I have many questions

By Mir
December 7, 2015

My life is confusing. I mean, I’m sure it’s no more confusing than anyone else’s, but I am easily perplexed. Sometimes I just randomly wonder about stuff, and other times I am genuinely flummoxed. Because it’s Monday and I am me, I’m just going to share some of my recent questions with you in no particular order. Feel free to offer insight, or just to let me know you’re confused along with me.

What is a reasonable expectation for a cheap hotel? Some background: Over the summer during our Collegevisitpalooza, Chickadee and I stayed at a perfectly serviceable, if unremarkable, hotel near her chosen college. The cost for the night was… around $100, I think. (Bear in mind this is not in a major metropolitan area, or anything. Small town, maybe 8-10 hotels from which to choose.) Last week we went for another visit and this time I went poking around online and chose a slightly cheaper option—about $60 for the night—because I am cheap and it was just a place to crash for the night and no biggie. Yeah. Um. They did indeed LEAVE THE LIGHT ON FOR US, but it quickly became clear that that was perhaps because 1) they didn’t want us to wait in the dark for the 10 minutes it took the manager to appear at the check-in desk, and 2) the light scares the roaches a little. It was… so gross. Like, I-checked-for-bedbugs gross. We were there for about 9 hours and we lived, obviously, but when I submitted a complaint via the website, all I got back was a “we are taking measures to rectify this issue” email. Am I out of line here, or should $60 still get you a roach-free room?

How much do you care about recipes? I have mentioned Nerd Night before, yes? On Sunday nights my kids go to the house of some VERY tolerant friends who feed them dinner and run a gaming night—last year it was Dungeons & Dragons, but this year it’s Deadlands, which in my limited understanding is basically… Wild West D&D with some zombies—for a big group of teenaged nerdlings. I supply dessert. This has been going on for over a year and yesterday I made something I’d made before, but I’m pretty sure it was the first time I’d sent a repeat. My approach to baking is usually “Hmmm, this recipe sounds good, I’ll just make a few tweaks and it’ll be perfect!” Are you interested in a weekly post on a decadent dessert? (Otto has already suggested that I could call it Dungeons & Dragons & Diabetes. He’s so helpful.)

Why can’t I figure out how to cook for 4 people? I grew up in a family of 4. I now live in a family of 4. I regularly cook as if feeding an entire army, and I can’t figure out what the hell my problem is. This weekend we did a Thanksgiving dinner, finally, because everyone was gone for the ACTUAL Thanksgiving, and it’s a sub-clause in our marriage contract that Otto gets a full turkey dinner somewhere in the Thanksgiving timeframe. ANYWAY. We usually host a big crowd for Thanksgiving, but obviously didn’t this year, so instead of our usual trip to the hippie grocery store to get our ethically-raised and coddled organic mega-turkey, I picked up a SMALL Butterball at the supermarket. I then proceeded to spend a day making enough sides to feed 20 people. I’m a dumbass.

Lofted beds: great idea or terrifying? So one of the things we got to do last week while visiting Future College (ZOMG IT’S REAL IT’S REALLY HAPPENING) was tour what will be Chickadee’s actual dorm. (Last time we toured A Dorm. This time we toured the Honors Dorm, which is set up differently.) We knew that the beds were all lofted in this building, but I had assumed that meant they were, say, 4 feet up with the dressers and other storage beneath them. WELL. The room I got to see had one bed like that, and then the other bed was lofted, like, impossibly high in the air, high enough that the kids living there had a whole kitchen setup going on underneath that bed, because it was high enough for tall adults to walk under. Any human on that bed would not have been able to sit up without whacking their head on the ceiling. It was HIGH. And apparently in the room Chickie toured (parents and students were split up; I didn’t see her all day!), BOTH beds were that high. I feel about 100 years old saying this, but does that seem dangerous to anyone else?? Fall out of a bed that’s 4 feet up and you’ll be cranky, but you won’t really get hurt. Fall out of one of THOSE beds and you could end up traction. Also, how do you even change the sheets?? I could only reach the mattress by putting my hands all the way up in the air. (I’m 5’6″, so not super tall, but not exactly short, either.) You get some say about how to set the room up once you get there, obviously, but my kid thinks a bed 7 feet in the air is a GREAT idea and I need to know if I’m being ridiculous.

What’s your favorite holiday cookie? Speaking of recipes, I realized with a bit of panic this weekend that I haven’t started my annual Christmas cookie madness (we—by which I mean “I”—give all the kids’ teachers buckets of assorted homemade cookies before break, because we—“I”—think they deserve a little something nice for putting up with my spawn). I have a couple recipes I make every year, but I’m open to new ones that 1) seem to be crowd-pleasers, 2) aren’t terribly complicated, and 3) scale well to large batches and/or freeze well.

Are we the only middle-class parents in the world who did not buy our kid a car? I let Chickadee use my car pretty much whenever, primarily because she’s a responsible driver and also because I can task her with picking up her brother, running errands for me, etc. BUT. It’s still my car, and we appear to be the only parents around here in a comfortable income bracket who didn’t run out and buy our kid her own car the moment she got her license. I find this… weird. I mean, I don’t know, is this further evidence of how mean we are? We live in a very economically diverse area (this is the gentlest possible way I can say that) and I find it sort of gross that there are 16-year-olds pulling into the high school in their BMWs so that they can head to class with kids who rode the bus or walked and then went and got their free breakfast. If my kid wants her own car, she can work until she can buy herself one, and GUESS WHAT, it’s not gonna be a Beamer.

Is your house decked out for the holidays already? In the fine tradition of a somewhat-agnostic, culturally Jewish and Catholic and Methodist blended household, I like to decorate for Christmas with twinkly lights and then make latkes. I feel like God is probably okay with this. For years we got out the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, but as the kids have grown and life gets more hectic, we’ve been… slipping. So far this year I’ve put a wreath on the door and my candle lamps in the windows. I fear this makes me a slacker. Related: My original batch of sensor candle lamps from however long ago (lord, probably 20 years now, maybe) are starting to die, and I’ve discovered that candle lamps which plug in but automatically turn on in the dark and off in the light have become very hard to find. One year I accidentally bought candle lamps that CLAIMED to be sensor lamps but are in FACT actually timer lamps, meaning they stay on for 8 hours and go off for 16 hours, but that is ALL LIES because they never work right and this is the year I’m going to finally throw them away because they make me crazy. (The holidays bring out the best in me, if by “best” we mean “neurotic.”)

That’s everything I can think of right now, though to be fair, I’ve only had one cup of coffee so far. This is either a good or a bad thing, depending.


  1. Amy King

    1. Never stay at a hotel that’s cheaper than a Hampton Inn. Otherwise you’re better off camping (and I say this after lots and lots of travel for work to places in Georgia you wouldn’t believe exist.

    2. All the recipes please and thank you! And please call it D&D&D.

    3. I can’t figure out how to cook for two people!

    4. Terrifying!!

    5. All. Of. Them. But especially those peanut butter ones with the Hershey’s kiss.

    6. My parents bought me a 1984 camaro when I turned 16. It was two years younger than me.

    7. Yes. But it still feels too warm for Christmas so it seems weird.

    • Mir

      You are excellent at following directions, Amy. Gold star! :)

  2. The Other Leanne

    “I think I’ll change the sheets” said no college student ever.

    • Mir

      Well RIGHT, but if it’s practically impossible even if she wanted to… I just… ummm… ewwwww.

      • Karen R

        I always washed my sheets and towels weekly, but I remember my mother complaining about the water at my brother’s college ruining his sheets and towels. My response that he probably didn’t wash them was not received well. However, somehow his clothing wasn’t ruined by the water, so she may have believed it eventually.

        DD’s university charged a mandatory laundry fee as part of the residence costs. No need to stockpile quarters or worry about running up excess fees. She just had to scan her school ID to wash and dry her laundry.

        She did learn to make sure everything was clean before the final week, when the guys were doing their semester’s worth of laundry.

      • another sue

        Use that crafty, handy side of yourself and sew a couple of sheets together sleeping bag style. Toss in a top blanket, comforter, whatever she might need, and you’re set. Does she have sensory issues that would prevent this? Because it seems far more “doable” to me, than expecting anyone to regularly change sheets in the scenario you have described.

        • Mir

          She uses a fitted sheet and a duvet with a cover here at home (top sheet is perplexing, and this way we can just wash the cover periodically) so I guess she could do the same, there. Then it would just be the gymnastics of the fitted sheet after the initial wrangling of mattress cover/foam pad/top cover on the mattress when we get there.

          • Kim

            She is young and gymnastics will not be as difficult for her. It’s an adventure.

    • Brenda

      I had a roommate freshman year who didn’t change her sheets for an entire semester, and it totally grossed me out. Her bed wasn’t even lofted.

