Tuesday, January 31, 2012

365 Days of Play!

Well, we made it through our second week of the 365 photo challenge!

Here are the glimpses into our playful days from the past week:

Day 8: "Writing" in our journals

Day 9: Budding Buddies

Day 10: Tunneling!
Day 11: Family Portrait in the snow

Day 12: At the Gym

Day 13: Teamwork!

Day 14: Keeping Shop

Have you been playing?
Are you up for the 365 Challenge?

We are joining in on the challenge proposed by Donna over at Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning on their Facebook page. 

We are capturing one photo, one second a day to share with you our 365 days of play! Each day, the photos are being posted to our Facebook page, and once a week, I'll share updates here on the blog.

Monday, January 30, 2012

PreK+K Sharing

PreK + K Sharing

It's the 30th!
That means, I'm posting over at the PreK + K Sharing Blog today!

Hop on over to enjoy my round up and linky party of PAINT!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

More Winter Sledding Fun!

It's the weekend. There are a ton of things we could be doing....
like dishes, 
laundry, cleaning, etc...

BUT, it is winter, and we only have sunlight for so long....
and honestly, time flies way to fast.... So instead, we went to the park!

We took about a "zillion" new family portraits in the snow.
(A zillion according to Dane that is)

We rocked the hill! The snow was well compact
due to heavy use yesterday in the warm sunshine.
With today's cooler temperatures, the hill was slick,
and our afternoon was filled with giggles!

Here is another video of the same run from another perspective:

I even "got some BIG air!"

We sure had a lot of fun!

The hill takes less than 30 seconds on a good sled on the way down, 
no guarantees on how long it will take to climb back up!

We'll be at the park again tomorrow (Sunday) around 3!!!
It's a public place, you're welcome to come and play too!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Welcome to "Frogger" the Restaurant

I've eaten at a few "exotic" restaurants in my time, 
but I don't think I've ever seen a menu quite like this....
If you are feeling adventurous, perhaps you could visit
 "Frogger" the new restaurant at Child Central Station.
Have you ever tried a giraffe sandwich?
Or perhaps butterfly is more to your liking?
Elephant Stew?
Both African and Indian are available.
They have a full photo menu, so you don't have to worry about any language barriers.
 Dining In is available, and so is Take Out. 
However, the management requires that you remain seated while eating, 
otherwise there is a possibility that you might choke.

Don't forget to save room for dessert!
Each one comes with a "surprise" inside!

Bon Appetit! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

365 Days of Play!

We are joining in on the challenge proposed by Donna over at Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning on their Facebook page. 

We are capturing one photo, one second a day to share with you our 365 days of play! Each day, the photos are being posted to our Facebook page, and once a week, I'll share updates here on the blog.

Here are our first 7:

Day One:
Pulling all of the mega blocks out.. one by one!

Day Two:
Sometimes, you just have to dance!

Day Three:
Changing and dressing babies!

Day Four:
Sledding with cousins! (Remember the childcare is only open Monday - Friday!)

Day Five:
Auntie Penguin! 

Day Six:

Day Seven:
Big Bilibo Bellies!

Are you up for the challenge?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Another Snow Day!

We had our third snow day of the year today!
Unlike a few nights ago, when it was well below zero, today was much warmer.

The snow that keeps falling is heavy and sticky!
It is perfect for sculpting, rolling snow balls, and building forts.

A question was posed on my Facebook wall today:
"What "tools" do you make available for the children to use?"

I'd love to give her more input, than just my own.

What is your favorite thing to do in the snow?  Please join in on the discussion.

You can:
2) Post a Comment Here

Join the Snow Day linky Party!!!!
Do you have a GREAT idea of how to play in the snow?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Brrrrrrrrr..... Explorations in the Cold!

It is midnight, and the temperature is negative 2 Fahrenheit.

Most people are snuggled inside, many are sleeping.
If you haven't figured it out yet, we aren't most people.
Where are we?
The world around us is covered in snow, but we thought we would try to make some more.  Allan read or saw this idea a while back and we were waiting for just the right moment to give it a go... and well... tonight was the night!
I apologize for my lack of ability when it comes to good night time videos! I hope you can still see how this works. You need to use extremely hot, boiling water. We brought a pitcher of it outside and poured a small amount into a glass. Then we sent the water flying high into the air... and POOF! It freezes and turns to snow in seconds!

Now, I'm not a fan of extremely cold temperatures... but part of me CANNOT wait until we have temperatures this low during the day so that we can try this activity when the children are here!

Another fun activity for freezing cold temperatures is blowing bubbles! Did you know that they freeze? Unfortunately, none of the photos of the bubbles in the dark turned out. I'll post a few when I capture a good one!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


We've been hacked. Apparently, our site was hacked and was causing unintentional malware to be downloaded to folks. This may take a little while to sort out.

All of the posts have been removed for your protection.

If you are looking for something specific, please do not hesitate to email: amyahola@hotmail.com

Each page/post will be restored when it has been found to be virus/malware free.

Please be patient as we work through this issue.

Thank you!



Saturday, January 14, 2012

Wintertime Snow -GET OUT and GO! New Professional Development

Winter has finally arrived in the U.P. of Michigan and it looks like it is here to stay!  Are you having a hard time getting excited about being out in the snow? Are you looking for some new ideas and ways to energize the children and your staff about outdoor winter play? 

Well.... you're in luck! Because I am SUPER EXCITED to share my ENTHUSIASM with you for outdoor winter fun!   So, I have created a brand new professional development session:

Wintertime Snow- GET OUT and GO!

