Daybook: Fall, Fresh Starts, and School Days

Outside My Window:

The first signs of fall (after an inexorably hot and humid summer!)- cooler breezes, an ever so slight tinge of yellow and orange barely about the leaves, and the smell of harvest- hay and tabacco are all coming in for drying this week. The smell of the chaff burning has that earthy, humus smell that’s not quite the smell of leaves burning but almost as delighful.

I am thinking-

That there is such beauty and grace in everyday if only I will have eyes to see, and ears to hear. Jeremiah’s refrain in Lamentations that “His mercies are new every morning” have been a constant meditation in my heart this summer. I have seen such healing and a peace that I have never known before, even the midst of much nuttiness and craziness on the home front this summer. I am ever grateful.

I am thankful for-

The helps that make my vocation as mama and wife easier. Chief among them is the CM Organizer at Simply Charlotte Mason; I cannot say enough how much more rational and prepared I feel this year because of it- and I like the flexibility of being able to tweak as we go. I’ve also been grateful for Elise’s Children’s Book Mondays, and my oh my, did you know that Anna is back? (Hurrah, hurrah!) I’ve been using like crazy this summer- and Nourishing Days and Passionate Homemaking have so many great articles for those who pursue an alternative diet like we do due to food allergies.

From the learning rooms-

A new year is upon us! We are delighted to be jumping into Ancient Greece. We’re using the Joshua to Malachi and Ancient Greece Study Guide from Simply Charlotte Mason as our ‘backbone’, and I’ve fleshed the rest of the curriculum out from there. This is my first year to move entirely away from boxed curriculum, and I find myself delighted at the change. We also chose to put our oldest son into a wee private school around the corner from our house, at the church we attend- the reasons are many, and much prayed over. He’s been there for almost a month now and is thriving. Our daughter, who is four, also attends a preschool program twice a week. Isaiah, David, and Josiah are home with me this year. Isaiah’s physical therapy and specialist appointments have increased to twice a week, and Josiah now has the need to visit specialists for a digestive disorder. It’s a new adventure all around.

From the kitchen-

We’ve been faithfully working on meal planning over the summer, and have much improved at it. I read of an idea ( I think via Elizabeth’s shared items, but haven’t been able to find the post yet, will link when I do) of having theme meal planning over a month’s period- mexican one night, italian, soup night, meat dish, vegetarian dish, etc. Over a month- Mexican night might be tacos one night, the next week a southwestern beef casserole, next week enchildas, etc, and then the month starts over again. The kind lady said that she rotated through these meal plans over a quarter years time (so about three months and then changes it up) with a seasonal reflection of produce and recipes. It was a total ‘aha!’ moment for me- it has much simplified things while still providing variety.

I am wearing-

A plum purple v-neck long sleeve shirt (with the sleeves pushed up), and my brown Lands End knit skirt, and my favorite Birkenstocks. (Don’t ask about the hair though- humidity this summer has managed to make it a total oil slick in places yet straw dry and poufy! I cannot wait for cooler weather.)

I am creating-

Pockets of order and beauty. Our summer was a crazy one, and our home and life really began to reflect that as the season wore on. With the turn into a more familiar routine of school time, I am really working at finding the balance and ensuring margins in the day again, as well as putting our house back to rights. Tucking flowers in spaces, pulling out fall decorations, lighting candles- trying to bring everyday beauty back into rotation instead of messy chaos.

I am going

Slowly into that good purpose. A dedicated goal of mine over the last six months has been to change habits and lifestyle and in very big way- but in a very slow, reasoned, accomplishable way. I am finding that I while I have big picture goals, I need to break them into smaller weekly and daily tasks. It has really helped. For this recovering perfectionist, I have been learning the blessing, value, and foresight of patient labor vs. frenzied busy work.

I am reading-

Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy

Laying Down the Rails: A Charlotte Mason Handbook by Sonya Shaffer

Taking Flight: Inspiration and Techniques to Give Your Creative Spirit Wings by Kelly Rae Roberts

I am hoping-

That the pumpkin pecan spice pancake/waffle mix from Williams & Sonoma doesn’t run out any time soon. Oh my word. Yummy doesn’t even cover it. One of my few guilty weekend pleasures.

I am hearing-

The chirp of crickets and the occasional bird song. Leaving at the edge of woodland does have its advantages. 🙂

Around the house-

A keeping of order; staying disciplined about the chores that need accomplishing each day. One last closet remains to be uncluttered and put to rights (the last of my must-dos from the summer) so I will try to get to it this week.

One of my favorite things-

I love hearing Josiah as he learns to talk and communicate…the squeal of delight and dadddadddadddda when James walks in the door is not to be missed. It makes me smile every time.

A few plans for the rest of the week-

To not get ahead of myself; to walk patiently and circumspectly; to take advantage of this fresh start; to inspire my children as they begin their learning adventures this year.

A picture thought I am sharing-

Ahem. I haven’t downloaded my card all. summer. long. There’s got to be around a thousand. I should really add that to my plans for this week, no? If I could share one picture, imagine the emerald green rolling hills of Appalachia, the lazy black fences, the drowsy cows, the big oak in the back yard with hammock swung between it and the fence, and five kids in some semblance of dirt and grime twirling, toddling, and digging about, and you’ve got the picture of most of my summer. (My bathtub, on the other hand, begs for mercy.) Oh, and don’t forget the delightfully teethy and gummy smile and glee of Josiah who is almost. walking. (But who doesn’t like the feel of grass on his bare feet.)


Welcome fall. We’ve missed you. Stick around for a bit, will you? No nasty storms or snow until at least November 15th, alright? Deal?

Hello friends, I’ve missed you too. It feels good to be back.

(This post was inspired by Peggy at Simple Woman’s Daybook)


  • Donna Rae Barrow

    So glad you are feeling the same sense of renewal and hope that I always feel with Autumn’s first breezes. I seem to barely survive summer each year, only to suddenly feel revived at the thought of pumpkins and cider and riotous leaves. Walk well these crisp paths of ‘Joy’! (and yes, I am glad to see Anna back as well!)

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