My kids are on track break and, so far, we are surviving. If you count how many appointments we've missed so far, it's 6 (3 music classes, 1 violin lesson, and 2 summer camp classes) because having the kids out of their normal routine really seems to blow my mind.
Today, as we didn't have any place to HAVE to be, became my errand morning and I wisely hired a babysitter to man the fort as I came and went with groceries, etc. I took Kenzie to the fabric store to buy a pattern for the pioneer day celebration in a few weeks. She wants a dress and I told her I'd buy the stuff for it if she'd sew it for herself. Since when did "making" your clothes become so stinkin' expensive? Seriously! The fabric we bought was 1/2 off and the pattern was 40% off. It was still $35.00. I've committed to cutting out the pattern with her and then she and Grandma Dodie will sew it up in a couple weeks. Just a shout out to my mother-in-law. How cool is it that she is teaching Mackenzie to sew? (It's one of the many wonderful things she does.) It's such a lost art and something I really wish I would have learned when my mom offered to teach me a ba-dillion times. Santa brought Kenzie her own sewing machine a couple years ago and she's enjoyed making all sorts of things on it and even has given me a few pointers here and there.
Then I stocked up at the grocery store for the rest of the week. The past couple times I've gone to the grocery store I have had flashbacks to shopping trips that I made with my mom when I was younger. I cannot believe how full my cart is for just the stuff to make dinners and lunches and breakfasts for a family of 6 (yes, I know there's 7, but Briggs . . . you know.) Granted we're having a BBQ on Friday and we're feeding the missionaries tomorrow, but still. The poor bag boy always tentatively asks if I want help to my car as he knows how long he'll be unloading all our food whilst standing in the blazing heat. While I used to say, "No thanks, I'm good." Now I willingly exclaim, "That's be great."
And I am realizing how totally boring this post is. Sorry. Blah Blah. Grocery store. Blah Blah. Fabric. It's probably bedtime. Before I go, though, my homegirl, Chris, was asking how to keep her kids motivated to do more around the house, and instead of posting a huge 'ol comment, I thought I'd share our chore/reward system. It's all about the pins the kids earn:
We have a bulletin board in our family room and on this are two charts: The Bonus Chart and the Chore Chart. I'm not sure if my philosophy is healthy or right or therapist-approved, but I believe the kids need to chip in to keep our house of home of order. It's just part of being in the family. That said, I just recently started paying my kids for doing their chores BECAUSE I needed a way I could fine them for hitting each other. Yes, I said it, I fine my kids. If you'll note on the chore chart, there's a couple push pins. Each of those represent $ .25, so basically they have the opportunity to earn $3.00/week. That's a lot, right?! But each time they hit each other they are fined a quarter. We added the money into our chore chart a few weeks ago and nobody has broken the $3.00 mark for their payment (which will be paid monthly and tithing and savings put aside on pay day) so I'm not overly concerned with us having to be broke to pay our kids an allowance. [Hello! Can you tell how often the haul off and whack each other???] The kids pictures rotate (thank you velcro tabs) and the days are pretty specific for what they have to accomplish. [2 pins = excellent work; 1 pin = good effort; 0 pins = didn't fight the fight to "make" them do their chores.] So, if you click on the picture you can see that even my 2 year old is expected to do dishes, clean, etc., but of course he needs some added assistance. That's one way where the bonus chart comes in to play. I got really tired of my kids feeling entitled to certain perks of childhood, like sleepovers with their cousins and playdates, and (the new additions) of staying up late, and computer time. SO, they now have the chance to earn them by going above and beyond their normal chores. [For example, Kenzie would be on Webkins 24/7 but it's costing her bonus points, so today she cleaned the toy room for Brevin and organized/cleaned out the coat closet and church bag.] It has been a HUGE motivator mostly because I have stuck to it. When the kids want a playdate and they have 5 pins earned, I'm committed to letting them have a friend over, even if I don't want to do it. When they get invited for a sleepover and they don't have their 10 pins, I'll give them a list of extra chores so they can "earn" the fun. [Things that are actually helpful, like shredding mail or straightening the shoes in mine and Tyler's closet.] The girls definitely get it and will work for a bonus point almost always(I've even used bonus points for not so helpful things, too, but are totally to my advantage: "Whoever finds Brevin's flip flops gets a bonus point" or "First one in bed gets a bonus point.") The boys are getting the hang of it. Basically this system works for me because it has eliminated a lot of whining by putting the responsibility onto them and has given me an excuse when I need to say "no." I honestly think that when school starts in the fall I'll be adding TV monitoring to the bonus point system for the kids, too. Anyway, that's my way of letting them motivate themselves. It's been fab, and I've seen all sorts of rewards that are suited for that specific family. Anyway, that's my pin cushion process and an end to a VERY boring post. Night.