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February, 2013


Happy February!  During February, most people instantly think of Valentine's Day; I instantly remember the time when (as we were packing away our Valentine's Day decorations) our oldest daughter, Anna, asked us if we had President's Day decorations for the house.  I whipped out a picture of Mount Rushmore that our daughter Claire had just drawn and then one of an Abraham Lincoln silhouette that Anna made in school.  There you go.  So every year we decorate for President's Day with two pictures; and every year it cracks me up.

February is also the month of my mom and dad's anniversary on February 15th.  And my dad's birthday.  They are  reminders that family is a gift to treasure. 

Let us know what you would like to see discussed in our newsletter!  One thing we pride ourselves on is that our company offers "continuing education," so to speak.  We try to offer motivation, tips and advice, product launches, etc and we want this to be of value to you. 

I will end with extending our most humble thanks.  I know you might think this is lip service, but you truly must understand that our family took an enormous leap of faith to begin this company.  We put customer service at the top of the list and we strive to make every customer's experience a good one.  This is the only way we will continue to grow, and thanks to you, we are still growing.

Ever Gratefully,
Jennifer, Greg {and our three crazy nut-head kids}

{we have an offer for you}

We have had several inquiries from overseas....we have shipped to England, Australia, Slovenia, Germany, and elsewhere.  We are thrilled to have our products represented in other countries!  Alas, international shipping is quite pricey!  We have a solution...

We are happy to split the shipping with you and your friends!  If you gather an order of six or more stations to ship overseas, we will gladly split the international shipping with you.  Simply email us at and we will begin the process!

{to your kids}

Several years ago, we bought three little mailboxes from the dollar aisle at Target and screwed them into the wall outside our children's rooms.  We would put little notes inside at night to let them know how much we love them, how proud we are, or simply to document something hilarious or memorable that happened that day.  We have saved them, so now we have a little "journal" of that time!  We have since upgraded the mailboxes to some heavier-duty mailboxes and it's so much fun to slip a note inside every once in a while.  We made their rooms like little apartments, giving them a bit of ownership of their rooms.  We added doorbells and awnings as well to make it a bit more fun for them!
*PS.  For those of you who remember the newsletter recounting our eldest daughter's first encounter with credit, the mailboxes made a perfect delivery spot for her "statement" from the Bank of Mom and Dad!

{so exciting!}

We are so proud to have partnered with Uncommon Goods!  Their catalog is one of our faves (even before they put us in it!).  We are overwhelmed that just three years ago we were wondering, "Should we really do this?"  Thank you all for your support as we continue to grow.

A few months ago, we asked our customers for suggestions about what to call a chore, other than "CHORE".   It's not that we are trying to coddle our children and avoid the word, but rather that the connotation to "chore" is to clean....we are teaching so much more than that.  We are teaching independent living; we are teaching our children to one day live on their own; we are teaching so much more than cleaning!  So below are a few ideas.  If you have others, let us know!

TASKS                DUTIES
JOBS      lessons 


We have covered this before, but it is always a great topic!  We usually discuss ways to motivate your children, but this time, we will discuss ways to motivate yourself as well!

Routine can be reassuring, peaceful, predictably comfortable, BUT it can also breed contentment.  In many cases, contentment is the goal.  But in other situations, it can stifle the motivation to keep achieving, keep learning, keep growing.  I know as an adult, I often need to change things up; shake up the routine.  Exercise is the first thing that comes to mind.  I love to exercise, but I become easily bored with the same routine.  In my worklife, I often need to shake things up a bit as well.  I think it's no different with our children's routine.  I remember once when I picked up our kids from school and instead of heading home for homework and chores, I pulled into a 7-11 for a Slurpee for the kids.  Claire looked at me and said, "What have you done with our mom?"  It cracked me up but also made me realize that every once in a while, change is good.

Keep this in mind as your family continues with the Fisherkids system.  Routine is great because the children know what to expect themselves and what is expected of them.  But every once in a while, spice it up a bit.  Here are some ideas from our customers as well as ideas that have been passed along to us:

"I have one suggestion you may enjoy and want to pass on.  In Oregon, we have Chinook Books which are coupon books for local businesses. In our son's spend pouch, we placed bookstore coupons, record store coupons [he only has a record player not an ipod], music store coupons for his instruments, his favorite restaurants etc...  It is a fun bonus for them and adds another layer of consideration when they are spending.  I am sure many towns have some kind of coupon system.  Your clients might enjoys this."

Give your child a kid-friendly version of vacation days!  We all know how much our children like the homework passes their teachers give them.  Every once in a while, head to your child's station and write "FREE PASS" on either the notepad day or the magnet day.  We have to remember that kids do need to be kids! They learn just as much from play as from work and it's a good lesson to learn balance between work and play.

