The Ultimate List of Christmas Gifts You Can Make Yourself

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Do you love finding Christmas gifts you can make yourself? I do. I love the idea of giving something that I made with love. It’s a beautiful thing to put time and thought into your gift and your own energy from your own hands.

Here is a great list of things you can make yourself that your friends and family will love. 

Edible Gifts

Homemade Granola (kids can help with this one too!)

Soup Mixes in a Jar 

Monster Cookies

Cafe AuLait Mix

Cowboy Cookies in a Jar

Taco Seasoning Mix

Homemade Seasoning Mixes

Gifts You Can Sew (with free patterns)

Felt Christmas Tree Decorations

Bandana Bib

Poncho Shirt

Handmade gifts you can sew for Christmas

Espadrilles (Shoes!)

T-shirt Scarf

Gift Bag

Gifts for the Home

Repurposed Retro Office Chair

beforeandafter-, handmade Christmas gifts

Peppermint Candles

Birdseed Ornaments

Mason Jar Candles

Grapevine Wreath

Windowsill Herb Garden

homemade Christmas gifts

Cinnamon Scented Ornaments

Texture Painted Magnets (kids can make)

Wrapping Paper

Fabric Mache Bowl

Upcycled Hose Wreath

hose wreath for Gift

Mason Jar Gifts (Spice Jars, Lamps, Soap Pumps, etc)

Almond Extract

Vanilla Extract

Coiled Rope Baskets

Wooden Dominoes

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Beeswax Candles

Christmas Ornaments

wonder woman ornaments

Cookbook

Personal Gifts

Gift vouchers (with free printables)

Peppermint Winter Snow Body Scrub

Lip Balm

Honey and Oat Soap

Clay Essential Oil Diffuser Necklaces

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Soap Pouch

Lemon Lime Bath Salts

Gilded Holiday Mug

Warm Vanilla Sugar Scrub

Personalized Books

Dotty Tote Bag

Infinity Scarf

Healing Salve

For the Kids

Story Blocks

Stilts

All Natural Playdough

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Take Along Finger Puppets with Stage

Velcro Dot Craft Sticks

Quiet Book

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Homemade Coloring Book

There are so many things you can make for others that show you love and care about them. Putting thought into homemade gifts you can make yourself makes the Christmas season or any time of giving a whole lot more personal and fun!

Don’t forget to pin for later.

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8 Rules You Should Have for Your Family Childcare Home

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When you open a new family childcare business in your home, it’s hard to know what will work and what won’t. If you start your business and add rules, it’s much harder than beginning the business with your rules in place. You can have them already in your contract or policies depending on where they belong and you will save yourself a whole lot of headaches.

Contracts have to do with time and money, and policies have to do with everything else. So if it’s about pay or hours, etc., it belongs in your contract.

I have asked some tried and true professionals what they feel the most important rules are, and I am going to share with you what they said. Make sure you take care of yourself when it comes to your business. You will never be able to please everyone or do things everyone’s way because they all have their own opinion. Make sure you set your daycare up for you. You’re the one who has to do it.

Remember to be ready to say no when you have to. Parents are just people and they want things to be as easy as possible for them. Who could blame them? You have to remember they aren’t trying to hurt you or make your life harder, they are only trying to make life easier for themselves. We are all doing our best.

Establishing your rules and talking them over with prospective families BEFORE you enter into a business relationship with them will make your life so much easier. Before you start your business, put some time and thought into how you want to run it.

Tried and true rules from experienced daycare providers:

You make the rules, not the parents, it’s your business. I totally agree with this one. Like I said before, if you let everyone influence what rules you have, you will go crazy because everyone does not want the same things. You’re in charge, make sure your families know that.

