Wednesday, February 29, 2012

YES! Mom

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My desire as a mother is to ensure that my kid(s) have the freedom to grow and learn! How many of you actually mellow out when you become a parent? I always thought I would be an uptight mommy... I seemed to always be an uptight teacher! :) Slowly, slowly... I am becoming more like the Mom I want to be. 
Well, yes you CAN wash the dishes! :) 

I want to be the "YES!" Mom. I do not want to hinder my child from constantly telling him No. In the same breath though, I want my child to be well-rounded, respectful, and well-disciplined... and even at only 2, almost 2, he is a VERY respectful and obedient little guy. Does he cry for his Mommy ... yes, but guess what else? He is getting better at that! I am learning to be that YES Mom that I want to be... and my child is adapting to it well. We love to explore together. Sure in the picture above it can be intimidating... "what if he sprays water everywhere" "what if he falls" "what if he gets wet".... Guess what!!

He DID spray the water and he DID get wet. And we had FUN! We learned how the water faucet works... and we washed dishes together. I love being a YES Mom. 

Well, yes you CAN use your chair to get my cup.

Now, does this mean I tell him YES at everything- well no! :) But there are so many educational chances that are lost because we tell our kids no! We don't want a mess, we don't want them to know how to do that, etc. But in the end, it is only a mess... why pass by that learning opportunity? 

I feel soooo blessed that my husband and I have come to the decision to homeschool our son. Little man is going to gain experiences here at home that he would never get at school. I know this- because I AM a teacher. I love the fact that I am going to be home with this little joy every, single day! I love him.

Well, yes you CAN pull on the camera cord and make me smile like no other.

Those that worked outside the home and then stayed home- what kind of trials did you go through? When we first moved back from Japan and got settled, it was difficult. Little love only wanted Mommy and did not mind me near as well as Daddy. I am amazed now as I watch him- he minds me so well and is doing so very good leaving me when we go to Sunday School or to the Gym and even if he stays with a friend.

Little Love is growing up- how do you deal with that parents?

Well, yes you CAN try the baking soda for our homemade laundry detergent. 

Funny thing, as I type this, my son is looking at this very picture, touching the picture on the screen saying "Mom, No No.. Mom, No No" 

Being a parent is amazing. I learn new things everyday. I have read many blogs on being a Mom. I take something from almost all of them. Slowly, slowly I am letting go of control and letting my child learn the way he needs to.. through experience and experiments!

Though this blog doesn't have a cool craft or fun recipe, I wanted to share my desire to be a YES MOM! 

I am blessed. 
-Big Sis

Our Naturally-Nifty Linky Party #4 is going right now! So stop by and link up all your great projects! We will link our favorites and one fan favorite next week! We can't wait to see what all you link up! 

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Naturally-Nifty Linky Party #4!

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The sisters here at Natural-Nesters are so excited to get to feature some of our wonderful reader's Niftiest things this week! We even have a Reader's Choice Feature this week which makes us very excited! We want yall to have fun at our party, so check out the features, link up your great stuff, and then check out some other links....then come back here and like your favorite ones.(You can even like your own!)

We hope you have fun at our party, and we can't wait to see what everyone links up !

These easy and cute felt flowers can make some wonderful and cute wreaths, or can be used for any other project you want.  Go over and check our the blog Mrs Priss and let her teach you how to make them.  I made my own in just like 3 minutes.  It is definitely an easy flower to make, and different than most I have seen! I love it! Thanks for teaching me! 

Marilyn from 4 You With Love shares a wonderful family table game with us...something that will make dinner fun for everyone! She even shares a great memory from her own family when they played this game! Part of it allows adults to act as children, and the children to act as adults! It is fun for everyone, go check out all the details and try it with your own family tonight at dinner. 

Lynn over at Scrapity Anne gives us a recipe for an amazing eye makeup remover.  As I woman, I know how hard it is to get that stuff off, and the clothes and stuff you can buy to help add up $$$ so I am excited to try this out and save some money in the process! Head over to her blog to get this great recipe! 

