Saturday, June 30, 2012

Every Child Has....

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these words were given to me years ago when i worked as a counselor at summer camp.  they speak to my heart every time i read them.  so i decided to make up a printable so i could put it on the wall in our preschool area.  if they have an impact on you like they did me, feel free to save a copy for your own personal use :)

Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Friday, June 29, 2012

picking strawberries: experiencing nature

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we have a berry patch/pumpkin farm in our city. i thought it'd be fun to take Bear there so we could pick our own strawberries. the admission is free, and the berries are $1.25/lb, so it's a fairly in expensive outing. i was a bit surprised at Pip {16} when we were planning on going.  i asked her if she wanted to go, expecting her to decline, instead, she enthusiastically said yes.

there was a tractor pulling a trailer so we could take a hayrack ride out to the strawberry field.  after that, the 3 of us took our strawberry crates and got to picking!

it was a great time.  we spent about 45 minutes out in the field and ended up with 3 lbs of little strawberries that were soooo yummy!  i'm thinking that they might have tasted just a little bit better since we picked them ourselves

the best part was watching the kids... there's something about being outside in a more natural setting. it seems to make things more pure and real.

Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

see these other sites for fun strawberry-related fun:

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Freedom from Comparison thru Art

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today's guest post is from Kim at Tiaras and Bowties.  Kim is one of my besties and we constantly fill each other's inboxes.  her grace with handling life as a special needs mom amazes me.  here's how she tries to stave off the pressure of comparing her kids to others.

When working with {or mothering in my case} a child with cognitive delays it's easy at times to get caught up in what I call 'comparison syndrome'. Comparing your child's abilities to another's in an effort to mark milestones.  I do it, you do it, regardless of our child's age or level of ability.  It's something we all do as humans without much thought or awareness.  So much of our lives are achievement based whether we realize it or not.  It starts early as our children are measured by an apgar score at birth,  we are measured, scored and graded as we enter our academic careers beginning in Kindergarten, our abilities are measured in our adult lives in jobs and in parenting... our work is compared to another's.  Many of these comparisons are important  and necessary measures of our grow and the growth of our children which are not meant to be a negative.  Our children compare themselves to others as well.  Comparison leads to growth and achievement.  As parents we need to be aware that comparison can also lead to negative self thought and self esteem.

We try very hard to not allow comparisons to steal our joy in this household.  Although we are not perfect at it {the Lord knows I am not}, we strive to nip any negative 'self comparisons' in the bud.   


Alexis and I had an opportunity a few weeks back to spend some good quality time together sharing in Mommy's favorite activity... PaiNTing!  Both of my children, but mostly Alexis, are at times hesitant to draw or paint with me.  They look at my art and tend to compare their skills to mine.  It is then my job to instill the confidence and direction they need to accept themselves as the wonderfully made talented gifts they are.


It's important for me to just make the materials available, usually brainstorming with them for an idea of a finished product, but allowing them the freedom to explore their 'own' talent.  Alexis had decided she would like to make her teacher, bus driver, and her 2 aides each a flower pot as a thank you gift for the end of the school year. 

Many children of all ages and abilities love to paint! It's a fantastic way to allow your child to explore their creative side while working on some hand eye coordination at the same time. Gotta love when therapeutic activities are disguised as fun time!  Our paint activity was split between 2 days as attention span is a continued work in progress here.  If you have younger children or kids with short attention spans as Alexis does, do not be afraid to split your activities into different sessions... happy kids make for happy Mommies!

We worked on our organizational skills while gathering the supplies we needed to accomplish our goal.  Alexis carefully chose her paint colors and we set up shop at the kitchen table.  Mommy sat close by chatting and offering tips only when asked!  I wanted her to just have the freedom to do as she pleased... there is no right or wrong answer with art!  She covered her pots with vibrant colors and polka dots making sure to add the 'boop' noise with each press of the sponge to place her dots{oooh that hand eye coordination at work}. We giggled and enjoyed a snack as she allowed them to dry.

