Monday, November 28, 2011

A Great Tool to Teach Kids About Money

One thing I always promised myself I would do is teach my son how to manage money.  My father owned a business and as I grew up I heard my parents discussing every aspect of the business every day.  They taught me everything they knew about business, finances, investing, and saving.  This enabled me to make good financial decisions in my life.  It has been one of the most valuable gifts and one that I want to give to my son.
Ha has read books, started a savings and investment account, and had a small business all by 11 years old.  One great tool that I’ve used to teach him how to manage finances is a game called Cashflow For Kids by Robert Kiyosaki, the author of “Rich Dad Poor Dad.”
Cashflow is really fun which is the most important part.  A kid’s not going to learn as much if playing is a horrible chore they have to endure.  My son begs me to play and his friends love to play when they come over.  The game board is made up of two main parts: an income statement and a balance sheet.  The income statement is made up of salary, passive income, and expenses.  The balance sheet is divided into assets and liabilities.  The assets are then divided into securities, real estate, and businesses.  Liabilities are made up of borrowed money, credit cards, and mortgages.  These are all mostly pictures and include definitions so are easy to understand.  The whole point of the game is to eventually get more passive income than expenses so your money is working for you instead of you working for your money.
It’s amazing how quickly my 11 year old caught on and now uses these business terms in everyday conversation.  This game is also one of the reasons he decided he wanted to save $500 to start a Scottrade investment account so he could begin to earn passive income by investing in dividend stocks.
I’m pretty proud of all my son has taken away from the game but I have to admit it also reinforces everything I learned from my parents and business school.  I remember I should be making my money work for me instead of working for money just so i can blow it on things that don’t matter.
The best part of this whole learning experience?  My son now understands when he wants something and I say my money would be better used on something else.  He agrees with me and tells me to invest it!

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Something to be Thankful for...

I don’t normally post too many blog articles that are just stories about my family but this one’s a doozy and I need to share my pain. 
The other night my son was asleep and I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth.  I noticed the toothpaste was really watery and I rolled my eyes imagining what sort of dumb thing my child had done to it (in my household he does so many random things that if something isn’t on fire I usually don’t question it).  So I brushed my teeth with the watery toothpaste.  I repeat: I BRUSHED MY TEETH WITH IT‼‼‼  I went to bed and had a blissful night’s sleep.
The next morning my son says, “Oh mom, you didn’t use the toothpaste did you?”  His tone of pure disgust and the look of pity made me pay attention.  “Yes I did, why?”  I asked wondering if I even wanted to know.  “That toothpaste fell into the toilet last night,” he says. 
Do you know what that means?  That means I brushed my teeth with toilet water.  I BRUSHED MY FREAKING TEETH WITH TOILET WATER‼‼‼‼‼‼‼‼‼
Why did he put it back?  Why didn’t he tell me what happened?  Why didn’t he throw it away?  He didn’t seem to know the answer to any of these questions.  I told him I can’t believe I have to tell him that when things that belong in our mouths fall into the toilet we throw them away.  Why wouldn’t that be common sense?  Why do I have to tell him that?  Sigh.  He’s so lucky his mother’s love is unconditionalJ
Even though I doubt anyone can top this story I will throw out the gauntlet and issue a challenge to all of you parents.  Have your kids ever done anything that was repulsive enough to top this?  If not, I just gave you something to be thankful for this holiday season!

