Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Fairs and Carnivals

It's that magical time of year again when all the Spring Fairs, the May Day events and the Carnivals come into town.  This past weekend we enjoyed a full day of stopping at a few of the local events in our area.  First we stopped at a school fair and enjoyed face painting and some simple games along with lunch.
But the big attraction of the day was the local carnival that came to town.  Brianna spotted it one day while we were out doing errands and didn't stop talking about it until we went.

Little Clowny

I know a little clowny, going to the fair
A funny little clowny with flowers in her hair
Oh shake it little clowny, shake it if you can
Shake it like a milk shake and do the best you can
Rumble to the bottom and rumble to the top
Turn around and turn around until you have to stop

 She's getting much more brave with going on rides without me and Keira and Maia were able to enjoy some of the bigger rides since Brian and I were both there to split up when necessary. 
The carousel goes round and round
The horses go up and down
Up and down . . .round and round
I want to ride it, all day long
I think their favorite ride was the big slide... they were all set to do it themselves about 10 times in a row :)
We ended it off with some delicious fried dough.  A great time was had by all but bedtime couldn't come early enough for mom and dad for sure.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dandelion Tea

The children harvested dandelions from our playyard today so we could make Dandelion Tea together.
It is well-known that the root of dandelions have many healing properties.  A huge new grant has been put toward researching more about this beautiful "weed" after findings that dandelion root tea killed cancer cells.
 The children did not attempt to get the entire plants with roots but a very light herbal tea can be made by the flowers (and leaves) as well.  After gathering your dandelions, pull the flower petals out of the base of the flower and put in a colander to rinse well.  Please do not harvest dandelions from any area that uses fertilizers or pesticides. 

Gently dry your petals and place into a tea kettle with a few slices of lemon (don't overdo the lemon)
 Brew your tea and let sit for 5 minutes.  I then put our colander on top of a big pot and poured the tea through to strain out the lemons and flowers.  We added raw honey and YUM! 
Enjoy this Spring Treat!

Moving Onward

Dee's New Home

My girl has made her final decision on college.  Swarthmore College will be her new home for the next four years.  The campus is absolutely stunning and the school is just so amazing.  I'm so extremely proud of all of Dee's achievements to be able to get into such a prestigious school, especially this year.  She has worked so very hard and has overcome so much especially after losing her best friend Alexa right before entering high school. 

 And while there were more affordable schools to choose from, the moment Dee stepped onto the campus at Swarthmore it just felt right. 
The thought that my oldest girl will be leaving home and living somewhere far away without me near fills me with such bittersweet emotions.  I am so excited for her but so sad for myself. 

 I just can't believe this time has already come... I've thought about it since she was young and it always felt so distant and far away.  And now here we are...
We both made it.  Together.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Considering Celery

This is a very fun science experiment to do with children. Fill about 1/2 inch of water into a glass and add food coloring. Place a piece of celery with leaves still attached into the colored water and keep an eye on it for a day or two.
Watch how the water travels up the stalk to the leaf and changes color. As you can see, we had the best luck with the color red.
Cut the stalk across and show children where the coloring is showing the tubes that carry the water up the stalk of the plant. This is an example of capillary action.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Welcome Katelyn!

Yesterday the girls and I welcomed Katelyn to our daycare. She is just the sweetest little girl.
Brianna is especially helpful and gentle with the two babies - she loves teaching them new things and gains a sense of pride from being the big girl in the group. This is what I love so very much about mixed age settings in childcare and Kindergarten groups. How wonderful it is for the littlest ones to be able to watch and model the older children and what a gift to a child's self-esteem to be the older one being looked up to and trusted to help care for the smaller ones.
Lilah was fascinated by the dandelions in the yard. It still amazes us all that they are considered weeds as they are so beautiful and magical, especially when they turn into dandelion puffs and we blow them all over.
Fiona was very curious about Katelyn and had us all laughing so hard when she called her "doggie" when she was crawling around.
I have four daughter and currently a daycare full of girls!
Welcome to Katelyn! We're so happy to have you join us!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Make a Parachute Toy

Parachute Toy

Supplies Needed:

Small Silk or Light Fabric for ‘parachute’

Four even pieces of yarn or strong thread

Small toy figure with flexible arms and legs

(we especially enjoyed using this dollhouse boy because each limb moves freely and the arms and feet were perfect for attaching our strings to – you could alternatively make your own bendy doll for this activity but the success may vary depending on the weight of your doll and fabric used)

Tie each piece of yarn to one corner of your silk or fabric attaching the other side of the yarn to your doll’s hands and feet. You will have to experiment and adjust the length of your string depending on the items you are using. When you drop your parachute toy from a high place you want for the wind to catch underneath so the toy floats down. Some toys will be heavier than others and may need a shorter length of yarn to make it work. We had to adjust ours a few times.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Came

In nature,
In family,
In color,
In anticipation,
In promise.

"Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time." ~Martin Luther

Keira's 11th Birthday

My little Keira is 11 Years Old! And boy did she celebrate! All week long!
On her birthday night we took her out for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant.
A few days later - she celebrated with a few of her closest friends with dinner..

a movie... and a lot of craziness!
Then a special dinner out with family...
And another celebration with family on Easter...
Whew! Happy happy birthday to my sweet girl!

