Thursday, May 26, 2011

worm composting

After taking a class at the botanical garden and making our own worm bin, we now have one thousand new pets. Instead of taking our food scraps out to the compost bin, we now feed our worms instead. I have learned that I am not a good composter - I never turn the outside bin, never add brown matter, and therefore never get to add any of it to the garden. When I saw this class, I decided that having worms do the work would not only benefit our garden, but could provide hours of entertainment for the kids. So far, they're happy to help feed the worms and they like the idea of having so many little pets.

at the beach

Their joy is contagious. Even though Brian and I aren't beach people, we loved every minute of it. How couldn't we, with these two super happy little people leading way?!

Monday, May 16, 2011

bugs, bugs, bugs

Have you ever sniffed a centipede? No? Well I hadn't either until Sarah told me they smell really good. In that moment, I was thinking, What a weird kid. She then stuck the thing near my nose and told me to smell it. Okay . . . I had no interest in doing this, but she was pleading at this point. And you know what? She was right. They smell really sweet, like perfume. How weird. (Unlike my child, who can't seem to get enough of it, one sniff was sufficient for me.)

We then proceeded to have a discussion about animals' defenses. Sarah's theory was that the sweet smell didn't really smell that good to other animals who might try to eat them, which would stop the animals from eating them. The logic may be faulty, but the thinking is certainly there.

Eric can hold his own when it comes to thinking about how bugs survive and thrive. Today, he clarified my mistake when I called a slug's eyeballs antennae instead. "No Mommy. Those are its eyes." Totally right! He wondered about the slime they leave behind, saying, "Maybe that's part of its protection." He then wondered about where its mouth might be and we took a closer, without success. He guessed, "It's probably underneath."

While we are on the topic of my children and bugs, I think that they have officially surpassed my comfort level when it comes to "loving the bugs." (Cockroaches aside, I do appreciate investigating this fascinating world.) But - slug slime isn't quite my cup of tea. And cicadas aren't really either - not to hold anyway. They're too big and the wings feel creepy when they fly out of your hand. I have to admit though, I have a sense of pride when I witness my two little people observing and nurturing and thinking about all things slimy and smelly and small.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

For Mother's Day

Ms. Nancy asked Eric to "fill in the blank" and answer some questions about me for Mother's Day. Here we go, in Eric's words -

My mom's name is Jennifer. She has brown eyes and dark brown hair. She likes to wear dresses and short sleeves. Her favorite color is purple and blue. I want to give you 152 kisses. My mom is good at playing hide and seek and making food. I love it when my mom cooks hot dogs, meat, and ice cream. We like to throw snowballs together.

As for Sarah, Ms. Roberts compiled a class cookbook, with each child explaining how to make a favorite mom-made recipe. Here's Sarah's -

Sugar Cookies


First, Mommy puts the flour in a bowl. Then milk and sugar and then the cinnamon. She pours it into another bowl with a thing that stirs it up. Then she puts it in the refrigerator until it gets cold. After dinner we take it out and unwrap it. Then we roll it out and press the shapes of the cookies out. They are usually animals. After we do that, we put oil on it and sprinkle the sprinkles on it. The oil makes it sticky. We put it in the oven and wait until it is all done baking. Then we eat it!

About the Author
Sarah is six years old. She likes to play with her brother. At school her favorite activity is specials.

Note from the Author
My mom is special because she lets me have treats!

(If you'd like the actual recipe, let me know. She has the big idea, but the details aren't exactly accurate.)

Although my eyes are blue, and I don't usually wear dresses (and never throw snowballs in May), and even though Sarah is largely treat-deprived because of her lack of healthy-eating, I do appreciate their sweet words. I couldn't ask for anything more. (Except for maybe 152 kisses!)

Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful moms I'm so lucky to know. I hope you had a great day.

Brian's Birthday Cake

Sarah decided that we should make a spring themed birthday cake for Brian. She didn't exactly "say" that we should do this, but instead she came downstairs one day last week, with a folded-up piece of paper in her hand and a sneaky grin on her face. (You know that look.) As you can see, she'd written "spring", "Daddy", and "cak" along with that long line of letters that I can't translate. I hadn't really decided on anything, but I was leaning towards some really yummy chocolate cupcakes . . .
Instead, we made worm cake. Eric suggested that we add some rocks and flowers "to make it look like a real spring garden", so we added those. He also suggested adding some birds, trying to catch the worms, and some trees, but we skipped that. We kicked Brian out of the house for the "surprise", which was nearly achieved, until Eric "whispered" into Sarah's ear just before Brian walked out the door, "Let's make Daddy's worm cake NOW!"
We made WAY TOO MUCH, but it was fun and tasty. They were so excited to see Brian's response and (of course) to eat the stuff. I find it humorous that even on the grown-up's birthday, it's all about the kids! Happy 39th, Brian! :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I've never seen a cicada shed its exoskeleton until this afternoon. So cool (and sort of weird, too.) Eric and I found it after lunch, and then we showed Sarah after school, and Brian after work. Eric's original idea was to pull the poor thing out of its exoskeleton because he was feeling quite impatient about waiting to hold its discarded shell. After Brian took the last picture, he gave it to Eric who then passed to Sarah. She put the exoskeleton in the family treasure jar, including the two legs that broke off after she pulled it from her arm. (She had attached it to herself and was pretending that it was attacking her.)

more snakes

It looks like our snake decided to invite some friends over. We now check under the rock daily, to make sure the snake is still there, and here is what we found yesterday.

Today, the lighter-colored one has left, but the two darker ones are still there. Eric knew that Sarah had held one the other day, and it seemed fair to let him have his turn. I reminded him to be gentle, and he was. It was cooler today, and the snake was sluggish, which made it easier to hold, at least long enough for me to snap a picture.