Thursday, July 31, 2008

Adding On

I'd like to introduce you to some lovely new additions to the family farm. First, we have Zoe, a roughly 4 month old stray that Annie brought home yesterday. Zoe's already been checked out by the vet, and she's super sweet. Since she's so young, we're hoping she'll turn into a good chicken protector. Our chicken numbers have decreased drastically since the hawk and bobcat invasions of 2007. We're down to three hens-that's from about 30 chickens that we started with. Sadly enough the rest of them disappeared in only a few days. It was a little unnerving. So, we've decided we need a knight in shining armor for our fowl friends. Actually we need two, but one's a good start. We used to keep a dog up there with the chickens. However, we felt sorry for her being all alone, so we brought her up to the house. That's when the chickens started disappearing in droves (as in 10 at a time). She wasn't the best chicken dog anyway, so we've decided to start from scratch. So, without further ado, here's Zoe, our fearless, furry, fowl friend.

Cute, huh?

Onto the next adorable addition. We've adopted a sock monkey. One of my sister's friends makes them. Isn't he fabulous? His name is Binker.

And, to add to Levi's handmade stuffed critters we have Beaky. I made this one for him. It's super soft. I've got more fabric than I can shake a stick at, so I've been making stuffed animals for the little chubber. So far he seems to like them.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

High Speed And Some More Georgia Pics

We have high speed!! Yay!! Up until recently we've only been able to get dial up. We really don't live that far out into the middle of nowhere, but apparently the high speed internet people thought we did. Thank goodness for urban expansion because now we've got access to high speed. Yippee! Downloading photos is soooo much faster now. Here are some more of the Georgia photos. Don't worry I won't make you look at all 500 of the pics.

Monday, July 28, 2008

And He's Off

He crawled!!!!! Of course, I didn't have my camera anywhere near me when it happened. Twice, for that matter. The first time he became terribly interested in the cat food bowl, and he crawled over to it. So, I immediately retrieved my camera. I sat there for an hour waiting while Levi played and scooted but did not crawl. Eventually I got hungry, so as I was eating breakfast, he did it again. And, of course, no camera in sight. Arggh! You'd think I would have learned my lesson the first time. Oh well, who needs to watch their baby's first crawl through a camera lens anyway. Here's a cute non-crawling picture of the little fellow. I tried using the phone as bait. He definitely caught the bait, but by scooting instead of crawling.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Biter

You know that baby from Lemony Snicket's: A Series of Unfortunate Events--the biter. Well I think I've got one of those. Except, of course, a boy instead of a girl.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Play Dough

I just finished up my last preschool day camp for the summer. Now I get a much need break before I start teaching art lessons in the fall. This camp was a little different from most. The kids were super young--as in only a couple of them were able to draw their shapes. That makes things a little challenging especially since that also means it takes a little more to keep their attention. Normally on the last day we turn all their art from the week into a book, but by yesterday these kids had already gone through so much paper that if we kept going on the paper route their books were going to be taller than me. So, change of plans, we made books yesterday, and today we made play dough. I don't know why I haven't thought to do this before. They have so much fun with it. Of course, I mixed it up, but they thought it was fabulous to watch. Then I doled a piece out to each kid, squirted some food coloring in, and they mushed and squished until it was all one color. Then play time. When we were finished I just packed it up in little baggies for them, and they got to take it home. I adapted the play dough recipe from a couple of recipes. So, in case anyone wants to try this it home, here it is:
6 cups flour (plus some for dusting)
2/3 cup salt
4 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 cup water
food coloring
Mix oil into dry ingredients. Slowly add the water, stirring with a spoon (or in my case a ruler). Knead to desired consistency. If it's too moist dust with flour and continue to knead. If it's too dry add a little water. Divide into 6 even clumps. Add desired amounts of food coloring, and squish and squeeze until it's all blended. Depending on the child an adult might need to help with this step, but most of the kids were perfectly content to do it themselves and watch the color slowly spread through.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Good Book and a Hot Cup of Tea...

... are my two weaknesses. Most recently I've finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It's a beautifully written book detailing a year in the food life of Kingsolver and her family. It will make you rethink your eating habits--even if you already consider yourself to be a fairly conscientious eater. Her descriptions of food and gardening will make your mouth water and your hands feel the need to dig into dirt--even if you're not typically the dirt digging type. I must admit I'm terribly jealous of her heirloom tomatoes. The deer ate our not so heirloom but still homegrown tomato plants--I'm still stinging from that one. However, we have some very kind church friends who are passing some of their tomato abundance along to us. I LOVE homegrown tomatoes. Any others aren't worth the energy required to bite into them.
Another good book I recently read is The Unschooling Unmanual. Whether you homeschool, unschool, are considering it, or are just curious, it's a good read. It's a compilation of short but passionately well written essays on how children were created to learn.
So, now I've picked up The Kite Runner. I figured I needed to throw a novel into the summer mix. Plus it was on the buy one get one half off table where I also found Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. So far it's keeping my interest. We'll see. Let me know what your summer-or for that matter fall, winter, and spring--reading recommendations are. I always enjoy finding out what other people are reading.
Oh, and lets not forget the tea. I'm always up for a good cup of Earl Grey, but there's a lady at a not-as-local-as-I-wish-it-was farmers market who makes a fabulous blend of lavender chamomile herbal tea. So what I drink depends on how caffeinated I wish to be.

