Thursday, January 29, 2009

How a Jam Jar Could Change Your Life

It's time for Melissa's weekly "Beautiful Life" linky fest! I love participating in this one- it's such a nice chance to slow down and appreciate.

However, no flowery words this week. We're entering busy season for tax accountants (that would be my darling husband), which means (coupled with his increased training program for upcoming triathlons, marathons, and crazy-distance bike races, as well as training for the CPA exam ad infinitum) I'm alone more that usual these days. Well, not alone, I have my two darling children...
and (Queen) Ernie

but I think that says it all!

So, here is my beautiful life offering: The Eternal Family jar.

I off-handedly mentioned it in an earlier post, and it attracted a bit more attention than I'd anticipated! It's merely a small jam jar, labeled "My Eternal Family." Ernie brought it home from a church activity, along with a handful of marbles. We added a good number of gumballs to the stash, and explained the rules:

1. Everything we do that helps us to be an eternal family is rewarded with one ball in the jar.

2. Everything we do that DOESN'T help us be an eternal family, a ball is taken away. Or several, depending on how big Mommy's scooping hand is in the middle of a tantrum (hers or mine!)

It's made an amazing difference in our family. These are now some of her favorite activities when there's "nothing to do":
  • scripture study
  • picking up toys
  • handing toys to Mimi
  • going for a walk
Other activities we reward with balls in the jar include having families over for dinner, being extra good during Mommy's piano lessons, Family Home Evening every Monday night, prayers, and other good things as the mood strikes.

When the jar is full, we do a family activity. The first time, we all went out for ice cream at Baskin Robbins (oh my- she had NO IDEA there were that many flavors in the world!), and next time we might go to the zoo if the day is nice.

And before you say (or even THINK) it, yes: she's still 3 1/2 years old. She's still my same Ernie. She just happens to be very motivated by this little jar right now! (Case in point: "ball in jar" has been a recurring phrase in EVERY PRAYER THIS WEEK.)

So that is what's been beautiful this week. And I'll leave you with this photo.

Ernie, 4 months (and just learned how to raspberry)

Does anyone else have trouble telling my two children apart? No?

How about these two?

I think I'd best make sure I label all my photos!


Casey said...

Those girls could be twins!

Aunt LoLo said...

MiMi looks so concerned!

Fifi Flowers said...

CUTE photos!

PJ and Rachell said...

I love the jar idea. It is amazing what a real visual will do to motivate :)

It really is crazy how much your girls look alike. Good thing for the date stamp on a digital pictures.

Mama Papaya said...

It is uncanny how much your girls look alike. Really. This really works to your advantage. Let's say that 25 years from now you discover that you have taken way more pictures of Ernie than Mimi. Well, who would ever know if you switched some from one baby book to the other? Really wish we could have done that with my littlest sister. She is a little bitter about her 2 baby pictures.