December 17, 2012


I asked Maggie to share a few of her recipes of things she has brought recently!  (I made these granola bars the other day, the pan was gone in one day!  They were delicious)
Thanks for sharing!

If you have a recipe that you want to share, please feel free to message it to M-LIFE on facebook and we will share it!

Tortilla Roll-Ups

12 (14oz package) flour tortillas (or more)
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
3 tablespoons chopped green onion
12 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup salsa or picante sauce (optional)
In a med. bowl combine cream cheese, sour cream, chilies, onion, red bell pepper and cheddar cheese. Mix
thoroughly. Spread onto tortillas and roll up. Cover tightly and chill for 2 hours or overnight. When ready to serve,
cut each roll into 1/2 –inch slices. Serve with salsa or picante sauce. Make about 8 dozen pieces of tortilla roll-ups.

Homemade Granola bars

3 cups oatmeal

1 cup slivered almonds

1 cup shredded coconut

1 can sweetened condensed milk (I like to use fat-free)

2 Tbsp melted butter

1-2 cups of your favorite add-ins (chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, raisins, cranberries,

whole nuts, marshmallows, dried papaya, dried mangos, trail get the idea)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan. Mix together all of the ingredients and

pour into your pan. Bake for 20-27 minutes depending on if you like your granola bars chewy or

crispier. So easy and so good...


The Best Sticky Buns Ev-ah!


1 loaf (1 pound) frozen bread dough, thawed

1 cup vanilla ice cream, melted (I like to use the low-fat double-churned ice cream)

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

Thaw bread loaf in a greased bread pan and cover with plastic wrap that has been
greased to prevent sticking. Once, bread has doubled in size, or puffs out nicely over
the top of the pan it's ready to go!

Mix the ice cream, butter, and both sugars together and pour into a greased 9x13x2
inch baking dish. Pull the thawed bread loaf into 30 or so pieces and drop into the ice
cream mixture. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until bread is starting
to turn golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes and then invert onto a serving platter.

December 14, 2012

Upcoming Events

There are a few more events coming up that I wanted to remind you of (or notify you of):

Tuesday, January 23 there is a Mom's Night out at New Holland Brewery at 6:30pm

February 6 there is a kid event, a trip to VanKley Science Museum at Hope College.  There are two time slots for this one, 9am and 10am.

Other upcoming events without exact dates are: the popular potting party at Annual Ambiance and Crazy Bounce, more details on these will be announced as they become available.

December 13, 2012

Gymnastiks Event Tomorrow

Just a little reminder that this Friday, Dec. 14 is our Kids Event. 10:00 am to 11:00 am $5.00 per child
Gymnastics Unlimited 3400 Highland Dr. 
Hudsonville, MI
Just off 32nd Ave. 

*Dress in comfortable clothing, do not overdress, the kids will get hot
**Each child needs a waiver signed by parent.  You can print one from here

Thanks and See you all there.

December 4, 2012

Christmas Music

What do you think about Christmas music?

Are you one who loves it and can't get enough?  

Or, do you get irritated when it comes on before Thanksgiving and can't stand to turn on the radio for fear they will be playing Christmas music?

I fall somewhere in the middle.  Really, my preference is based on weather though.  These last two 60 degree days, I didn't care for it at all.  

But, I do have a few favorite Christmas songs:

Alvin & the Chipmunks.  I remember listening to this record (yup, record, not tape, not cd) over and over and over when I was little.

And, another one of my more contemporary favorites is Sing Mary Sing by Jennifer Knapp

One of my favorite Christmas concerts that we try to go to each year is Curt Dykema & Friends at Community Reformed.  Seriously people, this one is so good!  And, it's free.  It's this Sunday, the 9th, it starts at 6:00 if you want to join us there.  You won't be disappointed!

December 2, 2012

Advent activities

I know that some people choose to do a family activity each day during advent.  I've often thought this was a great idea in my head, but actually doing it proved to be difficult.  With four kids and a relatively busy holiday schedule I can't exactly pick out an activity to do 10, 15 and 20 days in advance, because likely we won't be able to do some of them.  And then, what's the point.  I don't want the kids to read one and get excited to (insert activity) and then I have to tell them that, "oops, not gonna happen sweetie".

