Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Groundhog Poop FREE Printables

What kid doesn't want to eat poop?!  Seriously, kids think this is hilarious and, quite frankly, I do too!  So I designed these printables to pair with some round chocolates.  You can use chocolate covered raisins, malt balls, junior mints, chocolate covered peanuts, or even chocolate chips.  Just buy a pack of party bags at Walmart ($2.00 for 25) size 4" x 9.5", fill with chocolates, fold label over and staple this printable to the top.
Here are the supplies I used:

And here is how it turned out:

I put 1/4 cup of chocolate yogurt covered raisins in each bag (about 1.6 ounces for each).

Around 7:30am the morning of Groundhog Day, you can see if Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and select the box on the back of the label.  Hand them out to your child's class, your neighborhood kids or just to your children.  Either way, they will be delighted to eat poop!

Happy Groundhog's hoping for an early Spring!

To download the printable, click here:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

How I Changed Chores & Allowance in my Home....

My children have had chores since they could walk.  I immediately taught them how to pick up after themselves and clean-up when they left a room.  They are now 5, 6 and 8 and do they have an intense desire to be clean and organized...NO!  They are still like any other kid their age who takes no initiative to clean on their own; however, they rarely complain about doing chores because it's something they've always known, it's apart of our routine.  What do they complain about?  Well this year they caught wind that, of   their few friends who actually have chores to do at home, those friends get paid the big bucks.  So my husband and I had to finally discuss allowance we thought was fair, and not overindulgent.

I did some research online first to see what professionals and psychologist had to say about when to start chores, how many chores to give, what ages can do what and the debate over allowance.  So I concluded on this:

1.  We made them more independent.  I used to have the girls do chores together and the boys do chores together.  This turned out to be a pretty BAD idea now at this age.  There was constant tattling and arguing over who wasn't doing enough and their fair share in the duo.  So I switched chores now so that each child does them independently.  This has worked out AWESOME!  Chore time is much more peaceful!

2.  We killed the gender roles.  I used to give the girls the same chores everyday and the boys the other chores.  Girls always did dishes, boy always took out trash.  At the young ages, I wanted them to master their chore so I didn't have to continue to check their work.  Although this seemed easier, it was a disservice to my kids.  They were bored with the same chores everyday and it was a disservice to their being by not teaching them how to do a broad spectrum of chores.  If I'm training them to become complete and capable adults one day but not teaching them how to cook AND take out the trash equally, then I'm not doing my job.  So I divided the chores up so that every kid has every chore to do at least 1 day a week.  They have loved this!  Each day they have something different to do so they like the diversity.  And although, up front, I have more work to do with training them in all these areas, I'm quickly discovering that it's worth it!

I don't have a fancy or complicated chart where they mark off what they did.  They HAVE to do their chores within 30 minutes everyday.  I expect them to do them and then every Sunday I'll pay them, just like in the real world of jobs (except it's Fridays you get paid).  I also don't let them "pick" their chores.  They have to learn how to do all of them.  And, of course, I don't discriminate chores based on gender.

3.  We increased their allowance.  Previously, now don't laugh, but I was giving them each a penny for every chore they did.  They didn't know any better and they were super happy with it so it served its purpose.  But now that they are older, I had to be more fair.  Of all the reports and studied I read about allowance, I concluded that a fair allowance was beneficial.  Fair meaning, $1 per each year they have been alive.  My 8 year old get $8 per week minus the $3 she owes us to care for her guinea pig, so she receives $5 per week.  Then we have them take out $.50 to save and $.50 for charity each week.  Our plans for that is that at the end of the year they can use their "saved" money to buy family and friends Christmas presents and their "charity" money to buy gifts for children from the Christmas Bureau.  This teaches them about savings, taxes and helping the poor.

4.  We explained that chores are non-negotiable.  Then, once they agreed to the list and signed it, they had to do the chores.  We talked about the meaning of "the house takes care of you, so let's take care of the house."  But the biggest motivator I've found for having them keep their rooms (especially) clean is that I tell them that if they don't keep it clean then mice, rats, snakes and spider will want to come live in their messy rooms.  No one wants that, so it's been a very useful tool so far! :)  Don't judge me! LOL!

