Monthly Archives: January 2014

Paid to Play: Unusual Jobs for Kids

Piano Keyboard Picture 2

Teaching kids about money is not an easy job. Being paid to play the piano is a relatively low impact sort of job. Sometimes it is really up there on the whine scale. But, working hard can help build character. Below are a few of the jobs we will pay our kids for that are a bit more labor intensive. Again, these are not everyday jobs, but once in a while things. My kids are young so I still watch what they are doing or let them go at it till they get stuck or need to be a little more thorough. We track this money on their paper in their bank. It all adds up. So, here are some ideas:

Collecting sticks: Ok, we don’t live in the forest or anything. But, we do have one normal tree and one weed tree that we let grow because it is great shade in the summer. That weed tree drops all its sticks in the fall, so just the trunk is there. So, when it is time to clean that up or clean up after a storm, I let the kids collect sticks. They are paid a penny for each stick.

This might not sound like much, but they will pick up every little stick. From two inches to two feet and put it in their pile. Once they are done, they each count up their sticks, which is great practice in my opinion, and then they get paid. Don’t underestimate kids, they will get over 500 total sticks at a time. This is serious stuff.

 Washing kitchen floor tiles: One day I looked at my floor and I did not feel like cleaning it. The light bulb went off and I called the kids down. I told the kids I would pay them 10 cents for each tile they scrubbed. Dollar signs went off in their heads and they got to work.

Again, my kids are small so I had them just use water and baking soda. Works great. When they were done I just went over the floor with a wet cloth to get any residue off. I was out $13.60 but my back thanked me!

Beetle collectors: One summer, the beetles were eating up all my vegetables and roses in the garden. It was horrible to see my beautiful plants getting destroyed. My dad and I were talking about it and he told me how when he was little his mom made him collect them and he got paid a penny a piece. Brilliant! I told the kids about it and they were game. So early in the morning (we’re up early anyways) we went out to the garden and flicked beetles into sudsy water. The kids made out pretty good as this was an ongoing thing. My      roses didn’t make out so well though.

Clean out and vacuum car: Have you looked under your car seats lately? Have you looked in the last row of the van to see the kid crud building up? Sometimes you don’t even have to, you just know it’s bad. So, that is when the kids get to clean out the car. They gather everything up, set it in the driveway, wipe stuff down, and vacuum. I help them out with this because the vacuum can be awkward in some spots and the seats have to come out. Boy does the car look nice after this.

Organize cabinets: Cabinet locations were overflowing with containers, scrap paper, and mixers that kept breaking. The kids were each assigned a cabinet and they went to work taking everything out. As they took stuff out, I looked over things and told them what to toss or locate somewhere else. They put things back in and the cabinets are nice and tidy.

The bonus is, these jobs are not my favorite things to do, so having some helpers make it much better. You might think a penny a stick or 10 cents a square isn’t much. But it does add up and motivates them to do their best based on how much effort they put into the job.

Do you have any jobs that you pay your kids to do? I’d love to hear your suggestions about ways you pay your kids.


Proverbs 10:12

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Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs. Proverbs 10:12

Hate. Hating. Hatred. I hate this. I hate that. I hate you. Did you feel yourself tense up as you read the first word? Does it bring up a past hurt or a current struggle? Does hate make you sad?

Hatred stirs up dissension. Dissension is a difference between you and someone else on a topic. I know I’ve butted heads with people before. Sometimes, I have taken the brunt of the attack because I just don’t want to play the hate game. I think hateful people are hateful because they like the powerful feeling it gives them of control. People who hate are worried about themselves and their needs, desires, and wants only. It’s all about them. Some people want to hold hate over your head to yank you around because it lets them feel that they are right and you are wrong.

Love. Loving. Loved. I love this. I love that. I love you. Did you feel your heart skip a beat as you read the first word here? How do you not get sucked into the hate game? You love.

…but love covers all wrongs. Love can be a feeling towards someone or a situation. I know I’ve loved people before. Sometimes, I have been the giver of more love because I want to play the love game. I think loving people are loving because they like the powerful feeling it gives them of joy. People who love are worried about others and the needs, desires, and wants of others. It’s all about others. Some people want to love you and yank you around in love because it allows them to show you compassion and forgiveness.

