Monthly Archives: November 2014
|November 29, 2014||Posted by Holly Marie under #ToddlerApproved, Kid's Activities, Preschooler, Reviews, Toddler|
Our little family was invited to Butterfly Wonderland and if I could bottle up the energy and enthusiasm that was our visit I would be hailing you from our own personal island. Raymond was thrilled that we were going to see butterflies! He couldn’t stop saying, “We are going to Butterfly Wonderland!” the entire drive to the conservatory.
Butterfly Wonderland takes flight as one of the newest attractions in the Valley with a highly innovative, indoor rain-forest environment featuring the largest butterfly pavilion in America. The drive was so simple and the conservatory is right off the 101 Freeway in Phoenix.
Once arriving we were welcomed by a guide who gave us all our maps for our expedition. Raymond channeled his inner Indiana Jones and was delighted that he could help lead the way. Preschoolers are incredibly curious and he didn’t waste one second before delving into the list of questions. One thousand questions about butterflies? Well, it was a preschoolers dream. Not only were there multiple happy faces that were more than willing to answer all of his brooding questions, but I found lots of information placed around the conservatory throughout the different exhibits.
Our first stop was to marvel at the new Odysea Aquarium that will be built next to the conservatory. As a former Pacific Northwesterner I am counting the days until we can go. Aquarium in the desert? Yes, please.
My kids were esctatic to see so many holiday trees throughout the grounds. The ornamanets were breathtaking and the glitter was exactly what Emma Marie had in mind. She marveled at the decor much longer than Raymond wanted her to. “Butterflies to see!” he said.
Our first stop on our expedition to Butterfly Wonderland was the 3-D Theater. This would be the first movie theater experience for either of our kids and I was cautiously optimistic with how they would do. Emma Marie lasted a couple of minutes(typical one year old), but Raymond sat with me and oohed and aahhed at the spectacular vision.
Flight of the Butterflies in 3D
Your Butterfly Wonderland experience begins in our state-of-the-art theater, your passport to the stunning story and fascinating life of butterflies as told by this specially-edited 3D version of “Flight of the Butterflies.”
A story of the longest known insect migration on Earth – an adventure of epic proportions. In following the migration cycle of the monarch butterfly, the production team filmed hundreds of millions of monarchs along their migratory routes from Canada, across the United States, to their remote overwintering sanctuaries in Mexico.
Our expedition included finding secret clues. Once a clue was found you would be able to stamp the card. After we found all of the clues on our treasure hunt we were able to take our card to the Membership Desk to claim a prize. Butterfly Wonderland has so many interactive adventures!
After leaving the theater, you’ll have the rare opportunity to witness one of nature’s most amazing transformations – metamorphosis.
All of the butterflies that we saw here were brand-new that morning so Raymond thought that it was prudent that we sing Happy Birthday. Loved the connection he made from all of the books we read and that we immediately saw in real life what we had just watched in the 3-D Theater.
America’s Largest Butterfly Atrium
Better known as a kid’s dream… Both Raymond and Emma Marie were simply astounded with how many butterflies were in the atrium.
Fluttering, flittering, flying. Stroll inside this 10,000 square foot atrium and stand in wonder as thousands of butterflies from around the world enchant with their grace and beauty. This dramatic, glass-enclosed atrium shelters a breathtaking rainforest environment with lush tropical plants, trees, waterfalls and a large Koi pond.
There was no need to bundle up- for future notice although it may have been a brisk 40 degrees outside-the atrium is kept warm and slightly humid for the butterflies to thrive.
The large Koi pond let both kids get up close and personal with some very friendly fish. Emma thought that she could only look at the fish if her leg was pointed… it was quite hilarious. Koi? Leg up.
There were dozens of butterflies that landed on each of us throughout our visit in the atrium. The colors that seemed to warrant extra attention for us were white and blue. Although, if you want to surely get swarmed you need to wear a hat. The visitors with hats on had tons of flying beauties that followed them around. Note to self.
Family Photo- all of us are looking! Hazzah!
