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

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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

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Stink Bug Hideout

While painting one of our sheds this week, we found something suspicious behind a panel. 

You guessed it, didn't you?

Stink bug hideout extraordinaire. 
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

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'.
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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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

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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Monday, April 7, 2014

Mars In My Room GIVEAWAY

Previous post, Reachin' for the Moon!, tells the starstruck story of setting up Uncle Milton's Moon In My Room for our doting daughters.

Still a'glowin' in there.
We catch our space cases flipping through moon-phases, little remotes in hand, well after the "lights out" call. 

Moon In My Room setups are the coolest, so we're known to gift them as birthday prezzies for the budding scientists we love on planet Earth.

Science rules!
Mars In My Room
Even more outta sight?

Uncle Milton sent us a Mars In My Room to review (all opinions expressed here are my own) and they're generously offering to share one with YOU!

With a soft, orange glow, textured surface and its own remote control, this cosmic product most definitely motivates conversation around here.

Were you in on the topic of Mars One: A Reality TV Show in Space?
Because really now!

Follow Uncle Milton on Twitter here to keep up with news and upcoming products. They've always got something exciting in the works over there!

This week, each Hearth reader has up to FOUR chances to win this OUT OF THIS WORLD prize. Get it!
So, how do you nab the prize?
Leave a comment on this blog postA randomizer program will select one lucky winner from the comment list on this page to take home the goods!  (1 entry)
Wanna increase your odds?
"Like" From My Hearth to Yours on Facebook for one additional entry. Already on board? Comment separately below and, I do declare, you'll be swimming in that game pool twice! Always trying to increase the odds for regular readers here at the Hearth! (1 entry)

Or scroll down on the right side bar to join up with From My Hearth to Yours on Google Friend Connect for yet another entry. Comment to notify me on this page, stay in the Hearth's loop, and tack on one additional shot at the prize! (1 entry)

Lastly, feel free to share the link to this giveaway on FB or Twitter for one more entry. Comment on this post to let me know you've shared. (1 entry)
Good luck, everyone! Each entrant has up to FOUR chances to win this incredible prize!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

*Giveaway is open to ALL From My Hearth to Yours readers until Monday, April 14 at 9p.m. EST. Winner will be announced on Tuesday, April 15. If prize is unclaimed after 72 hours, the next number in the randomizer list will be declared the winner.  Free shipping in continental USA only.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Watch a Bald Eagle Hatch LIVE…Right Now!

For the past week, our family has been watching the Pittsburg Hays Bald Eagle Camera.
(Thanks for the tip, Heathrow!)

This live stream sheds light on a stunning birdie couple teaming up to care for their three baby baldies!

If you read The Cardinal Family Birthday and a Leap of Faith, you know I go bonkers over events like this.
How amazing to watch this gorgeous pair literally nesting in preparation!
We've had the live stream running all week, spying in awe as this miracle unfolds.

Now that two babies have hatched, word is out that the final egg is about to bust.
Wanna watch it all go down?

Witness the wonder here, and let us know if you hit it right and catch the hatch!
So cool!

Happy almost birthday to baldie #3! Any minute now...
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

14 Essentials to Make Your Playroom a Party

A playroom redesign is in the works out here, but no matter what color the walls are, no matter how we switch up the layout, 14 essentials will stay unchanged. 

Pipsqueaks have got to play.
Here's how ours get into it. 

A large, accessible rack organizes the most commonly grabbed toys and games. When the girls want to have a picnic or tea party, they grab the red basket. Feel like building? Grab the pastel basket. Mr. Potato Head designs? In the shoebox. 

Each activity is readily available for hands-on play. 
To encourage a love of literature and puzzlin' play, book baskets and basic puzzle sets are on ground level. This makes it easy to flip through titles or puzzle boards to make ideal selections.
An old makeup box with a built-in mirror stores dress-up jewelry and accessories. 
We store art paper, large puzzles and building blocks underneath the doll house. This space is also easily accessible but not in the direct path of travel, so items are protected during "play tornadoes" throughout the day.
We love maps! To help the girls learn layout, United States, Pennsylvania and world map posters line the playroom walls.
When my mama retired from teaching, I snagged an assortment of educational posters. These are great for reference if we're talking about the human body.
We've reserved the top shelves of the playroom closet for fragile games/gifts/activities, those with small pieces or those we'd like to keep organized for use.
All top-shelf activities are clearly visible so the girls can easily see, point out and request boxes that interest them.
Make a little music with an instrument bin. We keep our collection in a large basket for easy access, portability and clean up.
Most popular spot in the house? The dress-up closet. With princess gowns hanging (wire and plastic hangers so the kids can pull dresses down themselves without getting clobbered) and accessories galore in bins underneath, there are always options for glam.
The storage bins hold hats, scarves, purses, boas, fairy wings. You know…anything a fashionista might need to add a little JAZZ to an outfit. 
Gotta have a box o' balls for all age groups. Roll 'em. Toss 'em. Kick 'em. Bowl. Make up your own games, and for Pete's sake…teach me how to juggle already!
Our girls go gaga over figurines. We keep our characters in a basket with handles for easy access and mobility. If the girls want to play in the family room or in their bedrooms, it's easy to tote this basket to and fro.
This Eric Carle, Very Hungry Caterpillar tent, is another one of THE most happening spots in the house. As soon as we put it together, 4 years ago, we realized it wasn't coming down for a loooooong time. It's a permanent playroom fixture. 

Although we're ready to switch up the style, there's no way we're ditching any of the essentials that make playroom partyin' a blast.

We've got some good things going on in this little room—a space where the girls are free to explore, pretend, learn and create.

What do your kids love most about their play space? We need ideas for our upcoming revamp.
Play on, little peanuts!
Play on.
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

P.S. Stay tuned for a great Uncle Milton GIVEAWAY coming soon! It'll be outta this world!

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