Loving someone has the power to show someone forgiveness. Your forgiveness can squash someone else’s hate. This is a good thing. If you can love others, you can forgive, accept, and look beyond the hate that is thrown at you at work, at home, while you’re driving, or waiting in line at the store.

Check out 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13. Leave a comment here and tell me one thing about love. What jumps out at you? Go out and love someone. Let love cover something that you think was “wronged” against you. Love hatred out of someone today.

 Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs. Proverbs 10:12

Paid to Play: Spending the Money

Piano Keyboard Picture 2

While my children are getting a lesson in managing money, the real plan was for them to learn how to play the piano. So the update there is, they are. Slowly, but surely they are. Note names and rhythms are starting to sink in and they know where they can find the information if they aren’t sure rather than hollering for me all the time. And they have played some harder songs, which is a delight to me, and a challenge for them. Doesn’t this sound like one of those “Father knows best” sort of things?

Now, what do my kids do with their money? Spend it! They have watched me enough to know how to shop around. So, they have me check out different websites to compare prices, including tax and shipping. And, they keep a sharp eye on their finances to know when they can afford something. Although, can you hear the “aw, man” when they are shy a little bit or the “yessss” when they have earned enough?

Right now their purchases focus on most anything Lego and that stuff is not cheap. But, they are learning patience. They are also learning that pouting because you don’t have enough isn’t going to get a loan from Mommy. If they know how to save up for something now, I hope they won’t fall into bad credit card habits when they are older. I believe if we teach certain money habits now our children will grow up to be wise and self-sufficient with their own money they earn. Next week, look for some ideas for how your kids can earn money doing some different things around the house.

Hide and Seek

Hide and SEekSeriously, if you have not played an intense game of hide and seek with your kids lately, you need to. The kids suggested hide and seek after dinner one night. The whole family hadn’t played in ages. It was going to be competitive and hopefully fun.

First of all, be sure the counter hides somewhere. We used the downstairs bathroom because it’s hard to see through the door and little 3 year old eyes don’t always stay covered!

So kids, if you need some good ideas for hiding spots, I’ve got some for you. How about:

*in the laundry basket

*in the shower

*if you have coats hanging by the door, squish behind them and strategically wrap yourself in coats (you can try the same thing in a closet)

*rumple up the bed and hide under the covers

*in the corner behind the furniture

* and a classic favorite is behind the door

It was just a fun time. if you are looking for a little fun on a cold winter night, get a game of hide and seek going with the kids. You will probably laugh and might get startled by someone hiding, but it is all in good fun. We did this with the lights on, we’re not up for total darkness hide and seek…yet.

Proverbs 3:5

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Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Really? I’m supposed to trust someone I can’t see rather than my own brilliant brains? Oh my, this Proverb is pretty straightforward. No hard words and no super hidden message. Just trust. And that, my friends, is the word which makes the rest of the passage so hard to commit to.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

In other words, we need to trust that the LORD has got it all under control. We need to have complete and total faith that God knows what He is doing better than we do. You and I must set aside anxieties about everything earthly because God’s not scurrying around, multi-tasking, running from one unfinished opportunity to another. He, in all His greatness and uncomprehendable amazingness, is focused on you and wants you to trust Him. So will you trust Him?

Will you trust Him with ALL of it? Did you catch that? Trust in the LORD with all…Not a little, not some, not even just the things that are wearing you out and just don’t want to deal with. He wants you to trust Him with ALL of it.

Remember my brilliant brains remark above? Well, my understanding is miniscule, it is crumb sized in what I can possibly understand about everything that happens. Do you find yourself not wanting to watch the news because it’s just more awful stuff day in and day out? And do you understand why? I sure don’t. But God does. And He wants us to trust Him with it all. You can’t understand everything because you don’t know the whole plan!

I know I need to trust more. How about you? Just today, I yelled at my kids over something dumb, rolled my eyes at a colleague when I turned away, nearly forgot my lunch, and the toilet kept running. Some of these are petty things, but somehow they end up being a big deal in the moment. It’s all in perspective . You know, will all my kids remember of me is me yelling at them? Did my colleague have a bad night at home? Would I really have starved by missing one meal? And did the running toilet really break the bank?