Before you leave the atrium you enter a room with mirrors to make sure that you do not have any butterfly tagging along. I am still in awe of how many butterflies we encountered.
Protected by glass and comprised of a large beehive, this elaborate exhibit allows each visitor to easily observe our pure bred honey bees as they go about their daily activities. Bees are one of the most important pollinators to our agriculture.
After learning about Bees and Ant Colonies were went into Rivers of the Amazon exhibit. Emma Marie and Raymond both were able to get up close and personal with stingrays!
Your journey of discovery continues here, where large, freshwater aquariums house intriguing fish from the Amazon, including our African Cichlids and other colorful exotic fish.
Learn about the amazing Amazon Pacu fish known for its human-like teeth.
Visit our 1,800 gallon Touch Tank where you can touch a couple different varieties of stingrays. This Touch Tank allows visitors not only to see but to touch these beautiful spotted stingrays.
As you exit you leave through the Gift Shop, Butterfly Treasures, that has many local handcrafted gifts. Browse through the wide selection of special gifts, books, souvenirs, apparel, jewelry and that one-of-a-kind gift for that nature lover in your life.
As we were leaving, Raymond could not stop talking about our expedition. The treasure hunt for clues, the 3-D movie, butterfly bonanaza… I mean it truly was a fascinating expereince.
They are now offering luxury birthday parties that include:
- Admission for up of 15 children and 3 free adults – one adult needed per 5 children..
- Reserved Private Party Room for 1 hour. Choice of party themes – Butterfly or Bugs (Party most appropriate for ages 4-12)
- Greeter & Room decorated including tablecloth, plates, utensils, napkins
- Special Gift for the Birthday Child & Party Favors for each child
- Choice of (1) Fruit, Dipping Dots, or Cupcakes.
- Choice of Juice Boxes or small kid-sized water bottles for all party guests
- Before enjoying birthday party, guests will visit 3D Theater for special version of “Flight of the Butterflies”, visit the Butterfly Emergence Gallery, then embark on a journey through a tropical rainforest habitat to see thousands of butterflies, then visit live ant colony, honey bee display, Rivers of Amazon Aquatic Life display and Stingray touch tank.
- 10% off in Butterfly Treasures Gift Shop
I definitely think this would be a stress-free birthday party! Everything is taken care of and there is so much to do! I think K-3 Grade kids would truly appreciate Butterfly Wonderland and all its glory.
Have you ever been to an atrium?
Are butterflies one of your kids favorite bugs?
Would love to hear from you!
This post is brought to you by Butterfly Wonderland. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
|November 24, 2014||Posted by Holly Marie under Life and Times in our House|
Hi ALL! I turn 30 on November 30th and am definitely happy to be starting into my thirties. This Wishlist is made up of many useful, luxury wishes. I hope you all had a lovely weekend! Hooray for my last week in my twenties!
1. Lily Jade Co: Diaper Bag that transitions into a fantastic purse? Yes, please! I would love this Cailin Royal Purple Diaper Bag. It comes with a removable, washable Baby Bag and Diaper Pad. So much room for everything that we need!
2. Proud Supporter T-shirt: There really doesn’t need to be an explanation of the awesomeness that is this shirt.
3. Nike Air Zoom Running Shoes: It has been about two years since I have bought new shoes and boy do I need a pair! I LOVE the color and am usually a purple girl… but for some reason this just screamed, “PICK ME! PICK ME!”.
4. Young Living Essential Oils: I want to get into using essential oils with our family and have been eyeing this Wellness Set for some time now. I might just have to pull the plug and get it for the holidays!
5. Lululemon Wunder Under: I own this crop in black and the full version but would love to spice up my usual wardrobe with some fun color. I love that these are reversable and that my other pairs have lasted me 3 and 4 years a piece. Well worth the price tag!
6. Print from PrettyChicSF on Etsy: I am working on pulling together an office space for me to work at night so that I have a designated spot to work on contracts. As much as I like working at the kitchen table(I don’t) I would love to be able to add this to my future work space and make it my own.
