Family: Work For Hire! Chores and Allowance

31 Aug

Little Geek loves Minecraft.


He loves it so much he’s taken a class on how to use mods in the game. When he’s not playing on the PlayStation, he’s reading books on how to build structures and worlds, or he’s outside with his friends roleplaying Minecraft in the yard.

Seriously, they have boxes they’ve decorated to look like the game and most of them have swords or toys from the game due to ALL of them loving Minecraft.

Personally, I’m not a fan of Minecraft. I really don’t see the point of the game but Little Geek and his pals adore it and I don’t mind him playing within reason.

But recently, using mods have become a sticking point for him. He wants to own the PC version of the game where you can modify it however you want, whereas the console game isn’t as malleable. So we struck up a deal: he can get the game if he pays for it himself.

So we decided to come up with chores he can do for money. We’re talking minimal earnings of no more than $2 per chore depending on size of the job or the time it takes to accomplish them. Things like cleaning the toilets, washing the mirrors, sweeping the patio, vacuuming, and sweeping or mopping the kitchen floor.

I took to the internet to search around for idea and found this great post with a visual for age appropriate chores listed by Real Mama.

Once we decided which chores would be available to him, we agreed on an amount for each and a reasonable time these chores should be completed in along with a written explanation of how the chore should be completed. All of these elements were vital to our plan because then there would be no questions or no points to argue. They would all be written out and easily understood. Plus, they would all be agreed upon by both Little Geek and us.

Then it was time to make a poster or a chart that is accessible by all of us. This chart would list all the available jobs for Little Geek along with those important points we all agreed upon: time to complete, explanation of the job, and the amount each job is worth.

If you use Pinterest, there are A LOT of options listed from cork boards to white erase boards. Lots of different variations of a Work For Hire. I wanted an option that would be easy to keep up with, something that would last and wouldn’t need to be replaced often, and something easy for Little Geek to use. I made a poster with pockets that held the job listing and amount owed once completed. Little Geek just had to pick a job, remove the description to the in progress pocket, then place it in the DONE pocket once he was finished. From the done pocket Mr. Geek or I would check his work then move it to the To Be Paid pocket and from their pay him.

The only issue Mr. Geek and I could foresee was having the cash on hand for Little Geek each time he finished a chore. Not giving the child their due payment at the moment they finished a chore properly would defeat the purpose of the process because he wouldn’t have that feeling of accomplishment of being paid for a job well done. We wouldn’t be fulfilling our side of the agreement and it would lead to a lack of confidence in us to follow through with our side of things.

In the end this could lead to Little Geek not wanting to do anything extra or earn any money outside of his allowance because he wouldn’t trust that we would follow through and pay him on time. Yikes…

Since Little Geek is going into the 4th grade and he’s old enough to talk about finances, we decided to make a checkbook system where he’s paid in checks, printed out by us. After accumulating and tallying up a certain amount, like $20, we’d go to the bank and withdraw what he is owed. This way we don’t have to have the cash on hand at all times and if he does a chore before we have the money with us, he’s paid instantly.

We see this plan as a great way for him to work on his addition skills by balancing a check book, understanding how money is earned and saved up, and it will make him responsible for keeping his money where he will find it (as this has been an issue and money is lost ALL THE TIME). Plus this will keep him from spending his hard earned cash before he saves enough to buy what he truly wants. Having the greens in his hands makes him itchy and he’s more likely to spend it rather than save it for a larger item.

The chart is in place and school starts tomorrow, thus his new chore chart is in place and we’re ready to roll! Make sure you check back and see how he’s progressing with his new set of responsibilities.

Family: Geocaching!

3 Aug

It’s been a nice long summer at home with Little Geek which means we’ve had to discover new ways to keep busy. We’ve done arts and crafts, podcasting and bike riding. We’ve been on lots of runs and have made great use of our pool.

As the summer comes to a close, we’ve started getting antsy for new things to keep us active so we did a little search for suggestions and came across geocaching.

