Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Card "Trick"

Brookey starting 1st grade was a big adjustment for everyone. Kindergarten was plain child's play--1st grade is no joke! There are all kinds of tests—math tests, timed tests, spelling tests, sight word assessments and the homework, the HOMEWORK! In Kindergarten the homework was writing letters and coloring the square green. Usually we finished the weekly packet in a day or two.
Now we spend a good 30-45 minutes NOT including studying spelling or reading for 15-20 minutes. It’s a lot. For Brookey and for me! By the time she gets home, has a snack, has dinner, takes a shower and does homework, it’s bedtime!!

I am all about incentives (and organization), so I found an AWESOME way to get it all done and keep her motivated to do all of these "jobs." I can’t claim to have made this up, I found it online. These cards have been working SO well for us! You can really start this at any age, for any tasks you need your child to do (brush teeth, clean up toys, read, do homework, etc).

The Card "Trick"

I started by deciding what "jobs" really needed to get done each day. For us it was: Homework, Studying Spelling Words, Practicing Sight Words, Shower/Bath, Reading and Setting the Table. I made a card for each one of these tasks in Powerpoint and laminated the cards:

I added "Free Time!" When she completes all of the "jobs" she gets free time to do whatever--watch TV, play on the computer, torture her brother, whatever. She quickly learned the faster she got the "tasks" done, the more free time she had. This also cuts the complaining down BIG TIME. There is no room for any exhausting child "negotiation." You don't get free time until the jobs are done. Period.

The key to making this fun was giving her the packet of cards plus her own dry-erase pen so she could check off each task as she completed it. Something about dry-erase pens REALLY gets kids motivated. Maybe it's the smell, I don't know.
When she is done with the tasks, she comes to me and gets a ticket for completing all of her "jobs." When she gets 10 tickets, she gets a prize. For her, she's motivated by cold, hard cash. So she gets $5 for 10 tickets. You can choose a "prize" to suit whatever your child is motivated by. Set up the terms how you see fit. Younger kids should take less time to earn a prize since they simply aren't capable of understanding time past a few days.

Enjoy The Card "Trick!" I know it's completely saved my sanity!!!

Hello 3rd Trimester!!

Although there is lots of confusion over when the "trimesters" actually start and end, I just do simple math: 40 weeks/3 trimesters and voila! Roughly 27 weeks is the third trimester in my book. It's also exactly 3 months until my official due date (May 13th). Not much excitement going on since the contraction episode a few weeks ago. Here are some random thoughts as I enter the home stretch:

1) I had forgotten how much I LOATHE, HATE DESPISE maternity clothes. With the exception of some side-ruched maternity t-shirts (which are somewhat cute), I've pretty much banned "maternity clothes" from my wardrobe. 1-2 sizes bigger in pants, nice, flowy shirts that are popular right now and my Bella Band are pretty much what I am sticking to. I'm NOT busting out my panel jeans until 9 months or the seams split on my regular pants :)

2) Speaking of 9 months, I have a good intuition that Baby 3 will not stay the full 9 months. Based on how I feel and my previous pregnancy (one month early), I am guessing Baby 3 will be a late April baby. Let's hope it not any earlier.

3) I'll post belly pics at some point. I realized I have NO pictures of myself preggo with Will. His baby book has a place for a picture of "Mom Pregnant" and I couldn't find anything to fill the space!

4) Continuing to work vs. staying at home is definitely weighing on my mind right now, but I am not making any decisions until this summer. I really have the most ideal job situation imaginable. 2 days a week, I get to be a part of the school where all my kids will eventually go, doing a job I love. But then there's major stress when the kids get sick, Scott travels, hectic mornings and just the sheer energy it takes to keep up with school events and homework, etc...working doesn't seem worth it. Plus, with Scott's new job NOT working from home--there is an additional challenge. I am not a person who gets bored at home with the kids. I have structure and we always find fun things to do. I like the fact that on the days I stay home, I have so much more energy to devote to my family. But I love my job! SIGH--it's such a tough call. No decision is perfect!!!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

50's Flashback!

Brookey's school celebrated their 50th anniversary last week, so we had to break out the poodle skirt and scarves!

They only gave us 4 days advance notice to "prepare" for this dress up day, which was tough but Party City came through :) I love the 50's!! We might all have to be a "50's Family" for Halloween this year....Brooke in her poodle skirt, Buddy in a letter-jacket, Scott in a suit with a pipe and me in a cute "Lucielle Ball" dress, heels and a feather duster!! I can't think of anything else more realistic!! :)

5 Super Simple Meal Prep Tips

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