To be 5 again :-)

My twins turned 5 earlier this month. It was more low key than their sisters birthday but just as fun 😊

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This year they got a mixture of toys; Lego, build your own robot & car (that runs on solar energy or salt water!) Some iron man toys and transformer remote controlled cars.

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I have to say it’s been fantastic to be able to enjoy life with my kids without the added stress of fitting everything in around homework and school.
My kids learn whenever and wherever they want. We can travel on a whim and ask questions at anytime!
We’ve met the loveliest people since starting on our home end journey over a year and a half ago. It’s been great.

In other news our stick insects have also had an eventful week.
Unfortunately for Tiny it resulted in the loss of a leg! 😢

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She is very delicate so must have got her leg stuck between the brambles over night. She’s ok though and still climbing everywhere.
Her bigger associate, “Biggie” was caught having fun with the kids Lego 😂

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Oh and before I forget, I must share my latest Mini Make!

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A pro breastfeeding baby hat! My partner didn’t quite get the joke, thought it would be better to tell those easily offended to “educate themselves” however we live in a society where only the brave/bold or crazy do that 😉
I’d love to make more of these so amongst my other crochet ideas hopefully I’ll find time to fit in some more hats! 😊

Recapping our tiny xmas

I’m sure you don’t really want to read anything related to Christmas in January however I’ll quickly recap how ours went since it was decided we were not “going all out”.

I bought one present for my kids, Santa also bought them one each. Oops tell a lie, he brought a small play doh kit for my twins to share. Grand total? £25 + a £20 doll my hubby bought for our daughter, however that was a mistake as we went to Asda and the doll was meant to be £13.97…unfortunately he doesn’t check receipts until he’s home! Too late. But Asda lost our custom for good (as that’s not the first time it’s happened).

Anyway my friends and family got the kids and us some presents and to be honest I found it altogether much  better. My kids didn’t rip through tonnes of presents then sit a little unsure what to do next nor did they decide the next day that they’re already bored with their new toys. Why? Because they weren’t overwhelmed.

They had their play and we got ready for dinner at auntie’s house. They got a handful of presents altogether and still play with them everyday. Not once have they disregarded their new toys in boredom once the ‘excitement of Xmas’ wore off, which is what I found happened every year prior when I bought toys just to fill more space under that damn tree.

I want to teach my children the value of that which is priceless and not the value of their material items. They don’t need things, they need love, attention, time and fun. You can’t buy happiness.

I have birthdays coming up in the next two months for my kids and I’ve bought one toy for them each. And that is all I will buy. It is educational and lots of fun but I can’t share it just yet! You’ll have to wait and see 😊

🎉Happy 2016. Hoping this one is filled with more love and less money than the last 💚💛💜💙

What summer?

We spent the majority of August wondering where our summer was? Apparently it was in the Algarve.. 😉

We went to kidzania last week: our replacement tickets for losing half the time in the bomb evacuation last time.
It was quiet at first, only one small school group, my 4yos decided they didn’t care to wait in queues so they still didn’t get to go on the fire engine but I can’t fault kidzania for that one, my boys werent feeling too patient so they went to the ambulance instead. A few mini cartoons later & some talk on first aid care they got to ride the ambulance.

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They didn’t think much of having to get out and help the injured patient though 😂 they just wanted to stay in the  ambulance!
My eldest (9yo) got to do what she wanted, although I thought the activities were sometimes aimed for a younger audience she still enjoyed herself, rock climbing, chocolate making, drumming…

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Overall the kids had fun, but I’d say on a normal business day it’s a lot busier than it was when we went so my boys would not have been able to go on many activities due to the queues. If I was ever to go again I’d wait until my twins were at least 6.

Also I was very disappointed at the prices in the toy shop. If you think museums price high then you haven’t seen the Kidzania shop prices! The fact that you’ve just spent over the odds for a ticket in but you still have to pay over the odds for foods (there are many cleverly placed, indulgent food stands), buggy storage and little kidzania memorabilia I think is just out of order.

