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Summer Chore Chart, Summer Schedule & How We Make It Work

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The summer chore chart. One little chore for each boy, each morning. It should take them 2-10 minutes. And yes, the brush your teeth, get dressed etc has to be on there or they will forget. :)

I shared my summer chore chart on Facebook last night and received A LOT of feedback.  Some encouraging, some wondering why I would make my kids work so hard in the summer, some asking how old they are, if I have a summer schedule….

So here is the truth.  I love, love, love when my household just clicks along and things are ordered and done on time.  I don’t really love, love, love schedules and planning.  This is a problem.  Keeping a big family running and relatively happy requires logistics matched only by Amazon or FedEx.     Enter chore chart and summer schedule. It is the only way.

It was not fancy.

If it were fancy and detailed it would never work around here.

For those of you who asked why chores in the summer. Because I think kids should do chores.  I just do. I want my kids to be appropriately self-sufficient, to understand there is a time to work and to learn to care for their things.  They are 10, 8, 6 and 4 so they have different, age appropriate chores.  For example, my 4 year old moves the mats in front of the sink and shower so my 8 year old can sweep. Also each chore takes only 1-10 minutes.

Another great question was how do I get my kids to do this without complaining.

They don’t always.

The first week is the hardest, then they just sort of settle into the routine.  Also, there is a little bit of bribery. If you look at the schedule below you will see “Free Time” from 7-8 in the morning. This free time includes being allowed to play X-Box, only if your chores are done for the day. They also know fun like the pool, splash pad for play dates do not happen if chores are not done.   **You have to be willing to stand firm on this, but in experience only once. They have to know mamas not playin’ when it comes to chores.  🙂  In our family peer pressure comes into play too.  They all work together to get their stuff done so we can go have fun.

(If you don’t think your kiddos should have to do chores in the summer that’s cool, we can still be friends. It’s your house, you are the boss.)

Our just enough structure summer schedule

Our just enough structure summer schedule

As for a schedule. Yep. We have one.  I have been working on it for a few days.  I could not decide what was going to be best and I made the nearly fatal mistake of looking on Pinterest.  Oh. My.   It had me doubting my laid back, written on notebook paper schedule in about 2 seconds.

But then I decided  it is my schedule, I can do what I want to.  Blocks of time work better for me. And this is more for when we are hanging around the house all day.

Here is the basic breakdown

You cannot get out of your bed until 7. (my boys are early risers)

7-8 Downstairs chores and free time

You can come up for breakfast

8-noon NON-electronic free time. Play outside, downstairs, do art, ride your bike, read, play with your baby sister etc.  (If you complain you are bored during this time you are referred to a chore for $ chart)

noon-ish Lunch

after lunch– Math flash cards or reading time then Free time again

4ish You are free to play electronics while I work on dinner

5:30ish Dinner

after dinner– 10 minute family pick up time

Free time until bed

If you have been considering a schedule or a chore chart I hope this post has helped you. It doesn’t have to be fancy and to the hour.  I would encourage you to try it. I truly believe my boys function a little better with a little bit of structure to their day.  I know it keeps me less stressed and more able to enjoy them while they are home.

If you are a mastermind at schedules and chore charts share your ideas!  I love learning ways to improve this operation.

 

Art for Kids Hub: Free, Fun Kids Art & Drawing Lessons

Obviously, shirts are optional in our house during the summer. :) this is how they sat for two hours drawing this morning

Obviously, shirts are optional in our house during the summer. 🙂 this is how they sat for two hours drawing this morning

So, I may be way behind the rest of you in finding out about Art for Kids Hub, but let me just say this- it entertained my four boys for about two hours this morning. TWO HOURS folks. It was fantastic.

It is fun site and YouTube channel that teaches kids how to draw all kinds of things. The boys, of course, spent some time on Minecraft characters today. They also checked out a few Inside Out characters, some Angry Birds and Abraham Lincoln. There are all sorts of characters, animals, vehicles etc to chose from.  There is little to no reading, so younger kids can easily participate. The videos are fun and the pace is slow enough that kids can draw along at home while watching.  There is a section for under 5 if you have preschool kiddos that love art.

They also have origami, sculpting and painting tutorials and seasonal projects.

If you are looking for a way to encourage your child’s art this summer, entertain kids on a rainy day or just clean the kitchen without them destroying another room 🙂  check out  Art for Kids Hub!

Here are just a few of their creations. My only problem is going to be displaying and storing all the art they create this summer!

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Thanks Casey for sharing!

2016 FREE Summer Reading Programs : Earn Great Rewards!

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Summer is here!  Time to get signed up for some of these awesome reading programs that will encourage you kiddos to keep reading and earn some fun prizes!

Tennessee Smokies Summer Reading Program

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If you live in East Tennessee this is a program that you will want to check out. The Tennessee Smokies Summer Reading Program is for Smokies fans 12-and-under.

