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Meal plan for November 24th-30th

So my boy hasn’t been in trouble (on red) in the whole month of November!  I’ll share a few things we’ve been doing that I think have led to this “success” for any other frustrated parents out there.

  1. Had a complete mental sobbing breakdown right in front of my kid.
  2. Talked with his teacher and asked her to emphasis the positive about his day, when she tells us about the “areas for improvement”.  This still has some room for improvement, but she appears to be trying to get on board.
  3. Put a bungee cord around his chair legs at school so that he could release some energy while seated.  For those interested, the seated work in his classroom is 25-30 minutes at a time.  The recommended maximum level of seated work for kindergarteners is 15-20 minutes.  🙁
  4. We’re having him work towards a goal for a whole month without getting on red.  If he can do it (only Monday, Tuesday, and half of Wednesday left!) I’ll put a juice box (organic ones from Costco) in his lunch every day for a month.  This is a huge motivator for him, as he never gets juice.  You should see him pound the communion grape juice at church; he’s so desperate for the sweet stuff.
  5. This one probably won’t win me any accolades as a parent, but screw it because it is effective.  Some times, as a parent, your only goal is to survive.  We’ve started paying Jack based on what color he gets/stays on at school.  I know, I know, judge away peoples of the internet, but it’s WORKING.  Every kid starts the day on green in his class.  They can go down to yellow or red, which is where Jack spent most of his school day before my irrational emotional freak out.  They can also go up to purple, and the highest is pink.  Jack spent one hour on yellow this week, and the rest has been green, purple, or pink.  He has ended up on purple or pink more than green.  That means last week, he was better behaved than just “good”.
    1. If he is on green, we give him a dime.
    2. If he gets (and stays on) on pink or purple, he gets a quarter
    3. If he is on yellow he gets nothing
    4. And if he ends up on red at any point of the day, homeboy owes us a quarter.
    5. We have a canning jar in his room and he gets to visually see his loot growing.  He is financially motivated (still loves his chore chart and corresponding allowance), and is currently saving his behavior money for more Nerf guns…because 13 isn’t enough (?).
  6. I’m also currently reading two books that help me understand my quirky and hyper boy a little bit better.  I haven’t gotten to any implementations yet in the book, so I’ll reserve my final review for just a bit.  But I will say I almost cried when reading descriptors of the kids in the book because they are Jack, and it’s so nice to know that there are other kids out there with his challenges that can succeed.

I was off on Friday and took Jack to school.  The kindergarteners go to the library first thing in the morning, and the librarians walk them to their classroom after the bell rings.  I popped in to his classroom before it was full of the germ filled amoebas (kids) to drop off some new books I got at Goodwill.  His teacher asked us last month to bring in interesting books for him so that when other kids are doing their sight word homework, he has something to keep him occupied.  He then has to do a “book report” on what he read, by writing six sentences and drawing a picture.  If he writes more than the six sentences, he gets to read his report to the class.  It has proven pretty effective, and I was there to replace his dinosaur encyclopedia with some nature books, and kids version of an anatomy and physiology book.

His teacher happened to be in the class, so we talked about his progress, etc.  She said he is doing much better overall, but especially in his tattling.  Last week I received an email from her that he didn’t tattle once all day.  She said that she has a very competitive classroom this year, and already much of the class is reading better than expected at this point in the school year simply because they are trying to compete with Jack.  She reported that last week was the first time Jack struggled in any assignment, and it was writing “sh” words.  I wanted to laugh and say he probably didn’t realize there were actual words that started with “sh” because all he hears from me and other adults is “shhhhhhhhh, stop talking”.

She did warn me that even with the improvement there would likely be some “2’s” on his report card as areas for improvement.  I told her that wouldn’t phase or surprise me, but what really mattered to me was that he was improving in his behavior, and not being disruptive.  His teacher acknowledged he is trying so hard to make good choices (and I certainly hope she is also telling him that…) and to be a good overall kindergarten citizen.  She then said “and we don’t like to put labels on kids, but he does have some tendencies that kids with ADHD have”.  Having heard this one before from many people, I very politely responded “yes, I know why you don’t like to put labels on kids, because it’s actually illegal, but all the doctors we have spoken to said he doesn’t have it”.  We talked a little bit more, and I left with a very civil “I’m glad to hear he is improving, and I know he’s working hard.  My main goal for him is to learn, be productive in the class, and not get his soul crushed by only hearing negative feedback”.  I didn’t say that last part in a bitchy way or anything, but I hope it drove home the point that all the positive changes we have seen in the last month are the result of focusing on the positive!

In home remodel news, the contractors have been so freaking busy this week.  Insulation, drywall, and additional framing took place.  I’ve never lived around construction before, but they were doing something this week that made my whole house smell like burnt sugar.  I recently gave up sugar for a month (except for Thanksgiving, and my once a week coffee treat), and that smell has made it extra hard!  From what I understand, they’re “mudding” and patching next week.

I’ll share photos (or maybe a video tour…what say you?) of the basement next week, but there are so many guys down there working that I feel like I’m in the way.  Here is some awesomeness that has taken place upstairs this week!  Just a reminder, here is what I shared last week of our hallway:


This used to be our rinky dinky little linen closet.  The house is a decent size (3 bedrooms, 3 baths), and I always thought this closet was so inadequate.


Here is where they cut in to the temporary framing they made out of our master, which is now our extra bedroom that we are bunking in until the new master is ready.  It was sure romantic to have half of your bedroom open to the hallway for a few nights.  It’s a good thing Jack is a heavy sleeper… 🙂


And here is my new mondo linen closet that has been framed out!  It’s much bigger in person (that’s what she said), but I can’t stand in front of it to take a photo and have it all fit in the frame, so this is taken at an angle.


