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Camp Mommy 2014 – Summer Fun Bingo

summer bigLast year was our first year of Camp Mommy, where I wasn’t working and the kids were therefore home with me. This year we are doing it again, but since we did so much last summer, I was feeling a bit unexcited to go to the same places, So to freshen things up, I have created a new version of my Camp Mommy Summer Bucket List.

To see last year’s version, where we drew slips of paper from different cups each day, see my post “Summer Bucket List (aka Camp Mommy).”

This year I created a Bingo board with many choices! There are so many places to go that we definitely won’t cover the whole board! Again it includes places at a variety of price points and time commitments. I try to do as many free or inexpensive choices most days. I thought it would be fun for my boys to close their eyes and each day one boy points to a bingo square to decide what we do for that day. We normally go somewhere 3-4 days a week (the park and the library are often several days a week and are great for afternoons). I try to leave Fridays for work around the house and getting ready for Shabbos.

I also made a new schedule for the day. I found a great resource to make a schedule to display on the refrigerator. I plan to mount it on cardstock and laminate it so I can use it from year to year. If you want to get your own, check out the post “Printable Summer Schedule.”

Summer-Schedule-Printables-print-out-and-put-on-refrigerator-to-help-organize-your-summer-days--500x708Here is our schedule for the day (which of course varies if we have specific plans):

7 – 8 a.m. – Play, breakfast
8 – 9 a,m, – Outside play
9 – 9:15 a.m. – Clean up
9:15 – 10:15 a.m. – Television time
10:15 – 10:30 a.m. – Snack, get ready to leave
Outing or if home – art, games, activities, schoolwork
Lunch
Books
1 – 3 p.m. – Nap for youngest three, computer time for oldest
3 – 3:30 p.m. – Outside play
3:30 – 4 p.m. – Make fun snack or do an art project
4 – 4:30 p.m. – Schoolwork to review for upcoming year
4:30 – 5 p.m. – Rotation of computer time between younger three boys
5 – 6 p.m. – Television time while we get dinner ready

* The times after lunch may vary some based on what time we get home from our outing and if we plan to go somewhere in the afternoon.

The Bingo board is available in two versions:

Summer Bingo 2014

Summer Bingo 2014 StL version

I left a bit of space on each square so you can put stickers on each as you complete an activity. If you see any mistakes, let me know! I did not include prices this year since things change so quickly!

What are you doing with your time this summer? Please leave a comment or feedback below!

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2014 in Family ideas, Forms for everything

 

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Making lunches – a matrix of choices!

healthy gluten-free school lunch

Many of your children have probably started back to school already. Mine do not start until next Wednesday. However, with this being the first year my little boys have gone to camp, we have been making lunches for the past four weeks. (Or should I say my husband has.) It has gotten me to thinking about how to make this chore easier and to provide the most variety for my children. My husband and I typically take leftovers to work, because we can heat things up or don’t mind eating something cold if we have to. The boys on the other hand…

I used to have a list on the refrigerator of lunch choices, but it has gotten a bit out of date. So I created a new one. It mostly includes dairy options because with keeping kosher meat is expensive. There are also only certain days the kids can bring meat to their Jewish day school.

Below is my matrix of lunch choices (in green). It will be a great tool for adding to our grocery list each week. Then each day when we pack lunches, we will choose one item from each column. This way our kids will get a variety of foods and it will make sure that all of one type of food doesn’t get eaten up in a week! (I just bought a lot of Chex Mix on sale last week at Walgreens and if I let them, my kids would have it every day!) Feel free to edit this document for your needs and your kids’ tastes.

Lunch choices 2013

Other tips for saving money on packing lunches:

∞ Use up your leftovers when you can. This may not work as well for the kids, but the grownups can eat them!

ziploc divided container∞ Use as little packaging as possible. We use reusable water bottles, lunch bags, and as many containers as we can instead of bags. I just bought these Ziploc divided containers for my kids’ lunches and today was their first day using them. I figured it would be a great way for them to know what was their lunch food and what should be saved for snacks. We also use cloth snack bags for some items when we can. For more details, see my post Switch over your disposables.”

