Cooking With Pumpkin
In my opinion, one of the best parts of autumn is pumpkin. I love the smell of pumpkins and the orange and green colors of pumpkins. And of course I love the pumpkin spice creamer for my coffee! Because of my love for pumpkins, I decided that this was the year that I was going to attempt to cook a fresh pumpkin and make our own tasty treats.
And just because I love you all, here is a little Pumpkin Spice song to get you in the mood….. Continue Reading
30 Days of Thanks
I love November! The fall weather has rolled in and everything is pumpkin flavored. And we all spend more time wrapped up in blankets on the couch together. To top it off, November has Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays. Thanksgiving is not about gifts or candy or costumes; it is all about family and being thankful.
This November will be our 8th year celebrating the whole month long with ’30 Days of Thanks’. Each day we focus on something that we are thankful for but often don’t stop to appreciate. My kids have always loved this tradition, and I am so happy to share all of my ideas with you. Continue Reading
In a house with three kids, we are always looking for a way to keep the peace. After a lot of trial and error, we have come up with a rewards system for kids that really works!
Out of our three littles, our daughter has always been the most spirited child. She loves big, and she fights big.
In school our daughter was introduced to two types of reward systems:
- Stop Light- Every child starts on a green card. A first bad behavior incident moves a child to a yellow card. And a second bad behavior incident will move a child to a red card. Each day the cards move back to green. A certain number of days ending with green cards will earn a child a prize.
- Brag Tags- The teacher gives a child a tag to add to a necklace that highlights the good behavior they have shown (Ex. You Are a Good Friend). In this system, only good behavior is rewarded. There is no backwards movement for bad behavior.
We noticed a huge difference in the way our daughter reacted to these two styles of reward systems. She felt angry and disappointed on the days that she got yellow or red cards. However, she loved the brag tag system, and began to look forward to going to school.
Because of our daughter’s reaction to the brag tag system, we decided to develop our own positive reward system at home.
Good Behavior Tickets
The system we have come up with is very basic. At the end of each day we will reward the kids with a ‘Good Behavior’ ticket if they have been a kind and responsible family member for the day. Ultimately, the kids can cash in their ‘Good Behavior’ tickets for rewards anytime they want to.
What Is Good Behavior?
In our house, good behavior means:
- Being kind to others
- Completing chores without complaining
- Listening to Mom and Dad
- Being respectful, even when angry
- Being honest, even when it is hard
- Going to bed on time
Surviving A Road Trip with Kids
Family road trips have been known to cause parents a lot of stress. The thought of being in a car for hours upon hours with little ones can bring out the anxiety in even the most calm moms and dads. But, with careful planning, road trips with kids can be fun.
We recently hit the road with our 3 littles for an epic week long trip up the coast of Oregon. With our oldest being 10 years old and our youngest being 1 year old, we had to put our planning skills to the test to prevent both boredom and meltdowns.
Here is my list of what worked for us:
- The Road Trip Kit– This was our family favorite for the trip! We used the countdown cards to show where we were going to next (it kept the kids from asking ‘what’s next’ over and over again). The kids also loved the endless whiteboard games. We must have played hangman over a dozen times. Even my toddler enjoyed using the whiteboards to doodle on.
- Water Wow!– I bought a two pack of the Water Wow Activity Pads for my toddler to play with on the trip. And to my surprise, my 10 year old and 7 year old used them the most. The best part is that once they dry you use them all over again. This was an awesome mess-free, reusable and quiet activity for all ages. This was a win in my books!
- Kids’ Travel Journal- We gave these to our kids a few days before our trip. It really got them excited for the upcoming adventure! The kids loved writing notes about the trip in their journals. And they even collected brochures and ticket stubs from our road stops to put in the back pocket of their journals.
Summer Break Plans
Now that summer break is upon us, I need to find a way to keep life at home fun, engaging, and at the same time structured, for three kids. The past four years we have spent our summers living at the pool supporting our kids on a swim team (for those who have swim kids, you know what a commitment that it!). This year Big Brother and Sissy decided not to swim, so we now have a lot of free time to fill. If being a mom for 10 years has taught me anything, it is that too much free time causes chaos. Kids will fight over every little thing when penned up for too long in the house with no direction.
Luckily, I love structure! Seriously, I make spreadsheets to plan everything from shopping lists to vacation budgets to bedtime routine schedules. I quickly set off to work to find a routine that would carry us all the way through the summer. This couldn’t be any boring routine, this had to be something that I was happy with and that the kids would love. Oh, and did I mention that it needed to be done on a budget? With my jump to being a ‘Stay at Home Mom’, we were down to one income.
This is what I came up with….
Our weekly trip to Costco to stock up. I know this may seem boring at first… but… the kids LOVE samples! And, at the end of the trip they get treated to a delicious fro-yo for a whopping $1.35 each. I get my shopping done, and the kids feel like they got a special treat. Win-Win!
We will walk to our local library and exchange books and videos. The walk is just over a mile and passes by a little park to play at. I am fortunate that my kids love to read, so this will be a big hit with the kids. And if you haven’t used it yet, ask the librarian about the Discover and Go program that allows you to get free or discounted museum passes. (Other areas may have a different name for this program)
Dollar movies! Select theaters across the U.S. have kid’s summer movie clubs that show past years movies for $1/person. Such a cheap way to spoil the kids! These movies usually start at 10 AM before the theater opens to the public. Check out Cinemark’s lineup here, or Regal’s lineup here.