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Family (71 posts)
The joy of being frugal is a lot like the joy of eating one illicit grape while wandering the produce section—everybody experiences it, but nobody wants to talk about it. Two days ago, however, ABC news did a story about the cheapest family in America, who buy almost expired meat, freeze on-sale milk and hit the grocery store with walkie-talkies so they can talk to each other about deals while in different aisles. It had me laughing my head off and taking notes as to how they do it (hint: they prep for 4 hours before going to the store), because, let's face it, their total for 4 kids and 2 parents was $120 dollars—and that was for food for the WHOLE month!
Watch the ABC video clip
Saving ideas from the Coupon Mom
Suze Orman: the emergency stash.
"You will laugh again. You will love again. It takes a long, long, long, long time. And you're never going to get over it. But never give up." Vanderbilt's advice to a mother and daughter in the audience who recently lost their son/brother to suicide. She tried to talk her own son (Cooper's older brother, Carter) off the ledge of their balcony before he fell to his death. While Vanderbilt says that closure is "a TV word," she has never given up hope or allowed tragedy to harden her spirit. She still believes, at 87, that her next great love is right around the corner.
"Follow your bliss." While Cooper was looking for more specific direction after he graduated from college—perhaps a lecture on what career path to follow—Vanderbilt shared with him only three words.
"We are not put on this earth to see through one another, we are put on this earth to see one another through." Simple but true.
To find out who Vanderbilt's fantasy daughter is and how Cooper has made a career out of fibbing to his mother watch the show.
What's the best advice you've ever received from your mom? Share your life lessons.
Famous kids reflect on why mom always knows best
Meet a mother warrior
6 ways to make your mom queen for a day
Maybe this is why I'm so obsessed with Teenage Bedroom. The tagline: "This blog is my homage to all of us when we were still young and exciting, before we got old and boring." Exactly. Now when I think about decorating my home I lust over Design Within Reach catalogs, not photos of Jordan Catalano. Boooring!
The addictive blog is a mix of current teenagers' sanctuaries and current adult's aging photos of their own rooms as teenagers. One recent post reads: " I have great memories of my friend Steph and I painting an underwater scene on one wall, writing foolish things on my 'graffiti wall' and a giant Barney the dinosaur poster on one of my collage walls. It was a ridiculous bedroom but I loved being allowed the freedom to express myself in whatever way I wanted." Funny how as kids our rooms were our autobiographies, rather than an effort to be tasteful or stylish. Scrolling through the images evokes a shiver of nostalgia. And, I must admit, a dull grownup urge to tell everyone to clean up their rooms.
Read more about decorating:
A teenage bedroom makeover.
Redecorate a bedroom in one day.
Eventually she did have a child of her own who at least had the good manners to be a boy (and not hog the fancy dresses). Still, it was my Aunt Mariana that I thought of when I read Kate Bolick's eloquent piece in the New York Times about aunthood. Bolick suggests that as more woman choose to stay childless, the devoted aunt is becoming an integral element of the modern family. And good thing for kids, since, as she writes, "The aunt exists outside the immediate family unit, ambassador to a universe of other options, as well as — crucially — a grown-up who isn’t an authority figure or disciplinarian." After all, how cool can your own parents be? Realistically, not very.
Today's aunt is less Auntie Em and more, as Bolick puts it, "the glamorously madcap Auntie Mame...Holly Golightly with crow’s feet." There's even an online community for PANKs, or Professional Aunts, No Kids, presumably a far more chic and fun personage than the Professional Mom. Still, Bolick argues that this familial role is underappreciated, and the essay diverts into a terrific rundown of aunthood (or lack therof) in mythology and around the world. But to me it also articulates something about what children (and maybe adults, too) crave in their lives: a relationship defined by "not only passionate love but blessed freedom;" a person who actually has attention for them and them alone.
How to be a super-Aunt: One woman's no-fail advice
From the file of great daddy-daughter moments comes the five-year-old British girl who made a great archeological discovery while out digging with her father. Emily Baldry uncovered a huge 162 million-year-old fossil of a rienecka odysseus -- that is, a very rare ammonite that lived in the Tethyan ocean. Back when England was an ocean. According to the Gazette and Herald, "Palaeontologist Neville Hollingworth was very excited when he saw what Emily had discovered, saying that he had been looking for the fossil for 25 years and had only ever found three."
Emily herself told The Sun, "I was very happy when I first saw him and now he looks very shiny." The fossil has been thoroughly restored and is now in a museum. Oh, and call it a rienecka odysseus all you want; Emily's named the spiky thing, fittingly enough, Spike.
Hooray for the world of palaeontology, but also, isn't it nice to hear some purely good news? About a little girl, no less?
The Huffington Post has a video with more about Emily's discovery--including the unlikely tool she used to uncover it!
More great daddy-daughter moments:
How one father is raising his daughter via Skype.
What having daughters taught one man about Hello Kitty, lanyards, and life.
