Friday, June 20, 2008

Simple Bread Recipe

Someone recently asked for my favourite beginners bread recipe, so I thought I'd share it here. It's a really simple recipe, and has always yielded very yum results for me. As far as I can tell, it's virtually fool-proof. I like to add some fresh rosemary or chamomile before kneading. I also usually make it with either a 50/50 mix of wheat and white flour, or entirely wheat (add honey for flavor). Like I said, I haven't been able to screw it up yet. And it's far tastier than many of the more complex recipes I've tried. It makes two small loaves and 6 pitas for me.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
3 cups warm water
½ cup olive oil

Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Add water and olive oil. Begin mixing, adding flour ½ cup at a time until sticky dough forms. Turn out on floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides, and let rise in warm place until double. Punch down, shape into loaves, and let rise about 30-45 minutes in greased bread pans. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Brush tops with olive oil.

To make pitas: Divide one of the third of dough into 4-6 pieces. Roll each piece into a flat, thin circle. Heat in a lightly greased skillet, turning once, until spotted and cooked through.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sample Childcare Policies

2008 Policies

The child care program encourages creative and imaginative play, as well as outdoor activities and indoor exercise if weather is inclement. Efforts will be made to get out of the house at least once a day, whether it be for an outing, neighborhood walk, playgroup, or simply backyard play. Many of the daily activities will focus on early learning skills such as letters, numbers, colors, and shapes; as well as manners, dressing oneself, and helping around the house in age-appropriate activities. Art projects, story time, puzzles, blocks, and other hands-on learning experiences will all be implemented frequently.

Open Door:
You are invited and welcome to visit the day care anytime your child is present. You are asked to avoid visiting during nap/quiet time, so as not to disturb the sleepers. Please knock/ring the door bell, as the door will be kept locked for safety reasons. Parents are also free to call at any time. If there is no answer, please leave a message, and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

Behavior & Discipline:
No child will be hit, spanked, belittled, or otherwise intimidated at the day care. No corporal punishment will be used. Children will be treated with courtesy, respect, and patience. If a child's behavior becomes a problem, I will address it with you and we will try to resolve it together. As the parent, you know your child best, so please feel free to share what you’ve found to work well in regards to behavior and discipline.

Nap Time:
All children will be given clean separate bedding and a peaceful rest space. All bedding will be washed at least weekly, as well as whenever it becomes soiled during the day. Those children who no longer take naps will be engaged in a quiet activity during naptime.

Toilet Training:
I am happy to assist and reinforce any toilet training being implemented at home. I will use the underwear/Pull-ups supplied by the parent. Please send your child in easy-on/easy-off clothing until they are able to completely undress and re-dress themselves. I require at least 2 changes of clothing during toilet training. Soiled items will be washed by the caregiver and rotated with the extra changes of clothing.

Meals and snacks may either be provided weekly by the parent, or provided by myself for a small weekly fee. I will always strive to serve complete, nutritionally balanced, tasty meals and snacks. The children are offered the food and encouraged but not forced to eat.

For children under 1 year, meals/snacks/bottles will be served on a schedule discussed and agreed upon by the parent and caregiver.

For children over 1 year, meals and snacks will be served at roughly the following times:
7:30-8:30 Breakfast
10:00 Morning Snack
12:00 Lunch
3:00 Afternoon Snack

If this schedule will not work for your child, please be sure to let me know in advance. I'll gladly tweak the schedule to better fit the child's needs. Be sure to list on the enrollment sheet any food allergies the child may have. If your child needs a special diet, I will adjust my menus accordingly, or ask that you provide some of these foods.

Each child will have a designated space for his/her personal items. Please mark names on
your child's things. A supply list has been included in the information packet. Please make sure that all necessary "at daycare" items are sent with your child on his/her first day. I will inform you whenever your child is running low on supplies. If none are provided in a timely manner, I will purchase the necessary items and ask that you add the price into the next week's daycare payment.

