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Monday, January 26, 2015

Menu Makeover

Revamping my menus according to the Food Guide photo Daycare Menu Makeover-1.jpg
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This weekend I've spent time looking at my menus.  As I come to know more about good nutrition, I can't help but feel a greater responsibility to ensure I am feeding my buddies food that will set them on the path to healthy eating and a healthy life.

In a daycare setting this is far easier said than done.  First of all, everyone has a different idea of healthy. My goal is to find food that will be:

  #1 EATEN 

and 

#2 ENJOYED

by a majority of my buddies.  I'm not getting rid of gluten or sugar or fat.  I am following guidelines based on Canada's Food Guide.

 I want my menus to follow these standards:

  • Lunch will contain food from all four food groups
  • Each snack will have a fruit or vegetable plus food from another food group
  • At least 10 different foods from the fruit & vegetable food group will be served each week
  • At least 1 dark green or orange vegetable or fruit will be served each day (spinach, broccoli, carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, peaches, nectarines, apricots)
  • Whole milk will be served with lunch and snacks
  • A meat alternative such as eggs or peanut butter or lentils will be served once a week
  • Fish will be served once a week
  • Processed meat will be avoided or at least minimized (sandwich meats, hot dogs)
  • Water will be available between meals and snacks
  • Local produce will be served as often as is practical
  • Menus will be re-evaluated and updated twice a year
  • Snacks will contain at least one contrast between colour, taste, texture, shape or temperature
  • At least 1/2 of the grains served will be whole grain

Needless to say, this was a huge undertaking.  Especially because of #1 and 2!  The healthiest food in the world is worthless if nobody eats it.  I have kept some kid favourites on my menu, too. Everything in moderation!  So yes, you do see tater gems, pizza, and french fries.  I use regular peanut butter as well.  Overall, I'm happy with my menus and I hope my buddies will be happy too!






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That's it! Let me know what you think & feel free to use these menus to help you plan, too!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Healthy Christmas Treats

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Have you seen the fabulous strawberry and banana candy canes made by Make, Do & Friend??? They're beautiful. I tried to make them for my buddies but failed miserably so you're not going to see a picture of those here. But you can see the ones from Make, Do & Friend HERE. I did not give up, however, and came up with a fun banana and mandarin orange version which sat nicely on the plate for me and went into the candy cane shape without too much fuss. So here's my version:

mandarin banana candyless cane



They were easy to make and didn't take a lot of time. This is important when you have a group of hungry buddies! Best of all they were a fun and healthy snack. Another fast, fun and healthy snack idea is this watermelon banana santa hat:


Santa Hat Snack

Completely enjoyable for my buddies and no guilt for me!   It's as easy to make as it looks, with a triangle slice of watermelon and slices of banana trim.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Easy Christmas Houses

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If you're looking for a very easy project for your children this Christmas, this one is for you!  Last year, I was planning to make the classic graham wafer covered milk carton with my buddies but wasn't able to find the small milk cartons that we usually use.  Knowing that rice crispy treats are so easy to cut, I made up a thick pan of rice crispy treats and cut the pieces into triangles to substitute for the houses.

It was fairly easy to put the graham crackers on the sides.  Mine just stuck to the rice crispy treats but you could use frosting to attach them, too.  I had premade this part of the houses on sturdy disposable plates.  Then I handed them out and provided my buddies with assorted candies and some frosting and let them go to work.  They had a great time and were able to finish their houses independently.  This would be a great class project for a group of kids because once the houses are made, they don't need much assistance.  I think they turned out great!  They were so pleased to take them home.




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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fashion vs Function


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It's that time of year again when I know that parents are shopping for kid's clothing. Some of the clothes are just irresistable and you just can't help but purchase them. I ought to know, I'm a grandma!  And Grandmas can't resist shopping for the grandkids!


choosing Kids Clothes : Fashion vs Function photo KidsClothing.png




Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I know that some of the cutest outfits are just not child-friendly.  You have to look at the function of the clothing.  What is it's specific purpose?  If the clothing's only purpose is to look cute you've got a big selection to choose from.  But, if your children are anything at all like my buddies, they require more from their clothing.