So pack a lunch and remain firm, luckily my kids were a little too distracted to notice most of the sweet shops, and try have fun! They do have free WiFi, albeit a bit slow but still something for you to do whilst your kids are busy in an activity for 30 mins or so whilst you look on. 🙂

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Many Very Hungry Caterpillars!

I haven’t updated in a while, been quite busy. But we released our 4 butterflies as the females wanted to keep mating and starting laying far too many eggs so we quickly let them go! Hopefully she managed to lay some eggs outside too.
On my last rough count as I changed the thistle in the caterpillars boxes we had approx 150-200 eggs!! Now the first 2/3 instars of a caterpillars life are tough so we did lose a lot too. My last rough count was still over 100 though so we have many! They seem to have taken preference to the thistle over stinging nettles which suits me as thistle brings in less bugs than stinging nettles seem to. We’re lucky there is a good abundance of wild plants in our local park as every two days we have to change their thistle for freshly cut ones.

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They are so tiny and adorable at this stage! The two “stripey” looking ones have moulted, so probably past their 2nd instar already. We have lots at different stages so once they all get to stage 4 (out of 5) were taking some down to the park and hope they can form their pupas in the vast amount of stinging nettles or thistle there as we won’t have space for 100+ butterflies!! 😂
I can’t wait to have a lot to release at the same time though, kids are excited, it will look amazing & will hopefully boost the amount of butterflies our local park will get too!

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Its a lot of work as you have to painstakingly take out each leaf and carefully look for tiny caterpillars and remove them from the folds, throw away the old leaves, clean their pot and replace with fresh leaves every 2 days! Ahh…as they get bigger it is getting a bit easier to spot them 😁

We have been thinking of visiting the Wetland Centre in London, I can’t decide if I should add a 2nd adult to my pass & if I do, who as I hardly go on trips like this with my other half (we usually go whilst he works) but if we do want to go with him he’d have to pay £10 just to get in! 😑 in my opinion you shouldn’t have to name the 2nd adult as it limits who you can bring, perhaps a friend wants to tag along to try it out, why should it matter who the 2nd adult is? I still have to pay for the extra adult anyway!

Well I shall update next week to see what stage most of our caterpillars are at and whether we have released any….

4 Beautiful Butterflies

Day 26 and we now have 4 butterflies. I missed the emerging unfortunately but have been able to take some shots throughout.

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The red is not blood, its called meconium. Basically its waste from the butterflies. They use it to fill their wings then expel the rest so be sure to put disposable paper towels down! 🙂

The butterflies needed about a day after emerging to stiffen their wings, placing them in direct sunlight (on our window sill) helped a lot.

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We placed a paper towel soaked in sugary water in a lid for them to drink & some fruits.
Taking close shots was easy but since the last butterfly emerged its been a little tricky 😁

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We’ve now got two mating, they can mate for up to 8 hours and should not be disturbed so I’ve left them and hopefully the female will lay her eggs on the stinging nettle plant we potted.

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Its been lots of fun but it isnt over yet as we have the task of rearing the eggs to look forward to next!

We have a pupa!

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Day 11 & we have a fresh pupa! Can’t believe I missed it! I actually thought this one was later in stage than the other caterpillar but he’s changed first..

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Here’s his head… 😱 its all very exciting and gross haha 😂

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This guy will change tonight so I’m hoping I’ll spot our last two unchanged caterpillars tomorrow and watch the final process. When they’ve become butterflies I plan to make a little photo slide of all the pictures I’ve taken so the process from tiny black worm to butterfly can be seen a lot easier! 😛

The kids are excited about the changes and have enjoyed handling them (not really recommended per say but what’s the point if you can’t eh?!) 😜

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And we also cleaned their pot of waste and excess silk!