There are five levels of participation that are to be completed by each child participating. To complete a level all your child has to do is read 10 books, 10 chapters, or have 10 books read to him/her (if your child is not reading yet). Once your child has completed his/her first level, bring the Level 1 reading program form to the ticket office at Smokies Park, and exchange it for prizes and free tickets to a Smokies game. We did this last summer and it was great! Here are the rest of the details:

LEVEL 1 – The Single: Two Smokies Tickets, Shoney’s Bookmark
LEVEL 2 – The Double: Two Smokies Tickets, a Shoney’s Pencil
LEVEL 3 – The Triple: Two Smokies Tickets, a Shoney’s & Homer’s Color Me Pennant
LEVEL 4 – The Home Run: Two Smokies Tickets, a Knoxville Zoo ticket & a Free Shoney’s Dessert
LEVEL 5 – The Grand Slam: Two Tickets to August 8th Reading Club Celebration Night at the Ballpark, 2 Meal Vouchers good for a Hot Dog, Bag of Chips & a Drink, a Smokies Card Set & a Shoney’s Healthy Kids Meal! Level 4 form should be turned in by August 1st to be eligible for the August 8th Celebration & Prize night.

 

Knox County Library Summer Reading Club

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Knox County Library’s Summer Library Club is a fun way to help children maintain and improve reading skills through the summer break. The program rewards kids of all ages for reading (or being read to) during the summer. Once kids reach their reading goal, they receive an awesome rewards package! Registration opens Saturday, May 21st.  You can register kids, teens and adults online or at the always super fun and FREE Children’s Festival of Reading  that is happening Saturday, May 21, 2016 at World’s Fair Park from 10 am – 3 pm.

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Prizes include a stretchy, flying superhero and a rewards book. The children’s rewards book is filled with vouchers for more than $200 worth of treats and adventures. Check out a complete listing of the rewards.

Keep track of your summer reading with the library’s printable Reader’s and Listener’s Logs.

Listening Log 2016 (for those not yet reading)
Reading Log 2016

There is no required book list for Summer Library Club, but if you’d like some suggestions to get started, download the Summer Reading Book List, with lots of super titles for kids ages 3-12.

Barnes & Noble Reading Triathlon

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Starting May 17th and through September 6th, Barnes & Noble will be hosting a Summer Reading Triathlon where the kiddos can earn a completely FREE book in 3 easy steps!

Step 1. Fill out the Summer Reading Triathlon Reading Journal (PDF). En Español (PDF).
Step 2. Bring the completed Reading Journal to your local B&N store. Find a Store.
Step 3. Choose a FREE BOOK from our selection on the Reading Journal list at the store… Enjoy reading!

Vote for your favorite hero and place: Download the Ballot (PDF).

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

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The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is a free online reading program for children that runs through September 9th, 2016. After registering, kiddos are to read as many minutes as they can, log their minutes and earn rewards.

SYNC

Sync

SYNC is a program that gives away two FREE audiobook downloads every week each Summer for readers ages 13+. (each week features a current Young Adult title paired with a Classic or Required Summer Reading title). Titles are delivered through the OverDrive app which can be downloaded for free. For more information, head here.

Book Adventure

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Kids from grades K-8 can head to BookAdventure.com where they can search for books, read them offline, come back to take a quiz and win prizes! Parents and teachers will even have the opportunity to track their child’s/students work (just click on the “Teacher’s Lounge” OR “Parents Place”). Go here to get started searching for a book and check out this video for more information.

Reading with Chuck E.

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You can download and print these Chuck E. Cheese bookmarks for all the books your kiddos are reading this summer!  They are good for 5 FREE tokens if you are dining at Chuck E. Cheese’s this summer. (one per child)  You can check you local store to see what other summer reading promo they are doing.

 

Free & Frugal Summer Fun with 10 News This Morning on Foxville 43

Summer is almost here so today we are talking frugal summer fun on  10 News This Morning on Foxville 43.  You can stay up to date on all the latest deals by following Coupon Katie on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by signing up for daily emails!  You may also want to check out my Coupon Calendar!

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Children’s Festival of Reading

Kick off a summer of reading with a full day of music, storytelling, arts, crafts, science exploration, food, and fun! The Knox County Library Children’s Festival of  Reading is happening Saturday, May 21, 2016 at World’s Fair Park from 10 am – 3 pm. Admission and parking are FREE!

Meet the authors of Ladybug Girl, Paperboy, Dragonbreath, and many others!

