Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Day at a Butterfly House

We finally had an opportunity to visit a butterfly house.  Let me just say, if you haven't been to a butterfly house...stop what you are doing right now and google local butterfly houses.  This is such an amazing experience for kids of all ages as well as for adults. 

Grace and I were both captivated as we watched 100s of butterflies fly, feed and land around us.

In addition to seeing all these beautiful butterflies, we also learned some fun butterfly facts. 

Did you know, butterflies taste with their feet?

Another fun fact, butterflies need it to have about an 85 degree body temperature in order to fly.  Butterflies are cold blooded and can't regulate their temperatures so they require warm sunny days in order to fly. 

The day that we visited the butterfly house, it was a partially cloudy cooler day.  When the sun was shining into the screened in butterfly house, the butterflies happily flew around.  When a cloud past, they settled into the beautiful flowers flightless.

But the saddest butterfly fact, of all, the average life span of most butterflies is 2-4 weeks.

From the moment they emerge from their chrysalis their sole purposes in life are to eat and mate.

Knowing that they live such a short amount of time, makes me want to stop and appreciate their beauty even more.

The number one rule of any butterfly house is 'do not touch the butterflies'.  Of course, if they should decide to land on you, that is fine.  We saw butterflies land on a few people.  The butterflies were drawn to people wearing bright neon colored clothing and little girls with faux flowers in their hair.

Grace sat quietly and patiently, desperately hoping a butterfly would land on her.  Though no butterflies landed on her, one did flutter right past her face, wings flapping in her face.  Being *kissed* by a butterfly satisfied her enough that we were able to leave.  But, we'll be back, in our brightly colored shirts to try again.

If you want to see more of what we've been up to this summer, you can always follow me via Instagram as well.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fairy Gardens

A few weeks ago, a local garden center had a week dedicated to celebrating fairies.  In our household, fairies are celebrated on a daily basis, so this festival was one we fully embraced. 

Part of the festival of fairies included discovering hidden fairy gardens nestled within each beautiful palette of flowers. 

My fairy lover was MESMERIZED. 

Each section we explored there was a touch of fairy whimsy waiting to be discovered and celebrated.

Something about these quaint miniaturized houses tucked in lush bits of greenery...

It makes you want to believe in the magic of fairies.

It makes you want to carefully watch...

and photograph...

hoping you'll glimpse a fairy.

Gardens are certainly beautiful places on their own...

but, when you add a bit of charm in miniature form...

gardens are transformed from beautiful...

to mesmerizing.

Our day ended with a hands on opportunity to create our own fairy garden.

With a few upgrades, we brought home our very own fairy garden.

Unfortunately, these fairies would rather dance on log slices and fish from sea shells than tend to the plants.  Our fairy garden plants are no longer lush and green but the fairies don't seem to care.  Since they obviously don't have a green thumb (much like myself), our fairy garden will soon be turned into a succulent fairy garden.

If you love all things fairies, make sure to check out how to entice fairies with a fun fairy soup recipe.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fairy Soup

Fairy soup; a perfect interactive summer activity to ignite the imagination and creativity of any lover of fairies.

Fairy soup is an unstructured, no rules activity that gives kids the freedom to create unique concoctions and push the limits of their imagination...and, in the process, entice fairies to come and visit your garden.


Ingredients include anything that might attract a fairy.

We decided our fairies would be tempted by glitter, food coloring, sequence, beads, flower petals, glass gems and water.

I think the only thing truly not necessary, when making fairy soup...the kitchen sink.  Everything else is up for grabs.

Making fairy soup is even better when friends are involved...

And, better still while wearing fairy wings.

 The fairy soups we made took almost two hours to perfect.  *Moms, that is two hours of pure bliss for, 'mom, can you get me this', 'mom, can we do something else', 'mom, I'm bored'.  Basically, fairy soup is my new favorite recipe!

When the girls' fairy soup was perfectly created, it was then doled out in bowls and containers and placed around our garden. 

The girls patiently waited, while munching on Goldfish crackers and then magically...this happened. 

I think our recipe was a success.

Happy Houligan's inspired this water sensory play activity.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Ice Cube Castles

Ice cube castles.  A science lesson, architectural lesson, a chance to use your imagination and a great way to stay cool in the summer.

While preparing Grace's summer busy bags, I scoured pinterest for fun crafts and activities we could do to beat summer boredom.  When I came across Fun-A-Day's instructions to make an ice castle, I immediately added it to our summer to do list.

The first thing we did was take a walk through our yard collecting flower petals and smaller wildflowers.