Enter Adriel Booker (again).  She has a HUGE list on her blog (click on her name above for a direct link) of great activity ideas.  And, best of all, there are practical ones that we may actually do.

Christmas Sugar Cookie Recipe

I love seeing all of the fun elf on the shelf ideas that pop up on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.  But, again, follow through isn't my best quality, and one day I'm sure our elf would return to the North Pole and not come back (likely because he would get sick of me hiding him in the refrigerator or other unimaginative place EVERY morning, but possibly because he would get lost and forgotten too).


Truth in the Tinsel has some great ideas on her blog for alternatives to the elf on the shelf, not to mention the whole Truth in the Tinsel looks like it may be a fun idea too!

What are your favorite Christmas activities to do with your family? 

December 1, 2012


Does your family use an advent calendar?  What kind do you use?

I've been searching for years for one that I LOVE and would actually use all the way through, the only stipulation was that it had to be biblically based (as opposed to just a piece of candy every day).  

I've found some great ones.  Some super cute ones.  Some super detailed ones.  Some super complicated ones.  

I've made some.  Yup, I said some.  Because I haven't made just one.  I've made several.  I've spent HOURS making stockings to use to put verses and trinkets in.  I don't like it.  

Then one day, I was browsing pinterest (I know, your so surprised).  I saw a picture of this book and recognized it as one of my kids favorite storybooks.  

And then I read that you can use it for your advent calendar.  Adriel Booker really says it best in her blog post (linked by clicking her name):

"there are twenty-one stories it in from the Old Testament—each ending with a paragraph that ties in to the imminent birth of Jesus—and then three stories from the New Testament leading up to (and surrounding) the birth story of Jesus."

This book is fun to look at, the artwork is fun, the stories are well written, I really don't mind reading this one.  And, I'm excited to try this this year, hopefully it works out and we can start a new tradition, one that we can keep!

I'll be sure to keep you updated!

What are your advent traditions?  

November 28, 2012

M-LIFE schedule reminder

Just a quick reminder about our schedule:
We meet on the first and third Fridays of every month, which means we will not meet again until December 7.  I know it's easy to get into the every-other week groove, but when there is an additional Friday, it all gets switched up.

Sorry for my lack of posts, I didn't realize it had been that long!  I will be back next week with some great Christmas ideas, advent, decorations, abundance, decorating... All of it!

October 24, 2012

Idea #6-629

I'm paging through my Pinterest board looking for the next craft to feature here for Crafters Night and I realized that I have  LOT of great ideas (maybe a little biased, since I did pin them all) on my Pinterest Board  "DIY".  I could never possibly feature them all, so I decided to just give you the link... (hint: click on the DIY).

A few of my favorites:
T-Shirt latch hook rug (this is kind of a big project though)
Felt Hair Bows
A link, with a bunch more links on how to use old magazines
Scrappy Ribbon Garland

Feel free to check out some of the links, or if your ambitions, all of the links!

And, let me know what you decide to do!

Don't forget to sign up for the crafters night on November 2 (Feel free to email us to sign up)!

Mark your calendars for the Mom2Mom Sale: March 2, 2013 (sign up opens February 1)

Like us on Facebook for all of the latest updates!

October 18, 2012

Idea #5 - {Crafters Night}

On the same Sharpie theme as Idea #4...

This idea (and picture) is from A Beautiful Mess blog
Tutorial here

You could bring a sharpie and some dishes you found at Goodwill, Paradise Bound, Holland Rescue Mission, dot dot dot, and decorate them, then bring them home and bake them at 350 degrees for 30 minutes!  How fun!

The supply list on this one is pretty self explanatory, if you have problems figuring it out, just let me know!  :)

Another fun mug idea from A Beautiful Mess.
Another sharpie mug/dinnerware set to be inspired by.

Don't forget to sign up for the crafters night on November 2!

Sign up for the Mom's Event on November 5 with Etisentials!

Like us on Facebook for all of the latest updates!


Just wanted to remind you of a few things before tomorrows meeting!

We are making coasters tomorrow, this has always been our most requested craft and they make a great gift!  You will want to bring four pictures if you have them to put on the coaster.  4x6 works great, printing from home does not work as well, the ink tends to run when covered with Mod Podge.

