5 Genius Ideas for Chore Charts!

My kids don’t mind helping around the house, but there is no routine- I have to ask them to do each thing I’d like help with. “L, please empty the dishwasher.” “A, please put your toys away” Feed the animals, bring your laundry down, dust your room, make your bed, brush your hair!

We’ve tried a few things in the past, but nothing has stuck. A few cute ideas have popped up on my screen lately, so I think it’s time to try something new. Here are my top picks for great Chore Charts!!

1. Clipboard & Velcro from Just Between Friends

Clipboard & Velcro Chore Chart from Just Between Friends

Clipboard & Velcro Chore Chart from Just Between Friends

This one only requires a few supplies and looks like it will come together really quickly. I love that they can be hung easily or carried around the house. I know Little A would like the concrete action of moving the chores from “To Do” to the “Done” side.

2. Post-it Note Printable Chore Chart from Tatertots & Jello

Post-It Note Chore Chart from Tatertots & Jello!

Post-It Note Chore Chart from Tatertots & Jello!

I think this is my favorite. I’m usually not super fond of playing with our printer, but my kids have an odd fascination with Post-Its and I think this will go over really well!

3. Simple Chore Chart from My Name Is Snickerdoodle

Simple Magnet Chore Chart from My Name Is Snickerdoodle!

Simple Magnet Chore Chart from My Name Is Snickerdoodle!

This is definitely easy and effective for younger ones, but at 16, L might be offended if I make a chart like this for her.

4.  Printable Chore Chart From The Gilded Pear

Printable Chore Chart From The Gilded Pear!

Printable Chore Chart from The Gilded Pear!

This one takes the least amount of effort and still looks great! Just choose the color you want and print!

5. Popsicle Stick Chore Chart from Everyday Commotion

Popsicle Stick Chore Chart from Everyday Commotion

Popsicle Stick Chore Chart from Everyday Commotion

This one is also great- I think Little A would love moving the sticks and seeing her progress, but the board is a bit bulky.

Which ones do you like best?

Simple & Quick Scratch Ticket Bouquet!

I have spent the past 3 days with some kind of electronic device in hand, on Pinterest looking for the best way to create a scratch ticket bouquet for a fundraiser this Saturday night.

I have $100.00 to spend and I want to make it look fabulous.

I found all kinds of cool pictures, but when I click on the link to learn how to create it, there is either a dead link or a website that has nothing to do with the original picture.

I decided to figure it out on my own and  create a “how to” post so that others can read a real post about the real pictures :-).

I purchased a cute container with a really sweet flower on the front- no need for me to decorate!  I took it to the floral department and put a gazillion of those floral foam balls inside to see which fit the tightest.  I found one that wasn’t perfect but would work.  I had the rest of the supplies at home already so I only spent about $10.00 at the craft store.

Supplies:

Scratch tickets

Lollipop sticks or skewer sticks

Floral foam

Container of choice

Shipping tape

Crinkle cut basket filler

Cellophane

Ribbon to tie a bow

supplies for scratch ticket bouquet

supplies for scratch ticket bouquet

Tape the lollipop sticks to the back of the scratch tickets.  Be sure to not tape the bar code on the back. You want to make sure the person who wins can redeem the ticket and they won’t be able to without the bar code.  The heights can vary.

Stick the sticks in the floral foam

I had to secure the ball in place with a little tissue paper.  You don’t want the tickets moving from side to side.

sticks in floral foam

Sticks in floral foam

Cover the foam with something that looks nice. I used a little crinkle cut basket filler.

Before crinkle cut and cellophane!

Before crinkle cut and cellophane!

Wrap with cellophane, tie a bow and you are finished!

final product! Took 10 minutes to make.

Final product!
Took only 10 minutes to make.

These baskets are usually great sellers at fundraiser/auctions.

We’d love to see how yours come out! Share pics in the comments!

 

True business perseverance…. Small business spotlight!

In New England we have gotten a LOT of snow.  They say this was worse than the blizzard of 78.  I heard one news reporter say Boston got over 100 inches since January 28th.

giant snowman

To say that it has been difficult to run a business is a complete understatement!  Between closing full days mid-storm, closing early, opening late,it has been a nightmare for my business and all of my small business friends.  Then when it finally stops snowing, there is the cleanup.  After the 70 inch mark, there was just no place to put the snow anymore.  The snow mounds are so high, you can barely see out of most windows.  Then there are problems that come with so much snow that you just don’t even think of, leaks that never existed suddenly appear.  Heavy snow on weak roofs have caused some roofs to cave in and collapse.  My husband had to get on our roof twice and shovel.

