Kitchen Science

by Florence B.

We’re half-way through the mid-winter break, and I hope you’re having fun trying new things and revisiting the old ones! For this mid-month blog post, I decided to do kind of a second part to my mid-Nov blog post “Playing with Your Food” and continue with “Kitchen Science!” Let’s face it, whenever educators talk about STEM, high-level science experiments, computer science activities, and other other high-level engineering topics are probably the first things that come to mind. Well, STEM fun at home doesn’t have to be all about expensive science kits that get mailed to you; you can have science fun with stuff you find in your kitchen!

There are tons of fun kitchen science ideas you can find online or in books, but here are some of my favorite experiments for little ones to get you started! The best thing about kitchen science is that it’s so adaptable! You can adjust depending on the level of what your kids can do, and for many of the experiments you can change ingredients depending on what you’ve got lying around in your cupboards. So, shall we get started? Here are five easy and fun kitchen science experiments!

A) Sink or Float with Orange Buoyancy:

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Let’s start with a surprisingly fun kitchen experiment where all you need is water and some delicious citrus fruit that’s pretty much a staple in any household with a kid! Get ready to play some ‘sink or float’! This one is great for our smallest friends, because a) it’s water play and b) a clementine/mandarin/orange is involved!

For this experiment, it’s pretty simple: do you think the orange will float in the water? Let your kiddo make a hypothesis (or gnaw on the fruit depending on age) and then put it in a container of water and watch your citrus sail the high seas (or container, whatever). Next, let your little one peel the orange and then put that orange in the water and watch that peeled anchor sink!

“Wait!” your kiddo asks. “What’s the deal with that?!”

“Well,” you say with a knowing smile. “The peel is the orange’s floatie, just like floaties help you swim in the pool. Since we took off the floatie, the orange sinks.”

“Ah, what a wise parent. You know so much,” you wish they would say, but let’s face it, this dialog is fantasy.

Well, you can pretty much stop here, because you have an unpeeled orange, a peeled one, plenty of peelings, and a container of water that your kiddo can play with. But…if you’d like even more of a challenge for older kids, here comes the even more fun experimentation part! Can your kiddo peel *just enough* for buoyancy and gravity to balance somewhere between totally sinking to the bottom and floating at the top? Can your kiddo peel enough for the orange to sink…and then remove some of the orange slices so it floats back up again?

B) Naked Egg & Osmosis

This one is a short and simple experiment with a lot of downtime. First, have your kiddo touch an egg and figure out if it’s hard or soft. Next, leave that egg in a container full of vinegar and watch that calcium carbonate egg shell wither away into nothingness. This is actually interesting to watch as you’ll see bubbles form as that poor shell gets dissolved away. Now, like I wrote earlier, there is a lot of downtime. After your 10 second shell toughness check, you can pretty much stick this back into the fridge for the next 24 hours while the vinegar works it’s magic—um…science.

If all works out well, you’ll have a naked egg with only a membrane surrounding it! If not, change the vinegar solution into a fresh vinegar solution, and cough awkwardly as you put the eggs back into the fridge informing your little one that you’ll need to wait a little bit longer. Back to assuming that all worked out well, this is when you do another hardness test to see that your hard egg has turned into a little softie!

So that’s it, pretty easy! Don’t forget to wash all hands involved since this is a raw egg experiment! You can take this experiment even further (with more downtime) by experimenting with osmosis. You can stick your egg into a cup of corn syrup and see what happens the next day. If you have multiple eggs, stick them in various liquids, and see what happens to each of the eggs. Since you’ve been soaking your eggs in vinegar, that’ll be your control. Can you figure out which liquids make your egg plump up and which ones deflate (tip: distilled water and corn syrup are probably the easiest way to see the biggest difference)?

C) Magic Milk

For this dairy experiment, you’ll need milk (the fattier, the better!), food dye, toothpicks, and dish soap. In a wide dish:

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1) put a thin layer of milk down,

2) drop a few drops of food dye in different spots,

3) dip a toothpick in some dish soap,

4) put the toothpick in the center of the drops in the milk, and

5) watch those fireworks go!

If you have an older kiddo, this one is great for exercising those fine motor skills, because you need to get the soapy toothpick end in each dot fast! For younger kids who can’t quite do that, even swirling around the toothpick and hitting each dot will be artistic fun! What’s going on here? You’ve got milk fat and soap molecules rushing through the crowd of milk proteins and other stranger molecules to find each other like long lost friends. And there are a LOT of these molecules searching and bonding. At once. Poor food coloring—all it did was get in the way!

D) Ice and Freezing Fun:

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Ah, ice. Simple, yet so often overlooked. With melting experiments, you can actually buy yourself time to make dinner. In. Peace. Perfect over the summer, your kiddos can cool down while playing with melting ice. Freeze a block of ice. Supply salt. Supply warm water. Supply cold water. And of course, supply whatever fun supplies you can find in your drawers: medicine droppers, spoons, brushes, straws. Let your kiddos see how their block of ice changes over time as they experiment with what they’re given! For older kiddos who want a challenge, freeze some items like beads (pro tip: freeze in layers so all your beads aren’t at the bottom or top) and have your kiddo rescue the beads with the given supplies! Does the salt help melt the ice? Why isn’t the warm water warm anymore? There are so many fun ways to explore!

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And then if your kiddo is over melting and wants to explore freezing, try a freezing experiment where you try to figure out what liquids freeze first! Your kiddo will get to see how different items freeze at different rates, and you’ll realize you have a lot more liquids in your fridge and pantry than you first thought! If you use a small enough ice tray, you’ll start noticing differences as soon as 15 mins!

E) Wizards Brew

Great for a Halloween themed experiment, you can make Wizard’s Brew or Witch’s Potion (although this is so much fun any time of the year!). Think erupting volcanos. For this one, you’ll need vinegar, baking soda, and dish soap at a minimum. All you need to do is:

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1) fill up a container with vinegar,

2) add dish soap,

3) add baking soda, and

4) have fun watching your kiddos laugh!