  1. No outside food or drinks. This is a great rule. If kids bring stuff in, the other kids want it. It’s not nice to eat donuts in front of the other children when they are having cereal. Who would like that? They may even bring something like a peanut butter cookie when you have a child who is allergic to peanuts. It’s a safety issue. What if they drop a piece of that cookie on the floor and the allergic child eats it? What if they “share” while you are answering the door or changing a diaper. rules-for-your-daycare-no-outside-food-or-drinks
  2. No toys from home. This is a big one I hear people talking about. Personally, I don’t care if they bring outside toys. I let them play and tell them they have to share. If they don’t, I put it up. It’s no problem for me, but I totally get how people wouldn’t want that. It can cause problems. Also, if the child loses the toy or it gets broken that can cause problems. I let my parents know it’s not my responsibility to keep up with the toy. If you bring it, you may not take it back home, the chances are 50/50. I hear most providers saying this is a big rule for them though and it makes a ton of sense. Do what you think will work for you. no-toys-from-outside-of-daycare
  1. No pay, no stay. Obviously you are working for a living. You are not doing this job for your health. You have to protect your paychecks. So make SURE parents pay in advance and make sure you don’t allow children to stay before payment is made. People will give you every sob story in the books, but is their comfort more important than yours? Do you need to pay your bills or are they optional? Do you want to work for free? Make sure you are respected on this. It matters! Don’t let it slide. payment-rules-for-family-childcare
  2. Your hours are your hours. If you are open 7-5 Monday through Friday and someone wants you to add 15 minutes early or late, don’t do it. People will keep on doing this until you are working 24 hours a day if you let them. You have established hours to protect your personal time. If your parents work from 8-5 and their boss wanted to add 15 minutes to the end of the day, they would not want to do that. Set your hours at what works for you and stick to it.
  3. Nap time is not optional. Can you let little Johnny stay awake for nap time so he’ll go to bed earlier? NO. First of all, little Johnny NEEDS a nap. Children require more sleep than adults and it’s important that they rest in the middle of the day. It recharges their batteries, helps them learn more and let’s their bodies grow. Secondly, it’s not fair for a parent to ask you to keep one child awake when the others are all trying to sleep. I can tell you from watching over 80 children, it does not work. The one who is up cannot be quiet. Oh you think they can? I promise, they cannot. Nap time helps you as the provider to recharge your battery too. This is a HARD job with so many demands and you’re doing it for at least 10 hours a day. YOU NEED A BREAK and that two hours helps me keep up with all of my paperwork and chores AND helps me reboot for the second part of the day. NAP is a must. And don’t allow children to pick up during nap either, it’s a huge disruption and usually wakes all of the children up. It’s no Bueno.
  4. Don’t let parents bring sick kids. I know they need to go to work and they will give you every sob story in the book. I know it’s hard on parents when kids are sick, but if they bring them to you sick, then all the other kids get sick and so do you. Then you either have to work sick or close and they miss work anyways. All of your other parents will be mad at you too. Make your sick policy and stick to it. Click here to see more about why you shouldn’t allow parents to bring kids to daycare sick. 
  1. Expect parents to respect your privacy. Your home is your home as well as your business and your personal space should be respected by the families you serve. Tell parents what areas are available to kids and those areas are free reign for parents as well, but also let them know your personal boundaries and ask them to respect them. (Parents should be allowed access to all areas of your home where care is provided)

Establishing your rules before you open helps your business run so much more smoothly. You will be so glad you did once you get your business up and running.

Be sure to pin for later.

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Why Should You Be Prepared for Emergencies?

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There are so many things that could happen in life. It is a great idea to be prepared for emergencies. Have you ever heard the term, luck favors the prepared? Do you know why people say that? It’s because when you have things in order for just in case times, they are easier for you.

When I think of prepping, I see images in my head of all kinds of zombie apocalypse preppers. I am not that hard core, but it definitely does not hurt to be prepared for emergencies. Think of all the things that can happen. If you are responsible for a group of kids like I am, it’s even more important to be prepared. 

Water failure

Your water can go off because the electricity goes out. It can go off because your well runs dry or gets contaminated. Your pump can go out. We are on city water here and we have water outages on occasion. The water quality can become undrinkable. There are any number of things that can go wrong with the system you have to get water.

Do you have a way to purify water for drinking should your house water be unusable? Do you have any water stored to flush the toilet with or drink if your water were to be out all day or even longer? Be sure to use food grade containers. Don’t use milk jugs because they degrade over time and cannot be sterilized completely. 

 

I have always had stored water on hand for emergencies and I have been able to use it when my water hose was broken to water my plants. I have also used it to help my mail carrier when her truck was overheating and she needed to fill it with water. It has come in handy multiple times, and if I ever had to evacuate for any reason, I could just grab it and go. Storing water is super important in being prepared for emergencies. Click here to learn more about how to store water for emergencies. 

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Loss of electricity

Studies have shown the electric grid to be very vulnerable. I’m not a doom gloomer or naysayer, but I’d say having a total electric home like I do is cause for being prepared for power outages. We have them all the time here in Oklahoma because of our storms.

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If your power goes out in the heat of summer, how will you keep yourself cool with no fans or air conditioning? What about heat in the winter? Do you have candles you can light for lighting? Are your flashlights stocked with fresh batteries? Do you have a lantern? How can you cook or keep yourself warm?

Do you have a generator to keep your refrigerator and freezer from being off too long and losing all your food? Do you have a way to charge your phone? What about a weather radio to check on storms? Those are all good things to have. 


 

Evacuation Plan

If there was a flood in your area, do you know what to do? Do you have an evacuation plan for floods, fires, or other threats? You need to have a plan made with your family. I have a home daycare, so I have plans mapped out for my daycare kids as well. Recently, we had a flood here. During the flood, the levy at the end of my street that controls flood waters was breeched. The emergency preparedness workers for the city came to the door and said, the levy is breached, if it continues to fail any further, your house will be under water in a matter of minutes, you should have a plan. So I texted my kid’s parents and grabbed a bag and some supplies. I had bottles of water and granola bars at the ready, so I threw some of those in the bag. I added the kid’s information cards, all the cash I had in the house and my purse that has tons of important stuff.

