Monday, August 30, 2010

Life Lessons...

Awhile ago, I published this post about Allowance and the strategies that work for our family.  The system was test this past weekend, when Connar bounced a check!

Ok, ok, he's 11 and doesn't really have a checking account...

Typically, when the boys want to spend their money, they need to have their wallet with them.  This way, they know how much they have and money can change hands in the moment.  I made an exception on Saturday.  We had been out all day at a Football Jamboree and were stopping at a toy store on the way home.  The boys had just done their weekly jobs and knew how much money they had.  So I made an exception.

When we got home, I asked them to pay me back before they played with the new toys.  Connar opened his wallet and had nothing.  He teared up.  He over reacted.  He cried.

When he calmed down, he remembered that he's spent some money previously.  He didn't remember putting money into savings - which surprised me.  I said, "So it looks like you bounced a check.  You promised a payment with money that you didn't have.  How would you like to solve this problem?"  I expected him to say he'd pay for it out of savings, he had plenty in his account.  After a couple I don't know's, Connar asked if he could pay me back with extra jobs and next week's allowance.  So, we went with Repossession and Repayment.  

His new toy is sitting on top of the refrigerator, and there is a sticky note on the refrigerator door.  He's already done $2.00 worth of extra jobs and he scrounged $1.48 out of his bedroom.  I declined to accept the free chalupa coupon as payment.

I wonder how long it will take him to pay back the remaining $9.15?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Broaden your Blogging Skills...

My friend, Louise, the creative mind behind Adori Graphics is looking for some people to help out with creative and management projects for Adori Graphics.  If you're interested, follow this link and find out about joining her team!

Friday, August 27, 2010's Friday...

This was my first week...partially...back to work after a delightful summer.  It's always hard to get the routines back in the fall and my blogging suffered this week!

No worries...I'll get myself organized and have lots to share!  Coming up...
* Mom Tips for Back-to-School
* Fall Crafts
* Life Lessons at the Skate Park
...and more

What are you looking forward to as summer moves into fall?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Working Mommy Wednesday...

I love the chance to link up with all the other working moms on Wednesdays!

Today's prompt...Do you have your own bank account or do you share with a spouse?

We share everything. When Kyle and I first got married, we were still in school and working part time but a month later I started student teaching and needed to quit my part-time job. We lived in a tiny apartment, and really didn't have much. At that time it didn't make any sense to have two empty least when we shared we had a little bit. Since then there have been times when I have had a larger salary and times when Kyle's salary has been larger. We've moved several times, bought and sold cars and finally bought a house. All the way along we have had joint checking and savings accounts. We've paid off school loans together, accrued and paid off credit card debt together and learned how to be responsible about a budget...together.

For us, there has been no reason to keep separate accounts and every reason to share - especially when we had kids.   The amount of money an individual brings in hasn't made a difference as we have a budget that allows for all of what we need and much of what we want. We are each individually responsible to that budget and accountable to each other. It works really well for us.

As a working mom, I am ending my summer and heading back to work. The kids are getting ready to go back to school and so am I. This year I have really taken the time to refresh over the summer and I am excited for school to start.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back-to-School for Teachers...

It's not always easy to head back to school, so I decided to make a fun clipboard for some of the teachers that I work with to celebrate going back-to-school...
I started with small (9 X 6") wooden clip boards, my bottle of mod podge and a selection of paper scraps from my scrap booking stash.
I cut papers to fit the back of the clip board and applied them with mod podge, smoothing out the bubbles with my fingers.
For the front of the clip board, I used complementary papers, but tore strips to accommodate for the metal clip.  These were also applied with mod podge.
Finally, I added inspirational quotes to the back.  These are printed on vellum and double mounted onto the clipboard.

I added a ribbon bow, and a small tablet to the clipboard along with a great new pen.  Something pretty helps ease that transition back into being working moms!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Star Wars Spare Keys...

Our spare keys were out of control...

There was a hodge-podge of key rings, spare keys, lanyards and junk that needed a little TLC.

I went to the Lego store online, and ordered several Star Wars key chains...just for fun!  I also went to the hardware store and purchased an inexpensive box of key tags.  After an afternoon of trying to determine which key was which...and which ones we really needed to keep...

...we now have a more organized, and a more fun key rack!

How do you have fun with organization?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Toys Rediscovered...

This time of summer is hard on my kids.  They're ready to go back to school and get back into routine.  They're tired of the toys they have and they're tired of each other.  They're ready to go back to school...and I am ready for them to go!

