Category Archives: childcare

Stitching with the Kiddos

I have one childcare family that has a couple school aged kids and they sadly don’t get to my house very often anymore.  They had a nanny for much of the summer but she took a few days off and lucky me, the kids were able to come back a couple of days.

These two are the craftiest kids I’ve ever had.  They love doing anything with paper, paint or craft supplies.  If you’ve ever been so kind and sent me craft goodies in the mail that are kid friendly, it’s like that these two were the main two using the goodies.

Being they were coming I decided to try something new with them…
Stitching 101.  I’m sharing the idea here today as I know most of my readers have a someone in their life that might like trying it too.

It was easy peasy to prep.  In advance I bought:
Plastic Needles (I got mine HERE on Amazon)
Wood Embroidery Hoops (I got mine HERE on Amazon)
Leftover Yarn
Burlap


We cut the burlap a little bit bigger than the hoops.  I showed them how to put it in the hoop.  Then we took a sharpie marker and made a design for them to stitch.  Then we started stitching.  The main goal was for them to understand the up and down motion of the needle and to learn how to get the needle near where it needed to be.  It’s really introduction to embroidery or cross stitch.

The oldest gal took off like crazy with it and loved it.  She was doing everything on her own in no time.  She is going into 3rd grade.

A couple of the other girls wanted in on the action and he gal below did really well too.  She is only going into kindergarten.

The kids had LOTS of fun.  I’ll be watching thrift stores and garage sales for more wooden frames.  They like to keep the finished project in a frame.  I was also informed that I need better selection of yarn colors. So I’m hoping I can find a bag of yarn at the thrift store that just has small rolled up balls of leftovers.


All in all for a first attempt I’m impressed.  The one that was making the letter “A” went on and did more designs on the burlap around the “A”.

It was really fun.  I love when I can come up with something they like and can do…and is a cheap craft.  Who knows, I just might have started a girl on getting interested in cross stitch.

Childcare Chronicles

I don’t know what it is but since Kramer has passed away, I feel like I enjoy childcare more than ever.   I sometime think that it’s the “normal” in my life so I cling to it.  That plus I have the best bunch of kiddos and families right now.  It’s hard not to be in love with my job.

Here are a few of highlights of late:

We found a toad!  Oh my, this was quite entertaining for them.


We got to see him up close and personal as I have this awesome jar with a magnified top to observe with.

He got to hang out with us for a couple hours and then we set him free.


Nature can really provide the best entertainment!

It’s been SUPER hot and humid here.  I was worried as we were but in Excessive Heat Warnings.  We’ve managed to eat breakfast early and then head outdoors right away.  The kiddos love the outdoors and everyone gets along so much better when we are outdoors so I hated to give up the time.  We’ve still managed to be outside for a almost two hours every day.

The water station is a huge hit.  Back in my previous days of childcare we had swimsuit days.  It was such a pain.  Nowadays we just go out and play in our clothes and play with water everyday.  If the kids come in wet, we pop an oversized shirt on them and I throw their clothes in the dryer.  MUCH easier…MUCH simpler.


I’ve been trying to use up some of the stuff in the freezer and make more of an effort to keep food waste to a minimum.  Here’s one of the things I came up with to help with all of that.

We had LOTS of leftover buns from the Celebration of Life for Kramer.  All of those buns went into the freezer.  I’ll be honest, we aren’t “bun people”.  If I make hamburgers, half of the people request no bun so it’s hard to use them up.  I started having the kids make Pizza Bread with them.

We make them like this….
-Everyone gets a piece of tin foil with their name on it.
-Then they get a bun.
-I put a  little left over spaghetti sauce on the bun and the kiddos take a spoon and spread it around.
-Then I get some toppings and the kids put on whatever they want.  On this day I had a little ham leftover, pepperoni and green olives.  The kids pick what they want on their pizza bread and make it.
-Then they get cheese.

I broil them in the oven for a couple minutes until the cheese melts.  This is a meal that there is NO FOOD WASTE with.  The kids eat it all.

To serve it I match the name on the tin foil to the kid.  This day we have watermelon, cauliflower and ranch with it.  It’s a simple meal and the kids adore it.


We have TWO potty training right now.  It’s actually been really successful so far but of course, there are hitches along the way.  First off, Carver stands and “pees like Daddy”.  He’s been trained for almost a year now.  The other boys who are training want to “pee like Carver who is peeing like Daddy”.  Happily before Kramer passed away he made this little wooden block so the boy can reach to “pee like Daddy”.  It’s been a GREAT help with the boys.
But my potty training story doesn’t end there.

On this day I was walking through the house to the kitchen and noticed a little “wet”on the floor.  Hmm.  One of the boys didn’t make it to the toilet.  UGH.  I found the culprit.  I got a towel (a hand towel) and had him clean up his own mess. Then I told him to go to the bathroom so we could “clean him up”.  Around here is that’s how we do it.  Messes that the kids make get cleaned up by them.  I always tell them that I’m not their maid.

Georgia was here this day and she started crying so I went to give her her pacifier.  Then I hurried to the bathroom where I assumed the little boy would be waiting.  As I walked in, he was flushing the toilet.  His underwear and shorts were still on.  AHH!!  That’s when I realized he flushed the towel down the toilet.  OH NO!!!  I asked him if he did and he said yes.

