Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dear Readers

Dear Readers,

I have not forgotten about you.  I promise.  I know I skipped a day this week, and today's post isn't going to be all that great either.  The truth is, I've just had a crazy week.  Usually my life is pretty tame and a lot of the same old same old.  That allows me the time needed to write my blogs.  However, this last week was full of twists and turns and lots to think about.  It's been exhausting.  Since I haven't had much time to cook new recipes or make new art projects, all the blogs that are swimming around in my head for me to write just can't be written.  There are no pictures to show.... no projects complete... no decorating happening.

I hope to be back at it this next week, but there are no promises.  Oh, and stay tuned in because big news is coming.  (and NO, I am NOT pregnant)


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Before and After, Take 5

We are just running out of space.  We organize and re-organize and within months that organization is back to being a mess.  It's not because we are messy people, but because it takes so much effort to keep small places organized.

We had been talking about ways to add a little more storage.  That leads us to this next "Before and After".  I apologize now for failing as a good blogger.  I didn't take any before pictures when we go the new item, because I thought to myself "  Surely there are a ton of pictures of that in the crap load of house pictures we have".  Ugh, yeah... not so much.

(sort of)
  Notice the white cart to the very right of the picture that also matches the corner hutch.  Both of these pieces were bought from Target on a SUPER clearance deal.  They were bought with the purpose to give the kitchen more storage--not to just clutter it up with furniture.

The top surface held our toaster, a coffee pot and some napkins.
The drawer was a junk drawer--scissors, tape, pens, pads of paper for grocery lists, gum, and all sorts of other stuff that collected in there from time to time.
The middle shelf held some mixing bowls.
The bottom section held all of my cookbooks.  It was pretty deep, but I didn't need deep.  I needed wide!

 It might not be as classy, or match the hutch as great, but it sure does give us more space.  At this point, we had to go with functionality over looks.

There is so much storage now, that I haven't even used all of the spots yet!
I rearranged some of my other cabinets, so the mixing bowls went in there.
As of right now, three of those baskets are empty. Plus, one cubby is empty.
I just threw the scale in there to help fill it up.  Although, I think I'll keep it there.  The place where it was in the cabinets wasn't working.  It would keep falling.

It's deep enough for my cookbooks, but shallow enough not to take up so much room in the kitchen.  It actually makes the kitchen look bigger.

Plus, more "counter" space.

It's not exactly the best decorating decision I've made.  I realize it's a little dorm room looking.  BUT for our budget, our space and our need it works perfectly right now.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tactile Learning--Candy!

Last week I shared with you about tactile learning.  We are still working on forming our letters correctly, and we are still spicing it up with multiple ways to learn this skill.  The latest thing we did was use candy corn.  Hey, go with the season and have fun with it!
 I just told Little Man random letters to make and he made them.

He had lots of fun and kept running his hands through the pile to feel them.  Needless to say, they did not get added back into the candy dish! 

Again, you could change this up for your needs.  You could practice making shapes or numbers.  You don't have to use candy corn either.  You could use whatever you have on hand--M&M's, skittles, raisins, marshmellows, etc.  The options are limitless.

Ahh... isn't learning fun!?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Workbooks for Kiddos

I have another workbook to share with you guys.  K bought this one a while back, and it's great. 
There are many types of books like this.  We just happen to have the Preschool one.  I've seen them at Target for $10, but if you are making an Amazon purchase any time soon, they are $7.91 on there.  (That's only worth it if you are spending $25 or more and getting free shipping!)

This book really is "Big".
It covers a ton too!

It starts with mazes ... then it goes into tracing lines.  Good pre-writing skills.

Then it goes into writing letters and numbers.  We haven't done this section yet.  I am using other books that have more tracing letters for now.

It also covers shapes and colors

It also has MANY different ways to practice beginning sounds and ending sounds

Then there is a whole section with a variety of activities-same, different, opposites, what belongs, what doesn't belong, and more!

This book says it's for ages 3 to 5.  We have actually been using it since Little Man was 3 and he is seriously about to turn 5!  It's that big!  I skipped around to do the things that I thought he could do for the age he was.  My goal is to finish it before he starts Kindergarten. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spending all weekend doing chores + cooking with 14 four year olds today + lots of things on my mind = exhausted and not wanting to use my brain to write a post.  See you tomorrow!

Monday, October 25, 2010

List o' fun--Pumpkin Patch

There are so many great pumpkin patches around here.  All of them offer a little something different.  Little Man and I went to two pumpkin patches last week at two different places.  One was for a field trip and one was just with some friends.  It's so much fun for kids and adults alike.  If you haven't gone yet, you should!

