"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Friday, July 25, 2014

An Awesome Savings Incentive Chart

 The ten year old got the most awesome savings incentive chart in the mail today.

 His aunt was here a couple weeks back and she noticed he was having a hard time saving his money for anything big.  It was too easy to spend it on whatever was in front of him at the checkout stand :) So she told him she would make something that would help him, and then send it to him.

 What she came up with was pretty amazing.

There are three parts to it - the chart on the wall, a savings bank, and a change tracker.  Now that he's been moved to the top bunk, he chose to put it up on the wall above a dresser, where no little fingers can get to it (at least not without a lot of effort).

 The chart is awesome.  So colorful and fun.

 He loves archery, and has been wanting a compound bow of his own for a couple years.  Right now he just borrows one from 4H, but he'd love to have one he can use all the time.  So the goal right now is to save up enough money for a bow, a $250 goal.

 The bottom of the chart starts at $0 and the top ends with $250.  Each square is $1 more than the last.

 The stick figure has plasti-tac on the back of it so he can be moved along and will stick well.  Right now, he has $15, so that's where the stick person is.

 There are several prize spaces along the way - the first at $30.  My awesome sister even sent prizes, wrapped up in gift wrap for him when he reaches those spots.

 We made a deal with him that we would match his money if he saved $125.  We would also pitch in $125 toward the purchase of his bow.  But my sister included another option for him.  If he keeps going, rather than spending his money, he will get a much bigger reward.  He won't know what it is until he actually gets there though.

 The second part of the system is a savings bank she made from a glass block.  She told me she saw that idea on Pinterest.  She decorated it with ribbon around the sides, a cool background (and a frame on the back with a picture of a bow, which I forgot to take a picture of.  The picture can be changed out as the goal changes.  Once he finishes saving for the bow, he can put a new picture in and start saving for something else).  The bottom corner of the front of the block has a chalkboard sticker on it, where he can write what he's saving up for.

The last part of the goodies include a rules sheet, and a change jar, laminated so he can use a Vis a Vis marker to keep a tally of how much change he has.  He will only track dollars as whole dollars on the chart, so even though he has $15.04 in the jar, his man stays on the $15 space.  If you look closely you can see four tally marks in the jar, and whenever he puts change in the jar, he'll add that amount so he knows when his change adds up to move him another dollar space up the wall chart.  Genius idea for keeping track of change, if you ask me :)

I told my sister I like the chart so well that I need one for every topic I can think of :)  Definitely good for savings though, and maybe to count down to debt free status :)  I'm gonna have to think about it for awhile and figure out what my goals are.

Oh, and would you believe my sister thinks she is not very creative?  Yeah. Crazy.  I'm not gonna believe that anymore! ;)

Gettin' in Shape, A New Bed, and Boys Night Out

 We've been going walking/running at the high school track this week.  We're determined to get in better shape, and get the ten year old ready for football season :)

 The little boys are even getting into it.

 If you look closely you'll see the ten year old on the field.  His sister showed him how to run suicides all the way down the field (run from the end zone to the 5 yard line, touch the line with your hand, run back to the end zone, touch the line with your hand, run to the 10 yard line, touch the line, back to the end zone, touch the line, out to the 15... etc).

 We've gone in the evening and in the morning.  This was a morning shot.  The three year old played and played when we went at night, but he's pretty stuck on having his breakfast first thing, and he was NOT in a good mood about getting up early and then waiting for breakfast.  So I packed up some cereal for him and he had a picnic breakfast.

 The five year old exercises with us a lot, but also likes to check out bugs and worms he finds :)

 We finished our workout and headed home for breakfast.  If you remember, the five year old was stuck on only ever eating grilled cheese for breakfast.  Well now, it's waffles.  The rest of us have eggs.

 See the goose egg?  There is a playground right next to the track, and he slipped while climbing up the stairs and hit his head on a metal rail.  Guess I should be thankful he was going up the stairs and not down when he slipped.

 He's pretty tough though.  Only cried a minute or less, and never complained about it again ... but he did enjoy showing off his bump.

 After our first night walking, we were getting ready for bed and couldn't find the three year old.  He had crashed in the playroom :)  Totally exhausted.  We tried to wake him up.