The room makeover at PB&J Stories is one of my favorites this week! Not only because of my love for yellow and gray and me being envious of wanting my room decorated in those colors, but because of all of the great stuff she did here! I love the different patterns together, the way she is able to use space for an office area, and just the entire transformation of the room is huge! Plus have you noticed the hidden organization she has here? Her cute trunk bench at the end of her bed doubles as a filing cabinet, and she uses one of the drawers in her dresser to put her printer! It is great! Head on over and check it out! 

And this week we finally have a feature blog that was chosen by YOU! We give our readers the opportunity to like the links they have visited, and the one with the most likes will be the Reader's Choice Feature! 
This week, that award goes to Bumblebee & Sophie who was also featured here last week for her wonderful sewing skills! Stop by and check out the wonderful Valentines gifts she made! There are multiple different ones, all so unique and fun and so well sewn. Here she has made a cute lunch bag, and another one of my favorites are the mittens she made! Be sure to stop by and check her out! 

Now...for the Naturally-Nifty Linky Party #4! Remember link up all your favorite things! We want to see it all.  

The only things we ask is that you become a follower of Natural-Nesters & that you put our button on you blog so that you can link back to us! (You can find our button on the left side bar)
If you'd like you can also stop by our facebook page and LIKE us there too! 

You can post as many links as you want. And next week we will feature some of our favorite projects/ideas! 
Plus we will have a bloggers choice feature! So take time to visit some other blogs and LIKE your favorites and the blog with the top Likes will be featured next week as well! 

Thanks for linking up with us!
We can't wait to see your nifty ideas and accomplishments! 

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Who says that Funnel Cakes are only for the Fair?!

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I have been wanting to make homemade funnel cake for sometime now. I finally decided to do it for Valentine's Day for my Daycare kids! I decided to test them out at home first... because I honestly was not sure how these would turn out! But they turned out GREAT! 

To make the "dough" this is what you need:

1 egg
                                                                                                     2/3 cup milk
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

And then you:

1. In a deep skillet, heat about two cups of oil over medium-high heat until hot. Test the temperature by dropping a pinch of flour into the hot oil. If it sizzles right away without smoking, it's perfect.
2. Beat egg and milk. Mix all other ingredients in a separate bowl and slowly add to the egg mixture, beating until smooth.
3. Using a funnel, drop into hot oil working from center outwards in a web pattern. (You can use a gallon sized freezer bag instead of a funnel by pouring the batter into the bag, snipping off a small corner of it, and squeezing the batter into the oil.)
I did not have a funnel so I used this baggy.. It did NOT work so well.. Using a funnel next time! :) 

4. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, remove from the oil when golden brown and crispy.

 5. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Then baboon!! You have homemade funnel cake and it taste great. The only thing I recommend is not do what I did, I felt like it needed to be thick- not the case... IT rises as it cooks. So the smaller you make it, the quicker it will cook, and the better it will taste! 

Happy Cooking!
-Big Sis

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Linky Blog Hop!!!

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I joined the blog hop and wanted to let all my fans know about it! This is a great way for you to get your blog out there and get new followers! Plus a wonderful way to meet new bloggers and follow some awesome blogs yourself! 

Here's How It Works! 


1. you MUST have the LINKY FOLLOWERS tool on your site to participate.

If you see that your link has been deleted you need to add the LINKY FOLLOWER tool to your site and then come back over and re-enter your link
{You can have both the LINKY FOLLOWERS & GFC on your site but you must have the LINKY FOLLOWERS toolto participate in this party hop.}

2. You MUST follow the person who has the party on their site as a thank you.

3. Just add your blog button to the LINKY PARTY below.

4.Then grab the BLOG HOP code

5. Then you follow other bloggers–(as many as you want)
You will find the code right under the Linky Party where it says CLICK HERE TO ENTER–just under that it says: WHAT IS A BLOG HOP? GET THE CODE HERE. Click on GET THE CODE HERE and enter it into a post on your site. You can grab info from my post if it helps you with your post.

–leave each one of the blogs that you follow a comment letting them know you are following them and ask them to follow you back.

