Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

Kids job and chore charts.

March 18, 2010

Again, I apologize for the quality of the photos. I am working my hardest on getting a decent camera!
Getting the kids to do their jobs is a constant struggle. A fight that I know I am just starting. I also know that I am not alone and that I always learn better ways to do things from other people who have struggled with this also. So send some help my way!
We are really good with a “method” for a few weeks and then we fall off the wagon when the “fun” new idea is getting old and they realize that I have tricked them into doing their jobs again. 
The problem is that I hate to have to trick them, or bribe, or beg, or scream, or demand etc.  I wish they would just want to have a clean house. Yea right. 
The method that has worked the best, although it is on and off again, is this one I will describe below. 
We have a family meeting, usually on a Monday night, and we let the kids make a list of things that they think they should be responsible for on a daily basis. We talk about how it is important mentally, spiritually, and physically to have a clean house and to work together. Paul usually talks about what it takes to be a family, how we have to work together, and the importance of doing our part. All the kids make this list even the 3 year old. We have another list of weekly and monthly items as well, but I don’t keep that one posted in view all day as they seemed to get overwhelmed. 
We then talk about what they can earn if they consistently do their jobs. These are not material things. They are things like a date with Paul and I to a movie by themselves. Or choosing an entire meal that I make for them including dessert. They have chosen to have a friend spend the day with us. We usually write their wish list on the back of the chore chart. When they have 2 weeks of all their chores done every day they get to pick one of their awards.  They typically earn an award about once a month. 

I type up their jobs in a column format with the days of the week on top and the chores down the side. Each child’s is different according to their age and ability. Smaller kids jobs can be helping me with the baby. My oldest son has mowing the lawn on his. They all have straighten their rooms and make their beds daily.

I let them pick a piece of scrapbook paper for the background, anything they want. I affix the printed chore chart to the scrapbook paper and I laminate them with the heavy lamination. When they have done a job they take a dry erase marker and color in the box or make an X through it.

I use flat magnets on the back so I can hang them on the refrigerator. This way they can see them all day and they are at eye level. 

I want my kids to learn to work. They need to learn that it never really ends, it is a part of life. They also are part of a large family and I can’t possibly do everything for them and don’t think that any Mom should. I think it is important for them to be as involved as possible in the process of making the chore chart and deciding their jobs. If they are they take ownership of the idea and it seems to work better.
How do you do chores at your house. What methods work for you?


This is what happens when men babysit…

March 17, 2010

As a hair stylist I have seen hundreds of hysterical Mother’s with children who have decided to cut their own hair. I have also had to fix probably a hundred little heads of hair to trying to salvage what was left of a do it yourself haircut.
I remember my sisters cutting each others hair and my Mom having to fix it. The worst was my good friend Paige (don’t hate me for this…) her daughter had the most gorgeous long thick hair. She cut it so short and to the scalp she looked like an albino. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, the daughter was fine, Paige was a mess!
Earlier this week my little 3 year old decided she didn’t like the hair in her face and she gave herself bangs. I was furious, I gave her the “no one but me cuts your hair” talk. She has bangs now. I hate bangs…
Tonight I was teaching a coupon class and left the kids and their cousin with Paul. I got home and we put them to bed. My parents came to pick up my niece and as soon as she walked out of the room I noticed this…

Her hair had been cut! I freaked, and she proudly told us how my 3 year old had cut her hair! Seriously, why my kid. I feel horrible, her Mom is out of town, I had to call and profusely apologize and beg for forgiveness! My sister handled it much better than I would have, she just told me to fix it.
So we had an impromptu haircutting party.
Then we blew it dry and made her cute!
I actually almost like it better now. She needed the ends cut anyway, right?

** Update… the baby woke up and Storie had gotten him also!!!!
Any haircutting horror stories out there?


Girl Birthday Party Ideas ~ Webkinz

January 20, 2010
This is a REPOST from last spring, another friend and I were talking about ideas for parties so I told her I would repost it…

My dear friend had a fabulous idea for a little girls birthday party. Like all elementary school age children, her daughter and all of my girls are really into Webkinz. The little stuffed animals that you can register on line and play with.

She sent out darling little invitations that asked the girls to bring any Webkinz they had, if they didn’t have one the Birthday girl has one they could borrow.
Ahead of time my friend Kelly, sewed “beds” for the Webkinz out of fleece and tassel’s she found at Walmart. She didn’t finish them completely so the girls could work on them. Each girl picked her colors and Kelly showed them how to stuff them with batting and whip stitch them closed. A BIG hit with 8 year old girls! This is my daughter’s below, she sleeps with it and her Webkinz. They played games with the Webkinz and Kelly set up her computer to their T.V. so that it had a big screen where all the girls could see. They went to the Webkinz website and let all the girls show each other their pets online. Another BIG hit!

