Swimming With..Tadpoles?!

in Family Life, Fun! by on September 19th, 20122 Comments

Megan Ryan’s Voice – Woohoo! I’m so excited! I feel like a little kid again. Why? One word….tadpoles. Yep, those little squiggly things that turn into frogs. We found approximately one billion tadpoles in our rain barrel today, and I started jumping up and down like a kid on Christmas morning. They are tinier than the ones I grew up catching on the farm (think big fat North American bullfrogs) so I’m guessing they are the offspring of the tree frogs who recently made a home of our back porch. (Sigh!) I have great memories of growing up on the farm and catching about a million tadpoles and other watery creatures with nets and bare hands. Preschooler 4.11 was napping so I grabbed an old giant pickle jar, scooped some inside, and brought them inside for him to find when he woke up. He was delighted too. We talked about how they would transform into frogs, and how we would then put them back outside to catch all the bad bugs like mosquitoes. Honestly, what could make a better homeschool science project for a little one?? Stick ‘em in a jar and watch them grow. No feeding, cleaning or death involved! Only we had to cover the top with a rubber band and a coffee filter so the cats wouldn’t drink the water. :-S

Liam Marcus’ Voice – Ah, well, yes you do have to feed them ‘yo. I dropped a few bread crumbs after you went to bed, sorry. The little creatures started acting like piranhas over the crumbs. It is always delightful to see creatures enjoy themselves from something one gives them. I know the little guys will have a ton of fun watching them, and feeding them.

No, Really. Our Cats Are Toilet Trained

in Family Life by on August 1st, 20121 Comment

Liam Marcus’ Voice – Hey, ever see a cat do her business in the toilet? I try not to. Our cats can do it, and have done it since we got them six years ago. This is one reason why we don’t have dogs anymore, because dogs would not be able to do what cats do, jump on the toilet, squat and sigh with relief. Sorry, that was a bit graphic, but I couldn’t resist. The other reason is the new arrivals. No, not the cats, the children. We wanted a few treats with fur from God, so why not as independent an animal as a cat? Yeah. A cat. Two cats. We don’t have to take care of that messy, smelly, little box “no more”. However, we do still have to deal with the extra fur lying around…almost everywhere.

Ryan Megan’s Voice – Now all we need to do is get ‘em to flush. We used a dandy device called a Litter Kwitter to train them. One cat was fully trained in a month, the other took a bit longer. It was a bit of a hassle, especially if you only have one bathroom in your house, but it was oh so worth it. No mess, no smell, and more moolah in our pockets because we don’t have to buy kitty litter. No litter is also nice for when we have wee ones. The cats themselves are more sanitary because they’re not climbing in and out of their own mess on a daily basis. The babies can pull and grab to their hearts’ content and no worries about extra germs.

Baby Milestones: Some New and Some Old

in Family Life by on May 25th, 20121 Comment

Megan Ryan’s Voice – We had a milestone moment this week when Infant 0.8 said her first word. :-) She was petting one of our cats, and when the cat walked away she waved her hand and said, “Bye. Bye-bye.” It took me by surprise and I had to laugh at the cuteness of it all. She’s been saying ‘ma-ma’ for a while now, but not with any real purpose, just babbling baby talk so we didn’t really count that as her first word. Now we’re just wondering when she’ll start walking unassisted. She is walking very well while holding onto something/somebody and in her walker, but we can see she needs to feel a bit for confident before going solo. Preschooler 4.8 was walking completely unassisted when he was still six months old, but for the life of me I can’t remember when he said his first purposeful word…darn it. Well, maybe blogging about things now will be my form of a parenting diary :-)

Liam Marcus’ Voice – It was precious! I think he said his first few words before he could walk, you just don’t remember. It was “goo goo gaga”.

We Are Poisoning Our Pets

in Family Life, Organic by on May 23rd, 2012No Comments


“There are fields, Neo, endless fields where human beings are no longer born. We are grown. For the longest time, I wouldn’t believe it. And then I saw the fields with my own eyes, watched them liquefy the dead so they could be fed intravenously to the living. And standing there, facing the pure horrifying precision, I came to realize the obviousness of the truth. - Morpheus, from the movie The Matrix


Megan & Marcus’ Voices – We just read this riveting article titled Dirty Secrets of The Pet Food Industryand we’ll be changing the way we feed our kitties. The scene from The Matrix quoted above immediately came to mind. Megan’s Abyssinian has recently developed skin allergies but has also had potty problems since day one. Her veterinary care has entered the amorphous no man’s land of “Let’s try this and see what happens. Oh, and fork over all your money please.” The challenge will be to change the food they eat without spending too much money. Don’t get us wrong, we love our cats, but we love our human children more. We’d rather spend our money on them.We’ll keep you posted on our progress so we can help you by learning from our mistakes, and saving you the trouble of reinventing the wheel. :-)

If you have any suggestions we’d love to hear about them in the comments  section of this post. God bless!

