A sane person might wonder why I have a bunch of colored jars lined up on a shelf. The answer is that they are a combination seasonal calendar and vitamin dispensing system. The shelf was really the only reasonable place to put them.
In this system, there is a jar for each day. Each jar has the proper number of vitamins in it for our three kids, and sometimes there are small pieces of chocolate. While I’d been doing a reasonably good job of getting the kids vitamins each day, the times have been inconsistent, and they sometimes begged for extra vitamins. (We get the kids to eat the vitamins pretty easily because they taste like gummy bears, but this does have the down side of kids begging for extras or asking for a different shape or color.) It is worth my while to pack them all into the little jars because of the sheer number of jars involved in a daily dose for all three kids. The big kids get two multivitamins, and Martin gets one, but to add complication into the mix Margaret insists that she gets princess vitamins while the boys get cars vitamins. We also give the kids extra vitamin D, extra calcium, and extra omega three. That’s five jars of vitamins. One jar per day is much better, plus because the jars are painted and decorated the kids look forward to opening them.
The seasonal calendar part is mostly in the paint job. You can tell from this photo that the jars on the left are gold, red and orange, and then they change after the jar with the ribbon on it to orange, purple and black. The jar with the ribbon on it was for Halloween, so I took this picture on October 19th after the jar for that day had already been opened. What you can’t see is that there are also chalk numbers on the lids of the jar. This way we never miss a day. The jars for special days get ribbon on them. I picked three colors to represent each eighth of the year, partly based on popular culture and partly based on my personal preference. From the autumnal equinox to Halloween the colors are gold, red and orange. From Halloween to the winter solstice the colors are orange, purple and black. From the winter solstice to February 2nd the colors will be gold, red and green, from February 2nd to the spring equinox the colors will be red, white and purple. From the spring equinox to May 1st the colors will be gold, blue and green. From May 1st to the summer solstice the colors will be blue, purple and white. From the summer solstice to August 1st the colors will be gold, green and white. Finally I’m not entirely sure what I feel should be appropriate for August 1st to the autumnal equinox; but perhaps I will improvise that one or change it year to year. . The three color sequence thing is handy for me because it makes it easy for my three kids to take turns opening the jars.
In case it isn’t blindingly obvious, the jars happen to be baby food jars (the 4 ounce size). They were the right size for the little stashes of vitamins and small treats, plus they had the major advantage for me of not costing anything extra. Of course I had to peel off the labels and give them a good wash first, but free is good. My color scheme requires eight different colors for the whole year. Once the jars are clean I paint them with acrylic paint from the craft store. The craft paint is pretty cheap, less than $2 a bottle, and so far one bottle has been more than enough. I still need to do the white jars and the blue jays. I also think that a second coat of paint is something that I want to do. Right now one coat looks OK, but you don’t have to be too closely to see that the coverage isn’t as complete as it could be, especially on the metallic ones (gold and black). I painted the tops of the lids with green chalkboard paint, which has worked out really well. I write the day of each month on the top of the jar in chalk, and that way there can’t be any confusion about whether or not we’ve opened the jar for the day. I think I’m becoming a fan of chalkboard paint. The ribbon I use for special days is just normal curling ribbon that you might use for wrapping presents.
My shelf only holds 24 jars, which means I need 8 of each color to always fill the shelf. I’ve been making nine or each color. In an ideal world I’d really like a longer shelf so that there was less time when there was only one color sequence visible. Right now the next color sequence won’t sneak in at the right hand side until Thanksgiving, though I guess it is appropriate for the yuletide colors to start showing up around then. A longer shelf would also allow the kids to count down to events they care about further ahead, but so far it’s working reasonably well.