Free the ladybugs!

Ok, so I just opened a bag of 300 live ladybugs in my NYC living room this afternoon!

 

What the hell is wrong with me?

Yea, I didn’t think that one through too well.

So here’s what happened…

I am doing a whole gardening Semester with my K-1 kids and I started with Ladybugs. They’re “good” bugs and are helpful for your garden. They are also a great opportunity to talk to the kids about bug anatomy and insect life cycles.

Ladybug diversity is live and well!
Did you know ladybugs eat aphids?

Well, looking at pictures isn’t enough for my teaching taste. So, I ordered up some cute little ladybugs off of Amazon. 300 to be exact.

I did a bit (a very little bit) of research on how to care for ladybugs before you let them free in the garden. I read that I needed to use a plastic container, feed them some nectar and keep a wet paper towel in the container with them so they can hydrate.

Super simple, right?!?  I mean, they’re just ladybugs.

Today, they came in the mail.

I had ready, what I thought was a sealed container and some greenery. They arrived in a small bag with some wood chips and a damp cotton ball.

No threat, right?

WRONG!

Lucas passed me the scissors and I opened the little, inconspicuous bag of ladybugs and ALL. HELL. BROKE. LOOSE.

At first, we watched them crawl quickly out of the bag and into the box. I thought to myself, “Wow, these guys are faster than I thought. They really wanna get outta here.”

Then, I decided to help them. (Yea, still not thinking)

I dumped the bag out and 300 ladybugs came AT ME.

First of all, when I cut open this bag, there was another surprise…

I was welcomed by a large Earwig looking bug that I did not expect. It scared the crap out of me and got me pretty skeeved. It also didn’t help that that encounter was followed by a swarm of ladybugs trying their best to escape and run to freedom. These suckers are FAST!!!

Here’s the thing you guys… It doesn’t matter if a ladybug is a “good bug”.

It’s a FUCKING BUG.

And there is nothing you can do to get away from that instinct people have to be afraid of swarms of anything.

Just a little visual aide to help you begin to imagine the panic I felt.

You might ask, “But Kim, why didn’t you just close the lid to the box?”

I DID!

But, like I mentioned earlier, I only thought the box was sealed. It just so happened that ladybugs are like mice and can squeeze through holes that a normal person would think is too small for them.

As I watched these guys slowly leak onto my hardwood floor, I scrambled for the right container. Three options later, I finally managed to seclude the earwig and dump the rest of the ladybugs into a large, “under the bed” style plastic container.

No Dice.

Ladybugs were now crawling on my kitchen chairs & I couldn’t tell if they were IN the container or ON TOP of it.

“Here’s another mommy!”, says Lucas

“Ladybug? Hold it?” says Thiago.

Now, if these were just ladybugs for our pleasure, I would have had no problem just letting them go outside and having their fun in the wild. But remember, my K-1 class is waiting for them come Monday morning. We’ve already talked all about them, done various projects and I can’t let them down. There is no way I’m coming to class Monday morning without some live ladybugs.

I did the only other thing I had left to do…

Barefoot and without jackets; Lucas, Thiago and I ran downstairs to the garden.

After dropping off the container in the garden, we went back upstairs for shoes and I searched for a few quart containers. I poked some holes and we went back downstairs to do the transfer.

(mind you, my house now has piles of dumped crap everywhere from me commandeering every last plastic box I own.)

So, now under control, Lucas and Thiago were able to help me secure 3 quart containers with a handful of ladybugs each. The rest went free and some, unfortunately, sacrificed their lives for this years gardening semester.

There was a moment when, once outside, a bunch began to fly away and it was quite beautiful. (Although, I didn’t get any pictures because of the chaos)

All in all, it was quite the experience and one I was happy to share with my boys. When they grow up, I hope they remember these kinds of stories about how mommy opened a bag of 300 bugs in our NYC apartment. <3

 

The #1 message for your kids about food…

 

For those of you who don’t know me. My name is Kim. I’m a mama of 2 insanely cute, but crazy as hell little kids. I have a calm as fuck husband who balances us all out and deals with all our insanity. I’m from Long Island, NY and spent most of my childhood growing up in typical suburbia. I didn’t eat farm fresh food from a mom or grandma that spent hours in the kitchen. My mom was a single, working mom who did everything she could for my sister and I (and anyone else in the area who needed it).

We didn’t eat out much because we didn’t have the money. She cooked simple, quick food. Lot’s of pasta, meat and potatoes and frozen (and even canned) veggies. Her specialty was Roast Beef and Mash potatoes with gravy. I didn’t eat crappy food, but it wasn’t anything steeped in culture either.

I always loved to eat though. And thank god, I was never taught as a girl that eating too much was something to watch out for. It was always something that tapped into that primal part of my brain and made me feel good. The more I ate, the more I learned, and the more I wanted good quality food. Not snobby stuff, just the best of whatever it was I was having.

Thinking about it now, I think that came from my dad. He’s always had this little Italian grandma sense to him. Always making you eat more and always spending money on the “good stuff”. Granted, the good stuff to us was Red Lobster and the Sizzler. But hell, we were high end middle classers. The point was that he always attached good feelings to food. Food was fun — exciting and adventurous.

As I got older, I didn’t mind investing my time into making something I could enjoy. The result was worth the effort. “Fresh” mozzerella (it wasn’t actually fresh, now that I know better — just less processed), tomato and basil for an after-school snack as a teenager was normal.

I could have eaten just ice cream from a bowl, but I wanted to take the extra time to make a waffle to pair it with. Hell, who doesn’t want a warm Eggo waffle and mint chocolate chip ice cream. — See!? You want it right now don’t you? 🙂

I realize now that the most important thing I got from my parents around food was something they did mindlessly. They instilled in me that food was ok. Food was fun and indulgent and worth your time.

FOOD IS WORTH YOUR TIME.

That is a message worth passing on to our kids.

That’s the message I model to Lucas and Thiago when I carve out the time for cooking dinner as a non-negotiable, even though I’m tired from being up all last night nursing an almost 2 year old like he’s a newborn (damn teething) and haven’t stopped moving since 6:30am AND I know I’m going to yell waaaay before bedtime even starts.

We have our days of tomato sauce and pasta, of take-out and plenty of leftovers.

But the thing my kids see on a regular basis — 

Good Food is Important.

And that’s the message I want to pass on to you.

Sending you love and Red Lobster,

Kim

xoxox