We filled each pot with dirt and flowers... such a rewarding experience!  Mommy did help a bit with cutting a few flags and the word 'Thanks" which were carefully threaded onto bamboo skewers and inserted into the pots.  She was filled with pride as she lovingly gave each person on her list a gift from her heart.  I can't help but think she felt such an incredible confidence boost knowing that she did them herself!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

co-sleeping and the family bed

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hi.  my name is andie.  and i'm a co-sleeper.

back when i taught preschool, and people would talk about having their baby/child sleep with them, i used to think "are you stinkin' crazy?"  and then Bear was born....

the first 4-5 months were rough {i'm not sure about the time, it was a sleep-deprived haze}.  i woke about ever 3-4 hours to nurse after falling asleep sitting up in the recliner with him in my arms.  as many of you know, this lack of sleep totally impairs daytime mood and functioning.

once Bear got too heavy for the bassinet in the pack-n-play, we set up the crib.  i left the drop side off and secured the crib to the bed.  we also pinned it between the bed and the call.  i wanted Bear close enough that i could sleep with my hand near Bear as that seemed to help him.  he didn't adjust well to the crib at all.  he'd be sound asleep after nursing and rocking to sleep.  within minutes of putting him down in the crib, he'd wake up crying. 

i'm not sure why i did it, but one night, i laid him on our bed before putting him in the crib.  he slept.  and slept. and slept.  i talked it over with my lactation consultant and she suggested co-sleeping and night-nursing

now, 3 years later, he's still snuggled up with me every night.  sometimes people look at me strange, or shake their head, or offer unsolicited advice that "he's gotta sleep on his own sometime."  i shrug it off. and we press on...

i love this diagram.... and the site it comes from, How to Be a Dad is hilarious!
Baby Sleep Positions from

here are some other mommas' takes on co-sleeping:

We have a family bed because it just feels right.    I'm perfectly fine giving them that security as long as they need it.    
-Erin from Royal Baloo

It comforts me to know that my son is sleeping safely and happily and it gives my son that extra security. I love waking up to my son's smiling face and sweet little voice.
-Amy from Z is for Zel

We don't have a family bed, but we do part time co-sleeping. When she was toddler I was in there full time. Here's her bed.  [My husband] has no problems with it because that's how he grew up.
-Rebekah from The Golden Gleam

I have always co-slept and it has got us through the hardest times. In the early days my boy breastfed through the night and I would sleep with my body cocooned around his. I know that this is where he feels safe and happiest while things are tough for us.  Also I should add, I love it, it's where I feel happiest and safest and I can snuggle up with my boy and feel content.
-Charlotte from Make Do and Friend
We have a family bed.  It just feels right to me as a mother. I just love snuggling up with babies. My daughter started sleeping in her own bed at 4.5 yo so now it is only my son (2.5yo) with us. Here is a post I wrote about cosleeping and transition to own bed.   
-Isil from Smiling Like Sunshine

We co-slept with Jake for 2 years.  It was so comforting feeling his little warm body next to me and so lovely waking up to a happy little boy.  We are now co-sleeping with Jake's little sister (3 mo). She breastfeeds during the night whenever she needs to and wakes up smiling every morning.  I feel its such a natural, comforting and wonderful thing to do and encourages healthy sleep for a lifetime.
-Katherine from
Creative Playhouse

We don't mean to, but it often ends up that way. My husband finds it hard to sleep with feet in his face, but I love it and know it, too, will soon slip away, so I'm cherishing those opportunities to snuggle.
-Jane from
Mama Pea Pod

We have 4 in the bed, it doesn't start out that way, but at some point in the evening they both make their way to our room.  My feelings are that it's our nature to sleep together, I have co-slept with both as babies as it was easier for nursing and as they got older they have the freedom to come and go.
-Cerys from Rainy Day Mum

We had a family bed...until they were ready to sleep in their own room at night (at about 2 years old). They also had a floor bed in their own room, but they really only slept on it for naps during the day when they were infants and toddlers.

