Merry Christmas from our family to yours!! The year 2016 has been an adventure for us. It seems as though it all came and went in the blink of an eye!! We are super excited for 2017 to begin. (Perhaps this is why my blog is no longer updated regularly! Life is just too busy!!) A lot of apprehensions are combined with that excitement as well, as there are a lot of firsts for our family!
Next week is my little one’s birthday. He is turning SIX! My goodness how the time sure does fly! A few years ago, he informed me that he wanted a hamburger cake for his birthday. I stood there with my mouth dropped…. what could he possibly mean? Did he want cake or did he want hamburgers? After a little bit of looking around we came up with the best of both worlds!
Ta Da!! Hamburger Birthday Cake!
This was the funnest thing I have EVER done for a cake!
The bun was simply a cake mix cooked in a round glass serving dish. The patty and the bottom bun was cooked in a small round baking pan. The patty was covered with chocolate icing; however, if I were to do this again, it would be made out of a brownie mix.
My husband and kids had the funnest time trying to come up with ideas for the “condiments!”
We used red, white and yellow icing for the ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard. For the onions and tomatoes, we used white and red large gumdrops. We just took a rolling pin to them and flattened them. The lettuce was greed colored coconut. We took white icing and made the sesame seeds for the top of the bun.
For the fries, we took a pound cake from the store, cut it up, sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on it and baked it in the oven for a short little while.
The look on my son’s face was the best thing ever! Hamburger Birthday Cake!
If you want to try it out, send me your pictures! I would love to see how it works for ya!
I all too often, as I’m sure many of you do, find myself wishing that I had an AMAZING laundry room like this one on the left! One filled with TONS of room, counters, folding tables, built-in ironing boards, and wash basins. Some even have those fancy little desk areas in them! I wonder if they really use those rooms for laundry or if they are just for show and tell…. really!
However, I don’t! I live here on Earth. We have what’s called Real-Life, and it sure as tootin’ isn’t that type of a laundry room. It’s a real work room. If I had a dime for every load of laundry washed, my husband could retire as a rich man. So, I find myself wondering often about different ways to do laundry. I’ve tried many, trust me! However, there is a method that I have been doing for a few years now, and it is simply the easiest for our family of nine! It has become even more easy since the purchase of a few more little wire shelf units and a drill. I’ve always been told, that if you don’t have the floor space, go up. It is so true! It’s amazing how good things work when you can get them up and off the floor! I was so tired of not having room to do my laundry IN MY LAUNDRY ROOM! I would always wash and wash and wash, then bring all my loads into the family room to fold. Man, was that a nightmare! It would sometimes sit in there for days, OR worse, my kids would get a wild hare and start throwing clean laundry at someone or burying themselves UNDER the laundry in an effort to hide themselves, and before I knew it, it was either a Mount Everest, or a Tsunami wreck in my family room.
So without further delay, I am going to show you my laundry room in all it’s working glory…. please don’t mind the paint… someday I want to change it! Also, don’t look at the nail holes that have been filled but not repainted over yet — I’m terrible at finding studs…. Lots of “Oops!” moments!
The laundry soap is kept on the shelf for easy access. I just refill it as needed. I also keep the dryer sheets and the spray wash right on the same shelf. I’m trying to help the kids to know that if a stain does get on their clothes, that when they take it to the laundry room, all they need to do is just grab the stain spray and spray it right then and there, before putting it into the laundry piles. It is a work in progress, and I believe it will take many years before I see any fruits of my labors. Laundry can be a full-time job if you allow it to be. One thing that helps is to make sure you don’t have more clothes than what your kids can wear. We’ve been blessed with a lot of hand-me-downs. Every so often I go through things and get rid of the unrepairables and take out the duplicates or the unused clothes and send them to the donation pile.
Over the years, I have acquired these baskets either at Walmart or the DI, rather cheaply. I have one for each ROOM in the house–it lives in that room’s closet so as to not be seen–plus I have three extras. Ed and I are the only ones that have our own baskets. I have two sets of boys that are nearly the same size and share rooms, since they share clothes, they share a basket. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, each basket is to be brought to the laundry room for washing. In case you’re wondering, there is a chore chart that assigns a child as a laundry helper — so each child gets the chance to take a turn helping with washing and sorting end of things as well! Hopefully they’ll learn to do it right!!!
When the clothes are washed, they are folded, IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM, and placed on these wire shelves I’ve installed–I know they are not custom built-ins, but this has helped me out so much!! I never knew how nice it was to have a place right there to put folded clothes on. The hooks on the walls are for shirts which need to be ironed or anything that might need to air dry. When they get done in the dryer, all ironables go on the hook to be ironed on my iron day… usually on a Tuesday or Thursday, when I don’t have quite as much washing to do. When the baskets are not in use, they sit above my washing machine. When the clothes are all folded for the day, each child’s pile is put in their basket and sent to their room at the end of the day with any other of their other belongings that might be hanging around. Each child is responsible for putting up their clothes and making sure their basket goes back into their closet. We usually do sheets on Thursday, and play “catch-up” on Saturdays. In essence, my laundry machines usually go every day of the week, when I’m on top of things.
So this is how things work for me! Tell me how things work for you and if you feel like giving this method a try, let me know how it goes! Hang in there!!!
