Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List

I love a good list. LOVE. THEM. A few years ago, I covered our kitchen chalkboard in this epic Summer Bucket List.

That was two years ago and it was perfect for the sort of summer I wanted for my kids. They were the perfect age to go DO ALL THE THINGS! No more diaper bags. Everyone could make it through the day without a nap. I had just left a job where I had been working full-time, outside of my house and I felt like I was missing out.

It was time to pack in the fun!

 

And we did. It was so great and I’m so glad we did it.

But as my kids have gotten just a bit older, I’m ready to shift gears a little bit.

To shift from “Entertainment Director” to “Life Coach.”

It sounds so boring, right?

As if I’ll be asking my kids to spend the summer grinding their own wheat and beating their clothes on rocks to clean them.

Here me out.

For the last few years, the “Summer Bucket List” or “Holiday Fun List” has been a study in my ability to conduct expert Google searches for entertainment and activities and “must see” events.

But I’ve noticed that we’re tip-toeing into a world where my kids arise from bed every morning wondering what wonderful thing we’ve prepared for them today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of wonderful things. BIG. FAN. (Just went to Disneyland, so I’m not trying to pretend I’m not all about the magic.) But I’m also a big believer in boredom as a creativity booster.

Also; there are no Entertainment Directors when you’re a grown up. Life is not always a non-stop party and I want my kids to learn these critical skills:

  1. Connecting with people.
  2. Finding the joy in everyday things.

 

I decided to rethink our Summer Bucket List.

Instead of “what should we do?” I asked “what do I want to get out of this summer?”

  • Quality time and connection.
  • Practice skills for a happy life.
  • Practice being a big kid.

This shift means that instead of a long list of ticketed activities, I’ve got a summer bucket list that looks something like this:

Teach the kids “slow fun.”

Screen-free old school fun; puzzles, board games, cards, reading in the shade. If you don’t bust out the board games, how are your kids going to learn the art of trash-talking, or how darn smart their Grandpa is, or how sneaky their Grandma can be. My kids come from a long-line of card players—they need to be properly trained. Those are the moments that connect you to your family and reinforce how to have fun, without a screen.

Spend time with our extended family.

Sunday BBQ’s, cook with Grandma, camping and visits with our extended family. Traditions are built one Sunday, and one summer at a time. More people knowing, loving, and enriching the lives of my kids is a good thing.

Connection to the neighborhood.

Knock on doors, use up all the sidewalk chalk, share our popsicles. Those are the things that really belong on a summer bucket list. I’m not setting up “playdates” or texting to make arrangements to play. They need to figure this stuff out.

Appreciation and exposure to the outdoors.

Hike, go to the lake, hit the bike trail, post-dinner walks to the park, dinner picnics in the mountains. We are lucky to live 25 minutes away from straight-up wilderness, we should be taking advantage of it more.

Room to be creative with their time!

Protect downtime and provide open access to craft supplies and the blanket fort box. “Boredom” breeds some of the most entertaining creative play I’ve ever had the privilege to eavesdrop on. 

Learn a few routines and responsibilities.

Standard chores, help with big projects, work for hire. I’ve not been consistent with chores and now sometimes my kids simply walk away from their dinner plate and, OH HECK NO, that’s not going to work for me. Or for them in the long term.

Skills for a happy life.

Cooking nutritious meals, eating outside, watching sunsets, sitting on the porch and enjoying a bowl of ice cream after dinner. Yes, I realize most of those revolve around food. But food is an absolutely GLORIOUS part of life and I want my kids to be able to cook delicious food for themselves one day.

To try new things and challenge ourselves.

Try the climbing gym. Try a slack line. Train for the next Taekwondo tournament. My kids are well out of that window where everything is new and hard and takes so much work to master—remember when we were pumped when our kids learned to walk? I want them to have a chance to be a beginner again. Brave is a muscle. You have to use it to keep it.

Do FUN Things with our tribe.

Meet our friends at the food truck park. Take a small army of moms and kids to the lake. Driveway fireworks party with the neighbors. Family is wonderful, but the family you pick? Those people are magic.

Serve others.

