Wednesday, August 31, 2011

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Find Out What it Means to Me

"What you want, Baby I got it
What you need, you know I got it
All I'm askin' is for a little RESPECT when you come home, yea, Baby"

"R-E-S-P-E-C-T - Find out what it means to me!" 

And so the story (or song) goes.

Who would have thought that my faves, Otis and Aretha were chanting the mantra that all parents chant to their children at one time or another?

Clearly, these prescient entertainers were one-up on all of us when they sang their very parent-focused lyrics way back when.

What is respect, anyway?
Image courtesy of www.vishsesh.blogspot.com
Well, according to the  Merriam Webster dictionary, "respect" is defined as the following:
1: a relation or reference to a particular thing or situation <remarks having respect to an earlier plan>
2: an act of giving particular attention : consideration
3: high or special regard : esteem b : the quality or state of being esteemed c plural : expressions of high or special regard or deference <paid our respects>
4: particular, detail <a good plan in some respects>
in respect of
chiefly British : with respect to : concerning
in respect to
with respect to : concerning
with respect to
with reference to : in relation to

So, that being the case, do I get respect? Well, not so much. Okay, sometimes, but not as much as I'd like. Such is the lot in life of your typical mom or dad.
Image courtesy of www.aflyoverblog.typepad.com

Sometimes the mere drudgery is enough to make me want to jump off the nearest roof. Laundry is SO uncool.

Rappers demand respect but somehow I don't think they're asking for the same type that I require. They want respect for their rhymes. I want support for my scrubbing. They want emulation for their MC-ing; I want deference for my diaper duties. In addition:

I want respect for folding the laundry.

I want respect for cleaning up poo.

I want respect for changing the toilet paper roll for the umpteenth time this week.

Image courtesy of www.duduki.net
Yet, as much as I want it, it doesn't happen. I can't blame my kids - they're...well...kids, after all. They respect me as much as they can in their own capacity and at the same time expect me to do their bidding, when they want it, pronto. And being a mom, I guess I have to do it, to some degree. Don't I?

Well, perhaps not.
For as much as there is, to some degree, a proscribed list of parenting duties that we are bound by, there is also room for interpretation or, for some of us subversives, downright resistance to the expectations of being a mother or father. Some of us are at the point of no return. We want respect and we want it now.

Someone once said that "the little things mean a lot." Boy, did they hit the nail on the head. It's not the fact that you've changed your fourth poopy diaper within the hour, or the fact that you are on your fifth load of laundry for the day. Because we know that, hey - these are part and parcel of being a parent, right? It's the fact that despite your best efforts, your time and the energy expended, there is what appears to be very little or no appreciation for what you've endured. Now, two-year-olds really can't conceptualize appreciation that well, so you gotta cut them some slack. Older children can, but often don't think of it, through no fault of their own. Ironically, that's our job as parents - to teach them to be appreciative and respectful of us and the things that we do for them while being resentful that we are getting no respect for the things that we do for them.

So how does a parent manage to teach their children to be more respectful and appreciative? I've pondered this somewhat and this is what I've come up with:

1. Let them know that there is a difference between respect and expect, explain the differences and underscore the fact that they should not have expectations for things or events without showing respect for their parents first.


2. Explain that respect is one of those things that is mutual, and that the more one is respectful, the more respect one will receive. An all-around great deal, in my opinion.


3. Everyone deserves respect, at least from the outset. Give them the benefit of the doubt, assume that they're worthy of respect and act accordingly. If they prove you wrong, then reevaluate your strategy.


Kids can be respectful and in turn respected. They just need to be taught.


How do you teach your kids respect? What are your tips for showing them how to earn and show respect?


 Aretha Franklin - Respect


I had to add Otis Redding who did, after all write the song:





Saturday, August 27, 2011

Back on the Chain Gang: Should Kids Be "Leashed?'

We've all been there, right?

We're out in public, with our kid (or kids) in tow, and suddenly he bolts for the road unexpectedly.

