August 22, 2014

School started this week, and the boys already have homework! Yay... You can see my excitement there, right? Well, for getting homework done, you've got to have supplies: pencils, erasers, crayons, markers, scissors, ruler... So, here I am are at home, hunting for those darned leftover school supplies. I'm thinking, "I know they're somewhere in this closet, packed away with previous years of art projects, drawings, school pictures, grade reports, the kids' letters to me and my husband, old notebook journals with their illegible but cute handwriting...

While looking for a pencil in decent shape for my boys, I'm faced with this time consuming distraction, struggling to get them to actually sit down at the table to get started with their homework.

So, when cleaning my house the other day, I noticed how wet Swiffer boxes make pretty good pencil boxes. The size of the box is great (not too small or not too big), and the lid is pretty resilient and easy to open and close. I had one of those "Aha!" moments, and thought I could use it as a pencil box.

This was a super easy project. I wanted to decorate the box, so that way it would be more exciting for the boys when getting supplies to do their homework. Hey, anything that makes homework time more exciting is a plus! I got out my bag of colorful craft popsicle sticks, and I also used Glue Dots (glue lines are perfect for the popsicle sticks, but you can use the craft style circles as well).

The design is up to you. You can create patterns, use just one color, or make it colorful like mine. At home, we called ours, "The Box of Many Colors". My kids really enjoyed the colorful pattern and even gave me some suggestions on adding some thin popsicle sticks at the top. Although they did not do this project with me, this was so easy to do that you could make this art project with your child if you wish.

Now that the box is done, it's already sitting on the corner of the kitchen counter, full of school supplies, peacocking... When the boys are ready to do their homework, all they need to do, is open the "Box of Many Colors" and get to work! A simple, cheap, and easy way to make our lives a little bit easier.

Pencil Box
What You Need:

  • Empty Swiffer box (wet Swiffer)
  • A package of popsicle sticks
  • Glue Dots (glue lines)
  • Your and your kid's creativity!

August 16, 2014

Aaahhhh! Summer Time... Eating watermelons and ice-cream, swimming, riding bikes, walking barefoot, playing with the hose, staying up to almost midnight... Wait! Did I say it out loud? Yep, every year is the same old story... I tell myself, "This Summer is going to be different! No matter what, we're going to bed early every night!" But, getting my boys ready for bed early when the best time to ride their bikes in the Summer is 8:00pm, is like getting cows to dance the tango... it ain't happening...

Then comes August, and my husband and I think, "Finally!" But then, the first day of school approaches and we go, "Huh, we're in trouble!" All of a sudden we have school supply lists, meet the teachers day, parent-teacher meetings, soccer kickoffs, boys scouts meetings, volunteer for snacks, and birthday parties. By the time I see my calendar, it's so full of notes and reminders that I can barely see the dates anymore... I look at it and go, "Wait, what day is that again? I can't see it under all these '@' symbols, locations, and the list of snacks to bring!" 

Now, besides all these changes, the most difficult thing for us is returning to a decent bedtime routine. We usually, "theoretically," start waking the boys up a little earlier in the morning a few days before school starts. That way, we can gradually put them in bed earlier at night, about 9:30-10:00pm. Did I say "theoretically"? Yep, because many times we look at the clock and it says 11:00pm, and the boys are still chatting, annoying our poor cat and dogs, asking for water or chocolate milk, needing to go potty... It's that endless story... 

We do have reading time! My husband usually reads chapter books to our oldest son while our youngest reads easier books for beginner readers. Still... 

So, this year I thought about a better plan that I'm calling, "Operation Go to Bed!" Simple and easy. No uneccessary nagging needed. I'm planning on starting today. That's right! Today! Three days before school starts. If it works, we can stick to it, and, like experts say, after six months, the new routine will become automatic. *Hope* Alright, so here's my "Operation Go to Bed" plan. Ready? It's not complicated at all! Easy as 1, 2, 3! Wish me luck! 

Step 1: Announce out loud the operation to the boys
Step 2: Write down the rules on a big chart (with the boys of course... they need to practice some writing...) and post it in their bedroom
Step 3: Write down: 
  • ALL Electronics OFF- 6:55pm
  • Dinner - 7:00pm
  • Bath/Brush teeth -  7:45pm
  • Reading - 8:10pm 
  • Bed/Lights OFF - 8:45pm
Step 5: If in case someone blows it one day, be cool and forgiving and start fresh the next day
Step 6: If it works, wake up mom, because you might be dreaming...

photo credit: <a href="">Lotzman Katzman</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>