    • Kim

      Gonna give a shout out for the slobs among us. I’m not sure what I did lo these many years ago* – but changing sheets may very well never occurred to me. So a. train your kids; b. remind them. Because if you told my teenaged ADD self to change my sheets because gross, she would say, oh, of course it is, www, I will do that. But left to my own devices, well, clothes would always be a bigger priority, and I would probably only think about it as I was getting into bed.
      *I want to believe my mom trained me better than that – I am really good at changing them now. But I wouldn’t swear to it.

  3. MomQueenBee

    You need to sic one of the nerdlings on to decoding Priceline. The nerdling I married is a Priceline KING and as a result we stay in 3- and four-star hotels for next to nothing. It’s the best sport ever–the thrill of the hunt without the gore of the kill. Anyway, with a little practice and some deductive reasoning they’ll be able to hotels for a quarter of the list price. As God is my witness, I’ll never stay where They Leave the Light on For Me again. (And I was uncompensated for this Priceline plug, darn it anyway.)

  4. Pam

    Loft beds were all the rage when I was in college, and I fully support them. Most of my friends (since I went to Georgia Tech and we were a bunch of nerd engineeers) built them themselves and added a rail to them to significantly lessen the chances of rolling out of bed and plummeting to the ground.

    In our defense, we also turned the boys shower room into a giant room-size hot tub with a couple unmounted dorm room doors and a significant amount of duct tape, so engineering schools may not be the best role models in this regard.

  5. Liz

    Yeah, those lofted beds really are that high. My kid survived 2 years in one without ending up in traction, and I just didn’t ask about the sheets (I know they came home and were washed on breaks). She was actually not a big fan but it was simply the only way to make the postage stamp sized room work with 2 people.

  6. Darcie

    My “go to” holiday cookies are actually cake balls. They are a huge hit. I do the Oreo cake balls and then Red Velvet ones. You can find the recipes for these on Pinterest. Working on the holiday “spirit”, but feeling blah about it.

    We bought a car for our kiddo when he got his license. However, he attends a private school about 15 minutes away and has extra curricular stuff, so it was a needed sanity saver for me with three kids. We got him the cheapest, safe car we could afford. However, his campus parking lot is filled with BMW, Mercedes, Mac-daddy trucks and lots of Jeeps with monogrammed tire covers. So… yeah.

  7. Brenda

    I lofted my bed quite high in college for most of my time there. It was so sketchy, lofted with cinder blocks and dressers and a little prayer. I learned how to make the bed while kneeling on the mattress, and I did it for the extra room it afforded (I kept my loveseat underneath). My last semester I was tired of climbing up into bed, so I didn’t loft, but crazy high isn’t out of the realm of normal.

    I actually really want my tree up this year, but I’ve been too exhausted/stressed to take the time to get it out, set it up, and decorate it. And now it seems late enough that I would probably not even bother, except I bought garland and a Doctor Who Weeping Angel tree topper, so I want to use them.

  8. Tricia

    1. Hotels are or something to pull up short on…watch one episode of Hotel Impossible and even staying in a branded hotel will make you cringe. In a small college town stake out an acceptable hotel and make tons of reservations…because every parent is going to be competing for that hotel.

    2. Yes, please recipes…more if they don’t contain almonds….braise not everyone likes/eats almonds.

    3. Daughter of a firehouse cook…I either barely make enough or enough to feed entire armies…I’m no help.

    4. I had a lofted bed in college. I’m 5’4″ and my roommate was 5′ even. Neither of us fell out, changing the sheets is actually possible, but it requires body origami. I only hit my head on the ceiling once when I was woken up by a sonic boom (yes, really) and I know for a fact my roommate figured out to how spend “quality alone time” with her boyfriend in those confines. So…give it up…it’s not as scary once up there…just remind her to pee before going to bed, nothing worse than getting all the way up and realizing you forgot something….book, alarm clock….peeing…

    5. All the cookies…get to it.

    6. Only child…I got a brand new car on my 16th birthday. My school had no bus and I needed to get to my job!!

    7. No tree this year for us…travel and lazy.

    • Tricia

      Wow..typing on my phone. Don’t pull up short on hotels.

  9. Summer

    Hello there, long-time reader, but I don’t often comment. Your blog makes me laugh, because it could have been written by my mom when I was in high school (which was more than 10 years ago). I’m going to jump into the middle here, because I don’t even know where to start with the first two questions.

    3. I agree with Amy King above – I can’t figure out how to cook for 2 people. We either have way too much food or none.

    4. I had a lofted bed for part of college. They’re kind of a pain in the butt. One good thing about them: If you put your alarm across the room, you have to get out of bed to hit snooze and then decide if climbing back up in the loft bed is worth the extra 9 minutes of sleep, or if you might as well get up.

    5. Agreeing (again) with Amy – my faves are the peanut butter hershey’s kiss ones.

    6. My parents did not buy me a car when I was in high school, and it was a bit of an anomaly then as well. I almost always had access to a car, so it worked out. As a teenager, I’m sure it was frustrating, but after I bought my first car (as an adult), I realized, “Oh this is why my parents didn’t buy me a car” – because they are EXPENSIVE!

    7. I am terrible at decorating. I got out the Christmas decorations and realized how sorry my decorating skills are. And since we have big dogs (who think they are little dogs), we didn’t even put ornaments on our tree, because last time we did that, they knocked the tree over and broke half the ornaments. Happy Holidays!

  10. Sue

    1. My oldest child and I are booked into a $60 hotel next weekend for a sports competition. We’ve stayed at many cheap-and-sketchy hotels over many years of these competitions and we’ve seen lots of dirt but never roaches or bedbugs. The Canadian climate probably helps with that, but still, I think you have an expectation of a vermin-free room.
    2. Bring on the recipes, woman. You can’t taunt us with food porn photos and not produce the recipes. Plus think of the potential ad revenue.
    3. Too much food? If you continue to insist there is such a thing, I will be forced to break the news to you that marching band is not a sport. When there are teenage athletes in the house there is no such thing as too much food.
    4. I had a loft bed in college, as did my boyfriend. Neither of us ever fell out of bed, not even when there were two of us (ahem) in the same bed. We successfully, and fairly frequently, changed the sheets. She will be fine.
    5. You can’t go wrong with simple shortbread or sugar cookies, in my experience. There is something to be said for the classics.
    6. I felt as you do for many years, but as my oldest child approaches driving age I find myself looking at potential cars for her. Nothing new or fancy, but something reliable that will free me from frequent drives to the gym….oh yes, it’s definitely a possibility.
    7. We just managed to get a few strings of lights up outside. Nothing else yet. I hate decorating for Christmas, although I like the house when it’s done. Eventually it will get done. Or not. And we will all survive either way.

  11. Karen R

    This is my standard holiday recipe. It ages well (when it lasts long enough to age…), can be scaled to much larger batches, and is absolutely delicious. I use dates, but pretty much any dried fruit will work. It also adapts well to gluten-free baking — just substitute GF flour. I like a mix of coconut and almond flours in this. It might need to bake 10-15 minutes longer with that flour combo.

    Baked Fruit Fudge


    2 tablespoons butter
    1 cup sugar
    2 large eggs
    2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate — melted and cooled
    1 teaspoon lemon extract
    1 teaspoon orange extract
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup flour
    1/2 cup candied fruit or dates


    Cream together butter and sugar Add eggs, chocolate, lemon extract, orange extract, and vanilla extract. Beat well.

    Blend in flour.

    Arrange 1/2 cup of dates, raisins, figs, or candied fruit in buttered 9×9 pan. Pour batter over fruit and bake at 300 for 30 minutes. When cool, cut into squares.

  12. Jenni

    1. I don’t leave my house, so yeah, I’m no help but I wouldn’t have good expectations of a $60 hotel room.
    2. Reipes please!!
    3. The nights i make enough for only four, are the nights we end up with an extra teenager for dinner.
    4. My college didn’t do generally do lofted beds, in a two person room, we could have them separate or as a bunk bed. In a three person room it was a loft bed over two desks and a bunk bed.
    5. Maple Logs: http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/desserts/maple-logs/
    6. My brother got my mom’s old car. Then my parents ‘bought my dad a car’ and he had his truck, so two years later when i started driving i drove that car. But neither was new, nor a BMW. In fact they were both Oldsmobiles. When we bought our spiffy third-row SUV, we did not trade in a car because our oldest was 15. If she would ever bother to study for & pass the drivers test, she would have a car to drive.
    7. Yes, I have two fake 7.5ft tall trees set up…in the same room. There’s a story, but mostly it to involves wanting to replace the old tree that was already set up & a black friday sale.

  13. Jennifer Morgan

    1. I had a similar experience last month, when we’d already visited relatives once, then had to return two weeks later for a funeral. “It’ll just be for two nights, we slept in cheap motels all the time when we were kids, who cares if there’s no free breakfast,” I thought. Yeah. There’s a division between $100 and “good god!” Ended up buying room scent warmers to plug in to cover up the smell, so detract that from the “savings.”

