Planet Weidknecht Weekend Hop 8-5 to 8-7


Owning a home daycare kind of takes the fun out of "back to school" time for me, because my business is open year-round. On the other hand, it's a great time to buy art supplies at a super discount and to see all the awesome new products that have been created in the wake of another year of learning. Lysol sent me a box of products to try and I was really happy to receive them because I can always use germ-killing products in a daycare environment.
The first thing I opened was the Lysol wipes. I usually buy a wipe that is a store brand and there is a huge difference in the quality. This Lysol wipe has a soft wipe side and a rough scrubber side; both sides have the same 99.9% germ-killing capacity that is associated with all Lysol products.
I used the scrubber side on my ceramic stovetop and was very happy with the cleaning power. The Crisp Linen scent is nice too. I also love that it kills Cold and Flu Viruses, including the Pandemic 2009 H1N1 Influenza A.
It took a strong pair of scissors to break into the plastic surrounding the Lysol® Healthy Touch® No-Touch Hand Soap System. The system is gray-colored, which matches my stainless steel kitchen appliances. The included antibacterial soap comes in a plastic bottle, ready for insertion into the Soap System. It was easy to assemble, came with batteries, and looks great in my kitchen.
I put it near the kitchen sink, flipped the on switch, got my hands wet, and put my hand under the dispenser. It worked perfectly and I've been using it about four days now, with complete satisfaction. I love the smell of the soap that came with mine, Aloe Vera & Vitamin E with Moisturizers. Since I wash my hands dozens of times of day for daycare, it was nice not to have to deal with dry hands or germy squirt bottle tops.

The Lysol website has lots of tips for cleaning and disinfecting, but most valuable to me as a teacher was the handwashing poster download. I'm going to laminate it and hang it by the bathroom sink for the kids. The Lysol Facebook page is currently running a promotion called the Lysol® No-Touch® Stainless Kitchen Sweepstakes, where you can enter to win a Stainless Steel Kitchen Set from Whirlpool®.

If you would like to win the Back to School package of products that I received, including the wipes and soap system with soap, you can enter for my "Healthy Child" prize package in the Back To School Giveaway Hop, which also includes SmartyPants Gummy Vitamins and Stop Bugging Me! Spray Bottles. 
Disclosure: I received these products at no charge to review for you. Opinions are truly mine.

Sponsor Highlight - Stop Bugging Me!

My mom used to hang the American flag on our front porch every year on the first day of school. She said it was her Independence Day! I guess my three sisters and I made her kind of crazy during the summer months. It's almost that time again when the kids go back to school and you can bet they'll be bringing home some great stories about what's going on in their new classrooms.
Sadly, they may bring home some unwanted house-guests, those nasty little bedbugs. With the current proliferation of bedbug infestation going on right now across America, it's nice to know there is an all-natural, green treatment available that eliminates bedbugs and prevents their reinfestation. Stop Bugging Me! is safe for the entire family including pets. It is safe to spray on backpacks, beds, clothing, floors, wherever you need protection. One spray provides a full two weeks of prevention!
A healthy child learns better in school. You can win two bottles of Stop Bugging Me! ($27.98 value) as part of my "Healthy Child" prize package in the Back to School Giveaway Hop that begins on August 7, 2011. Many thanks to the sponsor for providing the prize. The "Healthy Child" prize package also includes six months of SmartyPants Children's Gummy Vitamins ($107 value) and a Lysol Back To School Pack ($15 value). Click HERE to enter to win!

CoolSculpting is the Best Wedding Gift Ever

Getting married this year? Give yourself the best gift ever! Know someone who is about to be a bride? This is the perfect gift for her. But you will want to give it to her at her bridal shower. CoolSculpting is a new way to reduce stubborn fat. This involves no knife, no suction hose, no needle, no laser.

Developed at Harvard and FDA-cleared, CoolSculpting is a clinically-proven patented way to freeze fat cells, resulting in an average of a 20% reduction in size. Now what bride wouldn't appreciate THAT right before she has to fit into her beautiful bridal gown? This is the day she's dreamed about her entire life!