If you want to add the BLOG HOP to your own site you will get lots of new followers(see rule #2)

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Vintage Wedding Shower Decor

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This past weekend I got the wonderful privilege of being a host at one of my great friend's wedding showers.  As one of the hostesses my job was to decorate for the shower along with my friend Kelsey.  It was so much fun to get to decorate this room the way we wanted, while also thinking about the Bride's sense of style and what she was wanting in her wedding.  Basically we used a lot of lace doily's, several suitcases, mason jars & wine glasses, an old quilt, and lot's of their engagement pictures! It all turned out great and really we spent hardly any money because most of the decorations came out of either mine or Kelsey's home. 

I had a blast decorating for this since this vintage style is not my natural style.  If you walked in my house, it would look nothing like this shower. Unlike Kelsey's home who has a lot more remnants of the vintage look throughout her home, mine would just consist of a few of the fun suitcases and bird cages.  So I had a blast decorating in a way that is different than my usual style! 

Let me show you some of the fun we had! 

This was at the door entrance propping the doors open for people to walk through. The two suitcases on top are mine.  At my house I pile three of those on top of one another and make a side table in my living room.  They are great! 

 This was the main entrance/greeting table when people walked through.  We had a suitcase open for cards to be placed in, pens in a mason jar to sign the guest book, a photo of the beautiful bride & groom, and also an ipad sitting on a stand playing a slideshow the whole time for guests to watch as they come in.  

We used lots of lace table clothes together on the turned out great, and we also had several burlap banners hung around the room.  

A closer look at the cute cards suitcase! 

One of the burlap banners I made.  This one was done very quickly and very easy.  I just cute triangles from burlap and used a sharpie to free hand letters on each piece to display the future last name that the couple will share. Then I just hot glued the triangles to a long piece of white yarn. SIMPLE!  This was used at their engagement party! 

This was really fun to do! I kind of put a twist on some banners I have seen on Pinterest made from yarn and doilies.  Here I used several types of doilies and hung them between the engagement photos.  We had three different lines like this hung throughout the room.  It was a fun way to display photos of the couple! 

Here's one view of the room

Here is the front gift table! We had a lot of fun decorating it too.  We hung this old quilt over the top of the projector as a back drop behind the table.  Then we set up more photos of the couple on this awesome birdcage thing of my friends! I would love one of them in my home.  Then to the right we put some painted white branches in a giant jar, with another photo of the couple! Eventually this table was covered in gifts :-)

For the food tables, we used a lace table cloth and then some random pieces of fabric.  At first as my friend Kelsey was putting the fabric on the tables I didn't think it would look good, but I went with it and actually loved it.  This is why it was so fun for me to decorate like this because I tried new things and really enjoyed it. 
Kelsey and I talked about how we worked well together because we could be honest and say no to things we didn't think was a good idea. 

We used cute chalkboard platters to display what drinks were being served. 
These trays were bought for $1 each at the Dollar Tree then painted with chalkboard paint! 

The food was great for the shower! Since it was from 10am-12pm, we did a variety of breakfast foods.  From fruits, to muffins and scones, donut holes, and some breakfast casseroles! It was great, and each hostess brought something so it was easy to do. 

Here's Some fun detailed shots of the decor! 

The fun birdcage with pictures clipped to it. 

Fun way to display photo and last name letter.

One of the center pieces--we used lace doilies of different shapes and sizes with random fun things on top.

This one is two wine bottles and a mason jar inside of an empty frame as a center piece. 

Then there is the fun birdhouse and mason jar on top of two circle doilies.  
(a lot of these center piece doilies I bought for her wedding at a JCPenney's outlet store for $1.99 for two--it was such a great deal)

This was a fun burlap banner the Bride made for their engagement pictures! We hung it up in an empty space of the room.

And here is a great picture of some of our friends! The Bride is the blonde in the middle! I am so excited for our sweet friends to get married! It is going to be such a sweet and beautiful day! and I am so thankful to be a part of it in this way! 

