Monday, 27 February 2017

Mo Money Mo Problems: The First Six Months of Allowance

As a parent I have a severe hate on for marketing tricks meant to inspire a mean case of the "I want its". Whether it's candy bars at the front of a grocery store, perfectly timed ads for toys during children's television programming, or whatever addictive compound is present in Shopkins; it's good behaviour cryptonite for children.  

Last spring we hit a time period while running errands where the kids, especially Molly, assumed that there was some sort of prize at the end of each trip out of the house. We realized we needed to nip this in the bud and were already thinking about how we'd teach the kids about money, responsibility, and savings. 

We began giving a weekly allowance the week following their fifth birthday. They earn five dollars week because they're 5 and routinely perform chores in order to gain access to their funds. 

The most coveted Lego series

I know there is a lot of debate as to whether or not allowance should be connected with chores, but from our perspective it's been a good motivator and the kids (Molly in particular) are really proud of the contributions they're making. 

The minions are allotted their full allowance each week as long as they complete the following tasks without too many reminders or assists 
- Bring lunch bag and water bottle into kitchen each day after school 
- Put away coats and boots in proper places every day
- Complete tidy of bedroom once each week (toys in toy box, laundry in baskets, books on shelves)
- Complete tidy of basement once per week or on parental demand (toys away, dress-up clothes away etc.)
- Help sort recycling and garbage each week before garbage day
- One to three other age appropriate chores depending on parental demand (cleaning windows, setting the table, sorting laundry, clearing dishes etc.)

Molly has never missed out on her allowance and Jack only has twice. 

We predicted Molly would be the one blowing through her allowance and Jack would be the saver. 

This fall when it was "Toonie for Terry Fox" day at school, they wanted to contribute some of their hard earned allowance to the cause. (To read more about it click here)

For the most part Molly spends her allowance on clothes and Jack up until a few weeks ago saved his allowance, except  for splurging on a monster lunch bag.

In recent months Jack has fallen in love with the world of Lego. He particularly likes the action figures (mini figs) leaning towards anything Batman Lego, Star Wars Lego, or Knight (complete with robotic Lego suits). He's ripped through $50 in savings in the past month and can't wait for his funds to build up. 

Just a small portion of recent favs 

Molly surprised me. Most of her clothes purchases come from second hand stores; she loves working her budget. The other afternoon she came home from school upset because she no longer had any purple dresses that fit her. We went online together searching and she found a purple dress she liked at Old Navy and asked me to pick it up for her.  I asked her if she was sure and explained how the dress would cost her five weeks worth of allowance. She paused, thought for a moment, then told me that it wasn't worth it to her. She'd try her luck at Value Village instead.  I told her how proud I am of her for making such grown up choices. 

In the meantime Jack is all about the chores since he's grown to realizes that money (and Lego Knights) don't grow on trees. 

To read 10 reasons why chores can make kids more successful click here

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Thursday, 23 February 2017

Words of Wisdom: My Kids on Twitter in 140 Characters or Less

We spend a lot of time with the minions and I'm fortunate enough to record the things that they say and do so I can look back on it and laugh. Some of it makes the blog and other smaller moments don't. One of the brilliant things about Twitter is how it's the ultimate parenting "elevator speech", because you have to keep it short. Below are Tweets, conversations, parental musings and things that the minions have done or said over the past month, for your reading pleasure that haven't made it to the blog.

1. M: I'm , J's The Flash, Mom's , Dad ur & ur is shooting out of your tummy

2. J: We're in a band together. Me: What are we called? J: Pee, barf & diarrhea Me: Gross J: (giggles) I know right?

3. The ur child convinces u they're 2 sick 2 go 2 school then miraculously recovers therefore making you act like Cam

Cause this is how Gumby should really be.

