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.

Seasonal Tree

Until next time,

Ms. Micha

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!

Before I get into this week’s blog post, I wanted to take a moment to express my deep appreciation and gratitude for the job that I have here at Miss Amy’s. I’ve had the pleasure of working here for just over a year and I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without the community here, without the children, and without all of you. I, for one, feel very blessed to be a part of each child’s life. Thank you for that opportunity. Your children are amazing and I learn so much from them, day in and day out. May we never stop listening to their small voices, wrapping them up in our arms, and making sure they know we love them and always will. No. Matter. What.

And, on that happy note, let’s flash back to some of the fun and crazy things we’ve been doing the last few weeks. Of course, we celebrated Easter with an Easter egg hunt and we dyed eggs, but we also decorated some paper Easter eggs and made chocolate chickens.

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Since the kids were obsessed with things popping out of eggs, I made a little chick peeking out of an egg as an example of what they could choose to do with their own paper Easter eggs.

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What they did with their eggs was totally up to them though!

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And boy, did we have some funny looking Easter eggs…

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A few days later, we melted down a bunch of chocolate and poured it into candy molds, making chocolate chicken popsicles for snack!

This past Friday we had our annual Trike-A-Thon, where we raise money for St. Jude’s, so that they can continue fighting childhood cancer and finding ways to improve the lives of those children and their families. Here is a link to more information about these events held nationwide! As for our particular event, we took tons of pictures and have been updating along the way and all of that information can be found on our Facebook page. We had a wonderful time!

In other news, we have been quite into making masks lately. All sorts of fun masks. Beards, sharks, and maybe my face…? I’m really not sure on that one. Sometimes, I just have to sit back and laugh at some of the silly things that happen here.

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Speaking of funny things, when one of the kids learned about my upcoming birthday and they found out how old I’d be turning, they looked at me for a moment and pondered my answer, before announcing, “You’re going to die sooner than I thought you were.” Good gracious, I about fell over I was laughing so hard. Only a child. It made my day.

Another incident that made my day was the dancing down on the porch. We recently put a speaker down on the porch, so children could listen to music in the afternoons. We plugged in our iPod and have been playing Music Together songs and some of the children have really been getting into it. They grab scarves and just rock out to the songs. It’s hard not to smile when you see a two year old getting down to “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”

Here’s just a smattering of beautiful paintings courtesy of the kids.

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And last, but definitely not least, we have officially begun working on our fall art exhibit. I’m going to keep the theme a surprise for now, but here’s a sneak peak at some of the work we’re doing. And, as always, here’s the link to more photos from the past few weeks.

It’s going to be great! Right now, we’re gearing up for the summer and are getting ready for the long sunny days ahead. Here’s to hoping the clouds clear up and the rain, rain goes away and comes again another day.

~ 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)

Is It Dead?

For the first time in a long time, there was a chill in the air, a nose nipping cold that warned of the impending winter. The wind blew restlessly through the crystal clear sky causing Camille to scrunch tighter into herself. Though the sun was shining down from the cloudless heavens, she had no hope of warming her skin in its rays. She was simply too small, her legs too stubby, her limps too frozen to make the long journey to the sidewalk where she would find the balmy sanctuary. So instead, Camille curled up into a little ball. She was determined to outlast the cold. Surely, given enough time, it would warm up and she could gather the strength to make the trek. Settling in, Camille had just accepted her fate when the ground started shaking. Giant feet fell from the sky, stamping all around her. It was terrifying! Fearful for her life, she rolled herself into the smallest ball she could. She was trying to look dead, trying to hide in plain sight and at first, it seemed to be working.

“Look! A caterpillar!” Blaire yelled, stooping down to prod the little ball with his fingers.

When Camille didn’t move immediately, Blaire grew concerned. Poking at her again, this time with more oomph, Blaire vocalized, “Is it dead?”

Becoming aware that there was a potential pet caterpillar in the works, another child ran over to see what was happening. Falling to his knees by Blaire, the other child, named Lenny, watched as Blaire nudged Camille a third time.

“Maybe he got stepped on,” Blaire announced, a sense of prideful satisfaction lacing his tone.

In Blaire’s mind, there could be no other solution. The caterpillar was curled up and not moving. Death was the answer.