Or how about those times where we innocently took Little Janie to the department store, looked down for a moment at that incredibly cute sweater, then turned around and our sweet little girl was gone?

Yes, panic ensued. Yes, we did finally become reunited with our offspring, if not through the kindness of strangers, but through the bloodcurdling scream of our child's name that resonated through the whole department store floor - as well as the floors above and below as well.

That split second and subsequent moments where we're not able to account for our child are the most terrifying that a parent can experience. Perhaps it's our primal biological connection to our progeny that makes it the most dreaded and horrifying experience when it actually happens. And when it has happened to you, I can assure you that you never want to go through it again.

The first scenario - the one where a child bolts unexpectedly - happened to me recently. Having twin boys, aged two, makes it a more likely occurrence, unfortunately. 

Image courtesy of www.child-awarness.com
I had taken my kids to drop them off at daycare, and one of my boys broke free and ran into the middle of the road, in a split second. The other boy ran (of course) at lightening speed in the other direction. What was I to do?

I guess that primal directive took over and I screamed at the top of my lungs to Boy 1 to come back, while (almost) simultaneously screaming at a kindly woman who just happened to be walking by to "get him NOW," in reference to Boy 2 who was now almost half a block away. Thankfully, there was no car coming and the very kind woman who I had bellowed at actually heeded my demand and roped in my kid. All's well that ends well, right?

Well, not really.

Because as we all know, these occurrences, while random in nature, are far from atypical. They happen a lot. Perhaps too much. When you have little kids, toddlers in particular, they are almost regular events. Could this be the reason that many of us parents of the younger set are sprouting gray hairs more quickly than ever? But I digress.

If you are the parent of a small one, your nerves are frayed and there's no way around it. Each foray into the outside world, if you will, makes you fraught with anxiety until the outing is completed and you're back in your home with your kids in tow, safe and sound. And every time that your kid bolts, you wonder what you can do to assure that it doesn't happen again, next time you venture out of the safety of your home.

Which brings me to the topic of today's post: child restraints, also known as "leashes" or "harnesses."

Okay, the mental images evoked by those words alone makes us all a little uncomfortable, don't they? I mean, leashes, harnesses, restraints...last time I checked, those were terms that described objects that, for the most part, kept animals in line, right? Therein lies the problem.

Image courtesy of www.sewing-chick.blogspot.com
While we may be all for keeping kids in line, disciplining them accordingly and perhaps being a bit of a disciplinarian at times, let's face it - we don't really want to equate our darling babies with dogs, horses and other common domestic creatures, do we? Our kids are precious, aren't they? And being so, how could we then possibly reconcile spending thousands upon thousands heeding our sweet little angels' every whims while at the same time reining them in - literally - while we're paying for those very purchases?

The dichotomy between these two very disparate scenarios makes most of us very uncomfortable, myself included. And yet, I can completely understand the mindset of parents who do decide that their kids will be harnessed, reined, restrained, or whatever the correct terminology may be for the practice. For while they may be shunned, scorned and judged by other parents, they - unlike you or I - are certain where their children are at all times. Given this fact, which parents are the ones who should really be judged? As many of us have experienced, we've turned our heads for a second, and our kids were gone.

Image courtesy of www.lullabyebaby.com
In all practicality, child harnesses are an obvious solution to a common problem. Young children run off with no warning, often becoming lost, or heaven forbid, into the path of oncoming traffic, our worst nightmares, as parents. What solutions do we have to circumvent this, at least until the little ones get past that stage where they want to explore their outside world at a second's notice, throwing caution to the wind and causing anxiety and stress to their loved ones? That being said, I will say for the record that I don't have a child harness or leash and am, frankly, uncomfortable enough with the concept that I will not likely be purchasing one (or two) anytime soon. That said, I remain conflicted, as when I see children "leashed" if you will, there is something about it that evokes a visceral reaction within me...and the reaction is not positive. The conflict that I feel, however,  comes from the fact that I completely understand why the parents have chosen this option, and perhaps, on some level, envy them for taking a stand and doing what they feel is the best solution for the very real problem of having kids who take off on a whim.