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This guys can fill this pot pretty darn quickly! 😮
Its been interesting watching them as they seem to have their own characters. At the moment one seems obsessed with making a silk ‘den’, if you like, around him but he’s been disturbing the changing caterpillars today much to their annoyance. (We call him the “Dumb hotdog guy” a Lego game/mini figure reference!) They swing around and headbutt him and shake all over but he just carries on grabbing silk and sticking it here and there! I haven’t seen him eat much today either. Then there’s the other unchanged caterpillar (Eldest named it ‘Caterpie’ after a pokemon!) that has kept away from the hanging ones and eaten a lot all day! The changing ones are called Batman and Wyldstyle…. 😁 we know (most of the time) who is who because they all have slightly different sizes & acted a little different. Batman got his name because when we first got them he hung upside down a lot but the others didn’t. Wyldstyle is simply named after my sons favourite Lego movie character 😁

So a lot of fun has been had over these past 11 days! We’re hoping to find some plants for the butterflies but so far no luck! I shall have to look in some flower shops tomorrow….I dont know where any are around me….! 😯
Maybe we will spot some cheeseweed or nettle plants…

Fat Caterpillars

We’ve now had our caterpillars for 7 days. 3 of 4 of our caterpillars have moulted into …er newer looking caterpillars 😂;)
We lost Runt (RIP), so we only have 4 caterpillars now.

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We decided to clean up their pot as it was getting pretty full of….waste and silk 🙂

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It hasn’t taken them long to fill it with mess again though!

The kids enjoyed handling the caterpillars whilst I cleaned their pot, we’re hoping to hand rear any eggs the butterflies hopefully leave behind so have been researching the plants they like to lay their eggs on.

Have you ever kept insects? What was your experience of them?

Caterpillars, Insect Lore & Groupon!

We received our caterpillars on Monday, I think we missed the initial stage whilst it was in transit over the weekend however as one caterpillar was brown, the rest black but a day later and the brown one had turned black!

Day 1 with the caterpillars and I assumed one was already dead but turns out it was stuck on the lid, I helped it down and it immediately started eating but I think it has some injuries from being stuck in its silk for so long…its named the runt due to its tiny size!

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Eldest has named her small caterpillar (middle) ‘caterpie’. Twin A has named his ‘Wyldstyle’ (the largest one) & Twin B named his ‘Batman’ because it climbed a lot on Day 1 😂 you can see ‘Runt’ at the back curled.
Day 3:

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The caterpillars have grown but Runt is still tiny!! They’ve been rather still since yesterday but I suspect they’re getting ready to molt their exoskeletons again.

Lottie has been looking after the caterpillars for us too:

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At night we surround the pot with a cloth to keep them warm, keep them away from draughts & direct sunlight!

I was a little disappointed by the process so far, approx £15 total for 5 caterpillars and upon reading the little leaflet they came with, Insect Lore only guarantee 3 of 5 caterpillars/butterflies will survive! 😱

I won’t be buying from them again simply because I thought the postage cost was hidden & Groupon misleadingly stated “a voucher for 5 caterpillars will be provided free” …so I paid £15 for a net?! I don’t like it when businesses are sneaky, i like to know all costs upfront & CLEARLY stated, not hidden away in small print.

I will continue to blog/Instagram our caterpillars growth, hopefully we won’t suffer any losses 😥

Kicking back

We’ve been pretty chilled this Easter half term. Rock climbing has finished until further notice, eldest is keen to get back into it, I think we’ll book maybe 5 lessons and change to another sport. Maybe running or roller blading now the weather is changing.

The twins have showed interest in learning more numbers so we’ve been singing along to YouTube videos for children counting to 20 & back 🙂

We’ve been very Lego orientated these past few weeks, increasing our collection & playing a lot more!

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Even Lottie got some new things:

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And helping us on our Easter egg hunt 😁
I’m going to try plan some more activities & generally get us more organised, its getting to that time where I need to have a sustainable business in order to be able to continue to HE so no more “selling for fun” but now “selling to survive” …isn’t life fun?

What have you all been up to?