“Let’s step on him more!” Lenny replied enthusiastically, thinking that if Camille was already dead, squishing her guts all over the floor wouldn’t matter one way or another.

“NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOO!” Camille screamed in her tiny caterpillar voice, trying to wiggle out of her ball. But, before she could manage that much movement, another voice echoed her sentiment.

“What?! No! Don’t step on it! That’s not very nice. How would you like it if someone came out of nowhere and stepped on you?”

Lenny looked back over his shoulder in the direction of the voice with an apologetic and simultaneously guilty face, putting his foot back down on the ground without crushing Camille. Breathing a small sigh of relief, Camille relaxed, but only a little. She still had no idea what the two boys hovering over her had in store for her.

“Please don’t hurt me,” she whimpered.

Meanwhile, above her, the boys were oblivious to her pleas and lost in their own world of deduction.

“Maybe he’s sleeping,” Blaire said, rolling her over to see if she would move at all.

“I think he’s dead,” Lenny disagreed, “But, he can still be our pet caterpillar. Let’s go get a bucket.”

“Okay!”

Running off to get a bucket, the boys left Camille to herself. Not sure what being a “pet caterpillar” would mean and already concerned given that just moments ago they wanted to step on her, Camille tried her hardest to unravel, but she was just too weak. Before she knew it, the boys were back and had scooped her up into a cold steel bucket. Thankfully though, they didn’t do much to her. Most of their conversation was still centered around whether or not she was alive.

“I’m alive! I’m alive!” she yelled, but to no avail.

“Hey, let’s go put some sand in the bucket for him,” Blaire decided, already up and running off to the sandbox with Lenny in tow.

When they got down to the sunny sandbox, they plopped the bucket down and started sprinkling sand on top of her. Spluttering, Camille ever so slightly shook off the granules. It was the smallest of movements, but it was enough to get her moving. Down here in the sandbox, she was bathed in sunlight. Its beams were soaking into her body and it was like waking up after a long long nap. Little by little, she started to stretch out. Despite her squirming though, she was still being drenched in sand.

Suddenly, the same voice that saved her life from earlier appeared again, “Blaire, hand me the bucket for a minute. Are you sure the caterpillar is dead?”

“He’s not moving,” Blaire answered.

“Just let me see the bucket for a sec, buddy.”

Reluctantly, Blaire handed over the bucket and a giant brown eye swam over its rim, staring down at her. Knowing that this person was the only one who thought she wasn’t dead, Camille renewed her stretching efforts. Slowly she unfurled her whole body and made a show of shaking herself off.

“Blaire, look! See? It’s moving. The caterpillar’s not dead,” the voice announced, letting the boys peer into the bucket as Camille danced away to prove the statement true.

“Yeah!” Lenny yelled enthusiastically, “Caterpillar’s alive!”

“Come on! Let’s go play with him,” Blaire said.

“Okay,” Lenny nodded, following Blaire back up to the porch, musing about the caterpillar as he went, “Maybe he likes the sun…”

From that moment on, the boys and Camille had a lot of fun together. Warmed from her time in the sun, returning to the porch was not a problem and the boys were much kinder to Camille once they knew she was alive and crawling around. All day they played together, Blaire and Lenny making sure nobody stepped on Camille. It was so much fun! And at the end of the day, the boys let Camille loose and everybody went home to sleep soundly and play again another day.

 

~ Miss Kt, Clubhouse Kids Teacher

Cry Wolf!

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Barter Stage II

At Miss Amy’s we are so lucky to operate in a town that has so many interesting things to do and see. One of our favorite experiences is the Barter Theatre. The Barter is  one of the longest running professional theatres in the nation. We are very blessed that they offer a troupe of actors (The Barter Players) that specialize in performances for young audiences.

Every year the children look forward to watching the plays. It’s a big deal to them! They get a little “dressed up” and they work on using their best manners. We walk through our wonderful town exploring the sights.

We couldn’t have a trip to Stage II without stopping at the “wishing fountain”.