The kids were evacuated by their parents, and family friends. We just had to walk along the yards up next to the houses down the street to the corner and they were picked up by various parties. One mom had her car flooded out and damaged on the way in when the waters rushed super high all at once, but other than that, no one was harmed. It was scary, but the levy held up. They filled the breech with sand bags and the water went down.

These are the times when I’m glad I have everything organized and at hand. I could have evacuated with the kids with what I had in my bag and been fine for the rest of the day. I could have thrown some clothes in a bag and relocated somewhere in no time.

Having a plan for emergencies

We have a plan for fires and the kids and I practice what to do. They know to get out, stay out, and don’t go back in. We know how to call 911. There is a place to meet and a plan to get there. They even know where to go if something happens to me during the fire. I prepare them for as much as I can. I hope they don’t ever need to know it, but if they do, it’s there.

We practice their phone numbers and parents’ names. I have had two children become lost with a parent or other family member and they were able to be reunited with their parents because they knew their names and phone numbers. You can never be too prepared for emergencies. One child that was three years old was separated from her parents at the zoo and the zoo security were able to find them because she knew their names. Another child who was 2 went to another town on a field trip with an uncle and was forgotten there. He found a mom with small children, just like I had taught him and told her he was lost. She got the police and they were able to call his mom because he knew her phone number. It’s never too early to teach your children. Never.

Plans for storms

Where we live in Oklahoma, we have tornados and thunderstorms. We practice our tornado drills monthly. Recently we had a tornado enter our town and it got real in here. I had to throw all the kids in the bathtub in the middle of nap. During my 21 years of childcare, we have only had to take cover 3 times, and this was the closest it ever was. Usually I am not scared, I’m used to tornado warnings, but this time was a little unnerving.

Right now is a good time to think about storms in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. I know it’s on all of our minds because of what’s happening there.

childcare-paperwork

Even though earthquakes are not storms, we need a plan for being prepared for those as well, don’t forget about that. Click on the link below to view our disaster plans for Little Sprouts. business-policies-other

Accidents

What would you do if you broke your arm and couldn’t do your job? Do you have sick leave from work? Do you have back up help if you have a home daycare that can help you if you break your foot or something and can no longer care for the kids for a short amount of time? What do you do to prepare for emergencies?

Loss of employment

If you suddenly lost your job, do you have savings to cover your expenses when you don’t have income coming in? You should have 3-6 months’ worth of income saved for an interruption in paychecks. Do you have that? How could you start working toward that? Do you have supplies stored for times when income is lean? I always have food stored. I have a phobia about not being able to feed my kids, so I always buy food in bulk and have things on hand just in case.

Illness

What if you were to become super sick, do you have soup and crackers on hand to help nurse yourself back to health? I think it’s a good idea to store supplies for sicknesses, such as those things as well as diarrhea medicine, fever reducer, etc. I had a friend one time who was super sick and had to go to the store and get her own supplies. She threw up right in the grocery line while she was buying it. Thank goodness for a fast handed checker with a quick plastic bag for her.

What if you had a more serious, long lasting illness? Do you and your family have plans in place to handle that? I hope so. It’s hard enough to worry about your loved one without having to worry about insurance or finances too.

Not being able to get food

What if the stores were suddenly unable to provide you with food? Do you know how to grow or find your own food? Do you have things stored for emergencies when you can’t get to the store? I think you should have at least two weeks’ worth of food and water available at all times. Everyone should have seeds and know how to grow their own food. Everyone should have some old fashioned skills to help themselves if the need ever arises.

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There are so many things that could happen in our world today that we would need to help ourselves from. Do you know how to hunt for food or trap animals? What about growing your own food? Do you know how to butcher and prepare animals for eating? What about making bread or other types of cooking that would save you and your family from starving? It’s a good idea to at least have a book handy with all of that information in case the internet should become disabled.

There are a number of scenarios that are very possible that would require you to have some skills and knowledge. You should know how to start a fire, build a shelter, and get food for yourself and your kids should you ever need to. Being prepared for emergencies is not as crazy as you might think it sounds. I want to be able to help my family, my neighbors, my daycare families, and my friends should the need arise.

I don’t have a ton of skills, but I know some things and we could band together and all share the skills we have if that ever becomes a need. It’s a good idea to prepare for any emergency and help your friends and family prepare too. You never know when you might just need it! I want you to be safe too.

Any post on this blog may contain affiliate links which pay me a very small commission for items you purchase using the links but costs you nothing extra. I can help defray a small percentage of the cost of producing the blog to share information with you.

Be sure to pin for later!

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Over 50 Christmas Gifts Kids Can Make

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Finding gifts kids can make can be a challenge sometimes. Gift kids can make instead of the provider can sometimes be hard to find. Making gifts for parents is a fun way for parents to interact with the daycare program and it’s a fun way to teach kids to be givers. Kids LOVE making something special for mom and dad. It’s tough for providers sometimes to find gifts kids can make on their own that look like something cool that mom or dad would enjoy. 

