Parenting Your Child, Parenting Yourself-Age Appropriate Jobs Through Age 9

Phyllis Dillar once said, “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing.”

Until your youngest child is around 9 years old, don’t focus on how neat the house is. Focus on training your children to pick up after themselves and take care of themselves. Training a child to do household work has to begin at a young age. Although training an older child is possible, the difficulty of doing so rises proportionally with the age of the child.

Here is a guideline. This is only a guideline. I do not attempt to include everything for every age. Also, some children can do some jobs at an earlier age while some children are not ready for certain jobs at the same age. Some children are more independent than others. Tailor the expectations to the individual child.

Age 2:  Can put away toys with A LOT of help. This may mean that the parent puts away most of the toys, and the child puts away one or two toys. When my children were this age, I purchased totes. Dress-up went in one tote, dolls, clothing and accessories went in another tote, cars, ramps, street signs etc., went into a third tote, etc. Don’t waste time trying to sort. Grouping like items together will help your child with organizational skills, which will lead to success in math, English, and science later in life.

Age 3/4: Can put away toys with some help. This means the parent puts away around half the toys and the child puts away half the toys. I want to emphasize that at this age, the parent and child have to do this together. A parent telling a child, “Pick up your toys,” can be overwhelming to a child. Also, you are modeling to the child how to do the task. Other skills the child can work to master: choosing his/her own clothes, folding wash cloths, drying/sorting silverware, measuring ingredients and mixing them in a bowl. Again, these skills will lead to success in school. The key at this age is to be consistent, perform the task with the child, and expect the child to do the task immediately when told to do so.

Age 5/6: At this age, supervision is extremely important. Can put away toys without help. The parent has to say, “Go into the living room and pick up your toys.” At this age, the child is still too young for the parent to say, “After supper, pick up your toys.” The child simply will not remember to do this and does not have the self-discipline to do it even if s/he does remember.  Children at this age can also pick out outfits for school, fold wash clothes/towels, unload the dishwasher (This depends on the storage situation. I, personally, do not recommend for children to stand on chairs to put away dishes.), put his/her own dishes in the dishwasher, follow a simple recipe with help. I do not recommend for a child to put items in the oven at this age. I also do not recommend for children of this age to cook on the stove. I did not allow my children to use the stove until they could reach the pans comfortably while standing in front of it. Also, they had to demonstrate the self-control necessary to avoid injury.

Age 7-9: I want to emphasize, at the age, the child must be supervised by an adult when performing these tasks, but the child should be able to perform the tasks independently. By this age, the child can do all of the above (except put items in the oven/cook on the stove) and should be able to follow a simple routine. The child probably will not be able to unload the dishwasher at five-o’clock, pick up toys at seven-o’clock, and take a bath at seven-thirty. However, the child can be trained to unload the dishwasher when s/he gets home from school, pick up toys immediately after supper, and take a bath after picking up toys. The child can also begin to be responsible for his/her own school supplies. I trained my children to leave their backpacks by the front door when they arrived home. At a certain time, I instructed them to remove any graded papers/letters to home, etc., from their backpacks and place them on the table. Then, they did their homework. After homework was finished, they placed the backpack by the door again. In the morning, all they had to do was grab the backpack on their way out.


Parenting Your Child, Parenting Yourself–Children’s Schedules

With the school year approaching, and my writing becoming more prolific, my husband and I need schedules, not only for ourselves, but also for our children. This post presupposes  a couple of things: first, you, as the parent, have established appropriate authority over your child, and two, that you have already trained your child to do whatever jobs which you schedule them to do.

At the beginning of the summer, my husband and I agreed on a schedule for our children–one adult daughter who just graduated from college and is living at home temporarily, and one teen daughter who will be a senior in high school. Since then, we have been working with our daughters, and each other, to make the schedule fit our needs.

Notice, first and foremost, the schedules for our daughters fit the needs of my husband and me, not the needs of our children. That is important. The parents have to be the first and foremost consideration in the schedule. Of course, you will see that your children’s needs are met, but too often, parents make their schedules revolve around their children, neglecting their own needs.