Then, we filled ice cube trays and decorate each cube with a flower, glitter, sequence and beads. {We also made blue ice cubes adding blue food coloring to the water}.

 Grace's decorated ice cubes is much like she lives her life, full of color, sparkles and flowers. 

The hardest part...the waiting for the water to freeze.  

Then, using a paint brush and some water, construction began.

The water helps bind the cubes together.  Although, this part is mildly deceiving.  I expected the water to act like mortar is to bricks.  That was not the case.  The water kind of keeps the ice cubes together in a wobbly sort of a way.   


Though we weren't able to build our castle as high or securely as we had hoped, we still had fun.

That mischievous kitty got her nose stuck to the ice...and, to be honest, Grace's fingers stuck to the ice a bit too.


When we were finished creating, imagining and making our ice cube castle, we enjoyed watching it melt.

 You can see the full tutorial at Fun-A-Day here.

Garden Party Budget

If it isn't already obvious, I love parties.

All year long, I scour blogs and pinterest for party ideas that inspire me.  My pinterest board, Let's Celebrate! has almost 600 pins {and if you go peek at it, you can probably guess what my latest party pinning trend is}.

About 2 months before Grace's birthday, Grace and I look through my Let's Celebrate board.  She picks out things she likes and then I start brainstorming.

When you pick your theme early, you have more time to search for deals.  For example, Grace's 5th birthday was a bunny themed party.  By deciding on a theme early, I was able to hit post-Easter sales and score some unbelievable deals to use for her party.

As soon as I know the theme, my eyes are peeled for deals.  Though I do look for party supplies at post-holiday sales from stores like Target, I prefer the thrill of the hunt and searching for the unexpected at Goodwill...

or at flea markets.

For Grace's Garden themed party, I found over 30 yards of vintage fabric from a local flea market for $12. The vintage fabrics were used as table clothes, backdrops for pictures, decorations on the snack table and for the gardening aprons each guest got to take home.  That's what I call stretching a dollar!

And, when I am lucky enough, I will even find things on the side of the road that prove useful...and even better are free!

This planter stand, abandoned at the side of the road, I quickly rescued and transformed into a farmer's market stand.  For how much...FREE!

The same was true for a large window we found roadside.  For the past 2 years, it's served as a backdrop for a our snack table.

Though it involved more labor and repurposing, we also used an abandoned pallet and turned it into a garden stand, including a no dirt garden.

I invested $20 in tissue paper and countless hours making tissue paper flower.  The $20 tissue paper supply allowed me to make 14 party hats, about 20 large tissue paper flower and 15 small tissue paper flowers.

I also like to shop my own house and my own supplies to fill in for decorations.  My vintage hankie collection was pulled out and used as a table runner.

By shopping early, using things I already had on hand, making my own decorations and party favors and hosting the party at my own house, I was able to throw a one of a kind party on a budget.

I started with a budget was $150.   I justified that as my maximum budget since most facilities that host a party charge about that {and often that limits the number of kids you can have and does not include party favors}.

Want to see how I did?  This is where I reveal exactly how far I can stretch a dollar.

The tent, tables and chairs where borrowed from my in-laws. Admittedly, a huge savings.  Our cost...nothing besides for the manual labor of setting up and taking down.

Every party needs food, right?  I spent about $30 on food including a watermelon cake, dirt cups, popcorn and goldfish {including paper plates, napkins and cups}.  We served water and juice boxes for drinks.

As detailed above, $20 was spent on tissue paper.

Party hats cost $5.49 {.49 cents for a set of hats from Goodwill and a second set had to be purchased full price for $5...lesson here, when you see party supplies at Goodwill for a fraction of the cost, buy them!}.

Again, as detailed above, vintage fabrics $12 {for table clothes, aprons and decorations}.

Fake flowers and mason jars to fill the flower shoppe $20.

Party games, $10.

Party favors $5 {not including vintage aprons as itemized already above}.  From the dollar store, 5 seeds packets for $1.  I needed $3 worth of seeds.  Flower pots, from the dollar store, sold in sets of 12, 2 sets needed.  Flower ring pops, pilfered from an Easter egg hunt and reused for the party!

Card stock and yarn to make bees $2.50 {yarn was bought at Goodwill for .49 cents}

A necessary indulgence, fresh flowers, which I was able to appreciate not only at the party but nearly a week following the party as well.  $30.

And, for fun, let's throw in my thrifted dress, found at Goodwill, for $7.50.

For the grand total of $142.49, I frugally threw Grace a garden themed 6th birthday.

You can see more details from Grace's garden themed birthday party here.
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