So glad you came to visit today! Here at my little corner of bloggy world I share a little bit about everything--family, parenting, goals, struggles, photography, recipes, n more! So curl up with a cup of hot tea {or not} and feel free to peruse around my site! Check out my sidebar for links. And come back again!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Family Christmas Board Game

I wanted to make a little Bible trivia game about REAL Christmas facts and the Biblical meanings of traditional Christmas symbols such as the candy cane or Christmas tree.  If you answer your question card correctly, then you move ahead.  I made several of the questions multiple choice for little ones, but if you have older kids you can delete the answer choices and just leave it for open answer.  Use dimes for your game pieces and place small stickers on them to tell whose is whose.

DOWNLOAD and print on cardstock for durability:
Game Board
Question Cards
Answer Sheet with Bible references

This is a pretty short game, you can probably easily play 2 or 3 times through.  I played it with Hannah to make sure I set up the game right and you didn't finish in only 2 turns or something, and it was pretty fun!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kids Responsibility: Earning Rewards

Alright, here I go again with another CHART and reward system that I hope I can keep up with and will last for more than a week!  We've been doing this a couple weeks now and so far so good!  

Goal: encourage kids to take self-initiative and have good attitudes with their chores and extra things around the house

* Complete morning routine without any reminders-- get dressed, make bed, jammies away, (pull up away)
*  Complete bedtime routine without any reminders-- jammies on, clothes away, teeth brushed without arguing about who's tooth brush goes where
* Clean your room.
* Clean the play room.
* Help put things after dinner.
* Do any extra chores.

This does NOT include things they should already be doing anyway:
* Any chore they are already assigned for the day.
* Taking plate to the sink after a meal.
* Good attitude.
* Anything I have to TELL/REMIND them to do.

Kids can earn 1 coin for each thing on list one.  They can then use their coins to "buy" rewards from reward chart.  They can save up to earn something bigger or they can use coins right away and buy something small.  Doing this is also a fun introduction to money and the concept of spending or saving.
big plastic coins
These are some rewards I came up with, trying to add variety so it wasn't ALL food-related, but really you can create your own.

5 COINS: 1 small piece of candy
10 COINS: extra book at bedtime, 1st for the day (first choice on where to sit at the table, which plate to use, served first, where to put toothbrush, etc)
15 COINS: buy 1 pack of gum that only you get to eat, stay up an extra 30 min at bedtime
25 COINS: buy a small toy ($5 or less), small ice cream cone, free dessert pass ("on a day when you did not eat all yoru dinner, you may redeem this coupon to still receive dessert"), chocolate milk with dinner for a week
35 COINS: pick out a new book at the store, go to lunch with mom

So far this has especially been motivating to Eli and in 2 weeks he's already earned 14 coins! Most every day he'll do his morning routine and clean his room (or at bedtime) all by himself.  And occasionally he'll clean up after dinner.  It's so exciting to see.  And I realized the other day, you know, it's fine if this isn't what motivates Hannah, though she does do it too. She has 5 coins.  It's fine if they end up having different systems, each child is different.

Awhile back I'd tried to a coin-in coin-out system.  Good behavior earned coins, bad behavior lost coins. But it was just too complicated for me when it came discipline time. And honestly the kids do a whole lot more to lose coins than earn them. So after a break from that and rethinking, I came up with this, and for now it works!

Photography: The Martin Family

I photographed each of my friend Nikki's kids, and now finally I got to take their whole-family pictures!  =)  This was a HARD photoshoot, being the most # of people I've ever done.  And not only that but three of the kids are teenagers (or almost), one special needs, and two preschoolers.  So we couldn't go all silly with it because of the older kids, but still I had to find a way to get the little ones to cooperate.  Thankfully the weather was gorgeous for us!  In the end I LOVE what we got.

This one was supposed to be a "cousins pic" but the little cousin refused to be in it, and the dog kept being in the way, so I had Katie set the dog nice so at least it looked good if it was going to be in the pic! 
And now for the couples pics I ALWAYS try to get in.  

true friends let you take pictures of their butts! lol

 Lesson learned: if you're going to have people lay in the grass, make sure to bring a sticky roller so there's not grass on clothes in later pictures. I had to edit off a lot of grass off of Phil's sweater in these pics! In the moment when we were trying to wipe off his sweater I said Oh don't worry about it, I'll Photoshop it out! Little did I know how NOT fun it would be to do that! lol

trying out the silhouette setting on my camera--it's awesome! the sun was the same here as in the previous picture, but totally different look!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Photography: The Brown Family

The end of October I took family pics for my brother and SIL. We don't have a lot/any parks around us (other than playground parks) and we're not a big city so we don't have urban photo spots with cool doors or walls. So all week I was really hunting for a place to do this photoshoot.  One of the nearby parks we DO have was already closed for the season. BUT right OUTSIDE of the park is a cemetery and up the road is a secret trail that is "private property" but we just used the outside of it, and right by the road were some hail bales, so I went with that! Holly wanted a country/fall feel so I tried to deliver!  These are some of my favorites from the day...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Car Seat Safety!

I'm the kind of person who follows the rules, and I get anxiety if I'm doing something that's even borderline.  I want my kids buckled up in the safest way possible.  For the most part.  Convenience does play a part sometimes.  But these are some videos that have changed my views on car seats and I now honestly believe in extended rear facing (til at least closer to 2 year instead of 1 or YOUNGER! although really the longer the better) and extended 5-pt harness.  Take a look...

The Importance of a 5 point harness car seat from Laura Bower on Vimeo.

These are REAL stories about REAL people.  You just don't know what might happen in the next minute, the next day...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Man oh man....

...I am having a hard time this year adjusting to the time change.  I am SO TIRED every night, by like 8pm.  I think it's because it's our first year being in school and really following a tight schedule.  Alarm for wake-up, alarm for getting shoes and coat on, alarm for when the bus is almost coming home. Last Wednesday we went to AWANA 15 minutes early because it was pitch dark and I could NOT convince Eli that we really weren't late, we just changed the clock etc.  "But it isn't NORMAL!" he insisted.  So hey, why not. We were already ready plenty early so off we went just to wait. Seriously though, anyone else still struggling this year??


I haven't been on here much lately.  Life has exploded in a variety of ways lately, mostly good.  But busier.  And the truth is, sometimes I feel like I post all these great ideas and never DO THEM!  Like I still have yet to "get in the picture", I've totally bombed on my "blessing others November" (though I do hope to do a little catch-up), half the things on my Monday Meanderings never get done week after week after week, and I'm still watching my TV shows I said I was going to quit.  I did for almost a whole week and then went back.  Honestly they're not that bad anymore and I really like the medical drama and ethical situations. *sigh* Just can't get with it to complete my goals and ideas!  I do have some more photos coming, and I also have a Christmas game I'm creating and will post here for y'all to download if ya want.  So don't give up on me!  I'm just taking care of life right now!