Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kids and Chores

My desire is to instill good habits of order, cleanliness, and regularity in my children. I also want to keep our home clean and orderly without dedicating an entire day each week to cleaning. With those things in mind, I came up with this chore chart for the kids.

Over the summer, when Target's dollar section was full of school/teacher supplies, I picked up this "classroom card scheduler," though I wasn't sure what I would do with it at the time. So glad I did.

Here is something similar, though it's not $1.

As the kids complete their jobs, they flip over that card. (Hannah's cards are in cursive. Peter's have pictures.) Some days we all forget about the chart, as we have created a good rhythm to our days and each of them does their part out of habit.

(We also have some days that nothing gets done.)

I keep my own daily chore list/to do list on my clipboard (along with my grocery list, menu plan, school lesson plans).


tidy rooms, make beds - Everyone


brush hair and teeth - Everyone


empty dishwasher – Mom/Dad


laundry: wash/dry/fold - Mom


put folded clothes away – Hannah & Will


tidy school room/sun room - Everyone


set dinner table - Peter


wipe dinner table - Will


sweep dining room & kitchen – Hannah




____ weekly planning


____ distribute allowance - Mom

____ kitchen - Mom

____ wipe bathroom sinks - Hannah

____ collect trash - Will

____ help Mom - Peter

____ bring trash cans/recycle to street - Mom/Will


____ dust downstairs, blinds - Mom

____ tidy/organize coat/shoe closet - Hannah

____ sweep school room/closet - Will

____ wipe down school table - Peter


____ dust and tidy bedroom, blinds - Mom

____ dust and tidy bedroom - Hannah

____ dust and tidy bedroom - Will

____ tidy bedroom - Peter


____ strip beds - Everyone

____ wash towels/sheets - Mom

____ clean hall bathroom sink/tub - Hannah

____ clean hall bathroom toilet/floors - Will

____ collect towels – Peter

____ meal planning, grocery list - Mom


____ vacuum whole house – Mom/Dad

____ grocery shopping/errands - Mom

____ wipe down dining table & chairs – Hannah & Peter

____ empty recycle - Will


____ clean master bath, half bath – Mom

____ wipe walls, mop (occasionally) - Mom

____ mow/yard – Dad

____ tidy garage – Hannah, Will, & Peter

____ prep/iron church clothes – Mom & Hannah

____ trim kid’s nails - Mom

____ shoes/bibles/etc for church - Mom

____ bills, budget - Mom

Kendra at Preschoolers and Peace has a lot of great resources and downloadable charts. (And she has many more kids to organize in her home!) I adapted her Daily Checklist to also include my weekly to do list.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Life in Color : 1000 Gifts

"Mom, you've got to come see this! The leaves are changing color outside my room!"

Finding a new climbing tree.

Five year old with bow and (suction cup) arrows.


Steady September rain on grass seed.


Bike helmets.


Little boys in capes.

Family movie night.


Pumpkin-spice scented candles.

Honeycrisp apples.

Farmer's markets.

Hannah and my mom exchanging letters.

A beautifully played harp in morning worship.

The Bread and the Cup.

The Peace of Christ.

Consider joining the Gratitude Community...

holy experience

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Wills

My adorable godson is three today.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Living History : Colonial Williamsburg

Will tells me he would be a silversmith if he lived in colonial times.
No, definitely a blacksmith. So many fun tools... and fire!
Hannah on the spinet in the cabinetmaker's shop.
We met up with good friends that moved to Southern VA a few years ago. These two were fast friends.
The end of a long day.

Living History : Jamestown

We spent the first part of this week visiting Williamsburg and Jamestown. Both places were having homeschooler specials... as was our very fun hotel.

We spent the first 3 weeks of school studying Jamestown in our history lessons (a bit out of order for the purpose of this trip).

Jamestown Settlement was so much fun for the kids. Our day started with a special homeschool class, "Living with the Indians."

