Mud. Need I say more?

Today is January 31.  In Iowa.  And, it’s 59° outside.  When my family moved to Iowa from California, we were warned formidably about the long and inescapable winters.  It will snow on Halloween and it won’t melt until Easter.   In years past, we have found this to be true.  And in my five year history in Iowa, most January 31st’s are so cold that your nose hairs freeze the moment you inhale the winter air.  (True story! Unpleasant, but true.)  But recent weeks have been the exception. I hesitate to rejoice, since I believe changing and erratic weather is an indicator of global climate change, yet at the same time, I will not take 59° on January 31 for granted!

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Headed to the Moon! Pulleys and Risk-Taking

Trying to figure out how to get the rocket to fly!

Looking for experiences to enrich the play at Abundant Life is one of my favorite past times.  The crew is my source of direction, then I go looking for experiences that might enrich their internal drive.  I blog-surf, I Amazon-surf, I email myself with ideas so I don’t forget them, and most recently, I “pin” the fantastic inspirations I read about.  (Who knew we needed another social networking platform? Turns out that a handy online organizational tool for all of the cool ideas I run across isn’t such a bad idea!)  But one of my favorite ways to be inspired is to pull out my books and page-surf: looking for the portions of the book that fall open from heavy use and reading, finding the sticky notes that have lost their stick but still manage to hold a spot in my books, and turning to the back where I have penned my ideas and shopping lists while I go. (more…)

Giant Play Dough Blob

(Recipe here)

Looks compelling, no? What you are looking at is a giant blob of homemade green play dough, outfitted with white golf tees, 1/4 inch carriage bolts and matching nuts, and bursting inside with googly eyes.  We have experimented with giant quantities of play dough in the past (all thanks to inspiration from Denita Dinger…check out her blog: Play Counts!) and we decided to do it again.  Last time around, the sneaky Captain Quigley the Pirate hid the play dough with buried treasure and left us a treasure map to find it.  This time, I simply told the crew, “I found a giant blob of green stuff this morning when I came downstairs, and I wonder if you’d like to help me figure out what it is.”  You can imagine the excitement that followed. (more…)

The Purpose of Paint

What is the purpose of paint?  I am confident that this picture does not do justice to reality.   You might look at this cake pan and think, “Wow – there is a good deal of paint in that pan!”  You would be nearly right.  There is a massive amount of paint in the bottom of this pan.  What started off as a reasonable squirt of a single color whose destiny was to mingle with a brush and end up on a piece of paper transformed into an end product all together different.  Because, you see, to the artists with whom I rub shoulders, the process is the art.  The end product is not even a blip in their universe. (more…)

We eat a lot of peanut butter.

All of the food at Abundant Life is vegetarian.  I work hard to serve healthy and well-balanced meals, peanut butter included.  But my motivation for serving snacks and meals with peanut butter changed when I saw pictures posted by Jeff Johnson of Explorations Early Learning of another family childcare provider’s do-it-yourself blocks (check them out here)  made out of empty peanut butter jars.  I knew we had to increase our consumption and make our own set.  You would be surprised at how quickly we can go through peanut butter around here!  After all, we eat it on rice cakes, graham crackers, as a dip for apples and carrots, in hot dog buns with bananas for a lunchtime favorite, “banana dogs”…but I digress.

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