Chore Board for Kids

Huzzah!  Remember my last post?  How I said I had three items on my Task List that I had begun to ignore, as they had been on there for so long?  Well, guess what?  I did one of them this week!  I was so thrilled with finally accomplishing it that I’m sharing it as my First Friday Find!  A while ago, I saw this idea for a chore board for kids presented in different ways on Pinterest, and I finally got around to completing my version!

Chore Board for Kids

Let me start by saying, I hesitate to give my children money for chores.  Both my husband and I try to instill in our children that they are not entitled to any money by helping around the home.  We want our children to know that some things get done simply out of respect for their living area and things.  So, making any sort of system that created an allowance based on chores was a hard sell for us.  However, I can understand how they might like opportunities to make money.  That is why I created a chore board for them that includes tasks above and beyond the other chores that are expected of them as part of our family.  As their part in sharing the load in our home, my two eldest are responsible for doing the following without rewards: clearing the table, sweeping under the table, emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash, cleaning up toys/books/clothes/crafts/etc, bringing laundry down, putting laundry away, and more.  As my boys grows older, their load of responsibilities will increase.  I may ask more or less of my children than most, I don’t know.  But, for now, this is working in our home.

With my daughters getting older though, their abilities to help around the home have increased.  As a result, our chore board for kids is FINALLY going to come to pass.  I have 8 clothespins on our chore board.  The current list of chores include: dusting upstairs ($.50), dusting downstairs ($.50), vacuuming upstairs ($1), vacuuming downstairs ($1), cleaning downstairs bathroom ($1), cleaning upstairs bathroom ($1), washing windows in our TV room ($1), and parent’s choice ($1).  I put cleaning specifications on the chore tags to avoid any shortcuts being taken.  I also noted that on “parent’s choice” it may involve more than one chore to earn $1.  This may not seem like much money, but, again, they have a responsibility to be a contributing part of our family first and foremost.

In an effort to keep some sort of order to this system, I have a few plans in mind.  First, they will need my approval of their work before they receive the money.  Second, I am going to ask that they write their name on the back of the paper so that I can keep track over a longer period of who is doing what in our home.  If it turns out that washing the windows is the coveted chore, I don’t want to find that one of my daughters is always snagging that chore first.  So, to be fair, they can’t do the same chore twice in a row.  Lastly, I plan to refill the money in the chart every two weeks.  This will slow down the rate at which they try to earn money and keep my husband and I from going broke.  I can see my second oldest dusting every single day, if it meant more money.  She actually enjoys that chore.

Chore Board for Kids WIP

As for the making of the chore board for kids, it was really quite simple.  I picked up a decorative piece of wood at Hobby Lobby and used some paint, clothespins, and tacky glue that I had from home and VOILA!  I wanted to come up with a catchy title at the top, as I still regretted not putting “Seeking Sole Mate” at the top of my Lost Socks craft.  So, while many other websites called their system “Work for Hire,” I settled on, “Earn more by doing a chore.”  I love how my eldest questioned where I got the line from, not believing that I was capable of such creativity.  I managed to paint the letters freehand with the printed version as my guide.  You can see by the picture that I had a change of heart during my creation from sizing down on WAY TOO big a font to switching out the word “make” for “earn.”

Chore Board for kids back

Once the craft itself was complete, I picked up Sawtooth Hangers from Hobby Lobby, snack size bags from Target, grabbed some small bills, and typed up the chores on card-stock paper for durability.  Once I finished it, I couldn’t wait to hang it in our laundry room/mudroom over their filing bin.  That hanging filing bin was another lifesaver in our home.  I was so sick of seeing the girls papers and random drawings on scrap papers, that I finally made them in charge of deciding what papers and drawings were worth keeping in their designated space.  That may sound heartless, but my second eldest is notorious for writing made-up song lyrics, menu items, directions for x-y-z, and more.  The clutter adds up fast.

