Autumn leaves with beeswax

Everywhere we go, we’ve been gathering leaves.  We’ve got leaves from the maples near the soccer field where Jonny plays, leaves from a local historic home, and I even gathered a bagful of flaming red oak leaves outside the office of the orthopedic surgeon (I start physical therapy this week.)  I think we all associate the scent of melted beeswax with fall, along with the chore of scraping the hardened drips of it off the kitchen floor.  So far all we’ve done is dip, and dip some more.  Maybe we’ll create something with our leaves this week, but really the dipping is the best part.  If you’re interested, here’s a link to the little crockpot we use to melt beeswax, and here’s a link to little beeswax pastilles that melt quickly, and here’s a post about the garlands we made with beeswax dipped leaves a couple of years ago.

I’ve been doing mostly ordinary things over the past week:  lessons with the kids, cleaning house, chasing Silas, a little knitting, and revisiting the chore system I started creating months ago and never finished because it overwhelmed me.  My forgetful boys are driving me crazy though.  I am simplifying what I started, and hoping to actually follow through on a system that includes just the bare minimum requirements for each child:  the daily things, the things that don’t seem to happen unless I remind, all the while really annoying me because I am having to remind in the first place!  I am close to being finished.  So, I am happy about that.

Sometimes I wish the organize your life fairy would come spend a weekend with me.  I completely understand why there are people out there who do that for a living.  I’m guessing I would sidetrack her though and we’d end up taking a little walk to peek at the bees, talking with Jonny about his latest great idea, or knitting while talking about what we ate for dinner last night.  I might try being really organized for a few days, but it wouldn’t work for me or our family dynamic.  I think it’s really best just to do the best that I can and accept that life is never going to be perfectly organized, and certainly not my life.  Neither Jonny, nor I are wired that way.  We start projects, spin a few circles (or a dozen) and then do our best to finish most of what we start.  We get the necessary things accomplished, but not necessarily on any set schedule.  We are also happy people, and it’s best to embrace who we are and not try to make extreme changes that are in opposition to our personality types or our abilities.  That might set us up for failure and make us unhappy.  But, surely I can finish this chore system, because I think it’s important and it sure would be helpful.

p.s.  Several of you asked about our sweet potatoes last week:  how we are curing and then storing them.  I have researched it a bit, and determined that we aren’t equipped to properly cure or store them.  They are still in the wheelbarrow.  I am going to layer them in newspaper this week, try to make room in our pantry for most of them, and then hope for the best.  I do know that they are best if you wait a couple of months to eat them.  Hopefully they will last that long.


  1. beautiful photos! The foliage is gorgeous. I just shared a post featuring some photos of autumn leaves (and a yummy apple and blackberry pie!)


  2. Always so grateful for here.

  3. I just love gingko trees! They are my favorite ever since a woman stopped in front of me, in a park where I was sitting years ago, just to tell me about the big one that was standing above me. Now, I look for them everytime I’m going for a walk. I recognise them from afar, and I love that. I also always pick one or two leaves, sometimes I put them in a book. Their golden color, in fall, really is a gift for the eyes!

  4. gorgeous! your photos, the leaves…i am in p.t for my shoulder too. i hope yours goes well and
    you are back to perfect health soon!

  5. Your title brings to mind the Nat King Cole song which I have been humming a lot lately….

    About chores, what finally works for us is that I made a list of what I felt were neccessities.
    Divide them up throughout the week.

    When I look at my list that says clean bathroom, one kid can take all the towels and put on white washing, another can take the trashcan out to the kitchen, another can run around to various places for toilet paper, trash bags, clean towels etc as needed while I do the scrubbing.
    Same for the downstairs, we enter downstairs but we live upstairs, so one day it gets vacuumed in three different places by three different kids.

    I try to focus on one or two things a day and know they will all get done each week.That makes it easier for ME to remember what we are supposed to be working on LOL
    If we miss a day – as you do – life!!! – just start again the next day from where you left off, you might get two days done if you are lucky

    I make them do their own part without help but I check their work before the next kid does their part. And they don’t all do it at the same time, some do it willingly, some not, so sometimes I have to help, usually I just help with words/directions while doing something else in the same room.

