Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Weekend Recaps

January's Try Day event at the Des Moines Children's Museum had us testing the cotton candy machine with our homemade sugar flavors.

The oldest and his cooking: kimchi salmon (that the cat tried to eat too) and homemade donuts.

The middle of January to the middle of February brought A LOT of illness. Croup, RSV, strep, unknown respiratory infections, and stomach issues plagued daycare and our family. That means there was a lot of snuggling kittens time.

I'm a huge fan of Twisted Bean's cherry mocha they have each Valentine's Day.

Football games were our life on these weekends. I made a charcuterie board with "football food" on it: boneless chicken wings, loaded tater tots, and veggies with ranch to dip everything.

The oldest and I have been working on a special project this winter. I can't wait until we get to present it to the public!

All of daycare was unexpectedly sick (as it turns out, I had croup too), so I took myself to Waveland Cafe on my closed day.

I rarely get the chance to pick up my kids and carpool. When I do, I get excited about prime parking spots.

The oldest went to Winter Formal and then had friends come over after. We sent the other two minis for a sleepover and grandma and grandpa's. Hubs and I had a spare couple of hours, so we went to dinner at Tupelo Honey. It was great!

The teens woke up starving and I was ready with a pancake bar.

She made her cat listen to her practice clarinet. The cat just sat in the doll carrier the entire time, staring at her. He is by far the most patient cat on the planet.

My youngest took a sick day because....wait for it.....she had a loose tooth and she wanted to focus on pulling it. While I rolled my eyes at her, I appreciated her honesty and really didn't want the fight of trying to get her to school, so a sick day it was. She pulled out the tooth halfway through the day and then enjoyed the day.

I ran out of clean bowls, so I had them eating oatmeal out of mugs. One kid cried about it, the kid pictured thought it was cool, and the other kid flat our refused to eat breakfast because "you don't eat oatmeal out of a mug Mother."

New bubble tea obsession. Shaking Boba is amazing and has many fun options.

A quick snowy hike along the river. Even if we're bundled up, we're out in the fresh air and sunshine. It does wonders for our well being. We've been hiking quite a bit at Brown's Woods and Walnut Woods State Park because they're only ten minutes from our house.

We grabbed cupcakes from Sam's Club. We split them, so we could try all of the flavors. Scratch is still my favorite, but these were a fun try.

We went to an Iowa Wolves game. It was a lot of fun, although the minis prefer hockey over basketball.

Homemade biscuits and gravy, tater tots (because we had an 8 lbs. bag from Sam's, but I prefer hashbrowns with biscuits and gravy), and fresh raspberries. We've been buying most of our fruits and vegetables from Sam's Club and we've been more than please with both the prices and quality.

I made breakfast, so the boys took over making coconut cupcakes for their grandma's birthday. They did a fabulous job even if they did almost forget to put coconut in the cupcakes.

Then they delivered their cupcakes later that afternoon.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Notes From A Daycare Provider: Check Your Insurance Policy And Know It

 A dozen years in the childcare business and I'm still learning new things. Whatever the kids throw at me is old hat at his point. Nothing surprises me much anymore on that front. However, I was thrown for a loop when a fellow daycare provider mentioned something that I had never once thought to check or ask about.

As with many people, I belong to Facebook groups, two of which are daycare provider groups. One is local and one is geared toward providers in North America. It's through the second group that I learned about Canada's childcare laws and have been made aware of the laws in neighboring states, federal early childhood education grants for daycares, and many other useful tips. It's been a fantastic resource and a more positive vibe than other groups I've come across.

Over the weekend I was in the weekly chat. I mostly enjoy reading rather than contributing. A provider in Texas was upset because of how long she's had to be closed due to the weather there. Someone asked her about reopening and she mentioned that her insurance won't allow her to be open if surrounding school districts are closed due to liability insurance. This sparked a plethora of questions on the topic. She schooled all of us in her insurance policy and why being open in severe weather is a liability. This got me thinking, do I have such a policy written into the liability portion of my policy? I had to pull up my records and look right then.

Sure enough, I DO!

Not one person, insurance agent or otherwise, had ever mentioned this portion of the liability insurance. I found this new bit of information a tad concerning with a side of many questions. We live in Iowa. We get severe weather threats year round. Am I supposed to close every time there's a chance of severe weather? Am I supposed to call for immediate pick ups any time there's impending weather? We've had thunderstorms that led to derechos suddenly come through. What do I do then? Is it only limited to when our school district is closed or is it all severe weather? I had many, many questions. I wanted to call right away to ask for clarification because as with most important documents, it was too vague.. I held back from calling due to my past actions.

I didn't want to raise red flags with my questions when I've been open in snowstorms before. Heck, I used to throw snow parties on days school was canceled and parents still had to work! Those are honestly some of my favorite memories from daycare. However, experience taught me that I actually should close when the weather is bad. I've had the pleasure of children getting stuck at daycare and bundling kids in blankets so their parents could walk them to their vehicles parked blocks away because they couldn't get through on the snow covered roads. That has liability written all over it (she says with wide eyes). Thinking back on it all, I'm really lucky nothing terrible happened and that my families are 1,000% amazing.

Thankfully I did change my policies in 2020 when Covid brought work from home and daycare had low attendance on bad weather days. I now close when our school district is closed due to any weather related incident. Going through my policies also made me note that there is a safety note in there as well; meaning that if our local school district is closed for a safety reason within a certain radius of daycare, I must close as well. I knew parts of that piece, but not the entire thing. It was a real, 'the more you know' scene.

The conversation in the Facebook group was a reminder of the importance of knowing your insurance policy and following it. Even if parents complain, it's better than a fine, losing your insurance, or worse yet, being told to close all because of not following your insurance policy. Not one person or insurance agent ever pointed out this section in my liability portion and I'm damn lucky nothing happened because of my negligence. Bottom line: daycare providers, know your stuff. It would be a wise decision to put a paragraph or two in your daycare contract and handbook. That way families know ahead of time what could happen. And parents, if your daycare has to close for a reason you don't understand, ask about it and show grace because it's likely just as inconvenient for your daycare provider to close as it is to call off of work or find drop in care.