End of Summer??

Children…summer fun!! And then so soon it’s time for school to begin again….

So much fun over the years….little guys, big guys…doesn’t matter! Back yard, on vacation, alone or with friends. Michigan is a beautiful place to PLAY!

But then, back to a new, fresh year of learning in school! Exciting for most…ready for friends and new classrooms!

If you still have a few days of summer left…enjoy them:))

For those of you back in school, enjoy those days, also!!!


Happy Parenting!

D and C

So Much To Do…

Look at all the things on the calendar…

can I find the time???

So many books to read…

maybe I’ll just take a nap!



Happy Parenting!

D and C

Summer Chart

Would you like to try a behavior chart for the summer? Here is a chart developed by a teacher with the same last name as mine…but we are not related…at least physically!! We have both taught in the same school district and are very concerned with kids learning how to be good people. She has come up with a plan that she is using with her own children this summer involving tokens. It sounds pretty good to me. Want to give it a shot???

Developed by Casey Finkbeiner:


Creations by Casey photography of Romeo

cell/text 586-255-5969

outdoor settings~seasonal backgrounds~rustic, vintage props

$75 photo shoot includes digital enhancements

{photos uploaded to snapfish.com for ordering}


Here it is…

Summer 2013

Finkbeiner Token Economy System


In the real world, adults work to earn an income.  They are employees and consumers.

Consumers spend income on expenses they want and need, or they save for the future.

Consumers have to pay for goods and services they use, plus they may pay fines for breaking the rules, such as being late with a payment, or breaking a law.

Employees are not paid for work that is done in an unsatisfactory manner, such as rushing through work.




1 token  = 1 hour of game/screen time

1 token =  $1.00 to spend at the store

1 token = 1 movie ticket

1 token = 1 DQ treat or Slushee

1 token = $1.00 offering to church REQUIRED weekly

*Save  50 tokens and deposit $60 to the bank!*


You may cash in your tokens at any time, but you must have at least 5 remaining in case of fines so you are not overdrawn.


You do not get paid simply for following the rules of the household.


Sources of income for boys:

ü  Vacuum living room, stairs, upstairs hall, 3 bedrooms= +1 token

ü  Vacuum basement stairs and basement= +1 token

ü  Sweep kitchen, hall, laundry, bathroom= +1 token

ü  Dust all living room surfaces and banister, clean glass doors at front and back = +1 token

ü  Polish stainless appliances, polish wooden cupboards=+1 token

ü  Polish barstools, chairs, and dining table=+1 token

ü  Change and wash the bedding in your room=+1 token

ü  Wash, dry, fold, and put away laundry = +1 token

ü  Sweep deck, porch, sidewalks and gazebo = +1 token

ü  Clean garage, organize bikes and toys, sweep floor = +1 token

ü  Wipe 4 sinks and counters in bathrooms, clean 3 toilets = +1 token

ü  Scrub 2 tubs, wipe 3 bathroom floors, shake rugs = +1 token

ü  Empty dishwasher & take out garbage =+ 1 token

ü  Carry in groceries and assist in putting food away = +1 token


Sources of income for Josie:

ü  Feed pets = +1 token

ü  Get the mail = +1 token

ü  Put away laundry = +1 token

ü  Keep bunny pen clean = +1 token

ü  Empty small garbage cans = +1 token


Some great ideas, huh? Now the plan is to figure out how to send this to pinterest…if it doesn’t work, please send me suggestions!! Still learning, you know:)))

Have fun giving it a try:))


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Foiling the Tantrum

Do you use this method to ‘turn off the tantrum’ in your child????

I love this!!!

A few thoughts on tantrums:

Every child will try one, but not every child continues to have them. What might help make a difference?

A great start is having the child know that “No Means No” always and forever. There will be fewer opportunities for kicking, screaming, crying fits if the little one learns early on that mom and dad mean what they say. If you give in to your child’s demands you’re teaching them to convince you to change your mind…about anything and everything. It is sort of unfair to expect them to know which things you mean if you don’t stick to your guns!


