Fab 5: Terryn and Cara

Fab 5: Terryn and Cara

Hello and Happy Friday!  Today I want to introduce you to a new series I’ll be hosting each month to introduce you to new blogs and the amazing women behind them.  I’m calling it Fab 5.  Why? you ask. Simply because I ask 5 questions to each blogger.  (Obviously, this was a very scientific way of doing things. *wink*)
A couple of months ago, I joined some blogging groups on Facebook to help me get to know other bloggers.  As I was interacting with these groups, a couple of blogs stood out to me and I kept being drawn to their content.

So today I’d like to introduce you to our two Fab 5 ladies: Terryn, who blogs at Just a Simple Home and Cara, who blogs at Kindly Unspoken.  I’ll let them take it from here!

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Meet Terryn from Just A Simple Home

Terryn  |  Just A Simple Home

Background:
I was born and raised in Massachusetts, although I went to a private school in Rhode Island.  After college, I moved back to Rhode Island and have stayed here ever since.  My husband and I talk about moving south, but we have no definite plans to leave the Ocean State.  We have 6 children, ages 1 through 12 and we homeschool them.  I have been a stay at home mom since my oldest was born and now work from home as a blogger and a health and fitness coach.  My husband owns a fitness facility in town.  It’s a busy life, but we love it.

1. Describe your blog
Just A Simple Home was created out of my desire to make our home a haven: With little children, it can be hard to manage a home and create that space that you love.  There’s always a mess to clean up and piles to go through.  I found I needed to hold myself accountable and create systems that I could use to keep my house organized.  I like to create “simple” systems I can use to keep my house in order, while raising a large family.  I also love to help other bloggers start their own business.  I have a background in social media and really love the online community.

2. What are your favorite things to do with your free time?
Free time? Lol.  Well, I am a busy mom to 6 kids, so free time is a luxury.  Honestly, the thing I enjoy most is reading.  I read a lot and it is mostly for personal development.  I enjoy books that will help me grow as a person and as a leader, and books that will help me grow in my faith.

3. What is a typical day like for you?
I don’t really have a typical day–my days are always different.  I try to wake up before anyone else and have my quiet time.  I really need this in the morning to get collected for my day, since this is usually the only time I have to myself.  After that, I do my workout and shower.  Then, if everyone is still asleep, I will get my work done on the computer.  When the kids all get up, its breakfast and chores.  We try to start school around 9am and finish around 1pm, but that’s all depending on the day.  The afternoons could be spent outside, just playing and relaxing.  Ideally, the youngest ones will nap and we can get some reading done.  We all have afternoon chores to complete too, but afternoons are usually free.  Night varies, depending on kids activities and my husband’s schedule.  They do karate, dance and wrestling and our town puts on a lot of fun summer activities.  We again have chores to complete before bedtime readings, and baths.  After the kids go to bed, I work some more and spend time with my husband.  It sounds pretty boring written out, but it’s anything but boring!  Life is never predictable with our family and I love it!

4. Why do you blog?
I blog because I love it, truly.  I love the creative outlet it allows, and I love the blogging community.  I also love being able to help others build their blogs and have the confidence to go after their goals.  And I love being able to bring in an income for my family without sacrificing time with them.

5. What is your favorite food?
My favorite food has to be lobster…I do live in New England!  Although, I really love any fish–I could eat fish every day.  And coffee…

Bonus: Tell us about your online business.
I have been an online health and fitness coach for over 2 years now.  I help people with their nutrition and meal plans and usually match them up with the right fitness program.  We chat about goals a lot–short term and long term.  Many people are missing that accountability when it comes to their health and fitness.  That is where I come in as a coach.  I run free accountability groups on Facebook where I help my clients daily through their fitness program and their nutrition.  It is such a great community feel in these groups–full of women all trying to reach their goals and motivate each other the whole way.  I provide meal plans and recipes and the support that they need to make sure they finish and reach whatever goal they set.  If you would like to join my next group, please feel free to connect with me.

