Surviving Summer: Super Summer Challenge

by Lynley on June 14, 2014

Thursday night for dinner we dined on Chicken Nugget Kabobs, Sautéed hot dog buns, fruit salad, and cupcakes.

Obviously not the typical meal plan one would find on Pinterest or among the pages of Southern Living magazine.

However, the meal was met with a round of applause from the entire family.

Especially from the chef who was cooking the meal for us.



The seven year old taking charge of the kitchen is part of our Super Summer Challenge. The Super Summer Challenge is based on the book by the same name and is anidea of how to keep kids busy and productive during the summer months. In years past, we have done various point earning systems during summer months. We have completed learning units and had scheduled days of fun (all the way back to the kids preschool days when we had a set activity for each day of the week…and simply repeated the activities on weekly basis). This year I decided to follow in many of my friends’ footsteps and create a Super Summer Challenge for my kids.

The idea behind the Super Summer Challenge is that kids will be challenged in various areas to promote learning and growth during the summer months and cut down on the whole “I’m bored and must constantly be entertained 24/7″ phenomenon. For our family’s challenge, we decided to create goals in four areas: Spiritual, Physical, Creative, and Academic. There is also a bonus area for random things to be completed in order to earn bonus points (Teb minutes of weed pulling, anyone?)

Each area has a list of goals underneath with each goal earning a set number of points. Some goals are worth quite a bit (for example, planning and cooking dinner for the family is worth 8 points) while others are valued at less points (completing a worksheet out of summer workbooks are worth one point). We have a chart that outlines what is earned at various point totals. Some point values are large while others simple serve as a motivator to keep earning points. The big summer prize is a trip to the local waterpark.


The system works by the kids looking at their goal sheets (which are large posters taped to our kitchen pantry door) and decide how/when they want to earn points. We have point record sheets taped to the inside of the same pantry door (because they are not as pretty as the goal sheets). The kids are responsible for earning and keeping up with points. There is no nagging from mom to earn points or to mark points. If they want the prizes, they have to earn the points.

I keep it easy because I do not want my summer challenge to be managing my children’s summer challenge. That does not seem like a fun mom task to me. However, both my kids can read and do math which makes them keeping up with their challenges an easy process.

Some prizes are earned individually (for example, choosing from our coupon jar or earning money) while others are group prizes. Group prizes mean that BOTH kids have to reach that point level before that prize is earned. I believe having both individually earned prizes as well as group earned prizes keeps all involved parties interested. Here at casa de Phillips we have one child who is super-motivated to get things done while we have another who is happy to skip through life and not worry about such things as earning points until the last day possible. Our Super Summer Challenge runs for two months, from June 10 – August 10 (we start back to school on August 11th).


Here’s the big question: What are your kids goals?


Grab a drink, give the kids the ipad and take a minute to check out the things the little people are casa de Phillips are working on this summer.

First…a little glimpse of our Super Summer Challenge posters..


Spiritual Goals:

Learn the books of the Old Testament

Learn the books of the New Testament

Attend *** Camp

Attend *** Camp

Attend Church Music Camp (Yes, we are doing three church camps. )

Read a biography about a missionary

Memorize Scripture

Complete family study of book of John

Spend time reading from your bible and tell about it


Creative Goals

Plan and cook a meal

Learn how to completely clean a bathroom (They have been cleaning bathrooms for years…but we are stepping up the process quite a bit)

Learn three new songs on the piano

Learn how to wash sheets and towels and remake bed

Make a gift for someone

Learn how to vacuum (Again..stepping up the process)


Physical Goals

Dribble a ball 50 times without stopping

Extended bike ride

Swam x number of laps of the pool

Attend *** sports class (this is different for both kids since they do different sports)

Stretch twice a day (Evelyn)

Practice various baseball skills (Isaac)

Get to the top of the climbing wall at the pool


Academic Goals

Complete a book study (each child has a book and the corresponding study. Isaac is doing Ben and Me and Evelyn is doing Nate the Great)

Daily Spelling Practice with All About Spelling

Complete 10 Day Multiplication challenge

Cursive copywork (I put up daily copywork for them to copy from our white board…right now no one is too motivated to get this accomplished. Going to have to alter point values for this one.)

