Category Archives: projects

behavior charts

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So. Eight years after having my first child, I have finally joined the world of behavior charts. It took me forever (like the meal planning) because… I was scared it would be too hard and I wouldn’t follow-through and I wouldn’t like my system. Yeah. I know.

Version 1 (which lasted more than a month) was simply a sheet of paper divided into three sections- one for each kid- that was taped to the fridge for all to see. They could earn 1 star sticker per day. Once they reached 10 stars, they could pick a prize out of a shoebox full of small goodies. This was a big hit. All three kids can count to ten and were able to keep track. Once someone earned 10 stars, I crossed those out with a red pen and we started over again the next day. Simple.

Basic Rules:

  • Stars are awarded after dinner/just before bedtime by a parent only.
  • If you don’t eat your dinner, you don’t get your star for the day. End of story.
  • If you kick, bite, or hit someone during the day, you lose a star. Done.
  • If you were caught doing something amazingly wonderful that day, you might earn an extra star.

The kids quickly found themselves on different numbers. I think Ry earned 4 prizes in 4 weeks. Abby refuses to eat dinner a lot, so she missed a few days. Gideon is all or nothing on life. Having siblings earning prizes on different days was not a problem for this crew. If anything, seeing the options in the prize box each time it came out was incentive to do better.

Prize Box Contents:

tictacs, chapstick, stickers, punching balloons, lego people, small beanie babies, spray bottles, and basically anything you’d find in the Target dollar aisle.

Problems with Version 1: it got messy after a few rounds of 10 with all the stars crossed out. We were going through a lot of star stickers. Kids (my kids) were fighting about which star sticker they got for the night. COME ON.

One particularly rough day (ahem), I pulled the star sheet off the fridge and ripped it up. NO STARS FOR ANYONE TODAY. (I’m not here because I’m awesome. I’m here because I’m honest.)

NOW. Yesterday, I created Version 2 with all the new hope that comes with starting over. Version 2 uses the same basic rules and rewards as Version 1. Each kiddo has a piece of card stock paper- again with their name, and again on the fridge for all to see. I changed things up a bit by stamping a simple “path” of stars numbered 1 through 10. Each kid has a magnet that travels forward or backward according to behavior. Once someone reaches 10, they get a prize and start over at 1 the next day.

FLAW: (noticed as soon as tall 8-year-old returned from school) Charts and magnets must be taller than tallest child.IMG_8348

Ideally, I’d like to combine the behavior chart with the daily schedule*/chores for each kiddo on a metal pan (like this) when we move to the Blue House this summer and have bit more wall space. Or maybe I’ll incorporate a clothespin system (like this). The kids LOVE seeing everything- having fun masking tape and colors and numbers and THEIR NAMES up… that’s super fun. Keeping the rules simple makes my expectations and their progress clear.

Mom just needs it to be simple.

So far, we all win.

* Right now we use a visual schedule with Ry that is identical to one she uses at school. It’s simply words and/or pictures on velcro that are exchanged each day. This has been incredible for her. Her anxiety goes way down when she can loosely plan out the day, even choosing free-time activities. I’ll show you how that works as soon as I snag some photos.

 

 


what to do, what to do

Shall we play another “what if” game?

You’ve been SOOOO incredibly helpful in getting my brain thinking about possibilities for the alcoves going into the foyer. I know you’re going to come up with something fabulous for this, too.

I’ll let Rylie show you:

stairwell

So, there’re two bedrooms and a bathroom at the top of the stairs (where I’m taking the photo). As you come down and just before you turn, there is a another little alcove/landing/space.

There is an outlet and a beautiful window- so light, yes. Honestly, it’s the perfect place for a 2nd Christmas tree, if you are a 2nd Christmas tree kind of family… which, we are not. BUT- I can plug something in. Like a fountain (NO). It’d be a lovely little reading nook with a small, comfy chair, but it’s too tall (45 inches high) for kiddos to hop up there and read, ya know? Trust me, Gideon tried approximately 2.4 seconds after we entered the house.

Footprints. White walls. Bad news.

In years to come, this will turn into another hallway leading to an apartment over the garage.

But, what until then?

I need your brains. Your photos. Your ideas. All of them. Bring it on.


imagine

So, just for a second on this Thursday morning… just for a blip of time… let’s throw out all the world’s problems and hurts and injustices.

Imagine this with me:

It is an alcove of sorts… an entryway into the living room from the front foyer.

On either side of the alcove are glass shelves with a cabinet on the bottom. Aesthetically, they are mirror images of each other: 3 shelves and a cabinet. The cabinet on the east side (so, facing you as you enter the house) has an outlet and houses the sound system. The west side cabinet (so, closest to the front door) does NOT have an outlet.

These ARE visible as you walk in the front door. There’s tons of storage/display space. BUT- totally not my style with the whole honey-oak and glass shelving thing goin’ on. Also- there is a closet next to the front door for guest coats and all that. There is also a small room off the kitchen that connects to the garage that will become a mudroom eventually.

alcove1

(view from the front door)

alcove2(view from the living room into the foyer)

What would you do here?

Remember, there are two of them: facing each other and tucked into that entryway/arch thingy. (Threshold? Is that what it’s called?) Computer stations? Rip out the non-outlet cabinet and make a homework desk? Paint the cabinets? Trade out the glass shelving for rough wood (this is a YES). Make it a bookcase from top to bottom on both sides?