Social Media Links
Instagram: @healthy_mom_of_many
Twitter: @justasimplehome
Pinterest: @justsimplehome

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Meet Cara from Kindly Unspoken

Cara  |  Kindly Unspoken

Background:
Although I was born in North Carolina, I’ve lived in Southwest Virginia (the small town of Lebanon to be exact) for most of my life.  After my husband joined the Navy, we lived in Japan for a short while, and then Oklahoma City for 2 years, but ultimately we ended up coming back to Southwest Virginia where we both grew up and love.  I’m a Southern girl at heart and I love waking up and seeing the beautiful mountains each morning.

Family is my world and is definitely the main priority in my life.  I have a wonderful husband of 7 years and we have two of the sweetest boys in the world, ages 4 and 6, who are always making me smile and laugh.  We love spending our time together outdoors and having fun family nights in watching movies or baking up yummy treats.  In addition to blogging, I also work full-time in Communications/Marketing for the Workforce Development Industry, and my husband works full-time as a police officer for our local town.

1. Describe your blog
Kindly Unspoken is a beauty/lifestyle blog that frequently features posts on makeup/beauty products and how-to’s, cute and affordable fashion, delicious homemade recipes, DIY crafts and home decor, and words of encouragement.  It is my hope that my blog will help inspire others to be confident in their own skin, to take risks, and to always go after their dreams no matter what.

I have officially been blogging since November 2015.  Some days it feels like I’ve been blogging forever, while other days I wonder how 8 months have already flew by.  As most of you know, blogging is not for the faint of heart, and is a huge time commitment, but I love it and it’s a great community to be a part of.

2. How did you come up with your blog name?
When I first created my blog I wanted it to be a place where I could inspire others and promote spreading kindness.  So when I was brainstorming for titles, I kept coming back to the word Kindly.  One of my favorite songs back in high school was Kindly Unspoken by Kate Voegele, which is all about expressing yourself, so I thought it would be the perfect fit.

3. What is your favorite accessory?
Earrings are definitely my favorite accessory!  I love how they can really dress up an outfit and add that extra sparkle.  Even when I’m wearing jeans and a t-shirt I still have to have on a pair of studs or small pearls.  I just don’t feel like myself if I’m not wearing some form of earrings.

4. Where did you meet your husband?
It’s super romantic, but we actually met and started dating at Pizza Hut when I was 16 (my first job in high school).  I was a waitress and he was a cook and almost immediately he started flirting with me.  At first, I gave him the cold shoulder, but I couldn’t help but begin to fall for him because he’s always had this amazing ability to keep me laughing.  10 years later we’re still going strong!

5. What is your dream vacation? 
 I would really love to have the experience of spending about a month in Ireland, exploring all the old castles and natural cliffs and beaches.  Both my husband and I have an Irish heritage, and I can’t help but feel wanderlust when I see photos of how beautiful it is over there.

Bonus: What is your current pet peeve?
On my job a huge pet peeve of mine is when people say they will do something and then never do.  Accountability is huge for me, and it says a lot about a person if they don’t have enough respect for the other person to follow through.

Social Media Links
Facebook: Kindly Unspoken
Instagram: @cara_kindlyunspoken
Pinterest: @kindlyunspoken
Bloglovin: Kindly Unspoken

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As you can see, these are a couple of pretty amazing women!  I hope you’ll take the time to hop over and check out their blogs and other social media.

Next month, I’ll be interviewing two new bloggers for my Fab 5 series, so stay tuned.

Have a lovely weekend!

The Mid-Summer Slump

The Mid-Summer Slump

Lately, I’ve been feeling a lack of motivation.  A kind of blah-ness, if you will.

Blog posts have been a challenge to come up with and write, even when I plan them out a month in advance.  My kids are driving me up the wall with all their little fights over little things.  And there’s me, probably driving them crazy with my seemingly constant use of “stop fighting” and “play nicely” or “do I need to separate you two?”
I’m tired of trying to come up with, and then execute, activities for my kids or as a family because I don’t want to deal with the fights or the drama of my four-year-old who thinks she’s sixteen and my two year old who thinks he can do the same things as his sister.  I’m constantly shutting the back door to try and keep the temperature cooler inside than it is outside.  They’re in.  They’re out.  Someone’s crying because they dropped their popsicle.

