Saturday, February 27, 2016

Our new Chore Chart!

Good morning!

So... this last week was a long one.  It's been just a tad bit exhausting.

But first, let me start by saying how much I LOVE my 4 year old Cole.  (He will be 5 in April.)  He is so smart, so funny, so loving, so energetic, SO wonderful.

Cole is in pre-k 3 days a week from 9-2.  He LOVES it.  On Wednesdays & Fridays, he is home.  Recently I've started to notice that when he's home, he is at a whole new level of challenging.  I mean this in the most loving way.  He is the smartest little 4 year old I've ever known, & I am so proud of him.  But lately, he gets bored really easy.  I don't want him to watch TV all day long, & when his brother naps 2-3 hours out of the day, he won't just sit quietly & play with toys by himself like I wish he would.  He is an exact replica of me, a social butterfly with a busy mind, & he needs constant brain stimulation or socialization at all times.  If he doesn't have these things, he either A. drives me crazy whining & complaining, or B. watches TV for hours on end (unless I step in & find something to keep him busy).  (He's currently obsessed with Henry Danger on Nickelodeon & we are super sick of hearing the same episodes on repeat.)

On Tuesday after Cole came home from school, I noticed he was especially bratty.  I caught him talking back to me, & mumbling snotty things under his breath, & rolling his eyes.  All of these things are not okay in our home, we don't tolerate disrespect.  So, he was disciplined, & before bed I had a talk with him.  I asked him what was going on with him, why he was acting the way he is.  He didn't have an answer that made any sense, so I tucked him in & prayed over him & went to bed.  I started expressing my concerns to my husband.  We both agreed that it's time to get super pro-active with making SURE there is a plan put into place to make sure Cole is kept busy in the most healthy way possible.  If he is allowed to watch TV too much, or not given specific things to do, he starts acting out.

Our plan was to come up with a chore chart so that he has a certain amount of things he needs to accomplish during the day to keep him busy.  The following morning I decided to dedicate the majority of my day to coming up with a chart that was personalized to our family.  I went to Walmart first thing that morning to get the items I needed to make the chart, & also stocked up on a bunch of craft supplies.  (Googly eyes, pipe cleaners, stickers, fuzzy balls, etc.)

Here is the chore chart:

Not everything on the chart is housework.  We put teeth brushing & study time on there as well.  Since I completely winged it & made it up as I went along, it's not very pretty.  I will explain how you can make your own, but have it looking a lot cuter than ours.

It looks overwhelming but it's really not.  We wanted to add Brody (our 2 1/2 year old) to the chart as well, with not quite as many chores to do.

We got the poster board & the colorful foam letter stickers at Walmart.  (They have the best, most affordable craft supplies section!) So the letters obviously represent the days of the week, & we left out Sunday.  In our home, Sunday is usually church followed by a day of rest, so they won't need to complete all of their chores that day.  Each day has a C (Cole's column) & a B (Brody's column).  Cole has 8 items to accomplish every day, & Brody has 4.  At the bottom of each column is a spot for the 2 stars.  I had my husband draw cute little pictures to symbolize what each chore is, because I am NOT an artist.  I colored them pretty so the kids would like it, used packing tape to laminate them, & cut them out.  Then, I got some velcro out of my sewing supplies.  (You can get velcro at any store with sewing supplies!)  I cut out little squares of the velcro backing for each chore, in each row.  I then super glued the other side of the velcro pieces to the back of each item.  NOTE: Regular super glue did NOT work.  I needed something stronger, especially with all of us taking these off of the chart every day, they needed to not fall off.  So I used a quickset epoxy that my husband had in his tool chest.  You can get this at Home Depot.  I'm sure there are other options out there, but regular super glue & hot glue gun are definitely not strong enough.