5.  I added a "Chef's Assistant" for each night!!!  This is much less like a chore to them and more like a reward.  Now, I love to cook but I hate having someone constantly interrupting me and asking me questions in the kitchen.  It makes me lose focus and I get frustrated.  But I have learned that it's very valuable to teach my kids to cook so I just suck it up and try to be present and enjoy the moment.  But here's why it's always been so painful...I would let all 4 help me cook!  What the heck was I thinking?!  Apparently I wasn't because I was so distracted with 4 kids constantly spitting questions at me.  I realized that if I just have 1 child per night help, then they actually will learn more and I get that great one-on-one time with them that I rarely get with having 4 kids.  This has been so rewarding!

PLUS, at the dinner table the one who helped me cook kept praising the food that "they" cooked and convincing the others to try it.  They also are learning just how much work goes into preparing a meal and that you need to be grateful for the cook.  It's been a win-win in the Tidwell household!  And like the old saying goes, "if you want to eat, you better learn how to cook"!

6.  We also have additional chores they can do to earn more money.  They are chores they don't HAVE to do but can choose to do if they are looking for ways to earn more.  They are learning that if you work hard and go above and beyond, then you can make more money to buy what you want.  You don't have to expect others to get things for you.   Chores and allowance are a great way to teach children about finance.  As a child, I never learned how to manage my finances.  My CPA husband learned these great lessons from his parents and he's amazing with our money.  The only debt we have is our home and I think that's extremely impressive...I owe it all to him!

7.  We're teaching them the value of hard work.  They learn that if they just do a little bit each day then nothing piles up into a huge task and the house is always comfortable.  Not only that, but when they accomplish something that they thought they would fail at, they build their self-esteem.  Self-esteem is not built by parents constantly praising their child for things unpraise worthy, instead it's build by a child struggling with a task and then finally overcoming that task.  Give them challenges so that they can eventually accomplish them and feel that wonderful sense of pride - that's how self-esteem and confidence is built!

8.  We're not saying it's easy.  What about the lazy child?  Most of us have one of those.  The child who takes 6 hours to make their bed.  Or the child who does everything half-way.  Well, that child will take more work in my experience, a lot more!!!  I have 2 of those children and it is very frustrating.  However, after years (yes, I said years) of standing behind them while they work and saying things like this "stay on task", "stay focused", "don't stop moving, just keep working and it will be done faster than you think", "go super-hero speed", "I'm setting the timer and if it's not done then your TV privileges are being taken away", they are finally getting it!  But the real cannot have a playdate this afternoon or do anything fun until the chores are done.

We do try to make it fun.  For those 30 minutes I turn up the dance music and we have at it!  Music can change any mood in a quick moment!

So here is our chore chart.  They color key is at the bottom of the chart and shows who does what on what days.  Both my girls can read so they help me remind the boys of what their chores are.

In the mornings, they can't come down for breakfast until their floors are picked up and their beds made.  Since I am a recovering perfectionist I have learned not to expect it to be perfect, it will only set them up for failure and discourage them.  So I know the beds won't look like a magazine cover and everything might not be put in the right place, but if I can walk in the room without stepping on toys or clothes, then it's a success!

Then, an hour after they have arrived home from school and have had their snack and relax time, they have 30 minutes of chores.  And they get it all done in that time!  You'll be surprised at how much your children can accomplish!

Obviously this works for my family of 4 children but may not work for your family of 1 child or children on the spectrum or with disabilities.  I am not a psychologist so please use this as inspiration and not gospel. :)  I hope it helps you to share the responsibilities so that you get a break and your children learn great lessons in hard work, cleanliness and financial responsibility.  And, as with everything you implement into your family dynamic, personalize it to work for you and your family.  There's never a "1 size fits all" approach to parenting.  Enjoy and happy cleaning!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Card 2013

 Last year at Thanksgiving I saw a girlfriend of mine post their family Thanksgiving picture...all of them were in different shades of plaid...I thought it was so quaint, cozy and picture perfect.  Therefore, a year ago I knew what my Christmas card was going to be this year!

