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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Falling In Love With Fall

For the next 3 weeks our over-all theme is Fall.  The first week was "Leaves and Trees", and the letter was "Tt".
Right away I wanted to make a snack in the shape of leaves, because, well, that sounds awesome!
So, I thought of Jello.  Everyone loves Jello.  I bought red (cherry), orange (orange) and green (lime).  



I followed the directions for jigglers, but I think the pans I used were too large, and the jello ended up being too thin and wouldn't cut.  So, I got enough out for every kid to have one, and then they got just regular jello.

The leaves.

The Jello.

Okay, so remember how I said that everyone loves Jello?  Well, apparently my kids don't.
So, to sum up, the Jello wasn't the greatest hit.
On the craft/art side, I had the kids write a giant "T", and then glue leaves on it.  Also, we made family "T"rees.  They drew a trunk, then ripped up little pieces of brown, red, yellow and green construction paper as leaves.  Then, they glued their family pictures on it, which they loved!  Kids love to talk about their home lives.

The second week was "Squirrels and Acorns"  I found a really cute recipe for "acorns" on pinterest.  It was made with Mini Nilla Wafers, Hershey's Chocolate Kisses and peanut butter.  (It actually called for  chocolate frosting, but peanut butter is healthier, I already had it, and none of my kids are allergic.)


These are seriously the easiest snacks EVER!!!  They're also very yummy!  Much bigger hit than the Jello.

I put the peanut butter in a ziplock, and snipped off the end.  I put about a pea-size on the flat side of the kiss, stuck the mini nilla wafer on it, and put a little drop of peanut butter on top of that for the stem.
And, voila...



These little acorns were a huge hit!  The teachers loved them, the kids loved them, and the parents came in the next day going, "They said they ate acorns yesterday...?"  I would absolutely make these again, and highly recommend them for any function from a kids' party, after school snack, Thanksgiving or Fall/Harvest party.  They are simply adorable!

That same day, we had a Literacy Parade, in which the kids dressed up as their favorite book characters, and brought the books in, to share with the other kids.  For me it was a no-brainer.  Amelia Bedelia.  I have loved and identified with her since I was a little girl.

So, I went to Goodwill and bought a simple, black, long-sleeved dress for $6, and a black hat for $3.  One of Dan's dress shirts had gotten ruined a few months back (and I kept it to make something out of), so I cut the collar off that, and just wore that with the dress.  I didn't have any luck finding a black apron, until I asked the wonderful lady who cooks at the preschool.  She had some made out of garbage-bag-type plastic, which was perfect.  After that I made some flowers out of pink construction paper, and this is what I looked like:

Pretty close to the real thing, if you ask me! :)  (Even though about 70% of people didn't know who she was.)

So, this has been our Fall Theme.  I've thoroughly enjoyed what we've done, and hope you find some of my ideas, tips and slight failures (namely, Jello) helpful.

I would love to hear any type of feedback from you, please let me know if you have any ideas for our next theme - COMMUNITY HELPERS.



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mrs. Blair's Pig Pen

So, last week was Pet Week, and the next week was... Farm Week!
I wanted to come up with a fun craft/art for the kids to do, that would tie in with the theme, but be something that we could hang on the wall and show off to their parents.  I remembered this craft we made one time (in church or school, or with my mom- who knows!) where we made animals with clothespin legs.  I wanted the kids to cut out the pieces, because we're learning shapes, and practicing fine motor skills, like cutting.  
I used the bottom of a hand sanitizer bottle (or germy, if you're 4) for the body, which made a perfect oval shape.  Then the paper clip holder was the perfect size for the head.  I traced these on pink paper, for the kids to then cut out.  Then, I had this awesome construction paper that was different skin tone colors.  I took the caucasian color out.  I traced a smaller circle for the snout, and two triangles for the ears.  Then I had clothespins, googley eyes and pink pipe cleaners (or chenilles) for the tails.
They all named and cut out the shapes, and glued them together.  Then, they drew on two nostrils, and glued on the googley eyes.  They colored the clothespins pink (a pink highlighter worked really well).  I helped them twist the pipe cleaner on a thin marker and attach it to the pig's bottom.

OH MY GOODNESS!!!
Cutest things ever!




Once the kids made theirs, I had to make one of my own!

I took pictures of all the kids with their pigs, and gave them to their parents.

Then, I made a "Pig Pen", and attached all the piggies to it, so my kids could show them off to everyone who walked by our room.

So broken down, here is what you need for one pig:
1 oval shape for body
1 large circle for head
1 small circle for snout
2 triangles for ears
2 googley eyes
2 clothes pins
1 pipe cleaner, wrapped around a pencil
Pink highlighter
Black marker
Glue stick

For a snack that week, I bought them Milk Straws from "got milk?".  (Because milk comes from cows, and cows live on farms.)  They were a big hit!