What’s going on here is that you have the vinegar and baking soda chemically reacting to create Hydrogen Peroxide. When that occurs, Carbon Dioxide gas is formed and gets trapped in the dish soap, making bubbles! Lots. Of. Bubbles! You can add glitter or food coloring for some added fun. You can change the containers and make different effects (you can even use a Jack-O-Lantern during Halloween!).

To get different reactions, you can try changing what liquid soap you use, how much baking soda you add (dump a lot or little sprinkles), stirring the mix (do bubbles form faster?), or drop in different colors of food coloring without mixing and see what colors you get! Even if your kiddo isn’t old enough to understand the chemical reactions going on, they’ll LOVE all the insta-bubbles!

For older kiddos or if you’re ready for more of a challenge, you can add yeast to the mix for a slower reaction that now has an exothermic effect (you’ll feel your container get warmer!). You can learn more about that HERE 

There you have it: five easy kitchen science experiments to get you started! If you have a favorite kitchen science experiment you’d like to share, shout out in the comments below! Feel free to email me at bothellfamilycoop.org as well!

Loving February

By Florence B.

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Who can resist loving February when we get to celebrate Valentine’s Day! We also have a parent meeting where we can choose between TWO speakers covering sleep (oh, bliss!) and couple/family relationships (who can’t love that?!), class photos (these are the BEST!), mid-winter break, teddy bear picnics, and saving the best for last: REGISTRATION for 2018-2019 (*throws confetti*)! It’s a short month, so we’ve got to pack in as much fun as we can!

OK, so let’s start off with what our awesome curriculum team has in store for us, eh? For themes, you’ll see friendship, Valentine’s Day, Post Office, and Bears! Get ready for the dramatic play area to take on a new look for some Post Office fun! Know all those junk mail and catalogs that go straight to recycling? Bring them in to the BFCP Post Office where they’ll be put to good use! Those stickers and old envelopes you probably won’t ever use? The BFCP Post Office wants them!

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You’ll also notice some fun animal books by Sandra Boynton, our February Author of the month! Her short and simple stories are fun and perfect reading material for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers! If you haven’t had a chance to check out her books, Blue Hat, Green Hat (a turkey just can’t get dressed right, oops!), Are You A Cow (trying to figure out if the reader is an animal), and Opposites (works with singing, which is weird, but I somehow can’t read the book out loud without forming a tune) are favorites in our house and extra silly for young toddlers (and babies and older siblings and parents) to love! You can check out her website here.

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But what you’ll REALLY notice? Valentine’s Day! Woohoo! We’ve got lots of hearts, hearts for those hearts, and more hearts to collage and put on those hearts with a side of hearts and a splash of pink (no really, the water in the sensory table is tinged pink!)! For the older three classes, don’t forget to make your Valentine’s bag in the art room so you can get some Valentine’s Day mail from your friends! All this lovely, loving love leads us to our Valentine’s Day parties, complete with Valentine’s card exchanges (and don’t worry, you can dress up and not worry about any messy projects on party day)! The older 2 classes will celebrate on Valentine’s Day, the toddler and 2/3 class will celebrate the day after on the 15th, and finally the parent/baby class will party on Feb 16th!

Backing up a bit, a week before the party, everyone will get a chance to dress up for class photos! These are so much fun to have as a little keepsake to look back on! The class photo is $9 and worth it to have. Even if you’re not planning on buying any photos (individual or class), your kiddo is still DEFINITELY wanted to sit with the rest of the class for the class photo, so let them know ahead to SMILE (or POUT like my kiddos if that’s your kiddo’s picture thing!)! By the way, if you’re in one of the older 3 classes and don’t feel like brushing your hair that day or finding a shirt that doesn’t have a stain on it, don’t worry; only the kiddos and teacher will be in the class photo! For the toddler class parents, get ready to smile since you WILL be in the class photo, too (and don’t forget to match your socks since missing socks only happen on laundry day and days when you’re going to be immortalized not wearing shoes)! Unfortunately, the Parent and Baby Class won’t be doing a class photo, but our littlest friends can still stop by during the Thursday classes to get an individual photo done (so toddler and 2/3s classes, don’t forget to say hi to our smiling visitors)! The teachers aren’t planning any messy activities during picture day, so have fun dressing your best (although you’ll probably want to bring a change of clothes for outside time!!).

ALSO that week on Feb 7th, the 3/4s and Pre-K class are each having a Teddy Bear Picnic at Teacher Kathy’s home! What a fun excursion for our kiddos and their favorite teddy bears (or other stuffy, no toy discrimination here!).  

*Phew* let’s step out of class and switch over to some night time parent education! Thursday the 15th is our February parent meeting! There will be two speakers for you to choose from: Julie Kennedy will cover sleep (Gentle Sleep Coach) and Joan Niehaus will cover couple/family relationships! Julie’s website can be found here: if you’re curious what a Gentle Sleep Coach does. From her website, she writes that “The GSC approach is a gentler alternative for families who emotionally or philosophically resist letting their babies cry it out.” But let’s face it, when you’re checking out her website, you’re probably desperately searching for the secret to getting some sleep. Who knows…you may find it for your family! By the way, here’s a fun fact I just discovered last week, did you know that all our quarterly evening parent ed talks are held jointly with our sister co-op, Inglemoor Cooperative Preschool?! So, if you’re sure you’ve met everyone in BFCP and see a face you don’t recognize, don’t feel shy—make sure to say hi! Lastly, this meeting will be held at Inglewood Presbyterian Church from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM; see you there!

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Alrighty, get ready for the. BEST. Part. Of. This. Post: Registration for the 2018-2019 school year!!(pretend there are 2,018 and 1/2 exclamation marks here for effect)!! If you’re already a member of BFCP and are planning on returning next year, registration opened last Monday, Feb 5 so go, go, go! In-house registration will run until Feb 16, so don’t delay in reserving your kiddo’s spot for next year! If you’re someone who will be new to the BFCP family, then welcome and make sure to snag a spot early! Registration for you will begin on Feb 26, and we’re excited to have you join us! If you find yourself on the waitlist for a spot you want (that happened to us last year for the 2/3 class), don’t fret! There is still plenty of time before the new school year starts for a spot to open up (ta da! Like the one for us did last year!). You can find more info on the Registration & Tuition page HERE.