Tomorrow is the LAST day to sign up for the Fit for {M}Life challenge and make payment!   It's perfect timing to loose a few pounds for the holidays that are coming.

Can't wait to see everyone tomorrow!

The Fit for {M}Life challenge!  You can sign up by emailing before October 19!

Don't forget to sign up for the crafters night on November 2!

Sign up for the Mom's Event on November 5 with Etisentials!

Like us on Facebook for all of the latest updates!

October 15, 2012

Idea #4 - {Crafters Night}

Here is one that would take very few supplies, many of which most of you probably already have on hand!

Image and Tutorial are from One Pearl Button

Supply List:
Sharpie Markers (anywhere really)
Cardstock (check Dollar Tree or similar, again though, anywhere really)
Paper Doilie's (check Dollar Tree or a craft store)

Find all of the Crafters Night Ideas here.

The Fit for {M}Life challenge!  You can sign up by emailing before October 17!

Don't forget to sign up for the crafters night on November 2!

Sign up for the Mom's Event on November 5 with Etisentials!

Like us on Facebook for all of the latest updates!


I've been trying to loose weight for quite a while now (my oldest child is 14, so about 14 years).  Life get's in the way, not to mention my addiction to chocolate, and it just doesn't happen.

Recently though, I was able to muster up enough self control to loose a few pounds, but I'm still a good distance away from my ideal weight.  I'm not the kind of person that has a lot of self control.  In fact, I think I've used up what I have.

Now it's time for MOTIVATION!  Which is why I'm here to remind you of the Fit for {M}Life challenge!  I need some other people to compete with ladies!  Competition is always a good motivator!

If your interested in signing up and competing with me and some other great ladies (no numbers will be shared except with the "gatekeeper" who is in no way involved with M-LIFE) make sure you email us by tomorrow at to let us know!

Tons more information about Fit for {M}Life can be found here!

The Fit for {M}Life challenge!  You can sign up by emailing before October 17!

Don't forget to sign up for the crafters night on November 2!

Sign up for the Mom's Event on November 5 with Etisentials!

Like us on Facebook for all of the latest updates!

October 10, 2012

Idea #3 - {Crafters Night}

How about a wreath?  There are LOTS of different wreath ideas, I'm showing you the Coffee Filter wreath here, but feel free to click here for lot's of other ideas as well!

or there is a natural coffee filter wreath:

There is a tutorial both on Nesting Place and A Soft Place to Land

Supply List:
Coffee Filters (white or natural, depending on your preference) - Meijer, Target etc
Glue Gun & Glue Sticks - Hobby Lobby, Michaels etc
Wreath Form - Hobby Lobby, Michaels, JoAnne's etc
and, you may need a few more coffee filters too!  :)

October 9, 2012

Idea #2 - {Crafters Night}

Time for another craft idea for you to do at Crafters Night, if you don't have something already.

It's a fall leaf garland.  And it's made out of felt.  And yarn.  And, just like the last idea, there are lots of variations that you could do for lot's of different holidays.

It's from A Beautiful Mess.  And, just like before, her directions are perfect, so I'll leave that to her.  Feel free to check it out.

Supply list:
Felt (Hobby Lobby, Michaels, JoAnn's etc)
Yarn (Hobby Lobby, Michaels, JoAnn's etc)
Needle (same)

The Fit for {M}Life challenge!  You can sign up by emailing before October 17!

Post Family Farm Event, Friday October 12!  Click here for more information and to sign up!

Don't forget to sign up for the crafters night on November 2!

Sign up for the Mom's Event on November 5 with Etisentials!

Like us on Facebook for all of the latest updates!

October 5, 2012

Moms Night Out - {It's a Wrap! Take Two!}

We're offering 2 hours of holiday edutainment to keep your rapt attention - you'll get so wrapped up in our techniques and tricks, you won't be able to wait 'til holiday season officially kicks off! No more shy or painful holiday gatherings - the trick is knowing the proper etiquette for greetings and introductions. You'll have the confidence to socialize at any personal or business event. And don't get stuck standing by the door, awkwardly clutching your hostess gift. Stacey Carpin of Etissentials, a professional etiquette and manners company, will also reveal the art of gift giving and receiving. Finally, as a holiday bonus, Stacey will demonstrate some creative gift wrapping tips to make your holiday presents look original and elegant. The holidays are just around the corner so sign up today, along with a friend, and treat yourself to some valuable girl time and learn the secrets to a relaxed and wonderful holiday season. * Guests, please come with the following supplies: 1 shirt box, gift wrap, scotch tape, scissors and ribbon. You will have the opportunity to try what you learn!
**Fee $15.00 due before Friday, Nov. 2, 2012

Sign up can be found here!

