Archive | April 2011

Three on Thursday

I have so many things I want to share on this blog but I am so far behind.  I feel like I’m behind in most every aspect of my life currently.  I’m thankful I started this Three on Thursday series so that I can at least be held accountable to sharing three things that have my attention each week!

  1. We started our pre-Cycle 3 memory work for Classical Conversations.  I took advantage of that sale with 10% off Cycle 3 material and it all arrived last week.  We did week one this week and I’m proud to tell you that my kids know that Columbus made the first of four trips to the Caribbean in 1492 on three Spanish ships named the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria!
  2. We had a wonderful Easter Sunday.  Nothing really noteworthy to anyone but us.  We had our morning service at our church which was a really good service.  Afterward we went to our club where the kids had an egg hunt and we ate brunch with my parents.  Pretty typical but also a great memory for my family.  I like it when things work out the way they are supposed to.
  3. My nephew and his wife came to see us last Saturday and I got to take maternity pictures for them.  It was my first time ever taking pictures of a pregnant woman and her man.  They are such a cute couple and it was really a super fun time for me.  I’m looking forward to meeting this new little member of our family.


Three on Thursday

  1. We are puppy sitting today.  My friend had to go to a funeral far, far away and it would require the entire day.  It is lovely to have a loaner puppy for a test run to see if we really want one.  This one is mighty cute too.  She is a lab but I think she looks like she’s going to be on the small side.  I like small.
  2. My little man had to go to the doctor this morning.  After having a cough for two months or so and then kicking into high gear with allergies, it was time to go see a professional.  I was on my knees in prayer all night last night because of it.  He sounded so bad.  It’s good to have a family practice that you feel confident in calling when the momma gets scared.  And I was scared.  Funny thing – when we were in the office, all he wanted was a pair of those gloves.  So cute.
  3. My new time waster is Words with Friends for my iPhone.  I’m terrible but it still amuses me.
  4. I’m feeling rebellious.  Today gets four items.  I got a new iTouch yesterday.  Due to a severe Amazon foul-up, they had to refund me about $150.  I decided to buy a used apple device to dedicate to Classical Conversation memory work for the car.  Problem is, I really, really like this thing.  It’s nicer than my current version of my iPhone.  {sigh}


The Token System

If you are my personal friend or knew me at my old blog, you can skip this post. However, I’m going to re-write it for my new friends who might find it useful. Today, I’m going to talk about the token system we use at my house.

Every childhood/parenting expert I’ve ever heard has spoken about “currency” when motivating a child. “Find their currency,” they will say. Is it video games? Clothes? Treats at the store? Whatever it is that is most dear to your child is your bargaining chip in parenting. That is the basic theme in their advice. At my house, I had to come up with a system that incorporated all of that but was easy for me to deal with and administer. For me, it’s my token system.

Basically, I “pay” my children in tokens. It is their allowance. When they do their chores. When I’m trying to motivate them. When I catch them being good. Whatever. Anytime I want to give them a little something, I make it uniform by giving them a token (or more) for it.

The tokens had to be something that was cheap and unique to each kid. I landed on popsicle sticks. I painted them in three different colors. Why? So that no kid would ever be tempted to claim a popsicle stick from a sibling’s collection. The problem with actually giving them money is that a) when it’s sitting on the coffee table and child 1 and 2 both claim it’s theirs, I don’t know who to believe and b) if it’s an amount that is significant and they lose it, I’d be really mad. I know I shouldn’t be because it’s “their” money but I know myself well enough to know that I would be mad. If you decide to implement this system at your house, I’d recommend looking around for whatever is cheap and on hand. Poker chips would work too. The actual tokens aren’t that important.

The tokens can be valued at any amount that makes sense to you in your family. At my house, a token is worth about .25 – .33 cents because that’s about how much a silly band costs and those are about the lowest price item I have as a reward.