Think of ways to help, surprise, and dish up joy to the friends, family, and even strangers in our lives. Learn how good it feels to do something because you know that someone is going to feel special because of your efforts.

So, maybe this isn’t the big dazzling summer bucket list you were hoping for when you clicked on this post, but I’m looking forward to a summer of spending less; less money, less time on screens, and less time hustling.

And getting more;

More quality time together.
More feeling like I’m helping raise my kids into wonderful adults.
More memories with the people we love.

There is such a huge benefit for kids when families can focus their energy and finances on experiences over things. (Kalli wrote a fantastic post about this around Christmas time. Go read it.)

Other posts you might enjoy…

Planning a Family Vacation? When Should You Begin?

10 Tips for a Stress-Free Family Road Trip

On the Ugly Business of Comparison: A Letter to Us Moms

The post Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List appeared first on TodaysMama.

Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List

I love a good list. LOVE. THEM. A few years ago, I covered our kitchen chalkboard in this epic Summer Bucket List.

That was two years ago and it was perfect for the sort of summer I wanted for my kids. They were the perfect age to go DO ALL THE THINGS! No more diaper bags. Everyone could make it through the day without a nap. I had just left a job where I had been working full-time, outside of my house and I felt like I was missing out.

It was time to pack in the fun!

 

And we did. It was so great and I’m so glad we did it.

But as my kids have gotten just a bit older, I’m ready to shift gears a little bit.

To shift from “Entertainment Director” to “Life Coach.”

It sounds so boring, right?

As if I’ll be asking my kids to spend the summer grinding their own wheat and beating their clothes on rocks to clean them.

Here me out.

For the last few years, the “Summer Bucket List” or “Holiday Fun List” has been a study in my ability to conduct expert Google searches for entertainment and activities and “must see” events.

But I’ve noticed that we’re tip-toeing into a world where my kids arise from bed every morning wondering what wonderful thing we’ve prepared for them today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of wonderful things. BIG. FAN. (Just went to Disneyland, so I’m not trying to pretend I’m not all about the magic.) But I’m also a big believer in boredom as a creativity booster.

Also; there are no Entertainment Directors when you’re a grown up. Life is not always a non-stop party and I want my kids to learn these critical skills:

  1. Connecting with people.
  2. Finding the joy in everyday things.

 

I decided to rethink our Summer Bucket List.

Instead of “what should we do?” I asked “what do I want to get out of this summer?”

  • Quality time and connection.
  • Practice skills for a happy life.
  • Practice being a big kid.

This shift means that instead of a long list of ticketed activities, I’ve got a summer bucket list that looks something like this:

Teach the kids “slow fun.”

Screen-free old school fun; puzzles, board games, cards, reading in the shade. If you don’t bust out the board games, how are your kids going to learn the art of trash-talking, or how darn smart their Grandpa is, or how sneaky their Grandma can be. My kids come from a long-line of card players—they need to be properly trained. Those are the moments that connect you to your family and reinforce how to have fun, without a screen.

Spend time with our extended family.

Sunday BBQ’s, cook with Grandma, camping and visits with our extended family. Traditions are built one Sunday, and one summer at a time. More people knowing, loving, and enriching the lives of my kids is a good thing.

Connection to the neighborhood.

Knock on doors, use up all the sidewalk chalk, share our popsicles. Those are the things that really belong on a summer bucket list. I’m not setting up “playdates” or texting to make arrangements to play. They need to figure this stuff out.

Appreciation and exposure to the outdoors.

Hike, go to the lake, hit the bike trail, post-dinner walks to the park, dinner picnics in the mountains. We are lucky to live 25 minutes away from straight-up wilderness, we should be taking advantage of it more.

Room to be creative with their time!

Protect downtime and provide open access to craft supplies and the blanket fort box. “Boredom” breeds some of the most entertaining creative play I’ve ever had the privilege to eavesdrop on. 

Learn a few routines and responsibilities.

Standard chores, help with big projects, work for hire. I’ve not been consistent with chores and now sometimes my kids simply walk away from their dinner plate and, OH HECK NO, that’s not going to work for me. Or for them in the long term.

Skills for a happy life.

