Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hands on Building

 We have been enjoying another week at construction camp.  This week we
visited the Discovery centre and in the classroom we have experimented
building with paper cups and Popsicle sticks.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I am in full swing with work on the classroom for orientation and our fall start.  When I was little I would dream about what my teacher would do to change the classroom for our return to school.  One year, grade four I think, I had a teacher who brought her record player to school and played records while we worked on our Math problems .  It was super cool and it left quite the impression on all of us.

As I plan and figure out what I want to change and where I want things to go I am also on the hunt for items on my ever growing wish list.  More lamps, new to us rugs, cosy chairs and a sofa for the cosy corner.  While I have invested in a few brand new pieces for our classroom I have also been careful to repurpose things also.  Yesterday I found this sweet tiny children's set on Kijiji.  What a find!  I drove all the way to Seabright for it and also got the story on the the furniture.  The man I bought this set from doesn't have children and it has never been used.  He is a painter who was working for an upholster who was going through a divorce and was short on funds to pay for the painting job at the end.  He gave this set in leu of money for payment.  The painter (man I bought it from) always thought he would be able to sell it and recoup his loss.  The chair and sofa are custom made.  Off and on it has been up for sale on Kijiji and as luck would have it I got it for Maple Tree!

I can not even begin to express my joy over this really.  It's just one more thing that makes Maple Tree truly a children's house.  This set will be in our newly revamped cosy corner at our Quinpool Campus.  But do not fret.  The Cork Street Campus has some equally beautiful items and a new sofa for that space as well.  I will be sure to come back to this space and give you a tour with some new photos of the reinvented spaces for the fall!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Week in Review

This week we experimented with building with different materials.  We
also made Paper Bag houses and painted with hammers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Welcome to Construction Camp!

Painting with lego!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Art Show

 Friday was our wrap of our two weeks of Art.  We had an informal Art Show at the school from 3 to 5 for parents.  The children served refreshments to their parents and showed them their art pieces.  We really did some cool stuff with the children and I am in awe of how children create.  For the Matisse project the children traced pre made shapes out onto canvas and then painted.
Water Colours
This Water Colour project was fun.  We used Almond milk and Rice milk for the children with allergies.  We added food colouring to the milk and the children used a tooth pick to mix the colour.  After that was done the child then placed a piece of water colour paper on to the coloured milk and it absorbed the colour and design.  These are super beautiful and were easy.  *note you have to use water colour paper.  also the Almond milk water super meaty and took to food colour really well.
Stain Glass
 For the stained glass project I used photo copied sheets of very simple designs.  We mixed up corn syrup and food colouring and the children applied it on to the paper with fine paint brushes.  After two days of drying these pictures were super sticky.  We had some over head projector transparencies laying around so I used those sheets to cover each painting.  It worked beautifully to project the picture and make them easier to handle.

I love how beautiful and unique each one of these was!  Lastly I mounted them on card stock.  At a conference I was at recently the presenter talk about the importance of framing the artwork and always having simple frames on hand to hang and present the art.

Chalk and Glue

This project was done with black card stock, glue and chalk.  We had the children squeeze out glue in a design on the card stock.  We let it dry for a day and then we used coloured chalk to fill in the lines.  These were super easy and the children really enjoyed the effect of the raised lines and colour.

Sun Prints
I love making Sun Prints.  We only were able to make a few as it rained for the  majority of that last week of our camp.  I will often take these on vacation with me especially if we are doing beach days so my daughter can collect and make things in the moment.   I also always pack water colour paints in my stash for outings.  you never know when a rock or piece of drift wood is calling out for some colour.
Modern Splatter Art

The Modern art piece we did was all done using recycled materials.  We had some large glossy paper and large letter stickers that the children cut up and applied to their paper in any way they wanted.  Lastly, we took it all outside and threw paint on them.  That was probably the best part.  The children really loved this project!

Cezzane Inspired Apples

These tiny water colours were inspired by Cezzane.  I have a beautiful book titled, "Cezanne and the Apple Boy".  For this project I set up a basket with a green silk scarf and arranged apples in it.  The  children drew with pencil and then painted with liquid water colours. 