And you know what I’m chalking it all up to?

The Mid-Summer Slump.

Just a side effect of a mid-summer slump.

Ever since my first summer as a stay at home mom four years ago, I feel like I literally hit this wall smack dab in the middle of summer.  The novelty of summer and sunshine and more freedom from routine has worn off.  The kids are starting to get on each other’s nerves (and mine) more often.  The desire to make plans and stick with them slowly fades.  Motivation to exercise, even just taking the kids on a walk around the neighborhood, is hard to find, especially when it’s so. blasted. hot.  My patience is wearing thin and it’s showing in my quickness to snap when my kids or husband ask an innocent question.

I think my kids are totally feeling this slump too.  During the fall and winter and spring, there is more of a routine established because there is generally more going on, whether it’s school or sports or music lesson or dance class.  There are holidays and homework and the time off is more enjoyable because you know it’s going to come to an end sooner than you expect so you’re trying to pack as much in as possible.  Or maybe you’re trying to pack the least amount of stuff in to maximize relaxation.

But the middle of summer is this weird place where you’ve done your family vacations or you’re waiting to go on them and you’ve exhausted your regular list of what to do when the kids say “I’m bored”.  The kids are tired from staying up too late and getting up too early (“But mom, it’s still light outside!”).  Maybe you’re even getting to the point where you both look forward to and dread the fact that school is starting soon.  (Then again, school means a change in seasons and usually colder weather, which also means more time inside than outside.)

The Mid-Summer Slump.  It’s real.

Are you feeling it too?

3 Fun Ways to Paint with Toddlers and Preschoolers

Painting with your little kids doesn't have to be messy and can be a lot of fun!

As a stay-at-home mom, I’m always trying to come up with fun activities for my kids to do beyond coloring and Play-Doh.  Not that there’s anything wrong with these things, but my kids get bored of them pretty quickly.  And when they get bored, what do they do?  Bug each other.  Which in turn bugs me.  So it makes everyone a lot happier if I have a few new activities to offer, especially during the winter when it’s cold and we’re stuck inside and even when it’s summer and it’s hot outside. *wink*

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on one and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for your support!

The ideas I’m sharing today all use the same basic medium: paint.  I bought a set with 6 different colors from Walmart for about $6.  The paint is nice and bright and easy to clean up with soap and water.  I also opted for tempera paint which is more opaque.  You could easily use acrylic paints for any of these projects as well.

No Mess Finger Painting

This is a great project for young children.  They can’t make a mess because the finger paint is inside a bag, but they still get the sensory experience from moving the paint around with their fingers and seeing the bright colors.  We did this activity with my son (21 months), my nephew (2.5 years) and my daughter (4 years). (At the time of the original post.)

For this activity, you’ll need:

Painting with your little kids doesn't have to be messy and can be a lot of fun!
  • A resealable bag, such as a Ziploc, in a quart size
  • Construction paper or cardstock
  • Paint
  • Masking tape (optional)

Step 1:  Cut your paper down to size so that it fits in the bag when sealed.
Step 2:  Shake your paint well and then squirt different colors on top of the paper in various spots (the paper should be inside the bag.)

Painting with your little kids doesn't have to be messy and can be a lot of fun!

Step 3: Seal the bag.
Step 4: Tape the bag to the table on at least 2 sides to prevent it from moving around.  (We decided not to do this and it still worked fine.)
Step 5:  Let your child “finger paint” on top of the bag.  They can feel the paint under their fingers as they move it around, but it won’t make a mess since it’s in the bag!

Painting with your little kids doesn't have to be messy and can be a lot of fun!

Painting with your little kids doesn't have to be messy and can be a lot of fun!

Marble Painting

I remember doing this activity as a young child in preschool and loving it!  My kids liked watching the marbles roll around the bin and all over the paper.  I bought the bin and marbles at the dollar store (just two of the awesome craft supplies you can buy at the dollar store) which I can easily reuse the next time we do this activity.  I had to help my son move the marbles around, but my daughter had no problems doing it herself.

