The Summer Plan – guest blog by a mom of four who’s got this thing figured out


photoToday’s blog post is from a fellow West Point mom.

We’re facebook friends and when I saw her post, I asked if I could publish it on my blog. She agreed. I just love the spirit of her message and the fun and forceful way she mothers.

I’m done, here’s Danelle!

Ever since I’ve been a mom each summer I try to have a very basic guideline for what I expect on a daily basis. (Otherwise I get grouchy and they get bored.)

I laugh because my kids freak out about our plan every year, but if you look closely, only 2.5 hours of their entire day is spent doing anything they don’t choose to do.

Here is how we’ll try to redeem the time we are blessed with this year:

The Summer Plan

TV/gaming/computer/screen time (and, yes, watching tv with your sibling “counts” as your own tv time…I wasn’t born yesterday)–2 hour maximum
Chores—30 minutes (or however long you’d like to take)

Reading –1 hour minimum
Music—30 minutes minimum
Exercise—30 minutes minimum

Everyone up by 9:00 am

Mealtimes—breakfast ends at 10:00; lunch ends at 2:00; dinner will be at 7:00

Breakfast choices: yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, toast
Lunch choices: sandwich, chips, soup, cheese and crackers, fruit, veggies, leftovers, grilled cheese, quesadilla, ramen
Snack choices: fruit, veggie, granola bar, dried fruit, nuts

*You are expected to put your dirty dishes into the dishwasher and wipe around your place-mat when you are done eatingphoto

• There is absolutely NO FOOD OR DRINK allowed in the basement other than popcorn and water. You must have permission to make popcorn. The answer will most likely be “yes”, but ask anyways
• If you bring any food or drink to the basement you will be charged a $5 fee for this decision
• Chores must be done by 5:00pm
• You can earn extra $ or extra screen time occasionally by doing extra jobs (the frequency of these will be determined by parents and if you get sassy about it, the answer will be an automatic “no”)

Activities for Bored People:

  1. Play a “board” game (get it? Haha!)
  2. Get out a puzzle
  3. Go for a walk
  4. Play with the dogs
  5. Get together with a friend
  6. Make crafts
  7. Bake a treat
  8. Write a song
  9. Write a letter to someone20140617-094240-34960709.jpg
    11. Read your Bible
    12. Listen to music
    13. Pray for someone who is struggling
    14. Use the elliptical
    15. Have a lemonade stand
    16. Write a poem
    17. Call a friend
    18. Call a grandparent
    19. Offer to help a family member with something
    20. Weed the garden
    21. Trim your nails
    22. Make your bed
    23. Organize your closet
    24. Make a slushee
    25. Sit on the patio and stare off into space
    26. Ask a sibling if there is some project you could help them with
    27. Walk to the store
    28. Walk to the river
    29. Have a picnic
    30. Make a meal for someone

Originally from Southern California, Danelle and her family now live in Lincoln, Nebraska.  She and her husband have four kids – two boys and two girls and a dog named FooFoo. Her oldest son is a cadet at the United States Military Academy, class of 2016. She says, “Being a mom has been the most amazing, challenging and important thing I have ever done. I love encouraging younger moms who are right in the middle of the best job they’ll ever have.

Danelle seems determined to be faithful with her family’s time, to lead her kids well.

539620_4131081765991_613836652_nAs I read her suggestions, admittedly I felt a little guilty because I haven’t been so industrious. I need to implement these ideas even if I just only have an orange hair, freckle face 17-year-old at home.

What would you add to her list? Which one do you like the most?


Truth is, as a mom I’m not a straight A student…a parent report card from my kid

This picture might indicate a lack of parental perfection.

Two people trying to do this thing right .

When it comes to parenting, I’m not perfect.

I’ll wait for a moment while you take that in. I know it’s difficult to imagine.

As long as you don’t ask my kids, the previous statement should have shocked you.

But look at this.

It’s a parenting report card filled out by my orange hair, freckle face olive shoot back in 2007.

Here is my parent report card from my youngest olive shoot.

Here is my parent report card from my youngest olive shoot.

I so wish I could remember the name of the book where I discovered this idea. For my family, it’s been a gem assignment.

With no advance notice, we would print copies of the blank report card for our olive shoots to complete. Prior to our report card day, I didn’t load the guys up with yummy desserts and new electronics, the objective was to be honest. Usually I’d just tell the Hubs it was report card time for us.

P1010749Aren’t you curious to know what your kids would say about you?

After returning the completed the report cards to us, the Hubs and I would chuckle and compare notes. “Oh, yes you DO do that!” we’d scold each other and do our best to impose guilt and shame upon one another. That is a sign of a strong marriage, btw.

Then sheepishly we’d gather together to discuss the results.

To give you an idea as to how our olive shoots approached this task, they often wanted to apologize for not being able to give us a higher grade. It’s like we all entered a safe and sacred place. Never did I find our kids were wise in their own eyes in this instance. The Hubs and I were assessed on our parenting prowess. We took the feedback and tried to do better.

And there were recurrent themes, for instance, apparently I yell. For the record, the Hubs is inconsistent.

But, hey I am good at keeping things fun and got an A+ for building family traditions.

Ike didn't miss the chance to speak the truth in love and safety.

Ike didn’t miss the chance to speak the truth in love and safety.

On one level, it’s wildly amusing.

On another, it’s immensely humbling.

"Oh yes, I'd very much enjoy providing you with a loving and respectful assessment of your ability to parent me. Thank you for asking."

“Oh yes, I’d very much enjoy providing you with a loving and respectful assessment of your ability to parent me. Thank you for asking.”

I’m not a great math whiz. History was never my strong suit. I failed Political Science in college which messed my GPA up for the remainder of my college career. I shouldn’t be surprised I’m just a B average mom with spontaneous moments of greatness. That might be as good as it gets though I’ll keep trying.  It would be nice to make the A-B Parenting Honor Roll one of these days. Not gonna give up!

Question: What do you think about this idea? What do you think your kids would say? Is there anything you’d add to this list? I look forward to hearing from you!