Tag Archives: Sissy

Daily Checklists to Teach Children to Manage Money

Standard
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.) 

A Minor Setback

Standard

I’m thankful for my new support system and accountability that had me up by 6:00 this morning and on the elliptical before the kids were awake.  Sissy told me she didn’t feel well around 8:00 am, and Little Sister followed suit a few minutes later.  I was able to get them to the doctor this morning, and they both have strep yet again.  Sissy seems worse this time because she is vomiting and doesn’t usually have that symptom.  


So I’m reading a book while the girls watch a Thomas DVD we got at the library earlier this week.  It’s a good thing I worked out before I found out they were sick.  I should still be able to meet my step goal for the day, and I completed my 30 Days challenges, so I can just hold my babies until they feel better.  

Please say a prayer for them.  They have had strep several times in the past year and probably should have their tonsils removed, but I’m hesitant to do so.  Let me know if you have been in this situation and found a way to avoid surgery and prevent recurring strep infections.  Thank you! 

Once upon a time…

Standard
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!

Wiggle Worms

Standard
Wiggle Worms

Last week, my little girls’ preschool teachers brought live worms to class, and they both held the worms, but some of the little boys in their class didn’t want to touch the worms.  We (the moms) had some laughs about that.  


This evening, the girls were helping me pull weeds in our garden when we found a good-sized worm.  Both of the girls wanted to hold it and fought over who got to put it back in the dirt.  


This worm was more wiggly than any we have found in our garden before, and they had to use both hands to keep it from getting away from them.  

These girls love nature and being outdoors.  They enjoy getting dirty too as you can see from Little Sister’s hands and the smile on her face.  

Just in case you are wondering, they DO have shoes and gardening gloves.  They would rather go barefooted and get their hands and feet dirty than mess with silly contraptions like shoes and gloves.  

A Beautiful Country Morning

Standard

  
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!

No-Spend Month: Day 21

Standard

Wednesdays are very busy for us this semester.  We stay at school later to allow the big kids time to do their homework (while I grade papers) because they have science and social studies with Grandmother on Tuesday and Thursday and also because the little girls are home on Tuesday and Thursday so I can’t help them as much.  The little girls stay in childcare at school until the older two are finished with their assignments, and the twins finally stayed long enough today to take a nap on the nap mats I made for them.  We came home for thirty minutes to eat a snack and let Big Sister change clothes.  Big Sister has gymnastics from 4:00 to 5:00, and we have just enough time to go home and eat dinner before my husband takes Big Brother to his Bible study group.  I’m exhausted by the end of the day.  Well, more exhausted than usual.  The girls had a bath and then had a little time to play before bed.  Sissy likes to carry her baby doll on her hip like Mama does, and Little Sister likes to put 20 different clips in her hair.  They are a mess!

   

  • The kids and I took lunches to school.  My husband ate breakfast at work and then snacked on leftovers and didn’t eat lunch today. 
  • I veered from our menu a little this week.  I didn’t cook Sunday night, so I moved that to Monday, skipped the homemade pizzas entirely, changed tonight to my backup, family-favorites:  popcorn shrimp, fish sticks, corn, plain spaghetti, fresh tomatoes, fresh cucumbers.  I’ll make tonight’s scheduled meal tomorrow and move that one to Friday because it looks like our Friday night plans will be rained out.  I love planning a menu, but I do so in pencil and change as needed.  I try to schedule around meetings and such, but I don’t have everything on my calendar that everyone else does. 
  • We needed a few things from Costco, so my husband went while waiting for our son to finish his Bible study this evening.  He took cash and spent $42.03 on groceries.
  • I got paid yesterday for teaching for the month of October.  We weren’t expecting a paycheck until next month because that’s how I got paid when I taught public school, but this is nice.  We weren’t sure what to do with that money, since it isn’t regular income, but we are still in a no-spend month, and it will be considered regular income next month, so we are just leaving it in our account and not planning to spend it.  We can use it if we have to, but I’m hoping we can make it 10 more days on what we have left. 

Thank you for following us with this extreme experiment.  Let me know if you have any questions or if you are planning to try a no-spend month or even a week.  I’d love to hear from you!

Toddler-proofing

Standard

We baby-proofed our home months ago, but the twins are toddlers now and climb on everything. I was eating lunch earlier after I finished feeding them and glanced down the hall and saw Little Sister on top of the changing table with Sissy starting to climb up as well.

IMG_6763.JPG
Last night, my husband asked if we could try to prevent the twins’ chairs from hitting the walls in our breakfast nook. The problem is the twins climb on and push the chairs and hit the walls with them after they have finished eating while I’m trying to clean up the kitchen. I can’t be right there to keep the chairs from touching the wall.

I remembered seeing this photo on Pinterest and figured I could use pool noodles in a similar way on our chairs.

IMG_6773.PNG
It doesn’t look very nice, but it will save our walls from further damage. Notice the marks on the wall to the left of the first picture and the nick on the corner of the window wall. The two walls on that end of the table have marks at chair height all around, so the walls don’t look very nice either.

IMG_6770.JPG

IMG_6771.JPG
We have been planning to repaint our breakfast nook but didn’t want to do it when they would just mess it up the next day. We’ll see how the pool noodles and zip ties hold up to our toddlers, and hopefully the chair pushing is something they will outgrow quickly, so we can remove the pool noodles. In the meantime, I’d rather have funny-looking chairs and nice-looking walls.

The twins can be little Houdinis when they want to be. Little Sister has been taking off her diaper after I put her to bed (once with a onesie on), so I used duct tape on her diaper yesterday at nap time and bedtime. It worked!

IMG_6774.JPG
Please excuse the poor quality of the photo and her crazy hair. I was afraid to step away from her with her standing on the changing table. I have decided it is time to get twin beds for the girls. We can change diapers on the beds and not worry about them climbing on the beds as much as the changing table. All of their clothes are in their closet, so we can hold off on a dresser for now.

Baseball and Birthdays and Dance! Oh My!

Standard

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.

IMG_6683.JPG

IMG_6693-0.JPG
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.

IMG_6686.JPG

IMG_6688.JPG

IMG_6687.JPG

IMG_6685.JPG
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!

IMG_6682.JPG

IMG_6689.JPG

IMG_6690.JPG

IMG_6691.JPG
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.

IMG_6678.JPG

IMG_6679.JPG

IMG_6680.JPG

IMG_6681.JPG
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!

IMG_6694.JPG

Our New Wheels

Standard

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.

IMG_6396.JPG
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.

IMG_6403.JPG
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.

IMG_6398.JPG
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.

IMG_6428.JPG
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.

IMG_6546.JPG

IMG_6549.JPG
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.

IMG_6692.JPG
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.

Meal Time

Standard

Sissy and Little Sister are going through a stage where more food ends up on the floor than in their bellies. They keep reaching for the knife I’m using to slice their bananas or strawberries, and then I realize they want a fork or spoon. You would think I would remember after a week of this to just give them a spoon or fork to begin their meal instead of remembering after the floor is littered with Cheerios. They aren’t very good at eating with a spoon yet, but they can feed themselves with a fork. These photos are from lunch today. Sissy wanted to eat her banana with a fork while Little Sister ate her corn with a spoon.

IMG_6512.JPG

IMG_6510.JPG

IMG_6517.JPG

IMG_6519.JPG