For this activity, you’ll need:

Painting with your little kids doesn't have to be messy and can be a lot of fun!
  • A medium plastic bin with sides at least 3 inches high
  • Construction paper or cardstock
  • Paint
  • Marbles 

Step 1: Cut your paper down if needed to fit inside your bin.  Mine had rounded corners to I just used a roll of masking tape to round out the corners of the paper.

Painting with your little kids doesn't have to be messy and can be a lot of fun!

Step 2: Put the paper in the bottom of the bin and squirt different colors all over the paper.

Painting with your little kids doesn't have to be messy and can be a lot of fun!

Step 3: Drop 3-4 marbles in the bin and start shaking the bin around to get the marbles rolling through the paint.
Step 4: Remove the paper to dry and start all over!

Painting with your little kids doesn't have to be messy and can be a lot of fun!

Painting with your little kids doesn't have to be messy and can be a lot of fun!

Painting with your little kids doesn't have to be messy and can be a lot of fun!

Cookie Cutter Painting

This activity is more geared towards preschoolers since it’s not as contained and more likely to make a mess.  Also, the bottom of a cookie cutter can be a little sharp which might be a hazard for smaller children without close supervision.  My daughter did great and just got a little paint on her fingers as she dipped the cookie cutter in the paint.  This is also a great activity to do for holidays (heart for Valentine’s Day, clover for St. Patrick’s Day, etc) or preschool (letters, number, animals, etc).

For this activity, you’ll need:

Painting with your little kids doesn't have to be messy and can be a lot of fun!
  • Cookie Cutters
  • Paint
  • Construction paper or cardstock
  • A shallow container to put the paint in, such as a pie tin or paper plate
  • Tape (optional)

Step 1: Squirt some paint onto your paper plate.  I tried to squirt mine in the basic shape of the cookie cutter I was using (ie. train=oval, heart/star=circle) to make it easier to get the paint on the cookie cutter.
Step 2: Tape your paper to the table to prevent it from moving around.
Step 3: Dip the cookie cutters into the paint and press it onto the paper in different places.
Step 4:  Let dry.

Painting with your little kids doesn't have to be messy and can be a lot of fun!

Painting with your little kids doesn't have to be messy and can be a lot of fun!

I hope you enjoyed this post and that it gave you some fun ideas for activities to do with your kids!

What are your favorite indoor activities to keep your kids busy?

Top 10 Craft Supplies From The Dollar Store

A list of the top craft supplies to buy from the dollar store to save you money!

A week or so ago, I was at the dollar store picking up some supplies for the magnetic puzzle I was making when I realized how much craft stuff I buy there.  Now, granted, there are some really crappy items at the dollar store that are definitely not worth your dollar, but we’ll save that post for another day.

Today I’m sharing the top 10 craft supplies I buy at the dollar store.

Baker’s TwineThe dollar store sells baker’s twine over in the craft section by the pipe cleaners and pom-poms.  It comes in a variety of colors and comes in a pack of three, so it doesn’t cost much to get a bunch of different colors.  Baker’s twine is great for scrapbooking, wrapping around jars or vases, attaching tags and so many other things.  It adds that little bit of color that just ties everything together (no pun intended).

A list of the top craft supplies to buy from the dollar store to save you money!

Glass Vases
If you’ve seen my tutorial for hurricane vases, you might remember that I bought the vases and the candlesticks from the dollar store.  They have a surprising amount of glassware in a decent variety of sizes and shapes.  You can paint over the glass to match your home, use the vases to give away a small bouquet of flowers, display candles or candy.

A list of the top craft supplies to buy from the dollar store to save you money!

Wire Wreath Forms
Earlier this year, I shared a tutorial for my Valentine’s rag wreath.  The wire wreath form was purchased at the dollar store, saving me a few dollars.  They only had one or two sizes, but the sizes they had were perfect for my door and the rag wreath.  I found them on the aisle with the floral supplies.

Washi Tape
Oh, washi tape.  How do I love thee?  There are so many uses for washi tape and it comes in so many different colors and patterns and textures.  Surprisingly, the washi tape they have at the dollar store is really cute and you can’t beat the price.