2016-02-03 21.33.50

So, there you have it!  This month’s First Friday Find is a combination of finding a morsel of my mojo and sharing a crafty find I stumbled upon years ago, but only recently made a reality.  I know my kids are especially grateful that the chore board for kids is complete, and not just something I keep promising them will be implemented at an undetermined date.  Here’s to my hired help making my life a little easier.

Two Natural Remedies That Have Shocked Me

When I was 2, I nearly lost my life to the havoc wreaked on my body from a genetic blood disease.  While I was too young to remember the details, the results of that emergency situation were clear from my earliest memories.  I had a seven-inch scar that stretched across my stomach where my spleen was removed, and I took a teaspoon of penicillin twice a day to fight off infection until I was 12-years-old.  Additional antibiotics were given to me anytime I came down with a cold.  Western medicine has been a blessing in my life for as long as I can remember.  And its role in my life hardly stopped when I was twelve.  I firmly believe my two eldest, who were both preemies, would not be with us today if it were not for Western medicine.  I’m a staunch supporter of vaccines.  And, the surgeries that helped my daughter’s eyes function properly could not have been obtained through natural remedies.  I could go on with countless examples of how Western medicine afforded me a life I would not have had otherwise.  That being said, I am finding more and more that natural remedies have a place in achieving optimum health and well-being.  For January’s First Friday Find, I felt impressed to share the two natural remedies that have shocked me with their effectiveness in treating common discomforts.

Local honey for treating allergies

Thankfully, I have never suffered from allergies.  It wasn’t until I met my husband that I saw firsthand how debilitating it can be when trying to enjoy outdoor activities.  He had managed okay while he lived in Texas, but upon moving out to California he soon found himself loading up on Claritin-D or Zyrtec-D, whatever he could get his hands on first, to help him survive outdoors.  The allergy medicine helped enough to make a noticeable difference, but when we moved to Oregon, we had a new allergy beast on our hands.  Up here, he is allergic to Juniper trees.  Juniper trees that are EVERYWHERE!  We headed to the pharmacy again, only to find that Claritin-D and Zyrtec-D are not sold over the counter.  In Oregon, allergy medicine that has the decongestant portion (-D) requires a prescription.  That seemed like such a pain, so it was a blessing when we learned about how local honey can treat allergies.

Perhaps not a huge blessing for my husband, as he despises honey, but the effectiveness is worth it.  He takes a spoonful of raw local honey everyday and it eliminates his allergy symptoms.  When I did a Google search about local honey treating allergies, I was surprised to find the first two sites detailing how it is a myth.  If it were a myth, I assure you my husband would gladly omit local honey from his diet.  It may be a myth for others, but the fact in our home is that if he skips a few days of local honey, the runny nose and sneezing quickly return.  Plus, he is not our only guinea pig for this natural remedy.  The way we found out about it in the first place was because a friend of ours shared with us how effective it had been in his battle with allergies.  The key is that it HAS to be local.

The raw local honey we pick up is taken from a beehive colony about 25 miles away.  Where we live, there are a couple of vendors that claim to be selling local honey, but we quickly learned that they were considering anything in Oregon as local.  Many of these are taken from Willamette Valley, which is over 100 miles away from where we live.  Our alternate guinea pig friend was clear on how ineffective the less-than-local-honey was for his allergies.  So, if you are an allergy sufferer and have the ability to get your hands on truly local honey, then I suggest hunting down providers in your area.

Two Natural Remedies

Fresh pineapple juice as a cough suppressant

Again, I did a Google search, this time for fresh pineapple juice as a cough suppressant.  And, again, it came up as a myth.  Well, sort of myth.  One of the sources was Snopes.com, which said that a story, claiming pineapple juice was 500% more effective than cough syrup, was false.  According to Snopes, there seemed to be no concrete data supporting this claim.  However, it didn’t say that fresh pineapple juice was not effective, just that it was not verified to be 500% more effective than cough syrup.

While I also cannot provide research claiming it is 500% more effective than cough syrup, I can tell you that it works 100% with my husband.  The results of this natural remedy were amazing.  My husband only recently came across this tidbit and happened to have a cough at the time.  He had coughed all morning and decided to give it a go, as he was chopping up fresh pineapple for us to snack on later.  He took a swig of the leftover juice and his coughing subsided almost immediately.  He went for hours without a single cough or throat clearing.    I suppose you could say it was a fluke that his cough stopped, but the following day provided him with another opportunity to witness its capabilities as a cough suppressant.

