Mom Jar

I’m known amongst my kids’ friends as the “Strict Mom,” a title I am not altogether unhappy to hold.  (The actual title is probably closer to “Mean Mom”, which is also fine by me, because my kids fear of me is just being reinforced by the opinions of their friends.)  I have no problem whatsoever saying “No.” to my kiddos and meaning it with finality.  My kids also recognize the tone with which I use this particular “No.” and rarely ever try and push me to change my mind once I’ve used it.  That being said, I have GREAT kids who are very well behaved, but they ARE kids and they fight amongst each other.  A lot.

And that gives me a headache.

Which I don’t like.  I also don’t like yelling at them for it, even tho that is my instinct.  (Grew up in a family of yellers.  I come by it honestly.)  And a bit of backstory…I promise this ties in and there is a point…I homeschooled my kids for 4 1/2 years.  This past August, that all changed.  They went back to public school.  And now they are home again for the summer.  Soooo…now I need a way to keep them from fighting too much while we count the days to the next school year.

Enter The Mom Jar.

I’m sure you have all seen those ideas out there for “Boredom Busters” jars.  Cute jars decorated and filled with slips of paper with an activity on them.  There are rules that go along with them depending on the individual family.

Here are mine, as told to my children:  1. If you pull a slip, you MUST complete the task, for at least a half an hour, before pulling another one or complaining again or there will be a loss of privileges you DO like.  2.  If you fight with a sibling and cannot settle things amongst yourselves within 10 minutes, pull a slip and do the task listed, WITH the sibling(s) involved in the argument.  (You only get three slips a day for this one, or you are grounded.)  And be quiet.  3.  If you say “I’m bored!”  or “There’s nothing to do!”, pull a slip.  And be quiet.  4.  If you complain about having to do a chore, take a slip, complete the chore you were complaining about, then complete the task on the slip.  And be quiet.  5.  If Mom says to take one, take one.  And be quiet.

Here’s our starting list of things in the jar:  (You will note lots of fun stuff, and some stuff that is not so fun.  Hopefully the threat of those will keep them from turning to the jar too often.)

Play in the hose/sprinkler

Make a lemonade stand

Do a load of laundry from start to finish

Unload/load the dishwasher

Take the dogs for a walk

Clean out the refrigerator

Pull weeds

Make cupcakes

Make a batch of cookies

Go swimming

Go to the beach

Read a book (turn the TV off!)

Go to the park

Water the plants

Have some family time

Play a board game

Go shoot some baskets

Play baseball in the backyard

Plan a family night

Do a scavenger hunt

Do some schoolwork

Start a journal

Draw some pictures

Go outside and play!

Have an art show

Write a letter to a grandparent

Write a letter to your friends

Play hopscotch

Play with sidewalk chalk

Look at a photo album

Exercise

Do yoga

Make an obstacle course

Make an indoor fort (using the couch, table, chairs and blankets)

Play a video game

Ride your bike

Play dress up

Go take some pictures

Help plan dinner

Have a picnic

Watch a movie with popcorn

Color some coloring pages

Vacuum

Take out the trash

Clean your room

Organize your toys

Clean the toilets

Clean the windows

Go for a walk

Take a nap

Sweep the floor

Sweep the driveway

Sweep the front walk

Wash and clean out the car

Build with blocks

Build with Legos

Make a treasure map (and hide “treasure”…give the map to someone else to find it!)