 

Summer Movie Express 1 Dollar Movies

Regal Summer Movie Express- $1 Movies

Regal  Cinemas will once again host their Summer Movie Express! Family friendly movies are just  $1 each throughout the summer on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

In our area, Regal Pinnacle Stadium 18 IMAX & RPX, Regal Knoxville Center Stadium 10 and Regal West Town Mall Stadium 9 are participating in this promotion.  Movies will start June 7, 2016. Tickets available for purchase at the box office and all movies start at 10:00 am. Each week both movies play on both days.
Here is the schedule:

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***Carmike offers their program at Wynnsong 16. Carmike 7, and Carmike 10 from June to August on Thursday at 10am. Admission is $4 and includes a small popcorn and small drink. They have not yet released informoation for 2016.

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Free Fishing Day 2016

June 11th is Free Fishing Day!   TWRA allows all residents and non-residents to fish without a license on public waters.

Children that are 15 years of age or younger may fish without a license for the entire week starting on Free Fishing Day and continuing through the following Friday. Children younger than 13 may fish without a license at any time of the year. The TWRA sponsors many Kids Free Fishing Day events and stocks thousand of pounds of catfish to help make the events quality experiences for young anglers.

The Cove at Concord Park Free Fishing Day is happening June 11th from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon. There will be prizes and snacks!

Alcoa, Lenoir City, Maryville, Anderson County, Gatlinburg and several other East Tennessee communities are holding free Kid’s Fishing Day events on June 11th!

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Kids Bowl Free

How about some  free bowling for the kiddos?

It is easy, sign up at KidsBowlFree.com to get a voucher for two free games of bowling for each of your children every single day all summer long. Check to see what nearby bowling alleys are participating here.

Follow these simple instructions to sign up:

Register your children online
Select a participating bowling alley (there are 3 in the Knoxville area!)
At the beginning of each week, you’ll receive tickets that your children can use.
Head to your local bowling alley & enjoy!
*You will  have to pay for shoe rental, or you could find a cheap pair on ebay!

THE HUSBAND AND I TRYING A CHALLENGE AT CAMP ZION

THE HUSBAND AND I TRYING A CHALLENGE AT CAMP ZION

Camp Zion

Camp Zion Day camp is for ages 5 and up and is held from 10:30-3:30. Lunch is provided (they accommodate allergies). The cost is $15 per child and $10 for additional siblings. You can email kristie@feedingtheorphans.org to register.

Camp Zion focuses on youth experience, adventure-based outdoor activities designed to instill leadership, team-building skills, and self confidence while learning essential biblical truths. Camp Zion is located at 505 Cave Creek Road, Loudon, TN 37774

THE HUSBAND and I have taken the boys there for a family day and it was SO fun. They boys are already scheduled to go back once school is out.

Knoxville Splash Pads

Carl Cowan Park
10058 Northshore Drive
Hours from 10am-8pm

Market Square Park
Market Square in Knoxville
Open Monday-Sunday 10am-9pm

Powell Station Park
2318 Emory Road Lot-A
Hours from 10am-8pm

New Harvest Park
4775 New Harvest Lane
Hours from 10am-8pm

McFee Park
917 McFee Rd. in Farragut
Hours from 10am-8pm

Volunteer Landing Park
Volunteer Landing Lane
Open Monday-Sunday 10am-9pm

World’s Fair Park
1060 Worlds Fair Park Drive
Open Monday-Saturday 10:30am-9:30pm; Sunday 12:30pm-9:30pm

**And this week get Coppertone Sunscreen for just $2.49 at Target!

10 Things You Need To Know About Yard Sales

We did it! We survived a yard sale, and we had so much fun. I totally understand one yard sale does not an expert make but here are ten things I learned at my yard this weekend that you should know if you are having a sale.