The CoolSculpting website has more information on this non-invasive procedure, a location guide, and testimonials. Go enter to win a free CoolSculpting procedure in the CoolSculpting 12 Weeks to Change Challenge on the CoolSculpting Facebook Page. You can connect with CoolSculpting on Twitter too. Oh, and the groom may want to have CoolSculpting; it works for men too. Make their fairy tale of a perfect wedding come true!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.


Nonni's Biscotti - Review

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW OVER. WINNER - Allison D (lola_violets_2010@...)

Biscotti? What is that? Some sort of sausage? No, not even close. Wine? Try again! New carpet style? Nope, also wrong. Nonni's Biscotti is THE cookie for grownups. It's not just a cookie. It's an amazing combination of delectable gourmet tastes initially created by Nonni in a little Italy town. And if you drink coffee, these are coffee's new best friend. For the last one hundred years, these amazing treats have been made right here in America using Nonni's same family recipe. Honestly, I had no idea what a treat I was receiving in the mail. I opened the box to three of Nonni's products...Almond Dark Chocolate Bites, Original Biscotti, and Turtle Pecan Biscotti. Now anyone who knows me, even just a little bit, knows that of course the Dark Chocolate ones were opened right after I took this photo.

I could hardly believe my mouth! These cookies are so delicious and light, yet filling enough that I really only need to eat one at a time. Okay, maybe two. I really expected a cracker-type of taste, but it's like a soft, crispy, buttery, chocolatey, nutty, piece of heaven.

The Biscotti Bites are a little smaller than the regular Biscotti and come in a bag, perfect for bringing along on a picnic date or family outing. I love that they are all natural and made from real eggs, butter, and bittersweet chocolate.

Okay I was so taken by the Bites, that I had to open the Originali. These Biscotti are only 90 calories and they come individually wrapped. This would be perfect in a lunch box or backpack treat! These are bigger than the Biscotti Bites and you can see I actually took a bite before remembering to take a picture!!

I had to wait until after my next meal to try the Turtle Pecan Biscotti and I was so sorry I waited. See that big spot on the Biscotti I set on the box on the right? That is a huge chunk of caramel. These are so good. No wait, these are absolutely, positively, amazingly, scrumptious. Did you know there are EIGHT flavors? I can't wait to try the others.

I'm going to give away prizes to THREE readers thanks to my awesome sponsor! Prize One is Bag of Biscotti Bites, Prize Two is a Box of Biscotti, and Prize Three is the grand prize of all three flavors identical to the ones I received. I'll take entries until midnight August 12, then draw the grand prize first, then for prize one and two, so everyone has an equal chance of winning the grand prize.

Mandatory Entry (this one first please, or no bonus entries will count):
  • Visit the Nonni's Biscotti Website and then leave a comment below telling me which of their eight flavors you'd like to try.

Bonus Entries (please do mandatory entry first):
  • Leave a comment below after liking Nonni's Biscotti on Facebook.
  • Leave a comment below after following Nonni's Biscotti on Twitter.
  • Leave a comment below after liking Planet Weidknecht on Facebook.
  • Leave a comment below after following Planet Weidknecht on Twitter.
  • Leave a comment after following Planet Weidknecht via GFC (on left sidebar).
  • Leave a comment after following Planet Weidknecht via email (on left sidebar).
  • Leave a comment after following Planet Weidknecht via RSS (on left sidebar).
  • Leave a comment after tweeting this message: "I just entered to #win delicious @NonnisBiscotti on Planet @Weidknecht." Please include the tweet url in your comment.
That should give you enough entries! Good luck to all of you.
Disclosure: I received these products at no charge. My opinions are always honest.

Speekee Spanish for Children - Review

Did you know that a child can learn a foreign language faster than an adult can? It's a fact! I was so thrilled when my home daycare was offered access to Speekee, the world's number one Spanish course for all ages of children. Since I don't know much Spanish, I've been looking for ways to introduce more foreign language into my program. As I visited the Speekee website for the first time, the children gathered around me, instantly drawn in by Speekee a very happy purple puppet. They started repeating the Spanish songs right away!
Isn't he cute?? The online program is a series of ten episodes, full of animation, songs and puppets. The children in the video are Spanish students living in Spanish locations. There are optional Spanish and English subtitles for each lesson, as well as downloadable activity sheets. Speekee is available online or on dvd; and it can be used at home or at school. What a great option for homeschoolers!

