Blog Posts by Parentables

  • Michelle Duggar on Life Lessons and Bartering

    Money!Negotiating is an important skill. I teach my kids that it's perfectly acceptable to negotiate a price on something if you've done your homework. If you feel like the price might be a little bit exorbitant or a little higher than what you are willing to pay, ask for a lower price. Especially if you're paying cash.

    Read More: Why the Duggars Rarely Buy Anything New

    For example, say you find an item you want on Craigslist. You check around to see what similar items are going for and find the price is a little high. If you've already researched it, I don't think it's rude to ask them to lower the price. You're not offending them by asking because they know what they can take for that item and what they've got to get out of it. Most people will be honest and just say, "You know, this is what I can take. I can't take any less than this." And you have to make the decision, "Am I really willing to put forth that much or will I wait for another better deal later down the road?"

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  • Get up (and get stuff done) before the kids do

    Steamy tea.Becoming an early riser is one of those intentions I've had for quite some time. I've always wanted to be one of these moms who gets up and goes to the gym for a workout in the wee hours while the rest of the family sleeps. And indeed, it felt great each and every time I've gotten up at 5-something, slipped out to get my exercise, and then come home to get some work done on my laptop in the still-dark house.

    Predictably after several days, however, my feeling of accomplished smugness unravels into a heap of cranky exhaustion. I thought I just wasn't meant to be an early riser.

    Read More: Feel Better and Accomplish More: How to Make Your Routine Work With Your Bad Habits and Energy Levels

    Renewing My Pledge to Be an Early Riser

    Recently, I've made the resolution anew, although more out of necessity than a desire for self-satisfaction. I signed up to do a lot more writing for Parentables, plus I'm still in the early, heavy-lifting stages of launching my business. I'm planning

    Read More »from Get up (and get stuff done) before the kids do
  • Why It's Worth Making Homemade Costumes

    Let's do this.Costume planning for Halloween usually began in September for my family. It was an unspoken rule that all costumes would be made from scratch, so they required a fair bit of forethought, lots of materials, and time to assemble. I decided what I wanted to be and Dad would figure out a way to transform me using cardboard, paint, fabric, and random household props. The result was a spectacular array of strange homemade costumes.

    Read More: 50 Quick and Simple Do-It-Yourself Halloween Costumes

    The best was the Knight in Shining Armour. Using varying sizes of sono tubes (the cylindrical cardboard molds used for pouring concrete footings), Dad made a set of hinged armour that fit my torso, legs, and arms. We painted it silver. I had a wooden sword, a cardboard shield, and a helmet with a movable visor. That year I won the prize for Best Costume at the local Halloween party. Over the years, our family costumes have included a paintbrush, a carrot with a leafy top, a sunflower, a

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  • Just in Time for Halloween! Pumpkin Spiced Rice Crispy Treats

    Yum!Apparently, today is National Pumpkin Day, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share a seasonal twist on an old favourite. Rice Krispie treats are one of those things that never go out of style. Kids love them, and adults love them because they remember loving them as a kid.

    Read More: 10 Gorgeous Ways to Decorate Pumpkins Without Cutting Them

    As just about every parent knows, these are really as easy to make as anything you can do in the kitchen. If you are having a Halloween party this weekend, add these pumpkin spiced treats to the dessert table. They have just enough of a pumpkin flavour to make them a bit different, but you'll still recognize the familiar childhood treat. I used my homemade pumpkin butter, which worked beautifully.

    This recipe is from the website The Way to his Heart.

    Read More: Fun Food Project: Pumpkin Gnocci

    Pumpkin Spiced Rice Krispie Treats

    3 Tbsp unsalted butter
    1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
    12 oz mini marshmallows ( about 1

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  • "Even Mommy Says Sorry Sometimes."

    Hugs.Last week I had the worst day in my life as a parent. It started out with the usual irritations: wake-up call at 5:30, incessant whining, refusal to use good manners, complaining, picky eating. The three-year-old bullied the baby, took away his toys, and tried to ride him like a horse. My nerves were already on edge when we went to do some errands. At the paint store, my son kept running away, had a tantrum when we left, and screamed "No!" when I told him to say goodbye to a friend. As I prepared lunch, the kids had a fleeting moment of happiness while they drummed on the new paint cans with stir sticks.