Please dress your child in playclothes that will not be mourned if stained or ruined. Please also make sure that clothing is suitable for the weather. I have a sprinkler and a wading pool for summer water play. Please include a swimsuit or other suitable clothing when the weather is warm, so that your child may participate.

If there is a special occasion that calls for special clothing (a visit or party right after child care or a trip to the photographer), please send the clothing with the child and I will help them clean up and get dressed prior to your picking them up at the end of the day.

The Non-Prescription Medication Record must be filled out before any diapering products, sunscreens, lotions, or teething pain relief can be given. All medications must be accompanied by a Medication Release Form.

Our home is set up as a safe environment for children. We have emergency fire and
storm procedures and supplies in place. In the event of any injury (other than minor scrapes, bumps, scratches, etc.), the parents will be notified immediately.

In the event of a serious injury, the parents will be notified immediately and necessary steps will be taken to obtain medical aid. For emergency purposes, parents must keep all contact numbers current. If I am unable to reach you or your emergency contacts and immediate intervention is required, I will take appropriate action, including calling 911 and having your child transported by ambulance to the hospital if necessary. You and your family insurance are responsible for the cost of medical help or treatment due to accidents or illness while in child care.

Pets and Smoking:
We have no pets, and neither I nor any member of my family smoke.

Please allow enough time at pick-up and drop-off each day to discuss with me any issues/concerns/needs that you, I, or your child may have.

No child will be allowed to leave with anyone except the parent, unless indicated on the contact list. Anyone unfamiliar to me will be required to show proof of identification. Please make the alternate pick-up person aware of these requirements.

If there is a court order keeping one parent or guardian away from the child, I must have a notarized copy of that court order in my files to that effect.

We frequently go on child-friendly outings, playdates, neighborhood walks, etc. All children will always be properly restrained in age-appropriate child safety seats. I am available at all times on my cell phone during these outings. If I don’t answer immediately, leave a message and I will call you back as soon as possible. I do not answer my phone while driving.

Holidays, Vacation, and Time-off:
The daycare will be closed and childcare will be provided by request only on weekends and on the following holidays:

New Year's Day
Independence Day
Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Eve & Christmas Day

In the event that I will be away for a period of time less than three hours (usually for doctor appointments only) substitute care will be provided by a back-up provider that I will arrange.

You are given up to 2 weeks of vacation at 50% tuition. Any vacation taken beyond 2 weeks in a calendar year is 100% tuition. This is to hold your daycare space and pay is expected in full before you leave.

Life happens, and I'm not interested in nickel and dime-ing a parent over mishaps and occasional oversights.

I charge no late pick-up fees, but ask that the parent calls if there will be a delay in pick-up or drop-off. If pick-up is more than 15 minutes late for any reason, an hourly wage proportional to the weekly daycare fee will be charged.

A returned check fee will be charged only for the charges I incur myself at the bank.

Notices will be sent home with the child on Fridays if there have been any fees or charges incurred. These fees will need to be paid with regular tuition.

The first week's payments are due when reserving the space. All payments are due in advance at drop-off on the first day of the week. Cash or check (made out to [provider]) are both accepted. Childcare fees are due regardless of whether or not your child attends.

Terminating Child Care:
I ask that a two-week notice be given prior to terminating childcare services, or one-week notice to make changes in the contract (i.e. need to change hours or days care is needed).

The information that you supply the provider will be kept confidential. I will, at all times, respect your privacy. Before any of the information is released to outside persons, the parents will sign a release form. (This does not apply to law enforcement.)

Please feel free to speak with me at any time before or after childcare hours about any concerns, questions, or needs you may have.

Sample Childcare Contract


This is an agreement between [provider] and____________________________ to provide childcare beginning ____________________.

Care will be billed at the rate of _____ per _____ based on care being provided for the following hours/days:


I agree to these terms and those laid out in the daycare's policies.

