Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring is in Full Swing at the Knutson House!

This past weekend was Caitlyn's Spring Violin Recital. We were, of course, very proud and thought she did an excellent job! Check out the video!

Caitlyn invited her friend, Lane, to come hear her play. It took a little coaxing to get Jeremy to go along with it, but the kids had a great time. :D Our good friends Pam and Billy, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Lacks from our church, came to cheer Caitlyn on. When it comes to her violin playing, Caitlyn's starting to think more about her future goals. She's even talking to her violin teacher about the possibility of playing in a childrens orchestra!

Kylie and Caitlyn both have an upcoming dance recital the end of May, and Kylie and John David just started Tae Kwon Do, so our lives are pretty busy right now. Dance takes a break during the summer, so that will be nice. It seems the kids are always busy doing something but since we homeschool, I know the involvement in extra curricular activities is good for them and allows them some time out of the house! :)

Here's a video of the kids singing in the Children's Choir at church this Sunday. It's kind of a blurry video. I took it with my regular camera instead of my video camera.

Spring looks to be pretty busy for us with our normal activities, a trip to Tennessee for my sister's wedding, and a trip to Wisconsin coming up. We're all enjoying the great weather though. The kids have been outside as much as they can be! Hope you all are enjoying the Spring weather too!


Monday, March 22, 2010

It's a Bridal Shower

When my sister, Andrea, was in town, I got the chance to throw her a bridal shower. I was really excited, because it was my one chance to partake in the wedding festivities since I live out of state. I really wanted to let my sister know just how excited I was for her! I invited several friends that have met and gotten known my sister over the time she has spent visiting and living with us during the summer of 2008. We had 20 ladies at the shower and I was so grateful for all the friends who gathered to show their love and share their congratulations with my sister. My sister's fiance was supposed to make the trip with her, but due to a last minute work issue, my sister-in-law, Crystal, came with her instead. It was a blessing in disguise, because then Crystal got to join in the fun too!

The few weeks before I had set about making preparations and buying decorations. The invites (designed by Two Silly Sisters on etsy) were the center of my color scheme. Though black isn't usually a color you would see at a bridal shower, black and hot pink are one of my sister's favorite color combos and I knew she would love it. I purchased black and pink everything, including these bird themed napkins that I loved.

I also made these bird seed heart party favors that made up the centerpiece on the table and went home with the guests at the end of the night. They were each tied with a pretty ribbon and had a matching tag with Andrea and Clay's names as well as their upcoming wedding date. The ingredients I used didn't hold up as well as I had hoped! Oh well, they looked pretty for the few minutes that they hung on the tree then they started falling apart!). :D Note to self: find a more stable recipe for birdseed hearts!

Andrea and Crystal helped me cut out and put together the cupcake toppers, and they turned out great. My pink icing wasn't quite the right color, but I didn't hear anyone complaining as they ate the delicious chocolate cupcakes! :) The entire night was a blast, and Andrea received lots of gift cards to use toward household items she needs. Thank you to all my fabulous friends for helping me celebrate with my sister!


There's a Nest ON Our Front Door!

I know it sounds crazy, but it's true! We always have several nest around our house in bushes and trees during this time of year. We have multiple birdhouses in the back yard for this very reason and love to watch the baby birds hatch and learn to fly. We have been able to see first hand the miracle of this process.

A few weeks back, I put a new wreath on our front door, a very inexpensive one I found at WalMart, but one I though looked nice and Spring-ish. Last night when we arrived home after church, Jeremy noticed a bird fly off the front porch area when he approached to unlock the door. This was the second time that day, so he decided to investigate. Sure enough, this tiny little bird, who I have been hearing chirping outside our front door every morning for over a week, had constructed a tiny little nest in the top of our wreath! I thought it was camouflaged pretty well.

I managed to get a picture of the six tiny little eggs inside the nest. We have never seen eggs around our house this tiny before and can't wait to see what type of bird hatches! We will definitely have to be careful opening and shutting the door for awhile. :D


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Happy St. Paddy's Day!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Daddy Dollar Incentive Program: A Winner At Our House!

I am always looking for new ways to motivate our kids to be consistent having a good attitude, doing their chores, paying attention during school time, and more. I have tried several different incentive programs over the years including the Behavior Ladder that worked really well for almost a year. You can see from the picture that each child had a button that we moved up and down the ladder depending on their behavior. This would determine what privileges they were rewarded. Sadly, I was the one that was less than consistent using it and it ended up becoming less than motivating. It also ended up being a punishment rather than a reward, which as you know doesn't motivate well.

