Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Quiet Week

What a week... no kids. I have loved having the week to unwind after family went home to NY and all the busy of the Holiday. I got to sleep until 10 o'clock in the morning... OMG... that hasn't happened in a really, really long time. I thought I could get used to it, but it is now Thursday and I have been waking up at 6:30 each morning... willing myself to go back to sleep. I did get to sit around and watch movies for 2 days straight... another thing I don't get to do often.
I rented Julia & Julie, what a great movie. I don't know something about it just touched me. Maybe it was because she blogged, or it could have been all the cooking. I love to cook. I never have enough time or the tools needed to make the meals Julie made, but how I wish I could. I made 2 New Years Resolution... 1 of course was losing some weight, so maybe this will be the year I start really cooking. Paying attention to what goes into my mouth as much as I pay attention to what goes into the kids mouth. Hmmmm.... what cookbook will I use?? One that I can combine what I like and what the kids will actually eat. Any ideas???
I also got to see The Proposal & Seven Pounds. I know totally opposite. I liked the Proposal... funny but very predictable. Seven Pounds, well... hmmm.... kinda weird... enough said :)
I have decided that I need to do this each year. Maybe take off this week every year... it has been a nice week.
I guess I should try to get the playroom ready for next week. Lesson plans need to be completed and materials put out. Well... there is always tomorrow :)

Have a Happy, Healthy & Blessed New Year to All!!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Our Home to Yours!!
We have had a busy, busy week. Our Holiday Program went on without much of a hitch... we had one who only stayed for a song then went to his family... but otherwise we had a great time. The Parents loved it, the Holiday DVD was great, and the cookies and juice hit the spot.
We enjoyed having our PJ Day on Friday and then this week we only had Monday and Tuesday for care. We didn't have a full house but we did a lot of crafts, enjoyed playing outside and even got to watch a movie about Rudolph... Good Times!!
So... Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Busy... But Not

Wow, I feel like we haven't had any real structure to our days the past few weeks. We have been busy making holiday crafts, open ended art has been a huge hit the last two weeks, and just open free play. We have been "pulling" kids one-by-one to get things done, so I have allowed them to kinda just be. Which is nice, I have been allowed into their world of play. Getting to see them use what they have been "learning" since September. Seeing them "read" together from one of the books we have made, the sand studio has turned into a Car Garage for all the matchbox cars, the gift wrapping table has become a place to conduct business... one day it was the grocery store (where the baker wrapped their cakes... who knows where that came from??) one day it was the farmer who had to wrap and sell ALL the pretend fruits and veggies from the "farm" (even a few from my pantry). I have been so busy doing "nothing" I haven't been able to get the camera out. I have missed so many great photos, but oh well, I have enjoyed our days together.

**By the way... we are still working on that growth spurt I wrote about :) We haven't made the leap yet, but I definitely see some progress. My boys have started working together on more complex adventures (building things for their cars, kitty's, mazes for the monster trucks, etc...). So I think that it is safe to say... after break all the kids will be ready for some new and different activities to go with their growth spurt :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Program

Today we practiced for our Holiday Program. The kids have gotten the hang of singing in front of a group. I will worry about my 2 almost 3 yr old, but I know she will bail as soon as she sees her parents. I don't know if it is out of fear of all those people, or just habit. Since she has been doing it for every program I can remember. She walks into the room, sees her Mom & Dad and when they smile... that's it off she runs. We practice waving, saying "Ok...Now were just going to wave at our Mom's & Dad's right, we won't run to them. We have to sing, right!!" She nods her cute little head, sings her heart out during the practice, and I just know she won't stay for the actual program. That is why I try to get video of them during practice. This way their Parent's know that they did it, can do it, and actually enjoyed it :) I will keep you posted... our program is on Thursday night...

Finishing up all our ornaments, reading about Jesus' birth, and opening up our Advent Calendar's doors each day keep us pretty busy. We don't always get that practice in. But I have learned... it doesn't actually matter how the evening goes... Mom, Dad, Grandma & Grandpa will love it anyway. They will look cute in their outfits with their reindeer antlers, some will belt out the songs like they had to sing to the people in the back of an auditorium, and their will be a lot of oohhh's & aahhh's.

