Raising Memories

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chores and Rewards with The Gem System

We have tried several different charts and systems for helping the girls to keep on track with doing chores. It seems that different systems work for different periods of time and it helps to switch it up every now and then. (I'll share a few of the other things we've done at the end of this post) Recently we tried something we call

"The Gem System"

This is an idea we got from Talia's grade 2 teacher. She had a similar system in her classroom and we've adapted it to use in our home. Here's what we did:


- one small bucket per child (found at Target for $1 each)
- one bucket to keep gems in
- plastic jewels (found at the dollar store)
- vinyl & Cricut (optional)

Note: Of course you don't have to use buckets- any little container will do! Talia's teacher used small boxes with a hole cut in the top for each of her students, and a wide mouthed vase to store the rest of the "gems". She also used small coloured glass stones for gems (the type you can put in the bottom of a vase with fake flowers). 

The Process:

I started by labelling the buckets with the girls' initials.  I used some adhesive vinyl that I had on hand and cut the letters out with my Cricut.  Of course, you could just use two different coloured buckets or containers, too.

These are our "gems".  We bought two bags for $1 each at a dollar store.  I keep this bucket up high where the girls can't reach it, so they're not tempted to tamper with them!

How It Works:

We made a list of chores and tasks that the girls can earn gems by doing (some are worth more than one gem).

When they accomplish a task, they report to me (or Ken) and we check to see that it is done properly. When they earn a gem, we put it in their bucket.

We made another list of rewards that they can trade gems for.  Most of these rewards are just regular things that they like to do (like watch a show, play a computer game, or even play with toys).  If they don't have enough gems for an activity, they need to earn them before they can do it.

How It's Going:

This has been such a great system for us!  Can you imagine your kids coming to you and asking what they can do to help (or what they can do to earn gems)?  It's great!

I have altered our lists as we go (some things need to be worth more or less gems- whether they are chores or rewards), and added to each list as we go, too.  It will take some time to get your system just right for your household, but as you adjust, everyone is learning how it works and getting excited about it.

Here are a few chores (some are just simple tasks) & rewards we have had on our lists:

Examples of Chores:

- make your bed before school (2 gems)
- make bed after school (1 gem)
(they don't make their beds twice but the gems decrease if they don't do it early)
- tidy the shoes in the entry way
- sweep the kitchen floor
- clean your room (2 gems per day)
- put backpack, lunch stuff, coat away after school

Examples of Rewards:

- Watch an Episode (4 gems)
- Watch a Movie (9 gems)
- Go to the Park (4 gems)
- Play a Computer Game-15 min (4 gems)
- Play outside (2 gems)


When you have an "out of the ordinary" chore or task that needs to be done, you can just call out, "Who wants to earn 2 gems?" and you'll have volunteers!

If you have a habit (like bed making) that you want to reinforce, just make it worth gems!

If you're frustrated because your kids seem to be getting too much screen time, just make screen time "worth" more gems, so that they have to do a little more help around the house before they can earn it.  (Either they'll stop bothering to watch/play, or they'll work hard to earn it, thus spending time contributing to balance out the screen time- win/win!)

If you have a "reward" you want them to choose more than another (like go outside to play instead of watching a movie), make that reward worth less gems, to entice them to choose that activity over another.

In the end, this system is all about letting them make their own choices based on the "currency" you've created.  With the lists you'll make, you're setting the expectations for everyone.  By adjusting as you go, you can keep the whole family in on the conversation and discuss the reasons why you choose to make something worth more or less gems, so that everyone understands and gets to be part of the conversation.

If you like this idea, go ahead and

for reference!

Here are some other systems and approaches to organizing our chores and schedule that we have used and liked in the past:

Adjustable Daily Schedule

When all else fails, Play Cinderella!

Morning Schedule Chart

Germ Bugs

Dry Erase Chore Chart

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Monday, October 20, 2014

A New Flavour at KFC Today! #sweetchilicrunch

I'm not the greatest cook in the world.  I have always loved to bake, but when it comes to cooking on a regular basis, I'm all about fast and easy!  I do like to make more "special meals" sometimes, but definitely not daily. So, when our family has a really busy day or nobody feels like cooking, I am more than happy to have a "take-out" night!  While I totally support dinners around the kitchen table and lots of talk and interaction, on those take-out nights, we love to set up the kids' table in the living room so that we can all watch a movie, eat, and relax together!  Everyone's happy with a take-out  night!

