Monday, September 19, 2011

Kids & Earning Money

We've never given our kids allowances.  Now that they are getting older though they are starting to need more spending cash for various things.  Things that neither Hubby or I deam our responsibility to pay for.  So, in an effort to teach our children about money (and hopefully give them a better chance of being responsible as adults) we are doing something a little different.  The kids will earn money on chores that they do.  I made a list of all kinds of chores that they could do around the house. Each one was then given an amount and how often they can do that chore.  For example... emptying the dishwasher.  That's something that happens everyday.  Where as vaccuming the stairs happens once a week.  I printed out this chart and put it into a page protector and put it on the fridge.  One for each girl.  It's nice because the page protector works great with dry erase markers.  The kids will be paid at the end of each week.  At which time they will put a minimun of 10% in their savings account.  Their savings will be in the cloth envelopes below.  They will keep track of all money coming and going from these envelopes.  Our goal is for the savings accounts not to be touched unless they are saving for something that they really really want.  Any other money that they get from birthdays, holidays, etc will be handled the same way. 

We have always been very careful with what we allow them to spend their money on.  We have never let them buy something random at will.  They need to think about it for a few days and if they are still really wanting it then we will usually let them get it.  With this new plan however, spending money will be allowed to be spent on whatever they want.  This will be hard for us because neither hubby or like to see money spent on junky toys that will be broken and forgotten in a day.  But, we feel that they need to learn more about responsible spending.  So, an example of free spending... Lets say that Ali spends her $5.00 on candy in the student store and then decides later that she would have rather spent that money on earrings.  She has just learned that perhaps not all her money should have been spent on candy.  Her earrings would have lasted her a very long time were as the candy was gone quickly.  Maybe next time she'll really think about what she wants before spending it all.   Maybe only $1.50 on candy and the rest saved for those earrings.
We are hoping this will work out.  So far the kids have been more excited to do chores!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My September Garden

We are half way through September and we've been having July/August weather.  It's no wonder that my veggies are confused.  I've been told by a few "seasoned" gardeners that my veggies are fine for the weather that we are having.  I don't know if they are being nice or serious.  To me, the garden isn't producing like I thought it would.  I've decided to make a gardening journal so I can remember things from this year next year.  I do have to say though, that the veggies and herbs are awesome!  No comparison to grocery store veggies.  Next year.... I want a much much larger garden.
The tomatoes are doing the best of everything.  They grew quite large in size.  The fruit is smaller than what the tags said they should be.  The cherry tomatoes are about 1/2 the size of the ones in the grocery stores.  But, they do taste better!  The Early Girl tomatoes should be 4-5 oz each and they are mostly 2 oz each.  But, again... they are tasty!
I've been able to harvest 3 cucumbers.  The plant itself seams to be doing quite badly.  It's got very yellow and brown leaves.
The bell peppers are still going.  I've only harvested 2 so far, but there are quite a few on the bush still growing.  I'm hoping to have bell peppers for at least another month.
The zucchini squash are just sad.  I think I need to plant only one plant per pot next year.  Just sad....
The green beans have been sad too.  They never got larger than 10" tall and only produced 5 beans.  No picture of these because they are really boring!

Overall I'm happy with my results this year.  Considering how black my thumb is.  I've gotten a great sense of accomplishment out of growing things I can feed my family.  I still hate weeding and cutting the grass.  Give me a yard with just some grass and raised gardening beds and I'd be a happy gardener!

My Current Diaper Stash And Review Of My Favorite Pattern

I've been asked for an updated review of my favorite diaper patterns.  It's actually pretty simple now.  LDD aka: LaDiDa's.  This was a pattern that I heard rave reviews about for months before I caved and bought the pattern.  I've bought many many cloth diaper patterns and have now sold all but 4.  I've kept Fattycakes because I love them as covers.  Je'Mapelle because it fits nice and has many many styles.  A new one that I've forgotten the name of and have yet to try and of course LDD's. 

Daytime Diapering:  My stash currently consists of 11 of my altered LDD's.  I've made them medium long by adding about 2.5" through the rise and I've added some width across the front by cutting it at a bit of an angle on the fold.  This allows for more room in his front where he needs more soaking area.  For a girl you probably wouldn't need this.  I've made a few with a fun print on the outside back and tabs. (meaning that the print goes about 1/3 down the back)  I've found that these wick if he soaks his diaper good.  It doesn't happen often, but it happens enough for me to make new diapers with the embellishment just on the tabs. 

For soakers, I think I've tried it all.  Flannel, sweatshirt fleece, terry cloth, hemp, bamboo, jersey cotton, and microfiber.  But, my absolute favorite is ZorbII diamond.  This stuff is insanely soft, easy to wash, and absorbs like crazy.  All his diapers have one internal soaker of this stuff and a two layer soaker that snaps in.  This is the perfect amount for him during the day.  Non of my diapers have a wicking layer, but I do have some microfleece rectangles cut out and on his changing table if I think he'll be in a diaper for longer than usual. 

Construction of my diapers is fairly basic.  I use PUL for the outsides and something soft and wicking against his skin.  I usually use minky or suedecloth.  I like the minky better, but it costs more.  I prefer non cased elastic on the legs as I find they leave less marks.  My diapers are currently half cased and half uncased.
Nighttime Diapering:  I've been using sposies for months at night.  I know, I know..... shamefull!!!  But, I have yet to find the perfect way to diaper him at night.  I've tried fitteds with covers, super absorbent layers in an AI2, and even 2 prefolds with a cover.  Now only did he have a massive cloth diaper bum that looks terribly uncomfortable, but I still had to change him in the night at least once or twice.  Now that he's older though I want to try again.  I'm thinking my basic diaper with maybe 4-5 layers of Zorb II.

Well... That's my stash.  Let me know if you have any questions.