Mr. Money Mustache had a totally awesome article yesterday. About how the best gift we can give our kids is teaching them to work for what they want (versus handing them a materialistic lifestyle).
Just some good stuff, especially for parents. We were raised that way anyway, but it becomes clearer as parents. Do we want to work more and ignore the kids so we can buy them whatever they desire? OR do we actually want to spend time with them and teach them how to thrive? I am very secure that I don't need to spend $1,000 at Christmas or provide my kids a six-figure education. We have all thrived very well without all that.
& to be clear, I don't think this is an impossible thing to get if you have more "spoiling" parents. My bff and my spouse were spoiled rotten in comparison to me (free cars, free educations, free rent, my bff never worked until she graduated college. !!) But they are also both the most fiscally responsible people I know. BUT, that said, they were never handed a materialistic lifestyle either. They were given some nice things, but never taught to expect it. Cars and college can be useful (& neither had a six-figure education or a fancy car or anything like that. Lord knows the car I paid for was more useful than the piece of crap my spouse drove when I met him). I think what's important in these cases was they weren't spoiled on a material level and weren't just handed anything they asked for. I do believe in moderation. I think I Can teach my kids all the same lessons without being quite so extreme as my parents.
I am too lazy to link it - just google it - I think I might have the MMM website on my sidebar.
The To-Dos are going okay. I got my parents' tax return done. Not much to it and my dad way over-estimated income from my Grandma's estate. Some of it won't be reported until 2013. Other taxable reporting wasn't as expected. So, we wasted a big fat tax-free ROTH conversion opportunity. Bummer!!
Which reminds me, I misunderstood on their health insurance. It is only $1800/month for the two of them. I thought they were EACH paying that. Nothing surprises me when it comes to healthcare... But if you thought I was crazy, I was. !!
& I also got Grandma-in-law's tax return done. She insists on paying me $300, so dh will get the check from her on Easter. It was probably fair in the past as her investments are a tax nightmare. I think she is a case where her broker is making her broker. Way more complicated than any of my wealthy clients, and she just does not have a lot. But anyway, I was able to import 100% of everything electronically, so probably saved me hours. I told her how little time I spent on it this year and she didn't have to pay me, but she is a Grandma.
So, I feel relieved to get those off my back. I filed and paid ages ago, for us and the kids. I don't generally do any other taxes (out of the kindness of my heart), but Grandma and parents are okay. Otherwise, I am just happy to *survive* every tax season. Not willing to do a lot of tax returns for others, pay or no pay.
Here is a yummy/easy recipe:
Mozzarella Beef Roll-Ups Recipe
I was thinking to these today because had kids had asked for lunchables last time I took them to the store. I said, "Are you crazy?"
Anyway, dh was telling me how they were being very generous in the sample department today. They were selling two servings of apple sauce in disposable plastic bags. $4 for 2 servings. O.M.G. But they were giving away single servings. He said he was a little taken aback that they would give away a "$2" sample. But also launched a discussion with how ridiculous and wasteful those food packagings are. (I actually often take apple sauce to work, in reusable containers).
So, then it got me thinking that I needed to do some DIY lunchables at home. The kids told me they liked the pizza ones and I immediately thought to this recipe. Tortillas and pre-made pizza sauce would make a good base. Pepperoni and shredded cheese is often on hand anyway. Then I saw the idea to use english muffins. I like that! Bagels would probably be even better for my high-caloric-needs children, but BM informed me he does not like bagels. ??? So I will try english muffins. Tortillas or sandwich thins would work too. I think my kids would starve, is all.
We really need to work on spicing up their lunches. We let them buy twice a week (good value, and they will eat all the veggies). But it's usually literally PBJ 3 days a week. I try to throw in snacks or make them other sandwiches when I make them lunch. But I don't think I have made them lunch since December. Poor kids!! Anyway, I think I will invest in some compartmentalized tupperware and try to get a little more creative.
I also bought some frozen smoothie molds last year, but the experiment failed because the plastic smelled terrible. I think we are in general extra sensitive to that stuff since we try to avoid a lot of chemicals. (It's a theory, I could be totally wrong). As maybe a small percentage of reviewers mentioned the smell, but most seemed to think we are just crazy. !! Well, I am not surprised that we would be the ones to be unable to deal with the scent of the plastic. Anyway, I was looking those up again because I also think those would be GREAT for school lunch and I love making frozen smoothies. So I saw the tip to soak those in baking soda to get out the smell. I will give it a try.
This is an important lesson for the kids. You can have it, but let's be respectful of the environment and our dollars... So instead of always saying, "no," we instead say, "Let's do it BETTER."