Thursday, October 21, 2010


I have the sweetest boy in the world for a nephew. He loves butterflies and rainbows and will always tell you your hair and dress are beautiful. A year or so ago, he decided that he loved butterflies so much that when he grew up, he wanted to be a "butterfly doctor." When he asked my sister what this was called, she said he would be an entomologist (more specifically, he ought to be a lepidopterist, but to her credit, I didn't know what even an entomologist was until my three-year-old nephew informed me of his decision to become one). Since then, Dean has wanted to learn everything he can about all kinds of bugs, and I have learned quite a bit in order to teach it to him. But his favorite bugs are still butterflies, so the other day when I found a caterpillar, I took it home in hopes that it would one day become a beautiful butterfly. After he played with it, we put it in his butterfly house, and it soon turned brown then formed a chrysalis (not a cocoon, only moths do that). Hopefully it will survive for the next few weeks (or months, if it's too cold and decides to wait until Spring) so we will have a lovely tiger swallowtail! Don't I just sound like a regular lepidopterist?

(when it turned into a chrysalis, it shed it's head, isn't that just weird?)

Thursday, October 14, 2010


In the last year or so, twice I've done a "cleanse." First with my mom then with my sister. It wasn't my idea, not at all, but they wanted me to help them and I made the menu and the food, so I figured I'd go along with it. No gluten, no meat, no dairy, no sugar, low sodium, low fat. Pretty much just fruit, veggies, and rice. For one week. I definitely wouldn't recommend it. The food wasn't bad, and it wasn't as hard as I expected, but it seemed pointless. My mom and my sister both liked it, but I didn't feel any better, if anything I felt worse. I think it's because I live on gluten, noodles especially. I just felt like I wasn't getting all of the nutrients that I needed, so to compensate I ate a lot more than usual. But I did find some pretty tasty, healthy recipes. I ate salad of course.

But I was surprised at how many other yummy things there were, like wild rice,

quinoa tabouli (first time I'd had quinoa, it's a new favorite),

chipoltle black beans and salsa (in the back you can see the cheese for my brother-in-law and the kids)

amazing barley soup,

and my favorite—baked potatoes with olive oil, steamed broccoli, sautéed mushrooms, and caramelized onions.

For snacks we had plenty of fresh strawberries

and peaches

and tomatoes (good thing I learned to like them).

But the second we were done—midnight on the last day—I was ready to eat gluten smothered with sugar and wash it down with a big glass of dairy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Shark Mop

It may sound crazy, but I adore cleaning. I find it very relaxing, and I love that I can instantly see the difference and make things look lovely. I clean when I'm stressed, I clean when I'm happy, I clean when things just need to be cleaned. I have also always loved info-mercials. I'm not sure why, they're just great. So of course I was ecstatic when my sis came home with a Shark Mop! I know that no one else cares, but I've been dreaming about this for years, and I'm so excited that I finally got to use one. That's yet another perk of living with my sis—I get to try out all these things that I've always wanted but wasn't sure were worth the money. But the Shark definitely IS worth the money, and when I have my own house one day, I am definitely getting one!

The first time I used it I swept...

and Swiffer swept...

and Swiffer mopped...

and Swiffer WetJet mopped...

and Shark mopped...

and Shark mopped...

and Shark mopped...

and after the 4th Shark mop it was finally clean.

Even if no one else in the world could possibly notice, the floor was about 3 shades lighter and brighter and beautiful. I could definitely see a difference. And now when I clean, I only have to sweep and Shark mop once, and the floor is clean.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


The best part of my job (and my life in general) is definitely getting to spend all day with the two smartest, cutest, funniest, sweetest, bestest kiddos in the whole world*. Proof: One day Dean decided to surprise me with a birthday party, so he had Eden play with me upstairs so he could get it ready. First he sprinkled confetti all over me — which he carefully colored and cut out. Then he brought me a present, a craft he made himself and carefully wrapped in homemade wrapping paper. Then my favorite part! He came up with what looked like another present, but he laid down a blanket, held up the package, and told me to hit it with a spoon. A piñata! It actually broke open in about 3 hits and out came strawberry fruit snacks. If that isn't thoughtful, brilliant, and adorable, then I don't know what is! These little geniuses don't only love to play, they love to learn, here's some of the things we've been learning about lately:

Schedules and telling time.


Dean really wanted to go out in the back yard and find some crystals, I thought we'd have better luck making our own.

I think it was a success.

Fossils — again we decided to make some rather than trying to find some.

*Note: My other niece and nephew are also amazing, and I miss them every day, it's just that they're so far away in Wisconsin. Dean and Eden are the bestest kiddos that I get to see on a regular basis, but that doesn't sound as nice.