We live in a winter wonderland. Let’s face it, getting outside and staying energized in the winter can sometimes be a challenge. Join in for an interactive session packed with activities and tips to get you re-energized about outdoor winter play! We will spend time exploring activities and discussing ways to energize yourself, staff, and the children you work with about our wonderful winter!

So far, I am scheduled to present this session on the following dates and places:

February 13, 2012 - Escanaba, Michigan
February 15, 2012 - Menominee, Michigan
February 20, 2012 - Ontonagon, Michigan
February 21, 2012 - Ironwood, Michigan
February 23, 2012 - Marquette, Michigan
February 28, 2012 - Manistique, Michigan
March 13, 2012 - Iron Mountain, Michigan
March 14, 2012 - Iron River, Michigan
TBD - Houghton, Michigan

Please visit www.4c-up.com for more information and registration.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Winter is Here!

It appears that winter has finally arrived here in the U.P. of Michigan! Last week, we had some warm sunny days where much of the snow melted. The snow was great for sculpting. The children around here aren't much for making snowmen. They like to be more creative and create snow creatures, aliens, and animals.

The warm weather of last week has been replaced, and rather than a thaw, we are now in the middle of major snow accumulation. The snow is no longer sticky and mold-able, but now it is deep, fluffy, and easily blows around! The cooler temperatures, drifting snow, and constant accumulation have caused a couple of snow days this week, but that sure hasn't kept us inside!
We've made some daily trips to Harlow Park (right down the street), our favorite spot to sled when our sled run is still under construction.
When you live in a climate where you experience an average of 141 inches of snow each year, you find all kinds of ways to enjoy it! After awhile, you also become an expert in choosing the right type of sled for the type of snow and current temperature!  The children love cooperative sledding or "caterpillar" sledding where they sit on one sled, put their legs on the next and each child holds on to each other.

It is kind of like a train of saucers and sleds.... They love it!  When the snow is a little more compact and there is a bit of ice glaze over the top, swimming pools are definitely the way to go for cooperative sledding! (You can learn more about this by clicking on this post from last year.)
Mr Allan has been working to stock pile snow off the end of our parking pad. I'm sure the neighbors are enjoying the extra help he has been giving while removing the snow on their sidewalks to add to our hill! A couple more days of snow like this, and our sled run will be in business!

Now that winter has finally arrived... LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW!

Monday, January 9, 2012

More Proof that Mr. Allan ROCKS!

I'm still trying to regroup after our vacation and to de-clutter our home and classroom! 

 I'm sure I'll have new stuff to share soon, but until then... Here is one of my favorites from the archives!  I originally posted this last January. I'm sure we will soon have enough snow for our new and improved sled run!!!
There have been some questions and discussion among some of my blogging/internet friends in regard to male involvement in early childhood settings. We have found, for the most part, the men in this field are far and few between. We have an amazing assistant caregiver here (and I'm not just saying that because he's my husband..... ) Mr. Allan.

This past week has been nuts. Both Dane and I have been out sick for portions of it, and Mr. Allan has made sure to keep things on track for all of our little friends. In fact, this past weekend, while Dane and I were all snuggled up in bed reading books and watching movies he was outside shoveling the piles of snow that were falling from the sky. He did not stop with the necessary areas. He decided that we needed to turn our "butt" slide into a sled run. (Of course, the children can still choose to go down on their bottoms). Our primary concern with the children using this hill made from our parking pad to the backyard has been safety. We have a large tree, a section of fence and a play structure that provide large obstacles. Mr. Allan decided that by using the "yooper scooper" he could make a track that would deter the children from the obstacles, making a safe sled run right in our back yard!

The children walk up the "driveway" area between the house and the parking pad.

Then, they slide down the mound of snow that has been added to the hill off the edge of the parking pad.

It is difficult to see from the photos, but the path scooped out has walls that are between 18-24" tall, providing a direct route down the run!

Enjoy a few clips of our sledding run fun!

We have had a few really cold days here this week, but the children don't seem to mind. The temperatures have limited the amount of time we can stay outside. (Sometimes we are only out for 10 minutes at a time...), but the children can't wait to get back out on that sledding run!

Here in the U.P., winter is far from over. We anticipate that this lovely white stuff will stick around for a few more months. You'll have to check back to watch how the run walls grow and see what creative ideas we come up with next for our winter wonderland!

Have you been out in the snow today?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Too Much

We are blessed in so many ways, and right now... we have way TOO MUCH stuff! So, as part of our new year and return home.... We are opting for a bag/box a day challenge.  Each day, we are removing a large bag or box full of things from our home that we no longer use and/or need. Hopefully, we will be able to keep it up through the month of February!

So, if you are local and are looking for anything, please don't hesitate to let us know! I am posting quite frequently on Yooper Yardsale (Yahoo Group) and Yooper Rummage Sales (on Facebook). Dane is hoping to purge and sell enough stuff to convince us to pitch in with him for an ipad.

I just hope to make our space less cluttered!

You can follow some of our purges here: Dane's Online Yardsale. We will be posting items for local sale daily as it is way too cold and snowy for a traditional yard sale!

Are you up for a de-cluttering challenge? I'd love to hear your organization and purging tips!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Welcome to 2012!

We are winding down from a very relaxing vacation, and will be back to "business as usual" by the end of the week.

We have had a very restful and fun time visiting with family and playing games.

It has been a great trip, even will the cold/flu bugs.

I managed to finish my USA cross stitch that I started 16 years ago, do a bit of Christmas crafting AND teach myself how to crochet!

Isn't this little yoda cool!!!! He is a finger puppet (my first complete crochet project) adapted from a tutorial I found here:

Please bear with me as I learn more about blogging from my phone!

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...