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So here’s some more details about registration if you’re looking for some more in-depth coverage (if not, then go ahead and skip to the next, next paragraph!). If you’re a current member and are wondering how on earth are you supposed to register for next year—well, step 1 is: Check your email! If you’re in a class now, I’m sure you remember turning in some paperwork to secure your kiddo’s spot. Go ahead and put away that pen you managed to scrounge up from a dark corner of a drawer that your child has not yet discovered; BFCP is now doing online registration system for the 2018/2019 year! That means you will be getting a direct link in an email that gets you to your personal “family portal” (no username or password required, but this personalized link will expire, so hurry!). This new system also means registering will be quicker and easier than last year since most information will already be there (although don’t forget to verify and make corrections as needed)! So, if you find an unexpected email from Jovial, don’t delete it if you’re planning on registering (plus now you know what to expect so it’s no longer unexpected, yay!)! But, if you already deleted it or if your SPAM blocker works REALLY, REALLY well, then hop on over to www.jovial.org/bfcp/family and enter your email to get an access link.

ALUMNI! Don’t worry, I know you feel like you’re in a gray area since I’m mentioning current BFCP family and new member registrations—but you actually register when current in-house members do! So, get your access link and get registered! In fact, for anyone curious about how  kiddos are guaranteed a spot during the in-house registration, there’s an actual priority list of: “1) continuing students; 2) those students repeating a class; 3) those students skipping a class; 4) siblings of current students; 5) children of alumni. Thereafter, advanced registration shall be open to the general public based on space availability.” There you go, curiosity satisfied.

Finally, after talking about all the fun stuff to expect in February, I’ve got one last important bit of info for you; Mid-Winter Break is from Feb 19th to 23rd so don’t show up to school that week! And don’t worry, if you actually do and remember just as you pull into the parking lot, there’s always the nearby Bothell Library to visit to find a good book to read or the Park at Bothell Landing to get those winter wiggles out!

Wow, there’s a whole bunch of important dates up there so here’s a summary:

Feb 5 - In-house registration for current BFCP families begins (ends Feb 16)
Feb 6 - 3/4 and Pre-K school photo day
Feb 8 - 2/3 and Toddler school photo day (Parent & Baby welcome to take individual photos)
Feb 14 - 3/4 and Pre-K Valentine’s Day parties
Feb 15 - Toddler and 2/3 Valentine’s Day parties
Feb 15 - Parent Meeting at Inglewood Presbyterian Church from 6:30PM - 8:30PM
Feb 16 - Parent & Baby Valentine’s Day party
Feb 19 - Mid-Winter Break begins (ends Feb 23)
Feb 26 - Registration for 2018/2019 school year opens up to the community

There you have it! If you have any comments, feel free to shout below or send an email to blog@bothellfamilycoop.org

Real Life Ideas for How to Grab a Break

by Julia H.

Today we bring you segment 175,996 out of our infinitely long series of discussions about getting through tricky times with kids (after all, getting through the easy times is easy!). This time, we asked real members of the BFCP community what they do when they need a few minutes to breathe, reconnect, and calm themselves in those moments when your coping skills and normal routine just aren't cutting it. Here's mine - when I just need a bit of a breather, I take a few minutes to floss and brush my teeth. It probably sounds a little crazy, but it makes a big difference that I can't talk while I am doing it, because that gives me time to stop and think when I might otherwise yell or say something hurtful. Here are some other strategies being employed by people right here in our school - thanks to everyone who contributed their coping strategies!

  • "Occasionally I just put the kids in the bath in the middle of the day. It helps that my tub is bigger so it feels like a treat for them. But it keeps them contained for a bit."
  • "Sometimes if I need a break I pack everyone up and take a little drive to a park, coffee stand or store that a bit farther away than usual. We can still chat or listen to music but I get to SIT which is NICE. Plus the kiddos are restrained in the nicest way possible.  I also do the mid day bath time and it works like a charm."
  • "Especially if it's early on the morning I'll call a reset. Everyone goes back in their bed and we all get a few minutes to chill. When I'm ready, I open doors and give a super cheery good morning. I don't know why it works but it does for us."
  • "I was going crazy over the holidays with both [kids] home all day, every day and I found if I scheduled at least one activity outside of the house each day we all stayed a little bit more sane. Cabin fever is real!"
  • "Making sure the kids get time outdoors to run and play seems to help us."
  • "Sometimes just getting a simple task done - like taking the garbage out - is my way of taking a break. I also have a few activities that are a big treat for my kid but are truthfully my break time - playdough and a Rubbermaid sensory 'rice bin.' If I can’t take a break in that moment, planning when I will ask for/scheduling a break also helps me."
  • "I call a 'Dance Party' and lean on my favorite new friend Alexa. The music cranks out some of our current favorite dance tunes (currently Flying Purple People Eater, Fight Song, We Built This City, and Cupig Shuffle ) The kids all jump up and start dancing together and I can either 1. join them and dance away my frustration, or 2. Step in the other room and take a few minutes to myself while they everyone is engaged and happy."

How do you deal with overwhelming moments? Send us an email and your tips may be included in a future Squeak!

Rainy Season Activities for Kids Who Love Mud

by Julia H.

Hey, I don't know if you had noticed, but we're deep into rainy season, right in the thick of the chilly and drizzly bits, and still relatively short on daylight hours. At this point, I am running out of outside play ideas that are motivating enough for me to want to go outside. The kids are fine, naturally, but since they are still young enough to require some supervision, it helps everyone if I think the outside activities look fun, too. So, here are some ideas I found via the magic of internet search engines for stuff to do outside that sounds awesome:

  • Build a mud castle! Bust out those sand toys and find an awesome muddy spot.
  • Paint with mud. Lucky enough to have a fence? This is a great opportunity to cover it with mud!
  • Make a sculpture out of mud, sticks, rocks, and leaves.
  • Soup/potion-making - all you need is a bucket, a stick, and a good imagination!
  • Comparative Dirt Analysis - look for different types of mud and dirt, collect samples in small containers, and observe the differences and similarities between them.
  • Mud experiments: how long does it take for the mud to dry out? how much water does it take to turn it back into mud?
  • Mud pies - it's a classic, and you can encourage early math learning by sending along real measuring cups and spoons!

