Tuesday, July 29, 2014

White Glove Summer: cleaning skills and chore systems as we WORK HARD, PLAY HARD

This blog post was originally published on Design Dazzle website for their Summer Camp Series.  

When summer sun hits our home, we like to get out and play.  We've always had our classic long summer fun lists, endless water games, and popsicle licking.  However, THIS year I wanted to concentrate on enforcing work habits and teaching cleaning skills to my boys.  My parents always told me that as a family we WORK HARD then PLAY HARD.  I absolutely appreciate that and I say the same thing to my little people.  Hard work is fulfilling and peace-giving.  There is still plenty of free time for summer games after the work is done!  

 This summer, we are white glovin' it!

While the kids are home this summer, we are doing a cleaning unit study to learn new skills and to re-enforce other habits.  Summer is an ideal time to focus on tackling things because we have extra, unstructured time.

I'm not a big fan of Norwex, but this kid's cleaning pack is cute! 

 Our home sweet home cleaning storage room

Today I wanted to share our little system:
1) Master Skill learning sessions to conquer basic cleaning skills
2) Individual white board chore charts
3) Surface Cleaning spin wheel for our house
4) Summer Fun

1) Master Skill learning sessions to learn basic cleaning skills

 Our goal is to MASTER basic cleaning skills over the summer, learning to do them most efficiently and effectively.  We will choose one skill to focus on a week.  For example, when learning how to put new sheets on the bed, we will watch a YouTube video on how to do the "nurses fold".  Watching HOW TO videos is a helpful change from listening to Mama's voice.  ;)

On our MASTER SKILLS DAY, we pick something to learn!

2) Individual white board chore charts

For daily chores,  I keep it simple with individual white boards.  

Cute lil magnets hold their metal name tags.

We have a lot of flex in our routine, which gives the boys a chance to have personal responsibility and to be in charge of their own chore schedule.   They really enjoy having the independence to choose when they work.  This actually helps their self discipline increase! 

 We have a Family Planner wall in our garage hallway.

Each boy has a "mailbox" on the wall where I keep their whiteboard list of chores for them to collect, do, and check off, each day.  It's simple, I don't care when they do their chore lists, as long as they're all checked at the end of each day!

3) Surface Cleaning spin wheel for our house

To help maintain our home, we all do "surface cleaning" once or twice a week.  I made a fun cleaning spin wheel.  I had an old turntable and thought it would be super fun to turn it into a spinwheel game for the boys. 

When we do our surface cleaning day, each boys spins the wheel twice to reveal which area they are in charge of cleaning.

They love it!  In fact, my middle son spins the wheel on his own sometimes! ...and off he goes to do chores. 

To help remind the kids how to surface clean the rooms,  I have checklists taped in every area for them to reference.  They are hiding in the coat closet door, behind kitchen cabinets, above the garage sink, etc.

Every room has a checklist.  
No excuses of "not knowing what to do"

4) Summer Fun

Throughout the summer, they may find these cute envelopes with surprises inside for each boy who does well with their new cleaning skills and who keeps up with their chore lists. 

All this white glove stuff, but still lots of time for summer fun!
I pulled out their summer journals from last year.  We still have a summer FUN list this year, still journaling our way through the sunny days as we memories.  We are going to work hard and play hard.

Summer Journals...
maybe they'll journal about cleaning lessons
 in between writing about summer vacations!

So we circled up and I told them...

Cleaning isn't fun.  But that's OK.  Everything doesn't need to be fun.  Cleaning is fulfilling.  It strengthens our character to do things that are hard and that aren't exciting.  We will learn to be good stewards of the blessings we've been entrusted with.  We will learn to take care of our belongings and be grateful for the gift of a home with four walls.  We will celebrate inner growth and find peace in the order we create. 

I also told them that while Mama (me!) loves organizing, I've always struggled with regular cleaning.  We can all work as a team to conquer these habits!  When they were babies and toddlers, it was extremely difficult to keep up with chores.  But these ages are perfect!  

We are going to work hard so that we can play hard! 

Okay, let's do this!

1,   2,   3,

White Glove Summer!

"dancing with a broom in our hand...cleaning everything that we can"

 I turned around after taking a picture and noticed Kotah using this as a gun.  Hmmmm.  I think we are done with the pictures.

