Saturday, May 12, 2012

Surprise Chores

Not scratch and sniff.

But definitely scratch.

Took the idea from Stacy's pin.  The instructions are here.  It's a "surprise" chore chart with homemade "scratch-it-off" paint.  I only used 1/2 tsp metallic acrylic paint & 1/4 tsp dish soap, but I could see through the paint, so I also added one drop of black paint, which made it dark enough that it wasn't see-through.  However, they are hard to scratch off, so next time I'm going to cover the card stock with a piece of clear contact paper first (I read in the notes that they're easier to scratch off this way). 

It went well.  I gave a point system to the chores depending on the difficulty.  Right now the boys get "points" (which are really check marks on a simple excel sheet I made up) towards a prize of their choice.  They usually get the points for how cheerful they are when asked to obey.  These chores, when checked off, also add points to their chart.

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The boys were more excited to scratch off the chores and start them than they were to finish them, but it was still really good, and it meant a lot to them to get their points in the end.  I picked items that they could usually do anytime, rather than things that NEED to be done as normal chores, like dishes and laundry.

Here was my particular list of chores:
cleaning light switches 1 pt
wiping off doorknobs 1 pt
wiping off the front of the fridge 1 pt
wiping off oven, microwave & dishwasher. 2 pts
wiping down shelves in fridge 5 pts (or 1 for 1 pt)
wiping down baseboards in one room 1 pt  (make at least 4 of these)
sweeping bathroom floors and hall 2 pts
sweeping outside the back door (lift mats and toys and stuff) 2 pts
scrubbing and wiping down outside slides and two tables 2 pts
windexing front glass door, inside and out 1 pt
dusting one room; pictures, desks, bookshelves; anything that can get dusty 2 pt
cleaning up legos 3 pts
shred newspaper 1 pt (for our compost pile in the backyard)
cleaning and wiping down boys’ toilet 3 pts
sweeping computer room and kitchen 2 pts
sweeping dining room and front entryway 2 pts
take out recycle garbage 1 pt
organizing toys in Carter’s room 4 pts
wipe down baseboards in one room
finding shoes in house and putting them where they 3 pts

I am definitely going to do this again, with the added suggestion of putting clear contact paper over the card stock after I've written down the jobs.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ultimate Camping List

Since we love camping and never made ourselves a master camping list, I wish I knew how to pin this blog post, or re-post it here, but at least I can offer the link, right? 

And steal the photo:

And paste the list:
  1. Mobile kitchen: a bin that houses all our cooking essentials and a few other odds and ends.
  2. Mini Survival kit:  a go-everywhere kit with random survival and medical supplies (although we still also bring a larger first aid kit).
You can also easily make dedicated camping kits for personal hygiene and dog supplies (see lists below).
To make packing the rest of the gear easier, we try to keep most if it together. We turned a corner of our garage, and a corner of our guest room closet into ‘gear closets’.  They house the aforementioned camping kits, as well as our sleeping bags, sleeping pads, tent, tarp, climbing/kayaking gear, backpacks etc. When it’s time to pack, everything is easy to find.
When preparing for a camping trip we throw our mobile kitchen and survival kit in the van and use the checklist below (download a PDF of this Ultimate Camping Checklist here) to gather/remember everything else.
THINGS TO DO (some a day or two ahead of time IF needed)
  • Take care of pet needs (if leaving any behind).
  • Freeze water bottles for cooler (2 or 3 nights before–I like nalgenes, but don’t fill them too full)
  • Do Laundry
  • Stop mail or newspaper (depending on length of trip)
  • Take garbage/recycling to curb
  • Get gas, check all fluids in car, get them changed if it’s time
  • Buy your groceries
  • Get Ice
  • Prep whatever veggies or other food items you need to prep early (see these dinner menus if you’re unclear)
  • Charge camera, cell phones, iPod
  • Turn down heat or A/C
  • Water indoor and outdoor plants

CLOTHES (everyone has their own bag)
  • Kid clothes (with thermals depending on the temp)
  • Big people clothes
  • Dirty clothes bag (pillow cases or extra stuff sacks)
  • Shoes.  Lots of shoes.
  • Socks
  • Underwear and/or Diapers
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses
OUTERWEAR (this all gets thrown in one big bag)
  • Hats (warm and cold) and mittens or gloves
  • Rain Coats
  • Poofy Coats
  • Snow pants if the season calls for it
HYGIENE (can easily be turned into a dedicated camping kit that always stays together)

  • Hair fasteners, bandanna or buff
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Brush/comb
  • Face wash
  • Hand wipes or baby wipes
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Deodorant
  • Biodegradable Shampoo
  • Towels
  • Bum wipes and diaper rash cream
  • Toilet paper
Tips on bathing kids while camping — here.
  • Pillows
  • Tent
  • Tarp to go under the tent
  • Sleeping pads
  • Sleeping bags
  • Blankets
  • Bouldering pad
  • Dog bed if your pooch is spoiled
  • Small broom and dust pan for the tent
  • A piece of rug or carpet for the tent entrance
Tips on kids and napping while camping — here.
  • Water jugs (estimate roughly a gallon per person per day, including washing, dishes, etc.)
  • Water bottles
  • Water filter
  • Mobile kitchen (see PDF list here for what’s in this box)
  • Cooler (with frozen water bottles) or Ice
  • Roaster sticks
  • Table
  • Stove/Grill
  • Propane
  • Extra tarp (in case it starts raining on the kitchen) and rope
  • Books/DVDs
  • Coloring books
  • Kid pack
  • Kid sunglasses
  • Sand/Dirt toys
  • Noise/music maker
  • Aloe
  • First Aid Box/Kit
  • Prescriptions
  • Tylenol (kid & adult)
  • Sunblock
  • Bug repellant
  • Survival kit
DOG STUFF (can easily be turned into a dedicated camping kit that always stays together)
  • Dog food
  • Leash
  • Bowls
  • Poop bags
  • Frisbee or Tennis Balls
  • Dog medicine

  • Cell phone charger
  • Camera
  • Extra Batteries
  • Camp chairs or Crazy Creek Chairs
  • Wood/kindling/newspaper and a lighter (the lighter should be in your kitchen box)
  • Lanterns/headlamps
  • Hammock
  • Caribiners, clothespins, and rope.
  • Kid carrier
  • Day pack
  • Gear (climbing, biking, river sports?)
  • Extra towels
  • Camp shower or other washing mechanism
  • Small hatchet or axe
  • Small shovel (for digging catholes)
Finally, a few ideas on how I pack so that I can find everything…
  • Make each of the kids their own clothing bag that they’re responsible for keeping clean and tidy (once they’re old enough, obviously).  Their little personal hygiene bag goes in here too.
  • Give each kid a separate small bag for their own entertainment items for the tent (books, headlamps, toys, etc.)–they’ll love putting it together… with our without supervision depending on age.
  • In the car is the car entertainment bag–it stays there all the time–in it are cell phone chargers, battery chargers, iPod and other electronics stuff.
  • All outer wear is in one giant duffle bag.
  • Sleeping bags etc are stuffed into little crevices here and there in the car (or in a large tote if your lucky enough to have a truck), around the kitchen box (which houses my little lantern), propane tank, and water jugs.  First aid is in a dry box.  Dog stuff is kept in a bag that is easily reachable for the drive to camp.
  • All odds and ends are in one extra duffle of just-in-case stuff (I love when I have to get in this duffle).
When I get home, the gear and kits go back in the closet. Clothing bags go straight to the hamper.  And the other stuff (electronics, entertainment, outerwear, and headlamps) is separated out and put back into its place as daily-use gear.