While we're on the subject of take-out, let me tell you what I did last Thursday!

I had the opportunity to visit KFC's test kitchen with 6 other bloggers.  We were invited there to find out about a new flavour they're releasing (today!) for their bone-in chicken.  This is the first time they've done that in Canada in 6 years!  The flavour is called Sweet Chili Crunch, and we joined their Research and Development Manager (aka "Chief Food Genie", a title that totally suits such a fun and energetic woman who can work magic in a kitchen!) to learn how to make it ourselves!  (See that photo at the top of the post?  I made that chicken myself!)

Here's our group:

You can tell which of us are bloggers because we're wearing KFC hats ;)
Bloggers in the Back Row: Marya, Vinma, Meri, Cyn, Me 
Bloggers in the Front Row: Elizabeth, Deborah
That's the "Chief Food Genie" herself, right there in front wearing the chili hat ;)

When we first arrived, we learned a bit about KFC's cooks' commitment to making the world's most famous chicken recipe "the hard way".  Any misconceptions any of us had about where they get their chicken or how it is made were quickly dispelled and I was very impressed!  They really do make it the "hard way"!

Did you know they hand-bread their chicken right in the restaurant?  Did you know they marinate it for 12 hours before doing so?  Their cooks go through quite a training and although we didn't quite go through the whole process, we did get certified in Sweet Chili Crunch!

It was an eye-opening experience to get to make the chicken myself!  I have new-found respect for anyone who works at KFC!  Below, you can see me breading the chicken, a shot of how the chicken looks right after frying, and a lovely close-up of yours truly, drizzling on the sauce.

As soon as we finished making our chicken, we all gathered for lunch and got to sample it!  That's when I got the photo at the top of this post (which makes my mouth water when I look at it!).  

Now, about tasting the chicken... I admit that I was a little nervous about tasting a new flavour that was described with the word "chili", because I'm not a big fan of spicy hot flavours!  I'm happy to report though that this flavour can accurately be described as "sweet, with a touch of heat".  My mouth was NOT on fire.  I felt the heat, but I could definitely taste the sweet as well, and I really liked it!  If you've got young kids who may not like the heat, you can always mix-and-match the new flavour with the original recipe in any bucket for free!

The Sweet Chili Crunch flavour is only available for a limited time, so try it while it's here!  The flavour is out today and this promotion ends on November 23rd.

Disclosure: I am part of the KFC Sweet Chili Crunch Kitchen experience program with Mom Central Canada and YUM Brands and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

October 2014 Sharing Time & Giveaway - Week 3

Welcome to October's Sharing Time Linky!
I'm excited to see Thanksgiving and Halloween themed posts being shared!

First, our week in review:

This week I shared an Easy Thanksgiving Leftovers Meal.

I also posted a bit of an update and a book review of John Bytheway's newest book, How Do I Know.

Things went a bit crazy on the blog when my Ultimate List of 100 Non-Toy Gift Ideas post from last year went viral on facebook!  Thanks to everyone who shared it with your friends or family or pinned it on Pinterest!  (and if you haven't yet, maybe you want to check it out! ;)

I also shared a seriously delicious Cinnamon Roll Recipe and Tutorial.  
You will want to pin it for later! 
(or maybe you'll want to make it right now ;)

Before we get on to the Link Party, I have a DVD Giveaway for you!

The New Saints & Soldiers DVD is out!  It's called "The Void" and you can order a copy of your own from Deseret Book right here.