Cole's chores:
1.  Brush teeth
2.  Make bed
3.  Study time (Practicing letters, doing his pre-school homework, pre-school work books, etc.)
4.  Dishes (He helps with unloading the kids water bottles, plastic dishes, & unloading silverware.)
5.  Bonus chore (helping me with laundry, throwing away a dirty diaper/grabbing a new one, etc.)
6.  Pick up time (Towards the end of the evening, he picks up all toys & shoes/dirty clothes in living room area.)
7.  Dust buster (I have him use the handheld vacuum to suck up crumbs & crap off the floor.)
8.  Brush teeth

Brody's chores:
1.  Brush teeth
2.  Pick up toys
3.  Pick up clothes
4.  Brush teeth

How it works:

All of the chores start on Monday, with the stars at the bottom.  On Monday after they accomplish chore #1 (brush teeth), we move their brush teeth "icons" to the right, into Tuesday.  That's how we know they've completed for the day, when the pictures move to the right.  At the end of the day when they've completed everything, we move each star to the next day as well.  When the stars get moved, they've earned a quarter for their piggy bank.  If they don't complete all of their chores for that day, they don't earn their quarter for that day.

We have a cool change jar that keeps track of how much money they have in there.  They LOVE putting change in it, & asking how much it's added up to.  Eventually we will start letting them buy their own toys or treats with their hard earned allowance.

If you'd like to make one of these chore charts at home, here are my tips I learned from doing it myself:

Use a pencil & a ruler to draw the lines straight before going over them with a sharpie.  The amount of rows & columns you'll have will obviously depend on how many chores you're doing, how many kids you have, & what days of the week you want to have on it.  Sketch it out on a piece of paper first before you start measuring & drawing on the lines.  Also, cut the velcro pieces the SAME size... I didn't think of that until I started sticking them on the paper & realized how they're all different sizes.  It would look a lot more uniform & neat if they were cut all the same.  Also like I mentioned above, make sure you use that epoxy glue stuff to make sure those velcro pieces are REALLY stuck to the pictures or else they'll fall apart right away.

So far, this is system is working out nicely for our family.  I love structure, I love planning ahead, I love organization.  Apparently, so does Cole.  After the first day of completing his chores, he was proud of himself & had a much better attitude.  He earned his small amount of TV time, & went to bed asking if we could do it again the next day. :)

By the way, if you don't own a dust buster... you need one.  I can't live without ours.  We have a 15.6 volt Black & Decker.  The voltage DOES matter.  And it's the perfect chore for kids!

Hoping this post helps out some other families who may need the same type of system put into place in their homes!

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Our Farmhouse style Dining Room table

Hey everyone!

Today I wanted to share pictures of the dining room table my husband built & stained himself a few months ago.  I'm so proud of him!  He's a man of many talents, but it's just been in the last 8 months or so that he's started to become quite the carpenter.  A talent he learned from his father but never really tapped into until now.  He's been building all kinds of things for us.  The garage is now his little workshop & building furniture, shelves, etc. has become a hobby for him that he loves.  I love it too, I keep dreaming up ideas & he is bringing them to life.  It's awesome!  I'm going to be blogging a lot about the projects he builds - so technically this is his blog too... he just doesn't realize it.  ;)

I really wanted a farmhouse style dining room table for our kitchen nook area.  I wanted white on the bottom & a grey wood stain on the top.  He ended up doing more stain than we both planned on so it actually looks like grey paint, but we ended up loving the way it turned out.  That's the thing about DIY projects, you can't really expect anything to specific because things sort of just turn out the way they turn out.  If you try to copy something & want it to look identical to someone else's project, you'll most likely be disappointed.  I love that I can get a general idea of something in my mind & Michael always comes up with something just a tad bit better than  I imagined.  :)  As for the projects that I do on my own... sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised, & other times I'm so mad & frustrated at how it turned out & have to start all over again.  Lol.  That's a whole other story.

Here's the table he built when I had it all decorated for Thanksgiving:

Here it is now:

View of the kitchen nook:

The chairs & seat cushions are from Ikea.  There's a built in bench that we pushed it up to, but Michael's now considering building a bench specifically for the table.  I'll share if he does. ;)

Thanks again for reading!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Glamorous Master Bedroom

Alright, I know this is my second post today but I'm catching up after taking so much time off from my blog.  The kids are playing, the husband is busy, & I'm here with my coffee on a roll.  I have so much to share coming up it's insane.

