Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mother of a Boy?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

End of The Experiment reward

Here we are at the end of 6 months worth of getting rid of youth entitlement in our home. What a journey.

Here is the breakdown of their challenges:
Keep bed made and the floor of the room clear every day
Cook one meal a week (including setting table and loading dishwasher)
Put away personal laundry
Get out of comfort zone and do service with a smile
Get ready for school on time
Toilets: aim and keep them clean once a week.

As a reward for their hard work, and taking on challenges with no complaining every month, they got to plan and host their own party during Spring Break. They each got $20 and could do whatever they wanted.

Zach decided to do a Bake and Blend Party and used his money to buy treats and ingredients. He invited 3 close buddies, and they had a bake off. In the end, each team ended up making chocolate muffins, but they learned a few things about baking without a recipe, and had fun cracking eggs. Then, they got to blend a personal smoothie. They took some time in between to build Lego, and talk about school. The teams were tied at the end, so they had a Wii basketball tournament to decide the winner. They boys all stayed one hour longer, since they were having so much fun!

Tyler wanted a Chuck the Chicken party. He used the money to buy plastic chickens to throw around. He invited 4 friends, and they had a incredible time throwing around the chickens, playing carnival games, going for an egg hunt, drawing on hard boiled eggs, and building Lego (of course...no one comes to our home without building something from Lego). After lunch, they took a time out to watch one of Tyler's favorite TV shows Tron, with some popcorn. It was a noisy time, having the boys race around, but his party was a success, and he felt proud to be in charge of everything.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Seven Habits of Happy Kids

This week we have been readying the Seven Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey. It is a picture book, with a bunch of characters that the kids can relate to, and in so doing they can apply the good habits in their lives. We can use the common words together now when there is a problem. If Tyler does not want to do homework, I might say, "We need to put first things first" and he will know I don't want him to procrastinate.
This book teaches them proper principles that are needed more than ever. Each chapter covers one habit, and at the end there is a parent/teacher page to help kids take small steps in developing this habit. At the end of the book is a diagram of how the habits work together.
I have read all the stories over and over, and it is the book they ask for at night. Each time, we ask them questions from the end of the chapter, and we talk about how we can work on it.
Great book.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Great Snacks for Winter Activities

Here are some great ideas for healthy snacks in the winter. I always find this stuff great when I bring the kids out, and they are begging for something to eat. If they are hungry, they will eat anything, especially something we nickname the power bar!


Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Experiment. One more month to go

Here it is February already. One more month left in our getting rid of youth entitlement experiment. It has been a long road, but a worthwhile one. Having them take more responsibility has helped everyone around our home. We have tackled bedrooms, meals, laundry, doing service, and getting ready for school on time, so our final challenge is the toilets. That is right, toilets. We saved the best until last. In a home with three young boys, you can image what our toilets look like some days. Hmmm..do we work on their aim, or have them learn to clean it up when they miss? HAHAHAHA!
We are going to start the month with some target shooting. Yep, we have to make it fun. We are going to put something in the toilet...doesn't really matter what it is...have them shoot to sink it, and celebrate a good hit. I know this sounds silly, but getting them excited about it, will save me all the trouble of cleaning around the base of the toilet everyday.
Then, I will demonstrate a missed shot, with yellow coloured water in a spray bottle, and have them figure out the best way to clean it up. After hands are washed, we will discuss the importance of keeping our bathroom clean, and the consequence will be one coin (harsh, I know). If I find pee at the back, or around the bottom of the toilet, one coin from every kid (because I won't know who did it, so they all lose). I am experimenting to find out if they will clean up someone else's mess, or if they will remind each other, or if they will always hit the target...we shall see.
Here we go, the final stage of our experiment. TOILETS

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Some cool apps

For Christmas my husband got me an ipad mini, to keep me organized, and send me reminders of all the things I forget in one day. It has been so much fun finding apps that are helpful to my life as a busy mom. I will tell you of a few, since they go along with our goals for 2014.

