Friday, February 26, 2010

Why I Hate This Time Of Year

Tax time... Blech.  I was so not born to be an accountant, it isn't even funny.  I've been stressing out about taxes for over a month now.  It wouldn't be this hard if we had any kind of a better organization process for our finances and all of the tax stuff that goes along with owning a daycare.  Some of the business end of running a daycare I actually do like, but keeping track of all of the expenses and deductions for tax time I do NOT like.  I've always kept excellent track of my pay checks. A few months ago I switched over to the accounting program through my childcare food program, but before that I had every check written down in a notebook AND recorded on a spreadsheet on my computer, backing myself up either way.  It's just those pesky expenses that give me trouble.  I guess I haven't figured out the best way to make keeping track of them easy.  I'm so busy all the time that the last thing I think of doing throughout the week is closely itemizing my Target receipts and keeping track of my business mileage, and writing down somewhere that I bought bandaids and they can fall under medical expenses.

On top of the pain of preparing for our tax appointment, is the actual cost of the appointment.  Ever since I opened my daycare we've gone to H&R Block since there is so much put into our tax preparation.  The woman who's done our taxes every year since our second year with H&R Block does an excellent job and we've always gotten back a nice rebate, but they are expensive.  Just today I went ahead and made an appointment with a different accountant.  She's not with a financial giant like the other place so their costs are lower, which makes our costs lower.  I'm just hoping there will be a great big fat rebate check coming our way to make it all worth it!

I really want your input on this one... What/who do you use to file your taxes?  What software or record keeping devices do you use to manage your general or business finances?  Do you have any links to great financial management websites or blogs that you would care to share?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Go Figure

Sweet Pea got a haircut!  She loves it!

This was taken after Spencer told her she'd get to play World of Warcraft... go figure.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why Wednesday 2/24/10

It's Why Wednesday! This helpful (I'm using the term very loosely here) little feature is called "Why Wednesday" and is a place for us to vent/complain about the little things, or big things, that are bugging us this week. I'll post a couple of "Why"s and then let you take it from there in the comment section. Go ahead and spill.

~Why can't I get out of Target without spending over $50? and that's a CHEAP Target trip!

~Why do they stop selling decent mittens/gloves in January?  Don't the realize we still have a few more months of cold and snow!

~Why can't I get the hang of cooking chicken breasts?  It's either slightly pink, or overcooked and dry!  I've been at this for years and it is so frustrating!  If you know what I'm doing wrong here, please help!

~Ear infections are almost as hard on mommies as they are on the children who get them! I know this isn't in "why" format, but who cares.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Sweet Pea and Babydoll got haircuts last night! 



Not so Cute!!!

Pics of Sweet Pea will have to be later, she's at school.

Designer In The Making

Sweet Pea's Nana got her a paper doll fashion kit. It's called "Fashion Angels   Design A Heavenly Fashion Wardrobe."  I'd love to link to it, but I can't find the exact product online.  You can hardly call them paper dolls, as they are made from heavy-duty cardboard.  Along with the dolls were over 100 patterns to use with a big stack of different types and colors of fabric, glitter paints, gems, sequins, trim ribbons, and patches.  The patterns were made from white cardstock and can be colored themselves or used to cut out the fabric into just the right shape.  Sweet Pea had so much fun with this kit, spending hours designing, cutting, glueing, and accesorizing, and none of her designs came from looking at a picture!

This is her favorite doll, I personally love this dress!
She took a basic pink leopard print and added pink glitter glue, beads, a band and star forming an empire waist, she colored the bow, and even designed a handbag!

The clothes and accesories attach with velcro.  She cut a strip of the soft part of velcro for the clothes and little pieces of the hook-part of velcro stick to the paper doll.  Like my terminology?  So she can make dozens of items for the dolls and interchange them!

Look at this doll's top.  She started with using the white tanktop pattern and then layered on a pink thing... man, what are those called?  I really like this doll's top!

No surprise here, she's been wanting to be a fashion designer when she grows up for about a year now!  She's been designing clothes with markers and paper for a long time, and it's nice that she can now take it up a notch!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Poker Face

Sorry, no book today.  I'm getting really bored with blogging about books.  I like reading them, looking at them, but not taking bunches of pictures of them and typing them out.  So instead, I'm going to post some recent pictures! Much more fun!

Spencer had these 2 dozen roses delivered to me on Valentines Day!

The blossoms were Huge and one week later, they are still looking vibrant!

Can we say, "Poker Face?"