My deck, you can see the umbrella attached to the picnic table

My deck, you can see the umbrella attached to the picnic table

A local business in my neighborhood has had to close their business for the four weeks.  It is a dance studio called In Sync Center of the Arts.  They are one of the most well run and talented dance studios in my area.  What drew me in to this dance studio 5 years ago was how many classes they offered- not just for dance, but taekwondo, lego club, music lessons, and drama. I have four kids and I loved that all of them could take a class at once and I would get a whole hour all to myself :-). In the lobby, they have big screen tv’s that show all of the classes so you can see everyone at once.  LOVE IT!

The week before February vacation,  Insync’s next-door neighbor’s roof collapsed.  Thankfully it was empty and nobody was hurt physically.  Financially, it is devastating.  There are 5 business all in this little strip mall and they are all closed.  If I had to guess how many people were employed between the five businesses I would say hundreds.  Hundreds of people out of work because of something out of their control!  It’s heartbreaking!

The UPS store is the roof that collapsed, to the left of Insync.

The UPS store is the roof that collapsed, to the left of Insync.

Teri, the owner of Isync, was trying to unplug and relax for a few days during Feb vacation with her husband and kids.  She actually left her phone in her hotel room while out for dinner, only to return to hear about the nightmare she has now been living for weeks.  She had to cut her vacation short and rush home to make sense out of her new situation.  She was not allowed on the property. The electricity and gas is shut off and everything is roped off until it is deemed safe.

Most people would curl up into a ball and feel sorry for themselves, but not Teri.  She had her team up and running the next day seeking out temporary space for her business.  They brought their phones and laptops to a fabulous little coffee shop (mine 🙂 ) and worked as a team and didn’t stop until they found space that would work.

She ended up with two spaces, one by day and a high school for the night classes.  The high school is perfect because there are so many class rooms that it allows many dance classes to go on at the same time.

Amazing strength, creativity, and the drive to go on.  All admirable qualities that I believe most entrepreneurs have.  Teri has a crazy awesome team loaded with talent and is clearly flexible.

Awesome, talented staff!

Awesome, talented staff!

I am honored to be a customer of theirs and I love how they are handling this situation.

There is so much negativity and tragedy shown on the news and social media, I just had to share how a real life woman turned some serious sour lemons into delicious lemonade 🙂

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Yummy oooey gooey black bean brownie recipe!

I am on a mission to get more protein in my children’s (especially my daughter’s) diet.  They won’t eat very many green things and are super picky.  I think most kids with food allergies tend to be picky, and mine are no different.

I have been trying to master this black bean brownie recipe for weeks but up until today they tasted like….  well… beans!!

I adjusted a few things this morning and it was a hit!!  They are SO GOOD!!!

 

black bean brownie 3

 

Here is my super easy recipe!!

 

Ingredients:

1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs
3 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder  ( I use Vermont Nut Free cocoa powder)
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I also broke up a nut free chocolate bar for the topping and added nut free butterscotch chips)

Throw all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender to puree, except the toppings.  I added a touch of water to the blender to help it along.

Black bean brownie

Grease a pan (I used a glass pie plate) and pour in.  Place your toppings on top.   Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.  Let cool.

Dig in and enjoy!!!

-J

black bean brownie 2

One of My Favorite Quotes…

ItAlwaysSeemsImpossible

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time. As a mom, it speaks to so many things. Some days, it refers to the dishes or laundry. Right now, in Boston- it’s the snow removal.

-M

Guest Blog Post: Donna Mavromates of MavroCreative

We take inspiration from lots of sources; often from other moms and business owners. With that in mind, we offer words of wisdom and inspiration from our very first guest blogger- Donna Mavromates!

Life is fluid. A lesson learned from a mother of twins.

Life takes twists and turns that we often don’t expect. For most of my life, I have been a planner. I like to know precisely where I’m going and what lies ahead. The first time that my best-laid plans were put to the test was when I became pregnant for the first (and only!) time. I was working in a corporate environment and I added the baby’s name to the waiting list for the on-site daycare. I was going to take 12 weeks maternity leave and would be right back to work. All set. Until an ultrasound revealed that the “baby” was actually “babies”.

Scan 1

My identical twin girls at 6 months!

Twins? Wait a sec…that wasn’t in my plan!

And right then and there, my focus shifted and I quickly learned that I had to be open to a change of plans in all aspects of my life. It’s been almost 18 years since my twin daughters were born and I can honestly say that flexibility and adaptability are now ingrained in my persona!

So what does all of this have to do with this blog post? Because it’s along that same vein that I approach my business, Wicked Simple Marketing. I spent the second half of 2014 refining and defining the business and understanding what our clients need and want from an agency like ours.  Wicked Simple Marketing has been a part of me since 2010, and when I decided to focus on the business full time in June 2014, I did so with the intention of digging deep and understanding exactly what its mission is and what it is designed to do.

