Monday, November 24, 2014

Marriage Monday: Committed to Success

"If you choose wisely and if you are committed to the success of your marriage, there is nothing in this life which will bring you greater happiness." 
-Thomas S. Monson

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Reading Report September 2014

What I read in September 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Isla and Josh attend an American HS in Paris, but while they were both home in Manhattan the summer before their senior year they run into each other giving them a reason to meet up when they return to school. Hoping they'd get to spend their Senior year in bliss together Isla and Josh have a few roadblocks to overcome.

 Fans of Stephanie Perkins have been waiting for this book for a long time and it did not disappoint this reader. I LOVE all she's written but this really was just delightful. I've read her others a few times and enjoy them every time. This is the 3rd book in a companion set (Anna and the French Kiss & Lola and the Boy Next Door). 

Mash by Richard Hooker
Historical Fiction, Humor

The original versions of some classic scenes from the motion picture and television series.

A quirky look at life in the Army.  I really liked this one. Mainly stories about Hawkeye and Pierce but a lot of the gang is there. Most of the stories I could remember seeing aspects of it in the tv show. 

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Contemporary, YA, Fiction

Delilah's losing her grip and seems to think it's a family trait. After finding out her grandma passed away her and her mom are off to close up her grandma's house, where she used to spend her summes until something went wrong. The last few years they haven't spoken to the family.  This year though, she's finding herself and her family secrets. 

I like Ocklers writing. I was a little annoyed at Delilah's constant lost feeling but I suppose it's because I couldn't quite relate. Regardless the story was good. There is a good array of characters and a cute boy which always helps too. 

The Husband Maker by Karey White
Romance, Contemporary

Charlotte doesn't have a great history with the men seeing as how every time she breaks up with one, he gets married to the next woman he dates. Her friend sets her up with political hopefuly Kyle and the two seem to click. 

I only liked this one sorta. By the title I was expecting something different but the story involves one chapter where Charlotte talks about her past ex's and how they're all married then the rest of the book is about her relationship with Kyle. It's a fun story but I was frustrated with the book because of the non-ending ending, not realizing it was a series. Interesting but I don't care enough to pick up the next one.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Fiction, Romance, Adult

Georgie's marriage is in trouble. But she deeply loves her husband Neal and he loves her. Right before they're supposed to take their girls to his parents house for Christmas a big project comes up at work and she decides to stick around to work. She immediatly regrets not going and wonders if it might be too late. It's then she finds a way to communicate with Neal, but it's Neal from back when they were dating. Is this how she can fix her marriage?

Another great one by Rainbow Rowell. While I wasn't sure about the plot lines (I didn't read the synopsis before I started the book, and wasn't expecting a non realistic) I still enjoyed the story. She has a way of writing characters that are quirky and interesting and real and not at all perfect. Plus her writing pulls me in. Or her storytelling. Or both. She's brilliant. (My favorite of her books is Attachments.)

The Pet War by Allan Woodrow
Childrens, Humor

Otto wants a dog. Lexi wants a cat. Their mom isn't sure about either. Otto and his sister Lexi have one month to earn $500 each to show their mom they're serious about wanting to take care of a pet. The winner chooses the family pet.

I read this one with my kids. Multiple times they laughed and laughed. I wasn't totally thrilled with all the silly name calling (it's written from an 11 yo boys point of view) but it was a small dislike for an overall fun book! We got to have a lot of talks about responsibility and following through with what you say.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Marriage Monday: Designed for Intimacy

"Marriage is designed to satisfy this deep search for intimacy. Thus, marriage is not simply a relationship, it is an intimate relationship that encompasses all aspects of life: intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, and physical. In a marriage relationship, a husband and wife share life with each other in the deepest possible way. They view themselves as a unified team, not as two individuals who happen to be living in close proximity." 
-The Four Seasons of Marriage by Gary Chapman

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Ideas for kid chores, jobs, helping around the house

I had a few friends ask about how we do kid jobs at my house so I thought it'd be fun to share.

Just to note, for me, I think a big factor in sticking with it, is that *I* was just as motivated as the kids.  You'll see we've tried a handful of things (and often times go back to some after we've let them rest for a bit) because for me/us it's fun to have a surge of newness.

In no specific order here's what we've done:

Chore Bucks

Using a money image I saw online, I created our chore bucks. Colored paper and photos of my kids really make it easier for us all to spot.

We’re currently doing this one again. My 8 yo and I decided together on a good amount to charge for cashing them in. Here’s our current system for earning and cashing.

1-ea job on post its, see below (2-3 listed daily)                
1-putting away school items                            
1-pick an item from Extras pg                        
1-getting ready & staying in bed                      
1-getting up & dressed (1 reminder from mom)
1-brushing teeth
1ea-practice spelling, math worksheet, other small homework items
1ea- practicing piano/violin/guitar
1-5 min of reading

*I usually have a list in the kitchen of 2-5 things that need to get done at some point and the kids can choose anything from that list. Sometimes I also put a pt value if it's bigger items.

Cashing in:
1- Play with friends outside
2- Play with friends here
6- Screen time (1 tv show, 25 min computer or Xbox)
20- Stay up 20 min extra w/ mom
40- Special Prize (they create, we negotiate)
50-Day w/ no jobs

*Consider what motivates your kids. My kids are at an age where these things are particularly motivating. You could put in a special treat, a play date with a favorite friend, a late night (I'll probably add this in the spring/summer), a big toy they've been asking for, etc.

