Ask your kids to help

Hi there

It’s been too long. I had grand plans of reblogging everything I blogged about but decided that’s boring. Not that much fun for me and probably not that much fun for you. All the posts from 001 to 365 are here for you if you want to read them.

Instead, I’ll just pitch a debt defying act to you from time to time for your thoughts and consideration. I will say this year is going much better than last. Seems I have a handle on it. Even if it’s still a grave situation in which we find ourselves. Slaves to the debt economy.

Anyway, that aside, one tactic I use is to enlist my kids’ help. They each have a main job and it helps us to keep on top of chores. A tidier house seems a happier one in our case as it is quite tiny.

Have a great week!

Act 312

Cook with your kids

We’ve spent many a Saturday at home this last year and it’s been good for our culinary craft. I’ve learned to make bread and sauces, pastry and soups. The kids are on board. One son asks me regularly if he can please help me chop stuff up. The other is more of a taste tester and he’s developing quite a gourmet palette.

Their repertoire of recipes is getting pretty extensive: ribs, pasta, eggs, bread, muffins and cookies. They’ve been a big help and they like feeling like they can contribute to family meals. It helps at the grocery store because they understand that we can make it at home rather than buy it in a box.

If only we could reverse engineer the recipe for oreos, I’d be all set.

Act 292

Take turns

Yes, I know. This is one of those things you learn in kindergarten but it still applies to us as adults.

As the end of the year approaches, both my husband and I have some very big projects to finish up and some fairly ambitious financial targets to hit. So our weekend time is becoming ever more scarce. Our compromise was for each of us to work one day and keep one day to be with the kids and deal with the house. He worked Saturday, while I had my pyjama day. I worked today while he hung out with the boys and did fun boy stuff including grocery shopping (which our kids do oddly enjoy). Worked out well.

There’s no “i” in debt, or team for that matter – so find an approach that makes the best of the time and the team that you have.

Act 186

Make your own ice tea

I love days like today. Neighbourhood kids over for an afternoon of fun. But they’re always thirsty for more. While water is the best option, they like ice tea and lemonade too. So rather than run off and spend $5 or more ¬†on sugary mix, we made home made ice tea instead. They loved it. Summer has a new drink.

Act 184

Old school summer camp

My summer camp was close to home. In my neighbourhood, in fact. Mostly in my yard and at the beach down the block. Nothing fancy. But very fun.

Flip flops, bathing suits, popsicles, picnics, running in the sprinkler. Friends and family. Sometimes we would summer camp at my cousins’ in Quebec. Same games but “en francais”.

There are so many opportunities for kids to attend camp in the summer. Music camp, drama camp, soccer camp, regular camp, horse camp. But I camp afford it (a little debt humour). Even if I could, I don’t know that I’m ready to send them off for weeks at a time. We don’t get as much time with our kids as we’d like to think.

While it’s true that it’s not summer camp for parents, there are ways to share child care – take turns watching the kids for a day, or hire a neighbourhood teen to watch them, or call in a gramma if you’re so lucky. This is what we try to do.

And while it’s early goings yet, I’ve haven’t once heard the two words parents dread “I’m bored”. They’re having fun and unstructured play is important for kids. They need more of it. And it’s a cost effective option that works for us.

Act 183

Teach your children the difference between needs and wants

Now I’ve been trying to do this for awhile. But I think I got through to boy one today.

I understand parenting. It’s my number one job. Take emptying the dishwasher for example. That lesson is still in progress. Honestly, negotiating world peace might have been easier. And don’t get me started on teaching the difference between brushing your teeth and brushing your teeth properly. Honestly, I could put an astronaut in orbit with less grief.

But when my eldest son said to me today – “Mom, I think it’s a need now rather than a want now” I knew I broke through. He was talking about his computer of course as many pre-teens do. But he understood the difference. And I’ll take that as a victory.

I spend many hours with my kids. I enjoy their company (well, most of the time) and they are on this journey with us. When we have little breakthroughs like this, I know I’m on the right track. And it gives me hope. Now, onto laundry folding 101!