Using the web site or the app for your phone, you can create an account. Using that account you search near you for hidden treasures in the form of caches. Caches can be any size from micro (super small) or larger sized bins/containers.

The containers all have a log where seekers can add their name to a list of others who have found that particular hidden gem. Other containers might have swag, or items left for seekers to take. Now the general rule of thumb is that you make a swap for anything you take from a cache. You don’t have to take anything but it’s a fun part of the hunt to take a little goodie and to leave a little goodie.

As a mom to an active boy, I find this activity to be great for both of us during the day. Together we sit down and pour over the map, planning out a route and which caches to hit. Then we pack a bag full of our gear which includes other goodies to swap for swag along with TOTT (tools of the trade). Then we head out and aim to hit as many as we can.

It’s even great as a whole family! When Mr. Geek is home on the weekend, we all go out together and seek out the caches. As a family we haven’t had any luck but we weren’t prepared at the time. Now that we have a day of seeking under our belts with 4 out of 5 finds, we know what we’re doing and what to look for.

For parents of young adventurers, Geocaching is a great way to spend time together. It’s also a wonderful way to teach kids how to a read a (digital) map and a compass. While these are skills that are quickly being downsized due to our cell phones doing most of the work for us, it is nice to hand Little Geek my phone and to ask him how far we have to go or in which direction and then watch him work through and find the answer. Most of the time I hand him the phone and he guides us to the spot on the map.

It’s free to start and anyone can do it. Lace up your walking or hiking shoes, pack some goodies to trade and a pencil, and you are ready to go geocaching. They do offer a premium membership but for now we are planning to use our free account and decide later is we want to spend money on a membership.

OH! And this is cool. You can build and hide your own caches! We haven’t made on yet but as a family we’ve all agreed that it is something we want to do. The discussion of where to hide it and what to put in it is something we’ll work on as a family.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our iTunes channel for our podcast updates or our YouTube channel  for our videos.


Mr. and Mrs. Geek Speak #10

17 Jun

Hey geeks! Welcome back to the podcast!

This week we wrap up season 5 of Game of Thrones with a round table discussion of what of liked and disliked. Mike and Tim from Between The Lines Sports return to share their thoughts and opinions with us.

Check out the guys’ recap post on the episode Mother’s Mercy.


!!!! WARNING !!!!

This podcast may not be suitable for our younger geeks due to the topic covered. Also, due to the content including sexual assault and/or violence against women, it may be triggering for survivors of sexual/physical assault.

How quickly time passes! And to think this was the first image we saw of season 5! Now it’s finished and we wait for it to return next year. Oh the pain and anxiety of waiting to know the fate of Sansa, Arya, Jaime, Cersei, Reek/Theon, Daenerys, and Jon Snow!!

Hope you enjoy our chat and that you will return for more exciting geek news!

Fitness: Traveling Man Lunches

24 May

Mr. Geek and I were talking the other day about our fitness goals and how we’d like to achieve them. We both talked about tracking our food and watching our macros to balance what goes into our bodies to help lose the excess fat and build strong muscles.

It’s the first time we have similar goals!

Whenever we’ve discussed this we always hit a wall with Mr. Geek and his job. He travels to many different sites daily and eats on the road. While he tries to make good choices, it’s not always easy to track and manage what he’s eating while he’s working.

Plus, it can get costly eating out for breakfast and lunch everyday!

This led us to ask what does he want to achieve and how can we make it happen. We are both looking to cut down our body fat, lose some weight, and add more muscle definition. Together we made a list of ways to achieve this.

The first step was realizing that packing a lunch and snacks that can be easily measured and tracked is the best way to go. It’ll save us money and keep him on track. These meals need to be made from whole foods as much as possible. Packing a healthy lunch with balanced macros is the easy part when we realized we needed to find a way for him to carry this food. Because of his traveling schedule he doesn’t have the option to reheat any food he packs so anything we choose will need to keep the heated food warm and the cooler food chilled.

