Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Insect Lore Painted Lady Butterfly Project

We had to do it again.
It was THAT good.

When I posted (one of my very first blog posts!) Raising Painted Lady Butterflies, I detailed our first experiment with these marvelous creatures.
Wanna watch someone get totally psyched about science? You've gotta nab one of these Insect Lore Butterfly Gardens to blow some minds. 

You're totally getting invested, too. 
Know now that you'll be checking up on these little buggers. 
During both of our Painted Lady experiences, one of the caterpillars was still forming its chrysalis when it was knocked down by another caterpillar. 

For safe transfer into the butterfly habitat, Lee used masking tape to stick onto the end of the chrysalis. Then, using a safety pin through the tape, we pinned it to the netting. 

This method worked during our first batch, and the chrysalis survived the metamorphosis—but sadly, this didn't work the second time around, and the fallen chrysalis was never able to complete the change. 
But after days of hanging and darkening in color, the other chrysalides began their miraculous emergence. 
Here, you can see one of our newborn butterflies, moments after emergence, before its wings fully opened. 

So cool!

As I mentioned in the previous post, although the red, meconium stains are unsightly, they wash off easily with soap and water. 
Again, we fed the butterflies sugar water on top of flower petals and watched each dip its proboscis into the mix to feed. 

Alien-looking awesome, people!

We also added a paper plate to the bottom of the enclosure this time for easier clean up. Would recommend this simple step for convenience. 
These lovelies become your little pals. 
But, like they say, when you love something, you have to let it go.
Such an important lesson for wee ones…
the release is the most significant part of the process.
Raising these exquisite creatures has been a thrill every time.
Don't see how a kiddo (or adult) wouldn't fall in love with this educational experience.

The Butterfly Garden would make an amazing gift for any family—sure to create happy memories that will last long after letting go.

Even after the butterflies have fluttered away, the enclosure is completely washable/reusable, so the process can be repeated year after year.

What a brilliant way to bring the magic of science and nature into your home.
Two wings up, Insect Lore!

Know any other amazing science projects for kiddos? Send us new ideas!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours- Cally

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Something Everyone Should Read

I really needed to read this post, 25 Things You Should Never Stop Doing for Yourself, today.
You probably need to read it, too.

Sometimes we forget how delicate the balance really is, that loving and caring for ourselves is just as important as doing so for others, or that- really- we're all in this together.

We've all got weights, but we've gotta keep moving forward to grow.
Read that post and get to it.

We've got one ride.
Let's make it count, friends.
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours- Cally

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

15/52: A Photo Challenge

Look at 'em everywhere. It's really here! 
Hard to believe I drove home in a near-white-out-flash-spring-snowstorm on Tuesday night. 
Seriously with this. 


Ever the teacher at heart, Kaira has begun instructing her sis in the art of Razor-riding.
Taking bets now on who bleeds first.
It might very well be me.
Yeah, I ride it. What?

On the topic of riding— Layna got her first taste of equestrian life at Easter on the Farm. Think she dug it?

For Zoo's birthday prep, we moved mattresses around to give that growing girl more room.
Kaine took clear advantage of the wait-time and set up camp on the floor by the front door. 
I'm sure the UPS man has just HAD it with this house.
And who gave the dog blankets here? Really. 

Ready for Easter-ing?
Can't wait to get my arms around our family lovies, to do some serious traveling car-dancing, and to stuff it with home-cookin' and chocolate.
So much chocolate.

Love to you and yours!
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Stink Bug Hideout

In 14/52: A Photo Challenge, you saw the team painting the shed. 

So what did they find behind that panel?
You guessed it, didn't you?

Stink bug hideout extraordinaire. 
Buh.
Hundreds of spawn clearly gathered here, creepin' behind the panel for shelter.

These must be less intelligent stinkers, as those with higher IQs made a beeline for our home instead.

But what's up with this webbing?
At first we thought NESTS, but after reading up, it doesn't sound like nests are characteristic of stink bugs.
Or are they?
Is there some other creature out there looking to prey on stink bugs?