He went to bed before me that following evening and I heard him repeatedly enduring coughing fits, as I sat downstairs.  I finally remembered how effective the fresh pineapple juice had been the previous day.  I went to our fridge, pulled out our container of freshly cut pineapple, and poured out the juice that had settled at the bottom.  It was probably no more than 5 teaspoons of juice that I collected.  I took it up to him, he chugged it back, and not a single cough was had for the rest of the night.  It was truly incredible.

As I mentioned, I am a huge supporter of Western medicine.  But, these two natural remedies that have shocked me have opened my mind to the benefits that can come from pure bits of nature.  There may not be concrete studies to support these natural remedies, but these remedies have results that are too tangible to deny in our home.  May the ease, affordability, and purity of these remedies find a place in your medicinal arsenal.

Oh, and Happy New Year!

First Friday Find: JustServe.org

It’s the first Friday of the month, which means it’s time for me to share something cool that I’ve discovered that can benefit the lives of others!  The moment I learned about this site, I knew it had to be my First Friday Find for December, the month of giving.  I want to share this First Friday Find: JustServe.org for a two-fold purpose.  Awareness of this site provides opportunities for non-profit organizations to be served and the community to be of service.  First, let me explain a little more about what First Friday Find: JustServe.org is all about.

JustServe.org

The About Us page on JustServe.org can give you more information, but the gist of the site’s purpose is simple, “JustServe.org links you to service opportunities in your community so you can make a difference wherever you are and however you want to serve.”  When you arrive at the Home page, you can enter your zip code to find service opportunities that have been posted in your area.  For example, in my area there are currently 11 opportunities to serve.  Projects posted include helping the Ronald McDonald House Charities, a ride match program to provide rides for disabled or low-income individuals, opportunities for teens to teach seniors how to become tech savvy, and more.  There is a chance that this website has not expanded to your community as of yet, but if it has made it to our neck of the woods, the likelihood is that it’s made it to yours as well.

As I mentioned, there are 11 opportunities posted in the area for our community, but I know there are more opportunities to serve that have not been posted.  That’s why I want more people to be made aware of this site, particularly those who are in need of service.  From what I have read, whatever project you need assistance with does need to be submitted for approval first.  I don’t know how extensive the process is, as I do not have a company myself.  However, I do have a house that’s in need of cleaning.  If only…nope.  This site is for legit service needs, but it cannot help an organization if they don’t even know the site exists.  Help me get the word out there for companies in need of helping hands.

Being that I do not have a legit need for service, my love of this site comes from the opposite end.  Not only do I want to serve my community, but I want my children to understand how important it is to look beyond themselves.  One of the cool features that the site offers is having a little icon on projects that indicate if a project is friendly for all ages.  For example, our city’s beautification program and local cat rescue can use helping hands of all sizes.  What a great chance to offer your kids (and yourself) the joy of service.

During this month where we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, what a wonderful gift we can give by following His counsel to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”  First Friday Find: JustServe.org is a helpful tool to make serving easier and more custom-fit to your family’s abilities.

 

 

First Friday Find: #OptOutside

Maybe you noticed that I went MIA last week, maybe you didn’t?  I’ll chalk my absence up to time spent soul-searching.  Much of what I found wasn’t pretty, so I’ll refrain from bringing you down in the rabbit hole with me.  Instead, we’ll focus on the fact that I am here this week and ready to give you this month’s First Friday Find!  It’s a simple one, but one that is close to my heart.  Today’s First Friday Find: #OptOutside is shared more to offer my support for the movement than to offer some breakthrough discovery.

