It’s starting to get downright chilly here, especially mornings at the bus stop. Here’s a lightweight parka that will keep your kids warm in the early morning.
This unisex parka has a water repellent finish to repel rain (you’ll have to re-waterproof it occasionally with a special detergent), detachable hood, and zipper tabs for easy up and down even when you’re wearing gloves.
It comes in seven colors ranging from neutrals to brights so your kids will find the one for them.
Uniqlo’s Warm Padded Washable Parka for kids is $49.90 and available in sizes 3-4Y to 13Y.
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I know it’s early, but can we start a gift idea thread? I was thinking about this after reading yesterday’s comments.
I think I might finally get my oldest a Nintendo Switch (it will blow his mind), my daughter will hopefully get my childhood dollhouse which I’ll deck out, and the littlest will get a pikler triangle.
But what on earth do I get for the grandparents? Experience gifts are hard, consumables are my go-to but they often save for a ‘special occasion’ and then they go bad, and my attempt at a grandchild photo shoot was a spectacular disaster.
We are buying the Lego medieval castle for T as his big gift (to live at my parents’ house) and some small stuff. I got the Lego Star Wars advent calendar and I found cool ninjago masks on Etsy. But honestly, I’m not super excited about anything else. We aren’t leaving til the 23rd so will get a tree and do a small Christmas before we leave.
Japanese whisky for my husband.
Grandparents are hard. I bought my parents really nice fleeces one year and they still wear them?
Grandparents: digital photo frame? I have also considered having a nice family picture turned into art through etsy or similar but havent looked into it more.
3 year old son will get a nice road themed play carpet, some new play cars and wooden traffic lights and signs.
Grandparetns – One set of grandparents really liked the digital photo frame. I also really like my Articulate Gallery kid art frame. You slide the art in, so there’s no covering. It looks much neater than taping art to the wall, and it allows you to do it even with kid crafts with pom-poms or odd shapes, etc. One set of gprnts we have taken out for a nice dinner, one set we have bought some higher-quality things that they usually wouldn’t get themselves, like high-quality mittens and wool socks (can you tell I live somewhere with cold winters?). My mom usually gives me a list.
I make a calendar of all the family pics from the past year for all the grandparents. You could also do a photo album instead.
I do this too! Always a hit.
Same, this is my mother’s favorite and only requested gift every year. I coordinate with my sisters so all the grandkids are included
I do the calendar as well and it is definitely all the grandparents favorites. I also made my dad a mousepad with a picture of him with our oldest one year. The picture was just a quick candid of them in a really sweet moment so the picture isn’t the best, but the memory is adorable and I know he likes thinking about it. Our family is also a list family so we just trade lists. We make it “surprise-y” by giving a longer list than could ever be bought and covering all price points.
Boston Legal Eagle says
Are the grandparents the kind that would be likely to consistently write stories once a week? A one year Storyworth subscription might be good in that case. We got it for the grandparents one year, and it sends a prompt for a story from their past 1x/week, where they can write down their memories. At the end, you get a book with all the stories and any pictures they add. All of our parents really enjoyed it, even if they kind of tapered off at the end.
My 6 year old circled about 20 train pieces that he wants, so I guess he’s still into trains? And lego sets. 4 year old’s birthday is in a few days, so we’re focusing on that for now, and then we’ll see for the holidays. He likes pretend play, and he likes legos too (as long as we help make them).
For grandparents, I spend a lot of time and money putting together a nice photobook. Nine years in, it’s not original but they seem to really appreciate it. For my parents, I usually pair the book with a consumable although now my dad has stopped drinking so my usual go-to wine is out. Will probably do a nice house plant for them instead.
we did cheese of the month club w/ murray’s cheese shop and that was a big hit.
Where do you get houseplants? That sounds like an excellent new idea for my FIL!
I’m no help on this — from my local nursery that has potted house plants as well as outdoor plants. Maybe you have something similar nearby? But that wouldn’t help if you have to ship!
I have been happy with plants from The Sill and have an order from Rooted arriving tomorrow.
Plants are best bought locally. Online plant stores are typically huge rip-offs.
I used to find it much cheaper to buy plants locally, but over the past year or so they have gotten just as expensive as ordering on line and the selection is terrible.
We straight up ask Grandparents for a list. It is less fun and surprisey, but to the thread yesterday, it prevents the unnecessary accumulation of “stuff.” Over the years, I have replaced slippers, bought a new suitcase, purchased a SONOS, and purchased nice PJs.
