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Saturday, January 2, 2016

New Location! http://www.simplylivingjen.com

In the new year we decided on a new platform with our own domain!  We hope that you will pop over and follow us at our new location:
http://www.simplylivingjen.com
So far we have transferred over our content and are working on moving our photos over as well.  New updates will be at this location from now on.  Come check us out!
Happy New Year!




Saturday, December 19, 2015

Candy Cane Science and Sensory in the Classroom

***Simply Living has moved!  Come check us out at http://www.simplylivingjen.com for new updates ***
During this time of year, as early educators, we struggle with how to incorporate the Holidays that are so important to our students, while still managing to be inclusive, unbiased, and religious free.  Often times we feel as though we cannot "celebrate" anything in the classroom, or we need to touch on every possible holiday to be considered inclusive.  And yet so many of these holidays are religious in nature, but we certainly can't teach that at school.  It can be such a headache!
My advice is always to be inclusive of all family traditions.  Sometimes this might mean polling your families to see what their traditions are at home.  Invite family members in to share  a special story or special activity that is important to their family.  If a child brings a book from home, read it!  Your families will feel included, and your students will feel pride and ownership over their family traditions.  With young children who are just so excited about this time of year, it can almost be more harmful to "ignore" their excitement.  It is perfectly ok to incorporate their excitement into classroom lessons, particularly when they initiate their thoughts.
There are still tons of activities that you can bring into the classroom that don't have any ties to particular holidays.  One of my favorites are candy canes!  The possibilities are literally endless...be sure to stock up on peppermint extract and red food coloring!
Today I am showcasing some of my favorite Science and Sensory activities with a Candy Cane theme.  Enjoy!
1.  Candy Cane Science from A Jeweled Rose:
Growing a Jeweled Rose has this awesome Candy Cane Science Experiment.  All kids love baking soda and vinegar, but she gives it a Candy Cane Twist!  By adding red food coloring and peppermint extract to the vinegar, there is a delicious peppermint smell and a lovely red hue!  The children will be delighted to see the bubbles erupt as they drop vinegar onto the baking soda.
Candy Cane Science from A Jeweled Rose
2.  Candy Cane Sensory Bin from Fun-A-Day
Fun-A-Day created this easy, but totally fun Sensory Bin!  She used red colored corn kernels, white Navy Beans, and peppermint extract.  And then she added extra tools, like cupcake liners, measuring cups and scoops.  Adding the colors and scent bring these fun sensory beans to a whole new level!  I can just imagine the children making their pretend cupcakes, entertainment for hours!
Candy Cane Sensory Bin from Fun-A-Day
3. Candy Cane Science from Teach Preschool
Over at Teach Preschool they presented their preschoolers with the Question "What will happen to the Candy Cane if we let it sit in warm water?"  And then the used the power of observation to see what would happen!  Such a simple idea, but visual learning is the best kind for children at this age!
Candy Cane Science from Teach Preschool
4. Candy Cane Goo (oobleck) from Science Sparks
Every child needs to experiment with Oobleck at least once!  Why not make it a Candy Cane version?  Science Sparks takes the regular oobleck recipe and adds red food coloring and peppermint extract to add extra sensory elements to this already fascinating concoction.  Children will be entertained, amazed, and curious as to why this goo can be a solid one minute and a liquid the next.  And it only takes 2 ingredients (in addition to the red food coloring and peppermint extract).
Candy Cane Goo (oobleck) from Science Sparks
5.  Candy Cane Paint by Bath Activities for Kids
Sensory play doesn't always have to be messy, but it sure is great sometimes!  This "paint" recipes is sure to be a messy and fun time for children of all ages.  Obviously you won't be using the bath at school, but you could still do finger painting, or paint brushing on large paper.  This recipe calls for shaving cream, peppermint extract and red food coloring.  If you decide to paint on paper, if you add a little bit of liquid glue it will dry just like puffy paint.  Kids of all ages would love this, and it will smell great!
Candy Cane Paint by Bath Activities for Kids





Sunday, December 6, 2015

Organizing Clothing Drawers


***Simply Living has moved!  Come check us out at http://www.simplylivingjen.com for new updates ***

Alright, admit it, who has drawers that look like these.....
Messy drawer of shirts...
...and pants.
Well, I definitely do, considering I snapped those photos of my very own drawers!  Most days I'm lucky if the clean clothes make it out of the laundry basket and find their way, folded, into to the drawers.  And when they do, they certainly aren't neatly organized and easy to find.  I recently saw an article all about storing clothes vertically, so that it was easy to see what you had, and much easier to store space wise.  I decided to give it a try.  Stay tuned to see how I wound up with this:
Ahhh, neatly organized and so easy to see what I have to wear!
I did used to work in a clothing store, so folding clothes was a specialty of mine.  I'll show you a neat trick for making them even, but once you get the hang of it, its pretty easy just to eye ball it.
Let's start with a shirt.  I'll apologize in advance that they photos are taken on the sheets of my bed, but somedays thats just how it goes...
Step 1:  Lay the shirt out flat.  Find something that is about the width of what you want your final product to be, I used a pocket folder that we had lying around.  Center it on the back of the shirt.
Step 2:  Fold one side over
Step 3:  Fold the other side over, and slip the folder out.
Step 4: Fold the bottom of the shirt all the way up to the collar.

Step 5:  Take the bottom and fold all the way up to the top again.  Voilá!

Nice and neat, and all the same width.  So easy to see what I have to work with!

Tank tops work a little differently, but with the same real feel.  Generally I just fold down the straps first, and then follow the same basic steps:
Straps down, and then follow the same steps as you would for a Tshirt.
As you get the hang of it you won't need something as a template (how I used the folder), you will be able to just eyeball the right width.
All shirts organized, I love it!
Pants are another story, but don't get discouraged, I promise that they aren't hard!  Step 1: Start by folding your pants in half, and popping the crotch triangle out.
Step 2: Bring the ankles up to the belt line.

Step 3:  Tuck in the crotch triangle, and fold the bottom midway up, this will hold the crotch tucked in, creating an even line.
Step 4: Take the bottom and fold up to the belt line.  Now that everything is tucked in it makes a nice even rectangle without any edges or corners sticking out.
And for the final product:
Tada!  Nicely organized clothing!
I love this.  Clothes take up way less space like this, and it is SO much easier to see what I have.  Oftentimes I have shirts that will get lost at the bottom of a drawer, and I forget I even own them!  This makes it so much easier to see what I have, and its simple to just grab and go in the morning.  Plus I was able to store way more this way, so I cut down on the number of drawers I needed, and the number of piles on the floor.  Now I have no excuse not to put my laundry away!

What tricks do you use for organizing your clothing?



All content, including text and original photos, are copyrighted and property of Jen Caffelle

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