Tag Archives: reading

Daily Checklists to Teach Children to Manage Money

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.) 


Birthdays, Books, Banquets, Bugs, and Bible Verses

Birthdays, Books, Banquets, Bugs, and Bible Verses

What do all of these things have in common?  Birthdays, books, banquets, bugs (the bacterial kind), and Bible verses have kept me so busy these past few weeks that I have only posted once and that was a book review on my other blog.  Please excuse this random post to catch you up on all the chaos that is my life. 

These cuties turned three years old this month!

First, out of the six people in our house, five of us have a birthday in a four-week period.  If you take out the one January birthday, four of us celebrate our birth in less than two weeks.  It’s a crazier-than-normal time already, and then we throw in Valentine’s Day.  Guess who completely forgot to buy her children Valentines to pass out at school and had to stop at the store on the way to school that morning?  Yep.  Mom of the year right here.  This was my first year to have all four kids in classes where they were exchanging gifts/treats, and I was completely overwhelmed.  By the way, I wouldn’t advise waiting until the Friday before Valentine’s Day to try to find those cute little cards with your child’s favorite characters on them because we were only able to find one package in the whole store (with the help of an employee), and those were the cards you put suckers in, and none of my children wanted to pass out suckers.  We just gave friends cool treats without cute cards.  There’s always next year, right?

This handsome guy turned 10 a few weeks ago. I can’t believe I have been a mom for over a decade!

If you know me very well, you know I love to read.  I confessed to my students this morning that I’m addicted to books.  I have the hardest time closing a good book at night when I know I should be sleeping instead of reading.  Trying to teach on less than six hours of sleep is like trying to drive while taking pain medication.  Ok.  Maybe it’s not quite as dangerous, but my brain doesn’t function at 100%, and I forget the correct math words for what I’m supposed to be teaching my students.  Fortunately, they are smart and help me out when my memory lapses, and they are forgiving.  Anyway, I have received a few amazing novels recently and finally found the time to read them.  I read to pass the time while I’m on the elliptical in the mornings.  Last week, I ran out of new books to read and discovered a treasure of a book on my Kindle app (Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin).  I would have loved to curl up with that book and just read all day.  (If you don’t have young children at home, please don’t take that privilege for granted!)  I just finished another wonderful book today, and I need to write a couple of reviews ASAP.

My husband and I attended a couple of banquets this month, and I was stressing about what to wear, getting my haircut, trying to lose weight, deciding how to fix my hair, which jewelry looked best with each dress, what makeup to buy, etc.  I ordered dresses online because it’s too much trouble to go shopping with four children.  I also had to alter the length of the dresses because my feet refuse to endure the torture of six-inch heels.  My husband wore his class A uniform to the fire department banquet and slacks and a nice shirt to the other banquet.  He looked great without having to worry about any of the details.  Why do we (women) put so much pressure on ourselves?  The banquets were nice and enjoyable once the nights came, but the weeks leading up to them were filled with anxiety.  I should have been quoting Philippians 4:6-7 to myself during that time and putting it into practice!


Our sole summer birthday!

The twins were sick last week.  It had been five months since they had strep throat last.  I’m sure that was our longest stretch without strep in the last two years, but Little Sister had it really bad this time.  Even after two days on antibiotics, both girls were still fussy and clingy.  I got pretty much nothing done last week, so I’m playing catch up this week.  Fun times.  But I enjoyed extra snuggles and cuddles with my little girls, who are getting too big too fast. 


These verses took me more than two weeks to memorize!

I have continued with my personal challenge to memorize the book of Ephesians this year.   My goal is to commit half of a chapter to memory each month, and I just barely finished chapter one by the end of February.  The last few verses were challenging to commit to memory, but now they just roll off my tongue.  I am enjoying seeing what my sleep-deprived brain can do when I focus on achieving a goal.  Tomorrow begins a new month, and I will start memorizing chapter two.  If you committed to memorizing Ephesians with me, how are you doing?  How about those of you who are learning Philippians this year?  I’d love to hear from you for the encouragement and accountability.  
I am extremely blessed even in the midst of the chaos.  I am exhausted, but I am loved, and that makes it all worth it.


