Wednesday, July 31, 2013


You know as a child I never really cared much for bees. I remember selling candy door to door for school and coming up to a big purple house with lavender bushes in front. Each bush loaded with small bumble bees flying about crazily and bumping into my legs as they buzzed by clumsily. It wracked my nerves and I was sure I was going to get stung. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I was actually relieved no one came to the door so that I didn't need to stand there any extra time and I wouldn't have to come back to deliver candy to them after they ordered. I was not a fan of stinging insects and certainly not ones that could fly too. My fear came from ignorance though, like fear so often does.

Now as an adult I have come to love bees. Both honey bees and bumble bees. I was thrilled when we moved into our house and I discovered our back yard was filled with happy buzzing wild honey bees and bumble bees. I've run through our yard barefoot on many occasion and only once have I gotten stung. Mind you it was my fault for not watching where I was stepping. The kids have not been stung yet, despite the fact that they catch both honey and bumble bees on a daily basis. Yes, you read that right. My 5yr old started it and I was thoroughly amazed the first time she brought me a bee in the empty bubble bottle with a walnut covering the top to keep it from flying off. She is my little entomologist in the making so I was surprised she was able to capture it without getting stung but not so surprised by the idea of her trying. I was even more surprised when my 4 and 2 yr olds began catching them the same way without getting stung. How many 2yr old kids run around catching bees and don't get stung?

Now you might think the bees would get angry and want to retaliate after this. However these bees are so docile that the kids just remove the walnut while still holding the container and the bees just gracefully fly out, up, and away. It's pretty cool actually. I decided to give their technique a try. All the while I was half expecting that I would get stung doing it. Isn't that how it would work? Well I'm happy to say I did NOT get stung and it was actually surprisingly easy and not scary. When you're watching someone else it looks more risky than it actually is. I feel a lot better about them doing it now that I've tried it myself.

Even if they did get stung it wouldn't be the end of the world though. Everyone has to get stung at some point right? Just one more of life's experiences that we wouldn't be completely whole without. Besides bee stings are NOTHING compared to wasp stings. Did you know bee stings actually contain around 40 different healing properties? A lot of people use bee stings as an alternative treatment for a whole host of different common ailments. It's called apitherapy. You can read about it some here. So maybe we should start saying thanks when we get stung, lol. Okay maybe not but maybe at least not getting to bent out of shape about it anyway. Unless you're allergic that is. ;-)

Bees are so important that we haven't actually done a lesson plan on them yet. I want to make a really good one and maybe a week long thing on them. Although I don't know a week might be a little too much for my kid's attention spans at these ages. Keep an eye on my blog though and you'll see a lesson plan on bees soon. :-)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Birthday Mushroom Dresses

July is such a busy month for us. Half of our family of 6 has birthdays in this month alone within two weeks. So I feel a bit burnt out and frazzled to say the least.

I did manage to make our two birthday girls matching birthday dresses though. I'm pretty impressed with myself actually. I managed to get two dresses. One a size 4t and one a size 12-18m out of just one yard of my main fabric. I did use a different fabric to line the bodices and I decided to add a little ruffle of a different fabric to bring out the red and white polka-dot mushroom caps on some of the mushrooms. The main fabric is pink and covered in mushrooms. I don't like eating mushrooms very much but I love them decorating things. They make everything seem so magical and woodland-y. Okay so woodland-y isn't a real word but at least it makes more sense in the real word then braggadocious which was recently added to the dictionary. I'm glad I've never heard someone use that word before, lol. The sad thing is that isn't even the most absurd new addition. I can't even guess at the meaning of some of them so I'm going to play it safe and not post those on here. Who knows what I may accidentally say if I do.

Anyway without further ado here are lovely woodland-y dresses, and even more lovely birthday girls.

 Nom nom nom, sticks taste good!

 Of course I know you want to know what the back looks like too.

So these dresses are from my go to pattern that I use for everything. I have pictures taken to post a tutorial for it but it's going to take some time to put together. If you would like the tutorial just leave me some comments about it and I'm sure that will light the proverbial fire under my tushie too get it done a bit faster. ;-)

Monday, July 15, 2013

White Rolly Polly?

We have a garden container in front of our house. We planted creepy floxx there and it didn't do well. We had some marigolds left over and thought we'd put those there. Well they all got eaten. We thought maybe a squirrel or a raccoon. Turns out rolly pollies like tender young marigolds.  I didn't know they would go after any plants. I thought they only ate dead wood. Oh well. I guess I need to find a plant to put there that they don't like to eat since we have soooooooo many of them living in that flower bed.

Did you know rolly pollies could be white? I've seen plenty of grey ones and even some that were grey with yellow spots but never white. Well, never until now. I don't know how rare these are but check out these crazy pics.

This little guy (or gal) was the same size as a full grown rolly polly. You could see just a little color from it's internal organs and the black of it's eyes.

Some sources say they are white after molting. However arthropods apparently don't normally molt all at once and this little guy was completely white. From the tip of it's antenna to the end of ever tiny leg and it's entire underbelly as well.

Things you might not know about rolly pollies:

They are also called pill bugs, wood sow, wood louse
They are not insects
They are arthropods
More specifically they are crustaceans 
They are more closely related to lobsters than any insect
They can live 2 to 3 yrs
They carry their eggs in a pouch like a kangaroo and lay around 100 eggs at a time
They have 7 pairs of legs for a total of 14

Ok so there are some random facts for you about roll pollies. Do you have any rolly polly facts I left out? Do you know how rare my all white rolly polly is? I'd love to know more. Especially with all the unusually colored crustaceans turning up elsewhere it would be interesting to find out if my "pill bug" is another abnormality or just a natural part of it's life cycle. 

As far as games go when using this for a lesson plan. I suggest just letting the kids loose in the yard with jars and let them catch all they can. Who didn't love doing that as a kid? You could do a snack to go with it of "ants on a log" and just call it rolly pollies on a log. I think raisins look more like rollie pollies than ants anyway. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Very Easy Dog Leash

A couple years ago a friend asked me to make her a dog leash. In exchange she sent me baby clothes I think. I don't really remember anymore. I didn't have blog at the time but I did still publish and share a tutorial for how to make these super simple leashes. They are just like what you buy in the store only they cost a fraction of the price and you can customize them anyway you want. I have the original pictures on my external hard drive but as I am lazy right now I don't feel like going to get them to post the full tutorial here. Instead I'll post the link over to my instructibles page where you can view the full tutorial which is really only like two steps. Yes, it's that easy! Click here to learn how. 

In the tutorial I kept it simple for any beginners out there but you can easily add a ribbon to these as well. This is a great first sewing project as it takes very little cutting, very little investment, and very little work. It is nearly instant gratification.