A list of the top craft supplies to buy from the dollar store to save you money!

Poster Board/Foam Board
I always like to keep a couple of pieces of poster board around just in case.  It’s useful to make signs, of course, but you can also cut it down to size to make separators for binders or organize pictures in a box.  If you have school age kids, poster board and foam board are great for projects and presentations.

Scrapbook Paper
Every once in a while, I find scrapbook paper at the dollar store.  Sometimes it’s adhesive sticker sheets.  Other times it’s specialty paper (glitter or corrugated paper). I generally scrapbook using 12×12 sheets and most of their paper comes in an 8 1/2×11 size, so I use it more for embellishments.

A list of the top craft supplies to buy from the dollar store to save you money!

Glue Sticks
My daughter goes through glue sticks like nobody’s business.  Most of her projects are just gluing pieces of paper onto other pieces of paper and she doesn’t really need anything quality to hold it on, so I will buy a pack of four glue sticks for a dollar and that holds her over for a little bit.

A list of the top craft supplies to buy from the dollar store to save you money!

Glass Accent Gems, Rocks and Shells
You’ve probably seen the glass stones that people put in glass vases to hold flower arrangements.  The dollar store sells glass, rocks and shells for much cheaper than craft stores and they are the same thing.  You might not get as much variety in color, but the colors they have are common colors to decorate with.

A list of the top craft supplies to buy from the dollar store to save you money!

Colored Sand
Same thing goes for colored sand when it comes to variety in color, but they do change out the colors they have occasionally so if they have what you’re looking for, them grab a few bags, because you really don’t need to be paying a bunch of money for colored sand.  I like to use sand to layer in glass vases, but you could also use it to help your kids with their letters or spelling by putting it in a container and having them use their finger to draw in it.

A list of the top craft supplies to buy from the dollar store to save you money!

Foam Craft Balls
If you have ever gone to a craft store searching for foam balls, you know they are kind of pricey.  At the dollar store, you can get a pack of eight in 3 sizes for, you guessed it, one dollar.

Do you have favorite craft supplies you buy from the dollar store?

Travel Hack: Magnetic Puzzle

Use a dollar store cookie sheet, magnetic tape and a puzzle and you've instantly got an activity to keep your kids busy in the car!

Driving in the car.  We’ve all been there.  Screaming, crying kids in the car.  I think it’s pretty safe to say we’ve all been there too.  I remember growing up and driving to every. single. vacation. we went on.  I grew up in Utah and we drove to California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona and Texas.  (It wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that we finally took our first plane ride to Florida.)

Me and my two younger sisters shared the backseat, so inevitably we started arguing or fighting about something or other.  “Mom, she’s touching me!”  “I need to go to the bathroom!”  “Stop looking at me!”  “You’re breathing on me!”  “I’m bored!”  “Can we get out yet?”  We got tired of our books and games within an hour or two of the drive and the rest of the time was spent asking the ever-popular: “Are we there yet?”
Fast forward to today.  There are seemingly endless options for staying busy in the car on long trips, from portable DVD players to handheld games to iPads.  But what about the times when you want your child to do something with their time that doesn’t include electronics?

I was talking to a friend the other day and she mentioned that when they took their most recent roadtrip to California, she bought a dollar store cookie sheet for each of her kids, a roll of magnetic tape and let her imagination (and Pinterest) take it from there.  It got me thinking about some ideas for my own kids and what I could do with a cookie sheet and a roll of magnetic tape.

Which leads me to today’s project: magnetic puzzles.

I was at the dollar store over by all the Disney/Marvel stuff and saw a couple of 24-piece puzzles in a metal tin.  The metal reminded me of magnets so I grabbed on for each of my kids, along with a couple of cookie sheets.  When I was at Walmart later that week, I bought a 10-ft roll of magnetic tape for $3.50.

Use a dollar store cookie sheet, magnetic tape and a puzzle and you've instantly got an activity to keep your kids busy in the car!

Making the puzzle was super simple.  First, I built the puzzle to make sure all the pieces were there (sometimes you never know with the dollar store).