I've also allowed my kids to split, like screen time, if I've got two home right after school who'd like to watch a short show while they eat after school snacks. Tailor it to your needs and what might work best for peace at home. ;-)

Daily Post Its

I started this during the summer this year. I bought each kid their own color notes and each night after they're in bed I assign jobs and leave the note out in the kitchen. A few times the kids even ask or sneak a peak to get a head start the night before (works for me!). We have a few 'ask mom', 'freebie' or 'you pick' ones thrown in.

Pros to this one is that it can get as specific as I need and it is ever changing so the kids and I both have stayed interested. A major pro for me is that many jobs we have aren't daily (unloading the dishwasher, taking out the garbage) so I can assess each day and decide what I most want them to do.

Some days I put easy/have-to-do-anyway things on there like practice piano or spelling. Other days they may have one, clean bedroom, but I'll break it up into three jobs like: pick up clothes, pick up toys, vacuum.

Money Bags & Burglars

My daughter and I thought up this idea for our chores and had Tarl draw them out for us. We wanted something that could move around on the game board. They’d get the guy out of jail and save the bags of money by doing those jobs.

Weekly Jobs


This was one we did last year through the entire school year. It worked fine for the most part. The kids knew what they were in charge of for the whole week so they tended to do a good job reminding their siblings to take care of their own things. 

Cons to this one was that I felt like they were already big jobs so I didnt want to then assign them more on top of these. Often times I'll have the kids unload the dishes or fold laundry but I never know when I need those done until that day. Yet on some days their assigned jobs were practically done because it was done from the day before. It was mostly my issue but it's why I like my current post it notes one.

Ticket Store

When my kids were still pretty little I used to let them earn these tickets (like carnival tickets) that I found at the dollar store (this is a small amount out of my package). Tickets could be earned for whatever I felt like. We did this when my kids were like 6-2ish. I'd give them tickets for whatever jobs I'd assign them but also for doing me favors or getting along with their siblings.

When they earned 10 they were allowed to pick out any item from my store—which was just a collection of toys, school supplies, water bottles, anything I could find from the dollar store and sometimes I’d through in a candy item. (I had about 15-20 items on hand for them to chose from.) Once a week or so I'd lay the handful of items out on my bed and then bring the kids in making it a big deal that they were at my store and they could browse through the things. They'd have to pay me to take their item so they liked that it was 'official'.

 Pick Your Poison

This was mostly when my kids were little and couldn't read. I printed off these pictures of jobs on cards and they'd get to come pick out a few to do that day. Depending on the state of our house I'd remove some or just have them pick 1-2 and have them tidy. I also had blank ones and when they picked that one, I got to tell them a 'mom job' which was anything I needed but didnt have a picture of. Or sometimes it was to help me do a bigger item. 

Mostly I just cater whatever we're doing to work for both the kids and me. It works best if we're all excited about it, but mostly if I'm interested enough to push it (and get the kids excited about it). When I can tell we're losing steam, thats when I switch it up again, but I will say, now that they're older it seems the stretches last longer! I hope this gives you some good ideas. 

Do you have some that have worked really well for your family?? 
I'd love it if you wanted to share in the comments. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Marriage Monday: Connections

"The more connections you and your lover make, not just between your bodies, but between your minds, your hearts, and your souls, the more you will strengthen the fabric of your relationship, and the more real moments you will experience together."
-Barbra de Angelis

Find my other Marriage Monday posts here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Reading Report August 2014

What I read in August 2014

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Contemporary, Romance, Adult

Company policy states that work email is subject to be read by a third party yet it doesn't stop Beth and Jennifer from sharing friendly, funny, or personal correspondence. It's Lincolns job to monitor company emails and he can't help but feel like he's getting to know Beth and Jennifer, even though they've never met before.

I thought this was a fun idea and I think Rowell pulled it off rather brilliantly. She has away of capturing and expressing the vulnerability in her characters without making them feel weak. I liked this one!

Every Secret Thing by Susanna Kearsley
Mystery, Thriller

While on assignment in a foreign country, Kate is approached by an old man who makes a passing comment about her grandmother. After the brief conversation she's left wondering more but it's too late as he's struck and killed by a hit and run car. She can't leave it be and starts uncovering a story about her beloved grandmother and a man she never knew, but must have been a bigger part of her grandmothers life. Some one is trying to keep things hidden though as the trail turns even more dangerous and deadly.

I read this one for book club and liked it okay. The plot sounded fascinating but I felt like it took too many turns and at some points got a bit confusing how she kept figuring things out and how one person was involved in the plot. Maybe if I had more time to really jump in I could have focused better. 

The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopian 

Kestrel is the general's daughter and is supposed to get married or join the army, though she wants neither, At the auction she unexpectedly finds Arin, a slave up for bid, and buys him. 

An interesting world. Deep characters. A rich story. I want to reread it. (FYI the first in a series, and it just came out so the next couple will be along but are not out yet.)

As You Are by Sarah M. Eden
Regency Romance, Clean, Historical Fiction

Corbin Jonquil comes from a large powerful family. He's always been more comfortable in the stables with his horses and just blending in.  But when Mrs. Clara Bentford is new in the neighborhood he takes notice and wants her to notice him. His brothers all suggest ways to catch her eye but none of them are him and Corbin and Clara fumble around each other. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love anything by Sarah M. Eden. Her characters are vivid and full and interesting. She's a great storyteller and her writing is engaging. Usually when I pick up her books I can't put them down until I'm done. I've read these completely out of order, which I haven't minded but if you haven't started yet, the first one was is Friends and Foes.