Cooking nutritious meals, eating outside, watching sunsets, sitting on the porch and enjoying a bowl of ice cream after dinner. Yes, I realize most of those revolve around food. But food is an absolutely GLORIOUS part of life and I want my kids to be able to cook delicious food for themselves one day.

To try new things and challenge ourselves.

Try the climbing gym. Try a slack line. Train for the next Taekwondo tournament. My kids are well out of that window where everything is new and hard and takes so much work to master—remember when we were pumped when our kids learned to walk? I want them to have a chance to be a beginner again. Brave is a muscle. You have to use it to keep it.

Do FUN Things with our tribe.

Meet our friends at the food truck park. Take a small army of moms and kids to the lake. Driveway fireworks party with the neighbors. Family is wonderful, but the family you pick? Those people are magic.

Serve others.

Think of ways to help, surprise, and dish up joy to the friends, family, and even strangers in our lives. Learn how good it feels to do something because you know that someone is going to feel special because of your efforts.

So, maybe this isn’t the big dazzling summer bucket list you were hoping for when you clicked on this post, but I’m looking forward to a summer of spending less; less money, less time on screens, and less time hustling.

And getting more;

More quality time together.
More feeling like I’m helping raise my kids into wonderful adults.
More memories with the people we love.

There is such a huge benefit for kids when families can focus their energy and finances on experiences over things. (Kalli wrote a fantastic post about this around Christmas time. Go read it.)

Other posts you might enjoy…

Planning a Family Vacation? When Should You Begin?

10 Tips for a Stress-Free Family Road Trip

On the Ugly Business of Comparison: A Letter to Us Moms

The post Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List appeared first on TodaysMama.

Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List

I love a good list. LOVE. THEM. A few years ago, I covered our kitchen chalkboard in this epic Summer Bucket List.

That was two years ago and it was perfect for the sort of summer I wanted for my kids. They were the perfect age to go DO ALL THE THINGS! No more diaper bags. Everyone could make it through the day without a nap. I had just left a job where I had been working full-time, outside of my house and I felt like I was missing out.

It was time to pack in the fun!

 

And we did. It was so great and I’m so glad we did it.

But as my kids have gotten just a bit older, I’m ready to shift gears a little bit.

To shift from “Entertainment Director” to “Life Coach.”

It sounds so boring, right?

As if I’ll be asking my kids to spend the summer grinding their own wheat and beating their clothes on rocks to clean them.

Here me out.

For the last few years, the “Summer Bucket List” or “Holiday Fun List” has been a study in my ability to conduct expert Google searches for entertainment and activities and “must see” events.

But I’ve noticed that we’re tip-toeing into a world where my kids arise from bed every morning wondering what wonderful thing we’ve prepared for them today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of wonderful things. BIG. FAN. (Just went to Disneyland, so I’m not trying to pretend I’m not all about the magic.) But I’m also a big believer in boredom as a creativity booster.

Also; there are no Entertainment Directors when you’re a grown up. Life is not always a non-stop party and I want my kids to learn these critical skills:

  1. Connecting with people.
  2. Finding the joy in everyday things.

 

I decided to rethink our Summer Bucket List.

Instead of “what should we do?” I asked “what do I want to get out of this summer?”

  • Quality time and connection.
  • Practice skills for a happy life.
  • Practice being a big kid.

This shift means that instead of a long list of ticketed activities, I’ve got a summer bucket list that looks something like this:

Teach the kids “slow fun.”

Screen-free old school fun; puzzles, board games, cards, reading in the shade. If you don’t bust out the board games, how are your kids going to learn the art of trash-talking, or how darn smart their Grandpa is, or how sneaky their Grandma can be. My kids come from a long-line of card players—they need to be properly trained. Those are the moments that connect you to your family and reinforce how to have fun, without a screen.

Spend time with our extended family.

Sunday BBQ’s, cook with Grandma, camping and visits with our extended family. Traditions are built one Sunday, and one summer at a time. More people knowing, loving, and enriching the lives of my kids is a good thing.

Connection to the neighborhood.

Knock on doors, use up all the sidewalk chalk, share our popsicles. Those are the things that really belong on a summer bucket list. I’m not setting up “playdates” or texting to make arrangements to play. They need to figure this stuff out.

