Camping With Kids: Torture or Worth it?

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Stefism #37 Camping with kids: A couple hours shoving everything you own into the car, a couple hours driving, a couple hours unloading the car, a couple hours sort of sleeping, a couple hours packing up the car, a couple hours driving home, a couple hours unpacking the car, a couple hours drying everything out, a couple hours putting it all away. Wait, why do we do this again?



Fiber One Bar? No thanks.

Stefism #33 A good trick to play on your kids would be to let them think that Fiber One bars are just regular ol' granola bars. Then you can laugh and laugh and laugh and cry when they all get diarrhea at the exact same time. #oops

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So one Saturday afternoon we were sitting in our church at a baptismal service. All of a sudden, my kids all started farting at once. It was bad. Like, really bad. I got them out of there and luckily made it to the bathroom in time for them all to have diarrhea. Not kidding. Five kids with diarrhea in the church bathroom. I figured they must have caught some vicious stomach bug at the exact same time. But later that night, they were all perfectly fine. Then I realized each kid had downed at least three Fiber One Bars that morning. Which made me laugh. And laugh. And laugh some more. Poor kids.

In Memory of Juliet, the Hamster

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Stefism #32 When your neighbor asks you to watch their pet hamster over Thanksgiving break, just say no. You can feed it, change its water, and do everything you're supposed to do. But when the little girl next door comes to pick up her beloved little furball, she might burst into tears because her hamster isn't moving. Her mom may try to convince her that he's "hibernating," but who is she kidding?

I don’t know why, but I have the bad luck of being a pet killer. I have had four pets throughout my life and none of them have lasted longer than 6 months. First, a frog when I was 5. I think I forgot to change its water. But I was 5. Give me a break. Then a hamster, named Mickey, when I turned 9. That evil hamster would hiss and scratch every time anyone tried to touch him. Two weeks later, he escaped, and we never saw him again. At 11, my sister and I saved up our money and bought a pet turtle. A pet turtle that never moved and never ate and after a month we realized he was dead. I still think the pet store actually sold us a dead turtle. Finally, when I was 15, I got a pet iguana. He was so cute, and I was determined to keep him alive. Six months later, he got these little red bugs all over him and died. Apparently, I have a pet curse. Keep your little living things away from me. All I can handle now are some fish – some of which I have managed to keep alive for a while now. The ones that haven’t made it – well, I’ll save those stories for another day. And just in case you wondered, I did, in fact, warn my neighbor about my pet killing history…

Also, I have managed to keep all of my children alive. So there’s that.

Halloween Vomit

Stefism #30 It might not be a good idea to let your 7-year-old eat “as much candy as he wants” on Halloween and then allow the kids to have a sleepover on the floor.  Because he may just throw it all up, and his sister might just end up rolling around in the vomit in her sleep.

There’s nothing more fun than waking your daughter up in the middle of the night to tell her she has to take a shower because she rolled around in her brother’s vomit. Also, I thought this would be one of those great “natural consequences” teaching moments. But no. The next day, my son had no memory of throwing up and asked incessantly (ie. whined, screamed, begged, and cried) to eat the rest of his Halloween candy. 

Teeth. My Worst Enemy.

Stefism #29 Teeth. My worst enemy. Teething, biting, first 8 teeth, canines, 1st year molars, 2nd year molars, 6 year molars, loose teeth, falling-out-teeth, tooth-fairy, permanent teeth, cross-bite, under-bite, over-bite, expanders, braces, head-gear, missing teeth, overcrowding, impacted teeth, 12 year molars, braces phase II, wisdom teeth, brushing, flossing, cavities, fillings, root-canals, crowns. The nightmare never ends. And I'm pretty sure I just paid for my dentist's new Porsche. #yourewelcome

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Are they all yours?

The next time you are at the store with your kids and someone asks, "Are they all yours?" I think it would be funny to just start laughing hysterically until they walk away. Or, just punch them in the face.

If I had a penny for every time someone asked me this question, I’d probably have $2.35 by now. I could at least buy a couple candy bars with that.

But to answer the question, YES. They are all mine. Do you think I just bring random kids to the store for fun? Because shopping with kids is such a treat? And hello, they all look alike. Doesn’t the half Asian/half Caucasian look they share kind of give that away?


Chore Chart in Real Life...

I wanted to take a picture to show my chore chart in use in real life. Well, here it is people. My 2.5 yr old does not do chores yet, but he insisted on being in the picture. He also wanted to be the only person in the picture. He also refused to put on a shirt. That pretty much sums up my life.