∞ Buy cheap water bottles. I have learned from camp that my kids lose water bottles constantly. It does not pay to buy nice ones because I cannot count on them coming back! So the dollar Spot at Target and the dollar store are my favorite places to buy water bottles. See my posts on Why I love Target! and Are ‘dollar stores’ really a good deal?

∞ Stock up on nonperishable lunch items. When you spot something on sale (and even better have a coupon, too) get a few! I got granola bars on sale at Target yesterday and had a manufacturer’s coupon and a Target coupon. This is the best way to stock up – having all three conditions! I also buy in bulk when I can through Costco and Whole Foods. See my post on “Bulk discounts.”

∞ Make as much homemade as you can. We recently got a breadmaker and my husband is enjoying figuring out the best recipes to use. It smells so good when he has a batch ready to go in the morning, With all four boys in elementary school this year, we could easily go through a loaf of bread in a day! Our next project is to experiment with some homemade snacks. See Little House Living and my posts on (More) Make your own… and Don’t buy it, make it homemade – Part 3 for recipes.

∞ Look for outlet stores. We recently found a local outlet bread store (thanks, Lori!) that saves us a ton on bread, bagels, and sandwich thins. They even have store coupons!

∞ Use your price list. Make sure you are buying things at the best price you can get. Just because something is in a larger size of is on sale, doesn’t always mean it is the best deal! To learn more, check out my post “Keeping a price list.”

∞ Check out the sales at the end of this month. Pretty soon all the back-to-school items will go on sale, which means lunch bags, containers, and the like on sale for cheap prices (check out Target, Wal-Mart, drug stores, etc. for these deals). Last summer we got the boys their current lunch bags for $3 each! I love them because they have a zipper at the top and a space for their name on the back. I also got backpacks from Lands’ End at a very deep discount last summer! Be sure to stock up on those swimsuits and rash guards while you are at it, too!

Do you have any tips for packing lunches that you would like to share? Please add them in the Comments section! Thanks Rivka H. and Jessi L, for your ideas I incorporated into the matrix.

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Summer Bucket List (aka Camp Mommy)

SwimmingThis summer is the first in a while that I have had all the kids home with virtually no camp. Since I am back to full-time teaching and am off during the summer, it doesn’t make financial sense to the send the kids to camp. So this year, it is “Camp Mommy.” I have been winging things for the past week, having just finished school at the end of May. But now my older son is off, too, and we really need some sort of schedule. So last night and today I have gotten to work on this! (By the way, I have three 5-year-olds and one 9-year-old, all boys.)

I created a schedule for the day of what we will do when. The schedule includes time for indoor play, outdoor play, snacks and meals, movie or TV time, and excursions. Crafts, cooking, reading and academic review will fill in the gaps.

Then I have been putting together our summer bucket list – those excursions we will take. With four kids, staying in the house all day will not work! I had seen a few resources here and there and put them together in a useable way. One idea that I really liked was having slips of paper that you draw from each week to make a schedule. I think drawing each day one at a time would be difficult, especially since some excursions are more timely than others and have varying costs.

Here is what I came up with:

A fill-in schedule: Summer Bucket List schedule form

Cards with activities for day & afternoon excursions and evening outings:

The instructions to use these are as follows:

1. Modify the attached schedule for your own needs.

2. On the excursions file, add in local excursions that you would like to visit this summer (color coding denotes cost).

3. Take a look at the starred cards, which are timely activities. Decide if you want to research these ahead of time and then take them out of the weekly drawing and manually put them on your schedule as they occur OR just figure it out as they get chosen.

4. Print the schedule and activity cards.

5. Sort the cards based on color-coding. You may want to have envelopes or buckets for each type.

6. Write in any events you already have on your schedule for that week – like summer library activities, family events, camp, etc.

