Monday, October 17, 2011

Can I have a checkmark?

Today I wanted to share with you our new rewards system.  We've been using it for a little while and it seems to work really well.  Here's what it looks like.
 They each have their own page.  When they do something extra nice, help clean up, etc. they get a check mark in one of their boxes.  If they do something naughty we erase one (sometimes two) check marks.  Once their chart is full they get to pick a prize or special treat.  This time I took them to the store and let them pick something out (it got kind of expensive:)  this time around I want to have a treasure box with special prizes that they can pick from.  I think they will be excited about this and help keep the cost under control.  (or I could just be better at saying no!)
 Their charts were just made in Word.  I used some digital scrapbook elements but you can also use free clip art.  The boxes are just text boxes.  I sized one then copied and pasted it several times.  I want to laminate it and use a marker to add and take away the check marks but you don't have to.  I just used a pencil this time and it worked great.
You may have noticed Aubrey has a lot more boxes then Olivia.  Here was my thinking, Aubrey is older so we expect her to do a little more and lets just say Olivia loses several check marks.  I was a little worried when we started that it wasn't fair but after a little while it went as I suspected-Aubrey had two rows full and Olivia has 2 boxes.  Its worked for us and has made rewarding and disciple much easier.  Its something they understand and are excited about.
What reward system do you use?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fall Blocks and pictures

My mom made me this adorable Fall block set.  I Love the scarecrow!
and here is my sisters version in her beautiful new house.

Here are some of my new Fall photos for my shop (once it reopens!)  All are from the talented Erica from Red Barn Photography.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Halloween Printables

I still can't find my Halloween decorations :(  But I decided to turn to one of my favorite blogs for some free printables!

To get the size I want I copy them and then paste them in a Word document and size it.  I then print them on Cardstock.

You can find this one here
Then she had this adorable print (its my favorite).  However the background is black and I didn't want to use all my black ink and I didn't want to wait to have it printed somewhere else so I made my own version in Word with a white background. I used free clip art and pretty much stole her idea (remember how much I loved it).  Not quite as cute as the original but I still love it.   

(If you want a copy of this print leave me a message or email and I'd be happy to send it to you.  I can't figure out how to add a word document to this post.  I'll figure it out one day, maybe.)

Monday, October 10, 2011

10 Wallet Friendly Ways to Beat Boredom This Halloween.

I'm excited to have Emily Patterson from Primrose Schools: early childhood day care services guest posting today.  She has some great fun and budget friendly ideas to do with our kids this Fall.

 Autumn is the time of year when kids go back to school, the heady rush from summer vacation seeps away and the family settles back into the normal, day-to-day routine. Sometime towards the end of September or the beginning of October, parents will notice that their children have gotten used to their new classroom, new teacher and maybe even new friends. When this happens, parents will undoubtedly begin to hear that familiar chorus of “There’s nothing to do!” While, as a parent, you may have quite enough to do and are finding yourself busy with life’s details, children’s lives revolve around school and home. It’s not unusual for children to have less quality interaction with their parents once school begins. Children also may begin to feel boredom creep upon them because school work often does not require the same amount of creativity and imagination that summer activities do. Luckily, the beginning of the fall season brings us a step closer to what is quickly becoming one of the most popular holidays of the year: Halloween! Getting ready for Halloween allows parents and children to spend quality time together completing projects, designing costumes and baking treats. If you run out of ideas for the holiday, you may be able to find some great local autumn activities taking place in or near your town. Here are 10 ideas for parents who want to keep their children busy and entertained during the fall season:

1. Activity Jar: The weekend before school starts, sit down as a family and think of activities that you can all do together or your children can do as individuals. While some activities may be a bit over-the-top, you’ll be surprised at how many sensible activities your children will come up with. Let your children decorate a mason jar while you write down all of the approved ideas on slips of paper. Place your slips into the jar and allow your children to pick out one slip of paper on designated days (weekends often work best). Letting your children take part in the brainstorming process will get them involved in the project and when one of their ideas are picked, they’ll feel a sense of pride when they see their family having a great time with the activity they have thought of.

2. Story Time: If you have a fire pit in your backyard, grab some marshmallows, a few sticks and some cozy blankets and make a camp fire. Sit around the fire and take turns telling ghost stories. Even though you’re only in your backyard, you’re children will feel like they’re on a campout.

3. Craft box: There’s no doubt that, with children, you have craft supplies around the house. Glues, crayons, scissors, construction paper, tape and markers make great Halloween crafting items. Toss in old magazines, small, empty boxes, a few packages of stickers and even glitter. Add holiday specific items at different times of the year to keep the box fresh and interesting. Allow your children to add things to the box as they, and you, see fit. When your children come down with a case of boredom, let them dig through the box and create something special.

4. Choose a costume: Sit down with your children for an hour or two and brainstorm ideas for Halloween costumes. If you’re crafty, take them shopping for the materials you’ll need to make their perfect costume. If you’re not able to or don’t have the time to make a costume, take them shopping for a costume they’ll love.

5. Build Something Haunted: Children adore building forts. Take that creativity and harness it for the Halloween holiday. As a family, ‘build’ a haunted house in your basement, turn their bedroom into a haunted castle or construct a haunted maze in the backyard.

6. Make Spooky Treats: Look through a Halloween cookbook or magazine and find cookies or other treats that your children can help you make. A day in the kitchen will be fun for both you and your kids. Following recipes will also help your children with their math skills!

7. Pick Out A Pumpkin: Find a local farm or grower that is offering pumpkins for sale. If you can find a farm that is offering hayrides, cider and even apple picking; all the better! Make a day out of picking out the perfect Halloween pumpkin, though you may want to set a pre-determined budget to avoid having to lug home the biggest pumpkin on the lot.

8. Jack –O-Lantern: Once your children have picked out pumpkins, you’ve got a brand new activity on your hands. There are many sites online that can help your child design a pumpkin and there are also books and magazine articles dedicated to the subject. If the design is very intricate you’ll need to do the knife work. Look for a child-safe decorating kit at your local craft store; many include patterns on the package.

9. Friendly Scarecrow: Raking leaves is never fun but it can be made better knowing the leaves are going towards a good cause! With just a few items like old clothing, garden gloves and a potato sack, you and your children can create the friendliest scarecrow in town!

10. Take a Drive: more and more people are decorating their homes for Halloween. Pack your kids into the car with their favorite juice box, a baggie of snacks and a cozy blanket and head out on the town. Take a tour around the city and look at all of the fantastically decorated homes. You may even find some great ideas to borrow for your own home decorating project.

Using this list as a starting point to your fall activities will no doubt have you thinking up some of your own! Remember, even though summer has ended your children still need an outlet for their creativity and stimulation for their imaginations. Keep activities fun, tailor them to the interests and abilities of your children and you’re sure to put an end to autumn boredom.

Thank you Emily!  I love these ideas and know my girls will love these ideas.
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