Mary Moo Cow says
We don’t really do gifts for grandparents. I might give each of my parents a book if they have a trip coming up (something to read on the plane or cruise) or if I see something fun I think they will like, I will give a gift (like yoga skeletons for my mom or a neat household gadget for my dad.) Some years I will send a nice flower or plant. My parents and in-laws don’t expect a gift, though, and have said they would rather just spend the time with us on the holiday than get a gift. So, are you able to opt out? If not, because there will be tears, I would still go with the consumable: what the recipient does with the gift is not your problem. It is the thought that counts (unless, of course, you are giving them something you know they won’t eat for dietary or taste restrictions.)
I don’t know what we’re doing for our kids yet. In my recent covid brain fog and need to have my healthy kids entertain themselves, I pulled out the American Girl doll couch and fridge I was saving for Christmas. So back to square 1.
We don’t celebrate Christmas, but I give my mom a copy of our annual photo album for her birthday and she loves it. It’s expensive and a huge investment of time to make, but it’s about the only thing I can give her that she actually wants.
In addition to the photo album, I make a book of the kids’ artwork from that year (I take pictures throughout the year as I toss the originals).
We’ve already done the Aura frame and Storyworth. I agree grandparents are hard.
I need help on sisters and aunts! I did face masks two years ago and pretty desk calendars (inislee if you want an idea – i loved them) last year! Help! Love this thread!
Advent calendars? There are ones in the $50-$100 range for teas/socks/jams/beauty. I LOVE adult advent calendars and I’d be so psyched to get one (also I hate winter so I typically save an advent calendar for January to help get me through the worst of the dark cold winter weather).
That is a brilliant idea!
Grandparents on both sides have too much stuff and both get some version of consumables plus a small ‘thing’ and/or upgrade. Recent favorites have been new throw blankets (the luxe faux fur ones), new beach towels for an upcoming vacation, new towels after a kitchen reno, etc. The consumable gift (which both now eagerly request) is a williams sonoma or omaha staks subscription – typically a ‘surf and turf’ dinner or 3 month subscription starting in January. I get pictures/excited texts when the Jan/Feb/March boxes arrive. We’ve done cheese, pastries, chocolates, and meats – it’s $$ but they enjoy that it’s something new each month and I enjoy that I don’t need to wrap anything!
My in-laws always make such a huge deal out of how much they love the cheese baskets we send them that we are pretty sure they’re trying to tell us that they only want cheese forever.
Halloween ... ELI3 says
Does anyone know any good books for three year olds that explain Halloween/are Halloween themed?
Background story: We (from the US) have a three year old and live overseas, so Halloween really isn’t a thing here. We have been invited to another American family’s halloween party but our son just doesn’t understand the idea of Halloween. I have asked him what he wants to dress up as and tried to talk about trick or treating but that doesn’t seem to do the.. trick. I worry that he will be totally freaked out at the party with all the costumes so I am looking for a book that we could read together.
Daniel Tiger’s Halloween book covers dressing up but not really the candy/trick-or-treat part.
We liked Boynton’s Spooky Pooky for that stage.it’s all about Pooky now being able to choose a costume.
Peppa and Daniel Tiger celebrate Halloween. But honestly don’t stress – most American 2 year olds don’t really “get” Halloween either.
Llama Llama Trick or Treat is a good, short board book that covers costumes, jack o’lanterns, candy, and trick or treating.
I think having your toddler be completely freaked out by halloween and refuse to wear their costume *is* a typical American experience.
A lot of book series like Little Blue Truck have Halloween books. They’re all fine, although the Daniel Tiger book has a character that keeps changing her mind about her costume which influences my 3 year old to want a different costume every 5 minutes.
If it make you feel any better, my 3 year old has never successfully trick or treated. and we’re still not sure he’ll do it this year. I’m also not sure he’ll wear his costume.
Daniel Tiger suggests so many new problems to kids!
“Happy Halloween, Little Critter!” and “Clifford’s Halloween” have been my 2 yo’s favorites and I think she’s getting the concept from them…They would both work for a 3 year old, too.
Pick a Pumpkin is great!
How the heck do you all manage childcare with two or more kids without going insane? Public schools are closed or have early release on random days and daycare is closed on others. Currently our K-er has before/aftercare at toddler’s daycare, but the quality of the daycare is lacking (mainly because they aren’t paying close enough attention to the kids). We are considering changing centers, but this is the only one that is open until 630 (which we need with our commutes/work obligations) and does before/aftercare for the K-er’s school. If we change centers we will have two drop offs/pick ups and have to juggle the closures of three schools. We could do a nanny, but that would be an even bigger financial burden. Why does this have to be so hard???
It’s impossible. I do think a nanny is your best bet in this situation.