Which brings me to being nervous. I can sing, act silly, make funny faces and just about talk my heart out in front of a bunch of preschoolers. I can also talk to parents one-on-one. Yet, get all those parents in one room, at one time, looking at me... Forget About It!!! I clam up, stumble over words... why?? They are the same people I see everyday!! We have talked for countless hours over the last year. I want to tell them how much their children impact my life. How much I love them. I want to tell them that being apart of their lives has made me so happy and such a better person for knowing them. That when they tell me their child said a word with the same inflection as me, I beam inside. When your child puts her hands on her hips and says "You guys!!" just like I do when I am redirecting them... yes, I smile and my heart grows 3 times it's size. I won't be able to say it on Thursday Night... but I want them to know. Every time your child hugs me or tells me they love me... that's enough. That's why I do this, that is why I open my home to your children. The State rules and regulations, the locks on my cabinets, the silly paperwork... it is all worth it, because your children bring such joy to my life. And the Parent's aren't so bad either!!
So there I said it... I just hope they read it so I don't have to actually speak it :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Jammie Day

Today was Jammie Day!! I was out grocery shopping last night and my cell phone goes off!!

Me: Hello

B: Shell, can we have a jammie day tomorrow?

Me: Huh, well we haven't had one in a long time.

B: Yeah!! Lets have a jammie day.

Me: Ok!! Let's do it! I'll call everyone, ok.

B: Ok, bye

Come to find out, his Mom was having Jammie Day at school, so he thought we should have one too. I am glad he did. It was a short, cute phone call and I smiled the rest of the way through the grocery store!!

That is what I love most about Family Home Childcare, you can have a spontaneous jammie day!! I text all my friends and today we had a cozy, fun filled, picnic having jammie day!!!

We took out all the blankets and used them for everything!! From forts (of course) to mummy making friends!!! (Gotta love the winter hat)

A little gift wrapping in our jammies (or jamma's as this little princess likes to correct me)

We had a playdate with this little guy today... wasn't he so cute in those jammies pretending to be the teacher!!!

What a nice way to end the week. We have our Polar Express Day planned for next week when the big kids get off school early... so I think it will have to be another Jammie Day, I mean you can't have the Polar Express Day without our Jammies and Hot Cocoa!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

2 Steps Back... 4 Steps Forward

Just a few photos of the kids yesterday... it was a busy day, but we got through it and even had some cute moments to look back on!! I have figured out that my group is going through a growth spurt. It seems whenever they are ready to make some leaps or bounds in any area... social, emotional, physical, intellectual... we take 2 or 3 steps backwards first... then we take that huge 5 or 6 leaps forward. I know I learned about it in college the fancy reasons why, but as a Mom/Teacher I have seen it so many times. I am thankfully starting to see it and realize what is happening before I go crazy though. Then I can have the patience to help guide them through it.

I remember when my oldest boys were little I would be pulling my hair out because they would be behaving in a way that they knew was unacceptable, yet did it they did!! I would be disciplining them, redirecting them, and right when I thought I couldn't take it anymore it was over... not only over but they were learning new things and applying them to their daily life. Being considerate of each other (as much as twins can), being gentle with the little brothers, putting toys away, Oh, you know what I mean.

So, I have decided that this has to be what is going on with my Daycare Gang right now. We have been having some very simple, basic issues... ones that I thought we had gotten awhile back. We have been having to practice putting our toys away (in the right spots), using our words and not our hands, listening to each others words, etc... now I am patiently waiting for the day that I don't have to remind, redirect, and discipline on a minute by minute basis.... okay I exaggerate... but you know what I mean :)

I do know that the day will come though. So for now we will enjoy the process of growing up, taking from it all the wonderful bits and pieces that make us who we are. I am glad to be the one to help them, because as Kristin says over at Preschool Daze...Her "Greatest Passion Is Saving The Dignity of Each Child" (You can find it in her W is for Welcome on right hand side of her blog) Oh, how eloquently put. It puts goosebumps on my arms every time I read it or think it, for I know what she means. This period of time in my Gang's life can be such an enriching one or one that could cause pain, humility and/or sadness. It is not only my job, but my passion to make sure my Gang has an enriching, loving & secure experience.

Now that I got that off my chest :) I will show you a few of our moments yesterday...

Is this too cute or what... a Princess & Her Pig. LOVE IT!!!

She picked the spot to be "photographed"

Little Miss being helpful :)

My Princess making some cinnamon toast for breakfast... Another Great Helper!!

