1John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Paper Plate Fun

I am so happy to take down the hearts and start shamrocks!  This is not a shamrock project, those will come later.  This is all about putting up some green.  Here is an easy way to dress up any classroom setting for March.
Give the kids a paper plate and some March colors.  We used green and yellow.  Instruct them to color every inch of the plates, front and back.
Cut each paper plate into a spiral.  Most kids should be able to do this once they have mastered the scissors.  Mine were just introduced to scissors last week, so this time I will do the cutting, as a spiral is a bit more complicated for them.  I must say- they are doing excellent with the cutting they have done so far!
Tack the spirals from the ceiling for a festive look!  In the past, we have created snake heads and attached them to the end of each spiral.  For me, this is an easy way to splash some green around.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Beast

Niko the beast, looking for noisy children to dodge.  Is the coast clear?  He knows that when he DOES decide to grace us with his presence, it will be short lived.  Any loud thump or giggle will send him right back out to this spot where he will patiently wait again.
This time there were TWO spoiled beasts.  One wants in.  The other wants out.  Both too lazy to use the cat door.  (Located about 16 inches to the left.)  Are they on a power trip?  If cats could talk, they'd be complaining about their lazy "pets" who won't give them the dignity of using the people door.  I want in.  I want out.  I'll just wait.  But I'll give you dirty looks while I'm waiting.
 I took too long, so he entered through the cat door (gasp!) and I was not in my computer chair.  He usually takes his place on my lap, but the desk will do for now.  What a gooood baby. ♥

Friday, February 25, 2011

Quilt Attempt

I decided to sew together a quilt.  After knitting dishcloths, I thought getting back to the sewing machine would provide me with immediate gratification because it is much faster.  I went to Ben Franklin and purchased some pre-cut squares.  Aaaah- the speed of it all was intoxicating.  So intoxicating in fact, that I decided I didn't need to use pins to hold it all together as I whisked myself into a sewing fantasy.  (Laughing now, but not then...)
Here is the result of sewing a quilt together without using pins... It took me three times as long to pull out all of the stitches.  You had better believe that I was happy to take the time to use pins during the repair..
Here are all of the squares, sewn together.
I used cotton, the nice woman at Ben Franklin suggested that it would hold up in the washing machine.  This house simply cannot have something in it that can't go in the wash.
I had a hard time deciding what would go on the back of this quilt.  There wasn't much to choose from, so I had to use these fabrics.  They do match some squares from the front, so that's great.  Now I just have to do the edging.  This quilt will hang over the back of the couch.  I'm sure it has a long life ahead of it.  Indoor picnics, fort making, couch snuggling.  (If I could just get it done.. so much for "speed"....ha ha ha)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Group Time!

This is my group time basket.  I start our preschool schedule at 9:00 sharp.  The kids finish cleaning up and when the job is complete, they grab a cushion to use for their seat.
I found these cushions (above) at Ross for under $5.00 each.  They fit perfectly into this entertainment center compartment that has had the shelves removed. 
Finger puppets are a GREAT way to keep kids engaged!  Sometimes all it takes is one little frog who "wants to hear the story" that keeps the kids watching.  They want the frog to hear the story, too.
When the kids remember their letter or number, shape or color, sometimes they are rewarded with a treat from the treat jar.  Right now it has Skittles. ♥
Five monsters on a stick for an impromptu song, perhaps.  ♫Five little monsters jumping on a bed..♪
Here is what the kids love the most about group time.  This is my treasure box.  Inside is a mystery item, and they ask me questions and I answer them with clues as to what might be inside.  Sometimes the item will have to do with the season, maybe what we are learning for the day, or just a regular household item that we use each day without thinking about.
It's a fork!  No matter what the object, they are always very excited to talk about it's purpose.  Sometimes, just sometimes, there will be chocolate in the treasure box for everyone.  Sweets for the sweets!♥