Receiving a gift from your child that is 100% made by the provider is less memorable than getting something your child really worked hard on. I like to help my kids make their creations into something parents would think is cool, but I also like for them to be involved in it. I have compiled a great list of things that kids can make with minimal help from you that will still turn out great and parents will love. Each one is linked to a how to with all the instructions.

If you don’t have a daycare, your own kids would love to make gifts for grandparents, teachers, or other special people in their lives. Give them some supplies and let them go at it. Just click on the title to see a how to for each activity. 

Hand foot or foot print Christmas gifts

There are tons of things kids can make with their hand print or foot print. Using their hands or feet makes the gift very personal just from that child. I love keeping things like that because you can compare later and see how much that hand or foot has grown. I love to watch kids be so excited to present their parents with what they made.

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Ornaments

Ornaments are a wonderful gift for parents because they can be cherished and re visited every year. I LOVE getting out ornaments my 24-year-old daughter made throughout her life. They also don’t take a whole lot of room to store, so you can easily keep them forever.

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Gifts with photos

Kids can make some really cool gifts out of photo of themselves. I also LOVE getting photo gifts. They are treasured memories


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Other Christmas Gift Ideas

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Gather up your kids and put out some things to help them make a great gift for their parents. If you don’t have a daycare, your kids will love to make things for loved ones, this is a great idea for you as well. 

Be sure to pin for later:

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Making an Interview Packet for Family Childcare

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There is so much paperwork required for childcare. Making an interview packet helps you have everything at the ready for when your family comes to check out your program. There are many things that need to be in that packet to keep your paperwork on track. In Oklahoma there are several required items that should be included. Click here to see how to nail a childcare interview.

The first thing you need is your CONTRACT!

If you don’t use a childcare contract, you should. Childcare is your livelihood and your paycheck. This is a business and a serious one. Get a contract made and make sure each family signs one when you agree to provide care for them.

 
The DHS Child Information Form.

This is helpful anyway because it provides you with all the useful information you need to provide good care. Emergency contact numbers, food allergies, and all the other pertinent information on the child.

Food program paperwork.

You need to have them fill out a form for that as well as give them the building for the future sheet. You should have their copy ready to go in their packet. Make sure to include a copy of your cycle menu in your packet for parents as well.

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Care goals and policies.

The contract covers time and money but if you don’t allow kids to bring toys or food from home, that needs to be covered in your policies and printed up for parents to keep. Goals should be set for each year and a copy given to each family. Oklahoma just added a bunch of required items for your policy booklet, click here to see how I worded mine. 

Medication permission.

If you want to administer bug spray or Neosporin to a child, the parents must sign a form allowing you permission to use that on their child. I have a form that covers peroxide, band aids, Neosporin, bug spray, Tylenol, or anything else parents may want me to use for their child. Of course if you give them medication, it must be brought from home by them and be labeled with the child’s name.

Business cards.

I attach 4 of my personal cards to the front of the packet so mom, dad and grandma can all have my contact info in the wallet. Another great tip to use business cards for is if you take the kids on field trips, you can slip one in each child’s pocket. If you should ever become separated, your contact information is on their person. Another great safety tip is to make a notebook for the car. Each child should have a sheet with their picture and contact information for their parents. If you were to get in an accident and something should happen to you, the authorities would know who all of the children belong to. Safety first!

Required forms for childcare.

In Oklahoma, we are required to have parents sign annually a notice to parents and an insurance declaration. Click here to see a direct link to Oklahoma DHS required yearly forms, they are at the bottom of the post. 

Media permission.

If you wish to use the children’s pictures on social media or text them to parents, you need to include permission to use their pictures in that way. My form just says, Christina has my permission to use my child…..’s picture on social media, in print, magazines, books, etc. This gives me permission to put the children’s picture on my blog, but if you don’t blog, you still need permission to use them electronically.

Having your interview packet prepared ahead of time saves you a ton of time running around getting one prepared for an interview. If you have openings coming up, you should always have twice the number of spots you have. You never know how many you’ll need to give out before you fill a spot. You should always have a handful of packets ready at any time. I have a notebook full of interview packets ready and waiting should I need one.

The saying luck favors the prepared is so true. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Get your interview packet ready ahead of time and cut a lot of chaos and stress from your life.

Have the parents fill out the forms and return them to you. Don’t forget to get a copy of their child’s shot records. When you sign an agreement with a family to provide care, make sure to put the parent’s number in your cell phone preceded by the number 1 so all of your parents will be at the beginning of your contacts in case of emergency. It makes it easier to send out announcements in bulk too.

Be sure to pin this for later so you can refer back to it!

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What do I get my Daycare Kids for Christmas?

