Friday, April 29, 2016

Project 52 - Week 7

Project52 week 7

This week's photo is not perfect but I choose it anyway because I love what is happening here. I was in the kitchen when I heard rustling in the living room. I walked in to find Maggie intently coloring in her coloring book. She's become obsessed with coloring lately which means my walls are covered in crayon and any scrap of paper has marks on it. I love it though even if I don't love cleaning off my walls. 
Thursday, April 28, 2016

Molly Cooks!

Molly Cooks

On Monday, I talked about how we are introducing responsibility to Molly through an allowance, routine charts and cooking. I said that I would talk about cooking in another post and today's post is about teaching Molly who is 4 and a half, how to cook.

Molly Cooks5

A few months ago, some parents at Maggie's co-op were talking about how hard it is to keep their kids out of the kitchen while they are trying to make dinner. Our parent educator suggested that they involve them in cooking.

Molly Cooks3

I remembered that Molly's friend, Other Molly likes to cook with her Mom and even has her own cooking supplies. I quickly ordered a few things from Amazon (because all problems are solved by going shopping) and started to scheme.


I found this awesome chart that shows what kitchen skills are appropriate at what age. I also checked out a book on kid's cooking from the library. I talked to Molly about taking over dinner one night a week. We decided that Wednesday would be perfect because we get home early enough from ballet for her to make a simple meal. On Sundays, Molly and I discuss what she will be making on Wednesday so I can get all the ingredients. I have a Pinterest page full of ideas and we also consult cookbooks. Her first meal was boxed Macaroni and Cheese. She was so proud of herself and I was happy to see her excitement grow.



Over time she's grown her skills in the kitchen. She's made PB&J's for dinner, Monster Pizzas, Mini Lasagna Cups, Fish Tacos, Grilled Cheese and Crockpot Spaghetti. I help her by gathering the ingredients, helping her measure out the food, reading the recipe and showing her how to use sharp knives. I also put take everything out of the oven.


Most nights, Molly loves cooking for the family but sometimes she is not into cooking at all. One night when she refused to cook,  I said, "Well if you don't to make dinner, what will we eat?" Molly is a quick one and said, "Let's order Pizza!" and so we did because some nights, you just need to order pizza.

Molly Cooks4

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Stay-at-Home Parents, Book Clubs and Knitting Chairs Are This Week's Links From Around the Web


What Ruth Bader Ginsburg Taught Me About Being a Stay-at-Home Dad - So much wonderful wisdom in this article.

This Terrible Self-Help Book Is Actually Making Me a Better Artist - This is one of my favorite books and I'm contemplating doing another round with this. Maybe after the 100 Day Project.

The Seattle Art Museum has started an Online Book Club! I'm so excited!

Earth Day Tips - An article I wrote for Seattle Refined with some tips on being kind to Mother Earth.

Knitting Rocking Chair I love knitting but this chair would be so useful! My kids always want new hats or lose the hats I make them. With this chair, I'd be like, give me a minute and then BAM! New hat!

I spent a week without Social Media, and survived I highly recommend doing this. I really loved this experiment.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Kid's Bedroom Refresh (Organizational Challenge Update)


I've been slowly working my way through the 14 Week Organizational Challenge. I'm dreadfully behind but I've made some great progress. Some rooms have been easy, i.e. the Living Room which I've always kept free of clutter. Other rooms have been a lot of work! One of the rooms that I made major improvements to was the girl's room. When Target came out with their Pillowfort collection, I stayed up until Midnight to order things online. The bedroom really needed a refresh and I am in love with the new look!


Their room was cluttered and mis-matched and not fun! I knew it wouldn't take much to take it from shabby shambles to fabulous and I was right. The first thing I had to do was deep clean their room. 


I spent hours pulling things out of their closet, recycling diaper boxes, sorting clothing and tossing, tossing, tossing. There is still plenty that could leave but the girls discovered my work and quickly put a stop to my donation pile. 


I removed the changing pad from their dresser since Maggie will be potty trained soon and all of her current diaper changes happen on the floor. I re-arranged the art on their walls and added some new items. Maggie didn't have anything above her bed as Scott has been nervous about earthquakes. Now that she is older, I decided to override his fear and moved the three girl photos from Molly's side of the bed to above Maggie's crib. Molly's area got a unicorn head and a fun wall plaque. 