A name and branding change wasn’t something that I anticipated doing. In fact, I love the name Wicked Simple Marketing, because it’s fun and whimsical and quirky and very Bostonian! But the deeper I dug, and the more I learned about myself and what aspects of the business get me excited, the name “Wicked Simple Marketing” no longer resonated with me.  I realized that I hadn’t taken the very same advice that I give to my clients:

I hadn’t defined my brand.

Our core mission has always been to deliver affordable marketing and design (web and print) to businesses and providing the best possible customer service. That will never change. What we have done, however, is refined our offerings, concentrating our efforts on our core competencies and the things that we love to do, and on what our clients are telling us that they need and want: website and graphic design that is clean and sophisticated and that tells their “story”.

And so, the vision of MavroCreative began to take shape.

johnjacobs

John Jacobs, co-founder of Life is Good, speaking at the recent MA Conference for Women in Boston.

“Do what you like. Like what you do.”

John Jacobs, co-founder of Life is Good, said those very words at a recent conference I attended.  “Do what you like. Like what you do.”  I left the conference and those words stuck with me. When I really thought about it, the word “creative” kept coming up. Over and over. It is the aspect of what we do every day that motivates and drives me.

While I do enjoy social media and other forms of marketing – including marketing strategy – the parts of Wicked Simple Marketing that resonated with me the most revolved around the creative.  Helping businesses find their voice and creating that brand with them, and seeing it evolve in print and on the web is what I really like to do and it’s what the majority of our clients are looking for.

Deciding on a brand change was scary. I had my plan for Wicked Simple Marketing all set and it was hard to let it go. But, the lesson I learned almost 18 years ago continues.

Life is fluid and sometimes you have to follow a different road than the one you set out on.

So what does this all mean? In a nutshell, Wicked Simple Marketing has evolved into MavroCreative, LLC.  We provide sophisticated web and graphic design services to businesses and help them create and maintain their brand across all platforms. We are the same team, providing the same high level of customer service, under a new brand:  MavroCreative.

logo300x100px

As we say goodbye to 2014 and look ahead to the years to come, we are mindful of the fact that life is fluid, and sometimes the best-laid plans take a sudden turn. We look forward to seeing what this coming year has in store and our wish for every one of you is to take the advice of John Jacobs and “Do what you like. Like what you do.”

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Donna Mavromates is the owner of MavroCreative, LLC, a Hingham-based website and graphic design agency. In her spare time she is a hobbyist photographer and most recently can be found visiting prospective colleges with her 17-year old twin daughters, who inspire her every day. Learn more at www.mavrocreative.com .

Food=Happiness (NaBloPoMo Day 3)

Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt: What food always makes you feel happy while you’re eating it?

As we established in yesterday’s post, it doesn’t take much to make me happy. Even with the restrictions my food allergies put on my diet, there are SO many foods that make me happy! (I love food!) I could get all serious and say that having food at all makes me happy. While this is true, I’m just not in the mood. I can’t do that today. Let’s keep it light, shall we?

I love veggie pakoras from pretty much anywhere, Silly’s sweet potato fries and Lime Leaf’s pad Thai. Even the smell of pizza makes me happy, though I haven’t been able to eat real pizza for years. I’m like a crack addict with sugar, but I’m also picky. I’m sort of awesome at baking, so I have high standards for sweets. My brownies make me happy- even more so when other people are eating and loving them.❤

The food that makes me happiest, though, is definitely Oleana’s falafel. I have been known to eat my own double order and then finish any leftovers from my fellow diners. It’s not just the flavor that contributes to my happiness (though it’s out of this world.) When I’m eating this falafel, I’m with my husband- either out with the kids or with good friends. Maybe celebrating, maybe out just for fun- but really enjoying the great company, in a great town, in a fantastic restaurant. It just doesn’t get any better.

My favorite! Falafel at Oleana in Cambridge.

My favorite! Falafel at Oleana in Cambridge.

The Orange Rhino’s Book is OUT!

A frequent guest and contributor to our radio show, Sheila McCraith has stepped out from behind her secret identity as The Orange Rhino to share her fabulous book, Yell Less, Love More. Sheila is an everyday mom who is just trying to do her best, like all of us. When she was stunned by an aha moment, she decided to share it with the world via her blog. Now, she shares more- and it’s AWESOME!

Order now:

Sheila is hosting a book club and it starts today!  Check it out!

Yell Less, LOVE More

Yell Less, Love More! The Orange Rhino’s Book is Ready to Order!

A frequent guest and contributor to our radio show, Sheila McCraith has finally stepped out from behind her secret identity as The Orange Rhino to share her fabulous book, Yell Less, Love More. Sheila is an everyday mom who is just trying to do her best, like all of us. When she was stunned by an aha moment, she decided to share it with the world via her blog. Now, she shares more- and it’s awesome! Pre-order today for Nov 1 delivery!