Summer picnic

 Went up to Silver Lake for a picnic and to find wildflowers with these little chickadees.

Such a beautiful day!

Children in various stages of hungriness

I love to watch boys and girls finding sticks and hiding under bushes and throwing rocks in streams. They all do it so naturally, and it feels like what they should be doing! Doesn't it?

Lying on my back and looking at the sky is one of my great pleasures in life. (However, it didn't last long, as there was a scary, carrot-faced baby on the prowl.)

These are my favorite two pictures of all. Sweet Malachi helping his sister up the steep hill. He is such a good big brother!

Pencil Sharpener: the Uni KH-20

Hooray! I have found a pencil sharpener that I love. This might not seem, to you, like great cause for rejoicing, but I assure you it is. At the risk of sounding rather, er, unbalanced: I wish I had the hours of my life back which I have spent growling and "argh!"-ing at our previous pencil sharpeners, which have been electric and totally useless. I hate a pencil sharpened only halfway, with wood stubbornly clinging down one side of the point and scraping horribly across the paper---or one which breaks as soon as pressure is applied to the point---or one which has become simply a hollow tube out of which the lead can wiggle at will. *shudder* This sharpener is manual, but it's faster and more effective than any of my previous sharpeners, manual or electric. We like it so much that I ordered another one for the office downstairs!
It's kind of a strange design. You pull out the top part, and then slide the lever to one side to allow the pencil into the opening. It's slightly adjustable (the hole opens up like a camera lens) but it won't fit anything much larger than a standard pencil. As you turn the crank, the top section slides back in toward the base. The sharpening mechanism stops automatically when the pencil is done.

There's a little red button on the back that you can push in if you prefer a blunter point. I love this feature. It's great for things like scripture-marking pencils, which might tear the page if they're too sharp. Or for little kids who press too hard and will break a sharp point more easily than a blunt one.

The sharper point is on the left and the blunter point is on the right.

So---I wholeheartedly endorse this little fellow, the Uni KH-20. (As part of an artist's household, I think it's appropriate for me to call it, casually, "The KH-20.") (Then again, my kids think it looks like a Bear pencil sharpener because of its little ears.) Our pencil troubles are at an end! (ha!)  I bought it at one of my favorite pen-and-pencil sites, JetPens.


When I was little, my aunt crocheted me a little purse that turned into a bassinet for a tiny baby doll. I loved it, so a few years ago I reverse-engineered a pattern and have since made several of them. The trouble is finding babies small enough to go inside. This last time I finally just crocheted my own (rather alarming-looking, I must say) little stuffed baby.  Daisy really, really loved him, but he was going to be a gift, so she had to give him up.

Back in January or so, we had watched Wall-E for movie night, and everyone has been playing robot ever since.  (Abe is Bear-E, Seb is Monk-E, Malachi is Birda, and Daisy is just "Robop." It's a very useful pretend-play subject, because robots are very good, tireless, cleaners and workers--as I like to point out.)  Anyway, when Malachi saw the crocheted baby I made, he thought it looked like Eva from Wall-E.  (We call her Eva, of course, instead of Eve.) And he wanted me to make one for him, so I did.
Then, Daisy loved Malachi's Eva SO much that I had to make her one of her own. She calls her "E-ba" and she goes everywhere with her. EVERYWHERE. I never would have imagined anyone forming such attachment to this sort of strange-looking, fuzzy robot, but there you are.
She loves tiny Eba as much as she loves tiny Penguin---which is really saying something!
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