Monarch update

I have 6 caterpillars 🐛 currently. My oldest one I think is close to making its chrysalis. I will admit I have had a few casualties. (This is frustrating but I have to remind myself only 10% of eggs in the wild make it. And none of the eggs I left out on their own have made it.)

One I accidentally touched cleaning the cage (when it was newly hatched).

One escapee got smashed when I was looking for him.

One failure to thrive.

One fell into a tiny crack and I fed him for days he wouldn’t come out and I accidentally poked him with a lifeline. This one upset me the most. We were so close to a rescue.

I have definitely learned from my mistakes. And the second batch has faired much better.

Here are some photos.

The last photo is my big guy just a couple days ago. I do fear I may run out of milkweed. The 6 of them ate 3 decent sized leaves yesterday.

*update* 9/1/18

He/she is starting!

And the “littles” started or are about to molt I’m not positive bet they are somewhere between 3rd and 4th instars.

That’s all for now!



Valentine’s Day should be happy. Being in the service industry only makes you see how much pressure everyone puts on a silly day.

I honestly could care less about it but want to indulge in the child like wonder of the day for my son. But today has only brought tears.

Tears that my son was left out. That he operates on a different level.l. Tears that I and he are inconveniences to seemingly everyone. Tears of a friendship over. Tears of being the bad guy. Tears of losing it. Tears of over reacting. Tears of not speaking up. Tears of being judged and knowing it. Tears of trying to play nice. Tears of caring for those who only care about themselves.

Tears that My child doesn’t speak. Tears of frustration that he can and has but doesn’t. Tears that I only want good for him.

Today sucks.


Birthday Gifts

Little E is going to be turning 2 this summer! Wild. Like every parent I want to give him everything. However, he doesn’t have wants just yet, nor does he truly NEED anything.  You know besides food shelter love and clothing.

I have been paying close attention to things that interest him, including cars. Although, that one as been obvious since what feels like forever.

We try to get out of the house a lot to get him socializing, since we don’t do childcare. So a lot of these ideas have come from the public library and the discovery center. They do a great job and utilizing educational toys and rotating them in and out!  Back in March I did a Montessori purge of our own toys here at home based on this blog post. Now I didn’t remove all of our plastic toys or EVERY toy with batteries but it did help me purge (read as, box up) baby toys and things we have duplicates of.  Our house stays so much cleaner now! Also, I noticed he started playing with toys I’d never seen him play with before, at least not without prompting from us.

Something’s he tends to play with while we are out and about are on the following list.

  1. Animals and barn
  2. Melissa & Doug Doorbell House
  3. Melissa & Doug Latches Barn
  4. Play food
  5. Kitchen sets
  6. Puzzles

We have gotten him a few, probably too many of the little schliech animals but I bought them on sale at Orschlen’s. Otherwise we’d would have spent a small fortune on them. People that have kids who collect the Dinosaurs definitely have put forward some pretty pennies.  I saw him eyeing the dinosaurs. I wanted to get one but, I was buying animals to work on his sounds. He hasn’t cared a whole lot for talking. So I was/am desperate for anything to help.

Other things I think he’d love

  1. Dinosaurs
  2. Cars toddler sheets
  3. Toddler table
  4. Building set/table
  5. More cars, <a href=”http://5 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe 1:36 Scale (Beige). by Kinsmart“>cars, & <a href=”http://Dodge Ram Quad Cab In Green Diecast 1:44 Scale By Kinsmart“>trucks, & more <a href=”http://5″ 1957 Chevy Bel Air Coupe 1:40 Scale (Black)“>cars, & another <a href=”http://New 1:44 KINSMART DISPLAY – SILVER COLOR DODGE RAM PICKUP TRUCK Diecast Model Car By KINSMART“>truck & more <a href=”http://2014 Chevy Silverado Pick-up Truck, Black – Kinsmart 5381D – 1/46 Scale Diecast Model Toy Car“>trucks & a <a href=”http://Kinsmart 1/38 Scale Diecast 1953 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe in Color Creme“>car
  6. A<a href=”http://Bachmann Rail Chief Ready To Run Electric Train Set – Ho Scale“> train!