I also completely switched out their bedding. They now have matching bedspreads from the Floral Field Pillowfort collection. I also got some fun pillowcases with silly sayings. Maggie's bedspread is a little big for her crib right now but I know we'll be switching her to a bed in the next 9-12 months so I thought I'd do it now especially since I love the Pillowfort collection. 


Molly keeps asking for plants and flowers in her room. I found this cute hippo plant stand at the local nursery and paired it with an easy to care for succulent. Molly is thrilled with her new plant and I know it will be hard for her to harm it with her love.


Their bedroom closet is almost completely empty. I have dreams of turning it into a dress-up area but I haven't gotten there yet. For now, the girls like to go in there, close the door and wave flashlights around. Whatever makes them happy! I'm just thrilled with the new look of their room. Now to tackle other areas of the house!
Monday, April 25, 2016

Kids + Responsibility


Now that Molly is getting older, we've been working on teaching her more responsibility.  We started her on an allowance, gave her a routine/chore chart and she is now making dinner for us on Wednesday nights. In this post, I'll talk about allowance and the routine/chore chart. I'll save the cooking excitement for another day.


Earlier this year, we started Molly on a weekly allowance using the three jar approach. I read somewhere that you should give your kids the same amount of money as their age so Molly gets 4 dollars a week. She has to put one dollar in each of her three jars - Spend, Save & Give. She gets to choose which jar the last dollar goes into. I thought, for sure, she would always put it in spend but she doesn't. She puts most of her extra money into her save jar.


We don't have a defined way for her to use her Give jar but I have discovered that ways pop up throughout the year. At Easter, our church handed out empty plastic eggs and asked the kids to fill them with coins for two orphans the church has "adopted" from Africa. Molly quickly filled her eggs and even asked me for more money so she could add to them.  As for the spend, Molly has a little wallet that she puts her spend money into whenever we go somewhere that she wants to spend money. I make her handle the entire transaction alone (while hovering behind her) which has given her huge confidence. The allowance thing has already really helped the, "BUT I WANT IT MOM!" begging when we go to the store. I calmly say, "How much money do you have?" and if she really wants it and has enough, then she can buy that thing. If not, then it has to wait until she has enough. It's a hard lesson but a good one.


I've also made a command center outside the girl's bedroom to keep everyone in the family more organized. There is a weekly calendar, an area for notes and a chore chart area. The most important part of this is the Routine and Chore Chart that Molly and I made together. 


The morning and evening routine chart have drastically changed our mornings. While still rushed, there is definitely less yelling on my part. As a bonus, Scott now knows what needs to be done if I am gone and can help the girls through the routine. We let Molly lead the charge with prompting from us. It's made her feel more responsible and gives her something to be in charge of. 

The chore chart is more of a reminder. It reminds Molly to make her bed, brush her teeth and most importantly, be kind. If she fills the chart with stickers, then she gets something special at the end of the week - a date with Mom, a favorite movie, a bedtime pass where she gets to stay up a little later, etc. I've been using the Be So Kind section as a great reminder for Molly and it really works! She wants those stickers, badly. 

I've also implemented a weekly family meeting (something I learned from Positive Discipline) where we review the week and talk about any family issues that might be lingering. It's a quick meeting but then we are all on the same page and small issues don't become big issues. I highly recommend the family meeting. 

I'd love to hear your tips for raising responsible children and how you deal with teaching them about finances!
Friday, April 22, 2016

Project 52 - Week Six


I have two photos again this week because I just couldn't decide. The first one was taken during breakfast. I've been solo parenting since Wednesday of last week and mornings have been a little rough. This morning though was so nice. Both girls were happy. I made them bagels and instead of just licking the cream cheese off and throwing them on the floor, they ate their bagels. This was a good morning. 


My next photo was taken during one of our really hot days this week. It got up to 86 on Monday and we spent the afternoon in the yard, splashing in the pool and taunting the chickens. I was watching the girls from the comfort of the shade when Maggie came over to sit next to me and visit. Again, another magical moment. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Hikes, Places to take Your Kids and Being a Better Friend Are This Week's Links From Around the Web


Make-Ahead Meals for Your Busy Family I really enjoyed writing this article because it was about my favorite family timesaver, prepping meals ahead! 

How to Be A Better Friend, Even When You Are Busy I loved this article because it reminded me of all the important things.

40 Must See Places Take Your Kids I have big plans now! BIG PLANS!

6 Exceptional Seattle Hikes for Spring Just a few of my favorite places to hike!

Go Visit Vashon! It's gotten really cool!

