Monday, August 25, 2008

Creativity the chaos way

I have been meaning to get up our task chart for a while and well, it is finally here. Jim and I designed and made this (ok, actually Jim and Adam made it, I just offered up part of the idea=)

As you can see there are tasks that are a MUST everyday and they NEVER change (morning routine, homework, reading, cleaning up and bedtime). Next there are tasks each child gets to pick for the week. The first task is an everyday task, then a 2x a week task and then a 1x a week task. The kids have many tasks to choose from and to help us remember how often they are suppose to be done, we wrote the number on the back. These are unique to our family and we are constantly coming up with new ones to add to the mix. Below are an example of some of the ones we have. Yes, some of these may be a little difficult for Katie to do alone, but she can do them all with help.

At the end of the day, right before bedtime, the kids do their task chart. THEY ALWAYS REMEMBER (wonder if it is because they can prolong bedtime for a few minutes or they just love to show off the work they have done=?) They each have their own color chip (pic1). They always take turns going first. They ONLY get a chip on that task if it was completed AND with a good attitude! The only one they fill out that they haven't done yet is bedtime, they put that up with the promise they will go to bed and stay in bed nice. Of course we have the liberty to remove it if they don't. (P.S. Once a chip is gone, it is gone and you are still expected to complete that task because it is your job!)

Every Sunday night after all the tasks have been done is payday. You gotta love our sophisticated bank (picture1)=) Each FULL row (all 7 days of reading have been done) then they get a color coded coin (pic2). They can trade in 2 coins for 1 dollar. If the WHOLE row is not full they do NOT get a coin for that row.

They can use their money to purchase things from the family catalog (again note the sophistication of the catalog binding - very sopisticated we are around here=). There are many options, they range from 2 dollars to 50 dollars. The choices range from the ice cream truck to a date with mom and dad. The actual "cost" to us ranges as well from free (sleeping in mom and dad's bed or visiting the toy section at Target) to a few bucks usually (ice cream or lunch at school). These can be as costly or as cheap as you want or need (Dave Ramsey class members). And again, these are as unique as your family.

Jim and I came up with these idea's out of necessity. We believe there are certain things you do because you are part of the family and then there are tasks you can do to earn money. However, with 4 kids we can't afford to dish out a couple bucks to all every week (ok, the twins are too little yet, but soon they will be in on the action). This is where the catalog was born. Honestly, I think we MAYBE spent $15 for everything (we didn't happen to have any scrap wood laying around this time) from the wood to the black spray paint (again, all out). Mostly, it was the time factor of cutting all the chips/squares and painting them, figuring out the tasks, the catalog, the money but we did it together and that was the best part. Additionally, the kids LOVE it. They know what is expected of them and they take great pride in there work and love that everyone can see they have done it. On the same token, if one gets taken away it is a constant reminder for the week to work on that area's of ourselves. 2 more things and then I am done ( I think this is my longest post yet) The star coin is for when we really feel a child has gone above and beyond in anything. They can not work extra for this, they don't know when they are getting it, they star coin is parental discretion ONLY! The coin itself is worth either $5 bucks, a chance to get 20 minutes of TV/computer if they are grounded from it or the right to earn back 1 lost chip. (note, if they buy back their lost bedtime chip but lose another one that week, we take BOTH off). They can save the star coins if they want to but they can't use them all on the same thing (saving 3 coins for an hour of tv). Lastly, this chart is only made for 2 children, we have not decided how we will remake it when there are 4 but since a few of my readers have more than 3 or 4 kids I am hoping maybe you have some idea's on how to expand? LMK,

