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There is hope for me and my kitchen misadventures. By the fourth dinner and my second week using the menus provided by Michelle at Make 5 Dinners in 1 Hour, I'm sold. Last night I tentatively set the spaghetti and meatballs down on the table and heard the usual: "eeww", "gross." But then, a miracle, my girls ate it and liked it. Not only that, they ate most of the other meals of the week as well. This Michelle has got something here. I enjoy her almost daily blog posts and really like the concept of preparing all the meals in one hour (plus one more for Holly). Not only that, she admits to shopping at Walmart, as do I, and her meals are tasty without a lot of strange ingredients. One of my goals last year after Christmas was to make sure I planned simple meals around the big holiday meals. Michelle has done all my planning and now I just have to print the menus and get to work.
If there is any way I can accomplish my dream parenting with less work, I'm all for it. Effortlessly providing meals is one of those things I always want to do but have scraped and scrapped to do it. I feel almost like I'm cheating when I use another person's menu. It is the same with finding and reading great books to my children. For some reason I think I should research, plan and discover themes and books for my kids. Today, however, I did something else. Bethany, at The Apple Cider Mill posted her November learning baskets with her book lists. I printed them out and then went to my library's website and reserved all the books. Now I just have to wait while someone else (who gets paid) finds all my books and then I'll pick them up, divide them up like Bethany and, tada, I have learning baskets like the mother I've always wanted to be.
For some reason it takes me years to figure out how to do something the easy way. I can hear a lot of you thinking as you read number 1 and 2, "um...duh, Holly. I could have told you that a long time ago." I spend a lot of time lamenting my problems and then being paralyzed by them. A while back I was complaining that I am the kind of person that cannot stay in my house for too many days in row but that every time I'd leave, I would worry that my kids would get hungry while we are out. It stopped me from doing as much out of the house as I wanted to. My friend told me that she always keeps a stash of packaged food and juice boxes in the car just for that reason. I had not thought of that. Now I always have food in the car (for me as well) and we are ready to go. It just took my friend's suggestion to get my brain out of its quagmire.
The quagmire in Grasshopper's room is vanishing as well thanks to my new chore chart and allowance system. I am very proud of this chart. It hangs on Grasshopper's door with my stickers close by.
Here is my creation (feel free to copy it and that means less work for you):
(Click image for larger view)
Each number represents that amount of change. Her week of chores adds up to $10. The extra chores can be done whenever I ask her to do them not necessarily on the day they fall under.
The "deductions" section I am especially proud of because there are times when some behavior modification is needed and this works wonderfully. Grasshopper does not like to lose a cent. I will be creating a similar chart for Little Bear soon. Maybe I'll make one for B.B. too. Every time he sleeps through the night, I'll give him a sticker. I'm sure that will work!
Wow! If you've read 1 through 4 you may assume this week is going a lot better than last week. Yes and no. All of us have been sick. Thankfully only fevers, tiredness and coughs, but draining all the same. My husband, the nurse that he is, has us well stocked in fever reducers. In fact, last year when H1N1 was all the rage, we practically bought out Walmart's Tylenol and Ibuprofen section for fear (his not mine) that there would be a run on the pharmacies when people were dying from the Swine Flu. Maybe when inflation hits, our investment will pay off and we can charge a week's worth of beans and rice for a bottle of pain relief.
I'm not sure if you caught that. I said, when inflation hits. I guess I'm a bit of a pessimist, but I think we're headed for some tough times and the Republican tsunami in congress and across the United States was a nice step in the right direction, but we have a long way to go. After the elections I have more hope and confidence in the American people. I cannot say the same about politicians. That's all I have to say about that.
I'm looking forward to this next week. My husband has his six days off and did not take any overtime. I'm sure he has a list of chores he wants to get through, but I plan on sleeping in at least one of those days. Sleep. I miss sleep. I need sleep. I'd pay someone a week's worth of rice and beans plus a bottle of Tylenol and Ibuprofen for the chance to catch up on sleep.