What is an Early Childhood Educator?

August 20, 2019

An Early Childhood Educator (ECE) works with children during their earliest years, usually between the ages of 0-6. An ECE can be found in several settings, including early learning centres, preschools, Kindergartens and into the first few grades of school, and has received either a university degree in education, or a college diploma (a 2-year program) with an emphasis on child guidance and planning/implementing age appropriate programming. 

The main goal of an Early Childhood Educator is to guide the development of children during their first few years of life and typically follows a holistic approach, meaning they help grow a child's intellectual, emotional, social, physical, creative and spiritual potentials.

As an ECE continues to work, there are many opportunities for growth and development. A quality educator will take part in educational experiences through conferences and courses, and read books to learn more about the changes in early childhood education and development, as well as any approaches they may be interested in working with (read more about the different approaches here). 

An Early Childhood Educator should always be wanting to develop a deeper understanding of what it means to work with children, and how to continue to enrich the child's environment and their development, as well as work with families to make sure they are all working towards the same goals. They understand what goals are developmentally appropriate for each child (as individuals, as an ECE knows that each child learns differently), and set proper limits and expectations to help a child achieve those goals.

ECEs are so much more than a glorified babysitter. Besides taking care of the basic needs of your child, they understand that child development involves knowledge about how to observe each individual child so that programs may be tailored specifically for a group of children, and not just provide blanketed themes like Winter and Fall. 

They also know how important it is to learn about what you value at home and in the community so that it can be applied at the early learning centre your child is attending. As well, they understand that knowledge about child development is crucial in providing quality care because it is how an ECE knows when your child needs their hearing tested for delays in speaking, or needs some extra support to help them reach the same level of development as their peers (while completely aware that your child may never reach that level, but being compassionate and doing everything they can to help anyway).

An Early Childhood Educator is a teacher that helps children question the world around them and come up with their own answers. They are a source of comfort away from home, a social/emotional guide, and so much more!


The Camping List: My Camping Essentials

August 06, 2019

My Mom, my son and I recently completed our annual mother-daughter-grandson camping trip to Waskesiu and after forgetting a couple of essentials behind, I thought it would be a good idea to make up a list of camping gear that needs to be packed for our future trips. The following are a few of my favourite items that I brought along (and a couple that I forgot).

I wanted a cooler small enough to be able to fit in the trunk of my car without taking too much space away from all the other things that you need for a camping trip, but large enough to fit all of the food that we were taking with us. We didn't need much for the length of our trip, but, for the amount that we ended up packing, we were quite surprised that there was a lot of space left for more! This cooler has thin walls that helps it have more space, but it still keeps food items cold.

I had been looking for a new flashlight that could give off a lot more light than the lanterns and flashlights we had been using in the past for a while, when I found this one on sale. I was excited that it has an incredibly strong beam of light...I was disappointed that I left it behind on this camping trip.

My parents purchased a set of portable cutlery for both my son and I this past Christmas. Not only is each piece solid, but they are also fantastic quality...and I like that they have a pouch to store them in.

The sleeping bag that I use is from my childhood, but I feel like this one is pretty close to the same, and probably has better technologies for keeping you warm.

Normally I have to put a blanket in my sleeping bag to add some extra warmth, but to save some space in the trunk this time I brought along my Sugoi fleece-lined leggings to be able to sleep in. They are my new favourite thing for camping and I will be bringing them on all trips for forever. I even loved them in the cool morning while having some breakfast by the fire.

Like my sleeping bag, my hikers (winter boots, in fact) are from my childhood, but these ones look very similar and make me want to upgrade. I like having hikers on my camping trips because we enjoy going on hikes, and I noticed a huge difference after wearing them on a hike where I had to piggy-back my son through a muddy zone. It was a much better situation than if I had been wearing my sandals. I'm also less likely to hurt myself on roots, and have a lot more control when going down hills.

Not included in the detailed area (as you can find them most anywhere), but still essential to bring along are marshmallows, waterproof matches, a bbq lighter (a back up form of getting fire when the matches don't cut it), extendable fork (for roasting the marshmallows), and my favourite cookies for making s'mores (the chocolate is built in and tastes incredibly delicious).