Birthday Gifts

Eventful day 

So today was a bit above average.  Started out with me waking up before E. I’d say 7-10 he’s awake before me. I’d showered gotten dressed and had my coffee before he woke up. AND mopped my bathroom!

Most all of this happens during nap time. He naps sort of early for most kids but not always. Day I want him down at 11 he’s up till 1. Days we have things to do around 12 he’s ready to go down by 11. Without fail.

So I had an informal interview or meet and greet if you will. So E got to hang out with his uncle. I thought this would be a half hour max thing and it was nearly an hour and a half. It was fun? It was an adult conversation without interruptions and it had all of my focus! So that was interesting. Haha.

I almost forgot I picked up a hitchhiker on my way!  It sorta stressed me out but this poor little high school girl was walking because she missed the bus. She actually almost caused a wreck or I wouldn’t have noticed her.  I’m not in the habit of picking up hitch hikers. Anyways she made it to second period. I did my best non-lecture lecture. “Missed the bus?” “Yeah.” “What time does the bus come?” “6:40.” “Do you walk often.” “No.” – pause- “I didn’t want to wake my papa up and get in trouble again.” “You miss the bus a lot?” “Yeah (sheepishly and embarrassed).” “You stay up late?” “Yeah (slightly annoyed and embarrassed but also acknowledging my fair point).”

Lecture over. She was grateful she was excited to make it to part of her first class. She was still nearly an hour late!! I would have died! I loved school! Anyways, I still made it fifteen minutes early to my interview.

Then I hustled to pick up E relieve my brother it was 10:30 ish when I made it there and guess who was looking pretty sleepy?? You could guess both and be right. Lol. Sorry E we had a meet up planned! Not sure I’ve mentioned it but I’m in a family group and there been some push by the leadership team for members to create some meetups and some of us met at the strawberry fields to pick your own strawberries 🍓!

E picked some! That was exciting for me!! He really liked chasing some of the big kids the most and seeing the kittens they have. He liked the kittens a bit more than my moms puppies. But the kittens were a bit older I’m guessing. Plus we have a cat. Not that he’s not around dogs because we is a lot. We went back to my moms for lunch and nap. I can help my other brother in his boat shop if E naps at my moms since it’s just across the driveway. There whole set up is super complicated to explain, so I won’t bother but if you saw it you’d get it. I want to call it a compound but then you’d think it a cult. Manor sounds way too fancy but the alliteration their last name makes with it is very nice. Organized cluster f*ck? It’s way nicer than that. Rental repair and renovation?. That’s actually not half bad and tells you a lot about what goes on at my moms house and all the shops on their property.

Okay so back to the day.

More puppies. E got to play with his friend Alexander. Dirt more dirt he did very good sharing a little tikes car. He got to play outside with his grandma. I guess he even made it in bed early.  I stayed behind to help finish working on a boat. It’s so close to done I can’t stand it but my brother isn’t feeling great and couldn’t stick around anymore and of course it’s stuff I can’t do without minimal but still needed help. So back tomorrow we go! After we go to the park and rode trains of course!  Another adventure awaits!  


Mom said, “no touching.”

We are working on following directions, and listening. It was nice again this morning so we ventured out. E ran past me after he climbed down our stairs straight to his favorite dirt pile. Not noticing a little critter moving at a much slower pace. 

“E come back.”  He heard me. He always hears me. The tone in my voice must have sounded slightly excited and my statement less like an order. He paused. Looked at me from the side. As if to say “why”

I said it again “come back, look! Come look!”. Adding more excitement to my voice. 

He trotted back to me.  This made me quite happy. And he was quite excited to see this little snail! 

Mom said, “no touching.”

Ln Cc. ZAasrfa,

Haha E’s first blog post. I let him watch YouTube on my bed this morning while I took a super quick shower. Of course I get a text during said time which interrupts his viewing pleasure. This is the first place I’ve noticed he “posted”. I was more concerned about my missing mail, app. 

