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Screen Time Issues Solved : Our Summer System

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Screen Time. 

It is a whole thing in this house.  

During the school year it is not that big of an issue because we are busy but then summer…..

I have been reading a lot about kids and video game/ screen time addiction. I am a believer. We are three days into summer break and I just cannot take anymore asking, arguing, whining, fighting, eye rolling, zoning out.  I. Cannot.

Ultimately THE HUSBAND and I are to blame because we allowed the Xbox, Kindle, iPad, computer, TV etc into our home.  So I solved it with the token system. 

My hope is that their brains don’t turn to mush this summer, that they realize playing outside or with friends really is more fun and a little responsibility and work along the way is a good thing.  This should help us get all the rewards from summer reading programs. 

I cannot take total credit for this system. My bother-in-law has used it for a while and shared the details with me, then I customized it to our house.  

 

The Rules

Everyone gets 5 tokens for the week.

Each token is good for 30 minutes of screen time. (ANY screen)

You get new tokens every Monday.

If at the end of the week , by some miracle, you have tokens left over you get $1 per token.  The do not roll over.

Using your Tokens

You are responsible for setting your own timer, or asking me to set one.  If you do not, or you go over your time you lose the rest of your tokens.  (It’s also about personal responsibility and integrity. Plus, you have 3 brothers ready to throw you under the bus at any time. 🙂  )

You  do not have to ask to use your tokens, you can use any screen you want to play approved games etc.  Just put your token in the jar.

Earning Tokens

You can earn extra tokens for reading and math

Oldest Son (11)- 3o  minutes of reading and two math pages from the books his teacher sent home= 1 token

Middle Sons (7-9) 20 minutes of reading and one math page /or 10 minutes on with multiplication flash cards= 1 token

Youngest Son (5)- 15 minutes “reading” , working on his letter sounds or looking through books and one math page=1 token

Special Rules

Help me, they have already thought us so many special scenarios where they do not have to use tokens.

Family movie nights

ABC Mouse or Relfex Math on computer

Of course the play room has to be picked up in the morning and all chores have to be done before any screen time.

What is your system for electronics?!  I always love hearing how you guys manage things.   Feel free to try any or all of this, change it to fit your household and let me know how it goes!

The Brand New Ibotta App! Better Navigation, Faster Speed, $10 Bonus Offer & More

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Attention Ibotta users!   Ibotta just rolled out lots of new features to make the app more user-friendly! If you’re not a current Ibotta user, NOW is the perfect time to sign up as they are offering a limited-time $10 bonus whenever you redeem your first rebate this month!

So What is New?

The updated app is faster and features more personalized offers with your favorite stores on the home screen – no need to sort through hundreds of items to find offers you want. And, you can now redeem select rebates 2-3 times per receipt instead of one time only!

Also, with the Ibotta update, you won’t need to scan product barcodes for most of your items as the app will automatically detect which rebates are on your receipt and verify the rebate in real time. The first retailer that will offer this feature is Walmart, with more stores to come.

If you have never used Ibotta it is a free app that pays you cash for everyday purchases with exclusive rebates at your favorite grocery stores, retailers and shops. You can see how our family uses it here.

Sign up NOW and earn a $10 bonus when you redeem your first rebate!

Free Summer Reading Programs 2017

 

Summer is here and that means plenty of free time for my kiddos.  I love anything that will encourage them to keep reading this summer.  To that end, here are a few of the Summer Reading programs available this year.  There may be others, locally or nationally, that are out there and I would love to hear about them in the comments section!  I hope one of these will provide some motivation and fun for your family this summer.

Tennessee Smokies Summer Reading Program

If you live in East Tennessee this is a program that you will want to check out. The Tennessee Smokies Summer Reading Program is for Smokies fans 12-and-under.