Our main goals this year is to complete Baby Step 3 in the Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. It has been a few years since we have become debt free, and we have never reached the point where we have 6 months of income saved for emergencies (there always seems to be something that comes up that needs our money more!). So, if we have to save 6 months of Scott's income, we have to do one of two things...either we earn more money, or we decrease in our spending. We have opted to decrease spending, to see how much we can really budget (especially in the area of groceries, since this gets out of control)

My next goal is to watch my health (not to lose weight, or run more, or any other goal that I might not complete), but to simply track my health and make better decisions.

So, with these two goals in mind, I went app shopping.
Goal 1 - Save money - Apps: MINT and Grocery IQ
Goal 2 - Be Healthy - Apps: Seven and Lose It

Grocery IQ Grocery shopping made quick and easy with the features you expect from the #1 grocery shopping list app. Build lists from our extensive product database using text, barcode, or voice search; sync and share lists with other devices and the GroceryiQ.com website

MINT.com-Not only does it provide a birds-eye-view of your income, spending and investments, but Mint also recommends ways to save money on bank fees, credit card rates and insurance. Best of all, it’s free.

Seven * No workout equipment & just minutes a day

* Fun achievements and rewards to keep you motivated
* Based on the 7-minute workout featured in NY Times Magazine

Lose It - Lose It! helps you set a daily calorie budget, track your food and exercise, and stay motivated to make smarter choices and achieve your goal. We think it’s the best, most seamless weight loss system available.

If any of you know of some more excellent apps to use, please tell me. I am looking for a place to store my weekly food menus, and to collect my most favorite recipes too. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Month 5 of the Experiment: Get ready on time

Month 5...Change of Plans
Well, this Experiment to get rid of youth entitlement has been difficult to stick with, but we are seeing some nice results.
Here are some of the things that are happening...
- Zach sleeps on top of his blankets, so he doesn't have to remember to make his bed
- Tyler loves to cook and offers to help all the time
 -Zach has put all his spending money into his savings account, and is working to buy his own DS (since we will not get one for him!).
- Tyler continually helps his little brother to keep their room clean.
- All three boys come right away when I call them for laundry, and have successfully been able to put away their piles on their own. (I make the piles, and they grab them and go....we found it more effective this way. I do not fold, just put things in the right piles so there is not fighting)
- The boys have realized that a simple meal means less dishes and less clean up.
- They have to remind their Dad that they can do it on their own now.
- We have gained a sense of self and community through our service acts in December, and I have seen a huge change in Tyler with his courage to talk to others.
- Each boy used their own money to buy each other gifts for Christmas, and they felt so much more joy on Christmas morning when we opened gifts.

Our plan was to start with toilets and home repair in January, but there has been a change of plans. We are struggling with getting out the door in the morning without shouting/fighting...so.....our challenge in January is to be ready on time. Our plan is to give them one warning, let's say at 7:50am. At this time, they need to have eaten breakfast, be dressed, teeth brushed, shoes and jacket on, and bookbag packed. At 8:00am, we load up in the van and leave. The toughest part is not reminding them, or scolding them. I help out the little guy still of course, he is 3, but the others are on their own. At 7, and 9, they know the routine.

We discussed it at the family meeting Sunday night, and Monday morning it started. The first thing Zach realized is that he needs an alarm clock. We put the things that needed to be completed on the chalkboard, and pointed them out, only when asked questions, like, "What do we have to have done again?".  The less talking the better.

We have been able to do it two days in a row. We quietly get ready, and at the warning...10 mins before we have to leave...the boys scramble to brush teeth, grab their bags and head to the door. It is amazing how they really can get it all done in 10 mins.

They only lose 1 coin for not completing this part of the experiment. If they make it in time, and forgot their bag (and Mom has to go back for it) 1 coin. If they are near the door, without shoes on when it is time, 1 coin. You get the idea. We have found that you have to be tough the first week, so they actually lose a coin or two, before they get the hang of it. You are not here to negotiate, you are here to teach them how to take care of themselves.