This was a really full and fun week! I think I have something to post about each day!
Mitchell invented a simple game to play with the kids and it turned out to be a hit! They have entered the age of always asking for things. Mitchell and I decided it is about time to introduce money earning, saving and spending with the kids. Rather than just jump right in to allowance etc Mitchell made a game to simulate real life principles. The hope is it will help them get a headstart for when we do begin to let them earn some money to manage. The game goes something like this:
"Audrey it's your turn, here are 2 dollars. **Yes, we play with real dollars!** Your chore this week is clear the dishes after dinner do you do it?"
"Great, would you like to do an additional chore for $1? The chore is clean out the car."
"Yes" **At first the worst jobs were turned down but they caught on fast that if you want your dollar you have to say yes to all the jobs**
Then they have the option to save their money or buy something from the list. The list includes things like 5 gumballs for $1, 5 juice pouches for $1, 1 candy bar for $1, new shoes $10, Transformer $15, Pokemon stuffed animal $15, a phone $500 etc.
In the game they also have a box or a safe place to stack their money (it's just a piece of paper in front of them) and their prizes that they purchase. At the end of their turn they roll a dice, low numbers are bummer consequences like "You left your Pokemon doll out in the rain and it had to be washed and dried-lose your toy for a week" or "You left your dollars on the floor and Layne ripped one-you lose a dollar." High dice rolls are positive opportunities to do an extra job and earn an extra dollar. If they are careful to keep their money and prizes always stacked neatly on the "safe place" the negative consequences don't apply.
It is so fun to play the game with the kids and watch them learn in real time! At first Audrey was dedicated to saving every turn for a $500 phone. After about 10 turns she realized that she would rather get something more attainable than have to wait and play forever and probably never earn $500. Reid started out spending nearly every dollar he had once it hit his pocket! At one point he had 25 gumballs on his shelf! The nice thing about playing the game is that the turns go around really quickly. We can sit and play for 30 minutes and everyone can have about 15 turns. We've played twice this week and can already see that the principles are sinking in!
On a somewhat related note, Redick got to go on a date with me on Tuesday evening. For 2 weeks he has anticipated his date and has had his heart set on buying either a Capitan America shield or a Capitan America toy. He really likes to buy stuff and that in no way correlates to enjoying the items purchased. So for our date, rather than get a food treat or an experience, we went to the mall in search of the perfect toy. We had a fun time and he ended up changing his mind a bunch of times before settling *happily* on an 'Army Guy Gun.' **I was relieved because the toy gun was $5 as opposed to the $20 Capitan America stuffed animal.**
|The malls are already totally decked out for Christmas!|
You may have heard about Hurricane Otto brewing out in the Carribbean sea! We weren't too scared but we did watch the weather updates closely throughout the week. We were prepared for heavy rains and strong winds. Knowing a real potential emergency is imminent makes you evaluate your emergency preparedness in a whole new way! I increased our potable water storage by 50%, stocked up on non-perishables, cooked and froze beans, bought matches, made sure our propane tanks were full and the car was full of gas, bought thick work gloves and brought in all of the bikes and patio furniture among other measures. Thankfully, it turned out to be a non-event after all. Hurricane Otto changed course before making landfall and skirted the Carribbean coast of Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama before heading back out to sea. We didn't even get any rain. One great perk of the hurricane warning was that the President of Nicaragua declared a state of emergency and canceled school on Thursday and Friday for the whole country. We got Thanksgiving break!!
Our littlest turkey turned 2! He is oh so much fun! Finally he is starting to talk too. For a kid who waited so long to open his mouth and discuss his thoughts it is sure fun to hear the words he can say. Guess which brothers are his heros! He says: Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Minecraft, Pokemon, Pikachu, Charizard and Go Go Go! He says some other things too. He is still our most patient kid and is really good at going with the flow of the rest of the family. He is 2 now though, so he is developing his own ideas about how he wants things to go! He is a pro at the balance bike and the Razor scooter and wants to do absolutely everything his older siblings do. He's my only snuggly child and I thoroughly enjoy the hugs, kisses and snuggles everyday.
