Thursday, May 28, 2015

Co-op Preschool Week 4 of 8

We participate in a co-op preschool.  That means each parent theoretically takes a turn hosting.  We were last minute December hosts.

Week 2 we learned about our home

Week 3 we learned about food!

This week, Week 4, we celebrated the holidays!

Our class format was a little bit different because of the holiday.

I chose a few crafts to make, including turning our hand prints from last week into (very heavy and fragile) Christmas ornaments!

To practice letters and our names, we assembled little penquins with our names on them:

To practice our fine motor skills, we put puff craft balls into plastic ornaments.  It was a great activity and the kids loved it.  I wish I had more photos.  It was so fun to see some kids choose to put all one color while others just wanted to stuff every puff they could fit.  I love activities that let the kids express their personalities a bit.

We also have two Jewish families in our group and one of the moms took some time to talk to us about Hanukkah.  We love any activity that includes an element of dress up!

We decided to do a wrapped book exchange and a potluck lunch.  It was a great class, although a little photo light (entertaining 8 preschoolers is hard work!!)


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Carseat Rant.

I am a licensed Civil Engineer.  I'm qualified to design and build bridges, freeways, buildings and the other basic building blocks of society.  Yet installing a rear-facing convertible carseat brought me to my knees, covered in sweat, swearing, with multiple bruises.  Who invented these things?  Are you seriously going to tell me that there is no better way to safely secure the future generation than these cumbersome devices??  I can buy a new car with every option from full perimeter cameras, to in-seat entertainment, but 'safely transport my child' isn't a dealer available option?

Car seats are arguably the most critical piece of baby equipment.  They are also a miserable rite of passage for parents.

Engineer or not, installing a carseat isn't easy.  Installing two car seats is less easy.  Installing three car seats becomes a feat of engineering and perseverance involving math, planning, googling, and crying. And frighteningly, some studies indicate that up to 93 percent of parents make mistakes installing seats.  And once the carseats are installed, the fun has just begun.

Time to install the child.

Ever tried putting a broken chapstick back in the tube?  My child will suddenly go completely mushy, making wedging them into the seat correctly nearly impossible.  Or better yet, he'll go completely stiff requiring a herculean effort to bend him into the shape of the seat.  This ordeal should certainly count as my workout.  

And it is seriously unfair to keep moving the bar!  It feels like every year car seat recommendations change.   I call foul!  Set the rules and stick by them.  At this point my children will be rear facing more or less until they are driving.

Finally, why, why, why does something designed for kids have so many places for stale raisins to reside?  I will never fully eradicate the remains of the bazillion ground up cheerios.  Not to mention the chocolate stains from the various attempts at bribing the kids into said seat.  One of the grossest things I've experienced lately was looking back to see my son chewing on something when I hadn't given him a snack.  "What are you eating??"  "A piece of a thing from my seat."  I guess I'm withdrawing my mother of the year application again this year.  

And then there are the explosions.  The ones that are way worse than the toddler making a volcano out of a GoGo squeeZ.  I mean THOSE explosions.  Everyone out of the car because by the time we get everything out and cleaned, we aren't going anywhere for a very long time.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Co-op Preschool Hosting Week 3 of 8

We participate in a co-op preschool.  That means each parent theoretically takes a turn hosting.  We were last minute December hosts.

Week 2 we learned about our home

Week 3 we learned about food!  I was way busier with the kids this week, so I have less photos.

For our snack, the original plan was to use a 'my plate' template for our snack, but I couldn't get them to turn out how I'd hoped, so instead we had a normal snack and talked about the my plate concept.  I grew up in the 'food pyramid' generation so the my plate idea was new to me.  If it's new to you too, here's a picture:

I know it sounds a little advance for 2 year olds, and it probably is, but I am constantly amazed at how much they pick up, so I prefer to stick with giving them too much information instead of not enough.

To keep with our theme for December of volunteering/helping our community and in keeping with our theme for the week, we did a small can food drive.  We talked about sharing food with our neighbors who don't have enough to eat.  We asked each child to come up to the front and tell their friends what kind of food they brought.  Introduction to public speaking!  

For our next activity we made salt dough.  I premeasured the salt, flour and water and had them in cups.  The kids took turn dumping the cups into the bowl and stiring.  I am amazed at how well the kids cooperate and share, especially when they are doing a new activity.  Afterwards, we made hand prints for next week's activity!

I picked up the hats from our favorite California Burger Place!  My son loves wearing hats so I thought it would be fun for the kids, plus how adorable!

For out next activity, we threaded fruit loops onto pipe cleaners.  This activity was really popular, but some kids REALLY loved it.  We did fruit loops in case some of the kids wanted to work on some patterns.  This was an easy activity that everyone loved.  Even those who weren't realy into the threading part liked the snack part!

It was a good example of how our co-op was intended to work.  Several mom commented on how simple and fun the activity was and those whose children really loved it had a new easy activity to continue at home.

For our book, we choose "Don't Spill the Milk."

It didn't fit with our theme exactly  but it was a cute story that at least had to do with food.  We also did a circle time activity where we walked, jumped, and crawled to the beat. Overall, it was a great class!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

One Room Challenge: New Perspective, but no new bathroom.

Six weeks ago, I decided to tackle remodeling a room in my house in 6 weeks.


I didn't get a new bathroom, but I did get a new perpsective.

At this precise moment, my bathroom was swatches of sevreal paints on the wall, pieces of decor and multiple half done projects on the counter.

I'm not going to do it now.  As hard as it is for me to not meet a goal, I'm going to be realistic and acknoweldge that right now, the boys bathroom will just have to wait.

And amazingly, I'm okay with that!  I keep remembering the words my first professional mentor told me:

I certainly learned something!

If you want to see some people who didn't get in over their heads, check it out here!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Co-op Preschool Hosting Week 2 of 8

We participate in a co-op preschool.  That means each parent theoretically takes a turn hosting.  We were last minute December hosts.

Week 2 was our first week of 'real' class hosting.

My pre-preschooler with our Circle Time Board.  (I'll post more about our Board soon).

Circle Time Board
Class room set up:
Preschool Tables
For our first week, I decided I wanted to do a preschooler friendly service project.  They are not all that easy to come by!!  I contacted the Ronald McDonald house about their pop top houses.  

Sadly, I was too busy to get pictures of the kids doing the activity, but it was a hit!  Most of the kids dumped the pop tops and did it several times!   We hope to keep this going at our house, although we don't really drink soda anymore.  The primarily goal of this activity was fine motor skills, we also talked about helping our friends who had to be in the hospital when they were sick .  Our first son spent time in the NICU and I will always be greatful to the people of Ronald McDonald House for making those first few days a little easier.    

Since we had the little houses, I went with house/home as a theme.  Our sancks were little houses! :)

After snack, we did our first activity.  We cut out family members and houses out of felt.  Each child picked out the members of their household and stuck them on the house.  It was really interesting to see how the kids view their families.  For example, most of the kids with a baby sibling put the baby with mommy.  (The exception being my son, who put the baby with daddy!)  We had so much fun with the felt that it inspired my DIY Felt Board!

Most of our kids are 2 and just starting imaginary play and this was a great activity to talk about our family and who lives in our house.  I thought about including pets, but I'd had enough felt cutting after 16 grown ups, 9 kids and 5 babies!!

We finished up our activities with homemade playdough:

We closed with Three Bill Goats Fluff (about a troll who doesn't feel very happy about his home) and our circle time songs.

It took a lot more energy than I had anticipated, but the kids did great and we had so much fun!