Friday, September 2, 2011

Closing Sale

Find garage sales in Wisconsin Rapids, WI.

Just listed my mom's day care closing yard sale at the site above. Let's hope it goes well for her!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting Ready for Back to School

Even though my program is year round (I offer preschool and child care services) I am still in the midst of getting ready for "Back to School."

For the summer we've had a very minimal schedule, mostly defined by the necessary routines of meals and nap. Public school starts in 2 weeks though, and I have a week of vacation also, and we will be getting back into the routine of morning preschool (and I happen to love love love back to school supplies), so I am working on some new things in my center.

A week or so ago I made it to Michael's and found they had some pretty cool stuff in stock! I looked on the website and couldn't find it all, but here's a picture of the caddy I got:

and here it is filled:

I like it so much I wound up going back to get another one!

They also had bins that fit organizers like this:
I got a couple of the large ones to use as sensory bins.

They had lots of great classroom and craft items (of course!). I could have spent HOURS (and many pennies!!) shopping.

This is also a great time to stock up on art supplies and I always try to buy enough crayons, paints, markers and glue to get us through the year.

I love that even though my own kids are grown I still get to do back to school shopping!

What's on your back to school list?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sidewalk Paint

I came across a recipe for sidewalk paint recently (and can't remember where or I would link up!) so we painted on the sidewalk yesterday.

The recipe is super simple: mix 1 cup water and 1 cup cornstarch. Separate into a muffin tin or cups and add a few drops of food coloring. That's it! It looks kind of dull going on, but when it dries it brightens right up! It washed off the muffin tin and paint brushes well. It's supposed to rain today, so we'll see if it washes off the sidewalk as well. Lots of fun!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Conference time

This past weekend was the Wisconsin Family Child Care Conference. I always look forward to conference time. It always refreshes me and gets me excited about both the day care and the Tidbits business. Even though I don't get to attend many workshops anymore (I am the conference coordinator, plus exhibit at the booth my mom and I do, plus present workshops), just visiting the vendors, talking with other early childhood professionals, and getting to spend a few days being a grown-up renew my drive to continue in my chosen field and to offer the children I work with the best of me.

A few tips from my handout "Making the Most of Workshops and Conferences"

-  If the conference provides name badges, put your hotel room card key in and you’ll know where it is when you get back to your room. You can also put ID, a credit card, or cash. Just make sure not to lose the badge!!

-  Arrange with colleagues to attend different breakout sessions. Take great notes. Everyone can share their notes with the group and you benefit from more workshops.
-  Take business cards, lots and lots of business cards. When you chat with someone new in a workshop, or with a presenter, exchange cards. It makes a professional impression and they may have more info they can share with you. Make sure your email is on your cards. Handwrite it before the conference if necessary.

-  If someone gives you their card, jot something on the back of it immediately i.e. an idea they had that you liked, or an idea you promised to send them. You will come home with lots of cards, but won’t remember the details if you don’t make notes.

  - Bring extra pens and a highlighter. Mark on the facility map where your        breakout sessions are located.

-  Bring a briefcase/backpack or something light to tote around with you all day. You will collect a ton of handouts and items purchased from vendors. Also pack in this bag bottled water, tissues, gum, pain reliever, pens, highlighter, business cards, map of conference facility, conference booklet, cell phone, keys, binder or clipboard and paper for note taking. By using a briefcase or backpack you won’t be stuck with both a purse and a bag.

-  Folder or binder for note taking
    *  If you use a folder, also bring a clipboard to use as something hard to write on, some breakouts may not have tables. Or use a “flip back” binder (available at Staples). The cover folds back, like a spiral notebook, and makes a great lap desk. Add paper for note taking and pocket dividers to hold handouts.
    *   Take notes by subject rather than speaker. As little nuggets come up that you want to remember, you now have a perfect place to put them rather than coming home with pages of notes from all the different speakers, your notes will be organized.

-  Network! Step out of your comfort zone and make a point talk to others outside those you came with. Have ideas in mind before the conference of conversation starters. Pick areas of your business that you wish to improve and ask questions of new acquaintances. Be ready to share back! Have a place in your notebook to jot down the ideas you hear.
     *   Suggestions for conversation starters:
          -  How do they encourage a partnership between parents/teachers?
          -  What is their one biggest challenge?
          -  What kind of field trips do they take?
          -  What would their one piece of advice to a new teacher be?
          -  How often do they attend conferences?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fabulous Find Friday - Stocking Stuffer Edition

Christmas is just two weeks away, can you believe it?!