Boston Legal Eagle says
Well here is how we do it, which I know is not everyone’s situation: We have our older one in after care at the school, which is open until 6 I believe, and my dad picks him up two days a week. Little one is in daycare 8-5, and they have minimal closures. For public school’s weeks or days off, we typically ask my parents to come, or we take turns hanging out with him. Our aftercare program does cover spring break weeks, which is nice.
It sounds like you both have busy jobs – do you have family nearby? If not, I’d look into an afternoon babysitter or even au pair to cover the gaps. It’s tough to do this with just school/daycare, without some extra support.
Boston Legal Eagle says
Oh yes, and to add to this since you mentioned commute, we both mostly WFH now, hence why we don’t need before care and why a 5pm daycare closure somewhat works. And our work teams are nice, decent people who understand the need for flexibility.
Sadly, no nearby family that can help, so it’s just us and what we pay for. It’s so hard!
You pay a lot. I have two in elementary and one in PK. My elem kids are old enough to be home without a nanny when one of us is WFH, so we do that.
We have a neighbor kid that will often babysit on random days the schools are closed (and snow days!).
Uh, I’m going to guess that the answer you’re not looking for is drive yourself crazy for several years, learn that you can strap kids into the car and take conference calls with them sleeping in the back seat at the airport ‘waiting’ parking lot where they can watch planes too, let your oldest occasionally watch wayyyy too much TV while you work from home while charging time, have grandparents who offer to help but then get very annoyed when you actually ask them to provide childcare and not a fun two hours, and somehow end up paying a lot of money for childcare you only use 75% of the time? All the while spending 90 minutes a day just doing drop offs and pick ups?
We finally ended up getting an au pair because we really needed both before and after care and driving to activities. It’s not an option in all states or for all families, but it’s the closest I’ve had to keeping my sanity since I’ve had kids.
We have an au pair and it’s been awesome for our family. It’s been working for us for over 5 years through several au pair and school changes. Tons of flexibility. Lots of support. And for us it feels like leaving our kids with extended family. We adore our au pairs.
Same. Au Pairs for over a decade now. I wouldn’t want to operate without one (or a live out nanny, which we have also done). It’s extremely low stress on a day to day basis, dishes are always done when you get home, kids are relaxed and chilled out, supper can be started. No urgency when you get a last minute call at the office or hit traffic or a kid is sick. It can be like having a teenager and there are trade offs but ideal model for us.
Another vote for au pairs if you can – we did it for 4 years and only stopped because Trump banned J-1 visas so our German au pair couldn’t get into the country in 2020.
For the first time in five years, we have a single drop-off now that our youngest is in K. Our school district provides before and aftercare; kids go to before care every morning and ride the bus home. That gives me a core workday of 8ish-4:15, and I can monitor and respond to emails/Slacks as needed through the rest of the evening or during their after-school activities that they do a few times per week. Before/aftercare is open on the random teacher workdays and other district holidays. I WFH, which is the only reason this works as well as it does. If I didn’t they’d go to aftercare as well, open until 6 pm.
When we had one in elem and one in daycare, we were fortunate enough to have daycares with minimal closures (only major federal holidays) and have always leaned heavily on school-provided before/aftercare. Sounds like that’s not an option for you, unfortunately.
Bottom line: one parent either has a job that can flex to accommodate school schedules, or you pay $$$ for nanny / sitter / au pair.
Here’s how not to do it: have somewhat flexible jobs but also work all night to cover the hours you missed. (Hello from four hours of sleep last night after solo parenting all week.)
For real though, I would consider an afternoon sitter who could pick up K kid, hang out with them in the afternoon, pick up toddler from daycare and watch both kids till you get home. Could a local SAHP or college student fit the bill?
So Anon says
Hey! Joining you from the same caffeine fueled spot. I single parent and have since my kids were in K and 2. I have a somewhat flexible job, which yay for seniority but that also comes with high demands. It is great that I WFH most of the time, can get my kids off the bus, and take them to weekly therapy appointments. The downside is that I sometimes take calls while driving my kid to those therapy appointments, work late many nights per week, and am always exhausted.
I second the suggestion of finding even an older high school kid or college kid to help in the afternoons. When I began single parenting, I hired a high school senior to meet my kids at the bus and hang with them until 6/7 twice per week. She did this for about three years, including through the pandemic. She doesn’t come regularly anymore but she is my go-to for random days off, work dinners, etc.
Short version: You are not missing/unable to find the solution. It is really hard to make it all work. Many of us muddle through those years with a patchwork of whatever works for as long as it works.
Do you have space (or desire) for an au pair? Otherwise, I think a nanny is probably the easiest solution.