Make a bonus contest.  This always motivated me when I was working a sales job, so it will motivate children as well!  And the prize doesn't always have to be monetary.  Remember that our children want our TIME.  They want US (even if they roll their eyes in feigned disgust).  So create a contest such as "if we don't have to remind you to complete your responsibilities" or "if you complete all your responsibilities before dinner each day", etc.  Then be sure to follow through with the prize!  Some customers have doubled that week's pay, some have taken their children to the movies, some have taken their children to the park.  Again, it's all about what motivates us.

THANK YOU NOTES!!!!!!   In the age of email, texting, instagramming, facebooking, LOL'ing and OMG'ing, it is so refreshing to receive a handwritten note.  Taking the time to sit down and put your thoughts on paper means quite a lot.  So write your children thank you notes or notes of encouragement.  You can put them by their breakfast bowl, mail them to them, tape them to the bathroom mirror, or hide it in their room (or see the article about love letters above!).  It really does go a long way. 

For our older children, let them know that you appreciate their increasingly busier schedule (homework, sports, social engagements), and that although they are expected to complete their responsibilities (hey....we all get busy but we all have to follow through!), you will allow them to complete them on their timetable.  We tell our oldest daughter to complete her responsibilities by Saturday at 5.  She has learned to manage her time, look ahead at her weekly calendar, and adjust her schedule.  It's not only a lesson in and of itself, but it allows her more flexibility and more accountability.  

NOW, ON TO MOTIVATING OURSELVES!  Please, please, please remember that this is a marathon not a sprint.  We are working tirelessly to raise responsible children, so we are BOUND to stumble!  We do not seek perfection.  We seek a realistic approach to raising our children to become responsible adults.  We will not have a perfect week every week.  We will not stay true to this system day in and day out.  Not this system or any system for that matter.  In our Parent's Guide, we discuss how it's best to let our children make mistakes while they are young so that we are there to pick them up, dust them off, and teach.  We should give ourselves the same grace.  We will not be perfect which is a good thing....we don't want our children to feel that they must also strive for absolute perfection.  So stay realistic.  There will be days when this just WON'T WORK.  There will be MONTHS when this just WON'T WORK.  We basically took the entire summer off in the Beck household this year.  But when school started up again, we got right back on the horse we fell from.  Keep in mind the ultimate goal: raising responsible children.


Teens will often look at you like you just fell off the turnip truck when you ask them to do whatever it is you are needing them to do.  It's not entirely their fault, however.  The teen brain is a mess, suffering from hormone surges and frontal lobe development delay....yet they are truly capable of so much!  It really does require patience on our end!  We try to spotlight ways to adapt our system to best fit the teen brain, so here's another one.  Teach your teen to create and balance a monthly budget. 

That might be a challenge for many adults, as it is a skill that not many adults employ either.  But there are lots of great apps and sites that teach budgeting and actually make it quite easy (try  It's always an eye-opener to learn where the money goes each month.  You can teach your teen to balance his/her own budget, or you can sit down and look at the family budget together.  There is a fine line between knowledge and stress in this situation, though.  Be careful not to allow the family's financial stresses carry over onto your child's shoulders just yet! 
{hope you like them!}

Spinners are currently still in the front-loading glass frame, but we are developing a new spinner that will be able to hang directly on your station and will not have glass!  *hold tight....coming soon*

{check out this idea}

Use the consequence spinner in the classroom!  For behavior management, this is a consistent way to have consequences for students who are not following classroom procedures.  It can be clearly documented and clearly understood.  

{we LOVE this one!}


We have truly enjoyed the Fisher Kids system for our 2 boys, ages 8 and 6. I am amazed at how willing the boys are to help out around the house. :) 
Last night at dinner my boys asked, "Where is the dinner spinner?"  They LOVE the idea of spinning to see what they can do to help.  I added two personalized items:  (1) give the toast at dinner, (2) be the first to share something about your day.  

My husband started a fantastic dinner time event last year and we never miss this one.  After dinner is underway, each person has a turn to tell the family one thing that was great about their day and one thing the could have done better.  It is amazing how easily the kids can come up with something they could have done better.  It is harder for me because I am set in my ways and a bit of a perfectionist who doesn't like to admit when I did something wrong.  It can be as simple as, "I could have stopped arguing with Joe this afternoon" or "I should have said please more often."  It is hard to limit yourself to just one thing that was great each day but we find that this sharing activity gives us some great insight into our kids' lives outside of the home.
The boys often bicker about who gives the toast or who starts off sharing first.  Now with the dinner spinner the bickering at the table has stopped.  :)
Enjoy and thanks for your enthusiasm!"

Santa Barbara, CA  
{yet another way to post our products}

find us at or simply post our products on wanelo! 
We are thankful for your support! 

The Beck Family


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