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In the past I have only occasionally put bibs on infants/toddlers during meals.  Usually just if they were eating something particularly messy.  However, my current group of toddlers has developed a bit of a bib obsession.

In the beginning, one of the two-year-olds insisted that they must always have a green bib.  That was fine – I had two green bibs and two orange bibs.  The other ones and twos did not express a color preference so of course that meant I could arrange the remaining bibs to create patterns around the toddler table – I might be a little obsessed by patterns.

The green-bib toddler also insisted on wearing a bib for EVERY meal and soon all the toddlers would begin a bib chant as soon as they were seated at the table. Fine, wearing a bib for every meal is not a bad habit to get in to. Then one day, the oldest in my preschool group – almost four-years-old and never wore a bib – joined in on the bib chant.

I hesitated briefly then asked “You want to wear a bib too?” She answered ‘Yes’ with a somewhat mischievous grin.  Someone can count – four bibs and five children.  I asked her what colour she would like and then proceeded towards her with the orange bib she requested.  She quickly changed her choice of colour and when I then picked up a green bib she admitted she didn’t really want a bib at all.  Problem adverted – now I again only had four children who wanted bibs and I had four bibs.

Then, Mr green-bib decided he wanted to shake things up and wear an orange bib instead.  The ‘we don’t care what colour our bibs are’ toddlers suddenly DID care and the bib chant began to include their colour choice.  I anticipated another problem and made a quick weekend trip to Ikea to get more bibs.  I now have four green bibs and four orange bibs and four toddlers that want bibs and they can pick whichever colour they prefer.

Except now I can’t always make bib patterns around the table – but I can still create colour patterns when I hang the bibs up 😉


February Donkey

There are five calendars hanging in various locations on the main floor of my house.  I don’t buy calendars – a few get mailed to me, others I receive from businesses that I frequent.  Some years I have more calendars than I have spaces to hang them – in that case only my favourite ones will get hung up.

My favourite calendars have pictures of animals or nature scenes.  For February the calendar in the playroom has a picture of a badger.  The one in my office has a flock of Mallard ducks and the one in the kitchen has a donkey.

The calendar in the kitchen is visible to the children when they are washing their hands and often garners the most interest.  Some children will make the same comment about the picture every time they wash their hands throughout the month as part of their familiar routine.  Others will develop stories about the pictures – stories that evolve over the course of the month.

The concept of time is beyond the scope of the preschoolers so they don’t really understand how long a month is.  Most of them are familiar with the names of the months and know that each page on the calendar has a different name however the names are just words.  They don’t know how long it takes before the page turns to a new month.

There is always excitement when they notice a new picture on the calendar.  At the beginning of February the 3 year old squealed with delight as she washed her hands “Oh Cheryl, I LOVE your unicorn”.  I eagerly went to see what she was talking about because – hello – unicorns are awesome, almost as fantastic as dragons.

I was a little disappointed when I realized that she was looking at the calendar picture.  “You mean the donkey?” I asked automatically.  Now , sadly, she looked disappointed too.  Unicorns are sooo much better than donkeys but my adult brain just ruined it for both of us.

She didn’t comment on the picture again for over a week but every day she stared at it as she washed her hands.  Finally, with much less enthusiasm she asked “Why does your donkey have a thing on the front of his head?”.

“That’s his ear.  He wants to be a unicorn.”

I want him to be a unicorn too.  I might change the calendar to March early because now that donkey is just irritating both of us.


The Draw

Two weeks ago I wrote a post about a book I was sent to review.  As promised today I will announce the winner of the second copy of The National Geographic Kids Cook Book by Barton Seaver.

There were not nearly as many comments as I expected so I printed off a dozen of each of the names of those that did respond.  I thought that way there would be enough papers to choose from in the draw bucket to make the draw more random.

On Wednesday morning I asked the 2 year old to pick a paper from the bucket;


Then unfold the paper;


And show me the name of the winner;


Congratulations Shannon!  I will be in touch to give you your prize ASAP 🙂


It was the spring of 2000 when we made the decision to get a puppy.  We had always had cats but now that we lived in a house with a yard we thought it might be nice to have a dog too.

As we stood looking at the group of puppies excitedly bouncing around us the farmer asked if we preferred a long haired or short haired one.  Their mom was a husky/collie cross and their father was a german shepherd.  The pups were all very different.

‘Long haired’ I answered.  I envisioned the dog spending much of its time outdoors and I felt a thick coat would help protect it from harsh weather.  It wasn’t long before I realized that this wouldn’t happen.  Mindy was rarely outside unless we were outside – she was always with us.

When she first joined our family she wasn’t much bigger than our cats.


She quickly became part of all our daily activities and she loved all the attention she got from the children who attended my childcare home;



She was never particularly fond of the parents who kept coming and taking her children away – she was very protective of her pack and even shared her toys with toddlers;


“Let’s go give Mindy a treat” was the cure-all for any child who experienced separation anxiety.  The chewed door frames in the above picture were a result of Mindy’s separation anxiety when we tried to leave her home alone.