    5. Christmas tree spritz, almond flavored. With silver balls as “stars” that my husband claims are actually made of poison; I counter my family has been eating them for years; he implies that that proves his point.

    6. No, you’re not the only ones. We may not even provide a car for our child when she goes to college . Let her figure things out (and walk!) the way I did for four years. Only now do I realize what good shape I was in.

    7. Well, in NY, it’s been really unseasonably warm the last three weekends, so we are actually pretty far gone in the decorations. I mean, how do you pass up the opportunity to put as many lights out as you can while it’s still 50 degrees out? But I am with you in wholesale tossing out the things that I realized I’ve tolerated for years even though they drive me crazy. First purge: the strings of blue lights that have somehow lost their paint on the bulbs so they’re sort of blue and sort of white. Lights are cheap, and we are not broke.

  14. Paige

    I don’t normally comment (I think it’s been 3 years since my last comment?) but I desperately needed to respond to all the questions! You asked!

    1. To me, $60/night is definitely not a roach-free experience. But then, I may have a skewed perspective because I live in California, and our hotels aren’t cheap. The extended stay motel in my (smallish) city runs $87/night, plus taxes. That place is certainly not roach free, and it’s been listed on the cities “landlords of shame” website twice in the past year for bedbugs.

    2. I don’t care about recipes at all, see #3.

    3. My husband does this too! I do not, because I do not cook. I can just about make boxed Mac and cheese and chocolate chip cookies. My kids teachers get $5 gift cards for things like Starbucks and ice cream at the holidays.

    4. Lofted beds are great, especially in dorms! I had a bunk bed and slept in the top bunk from the time I was 4. I was only about 5 feet off the ground, but it never mattered because I never fell out, not even when I used it as a jungle gym. My daughter now sleeps on a top bunk, and she’s never fallen either. Both my kids fell off the ladder a time or two, but as toddlers. A fully grown adult is unlikely to fall off the ladder. Also, after the first head whack on the ceiling, they will learn to not sit up quickly. I’m assuming the ceilings were 9 feet? Only thing: do tell Chickie to make sure her smoke detector is existing and functional. Smoke rises, and you don’t want to be trapped on the top bunk with it.

    5. My sister makes a delicious peppermint chocolate cookie at Christmas every year. I don’t have the recipe, but I seem to remember them as being relatively easy to make, and something I might actually attempt.

    6. When I got my license, my mother took me to the local police auction, and we bid on a car my father paid for. It was $3000 and it lasted me 6 years – enough time to get through college. For my mother, me having a car was a necessity: he can was fitted out with her wheelchair lift, and she needed me to be able to run errands without taking off with her lift. I also used it for commuting to and from college and my summer jobs. It gave me a particular sense of independence. The money I saved from working went to buying my first laptop, which I needed for college; I wouldn’t have had enough for a car.

    7. We do decorate, and have done most of it now. My husband works retail, so he doesn’t really understand the whole waiting until Thanksgiving thing. So our tree was set up on thanksgiving, but because I am me, we waited until the Saturday after thanksgiving to decorate it. Then he brought home a second tree for the kids (“what? It was on clearance! It’s last year’s model!”) and we have a little Christmas forest going. I believe presents are the height of decorating, so most of our gifts are wrapped and under the tree where I can enjoy them. Neither of my kids has touched them, which never ceases to amaze me. My husband puts up lights outside, but for some reason he doesn’t want to climb on the roof when it’s raining or icy, so they aren’t up yet. Last year he brought home a 12 foot tall inflatable snowman on Boxing Day (“I can’t figure out why it didn’t sell well, but we are basically giving them away, so I got one for next year.”) and that will go up in the next day or two.

  15. monica

    1. Hotels: I had to stay overnight just out side of New London for my kids basketball tournament last spring. hotel cost 180 bucks and it was icky. It was the best deal. I was shocked at how much an icky hotel costs!

    2. I love looking through cookbooks, but hardly ever follow an actual recipe except when baking, and then I just google, – probably never make the same recipe twice.

    3. I have two teen boys plus me in the house. If I cook an entire pound of pasta, they will not be hungry that night and I will end up with leftover pasta that they don’t feel like eating in the fridge for days. If I make any less, they end up being STARVING and complaining that there is not enough. Just. Can’t. Win.

    4. I think the loft beds will be fine and that yes indeed, this is showing your middle age-ed- ness! She will be FINE, and guess what – if she hardly ever changes her sheets, you won’t care cause you won’t be there!!!!!! :)

    5.Cookies- I like a basic sugar cookie that is well decorated.

    6. Cars: I KNOWWWWWWWWWW- we live right next to Cambridge MA, so there are buses that stop all over town and the town itself is only 5 sq miles, so basically anyone can walk anywhere – BUT people seem to all buy their kids cars anyway. My oldest is 16, and I will have a bit of an issue because we are a one car family, so he will not get to take the car often (because I get priority). Even a relatively cheap car will end up costing the price of one year at State Univ (factor in gas, repairs, insurance over the years, etc). No car for my kids!!!

    7. No decorations yet! I get sick of it all after a while and am firmly in not till at 10 days to a week before Xmas before I start with all the stuff..


  16. Debra

    * I second Priceline or other websites like it. I will never ever stay where they leave the light on or the inn sporting a crimson roof as long as I have access to discounts rooms.

    * The recipes are a MUST. I live with a bunch of nerds and a one a little like your Chickie who has already tried her hand at non-alcoholic Harry Potter drinks. She would become a regular follower just to get the recipes to take when she hangs out with her nerdy friends.

    * Loft beds are excellent for the students. As little room as they have in the dorms it’s a blessing to be able to raise the bed as high as possible. To change the sheets you fit them over them to short end of the mattress nearest the wall then wiggle down the mattress to the end where you climb up pulling the sheet to fit over the opposite short end. If you’re lucky it’s only a year. College dorm style apartments are MUCH cheaper than dorms.

    * Cook for an army then freeze half. On the days you don’t feel like cooking you’ll still have food.

    * We bought both our kids a car. They were both used and both cost $1500. The girl’s car is a 2003 and she hates it now but it still drives good (it just looks like a piece of dung) and we refuse to get her another one. She’s a college graduate now and can get the next one on her own.

    *Our lights are up mostly because the girl did it on days she was feeling good. They are beautiful and if last year is any indication they may get put away around Valentine’s day.

    *My favorite holiday goodie is not a cookie. It’s a no bake fruitcake. Made with vanilla wafers, sweetened condensed milk, coconut, and all the fruits and nuts. It’s a straight up cavity creator.

  17. amanda

    I went to Clemson and lived in the Honors dorm, where my bed was lofted. I could definitely stand up and walk around underneath it and I’m 5′ 7″, and I do think that I could mostly sit up when in bed. I really didn’t go up there to do anything other than sleep. Changing my sheets was a bit complex, but I think that I stood on a chair and did it. I was quite terrified I would fall out but I never did, and I don’t know anyone who did either. She will probably be fine.

  18. Chuck

    1. In my experience the Leave The Light On people are very hit or miss. Lately they’ve taken to not having any carpet in their rooms so I never look at them as an option any more. I have stayed at some that felt fine…not fancy, but with carpet and no roaches…and some where I seemed to be at a convention for drug dealers. Right now Best Western is the cheapest I will go with but I usually try for a Hyatt Place since I have their credit card.

    2. I rarely bake (although I enjoy it) because I then end up eating everything I make, and I’m single. I usually take some to work though so I don’t eat ALL the cookies…

    3. I enjoy cooking on occasion but being single I end up eating the same thing for a week (or at least three days) when I do…so I eat out too much. Ah well.

    4. Had a tall loft bed in the military (about five feet up) and never fell out of it. Stored stuff underneath. Never had an issue changing sheets but I am 6’4″ also.

    5. My fave cookie is probably this one: http://bit.ly/1XPxd1m but I am a sucker for chocolate chip also. My favorite “Christmassy” cookie is probably date bars.

    6. My parents got me a car when I was a senior because I was going away to school and also because they had just gotten a new Cadillac and it was literally cheaper to buy a used car for me so that I wasn’t listed as one of the Cadillac’s drivers due to insurance costs.

    7. I’m a guy, I’m single, so I basically don’t decorate. I might put out one or two holiday-ish knick knacks that I own, but that’s about it.

    • Jessica

      A coworker of mine used to always make those cookies, and they are absolutely DELICIOUS! She always had to send out an email to everyone when she brought them in, because people would get mad if they missed out.

  19. Jodie

    1. I live in CA so my comparison might not be helpful, but $100 is about where I draw the line. Maybe $85 if there are lots and lots of reviews and pictures. I feel like when I was a kid $60 was reasonable, but with inflation…we’re old :)

    2. Yes, please. And +1 to D&D&D

    3. I thought this was part of your plan to rule the universe with your outside freezer? In any case it’s been reading that way for years ;) We combat this by having bought a house with a counter depth fridge and no outside freezer. Means I have to be careful about meal planning.