Perhaps you have already heard about #OptOutside?  It is REI’s tagline/hashtag indicating that their stores will be closed on Black Friday, and that their employees will receive paid time off.  Let that sink in.  This action is bigger than it seems.  Black Friday has practically become its own holiday, much to my disappointment as noted in One Holiday at a Time.  Imagine a store that sells flowers closing the day before Valentine’s Day.  That is a hard hit to their profits.  Maybe this won’t be the case for REI.  They very well may receive record profits based on increased purchases made either before or after Black Friday, as a sign of consumer support for the movement.  And if they do, all the better.  We reward our own children with positive reinforcement, why not do the same for retailers?

This backdrop is my picture. It's no wonder I've grown to love the outdoors so much.
This backdrop is my picture. It’s no wonder I’ve grown to love the outdoors so much.

My love for this movement is not motivated solely by my disinterest, and partial disdain, for Black Friday, but rather what they are promoting in place of shopping.  The outdoors in place of door-buster prices is pretty cool.  I get it, they’re an outdoor company, of course that would be what they would promote.  My thing is that this movement is a nod to the passion that sparked the inspiration for such a store in the first place.  This may sound cheesy, and perhaps it’s the part of me that has blossomed since living in Oregon, but it’s as though the store is willing to put aside materialism and give a shout out to wholesome activity, nature, and their (and our) roots.  Pun intended.

It’s funny, people who know I am a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have asked me, “What if you’re wrong about your religion?”  If I’m wrong, I will live out a life filled with serving others, keeping my body pure both physically and morally, and striving to be the best person I can be each and everyday.  If I’m wrong, I’m still right with myself.  That’s how I feel about REI’s movement, I guess.  If it’s all for added publicity, so be it.  Either way, I know REI employees are spending time with their loved ones, while being paid, on the day after Thanksgiving, and I am satisfied knowing that at least one company is saying no to the disheartening sense of materialism that surrounds Black Friday.

I’ve gone off on a bit of a rant here about First Friday Find: #OptOutside, but I failed to share the portion of this movement that is the real find of the month.  If you go to the Explore the Outdoors page on REI’s #OptOutside website, you can put in your Zip Code and it will give you suggestions of trails to visit in your area.  Luckily, I live in a city known for its outdoor activities, so I lack for nothing in the way of #OptOutside opportunities.  However, if you haven’t yet, I suggest you find ways to #OptOutside, not just on Black Friday, but whenever possible.  We live in such a beautiful world.  I’ve yet to see anything purchasable be more magnificent than God’s creations.

Can Do Attitude

It’s probably no surprise that a family of six with a single income can be strapped for money at times.  It was one of those times recently, and I was feeling stressed about it.  I had a prayer in my heart to find some guidance, and it wasn’t long before I was inspired.  I had the privilege of hearing Gary E. Stevenson give a talk during General Conference.  In his talk, he expressed his agony over all of his inadequacies, and then said, “I received a distinct impression which both chastened and comforted me: to focus not on what I can’t do but rather on what I can do.”  While he was speaking in terms of his personal insecurities, my mind quickly applied this to our financial situation.  Then, as the week progressed, I saw how I could apply it to every aspect of my life.  Having a can do attitude is one of the ways I’m striving to accentuate the positive, as I wrote about last week.

Can Do Attitude

This is not a ground-breaking idea.  We’ve heard variations of this same concept countless times.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who needs reminders of simple truths, then finds them lying in plain sight.  When I was in therapy years ago, I would have these “ah-ha” moments and come home to tell my husband about it.  He would respond, “Isn’t that the same thing that I’ve told you for months?”  I would respond back to him, “Yes, but she somehow said it differently and it clicked.”  Or perhaps it’s just my belief in the “two makes it true” theory?  Who knows?  The point of the matter was that THIS quote clicked, and I’m going to share how all-encompassing this concept really can be.

My weakness is eating out.  Oh, how I love it.  A good cheeseburger is practically therapy for me, and so much more affordable.  But when money is tight, nothing is considered affordable, is it?  So, instead of feeling glum about not eating out, I thought about how awesome it was that we had enough money to get all the groceries we needed.  I began to think about how cool it was that I had dishwasher detergent already, so I didn’t have to hand-wash my dishes.  The more time that went by, the more opportunities I saw that I DID have in my daily life.  I could take my kids to the park and play.  I could go to the library and check out as many books as I wanted.  I could go on a walk with my friends.  There was so much that I could do!

