"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Powerful Motivation

I'm always looking for new motivation to encourage my kids to help out around the house. I found this great, totally free, job program the other day, and I just have to share. It's called www.myjobchart.com. We've been using it for two days and my kids have been spontaneously cleaning things and begging for more jobs. It's crazy.

I love that it is totally customizable and really easy for the kids to use. Averie can't read yet, so she still needs a little help, but she totally loves checking the little boxes as she finishes her jobs.

This is how it works:

First, go to the web site and set up an account. You can add an account for each family member, along with a picture. (The kids love that part.)



After all the accounts are set up, you can start adding jobs and rewards. It's very user-friendly and easy to understand.


Then, when the kids log on to their own account, the list of their daily jobs is on the front page:



They can click on daily jobs, extra jobs, or rewards.

Every time a job is completed, points are automatically rewarded and can be spent as the child wishes. And it's really easy to change things up if you decide the points are too little/too much. It recommends that you have one point equal about a penny. So a 300 point reward would have approximately a $3.00 value. Give or take. Ellorie is currently saving up for a 5000 point lizard. And a 1000 point tank to contain it. We'll see how that goes. I'm not sure she realizes how long it will take to earn 6000 points.

Averie is a big fan of instant gratification, so I need to make more inexpensive rewards so she can "buy" something small every day or two. Her jobs are also worth a few more points because they are harder for her.

Another fun feature is the message board. They love to send messages back and forth to us and ask questions about the jobs. Somehow it's much more exciting to send mom and "email" than to just ask.


I'm not sure the excitement for jobs will continue forever, but I'm optimistic that this program will be in full force through the summer.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring?

I do this every year.

I KNOW that it doesn't turn into spring here until late May.

I know it.

But something deeply ingrained in my soul tells me that March is supposed to be spring. That tulips bloom, birds sing, rain falls, sun shines, and grass begins to grow. That's just the way it is supposed to be.

This cold place likes to play tricks on me. It was warm and beautiful for several days in a row. No wind. Lots of sunshine. I mean, it warmed up to like 40 degrees! Summer! I'm telling you. The kids broke out the shorts and t-shirts. But I think we've had snow every day this week. And wind. I'll take the snow over the wind any day. And it is a veritable blizzard outside at the moment. The point is, we have a long way to go before I can look forward to outdoor weather.

But there is a bright side. Look what is emerging from my flower bed:

I was so worried that I killed my tulips when I re-planted them and split up the bulbs this fall. I'm not much of a flower gardner. Yet. Or maybe ever while we live in Idaho. It's an uphill battle. But I was delighted that my little bulbs seem to have survived. Never mind that the flower bed looked like this the next day:


One thing that brings me great joy in the frigid "spring" of Idaho is planning my garden and planting starts. Last year I set up my growing area in the basement, and so this year it was easy peasy to get my little plants going. HERE is the post that tells about the growing station, if you are interested. And HERE is a video that shows exactly how to go about making your own. (Gotta love YouTube.)

Here is my setup this year:

One long table full of starts, two long shop lights with full spectrum bulbs (2 warm, 2 cool), two oscillating fans (we have serious wind here), two heat lamps, a power strip with a timer, and lots of love.



So far this year I have planted: eggplant, artichoke, jalapeno, bell peppers, butternut squash, a variety of pumpkins, non-hybrid organic tomatoes, and Brussel sprouts. In two weeks I'll plant the hybrid tomatoes and tomatillos, and possibly zucchini and crookneck squash.

Just look at my cute little eggplant sprouts. They make me happy.

And artichokes. I'm planting a whole row of these babies this year. They grow really well here, it turns out. Highly recommended.


So somehow I've turned into this person that loves to garden. You know, at least until I have to start weeding my 40 by 60 foot garden. Let's just enjoy the moment though. Snow and all.

Baby Wolf



Ellorie has many loves. Dragons, dinosaurs, lizards, German Shepherds (dogs of any kind really), dolphins, snakes, frogs, grasshoppers, praying mantises, the color black, and most recently - wolves. Baby wolves to be precise. She leads a very rich fantasy life.

Here are some papers I found in her backpack this week:

It says: The animal for my report is a: baby wolf. The animals color is black. It is shaped like a line. My animal eats meat. He is special beacus it howls.


And this one is my favorite.

It says: What will you write about? I want to turn into a wolf
What is the main idea? The main idea is. turning into a wolf.
Write two sentences to explain your main idea. I need to get the power. And then I can turn into a wolf.


It's times like this that make us weep for Ellorie's dear friend that moved to Texas a few months ago. They love to play "wolfs" together. We miss you Lindy!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Spectacles

Mason's eyes have changed a lot in the past 11 months. We were looking at some books across the room and I didn't have MY glasses on. He couldn't read things with his glasses on that I could read with my glasses off. Not good.

We took him in to get his eyes checked, and they were indeed changed for the worse. His frames were pretty beat up and no longer stayed on his face, so we sprang for the brand new glasses.

Before:

After:

He picked his frames out himself, and was quite insistent upon this particular pair. He loves them. I think he looks quite dashing.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Pac Man's Day

We had a lovely St. Patrick's day today. Averie was all decked out in green from head to toe. All the kids were. Mason even announced that he was wearing green underwear, just in case.