This afternoon, after a morning of playing soccer, football and skate boarding, the boys were hot and tired.  After lunch they sort of disappeared and when I found them...
...they had rediscovered an old friend!  When my oldest was 2 and 3 (8 years ago!) he loved Thomas the Tank Engine and all his friends.  We built tracks that spread through the living room every day.  But, Connar outgrew Thomas and Aiden never really got into playing with trains.  About 6 years ago, we took the train table out of Connar's room and boxed up all the trains.
This afternoon, in their search for something new to play with, the boys stumbled upon the bins of tracks, buildings and trains.  It was like Christmas in August as they unpacked the bins and marveled over the buildings and bridges.

I had such a wonderful time spying on them and listening to them play.  My big sporty boys spent the whole afternoon playing with trains and building tracks all around the Family Room.  I love that they can relax and play together.  I love that they don't feel the need yet to be super cool at all times.  I love that I saved all those trains, and tracks, bridges and buildings.  And I loved listening to my boys play....really play together... in a land of imagination and fun for the whole afternoon. 

What moments do you take time to savor?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Working Mommy Wednesday...

I am linking with Amanda & Julia and all the other moms for Working Mommy Wednesday.  The prompt this week is...what time of day is the most stressful?

The most stressful part of my day is the late afternoon.  Coming home from work and needing to transition my own head from work to home AND needing to sort the kids from school.  One day a week my husband is at work (he works 24 hour shifts) so on those afternoons, I need to gather the kids from their grandparents.  My boys are very active in sports, even more so this year, so many afternoons we have practice to get to.  This includes making sure we have whatever gear is required for practice, something for the brother to do during practice and snacks.  Thrown into the whole mix is keeping up with laundry and feeding the family....shoot! I am stressed just writing it all down.

I try to stay patient and keep to a routine so that everyone knows what to expect.  While we have a busy life we also have a fun life, so remembering that we've chosen most of our chaos and finding the humor, helps keep the stress down too!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Big Photo Challenge...

The Big Photo Challenge

This week the Big Photo Challenge theme is...

My kids don't go back to school for another 3 weeks, so I don't have this year's "First Day Porch Picture" to share so I had to think of something else...

I love school supplies in a very nerdy, teacher way.  One of my favorite end-of-summer activities is buying school supplies for my kids, and me!  This grouping is full of Aiden's first grade supplies...all new and shiny.  I set them up outside for sunny light and took the picture with the macro setting on my Cannon Rebel xsi.

I also took this picture at the same time so that I could share one of my favorite movie quotes (remember my nerdy love of school supplies...)  "Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address."

Can you place that quote?
Happy Back-to-School!

Monday, August 16, 2010

August Book Club...


There truly is nothing better than a good book while you're on vacation!  While I wasn't on vacation for the whole past month, I have read some pretty good books...

 Such a Pretty Face by Cathy Lamb
This was a new release this month, and wrapped up my current love affair with Cathy Lamb! Her style of writing gives you such a complete picture of a character and how she's evolving as a person.  In this book the author explored the effects of dramatic weight loss and the struggles Stevie had in finding new confidence, facing her past and discovering herself.  Along the way are some quirky and fun characters. I loved this book!

Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian
This book has been on my book shelf all summer and I finally read it.  The story is told through a first person narrative, with four different voices.  I love the first person perspective and to hear pieces of the same story told with four different perspectives gives you so much depth into that story. Like all of the novels I have read by this author, things are not always what they seem.  And learning all the twists and turns of the story will leave you wondering.  I was surprised at the end.

The Things We Do for Love  by Kristin Hannah
This was such a good book and a real tear-jerker.  The story focuses on the divorce of a couple due to infertility and Angela's return to the small town where she grew up.  The author explores the relationships between sisters and family in Angela's return and attempts to help the family business.  Family is a key theme as Angela befriends a young, pregnant girl and considers adoption.  I couldn't put this book down.

Eventide by Kent Haruf
 This book has also been on my bookshelf most of the summer.  Eventide is the sequel to Plainsong and shares many of the characters.  Unlike most of the other books I read this month, this author doesn't give you depth of character.  Rather, reading the book is like looking at a scrapbook.  You get the bits and pieces the author wants you to have but you know there is more to the story than you see.  There are several characters who connect and intertwine and the story follows a year in their lives.  This is a very compelling book,  reading the first would help but isn't necessary to enjoy the story.

Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner
I finished this book last night.  As I lay all these books out, I realize I have had a theme this month...these books all explore the dynamics of families and how roles change as children grow up.  This book followed the wife and daughters of a senator after his affair with an assistant was made public.   While this event triggered the story, the story was about where the characters were in their own lives, how they reacted and they choices they made.  This was a great book.

Now it's your turn...Have you read any of these books?  What are your thoughts?  What else have you been reading?

You can either leave a comment or join the book club by linking up and grabbing a button in the sidebar.  Happy reading! 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Give-Away...

Guess what?  Louise...the amazing creative mind behind Adori Graphics is celebrating her birthday!
Pop on over and enter her give-away for a free realistic, style vector character.  I've already entered...this is something I would love to win and add to my header.

Happy Birthday Louise!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Catching up...

Wow...there's almost more work to be done bringing the family home from vacation then there is in getting ready for vacation! 

For those of you on-the-ball readers, you know today should be the day for my August Book Club!  Get ready - that will be posted on Monday.

Also coming up next week...
  • Mom Tips for Kids Sports 
  • Fun crafting 
  • Mom Tips for Back-to-School
  • and Working Mom...Back-to-Work
Have a fantastic, family-fun weekend!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Are there more wonderful words than "Summer Vacation"? 
Maybe...if those words are Summer Vacation in Maui! 

My family and I just returned from the most amazing vacation and I would like to share a bit of it with you...
My husband and I renewed our vows on the beach in honor of our 15th anniversary.  How wonderful to know that you made the best choice and you would make that same choice all over again!
The boys learned the ancient art of Nose Flute :)

We went snorkeling with sea turtles...
...and Kyle went scuba diving.  Aiden was so excited to be snorkeling above him at the end of his dive.

We spent hours playing in the ocean and in the pool.  We even all took surfing lessons...the most fun ever! 
We ate the most delicious food in some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
The kids loved the Maui Ocean Center
Truly, one of the most fabulous vacations of all time!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mom Tips for Kids Packing...

It seems kids are always packing for's some of the things I do to make life easier...

Packing for Sports Practice / Game: We've invested in several string-style backpacks.  These are lightweight, easy to wash and they aren't very expensive (so I'm not upset when they get lost).  Depending on the sport, I make a list of the items needed...shin guards, socks, shoes, water bottle, goalie gloves...and put the list into a small luggage tagb attached  to the backpack.  The boys are then responsible for checking their bag before leaving to make sure they have everything they'll need.

Packing for a Slumber Party:  Slumber parties are usually just an overnight and not far from I let them pack for themselves.  Connar at 11, knows what he'll need and since he's not far away or gone for too long it's ok if he forgets something.  In fact, it's great when he forgets because he's more likely to remember the next time.  Aiden at 6, doesn't always think through what he'll need so I either give him a packing list or do a verbal check list when he's done.  Again, the string backpacks are just the right size.

Packing for Camp:  When the boys went to camp, the camp provided a great packing list.  I sat in the hallway between the boys rooms, with their duffel bags and read the items off the list.  This way I was able to help make sure they're getting what they need, but the boys were able to choose their own clothes, towels & swim suits.  It takes longer than if I were to just pack them myself, but eventually I want them to be able to pack on their own...teachable moments are worth the time they take!

Packing for Vacation:  This is similar to packing for camp, but I don't have a packing list.  I still sit in the hall between their rooms with the suitcase.  Connar will lay out everything he thinks he needs and I will help him edit.  With Aiden, I ask for ...5 pairs of shorts and t-shirts...2 pairs of nice shirt and pants...and he'll fill the order.  They each have a carry-on bag for the airplane...those string back packs again!  I have a couple of new DS games and a card game for each boy that's new.  In addition, they are able to take whatever they want to play long as it fits into the bag!

How do you help your kids pack?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Something Old...Something New...

My husband and I are celebrating our 15th anniversary with a family trip to Hawaii.  While there, we're planning to take a quiet moment to renew our vows!  We've been so happy, learned so much, and had so many life adventures in the past 15 years that we wanted to celebrate with our kids.

When my oldest son was born, my mom and I took apart my wedding dress to make a Christening gown with a lace blanket.  Both my boys were baptized in this piece of my wedding dress.

For our vow renewal, I wanted a piece of my original wedding dress also.
I took a couple scraps of lace, several buttons and lots of beads off my veil and created....
...this bracelet.  It will go perfectly with the dress I have for the occasion and it will be a perfect reminder of my original dress.  I am so excited!