Parent Signature: _________________________________ Date: _______________

Provider Signature: _______________________________ Date: _______________

Sample Childcare Enrollment

Enrollment Information

Child 1
Full name: _____________________________________________________________

Birthday: _____________________ Sex: M F

Primary days and hours of care: ____________________________________________

Does the child or any member of his/her immediate family have any food allergies?

Does the child have any skin sensitivities?

Does the child have any specific medical needs?

Child 2
Full name: _____________________________________________________________

Birthday: _____________________ Sex: M F

Primary days and hours of care: ____________________________________________

Does the child or any member of his/her immediate family have any food allergies?

Does the child have any skin sensitivities?

Does the child have any specific medical needs?

Child 3
Full name: _____________________________________________________________

Birthday: _____________________ Sex: M F

Primary days and hours of care: ____________________________________________

Does the child or any member of his/her immediate family have any food allergies?

Does the child have any skin sensitivities?

Does the child have any specific medical needs?

Parent or guardian's name(s): ______________________________________________

Home Address: _________________________________________________________

Home phone number: (_____)_____________________

Work phone number: (_____)_____________________

Other phone number: (_____)_____________________

Other phone number: (_____)_____________________

Child will be released only to the custodial parent or legal guardian and the persons
listed below. The following people will also be contacted and are authorized to remove the child from the daycare home in case of illness, accident, or emergency, if for some reason the custodial parent or legal guardian cannot be reached:

Name: _____________________ Relation to child: _____________________

Phone number: (_____)_____________________

Name: _____________________ Relation to child: _____________________

Phone number: (_____)_____________________

Name: _____________________ Relation to child: _____________________

Phone number: (_____)_____________________

Parent's Signature: ________________________________ Date: _______________

Sample Transportation and Medication Authorization

Transportation Authorization

I give permission for my child(ren) to leave my caregiver's home for trips in a car or on foot to child-friendly outings, walks around the neighborhood, playgroups or playdates, etc.

Parent's Signature: __________________________________ Date: ________________

Non-Prescription Medication Record

I hereby authorize [provider], my child's care provider, to use the following products on my child(ren) according to manufacturer or physician's written instructions. I will not hold the above named provider liable for any allergic reactions or other symptoms when the products are used in accordance with these terms.

Parent's Signature: __________________________________ Date: ________________

Please circle Yes or No to designate whether or not you are comfortable with the care provider administering the following products.
Please remember you will be responsible to supply the following products if needed. However the daycare provider often has similar products on hand which might be used periodically if permission is granted below.

Diaper Ointment YES NO
Preferred brand: _________________________

Petroleum Jelly YES NO
Preferred brand: _________________________

Baby Powder YES NO
Preferred brand: _________________________

Baby Lotion YES NO
Preferred brand: _________________________

Sunscreen YES NO
Preferred brand: _________________________

First Aid Ointment YES NO
Preferred brand: _________________________

Teething Tablets YES NO
Preferred brand: _________________________
Comments: ______________________

Numbing Gel YES NO
Preferred brand: _________________________
Comments: ______________________

Sample Supplies List

Supplies List

Quantities are listed for one child's needs. Please revise as necessary for the number of children you have enrolled. Please also refer back to this list as your child ages and his/her needs change.

To Remain at Daycare
  • 1 full change of weather-appropriate play clothes

If Used
  • 1 day's worth of bottles
  • diaper ointment
  • 1 toothbrush
  • 2 pacifiers
  • 1 blanket or lovey

Weekly or Monthly (caregiver will give warning when supplies are running low)
  • food* and/or formula*/breast milk

If Used
  • wipes*
  • diapers or Pull-Ups*
  • 2 pairs of underwear

As-need Basis
  • medication (be sure to bring permission slip)
  • teething tablets or numbing gel
  • sunscreen
  • outdoor weather wear: hats, sunglasses, coats, mittens, etc.

* If you so choose, the caregiver will provide these items for a small monthly or weekly fee.