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We have a family of seven-to-ten, depending on whether my step kids are visiting; as you might imagine, we consume a tremendous amount of food. You may be thinking that our children are too small to do much damage to the pantry, but you would be wrong. These kids are born eaters, gobbling up copious amounts of grub, which gives them fuel to rush around in frenzied play burning it off just in time for the next meal. The problem with a large family eating a lot of food is that it requires many trips to the grocery store (or at least a couple very long trips), often which includes bringing the large family’s worth of children with me. It’s a vicious cycle that can be stopped only by cutting off their food supply or buying a self-sustaining farm....more
Imagine for a moment that you are the parent of a 19-year-old girl. She had recently moved several states away from home, where she was working through her first year of college. She’s bright, fairly level-headed, and has never given you much cause for alarm. Now imagine a phone call from your daughter. She’s in love. She has met the man of her dreams and she thinks things are getting serious. Now, reaching into the creative depths of your imagination, conjure up an image of your worst possible nightmare of what this new boyfriend might be like. ...more
Hello there, would you like to buy a $3 candy bar? How about seven pounds of frozen cookie dough? Not much of a sweet tooth, huh? That’s okay, how about a pepperoni roll, tickets to the pancake breakfast—or maybe the spaghetti dinner? Oh. You’re on a diet. I understand—I would be, too, if I didn’t have kids. Maybe you would be more interested in a magazine subscription? Or a high-fragrance, flameless, candle substitute? Maybe a discount card that offers insignificant savings from places you rarely visit? Ooh, better yet, forget the card; I’m selling a whole discount book. Where are you going? Wait! Don’t forget to swing by the carwash so kids who have never washed a vehicle in their lives can scratch up yours! Just drop your spare change in the can on your way out!...more
I've recently entered the working world as an "Independent Distributor for Mary Kay, Inc.", which sounds so much better than “lipstick pusher.” My reasons for signing up are rather typical: I like the stuff, I want a discount on the stuff, and I have five kids wanting me to drop hundreds of dollars a month on extracurricular activities. The lure of an unachievable pink Cadillac doesn't hurt either, although I think I would need to request a pink 12-seater minibus, which loses a little appeal....more
Recently, I was given a gift certificate to a ritzy spa for my thirtieth birthday. For the past two months, I’ve held on to that little card with its elaborate curlicues, both enthralled and petrified by the idea of using it. As with many large families, our scarce resources are reserved for necessities, and with anything that is left over, manicures and massages will always take a back seat to youth sports and science camp. So to indulge in such pampering was something I have never done… until today....more
Six months ago, I convinced my husband to single handedly lug my very old, very heavy treadmill from the basement to a prominent spot in the living room. My reasoning? No way could I exercise in our dark dungeon of a basement because I wouldn't hear the kids if they needed me. He protested that it would look tacky, take up too much valuable room, and go unused anyway. Unused?! Oh the indignation! I assured him that with the treadmill so readily accessible, I’d be back to the size that I was when we got married in no time. I would simply work out every day during nap time while the children slept. And I that’s precisely what I did—for about a week-and-a-half....more