Then I took the first piece and held it up to the magnetic tape to see what size it needed to be.  I cut the magnet, peeled off the tape and stuck it on the back.  Most of the tape didn’t need to be cut down, which made it pretty quick to make.  I got both puzzles done in about 15 minutes.

Use a dollar store cookie sheet, magnetic tape and a puzzle and you've instantly got an activity to keep your kids busy in the car!

Use a dollar store cookie sheet, magnetic tape and a puzzle and you've instantly got an activity to keep your kids busy in the car!

And there you have it!  The pieces can be stored in the original metal tin they came in and the cookie sheets are small enough that they won’t take up too much space in the car should you choose to store them in there.

*Caution: the cookie sheets can get pretty hot if left in the car so be careful.

Share your travel hacks for kids in the comments!

20 Minute White Bean Chicken Chili

Make a flavorful white bean chicken chili in only 20 minutes from stove to bowl!

Over the weekend, I saw a lot of Christmas in July sales and it kind of freaked me out for a minute!  I feel like the summer just started, but if I think about it, my daughter is going to be starting her second year of preschool in about 6 weeks, which means fall is just around the corner and then it’s Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas!  If there is one thing you need to know about me, it is that I don’t like the cold. And living in Utah, we get some cold winter days.  I’m definitely not ready for it to be cold any time soon.  Give me 90 degree weather and a pool and I will be one happy camper.

However, I do love me some good soup, which is why I like to have it year round.  It’s such an easy meal to prepare because you can often throw in a bunch of ingredients and–voila!–you have soup.  Some soups, like my Crock Pot Minestrone Soup or Homemade Chicken Noodle, are super yummy, but take a little longer to cook and sometimes there just isn’t time.  But this white bean chicken chili recipe is perfect for those days when you don’t have a lot of time to cook and need something quick and filling.  Not to mention the fact that it only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, and you’ve definitely got a winner here!
Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

Make a flavorful white bean chicken chili in only 20 minutes from stove to bowl!

Start with your chicken.  You can either cook some chicken and then shred it, get a rotisserie and cut it up into pieces, or use a can of cooked chicken (I like the Kirkland brand).  I generally just use whatever I happen to have on hand.

After you’re chicken is prepped, put it in a large pot.  Add the beans, chicken broth, green chilies and corn.  The amount of chicken broth you add is completely up to you.  If you like thicker chili, or don’t need it to serve as many people, then use 2 cups.  If you like thinner chili, or need to serve more people, use 4 cups.  It won’t affect the flavor, just the amount you end up with.

Make a flavorful white bean chicken chili in only 20 minutes from stove to bowl!

Next, measure the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, cumin, oregano, black pepper and cayenne pepper into a small bowl and mix together.  Put it in the pot with the above ingredients.

Make a flavorful white bean chicken chili in only 20 minutes from stove to bowl!

Turn the heat onto medium high and let it all heat though.  When it begins to boil, turn down the heat and slowly add the half and half.  Return to medium high heat and allow the soup to heat through again.  Serve immediately.

Make a flavorful white bean chicken chili in only 20 minutes from stove to bowl!

White Bean Chicken Chili
serves 6-8

Ingredients: 

  • 1 12.5-oz can of cooked chicken (I like Kirkland brand) or 1 lb chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 2 15-oz cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 cans chicken broth (between 2-4 cups)
  • 1-2 cans green chilies (depending on how hot you like your chili)
  • 1 15-oz can corn, drained
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp cumin 
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper 
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper 
  • 1 pint half & half 

Directions:

  1. Cook and shred chicken if you are not using canned chicken.  
  2. Add chicken, beans, chicken broth, green chilies and corn into a large pot. The amount of chicken broth you use is up to you, depending on if you want thicker or thinner chili.
  3. Measure onion powder, garlic powder, salt, cumin, oregano, black pepper and cayenne pepper into a small bowl.  Mix together and then put into pot with other ingredients.
  4. Heat all ingredients together over medium high heat.
  5. Add half and half and heat again until heated through.
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. Store in air tight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

How To Motivate Your Preschooler To Do Chores

By using stickers and a tiered prize system, you can help your preschooler become motivated to do their chores.