I found an inspiration photo on the internet, made a burlap banner, bought some fun vintage thermos, a plaid blanket & shirts and was ready to go!

My photographer came to my backyard and took these.  What you don't see is that just before this I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everything set up by myself...because my husband loath's photos! LOL!  But we managed to be falling when this shot was taken and we burst into laughter so all was well, whew!

I bought a groupon for 110 cards with envelopes and free shipping for only $40!  These dang groupons pick where I order my cards from every year!  But my favorite place of all time to order cards is!  Unfortunately they didn't have a groupon this year :(

Anyway, since I didn't get to send out a card to everyone I love, I thought I'd post it here to wish all of my blog followers and friends a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays...and Plaid Tidings of course! :)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Elf on the Shelf 2013

This year's Christmas season is shorter than last year's season.  As a result, we have less days to celebrate Elf on the Shelf.  At first this made me a little excited as I thought about the amount of work it will save me; however, once I tried to figure out all the fun stuff to do with the Elf this year, I was bummed that I couldn't do it all.  So, I came up with my schedule for the month which you will see below to help me make sure I do the ones that I really want to do.  I know this may seem overboard, but I'm not the most creative person at 8pm at night and need to just look at something that tells  me what to do so I can just do it quickly.  

Hope you are inspired to make your own Elf on the Shelf Calendar so that your nights can go smoother too! :)

Lastly, in case you are looking for some photo inspiration, here are all the Elf ideas I did last year: 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thanksgiving Day Ideas & Checklist

Do you feel the pressure?  There are only 10 more days until Thanksgiving which means that the Christmas season is fast approaching...only 37 more days until Christmas!  

My husband is a CPA and the end of the year is his busy season...well, it's mine too!  All moms across the world are super excited for the holiday festivities but also equally frantic about what that means for our workload.  So, I try to be as prepared as possible this season to keep myself calm and enjoying all the little moments.  Easier said than done, but I give it a good try! ;)

I know that this holiday is about giving thanks for what we have, and as American, we truly are blessed!  But as the parent who does all the preparing for these holiday, it's hard to stay in a state of gratitude and not be in a state of busy.  Meditation and being in the moment are what helps me relax in to a grateful mindset.  But meditation can come in many varieties.  My therapist taught me how to meditate with my senses.  Take 5 minutes (multiple times a day) and close your eyes and mediate only on what you hear, or what you smell, or feel, ect.  Or open your eyes and mediate on just the beauty you see.  Or my personal favorite, eat a favorite food super slow and meditate on all the flavors! :)  That's how I try to enjoy all the little moments throughout each day!

So this year my oldest daughter's birthday falls on Thanksgiving day.  We are doing her slumber party the weekend before to give us a bit of a break, but we also don't want to ignore her special day just because it falls on Thanksgiving.  So, I've created my little checklist to keep me on track.  

I hope it helps inspire you to start planning and preparing so that you can relax more on this special day of Thanks!

To download this checklist, click here:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Adult-Only Halloween Party

So I have these great friends (shout-out to Christie and John Mazur) that love Halloween more than any other you'll see! They wanted to throw a neighborhood Halloween party for some close friends and I couldn't wait to help!

Here is Christie and I just before the guest arrived...quickly taking a shot between lighting candles, setting out food and all the hectic last minute details. :)

I got her this sign as a thank you gift for perfect for our party!

So, let me tell you all about this party starting with the front yard!

First of all they were recently on the news for their yard decor! :)
John is a business owner and Christi is from Canada, so they have an opinion about Obamacare.  So, for the 2nd year in a row, they incorporated politics into their decorations which I think is hysterical!  I've included the link to their news report and you will see that they don't take themselves that seriously and would never mean to offend anyone, they are just having fun!

On a quick side note, when I first met Christie a year ago she said she wasn't that creative.  She had worked for years in a professional setting and didn't consider herself that crafty.  WELL, apparently she's modest and humble, because I would say that she's one of the most creative people I know now and I'm super honored to have met her so we can spend hours imagining, creating, planning and crafting!

So when you walk up to her front porch you'll notice two huge skeleton wreaths!  She made these amazing wreaths from a bag of bones and hot glue!

