Monday, May 24, 2010

Butterfly Bungalow – A Review and Giveaway!

In April I attended the A Time to Play Spring Showcase and was able to meet with toy companies and see their new products for Spring and Summer. Even though it was a cool day, it made me feel like having lemonade! I really enjoy attending these events and being able to see and touch the toys and talk with the company representatives. I learned so much. In the next couple of months I will be writing about some of the toys that I liked the best and what I liked about them from a grandmother’s point of view.
I am kicking this series off today with a Review and Giveaway of the
Butterfly Garden by Insect Lore. This simple, affordable product is perfect for a spring-summer activity that a grandparent can do with a child. It doesn’t require extensive set-up and easily collapses so that you can store it over the winter and use it again summer after summer with all your grandchildren – including those yet to arrive. You can make this simple but magical nature activity a tradition. It has lots of the qualities that I look for in things grandparents should provide: It’s fun, provides an easy to do together activity with your grandchild, doesn’t make loud noise or have batteries and its educational without being pushy about it. The Butterfly Garden is recommended for Ages 4 and up. I am looking forward to setting up one of these with my grandson in a few years.

When you buy the Butterfly Garden, there is a coupon inside to mail away for 5 painted lady butterfly larvae with special food, and complete instructions. So you set up the attractive habitat, add the butterfly larvae with food and watch each caterpillar's transition as it matures, changes into a chrysalid, and finally emerges as a Painted Lady butterfly! Then experience the joy of releasing them into nature. You can order additional caterpillars every year from Insect Lore.

Insect Lore was founded in 1969 and a butterfly garden was their first product. In the last 31 years they have shipped over 11 million caterpillars! And there not just for kids – there’s a Wedding celebration butterfly release kit and Insect Lore catepillars were launched into space by NASA on the Columbia Space Shuttle.

This award winning product was also a favorite at the Time to Play showcase. I think the Butterfly Garden provides a great opportunity to participate in a fun, educational, nature activity with your grandchild and I highly recommend it. You can learn more about Insect Lore at their website which also provides educational page information that you can use when working with a child.

Giveaway Information – Important Details –Easy to Enter
Insect Lore is providing a Butterfly Garden as a giveaway right here at The Grandma Chronicles. I hope you will participate. All you have to do to enter to win is leave a comment on this blog by June 6th, 2010. If you tweet about this post, leave a comment for an extra entry. If you win, I need to have your email address in order to contact you. Check back on June 7th to see if you won and you can email it to me privately at . Your address information will not be publicly posted. will be used to select the winner randomly. Good Luck and please participate. The deadline to enter to win June 6th - so enter today!

Insect Lore will send the Butterfly Garden directly to the winner. I have not received compensation for this review and I do not have a personal relationship with this company. Any product review I do on this blog is an honest evaluation of my personal opinion. I do not review products favorably for compensation.

Deadline to enter extended to Tuesday, June 8th. Check back on Wednesday to see who won.

You can purchase a Butterfly Garden at many stores including ToysRUs and on Just click below to purchase via Amazon.
This product is recommended for Ages 4 and up.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mother's Day from a Grandmother’s Perspective

I was never one that got too excited about Mother’s Day. My husband usually barbecued and I always received gifts but we really didn’t fuss over it like I was Queen for a Day. As my children got older actually we started a great tradition that we still do today. My son turns over my garden for me and my daughter buys flower plants and we plant the garden together. Then I can enjoy my Mother’s Day gift with them all summer and into the fall.

This year is my daughter’s first Mother’s Day and my first as a grandmother. I asked grandmothers at to share their thoughts with me about Mother’s Day and I was surprised that they are so similar to mine. Adult children reading this – take note: IT IS NOT ABOUT EXPENSIVE GIFTS, FANCY DINNERS, OR GUSHY GREETING CARDS.

Grandmothers are pretty much in agreement that our “parenting” days are over we are not expecting a big fuss over Mother’s Day. We are not interested in fancy dinners and overpriced greeting cards. We’d love to hear your voice, see our grandchildren and hope our daughters have a great day. Some grandmothers expressed concern about the over commercialization and waste associated with Mother’s Day and all said they’d prefer a simple celebration. I was glad to see that another grandmother sent her daughter an eCard as I did. My eCard – yes, it was a Hallmark – was personalized with a picture of my daughter and her son that my husband took. One grandmother who works in a department store said it was a pleasure seeing children enjoy choosing a special piece of jewelry for their mother on Mother’s Day. I identified with this because of my own experience. When my daughter was three year old, my husband took her shopping and together they chose a beautiful sapphire ring for me that is still my favorite. I wore it on Fran’s wedding day.

I don’t remember my first Mother’s Day as a mother but I am sure it was special at the time. I asked my daughter to provide some thoughts on her first Mother’s Day and she detailed every moment of the day. Josh pampered her for most of the day with breakfast and lunch, she visited her Mother-in-Law in the morning and came to our house for a dinner cooked by my husband. But the highlight of her day was this: Her husband took Zach (Now 11 months old) shopping and together they chose a necklace for her. It is quite beautiful and I know it will probably be a favorite for the rest of her life. Zach is quite a communicator and Josh tells how Zach let him know which one he liked. I can picture it because Zach sends his hands and feet flying in the cutest way when he is interested in something. Fran also noted that she had a day when she didn’t have to change a single diaper. That is really a big gift when you have an active 11 month old baby.

Interestingly enough, my daughter enjoyed the simple things of being with family and exempt from normal work chores. But...she also appreciated that special gift of a necklace that her son participated in choosing.

Celebrating Mother’s Day is different for Mothers and Grandmothers but there are a lot of similarities. Mothers who labor in the trenches as active parents everyday appreciate special attention and a thoughtful gift. Grandmothers – especially if they don’t see or hear from you often – would love some extra contact with their children and grandchildren. A telephone call is more appreciated than a Hallmark card. A visit is a Wow. In my case – that bit of garden labor is a gift that keeps giving and means more to me than my kids know.