Star Ornament

Glue Ornament... opps, I mean another Star Ornament

I wish I had gotten a picture of it at the end, it had ALOT of glue

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Conversation Between 2 Boys

This morning we had an issue with two boys and 3 shake-n-go cars...

boy 1: I want the fast one
boy 2: Sorry I got it first
boy 1: But I put it down first, I want it now
boy 2: UM... well I have it and I want it
boy 1: You have 2
boy 2: You will have 2, too
boy 1: So
boy 2: I want 2
boy 1: You can't have 2 if I don't have 2
boy 2: but you want 2
boy 1: So
boy 2: Shell, he wants 2, but I want 2
Shell: "Well, how can we solve this?"
boy 1: Give me the car
boy 2: NO!!
Shell: "I guess you both want the car"
boy 1: Yes, I had it first
boy 2: Shell!!!
boy 1: Well, I just want the fast 1
boy 2: Oh, here you can have the FAST one
Shell: "I'm glad you figured that out boys"
boy 2: Yeah, he only wanted the fast one
boy 1: Yeah, now I have 2 and you have 1
boy 2: (looks down at his hands, kinda figures out he's been duped, and shrugs his shoulders) So, I'm gonna play with the blocks anyway
boy 1: NO!! I want the blocks!!

I think it's going to be one of those days :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Work for this Week

I put out some new fun work for this week. I was going through my December Theme Box and realized that I forgot some great works that I had out last year at this time. We have so much to do to get ready for our Holiday Program and of course all the crafts to be completed and done by the time each child leaves for Christmas Break that I sometimes forget about the opportunities for such fun learning. The kids were excited to find new work on the shelf... I was excited to see them use it :)

Well, this isn't really new... they just won't let me put it up

I got this idea from Ms Debbie who had a great basket with a Gingerbread Person and lots of knick-knacky stuff to go on it. Believe it or not I can't find all my stray stuff so this was the next best thing I came up with :)

Transferring and Patterning Activity

Transferring... Another idea from Ms Debbie to use the little presents... They loved them, so much so that they thought they could open them :) But I was prepared thanks to Ms Debbie... I bought a whole bunch!!

What's the Christmas Season if not about giving and receiving PRESENTS!! I set this "wrapping" station up for the kids. It was an idea I DID read on someones blog... and I thought I saved it, but I can't find it... So if anyone knows where I saw it, please let me know!!!
The kids LOVED it!! They loved finding little things to wrap up, then using the paper ALL BY THEMSELVES, cutting the tape... We Love Tape!! Then putting the gift under the tree!! They all decided that we would open them tomorrow... This center got a lot of activity today. Yeah!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Need I say More???

Friday, December 4, 2009


I am a process over product girl mostly, but Holiday Time really brings out my Memory Making Mode... We all want those cute little crafts to hang on the Christmas Tree, so we can look back years later and say "Oh Jack, look you made this in preschool... do you remember?" and the kids get all excited, finding their special ornaments and wreaths for the wall.

How do I reconcile this?? Well, look at these little faces...

The look of concentration as they fine tune those fine motor skills are... Priceless. The little white paper is hard to peel back, but they kept at it. Asking for help when they got frustrated, but eventually everyone (well almost everyone, my Little is 18 mths, she couldn't quite get it, but she tried) figured out how to peel that paper back by themselves. They were so proud of themselves!!!

For $1 we used our fine motor skills, we experienced sticky-vs-smooth, we cooperated, shared materials, waited our turn, and most important we socialized, talked, and just had "together" time, all of us. It was a moment that to me, their "teacher," was absolutely... Priceless!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Morning Play

What a busy morning!! We started our morning off with Forts and Tunnels!! Believe it or not... there are 4 kids under the blankets and pillows. We received a whole bunch of extra couch pillow when we needed some repairs to the couch, and the kids found them recently and have been "building" with them ever since. The Tunnel around the coffee table is a very important thorough-fare at our house.

All the ages get involved

We worked on our fine motor skills while using the droppers and red water colors to dye our macaroni for our Holiday Wreaths
We topped our morning off with almost an hour and a half of play at the playground!!!
It has been raining here and my backyard is a swampy, muddy mess!! I am so glad our community has such a wonderful playground for the kids to use!!

A stray "Wishing" flower...
We also had time to work on our wreaths, play in the water table, have circle time, and open our 3rd box on our Advent Calendar... a donkey today :) We had a fun morning, the week has flown by.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Toddlers... What a wonderful age!! This post is for my toddlers!!

When I started my Family Home Daycare I didn't really give a lot of thought to the age groups I would have. How they would interact. How one age would influence another. How any age would influence our day. Well... I do now. I have had infants through preschoolers in my care and they all add something to our program. We have had to adjust our days to accommodate naps or feedings. We have had to keep prized toys out of reach or precious art work up on the shelf. People think I started my "preschool" program because of all the preschoolers I have at the time, but really it is just for the structure to our day. We want to be busy and engaged all day, so this was the best way for ME to achieve that.