This system is also a lovely thing to have in place because when you’re at the store and your child has a case of the I-want-itis, you can buy that item they say they want so much. Then you put the token value on it and put it in your “store.” If they lose interest in it and don’t earn it, you can either return it or give it away at the next birthday party they are invited to.

At my house, our “store” opens up about once a week. Usually on Saturdays. Sometimes less if no one has done anything to collect tokens lately. On that day, I open up the store (a big trunk) and the kids count their tokens and go shopping for the items in the store. Everything from silly bands, to individual packs of fruit chews (my kids go crazy for those things), to Bakugan or Zhu Zhu pets. The token amount on each item corresponds to the amount of money I paid for it. $1 = 3 tokens. My favorite thing to put in the store is consumable or intangible items. Fruit chews (which they don’t get in my house unless they buy it in the store) or tickets for an hour on the Wii. Creative things that don’t actually cost me money. For those, I just make up a token value. Enough to make it special but not so much that it’s unattainable to a young kid.

Here is my favorite part of the system. When I ask a child to pick up the family room one time and they don’t do it, I have to do it. Every time I have to do something that they should have taken care of, they have to pay me. If it’s toys in the family room, I pick them up and put them in the store. They have to buy them back. Eureka! It was so beautiful when that occurred to me. Why is it so wonderful? Well, for one, I don’t have to nag them about it. And the other reason is because once something has gone unclaimed in the store for long enough, I can get rid of it because I know it’s not really that important to them after all. Another way they have to pay me for doing their chore is to physically hand me back a token. Since it’s our currency, they have to pay me when they forget to clear their plate at the dinner table and I have to do it for them. As I am clearing the plate, I call the child away from what they are doing to go get a token out of their bucket and pay me with it. That also serves two purposes. The child is interrupted from what they are doing to go get me the token and it’s a little painful if they are saving up for that Bakugan item.

It has been a wonderful addition to my house. It’s suited to all three of my age levels. It allows them to learn about money management in a suitable manner. I recommend you consider it! Tweak it and make it work for your family.


Steve Jobs

I’ve read this in written form before but this is the first time I’ve seen it. I want my children to watch it every year and I want to watch it often. It’s so good.

Three on Thursday – Friday Edition

Well, Three on Thursday is going to be on Friday this week.  I mentioned last week about how overwhelmed I am, right?  Here’s proof.  {sigh}

  1. Have you ever read the book Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkinson?  It’s a good book.  He talks about how sometimes the plant needs to be pruned and cut back in order for it to grow fuller, stronger and bear more fruit later.  I’m getting pruned.  The last week has revealed to me that some things need to be cut away to make room for others.  Some of the things He is cutting away are perfectly fine, even good things.  But they are not as good as what is to come.  They are not where I’m supposed to be focused.  I’m not sure where this is all leading but I know it’s leading somewhere.  I have faith.
  2. Two great things happened this week with my kids.  First, Mason taught himself to ride his bike.  No parent.  No instruction.  He got mad at one of his training wheels so he took it off.  Then he rode around with only one and within a few minutes learned to balance perfectly.  We are taking the other one off tomorrow when he gets to show his father his new skill.  He is so delighted!  The second is that my nine year old daughter beat me at Quirkle yesterday.  She beat me good.  By 21 points!  The girl has some strategy and thinking skills.  At the end I said to her, “You’re proud of yourself, aren’t you?”  She responded, “Yes.  Yes, I am.”  It was said with no gloat, nothing but pure innocent pride.  It was completely charming.
  3. My husband lost his friend and colleague Tuesday morning.  Derek died of cancer.  He was my age.  Late 30’s.  One day he was sitting at his desk and abruptly left because he wasn’t feeling well.  Within a week he had a diagnosis.  It’s been a hard week for my husband.  Budgets and stressful accounting deadlines coupled with outside requirements topped off with grief.

One of my friends just posted this video on her Facebook page today.  It’s a sweet reminder to savor your journey through motherhood.  Watch it.  It’s not a total downer, even though I sound like that this week.  It’s very sweet.  I want to buy her book now.  Just watch.

Savor your journey!