So far, so good.  No plugging…no backed up water.  I’m hoping it stays that way.  At least if it does clog, I know what did it.

While I was doing all of this, the other little boy I’m training pooped his pants.  I didn’t know it.  He’s been super independent and I’ve been able to tell him to go in and go and he handles it himself.  So I went and started on lunch and told him to go in and go potty.  He didn’t come out right away so I went to check on him.  You guessed it.  Poop everywhere….and a toilet filled with toilet paper.  AH!!  My poor toilet and plumbing system!!

I could have been mad or frustrated with it all but I wasn’t.  It’s kids…it’s the age they are at.  Happy, no, not happy, but not mad or frustrated.

This same day the girls asked if they could fix my hair.  I let them.  Here’s my hair do…. Continue reading

Ask Jo: Childcare

Every now and then blog readers send me a email or leave a comment in the comment section that I need to answer.  When I think other readers might be interested too, I answer them here on the blog. Today is one of those days…

Lace asked:
Congratulations to the whole family.! My 2 daughters gave me 2 granddaughters 10 months apart! Such an honor and a blessing to care for them while their parents are at work!! One 16 mo toddler and a very strong 6 mo old infant already crawling and pulling herself up to stand! We are busy!

Sometime when life permits, I’d love to know how you structure your daycare charges’ day. Where do they nap? Etc

I know I have several childcare providers that are readers and I know I have lots of grandmas that are doing childcare….and I know a bunch of you are curious so I’m tackling this question today.

First off I have to say that ALL OF THIS IS FLEXIBLE.  I learned long ago that with childcare one of the #1 things I need to do for it to be successful is to be flexible.  Kids are sick…or moody or I have a different mix of kids so we can’t always do the things I hope.

Kids arrive, for the most part, between 7:20 and 7:45.  I have one family that comes later.  At about 7:45 I often turn on Youtube and find Super Simple Songs.  The songs there are all fun and encourage movement.  I leave it on for about 20-30 minutes.  It seams to get everyone in a mood for play.  The sleepy ones gradually wake and the busy ones get busy dancing.

Image result for super simple songs

After that…breakfast.  As the kids are finishing up breakfast we have circle time.  I read 6 or so books and I do some finger play/puppet/felt board type things.  Typically the things we do relate a little bit to the season.  The kids adore this.  All of the things I do are all math and literacy based.  I have 5 two and three year olds at this time of day and four of them know almost all of their uppercase letters, all of their colors and quite a few of them know numbers.  I attribute much of that to this time of the day.

All of my kiddos take care of their own dishes.  I’ve taught them how.  They take their plates to the garbage and scrap them themselves.  Then we wash up.  After that it’s free play time.  Now is when I finish cleaning up and prep lunch as far as I can.  I also often prep an art activity.

By 10:30 my other family is here and we often do some type of art activity.  It’s nothing fancy…sometimes true art…sometimes something with do a dot markers…sometimes painting.  It varies.  Sometimes it’s a glorified worksheet or coloring page.

Play dough, kinetic sand, water beads, and mini construction toys with rocks are all big favorites for the kids.  We often do some of these types of things in the morning too.

After that we clean up and I get out what I call table toys.  We have lots of Melissa and Doug puzzles and other activities that are learning based.

Locks and Latches
Melissa & Doug Wooden Latches Board, Developmental Toy, Helps Develop Fine Motor Skills, Smooth-Sanded Wood, 15.5" H x 11.5" W x 1.25" L
Here’s another favorite Continue reading

Childcare Valentines Gifts

Since my sewing is clean, no place in my house is safe from a quick cleaning session.  This day, it was my laundry room.  I started cleaning and then ended up completely sidetracked with this….


Somewhere on the internet I saw that you could make crayon letters using molds and old broken crayons.  I loved the idea as most of my kiddos have names that they will never be able to get anything personalized.

I did them myself without the kiddos help and plan to give them as a valentine gift.  I was going to wait and blog about making these closer to Valentines Day but then thought if any of you want to make them for Valentines Day, you’d likely want a little time to get the supplies and make them.

They are SUPER cute and easy….here’s what you need:
I got mine from Amazon…these exact ones, Silicone Alphabet Molds

The letters are 1 1/2″ tall.

You’ll also need some broken crayons.  I just got all new when school started so mine were in pretty good shape.  I ended up grabbing these generic crayons from the thrift store along with others.  I have to say, when it comes to peeling the paper off the crayons, it was easiest with these generic brand and the RoseArt brand.  Crayola were okay but not as easy.


I dumped the crayons in a bucket with warm water and the helped loosen the papers.

I set the oven at 275 degrees and then set the molds out on a jelly roll pan.  I broken the paperless crayons into small pieces and put them in the molds.  I learned that I liked the look best if I stood the crayons on end vs laying them flat.  It was a little easier to predict the design.

I put them in the oven for about 6 minutes.  Then I pulled them out and added a couple more crayon piece to the mold to fill it.  Then back in the oven they went.  I kept them in the oven for about 4 more minutes making sure the last added crayons were melted.  Like this… Continue reading