Ln Cc. ZAasrfa,

Toddler Toys

There is such thing as too many toys. As parents we want our kids to have it all.  But I’m sure we all also want our kids to grow into respectable people and not spoiled brats.  Appreciating and respecting what we have and how we get those things is integral to much of that development. I have no evidence to back up nor will I attempt.  I can only do my best to not spoil E.

I try to carefully select what we purchase for E.  I want him to have variety, but I also want to nurture his interests and development. Here are my favorites and why I love them for our adventurous car loving toddler.

Kin smart Cars and trucks

So we found these by happen stance. We were in Hawaii. Which was amazing. I would move there in a heartbeat if the opportunity would arise. But back to the Kinsmart cars we found a little VW bus that had a surf board on top. Perfect souvenir for our car loving little man. We took it to the beach at the suggestion of a friend to take a picture of it in the sunset at the beach. Said photo didn’t happen. I guess we will have to go back to Hawaii. Anyways, another dad friend checked it out and declared it was the same brand car they buy for their girls from their local grocery, think Kroger or Dillon’s or Costco something in that family. Which made me look at our local grocery, to my luck they had them!  E was with me and mesmerized. I vetoed a couple of run of the mill models, kinda of a car snob. We made it home with a ’55 Chevy pickup and a Porsche. One other  reason I like these cars is that they meet a lot of Montessori criteria.  (Read more here). However, most important to me is that E loves them.


I love puzzles. Always have. My little guy is a fan too. Puzzles are great for children’s physical, emotional and cognitive development. ( E’s pretty good at them but gets bored with them easily. I have to be on top of rotating them in and out and making sure they’re challenging enough. Currently he’s beyond the skill level of all the puzzles we currently own. Here are a few I’ve been eyeing. His birthday IS coming up soon.

Tegu blocks

Maybe I’m slightly more obsessed with these than E is. He really really likes the wheels or rather taking apart the wheels. But these are sooo cool. I know he’s going to love them a lot as he ages and I do catch him playing with them. More often when the box with the diagrams is out. I need to copy and laminate them. Sooner than later.
We got this cute Magbot from our dear friends for his first birthday. I got him a little travel pouch for Christmas that I proceed to give him just before thanksgiving because, I’m that person. His cousin got him this car that he gets very excited about when we give him the wheels back! If he takes them apart they are a choking hazard. So we take them away when he doesn’t play with them properly.  For his next birthday I’d be surprised if we don’t get him another set. I’m between these three.

Shleich animals

E discovered these at no other place than the Discovery center! It feels like every time we have gone he grabs one up and carries it all around or sits down and plays with the barn/farm set. I found them our farm store, Orschlen’s. They were having a sale and I was able to pick up quite a few for only $2 a piece. They average around $6 which isn’t bad. It’s so easy to want all of them they have, but a itty bitty handful can add up fast. I’ve seen cute little Pinterest parties that use them as decor, some have spray painted them for bedroom decor. Although, I love how detailed they are so I don’t think I could ever do that! Unless of course they were on their last leg of paint. They too meet the Montessori criteria and many Montessori mommas use them in their lessons, maybe one day I’ll be as organized. E has been eyeing the dinosaurs, when we stop and look. We currently need a pig a duckling to complete a farm. Some kiddos have quite the collections. We will probably wait on building a collection until we know that E truly plays with them.

Cute Safari Animals

Musical instruments

Music is important, not just to our family.  My hubs plays guitar and was in a few bands, as bands go. So we knew we’d want E to have instruments. He loved an old broken guitar to death, for serious. And is a little to rough on the hubs old <a href="http://Alesis Melody 61 Beginner Bundle | 61-Key Portable Keyboard with Stand, Bench, Headphones, and Microphone“>keyboard and his grandmas already beaten piano. Pardon the cliché, music is universal I once watched a super cool video of a tribe with no known western connections (if I remember correctly – of course I can’t find it)  listen to western music as an experiment and they were able to understand the underlying emotion evoked by the music.  Here is a decent article I did find ‘Music Really Is the World’s Universal language’. So my point is, if you want them to not just listen to music. Introduce them to musical instruments give them that creative outlet. E has a little guitar he got from grandma M, for christmas this year. The hubs and I got him this little accordian from a local toy store.


