Spring 2020

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The spring of 2020 was probably the most uncertain time of all of our lives. I felt like I was waiting for something but didn’t know what I was waiting for nor when it was going to get here. It was an eerie feeling.

Kind of like that feeling before a snow storm. Although the spring of 2020 gave us so much to consider, I noticed it was a breathtakingly beautiful spring. The most beautiful spring I can remember. Unfortunately, our springs in this area have been reduced to a couple of weeks at best. This spring the colors were vibrant and vivid. The blooms were heavy, long lasting and big. The pear trees didn’t shed nearly as quickly as they usually do.

The sky was even bluer. We had a LOT of rain and unseasonably cool temperatures. This resulted in a technicolor spring. There are so many lilac bushes in Miss Amy’s neighborhood I could smell them every time we went outside. The tulips, daffodils, dogwood, red-buds all the early bloomers, really showed off. It gave me some comfort.

Getting to know the upstairs children took me out of my comfort zone and kept me on my toes as they are not easily impressed. We turned everything into a project. How many buckets does it take to return the sand to the playground from the dump buckets? The answer was 87.

We documented new birds that came to the feeders we made.

Mr. Peanuts, our squirrel, does indeed like peanuts although it took him 11 days to find them. Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were very social, they made some duck friends and they all slept in the puddles outside.

We learned the Hand Jive – Bob Bop Clap Clap Side to Side. Everyone is very coordinated except for me. I made Bananas Foster French Toast with whipped cream. It was delicious! Now we are all back where we are more accustomed to being. It feels like home. We planted some impatiens but they failed to come up. We planted basil instead. We also turned grass seed, selfies, and plastic cups into a “Chia Pet”. We continued our seasonal tree art collaboration that was inspired by a project from a few years ago.

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Until next time,

Ms. Micha

TGI Fun Day!

Most people think Memorial Day weekend is the “unofficial” beginning of summer – little do they know; the OFFICIAL unofficial beginning of summer is Fun Day Friday at Miss Amy’s!

Fun Day may have looked a little different this year – our classes and playgrounds are separated, we had to forego water play activities, but none of that was able to put a damper on our fun!

Laissez le bon temps rouler!

The morning began with a little fog, and we excitedly watched it lift as we munched on fresh strawberries from our bountiful strawberry patch. YUM! We waited with bated breath for all of our friends to arrive and busied ourselves with quite the rousing game of GIANT checkers.

Giant Checkers!

At last! All of our friends arrived and so we gathered our paints, bubbles, and games. We slathered on the sunscreen and headed for the sandbox! Some of our friends enjoyed the bowling game. They seemed to get quite the kick out of seeing who could stand the pins up the fastest and most successfully!

While other friends took advantage of the beautiful morning and gathered all their tools to create a volcano surrounded by a river.

“A” was thrilled with her watercolor squirt bottle masterpiece.

Alas, into each of our lives, a little rain must fall. So, when it did, we grabbed our games and bubbles and ran for the upstairs porch. We enjoyed some more bowling, bubble-blowing, and some Beach Boys tunes. “Surfin’ USA” was a very popular song and may have incited a little (or maybe a lot…) of dancing.

C, R, & C were sad that our neighbors couldn’t come have fun day with us so they decided it would be a nice thing to blow bubbles into the air and hope they would find their way across the fence. What thoughtful boys!

We also managed to squeeze in a very intense game of “Simon Says” [*Spoiler alert* The teacher :::ahem::: was not the victor.] These guys are pro-level! Their favorite? ‘Simon says…”be a pretzel”’.

Finally, the rain subsided and we headed for the sandbox once again to complete the construction of our volcano & river. We also put the finishing touches on our paintings.

One advantage of working with children is viewing life through their eyes. Despite all of the changes in our world and in our lives, all we saw on Fun Day was FUN!! That, and ice cream sundaes.

Miss Stephanie

THE BABY CARRIAGE 2000

Yesterday had all appearances of being an unremarkable day. It was a rainy and somewhat chilly day, so we opted to spend our morning indoors. Of course, we would rather be playing in the fresh air but we were determined to not let an indoor day dampen our spirits.

As the morning unfolded, the imaginations of our young friends began to engage in dramatic play. They discovered a couple of babies and proceeded to imitate life and the world around them in the shape of family. Almost immediately they began to collaborate by assessing what these babies needs will be. They shared their thoughts and ideas and they strategized what they would need and how they would go about caring for these babies.

