Saturday, June 21, 2014

Starting Chores Early - Age Appropriate Chores

Ok, maybe not that early, but she loves to help me!

In my house, the children do perform chores and we do provide a weekly allowance for them.  This allows them to have some spending money, while contributing to the upkeep of our home.

During the summer (and Christmas break) we do a formal chore system in the house.  During the school year, we do not do formal chores, the kids just help out when asked.  The focus during the school year must be on school, homework, and reading. 

Our system is very simple, I have a piece of paper (one for each of my two children) which resembles a calendar with blocks for the days Monday - Friday.  Each day I write the chore they must complete for the day.  Once complete, they place a sticker in that block.  I find it either to write the chore the night before or the day of depending on what needs to be done that day. 

5 Year Old Chores Include:
  • Picking up toys
  • Cleaning his room
  • Empty the bathroom garbage can
  • Empty the recycles
  • Put away clean clothes
  • Empty dryer
  • Make the bed
  • Dust the furniture
  • Clear the table and put dishes in sink

8 Year Old Chores Include:
  • Vacuum the upstairs or downstairs
  • Help mow the grass
  • Take the garbage cans to the street
  • Take out the kitchen garbage
  • Load the dishwasher
  • Fold and put away his clothes
  • Change the sheets on his bed
  • Do a load of laundry
What kind of chores do your kids do?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

2014 Goals - May Recap

Its June 1st, the weather has been gorgeous by my house, so that means it is time to check in on our goals for 2014. I had a really good May sticking to my goals for the year. 

I am making a real, conscious effort to set goals in 2014 and stick to them. The best way I can think of is to hold myself accountable on a monthly basis. Be sure to check back in the first of every month to see my progress as well as link up your progress.

1. Relationship with God - Do one activity a month to strength my relationship with God (going to mass on Sunday does not count).
My son made his first communion on May 2.  I attended the practice session with him as well as the ceremony the following day.  I am so proud of him.

2. Relationship with my Husband - Go on one date night a month with my husband. Plan an overnight trip of at least 2 nights away to take in 2014
We had 2 nights out this month, we had dinner and drinks with 2 sets of out friends on separate nights.  We are so blessed to have wonderful parents always willing to watch our kids so that we can enjoy some adult time!

 3. Family Time - Do one activity as a family once a month. Take one family vacation and one long weekend getaway in 2014.
We celebrated Memorial Day as a family at my sister's house with a picnic
We went to Orlando over Spring Break. 
Long weekend is booked for June!!

4. Relationships with my Kids - Do a one-on-one activity with each child each month (3 a month).
I took both my boys to Toys R Us as a reward for good report cards!
I took my middle son and daughter to a birthday party at a splash pad.  We also did 2 library trips this month.
My oldest son and I went furniture shopping together.  He thought it was pretty cool that we would make the decision.

5. Declutter - sell at least 5 items per month.
I was having a really slow month so one day I was home from work since my daughter was sick and during her nap I went through all the boys clothes and posted them on FB garage sale sites.  This month I ended up selling 11 items (lots of items) for a total of  $63!  I also compiled two garbage bags of clothes for my cousin!

 6. Debt - Pay off Debt #1 and reduce Debt #2 by 50%
Debt #1 is paid.   We made very little progress on Debt #2 this month.  We started a much needed home remodel project so the extra cash went to the completion of our new home office.  This project is now complete, so we are back on the "debt paying machine track" in June!

7. Me Time - Say "no" to one extra commitment a month. Do an only me or "girls night" activity once a month.
I said "no" to donating items for an end of the year school party.  I had donated a lot this school year and it always seems like last minute to me.
I was able to get my hair cut and high-lighted this month.  I also did a "cousins night out" with a bunch of my girl cousins!
8. Budget Buster - Keep library fines to under $5 for the entire year (this is so hard for me).
No fines this month again!  I had to arrange an evening trip to return some book that would of went past due the next day, but I made it in time!
9. Work/Life Balance - Friday at 5 pm - until Monday at 8 am - do not check work e-mails (I am off the clock).