This Rutgers site explains that assassin bugs do go after stinkers and, naturally, we've got those nasties here as well (see previous post BUG OUT! Assassin/Wheel Bugs for more horror), but they don't make webs.

Although this site claims that the praying mantis and some spiders occasionally dine on spawn, the quantity of the webbing surrounding the stink bugs perplexes us.

Any thoughts, you guys?

Come ON, stink bug scientists. Don't you wanna come study here?
You're so very invited to scan our hub.
Till then…onto Phase 2.
Stay with us now.
It's coming.
The big one.

If you have ideas,  info or resources to aid us in our research, you know we're all ears.
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours- Cally

Catch up with previous posts-
Stink Bug WAR- Phase 1 Tactic
Stink Bugs in the Dead of Winter
Stink Bugs: They're Baaaaaack!
Ten Scenes of Horror: Living with Stink Bugs
Our House- The All-Inclusive Stink Bug Resort

Congratulations to Ashley, #7 in the comment list and the winner of a completely outta this world Mars In My Room. I have a feeling one cute little dude is about to get super psyched!
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Easter on the Farm: The PA German Cultural Heritage Center

You guys. 
It's SO time for outdoors-ing!

Although last weekend's outing was blast (read One Man's Trash here), the wind intensity was a little overbearing.
The weather THIS weekend, however, was the tops...
perfect for hitting up Easter on the Farm, a quaint, joyful lil' event hosted by the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center.

Love this place!

The farm animals kicked it in style while the wee ones giggled and tossed 'em handouts.
And I mean literal style.
Check out the bonnet this pig was rockin'.
Because...
For those more into the old school groove, the blacksmith demonstrations were just beyond.
Teach me how and I'll hammer out wrought iron EVERYTHING!
The celebration of culture here is the greatest reward. With gorgeous scenery and restorations, skilled artisans and knowledgable volunteers, visiting the Heritage Center is like getting beamed back into the past.

You take something away.
While adults shop, marvel and stuff it with PA Dutch food, the annual Easter Egg Hunt keeps the kids (and parents) on their toes.
*Speaking of toes— watch out for those candy-cravin' maniacs. Little feet crash down hard amidst an all-out stampede.
It's a blissful scene out on the farm. Everyone leaves smiling.
Come on out next year and get into it!

Here's to another gorgeous day, friends! Learn something new. 

P.S. Don't forget, today is the last day to enter the Mars In My Room GIVEAWAY. Win some magic for the budding scientists you love!

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

14/52- A Photo Challenge

Has spring EVER felt this glorious? 
After such an oppressive winter, the open change is evident on every living thing. 
Setting up for a season of outdoors-ing, Kai helped her dad paint one of our sheds. You won't believe what we found behind one of the old panels. Or maybe you will. Stay tuned…
And while one kid works, the other one...
Last year, Kaine kicked off Easter morning by murdering backyard bunnies. That won't be happening this year. Think he's showing signs of remorse? Shackled, sucka. 

70 degrees today? Yes, please.

P.S. Don't forget to enter the Mars In My Room GIVEAWAY this week to win some magic for the budding scientists you love!
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

One Man's Trash...

In Dibbida Dibbida SOLD, I told you about the annual auction we visit. 

We hit it again over the weekend.
Never disappoints.
Our girls stuck out like sore thumbs in their pink jackets and boots, but that's part of the gain in this experience.
It's important to feel out of place sometimes—
to recognize different walks of life,
to appreciate the unfamiliar. 
Scenes like this are a vast departure from my Northern Jersey upbringing, that's for sure.
But I'm completely into it.
Braving the knee-deep mud and brutal winds, I find more inspiration in tractor tires and rusted farm equipment than I ever did in display cases at The Short Hills Mall.
Bikes, horses and buggies redefine valet parking in the best way. 
There's incredible beauty in these piles of the past—proving that one man's trash is another man's treasure. 
Man, do I love living here.
Here's to finding the magic in every moment, friends.
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours- Cally

P.S. Don't forget to enter the Mars In My Room GIVEAWAY this week to win some magic for the budding scientists you love!
"Like" From My Hearth to Yours on Facebook here to stick around for updates, reader tips/comments and news.