The schedule is in the form of a chart. Each daughter has her own chart with a rotating schedule of jobs. Here is a sample:

Daughter One
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Morning Jobs Finish Before Leaving House


Clean Cat Litter Boxes/Empty Trash Clear/Load


Clean Cat Litter Boxes/Empty Trash Clear/Load


Clean Cat Litter Boxes/Empty Trash
Afternoon Jobs Finish Before 8:00 p.m. Unless Otherwise Noted
Make Supper: Must Be Done By 6:00 p.m. Wash/Dry/Put Away One Load Towels Clean Downstairs Bathroom Vacuum Living Area


Daughter Two
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Morning Jobs Finish Before Leaving House
Clean Cat Litter Boxes/Empty Trash Clear/Load


Clean Cat Litter Boxes/Empty Trash Clear/Load


Clean Cat Litter Boxes/Empty Trash Clear/Load


Afternoon Jobs Finish Before 8:00 p.m. Unless Otherwise Noted
Vacuum Living Area Make Supper: Must Be Done by 6:00 p.m. Clean Upstairs Bathroom Wash/Dry/Put Away One Load Towels

Note: The schedule is flexible. If one daughter has a commitment on the night she is scheduled to make supper, she can change to a different night–as long as she works that out with my husband and me ahead of time.

Once the younger daughter starts extra-curricular activities, the schedule can work around her homework and activities. The older daughter’s schedule can work around her part-time job.

The above schedule assumes a few things. First, my daughters do all of their own laundry. They also clean up their own kitchen messes. They don’t leave books, papers, etc., lying around the house. They also have jobs feeding the animals, etc., which I didn’t list on the chore chart simply because they have been doing those for so long that they are assumed.

If you want to establish a schedule/routine, for your family, I suggest starting now, before school starts, or as soon after school starts as possible. Watch for my next post, “What are age appropriate expectations for children?”





Sh**in’ Bricks–OOPS!–Sh**in’ Rocks

So, I have Hieu Tran’s paperwork–Yep! The original documents–the very papers he brought from Vietnam when he was twelve, the papers from when he was adopted, from when he became an American citizen–THE ORIGINAL PAPERS!

Am I nervous to be in possession of such valuable documents?

For the answer, please play the above “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” clip.

I went to a professional place to have copies made, impressing upon them the value of the documents. They came back to me unharmed.

If something does happen to the papers, I do have contingency plans:

This pic actually goes with #2, but I don’t have a pic for #1, so I put it here.
  1. I keep the papers with me in a fire-proof lock-box at all times. If the house catches fire, I will throw the box with the papers out the window and yell to the firemen, “If I don’t make it, give this to Hieu Tran!”


2. If my dog, or my friend’s dog (See pic.), gets the papers and destroys them, I will blame my brother John. Here is the story. We were at a birthday party.  When the candles were lit, my brother decided to do his version of St. Elmo’s Fire. He shot hairspray across the flames. The resulting fireball caught Hieu’s papers on fire, and they burned.


3. I can always use the classic “Alien Abduction” excuse. I was abducted. Space Aliens took the papers. Now, they are coming after Hieu.

I am in the process of arranging a hand-off of the papers at an undisclosed location. Until then, just refer to the “Christmas Vacation” video–that about sums it up.

Thank you for reading! Please “Like” my Facebook author page by clicking on the link in the margin. Please also visit Hieu Tran’s memoir page, , and join Hieu Tran’s Facebook memoir group.

See Ya!

A (Not Perfect) Parable About Tithing

There once were two brothers whose parents amassed a fortune through a series of business ventures and investments. When the youngest turned 21, they turned the entire fortune, including the business ventures and investments, over to the brothers. They gave the older son 2/3 of the fortune and the younger son 1/3 of the fortune because that was just the way they wanted to do it. Both sons respected their wishes.

Before the parents turned the fortune over to their sons, they gave them each a book with guidelines about how to manage the money. Then, they told them about an assisted living home they had built. This facility had hair salons, bus services, restaurants, nursing staff, housekeeping staff, all of the amenities. After they gave their sons the fortune, they planned to move into this home. Each son was to contribute 10% of his yearly wages from the fortune to the upkeep of the home. Any leftover was to be invested for years when their 10% didn’t cover the costs.