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Judging Moms

I just read an article on mothers judging other mothers.  I remember when I was a preschool teacher I saw a lot in my classroom that was judge-worthy but there were several incidents that taught me some very important lessons that I will never forget. 
I had a little girl in my class who was absolutely adorable.  She was dressed beautiful every day, she was smart as a whip, and so sweet to her peers.  There was only one thing I felt terrible about.  Every day she came to school and had a sandwich of nothing but white bread and fluff along with a jello.  I am a huge advocate of healthy eating and always fed my son whole grains and protein at every meal plus five fruits and vegetables a day.  It wasn’t hard so, in my mind, why wouldn’t a parent feed their kids healthy food unless they were lazy or indifferent?  It really bothered me that this poor child ate food that provided her with zero nutrition.  Years later I went to this child’s house for dinner with a mutual friend.  I ate before I left because I imagined the mother to be a horrible cook.  When I arrived I couldn’t believe my eyes.  She had a gourmet buffet full of mouthwatering foods.  I saw her daughter filling up on delicious and healthy foods.  Later we were talking about the struggles we’ve had parenting our children and she told us how she had to pack her daughter fluff sandwiches and jello because if she didn’t she would eat nothing at school.  She said she just made sure she ate very healthy breakfasts, snacks, and dinners.  Was this mom indifferent to her daughter’s nutritional needs as I had thought?  Absolutely not.  She was just a mom doing whatever it took to do the best she could for her family.  My son would eat anything I put in front of him so I always fed him healthy and could never understand the struggles that some parents go through who have picky eaters. 
I had another little girl who loved to read and had tons of healthy food every day but came to school in old hand me down boy’s clothes and was often dirty.  Her mother on the other hand, was dressed beautifully every single day with perfectly manicured nails and salon ready hair matched with perfectly pressed designer clothes.  I couldn’t understand how a mom could be so selfish as to dress her child so poorly while taking such good care of herself.  I laid out my son’s clothes everyday and he wore them.  It wasn’t hard so why didn’t she take the time unless she was lazy or indifferent?  One day I ran into the mom at a party and she confessed to me how embarrassed she was that her daughter was such a tomboy when she was younger.  She told me how she had to fight her daughter in order to dress her in perfect dresses and practically had to physically wrestle her into the bathtub in order to get her clean.  Finally she decided that she would rather let people judge her as a parent rather than abuse her daughter in order to make her look perfect to the outside world.  What this a mom who didn’t care if her daughter was clean or not?  Absolutely not.  She was just a mom doing whatever it took to do the best she could for her family.  (By the way, the daughter eventually grew out of this stage and is now a very clean, put together young lady).  My son didn’t care about clothes so how could I ever understand what some parents go through who have kids that are adamant about how they dress?
As moms we need to remember that we are all moms doing whatever it takes to do the very best we can for our families.  We all have struggles.  We are all great moms sometimes.  We are all bad moms sometimes.  THERE IS NOT ONE OF US WHO IS THE PERFECT PARENT!  The next time you find yourself judging another mom (or any other person for that matter) just remember, you don’t know her circumstances, you don’t know what she’s going through, and you don’t know how she is in other aspects and situations in her life.  Cut her some slack because the next time you have a bad mom moment maybe she’ll do the same for you.
Why did I judge these moms?  Because they are facing different struggle than my own.  My son eats anything and doesn’t care what he wears so those aspects of parenting are easy for me.  I face completely different issues such as the never ending battles over watching television and video games.  A parent could judge me and think I’m a horrible mother for allowing my son to watch too much television because their child turns it off without a fight whenever the parent asks.  I also had an issue with my son putting his hands on other kids and getting in their face when he was little.  I know other moms thought I was a terrible mom that couldn’t get my son to keep his hands off their kids.  What they didn’t know is that my son is legally blind so he gets up close and uses his hands to see better.  I have a friend now who feels awful because she admitted she judged me for that before she got to know me.  We’re the best of friends now because she understands my issues with my son are drastically different than the ones she’s going through with hers.
These are just a few examples of situations that look a certain way and on closer inspection turned out to be totally different.  I think whenever we judge another person we should remember that we are only seeing a moment in their lives.  It’s not who they are it’s a single clip of their life.  You may see a mom yelling at her small children.  Maybe that’s the only time she ever yelled at them and she usually cuddle with them, reads them stories, never lets them watch television, and feeds them only organic foods.  Should she be labeled a “bad mom” because she had a moment where she wasn’t perfect? 

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Holiday Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Gianna, the winner of the Less Than Perfect Parents Holiday Giveaway.  Gianna will receive (1) $50 Toys R Us Gift Card to use for her holiday shopping.  Thank you to everyone that entered!  This giveaway went so well that I’m just dying to do another one so keep your eyes peeled!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Simply Red by The Limited

Red is the color of the holidays!  From the fall hues of Thanksgiving to the red and green of Christmas to striking red on New Year's Eve, red is perfect for any function this season.  With red, the key is to just let a little say a lot. Here are some great looks from The Limited:

Satin Peek Knit Tee
I love this shirt because of the way it falls.  It helps to define your waist yet is forgiving of any imperfections.  It is sophisticated yet comfortable and I think the look of effortless elegance is what we're all going for when we dress up a little.

This shirt can be paired with:

Bias-cut Pencil Skirt
The next look is a flattering plaid that is side zipped and lined.  It's easy to vary how casual or dressy this skirt looks based on what you match it with.  I've offered several different shirts below so you can determine what fits your style best.

This skirt can be paired with any any of these:

Here are some red accessories that can brighten up any look!

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Holiday Giveaway!

Now that Halloween is over it's time to focus on the holidays!  To celebrate this holiday season I want to give a gift to my readers to show how much I appreciate you all! This is my favorite time of year and I want to spread the joy of giving that marks this season!  I am going to award a $50 Toys R Us Gift Card to one of my followers to help with your holiday shopping!

To enter:
  1. Follow Less Than Perfect Parents one of the following ways:
    • Google Friend Connect
    • Networked Blogs
    • Email Subscription-You will receive an email with a confirmation link (Make sure you check your spam folder). You must confirm to be eligible.
  2. Leave a comment below that includes your email address and how you followed.

You can sign up until noon EST on 11/7/2011. I’ll send the winner an email within 24 hours.

*Open to U.S. residents 18 and older

*Judging: Less Than Perfect Parents will choose a winner based on a random drawing of comments below.

*Winner has 72 hours to claim prize.

Good luck everyone!