What’s on your wishlist for this year? Anything I should add to the list?
Essential Oils- brands you love? Oils to get? Where should I start? I need all the help I can get.
|November 19, 2014||Posted by Holly Marie under Preschooler, Reviews, Toddler|
Butterfly Wonderland, the largest butterfly pavilion in America, enchants visitors of all ages on the wonders of Mother Nature’s most beloved creatures.
For unique gift ideas, Butterfly Treasures Gift Shop offers Butterfly-inspired wall art, clothing, jewelry, books, colorful glassware, whimsical keepsakes, rainforest treasures and even butterfly sculptures and furniture.
Butterfly Wonderland has three unique Birthday Party Packages! Choose from Butterfly or Bugs party theme. All packages include admission for up of 15 children and 3 free adults, decorated room, party favors and special gift for the birthday child.
Reserve today! Call 480.800.3000 X206. For more information go to www.butterflywonderland.com.
I will be posting ALL about our experience at Butterfly Wonderland on the blog-soon. Raymond and Emma Marie started dancing when I told them we were going and I must admit I jumped in and did a happy dance myself. Stay tuned!
This post is sponsored by Butterfly Wonderland and I received tickets for this promotion. No other compensation was provided. As always all opinions are 100% my own.
|November 19, 2014||Posted by Holly Marie under Life and Times in our House||
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” –Fred Rogers
When I was little, one of the only shows my mother(a former teacher) let us watch was the Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. She loved how he didn’t promote a character but instead used quiet simplicity and gentleness while talking to us directly. I loved how normal he was, how he showed how to interact with friends, complete fun crafts and experiments. His voice was incredibly soothing and lessons that I learned from him I’ve carried with me to this day.
I grew up in a time where evil was surely present but indeed hidden. When school got tough and gangs became ever present we moved out to the suburbs. My mother uprooted our whole family, moving from the perfect house, so that we could live in a community and attend a school that was safe. Being emotionally safe and physically safe as a child is pivotal and I will be forever grateful that she took it upon herself to move us.
We grew up playing flash light tag outside with the neighborhood kids, kick the can, and of course the epic summer water fights are legendary. We played outside and were safe. All of our neighbors knew our names, watched out for us, and drove slow on the street-knowing that there were kids always out and about.
I am truly happy that we have found a safe community for our children.
I love our little cul-de-sac! Over Halloween our community was filled with houses that were “Boo”ed(you knock, then leave a small assortment of goodies and run away- then they “Boo” someone, and if you have been “Boo”ed already you put the little Boo Sign up on your door). All the festivity this year stems from one of my favorite ladies, she is a retired police officer- and a sweet, sweet woman. When we are playing outside she comes out to visit, and brings her sweet dog out to say “hi”. Raymond loves the extra attention she gives him and Emma Marie is slowly warming up to her big, sweet dog. We make sure to sweep back her rocks if say… a dump-truck attacks her yard.
She has asked us to watch her house for her. We make sure to retrieve her mail, take off door hangers(to not let others know she isn’t home), and to look after her precious dog. Reminds me of the good ol’ days when I was little and we trusted our neighbors, all of them. Feels really nice. #BeMyNeighbor
I hope you’re proud of yourself for the times you’ve said “yes,” when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to someone else. – Fred Rogers
I am proud and excited to be a part of the launch of the Won’t You #BeMyNeighbor website from the Fred Rogers Company. Mr. Rogers’ legacy will live on and you can all be involved!
Mister Rogers began each program by asking viewers to be his neighbors. Now, we’re asking you to do the same! WontYouBeMyNeighbor.org is an amazing destination that celebrates neighborliness all across the country. You can share a special story about being a good neighbor or recognize someone else who has demonstrated neighborliness!
Submitting your stories for WontYouBeMyNeighbor.org is easy — simply post your story to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #BeMyNeighbor. Your stories will be shared on the site, inspiring others to do neighborly acts of their own!