7. Pick the number of cards that work best for your family from each color category. (I plan to leave space for one library and at least one park trip a week. My kids still nap so I might use shorter activities or trips to the park or library in the afternoons. If your kids are older you may spend a whole day at one activity or choose two per day.

8. Lay the cards down on your schedule and create a plan for the week.

9. You may decide to discard the cards you used that week or reuse those that you would like to do again another week.

I hope these directions are not too complicated. Please give me your feedback so I can edit it or change it to be more helpful!

Hope you like them!

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Kids’ Mitzvah Checklist for Passover

nissan_simaneihaseder_magidI am taking a break from my regular Passover (Pesach) preparations to think of my kids. One of my favorite new traditions is involving the kids by helping them get excited about doing the mitzvos for that holiday. I already had a reader/friend ask where my next holiday checklist for the kids was! So here is this holiday’s mitzvah checklist for your children.

Kids’ Mitzvah Checklist for Passover

I like to print these out in color for my kids and post them on the door of their room. They love adding stickers for each mitzvah they complete and then we go for a family reward after the holiday. Thanks again to Chinuch.org for the great clip art!

If you are still in the middle of your holiday preparations and need some tips, here are my past related posts on Passover (Pesach):

For other related posts, check out:

Have a wonderful and meaningful Passover!

 
 

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Kids’ Mitzvah Checklist for Purim

little_kingPurim is not a holiday that really needs help being fun, but I wanted to make a Mitzvah Checklist for the holiday anyway. My kids really enjoyed the ones I made for Rosh Hashanah and Sukkos. They loved getting to put stickers on their charts when they completed a mitzvah. We had a fun outing after we completed one of the charts and the boys earned a prize after the other.

The charts helped my kids get excited about each mitzvah that’s part of the holiday and it helped them learn all the ways they could help and participate.

Here is one for this holiday. You can print one out for each of your kids. Kids’ Mitzvah Checklist for Purim

Religious school and day school teachers may even want to send it home with their students as a family activity. Again, thank you to Chinuch.org for the great clipart.

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Posted by on February 21, 2013 in Family ideas, Holidays

 

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Purim is coming too fast!

Last year I started preparing for Purim early and really worked hard not to leave everything to the last-minute. I was so happy not to be finishing my boys’ costumes right before the sueda! However, this year, with my new job, it has been hard to get started early. Now I am down to one week before Purim and so much to do: costumes to make, shaloch manos to assemble, and food to cook. Luckily we are not hosting a sueda, so that is one less large task.

Thankfully all of my past research and checklists will help me get through it all. Here is my Purim checklist that you can adapt for your needs: Purim prep.

We did our shopping today for our shaloch manos supplies (thank you Costco) and spent the afternoon making shaloch manos as part of a charity project we have done for the past 16 years. Now my goal is to get supplies for my kids’ costumes. I always have luck finding ideas at Family Fun or Parenting magazines’ websites, so I will check there again. Here are a few links to check out:

Here are my kids from last year — my oldest as a knight and my little ones as superheroes.

100_7709

If you are like me and are behind in your Purim preparations, here are a few of my older posts to help you:

 

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Kids’ Mitzvah Checklist for Sukkos

My Kids’ Mitzvah Checklist for Rosh Hashanah was such a hit with my children that I thought I would make another for Sukkos. Again, I used Chinuch.org for clip art. They have tons of great art to choose from. I tried to include a variety of mitzvot for kids young and old. 

Kids’ Mitzvah Checklist for Sukkos

Your children can earn stickers for each mitzvah they do. Small round stickers worked best so that you can still see the words after your kids put their sticker on. Your kids can earn more than one sticker for each square if they do the mitzvah multiple times, but I thought it was best just to put the item on the chart only once.

I hope your kids enjoy this and that it helps make your holiday meaningful!

Please let me know any feedback you have and how your kids like it.

Related posts:

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2012 in Family ideas, Forms for everything, Holidays

 

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