Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Be Awesome Today

It's Wednesday... blllllaaaahh. Wednesday is my least favorite day of the week. It's not really anything- not a fresh new week, not the end of a long week, it's just Wednesday (snore). In an effort to give Wednesday a little spice I've decided to plant my 1st recurring post.

Without further ado...


We're going to rehash things I love & don't about this past week. Get excited.

Cheers to...

Kid President. 
Have you seen this kid? He's ridiculous... ridiculously awesome! 
He's funny, he likes to dance, he's pretty spot on with his assessment of adults. I mean, really. What's not to like? He's also got a great back story (LOVE a good back story!). If you take the time to watch his videos you'll notice that he's wearing a cast in several of the videos. He has a bone disorder which causes his bones to break often. He's had over 70 breaks! Yet, living with this hasn't broken his spirit. Check him out, you won't be disappointed. My boys LOVE him & you will too!

Cheers to...

Children's Hospital
Talk about timely We were just there because my 6 y/o broke his wrist over the weekend (living with a kid with a broken wrist has given me a new respect for Kid President- see the connection? Sorry, I used to be a kindergarten teacher). Anyway, injury on Friday, x-rays on Saturday, cast on Monday. In & out every time, no hassle, no fuss. These are people that love kids, you can tell by the way they treat them & their parents. Kudos, Children's. Another job well done! And yes, we've been there many, many times. This is Cheers people, I'll get to the Jeers.

and finally,

Cheers to...

the Swiffer Sweeper Vac
What did I ever do without you? I don't know why I hesitated to buy you, you are so lovely. You pick up the crumbs of a 1 y/o, a 6 y/o can use you. I could go on & own. Bye, bye broom! Go make-out with the mop in the garage. She gets lonely.


I don't love to be negative, everybody's got their own stuff to deal with. Mine is pretty small in comparison, but sometimes you gotta vent. So, I'll keep this short & sweet.

A big fat booooo to...

Broken bones
Can you believe we made it 8 years with four boys & this is our 1st broken bone? We've had stitches, staples, tubes but no breaks. It was only a matter of time & I gotta say I'm not surprised which kid broke the bone. The worst was seeing him in pain for days & not being able to help him. But to put a positive spin on it (told ya I'm not a complainer!), it's a VERY minor break. We're in a cast for 3 weeks. (Yes, we. A child in a cast is a family affair.) I think the biggest challenge is going to be fitting his inflated ego through the door ;) His teacher told him he could pick 3 kids to sign his cast & he chose all girls. I think I'm in trouble!

Take that, Wednesday!

"We were meant to be awesome" - Kid President

Monday, February 25, 2013

Workin' It

Chaos Abounds

I'm not going to sugarcoat it: four kids are a lot of work. On any given day there are multiple loads of laundry, mounds of dishes, toys everywhere. Some weeks I'm really on top of it, others not so much. I start every week with the same goal: to have my house "drop-in" ready. Meaning that if someone stops by, I don't feel the urge to block them at the door. I end every week with my goal being just to keep pee off the floor and (ugh) the walls. Such has been my weekly existence for the past 8 years. 


dun, dun, daaaaa

My husband, Will, is a professional problem-solver. No, really, that's his job. So we were having our bi-monthly "talk Joy down" conversation when we had a light-bulb moment: we have free labor at our fingertips. There are 3 very capable, older kids living in our house & one tiny tornado. Surely those 3 can do something to lighten the load. The boys are constantly asking to buy games & apps. We're Dave Ramsey parents & are trying to teach financial responsibility... can I get a win-win?
We're been down the chore road before. It's kind of like my house: when I'm on top of it, it works well. It usually lasts a few weeks & then life gets in the way. I get distracted by sick kids, school projects, baseball practice, etc. So it goes by the wayside until I get motivated to start it again. I needed something that was visual, that didn't need weekly updating & that was going to be habit forming. That's when I came up with this little gem:

By giving them something to do daily, I'm establishing habits instead of just chores. Before they go downstairs in the morning I say to them, "Check your chart, what's your job this morning?" Teacher language IS applicable in real life!

Breakin' it down 

(insert splashy disco music)
Will & I decided they can handle 3-4 things fairly easily: laundry, bathrooms, sheets & towels. Below is a breakdown of what they're capable of & how to get them to actually do it!