We started cosleeping when my son came home from the hospital.  It just felt like the right thing to do. He was a very sickly child and we had many sleepless nights. However, by cosleeping, everyone in the family slept more.  Now he still begins in our bed -- and ends in our bed. We move him to his bed when he gets very sleepy, and then when my husband gets up in the morning, he puts him back in bed with me. I truly believe my son's love language is touch, as he is forever asking to snuggle with me. (He'll be six this weekend.) 
-Leanne from Montessori Tidbits

We have a family bed ~ completely unplanned... There is nothing better then snuggling down together for a good nights sleep... My little one usually has her first sleep of the night in her cot, and then the rest of the night in with us. My son usually comes in early in the morning. I just wish we'd bought a king sized bed!
-Kelly from Happy Whimsical Hearts

I'm in bed with my boys right now. I had a co-sleeper that sat next to our bed when I nursed. My oldest stopped nursing and ended up sleeping in his crib at 14 months. He is just about 6. My youngest, 3, still needs me to lay with him. He nursed until 26 months. He needs and is used to that close contact. I sleep better with my boys.
-Evie from PlayAway Online

My son starts out in his crib, but ends up in bed with me by the morning. He wakes up a LOT and it's just easier for me to sleep with him. We co-slept with my daughter as a baby, but she actually had a really hard time sleeping with us in the room. Once we moved her, she slept through the night and still does. Baby brother...not so much. :) By sleeping with him I get more rest and feel less sleep-deprived than if I always put him back after I nursed him.
-Adrienne from The Iowa Farmer's Wife

We've co-slept since my son was 7 months old. If anyone told me we'd still be (happily) doing it at almost 4 years I would have laughed but honestly, I wouldn't change it for anything. He starts off in his own bed now but by about 11pm he moves into our bed. This won't be forever and if that's what he needs to feel safe and happy then so be it. I love waking up to his smiling face and I'll miss him when he finally moves to his own bed.
-Ness from One Perfect Day

Whenever I do classes and someone asks if it's a problem that their child sleeps in their bed or still breastfeeds or what have you, my first question is, "Is it a problem for YOU or your family?" I think it's one of those things where you weigh out the info, but ultimately there isn't a right or wrong answer to get from an "expert". It something that has to work for your family when you consider personalities, needs, and expectations.
-Amanda from Not Just Cute

Our co-sleeping experience started after my eldest self weaned at 18mths he would start the night in his own bed then come to us when he woke up. My daughter was in with us from day 0 and she moved to her own bed at the start of the night after she self weaned at 23mths. She would come to us for a snuggle in the middle of the night but always ask to go back to her own bed!
-Alison from Heavenly Handmades

i would love to hear from you about your co-sleeping experiences.  share with us in the comments :)

Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.

here are some other great co-sleeping resources {even one for kiddos}

**this post is in no way meant to replace the guidance of a medical professional.  Andie Jaye and can in no way be held responsible for any injuries or death as a result of implementing practices in this post.**

Monday, June 25, 2012

in {her} shoes...laura

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today's guest poster is Laura and i'm so happy to have her here.  aside from being an amazing blogger, she's also a mother and a professional that helps children.  she is an inspiration.  i hope that you enjoy learning more about her.  i encourage you to visit her blog afterwards, she has some amazing posts!


Hi!  I'm Laura Hutchison from PlayDrMom.  I LOVE this series and I'm so excited to be a part of it.

I am a mother of two amazing kids.  Henry is 6 … he's crazy smart, competitive, and quite the negotiator.  Honor is 3 … she's super loving, creative, and can be quite headstrong.  I'm married to amazing hard-working, extremely intelligent, very loving man, who has also become a fantastic father. I'm also super lucky to live close to my parents and only sister.  They are a huge part of our life.  My wonderful parents are my child-care providers … and tremendously good ones at that!

I am also a fully licensed psychologist that specializing in working with children. I have obtained a Doctorate in Psychology (PsyD) and additional training in Play Therapy. I have a small private practice … which is wonderful because I'm my own boss and can set my schedule to work around my full-time job of being a mom.

I'm the type of momthat focuses more on increasing communication and understanding than enforcing rules and discipline. I'm horrible at maintaining a firm schedule … because we're more focused on creating and exploring together. At our house playing together, laughter, tickles, and having fun is more important than cleaning up or finishing up ALL the home improvement projects that need to be completed.