There are five levels of participation that are to be completed by each child participating. To complete a level all your child has to do is read 10 books, 10 chapters, or have 10 books read to him/her (if your child is not reading yet). Once your child has completed his/her first level, bring the Level 1 reading program form to the ticket office at Smokies Park, and exchange it for prizes and free tickets to a Smokies game. We did this last summer and it was great!  There are several levels you can reach, get all the details here.

And don’t forget they also offer the Straight A program-

Straight A Program

If your child has earned the equivalent of an “A” average or attained perfect attendance for the year, they will get to go to a Smokies game for FREE! Bring their report card and/or perfect attendance certificate to the Smokies Ticket Office and you can receive a free Bleacher Level ticket. The program is valid for students in K-12 and can only be redeemed once per child.

 

Knox County Library Summer Reading Club

Summer Library Club is a fun way to help children maintain and improve reading skills through the summer break, but it’s not just for kids! Read together as a family and receive an awesome rewards package or prize. Prizes and requirements vary by age group.

Passport program - colorful roadways overlayed with a passport stampNew in 2017 for Readers and Teens: Join the Passport Program to enrich your Summer Library Club experience. Visit the 19th century, travel to ancient Egypt, conduct a scientific experiment or ride a camel. You can experience up to 5 adventures in lieu of 5 hours of reading. Visit 10 locations and enter to win a drawing at Visit Knoxville (link is external) for a grand prize basket of goodies. Passport logs available May 20.

 

 

Barnes & Noble- Earn a Free Book

The Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program allows you to read books of your own choosing and earn a FREE book, simply by following these three easy steps:

1. Read any eight books this summer and record them in your Summer Reading Journal (English or Español). Tell us which part of the book is your favorite, and why.
2. Bring your completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store between May 16th and September 5th, 2017. Find a Store
3. Choose your FREE reading adventure from the book list featured on the back of the journal.

 

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is a free online reading program for children that runs through September 8th, 2017. After registering, kiddos are to read as many minutes as they can, log their minutes and earn rewards.

 

SYNC

Sync

SYNC is a program that gives away two FREE audiobook downloads every week each Summer for readers ages 13+. (each week features a current Young Adult title paired with a Classic or Required Summer Reading title). Titles are delivered through the OverDrive app which can be downloaded for free. For more information, head here.

Reading with Chuck E.

chuck3cheese-bookmark

You can download and print these Chuck E. Cheese bookmarks for all the books your kiddos are reading this summer!  They are good for 5 FREE tokens if you are dining at Chuck E. Cheese’s this summer. (one per child)  You can check you local store to see what other summer reading promo they are doing.

 

Book Adventure

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Kids from grades K-8 can head to BookAdventure.com where they can search for books, read them offline, come back to take a quiz and win prizes! Parents and teachers will even have the opportunity to track their child’s/students work (just click on the “Teacher’s Lounge” OR “Parents Place”). Go here to get started searching for a book and check out this video for more information.

School is Out & So Is The Chore Chart + Harvard Proves I’m Right

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School is out Tuesday, at 11:15.

Summer.

We have a lot planned for this summer, lazy days, pool days, camping, traveling, bike riding, friend days, family events and so on. But you know what else this mamma has planned for the summer- The Chore Chart.


It is back. It worked really well last summer AND if anyone gives me any attitude this year I can say Harvard is backing me up.

There is a thorough ongoing experiment called the Harvard Grant Study that has followed the lives of Harvard University graduates since 1938 in order to figure out why some people are more successful than others.

According to the findings, young people need two things in life from a young age in order to be happy and successful: love and work ethic.   I pray everyday I show our children how loved and valued they are.  Also, I make them clean their bathroom.

The study followed the lives of 724 high-achievers (including the likes of President Kennedy and Ben Bradlee) in order to see what is the easiest way to become a successful adult, and here’s what Julie Lythcott-Haims, former dean of freshmen at Stanford University, explained during her recent TED talk:

“[The study] found that professional success in life, which is what we want for our kids … comes from having done chores as a kid. The earlier you started, the better. [A] roll-up-your-sleeves- and-pitch-in mindset, a mindset that says, there’s some unpleasant work, someone’s got to do it, it might as well be me … that that’s what gets you ahead in the workplace,” said Julie.

