Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Minion Birthday Party

It's been a while since I've blogged so I'll fill you in on what's been happening over the last month.  We went on vacation in August.  Then all the kids got sick, yes all four of them, each with a different aliment.  Luckily (for me) they were all better in time to start school.  Three weeks of school down and we're into a pretty good routine.  The middle school bus comes early which has cut into "me" time in the mornings, making it hard to find time to blog.  

Now that school has started, my focus has turned to birthdays.  We have three kids born within 3 weeks of each other so I've been busy planning parties.  My youngest daughter, who just started kindergarten, turned 6 last week and she had a Minion Birthday party.  Since we didn't know any of the kids in her class, we decided to invite all 20 of them.  

First up are the invitations.  Her favorite minion is "King Bob" so I put him on the front of the invites and had her color him in.  Inside the invitation is the standard party details.  We decided to hold the party at a local park, because 20 kindergartners at my house just wasn't happening.  I also invited the parents to stay so we could get to know each other and make some new friends just like the kids have been doing in school.

As for food, I tried to stick with a blue and yellow theme.  I bought a Mega bag of M&M's and had my daughter separate out all the blue and yellow ones.  The left overs were autumnal colors which would be great for a fall or Halloween party, but I know they won't last that long at our house.  Oh, and I thought Mega just meant the size of the bag, so I was surprised that the M&M's were mega big.  

We added the M&M's to a big bowl of popcorn along with some pretzels for a fun snack.

You know how minions love their bananas, so we had to have those too.  I used a Sharpie marker to draw on some minion faces.

I also had a some minion fruit snacks, along with some healthy food like: crackers, grapes, cherry tomoatoes and carrots.

We had cupcakes rather than cake, and I wanted to make these cute minion cupcakes that I saw on Pinterest, but that ended up being a big ol' Pinterest Fail.  I've never had luck with the gel icing pens so I thought I'd use an edible marker instead.  The twinkies are very sponge-y and didn't take to the marker.  Oh, well, the kids still loved them and even knew they were supposed to be minions.  If you'd like to try your hand at making those cute minion cupcakes, you can follow THIS link.

Decorations and games also included the blue and yellow theme.  The park had a pavillion with four picnic tables, so I set up one table with Legos to "Build a Minion" and crayons to "Color a Minion".  I had yellow tableclothes on each table and some yellow and blue streamers around the supports.  I was pretty busy getting things ready and completely forgot to take a picture of the whole set up.

I also "minion-ized" the corn hole game using yellow and blue paper and black duct tape.  Since the kids were a bit young to understand corn hole, we just used it as a bean bag toss game.

Because it was at a park, the kids could run and play on the playground equipment which meant that I didn't have to plan many games.  There was a basketball court and I brought sidewalk chalk and scooters for the kids to play with too.

Besides wanting a minion party, my daughter specifically requested a pinata.  Luckily Walmart sells minion pinatas so that's what we got.  The thing was jam packed full of candy and the kids loved collecting it as it fell out of it's butt like it was pooping - yeah the kids thought that part was funny - something I didn't think about when I bought it.

What set this whole minion birthday party theme in motion was a "Minion Camp" my daughter went to over the summer.  They made several minion themed crafts and I used some of them as my party decor.

One party down, two more to go.  As the minions would say "Boo Ya!"

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016


As I mentioned in my last post, we went to a Butterfly House and bought a caterpillar habitat so we could watch it transform into a butterfly.  The habitats were $10 and included a monarch caterpillar on a milkweed plant, along with some instructions.  This seemed like a good deal since other caterpillar habitats cost more and you have to send away for the caterpillars.   At least with this one, I know we are starting with a live caterpillar.   I also thought this would be a fun and educational experience for the kids.  We set it up in our playroom and luckily it never got bumped too hard.  I'm happy to report our caterpillar not only survived, but it transformed into a beautiful butterfly and the kids got to witness the process.

So here's what our habitat looked like when we brought it home:

 There's our little caterpillar.  

For a week it was just eating and eating.  The kids could see it getting a little bigger each day and.  Then it hung upside down in this "J" shape for a day.

The next day, it shed it's skin one last time and formed a chrysalis. 

I thought it was interesting that there was some gold on the chrysalis and when I researched it, I could only find out that it has something to do with wing development.

The green chrysalis got more transparent and the day before it emerged, you could see the wings.

Shortly after I took the above picture, the butterfly emerged from the chrysalis.

The wings slowly unfolded.

Since it takes 1-3 hours for the wings to dry, you should release it after that time.  We were going to the movies and I didn't want the butterfly to get caught in the netting so we tried to turn it loose outside after an hour.  The butterfly wasn't ready to fly away and just hung onto the netting.  When we came back from the movies, it was gone.  Later that day, we saw it flying in the back yard.  We haven't seen a monarch butterfly this season in our yard before or after that, so I think we can safely assume the one we saw was ours.

Here the girls are saying good by to "Mona Lisa", the monarch butterfly.

Oh and in case you are wondering how we knew it was a girl (it's all but impossible to tell the sex of a caterpillar), we used this chart.  Our butterfly didn't have a spot on the wing so that made it a female.

Anyone else do the caterpillar habitat thing?  How did it work for you?  I enjoyed checking on the caterpillar everyday and found it interested to watch the metamorphosis.


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Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Visit to the Butterfly House

Last month we went to Dreamscapes Watergardens in Lebanon PA.
We didn't go there to buy a pond for your backyard, but rather to check out their Butterfly House - Metamorphosis.

According to their website, "Home to hundreds of Pennsylvania Native Butterflies, Metamorphosis Butterfly House features the four stages of butterfly development(egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly) in a unique educational ecosystem.  You might just be lucky enough to see the transformation take place!"  

While we didn't see any transformations during our tour of the Butterfly House, the kids enjoyed seeing all the butterflies and trying to catch them on their feeding sticks.

The cost of the Butterfly House was $6 for adults and $3 for children.  You could also buy feeding sticks for $1 each.  I found a coupon which allowed us to get a free feeding stick with each paid admission.  If you go, I recommend getting a feeding stick.  The kids loved trying to get butterflies to land on their sticks.  This made the experience more interactive and fun.
After all the butterfly pictures, you'll see pictures of the waterscapes and kids play area.  All in all, it was a very fun afternoon and I recommend going there.

The different stages of the butterfly cycle:  egg, caterpillar and chrysalis.

I even had a butterfly land on me!

And since this was a watergarden center, there were fountains and ponds to check out as well as some landscape decorations.

A moss covered deer.

This bench was $500 and the one behind it was $1100.

Lily ponds.


There was also a large kids play area that the kids loved playing at.  We made an afternoon of our visit, even packed a lunch and ate at the picnic area while we were there.  

That green fenced in area was home to "Porkchop" the pig.

The kids thoroughly enjoyed the play area.

A large chalkboard wall to write on was fun.

The swing area was so much fun for them that they didn't want to leave.

They enjoyed this swing so much, I'm thinking of getting one for our basement.

We decided to bring some of the fun home with us so we bought a caterpillar habitat.  

 There's our little caterpillar.  

This post has enough pictures already, so I'll write about our caterpillar turned butterfly in another post.  

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