mommy thoughts: chore chart and reward system

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I don't know about other moms, but I was having such a difficult time getting my daughter to brush her teeth in the morning. I can ask Miss C to brush her teeth and remind her a bazillion times. She'll retreat to the bathroom and 10 minutes later, still not be done. "Oh, I have to go potty," "I'm just washing hands!" "I have to rearrange my bows in my bow holder" "I have to wash my barbie's hair!" After many many mornings of expasperation, I looked online for reward charts and methods. There are a ton ideas out there on different mommy or craft blogs. Here are a few ideas that inspired me:
Pom Pom Reward Jar from Busy Kids = Happy Mom
DIY washi tape reward jars by Omiyage
Reward System by Signature Moms

Most of the chore charts I've seen are too complicated or too simple for my 5 year old. She does help us clean on cleaning days (typically Saturday morning), and she does not have chores yet with the exception of picking up her toys and making her bed.  After searching online for printable chore charts and trying to make my own custom chore chart, I stumbled upon one at a local Once Upon a Child, a consignment store chain. It is a simple chore chart with reusable stickers: make bed, bath/shower, comb hair, brush teeth, pick up toys and be happy (good days vs. tantrum/whiny filled day). The only thing I had to customize on it was added an extra line on the brush teeth squares because we brush our teeth in the morning and at night.  
She gets a heart for every item that gets done.
On Sunday or Monday evenings, she counts the hearts she accumulated that past week. 1 heart = 1 pom. She then counts out the poms on the floor, and recounts them as she's putting the poms in the reward jar (Bonus: Miss C gets to practice counting numbers!)

Now the reward jar. There are 4 reward levels, each level takes almost about a week's worth of poms (if she gets most her hearts for the week.) Level 1 is a RedBox movie. Reward level 2 would be a local frozen yogurt store where you can pick your own flavor and add as much toppings as you wish. Reward level 3 is cash, I'm thinking about $5-10 (I haven't decided yet). Which is okay because she really wants to get to reward level 4 which is a bowling OR a movie night. If she wants to redeem a reward, we empty the jar and all the poms go back to the bag and she starts fresh. 
The poms are not just directly from the hearts. I'm trying to also catch her good behavior (doing extra nice things, being super good at different occasions) and add poms to the jar accordingly. On the contrary, we also threaten (and have taken away) poms as consequences for poor choices. A warning and a threat of taking poms (no more than 5 at a time) away usually curbs most tantrums or whining.

My husband and I are debating whether or not to tie in thumbsucking "rules/rewards". Maybe a pom for each hour that she's awake she's not sucking her thumb? I don't know yet, I just thought of this as I'm typing this.

Right now, she's trying to save up for that movie. Hopefully, she fills up that jar soon, because Mommy really wants to see Finding Nemo in 3D! :)

(Note: The reward does not replace any of our father/daughter dates, 
or mommy/me girls only days, or family fun dates.) 

So far its working for Miss C. I can't say that all morning and bedtimes routines go without a hitch, but there is a slight improvement in the "S" household! :)

What works for you and your kids? What do you use to encourage kids to do basic things like brushing teeth to household chores?

Panda Love

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

This is a set of brand spankin' new cutters called CuteZCute. This versatile cutter can be used as a sandwich cutter, cookie cutter/stamp, rice mold and more! Each set comes with the head and panda, kitty, frog and piggy faces. It also comes with that handy dandy pick to push out the food from the little detailed holes. Miss C absolutely LOVED this!

Panda Grape Jelly Sandwich with hard boiled egg whites, 
cheese cubes, blueberries and raspberries

Banana bread, tomatoes, turkey rolls and cheese cubes, grapes and peanuts in a Panda container.

We also love our new Trio Lunchbot!  It is stainless steel, a great alternative to plastic boxes. It may look small and compact, but it holds a lot more food than you think it will!