October 4, 2012

Idea #1 - {Crafters Night}

How about this striped burlap heart canvas?

I was thinking that since we are doing craft night before Christmas you could do a Christmas Tree, or a Star, or an ornament... the possibilities are endless!

There is a great tutorial over on the Southern Lovely blog that you can check out, no need to re-invent the wheel here!

I will however give you the supply list since it is pretty self explanatory!
Canvas (Michaels or Hobby Lobby)
Paint (Michaels or Hobby Lobby)
Painters Tape (or masking tape) (Your house, Hobby Lobby or MIchaels)
Burlap (Hobby Lobby, Fields Fabric or JoAnn's)
Buttons (Hobby Lobby or Michaels)
Hot glue (Hobby Lobby or Michaels)
Vinyl or stencils (optional - for writing words)

Did you miss the information about Crafters night?  Click here.

The Fit for {M}Life challenge!  You can sign up by emailing before October 17!

Post Family Farm Event, Friday October 12!  Click here for more information and to sign up!

Don't forget to sign up for the crafters night on November 2!

Sign up for the Mom's Event on November 5 with Etisentials!

Like us on Facebook for all of the latest updates!

October 3, 2012

Crafters Night

*As always, you do not need to be an M-LIFE member to participate in the extra events

The Fit for {M}Life challenge!  You can sign up by emailing before October 17!

Post Family Farm Event, Friday October 12!  Click here for more information and to sign up!

Like us on Facebook for all of the latest updates!

September 21, 2012


Thank you to everyone that came out to the open house today!

It was great to see familiar faces again, and great to see lot's of new faces as well!  I can't wait to start a new year with all of you!

If you were not able to make it out to the open house today, but know that you would like to register for M-LIFE or plan to attend even just one meeting, would you mind emailing us (email address is: your address so that we can get a registration packet mailed out to you.  This way you will avoid having to fill the forms out at your first meeting, making your day little less hectic!

The Fit for {M}Life challenge!  You can sign up by emailing before October 17!

Post Family Farm Event!  Click here for more information and to sign up!

Like us on Facebook for all of the latest updates!

September 20, 2012

Open House {Reminder}

Just one more reminder!  Open house... tomorrow!  If you want to learn more about M-LIFE or if you are already a regular attendee (and anywhere in between) we would love to have you join us on Friday.  While there you can register both yourself and your kids!

September 19, 2012

Fit for {M}Life

Many of you have noticed the scale on the right side of the screen and many of you have asked what that is all about... well it's time you know the details!

If you click on the scale (or here) it will take you to a page telling you all about this new weight loss challenge!  As always, you do not need to be an M-LIFE member to participate and it is completely optional!

Can't wait to see everyone at the open house Friday!

September 12, 2012

September 6, 2012

Post Family Farm :: Kid Event

Mark your calendar and sign up early!

Post Family Farm Kid event
Friday, October 12
10:00 am
$5 per child over 1 year 
$4 per adult
Hayride, pumpkin patch, petting zoo and donuts

Sign up below or by clicking here for the link

As always, this event is open to both M-LIFE members and non-members!

September 5, 2012

Coming soon!

Maybe you've seen a post about the upcoming open house!  If not, it's September 21, from 9:30-11:00 at Community Reformed.  M-LIFE is open to all moms with children newborn through kindergarten.  

We have some great meetings planned for this coming year!  Things like: making pumpkins out of dryer vents, coasters, a countdown to Christmas, a thankful tree, Epsom salt jars, yarn balls, washer bracelets, wall expressions, frames, flowers, confetti cups, and a few very popular returning speakers.

We also have some great mom's night out and kids events for you!  (These are events and activities that take place outside of the M-LIFE meetings.  They are open to anyone, some have limited openings although most do not, some do require a small fee.  You will know in advance the details behind each event) You can click the button on the sidebar labeled Mom and Kid events or click here.