The door from our old bedroom and closet in to our master needed to be closed up to the hallway.  In the future, we’ll access those rooms from our new bedroom.  There was a lovely large closet in the master bathroom that has been torn out to make for an entry in to the bathroom, so the new linen closet will serve as both towels, linens, toilet paper, and bathroom stuff storage.

Here is the door to our master bathroom (taken from the little cubby hole we’re currently sleeping in) as they started the framing.


And here is what it looks like now. Isn’t the old 80’s wallpaper border amazing?  It’s like a trip back in time to the Golden Girls set.


Here is a quick little video of our new master right after insulation and drywall was put up.  The black hole at the end is our closet, and the pass through to how we will get in to our master bathroom.  But it’s dark because I couldn’t remember where the electrician put the light switch, and we have heavy moving blankets in the bathroom doorway to keep it from being freezing cold in there.  Oh, and the sound isn’t of me farting a bunch, but of the guys working downstairs using a nail gun.

Ok, enough jibber jabbing; let’s chat food!

Monday:: Quesadillas, tomato soup I canned last year, and chef salads.  Yes, that dinner WAS on the menu last week, and no, it didn’t actually get made.

Tuesday:: Spaghetti, salad, and peas.  I’m trying to tidy up my freezer, and have a ton of frozen peas.  Jack doesn’t like noodles of any kind, but I just felt like having spaghetti for once.  I think the last time we had it was over a year ago.  I still have the same package of whole wheat noodles to use.

Wednesday:: Homemade chicken noodle soup, garlic bread, and salad.

Thursday:: Turkey day at the in-laws!

Friday:: Popcorn dinner.  Best night of the week.

Saturday:: Homemade fried chicken tenders, coleslaw, and something else (any suggestions? It would need to be light and healthy to counteract the chicken)

Sunday:: Turkey day with my side of the family!

This week I spent $3.64 at the local butcher (ground sausage for the spaghetti, because Troy can’t understand spaghetti without meat in the sauce, while I prefer it meatless), $3.50 at the farm for raw milk, $51 at the grocery store (groceries for this week, and for our contributions to two Thanksgivings), and $6 at Costco.

What are you having this week?



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11 comments on “Meal plan for November 24th-30th”

  1. Good for you in shepherding your son for progress at school, and positive changes in his behavior. I like when you said you don’t want his soul crushed. I think school and regimentation is particularly hard for boys, especially active boys. To think that many boys are put on drugs to make them easy to “manage”. Bless your heart for your good heart for parenting and congrats on your home improvements.

  2. Sounds like your system with little guy is working. Kudos. Suggestion regarding the spaghetti and meat – maybe use meatballs. That is our compromise around here – he gets his meat and I get almost meatless sauce.

  3. Happy news! Congrats to Jack for making better choices and awesome job to you and hubby for being such wonderful advocates for your kiddo. I’m pretty sure if my kiddo were in public (or private) school I’d have been banned from the building. I don’t put up with much when I feel like my child isn’t being treated right.

    I’m half tempted to start paying my child to do her homeschool lessons. She is constantly engaged in learning (reads lots of non-fiction-encyclopedia type books about animals and nature all the time among other things) but when I ask her to sit down and do a work sheet she gets all weepy. I love the idea of having her pay me if she doesn’t get it finished. I see nothing wrong with paying kids for good behavior and good work. That’s what happens in the real world right? You get into trouble at work or don’t get your work done, you don’t get paid. School is their work so why should it be different?

    Oh, the hubby has recently decided that he doesn’t eat supper. He snacks all day at work (mostly on veggies and other healthy stuff at least) so when he gets home, he isn’t hungry/doesn’t feel like he needs supper. So… I have no idea what to do with supper now for the kiddo and I.

  4. Way to go Jack!!

    Also? I’m always, always impressed with your notes at the bottom as to how much you spend grocery shopping. I am struggling with this right now and trying to get a handle on our grocery shopping. I don’t have a garden, I have a black thumb. 🙁

  5. Way to go!!! I am sure your focus chart kicked off all of the success!

  6. Way to go with Jack! It sounds like what you’re doing is working, so who gives a rip what anyone else thinks?

    And I would LOVE to know how on earth you got out of Costco spending only $6. It’s a VERY good thing that ours is 45 minutes away or I might as well sign my entire paycheck over to them.

  7. We paid for potty training (in metal cars, but it’s the same thing) and it totally worked to motivate. Also, a dime is a pretty cheap trade for your mental stability!

  8. Thats great news about Jack! I hope you are reading “The Child Whisper” book. It has forever changed my life for the best with two of my high energy kids.

  9. Good for you, Mama!

    I was raised in a home where questioning or challenging authority (Teachers, Doctors, Employers) was not an option. When my Jack (his name is Joe, must be a J thing) was in school, I always supported the teacher 100%. When I went to a parent/teacher conference for his 10th grade year I was asked by a teacher, “Tell me about Joe. He is a great kid.” Not gonna lie, I cried then and I tear up now just remembering it. That was a turning point for me, and Buddy Boy finally knew I had his back.

    It is not easy being a teacher, but they are trained to do so. It isn’t easy being a kid either and they are in training.

  10. Wow…you and your family could be school interventionists. I’m lucky to work in schools where this stuff happens even with the “Kindergarten is the new 2nd grade” mentality. All high energy kids are not labels…..your success is proof. Keep it up uber mama…’s not a ‘bribe’ unless you are paying him to do something illegal! Love reading your stories; you and your family are awesome and it will be even better when your parents are living with you!