Monday, June 21, 2010

DIY Toddler Chore Chart

When you have two children or less, I am not really sure a chore chart is a must for your toddler. I, on the other hand, need want it. I like to be ahead of the game. I never really knew what I was doing until Amy at Raising Arrows pointed it out. I was reading away at her blog one day and said, “Hey, that’s exactly what I do!” It’s about adopting a large family mentality without a large family. I would, however, be abundantly pleased if God decided to bless me with a few more little bundles of joy. But, in the meantime, I like to be organized and on top of the game should any surprises arrive. I have always adored the way large families function. It is truly amazing! They can flow and roll. (I just coined a new saying.) Now, I understand ALL large families are not like this, but most are close. I love the organization of large families. I love the character building that comes with being part of a large family. I love how you have to learn to live with what you have. OK! Enough of why I love large families! We’re talking about a DIY Toddler Chore Chart here. We have a routine in the mornings and evenings and sometimes I can easily get interrupted and forget something or let something important slip away. For example, I have a horrible time remembering to brush the teeth of the little ones in the morning. (I’ve been lucky some days to brush my own!) I knew I wanted Lily to start chores at an early age, so I thought, “What better time to create a chore chart!” As she gets older, more responsibilities will be added and eventually she will graduate to a more mature chore chart.

What you need:

Poster board

Sticky Back Velcro ™

Graphics for your “chores”

List of Chores Printed (Large Font)




Step 1: Locate the graphics you would like to illustrate the chore for your toddler. I found mine online and even used some from Microsoft Word Online Clip-Art.


Step 2: Print the graphics. Cut to size (1 x 1) and place on the back of one side of the Velcro.

Step 3: On your poster board, use your ruler to draw straight rows for the number of chores you have to be completed. Create 3 columns: 1. Chore, 2. Not Completed, 3. Finished!P2270051

Step 4: Cut the chores you listed and glue them onto each row of the first column.

Step 5: Glue chore graphics to 1 x 1 pieces of poster board. Place one side of the Velcro Sticky Back to the graphic piece.

Step 6: Place the “matching” Velcro tabs in Column 2 and Column 3 across each row. (Be sure that both of these are the same and match up with the chore graphics backing you completed on Step 5).


***Here is the idea. Your toddler begins her day with all of her chores in the “Not Completed” column. As your toddler completes a chore, she gets to move her completed chore to the “Finished” column. I did both a Morning Chore Chart and an Evening Chore Chart. If you do this, it’s a good idea to print your graphics and the list of your chores twice, as some things will repeat.

Our AM chores:

Potty time

Clean room


Clean up (Lily’s job is to help clear and wipe the table)

Brush teeth

Bible Time and Prayer

Clean Room

Our PM chores:

Bath time

Brush teeth

Pick up toys

Bible and prayer time

Warning: Strategic location is important when having a 14 month old child in the home.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I declare my full guilt

I was reading earlier this week about a local politician involved in some legal and financial problems. Our family is acquainted with the man as he is quite involved in our neighborhood. Therefore, I had some personal interest in the story. Apparently, this individual took what is called the Alford Plea. An Alford Plea involves the person declaring his innocence but acknowledging the facts and evidence surrounding the case are enough for a judge and jury to declare the person’s guilt. The person will admit to some of the evidence in the case, but not to the act of the crime.

This was interesting to me as I had not heard of such a plea prior to this article. Upon pondering the situation at hand, I couldn’t help but think of how this relates to many Christians today. How many self-professing Christians actually understand the guilt of their trespass against God? How many have ever been broken over their sin? How many think they are pretty good people?

It’s almost as if they take the plea that says, “I know the evidence is against me, but because I’m a good person I still declare my innocence.” They are told their whole lives the story of God’s grace and their need for a Savior, but are never quite convinced the story is for them. Besides, they don’t drink…or have affairs…or murder or rape…or lie and steal. It’s as if they admit to the evidence of imperfection, but not to the crime of having a depraved nature.

With this lack of acknowledgment, the person may almost completely miss the gift of grace. Without the breaking conviction of sin, one does not realize the urgency of his need for Christ.