The sons also had a sister who was disabled. The parents had established a separate trust for her, but asked the sons to provide for her needs should the trust not cover all of her expenses.

The sons agreed to the above conditions and took over management of the fortune.

The older son looked at all of the money he had, and he spent it on things he and his wife and children wanted, but didn’t need, like fancy homes, expensive vacations, name brand clothes, the latest technology. He didn’t give the 10% as he had agreed to do, but at first that was alright. The amount he gave covered enough of the expenses that the younger brother’s 10% covered the rest. His sister’s caregivers left messages about things she needed, but he erased the messages. As the years went on, the home’s upkeep and sister’s care became more expensive. The man grew to resent even the small amount he was giving. He stopped visiting his parents and sister because he was angry that they wanted some of his money.

The younger son looked at all of the money he had and knew he had to spend it wisely. He read the book carefully, underlining what he felt were the important tips. He decided to live in a nice, but less expensive house. His family took some vacations, but not every year. They didn’t always have all of the latest gadgets, but they had what they needed to live in today’s society. He gave the 10% to his parents’ estate. When the sister’s caregiver called, he always took care of her needs out of a savings he had established. He enjoyed visiting his parents, and often brought them gifts. He was excited to share the wealth they had given him with his parents to make their home nicer and their lives more fulfilling. He also enjoyed visiting his sister and liked to see how she thrived on what he gave her.

Neither brother knew what amount the other gave to the care of the home and sister. Eventually, the home’s expenses drained the 10% the younger brother was contributing and everything he had kept in reserve for the upkeep of the home. He gave even more, but eventually, the income from his 1/3 of the estate couldn’t support his family, the home, and the sister. The home had to be sold, and the parents were put into an inferior place with inadequate care. His contributions also did not meet his sister’s needs, so she had to go into a State home where she was not treated well and lived in bad conditions.

The younger son still visited the parents and sister. He did his best to take care of them. The older brother knew that his parents would know that he spent the money intended for them and his sister, but he didn’t want to give up his money, so he put his parents and sister out of his mind and tried to forget about them.

I probs don’t have to explain it to you, but, the the brothers are the church members (Some have more money than others.), the assisted living home is the church supported by our tithes, and the sister is the mission work–i.e. the people of Mexico, Haiti, Africa, etc.,–which we give to out of what we have left after the tithe. The sister is also the people in our church who fall on hard times and need our help, just as when we are in need we would like others to help us. God has given each of us enough–unless we have to go on welfare or have some tragic circumstance that drains all of our money–that we can donate 10% if we want to. If we have to go on welfare or some tragic circumstance happens to us, He has given other members of the church enough that they can help us through difficult times.

If we don’t give to the church, we won’t be able to afford our pastors and other church staff, our church will fall into disrepair, and when hard times come to the members, we will not have a reserve to fall back upon.

This is not a perfect illustration because God Himself isn’t affected as the parents in the parable are, but our relationship with God is really affected by how much we give. People give 10% because they are excited to share with God out of what He has given them. They also trust Him to provide for them if they fall on hard times. You can decide for yourself what you think of the actions of the older and younger brother.

Please leave any comments below. I will only post the ones which are worded in a respectful manner.

Thank you for reading. See ya!

I Love A Mystery–First Post on Hieu’s Website

Plot Holes

This post is linked to my first post on Hieu Tran’s Website. It involves plot holes and solving the Great Mysteries of Hieu’s Past.

Click on the following link, or copy and paste it into your browser.


As always, please “Like” my Facebook page and subscribe to this blog. Please do the same for Hieu when you visit his site.

Thank you for reading!

See ya!


What is the Theme of Your Story? A Guide for Authors

If you click on the words above^, they will take you to an article and quiz on “Theme.” Since Hieu’s memoir has multiple themes, sharing this post is quite appropriate. Plus, I hired the editor for my Old Testament Romance through Reedsy, (  so if you need professional editing, check it out.

The Secrets

This contains spoilers, so please watch the film before reading this if you don’t want to know what happens.