Alright! I do not EVER, nor have I EVER proclaimed to be a hair officinato…. I’m not going there! My hair has been my Achilles Heal all my life. It minds just about as well as some of my kids do! My poor daughters! However, we lucked out the other day! Ali has fine middle length hair. It holds a curl as well as the Sierra holds a snowflake! One big sock bun is simply too big for her hair. The sides won’t stay in it all night long. I had Ali wash her hair and we put some product in it, and then blow dried it nearly all dry. Just barely damp. I sectioned her hair into five small pony tails and secured each one with a very small rubber band–not too tightly. I took about five of my little toddler’s socks (no matches found), clipped the toes off and made sock buns out of each one of them. I then put each pony tail into the middle of a sock bun (shaped like a doughnut) and started rolling it up. I pinned each one in place with a bobby pin, and had her sleep on them all night long. Sunday morning came, we undid the sock buns, and look how it turned out! Wow! A simple, easy hairdo!
Sometimes, my greatest thoughts come to me while I’m cleaning! Today was no exception! I have a brilliant plan that hit me today…. I certainly hope it works!
If you already know of something like this, than good for you! Let me know if it works! My kids are not allowed a lot of gum…. Having said that, it is a real treat when we do get it! I had asked my older ones to help me out this morning…. School starts tomorrow and so we have been working like crazy to get the house back in order before then. I couldn’t help but notice how some started on chores without being asked…Some went the extra mile in doing their chores, and others did ONLY what was asked of them and not an inch more…. In desperation, I started thinking of what I could do to encourage them to go above and beyond what they have been asked to do WITHOUT yelling and lecturing… and YES… I sometimes yell…. a lot! I’m still learning!
It was as if someone turned a light switch on in my little old head! I know, that can be terrifying at times! Why not create an EXTRA MILE award! Tonight, for family night, we will be doing our beans, which was explained in another post earlier. My husband always calls on his way home for work to see if there is anything I need in town, so tonight I am going to have him bring home a few packages of EXTRA gum.
When my children are caught going the extra mile, they will be given a stick of gum…. (only one stick… an entire pack could break the piggy bank fairly quickly once they catch on to it….) I intend to give this out during dinner time or right before family prayers…. that way, EVERYONE will be present and can see the positive behavior being rewarded! Knowing how my children are with gum, I am sure this will catch on fairly quickly! I might go as far as creating a small 3×5 card with some cute saying with the stick of gum attached to it, but that is just more paperwork for me to have to deal with right now and with the onset of school and five children going, I really don’t have the space, time, or patience for more paper! If you want to, go ahead and do it! Wish me luck…. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!
If I had a dollar for every “rewards” system we have tried in the past, my dear darling wouldn’t have to work another day of his life! A while back we tried a system that seemed to work better than any others we had tried. My neighbor gave me the idea. It was amazing, but short-lived, partly because… I wasn’t consistent. I had extreme fatigue and morning sickness causing me to be lazy…. (BIG mistake)… however, since we are only a few weeks away from school, we have instituted this program once again. It is really quite simple and it truly focuses on the positives. Let me give out a disclaimer… I AM STILL LEARNING… and SO ARE MY LITTLE ONES!! I fear that this will be a learning process we will have to practice on until they leave the house!
However, I do know from experience that children will crave ANY attention that they can get, rather it be good attention, or bad attention. It’s important for us as parents to be there at the “crossroads” so to say, to help encourage the good behavior as much as possible. I have one little one in particular who loves to get the bad attention… (He is the one we prayed for patience with…. and we’re being tested on…. DAILY!)
I have taken an old jean pocket for each one of my kids and positioned it onto a peg board. When I get some more time, I intend to put something cute on the board in vinyl such as “Have I done Any Good Today?” or something cute like that. It takes me years to get my vinyl projects. I’m sure you could do something even more clever to make it look really cute. My focus is to get through the day…. not too much on the cutesy end, I’m afraid! Each day I fill my pants pocket or apron pocket with a handful of dry beans. On Sunday evening, I place 5 beans in each child’s peg pocket. I tell them it is because I LOVE them so much! Now, this is where you need to look for the positive in each day. Anytime your child(ren) get caught doing something good, give them a bean for their pocket. If someone picks something up without being told, give them a bean! If they do something good in town, give them a bean when you get home. If someone shows a little bit of kindness to a sibling, give them a bean! If they clean their rooms up in the morning, give them a bean! I think you get the idea! They can also loose their beans…. hitting (fighting), lying, and taking things that aren’t theirs (stealing). Also, if they have been asked to do a job, and they don’t do it, then their bean either comes out of their pocket if I have to do it, OR, if a sibling does their job, they then “pay” their sibling a bean. We try not to make too many rules…. Keep it Simple….
Now for the fun part. Each Sunday evening, we have a family planning meeting of sorts (just to make sure we know what is coming up for the week with everyone’s schedules). Then we start counting beans. For every 10 beans they earn they get to choose a “reward” card. I turn them over so when they are choosing they can not see which card they are picking.
No, they are not going to get financial rewards, such as money or clothing articles, but they are going to get to choose from the following SPECIAL TIME awards:
A board game with Daddy!
An Ice Cream with Mommy!
Stay up 30 min later and have a dessert with Mom and Dad!
Play an outside game with Daddy!
Pick the Friday Night Family Movie!
A bike ride with Mommy!
A bike ride with Daddy!
A board game with Mommy!
Play an outside game with Mommy!
An Ice Cream with Daddy!
Make a dessert with Mommy!
Choose from the Prize Box!
(This one is only very simple things such as a packet of gum, a tie tac, a CTR ring… a mechanical pencil, small paperback book, bookmark, etc., very simple things)
There are many ideas to choose from. This is what works well with us. Our kids LOVE the one on one time with us. It gives us a chance to talk to them only (and in a house with this many people they love it)…. not to mention it forces Ed and I, as busy parents, to take the time to spend one on one with a child. It makes them feel pretty special. It’s all about the positive reinforcements. As I said earlier, we are still learning… and yes, I still mess up…FREQUENTLY! This is my first time of being a mom, you know! There’s still a learning curve!
If you have some fabulous ideas that work for you, let me know!