Dude I’m with you on the random days. I did find a local sports center that does day camp on those days (thanks to someone here who suggested!); we also have local grandparents and a former PT nanny who is a social worker at a public school so her days off align and we can pull her in as needed sometimes.
Otherwise, for the day to day – we have both kids in care from 7:30-5:30 which of course still requires negotiating amongst ourselves when work inevitably creeps outside of those hours (like yesterday at 7:07 a.m. when I was applying makeup and DH popped his head in and was like “oh I have to present in 5mins, but they’re playing nicely downstairs”). We are blessed that both kids are within 2mi of each other for all the various schools/daycares they have ever attended, and that I have a short commute, and we both have flexible wfh policies. If you have true butt-in-seat 9+ hour a day jobs with any kid of commute, you have to have a nanny imo.
If we have a 3rd, or even if we don’t, we plan to move to au pair when they are both in school for the additional flexibility that offers. I truly cannot imagine loading 3 kids in a car every morning and if you do that, I commend you.
It is a pain, and unless you think the lack of attention is a safety issue, I’d probably keep your current situation just for the one-location logistics. I personally did not like having a full-time nanny, so it would not be worth the money to me, but you might look into an after-school babysitter who can also do daycare pickup?
We had a few years with two drop-off/pick-ups and it is really annoying. This worked because I changed jobs to reduce my commute after baby #2, the elementary school and daycare were nearby, and the coverage was through 6-6:30 in non-pandemic times. Luckily, my husband’s employer shortened workdays to account for pandemic childcare woes, otherwise we’d have been screwed during the 4:30 aftercare period. We split drop off and pick up since DH’s office has an early culture and mine has a late culture, and I could do the whole home-dropoff1-dropoff2-office loop and be at my desk in 30-45 minutes whether I was wfh or in the office that day.
We’re very fortunate that a.) we have a couple really good daycare options very close to our house. b.) the elementary aftercare program is fantastic and covers all the random public school early release days and days off except for Thanksgiving, winter & spring breaks
Well. You go insane.
But other options are an after school sitter and trading care on closure days with friends or neighbors. Growing up we always had an after school sitter but they seem harder to find now (my parents worked at a college so had a good supply). Pre covid we would sometimes trade school closure days with our neighbor. A couple times s neighbor and their nanny agreed to watch our child too for the day (for a fee).
Currently I WFH so my school age kid will just bum around at home or play with friends if just he has a closure. Preschooler … watches many hours of tv if just he is home. Eagerly awaiting when they can be home alone without an adult but we are at least 3 years away from that.
It’s awful. We gave up early as Pre-K in our town didn’t often aftercare so we needed to hire help. We went with au pairs until the J-1 visa ban (thanks Trump) and then found an AM/PM sitter. It is literally our single biggest expense (more than our mortgage at this point) but the peace of mind is amazing AND she also walks our dog/runs errands/grocery shops/does laundry.
I still think it’s bizarre that he banned au pairs during the biggest childcare crisis that working parents have ever faced. Fortunately the program seems to be returning to normal.
It makes perfect sense. No child care –> women quit their jobs. Isn’t that the goal, to return to the 19th century?
I’m not going to lie. I’ve considered quitting my job because of this impending logistical nightmare and impossibility of finding reliable sitters/caregivers.
Anytime I worry about the costs of our au pair (we have ended up being more generous than expected because she’s so great and makes our lives so easy), I remind myself ‘still cheaper than quitting my job’.
This is how I justified private school during the pandemic.
For those of you following Little Pogo’s kinder adventures, he’s been bringing his little soft doll (his lovey) to school and keeping her in his bag “so I can feel her love” when he is sad. Yesterday he told me “I taked Baby out, but my teacher didn’t see!” and I was like, Oh, why’d you take her out, you know you can’t have a stuffy at school! and He said, “Because [Friend] had a tummyache.” Guys, he wanted his friend to have his lovey because she wasn’t feeling well.
Boston Legal Eagle says
Such a sweet boy. Give him an extra hug tonight!
Aww, that is so sweet! He’s such a kind little boy. We got chilled on the school run yesterday and T said “but mumma, I get to go to breakfast club where it’s warm, you have to cycle all the way home!” and was very concerned. It was a valid concern, I added another 6 miles thinking I’d warm up but my hands and feet were blue.
Today was the last school day before October half term and while I grumbled about the 7 school days off, I think the kids really need a break. T is going to 4 days of outdoors-y beach camp (yes, in Scotland) and then he and his dad are off to London to see his grannies. I feel bad that he’s not getting any downtime but it’s teaching term for me.
so you get to skip the crazy MILs? that seems like a plus at least!
