RSS

Tag Archives: reusable

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!

 
1 Comment

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Related posts:

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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!

Related posts:

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Related posts:

 
Leave a comment

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Why I love Target!

English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain

Tonight I had a very successful trip to Target. Some trips, particularly those when I take the kids, I leave exhausted and frustrated. However, there are those like tonight when I find so many good deals that I can’t wait to get home and share them all with my husband. For those of you who haven’t discovered Target’s finer points, or for those who just want to save more there, here are my reasons Target is one of my favorite stores:

1) Coupons:

Target has their own coupons you can print from their website. They can be stacked with manufacturer’s coupons, so you save even more. They have coupons on everything from name brands to their own brands to specific sections of the store. On most trips, I can save at least $20 in coupons! I even get coupons in the mail from Target. I think I get these from having a Target baby registry at one time and for making purchases online from their website.

2) Red Card:

You can get a Target Red Card: either debit or credit card, which gives you 5% back on each purchase. The discount is applied immediately – no waiting for rebates or reward cards. We do not have any credit cards, so I love that I can get these same rewards with the debit card. The money comes right out of my checking account as a regular debit card does. Tonight I saved an extra $10 from using my Red Card!

3) Bag discounts:

When you bring your own bags to use for your purchases, Target will give you $.05 back for each bag. This also comes right off your total purchase cost. Every little bit adds up. For more information on bag discounts, see my post “Reusable shopping bags = savings.”

4) Seasonal sales:

Target is a great place for getting great deals on seasonal items. No matter if you celebrate the holiday or not, the days after can provide some wonderful sales! See my post tomorrow for all the goodies I found during after Christmas sales! Target also has a great variety of items they only have available for different seasons and holidays and some that are only found at their store such as: home decor, organizational items, food, novelties, gift items, dining/cookware, and more. We have gotten several things during some of these seasonal sales that have lasted us years. See my related post on “Shop those Easter sales today!”

5) A fun shopping experience:

I love finding new items every time I go to Target. Maybe it is a new line of dishware. Maybe it is a new line of craft items. Or a new line of toys for that time of year. There is always something new to find and normally at great deals. The dollar aisle has also yielded some great gifts, toys, and teaching items for me and my family!

6) Sales on staple items:

I know that even if I don’t have a coupon, Target is going to have a sale on items I use often at some point. And for many items, even if I do not have a coupon and it is not on sale, their price still beats many competitors. I like not feeling so guilty if I have to make a purchase there without a sale or coupon! This is where my price list really comes in handy. See my post on “Keeping a price list.”

7) Good quality clothing for reasonable prices:

With my busy schedule, I do not get a lot of time to shop. I love that I can find clothing for everyone in the family at Target. I especially like that I can find staple items for good prices, whether or not they go on sale. I depend on Target for pajamas for the family, sweats for the kids and myself, socks and underwear for everyone, etc. Pajamas for my boys can get quite costly. At a department store, you can easily spend $10 or more for one set. At Target, I get the Carter’s First Year brand and spend $12-$13 for two sets together. They sometimes go on sale for a few bucks less, and then there are days like today where I found three sets of the same size for half price! They sell sets year-round tailored for each season and the designs change. They are comfortable and last. My boys love them!

Their clothes last and look good. My little boys wear many items that their older brother wore that I probably paid less than $5-$10 a piece for! I often find such good deals that I even buy sizes for later and then store them in the basement. Today I found hoodie jackets for $2.98. I also found sweatshirts and sweatpants for $2.08 in the boys’ department! I bought three hoodies for each size S – L (I could only find one XL)! They will be set for a few years! See my post “Staying on top of your kids’ clothing.”

8) Black Friday is a breeze!

I am not a diehard Black Friday shopper that will stand in line hours before a store opens or camps out the night before. My Black Friday shopping route in simple: CVS and Target and occasionally one or two other stores. For the past two years, Target has had some great Black Friday deals like cheap pajamas for the family, great toy deals, and cheap hat/glove sets for the kids. I have not had to go right when the store opened. I get there mid-morning, and for the most part all the items I have been looking for were still in stock! They don’t just provide a few each of their good deals, but plenty for many shoppers! I am not shopping high-priced items, but I still come out with some great deals and am quite happy!

9) A clean and usually well-stocked store:

I know I can find good deals, too, at Wal-Mart, but I found the clutter and disorganization to create more stress than success. I like that Target is always clean and orderly and I know where everything is. The order of the store makes sense and it is not so large that I am very exhausted when I finish a trip complete with groceries, too. Occasionally the dollar aisle is a mess, but overall the store is pretty well-kept!

10) Plenty of online deals as well:

Target often has a sale on something I need more than one of, but the store doesn’t have that many or the right size in stock. However, the website does. I recently got tennis shoes for my boys and paid a minimal amount for shipping! Shoe costs can add up, so we were all very excited! And compared to the Wal-Mart shoes I have purchased, these have lasted a lot longer! I have also gotten some great skirts from their daily deals as well as other items. See my post “Online shopping tips” to make the most of your Internet shopping.

11) Clearance sections:

It seems that so many stores have junk in their clearance sections. However, at Target, I find stuff all the time. I particularly love to shop the clothing clearances, as I mentioned before. I always find great deals on clothing for my kids. By putting those purchases and hand-me-downs aside for later, my kids love when they grow out of a size and I bring up boxes of great stuff for the new season. The boxes include new and used, but they don’t care. By thinking ahead, I rarely have to buy much for the new season!

Target also has clearance sections in other departments. The end caps of aisles are always full of surprises and there are always tons of items on clearance in the home department! Today I got two great toys to put aside in my gift drawer and gingerbread cheesecake cookies only available for a limited time and so yummy! See my post on “Preparing for gift-giving = savings.”

NOTE: To find the best deals for Target each week, check out “Kosher on a Budget” and “Totally Target,” two great blogs.

Happy shopping!

Please feel free to share why you love Target in the Comments section!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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:

 
6 Comments

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Kids’ Rosh Hashanah Mitzvah Checklist

Did you use the Kids’ Mitzvah Checklist for Rosh Hashanah? My kids loved it and it was cute to see them get even more excited about doing each thing because they would also earn a sticker. (In some cases they earned more than one like for hearing shofar, davening, and setting the table.) I told them that after this set of holidays (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), we would take a special outing in honor of all the mitzvos they had done! I don’t want to reward them with a prize, because we do that for their regular behavior charts. I want this to be special!

However, as we celebrated the holidays, I realized that a few changes were needed:

  • I left a few things off the checklist. I added “I benched nicely after a meal,” and “I was helpful in welcoming or serving guests.” These were two things I gave my older son extra stickers for.
  • I also reorganized the chart to have the tasks in chronological order for the holidays. This will make it much easier for me to find each item!
  • I also added clip art for my younger children to make it easier for them to find the right square for their stickers. Thanks to Chinuch.org for their great clip art!

Here is the updated result. Hope you like it. It may be too late to use it for this year, but you can save the file for next. I plan to do another one for Sukkot!

Kids’ Mitzvah Checklist for Rosh Hashanah

Hope you have an easy fast today and that your Rosh Hashanah was meaningful!

Related posts:

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 19, 2012 in Family ideas, Forms for everything, Holidays

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 114 other followers

%d bloggers like this: