Monday, May 30, 2011

Just Curious: Practical advice

I am going to be away from the computer for a while (if I have the willpower!), so I need to be non-controversial until next week.

To that end, how about a fluffy, innocuous Just Curious?

Since I can use all the productive suggestions I can get, I am just curious if you all have any practical advice... on any subject at all!

I personally can't think of much to offer in this department, but I will throw out two quick thoughts:

1) Don't buy a two-story house. (Oh, how I long for my one-story days!)

2) If you are over 40, do yourself a favor and use pink lipgloss. Trust me, you will look instantly fresher and younger, without looking like you are trying to be 25 again.

Okay, go ahead and give us your quick, practical tips for better living!

(Wouldn't it be ironic if this turned into the most controversial post yet?)



  1. My father-in-law (a pharmacist) advised me to teach my kids to take pills as soon as they were able (about age 2). We've never had to fight them over yucky medicine.

    To cut baby nails, use manicure scissors. They're the little ones with the curve. They're the perfect size and shape for the job and you can see what you're doing unlike with clippers.

  2. I was kind of proud of this one...

    I get my little kids to make their own beds, ages 3,4,6,7. I invested in a well-made water- and stain-proof, but soft, mattress cover which they sleep directly on, and all they have to do to make the bed is spread the comforter out and throw pillows on top. No sheets.

    Now...does anyone have any advice for getting my teen son to make his bed? I've tried taking away all the gadgets, now I just shut the door. :-(

    I'll have to get some pink lip gloss! Thanks.

  3. Compassion and love for all.

    Passion and awe in my classes and work.

    Smiles for strangers.


    oh wait, practical tips! yikes!

    Unplug unused electrical devices (they're vampires, and you'll cut your electricity bill!)

    Call your parents at least once a week!

    Find a new way to tell your partner you love them every day.

  4. Here's a trick I thought everyone knew but I've been surprised--give your baby a sippy cup as early as 5 months. They will just play with it for the first couple of months but it will give them time to get used to it. In the meantime, continue to give the bottle/nurse.

    By the time they are seven months, they will be comfortable with the sippy cup and will learn how to suck from it. I always take out the "plug" so that they will get a "reward" for the little sips they take and I put watered down juice inside. (It's always funny to see their surprised faces when something comes out!)

    Continue to give them sippy cups until they are very used to it, and when they're ready to be weaned from nursing or the bottle, it will make the transition much easier!

    *I have to give credit to my sister for this one, she gave me this advice for my first and I have used it with every baby ever since!*

  5. We bought a two-story house instead of a one-story for a very practical reason -- my husband works from home doing phone tech support, and he often has to work on evenings or weekends when the kids and I are home. With a two-story setup, it is much less likely that any noise the kids make downstairs will be heard in his upstairs office. I do miss our one-story house, though... especially when doing laundry.

    There's another bit of pratical advice -- if you ever build your own two-story house, make sure you include a laundry chute!!

  6. Financial advice: Pay yourself first. Build up that nest egg in case of emergencies.

    Health advice: Eat less, exercise more. Include weight training, it burns calories longer than cardio.

    Sage advice: Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. Someone much wiser than me once said this and it has worked perfectly. :)


  7. Use Google Reader to follow blogs and sites instead of obsessively checking them multiple times a day. You'll still waste tons of time on it, but it'll be less time than before.

    Deactivate Facebook. I think of every productivity strategy I've tried, this has been the most helpful, and surprisingly made me happiest.

  8. I'm a longtime reader. I've learned so much from this blog and have used it to guide my kids time and time again. Thank you Leila and also to the regular commenters!

    My tips?

    Don't give advice unless asked.

    Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words you'll need before having any serious discussions.

    It's ok to shave your arms. If you don't like having hair on your arms...shave 'em.

    There's a product and it "covers your gray"!!! You can get it in drugstores for a few bucks and you apply it to your roots and it really works! It's the one that has a mascara wand.

    Katie G.

  9. Oh this is a fun one!

    Tip #1: Buy the most expensive nail polish at the pharmacy. I don't know why it took me so long to figure this out, but the expensive stuff stays on and doesn't chip.

    Tip #2: To clean your house quickly and easily, have a "to do" list and work on it throughout the week. I typed mine up and put it in a clear plastic sleeve. I use a dry erase marker to cross things off as I go. Then I erase it and reuse for the following week. Cleaning is so much easier!

  10. OOOHHHH Michelle, I agree, Facebook is a time vacuum! I left fb because of inappropriate ads that kept popping up. It was hard at first, but I'm so thankful I left.

  11. Debi, you should check out Adblock! It's a browser extension that hides ads - I'd definitely recommend it for making the internet feel a little less trashy.

  12. Use magnets to attach shopping lists on your refrigerator, placed low enough that your youngest writers can reach them. When someone notices something is needed, they write it down on the appropriate list; this works really well for busy families or large ones when it's hard to keep up communication for everyone's needs. This strategy worked great for myself and my roommates in college, since we were in-and-out all the time and had to make our shopping trips together due to the fact only one of us had a car.