"I think I'm becoming a feminist." Life as a Stay-At-Home-Dad.
When it comes to gardening, Classie Parker is the fairy grandmother who we all long for—except that she doesn't turn pumpkins into coaches or mice into footmen. Instead she does something much more powerful and true-to-life. This spunky, funny, vegetable grower visits different communities in New York, "teaching people how to put the love in their food" by instructing them in the forgotten art of canning. Along the way, she inspires all who listen to her about passing along the lessons of our "mommas..grandmommas...and great-grandmommas..." as you'll see in this video that Etsy put together.
The takeaway: Whether or not you grow peppers and cucumbers in your backyard, whether or not you can those veggies with garlic or don't can them with garlic or don't can them at all, it's worth remembering that what we eat and how we share it is, as Classie says, "what brings people together."
What would it take to change your life for the better? It may be less than you think—we’ve got mini-makeovers to help you upgrade everything from your workout to your weekend. #21: Giving back has never been easier.
30 days of makeovers
Skip the beach for a volunteer vacation
5 ways to use your professional skills to give back
Ways for children to volunteer
I often like to think that I'm different kind of learner. I didn't do particularly well on the SATs before college or the GREs afterward, or even my driver's license test. My children, too, I found, suffered from the same plight. They didn't score well on our city's Gifted and Talented exams, despite my flashcards and enforced workbook sessions. Could it be, I wondered—loudly, repeatedly, insistently, to anyone that would listen—that none of us were wired for important, multiple choice questions? Was it all about how and not what we learned?
Imagine my chagrin at the findings presented recently on NPR's Morning Edition, which suggested that none of us learn particularly differently and that teachers shouldn't alter their teaching styles. Talking to Doug Roher, a psychologist at the University of South Florida, the radio show reported that when it came to learning styles, Roher found no scientific evidence about different kinds of students. "We have not found evidence from a randomized control trial supporting any of these," he said, "and until such evidence exists, we don't recommend that they be used" in the classroom.
But what impressed me most was the opposite idea, presented by Dan Willingham of the University of Virginia who suggested it might be more useful to figure out similarities in how our brains learn, rather than differences. For example, "Mixing things up is something we know is scientifically supported as something that boosts attention," he told NPR.
For me this opened a whole new window of opportunity. My kids and I will now spend 15 minutes learning to advance ourselves in terms of math (them) or bill-paying on line (me), then 15 minutes learning hand-eye-coordination sling-shotting parrots into cargo boxes for points on Angry Birds, then spend 15 minutes picking up Legos (okay, that's not learning, but I like not slipping on a lethally slippery plastic cubes on the way to the bathroom) until, by god, we are all geniuses—or maybe just normal people, trying to pick up what they can, as best they can.
Every week, we'll be letting you know about new releases the editors at O and Oprah.com couldn't stop reading. On sale today, the short story collection...
Blueprints for Building Better Girls
By Elissa Schappell
Elissa Schappell is not for the fainthearted. In this collection of eight revelatory, risky stories, we meet the girls that all mothers fear their daughter might become—or, to varying degrees, the girls we might have become ourselves. One turns to hate to cover her vulnerability, while another suffers from an eating disorder, in some part due to her mother's all-consuming embrace. The most shocking story follows a college coed through her days of binge drinking and blacking out during a relentless parade of frat house parties. Surprisingly, it's also the most moving. Schappell has the ability—and the guts—to cut straight through the "girls gone wild" images that inevitably throb to mind (ouch) and show us the tender and often hopeful human beings that live inside these women-to-be.
In one upsetting scene, a group of angry, male bar patrons chases the coed and her friends across a deserted parking lot. As she jumps into a car to escape, the coed feels her mother's treasured strand of pearls break and must leave those pearls rolling hopelessly across the asphalt—save for one, about which she wonders if she has any right to even keep. "Maybe some farm kid walking down the street would find it..." she says. "And then they'd think that maybe the world wasn't as ugly as they thought it was. Maybe there was magic in it after all."
A rule for us all: There is always magic in a gift from your mother. Always.
What would it take to change your life for the better? It may be less than you think—we’ve got mini-makeovers to help you upgrade everything from your workout to your weekend. #18: Three readers share the traditions that help them savor time with family.
"It's so easy to crowd the calendar with activities, but last year we decided not to enroll our son in anything on weekends. Instead, we have Explorers Day—we take turns picking a destination. We bike or drive with grandparents, which feels leisurely because we're not racing back for other things on the schedule." —Anne Medved, 33, Boston
"Deciding which movie to watch as a group used to take forever. Now my sisters and I play a game we call 3-2-1. One of us picks three movies to watch, the next narrows it down to two options, and the last person makes the final choice. It's a fun bonding game—and now no more bickering if the movie is lousy." —Jamie Spitz, 24, New York City
Tell us: What's your favorite way to create quality time with your family?
30 days of makeovers
Family fun in under 2 hours
Weekend trips that don't cost a fortune