Monday, December 9th, 2013
I’m so excited to be participating in Parents Gifts Week! This week, December 9 to December 13, I’ll be joining Amanda Kingloff of Everyday Fun and Melanie Blodgett from You Are My Fave to bring you a bunch of great ideas for stocking stuffers, kids’ presents, homemade gifts and more. We’ll be pinning our favorite crafty and unique (and for my part, inexpensive) gift ideas to the Parents pinterest board. Get in on the conversation and share your ideas (or borrow someone else’s) using #ParentsGifts on Twitter and Pinterest.
And while you’re over at Pinterest, feel free to check out my Pinterest boards too!
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Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
You might also enjoy this Free Online Chore Chart for kids!
We recently have been working at getting our son Logan, 5, to consistently do more chores around our place. And while he has been doing most of these things since he was 4, there are a couple that we only added more recently. However, they are all things that he could have easily done at age 4 as well. I figured that if you are like me, you are always looking for inspiration and ideas when it comes to parenting. And so, in the hope that someone else might be inspired, I thought that I’d share our current list of the 10 chores we are having him do.
But first of all, a few tips:
* Don’t expect your child to understand how to do something without being shown how to do it. Take the time to explain what you expect and also to show them exactly what you want done.
* Be patient. They are going to mess up when they are learning and will probably need reminding of how to do their jobs well as they go along too. It’s good for me to remind myself that our son is only five- I can’t expect him to do things as well as an adult!
* Praise your child liberally. Even if the job wasn’t done perfectly but you can tell they were doing their best, shower them with encouragement. I find that the more I thank our son for doing his job well, the better of a job he seems to do. Funny how that works!
Now on to the list of chores:
1. Make bed
While our son can’t do this perfectly, I’m amazed at how good of a job he can do! At any rate, when he’s done with it, it looks so much better than a totally unmade bed. And with practice, he’s actually learned to get the quilt spread out nice and evenly.
2. Set the table
When Logan was learning to set the table we didn’t stress putting each piece of silverware correctly since it was pretty confusing for him. But as he got used to his job, it became required that he put each piece in it’s proper place. He also typically puts on the water, any condiments we need, serving spoons etc.
Because I wasn’t thrilled about having our dishes getting broken all the time, we decided to skip the pottery and instead go with melamine dinnerware that looks like pottery but is pretty much unbreakable. Even so, we’ve had a few glasses and other things get broken along the way. If you want to teach your children to help, it’s really important to remember that this is just part of the learning process. (I’m reminding myself here too!) And if you do have pottery, I’d suggest having your child just take one or two plates to the table at a time to help minimize breakage.
3. Clear the table
It is our 5 yr. old’s responsibility to totally clear the table of everything, not just the dishes. Instead of just letting things on the kitchen counter, he is also expected to put away all that he can, which most times is everything but the leftover hot food.
4. Empty the dishwasher
When Logan first started doing this, he was allowed to remove only one glass out at a time. Otherwise, he would get careless, crash them together and well, you can imagine the results! As he learned to be more careful, he became capable of taking out two glasses without any catastrophes. We also have found it helpful to have a designated spot where he puts the few things that he is not tall enough to put away. Just a quick note, if you put sharp knives in your dishwasher be sure to remove them before your child gets started!
5. Move laundry from washer to dryer
To save money, I don’t use our dryer a lot. But when I do, I often get Logan to move the laundry from the washer over to the dryer. It’s actually one of his favorite chores! If I am going to hang laundry out instead of using the dryer I simply have him unload it into my laundry basket instead.
6. Fold washcloths, rags, underwear and socks
I typically separate these things out from the other laundry and give them to our son to fold. He can get a little careless with folding the washcloths especially, so we’ve been really working on folding them neatly and evenly. I think it’s important that children learn to do their jobs well!
7. Put laundry away
It is our 5 yr. old’s job to put his laundry and his sister’s laundry away. (She’s too little to help at this point!) He also takes our laundry and puts it on our bed and often will do the same with the bathroom towels and washcloths since they are located too high for him to reach.
We have a fairly large vacuum but our son can still pretty easily handle it. Obviously, he does not sweep as thoroughly as I would, but it sure helps keep the house cleaner if I have him vacuum a couple of times a week!
