From Caterpillar to Butterfly!

From Caterpillar to Butterfly lesson

From Caterpillar to Butterfly lesson

Cooper has been a bit obsessed with bugs lately. Strangely, our house seems to be dead ladybug central. The ladybugs love to hang out on our ceiling fans and they especially love our windowsills. A few weeks ago I caught Cooper carrying around a (dead) ladybug, cradling it in his hands and telling it stories. He loves to look at worms, butterflies, spiders – pretty much anything that creeps me out.

I’m always on the hunt for fun ways to incorporate education into our lives, and I think I came up with a fun way to teach your children about caterpillars and butterflies! This will include discussions about caterpillars, butterflies, and the process of metamorphosis.

From Caterpillar to Butterfly

First I started with the book From Caterpillar to Butterfly ($3.84 on Amazon). This is a very easy to read and understand book that describes the the journey that a caterpillar takes to become a butterfly. It details the life cycle of caterpillar to butterfly in easy to understand terms and illustrations. After a few reads, my 4 year old understood the concept of metamorphosis and the term chrysalis.

Cooper was really interested in the actual process that the caterpillar underwent when becoming a butterfly, so I did some research on how I could illustrate that from him. I found the Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden and after reading its great reviews, ordered it immediately.

Insect Lore Live Butterfly GardenIt was $13.00 when I ordered it, and the price has went up to $17.00. However, I think it is worth every penny! You will receive a butterfly habitat, instructions for care, and a mail in voucher for butterfly larvae. Once you receive your garden, you simply go to the website included on your voucher and order the larvae. You do have to pay a $5.00 shipping fee. The larvae are shipped to you in a little cup that includes food.

Once you receive the larvae (caterpillars), you put the cup in a cool and dark place. Within a few days, the caterpillars will begin to form their chrysalides. They will attach themselves to the top of the cup and the shells will harden. You wait 2-3 days and then transfer the chrysalides to the butterfly habitat. The day after we transferred, our first butterfly emerged!

You feed the butterflies sugar water, oranges, or watermelon. You can keep them for up to a week and then you release them outside.

butterflycollage

The red you see in the bottom left picture isn’t blood. (I thought it was too!) It is meconium, and it happens as the butterflies emerge from their chrysalides.

A few tips:

  • Order the larvae at a time you know you will be home. They come through the USPS and are sensitive to temperature. Don’t let it sit in your mailbox for hours and definitely don’t order it if you know you will be out of town for a few days.
  • Our cup contained 5 caterpillars, and all five became butterflies.
  • Once they form their chrysalides, you will see what is called silk frass on the outside of the chrysalides. Gently remove as much of that as possible. The butterfly’s wing may be deformed if you don’t perform this step. We missed some on one chrysalides, and that butterfly had trouble flying.
  • You feed the butterflies oranges, watermelon, or sugar water. I put a flower inside the habit and sprinkled some sugar water on it once a day.

If you have any questions please let me know!

This is a great time-lapse video that shows the metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly.

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Cinco de Mayo Fun!

cinco de mayo fun

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Can you guys believe it is already May? I sure can’t! This year has absolutely flown by. Yesterday my baby turned 8 months old! Gosh, if you want evidence that time passes quickly you just need to raise a baby, am I right?!

cinco de mayo fun

Back to Cinco de Mayo. My friends will tell you that I’m a little holiday crazy. I will use any excuse to decorate my house and throw a quick impromptu fiesta. Cinco de Mayo is no exception! My son has gotten in on the fun and he gets so excited when he comes downstairs and sees our kitchen table all decked out. He knows it means we’re doing something fun that day, and I know it means he will be on his best behavior – even if it is only for the day!

I picked up most of my supplies from the Dollar Store and Hobby Lobby. The pinatas, hats, and maracas came from Hobby Lobby. The plastic tablecloth and plates came from the Dollar Store. I do keep my party supplies and reuse them year after year – so you really get your money’s worth. (Even the pinatas – around here we play “shake the pinata” instead of “hit the pinata”.)

I always like to try and include an educational aspect to our celebrations, so we’ll be reading Mexico ABCs by Sarah Heiman. This book discusses the culture of Mexico, including people, geography, animal, plants, and history.

Then we’ll be making homemade maracas! I know we all have the supplies for this on hand. All you need is plastic eggs, plastic spoons, popcorn kernels, and tape! More instructions can be found HERE.

For dinner I’m going to try my hand at creating this Chicken Enchilada Ring. I’m sure mine won’t turn out as pretty, but it is how it tastes that counts! Find there recipe HERE.

blackberrysangria

As a special treat for the husband and I, I think I might just whip up a batch of my Blackberry Sangria! I made this for our Easter party and it was a big hit.

Blackberry Sangria

Ingredients:

1 bottle Moscato
1.5 cups Raspberry Vodka
1 small container of pineapple juice (or the juice from one can of pineapple slices)
3.5 cups blackberries
1 cup raspberries
1 large lemon
1 green apple
1/2 cup sugar

Directions:

  1. You’ll want to start by creating your simple syrup. Combine the sugar, 2 cups of blackberries, and 1/4 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for several minutes. Turn off the heat and smash the blackberries with a potato masher. Let this sit until it cools, and then strain the liquid into a container. I smash the blackberries against my colander as I drain; this helps you to really get all the “juice” out of the mixture.
  2. Refrigerate your mixture several hours or overnight.
  3. Prepare your fruit. Cut up your lemon and core and slice your apple. Wash the raspberries and blackberries.
  4. Add the wine, vodka, and fruit to a pitcher.
  5. Let sit for 2-3 hours.
  6. Serve!

*Next time I make this I plan to omit the vodka. The husband and I aren’t huge drinkers and this was SUPER strong.

Are you doing anything special to celebrate Cinco de Mayo?