Happy cleaning and happy summer!

You can also find MooreMinutes on Facebook,
where I share more about creating beauty in everyday life.
Thanks friends!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

All day, All night...4th of July Summer Lake Party!

4th of July is my second favorite holiday! Hours of sunshine, kick back relaxation, free spirits, loud American noise into the sky, active late night, creamy ice cream and fresh popsicles, and the smell of dinner on the Bar-B-Q. 
I wasn't feeling too well as I prepped for this, which was a bummer (more on that adventure later!) but we still had a super fun time.  

My mom and I got together to plan another festive holiday party.
It's a favorite thing to do for lil homemakers! ;)

We dressed as twins...
on accident...
Love her!

Okay!  Here is our summary of our day and night SUMMER party, including all the good stuff:
 the fun, the scene, the decor, the menu, the desserts, and the fireworks.

Happy 4th of July!
Colorado Style
Light it up!

We kicked off our party at my parent's residential lake in Ruby Canyon.  The lake is pretty small so we were only able to invite a handful of fun families and kids. 

The Set Up:

Flags lined down the beach

Crates of snacks for guests to grab and go.

Plenty of h2o and patriotic drinks all day long.
Lots of watermelon, a classic July treat!

And Rocket Pops for the kids,
of course!

I made family fun baskets for the kids.  

The Fun:

We used our jet skis to play on all day.  
We also had wakeboards, tubes, skis, paddleboards, and rafts to entertain us under the sun.

We played for hours under the giant July sunshine before coming inside.

inside my parent's home sweet home,
 away from the sand 
and water
 and sunshine
 and into
 the cool summer home sweet home.

Let's be festive, let's make a holiday,

My vintage patriotic bunting that I use most every year.

I used fireworks as decorations for our table centerpiece.

And red, white, and blue papergoods 
of course.

Fresh flowers are the most simple and most beautiful way
 to adorn any celebration.

The Food:

Our 4th of July
Summer Feast Menu

Fresh-squeezed lemonade
Seasoned Angus Beef Cheeseburgers
Hot Dogs
Homemade pepper baked beans
Grilled Corn on the cob
Red, White, and Blue Potato Salad
Homemade ice creams
Homemade mini chocolate berry cheesecakes

Our guests added to our feast with delicious...
homemade pasta salad
fresh deviled eggs
fresh fruit salad
homemade peanut butter bars
and more!

The boys and I took 2 dozen lemons 
and made fresh-squeezed lemonade for this hot summer holiday!
Those lil boys are the BEST helpers.

Dig in!

The Desserts:

The highlight of any holiday, 

I made bitty Patriotic chocolate berry cheesecakes for one of the desserts. 

These mini pies fit in the palm of your hands! 

4th of July is an ice cream holiday.  Sooo, my Mom and I got busy churning up homemade goodness.

I made creamy chocolate and fresh strawberry and she made a lot of classic vanilla.  Every bite, lick, and drip was delicious.

Special "I love ice cream" wooden spoons

Neapolitan triple scoop,
Homemade ice cream goodness 
for the best summer holiday!

We've been dipping our patriotic cones in chocolate for a few years now...

I scooped my homemade chocolate ice cream into chocolate cups 
that melted faster than we could eat them.

Other sweet snacks included blueberry, pina colada, and cherry licorice.  Totally not homemade. ;)
...a jar of patriotic marshmallow stars, and red, white, and blue yogurt dipped pretzels. Yum stuff.

The Fireworks:

When darkness arrived, and our tummies were full of ice cream, we grabbed some chairs and headed out into the warm night for a glowing show of fire.

Chris and Kotah worked hard to keep the sky lit and the booms loud.

Chris actually worked EXTRA hard all day...
pulling people on water toys, grilling piles of burgers, and giving us a night show.
Thank you babe!

"Land of the free,
HOME of the brave."

Titus says that fireworks are America's birthday gift.  I like that.  

Thank you Mom and Dad for letting us use your beautiful home
 to celebrate summer,
our country,
good times, 
and great friends!

I hope each one of you had a memorable 4th, 
full of everything that makes life beautiful.

Moore 4th of July celebrations found here:

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