What games does your family love to play in the mud? Send us an email and your tips may be included in a future Squeak!

Sometimes You Just Get Mad

by Julia H.

I feel absolutely certain that all of the members of our preschool community are great parents (or, even if you aren't feeling like a particularly great parent, you're trying to be one). It's easy to come up with great parenting strategies when the kids are asleep (as mine were when I wrote this), but then they wake up and do unexpected stuff and, well, sometimes it makes you mad.

Hot lava mad. Steam boiling out of your ears mad. Thinking (but probably trying hard not to say out loud) the absolute worst, most hurtful things.

In moments of calm, it's easy to remember some of the things we learn from positive parenting - kids who misbehave are feeling disconnected, they just don't know exactly how to reconnect; it's more effective in the long run (and a better model for behavior) to respond with love and kindness...but how the heck do you do that?

The good news is that, as with any skill, you can get better at it with practice. Here are some simple guidelines that may help you manage your anger when your kids really push your buttons:

  • Break out of the angry feeling: everyone is going to have their own technique that will work best for them, but some I've tried include singing what I want to say in a silly voice instead of yelling, doing weird and crazy dance moves, and going and getting a glass of water. Pretty much anything that will break the escalating anger cycle would work.

  • Cool off: This is the hardest one for me, which probably means it's the most important - put yourself in time out, lie down on the spot and close your eyes, practice some yoga breathing exercises. Give your body an opportunity to process some of the adrenaline.

  • Come back and apologize: Once you've broken out of the anger of the moment, it's important to model the behavior you'd like to see in your kids. Oftentimes that means that you'll need to apologize. "I'm sorry, I really lost my temper. Can we try again to communicate and be on the same team?" 

Don't get down on yourself if you get mad sometimes - everyone does! And parenting is hard - you're tired (and probably dehydrated), you have huge amounts of intimidating responsibility, and your kids are still learning how to be nice - and are practicing the full range of manipulative behavior on you, because you are someone they know they can trust. It's a lot to deal with. But you can do this! 

(Quick reminder: Civil rights conversations aren't just for MLK Jr. Day! Maybe you could show your kids pictures of some of the grownup members of the preschool who marched on Saturday, and talk about why they did it?)

Let’s Read: Three Ways for You to Find Books!

by Florence B.

After writing my first January post and fan-girling over The Bear Snores On series, I realized I absolutely needed to do a blog post on books! We all know that reading is great for kids so let’s skip the why and instead jump straight into the where-do-we-find-books part! In today’s blog post, I’m going to let you know about our own little fledging kids’ books trading library here at Bothell Family Cooperative Preschool, Scholastic Reading Club orders through the school, and some reading programs from some of the local public libraries in our area! Let’s get started, because there’s no hesitating when it comes to going after new books (well, at least for me!)!

1) Kids Trading Library at Bothell Family Cooperative Preschool!

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Let’s start small and talk about our little growing library that was started a few months ago by our awesome outdoor teacher, Angela (by the way, if you missed her interview on the blog, you can find it HERE). This little collection is in the mud room in the blue bin labeled “BFCP Kids Lending Library.” Let your kiddo browse and find a new treasure to take home! When your family has outgrown a book, please consider donating it to this growing school program!

2) Scholastic Reading Club

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Scholastic Reading Club, go check it out now (don’t worry, I’ll wait). New users will be prompted to make an account; if you decide to, make sure you link your account to Teacher Kathy Foster by either searching for her name or using the code NT8WP.

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So what’s the deal with this club? If you love books (and who doesn’t?!), the program gives great discounts since they offer paperback versions of popular children books, megapacks for bulk deals, and save on shipping since they don’t send to your home—they ship to the school. That last point also means that to be able to order through this program, you have to be affiliated with a school/classroom/teacher that’s signed up to be in the program AND you have to wait for the class order to come in (so keep an eye out for class order deadlines, since there’s no 2-day insta-shipping here!). Luckily, Bothell Family Cooperative Preschool is in the program! Personally, my family has built up our own mini-library at home for the kids by ordering the megapacks and taking advantage of dollar deals!

If you’re wondering why teachers take part in the club, the class (or school) collect points for every purchase made by the parents in the class order, which can then be spent to earn free books for the classroom and school! So, by ordering from the Scholastic Reading Club, you have the benefit of great deals that allow BFCP to earn more and more points to earn free items! Note that the best deals in the club are for the paperbacks, megapacks, and dollar books. Some of the hard cover books, board books, and cloth books sell close to retail, so shop wisely if you’re hunting for the best prices!

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Just to give an idea of what you can find, check out the image of some of their January Special Values offerings. I also included a screen shot of what you’ll find when you click an item for more info. For those of you who love the nitty-gritty details, you can find out the target age audience for a book as well as the reading level (GRL - don’t worry, the reading level didn’t just
growl at you. That really is a reading level indicator with “A” being the easiest and so on!). And of course, since the Bear Snores On series is available as a megapack, I had to use that as an example! Well, I actually had waaaay too many examples to show, but to keep this section from going crazy long, let’s just summarize by saying: Go check it now (go go, this post will still be here when you get back!).

3) Public Library Reading Programs

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Well, I can’t even begin to express my love for public libraries! First of all, you can go check out pretty much any book you want, and they even have ebooks for you to check out without leaving the comfort of your home. BUT, they also have THE. BEST. KIDS. PROGRAMS. EVER! So, go ahead and leave the comfort of your home to check out your local library kid programs—especially the Story Times, which are basically really long circle times. And then, when the program is over, you’re at the LIBRARY with sooooo many books for you and your little one(s) to choose from! Some of the story times also include a craft or bonus activity so you’ll definitely want to explore different libraries to see what they all have to offer!

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This section is definitely the hardest of the three to write since there’s so much I want to share with all of you about the local public libraries! Alas, the King County Library, Sno-Isle Library, and Seattle Public Library Systems are so large that I can’t cover all of them (which is a VERY good problem to have, amirite?!?!). So, I’ve picked out several libraries from each system that are in reasonable driving range of the school to give a quick-at-a-glance summary so you can hopefully find a program that’s interesting to you! Note that I found these using the libraries’ event search features, so these may change at any time (but hopefully this will still give you a head start for finding a program of interest for you!). Also, although there’s a target age listed below, many of the programs allow siblings, and all of the programs need an adult to accompany (i.e. no drop off story times!).