At the beginning of the year, I shared a preschooler chore chart I had made for my daughter.  It was a really simple system of moving a magnet with the chore on it from the ‘not done’ side to the ‘done’ side.  However, we started running into problems when my son hit a growth spurt and could reach the chore chart too.  He would run off with the magnets and it would be a couple days before we found them again, usually in the most unexpected places.  (Isn’t that always the case?)
This started to happen more frequently until one day we couldn’t find the magnets.  This was a couple of months ago and we have yet to find them.  You might wonder, Why don’t you just move the chore chart out of his reach? or Why don’t you just make more magnets?  The reason I decided against each of these options was because having the chore chart where my daughter could reach it meant that moving the magnets was something she could do and have some ownership of.  If I moved it out of reach of my son, she loses the ability to account for the chores done herself because she would have to have my help to reach the chart.

Now here we are in the middle of summer, where schedules are less rigid and kids are more carefree.  But as parents, I think we can all agree that summer doesn’t mean the kids shouldn’t have chores.  An idea came to me a little while ago to create a new system for my daughter that would hopefully increase her motivation to get the chores done.  Plus, it was something that I could keep out of reach of little brother.

My new system works like this:

Chores are still accounted for by using a sticker chart.  (Kids love sticker charts because it is a visible and tangible way for them to see what they’ve accomplished.)  However, unlike the previous chore chart, my daughter will get a sticker for each chore done rather than receiving only one sticker at the end of the day if all chores were done.  If she wants to do additional chores to get additional stickers, she will have to complete all her basic chores first.

She has six basic chores right now: make bed, brush teeth, pick up toys, pick up clothes, help with dishes and take out the trash.  Extra chores will include: vacuum, help with dinner and mom/dad’s choice.  I’ve made a visual chart for her to see what her chores are each day and used the same clip art I used in the previous chore chart.

By using stickers and a tiered prize system, you can help your preschooler become motivated to do their chores.

When she reaches a certain number of chores completed, she can choose a prize and cash in her stickers, or she can continue to accumulate stickers to get a better prize.  I’ve decided to divide the prizes into three categories: 50 stickers, 100 stickers and 150 stickers.  Here are some ideas of what will be included in each category:

  • 50 stickers–special character stickers, fun size candy bar
  • 100 stickers–temporary tattoo pack, puzzle
  • 150 stickers–new board game, accessories for existing toys (doll outfits, play kitchen food, etc)

Obviously, this is a flexible system and so you could change the values to fit your own child, have more categories or increase/decrease the number of chores per day.  You want to choose prizes that will motivate your kids, whether it be screen time, a new shirt, a toy, a favorite treat, etc.

By using stickers and a tiered prize system, you can help your preschooler become motivated to do their chores.

With the values I’ve assigned to each prize listed above and the number of chores she can do each day, she could get the 150 sticker prize in less than a month if she only did the basic six chores a day.

Now, if my daughter chooses a 50 sticker prize the first few times she has the opportunity to cash in, I’m not going to throw in the towel and declare myself a failure.  (And neither should you!)  But the key here is that over time, she will get tired of getting smaller prizes and she’s going to (hopefully!) decide for herself that working towards a better prize is what she wants to do.

I love the concept of working hard and then earning something.  I want to teach my children that they don’t get to have something simply because they want it.

In addition, by having different levels of prizes, it helps reinforce the idea of delayed gratification.  Delayed gratification is the ability to resist the temptation of an immediate reward and wait for a later, and generally more enduring reward.

To help her remember what she wants to work towards, each time she has the opportunity to cash in, I’ll bring out the prizes for all three categories and explain that she can either choose a prize from the lesser category or choose to save up for something that will require more stickers.

I mentioned that we’ll be using a sticker chart to keep track of her completed chores.  If you’re interested, you can find the chart HERE as a free printable.  It is very basic with a numbered grid but considering we’ll be throwing it away once it’s been used up, I wanted to make sure it was functional.

Do you have a chore system that works for your family?