Mom Wears Many Hats .com


How to Manage Multi-Generational Households

Should you live like 'The Waltons'? by Liz Pulliam Weston, the Web's most-read personal-finance writer. She is the author of several books, most recently "Your Credit Score: Your Money & What's at Stake." Weston's award-winning columns appear every Monday and Thursday, exclusively on MSN Money. She also answers reader questions on Your Money message board and helps middle-class families cope at Building a Brighter Future. Published April 28, 2010 at

Making the arrangement work for all:
If you're contemplating a move to a multigenerational household or are already in one, here are some suggestions to help make sure the arrangement works for everyone:

•Decide who pays what. One household can live more cheaply than two (or three), but every household still has expenses to cover, and some of those costs -- such as groceries and utilities -- rise with the number of residents. If people have incomes and don't contribute at least some of it to the household, resentments can develop. Making the financial arrangements clear can prevent arguments and tension.

•Divvy up household chores. Again, everyone should contribute as they can. Preschoolers can be taught to put away toys and help with laundry; even seniors with dementia may be able to help with simple food preparation. Chore charts -- those highly effective motivators for the grade-school set -- can be helpful in any multigeneration household, so that everyone knows what's expected of him or her.

•Arrange the house for its current use. Two things are almost guaranteed to be in short supply: privacy and storage space. Rethinking how you use each room and the stuff in it can help you provide for everyone's needs. A rarely used dining room might be better turned into an office or bedroom, for example; a stuffed-to-the-gills "hobby room" might be decluttered and repurposed as a family game or entertainment room. Each resident should have some freedom to create private spaces, with at least some of his or her possessions and enough storage space to contain them.

•Act like an adult if you are one. It can be really, really hard for grandparents not to comment on their children's parenting skills or for young adults not to retreat into the "Mom, will you do my laundry?" habits of adolescence. But dropping some of the old roles and behaving like adult roommates -- or even friends -- tends to lead to happier households


Do You Want to Improve Your Negotiating Prowess?

This is a succinct article on how to negotiate, 7 Tips for Masterful Negotiating by Christine Lagorio, posted in Inc. Magazine on April 26th, 2010.
"Whether you're trying to close a major account or get a better rate from a vendor, here are expert pointers on how to win in negotiations."

NOTE: If you doubt that negotiating is an important skill, just look at how many Mom 'Hats' it's classified under! OK, let's just admit it, we do it all day long, consciously or not. The author also makes the excellent point that being egotistical coming into the negotiations is a drawback, which makes sense since excessive "Pride" is one of the "7 Deadly Sins" written about by a monk in the 4th Century B.C. Instant global communication may be new, but human beings, complete with their bad habits, are well-documented throughout thousands of years of history.

    The article lists the seven tips:

  1. Listen Before you Speak.

  2. Embrace Your Fear.
    The author identifies the characteristic of a famous, successful negotiator, "a combination of professionalism, ethics, and manners speaks volumes." Putting the other frightened negotiator at ease is really a winning tactic.

  3. Avoid Storytelling.
    Just tell the truth!

  4. Study Up.
    "With greater knowlege, you will be able to set the parameters of the discussion in your favor."

  5. Ditch the Dog Metaphors.
    "...instead of viewing your counterpart as the adversary, you focus instead on the merits of the case and search for ways to acheive reciprocity. The idea is to 'attack' the underlying issue, rather than the other negotiator."

  6. When All Seems Lost, Gain Something Else.

  7. Remember: You're Already a Pro at This.

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Free Teacher Lesson Plan on In-Class English Vocabulary-Building on is an educational English language Website designed, coded and written by Lynn Schlebecker Preston, Blogger, to teach advanced English vocabulary skills. Her original method consists of interactive crossword puzzles she created which contain clues from famous, witty writers—buttressed by two additional ACT/SAT vocabulary list entries per each clue.

You can download the free teacher lesson plan on in-class English vocabulary-building here (on the lower lefthand side of the Web page):


Job Interviewing Advice

Here are your questions for the interviewer by Toni Bowers in on October 5th, 2010. Toni Bowers consistently gives great, practical career advice. This article is no exception!

50 Worst of the Worst (and Most Common) Job Interview Mistakes by Karen Burns at U.S. News & World Report, posted on March 10, 2010. See? We don't need to feel so bad. These mistakes are bad, yes, but they are common! We must prepare for an interview by studying the employer and practicing in front of the mirror. In an interview, the first impression we make is a lasting one so we have to hit them with our best selling points in the first minute or so. If you're a professional football player in the NFL, you study the other team before you show up for your Sunday game! We don't want to get crushed in our interview either, do we?