He must have a good hand!

Sweet Pea and Babydoll picked out matching dresses for Easter.  This is the first time they've been able to both shop in the same section for clothes, Babydoll has always been in the infant/toddler section.  So I was so excited that they wanted matching dresses!

My in-laws took me and the kids out for lunch Sunday (Spencer was gone having a guys weekend in WI at a friend's cabin), and this is what I found when I went in to wake Little Man up so we could go.

Needless to say I couldn't wake him up looking so cute, so we put off lunch for another 15 minutes.

Come back tomorrow for.. well... something hopefully interesting!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bear Snores On

Bear Snores On
 Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

Today's children's book for I Love To Read Month is Bear Snores On.   I really like this book. I like the illustrations, the story, the cadence.  My kids like it too, so I'm sharing most of it with you today!

In a cave in the woods, in his deep dark lair, through the long, cold winter sleeps a great brown bear.  Cuddled in a heap, with his eyes shut tight, he sleeps through the day, he sleeps through the night.  The cold winds howl and the night sounds growl.
But the bear snores on.

An Itty-bitty mouse, pitter-pat, tip-toe, creep-crawls in the cave from the fluff-cold snow.

Mouse squeaks, "Too damp, too dank, too dark." So he lights wee twigs with a small, hot spark.

 But the bear snores on.

Two glowing eyes sneak-peek in the den.  Mouse cries, "Who's there?" and a hare hops in.
"Ho, Mouse!" says Hare.  "Long time, no see!"  So they pop white corn.  And they brew black tea.  Mouse sips wee slurps.  Hare burps big BURPS! But the bear snores on.

At this point several animals continue to file into Bear's cave, all joining in and contributing to the party, all the while Bear snores on.

A badger scuttles by, sniff-snuffs at the air. "I smell yummy-yums! Perhaps we can share?"

A gopher and a mole tunnel up through the floor. Then a wren and a raven flutter in through the door.

In a cave in the woods, a slumbering bear sleeps through the party in his very own lair.

Hare stokes the fire, Mouse seasons stew. Then a small pepper fleck makes the bear.....
He blows and he sneezes and the whole crowd freezes....

And the bear WAKES UP!

You've snuck in my lair and you've all had fun! But me? I was sleeping and... I have had none!"

Bear gulps. Bear gobbles. He sighs with delight. Then he spins tall tales through the blustery night.
When the sun peeks up on a crisp, clear dawn, Bear can't sleep...

But his friends snore on.

Have a great weekend!   See you next week!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Temper Tantrum of Epic Proportions

Note: The following events took place on Tuesday, February 16, names have been changed to protect the innocent, and not-so-innocent.  

Babydoll was not much trouble back then!
 During the day I have 5 little ones napping after lunch... or that's the idea right?  I have never had much trouble timing things so that they all sleep at the same time, so I can have a break in my 10 hour work day.  The nap situation has been unique this past year since Little Man was born and my daycare filled back up.  Babydoll slept in her room, Little Man slept in his room, the daycare baby has been moved to several different places for naps trying to find the right spot for her, the daycare toddler has been sleeping in mine and Spencer's room for quite a while now, and the 3 year old daycare boy sleeps in the dark and cozy hallway leading to the bedrooms. 

   Well, I got tired of moving the daycare baby's portacrib around the house, and needed to find her a perminant room to nap in.  I had tried putting her in a room with Little Man but they thought it was party time in the Baby Room, so I had to scratch that idea right away.  Finally I decided to just put her crib in Babydoll/Sweet Pea's room and Babydoll could sleep in the hallway on a napmat just like her buddy. 
   The baby generally slept fine in Babydoll's room, but Babydoll?... she thought it was party time in the Hallway!  I would block Babydoll's and daycare boy's view of eachother the best I could, but she would still get up and cause her mommy to pull out her hair! (daycare boy, however, did just fine for the most part with having a nap buddy nearby).  Anyway, Babydoll would get up, make faces, goof off, I'd warn her that if she didn't lie down and go to sleep then I'd move her away from the hallway to the kitchen to sleep.  She would misbehave, and I'd move her, and she'd lose her cool and throw a fit promising to be good and listen and go to sleep (mm hmm Sweetie, I've heard that every day and just heard it from you 5 minutes ago!)  Usually she would eventually fall asleep after sometimes 2 hours of constantly getting up and goofing off, but today we didn't get that far!

Don't let the smirk fool ya, she's got spunk in her!