Hannah the Powhatan Indian hunter wearing a real deer skin (not so sure she liked that part).

Will helped dress Peter as a Powhatan Indian fisherman.
The Powhatan Village. Everything was hands-on. We could have spent hours playing Indian here....
Making knives from stone.
Grinding corn.
Making clay.
Carving out a fishing canoe with oyster shells.
And Will in the finished product. Kidding.
Pastor kids playing in the pulpit. The church at James Fort.
From James Fort to the ships!

The Susan Constant Replica.
Below deck. This kid loves weapons.

Field trips are always more fun when you end the day with this...

Great Wolf Lodge. Kid heaven.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Study of Birds

We are loving our study of birds!

The Burgess Bird Book for Children is a gem! While I read it to them, Hannah and Will flip through the guide books looking for pictures of the birds mentioned in the story.

Will flips through this one... not as overwhelming, or exhaustive.

We gather around the computer to find out more and listen to bird calls and songs. and are our favorites.

I love to make connections for my kids. So, we are studying John James Audubon for our September Artist Study. The Boy Who Drew Birds is a beautiful book.

Doing a little coloring in Audubon's Coloring Book.

More connections...

We are learning our states and capitals... and coloring state birds.

More great books...

I just ordered this beautiful poster for our school room from

Now I need to figure out how to rig a bird feeder that feeds birds and not squirrels (or rats - aah, city life!). Ideas?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's the Little Things

Making me smile as I picked up the house this afternoon...

Wheels on windowsills
A little desk.
And a little sign on the wall, "Slow and steady wins the race. Fast and sloppy gets erased." :)
Messy bookshelves. And a yo-yo.

Learning the little letters.
Sweet stitches.
Aftermath of morning lessons.
Small fingers making music.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Day in the Life

When Darcy's recent blog hop featured a Day-in-the-Life, we were on vacation... I had all but forgotten what these days were like.

School days.

Alarm quietly sounds at 5:25. Feet finally make it to the floor at 5:50. Avoiding all the known creaks in the floors, I make it to the kitchen without waking my lightest sleeper, Peter. Whew.

Fresh cup of coffee. Tabletalk and Bible reading for the day. Journaling. Prayer.

Peter creeps down the stairs at 6:30. Sits quietly in my lap while I pray, then starts asking for food.

6:45. Sit Peter in the dimly lit kitchen with a slice of banana bread. I sneak out the back door for my morning run... in the rain.

Home again to find all three being fed breakfast by my husband. Bagels and scrambled eggs.

Shower, dress, oversee morning chores, kiss hubby goodbye, send a few quick emails, start a load of laundry.

Standing in the kitchen, I eat a slice of banana bread baked yesterday and pour another cup of coffee (now, not so fresh) while I listen to Hannah practice piano.

8:30. Sit down on the couch with the kids, my Bible, and Leading Little Ones to God. We learn a new verse, read, sing, pray.

Hannah moves to her desk and starts on her independent work. Will and I work on Calendar/Weather, Math, and Handwriting, while Peter colors a page for his Alphabet Book then starts on his new puzzles.

Peter and Will start doing more puzzles together. Hannah and I move to the dining room table for Math, First Language Lessons, and Spelling.

The phone rings. Hannah runs down to the basement where the boys are currently playing. Thankfully, we were finished. I switch the laundry. Whatever they are doing ends in screaming. Discipline break.

Hannah's on the piano again.

11:00. Hot Chocolate is requested for snack. Perfect for the dreary day.

Hannah and Peter go outside. Will and I sit at the school table for his reading lesson and Explode the Code.

Hannah puts on her soccer uniform that was just delivered. All three start riding their bikes in the backyard. I join them - encouraging Will as he wobbles around with no training wheels. The rain-soaked yard is being destroyed.

Everyone is back inside. We cuddle on the couch with our Science and History books. Peter moves to the floor mid-read and starts playing with matchbox cars.