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Smell of Home

The other day I was realizing how much time some of these kids actually spend here.  This is often their "other" home for up to 11 hours each day!  Yes, it's preschool and childcare, but to me it's home.  It is important to me that they feel at home too.  I like to know that the first thing they do when they arrive is notice the smell.  Lucky for me, my kids are all 3 and over so diapers are few and far between.  No diaper smell here!
Here is a tiny corner just above where the kids load their belongings into cubbies.  Good to have you "home" again!  The electric tart warmer is my most treasured little helper.  I am not allowed to have an open flame in the house during business hours, so the tart warmer is a wonderful substitute.  A great friend gave that to me after my anguish of learning that I could no longer burn my candles.
Here is my candle drawer, located in a bakers rack.  I like Partylite because the wax will not burn you if it gets on you, and the wick is removable.  The bargain shopper in me will not allow me to actually purchase "tarts" for my warmer- I just get the votives and pop the wick out.
Today it smells like apples!  It's one of my favorites.  But the smell that trumps all candles is baking in the oven right now- zucchini bread.  ♥
My Partylite consultant is Lisa Weiser- she is wonderful.  Here is a link if you would like :http://www.partylite.biz/sites/lisaweiser?showWelcome=Y

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Five Fat Snowmen

Or in this case, one melting snowman.  It's snowing this morning.  Not enough for a snowman, but enough to brighten the eyes of the hopeful children who have been glued to the windows calculating what their fist moves will be the minute they are released to roll in it. 
 Meanwhile, a poem for grouptime:

Five Fat Snowmen
Five fat snowmen standing in a row,
Out comes the sun- Oh no!

Four fat snowmen standing in a row,
The temperature is rising- Oh no!

Three fat snowman standing in a row,
The day gets warmer- Oh no!

Two fat snowmen standing in a row,
Icicles dropping- Oh no!

One thin snowman sinking very low,
Now he's a puddle- Oh no!
(The kids can "melt" as the countdown is recited.)
Maybe it will accumulate like it did 3 years ago?  Or not.  But today I think we will each create one small snowman and bring them inside to see whose snowman will melt the fastest. :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Indian Fry Bread

When I was taking Home-Economics in 7th grade, my friend Emmanda's mother (who is a member of the Navajo Tribe) came in to demonstrate the correct process for making Indian Fry Bread.  I still have the original recipe- I cannot believe it survived so much without so much as a spot of grease on it.
 It's very basic.  Emmandas mother mixed the ingredients together using her hand, which all of us giggly girls couldn't wait to try.  I had a craving yesterday, so here are the results.

Rolled out the dough.  This is what tortillas look like when they are ready to go into the pan.  The only difference is that these will go into the hot vegetable oil.  The dough is VERY elastic.  You will build muscles because every time you roll over the dough, it shrinks back down.
video
You definitely don't want to walk away, even for a second.  Otherwise the fry bread will burn. 

I like to add butter and honey to mine.  I have seen others use cinnamon and sugar on theirs.  To each his own!  This recipe made 7 for us.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Secret Pal

Remember 'Secret Santa'?  At church we have a neat program called "Secret Pal".  Each Spring, a group of women get together and draw the name of the person who they will be an anonymous "secret pal" to for the next year.  This is my 4th year taking part in the program, and yesterday we had the secret pal brunch to reveal ourselves to the secret pal for last year and to draw new pals.  Being a secret pal to someone means that we encourage them, lift them up in prayer, send a card in the mail, surprise them with a little something here and there. It's pretty fun trying to sneak something in without being caught.  We attend a small church.
These favors were on our place settings at the tea brunch yesterday.  Emergency chocolate- phew!  You can print these little packages at www.alenkasprintables.com .
 Here is something my secret pal left for me at Christmas.  I love Taste of Home- some of our favorite recipes came from the magazines.
The person that I had for the past year is a beautiful card maker.  Look at these works of art!  Try as I might- my cards look like they were completed by a 5 year old.  These are perfect. ♥
I strongly encourage you to have a "Secret Pal" to encourage.  The most meaningful thing ever can be a simple card in the mail wishing someone a wonderful day, throw a teabag in there too. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Quiet Coffee