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Every year we face the age old question in childcare, what do I get my daycare kids for Christmas? Some providers give their families gifts, some just the kids, and some don’t choose to do that. It’s all relative to your budget, beliefs, and feelings about what is best for the kids. In today’s society, kids are very overindulged in most cases. Most kids don’t NEED anything else. Hopefully this post can help you solve the dilemma and you can refer back to it year after year.

I love to give my kids something unique that won’t get lost or broken along with all the other toys they get. I usually never give them any kind of toys. I also love for my gifts to be educational. That’s another way to make gifts more valuable for your children.

Do you have to give gifts to your daycare kids for Christmas? No, you absolutely don’t. It’s okay if you don’t think that’s the right thing to do. When polling other providers, many of them don’t. It’s a personal decision based on what you believe.

Set Your Budget.

First, you need to decide how much you want to spend on each child. I usually set my budget at about $20 per person. If you have 7 or 12 daycare kids, when you multiply that by 20, that’s quite a bit of money. Daycare is not a lucrative career, so we need to be careful with our spending. Twenty dollars is not a lot of money, and it can be tough to find really special gifts for that price.

Make it Personal.

I like for my gifts to be personalized. When I do that, I feel like it makes it that much more special. I love things that are monogrammed or personalized in some way. Check out Etsy for some great personalized gifts. I also love that Etsy products are homemade by someone and my purchase is helping them do life for their family.

Make it Unique.

Don’t just get the latest toy. Their parents, friends, grandparents and so many other people are buying them fun toys to play with. Most kids have so many toys, they can’t even play with all of them. Try to think of something out of the box. Click on the pictures to go to the products. 

Any post on this blog may contain affiliate links which pay me a very small commission for items you purchase using the links but costs you nothing extra. I can help defray a small percentage of the cost of producing the blog to share information with you.

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Some of the things I’ve bought for my daycare kids over the years include:

  • Children’s Bible-This is a great one if you run a faith based program.
  • Monogrammed blankets
  • Monogrammed pillows
  • Monogrammed duffel bags
  • Monogrammed back packs
  • Piggy banks and rolls of pennies to feed in them

  • Monogrammed aprons
  • Personalized puzzles (Melissa and Doug will add names on puzzles)
  • Garden tools and seeds (we garden at daycare, so it’s cool to think they could take that home with them too) Click on the picture to view a set. 

 

    • Board Games (education and encourages screen free family time)

  • Books

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I asked a bunch of my friends what they give their daycare kids and I got a lot of really cool and unique ideas. I love polling providers; they are a great group of folks. Here is a list of what they said:

  • Books was the most popular answer and I absolutely LOVE that. It makes me happy to think of all those kids getting books! Click here to see why reading to kids is one of the most important things you can do. 
  • Homemade PJ Pants (I wish I could sew)
  • Homemade Hats and Gloves (I wish I could knit)
  • Knitted Dolls (so cool)
  • Stockings Full of Toys
  • Mugs with Hot Chocolate
  • Christmas Outfit
  • Homemade Ornaments
  • Homemade Aprons
  • Monogrammed Stuffed Animals
  • PJ’s
  • Homemade Cookies
  • Fischer Price Toys
  • Coloring Book with Crayons, you can even make your own personalized coloring books. Click here to see how. 
  • Gift Cards
  • Hair Barrettes and Keychains
  • Match Box Cars
  • Personalized Books
  • Hats, Scarves and Gloves
  • Homemade Playdough
  • PJ’s and a book
  • Pencils

christmas-gifts-for-your-daycare-kidsSeems like there is something to fit pretty much any budget, and so many of these are super ideas.

I like to give to my families as well and usually do some sort of homemade cookies, pies, or breads. I always make the families a personalized cookbook of the children cooking as gifts to go with whatever food I make. Click here to see how we make our cookbooks.

What great ideas do you have for great gifts for your daycare kids or families?

For more great Christmas ideas, click on the links to check out my friend’s posts below. 

Stress Free Holidays 

DIY Decorations, Picture Perfect Wreath

Good Deeds Your Kids Will Cherish During the Holidays

 
 
 
 
Don’t forget to pin for later.

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Give FABULOUS Handmade Gifts and Support Small Businesses

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I think it’s so awesome to give or receive personally handmade gifts. Anyone can get mass produced junk from wally world but it’s so thoughtful to get a gift that someone actually spent time designing and creating for your loved one. There are many great gifts that come from the store, for sure. I appreciate any gift someone gives me. I just appreciate people loving me and don’t really need gifts anyway. But there is something super special about receiving something that is one a kind and unique.

Many handmade things can make great gifts. A book from a small author just getting started, and hand painted piece of art, some fun children’s products that would make any little girl sing, or some yummy smelling soaps made from pure, natural ingredients are fun ideas for super personal and thoughtful gifts.

Have a handmade Christmas!

When I purchase something handmade from someone, I like to think about all the time and effort that went into making that item. I love making things for people, but my skill set is limited. I can forge something like a blacksmith or crochet someone a hat. I love being able to find something unique that is from another skill set I don’t have such as sewing or woodworking.