 He just rolled over. :)  That was the night before the head bump, so can't blame that either.

 I've had some strange bed-fellows lately.

 The five year old in particular hasn't wanted to sleep on his bunk lately. And my daughter who was home from college for the summer, and staying on the couch in the school room has decided to stay home until Spring semester and earn more money to pay for college, so she needed a real bed.  So we switched things up.

The five year old gets his own little twin sized bed, the ten year old moves to the top bunk where the five year old used to sleep, and my daughter gets the bottom bunk the ten year old used to have.

Everyone gets a place to sleep, and we get our school room back just in time for classes to begin.  In fact, a lot of my time lately has been spent working on lesson plans.

 The five year old has cracked me up with his antics and excitement over the new bed.  He's been reading books to his stuffed animals in bed, and decided he needed a reading lamp ... so he stole his brother's :)

Incidentally, he also told me he needs a new blanket ... with minions on it.

 Last night they guys had a big Father-sons outing.  They went over to the fair to watch the FreestyleMX show.

 Looks like it was pretty impressive.

My husband said one of these guys has a brother who was killed filming stunts for the latest Fast and Furious movie.  He was asked to finish the stunt his brother died doing, and then finish the movie.  They went back and superimposed this guys face over his brother's so it would look like he had done the whole movie.

After the show, they checked out all the 4H animals and went to the free petting zoo, but my husband didn't think to take pictures of anything but the bikes.  While they were there, my daughter and I went to the library, then walked at the track :)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fair Results

 We went over to the fairgrounds Saturday to see how the judging had gone.  Both kids got purple ribbons on their rocks, but didn't win the $25 prize.

 There were some pretty cute rocks.  I didn't think to take an upright picture of Olaf.  They did a good job with him though.

 This was the winner for the 11-16 year old range.  She and her mother both won.  They both shellacked their rocks after painting them, which really helped.  I thought about doing that, but then didn't.  Lesson learned.  The leaf and lady bugs also had raised paint - blobs of red that stuck up for the bugs.  It was cute.

This was the 16 and over winner - done by the mother of the ladybug rock.

 They had a contest for recycled western art too.  Everything used to make the western art had to be recycled material.  The three year old loved this horse.

 It even had a tail made with old rope - very cute.

 The ten year old's Buckaroo Crunch won purple ribbons for both the 4H class and open class.

They won grand champion in the junior division of the open class.

 He didn't get the macadamia nut cookies done in time to enter in the open class, but they won a purple ribbon in the 4H division.

 I thought his artwork should have scored higher than it did.  We ended up entering it in the open class because he hadn't designated visual arts as a project for the year.  I don't think they were fully aware that this was the 8-9 year old class.  Next year we'll be sure to get them in the 4H division.  But he has evaluated things he could do better, so I guess there's value in that.  These are the first ribbons he has received that are lower than purple, so overall it's not a terrible thing.

 These next few things are not ours, but things that caught our eye.  I absolutely loved this cake.  I'd be willing to bet she'll win grand champion at state with this one.

 It's motivated me to learn to use fondant :)

 This cake was cute too.  I've seen this idea online.

 I'm obsessed with owls, so of course I thought this owl bag was pretty cute.

 The ten year old thought painting on a moose antler was an awesome idea.  I see one of these in my future eventually.

 The fair has several inflatable play structures which the kids thought they wanted to play on.

 The three year old would never stand up and climbed out pretty quickly.  The five year old couldn't convince himself to get inside one. The ten year old was off with one of his friends at the talent show (which by the way he's decided to participate in next year since everyone who enters gets $25, and the prizes for first through third are $250, $125 and $75.  That goes a long way toward getting over stage fright).  Anyway, I think if he had played with the younger ones, they might have gotten more into it.

 This one is like a big obstacle course.

The three year old got to the point where he had to squeeze between two tubes and decided it was too scary :)

 Daddy enjoyed the pitching tent.  It measured the speed of your pitch.

Lets just say no major league in our future, ha.

It was still fun to try though.

They didn't have results up for the coloring contest yet, so we'll have to check that later this week.  There are some fun activities later in the week that we might try to get to.