We love you!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Easter Story by Annie Willis McCullough

It was late in the fall when Fuzzy Caterpillar gave up.
"I suppose this is the end of me," he thought in his little round head as he tried to wriggle across the road and couldn't because his back was so stiff. "Now I am an old man and I shall never see another summer. Good-bye." And Fuzzy Caterpillar rolled himself up in a gray blanket and hung himself on the end of a dried twig. "This is the last of me," he said once more as the dried little grub he now was rattled around in the cold.

All his beautiful furry coat was scattered to the winds. The path he had made in the dust grew narrower as it wound across the road. That was because Fuzzy Caterpillar had shrivelled as he crawled. Poor Fuzzy Caterpillar, who had so loved the outdoors!

The winter was white, and cold, and long. Then it was over, just as all winters are over at last, and Spring came. Spring came over the hills, in a pretty new green frock and with wild flowers in her hair. Sometimes she looked up at the sky, but oftener she looked down at the ground. Spring was looking for the little creatures that she loved so much; the tiny ants, the patient spiders, the cheerful beetles, and Fuzzy Caterpillar.
"Where is Fuzzy Caterpillar?" Spring wondered. She did not see him, all dried up and hanging in his gray blanket from the twig.

"Of course Fuzzy Caterpillar is here somewhere," Spring said to herself. "And wouldn't it be nice to celebrate the day he comes out with some kind of a surprise?" The more Spring thought about this, the happier she was, and the nicer she thought it would be. So she spoke to the grass about it.

"Long Green Grasses," called Spring, "I want to make outdoors pretty, and celebrate the day that Fuzzy Caterpillar comes out. Will you cover the ground for me?"

So the Long Green Grasses pushed their slender fingers up out of the earth and they covered the whole ground until it was bright and green again. But the Grasses looked everywhere, and they could not see Fuzzy Caterpillar.

Then Spring spoke to the trees.

"Patient Trees," called Spring, "I want to make outdoors pretty, and celebrate the day that Fuzzy Caterpillar comes out. Will you cover your branches with new green leaves?" So the Patient Trees burst their hard brown buds, and they hung new green leaves upon every one of their branches. But the leaves looked everywhere, and they could not see Fuzzy Caterpillar. All they could see was a little rolled-up gray blanket hanging from a twig.

But Spring was not one bit discouraged, and she spoke to the Laughing Brook.

"Laughing Brook," called Spring, "I want to make outdoors pretty, and celebrate the day that Fuzzy Caterpillar comes out. Will you run between your banks again, and sing a song?"

So the Laughing Brook began dancing and tripping over its stones again, and singing as it ran between its banks. Sometimes, though, it stopped in a quiet pool, and it could not see Fuzzy Caterpillar anywhere along its edge.

But Spring, who is very wise, was not discouraged yet, and so she spoke to the flowers.

"Sleepy Roots," called Spring, "I want to make outdoors pretty, and celebrate the day that Fuzzy Caterpillar comes out. Will you grow and send up plants that will bud and bloom?"

So the Sleepy Roots did just as Spring had asked them. They awoke, and they sent up leaves and buds through the earth, and the buds blossomed. So there were crocuses in purple petticoats, and daffodils in bonnets with yellow ruffles. There were tulips, red, yellow, pink, and white. They filled all the gardens, making them beautiful. And the fields were golden in the sunshine because the dandelions had bloomed again. But the flowers could not see Fuzzy Caterpillar anywhere.

Then Spring stood on the top of the hill and she looked all over the wide outdoors. It was very, very pretty again, so she decided that the day had come when she would celebrate.

"This is Easter Day," said Spring.

"But where is Fuzzy Caterpillar?" whispered the Long Green Grasses.

"Where is Fuzzy Caterpillar?" rustled the New Green Leaves.

"Where is Fuzzy Caterpillar?" tinkled the Brook so sadly that it did not sound like singing.

"Where is Fuzzy Caterpillar?" the wind sighed as it blew through the flowers.

Just then a wonderful thing happened. As if it had floated down from the sky, a beautiful moth flew and lighted on the tip of Spring's finger. It had all the colors of Easter in its wings, the green of the grass and the leaves, the blue of the waters, and the gold of the spring flowers. It was such a beautiful creature that only to look at it made one feel happy. But every one wondered about the moth.
"It is a stranger from far away," they said.
"Oh, no," said Spring. "Fuzzy Caterpillar has come out."

And this was true, for the gray blanket that hung from the twig was torn and empty.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Little Felted Chicks

The other day Brianna came home from her Waldorf Kindergarten with this sweet little basket and felted chick. I just knew I had to make little chicks with my daycare children so that's how we celebrated Easter together this year.
The children LOVED rolling the soapy wet wool into balls...

even the littlest hands helped...

Brianna's teacher told me to make the heads while the balls were still wet so I simply used stretchy beading string to tie a 'head' shape at the top of each little ball..
Then I simply needle felted a little wool for eyes and cut a small strip of felt and folded it and needle felted it in the center for the beak.
And we hatched five little chicks just like that.
Happy Easter!