I was able to make Adi her cake and I think it turned out cute! This is the back, I added the Webkinz “tag” on the frog’s rear end! Kelly bought a large cookie cake from Sam’s for the base.

I used the Wilton teddy bear cake pan as a mold and used a heavy pound cake batter.
Next, I cut and shaped the teddy bear into a frog shape with a narrower nose. I used extra thick buttercream frosting to build up the back part of the frog to give him his “frog” shape. I decorated him on the cookie so I didn’t have to move him later. I made the lilly pad he is sitting on out of frosting but next time might do it out of colored chocolate. I think it turned out cute and looked just like her Webkinz!
My daughter LOVED this party and talks about it to this day.
With 6 kids I have a lot of parties to do. My kids only get a “friend” party on their even birthday’s. They get a family one every year. So they spend a good deal of time trying to think of exactly what they want to do. I also usually only have them at home as I refuse to pay the enormous amount party places charge. I have found the parties at home to be more fun for the kids although more work for me!
What have been you kids favorite birthday party ideas and theme’s? What was a success and what didn’t work out so well?!

Tips for traveling with 6 kids….

December 24, 2009

When you plan on being in the car for a 19 hour trip one way you must do the following…

– Pack everything you THINK you might need and see if your husband can fit it all in.
– Always bring very messy snacks, like sticky candy and powdered donuts.
– Never underestimate how often a 3 year old needs to pee, and never try to call her bluff.
– Pack the diapers and wipes together in the bottom of a suitcase and pack it first so it is hardest to get out.
– #1 thing to do, forget your glasses so your husband has to do the ENTIRE drive by himself while you play on the laptop.
Tips for getting a hotel with 8 people.
– There is a reason they charge $39.99 a room. Fork out the extra $20 for the $59.99 and you might get clean towels.
– Always say, “It’s just my wife and kids” they never could imagine you forgot to tell them about the “other” 4 kids that will be sharing the room also.
– Get 2 queens not 1 king. The king only invites ALL the kids to sleep with you.
– Bring sleeping bags and make the big kids use those.
– Lay all 4 girls the wrong way on the bed… you can only fit 2 the correct way but if you pack them in like sardines you only have to bring in 2 sleeping bags. Hey, their small, and they still think it is fun to be uncomfortable all night.
– NEVER let the baby play with the remote. This is a hotel/motel you never know what channels they have.  The 1 year old might flip to something COMPLETELY inappropriate with all the kids watching while Mom is in the bathroom and Dad is cleaning out the car…. They also charge you for the remote when it magically disappears and you can’t return it to the front.

Got S’mores?

December 24, 2009

Breaking all child labor laws and figuring we had our own private work force, we decided to take the kids to Arkansas for Spring Break. While their friends were off to Mexico to sit on a beach or in Colorado skiing, we chose the more economical route with 6 children and took them camping. Who knew our little neighboring state has the World’s 8th largest Diamond Mine?? And I have to tell you-we were pleasantly surprised at how pretty Western Arkansas was! I apologize to you little pretty state with all the green rolling hills and beautiful chicken farms. This is what it looks like when you go camping with this many people in one SUV, in case you ever thought it might be a good idea. You might want to read my earlier post about traveling with children…
I have nothing to say about this, but I laughed for almost the first half of the trip every time I thought about it. The kids car seats might not be buckled in this well, but darn it, Paul’s Coke was going to make it unscratched. Can you see where he even duct taped it closed? Seriously??
Let me tell you what this is a picture of since you will never guess. This is us doing 78mph down the highway. Can you see the problem with that? Maybe that the speedometer says we are doing all of ZERO. That will make the trip exciting. “Actually officer, I was hoping you could tell ME how fast I was going?” I had the truck inspected the day before and nothing was wrong with it. As soon as we got on the highway it quit working. But hey, if you need, I can email you on how to figure out how fast you are going by timing yourself in-between the mile markers along the side of the road. Who says nothing educational came out of this trip?!

