Organization

Chorma Review

I mentioned a few posts ago that I was planning to make some changes with my little girls regarding screen time and chores. Well I received the Circle in the mail last week and I will review it in a separate post, but I wanted to start with the Chorma app… maybe because I like it better 🙂
I should probably preface this with the fact that I am in no way affiliated with Chorma. They haven’t contacted me or asked my opinion. They aren’t standing behind me right now threatening me to write nice things about them 😉 I downloaded their FREE app but paid the $1.99 for the first “pro” month subscription so I could try out all of the features. Of my own free will.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me tell you – so far, I am pretty much digging the heck out of this app. Well, more than any other chore app I’ve tried out before.
It’s pretty basic and the interface is very easy to navigate. When you first download the app, you have four options at the bottom of your screen: My Chores, All Chores, Activity, Housemembers… The first thing I did was go to All Chores and set up some chores so I could test it out. There is a plus sign in the upper right hand corner to allow you to set up a chore. You can name it, assign points (up to ten), allow it to be “claimable” or assign it to someone specifically. You can also choose to rotate it between users on this screen.Next you can choose whether the chore is to repeat and what schedule it can be on. One of the cool options here is to allow it to repeat after it has been done. This is nice so you don’t end up with the same chore listed a hundred times when no one is doing it.
For the chores that you allow to be claimable, your kiddo can log in and select what they want to do. Once they claim a chore, it shows up on their My Chores list and they can check it off once it’s been completed. Once it’s been checked off, they can click the x and remove it from that list altogether. All completed chores show up under Activity. I’m not sure for how long as I can’t really find anything on the Chorma site that explains it.
So who cares right? A chore checklist, I’m sure the kids will just be dying to try it out. Kids don’t like chores and using an app probably isn’t going to change that. Except that Chorma has a built in reward system function. This, I like. And I love that they can go in and choose their own reward and set it up themselves. Under housemembers, you click on your name and then Add Reward. This is the fun part for the kids. They can choose something, like going to the movies. My youngest daughter put in Go See The Jungle Book and we agreed on fifteen points. She then went and claimed a bunch of chores so she could start working towards it. Talk about a motivator. She has eleven points as of this morning and I only showed her this app yesterday.
My fourteen year old was slightly less enthused. But I think she will get on board once she wants to earn internet time. I am still working on getting the Circle configured in a way that I am happy with, and I will update ya’ll once I have. She did say that she thinks she will set up a reward where no one can come into her room for two hours… she thinks seven points is fair for some alone time. lol
Now, there are a few things about Chorma that I am not crazy about. First and foremost is no web interface. I love apps, don’t get me wrong. But I like to be able to log into a web interface and configure everything. For me, phones are for speed and convenience. When I want to actually work on something, I prefer a computer. I’d like to be able to set up the chores via a computer just for speed. Also, I wish there was a way that the chores had to be approved by me as being finished. Like a administrator screen. Daughter says she has completed the following chores, do you approve these points? Because it would be pretty easy to lose track if you weren’t paying attention for a week or so. Did she really wipe down the counters on Tuesday? Hell if I know, that was four days ago and I’ve slept since then. I also don’t like that I’m limited to ten points. I would like to be able to choose how many points something is worth and not be locked into such a small number.
The GingerBeard Man has talked about making game apps before and I wish I could convince him to make a chore app. That way someone who is ridiculously detail oriented the way I am when it comes to organization could test and report back until we had the best chore app ever. But until he feels like doing that, this one will work 🙂 Compared to the others I’ve tried over the years, I’d give Chorma 4/5 stars.

Some next level parenting stuff right here

My kids spend too much time on The Internet.
There. I said it.
I don’t want to be one of those parents but I also very much like it when I can escape to the peace and quiet of my bedroom and plug into The Internet myself.
I’m a bad parent.
Bite me.
Relatively frequently, like weekly-ish, I have a lightbulb moment where I think to myself Man, I super need to cut back on the kids internet time. But I don’t. Sometimes I even threaten them that I will. “Daughter, if you don’t have all of your laundry done tonight and this room cleaned, I am unplugging the wifi.” But I don’t. And on the rare occasions that The GingerBeard Man does, I’m usually the first one asking him to turn it back on. For Pete’s sake, man, I can’t be internetless. What if something happens? We won’t even know about it. Like there could be a war! Also: facebook.
As I’ve mentioned here like a half a dozen times, we are in a transitional state in my house right now. Older daughters moving away and cutting the amount of children I have at home in half and all that… It’s a good time to establish new rules, chores, expectations… It’s a good time to, you know, maybe cut back on screen time. Because holy shit, my kids spend like all their free hours online. And kids have a lot of free hours. My kids are even using some of their NOT free hours and shirking their responsibilities which is where I am headed with this whole thing.
This morning, my almost fourteen year old daughter didn’t go to school. Why? Because she didn’t put her clothes in the dryer Sunday or Monday and they were still sitting in the washing machine leaving her pantsless. Could she have still went to school? Yep. She could have reworn the pants she wore yesterday. But the fact is that she woke up late this morning, she wasn’t prepared and she gave up. And my thinking is that she just plain stayed up way too damn late on the internet fooling around last night. And it’s enough.
So I sent The GingerBeard Man a message this morning and told him we needed some kind of device to control their access to the internet. Could we do it with the wifi router? Technically, yes. We’re both in IT, it’s all configurable. But I wanted something easier. So he sends me the link to Circle. I’d had a grand total of five sips of coffee and I basically impulse ordered it. About an hour later, I was thinking maybe I should have done a little more research. But the more I researched, the more I like it. It’s a pretty awesome device and I am mega stoked about it arriving so we can set it up and start setting up some limitations.
Now my next major kid complaint is the lack of chores that are getting done. (I’m sound like a super great mom in this post huh?) There is a significant amount of ebb and flow when it comes to chores. And it’s usually directly connected to how enthusiastic I am about whatever chore method I have in place at the time. If you can find it on pinterest, I’ve probably done it. Check lists on the fridge? Yup. Chore charts? Oh yeah. Giant dry erase boards? Of course. There’s not much in the realm of chores and children I haven’t explored. And when I get all gung-ho about it, I roll in ready to MAKE CHANGES! Come on Family! This is EXCITING! Insert here the collective groan of said family as they buckle up for what will undoubtedly be yet another torture event sponsored by their mother and her need to change shit and make them do stuff in a New! Fun! way.
Well, buckle up, Family. Mommy found a new toy.
I downloaded an app today called Chorma. It’s for chores! And it allows you to set them up as recurring and assign points for them. Some can be assigned to a kid specifically, others can be “claimed” so whoever wants to do them, presumably to earn points, can grab them. So here’s my evil plan: super limited internet time regulated by the new Circle. BUT! They can “buy” more internet time with their chore points! Or, in the case of my youngest who may not care quite as much about the internet, we can put together other things she can get with points. Like going swimming or going to the movies or something. You can create individual rewards within the app. Which I think is pretty cool.
So, I will check back and let you all know how it goes once the Circle comes in 🙂 In the meantime, if you have any ideas or suggestions or things you do in your home, I’d love to hear them.

