Kalliope Kids: Dry-Erase Flowers

I can’t believe that summer is over already! It seems like it was a whirlwind of activity. At least, it must have been since I haven’t managed to blog at all :). This week the big kids went back to school–1st and 3rd grades! How time flies…
Every year, we are asked to donate school supplies for the kids’ use and the classroom. This year, I was inspired to take the donations to the next level (although I did just hand over a bag of supplies, too!)

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I decided to make a pot of ‘flowers’ for each of the kids’ teachers. They are always in need of dry-erase markers (6 year olds don’t always cap markers properly!), so I used my trusty cricut machine to cut a basic cardstock flower that had a hole in the center of it. (The flower itself was about 2.5″ across, and is a shape found in the SCAL program.) I used several colors, and just stuck the lids of the markers through the hole. (I used both sizes of marker–wide tip and fine tip–and they both fit the same.) To secure it, I hot-glued a pompom to the top of each to make the center of the flower–this serves double duty as well, as the pompom can be used as an eraser!

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I used a plastic container that was low and wide as the pot (they are the kind that has a flip-top with a metal latch that I removed the metal band and lid from). I hot glued a band of ribbon around it, added a bow, and filled each half full with dried beans to be the anchor for the pens. Then I just arranged the flower pens in them, and added a dowel with a note that reads “Thanks a bunch for all you do!” and voila! A usable present that can decorate the teachers’ desks!

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Khepri Designs: Christmas Card Holder

20121216-183221.jpgIt’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around our house! I’m finally feeling like Christmas is coming, now that we have our trees up and decorated. It smells an awful lot like Christmas around here too! And while we have been decorating and cleaning up, I thought I should make up the card holder to put up our pile of cards we have already received! I headed to Ikea yesterday to get doors for the cabinets we ordered (I ordered the wrong size, and had to exchange them), and they had red picture frames that I thought would work perfectly for this project. So here it is!

20121216-183534.jpgI hot glued a strip of ribbon down each of the base ribbons I used–the two outer ribbons are green satin (though they look black in the picture) with red and white swirls, and the middle ribbon is silver and red with a strip of silver ribbon down the middle. I then glued the ribbons to the picture frame. I used my trusty Cricut to make the words “Merry Mail” with the ‘Feeling Groovy’ cartridge–white with a shadow of green–and added those to the front of the frame. A piece of ribbon glued to the top to hang it, and it was ready to go! I put in the family Christmas card that we are sending out, and I attached our received cards to the hanging ribbons with mini clothes pins (they are tiny, and sooooo cute!). I think it turned out great!

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Kalliope Kids: Chore Chart

Here it goes–Post Number 1! And it’s only several weeks overdue 🙂 I have been crafting and crafting these days, trying to get birthday parties and presents done–it’s hard to find time to actually post everything I have been making! But I thought the first thing I should post is the chore chart I made for the kids–now that it has been in play for several weeks, I can see how it’s working. And it IS!
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I made this with the Cricut Lite Chore Chart cartridge, a whole lot of Command hooks, and a piece of foam board cut to fit (I made it to fit a small wall that is beside our kitchen so the kids can see it regularly–it helps inspire them!) I created a bunch of tags, each with a chore on the front and a star on the back (and some blank ones with just the star)–we have making the bed, brushing teeth, setting the table, doing the dishes, homework, reading, cleaning up toys, taking a bath, bringing me the dirty laundry, putting away laundry, feeding the fish, being happy, and brushing hair. I tried to add some that they would get easily, so they would be able to earn some and not get disheartened, and some that were a bit more of a challenge. Plus I added plain stars that they earn when they are just being good–discretionary stars. There are multiple of each star, and a row of hooks under the days of the week. Each of the stars is laminated so we can use them over and over.

Detail ChoresWe give lots of stars out each week–and we take them away! Every time we need to stop a behavior, we give the kidlets a warning and then they start losing. The first day we had this going, each of the older kids lost so many stars they went negative and had to earn some back. But they definitely learned quickly!

At the end of the week, on Friday (our family night), the kids get to add up all their stars and trade them in for rewards. Rewards are both big and small–they get the chance to sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s room, get an hour of play time out front (because it requires supervision), half an hour of tv or video games, a trip to Disneyland or Sea World, and so on. (They still get to do things like play out front anyway, but they get to dictate when that happens if they have that reward–within reason.) When they have decided what they want, they take the little star tag with the reward on it and hang it beside their name. They have to put it back when they have used it. I also made some blank reward stars that we just fill in if they have a toy or something else they want to save for–that way we can give them a value for it. Reward Stars

The kids also have the option of saving up stars–if you look in the first picture, there is a # sign under their names with a hand-written number beside it. Laminating is a wonderful thing–it lets us use a dry erase marker and erase as needed! The kids are trying to save some stars each week and save up for a trip to Disneyland. It’s good practice for them to balance the saving/spending. I’m hoping they learn a bit about money from this exercise too… especially since they have the option of earning money from their stars as well (10 cents a star). It took us a week of earning stars before we actually decided on a number–we wanted to see how much they managed to earn before telling them the monetary value!

DaysThe kids also get to share stars if they want–but they also have to share their reward. They have been debating whether to share their Disneyland stars–if they share, we all go together, but if they save up themselves, they get to go alone with one parent (this sounds more expensive than it is–we have annual passes!). It’s been a tough call, since they will get to go sooner if they share, but if they go by themselves they get to decide which rides and where they go on their trip. It’s fun to watch them try to work it out, and it’s good for them to get to have some responsibility in the decision.

And for anyone who is wondering, that last line for poor Meeska with no stars on it–he’s only 18 months and is much more interested in pulling all the stars off the board than earning them! I just wanted something that would work for him, too, when he’s old enough–so hopefully this is still going in a year’s time when he can figure it out!

I hope this helps anyone looking for an effective chore chart–it’s big, but works incredibly well. I did a lot of searching online for one that would work for my family, and couldn’t find anything exactly what I needed (but that’s why I’m crafty, right?!). Maybe this will inspire you to create your own!