Behind the Art: Balloons

July 30, 2019

On a whim, I ordered some beautiful wooden bezels from a shop called ArtBase that makes them in their studio in Florida. I initially only bought a few, and made one into a brooch in memory of a little dog name Morran as part of an art project. I submitted it along with another piece of artwork for the Morran Book Project. The other piece of artwork won a place in the book, but my interest in doing more work with the bezels was piqued. 

This little cluster of balloons was one of my first brooches, and is one of my favourites. I can tell you that I was most definitely thinking of the house from the movie UP when I drew it (yes, it is hand-drawn), but I like to imagine other things attached to the bottom of the balloons. What do you think is beyond the bezel?


California Adventures: Disneyland

July 28, 2019

Half way through our trip in California we met up with part of my husband's family to take in the wonders of Disneyland. I have only ever been to Walt Disney World so it was a lot of fun to have the OG Disney experience (though it did make me yearn to go to Disney World and see the things that aren't in Disneyland).

We really enjoyed the new ride experience, like sitting at the front of the Incredicoaster, Mission Breakout (my son is not a fan of the spookyness that is The Tower of Terror, but looooved going on Mission Breakout), and Mater's tractor ride, as well as going on some of our favourites that are in both Disneyland and Disney World (teacups anyone?!).

Because we were traveling with people who have had their own Disney experiences, we also tried out some rides that are in both places that we personally haven't had any interest in but some family members wanted to see, like the Enchanted Tiki Room (which I currently have going through my head as I'm writing this).

There was also a bit of nostalgia involved for myself on this trip, as my Dad grew up in California and spoke a bit about his visits to Disneyland with his family while he lived there. The last time they went my Great Gram really wanted to go on the submarine ride, but it was closed for maintenance. I wanted to make sure that I went on that specific ride in her memory, and I thought a lot about the people that are no longer with my family that would have walked where I was currently walking.

Overall, we had a great time (I don't think our family can go wrong with a Disney trip), and we are eager to start planning our next one.


What We Love: Summer 2019

July 25, 2019

These shorts from Old Navy have quickly become my favourite pair to wear this summer. To be honest, they are one of those items of clothing that I didn't really like when trying them on, but have grown to love over time (I will be sorely dissapointed when they wear out).

When I heard this song from Chaka Khan on the radio I instantly knew that that it must be added to my playlist. I dare you to listen to it and not feel the urge to move your body. I dare you!

I first saw this painting called Snoresnacks from the shop Rawry and Pohly at the Sask Entertainment Expo last year, and have been thinking about it ever since (hopefully it will be there again this year). It is such a fun piece of artwork, and I love how smooth the surface is for working with acrylic paint.


The Summer List 2019

July 14, 2019

I started the Summer List back in 2012 after reading Meg + Andy's Summer List on their blog that same year. And while I haven't shared our list every year here on the blog, it started off simple with just five things to do like "go for a walk by the river" and "go to three different parks" as my son was not even a year and a half old at that point (woah!), and has evolved into the photo above where he helps come up with some ideas and has even added more since I took this photo (one of my favourites that he added was "go to our favourite places and take pictures"). 

I am grateful for what we have, and that we are at a point in our life where we can make a list of things that we wish to do in the summer. I also love the adventures that we are able to do because of this Summer List, and because it's written in a prominent place in the house (on his art chalkboard in the kitchen), we are more aware of it and can remind ourselves of the things that we want to do this summer.

What's on your Summer List this year?


Behind the Art: POP!-sicle

June 30, 2019

The inspiration for this art print really came from the summer months as a child and the excitement over ice cream trucks and Dickie Dees. Those old-school rocket popsicles were amazing, but I found it so hard to get through one of them without feeling gross. Fudgesicles were my go-to -- after ice cream, of course -- but they don't translate as well in a drawing and literally look like poop on a stick. 

