The Smithsonian Butterfly Pavilion

butterfly_ct_bday_smith_003Like I said yesterday, I took way too many photos of the butterflies in the Smithsonian Butterfly Pavilion. I couldn’t help it! It was an amazing experience. It is a long, narrow room that is just filled with hundreds of butterflies. SO MANY BUTTERFLIES!

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They had loads of places to land, but sometimes if you were lucky they’d land of you! they landed on my husband A LOT.

butterfly_ct_bday_smith_014Plus there are people walking around telling you about the butterflies and even helping you catch one on a paint brush (you aren’t allowed to touch them) CT was able to hold the paintbrush a few times. It was one of the highlights of her birthday.



Right before you walk into the pavilion they also an exhibit where they teach you all about the life cycle of butterflies and moths. If you go at certain times of day they also have other huge insects that you can hold… if you’re brave enough.

butterfly_ct_bday_smith_001If you are ever in DC I highly recommend this as a stop! It’s $6 an adult, $5 per kid to get into the pavilion, but its SO worth it. I’d do it every month, maybe even twice a month. I’d recommend buying tickets ahead of time just in case, they only allow a certain amount of visitors per half hour. Oh and if you on Tuesdays it’s free!! (but you should still reserve tickets online, I imagine the free days are packed)

I’m already looking forward to when the holiday season is over so we can head back down. We were told that each time you visit is a completely different experience. I want to see if that’s true.

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CT’s 4th Birthday Adventure

ct_bday_smith_001My little girl turned FOUR last week! Super crazy. For her birthday we asked if there was anything special she wanted to do. Her original response was “go to the park”. We then explained she could do more too and started listing off loads of places. In the end she told us she wanted to go to the museum, because theres a museum in Animal Crossing video game. Though in the game theres Art, Dino Skeletons, Live Insects and Butterflies. Luckily the Smithsonian covers most of that stuff all in one building and it’s only a short drive and a metro ride away!

ct_bday_smith_002 ct_bday_smith_003ct_bday_smith_015First we checked out the Dinosaur Skeletons and Fossils, since that was her first request. It’s also a big thing in the game. You dig up fossils, take them to the museum and a little owl guy checks them out and then you have skeletons that you can donate to the museum or sell for profit.

ct_bday_smith_010ct_bday_smith_012ct_bday_smith_013I may have gone a bit overboard with the photos, but seriously the Smithsonian is SO COOL! I grew up visiting all the museums on field trips, with my family and then as a teenager with my friends. I had the biggest smile on my face all day watching CT freak out about everything. She is really into skeletons and such right now (Thanks to the Dr. Suess book: Inside Your Outside, All About the Human Body) So the exhibits actually kept her attention.

ct_bday_smith_009Lucky for us there was also a small exhibit with live fish. So we could check that off the Animal Crossing list.

ct_bday_smith_011They also had gems and live butterflies like in the game! (I took so many photos of the butterflies that they require their own post)

ct_bday_smith_004 ct_bday_smith_005As you can tell from our required photo outside the museum, it was COLD! I think it was freezing temps actually. Don’t worry, we were all super bundled up.

ct_bday_smith_006 ct_bday_smith_008 ct_bday_smith_007ct_bday_smith_014ct_bday_smith_017ct_bday_smith_016To end our Animal Crossing themed museum trip, we headed next door to the National Gallery of Art Sculptural Garden. Seriously one of my absolute favorite places! CT loved walking underneath the sculptures and see just how big they were!.

The entire day was just so much fun. We all enjoyed ourselves and are already planning another trip down. There’s so much more to see!!!

Check back tomorrow for my ridiculous amount of butterfly pictures from the Live Butterfly Pavilion at the Smithsonian.


111IMG_2737_550This was supposed to have posted yesterday but apparently it didn’t! Technically I’m not TURNING 31, Today I AM 31, but the deal is still the same!

I have had a sale during my birthday week since I started Art School Dropout 10 years ago. Each year the percentage off is whatever age I will be. My husband says I should probably stop at some point because the discount will be HUGE soon (not too soon, it’s not like I’m aging faster than everyone else or anything) but that doesn’t concern you guys now!

I have updated a few more smaller pieces to the shop and am quietly working on more. So if there’s something you have been eyeing now is the time to get it!!!

Oh and the coupon code expires Friday at midnight EST!

Birthday Macarons

CT really loves when I make macarons. She always steals a few off the counter before and after I fill them. So of course I would make some for her birthday party!

I tried something a little new with both of the batches.

On the bottom of the tray are strawberry macarons with strawberry preserve buttercream filling. These were a bit off in color and size since I used ground up freeze dried strawberries in the batter and I didn’t tint them like usual. Oh and the buttercream was just normal ole buttercream with two tablespoons of strawberry preserves blended in. Super easy! So even though they weren’t super pretty, they tasted great!!

The macarons on the top, and in all the close up photos, were peppermint flavored with peppermint buttercream filling. I tried my hand as swirly color, which came out nice on about half of them. I also made them slightly larger than I usually do, which I think made them even better!!

I also made a half batch of peanut butter macarons, but those didn’t make it to the party. They were just too good.

I feel a lot more confident every time I bake these awesome treats, so expect more posts about them. I have loads of flavor combos I still want to try. Any combos YOU think I should try?

(oh and all the photos above were taken by my sister Ashley, not me!)

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A Little More About CT’s Party…

As I said yesterday, I wanted to share a bit more about the decorating and goody bags from CT’s 3rd Birthday Party. I was very frazzled the day of, so all these photos were taken the day after! Just imagine cupcakes sitting on the white tray in the middle, some macarons on the two tiered tray and more “goody bags” in that white basket. Plus other odds and ends that were moved about.