For these lunches, I used:

Pizza "lunchables" featuring Mini Dippers

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In lieu of buying a Lunchables Cheese Pizza, I made Miss C the our version using Pita bread, cheese and pizza sauce. Complete with green peppers and cherries.

EasyLunchBoxes introduced a new product called Mini-Dippers. Because of the easy-to-open-by-little-kiddos feature of the ELBs, they are not leakproof, but these Mini-Dippers are both leak-resistant and easy to open by little hands! A set of Mini-Dippers contain eight (8) BPA-free, dishwasher-safe sauce/dip containers with lids.

Cheese "Pizzable" featuring Mini-Dippers with Lid in an EasyLunchBox

Edited to add that this in my 100th post!!! :) 

mommy's salads

 Salad with chicken and cheddar sausage 

Salad with turkey roll ups  and miniature bananas
with tomato hearts 
packed in EasyLunchBox

Salad with pork dumplings
packed in a disposable Gladware bowl.

Talk Like a Pirate Day (and a huge giveaway!)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Okay. And that's pretty much all the Pirate I know. In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day, my bento friends and I put together a fun hop with an opportunity to find some booty--a giveaway! But you must go through the Hop's instructions to find out what that treasure (prize) is! 

Miss C's lunch:
Ocean: blue spaghetti (buttered pasta w/parmesan cheese) with goldfishies
with extra parmesan cheese inside Pirate Pig
Pirate Ship: Ham ship with breadstick mast, turkey sail, and cucumber portholes
Cucumbers with a gold chocolate coin
and pirate sword skewered grapes
(packed in an EasyLunchBox

We love pirate themes. Miss C's 4th birthday party last year was a girly pirates!

Every Blogger Buccaneer in this here Hop has a piece of the treasure map! Collect each piece and put them together in the right order to find the treasure! You'll want some parchment and a quill, to keep a log with each clue and each number, because there are 39 scurvy pirates running amok with 39 pieces o' the map to collect! 37 pieces will guide you to the hidden treasure (by spelling out the URL where you can enter to win!) and there are 2 bonus pieces with the "secret passwords" to get two chances to win some pirate booty! 
(**see translation below)
This here's my piece o' the map! Good luck, Mateys!


Click on Jolly Rogerette's flag 
to find another piece of the treasure map 
from Bobbi's Bentos!

Like Mommy+Me Lunchbox on Facebook!

(** Translation: Every blog in the hop has a piece of the map to the bento booty treasure - a giveaway! As you go through the hop, collect the pieces and put them in the right order to find out where to enter! You'll probably need something to write with, because there are 39 blogs to visit, so 39 pieces to collect! 37 pieces will spell the URL, and 2 bonus pieces with words on them will get you 2 entries to win!) 

portable photo studio

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Last year, I had perfect lighting, at 8am, the sun was up giving me natural light to take pictures. I had a perfect setup in our master bedroom, the only southeast window at our house, and I was able to take pretty good pictures despite my lack of photography skills and knowledge. This year, Miss C gets on the bus early and the sun is not even up yet! I have no natural light at 6:30am, so I have to take indoor pictures with a flash. Also, I just don't have time to edit pictures, I have to take pictures straight from the camera and upload them the watermarking software (that watermarks in batches-which is a time saver!) I finally invested in a Table Top Photo Studio Photo Light Box. It was inexpensive and would have been cheaper than a DIY light box.
Notice the EasyLunchBox Mini Dippers I got in the mail the same day as the light box! It was like Christmas morning! :) 

No flash, no light box

With flash, no light box. 
Notice how greasy the brussel sprouts look and the background is a pastel blue.

With the light box, no flash.
The background paper is closer to the true color. 
It's a little dark and noisy, but I'm pretty sure that's user error.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the Table Top Photo Studio Photo Light Box. The lamps get pretty hot quick, but I only need it for a few minutes in the morning anyway.  It can fold up and put away when not in use on the weekends. 