    4. I have my 9 year old that high. Do the beds not have a guard rail? If they do, she’ll learn to change the sheets while on the mattress and it will give her lots of real estate under her bed – something that’s so helpful in a tiny dorm.

    5. I don’t bake, so I have none. Though last night I made ritz crackers and melted rolo smooshed between that. They’re delicious.

    6. We’re totally planning on buying a beater car (that’s safe) when oldest gets her license, but that’s because we use our cars every day and want to require her to cart her sisters around.

    7. We’re often very late with the decorations and then very late getting them down. Don’t sweat it, but DO buy LED replacements. We saw lots of good sensor options at our local Ace Hardware.

  20. Katherine

    I’ve gotten higher expectations for hotels over the years, but yes, I expect roach free at $60. Heck, we stayed at a perfectly nice hotel somewhere in VA just before Thanksgiving and got a room for $36 before tax I think. It even came with a hot breakfast! That said, I check all hotel rooms for bedbugs now – I’ve read that some of the more expensive hotels are just as likely to have them.

    I love recipes and I have added several of your savory recipes to my repertoire already. I love your chicken pot pie with cornbread.

    I know how to cook for 4 people, but why would I want to? I love leftovers! I try to cook for at least 2 meals at once, bonus if it gives me some lunch servings as well. Now that my oldest is off at college, many of my meals that didn’t used to have lunch servings left do now because there are only 3 of us most of the time and my recipes often serve 8.

    Loft beds. My college kid has the 4 ft off the ground type, which works well for storage underneath but not so much for making more real space in the room. When I went to college (same school), rooms came standard with bunks, but 3 out of 4 years I had a higher lofted bed. Freshman year my roommate and I went to the lumber yard and bought supplies and did it ourselves. I made it tall enough so that 5’7″ me wouldn’t hit my head getting to my desk underneath the bed, but also so I could sit up in bed. 2 other years my bed was already lofted, but always so that I could still sit up in bed. Benefits of an old building with 9 foot ceilings. I never fell out (nor did I ever have a ladder or rails). We climbed up desk chair or windowsill into bed. Changing sheets was a pain, but no worse than bunk beds normally are. I think I washed sheets about once a month.

    Favorite holiday cookie. Hard to say. I like my SIL’s ginger cookie or seven layer bars. I always make biscotti to send in to teachers. It seems to be a big hit.

    My kids don’t have a car. We have 2 cars and can, when needed, borrow my mom’s truck. Older son got a parking permit senior year and drove dad’s car (and dad and younger son – they all went to the same school). He needed the car for an internship for the last 2 hours of school day, but pretty much always had after school activities, so he drove back to school and took them all back home again. He drove separately only a handful of times. If he had needed to drive separately often, we had talked about getting DH a new car and giving son the 2004 Civic. Older son is now a sophomore in college and has no car. Younger son is 17 next month, but still has a learners permit. If he turns out to NEED (in our opinion, not his) a car, we will provide. My insurance takes enough of a hit with a teen boy with no car. I don’t need to fork out even more! (Yes, I could afford it, but I don’t choose to). Many of both kids friends do have cars, but they both have friends who haven’t even bothered to get a license.

    I have a wreath on my front door and it’s only up already since its a fresh one that I was gifted. We often used to wait until school was out for Christmas to go buy a tree, meaning that the tree would go up Dec 18-21. But then again, we like to leave it up until Epiphany (Jan 6). My kids aren’t part interested in helping me decorate (or especially undecorate!), so I’m thinking we may go with the fake tree so I can put it up sooner and not have it be a fire hazard by Christmas.

  21. Wendy E

    1. Hotels scare me, even high priced ones. I agree with a previous poster though, they are not the thing to skimp on.

    2. I don’t bake, so no suggestions or interest there, (I hate cooking/baking. I know, I’m odd.)

    3. See #2

    4. My daughter has a loft bed at college, but hers is only about 4 feet of the ground. I expected them to be higher and was pleasantly surprised when they weren’t. The kids are not allowed to have them any higher, they have to rent the lofts from the school, so they can’t raise them. I do know one of the girls in her suite fell out of hers and hit her head and had to be taken by ambulance, but she was also quite inebriated so I think that had more to do with it than anything else. Luckily this girl is not a friend of my daughter’s.

    5. If I knew it, I would give you the recipe for “dog logs”, my kids and my favorite. Peanut butter and dates covered in chocolate and they are shaped like do poopl. YUM

    6. We bought our kid a car out of necessity. We each have a vehicle, but we both work outside the home and can not carpool or walk or bike to work, it’s too far. In order for her to get to school, work, cheer practice, and choir, she needed transportation. Plus she helped to haul her younger siblings around. Our next driver who is currently 12 will probably be driving the car I am driving now which is not a new car by any means, and will probably end up sharing when her brother starts driving a year and a half later. We did have times when the oldest would be without a vehicle and it just did not work. She now has her 2003 GMC Envoy with her at college so obviously we don’t by new cars at all. It also has over 150,000 miles on it, so yeah, no beemers in this family.

    7. We have not decorated yet, we just haven’t had time. I would like to get it done soon, but having the whole family at home for any length of time is tough.

    • Mir

      Just to be clear, I totally get providing a car for a kid when it makes your own life easier (that is essentially what I’m doing by letting her take my car, after all). It’s the brand new luxury cars, in particular, that confuse me. Then again, my car isn’t very exciting/new/fancy so it’s possible I have different standards for car ownership.

  22. Jessica

    What is a reasonable expectation for a cheap hotel? These days I think $100 is almost a minimum, and I hate it. I thought it was because the place I live is a high-tourist area even though it’s not super huge, but those prices are pretty consistent everywhere these days. :(

    How much do you care about recipes? I care a whole lot about baking recipes! Please pass them all along, because one can never have too many good backing recipes. Plus, I’d love to see a weekly post on desserts anywhere.

    Why can’t I figure out how to cook for 4 people? Naw, you just like to feed people. “I love you, so here’s some food.” ;) My husband and I were having problems learning to cook for two, so I finally broke down and bought some books about doing just that. It’s definitely helped, particularly on the dessert front. Baking usually means you have a bunch of something, which means someone has to eat it. Now just doing it for the two of us means we aren’t consistently snacking on desserts that we don’t want to waste. :)

    Lofted beds: great idea or terrifying? My college roommate had a lofted bed, but my college had all of these guidelines about it. It had to be a certain height from the ceiling for safety reasons–mainly in case there was a fire alarm in the middle of the night, you didn’t wake up in a panic and smack your head on the ceiling, knocking yourself out so you were trapped in your room, unconscious during a fire. We had a lot of night-time fire alarms in college for obvious college-related reasons, as you can imagine, but we often weren’t sleeping anyway. Lofts also had to be constructed very well (so they didn’t fall over or down), so they were checked for safety before we were okayed to have them. It was a tiny college, though, so they probably had more time to police that kind of thing.

    What’s your favorite holiday cookie? Do we have to have a favorite? I just love cookies. One thing I make that I get rave reviews on is pretty easy. I call them Oreo Snowballs, but I know they have other names, too. They not only freeze well, but some people also think they taste best frozen (*raises hand*). You just take a package of Oreos and a package of cream cheese (maybe more Oreos since they have shrunk in the years since I started making these) and mix them together very well (after crushing the Oreos, of course). Put the mixture in the fridge to chill and melt some almond bark. Roll the Oreo mixture into balls and dip into the bark, allowing it to harden on waxed paper. I do a ton of different things with them when I make them, such as using different types of Oreos (mint ones are delicious) or drizzling melted Andes mints over the top of them. I’ve also rolled them in crushed peppermints or nuts. Yum.

    Are we the only middle-class parents in the world who did not buy our kid a car? Nope. I am always amazed at parents who buy their kid a brand-new, super expensive car when they first learn to drive. One coworker’s daughter messed up three brand new SUVs in the space of a year, and they bought her a fourth one. *shakes head*

    Is your house decked out for the holidays already? Nopers. We are never home for Christmas, so I have really gotten out of the decorating habit. I used to do a lot of stuff around the house, but now…it just doesn’t seem worth it. Oh well…

  23. Jennifer B

    #1. I am very leery of any hotel in the south that is less than $100/nt. If I do find something that looks ok, i trip advisor it and google the hell out of it to make sure it is ok…..

    #2. Yes, please.
    #3. Same here. I make “enough” and it is too little. Managing the stomachs of 4 people is a difficult task.
    #4. No idea. I commuted; but I had friends that had loft beds in dorms and they graduated without concussions.
    #5. I found this recipe recently and was interested: https://thehandicappedkitchen.wordpress.com/2011/12/25/pill-bottle-cookies/
    #6. My parents bought me a $1500 car, that I worked to reimburse them for. I also paid my own gas, upkeep and insurance.
    #7. YES! Thanks to all the warm weather lately!