Do you know of anyone that does not attend M-LIFE meetings that is free during that time? Anyone that would love to come and spend time with some kiddo's?  What about grandmas or grandpas?  Aunts?  Friends?  We are always looking for volunteers in the K-LIFE program.  We have two classrooms, one for 2 1/2 year olds and one for 3 and up.  If you know anyone that could volunteer for one or two Fridays a months, please have them contact us at  

It's not very often that we get to sit down and eat a meal uninterrupted, much less a hot meal!  Based on surveys we have done we know that this is an important part of M-LIFE to many of the moms  We do ask that you volunteer to bring one or two dishes per semester to help out.  You can click on the button on the right sidebar that says breakfast or click here to sign up.  

I think that is all for now, but stay tuned, I'm sure there will be lot's more information to come!

August 31, 2012

Smart Cookie

And for the last post in this series... FOOD!

What kid doesn't love to come home to a good snack after a long day at school?  Or you could send it to school with him/her!  You could even put it on homemade cookies (even better, but do you want to make some for me?).

(click the picture for a link to it is what it is for a free printable)

August 30, 2012

Snap! Snap!

Back to School Photo checklist!  Make sure you have that battery charged and ready to go to document those first days!

Check this link for a great checklist of pictures to take!

August 29, 2012

The Letter

Glennon from Momastery does it again with a post titled "The Talk"!  A letter to her children before school starts.  A post that spread like wildfire!  For good reason though!  A letter about being brave, and compassionate and how we love our children!  Be sure to click the link to read her version of the letter!


August 28, 2012

Why High School?

High school was not really a part of school until the 1930s. Before that most Americans only completed eight years of school. Why was that and what changed it? Well, during the Great Depression, there were many communities that had little work to offer, and they figure that keeping teenagers in the classrooms would keep them out of the work force, thus reducing the competition for many adults who required higher pay than a teen would.

From Back to School Fun Facts

August 27, 2012

Knee deep in papers can only mean...

 -it's back to school time!  Each day this week we will have a back to school related blog post (yup, thats a full week of blog posts)!

I think I have forms on every flat surface of my house just waiting to either be turned in or filled out and then turned in or have money attached to them and then turned in.  And then there are the forms that have been lost in the shuffle.  Those I will get a note home the first week of school asking that they be turned in.  Or my kids won't be able to attend school because they aren't turned in.  (Not to self:  find the papers)

Some tips from NASP (National Association of School Psychology): (click here to read the full article)

Be sure your children are in good physical and mental health
Review all of the information sent home by the school.
Mark all important dates on your calendar and make arrangements in advance.
Make copies of all health and emergency information for reference.
Buy school supplies early and save receipts for items that you may need to return or exchange.
Re-establish the bedtime and mealtime routines a week before school starts.
Turn off the TV
Visit school with your child.
Designate and clear a place to do homework
Select a spot to keep backpacks and lunch boxes.
Freeze a few easy dinners.

August 13, 2012

Open House

It's still over a month away, but I know that things start to get busy about now if you have kids in school, so just wanted to put the date out there so you could mark it on your calendars!  Enjoy the last few weeks of summer!

July 25, 2012

Motherhood is a huge time zapper {Courtney Joseph}

First, go read this article by Courtney Joseph. No, really, go read it.

I needed to read this today everyday.

I am so guilty of getting irritated when I can't get anything done because someone everyone needs something.

Let your complaints of motherhood remain between you and God and not you and your children and cling to Jesus and his example in John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."

I need to be better at holding my tongue and keeping it between God and I. Only He can give me the patience they need me to have.

God, please grant me the patience that my children need from me. Give me the ability to see the things that must be done and the things that can wait or don't need to be done at all. Amen

June 6, 2012

M-LIFE Fridays at the Park

Our first Friday at the park is coming up and we would love to have you join us!

June 5, 2012

Help Wanted!

Each year our committee member re-evaluate the role they played and their ability to continue to do their job.  We have had some fabulous committee members from the beginning, and for one reason or another some of the members have had to step down.

This year we are left with two open spots on the committee.  We are looking for a couple of people to help out with activities (aka craft/speakers).  Basically the "job" consists of coming up with the craft or speaker for each week, making sure we have all necessary supplies, setting it up and directing it.  You would need to be able to attend a committee meeting the second Sunday of each month at 10am at Community.  Katie helped out last year and is returning again, so you definitely wouldn't be left on your own, and I like to think we are a helpful group!