Then she used her Christmas trees and wrapped them in bloody ribbon and added some bats and ravens!

These ghouls are scary!  She bought Styrofoam heads and adhered cheesecloth!  We twisted in hooks at the top of their head and hung them with fishing line.  And, big event planning secret, buy a ton of command hooks!  They were used everywhere!

She had this large wall that I thought we should take advantage of, so we hung more command hooks and stretched spider webs across.  Then we hung larger hooks and hung the spiders!  So much fun! 

Isn't this a beautiful foyer table?

Gross and awesome stick-ons!

The prize table!  Now she outdid herself on these!  She bought floppy skeletons and hot glued all the joints together and painted/made clothes for them.  First is the Funniest Costume Award, then The Best Couple Award, then the Oscar goes to....The Most Creative Award!

The food table!  Due to the lighting, you can't see all the cheesecloth, spider webs and spiders hanging from her chandelier, but it was impressive!  I also love the creepy cloth over the windows and the wanted posters covering her existing art!

Perfect way to add spook to your wall dishes!

Wanted Posters!

Probably the most popular food/drink dish hands down!  She filled 100 of these needles with Jell-O shots!

I made these yummy spider eggs :)

She made this delicious spider dip!

What?  Who hasn't had bat poop before?

I made these vampire cookies for our dessert!

I just thought this detail was perfect!

Ok, so this candy corn martini had me taking me heels off pretty early into the night! :)

I made these crab Backbone Roll-Ups!

Witches hats and broom sticks!

 Don't you want to "rest" in this restroom?

More gory details!

The wine bar!

Another table for food!

Not sure why, but I fell in love with's not so obviously Halloween but perfectly spooky!


So, they just had this fireplace finished the day before the party!  Amazing!  And it was her hubby John's idea to hang the ghoul and her idea for the banner...see, let the ideas flow and see what happens!

Cheap and easy centerpieces...empty wine bottles, spooky labels, white taper candles and spray on blood!

Now this skinny swimmer stole the night along with the 12 pumpkins that lined the back of the pool!  Beautiful!

Her hubby gets this vodka in a skull every year and he keeps the empty bottles.  This year he filled them with oil and made them into tiki torches!  Brilliant!

So Christie and I wanted a place to take good photos of all the couple's costumes.  So, easy peasy...a white sheet, some spooky lace and some tombstones.

Now let the costume parade commence....

Our lovely Hostess and Host for the evening...
50 Shades of Grey
 Ok, some background here.  You all know that I host Wine Down at my home every Friday afternoon for the neighborhood moms and their kids.  So this summer a fellow male neighbor (shout out to Bill Laughlin) started hosting Kill-A-Keg for the men in our neighborhood and it was a huge success!  So he and I joined forces and had a great summer combining the two at our neighborhood pool.  Once the pool closed, we started First Fridays at our neighborhood clubhouse on the first Fridays of every month for an adults only social.  Hence the costume! :)  My hubby was a good sport wearing this...but, in a typical male fashion, he took it off shortly thereafter! LOL!

I wish you could see the wine cork earring and bracelet I made, they tied it all together!
Wine Down, Kill-A-Keg and our First Friday's Baby

This couple always gets made fun of for their tiny, battery operated car.  So they made a joke out of it!

Clowning Around!

Progressive's Flo and Mayhem

Mourning Woman and Mid Evil Princess

Duck Dynasty

Pirate and Pimp

Monk and his Mid Evil Princess


Kris Kardashian and Bruce Jenner

Ref and Hockey Player

Roaring 20's

Heidi HO and Pimp
 Background....below you will see a girl scout.  What's funny about this is that she truly is a Girl Scout Leader!  And, the King of Kill-A-Keg parties in our neighborhood....Bill Laughlin!
Girl Scout and Beer Keg

Black Eyed Peas

Well, that was a super fun night!  So happy I could share it with all of you!  A big thank you to Christie & John Mazur for hosting and letting me be apart of the process as well as post these photos!

Now, remember, the day after Halloween, run to your party stores and buy all that crap for next year 75% off! :)