So forgive me. This is a longer post than usual and I've rambled a bit, partially as a way of working out my thoughts on this very controversial issue. Not meaning to, er, "unleash" a barrage of comments either pro or con, but I just had to put this issue out there.

Thoughts?

What do you think about child "leashes," "harnesses" or similar restraints? Are you for them or against them? Why or why not?

Of course any excuse to add a vaguely relative (or completely unrelated) video to a post and showcase artists that I like (like The Pretenders and Sam Cooke) is appreciated. So here you go:

Sam Cooke - Chain Gang



The Pretenders - Back on the Chain Gang




Friday, August 26, 2011

Fashion Fridays With Melanie: 5 Minute Beauty in 3 Quick Steps





Melanie, Multiple Mayhem Mamma's resident fashion, beauty and style guru, is back to provide us moms with some quick tips for looking great while sending our kids back to school!

Take it away, Mel!
5 Minute Beauty in 3 Quick Steps
It’s time for the kids to go back-to-school, which means that not only do you have to get yourself organized for the day, you have to get your kids ready at the same time.
When you feel like you have to choose between being punctual or doing your makeup, it’s not surprising that you pay more attention to the clock than you do to your face paint.
For those mornings that you start off on the wrong foot, there are some simple yet effective tricks that can get you on your way and on time, while still looking good. 

Here are three quick and easy steps to looking gorgeous in just mere minutes.
1. Go Undercover.  Skip the foundation post-moisturizer (hopefully one with SPF 30!) and use a concealer instead. Dab a bit under the eyes and anywhere else you have any blemishes or uneven tone. Blend. If you want to invest, I highly recommend Cle de Peau’s concealer. It’s won multiple beauty awards and for good reason. You need the tiniest amount and it covers beautifully and lasts all day.

2. Open up.  Curling your lashes before applying mascara instantly makes you look more awake and refreshed. So no matter how rushed you are, never skip this step. Once curled, apply one coat of mascara (if you have time, if not, move on to the next step). Need an eyelash curler?  Sephora makes a great one that’s reasonably priced. 


3. Multi-task. We multi-task in our lives, so why not our makeup? NARS has an amazing product called The Multiple that lets you add colour to your cheeks lips and even eyes in just a few seconds.  Simple dab some on your cheeks and lips (and if you want an extra glow on your lids), blend and go.
In less than five minutes, you look put together and ready to face the day.
What are your secrets for making mornings more streamlined?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blogger Awards - Passing the Torch!

As with many things I do, I am bucking tradition and discussing blogger awards - three of them - in one post.


Before I begin, let me say to Lala Musings, Twins Plus One, Three Times the Fun and the Crunchy Grouchy Mommy that I am so honored that you chose me for these awards, and, for the first two bloggers, I profusely apologize for being so slow to get this post together. You see, if I'm not working or writing, I'm running around after my 5,000 kids, which doesn't make for getting my act together very well. So sorry.


To that end, here I am, very belatedly in a couple of cases, saying "thank-you."


Some time back, Lala Musings and Twins Plus One, Three Times the Fun gave me a blogger award each: the first one was a Versatile Blogger Award, the second one was a Blog on Fire Award. Another blog that I love reading, The Crunchy Grouchy Mommy, just gave me another Versatile Blogger Award. As are the rules that are similar with these awards, one must tell seven things about themselves that are not widely known, then pass on the award(s) to others. I know that technically I should post 21 things, based on the fact that I'm addressing three awards, but really, I'm not that interesting...and you likely are not that interested in hearing them! ;)


I previously posted seven things about me so have dug up a few more in the spirit of the awards:
  1. Pasta is my favorite food. I could eat it every day.
  2. I don't like icing. I will scrape it off and just eat the cake/cupcake underneath.
  3. Some of my favorite movies include the original Planet of the Apes, The   Sound of Music and West  Side Story.
  4. I rarely read novels and tend more towards true crime, non-fiction and biographies.
  5. Sunflowers are my favorite type of flower.
  6. I like coffee with lots of cream and lots of sugar. Kinda like a dessert.
  7. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I like watching Millionaire Matchmaker and The Real Housewives of New York City.


