Monday, October 27, 2008

mom tip # 3

Having a hard time getting your kids to clean up their rooms or toys? Make a game of it. We recently invented a game called "I found the last toy!". Here's how we play, we start in one room and start picking up and putting toys away quickly seeing who can find the last toy in the room. The rules are simple, all things must be put away in their proper place, no pushing each other out of the way to get a toy, and whoever finds the last toy wins! Every time we play this game the kids whole room gets clean even under the dresser and beds! Once you get started as you're putting the toy away say, "I found the last toy!", someone else will find another and announce the same thing until all the toys are cleaned up. It's actually a lot of fun!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Anna thought another baby makeover was in order the other night. I can't wait to see what kind of "makeovers" they give each other as they get older..or maybe I can...
Anyways here's a little glimpse...
Anna doing Adah's hair (who knew they would start this early in life?)

Apparently Adah didn't like this headband

She liked the yellow headband much better

Adah recently started dancing so I turned on the Wiggles for her for the first time the other day and it was sweet. She and Anna were dancing, it was so cute, especially before Anna noticed me standing there. I used my regular camera to take the video so Anna kept watching me waiting for me to snap a picture of her. She didn't realize I was taking video.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

a quiet house

For any of you reading this with one child..stop reading now..really you should stop..this is not for you
Matt's brother and his girlfriend called this afternoon and asked if they could come pick up our older 4 kids and take them to a pumpkin festival..and of course we said YES! How soon will you be here? So here we are left with an 11 month old, the adults in the house actually outnumber the kids! This never happens.
So after watching football without distractions, getting the basement cleaned out and talking to my husband with little interruption..I started to think (which always gets me into trouble)
What in the world did I think was so hard when I just had one? Seriously, what did I complain about? And what did I do with my time? This is easy..
Since the older kids aren't here Adah is content to stay in the living room with us and play with her toys, which she NEVER does! She's usually everwhere trying to keep up with everyone.
So if you just have one child and you read this anyways (I tried to warn you) don't feel bad. Kids are a lot of work, even if it's one kid.

Thanks Drew & Leila for taking the kids for the afternoon! What a treat!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Never in my life..

Never in my life..
Did I ever think I would walk into a grocery store armed with some coupons and the store would PAY ME to "buy" stuff! But today it happened. I went into Kroger for a couple of things from my shopping list and had a negative balance and they gave me change. I knew going into it that my items (nothing big...3 sticks of deodorant and some nail files) would be free but I expected to pay sales tax. And even if I didn't have to pay the sales tax I thought at the very least I would walk out without spending a thing but I didn't expect to walk out with more money than I came in with. Now the change was only .14 but still..they paid me to get those things..this truly amazes me. If you don't believe me look closely at my shows my negative balance and they gave me .14 in change.

Mom Tip #2

Get your kids involved in helping out around the house. We've given each of our older kids daily and weekly chores that they are responsible for. Even Micah whose 2 has a few responsibilities (like clearing his own dishes after a meal..even if some of it winds up on the floor, he helps clean that up when it happens)
We don't expect perfection but we do expect they do their chores well.
We let the kids pick some of the chores they want from a list we make up ahead of time. We also give each child a commision (allowance) every 2 weeks, that is based on how well they are doing their chores, if they do them without being reminded or complaining, and how many tasks they are doing. And we also have a fines chart..if they don't do, refuse to do, forget to do after being reminded, or do a very poor job when we know they can do better (which never happens, ha ha ha) ..we fine them a certain amount, write the fine down on the chart with some info like why they got the fine..and when it comes time to give their commision, we go over the fines chart with each child individually and discuss what if any fines each child might have and they have to pay back the fine to us or to whomever had to do the job they failed to do. If they have none we congratulate them for a job well done and thank them for working hard or not complaining.
I know it sounds complicated but it's not really. And it does require some patience and diligence (especially in the beginning) but in the long run it's a great way to build character and get them more involved in family life.

We also have implemented a "cleaning day" the past several months which has been great. Friday is our cleaning day. We spend the morning cleaning the house. Of course it's dirty before the week is up but I don't stress about it too much since I know that on Friday it will all get cleaned again. We of course do daily chores and there are always exceptions but for the most part we try to stick to our cleaning day.

