Tag Archives: home daycare

My space: updated playroom

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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Lunchtime Favorites: Black Bean Quesedillas

Planning meals for the daycare kids is one of the busiest jobs I have.  It’s a challenge to find meal plans that are simple, healthy, and fast.  My goals for the daycare meal scene are that they don’t cost too much, are good for them, and are appealing to them too.

This is not an easy task, but I feel like I have done a pretty good job with juggling the meals for my little crew here over the past three years.  I am going to break down a few of our favorite menus for you here and hope that it can help someone out with the task of planning their meals for any child they might care for.

Black Bean Quesedillas are a HUGE hit here and I love them because they are so easy to prepare and to have ingredients on hand for.

Here’s what you need:

Canned black beans, rinsed and drained

Canned or fresh {if affordable and in-season} tomatoes

A pinch or two of cumin {optional}

shredded cheese-we like colby jack blend from Costco

Tortillas

Now, here is where I like to sometimes do some of the prep ahead of time such as the night before or in the morning if the kids are playing well on their own.  Grab a bowl and just combine the beans and tomatoes together and then at least you will have that part ready to go!

When it’s time for lunch prep, just whip out your handy electric skillet {if you don’t have one…get one!} and add the tortillas, top with the bean mixture and then the shredded cheese.  Top with another tortilla and flip after the bottom is lightly browned and crisp.  I have to take these off to cool for a bit before serving as they do get very hot on the inside!

Another tool I cannot live without are my kitchen shears…I have several pairs!  They are a daycare provider’s FRIEND!  I like to snip the tortillas into triangles or whatever works and add to their plates with a side of sour cream for dipping.

The rest of the meal includes another veggie like corn and some fruit…I like bananas with this meal.

Easy peasy…lemon squeezy.  🙂

Cleaning your home when your home is your workplace.

How do you embark onto “spring cleaning” or any major cleaning for that matter when you run an in-home daycare?

Well, here’s how I do it.

As soon as I think of something that needs to be done and possibly hasn’t been done in ages I write it down {these days I record it on a note in my ipad}.  Sometimes I physically do walk around and see what needs to be done/fixed and then I record those items.

The hard part is finding the time… because who has time for anything really when your hands are full of chasing toddlers around the room, and your brain is full of preschool questions and your soul is weary from all the paperwork and trying to just keep afloat everyday.

I used to think I would just “wait till the weekend”  and it would all somehow miraculously get done.  Unfortunately that almost never works.  Weekends are SO short in my world, really Sunday doesn’t even count so that leaves Saturday.  If you run even one or two errands on a Saturday your day is already half over!  Then there is just your own family’s laundry and so on and so on….

So how do I solve this problem?  I work on things one chunk at a time.  Like today for example:  the playroom needed some major floor cleaning attention and refreshing as someone had an accident on part of the rug.  While the kids were busy with a project in the dining area I quickly vacuumed, swept and mopped.  I cleaned the rug and opened a window to refresh the air.

The key is to work quickly, efficiently and wisely.

I also have learned to just clean as I go, or to gage how our day is going.  Can the kids help with any toy sorting or perhaps sanitizing?  Sure!  It’s good for them and they like to feel big and helpful.

It also really helps to stay on top of your organization.  If you have a home business you KNOW how crucial it is to be organized and every little bit helps!  I will be the first to admit I don’t always stay on top of things like I want to, but I’m only human…not superwoman.  I am fortunate to have pretty much everything I need on my main floor so my cleaning supplies are safe and out of the way in the laundry, but also close for me to grab for that quick bathroom wipe-down.

Then there is always nap-time, but I don’t even do a lot during this time as I need quiet restful moments as much as the kids do!  I will choose maybe one or two tasks that can be accomplished without too much trouble for a short duration of time.  For example I may sort through the pile of papers on the counter and file things that need saving, and throw trash out.  I will tidy up the closets or wipe the couches down.

I remember a woman I once worked with telling me with great shock and horror that her home daycare provider actually ran a load of wash while doing daycare.  Ummm, sorry to burst your bubble- but there is no rule or law that we cannot keep our own home and for that matter, your child’s home away from home….clean!  I guarantee if she worked from home she would also throw in a load or wash once in awhile and maybe run the dishwasher and sweep the floor!

The main thing is to keep working at it, a cleaner home is a less-stressful home.  Especially when you have other people and their precious children entering your space each and every day.  I am SO far from perfect and don’t always feel like it etc, but it’s good to have goals and organization when it comes to getting the space you live in and work in…clean.

Feel free to share any tips or comments you have for keeping things together in your home childcare!

Bad news.

I so rarely turn on the news these days, but happened to catch a snippet while browsing our dvr recently only to hear about a home daycare provider that abused a young child in her care.

Many emotions flooded into my being- anger, sadness, disbelief and frustration.

The media eats these stories up. Almost as if to say that if this woman had been more educated or joined a union, or had more state-mandated rules put in place in her childcare this wouldn’t have happened. Unfortunately, people do bad things and hurt innocent people in this world.

I hate that someone given the {huge} responsibility of caring for young children could do these things, and I also hate that the media highlights THESE stories again and again.

I know for myself personally, and so many of my provider friends out there-we are in this field for a reason. We love what we do. Yes, it is difficult and can be trying, but this is a profession for us and we take it seriously. It would be so awesome if we could see the media do a story on the nightly news that actually shows what those of us working our tails off to love, educate, and care for kids are doing. To hear testimony of the difference we are making every single day.

I am so thankful for the resources I have out there to help me grow and learn more about my field. I have a wonderful network of provider friends who I can call, email or meet with when I need encouragement or have questions. This is such a huge part of what being a home daycare provider is all about. We do not need to feel alone or isolated, and we need to know how to manage our stress. Take a class, workout in the mornings or evenings…get good sleep! If something isn’t working well in our programs, we can change it so it works better.

So the next time you see a news report on an awful home provider….please remember that there are so many wonderful and amazing providers still out there doing their best to give the kids in their care a meaningful and quality experience.