I just love planning parties and decorating.  I do some of this in my job as the Student Activities Coordinator of a University, but I would love to be a party planner or wedding planner one day! That is so much fun to me! I love decorating! Anyways, I hope you enjoyed the shower as much as I did ha ha!

Our Naturally-Nifty Linky Party #3 is going right now! So stop by and link up all your great projects! We will link our favorites and one fan favorite next week! We can't wait to see what all you link up! 

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Naturally-Nifty Linky Party #3 & Features

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Thank you to everyone that joined in this weeks linky party. We had a lot of fun looking through all of the amazing creations. We really enjoy having these parties because we are meeting new blogger friends and getting new ideas. 
Eventually we really would like to have a Reader's Choice Feature, but we haven't had enough likes on the links, so be sure when you visit links in the party to come back and like your favorites! 

All I have to say about this project from Full Circle Creations is that she is not only creative and crafty, but a great visionary! I feel like for this project you really had to see ahead to the final outcome, I just don't know if I could've ever thought of anything so unique and great! You have to go see the raw materials of this clock and you will realize what I am talking about! I love the outcome and would love to put a clock like this on my mantel! Great job! 

Darby over at Life with the Hawleys made some awesome homemade dog treats! This is so handy and I'm sure the dogs think they are yummy! The great thing is, is that she has been able to try out several different dog bone recipes! I for sure want to get my hands on one of those dog bone trays so I can start treating my pups to this sweet stuff! 

Condo Blues created these cute labels for her homemade cleaners. I love it. I love the fact that she makes her own cleaners, as do I, and has cutesy labels. My bottles are merely labeled with a permanent marker! :) They do not look near this cute. My goal is to get this finished by the end of March for my own cleaners. I love how the font an style she uses seems so fancy. This definitely takes away from the boredom of cleaners! :) I can't lie though, I am very interested in this Vodka Fabric Refresher and the Stain Remover. 

How cute is this sewing machine cover from Bumblebee & Sophie? I love her work. Skip on over there and see the things that she makes. I especially love her personalized tag that is on all of her products. I wanted to make a sewing machine cover as well- but I was going to use just one fabric. I love her stuff because she uses different fabrics so it is not boring! 

Now...for the Naturally-Nifty Linky Party #3! Remember link up all your favorite things! We want to see it all.  

The only things we ask is that you become a follower of Natural-Nesters & that you put our button on you blog so that you can link back to us! (You can find our button on the left side bar)
If you'd like you can also stop by our facebook page and LIKE us there too! 

You can post as many links as you want. And next week we will feature some of our favorite projects/ideas! 
Plus we will have a bloggers choice feature! So take time to visit some other blogs and LIKE your favorites and the blog with the top Likes will be featured next week as well! 

Thanks for linking up with us!
We can't wait to see your nifty ideas and accomplishments! 

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

From Big Sis on Homeschooling

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Do you want to home school?

If you had asked me years ago, well before we had our little guy, I would say.. negative. My husband was home schooled his whole life and he did not like it. When we were younger he would tell me how much he hated the fact that he wasn't allowed to do so many things and how he didn't like not having friends outside of church. I always said I would NEVER do that to my child.

My other argument against it was the fact that I spent all that time in school to be a teacher. I would always, always say 'Why would I spent that much money and time in school to be a teacher to stay home?' Then after I got my Masters, there was no way I was going to stay home all day when I could be educating kiddos.

Today, on the verge of my little boy turning 2, I can't get homeschooling off of my mind. My arguments are much different today.

If you asked me now if I want to homeschool, I will say... ABSOLUTELY. My husband and I have not really talked about it.. but he knows my heart. When we were younger and talked about it, he told me no way. I think now that we actually have a kid, he leans more toward the possibility, but we have not spent the time to talk about it. I think things and times are very different from when he was younger. Even his younger sisters, while they were home schooled as well, things were very different for them than it was for the husband and his two brothers. There are so many options for my children while being home schooled... so many things that they could be involved in... They could have friends, play sports, etc. I see the pros in homeschooling.

