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

Monday, March 31, 2014

P Is For Pig/ I'm A Control Freak

I took an Art Appreciation 101  class online and learned one thing: I am too much of a control freak when it comes to children's art.  I am so guilty of too much organization.  It's a good point- kids need to be able to create their own stuff, how they want to.  It's good for them to explore.  I gave it a go- in baby steps.   I gave everyone the pieces and some glue, and WALKED AWAY.  It was hard- I popped back over to the table just to take photos for this post.
They were getting started.
The "concentration tongue" was coming out!
 They just created with what they had- however they chose to do it.
I honestly think I liked the results much more than  before.
They thought carefully about where they could put pieces.  I gave zero input.
She was creating a colorful barn for her pig.
It was a tiny step for me.  One that I plan to pursue further.  There is always room for improvement as far as how this place is running!  Believe it or not- I like finding these things out about myself because it creates a further challenge for me to work towards.  Hopefully the next step will be bigger than the last.
♥♥♥Happy Monday!♥♥♥

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Working In An Office

Kids just want to get their hands on the things that they aren't supposed to touch.  It's their goal, plain and simple.  Why?  Because they want to be grown ups.  They love to pretend that they are adults.  That is why I chose to create and office for them to play with for the next few weeks.
I hit up several second hand stores in search of old office supplies.  I scored big time at The Farm Youth Thrift Shop in Snohomish.  My goal was to find lots of things with buttons.  
I had my sons with me while I was searching, and Ethan found these old tape cassette storage boxes.  They look like briefcases to me!
The shelf holds the briefcases when they aren't being used, some business cards, calculators, some stackable paper holder things (what are they called???), some pencils... just office stuff.  I hung a couple of the clipboards on the wall.   
When I introduce new play ideas to the kids, it usually involves me showing them how things work and pretending a little bit myself.  They saw me pretending to talk on the phone and taking a message.  I popped that message into a file folder or into someones briefcase, and then proceeded to grab a clipboard and walk around the playroom to take inventory of the toys.  Doll bed- check!  Books- check!  Doing this will give the kids ideas of how they can play with these items.  They LOVE having the computer keyboards to play with.
I provided some ties so the kids can dress the part.  I still need to add some dressy skirts or something for the girls.  They like the ties, too.
Checking on things...
He was taking phone messages and typing out bills on the calculator thing that STILL PRINTS!  I even found an old phone message receipt book that they can write messages in and pull out the paper and pass it to who the message is for.  Thrift shops are the best places to find this stuff!! 
See the computer screen?  I just took a photo of my own computer screen, one of my desktop, one of a writing program opened up.  I printed the photos out and taped them to the back of some small size chalkboards that I had sitting around.  They can choose which screen they want to work with.  You could use cardboard and have the same thing!  This is my favorite dramatic play idea yet.  The kids were so anxious to play with it again this morning that no one wanted to eat breakfast.  "But we all need to eat breakfast before we go to work."  They listened.
 I won't be blogging tomorrow- my husband and I are heading out of town for our anniversary weekend.  Every year we go to a different bed and breakfast for 2 nights.  It's my favorite celebration of the year.  I'm closed tomorrow. 
♥♥♥Happy Thursday that feels like Friday!♥♥♥

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"I Can't"

Every job I have ever had has had an aspect that I didn't like so much.  Of course that is because there isn't a perfect job.  The one part about this job that makes me cringe is when a preschooler say's "I can't" and stands there expecting me to do it for him or her.  Nope.  It's just not going to happen.  "Pish posh, YES YOU CAN!  I would like you to try, first." I usually reply.  (Smiles)  I'm a fan of taking as long as necessary to get a child to actually try doing things for themselves rather than just doing it to be efficient.  If that means that a child misses some outside time, so be it.  "I will not put your coat on you."  I will, however, encourage them to work on it on their own, and maybe teach them a trick to help them get it done in a way that they can understand.  I can't be an enabler.  It would make my job miserable.  Because my group of kids knows this about me, they try harder!  They feel good about what they accomplish.  Kids have to know how to take care of themselves in the bathroom, deal with their own coats and shoes etc.   I don't believe that age 2 is too young for that.  Kids are smart! 
It's almost time to move the Flower Shop out of the dramatic play area.  We gave it one good hearty "go" yesterday.  The girls were hard at work arranging flowers and delivering them to me.
I had lots of pretty vases piling up.
They could've played for hours.  They were arranging, rearranging and repeating.
The dolls all had special deliveries. 
We had an incredible rain storm.  I love it when the rain comes down so heavy that we can hear it on the roof.
The camera didn't capture it well, but there is a rainbow in this photo.  The sun was shining and it was pouring rain at the same time. 
The puzzle box became a Smudge trap this morning.  I'm glad we have cats in the house.  They are an important part of my boys' morning.  Ethan in particular loves to get up and see what the cats are doing.  It helps him start his day off on a good note.
♥♥♥Happy Wednesday!♥♥♥

