Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday - My New Online Recipe File

30 Minutes To Homemade SURE.JELL Strawberry Freezer Jam
photo from

Today I am thankful for my new online recipe file. Yesterday I bought supplies to make strawberry freezer jam. I bought a brand of pectin that I don't normally use (it was cheaper). As I have the strawberries half smooshed and ready to jam I realized I don't have the recipe!!! Ack!! Internet to the rescue. I found a recipe that looked good and pinned it to my new online recipe file so that I won't have to hunt it down next year (supposing I do make strawberry freezer jam again next year).

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

When We're Helping Momma's Happy

One of my favorite children's songs says, "when we're helping, we're happy." Well, when the children are helping the Momma is happy too. For months I've been writing job assignments and rotating them. When the paper is finally illegible because I just keep scratching out names rewriting them I write it again. That finally will stop because I made this!

It hangs on the wall (not on my winter blanket) and I did put the names of my princes and princesses on the board. No I do not have a child named Saturday - that's where Saturday jobs hang out till Saturday.

I did a pinterest search looking for chore chart ideas. So for my inspiration look at Ginger Snap Crafts' chore chart . I used the same quote (love the same children's song). And my 5 year old picked the color, which I just noticed happens to be very similar to the chore chart at Ginger Snap Crafts!

My philosophy is that the kids have one job each day that contributes to the household. Make bed, put away pjs, brush teeth, etc those are personal responsibilities and I will remind as necessary, but I don't check them off everyday or consider them a chore/job.

The current daily jobs are set table, empty dishwasher, take the garbage and recycling out, pick up the living room (before Dad gets home), and help empty the silverware (she's not even 2 yet so that is a flexible one). Did I mention I have 5 kids?

Here's another look, minus the crowns. ;) AND did I mention the circles on the stars are dry erase vinyl? So when I need to change chore assignments it's a cinch!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Music Monday - PractizPal

PractizPal metronome
Pic from
Here's another great idea for motivating and tracking practice! Pianoanne posted a review of the PractizPal electronic device. It's a metronome, timer, and practice journal all in one. Boy oh boy, would my kids love one of these! Actually it would have to be 3 of these because they are designed as a personal electronic device meaning they only track practice for one person.

So go check out the review at Pianoanne and you can enter her giveaway (except don't because I would love to win it myself ;).

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Take 5

So it's Thursday. Or rather it's almost Friday. It's been a day where I feel more like Oscar the Grouch than the Most Magnificent Mom, but that probably means I need to spend more time being grateful not less. Let's see how many things I can list in 5 minutes.

Let's start with the small things.
- I'm grateful for a husband who is currently taking care of yet another kid disaster.
- I'm grateful for wonderful weather for my kids to play outside after school.
- I'm grateful I don't live in a place where it snows (it's pretty, but it's not my thing).
- I'm excited to use my new bike trailer to burn calories instead of gas on the way to school tomorrow.
- I'm grateful no one will read this and make funny comments (oh, wait - that sounded like an invitation to make funny comments).

This afternoon I took the kids on a short bike ride just to check out how it feels to bike with a trailer attached. We haven't had a diaper blow out a long time, but today was the day and yes it happened in the bike trailer. Oh well, it's officially been welcomed to the family now. None of us are perfect either. ;) - I'm grateful I was able to just laugh that one off. A few years ago that would have been a near tragedy. Now it's just stuff.

Quick - take 5 and list what you are thankful for? It's a mood booster I promise. :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Easter Art

 I finally finished it. After creating a design I liked, I got stumped and started second guessing myself.

"Maybe I should have cut it out in black vinyl instead of white."
"Can I really make paint a sunrise that I won't mind others seeing?"
"Maybe I should just put it on a solid color background instead."

Anyway, done is better than perfection, so today I pressed forward and although my attempt at a sunrise is far from perfect, it's the best sunrise I've ever painted.