So there they are. Some mildly interesting and mundane facts about yours truly. Now on to the good stuff.


I Googled the rules about the blog referrals and various sources say that you can reference anywhere from three to seven to 15 blogs, so being the lazy sod that I am, I'll split the difference and go for seven (because I can't refer .5 of a blog). On that note, here are seven blogs that I think are worthy of a read (in no particular order). I'm passing the Blog on Fire Award on to each of them:


1. Kindred Adventures
2. Mom Went Crazy
3. Misadventures in Motherhood
4. The Pregnant Chicken
5. Vino Baby
6. Some Mother
7. Worlds Worse Moms
8. Time Out For Mom
9. My Inner Alfalfa
10. My Life Not Finished


These blogs are all worth a read so check them out!




Saturday, August 20, 2011

VIDEO: Second Hand = Second Best?



As the parent of twins, the thought of purchasing everything new makes me break into a cold sweat. Let's face it, kids aren't cheap, and it only gets better as they get older. We all know that the new stuff - clothes, toys, furnishings - are more likely to be requested when the kids are cognizant of their surroundings. That's why at this stage, while they're young, I choose to buy some of their items new, and some second hand.


Alarmingly, there has been a trend towards product recalls, from strollers to cribs to car seats and beyond. Definitely disturbing for all of us parents who believe that our second-hand items are as good as new. Clearly that's not always the case.


I was interviewed by our local TV station on this topic, which also addressed the need for parents to be more aware of the items that they use for their children. Perhaps a cautionary tale of sorts, and definitely something to keep in mind the next time someone offers you a hand-me-down, even if it is out of the goodness of their heart.


Canadian readers: You can always check the status of a product or recall notices here:


http://cpsr-rspc.hc-sc.gc.ca/PR-RP/home-accueil-eng.jsp


American readers: Here are a couple of sites that list the latest recalls:


www.recalls.gov 


www.cpsc.gov


My question this week: Do you accept hand-me-downs for your kids, or purchase items second hand? If so, how often do you check the status of the items to see if they are on a product recall list?




Sunday, August 14, 2011

To Pee or Not To Pee: That is the Question

My modern-day homage to William Shakespeare. If you are a literary purist, my sincere apologies in advance.

Image courtesy of http://shakespeare.mit.edu/
To Pee or Not To Pee: That is the Question

To pee, or not to pee, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The puddles and poops of outrageous fortune,
Or to take baby wipes and bleach against a (pee) sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To change diapers and pull-ups, to sleep,
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache, and the numerous late-night "accidents"
That toddlers are prone to: 'tis a longing
That these times will end. To lie down, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream - there is the joke:
For in that non-existent sleep no dreams will ever come,
When we have changed soiled clothing for the umpteenth time,
It must give us pause - there's the reality of parenting toddlers
That makes a calamity of life for so long.
For who would bear the cries and whines of tantrums,
The parents' wrongs, the two-year-olds' petulance,
The pangs of unfinished sleep, the zombie-like existence,
The insanity of potty-training, and the puddles of pee
That toddlers merit as all in a hard day's work,
When they themselves might actually be able to evacuate
On the actual throne? Who would moms and dads bear,
To grunt and sweat on said potty throne,
But that the dread of something worse,
Like a call from the daycare that there are no more clean clothes;
No toddler returns, immediate pickup is demanded,
And makes us rather bitter and crabby
To clean up yet another mound of waste;
Thus poop does make cowards of us all,
And thus the naive embarrassment of resignation
That this reality will last for many months to come,
And the fact that one is angry and frustrated with the lack of progress,
With this regard their patience turns awry,
And perhaps throw in the towel. Curses you now,
The wretched potty! "Throne," in thy righteousness
Be all my toilet training attempts forgotten.