A No Brainer

in Family Life by on February 29th, 20123 Comments

funny-pictures-cat-will-nap-hereMegan Ryan’s Voice – Our cat is a bit nuts. A running joke in our family is how stoopid she seems sometimes with her various quirky behaviors. Recently she started giving herself hotspots due to a food allergy. She is now on a strict diet to prevent her from going OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and eating herself. During dinner one evening she was begging at the table as usual. Preschooler  4.5 asked to give her a tidbit. How to explain it to a four year old that he could no longer delight in giving her food from his plate?? I searched my brain and came up with, “I’m sorry, honey. We can’t give St. Anne our food anymore because it will give her brain a booboo.” Innocent, he looked at me and said, “Mami, Anne doesn’t have a brain.” LOL I guess he’s been taking our jokes a bit too seriously!

Liam Marcus’ Voice – I now believe the hotspots are due to stress because of lack of exercise. I threw a little pipe cleaner rolled into a spiral shape and she went crazy for it. She even picked it up and took it with her around the house – it was cute. She is still a kitten at heart, even though she’s six years old. We’ll try to play with her a bit more often. That should take care of her fixating on her hotspots for a while. We just have to make sure we have a good supply of rolled up pipe cleaners because they seem to disappear rather quickly around here.

Furry Friends

in Family Life by on February 4th, 2012No Comments
We are mourning the loss of a great friend and companion today. St. John, our male cat, has left us. We will always remember him and the treat it was to share time with him. He was a one of a kind cat.

He loved accompanying us wherever we went, to the corner of the cul-de-sac, to the backyard, to the pond several yards away from home. He accompanied us during our garden chores, and he even attempted to play street hockey whenever he wasn’t standing on the mailbox. We will miss the routines we had developed with him. He would ALWAYS come into the garage when we arrived home, and sometimes we would allow him inside the house, from which he would meow for our attention to the front door and to his empty food bowl outside. His kitten-like meow when we opened the front door during the first rays of light every morning will be greatly missed.st-john-2008-2012-4

It will be a painful couple of weeks for us as we mourn the fellow. His passing has helped us remember the little things in life that are easily taken for granted. Things like living each day with God in mind and being thankful for everything that we have like friendships, and not holding back anything that one might regret not doing later, like hugging a loved one, saying “I love you”….st-john-2008-2012-1

Taking A Constitutional

in Family Life by on November 30th, 2011No Comments

Megan Ryan’s Voice - Lately we’ve been enjoying what the British call ‘taking a constitutional’ or walking daily for your health. This is something new to me since Preschooler 4.2 hated the stroller/car seat when he was little so strolling around the block was out of the question. Not fun! BUT Infant 0.2 doesn’t mind so we are taking a daily stroll with Preschooler 4.2 rip-roaring along on his tricycle. Not only do we get our good-for-you dose of sunny vitamin D, but it drains off some of that boy’s excess energy. He has a LOT of that. <sigh> Thank you Lord for life’s little pleasures!

Liam Marcus’ Voice- That’s wonderful. On a side note, we have to figure out what to do with his running mouth. He’ll talk the arm off of anyone he meets. Remember what he did the other day while taking a constitutional? He saw this “missing cat” sign and started telling everyone about it every chance he got. You stopped at a little yard sale, and he went off telling the lady about the lost cat and how the two little girls who were looking for their pet were sad. I know this because when I went back to give her the money for the stuff you got, she recognized the description of a little young man on a trike talking about a lost kitteh and two desperate little girls that were looking for him… “Cute!” she said. By they way, let’s go knock on her door. She was selling a nice mini foosball table and a soccer net – nice Christmas gifts, those two things would make.

