Thursday, August 26, 2010


All summer long I've been looking for tomato worms on my tomato plants. It is clearly evident that they have been there -- stalks are stripped bare. Despite looking and looking, I've never found them until this week. Then, there they were! All five of them together. Three of them carrying the next generation on their back.

But, now I've got them, and unlike last year, there is going to be no lenience in getting rid of them. The biggest one was at least the size of one of my fingers. UGH!

And now for nicer subjects: we went raspberry picking today! A little late in the season -- I only came home with 10 1/2 pounds. But, we also got apples and squash, peaches and tomatoes.

Oh, yes, the best news of all: Emily is home!! We celebrated with a waffle breakfast (gluten-free buckwheat waffles!!!).

Tomorrow is Friday and then Monday begins our two week vacation here at home!!

UPDATE: Candice alerted me to the fact that those are cocoons of a predatory wasp that are attached to those tomato hornworms!! Can you imagine!! Those worms were doomed to death anyway I guess. The wasp larvae are sustained by the hornworm and the worm eventually dies because of it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Crazy Life

Here is the little frog I knitted for my nephew John for his first birthday. It is one of Susan Anderson's free patterns on the Spud and Chloe blog. It was a fast little knit, with not too much sewing.

Life has been crazy around here. Laura is nearing 4 months, and right on cue with the other babies, she is getting up more frequently at night, and then often wants to stay awake at 6 a.m. Real food here we come.....So, that leaves me with little sleep, and therefore tired. Ugh.

School is going well. We are all excited about our states studies. It's definitely more busy this year with four of them doing things. It just means no flower sewing during school just now.

The weather is cooler this week!! What a relief. Still hardly any rain, so I must get out and water. I'm just too sluggish.

Emily arrives home from Arizona soon!!! We're so excited. It will be great to have her around again. She's been gone for half of Laura's life!

And now it's time to sign off and organize my clutter a bit.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Studying Maine

We had a very enjoyable first week of school. Everyone was excited about all the new things we are learning. It was also our first week to dive into US Geography and according to our curriculum we started with the state of MAINE!!!

In addition to the worksheets and maps in the curriculum we did some extra projects and reading. The little boys made lobsters:

Rachel and Andrew did watercolors of the Maine coast:

And of course we had to cook!!! Maine is the top producer of blueberries in the US so we had blueberry sauce over our pancakes (3 cups frozen blueberries, 3/4 cup water, 3 Tbsp. agave nectar, and 1 heaping Tbsp. of cornstarch).

Everyone enjoyed it!!!

For dinner we tried Clam Chowder. I looked for recipes and finally decided Campbell's Clam Chowder from a can was the best option! :)

Here are some of the books we read:

Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man -- the kids LOVED this book!!!
(all these by Robert McCloskey)

Stopping to Home by Lea Wait (this was our historical fiction chapter book of the week)
A nice little story of two children in Wiscasset in 1806 orphaned by the smallpox epidemic.

The Sign of the Beaver (we didn't get to this one)

Fact books from the library on Maine

A website for food ideas for states:

Lighthouses are something that characterize the coast. We really enjoyed reading Abbie Against the Storm, a true story of a young girl who kept a Maine lighthouse going during a terrible storm.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First Day of School

School started on Monday. It took me up until the last free weekday of summer to get my planning finished, new school clothes found, new crayons rotated in, and pencil boxes filled.

Here is the happy crew, quite excited about starting a new school year. Rachel and Andrew are particularly excited about US Geography and Astronomy. We will be studying one state a week and besides doing map work we'll be reading books from each state, and cooking state foods as well!

Andrew had fun drawing an enormous picture this past week. The picture doesn't show how big it was. He was quite proud of it.

It does look fun -- maybe I'll try it one of these days.

The weather is still hot and I'm trying to get the kids to the pool at least 3 afternoons a week. It will be closed before we know it. We enjoyed a day at the fair yesterday and I must get around to posting pictures. We all love the fair.