Monday, April 18, 2016

100 Day Project Redux!


Last year, I started the 100 Day Project with grand plans which quickly petered out. This year I'm going to attempt it again! (I say that with determination!) Starting tomorrow, April 19th, I will be starting 100 Days of Swatching which coincides with my 2016 goal of completing the TKGA Master Knitting Level 1 Project. 


The basic premise of the 100 Day project is to make something everyday for 100 days. I decided on swatching because I need to submit 17 perfect swatches for the TKGA Master Knitting Level 1 project and I've found that repetition leads to better knitting for me.  

In the midst of the chaos, I finished swatch #2. #100daysproject #100daysofswatching

I'm documenting my efforts on Instagram and keeping an album on Flickr.  I'm using the hashtag #100daysofswatchingv2 along with the group hashtag of #100daysproject. Anyone else doing this? What is your hashtag? 
Friday, April 15, 2016

Project 52 - Week Five

Project 52 week 5.1

I have two photos this week even though the idea is just to take one but I love them both. The first one is of Molly coloring herself with markers. I caught her decorating her favorite canvas when I thought she was quietly watching tv. I should have known that quiet is not a good thing. 


I took the second photo while on a mini-break to Vashon Island with my family. We were all getting ready for the day and Maggie was watching cartoons. I loved the light in the place we were staying and loved this snapshot of Maggie. 
Thursday, April 14, 2016

March Book Report

I've been on a reading streak lately and I've never been happier. I read 5 1/2 books in March which felt astounding. 

First up, was The Green Road by Anne Enright and it was beautifully dysfunctional and made my heart soar. Enright talks about family in such a way that you are enveloped in it. As usual, the setting of this book is in Ireland which made it a wee bit more romantic for me but as she details the family's trials and tribulations, I was both sighing and cheering for them. I'd highly recommend this book! 

Then I tried to read The 10 Letters Project by Jen Lee and Time Manley and had to abandon it. It was boring and trite and just not good. I was very disappointed too because this book received a lot of great press and I wanted to love it. Sadly after reading almost half the book and feeling like I was slogging through it, I ditched it and moved on. 

After the 10 Letters Project, I needed something quick and good so I picked up Jane, the Fox & Me by Fanny Britt & Isabelle Arsenault. I loved this stunning graphic novel and poured over the pictures as much as the words. This is more of a young adult focused book but I still really enjoyed it. 

The Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Kruzhnik was awesome! I've always loved Ruth Bader Ginsburg but after reading this book, I'm a devoted fan. RBG is a bad ass and this book just backed up that belief. I loved reading about her career before the supreme court and her career since then. I want everyone to read this book! 

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert was seriously life changing for me. I listened to the first half of the book on my way to the Made to Create Photography Retreat and it put me in the frame of mind for creativity.  I finished it while washing the dishes. I loved all of her stories. I loved how she focused on accepting failure. I loved it all. And I honestly didn't expect to because I HATED EAT, PRAY, LOVE. Hated it! But Big Magic. Big Magic was awesome. 

I laughed my way through Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. Otherwise known as the bloggess, Lawson is hilarious and had the best stories. I found this book to be both funny and touching. Lawson talks a lot about her mental illness and makes it a topic that is ok to discuss.

I'm on a book reading tear for April too! I've already read four books and have stayed up way too late reading them. What are you reading? I need more book recommendations! 
Wednesday, April 13, 2016

10 on 10

This month's 10 on 10 happened to fall on Scott and I's anniversary. We were on Vashon Island for a story I was working on and had a great time with the girls. We celebrated on Friday night before leaving for the weekend so we had some time for celebration without the kids. The 10th though was pure family time.

The girls started their day with some serious TV watching while Scott and I took our time waking up and reading.

The place we were staying had a great public area with games. Molly and Maggie spent some time playing before we headed off for breakfast. 

We had breakfast at the bakery near our hotel and Molly got really into doing the ABC's on their magnetic scrabble board. It was fun watching her explore her letters. 

We had a long wait for the ferry home but eventually made it before the kids went completely feral. 

The ferry ride home was quick but the kids still managed to make some noise and run out their wiggles. 

We stopped at a burger joint close to the ferry dock for a late lunch. The burgers were great and the girls loved their milk shakes. 

 The chickens were thrilled to have us home since I had locked them up when we left for the weekend. The rest of our day was spent settling back in and getting ready for the week ahead.

Check out Lauren's 10 on 10 photos. They are swoon-worthy!
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