The Cat’s Meow

in Family Life by on April 16th, 20112 Comments

catfight_concern-youLiam Marcus’ Voice- Well, something worth telling is that our dinners will finally be cat-hairless. After much discussion, hmm, a minute or two worth Megan’s and my time, one of the cats is OUTSIDE 4-eva! He is happier, and his meowing, debilitating as it was, has increased a decibel or two since we kicked him out. It’s a roar! LOL! Just a few nights ago, he had it out with another male who came sniffing around. Well, I helped a little. I took my water pistol and sprayed the little fuzzball. My cat and I are still on good terms. I hang outside with him whenever, and he follows me wherever, too. It’s just like having a dog, but a bit more independent than a pooch. In any case, yep less cat-hair around the kitchen area is a bliss. Sorry. I know it’s kind of nasty, but hey, that’s life ;-)

Megan Ryan’s Voice – Well it’s about TIME! I’ve been waiting and hoping for the day we would put one of the cats outside, and he was elected…by me! Of the three, he’s the only one smart enough to make it on the outside. We got to witness one of the “cat fights” a day later. It turns out the intruder male was (and had been) keeping a safe distance but screeching bloody murder anyway. Our St John was sitting calmly and giving him a cool stare as if to say, “Wow. You’ve got issues, buddy.” :cool:

Homeschool of Fish – Year 4, Part 5

in Family Life, Homeschooling by on February 9th, 20112 Comments

fish-bowl-part-3Liam Marcus’ Voice - I don’t know, the teens show a summable amount of interest in cooking, but I don’t know how long it is going to last.  I am thinking about it, but maybe you can give me a few pointers. Maybe I should show them how to cook a few meals I know. After all, that’s how we got into the whole cooking idea. We started, I remember, with simplicity. Yeah, simplicity is a recipe too. We also started with huevos rancheros (rancher eggs: ask me what this is and I’ll tell you). Then proceeded to pancakes, but that was it. Wow, what a leap they have made with this cooking class. They have learned how to put together eggrolls, and last week they learned how to make a sweet potato and red lentil soup – which, by the way, was very good! We can’t wait to taste what they’ll be bringing home next week.

Teenager 15.6 is enjoying his photography class with gusto, and mucho of it. We took (temporarily) in a stray cat because she had shown signs of abuse, and had a broken paw. A few weeks, maybe a month of taming and good healthy eating got her looking like a household cat, and pregnant! She had four kittens last weekend, which teenager 15.6 couldn’t resist. As soon as we noticed she had given birth, he pelted for the camera and got upset when he couldn’t find it where he had left it – let it be a lesson to him for not putting my tools where finds them. Upon finding the magical-picture-taking box – you should have seen this boy – he was a photographer a la natural. Click, click, click; flash, flash, flash! Tremendous to see him eager to do something spontaneous like this, yeah man! God bless.

Megan Ryan’s Voice – Marcus and I were discussing how our homeschool schedule will change (turn upside down!) when the new baby comes in September. We’ll probably have them work through the summer instead of taking the usual break. Instead we’ll probably delay that break and take it when the baby comes. It will be much easier on Marcus and I if we can forget about the schoolwork and have the them entertain Toddler 3.4, but he’ll be Toddler 4.0 by then! Hmmm, that doesn’t sound right. Maybe we’ll upgrade him to a Preschooler 4.0…

Heading Into Foreign Waters, Part 13

in Family Life, Organic by on January 28th, 20111 Comment

cat_secretingredientMegan Ryan’s Voice – Our organic farm bag of food this week included a  BIG bag of rabbit livers, eggs, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, mustard greens, green tomatoes. I’m going to HAVE to make some stir-fry with the bok choy, but have never attempted Chinese cooking before. Can you see why we call this series “Heading Into Foreign Waters”?  Anyone got a yummy bok choy recipe ?? Let us know in the Comments section of this post! Going organic has SO inspired us to try new things!

We chose sweet potatoes, lemons, radishes, spinach, buttercrunch lettuce, romaine lettuce, and green leaf lettuce from our organic co-op. Can you tell we plan on eating a LOT of salad this week? We’re all gaga over my homemade Thousand Island dressing (using my friend’s recipe), and we look forward to scarfing down our salads every day – even our teenagers! I’m going to juice the lemons and use some of it to make homemade ricotta cheese. Then we’ll turn around and use the ricotta to make  lasagna! I made lasagna twice last week because this pregnancy has me craving it. Well OK, the second time was an encore because the rest of the family loved it so much.

Liam Marcus’ Voice - BIG rabbit livers – and now that we have the perfect way of doing them, courtesy of a friend’s ingenious way of eating them – we can savor them ’til Kingdom comes. The only thing special is the onions. Hmm yum! Here is an update, Teenager 15.6, loved the bok choy! Mega-Megan sauteed it with olive oil, garlic, and salt. I thought my taste buds, along with my olfactory senses, deceived me. It tasted like something made out of the same ingredients as lettuce (the stem) and spinach (the leaves). My stomach found it filling. My taste buds didn’t know what to make of it, but my olfactory senses didn’t find anything wrong with it. But now I think it wants to grow claws in my stomach ’cause I feel just the way Megan feels…’ya know…the morning sickness.

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