I’m stuck.


stitch fix #5 & 6

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Ahem.

I did so very much think I was going to stop my Stitch Fixes for a wee bit… maybe until spring… but I forgot the first time and then the second time we were out of town when it arrived and I dunno what happened but I have 2 new bags and 7 new pieces of clothing. SERIOUSLY. It just keeps getting better and better, even with different stylists each time.

It’s clear they are checking my responses and looking at the pinterest board I keep updated for styles and specific pieces I like. They make note of it in the quick letter they send and they are matching items up with previous pieces I’ve kept. Slick.

How it works:

Stitch Fix is an online, at-home personal shopper. You fill out a detailed survey about styles and fit and preferences. You schedule a date. They mail you a beautifully wrapped box with 5 items, which can include jewelry, accessories like scarves and bags, shirts, pants, skirts, shorts, and jackets. You can also opt OUT of any of these items. I requested no jewelry and no outerwear, for example.  You have 3 business days to try on the items in your box, checkout online, and return anything you’re not geeked about. They provide a paid envelope and all you do it drop it in the mail. If you keep all 5 items in your box, there’s a 25% discount on your total. Each box costs you $20, but that $20 is credited towards anything you decide to keep. So, as long as there’s one thing in the box you love, you’re not out any money. Saavy?

Stitch Fix #5

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After Fix #4, I asked for them to lean more bohemian and they listened. This was the first time I received a bag in one of my boxes. It was a nice change and I kept the purse since I was due for something smaller than a diaper bag. If you’ve seen me in the last month, you’ve seen me wearing this Mystree Thea Chevron shirt and carrying this Street Level Rooney bag. The cross body strap for the bag was immediately confiscated by my four-year-old, and I’ve not seen it since.

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I also kept this navy Pomelo Shana dress. SUCH A GREAT PHOTO. Sorry. The embroidery has pops of baby pink in it and the length was just right. Fabulous for summer church.

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Stitch Fix #6

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Fix #6 sent me another bag, this time HUGE as opposed to “day-sized.” It will be a great carry on option or beach bag or Meijer Garden purse when I need to carry 400 snacks. I love it. The Gilli Alenna dress is identical to a Garnett Hill dress I pinned a couple weeks ago. It’s super soft and double lined on the top… very nice quality and made in the USA.

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Abby and Rylie wanted in on these photo ops… I will not apologize for them. This is neither a fashion nor photo blog and their subject tends to talk a lot.

Here’s the Promesa Maxi paired with the gray Market & Spruce Hi-Lo tee. The shirt has a lower hemline in the back and the fabric is to die for… otherwise, a completely normal shirt. BUT. This box ended up being a home run- 5 for 5, and it would have been more expensive to return the shirt and pay full price for the other items than to keep it. Not a difficult choice on my end.

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Finally, I loved and kept the Under Skies Sweater Tank. The current space-dyed trend is not really my thing, but the tank is a dark navy and white and completely different than anything else in my closet without scaring me. It was a nice change. It’s also has a boho, crocheted feel to it… stretchy. Again, different and good.

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And now you’re all caught up.

Have you tried it? Do you love it?

[Stitch Fix did not pay me for this review. I signed up because a friend referred me, and I paid for the clothing myself. That friend who referred me received a $25 credit to her stitch fix account when I received my first box. If you use this link and follow-through with your own first box, I will receive a credit as well AND I’ll be your best friend.] 

stitch fix 1 review

stitch fix #2, 3, & 4 review


persevere

 

 

 

Give us grace and strength to forbear and to persevere. Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind, spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies.

Robert Louis Stevenson

grammak

My mother’s mother… the very definition of persevere.

My usual stories with words will be replaced by daily stories with photos for the days of Lent. You see, I’m trying to look for Lent this year instead of waiting for it to find me.

:: resources and readings ::

Jesus Calling Lenten companion by Sarah Young

Instagram Photo-a-Day Journey by Catholic Sistas

Beneath the Tree of Life Lenten devotional by Michelle DeRusha

Holy Lens Lent-stagram project by Survive Our Blessings

daily lectionary readings

Lent and Easter devotions from Bible Gateway

family Lent devotional from Ann Voskamp


mass

No power in the county makes church look this this. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst. (Jesus, Matthew 18:20)

mass

My usual stories with words will be replaced by daily stories with photos for the days of Lent. You see, I’m trying to look for Lent this year instead of waiting for it to find me.

:: resources and readings ::

Jesus Calling Lenten companion by Sarah Young

Instagram Photo-a-Day Journey by Catholic Sistas

Beneath the Tree of Life Lenten devotional by Michelle DeRusha

Holy Lens Lent-stagram project by Survive Our Blessings

daily lectionary readings

Lent and Easter devotions from Bible Gateway

family Lent devotional from Ann Voskamp


kindness

Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. (Mark Twain)

kindness

My usual stories with words will be replaced by daily stories with photos for the days of Lent. You see, I’m trying to look for Lent this year instead of waiting for it to find me.

:: resources and readings ::

Jesus Calling Lenten companion by Sarah Young

Instagram Photo-a-Day Journey by Catholic Sistas

Beneath the Tree of Life Lenten devotional by Michelle DeRusha

Holy Lens Lent-stagram project by Survive Our Blessings

daily lectionary readings

Lent and Easter devotions from Bible Gateway

family Lent devotional from Ann Voskamp