The chore chart stays.

I did want to answer a few questions about chores at our house.

No, we do not pay for chores.
Yes, we pay for jobs.
Putting away your own laundry is considered a chore, it is just not on the chart.
Yes, there are several other things like  helping clean up after dinner, picking up the family room, taking out trash, etc that are not on the chart but are expected around here.
Mowing the lawn is a paying gig.
There are lots of other “jobs” our kids can chose to perform to earn money. Sweeping the driveway after someone mows, washing windows, washing cars, sweeping front porch are just a few. No one is assigned these jobs, they are just listed and if you want some money you can do them.

How do chores work around your house? Do you distinguish between chores and jobs?  What chores do you assign?  I’m always looking for ideas. 🙂

How I Got Transfer Stains Out of My Beloved White Jeans for $2

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I have a new pair of white jeans that I love.

Not paying attention I washed those white jeans with regular jeans.  I still didn’t pay attention when I threw them in the dryer.  But then, I paid attention and almost cried. My new white jeans had blue streaks All Over Them.   I was sad over being careless, missing my jeans and not wanting to pay for another pair. 🙂

I panicked slightly, asked for help , and got lots of great suggestions and tips.  In my research I also learned that you should not us bleach, at least on all over stains,  unless the fabric is 100% cotton.  My jeans ware not and bleach can cause other fabrics to yellow.  Because the dye was all over I went with Carbona Color Run Remover.

I also bought some Rit Color Remover just in case this did not work!

I filled my kitchen sink and soaked the jeans in cold water and Carbona. The directions called for one to three minutes, I soaked for 7 just for good measure. (I have not idea if this is wise or not, but I really wanted the blue streaks out of my jeans.)

 

I then washed them ALONE in cold water.  I am happy to report that it totally worked! My white jeans are as good as new!

A few other popular suggestions were to soak over night in Oxi-Clean or Oxi-Clean and vinegar, Fels Naptha bar and Grandma’s Secret Stain remover from JoAnn’s.

Zoo Knoxville: Free Admission for Mom This Sunday, May 14

Zoo Knoxville celebrates Mother’s Day with free admission for all moms on Sunday, May 14, 2017.

Guests can celebrate with gorillas Hope, Machi and Kowali, the zoo’s best-known moms, and their precocious offspring Obi, Ubuntu and Andi. Visitors can also explore the all new Tiger Forest and take a break to cool off with some water play at the Clayton Safari Splash, which is now open for the season.

Free admission for mothers is valid on Sunday, May 14, 2017, and cannot be combined with any other discount or offer.

Coupon Katie on WBIR : Last Minute Easter Deals!

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SO excited to be back at WBIR  this morning!  Easter is almost here. For all of you last minute deal hunters we are talking last minute Easter deals. You can stay up to date on all the latest deals by following Coupon Katie on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by signing up for daily emails!

EGGS

Aldi- $.39 to $.69 per dozen
Target-$.50 per dozen
Trader Joe’s- $.99 per dozen
Walgreens -$.99 per dozen
Pulbix- $1.19 per dozen

CANDY

Publix

M&M’s Candies (10-11.5 oz) -$3 ($1.50)
-$1.50/2 M&M’s Chocolate Candies (9.4 oz+) from the April 2 RedPlum
Final cost=$.75 each

Starburst Jellybeans or LifeSavers Jellybeans (12-14 oz)- $2.50 ($1.25)

Dove Chocolate Promises, 7.94-8.87 oz, at $4.49 ($2.24)
$1/2 Easter candy: M&M’s, 3 Musketeers, Twix, Milk Way, Snickers or Dove, 2 oz+ printable
Final cost=$1.74 ea