Now, I do have some pretty great kids but they are definitely not doing their own laundry (yet!). Laundry simply means, carry your laundry basket down to the laundry room. 

Why it works:

First, it saves steps. I'm not collecting & carrying laundry down myself. It's already there when I decide to tackle it. Second, when it does get finished, all I have to do is sort it into each child's basket. The basket goes back in their room for them to put their clothes away. The basket goes back in their closet to be refilled. The only laundry I'm putting away now is Will's, mine & the tiny tornado's. Big time saver!

Habit: Bathrooms

The job is to wipe off the sink & toilet. I have them alternate among 3 out of 4 bathrooms, three times a week. I omit the master bathroom in hopes of gaining a little privacy during my morning shower- a girl can dream!

Why it works:

It's quick & easy. We use Clorox wipes for the sink & toilets.  There's a container of wipes under each bathroom sink. I've trained them to use only two wipes (one for the sink, one for the toilet) so we're not going through wipes like mad. Also, if they have to clean it up they're more likely not to "miss". AND it makes me feel like a good mom that they have a clean toilet to throw up in if needed :)

Habit: Sheets

On Tuesdays, we strip our beds. The goal here is to remove your sheets, not your mattress pad. Easier said than done! Ball them up & leave them in the hall so I can collect & wash them. Hopefully, I put them back on the beds by the end of the day!

Why it works:

It forces me to wash the sheets. One of my kiddos has a severe dust mite allergy & requires weekly sheet washing using a special dust mite detergent that smells like insecticide. Niiiiiccceee. How often do I usually change sheets? Not often enough. My twins have bunk beds that are a PAIN to change so I thought if I took half the steps out I may be more likely to do it. 

Habit: Towels

This one is easy enough, just collect all the towels & bring them to the laundry room. 

Why it works:

It's easy, plain & simple. And no, I don't wash towels just once a week... ok, well maybe I don't wash my towel just once a week...

There is it, our (duh!) plan. We're about 5 days in & so far, so good. We agreed to pay them $1 a week to do these daily chores. I have other plans in store for them to earn more money, but right now we're just focusing on establishing these habits before introducing something new- something I haven't taken the time to do in the past. 

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


It's time to get serious

I've hemmed & hawed about writing this, committing to this blog. Do I have time? Do I have energy? Do I have resources? And then I decided... do I care? Let's just get down to it. Here it is, my non-committal, sometimes on it, sometimes lazy, semi-time consuming attempt. Let's get honest.


I'm not really a preschool mom.

I know, you weren't expecting that. I USED to be a preschool mom. I'm GOING to be a preschool mom in the near-ish future, but no, I'm not currently a preschool mom. I am a former preschool mom with lots of experience in the preschool field. Experiences in finding a school, getting the most out of your school, teaching in a preschool & teaching in a kindergarten. I've sent 3 kids to preschool over 5 years... I think I'm qualified to call myself a preschool mom.


This blog has sat here for a really long time.

A long time... years. A few years ago I thought it would be a really good idea to share my experiences & knowledge in the field of education. I WAS actually a preschool mom when I opened this blogger account. Then life happened- i.e. another baby. Baby #4 put a serious dent in my writing motivation & energy & time & brain cells... you get the idea. Fast forward 2 years & now I have consistent napper, 3 in school & a lack of desire to clean/do laundry, etc. Welcome back, blog! My mind thanks you! My house? Probably not.


I started this blog for you, the reader. Now, I think it's more for me.

As a former kindergarten teacher, I have years worth of training & experience floating around in my head. Things that the average parent can't access. So when I decided to blog, it was initially to share this information. I could help parents teach their kids with the stroke of my keyboard. I could share all of those things I wished parents knew when I was teaching. I could teach from my computer screen.
I still plan to do all of those things. I'm going to share ideas, good finds, strategies, things that are going to help parents without backgrounds in educations. I'm also going to share anecdotes, real-life parenting stories & struggles, more things from my life instead of text book stuff. This is more of an outlet for me, a way to record my life as it flies by me while giving you some realistic advice on how to help your kiddo at home. Hopefully you'll find it informative & entertaining. 

So that's it, that's my game plan. My 1st goal is to not let it be years before I touch this blog again... guess you'll have to check back to see how I do :)