I know. "Wife Swap" is probably not the best source for parenting advice or organizational strategy. But with four kids in three sports, two musical lessons, two in scouts, plus school clubs and our family activities...we have alot going on each week. Suri is not cutting it. Relying on my iphone calendar reminders and my wall calendar and my email account and my husband has resulted in missed birthday parties, lost school supply lists, last minute scrambling and yelling to get to an event, and a stressed out mom.
I went to the dollar store and bought several dry erase charts. One was dedicated for "weekly activities," one was for a shopping list that the kids could add to, and one was for a "star chart." Then I bought three packs of shiny stars and let each child pick one color that would be their stars. We've been using the charts for three weeks, and I have to say, I'm impressed! Though my 4 year old doesn't really care one way or the other, my older two are on the BALL! I haven't had to remind them to do things AND my son is practicing piano in the mornings before school (on his own accord) to earn extra stars. Yeeeea me!!!! So, this chart thing is a little more work that I thought, but worth it. Now, for phase two....refining the system.
I foolishly thought that these fancy (haha) dollar store dry erase boards would easily release the star stickers. Nope. Plus, (as you can imagine), the these charts were not the most appealing things to see taped to the side of the fridge. Bright primary colors, random cartoon frogs and ducks....you get the picture. It did not bode well with my OCD.
I decided to commit to something a little more permanent. (Plus I had a kitchen wall that needed some eye candy.) So, I found some adorable frames at Michaels that were on clearance and went to work finding some cute scrapbook paper that would match my newly painted kitchen. This took way longer than it should have...but that's because I'm a second guesser. ("Should I buy it? Yes, I can return it. But I must remember to keep the receipt handy. And put the item in the car.......or else I could just save it for another project???" Daaaaah.)
I then used word to type out the text that was on the cheap-0 charts. I did add some personalized chores and decided to have a "menu" of how the kids could redeem their stars. (Getting to choose the music in the car, a piece of gum, a confiscated toy, a date with mom or dad, a play date or sleep over, a trip to Chuck E. Cheese, etc.) Yes! It all matched! I chose to leave two of the frames without text so I could write notes, use it as a weekly menu board, etc. Flexibility! My plan was to hang these and then use the dry erase marker directly on the glass. Of course, I had to hang them high enough where the kids couldn't reach and give themselves extra stars (ok, so I opted for initials...I am not peeling 50 stars off the glass every Sunday!)
Now, I love the look of collages on the wall, but we did that project on our staircase and it was a total PIA. How the heck do people do that without an acrobat or some kind of snazzy ladder? Ours turned out ok, but I had to do the splits with one leg on the banister and one on the ladder. NE who, it was the measuring out the distances between the frames and then between the holes and then leveling them and centering them on the wall that was the biggest downer. So, I had a stroke of genus tonight.
1. I designed the layout by laying the frames on our floor (the wood planks helped me align the frames without a ruler.)
2. I flipped the frames face down and then broke out some leftover painter's tape and made a square, with the tape bordering the frames (sticky side down, so that it sticks to the frame.) I also made sure to cross over where the hangers where on the frames (you can add extra pieces of tape that go all the way across if you have more than 4 frames.)
3. With a pen, I marked (and poked a hole) in the tape on top of the spot where the hangers were.
4. Then I peeled the tape off the frames and placed it on the wall, using a level to make sure the horizontal and vertical lines were straight. I used my handy J hook hanger things where the holes were, peeled the tape off the walls, and hung the pictures. I was sooooo exited! Our staircase has about 3 dozen extra holes where we mismeasured or didn't like how it looked once it was on the wall. But this took me about 10 minutes (I suck at using a level) and no extra holes in the wall! Here are some pictures.
Hope it helps some one else, too!