My other argument was about my education. Now I look at it as I have a back-up plan for when my kids are older. Also how great it is that my children can be home schooled by an educated mommy? Nothing, money or time, was wasted getting my education. It only makes me that much better to educate the little loves of my life. My husband is so smart and I know that there is nothing we can't teach our kids. We have always said that where I am weak he is strong and where he is weak, I am strong- same things with our education.

As a teacher, I know how much gets accomplished in a day. I know how hard it is to reach every student. I have seen kids get left behind because they are not able to keep up or they are too advanced. I do not, repeat DO NOT, want that to be my child. Studies show that it is beneficial for kids to be home schooled until 3rd grade. After that, they do need the socialization. I really would love to homeschool until about that age and then give my child the choice.... and see how it goes.

Being a mom has changed my life, my goals, my desires! :)

Facebook is passing these posters all around, and I really liked this one!

For those that homeschool.. what kind of feedback would you leave me?
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

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For those that don't know, we (Big Sis), just moved back the states after living three years in Japan. For the past five years I have taught school. For my son's first year I continued to teach school and took him to an amazing home provider. I was a full time teacher, a full time mommy, and a full time wife. I certainly did not have the time that I have now to experiment with recipes. It is actually rather funny that I enjoy cooking things from scratch and baking like I do now. I knew there was this girl way down there hidden. But for the past three years I just used my best friend in Japan to do that for me while I lived vicariously through her. But now, I get to be that woman I always wanted to be. Though I still work full time, and most days many more hours than I did actually teaching in a public school, I also have the freedom to be home! I can include the kids in many of my adventures! :)

With that said, back in November my little love bug got sick for the first real time since he was born. Then my handsome husband started feeling puny as well. So I thought I would make some homemade chicken noodle soup. When I put the recipe in google (my favorite) I found Pioneer Woman's Recipe. I was so excited. I have always heard such wonderful things about Pioneer Woman. I read through the recipe and I had everything I needed, so I got busy. First and foremost I had to make the noodles. These were so super easy. 

I was so proud of how my noodles turned out and especially how they tasted. I always worry when cooking something new. My husband always eats ANYTHING I cook even if it taste poorly.... but he is also honest with me. Where as some women don't like it when their spouse critiques their dishes, I welcome it. I use to not be that way. But now that I have began growing myself as a better cook, wife, and mom, I like to have his input. Most of the time! :) He comes from a mom who is an amazing cook- so my bar is set high. I don't ever expect to be as good of a cook as Dixie, but I do hope that my little boys standard of cooking is set high too, because of ME! :)

I loved watching this soup cook. Isn't it beautiful? This whole pot was gone that night. I am pretty sure little man didn't eat any, I had one bowl, and then Daddy tore into it! I actually made a lot more the other night. I had to make a meal for a family in my church and also for another friend whose husband just had surgery. When I cook for other people it is especially important to me that I put my all into it and I enjoy doing it from scratch. I was not as pleased with these noodles, but the next day they were great! :) 

To the moms that work and don't have time to cook from scratch or do things you would like to do for your family.... I get it. I do. And I am so sorry. I wish we could all do what our heart desires... now that I can be home and can do this stuff- it is A PRIORITY! :) I love cooking and I love doing it for my family. I love preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner for my boys. Love it!

I dare you to take on this adventure and make some homemade noodles.. they are so much better than store bought noodles! :)

Don't forget our Linky Party! Link up and you might be featured! 

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Naturally-Nifty Linky Party #2 & Features!

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We are so proud of our first linky party ever! And so thankful for all of you that participated! We cannot believe that we had 64 link ups on our first party!

Now...we are so excited to get to feature a few of those great ideas that you all had! Be sure to copy the Featured on Naturally-Nifty Party Button and put it on your page (can be found on our left side bar).

So here's some of our favorites! 

This awesome piece was transformed from a family entertainment center to a wonderful play kitchen.  The Things I Do For Moo did a wonderful job on this project, and I know that Moo absolutely loved playing with it! My favorite part is all of the detail....the tiles on the backsplash, and the little menu chalkboard! So creative! I am seriously on the search for an entertainment center to create a kitchen for my daycare.

