Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Butterfly Box

Every summer, Chris' mom (Nana) and aunts have butterfly boxes that they put Monarch caterpillars into until they form their chrysalis and become butterflies. This year, Nana wasn't interested in the whole process and she passed her box on to us.

The box is beautiful and was handmade by Chris' Uncle Jimmy, who happens to be a cabinet maker. It came to us a few weeks ago containing 8 caterpillars of various sizes and 2 vases of milkweed for them to eat. We now have only 1 caterpillar left! We have 6 chrysalis in various stages and we released our first 2 butterflies, one yesterday and one this morning.

The whole process is quite amazing to watch, although I keep missing certain parts. I swear the caterpillars act as soon as they know I'm not there!

The caterpillars start out very tiny, only centimeters long,

but they eat, eat, eat

and poop, poop, poop

and are soon about the size of my finger.

When they're ready to become a chrysalis, they first hang in a "J" from the top of the box (in the wild, this is typically done on the bottom of a leaf to protect them from the weather). This is the part I keep missing! I witnessed all of our 7 caterpillars while they were hanging out on the top of the box getting ready to "J" but I never actually got to see them drop into the "J." One of them literally did it as soon as I walked away from the box for 5 minutes! *sigh* I have one more chance and I have my fingers crossed.

Once the caterpillar becomes a "J", the molting process begins pretty quickly and within 24 hours, the caterpillar is a chrysalis. After that, we wait about 10 days for the caterpillar to finish its metamorphosis into a butterfly. The butterfly has to dry its wings out for a bit and then we release him into the wild!

The tradition in the family is to name the butterflies before they are released and the name needs to match the sex of the butterfly. (The males have 2 black dots on their wings, the females do not.) Our first 2 butterflies have been males and were named by Charlie.

This was Cloud:

And this was Red Airplane:

Boys! haha

Sunday, August 29, 2010


One of my biggest struggles over the past few weeks has been trying to find time to fit EVERYTHING I need and want to do into my days: cleaning, preparing meals, paying bills, laundry, dishes, Charlie's school, working out, working, blogging, spending fun time with the boys, spending time alone with my husband, spending time with friends, reading, spending time with just myself and sometimes, just doing nothing, the list goes on and on. I'm sure there are things in there that I'm forgetting! :)

Last week, I started writing everything down on paper. I had purchased a blank, college-ruled notebook at WalMart a few weeks ago (I couldn't help myself - this time of year, all of the new school supplies everywhere make me drool!) and I was trying to decide what to do with it. I hadn't planned it at all, but I opened it up one night last week and it quickly became my to-do list notebook.

Every night before I climb into bed, I've been writing a list of everything that needs to be accomplished the next day as well as a few things I'd like to accomplish. The first week of writing everything down was quite successful. My favorite part, so far, is that I have divided the house cleaning into separate tasks for each day. Bathrooms on Monday, bedrooms Thursday and so on. My hope is to spread the project throughout the week rather than attempting to clean the house in one day. I LOVE doing one small thing a day and plan to maintain my new cleaning schedule. I'm curious if my hubby will notice if I don't tell him.... :)

The one thing that didn't work quite so well was scheduling "work" into my day. I've been attempting to work at home for a few of the real estate agents I used to work with when I worked full time. There are a few of them who contact me on a regular basis with tasks I can do from home (i.e. posting blogs, adding listings to craigslist, maintaining client databases, etc.). Previously, I had been doing some work in the afternoons while my oldest was napping. However, my dearest darling will no longer nap for me *sigh* and the quiet time I've been enforcing in the afternoons has not been conducive to sitting down to complete any work. Therefore, little, if any, work (that hasn't had a specific deadline) has been done in the past few weeks (months?) as I've been too tired at the end of my day to squeeze it in.

The other difficulty with work has been not knowing where to start with certain projects. I have a few projects to complete for one agent and I just haven't been able to figure out what to do first. So.....

My plan for this week is to similar to how I'm handling cleaning the house. I am going to split the projects up into manageable little chunks. For example, on my to-do list for tomorrow, rather than scheduling in "work," I've actually scheduled in the exact task that I would like to check off. I'm hoping that being more specific in this aspect will help me get more done in less time. We will see where it takes me!

Meal Plan 8/30-9/3

It's been over a month since my last post. I've been struggling with trying to find a balance for everything I'm trying to fit into my days.... and I mean struggling. I haven't quite found the balance yet, but I'm working on it a bit at a time.

I was very anti-Internet/computer last week and staying off the computer helped me a bit with time management. However, being at home all day, I find the Internet to be very helpful in connecting to the world that exists outside our little home, so I'm trying to find a happy medium between the Internet as a time-gobbler and the Internet as a time-saver.

Having a written plan seems to be what's helping me most right now. I've been writing out a loose plan for the next day at night before I go to bed and my meal plans are always a huge help with organization. Here is this week's menu plan. I've got some very well stocked cupboards at the moment, so I have a very small shopping list this week (mostly milk, eggs and some fresh fruit). I hit up the deals at Shaw's this past Friday. I spent $42 for $133 worth of food - I saved $91 by hitting the sales and using coupons! Woohoo! I have not included meals for the coming weekend as it's Labor Day and between cookouts and the fair, I'm not sure we'll be home much.

Oven-Fried Chicken
Herbed Angel Hair Pasta
Parmesan Zucchini

Rosemary Shrimp Skewers
Baked Potatoes
Roasted Carrots

Grilled Rib Eyes
Brown Rice
Sunny Broccoli

Honey-Garlic Chicken
Rice Pilaf
Green Beans

Macaroni Tomato Casserole