Review - Step2 Ice Cream Parlor

No matter how many creative and funny songs adults create about healthy foods, children are still going to want dessert instead. Even though today's Cookie Monster sings "a cookie is a sometimes food," my generation will always remember him as the monster that eats not only every cookie but also the plate. Personally I would rather choose between thirty-one flavors of ice cream, instead of thirty-one types of vegetables. I love the delicious new line of role playing toys by Step2....the ice cream parlor, the mix and make cupcakes and the pastry chef. I chose the ice cream parlor for my home daycare dramatic play area.

The children went right for this toy and immediately began to act out being an ice cream store owner and a customer. They discussed the choices of flavors and toppings, while mixing and matching the different combinations. They used the scoop and the two little spoons to eat, and they pushed the buttons to hear the happy tunes. At around $20-25, the Step2 ice cream parlor is a high quality toy at a low price. The only suggestion that I would make to improve this toy would be to make the ice cream scoop button moveable.

Step2 is a brand I turn to again and again, because in a home daycare the toys need to last through hundreds of pretend sessions. There are sixteen sturdy plastic pieces in this set, which is enough to keep the children busy and involved, but not so many that it's overwhelming to clean up. The ice cream balls pop on and off the cones, just snug enough to hold on but not so tight that a preschooler struggles.

I love role playing toys that really draw children into their imaginations. Sweets rule! After all, the old saying goes, "just like a kid in a candy store" not "just like a kid in a vegetable market."

Disclosure: I received the Step2 Ice Cream Parlor at no charge for this review. My opinions are always honest.

Planet Weidknecht and PBS Training Videos

This morning PBS spent several hours here videotaping my home daycare. They are in the process of making some new training videos that will be used online by childcare providers and early childhood teachers. I am honored that someone recommended me to them as a location for the trainings.

It was a really interesting morning because I had not only seven children, ages 4, 4, 3, 3, 2, 2, and 1, but I also had five additional adults, a television camera, and a sound system (including a microphone on me). I was also given a few "staged" assignments to do during the morning. The children were quite curious about all the equipment and new people, making me have to work harder to maintain their attention. Circle time started with me singing to the backs of the children's heads because they kept turning around where all the people were standing.

Eventually the children settled into the day a little more, but it was a big distraction to them. The preschool lesson was very interactive and involved food so that was a hit. I also had several new products in the room, donated by some awesome companies, that were a big help in keeping the children focused more on me. I have to admit though, the kids really did a good job given the circumstances. There was even a little "conflict" between two children who needed help solving it and PBS was able to capture that on tape.

I am now exhausted and so are the children. Being movie stars is a lot of work. They are enjoying nap time while I drink more coffee. My biggest hope from this morning, is that there wasn't anything caught on tape as an example of what NOT to do when working with young children!


Randomosity's Ultimate Homeschooling Resource List for Preschool

This post is copied, word for word, from Randomosity Blog. It is very valuable information and I wanted to make sure the list is always where I can find it. I wanted to share it with my readers too. 