Read It: Circe

June 28, 2019

I purchased Circe by Madeline Miller when I spotted it at the bookstore just after Christmas, and it ended up travelling with me to Mexico where I started reading it on the plane ride home. For a few months I was occupied with another series of books that I was trying to complete before going on vacation (Harry Potter), and I was excited to pick this book up again soon afterwards as I had started reading it one night instead of going to bed -- that was a big mistake.

I am a huge fan of mythology, especially Greek mythology, and so I was easily sucked into this book. I knew some of the characters and a quick Google search reminded me of their heroics. But it was Miller's writing, her prose and beautiful expression of words, that kept me coming back for more and will make me read it again. There are few books that make me sad that they are over and I continue to think about for weeks and months after finishing them (The Red Tent is one of them), but Circe is now at the top of that list.

I loved learning and growing with Circe. She was written in such a way that she never knew more than you in a situation, and there were no secrets. Her character was open, honest and refreshing, and I could feel her emotions as she moved throughout the book. I watched her life stretch over time, but never felt distant from her -- as most deities are made out to be. And the prose was always there, continually sucking me in as I got closer and closer to the end.

I don't want to give away any details, but the part of the book where the quotation "But perhaps no parent can truly see their child. When we look we see only the mirror of our own faults" really got to me. Going through the struggles that I currently am as a parent, I really connected with these two sentences and the situation surrounding them. Again, it is Miller's way with words that unwrapped me and made me feel as vulnerable as her character. That is truly a gift, and makes me want to read more of her work.


California Adventures: Pismo Beach

June 14, 2019

When we started planning our trip to California, I had grand dreams of landing in San Francisco and driving along the coastal highway. But sometimes money is an object and you've got to adjust those dreams. My mom mentioned that when she visited California for my aunt and uncle's wedding, they made a stop at a place called Pismo Beach and she absolutely loved it there, so we decided to check it out. We thought it would be the perfect location to introduce our son to the ocean and a great place to act as home base while exploring the California coast.

While the weather wasn't as perfect as we had hoped it would be, we enjoyed walking along the beach near our hotel (which was absolutely lovely) every day, got some amazing family photos on the beach from local photographer Austyn Elizabeth, and it wasn't too far to drive along the coast to Big Sur (more on that later) from there. We also really enjoyed the drive to Pismo Beach (more on that later too), and really wish that we had had more time to explore California as a whole. Like I said in the post about Los Angeles, we will be back!

Shop Update: Simply the Best T-shirts and Pride Month

June 05, 2019

The David and Patrick shirts are always available in the shop, and proceeds from each sale of the shirt will always be donated to OUTSaskatoon, but for the entire month of June, all profits from the sale of the Simply the Best t-shirt will be donated.

OUTSaskatoon provides opportunities to develop social connections and community support through social groups and events, counseling and psychiatry, educational training for local businesses, schools (including educators and administrators) and health care professionals, as well as the Pride Home, Canada's first long-term care home for LGBTQ2S+ youth, among many other things.

In his Canadian Screen Awards speech upon winning the award for Best Comedy Series, Dan Levy said “In Schitt’s Creek, we are writing a world that examines the transformational effects of love when the threat of hate and intolerance has been removed from the equation. And while that’s not a reality for many, our goal is to shine a light out there that asks the question: ‘What if it was?’ Wouldn’t we all be happier if we were able to love out loud?”

Inspired by what Dan and Eugene Levy created for CBC (a national network funded by the Government of Canada), the drawing on this shirt was created out of love for a show that has opened so many doors and windows for so many people across this country and around the world. They have created something beyond special with Schitt's Creek.


Behind the Art: You Helped Make Me Who I Am

May 30, 2019

While this card could be applied to anyone, I originally made it for my dad for the first Father's Day after I opened up the shop (8 years ago!). My dad was a computer programmer while I was growing up, but his passion was always working with carpentry tools: building things, or fixing something (he made the boxes that I use for my shop display at handmade markets). Now that he is retired he finally gets to do the work that he loves so much every day!