on starting a business

I come from a family of artists. All of my siblings have some kind of artistic tendencies, for me that was always writing. My long time dream is to be an author. But very early in life I chose the path of parent and not too long after that, I chose the path of single parent. And single parents don’t get as much time to write as you might think 😉
My father has always been a silversmith. Back in the old pre-internet days, he would load up his van with tables and jewelry and go to farmers markets or craft shows and sell jewelry. The days he was home were spent soldering, adding stones, and polishing existing pieces to be ready for the next show.
Several years ago my father “retired” to his house in New Mexico and took to selling his jewelry on ebay exclusively. He’ll be 76 this year, so I think he is tired of all the traveling.
About fifteen years ago, my older sister went to visit our dad and learn as much as she could about his business. She then moved to a very remote part of North East Canada and bought a huge home and set up her shop in the basement. She has been doing that ever since.
More recently, my younger brother made the same trip to visit our father and returned and started his own shop, followed by my little sister… my brother is the most vocal about how well he is doing with it. Now, he currently has a full time job and he owns a vending machine so the the silver shop is his “hobby” business, but it is making him money and he adds to it every month, making it bigger and bigger.
So I was finally convinced enough to make a modest investment into my own silver shop. The biggest thing for me was not to dip into The GingerBeard Man and my salary for an experiment. Because even if little brother is doing well doesn’t mean I will. Luckily, at my job, I get an annual bonus. So I took my bonus and bought a ton of supplies and a dot com and started Navajo Silver Shop. Or rather, I am still in the process of starting it.
The GingerBeard Man excels at all things design and also at the creation of websites. This site was my little pet project that he was kind enough to set up for me. So I am currently harassing him to do my logo, marketing stuff and to set up navajosilvershop.com, but he has this whole pesky career that gets in the way sometimes, lol. In the meantime, I have set up a little ebay shop and have listed about half of what I have. “Hobby” businesses still take up a lot of time and I haven’t really found a balance between taking photos and listing items and making dinner and doing laundry just yet. I’ll get there.

An organized life…

I spent so many years trying to stay on top of everything.  It was like plate spinning.  But every time someone threw another plate at me, I’d drop one or two that were already spinning.  I’d forget to grab my wallet or buy milk or pay that bill.  Then I’d bounce a check or run out of gas or forget someone’s soccer practice.  I started working my way through the insane amount of how to lead a more organized life advice there is both in books and on the internet.  And as with all things, not everything works for everyone.  To this day I wish I could get one of those how to keep your whole house clean by just doing certain things on certain days of the month.  It doesn’t work for me and I don’t suppose, short of my becoming a stay at home mother and wife which is laughable, that it ever will.  However, I have found a few things that do work for me.  The first is a budget.  I keep my budget in excel and it is projected for the entirety of the calendar year… and honestly, I’m so obsessed with it that I usually start working on the next year around fall.  I have every single bill and all projected pay listed.  And then I have all of the monthly bills as well as the things I know we will need to spend money on in certain months, like Christmas or back to school clothes.  I balance this budget against my bank and credit card at least three times a week.  It keeps me sane.

Another thing that I do, that honestly I have a hard time believing other people don’t is my meal planning spreadsheet.  I am not a big fan of grocery shopping.  I have my moments where I wish we could all just have a food iv and I could pay that bill and never have to shop or cook or do freaking dishes again.  But then I remember that chocolate is good and fresh hot bread with melted kerrygold butter on it is better.  So, because it has to be done, I plan out the menu for each week.  I usually open this spreadsheet on Wednesday when my local grocery store offers up their ad and all of the digital coupons become available.  Using as many of the sale items as I can, I form a dinner plan for the week.  We also cook breakfast daily and pack lunches at my house so I make sure and plan for that.  Once I have the “menu” done, I start the list… on my spreadsheet, I have a column for the estimated price (you shop long enough and you know just about how much everything costs.  And a running total that tallies itself at the bottom of the page.  This is especially awesome when I impulse buy items while shopping and can then see that I blew like $40 on crap afterwards.