Tag Archives: big sister

Daily Checklists to Teach Children to Manage Money

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Daily Checklists to Teach Children to Manage Money

When our older two kids were younger, I struggled with the idea of simply giving children an allowance (for doing nothing) or paying them to do certain chores (I don’t struggle with that anymore). I believe our children should contribute to the care of their home because they are a part of our family, but they are also entitled to a small portion of our income because they are a part of our family.  I wasn’t sure how to manage the children’s chores and allowance until I found an interesting blog through Pinterest. 

I love searching Pinterest for anything having to do with crafts, school, health, and food.  I sometimes use Pinterest instead of Google because I know I will be more likely to find the desired information.  One such search directed me to 71 Toes and their weekly checklists for children.  The concept is fairly simple.  Each child has a checklist of tasks to complete each weekday.  If they complete all of their tasks for the week, they will receive their age in dollars on Saturday or Sunday.  If they fail to complete one or two tasks, they will receive half of their age in dollars.  They will receive no money for not completing three or more. They are allowed to memorize a scripture verse or passage (parent’s choice) to make up for one task.


The four areas of tasks are as follows. 

  • Morning work:  make bed, pick up bedroom floor, brush teeth, eat breakfast, get ready to go (if necessary)
  • Reading:  read for a minimum of 15 minutes each day
  • Practice:  practice something for at least 15 minutes each day (examples below)
  • Zone:  clean one area of the house (see below)

Practice can be as simple as writing a letter to a friend or loved one, playing a game (Scrabble, Quirkle, Monopoly, Dominoes, Yahtzee, Uno, etc.), playing an educational game on a computer or iPad, practicing flash cards, or practicing spelling words.  Big Brother plays baseball and practices hitting with a pitching machine.  Big Sister used to practice her cartwheels at home for gymnastics.  The little girls practiced painting (fine motor skills) with Grandmother yesterday.  My kids usually check with me first to make sure something will count for their practice before they start.  As long as I can see some developmental or educational value in their activity, I usually approve–unless they want to do something extremely messy or that will require me to be involved for an extended period of time. 

We have only recently developed the zone into something that works well for our family.  At first, I only had the two older children completing checklists, so we only had two zones, which were usually 1) pick up the living room and 2) pick up the game room.  Those were the days when the twins were babies/toddlers and the floors were their playground.  When the twins were a little over three, we tried the checklists, but they were a little young to understand the concept.  They would complete a zone together, usually with my help.  I came up with five different chores that need to be completed more than once a week and put them on a wheel that I rotate on weekdays to give each child a new zone.  Today, the twins decided they each want a separate zone to complete on their own, so I have to create a new wheel.  


I started out with each child (the older two at the time) having a checklist on a half-sheet of paper like the mom at 71 Toes, but I didn’t want to tape or tack the sheets to our brand new (at the time) walls.  I created a family command center around this time and used a magnetic clip to display their sheets on one sheet of paper.  Once the twins wanted a checklist, I found a way to fit all four on one sheet.  They are small, but it’s easy to see who has empty boxes at a glance. 


 The purpose of the checklists is to teach children how to manage their money.  Big Brother can earn up to $10 a week.  He must save 10% and give 10% to our church, so he has a check register where we record his savings each week, and we keep that cash for him.  Big Sister can earn up to $8 each week.  She loves Starbursts and bubble gum, but she must buy those things with her own money, so she has to budget, save, and figure out tax on her purchase.  The little girls quickly learn that $3 doesn’t buy much, so they are learning the value of a dollar.  The family from 71 Toes requires their children to pay for half of all their clothing (except underwear, socks, and Sunday dress clothes) once they reach the age of twelve.  We haven’t reached that point yet, so I’ll update when we figure out if that will work for our family.  

I’m sure I have forgotten something to explain about this system, but you can ask me questions in a comment or go to 71 Toes to read her explanation and see what they do differently.  This is a wonderful system that works well as long as you (the parent) remember to have cash (plenty of ones) every weekend. Otherwise, your kids feel like they aren’t being rewarded for their checklists and quit completing their tasks.  (I know this from personal experience.) 