Yep! I’m teaching on Monday so could have theoretically gone and flown to Belfast from there, but nope…
I’ve never been in our house by myself overnight before. Going to do some tidying projects.
Ohh, he is the sweetest!
DH has been away at a conference all week, and on the first night I invented the [Kid 2] Challenge: I shower with the 4yo, she hops out of the shower and Kid 1 and 2 cooperate to get her fully dressed in her PJs before I finish my shower and get fully dressed. We’ve been doing this all week.
Either way, I win.
genius. Agree that anytime I put the 5yo in charge of the 2yo, it helps immensely because he feels both power and responsibility. He also imitates the way I talk to the toddler which is adorable.
Yeah, I don’t want to do it too much (having been the older sibling who was always put in charge of my younger sister) but our firstborns are the best big brothers!
I love this! What a sweet kiddo.
RSVP for classmate party says
We are having a classmate birthday party for my soon to be 6 year old in a week. The RSVP date was yesterday. There are about 13 kiddos that we haven’t heard from (classmates in Kindergarten so I don’t have parents contact info). Should I just assume they aren’t coming. Trying to plan for cupcakes and goody bags :) Thanks in advance. This is our first friend party.
Yup apparently these days no rsvp means a no. I don’t like it, RSVP in my mind means reply either way but when we had a class party we got about 10 yes’s, no no’s and only the yes’s showed up. I’d do one or two extra goody bags just in case.
Agree that no rsvp means not coming. When we recently hosted a class party, we did have one kid that showed up without having rsvp’d. So maybe have one or two extras on hand?
Boston Legal Eagle says
We haven’t had any surprises so far with RSVPs – i.e. if we don’t hear from them, they don’t show up. We’ve also luckily had pretty responsive parents for our kids’ parties, even if a lot of the RSVPs come in the week of the party. So you can probably wait until a few days before the party, just to be sure, and have a few extras in any case.
P.S. we do invites via Evite, which does send a reminder email if people haven’t replied a few days before the event. But this is only if you have their emails, not if sent via a mass link from the school/teacher (I think).
Is it an evite? Send a reminder.
Still crickets? If you sort of know the parents or kid, ask- say you want to make sure they saw it.
Still nothing? Assume no but buy extra goody bags. Give them to siblings if they are extras.
Mary Moo Cow says
No response has been a no show for all but one guest in my experience. Like others have said, I would have an extra goody bag or two on hand, but not 13.
Winter in the Northeast says
We live in Massachusetts and plan to go North to Maine, New Hampshire, etc. Looking for best snowsuit for my soon to be one year old daughter. Thanks in advance for any advice want to get outside as much as possible.
Not sure if they are available in the US but I like both the muddy puddles ones and the spotty otter.
We use the LL Bean coldbuster snowsuit. The 12-18 mos size was HUGE on my average-sized 14-month old last winter, and she comfortably wore the 6-12 mo size through March in WI.
Not a specific snowsuit recs- we always just used whatever was handed down- but I love wool underlayers for my kids in the winter. It can be pricy, so I buy large and get at least two seasons out of them. I usually get them from Little Spruce Organics or Danish Woolen Delights.
So Anon says
Highly recommend the one-piece snowsuits from LLBean for kiddos that age. I had them for each of my kids, and they were warm enough for northern New England. LLBean stuff comes with “grow cuffs,” which let you extend out the hems to get additional wear out of them. Also, I recommend mittens v. gloves.
Primary has good ones. Regardless of the brand, I’d get one that has flaps to go over hands and feet.
Changes to Saving says
With the price of everything increasing is everyone decreasing what they are saving into retirement or 529 accounts or pulling from savings? I’m trying to cut expenses where we can but paychecks don’t go as far as they used to.
Yes, sort of? It’s not really inflation-driven I don’t think, but after two pandemic years, 2022 was a very expensive year for activities, travel and entertainment and we cut back some on retirement contributions to fund it. Pre-pandemic me would have been pretty horrified by that, but post–pandemic me has a much more carpe diem attitude. We still save pretty well for retirement, above the 15% of gross income standard.
We are maintaining retirement savings but it’s becoming apparent that we will need to cut back on cash savings. I am so sick of “merit increases” that barely even keep pace with inflation. My husband’s inflation-adjusted salary is exactly what it was at the very beginning of his career. Mine is slightly higher in real dollars than my starting salary thanks to a recent promotion, but that won’t last long. Neither of our employers ever does more than a 3% increase, so with 8% or whatever inflation that will actually be a pay cut this year. Oh, and husband’s company has announced no bonuses this year either. And we waited too long to decide whether we were going to move or renovate, and now we can’t do either. Every day the rich get richer and the working families are left to pay for it.
