Being a Better Parent

Craving “Constants”

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As the oldest child approaches senior year of high school and the youngest breezes through junior high not far behind, a mom can get pretty sentimental, y’ know? It used to be that even when the older child went through big changes, I still felt connected to the “younger child years”, because my kids are […]

Kids and Money

How To Help Your Teen Be A Successful Babysitter

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Now that my 13-year-old, Emmie, is a bona fide, certified, babysitter (she took a course at a local rec center in
May), she’s been trying to build her business and get jobs (saving for an iPhone can be a powerful incentive…). After she created a flier, gathered email addresses and sent out the flier, she has
started to get calls. So I thought it was time to pass on to her what my childhood friend, Trisha, passed on to me and what I’d already passed on to Allison: the secret to successful babysitting.
Trisha was a very successful babysitter; I took her advice and was booked solid almost every weekend evening (at least a Friday or Saturday night) during my junior high and early high school
years , and in summer, some weekdays and evenings as well.

So what’s the secret?  Bring your own “stuff”. Yes, that’s it in …

Raising Teenagers

Time for a Coffee BRAKE

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When I first noticed the twitching, it didn’t alarm me much. I was sitting
in church and glanced down at my left hand, resting on my leg. My left thumb was moving side to side slightly, without me telling it to do so. Weird, I thought, but we all sometimes get
unexplainable twitches, twinges or pains that end up never happening again and not amounting to anything, right? I moved my hand and the twitching stopped. But when the twitching
happened again the next day, I took more notice. I remembered Michael J. Fox talking about his early signs of Parkinson’s disease—didn’t he say it began with hand twitching? I consulted the
Internet, which is where we all go to get a good scare whenever we need more medical information, and it confirmed my suspicions. Though Fox’s first twitches were in his pinkie finger, when I
Googled “thumb twitching” and …

Humor

Many Happy Returns: Some Post Tax Day Humor and Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money

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Whew- so glad to be done with the taxes! Yep, that’s where I’ve been over
the past few days—glued to Turbo Tax and barely coming up for air. I HATE DOING TAXES because I always wait until the last minute. I used to do them all by myself, but I think Andy was tired of
driving to the post office at 11 p.m. on April 15 in a panic (but hey, the postal employees always made it so festive and welcoming and would be standing out there waving signs and holding baskets
and you could just drive up and throw in your envelope…) and so a couple years ago we started splitting the tax prep responsibility, so he does half and then hands the file over to me, usually in
February or March. But I’ve always got a million other pressing things to do that keep me from opening that file, and so there I sat on Tax Day, finishing up “under …

Raising Girls

Pinterest & Teens: A “Good Thing”?

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I heard a sweet sound in the house over the past weekend I haven’t heard in a long time: the whirr of the sewing machine. A sewing machine, I might add, that I bought on a Black Friday years ago,
getting up at four in the morning for a “Door Buster Special”. Allison was 10 at the time, determined to become a fashion designer and learn how to sew, and I was determined to help foster that
creativity…

Ah, my daughters and I were once such a crafty bunch.  I’m reminded of that a lot—in the garden, where stepping
stones the kids and I made (out of cement mix and pizza boxes) still mark a …

Being a Better Parent

“Spending Quality Time With A Teen” is Not an Oxymoron– When You’re Volunteering Together

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When my kids were much younger, I was asked by a friend if I’d like to
join The Junior League in our suburban town. I was flattered she would consider me, but after looking at the membership requirements (i.e. time commitment)  I almost laughed in her face.
Going crazy trying to squeeze in freelance writing work and keep my house managed with two kids under the age of six, I couldn’t imagine also having the pressure of performing  a certain
amount of required service hours and getting kicked out if I didn’t. How did my friend do it with two young children herself? (Um, on second thought, I think having a nanny and housekeeper
probably helped her a lot…)

Fast forward about eight years, and another friend is asking if Allison and I might want to join her
chapter of the National Charities League Inc., a nationwide …

Dealing With Back Talk

Creative Consequences for Teen Behavior: More Independence

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Well, you can bet that when I don’t write for over a week that I must have a pretty good
excuse. And I sure wish it was a glamorous one like “I was at the Grammys” or “I got invited to the White House”. It’s not even a dramatic reason like, “I was in the hospital all week.” Nope,
usually when you don’t hear from me it’s because I’m wiped out from dealing with kid problems, and that is a mild way to describe what we’ve been going through.

I can never usually write about things in as few words as possible but I’m going to try really hard—maybe if I start by
summarizing things in list form it will help:

1.)    Oldest teen gave all sorts of attitude

Raising Teenagers

A College (Re)Visit

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This past weekend, we took  Allison (and Emmie) on our first “official college
visit” as a family. Allison had already been on another, with her aunt, but this was the first “taking a child to see a college in which they’re interested” for the rest of us.  I thought I
would feel really old but at first it didn’t seem like that—a lot of things brought back memories of our own college days for Andy and me and it really did seem like it was yesterday. It was
fun remembering and answering the questions both girls peppered us with as we walked from point to point on our group tour. But we were reminded several times that it really wasn’t yesterday,
and I’m surprised the girls would even consider us as a source of reliable college information.

For example, when Emmie asked me, “What do students do about …