That said,  when your kid does decide to throw a tantrum (and they will)…how do you choose to respond?  My choice…with humor. Don’t panic, don’t show anger or despair….instead tease, giggle, join in…whatever will change their focus from want, want, want to ha, ha, ha! Your humor needs to be fun, not humiliating….but if they want attention, give them the kind that gets YOU what you want and distracts them form what is causing the meltdown.   Timing, of course, is important….if you have messed up their schedule of food or sleep, humor may not work. But giving in to their demand is not fair to them in the long run…because they NEED you to set the boundaries and keep them.


Just my 2 cents worth….take it or leave it. Trying to bring more joy into the world, one child at a time:))


Happy Parenting!

D and C


Summer Bedtime

Summertime and the livin’ is easy…. time to relax with the kids!!!  If the kids can remember that you are still in charge, there are still rules and boundaries, and happy doesn’t mean lazy…. the summer can be peaceful and satisfying for all.

One continuing summertime problem seems to be when is bedtime?…and if there is a discussion about it….why?

We always had a bedtime for the kids…during school, usually 8 or 9. During the summer, bedtime was later…but still scheduled. Boundaries continue to be important all year long. We, as the adults, got to decide if we had special evenings where we let the kids stay up later. But that always involved no whining or pleading to make us bend to their will….just wasn’t happening. Because they knew that wasn’t a way that worked with us, they stopped trying and began talking and discussing instead. Keeping them busy during the day does help with bedtimes in the evening!

Special evenings with sparklers, friends, cookouts, or sleepovers all became excuses for us to extend bedtimes because we wanted to, not because they whined at us.

I know when the kids get older this becomes more difficult, but our rule was if you can’t get up in the morning at a reasonable time then you must need to go to bed earlier at night!

Enjoy your summer….bedtimes and all :)


Happy Parenting!

D and C

work ethic – part 1

I am so proud of my boys…ahem…I mean, young men! They have a crazy-good work ethic. Besides doing a bang-up job in their careers, they love to work on their houses and yards, on vehicles of all kinds, and on projects involving artistic and building talents. Once they start a project they have a hard time stopping…even to eat! They are also very conscientious about doing things correctly. They learned the “measure twice, cut once” philosophy from their dad when they were young.

Here are a few photos to show some of the ways we tried to instill the idea that working and helping is part of what you do as a family:

helping to clean that basement...

what can we build?

cleaning out the dresser??

emptying the dishwasher...

helping at the sink...

get rid of that wallpaper!

everyone loves to clean out the fireplace, right?


Tune in soon for part 2, showing what the kids ‘got’ to help with outside…


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Checklist: Chores

Beginning of the year or beginning of the school year…maybe we could all use some reminders on how to handle chores:)

This is a repost from January:

There are many different types of chores, all very important. Here are a few:
1. Type 1 is the everyday chore: the one you want your kids to do everyday – duh, sorry, that’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Anyway…brushing teeth, making bed, feeding dog, clearing the table, or whatever you want the kids to do based on age and developmental abilities…all become everyday chores. Do you have a chore chart??

from Current, Inc.

Charts can be very helpful in encouraging kids to want to do their jobs. Use old-fashioned stickers or markers or make up a check-off program on the computer to keep track of success.  Then use a small treat as an incentive at the end of the week if all chores are completed…the dollar stores are helpful in choosing!

2. Type 2 chore is the now-and-then chore:
the overflowing basement toy box

When the toy box is overflowing, the bedroom is a mess, the bookcase is empty because the books are all over the floor, or any other area that is “theirs” needs work…….Have the kids set a timer for 20 minutes at a time. Say, “Let’s work hard for 20 minutes, then you can do something fun for 10 minutes.” Make sure that you work with them to keep them going. As they get older you can leave them alone to work for longer periods of time but not unless they have copied your work ethic for quite a while. The 20 minute intervals continue until the job is done, or until you’re worn out.

is the job done yet???

