Boredom Buster | Scientific Journal

I hate those words "I am bored."  They are like nails on a chalkboard!  Every summer I try to come up with lots of creative ways to avoid those dreaded words escaping my children's lips.  One of the things we do each summer is tune-in to and watch for animals.  It is the coolest thing to watch monkeys, lions, elephants, hippos, and giraffes in their natural habitat.  We have to wait until summer because the "watering holes" don't get busy until 9pm our time.  I have been a fan of this site for years and I love watching it grow in popularity because they keep adding more live cameras and features.  Check out what we saw the other night:
Zebras!  There is this new feature where you can take a snapshot of the live animals you are seeing.  There miiiiiiight be times I am watching without the kids so this comes in handy.  Anywho.

This summer, I decided to make this part of our "summer learning" plan.
(yes, I am one of those Moms who make their kids do school work on their time-off)
This is in our "science" portion.  I created this worksheet for my kids to record their findings:
I think you can click on it to enlarge and print for yourself if you'd like.
If there is a big enough interest, I can put a PDF version on my website.

We don't just sit and watch all day.  We use this worksheet for investigating clouds, nature walks, experiments we find on the internet, bugs, and anything else scienc-ie.

Now go getcher science on, People!

Confessions of a food hater.

Dear Abby,
I am a work at home Mom who hates the entire process of cooking. From the meal planning to the  shopping list right through to the dinner table, I hate it.  I know it is my duty to provide and prepare healthy meals for my family but, I just don't enjoy the process, at all.  I would much rather be scrubbing my toilet than deal with dinner. Oh, does that sound extreme? Well, that's my truth and I'm sticking to it.

I have tried couponing, various meal planning systems, and the ever-loving crockpot.  I have three of the most picky eaters on the planet so when I spend hours planning, preparing, and serving a meal only to have my kids stick up their noses to the food served, I'm spent.  I am a vegetarian, my husband is a total carnivore, and there is no telling when or what my kids will eat.  Hiring a full time chef is not in the budget but, definitely the first thing we will buy with our lottery winnings.

I see friends, bloggers, instagram feeds, facebook posts, and Pinterest pins of these other incredible women providing healthy meals for their families every single day and I want to be like them... really I do. I just can't stand being in the kitchen for longer than I have to [are you hearing me stomp my foot and pound my fist on the kitchen counter?]. Listen, I've got years ahead of me before I'm being fed daily meals in a retirement home (totally looking forward to my days of endless Bingo, by the way).  I know I have to cook so, I want to enjoy it!  How can I change my attitude and perspective about food?

Your advice is greatly appreciated.
Crying In The Kitchen (and it ain't just the onions)

Chore Charts

Raise your hand if you use chore charts.  We do and we love them!  They are a great tool for motivating, teaching responsibility, and helping kids learn basic household tasks.  Over the years we have gone through a variety of charts and lists, each one helping our kids learn at different stages.

These charts have also been a great way for us to teach our kids about financial responsibilities.  We choose to call their rewards "commission" instead of an "allowance".  The real world does not give you a paycheck just for showing up to work, you need to earn it.  We learned some very good tips from Dave Ramsey in his Financial Peace University program about raising financially responsible kids.  In the end, teaching our kids household tasks and responsibility is a win-win, wouldn't you agree?

I sat down today to work on our "Summer Responsibility Charts" and decided to share our most recent Responsibility Charts with my blog readers.

This is our current "after school responsibility chart".  This worked so well!  The kids knew what was expected of them each day after school.  Once they completed their responsibilities, they were able to have free-time until dinner.  Adding in the "extra chore" choice was to give them a little more control over their tasks.  This made the dinnertime/bedtime scramble a lot less chaotic.  It left us with more family time at night for reading together or playing games.
I printed it out and stuck it on the fridge.  Everyone knew where it was and checked it everyday (until they had it memorized!)  Another idea is to put it in an 8x10 frame and use a dry erase marker to cross off the tasks as they are completed.  Then you can see which chores are being done and wipe it clean for the next week!

The following  will be our chart for this summer.  This is completely flexible, it IS summer after all!  If we are gone for the day, then the responsibilities don't get done, plain and simple.  This at least gives us a tiny bit of structure during the break and keeps their brains learning (workbook, reading, etc).  It will also make the transition back into the Fall schedule much easier.
I hope these charts have been helpful and inspiring!  I have many other versions that we have tried in our family and that I have made for other families.  If you are interested in me developing a chore chart for your family, please feel free to contact me through ink & mouse!  Comment in this post and let me know if you use a chart system in your house and what has worked well for you.