I don’t consider juice to be a replacement for a serving of fruits or vegetables yet I have always had juice on our menu as an occasional ‘treat’. Milk is always served with lunch but once or twice a week I do serve juice with snack (water for those whose parents don’t allow juice). I have never served fruit flavoured ‘beverages’, any type of powdered beverage mix or soft drinks even for special occasions.
Sometimes I have had children who don’t like milk but they will eventually drink it or water if juice is not an option. Sugar sweetened beverages can become a battle ground (I’ve never even served chocolate or other flavored milk). In the 20 years that I have been providing childcare, children refusing to drink anything except juice has never been a problem – until this summer.
I actually found it funny at first – none of the children in this group are new here – they all like milk but they love juice. Their juice chant following every meal/snack had reached riot level. The day they started throwing cups of milk and demanding juice instead was the end of my amusement.
However, I didn’t actually remove juice from the menu. Instead, I now only buy/serve one type of juice – tomato based, eight vegetable juice. It took just two weeks – no one demands juice anymore. In fact, when offered juice or water they all choose water. No one complains about milk anymore either. 🙂
It was back in the Spring of 2013 that we moved my husband’s tool shed to the side yard. This plan allowed us to remove half of the backyard shed leaving more play space on the deck and add a second entrance/bridge into the garden area.
The remaining portion of the shed was then to be used to store the gardening supplies and seasonal outdoor toys etc. The problem with that plan was that I really didn’t have much seasonal stuff to store in the shed and so mostly it was a big, almost empty, box. If I did unlock the door to get something the children would all gather in the doorway (blocking what little light I had) and stare into the spooky darkness. It made me wonder if maybe it could become a more usable space.
So, this summer when we put the new box window in the dining room we also planned to put the old dining room window in the shed. The shed renovation was one of the projects that didn’t get completed during my vacation but we did manage to work on it on weekends. There is still a small locked storage area on one side but the majority of the shed is now definitely not dark and stuffy anymore. The West wall has a clear plastic panel for light and a screen door.
The South wall facing the garden is where we put the old dining room window to let even more light inside. These windows can also be opened to allow airflow if it is stuffy and hot inside the ‘shed’. There are also blinds that I can close if it is too bright and sunny.
Inside there is a picnic table which the children and I have used for meals several times this summer – fewer ‘bad’ bugs than outside but the spiders really love this space. We are also able to store art supplies here – handy for outdoor use but sheltered from the rain etc.
The view from inside is a big improvement over the old spooky dark empty shed.
I still haven’t decided how I’m going to finish the interior – paint? add more shelves? a magnet board/art display? I’m in no rush to decide – I think it will depend on how we use this space now that it is so much more than just a storage shed.
The weather was so nice all summer that we haven’t wanted to spend much time inside it but I think it will be a really nice place on rainy or cold days. It isn’t heated or insulated but it will still provide shelter in inclement weather especially with the Southwest exposure. It may turn out to be an interesting indoor/outdoor space during our long, cold winter. I also think it may work well as a ‘greenhouse’ for our seedlings next Spring. The possibilities…..
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 😉