Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wild Weekend: Fun in the Snow at Grandma and Grandpa's House

"Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver

We spent Thanksgiving Day at home and had our big family dinner this weekend at my parent's house.

My dad is notorious for smiley faces. Here is a giant one he put out in the field.

We don't have enough snow at home for sledding yet, so Dane and his cousins had a lot of fun sledding for the first time this season.

Scooby was really enjoying the snow too!

Winter has arrived.

Now, the question is, do we put up a Christmas Tree this year??? (We leave for Denmark in 18 days.... )

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ornaments.... We've Been Crafting

The Great Start Regional Resource Center, 4C of the U.P. asked for our help in making ornaments to decorate a tree at the Peter White Public Library. So, we have been crafting....

We covered some styrofoam balls with scraps of tissue paper. I found this idea here.

(The camera battery needs to be recharged and I didn't get a photo of the completed project yet!)

We also beaded some icicles. My little friends love to work with beads. I have found that using pipe cleaners rather than string really helps them to be more successful with smaller beads.

I've also been crafting myself! I finally reclaimed my sewing machine for a couple of hours! I'm making these gingerbread people ornaments to sell for Dane's cub scout troop. Our goal is to raise enough money to send all of the boys to camp this summer. I haven't sold my crafts in years... Any suggestions on what to charge for these little guys?? They are about 6" tall almost 4" wide. They are a combination of hand and machine stitching with a little bit of paint and glue on a felt base.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

We're Going to Gobble Them Up!

I found a great idea for a "turkey" apple tart/pie snack online here. We adapted the idea slightly to make them a little bit smaller and made them with a whole wheat pastry crust.

The children helped by rolling out the crust, grinding the cinnamon and putting them together.

Oh, we didn't use the apple jelly in our either. We opted to use a small scoop of our homemade applesauce instead. Craisins made great eyes and a little dusting of cinnamon and sugar topped them off.

Baked in the oven (This one stayed in just a little bit too long), and gobbled right up!

Happy Turkey Day!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Crafting and Tumbling.....

I've been using Tumblr to help me keep track of some of the great ideas I find online. You can check out my Tumblr page here:

I have one more big project to finish for my class, otherwise life is starting to slow down enough to blog again :).

Here are a few photos of some of our recent art/craft endeavors.....

Dane is super excited about being in the Wolf Pack for Cub Scouts. We decided to make a wolf t-shirt. I found a wolf pattern on one of the boy scout sites, enlarged it and made a plastic stencil. After I used silver paint with the stencil, Dane colored it in with fabric markers.

Then we Tie Dyed the shirt with all kinds of great colors....

I finished it off with a second coat of sliver paint and Dane added another coat of fabric marker.

We also put his name on the back:

Wintery weather has started to arrive, and I needed to whip up a couple of new pairs of mittens! Dane's new coat is orange, gray, and black....

I've been itching to try out some of the felt food patterns I found online awhile back..... I made a couple of things, but hope that I will find/make time for a lot more soon! I'd love to replace our plastic food in the play kitchen with wooden and fabric food instead. Here is the start:

I decided that my little cook's cannot be without a chef's hat.... So, I whipped up one of those too. I looked at a few tutorials, but ended up making my own pattern:

I have a few other projects for the sewing machine, but Dane has taken over my sewing machine! He wanted to learn how to sew, and he picked it up quickly! His first project was a dinosaur pillow case:

He decided that he likes free form sewing better and opted to make a piece of felt pizza:

There will be plenty of time for learning how to cut and follow patterns, and I know he will learn all kinds of techniques as he works and explores on his own!

I have a few more things to share, but I'll save some for later this week!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Blog Award :).

It is that CRAZY time of year around here. I know I have posted that I have been busy, and I don't anticipate life to be slowing down much over the next week or so.... With Dane having just turned 8, the end of the semester creeping up on us, and the toy sales kicking into full swing my time for blogging has been a bit limited. Not to mention all of the other "daily" pieces of my life. In all of this craziness, I did happen to check my email and comments to find that Abbie over at Greening Sam and Avery awarded me with a BLOG AWARD!!!

Abbie is a great mom who is doing her part to environmentally educate her very young children (infant and toddler EARLY environmental education as she puts it). She has a fabulous blog with TONS of resources. Take a few minutes and pop on over there, it will be well worth your time!

I don't quite know what to say, other than thank you! I still feel like I"m pretty new to the blogging world, and am quite honored to have been chosen to be a part of this award and to have the opportunity to pass it along!

Here are the terms in accepting this award:
  1. Thank and link back to the person that gave you the award.
  2. Share seven things about yourself.
  3. Pass it along to 15 blogs you've recently discovered and enjoy.
  4. Leave your recipients a note telling them about the award.