Image courtesy of www.ehow.com
Any potty training tips to share? I'm all ears!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

VIDEO: Back to School Organization Tips

We're at that time of the year that makes many of us parents break out in a cold sweat. Yes, on the cusp of the last long weekend of the summer, many of us are becoming anxious about what those hectic first days back to school will be like. The thought of the morning craziness strikes fear in the hearts of even the most mild-mannered moms and dads because - let's face it - shifting gears and getting back into the swing of things after the more relaxed summer routine has passed can't possibly be easy...can it?


Well, it likely won't be perfect and there may be a few hiccups along the way, but there are some things that parents can do to prepare for that first back-to-school bell. My last blog post provided Top 10 Back to School Survival Tips.
Following is a video that provides some additional information where I share tips for organizing and planning in advance of the big day.






What are your top tips for organizing the kids for Back to School?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Top 10 Back To School Survival Tips

Summertime and the livin' ain't easy. Not if you've been trying to juggle swimming and sleepovers, play dates and parties. Let's face it: being a parent isn't easy, whether it's summertime or not. Adding to this is the fact that September is creeping up on us, folks, and guess what: that means it's "Back to School" time.

Now, while the end of the hot weather may bring on conflicting feelings - relief that the kiddies will at least be occupied during the weekdays to some degree - there is the accompanying stress felt by some of us that we now need to stop "playing it by ear" (our summer credo) and get back to structure and schedules. Gulp.


Not wanting to wait until the last second before the first school bell of the season chimes, I've put together the following Back to School survival tips to help parents get through this crazy time relatively unscathed.


Image courtesy of www.rachelray.com


Top 10 Back To School Survival Tips

1) Pack and Play - Get all of the kids' various gym bags, book bags and knapsacks ready the night before. Have them loaded with everything they need, from pencils to snacks to changes of clothes and more. Do not leave this until the morning of the first day of school. Trust me on this.

2) Know Thy Enemy - Okay, perhaps not an enemy but the school itself can be daunting if you don't know the lay of the land. Whether you're taking little Johnny to Kindergarten for the first time, or you're back for the fourth year in a row, find out in advance where you're child's class or classes are, who the teachers are, where the entrances and offices are, etc. It will save you that valuable time on those days where there are but minutes to spare before the bell rings.

3) Do Not "Shop ‘Til You Drop" - The marketers would have you believe that you absolutely have to purchase your child's full wardrobe just before the Labor Day weekend. This is in fact not the truth at all. It actually makes sense to take a more measured response to purchasing, given the various factors that need to be considered when buying kids' clothing. Not only the weather, which is the obvious one, but the rate of growth of your kids as well. And let's not mention what the latest style dictates, Mom and Dad. What your daughter may want, based on the current style in September could be very different from what she desires a few months later in January - when she has decided that she no longer likes what you purchased for her, and you've already thrown out the bill. Buy a few items for the first week back and shop as you go throughout the months ahead. It will give your bank account a well-needed rest and your daughter the opportunity to change her mind ;)

4) Bulk Up - Don't laugh. Costco never looked so good. This is especially the case if you have a growing child or children who are perpetually hungry. Oh, and don't forget the requisite supplies that will make your intrepid scholar feel that much more motivated. No, I am not contradicting myself, e.g. tip #3; in this instance I'm talking about stuff. Pens, paper, notepads, knapsacks. On the food front? Club Packs of granola bars, juice boxes, trail mix. All the stuff that kids go through fast and that you keep buying at the grocery store. Save yourself some time and some money. Buy in bulk and take some time off from doing a "big shop" for a few weeks.

