Lifestyle

Budgeting For Babies (A Genius Way To Introduce Financial Planning To Your Kids)

Let's do our kids the favor of taking the mystery out of money.

There are plenty of people who think that money isn't an appropriate topic for kids, especially very young kids. I'm not one of them; I think that money is a topic that's surrounded by a ton of secrecy in our society - even close friends and family members often don't discuss finances with each other - and that all that secrecy does is make people feel even more at sea about a topic that is likely already a pretty big stressor in their lives.

For the past few months, we've been testing out different ways of instituting a reward system with our five-year-old son (three weeks of not biting nails = a small toy; clearing your dish every night for a week = 25 cents), but none of them have felt quite right, mostly because it's been difficult getting him to understand that a quarter means something; it's not just an odd, shiny toy to play with. And besides, I'm sort of from the "kids should help out and do the right thing because that's what they should do, not because they're being paid for it" school of thought, so rewarding our son for chores and such has always felt a little odd to me.

HOMEDECOR

The Throw Pillow Problem (And Ten Spectacular Finds To Instantly Refresh Your Home)

Spring has sprung! (In my bedroom, anyway.)

The other day, Kendrick walked out of our garage and into our kitchen, all wide-eyed and horrified. In his hands were two (extremely cute, just saying) pillows, still all bundled up in plastic wrap.

"...Why?" he asked, holding them out at me like (electric orange, stunningly hand-stitched) sacrificial lambs.

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Lifestyle

How I Taught My Five-Year-Old To Read

This is how reading feels to me. It's an experience I want for my children, too.

I started trying to teach my son to read about a year ago, using a system that I cobbled together based on what seemed to make sense - having him sound out the titles of books before we read them, having him sound out words within the books here and there, and following along with my finger so he'd be able to see where we were.

It didn't work. He was constantly frustrated, wanting to get to the fun part (the part where he didn't have to put in work), and it seemed like we never made any forward progress. I mentioned this to my friend Erin, who happens to be a third-grade teacher, and the next day at school dropoff she handed me a stack of the most boring-looking books in the world. They're black-and-white and don't contain especially compelling stories...but I am not kidding when I tell you that what they did was skyrocket my son forward in a matter of weeks. The books make him feel good about himself - they move you forward incrementally, making kids feel confident in their abilities while gradually introducing new concepts - and just reading two or three a night has been nothing short of transformative.

HOMEDECOR

Build-A-Bed

This may just look like an Ikea daybed, but oh, it is so much more. 

Remember how my friend Morgan has this magical ability to put together the actual, for-real, zero-exaggeration most comfortable bed in the world? Like, the kind of bed that I want to fall onto and then stay there forever and always because nothing has ever felt that good, ever? And remember how sometimes my children nevertheless come up with diabolical plans to stop me from sleeping anyway?

SHE DID IT AGAIN.

DIARY

Come Together (Right Now)

A few days ago, I posted on Facebook about Donald Trump, terrible person, et cetera ad infinitum. In response, someone commented essentially telling me to shut up and go back to talking about clothing. And then she unfollowed me, thereby pretty effectively achieving her goal of not having to hear me anymore.

It bothered me. Not because she's not entitled to her opinion, but because it's this unwillingness to even listen for a moment to those who disagree with you, that - to me - lies at the root of the crossroads at which we find ourselves. We're talking and talking and talking without ever taking a moment to listen. We're lobbing arguments at each other, barely even reading or hearing the response before shouting back. We're unfollowing each other.

I am very much aware that not everybody who reads here is liberal, or anti-Trump. I try to be sensitive to that, while still expressing my beliefs. I thank those of you who disagree with my politics and continue reading here nonetheless. I want you to know that I'd like to hear from you more.

DIARY

The Very Worst Party In The World

Ummm excuse me, do I have the right house?

A quick preamble: In yesterday's post on female friendship, I alluded to a minor incident that happened around the time I met Francesca involving her saving me from a rampaging, tequilaed-up blonde Texan wearing a pirate outfit. I wasn't going to post the story itself because it's apparently Francesca Week on Ramshackle Glam and I didn't want to be redundant, but...what the hell. It's such a good story.

Everything that you're about to read really happened. (Some names have been changed to protect the stone-cold crazy.)

DIARY

Piece Of My Heart: Friendship, Sisterhood, and The Family You Find

For years, I had this fantasy in my head: my mom would have a best friend with a daughter exactly my age, and we'd become best friends, too. We'd talk on the phone for hours, write each other letters over the summers, and one day maybe even go to the same college because we felt stronger when we were together. We'd consider each other sisters, because that's exactly what we would be.

I never did have a friend like that. In elementary and middle school, I cycled through a series of "best friends," with most relationships lasting a year, maybe two, before preteen dramas got in the way and alliances shifted. In high school, my best friends were a group of girls who I was never sure actually liked me very much; they'd tease me - the ditzy, silly sidekick - and I'd laugh, because I knew I was easy to make fun of and laughing along felt better. I had a constant sense of "tagging along," of hoping one of them would choose me to like the best.

I thought maybe that was just life, that perhaps who I naturally was (a person who often said the wrong thing, who turned red at the slightest provocation, who was utterly incapable of acting cool) just wasn't the kind of person who attracted long-lasting, deeply loving friendships. And so I decided to make my boyfriend - and then the next boyfriend, and the one after that - my best friend. I sought out relationships that weren't just "intense"; they were all-consuming. Finally, I had a person - and then another, and another after that - with whom I felt completely and totally comfortable. Except then we'd break up, and I'd have to start all over again.

Lifestyle

A Few Trends That I Might Actually Try (Maybe)

via

I am not typically a "trend person." I have, for example, very little desire to layer fishnet stockings under my jeans (or wear jeans at all, if we're being honest about where I am at the moment).

This is not because I am disinterested in trends (fashion or otherwise); it's because I'm lazy. And because the only people who see me most days are the FedEx guy and my kids. Not 100% sure about the FedEx guy, but I do know that neither of the latter two appreciate a pop of color unless the pop in question happens to be from the nice man in the musical truck who makes mom mad because he will not stop showing up before dinner.

Lifestyle

…And About Those Trends

These are a few of my favorite things (and oh hey there new book!)

I spent a bunch of time yesterday hunting around trying to find alternatives to the trend items I wrote about in this post in case you like the style but not the one specific pick I put up, but wasn't able to embed the shoppable widget in the post itself.

Blogger problems, et cetera. So the widget gets its very own post.

DIARY

True Romance

Empty bed = the dream.

We've finally managed to get our children out of our bed at night (at least for the first few hours), but what that means is that we now have to "snuggle" until each of them falls asleep. And Kendrick is fun, so they don't fall asleep with him, which means that after he's done being the cool parent I have to be the "GO TO SLEEP" parent, and which also means that I spend about an hour and a half every night of my life snuggling trying desperately not to fall asleep in toddler beds (because toddler beds are extremely bad for grownup necks, and also because I am seriously behind on American's Next Top Model).

I don't always make it; there is many a night that I wake from a dead sleep and realize that I'm crunched up in 1/8th of a 3-foot-long bed with a baby foot planted firmly in my eye socket (which was sealed shut with makeup anyway because I hadn't been planning to actually pass out). And the reason why this happens with such frequency?