Monday, July 21, 2008

New Toys!!...And A Box

I'm absolutely in love with the new toy set I bought from this seller on Etsy. Levi is a little too young for it, but I just couldn't pass it up. It's a handmade wooden screw, nut, bolt, and washer set. The workmanship is excellent, and each piece is large enough not to have to worry about choking hazards. However, I do plan to put them away until he's old enough to do more than just bang them on every available surface. Here's a pic of Levi "playing" with his new toys.:

Of course his favorite part was the delivery box. What kid doesn't love a good box?

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Here are the long promised Georgia pics--well, a few of them. I think there were over 500! My sister had the camera through most of it, and she went a little bananas with it.
This is Levi with his great-great aunt Othalyne:
Here he is rocking with his great-great aunt Bessie:
Here he is with my dad's cousin, Marvalyne:
And here, the two of us are playing by an old barn next to Aunt Othalyne's house:We had a great time visiting with family. They were all so happy to get to see Levi. Levi has gotten very shy around strangers lately, but in Georgia he was very friendly and happy to see everyone. If I get a chance, I'll post more of the pics. There are some super cute pics of Levi and his Grampa. But Levi is currently in need of my undivided attention, so bye-bye!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Happy, Happy Birthday to a super fabulous Mom/Nana! You are definitely the best! Thank you for EVERYTHING you do. We are all very lucky to have you around. I hope you know how loved and appreciated you are. Enjoy your birthday! Lots of love from me and the little man. Here's a pic of the two of you in Georgia.

P.S. I finally figured out why the pics weren't loading. I even figured it out all by myself. Can you believe it? It must be my day. First I get an awesome surprise, then I figure out a computer problem. Will the wonders never cease? I hope I didn't steal my momma's good birthday mojo!

Surprise, Surprise!

I love a good surprise, and boy was I surprised today. I was sitting here at the computer piddling around, and lo and behold the UPS man drives up. I so wasn't expecting a package today. I go to the door, look suspiciously at what the UPS man hands me. Surprise, it's definitely addressed to me. I open it up, and OH MY GOODNESS, it's a $100 gift certificate to Lands' End!! Talk about making a girl's day.
I filled out a survey a couple of weeks ago for Lands' End--the whole time thinking there's no way I'll win this. I never win anything. Surprise! I won! How fabulous is that! I can't wait to spend it. It came with a Lands' End Kids catalog, so I'm torn between buying stuff for Levi to grow into or stuff for me to wear now--maybe a little of both. I've been flipping through the kid's catalog, and their clothes and shoes are absolutely adorable. I'm eyeing the frog rain boots. How cute are those? Oh, and as I sit here browsing their website, I've found their baby section. I didn't know they did baby clothes. Decisions, decisions! THANK YOU, THANK YOU LANDS' END!

Monday, July 14, 2008

On A Quest

I've recently been searching for really good children's music. My criteria is simple: I have to like it and be able to handle listening to it on repeat. Levi already has preferences, and wants to do and listen to certain things over and over and over. For instance, on our way to Georgia, he was happy as long as we were ALL singing along to Elizabeth Mitchell's rendition of "Peace Like a River". And yes we ALL sang it over and over the whole way there and back. It sounded far better than crying.
Some of my favorites:
Elizabeth Mitchell's You Are My Little Bird
Elizabeth Mitchell's You Are My Sunshine
Genius + Love Jazz & Swing for Kids (by the cover I thought this would be cheesy, but once I listened to it I was hooked)
The newest addition to my list of favorites is Julia Norton's Lullaby Island. I love, love, love it. In fact I just listened to it while Levi was napping. Is that strange to want to listen to your child's cd's? It's just so beautiful. Julia has such an enchanting and haunting voice. It just makes me want to curl up and be rocked to sleep. In fact I might hit play again and see about taking a nap myself.
Please let me know what your favorites are. I'd love to grow my collection of parent friendly children's music.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Long Week