Appreciation and exposure to the outdoors.

Hike, go to the lake, hit the bike trail, post-dinner walks to the park, dinner picnics in the mountains. We are lucky to live 25 minutes away from straight-up wilderness, we should be taking advantage of it more.

Room to be creative with their time!

Protect downtime and provide open access to craft supplies and the blanket fort box. “Boredom” breeds some of the most entertaining creative play I’ve ever had the privilege to eavesdrop on. 

Learn a few routines and responsibilities.

Standard chores, help with big projects, work for hire. I’ve not been consistent with chores and now sometimes my kids simply walk away from their dinner plate and, OH HECK NO, that’s not going to work for me. Or for them in the long term.

Skills for a happy life.

Cooking nutritious meals, eating outside, watching sunsets, sitting on the porch and enjoying a bowl of ice cream after dinner. Yes, I realize most of those revolve around food. But food is an absolutely GLORIOUS part of life and I want my kids to be able to cook delicious food for themselves one day.

To try new things and challenge ourselves.

Try the climbing gym. Try a slack line. Train for the next Taekwondo tournament. My kids are well out of that window where everything is new and hard and takes so much work to master—remember when we were pumped when our kids learned to walk? I want them to have a chance to be a beginner again. Brave is a muscle. You have to use it to keep it.

Do FUN Things with our tribe.

Meet our friends at the food truck park. Take a small army of moms and kids to the lake. Driveway fireworks party with the neighbors. Family is wonderful, but the family you pick? Those people are magic.

Serve others.

Think of ways to help, surprise, and dish up joy to the friends, family, and even strangers in our lives. Learn how good it feels to do something because you know that someone is going to feel special because of your efforts.

So, maybe this isn’t the big dazzling summer bucket list you were hoping for when you clicked on this post, but I’m looking forward to a summer of spending less; less money, less time on screens, and less time hustling.

And getting more;

More quality time together.
More feeling like I’m helping raise my kids into wonderful adults.
More memories with the people we love.

There is such a huge benefit for kids when families can focus their energy and finances on experiences over things. (Kalli wrote a fantastic post about this around Christmas time. Go read it.)

Other posts you might enjoy…

Planning a Family Vacation? When Should You Begin?

10 Tips for a Stress-Free Family Road Trip

On the Ugly Business of Comparison: A Letter to Us Moms

The post Read This Before You Make Your Summer Bucket List appeared first on TodaysMama.

Electric Lawn Mower Review + 5 Reasons Why I Chose One FOR MY KIDS!

Confession. We haven’t had a lawn mower in years. I’ve been paying a couple of dudes to mow my lawn for years. I pull in my driveway on Fridays and there it is . . . fresh cut grass, everything edged, hauled away, the whole 9 yards. For years. 

BUT. I can’t escape the fact that I’ve got able bodied tween/teenagers who need to know how to mow a lawn, make the lines fabulous, and take a little pride in their yard.

This year was the year. My husband and I meandered through the lawn mower section at Home Depot and I asked the guy working in that department what his recommendations were. I was shocked when he listed an electric mower as one of his top picks. I was skeptical. I drilled him on all of the mowers abilities. I knew that in a perfect world I’d want an electric mower but I wasn’t sure if they’d come far enough that I was actually ready to commit. 

The mower the was recommended was an EGO Electric Lawn Mower. They stand out among mowers because they are all green and black {I mean, they look cool on top of being electric and everything).  So I emailed the folks at EGO and asked to try one out.  They sent us an EGO Power + 20″ Electric Lawn Mower to review. 

EGO Electric Lawn Mower Review

Turns out EVERYONE wants to know about electric mowers. Our neighbors have asked to take it for a test drive. Total strangers have stopped us in front of our house asking what we really think. 

Well – here’s what we really think:

Electric Lawn Mower Review

Let’s start with unboxing and assembly!

EGO Power + 20″ Lawn Mower Unboxing

That was easy right? 

