Raising Memories

Saturday, October 25, 2014

October 2014 Sharing Time & Giveaway- Week 4

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 my experience at the KFC Kitchen and their new flavour, sweet chili crunch!

I also posted a book review of Visions of Hope.

And shared our new Chore/Reward System

I have Three Giveaways at the bottom of this post,
so don't miss them!

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!


Saints & Soldiers: The Void DVD

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Where My Heart Belongs DVD by Gladys Knight
The great ones endure, and Gladys Knight has long been one of the greatest. Very few singers over the last fifty years have matched her unassailable artistry. This seven-time Grammy Award-winner has earned number one hits in Pop, R&B, and Adult Contemporary, and has triumphed in film, television, and live performance.

She returns in 2014 with an album that showcases her unmatched vocal ability on an enchanting mix of gospel and inspirational songs that are dear to her heart. She has said that faith in God has been the driving force behind all of her endeavors, guiding her through her many successes. On this gorgeous masterwork, she sings the songs of her heart like no one else can.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dining With the Prophets Cookbook

Take your family on a historical journey—by way of their taste buds! In this latest collection of recipes, the chefs at the Lion House step back in time to re-create favorite dishes enjoyed by the Presidents of the Church through the years. From Joseph Smith's Johnny Cakes to Spencer W. Kimball's Raspberry Cheesecake, from Lorenzo Snow's Yorshire Pudding to Thomas S. Monson's Swedish Meatballs, these recipes are a delight to share with family and friends. 
You'll also find a wonderful collection of old pioneer recipes, as well as a number of the Lion House's signature dishes, the same fare (including the legendary Lion House Dinner Rolls) served at receptions and dinners and in the Lion House Pantry for several decades. Portraits of all the Church Presidents, plus photos of many of the period artifacts displayed at the Lion House, make this one-of-a-kind cookbook a fascinating stroll through history that the whole family will enjoy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Visions of Hope

I have another book review for you today from Deseret Book. This one is a beautiful book of illustrations with text from the scriptures. The book is illustrated by Annie Henrie and I think her artwork is gorgeous! The book is called Visions of Hope; An Illustrated Portrayal of God's Plan For Us.

In our religion, we often talk about God's plan, calling it The Plan of Happiness or The Plan of Salvation. This plan answers questions about where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going.

Henrie has visually interpreted the plan of salvation from pre-earth life to the Creation, the Fall of Adam and Eve, life on earth, the spirit world, the Atonement, the Resurrection, and the kingdoms of glory.

We often use a little sketch to illustrate the stages or order of the plan when discussing it, and the book includes that at the top of each page, with one section highlighted to show which part of the plan we are focusing on for that page.

This might be my favourite painting in the book:

I love the warmth in her paintings.  In that image above, the leaves appear to be golden and I love how happy the mother looks, encircled by her husband and children.  I'm feeling the love ;)

Here's another spread from the book, so you can get an idea of the feeling that continues throughout the book.  It's a 10x10" hardcover book with 48 pages.

This book would be a beautiful tool for teaching what we believe about the plan of salvation to someone who wants to know more about what we believe, or for teaching our children, or just for personal reflection.  The artwork is just gorgeous, with 14 different paintings included.

Disclosure: A copy of the book was provided to me for review purposes. All opinions shared are my own.

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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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