12:30. Peter and I make lunch. Apple slices, pita chips, cheddar slices and berry smoothies. Hannah and Will kick the ball around in the backyard.

We sit to eat lunch. Listen to a little Haydn (our current composer study). All three want to have a music quiz, which means I pull out The Story of the Orchestra CD and we guess the composers and instruments. This leads to Hannah ballet dancing - still in her soccer uniform - around the kitchen. She's joined my Peter - who makes me laugh so hard I cry. Will labors over his "not-my-favorite" apple slices.

I clean up lunch/school. Kids are deep in imaginary play on the stairs.

I check my email and quickly read a few of my favorite blogs. Amy calls while I am down in the basement doing more laundry.

2:00. Hannah heads to her room with her Math worksheet, a History project assignment, and some reading. Will climbs up on my bed with a 2 big boxes, Legos and Playmobil, and a pile of picture books. Peter grabs two books and curls up in his bed for his nap. Hopefully, this will last until about 3:30.

I come downstairs, write a little of this, fold all that laundry, tidy the house for friends coming soon.

3:30. Will comes downstairs eager for his buddy to arrive. I run upstairs and find Hannah starting a sewing project in her room and tell her to clean it all up.

Our friends from church arrive. I sit and chat with my friend while the kids move from basement to backyard to bedroom. A half-asleep Peter shuffles by me, clearly woken by the activity in the house.

Close to 5:00, We say goodbye to our guests and settle on the front sidewalk. Bikes, scooters, races, walkie-talkies, and neighborhood friends come out to play.

5:30. I come inside to start dinner and the boys ask if they can watch a little more of the Eyewitness Volcano dvd we started last night (Netflix for Science!). Hannah stays outside exploring with a friend.

My husband arrives home. We call Hannah inside. Showers and dinner preparation continues.

Peter sets the table, carefully picking for each of us each a different color cloth napkin. 6:30. We all sit down to dinner together (spicy black beans, veggies, and brown rice), sharing with Dad the details of our day and finding out a bit about his. There are many reminders to eat... and for Peter to not just chew, but actually swallow his food.

Mint chocolate chip ice cream for the kids. And the happy clanking of spoons.

Peter gets a bath while I clean the kitchen, Hannah sweeps, and Will wipes the table.

7:15. Our nightly reading begins. Will works on reading to Dad. I read A Chair for My Mother to Peter. Peter then snuggles up on the couch and listens to Dad reading Henry Huggins to Will. Hannah has planted herself in the living room chair to work on her latest sewing project. I sit and read to her a chapter of The Penderwicks on Gardam Street. Her friend 5 doors down calls on the walkie-talkie. Hannah moves to the front steps for better reception. They end up meeting on the sidewalk in their nightgowns. Called back inside and up the stairs for prayers, more reading, and sleep. 8:20.

I then come to sit here and write this walk through my day. My husband settled at his basement desk finishing up his chapter.

I write tomorrow's school day on the white board.

Now there is more laundry to fold. There are books to read. Maybe some of that ice cream. And a bed I hope to see around 10:00.

I really love these days. Days where my car never leaves the driveway. All day spent with my kids.

A blessed day in this life.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Autumn's Beginning : 1000 Gifts

With a heart full of gratitude, my joy list continues...

Morning training runs along the Potomac River. Early fall chill. The quiet rowers pulling through the water beside me.

Backyard basil in abundance. Homemade pesto. Made by kids.

Fun with vinegar and baking soda. An eruption surrounded with giggles. Science experiments with my children.

Hannah encouraging Will in his reading. Brother and sister as classmates.

A wonderful library around the corner. Filling book bags.

"Please, just a few more pages, Mom."

Finding a new park with a big open field.

All three's love of soccer. And a dad's love to play with them.

The start of a new season. New cleats. New uniforms.

Fall evenings spent sitting on sidelines. The smell of a freshly cut field.

Cool night air with windows open. Hearing the high school football game in the night.

A new bike. After a long, patient wait.

holy experience


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