3. The Type 3 chore is one where the kids help the family do household jobs. These jobs encourage being a part of a productive family and give children a sense of accomplishment, confidence, and pride.

helping clean out the fireplace

4. The Type 4 chore is kids helping with an adult project. They can help Dad build a trailer or help Mom organize photos – anything that gives them an opportunity to see the work that the family members do and to learn how that work ethic works. It also gets them out of that couch potato rut. The younger you put them to work with you, the better. As they get older, whether they like it or not, they’ll consider helping to be a normal part of the family routine.

helping with a garage project

5. The Type 5 chore involves learning skills they can use in the future: changing a bicycle tire, baking cookies, raking leaves, folding laundry. If they will use the skill in the future, then they should begin learning it early as a part of a loving family experience.

fixing a flat tire

Try to keep the idea of doing chores as pleasant a task as possible…I know, that sounds ridiculous, right? But…turn on the music, laugh with each other, lighten up!!! It doesn’t have to be drudgery. Remember, you are the role model. If you’re a grouchy worker, they will be too!!! Be happy, be positive!

With school starting up again, some sort of structure will be helpful in the continuing battle to teach responsibility, both at school and at home:)

Happy Parenting,
D and C 






Organizing your Morning

School day mornings can be sooo stressful! Everyone has been there at one time or another…the age of the child doesn’t matter, the issues just change a little!


We talked in the past about organizing your evenings so that stress would be reduced in the morning….things like putting clothes out, backpack with all assignments waiting by the back door, jackets, shoes, lunches all ready to go and always in the same places.


So today, how about trying to find a calm way to get up in the morning??  Most kids do not want to wake up on your schedule…only on theirs. When they are very young they wake up before you want them to, but as they get older you feel like you need to drag them out of that bed:)


Here’s a suggestion for your school age munchkins…may be helpful, may not…but could be worth a try!


Try a countdown in the mornings:

About 5 minutes before you want them out of bed:

Go in the room….say “5 Minutes!”

Two minutes later, go back in the room…give ‘em a kiss and say “2 Minutes!”

After 2 minutes, go in the room, turn on the lights(the part my boys hated the most) and say “Up and at ‘em” and walk out of the room.  They need to believe that you trust them to follow your directions.


Check after one minute and say “Let’s go!” and start giving them their clothing, remind them to brush their teeth and have them head downstairs(or wherever yours need to be). Make sure they don’t need to go back upstairs once they’re down…it could be a stall tactic. Breakfast…not usually time for “what do you want?”…just put out what you want them to eat. Give them another 2 minute warning before it’s time to head out the door. One last reminder to grab all of their things. You be the last one out so you can check to make sure the backpacks and lunches are not still waiting to be picked up.


There will always be a morning or two that goes crazy on you, but hopefully a tip here and there can make most of your mornings happy and a cheerful way for your kids to start their day:)

busy at school

When children have calm, easy-going mornings they tend to be more successful in school. Aim for a stress-free morning:)


Happy Parenting,

D and C



Flowers. Stop. Smell!

Whether you have already begun your school year or still have a few weeks left, stopping to think…grow….enjoy…is always important for your well-being and your kids’!!

Make sure you do enjoy the little things….like your kids do!

Flowers, raindrops, bugs, puddles, anything that you might pass by which seems to interest your kids. Stop and enjoy!


Actually do ‘Stop and smell the flowers”!


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Ready for School? One quick tip!

School’s coming, whether you are ready or not…so take a big breath and find one thing to do each day to make the transition easier for you and your children!


Today’s tip:

Get back to the school sleeping schedule -hopefully- about 2 weeks before school starts! I know that is harder than it sounds…kids don’t want to go to bed earlier, the sun is still shining brightly, you don’t want to start that schedule either! But…if you don’t want your lovelies to look like this when school starts:

awake? not really...

a little too much summertime partying...

Try getting back on a specific schedule of when bedtime begins and work backward from there with some night time traditions…bath time, snack time, reading time, cuddle time, and then BED time!

calming down with books...no matter what age...

If you set your schedule up ahead of time, not waiting for the last minute, your kids can be up and energetic…ready and willing for the first days of school!

ready, set, go!

More tips to come…for an enjoyable and successful school year:)


Happy Parenting!

D and C


Winner of our giveaway is Jessyca Foster…congrats! An email has been sent for your info. Please reply by Aug. 8th so we can send your prize to you:)