Children benefit from a love of books their entire lives. We provide a quiet, comfortable place as well as a variety of easily accessible and age appropriate books, so that their natural curiosity can be encouraged and nourished.
We made space pictures using water colors and foam stickers. I just adore the shark-shaped picture of space. I told my little Sweet Pea that it looked like we were in a ship looking out the window into space. He said, "Of course, that's what it's supposed to be!". :D
We also made mini rockets this week using a film canister, water, and alka seltzer, and read "Reaching For The Moon", by Buzz Aldrin - which I just happened to have personally signed by him!
Never stop reaching for the moon, my little Sweet Peas!
I am SO EXCITED to have the new play yard installed! Of course it had to be the first rainy day we've had in a loooong time. lol. We got to play in it a full 5 minutes before getting rained on. No matter - by tomorrow it should be dried out enough to enjoy. The artificial turf is extra cushy and feels just like grass - without the worry of dirt, mud or any of the outdoor elements that go along with being out in nature. Bonus that I don't have to mow the lawn or pull weeds.
Meet our new addition, "Jackson". He is a service dog in training, and will be with us for approximately a year. He's a real sweetheart and the kids love him! Even so, he is kept in his pen or in the backyard. Until he's fully trained, there is a strict look-but-don't-touch policy. Jackson will be a DAD dog. As a Diabetes Alert Dog, he will be placed with a child with diabetes, and will help to alert when the child's blood sugar becomes dangerously high or low. I already love him so much, but knowing that he will help a little girl or boy with diabetes will make it a little easier to let him go. Until then, he's all mine! <3
Today's little Sweet Peas consisted of "A" (10 months old), and "P" (15 months old) ...both precious! We had fun with blocks, puzzles and baby dolls, along with an afternoon stroll around the neighborhood.
What's more fun than exploding coke?! This tried and true experiment illustrates the chemical reaction of the C02 in diet coke when mixed with the dimpled surface of mentos candies. My little scientists came up with a hypothesis - will the explosion be greater, when more mentos are added to the diet coke? They created the experiment, and wrote up a lab report for it. We discussed the scientific method of proving hypotheses, setting up experiments, and drawing conclusions.
This morning my lil Peas whispered to me, "Remember yesterday when we said we wanted to marry Edward? (The family dog -lol). They confessed to me that they had packed a nice dress, shoes, and makeup so that we could put on a wedding today. Ok, challenge accepted! By lunchtime, we had orchestrated two weddings (because they each wanted to marry Edward), and had a delicious lunch reception which consisted of chicken alfredo with broccoli, green salad with ranch, and parmesan cheese toast. We also made vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting topped with fresh fruit. My cd of lullabies substituted nicely for wedding music. All in all, a lovely day. All seats were filled with an audience of stuffed animals.
At Sweet Pea Academy, we offer healthy, wholesome meal choices. Today for breakfast we're having eggs over-easy with a hat of toast, yoghurt with fresh cut strawberries & raspberries, and milk or juice. Yum! My lil peas ate it all up! :D
Having older girls for the summer means we can do fun things like cooking projects. We found a recipe for homemade pretzels and my Sweet Peas learned about how yeast works and the importance of using proper measurements, timing, and temperature. The results were yummy!
What to do when it's too hot to go outside? After finishing up our eggs for breakfast, we decided to cut up the carton and make caterpillars. One nice thing about this heat is that the paint dries really quickly. My lil peas will be able to bring their crafts home with them today.
At Sweet Pea Academy, a portion of our day will always be devoted to building things. We have puzzles, puzzle blocks, mega blocks, boxes, foam squares, and various plastic gizmos to choose from. Children learn valuable lessons in problem-solving, critical thinking, planning, designing, imagination and cooperation when they put their hands and brains into building things. Here, my lil Peas are building a castle, complete with tunnel entrance and guard-dog, carpeted floors, and surrounding footpath.
Today we learned about density. Using colored water and oil, we noticed that the lighter density oil floated on top of the heavier density water no matter which way we held the bottle. The kids had fun shaking the bottles and then watching the insoluble liquids separate. They also held the bottles up to the sunlight to observe the patterns in the oil and water.
(No, 3D glasses weren't part of the demonstration. They were added to protect the identities of my little Sweet Peas.)
My Sweet Peas who have to stay later than usual get an extra treat. We make cars out of large cardboard boxes, then drive over to the living room for a drive-in movie. These lil Peas are watching the Chronicles of Narnia in 3D. 15 minutes in and they've already retreated to the couch, parking their cars at the side of the road. lol.
I wanted to teach my Sweet Peas to use chopsticks, so I went searching World Market for something appropriate. Not only did I find a set of child sized sticks, but I found these great "cheaters" - little rubber men that hold the chopsticks together. We enjoyed stir-fried chicken and rice for lunch, then afterwards, read a book describing the different types of Chinese festivals. It was a fun lesson in exploring Chinese culture.
Today, my Sweet Peas experimented with a chemical reaction. We learned that water is made up of H2O, and hydrogen peroxide is made up of H2O2, because it has an extra oxygen molecule. In our experiment, we attempted to extract the extra oxygen molecule, by creating a chemical reaction and producing foam. We used the following items:
Empty Soda Bottle
Package of Yeast
This experiment called for a 6% solution of hydrogen peroxide, and we only had 3%, so we didn't get a spectacular reaction, but we were able to create the foam and play with it a little.
Kids love pizza! Kids love making food! For a special treat, my Sweet Peas like to make their own personalized mini-pizzas. We flatten out refrigerator biscuits; then everyone creates their own specialty with sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. I use store-bought pizza sauce from a jar, but I blend in spinach leaves and a few broccoli sprigs to make sure that healthy greens are included.