  24. Nelson's Mama

    I’m with the poster above – I rarely go below the Hampton Inn hotel level just for self-preservation’s sake. ;)

    Our college freshman currently has lofted bunks and is quite happy; not sure if her sheets are clean (I highly doubt it). Her dorm at a quite expensive private school in the south, doesn’t have air and her first roommate had to leave due to breathing issues because the building was so old! Who’d a thunk?

    We bought both of our girls cars at sixteen…I was ready for them to be mobile. It’s interesting now to see BMWs, Mercedes and Saabs at the private college. We thought we’d really spoiled our kids.

    We’re remodeling. There will be NO Christmas decorations this year. Bah Humbug. :)

    I’ve been doing Blue Apron to cook since there’s only two of us at home – it’s really kind of fun! Check it out.

  25. Jen_A

    I adore dispensing advice when people ask for it! I try to avoid it when I haven’t been asked, but when you want feedback…just call me Ann Landers.

    1. Varies wildly. In NYC? About $225. In my tiny rural Virginia hometown? About $80. But $60 is…not decent anymore, typically. I agree with previous commenters on hunting Priceline as well as the “no cheaper than the local Hampton Inn” rule (can also apply to Courtyard Marriotts and Hilton Garden Inns, if there’s no Hampton Inn). But also? If you find a just amazing, too-good-to-be-true deal, please find that establishment on Yelp and TripAdvisor, look at the overall rating, and read the reviews. I am willing to bet that if you looked up your recently visited $60 place, it will not fare well.

    2. I don’t cook, don’t like to cook, and my husband (the cook) only wants the easiest-peasiest of recipes (and is skeptical of anything I print from the internet). So…I don’t care. But I don’t mind if other people care – I will gladly look at the food pr0n photos and skip reading the recipe.

    3. I can’t figure out how to make bacon, eggs, and toast at the same time and have them be ready at roughly the same time, so I don’t think I am the best expert for this. However, I can say – sides are obviously the BEST part of Thanksgiving so duh, you made lots of them because BEST.

    4. Loft beds are essential in most college dorm rooms. I slept in one 20 years ago (GAH!), was as sleep-deprived as most college kids AND a complete klutz, and I only hurt myself once (tried to climb down to answer the phone too quickly when I was still half-asleep, missed stepping onto my desk to get down fast, and scraped my entire leg down the corner of the desk – don’t do that). She will be fine. Have Otto nail on a railing of some sort if there’s not one and you’re allowed. Sheet changing happens on top of the bed with interesting gymnastics. Co-sign the “make sure you pee before going to bed” advice. ALSO – make sure to get her some sort of shelf or organizer or bag or something that tucks into the mattress (something like this: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/bamboo-bunk-bed-shelf/1041243732). I am a life-long reader and also am blind as a bat – after my contacts come out for the night, I have to read in glasses. Being in a loft bed with nowhere to put your glasses or your book (or if I had been in college recently, I guess, your phone) really sucks.

    5. Chocolate with more chocolate and extra chocolate on top. :) Seriously, shortbread dipped in chocolate; simple sugar cookies; jam thumbprint cookies (my MIL makes these in apricot every year and they are my very favorite); spice cookies; and technically not cookies but candied orange peel dipped in chocolate.

    6. Um. Maybe not? I have no idea. My kid is 3; I’m not there yet (though I am hoping one of our current cars is still driveable when she’s old enough so she can use that one). My parents were working class; they bought my sister and I an 8-year-old hunk of junk to share when I turned 16 (I was a year older) purely because they both worked out of the home; we were both band nerds; so I could drive us both to all the crap we needed to go to and do without them taking off work. You don’t need to do that since you work at home – if one of my parents hadn’t needed a car for work, they probably wouldn’t have done that either.

    7. Yes! Did I mention my 3-year-old? Plus, the long Thanksgiving weekend is just a good time, for me – I don’t feel rushed. I feel much more relaxed. A normal 2-day weekend, especially one in December, has too much crammed into it already, and putting up the tree and decorations feels more like a chore and less like joy then. Doing it the Saturday after Thanksgiving was really fun and relaxing for all of us.

    • Paige

      Oh, I like the bunkshelf idea! For my daughter’s top bunk, we got a 5′ tall ikea shelf system that doubles as a nightstand at about bed height and a bookshelf below, but it wouldn’t work with a 7 foot tall bunk. For books, she uses a cloth hanger we mounted to the adjacent wall. The shelf would probably work better in a dorm, though – I doubt they allow kids to put screw holes in their walls.

  26. Alison

    I went to college in the era of cinder blocks so loft just meant place to shove your junk out of sight. Last summer though, my daughter went to an anatomy camp at a college with high loft beds. Not a problem for her as she sleeps in an Ikea loft bed at home (although she was a bit worried about the lack of rail). She did not fall out, and there was plenty of head room, but she sat up suddenly early one morning and whacked her face on the metal corner of an outlet box on the wall above her bed. She had to climb down and find an RA with blood running down her face – her roommate barely noticed. So watch out for sharp things in the bed area and she should be fine.

  27. Mkw

    Our college daughter has a single room but a bunk/loft setup for two students….. So we were able to re-engineer one loft bed with two mattresses and a side rail that went the full length. She climbs the headboards to get in… Mom sleeps better knowing that peanut-of-a-girl is nestled in bed. Ummmm. Too scared to ask about the laundered (up laundered) sheets situation.

    Regarding a car. Too expensive and not necessary right now as decent bus system. And. There are these thing called bicycles. I suppose once she has her feet established in this place called college, she may get an off-campus job and need a car.

    But, I would prefer to know she can deal with clean sheets before I send her sailing down the interstate on four gas-powered tires!

  28. Lisa

    1. I have no experience with hotels. We are hermits.

    2. I love recipes. My feed reader is filled with subscriptions to cooking & baking sites. Bring it on.

    Your question brings to mind my own question that is only tangentially related. (The ol’ annoying answering a question with a question gambit.) How do nerdlings connect online or irl? I mean, we live in a rural area with a smallish school where it seems the other kids and parents are not interested in the same things my 11 year old nerdling is. At all. So for example he wants to play minecraft online with friends, but has no friends at school who play online. It makes him sad. And then I’m sad. And then I have to play minecraft with him. Which is fine until the motion sickness sets in.

    3. My unemployed husband cooks weeknight meals for the 3 of us and it is sufficient. I cook on weekends for the same 3 people and can’t help but make enough for 10. So annoying. I have no answers for you here.

    4. My daughter had loft beds in college and managed. The only issue was that there was some sort of building alarm that was logically positioned on the wall right above the head of the bed. And it went off with some regularity.

    5. All the cookies. Clearly. I actually like non-holiday cookies better than ‘holiday cookies’. But will eat any damn cookie placed in front of me.

    6. No, no you are not. That said, living in rural northern midwest without public transport? We’ll probably have to help the boy buy a cheap car when he reaches the age of getting a job.

    7. No. I hate decorating. I like looking, but hate the doing. I have no skill at it and everything looks like I dropped it hither-thither all over the place randomly. Which I did.

  29. Rachel

    On the loft thing, my college freshman has the way up high loft bed at college & she is ocd about laundry. Her 1st visit home was Thanksgiving break & she couldn’t wait to sleep in her own bed. Her reasons: 1) because it is WAY more comfortable and 2) because she didn’t have to climb up to get in it. She doesn’t complain about taking sheets off & on, but I know she does it & it’s not easy. I think she likes the space underneath it for her desk though.

    On the car thing, I used my parent’s cars when needed until after my sophomore year of college. (My parents then bought me one, I made payments to them.) My boyfriend (now husband) lived in my college town so I used him for transportation (ha), and my mom came here for college during the week, so I could technically use her vehicle if needed. No public transportation available (yah for ND(sarcasm)). His parents provided their kids with used vehicles as soon as they got their driver’s license. They lived out of town, so was necessary to enable to kids to work after school (while in high school). So, 20+ years later when our oldest got her license, he assumed we would get her a car right away. I did not have the same assumption. We found a great deal on a Toyota corolla that was 6 years old when we bought it. Now she is off at college & doesn’t have a car on campus (5 hours away). So our youngest is driving that corolla, although my husband thought to be “fair” we should have bought him a car when he got his license this past summer. (A month after that, the corolla would have been parked while eldest was at college for 9 months. Sorry buddy, life is not fair.) We are not by any means wealthy. It definitely makes our lives easier for the busy teens to drive themselves to school & practices. There are 2 high schools in our town, the one my kids attend has the nickname of Corvette High, because of the cars some kids drive… not my kids, but yeah. (side note, the nickname came from a comment a coach of another town said in a newspaper article regarding our high school, classy!)

  30. Lucinda

    1. I would think it reasonable to expect roach free for $60/night but I’m cheap too. My frame of reference might be off.

    2. I love reading recipes even if I’m limited to bird food to eat.

    3. I cut recipes in half most of the time, unless I can freeze half of it to save for an easy dinner another time. Or if I make enough for an army, I freeze the leftovers to make for an easy dinner another time because ultimately I’m lazy.