Then, I went and did something dumb.  Well, it wasn’t dumb at first, it started out quite awesome!  My daughter was the “Super Hero of the Week” at school and each day provided something special for her to either share or do.  Friday was “Bring a Buddy to Lunch.”  Guess who got to be that buddy?  And guess who COULD be there for her daughter?  That’s right – me.  Lunch with my second grader and playing with her on the playground was the awesome part!  I happen to love going on the swings, so I made a point to get some swing time in.  The thrill of being so high that I go above the bar is the real highlight for me.  I was feeling pretty proud of my skills.  As I was slowing down, I underestimated how high I still was from the ground.  It should be noted that I do not normally jump off swings.  I’m a wuss that way.  I totally thought I was lower when I made the leap off the swing.  Oh, how wrong I was.  I landed unsteady, stumbled a bit, spun around, realized my fate included landing on painful wood chips, and fell flat on my back.  All I could do was laugh.  I was mortified.  I’m pretty sure only my daughter and a couple of kids saw me (or at least that’s what I told myself to keep intact whatever bit of my ego I had left).  My sweet daughter helped me up and brushed all the wood chips from me.  Thankfully, it was time for me to go, and I was able to escape my embarrassing moment.  Unfortunately, I could instantly tell that I had injured my big toe.  So, you see, it all started out awesome until my one dumb move came into play.

I quickly began cursing myself and realized that I had a painful situation on my hands (or more literally, my foot).  Walking became more and more arduous, as the adrenaline of the event wore off.  That’s when I fell into the wicked trap of “can’ts.”  I began to focus on all the things I could not do with the injured toe (like those walks with friends that I mentioned above that I could do even with low funds).  How grateful I am that the quote above was still fresh in my mind.  I decided to focus on all the things I could still do instead.  The most important of them being that I could still get down with my boys and wrestle that night.  I could still sit to fold laundry the following day.  I could still kneel for bedtime prayers with my family.  There were so many “cans” left that didn’t involve pain in my toe.

I’m finding that a can do attitude truly is a beautiful way to look at life.  It doesn’t need to be used simply as a source of motivation, it can be used as a method of comfort.  I suppose that’s the difference I found in Stevenson’s quote versus any other variations I had heard prior.  What I can do does not have to be limited to achieving goals or benchmarks.  A can do attitude can be a pulse check to all the good that already exists in one’s life.  I know that’s the affect it’s had on my life these past couple of weeks.  It hasn’t always been easy to avoid thinking of the “can’ts,” but it’s amazing the level of peace I feel when I recognize how many more “cans” are in my life.  I even got to thinking about how this month’s First Friday Find: Zach Anner was another great example of a can do attitude in motion.  He may very well be the epitome of this way of life.

Honestly, it’s been pretty fun to acknowledge all the things that I can still do despite tight funds and a sprained toe.  I really have a lot going for me.  So, the question is, what CAN you do?

First Friday Find: Zach Anner

If you’re new to my site, let me briefly explain what First Friday Find is about.  Every first Friday of the month, I like to share an app, website, or idea that may not be widely known.  I don’t get any incentives from any companies or individuals that I mention.  I simply like bringing goodness into others’ lives.  It’s a fun way for me to share things that have either helped streamline my life or lifted my spirit.  This month is a find that brought about the latter.  One of my friends is seriously the funniest woman I have ever met.  There has never been a time when speaking with her that I have not laughed hardily.  So, when she posted a link on Facebook to Zach Anner’s video on YouTube with the comment: 1. I want to be friends with this guy. 2. I don’t think I have laughed this hard, ever. This is no small statement. 3. I love people who don’t take themselves too seriously. Made my day! I knew I had to check it out.  Zach did not disappoint, which is why this month is First Friday Find: Zach Anner.

The first video I saw of Zach Anner’s was the one that my friend had linked to that was called Baby Steps – Workout Wednesday #2.  I’ve watched this one several times and I laugh equally hard each time and am simultaneously inspired by Zach’s uplifting words and positive outlook on life despite his challenges.

