back to reality & a job chart

Around here, we pack all our summer fun all into 8 short weeks.  It's a lot to get done in this small amount of time, but once again, we pulled it off. 

Don't judge me when I tell you I woke up with a tear in my eye on the first day of school.  I'm sure it would be different if I had 8 kids running a muck, raiding my pantry every 2 minutes, dealing with the endless "I'm bored's" but the truth is that I have one (now two) kids, that I truly like to be around.

Since our time is limited, we try to make the most of it!  Between football camp, girls camp, scout camp, and youth conference, we managed to squeeze in some family fun. 

Backpacking down to Fossil Springs with 30 friends from our neighborhood and a couple of Brody's cousins.

The trail was dusty, hot, and long, but when we reached the waterfall at the bottom, it was totally worth it!

We ate dehydrated food (a first for me), slept in a very small tent, watched fireflies at dusk, swam in the creek, and even got sprayed by a skunk.  In case you were wondering, the tomato juice bath is a farce.

This summer my man turned 40! 

I thought and thought long and hard about something that would be meaningful, long lasting, and fun to celebrate this monuments occasion.

So I threw him a little surprise party with 50 of his biggest fans, and arranged for our family to get scuba certified.  We're planning on doing our first deep dive in Catalina Island mid Sept!

Our first open water dive in lake Pleasant.  Not the prettiest lake, but we did see one school of fish, and an old pair of goggles.  Can't wait to see real sea life. 

We also made it a priority to do some service.  Jilly and I took our kids to a place called Feed My Starving Children, in Tempe AZ.  We packaged bags of rice, chicken, vegetables, and soy food for kids in third world countries.

It was a great experience for everyone and reminded us that not everyone has it as easy as us.  The great part about this activity is kids ages 5 and up can join the party. 

If you're interested in taking your family, you can learn more about it {here}.

A few times we loaded up our lawn equipment in the back of the truck, drove around the neighborhood, and stopped wherever we saw a yard that needed mowed, leaves raked, or weeds pulled.  It's a really great way to meet the neighbors! Then we piled back in the truck and headed to Sonic happy hour.

I've learned that if there's food and friends involved, it's pretty easy to get teenagers to cooperate! 

We also took three trips up to the pines with cousins and friends to escape the heat.  One of our favorite things to do is celebrate Pioneer day in Snowflake AZ.  It's a tiny town where Jilly and both of my parents were raised,  but it's rich in heritage and community, and our family has spent every 24th of July there for over 16 years.

Even though Jilly didn't pack us into her luggage and sneak us across the Canadian border for her incredible 17 day getaway, we managed to make the most of summer here in AZ. 

But now it's back to reality.  Which includes alarm clocks, football, routine, homework, and chores. 

I wanted the Nino to have some responsibilities to give him a sense of accomplishment, and make him feel like part of our family.  So after brainstorming, I came up with this really simple and effective job chart. Maybe it can help you get a bit organized for the upcoming school year too.

This requires a pre-cut, 8 x 12, piece of sheet metal from Home Depot, misc scrapbook paper, magnets, and mod podge.

Mod Podge the decorative paper onto the sheet metal.

Embellish it to your hearts content and mod podge over the whole thing. 

The Nino doesn't read very well yet, so I found some clip art online, cut it out, and mounted it on decorative paper and chip board. 

I chose simple jobs, he can easily accomplish all by himself.  Right now he gathers eggs from the chickens (oh yes, we have chickens...an upcoming post), feeds the dog, waters the plants on the back porch, makes his bed, practices reading, and does his homework. 

I glued magnets on the back of the pictures and mounted the whole thing to my refrigerator with magnets so it can be moved around.  I can also easily add or subtract jobs from the list without having to create a new job chart. 

Now he comes home from school every day and loves to get his jobs done!  I might be adding "sleep through the night" to his job chart, but other then that, he's doing so great here and we adore him.   



  1. We go back to school next week. I too love my children being home. I don't want to be home alone, but I don't want to home school either! ha
    Love the chart. As always -perfect!

  2. ive never heard of fossil springs, thanks for showing me the beautiful pictures!
    love that chore chart.... i wonder how my 14 year old son would feel about it...hmmm


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