 

I) King County Library System

All right, let’s start off with good old KCLS since that’s the library system I’m most familiar with! BTW, notice that I had to move to Roman numerals for my sub heading?! *Yikes* lots of incoming info coming your way!

Woodinville Library
Young Toddler Story Time: ages 12 to 24 months; Wed 11:30AM - 12:00PM
Toddler Story Time: ages 2 to 3; Wed 10:30 - 11:00AM
Preschooler Story Time: ages 3 to 6; Tues 10:30 - 11:15AM
Family Story Time: all ages; Thurs 7:00 - 7:45PM
Foreign Language:
Spanish - all Ages; Tues 1:30 - 2:00PM
Insider Tip: This is one of my favorite libraries since they have an amazing outside exploration area targeted for young children that’s so much fun! You have to see it to really appreciate it; there’s a little “club house” with windows of different shapes and a tree growing inside (*wow* talk about a house plant!), little planters filled with edible plants, little paths (one with a little bridge), and more — definitely check out this library!

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Bothell Library
Infant Story Time: ages newborn to 12 months; Wed 11:00 - 11:30AM
Young Toddler Story Time: ages 12 to 24 months; Wed 10:00 – 10:30AM
Toddler Story Time: ages 2 to 3; Tues 11:00 – 11:30AM
Preschooler Story Time: ages 3 to 6; Tues 10:00 – 10:30AM
Foreign Languages:
Russian - all ages; Thurs 11:00-11:45AM
Spanish - all ages; Sat 11:00 - 11:30AM
Insider Tip: This library is soooooo close to the preschool so you may as well stop by!

Kingsgate Library
Infant Story Time: ages 3 to 11 months; Tues 10:00 – 10:30AM
Toddler Story Time: ages 12 to 36 months; Wed 10:00 – 10:30AM
Preschooler Story Time: ages 3 to 6; Wed 11:00 – 11:45AM
Foreign Language:
Japanese - ages 2 to 6; Mon 10:00 – 10:45AM
Insider Tip: Here’s a heads up that since the library opens at 10:00AM, if you like to get to story times early, you’ll be out of luck since you’ll have to wait outside until the library opens. They have a little outside area on the other side of the building, but it’s pretty small and not meant for hanging out for a long time—but it is still there!

Kenmore Library
Infant Story Time: ages newborn to age 2; Thurs 11:00 – 11:30AM
Toddler Story Time: ages 2 to 3; Thurs 10:00 – 10:30AM
Foreign Language: Spanish - all ages; Tues 3:30 - 4:00PM
Insider Tip: They have a fenced-in, outside rooftop area to explore that’s over the parking area — enough said!

Kirkland Library
Infant & Young Toddler Story Time: ages 6 months to 2 years; Tues 10:00 – 10:45AM
Toddler & Preschool Story Time: ages 3 to 5; Tues 11:00 – 11:45AM
Family Story Time: all ages; Wed 7:00 – 7:45PM
Foreign Language: Spanish - all ages; Fri 12:30 – 1:00PM
Insider Tip: They have an underground parking lot (and are also next to the Kirkland transit center if you feel like going on a bus ride!) and are right next door to a HUGE park!

Shoreline Library
Infant & Young Toddler Story Time: ages newborn to 24 months; Tues 11:00 – 11:30AM  
Toddler Story Time: ages 2 to 3; Tues 10:00 – 10:30AM
Preschooler Story Time: ages 3 to 6; Wed 10:30 – 11:00AM
Family Story Time: ages 3 to 6; Mon 6:45 – 7:30PM
Foreign Language: ages 3 to 6; Thurs 11:00 – 11:30AM

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Redmond Library
Infant Story Time: ages newborn to 12 months; Thurs 11:30 – 12:00PM
2 Toddler Story Times: ages 12 months to 3 years; Fri 10:15 – 11:15AM & Fri 11:15AM - 12:15PM
Preschooler Story Time: ages 3 to 5; Thurs 10:30 – 11:00AM
Family Story Time: all ages; Wed 7:00 – 8:00PM
Foreign Languages:
Hindi - ages 1 to 6; Sat 10:30 – 11:00AM
Russian - ages 1 to 6; Mon 11:00 – 11:30AM
Spanish - all ages; Tues 11:00 – 11:30AM
Chinese - ages 2 to 5; Wed 10:30AM – 12:00PM & ages 6 and younger; Tues 11:00 - 11:30AM
Arabic - all ages; Mon 11:00 - 11:30AM

 

II) Seattle Public Library System

Yes, yes. Those with observant eyes will notice I’m writing ‘branch’ instead of ‘library’ (good eye by the way) in this section, but that’s because I’m going by how each library system refers to them on their webpage. So, when in Rome…

Lake City Branch
2 Family Story Times: ages birth to 8 yrs; Mon 10:30AM - 12:00PM & ages birth to elementary school; Thurs 5:30 - 7:30 PM
Foreign Languages:
Spanish - all ages; Mon 6:00 - 6:30PM
Mandarin - all ages; 11:30AM - 12:00PM
Somali - all ages; 4:00 - 4:30PM

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Broadview Branch
Little Makers (Science Emphasis): ages 3-5; Thurs 6:00 - 7:00PM
Preschooler Story Time: all ages; Tues 10:30 - 11:30AM

Northgate Branch
Infant Story Time: age 0-12 months; Fri 10:15 – 10:45AM
Toddler Story Time: no age range specified; Thurs 10:15 – 10:45AM
Preschooler Story Time: ages 3 - 5; Thurs 11:15 – 11:45AM
Family Story Time: all ages; Sat 10:15 – 10:45AM
Foreign Language: Spanish - all ages; Tues 11:30AM - 12:00PM

 

III) Sno-Isle Library System

Lynnwood Library
2 Infant Story Times: ages newborn - 18 months; Tues 9:30 - 10:15AM & 10:30 - 11:15AM
Toddler & Preschooler Story Time: ages 2 - 6; Thurs 10:00 - 11:00AM
2 Preschooler Story Times: ages 3 to 5; Wed 9:30 - 10:15AM & Wed 10:30 - 11:15AM