    Try to use the phrase "because I said so" as little as you possibly can.

  13. Amazingly-I have controversial advice! Don't use a sippy cup at all. Their only benefit is ease for parents-they're not beneficial to the kiddo and can be detrimental to oral development and could possibly play a role in poor speech development. Until a kid can use an open cup-they should have to use their mouth to work and get the drink out. Instead, use a straw. They make kid's cup that are squeezable and have a stay-in-place straw. Or just go straight from bottle to open cup.


  14. Always take anything the secular media writes about Christianity in general Catholicism in particular with a huge grain of salt. As Mark Shea has said, "Getting news from the theologically illiterate media is like trying to milk a bull. They can't give what they don't have."

  15. #1. Never put off having children.

    #2. Cut your child's hair while they watch TV.

    #3. Avoid sugar it messes up your endocrine system.

    Now, I must go get some pink lip gloss.

  16. This is probably way too mundane, but it is something that was a "duh" moment about 3 months into our marriage. If you put your kitchen garbage can underneath the sink, put it on the opposite side of where you wash dishes. That way when one person is washing dishes and the other person is clearing the table, they can get at the trash can without bothering the person that is washing the dishes.

    After writing a comment on a blog, highlight the whole comment and press Control+C or "command+C" on a mac. Takes 2 seconds and has saved me time and time again when blogger eats my comment after I have typed in my user id. This way, I just repaste the comment and no need to retype.

    If you have cats, brush them outside. No need to get all that hair over your house and it is biodegradeable. The birds can use it for their nests. :)

  17. I have been sitting here staring at the comment screen for a good five minutes, and I cannot come up with a thing! haha You all have some good tips! :)

  18. The very mundane advice I give when asked to write advice for the guest of honor at a bridal shower: Never, ever buy cordless power tools! They are NEVER sufficiently charged when you need them! I even tried charging mine on a monthly basis and it still didn't have power when I needed it. Grrrr! I figure my advice will be appreciated by the hubby-to-be as well!

  19. Eat together as a family every day. That's my #1 advice to parents.

    #2 is to be "the house" where your kids and their friends hang out. It's often a pain and expensive to have extra food on hand all the time, as well as sacrificing a space somewhere for them to hang out and have a little privacy (but not too much); and sometimes other parents will take advantage of you as a babysitter. But when your kids are older you will know where they are and what they are doing!

  20. Sharon,
    DeWalt is an excellent brand of cordless power tools. The drill, anyway.

    I don't work for them, either, just exp w/ the brand.

    Another tip for household:
    White vinegar cannot be beat for cleaning musty laundry, floors (any finish), and even for making wedding rings sparkle. It also absorbs odors in fridges and pantries if leave a small bowl of it on an upper shelf.

    Another tip for upcoming summer months:
    I highly highly recommend the half tent shelters sold by costco and dicks sporting goods, etc. They assemble in a hurry when you're at an outdoor event and need shelter and shade on hot days. We take ours everywhere and people inevitably stop by to compliment it and ask where we purchased it. I think it was $40 at Costco. Seen them other places, too. It's usually called a lightspeed quick shelter.

  21. Live and learn and then get Luvs.
    (Figuratively or literally, whichever you choose.)
    Just understand that the way you parent your only is probably not the way you're going to parent after more than one. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.


  22. I've told Hubby a million times that our next house WILL be one story. No more trekking down two flights of stairs to do laundry! Not to mention, the living spaces upstairs really go unused most of the time except at night - it's wasted space, really. Having bedrooms on the same level would make (one day) them more realistic places for our kids to play.

    But anyway, I don't really have any practical advice to offer. Except maybe ALWAYS back up your computer. You never know when your hard drive will crash!

  23. 1) Exercise (after prayer) is the best coping tool. It doesn't matter the source of my stress, work, relationships, family sickness. Besides spending time in front of Blessed Sacrament praying, the next thing is running or biking or something strenuous that you can do long enough to sweat, be out of breath, and release endorphins. It also seems to ensure I sleep well, despite what was bothering me, and reduces my appetite. I had quite a bit of stress the past few months and all of a sudden I am in pretty good shape!
    2) Rosary ring: my friend calls it a rosary on the go, which I like better. I started using one when a priest recommended I turn off the radio on the drive to work and pray the rosary one way and the chaplet the other. I don't do that anymore, but I do like having the rosary handy for quick stop in church, as sometimes during the day a person or intention or 10 come up that need Mary's intercession. I noticed my regular sized rosaries and rosary bracelets did not pass toddler durability testing.
    3) Scriptural rosary: i am distraction lady and the scripture meditations, 1-2 verses per Our Father or Haily Mary really made the rosary more meditative and more spiritually profitable for me.