I know when I make something unique as a gift for someone, I really think about that person as I’m spending time creating their gift. I know people who sell on etsy, or Facebook or other online sites or even people who bring their wares to craft shows and venues make a special effort to make each of their handmade items top quality and unique.

I love trying to find gifts on etsy first. There is so much beauty and talent represented there. I asked in a few Facebook groups and found out there is SO much more out there than just etsy though. You won’t believe some of the awesome products I found. Click on the red links to go straight to the products.

Quality Handmade Gifts

Check out these gorgeous hand forged items I found from a blacksmith online!

Hand forged metal and wood products

handmade-christmas-hand-forged-wrought-iron-hook

Do you have any animals in your life? I found pet supplies and even goat supplies online. Amazing!

Goat supplies and products

Quality pet supplies and products

Goat treats

Is there anything more amazing than high quality body products? I have made some homemade salves that totally blow store bought products away! You can get some great quality body products online as well. I can’t wait to order some of these things for the people on my shopping list!

Natural bath and beauty products

handmade-christmas-quality-body-and-beauty-products

Salves, teas, and other wonderful products  

Wonderful, homemade, one of a kind soaps 

Botanically inspired products and 100% organic apparel (site goes live 11/15!)

There are great products for your home and personal life available on the internet as well. I love looking through all of these amazing home, essential oil, books, baby products, and other supplies that I’m not sure I can live without. Check them out, you’ll love what you get from these artisan makers.

An online gardening course would make an AWESOME Christmas gift or for any other time of the year! Check out these classes you can get at a discount right now by using my affiliate links here.

Growing Tomato Heaven

Vegetable Gardening Basics

PVC Drip Irrigation 

Seed Starting Simplified

Year Round Gardening

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Home Goods, Essential Oil Supplies

Book: “Colors of Joy”: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss

Books, Products and Tote Bags

Baby Bling, Tutus and Bows

Handmade Hairbows and Accessories

Wildcrafted Products from Farm and Forest

Handmade Jewelry and Crocheted Items

Handmade Candles

Handmade Crocheted Products and Soap

handmade-with-love-3dog-creations

Soaps and Herbal Products

Love goes into each and every product that is made for sale online. I hope you will consider buying local, buying homemade, and buying direct from the creators of as many things as you can this year! Even if you decide to purchase a product that’s not handmade, please consider buying local and buying from small business owners.

Small business owners of every kind are paying for dance lessons, their child’s school lunches, food for family and those types of things rather than vacation homes and fancy cars. It makes a big difference to the person you chose to shop from when they are the little guy. Please consider shopping from some of these websites.

Support Small Businesses

Curbside Overhaul-Amy Howard paint products for all of your paint and brush needs

amy-howard-paint-curbside-overhaul

Pantry Paratus-Equipping and teaching pantry preparedness

sauerkraut-kit-product-picture-pantry-paratus

DoTerra Essential Oils

Gorgeous Hair Accessories

Books

More DoTerra Oils

Garden/Farm/Wildlife Apparel and Merchandise

Young Living Essential Oils

Any post on this blog may contain affiliate links which pay me a very small commission for items you purchase using the links but costs you nothing extra. I can help defray a small percentage of the cost of producing the blog to share information with you.

Be sure to pin for later:

give-fabulous-handmade-gifts-and-support-small-businesses

 

Simply Natural Saturday

Need Help with the New Oklahoma Childcare Regulations?

need-help-with-the-new-oklahoma-childcare-regulations

It’s a bit overwhelming to receive this letter about a ton of new requirements for childcare licensing in Oklahoma. and not know what a lot of these things mean. Oklahoma childcare has been changing for a while and will continue to do so in the future. First, take a step back and realize you have a free visit to learn about them. Second, we can break it down in small bites and it will be just fine.

oklahoma-childcare-licensing-changes-2016

Policies

There are a ton of new policies that you’ll have to write for Oklahoma childcare providers. That’s the biggest, most time-consuming part. If you would like to use my handy template, you’re welcome to click on the link below to download it and then make changes as you see fit for your own use. You may have to click enable editing to edit. That will take a lot of the guess work out of making sure you have everything included.

business-policies-other

I already had policies in place, so I added mine to these so I’d only have one booklet. This document will be your own to use however you see fit, so change and tweak away. I hope it saves you a ton of time. You’ll need to print out a copy to keep on site, one for your go bag, and one for each daycare family. It’s not required to have them sign it but it is required to make sure they read and understand it so they will be aware of your plans.

You will need to review these policies yearly AND after drills and after an event occurs to see what you could do better next time. 

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Contract Update

You will also need to add a place in your contract that tells parents you are a reporter of sex trafficking behaviors. How a parent would not already know you would turn them in for human trafficking is beyond me. You can bet your butt I would turn someone in long before my policy was in place. My contract states I am a mandated reporter of suspected child abuse, so I just added and sex trafficking behaviors. You don’t have to add this here, but since you have to report, I would recommend it. 

