Thursday, January 26, 2012

Snack Basket System

I used to feel like the Snack Time Warden. "Yes, you can have that. No, you can't have that. Yes, you can have this, but then you can't have that, too. No, that's too much." I'm sure you know how this goes. So I created a snack basket. It was a combination of several ideas I'd seen on other people's blogs. Mine works like this:
Each child gets 3 points for each snack. Snacks can only be had a certain Mom-approved times of the day. When we first started the snack basket, I would label each item with a number that was it's point value. Since we've been using this system for about a year now, I don't really have to label with point values anymore. The kids just know. Fruit snacks are 1 point. Applesauce cups are 2. Granola bars are 2. Raisins are 1. Goldfish baggies are 2. Sometimes when there's something special like homemade cookies, the kids will have to ask how many points. Sometimes when I'm feeling very generous I'll surprise the kids by putting a bag of treats in the basket labeled, "0 points!!" They love that. It's like Christmas morning.

The things in the basket change a bit, but are for the most part pretty standard. Some of the things are pre-individually packaged. Some of the things (like Goldfish) I put into my own little baggies. I just set up an assembly line of baggies, the snack, and a measuring cup and measure out an appropriate amount of the snack into each baggie.
The basket itself is a men's shoe bin from The Container Store. One of the organization blogs I read recommended them as the perfect storage bins for everything from snacks to toys. (I'm pretty sure this idea came from The Pretty Neat Company blog, but the blog seems to be down so I can't be sure.) And I have to say, I totally agree with her. I bought like 10 of them and they are now in use all around the house. They're just the right size, they're see-through so that you know what's inside even when it's up on a shelf, and they're sturdy enough to take some abuse.

The basket sits on a low shelf in the pantry. Low enough that every child can reach it. And now when I say, "Snack time!", the children can help themselves. No game of 20 questions.
This system makes me happy. Because it works so well for us.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Accidental Scheduling

I'm not quite sure how this snuck up on me, but somehow I've gotten myself and my home pretty thickly scheduled for the next two days.

Richard is out of town right now, so when the Young Women's president started emailing around about a Presidency meeting on Thursday morning, I asked that it be at my house so that Samuel could nap. Earlier in the week I'd been chatting with a friend about how I didn't schedule a book club for this month even though that is my "job". She suggested that we should just have a meeting anyway, even without a chosen book, since we really just like an excuse to get together. I said, sure, but it would have to be at my house since my husband is out of town. I also happen to have been planning on planning a casual breakfast/get-together for the parents of Isaiah's preschool class. We all jam into this tight hallway, inches away from each other, for about 2 minutes twice a day for the 3 days of each week that our children are in school. But we never get the conversation past "Hi, how are you, it's cold outside" type of thing. So I invited them all over for breakfast on Friday morning right after we drop off our Preschoolers.

And not until today did it occur to me that I am now hosting some group of people in my home Thursday morning, Thursday night, and Friday morning. The Thursday meetings are really not much pressure. They're both small groups and both filled with people who've seen my house messy and have, in fact, probably folded my underwear and scrubbed my toilets while I was on bed rest. But the Friday group is people who've never been to my house, don't really know me, and are making first impressions of me. That's pressure. But I made the choice to invite them knowing that it would be pressure. Sometimes pressure is good. Sometimes I don't mind pressure.

So basically, the next few days are kinda crazy, but I'm OK with it!

...Just sayin'.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Word is...

I try to have a focus for each year. And I try to put that focus into one word. Last year was HOPE. I read about hope in the scriptures, paid attention to it in songs and passing references, and was amazed by how much most people take it for granted and/or don't really understand it. 
This year I think my word will be JOY.  I want to find it, remember it, seek it out, and recognize it.  So I just ordered my new vinyl.  You'll see in the picture, last years vinyl. I love these reminders.
What's your word?

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Cute kids after a family lunch at Famous Daves.  Ahhhh, the love!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happiness is

Chocolate chip cookies still ooey-gooey from the oven.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year

Today, as a New Year's celebratory event, the kids and I looked through the blog posts from the entire past year. It was fun to think back to a year ago when Sammy was still a wiggly worm, Naomi was still learning to write, Isaiah was just breaking through in speech, and Asher was, well, still pretty Ashery. And it made me realize that I do have one New Year's Resolution for this year. To not stop blogging.

I haven't been blogging much lately and that makes me sad. I like to blog. It's good therapy, connects me with so many friends and family, helps me remember the important things in life, and is good family journaling. Often what stops me is wanting some great picture to include. So I'll try to remember to blog whether I've got a great picture or not. And I'll try to remember to take pictures so that more often I DO have a great picture to include! Another thing that holds me up is a bad attitude. I don't like to have too many whiney blog posts. I don't want my kids to read through this in 10 years and think that I was unhappy being their mother. Certainly I have some moments of unhappiness - everybody does - but I don't want that to become the theme of this blog. I want the theme to be the exact opposite of that in fact - the happiness of our family.

Richard asked me last night what I was hoping for in this new year. "A new baby?" he asked. Well, no. Probably not. Not yet. And I'm not sure what else I hope for. Happiness, I guess. A little more control and a little less crazy. And a little less control and a little more just going with it. Good times. Happy memories. It'll be hard to beat our 2011 spring break in Baltimore or our summer in Texas and Idaho. But we'll try!