On the other hand, within the past six months two women I know who were my age and had kids have died of cancer. I am trying to convince my husband that we need to increase our spending on meaningful experiences and enjoy our lives while we still can. We have spent our entire marriage putting off spending and doing anything fun until the next milestone–buying a house, finishing grad school, being done with day care. Every time we hit one milestone everything gets deferred until the next one. Now it’s the end of college, which is years away. I’m tired of watching my life slip away.
I always prioritize retirement first — especially in a down market, I want to keep dollar-cost averaging in to take advantage when it comes back — then savings up to my emergency fund comfort level. 529 contributions are the first to go, honestly even before I seriously cut back on spending. There are tons of ways to pay for college (and whether college is the best choice/necessary for everyone, is an open question), but I’m never getting that time back to have fun with my kids at their current ages. I might not spend $15k to go to Disney, but we’ll still have a vacation somewhere, even if it means no 529 contribution that year.
No. I’m cutting spending but not savings.
DH and I are 38/39 with 3 kids. We are trying to spend less but if anything we are putting more into 529s and retirement. A down market is the best time to put money in (for people far enough away from retirement).
We are also prioritizing trips over stuff.
We haven’t changed anything, we actually did move some money from cash to the market since we missed the last downturn and DH was kicking himself for “waiting for the bottom” and missing it. What I’m hearing is this is expected to be a fairly mild and short recession, so we’re trying to take advantage of what we can. But we had hoped to do an addition and that seems silly when rates are so high.
We haven’t change our buying patterns yet, but we may cut back on the fancy produce (we drop $200+/week at whole foods). That is really our biggest splurge, but it is insane how much berries cost now.
This might be a dumb question but is inflation hitting different regions differently? What kinds of things are people seeing higher prices for? I haven’t really noticed much inflation but I live in a LCOL area. Gas prices are higher and flights and hotels were very expensive this year but I thought that had more to do with the situation in Ukraine and post-pandemic demand for travel, respectively.
Mary Moo Cow says
In my area of SEUS, food prices and gas. Fresh produce, especially berries, organic milk, and packaged foods like ice cream and cereal. I’m turning more and more to store brands, and paying what used to be the name brand price. Restaurant prices are out of control: like $19 for a small sandwich and a drink is the going rate for lunch. Gas is settled around $3.89/gal. Energy, water, and trash pick up prices are about the same. My house cleaners finally raised their rates, and it is incredibly modest.
I don’t know about regions, but I’m definitely seeing inflation in my LCOL Midwest city. Food is when I really notice it- grocery and restaurant bills have been insane this year.
Groceries. My shopping trips are probably 25%-33% more expensive in the last six months than before.
As I mentioned, seeing it mostly around produce like Mary Moo Cow mentioned.
Yes, it’s primarily groceries and restaurant food. My monthly grocery bill is now just about equal to my mortgage, and that’s for three people and only includes food we cook at home, not household products etc. A restaurant dinner that used to cost $65 including tip is now more like $90. Fast food for three people is close to $30. The other place I am seeing huge increases is travel.
I’m in a Boston suburb. Here are things my kids and I noticed recently at the grocery:
– eggs used to be 1.99-2.99/dz near us. Now they are 3.99-4.50 at the same store
– there is a bag of chips we always used to see that was $2. Now it’s $2.29
– everything at the dollar store is now $1.25
– a box of ritz crackers used to be $3 on sale. It still is but has 3 sleeves of crackers not 4.
Definitely seeing it in gas and groceries. We’ve been able to keep our grocery budget steady by going back into “frugal” mode–lots of planning, good use of leftovers, less expensive cuts of meat, more vegetarian meals, and fewer impulse buys (including impulse buys of fruits and vegetables).
Our electric bill is insane, about double what it was one year ago ($400-500 per month instead of $250-300 per month for the summer). Some of that is increases in natural gas prices, as our power plant is fueled by natural gas. Some of it is the power company’s surcharge for Hurricane Ida infrastructure upgrades, which is outrageous because the power company didn’t do what they were supposed to with the Hurricane Katrina infrastructure surcharges.
I’m starting to see it with our service providers. Kiddo’s therapist just raised her hourly rate. Our accountant charged 15-20% more to prepare our taxes this year.
The thing I’ve noticed, only because I listened to a podcast months ago saying to watch out for it and lo-and-behold… is “shrinkflation” so maybe the price on a box of cereal hasn’t gone up, but the boxes are slightly smaller, so the unit price is up.
Our restaurant and grocery spending is up, but it was too high to begin with so it’s hard to say what’s inflation and what’s just undisciplined spending.
I have been noticing shrinkflation for years. It started with orange juice.
