Sunday, February 28, 2016

Pop Up Brunch

In my many efforts to try and figure out my life, I've literally come up with nothing.  I think my ultimate dream is to have a farm, with a beautiful old farmhouse, lush garden, an assortment of mini animals, and a guest cottage to use for a bed and breakfast.

Right now we live in the middle of a neighborhood in the city limits, and I'm trying to convince my husband that we can totally sneak chickens into the backyard.

So, until we can find this dream property, I've come up with a solution:  pop up brunch!

A few Saturdays a month, I'm going to plan a brunch that will be open to anyone we're friends with.  If you're following us on Instagram, we pass you at church, you're a work friend or just an acquaintance, you're invited.

How it works:  I'll be planning a menu, and will post it on social media.  We have room at our table for 4 other people, so married or single, you are welcome.  If what's being served sounds good to you, simply let us know that you would like to join us and the seat is yours!  Menu selections will include yummy items such as french toast, bacon, quiche, or a themed meal - such as a French, traditional southern or full English breakfast.

This new venture will also force me to be more social, make small talk, and get to know people better.  It will definitely be a struggle, as I would much rather hide behind a screen where I can carefully compose what I want to say rather than stumbling over my words in person.

The other positive is that planning a meal for a small group, cooking, setting a table, and having people enjoy what I've created is what I love to do the most.  It's my art, my creative process, and I want others to enjoy it.  Keep your eye out for our first pop up brunch, and hopefully we will share a meal together soon!
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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Family Command Center

We began our first full week of school at the beginning of January, and by mid week,  B had reached meltdown level.  I think a combination of a stressful first week, studying for tests and unstructured afternoons led to a breakdown right before bed.  We spoke to his counselor and she gave some insight on how homework had always gone in the past, and to stick with it.  B didn't like that we were pushing him to study and that we didn't give up when he got grumpy.  If he wants a battle of stubbornness, he's battling the wrong person.

I tried explaining to him that he was going to have homework for the rest of his school career, but when this kid gets something in his head. he can't let it go.  Or hear anything you are saying.  I did everything short of saying "Suck it up, buttercup!" and made him finish studying.  By bedtime that night, we are all stressed out.

 The next day I got to work researching chore charts, reward systems, and planning a schedule.  We have a small table in our main room that I had been using to display my ironstone collection, but I found a new home for it and began assembling a family command center.  I found a blog that had a reward system I liked, called the Jewel Method, which I changed to the Marble Method so it would be boy friendly.  This also ties in to a chore chart; he earns marbles for doing his daily tasks (brushing teeth, making his bed, feeding the dogs, etc.), then he has weekly chores (putting away laundry, wiping out his bathroom sink, etc.) and money chores.  He has the opportunity to make $5 a week, plus being able to cash in his marbles for different rewards. Marbles can be taken back if he gets in trouble for something.

I also created a daily schedule, so that the entire day is planned, including free play times and tablet time.  I did this to help eliminate the meltdowns during homework when he hadn't gotten to play his tablet much that day, as well as getting him to play with his other toys.  I also planned two family nights a week: Craft/Game Night and Movie Night.  Once he saw all that I had planned, he was actually excited about it.  He was ready to begin earning his marbles and marking tasks off his list.

The charts and lists and plans also keep my anxiety in check as well.  I get overwhelmed very easily, and typically have three notebooks with me so I can keep up with all the lists I make throughout the day.  By planning meals, snacks, and now a schedule, I feel far less anxious.

So far, the charts have been a tremendous help.  Although there is still whining during homework time, it has improved considerably.  Our newest homework issue is working on his confidence and trying to keep him from turning into a dark raincloud every time a challenge arises.

I still have a few items to add surrounding the schedule, plus finishing up his money responsibility system, but we're excited to finally have it up and running!

Click --> here for the chore chart and reward system that I used.
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