   Today when I moved her to the kitchen she completely and totally lost her mind!  I'm not sure she has ever thrown a tantrum like the one she did today!  Luckily this happened at the begining of naptime, so she wasn't waking anyone up.  She was screaming so loudly that someone walking up to the house would have thought her leg was being sawed off!  Tears were pouring, little fists were banging on the floor, little heels kicking the floor, her face was beet red and she was screaming as loud as she possibly could! Funny thing about me, however, is that when my children have these rediculous temper tamtrums, I react by laughing at them! I don't try to laugh, I try to be serious and ignore it, but it's so stinkin rediculous that I can't help but laugh.  So I tried to conceal my giggles while she went off the deep end.  After about 10 minutes of screaming bloody murder, and having very curious babies crawling over to see what the heck was wrong, I had to make some decisions.  I was sick and tired of her making my break time so stressfull, so I moved some little one's around!

Now there's a face I've seen recently!

   The toddler is a pretty sound sleeper so I moved her to a crib in the kitchen, knowing if I needed to get in there to say, grab lunch, I'd be able to without waking her.  Then I put the baby in my room where the toddler had been, and Babydoll went back to her room.  She didn't want to be in her room any more than she wanted to be in the kitchen and kept crying and asking to sleep in the hallway, but after a few more minutes of tears she went to sleep.  Finally she was asleep, I put the babies to bed, and before long everyone was asleep and I could FINALLY relax and enjoy a couple hours of quiet time... and even eat lunch :o)

Now, if I can just get Caribou to deliver, I'll be set!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why Wednesday 2/17/10

It's Why Wednesday! This helpful (I'm using the term very loosely here) little feature is called "Why Wednesday" and is a place for us to vent/complain about the little things, or big things, that are bugging us this week. I'll post a couple of "Why"s and then let you take it from there in the comment section. Go ahead and spill.

Why is it that some of the most important things can be so difficult?

Why must Babydoll, nearly daily these days, tempt me to break my long-standing and firm decision not to spank?

Why did I polish off almost an entire Chipotle burrito when I was feeling stuffed half-way through it?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Red Rowboat

   In case you missed why there have been so many books posted on my blog, it's because it's I Love to Read month.  I intended on posting a children's book every day in February, but that's a lot of books, and frankly, that began to sound incredibly boring, so I'll just post 2-3 of them per week. 
   Today's book is My Red Rowboat by Dana Meachen Rau.  Babydoll went through a big "My Red Rowboat" phase, we would read it multiple times each day.  This is a cute story with plenty of repetition.  It's about a boy and his dad who take a trip to the market in their red rowboat.  Every page contains the phrase, "in my red rowboat", and repetition helps young children connect with the story better.  The repetition also provides opportunities to participate in the story.  I'll share a few pages of the story with you!

We take a trip in my red rowboat.

There are ducks in the book, Babydoll looked for them on every page.  They aren't on every page, but we looked.

We row with oars in my red rowboat.

We put our food in my red rowboat.

Ooo, more ducks!


We sing some songs in my red rowboat.

I love trips with Dad in my red rowboat.

Have a great day!  Get your latest gripes ready and come back tomorrow for Why Wednesday!! 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tips From Experience

Question:  My 13 month old daughter hits us in the face, all the while smiling away.  What's the best way to handle this?

My Answer:  When your 13 month old hits you (often with a smile on her face ... it's a game to her, she's not trying to hurt you) firmly, without yelling, tell her, "no hitting" wait a few seconds, then take her hand and show her "gentle". Tell her in a softer voice, "show me gentle"... (help her gently touch your hand/face/arm), "gentle".  Do not just take it and keep brushing her hand away, and for pete's sake don't smile at her when she's hitting you, get firm with her so she knows that it does not make you happy when she does it.  If she hits you again after the whole routine above, put her down and ignore her for a minute or so.

Question:  Is my 1.5 year old too young for a time out? 

My Answer:  A 1.5 year old is not too young for a time out. It is important to give a clear warning first though.  For example, Ben is 18 months old and has just randomly hit another child.  Get down to Ben's level, look him in the eye, and using a firm, controlled voice, tell him, "Ben, no hitting.  No hitting.  Be gentle" and then use the "gentle" technique described in the above Q/A.  If, shortly afterward, Ben hits again then get back down to his level and tell him in your firm and controlled voice, "I said no hitting.  You hit Sarah and hurt her. Now you will have a timeout."   Take Ben to your chosen timeout spot and sit him there without any further eye contact or speaking from you, for a minute and a half.  for a toddler as young as this you may need to place him in a safe spot you can strap him in, like a booster chair at the table, but as he get's a little bit older and gets used to the timeout routine just take him to a small chair, rug, step, or spot and make him stay there on his own.    After a minute and a half, come back and give a brief recap of why they are there, ask him to tell the girl he hit, "sorry", tell him, "I forgive you" and then hug it out!  If he is not yet able to say the word sorry, just have him give a hug instead.  Even though they may not truely be sorry, and don't understand the word, for now they need to know that an apology helps make the person they hurt feel better.

