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Winter blues.

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How do you “get through” the winter blues?  Those days which turn into weeks that seems to crawl by in January of bitter cold and short amounts of daylight.  I have managed to find a few simple things to help my mood improve at least a little, and hey, I’ll take whatever can help!  I am including a mix of things that are daycare-related as well, since this is how I spend my days!

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Invitation to play-with fresh homemade playdoh!  I use this recipe and double it for large amounts!  I also use paste food coloring and sometimes essential oils for scent, also you do not have to boil the water first and it will turn out fine.  ;)

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Add a new element to the play space.  We found this great little tent at Ikea {where else?} and the kids have really enjoyed the reading nook a lot more lately.  Children need a space where they can not be seen by adults sometimes.  It’s fun to hear them make-believe while they are in the tent.

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Set out some paints and allow the children to just come and paint as they desire, not specific direction-just because it’s fun!

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I am enjoying this fake orchid in my window that I picked up at Ikea, I am afraid I would kill a real one so this cheers me up just as much, if not more!

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I did buy a real plant too-this little Primrose!  Even if it only blooms for a few weeks it really lifts the mood to see something bright and cheery growing in my kitchen.

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It’s important to remember to keep caring for your skin {and your overall health} even when you feel the winter “blahs.”  I love this thick shea butter based lotion by J.R. Wakins {MN based company, love!}.  It is super nice to rub on after all the hand-washing that goes on around here.

There are many more ways to keep yourself going this winter, don’t give up!  Spring will come again, we need to remember to find the little things to be grateful for in EVERY season.

My space: updated playroom

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Since I lasted posted pictures of my home and daycare space I have made a few changes.  Most of the changes were made in the main playroom area.  I just couldn’t handle the red wall anymore and needed to brighten things up.  We spent labor day painting a nice very light blue/grey shade to two of the main walls.

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I have actually since changed a few things here and there since these pics were taken, I find that I am constantly trying to improve on how I do things!  I really need a few more things for the wall and I would love to set up an area for the light table possibly or an art table.  It gets complicated with my mixed age group {infants}.

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Still loving my ikea expedit shelves, just trying to keep things neat and pleasing to the eye as well since it is a shared space.  I also really struggle with “kid colored” furniture and items.  Some are okay, but just because you have bright colors doesn’t mean the children will be any better off.  Personally it just overstimulates my brain and makes things feel more cluttered.  It may just be personal preference and we have to be true to ourselves and deliberate about our space.

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I am also planning {when I find the time ha!} to makeover the play kitchen a bit as well as find some new curtains.

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Childhood.

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What does a good childhood represent to you?

To me it’s what I experienced.  I had parents that cared about me enough to invest time, teaching, and giving of wisdom.  It wasn’t about perfection, fancy gifts or a huge house.  Life doesn’t always work out that way.  A good childhood to me is one where you are loved-and love can be shown in so many ways.

My mom and dad have never had enough money.  Wealth was not in the plans that God had for them and they knew that and did their best to be wise with what they were given.  I knew that the lack of money could cause a great deal of stress but rarely did my parents complain about it to us kids.  My mom was resourceful and my dad learned that it was okay to receive help {most of the time!}.

Despite times of stress and craziness there were also moments of pure joy.  We didn’t have huge birthday “bashes” full of perfectly matched napkins and party favors {not that there is anything wrong with those} but we did get to decorate our own cakes, and have neighborhood besties over.  We threw water balloons and splashed in kiddie pools.  We laughed and we LIVED.

At Christmas we didn’t get very many gifts, but we looked forward every year to the simple yet meaningful ornaments my mom would make for each one of us.  Decorating a small tree and staring at the fragile nativity scene on the mantle always made for special memories.

My dad used to read to us, and sing to us when I was very young.  When I was older he would let us watch favorite TV shows with him and have all our friends from school hang out nearly every weekend.  He was funny, humble, and caring.  My mom was patient, kind, and always thinking about others.

A good childhood is one where you are loved and respected as a person. It’s where you are given freedom to be yourself within the boundaries that are set there for your own good and safety.

I’m so thankful for the childhood that God gave me, although it wasn’t perfect-it was perfectly in HIS plan for my life and my journey.

