Butterfly Project: Into the great wide open

Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Letting go is one of life's hardest lessons. Last evening, we had to say goodbye to our butterfly friends. They were fluttering madly around the habitat which was a sign that they were ready to be released into the wild. With the excitement of releasing them, came sadness, too. These little creatures which only two weeks prior had been baby caterpillars were grown and ready to take on the world. It was the end of our project, but just the beginning for the butterflies.
The girls prepare to say their last goodbyes.
The butterflies' new home.
I wonder where they are now!

Butterfly Project: They Hatched!

Saturday, June 27, 2009
I awoke this morning to a wonderful surprise! We have 4 butterflies fluttering around the habitat! They are so pretty, and it's so exciting to see them.

Road Trip: Ocean City, NJ

My girlfriend Sue and her family were vacationing in Ocean City this week and kindly invited us down for a visit. After checking the weather forecasts and juggling some plans, we decided that yesterday would be the perfect day. And a perfect day it was.

Sue and I have been friends since Kindergarten. We've always remained in touch in some form or another, but more recently, with the deaths of my parents and the advent of Facebook, we've rekindled our wonderful friendship.

We spent the day at the beach and went out for dinner afterwards. It was such a fantastic day. I loved catching up with Sue. When we were teenagers, we spent all our summer days together hanging out at the local pool and chasing cute boys. Times have certainly changed for us, but our friendship remains, and I am grateful for that and for the time I spent with her and her family yesterday.

The kids were a little upset not to have made it to the boardwalk, but I promised them we'd make the trip some other time this summer.

Sue and I taking a break from chatting to pose for a picture.
The kids spent the entire day digging this hole and playing in it.
Emma and Sue's daughter Marlena...

Sue's nephew Owen, Harper and Sue's daughter Morgan...
Back in the hole...
Sue and I and our children...Clockwise: Morgan, Me, Emma, Harper, Marlena, Chris and Sue.

Summer Vacation: Day 1

Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I thought the best way to start our summer vacation would be with a meeting to discuss the daily activities and rules for the summer. It's quite an adjustment for me and Harper to have Emma home. We absolutely love having her home, of course, but we need to get her into our routine.

As has been the case for the past 9 days, yesterday's weather was anything but beach weather. When I told Emma that I had a few (note few) errands to run, she actually asked me, "You do things during the day?" That says it all!

I promised them a trip to the playground once we finished my to do's.

After the playground, we attended a special story time at Build-A-Bear Workshop. What made it special was a guest appearance by the mascot Bearemy! It was really cute, and the children were invited to wear their pajamas. They offered all registered participants a little coloring book and a coupon (great!).


Butterfly Project: Update

The butterflies are moving right along according to schedule. Yesterday we moved them from the starter cup to the butterfly habitat where they will remain for 7 to 10 days until they hatch.

I can't wait to show you our first butterfly picture!


A Build-A-Bear Giveaway!

Sunday, June 21, 2009
OK, you know I couldn't NOT enter this giveaway! The Mommy Files is offering one lucky reader a $25 gift card to the Build-A-Bear Workshop. For those of you who are regular readers of Pieces Of Me, you know how much my girls LOVE, LOVE, LOVE B-A-B Workshop! Wouldn't this Patriotic Pup be a great addition to their collection?
To read details about and enter this fantastic giveaway, click here.

Butterfly Project: Update

Saturday, June 20, 2009
Firstly, I need to say how amazed I am by nature. Watching the caterpillars grow and progress has been incredible. I had no idea when we embarked on this project that it would have such an effect on us. We are so curious of them, always checking them out.

Secondly, all of the caterpillars have ascended to the top of the cup, and all but one has fully formed their chrysalises. Once the chrysalises are formed and they become a crunchy nub, it is time to transfer the thin piece of paper to which the chrysalises are attached to the top of the butterfly habitat where they will eventually hatch.

It's so cool...and to think that just the other day they were tiny caterpillars roaming around the cup.

My Well Deserved Day Off

Friday, June 19, 2009
Earlier this week I had a day off. A day off for a stay-at-home mom means a day away from the house, kids, husband, pets, laundry, cooking, cleaning...need I continue? My day off was an overnight trip to Manhattan with my niece, my sister and her best friend.

It started with an hour train ride into the city where I would be meeting up with my group at the hotel. The solitude was wonderful. An hour's worth of quiet to read my book. In hour's worth of no interruptions to comprehend what I was reading. An occasional glance out the window at the Jersey scenery.