  • My buddies are always busy.  They need clothing that is comfortable and safe.  Nothing should be too tight or pinching.  Footwear should be comfortable and secure.  Shoes that fall off easily are a tripping hazard and there's no fun in that.
  • My buddies want to be independent.  They need clothing that is manageable.  Velcro is a friend!  Elastic is an ally.  Snaps, ties and tiny buttons are not your friend when you are 2 and struggling to put on your clothes.  You want to join your friends already at play and you've already said "ME do" 20 times today and the daycare lady is helping the baby so if you have to wait for her help you aren't going to be first to get to your favourite toy.  <GASP!>  No lace up shoes, Mom and Dad, please, at least not until I can tie laces myself! 
  • My buddies move from active to quiet activities and can easily become cold or hot.  They need clothing that layers, so they can easily add or remove pieces.  Layers work well with our ever changing weather, too.
  • My buddies work hard and play hard.  They get dirty.  Often.  They need clothing that is washable.  I don't like ruining my buddies' clothing, but I know it happens.  When it does, I hope it's not the irreplaceable shirt that the favourite auntie bought for my buddy to wear on special occasions.  Keep that one safe at home, please.
  • My buddies are exceptionally cute.  They don't need all the extra accessories in order to be cute.  Remember this when adding the belts, hair accessories, hats and scarves and the like.  These items are often taken off and are hard to keep track of.  If these items don't have a function, they may be a nuisance that only serves to impede playing and learning.
Hope these tips have been as helpful to you as following them is to children!  If you have any of your own tips I'd love to hear them!







Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Writing's on the Wall














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The writing was on the wall.  I wasn't particularly pleased with it being there, either.  It happens from time to time in daycare and the best way I have found to manage it is to have my buddy (who happened to be my grandson this time) clean it up.  I don't say much, just that writing doesn't belong on the walls and that it needed to be cleaned.  I hand over a scrubber and maybe a little soap.  Sometimes it's easy to clean and sometimes it's not but it's ALWAYS a good learning experience.  It's almost never as much fun cleaning the writing off the wall as it was putting it there.  The few times when it IS as much fun?  Well, then I will happily hand over scrubbers and cleaning cloths for the whole group and have a clean up party.  Win/win!



Remove the writing on the wall
Removing the writing on the wall


  
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Monday, July 28, 2014

Raspberry Slime

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Summer is the perfect time for sensory play.  I have been coming across lots of slime recipes, many of them on Fun at Home With Kids .  All these recipes inspired me to try my hand at creating some slime fun for my buddies.  I wanted something non-toxic, since some of my buddies are very young and I wanted to be sure it would not be irritating on sensitive skin.  This is what I came up with using ingredients from my kitchen.


Raspberry Slime Recipe

  • 1/2 cup tapioca
  • 2 tbsp raspberry jello powder
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup cornstarch

  • Boil the tapioca until the pearls are plump and clear, add the raspberry jello powder.  Stir well and allow mixture to cool a bit. Then add the cornstarch.  Allow to cool to room temperature and then let the play begin!



I put the slime outside on trays on a picnic table.  I had a variety of containers and materials for my buddies to use to explore the slime.  As I sat down to create this post, I found that Child Central Station had created a similar fantastic slime.  I especially like the look of the clear slime and I'm going to have to try that out with my buddies, too.  It's looking like it will be a fun and slimy summer! If you've never made slime, you're in for a surprise. Most kids love the feel. If you have made slime, tell me, what's your favourite recipe?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Coloured Tape and Paper Clip Bracelet

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Here's a really quick and easy bracelet that kids can make. The one pictured was made without any assistance by my 7 year old granddaughter. My younger buddies would need a little help doing this, but older kids can easily manage on their own.

I provided some coloured paper clips and coloured tape.  My granddaughter and grandson got to linking the paper clips together.  My 4 year old grandson was thrilled with just linking the paper clips and it was a great fine motor skill activity for him.  His older sister was ready for more of a challenge and she was able to take the coloured tape and wrap it around each paper clip to add an extra decorative feature to her bracelet.  She enjoyed making this bracelet so much she asked to take the rest of my paper clips hope to make more of them.  

I have to put paper clips on my shopping list because I'm sure the rest of my buddies would like to do this, too.  This was a good activity for multi-aged groups as it can be as easy or difficult as skill level of the child doing it.  Happy crafting!