My kids have made pretty good progress this summer, and being the competitive little souls they are, they love to count up their number of trains to see who has the longest train. They have earned earned 4 of the bigger prizes as well, so that has been fun. We have gone out to ice cream, gone bowling, etc. It's so hard to motivate kids to do what they need to do, especially without screaming, and this chart has actually helped! I still have to scream occasionally, but not as much. ;) So here's to making all our homes a little bit more peaceful...

All Aboard the Chore Train!

You may remember a previous post a couple months ago of a hand drawn chore chart I made for my kids for the summer. After many requests for a downloadable version, it is finally here!

I have opened an Etsy Shop, called Stef Hohl Creations, and am really excited about it. I have many chore charts that I have used in the past with my kids, which I am also hoping to create downloadable versions of. So stay tuned for more charts in the next few months!

You can buy this one here: StefHohlCreations

Design Credit: Ryann McKinney

Design Credit: Ryann McKinney

Here's how it works:

-Write down your kids' chores.

-Write down rewards.

-Kids can color in one train for each chore they do.

-They earn a small reward each time they get to a city. (the dots)

-Keep track of the total number of trains for all your kids combined around the edge so     they can earn family rewards

PS - The child who has the longest unbroken train at the end can receive a bonus prize.


Note: Right now the only size available to download is 16x20. Email me if you would like it in 11x14 or 20x30. Also, if you buy the chart, I would love to hear your thoughts and would really appreciate a review on Etsy!

Summer Incentive Chart: Ticket to Ride

I’m a little bit obsessed with incentive charts and always try to come up with something new and exciting. As exciting as you can make charts, that is…

So this is my idea for this summer – our very own Ticket to Ride game board. (For my kids ages 5-10)

This may look complicated, but really it’s not. Or maybe it is. Ha, whatever. Feel free to mock me. :)

Here’s how it works:

1.     Every weekday my kids are required to do 4 things – 30 min of piano, 30 min of violin or cello, 30 min of reading, 30 min of workbook type stuff. For each 30 min, they get to color in 1 rectangle, so each day they should be coloring in 4 rectangles. (For my 5-yr-old, each rectangle is 20 min and he doesn’t play piano.)

2.     If they finish their 4 things for the day, they can have 1.5 hrs of screen time.

3.     Every time they get to a train station, they can earn another 30 min of screen time.

4.     For every half hour of extra stuff they do, they can color in another rectangle, thus helping them earn more screen time. For example, if they read for an extra hour, they can color in two more rectangles.

5.     The squares around the edges are cumulative points for all the kids. So working together, when they get enough points, they earn prizes for the whole family, such as going out to ice cream or going bowling.

6.     Each kid is a certain color and his or her train has to stay connected the whole time. The kid with the longest train at the end of summer will win a bonus prize.

That’s it!


Potty Word King

Stefism #16 If you decide to stop the incessant potty word usage in your house by taking away an hour of screen time for every offense, your 3-year-old might get creative.  He might start saying things like "Hi BUTTerfly!" or "You're a belly BUTTon!"

Ah, potty words. I can’t speak of how it is with girls, but by the time you get to your third boy, it’s pretty much hopeless. The youngest says a potty word once, and it’s all over. His older brothers laugh and laugh, and that youngest child realizes his purpose in life. He becomes the Potty Word King.

As of late, my boys’ favorite potty word has been “butt cheek.” They got this from a certain cartoon that my older boys like to watch. This cartoon has now been banned until they can all go a week without saying that word. Every time one of them slips up and says it, the others all groan, “Aw, man! Now we have to wait another week.” But I can tell they are secretly laughing inside, that waiting another week to watch the show was well worth the usage of their favorite word. 


Pee-scented Candle

Stefism #13 I think a good idea would be to make a pee-scented candle. Then when guests come over, you don't have to clean the bathroom. When they need to go, you can say, "Don't worry about the smell. That's just a candle."

Genius, right? Anyone with boys can understand the angst of the perma-pee smell infiltrating your house. Clean all you want, but it’s just not possible to clean out that small crack between the base of the toilet and the floor. Or the small crack underneath the now stained yellow baseboards. So if any little boys, or big boys for that matter, are reading this, I beg you…please watch what you are doing! You have no idea how close I am to getting a urinal!

Hmm…should I get a urinal?