This one is set in Germany in May of 1945, near the end of WWII.  Here's a quick plot summary:

On a final mission deep in the Harz mountains a U.S. tank crew discovers a platoon of Germans, including three infamous Panzer tanks, preparing to ambush allied supply trucks.
Before the war, Sergeant Jesse Owens, was a product of segregation and racial discrimination. Forced by law to ride in the back of the bus and disenfranchised from the political process. As the Germans bear down on the Americans, Owens fights the Axis powers for a freedom he and his fellow African American soldiers have never felt.
With a deadly game of cat and mouse quickly unfolding, Owens and his predominantly white tank crew find themselves out-gunned and out-manned by the German Panzer tanks. Several in Owens’ crew are reluctant to put their faith in a black tank driver despite their dire circumstances. With tension and fear beginning to manifest Owens knows they must put aside their differences to stop the enemy from their deadly plan. Knowing that a victory over the Nazis means a victory for racial justice, Owens and his men find a way to work together to save hundreds of lives in a desperate battle against the greatest odds they have ever faced.

Deseret Book is giving a copy away to one of you!  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now, on to the link party- I can't wait to see what you share! :)

Please join the Raising Memories Sharing Time & add a link to your latest and greatest blog posts
about activities to do with your children or fun projects that you have done!
If you're participating, please share the button on your blog & "hop over" to at least one other blog post that's been linked up- let's support each other!

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cinnamon Roll Tutorial with LOTS of Frosting!

This is a family favourite!  

I LOVE Cinnabon cinnamon rolls!  When I walk down the mall aisle where Cinnabon is, I walk a little slower and breathe a little deeper ;)  So when I found this recipe, I was VERY happy with it!  All it needed was a little more frosting ;)  Last time I made them, I took pictures of the whole process so that I could share a tutorial with you.  If you give these a try, I think you will LOVE them!

How to Make a Cinnamon Roll with lots of Frosting by www.RaisingMemories.com

Start with these ingredients for the dough:

Cinnabon Tutorial by www.RaisingMemories.com


1 cup warm milk
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour or regular flour (bread flour makes for a lighter cinnamon roll)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1 pkg yeast (1/4 ounce, not instant yeast)

How to Make Cinnabons by www.RaisingMemories.com

Start by microwaving the milk for 45-60 seconds.
Dissolve yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl.

Kneading and Rising Dough for Cinnamon Rolls by www.RaisingMemories.com

Add sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour.
Mix well.
Knead dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour.
Put in a bowl sprayed with cooking spray and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
Let rise  in a warm place about one hour or until dough has doubled in size.
(A tip I learned is to put the bowl on top of the stove while the oven is preheating- that way the dough is nice and warm and rises better)


1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

How to Make Delicious Cinnamon Rolls by www.RaisingMemories.com

Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Cinnabon Recipe and Tutorial by www.RaisingMemories.com

Spray counter with cooking spray or sprinkle flour on it. (I used flour)
Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. (Just get it close to these measurements)

Spread dough with 1/3 cup softened butter. (I use a basting brush)
Sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture.

Rolling Cinnabons - Tutorial by www.RaisingMemories.com

Roll dough starting with the longer side.
Cut into 12 large rolls (or 18 smaller ones) (or however many seems right ;)
Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch glass baking dish (if I have extra rolls, I will put the rest in a square dish or a round one.  I like to cut more rolls so that they are "shorter".. I really like lots of frosting, so I'd rather a smaller roll in the end anyway!)

Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.
Then you can either put them in the fridge for baking the next morning, or move on to the baking stage:

How to Make Cinnabons with Lots of Frosting by www.RaisingMemories.com

Bake rolls in preheated 350 degree oven until golden brown (about 18-20 minutes).


4.5 oz cream cheese, softened
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 and 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Frosting for Cinnamon Rolls by www.RaisingMemories.com

While the rolls are baking, mix up your frosting!
Beat together all frosting ingredients.

Cinnabon Tutorial with Extra Icing by www.RaisingMemories.com

Spread frosting on while rolls are still warm (so it'll melt).
As you can see in the above photo, this recipe makes a LOT of frosting!
If you don't quite want that much on your rolls, you can save some in a separate container and when you're eating a roll later, you can add extra frosting as desired (best part is there's no charge for extra frosting like when you buy them at the store!)

Step-by-Step Cinnabon Tutorial by www.RaisingMemories.com

Is your mouth watering?  Mine is!  If you want to try this recipe for yourself, go ahead and pin this post for when you get a chance to try it!

Note: Recipe source: allrecipes, the only thing I changed was the amount of frosting!


If you liked this post, you might like 
my Pumpkin Roll photo & video tutorial- click here to check it out!

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