Saturday, October 2, 2010

Hot Wheels

Here's some of what's been happening (it's been a very commercial day):
  • C had her first riding class of the first term. The therapeutic riding outfit has gotten more horses and had a big push to recruit more kids. The local autism center and the riding place are running a study together on the effect of horse riding on autistic children.
  • My husband got us a new bathroom scale and put new pedals on D's bike. He also got himself a drill press. I forget if I've mentioned this earlier, but he recently picked up a free cherry wood crib from Craigslist and has converted some of the slats from it into an adjustable binocular mount for star nights.
  • D was begging for math worksheets this morning. I found a few for him. He was doing worksheets with a mix of single digit problems (2 x 6, 5 + 2, 9 - 3, etc.). Although D is generally the milder mannered of our two children, I notice that he beats himself up a lot more over wrong answers than C does, so I tried to point out to him how many he got right. So far, he's been working for points.
  • D turned down an age-appropriate Kumon workbook where you count dots and fill in missing numbers (1_3_5_7). He prefers actual computation. However, the mechanics of writing down answers hampers him a bit at this point. His best math performance is done orally.
  • D made a piece of art that spelled out "I love you" for me and he also made me a little necklace this morning.
  • I took the kids to the grocery today and they each bought one of those huge 96-crayon Crayola sets. I nearly bought the discount brand, but discovering that they were made in China and the Crayola crayons were made in the US, I had the kids get the more expensive box.
  • The kids pooled their points and took us to Rosa's Tortilla Factory this evening for dinner. We had a very good dinner and then stood around watching the tortilla cooker through the glass. The flattened tortilla dough goes into the machine, spirals down while cooking and puffing up like a balloon, then deflates a bit as it cools before being ejected onto the big tortilla pile. Rosa's Tortilla Factory sells them for $2.49 a dozen. When the cafeteria closes for Thanksgiving and Christmas, we should definitely look into getting some fresh tortillas for dinner at home.
  • Today, C finally got a Hot Wheels set at Toys R Us. It's a build-your-own set, where you're able to customize the track to your taste. C paid $27 for it (including tax) and she is thrilled with it. She's been asking for it for months now, and both kids have vast collections of Hot Wheels cars from the supermarket.
  • Our current financial regimen for the kids is that when they get paid, 10% goes to charity, 20% goes to travel and fun savings, and they get the rest in cash (this has been good for my math skills, too). C has lately been a little workhorse. Earlier today, before we hit the stores, C had very nearly $50, which is the most she's ever had in her own possession, ever. At the moment, there's an enormous pile of money on the dining room table from the kids for me to tidy up from all the kids' purchases.
  • Back when the kids were smaller and more concrete thinkers, we used to keep a small store of items in the closet for them to earn and purchase (activity sets, My Little Ponies, stuffed animals, etc.). Lately, I've had a few bad experiences with buying items at the kids' request and the items gathering dust in my closet, so we've decided that we will not buy stuff if the kids don't have the money right now.
  • C has taken very well to the travel fund, and in fact she's been telling me to put extra money in the travel fund. Lately, she's had such good cash flow that I've suggested to my husband that we should have her channel an additional 10% of income into long-term savings, for instance a high-interest savings account or a mutual fund, or a 529 or something. I'm not clear on what we should go with, but if she only had a few hundred dollars in a savings account yielding 1% interest annually, I don't know that it would have the proper educational effect (or it would, but not the one I would like to instill). This may be premature, because C's recent earning spree may just be a fluke, but if she continues to work hard and earn well, I don't want to see her fritter away the money.

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