Levi watering our plants (they really needed it!)

Micah loading his cup in the dishwasher (I know it's upside down but he's 2 what do you expect?)

Elijah taking his laundry to his room to fold and put away

Adah dusting (Just kidding we don't give her chores but she was trying to help:)

Surprise Landing

The other night the kiddos were playing in the backyard. Matt, Adah & I were inside the house when the kids burst in screaming about a hot air balloon landing on our house. So we of course rushed out to see what was going on and sure enough there was a hot air balloon very close to our roof. It landed in the field behind our house! It was very unexpected and a neat thing to watch. The kids got to go talk with the people flying the balloon while they waited for someone to come pick them up. I'm so glad we were home to see it all unfold.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mom Tip # 1

Write letters to your kids. Years ago back when Elijah was an infant I began writing him letters, just simple ones about what he's like and how much I love him. And ever since I've been writing letters to my kids. Sometimes they are serious, sometimes, silly, sometimes prayerful. There is no formula to it. I don't use fancy paper or big words, just try to express what milestones they've achieved or what's going on in their life, how much God loves them & how blessed I am to be their mom. I write each child on or around his/her birthday and at least one other time during the year. I seal each letter in an envelope and write their name and date on the letter and they go in our fire proof safe. I'm not sure when they'll get their letters, I guess I'll just know when it's the right time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Stretching your dollar

I've recently joined the world of coupon clipping. I used to think coupons were irrelevent, that they didn't really make that big of a difference and were a lot of work. I also thought that I don't buy stuff that I can use coupons with as we don't buy a lot of snack or junk food. Boy has my opinion changed! I still have a lot to learn..I'm a work in progress, which is pretty much how I can describe everything in life anyways.
Today we went to Walgreens to stockpile on some cleaning supplies and toothpaste, and I saved $70 and will be getting a $10 rebate check so really I saved $80! The lady who checked me out at Walgreens looked at my receipt and said, "oh my gosh, you saved $70!" She sounded shocked. And admitidly I was a little surprised too on how much I saved.
Here is what I got from the store for just over $50 -3 bottles Windex, 3 cans pledge, 3 bottles of Fantastic, 6 tubes of toothpaste, 2 toothbrushes (these cost less than a quarter), 2 boxes of cookies, 2 packages of pledge wipes, 1 bottle of drano, 4 bottles of probiotic suppliments (this alone would have cost $32), & 2 bottles of children's tylenol (with 5 kids you can never have enough Tylenol:)

I started my journey of saving by joining the grocery game and talking with friends who are already pros in this world of coupons and sales. I hope to someday be able to figure out and organize all the deals and coupons on my own and save a couple more bucks a month but for now I love the organization and convenience of the list from the grocery game.
Our grocery bills have shrunk tremendously. I now spend $70-90 a week on groceries instead of $130-160. This includes diapers (which we are using way less of now that Adah is potty training) paper products, & soaps.

What I still can't believe is all the stuff you get for free. I haven't had to pay for toilet paper in months:)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Down on the Farm

watching the cow milking

"Mommy look the cat is eating":)

Micah intrigued by the cat

Adah loved the horses (and this one loved her..I think she smelled like apple puffs)

Micah was terrified, he kept saying "the horse is gonna eat me!"

Adah, Elijah, & I checking out the horse

the kids watching a farmer sheer a sheep

We had a nice weekend. We took the kids (and Matt's little sister, Megan) on the Butler County Farm Tour Saturday and had a great time down on the farm. We visited 5 of the 6 farms on the tour, we learned a lot!
If you were to ask the kids what the highlight of their farm tour is, they might tell you about the Christmas tree farm that smelled Christmas; or they might tell you about the sheep being sheered then a lady who cleaned the wool and made it into yarn, they might tell you about the horse farm where we got to pet and learn about horses & take a hayride, they might tell you about the cattle farm where we learned about milking a cow BUT it's a pretty safe bet that they would tell you about the cat at the cattle farm, the cat that was eating the afterbirth of a new born calf-just 3 hours old. (It was really gross!) I have a picture but it's really too nasty to post, it would make your stomach turn.
We saw many interesting things on the tour and I'm sure they learned a lot but of course the kids have talked more about that cat than anything else! It was the highlight of their trip.