Saturday morning, what a  great time.  I was the first one out of bed and had complete silence as the coffee was brewing.  Sometimes the silence is deafening, but this morning it was a welcome sigh of relief.  My coffee wasn't as fancy as the one above- that shot was taken in Seattle last year at Starbucks in Pioneer Square.  Seattle- I love you and shall return with my daughter in due time.♥
 Here is my daughter- looking very grown up with that hot chocolate laced with whipped cream.  We were waiting for the toy shop to open up.
 Did you know that there are 424 Starbucks in Seattle alone?  This photo shows the very first one, located on Pike Place.  ♥

Friday, February 18, 2011

Baking Some Fun

Alright, I don't think it's technically "baking" when it comes out of a box, but the kids love it just the same.  These muffins took me 5 minutes to mix up, 20 minutes to bake, and the kids will devour them at lightning speed. They missed the fun part, though- the mixing and getting covered in flour. We do bake together at Henle House on occasion.
♫♪"This is how we roll the dough, roll the dough, roll the dough!"♫♪
They each spooned in a cherry mixture to the mini pie dough they rolled out.  I inserted a tin foil piece into the bottom of the tin with a name for each child's pie.  They want to eat the one they created.
We had a couple of visitors while our pies were baking.  They are regulars here. :)
And the timer went off!  This was a very simple cooking project, the kids enjoyed the sensory of squishing their dough, rolling the dough, drawing in the flour on the table, and most important- eating it up. Yum!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gods Little Surprises

Sometimes I surprise myself how blind I am.  A week ago, I panicked when I saw how depleted the left side of our backyard grass had become thanks to little feet running and pounding on it.  The ground is a swampy mess.  I decided to hold off on outside for a day until I could figure out how to block off that side of the yard. 
It's pretty worn right here, and this is the spot where every child will fall and come to me covered in mud.  I thanked God for the pouring rainy day so I could keep the kids inside and off of the grass.  That night, we had a huge windy rain storm that pushed the top of a tree in the neighbors lot behind us into our yard.  I nagged Adam a couple of times about moving it out of the way.
It did not happen.  Not because he didn't mean to, he just didn't get around to it.
  Then yesterday, I realized.. (Ding ding ding!) God had dropped a barrier to block the kids from further pummeling the grass to it's death!  (♫♪ Hallelujah Chorus♫♪)  I am leaving it there!  God does so many tiny little things each day for us all.  I pray that I never stop noticing these small blessings. :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Crayon Resist

The kids think it's a "magic painting."  I suppose it is.  It's the opposite of that disappearing ink I used to covet as a child.  The idea that ink could disappear was fascinating!  So why not a crayon resist?  It starts with a piece of white paper and a white crayon.  Draw something on the paper.  We are learning the number 12, so I drew a 12.  I was going to add hearts, but I'm a bit tired of the hearts, so went with stars instead.
What I like to do is use a spray bottle of water to spray onto the watercolors so they are ready for the kids when they get to the table.
 The kids paint away.  I do not tell them what will appear, they have to work on getting color on the entire paper in order to see the magic "pop" out.


 "It's a twelve!!" Some recognized.  That's pretty good for our first day of twelve.  "I see stars!"  They say.  I think I see stars, too.  These kids are great. :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Spy

I spy with my little eye, seven well behaved children tromping their way to the bus stop this morning.  It is common knowledge between us all that we play "I Spy" along the way.

We have on several occasions "spied" deer, crows, squirrels, geese, ducks, slugs, caterpillars, and spider webs.  This morning we saw our squirrel, Chippy.  At least, we think this was our squirrel.  He was fat like the one that shows up begging at the back door every day.  How fun to see him away from the house too.

 We also "spied" a tree that was waving. 


 While we wait at the bus stop, someone usually "spies" the elephant in the woods.  Can you spot him?
I was most happy to spy a tiny bit of blue sky.  Maybe we'll spy some sunshine today. :)