The Ultimate Homeschooling Resource List for Preschool

"So, you’ve decided that you want to homeschool? Or, maybe you just want to get your preschooler ready for kindergarten. Whatever the case may be, this is the list for you! I have spent hours upon hours compiling resources for those that are homeschooling for preschool. If you have any free resources to add, please leave them in the comments! All resources listed on this page are free unless otherwise noted.
VERY detailed (and free!) curriculum planner here. This is printable, but it is 180 pages! So be sure you have a new ink cartridge and lots of ink if you are going to print it.
Enchanted Learning - You can print many things here for free, or purchase the premium version for $20 per year (totally worth it in my opinion). This site covers kindergarten through third grade and beyond, so you can use it for more than one child. There are lots of great books to print. I love this site, it’s one of my favorites and has been for years.
Christian Homeschool Hub - Even if you aren’t christian, the platinum membership is only $1 a year for unlimited downloads. Worth the investment.
Free Preschool Activities - Divided into themes, months, and subjects. Includes games, crafts, worksheets, and more.
Mommy Nature - Sort by letter or by theme. Not quite as extensive and organized as the other sites, but helpful nonetheless.
HandwritingWorksheets.com - Plug in your child’s name and print. Or you could do colors, numbers, sight words, etc. You can choose your writing style, and they even have cursive for older kids.
Letter of the Week - This is a great place to start if your child hasn’t learned his/her letters yet. I will be using this a lot with Sapphire. Other (free) curricula are available on this website as well.
Preschool Palace - This site was created for educators. It has complete curricula outlined for you. It isn’t as in-depth as some of the other sites, but it is very organized (by year and by month) and helpful. Lots of free printables, too. Has pictures of actual projects completed.
Kids Sparkz - Hundreds of free curriculum pages and preschool activities to download instantly for toddlers, including alphabet, treasure hunting, numbers, and dot to dots.
Prek-8 - This site covers pre-k all the way up to 8th grade. Preschool section includes free printable flash cards.
Easy Fun School - Not very many printables here, but lots of links. I really like the Presidents Unit Studies.
A to Z Teacher Stuff - Have used this site for years and it just keeps getting better. Tons of great preschool resources. I love their themes section.
Head of the Class - Instructions matched up with various state curricula, thousands of free printables. Preschool section here. Very in-depth, tons of helpful information. One of the best sites I’ve found.
Core Knowledge - Great site for all grade levels, basically gives ideas and full lessons but not printables.
Homeschool Share - Love this site for unit studies (our favorite way to learn)!
Spelling City - Perfect for all ages, used this for Nell’s homeschooling in second grade. Everything related to spelling. Worksheets, games, etc.
Kids Know It - Makes education fun. Interactive.
Gamequarium Junior - Interactive, games.
Star Fall - Reading, games, etc. One of the best sites out there, we use it all the time. Starts with ABCs and goes all the way up to actually reading. Has games, too.
Book Adventure - Reading motivation program for children in grades K-8.
Original I See Sam Books - 1972 early reader books, free downloads.
School Sparks - Most of these are kindergarten worksheets but pre-k and kindergarten are kind of the same thing on some sites. Cutting worksheets, too!
Early Writing for Little Hands - Free ebook, traceable worksheets for every letter of the alphabet. Great resource!
2 Teaching Mommies - Love this site for unit studies!
First School - Tons of printables for preschool. Very organized, easy to use.

Full Curriculum
Charlotte Mason Style/Old-Fashioned  k-12
Ambleside (Charlotte Mason Style) k-12
Lesson Pathways k-5
Baltimore Curriculum Project k-5, no math
Pre-K Curriculum 34 weeks worth of lessons, $10

Homeschooling older kids? Not sure what to teach? Use this World Book Typical Course of Study to find out what your child should be learning in each grade." - Source: Randomosity Blog

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Magic Cabin Bilibo - Review

Don't you just hate it when you spend money on a new toy and all the kid wants to play with is the box? Do you know why that is? Most toys have one use. A little car is pushed around and is a little car. A wooden puzzle is taken apart and put back together. A toy piano is played as a piano. But a box is an open-ended toy and children can power the toy with their imagination. A box can be a hundred, no a thousand, different things. There is no limit placed on the child when they have an open-ended toy.

The Bilibo from Magic Cabin is one of the most wonderful open-ended toys I have ever had in my home daycare. The children were immediately drawn to this molded plastic bowl of silliness and creativeness. They asked me what it was. I told them it's a Bilibo. They giggled and repeated the name. Even the name is fun to say! One little girl said, "What's it for?" I asked her, "What do YOU think it's for?" She said, "Maybe it's for babies," and then decided it was a great baby bath.
Then she wrapped the baby in a blanket and placed it in the Bilibo to rock it to sleep. She sang lullaby songs and whispered that we should all be quiet while the baby slept.

