Sunday, July 26, 2015

Work Hard

Most of what I post is us PLAYING HARD but believe it or not, I also believe in WORKING HARD. You shouldn't have one without the other!

I have 4 kids ages 14 to 7. Before they can go off and play with friends or watch TV or do anything really, they have to pass off 4 things all before noon. 

1. Room clean means bed made, nightstand tidied, and floor picked up. 

2. "Zones" are areas of the house that have to be cleaned. We have 4 main areas and the kids rotate these weekly--more on that later.

3. 30 minutes of music practice. 2 of my kids play violin and 2 play piano. I keep 2 handy timers in the music room for this. One of my kids was a real stinker about practicing (maybe you have one of these too) and so a musical instrument is not on their agenda. This child gets to do an extra 30 minute job for me while the others are making music. E.g. cleaning the car, organizing a closet, folding laundry, etc.  A good resource for this is

4. Read-aloud. (My favorite). I remember my mom reading aloud to me books like Treasure Island under our canopy of backyard trees in the summer. We don't do worksheets to keep up our math skills but we do read. I love passing this tradition on to my kids. We finished Number the Stars by Lois Lowry already this summer and we're currently reading Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims. We've voted on reading time before lunch. After, I have them narrate back to me briefly what we read about. Boy do my kids know the meaning of the word, SUMMARIZE.

I have a whiteboard near my fridge where I write who has what zone for the week. Then I erase the names and rotate them downward. You see I wrote the word Bano (bathroom)  for one of our zones. That is just one of those situations where a Spanish word is more convenient than it's English counterpart.  

Now our rule is that everyone be home by 6 pm. That's dinner,  After dinner the house is messy again! This is crazy, but for some reason it does not stay clean during the day--especially during the summer. We divide those after-dinner chores up as well. No more jumping up from the dinner table and leaving mom with the mess. We crank up the Pandora hits and  everyone pitches in with their job.-- wiping all the surfaces, loading the dishwasher, sweeping the floor . My favorite is the dinner helper job-that lucky person gets to prepare a salad or shred cheese or fry the tortillas or whatever help I need with dinner prep. After dinner they can just chill. Dad puts away the food. 

Allowance?? I don't do it. My kids can earn money by passing off songs--$1/piano songs and $3 for violin songs. I can also come up with a lot of extra jobs if they really want to earn money--mowing the lawn is worth $7 at our house. Vacuuming the entire basement--$5
Great resource for teaching kids about money: SMART MONEY SMART KIDS, Dave Ramsey.

Lastly, everyone in our family has a set day.( "Wednesday Brynn'sday")  If it is "your" day that means you set the table for dinner and it's your turn to say family prayer. 

That's what we do. What do you do?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Reunion Time

Summers are for family reunions. We had a big one with Brandon's side of the family in Payson, Utah.

We got a professional family portrait in our matching tees.
We had a few devotionals, hymns, and stories around the campfire to reiterate it.

The cool kids

Highlights for the kids: giant blow-up waterslide, building a fort in the mountains, water games, and wildflower crafts.
Highlight for me was just being in the beautiful mountains and the campfire singing.  New pretty scenery just takes the fun up a notch.

Everyone agreed that the low was sleeping because, in our tent, we didn't get any! Who needs sleep any way though. There was fun to be had.

Other activities were gunny sack races, photo scavenger hunt, nature crafts, and ultimate frisbee in the dark, and hiking BlackHawk trail. 

The reunion ended with Grandma's birthday and a cake to savor the celebration.
We are very fortunate that we can call this great bunch of people, FAMILY. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Wild Summer Wednesdays

We are continuing a summer tradition that started a few years ago.
On our fridge is a list of summer activities ranging from bowling to hiking to swimming.
Each week one of the kids gets to pick the activity AND invite a friend along to join us.  We've chosen Wednesday as our day for the chosen activity and we call it Wild Wednesday. The only rule is that everyone participates and they have to stay within the $20 budget.

The youngest started us out the first week of summer by choosing.
1. Manti pool and splash pad. We went for ice cream after.

2. The next week Adrie chose to go to the movies.
We saw INSIDE OUT and loved it.

3. For Brynn's week we went to SEVEN PEAKS waterpark. We are pass holders so we only had to pay for the lunch we packed in the cooler, parking, and ice cream treats for the drive home.

4.  Kate chose our favorite natural splashpad, Maple Grove Campground. It has river with a rope swing, some waterfalls, and is just a beautiful place in the mountains to just hang out. With the $10 after day-use fee, she and her sisters picked up some treats at the store to supplement our picnic.

Work hard. Play hard. Next I'll post about our daily summer chore list.