Friday, August 22, 2008


Every year I am amazed that another year has come and gone. I think that these birthdays require me to realize the passage of time more than the birthdays of my children that are still blessed to be on this earth. Andrew's birthday's are not a grandiose celebration with friends and family that the other children's birthday's are. There is no busyness with cake and presents and parties. While I enjoy doing these things for my children, in many ways I look forward to Andrew's birthday more. His birthday celebration is a quiet, spiritual, private, personal celebration. For while I know it seems odd to some for me to call it a celebration, it truly is that. Andrew's birth was and always will be the birth of my 1st child. His birth and subsequent death taught me more about myself and my Lord than the birth of any other (although Jason's birth and NICU stay runs a close second). Andrew's birth showed me what unconditional love is. The unconditional love between a parent and child, between a husband and wife. There are many that will let this day go unnoticed and in all honesty, that is ok, in fact more than ok, perfect. For I really have come to enjoy my own private celebration with the original "peanut". While many will remember and not know what to say, that is ok too. There is love and beauty in the fact that you remember. Most will hug their children a little tighter (as I will too) and say a quick prayer of gratitude for them. That is perhaps the best way to celebrate Andrew's birthday for I know he is watching from Heaven smiling.
Thank you son for always being here, for watching over your brothers and sisters and for teaching me so much in such a short amount of time. Mommy loves you and while your birthday is still 3 days away, Happy Birthday Peanut!!!! You are missed in this world but will be seen again in Heaven, until that day, I love you!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


If there is anyone out there in bloggy world that actually reads this AND knows someone who has started a non-profit organization or a lawyer willing to donate their services, we need your help. Jim and I have a non-profit organization that we want to start and while we have much of the information done (mission statement, bylaws, governing structure) we still need help with much of the legal jargo. So, while I am not holding my breath for many responses, I am hoping that someone reads our plea for help and can respond accordingly. P.S. No, I am not sure where we are going to get money for paperwork, etc, but I am letting "THE MAN" worry about that :-) I know this will get done and in the meantime we will "just keep swimming"

Friday, August 15, 2008


WooHoo! I really got excited tonight when I realized that we have paid off $7100 in debt in just 6 months! I really have NO IDEA where most of that money has come from, but I am glad that we got it! I am even more excited about that fact that I got offered and have accepted a tutoring job. It doesn't start until late September to mid-October but since this money will ONLY go to paying off our debt, I am just ecstatic to have it. I am also thrilled to be back in action. There are few things in life I KNOW I am good at an teaching was/is one of them. I love my kids but am also excited to be needed in some capacity other than mommy and wife. I get to do something for me and boy am I tickled pink. The goal is with the money I am earning to put it straight towards more of our debt and at least get our final credit card paid off definitely withing 1 year from today, but I am hoping we can attack it with "gazelle intensity" and get it paid off by Easter? Wishful thinking? Maybe, but hey you gotta set goals. Imagine how I would look and how much richer we would be if I attacked the 2 trouble area's of my life (weight and spending money) with "gazelle intensity" but we shall save that for another post. Figuring our how much debt we have paid off has reawakened the desire in me to be debt free. I can't stand these bills that hang over our heads and prevent us from giving back and doing things as a family. We may never eat PB&J or go to the city park after we are out of debt :-) I have also been challenged today by an unknown source. I read a strangers blog, yes I am a voyeur of blogs unknown, and she has 6 kids ranging in age from 2-14 and she spend $600 monthly on food and essentials. Now, I thought I was doing pretty good with us only spending $600 monthly on these things, but the gauntlet has been thrown down and I am feeling challenged to take $100 off our monthly budget? Can I do it and still feed my kids healthy food? I am not sure but I am up for the challenge!!!!!! Now, if only the babies would get potty trained, oh the money we would save........everything in due time!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


1 mommy
6 kids
2 wet beds
1 poopy crib
3 cups of coffee
6 loads of laundry (see bedding situation)
1 load of dishes
1 laundry room
1 hot water heater
50 gallons of water
0 wet/dry vacs
2 beach towels
12 bath towels
15 hand/kitchen towels
30-40 baby wash clothes
6 extra loads of laundry (at least)
5 frantic phone calls to dad & FIL
300 dollars for new hot water heater
96 hours til dear husband returns
1 day in the life of a SAH(husband travels 4 work & these things only happen when he is gone)M