    1. Arriving late.
    2. Arriving too early.
    3. Lighting up a cigarette, or smelling like a cigarette.
    4. Bad-mouthing your last boss.
    5. Lying about your skills/experience/knowledge.
    6. Wearing the wrong (for this workplace!) clothes.
    7. Forgetting the name of the person you’re interviewing with.
    8. Wearing a ton of perfume or aftershave.
    9. Wearing sunglasses.
    10. Wearing a Bluetooth earpiece.
    11. Failing to research the employer in advance.
    12. Failing to demonstrate enthusiasm.
    13. Inquiring about benefits too soon.
    14. Talking about salary requirements too soon.
    15. Being unable to explain how your strengths and abilities apply to the job in question.
    16. Failing to make a strong case for why you are the best person for this job.
    17. Forgetting to bring a copy of your résumé and/or portfolio.
    18. Failing to remember what you wrote on your own résumé.
    19. Asking too many questions.
    20. Asking no questions at all.
    21. Being unprepared to answer the standard questions.
    22. Failing to listen carefully to what the interviewer is saying.
    23. Talking more than half the time.
    24. Interrupting your interviewer.
    25. Neglecting to match the communication style of your interviewer.
    26. Yawning.
    27. Slouching.
    28. Bringing along a friend, or your mother.
    29. Chewing gum, tobacco, your pen, your hair.
    30. Laughing, giggling, whistling, humming, lip-smacking.
    31. Saying “you know,” “like,” “I guess,” and “um.”
    32. Name-dropping or bragging or sounding like a know-it-all.
    33. Asking to use the bathroom.
    34. Being falsely or exaggeratedly modest.
    35. Shaking hands too weakly, or too firmly.
    36. Failing to make eye contact (or making continuous eye contact).
    37. Taking a seat before your interviewer does.
    38. Becoming angry or defensive.
    39. Complaining that you were kept waiting.
    40. Complaining about anything!
    41. Speaking rudely to the receptionist.
    42. Letting your nervousness show.
    43. Overexplaining why you lost your last job.
    44. Being too familiar and jokey.
    45. Sounding desperate.
    46. Checking the time.
    47. Oversharing.
    48. Sounding rehearsed.
    49. Leaving your cell phone on.
    50. Failing to ask for the job.

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The Seven Steps to Effective Writing (funky video)

The Seven Steps to Effective Writing, starring well-known character actor, David Alan Graf, is a fascinating video and educational. David made a special visit to Thank you, David!

Filed under: Teacher 'Hat' 51 Comments

For Earth Day, It was Fun Volunteering at Doheny Beach CA State Park

We were treated nicely by the CA State Park employees and lead to do some quite serious manual labor. We planted trees like this White Alder without the aid of mechanical equipment such as a backhoe or rototiller--which I highly recommend since we have ascended from the Stone Age, especially now that we've experienced the aches and pains! The shovelling and digging of dirt would have been MUCH better done by the young manly sons many of us had left at home that early Saturday morning... Still the local Coastal store for Surfboards and Skateboards treated us volunteers to a lovely barbecue complete with cool raffle prizes! We also received free parking at Doheny Beach State Park for the day, a $15.00 value! Fun was had by all and I'm sure we'll be back next year (with our spry young sons in tow)!


It’s Early Spring! BHG Explains How to Build a Raised Bed for Planting

Grow in Raised Beds

Raised beds are a gardener's dream come true: From weeding to harvesting, in cool climates and waterlogged soils, raised beds remedy a host of problems.

Growing in raised beds means you don't have to bend over as much, saving on your back. The soil warms faster in spring and drains faster in wet weather. What's not to love? So here's how to make your own raised bed.


Parenting: Adam Sandler, his daughter and Rob Schneider

Over Labor Day, 2008, I saw Hollywood actors, Rob Schneider, Adam Sandler and his daughter playing in the surf right next to me; we were all alone. I was so impressed by their good humor, huge smiles and devotion to Adam's daughter. Honestly no one told me they were around and suddenly there they were, behaving exactly as they do in their movies. Although I'm not a big fan of the celebrity-heavy "urban parenting Website",, or even, I would read what Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider have to say about parenting because they're excellent examples.

Adam Sandler & His Girls Hang Ten from


Hewlett Packard has a Teacher Experience Exchange for You

HP Teacher Experience Exchange: "Welcome to the HP Teacher Experience Exchange, a free site providing teacher discussion forums, lesson plans and many other teacher resources."

Here are the main types of content you'll find on Teacher Experience Exchange:

Course: Teacher Experience Exchange courses require enrollment, and include lessons, assignments and quizzes.
Article: Teacher Experience Exchange articles are short, instructional pieces that focus on one aspect of a topic.
Quick lesson: Teacher Experience Exchange quick lessons are instructional pieces that focus on one aspect of a topic and are a few pages long. They are similar to articles but just a little longer.
How-to: Our How-to content gives you a quick interactive visual lesson. These flash-based tutorials will show you exactly how to perform a task on your own computer. You can follow along with the instructor by listening to the audio and watching the demonstration.
Lesson plan: Teacher Experience Exchange lesson plans are shared resources for teachers. To search for a specific plan, use the browse feature on the Lesson plan tab. Lesson plans are provided by teachers and by Teacher Experience Exchange.