Their problem solving paid off and it was decided that a baby carriage would be a good start. So “C” flexed his excellent engineering muscles and set about designing the perfect baby carriage for their new little ones. As everyone made suggestions, “C” incorporated them into the plan and had me label all the ‘important parts’. Let me tell you this carriage has all the bells and whistles. It is a two-seater with lights, a phone charger, and a drink holder. It also has music capabilities with some pre-recorded songs ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and ‘Rock A Bye Baby’. It will even include assembly instructions. After completing the specifications “C” dubbed his creation “The Baby Carriage 2000” and everyone applauded their approval.

“A” found a telephone and called in the order to ‘Amazon’. After the order was placed, she proclaimed “Maybe it will get here today!!” which made us all very excited and happy. My gears were quickly set into motion as I thought of a way to take this idea a bit further. I quickly sent Miss Jasmine downstairs to retrieve our baby carriage. When she arrived at the door with the carriage in hand our girls were so thrilled, they cheered in excitement and “C” stood with his hands on his hips nodding and smiling.

The remains of our day were spent taking turns with the carriage and taking care of our very happy babies.

Miss Stephanie

Picture This!

Happy Saturday! I just wanted to take a second to let y’all know about the new art themed picture based blog post series I’m about to start up. Each week, I take oodles of pictures of the art that your wonderful children are producing day in and day out and I wanted a way to share this outside of my normal blog posts. So, every few weeks, I’m going to update “Picture This!” with new pictures of our recent art! Don’t worry, still the same blog, just a running series of posts within and I’ll always call it “Picture This!” Excitement! Now, without further ado…

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The kids love this book, so I thought we’d find a way to incorporate it into an art activity!

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In case you’ve never read Sneezy the Snowman, he melts over and over again because he’s too cold and keeps trying to warm himself up by drinking hot chocolate, sitting in a hot tub, and standing by a fire.

Here’s a link to a reading of Sneezy the Snowman on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RiHfYElP-M

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First we painted snowmen and decorated them and then, using straws, we blew our snowmen into oblivion!

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Looks like a melted snowman to me!

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Next, we decided to take normal Play-Doh to the next level and draw on it!

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Each child got their own hunk of white Play-Doh and then took to it with markers.

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And once they’d finished drawing on it, we mixed it up with great success! Beautiful!

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Played with our Play-Doh…

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And even practiced our letters.

Our end result: Play-Doh as unique as each child’s imagination and a great future toy!

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We also tried our hand at replicating snowflakes!

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All we had to do was place tape on watercolor paper in the shape of snowflakes…

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Paint…

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And pull the tape off!

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Not one snowflake like any other!

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With Pajama Day coming up and yet another book we all love, we started making our very own red pajamas from all manner of materials, including tape, noodles, and glitter.

Here’s a link to a reading of Llama Llama Red Pajama on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HD1g3P-nKWo

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After we were finished decorating our pajamas, we could move on to the next step of making sure we put heads, hands, and feet on our pajamas.

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Because headless pajama would be scary – Eek!

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Some of us wanted to use yarn for our hair and others just used pencils and crayons.

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But either way, we drew our faces, painted our hands, and stamped our feet and soon had…

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Pajama clad versions of ourselves to take home on Pajama Day!

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We also painted many a picture over the past few weeks, something we quite love to do.

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You just can’t go wrong with paint!

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Our creations included this car, which looks like it came straight out of a children’s book…

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And the Moaning Lisa!

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We circled back around to snowflakes and tried our hand at decorating them too.

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Once more, not a snowflake too similar!

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We had a few sensory tables thrown into the mix as well!

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Here, our biodegradable packing peanuts are dissolving in water…

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Being squished by children…

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and rolling around in a bucket of shredded paper “snow!”

Can you tell yet how desperately we are hoping it will snow very very soon?

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Finally, we built things, drew things, and just played and had fun!

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Wiki Sticks!

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Spaghetti and Meatballs!

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Melty Beads

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Loose Parts

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Look at that structure!

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HAPPINESS!

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It’s only a snapshot – I take at least a hundred pictures a week – but hopefully it brings you into our world of art and exploration. Until next time!

~ Miss Kt, Clubhouse Kids Teacher & Atelierista (Art Teacher)

A Blast From the (Recent) Past

Hey y’all, it’s been a while since we last posted, but – oh buddy, let me tell you – this holiday season has been crazy! From Trick-or-Treating with all the kids at Halloween, to Thanksgiving, to our annual Christmas party, to New Years, it has been a very busy time. Just add fifty odd children, some snow, sand, freezing pipes, and general chaos and that about sums us up! But, in the best way possible. We’re getting ready and raring for a fantastic next year, but first I think we should do one final recap of some of the fun things we did last year. I’ll warn you now, it’s going to be a long one!

Reminiscence #1: Pumpkin Slime!

