Every time I hit the send button on a new post I get that momentary sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing.  And when your responses come pouring in, it’s like a welcomed pat on the back.

Not all responses are, shall we say, raving reviews but mostly you encourage me. And now and then you offer a different viewpoint or an anecdote from your own life that confirms or refutes what you’ve just read. Regardless, I value every message, every response and even the occasional ones that really let me have it.

Enjoy this handful of responses to recent posts:


When my kids moved back home we signed a contract. One clause was the Work Incentive clause. I charged them $100 rent if they had a job, any kind of job. If they were not working the rent was $200.

‘How can I pay MORE rent without a job?!!’ he howled. ‘I don’t know,’ I replied. ‘That’s your problem. But if you sign the contract, I will hold you to it. If you don’t want to sign the contract, go find somewhere else to live with a better deal.’

He had to do his own laundry, but he was welcome at the dinner table as long as I knew it ahead of time. He lived here about 6 months, then got an apartment. He learned real fast to manage money.

Ditto for my daughter when she finished grad  school and moved back briefly. I believe in helping kids for awhile so they can save their money, get on their feet and get back out there. But to hole up with mom and dad forever? Nope. There is no sense of personal pride and accomplishment in that. Jacqueline


My husband and I unexpectedly found ourselves in a boomerang position when our prodigal son returned home with his pregnant girlfriend. He thought we were so mean, at the time, but we charged them rent approximately equal to what a one bedroom apartment cost in our town. We covered food, as long as they were eating the meals we planned with us. They covered their own snacks, and if they ate out. They drove our extra car, but paid insurance on it. They had chores and household rules just like the children who haven’t moved out yet. Rather than make it a “one-time thing,” my husband and I tried to make it a thing that if it lasted forever we could live with it; and if it happens again, everyone would already know the ground rules.

They moved out about 10 months later. They did not know it at the time, but we had put their rent in a savings account, and when they were ready to move out with a budget in hand, they had $5000 in their Contingency Fund (that they had paid in rent), in addition to the first month’s rent and security deposit that they had saved up in preparation to move out. They’ve fallen on hard times a couple of times, but they’ve pulled through in part, I think, because it is worth the extra work (to them) to have the freedom to “adult” in their own place. They still come to do laundry at our house once in awhile, and when they come to family dinners on Sunday they arrive with our grandchildren and containers to bring home leftovers for the week. Stephanie



I’d add one more tool: A planting auger that fits on my corded or cordless drill.  I can plant two flats of perennial color plants in about 20 minutes with this tool without having to either bend over or sit on the ground. Dick


This hand trowel is one tool you absolutely must add to your list of favorites! I’ve only had mine a few months, but it does everything but make julienne fries! It mixes, it digs, it rakes, it scoops, it’s comfortable, it doesn’t hurt my (injured/fragile) wrist. I just absolutely LOVE it! It’s like an extension of your hand without getting your nails dirty. Karyn


We had a very bad dark pink 7-foot stain in our  white fiberglass bathtub from previous antifreeze winterizing. I’d tried many things to remove the awful stain, including baking soda, soft scrub, bleach, scrubbing bubbles and mildew stain remover, among other things. I was about to give up and live with the long ugly pink stain when I tried non-gel toothpaste. It came off 100%. The tub is beautiful and sparkles again. I don’t know if anyone else might have this issue or a similar one, but I wanted to share this one with you. Gail


Mix 1 cup of vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon liquid Lecithin (available at a drug store, health food store or online). Shake or stir before each use. To prepare muffin or baking pans, use a pastry brush, brush this mixture on the bottom and sides of pans. No flouring is needed. Bake as usual and contents will pop out easily when cooled. Mixture can be stored in the cupboard. Mary Mc.


Years ago my husband and I did the same thing. We totaled my pay, subtracted our expenses which included day care, auto/gas/insurance/wear and tear on the car, calculated how much more in taxes the boost to our taxable income rate was costing us, and we figured out I was bringing home about $50 a month—$700 a year! Totally not worth it.  We transformed our lives by me staying home, raising the kids, and being a frugal mom/wife. I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. Thanks for doing what you do! Karen


I usually agree with all your thoughts. I don’t think your advice this time is the best advice for young women today. A career takes years to develop during that time of struggle with raising children. Yes, it is difficult. But if you are not in the work force how are you able to get experience? When the children are in school it’s still a balance of your time/work time/family time. My husband and I are separated now. I thank God I have the employment to see me thru a crisis I never saw coming. Did I miss being home with small children?Yes, but if the worse thing I did as a mother was work a career to create a home and security that’s not so bad. Maureen