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Tuesday, 22 October 2013


I find myself constantly saying "no".

"Mom, can I just have...."
"Please Mom, I won't ask for anything else...."
"But Mom!!! I really want it!!

Kids can be expensive. And if you don't nip this in the bud soon, it's just going to get more expensive as they grow up. This is why it is so important to teach children early about savings.

The one thing I know for certain about kids stuff is that the older they get, the smaller and more expensive their stuff gets....

A few years ago we introduced "pocket money". This was a chore based system that we adapted in order to have him work for the things that he wanted. We have adjusted this as he's gotten older, adding a few extra chores and dropping others. For example; when he was 4-5, brushing his teeth was something that we wanted to really encourage, so we made it a money-earning chore. Now that he's 7, brushing his teeth is non-negotiable and therefore doesn't earn him money. BUT, he's now old enough to make his bed and put his laundry away...

We operate a £2 a week system, where he has a set list of chores that need to be completed on a daily / weekly basis in order for him to receive the £2 on Friday evening. There are strict rules with this as he has a great knack for arguing at the moment. If there is any fussing or fighting to start or complete the chore, NO CASH. These are non-negotiable rules for us. It is important to us that he learns that there are some things in life that he just has to do...simple as that. Mom and Dad don't mess here....

As an extention to the £2 a week, we also offer the availability of extra chores. These are chores that are outside of the regular daily / weekly set that we feel that he can handle. For instance; helping with the dusting, vacuuming, washing the car with Dad, gardening etc. For every chore he completes during the week from these possibilities, he earns 50p. So, depending on what he feels like doing during the week, he can earn himself a tidy little sum of cash!!

It was important for us to show him very clearly that there are things that are expected of him and ALSO, if he chooses, he can get rewarded for his extra efforts.

There are long terms goals that we ask him to focus on - like a particular toy he wants - and there are shorter term gains that he would rather (like spending his £2 on sweets at the corner shop). For the most part, he has kept his eye on the prize. 

This Friday will mark £20 in his money box. I know this may not seem like a great sum of money to most, but for our son, this marks the start of a commitment to working for what he wants and ultimately, getting it himself!! 

Next step in our money lessons will be to help him set up a savings account. We are planning to offer him a "match your savings" plan. This means that for every £ he saves (towards his savings account) within the month, we will match this amount with him. For instance, if he chooses to save half of his monthly pocket money (£4) towards his savings account, we will match it and add £4 of our own. We're hoping that this way he will see how potentially rewarding it can be to save as well as spend!!

Thursday, 17 October 2013


What’s your number? That is the question that Cait Hall asks......

Mine is 5. Cait candidly confesses hers to be 38. 38 tried and failed diets in her short lifetime. This is something we don’t often discuss amongst us women but if you ask me our past failures only make us stronger. This is definitely the case for Cait as you can see from her new book – The Lying, The Bitch and the Wardrobe.  

Her hilarious account and dissection of each and every one of the “fad diets” she’s tried left me laughing so hard that I think I had a small abs workout (she’s the gift that just keeps on giving!!!)

Cait’s background has provided the perfect training to write this book. Not only does she have a background in science but she is also the editor of a national health magazine. So if anyone is going to know the market, its Cait. She’s been there and done it all and she completes the journey by giving us a final chapter detailing what REALLY works for long term weight loss. 

I have been fortunate enough to get a few amazing glimpses at this project. I have to tell you, this will be THE book. The book you buy for yourself and the book you give to every one of your girlfriends that are going through their own weight loss struggle. 

Here’s where you come in. With every amazing project there comes a challenge. The challenge here is that this fabulous book needs to get to print. There is a Kickstarter campaign started for publication of this book. This is not a “gimme all your money” request. This is a friendly nudge in the direction of something amazing. I have “backed the project” with the little bit I can afford as I feel that this is a book that the world needs to see.  

We are capable of great things, each and every one of us. Cait Hall is on her own amazing journey to see her dream come to life. If we can support her in that journey, why not?? If you can’t afford to back the project, why not share the campaign in your own way? It’s the little things in life that make all the difference.

Sign up for her book release here : http://thelyingthebitchandthewardrobe.co.uk/

Thursday, 10 October 2013

A Few Comfort Tips From A New(ish) Crafter

As someone who's recently taken up home crafting as a personal hobby (I say "crafting" so generally because I've dabbled in everything from needlework to some amateur woodworking), I thought I might share a few helpful tips I've compiled over my first few months. I've always had a creative mind, but haven't applied it in a physically artistic manner in - well, decades - so naturally my new(ish) crafting endeavors presented me with a whole bunch of new experiences, along with adjustments that needed to be made.

The first, quite honestly, was that I had to work on my fingernails. Truth be told, nibbling at my nails is one habit I never quite kicked growing up, though to be honest it wasn't too difficult to stop. If this is an issue for you and you really have trouble quitting, you can usually find a few different products to help your efforts at the closest Walgreens, but really a little discipline should do the trick. I can't count on both hands the number of times legitimate fingernails have come in handy in crafting projects, however, so this is something to keep in mind!

Another serious adjustment for me had to do with vision, and if you're over the age of 35 or 40, you'll likely have similar issues, from what I've heard. My specific vision issue is known as "presbyopia," and though that sounds rather dramatic it's really just a fancy name for far-sightedness. Not that I have eagle vision at long distances, but as I've aged I've had more trouble getting a clear look at what's right in front of me (such as needlework), which is a problem for a lot of crafting and artistic tasks. I'd recommend reading up on the condition at Acuvue, where there's helpful information about what presbyopia means and how you can correct it. The right contact lenses or reading glasses can work wonders.

And then finally, there were the rough fingertips and borderline calluses that I occasionally began to develop through two of my favorite new artistic activities - drawing by hand, and, again, needlework. When these activities are new to you, your fingers can easily develop a bit of roughness and irruption (or at least mine did), and it can make it a bit uncomfortable to keep going with your projects, at least for a short time. Crazy enough, I found someone having similar issues at the site needlenthread.com, along with a quirky but oddly helpful remedy involving a mixture of olive oil and sugar! It's worth a shot, and simple enough to try.

So there are my two cents about a few mild discomforts and issues I've encountered since getting into crafting hobbies. Of course in addition to managing these issues, there are plenty of little skills and tips to learn along the way - but the first step, for me, is comfort, and the above tips and tricks helped me enormously in that department.

Happy crafting!