On Instagram, I had a request to blog about tea steeping times. The post after I went to the Celestial Seasonings tea factory is filled with fun tea facts, but here’s the upshot.

tea steeping times

Also – if you don’t have a tea timer, you must get one!


I have a new favorite workout tea tee.  I LOVEEEEEEEEEEE this shirt


I have it in black and the greenish color and am probably going to buy more.  Why is it so awesome?  Well, it’s loose, breathable, and has a longer front and back, so it’s flattering, too.  Also, when you get all sweaty, the shirt doesn’t get super wet.  I’ve been rockin’ it to boot camp and it’s perfect (it also goes nicely with actual pants).  Warning – it runs large. I originally ordered a medium and sent it back for a small, and it’s still pretty loose on me.


Have you heard about the Sitting Disease?  It’s a made-up term, but I’ve been thinking a lot about how much I sit (thanks to the Misfit fitness tracker <– review).  You can see a larger version of the below infrographic here.


“Research shows that if people sat 3 less hours a day, it would add 2 years to the average US life expectancy.”  Crazy, huh?


Speaking of not sitting… The bootcamp quest continues.  We did so many squats on Monday that I had to close my eyes and pretend like I was somewhere else while I squatted.  Thought I was going to fall apart.  I am really looking forward to the day where I can do the ENTIRE workout without ANY modifications.  That’s my goal!  I’m really loving the class and feel stronger every time I go.


What else?  Oh, I have not one but TWO Book a Week reviews for you!  I am late on reviewing Week 9’s book and Week 10 was so good that I read it in a SINGLE DAY, so I’m a bit early with that one.


Week 9:  The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money


I read this book after a friend on Facebook shared a quote from the author’s Facebook page.  The book is about how to talk to your kids about money so they (hopefully) become more responsible and respectful of money. Many of the discussions in the book is targeted to parents in the  middle and upper class, although the book would work for parents with lower incomes, too. 


This book reinforced one of my ideas about allowance – that it shouldn’t be tied to chores.  Lieber argues that when you tie allowance to chores, kids end up believing that they should get paid to do things around the house, not because they live there, too.  Kids also end up holding you hostage over chores for money – i.e. they won’t do an extra chore unless you pay them.  Allowance, he says, is given to teach kids how to manage money – that’s it.  He has a ton of recommendations for conversation starters, techniques, and other tools for kids of all ages.


My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.  Good book with strong points, but I got bored with the last few chapters – it might be because my kids are too young to really do any of these techniques right now.  I also think I’m a little burnt out on parenting-related non-fiction. I bet a parent of a school-age child would REALLY appreciate this book.


Week 10:  The Girl on the Train


THANK YOU to every reader who recommended I read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.  It was so good. If you liked Gone Girl, you will love this book!  I don’t know how to sum it up without giving away all the good bits, but it’s basically a psychological thriller/mystery that centered on three women and their relationships to themselves and each other. I don’t want to say anything else! But trust me – you should read it.


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Like I mentioned, I devoured this book in a single day!  Super good with an excellent twist (that I didn’t see coming).


Okay, last, but not least, I’ve been wanting to share this video forever but kept forgetting!


If you are pregnant or have a baby less than 3 months old, WATCH THIS!  It’s about “baby language” and how babies make universal noises for certain needs.  It TOTALLY WORKS and helps you understand your baby so much faster.  I can clearly hear Claire do the “Neh” sound when she is hungry.  Pretty cool.


Random Question:  Did you get an allowance?  Was it tied to chores?  What were your chores?  I got an allowance, and it was tied to chores and my grades.  I don’t think my mom made me save any of it, though – I could do whatever I wanted with it.  My chores included walking the dogs before school every morning and washing them once a week. I also had to clean the bathrooms <—I still hate that chore; I am really looking forward to the day that my kids are old enough to do it!  Hah.



  • Natasha March 10, 2015, 8:32 am

    The workout top link doesn’t work!