Maude Lewins Inspired Door
Lastly, we did a group project.  The Maude Door.  I garbage picked this door two weeks ago and brought it into our classroom to be painted.  We used acrylic  paints and I will be sealing the door with varathan and it will a permanent part of our classroom this fall.  It is stunning and I am already thinking and planning to add to this project.  I think windows are in order don't you?
Well, that is a wrap.  We are on to our construction theme now and Melanie is taking over.  I am off now doing office work and planning for the fall.  It's an endless list of things I want to get done and there never seems to be enough time!
Maude Lewis inspired door other side

Thursday, July 17, 2014

This Momemt

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


This was the inspiration for the other side of our door.  One of my bigger girls drew it out this morning when she arrived early.  I love it.  Next we took a Marker and did our best to draw that out on the door.  I did help. Then we got into more paint!
It has been such a great two weeks of art !  I think I'm gonna have to do art again next year !

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Granola Bars

 Happy Wednesday everyone!  I am feeling pretty happy as I tackle another project.  Yes you heard  me, another project.  I am revamping our menu for the coming fall.  I am tired of it and although our recipes are tried and true, I feel like there is room for improvement and well we need a change.

Man, it is super hard to feed everyone a lunch or snack that they like.  I feel satisfied if we get it 95% right.  Meaning only a few children don't like what we are serving.  I have come to the realization after taking hours and I mean HOURS out of my weekend time to make fish sticks from scratch that there are things worth spending the time on and some not so much.  I was telling a parent this morning after watching the majority of the home made fish sticks I made go in the compost I was done spending my Saturdays making those from scratch.  Yes I know about bad oils and trans fats and  fish that isn't sustainably caught.  You have to cut me some slack, because I just reached my limit on that one.  It's painful to watch $80.00 worth of beautiful fish go in the compost.  So we are back to the store bought kind.  My only consolation in all that is that it is served up with home made potato wedges and a healthy side of raw veggies.  At the end of the day, waste is a problem but greater then that are the cranky children with hungry tummies.
 Here is where I think I can redeem myself though.  Home made Granola Bars!!  I have been on a bit of a journey with food since March.  My daughter can not have refined sugar at all.  Actually, do you know how bad that stuff is for you?  Holy cow, I had no idea.  A little bit of knowledge is a powerful thing.  I think because it is made from scratch we are good but I really never stopped to look at the sugar in some of our home made things.  That has changed for me.
 At the end of the school year I end up with many chapters gift cards.  I really love this teacher gift and I never get tired of it.  I go and get all the books on my wish list that I have complied during the year.  One of those books was a cook book titled, The Oh She glows Cookbook.  I can not even begin to explain how life changing this cook book is.  Not only are the recipes really good and tasty but the it makes me feel a million times better knowing I have some great alternatives when it comes to meals and snacks.

Every year we have children that come into the program will allergies.  That is fast becoming a greater challenge.  More and more children are coming to us with significant allergies.  Life or Death allergies.  No gluten, milk, eggs, nuts, legumes and the list goes on.  One year we had eight children each with a different allergy or food sensitivity.  I try so hard to rise to these challenges.  In-fact I love them because I get to come up with something different.  What I don't love is making 4 or 5 different lunches and the stress that comes with making sure they get out to the correct children and we are not making anyone feel different.

So Granola Bars or Glo Bars as Angela calls them.  They are vegan.  They are raw and they are so incredibly tasty.  Who knew?  Lat night I made two batches at home to test run them and today I made a batch at Maple Tree.  They honestly take no time to make and they are super good for your children.  They are made with chia seeds, oats, sunflower seeds, dairy free chocolate chips, sun-butter and brown rice syrup (Brown Rice syrup it amazing and really low on the glycemic index).
 You are buy all these ingredients in the health food section of the grocery store or the Bulk Barn.