    I also let them change their part if they are getting bored, they ALWAYS seem to think the other has a better job

    As far as their own stuff, the dog helpfully chews anything left too long on the floor…………. and I offer no sympathy…….sad (for them) but getting more effective as time goes by

    A lot of stuff only gets done when really needed but the basics are covered.

    🙂 Michelle

  6. beautiful pictures !!!

  7. My, you surely have a beautiful family! And those photos, stunning, as always!

  8. love this. Question: how much beeswax do you need to do, say , a few garlands?

  9. I remember the beautiful garland you made a few years ago or whenever it was. I just love these photos…we have nothing of the sort here in Texas, but Minnesota is in our future and I cannot wait. We do have many acorns, so I might have to find a little project for those. I hear you about the chores…glad to hear it’s not just my boys who cannot seem to remember that things don’t belong on the floor. We just started today a new system. Not really a system, just one thing we are doing every day: at 5pm, the whole family will help pick up whatever mess was made throughout the day. The next morning, everyone can pick 2 toys/games/things they want to play with during the day and that’s all they’re getting. Baby steps. We’ll see if I can manage, but tonight I had everyone pick up 20 pieces of Knex. Had the 4yo count to 10 twice and he actually did it. Praise God. Miracles do happen. Tomorrow we’ll go for day 2. =) My husband got these ideas from Parenting with Grace by Popcak and emailed me his suggestions from Afghanistan. Yay for not parenting solo even though he’s far away.

  10. I have read somewhere that if you place a tomato among the potatoes it will prevent them from budding.

  11. “We are also happy people . . . .” That’s one of the most important things of all.
    I’ve seen a lot of super-organized people/families who don’t seem to be overly happy as a result. I know I crave more structure and balance than the rest if my family, and when things don’t fall in line exactly like I’d prefer it creates more stress and unhappiness–mainly for me. I’m learning to relax an finding I’m much better off for it. However, I completely get the desire for the kiddos to do even the most basic of things without reminders–we’re still working on that one daily.

  12. I’m reading a good book that speaks to some of your organization/chore issues, but I’m not sure if the advice of the book will suite you. The title is Kids Are Worth It, and wow, I just found out the author has a website: I really like her ideas about natural consequences. And I really recommend you check out the book.

  13. Just wanted to write in and say that one of the things that I really enjoy about reading your blog is how friendly, warm, and supportive the comments are. Too often, people online go into attack mode over the smallest of issues. Reading your posts and your community’s comments, even when you are writing about something that you struggle with or something simple like fall leaf projects here, is really a positive experience for me. I so appreciate all the work you put in and the audience you have collected.

    • Janice, Yes!! There is an amazing community of kind women reading and sharing here! I am so thankful for that. SO thankful.

  14. I love the gingko leaves!! We have been saving hundreds of leaves (literally), so this will be a fantastic project for us. Then I can throw away all the decaying leaves that are currently covering every surface of my house. My husband will be so happy. 😉 Good luck with the organizing. We are 4 months post-international move and I am so hopelessly behind I might quit trying!

  15. Every time I tried to get my two on a chore system, it failed. I think because I held them to my standard and not theirs. I am very organized and love to make lists galore, that makes me happy and a messy house, well, that causes me some anxiety. I can only take so much mess. Now that the kids are away at school my house is clean but I do miss them (not the mess).

  16. JenniferTobey says:

    FlyLady has been awesome helping me get my mind & house in order. You might check her website out.
    Lovely leaves & kiddos!

  17. your new header is wonderful. and i so can relate to the organizational issues. i am really great at planning but it is really hard to actually implement anything when i have so many other people who have their own ideas of what to do and what is going on. some days lists and plans and charts just seem like a huge waste of paper and take up space in my head when i am the only one who really seems to care if stuff gets done. everyone else is ok with a messy house, dirty clothing and no food. i on the other hand love to have a tidy space, clean clothing and food in the cupboards and fridge. so it seems that it is always up to me to make it so. usually i am ok with that, but some days i swear… it makes me a wee bit nutty. LOL
    the dipping leaves looks like such a great idea. we collected leaves, but i think they are too dried up now to do anything but crumple up (which our youngest has discovered is loads of fun.)

