Blog Posts by Parentables

  • Summer style essentials for moms: really?

    This post was written by Susan Wagner. Photo: Boden USA

    I was flipping through fashion magazines last week at the pool (my life is hard, I know) and reading various Summer Essentials lists. Every magazine has one -- ten things you absolutely must have right now! Heading the list for Summer 2011: platform sandals, the crochet bikini, and a cute summer jacket.

    I cannot imagine any of those things working in my closet.

    My typical summer day goes like this: I get up early and go running; after my run, I change into my swimsuit and toss on something in the way of a coverup, either a maxi dress that has seen better days or a very thin long sleeved J. Crew tee from maybe three or four years ago and a jersey knit skirt. When we're done swimming, I shower and get dressed, in an outfit that is appropriate for little league or karate class or whatever else it is that we have on the schedule for the evening. Whatever I wear has to be machine washable (because the baseball field

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  • Pack Up the Pool Bag in Style

    This post was written by Susan Wagner. Photo: Lands' End

    The pool's open! Which means it's time to gather everything you need for a day of sun and fun with the kids. Start with a great bag; my favorite is the classic canvas tote from Lands' End. The canvas is sturdy and durable, and cleans up easily. The inside has three small pockets, the perfect size for sunscreen and hand wipes, and a large snap pocket that will hold a magazine or book. The tote has an interior key clip -- no more fumbling around at the end of the day! -- and an exterior pocket perfectly sized to hold your cell phone, away from wet hands. Choose your trim and monogram color for a look that is uniquely yours. (These totes make great kids' school bags, too!)

    What goes inside your bag? Start with sunscreen -- even if you've applied at home, you'll need to reapply at the pool. Choose from wipes, spray, or old school lotion, but be sure you've got plenty. Toss in a lip balm with SPF, to keep your kisser

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  • Michelle Duggar: Why learning music by heart is so important

    This post was written by Michelle Duggar. Photo credit: Robin Hill/Getty Images.

    I love music, and that's why we wanted our children to be able to play an instrument, as well as for the purpose of worshipping the Lord. Jim Bob and I are not musically inclined; I can hardly even read music. We were so thankful we found our piano teacher at church. She offered to teach our children piano lessons for half-price to anyone that was a member of the church, and that was like an answer to our prayers.

    So our kids started learning music when they were little, tiny things -- they had to sit on a cushion on the piano bench just to be able to reach the keys. It's about consistency, and each day you get up at the piano and you practice. When the now-older kids were little it might be 15 minutes every day. As they got older it was 30 minutes, and then the oldest ones practice an hour and there are times that it's work; sometimes they just didn't really want to get up there because they'd

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  • Michelle Duggar on the sound of family music

    This post was written by Michelle Duggar. Photo credit: DCI.

    All of my older children play the violin, but often if there's a special event -- whether it's political or a community event or weddings -- someone will call and ask our kids to play. Our son, Josiah, has taken up the cello, and it sounds beautiful with the violins and the viola that John David, our second oldest son, plays. When they all play together the violins and the cello and the viola sound so good together -- it's just got a really rich sound to it. My older daughters, Jana, Jill and Jinger, have learned the harp; I think people love harp music because it's so peaceful.

    Our piano teacher actually schedules the kids' piano recitals at our local nursing home. I think that's such a neat idea because early on our children were always like, "I don't want to show off; that's not what I really want to do." And that's not the whole goal of a recital, but I said, "No, really what you're doing is you're

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  • Get Fit in Style

    This post was written by Susan Wagner. Photo: My Custom Yoga Mat

    I'm a runner -- right now I'm training for a half marathon -- and I have to admit that most days, I just toss on whatever of my running gear is clean and weather-appropriate, which often means I'm running in pieces that are not exactly pretty. But when I run a race, I want to look a little nicer -- not full-face-of-makeup nice (I'll never get why women show up for 10K runs in full makeup) but not quite as bedraggled as I look on my everyday run. So I have a cute tank and a running skirt that I save for group events. Call me crazy, but it makes me feel good, and that makes me run faster.

    Yes, really.

    We work out in order to look good, but I'm willing to bet that most of you don't look particularly great while you're working out. I'm not talking about sweaty hair and red faces; I'm talking about the fact that our default workout clothes are often the leftovers from our casual wear closet -- old battered

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  • Why I Vow to Put My Child in Danger (Just Not Too Much)

    This post was written by Sami Grover. Image Credit: Dianna, used under Creative Commons license.

