The Butterflies are Blooming!

Yesterday, in honor of the Spring Equinox, we went to the Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan to see the most incredible butterflies from all around the world!

There are over 7,000 tropical butterflies of 50 different species to wonder about there, all within a spectacular tropical conservatory. There are Brush-footed, Longwings and Swallowtails. They have a special space where emerging butterflies ,make their way out of the chrysalis and into the world, completely transformed. We never get tired of watching the process.

We found this great video (also posted below) about butterfly farming in Atlanta. Many of the butterflies they get at FMG are sourced from tropical areas in South America and Africa. What an amazing harvest they have!!





Egg-stra! Egg-stra!

The egg-straviganza has begun on Water Street! Today is day 7 of incubation. We started with 13 eggs with the egg-ception of one that broke in transit from Wisconsin. We purchased the fertile bantam eggs from Purely Poultry (which were strangely egg-spensive). We chose egg-squsite blue laced red wyandottes, egg-septional golden and silver sebrights and of course, egg-strordanairy easter eggers, since Mom loves those egg-straterrestrial blue eggs! It took a while to get the incubator to be consistent in temperature and humidity, but once it was set, we scrambled to get the eggs in place!  Our incubator has an automatic egg turner, which is simply egg-semplary because otherwise, we’d be turning them by hand 3 times a day which would be egg-sausting and quite an egg-sercise! Keeping the humidity constant at around 45% has been egg-cruciating, luckily, we’re home and can keep a close check on it.

This morning, we candled the eggs it was a little unnerving having the eggs egg-sposed to the cold air but we have to because the infertile ones can egg-splode! It was hard because the embryos are so little (see the development chart) and many of the eggs have darker shells. We are egg-specting that 2 are infertile and possibly 3 more that are no longer viable, we’re hoping it won’t get any more egg-treme. Ugh. That will bring us down to 7 possible chicks that we are hoping and hoping and hoping are FEMALE! Day 5, the gender is determined. We visited often, b-egg-ing for healthy baby girls!!!! Why so many girls you ask? We can only have hens according to this ordinance pilot. Four of them. Statistically, we’ll end up with 50% female, but then toss on top of that, we are hoping for a variety of breeds and this could end in trouble. Oh nature! This is such an amazing egg-ucation!

We’ll keep you posted with sunny-side-up developments. I promise not to include this egg-stream amount of puns in the next egg-semplary update! I’m just so egg-cited but I know this can be egg-sausting. I better get crackin’ with the rest of my school work – it’s almost the weekend!


Screen shot 2014-08-21 at 10.00.22 PM400x400px-LL-449df76a_candling

NOTE: The Featured Image at the top of this post was taken from Nantahala Farms. We had a terrible time trying to capture our own candling process so we thank them for the great shot of what we experienced here :0)

Finding Balance…

We’re always trying to find balance. Every day… when we stand, squat, pick up a bag or our plate from the kitchen to bring to the table. We experienced finding the center of gravity in many new ways… we’ve learned about before and these hands on activities helped remind us and reinforce some superior balancing skills!

3 Activities:

Activity 1: Grab a 3′ dowel. Find the center point by balancing it on a finger and mark it with your best guess. Now measure it to see if you were right. How close was your mark? Ours were pretty close :0)

Activity 1b: Next, take that same dowel, turn it on its end and balance it on your palm. Pretty simple, right? Add a fist full of play dough and position it towards the bottom of the stick. Now try and balance it again. Easier or harder? Flip the dowel over so the play dough is toward the top. Try your hand at balancing it again. Easier or harder this time? We thought the results were surprising until we thought about the center of gravity and rotation!

Activity 2: Then, we did this cool experiment found here. 2 forks, 2 toothpicks, a lighter and a LOT of patience (Thank goodness for Olive!!). This experiment was SUPER fun… we love ay experience that we get to see bits of fire.