EGO Electric Lawn Mower Features

  • Ease of Use: From start to finish this mower is so simple. 
  • Battery Life: Fully charged in 30 minutes.  The run time on a fully charged battery is 45 minutes. I swear to you it’s longer than that. But 45 minutes is the official word. My son has done 3 yards front and back on one charge. 
  • Night Mowing: You’re trying to wrap things up in the yard but the sun is going down. Your night vision can’t totally do it. So you flip a switch and your lawn is illuminated. Yep, this thing has headlights. My husband was the first to discover this feature, and ran to get me from inside to show me his discovery. 
  • Long Grass: We waited until our grass was LONG. We wanted to know how the mower would deal with a big job. The mower didn’t skip a beat. It didn’t get jammed. It didn’t seem to slow down. It reduced our jungle lawn to inches easily.  

Electric Lawn Mower Review

  • Wet Grass: A few weeks ago my son mowed the front yard right after the sprinklers had turned on. The grass was a bit long. The mower did get a bit bogged down. We turned the machine off, flipped it over, and quickly scraped out all of the wet grass that had stuck to the bottom.  Light and easy to flip over and clean out AND no gas to worry about spilling as we flipped the mower over. 
  • Push Mower vs. Self Propelled Mower:  This mower is NOT self propelled. You can check out their line of self propelled mowers HERE. The push mower is so easy to use and maneuver that I don’t really feel like we need a self propelled mower. I didn’t find the fact that it wasn’t self propelled a downside. 

All of the above. SUPER EASY. 

5 Reasons I Chose An Electric Lawn Mower For My Kids

It’s Time

You don’t need to mow the lawn. You don’t need to pay anyone else to mow your lawn. Your kids need to mow your lawn because that is the order of nature. 

Easy To Start

You just pull the handle back and press a button. No one is ripping their arm off trying to start this thing.  

No Handling Gasoline

  • I don’t have to buy it
  • I don’t have to store it
  • My kids don’t have to handle it
  • Irrational fears about my kids blowing anything up are put to rest
  • When you need to turn the mower over there is no gasoline to spill

Enough said!

Light & Easy To Maneuver

My son thinks he can jog with it as he mows the lawn. My daughter (who’s in the 5th percentile) can maneuver this mower like a champion. It has enough weight to feel substantial, but it moves easily and is easy to manage.  That means they can get it out AND put it away. 

The Box

When you have kids, you know that a great box is a great bonus. Here’s a shot of the one who’s not quite old enough to mow the lawn yet:

EGO Lawn Mower Box

 

Bottom Line

Electric Lawn Mower vs. Gas Lawn Mower? Electric Lawn Mower ALL DAY LONG. I’m never going back. 

All electric. No emissions. No gas. No oil changes. Less maintenance. AND MY KIDS ARE DOING IT ALL. {Except that I really love to mow the lawn so I still sneak in a few turns}

You can check out EGO’s full product line HERE.  They are available on HomeDepot.com and my favorite place of all, Amazon.com!

 

Disclosure: I reached out to EGO to review the lawn mower, all opinions are my own

 

More on TodaysMama.com

Chores For My Teenagers: 5 Ways I Took My Sanity And My Saturdays BACK!

First Time Gardener: Lessons Learned

Taking On A Home Landscaping Project

Garden Design Ideas: Container Plants

 

 

Want Alexa to do your laundry? Now she can!

Alexa can tell you what the weather will be, play your favorite song, schedule calendar events, and now she’ll be able to do your laundry!

Sears just recently signed a deal with Amazon and announced they plan to sell Kenmore-branded appliances on Amazon.com.  Sears also said Kenmore Smart appliances will be integrated with Amazon’s Alexa platform.

“The launch of Kenmore products on Amazon.com will significantly expand the distribution and availability of the Kenmore brand in the U.S.,” Sears CEO Eddie Lampert said in a statement.

Sears said a new “Kenmore Smart” skill for Amazon Alexa will allow customers to control their appliances — changing the temperature on an air conditioner without leaving the sofa, for example. It will be like telling your kids to do the dishes, but now it will actually get done.  Can you imagine??  I wonder if she can yell at me once it’s done and then offer me words of encouragement as I prep dinner.

“Voice is a natural interface for the smart home, so we’re thrilled that customers can now simply ask Alexa to interact with their Kenmore Smart appliances,” said Charlie Kindel, Director of Alexa Smart Home. “We’re excited that Kenmore has added Alexa functionality to these products and we think customers will love the convenience of cooling their home, starting their laundry, and more, using only their voice.”