Please email Trisha at if you are interested or have further questions!

June 4, 2012

Favorite Pre-School apps

I made the mistake once of letting the kiddo's play with the ipad.  They now think it belongs to them, permanently.  I hide it a lot.  But they always find it.  Sometimes we need it, we need to use it to keep them busy (the word "need" in that sentence bugs me as much as it may anyone else, but that's a story for another day... the "need" for technology to keep our kids occupied, really?).

So anyway, I've uploaded a few apps that I think are a bit educational at least (might as well make it worthwhile, right?).

Three of my current favorite apps are:

Nick Jr. Draw and Play
This one has surprised me.  It's so much more than just a drawing app.

From the description on itunes: Nick Jr Draw and Play combines intuitive and easy to use drawing, coloring and painting tools with a set of magical effects that kids can use to create amazing artwork! Animated stickers, magic wands, spinning splatter-tops, fireworks, bouncing balls and surprise blocks go together to make interactive creations that they can play with again and again.

The day I downloaded this one, I was not feeling well at all and was spending much of the day in bed, just trying to know where my kids were, and I'm a bit ashamed to admit that my daughter played with this app for about an hour and a half (don't judge, I know, it's tempting).

At $3.99 it's a bit of a splurge as far as apps are concerned, but I think it was worth it!

Just a basic, quick, memory game.  With animal sounds.  I like it.  The kids LOVE it.  Well worth the $.99  (I wish this kept track of how many times we have played this game, or maybe I don't.  Either way, we've played it a LOT)

Teaches letter sounds, letter writing and first words.  I've been very impressed with my daughters progress using this app.  I like that they do not call the letter by name.  They say the sound.  Tell the child to say the sound.  And then show them how to write it.  There is a light version of this app available so that you can try it before you buy it, we have the full version and I'm happy we do!  (Make sure to check out the link for more information)

What are your kids favorite apps?

**No one is receiving anything in relation to this post**

May 17, 2012

It worked for me - laundry

It's another "it worked for me" installment, from me.

Laundry.  Need I say more?  For most people I know (especially mothers and fathers of multiple children), this is a dreaded chore.  Although I've come to realize that each person has a different part that they dread the most.  Some hate the whole process, some hate sorting and washing, some hate folding, and most hate putting away.  Any of these can lead to enormous amounts of dirty laundry, or living out of laundry baskets, either filled with clean folded clothes or clean clothes "three days fresh" from the dryer.  I'm not even going to mention ironing, wee, because, I just don't iron.  

For myself I don't mind doing the laundry (we quit sorting laundry one child and 3 years ago, it just all goes in together, unless I notice a really big influx of new red stuff, then that gets a load of its own, typically just the first time though).  Anyway.  Moving on.  I dread folding and putting laundry away.  It's One of my top 10 most dreaded house chores.

Inevitably I end up with a rather large pile of dirty laundry (the three year old could be hiding in there and I would never know, large).  Then there is always that day week when I have to catch up.  And then nothing gets put away and most of it gets put back in the dirty clothes because  no one wants to take care of the mess 
of laundry... And the cycle continues.


There is a new laundry system in town, and so far, it's working for me!

This is hanging in my laundry room.  Everyone has a laundry day.  There are six of us, I've combined the youngest kids (they share a room anyway), so that means I have to do clothing laundry five days a week and then the sixth day is towels, sheets etc.  keep in mind that since I don't sort, this is about 1-2 loads a day and often for the second load I can get towels in to and have very little to do besides sheets on Friday.  

Each person is responsible to have their laundry in the laundry room the morning of their day, I will do my best to get the laundry done that day, but if for some reason  I don't feel like it have time, most of them are perfectly capable of doing the laundry themselves.  If I do do the laundry, it comes out of the dryer and goes in a basket that they can shove into their closets and dresser drawers fold neatly and put away.

I don't mind doing six loads of laundry in a day, as long as I don't have to fold it and put it all away. 

That's my laundry system and I'm sticking to it!  What about you?  What works for you?

May 9, 2012

It Worked for me...

Helping Hands!

