Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane Hike...

Well Hurricane Irene ripped through our little town and even though we were prepared, it was scary. What we were not prepared for were the intense winds after the hurricane passed through - it must have been the tail end winds... but Sunday night was much more dangerous than early Sunday morning was. Living in an area with so many trees doesn't help so we all slept in our basement for two nights until everything finally passed.
After a long summer and then having this week of poor weather and Hurricane Irene, we were all a little restless to say the least. Tensions were building and the girls were running out of things to play. Amazingly, we did not lose power during the storm - we always lose power so this was a huge blessing ... BUT the power went out last night after everything - thankfully, it was only for a few hours. Today I took the girls out on a 'Hurricane Hike' to see what we could find.
They gathered lots of little nature treasures from the debris. We had a lot of trees and power lines down but it was mostly cleared up in our neighborhood by the time we went on our walk.
The first day of public school in our town was supposed to be this past Monday but they already had to cancel school two days. Imagine already accumulating 'snow days' before the year even begins!
The rest of the town didn't fair as well as we did and I will try to take photos of things I see when we get out and about. The weather after a hurricane is the most beautiful weather you could imagine.

At our home, we were lucky to only lose one small tree and it did not hit our home. It ALMOST hit our deck but thankfully it didn't.  

Needless to say, I know my girls will remember this experience forever... sleeping the basement with our entire family and grandma was a lot of fun but we are glad to be safe and get back to normal.

Did Irene come your way?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Hid(e)away

My sweet girls decided to name their clubhouse 'The Hideaway'...
The funny part is that when Keira made the sign she forgot the 'e' in hideaway... sooo instead of getting frustrated and starting over, she decided to leave it be and write I'm hiding away the letter 'e' - that's my girl!
Kids Only (except for the occasional mom who needs to help get rid of a scary bug or bring snacks or nail signs up...
Here they are at their little table inside. They created a secret club that not even I am allowed to know about :)

We made a little windows so they could peek out and get some light - we've decided to make window shutters of some sort so less bugs will find their way inside.
We may also wallpaper or paint the interior. At first, we left it natural to draw, write notes and decorate with markers but over time the words are fading so maybe a change is in order...
Did you have a secret hid(e)away, clubhouse or treehouse growing up? I wish I did...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Making Eye Pillows

Our eye pillows have such a special place in our home. We make them together, choose the fabric - trace - cut - fill - sew and put them in our freezer.
Yes I did say freezer - we like them cold.
They are used right before bedtime or if anyone gets a boo-boo.
They are a little piece of home to take when going to grandmas...
Sometimes they are a pillow for our favorite doll or part of our play...
They smell good and feel good..

They feel great right after yoga...
Our daycare children always get one - make one - sometimes bring them home as gifts...
They are a simple, sweet part of our lives that get so worn out and used up that we needed to make a new batch today and it was fun :)
Sweet dreams.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Playgarden is Open

After a summer break, my little Playgarden is open again. I missed our childcare space and the energy of the children filling it up each day. I had planned on waiting to enroll again for the school year but I received a call from the parents of two children I used to care for since they were very small and they were in a jam without childcare. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see them again. It's been so long.We had a lot of fun together - we made simple gnome people to play with.

The children are all over 5 years old so it was a little easier to work on crafts together.
And they all get along so well... it is so peaceful and fun when they are here.

We enjoyed simple things - play dough, cutting, pasting, playing, forts...
Here are a few of our little people...
This one is Rapunzel :) Brianna is in a major Rapunzel phase...

Its so sweet when they make something and then play with it. A full cycle of creation.

We play games - Connect 4...
Vet :)
And we had a lot of fun riding bikes and scooters..
Relaxing and taking it all in :)

Climbing and jumping..
And creating.

It feels good to do hands-on work with the children again. I love my writing too.. very much... but miss applying the work in real life. So this school year, I will work on finding a balance between the two.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Finding Our Forest School

Recently a very sweet idea came to me - one I've had somewhere in the back of my mind for years but never really knew were to go with it... and I just can't let it go.
I have always been very intrigued by the Waldorf Forest Kindergartens I have heard of where children spend their morning fully immersed in the natural world. This is something I tried to incorporate the best I could in my home childcare program by spending as much time outdoors as possible...
But our property only has a small wooded area and I didn't know what would be involved or where on earth I could hold a true Forest Kindergarten...
Then a sweet place came to me... just a few weeks ago. Out of nowhere. It is a beautiful, natural forest area across from our local library. I started having images of meeting there in the morning with the little children...
Then I thought - how wonderful if I could also offer something for school aged children. What a gift it would be for them to have a day or two per week where they can spend their afternoon after classes in the forest...
So I called the town and asked about using the park - the woman indicated that the group seemed small enough and it was a wonderful idea - I'm a licensed home daycare and it would be considered a weekly field trip.
Then I called the library and asked how they would feel about the children possible coming to the library often if I held such a program across the street, especially if the weather was unbearable. Not a problem at all - as a matter of fact, they indicated we could stay in the children's area as long as we wanted and come as often as we wanted.
Yesterday the girls and I went to scout out this new Forest School of ours.

There is so much to be discovered there. On this day, we took a trail we had never been on before and came upon a marsh. It was magical... dragonflies passing in front of us, ducks calling from the marsh...
We found nooks, bridges, log "ladders"...
Can you picture our little Forest Kindergarten and Afterschool Program as clearly as I can?
And I already have three students :)
We came across this sweet gnome home...
Now I am working on finding a wonderful assistant or two and students to enroll. I think it will begin just one afternoon per week for the school aged children and one morning per week for Forest Kindergarten and possibly one morning per week here for regular Playgarden. And if it grows, it grows :)
What do you think?