Once upon a time…

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Once upon a time…

Big Sister was the little sister, and she had these two pair of pajamas that she loved to wear because they were comfortable and cute.  

She was two years old, and we weren’t planning to have any more children, so we gave away the pajamas and never thought about them again.  
Then, one day last week, my sister was at a garage sale and found some little girl clothes and sent them to our house with my mom who came for a visit last weekend.  The little girls were trying the “new” clothes on with Grammy, and they came into the kitchen to show me.  I couldn’t believe they had the same pajamas on as their big sister had worn five years earlier!  Sweet memories.

I couldn’t get the girls to pose for a photo together except to do this:  

They are so silly!

A Beautiful Country Morning

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The little girls saw their grandmother go into the pasture Sunday afternoon and thought they would get to ride her pony, Freedom, but she was working in the yard, so we made plans for them to ride at 8:00 this morning.   

They enjoyed riding so much!  Grandmother led the horse with each of them in the round pen.  Then she gave each of them the option to hold the reins themselves.  

 They thought they were such big girls.  They had a hard time kicking Freedom on his sides to make him go, but Grandmother stayed right in front of him, and he kept walking for the most part.  

 They each rode twice for several minutes each time.   

 Freedom is a large pony, but he’s gentle with the kids.  

 Big Brother and Little Sister enjoyed hanging out on the fence while waiting for their turns.  

 Big Sister wanted a turn on Freedom as well, but she didn’t want to hold the reins herself.  She’s more cautious than her siblings. 

 Big Brother also rode this morning, but he thinks he’s too big to stay in the round pen, so he took Freedom out into the pasture.  He did a good job on Freedom walking around the pasture.  

  We love living just down the driveway from my husband’s parents.  It makes these early morning rides very convenient.  My in-laws also have a mini that was a rescue pony, but he is so skittish that I was surprised to see him staying so close to where we were.    

 After the girls were finished riding, they went in the barn to look for eggs.  They only found one this early in the day.  

 It’s a beautiful morning.  I hope you will find an opportunity to get out and enjoy the sunshine today!

Reflections on Our No-Spend Month

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Reflections on Our No-Spend Month

First, I want to explain why I haven’t shared what my husband spent money on this past Friday.  A couple of times a year, my husband, son, and father-in-law go camping for a weekend.  They had planned several weeks ago (before we decided October would be a no-spend month) to go this past weekend.  My husband took $60 cash with them and spent $22 on groceries, $16 for the campsite, and $28 at a restaurant.  They always go to a buffet on Friday night.  My husband spent a little more than what he had in cash, but technically, some of the campsite fee and groceries were for Sunday, November 1st.  So why didn’t I share that sooner?  When I am home alone with my kids, I do not want the whole world to know.  I feel safe where we live, but I would rather not announce to everyone that my husband will not be home all weekend, especially on Halloween.  It’s just my overprotective nature.  

Our no-spend month is over, and we only spent money out of our checking account on gas (3 times), copays at the doctor’s office (3 kids), prescriptions (3 antibiotics), and whatever extra my guys spent this past weekend.  We think we saved close to $2000 by not spending in October.  We sat down Sunday and planned our spending for November and came up with amounts for groceries and household items, personal care (haircuts, makeup, etc.), dining out,  office supplies, and clothing.  Now if we could just get to the bank to get some cash, we could implement the envelope system.   

our pantry before our no-spend month

  

our pantry at the end of our no-spend month

 
We went a whole month without eating out, except for Saturday nights due to our church schedule and the days my husband had meetings or classes.  That alone saved us at least $200 and 5,000 calories!  We were already eating at home most of the time, but I had to be more intentional about planning and preparing things ahead of time to ensure that we wouldn’t end up eating out.

My makeup and all of our other personal hygiene and cosmetic items (miraculously) lasted all month.  I ordered new foundation and scheduled a haircut for myself as soon as November started.  We ran out of black ink for our printer on Thursday, so I printed everything in color for a few days.  We used all of the napkins, and had to use paper towels or cloth napkins for the last week.  We needed more dishwasher detergent, and my mother-in-law gave us more than enough to last the rest of the month.  

