The Rule board


We started this board a few years ago when my kids were complaining that I always change the rules. I found this calendar at the thrift store and repurposed it to contain every rule that is important for the boys to keep. I wrote in permanent marker so that I couldn’t change them which made the boys happy. In my defense I don’t feel like I was always changing the rules, I just changed how I said them sometimes. We keep this posted so I can refer to a rule that may have been broken and give them an extra chore. I keep track of deep cleaning that needs done and post one of those chores on the fridge with a magnet clip that has that kid’s name on it. That kid has no privileges until the extra chore is done. Our basic privileges are electronics, friends and going places.


When I wrote the rules I tried to state them in a positive way such as, “Only nice jokes” instead of, “Don’t say mean jokes”.

This system has been a source of calm in the boys because we all know what to expect. Rarely do I have to add a rule but when I do I make sure the boys understand it and are ready for a consequence if they go against it. Some of the rules are more detailed than the short version on the board such as, ” Electronics OK after 4. They turn off at 8.”  The boys know that this does not mean they can sit down to TV for hours. We can decide to watch something as a family after 4 but they will never expect to watch something before that. I also explained to them that the reason we don’t have computers, phones, and TV on after 8 is so our brains can wind down and be ready to sleep or read later on. So, there is a lot of explaining and talking about a rule before it is put into effect and there is a short time period where I am more leniant towards giving out consequences until the rule is well known.

I have really liked having our rule board for the simplicity of knowing what is expected. It has been a nice addition to our home culture.


The Party Chart


I made a chart with 300 squares. Every time the boys finish a book they put 10 stickers on the chart, when they finish their daily chores they put 1 sticker on. When they finish a 28 day goal they have set they can put on 28 stickers and finally if they do service for someone they can put on 1 sticker.

When the chart is full we do an agreed upon fun thing. Sometimes we have done a party day with movies and treats. Sometimes we go to the movies or out to eat. This time we are going ice skating!

It is motivational for the boys and it also periodically gets out of the house to do something special. 🙂

Clean the kitchen with a system

When I see something in my world that bothers me or that does not function at its best, my mind rolls around until an idea pops up that will fix it and then I implement it. This is usually a good thing, but sometimes I have a lot of things that are bothering me and a lot I am trying to implement! 🙂 My kids have been very gracious with the things I try, but I have learned through the years to take change slow. Sometimes the change doesn’t need to happen right now and can wait until I have further input, or perhaps the change doesn’t need to happen at all because circumstances are temporary. Anyhow, I am going to share with you a system that we we have used off and on for years because it works. I say ‘off and on’ because sometimes I get the idea that it would work better a different way, so I change to a new system only to find that what we were doing before was already working as good as it could.

Here it is:wpid-img_20140418_155731_330.jpg

This wheel is the hub our family refers to in keeping our kitchen, the heart of the home, in ship-shape ready-to-work-in order. I love to go into a kitchen that is nice and clean to start making a meal. I can’t stand walking into a dirty kitchen and being expected to conjure up a delicious meal.

This wheel system gives everyone a distinct role that is their responsibility to keep clean.  We rotate the wheel once a week clockwise to see what we will be working on next.

I divided the kitchen chores as evenly as possible between how many helpers there are. I am on the chart all the way down to the youngest able helper. After a meal we all stay in the kitchen until our specific chore is done. I help the youngest with their chores if they need it. It is pretty impressive what they can accomplish on their own but training does need to happen to get to an effective point.

Our kitchen is divided as follows:

  • Stovetop washed, counter by stove cleared and washed
  • dishwasher loaded and all small dishes washed
  • dishwasher unloaded and dish rack dishes put away
  • dishes that don’t go in the dishwasher washed
  • floor swept and mopped
  • table and island cleared and washed

Some of the rules that go along with this chart are:
1. If you leave the kitchen without doing your chore there will be a negative consequence. (20 pushups, an extra chore, etc.)

2. If you finish your chore, report to mom AND she makes sure it is finished, there will be a positive consequence. (dessert, 15 minutes of screen time – we keep track of each 15 minutes they earn with a marble I hand to them, or other privileges.)

3. You will be asked if your kitchen chore is done when you want something. Things will go in your favor if your work is done. 🙂

I have to remind myself in writing that this system works. My problem is that one of these days it is going to be a bad day where the system doesn’t work and I will want to change it again. I will have to go back to my blog and be reminded. My kitchen is clean and I didn’t have to do any reminding today. I just did my chore and helped out the youngers. Seems like a good system to me!



Hide and Seek in the Hills

wpid-IMG_20140329_134425_921.jpgMy men are heading out on a weekend adventure of hide and seek in the hills and survival practice. In the spring,summer, and fall this happens almost every weekend and sometimes in the winter. It is a family culture that we cherish and grow in. During the week skills are learned and documentaries and books studied and discussed.This weekend Mom is staying home with a hurt foot.:(

Excited about Math!


I am sitting in my car enjoying my study time while the boys are playing at the park and taking a soccer class. It strikes me as very cool that as I read this math classic Asimov On Numbers, I am writing things in the margins like “Cool!”, and “I want to try that!”
I am writing on a sticky note the things I want to show the boys tomorrow during devotional. It is delightful and very fun that math is Awesome to me:)
I know the boys are totally going to feel the ‘Math is Cool’ vibe tomorrow morning!