Let us examine ourselves to see that we have understanding of exactly why we need Him. Let us not be the men who say, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” (Matthew 7:22) Let us understand our guilt before a righteous Judge. Let us deny our innocence and declare our wretchedness. Only when we come to this point will His righteousness be imputed to us.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I need 32, 000 soldiers…

Have you ever wondered why you just can’t get it all together? I mean, why are there always more things to check off the to-do list? The house is never clean enough. The lawn always needs mowed. There is that other load of laundry that needs to be washed and for that matter, all the laundry needs to be put away. Nate’s clothes need to be pressed on Fridays. I need to run, too. And more importantly, am I in the Word enough? Have I prayed with the children today? Am I being consistent with the discipleship they need? Oh wait, I was reminded today that my child’s behavior might be a reflection of my behavior. Am I respecting and submitting to my husband the way I should to be an example for them?
I have this vision of the “Perfect Mom.” You know, the one whose home is immaculate with a side of fresh chicken salad and fresh baked bread for company that might pop in. The one who just baked extra food for Sister So-and-So because she is having a rough time with this pregnancy. It is a vision of the mother whose children follow like ducklings at the very sound of her soft, gentle voice. It is the one who knows when her neighbor is in need and is there to provide whatever she can to be a witness for His kingdom. I think it’s the vision of the woman found in Proverbs 31. I’m pretty sure that’s her. Have you seen her, too?
As I have this vision I’m reminded of Gideon and the Midianites. Gideon was prepared and ready for war with his 32, 000 soldiers; but God said, “No.” God said that was too many people. Why? “…lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’” God weeded them out, all the way down to 300. That’s a big difference there Gideon.
And that is when the light shines through. I’m just beginning this journey of true biblical womanhood. If God allowed me to be “perfect” without tribulation, affliction, and trials, it would be so easy for the root of pride to neglect God’s grace and to take the credit and glory for what “I” have accomplished. I remember when I was pregnant with Lily and I professed to my family my desire for four children. My mother commented that I would never have four children because I couldn’t handle it. My sinful pride thought, “Well, I’ll show her.” At the time, my desire for four children was more so I could have a big kitchen table. God, however, changed that desire from four children around a kitchen table to a desire to create an army for Him. And you know what else He changed? I realized my mother was right! I can’t handle it by myself. But praise God that through Him and by Him I can! I may not be the “perfect” mom, but by His grace I will fold each sock, dry each dish, kiss each boo-boo, and hug my husband for His glory and His glory alone.

“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Shepherding a Child's Heart

I recently finished reading Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. (Well, the last chapters were on Training Objectives and Procedures for childhood and teens. I did not read those but skimmed them. I’m in a different area right now and will be for a while.) I first heard of this book when a blogging friend did a review on a parenting seminar completed by Tripp. Some personal friends then recommended the book and I realized I should check it out.

I have to say, although there were several, several things in the book I adore; overall I was left a little unimpressed. (Let me add, I read the original print of 1995, the book was edited and revised in 2005. I verified some things have been taken out and some added.) Since Lily was born God has moved our parenting vision from one of a “well-behaved child” to a vision of godly parenting. Tripp addresses this issue beautifully in the first part of the book. The concept is that what is in the heart is what flows out of the heart. (Proverbs 4:23) In other words, what is in the heart is what determines behavior. He focuses on the sinfulness of our hearts from birth. Biblically speaking, he points out that everyone is essentially “religious.” (Romans 1:18-19) We either worship the one true God, or we worship idols. Our goal as parents should be to teach our children about God’s ways and truth and to pray that God will reveal Himself to them and eventually change their heart towards Him.

Tripp communicated very well that the chief goal is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” (He takes this from the Westminster Shorter Catechism…that I know because it’s the only one I have memorized.) When our goals are focused on athletics, social skills, well-behaved children, education, or even “saved” children, we have to examine if these are leading us away from glorifying God. (“Saved children” may raise a few eyebrows but his point is just because God has changed your child’s heart does not mean there is no work to do as a parent.)

My favorite part of the book is probably what Tripp has to say about communication. Communication is expanded from mere rules, correction, and discipline to encouragement, correction, rebuke, instruction, warning, teaching, admonition, showing the “benefits,” and obedience. All of these forms of communication are used at different points depending on the situation.

Now, this is long enough and I want to get to the points I didn’t like. I believe Tripp has a view on discipline that we, Nate and I, agree with. Basically, if the child hasn’t obeyed the first time, discipline is required. More importantly, God is the offended when a child fails to obey, not the parent. (Ephesians 6:1) While speaking during discipline, we have spoke of the offense to God but I believe we sometimes take it more personal and are more upset that the child offended us than that she offended God. We agree with Tripp that the early years are the most important for teaching obedience. We agree that children need to learn they are under authority given by God.