Seven things about me:

1) I never really intended on becoming an early childhood educator and home daycare provider. My degree is in psychology (the graduation prep specialization), but I did take a number of courses in early childhood psychology and development. While working on my undergrad, I thought that I would want to become a child psychologist and do art and play therapy. While completing my degree, I worked at a child care center, and as I drew closer to completing my education I realized that I would have a very hard time as a therapist, I was really afraid that I would have a hard time not bringing work home and that I didn't know if I could really handle working with children who needed so much all the time. As graduation was approaching, my sister was pregnant with twins, and my own son was only two years old. In talking with her, we realized that neither one of us really wanted "strangers" to be raising our children. With, that, came the small question of : "I wonder how hard it is to open a home daycare?" Six months later, Child Central Station was open, and here I sit over five years later.

2) I have the same number of hours and minutes in my day as you do. (Contrary to popular belief.) I love to be active and engaged, and I do my best to multi-task and incorporate many different things into one whenever possible. One of my secrets to making time is that I really don't watch t.v. I do enjoy watching movies, but they have to hold my attention!

3) I am easily distracted. My husband jokes about this continually. He says that I have the perfect job because I have the same (sometimes shorter) attention span as the children I work with. If I don't find something to be engaging and pertinent, I have a very hard time staying on task.

4) I am a pack rat. I like to look at things in terms of their potential. What could that be used for? Thus, we have a lot of "stuff" hanging around that we will eventually use for something.

5) I love to read and learn. I'm not a "book" reader per se. I love to read magazine articles, research papers, BLOGS, and children's books. (I think part of this is because a book is too long to hold my attention most of the time! When I do find a book that holds my attention, I have a hard time putting it down!) I could spend HOURS (and do sometimes) reading blogs and researching topics on the internet. The master's degree I am pursuing is in Training, Development, and Performance Improvement - which encompasses so many different interests of mine. I'm not sure that my quest for knowledge will ever end :).

6) As much as I love my job, sometimes I really miss adult interaction. I have found a great network of online colleagues and I find ways to stay in touch with the "blown ups" in my life. I think finding balance is something I need to work more on.

7) I have an amazing husband, son and extended family. There is no way that I could do half of the things I do without the love and support of those around me. My husband jumps in to do whatever- whenever, and he does a great job of keeping me on task and life in perspective when needed. I am the oldest of five children, have great parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and cousins that I don't even really know how they are related.

Okay- enough about me for now!

On to passing on this great award to others! I could go on and on about the folks and blogs below, but alas- in the spirit of time management and keeping this blog post from being way too long... I am just going to list them! Know that each one is a source of inspiration and creativity! They continue to challenge me to learn, grow, and share!

1) Jenny over at Let the Children Play. She also uses Tumblr and has a great Tumblog here.

2) Maureen and Shanti over at Twig and Toadstool.

3) Deborah at Teach Preschool. Not only does Deborah have a great blog, but she scours the www for resources and shares them on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

4) Teacher Tom

5) Scott from Brick by Brick.

6) Joel over at Made By Joel.

7) Playscapes

8) Juliet from I'm a teacher, get me OUTSIDE here!

9) Lindsey from Filth Wizardry.

10) Sarah from Adventures in Homeschooling.

11) Almost Unschoolers.

12) Ticia over at Adventures in Mommydom.

13) Sherry and Donna over at Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning.

14) Allie at Bakers and Astronauts.

15) Valerie at Frugal Family Fun Blog.

So, there is my list of 15. Let me tell you, I had to make some tough decisions! Please take time not only to visit these folks, but all of the others I've been fortunate enough to find and follow. I would not follow their blogs if I didn't find them valuable! (My list of blogs has grown to almost 200!!!!)

Have a fabulous Friday, and I'll be back when life gets to be a little bit less hectic :).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Butterfly Study Video

As you know, I have been quite busy of late. Too busy to blog most of the time. Tonight, I am giving you a small piece of what I have been working on.

For my Learning Technologies course, I needed to produce a video. This short video was created using Audacity to record music and audio. I also used Windows Movie Maker to edit and compile the components. I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And... Away Blows the Milkweed Seed.....

Too busy to type much, but I thought I would share a few photos of our backyard discovery this morning... The milkweed seeds are blowing!! I wonder where our butterfly friends are now???? Perhaps some of our postcard exchange friends are enjoying them in the southern states as they migrate. We'll keep an eye on the milkweed patch, hoping for another great crop of monarchs this spring!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Life Is Good, but life is BUSY!!