We also had animal crackers.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was Farm Week in our K4 class!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My New Life as a K4 Teacher

For those of you who may not know, Dan and I moved to Florida 2 months ago, for a job he got as a youth pastor at a wonderful church in Jacksonville.  

For me, this meant that I was back on the job hunt.  I am very blessed, because I found two great jobs right away.  The first, is teaching ballet and jazz ballet to 3-4 and 5-7 year olds.  This is SO much fun, and I'm really enjoying the fact that I've found my way back to my childhood love like this.

My second, and "real" job is as a K4 VPK teacher.  I work at a wonderful Christian Private school, called Seacoast Christian Academy.  (The VPK program is public though.)  It's also such a blessing, the school is only a 20 minute walk away from our apartment.  This is very convenient, because right now we only have one car (oh yeah, and because I don't have my license yet - shut up!)
 This position incorporates EVERYTHING that I love to do.  Most importantly teaching.  Not to mention that it's my favorite age group!  I also am constantly needing to be creative, coming up with fun new activities and art projects.  We also have Bible time, which is straight up my alley, as well as music and movement.  Did I mention that I was made for this job!!???
Also, you know I'm coming up with cute, topic-related snacks!

So, this blog is going to take a slight new direction.  I will still be posting about my latest baking/crafting/cooking/pinterest conquests, however most of the time they will have to do with things we're doing in class.

Two weeks ago was pet week.  Oh my, don't even get me started!!!  Give me a topic, and watch me go crazy!

First, I painted a paw print on my big toe.
I used a paw shaped puncher on painter's tape, stuck that on my toe, painted over it and, voila - paw print toes!!!

Because of my love of scrapbooking, and my love for my doggie, Bella, I have a giant paw print stamp.
At the end of the day, all my kids got to go home with "paws for hands".
They were crazy about them!  I loved it, because the parents got to see exactly what our topic was, the kids loved them, and I got to be the cool teacher. :)

Now, on Fridays I've been trying to have a special snack, one that ties in with the topic.  In Ohio I learned about "puppy chow".  It involves peanut butter, so I wasn't sure I'd be a fan, but it was surprisingly good.   I found a recipe on momswhothink.com.  This snack is so simple, so cute, and very yummy!

It calls for:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
9 cups Chex cereal (any flavor)
3 cups powdered sugar

You melt the peanut butter and chocolate chips together.  Then, you pour it over the 9 cups of Chex cereal, and make sure it all get coated really well.  Next, you put (portions of) it in a ziplock bag, pour some powdered sugar in it, seal the bag, and shake it- shake it like a polaroid picture.  Once you've gotten powdered sugar on all of it, put it in a bowl, and serve it up!

It was so adorable, and thankfully I knew none of my kids were allergic to peanut butter, so I didn't have to modify the recipe.  I was so excited to have brought in such a cool and different snack!
That same day we made cat and dog ears (they had to cut out either triangles for the cats or ovals for the dogs), and they wore them while they had their "puppy chow".

SO, that was pet week!  The next week was farm week.  Wait till you see what they made... I'll give you a hint!  They're pink and go "oink"!

We're Floridians!!!

For those of you who may not know, Dan and I moved to Florida 2 months ago, for a job he got as a youth pastor at a wonderful church in Jacksonville called First Coast Christian Center.  

For me, this meant that I was back on the job hunt.  I am very blessed, because I found two great jobs right away.  The first, is teaching ballet and jazz ballet to 3-4 and 5-7 year olds.  This is SO much fun, and I'm really enjoying the fact that I've found my way back to my childhood love like this.

My second, and "real" job is as a K4 VPK teacher.  I work at a wonderful Christian Private school, called Seacoast Christian Academy.  (The VPK program is public though.)  This position incorporates EVERYTHING that I love to do.  

But first, let's back up to the move.
We arrived on August 5th, after a two day trip in a moving van, with Bella sitting between Dan and I in the front seat.
Shhh... we gave her baby Benadril so she would sleep for most of the trip- she was the best behaved dog in the world!
We moved into our apartment, which we love very much.  There's a lake on the property, around which we take Bella for a walk every day.  Even though we live on a busy streat, our apartment building is so far back, we can't even hear street noise, which is great!  (I strongly dislike my itty-bitty kitchen, in which Dan and I bump butts while we're cooking, but hey!)
Best part is- we're 20 minutes away from the beach.  At first, Bella hated the beach, but she's really become quite the beach dog! 

This was Bella's first time with sand and water (besides baths).  She wasn't quite sure what to think...

Dan is so happy to be so close to the beach!  He could go every day!  And that first week- we nearly did!

I really love this picture of Bella and I.  We're loving the beach life!

My little beach baby.

On a date that ended with a walk on the beach - not too shabby!
So, this is our new life.  A new church family, new jobs, our pet baby (who we love and spoil too much), a new apartment and the beach. 


For your entertainment:
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