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Between Halloween and Thanksgiving, at the height of fall wonder, we decided it would be fun to make some pumpkin slime. All we needed was some hot water, glue, borax, and orange food coloring and we were in business. Our end result was gooey and slimy, slick, but sticky. Sometimes it stretched out and sometimes it snapped right in half. We could mold it into different shapes and watch as it melted back into a gelatinous mess. It was a great opportunity to explore a new material and tons of fun too!

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Making the “Great Wall of Slime-uh” (Hehe, get it? Great Wall of China, Slime-uh?)

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We also really enjoyed writing our names in slime before it became one giant puddle!

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And, last but not least, where would we be without a slime highway to get us from place to place!

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Reminiscence #2: Preserving Fall Leaves

If you’ve never tried to preserve some fall flora between two sheets of wax paper, I’d highly recommend it! All you have to do is find some leaves, grass, or flowers, and gently iron them between wax paper. Depending on what you choose to preserve and what you want it to look like, you could create a great little picture like the one below. Alistair was very careful in his placement of his leaves and grass so that he could create a wonderful scene of two leaf people. I personally think they are Mom and Dad leaves and are walking hand in hand with their leaf baby. He even gave them smiling faces! Too cute!

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Reminiscence #3: Magnifying Glass Fun

Remember when you were a kid and you first discovered the strange and mystifying magnifying glass? Of course you spent the next hour running around your house or school, magnifying everything humanly possible. But, no matter what you found and made big, nothing ever compared to making your own face strange and distorted. Gigantic eyes – all the better to see you with, and a huge mouth – all the better to eat… er, smile at you with!

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Reminiscence #4: Construction Zone Ahead

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Here at Miss Amy’s, we really really like to build things. In the above picture, Astrid decided to craft Santa’s sleigh and if she’d had the time to build eight reindeer and hook them up to the sleigh, she’d have done that too. And, by golly, if she could have put in an “electronic chip,” she’d have been well on her way to making it fly “like a drone.” Isn’t imagination wonderful?!

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A few other things that have been built lately include Astrid’s skyscraper (above), two lovely “tornado” proof shelters for when Hurricane Kt hit, and sand castles, just for the joy of experiencing what packed wet sand can be sculpted into.

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Speaking of packed wet sand, some of the children decided to test their engineering skills and wanted to build sand bridges. They started out trying to use the wet stand to build bridges above ground, above a river they’d dug out, but it wasn’t working. The sand kept falling off and breaking. It just wasn’t sturdy enough. That’s when they got the idea to try building bridges by digging tunnels. When the sand is dry, tunneling never works, but this time, they were able to make a complex system of tunnels or bridges. They even tried digging a tunnel so big that they could crawl through it!

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Reminiscence #5: Wearable Creations

When I was a kid, I remember spending endless hours pretending to be different animals. Sometimes I was a bird sitting on a nest of pine needles I’d scraped together around myself and sometimes I was a big cat, stalking through grass and hunting my prey. But, no matter what I was doing, I imagined myself transformed into that creature. At the time, it was the best I had. I didn’t have access to tons of paper and glue, scissors, tape, and string. I only had my own imagination. The children here though, have far more. Instead of just imagining they are a shark swimming through the water, they can make it real.

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I don’t know about you, but that’s one terrifying shark to me!

Some of the older kids like to make other things they can wear too. The other day Astrid made a wonderful paper and string headband that I wore almost the entire day, as well as a funny mesh hat. And not long after that, Raleigh decided he’d lost on eye in battle and needed to make a spectacle so he could see.

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Reminiscence #6: “Shadows”

Oh my goodness, since the kids discovered this, it has been one of the most exciting and fun things to do on a bright sunny morning. When the sunlight shines in through the windows, the children with grab anything that reflects light and cast “shadows,” as they call them, around the room. Then the other children will chase the shadows and try to catch them as the shadow-throwers move them erratically. Sometimes I feel like a disco ball has just dropped from the ceiling with the number of little light balls that are flying around the room!

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Reminiscence #7: Miscellaneous Moments

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We also decorated gingerbread cookies. Tasty!

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And saw the creation of this amazing little frog!

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We were the best of friends…

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And we were thankful for every minute!

Thank you all for such a great year! I had a blast and I’m looking forward to making this coming year even better. There is truly, never a dull moment here, even when all we are doing is playing in the sandbox. We are always learning and growing, learning about physics, chemistry, biology, language, love, the works! And always growing into our best selves. This is the place to be. We love it here and we hope you do to. Happy New Year everyone!