Two things already handled. You got this!

oklahoma childcare licensing regulation updates

Training

Let’s talk about the trainings that are required:

Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases

Use of a Fire Extinguisher

Prevention of Shaken Baby

Prevention of SIDS

Safe Sleep

Car Seat Safety

Physical Premise Safety

Handling/Storing Hazardous Materials

Emergency Preparedness

Immunizations

Medication Administration

Prevention and Response to Emergencies/Food Allergy Situations

Behavior and Guidance

These are the trainings required. Talk to your worker to see what trainings you already have. You may only need to add Safe Sleep if you have been in business. You can give them a call and see what you still need to get or wait until your visit and ask. Also, DHS will be providing an updated healthy and safety DVD that we will be required to view within 90 days of receipt.

Go bag


You don’t have to have your supplies in a bag, but i would totally recommend it so it would be ready in your emergency.

Your go bag should include:

First and last names of all your kids and yourself

Emergency contact numbers for emergency personnel

Emergency contact numbers for your kid’s families

I included a copy of my child information forms in my bag so their first and last names, emergency contact numbers and medical/allergy/medication needs would all be right there. That was an easy way to do it. I’m going to attach a photo of each child as well in case I need information for a missing child situation. I will already have a photo and info ready to go in the bag. I can grab it for law enforcement in no time.

A copy of your emergency policies

Lifesaving medications for any children in care

The other required item for your bag is a first aid kit.

This kit has to include:

Thermometer, disposable gloves, blunt tipped scissors, tweezers, bandage tape, gauze, adhesive strips and a first aid guide. Click the picture below for a great kit that has everything needed but a thermometer. Click the picture of the thermometer if you want to go straight to one that would work but is not too expensive.

Other things I put in my go bag are:

Diapers for each child

Wipes

Water

Snacks

Flashlight

Hand Sanitizer

Ponchos

Blankets

Click on the pictures to purchase. Easy peasy

Any post on this blog may contain affiliate links which pay me a very small commission for items you purchase using the links but costs you nothing extra. I can help defray a small percentage of the cost of producing the blog to share information with you.

You can print out the emergency personnel numbers from the policy link above and add your first and last name and any emergency info to the bottom or back of this sheet to meet all the requirements.

licensing-changes-oklahoma-policies

Forms to post

You’ll need to take down your old Notice to Parents and Insurance Forms and print out the new ones. You’ll also need to print a copy of each one that parents fill out. You’ll need one of each for each family and they must be resigned every year.

Click here for the Notice to Parents to post

word document

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pdf
need-help-compliance-notification-posting

Click here for Insurance Form to post

word document

insurance-notification-posting-word

pdf

insurance-notification-posting

Click here for Notice to Parents for each family (they’ll have to sign yearly)

word document

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pdf

need-help-compliance-notification-parents

Click here for Insurance Form for each family (they’ll have to sign yearly)

word document

insurance-notifcation-parents-word

pdf

insurance-notifcation-parents

You’ll also need a new drill form that includes the new drills you’ll have to perform yearly. Those include:

Monthly Fire Drills

Monthly Tornado Drills

Monthly Smoke Detector Test

Monthly Carbon Monoxide Detector Test

Expiration of Fire Extinguisher

Yearly Lock Down Drill

Yearly Shelter in Place Drill

Yearly Evacuation Drill

Yearly Relocation Drill

Click here to print out a copy of mine

little-sprouts-drill-record

The last thing you’ll need to post is emergency numbers. I used the same sheet at the beginning of the policies and added all my parents numbers at the bottom. Make sure it has your address on it. I guess that’s for when you call 911 and forget where you are. 😉 I printed that out and laminated it and posted it by the phone as required. Once you do that, you’re good to go!

These Oklahoma childcare regulations include a ton of busy work and a little nonsense, but it’s good to be thinking about these things. We need to be prepared for emergencies. I like the idea of parents knowing how I plan to react. Let me know if you have any questions about any of the things listed. I hope this has made the process a little less painful for you!

Stay tuned for a contracts and policies post coming soon!

Don’t forget to pin for later!

need-help-with-the-new-oklahoma-childcare-regulations

How to Grow Jerusalem Artichokes

how-to-grow-jerusalem-artichokes

Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes are a tasty, starchy tuber similar in flavor and texture to potatoes. They taste sweeter than potatoes though. The great thing about them is you can harvest them in winter when there is not much else to harvest. The plants are pretty, the smell nice, and they produce like no one’s business. In fact, they can be very invasive. Have you ever heard of them? I hadn’t until I was researching what kind of perennial plants we could plant in our preschool garden.

Posts may contain affiliate links, which allow us to earn a commission at no extra cost to you. This helps keep costs down so that we can continue providing high quality content to you for free. We appreciate your purchase through the links!

sunchokes-jerusalem-artichokes-straight-from-the-ground

jerusalem-artichokes

Plant Jerusalem Artichokes in spring. 


