Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chore charts

This has been quite the busy summer! I thought I would have updated this blog more during the summer, but we've really enjoyed the hot summer days! Lots of swimming and outdoor activities!! So much fun!
We did start a chore chart for the kids a couple of months ago. It has been very successful! We've put a lot of energy and making this habit and so far it has really paid off! Each Sunday evening we print out the new chore chart for the week. This is one of both Aidan and Abigail's favorite parts of the week. I let them pick out a new "graphic" to put in the corner of their chart. Aidan usually goes back and forth between star wars and some super hero. Abigail goes back and forth between Cinderella and My Little Pony. While Aidan is 4 and Abigail is 2, we went ahead and made their chores identical for right now. Abigail may not be able to actually do some of the chores, but with some help she is able to do her part in them! They LOVE putting their own stickers on the chart! Some of the chores are really easy and things that they do everyday, but it helps in making them feel productive and makes the other chores much easier! Here is a list of the chores that they have to do each day:

1. Get dressed and throw pajamas down the laundry chute (AM)
2. Get pajamas on and throw clothes down the laundry chute (PM)
3. Brush Teeth (AM)
4. Brush teeth (PM)
5. Make bed
6. Each day Aidan has to do 2 pages of his letter of the day (printing them) and one page of his number of the day (out of his preschool book). We call this his "homework" Abigail does her "letters" too. She will sit while he is doing them and either color or try to do letters too. Aidan usually shows her how to do the letters of the day and she tries to be like him. Who knows, maybe she'll be printing real looking letters soon enough! Aidan ends up being SO proud of his letters of the day and is getting very good at them.
7. Abigail feeds the dog. Aidan gives the dog water.
8. Practice reading. Usually this just involves either Jason or I reading to them and making him identify certain words. We are working on Abigail identifying certain letters.
9. Clean up all toys.
*BONUS... they have an opportunity to earn bonuses during the week, but it has to be something really big to earn it.

The catch for them is that they are not allowed to watch ANY tv until the chores are completed. This was a struggle at first, but has probably been the greatest benefit of the chore chart. Most days consist of about a half hour or less of tv before bed. It makes me feel good to know that they aren't watching tv as much and more just imagination play is happening.

Sundays are a free day. He doesn't have to complete all the chores and the tv ban is lifted :) However, with church and other family activities they don't get much tv anyway! AND, most of the chores are so routine that they don't even question them anymore!

Neither Jason or grew up with an allowance and at this time we do not plan on doing allowances, but we wanted to do something in exchange for their completing their chores. So we came up with mommy/daddy money and a mommy/daddy store.

Each day ALL stickers were given, they will each be given a quarter. With Sundays off, they are given a total of $1.50 each week. One quarter has to go in the church basket on Sunday and one has to go in their piggy banks. The other dollar is theirs to spend in the mommy/daddy store. We didn't want them to be discouraged with a dollar buying nothing in the stores except mostly junk (and I don't need any more junk in the house!), so we set up our own store with our own prices. We went out and bought some better, non-junky stuff and put prices on them from 50 cents to $2.50. They can either use their money to buy something smaller or save it to buy a bigger item. Some of the items we have in the store are coloring books, markers, a watch, my little pony books, a transformer, super hero socks, etc. It took them a few weeks to start understanding "saving" and Abigail is still trying to learn that, but overall they love it! The money we spent on the toys has been well worth all the other values the chore chart has offered!

Now that fall is here, keep an eye out for more posts... a big project is starting this week!! Stay tuned!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Oh, I am so far behind on updating this blog, but nothing to feel blue about :) So our blue day was another fun day. We started the morning off with some blue eggs and homemade mini blueberry muffins. The kids loved having something blue for breakfast too!

