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Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Mama Podkayne's photo challenge is "emergence." This looked suitable.

We have milkweeds in our backyard. Every now and then we find eggs and caterpillars. This gives us a great opportunity, so we move them to jars that Grandpa Campbell gave us, feed new leaves as needed, and miraculously get butterflies.

The caterpillars climb up the empty stalks to the lid of the jar, get into "J" formation. When all of the larvae get to this point, I move the lid so that it hangs from the light fixture in our dining room. The chrysalides get thin and dark before the butterfly comes out.

In the big outdoors world, butterflies have a smaller chance of surviving to adulthood. We have had the privilege of watching this miracle happen a few times since we moved here in 1999. One year, we had a male emerge just as my sister's baby shower began, so all the guests were able to see its wings unwrinkle and harden. Mom's cousin couldn't believe it was real because it stood so still!


Voice Mail

I've been saving the following voice message forever. After receiving her gift, my sister left this message:

".... I was just calling to let you know that I absolutely LOVE that dish rag that you made me. And Will loves it too. We want more. So any future gifts, you can just make us dish rags, 'cuz those ROCK."

Ah, the simple things.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day, courtesy of "I" of GAIN:

"Mom, you know that valentine you gave me? When you wrote, 'With all my heart' -- well, that really got me."


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Locavore in the making

I may be a locavore in progress. A locavore eats locally produced food. After reading the very thought-provoking book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, I am intrigued with the thought of eating locally more than I already do. In an effort to reduce the gas consumption used to bring food to me from California (plus several other reasons), eating locally makes sense.

My mother instilled the "buy from local small businesses" thought into me in my early teens. Example: She didn't want our wedding cake to come from Hy-Vee. Even though Ron Pearson lives in my current city of residence, he isn't small. Mom has a small business. A small business or two or three had been her parent's livelihood for years. DH Mr. GAIN and his father's family also have self-employment histories (though I wouldn't consider all of them small and local). I am surrounded by small business owners just with our in-town family members. So I am considering my money, our resources, and my stomach simultaneously.

Two years ago, I joined a CSA and fell in love with it. I had already decided to leave the CSA and expand my own garden before reading the Kingsolver book. The book seemed to be affirming and expanding my inner thoughts that had begun earlier. Not that I want to live entirely like a pioneer. But I do want to be active if I can in the local business cause. And thoughts of my college roommate and fellow modern dancer come to mind -- bioregions, bioregions....

A bonus: Mom bought beef and chickens from a local gal (acquaintance of one of my friends) around October and gifted me a lot of it.

Second bonus: Our church bulletin always has a social justice tidbit, reminding me that going locavore would completely fit with church teaching. Thoughts of John Paul II visiting the heartland and stewardship fill my mind.

I have some thinking to do.

Do you like the picture of the baby broccoli?


Monday, February 11, 2008


We are overflowing with valentines. After reading a children's book about the origins of St. Valentine's Day, "I" of GAIN got busy. She memorized a Mother Goose poem about St. Valentine's Day and made some Victorian-style pinprick and acrostic valentines. She also did her own thing with a puzzle and fingerprints. Wow, you can do a lot when only one hour of your day is spent in "school" and the rest of the day is free.

The other kids also made valentines. The older two like to put poems on their valentines. I put a picture of a valentine that "A" of GAIN created at the bottom here.

The kids ask, "Mom, how do you spell ______ ?" I remember asking my mom and grandma the same thing. I often write the requested words (usually names) on a piece of scratch paper for them to copy, rather than have the kids get upset because I'm not clear enough when I spell to them. I used to get upset when I asked someone to give me the correct spelling. I would end up doubling a letter or somehow misspell the word.

I think these photos may qualify for Mama Podkayne's weekly photo challenge -- "cherish." I cherish the handmade valentines from my children. Their handwriting is captured, their thoughts and abilities are frozen for one brief moment of time, and since they are gifts, I get to keep them. What a warm thought.


Friday, February 8, 2008

Not so sweet

Cute, but not as sweet. "N" of GAIN and I came home to a bathroom door crossed with homemade caution tape. "I" was blocking the door with her body, telling us not to go in there. Obviously she wanted us to fall for the bait. So we did. We went in. We found what she thought was scary: no lightbulbs (she hid one under the trunk and the other behind the dictionary), two big scary faces, and two little scary faces. We thought it was very cute. It looked very time-consuming. I'm sure she evilly smiled the entire time she crafted these ideas. ;-)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Bee Mine

Knowing that St. Valentine's Day is on Feb. 14, and knowing that we are s-l-o-w at getting things assembled and in the mail, and knowing that hand crafting valentines from all four kids plus me takes t-i-m-e, I've kept the supplies out since Feb. 1.

"I" of GAIN's latest creation was something, in her words, that she just "thought of on my own." She used an inkpad, her fingerprints, and a marker one afternoon while I was out. You can see the flower and stem, heart, and bee body that she used her fingers for. The bee features were done in marker. I think the way that kids cut rectangles is cute, too. Inside the card says, "Bee mine. From your seack-ret admire" Isn't that sweet?

(You'll have to come back later to view her not-so-sweet creations from yesterday.)

My younger son inspired his brother and younger sister to make coin purses, complete with aluminum foil coins. I'll have to snap a picture some time. He raided my scrap fabric drawer and started hand sewing one morning. We've been reading about Vikings and the Middle Ages, but I can't be sure of the source for his ideas. The kids can never remember how to knot their thread, but they are quite good at threading the needles. "G" of GAIN even got fancy and applied a pearl snap -- it came from a bag of sewing leftovers that my grandma gave me. I had forgotten that I had it. She would be glad to know that her things have been seeing some use in our family.


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Shirt bag

I promised that I would show pictures of the shirt bag once I gave it to the birthday girl. Here they are. I decided that we were busy enough in February that I couldn't wait much longer to give it, or I would miss her birthday all together.

The pictures show the almost-two year old with her mom and the bag, the front, back, and inside of the Slopsycle shirt bag. Joe is the one with glasses.