#BeMyNeighbor Twitter Party Reminder
What: We are so excited join the Fred Rogers Company for a #BeMyNeighbor Twitter party as they launch the new Won’t You Be My Neighbor website! WontYouBeMyNeighbor.org is an amazing destination that celebrates good neighbors! You can share a special story about being a good neighbor or you can recognize someone else you’ve seen demonstrate neighborliness. Your stories will be shared on the site and inspire others to do neighborly acts of their own! Join us for the #BeMyNeighbor Twitter party to learn more ways you can do good in your neighborhood and share your own ideas with others!
When: TODAY-Wednesday, November 19 at 2 p.m. ET
Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #BeMyNeighbor hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Vite:http://vite.io/themotherhood
Prizes: We will be giving away five prizes throughout the party for correct answers to trivia questions. Each prize pack includes a Mister Rogers quote book & t-shirt and a Daniel Tiger mini plush, book & DVD. Prizes are limited to U.S. participants only.
Hosts: @TheMotherhood, @TheMotherhood25, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann
Co-hosts: @MoreThanMommies, @DancingHotdogs, @DonnaChaffins, @EmilyARoach, @gogrowgo, @AsCuteAsBugsEar, @EatSleepBe, @JessicaMcFadd, @JustJillyBlog, @CoconutRobot, @2kidsandacoupon, @MyBaybah, @ohMariana, @PittMommyBlog, @Tiffanyblogs
Please join me TODAY- my twitter handle is: @AsCuteAsBugsEar.
I would love to see you involved and am proud to work with the Fred Rogers Company.
This post is brought to you by the Fred Rogers Company and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.
|November 17, 2014||Posted by Holly Marie under #ToddlerApproved, Kid's Activities, Preschooler, Toddler|
This past Saturday we headed up north to hit the Color Me Rad run! Raymond was beyond excited about running with the colors and that he was a big boy and could do it without a stroller. The weather was perfect for us. Clear, light breeze and a crisp 65 degrees. Perfect weather for a 5K, especially with a kid. I haven’t run a race since last years Dirty Girl Mud Run and was thrilled that Raymond could participate in this event with me for free.
Tons of FREE messy fun!
The BEFORE shot
We stopped, dropped, and selfied a couple of times throughout the race. Raymond thought it was hilarious and all of the other participants did the same.
Running with a 45 pound kid on your hip? Best Workout Ever.
Emma Marie was able to see us twice as we ran by and she loved being able to tackle us. Although after I was covered at the end of the race she didn’t want anything to do with us.
98% of the race I jogged with this guy on my back. I am paying for it today but he thought it was the safest place to be when we were getting pummeled by colors.
Finish Line Purple Bonanza
After you finish they give you color packets so you can join in with the music and mosh-pit of colors… but we played it safe and just attacked each other.
He chose BLUE- his favorite color and I picked up PURPLE, my favorite.
One of Raymond’s favorite parts of the whole race were the Police Officers that covered themselves in color and patrolled the race. I love that he knows that they are our protectors and that he gets all sorts of giggles when they wave back… better yet? High fives! This officer was so darn sweet. He rode through the race and each time he would stop by us for High Fives.
Raymond said this was his car… because he would fit perfectly inside it. If you look closely there are many color hand prints on the handle from one overzealous kid trying to get into “his” car. Priceless.
I loved being able to participate in this run! The run was allergy-friendly, although I did wear that oh-so trendy fanny pack equipped with a double epi-pen pack and my cell phone. It should be of note that if your children have breathing issues or asthma that this is not the race for you. Although I did see some children(and adults) with face masks on that were having a blast. A 5K is perfect for a three year old and we didn’t take ourselves seriously, at all. Time wasn’t a factor, just fun. I would advise that if your kid doesn’t enjoy walking that you bring a stroller though- there were many people that had strollers and the small kids looked like they were loving being involved. Next year we plan on all participating but with Em in a stroller.
Do you know of any other family-friendly races?
I would love to find some more to participate in with the kids this next year!