While stopping for lunch (which takes about 90 minutes) the kids were having a great time entertaining themselves. In between the fence, down the sidewalk, trading sodas back and forth.. of course as we were leaving I noticed the sign.
This isn’t going to be the first time on this trip we paid absolutely no attention to posted signs!
Our good, brave friends came with us camping. They have 3 little kiddos. This is our Storie on the right and their little Emma on the left. They are the cutest two kids ever. They pose together every time I pull the camera out!
And here are the big boys. Don’t you remember what it was like trying to be cool while hanging out with your family? These guys pulled it off real well even while chasing the baby around and making cute noises at him!
I DON’T LIKE TO BE COLD. Everyone within earshot knew it. The only thing I ever dread about camping are the long cold nights. Every Mom who has ever camped with small children, especially ones still nursing or taking a bottle you know how it goes:

You get them all new clean warm clothes and thick socks, you put them all in sleeping bags with their blankies. Then you spend the rest of the night shoving them back in their sleeping bags because they wiggle out as they sleep and lay moaning next to you because it is 35 degrees out. Then the baby wakes up (because that is what they do), you try to either nurse them back to sleep, freezing to death as you do it or you try and give them a cold bottle, (that you tried to keep warm by putting it in the sleeping bag with you) they are accustomed to it being the perfect temperature, thanks to the microwave that you forgot to bring and somehow wire to work in a tent. Once the baby is back to sleep and you try to warm up your sleeping bag again, another child has to go to the bathroom… Unfortunately, all my kids are just as afraid of the dark and the scary woods as I am, so we run together to the bathroom and back again to the tent. Now repeat this a few times and that is how each night goes.

There is a picture of me further down after a few of these nights. WaaaaHooooo, now to the fun part! Each child was in charge of finding me a 1/2 carat diamond, or, if they worked together they could find a 1 carat diamond. I think I deserve it-it’s only a 1/2 carat for each child. That’s not asking too much? So this is the diamond field at Crater of the Diamonds State Park. But don’t let the name fool you-we dug and dug and dug and dug but alas, we found NOTHING! I was starting to consider buying a field in the middle of nowhere and telling people there were diamonds on it, charging them to get in and dig it all up. Then planting potatoes. There were 11 diamonds found the day we were there. NONE by us. For crying out loud, we had 9 children who dig up my front yard any chance they get and we couldn’t even find one! Maybe what they needed were my nice dinner spoons-those seem to work for digging up everything else.
This is that picture of me after a few long nights. I dare someone to COMPLAIN! The best part about camping in Arkansas?? We let the kids bring their AirSoft guns! We figured no one would mind! The boys quickly made friends with some other kids from Dallas a few campsites away and hooked them up with a few of the extra guns we had brought. Then we sent them off through the campground to the amplitheatre to wage war. They rotated Emma and Owen in when someone got out. I would have liked to know what the other campers thought of our army of pellet pumping midgets.
So, we switched from diamonds to quartz crystals. Funny how we didn’t have a problem finding any of these. Dig Rush, dig!!! Or no warm bottle for you!
Ummm had to throw this one in. This is the view we had of Storie all day. Who are her parents and why do they dress her in too big pants??
Second sign of the trip that we failed to see until too late. This is us…. washing all our crystals in the sluice trough. The last day we drove into Hot Springs and toured the town. It was really pretty, we had planned on taking the kids to some Hot Springs, after all wouldn’t you think there would be some?? But no, Hot Springs is named that after the hot springs that you can’t go in. There are only old time bath houses for adults. Go figure, if anyone need a bath in this group it was the kids not adults. The kids were a bit freaked out when we toured an old bath house at the idea of a stranger giving them a bath. I have to disagree, at this point in the trip it sounded like a good idea to me.
But the best part of Hot Springs was the forced march we drug the kids on to the top of a mountain with the promise of a lookout tower. Only to get to the top and find out it was $7 a person to go up in the tower and more insulting they (the little hobbit of a person behind the counter pushing the $7 trip to the top like a drug) was the promise of a beautiful view of Bill Clintons boyhood home. Really? $91 to see Clinton’s boyhood home. How about we don’t. But all in all, the view that we did have was beautiful and the kids had a blast, it was a great time and only 5 kids had ticks. Which couldn’t have been that bad because they started a “I Had a Tick” club complete with secret handshake!

"We have peanut butter!"