We went to Miller's Country Garden for the field trip.  We had a hayride, picked a pumpkin and Indian corn.  They have lots more to offer, but we were on a preschool field trip so we got the quick version! :)

With our friends we went to Jacquemin Farms, which is also where we picked the strawberries.

Checking to see if this is the one he wants

Found the perfect one!

They also had a small hay maze and barn to play in the hay and go down slides.

and a corn box to play in
They also have inflatibles on the weekends.  Plus, lots of goodies to buy!

Another place I love is Circle S Farm.  I use to take the kiddos there on a field trip every year.  They have a HUGE barn with hay to jump in and play with and very big slides to go down.  They also have a rather large hay maze for the kiddos, a corn maze for everyone, some animals to pet, a hayride and pumpkins--of course!

Lynds Fruit Farm (where we picked apples and went through the corn maze) also has lots of fun activities.  They have a barrel train to ride in, a big mountain to climb, a small hay maze, the large corn maze, a hayride and more.  They have yummy food too!!

I've also heard Freemans and Leeds are good, but haven't been to either.  There are a ton of places.  Get out there and have some fun! :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Six for Saturday

 If you are local and looking for something fun to do today, you can check out Circleville Pumpkin Festival.  It has tons of pumpkins--some are freaking huge!  It has the world's largest pumpkin pie.  Oh, and pretty much anything you can think of to eat is made with pumpkin.  There are also rides and shows.  It goes from 10 AM to 11 PM.

We have a change to report.  Michael is half way through his second quarter of school and doing good.  Although, after taking some classes this quarter that introduce Network Administration, he has decided it is not for him.  In his words, "It's a little dry".  While taking classes for Network Admin, he had to take a class that was part of the Interactive Media degrees.  It's all still related to computers, but was much more creative and less "type in these codes" type stuff.  He found that he enjoyed it much more.  So after a closer look at the Interactive Media degrees, we stumbled upon Digital Video and Sound Major.  We aren't really sure why we didn't see this earlier, but this sounds exactly like Michael and his interests.  (We might night have stumbled upon it, because we aren't completely sure what kind of job you get with this degree.  However, the options seem endless.)  So after meeting with his IMMT teacher, who happens to be the head of the Interactive Media department, he switched majors.  Luckily, most of the classes he has already taken will count.  He will finish at the same time as he would have.  The bonus is he only has one more math class instead of the three he was going to have to take.  Praise the Lord!

 Again, if you are local, I invite you to come check out One Church Columbus.  There is another preview/pre-launch service tonight at 6 at Cornerstone Academy.  We'll be there!

Yesterday Michael and I were able to take in a matinee.  We chose to see Life As We Know It.  The previews looked pretty funny, and it looked like something we'd both enjoy.  I did enjoy it.  It was cute.  Sadly, it wasn't nearly as funny as I thought it was going to be.  Once again, most of the funny parts were in the previews.  Even still it was a cute romantic comedy of sorts.  I didn't hate that we spent $4.75 to see it.  I might have been made if we paid $9.50.
 Remember when we bought our new car and I gave you the tour?  I pointed out that our tire air pressure caps were these cute little Ohio State ones.  Well.... we found out this week that this is bad, bad, bad.  The little signal came on in our car that one tire had low tire pressure.  Michael went to fill it up and could not get the cap off.  He took it to Tire Discounters where we buy our tires and they said they would not take them off because they would break the sensors.  Apparently you are only suppose to use PLASTIC caps and not MEDAL caps.  Grrr....  We took it to our usual place for an oil change and they basically said the same thing.  Our next step is back to the dealer.  We haven't had time to do it yet, but we are hoping that they work with us to fix the problem.  I don't want broken sensors.  Lesson learned.  Go plastic!


Friday, October 22, 2010

Indian Corn

On Tuesday, Little Man and I went on a field trip with his preschool class.  It included a hay ride, picking some Indian corn, and choosing a pumpkin.  It was great fun--although very muddy!  The "farmer" talked about the Indian corn and all the colors that it was.  We were to gently peel back the covering to look at the different colors, and then pick the corn off the stalk if it was a good one.  Let me just tell you... it was no easy task getting that corn off.  Who knew?  Oh, and some of the corn was literally ALL red.  I never would have guessed that either.  I guess you learn something new every day! :)

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to make a little Indian corn craft.  I had a bunch of buttons leftover from my Christmas cards last year.  I meant to use them to make a fall leaf tree craft, but I kept forgetting them.  Then we ended up doing that one with the hand print and finger prints, and I didn't want another.  So the alternative...

