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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

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

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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)

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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!

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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

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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. 

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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. 


 
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