Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Schedule

Last summer I posted about our complex chore charts and schedules and discipline, etc. This year we're doing something similar, just simplified!

I thought I'd take a moment to share our summer schedule with you to give you an idea of how I get through the day at home with 3 little munchkins and being 8 months pregnant.

8am- I wake up and get ready, kids are usually up already and they just watch TV. I will not apologize for sleeping in. It is summer and I am about to pop. I need all the rest I can get before I'm not getting any at all!

8:30am- Breakfast for everyone

9am- TV off, time for morning "clothespin" chores plus 2 chore sticks. Our clothespin chores are on door hangers like these (see below), and are simple things like putting away breakfast dishes, getting dressed, and brushing teeth.

cute chore card for kids
Image from Pinterest. Sorry, no link!

The chore sticks come from a chore sticks jar like this one:

 (okay, so mine are craft sticks I wrote on with a black sharpie and stuck into an old sippy cup- simple is the name of the game here, people!) and each one has a simple chore that I know my kids can do, like vacuuming, wiping down a bathroom counter, switching the laundry, etc. I rotate these out so some of them go back in when they're done, like sweeping the kitchen, because that's an ongoing need, and some of them might get taken out for a few days, like taking out trash. Since this is our first week of summer, I've been very involved with helping with these chores and teaching the kids to do them correctly. The goal is that after a few weeks they'll be pros and won't need my help anymore (translation: post-baby = independence!).

9:30am- Outside to water the garden, pick blackberries, and play if it's not too hot. Doing this stuff early helps me to make sure it gets done, and I like the kids to at least get a little bit of outside time, even if temps get up in the 90's later in the day.

10 or 10:30am- Outing or project. Before school ended, the kids and I spent a few minutes each day going through Pinterest and brainstorming different fun things we wanted to do this summer. We made a list of about 75 things we thought would be fun, and each week we just pick a few. Every Monday is grocery shopping day, so that's our outing for the day, then usually we hit the dollar movies at the movie theater later in the week, then we have usually one more outing- museum, library, park, etc. The other days we stay home and do craft projects or another activity, like the sprinkler, treasure hunt, etc.

12:00pm- I start getting lunch ready, kids do a quick clean-up if we've done an activity at home.

12:30pm- Lunch

12:50pm- After-lunch cleanup, 1 chore stick. 

1:00pm- Story time! Each child chooses 1 book they want me to read, and I read 1 chapter from a chapter book.

1:30 or 2pm- Quiet Time- Little Boo takes her nap, I eat my lunch and read, go online, or watch House Hunters International and fold laundry. The older two are allowed to do whatever they want, as long as it's quiet, but computer time for them is limited to 20 minutes each. I think next week I'll start incorporating some "homework assignments" into this time. Maybe have them do a worksheet or write a journal entry. I've been hearing a little too much whining during Quiet Time. :-)

3:30pm- Game Time & Snack Time- Little Boo is usually still napping, so I gather the older two and we choose a board game or card game to play until she wakes up. When she gets up (4-4:30) she comes downstairs and sits at the table with us and has her snack, and we usually find a way to include her in the game too.

5pm- Kids' TV time, I start on dinner. I'm usually pretty wiped out by this time, so I need the break and the kids stay out of my hair while I'm getting dinner put together.

6 or 6:30pm- Dinner! We never know when my husband is going to be home, so we've always had a late dinner scheduled in hopes he'll get to eat with us.

7pm- Kids get ready for bed. My husband is hopefully home by then so he takes care of the bedtime preparations while I do the dinner dishes.

8pm- Bedtime! This often gets pushed back to about 8:30, especially now that it's summer, just because we goof off and play around before bed. And Little Boo likes to play get-up-and-go-potty-20-times so she often doesn't actually get to sleep until 9:30 or so, and consequently her sister (and often her brother who likes to stay up and read) don't get to bed till later either.

And that is my 12-hour summer day. So far this schedule has been working great for us, and I like that it's not too structured, but just structured enough that everyone knows what's happening, things get done that need to get done, and I feel like I'm spending plenty of quality time with my kids, despite my lack of energy.

Check back in the next few days and I'll share about our Summer Goals, allowances, and discipline system (no charts needed)!

How are you planning your summer? Do you keep a schedule or do you just wing it? What works for you?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I'm here! Just pregnant!

Nope, haven't dropped off the face of the earth! But I am 5 weeks from delivery and recovering from a nasty sinus infection so...things have been interesting. But I did want to share this little project with you!

Tomorrow is the last day of school for us here, so I was working on some end-of-year gifts for teachers.  My son's teacher has had a particularly difficult year with her class (she had 27 kids and about 9 of them were troublemakers- my son not included!) so I thought this would be an appropriate sentiment for her.

I pretty much just copied the "Keep Calm" posters I'd seen out there and found a similar font, then worked with it on my computer until I liked how it looked. I just used free clipart for the book image, and then I printed it out on plain paper to see how it looked and make sure it would fit correctly on my dictionary page.

Then I took my dictionary page- the one with the definition for "teacher" on it- from an old dictionary and I centered it over the printout on the plain sheet of paper. (I held the dictionary sheet up to the light so I could see the wording on the plain sheet behind it and get it lined up correctly.) Next, I used scotch tape to secure it- I used just a thin edge of the tape on the edge of the dictionary page, leaving most of the tape attached to the plain printer paper. That way it would feed through the printer without getting jammed and, if the tape was difficult to remove from the dictionary page I could just trim off that little edge with my paper trimmer. A word of caution: make sure you know which way text will print on your paper before feeding it into your printer- you don't want to end up wrecking your chosen dictionary page with upside-down text!! I will sometimes draw a little arrow for myself on my test sheet to remind me which way I put it in. :-)

Once my words were printed on my dictionary page, I mounted it with glue dots onto a piece of patterned scrapbook paper (like a mat) and put it into my thrift store frame. The whole project cost less than a dollar and turned out quite nicely!

Did you do any crafty/thrifty projects for your kids' teachers this year? Leave a comment and share! (I always need new ideas for next year!)

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