Chores, chores, chores…who’s gonna help?

 

Chores are one of those miserable things that no one ever really likes to do but some secretly enjoy behind closed doors. Chores are also the thing often “pawned off” to some one else. My thought is that if everyone in the house just contributed to keeping themselves tidy, chores wouldn’t even really be a thing…or at least not as awful.

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Imagine if the whole family took 30 minutes each day and viola, you could head to the movies, park, mountain, library on Saturday?

Image result for park        Image result for movie theater    Image result for nature

While we are tackling bedtime, why not throw in a few stress saving, chore reducing, happy family inducing tips too??

Daily chore calendar

Daily Chores Chart

Something like this gives you a daily task list up top with those easy to do everyday tasks which are so important for kids to learn (teaching a sense of responsibility, too!) while also adding one more super helpful family chore. These are also able to be tailored to age appropriateness which is a bonus is my book.

Presentation is everything! Something like this is fun for the kids who like to see their progress. With this set up you can use magnets and baking sheets to show your kids what is on the to-do list and give them a spot to put all the completed tasks. You could use velcro on a laminated paper, or “chore tokens” that go in a jar whatever it is that helps your kids see where they started and when they will be “done.” Just like I enjoy crossing off my to-do list, kids also like acknowledging their jobs well done regardless of the task.

magnet chore chart  paint different colors of wood circles for different kids

 

I also think it’s a fun idea to give a bonus for those chores that get done really focused and awesomely. Maybe even before the “assigned” day or without it being on the list. Teaching young that sometimes going the extra mile comes with a sweet reward encourages them to go for it all the time. Even if that sweet reward is just a few extra minutes with friends after school or an extra dessert in the lunch. It doesn’t always have to be a movie night, pizza party and $20 dollar bill (although a garage clean out, tupperware drawer organization, or donation closet clean out may warrant that), helping out is just that and it should always be acknowledged. My favorite is a thank you when one isn’t expecting it, or doesn’t know their good deed has been found out…the look is often priceless and the cost is nothing.

Here are a couple coupon ideas to get you started! Happy coupon-ing!

No one loves chores but they also don’t have to be a nightmare, hope you’ve found a hint or two to help you get the whole family in on the gig!

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Still ironing out bedtime routines with the start of the new school year?

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Hey parents, trying to juggle that new school year with new bedtimes? We hear you! It’s hard to make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row, and with all the changes in routines, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and disorganized.

We thought this might be an awesome place to share some of our tried and true (most of the time) tips and see if any one is willing to share one or two of their best kept tricks to getting those little ones down for the night.

First off, it’s important to know how much sleep your kids should be getting related to their age. This helps in knowing what time you should be aiming to get them into bed, lights out by counting backward from when you need them up and out the door. For example, if your 5 year old needs to be at school by 9 am and it takes about an hour to get moving each day, bedtime should be starting around 7 pm. Starting a few minutes early allows for those unforeseen “I need my other jammies!” “where is that ________?” , and an “ok, one more_____, then lights out.)” Bed time rarely goes like clock work, but allowing time help parents breathe easier and not stress themselves out. Hey, what harm is done if you get out the door 10 minutes “early?” Maybe a little grown up bowl of ice cream and some Bravo, shhhhhh, don’t jinx yourself!

hours of sleep

Once you know your timing, its important to figure out what all you want done in that time we’re calling ‘bedtime.” Are we talking teeth, jammies, book, and bed? Or packing back packing, picking out clothing, bath time, followed by teeth, jammies, book, bed? I think it is ideal to be realistic and flexible each day. We all know the dead line aka lights out, but we also know know two days are the same so no two bedtimes will go exactly the same. I’m a big fan of having visuals and/or to-do lists. It keeps me/us focused and it’s rewarding to see things being accomplished. There are a ton of free printables online or just make your own according to your families needs. I really like a quick and easy list or this little longer list for those who are a little more independent (guess where I found them- pinterest of course!).

Once the routine has begun, I find it best to stick as close to the “schedule” as possible. Kids are always looking for a way to stay up a little later and as adults, I think we often get played for fools. If you give an inch, they’ll take a mile…and the will keep that reinforcement in their memory for the next evening or poor sucker who tries to put them down. Bedtime shouldn’t be a battle but it often is. Looking back, how often did the adult in the situation keep saying “well, ok, one more but this is the last one…” or “fine, go get some water, then lights out.” I sure am guilty of it. And I then find myself guilty of being in that same hamster wheel almost daily. Lesson learned! I understand the importance of sleep on growing minds/bodies and realize schedules help the flow move smoothly in our home so I don’t mind being the “bad guy” and saying we need to save a story or two for the morning.  I’d rather not end up with an over tired monster who can’t get to sleep or stay asleep.

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Every family is different, every routine varies. The key to your success is to find the “recipe” that works best in your household. Maybe it’s an all family story time, followed by soft music in each bedroom. Maybe it’s song during teeth, and stories in tub. Maybe you’re a house of artists and do a little drawing session in dim lights. Whatever you do, just keep bedtime a calm and quiet time- this is not the time to have a dance party or wrestle mania (however, not a bad idea after dinner to get those final wiggles out)! Dim the lights, turn off the screens, stop the chatter, calm the mind and body.

Rest and repeat.

 

 

 

Back to School – Let’s do Lunch (and more!)

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It’s official.

School is really knocking on the door. My question is, are you ready?