5) Team Huddle - This is crucial to the first day - and each day for the rest of the school year - going smoothly. Have a meeting with you child/children and set out what your expectations are for them re: morning routines, time frames, chores, etc. Lay it all out on the table and make it clear. Discuss what needs to be discussed and air any grievances there and then. The point is to have the buy in and, by extension, the cooperation of your kids when the school year actually commences. Arguing about what time you need to get out the door is really not productive at 8:47 am on the first  morning (and subsequent mornings) of school.

6) Color Coded - If you're like me and many other moms out there, you are perpetually asking "what happened to the other sock?!" The washer or dryer seems to eat them, and this fact is usually found out when nerves are frayed and everyone is rushing to get ready for school. Do yourself a favor and buy socks in the same color. Stock up on six or seven pairs of one or two in the same color group for each child and breath a sigh of relief. 

7) Ground Zero - Keep all the important things in one place. Knapsacks, keys, permission forms, notebooks - whether it's by the front door or close by, everyone should know that when in doubt, to place the item(s) there. It will save a lot of stress and frustration in the morning when tempers are short and time is a-wasting.

8) What's on the Agenda? Hopefully you, your partner and your kids. Get into the habit of scheduling activities and tracking them - whether it be on a huge communal calendar on the kitchen wall or fridge, or in your kids' individual rooms. The key is that everyone is on the same page and knows who is doing what on any given day. Consult the calendar, have a plan of action about when activities need to be added and discussed, and stick to it. You, as the parent will be thankful for this tiny measure of control over your crazy life. 

9) Routine Check-Up - Similar to tip #8, it's key that you get the kids into a routine before they start back at school. The week before the fall bell rings, go through a "morning drill" of sorts with the family. Get the kids up the same time that they would when school will be starting, have breakfast, organize the kids stuff together, etc. The reason behind this is knowing what the actual time it is going to take to realistically get out the door. Not only will it teach your children the importance of planning in advance, but it will give you the peace of mind required, knowing that you're one step ahead of the game.

10) Relax - Yes, it may seem easier said than done but really: at the end of the day, the world won't end if someone wears mismatched socks or the same pair of jeans three days in a row. Give yourself a break. It's hard enough being a parent as it is. Pat yourself on the back for getting the kids up, ready and out the door and if the cross the threshold of their school relatively happy, you've done your job well.

What are your best Back to School Survival Tips? Please share!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy Walked Into a Bar...

Yea, this would likely be a pretty funny joke if it existed. Perhaps it does, somewhere out there.

Nonetheless, whether or not it exists doesn't detract from the fact that these entities - ones that millions of Western children hold dear - might very well be....well....not exactly real.

We may all seem to feel that as parents, we're in on the secret, but are we, really? Who's having the last laugh when it comes to "things that go bump in the night?" These things - within the same realm as the "Boogie Monster" and the "Monster that Lives [in the closet, under the bed, in the basement - insert location here]" provide the basis for not only many childhood fantasies and fears but...hold onto your hats...finances as well.

Image courtesy of www.kchblog.com
Let's face it - parenthood - as I've said on many occasions - is largely comprised of bribery, negotiations and threats. Sometimes money is involved. So what, you ask? Well, not only are the kids having the last laugh on us in many instances, but they may very well be profiting from our attempts at fantasy as well.

Case in point: My seven-year-old advised me that she had a total of over $50 smackeroos saved up in her room (this consists of loose change and five-dollar bills that she received). Yes, she does get an allowance, but much of that money came from "The Tooth Fairy."

It's late summer and we're still plowing through Easter chocolates.

There are a number of yet-unopened and never played with toys that "Santa Claus" delivered.

What I'm trying to say that is that there comes a time where we as parents, and our kids are both in on the ruse, and it then becomes a game of "who blinked." You moms and dads out there who are parenting older kids know exactly what I mean. There is that time that seems to creep up on us all as parents when you as the parent know that your child doesn't believe the story, and your child doesn't believe it either. The problem? Neither one of you wants to say "uncle." Doing so, from your point of view, would be an admission that your little baby boy/girl isn't so little any more, and that a whole portion of that sweet childhood existence will be gone forever once you reveal the truth, not to mention that you'd be revealed to have been lying to your precious little one all this time. From the child's point of view, the hidden chocolate eggs and large-sized bunnies, the additional gifts left under the Christmas tree from Santa and his Elves, and the few bucks (inflation) that the Tooth Fairy leaves every time a molar or canine tooth dislodges will henceforth become a distant memory. 