We not only survived–we succeeded.  We saved hundreds of dollars.  We made things last longer than we thought possible.  We made use of all of our resources and refused to spend unnecessary money.  We convinced ourselves and the kids (at least for one month) that we could live without many things.  We discussed needs and wants and taught our kids lessons about materialism and entitlement.  I think this was a good experience for our family, and I would like to do it again.  My children still need to learn some lessons because they never want to be deprived again, which means we definitely need to do it again.  

Big Sister thought we needed to go buy her a crazy hat to wear to AWANA Sunday night. We were able to make one using things we already had, and she decided what we made was even better than what we could have found at the store.

No-Spend Month: Day 31

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I just took the October calendar off our command center and put up the December calendar.  I had written “No-Spend Month” in bright, large letters across the top of the October sheet, and it just hit me that our no-spend month is really over now.  I’ll post some reflections tomorrow after I have had a chance to reflect.  Lol. 

  • We ate breakfast and lunch at home.  I made more multigrain rolls for breakfast.  I think they were even better this time!  I ran out of yeast last week, but my mother-in-law had plenty.  I used the last of the honey in the rolls today.  I’m glad I will be able to go grocery shopping next week because we definitely need a few things.  Of course, “need” is probably not the right word.  We have been able to survive just fine without many things, but it will be nice to be able to shop again. 
  • We went to church this evening and skipped trick-or-treating.  We took the kids to Culver’s and bought them treats there instead!  Actually, I had a coupon for Big Sister’s frozen custard, so her treat was free!  
  • No one came to pick up and pay for their online garage sale items, so I wasn’t sure what we would do for dinner until I noticed our “respect” jars on the counter and realized they contained $10 worth of dimes.  Then I remembered there was a $5 bill in a desk drawer, so we had plenty for dinner. 

No-Spend Month: Day 12

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No-Spend Month: Day 12

Big Sister told us yesterday that her throat hurt, but she had no fever, so we thought it could just be allergies.  This morning she started coughing, and I just knew she had strep.  So we had to pay another $30 co-pay and a $10 prescription.   Someday, all of our children will stop getting strep so frequently.  (Big Brother has been healthy for a long time now.). I’m already missing our $0 co-pay for children, and the insurance just changed at the beginning of this month.  😕

Big Sister had a rough morning.  Just before we left for the doctor, she shut her fingers in the laundry room door and bruised/cut them, so we had to take an ice pack with us.  Her fingers were so swollen and looked so bad that the doctor was concerned that she might have broken them.  I took this photo after we got back home, and they weren’t purple anymore, but the two that she smashed were still swollen.   

 
She has been doing cartwheels this afternoon, so I’m sure she didn’t break anything.  She even worked on her math assignments and was able to write without my help. 

Our doctor’s office had fall decorations outside the front door, so we stopped for a quick photo. Sissy wasn’t sure about the big plastic tarantula sitting next to her.

  • I felt sorry for Big Sister and bought her a grape slush at Sonic after her appointment. We spent $2 in quarters.
  • We all had lunch at home today–saving money and calories!
  • I made Mexican skillet casserole for dinner but only used a 1/2 pound of ground beef since I wasn’t feeding Big Brother or my in-laws.  I’ll use the rest of the ground beef Wednesday in the stuffed bell peppers.
  • I borrowed a shirt from a friend instead of buying one to wear to school this Wednesday for a special dress day.
  • I cleaned out the girls’ stuffed animals and got two bags ready to donate and some other things set aside to sell.

Scrambled Eggs, Organized Thoughts

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I had planned to scramble some eggs this morning for my seven year old daughter because she has been complaining of headaches mid-morning at school.  I believe she is hungry or at least having withdrawal headaches because she is accustomed to eating snacks, but second graders are not allowed a snack time at school.  However, Big Sister decided she didn’t want eggs this morning and chose another source of protein to go along with her cereal and fruit, but the little girls still wanted eggs.  I asked Big Brother if he wanted any, and he said no.  We only had seven eggs, so I scrambled them all, planning on eating some myself.  