If you are anything like me, these things always sneak up on me and I find myself scrambling to be prepared on time. Even more often, I’m left with a heavy heart as I brainstorm awesome ideas- after the fact.

To make back to school time one of excitement for the learning that is about to occur and the social experiences our children will encounter, we hope and pray that everything goes smoothly, everyone enjoys their first days of adjusting, and dinner around the table is met with laughter, not tears and fears (for both kids and parents).

So…

In effort to kick of the 2017-2018 school year on the right foot, I’ve cheated and used my best friend pinterest to come up with a few ways to alleviate some stress and still feel like a rock star parent/caregiver.

To start off this school year, I’ve decided to go with some ideas of how to capture the memories of those first day cuties. How often are you wishing you had spent two more minutes getting that picture instead of rushing to the car/bus?

Back to school photo sign- Chalkboard/reusable

Another chalkboard photo opportunity

 

chalkboard

I’ve included some lunch making tips (for you or your “growing more independent daily” child) that aims to hit the healthy mark and gives multiple days of ideas! When the work day is too long and making lunches seems more like climbing a mountain, let these guys point you in the right direction.

Make your own school lunch

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Build a healthy lunch

You’ll also find some fun notes and affirmations you can sneak into your kiddos lunch or back pack to let them know you are thinking of them…always!

Free printable lunch notes and jokes!

Printable lunch notes

Affirmations

 

Be warned, if you enter the world of “pinning” without a timer, you may find yourself doing more pinning then living. It’s a slippery slope but full of awesome time saving, parent helping, kid loving hints and tips.

 

Did I just see a school bus?

Hey all, can you believe it’s that time of year? I’ve been anxiously counting down the last few days of “kid summer.” You know what I’m talking about. It’s great to have the kids out of school, hanging out all day asking “what are we going to do?” “can we_________?’ “I’m bored,” ” I don’t wanna,” “can I invite all the neighbors?” “will you make me_________?”

I’m ready for a little more routine and a little less “I don’t know” coming from my mouth. I’ll miss the impromptu field trips, the accidental block parties, the on the fly art projects but I’ll welcome the quiet and I’ll cherish the regularity of a school day.

This week is the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year for a few districts nearby, the rest begin next week! Wow, the time flew by and aren’t you glad? We survived the heat, we made memories, we found some new parks, embarked on some new paths and now it’s time to start fostering that love of learning and social interacting.

I thought I’d do a quick “pit and peak” for my summer and I was hoping maybe you’d share yours with me! For those of you who don’t know or watch the housewives series on Bravo “pit and peak” is the best and worst part of said vacation, trip, season, year (you get the idea).

Pit: Working so hard to ready the garden for organic grown food for my family and having it fry in the sun before first harvest. *Here’s hoping next year this is my peak!

Peak: Any of those moments shared with my husband, family, and friends. Sharing life and adventures with those I care the most about regardless of weather or location…I am blessed.

Wednesday, a love affair? I think not!

It’s Wednesday or in my household Hump Day. That point in the week when you know the end is near but not nearly close enough. The point when the bed is just sucking you back in and the alarm isn’t doing it’s job of annoying you to the point of getting on your feet.

Wednesday…I hate to love you and love to hate you.

Today will be long for me. I will wake up at the normal time (5:45 am). I will be on the road by 7:10 and cursing some driver by 7:13. I will go to work, smile and nod, do my job and get back in my car for the commute home. When I get home I will relish in the few minutes of Judge Judy I can sneak in if traffic allows. I will want to change into sweat pants and snack on something unhealthy but I won’t.

I won’t because that means they day is done but it’s not.

I will peel myself off the couch and curse myself for scheduling so many things in August. I will go back out into society and attend a meeting for a group I am involved in. The whole way to the meeting I will be dragging my feet, cursing my husband who no longer attends with me (too much talk, not enough action) and wondering why I am doing this to myself. I will want to turn around and go back home but I won’t.

I won’t because I care about this meeting.

I joined this group a year ago and am already seeing the improvements we are making to the community. I am enjoying the interactions with my neighbors. I am motivated to make South Park a place folks want to visit and are intrigued to explore both on foot and bicycle. I will sign in, speak up when the mood strikes, I will look at my phone every 15 minutes and try not to roll my eyes visibly when certain members drone on and on. I will leave refreshed. I will want to crawl right into bed when I get home but I won’t.

I won’t because my day still isn’t complete.

My day needs a few minutes with my family. To see their faces and hear the stories of their days. To eat a meal together and make plans for the next day. I will be tired the next day but I won’t be sad.

I won’t be sad because my day was so full. I will have filled my soul with caring for the community, myself, and my family. I will have accomplished as much as my day could handle. I will be proud and I will rejoice that the weekend is in view.

Wednesday, I love to hate you and hate to love you but either way…I’ve got this!

 

Happy Father’s Day!

Wholeness- Nanny and you  wanted to take a quick minute to say Happy Father’s Day! We don’t want to take up your day but just wanted to let all the fathers out there know how appreciated you are!

I want to give a huge shout to the men out there who do not have their own biological children but are “dad’s” all the same. To the coaches, teachers, mentors, step parents, neighbors, and the like who take time to be outstanding role models for our young people, thank you! Thank you for often going “unnoticed” or “unrecognized” as being the father figure you are but do not under estimate the power of your presence in the life of the youth you encounter.

Today’s tip: You are a hero, you are changing someones life, and you deserve to enjoy today along side all the men who have the title “Dad.”