Thursday, July 30, 2009


We were headed over to the library last night to go see a magician. The kids were selecting something from the treat bowl to bring with them. (Starbursts and Jolly Ranchers were the choice of the older two.)

Clark came over to the cupboard, all excited and happily grabbed a bag of mini rice cakes. "I want these!" he shouted happily. He walked away, swinging the bag up and down saying "Yay! Yay!"

About 10 seconds later ... froze, turned around and said, "Hey! This is not a treat!" Walked right back, shoved the now-evil rice cakes back in place and grabbed a bag of cookies instead. That's my boy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I've been spending this week cleaning out the art supply shelves. I only wish I had taken a before photo. Trust me ... this is a huge improvement.

Oh, yeah ...

The labels! The stacks! A place for everything! I'm getting a little too excited over here.

Stupid Walmart: you sell bins for .87 each and make it so hard for me to hate you.

The great thing about doing a big reorganize is that the kids and I both rediscover things that had long gone unused. They pulled out the newly sorted PlayDoh containers (tools in one bin, dough in another, pitched everything that was solidified and/or grey) and kept busy for an hour before dinner. My just-swept floor was no more, but small price to pay for 60 minutes of sibling harmony.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Behavior Charts

We started using a behavior chart about a year and a half ago. The first version was a great success, that lasted just over a year. As the kids got older, they became less excited about stickers, and when I found myself doing all the upkeep and rewarding, it was time to switch it up to something new. The second version is new for the summer. I don't think it's quite as effective, but the kids like it, because the reward is a definite. It might take them longer than a week to get there, but they will get a reward eventually. The first version went week by week - they had to earn enough stickers within a week to get a reward.

Weekly chart: Works well for younger children, because the day is broken into small chunks (rather than having to be "good" for the entire day) and getting to place stickers in the squares. Four stickers = tv token. Twenty stickers in a week = reward of their choosing. The bonus squares are for exceptionally great behavior ... I liked the flexibility of giving them a "WOW! You did something really great today."

Download pdf file - Weekly chart

Good Behavior List: So kids know what to strive for. I selected a few behaviors that needed improvement. I tried to use positive wording: "Keep Hands to Yourself" vs. "No Hitting."

Path chart: Seven squares, each representing a day. We've decided to focus on one behavior at a time for this chart. Each day that they've shown that good behavior, they can move up. Each day advanced = one tv token. At the end of the path, they get a reward of their choosing. I laminated the chart and stick the little figures on with poster putty.

Download pdf file - Path chart
Download pdf file - Kid figures

TV token: This was one of the best incentives we've ever used. Kids earn their tv and computer time, and I am very liberal about when they can cash them. (As long as we've got 30 minutes at home, go for it.) The amount of tv they can watch is still limited, but it puts the when in their control ... so I no longer spent every day fielding the "Can we watch tv / How much?" question. When they ask for tv, I ask if they have a token to cash. If not, oh well.

Download pdf file - TV token

Treat token: We implemented this after Halloween last year, for the same reasons as we used the tv token. (Three stickers in one day - morning/noon/evening = treat token.) It worked rather well, but ended up lasting a little long. We retired the treat token at the beginning of the summer, since summer is already full of many opportunities for treats.

Download pdf file - treat token

Latest Sewing

Latest sewing projects ...

A drawstring bag for Garrett.

A purple window toy bag for Sarah.

Bags for Andi, Bonnie and Anna. I think I'm done with handbags for awhile. I'll be working on more napkins for the Etsy shop next.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Out of Town

Going on vacation. Hopefully many exciting adventures to post on Friday. Have a great week!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

First Campfire

The kids have been requesting a campfire ever since the end of school. Dora thought it would be appropriate to have one last night to celebrate her half-birthday. (Didn't know our family celebrated half-birthdays, but whatever.) Theo's interest in playing with fire has ramped up 200% this year. He's obsessed with lighting sticks on fire and waving them around. Which REALLY makes for a nice, relaxing evening for mom and dad.

(To clarify: this is Clark, not Theo. Don't want anyone calling CPS because we let our 2-yo wave firey sticks around. He just likes poking at it.)

While Theo remains our little pyromaniac, for Dora, campfires are only a vehicle for chocolate-marshmallow treats. Which means Jeff and I do all the toasting and assembling and the kids reap the gooey rewards.

First s'more.

Old pro.

I have many, many pictures of this girl eating various items, making the same pose. Girl loves to show me how she eats. Love those big kid front teeth!

Latest Sewing Projects

Some baby and kid items for my favorite customer ...

Drawstring gift bag for Hudson.

Superhero cape for Oliver.

Bib and burp cloth set for Josephine. Bib reverse has a green apple.

Monkey bib and burp cloth for Gus.

Monkey bib reverse. (Seriously, I have this new awesome camera and no idea how to use it. Who will come to my house and give me a "Taking Pictures of Things" 101?)

Banana bib and burp for John. (Gus and John are twins. Monkeys? Bananas? Get it?) The reverse of this one also has a star, but I did not get a good picture of it because (see above.)

Bib and placemat for Izzy.