My biggest challenge as a parent is finding balance.  It's my nature to go full throttle in every direction … giving a 110% in everything I do.  After having kids, I've found I needed slow down a bit and pace myself more.  I try to make sure I take better care of myself, so that I CAN give 110%+ to my kids. Finding balance is also important so that I don't wear the kids out too fast as well … tired, cranky kids are no fun at all!

The thing I find most rewarding as a parent is seeing my children's individual preferences and personalities unfold.  I LOVE and value their uniqueness … and find comfort in helping them find their own place in the world.

I think that the most important value I can teach my children is to care for others.  I can't think of anything more important than sharing this simple and HUGE concept.  If a person's heart can open up to another, there's nothing they can't accomplish.

I asked each of my kids to use 3 words to describe me … Henry said, “Loving, fun, perfect” (talk about BIG shoes fill, huh?)  and Honor said, “Plays with bubbles”  (this amazing me that she didn't use 3 adjectives, but made up a sentence with 3 words!  And, yes, I do play quite often with bubbles!)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Flat Me/Flat Stanley Project

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have you ever heard of Flat Stanley?  it's a fun idea that can bring students together from all around the globe.  basically, theydecorate a template and send it to friends, penpals, etc who photograph the Flat Stanley somewhere in their location and then pass him on. 

Flat Stanley started out as a small project, but has grown into a huge online network and has several books based on it.  you can go to to learn more.

the postcard exchange that Bear and i participated in through Teach Preschool ended last month.  so i organized a Flat Me Summer Exchange program between myself and some other great bloggers. 

City Girl Gone Coastal
Living at the Whitehead's Zoo
Kindergarten and Preschool for Teachers and Parents
Glittering Muffins
One Artsy Mama-Flat Me: Some Summer Fun
Tiaras and Bowties- Flat Lolly!
Christy's Cuties
Mama's Little Muse
Iowa Farmer's Wife
my life...His Mission

i created a journal for the participants to track their Flat Me's travels.  the owner got to decorate the front cover.  inside were pages for each "host" to write or draw a picture in.

then, Bear decorated the template that we used {not a typical Flat Stanley} one.  he wanted to use fabric, so we got out our scraps.  i pretty much let him have free reign over it because it's his project.  what's the fun in it if i guide him on how to make it?

 once it was done, i glued it onto a manila file folder and cut it out for added stability.  then we packaged it and the journal together and sent it over the Atlantic to Ethan, one of Amanda from City Girl Gone Coastal's son.

i can't wait to share with you the finished project at the end of the summer!

Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Friday, June 22, 2012

My ABCs at Play Dr. Mom

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Laura from Play Dr. Mom asked me to participate in her ABCs series where bloggers answer questions that each start with a letter of the alphabet.  fun, right?  if you'd like to learn a little more about me, pop over to her site and check it out :)  also, make sure you stop back here on Monday to read her "in {her} shoes" post!
PlayDrMom featured my ABCs
i'll see you over there.... read my ABCs post here!

here's another fun little thing. i heard the phrase preschool brown before, but can't seem to find where... but i made this up just because :)

Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

25 must read chapter books for older children

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it's mid-summer.  it seems that's usually when the slump begins.  there's the heat, the boredom, and the car rides.  here are my suggestions on the 25 best chapter books to keep your older readers hands occupied and imaginations busy.

  1. A Taste of Blackberries by Doris Buchanan Smith
  2. Because of Winn-dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  3. The Boxcar Children Series by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  4. Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
  5. The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
  6. The Complete Adventures of the Borrowers by Mary Norton
  7. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  8. The Fledgling by Jane Langdon
  9. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
  10. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  11. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  12. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
  13. Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson
  14. Jennifer, Hecate, MacBeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth by E.L. Konigsburg
  15. Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie by Julie Sternberg
  16. Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
  17. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
  18. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  19. Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff
  20. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Mildred D. Taylor
  21. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  22. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
  23. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
  24. Follow My Leader by James B. Garfield
  25. What book would you choose for the last spot?

Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.
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