Mountlake Terrace Library
Infant Story Time: ages newborn - 18 months; Thurs 10:00 - 11:00AM
Toddler Story Time: ages 19 - 35 months; Thurs 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Preschooler Story Time: ages 3 to 5; Wed 10:30 - 11:30AM
Foreign Language: Russian - ages 2 to 5; Mon 6:00 - 7:00PM

Brier Library
Toddler Story Time: ages 18 months to 3 years; Fri 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Preschooler Story Time: ages 3-5; Thurs 11:00AM - 12:00PM

So there you have it: three ways for some reading fun for us and our little learners! I hope you enjoy seeing what books our little trading library has to offer (as well as helping it grow), shopping with the Scholastic Reading Club, and exploring the many libraries that are an easy drive from the preschool! If you have any insider tips for any of the libraries above, shout out in the comments below! Feel free to email me at blog@bothellfamilycoop.org if you have any additional comments or ideas for future blog posts!

Talking to Kids About Martin Luther King Jr., Racism, and Civil Rights

by Julia H.

I've got good news for you! Right now, during the preschool years, generally between the ages of 3 and 5, is the time during which kids start categorizing the people in their community by race. This is also the age at which children begin to form what can become life-long racial stereotypes. While this may seem intimidating or even downright scary, this actually means that right now, while ensconced in the supportive environment of a cooperative preschool, you have the chance to help your child overcome the biases that are present in our culture, and helping them to become the sort of people who stand up for equality.

So...how, exactly, does one do that? It's a good question, and I'm glad you asked!
 

  • Talk explicitly about the fact that people with different skin colors are equally capable of doing the same jobs, having the same interests and hobbies, that they can be equally smart, etc. Research has demonstrated that the "colorblind" approach, where diversity is deliberately included in books and media (and especially in children's books and media), but not necessarily explicitly discussed, doesn't work. Specifically, in the absence of explicit discussions about race, kids tend to pick up on the cultural zeitgeist, with the result that longstanding racial biases will be maintained.

  • It's great to talk about the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his great work as an organizer and leader of the Civil Rights movement this week. It's also great to talk about MLK Jr. next week, and the week after that. It's also great to talk about the other prominent individuals who fought for equality in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, as well as to talk about the civil rights issues that various individuals and groups are working hard to address today - in other words, make this a topic you come back to, again and again, and don't be afraid to admit that there's still work to be done.

  • Talk about melanin! It might sound silly, but explaining that the same pigment that gives some people black hair, some people brown hair, some red hair, and some blonde hair...and the same pigment that gives some people blue eyes, some green, and some brown...that same pigment gives some people brown skin, and some people lighter skin, along a whole spectrum from very pale to very dark. 

  • Give age-appropriate tips that can help them be more inclusive. Simple things like encouraging children to notice if someone is being left out of a game, and helping them to ask, "do you want to play with me?" can go a long way when it comes to including others. Teaching empathy helps, too!

  • Model the behavior you want to see. As always, the best way to teach your kids to treat others equally is to do it yourself. Sometimes that may require some deep introspection, including identifying your own areas for improvement on fighting racial biases. It's okay! We all have work to do, and your kids will learn a lot by watching you do the work!

Oh, and, of course - consult other sources! Here's a great blog post with more tips about discussing the civil rights movement.

Starting off 2018 with BFCP Fun!

by Florence B.

Happy New Year, BFCP friends! I hope you all had a wonderful Winter Break (and got to enjoy that fun snowfall surprise!!) and are ready to enjoy the new year with your BFCP friends! After a quiet December, get ready for a fun-filled January packed with activities like excursions, Pajama Day, and parent meetings with maybe a little surprise at the end!

OK, so we’ve got lots of stuff to cover on the blog today thanks to the teachers and curriculum team picking one and two of my favorite children’s authors and places to visit, respectively! Let’s start with what you’ll find at the school this month. For themes, you’ll see Snow and Ice, Animals in Winter, and Martin Luther King Day (and BTW, make sure you mark your calendar that there’s NO school on Mon, Jan 15th to honor said day). Downstairs, the dramatic play area will be converted into a Ranger Station and Bear Cave (go ahead and admit it—you’re as excited as I am to see what the Curriculum Team comes up with!).

And speaking of Bear Caves, see how our Winter Bear Cave bulletin board changes over the month! The 2/3 Class will be taking home and decorating a star shape to make our bear cave shine. The older two classes will be taking home and decorating a snowperson shape so our bear cave can have some snowy fun while the bears sleep the winter away. Also for the older three classes, don’t worry about changing out of your PJs on either Jan 10 or 11—it’s Pajama Day! Just don’t forget to bring a change of clothes for outdoor play—no snoozing at school during that time!

Outside of class, let’s talk about our January Parent Meetings! The baby class will get to enjoy a family brunch potluck at the preschool to kick off the fun this weekend. Then, next week, the rest of the classes will meet up for their individual class meetings. Unlike our past meetings, these meetings (except for the baby class) will take place at a class member’s home, so make sure to pay close attention to the address when you hear more from your teacher and class coordinator! This required meeting will be using a group process called “Temperature Reading” in order to improve our preschool in a fun way that also builds class community. For even more fun, classes can decide whether to do a white elephant gift exchange at the end of the meeting! The PreK class’s meeting will also include a Kindergarten Panel, so make sure to bring your questions, enthusiasm, and excitement (because it’s KINDERGARTEN!!). If you’re curious about what else the instructors are up to this month, they get to go on their 3-day annual instructor retreat at the end of the month!

OK, so here’s where I start jumping up and down with excitement, because I get to talk about the author of the month AND the planned excursions for the month (*gets up from computer to do said jumping up and down and working off those holiday calories as a bonus*)! So, I don’t really make a big deal about the author of the month, but this month’s author is Karma Wilson!

*crickets*

You know…author of the Bear Snores On series?

OK! That got some of you readers’ attention!