As I was serving the little girls, Big Brother decided he wanted some eggs after all, and I felt it would be selfish of me not to share, so I gave him most of what was left.  Once the little ones had been fed and cleaned up and the big kids were off to school, I ate what little eggs were left in the now room temperature pan as I looked upon my son’s plate of mostly uneaten scrambled eggs.  I wondered why I had sacrificed for him and why mothers in general sacrifice so much of their wants and needs for their children’s desires.  Our children don’t seem to appreciate or even realize how much we sacrifice for them.  

This made me think of how much God has sacrificed for us–His one and only Son–and how, just like children, we often fail to appreciate or realize the cost of His sacrifice.  I can’t imagine giving my son’s life to save someone else’s life, but God did just that and provided a way for everyone to be saved if they will only accept His gift and acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord.   

Wasted scrambled eggs pale in comparison with His sacrifice.  

Baseball and Birthdays and Dance! Oh My!

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This summer seemed to fly by more quickly than ever before. It seemed like we were always busy, but I don’t remember what we were doing. I didn’t post often, so I’m really behind on sharing these photos.

Big Brother played baseball again in the spring and enjoyed playing catcher. He has had this baseball helmet for two years but refuses to take the MLB sticker off the brim. Goofy boy. He improved a lot this year, hitting, fielding, and throwing better. He is now swimming on a team at the Y instead of playing football (fall) and basketball (winter), but he wants to play baseball again in the spring.

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Big Sister took ballet and tap (Combo I) last school year and just started Combo II for this school year. She performed in a recital in June and looked so cute and sassy in her costume.

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In July, Big Sister lost her first tooth, began wearing a shorter hair style, and turned six years old. Whew! That was a busy month for sure!

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The twins turned 18 months old in August and would not cooperate for pictures. We were unable to get any of them together for the first time since they were born. Stubborn little girls! I think they were a little shy. They wanted me to stay right with them the whole time. The next pictures we have taken will be of our whole family, so their daddy and I can each hold one. Maybe they will cooperate if they are in our arms. I can hope anyway.

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My husband became the new chief of his fire department on August 1st. I think this is the best picture he has ever had taken. We are so proud of him!

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Our New Wheels

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If you know me very well, you’ll know I’m a runner, or at least I try to be. I began running regularly in the spring of 2010 and for the next two years, I ran everything from a 1 mile fun run to a full marathon. Then I found out I was pregnant with twins, and my doctor told me not to run during my pregnancy. Once they were born, there was no time for running! After we were settled in our new house last summer, I started looking for a good jogging stroller. A serious runner friend recommended the Chariot Cougar, so I looked for one on Craig’s List because those are out of our price range. I saw a few, but I was always the second or third person to contact the seller. I started researching similar bicycle trailers/jogging strollers and finally found the Allen Sports Premier 2-Child Aluminum Bike Trailer/Racing Stroller on Amazon.

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We’ve had it for almost a month, and we’ve been on several runs (less than 20 miles total) so far, and I’ve been happy with it. The tires are large and similar to bicycle tires, so it is easy to push, and I am able to use one hand to push until I get to a curve. The front wheel is fixed because this is a true jogging stroller, but it is so lightweight that it’s simple to push down on the handlebar and lift the front wheel to turn.

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We took it for a test drive down the driveway to my in-laws’ house, and the twins enjoyed riding in it. The stroller has two shoulder straps that hook onto a strap that comes up between the legs. There is another set of straps that fasten around the waist of each child. There are cushioned sleeves around the straps at their neck level and on the strap between the legs. Of course, one of my twins removed the lower strap cushions before we ever took the stroller out of the house, but I will be sure to put the cushions back on when the twins are no longer in diapers.

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There are three straps at the bottom, which allow you to carry one child alone in the center or two children side by side. My twins are tall for being 19 months old, and they have plenty of leg room and head room. The width is a little more snug, but they haven’t complained, and I bought the narrower stroller because it fits through doors. I plan to take this stroller to the arboretum, zoo, and anywhere else we will do a lot of walking.