However, under Tripp’s section “Objection to the Rod” in Chapter 11, he goes a little too far for us. He goes over being discreet in physical discipline because some people disagree and you basically run the chance of being called into the authorities. He mentions an incident when one of his children had been in need of “much discipline” and had a doctor’s appointment. The child’s bottom was "black and blue"and they had a “sensible” doctor that knew bruising in the appropriate locality was not a sign of child abuse. As I have mentioned before, I previously worked for Child Protective Services and remain and advocate for abused and neglected children through CASA. Bruising is completely unacceptable due to spanking. There is no reason for a person to hit a child hard enough to bruise them. Now, let me add, Tripp is huge advocate for using controlled discipline. I, however, do not believe that under controlled discipline that you will bruise a child’s bottom. I do not necessarily believe that a bruised child is an abused child; I just find it unacceptable.

Tripp also made a comment that if an 8 month old is in need of discipline then it is due. My experience as a parent is that although an 8 month old is curious and possibly defiant, defiance is not really comprehended. I tend to lean more towards Dr. James Dobson’s view on the matter in The New Strong-Willed Child that a child should not be spanked until the ages of 15-18 months. (Note: I do not have a strong willed child, I read this book before Lily was 3 months old.) Dr. Dobson includes a study completed by the American Academy of Pediatrics in or around 1995 supporting the use of corporal punishment. The article includes information on age appropriate corporal punishment.

So, I would recommend the book to have a better understanding of shepherding your child’s heart through biblical communication, which I think is very important. I would also recommend visiting Kimberly at Raising Olives and read her series on Your Child’s Heart.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Our First School Lesson

****Our family has a vision to home educate our children. I want to share our journey, thoughts, ideas, trials, errors, and successes. I will be adding a new side bar with links to homeschooling posts. I don’t believe this is the time to start a new blog so I will utilize Finding Michelle to share with you on this expedition. And like all things on Finding Michelle…this may last, it may not. My blogging life revolves around my faithfulness to my husband and children first and foremost.****

Lily really wants to ride a bus. And she also really wants to go to school with her 5-year-old cousins. Sometimes the bus thing pulls at my heartstrings a little bit since I know she will probably never go to a public school unless God has other plans. It pulls at my heartstrings, but not enough to become a Halloween Hypocrite all over. We’re just hoping Daddy can hook us up with a field trip ride on a bus.

This morning while in town Lily saw a bus and once again we spoke about her desire to go to school with her cousins. I explained that Daddy and Mommy felt that God’s desire was for them to teach her instead of sending her to school. She wanted to know what her cousins did in school and I explained that they learn about numbers, letters, shapes, and colors in school. I told her if she wanted we could go ahead and start school with her. Later in the car ride she spoke up and said she wanted to “do school” and when asked what she wanted to learn about, her answer was… “God.” (Reason #1 to homeschool, we can learn about God anytime!)

So, today when J.J. went down for a morning nap, Lily and I spent time “schooling.” Of course, the only difference between this and any other day of our life, I told her it was school. I have adopted the philosophy you homeschool your children from the time they are born. They learn simply though living. Some parents choose to do preschool curriculum. We believe we can teach them everything they need to know in preschool and probably through kindergarten virtually free.

Our first lesson today was on colors. I was aware she basically knew her colors, but this was really a great illustration for me to see just how much she knew. I equipped myself with a role of pennies and Lily with a small purse we got out of a kids meal. We decided to venture off in search of colors. The first few questions consisted of me asking Lily to find something a specific color. As we went on, she pointed to things and told me what color they were. She did a great job and earned 26 coins for her bag! After all the color finding, we counted the coins and she put them in her piggy bank to add to the money she is saving to buy a horse. And finally, we took time to pray and thank God for all the wonderful colors He has blessed us with.

What a great day of school and it only costs me 26 cents!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Announcements and a James Soles CD Giveaway

I decided to take some time to announce some changes to Finding Michelle. Well, really not some changes, a change. I’m going to make an attempt to post at least twice a week on Monday and Thursday. I have finally decided there is too much I want to “journal” and I’m missing all sorts by not taking the time to let my creative juices flow. I’ve got some posts on back up and I’m going to try to stay ahead this time!

I’m pleased to say that as I write this…Nate and I will be having our first overnight date in THREE years! We are both so excited. So, this is contributing to Number 10, but I guess only God knows if it will interfere with Number 6! ;)

Just FYI: Kimberly at Raising Olives is having an awesome give away for a Jamie Soles CD. If you haven’t listened, check him out. I have had the opportunity to listen to some samples and really enjoy what I hear. Go over and visit Kimberly. Stay awhile and you’ll see the hand the of God in their lives.

Have a great weekend and see you on Monday!