  • Tara March 10, 2015, 8:49 am

    I got an allowance and it was tied to chores. My oldest is 4.5 years old right now and we’ve just started having the allowance discussion. I feel like we’ll start once he turns 5. He’s already a saver though. He loves seeing money in his piggy bank, so all birthday money/change he finds goes into his bank…sometimes he’ll even share and put a quarter or two in his little brother’s bank! I want to get that book to get some ideas about how to save and spend responsibly. At this point he has no idea that all his clothes, food, toys, etc. actually cost money. We tell him, but he thinks we’re crazy since he hasn’t had to spend any of his own yet! 😉

    I loved The Girl on the Train!

  • Lydia March 10, 2015, 8:50 am

    We had two sets of chores: One set was tied to our allowance, and the other set was simply the things we had to do because we lived in the house. My parents held all the cards. If Mom and Dad increased the number of chores, then we did them. And we didn’t get paid any more for it.

    My Dad was neurotic about teaching us about money. Our allowance was divided by percentages into Savings (our fun money), College Savings (money we couldn’t touch till college), tithe, and taxes (yes, my parents made us pay taxes to them on our allowance). It worked well for us. We didn’t end up getting very much money to spend in the end, which meant we had to learn to save for the things we really wanted.

    We never got money for good grades. Good grades were expected of us at no monetary gain. My parents didn’t believe in “rewarding” things they expected of us. I suppose it made us more internally driven.

    • Caitlin March 10, 2015, 8:56 am

      Damn yo! Your parents were smart. Do you think you’re good with money now as a result?

      One of the parents in the book also did a tax system.

      • Lydia March 10, 2015, 2:34 pm

        I’m really good with money, but my dad’s system worked to my personality. I’m just like him!

  • Kristy B. March 10, 2015, 9:25 am

    Ugh, I’m SO over the sitting scare tactics. It’s really annoying to those of us who work in an office setting (which is a LOT of people). I’m not sure exactly what I’m supposed to do. I walk every chance I get, but I work in a non-profit setting. They aren’t buying me a treadmill desk any time soon, and I have to do my work. I do everything I can to move as much as possible, but I still have to sit a LOT because otherwise I won’t make money.

    I’m not trying to attack you, I get that it’s important to stay active, but for those of us who don’t have an option, I think it’s more important for us not to stress about how sitting is slowly killing us.

    • Caitlin March 10, 2015, 12:37 pm

      What about a standing desk? Or even sitting at your normal desk on a bouncy ball? That’s what I think I’m going to do!

    • Kara March 10, 2015, 1:36 pm

      I completely agree with you Kristy! We are guilted so much because we happen to work office jobs and don’t have the ability to choose the desk we use. A lot of workplaces don’t even get ergonomic chairs for their employees let alone give them to benefit of choosing the best type of desk for their needs. Desks that are “standing desks” have to be specially-made and a lot of companies would never think of doing this. A bouncy ball is an option but my arms would be above my heart (I’m short!) and therefore giving me bad circulation, so I doubt this would be a worthwhile option. The best thing we can do is to get up or stretch every 20 minutes!

      • Kathy March 12, 2015, 12:15 am

        It’s definitely hard and stinks! When I work from my office, I have a stand up. It isn’t fancy, it’s a cube with the center piece raised. So that could be an option that doesn’t cost anything extra. Also, I’ve seen some people that put boxes on their desk to make it a standing desk. Then you have the option to go back to sitting if you want. I also have a ball for when I sit. I work a lot of overtime so I was tired of sitting all the time!

  • Courtney! @ Redefining Athlete March 10, 2015, 9:25 am

    I always got $1/week for every year old I was. 8 years old = $8 a week. I can’t really remember if my allowance was dependent on chores, but I know it wasn’t tied to grades. I always begged for a special things when I got As, since my friends got them, but my mom would never budged.
    Ok, I’m getting Girl on a Train right now. I loooved Gone Girl so I’m excited to try this.

  • Meagan March 10, 2015, 9:30 am

    You should check out Smart Money, Smart Kids by Rachel Cruse and Dave Ramsey. Same principles with the spend, save and give. But they explain a technique where kids work on “commission”. Your kids do not receive an allowance but commission for work completed. Their rational is that if you just give an allowance kids will simply expect money all the time. It teaches kids the work/money connection. There are some pre-determined chores that are expected and kids receive no monetary incentive (keep room clean, always help with kitchen clean up). Other chores, kids receive pay equal to their age and the task assigned. We have started implementing these principles with our 5 year old daughter. We just lack consistency.

