Thursday, December 31, 2015


Dear Olive,

I can't wait for New Year's Eve this year.  Hoping for good health so that we don't have to postpone the festivities like last year.

We plan to make New Year's hats:

Open our time capsule:

And use this clock to count down to midnight (which we will pretend)

Wishing you the happiest New Year!

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Dear Olive,

The secrets to motherhood:

1.  Make two meals for the week on Sunday night.

2.  Shop for everything you can online.  Amazon is your friend.

3.  Some grocery stores will shop for you.  You can order from your saved list on the net and then schedule a pick up.

4.  Make kid outfits when you are putting away the laundry.  Pack each outfit in a shoe rack pocket over the door.

5.  When things are about to get real, crack out the busy bags.  My kids are trained to play by themselves for 3 songs until they can interrupt an adult's work.

6.  Divide and conquer.  Whenever possible, divide the young among the adults for 1:1.  My daughter will run errands with me while my son stays to help dad with a project or vice versa.  They are so much more well behaved when they get undivided time.

7.  Clean the bathroom while the kids are in the tub.  Since there is enough splash water to flood the place, this is basically the only time that I wash the floor anymore.

8.  Start kid chores early.  Even a two year old can contribute.  This helps them feel like a part of the group and lightens the parenting load.  Of course training for chores extends them at first, but eventually the scaffolding pays out in dividends.  Our first three chores that every kids starts with are: carry your plate back from the dinner table, make your bed (basically just pulling up the sheet), and match socks out of the laundry.  Then we gravitate towards this system to earn allowance.

9.  Get a token economy going.  We started the "star system" for Gabriel when he turned two.  I was surprised that it worked for him at such a young age.

10.  Make school lunch supplies when you are putting away groceries.  I take an entire loaf of bread, make individual PB&Js, put them each in a ziplock, and then stack them in the freezer door.  Cheaper than Uncrustables, less daunting than making one each morning. I also love these salad jars for adults, made weekly.

11.  Ditch the baby book.  Use the Day One app to write a sentence or two on  your phone when you actually think about it... I even use the voice text option to write while waiting at red lights.  You can add pictures, locations, and print the whole thing out at the end of the year.