Friday, December 7, 2012

Gingerbread Week

Honestly, we don't do a lot of gingerbread activities during gingerbread week. It's really just our kickoff for a month of Christmas. 

We did some cookie cutter painting.

We used the melting tray to decorate stars cut out of tinfoil, and made popsicle stick snowflakes, one of my personal favorites. We did these at the same time, as we only have one melting tray, this allowed us to set up two stations. This took 2 days to complete.

Blue was a very popular choice this year.

On Thursday, we read Gingerbread Man and made gingerbread ornaments for the tree. We finished these up on Friday in between cookie activities.

I'm hoping this one dries in time to go home for Christmas.

To end the theme, we made cookies. We started by reading Gingerbread Baby. We used little gingerbread cookie cutters, but we didn't actually use a gingerbread recipe. I just used a cookie recipe that is very easy for kids to work with. 

We have not done a cooking activity in a long time, and we really need to be doing more. I cannot think of another activity where you can cover as many concepts. There is literacy when you read the recipe. There is science as you watch consistencies change. We talked math while we counted cups of flour. We even talked about fractions as we discovered that three 1/3 cups does equal 1 cup. There is tons of vocabulary.

When we put the vanilla in, Michael thought it was chocolate vanilla because it was brown. We got to have a discussion about that!

I love this photo, they were completely amazed to see the dry ingredients and wet ingredients combine to become dough.

Everyone got their own ball of dough to roll out, 

cut out, 

pull away the extra dough, 

and move their cookies onto the baking pan.

This afternoon, we decorated our cookies however we wanted, and ate them for snack.

I timed it so the sugar rush would kick in right about pickup time. I'll let you be the judge of whether I'm joking or not. 

Sorry, we had some pickups going on at this time, and I just didn't get photos of everyone.

We have a lot more Christmas things to do next week!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Getting Ready for Christmas

Today we decorated our playroom for Christmas.

You are probably now envisioning a lovely Norman Rockwell type scene, aren't you? Well, if you were following us on Facebook this morning, you know better. Let's think more Charlie Brown and Clark Griswald here. 

It started out well enough. We chose and cleared the spot for the tree. We got the pole and stand assembled. We started putting in the branches. 

These were taken right before I realized that we had assembled the pole and stand UPSIDE DOWN. I wondered why the tree seemed so low to the ground this year. 

So we took the tree apart again, assembled it The Right Way, and started again. But when I went to put the top on the tree, I found out a piece is missing so it is very wobbly. 

I was smart enough to plug in the lights before we put them on the tree. And that's when I discovered that the whole middle section of lights on the blue set was not working. 

So then we moved on to setting out a few other things I have. That went well, until I tried to blow up the inflatable Santa. Let's just say I was a little light-headed by the time I was done. 

So the kids moved onto other things, and I sat down to try to get the lights working. Which I did accomplish, I'm just still not sure how I accomplished it at this point. Tristan noticed I was putting the lights on the tree, and came over to help.

Of course, Peyton and Loryn noticed Tristan helping, and wanted to help as well. We really didn't need anymore light help, so they put the tree skirt on instead. 

So...a lot went wrong. Should I have done more to prepare for this ahead of time? Not everyone got to do exactly what they wanted or get to do everything. Was that fair? Lunch and naptime were a bit late. Was this a terrible experience? Will they be scarred for life?


Absolutely not. Don't be silly!

While I reflected on our morning, a lot of things occurred to me. Today we had a very real, real-life experience. Other than me deciding we were going to decorate today and going to storage to pick up the totes...the kids were a part of all of it. Or as least as much as they wanted to be. Fletcher decided the tree branches were too owie and went off to play. Silas decided to join him rather than find out for himself. 

Yes, things went wrong. But when we realized the tree was being put together the wrong way and the lights didn't work, we problem-solved and found a solution. We learned that when something doesn't work out right the first time, we just try again. We all worked together and got the job done. Everybody played a part, and nobody seemed to mind too much that they didn't get to help with the lights or tree skirt. They got to do something else. Well, at least no one openly complained about it!

This is an example of one of the bonuses of family child care. We got to have a very family experience, in a very real-life way.

Oh, and here's a shot of our Charlie Brown Christmas tree that went up in a very Clark Griswald fashion. We'll start making ornaments for it next week.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Halloween 2012 - Part 3

It gets pretty crazy this time of day. I set up "stations" where they can choose what they want to do. Pick-ups are happening during this time, so I don't want to be stuck in any one place. This portion of the party goes from the time they get up from naps until the last kid is out the door.

The bean bag toss made another appearance.

The balloons were available for...well, whatever.

Snack tables for whenever they needed a snack. Fletcher ate for 1 1/2 hours straight. Loryn ate a bit every 10 minutes.

Apples for personal favorite. 

Our Snack Buffet, also known as Why Your Child Didn't Eat Supper

Juice bags from Loryn, fruit roll-up "sushi" from Wyatt and Fletcher, 

"FrankenPuddings" from Peyton

Cupcakes from Michael, and Popcorn Candy Corn mix made by Bev.

My sister, Nancy, had a bunch of pumpkins from her garden that she gave us, so we set up a pumpkin decorating station.

And here's a few photos of the final festivities. There will be a lot more posted on the website soon!