Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Hot Buttons

Hot buttons. We've all got them. Those few (or more) things that AS SOON AS they happen/are discovered you. go. off. 

Off: like really upset, hard to explain, it's just, well, because you hate it. 

A few of mine: 
My clean clothes being squished into a laundry basket because someone needed the dryer. 
Food left in the sink. Or worse, dirty napkins left on a dirty plate in the sink. YUCK. 
No trash bag in the can. 

I try not to let them get to me. But they're the type of things that just don't have an excuse or explanation in my mind. I just can't help it. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016


I began something new with the kiddos. I kept seeing different chore ideas: hanging a dollar bill by a clip, rolling the dice, choosing a task from a jar. I wanted something in which the kiddos had to make some decisions. 

So I made a Bingo Chart. 

A five by five blocked sheet with 25 chores. Chores that are involved. Chores that are easy. Some quick and painless. Others icky and less than a favorite. Some I even duplicated so they could choose to do all or just one (toilets, for example). I even threw in a Parent's Choice for tasks we may ask for help with through out the week. 

Each week each kiddo gets a new Bingo Chart. They are not identical and they do not match last week's. Tasks are shaken up into a different location on the chart. My elder kiddo has some more involved tasks where my younger has some appropriate for him. Then they have duplicates. 

This is where it gets tricky. They need to add in some skill and planning in order to get a five in a row bingo. I only want a task done once in the week. For example, back to the toilets. You don't get to clean the toilet the day after your sister did and get credit for it. Too easy. 

Each five in a row bingo earns $4. They can earn up to five bingos in a week, or $20. I thought that was pretty high at first but a. I'd pay a housekeeper more if I hired one. And b. neither of the kiddos has earned over $8 for a week so far. 

The cutest thing is my eldest usually has tons of squares marked off but not in a row. If she learned to work smarter she could earn a living at 11.5. 

I'm happy that things are getting done each week and they seem to be enjoying it. 

Now on to Hubs' Bingo Chart. ;) 

Amazing Grace

Yesterday we attended a Memorial Service for my friend’s Dad. It was a small, sweet gathering of some of his closest friends and the family held in the front yard of his home. The home he helped raise my friend in and the home his wife had been raised in. 

When I told the kiddos that they were headed to Grandma’s before I went to the service I got flack from both of them. Unbeknownst to me, they had already decided they would be going for their friend, my friend’s son. Just about broke my heart hearing my kiddos make that kind of a grown up decision. Proud that they think that way and saddened that they had a situation that called for it.

We traveled through the local Amish country to arrive at the house nestled in trees and set back off the road. Chairs were set in rows in the side driveway that leads to his garage. I’m told he spent many a nights working with his hands in that garage. He was a skilled concrete worker and, I think, a carpenter, and made many things for around the house.

As my kids helped their friend direct cars to park in the neighbor’s driveway, I watched in awe as her Amish neighbors brought container after container of food into the house. The Dad of the Family had noticed we may need more seating and returned with homemade benches from his home for mourners to sit on. I envied the selflessness of this family and know their communities are raised this way. I wished we all would take a lesson.

As the service began it was an overcast afternoon, a chilly 50 degrees. I sat with my kiddos, one on my lap one holding my hand, and listened to scripture readings and poems and notes read by Family. Both my friend and his son spoke and they showed such courage. We were proud of them.

What took my breath away, though, was my Friend’s cousin. She hosted the service and in her closing she read his widow’s letter to him and then…

She belted out Amazing Grace with the voice of angels. The echo among the trees, the soft start of her singing, increasing as she endured, the silence of the family and friends listening with their hearts. When I thought I couldn’t possibly have any more goosebumps on my arms, it began to drizzle. Ever so softly raindrop after raindrop slowly fell on us. No one spoke. No one moved. Except…

the Bald Eagle gliding quietly above us.