Make homemade play dough

Do a jigsaw puzzle

Build a dollhouse out of recycled materials and furnish it too

Learn some origami

Make paper airplanes and have a flying contest

Go to the library

Help Mom with one of her projects

Learn to juggle

Make a collage

Learn to knit

Learn to embroider

Mend things in the mending pile

Straighten up the living room

Straighten up the kitchen

Straighten up the family room

Straighten up the bathrooms

Straighten up the dining room

Clean the back porch

Call and chat with a friend

Go thru your books and pull out some to donate

Go thru your clothes and pull out some to donate

Create a new look with some old clothes

Listen to a cd of your parents (the whole thing!) and tell them what you think

Learn the words to one of your parents favorite songs

Make a music video for one of your favorite songs

Dust the bookshelves

Poop patrol the backyard

Make puppets and put on a puppet show for your other siblings

Play restaurant

Play store

Make a track for Hot Wheels using the entire living room floor

Play a round of American Idol on Expert

Make up your own card game and teach someone how to play

Teach Quinlan how to multiply

Learn how to say basic things in a foreign language (Pretend you are stuck in a country for a week.  What would you need to know how to say?)

Make a fairy/gnome house

Pick a destination and make a travel brochure to convince your parents to take you there

Design, contruct and play your own musical instrument out of recyclables

Plan a Backyard Olympics Day

Teach Brody or Missy a new trick.  (One that won’t get you or the dog in trouble.)

Make bread from scratch

Make a batch muffins and put them in the freezer for busy mornings

Read a book of Mom’s choosing.  Out loud.  To everyone.

Help Mom sort the photos and put them in albums

Make a Christmas List

Make a Christmas present for someone

Make shadow puppets

Make sun prints

Make leaf print cards

Make a stencil for a t-shirt

Play with the Magic Window

Make all the beds in the house

Make a dog toy

Give the dogs a bath

Lost and Found the house

Learn a magic trick

Go thru your toys and pick out some to donate

Spin in circles in the yard

Make smoothies for everyone

Create your own comic book

Pick a part of the yard that will be yours alone and decorate it

Dust all the baseboards in one room

Pick up all the trash outside

Pick up all the fallen branches and sticks in the yard

I’ll add more as I think of them, but for now, they are printed out, cut into strips and living in a vintage jar in the living room.  I’ll let you know if it works.  And if I keep my sanity.

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Obviously I suck at keeping a blog…

But I have three kids.  And a husband.  Who demand my attention all the freaking time.

Anyway, I’m currently getting insanely sick of my girls (who share a room) fighting with each other all the time.  Not to mention having completely different schedules.  Makes for fun times when one is ready for bed and the other wants to watch tv or read.  It’s their room equally, so who wins?  Usually no one, because I get all Godzilla and flip out at both of them for making so much damn noise.  (I don’t win in that case either, cause that’s not the mom I want to be.)

Soooooo…I need some options to keep the peace around here during the summer.  School lets out on Wednesday and then I have to entertain them for WEEKS.  And to add to the mix, I have been hearing a lot of  “I’m bored!  There’s nothing to do!” lately.  My great-grandmother told me when I was a kid and complained of being bored that, “Only boring people are ever bored.”  Ouch.  I only heard that one time before that phrase was struck from my vocabulary.  Completely.  I don’t think I have said it again in the 30+ years that have passed.  (I can’t even blame the husband for the kids picking up the term.  School teaches more than ABCs.  But that’s another post…)  Probably because I believe it’s true.  I have many and varied interests and always have something I am working on.  Or at the very least I have things I need to do.

Enter this blog entry from Drab to Fab.  Yay!  Great ideas.  Unfortunately, I have a hard time getting my kids outdoors during the summer.  Not because we don;t have a great yard and fun stuff to do in it.  Not because they prefer being indoors (except the boy…I am beginning to doubt he’s actually mine…), but because we live in Florida.  Let me illustrate the point with today’s weather.  It is 11am.  The actual temp is 84 degrees.  The FEELS like temp is 102.  I’ll give you a minute.

102 degrees.

Yeah.  It’s miserable outside.  I’ve been spending some time outside the last few days and have gotten a “heat headache” every single day.  I’m hydrating plenty, but the heat just takes it to an extreme my body is not equipped to deal with.  So, how do I banish the kids outside to play for longer than an hour or so…in the morning only?  Thing is, I can’t.  So a bunch of ideas that work fine for people who don’t live in Hell’s Waiting Room won’t work for us.