I had Aidan pick out some books that had blue on the cover of them and we used those for our storytime. Then we decided to make our own blue books. (Although, the thought of a blue book brings me back to college and all those essays for my honors classes!) I found some magazines sitting around and had them go through the magazines and pick out pictures of things that were blue. I helped Abigail with the cutting, but she did a good job of picking things out. Aidan was looking for specific blue stuff and was happy when he found a couple movie picture that had blue on their covers. They glued all the pictures on a piece of blue paper. The one thing that makes me really happy with projects like this is how proud they are to show jason when it's all done. It's often one of the first things they show him when he gets home. For dinner, I made some pork and a veggie, but then made blue mashed potatoes. The potatoes ended up being played with and both kids were covered in blue potatoes! It was a mess, but again nothing to be blue about ;)

Monday, June 28, 2010


Purple day didn't turn out like I would have liked it too, but it was still fun! Abigail was excited because purple is one of her favorite colors. Aidan didn't have anything purple to wear ;)

For our craft, we made purple ice cubes. I really wanted to try to teach the kids how red and blue make purple. So we filled a pitcher up with water and I let them put the food coloring in. Aidan got a little carried away with the blue and our purple was blue at first. We emptied it out and tried it again.... success! The leftover purple water in the pitcher was used for dinner. Aidan insisted everyone have a big glass of purple water!

My dinner... was good... but not very purple! I made meatloaf. Since we all love ketchup with our meatloaf, I had this great idea to turn the red ketchup purple by adding blue food coloring. Let's just say... it didn't work. It turned it more brown. The kids got a kick out of it anyway and still enjoyed dipping their meatloaf in it. After the ketchup didn't turn purple, I thought I would make the macaroni and cheese purple... it didn't turn purple either. It just turned a weird color. So I found a small success in the veggie.... green beans sauteed with a "red" onion. YAY-purple :)

White Day!

I'm not doing well keeping up with the blog, but at least we are still moving forward with the colors!

White day ended up being a lot of fun... and a lot of laundry! White clothes get dirty so quickly! For our white day activity, I put the kids in their swimsuits and put them in the bathtub. I gave them each a thing of shaving cream/gel and let them go to town. I had pink and blue shaving gel and the kids thought it was neat how after they played with it, it turned white! Aidan had more fun inside the tub while Abigail enjoyed playing on the outside. They were covered in white shaving cream when we were finished! They got an early bath that day and my tub got an overdue cleaning :)

For dinner, I made stuffed shells! However, I made a homemade alfredo "white" sauce for them. I'm not a huge alfredo fan, but it turned out fantastic! I used this recipe (minus the fresh parsley)

I was also in the mood for a tomato/mozarella/basil salad... so "white mozarella balls" completed our meal. Abigail kept calling them "meat balls" and couldn't get enough of them!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Silver or gray....

So when Aidan announced he wanted silver day for his super hero "Silver Surfer", it threw me for one. The first thing that I thought of was, what the heck am I going to do for dinner that is silver?? Although dinner was really a least of my concern at the moment... do they have anything to wear that is silver? Aidan ended up having several gray shirts in his closet, so he was satisfied with a star wars one. Abigail doesn't have one darn silver or gray shirt! So we chose overalls with silver buttons :) It worked.

For our activity or craft, I googled all sorts of aluminum foil crafts. However, after thinking about it for a while I decided not to overthink the color and go simple. I pulled out all the silver bowls, cake pans, and silver spoons. I threw in a Latin dance music cd and had the kids go to town. I think I still hear the banging in my head a couple days later, but it was worth it. The kids had a blast!

My sister, Melissa, suggested I make sardines for dinner. I thought about anchovie pizza or sardines and crackers or even a piece of fish with the skin on, but again thought about it and decided to go simple. I cut up a bunch of veggies, some sausage, and a couple hotdogs. I put some extra virgin olive oil, some spices, and garlic on them and wrapped it up in aluminum foil. I threw it on the grill. I showed the kids that dinner was coming out of a silver package ;) Dinner was good and best of all... no pots or pans to clean!

Just a pic of our dinner and some of the bowls all over the family room floor!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Brown Day!

When I woke up for Brown day thoughts of chocolate ran through my mind... chocolate chip pancakes, chocolate milk, chocolate brownies.... Aidan woke up and asked for brown eggs! So much for chocolate for breakfast ;) So I pulled out some brown eggs and proceeded to cook them. However, he wasn't quite satisfied using brown eggs... they had to be dyed brown. Now that was a bit tough, so I just had him put a drop of every food coloring in the bowl. They weren't quite what I would describe as brown, but they were close enough and both kids just ate them up!

We decided to make "mud pies" outside today. Although, I did wait and let the hubby take control of that one! Abigail actually enjoyed it more than Aidan did! After mud pies... bath time came before dinner! For dinner, I made what my family just calls "meat roll." I use hot roll mix and follow the directions on the box. I roll it out and put cooked ground beef and some onions, and then roll it back up and bake per the directions on the box. When it was done, I served it with brown gravy! It was a winner :) Jason even ate it for breakfast the next morning!