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*Phew* I’m not the only one who adores this series! Don’t worry, if you still have no idea who or what I’m talking about, you’ll get a treat this month when you get to check out some of her books! Her current Bear series (my favorite and probably most recognizable series of hers) has eight main books and are such a delight to read with the beautifully illustrated pages and entertaining, rhyming story. There’s Bear (of course) experiencing different life adventures with his friends Mouse, Hare (or rabbit to my kids since as far as they’re concerned, long ears means bunny or rabbit…even in a rhyming story where the animal has to rhyme with an “air” word), Badger, Gopher, Mole, Wren, Raven, and Owl (who is introduced in one of the books dealing with making new friends with a shy friend). I’d say go check out this author if you haven’t yet…but luckily you will anyway in school! Woohoo! For fans who are ready for the next stage in enjoying this series, check out her site here for some additional fun activities and printables like making Bear Masks and Bear Paper Bag Puppets!

And now…

Let’s.

Talk.

EXCURSIONS!!!

For those of you in the older two classes, get ready to go on an adventure to Adventure Children’s Theatre in Country Village towards the end of the month (check your folder and Facebook for more details!). For readers not familiar with the place, you can learn more about them here and here. At this fun and lively children’s theater, you’ll get to go on an adventure with Zero & Somebody!

Coming from someone who loves Country Village, if you haven’t been there before, make sure to hang around and explore the place! You’ll find chickens and roosters roaming around as you explore the various shops, a pirate ship for your little ones to climb aboard and sail the “open seas,” and a separate playground a few shops away from the ship. Country Village has a unique feel to it, so don’t forget to explore on your way to and from Adventure Children’s Theatre, the place “where kindness is rewarded, sacrifice is honored and everybody sings about it!”

Also later in the month, the toddler and 2/3 classes get to explore Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett!! Keep an eye out for more details in your folders and on Facebook about the excursion! If you haven’t been to the place before, it’s an amazing children’s museum—and when I say museum, I’m not talking about the hands-off kind! This museum is meant for little ones touching and interacting with the different museum exhibits, so “don’t touch that!” does not need to leave your mouth while at the museum! If you have been here before but not recently, get ready to check out their remodeled railroad area; I’m looking forward to seeing the new train exhibit the most! Check out their website at here.

 
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Insider tips for the museum:

1) There is paid parking outside ($3 for 0-3 hrs or $8 for all day), so make sure you get your stall number and head to the pay machine (keep your receipt, you don’t need to go back and leave it in your car).

2) There’s a fun water exploration room; smocks are available, but you may want to bring a change of clothes and shoes for your kiddo just in case!

3) There’s an amazing outdoor play area on the roof with a play structure, percussion instruments, and dinosaur dig area, so don’t leave your warm winter clothes in the car (there’s a coat room near the entrance if you don’t want to haul a coat around while inside).

4) Leave strollers at home! There’s a stroller parking area at the entrance (indoors), but you can’t bring it past the entrance gate inside the museum.

5) If your kiddo starts to feel overwhelmed by bigger kids, there’s a gated play room just for babies and toddlers with a small play structure and air machine inside. Or, if your little one is feeling just plain overwhelmed, you can go up the stairs by the tree house and find a reading nook at the top of the stairs to the right, which is usually pretty calm and quiet.

6) If you get hungry, head downstairs for vending machine snacks. There are tables for you to eat, but if you want to eat something other than vending machine snacks, you’ll have to bring your own lunch and/or healthy snacks or buy from one of the restaurants around the museum.

*Phew* I’m not sure if it’s obvious, but I love that museum!

Well, we’ve seen how January is packed with fun, so how about a little sneak peek into February? I’ve got some important dates for your calendar!

Feb 6 and 8: SMILE! It’s Photo Day during class time!

Feb 5 - 16: In-house registration!! Don’t let the fun stop; reserve your spot for the 2018-2019 BFCP school year!

Feb 19-23: Mid-Winter Break; no school this week!

That’s it for today’s post! If you have any comments or suggestions for future posts, sound off in the comments below or send me an email at blog@bothellfamilycoop.org

The sneaky self-comparison connection between being grateful and developing positive self-image

by Julia H.

So, I kid you not, there I was, on Facebook during the school break looking at everyone's holiday pictures. In our household, I tend to be the parent who is responsible for creating the holiday magic - I make costumes at Halloween, help get Valentine's cards signed and sorted out for classroom celebrations, and, in December, I make or otherwise acquire, wrap, and display the gifts, stuff the stockings, put up lights, etc. So, looking at everyone else's holiday displays, it was very difficult not to compare my efforts to everyone else's. Wow, Audrey and Chris's pile of gifts is HUGE, I didn't even think to decorate cookies like Eric and Jay did, and wow, Amy's house is so clean, and she's a single mom working two jobs, how does she even manage that? Every time I thought about how my efforts stacked up to those of others, it left me feeling worse, with my efforts seeming more meager by comparison. It was heading to a bad place, and quickly. And, more than that, I thought about how soon enough my kids would be heading back to school, where, undoubtedly, they would be hearing stories about other kids' holiday extravaganzas. How could I protect them from feeling the way I did when I compared our holiday to everyone else's.

Taking a step away from the internet, I thought about what made me feel good about our holiday efforts, things like the fact that, this year, I made a lot of our gifts by hand, that we made more time to connect with our friends during the holiday break than we had in previous years. All the examples I could think of involved making a self-comparison, between myself and my efforts now, and myself and my efforts in previous years. Because these comparisons let me reflect on how I've changed, it's easy to see things in a more positive light. Turns out there's lots of psychological research to back this up - if you're interested in going down a rabbit hole, you can read all about Social Comparison Theory (originally proposed by psychologist Leon Festinger in the 1950s).

So, how can we help kids to avoid comparing their holiday gifts, and, by extension, themselves, to others? And what can we do when our kids tell us that so-and-so got a brand new ipad, and why didn't they?
 

  • Establish a family tradition where you practice self-comparisons. It's New Year's, why not take a moment to ask everyone in the family what is something that they feel like they are better at this year than they were last year?

  • Acknowledge that, yes, there are differences between what your child received as a gift, is capable of doing without help, or whatever the comparison to another person might be, then redirect to a more appropriate self-comparison. "Yes, they got an ipad. Do you remember what gifts you received? Which gift was your favorite? What is something that you really like about that gift?"