Hershey’s Candy or Spring Themed Candy (6 ct.)  $4.49 ($2.24)
-$1/2 Hershey’s or Reese’s or Cadbury novelty or centerpiece items from the March 26 SmartSource (exp 4/16)
Final cost=$1.89 ea

KMart

M&M’s (8oz)- $1.50 (regularly $3.99)

Dove Chocolate Eggs $1.50 (regularly $3.99)

Hershey’s Kisses 10oz $1.50 (regularly $3.99)

Target

Target has a coupon good for $5 off an Easter Shop candy and decor purchase of $25 or more! The coupon was in your weekly ad Sunday, is on the Cartwheel app or  you get it by texting BASKET to 827438.

Twix or Snickers Eggs (2pack)-$1
Buy 2 and use $1/2 MARS Easter Candy coupon found here
Final cost=$.50 each

M&M’s Easter Candy (11.4oz)-on sale for $3
Buy 2
25% off Easter M&M’s Cartwheel coupon (will deduct $.75)
-$1.50 off 2 M&M’s coupon from the April 2 RedPlum
Final cost=$1.62 each

Be sure to check  the Cartwheel app for other coupons for specific candy that can be used with this $5 off coupon.

While were talking food deals at Target Annie’s makes mac and cheese in the shape of bunnies. They make it year round but it might be fun to add to Easter for the kiddos.

Buy 2 Annie’s Mac & Cheese (5.25 oz – 6 oz)- on sale for 99¢ each (reg. $1.79)
$1/2 packages of any Annie’ Mac & Cheese printable coupon
Final=49¢ each

Easter Basket Stuffers

Deals on stuffed bunnies and Easter themed toys are everywhere this week. Here are a few places you might not have thought of to look for the perfect basket stuffer, especially if you have older kiddos.

Groupon

Groupon has some great deals for fun around town, especially for older kiddos.  AND right you thru April 14th,  get an extra 20% off with the code SALE3.

Max Air Trampoline Park-
$16 for one-hour open air pass for two ($24 value)- extra 20% off makes this $12.80
$26 for one-hour open air pass for four ($48 value)extra 20% off makes this $20.80

Laser Tag at Laser Quest

Get two games of Laser tag for two people for as low as $13.60 after extra 20% off coupon. That is just $6.80 per person!

There are several other deals going on locally, so check them out and see if there is one that will work for you Easter basket!  Once you purchase you can print off vouchers so kids will have something to open.

Ulta

Right now, shop Spring Fling items  at Ulta and get five for $10.00. The regular prices range anywhere from $2.00 to $4.99. Get items like eye shadow palettes, lip glosses, nail polishes and manicure kits. If you get 10 items for $20.00, use promo code 500684, or print a coupon to get $3.50 off a purchase of $15.00 or more. Pay just $1.65 per item!

Kohl’s

Right now, select Nike Sandals are on sale for 25% off and more. Prices start at just $16.50! Choose from various styles, colors and fits for kids, women and men. And even though Nike is excluded from coupons, you can still earn Kohl’s Cash and Yes2You Reward points. Score $10.00 Kohl’s Cash for every $50.00 spent! Get free in-store pickup or free shipping on purchases of $75.00 or more.

Target

Through April 15th, save $10 off a $50+ toy purchase when you use the mobile coupon (text TOYS10 to 827438) or find the coupon in  your Target weekly ad – excludes LEGO, Cards Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens, Wellie Wishers and sporting goods. If you prefer to shop online, the  $10 off a $50 toys purchase offer is available online when you use promo code TOYS at checkout. You may be able to opt for free in-store pickup if available near you; otherwise, shipping is free on orders of $25 or more.

Also note in your Target ad was a $10 off $50 apparel and accessories coupon!

Craft Stores

Michaelsget 50% off all Easter baskets, lots of $1-$5 gifts.

A.C. MooreMelissa & Doug toys 40% off, $.88 Easter Grass, Lots of $1 basket stuffers