Dane turns 8 this week..... between his friend party and family party... the daycare, my coursework..... scouts, fundraiser deliveries, committee meetings and such.... I don't anticipate that I will be here to update very often over the next couple of weeks.

Know, that I will be back and posting when I have an opportunity to do so!

I will be bookmarking ideas and online primarily while working on my coursework - you can check out my bookmarks on Delicious or Tumblr. I'm currently using both (probably going to switch to just Tumblr after this semester though..... )

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sing! Sing a Song!

Many of you know that I am in the process of obtaining my Master's Degree in Psychology: Training, Development, and Performance Improvement. I graduated last May with 2 graduate certificates but I need to finish one more course in order to complete my degree. The course I needed was not offered this semester, but a new elective course in learning technologies was. Needless to say, the course description was intriguing, and I opted to take the course "for fun." At this point, I am very happy that I did! I've been learning about all kinds of different technologies and free applications. If there were only four times as many hours in a day!!! I have however been able to start incorporating some of the new technology I have found into our every day activities. Today, for example, I plugged the microphone into the computer and let the children have a go with using Audacity. (A free program to record and edit audio.)

I don't have any photos of the children singing, but I do have a few that go with the topics they chose to talk and sing about! I hope you enjoy them just as much as I did! (After we edited the audio with audacity, I added the song and sound bites to photos with Windows Movie Maker. I am working on a more complex project with the audio, photos, and videos... but this is a very basic compilation to highlight our song creations).

The children had so much fun with their creations, I anticipate song creation and recording will become a frequent activity!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Kool-Aid - Painting and Play dough

We painted with Kool-aid! Instead of adding it to other paint like I saw on some other blogs, we opted to use it more like a liquid watercolor by adding a small amount of water to each colored powder. Unfortunately, my camera was MIA during our wonderful sensory painting experience so I only have photos of the finished product:

Another wonderful thing you can do with Kool-Aid is to color and scent your homemade play dough. Here is our favorite dough recipe:

1 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
1 c. water
1 Tbsp cooking oil
2 tsp cream of tartar
1-2 pkg Kool-Aid

Mix all ingredients in a microwave save cooking dish.
Cook on high in microwave for 3 minutes
Remove from microwave, stir well.
Cook for one minute, stir, repeat until the dough is no longer sticky.
Remove from the dish- knead and remove any lumps.

This dough can also be cooked on the stove-top. We prefer to make it in the microwave as it is much more difficult to burn and the children are more active participants in the process.
This post was linked up to:
PreK + K Sharing

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What Would You Do With It Wednesday? #8 Corks

Welcome to this week's edition of What Would You Do With It? Wednesday! This week's item is..... CORKS!

We haven't done a whole lot with corks... other than painting with them. So, I am looking for some great new ideas and inspiration! (We have a HUGE box full of corks from when my husband was a bartender.)

Here are a couple of photos of a sweatshirt Dane and I made for our friend CA. We used corks to paint part of it:

Now it's your turn!!! What Would You Do With Them?

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's Election Day, We Voted, Did You????

In Michigan, and many other states across the United States, today is election day. Some of our little friends will have the opportunity to visit a real polling station this afternoon when Ms. Amy goes to vote.

All of our friends have been working hard, campaigning for their own wishes here. We have two proposals on the ballot this November.

The first has to do with a nice big plastic swimming pool we recently acquired. We have already determined to use it as a large sensory table/bin inside, but the question remains, what could we fill it with first? Today, the voters will decide what the pool will hold. The five choices in this election are: Ball Pit Balls, Deer Corn, Rainbow Rice, Sand, or Stuffed Animals.

The second proposal has to do with our outdoor play area. We have a large wish list of new things to put in the yard, and during this election, we will determine which of the ideas we have are most important. (I anticipate that at some point we will be able to complete the full list, but this election will decide which of the initiatives we will tackle first.) The initiatives on the ballot are: 1)Wooden Log Car 2)Wooden Beaver Dam 3)Wooden Playhouse 4)Platform Stage 5)Water/Sand Wall 6) Milk Carton Igloo

As many of our young friends are not yet able to read, our ballot is covered in photos. They can either place an X or circle on one small picture (for the pool) and one large picture (for the outside play area).

As you can see, the voters are all lined up at the polls.

The voting booth has been installed. (It is a hula hoop with light weight curtains draped over it and attached to one of our shelves. We placed a small chair inside, and handed our voters a clipboard with their ballots.)

The voters took the decision seriously.

Considering each option before making their choices.

Then placing their ballots in the box.

Check back tomorrow for a full update on the election results.

My friend died

 I learned a hell of a lot from Dan Hodgins.  He was mentor, a friend, and a "bone shaker" for many of us in the field of Early Ch...