  18. Hello Ginny. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous fall photos. Makes me want to go jump in a pile of leaves! I think we will try dipping leaves today. We have lots of wax from our bees and this would be a fun activity for the boys. Thanks for the inspiration, as always ; )

  19. Oh Ginny I am right there with you! We got those chore packsquite a long time ago after seeing them work so well with the Duggars but the whole system overwhelms me to even think about – let alone begin. I look forward to seeing you you do it, maybe it will get me over my fear and doing it, too! XO

  20. How long did your leaf garland last? Did it keep the color in the leaves indefinitely?

  21. HI Ginny, I don’t know if you’ve given up on the curing thing, but here’s another suggestion.

    I always refer to them as cleaning faeries, only… they take over my body and I don’t even register what I’m doing. I’m just doin’ it. It doesn’t happen very often, but I’m so glad when they do. Send them over here when you’re done!

    • Thanks for that link! What a funny lady. Maybe we’ll move them inside in a box and do the wet towel thing. What I didn’t mention in the post is that the sweet potatoes are not only in the wheelbarrow, but are also covered by a blanket and the cats have been using them as a bed. Maybe that has helped with the whole heat thing? ha ha.

  22. You are a funny woman Ginny!
    I am a very organized person. I make lists, arrive earlier for appointments, know what I will wear for the week and what I will eat. The person I married and all five of the babies I had are NOT organized in the least little bit, fluttering here and there, but I love them all. 😉
    We may not do it properly, but my sweet potatoes are kept in a cardboard box in the corner of the dining room; I have had them since spring and so far I’ve only had to throw away one that became a dried up ugly potato.

    • Tracey, I used to be a very organized person too (but maybe not as organized as you–I plan meals but not outfits :)! Jonny is the exact opposite though, and because he works from home that dictates the rhythm of our family. Between him and the children I have had to give up on a reliable routine! I also distract very easily, and while I used to be able to accomplish everything despite that, with a full house I can’t anymore. I’m just trying to find the middle ground, I guess, and find a system that makes sure everything happens without me being the constant reminding force behind it all!

  23. Love new header, and yes, we are head over heels for waxed leaves.

    Say Ginny, do you have a pattern link for Larkspur’s dress? Looks like Heather Ross, so I’m guessing you made it? I’ve been looking for a simple peasant shift pattern for ages, and can’t find one I like…

    Thanks, and happy dipping 🙂


    • Molly, I don’t have a pattern either–what I do is take the bodice of a peasant style dress and lengthen it rather than adding the gathered skirt that the pattern calls for. The neck and sleeves are gathered with elastic, and the dress is a basic a-line. Does that make sense?

    • Molly –

      I use the Leila and Ben Sweet Little Dress Pattern ( and I love it. If I want the dress to be long, I just cut out the length in the next size up. We have at least 4 of these dresses and they are a snap to sew up. We even embellished them with ribbon and tulle for Christmas dresses. Good luck.

  24. I have been trying to simplify my cleaning routine as well. Mainly that involves getting rid of copious amounts of “stuff.” We have packed up most of the kids toys and store them upstairs, and then keep two small baskets of toys downstairs. Everything else? Well, I have let my expectations slide quite a bit. As long as I sweep the floors everyday and have clean clothes and dishes, I am happy 🙂

    • I agree! Clean floors, clothes, and dishes are my main priority too. My kids are in charge of those departments to some extent and I just want a system in place so that I don’t have to remind them constantly of what they should be doing! I think it will be good for them, and good for me.

  25. If the organizing fairy ever pays you a visit, send her my way! Oh, how I can relate. Every few weeks I tell my husband “I just need time to hit the ‘re-set’ button!”

    Thank you for the links for the wax. We’ve been wanting to try this.

  26. I’d love to have such a garland. I have beewax this fall, somaybe I’ll try it!

  27. I have found that I am happy with just having certain areas organized and letting others be. Rather than try to be an “organized person.” Not my personality type, but since having children I have found that it does make some things easier.

    I was all set to make a fall leaf garland this year but just never got all the leaves collected. Next year it is on my to-do list! My next knit will be a Sunday Sweater. I can’t wait to cast on!

    • Yes, Olivia! Examining the situation, I think I actually am a semi-organized person naturally, with priority on some areas, while others I don’t worry about as much. I don’t wash my clothes on the same day every week, but I do have an excel spreadsheet with a master grocery shopping list that I print out every week to plan meals with. Meal planning and grocery shopping aren’t my favorite tasks, so I need the help. I guess that’s the key, to figure out where we really need organization and devote our energies there.

I love to hear from you!