4. When ur son takes matters into his own hands because it's garbage that his isn't really made of clay

5. M: I've been practicing getting tougher Me: What have you been doing? M: Mostly karate poses and pretending to fly.

6. C: Do you want some pistachios? M: No, I'm a princess and princesses don't eat nuts.

7. Me: Are you eating snow? J: just a bit. Plus I'm throwing the mud on the ground. So relax mommy

8. J: Do men have penises? me: no J: Even Lego me: Even Lego Batman. J: Huh.

9. Me: Watch out for that pile of dog...u stepped in it.J: Stepped in what? Dog Poo Me: Yes J: Say the grown-up word for it, I know you want to
10. Please stop wearing ham as a beard (and other things I never thought I'd say at lunch) M: but I'm ham ta clause
To read more blogs on my kids on twitter click hereherehere, here, and here.
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Multiple Momstrosity on Twitter @Sarabethbug

Friday, 17 February 2017

Everyday I Write the Book: Sharing My Writing On Other Sites

It's that time of the month again when I share some of the writing I've been completing for other publications.  There's seriously some pretty fun stuff that I got to write this month, I am particularly excited about the research I completed on things women can do that men can't as well as exploring why someone should probably have a C-Section (since I was one of these moms).

Nowadays as my full-time job I write and ghostwrite articles for online publications, organizations and blogs, in addition to providing public relations services.  While I can't really share my ghostwritten articles on this platform, cause then I wouldn't really be a ghostwriter would I, I can share some of the other stuff I have been working on.

I can't begin to explain how thankful I am for all of the support I've had over the years for my writing, and for life as a parent.  It means a lot!

As for Multiple Momstrosity content, don't worry, the minions are still up to their usual antics, and I have plenty more to write about on that front, the kids always keep us guessing.  Click on the links for the topics that interest you most, and if you enjoy what I wrote please share, like, and follow, and keep parenting and reading on!  If you have any ideas for a story, a playground review, or article on any front, feel free to share it with me!  I'm always looking for new sources of inspiration!

Entertainment Writing

Parenting Writing

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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Batman - Movie Review Lego Batman

Last weekend we went to go and see The Lego Batman Movie.  Here is a review from our, Molly, and Jack's perspective.

Image courtesy of Wikia

What's in it for the Kids?
It's Batman and Lego, together.  Two things that most kids, mine in particular love.  Jack has been really into Lego (especially the little men) and it's neat for them to learn a little bit more about the back story of batman that won't terrify them a la Heath Ledger Joker.  This movie has fast action in toys your kids will love.

What's in it for the Adults?
Will Arnett is back reprising his role as Batman from the original Lego Movie.  As a big time fan of brooding anti-heroes I was super pumped about Batman and his industrial music stylings, but the real star of this movie is Michael Cera as Robin/Dick Grayson who's interpretation of Robin is wide-eyed, innocent and fun.  My runner up for best addition to the film would be Zack Galafianakis for his portrayal of The Joker, a bad guy who's feeling a little unappreciated.

Best Parts of the Movie
High action with some jokes that work for both kids and adults.  This movie digs into the fight scenes really quickly, and provides some much needed insight into the ways that Batman is not always awesome.  This movie pokes holes into the bat armour to show some pretty big character flaws in The Dark Knight in a new and refreshing way.  Kids will learn from the "team" based approaches to success and look into what family can really mean.  The Batman vs. Superman frenemy plot line had me laughing out loud a few times.

Worst Parts of the Movie
It felt long, and like a sequel, which it essentially was to The Lego Movie, which was much, much better.  My kids normally are the annoying ones who ask lots of questions during a movie, and they were quiet, but mostly because they had nothing to say about the film good or bad.  Other kids in the theatre were tantruming and acting up out of boredom.  Chris fell asleep during one part of the movie. There has been no mention of the movie one way or another since by either child

Overall Rating
I would rate this movie 2.5/5, mostly because I felt really let down after reading misleading and extremely positive reviews pretty much everywhere else.  The next day I saw a friend who had seen the movie with us and she said, "Was it just me or was that movie really mediocre?" because she didn't want to complain in front of the kids.  I wouldn't go out of my way to see this movie in theatres, or at all, period.  I don't understand why it's still rating so high.