Now, why toddlers today?? My toddlers have given me such joy this week. They have been interacting, playing with the "big" kids, getting ooey gooey, and learning to "sit" in circle time. Now, I only have 1 full-time early toddler, and then a friend comes periodically to have a play date or have a celebration, and this week we began our Advent Celebration and working on Christmas Crafts... so they have been here off and on.

To watch them is so wonderful, it reinforces why I do what I do. I love giving them the opportunities and experiences they crave. I love working with a multi-age group. The little ones learn from the big ones, the big ones learn empathy for their little counterparts, the big kids get to be the "teacher" and yet they love giving the toddlers a turn at being the teacher. The big kids have learned to share their environment and have made adjustments to make their "babies" part of their daycare family. Having just a few toddlers together is a blessing. They can learn without having to be on the look out for another toddler doing or wanting the same things as them. They can still be the "baby" of the family here, because the preschoolers are learning they had their turn and now it is time for them to be the "teachers" for the toddlers. It all seems to be working... well, most days :)

I remember working in the toddler room at a daycare center... having 7 to 10 toddlers together at one time... it was a long, hard day. Now we had a wonderful center, we did wonderful, engaging learning experiences... but the sheer number of toddlers together was overwhelming... mostly for the toddlers. We only had usually 2 people... which meant 4 arms and if your lucky you could get 3 children on you lap and in your arms for a hug... unless of course someone wasn't pushing another off :) I just couldn't do it all and they could not understand why not. I always felt I was falling short in that classroom.

With my group now, I feel like I can give all the hugs, kiss away the tears, wash up a boo boo, or just hold a sad/happy child... when I need to, as many times as I need to. We still have our days of stubborn tantrums, teething, and learning to share... but with only 1 and sometimes 2 it seems like I am having an impact on their lives. That they are learning here... about being a toddler and striving to be like those big preschoolers they see everyday.

I know multi-age groups are not always the ideal for every child, yet for us it seems to work. I love watching them blossom from the infant that comes first to the "big" preschooler that leaves to go to kindergarten. It is an amazing process and I am so glad to be involved in it.

Here are just a few out takes from our week...

reading with friends

green paint... loving the ooey gooey feeling in her hands

Look at this!!

smellin the candles from our scent tray

play-doh time


What do you think??

I can cook it for you...

Toddlers amaze me... they are such sponges and have such personalities. They are becoming little people so fast and trying to get as many experiences under their belt as they can. I learn so much from them everyday!! The most important their ability to Love!! Again... I love my job.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Another Great Day

Today we didn't get to many photo's... but we had a lot of fun learning about the meaning of Christmas!! We have a great new Advent Calendar that talks and tells the story of Jesus' Birthday and a magnetic board that we can put the special pieces up on as the story is being told.

We read some silly books about Santa and some more touching books about Baby Jesus. The kids enjoyed having the playdoh out to "act" out what we read about, and then we went outside!! We ran, dug in the dirt, chased our friends, built "caves" in the climbing structure, ran some more and then ran even more!! It was such a cool, crisp day... the sun was shining and the kids had a ball.

Being from NY I remember the GRAY winters. Starting in November all the way through February it was gray. The clouds were out most of the time, the snow gray from the salt and dirt, the cars were gray from the salt and dirt, it was just gray. The kids didn't get out as much, and didn't get to bask in the sunlight as much. Here we get cold weather... but the sun seems to be shining so much more and makes you want to be outside even when it's cold. I'll be sometimes wishing for a cold, rainy, snowy day so we can stay in... the kids always want to be outside. I'm glad.

Now... don't get me wrong... I do MISS the snow fall from New England!! We would get 1,2,3 feet sometimes. The kids are missing an experience in that also. The sledding, the snow forts, the snow ball fights, and the ice palaces. We had a lot of fun on those days. We get one "good" (which is relative mind you) snow a year. It snows maybe a foot or so, the schools are closed, the kids all go outside as soon as possible and try to get all the fun in before it melts away. We get the fire burning, the hot chocolate flowing and the gloves and boots out for their once a year ritual. The next day... it's pretty much gone. It's pretty funny in fact. We have been here a little over 3 years... and that's how it has been every winter since we got here. People talk about the time it snowed 5 feet or what not... but not since we have lived here.... I'll keep you posted this winter!!!

We also began working on our songs & finger plays for our Holiday Program... the kids are sweet. They get nervous and excited about it... Thankfully I keep it short and sweet!! All in all I think we had a great morning!!!