Alexa-enabled appliances may be the start to robots taking over the world, but if they can figure out a way to clean my boys’ bathroom and fold all my laundry, I’ll gladly give up all control.  We just know the world is truly coming to an end when even robots won’t scrub pee off the bathroom floor molding.

 

See More on TodaysMama.com!

Ovens that Make Cooking Easy for the Busy Mom

Bill Gates Reveals Minimum Age for Kids to Get a Cell Phone

Why Social Media is Not Smart for Middle School Kids

 

Chores For Teenagers: 5 Ways I Took My Sanity (And My Saturdays) BACK!

Chores for Teenagers: How I took my weekends BACK!

Chores. My kids think it’s a swear word. It’s their kryptonite. My kids have been doing chores for a long time now and we’ve learned a few things along the way. It’s not always perfect, but here are the things that make chores for teenagers less of a battle around our house. 

Here’s how I took my sanity (and my Saturdays) BACK!

Want To Go Out With Your Friends This Weekend?

I’m sure they do. 

We used to spend ALL DAY on Saturday doing chores (not because my kids had too many chores, they just took TOO long doing them).  So basically, Saturdays looked a lot like me stalking my children like a lynx so they’d JUST GET THEM DONE. The honest truth is, that’s the last way any of us wants to spend our Saturday. 

Well, we’ve found a fix for that. All chores must be done by THURSDAY so that Friday and Saturday are actually spent doing the fun things we want to do. Chores not done? They don’t go out with their friends until they are complete. That seems to add enough fuel to the fire to get things done (and fast)! 

Work For Hire Opportunities Aren’t Available Until Their Basic Responsibilities Are Done

The upside of all these chores? I pay good money for chores I hate. Scrubbing the shower grout with a toothbrush? Wiping down baseboards? What chores do you hate the most? Those are the ones I pay the best for. But only AFTER they’ve completed their basic list of responsibilities. You know, the things they do because we all live in the same house together (and that’s a decent sized list). 

I Don’t Hand Out Money Like Candy

The thing about teenagers is that they actually really need money. I don’t hand it out. Our kids have to pay for their cell phone service. I don’t often throw $20 dollar bills at them for their weekend spending. They need their own money for that stuff.  “Supply and Demand” baby.  They stay motivated and willing to take on the additional chores because they need the cash.  They need that money for the snow cone shack and movie night with their friends just bad enough to want to scrub my grout with a toothbrush. 

I Believe In Check Lists

One of my favorite books is “The Checklist Manifesto“. It’s basically a book about how checklists improve performance and outcomes in everything from flying airplanes to reducing complications in surgery. I think checklists work well for chores too.  I’ve got a checklist for each room of the house (complete with a list of what cleaning products they should be using). It’s amazing how quickly my kids seem to forget the basic steps involved in cleaning the bathroom. Oh, I don’t know, like cleaning the toilet . . .

Get The Right Equipment

The kids have their own gloves. I’ve invested in an extensive collection of microfiber rags. Inevitably there’s always an area of the house where everyone’s ICK factor overcomes them. 90% of the time it’s the toilet.  {In fact,toilet bowls can contain as many as 3.5 million bacteria per square inch and some of those remain on traditional toilet brushes after you’re done cleaning. Gross, right?}

But toilets aren’t on my work for hire list of chores. EVERYONE needs to learn how to clean the toilet (and clean it well). 

I was excited when Clorox emailed us to be part of their “Teenage Clean” campaign because I was literally drafting a post to tell the world all about my new “Chores By Thursday” method that I mentioned above. I grabbed my 14-year-old, handed him the Clorox® ToiletWand®, {which by the way kills 99.9% of germs and features abrasive scrubbers to power through tough stains}, and assigned him to clean the toilet. Everything that followed was probably as stereotypically teen as it could be. 

It started with:

“Seriously mom! You’re going to take pictures in the PINK bathroom and put it on the INTERNET?!?” Yes son. I am. 

Welcome to 1964 my internet friends! The pink tile is alive and well!