I drew these on some foam pieces
I thought it was best to make the leaf thing one piece.  I figured it would be less layering and less glue.  I'm not sure if that actually worked out the way I imagined, but that's OK.

Then I had Little Man cut them out.
Don't mind the pink shirt.  It was "wear pink for breast cancer support" day at preschool.  It was the best K could find at the last minute.

He wasn't so sure about cutting the leaves.  He asked me to do it, but I said no.

He sort of butchered it.

We put glue on the bottom of the corn

and slapped the "leaves" on

I like to use Tacky glue when doing crafts with foam.
Little Man put dots all over the corn.  (I did help fill in a few empty spots.)

I picked out some fall looking buttons from my selection.

Then he buttoned it up

Half way through, he was more thrilled with getting the glue to come through the button holes. :/

All in all, I thought it turned out pretty cute!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What am I?

While walking into preschool one day to pick up Little Man, I heard one of the moms say to her husband, "Oh, she's just his babysitter".  I really, really wanted to turn to her and say, "No, I'm his nanny", but I didn't.  I represent a family, and I try to make sure that I am always on my best behavior.  But then I thought to myself, "Why does it bother me so much?".  Seriously.  I dislike being called a babysitter.  It's not that I have anything against babysitters.  I'm just not one.  It's similar to a lot of people I know.  If you are trained or have a degree in a certain area and then someone introduces you to be something totally different (generally of less regard) you'd be disturbed too.

Let's talk childcare.  There seems to be many misunderstandings out there, and they all irritate me.  For crying out loud, know what you are talking about.  Otherwise, you just look ignorant.

*The nanny-someone who is employed by one family to guide, watch, help educate, and entertain a child.
*The babysitter-generally this is used for short term periods where one person watches a child.  Not much is required of the babysitter, except to entertain and keep the kid safe.  This is usually used for date nights and such. This person can be employed by many different families.
*The au pair-this refers to someone who has come from another country for the main purpose of watching a kid.  This is a form of being a nanny and is generally a live in.
*In home daycare-this is where someone watches (usually) multiple children in their own home.  This person tends to be called a babysitter by some, or a "provider" referring to providing a service of childcare.
*Family-some people have family members, or friends, watch their children.  These people aren't called babysitters or nannies.  They are called grandma! :)
*Daycare-this is any place that provides childcare in a classroom environment for extended periods of time. These places are generally open from 6 in the morning until 6 at night and exist for the sole purpose of watching kids while parents work.  They may teach basic information to students and have fun programs to help get them through the day (art, music, recess, etc).  These can be run by a church, or be franchised out, or may be a local independently run place.
NOTE--THIS IS NOT PRESCHOOL!!!!  Preschool is NOT childcare.  Preschool is school.  A preschool runs on a regular school schedule, August/September to May/June, with summers off.  Preschools are almost always half day (two and a half to three hours), and your child only goes two to three days a week depending on their age.  Just a pet peeve of mine.  Daycares may "teach" some things, but they usually are not following state standards and are lacking.  I was always amazed at the kids who came to my classroom from a daycare and the parents thought they were where they were suppose to be because the daycare was "teaching", only to find out the kids were WAY behind.  This happened way too often!!!

I don't like being called a babysitter, mostly because I do so much more than that.  Plus, I feel like people look down on me and think they are better than me.  What most people don't realize is, I have a degree and make a nice income.  I am not paid $5 to $10 an hour.