This past week has been so busy, but this next week should be slower. Knock on wood! I could use a break. I've been corralling preschoolers all week. Summer's are crazy for me. In the winter I have a little more of a routine, but in the summer the routine changes weekly.
To top it off, it is sweltering hot down here. I just have to remind myself that heat equals mass quantities of blueberries and tomatoes. Although we recently had a tomato massacre (thank you to the deer), so we are now at the mercy of neighbors for our supply of homegrown tomatoes. Our blueberries, however, are absolutely fabulous. I just made blueberry muffins. They do look
a little on the funky side of things, but they taste yummy.
New News: Levi is now waving! Yay! He also says bye-bye, which at first I didn't believe. But his waves are almost always accompanied by a "bye-bye". Even when he's waving hello. I don't know that these count as official first words, but he always uses the sounds "mama" and "bye-bye" at particular and oddly enough correct times. I think he might be catching on that there's an entire vocabulary beyond blablabla. Pretty fabulous!
In case you're wondering. . .there haven't been any pics in a while because my not so computer savvy self can't seem to download any this week. And being not so computer savvy, I don't know how to fix the problem. So, Jack, sweet, angelic brother that you are, do you know what my problem is? You did get all the computer brains in the family. Maybe you could come visit before Christmas and fix a few things! Just kidding! I know that would be impractical beyond measure, but maybe you could toss out a few ideas. Have you caught on that I've found out that blogging about you is far more efficient than leaving you messages or emails. Say "Hello!" to Gloria for me. We are terribly excited about meeting her! Too bad Christmas isn't sooner. Love you!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Off To Work We Go

My mother, Levi, and I are all off to work again this week. I wish we could have taken a teeny break between the Georgia trip and work, but oh well. I'm teaching a preschool day camp, and boy howdy, are those some spunky little ones. They rotate between art, music, and dance classes; and they certainly keep me on my toes.
I tried to download some Georgia pics but was unsuccessful. You'll just have to sit in suspense until my computer decides to cooperate.

Monday, July 7, 2008

We're Back!

This Independence Day weekend has been so busy! The day after my birthday Levi and I went with my parents and sister to Georgia to visit some of my father's family. We got back last night. We had a great time, but I'm exhausted. I have some terribly cute pics of our travels. I'll have to put them in another post though because there are tons of photos, and I'm too tired to go through them all.
In the meantime we finally caught the full on muscle man pose. . .gum-gritting grimace and all.

He just clenches those little fists and scrunches that face which is exactly how grandpa taught him to "show those muscles."

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Well my birthday didn't go exactly as planned. I was really looking forward to spending the day at home in my pj's and doing not a whole lot. Things changed though, and I had to get dressed. But my compensation was pretty nice. My family took me out for sushi--my favorite, and then we headed back for some birthday cake:It was so yum! I don't know what it is about DQ ice cream cakes, but they've been my fave since childhood. Love, love, love them.
Best surprise--I heard from my bff Kathryn via a comment on my blog! Hey Kat--I miss you tons! Hope you're enjoying France. Lots of love!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My Birthday With The Little Muscle Man

It's my birthday, and so far a pretty good one. The chunkeroo is napping, and I'm still in my pj's. I take that back. . .the chunkeroo is no longer napping....Okay, chunkeroo is now happily playing next to my feet.
So, a birthday's just not a birthday unless you put yourself at risk of a sugar coma. Thus far I have had 4 generously sized pieces of french toast made with homemade french bread. I'm currently munching on some mac and cheese, and contemplating whipping up a few more pieces of french toast for dessert. My sweet sis is on her way back from working at the zoo, and my mother has roped her into picking up an ice cream cake (my personal favorite). I definitely intend to enjoy my dessert before and after dinner.
I opted out of the traditional family mode of celebrating birthdays. The past few weeks have been soooo busy, and somehow, wrangling the chunkeroo through dinner and a movie just wasn't very appealing today. I'd much rather just spend time relaxing and playing.
The best part--my parent's oh so sweet gift to me is a pedicure to be scheduled at my convenience. I love pedicures! So far, so good. A nice relaxing birthday--exactly what I wanted!
Now for your viewing pleasure-no worries, you don't have to see me in my pj's--here's a cute pic of the chunkeroo.
I've been trying to teach him how to sign "I love you" for a month or more now with no luck. My dad the past few days decided to teach him to show his muscles, and of course that's what he's doing now all the time. It looks amazingly similar to "pick me up" except he clenches his fists and often gets a very intense expression on his face. I've been too busy laughing to get the really good muscle pics, but this one's pretty funny. He's just grinning in this one. I'll have to catch him with one his serious, gum-gritting expressions. Those just crack me up!

P.S. Dear Sweet Brother, I know you get this blog sent to your phone. And I'll forgive you for only ever commenting once, but if you don't call me on my birthday especially after this lovely reminder, then I'm going to send Levi and his muscles after you! Lots of Love. Your sweet sis, Madeline

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Play Time

My mom surprised me this morning by coming over and babysitting while I got ready--a great big "Thank you!" to Nana. Levi was still sleeping when she got there. She said that right before he woke up he started squealing with joy. He's usually happy in the mornings, but I think the early morning squealing set him up for an especially joyful playtime.
After my mom left, Levi and I sat down to play. He was so cute that I just had to pull out the camera. The pics were so precious. I had trouble deciding which ones to post. I just loved his expression in this one. Usually when he plays he gets this very intense look on his face like he's trying to solve a calculus problem, but today he spent a lot more time being goofy.

Of course, I had to play around with the color feature on my new camera. It makes me very happy. Being the not so technologically savvy girl that I am, I had it on the wrong flash setting, so the pics are a wee bit blurry. I really like that though. I think next time I'll have to try that one on purpose. . . . If I can remember what I did.