A while back I linked you to Kathy's post about helping hands, a simple way to have the kids remember the five things they had to do each morning and night, without having to keep track of a chore chart or something more difficult.  I could relate to Kathy's words all to well:
I had been debating about a chore chart but I just don’t want to have more work for me to check off, or move things around, or mess with stickers all the time….I know I would totally give up on that after a week, so that is why this is so appealing to me.  I’m not saying at all that chore charts are a bad thing, I just am saying that I am lazy with those extra tasks :)  

I in fact had tried chore charts.  And always forgot about them within about a week, two weeks max.  Then the kids got mad because they didn't get their allowance or whatever...  so then we quit.  

I've also always struggled with allowances.  I want my kids to help out around the house with chores because they live here and are a part of a family.  Not because they get paid.  But yet, I wanted them to have their own money for the things I don't feel like giving them money for either.  

Enter: My version of helping hands (with a step by step instruction for making your own!)

To start... you will need a template of the helping hands chart, or one you've created on your own.
Helping Hands PDF black & white
Helping Hands PDF color

Print one sheet, just to try it out, see if it works for you before investing to much time and effort.
You will also need some color paper/cardstock/scrapbooking paper
And, either laminating pouches or contact paper

The hands all print out blank, you can add your own dollar amounts with pen or light marker.  I knew that I wanted the max amount on my cards to be $10, knowing that it was likely they would never get all of the squares uncovered, and I knew that I wanted blank hands as well, to reinforce the concept of helping because we are a family.  Some cards have 10 spots of $1, some have anywhere from a dime to $3 on various spots.  This is a great way to make it your own, whatever works for you and your family.  You could even do special treats instead of money, the possibilities are endless!

OK, so once you've got all of that filled in, you need to use a gluestick to glue the templates onto a slightly larger piece of colored paper, unless you don't want a border, then the same size would be great.  Just to cover the back, so that sneaky kiddo's can't try to see from the backside.  

Then you laminate it.  Either with thermal pouches and a laminator, self stick laminating pouches or contact paper, which you could use to do both sides or just the front, your choice!  Trim them up, and they are ready to go.  

Next, you will need some dish soap and some silver paint (or color of your choice).  Oh, and don't forget the Diet Coke.  It helps get the job done!  It helps get ALL jobs done!

Mix the dish soap and paint approximately one parts dish soap and 2 parts paint.  I tend to err on the side of using to much dish soap, and then the paint dries all sticky and soft, so maybe try to err a bit more on extra paint.  
This picture makes it look like I did one to one, but I didn't.  The paint is much thicker than the soap here!

Mix it all together nice and good.  
You could use lot's of various objects to put the paint on.  I chose to use the back of a paintbrush.  I just dipped it in the paint and then dotted it on the hands.  It doesn't have to be perfect, but it does have to be covered.  If the paint seems to be to light, you may have to add a bit of black just to darken it up a little.  

Dot.  Dot.  Dot. until you get them ALL covered.  (It's a bit boring, but press on)

And then put them somewhere safe, away from little hands, and let them dry.  It takes a good 6-8 hours, overnight is probably best.  The next morning I scratched off some of the "extra" paint so that it was a true grid and not just blobs.  

And then put them somewhere easily accessible to the kids.  Mine are hung on the wall on the side of the refrigerator.  I also had my husband drill a small hole into a Popsicle stick and hung that with the cards for the kids to use to scratch off a dot.

My kids get to scratch one off every time they do something helpful.  Like unload dishwasher, pick up sticks in the yard, babysit, clean off table, etc.  They can also sometimes scratch one if they are caught doing something good.  Like reading to baby sister (maybe she isn't a baby, but whatever). 

As I suspected, the first week the most I gave out was $5.15 and the least was $2.50.  The second week I gave out 25 cents to one child and 50 cents to the other.  Not because we forgot to scratch, but because they really were just THAT helpful.  So far, each child has had one card with a larger cash value hand and then just a few smaller values, and one card with lot's of smaller values and I can't say that I appreciate one more than the other.  They both have pros and cons.  

I've created templates for you with two different verses on them about helping each other.  
You can find them here:

Helping Hands PDF black & white
Helping Hands PDF color
or feel free to create your own!

I hope this works for you as well as it has for me!  Or that it at least gives you an idea for something that will work for you!