  • If your child is worried that someone is better at some skill than they are, it might be worth talking about practice and how it impacts skill - but also talk about the importance of fun. "Yes, Colton is better at soccer than you. Colton plays soccer every day for at least an hour a day, and when you do something a lot, you tend to get better at it. Do you have fun when you play soccer? Is it something you want to do more, and practice to get better, or do you like it just the way it is?"
  • Model positive self-comparison, and, if you find yourself comparing yourself to others, try to frame it in a context of positive self comparison. "Wow, I really wish I could decorate our house the way our neighbors do each year. But, you know what? I decided to spend my time making gifts instead of buying them at the store, and I feel good about that. It meant I didn't have as much time for fancy decorations, but I am still really proud of the work that I did."

How do you help teach your kids not to compare themselves to others? Send your tips to weeklysqueak@bothellfamilycoop.org and you may be featured in a future Squeak!

Teacher Feature: An Interview With Teacher Angela

by Florence B.

Florence: Thank you, Angela, for joining me on the blog today with an interview! Outdoor play is such a valuable component of Bothell Family Cooperative Preschool, and I’m thrilled to continue with another outdoor play post with you, our fabulous Outdoor Instructor!

 
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Florence: After reading your brief biography on the BFCP website, I was delighted to discover you have quite the history in the school! How did you become a part of BFCP back when you were in high school?

Angela: When I was a senior in HS, I took a child education class from Shorecrest HS that required 4 days a week in a child facility working with children, i.e., daycare, elementary school, co-op. The then HS teacher I was taking the class from was friends with Nola who was the LFPC teacher at the time. I helped with two of the classes for half of the year. One of the classes included Teacher Kathy’s daughter Jamie.

Florence: Why did you decide to come back as a parent, and how have you and the school changed since you were in high school?

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Angela: From my brief time helping out in HS, I knew that a co-op was something I really wanted to be a part of. One thing that is different for me, is that I finally learned what goes on in that magical parent ed room. ; ) The biggest change is that the school moved from their house in Lake Forest Park to the newly remodeled house in Bothell. Also that they thankfully now have an outdoor teacher.

Florence: Was there a certain moment that made you go “A ha! I want to be part of BFCP as a teacher!”?

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Angela: I was getting tired of working in accounting and wanted to go back to a more rewarding job as I had in the past working with children. I also really liked the school and comradery with the teachers. It was about this time that the opening for an outdoor teacher became available. I am so happy that I have been able to be a part of the team of teachers, parents, and children.

Florence: In your different roles over the years at BFCP, are there any favorite moments that stick out in your mind that you’d like to share?

Angela: Nothing particular as there are so many, but that I love watching the children grow over the few years I have them. Not just in size, but more how they relate with each other.

Florence: What are your main goals as the Outdoor Instructor at BFCP?

Angela: My main goal would be to have fun with the kids and hope that they learn about nature while they’re here.

Florence: Building off the last question, what would be your ideal day for outdoor play at the school (e.g. weather, activities, a genie popped by and granted you a wish for the school and you went with ___!)?

Angela: My ideal day would be snow and cold enough weather that we could make ice sculptures to color or sled.

Florence: Do you have any advice for families struggling to find outdoor activities for their little ones?

Angela: Pinterest has some great ideas.

Florence: Any advice for outdoor rainy day fun as we hit the rainy season?

Angela: Other than finding some great puddles, maybe taking a walk and look for banana slugs.

Florence: Switching back to put the focus on what you love to do outside of BFCP, I loved reading about some of your hobbies! Tell us about those chicken of yours and how did you get into that?

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Angela: Funny thing about the chickens, I didn’t want them, my husband did as he had them as a child. Our first batch was 6 roosters, (no hens) that we got from a lady who got them from her daughter’s school that bought eggs to hatch in class and raised them for a week. Then she took them home after they had been hand fed and continued to hand feed them until they started crowing and the neighbors and city said they had to find a new home. Since they were hand fed they were very sweet and followed us everywhere in our yard like chicks following their Mama hen. When we had one left after feeding the local wildlife, his name was Eagle and he would even follow us into our mudroom and sit on a bench to watch us. When he got sick we were quite sad and had to leave town that night. I don’t know how, but we talked my Mom (chicken Grandma at the time) into taking him to a vet. $125 after they tried to fix him and he lasted until a little after we got home. My husband’s coworkers joked that they could get chicken for $3/pound. We had to remind them they were pets, like a parrot. Ever since then we have had chickens, including a lot of hand me downs. I’ve decided since then that they can be quite nice, fun to watch, and they eat most of our food scraps.

Florence: What is the most elaborate item you’ve made with your sewing skills?

Angela: I like to sew, but am not really that good as I have a good old fashioned machine and have had no lessons. I did have the opportunity to make my daughter a dragonfly costume last year, complete with sparkly foam double wings, all without a pattern since I couldn’t find one. ;)

Florence: What kind of board games do you like, and how competitive are you?

Angela: Clue is my favorite. I’m not really competitive for most games, I just hope to win. ; )

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Florence: How much of a green thumb do you really have on a scale of: me (where I manage to kill any plant of mine by looking at it) to 10?

Angela: Haha, on a scale of brown to green, probably black. I do have a few plants that I’ve held on to for a few years that are doing well. I love to look at them in my window sills.

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Florence: Finally (last but certainly not least and most likely best), tell us about that wonderful family of yours!

Angela: My husband named Jason who is also the BFCP lawnmower has a fun imagination like me and will dress up for fun to attend events line Goonies weekend in Astoria, OR. When we got married he wanted to dress up as a knight to be my “knight in shining armor” with a bonus of keeping the armor for display at our house, but we couldn’t find one, so we rode off on a white horse instead. My son Greyson is now 9 and loves to put things together, like legos or anything using tools. My daughter Elora turned 7 on Halloween and loves being a Halloween baby. She likes being at school all day this year and playing with her friends. She likes organizing things, whether it’s little toys or getting everyone in the family together to tell them anything she can think of.

Florence: Thank you so much, Angela, for doing the interview and letting us learn a little bit more about you! I’m sure I speak for the rest of the younger classes by saying that I can’t wait to have you as a teacher for my little one!