Thanks Mom and Dad, for always being there and loving ALL of us kids with your whole heart.  Thanks for knowing what it means to show love even though it isn’t always easy.  Enjoy your “empty-nester” years to the fullest and let God continue to show you His love and blessing!

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Our year.

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We decided not to do the usual Christmas card dealio this year.  Just not feeling like it’s right this year for lots of reasons {nothing too crazy though}.

Instead I thought I could just give you our “year in review” right here on the blog!

Oh wait…now I have to remember stuff!

Winter- I bought my first dutch oven {love kitchen stuff!} and Ryan went on an amazing ski trip.

I blogged about trusting God, even during trials.  We spent a relaxing weekend in Duluth and discovered a passion for snowshoeing!

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Spring- I worked a lot on getting organized around the house and with my daycare space…also wrote about how to be less stressed.

I was able to see both of my best friends and have wonderful and amazing talks and laughs.  So thankful for these girls!  My sisters also came into town later in the spring for a fun girl-time weekend!

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Summer-  We made it to the big TEN year wedding anniversary and couldn’t believe how fast time had gone!  I guess we are getting old!  I struggled to come to terms with my infertility journey and all that has come with it {I had to have a minor surgery}.

We planted our garden and waited for growth.  Ryan played softball with our church team and we took some time off to spend a week at IRBC family camp with the Bjokne/Nystrom side.

My baby sister got married to her sweetheart, Sterling Pfenning in July and I couldn’t believe the day had come {love her!}

I turned 31 and Ryan celebrated 33 years of life in August.

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Fall-  I took some time off from writing and focused on getting healthier.  I received my sleep-study results and started learning how to deal with my new bedtime companion…the cpap!

Ryan and I both attended amazing retreats with the men and women of NWBC and were strengthened and encouraged.  My daycare family grew by one child and life just continued to get busier and busier for us both at work.

Thanksgiving was held at our house for the Hood side and we had a great time with a full house of guests!

Winter this year finds us getting ready for my other sister’s wedding and all the plans that go with it!  We look forward to a new year filled with new adventures and possibilities!  So thankful for God’s hand in our lives and that He chooses to use us to glorify Him!

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Play outside.

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Several “littles” are clamoring to their cubbies to find their snow gear, I am finishing up the last of the dishes from snack as I hear the busy activity and chatter coming from children who are excited for outside time.  Once I get in the mix to help with the zippers, boots on wrong feet and of course those troublesome mittens, the atmosphere gets even more full of energy!  One by one each child is dressed and sitting, waiting to go out as I finish up my own gear and assure the crying infant that “it’s going to be okay!”  Someday you will be able to move {though still not well} in all those snow clothes!

Once outside, the shrieks of joy fill the air, friendships are strengthened by the teamwork it takes to get a little wet sand shoveled around the playset.  Others try as hard as they can to still swing in their puffy pants and I see little lungs breathing in so much WONDERFUL fresh, fresh air.  

Why would you do all this work for such a short time outside?  Some would ask…Indeed, it is a ton of work, and quite exhausting.  As I am out I grimace thinking of all the dry grass, wet sand and muck that will be all over my floor.  It is a pain, but a very good kind of pain because in the end…it’s totally worth it.

I need the fresh air just as badly {maybe more!} than these littles do!  It refreshes the soul, it does wonders for cabin fever and gives us all a chance to reconnect and regroup.

If you are a daycare provider, please consider going through the tough work of “getting outside” this winter.  Don’t let weather be the excuse…make those parents bring in the gear and always have extra stuff on hand for those who need it!  Get in the habit, you won’t regret it and best of all the children will benefit and that is what we are all about…right?

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Here are some tips to help you get outside more often:

-Get organized!  Have drawers, hooks and bins to house winter stuff.  Set up boot trays and designate places to throw or hang wet stuff.  I have a handy hanger clip that really helps with wet mittens and hats.

-Think positively.  If you have a good attitude about being out, even if you have to fake it you will in turn help the little ones to have a better experience.

-Start them young.  I always have taken babies out.  Even if you need to wait for that bottle or that nap, make it happen when you are able to!  They will cry at times, or sometimes the whole time, but stick it out!  They will learn to love it and will still benefit.

-Be organized while outside.  Have a plan before you go out as to what part of the yard you will be playing in and know where your equipment is (sleds, strollers etc).

 

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