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Kids Have to Earn Money to Really Learn About Saving Money. Right?

This post was underwritten by BMO Harris Bank, which offers a matching $25 on a new savings account opened for your child through their Helpful Steps for Parents program. Learn more at

What better way to teach kids about money than with their own savings account?

The opportunity to write about this came at the perfect time.

The girls have been asking about getting an allowance for a few weeks now and just last weekend we sat down to discuss how we might handle that. The Mister and I agree that we don't want to necessarily pay them to do chores. We feel that each member of the family needs to contribute and that's what chores are...they are part of life in a family.

However, how are they supposed to learn about money, managing, saving, and spending if they don't have the chance to earn it?

We discussed what other families do:

Some pay a small amount for various chores...emptying the dishwasher is $.10, while taking out the trash is $.20.  Some simply pay a weekly amount and track the chores that get done...or don't get done. Other kids don't get any set amount but receive money here and there to spend (or save).

We've decided to go with the all or nothing approach.

In all honesty, I'm not sure how good I'll be at the 'nothing' part of this approach but we'll try it. For "all or nothing" the girls have a set of chores they have to do. Some are daily (putting those DAMN shoes away), some are weekly, and some are monthly. If they do all their chores for the month they will receive $20 at the end of the month! That's a large, tangible amount that they can see grow if they save it, or even a portion of it.

Earn Money then Save Money

The next step in this allowance adventure will be to open a bank account for each of them. This way, they can see the amount they save grow, but not be tempted to spend it as they are if they simply stuff it in their wallets. I think BMO/Harris Bank has a great idea matching $25 for a new kid's account! First of all - to go from $0 to $50 just for opening an account will get kids excited about seeing the balance grow, and thus excited about SAVING their money.


I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. To learn more about BMO Harris Bank, visit their website

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post but all opinions are my own and this post was neither reviewed nor approved prior to being published.


Hands-free Toilet Cleaning by Scrubbing Bubbles

Who knew I could ever get my kids to clean the toilet?

All it took was a pedal.

The Scrubbing Bubbles One Step Toilet Cleaner Starter is so easy to use, all it takes is one little push of a pedal and the toilet is clean.

There are no batteries required and, Scrubbing Bubbles even thought to provide a white cover for the can of cleaning solution that sits next to your toilet! The sprayer clips easily onto to the toilet bowl rim. The only issue I had was convincing my daughter she wouldn't pee on it the first time she saw it on the edge of the bowl.

She quickly got over it when I showed her how to step on the pedal and it leaves the bowl looking and smelling nice and clean.

Disclosure: I received a Scrubbing Bubbles One Step Toilet Cleaner for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own and this post was neither reviewed nor approved prior to being published. Also, I truly hate cleaning toilets. This makes it much easier. Some links are affiliate links.


What is the ONE thing everyone does when eating cereal?


So it makes a whole lot of sense that Kellogg's and Scholastic would team up on a promotion, right?

I mean, don't we deserve to read more than a ceral box (no offense Kellogg's) at breakfast?

Get $5 toward a Scholastic Book from Kellogg's and Walmart

Buy 2 specially-marked Kellogg's products (sold at Walmart wouldn't ya know) and redeem the code inside for a $5 gift card to buy a book from Scholastic Book Clubs or the Scholastic online store.


WIN a Kellogg's / Scholastic Prize Pack

It just so happens that one lucky reader can win a bounty of Kellogg's products and Scholastic books to celebrate the partnership.

Here are just some of the goodies you'll win.

  • a mix of picture and chaper books from Scholastic
  • an assortment of Kellogg's products
  • a $15 gift card to Walmart

Here is a link to the complete rules.

Here's how to enter:

1. Leave a comment telling me what Scholastic book you would purchase with a $5 gift card (or which book you would apply the $5 to)

2. Post this on Twitter, "What is the ONE thing everyone does when eating cereal? #giveaway via @JanineNickel"  (Then leave a second comment with a link to your tweet.)

That's it! Giveaway ends 10/14/11 at 11:00 pm Eastern. Winner will be chosen using A complete list of giveaway rules are HERE.

Disclosure: I received a prize pack of my own as a thanks for helping spread the word. All opinions are my own and this post was neither reviewed nor approved prior to being published. Also, I LOVE the Kellogg's products we received and purchase them on my own all the time. In addition, I have big readers and we're always big supporters of our school's Scholastic Book Fair. Great books. Great company.


October 6th is National Noodle Day and We're Celebrating with P.F. Changs

Noodles for everyone!

Or, at least everyone in my family because I received a sweet package from P.F. Changs as a thank you for helping spread the word about National Noodle Day and the festivities they are planning in celebration.

P.F. Changs Home Noodle Meals

We will be sampling two of the 4 Home Noodle Meals by P.F. Changs:

Grilled Chicken Teriaki with Lo Mein


Pepper Steak with Chow Fun

I've had P.F. Chang's Home Meals before so I know how easy they are to make and how delicious they are as well. Plus, I don't need any other excuse to eat noodles for dinner - if it's noodle day then I'm eating noodles.

Socialize wtih P.F. Chang for Prizes

P.F. Changs is hosting a Twitter party on October 5th from m 8-10pm EST. Be sure to tweet with @PFChangs and follow the hash tag #noodlenight for a chance to win prizes and more! Then, on October 6th check out the PF Changs Facebook page (www.facebook/pfchangs) where there will be a Home Menu Sweepstakes tab where you'll enter to win a VIP noodle tasting kits like I received, chef-quality skillets to prepare your meal, and a grand prize trip for two to Las Vegas!

Of course, if you win, I would expect to be your #2 on that trip!

Disclosure: I received a VIP noodle tasting kit including 2 P.F. Changs home meals, noodle bowls, and the awesome Lo Mein t-shirt in the top photo. All opinions are my own and this post was neither reviewed nor approved prior to being published. Also, the meals really are deelish but the "Aint no shame in lo mein" t-shirt is the bomb!


20 Questions Electronic Game Keeps ME Guessing

How Does it Do That?

Did you ever have someone hand you a toy for your kids and you try it out and you think,

"I'm not giving this to them!"

Yea, that's what happend with the 20Q Artificial Intelligence Game that my friend Leticia handed me a few weeks ago.

Here's how it works.

Think of something that is an animal, vegetable, or mineral.

Then, let the 20Q start guessing.

You press yes, no, sometimes or rarely for the answer.

It somehowbymagicelves guesses your thing every. single. time!

For my kids they needed some help answering the questions but for the most part they could do it all themselves and it occupied them for an entire 3-hour car ride

Here's a short list of some of the things our 20Q has guessed correctly:

  • Dog
  • Whale
  • Ruby
  • Snot

That last one had be really believing in magic.

20Q is available in all sorts of colors and themes including this 20Q Harry Potter version!

You can get more information on the 20Q Facebook page.

Disclosure: I received the 20Q game at no charge. All opinons expressed here are my own and this post was neither reviewed nor approved prior to being published. Some links are affiliate links.