    Some time back I wrote that, prior to becoming a parent, one of my biggest fears was dealing with all the pee and poop. I may have been exaggerating for effect. Because, like any parent, my biggest fears really revolved around death, injury, mishap or other calamities befalling my children. I just couldn't get my head around how we can still send our kids out into the dangerous and risky world we live in, when we know all the things that can go wrong? Yet that's exactly what we must do.

    Exploration Involves Risk

    When I was around eleven or twelve, my friends and I would pack a lunch, get on our bikes, and take off for long bike rides in the surrounding countryside. Often we'd cover 20 miles or more, on narrow country roads. And my parents would wave us off happily without, I assumed at the time, a care in the world. Now, as a parent myself, I realize what a nonsense this

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  • Go Ahead and Meddle in Your Children's Relationships -- They'll Thank You For It Later

    This post was written by Andy Hinds.

    Whenever I write about how I met my wife, I have to include some winky/nudgey passages like this: We met in college and for the next 9 years were good pals who didn't date and would never have considered cohabitating because that would have been wrong and immoral and her parents would have been completely justified in disowning her, which is exactly what they would have done. That little disclaimer is in case of the very, very unlikely event that her parents would read something I published on the interwebs.

    The snarky synopsis above encapsulates the official story as it appears in the annals of my wife's family history. We met in college, and I was the friend who sometimes fixed her car. I started a little construction business while she applied to medical school, and continued to drive nails while she worked toward her degree. Years later, after she had graduated from medical school, I approached her parents in the usual manner--you

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  • 19 Ways to Beat Clutter Forever


    This post was written by Blythe Copeland. Photo: Clarkston SCAMP/Creative Commons

    We all have them: Those secret junk drawers, packed-to-the-brim closets, and attics bursting with...well, what exactly is all that stuff? It's clutter -- and it's in your way. These 19 tips will help you take your home from cramped to comfortable while freeing up plenty of space for your family to enjoy.

    Get Started

    1. Go to the source. If you're overwhelmed by clutter, then the last thing you need is more of, well, anything. The less stuff you bring into your house -- and that includes new purses, your kids' books, and your husband's tools -- the less you'll have to sort and store.

    2. Think small. If a house-wide de-cluttering seems overwhelming, start by getting rid of one item each week -- preferably something that you can put out for the trash. If you set it aside promising to "drop it off later at the thrift store," it will probably end up back in your house before you ever get to

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  • Keeping the Baby's Gender a Secret -- Until the Big Announcement

    This post was written by Michelle Duggar.

    My son Josh and my daughter-in-law Anna were tossing around the idea of doing a home birth for their second child (my second grandchild!). And when they got on that subject our friends said, "Well, then, if you're not going to be using the same doctor that did the ultrasound before, you'd be welcome to come to our office; we'll give you a discount, and you guys can have the ultrasound done."

    Anna came up with the idea that she wanted to honor me in letting me know the gender of the baby first. And so I didn't really have anything to do with that; it was just her idea. They really wanted to do it this way, and I thought, "Well, that's creative." I think they had talked to different friends that had had all these creative ways that they revealed the gender of their babies. I guess they've heard all these creative stories of how this one did it and that one did it, and they thought, "Oh, I like this idea. Let's do this."

    So

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  • How to Keep 19 Kids' Clothes Organized

    This post was written by Michelle Duggar. Photo credit: DCI.

    [From the TLC editors: The Duggars have a finely tuned solution for just about every domestic scenario. Do you have any questions for Michelle Duggar? Make sure to leave them in a comment below.]

    We have a family clothes closet so all of our stuff is in one area, just right off from where the washers and dryers are. So it's in the laundry area so that when everybody wants something to wear they go down there, pick out their clothes and go get their shower.

    Everything ends up right back there when it gets put down the laundry chute. So the nice thing about it is there's like about 11 racks that hold all of our hanging clothes for 21 people. I was like, man, that's really, really good -- for that many clothes in a closet area!

    But we also have other racks that are storing our off-season clothes that are in our garage. And so we do have more racks, but the ones that are our current racks, that we use on a daily

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