What you may not know about nannies/my job:
  • most nannies have a contract with the family (babysitters do not)
  • some nannies have health insurance paid by the family (babysitters do not)
  • workman's comp is set up for me in case something should happen in their home (babysitters do not have this)
  • two weeks PAID vacation is given (babysitters don't get this--are you catching on?)
  • I set quarterly goals for Little Man.  I make sure these goals are followed out. I tell K and G what we are working on and they work with me.
  • I schedule all of Little Man's events.  I research what is out there.  I sign us up.  I transport him to and from said events.
  • We go somewhere every day. (babysitters generally do not leave the house with kids)
  • I chose his preschool.  They had him signed up elsewhere and I said I didn't think it was a good fit.  I researched the schools, I did the school visits, I chose the one I liked best.
  • I told K and G it was time to potty train Little Man.  I did the potty training--in 3 days, no less.
  • I have a car to drive at work, so I don't have to put wear and tear on my own.
  • I am paid a salary.  I get paid no matter what.
  • I have a drawer with spending money to use at any time.  This covers things like admission to places we go, lunches out, sometimes my coffee! :), workbooks I may think we should use, art supplies, etc.
  • When K takes a day off, I get a day off.  I am paid still, and this does not come out of my own vacation time.  If they take a vacation, it's their vacation (which I don't work).  I still get my own two weeks.  This leads to weeks and weeks of time off a year for me.
  • I know the code to the house alarm
  • I have taken Little Man to the doctor
  • K included a picture of me and Little Man on the "family" page that was turned into preschool.  It's to be put in the classroom book.  I AM part of the family.  Obviously, a babysitter would not be.
  • I set his routines.
  • I feed him, introduce new foods, make sure he eats his fruits and vegetables
  • I make sure our days are balanced with rest, fun/free time, school, learning, arts and crafts, play dates, etc.
  • I have a computer for my own use
  • I volunteer in LM's classroom
  • I instituted good choices vs. bad choices and learning that he can make the choice to get the results he wants
  • I discipline him... even if K is around... I put him in time out. I take away toys or privileges.  These can sometimes be for the entire day and K will carry them out into the night (loss of a toy, etc.)
  • I attend the field trips
  • I get a yearly raise
  • I have direct deposit with taxes taken out already (what babysitter do you know that has that?)
  • I get a Christmas bonus on top of my gifts
  • I set up play dates and choose who are acceptable friends and who are not
Now do you understand why I don't like being called a babysitter?  I don't babysit.  I teach.  I mold.  I instruct.  I lead by example.  I set standards.  I implore good habits and manners.  I engage.  I balance.  I structure.  I create.  I discipline.  I nanny. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tactile Learning--Shaving Cream!

There are different ways we all learn.  You may have heard of this before.  It's generally referred to as "learning styles".  We all can learn from various learning styles, but generally one style stands out more than the other.  The three main learning styles are visual, auditory and tactile/kinesthetic.  I'm sure you understand visual and auditory learning.  It's pretty self explanatory.  Visual learners (Oh me! Pick me!) learn best by seeing.  Auditory learners learn best by hearing.  Kinesthetic learners learn best by doing.

Kinesthetic is the form that is most usually stated.  It has to do with moving the body or doing a physical activity to reinforce what is being taught.  Tactile is linked along with it.  It also has to do with learning by doing, but it has more to do with touch and using fine motor skills.  Hands on learning is key for a child who learns best with this learning style.

All learning styles should be used in the classroom, and I feel it is important for me to use all with Little Man as well.  Right now we are learning to write our letters.  He really has no interest in this.  I think it has to do with wanting to do things right and not being a risk taker.  He isn't confident in how to write them, so if we are journaling and I ask him to write his letters he says "I don't know how".  He does well at tracing, but I want him to be able to do it all by himself!  Bring in THE SHAVING CREAM! :)

I sprayed some shaving cream on the counter and had Little Man rub it into a big circle.

Then I told him to a letter to make and he had to draw it out with his finger.

Look at that perfect H!

Then you just rub it away when you're done.

It's a perfect time to make a mistake too.
You can see he made his "C" backwards.  I just had him erase it and we made another.
You may notice my hand in the bottom right.  I had my own mini circle of shaving cream.  When we got to a tricky letter... or one he may have made a mistake on... I (visually!!) showed him how to do it step by step.  Then I made him do it on his.

I also had these letters out and he could look at them and use them as a reference.
It also helped us keep track of what letters we had already done and which ones needed to be practiced.  (Also the paper towels near by were necessary!)

I was a little nervous about this.  Little Man does NOT like getting his hand dirty.  He hates using glue and wants his fingers/hands wiped the minute he gets a dot of paint on them during arts and crafts time.
Luckily, he LOVED it and thought it was the coolest thing ever!!!
We will definitely be doing it again.  He did a much better job doing it in the shaving cream than he does on paper, it's great practice, and it's a great way to build up his confidence.

A few tips...
Don't use super cheap/old man smelling shaving cream.  You'll be smelling it all day!  I use to do this activity in my classroom (with spelling words or word wall review).  Once, someone donated some of the cheap-o stuff.  Of course, being the resourceful teacher I am/was, I put it to use.  Unfortunately, people were asking all day long, "What's that smell" and "What's going on in your classroom today?".  The bonus is, it's an easy way to get your desks cleaned! :p

Also, you could use this activity for multiple lessons.  It doesn't have to just be writing letters.  It could be for drawing shapes, writing ones name, practicing spelling words, writing numbers, and so much more.  Go ahead... break out the shaving cream.  It's great fun!

More tactile learning ideas coming your way soon....