See, you have to trust in the LORD that He knows all these things are happening and in His great plan, it will all work out. Maybe I had to yell at my kids so they would go to bed on time and be ready for their test. Maybe my rolling my eyes was better than making some unkind remark. Maybe I remembered my lunch because He knew I would be cranky with my students if I didn’t eat something. Maybe the running toilet is a reminder that the water bill is due this week.

I mean, who knows? He knows! And that is why I (and I encourage you) must work on trusting in the LORD with everything and realize that it is okay not to understand it all, but trust that He does.

I’m going to try to let go of something this week. To really turn it over to God and tell Him, I can’t handle this and I don’t have a plan for how to conquer this need. My oldest son recently turned 10. In my mind, this means he has spent over half of the time living with us that he will probably spend at home. How are we going to afford to send him to college? I struggle with this and it has been on my mind, looking for a solution, a way to tuck away some extra money. Sure we can get loans and look for scholarships, but what about books or living expenses? Will my husband and I be able to guide him to make good choices about his life path?

See, you have to start somewhere when turning it all over to God. The above worries me and I need to trust God that He can guide us. Will you trust the LORD with something too? I would love to hear from you about something that you want to trust to God. It’s a scary world out there and if your brains are as brilliant as mine are sometimes, it would be better if we trusted God and encourage each other.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Paid to Play: What to do with the wealth

Piano Keyboard Picture 2

We have been paying our kids to play the piano for a couple of months now and it has been fairly successful. Here is what they do with their wealth.

Each child already had a fabulous container bank for spending and one for saving. I made up a plain jane table with the following columns: date, total earned, tithe, save, spend, and total in bank. When payday comes on Friday we gather all the containers and books and go to work.

I sit with each child and they show me the theory work they finished and check it. Then they play the song they have been working on. While I help them during the week to get started, they also work on their own a few minutes each day. It is amazing how they know when they play a wrong note and I have to catch myself from saying something from the other room. You see, this is about more than money.

Once they have displayed their talents, we add it all up and put the amount in the total earned column. We feel it is important to tithe and for the kids to learn how to do that too. So, 10% goes into our Jesus jar which they will give to our church. Next is the saving money. That is 40% of what they earned and their saving container is hard to open so it just goes in the slot. (Won’t that be fun to count one day!) This leaves 50% for spending which goes into their banks. They can keep a running tally of how much they have in their spending container so they know when they have enough for what they have on their list. (This is also a great math lesson in adding, subtracting, and finding percentages.)

How do you pay your children? Do you just give them a lump sum and let them do whatever with it? Or do you suggest things for them to save for or give to? Next week, I’d like to share with you how those spending accounts are working out now that they have some cold, hard cash they can call their own!

Proverbs 3:3

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Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3

Love and faithfulness, two beautiful things that you can be hard-pressed to find as you live each day. Greed and me-me-me would be a whole lot easier to find in my opinion, but I don’t want to focus there. Love and faithfulness. Both conjure up images of my family.

I love my family. Recently, I did a “Love Your Kids” series as a way to encourage you to realize all the small ways you can show your love to your kids. And now is a good time to remind ourselves that we are children of God and he loves us. God is love and God is faithful. Do we love God and are we faithful? Ouch. Feel like you fall short? I sure do.

What we need to remember is that love and faithfulness is a two way street. There is the earthly love here for husband, kids, family, and friends. But there is also love and faithfulness in a relationship with Jesus. No matter how many times we turn our back on Him or blame Him for what in the end is our own lack of love and faithfulness, He is still there. Wow. Try finding that in the workplace.

For example, I worked at the same job for 7 ½ years. I did good work, I showed up faithfully, and I played by the rules. When I decided to move on, I turned in a resignation letter. After 7 ½ years of good, faithful service the response was, “Wait a second, I want to open this and make sure we don’t overpay you”. See, even after 7 ½ years you aren’t always going to find that the loving and faithful relationship you were in is two way.

Isn’t it good to know that Jesus loves you, even if you stray for 7 ½ years? Even if you head down another path because you’re mad or something that falls into the “why me” category happens, He is faithful and loves you.

So, how can we hold onto this love and faithfulness? How can we embrace His love? Read the next part of the verse: bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. How do you remember things? Write it down, make a list, or stick a post it in your lunch box. That’s what the verse is saying! Bind and write means that you need to get it to stick to you and in you!