Order some tubers and get a large container filled with soil. You don’t want to plant these babies in the ground or they will take over the whole area you plant them in. They are planted in spring. Plant them like you would plant potatoes, about 5 inches deep and about 12-18 inches apart. Click the small image above for buying choices if you want to get some tubers to start your own plants.

sunchokes-growing-in-a-bucket

The tubers will grow all summer. They grow a tall flower similar to a cluster of small sunflowers. They smell nice and fragrant and look lovely in the garden. Harvest them after the first frost. A friend tells me if you harvest before a frost, the sunchokes will make you gassy. Nobody wants Jerusalem artichoke gas!

jerusalem-artichoke-plant

Another fun fact about Jerusalem artichokes is the flowers smell slightly like chocolate. Who doesn’t love a sunflower that smells like chocolate? You can take a few petals from the flower and rub it in your hands and smell a chocolatey smell. Sensory experiences are so important for kids, especially under age three. This is a wonderful sensory stimulus.

Sunchokes grow back.

Your Jerusalem artichokes will grow back year after year. Once you do the initial planting, you will have food for years to come. We have tried them raw. We are going to harvest most of ours after we get a frost and try them cooked. You are supposed to prepare them like you would potatoes. You can bake them, mash them, or however you enjoy your potatoes. 

freshly-harvested-jerusalem-artichokeskids-harvesting-jerusalem-artichokes

The kids really love the treasure hunt of digging for food under the ground. Carrots, radishes, potatoes, and Jerusalem Artichokes are super fun for kids. What kid doesn’t love digging in the dirt? I know I still do. The tubers are small and clustered together. They are easy to dig up all at once.

One tip i have learned is to wait until after a freeze to dig them. They taste sweeter and more flavorful and some gardeners have said if you dig them before the frost, they cause lots of gas when you eat them. So….  

Don’t forget to pin for later.

how-to-grow-jerusalem-artichokes

Edible Gifts for Christmas-Sustainable Giving

edible-gifts-for-christmas-sustainable-giving

Christmas time can come at a great price to the environment. There is little that is sustainable about tons of cards, wrappings, packaging, and shipping. I love giving homemade food as edible gifts at Christmas time because I can control the amount of packaging I use, I can use packaging that is recyclable, and I know the gift itself can be consumed rather than end up in a landfill someday.

Edible gifts can be packaged in reusable glass containers such as mason jars. They can also be packaged in minimal packaging such as thin bags that don’t take up as much room in the landfill as other things. I love using tins, baskets, and other reusable containers to package my edible gifts in. Think about what you use to present your gifts, you may be able to think of a less wasteful alternative if you give it some thought.

Here are some homemade edible gifts I like to give at Christmas:

whole wheat bread maker bread

Homemade sauces

  • Tomato Sauce
  • Flavored honey
  • Maple butter sauce
  • Chocolate sauce
  • Blueberry sauce
  • Pesto

Homemade food mixes

Homemade pies

pumpkin pie baking with kids

Homemade cakes and cupcakes

Homemade quick breads

cute packaging for homemade bread

Homemade cookies

Monster Cookies, yum

Homemade Jams, Jellies, or preserves

  • Vanilla sugar

Homemade candy

  • Fudge
  • Peanut Butter balls
  • Chocolate dipped pretzels or cookies

pumpkin-cookies

Gifts from the Garden

Another great way to give edible gifts (and even some non-edible) is by growing them yourself. We grow so many great things in our garden, and many of them can be turned into thoughtful gifts. I love how great this is for the environment. Many can even be given with NO packaging ever involved in the giving or the processing. What a win for our future and the sustainability for our earth!

  • Garlic Braids
  • Onion Braids
  • Dried Herb Mixes
  • Herb vinegars
  • Herb oils
  • Compound butters
  • Dehydrated veggie soup mixes
  • Dehydrated fruit treats
  • Seeds you saved yourself for the receiver to start their own garden next year
  • Homemade fruit leather
  • Trail mix
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Lavender sugar
  • Herbal Tea
  • Homegrown luffas sponges
  • Lavender wands or sachets
  • Headache pillows
  • Pressed flowers on cards or notepaper
  • Grape vine wreaths or garlands
  • Cut flowers

There are tons of great things that can be made with your own hands. Edible gifts are thoughtful and show love to those you chose to make them for. People appreciate heartfelt gifts. I LOVE knowing that my gifts were thoughtful as well as cut down on waste for the environment and leave a better place for all of us to live.

There are so many Sustainable Gifts you can give this Christmas. It will cut down on so much waste going to the landfill in the future and leave the earth in better shape for future generations.

Check out these awesome ideas from some of my blogging friends.

Zero Waste Gift Ideas

Homemade Christmas DIY Decorations

Waste Free Holiday Gifts for CoWorkers

Be sure to Pin for Later!

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