9. Clean up toys
This is something that Logan has been doing for a couple of years. I usually like to have him do it before dinner and then he also cleans up before bedtime too. And sometimes if the mess is getting to me throughout the day I’ll help him do it another time too. He likes to hurry and try to get the job done, so we’re constantly working at doing it neatly and putting things away nicely instead of just throwing everything haphazardly in the toy box. (We have various containers that smaller toys go into to help keep it more organized.)
10. Empty trash
While our kitchen trash is still too bulky for our son to handle, the smaller trash cans scattered around the house are very easy for him to empty.
What chores do you have your 4 and 5 year olds do? What have you found challenging when it comes to chore time?
Linking up at Clean and Scentsible.
Image source for picture in post banner: Shutterstock
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Wednesday, July 17th, 2013
I was amazed and inspired by this message that reader Heidi sent to me on my Thrifty Frugal Mom Facebook page:
I just wanted to thank you for directing me towards Swagbucks – I have been on for 5 weeks as of today, and I just cashed in my $5 x5 ($25 total!) in Amazon.com gift cards and my $25 Target.com gift card!
Also worth mentioning that if you have a Target REDcard your shipping is free if any part of it goes on your card- SO I got 2 jumbo packs of toddler training pants (Potty training twins ) for $6.58 shipped (2 @ $14.49 each + tax – $25 ecard earned from Swagbucks + FREE Shipping! ) And on Amazon if you buy Super Saver Shipping items, your shipping is free, and food items are non-taxable (In CA, anyway) so got a case of organic baby fruit pouches and a package of my preferred chicken bullion for a total of $0.68 to me.
Don’t you love it? Sounds like she is definitely making the most of Swagbucks and saving money! And I am realizing that I could be doing so much more with Swagbucks. I think I’m doing good if I earn one $5 Amazon gift card about once a month!
Oh and if you haven’t already, check out my post of 9 Tips to Earn More with Swagbucks. Hopefully you’ll learn a few new ways to make the most of Swagbucks.
What amazing or fun ways have you saved lately? Leave a comment and let me know. I love being inspired by my readers!
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Tuesday, December 25th, 2012
Merry Christmas to you and your family! I hope that today can be a day of relaxing and fun celebration for each of you. I am honored that you choose to take the time to read this blog and I hope that you can be inspired and blessed by what I share here.
We are celebrating Christmas with my in-laws today and then with my family over New Years. Looking forward to fun times.
We had our own little family Christmas yesterday! Both children are old enough this year to enjoy it more, especially our 4 yr. old. It was a lot of fun! Here are a few snapshots.
Logan was SO excited to have his own backpack. He’s been begging for one for several months now.
Meanwhile Sophia had a blast sitting in her gift box and tearing the paper to shreds. Why bother with the gift?
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Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
I’m all about saving but I still love to give gifts. And I enjoy trying to give beautifully wrapped gifts even though gift wrap might seem like a waste of money. To me, giving and receiving beautifully wrapped gifts only adds to the joy of the gift itself. So while we try to keep our Christmas spending low, we also try to get creative and wrap our gift beautifully without blowing our $250 Christmas spending budget.
Here are some ideas I collected for inexpensive Christmas gift wrap. I hope it can inspire you!
1. Use paper bags or Kraft Paper to wrap gifts, then embellish with greenery or lots of other things as you’ll see below. (I’m guessing that the Kraft paper would probably be less expensive at a local craft store, although I haven’t checked it out. Or check Dollar Tree. I’m told they have a 15 foot roll for $1!)
2. Aren’t these beautiful? And for free, you can even print out your own gift tags just like the ones pictured above!
3. Recycled Bread Tag Snowmen. If only I were craftier, I would make these cute little fellows to go on the bags of cookies I give to neighbors and friends.
4. Love the simplicity of these stamped brown paper packages. If you have beautiful hand writing, you could just write the names on.
5. Totally into this look! And what a great “free” gift wrap! Use comics for fun “kid” wrapping paper. Or use old book pages or old sheet music for a similar look.
6. Use old clothing to embellish gifts: creative, frugal and green!
7. Isn’t this fun? I’m thinking Christmas colors would create a festive look.
8. Again, simple but oh so sweet! (Pun intended.)
9. Don’t you love this idea of a gift wrapping ornament made from none other than a toilet paper/paper towel roll?
10. Use Black Kraft Paper to get a chalkboard look. I really like this for different! (I realize the paper is kind of pricey but it is a huge roll. And again, you very likely could find it at local stores for much less).
How do you get creative and save money on gift wrapping? I’d love to learn from you!
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