Thursday, August 29, 2013

But I don't like that team!!!

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Chris dressed Daniel this morning.  He does not approve.

Actually, this poor kiddo is having a really hard time with his teeth.  So sad!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fun Weekend

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I took Eli to the Lowes Build & Grow clinic yesterday, where we met up with one of his (and my!) friends.  We went 2 weekends ago and built Dusty, the main character from the new movie Planes.  Yesterday, we built El Chupacabra, another character in the movie.  Eli had a great time!  It's good for him to get to do something once in a while apart from his siblings.  It's a rare occurrence!

Today, I took Eli, Sophie, and Isaac to see Planes.  It's a really cute movie!  Unlike Cars, where I really had to work to muster up much commitment to Lightning McQueen, Dusty is a great little character right from the start.  If you have little kids, I'd highly recommend it!  

Sundays are "dessert days" at our house.  Which means you better not ask me for dessert any other day of the week - it's a special thing for Sundays.  Sometimes it happens on other days too, but it should not be expected.  This policy has helped to curb a lot of whining, and also the demands of the middles (Isaac and Sophie) for "where's my dessert of breakfast?" and "where's my dessert of lunch?"

I've talked to a lot of people who claim they have the best chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I've never really committed to one.  I read a blog post about this phenomenon of fierce commitment to a specific recipe.  I found it kind of funny.  The blogger made up a bunch of different recipes and had taste testers decide.  The one I made today won.  I've seen the New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe on lots of blogs over the past few years, but I've never tried it.  Since Friday was the letter "C," we decided to make chocolate chip cookies.  They have to sit in the refrigerator for 24+ hours before you bake them, so "C day" became "C weekend."  These cookies are FANTASTIC.  I would agree they are the best I've ever eaten.  They are also enormous, measuring at almost 5"!!!  The kids loved them, of course.

Friday, August 23, 2013

"B" is for Big, Brown Beaver

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Sophie and Isaac were not happy to learn that Eli would be gone all day at school, and they would not.  "That's not fair!" said Sophie.  I need to document this for future years.  I told them I'd do home "school" with them so they would have some activities.  A friend recommended a site with some linked material, and I've been searching around looking for worksheets and crafts.  Right now, we are going through each letter, day by day, and practicing writing it, making it's sound, and doing some kind of activity that matches.  Yesterday was the letter "B."  The kids did a beaver craft they were really proud of.

Even though Eli had his first art class at school, he came home and told me it wasn't fair that the littles got to make a beaver craft and he wanted to do it too!  Good grief.  So far, home "school" seems to be going well.  I need to think of more ideas.  Today is "C," so we're making cookies!  I love when forces outside of my control compel me to make and eat cookies.  hehe  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Purple and Yellow

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I've decided that the best tomatoes are not red.  These are prepped for some homemade pasta sauce for vegetarian lasagna.  Some are from my garden - Mr. Stripey, Cherokee Purple, and a few small Heinz, and some are from the CSA - Garden Peach and Purple Russian.   I love heirloom tomatoes!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Eli's First Day of FIRST Grade

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We met Eli's teacher on Monday.  It's going to be a great year!  I'm so excited to see how he grows this year.  

The committee was outside to see him off:

Chris also started a teaching job this morning at OSU - it's been a while since he taught!  Lots of great changes are happening around here.  

I'm looking at online curriculum (free!) to run Isaac and Sophie through this year so they don't feel left out.  They are excited to learn.  :)  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


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Our first Black Swallowtail butterfly emerged this morning from it's chrysalis.  I thought it would take longer! On August 8th, we brought 2 caterpillars in from the parsley plant outside.  On August 10th, the first went through the pupa stages and formed a chrysalis.  On August 11th, the other followed.  Since then, they've just been sitting on the kitchen counter.  Last night we noticed that one looked almost black, a change from it's previous brown color.  Sure enough, I looked over this morning while making my pumpkin spice syrup, and saw a newly emerged butterfly climbing up it's stick.  And I screamed.  Oops.  It was odd looking, but I think it just startled me to see something moving in the now very clean kitchen.  My kids were much more brave about the situation.  We delivered the other chrysalis to the school this afternoon - hopefully it will wait until tomorrow morning to emerge (first day of school!) so Eli's classmates can see it too!

Here are a group of pictures documenting the changes this caterpillar went through to reach it's emergence as a butterfly this morning:





newly emerged

Beside the shell it came out of.

This was taken just before she flew away!

I'm pretty sure this was a female - the markings on it's back were very muted.  Pictures of males I've seen show bright yellow spots along the top pair of wings.  

Here are some pictures of the kids "holding" the butterfly:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Zoo Day!

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We decided to go to the Zoo today - this will be Eli's last trip up there during the week until next summer due to school.  It was also beautiful today, a day without rain (RARE) and a little bit chilly!  The kids all did a really good job.  Each trip we take seems to get easier and easier.  I hope this continues!

Today we saw beavers.  We've been going to this zoo for about six years, and I've never seen them!  The kids loved watching them swim.

This picture is my favorite, although you can't see much - what you can see is Isaac's face reflected in the glass, just lit up as he watches the beaver swim by.  Adorable!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sophie's Favorite

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Of course it's her favorite - it's a HUGE PINK flower!  Sophie loves this hibiscus plant.  I had it in the back for a while, and dug it up and moved it to the front this spring.  Amazingly, it survived the trauma quite well and has lots of buds on it just waiting to open up.  Each day, one flower blooms, and then dies, followed the next day by another.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Black Swallowtail

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Bugs are a normal part of the gardening process - but not one that I really enjoy.  A few weeks ago I went out to snip some parsley from where it is potted by the back steps, and I flicked off a couple of nasty looking grubs.  Yuck.  I haven't been paying much attention to that pot since, and today when I went out to get some parsley for another recipe, I found this big guy and his little brother:

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar
When I showed the kids, Eli immediately thought they were Monarch Caterpillars.  We did some research online, and while the Monarch looks very similar to this, it doesn't eat parsley.  The Black Swallowtail, however, does!  Here's the part where I completely lost my mind.  After reading about these guys, and trying to match up what part in it's life cycle it's in, we determined that it must be close to forming a chrysalis.  So I suggested we bring them INSIDE.  Yep.  They're in a big glass pitcher with a bunch of parsley, just hanging out on the kitchen island.

They look like they're pretty slow moving at this point, so I'm hoping they won't escape.  The kids are super excited to watch the process.  I will apparently have a few hours after they emerge before they are able to fly to get them outside.