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Welcome to Ask Kate! If you have a question, I'll try to have an answer for you. Email me and I'll post your question and my answer here! Please put ASK KATE in the subject line of your email. (kate@kateplusmy8.com)

Ask Kate…

January 24, 2012

Ask Kate -

Q: You mentioned you have very strict rules when it comes to your girls having a cell phone… What are those rules? Our son wants a cell phone and having many activities and weekends spent away from home as well we’d like to get him one but would like some ideas for guidelines. Thanks :)
- Sabrina

A: Hi Sabrina – Here are my rules:
1. No Internet on their phone.
2. All parental controls turned on ie: no downloading apps etc.
3. ALL contacts put on their phones must first be approved by me. In other words, any friend, friend’s parent or even babysitter, they must ask before they add them to their phone.
4. NEVER answer a phone number or text that doesn’t come up identified.
5. Not allowed to delete ANY texts… At all period.
6. I know their pass code and am able to read anything on their phone at all times. They are not allowed to change the pass code without consulting me first.
7. Room has to be cleaned and homework done before using phone :).
8. Must have phone in their back pack so that I can reach them when necessary.

It’s been a big help with communicating with them. They are comforted that they can reach me at any time to ask a question, or to say good night when they are at their dad’s. Overall, it’s been a very good experience and they have handled having a phone very maturely. Good luck!

Q: I am an identical twin and me and my sister are best friends and we love being twins. I was wondering if Mady and Cara enjoy being twins just as much as my sister and I do?
- Stephanie

A: Hi Stephanie – I must say, Mady and Cara are THE best of friends and that bond is constantly growing even stronger! I love watching them interact! First of all, combined, they are a comedy act that makes us laugh til we cry. It’s an unrehearsed act that their “one brain” creates as they go along! It’s amazing! Second, as their activities vary, one will be home without the other more often and they literally pine away for each other! Just last week, Mady was home without Cara and insisted she couldn’t sleep without Cara being there (I was not a good replacement, clearly) and the next night, the same thing happened when Cara was home without Mady!

I was talking to a friend recently about this amazing phenomenon that is “twins” and we decided that it’s unlikely that they will attend different colleges someday… Heck, I’ll be surprised if they have different dorms or ROOMS at the same college!
They know they get mad at each other and boast they can’t stay mad for longer than “one minute!” Now, that’s friends, huh?
Sound familiar, Stephanie? ;)

Q: Here in the UK your previous shows are so annoyingly out of sync that I had to order the dvds from the states just to see the whole time frame. Firstly will “Kate Plus 8″ ever make it to dvd? and, as a mother of 6 boys (various ages, one set of twins) there are days where I need real motivation to get going and juggle the neverending list of tasks…so, do you ever feel like this and if so how do you motivate yourself??
- Gemma :)

A: Hi Gemma – Many people have asked about DVDs of Kate Plus 8. I’ll try to find out for you..
And as far as my never ending list goes, a few things help me:
1. Stay organized. It helps me if I keep an ongoing list of “to do.” I do this on the notes of my phone. The things that get done today, get crossed off and the things that don’t, move to tomorrow. This helps me not feel so overwhelmed because it’s in front of me and I don’t have to try to remember it all in my head. And, chances are, the most urgent and important things will get done each day automatically.
2. Get enough sleep! My panic and sense of being overwhelmed is multiplied ten fold when I am exhausted and trying to tackle that list! Some nights I have to realize this and give up and start again tomorrow!
3. Run or work out! The plan for the day comes clear while I am running! I find solutions for problems and think of ideas that I otherwise don’t think of while that blood is racing through my body!
And – push the “list panic” out of your head while you’re running… Or it’ll ruin the fun of your workout! Set aside 30 minutes to an hour to work out (I even put “run” on my to do list daily) and treat it as an item “to do.”
Hope this helps!

Q: I was wondering with 8 kids in your household, do their friends ever come over to play?
With much love to your family,
- Chloe

A: Hi Chloe – yes, we have friends over just like everyone else. The difference is, I don’t really notice a few extra kids here! This place is not for the faint of heart! Our noise and “process” has scared more than one “only child” before! Lol!

Q: I just wanted to know if the children played any musical instruments or participate in a school band or something. Also what is your discipline regarding after school activities, my mom only let me take ones that I promised to attend as much as possible and I couldn’t miss them if I were just feeling lazy. What kind of extra curricular activities do the kids do and at what age did they start?
- Danae

A: Hi Danea – Cara plays the baritone and literally EVERY sport there is. Currently she is doing ski club and will do lacrosse next. Mady plays the violin and takes voice lessons. She has a part in our next school play.
The little kids will begin activities soon. I don’t allow after school activities until the end of first grade or beginning of second. It’s a LONG school day as it is for us (long bus ride each way) so they just can’t handle additional stuff after school.
I agree with your mom’s “one activity at a time” rule because otherwise, we moms feel like school bus drivers, not to mention, too many activities can affect your grades! We don’t want that! Your mom sounds pretty great! Love and respect her lots, ok? :)
Study hard!

Q: I just bought a treadmill do you have any advice on how to get the best out of it ?
- Sara

A: First of all, good for you! Make sure you use it!
Personally,  I have a deep love hate relationship with my treadmill! I hate it because it’s boring to run on but I love it because when there is five inches of snow outside, at least I can still run! I am not a tv watcher while I run but of you can find something that interests you, it will help pass the time. I like to run intervals on my treadmill. I run fast for two minutes (realllly fast like 7.5) and then I run slow for two minutes (5-5.5) then I run medium for five minutes (6.0) and so on. Keeps me from getting so bored! I also like to beat my own times, and carve down my minute per mile daily.
Bottom line: if the treadmill bores you, start running outside because that won’t! And then you can use your treadmill as a back up…

Q: I think you’re a wonderful mother but is there any time of the days you wonder what would my life be like without my precious babies? I’m a teen mom, & I couldn’t imagine my life now, but if I didn’t have my child I’d probably be no where in life. Do you wonder the same?
- Faye

A: Hi Faye – Every part of every day I know that my life would have no meaning if it weren’t for my kids. When I was young, all I wanted to do was be a mom! I know you probably struggle more than maybe I did, because you are a young mom, but I want to let you know that I was impressed with your email because you seem to “get it!” You seem to understand the privilege of being a mom! That will lead you to make good decisions and work hard to be a great mom! Hang in there! There’s nothing better in life than always doing the best you can for your child! It’s the hardest yet best job you will ever have! Good luck!

Q: How do I find past “Menu Monday” recipes on your website?

A: There is a search box on each page.. You just need to type in a key word that was in the recipe and it will come up. For example, If you just type “chili” in the search box the recipe comes up…

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