"He is Risen" is my favorite Easter hymn. And one of my favorite things about spring is new flowers. The first ones to come up are the daffodils that I transplanted from my parents yard. Here in the South they have already bloomed and gone, but they still say spring to me. Right now we have irises and bluebonnets and the redbud tree is blooming too. Happy Easter!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Music Monday - Fast Forward

Today's Music Monday is called Fast Forward because that's exactly what my beginner wants to do. He kept asking me all week what his next book would be. Sunday when I finally pulled it out for him he started trying to play pieces from it by himself. Then I looked and realized he really does have just a few pages left in his Bastien Primer A book. Wow Mr. Z!

Remember the Randon Reinforcement Charts? This is what they look like today (a month later). They are still working their charm.

And in the tweaking things department, I'm going to try doing a "Group Lesson" once a month. It will really be music games and review and a mini performance for siblings, but it will be fun. And after all music is all about playing right?

In the real life confessions department I didn't give my kiddos a lesson last week. So they had to practice the same songs for two weeks. Yep, I'm real and no where near perfect, but I keep on trucking.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Fun

I asked my 9 year old what we are thankful for this week (Spring Break) and she said, "fun." We've been trying to have some of that around here.

Having a playdate with nine kids (mine plus a few) with an average age of 7 was fun (for a few hours).

Eating brownies for breakfast was fun (shhhh, don't tell Dad).

Enjoying extra electronic time is fun.

Playing games is fun! Spot it is a whole family favorite. So the baby doesn't play it too well, but she collects cards for me just fine.

Creating the sport of stroller biking was fun (but I won't be doing it again unless I can rig a hand brake on the stroller I'm trying to push with one hand while riding a bike). I think I'd better look into a bike trailer!

Sleeping in is fun. How nice that the time change coincided with Spring Break! Hopefully that's too our advantage next week too. ;)

Who says you have to go somewhere to have a vacation? That being said, we do have a day trip planned for the near future with the entire family.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Musical Monday - Don't Forget to Play

A lot.

It's Spring Break around here. Time to play and pray (for patience ;). Hopefully the kids will keep practicing without too much reminding. The random reinforcement charts are still working their magic!

See you on Thursday for Thankful Thursday!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Kudos to the Hubby

This week I'm thankful for my husband. He had some time off this week and I've really been spoiled.

Yes, I could have managed student led conferences with whole crew. Yes, I could have managed the bike rodeo.

No, I could not have helped a friend paint her bathroom in preparation for selling her house. No, I could not have watched another friend's kids while she attended a school program.

Maybe I could have gotten the laundry done and put away without another able bodied adult in the house, but then again it was so much easier to not have to do it all myself.

So after my "mini vacation" (sort of) I get to gird up my loins and fresh courage take because next week is SPRING BREAK (and my husband will be at work).

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sew What? - Retro Mending Kit

Believe it or not, occasionally the local lefty takes to scissors and cloth. We'll call this "Variations on a 1950s Travel Sewing Kit." Allow me to introduce the 1950s design:
1950s Travel Sewing Kit - Made in USA - Mid Century Shabby Chic
image source
Now allow me to introduce the polka dot clad Variation #1: Retro Mending Kit.
 See the inside! How cute! Room for small scissors, pins, needles, and even some thread. Perfect for on the go or just for a needle holder. I always lost my needles till I started using one of these cuties.
 Variation #2: Retro Inspired Heart Mending Kit. Ahhh, the possibilities! I admit to having toooo much fun folding paper this way and that way imagining the different shapes I could make with the same fun fold out features. It's like origami with fabric!

 Felt lined sewing kit.
 And the hardest part was finding small thread snipping scissors at a reasonable price. I finally found this set at the dollar spot of a big chain with a red circle logo. Later I found similar kits at the dollar store.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Music Monday - Speed Bumps

So not every week can go perfectly right? I reminded K to practice her violin the day after a concert. "But Mom the concert's over. I don't have anything to practice." She ultimately decided to play some of her old songs to earn a chance at the random reinforcement board.

With this week's lessons J and Z were a little out of sorts too. I think it's time to come up with a goal - a concert, recital something!  I'm considering doing a mini recital for a nursing home. Any suggestions? Anyone have experience doing that sort of thing?

And if you need a personalized music tote to help motivate your piano student, I now have them available in the store.

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