Monday, April 4, 2011

Random Ramblings from the first day of Spring Break

I had this great, serious post planned for today, but I've been home with all my kids all day long on the first day of spring break and I am ready for some mom-talk.

The thing about spring break in Augusta is that this is also the week of the Masters Golf Tournament - and there are really only two things to do Masters Week in Augusta - get out of town or stay at home. There's really not much middle ground - traffic is that crazy. So we are opting for hunkering down at home - which is pretty nice, if you're prepared. Which, for the most part, I am.


One of my goals for this week is to spend more time in the kitchen with my kids - it will double as a fun activity without having to invest in a lot of crafting crap that is just going to end up in the trash sooner or later. So this morning we made home-made pop tarts. We used store-bought pie dough - eww gross. Was there something I was supposed to do to the pie dough to make it taste good? Because it really didn't. We also tried spreading some of them with chocolate peanut-butter -super-gross.  My kids wouldn't even eat it. I sprinkled them all with sugar and drizzled a little glaze on them and the ones that had a lot of jelly in them were (mostly) edible. I want to try this again because the concept is so appealing. If you have a recipe on your blog feel free to share!

One of the things I love about my kids being hime for break is breakfast time. When I was a kid breakfast was our family's favorite meal of the day, one that we usually all prepared and enjoyed together. But I am so not a morning person and the hubs is not a breakfast person so usually breakfast is not a big deal (unless daddy picked up doughnuts) except for when the kids are home on break.


Another great thing that happened today was Quiet Time. After breakfast I needed a few minutes to collect my thoughts and get prepared for the day, as well as try to sneak in a little bit of Bible reading and journaling. So I set up Little Man at the computer, Little Sister in the bathtub and Big Sisters in their room with their books and drawing supplies. I consider the success of this attempt to be a "Grace Moment". You know, one of those moments that wasn't directly caused by your brilliant planing or the product of your excellent parenting skills - but simply pure, unmerited grace. With minimal interruptions and zero fighting I was able to get about twenty minutes of quiet time alone at the kitchen table with my notebook, my coffee, my Bible and myself. A little piece of heaven! It really helped get me started on a more peaceful tone. 

Call me crazy but I attempted something today that I never have before: the talking spoon. With three little girls and a talkative little boy one of our biggest problems is our kids interrupting each other.  Sometimes at dinner there are three conversations going on at once. So I held a little "family meeting" with the kiddos this morning and we tried "the talking spoon". Only the person with the spoon could talk and everyone else had to "practice listening". We wrote out a schedule for the day, wrote down a few basic house rules like "be kind", "be respectful", etc., and posted a sticker chart. I told them that the person with the most stickers would get to choose the day's activity. Then I had the kids write down a list of chores that needed to get done before their cousin comes over. We cut the list up and drew out chores. The kids had the most amazing good attitudes about their chores and did them really quickly.

At the end of the day we had another family meeting with the talking spoon. I put more stickers on their chart for their good attitudes (should have been doing that throughout the day) and they got the chance to take turns saying what their favorite parts of the day were. My oldest said that her favorite part of the day was having chores to do (who would have thought?!).

I think it helped the kids a lot to have a schedule and know what to expect next. They'd say "is it movie time yet?" and I'd say - "no not yet, go check the schedule." Also when the kids started fighting I'd call them over to our poster with the rules on it and I'd point to the rule they were breaking and tell them that if I had to call them over again to the rule poster then they would loose a sticker on their sticker chart. This even worked for my nine year old. I was amazed. We managed to get through the whole day without yelling or discipline beyond a few corner times (when they are using mean voices I have them go put their faces in the corner until they've calmed down enough to use a nice voice - this especially works for my oldest and youngest).  

Our basic schedule: 
Morning Time (breakfast, get dressed, make bed, brush teeth) 
Quiet Time
Morning Meeting Time
Chore Time
Play Time
Lunch Time
Nap Time/Movie Time (this is when the child with the most stickers gets to pick what movie they watch)
Play Time/ Computer Time (this is when the kids take turns to do their practice tests on the computer for their testing that is coming up at school) 
TV Time (while I get dinner ready)
Dinner Time & Evening Meeting Time
Outside Time
Bath Time
Bed Time

It worked for us today, but the first day of break is always the easiest. My body is SO tired from being on my feet more and going at a busier pace but I feel really good about today. 

This evening the hubs and I were talking about our days.  I was telling him about the people who signed up for my photography class today and the money that I'd made and he said "that's more than I made today." Oh music to my ears - those are the words I've been waiting to hear! Of course that doesn't happen often, but still - after all of my hard work on my classes and blog it's nice to have those little moments of success.

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