Both parties have a vested interest in perpetuating the fantasy, sure. But at what cost, and to what end?

How healthy is it really, to set up these characters in the minds of our children, only to tear them down again years later. More importantly, do we really want our kids to think: "Mommy/Daddy was LYING to me all these years?"

I survived this "trauma," as did many of my friends and relatives. And, being the traditionalist that I am, I felt compelled to pass along this questionable practice to my children, when I had them. I advised of and supported details of the Tooth Fairy's modus operandi, Santa Claus' travel schedule on Christmas Eve and the Easter Bunny's penchant for hiding eggs in people's homes. My kids fell for my stories hook line and sinker. So why do I feel somewhat guilty? And why, now that my seven-year-old is on the verge of not believing (I don't really think she's on the verge - she may have abandoned belief a few months back), I am at once relieved and saddened? And when do I "blink?" Who will say "Uncle" first in this scenario? Her or me (or her dad)?

There are three questions regarding this topic that I really need answered:
  1. Should we be perpetuating these fantasies for our kids at all, and if so, for how long? How old should the child be before the jig is up and our ruse is revealed? 
  2. What would happen if we removed these cultural benchmarks? Millions of kids around the world don't believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny and they seem to be doing fine. Could we in the Western world do the same?
  3. The profitability of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy combined may contribute to a longer "belief period" on the part of the kids. Is this really a good idea?
According to one very eloquent writer many years ago, Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus, apparently. Okay, but what about the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy?

What do you think? Are these childhood characters something that we should continue to portray for our kids, or should we call it a day and tell them the truth about The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus?



Fashion Fridays With Melanie: Top 5 Tips for Finding the Perfect Pair of Jeans

My favorite fashionista, Melanie from Style and Error is back to provide tips for choosing the right pair of jeans. Thanks, Mel!

***

Fall is just around the corner, which means the dreaded jeans shopping season has begun.  To help you navigate the plethora of options out there, here are a few simple tips to make shopping for a new pair of blues easier:
Image courtesy of www.marieclaire.com
1.     Find your fit. Before you try any jeans on, be honest with your body type. If you’re tall, only look at brands with long inseams, if you have wide hips and a small waist, look for brands that offer a curvy fit to help eliminate gaping (Levi’s CurveID  line is a great option).  Now that you know where you stand, you’re ready for the next step.
Image courtesy of www.explore.levi.com
2.     Research. Once you’ve identified your major requirements, check out brands on various websites to see if they cover off your needs, or go to a website like www.zafu.com that does the work for you. Ask friends with similar body types or jeans you love and find out where they got them.

3.     Name your price.  Denim prices can range from $25 to $500+.  And remember, just because they are more expensive doesn’t necessarily make them better. However, higher-priced lines are made with premium denim (usually from Italy or Japan) and often have finer details (single-hand stitching etc.) that increases manufacturing cost and in turn, increases the retail price. Regardless of your price range, you can find a pair of jeans that looks great and suits your budget.

4.     Try, try, and try again. Get to a store, grab a ton of styles to try on (dark washes are universally flattering) and get them in multiple sizes. I like to select a variety of cuts and washes (and brands), take a mountain of them into the change room and try them on until I find a pair I love. Tiring? yes - but it's worth it in the long run.

5.     Give it the Boot.  At a loss for what style works best for you? Go with a boot cut. It looks good on everyone. The only caveat - whatever pair you go with make sure you find one that makes you feel amazing. After all - that's what it's all about, isn't it?

It may be a lot of hard work, but once you find that perfect pair of jeans, you'll be so glad that you did. 

What is your biggest challenge when shopping for jeans?