Activity 3: The last activity was using an empty pop can. Try and balance it on its bottom edge. Doesn’t really work… UNTIL… you grab a cup of water and add a little until you find the optimal balancing point of your choice. (Here’s a tip: less is more…. thats a clue, but you’re a smart organism – you can figure it out!) Depending on how much water is inside the can when you first balance it you can keep filling it in its balanced state until it goes over its center of gravity! (But be aware, after learning the fun of this we kept filling it more and more until it tipped and it nearly wiped out everything that was on the table!)

They were fun experiments and helped us better understand something that is happening every day all around us. Finally, we know how to find balance… well, except for that long list of things we need to do…..;0).



Wait…Is That a… Rainbow?

Almost every week, Olive and I make a full-blown meal including dinner, dessert and special beverages for school which is called, ‘Become a Chef’! Last night, our theme was ‘rainbow’, so Olive made rainbow, almond cupcakes with buttercream frosting and I made rainbow veggie pizza using tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn (may sound cray cray but it was surprisingly great!), broccoli, purple cabbage and red onions! Also in all honesty as much as I’d like to take the credit, I took the recipe from this website called Genius Kitchen. They’ve got lots of different, easy-to-make recipes and you can even make your own!

So! Since we’re on the topic of rainbows here’s a little info on how rainbows form (look out – here comes some science!)… There are 2 vital things needed to make a rainbow: First being the sun and second being rain. When rain falls the raindrops act like a mini prism. When the drop hits sunlight the light is reflected around the drop which projects refracted light in a spectrum of colors, which we then see with our eyes as a rainbow. That is the very, very simple explanation. This is a cooking post, after all…


Cardboard Warriors…

Hello there fellow human! In the last month, Olive and I have been making handmade clothing for our dolls and toys such as bathing suits, pants, ball gowns and props like that. And so, when we saw this video on Great Big Story about this thing called BoxWars, by the end of the day we were EXPLODING with inspiration and had made a real live jets and armor to go with it! (It actually took several days considering it was the middle of the week and we had aggressive school days planned!)

***On a completely unrelated topic: EGG-CITING NEWS!!! We’ve ordered the eggs and the incubator is all set up for hatching! I’m just egg-sploding with happiness!!!! We decided on egg-cellent bantam chicks. Here’s an egg-sample, let me egg-splain… they’re egg-actly like normal chickens but everything about them is teeny – even their little egg-spressions which are egg-strodanarily ADORABLE! The wait is egg-ravating, but stay tuned for more egg-squisite news! Maybe we’ll hatch up some cardboard jet brooders for the baby chicks. Now that, would be egg-cellent!




How Sweet it is!

Hey! So it turns out that we forgot to put a post up from 2015!! It was finished we just forgot to post it… so we thought “now is as good’a time as any! So without further ado, Go forth brave soldier! Learn about sugar and its glory!!!!

Sugar has been a topic of discussion this week. We were also covering changes in states of matter. Combine the 2 and you get this experiment!

Our materials for this experiment were: domino sugar cubes, a paper towel, a big flat bowl filled with warm water and food coloring.  The first round of fun was putting 2 single cubes of sugar into the shallow bit of water and quickly placing a single drop of coloring on each. Within less than a minute they had completely dissolved!

We then make it even more exciting: we stacked 3 cubes and put one drop of food coloring on it. Then we quickly transferred the tower into the water of the bowl and a rainbow explosion of color went everywhere! {not the walls and ceiling just the bowl. :0) Less than 1 minute later the dots had dissolved and we were left with some dishes to do…

A cool experiment. Fast. Fun and very colorful!!


notice how much better the iPhone 7 camera resolution is rather than the iPhone 5’s! Amazing!!!



1, 2, 3… Hatch 3.0!!