  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cup rise crisp cereal
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup sun butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


    Line 9-inch square pan with parchment paper and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together oats, rice cereal, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, sesame seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt.  In small saucepan, stir brown rice syrup and peanut butter together until combined. Cook over medium heat until mixture softens and bubbles slightly around edges, then remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour sun butter mixture over oat mixture, using a spatula to scrape it all out of the pan.    Stir together well with large metal spoon until all of the oat mixture is coated in almond butter mixture.Stir together well with large metal spoon until all of the oat mixture is coated in almond butter mixture.  If you decide to use chocolate chips, let mixture cool a little before folding them in to keep from melting.  Transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Using spatula, press down mixture firmly to compact. The harder you press and more evenly you spread the mixture, the better the bars hold together. You can use your fingers to press down the edges. Place dish in freezer and chill for 10 minutes or so, until firm. {If you have more time, you can just put them in the fridge and cut them when you are ready to eat.}  Using the parchment paper as handles, lift the mixture out of the pan and place on cutting board.  Slice square into 5 or 6 rows using pizza roller {or knife} and then slice them in half to make 10 to 12 bars total.  Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze for up to 1 month.  ~Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Take on Maude Lewis

Today we started painting our door.  I picked this door up from someone's curb side on Saturday on my way home from the farmers market.  What a fantastic find .  We started painting it with acrylics today.  So far, a tree, vine, bird, butterflies and lots of grass.  I am planning to make this a permanent piece in our class room this fall.  The inspiration came from our morning at the Art Gallery  of Nova Scotia.  More specifically the Maude Lewis exhibit.  It is my hope to frame the door in some way and use it as a wall in the cosy corner space of our classroom.  When I have it all done I will be sure to post about it.  As a final touch I will spray the entire door with water based varathan to protect it.  We sill need to do the other side and it is a wet, wet week!  I would have started this project sooner but I didn't know I wanted to do it until I saw the door.  It was one of those aha moments.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Modern Art

 What a day today!  It started with a bang (literally--power lines were pulled down in front of my house today) and ended with a bang today!  We have been picking away at many projects this last week.  We started with large glossy paper in bright pink and robins egg blue.  I had some letter stickers and we cut some up and just started sticking things down.  I said just do what you feel like on the paper to the children.  Today we took the large sheets outside to the side walk and threw paint on them in a very Jackson Pollock way.  That was super fun. Yes it really is ok to throw paint around as long as you are outside.  I simply love how these are turning out!  Again, just an idea about using up materials that were gifted to us this past year.  I am soooo looking forward to our Art Show on Friday!!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Matisse Matters

 We are in our first week of Summer Session 2 "Artful Antics" at Maple Tree.  I swear I decided to do this art camp because I needed for me.  Art is such a necessary part of my being.  I need it like I need bluegrass music and the  lavender that grows in my garden.  For me this is a time I can really bust out and try some new and exciting projects and experiment with new artists with out the constraints of our regular schedule.
 Sometimes, I get a little to crazy and I think the project I want to tackle will be too ambitious for my group of children.  This project made me question that.  But only for about 15 minutes and then I knew it was brilliant.
 When I was watching the children trace these simple shapes with pencil I looked at Ms. Deanna and we both said, "I love Metal Insets"!  Our children have such amazing hand control and the attention to detail on this project was fascinating to me.  To do this project, I used any old card stock I had laying around and some old laminated sheets from the filing cabinet I cleaned out.  I drew simple shapes on the card stock with marker and then we cut them out.  The children used them to trace on the canvas I provided.  I have a client who gifted me with a roll of canvas and I cut it all up for these paintings.  I went big.  Thank you Jake and Allie!  Such a great gift.  I really appreciate it when you do a big purge and clean out the shop.
 After the children were done with the tracing we moved on to the paint.  Bright colours.  Simple white back grounds.  Simply stunning was the final product.  Every single child made one.  Opting out was never an option.  sometimes teachers helped and sometimes we just watched and rinsed out a brush here and there.  The classroom or art studio as I like to think of it right now was blissfully quiet.  So you can scroll through and look at these amazing master pieces.
 As a teacher I see that there are so many connections between shape, colour and space.  Such lovely connections for my Montessori children.  Even with our geometric solids, Pink Tower and Broad Stair and Botany Cabinet away, the brian is still firing and those connections remain strong.  Maybe we are just dancing around it all with lots and lots of colour and a splash of fun.