My Life's a Treasure create a Family Binder. I really like this because it seems it could be a huge help in staying organized in your family. Both of us enjoy doing things for our home and family and I think that this binder is a great way to help us stay on top of it. One of us is a little more organized than the other, so maybe that other sister should really think about using it. We will let you just guess which sister you think is the most organized. :) Great job on this. 

I absolutely love the chair reupholstery job done over at Cotton Pickin Cute. I love this one so much because I just finished my first furniture job in January.  Although it wasn't reupholstery, I sewed new cushions and I know how good it feels to look at the work you did in your home and be full of pride for how it turned out.  Great job, the whole set is beautiful! 

I love the crocheted camera strap by Seven Alive. She did a great job, and I am very interested in making my own.  I also LOVE the colors yellow and gray, which I have mentioned, so this is right up my alley. It really makes your camera personal and fun! 

And since it is Valentines Day we wanted to feature these wonderful Conversation Heart Cheese Cakes made by Hungry Happenings.  These are so festive and so fun, I would love to serve some of these wonderful hearts to my family for Valentines Day! 

Thanks so much to everyone for linking up! 

Now...for the Naturally-Nifty Linky Party #2! Remember link up all your favorite things! We want to see it all.  

The only things we ask is that you become a follower of Natural-Nesters & that you put our button on you blog so that you can link back to us! (You can find our button on the left side bar)

You can post as many links as you want. And next week we will feature some of our favorite projects/ideas! 
Plus we will have a bloggers choice feature! So take time to visit some other blogs and LIKE your favorites and the blog with the top Likes will be featured next week as well! 

Thanks for linking up with us!
We can't wait to see your nifty ideas and accomplishments! 

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine Day Fun

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First of all thank you to EVERYONE who linked up with us at our first ever linky party. Our goal was to hit 50!! We hit 64.. What an awesome FIRST LINKY party!! Thank you so much. Be on the lookout for our feature blog coming soon! We had soo many awesome ideas linked up, it is going to be tough!! 

We have been having SO much fun doing Valentine Day activities and crafts!

The kids in my daycare are getting into a routine now and it is just fantastic. I love my life! I love watching these kids learn and grow. They  love to sing, dance, and do arts and crafts. I want to share a few of the activities and crafts that we have been doing in daycare. 

Below you see our Valentine Sensory Bottle. They had a ton of fun making a huge mess getting this organized. I gave each kid an empty bottle of baby food that had been washed and dried. Of course I let them play with the bottle for a little bit while I prepped the rest of the supplies.

It is so fun to watch what they do! 

I gave them a handful of the conversational hearts and they began putting them in the bottle. 

After they had some of the hearts in the bottle they began getting some of our colored rice to put in it. Most kids used their hands.... but my little guy wanted a 'fwork'... :) Needless to say, he ended up using his hands and making a huge mess! I love it. 

We also did some blotch painting. I let them paint their hearts as they wanted. They are so cute and it was so fun. After they finished we folded the hearts in half and made blots on each side. It is really cool how blotting them makes them look so cool. The kids loved it. 

Of course we had to use our homemade glitter. The kids love to use glue and put it down... and loove using our bottles to put the glitter down. They spent about 20 minutes doing this. It was so cute watching them .. just a little less fun cleaning up their mess! :)

This might be my favorite. We have been studying hearts so I made a color pallet matching game using hearts. It was interesting to watch the kids. One knew exactly what she was doing. Two halfway understood, and one did not have a clue. We are using these again tomorrow. 

While I was cleaning up their mess from the sensory bottles I told them all to sit down and shake their bottles. It was so cute seeing all of them lined up against my couch, shaking, shaking shaking. The love their sensory bottles. 

We also just did free art on hearts. I gave them kids lots of art supplies and they went to town. I had hoped to have the kids put the yarn through the holes. That was a bit too challenging for them. The rest of their art is completely on their own. 

I looooove seeing what everyone has to offer for daycares. It is even more fun when it is a holiday theme. I love themes. I can't wait for tomorrow because we have more fun things planned... including making M&M Cookies! 

Happy Friday!
-Big Sis

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