Time to put the thinking cap on.

And that always leads to trouble.

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Filed under Grandma, Kids

The best laid plans…

…will always go awry.  In my hands.  I started a post yesterday on a theme, but then I got all distracted with actually doing something in Real, and didn’t actually manage to post it.  I’ll post it later today.

In other I-have-already-cocked-up-my-plans news, my menu I posted on Monday has already changed.  Twice.  Yes, I realize there have only been 2 days since I posted that it could have changed.  Just, stop judging me.  Do you want to know the changes or what?
Monday ended up being ravioli…but with alfredo. Tuesday was tacoriceandcheese.
Okay, I’m posting from my phone now, so I will be back for a proper post later.

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Menu Monday – 05/24/10

We’ll be eating out of the freezer this week because payday was a bit thin.  It’s all good tho, I stocked up a week ago.

Monday – Ravioli with marinara sauce and steamed broccoli

Tuesday – Lentils and coconut rice with fried onions (slow cooker)

Wednesday – Homemade chicken strips and baked fries, baby carrots with ranch

Thursday – Ropa Vieja with yellow rice and peas (slow cooker)

Friday – Alfredo pasta with broccoli

I rarely plan for weekends, since I usually don’t know what’s going on til they’re here…

This weekend is no exception.

I have nothing witty to post.  But I have been dying for some carrot juice muffins with wheat germ, so I am off now to find a recipe.  Or create one.  Sigh.

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brand new

So…it’s a brand new year (for me…birthdays tend to do that, you understand…) and I usually feel the need about this time of year to get things that surround and infiltrate my life organized.  (There is a neat freak down there somewhere.  Deep, deep, deep down.  I keep her quiet with chocolate.  And wine.)

So, committing myself to new beginnings goes hand in hand with all that organization fever.  For instance, posting in a blog I happen to have.  Say…this one.  It is something I enjoy, but I don’t care for the haphazard way I do it right now.  I also have many and varied interests, and this blog is meant to be a way for me to keep track of them all in such a way that it will be amusing for me to read later.  I’ve always kept journals…and I use the term loosely…sometimes all they were was a spiral notebook I wrote ideas, recipes, quotes in when I managed to find 5 minutes to myself.  (Those were the years I had 2 children in diapers and NO money, so my days were insanely busy just keeping the house going.  Lots of from-scratch meals that required lots of prep, laundry we had to hand wash in the tub and hang out on the line, walking to and from the stores because we had no car and couldn’t have afforded gas even if we had one.  Sometimes, I miss that.  Sometimes I think we’ll be back in that spot soon.  Sometimes I think I should pretend I am in that spot so I can put away what we save.  But this post is about my blog…baby steps.)  I have

This blog is basically a simple journal that I share with the world.  But, since it is public, I need to have it appear organized.  At least a little.  It will also give me some direction so I will be more prone to posting regularly if I already have a topic ready to go.

So…I figure I’ll go the tried-and-true route of themes for the day.  These are the things I spend my week thinking about, so here’s my list:

Mondays – Menu Mondays

I used to make a menu for every week.  And a shopping list.  It saved me a ton of money and headache.  i don’t know why I stopped.  Oh, yes I do.  I’m the Queen of Lazy.  Anyway…I’ll be back on track and posting our menus weekly.  Some recipes too probably.  Or something related to food on Mondays anyway.  I like to give myself an out…just in case The Lazy takes over.

Tuesdays – Theme Tuesdays

Okay, so this also leaves me a little wiggle room, but I’ll be posting random things linked by a single theme.  Of my choosing…muahahahaha…  Yes, I am a dork.  It’s the little things that amuse me.

Wednesdays -Inspiration

I love Wordless Wednesdays on other people’s blogs, but that isn’t what I’m after in this blog of mine.  Plus, I have another blog that is photos-only.  (Here, if you’re interested.)  But this day I will post the things I find that inspire me.