When one of my other children took a turn, he decided to turn the Bilibo the other direction and it became his animal cave. The lions chased the bears into their cave, threatening to eat them up. When the bears hid in the cave, the lions began to sing "the bear went into the mountain" to the tune of "the bear went over the mountain."
Then one of my boys decided it wasn't just for animals but was for children too. He plopped his bottom in the big bowl of fun and practiced balancing while spinning.
Did you know that learning to balance during the preschool years is a skill that helps ward off ADHD tendencies? It's true!
Then the Bilibo became a tuffet. You know, little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet! Then it became a big dinosaur egg and Miss Muffet turned into a mommy t-rex sitting on the egg. I am always amused at how much children come up with when open-ended materials are available.
It was bound to end up on someone's head, what with those two holes cut out of it. One of the boys thought it was a space helmet, but this girl said she was a turtle inside her shell. I absolutely love this toy and so do all the kids. They didn't even want to play with the box that the Bilibo came in! I'm so excited that I get to give one away. Magic Cabin toys rock and this award-winner will entertain your kids for hours!

I'll run the giveaway for two weeks ending at midnight EST on August 19, 2011, then let random.org choose one winner. Just fill out the rafflecopter form below. There's lots of ways to enter and the more tasks you choose to do, the better your chances of winning a Bilibo. Many thanks to Magic Cabin for sponsoring this giveaway!

Disclosure: I received a Bilibo at no charge for this review. Opinions are mine (and the children's).

Review - The Little Looster

Childcare centers always have those cute little potties in the preschool room. My husband won't let me install one of those in our downstairs bathroom for my home daycare kids. He says our adult guests won't appreciate it. Potty training children on a big potty is sometimes a challenge because they may be afraid of falling off. I'm so excited to have found the perfect compromise - The Little Looster!

It's a wraparound step stool of the perfect height for a child to use an adult potty and still keep their feet firmly planted. It's a fabulous idea! It's made of a high quality plastic, so it'll be easy to clean and there are rubber feet on the bottom to keep it from sliding, even when my three year old boy uses it as his rocket launch pad (which he has already).

I've got five potty trained kids here at my home daycare and my five year old boy loves the "feet cutouts" so he can stand close without having to move the Little Looster out of the way. He said it would also make a great cave for the plastic bears, but we decided to keep the toys away from the potty in case the bears fall in and forget how to swim. The Little Looster is by far the best booster step I've seen in 25 years of working with children!

You can find out more about The Little Looster on their website, and even connect with the ingenious inventor - a mom named Monica - on Facebook and Twitter to learn about promotions and contests. A huge thank you to Monica and the Little Looster for a solution that will benefit me for years to come!
Disclosure: I received a Little Looster for this review. Opinions are truly mine.

Ten Years of Upromise Means Money in Your Pocket

This post brought to you by UPromise. All opinions are 100% mine.

My student loan balance is outrageous. I have a solid educational background though and I believe it is worth every dollar. My own kids know that college is not an option in this family, it's an expectation. I continued through my degree program even when I faced divorce and single parenthood, with my stress compounded by living below the poverty line. I was determined though and finally graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, later even getting my Master's degree from University of Phoenix. My husband is working on his Bachelor's degree right now. My daughter is currently a senior in college and my boys graduate from high school and go off to college in just two more years. Education is expensive, so any program that might help reduce the cost of college is fabulous in my book (so to speak).

Upromise is going on ten years of helping reduce the cost of higher education. I'm a member of their program myself and it helps me chip away at my student loans just by doing my normal activities of shopping and dining out. Now they've gone one step further. Because it's their 10th anniversary, they have started a Dream Wall.

I just submitted my dream for my child on the wall and now I have the chance to win a $1000 weekly prize or even the $10,000 grand prize! That would sure help cut college expenses. My son dreams of being a rock star but he also knows he'll need a college education so he wants to go to college to learn to design video games. I just dream he will be happy, no matter where his dreams take him.

You can submit your own dream for your child on the Dream Wall by going here www.upromisetodream.com and filling out a simple entry form. You can even upload a photo if you want. Oh, and don't forget to read the dream wall official rules too. So, tell me, what's your dream for your child?


