Sunday, May 19, 2013

Repurposed Curtain Rod for Art Display

I repurposed the curtain rod in Caden's room that was holding up his baby quilt.
 New purpose:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Questions to ask a potential childcare provider

Last week in an attempt to find childcare one day a week for my 2 1/2 year old so I could focus on graduate work, I interviewed a provider who works from her home. To say the least, I wasn't impressed with her services. I had taken the paperwork home still undecided if he would return there on Monday. (I know, I know, but I felt so bad wasting her time if I wasn't going to return. I also have a hard time saying no face-to-face.) Out of that visit and disappointment, I created a list of must-ask questions. I also strongly encourage you to visit the home in full swing before you commit to leaving your little one there.

1.) Are you licensed? Have you had any complaints? (check their info on your state's database)
2.) Cost? Late pick up fees?
3.) What is your routine?
4.) Do you provide educational activities?
5.) Do you potty train?
6.) What methods of discipline do you use?
7.) Do you provide food and snacks?
8.) Will you administer medicine?
9.) Is your CPR & first aid certificate current?
10.) Do you have animals? Any bite incidents?
11.) Do you have a pool? Is it gated and locked?
12.) Do you or anyone else in the home smoke?
13.) How much computer time and TV do you allow?
14.) Can I call or drop in unannounced to visit? (If they say no, be very suspicious.)
15.) Can you provide alternate snacks options for my special needs or special diet child?
16.) How many children do you have? Can you comfortable taking on one more without feeling overwhelmed?
17.) What is your fire evacuation plan?
18.) Are your CO2 detectors and smoke detectors properly installed and working?
19.) Do you have parent references I could call?(If they say no, be very suspicious.)
20.) What made you start a childcare service?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Disney World Tips! Bonus: Plane/Car travel ideas

1.) Aside from the sunscreen, bring Chapstick with an SPF.
2.) Wet socks and underwear feel gross (from FL showers and water rides)! Bring a pair for each member of the family and store in a ziplock bag in the diaper bag or backpack.
3.) If you don't need a stroller other than inside the parks, rent them for $13 a day when you prepay.
4.) You will save lots of money staying at Shades of Green Hotel if you're military. However, it does not have an airport shuttle service. You'll pay about $40 each way for a van shuttle service. It can still be the cheapest way. The hotel has a bus service to the Monorail station (what you ride to get to Magic Kingdom and Epcot). They have a bus service to Animal Kingdom, Downtown Disney, and  Hollywood parks. Starting in May, they will do a 100% ID check on the buses coming back to the SOG hotel from all parks. The rooms do not have microwaves, but they do have mini refrigerators.
5.) Let children sleep if they fall asleep in the stroller. Mom and Dad can use the parent swap option where one stands in line and receive a voucher for the other parent to ride the next turn.
6.) Try to coordinate your child's character t-shirts with the characters they meet and take photos with. My child did not wear his Buzz Lightyear T-shirt on the day he met Buzz. He instead wore it on the day he met Mickey. Sigh.
7.) Buy the CD for $100. You can have the photographers through all four parks take unlimited pictures of you with ALL FAMILY MEMBERS in the photos and put them on your Photo Pass. Awesome!
8.) You cannot do it all. Pick your must see and must ride attractions ahead of time. If you have multiple kids consider giving each one their day. Their park, rides, food picks, etc. for the day. I actually suggest you do this in life. It will help with meals, who sits where, and who gets to stir the batter type every day dilemmas.  Of course right now, everyday is Caden's day.


-Something to write draw on and with (crayons, mini pencils--small and fun, duel sided crayons--fewer items, still a variety of colors). Small note books or flip books are great too. (pictured above)

-Color Wonder items are great. No color shows up unless they touch the special paper. (pictured above)

-Dry erase board with special erasable crayons or markers. (pictured below)

-Magnetic play book. (see pictures above and below)

-Dum Dum lollipops. Helps with ear discomfort to be sucking on something. Soothes a cranky toddler while waiting in long Disney lines too.