Are you willing to be a beacon of love and faithfulness in your relationships each day and with Jesus? This is a tough one because it means you might often find yourself on the outside looking in or being labeled wimpy. But, you could also become a role model for those around you who are searching for love and faithfulness and you can show them how. Your life of living a life of love and faithfulness to others can introduce them to Jesus without you ever saying a word!

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3

Paid to Play

Piano Keyboard Picture 2

“I want this” and “I want that” and “I could use some more of these”. Have you heard          these words from your kids? While my kids don’t have huge cases of the ‘gimmies’, sometimes they get into something and then just want more of it. How do you balance the giving with the earning? It’s a delicate balance for teaching your children about money. I think mine are amazed that money comes from a little machine or the wall of a building. And, their solution is sometimes to just get it from Amazon!  So, let’s see how we can love our kids without growing their love for money.

I’ve talked about the jobs my kids have around the house before. And by the way, last bath picker upper is still the favorite. These are jobs they are expected to do. They don’t get paid for them and we don’t give an allowance either. Things like picking up sticks or       vacuuming out the car are paid jobs. They don’t happen often and aren’t an everyday thing.

But here is the task that I pay my kids for that might make you gasp. I pay them to learn the piano. Now normally, you pay someone else to teach your kids how to play. Not going to happen with four kids and $20 each for a thirty minute lesson. Plus, both my husband and I know how to play. But, have you heard it’s a little hard to give your own kids lessons? Well, it’s true. So for a little motivation, I offered to pay them to learn the piano.

10 cents for a page of theory

50 cents for a song that should challenge them, but not overwhelm them

$1.00 for a hard song

Cha-ching, their beautiful eyes were displaying dollar signs! My ears were already hearing beautiful tickling of the ivories! Think about whether being paid to play is a good idea or not, I’d like to hear your thoughts.   Next week I’ll share what they do with their earnings.


Proverbs 1:7

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The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7

I read the above and then read it again. It’s underlined in my Bible. Somewhere along the line, I read it or it was referred to in a sermon, but I’m not sure I understand it. Do you? Think about these words:


How would you define them? Just think about them for a moment. Here is what I came up with.

Olivia’s Definitions:

Fear: to be scared of something

Beginning: the place to start

Knowledge: what you know

Fools: people who are silly and lack commonsense

Despise: to look down on

Wisdom: commonsense

Discipline: sticking with something or reprimanding someone for doing wrong

I think I’m fairly well educated, but a dictionary is still a handy tool. So, here is a summary of what the dictionary says. I was close on some.

Dictionary Definitions:

Fear: same or in awe

Beginning: same

Knowledge: understanding something

Fools: same

Despise: same

Wisdom: same

Discipline: a behavior which follows rules

Fear, knowledge, and discipline. These are pretty common words that I’ve used for many years, but I think my definitions, when put into perspective with the Bible, are a little off. So what is Proverbs 1:7 saying? The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Using my definitions, I could put it in my own words as: Be scared of the LORD and what you know, but people who lack commonsense look down on commonsense and are reprimanded.

Yikes, I know a loving God doesn’t want us to be scared of him. So, I’m glad I used a real dictionary instead of just the one in my brain. Let me put it in my own words again. Be in awe of the LORD because it is the starting place of understanding, but silly people look down on commonsense and following rules.

That is a little wordy. Most of the words I already knew, like I’m sure you did, so let me just substitute for fear, knowledge, and discipline.

Being in awe of the LORD is the beginning of understanding, but fools despise wisdom and following rules.

Wow, that is much more manageable for me. How about for you? Have you heard to “fear the LORD” before? Did you understand the word fear outside of being scared of something? Certainly God is something to be in awe of.

How can you be in awe of God? One way I do this is to take the time as the sun rises and stop what I’m doing and look out the window. Have you seen the masterpieces God paints some mornings? (My husband reminded me to check out Psalm 19:1.) I’ll call the kids over from the table or the other room and tell them to look at the sky. Then I’ll give a little “Yeah, God!” cheer and we go back to our day. God has the ability to wow us beyond what we can comprehend and we need to understand and accept that.

I don’t want to be a part of the second half of the proverb and be a fool who doesn’t recognize the mightiness of God and follow His way. We’ll be missing out on so much. Let’s look for opportunities to be in awe of what the LORD can do right in front of us.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7