I wanted to share pictures of our master bedroom.  I wanted it to be super glamorous but at the same time minimal, because where we sleep needs to be as chaos free as possible.  I wanted it to feel serene & peaceful.  Here it is:

Olivia the cat insisted on modeling for the photo.

The little bench was a DIY project in a post from a couple years ago.  She's getting makeover #2 very soon... stay tuned.

Our DIY Entertainment Center Ikea Hack!

Happy Saturday!

So happy to be blogging again.  Today I wanted to share one of our projects we did right after we first moved to our new house in Texas.  Our entertainment center Ikea hack.  We've done some fun projects since moving in but this one is my favorite.  This project is a perfect example of what my decorating style is.  I am obsessed with rustic glam, or rustic chic.  Metallics with earthy wood tones & lots of white.  I also love the farmhouse look, & a little bit of modern & contemporary, all mixed together. I feel like this project shows what our style is perfectly.

Our living room has this GIANT wall, very high ceilings, & so I wanted something big to take up a lot of wall space. I thought about buying a used one & refinishing it myself so that we could personalize it the way we wanted & save money in the process.  What we ended up doing though was buying two basic shelving units from Ikea & doing a major hack on them.  It turned out to be exactly what I wanted, & something you would never see in a store.

Here are the two pieces we bought from Ikea that we started with:

The Lappland TV storage unit $149

The Kallax Shelving Unit $64.99

We put these units side by side.  My husband put legs on the bottom, & crown molding around the top.  We got a thin piece of wood from Home Depot & I spray glued some curtains to it. (They were my favorite curtains that didn't work on any of the windows in our new home, so this was the perfect spot to put them so I could still see them everyday!) We then stapled this piece of wood to the back of the entertainment center.  For the longest time I thought I wanted to put some doors along the bottom row of open shelves.... but I don't care for the Ikea doors very much.  So, months down the road, we had the idea to have my husband build some little wooden crates from scratch, & stain them.  I went to Hobby Lobby & found some sparkly little knobs for each wooden crate.  These crates brought the whole thing together just right & fit our style perfectly.  Here she is:

I really love it.  The crates are perfect for hiding cords, dvds, books, etc.  It was all in all probably a $250 - $300 project.  For a entire entertainment center, that's not a bad price at all. I love it. Thanks for reading. :)

Friday, February 19, 2016

It's been over a year but... I'm back! For real this time.

I've spent the last few months thinking about my blog, I've missed it so much.  I started 6 years ago! I knew I wanted a new title because there's another one already very similar to mine.  I also knew that I wanted a new look to my blog because in the last couple years, my tastes have changed.  So, I changed it up! I still do fun DIY projects all the time, & have plenty to blog about.  I will be blogging about some of the projects my husband & I have done around the house since we've moved into our new place, so stay tuned!

Quick re-cap of what's been going on in my life:  Almost 8 months ago, my family & I moved from Laguna Niguel, CA to McKinney, Texas.  There are many reasons why, but mainly because the lifestyle here suits our family much better.  We are very happy!  Missing our family & friends, of course, but content where we are at.  Some of our good friends moved here too, so we already had a built in support system.  Cole is turning 5 soon, he goes to a private Christian pre-school & plays soccer.  Brody is 2 1/2, has to-die-for dimples, & loves to play with his best friend: brother Cole.  Michael is still CEO of his company, & is coaching Cole's soccer team.  I work part-time from home doing a tiny amount of bookkeeping, & am also running my own mobile spray-tanning business.  I love it!  I've been building my clientele in the area, & get to make my own schedule.  When I'm not working, I love spending quality time with my family (we get a lot more of that here in McKinney where life is a lot less chaotic for us,) & I absolutely obsess over DIY & decorating projects.  

Here are some recent family photos we had taken, around Christmas card time:

Thanks for reading!