonight.  As you can see, the porch is now completely gone.  The house looks amazing to me.  It’s a little like the better someone looks after major surgery, and there is still a wound that needs healing, but you can see past that to the beauty that will come with time.

It was a long, exhausting week for everyone.  Three weeks of traveling back and forth to the farm – a 40 minute drive each way – and sometimes twice a day is taking a toll.  We knew that it would.  And there are several more weeks to go until we can move into the house.  But progress is being made and that is satisfying.

The old porch was one of the first things to be disposed of.  And the new porch will be one of the last things to be replaced. That makes this a watershed moment.  I wish, dear readers, that you could see the picture in my mind.  The one of this beautiful old house all finished.

But we shall come to that.  In time… in time…


Holy Week:: Selah

Holy Week is drawing to a close.  I’m in two minds about it.  It’s a shame to see my favourite week of the year speed by.  On the other hand, the crescendo of the Resurrection is so compelling, so exhilarating.

I was worried that this week would be full of stumbling blocks for our family, we had scheduled every possible thing to co-incide.  But we were wise and allowed things to fall away.  We slowed our pace and worked together to complete tasks, and enjoyed the journey through the days.  Yesterday was spent preparing the krashanky while James and Joséphine napped.



William, Louis, and Sophie begin peeling onions


… and Carrie


Happily working together.


There’s still time to make your own.  Here’s how::


Collect the peels of about 10 lb. of yellow onions into a bowl:



Place them in a pot. Ours has a handy basket insert, but you don’t need to have one of those.

Children (and grown-ups) love the crunch of the dry skins…


…and helping in the kitchen.


Add 8 c. water to the pot:


and 1/4c. white vinegar


Bring to the boil, cover, and reduce to simmer for 30 minutes.


You’ll need 12-18 clean, white eggs which have been left to come up to room temperature.


Place them into a stainless steel pot in a single layer.


Strain and cool your dye to room temperature. Then pour it in over your eggs.


Make sure your eggs are completely covered. Add more cool water, if needed. Bring to the boil again and allow to simmer 12-15 minutes.


If you haven’t achieved the colour you want after 15 minutes, remove from the heat and allow to sit until you’re happy with them.


When the eggs are completely cooled, rub them with olive oil and a soft cloth or paper towels.


Pack them up nice and safe in their carton to bring to church on Holy Saturday so that they can be blessed.


We’ll be bringing our krashanky to our new parish tomorrow morning for blessing, along with Father David’s holy water bottles for Vigil.  They’ll be eaten for breakfast before heading out to the 11:30 Easter Sunday Mass, where Brian will serve.  Later in the afternoon, we will return once more to church – this time to our old parish, St. Joseph’s, where William will serve on the altar for the first time!

And somewhere in there, we’ll make time to sit down to dinner together, and reflect on the myriad graces that come to us through Christ, and His Church.  The graces we celebrate this Holy Weekend and throughout the year.

Wishing you and your family a blessed Eastertide!


Before the Rush

As soon as the weather softens, and the days lengthen, one of them will ask: “Mama, can we go to the village?”

Hours and hours of walking, running, exploring are no more than a twinkling when you have such beautiful surroundings.  The buds haven’t broken yet, the blossoms are still waiting to break forth in all their frothy glory.  Even at its barest, still so lovely.

Quiet until the season takes hold, we are almost alone, excepting a few small school groups.  Perfect for finding inspiration in details overlooked in a bustle. And there was much to inspire.  And much good use to put that inspiration to.  In just a few short days more.

Come along::

Child's Bedroom at the Fitch House


Back Entrance to the Salem Towne House

Parlour at the Towne House



More of the Parlour


Dining Room at the Towne House.


I love the light in this room. So warm and gentle.


Upstairs Bedroom in the Towne House. Such a beautiful quilt on the bed.


Bonnets and clothing left out in the large muraled bedroom.


This Masonic symbol is painted on the ceiling of the large upstairs room.


I love the canopy on this bed. Doesn't every girl dream of such a cozy place to slumber and dream?


We close on our farm Monday, 25th April.  The day I commence my 5th decade. Momentous, thrilling.  We’re so looking forward to sharing that adventure with you.

Craving Green

It always happens this time of year.  No matter how much we are enjoying winter’s pleasures, our thoughts begin to turn to spring.  And growing things. Maybe it is because there is such a lack of colour.  Skies are gray, the leaves have all gone, the birds have flown away to warmer climes.  And the ground is covered with a thick blanket of white.

It is exquisitely sparkly.

But without colour.  And we are beginning to crave GREEN.

So this week I allowed the kids to use a teaspoon of chia seed from the pantry to sprout.  The wonderful thing about chia is that it provides nearly instant gratification.  By the next morning, the children could observe tiny threads emerging from the seeds.  Over the next several days, roots crept out and nursery leaves stretched upward toward the light.  Yesterday, the miniature garden was transferred to a terra cotta pot filled with potting mix and is bringing a little bit of springtime to the kitchen.

It is hopeful.

Grow your own::

dessert plate

paper towel, dampened

1 tsp. chia seed, dampened

small clear glass mixing bowl or wide-mouthed jar (pint should do nicely)

spritzer bottle with water

potting mix

terra cotta pot


Place the dampened paper towel on top of the overturned dessert plate.  Spread your dampened seeds evenly onto the paper towel and spritz if needed. Place your glass bowl over the top and set your terrarium in a sunny spot.  In about 3-4 days, your chis should be ready to transfer to the pot.  Simply place the paper towel right on top of the soil, trimming the edges to fit neatly.  Make sure your potting mix is plenty wet so that your chia won’t wilt.  Place on your table, or in your home-school room to enjoy.

Happy, blessed weekend to you!

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