I am working on an Old Testament romance. In researching this story, I am hoping to watch some Jewish movies to learn more about the Jewish culture. The Secrets is a movie I hoped would help me. It is entirely in Hebrew with English subtitles.

Although I watched the entire movie, I am disappointed in this film for several reasons.

1. It never tells how the woman killed the man.

2. It portrays the Jewish religion as a cold and uncaring society run by harsh, unmerciful men.  When the murderess approaches the rabbi to ask him to help her seek God’s forgiveness, we see him hollering at her and driving her away. Later, when the girls try to help this woman, they are threatened with expulsion.

What we don’t see, but find out later in the movie, is that the woman is not truly sorry for sinning against God, even though at the beginning she says she is. Some people may argue that what she did wasn’t sinful. If a person does something and believes it is sinful, then it is sinful because the person is deliberately going against what s/he believes God does not want. The woman thought what she did was sinful because she talks about it and says she cannot regret it. Also, earlier in the movie, the woman states that the very same things were sinful.

In our society, we may have difficulty understanding that the girls face expulsion, not for trying to help the woman, but for doing what the Jewish religion specifically states (in the movie) to be a man’s job. “Well, that’s not right,” our society might say. That is truly not ours to judge unless we are Jewish.

3.  The girl who “snitches” on the other girls, is actually in the right, not for snitching, but for telling the girls that their ceremony is blasphemy and for trying to stop the ceremony. This girl is portrayed as a cruel, tattling hypocrite who does not care for the woman or for the girls. She actually cares a lot and wants to prevent all of them from sinning against God. And, she is right, a person cannot be forgiven if s/he isn’t sorry for what s/he did.

On a separate note, I do admire the courage of the main characters. They risked expulsion to give the woman some measure of peace before she died. I feel the lady in charge of the girls’ school would have been more lenient toward the girls, and even approved of the girls’ actions, if the rabbi had not become so angry and threatened to shut down the school.

For updates on my progress on the OldTestament romance, please “Like” my Facebook page and/or subscribe to my website.

I welcome any positive or negative feedback on the above review as long as it is stated in a respectful way, so let me know what you think.

Thank you for reading, and See Ya!

Project Memoir: Interviews

Hieu and Me Working on the Memoir Over Coffee

Hieu and I get together regularly to do interviews for his memoir. This generally includes me turning on a digital recorder to record his answers to my prepared questions.

Hieu has also given me a list of people to interview. I also include them.

So far, I have interviewed his former teacher, Mike. (I am only using first names unless the person is a public figure.)

One of the first teachers to have Hieu in class when Hieu started school after being adopted.

One of his best friends, David.

David and Hieu became friends when Hieu first started school, and they are still friends today.

And another former teacher/guidance counselor, Mayor Brenda Stadholt.

Mayor Brenda Stadsholt was Hieu’s guidance counselor and teacher.

Some people remember a lot about Hieu, some don’t remember as much. Sometimes one sentence, one memory, opens doors to topics which HIeu and I have not considered.

When I interview these people, I set the recorder on the table, turn it on, and say, “Tell me about Hieu.” Inevitably, all of the people touch on the themes of Hieu’s book, which, according to them, he lives out in his everyday life. They talk about these themes without me mentioning them, which tells me Hieu is the genuine article.

After the interview, I transcribe the person’s dialogue into my computer. Later, I will weave them into Hieu’s memoir: a story everyone will benefit from reading.

Please “Like” my Facebook page by clicking on the link in the margin. Also, please visit Hieu’s website: and join his Facebook group for the latest news about the memoir.

Thank you for reading, and See Ya!


I have a “talking” cat. Her official name is Daneryus Stormborn Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains. We just call her Daeney. Whenever we turn on the water, she comes running over, “talking,” telling us she wants a drink. She also “talks” when she is hungry, wants out of a room, or greets us when we arrive at home. Let me know if you have a “talking” cat, and what your cat says.

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Three Shades of Midnight by Hargrove Perth

Three Shades of Midnight by Hargrove Perth

My author/friend Hargrove Perth has a new book out called “Three Shades of Midnight.” If you have some time, please go to the following link to vote for her book to be chosen by kindlescout.