"We can do no great things, only small things with great love." - Mother Teresa

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Snow Day!

Talk about a snow day! After we finally got out, we had a lot of fun. The kids didn't really want their pictures taken, so just pretend the look happy.

School is cancelled for tomorrow, and I hear we are supposed to get another 6-10 inches tonight! Maybe we will be able to make that igloo Paul wanted to make.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A New System

I am always looking for better ways to do things. Or, just ways to start doing them. On this occasion, I was looking for a way to get the kids doing their morning work without so much monitoring from me. As I ruminated, I eventually came up with a plan. Sure, it took me almost two months to get it from idea to implementation, but the important thing is that it got there eventually! And here it is.

In the boys room, I have a peg bar on the wall to hang stuff from. Each boy has a bucket, and each night I put their clothes for the next day in the bucket. So, after consulting with my dad on how to do it, I added 18 clothes pins to the bar. Now, each boy has six clothes pins that I fill up with chore cards. Each boy has five cards (color-coded per child) that say, "PJs Away", "Get Dressed", "Make Bed", "Clean Room", and "Brush Teeth". I left one extra spot for the time when I start giving them more work.
The idea is, when they get up in the morning, they need to do all their cards before they come out of their rooms. When a card has been completed, they take it out of the clothes pin and put it in their pocket. Then, when they have gone to school, I take the cards out of the pockets, check the work, and if it has been done correctly, they get rewarded. They earn one penny per card completed, and if they complete them ALL, they get an extra nickel. This money goes into their special banks (empty peanut butter jars with their initial on the front that I made especially for this purpose) that hang from the living room mantel.

Theoretically, it will only take the boys 10 days to earn a dollar, and Joy even less, since she has more than five cards a morning. Today was the first day we tested the system and it went okay, but I hope to report back that it has been a screaming success!
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

It's working!

As a parent, there are many times when I wonder if anything I am doing makes any difference at all. I mean, I am trying, but I fail a lot too. So it is always nice to have a moment that seems to say, "Yes, you are on the right track, it is worth it." Tonight I had one of those.

I went upstairs to remind the kids for the ump-teenth time that they were supposed to be getting their pajamas on, and this is what I found. No, Paul doesn't usually sit around studying the scriptures, but he was sure trying to tonight. He was following his fingers along the words and making up his own story, but he was in the scriptures! A few nights ago, I changed the way we do scripture study. Instead of me reading to the kids, we sit together, each child with their own Book of Mormon, and each person "reads" a verse. If you are a reader, you read. If you are not, I say it and you repeat. And, if you are somewhere in the middle, you read what you can and I help you with the rest. The scriptures live in the boys' clothes buckets, so they are always in the room with the boys. And, now I am glad they are, because they are getting it!
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Friday, February 18, 2011

March Craft Group is ON!

Yeah! March craft group is posted and ready to be viewed! This is what we are making:

Craft group is open to anyone in the area who wants to attend. Go to the craft group blog for all the details!

(Thanks, Brown Paper Packages for picture and instructions!)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

While I was busy with other things, my boys were busy being creative. The created a pencil-spatula apple launcher. The process of getting the clip was a bit interesting, but in the end, we got it. Take One:
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Take Two:
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Take Fifteen:

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Valentine's Mailboxes

I saw some super cute Valentine's mailboxes on a blog the other day and wanted to try them out, but I didn't want to drive 45 minutes to buy real mailboxes. So, I looked around the Silhouette store online and downloaded a pattern to make my own for $0.99. The kids picked out their paper, and here is what we ended up with.
The only disadvantage is that they are a little on the small side. So, I made coordinating envelopes for the bigger Valentine's to go in.
I think it would be an understatement to say that the kids are excited to open them on Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

We were Heart-Attacked!

Sometime tonight, a devious crime was committed. When I pulled up in the driveway after picking Joy up from church, we found our yard covered in hearts. (It may have been there when we left to pick Joy up, but I was so focued on herding the boys I didn't even glance at the front yard!) I don't know who did it, but we sure appreciated it. The kids almost wet themselves in their excitement! And, I felt pretty special too.

Thanks, whoever you are!
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The kids' Valentines

This year I am a little ahead in my planning, so I let the kids make their Valentines. I found an idea on Family Fun and it turned out like this:
While Joy was at Achievement Girls tonight, the boys worked on their Valentines. Okay, I have to put in a little plug here. I wanted to do these, but I didn't want to spend hours cutting out 64 leaves and 64 hearts. So, I figured out how to make my Silhouette do the work. I took some existing graphics and modified them to create the hearts and the double leaves. The hearts were easy, but I impressed myself with the leaves. Then, just hit the button and let the machine do all the work. It was lovely.

Anyway, tonight, the boys wrote their names on the leaves, glued the leaves, and selected their suckers. I put a dollop of hot glue on the back of the sucker and attached the heart. My favorite part is that materials to do Valentines for all three kids' class ran me about $3.50 total! The 50 pack of card stock was $2.50 and I only used 10 pages, and I got the suckers after Halloween at a bag of 100 for $1. Can't beat that!
I was amazed at how patient Brigham was writing his name. Seven letters 27 times really adds up!
I let Hyrum make the leftovers. He was so excited to print his "H" and then have me finish his name for him.
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Monday, February 7, 2011

Valentine's prep FHE

I have always tired to come up with traditions for our family and sometimes I am more successful than others. One of the ideas I have had for years but never put into action came to pass tonight. It goes like this:

On the Monday before Valentine's Day everyone writes love letters to each member of the family that are then delivered on Valentine's Day. So, tonight for FHE, that is what we did. We had a short lesson in which we talked about the Family Proclamation and what it has to say about love (husband and wife are to love each other, love their children, and to teach their children to love and serve one anther) and then the kids made Valentine's cards. As Joy is the only one who writes well enough to write a letter, I settled for having them make cards for each other. Super fun. And, with my fancy new Silhouette, I cut out mailboxes that I am going to put together later tonight. Valentines will be distributed to the boxes and the kids will have the opportunity to add to them throughout the week. I am really excited to get them finished tonight!

Here are some shots of the kids at work:

We had to leave the cards to dry, the kids still haven't learned that you don't need a quarter-sized drop of glue for each item!