Chores For Teenagers: 5 Ways To Make Sure They Happen

He actually assembled the wand on his own and gave it a spin.  Similar to the way teens seem to be preloaded with mess-making abilities, The Clorox® ToiletWand® system disposable refill heads are preloaded with Clorox® Toilet Bowl Cleaner to give you the cleaning power you need with none of the nastiness of a traditional, germy toilet brush. Simply click a refill head onto the wand, scrub to unleash the preloaded Clorox® Toilet Bowl Cleaner.

Boom. Done. (And he didn’t even wear gloves . . . EW? Maybe. But that little wand kept him from actually touching anything gross). With a quick press of the button, the end of the wand is disposed of and there’s not more pooling water in the toilet wand caddy where your old gross brush used to live. 

Chores For Teenagers: 5 Ways To Make Sure They Happen

Our little photo session ended with “Thanks buddy for your help!”

“Yeah, no problem mom. You should pay me $10 . . .”

LOL.

What do you to do get your teenagers to do chores? (and do them right!) Tell us in the comments!

 

This is a sponsored post in partnership with the Clorox® ToiletWand®.  All opinions are my own (And so is this toilet wand. We totally dig it.)

 

5 Reminders for Raising Helpful Kids in the Kitchen

I take my responsibility to eventually toss my two kiddos out of the nest pretty seriously. One day they will need to take care of themselves and SO HELP ME, they will not live on microwave noodles or be stumped by anything in the produce section of the grocery store or be the roommate that never contributes to the chores.

But that sort of kitchen know-how doesn’t just happen overnight. You need to be patient. You need to break things off in age appropriate bite-sized pieces. You need to embrace imperfection. Did I mention that YOU NEED TO BE PATIENT.

Which is easier said than done when you discover that your little angel wanted to surprise you by making coffee and now your kitchen floor is covered in coffee grounds. True story.

So the next time you think it would be easier to shoo everyone out of the kitchen and just do it yourself, repeat after me…

SWEEPING IS A LEARNED SKILL

I have a dog and two children. We can sweep and fill a dustpan three times a day. It’s usually equal parts cracker crumbs, Lego pieces, glitter, and dog food nuggets. Have you ever watched a small child sweep? Well, pull up a chair because it…….takes……for…..ev…..er. And when they are done there will still be stuff on the floor and odds are pretty fantastic that they will have spilled half of the dustpan contents on the floor when they try to pour it into the trash bag. BUT DO NOT ABANDON HOPE! Eventually they get the hang of it and you’ll have one less chore on your list…or at least a few fewer Legos to step on. 

IT’S KNIFE NOT A CHAINSAW

Kids have to start somewhere. A butter knife and a banana is a good way to ease into the world of food prep. Whisking pancake batter? Also a solid starting point. At some point, you’ve gotta get brave and break out a sharp knife and some soft fruit. For the entirety of last summer, we ate our strawberries minced…but now, my kids valuable contributors to the meal prep team at our house.

THERE ARE ENOUGH DISHES FOR EVERYONE

My kids love to do dishes. Love it. I think it’s the bubbles. Are they efficient? No. Do they get water everywhere? Yes. Does it allow me to do other chores and therefore get us all to the finish line faster? HECK YES! (Have they broken anything? Yes. One plate. No one died.) Start by letting them clear the table and scrape plates. Before too long they’ll be handling this part from start to finish. Bonus points for teaching kids the kitchen golden rule of “If you cook, you don’t have to clean.”

A TODDLER CAN REPLACE A TRASH BAG

It might take 34 minutes. But they can do it! LET THEM. Because by the time they are five, they’ll be so attached to this chore that they will not let anyone get in their way when it comes to hauling out the full bag of trash. PLEASE NOTE: using bargain trash bags will lead to you cleaning up a delicious stew of moist coffee grounds, raw chicken bits, glitter, and carrot peels when the bag breaks because kids aren’t tall enough or strong enough to lift and carry a bag. Buy a trash bag you can drag.

(Like these Glad ForceFlex Kitchen Pro trash bags.) 