Surfing around Etsy I've found some really cute items that would make GREAT stocking stuffers for the kids in your life! But you'd better hurry and get them ordered, time's a-wastin!

Check out these great items, and make sure to check out the creators' other items as well for more stocking stuffers or gifts, for any time of the year!

Number Crayons - Not only can you color with these crayons, but you can work on number recognition as well!

Now your child can have their very own, personalized, cd case for all their music!

Kind Living Designs

Personalized bracelets can spell out your child's name, nickname, favorite sport or even medical alerts.

Keep your little chef clean while they help out in the kitchen!

These cute little vegan car soap bars will have your kiddo racing to wash up!

Play several games with these original artwork playing cards.

What could be more unique than a personalized, hand-beaded spoon of your very own?!

Adorable little mirrors any girl would love!

Your child can bring their art anywhere with this cool art bag!

Spell out your child's name or any word with alphabet bubble magnets.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Program

Later this month we'll be having our Christmas program. We do a very quick little program with a few songs and then I give the kids their gifts and we have cookies and punch. The whole thing takes less than an hour, tops. My group is small and a very wide age range (2 - 8 yrs) These are some of the songs we'll be singing.

Where is Santa?
(tune: Are You Sleeping?)
Where is Santa? Where is Santa?
(hands behind back)
Here I am! Here I am!
(arms out in front making a big belly shape)
Merry merry Christmas! Merry merry Christmas!
Ho! Ho! Ho!, Ho! Ho! Ho!

For this one we paint a paper plate blue and glue snowflakes to it, then act it out.
Shake Your Flake
Shake your flake high,
Shake your flake low.
Shake your flake to and fro!

Shake your flake to the ceiling,
Shake your flake to the floor.
Shake your flake some more, more, more!

Shake your flake while your walking,
Shake your flake while you hop.
Shake your flake again, and then we.....

(tune: Bingo)
There is a fat and bearded man,
and Santa is his name-o.
S-a-n-t-a, S-a-n-t-a, S-a-n-t-a
and Santa is his name-o!

Rudolph's Workout
(tune: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes)
Hooves, belly, antlers nose,
antlers, nose.
Hooves, belly, antlers nose,
antlers, nose.
Left hoof, right hoof,
strike a pose! (we strike a silly pose)
Hooves, belly, antlers nose,
antlers, nose!

Shake Your Fluffy Tail
Reindeer, reindeer, shake your fluffy tail.
(shake your tail)
Reindeer, reindeer, shake your fluffy tail.
(shake your tail)
Fly up high onto the roof,
(arms up like flying)
Stomp the snowflakes off your hoof.
(stomp feet)
Reindeer, reindeer, shake your fluffy tail.
(shake your tail)

For this one we have jingle bell bracelets we shake to act it out
Jingle Bell
(tune: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)
Jingle jingle little bell,
I can ring my little bell.
Ring it high,
Ring it low,
Ring it fast,
Ring it slow.
Jingle jingle little bell,
I can ring my little bell
Ring it left,
Ring it right,
Even ring it out of sight.
Jingle jingle little bell,
I can ring my little bell.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Self-Help Skills

This is a short article I wrote and shared with my families this year. We've been having a few issues with parents wanting to do for their child instead of letting them learn to do it. They are always surprised at what their children are capable of, or what Miss Kim can get them to do!

The Object of teaching a child is to enable the child to get along without the teacher.
One of the things I work on with the children on an ongoing basis from the day they start coming to Tootsie Bear Day Care & Preschool is self-help skills. These skills will serve them well when they leave my care and begin kindergarten, elementary school and in life.

Some of the habits I try to instill in the children include
-Asking for help when needed (in full sentences i.e. “Can you help me with my zipper please?”).
-Accomplishing dressing/undressing tasks to the best of their ability (while stretching their abilities).
-Cleaning up after themselves (toys, nap mats, dishes at meal times, etc.).

Often, children are capable of much more than we think they are, they just need a little prodding and a lot of patience from us. When they succeed at a task, they have the chance to feel good about themselves and their abilities.

Some tips:
-Allow your child to struggle a little to accomplish a task. If they truly can’t do it, have them ask for help rather than just taking over for them. Encourage them to keep trying.
-Talk them through the skills they have difficulty with, physically helping as little as possible.
-Praise any step they can accomplish on their own.
-Discuss with them how the things they do for themselves help the family.
-Work the time for being patient into your schedule. This is often the biggest issue. While it is difficult to wait for a child while they struggle to ‘do it myself’ practice is the best way for them to learn the new skill. Plus, the more often they get to try, the better (and faster) they will get at it!