The Life Cycle of a Butterfly

Once a teacher always a teacher?

Not sure what possessed me, whether it’s because I won’t let her have a dog or she doesn’t have any siblings, but at Christmas I bought her a Live Butterfly Garden.  In the box, you get the net, all the instructions plus a certificate to order your baby caterpillars when you’re ready.

They arrived a couple of days after we ordered them.  They come in a small pot with everything they need for the first couple of weeks.Live Butterfly Garden

We were amazed how quickly they grew.  They then make their way to the top of the pot, hang upside down and weave themselves into a cocoon.

Preparing to become Chrysallis

Once they all turn into cocoons, you transfer them to the net.


Then a week to two weeks later, they turn black and will most likely emerge that day.

We came home last night to find four Painted Butterflies.  Can you see all of them?

Painted Butterflies

Sadly, we can’t keep them forever so we released them tonight, but no tears just a lot of excitement and she learned loads.  However, it did take them a lot of persuasion to come out.

Releasing our butterflies

Releasing Butterflies

Releasing Butterflies

Unfortunately, just after they emerged, one got stuck on its back to the bottom of the net, in the red liquid (Meconium) that they eject after they leave the chrysalis.  I tried to rescue it but think one of its wings may have been damaged.

But on the positive side, there seems to be a baby caterpillar left behind so we can do it all again!

Next year we may try stick insects or an ant farm.


Win a Plus Plus Mini Basic 1200 Interactive Building Kit from Toyella

I hear you ask ‘What is it?’

Plus Plus are an a building kit from Denmark with a difference.  The simplicity of the design,  two plus symbols stuck together,  provide endless opportunities for creativity.

Interactive Building Kit for Kids

I was thrilled when Toyella resurfaced on Twitter and we reconnected.

‘More time has allowed me to break out of my Twitter coffin Kill Bill style.’ via @toyella

I’ve run competitions for them in the past and genuinely love their stuff.  Carl, AKA The Head Honcho, is offering 5 prizes to my lovely readers!

First Prize: 

Plus Plus Mini Basic 1200 piece set

4 Runner Up Prizes:

Mini Basic 100 Piece Sets

To enter simply use the rafflecopter form below.  Full Terms and Conditions are at the bottom of the form.  But in short UK residents only 18+.  All times quoted are EST and competition closes on the 25 May 2013.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Photo Credit:   The photos are not of the actual prize.  I have ‘borrowed;’ the photos from the Plus Plus Facebook Page.  I hope they don’t mind. ;-)

This competition is listed on Loquax, Prize Finder and Competition Hunter.

Doodle Bread

We were sent a Doodle Bread Making kit to try out.  It’s a very clever product and I think it would be a great gift idea.  We had great fun making it.  Any negative comments are not down to the product but ‘user error’ as I’m a disaster in the kitchen, as you’re all aware.  It all comes neatly laid out for you with very clear instructions.  All you have to do is add a bit of water and oil.  So, I’m not sure how I managed to mess it up!

I’m not very confident in the kitchen, so when I cook I follow recipes word for word and if there is anything missing disaster strikes.  So, I followed the instructions and whacked in 200 ml of water, which resulted in more of a pancake mixture than a ‘soft chewing gum texture’.  So I had to add more flour to get the texture right.  I think this is where it all started to go wrong.  I’d recommend adding a bit of water at a time until you get the right consistency!

Since I’ve never made bread before I didn’t realise that room temperature was important for it too rise.  It’s below zero here today.  I had a slight panic attack because it wasn’t rising. However, thanks to a lovely friend on twitter, I tucked it into the airing cupboard, amongst the sheets and towels, where it is nice and warm and it started to rise.  Phew!

I did oil the Doodle Shaper (star shaped thing) as per instructions but obviously not enough as I had trouble getting it out of the bread before popping it into the oven. Thankfully ‘the beauty of Doodle bread is imperfection as your star may look like a frog or a cloud??’

At one point I was a bit worried as Madame was very excited and kept asking me every 5 minutes if it was ready.  Luckily, it all worked out in the end and we got to enjoy warm fresh home-made bread smeared with a generous amount of butter.  Yum!

All in all I would definitely recommend this product.  But, if you get the opportunity to choose colouring I would go for something with more contrast as we had trouble seeing the star in ours.