Mary Moo Cow says
We’ve maintained retirement savings but put plans for a big dump contribution to a 529 on hold. We also aren’t contemplating any big investments like we had been last year (like crypto or risky stocks.) The only plans we have to tap savings are to withdraw from an old, automatic savings account (remember Wachovia’s Way2Save?!) for a Disney trip next year. That account is earmarked for fun stuff and our trip won’t exhaust it. Regular savings are do-not-break-glass unless it is a true emergency and there isn’t enough in our checking account to cover it and that month’s living expenses.
Semi-related, for anyone with kids old enough to have absorbed inflation news by osmosis and wondered what it means, there is a great explainer episode of “what is inflation” on the Million Bazillion podcast. Recommended for 1st grade (maybe K if your kid is especially precocious) and up.
We have appointments to get both kids flu shots this afternoon. Kid 1 woke up with a fever and threw up so he’s obviously not going. Do I take kid 2 who is still fine? Or cancel since he will probably also get sick soon? Waiting on doctor’s office to call back but they haven’t been too helpful about this kind of stuff in the past.Covid negative to the extent it matters. Kid 2 is currently in school.
I’d skip both shots. Even if #2 doesn’t get sick, you don’t want one kid sick and the other having side effects from the shot.
I would probably wait and do them together for my own convenience. I think you’d be fine doing #2 today, but why bother when you have to go again anyway?
For the twin mom asking about baby dolls yesterday. My twins are very different- one likes chocolate ice cream, one prefers vanilla. One is supper cuddly, one is not as much etc. but apparently they have THE favorite pair of underwear and of course for whatever reason this is the design we only have one of and the design i expected them to care the least about…so this is why when possible for smaller ticket items i get two- it’s for my sanity!
This is when that pair magically disappears in the laundry.
Yep, this is why we almost always buy things like socks, underwear, gloves etc in duplicate! I don’t need to have screaming fights about who gets the wear the One True pair of socks (blue with unicorns) and who is forced to make do with inferior pink, purple, or green unicorn socks.
The other day I was looking for something in a high cupboard and found a whole bunch of barely-used colorful kid-friendly dishware. After getting sick of mediating toddler sibling arguments over who gets which cup, I bought all clear plastic cups, white Corelle plates, and plain metal kid silverware. All those arguments disappeared. It was one of my more brilliant moves.
Switching to matching Corelle plates and bowls was also a brilliant move in our house. We haven’t yet swapped out the colored cups, but for the most part they have those evenly divided and we don’t get fights.
Genuine question from a singleton parent: at what age do twins get their own things? I always assumed that after about age 1 they would have their own clothes, especially underwear and socks, and that even as infants they’d have their own lovies and special toys.
So I’m the OP. They’ve had their own stuffies and lovies since like age 1 and don’t have all the same ones. Like one has a duck, one a rabbit but they both became obsessed with the same monkey at age 1, so we got another one. They have some personalized clothes that are their own or some toys/special things but until now they’ve been the same size and it’s just easier to generally have two of everything. Like every dress i buy, i purchase 2 – sometimes they wear them at the same time, sometimes they don’t. They chose different color outfits for ballet class, and are just starting to need different size shoes at age 4.5 and are just starting to diverge in size. It’s probably different with boy/girl twins or those who diverge sooner in size or if you have kids who like to wear super different things. One of mine is a bit more amenable to wearing a shirt with shorts, but for the most part they both want to wear dresses 24/7
I can’t tell if my comment got eaten or not but I’m part of a parents of multiples group and I’ve seen it vary A LOT. I don’t think i know anyone with same sex twins who have their own socks by age 4, but i know some families where one kid likes red so has a red jacket and other chose a blue one. I also think it might depend if you have hand me downs from an older sibling or something but as a first time overwhelmed mom with PPA/PPD i found it easier to dress mine the same bc it was one less decision for me to make that day. And then they didn’t really have opinions on clothes until age 3.5 and when i tried to take two 18 month olds to the playground myself and they’d run in separate directions having them in the same thing made it easier for me to supervise, the same way kids wear matching shirts on a field trip.
It varies a lot by family and will be different for fraternal twins than identical ones.
I have identical 5yo twins who have always been the exact same height and weight, which means that almost all their clothes are shared (and we only have one dresser in their room, so they have one joint sock drawer, one joint undies drawer, etc). Most of their clothes are hand-me-downs, which are all shared, but when someone has bought them something “coordinating” (same dress but different colors) they will divide that up, so A will only wear the purple dress and B will only wear the pink dress. They each have some favorites from their joint wardrobe that they’ll gravitate to, because they have different likes and dislikes, but it’s way easier for us to not have to keep track of that when sorting laundry to put it away.