Now it's time to get to bed and rest up for another day of school!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Butterfly

Today was our first day of school and perhaps I will blog about that tomorrow. The most exciting thing about today was the hatching of our butterfly!

Two weeks ago at our CSA pickup we found a big caterpillar like this and a very tiny, fuzzy caterpillar that eventually grew into this as well:

The first caterpillar quickly turned into a chrysalis one night while we slept. We looked up online and expected that today would be the first possible day it could hatch. Throughout the day it turned darker and darker.

And, when we came back from 1 1/2 hours at the pool, look what we saw:

After dinner we took him outside and Michael set him on Andrew's shoulder:

A Black Swallowtail Butterfly! Isn't he beautiful!

Andrew was pretty thrilled:

Can you tell? :)
Then we moved the butterfly to the zinnia patch and Andrew ran to get his camera to record the event:

Making sure to get every shot:

The butterfly's new home:

What a beautiful thing to watch in our home! I felt very blessed to have the mama duck choose our home to hatch her ducklings, and I can hardly believe we've been blessed again to have a caterpillar turn into a butterfly! Our second caterpillar has been eating like crazy for two weeks and I expect he will make his chrysalis anytime now.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

All the Rage

The Runner from Ravenshead is ALL THE RAGE at our house right now.

The movie is a story similar to Pilgrim's Progress and is entirely acted by kids (from one family). It is very well done (i.e. professional) and our kids have watched it twice already, memorized the lines, and spend hours reenacting.

So, if you are looking for another good, clean, video for children -- this is it!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Elizabeth Zimmerman

Last night I went to a "100th birthday party" in honor of Elizabeth Zimmerman. EZ was a knitting guru who developed techniques that many knitters now use today (such as knitting in the round).

Christina organized a fabulous party at a local Starbucks. Everyone brought their knitting, bought coffee, and enjoyed Christina's chocolate cake.

One of the ladies was knitting Christina's Lamb's Lace Cardi from her spring collection:

We did sing!

And then we did a gift exchange. Everyone brought a skein of sock yarn wrapped as a present. It was the most fun ever!

I ended up with some gorgeous green and blue hand dyed merino wool from Knitting Notions.

I've just started reading Knitting Around by Elizabeth Zimmerman and so am looking forward to being more educated.

Also, a friend passed this idea of knitting dolls for destitute children in South Africa. It sounds good to me and I think Rachel and I might give it a try.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I love flowers! Every year I try to find more room to grow more flowers so I can have them inside the house:

The colors of summer flowers and summer food is just amazing! I can hardly stand how beautiful things look on the table.

Zinnias are a tradition. This year one striped zinnia popped up!

More and more wildlife is finding its way to our yard! I'm sure this is due to the gardens. Birds are constantly about, as well as butterflies and other insects. Not to mention Mama Mallard as written about before.

The bridesmaids in my wedding carried pink zinnias from my mother's garden.

My patch is doing so well just now! I need to go pick some more and bring them in.

My mom would love to paint these! Maybe she will......

Aren't they just so pretty!!

If you look closely, you can see a female hummingbird taking a little break on the tomato cage. We are having so much fun watching the hummingbirds. If I keep the feeder filled, they are constantly about.

I had enough yellow and green to do an exclusive bouquet:

And then some pink and lavender for my bathroom:

A little bouquet always livens up bathrooms, especially bathrooms that I feel are too small and perhaps not as aired out as I would like. Here they are in the guest (ahem...children's) bathroom.

Don't you just love the colors in this swiss chard!!! (which, by the way, is good cooked with sesame oil and soy sauce sprinkled on at the end):

Em's room has turned into the guest room this summer.

These goldfinches are my favorite!! They come all the time and sit on the volunteer sunflowers.

A new member of the family came today -- a swallowtail butterfly caterpillar, which the boys are hoping will form a chrysalis and hatch! We'll see. We found him on the herbs at our CSA (where we were for 3 hours today, volunteering in the 105F temps!!!!).

The State Fair starts Friday and I can't wait to go. There are 4 possible dates we could go (free tickets and $2 admissions). Now to decide if we should go once, twice, or four times!!!