November 20, 2009
This past week was this little girls birthday. She is my mini Martha Stewart.
I will spare you the entire birth story, but you aren’t going to escape without a little of it : )
This was my best labor, not easiest but best. Maybe because I was becoming a ‘professional’ by the 4th or maybe it was just her! I was totally in the groove. I sat in the dark in the middle of the night in my office working quietly through each contraction. When they were about 3min apart I had my husband call the midwife and we met her at the birth center about 15min later. I labored for another few hours in a rocking chair and in the shower. Feeling just completely in control. It was really amazing. It was one of those life changing experiences where you feel like you are outside your body. I was totally in the zone.
But when it came time to push we started to have problems. I could not find a good position to get into so I ended up on my hands and knees. Her cord was wrapped so tightly around her neck and body it was impossible for the midwife to pull it off. They had to cut and clamp the cord before her head was completely out, which means the baby was not receiving anymore oxygen and she had to be born immediately. Before I knew what was happening the nurse and midwife had the baby born and whisked away for oxygen.
I had worked so hard for this perfect delivery I was stunned at the ending. But as soon as I saw that baby I was so madly in love that nothing else mattered.
I am so lucky to be her Mother. She is so talented and smart. She is such a bright spot in the day.
Tonight she went over to a friends house, she noticed a pile of coupons at this Woman’s house. Avery asked the lady if she could have some coupons ( I am still horrified!)  and brought them home and spent the past hour cutting them out… she held up a coupon and said…
“We have peanut butter!”
Happy Birthday Baby!


Use up those coupons!

November 10, 2009
So the kids and I went to Kroger to use up the last of my coupons for the Mega Event…
Good thing my oldest was too good to come with us, he would have never fit in the cart!

This is my favorite, my 3 year old was “shopping” for “ketchup, and wools (rolls) and ice cream.” Notice the ad is upside down, and her foot propped on the door. Seriously.

At one point the baby escaped… we can’t have any of that now can we?
You must know he was screaming bloody murder at this point. Fun times.

Total before coupons, $68.08

After coupons, $15.73
Driving home, we found this guy, who like greased lightning jumped into my lap when I opened the door to grab his collar. I was sad to see him go, I like dog butt in my face, after all. But his owners were glad to have him back. I guess they like dog butt too!

Obligatory purchase picture…


What’s with 12 year old boy’s?

October 26, 2009

Last night we had a birthday party for my Mom at my house. My Mother and my sister in law Tonia share the same birthday, convenient for my brother don’t you think?! I have more to write about these two woman later on…
What bother’s me though, and maybe all of you that have had 12 year old boy’s can help me, what is up with the attitude???

Um, this is pretty much how this child looks 23 hours out of the day.
How long is this going to last?

Aunt Anna tried to be nice, apparently he thought he was going to catch something from her.
Onto happier children with fat eyes…
This poor little guy got stung by a bee yesterday morning and this is what he looked like last night. But is he,


Nooooo, still has a smile on his face when he clearly has reason to be upset. I love toddlers. The 12 year old needs to take a few pointers from the baby!

Any advice on the pre-teen?


Please do not bring imaginary pets to class.

October 19, 2009
My almost 4 year old daughter and my niece go to ballet class together. Every Monday my Sister and I take turns driving these little 40 year old women trapped in 3 year old bodies to class. This week was my turn. This is how pick up went.
Dance teacher tells me, ” I am thinking about separating those two from each other in class.”
I am not surprised but I ask, “Really, why is that?”
Hesitantly, dance teacher says with a lowered voice, ” Well, does your niece have an imaginary friend? Like a little animal?”
“Yes, she does.” I reply, not worried because almost all my kids have had one. I am quite familiar with this little friend. “Was she talking about a little squirrel?”
Dance teacher again, “Thats the one! Well, the problem is that she makes your daughter babysit the ‘squirrel’ during class. So when it is Storie’s turn to dance she tries to carefully hold the ‘squirrel’ and do her pirouettes.”
I am now snorting my diet lemonade from my nose picturing my daughter trying to carefully watch an imaginary pet and dance at the same time.
” I tried to tell Storie to set the ‘squirrel’ down and get him after class, but your niece was yelling at her that he would get away. I think I need to separate them.” the Dance teacher explained.
“I’ll take care of it.” I assured her. So we got in the car and I explained that dance class is not the place for pets and that the ‘squirrel’ will have to stay in the car.
My niece was thrilled! “Oh good, Storie was doing a bad job, now YOU can watch him!”


Choir Concert, are we this old?

October 17, 2009

Our oldest son had his first choir concert for junior high last night. Are we really this old? When did we have a kids old enough to be in junior high? The really freaky thing is that he is going to the same junior high that I did!
This is my Mom trying to give him a kiss… too cool for Grandma? Might want to rethink that kid, with Christmas around the corner!

My husband and I with Tucker. It is weird that one night he is playing football and baseball, the next he is either at choir or band. Well rounded OR over involved?? I haven’t come to a decision on that one yet!