For the past few months, we've been using a new incentive program that is working fabulously and both the kids and Jeremy and I are rewarded! I read an article last year in Family Fun Magazine about a family that used a Daddy Dollar system and I was curious as to how that would work in our household. Much like an allowance, the Daddy Dollar system is used to reward for good behavior and chores. Our kiddos earn one Daddy Dollar every morning for waking up with a good attitude, and eating breakfast and doing their morning chore in a timely manner. They also earn Daddy Dollars for doing extra chores throughout the day, good grades on tests and quizzes, paying extra attention during school time, and any time I feel that they have gone the second mile. On the flip side, they can also lose Daddy Dollars for bad behavior, and having a bad attitude.

What makes these Daddy Dollars so special? Why, they have Jeremy's face on them! The kids keep their Daddy Dollars in a special Daddy Dollar Wallet that the kids and I created together. They are able to cash their Daddy Dollars in for toys, treats, pizza, bedtime movies and popcorn, etc. We allowed the kids to come up with a list of things that they would like to be able to buy with their Daddy Dollars. Then Jeremy and I edited the list and applied price tags to all the items. Some of things are not material, like a day at the zoo, and outings like that. We have adapted the program so that it works well for our family. For instance, weekends tend to be busy and we don't always have time to stick to the structured schedule we follow most days of the week. Therefore, we don't award Daddy Dollars during the weekends.

The kids have been trying harder to consistently have a good attitude and it's showing! (That's the part where we are rewarded!) They are constantly counting and recounting their Daddy Dollars to see what they might be able to buy, and I've been surprised at how good they've been at saving them. This little incentive program has also been a teaching opportunity. How to handle, save, and count money are must-have skills that this program encourages.

You can create your own Daddy Dollars online HERE. This site also has several other bills from several different countries to choose from. You just upload a photo, download and save the bill. Then print to your heart's delight. I put several on a page in a Word document to save on paper. Works like magic at our house!!


Monday, March 15, 2010

Fun at The Children's Museum!

Hi everybody! It's been busy, busy, busy here! I wanted to post this video quick of the fun we had last week at our local children's museum. We are doing a project with Tropicana on my My Four Monkeys website, and went to the museum as part of the campaign. I took along my friend Jackie's daughter, Savannah, for back-up support with the kiddos, and we spent the day exploring caves, playing outside in the museum's big outdoor play area, milking a fake cow, making music, playing with virtual butterflies, doing arts and crafts, and more! Check out all the fun we had!

If for some reason you can't see the video, go HERE to view it.

Also, I will be posting more in the next few days about Andrea's Bridal Shower we had this weekend while she was visiting and a new Daddy Dollar program we're doing with the kids here at home.

Love you all, and thank you to God Almighty for great friends and fun!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Eating Funky Monkey Snacks!


Jeremy's Latest Home Improvement Project

Jeremy has taken a break from all things home improvement the last two weeks, but right before his break he started work on the ceiling in our school room. He built on this room last year, using an existing screened in porch. The ceiling was never finished and you could see all the beams. It's a pretty high ceiling and to be honest, it never bothered me since I didn't exactly spend a lot of time looking up at the ceiling. Jeremy decided to go ahead and finish the ceiling, but I didn't realize what an undertaking this would be!

Lifting the large pieces of drywall and holding them on the ceiling while he screws them into place was nearly impossible to do by himself. So, my husband created this ingenious brace that he screwed in place to help hold the large pieces in place so he could screw them in. He amazes me. Like any man, he hates to ask for help, so he created a way to do it himself. :)

The next week was spent mudding and sanding and there was dust everywhere. Needless to say, the school room was unusable for a few days, and the you know the kids were so disappointed about that! :D It looks great now, and he even added some matching trim that I love. Thanks sweetheart!


Caitlyn and I's Newest Craft Obession

I recently order this book about Kanzashi. It's a lot like Origami but with fabric. By folding small scarps of fabric you create these gorgeous flowers for hair clips, headbands, embellishing totes and clothing, and so much more! Caitlyn really loves and it's something we can do together which is fun. you can't tell the difference between the ones she creates and the ones I make! Here's two we made last night.


Caitlyn's is the larger one. In fact, I think her's looks better than mine! :)