For dessert, I was determined to get some chocolate involved in the day... so we made smores!

The pictures are the brown eggs, mud pies, and meat roll with gravy!

Friday, June 18, 2010


Yellow proved to be another fun day! It was definately an easy day to find something to wear. Apparently, both kids have lots of yellow clothes! For a mid-day snack the kids enjoyed a Minute Maid frozen lemonade popsicle! I pulled out the playdough table and the kids had fun playing with playdough... so we made some homemade YELLOW playdough! My kids love anything that involves cooking, so they were thrilled to pull out the pots and pans! Aidan was definately more excited to play with the food coloring! I found a common recipe for playdough on various websites, but specificaly used this website for our playdough:

The website has a few different types of playdough recipes. I used the cooked playdough one. Make sure you have enough salt before you start... I had exactly 1/2 cup of salt... phew!

For dinner, I made a Yellow Thai Curry over yellow rice. I'm glad I decided to dye the rice yellow because the actual curry didn't turn out very yellow! In hindsight, I might have chosen a different menu idea! I am thinking that scrambled eggs would have been a great idea too!

Pictures are the playdough and curry with yellow rice!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Green Day!

I'll be honest the first thing I thought of when I thought of green day was the band.... Aidan's first thought... Green pancakes! So we started off the morning with some green dyed buckwheat pancakes. After breakfast, we all put on our green wear. I don't know if I have maternity clothes in every color... this might give me a reason to go buy a new shirt : )

For our green project, I thought the best place to go was outside! Where else, in the summer, are you going to find so much green!? The kids had fun finding all different leaves, grass, plants... basically whatever they could find. After they picked and pulled and ran around for a while, we put all our findings on paper. They glued their greenery on construction paper. They thought it was cool to see all the different types of green. For dinner, we had chicken rice and green pea casserole... dyed green! It wasn't so appetizing looking, but the kids thought it was great! I also had a side of asparagus simply because I was craving it and it was green! The best part about making pancakes and a huge casserole... I froze all the extras! There will be a quick weekend meal!
Pictures are the green projects and my casserole!

Red Day!

Monday, June 14th was a first day with color of the day. We started the morning off by all putting on red! Our craft for the day: We made heart shaped pillows out of red and white fabric. I found some old fabric my Grandma Schorsten had given me and was thrilled to find some with lots of red on it. I drew hearts on the fabric and let Aidan cut them out. He cut out Abigail's hearts too. I withheld any temptation to "fix" the hearts and let them just be... they were theirs and they were proud of them. I had to keep that mentality going when we got to the sewing part. I let him put the pins in to keep the two heart pieces together. I thredded the sewing machine and let him push the peddle. Abigail didn't want to push the peddle, but she sat in my lap and pushed the back button a few times in the sewing process. They both stuffed their pillows full and then I hand stitched them together. Their hearts turned out interesting, but not too bad for a 4 year old and 2 year old :) They loved them and had fun playing with them. For dinner, Aidan had requested "red soup" a.k.a. tomato soup. He has always loved tomato soup and has always called it "red soup", so it was most appropriate for the day. In addition, we had BLT sandwiches on homemade tomato basil bread. It was my first attempt at a sundried tomato basil bread, and turned out pretty well! The dork in me couldn't resist even getting red lettuce for the sandwiches! Needless to say, it was a great red day! The pictures are of my sun-dried tomato basil bread, Abigail's heart, and Aidan's heart!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Color of the Day!

Now that we have completed the letter of the day and state of the day, I thought it would be fun to do the color of the day. While Aidan obviously had no problem with his colors, Abigail could use a little help in learning some colors. Her favorite colors are pink and purple. After receiving feedback from the other projects, it was suggested that I put it in a blog. So here we go! I'll see if I can keep up with it!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Finally getting started...

So I've had this blog set up for a while, but never actually posted on it. After my computer crashed a couple months ago, I think it might be nice to kind of record some of the activities that I do with my kids to share with others. I am going to try and accumulate all the activities we did for our "state-of-the day" and get those posted on here as well. I also thought it might be fun to keep track of the different recipes that I try.