Friday, February 27, 2015


Chores Part 1 from Tasha Bradshaw on Vimeo.

Chores Part 2 from Tasha Bradshaw on Vimeo.

*I said in the video that the first chore we give our kids is to unload the dishwasher, I meant to say help with the unloading the silverware!  :)

A friend of mine asked me what we do about chores.  We have done a variety of different ideas over the years and ages.  Overall the ideas that really work are:

Daily Chores

1.  Be Consistent!

2.  Make sure they know what you expect and how you want it done!

3.  Start Young.  Our kids officially get chores when they are 3.  They help pick up their toys and rooms before that.  Their first chore is usually to help unload the silverware.

I have a list of what needs to be done each day at home.  (It is taken from Daryl Hoole's book, "The Art of Homemaking Today") It is my favorite book.

make beds
prepare and serve meals
clean up and sweep kitchen
spot-clean bath fixtures, mirrors, and floors
pick up throughout house
empty wastebaskets
wash and fold clothes
remove snow in season

I look at the list and ask myself what the kids are capable of helping with on the list and what would help us to get a great start on the day.  

Here are some of the chores at our house:

Unload the dishwasher (I start it every night so that it is ready in the morning)
Unload the silverware
Get snacks and water bottles (the school kids have to take a snack everyday)
Empty trash cans from bathrooms and office into the large kitchen trash
Bathroom wipe down (using clorox cleaning wipes clean bathrooms sinks and toilets)
Help the 4 year old make her bed 

We don't rotate chores, because I assign chores based on ability.  Every several months we  re-evaluate and change things up.  (in the summer we don't need a daily snack person, so we think of a new needed chore)

The rule at our house is that you have to do chores and make your bed before school or you  get 3 extra chores after school.  They are usually really good at getting it done in the morning!  

Saturday Work

I again use the weekly list from Daryl Hoole's book to evaluate what the kids can help with on Saturday jobs:

clean bathrooms
change bed and bath linens
remove fingerprints
damp-mop hard floors
dust furniture
vacuum floors
carry out trash
iron and mend
plan weekly menu and grocery shop
water indoor plants
mow and edge lawn in season
tend garden in season
rake leaves in season
sweep porches and steps

I will send a link with examples of our Saturday work.

 It talks about "treasure boxes" on the Saturday work list.  Treasure boxes are rubbermaid containers that each child has for their personal treasures (i.e. junk mom would probably throw away!)  That is their special place for anything they want.  Some kids keep McDonald's toys and tons of art projects that they have made.  The only rule is that the lid must fit on!  It is a great solution to giving them space to do what they want and keeping their rooms uncluttered and organized like I want!  

Chore Motivation and Charts

Right now we are in a pretty good grove and the kids are all quick to get done what they need to.  In the past we have used fake dollar bills and they get "paid" for doing their chores.  They used their fake money to buy screen time or special dates with mom and dad. We have used charts to mark.  We have also used the online App called  My Job Chart to mark of their responsibilities.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Celebrating Benson LaVel Bradshaw

Today is my little nephew's first Birthday.  Although his life was short he had a tremendous impact on many lives.  He lived from February 25, 2014 to April 2, 2014.  Most of his life was spent in the hospital but he was granted a short time on earth to be home with his wonderful parents and loving older brothers.  

As a family we decided we wanted to do something to remember and honor Ben for his first Birthday.  We decided to start our first annual, "Benson Bradshaw Fundraiser."  Throughout the month of February the kids took on extra jobs around the house to earn money.  They were very diligent and were constantly asking for work!  

Ben spent most of his life in the hospital so we decided as a family to use our money to bless other children that are in the hospital.  I contacted our local Children's hospital and found out what items we can donate to help children.  

With cash in hand, the kids and I went to Walmart in search of the perfect gifts to bless children.

They each had their own money that they had earned so they had to figure out how much things cost and what they could afford to buy.  

I wish I could have truly captured the joy that they felt and the excitement in the air.  It was that feeling of true joy and service that I hope they will never forget. 

They were all so excited with what they bought.  The little kids especially love to sit and look at the presents that we are giving in honor of Ben's first Birthday.  

They picked out:

board books
coloring books
weaving kits
dinosaur toys
toy cars

Happy Birthday Ben.  We love you.

Other posts about Benson:  A Christ Centered Easter

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Out of Balance

Have you ever said "yes" to too many things?  Have you ever felt sightly out of control?  