Play-food encourages pretend play, and modeling.  I love watching E eat the food, feed it to his animals and sometimes me. Maybe one of these days he will cook.  It’s great to have a variety of different toys so E can explore different aspects of life.  I’ve noticed he plays with EVERY kitchen set he sees at playdates.
I’m considering the idea of getting him a play kitchen but I also don’t want him to have EVERYTHING.  I really don’t want it to take away so of the specialness of getting to play with one during visits.
We do have a little food set for him. Melissa & Doug make some of the cutest little kitchen sets. I like playfood sets that he can cut because it helps him with his slicing skills.

Activity Center

Kids need to move.  And if you want them to sleep you should encourage all the movement you can.  Having a little play-set, thank you momma H!, E can climb and get some of that toddler energy out! We keep ours in the house. Do I love all the space it takes up? No. Although, its great to have inside on those crappy days (like the day I started this post) when going outside isn’t exactly a practical option.  Plus watching him race his cars down it is super adorable since he figured that out all by himself.  We’d both thought about showing him, but at the time I was trying to encourage play without cars, or at least separate from cars.


Humans can be quite in love with themselves.  Its cute when its littles who like their own image.  Having a HEALTHY body image and self-love is HIGHLY advised.  We have a mirror by chance sitting on the floor of our playroom/office, we were about to purge it.  Since I’ve had more free time I’ve gone room by room and closet by closet and purged all the things I just didn’t have time to do before.  It started with toys after reading ‘The Montessori Purge‘ from the Kavanaugh Report, and just continued on into my whole life. We aren’t a full on Montessori family per se, but we do see the value in their ways.  I should not forget to mention it helps keep our house SO much more organized and clean!


Who didn’t love Legos as a kid? Lego just found away to get your little one addicted to them earlier!  No I really don’t think legos are trying to addict your child. The duplos are neat, double the size I’m guessing.  I hadn’t heard of them until my dad got E a set for for Christmas.  He likes his little fire truck.  I had the teenagers put it together at Christmas and they seemed to have way too much of a good time with it ;). I bought one other set of town trucks and he likes them too.  He enjoys mostly taking them apart at the moment but he’s playing with them!  I made a little “house” out of some of the parts and he enjoys putting cars or little parts though the window & door. I’m super tempted to buy a lot of them off of Facebook market place but I’m not sure we need 15 more sets.  Even if its only $50.

Here are some I think he’d like

Art Supplies

This is pretty self-explanatory so I’ll save you the reading.

  1. Crayons *
  2. Stickers *
  3. Play-doh *
  4. Watercolors  *
  5. Colored Pencils *
  6. Markers *

Well theres another list from me.  I hope you liked this one I try to pick out toys for E that will last more than just a few months as far as age range goes.  I want our toys to have lasting power. I also want our toys to last for another kid and be something that translates to another personality. So we really get our monies worth out of them!

Toddler Toys

14 Mostly kids movies for family night 

It’s the weekend! We love movies here in our house.  Besides Sunday after E goes to bed we really don’t watch TV anymore.  <a href="http://Join HBO Free Trial“>HBO is our guilty pleasure.  However Sunday’s are usually also our family movie night.  Yes we do watch movies during the week.  Especially during the day, because we just don’t really do TV.  And sometimes mama needs to shower, or clean house.  So bad mom here, lets the baby watch a movie. Anyways go ahead and judge all you want, but just don’t throw stones in glass houses.  Or however that saying goes.  Those of you non-judgers can read on for some suggestions or just to get to know our family by the type of movies we like.  Shoot you judgy ones can read to, some of these may make you like me even less.  xoxo Anna

Really any Kung Fu Panda movie is awesome. Although, I think 3 is the full favorite. I say that but yet I still choose to watch the original quite often. It’d be a toss up between one and three. One might win now that I think about how much E giggles at Po struggling to make it up the stairs.