    Read More: The Golden Rule of Parenting: Judge Not

    I should have known better than to let them near the paint cans. Before I knew it, an entire gallon of deep, dark orange paint got knocked over and started oozing all over the floor of the entrance. The baby sat in the middle, joyously mucking with his hands. My other son dabbed his fingers in it and rubbed the paint on

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  • 4 No-Brainer Ways to Boost Your Child’s Brain Development

    Growing.We all want the best for our kids. If you're reading a parenting blog, it's highly likely that you want to do whatever you can do to give your child an edge in school and in life. The great news is that these four tips are extra-easy to implement. In fact, you might already be practicing most, if not all of these four ways to give your kid's intellect some extra oomph.

    1. Offer Positive Reinforcement

    This one might be easier for some parents than others. Be sure to offer praise more often than you reprimand your child; kids that are praised more show improvements in memory, learning, and are better able to control stress responses.

    Parentables blogger Sami Grover wrote about research that suggests that positive reinforcement improves behavior, and actually encourages brain growth.

    2. Cuddle Your Babies and Kids

    McGill University Neurologist Michael Meaney found that baby rats that had been licked and groomed more by their mothers did better at finding their way through

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  • Why the Duggars Rarely Buy Anything New

    A bargain.We rarely buy anything new for our household items. Of course, we will buy packages of undies and socks that are new at discount stores. We buy the big family pack where you get a better price. That's a great way to save money. But those would be the only items that we buy new on a regular basis.

    Read More: Michelle Duggar's Secrets for Getting Musical Instruments on the Cheap

    For the most part though, everything else is used. We'll shop in thrift stores, pawn shops, furniture auctions and yard sales. We try to get bargains on everything. We even buy our cars used because there is such a high depreciation on them. The same goes with furniture. You can get really nice things that are like brand new because somebody's moving away or doesn't need them anymore.

    Read More: A 5-Year-Old With a Bank Account? Yes!

    As a matter of fact, [my daughter-in-law] Anna told me last night about a great deal she got -- she was so excited. She said, "We got a play set with a slide and swing

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  • How to Keep Halloween Candy Consumption Under Control

    nom nom nomThis summer my family moved from the county to the city. At our old house (with a mile long driveway) we never had trick-or-treaters. This year, that will not be the case. Apparently our neighborhood can get up to 1,200 kids per house on Halloween! So I can only imagine the kind of stash my kids will get this year. Too much—considering my 3 year old has never really even had candy.

    Read More: Turn Piles of Halloween Candy into a Treat for Deployed Soldiers

    One packet of Peanut M &M's Fun Size has 90 calories and 5 grams of fat. Just multiply this times the amount of candy your child receives on Halloween and the results are not pretty. This kind of calorie and fat consumption puts your kids at risk for childhood obesity, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes. So, is it possible to keep this candy consumption to a minimum without causing major tantrums or fights from the kids? I think it is, especially with a plan.

    Read More: 50 Quick and Simple Do-It-Yourself Halloween

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  • Teaching Social Etiquette to a Three-Year-old is Hard

    Let's shake on it.At the library last week, my three-year-old son Alex refused to say "thank you" for the airplane he pulled from the treasure chest - a reward for every five visits. So he lost the airplane. We walked out amid cries of protest. Finally he announced he was ready to go back and thank the librarian and the airplane was returned to him.

    Read More: Parking Lot Etiquette During Car Seat Combat

    It was a challenging situation for me. At times it would be so much easier just to let him get away with sub-standard manners, but then I remind myself of the importance of social etiquette. What I really appreciated was that the librarian did not say what is so common: "Oh, don't worry about it! It's OK, he can have it." She continued to go about her day, patiently waiting for him to say his words, rather than sabotaging my moment of tough parenting.

    Read More: 5 Tips to Ease Your Child's Social Anxiety

    Kids are complicated little beings. They struggle to understand the world and

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  • If You're Not Voting Republican, Leave the Dinner Table

    Vote!My dad told me to leave the dinner table when I announced my plan to vote Democrat. I was about to turn 18 and declare my party on the voter registration application. His face turned reddish-purple explaining that he bought this table and this house with his hard earned money, which the Democrats tried to take away with their over-taxing and overzealous spending. My mother smoothed things over; she is a mediator type who usually voted with the Dems but avoided political discussions. I had a loving relationship with my dad, but politics were sensitive territory.

    Read More: Why Getting Our Kids Involved in Politics is Important

    So when Ava, my 14-year-old step-daughter, announced that she didn't really care who won in the race for president, I felt it was my responsibility to calm Trey, her dad, down.

    "Dad, I feel like if I voted Republican you'd like disown me or something. I mean it should be my own decision, not just what you believe," Ava said, defiantly.

    Trey

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