And also I thought it would be fun to let the children illustrate some of their favorite songs (which are always wacky things I would never expect - my son loves Pink) The idea came to my while listening to Pete Seeger's version of Little Boxes, another my son really likes - wouldn't that inspire them? I also thought Eve of Destruction would be fun. I'm kidding there, but oh, did it make me laugh! We have this CD with all these historically significant songs on it (Russians, We Didn't Start the Fire and lots of others) Eve of Destruction is on there. It's been great to spark discussion in the car and I so fondly remember the day my daughter asked about the Cold War. She regretted it, I'm sure, as I went on for an hour about Soviet agricultural practices.
One other thing... We are still making and loving these little books. My daughter has written so many clever little books - at least one a day. Her writing is always charming and funny to read - especially her baby guides. Hilarious. I can't wait to give them to her when she has her own little babies.
My son is still recovering from a really, really bad case of strep. And wouldn't you know it? I woke up with a sore throat this morning. I'm happy that the whole swine flu panic didn't start until after I got the strep diagnosis (which took a long time) because I would've been terrified.
I haven't been here as frequently because we've been passing the time watching television and that's just not very interesting. Did you see the latest Toot & Puddle? I'm sure I did!
I set up some herbs in clay pots on my window ledge. It's funny that the same week I planted up this particular thyme in this particular pot I went over to my friend Dawn's and saw the same arrangement. It's a friendship based mostly on herbs. See I can make her smile right this second simply by saying "Corsican Mint". It worked, didn't it Dawn?
Still waiting on this little guy to emerge. We're checking every morning. The children are fascinated.
This is the underside of one of our clematis flowers. I love clematis - the backs in particular. Aren't the stripes of pale lime green gorgeous? I'm not sure of the variety here. I have two purples right next to each other. One was supposed to bloom a deep pink color, something that still sort of bothers me when it bursts into bloom each spring (not so glass-half-full there). This vine is the color I expected. It trails lazily through our lemon balm and loropetalum, mostly hidden. Martha would surely have it properly trained on a trellis but I like its sort of wild growth habit.
OK. That's all. I have a very sick little boy who needs me to hold him. Have a good weekend friends.
My sister laughed at my last post claiming that orchids are easy to grow. I think she thinks I'm obnoxious (and as my older sister, she's has plenty of evidence to support her opinion). But I was trying to dispel the myth that all orchids are difficult. Phalaenopsis are not (really!). My husband has also mentioned I'm making things sound awfully nice here at 'as cozy as spring'.
So here's a snapshot of this morning. I'm wobbling a little as I type this because I didn't sleep at all last night. My son is sick. Being extraordinarily dense, I thought the best place for him to throw up would be in his bed. I'm looking at several piles of laundry right now. He still has a fever so we had to cancel our long awaited field trip today with a local homeschooling group - and it's a beautiful day outside for field tripping. :(
I could go on and on about the little things - the bill I can't remember if I paid or not, how my neighbors all sort of laugh at how much my children yell at one another when they play outside, how I seem to always have a basket of laundry that needs to be ironed. And eight years after purchasing our house, we still have tile missing from our kitchen floor. Partially exposed, bare, stained concrete - it's a classy look.
But I can't imagine that all of this makes for inspiring reading. One of the best parts of the book Stitched in Time is when Alicia discusses how blogging has made her see things in a more creative and beautiful light. I wholeheartedly agree. In fact when my daughter is feeling particularly mopey, I give her the camera and instructions to wander around taking photos of things that make her happy.
So I take my own photos and write about it here. I look at the pretty orchid pictures and forget about how many times a day they fall over on my counter and how badly I need to repot them in something more attractive. Glass half full.
Both of my orchids are in bloom. I found these almost ridiculously easy to grow. I thought if I tried to grow them myself I would be more taken with them, but frankly, they still don't excite me. They are strikingly beautiful certainly - I included several in my wedding bouquet. But I tend to like mountain wildflowers more than tropical epiphytes.
This photo is not quite as sharp as I would like, but still rather cool:
I've been a little overwhelmed with the amount of art work my children spontaneously produce to actually encourage them to do more. I am currently staring at a messy stack of papers on the desk and I have another at my feet. But to ease my guilt over our artless winter, I gave the children a little paint set for Easter. I cut watercolor paper into postcard sized pieces and rounded the corners. With the scraps, I cut bookmark sized pieces (and also rounded the corners). I added a set of basic Crayola watercolor paints. It's been a big hit. The size makes the art easier to manage and if I ever get overwhelmed with these, I can just slap a stamp on them and send them out of the house.
My husband is off during the week most weeks and in the spring those days are spent in the backyard. We play games, toss the football, grill out, and sometimes just sit. Our china berry tree blossoms are attracting butterflies in large numbers and varieties. And the garden, after so much gray this winter, is super saturated with color.
My husband was making a meat loaf yesterday and called out to me as he was gathering herbs, "Sweetie, your caterpillar is on the wrong plant." This led to excited squeals from his girls as we replied that he wasn't on the wrong plant, he was about to build his cocoon. Did you know chrysalis is from the Greek word meaning gold? I didn't either but that's what the internet said when I looked it up.
My go-to recipe for cheesecake squares because it's an easy formula to up size or downsize. And no, I didn't eat even a single bite. Honestly.
And more foxglove, just because.
I don't really have much to say today and I need to start getting the children dressed, so happy Friday friends! Ours looks to be a bit gloomy, but I can't complain after days such as this.
When we returned from California, I was cheerfully looking at the photos. When I hit the first one of myself, I began to feel a little faint. Who took regular Jennifer and inflated her? It seems as if I put on a few pounds this winter. My clothes still fit so I didn't realize it until I saw the photos.
Now I could go into all the different ways that my normal diet is actually quite abnormal. I have more food aversions than I can count and even in the best of times I only grudgingly eat meat (and only chicken and turkey ever). My parents took us fishing in Colorado when I was six. It was one of those charming "catch your own dinner" places. My parents thought it would be a fun treat. They were wrong and the seeds of vegetarianism were sown in me that very day. Furthermore, I don't actually pay a lot of attention to what I eat. Just whatever is around and easy and won't dirty too many dishes.
I stumbled upon Jenn's Saint Diet and thought I'd try it out. I started about four weeks ago. I was amazed at how my appetite was suddenly regulated and I no longer had the irresistible urge to sit down with a giant bag of chocolate chips in the afternoon (just add whipped cream and it's a meal fit for a king!). Now I confess that while I was eating far less than normal (no cheating, I was counting calories) I didn't lose a lot of weight at first. This was very disappointing, but the upside was that I was eating better than I ever had in my life and that was satisfying in a grown up sort of way. So I decided to continue and just a few short days ago I noticed my jeans slipping off my hips again. Nice.
So friends, I will share with you my secret weapon. My power breakfast that is so satisfying I have actually forgotten to eat lunch.
1 piece of Ezekiel Bead (toasted) with 1 tbs. of Justin's Maple Almond Butter and 8 ounces of milk. It ranges from 260 - 350 calories. Now there is a good bit of fat in the almond butter but I'm eating less fat overall because this kills (really!) my craving for unhealthy cheese and desserts. It also provides more protein (I don't think I've ever eaten enough protein).
For lunch I'll eat one of the Amy's (vegetarian) frozen pockets or a veggie packed salad with only a touch of dressing. Dinner varies. Either I'll have a small serving of whatever everyone else is having or if I'm in a hurry, I'll just repeat breakfast. I pretty much cut out white flower completely, something I never thought I'd be able to do.
OK! I'm out of time. Jenn has written more about this, so head over there. This is just my (successful) two cents.
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