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Big Brother and Big Sister go to school three days a week and complete assignments at home on Tuesday and Thursday. We have been going for “walks” on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings right after the twins wake up, so they usually ride in their pajamas while eating breakfast. Most of the time, when I put shoes on the twins, they take them off unless they are running around outside. I have tried putting shoes on them before jogging, so they would be able to get out and play as soon as we returned home, but one day we lost a shoe, and Big Brother rode back down the street to find it, so now we just let the twins ride barefooted. All I can see when I’m running are their little feet, but they sure are cute.

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Here is a photo of all of my children on one of our “walks”. Obviously, I’m the only one who does any walking, but they continue to ask if we are going on a walk.

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After two years of inactivity, I am slowly starting to run again. I tried to run too much the first week and ended up with a pulled muscle. That has mostly healed, but now my heel hurts when I run, so I’ve only run a mile on each of our walks this week. I guess that’s better than what I was doing before we got the double jogger. Oh, I should mention that this stroller also attaches to a bicycle as a trailer, but I don’t own a bicycle, so I haven’t tried it out as a trailer. Big Brother wants to pull the twins with his bike, but I don’t trust him to be careful enough with my precious cargo.

Water, Water Everywhere

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Water, Water Everywhere

The weather the past couple of weeks has been very hot and dry, so we have been playing frequently in water to keep cool. Last Monday, we went to a children’s garden with some friends, and all of the kids had a great time playing in the water. Naturally, Little Sister was more cautious, but she jumped right in after her more adventurous twin. You can see Big Sister in the background, but Big Brother was running and jumping with his friends–too busy for photos but great for entertaining the girls! The little boy was no one we knew, but he made the water spray all over the girls, and Sissy tried and tried to do the same but wasn’t quite tall enough.
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The big kids have had swimming lessons last week and this week and have made a lot of progress. I got my hair cut on Thursday right before their lesson and snapped a photo while they were swimming to send to my husband, mom, and sister. It’s so much more stylish than the ponytail I’ve been sporting every day since the weather heated up.

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On Friday, we went swimming with some friends at their neighborhood pool. Sissy and Little Sister had their floaties on and were walking around in the water on the wide, top step while I was putting Big Sister’s hair in a ponytail, and the next thing I knew, Sissy just stepped right off into the pool and starting splashing around in the water. The nice thing about the Puddle Jumper life jacket is that it positions them correctly for swimming, and Sissy started kicking her legs and using her arms to swim. I was amazed. Again, Little Sister was more cautious and sat on the top step for awhile, but she did get in the pool now and then. I also snapped a photo of Big Sister and her friend, but once again, Big Brother was too busy with his friends.

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As if I didn’t have enough to do already, I started another garden on one side of our backyard for vining plants like cantaloupe, watermelon, pumpkins, and fall/winter squash. I planted all the seeds about four weeks ago, and God sent rain four days in a row that week! Our sprinkler system doesn’t extend that far, so I’ve been hand watering it every other day, and the babies often come with me. Saturday morning, I went ahead and put their swimsuits on because they usually get soaked. I saved and rinsed some milk jugs for them to help me water, but they usually just pour it out on the grass or on their own feet. They lost interest in helping me and walked over to our vegetable garden. Sissy brought me a tomato she had picked. At least this one was ripe! I bought some 18″ wooden stakes at Home Depot and used a Sharpie to label them and create simple row markers.

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We went over to the vegetable garden next so I could pull some weeds in the beds. I filled the water table for the girls to play in while I worked. The garden is shaded by the house in the morning, so it’s a great place for them to play. Sissy started helping me pull weeds and wanted to throw them over the fence into the pasture like I was doing, so she climbed to the top and then fussed because she couldn’t get down. After the third time, I realized what she was doing and told her to put the weeds through the fence like she was doing the week before.

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We have picked a few zucchini squash and over a dozen tomatoes already. The grasshoppers are eating our corn, but I think we will have plenty.

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There is finally rain on our forecast this week, so maybe we will really have water everywhere. We sure need it. Hope you are staying cool this summer!