  24. This is too much fun--I have to write another one!

    For a free anniversary gift to your husband/wife, bring their wedding rings and engagement rings into your jewelry store (preferably the one you bought them at) and get them polished and cleaned. They do it for free and it's like getting a brand new ring all over again! My husband and I do this every year, and it's symbolic in a way, another fresh new year all clean and new!

    *Wedding Day jewelers are great about this but I'm sure other jewelers do it too.

    I have to agree with the deactivating FB--I did this last year and have been so happy to know who my real friends are--and not have to find my inbox full of "friends" asking to my friend whom I never even heard about before...

  25. I may be the minority here but I am a poor college student who cannot afford to turn on the air conditioning. It seems obvious but I never thought about this before this summer. Right before going to bed, take a 10-20 second cold shower. It reduces body temperature significantly and helps me fall asleep.

  26. Never go against a sicilian when death is on the line.

  27. Never get into a land war in Asia.

  28. From my Mother!

    1) Pay yourself first.

    2) Make it last, wear it out, make it do or do without!!!

    From me:
    1) When you're done with the blender, rinse it out, then add a little hot water and dish soap. turn the blender on and let it clean itself! Then pour the soapy water into another pot waiting to be cleaned or just clean the kitchen sink!

    2) Tell yourself "NO" at least 3 times a day. Practice in small things leads to ability in big things!

    (Actually neither of those were made up by me- but I use them all the time!)

  29. Clean scratches out of DVD's with.....toothpaste and a damp cotton ball, rinse- good as every time.

  30. Live close enough to your mom so she can babysit :)

  31. Inconceivable, Guiseppe!

  32. Brown bag your lunch, it's cheaper and better for you. Save the "Restaurant meal" for a really special night out at a great place, rather than spending little bits of money here and there on subpar cafeteria food.

    In the same vein, learn to cook if you don't know how, and if you do, get into the habit of making things from scratch. It's not as daunting as it seems and you would be surprised what you can pull together out of leftovers and cupboard refugees with a little knowhow. There's something wonderfully eucharistic about being in touch with food, learning about it, seeing the processes it goes through before it becomes a meal and being the one to confect such a mystery.

    The pain goes away, whatever it is.

  33. When dealing with teenagers, treat them like adults, but expect them to act like children. You'll be surprised at how patient you can become, and how good their decisions sometimes are.

    And forget the laundry chute. Install the washer/dryer on the second floor :)

  34. You mocked me once, don't do it again...

    Another quote from Princesss Bride, i repeat that one all the time. I don't know, i just like it. ;)

    My bit of advice, well, one little tip, is i put all my childrens socks, in a drawer i have in the kitchen, separated into gallon ziplocks,next to the basket of hats, and the basket of gloves, and this way, we aren't all running around searching for what is really needed when heading out the door. This has been a huge hassle saver.

    another bit of advice, have your older children carry the laundry for you up and down the stairs!!!!

    The most important piece of advice, live for Heaven not for this world. Life is fleeting, eternity, well, it is eternal.

  35. 1. Talk, read, and sing to your baby all the time. It is calming and rewarding for both of you. When they talk back, listen and respond - they leard the give and take of conversation. Do this even with babes who have hearing imairments.
    2. Use simple signs to communicate with infants, a big communication booster.
    3. Aqua.phor heals almost all skin issues for little ones - we love it!

    Amazing life
    4. do your very best to cleas your kitchen before bed, it makes a much better morning.

  36. I can't believe I forgot this one...

    Even if you think someone is absolutely nutty, hear them out. If what they say is nuts and you listen to it, then you waste a few minutes. If what they say has value and you don't listen, then you might waste your life.

  37. How about a 3-story house with a full basement making 4? ;) That's ok, right? And practical for two infertile people? Totally!

    Here's my advice: don't take pregnancy tests. Ever. If you're pregnant, you'll find out when the baby pops out.

  38. LOVE this post! I've learned so much!

    The one piece of advice that I got when pregnant with my second boy is: DON'T EVER FEEL SORRY FOR YOURSELF. There is so much truth in this. It's a great way to keep a smile on your face even when life gets tough. I've since learned this is great advice for staying out of the gloomy depression arena. Pity parties are the pits!

  39. 1. Always write "thank you" cards within 48 hours and before you let yourself use the gift.
    2. People love talking about themselves, so if a conversation is strained just ask about your communication partner.

  40. 1. Never go to sleep without washing your face. That and drinking water is the best way to keep your skin looking good. Use a good exfoliator once a week.

    2.Never go out without a little mascara on. It brightens up your whole face.

    3. If you can't afford a lot of jewelery, get a pair of small diamond studs. They go with everything from sweats to a ball gown.

    And one from grandma:

    Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without.

  41. Keep a spray bottle of half vinegar and half water handy--it is a cheap all around cleanser. (mirrors, counters, floors, spills-it does it all!)

  42. All these tips are amazing, and I need to get started! I will have to read these again and again.

    And, I should clarify that the pink lipgloss should not be frosted!! Also, you can get a nice pink lipstick (not too bright), and then put a clear gloss over it. Very pretty.


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