I okay on this for May.  I had to leave work at 3 pm on couple of days to get home so my husband could leave to go teach.  My parents are on vacation and normally help us.  On those days, I had to come home and get back on my laptop.  Otherwise, I was "unplugged" on the weekends!

 10. Have an online business (this idea has been in my head for over a year) fully functioning by the end of 2014. I need to take one giant step every month to achieve this goal!
This is the only goal I do not seem to make time for?  Maybe its not that important to me?  I need to reflect on what I truly want to do!

How are you doing on your goals thus far? Feel free to leave a comment or link up!


Friday, May 23, 2014

Macaroni and Cheese Pie - Easy One Dish Dinner

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup uncooked macaroni (I used small shells)
1/2 cup all purpose baking mix
2 1/4 cups milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1.  Heat oven 375F.
2.  Spray 9" glass pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.
3.  Place uncooked noodles in pie plate.
4.  Spread 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese over the top.
5.  In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients until blended.
6.  Pour mixture into pie plate.
7.  Spray s sheet of foil with non-stick cooking spray and cover. 
8.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
9.  Spread remaining cheese over top and cook for additional 10 minutes.
10.  Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.


Next time I am going to try some different add-ins, chopped broccoli or diced ham would probably work well!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Spending the Day at Sea World - Orlando

On our recent family vacation to Orlando, we spent a day at Sea World.  It had been about 6 years since the last time we were there.  All in all in was a fun day for every one.  We took our 3 kids with us ages 8, 5, and 21 months. 

We arrived at the park around 9:30, parking was easy ($17) and it was a short walk to the main entrance.  We were using a stroller we had rented for the week from Simple Stroller Rentals!  I got an amazing deal on tickets, only paid $50 per person for a weekday ticket.  The baby was free which was a bonus!

We were right on time for the 10 am Blue Horizons show.  This unique, theatrical spectacular features dolphins, tropical birds and acrobats and all three of my kids were intrigued by the show!  Next my oldest son and husband braved Journey to Atlantis, it was a quick 20 minute wait!  While they were riding, I visited the Manta Aquarium and gift shop inside the Atlantis.  Next we waited for Antarctica:  Empire of the Penguin.  I was truly AMAZED by this ride and exhibit.  It was a 45 minute wait, but worth every minute of it, I wish we could have gone again!  It was a great family ride we could all enjoy together!

Right before lunch, we were able to see Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island.  This has always been my favorite show at SeaWorld!  I find it hilarious (my kids did too)!

After lunch we went to the Shark Encounter, rode the flamingo paddle boats, visited Shamu's Happy Harbor, and the Wild Arctic Ride.  We finished our day with the 5 pm show of One Ocean.  This show was definitely different than I had seen in the past.  The trainers no longer go into the water with Shamu and the other whales, but there is a lot of music, dancing, and water (you may get wet in the Splash Zone)! 

We left the park a little after 5:30, grabbed some dinner and headed back to our condo for a evening swim.  A perfect ending to a perfect day.  I cannot wait to take the kids back again in the few years!

Purex Crystals Dryer Sheets - A Review and GIveaway

I was so excited when I heard Purex Crystals has new dryer sheets!  I love Purex products and dryer sheets was never an option before!  I got the opportunity to try out Purex Crystals Dryer Sheers Lavender Blossom!

Purex Crystals Dryer Sheets don't just reduce static cling and leave your Family's laundry soft and smelling fresh, they can also keep your whole house smelling fresh!  They provide 30 days of a long-lasting fresh scent and repel pet hair and lint.  I added them to my Purex lineup for doing laundry!

My clothes came out of the dryer smelling amazing with no static cling!   Days later, when you pull them out of your closet or drawer, I could still smell the freshness. 
Want to try them for yourself?  Three Spend Less 2 Save More readers will receive a free coupon! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Purex brand provided me with a sample of Purex Crystals Dryer Sheets in exchange for a product review.  However, all the opinions expressed here are my own.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

It's certainly not the easiest "job", but it is definitely the best "job"!  My kids teach me so much each day and I'm still learning how to be the best Mom I can be.  My favorite part of being a Mom, is giving my kids all the opportunities I can and to re-live all the fun memories I had as a child through their eyes!

Happy Mother's Day!