-Snacks. Some "safe" and familiar and some new to gain their attention. Our new snack was yogurt covered raisins. Our safe snack was Gold Fish crackers.

-Don't bother bringing juice or milk in your diaper bag or carry on. The make you either toss it at security or stand there while they open and test each one. Your hotel should have a convenience store or a market near by. After you get through security at the airport, you can buy drinks and lunch.

-A Nabi, tablet, portable DVD player or lap top for playing movies and games, if your child is a techie.
-Paint with water products. We love Crayola's My First Crayola mess free finger paint and water color board. (See picture below)
-Window cling stickers if you have a window seat.
-Velcro strips for little hands to adhere and rip apart again.
-Button practice homemade toy (see picture below)
-Marble maze homemade toy (see picture below)
-Felt board with simple pieces (see picture below)
-Math button board (see picture below)
-Magna-Doodle board (pictured below)
-Alphabetic trace magnetic boards (pictured below)
-Brain Quest trivia cards (pictured below)
-Sensory balloons for 1-2 year olds. Fill with either rice, beans, or sand. Little hands like to squeeze and mash. (pictured below)
-Finger puppets to take turn putting on simple plays. (pictured below)
-Homemade paint sample sight word match (pictured below)
-Flashcards on a ring (pictured below)
-Travel Aqua Doodle (pictured below)
-Stuck On Story Books (pictured below)
-Pipe cleaners to make bracelets and sculptures.
-Temporary tattoos (all you need is a napkin an water)
-"Fill a cup first" game. Prep ahead with paper, straws, and cups or wing it and ask for some napkins cups, and straw(s) on the plane. Tear napkin into equal sizes. If two players, give each player two cups, a straw, and the same amount of napkin or paper pieces in one of their cups. The first one to transfer their pieces to the empty cup wins. You must use a suck and blow type approach to move your paper pieces to the empty cup.


 Felt Board
 Brain Quest
 Homemade marble maze
 Finger puppets (most from Ikea)
Homemade button practice toy
 Homemade paint sample sight word match
 Flashcards on a ring
 Magnetic scenes
 Paint with water reusable books
White board with dry erase crayons

Math button board
 Magnetic Tracing Alphabet Boards
 Travel Aqua Doodle
 Sensory Balloon
 Stuck on stories books (figures have suction cups to sick to book and other flat surfaces)
 Crayola Finger Paint and Water Paint Board (front)

Six Reasons Why I Want to Stop Spanking

6.) It really doesn't work. Like time-out, there is usually a strong reaction. The child calms down. He goes back to his normal self. He does something else. The cycle repeats the next hour with him needing to be disciplined again. Since he keeps doing things that require discipline, I'm led to believe that his 2 1/2 year old brain is not currently ready for logic. He is too caught up in THIS moment, where this is fun, interesting, new, etc. Piaget calls this the preoperational stage. A 2 1/2 year old is egocentric, and logic is not his strong suit. "How will Mom feel if I do this?" requires a thought process that his brain is not physically capable of yet. He is not doing things to upset me; he is doing them to explore.
5.) I shouldn't take out my lack of research on my child. There are a 1000 ways to discipline. I need to be creative with this (and resourceful) just as I am with every other aspect of my life. As a graduate student, I have access to 100s of peer-reviewed academic journals on children and education. I can and should utilize them.
4.) I am in the business of making him feel better when boo-boo's happen. Why would I inflict pain?
3.) Does spanking a child because he hit you or hit the dog make sense? I am trying to teach you (the child) NOT to hit, so I hit you? Really?
2.) I didn't enjoy it as a child. My feelings were hurt. It made me fear my mother. It made me resent my mother.
1.) I don't like how it makes me feel. I feel guilty long past his tears drying up and him returning to his playful, happy self. If it doesn't feel right as with anything parenting-related, I'm going to try something else.