I know you use your parents’ book on how to teach your children about sex for the first time at age 8. but what I’m wondering is, do you have any books that helped you to introduce changes with their bodies before or along with the sex talk book? we are looking for a book that is innocent enough for our young daughter, yet not full of “cool” talk and preteen slang. We just want straight forward information to teach our daughter how beautiful her body is in a non-overwhelming way. I thought you would have a recommendation I could trust.

Yes, I LOVE this book for talking about the real deal (click here for more detailed info). We have had some of the greatest talks with our kids because of that thing. As far as introducing body changes and all that jazz, I read “The Proper Care and Keeping of You” with my girls a while back and I loved how it explained things. I hope that helps!

My girls now are always wanting play dates with friends, and I have such a hard time with it when I don’t know the kids or the parents or what their family situation is. Same with going to b-day parties. Do you have any “rules” for that? I’m finding it hard to find the line between being over protective and just letting go, and being safe and protecting them.

I generally meet the parents before my kids go to new friends’ houses, not only for safety purposes, but because I’ve met some of the nicest people that way. Most of the time if they are invited somewhere we ask if we can have the first playdate at our house so I can get to know them better. I’m so grateful for people reaching out to our family by inviting our kids over to their houses, but I am also pretty protective of our family time. We happen to live in a neighborhood that is crawling with kids, which is awesome in so many ways, but it can also be difficult to balance out our own family time so sometimes we have to make careful choices. We often turn down birthday parties when it’s someone who just invited the whole class and we don’t know them, not because I don’t want my kids to go, but because there’s just not enough time in the day!

I am a new follower of yours. I love the chore ideas you shared! {from the middle of this post and the initial question about chores was here} I’m curious to know if your children cook or help you cook? I have been wondering how to incorporate teaching my children how to cook into our routine. I’m not a good cook, nor do I like to do it, but I don’t want to pass that attitude off onto my children. My kids are still too young to take much responsibility in the kitchen, but I try to let them ‘help’ where possible. Thanks for any suggestions you may have!

Yes! I love having my kids in the kitchen with me…and most of the time they love it too, except when I get all bossy and expect them to know what to do without detailing it out for them. {There’s a post on cooking together back here, and our favorite roll recipe resulting from our taste test is here.} We mostly cook together on Sundays (because there’s more time) and I think the key that I’ve learned over the years is to assign specific jobs or they’ll get tired of it fast: things like “chop the cucumbers,” or “measure in the ingredients with me” when they’re young to more complicated things after they’ve had more practice: “make the salad,” or “make the flatbread” (Grace’s specialty) when they’re older.

Last year when I was hauling Grace and Claire to gymnastics so much I often had dinner things laid out for Max and Elle and had them finish the preparations while I instructed them over the phone. They learned a lot that way. Now they are all quite proficient at some of our favorite family recipes which makes me happy and sure helps me a lot.

How do back-up your photos? I am recently running into ‘space’ problems. I like to have 2 copies (at least!) of my pictures saved. But with my nicer camera and photos taking up too much space, I need to consider what to save and what to delete (gasp!). I know I don’t need 50 pictures of my son blowing out birthday candles. I am really curious how you organize your photos on your computer, how you decide what to delete, and how you back them up in case of computer failure. Yah. I’m a little paranoid 🙂

I try to delete as many pictures I’m not in love with as I can along the way (yeah, like those 49 extra ones of blowing candles out:) and I’m careful to backup through “time machine” as regularly as possible. I try to keep up with labeling the pictures I upload as I go (I’m really not very good at it but that’s my goal) in Lightroom. That helps a lot too. BUT, I’m like you and worry about the “what if’s” so I recently started backing up externally through a program called “crash plan.” I’m still only 3.5% backed up and it estimates that it will take 7.2 months (yes, you read that right) to complete the back up so I’ll have to let you know if that really works out…

I chose Crash Plan because from what I understand it backs up external drives as well as your main computer and since I store everything on my laptop I have and external drive with the bulk of my pictures on it.

I am stunned you buy school pictures! WHAT?? I stopped buying them years ago because I would rather have professional pics and don’t want to pay for both. Some insight as to why you buy those… PLEASE! 🙂
{from this post}

I know what you mean, but I am COMPELLED to buy these things. Yes, I take pictures of my children non-stop, but these beginning-of-the-year pictures capture that exact moment in time: “Claire starting second grade” for example, and they freeze that moment for me instead of being mixed up in the bounteous files clogging up my computer. I have no idea what to DO with those pictures aside from taking pictures of them, but every time that picture order surfaces from the backpacks I go on autopilot and get out my checkbook and make an order.

And then my heart gets all warm and fuzzy when they bring them home in their backpacks and I look at those sweet faces on those pictures, even if the pictures turn out really out of focus and funny. That moment of “school life” is captured and some day I can line them up from each year gone by and cry about how my babies have changed over the years.

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  1. My mom gave me The Proper Care And Keeping Of You when I was around age ten. It is SUCH a good way to explain periods and other changes that happen during puberty. Totally recommend it.

  2. I buy our kids' school photos in order to get the class photo (you can't get it without buying a photo package). Those class photos are so fun to look back on and remember your friends, and I want my kids to have them. Luckily, our school photographer has a policy that after the first two kids, the rest get their packages for free, so while I pay $20 for two kids now, it's nice to know I still only pay $20 for 4 kids in a couple of years!

  3. We pick up "The Proper Care and Keeping of You" every few months and my girls 8 and 10 have loved it. Especially the 10 year old. I think she finds great comfort in realizing just how normal these changes are. Just this morning I was wondering if there was a book like that made for boys? So if anyone knows of any, I would love to know to give my husband as much help in teaching our 2 boys as I've had in teaching our girls. 🙂

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