Friday, November 30, 2012

The Reward Store

The end of the week is much-anticipated for Esra and Estelle.  Thanks to Krystal, my dynamite assistant!  She takes care of the morning routine at our house, so I can rest.  (Lyme Disease is just that way.) But flying solo left Estelle, the four-year-old, more opportunities to be uncooperative and, well, four, since Krystal main priority is caring for Esra.  The situation required a way to get Estelle to be more cooperative and respectful.  

Hence, the Reward Store was born.

Here is Esra's morning routine list.  Estelle's is similar. All the pictures represent actions of body and spirit. I love that Krystal added a heart to represent love and respect.  But the one difference is in the dollar that they get paid.  Krystal printed up her own homemade currency customized for each child.  One has a red-headed mermaid on it and the other has a red puppet/marionette.  So, cute!

Esra just got paid!  She is inspecting her money.  Is it real?

The play money has been a great training tool for Estelle.  Especially helping her learn to keep track of something of value.  At first, they were scattered in various pockets, purses, and bookshelves.  Now she has one spot to deposit her riches.

Another result of the money has helped focus Estelle in the morning.  As I am exhausted most mornings, I cannot participate in the discipline and guidance of how the morning runs.  So, Krystal is able to remind Estelle with the incentives of the Store by reminding Estelle if she wants her dollar that day.  This gets Estelle back on track and finishing her responsibilities.  Woohoo!

Each day that that complete their entire morning routine, then they get one dollar.  And at the end of the week, the Reward Store opens for them to use their money on snacks, jewelry, coloring books, coin purses, and even a doll that is worth almost two weeks of dollars.  Since each item has a specific price, they are learning about saving and planning as well as being consistent in doing their routine each day.

Yay for Krystal!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Found

Keeping things simple this Thanksgiving, I decided to focus our time together in "finding" our blessings in the little things in our lives. 

With that, the girls and I hopped down to Hobby Lobby and found some darling little baskets to hold our "found" delights.  Estelle eyed some glittery, sequined pinecones and Esra found some seashells.  

In our wanderings during the rest of our day, we discovered vintage bottle caps, blossoms from our bouganvilla, and some shiny baubles.

Setting the table, I used our silver flatware that I bought on eBay when we were first married.  We have never used the fancy stuff with our four and six year olds, but it this year seemed like a good time to start.  So, out came the china settings that we got for our wedding.  We still only have five settings, but it was just four of us that night, so no rush for paper plates!  Pulling out a rarely- used green damask tableclothe that I made from the bargain bin, the girls were ready to help set the table.

With fresh-pressed apple juice made in our juicer, we did the rest of our meal from what we could rummage up from our pantry, food storage and freezer.  Honey Mustard-glazed chicken, kale brussel sprout salad, mashed potatoes, wild rice and cranberry-clementine sauce. Unfortunately, I put too much vanilla stevia in the cranberry sauce.  Bleh! But there was so much goodness to share, we did not miss it (that much)!

As we ate, we talked about our blessings with our tiny finds as catalysts.  Sam and I found that it was great exercise in stretching our creativity.   The conversation was sweet and simple.  Our centerpiece was bit abstract, totally different, and next year we will have to add candy coins and shelled nuts.  Here are some of the things we counted as our blessings (some expected, some not):  

the salty sea, wheels,  root beer, Jesus, pinecones, machines that make our world work, light, each other, mirrors, diamonds, love, forgiveness!