~ Miss Kt, Clubhouse Kids Teacher & Atelierista (Art Teacher)

Robots: Phase 2

Today we have gone 3-dimensional with our robot building and exploration.

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It is fascinating to listen to the children describe what they are building and what each part is on their robot. Some children focus on the outside of the robot…structure. Others, are more concerned with the inside…function. Robots open up to reveal batteries, gears, or other elements. Some have propellers and other special features.

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And all of these rockin’ robots are made with our recyclables and other rather random items from the tinker bins– caps, lids, old tubes, bottles, twist-offs, ties, and stray bits, plus tin cans and painted water bottles and play dough cups.  A little duct tape and some hot glue seals the deal.

 

Robots: Phase 1

Robot exploration has begun these last two weeks in the fours/fives classroom and our atelier speaks to the ways children can build skills while building ‘bots. They began today with simple robot images copied on paper which they combined with shapes they cut from recycled construction paper and their own robot-part drawings. Although the three elements were separate activities, they quickly evolved into a sort of robot factory on the table, with imaginative combinations of drawn, cut, colored and collaged robots.

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The ability to choose helped some children begin with a skill they were already comfortable with (such as coloring) and then challenge themselves to try  one they might be less adept at (cutting), and to combine them. As we progress with our robot building, it will be exciting to see the robots that take form from working in 3-D with various materials. And I can only imagine the number of C3POs and R2D2s we are going to end up with. Stay tuned….

–Miss Lori,  Atelierista

 

 

 

 

The Golden City

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For weeks, the four and five year olds have reveled in creating a 3-D “construction site” made  by glueing many random loose parts on an old chipboard we had lying around in the atelier. The board was secured to a small table, just big enough for two children at a time to sit at and work on the site. A small provocation table sat next to it with a book on castles of Scotland, a basket of found bits such as shells, feathers, marker lids, bag ties, acorns, essentially anything found or normally discarded, and lots of glue. Each duet could work on the site with the only rule being that they couldn’t un-do someone else’s work.

Once we felt we had come to a point of completion, the site was spray painted with gold. The children immediately exclaimed, “A golden city!!!”  We have learned what beauty lies in the collection of small things, carefully assembled and showered with attention. The whole is indeed greater than just the sum of it’s parts.

Miss Lori, Atelierista

Let’s try this together

It’s so nice to see everyone from our classes work together. I tried to capture a few of their moments from this week.
One of the boys from my class was helping a new friend from Miss Maria’s class work on a puzzle, she loves to work on puzzles almost daily.

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Later I found two from my class working together to build a tower using our cardboard blocks. Then it became a challenge, one of our new friends kept running over, knocking the tower down and running off squealing. We finally had to block her from doing this. They had to recruit Miss Jess to help finish the tower once it got too tall for them to add the blocks.

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After the tower fell they began to build a fence using the same blocks. The friend that kept knocking the tower down decided she wanted to help them build a fence, they were hesitant at first but gave in and she helped.

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This morning while we were outside two from my class worked together to fill buckets and a wagon up with water from our rain barrels. It was a challenge at first between them to let the other help but they were very successful at making it work and amazingly they stayed fairly dry this time!

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Have a great weekend!
Miss Susie

This and that…

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Here at Miss Amy’s we play with play-doh almost every day. Popular things to make are of course snakes and worms. We have also been making letters and numbers, pizza and cookies.
Pictured are, from top left to right, pizza, a mountain cake and a compass showing “west and north”, according to its creator. The girl who made the pizza told me that I could not eat her play-doh pizza for real. “It doesn’t taste good. It may give you a belly ache. It may even make you go crazy!” These were great advice that I paid close attention to.

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These are photos showing the Hobgoblin’s castle.

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Blowing bubbles is always fun. Some children become extremely excited!

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In the mulch under our Red Bud tree, we have a fairy house that the children are free to play with any way they chose. On this particular day, it was filled with wooden discs that still has the bark attached to them. The children were having a fire and we’re roasting things over it using sticks.

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One girl carefully arranged a whole basket full of toy animals. She told me that she was feeding them bugs so that they would not go hungry. When she was done, she said that she had made a zoo.

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A girl dressed in a mermaid costume were building a “multi color castle”, those were her exact words. An other child wanted to help her build the castle so I tried to be encouraging, suggesting that some help would be nice. The mermaid clad girl told me that this would not be possible. The castle was “poison” and she was “poison”, therefore only she could touch the castle…

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A river made of wooden blocks!

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A touch wooden castle with a staircase!

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A traffic jam?!

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One of a kind: our one and only spinach plant, our only black currant and one wasp.

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Flowers growing in our yard!

Wishing everyone a good weekend!

– Miss Maria