Nature Journals for Children

Nature Journaling with AuthenticVirtue.com

They [children] must be let alone, left to themselves a great deal, to take in what they can of the beauty of earth and heavens; for of the evils of modern education few are worse than this––that the perpetual cackle of his elders leaves the poor child not a moment of time, nor an inch of space, wherein to wonder––and grow. At the same time, here is the mother’s opportunity to train the seeing eye, the hearing ear, and to drop seeds of truth into the open soul of the child, which shall germinate, blossom, and bear fruit, without further help or knowledge of hers.” – Charlotte Mason

Oh, the joys of being able to create lovely things. My library students have recently finished the read-alouds we began long ago. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and White Fang were excellent winter season activities but the warming weather is calling for something more active.

Our school is preparing a small, square-foot style garden for the students. They’ll dig in soil, sow seeds, transplant sprouts and create compost.

It’s really quite delightful.

To add to the fun, the library classes will spend time each week in their individual nature journals. We’ll ask questions, make observations, collect specimens, and draw sketches of the life we find.

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I found these inspiring questions from The Minimalist Guide to Nature Journals.

Needless to say I think this is the best thing ever.

What creative task is keeping you busy? Do you keep a nature journal?

Love, blessings and a lot of coffee,

Frannie

Decorating for Christmas on a Newlywed Budget

Christmas Decor on a Newlywed Budget

It’s a joy-filled, sunny day in our neck of the woods. Christmas is only ten days away and my little heart can hardly stand it! 🙂 This is our second Christmas as a married couple and it has been enjoyable in every way — what a blessed, love-filled month it has been!

One of the difficulties many new brides (and single folk too!) experience is decorating for Christmas on a budget. We fret, stress and grumble remembering how lovely our childhood Christmas’ were; we want our homes to be as cozy and festive as the one’s left behind. Can any one relate? Or am I alone in this? 😉

Thankfully, creating a beautiful, cozy holiday home does not need to break the newlywed’s budget. Join me as I show you eleven of my favorite affordable decorating ideas for Christmas. (This is an excellent excuse for me to browse Pinterest … cue the hot coffee, chocolate and Pinterest marathon!) 😉

DIY Advent Countdown

Isn’t this Advent calendar delightful? Start with toilet paper rolls, ribbon, tape and paper and end with something you can hide treats in. I love it! (link here)

Handmade Ornaments

Cinnamon ornaments smell yummy and add a rustic charm; I’ll be making some of these this week! (link + recipe here!)

Isn’t this little nest so sweet? Our tree is very reflective of our home and personalities; I have a few birds nest tucked away and several berries springing out of branches; this little nest would be a perfect addition! (link here)

Delightful Decorations

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Stop by Lowes and ask if you could have the pine branches left from the tree cuttings. Branches are a delicious (free!) way of bringing the natural elements of the winter season  inside. (link here)

Wrap a few miscellaneous boxes in scrapbook paper or pages of books you no longer use (if you have the heart to rip up a book!) 😉 I think these little, hanging gifts would be enchanting above a kitchen sink. (link here)

Use your library to add a unique, quirky “tree” in your home! I loved this idea and made three “trees” in the school’s library using various green books — I just love how bookish and Christmas-y it looks! (link here)

Smells for St. Nicolas

There are so many affordable, natural ways to make your home smell delicious for the holidays. Toss some apple or orange peels, cinnamon sticks and sprinkle various spices to get a yummy November smell or add pine and evergreen for a fresh Christmas smell. (link + recipe here)

Chalkboard Creations

I love Callie’s Christmas décor and her chalkboard is no exception! (link here)

Isn’t this chalkboard by Dear Lillie a delight? Add personal charm to your Christmas home by lettering a unique phrase or bit of Scripture you love. (link here)

Wreath Wishes

Again, Callie’s Christmas coziness inspires me! I love her wreath above the dining table and even the branch in the pitcher. So adorable!! (link here)

Finally, this set of wintery wreaths delight my Christmas-loving heart and have me wishing for inches of snow and never ending coats and mittens. (link here)

The wonderful thing about each of these pictures is that the sort of coziness oozing from them is available to even the tightest budget. If you crave a welcoming, wintry haven but are on a tight budget rejoice! You have the perfect excuse to use your hands and make something beautiful with them.

How do you decorate on a budget? Have you ever known a holiday where finances were tight but your inspiration abounding? Share with us, dear, and let’s grow together in grace and beauty!

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

p.s. Here’s some of my own Christmas inspirations!

Our Christmas tree is very earth toned — it simply delights my heart! Glittery pinecones, bird nests, white berries and fruits of the Spirit written on log slices make it truly unique to us! <3

Of course the quirky, uneven string of lights add to the mood of sweet fun in our home. And leftover Thanksgiving pumpkins sit happily beneath the limbs; I couldn’t bare throwing them out! 😉 Naturally, Braveheart would be an excellent companion to such a wintery day.

Organizing a Library on a $0 Budget

You sweet readers already know about my latest hobby and opportunity working one day a week as a librarian. It has been such a delight serving in a school which promotes character and has the love of Christ in it’s center. I am truly blessed.

Our library houses many books for children grades pre-kindergarten to sixth grade; in total we have seventy-eight students roaming our halls. Seventy-eight young people who love to read! 🙂

The library has several good, sturdy shelves, a bulletin board and five computers (ancient beasts! 😉 In previous years the library was staffed with volunteers, those wonderful folk who give of their time and energy!! (Where would we be without volunteers?) It is their effort that I build upon making me a very lucky woman. Because of these people a majority of our books had been entered into our online catalog, labeled, and given a shelf

I spent a recent Saturday going through the books and ensuring hey are properly alphabetized and in the correct Dewey Decimal System order. 🙂 I couldn’t stand knowing some were out of order. Of course I know the little hands will forget to check each label but in the mean time it is nice knowing everything is in its place!

I love to feature books in the center of the shelves ad especially underneath my white frame. It’s the perfect centerpiece and the kiddies love checking out the new selections.

I’ve strung fabric leaves over the side shelves dividing the library from the teacher’s lounge area. In this library we do whimsy, seasons and cute!! (Can you tell? 😉

My current pride and joy are the Dewey Decimal System cheat sheets I designed and printed. I love being able to glance across the room to ensure I’m looking in the right direction. It’s so fun knowing that wild animals can be found in the 595 section while pets are in in the Technology section (600). Can you tell I love this place?

At the beginning of the school year I asked several different paint stores if I could please have handful of paint sticks. So many generously gave (thank You, Father God!). I painted the ends of the stick and then labeled according to the needed letters and numbers.

So, what are two ways you can organize a library with a $0 budget?

  1. Design and print your own charts, décor and posters. My next project will be about book genres. 🙂
  2. Get creative with book dividers by using free paint sticks. It makes finding and reshelving books so much easier!

I’m still looking for ways to make our library more kiddo-friendly, welcoming and organized. A beautiful reading space is incredibly important to me!

How do you keep your life organized? Have you found affordable ways to get organized without going over budget?

Tell this new teacher your secrets! 🙂

With lots of love, coffee and books,

Frannie