  • Ashley March 10, 2015, 9:58 am

    We never got an allowance but we didn’t really have defined chores either. We had to pick up our rooms, but that was about it.
    Also, just want to give feedback that I still LOVE the book reviews! I don’t know why I love them so much, but I really do! I know you’ve got a full year ahead but just wanted to say they’re not getting old or boring or anything, please keep them coming!!!! : )

  • Sara March 10, 2015, 10:17 am

    My parents gave me a very small allowance and it was not tied to chores because (like you said) they didn’t want me to think I didn’t have to do things because I lived in the house too. I needed to pitch in too!

  • Natalie March 10, 2015, 10:23 am

    My parents gave each child a monthly allowance in the beginning of the month to teach us budgeting. We weren’t allowed to ask for money so if we spent all of our money on the movies and snacks with friends one weekend, and couldn’t buy a birthday gift the following week, we were out of luck. We did chores when our mom asked us to out of respect and were taught to do our own laundry at age 13. Cant wait to hear everyone else’s experience to get some ideas for my future kids!

  • Lyndsey March 10, 2015, 10:50 am

    My parents and I both failed at the chores/allowance thing, it just didn’t work for us. I wish they had made us do things around the house more just because we lived there. Now that I own my own home, I’m probably a bit more messy than a 27 year old should be 😉

    Good grades were expected of me and I got punished when I did not try. (Trying but getting a lower than average grade was accepted, because they saw my effort). I did get $5 for every A I got on my report card, or $50 for straight A’s. I never took advantage of it and really didn’t think too much into it. It was just a nice reward for my hard work.

    I didn’t learn about “real” money until I got my first job at 16. That’s when my mom made me put half of every check in my savings account. I’m great at saving money to this day (still working on my husband though 🙂 )

  • Katie sB March 10, 2015, 11:51 am

    I actually never got an allowance. My parents did pay for my gas in high school and they would give me money to buy lunch out once a week, the rest of the time I packed my own lunch. It was pretty much a goody two shoes in all respects so no need for them to worry about me!

  • Nicole March 10, 2015, 12:37 pm

    My parents starting giving my sister and I allowance when we were maybe 10 years old. They set up a savings account for each of us, and if we deposited money into the account, they would match it. This money was used when I turned 16 to help buy myself a car. And then my younger sister just took my car when I went to college, so I think I got the short end of the deal! Hahaha!

  • kristin | W [H] A T C H March 10, 2015, 12:43 pm

    i love that tea timer!

  • Jennifer March 10, 2015, 1:18 pm

    Ha! I swear you and I are in sync….I’m just a little bit behind you. Every time you post a parenting book you just finished, I’m about half way through it. So I’m currently reading the Opposite of Spoiled and am curious to see how our current allowance structure changes. We have a 6 year old who asked us for an allowance this year. We are currently giving him an allowance every week with the ability to earn extra by doing age appropriate chores. His allowance is split between 4 categories…..spend, save, gifts, charity.

  • Amy @ Amy M4gic March 10, 2015, 1:43 pm

    Thank you for the Girl on the Train book recommendation. The last few books I’ve read have been a little ‘meh’, so I’m ready for something really gripping and it sounds like this could be it!

  • Breanne March 10, 2015, 2:43 pm

    I remember talking to a coworker about Myfitnesspal last year and she asked me why I marked that I was sedentary – “you workout EVERY DAY!” “Yes, but I also sit at a desk the majority of every day.” I hate that I sit so much. 🙁 I recently discovered my new iPhone tracks steps, so while I haven’t sprung for a more involved tracker, I’m loving seeing the tracking on my phone. It’s definitely an eye opener to go from *knowing* you’re sedentary to *seeing* you’re sedentary. I’m not sure what the solution is when I have to work at a desk, but I’m definitely trying to take more quick walking breaks already.