It was a lot of fun to pick everything out, be it handmade, from a store or just from around the house. I didn’t go overboard, and I think it looked very cute and sweet. I really wish I had taken photos the day of!!!

I accidentally stumbled onto a color theme. It all started with those paper chains, I just picked out a multi pack of paper in what I thought were cute colors. After making them all (at night and in the car btw) I started to buy other things in the same colorways. All of the plastic silverware was in those colors, the last minute “Happy Birthday” banner matched (I meant to make one), even the flowers I found the night before matched! I sorta, kinda, accidentally made it all match! Ha. I love when things work out that way.

Oh and the wrapped picture frames! A lot of the guest liked those. I mainly did it because I felt the photos artwork underneath wasn’t really appropriate for a kid’s birthday party. It’s my Jordan Crane Triptych of a party with loads of booze on the ground, you can see it here. It’s fine for everyday viewing, just not a birthday.

I love the way it all looks, and I really don’t want to take it all down. Do I have to?

Ok, now onto the little chef hats…

These were a last minute idea! I mean, four days before the party last minute. I was flipping through the Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders book to see if there were any xmas gifts I could make, when I came across the pattern for a kid’s adjustable chefs hat and apron. I read through the instructions and figured they wouldn’t be too hard to make, so I made a test one. The one above actually. It took me about 25 minutes from start to finish (I’ve been told I sew FAST, so it make take others longer). I figured 11 kids were coming, and that they would only take me an afternoon to make one for each. It kinda did. I ran out of some supplies halfway through and had to wait until I could go out and get them. Then I waited until the night before to attach the velcro, which wasn’t the best idea. But I’m glad I made them! All the kids looked soooo cute decorating their cupcakes while wearing chef hats!!

Now onto the goody bags, or in our case, balls! My original plan was to make the bags for the goody bags, but after seeing the over sized gumball machine capsules above, I changed my mind! How cool are they? We bought them in blue, green and purple. CT picked out a kazoo, mini view-master camera thingy, some chocolate and tattoos/stickers. I didn’t want to only have plastic trinkets in the balls though, so like an insane woman, I also made the crayon rolls! Another last minute idea. I felt crazy making them, so I didn’t even tell my husband what I was doing until I was halfway through. I didn’t want someone else thinking I was crazy too! They actually took less time then I thought they would and I was able to just use scrap fabric from my stash.

In the end it was all more work than I anticipated, but you know what? I felt great about the way the house looked and the things I sent home with each kid! Now they each have a chef hat for pretend play, and a crayon roll to take with them anywhere. Plus I made one of each for CT too. I wouldn’t change a thing, well, with the exception of having more sewing machine needles on hand.

I know there’s loads of tutorials online to make crayon rolls, I didn’t use any of them because of their sizes. Would anyone be interested in a tutorial to make these simple ones?

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CT’s 3rd Birthday!!

This past weekend was CT’s 3rd Birthday! Finally. I feel like I’ve been planning and making for this party for way too long. This is really the first year she’s aware of everything going on around her, so I wanted to make the day awesome!.

We invited a bunch of our friends and family, and ended up having ten kids show up total!! Only one couldn’t make it, not bad right? Especially for a winter birthday party, where you assume someone (or everyone) would be sick.

The theme for the party was CUPCAKES! Decorating cupcakes to be exact…

My original plan was to let the kids ice the cupcakes themselves and then decorate them with any of the numerous toppings we had. As the party grew closer I realized a lot of the kids that would be attending were younger than CT, so the icing part might just be a huge mess. So we iced the cupcake beforehand, that way all they had to worry about were the toppings.

I have been collecting sprinkles and cupcake liners for awhile, with no real purpose, until this party! I was able to provide 25 different types of toppings. There were colored sugars, candies in the shape of mickey and the aliens from Toy Story, dinosaur and snowflake sprinkles, long sprinkles, metallic sprinkles, two different types of cereal and more. I made sure to have every color of the rainbow, so each kid could use their favorite.

I also made a small batch of cotton candy buttercream in pink and blue, and small squeeze bottles with them. That way the older kids could draw on their cupcakes if they wanted.

It was really fun watching the kids all sit down nicely, put their chef hats on (I’ll talk about those in another post) and then go crazy decorating. A few of the younger ones couldn’t wait to decorate and just ate the cupcakes right away, but I made a bunch so they decorated their second one.

A lot of the adults were convinced our dining room would be a disaster afterwards. They were so wrong, most of the mess stayed on the table (which I covered in kraft paper) and hardly anything hit the ground. We had a very careful bunch of kids!! Seriously parents, your kids are all so nice!!

After all the decorating everyone was encouraged to eat from the buffet (that our families helped cook), let their little ones burn off some of the sugar they ingested, and then settle down before CT started opening gifts.

There are loads of great photos of her opening her gifts, she really makes the best faces!! I just figured 13 photos was already too many for one post, even if it IS a birthday post! Oh and while I’m kinda on the topic about photos, how awesome are these? My little sister Ashley took them for me, that way I didn’t miss anything. She also edited them before sending them over, super awesome of her! Thanks Ash!

The party went way better than I expected, and I’m beyond grateful for everyone who came. Thank you to you all, you really made CT’s birthday extra special!! Also thank you to all of our family members who helped out, I really couldn’t have made it through this day without you guys. It was all a lot of fun, and I wouldn’t change a thing. CT loved it all and keeps talking about it. We did all catch a cold, but it was totally worth it!

I still have a two more posts coming up about the decorating, goody bags and sweets, so keep an eye out!


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