To read my review of Trolls (which is now available for purchase) click here.

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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Rocky Mountain High - Adventures in Winter Tubing

Last weekend we headed north with the minions, some family, and friends to enjoy some of the best winter has to offer, snow!  While we have had a colder winter than last year, there hasn't been much snow, and as Molly reminds me, we still have a lot of work to do on our winter bucket list before the end of March.

This was the first year that we took Molly and Jack tubing at Horseshoe Valley, and I'm happy to say it was a big success. I attribute a lot of this positive experience with how we prepared for it, the rest I'll chalk up to luck. Thankfully both kids are happy to add winter tubing to our agenda for next year.

Jack laying in a snowbank pre-tubing (this is how mittens got wet!)

11 Tips for Winter Tubing with Little Kids

  1. After you determine you think tall enough or big enough for said activity, wait a little while longer
    Technically the minions were tall enough and old enough to go tubing last year, but based on their responses to big slides and other activities last winter we determined it was best to wait another year, and I'm glad that we did.  After an earlier trip sledding this winter there was absolutely no hesitation to tackle the big hill and zero talk about being scared.
  2. Bring along veteran tubers or bigger kids
    The appeal of an activity with their older cousins made any fear melt away.  Both kids wanted to ride down the hill with their cousins and be "big kids" too.  As always, I'd recommend bringing more adults than kids so you can take shifts down the hill, and for trips to the washroom, so you're not hitting pause for everyone if one kid needs a break.
  3. Just carry their tubes for them
    After a couple of runs down the hill and back up the escalator we all determined that kids under seven or so generally do best when they can stand on the escalator and step off without creating a bottleneck when a grown-up stacks their mini tube on top of theirs and takes it up the hill for them. By teaching the kids to "surf" on the ramp up the hill it prevented falls when the ramp stopped suddenly.

    Dad and Jack at the top of the hill getting ready to go down the hill
  4. Bring extra hats and mittensHalf way through our two hour adventure whirring down the hill on giant donuts Molly began to complain her hands were cold, and her mittens were soaked from playing in the snow.  We were able to swap out for fresh dry ones in a pinch.
  5.  Warm up by the fire
    Horseshoe valley has a fire near the bottom of the hill where you can warm up for a bit of a break 
  6. Wear two pairs of socks
    I didn't have both kids in two pairs of socks and I quickly regretted this decision.  The snow is cold on the feet and an extra pair of socks each would have likely been able to get us another trip or two down the hill.
  7. Mitten warmers can double as boot warmers
    My sister (thankfully) had packed a set of hand warmers to place in mittens of cold hands.  These will also work when placed in a boot between a sock and the boot itself.  I'm totally bringing some of these next year.

    On the ramp heading up the hill
  8. Don't obsess about "getting your money's worth"
    I calculated it out and we needed to go down the hill at least six times to make our two hour pass more cost effective than purchasing individual trips down the hill, even with a 20% discount card. We went down seven times total, but at the end of the day if we'd only gone down five it would have been okay, they had a blast and want to go back again - so win win.  If you think your kid is going to freak out about this hill you can purchase a one run and done pass to test it out to negate the risk of them bailing quickly.
  9. Know when to call it
    We bargained for one extra run down the hill when the kids were complaining about really being cold and wanting to go home.Remember this is supposed to be fun! On our way to the car I saw a pair of girl/boy twins about a year or two younger than Molly and Jack crying because they were wet and cold.  By calling it a day before it was too late things ended on a high note.  I'm not going to say there wasn't any whining, but it was manageable.
  10. Bring Separate Cars
    Older kids were able to stay a little while longer, and we didn't feel bad for pulling the plug on the festivities when the minions got cold, because we weren't stopping anyone else from getting the most out of their pass.
  11. Warm Baths and Hot Cocoa
    What could be better than having a hot bath (but not too hot on cold skin) while your parents make you hot chocolate to warm out after a winter outdoor adventure?

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