Sunday, February 24, 2013

Kids and Money Skills, Part 1

(c) 2013 Ms. Huis Herself at

Kids need to learn about moneyJust like they need to learn about cooking, cooperation, planning out long tasks, cleaning up after themselves, being a good friend, doing laundry, and all those other life skills.  I've been doing some thinking about kids and money skills, and how Mr. Kluges and I can help our girls learn about money at ages 8 & 5 and beyond.  

They get an allowance.  Or rather, they got a weekly allowance until we got lazy about remembering to give it to them.... and then they ...just kind of didn't anymore.  I wasn't keen on how things were going anyway - the girls just had some money, but didn't really have a plan to use it.  They'd get their allowance or some birthday money or something and they'd just squirrel it away in their banks.  They made plans to purchase big things, like a DS game thingie, or a large American Girl furniture item.  Granted, Pumpkin did use some of her money to buy her second American Girl doll a couple of years ago, so there was that, but it just seemed very haphazard and without any real-life-skill learning going on.

Also, our method was that they had to be done with that week's jobs (1/day during school year - for example, 5 minutes picking up your floor, or find your school library book the night before library day... but the summer had about 5/day including things like set the table) to get their allowance.  We weren't thrilled with that method though - we wanted the girls to see those jobs/chores as just something they needed to do as members of a family and people with responsibilities for their own living space.  But it was hard to remember to give their allowance if it wasn't tied into the completion of the chart.

Around Christmas time we were thinking about and talking about getting them a 3-part bank like one of these optionsThey were kind of pricey though, especially to get two, and I wasn't quite pleased with them.  I want our kids to have pocket money to spend for things like the student council's pencil sales at school or when we go to the zoo for a souvenir.  I also want them to have some to donate, so that they are giving to/for things like our church's Haiti school meal program or Jump Rope for Heart at school.  I want them to have the chance to save for a larger item like that American Girl doll, but I also want them to save for the distant future - for something like college or a car - where they're not going to see the results for years.

There are a couple of four-part banks, but the reviews were poor, the size of the compartments looked small, and it would not be easy to get the money out to do anything with it.  So I decided we should make our own.

Some months ago, Mr. Kluges and the girls had come back from a trip to Home Depot with a Venus flytrap and pitcher plant kit.  (Did I mention I wasn't along?!)  It needed a terrarium sort of thing to keep it moist, so I'd ended up finding this clear acrylic box at  Hobby Lobby.  Worked great.   Mr. Kluges even drilled a few holes in it 'cuz it was too airtight.  So as I was pondering just how we could make some sort of four-compartment bank, that container popped into my mind.

Combine 8 clear acrylic boxes, some paint markers, and a couple of bands made out of pretty pink elastic and you've got yourselves two 4-part banks!  Mr. Kluges cut coin/bill slots in the tops of the lids and the girls each decorated their banks.  I wrote on their name and "Donate," "Spend," "Save," or "Invest" on each piece (making sure to do the top lids and the bottom bank parts!).  

 And now, since this is plenty long, I've still got to finish getting things ready for the morning, AND I've realized I don't have any pix of the finished banks, we'll just add "Part 1" to the title of this post, and I'll continue another day!  :)   

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

(c) 2013 Ms. Huis Herself at

Ok, so it might be a bit belated, but Thursdays are always crazy for us because it's the day I volunteer the entire morning in the girls' classrooms (alternatively).  Then I do lunch duty at school, followed by a short break at home which includes making supper bento-lunch-boxes for the girls to eat after their tumbling classes in the evening.  THIS week, tumbling classes were picture day, so, of course, classes ran long & we weren't home until after 7pm, which means streaking through baths & stories to get our need-their-sleep!-ers into bed.

But fortunately,  Valentine's card prep happens before Valentine's Day, 'cuz this is what the girls and I conspired upon for their valentines...

Hope your day was filled with love and gratitude and friendliness 'cuz you know I adore you all!  Happy Valentine's Day to YOU! 

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Sunday Brunch Visitors

(c) 2013 Ms. Huis Herself at

Hurriedly finish up brunch-making on Sunday after church, I brought an egg-in-a-basket to the dining room, to plop it on a plate, when this view out the window caught my eye.

Hi! I see you have peanut butter toast crusts out here.  I'm sure the birds won't mind sharing!
Yeah, we had a deer visiting, right outside our dining room window.  I'd known at least one, probably two of our neighbors had been feeding the local deer, but apparently our peanut butter toast crusts, tossed out for the birds (and some greedy squirrels), smelled better.

Then his friend? sibling? decided to check it out, too.
Hey, that toast any good?

They didn't seem to mind that by this point we were all in the dining room watching them eat.

They didn't seem to mind when I moved closer either.

Oh, look! ANOTHER one!  This is getting ridiculous!

Hi, guys! What's up?!

So the three of them ate some toast, looked at us watching them, and finally decided to wander off somewhere that had not so many paparazzi.

I fear for my garden this summer.