    4. I agree with you about changing the sheets but it’s better to let her figure it out herself. She will make that kind of mistake once and forever make better bed placement choices.

    5. I make candy so I’m no help. But I’ll gladly share a recipe if you wish.

    6. We won’t buy our child a car either. However, we will share the cost of a car because we will have certain safety standards that must be met. Or they will get our old car and we will buy a car for US!

    7. I have everything up so far but I’m ahead of the game this year. I was disappointed that the kids wouldn’t help. In the past they did it for me but now they are (nearly) both teens and computers are more fun apparently. I have also scaled WAY back over the years because I realized I don’t actually enjoy putting it all up. And enjoy taking it down even less.

  31. Carla Hinkle

    Car: I think for a lot of families, it is simply not feasible/practical for a high schooler not to have their own car. Not that it needs to be FANCY, but if the parents both need to be places during the day, to have a high schooler who can get themselves (and potentially siblings) where they need to be without car juggling is really a plus. I lived 45 minutes away from high school and when I turned 16 my parents bought me an 8 year old Subaru with 100K miles on it. Not glamorous, but my parents both needed to use their cars during the day and it was a family practicality for me to drive myself, plus my younger sister to/from school, sports practice, games, etc. And they were fortunate to be able to afford to get me that old car ($1200 in 1989, which was pretty cheap then).

    Hotel: Personally I wouldn’t go much under $100/nigh hotel. Maybe $90. But for $60, I wouldn’t be surprised at roaches!! :-)

  32. Sherri

    1. Any hotel below the $80 range is usually a dive.
    2. I want recipes! And like you, I rarely follow a recipe – I add my own tweaks.
    3. Thanksgiving and all holiday meals are hard to do for a small group.
    4. I had a lift bed in college and loved it. We created a little living room underneath it – couch, table, TV.
    5. I make a great cinnamony short bread cookie that I drizzle with chocolate. Yum! I also have a cream cheese based sugar cookie that is light and airy and easy to make. I started making it because the name cracks me up – Spitz Bubbins
    6. I can’t figure out how so many families afford to buy their new driver a car. Saying that, DH’s car is old and rickety so he may get a “new to us” car for him and keep that one for teen boy. He’ll need to learn how to fix it though.
    7. Decorated weekend after thanksgiving because if we didn’t it wouldn’t get done until right before Christmas and I like having it all up.

  33. Lauren

    Oh, I had those loft beds! I lived. I also did not change the sheets once the whole year, and in May, just threw them away. So. Mixed endorsement?

  34. suburbancorrespondent

    We don’t buy our children cars. I understand why some people might, just for the convenience; but, if we did, we sure as shootin’ would make the kid pay for gas and insurance.

    She’s going to college. Safety-wise, the LEAST of your worries is the height of the loft bed.

    You are ethnically Jewish, correct? We always make too much food.

  35. liz

    My husband and I had a lofted bed when we lived in a two-room apartment. Seriously. Two. Rooms. It was tall enough for him (5’10”) to walk underneath with plenty of room. We had the office underneath it.

    I even wrote a post about it!

  36. liz

    And yes to all the baked goods. And why worry about cooking too much? It freezes!

  37. Ellen

    Now that I’m 50 I made some rules for myself. Hotels are a thing – I’m too old to do Motel # or anything less than 3 stars. I can’t even think about a loft bed that high, my kid put her mattress on the floor of her dorm. Just got out the decorations for the first time in years. I don’t usually bake many cookies, I dip pretzels in chocolate for my teacher friends. Thank you for making cookies for your kids teachers – I assure you they appreciate it. I don’t usually get many gifts because I teach in a diverse school, but the kids will write me little notes and make cards – and from 13 year olds, that is precious. Advice on the college drop off event: bring in her stuff – help her make her bed – then leave. And have someone else drive, and bring kleenex! I had to pull over because I was blinded by my tears of joy/terror/sadness/joy.

  38. Jennifer

    I’m a fan of using Hotwire or Priceline. I’m pretty good at being able to figure out which hotel I will get. I only choose something if it has rating of 80% or above on Hotwire or 7+ on Priceline. Only once or twice has it not been quite what I expected.

  39. Heidi

    Please post your recipes–for the desserts as well as any cookie recipes you haven’t posted before! Your chocolate chip & cream cheese cookies are our family favorites. And we never go anywhere so have few opinions about hotels/motels. As far as lofted beds go, despite the various stories of your commenters, I would guess that a lofted bed would’ve curtailed my shenanigans in college, despite the fact that where there’s a will, there’s a way. I’m going to guess 50% curtailment. So that may stand as one plus to the lofts.

  40. Mary/FishyGirl

    1. I’m from the Washington DC metro area. Hotels under $100 scare me.

    2. yes recipes!

    3. I have four kids and therefore a family of six picky eaters. I always, always cook either not enough or (most often) too much food. I just freeze stuff for later.

    4. No idea about loft beds, but my kids sleep on bunks just fine. Changing the sheets is a workout, but I figure I don’t need to go to the gym then. My oldest is good with doing them on her own with some creative gymnastics.

    5. I used to make almond Christmas tree cookie press cookies, but my youngest is allergic to tree nuts so I haven’t felt like making the effort to make those with variations in years. They were my Mother’s Cookie, she passed when I was 15, so it just isn’t the same. I don’t bake much anymore, but I do make a mean peppermint bark.

    6. I grew up as the poor kid in a fairly well-off area, and I had a car, but my dad didn’t go out and buy it. It had been my mother’s car, and had sat for a year after she died waiting for me to get my license so I could drive myself and my sister around. It was a 1972 primer-gray chevelle station wagon and it looked like garbage, but I loved it. I could fit the entire pep band, including instruments, in my car. My eldest has her learners, and we intend to give her my husband’s POS subaru outback that is 12 years old and has 257K miles on it. I do know lots of people who have given their kids brand new cars and frankly? I think they’re crazy. More money than sense, as my mother used to say.

    7. We always lag on decorating. We’ve been known to get a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. We just enjoy our decorations longer.

    • Mir

      “I could fit the entire pep band, including instruments, in my car.”

      YOU WIN. (Cannot stop laughing.)

  41. Cindy

    1. I travel quite a bit and hotel prices vary wildly between different areas, the time of year and any event going on. College visit weekends are something a hotel manager will absolutely keep track of and adjust rates accordingly. I get it on one hand but it makes me kind of sick with the prices. I agree with others on discount nice hotel sites (even tho I have been bumped by them) and researching the hotel/area. I have had a number of super sketchy hotel experiences, most not of my choosing, and you could say I have a phobia about crappy hotels but I say I have a healthy respect for my own well being.

    2. More than I should. Bring it on.

    3. The head count at my house also varies wildly so I feel the need to make enough to cover potential house guests. Food equals love and no one walks away hungry, unless they just want to. So my answer is leftover love, baby. Regurgitating one meal into another not recognized by my children is an art form, I say.

    4. I lived in an extremely small room for a portion of my childhood and had a loft bed built a foot from the ceiling. As long as you don’t have claustrophobia, it is fine. I strongly recommend taking the advice about a bag/storage that keeps stuff you need handy. So. Much. Better.

    5. Rugelach. LOVE these and the smitten kitchen had a fabo post recently that detailed ways to make it easy. I haven’t tried her methods yet but looking forward to it.

    6. Hell to the no. I get that a parent will provide something out of convenience (to the parent) but as my mother pointed out, God gave you legs for a reason. (and I live in rural backwoods with zero public transportation) If you really want to flabber my gast, let’s talk about parents who buy the kid a nice expensive ride but yet drive a POS.

    7. My OCD husband (sorry, CDO) has our entire house decked like a Christmas card. I love it because this season of celebration is a joyous part of my faith. And I need it this year, more than ever.

  42. addy

    1.Yeah about $100 a night is the cheapest I go. Too scary after that.

    2. I don’t cook much, you would have to ask my husband if he wants the recipes. But, he is asleep at the moment.

    3.Yup when I do cook apparently I am expecting company, Lots of company.

    4.No clue on loft beds. She never lived in a dorm.

    5.ummm cookies, yes please. Don’t care. Just cookies.

    6.We bought her a used car after mine that we gave her crapped out after a football game – at night – in the dark – and it was cold. No bueno.

    7. No decorations. Cats – evil beings that must destroy.

    did I miss anything?

  43. Tracy

    1. I do not stay at cheap hotels anymore, especially after one experience that involved a mouse. shudders at the memory. I have also had the horrendous experience of scabies after a stay at a very sub par location.. Double shudder. I preferred the mouse. Holiday Inn express, marriott, hampton, etc. are fine.

    2. I love dessert and I love recipes. So please.

    3. We cook a giant turkey even with just 5 people and freeze half the bird. I love turkey.

    4. Great idea. My dh had a loft like that, in a triple room. My daughter has a hi-lo bed from Ikea that she slept on in the loft position for years. She made the bed while on the bed. It’s doable. That said, *I* wouldn’t sleep on one, but the teen loved it.