Although often still referred to as ‘The Puppy” she was really quite old.  She had cataracts which limited her vision.  Two years ago she lost her hearing.  Long walks were impossible – some days even short ones were hard for her.  Last winter we had to keep going outside to rescue her – she could go down the stairs but then couldn’t get back up.

For the last few years she has had limited interaction with the younger children.  She still enjoyed their company but she was easily startled because she couldn’t hear them coming.  The sunroom was her space where she could get uninterrupted rest but she could also come to the gate to visit the children when she chose to.


Last evening we took her for her final car ride.  She had spent the last few days visiting her favourite parks and eating some very special meals.  We had planned a family walk with her in the field across from the vet clinic but she didn’t have the strength.  We carried her in to the office.

I though I was prepared but saying good-bye was harder than I anticipated.  The silence that greeted me when I came downstairs this morning was worse.  We’ll miss you Mindy.


April 15, 2000 – October 29, 2014

Sneak Peek

I’m currently working on two blog posts but both need more input from the children.

One post will be about the changes I made to the art area this past weekend.  Yes, I could just show a few ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of the space but I’d like to include some feedback from the children too.  So, for the next few days I’ll be observing and recording how they use the new space.  By next week there should be a post about it.

The other post I’m working on is a secret.  It will involve some activities for the children and I – we haven’t done them yet.  It will also involve a contest for my blog readers – I’m super excited.  This post may take a few weeks to complete.

Here is a sneak peek of both the art area & a hint about the surprise project;



There are some things you may not know about me.

First:  Even though I’ve been a family childcare provider for 17 years and LOVE outdoor play, I’ve never owned a pair of rubber boots.  Puddle jumping was something I watched the children do.  This summer I finally bought my first pair of rubber boots so I got to jump in puddles too;



Second: Taking pictures with a phone, in the rain, while jumping in puddles is not easy.  Mainly that is because, as technologically savvy as I am with a computer, my ‘smart’ phone baffles me.  I owned the thing for three months before I successfully answered a phone call before it got sent to voice mail – and I still can’t figure out how to retrieve voice mail.

While I was trying to get the puddle pictures from my phone to my computer (don’t ask how long that took) I found some other pictures that I had forgotten about – here is one of them;


Three: I forget a lot of things – it is scary sometimes.  If anyone out there is still waiting for me to do something…you might want to send me a reminder.

Four: September was a tough month for me.  Getting back into the school routine is always rough but this year ALL my babies turned two and I had an empty space which turned out to be very difficult to fill – and then suddenly several people wanted it and I had to say no to some of them.  That is hard.

Bookkeeping was hard too.  Three infants moving to preschool, three school-age children moving from full days to just before/after school, and one empty space meant that my September income was almost half what my August income had been – and I worked the same number of hours.

My husband got another pay increase this September.  As a school bus driver he is gone for  about 7 hours per day including his travel time to/from work.  That’s about half of my workday.  In September he made just $2 per day less than I did.  I found that depressing.  Luckily I don’t like driving and I love my job more than money.

I don’t have to deal with traffic and I get to play outside.  Jumping in puddles, collecting leaves, laughing – those things are worth more than money.  Just look at this;


That structure hasn’t fallen – it was built like that on purpose and I got to watch every step of the process.  That is pretty amazing.  Those are the things that get me through months like September.

Confession Five: I love the short days of fall and winter.  I love getting up when it is dark outside.  I love the cooler temperatures and cozy evenings.  I love the time to reflect and the time to plan.

Beans 3

We always grow two types of beans in our garden – green string beans that I like to cook for lunch (but few children will eat them) and the scarlet runner beans which usually we just play with.  You can read more about our previous bean activities in these post; Beans and Beans 2

This year I moved the bean trellis to the far side of the garden and the plants have grown very well.


The rogue beans that sprouted up in the planters by the garage last year are here again this year even though we don’t (purposely) plant any seeds here.  These plants have huge leaves this year – even larger that the ones in the garden.  Here I’m holding one of the largest garden bean leaves up to compare it to the rogue bean leaves;


Even though we planted the same number of both types of bean seeds there are very few of the white flowers and almost no string beans at all;


There are hundreds of red flowers but not nearly as many scarlet runner beans as we have had in past years.  The beans that are there are HUGE – many are over a foot long!



Sadly, as large as these pods are, the beans inside are disappointing;


The children still insist on picking these beans every day but there has been an interesting difference this year.  These children have not been playing with the little beans like other groups in the past.  There has been no bean collecting and sorting.  It could be because the beans have not fully formed.  They are not bright pink and purple.

Every time these children pick one of these huge bean pods they rip it open and discard the beans! Then, to my amazement the eat the bean pods.  In previous years none of the children have ever eaten the scarlet runner bean pods.  I’ve never tried to eat these bean pods!

Yet these children – who still refuse to eat the string beans I cook for lunch – will all happily gnaw on the tough runner bean pods.