California Adventures: Los Angeles

May 28, 2019

Our time in Los Angeles was too short, and this blog post would be too long if I showed you all of the amazing art work that we got to see at LACMA. I was unbelievably pumped to see an original Kandinsky (several, in fact), along with The Treachery of Images from Rene Magritte. I got as close to that pipe as I could without getting in trouble to be able to see the brush strokes (swoon). There was also this incredible structure that had car tracks and train tracks all around it where cars just swerved, swooped, and circled around structures made out of tile, metal and glass. It was like a massive Hot Wheels track, and it was mesmerizing! The first several images in my Caliventures stories on my Instagram have a lot more artwork that I saw.

We also explored the area where we were staying. The first image in this post is the view from our hotel window. It was stunning. One of the things that I really enjoyed about California was the flora. A mixture of cacti, bushes, trees (the cypresses were my favourite) and flowers. I loved the massive hedges around some of the houses and the trees with the purple flowers. It really was a beautiful place with a calming effect, and I really wish that we had had more time to explore, but I know that we will be back!


What We Love: Spring 2019

May 19, 2019

While the Puma's that I've been sporting would be classified as "vintage", these pink sneakers are the closest thing to what I've got, I've been loooving them this Spring. It's not quite warm enough to have my toes or the top of my foot exposed, but they look super cute with my jeans. In fact, I love them so much that I think I might go out and find another cute pair of sneakers to start rotating with the ones I've already got.

I am really enjoying the Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse soundtrack right now, including this song from Post Malone and Swae Lee. As I've mentioned in the past, I'm a huge fan of a solid beat and this song has a good one that gives me the 80s teen movie vibe, along with some beautiful harmonious vocal work.

In an attempt to by more conscious of what I'm purchasing and not just throwing away a shirt because it has a hole in it, I've been trying to find fun patches to put on the holes in my shirts. I've got my eyes on this cute little fry patch from the shop Silly Rice. They have a ton of super colourful, fun, sparkly patches!


Shop Update: Schitt's Creek Inspired T-Shirts and Tank Tops (Simply the Best)

May 01, 2019

Guess what?!! I am so excited to be able to share with you that t-shirts and tank tops have joined the buttons with the art print of David and Patrick on them in the shop. They come in a variety of sizes, but are currently only available in white (unisex t-shirts and tank tops) and white fleck (women's sizes).

As with the pins, proceeds from the shirts will be donated to an amazing local organization for the LGBTQ2S+ community called OUTSaskatoon. They provide opportunities to develop social connections and community support through social groups and events, counseling and psychiatry, educational training for local businesses, schools (including educators and administrators) and health care professionals, and the Pride Home, Canada's first long-term care home for LGBTQ2S+ youth, among many other things.

Stay tuned for one more item that will be available, plus some exciting news for the month of June!


Behind the Art: Bird on a Wire

April 29, 2019

As I'm sure you are aware, I am a huge fan of drawing penguins. There's a rather large selection of penguin themed items available in the shop, including this little art print I titled "Bird on a Wire". 

"Bird on a Wire" was inspired by the Pixar short "For the Birds", except that these little birds do not mind the penguin being with them at all, despite his obvious differences from their own appearances.

This print is one of my favourites, and, in fact, hangs in a collection of art in the hallway of my house.


Now He Is 8

April 20, 2019

It is unbelievable, isn't it? Time seems to move so slowly, but then all of a sudden you are celebrating your child's 8th birthday and wondering what happened to that little two year-old fella that you snuggled in your arms only yesterday.

Looking at last year's post, I see a lot of physical changes. I mean, he still doesn't have all of his front teeth, but even the shape of his face has changed, and the colour of his hair is much darker than it used to be (I'm having to get used to the idea that I won't have a little blondie like me anymore). 

I also notice a lot of mental and emotional changes. He's gone from ready easier books with short stories, to reading chapter books. He loves telling jokes, and has developed a really fun sense of humour. He's still working on being thoughtful and putting others first, developing skills beyond being kind to someone by helping them out one time and understanding what it means to be a good friend for a long time (without expecting something in return).

This year has had it's struggles, and there have been so many developments that are probably him getting into that phase of life where other things are more important than family and I'm gonna fight with you about everything, but, like always, I'm excited to see where we are headed and what kind of guidance (and frustration) will be in the future.

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