Journal Entry

Write a proper letter to a friend

Workbook page

Complete a reading program



Complete weekly chore chart (this has been in place for a long time…just adding motivation to keep on truckin with chores)

Obvious display of kindness or compassion

Tackle extra cleaning assignments

10 minutes of weed pulling

Clean out art closet


There you go…the casa de Phillips Super Summer Challenge. Each goal has a set point value (with an overall goal of attempting to achieve 225 points this summer in order to win the Big Prize of a trip to a local waterpark). The point value of goals depends on a variety of factors: the actual goal (goals that can be repeated indefinitely over the course of the summer are often worth one or two points will loftier goals can be 10-15 points), the motivation of the child to achieve said goal (goals that are easier for a child have a lower value than goals that really stretch the child), and the time frame of the goal (if the goal is going to take some practice to achieve…such as learning three new songs on the piano…then that goal has a higher point value). I also have goals that I would like to achieve this summer (although I have yet to craft a cute goal sheet for myself). For my goals, I am going to assign point values for their completion as well. However, my points will go onto the kids’ point sheets. I think this serves as a win-win situation: they earn bonus points and I get to use the phrase of “Mommy needs to get this chore/task/annoying thing done so you can earn bonus points.”


Well-played, huh?


Four days in and the Super Summer Challenge is going great. I have already had one night off from supper duty (Another well-played goal) and both kids are eager to get summer learning and practice in during our two months off of school. And those cries of “I’m Bored!” have yet to be heard because there is always something to achieve on the Super Summer Challenge board.


How are you surviving the summer this year?


Debunking the Myth of Pinterest

by Lynley on March 21, 2014

I don’t want to brag or anything, but I have just over 3,000 pins on my Pinterest boards.

I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon back in the early days, when you had to get an invite and had to own a website. Since then I have been a pinning fool. I have hair boards and food boards, fashion boards and homeschooling boards. Both of my kids’ have their own boards (and know how to access them) and I even have a few of those super special secret boards.

If I am waiting on the kids somewhere, I jump on Pinterest.

If I cannot sleep (as was the case for all of November 2013 for me), I pull up the Pinterest app to see what I have missed in the world of side swept bangs.

When I can’t quite remember how to make 7-Up biscuits, despite the fact that I made them two weeks prior, I run to Pinterest to find my recipe (By the way, best quick biscuit recipe ever. Please ignore the fact that these fluffy pieces of heaven contain both soda and a large amount of butter.)

The other day as I was flipping through Pins (waiting on some class to let out so I could retrieve my child), I casually glanced at the number of things I had pinned and almost fell out of my chair. As mentioned before, that number is above 3,000. Over the course of a few years, I have come across 3,000 helpful tips/links that I felt would improve the quality of my life someone.

Let it be known that I have maybe executed 200 of those (Which sounds impressive until you realize most of those are recipes, homeschool links for our Classical Conversations community and various ways to style a maxi skirt).

This proclivity towards saving potentially useful ideas is not a new one for me. In fact, I have a section in one of my kitchen cabinets filled with various magazine clippings of tips and ideas I never wanted to forget. Some of those date back to our early years of marriage. Just like most of my 3,000 pins, I rarely glance at those clippings or utilize them in anyway. But they are there should I need to remember that I once wanted to make book slings for the children’s rooms or whip up some baked treat that incorporates pumpkin.

The question that lingers is why?

Why I have I been lured into thinking that there are 3,o00+ glorious things out there just waiting for me to make/do/see/create?

This weekend I am talking to a group of moms about time—what robs us of our time, how to feel like we have more time (despite the fact we all have the same 24 hours) and how to feel comfortable with the time given to us. Our time is often stolen by the race for more. We want to be more, have more, and do more. This need is usually propelled by the idea that MORE keeps us from being left behind. We see glossy images–rather from the pages of magazines or Pinterest or even those annoyingly perfect families on your local soccer field who seem to have it all together (Don’t worry. They don’t.)—and we have a glimmer of hope that we have now found the holy grail of all ideas. We allow that glossy image to lie to us, thinking that if we obtain the perfect weekly menu plan or the exact right way to tie a scarf we will finally reach the state of peace we have been craving. Understanding the lie that more is not going to complete us provides freedom. It breaks the power over these mythical ideas that the perfect life is just around the corner.

Despite my alarm over my 3,000 pins and the reality check that such a realization created, I do not plan on deleting my Pinterest account anytime soon (At least until the Maxi skirt/dress fade has died. Seriously, who knew one skirt could be worn so many ways? And look adorable in the process?). I honestly like being about to share ideas with others and quickly find resources that I need on the Internet. However, as I pin these days I am reminding myself to not become consumed with the idea of that more is going to create better.

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