Category: Uncategorized

Raising Monarchs: Our Family’s Adventure

I’ve always loved butterflies and teaching the girls the life cycle of a butterfly was seriously on like my top 10 reasons for homeschooling.

There are a million books, crafts and snacks having to do with the life cycle.

But actually watching one grow- that’s a little harder. Like A LOT harder than I thought it would be.

I was all, sure, let’s bring in some caterpillar eggs! Until NONE of them turned into a butterfly….cue new talk on death instead of a beautiful butterfly.

I bought milkweed plants from my local Lowe’s/ Home Depot and one more from my produce stand (which already had one caterpillar on it!)

I bought a mesh container for housing from Amazon, but for my first cats (butterfly lady speak for caterpillars), I used clear plastic cups from iced coffees, etc. and poked lots of holes in the top.

I have only collected (so far) much larger cats- they call them instars- 4th or 5th instars. They seem to be hardier.

I bring them in and put 2-3 milkweed leaves in with them to eat. Once they go through those, I clean out the frass (caterpillar poop) and give them new leaves.

Once they go into chrysalis (DON’T call it a cocoon!), ours eclosed right around 14 days.

After they came out, I waited 24 hours to release to make sure their wings were dry.

OH- and then there’s making sure the milkweed doesn’t get TAKEN OVER by aphids, aka disgusting yellow bugs that eat caterpillar eggs!

I’ve squished them (blech), sprayed the with water, insecticidal soap and in extreme cases (but also the most effective and quickest way), Sevin Dust. I’ve made sure there aren’t any cats on the plants when I use the Sevin.

I’ve also joined Facebook groups, where people have MUCH more experience than me and have been extremely helpful!

Strawberry Festival


It’s March here in Florida, which, for most people means Spring Break.

For us here in Plant City, it means strawberry season.

And strawberry season means The Strawberry Festival!

It’s kind of a big deal.

HUGE.

People wear rhinestoned strawberry shirts. Kids get dressed up in strawberry dresses and headbands. There’s a court and a Queen.

And the debate on whether you should put a biscuit or shortcake underneath your Strawberry Shortcake? It can get ugly. (BTW, shortcake ALL. THE. WAY. over here)

Before we had kids, we avoided it like the plague.

Tourist attraction.

Traffic.

Crowds.

Three of my husband’s least favorite things.

The first year I took Emma by myself since Eric was out of town for work. We watched her older cousin dance. And she wore these adorable pajamas:

image

image

Emma 2013

The next year, Addie was a baby so baby carrier all the way. Plus, I had to get “matching” pictures of both girls in their strawberry jammies.

image

image

Addie 2014

image

Ferris Wheel ride= sun right in the face of the baby. #parentingwin

 

The next year, my parents joined us. Addie had just turned a year old and demanded to try some of my “Memomade” aka lemonade. I told her she would hate it, it was bitter and let her try it. Little shit drank the whole thing.  And is STILL obsessed with “Memomade.”

image

image

2015

This year, I met my mom and her friend there, we HAD to get a lemonade and ride the ferris wheel, but I also got this adorable side-by-side picture of my girls.

image

What a difference a year makes.

 

In Plant City, we do strawberries. And we do them well.

Can’t wait for next year!