Hands down 3 all the way. I don’t love how mean the bear is but I like that more than the creepy man stealing Woody and waayyy more than the torturous neighbor brat. I’ll say it, the original is my least favorite.

Yes. It has a bad guy in it. It’s always the bad guys that I don’t like. Go figure. E thinks the tiny “baby” who toots his trunk is hysterical.  His sense of humor makes my heart so happy.

Love this movie. Love the singing. Love the adventure. E gets a kick out of me singing to this movie. It’s actually pretty cute and full of wonder, the movie not my singing. But we have to fast forward through the realm of monsters after she jumps. He likes that she jumps but that black thing ruined it the scene. He doesn’t like the crab being mean to Maui. Even though I kinda think the crab is funny. We also enjoyed the bonus features for this movie and we don’t watch most movies bonus features…so yeah we liked this movie

This is the first movie E ever giggled at. He giggles at the same part every time.  I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, We love Dragons. This just fueled the dragon loving fire at our house.

E’s first movie! He watched pretty much the whole movie in the first shot. This is a favorite of both the hubs and I. E loves it. LOVES IT.  I dare you not to at least like the Jungle Book.

So the Bee movie took a few views for me to come around and actively like it. D loved Seinfeld so that explains this movie. I was fun that this movie made E want to look at insect books and we did check out quite of few bee books that he was super interested in after we watched this movie. It also has some sort of cult following status now too? What?! It’s pretty silly funny. Bees are important you know.

This one has a special place in my heart. One of the only kids movies I actively went out of my way to see as a child free adult.  Not much dialogue per se but yet still so much you can understand between the two main characters.

Gus Gus should I say more? Yeah this movie had a nice pretty girl and a Prince Charming. But, I love all animals. I know E does too.

Ugh I did not want to like this movie.  I repeat I did not want to like this movie.  E loves cars, really he loves anything that goes.  Maybe excluding planes?  I feel like we’ve watched this a zillion times. We’ve tried Cars 2 but E just didn’t like it as much even though he thinks Mater is hilarious.  He might like Mater as much as he likes Doc.  I love that he loves Doc.  We think we might take E to see Cars 3 in theatre, which would be his first theatre movie.  We’ve watched the trailer enough to know about the crash.  I’m sure they’ve done it tastefully.

I turned the TV on one day and this movie was just playing. I was about to turn the channel when I remembered it had “cars” in the movie so I left it.  It was the one kid movie Dane and I rented and watched while I was pregnant with E.  Maybe this is why he loves cars so much.  Anyways its pretty funny.  About a bad guy who so badly wants to be good.  It’s won my heart.

Yeah not exactly a kids movie.  Hubs apparently watched this with E quite a bit while I was working.  WHAT?  I would say its a kids movie if there wasn’t chicken killing and gun shooting in it.  But we’d already seen a few disney movies with guns and death in them so I figure the harm has already been done.  Plus he rarely makes it to see the end of this one.  I think that he likes that the animation is different. Of course he likes ALL the scenes with trains.  Which I think is only two but man does he zone in.

I was unsure about showing him this movie, because monsters.  It was given to us by a family member.  I think I viewed it before we showed it to him.  I do fast forward to the second scene.  I mistakenly just played it once and he did indeed get frightened.  The rest of the movie doesn’t have a lot of scaring.  There are a couple scenes that he doesn’t seem to put off by but I don’t know that I’m in love with him seeing. We also really like Monster’s University probably equally.

Old favorite.  Maybe I like the “little guy” too much. Old Disney is hard to beat and apparently so is new Disney.  E even went as Robin Hood for his first Halloween we love this movie so much.

We’ve tried a few other movies some were fine just not worth mentioning, because they didn’t capture the whole families attention or hearts.
We originally wanted to only do old Disney movies and go in sequence of release date. Several I would say are too scary or plain mean for his age. I know he’s not supposed to have had screen time to begin with but it was a battle I was already losing so I decided to at least control as much as I could what he was watching. Maybe one day we will watch them with him but for now these are the go to family movie night movies

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14 Mostly kids movies for family night