Do you have any thoughts on these questions/ answers?  Any experiences of your own?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Candy Hearts Math Games

   Did your kids get those little candy hearts for Valentines Day this year?  Before letting them eat them, consider one of these math games to do with them!
   This is what we did the other day with my toddler and preschoolers.  First I took the little boxes of candy hearts, one for each child, and emptied them into snack-sized ziploc bags so the kids could manage them and see them better.

Next, I cut hearts out of construction paper, one heart of each candy color, per child.

   Now it's time to start.  I didn't get pictures of this because my photography assistant had the day off... something about appendicitis, or the flu, or the plague,... big baby.
   Sit down with the kids, and give them each a set of hearts.  Have them spread their hearts out in front of them.  Then give them each a bag of candies and tell them not to eat them yet, that they can have one when the game is over.  Ask them to sort the candies by putting each candy on the paper heart that is the same color.  After they've done that, help them count the candies in each color group.  After they've counted all the color groups, ask them comparison questions like, "Which color do you have the most of?"  "Which color do you have the least of?"  put emphasis on the early math words "most" and "least". 
   With kids that are a little older, you can use the groups to create simple addition and subtraction problems.  You can give them a group of 7 pink candies, next to a group of 4 yellow candies, and ask them, "How many more pink candies than yellow candies are there?"  or conversely, "How many fewer yellow candies than pink candies are there?" 
   That's all for this week, I hope everyone has a fabulous Valentines Day weekend! 
                                               All my love, 
                                                     Abby :o)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Kissing Hand

by Audrey Penn

This is a sweet story about a little raccoon named Chester.  Chester is about to start his first night of school and is nervous about leaving his mom.  He wants to stay home and play with mom, and his toys, his friends, his swing, and his books.  "Please may I stay home with you?" he asks his mom.
Awww, who could say no to that face!

Chesters mom explains that sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do, and that he will love school once he starts.  She tells him how he'll make new friends, play with new toys, read new books, and swing on new swings.

His mom tells him a secret that she learned from her mother, it's the kissing hand.  "The Kissing Hand?" asked Chester.  "What's that?"

Mrs. Raccoon took Chester's left hand and spread open his tiny fingers into a fan.  Leaning forward, she kissed Chester right in the middle of his palm.  Chester felt his mother's kiss rush from his hand, up his arm, and into this heart.  Even his silky, black mask tingled with a special warmth.

 "Now," she told Chester, "whenever you feel lonely and need a little loving from home, just press your hand to your cheek and think, 'Mommy loves you' And that very kiss will jump to your face and fill you with toasty warm thoughts."

Now Chester knew his mother's love would go with him wherever he went.

That night, Chester stood in front of his school and looked thoughtful.  Suddenly, he turned to his mother and grinned.  "Give me your hand," he told her.

Chester took his mother's hand in his own and unfolded her large, familiar fingers into a fan.  Next, he leaned forward and kissed the center of her hand.

"Now you have a Kissing Hand, too," he told her.  And with a gentle "Good-bye" and "I love you", Chester turned and danced away.

When Mrs. Raccoon pressed her hand to her cheek she felt Chester's kiss fill her heart with special words.
"Chester loves you," it sang.  "Chester loves you."

I love this book for little ones who have a hard time seperating from mom.  We did a little craft to go with the book, or a literacy extention activity.  First they traced their hand on cardstock paper.

And cut them out, Babydoll had a little help with the cutting here as she was concerned about cutting off the fingers.

Next they stuck kiss stickers on the hand.  I thought it would be fun for Babydoll and the 1-year-old to put lipstick kisses on it, but there was no way I was putting lipstick on the boy who was also doing this project!!  So I found some Valentines day stickers.

Here's Babydoll authenticating her kissing hand by planting a wet one on her cut-out :o)

Then if you want, which we did, put more Valentines Day stickers on it.  Finally attach a crafts stick with tape to the back, and you're done!

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