25 May 2010

Two Things

We've started summer over here.  School is out, swim lessons are in full swing, forts are what we do.  But we've also installed a bit of structure to our days: Hour Jobs [which we did when I was little and it was summer.]  Monday through Friday Divine, Pearl, Olive and Azure do an age appropriate task for one hour: grout scrubbed, windows washed, car vacuumed, dishwasher cleared.
For one of those days, they are in charge of lunch as a replacement for their hour job:  planning, making, and cleaning.  Yesterday was Macaroni & Cheese, orange slices, beets, and for dessert, pain au chocolat [thank you Whole Foods].    
Thing two:  with the luxury of swim lessons, I've completed a new bracelet [more on that later] and I'm almost caught up on my magazines.  I was so pleased to see in MS Living my favorite pens!  I picked mine up in Japan and have been rationing their ink, as I thought they'd never be found again.  Not so!
They happen to be favorites of the MS people as well.
PILOT HI-TEC-C!  Declaring my favorite pen is quite an honor, you see.
So many delicious colors here!  These pens glide so smoothly.  I love the 0.4 size: get all that dreamy detailed doodling done.  You might just enjoy reading the colors, some of which are:  Kurikawa, Pompadour, Benifuji, Soda, Sakura, Muskat, Camelia, Usuzumi [click on their photo to see writing samples.]
In case you were wondering, today's menu is pasta, carrots, applesauce, orange juice.  I think we might have to brainstorm for pasta alternatives.  What do you do to keep a balance of structure/free time in the summer?


  1. school isn't out for another month in England! no fair!

  2. Love the chore for an hour idea, I may just have to use it. We usually have no structure for summer, after nine months of it for school we(and by that I mean I)are done. But I think this year we might have to change our plans. As for lunch here are some non pasta lunches we like, tuna salad sandwiches/ or with crackers, chicken salad sandwiches/ or with crackers, tacos, quesadillas, pizza, black bean burgers, and then the standard summer fair of hot dogs, burgers, or chicken nuggets. Can you tell we just finished with lunch?

  3. I think you are brave to let a three-year-old plan and fix lunch for the family on Thursdays, but I really like your ideas.

    Also, those pens! My husband is a TOTAL pen snob. He loves a certain Pilot pen with an ultra fine point that he uses for his artwork...which pen he thought he could only buy oversees. Could this be that pen? Where does MS Living say to buy them?

  4. Did you draw that Octopus? Fancy pants! I have always been impressed by the number of sides that are served at Knudsen households. I feel accomplished if I have a main dish on the table. Did you love the pen aisle at BYU? I did. Having grown up with a graphic designer dad I too have always loved a good pen. I liked the color variety at Muji.

  5. yheah! What will Azure serve for lunch? We have been to Trader Joe's everyday (except Sunday). We have been slathering lemon curd on meyer lemon crisps for a quick and DELICIOUS dessert. Plus they have sweet sweet corn on the cob and those skinny yellow mangoes--we've got a yellow theme going.

  6. My mother used to make up a chart for each child for each week of the summer. The chart had 7-8 things that we had to complete each day of the week. These included reading for half an hour, playing outside, doing a mom-decided chore, "expanding your horizons", etc.

  7. Great idea (the lunch chart), we are going to implement the hour jobs this summer, too.

  8. I'm with Jessica—please enlighten about your octopus drawing/stamp/stationery. I want. AND I love the BYU pen section, which actually now stocks PILOT HI-TEC. But only in black, I believe...

    We always had job charts. I loved filling in every box with a sticker). I've always asked Ben how the hour jobs worked because then you really can just get it done in 10 min and fake it the rest of the hour (if you're the oldest) or move really slow and actually not finish in the hour (if you're the youngest).

    Eventually everyone had a chore that was "theirs" and age-appropriate. Each of us were good at our chore and even liked it because we were good at it.

  9. Pilot Hi-Tec are definitely the best pens. They are spectacular!

  10. The Octopus is stationary--clearance from anthropology, but here is her web site:

    I'm not sure what Azure will make for lunch. Candy, probably. And whipped cream.

  11. Please tell me what jobs you think would be age appropriate for younger kids. My kids are 3 1/2, 2 and 10 months. I really want to get the older two to do something so they learn to work early (and because I feel a little overwhelmed) - so any ideas would be oh so helpful.

    Many thanks,

  12. The pens? Can you get the pens in the U.S.A?

    Sometimes I eat candy for lunch...

  13. @White Lily--YES!! Shipping to the US is $5 flat rate for an order under $25 and free for anything over!! Order away!

  14. Last year my hubby was working from home...so he decided that (since the girls love school so much) he would do that every day! After breakfast, there were "stations". One got to watch a 30 minute cartoon/computer time, one did a chore, one did a craft (writing, playdough, cutting-that sort of thing). And then they would rotate. Sometimes there were two at one place so that the 2 year old had help with the chore or the computer. It was wonderful and they look forward to it this summer too!

    I'm brave enough to assign them kitchen/lunch/dinner chores where they have to help me, but I don't know if I can leave control over to them! Let us know how it all goes. Maybe I should let my kids help more!

  15. @Anna--some simple chores that my littlest do:

    -clearing the napkins from the table
    -cleaning the baseboards with a moist paper towel/wipe
    -putting silverware on the table
    -watering the garden.

    Of course you can't expect them to do everything perfectly, but they love that they are part of helping the family, and they're learning that everyone has a part.

  16. I LOVE the one-hour chore idea... may have to implement that one this summer.

    We always have a routine of doing something each day of the week. For example, one day is library/reading day, another day might be a cooking day, where we learn to make something (all together, which can get a little tricky, so the if the younger ones wander off, that's okay.), a craft day, sewing day, physical fitness day, etc. It gives the kids something to look forward to, and a little structure to the day, after the chores are done. I like that the kids know that Tuesday is always library day, and they look forward to it.

    So, maybe we could do the hour-chore and then do our "set" activity? I've only got till the end of this week to decide for sure... better get on it.

    Do you give your girls any guidance when it's their day to do lunch?


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