We stayed at the W Hotel, Times Square. It was luxury at it's finest. Our room was on the 42nd floor. Here was the view:
I never get to see the city from a tourist's perspective. Each time we go, it's either for dinner with friends, a show, a concert or a sporting event. Not this time! My sister's best friend had never been to NYC before, so we just HAD to show her the sights!

Times Square...
The famous Naked Cowboy...
Ground Zero...the void in the skyline is a daily reminder to all.

A memorial wall dedicated to those who perished from the NYFD...so sad.
Rockefeller Center...CBS Studios...

We enjoyed a relaxing and laid back time in the big city. There were a few places on our agenda but otherwise, we decided to wing it.

After walking for hours, we devoured a delicious seafood dinner at the Famous Oyster Bar Restaurant. We were famished. I swear seafood never tasted so good. After dinner we continued to explore until we just couldn't walk anymore.

The following morning, we enjoyed drinks from Starbucks and headed to the Brooklyn Diner for breakfast. I don't like eggs, and I don't eat pancakes or french toast (I don't like maple syrup). I opted for the raisin bran pineapple muffin. It was delicious. For $3.50 I got 2 bran muffins and a corn muffin. Tasty! Not bad for the price. But I must add that I paid $2.95 for a banana. Yes, ONE banana!! My fellow diners had eggs and raved about them.

What every day off should be: TONS OF FUN!!

Thanks, ladies for a fabulous time in the Big Apple! From left, my niece Colette, my sister Brenda, her best friend Mary Ann, and I.


Author and Awards Ceremony

Thursday, June 18, 2009
It's the time of year for pomp and circumstance. You know, the end of school year ceremonies. On Monday, Emma's classroom had an Author and Awards ceremony to celebrate the stories the children have written throughout the school year and the accomplishments they've made.

Emma received the Wonderful Worker Award for excelling in all subject areas. Yes, you can imagine how proud we are of her. She scored a 100 on every spelling test this year just to give you an example of how she was chosen for the award.

Receiving her award.
Harper waiting patiently to hear "Sissy" read her story.
Emma waiting patiently to read her story about her classmate Vincent (left).
The proud parents and beautiful daughters.

Our Butterfly Project

Last year, my sister-in-law, Susan (a.k.a "Pootsie") bought the girls a butterfly hatching kit for Easter. I was hesitant to do the project last year as I wasn't sure the girls were old enough to both appreciate it or understand it. This year, it was time to embark on this exciting project.

The kit from Insect Lore comes complete with a butterfly habitat including feeder and a coupon for caterpillars. We sent the coupon two weeks ago and received our butterflies the other day. It's amazing how much they've grown in the 2 days since I've taken these pictures.

They are sent in the cup shown below and must remain in the cup until they are hanging from the cup lid in their chrysalises. Once most are hanging from the lid, we will transfer the lid to the butterfly habitat where they will hatch. Once hatched, we can keep them in the habitat for a few days before releasing them into their natural environment.

Follow along here as we chart their progress and formation into beautiful butterflies!

Baby caterpillars.

Insect Lore sends painted lady butterflies rather than monarchs since monarchs require milkweed leaves in order to form their chrysalises.

It's so much fun to watch how excited the girls are each morning when they see how much the caterpillars have grown. Stay tuned!!

My Glamour Girl

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
We've always known that Emma was going to be a girly girl. From the time she could ask, she requested to have her fingernails painted. We tried to delay it for as long as we could, but alas, we could no longer put off the inevitable at the ripe old age of 3. Ever since then, it's been non-stop pink, glitter, sequins, ribbons, frilly things. You name it, she likes it.
On Saturday, she attended a birthday party where her every glamour desire was indulged.
Makeup, manicure, pedicure, and faux hair! I ask you, does it get any better for a 7 year old girl?

Learning to Ride

Sunday, June 14, 2009
Summers are designed for laid back, easy living. No goals, no time lines, no structure. But this summer, my household has one goal: to teach Emma how to ride a bike (sans training wheels, of course)!

Because she's so eager to learn, we've taken it upon ourselves to make it our top priority this summer.

One person's trash...

Saturday, June 13, 2009
is another's treasure. Recently I found two fantastic items, a plant stand and a pair of lanterns. They needed a little TLC, but seriously, there's nothing a few coats of spray paint can't fix.

Here's the plant stand. I found it curbside at some one's house. They were going to pollute a landfill with this beauty! It was a dull and drab, muted gold.

Now it's a bright and cheery yellow!

I found these laterns at a thrift shop for $4 per pair. I thought they looked a little beat, but again, there's nothing a little spray paint can't cure.
One down, one to go!
Two down!