That led us to scour the internet for suggestions. And believe me, there are many! Our best hit was this Life Hacker article on traveling lunch systems. It has everything from Bento boxes to Tiffin sets. And as always, Buzzfeed has a nice article listing 27 Ways To Pack A Better Lunch. With options listed for us and suggestions galore, it looks like we’ll just have to pick one to try and give it a go. We’ll have to report back with our findings in the future!

To our readers, anyone have a traveling lunch system that works well for hot and cold items? If you don’t have the option to reheat or chill your food (no kitchen available) how do you travel with your meals?

We’d love to hear your ideas!



Mr. and Mrs. Geek Speak #9

23 May

And we’re back with an end of season discussion of about Arrow an The Flash.

If you haven’t listened to the first half where we dish on our thoughts and feelings about these two shows, click the link below to listen.

Mr. and Mrs. Geek Speak #8


Now for episode #9 where we discuss the ending of The Flash season one and Arrow season 3.

If you aren’t up to date on these two shows, beware! There will be spoilers!

And poor Martin Stein, whose name we couldn’t remember for the life of us while we recorded.

And if you, like Mike, haven’t seen the preview for the Legends of Tomorrow, check out the video below.

Check out Mike and Tim at Between the Lines Sports on Facebook and on their blog BTL Sports.

Be sure to check back when we record and post our 10th episode!!! I can’t believe we’ve hit 10 already!

Mr. and Mrs. Geek Speak #8

24 Apr

Hey geeks! We’re back!!

And we’re back with guests! Last night we sat down with Mike and Tim from BTL Sports to talk Arrow and The Flash, two comic book shows on the CW.

Know that this podcast talks about our thoughts before watching the show and will delve into what we’ve seen so far so if you haven’t caught up and don’t want to be spoiled, plug your ears!


Check back in when the season is over to see our thoughts on how both shows wrap it up. And check out BTL Sports for all things sports and pop culture.

Geekery: Any New Fitness Tech?

18 Mar

I’ve always been a fan of wearing technology that supports or improves my fitness. From the Polar Loop to the Fitbit, I’ve been through a few. I’m always curious how a new tracking device will work with my activities and how well it will log my daily steps.

My most recent fitness wearable is the Misfit Shine. After seeing it perform against my Polar Loop on a vacation, I was convinced it was a better wearable. It’s not perfectly accurate (as nothing is, yet) but because it can be worn on your shoe and it’s smaller so it doesn’t bother or get in the way, I found it easier to wear on my foot so that it more closely caught my steps rather than around my wrist where the tracking wasn’t so accurate.

But even that tool has been tossed aside. I keep forgetting to switch it from one pair of shoes to another and lately it’s become permanently attached to my flip flops. I started off my new job this year with it on my shoe and watching my step count

Of course, now that I’m not wearing it as frequently, any trip to Best Buy has me oogling the fitness tech aisle, hoping to find some shiny new gadget that will spark my interest.

As I glance down at all the new things on the market, nothing catches my attention and makes me feel ready to purchase. Nothing is new, exciting or any better than what I’m already using.

Other than these headphones that also track your heart rate while you are working out and listening to music, everything feels the same. And while I’m still drawn to all the new tech items and I crave the feeling of ripping open a new packaged gadget, I’m being pretty good about not buying anything.

For now…

I guess my question is, then, what will be next? We’ve had pedometers, heart rate monitors, step tracking devices that link to our phones, calorie counting sites and devices, and we’ve also got scales that link to your fitness accounts, too! What’s next? Where can we go from here?

Besides inserting some fitness tracker into our skin, a la The Hunger Gamers, I’ve seen the ones on our shoes, on our wrists and clipped to our clothes. I don’t quite see where else they can take us other than improving the technology already in place.

Ready for your tracker insertion?


If the step counters could be more accurate and if they could get our heart rate monitors to properly track our burned calories for a more closely monitored calorie count throughout the day, then I’d be a happy geek and I’ll be the first to buy the update version of whatever is hot. For now, it’s all the same ol’ hat!

What would you like to see change in the fitness technology world? Would you like to see anything completely new that’s not on the market yet? Let us your thoughts below!


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