  1. You should have a yard sale. Seriously, you should. They are a lot of fun and you will get rid of SO much stuff you don’t need. It is very freeing to be rid of “stuff”. I am so happy when I look in closets, playrooms dressers and they are less crowded.  Have one, you will love it.
  2. If your sale starts at 8, it really starts at 7. I was unprepared for this. Our neighborhood yard sale started at 8. At 7 when we opened the garage door and started to organize stuff people came.  All of THE HUSBAND’S big tools were gone by 7:20, before the sale “started”.
  3. Pricing Doesn’t have to be hard.  I know some people have little price tags on everything. This was the part of the sale that had me the most stressed. SO,  I didn’t price everything. I put little tags on everything I wanted more than $1 for then made two big signs that said “EVERYTHING $1 ***unless marked” . It worked out so well! If the prep and pricing makes you crazy or is keeping you from having a sale, then try this.
  4. Be ready to deal.  Be ready to make a deal. 🙂  People will ask what you will take or bundle things. I was surprised by this (but I have learned it is super common at yard sales so don’t be put off by it.) Some deals I took, some I countered and some I just said no to. Know ahead of time the lowest you will take on things, especially big items. Don’t worry if someone says nevermind, we had several people come back and buy things. It is also a good idea to tell people to check back at the end of the day. If you haven’t sold it and you are ready to be rid of it you can take their low price then.
  5. Display kids’ clothes by size, and don’t fold them. I had the kids clothes folded and neatly placed on tables. That lasted about two minutes. The tables were crazy so I ran inside and grabbed some laundry baskets and labeled them with sizes. 2T, 3T etc. Then I just pushed all those sized clothes in the baskets and set them on the table. At first I thought, is this tacky to just have baskets full of clothes. Then I thought if it works at Victoria’s Secret during their annual bra sale it will work here. 🙂  And it did. People know what size kids’ clothes they need and this made it easier for them to find and buy.
  6. Hang up adult clothes and more expensive kid clothes. I don’t know why it mattered but it did. Hanging our clothes made them sell much faster than when they were on tables.
  7. Save your grocery bags and give them to shoppers. No joke some shoppers came with their own bags, those were the experts. 🙂  About an hour into our sale I noticed some people were having a hard time carrying all their treasures around so I ran in and grabbed some plastic grocery bags that I keep in a drawer. It was a huge help and people shopped more/longer when they had bags.
  8. Involve your kids. This is a huge part of what made the sale so fun. The boys were involved in cleaning out toy room and their clothes. Today they had a concession stand. They gave away popcorn and sold water, cookies and brownies. They learned about cost of goods, profits, sales, greeting customers, making change and getting paid for a hard days work.
  9. People may steal. This is sad but true. Someone stole an expensive pair of THE HUSBAND’S cowboy boots. 🙁  We had several people asking about them, then both got distracted.  When I looked up again the couple interested and the boots were gone. I asked THE HUSBAND how much he sold them for, he thought I had sold them.  SO, try to keep an eye on expensive items or keep them close to you.
  10. Don’t be clingy.  When you sale is over don’t be too clingy. Have a couple tubs that can be easily stored that you can load up with items that don’t sell.  You can pull these out for your next sale. Consider donating the rest of your items. You  don’t want to move it all back in to your house!

I would love to hear you thoughts and tips on yard sale selling or buying!  I am hooked and will definitely do this again next year!

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CRF Frozen Foods Recall : Check Your Freezer

CRF

Check your freezers!

CRF Frozen Foods is expanding its voluntary recall of frozen organic and traditional fruits and vegetables because of the potential to be contaminated with Listeria. This  recall includes items sold at Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Costco and more.

This recall includes approximately 358 consumer products sold under 42 separate brands. Look through the  full list of affected items.

You can return the products to the store where they were purchased for a refund, or simply discard them.

Titanic Museum Attraction Pigeon Forge- A Story You Should Go Hear

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On my recent trip to the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge I met owners John Joslyn and Mary Kellogg Joslyn and here is one thing you should know about them; they are superb storytellers. That is at the heart of the Titanic Museum Attraction, telling the story of the 2,208 passengers and crew of the Titanic in a way that honors their lives.  The crew, the exhibits and the artifacts all come together and tell a historically accurate but engaging and moving story.  You will learn how the ship was built, how the passengers lived aboard the ships and about the night it struck the iceberg. Each guest entering the ship receives a boarding pass of an actual Titanic passenger or crew. You will discover your passenger or crew’s fate in the Titanic Memorial Room where 2,208 names line this historic wall.

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As you take the self guided tour with the audio players you will also hear stories told by crew members dressed in period costumes.  (There is an adult version and a youth version of the audio tour.  The adult version gives more facts and plays interviews with actual Titanic survivors.  The youth version tells more of a story and has listeners look around rooms for certain objects.)

Unsinkable Molly Brown

Unsinkable Molly Brown

You can view over 400 artifacts while walking through various parts of the ship.

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First Class State Room

Then touch an iceberg and plunge your hand into icy 28 degree water was you walk through the chilly night air.

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If you are touring with kids be sure to print out the scavenger hunt for you kiddos and bring it along. You will find interactive questions like this all around the ship.

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There is also an area where kids (or adults) can try to climb the deck of the Titanic as she tips.  You can try to correctly load a lifeboat, attempt to steer the ship in time to miss the iceberg and learn Morse code. http://www.bransontourismcenter.com/wp-content-articles/uploads/2014/07/Titanic-Interactive_gallery-Deck-Incline-NOP.jpg

It will take you about two hours to make it through the ship and it is well worth your time.  The entire experience is well done and it is one of those rare places that the whole family can enjoy. Grandparents to kids, there is something everyone will learn and remember.

If you are planning a trip June 5 through August 14, 2016 you will get to hear the touching story of Titanic musician Wallace Hartley and see his violin that recently sold for 1.7 million dollars.

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**In the interest of full disclosure- I was invited on a blogger/social media weekend where we toured Dollywood and several other local attractions, The Titanic Museum Attraction being one of them. While I was given free admission and a tour this weekend, this is not an ad and all opinions are totally mine.