Grilled Chicken

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Miss C's lunch: Grilled chicken cubes, grilled vegetables, pretzel braids
with blueberries and Angry Birds graham crackers

Mommy's lunch:  Grilled chicken 
over a bed of grilled vegetables (zuchinni, tomatoes, cauliflower)
blueberries and a hardboiled egg (afternoon snack)
packed in an EasyLunchBox

Chicken and mushrooms

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chicken & mushroom over rice
with Greek yogurt and an apple

Daddy made this easy chicken and mushroom dish.  He cooked chicken breasts and let it simmer in a can of cream of mushroom soup and added fresh mushrooms. It is one of Miss C's favorites. She loves mushrooms.  

Easy recipes for a busy week!

Monday, September 10, 2012

My husband and I both work full time. I am blessed with a husband that can and will cook during the week. Normally, since he gets off work earlier than I do, he'll dinner before I get home (Yes, I'm lucky, and I love him, and he's all MINE!).  Once in a while, I try to put something in the Crockpot or put something together the night before... but I have to admit, that's a rare occasion. Grilling, slow-cooker, casseroles, and stir-fries are our go-to dinner options weekly. 

Easy Peasy Dinners = Easy Peasy Leftover Lunches

Salsa chicken, greek yogurt and carrots

Crockpot Salsa Chicken
4 frozen chicken boneless breasts
1 jar of salsa 
1 pint of sour cream 
1 can of black beans
Place chicken in the crockpot, pour the salsa, sour cream, and beans. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Shred chicken. Serve as chicken tacos with tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, and other preferred toppings.

Grilled chicken sausages, steamed edamame, 
baked sweet potato fries, and watermelon

Stir-fried beef & cabbage, steamed broccoli and greek yogurt

Simple Ground Beef & Cabbage Stirfry
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 med. onion, sliced
1 med tomato, sliced
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 head of cabbage, coarsely shredded
soy sauce/salt/pepper

Brown ground beef and drain. Set aside. Saute garlic and onion and tomatoes in 1T of oil. Add ground beef and cabbage. Add soy sauce (3T+ depending on preferred taste), salt and pepper. Stir frequently until cabbage is cooked.  Serve with rice.

This is a simple way, to stirfry vegetables. Change it up by using chicken, pork, or shrimp. Add sliced carrots, green beans, snow peas, or whatever vegetables you have on hand.

School Menu Inspiration

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sometimes I draw inspiration from the school menu. I know Miss C loves sloppy joes and when the school menu calls for sloppy joes that day, we will make sloppy joes for dinner so we can pack leftovers for lunch the next day. Miss C and I reviewed the menu and so she can pick when she would like to eat school lunch. There were only 4 for the month of September, and I'm sure she will change her mind and will ask for a packed lunch instead. And I'm totally fine with that. :) 

School lunch menu: pepperoni pizza, california blend veg, and blue jello
Miss C had leftover pizza and cinnamon from her dinner at Chili's.
I added carrots, mushrooms (her choice of veggie) and cherry tomatoes
packed in a 2-tier bento box.

School lunch menu:  Smoky links, peas & carrots, sherbet
Miss C loves scrambled eggs with salsa,
with toast, greek yogurt, and watermelon.

Your favorite lunch and Winner!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mommy Lunch: 
hardboiled eggs, celery, carrots, tomatoes w/yogurt-based ranch dressing
blueberries and greek yogurt drizzled with honey

Wow! Based on your comments on the last post, the majority's favorite lunch are salads! I love a good salad! My guilty-pleasure salad would be the Oriental Fried Chicken Salad from Applebees. My favorite homemade salad would be a taco salad with romaine lettuce, pico de gallo, salsa and sour cream.

We have giveaway winner! 

Contact me by the end of the day on Friday (9-6) with your info so I can mail you your prize. 
And I am now craving a turkey club sandwich with bacon and a bowl of creamy chicken noodle soup. :)