Book Review: Area 51 by Annie Jacobsen

Ever since I was a teenager, I've loved reading science fiction novels. When I was asked to review Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base By Annie Jacobsen (544 pages. Little, Brown and Company. $27.99) I was very excited about reading it. I envisioned I would learn about government cover-ups about aliens and spaceships. I settled in with a cup of coffee and began to read.

It's definitely a book full of government cover-ups. Actually it made me rather annoyed at the government because it showed me how much they actually lie to the American people. No I wasn't surprised, but seeing it in writing ruffled my feathers. Jacobsen definitely did a lot of research and talked to a lot of people who claimed to be involved in the activities at Area 51. The book follows a chronological account of the history of the site rather than the science fiction type story I was expecting. There is quite a bit about the Cold War era activities dealing with spies and recon planes. I personally was rather bothered by information about nuclear weapons testing that has occurred on American soil. I think it would make a great gift for someone who is very interested in history.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book for this review. Opinions are mine.

The Cool School Tool - 3D Notebook from Snapily

I have always loved buying new school supplies at the beginning of the school year. It made me so happy to have brand new folders and notebooks. I can still remember the smell of a brand new box of crayons. The store brands were never cool enough either. It had to be something amazingly cool or I didn't want it. However, I've never had anything as cool as the 3D Notebook from Snapily.com. Even better, there is a brand new ‘Do It Yourself’ Notebook builder online! It's sort of like digital scrapbooking and it is so easy to use. You can also make personalized rulers, backpack tags and bookmarks. They even offer an animated card. For the kid in YOU check out their business cards too.

Cool kids and awesome parents can also connect with Snapily on Facebook and Twitter to learn about special promotions and giveaways! The school bell rings soon. Who is going to have the cool school tool this year? Raise your hand!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post via Snapily. Opinions are my own.

Considering the Net10 Unlimited Plan

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Net10. All opinions are 100% mine.

It has been almost two years since we cut off our cell phone services. We were determined to get out of debt and a cell phone had become a luxury item we could no longer justify. At over $150 for a family plan, it was one of the first things to go in our new budget, especially once my husband was laid off from his job. We're working hard towards being debt-free and have been able to pay off everything except the house, the pool and the student loans. We're building a savings account and making much better financial decisions now.

Now that my husband is gainfully employed again, we're considering adding a cell phone. We've been looking at the Net10 Unlimited Plan, because it's a great deal. You get unlimited talk, text, and data, for $50 a month. There are no contracts, no surprise bills and no credit checks. Great nationwide coverage and excellent reception and connectivity. Net10 only uses trusted phone manufacturers like LG, Motorola, Kyocera, Nokia and Samsung.

We could get a full QWERTY keyboard phone, slider phone, or touch screen phone, with all the basics plus great app capabilities, camera and video recorder, and web access, for under $60. Plus, the airtime can be purchased online, at a nearby store, or directly from the phone. One thing that is helping us to see the Light is that we could switch between plans to suit our budget and airtime needs, without penalties or fees. So if he finds himself at the mercy of another layoff, the Easy Minutes Plus plan is an automatic minutes plan that starts at $15.00 for 200 minutes.

We haven't decided whether we'll go for it or not (since I've become so tight-fisted with our money lately) but here's what one real NET10 customer has to say about it. Although being able to access my Twitter feed anywhere is very tempting! Connect with the Net10 Facebook and Twitter pages and please let me know if you're a customer. I'd love to hear your feedback while we make a decision.

"Paper Boats Ahoy!"

Last night, when I was tucking Tobi in, he told me, "Mom I have a question."


"I really love boats..all the time!"

Ok, so it wasn't really a question, but I told him that we could do something boat-related today.

So, we made paper boats!

The kids coloured their boats, then we filled up an under-the-bed storage bin with water in the backyard to make our lake. Annie, my little waterbug, can never resist splashing. I'm actually a bit surprised that she didn't try to get in (though it could be due to the fact that the water was straight from the hose, and therefore ice cold.)

The paper I used was one the cheaper side, so the boats didn't last more than a few minutes. But it was long enough for the kids to enjoy, and with the breeze we had, the boats even floated around a bit.