*This post was originally written in the fall of 2014.  I love this experience because it caused me to step back and see that sometimes I am like that little mouse in the book, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,"  one things leads to the next and before you know it you are back to the mess that you started with!  I think it is necessary to slow down and focus to achieve the best results!

My house ended up being a mess, my kids were crying, and I was stressed out, but my pantry was clean.  Is that really the most important priority?  

Yesterday was one of those days.  One of those days when I said "YES" to too many things.  It started out ok, but I just kept adding events, projects and problems!  After doing the school drop offs I came home to a kitchen cluttered with breakfast dishes and lunch preparation mess (I should have made the lunches the night before, not right before we ran out the door).  It was while I was cleaning up the mess that I decided that I couldn't wait one more day to reorganize the pantry that had been neglected over the summer.  I also needed to go to Sam's Club and restock our fridge, snack supply, toilet paper, and paper towel supply.  Before leaving for the store I had several things that I needed to do around the house like:

Start the laundry. . . again. . . it had been in the washer since yesterday and I forgot was too tired to move it to the dryer before I went to bed.

I picked up the house, looked over my shopping list, and planned my menu.

Then the phone rang. . .and rang.  I said some more "Yes" answers even though I knew I was starting to be stretched thin.

I went to the store after stopping by a friends house to help her with a project.

I will mention that I am always a little embarrassed to see people I know while shopping at Sam's Club.  We eat a lot, therefore I buy a lot!  With two kids in the cart, toilet paper, and paper towels, and diapers the cart is full, so I decided to check out and come back in and start another shopping trip with an empty cart.  I will also mention my good fortune in the fact that the containers that I wanted for the pantry reorganization project happened to be on sale!  Once the second cart was paid for we went to the doors of the store with the intent to leave, but it was pouring rain!  I waited for a minute but could clearly see that the rain was not going to let up so I did what any mother without an umbrella (or patients to "wait it out") would do.  I pulled the nursing cover out of my purse and put it over my two little girls heads and I ran pushing a loaded cart to my big van.  I ran until my flip flops were so slippery I knew I had better slow down before I fell.  By the time the girls and I were in the car we were completely soak as were all of the things we had bought.

Once we go home I carried in a few basics like grapes and chips to feed the girls a late lunch before getting them into bed.

At this point I should have had the wisdom to see that pantry reorganization was not a top priority for the day.  I should have put the groceries away and straightened the house before the kids came home from school, but I didn't.  I used the fabulous new containers and reorganized the pantry while putting the groceries away.  The clock kept ticking closer and closer to school pick up time and I was far from finished.  It was at this point I knocked a gallon of milk down the garage steps and it promptly broke open on a rug at the bottom of the steps and ran across the entire garage floor- which is apparently slightly sloped!  Despite the whirlwind inside and the apparent garage fiasco it was time for pick up.  I pick up a few neighborhood families and it was raining so making the kids wait didn't seem like a good option.  I promptly woke the baby from her nap and went to pick up the kids.

After school I told the kids to wait outside while I grabbed a snack for them to eat while they watched me hose down the garage.  I also told them it seemed like a great day to quickly get their homework done so that they could all go to the basement and watch a movie because - I really needed more clean up time!

The 3 year old didn't like the idea and she began crying and begging to play with friends.  I tried to console her and explain that I wasn't in the position of playing with friends at this point.

I did mange to get everything mostly clean and rearranged before my husband came home and we did have a lovely meal for dinner: salmon and rice.  The kids even said it was the best Salmon I had ever made!  Then I ran out the door to pick up for Young Women's.  Did I mention that I was in charge of the activity?  I was, and I wouldn't have been ready if my oldest daughter hadn't gotten everything I told her I needed while I was sitting at the dinner table nursing the baby and making sure the other kids were getting fed.

Needless to say, when I got home that night I wasn't a loving and comforting wife, I was exhausted and overwork, tired, and out of balance.

I woke up today resolved to slow down, say "NO" when needed, and focus on my priorities.

I took time just after lunch to make dinner and set the table because my family deserves to come home from their busy days to a home that is peaceful and a refuge from their daily stresses.

As I have looked back at how I could have handle the day differently I know that I should try to do less.  Say "No" to unnecessary things and complete projects after I have completed the basic things that need to be done.

I chose to include pictures from the next day when I set my priorities in order and we found balance :) My family came home to peace not chaos!

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