    5. My grandma’s sugar cookies. And my friend’s ginger cookies.

    6. I got a car when I took a zero-hour class that I couldn’t get to on time with the bus. So after a month of driving me to school, my father bought me a small car. I was a senior.

    That said, I haven’t purchased a car for either of my driving children. My eldest now has a 91 F-150 that he has to pay the insurance on. We help with maintenance. It’s two years older than him. The other child manages with borrowing a car from us or bumming rides from friends.

    7. My tree is up and decorated. Everything else is not up. I don’t know how much I’m going to do this year, as I will not be here for actual Christmas. We hope to get the outdoor lights up before this weekend since we are actually hosting a Caroling party next week. Oops.

  44. Mel

    What is a reasonable expectation for a cheap hotel?
    -I agree with the many people above who say to use Priceline. I’d also recommend AirBnB.com. Have had wonderful experiences all 6 times I’ve needed to book a place. A reasonable expectation is that I pay around $75 a night for a clean, safe place to stay, no roaches.

    How much do you care about recipes?
    -I may not use that many recipes, because at my current residence I do not cook often, but I’d love to save some for when I move out of here in May.

    Why can’t I figure out how to cook for 4 people?
    -I’m not sure but it seems like you have a great plan because you always have leftovers that you can use for lunch/dinners throughout the week and mix it up. Maybe I’m dreaming here but my mom always had leftovers, also cooking for 4 people, and sometimes the best night was Leftover night to clean out the fridge. :)

    Lofted beds: great idea or terrifying?
    -I say not my ideal AT MY AGE but had I gone away to college at 18, it would have been the best thing ever.

    What’s your favorite holiday cookie?
    -Not a cookie, my mom always makes candies for Christmas so the red anise candy is one I always remember, along with peanut brittle.

    Are we the only middle-class parents in the world who did not buy our kid a car?
    -My parents gave me my Great-Grandparents 1978 Cadillac when I turned 16 in..1995. So the car was old but SO awesome. It had electronic everything and only a radio with twist knobs and silver stick out buttons. Such great memories in that car. I was thankful they gave me a car that was built like a tank since I grew up in the Midwest and winters are brutal. I had a big sturdy car and always had extra clothes and supplies in it for emergencies.

    Is your house decked out for the holidays already?
    -No, due to my current residence. I have a small white metal tree with red and green ornaments on it. But I decorated my friends real tree last night with lights and small bulbs. :)

  45. Alicia

    Hotels: I think $60 should get you a roach free experience, and in my experience, it has. DH is pretty particular about hotels, so we will generally stay in a Holiday Inn Express of Hampton Inn if available. However, we have stayed other chains and been fine. I also stalk the heck out of TripAdvisor before booking and keep an eye out for those generic “we’re working on it” responses. To me, those signal not good things.

    Recipes: YES PLEASE. I love trying new baking recipes. And with D & D is a plus in my book.

    4 people: If you figure it out, let me know. I haven’t figured out how to cook for two yet. :P

    Lofted Beds: I work in a Housing Dept on a college campus. Lots of our beds are lofted, and mine was when I was in college. We have very few instances of students falling out here. However, if Chickie is prone to sleepwalking or night terrors, I don’t know that I would recommend it. It works out well to make use of the space. You can check to see if guard rails are available. In terms of changing sheets, the easiest way to do it is to take sheets off while you are still up in the bed. And then put them back on by climbing up in the bed, popping the fitted sheet over the head of the bed and then back off the bed, pulling the sheet with you. Flat sheets are trickier, but I think i saw in a previous comment that those may not be an issue. :)

    Holiday Cookies: Molasses Cookies. Forever and for always. Amen.

    Car: I never understood why any teen needed a new and/or fancy car. I had my own car at 16, but I was also the oldest of 4, and was often recruited to pick up siblings. I think the parents may jumped for joy when I got my license.

    Holiday Decorations: Yup! :) We love our Christmas decorations round here.

  46. Arnebya

    1. $60-80 should be roach free. $100+ is fancier than necessary for just an overnight. Are we just old? Am I? It’s me, isn’t it?
    42b. Desserts, yes, but only because you won’t be mad when I come back and say I substituted this for that, because.
    Chapter 3. I hate odd numbers. That, somehow, translates into my inability to cook for 5, which results in too little rather than too much. Someone is always missing out on something. There aren’t enough rolls. There isn’t enough rice. Why are there 5 pieces of chicken when someone will want 2? Why did I make so little of this thing when I know I’m going to complain later? Can’t you get a smaller piece? Must you eat?
    IV. Huh. I don’t have a favorite cookie, let alone a holiday one. I’m not one for sprinkles on cookies and I don’t like hard cookies. What’ve you got matching that? Oooh, I’m a sucker for a snickerdoodle, but no hard edges, Mir, I’m serious. (Why, yes, yes, I do eat and enjoy what my husband refers to as fake ass noncookie abominations known as Soft Batch.)
    c. Nope. My kid can get her learner’s next year at 15 and 9 months and not only can we not afford it, but we wouldn’t buy her her own even if we could. Nope.
    22(f). It is now just a bit more than two weeks before Christmas and I haven’t even put up the wreath. I did think about it last night, but, no. There’s something off for me this year. Is it that it’s 60 degrees? Maybe. Maybe. But there’s more. I’m not sure what it is, maybe financial, maybe the state of the world, but it just feels unreal.

    • Arnebya

      Oh and the beds. Um, no, not for me, and I’d be terrified. My children would adore the idea, I’m sure. Tell her to tie a rope around her leg and attach it to the slat against the wall.

  47. annie mouse

    Mir –

    I had one of those lofts in college, and I LOVED it. It was the best, and to be honest, I think about revisiting it to this day (which is around the same day as you, for the record). We had ladders to ours, and the loft itself was wider than the mattress, so it was easy to change the sheets. I had a “suite” – my roommate and I shared a bathroom with an adjoining set of roommates, and we ultimately ended up using one of the dorm rooms as a study/ living room, and moved all 4 beds into the other room. It was pretty great.

  48. Heather

    1. I have a hard time answering this question, because apparently I have become my grandparents and think everything should cost the same as when I was a kid. So I say $50 should be plenty to get a nice hotel room for a night, but I am so so wrong!

    2. I love to cook and bake. New recipes are always fun to try.

    3. I have 2 and I find it hard to cook something small enough for the 2 of us without a ton of leftovers. I have no problem eating leftovers, but my kid thinks eating the leftovers 1 time is enough.

    4. Eek! My kid is too clumsy to sleep 6 or 7 feet off the ground…

    5. We don’t do a lot of cookie for the holidays. I do love a good sugar cookie with good frosting. Which I have found in about 1/2 the sugar cookies I have eaten. My mom and I bake every Christmas, it’s a way to have time together, talk and it’s a tradition. We make peanut butter balls, cornflake caramel clusters, rock candy, fudge and homemade caramels every year. We try to do something new every year, but most we have not liked as well as our originals. Although one I picked up a few years ago at a cookie exchange has stayed, which is Christmas Crack. Basically a lot of butter, sugar and crackers.

    6. When I turned 16 my mom had just purchased a new car, I was able to drive her old car until she sold it. I had to work, save and get a small loan to get my first car after she sold her old car. My son has been saving money for a couple years now to get his own car, as it is just him and I, only one car for a family does not share well between two people. He has saved close to $3,000, I hope he can save more in the next year and that he will be able to buy himself a decent car. He will also have to work to help with the insurance and gas.

    7. I started. Decals on the windows, those pop up trees. However, the Christmas tree is not up and my son is thinking we don’t need one. I think we have to put one up or there will be no Christmas spirit in our house. I don’t know why I do not have Christmas spirit, it is normally my favorite holiday, but this year I am having a hard time muster up the cheer.

  49. 12tequilas

    This might have already been said in the many preceding comments but check for bedbugs in ALL hotels, and go to bedbugregistry.com before you reserve there. (Having said that, of course, roaches are definitely a bad sign!)

    Yes to recipes, always.

    Buying a 16-year-old a car is very strange in my opinion, particular if it is a new and/or luxury car. I drove my parents’ cars for years.

    • 12tequilas

      Forgot to say: ditto TripAdvisor. the more recent the reviews, the better obviously; sometimes you’ll find out that they JUST renovated the entire place and it’s all brand new and beautiful for the same rate (or this place used to be great but it’s gone downhill).