This is a great project to do when talking to young children about different types of boats, what boats are used for, and how they float.

Post by Ramblings of a Christian Mom

Thank you so much Savannah for this fabulous activity! ~Lisa

Preschool Lesson: y is for yellow

This morning we gathered around the table and I asked the children, "So, what letter are we learning about?" They shouted "Y!" I said, "Because I really want to know! What letter did we learn yesterday?" They laughed and shouted "Y!" I sighed loudly and said, "Because I'm asking what letter did we learn!" Through the laughter, one of them shouted, "No Miss Lisa, the LETTER Y." With a surprised face, I said, "Oh I get it!!!" They thought it was so funny.
We talked about what words we thought up yesterday that begin with the letter Y and when one of them said yellow, I led us into an art activity. Today we used the lowercase y and painted with yellow paint.
And since glitter makes everything more fun, we used yellow (okay gold) glitter on top of the paint so we could make shiny artwork today.

Don't you wish YOU were still in preschool? I wish schools would make learning fun like this. It seems when children go off to regular school, learning becomes cumbersome and the joy of learning fades. Do you remember any ways that your teachers made learning fun for you throughout your years of school?


Seeking Guest Bloggers

Planet Weidknecht is seeking Guest Bloggers for articles, ideas, projects, recipes related to early childhood education. 

Do you have a great lesson? a fabulous curriculum? a theme based program? an idea? a project? a craft? a science project? a cooking lesson? I'm looking for YOUR guest posts that real people can use right now to teach their preschool children, their daycare kids, and their early childhood classroom students. I want to feature YOU and your fabulous ideas. Does it have to be fancy? No. Does it need to be expensive? Oh please, no. What does it need? It needs to have step by step, simple instructions on how to provide concrete, real learning experiences to young children. Send your submissions for consideration to [email protected]. Basic editing may be applied but YOU will receive credit and a link to your site! Submit your ideas NOW!

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Preschool Lesson: Y is for Yarn

Preschool lessons should always be concrete, in other words, the lessons must have real meaning. Today the children learned that Y is for Yarn. A picture of yarn does not always demonstrate what the word yarn means. Since knitting is rare these days, many children have never even seen yarn. We talked about where yarn comes from and what its uses are, as we created our yarn pictures. We also examined a sweater and an afghan to see some things in our world made of yarn. We learned about letter Y sound, looked at the differences between the lower-case and upper-case Y, and came up with a list of words that start with Y:  yellow, yogurt, yam, yo-yo, and yelling.


Heelys and Something about Old Dogs and New Tricks

I'm always telling my teenagers to stretch out of their comfort zone. Try new things. Take the road less traveled. We all know that our children learn more from what WE do than what we say. So, I got a pair of Heelys! No, really, I did. I figured it can't be much different than roller skating and when I was a teenager I was pretty good at skating. Then, in my late twenties I learned to roller-blade and survived. Although there was that one big hill where I slipped and skidded down the hill about 20 feet on one knee. Come to think of it, that's the last time I was on wheels that didn't have a seat-belt.

My teenage boys were rather amused at the prospect of mom in Heelys. My new shoes arrived this weekend and my son popped the wheels in them for me. It was a quick and simple assembly. I laced them up and put them on. The shoes are actually very comfortable and the design is really cute.

My family followed me outside for a good laugh to help me make the video of my debut on Heelys. Since the kids have owned Heelys in the past, they were full of great advice for me. They encouraged me to run and then lean back onto the wheels. Personally I was a bit nervous terrified, especially after peeling off the disclaimer sticker from the bottom of the shoes. Remember that scene in Chevy Chase's Vacation where he's standing by the pool saying "This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy." Yeah, that's where my mind went. So grab your popcorn, here's the video:

Aren't I amazing? Didn't I leave you breathless with awe and respect? Okay, well, maybe I need a little more practice before I let go of my fears family members' arms. Heelys are great fun and a new way of looking at exercising, no matter what your age! And yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks, you just have to let her lean on you!
Disclosure: I received a pair of Heelys at no charge for this review. Opinions are mine.

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African Mother acrylic painting by Kallahanskiy Works