It started last spring at the end of school and it all began with a simple question we asked our Mom and Dad…”Could we get chickens?” It made sense because we already hatched many birds before, and we wanted some of our own. So we went to city hall to see if it was okay, we assumed it would be because a few people already had chickens in their own backyard, but it turned out, we couldn’t. There was an ordinance against it, so we decided to begin a Civics Project and began ‘hatching’ a plan for action – we were hoping to change that ordinance!

Month 1 and 2. First we did a whole lot of research on other ordinances in towns near us and across the State of Michigan. We took a closer look at chicken behavior and population density in the cities that allowed backyard chickens to create a suggested ordinance. We learned that most towns have renewable 1 year permits with restrictions on roosters, locations and how many hens you could keep. We wrote a suggested ordinance to bring to our fair city of Douglas for consideration in addition to a petition we had residence who were in support of it sign. That took us to about June.

Month 3.  I think it was July when it was presented to the City Council. They moved it on for input and a vote from the Planning Commission. Now, there’s something worth noting about these meetings. They start at 7:00 at night. The room has 56 chairs in total, and the process and people are very formal during their chats about life in the city of Douglas. An interesting fact: The City of Douglas is legally called “The City of the Village of Douglas”. Hmmm. Not super catchy, but it gives us advantages of a city but can still call ourselves a village.

Month 4, 5, 6 & 7. By now, we’ve gone to every Planning Commission meeting and we’ve observed a lot! Each month we went, we thought – “this is IT – a final draft will be voted on”! But then there were more changes. More discussion. More questions. How many feet from a neighbors house should they be allowed? How many hens are too many? What about disease? Maybe neighbors should be allowed to reject someone next to them getting the little feathered ladies. What about predators? The questions went on and on. Lisa, the zoning administrator rewrote the ordinance each month adding and subtracting restrictions as the meetings came and went. Respect Lisa, respect!

Month 8. III’m dreaming of a… brown christmas. Still not approved but at least this idea was still moving along. More details worked out, more restrictions added. The problem was, at this point, we no longer qualified to have chickens on our property!! With a deep sigh and a feeling of defeat, Mom went to that meeting alone to say thank you for all the hard work, but that there were so many restrictions, (even though we live on over an acre and a half of land!), there was nowhere to put a coop without violating the rules the Planning Commission put in place. I guess it was then that members of the Commission decided that it was too restrictive and amended the restriction of ‘backyard’ to allowing them in the ‘side yard’ in certain conditions. One more change for Lisa, and we were back in the chicken game! We’re beginning to learn just how long it can take to change a law, and now we’ve gotten glimpse into an average adult’s life. Also, respect.

Months 9 & 10. Welcome to January 2018! Well, they did it!  After the Planning Commission’s final vote to recommend passed 4 in favor, 3 not, it was sent straight back to City Council where they made a few minor changes and then was voted on, (drum roll please!) they all said yes and no objections! YEESSS!!!!!!!  We were so excited we danced right out the door, laid in the freezing snow in the middle of the sidewalk crying and laughing! Now it’s February and we will be able to get the very first permit as soon as it is drafted!!! We decided on hatching Bantams, mini versions of regular chickens and our friend Eddie has gifted us his old chicken coop. AAAAAH!! SOOOO HAPPY!!!!

 Okay, so here’s the review.  It took a total of 11 months and still counting, Olive and I are each one year older, the ordinance is FOUR pages long and it’s a one year trial, with a maximum of 5 permits granted. The planning commission gained a new person, we got a new Mayor (with cool hair and an upbeat personality!). But as an experience, we thought it was certinly our longest ongoing project but one of the best for sure! We promise to give y’all an update when we got the whole set up rolling but in the meantime, a Mt. Everest sized thank you to Lisa, the Planning Commission and the City Council for all their effort in making it possible for new feathered friends to be part of our family!!

We’ll take you on our many adventures to come. Stay tuned!


We can’t actually get roosters but I thought it was a pretty chicken anyway!
The ordinance is so long it took an entire page in our local newspaper to print!