Filed under: Teacher 'Hat' 47 Comments

What to Do If Someone in Your Family Expresses Boredom

Tell the person who is feeling lack-luster that boredom is nature's way of telling you it's time to re-evaluate your goals. Plans without deadlines are not plans. The three major ways to change over the millenia (it's unknown why they work, they just do!) are: 1) Location - for example, move your bicycle near the entryway to your home and you will ride it more often; 2) Track it - Record your progress in a log; and 3) Make a Formal Bet - for example, pay a certain amount of money penalty for failing a weigh-in on a certain date. Also, remember that four walls can become depressing. It's important to remind your children that there is "inside time" and "outside time", so things should remain balanced in that way. This is an exciting time when laptop computers, computing pads, iphones, Android phones and Blackberry's make it possible to work while still on the go!


Scientific References for Academic Tutoring

My sons' longtime tutor who has a Master's Degree from MIT, recommends these Websites as scientific educational tools:

  1. - Everything here is free! This Website should be on the reading list for every science student.
  2. - The best serious science publication in the world. The basic news is free but technical articles are not.
  3. - What journalists decide to write about science, not actual scientific research.
  4. News page from Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory - You can also subscribe to their RSS or email listserver (my sons' tutor does). Understand, though, that they specialize in high-level, theoretical, HARD SCIENCE in what is arguably the best theoretical science lab in the world.
  5. - The MIT publication. "This is what we are" says my sons' tutor, meaning MIT's magazine is called, "Technology Review", for a reason--they live, eat and breathe it!

My ex-husband and the father of our two sons majored in physics at CalTech. He is a handsome Puerto Rican yet he says he relates to this song. ;)


Stay on Course with a Written Family Routine

If you figure out the best practices for your family time-wise, you don't want to keep forgetting any nuances of your carefully thought-out routine. You can create a family routine (default only, stay flexible) chart in Excel or some other way. Then you can print it out and post it on the wall next to the family calendar hanging there. An example is shown below:


Rachel’s Ray-of-Sunshine at

Our local mom in the spotlight for raising her four children along with starting her own successful business is Randi Nash. I interviewed her today and was very impressed by both her motherly skills and business acumen. This is her online presence (for now but her sales are up!)

Her ingredients look so tasty for her company's Rachel's Ray of Sunshine flavor granola cereal that it makes me want to set out immediately on a hike to parts unknown: Rolled oats, macadamia nuts, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, peppitas, maple syrup, brown sugar, canola oils, flame raisins, golden raisins, semi-sweet chocolate, ground French roast coffee, and cinnamon. No wonder the upscale hotels are serving her fare!

This is a sweet fact--all flavors other than Rachel's Ray of Sunshine, are named for Randi's children:

Emma's Bada Bing
Zachary's Brazilian Bombshell (Gluten Free)
Daniel's Mac-Daddy
Juji's Pec-a-boo (for Juliet)

Congratulations, Randi! Oh, and Randi informs me: "The website will be e-commerce as of June 1st. As for now, interested customers can order directly from me by calling the number on the website:"

Here's a tune for you to enjoy!
Gypsy Woman - Brian Hyland


Places to Shop

Shopping Directories:

  1. California Malls, Stores and Shopping Centers,
  2. Virtual Malls in the Yahoo Directory,
  3. Retail Shopping Centers from,
  4. Outlet Malls and Clearance Sales Guide,
  5. "Shopping" Tab on
  6. and Thomas Guide Shopping Center list in your car.
  7. Big Retailers:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and

Online Only: and


Bartering – How To and Where

  1. PlanetGreen on has interesting tips about how to use online bartering Websites.
  2. for bartering; for free stuff you must pick up yourself (usually slightly damaged); and other categories of items and services for sale on
  3. is where you can trade anything and pay nothing; "U-Exchange is the largest swap site that specializes in every type of trade."
  4. "allows users to sell or barter. It is also a free service, with easy-to-search categories."
  5. "has sections for swapping items, bartering services, and exchanging real estate."
  6. "You have to sign up as a member, but you can then sort through what services other people are seeking and what they have to offer to find a great trade."
  7. "is not a bartering network, but you can offer up things you don't want and hunt for free things you do want. It's a great place to hunt for items you need and save a lot of money."


Grocery Shopping Tips and for Coupons for "Grocery Shopping Tips" and - All The Latest Printable Coupons for Irvine, CA.


Car Maintenance and Repair Tutorials Online

"Car Maintenance and Repair Tips: How to Remove a Car Battery to Replace It" - one of a whole series of "Car Maintenance and Repair Tips" on

How to Check Your Cars Brake Fluid on There are many more informative car maintenance videos on!


Does Your Family Like to Go Hiking? "Your family hiking resource."

Could this bear be any more chilled out?


National Park Service – Visit the Santa Monica Mountains!

National Park Service - Santa Monica Mountains:
A sample partner organization is the "L.A. Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association"


California State Parks in Orange County and Nearby

California State Parks - Orange County:

  1. San Clemente State Beach.
  2. Doheny State Beach.
  3. Crystal Cove State Park.
  4. Corona Del Mar State Beach.
  5. Huntington State Beach.
  6. Bolsa Chica State Beach.
  7. San Onofre State Beach.
  8. Carlsbad State Beach.
  9. Malibu Creek State Park.
  10. Leo Carrillo State Park in L.A.County.
  11. Malibu Lagoon State Beach.
  12. Topanga State Park.
  13. Antelope Valley CA Poppy Reserve.