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Raising Monarchs Part 3

By now you are well aware that we've raised a monarch butterfly from egg stage. However, if you are new to Toys In The Dryer, you can catch up with Part 1, the egg, and Part 2, the growing caterpillar, before you read this part 3, the chrysalis and release of our butterfly. In a total of 32 days our monarch went from a newly laid egg to an adult butterfly! It was fun and interesting to watch! Unfortunately, we missed the most awesome parts such as watching the caterpillar molt, seeing it go into chrysalis, and watching our butterfly emerge from chrysalis, but it was a learning experience none the less. I ended Part 2 of this story on day 20, the day before our caterpillar went into it's chrysalis. On day 21 we awoke to the "j". I knew it wouldn't be long before we had a chrysalis. In fact, if you look closely at the photo on the left above, you can start to see green coming through on the caterpillar. Unfortunately, hubby decided to take the boat out that day and he … [Read more...]

Raising Monarchs Part 2

If you've been following Toys In The Dryer on social media, you know that the girls and I have been raising a monarch butterfly this summer. It has been a ton of fun and a definite learning experience! I ended my last post, Raising Monarchs Part 1 at day 5, the day after our caterpillar hatched from its egg. Only 15 days later, we had a full-grown caterpillar that was ready to make a chrysalis! Though today is day 28, and our little monarch currently resides in it's chrysalis, I will end this post at day 20 because the next phase deserves a post of it's own. For those of you watching, waiting, and asking, yes, I WILL do a slide show of all the slides combined to show our caterpillar's growth but I thought I'd wait until the very end to show the entire transformation. In the mean time, I'll hit the highlights... Monarch caterpillars molt 4 times before molting one last time into their chrysalis. The stages between these molts are called instars and monarchs have 5 … [Read more...]

Raising Monarchs Part 1

A few weeks ago a family friend posted photos on his Facebook page of the Monarch caterpillar his family was raising. I thought it was fascinating to see the changes and thought my girls would love to raise a Monarch too. I called my friend and asked him where he got his Monarch kit. Turns out, they didn't buy a kit. They found the egg themselves! Photo above By Killerlimpet via Wikimedia Commons because I keep forgetting to take a photo of my own.Monarchs lay their eggs on Milkweed plants so if you have Milkweed near you, you can most likely find Monarch eggs. The girls and I set off to explore the walking trail by our house where I knew Milkweed grew. Monarchs in the wild tend to lay one egg per leaf and you can find the eggs on the underside of the leaf. Because the eggs only take 3-4 days to hatch (and make tasty treats for other bugs) they can be a bit difficult to find. After some searching, we found two eggs. We cut the leaves off the plant, brought them inside and … [Read more...]

Sun Made Iced Tea

I've said before that I liked tea parties when I was younger. In the winter, my mom would make Russian Tea. This past week I was reminded of the Sun Tea that she used to make in the summer. Oh yum! It's such a refreshing drink on a warm day. My girls aren't quite sure they like it but I love it! To make sun tea yourself you'll need: 7 plain black tea bags (do not use iced tea or cold brew, use regular ones) 3 fruit tea bags of your choice Sweetener of your choice Drink dispenser with a spigot Put your tea bags in your dispenser. Fill to the top with water and shut the lid tightly. Let it sit in the sun for the day. After a minimum of 6 hours, stir then remove the tea bags. Sweeten to taste and refrigerate. Enjoy! … [Read more...]

Drowning is SILENT

I've been flat on my back sick this week. I've barely had energy to do anything but sleep and eat small amounts of food. However, while browsing Facebook this evening I saw a video by our local news channel that made me suck up some energy, and write this post. Not much has that strong of an impact on me that I get off my sick bed to do it. However, as a mother and pediatric intensive care nurse, I can not emphasize this enough: DROWNING IS SILENT. Monday is Memorial Day and the official kick-off of summer and swimming season (at least in my area). It's the perfect time to remind people that DROWNING IS SILENT. Drowning does not look like you see on TV. It is not arms flailing, yelling for help, and a bunch of coughing. A person who is in trouble in the water will bob silently up and down. They will not flail, they will not call for help. Their main goal is to keep their nose above water but they won't last long trying to do so. The person who is drowning in the water is the … [Read more...]

National Night Out Party Ideas

National Night Out celebrates it's 30th anniversary on August 6th, 2013.  Though my neighborhood doesn't celebrate National Night Out (we like to be different), we do have a block party every summer.  Just like the official "Night Out", our block party is a time to get to know the new neighbors and connect with the established ones that we don't see on a regular basis.  We are known to have the "the best block party in town" and frequently have people from neighborhoods close by crash our party to hear the bands play.  Our block party really is  big deal... In honor of this year's upcoming National Night Out 30th Anniversary, I thought I would share some ideas from my neighborhood block parties that have helped them to be successful every year... 1)  Register your party on the National Night Out website.   They've got a ton more ideas than we do to make your party a success! If your party is simply a block party and not related to National Night Out, make sure to call … [Read more...]