  50. Issa

    I can helpfully (or unhelpfully, depending) answer five of these. heh. One, I am a brat about hotels. Or really I’ve seen too much CSI in my life. I tend to stay in $100 a night places when traveling. Not bank breaking, but I hopefully won’t be murdered or eaten by bugs. Two, loft beds freak me out. I’m afraid of heights and all three of my kids are sleep flail-ers. I can’t see this being safe. Three, I am a huge fan of cookies. Just yes. Cookies. All cookies. However my favorite ones that we make this time of year are white chocolate cranberry. Four, no cars. Sorry, nope. It’s the same here. Some kids have shiny new SUV’s at 16. I can guarantee, mine will not. Five, yes on holiday stuff. We brought most of it out after Thanksgiving. Waiting on the tree until this past weekend. The tree that fell three times before finally *knocks on wood* decided to stay standing.

  51. My Kids Mom

    1.Find one hotel and stick with the place every time.
    2.recipes? sweets? sure.
    3. I can only cook for four. No more, no less. And one of my kids now eats enough for four, making this a problem.
    4.lofted beds are fine. I even changed the sheets, never fell out.
    5.my quick and easy treat is a pretzel with a Hershey’s kiss melted on it, melted and then an M&M on top. 250′ for 3-4min. Hershey’s kisses come in lots of fun flavors this time of year. Choc mint and candy cane are our favorites.
    6. Hell no, no child of mine is getting a gifted car.
    7.I’ll get the house decorated soon. I swear it’ll happen before the 25th. And then undecorated eventually.

  52. Jenny

    I would eagerly devour a D&D&D feature!

    • another sue

      And you know I will be referring to those recipes as 3D, yes?

      • Mir

        Love it!!

  53. Andrea

    I won’t answer every question because I am old, can’t remember them all, and am too lazy to go back and write it down. :-)

    But in no particular order:

    1. Every hotel should be roach free or shut the damn doors. How much can a couple of roach bombs cost them?

    2. Recipes,yes please.

    3. Cars for teens, I got a hand me down from my sister which was awesome. Had an accident a week in. I shouldn’t have been driving with so little practice. Parents gave my kid sister a new car and she totaled it the first year. She shouldn’t have been driving with a 16 year old lead foot.

    4. Do people actually fall out of bed…ever? I guess my daughter did once as a very young child. OK. No crazy high loft beds for us.

    5. I cook for three-ish. Key to this, small bake ware, small pots. Tiny casserole dishes makes you look at how much you prep in the right proportions.

    Enjoy the holidays!

  54. Donna

    If she doesn’t fall out of her bed when it’s at normal height, why would she fall out of her bed at loft height?

    • Mir

      I wasn’t thinking so much about just randomly falling out of bed in the middle of the night, but more that swinging your legs out and standing up even if you’re not a morning person seems low-risk, but descending from a great height without a ladder seems higher-risk, especially for those who aren’t coherent upon waking. Also if she gets sick, it seems like more of a risk (I wouldn’t want to be doing a bathroom dash from that height).

  55. Jen R

    This post made me remember these sheets I heard about that were supposed to make changing sheets easier when you have little kids and need to do that often. There’s one called ZipSheet and one called QuickZip, and they come in college-dorm sized twin XL! I’m not sure that makes changing the sheets less scary at that height, but maybe it would be easier at least.

    (And cookies/dessert recipes – yes, please. Gluten free even better since then I only have to replace the sugar with something else in order to make it something I can eat.)

    • Mir

      BAD LEIGH! 10 points from Slytherin!!

  56. yasmara

    1. We definitely stay in $100/less hotels & they vary WIDELY. West Des Moines, IA is weirdly expensive (funeral in May). Duluth MN in December (not by the ski resorts) is quite inexpensive. We are staying in a nice Radisson for $80 (another funeral) next week. Above all, I read reviews. If they say “clean but shabby” it’s OK.

    2. I love recipes!

    3. We are already planning for Husband’s 2-year-old hatchback to become our current 10-year-old’s car when he turns 16. So by that point it will be an 8 year old car, which is about 2 years less than Husband will want to drive it, but by that point maybe he can splurge a little on his replacement & the kid will be driving an 8 year old car which is pretty much perfect to me. My parents bought me a used truck shortly after I turned 16 mostly because they were tired of driving 3 kids to different activities.

    4. Loft beds are concerning for college students who might drink too much & vomit/fall, but for more responsible kids no big deal. I had a regular bunk bed with my college roommate, but she was never there so I basically had a double room to myself.

    5. I struggle with 2 adults & 2 elementary-aged boys. Sometimes they are starving & sometimes they won’t eat anything. Husband doesn’t like leftovers. Younger Son is a super picky eater that I mostly try to ignore (he literally eats ONE vegetable, raw carrots). It’s super demoralizing as the primary cook in the family.

  57. Carrie

    1.Find a hotel you like — then book well in advance for parents weekend. We never remember to do this and have had to stay at some very sketchy places when visiting College Boy — and last time we were lucky to get one of those! In October we spent $175 to stay in a scary, dimly lit, dirty room with the sounds of the couple next door enjoying a passionate session filling our room.
    2.Absolutely yes to the recipes.
    3. We’re only three at home now, and somehow I have gone from a full meal on the table every night at 6:30 to eh, it’s 7:30, let’s see what we’ve got to throw together.
    4.I’m afraid of heights, so the whole thing seems like a bad idea (for no rational reason)
    5. I am a fan of quick and easy 7 layer bars. Takes no effort and I truly love them. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/91711/seven-layer-magic-cookie-bars/
    6. My car died when my eldest was 14. We weren’t in a position to spend money on a new car as we were still paying for hubby’s one year old car. As it happened, my Dad had some health issues and it was time for him to stop driving. So my parents offered me their quite old but low mileage big boat of a Buick. We fondly referred to it as “the Grandpa mobile.” When my eldest turned 16, he learned to drive in it. When he was 17, we were done paying off hubby’s car, so I bought a new one. He now drives the Grandpa mobile. But no, I would NEVER buy a 16 year old a car, even if I could afford it.
    7.The first weekend of December used to be our decorating weekend, but now we are involved in an annual event that weekend. We’re hoping to buy a tree on Saturday of we can find time we’re all available!

  58. K

    answering, but not in order….

    Decorations: I grew up in a military family, so we got a live tree with a rootball and planted it each year. (we only lived in our houses for 1-2 years, so we could do that.) So, we really could only do Xmas decorations the week of Xmas. (rootball trees can’t stay inside more than a few days.) Flash forward 40 years – We do a regular ‘ole chopped tree (same house for 10+years – also WI climate – can’t plant in Dec). But I STILL don’t decorate until the week of Xmas. Some traditions are hard to break. ;)

    Car: as a teen, we got my grandfather’s car when he passed away. It was bright orange. Even pre-GPS, my parents always knew where we were. We will not be buying our teens a car. There is a bus. and bikes.

    Hotels: I generally stick with the $100 and up range. Haven’t had a bad experience, yet.

  59. Elizabeth

    Holiday cookie favorite: CORNMEAL FENNEL!

    These are nice and light, great when you want something sweet after dinner or with or your tea, but you can’t take another holiday super-sugar bomb. Do they count as a holiday cookie? I say yes! What says “December” more than wintry fennel and a season-defying, pantry-staple cornmeal?


  60. Becky

    So, we raised our daughter in Georgia (Conyers, to be exact) and she got a Beamer, when she was 18, had graduated and we were moving away. Oh, it was 10 years old, cost $2500 and she had to take care of it! The rest of your questions seem like distant memories to me!!!

  61. Rachel

    Hotels- I rarely travel, but I do read the reviews, and have picked a more expensive hotel based on them.
    Car- no I don’t get he BMW thing, (and not worrying about this for my 8 yr old), but new cars are a LOT safer than old ones- and I think I’d want my inexperienced driver to have the safest car possible, so I can see the whole new car idea if I could afford it. (I actually really like my old hybrid honda car, but sometimes I’m tempted to look at a new car with a back up camera, wheel stabilization, warnings when you are too close, etc.)
    Decor- very interesting that everyone seems kind of tired of having to do it. Being Jewish, I never worry about this, and have rarely done anything at home either until this year- this year the crazy christmas overkill at school (yes in Ohio, other holidays only seem to exist in other countries- and the majority of those are also European christmas celebrations resulting in three christmas tree art projects arriving at home, but no art projects from the the other holidays) had my kid begging for Hanuka decorations- and I don’t mind making our holiday special for him after he asked. I have to admit it never occurred to me that Christians feel pressure/obligation to do something they don’t really want to do. Interesting perspective.

  62. Susan T. Wakefield

    To start – I’m 64. So I reached driving age in the mid-60’s. Guess this means I’m an old fart. But here’s my take on giving a car to a teenager: My parents let me (and my brothers) borrow one of their cars when we needed it. I bought my first car after I quit college (2 years in – it just wasn’t working for me – so I got a job, moved to a crummy rooming house, finished my degree at night and all turned out well after that). It was 7 years old, but it was MINE. I was so pleased with myself. Another used car followed. And then – I bought my first brand new car. It was so exciting! Had my parents given me a car, I’d never had experienced the thrill and excitement of finally having a new car that I’d paid for all by myself, after having a couple of used cars. So think about whether or not you want to deprive your children of this experience.

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