Thursdays we also feed the missionaries. We all love to have the missionaries over. I love the excuse to plan and prepare a banquet each week! We usually feed 4 elders and they have always polished off as much food as I can make! This week it was chicken pot pies, green salad and a carrotcake cheesecake. Their mommas can rest well knowing there were vegetables in every dish, including dessert!
|Layne was thrilled to open a Pikachu stuffed animal! Just like the ones his siblings have!|
|Big Boy Now!|
|"I'm 2 now momma, it's my duty to make as many messes as possible!"|
|My 2 most artistic creators made this Happy Thanksgiving sign! They collaborated on the idea together and painted Redick's palms with water colors to make the turkeys.|
|Audrey and Redick couldn't resist going swimming on Thanksgiving Day! Why not??!?!|
Mitchell took the day off and we made it a relaxing and really fun day! In the morning we took it slow and lounged around for a while. That was nice because we are usually up and hurrying around early and out the door by 7:15! Later in the morning we went to the local market in search of a Christmas tree and decorations. I wish I had gotten some pictures there! It is kind of chaotic even without the kids though, with them it's an all hands and eyes on deck operation! We came out victorious with all the kids and a Christmas tree!
Then we went to Granada and everyone agrees this was our most fun activity yet! We visited a chocolate museum and plantation. We got to see the cocoa tree and how the pods grow right on the trunk and limbs of the tree. All 6 of us took a class on how to make chocolate, from harvest to chocolate bar! It was absolutely THE MOST FUN DAY! Our guide Ismael made the experience so entertaining for everyone. We roasted fermented cocoa beans in a clay pot over a fire like the ancient Aztecs did it. Of course we all had to chant "Bate bate chocolate" (Bah-tay, bah-tay, cho-koh-la-tay) on our turn to stir the beans in the pot! Then we peeled the shells off the now roasted beans and each of us, including Layne, mashed them up in our own little mortar and pestil. The mash turned into a thick oily paste after a while. This is the same stuff as cocoa powder before the cocoa butter is removed for shelf life. Ismael showed us how to make 3 different ancient chocolate drinks with our freshly ground chocolate paste. One Aztec, one Mayan and one European. After we sampled our drink creations we each got to create our own chocolate bar! I can't begin to do justice to the experience by just writing about it. If you like chocolate, or making stuff.....or....fun, COME VISIT US!!
|This is a model of what a cocoa tree looks like and how the pods grow|
|Ready to make chocolate!|
|Ismael showing us a REAL cocoa tree!|
|Mature pods up above|
|Bate bate chocolate!|
|Bate bate chocolate!|
|Pulling the charred husks off the roasted beans|
|Making chocolate paste|
|Pouring our chocolate bars. I added cashews and sea salt to mine. Layne wanted raisins.|
|No one was looking at the camera because Ismael was just too fun!|
While our chocolate bars were cooling in the molds we explored the Granada Cathedral. It was beautiful. They are in the middle of a beautification project and an artist is working on quite a few giant murals on the ceiling. There was a man at the back of the church monitoring the goings on and collecting $1 per person to climb to the bell tower. We are always quite a spectacle with our 4 young and active kids. He watched us intently from the moment we walked in the church and as the kids excitedly explored everywhere they could. While I was rounding them up trying to get the kids to walk slowly, and talk quieter and stay together and stop pretending to make confessions through the little windows the man pulled Mitchell aside. He so kindly and genuinely told Mitchell that inside a Catholic church children should be allowed to go where they want and don't need to be chastized for acting child-like. He reminded Mitchell that the Savior himself said "Suffer the little children to come unto me." He said, "Don't worry about your kids here, this is God's house. This is their house." What a sweet lesson!
In honor of Thanksgiving we had a grill out with our American friends! No turkey this year! The ones at the grocery store were $150!!!! Yikes! Instead we grilled steaks and chicken, broccoli salad, rolls, fruit salad, chips and dip and cookies. Not the traditional Thanksgiving feast but it was delicious anyway!
*Thanksgiving grill out