Round out the meal with carrot sticks garnished with ranch sauce, and peanut butter apple smiles for a fun and healthy lunch!
With the heat soaring up into the 90's, I thought it was time to repost about hydration.
There's nothing more important than staying hydrated during these hot summer months.
Put a delicious and healthy "spin" on water by adding fresh cut fruit.
One of the best things you can do for your child's health is to
encourage them to drink lots of water.
This week, we are exploring space! My little Sweet Peas will get a basic overview of our solar system. Through books, video, art and science projects we will learn about the planets; their names and basic facts. We will explore concepts such as distances and time it takes for the orbiting bodies to create "one day" and "one year" for us. Astronomy is one of my favorite subjects. Rest assured we will revisit this subject many times throughout the year.
There are so many cute ideas using marshmallow peeps. I like this one because it combines a campfire favorite with colorful, sugar-coated chicks and bunnies. Fill a plastic bag with 1 chocolate bar, a few colorful peeps, and a stack of graham crackers. These individual packets of graham crackers are a great way to keep your gifts fresh until they are ready to be used.
Whether you observe Easter, Passover, or something else, we at Sweet Pea Academy wish you a happy holiday with your families.
It's never too early to encourage wonder of the universe. Even young kids can appreciate, as little human beings, that they are a part of something bigger than they can imagine. My Sweet Peas are learning what the stars and the planets look like, how we can see images far far away with the use of telescopes, and what kinds of things we might find on these distant planets.
My Sweet Peas eat the same meals I do, which I try to keep healthy, unprocessed and fresh. Here are sample menu options for the daily breakfast, lunch and snacks served at Sweet Pea Academy.
Breakfast Burrito (Made with Eggs, Cheese, Green Onions, Potatoes)
Sliced Apples with Peanut Butter
Pancakes/Waffles or French Toast with Strawberry Preserves,
Vanilla Yoghurt with Cinnamon
Scrambled Eggs with Cheese, Bacon & Hashed Brown Potatoes
Oatmeal withToast/Bagel/English Muffin or
Biscuit & Yoghurt with Fresh Fruit
Yoghurt & Granola, Fruit & Toast/Bagel, or English Muffin
Roasted Chicken, Potato Crisps, Green Salad, Fruit
Stir Fry – Chicken & Vegetables, Rice and Yoghurt
Pasta with Broccoli, Fresh Fruit Smoothie made with Spinach
Baked Potato w/Broccoli & Cheese, Green Salad, Fruit
Sandwich-Turkey/Tuna or Grilled Cheese, Potato Crisps & Fruit
Mini Hamburgers or Pizza, Yoghurt with Fruit & Green Salad
Grilled Chicken & Rice or Potato w/Broccoli & Fresh Fruit
Apples with Peanut Butter, Yoghurt or Cottage Cheese with Cinnamon
or Fresh Fruit, Crackers with Cheese or Lunchmeat,
Bagel with Cream Cheese & Strawberry Preserves, or Peanut
Butter, Homemade baked Potato Crisps, Fresh sliced Fruit, Baked Tortilla chips
with Cheese/Beans or Guacamole, Jello with Fruit, Crackers or Graham Crackers
with Peanut Butter
The International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology put out a list of the top ten choking hazards for kids. Personally, I'm wondering why grapes aren't on this list, but here it is.
1. Hot Dogs
4. Boned Chicken
5. Candy (especially the hard kind)
8. Fish with Bones
9. Sunflower Seeds
Don't forget about non-food items as well. Those little plastic barrettes can easily end up in a child's mouth and throat, blocking little airways. Choking accidents can occur at anytime, NOT just meal times!
Learn the Heimlich, and how it should be used with infants and toddlers.
Brush up on the information if it's been awhile. You won't be sorry!
I don't know about you, but I often buy fresh vegetables, only to find they've gone bad in the fridge before I've gotten around to cleaning and cooking them. ugh. I recently discovered the joys of green onions (scallions), but I rarely get a chance to use more than a couple before the rest of the bunch gets brown and soggy. That is...until I stumbled upon this great little tidbit.
If you cut off the root end of a scallion and throw it in a cup of water IT GROWS BACK.
That's right! Every time you use a green onion, you can regrow a new one. Voila! A never-ending supply of fresh green onions! There are a few simple rules. You have to change out the water every other day, and eventually, if you use the same root over and over, it will not have enough nutrients to regrow again in the water. So, you do periodically have to buy new ones that have been grown in soil. I'm guessing that it takes about a week to grow each new onion. Take a look at these photos which show the growth process after four days using this method.
This little project can be used for lessons in healthy eating habits as well as basic plant biology.
As the mother of a diabetic daughter, I have a unique perspective into the world of a Special-Needs-Child. I'm definitely not an expert in all forms of special needs, but I've been through the trauma of diagnosis, the battles with the public school system, the self-satisfaction of adjusting to a new life, and the perseverance of living with the ups and downs of a child with a chronic illness. Through all of my experience and education in the matter, I can tell you this: "Kids are kids first." Whether they need extra care to breathe through an inhaler, take medication, avoid certain foods or substances, or require injected insulin to live, the fact remains that they ARE KIDS. They need to play, laugh, love and learn. They need to experience being a kid; even if that takes extraordinary efforts on our part.
We all know how important it is to stay hydrated during the summer, but don't forget the winter months when everyone is fighting colds and flus. Put a delicious and healthy "spin" on water by adding fresh cut fruit. One of the best things you can do for your child's health is to encourage them to drink lots of water.
I can't wait for the kids to arrive. Social Services has one more inspection to complete, THEN my license. Sweet Pea Academy is now ready to accept applications for a limited number of spots. Call today to schedule a visit.