We had oatmeal applesauce pancakes, colored green, for breakfast. A slam dunk. Even Rylan was a fan.


Averie was misinformed about today's holiday. We were all wearing green this morning and she was happily joining in the fun. But she was a little confused. After the kids left for school she asked me a very serious question, "Mom, if it's Pac Man day and Pac Man is yellow, why are we wearing green and not yellow? Because Pac Man is yellow."

I have no idea how she even knows what Pac Man is, but she has a valid point. I'm not Irish, nor Catholic, so it might as well be Pac Man day. I mean why in the world do we celebrate St. Patrick's Day? I guess because it's an excuse to wear green, use food coloring in every dish for the day, and hunt for leprechauns. Which is what Ellorie did today.

Ellorie is seven. She has it fixed in her mind that leprechauns are positively real. I have in no way encouraged this belief. I've tried to tell her leprechauns are just for fun, and not real, but she just won't hear of it. She came home from school today and got her jar of coins and set "traps" to try and catch one. She hid under the covers in her bed for a solid 20 minutes watching the jar, waiting to spring out and catch a leprechaun in the act. She was dead serious. She said that she could hear them sneaking around, but that she hadn't seen one yet. She is certain that they are about two inches tall, love coins, and get into lots of mischief. Should I be concerned that she honestly believes in two-inch tall mischievous green-clad men living in our house? It's all a little unsettling. I mean, how does the child sleep at night?

I spent the day cutting out patterns for Easter dresses. It took hours. I'm not so skilled at following patterns, so we'll see how they turn out. I'm more of a make-it-as-I-go sorta girl. I'm really excited to get started sewing them tomorrow. Hope you had a happy St. Pac Man's!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Found on Photobooth





Apparently someone found her way onto Photobooth on my computer recently. I have no idea when she took these. I found them on the computer tonight when I was tidying up my photo folders. Little stinker.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tucker Shirt


Averie has a favorite shirt.


I mean she is obsessed with this shirt.
I got it for free at Penney's with one of those $10 coupons they send in the mail. It has a picture of a Yorkie like Aunt Kelsey's, so she calls it her "Tucker" shirt.

She would wear it every singe day if I let her. Every time she concedes that it is finally dirty enough to wash, I "accidentally" forget to wash it for a week or so. I have no choice. Did I mention that it is size 24 months? It's practically Rylan's size. It's a belly shirt. It looks ridiculous, but I couldn't talk her in to giving it away. But really, it had to go.

So, I decided to make her a blanket out of the shirt. We went to the fabric store and Averie picked out her own fabrics. (Uh, with a little bit of careful guidance.) I spent all day today sewing away.

I happened to have a little scrap of pink "minkie" fabric that is super duper soft. It made a really fun trim for the blanket. The cheap-o fabric we bought was awful to sew with. Lesson learned. I'm trying to work my way up to becoming a fabric snob, but I just can't pay $17 a yard for something little like this. Call me cheap. This entire blanket only set me back $6.50. But next time I'll go with slightly nicer fabric if I'm quilting it.

Averie was positively giddy about the blanket. Totally worth a day of work. She hovered over my shoulder and watched as I sewed each square. It was super cute. Here is what the finished blanket looks like:

And now Averie can enjoy her Tucker shirt for many more years to come.

I think I may have been bitten by a sewing bug. I have a "sewing stage" once every few years. I'm feelin' it... Next up, Easter dresses!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Superman

Now I don't mean to brag, but I'm pretty sure I have the world's most wonderful husband.
Here is some recent evidence:


-While I was sick with the flu, he made strawberry freezer jam from scratch. THREE large batches. And it's the most amazing jam I've ever tasted. I'm not kidding.


-While I was sick with the flu, he gave Rylan a much needed hair cut and removed the baby mullet that was quickly forming. Things like that have to be taken care of.



-When I had the flu, I stayed home in bed, took care of my children's basic needs, and slept. Nothing else.

-While HE was sick with the flu, he had to continue to go to work. 65 hours that week, I think. Tax season knows no illness.

-He always carries Rylan when we go to church or other places, so I don't have to lug him around. He's always done that with all the kids. I sometimes take it for granted.

-Saturday, I went painting with my plein air group for about five hours while he watched the kids AND did all the family members taxes. No complaints whatsoever. I felt a little guilty for leaving, but it was a MUCH needed break.

-AND then he cleaned, nay, scoured the entire kitchen from top to bottom. And did a few loads of laundry. Also, all the burnt-out light bulbs have been mysteriously replaced.

But don't worry, he had plenty of help:

Oh yeah, he is also the world's greatest dad.

I just thought you should know.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pinewood Derby

Last weekend was the big Pinewood Derby for Mason's cub scout Pack. He was so excited. He lovingly crafted his car, and prepared for the big day.


The track was very cool. Extra-long, and an optional loop-de-loop for added excitement.

The competition was steep. Clearly, there were some daddies that had done this before.

The anticipation was painful:


And though Mason wasn't the winner, having fun isn't always about winning. We all had a great time! Hooray for cub scouts!