Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Plate of My Own

About three weeks ago while I was at the store with the kids, we saw some of those character dinner wear sets. You know, the ones with Dora, Disney Princesses, Spider Man, Cars, Toy Story, Hello Kitty, etc. Well, my kids REALLY wanted them. Hmm. I actually had to think about that one.

In the end, I decided to buy the sets-Dora for Bailey, Hello Kitty for Sierra, and Toy Story for Blake. We made the deal, however, that they would have to take care of their own dishes, or I'd take them away. Sierra readily agreed. Bailey was a little more lukewarm to the idea of taking care of her stuff, but if it got her what she wanted. . . Blake, well, I didn't really expect him to wash his own.

Surprisingly, it turned out to be one of the better purchases I've made. In the past three weeks, our dish load has decreased by more then half. My kids, because they now know exactly who's cup is who's, only use one cup a day instead of three. Same goes for bowls and plates. We used to go through all of our cups and bowls in about two days. Now, we still have an almost full cupboard after three days with barely enough dishes to fill the dish washer. Very nice! And if my kids leave their stuff on the table, I know who to make clean it up. Oh, I help out a bit here and there, but even Blake cleans out his dishes as best he can. It's gotten to the point where I've decided to claim a cup, bowl, and plate of my own, and I'm even contemplating getting individual silverware sets for everyone as well (we go through spoons like mad).

I guess there's truth to the saying that sometime more is actually less.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Multiplication Sensation

It's late in coming, but I promised to tell you what I thought about the Multiplication Sensation CD and Book by Kid Clever. I found their Listen In Addition set at our local library and was so impressed that I bought both sets, hoping that the multiplication one would help Sierra in math.

Well, it's helped. A lot! We started listening to the CD in our car about two weeks before Sierra's math program introduced multiplication. I'm so glad we did! Sierra, instead of having a complete mental breakdown on being introduced to something new (her standard reaction), found herself only mildly uncomfortable. That feeling went away quickly, and in the three weeks since, I've yet to hear a complaint out of her as she does multiplication work. It really is amazing.

As a bonus, Bailey's become proficient at counting her nickels and dimes, something she'd been struggling with earlier.

What's even better is that both of my girls like showing off what they know. They can now do skip counting with 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s, 7s, 9s, 10s, 11s, and 12s, multiply by 0s, 1s, 2s, 5s, 10s, 11s without much thinking, and figure out their other times tables with a little thought. Not bad at all for 5 and 7 year olds.

And only one of the songs drives me crazy. It talks about a dragon dentist who likes to pull teeth. . . squirm.

It's been an absolutely wonderful find. Highly recommended.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Bon Appétit

I was exhausted today. So exhausted, in fact, that I took a long nap on the couch after school and woke up much too late to cook the dinner I had been planning on (stuffed green peppers and rolls). Eesh!!

But what else could I make for dinner? I wracked my brain for something quick and easy. Hamburgers? Sure, but that would still take some work on my part. Spaghetti? No. That didn't appeal to me either. Hmm. OK. Fish sticks. Yes! We had some in the freezer. Oh, and there was also a bag of salad in the fridge too! Sigh. That was easy enough, but I still didn't want to move. My body felt like lead.

Then I had a wonderful idea!

"Sierra," I called from the couch.

"Yes?" She peeked around through the kitchen door at me.

"Do you want to make dinner?"

She got really excited, chittering with her hands up by her face like a squirrel . "Uh huh. What can I make?"

"Fish sticks and salad."

"OK!" Then she stopped and thought for a second, her eyebrows furrowed. "But how do I open the oven?"

So, from my comfortable spot on the couch, I told her how to turn the oven to the right temperature, which she proudly did. Then, on her own, she busied herself getting the fish sticks from the freezer, spraying a pan, and laying them out. I told her that she had to wait for the second light to turn on before putting them in the oven, so while she waited, she set to work on the salad.

Sierra got out a bowl and the bag of salad, pulled down a can of olives, and went down stairs to get a can of mandarin oranges. She needed a little help with the can opener, but other then that, she did it all herself. And during the middle of this, she put the fish sticks in the oven and set the timer.

Well, the food was cooking and the salad was ready, so my almost eight year old then decided to set the table. That's when Bailey came in to help. They chattered away as they got enough plates for everyone.

And there I was still lying on the couch. Pathetic, I know. But the girls were happy. I did eventually get up to pull the pan out of the oven though.

Then, when everything was ready, I had Bailey go and tell her Daddy it was time for dinner. It was a good dinner. Especially when you consider it was made by an almost eight year old.

Oh, but it wasn't over yet. Sierra, elated by her success, decided to put all of the dishes away from the dish washer. Wow! Maybe I should have her cook more often.

Sunday, January 3, 2010