  • Rebecca March 10, 2015, 8:35 pm

    I got a weekly allowance of $1.50. It was mostly tied to chores, which were usually dishes related, and theoretically for keeping my room clean, which I’m terrible at. I never got money for good grades, which I don’t think was detrimental at all. I was one of those kids who just naturally did pretty well in classes, so it would have felt like an easy reward, probably. My parents stopped doing an allowance after a few years, I think. It wasn’t really a huge thing in our house, and I don’t remember us ever taking advantage of it or holding it over their heads. If we didn’t do one of our chores, we maybe didn’t get a quarter. It wasn’t a major thing to not get our allowance, because it wasn’t that much to begin with.
    I was required to save a portion of my allowance. My mom even made us special jars in our favorite colors for spending, saving, and offering at church. A dollar went in the save and spend, and the quarters went in the offering jar. We did open savings accounts, so that helped a little, I think. Then the money wasn’t physically there, so we couldn’t “spend” it.
    And we always got money at birthdays and Christmases from somebody, which we tried to split between saving and spending. I remember having a stash of $2 bills from my grandma at one point because I refused to spend them because they were so cool.
    I still save money, mostly. I give my parents a check every month to help with phone bills and stuff, so I’m sort of paying rent, but it’s not a lot. The stuff I spend on is usually gas and groceries, and then certain bills as they come up. And student loans monthly. I’ve been buying more stuff on my Kindle lately, so some of it is going toward that, but I have never been huge on spending money. I think it partly stems from realizing at a young age that Mom and Dad didn’t have a lot of money (by my count), and so I didn’t like to make them spend money on me if they didn’t have to. That’s carried over into my adult life as “Do I really *need* this right now?”. I only spend when I really need something. I give myself time to think about purchases and if I forget about the item in a few days, then I don’t spend the money on it because I obviously don’t absolutely need it.
    The last “impulse” buy I really made was a couple days ago on a necklace, and it was a replacement for the one my mom bought me that broke. Before that I think it was the concert tickets I purchased for my birthday weekend. So even my impulse buys aren’t really that impulsive, lol.

  • Nicole March 11, 2015, 6:22 am

    The info graphic on sitting is brilliant! As a college student I spend two days out of the week sitting through a total of 5, 3 hour classes. I’m a sports and exercise science major and not one week goes by without me thinking about how ironic it is that even in my major we spend so much time sitting! It drives me crazy. Unfortunately having to sit in class is beyond my control but I have begun to stand more at home. Luckily in my home we have a tall breakfast bar attached to our open kitchen. I often do any computer work while standing at the breakfast bar. I just push the stools out of the way and set the laptop up there, it’s the perfect height!

    As for allowance – mine was tied to chores as well. I don’t really remember details of the system but it worked out well for me because I was always a really helpful kid anyway. My siblings got $$ for grades because they had trouble in school and it was an incentive for them to do better (which didn’t really work). I never got that deal though because I always got good grades.. which I never really thought was fair. Ha! Chore I hated the most = cleaning the litter box. Euw!


  • Kath March 11, 2015, 9:15 am

    I am so inspired by your book a week mission! With a small baby too. I have been tv obsessed and need a change. I starred Girl on the Train last night so I’m glad you gave it a good review!

  • Becky March 11, 2015, 4:41 pm

    I remember getting an allowance in grade school and it was tied to chores. I never got money for my grades, it was always an expectation, but sometimes I would come home and my dad had gotten me flowers or would take me to the music store because of my grades. My chores then were the dishes once a week, and taking care of the dog. When I got older I didn’t get money for chores anymore, you just did them, it was expected. I did the dishes every night and made sure my room was clean on the weekends, so I could trash it during the week being a teenager and all. The dog was still my responsibility too. During the summer both my parents worked and I stayed home alone so my mom would leave a list of things for me to do, vacuum, water plants, clean bathrooms. I started working when I was 14 and my dad helped me set up a checking/saving account. There was like a $20 transfer from checking to savings every month to build that up, but I never did anything much with my savings until I got married and we just ended up draining the account until I closed it!

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