Thursdays – Transformation Thursdays

Totally stealing this one from The Shabby Chic Cottage.  Whatever I post will have to do with re-purposing or transforming *something* that day.

Fridays – Sewing and knitting.

Saturdays and Sundays – Random, random, random…if I post anything at all.

And there you have it.  On to the first post…hope you enjoy.

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Photography Assignment

I’m not really one to jump on a blogging assignment bandwagon, but I like the idea of the sense of community it creates.  Anyway, I was reading this blog today and decided to give the Depth of Field thing a go for this week.  (Yeah, I’m late to the party.  Story of my life.)  Depth of field is not something I have much experience with.  I haven’t taken a photography class since high school…when I had my awesome 35mm Nikon…and only recently got a decent digital camera again.  It sorta does the depth of field stuff for me.  So, while I have a basic understanding of how it all works, thanks especially to the refresher course provided by this site, I don’t really have a WORKING understanding of it.  It just sorta seems like magic to me.

This is what I came up with today without actually moving from my spot on the couch.

This is basically the same shot with a difference of zoom only.  But what a difference.

The bottom two are to show the difference between the depth of field.  Pay no attention to the mess on the floor of my living room.

That is all.

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When life hands you t-shirts…

…you make skirts.  Of course.  Duh.

Here’s the process:

Read many blogs.  Find super cute ideas for re-purposing t-shirts, etc. that inspire you so much you actually drag out and dust off the sewing machine that has been lurking in the corner mocking you for not having the drive to actually sew the couch cushion covers.  While you are thinking about what clothes you can pillage to re-purpose them somehow, the girl children decide, oddly, to clean up their clothing dumping ground (aka closet).  Then, this conversation occurs:

–  Eldest Girl Child:  “Mom, I found this shirt and I don’t want it any more, what do you want me to do with it?”  (Y’all saw that hint, too, right??)

– Me:  “Let me see it…hmmm…Oh!  It would make a super cute skirt for you!”

– EGC:  “Uhhhh..sure, Mom.  Whatever.”

– Me:  “I’ll add some ruffles to the bottom.  You’ll wear it, right?”

– EGC:  “With the ruffles…ummmm…I don’t…”

– Me:  “No, no!  The ruffles will be cool, not girly.”

– EGC:  “Maybe…”

– Me:  “You’ll see.”

I don’t have a before picture of the shirt because I cut it up just about immediately.

Simple, simple.  Cut across the top, right under the arms.  Folded down and sewed a channel for an elastic waistband.  Turned some of the scraps were turned into ruffles.  Ba-dow!

Yeah, she’s totally wearing it.  And loves it.

The T-Shirt Skirt

Okay, I’m not done yet tho.  I was so inspired, I made a trip to the thrift store.  They have a rack outside that is a fill-a-bag thing.  That day it was fill a bag for $2.  I got several t-shirts for the EGC to wear, a couple for the YGC (that’s Youngest Girl Child, btw), and this awesome boy shirt I had plans for:

Boy shirt/skirt before

Before

I knew there was no way I could get the YGC to wear this as-is, so the skirt solution was the only way to go.  Partly because I just couldn’t think of anything else to make with it, but mostly because I fell head-over-heels with the border at the bottom and I didn’t want to do anything to disrupt the awesomeness.

I cut straight across the shirt right under the arms.  Then, since it was missing a button down low, I pillaged one from the top scraps and sewed it on.  Sewed the shirt shut on either sides of the button channel.  What the heck is that called?  I know there is a name for it.  It’s going to drive me crazy…brb, going to look it up…PLACKET!!  I *knew* there was a word for it.  Moving on…

Sewed an elastic waistband in at the top and ta-da!  Done and done.  Super cute, too.

But that might just be the model.

Boy shirt/skirt after

After - Close up

She kinda just makes everything cuter.

And that’s all there is to it.  Next up for those surplus t-shirts…PANTS!

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Filed under Crafty, House and Home, Kids, sewing