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Has Arrived

We traced the letter P yesterday. 
Look how well the crayons were being held!  
It was the most beautiful day, we kept our table time short and sweet.
Plum blossoms are stealing the show in the back yard right now. 
The peonies are waking up.  I love that one girl in particular always lets me know when she sees a plant "waking up."   She remembers when we talked about what the plants do in the spring time.  Telling the kids that the flowers "wake up" was a good way to get them to understand that they are dormant through the winter.
Petra is my garden girl.  She loves to follow me around and look at what's going on in the gardens.  She also spends a lot of time in the kids' playhouse. 
The 'Walking Stick' tree is showing off it's late winter seed.
A river of daffodils is a welcome sight after a dark and almost snow free winter.  I realize that much of the country is still trying to get rid of the snow, and here we are in Washington not having experienced any significant snowfall all winter in our area.  I suppose I am ok with that.  Right on cue, the rain has returned this morning. 
♥♥♥Happy Tuesday!♥♥♥

Monday, March 24, 2014

Criminal Ostrich

We are powering through preschool as June approaches!  We are working on one letter each week now.  Friday was the last day to work on the letter O, so we created an ostrich.
The body was supposed to be the letter O, but I was lazy and didn't cut the center of it out. 
 She said her ostrich was looking at her.
The best part was when they each had a turn bringing me their ostrich and completing the small story about it.  I asked them what their ostrich was named, where it was going and what it wants or likes to eat.
Watch out for this particular ostrich.  Maybe I'm doing a bit of unjustified criminal profiling, but...
"She wants to eat babies!"  I think she looks guilty!
Meanwhile, Aiden brought a sheet of paper home from school and we created a standing Eiffel Tower out of it.  What a neat thing!  I did a little research and found the website- Papertoys.com .  This is not something that is good for a preschooler to do on their own.  It became my job to help Aiden create it, but it was really easy and the result was cool.
♥♥♥Happy Monday!♥♥♥
I am counting down the days until my handsome hubby and I escape for our anniversary weekend.  We are celebrating 9 years of wedded bliss.  4 days until we escape!

Friday, March 21, 2014

On, Off, & Keep Out

We worked on the concepts of on and off yesterday.  It was perfect because we are also working on the letter Oo.  
 "Are the coats on or off of the hooks?"  We played this game around the house until they understood what I was saying.
They placed one bear on and one bear off.  Easy squeezy!
Speaking of the letter Oo, I have a baby Zuko who will not stay out of one of my garden boxes.  The garden above was filled with bark yesterday.
Seeee?  I like the bark.  I don't know why I waited so many years to do this.
This is the garden box with the Zuko problem.  It is housing tulips and allium right now. 
 Grrrr.  I love a cat in the garden, but he's using it as a litter box.  I researched online and several websites mentioned adding mulch.  I added it yesterday.  See those fresh diggings?  Now what?  I've got to keep him out.
Smudge came running to me from someone elses yard this morning when he saw me looking at the gardens.  Petra is usually my garden kitty. She loves to watch what is happening.  It's funny when Smudge sees me outside.  He acts like we haven't seen each other in ages and it's a celebration that we are hanging out together outside in his favorite space. ♥  I love this beast!
"Show me the way, oh great and powerful Smudge." Zuko is STILL following him around everywhere.  
♥♥♥Happy Friday!♥♥♥