Then we were off to the show. We saw “Cry Wolf“. It’s a fantastic play written by the wonderful Catherine Bush. It was a mash-up of many classic stories. The kids absolutely loved it! They were on the edge of their seats for the entire show. It’s my absolute favorite thing to watch first timers when the lights dim. They have no idea what’s about to happen, but are immediately captivated  every time.  It is so rewarding for them to witness kind of art!

This quote from a Huffington Post article, entitled How Theater for Young People Could Save the World  really illustrates the benefits the children get from the experience.

” Theater is like a gym for empathy. It’s where we can go to build up the muscles of compassion, to practice listening and understanding and engaging with people that are not just like ourselves. We practice sitting down, paying attention and learning from other people’s actions. We practice caring.”

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We had a fantastic time at the theatre. You might have heard us howling all the way home…

-Miss Amber

 

Arrival of the Autumn Fairy

For two weeks the atelier has been a hub of leaves and sticks, a host to hues of gold, russet and brown, and the center of what may be a new ritual: the creation of the Autumn Fairy.  With chicken wire, an iron stand, a styrofoam head, and lots of found materials, recycled paintings, and fall nature treasures we worked until we felt she was ready. Meet the ironically named April,  our Autumn Fairy:

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The children were nearly obsessed with her having a head. We began with her skirt, but they continually asked for her to have a head. They proposed using everything from a smoothie bottle from someone’s lunch to an osage orange from the Fall findings basket. The first head attempt comically failed, but the new realistic one was greeted with relief. The children said she needed pink lips. “She must have them!” Her final embellishment was a stream of thankfulness ribbons woven into her skirt- streaming down with each child’s statement of what they are most thankful for in this season of gratitude.

A happy, grateful Thanksgiving to all. –Miss Lori, Atelierista

 

 

 

Cowboy Camp

Howdy! Last week  at Miss Amy’s was our first music camp of the summer! It was Cowboy themed. We worked hard and had A LOT of fun!   

We started our mornings off by going over the cowboy code, listening to cowboy songs, and coloring! 

When Miss Janet, our music teacher, arrived the real fun started ! She taught the kids some wonderful cowboy songs! They sang and danced and even learned how to play recorders!  

  
After singing and dancing it was time for crafts! We did so many and the kids works very hard on them. I liked them all, but I think the pool noodle horses were my favorite! 

  
     

We love to play so we couldn’t forget games!  The kids had a blast tossing horseshoes and racing on the pony express! They learned how to milk a “cow” and even tried their luck at panning for gold, and I’m sure they will always remeber to check their boots for snakes !  

  On the last day of camp the kids put on a wonderful performance for their parents!   They learned so much and were eager to show off a little! It was a busy week but I know the can’t wait until our next camp! 
-Miss Amber 

Road Under Contruction

The past few days there have been a few boys making a new road (on the sidewalk in the sand box) . I’m not certain who started by putting all the sand on the sidewalk but it made an opportunity to start contruction and so the work began.

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They told me “we have to make the road flat”. They have tried to keep everyone out of the contruction zone the best they could, not everyone listened so they would have to redo some of it over and over.

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I ask what equipment they were using, so they showed me and told me what they were.

1. Front end loaders

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2. Flatner (roller)

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3. Dumptruck

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4. Monster truck (I think it’s a piece of broken heavy equipment)

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5. Car

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6. The woo woo car (aka police car)

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Once the first crew finished up there came a new crew in.  I don’t think they even realized they were helping make the road, they were just pushing the sand around! But they were having fun.

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Then they all drifted away to do something else.

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Miss Susie

Rainy Day Play

Well it has been a rainy morning. After music this morning we decided to stay out and play some on the porch.
            We got the bubbles out!

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They enjoyed blowing bubbles and then catching them, but if someone popped their bubble they got upset. Jasmine even discovered she could put her finger back up inside the bubble and it didn’t even pop!

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We had the chalk out. Leighton was coloring the mortar with blue chalk, he said it was water and the stones were Islands!

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They took hula hoops and made a hopping game with them and some even tried hula hooping!

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We gave two balls to them, they tried really hard to share. Some did better with sharing than others. They figured out a way to play a game with four of them playing.

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We also have a playhouse on the porch. They started out climbing upon it but soon discovered it could be a train!

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In spite of all the rain they were able to enjoy their time outside using their imagination!

Miss Susie