For things like shoes and jackets we buy matching to avoid fights about who’s is cooler, and they’ll just put one whichever one they see first. Occasionally this does lead to someone walking to the bus stop in 2 left shoes while her sister has 2 right shoes.
As infants they did have their own blankets and some special stuffed animals, but not that many. We lasted about 48 hours after they came home from the NICU of trying to keep them from sharing pacifiers and then pretty rapidly transitioned to having them finish each other’s bottles. *shrug*
Help! Need a gift for a 6 year old boy’s birthday tomorrow. Preferably something I can get at Target tonight. This is a former classmate so looking to spend $15-20. My kid can’t tell me anything about the birthday kid’s interests or personality. Apparently two months is enough to completely forget a person when you’re 4. I feel weird doing a gift card because I’m not sure how that would be received in our area. We haven’t had many parties b/c of Covid.
A small Lego set, science kit or craft kit never fails! I would start there.
lego. my 6 y/o would go nuts for a $20 target so that’s a very viable option at this age!
Chuckle & Roar Oodles of Noodles Fidget Toy. $10. My kid got them as a Christmas gift and LOVED them and now I have a bunch of boxes in the closet and give them for every birthday party. I have yet to meet a kid who doesn’t enjoy them, and we’ve given them for ages 3 – 10. Even adults like them.
Mary Moo Cow says
Lego set plus book is my go-to. We recently gave the 3-in-1 lion set with a book called Library Lion, or a dino set with “We Don’t Eat Our Classmates.”
The fact that everyone says Legos must mean that Legos is very widely loved but man, we have like ten unopened Lego sets that we have gotten as gifts over the past two years. My kids could not be less interested in sets. They will play with the giant bin of random Legos we have, but doing a kit? Hard nope.
Our 5yo does the kit once and then scavenges for parts for his ‘creations’.
My 4 year old daughter doesn’t really care about building the official kits either, but she loves playing with legos and getting new sets to use as characters in pretend games.
Boston Legal Eagle says
(Can you send these my way?!) This is where my older one and your kids differ then! My older one loooves the kits, and I also buy the kits for all of his friends’ birthday parties now. But you’re right, some kids just don’t do the kits as much.
Thanks! Looks like a lot of Lego sets are character themed (Minecraft, Marvel, Star Wars etc). Do you think that’s ok? I worry that it would be a miss if the kid didn’t know the characters.
As long as it’s something cool like a plane or a car, my kids don’t care. if it’s a building from the set of a movie, they might not be into it.
Boston Legal Eagle says
There should be sets for Lego City or Lego Friends that are more structures and less character themed.
If they can read, we are having great success with Weird But True facts books- small quake books, yellow border, possibly published by National Geographic . And small magnetic travel games (tangrams, Chinese checkers)
If I can’t find any good Lego sets, I will get a game like Jenga or Simon or Uno.
Day Off Vent says
Can I whine for a minute? I have a long-scheduled day off today with my kids in school and I was so excited to have an entire day with the house to myself for the first time in forever.
DH informed me yesterday that he was taking today off for no particular reason other than to “get things done” (he gets tons of vacation and does this randomly all the time). So he’s here too, somehow managing to be in every room I want to be in and listening to podcasts on speakerphone while doing all sorts of productive things.
I’m trying so hard not to be mean or want to kill him. I know it’s his house too, I just wanted to do yoga and watch some daytime Netflix in peace with no judgment. It’s not even like he took the day off so we could do things together; he’s just here. I have a bad cold so I can’t even really go shopping or hang out at a coffee shop. I know I’m the worst for being mad about this but ughhh.
Oh noooo! Could you go into a bedroom (guest room, kids’ room) and close the door and watch Netflix? Can you husband wear earbuds?
Boston Legal Eagle says
+1 on earbuds. I would never listen to my podcasts on speaker when others are around!
Oh the kids bedroom is a good idea! I just find it hard to relax and do nothing with someone bopping around the house doing all kinds of stuff. He is wearing earbuds now thankfully
omg, I feel you. I don’t even like when I’m wfh and he shows up unexpectedly… like just now. I’m here doing my thing, in the zone, I don’t want to have to be conscious of another person.
Yes! It’s not so much anything he is doing as just the fact that someone else is here invading my quiet little bubble.
I just want to validate your frustration about this. There are so few times I actually have “to myself” that it’s disproportionately disappointing when the little slivers are taken away.
Maybe you can have this conversation over the weekend when the sting is gone. My husband knows I need my alone time, and if I say, “I love you, but I really wanted to be home alone that day, can you do next week instead?” he’s usually happy to shift.