On Zach’s YouTube About page, he says that he, “makes videos for your enjoyment and [his] embarrassment.”  I would definitely agree that it is for our enjoyment, but I would add that it is for our edification.  I’m reminded of the quote by Michael P. Watson, “Strong people don’t put others down…they lift them up.”  In my mind, Zach Anner is one of the strongest men I know.  He has uplifting words to share in each of his videos.

Strong People

I thought about including more links here, but it’s hard to pick out my absolute faves.  Instead, I’ll stick with sharing his High Five Friday #1, which is a great example of him lifting others.  I mean if he can dish out a high-five for someone going Vegan, he’s definitely doing his best to make the world a better place.  Seriously though, the person that deserves a high-five on this Friday is Zach Anner!  May we all learn to live life with as much humor, determination, and optimism as this man does!

And that, dear friends, is our First Friday Find: Zach Anner.

First Friday Find: Beep’nGo

True Story.  A couple of years ago, I pulled out my wallet at a Girl’s Night Out dinner and a friend of mine could not believe how outdated my wallet was.  I was boasting how I had purchased the wallet at Gap back when I was a teenager.  I was so proud of how well it had stood the test of time.  She was not as impressed, as the outside had water damage, the zipper was broken, and it truly was outdated.  I am not a fan of putting money towards items when they are still perfectly functional.  You will never see me with a Louis Vuitton anything.  The amount spent on such an item is beyond my understanding.  Kudos to the people who find beauty and satisfaction in their purchases, but I’m simply a bare minimum person when it comes to fashion and beauty.  My rare use of make-up is proof of that.  After another year or so of her lovingly teasing me every time I pulled out my wallet to buy something, I got to thinking maybe it was time to lay to rest my 16 year-old wallet.  16?!  Can that be?!? I suppose buying a new wallet every 16 years isn’t me spending money unnecessarily.  I did it.  I took the plunge and bought a new wallet for less than $15, because I could not bear to spend more on an item that I already had serving the same purpose.  I searched all the knock-off stores and found this Tommy Hilfiger wallet at Ross.  So, what does my wallet saga have to do with this First Friday Find: Beep’nGo?

The old and new wallet
The old and new wallet.

Upon getting my new wallet, I realized that my plethora of loyalty cards that had perfect spaces in my old wallet, were not welcome in the new wallet.  The new wallet had a button that would not close if said loyalty cards were included.  What was a girl to do?  A lot of searching was put into buying just the right replacement and now it was letting me down on day one.  I’m not sure how I even stumbled upon Beep’nGo, but it was my solution.

Beep-nGo

It’s considered a smart coupon app, but my favorite feature is that you can take pictures of all of your loyalty cards and it holds the information in your phone for you.  Then when you’re at checkout, all you have to do is have them scan your phone.  If for whatever reason there is a scanning error, which may happen, it still has the club code number.  I have not had an error, but I have had cashiers refuse to scan it because they say it doesn’t work.  I convinced one cashier to try it still and it worked.  I tried convincing another and she refused and took down the club code number instead.  Either way, it got the job done.  The buttons on my wallet now shut and all of my loyalty cards are with me, as long as my phone is with me.  It actually has proven helpful in times where I have been at my computer and needed information from one of my cards and I had my phone right next to me.  I happen to strongly dislike having to get up and look for information once I’ve already sat down to the computer.  Am I the only person with this level of laziness?  Feel free to keep your answer to yourself.

Their main feature is the many coupons they offer.  I have saved a couple of discounts within the app, but I keep forgetting to access it for that purpose.  It’s still a new app for me.  The saved offer I have now is $2 off $10+ school or office supplies at Target.  Most kids are back in school now, but our office needs are unending.  They offer discounts for loads of companies, such as Fandago, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Home Depot, Whole Foods, Banana Republic, and more.

I’m excited to use this app more often!  Perhaps we can discover all the awesome offers together through September’s First Friday Find: Beep’nGo?!