RIDE THE WAVE WHILE THEY WANT TO BE UNDERFOOT

When I’m in the kitchen my kids are doing one of two things. 1. Orbiting me like two crazy moons. 2. Parked at the kitchen counter with crayons/Legos/homework/Play-Doh. This is messy. Stuff gets spilled. (A LOT.) Stuff gets sticky. (Perler beads + maple syrup.) But they won’t want to hang out with me forever and they won’t be interested in the finer points of my stellar scrambled eggs for much longer, so I’m teaching the simple stuff now, so that next year I can put them on saute duty.

Glad ForceFlex Kitchen Pro trash bags stand up to whatever mayhem…I mean, HELP, that my kids can dish up in the kitchen. The biggest, strongest, most flexible bags now offer an inner layer of ForceFlex and outer layer of LeakGuard technology so I can get as much help as I can in the kitchen. 

PLUS – if you’re like me and have another large trash can stashed somewhere else in the house, like the upstairs laundry room, for bathroom/nursery trash, the odor neutralizing powers of the Glad ForceFlex Kitchen Pro will come in SUPER HANDY.

Check out glad.com for more information.  Right now you can stock up on Glad ForceFlex Kitchen Pro trash bags at Target and Cartwheel members can get 10% off through February 28th. 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Glad. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

Top 5 Reasons Your Next Pet Should be a Chicken (or Flock of Chickens)

I have been raising chickens for 3 years now, so I am totally an expert.  We bought a house and immediately bought 3 baby chicks to go with it-I was so excited to have my own little flock!  We’ve learned so much in the last 3 years about chicken ownership, especially as we’re raising a second brood of babies!

I’m sharing today why you want chickens in your life!

Backyard Chickens

1. They Make You Breakfast.

Backyard Chickens

I love having eggs every morning.  It’s like Easter everyday!  They taste SO good and I love knowing what’s going into my food!

2. Endless Hours of Entertainment

Backyard Chickens

Two of my chickens recently hopped our 7 ft fence into my neighbors yard to drink out of her fountain (yes, chickens can fly).  She found herself completely intrigued watching them poke around the yard and interact with each other all day.  They’re really funny.  They get into tiffs, they all have to be right next to each other, they love to roll in dirt and overall they’re just really entertaining.  It’s like have a whole flock of feathered t-rexs roaming around your yard with their lizard feet and chicken combs.  She loved it so much she’s now brooding chicks with me!

We also love watching the baby chicks so much we set up their own skype with an old cell phone:

Backyard Chickens

3. You will WIN at Show & Tell

Backyard Chickens

Dog?  lame.  Cat?  old news.  Super awesome chicken?  Yeeessssss.  We’ve taken our birds in a few times for show and tell and every time it’s a hit!

backyard chickens

My personal favorite time is when Steven got to go to kindergarten.  The fact that he matched her pink dress was perfection.

4. You Can Dye Them Fun Colors and Teach Them Tricks.

My birdies all know to come when I call.  They also know that as soon as the sun begins to set, they need to go put themselves to bed and so they head to the coop to roost.  And as far as the dying goes-you’ll have to click over here to read the full story!

Backyard Chickens

I also find them occasionally in fun places around the house…

5. They are Easy Maintenance.

Our birds free-range around the backyard and the only time I have to clean up after them is if it’s on the patio.  Their coop needs to be refilled every 4-6 months with bedding and sprayed with Diatomaceous Earth (we do the deep litter method).  I was actually reading and it’s not a good idea to keep their coop sparkling clean-their waste has a way of decomposing and actually being healthful to them.  In terms of smell, a healthy coop has very little, and we’ve never noticed one.  We’re spoiled because our shed has an overhang so we just cooped it in and made nesting boxes for them.  They have lots of room in the coop and lots of room to roam the yard so they’re very healthy and happy.  You just have to keep up on their water and food bowls, but that’s pretty standard pet ownership.

Backyard Chickens

We have loved having our little backyard flock, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below!  I’ve been documenting much of our chicken adventures over on Instagram @april.for.days, check it out!

More on Facebook!

We hosted a Facebook LIVE chat! Check it out:

 

Backyard Chickens are the Best! With April & Debbie

Posted by TodaysMama on Tuesday, April 26, 2016

See more at TodaysMama.com!

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