This past weekend, my girls along with my husband and I enjoyed an afternoon of visiting local antique shops. Our favorite place is the Barntique Village in Moriches. With over 18 shops on a historic 19th century farm, you can spend a whole day in and out of each one looking at all different types of treasures and trinkets. While my husband was looking through old tools and furniture the girls and I were having a blast trying on old vintage hats and clothes. The girls went crazy over the shoes, hats and purses at this one shop. When they were done trying everything on I told the woman behind the counter she should host little girls birthday parties as they would definitely have a timeless time! So many great photo opportunities missed because I forgot my camera and my phone takes awful pictures. But I did manage to get these!
Here is the butterfly that emerged from our cocoon several weeks ago. I believe it’s called a Black Swallowtail. We have never raised this type of butterfly, so it was very exciting to all of us when we peeked into our butterfly house and discovered that the enormous caterpillar we found in our garden turned into this beautiful creature!
When my daughter Isabel turned four she received a lovely butterfly house from one of our friends. Every year since, we have been experiencing the beauty of raising a butterfly from a little tiny caterpillar (this year it was two huge caterpillars). Watching a caterpillar change into a chrysalis and than into a beautiful butterfly is a great way to experience insect metamorphosis. All you need is a caterpillar (in the years past we have ordered our caterpillars from www.insectlore.com, but this year we found our very own right in our vegetable garden), add some of its favorite food such as leaves and flowers and drops of water, and a suitable container, or store bought butterfly house. You can find caterpillars on most plants during the spring and early summer. Put the caterpillar and a few fresh leaves in a wide mouth jar or plastic shoebox. Cover the jar mouth with netting or a piece of nylon. Every day change the leaves and provide dry paper towels to help prevent mold. You can put in little twigs upon which the caterpillar can attach its chrysalis or silken coc oon (with the pupa inside). The insect will hatch in 10-14 days. Don’t forget to take pictures of each beautiful stage.
It seems as the school year comes to an end, my girls realize how much they love and will miss their teachers. My daughter Melina asked me the other night, “Mom?, can I take Miss. Christine and all my teachers to Kindergarten with me?” The fact that they get so close to these teachers only to have to say goodbye to them breaks their hearts and mine too! My girls take a while to warm up to someone, so by the time they have warmed up it’s time to say goodbye! They both really love their teachers and are very sad about the change that will come. I told them, “In life, there are going to be lots of wonderful people that will come into your lives, sometimes they stay for a while and sometimes they leave sooner than we are prepared for, so treasure them while they are in your life and know that they will always have a special place in your heart.”
I will never forget the wonderful teachers who taught me. Miss Ladhie, Miss Murphy, Miss Lane, Miss Thornton and so many more. I loved them all so much. Everyone of them helped to create the person I have become. I wish I could say thank you to them today!
Now that school is about to end I wanted my girls to have a special way to thank their own teachers. I couldn’t think of anything special enough so I asked a friend who happens to be a teacher and she said she loves getting a plant especially a plant that’s in a pot decorated by the child. I instantly loved the idea and so did the girls!! I went out the next day and bought some inexpensive pots from Target and Family Dollar and had the girls pick out flowers at a local nursery. I was going to have them paint the pots but instead decided to have them use permanent markers. This made decorating them much easier and allowed them to work on the pots throughout the week without making a big mess and I don’t have to worry about their drawings getting washed off by the rain! They had a good 2 weeks to work on the pots before we planted the flowers. This also makes a great Get Well gift, Mothers Day gift or any kind of occasion gift!
As the kids are growing I realize there are more and more things they can help me with. This time it was wrapping birthday presents. They were so excited when I asked them and honestly I wasn’t expecting a perfect job. But they wrapped these presents more beautifully than I ever could. I don’t know why but my kids turn everything into a project (I’m sure my constant project prompting has something to do with it). After they were done with wrapping the gifts they asked me if they could decorate over the wrapping paper and I said sure why not. I actually have a bin where I put all of the trinkets they collect from parties, Easter baskets, Halloween, and school prizes such as, stickers, tattoos, balloons, play necklaces, bracelets and many other little things. I gave them the bin and told them they could put whatever they were willing to get rid of onto the presents. My kids have a hard time giving anything away, but they found such joy in adding these trinkets onto their little cousins presents. After they were done they wanted more presents to wrap. They are officially my present wrappers and I love how they got rid of some stuff at the same time.
No matter where we go, my daughters are always finding treasures. They love looking for someones lost trinkets at the park, or cool rocks and bottle caps. My daughter Isabel is my biggest treasure hunter! She loves her cool finds and is never willing to part with them. One day we went to a near by working farm (Yaphank Farm) and they found marbles, pine cones, shells and rocks and several little trinkets. I couldn’t bare the thought of where all of these little things would end up so as soon as we came home I looked to see if we had shoe boxes and to my surprise we had three! I got out my craft bin, some colorful duct tape (I love duct tape and make sure I always have some in stock) and helped the girls to create a Treasure Box. I covered the boxes with colorful duct tape and I had them do the rest. The Boxes are stored in their closet and every time they find something they add it to their collection.
Can We Paint? I hear this question at least 10 times a week if not more! My kids love to paint, they are natural born creators and I make sure to keep them equipped with the tools to quench their desires. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood for the mess (like I mentioned in my previous post), but when we have the time I remind myself that once they are done the mess gets cleaned up and I am left with such beautiful art work. My home is their gallery, their pieces hang throughout it. It brings me such joy when I see them. For this painting session I gave the girls large drawing paper from the dollar store. I use whatever I have available. You can use a paper bag, even news paper or card board. The kids don’t care as long as they are painting. I brought out our bin filled with paint. I have all different types of paint, Finger paint, Acrylic and Tempera paint. I keep all of our paints and brushes in a large bin so it makes it easy to have everything ready when the kids ask to paint. It also makes it easy to bring the paints outside when weather permits. We have these fun foam cube stamps the kids love to use them with paint. You can find them at any craft store or online. They had fun experimenting with each shape and mixing them to create their own personal piece. They are so easy for little hands to use! Oh and I always make sure to play classical music. It’s relaxing and the girls enjoy it!
This year for Mother’s Day we took a nice long ride out to the Montauk Point Lighthouse. This is where the girls discovered and took home these beautiful rocks. My daughter Lia is always asking me if she could paint, some days we have time for it but some days we just don’t or I just don’t feel like cleaning up the mess (which was the case on this day)! However, I was able to satisfy her urge by having her use plain water and a brush to paint onto these lovely rocks. I simply gave her a glass of water, some paint brushes and a paint roller and of course a bucket of rocks and she got right to work. She loved applying the water and watching it dry up and starting all over again. This kept her quite busy and I have to admit it kept me quite busy too. It was so relaxing and so fun to watch the effect of the water on the rocks. I left the rocks set up for the whole day. My 4 year old loved it and jumped right in as soon as she came home from pre-school and so did my 7 year old when she arrived home from school. It was definitely something they all enjoyed!
Every time I download pictures from my camera I find these amazing images taken by my daughters Isabel and Melina. These photos were amongst the ones that literally made my jaw drop when I discovered them on my camera! They captured such beauty in places I never would have looked. I just had to share them. Melina loves taking photos of her shoes and her cute little face. Isabel loves to take closeups of objects and she took a great one of her sister! Lia is starting to get a hold of the camera but her photos are of the wall or my back side or me trying to grab the camera from her…they would probably give you all a good laugh!