Jennifer (Book Review)


Dee Henderson is one of my favorite authors of Christian fiction, and I have read most of her books. When I learned that she had written a new one and that Jennifer was a prequel to the popular O’Malley series that she wrote several years ago, I couldn’t wait to read it. The O’Malley series focuses on the lives of seven adult siblings who had “adopted” each other by legally changing their last names to O’Malley after growing up together in an orphanage. Jennifer is the youngest of the seven and an integral part of the whole series. Jennifer is a love story that leaves off where book one in the series begins. Even though I knew how this book would end, I enjoyed reading this tender love story between Jennifer and Tom and learning how Jennifer developed a relationship with Jesus. This smaller, gift-sized book (154 pages) made for a light and quick read, which is perfect for summertime. The story is touching, moves quickly, and yet touches on difficult questions about faith and dealing with pain.

If you have never read the O’Malley series, this book will leave you hanging at the end. The author’s note at the end informs you that Jennifer’s story continues in the first book of the O’Malley series. While I loved the series and didn’t want it to end because I was so interested in the characters’ lives, I was eager to finish the series to find out how Jennifer’s story played out. If you are looking for a quick, light read but haven’t read the series, this book is probably not for you. I HAVE read the series, and Jennifer still left me wanting to read all of the books again! On the other hand, if you have read the series, you will enjoy this glimpse into the previous lives of two of the characters from the series. If you are looking for some new books to read, I would highly recommend beginning with the prequels Danger in the Shadows and Jennifer, then reading all six of the O’Malley books, and finishing up with Full Disclosure, in which we meet up again with some of the O’Malleys.

Bethany House Publishers sent me this book free upon my request and agreement to post a review (positive or negative) on my blog and on a retailer’s site. This review is my personal opinion and has not been influenced by the publisher.

Summer boredom & other stuff


How much TV do you allow your children to watch each day? During the last month or two of my pregnancy and then after the babies were born, my older two children watched more TV than I care to admit. We have begun limiting them (again) to about an hour a day, but with the heat of summer approaching, I’m afraid my kids will spend more time in the house and I will gradually begin to allow more and more TV time. My son asked me so many times yesterday morning if he could watch TV that I made a new rule that there will be no TV until after 9:00 am. Your children may not even be up at that time, but mine are usually up before 7:00 am, so they’ve already had breakfast, completed their morning duties, and become bored by 8:00. LOL.

We have just started a new responsibility/allowance system that I read about here. The children have morning responsibilities, reading, cleaning, and practice to complete each day in order to earn their allowance each week. Since we only started a few days ago, I can’t tell you that it will be what we use forever, but the kids have been more responsible and complaining less. They are eager to check off their responsibilities on their chart each day. With this new system, we are currently requiring each child to read for 15 minutes each day and practice something (drawing, extra reading, writing, puzzles, math games, flash cards, etc.) for 15 minutes each day. I plan to increase the amount of time required for reading and practice as they grow accustomed to this new plan. The reason I mention all of this in this post is to share one way we are trying to combat summer boredom. What are some ways you keep your kids busy during the summer?

I LOVE to read, and I want my children to enjoy reading as well. We are learning about Japan, China, and India this week, so I checked out about 25 children’s books from our local library on these countries. Our son, who is an independent reader, has been enjoying some of these books during his reading time, our daughter enjoys looking at the pictures and “reading” to herself, and I have been reading them to the kids as well. Sunday afternoon, we just sat on the couch and read books for about 45 minutes. I think they enjoyed the “mommy time” as much as anything. One infant requires a lot of a mommy’s time and attention. Sadly, two infants don’t leave much of mommy for the older ones. This is something else I need to focus on this summer, which is another reason we are doing our own summer camps. I’m hoping all of this will help with their behavior as well, which has been atrocious.

Please leave me comments about TV time, summer activities, etc. I’m willing to try just about anything.