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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

July 19, 2013

1. Q: What was the outcome of ur two seater car issue?
-Maggie

A: My TT (4 seater, btw) had gone in for regular service and….after that was never the same! In the end it all worked out okay because the dealership worked with me and replaced it with a new A4. It’s a more practical car with four doors and can better fit my kids (who now have much longer legs)…In the end, all’s well that ends well, right?

2. Q: Are you still considering a dating show? I’d watch that.
-Al

A: I still think it would be SO much fun to do a dating show. And, of all people, my kids keep pushing me to do that show! How crazy, right? It’d be a great way to meet people that I’d otherwise never have the chance to meet… So let’s wait and see.. Would you watch?

3. Q: Kids and Chores: What age is best to start and how do I “make them” do them?
-Nadine

A: I started with my chore chart officially when my youngests were five years old. At that age, they couldn’t sweep the floor very well and could barely reach the table to wipe it, but the job itself wasn’t the most important part at the start. Teaching your kids at a very young age that a loving family involves ‘team work’ is important. Teaching responsibility at a young age will help your kids become more responsible adults as well. Back at the beginning, I focused on encouraging them to do a good job, pointing out how they could sweep or wipe better and praising them for a job done to the best of their ability.
Now, my kids taken over after dinner… We are a huge cleaning crew so that no one person is in the kitchen all night cleaning up! We all helped make the mess so we all help clean it up!
They know their jobs and are old enough to do them well. I’m really proud of them and their willingness and capabilities!

4. Q: How do you handle picky eaters?! I have 5 kids, at least 3 complain every night about something on their plates?
-Holli

A: Well, I typically ignore any complaints and don’t allow them. I once had a rule that if you complain about the meal, you get MORE of it on your plate, and you have to eat it! ;) So, complaining didn’t last long here. I also find that certain kids just tend to be ‘meal complainers’– they just have to “say” they don’t like what’s for dinner, but in reality, they do. For example, every single time we have scrambled eggs for breakfast, Hannah will say “oh I don’t like eggs!” and then, she eats them AND asks for seconds! I think her complaint is interpreted as “I am really in the mood for cereal and wish we could have that instead.” By hearing what your kids are REALLY saying, changing what’s on the menu often, constantly making new recipes and involving the kids in planning (some) of the meals — ie: asking what meals the things they are hungry for, and not allowing them to CHOOSE what they eat and don’t eat on their plates, you can have a big impact on the picky eaters in your house!
For LOTS more helpful ideas on this topic, you can preorder my cook book LOVE IS IN THE MIX.
You can pre-order it here on my website. It’s set for release in September! Sooo exciting!

5. Q: Kate do you ever feel down? I feel overwhelmed with mom duties so much. Any tips to help me out? Thx in advance…
-Kerri

A: Hi Kerri. Yes! I do and I am sure that ALL moms “feel down and overwhelmed” from time to time.. So at least we know we’re normal, right? :)
It’s easy to get bogged down with ALL that needs to get done at any given time — summer reading projects, school shopping, making dinner, things that need to be added to the grocery list, the house is a mess!, that toilet that needs fixed, the weeds outside in the landscaping, the bees nests that need to be sprayed, oh the laundry, and the list goes on… I try to make a daily list and prioritize it constantly. I cross stuff off the list when it’s done and it makes me feel accomplished! Remember that we all get overwhelmed at times and just do your best each day. No mom is perfect and has it all under control all the time and there’s always tomorrow to finish that never ending list. Let your LOVE for your family guide you through! Oh, and stop and take a break and rest for YOU once in awhile– a happy (somewhat) rested mom is always a better mom!:) Good luck!

6. Q: Can you give me any tips on how to take time out for myself during the day???
-Lauren

A: Hi! Well, I can’t necessarily give you an exact “how to,” but if you’re a mom especially, I think it’s really important to shed the “mommy guilt” once in awhile and make sure “me time” gets written down and scheduled. Everyone’s “me time” is defined differently. Mine is time to run, time to read or time to sleep. Doesn’t have to cost money and is best defined as whatever helps you to unwind and relax for even just ten minutes! So, all that to say, my best advice is SCHEDULE time for yourself and like any other important “task,” make yourself DO something that will help you regroup! Good luck!

7. Q: What do you think will be most challenging and rewarding when raising 8 teenagers?
-Wendy

A: Hi Wendy. That is a great question, yet is definitely one that I answer with great trepidation. I certainly think that keeping track of my kids and monitoring their safety, navigating life decisions and helping them through those teenage emotions will be more challenging than I can even comprehend right now. I’m specifically worried about teaching eight kids how to drive! I’m a good driver, for sure, but I don’t feel overly qualified to teach them all how to be responsible drivers — and essentially they will be learning all at ONE time! Now THAT is scary! On the rewarding side, I look forward to the days when I have older kids! Eight teenagers who laugh, hang out, eat more of my homemade pizza than I can crank out in a night, and make fun memories together…. They are all so very bonded already, so I can’t wait to “know” my kids as they get older. As they grow into their teen years, their own dreams will start to come into focus–dreams that I can hopefully have a positive impact on guiding and helping to make come true! The future is sure to be exciting…I’m ready…I think anyway….

XO
K8

Ask Kate

May 17, 2013

1. Q:
YOU MENTIONED THAT IT WAS AN INTERESTING EXPERIENCE TAKING CARE OF ONE CHILD ON “CELEBRITY WIFE SWAP” SHOW, SO CAN YOU POSSIBLY GIVE OUT SOME DETAILS ON HOW DIFFERENT IT WAS FOR YOU AND WHAT YOU ACTUALLY LEARNED ON TAKING CARE OF ONE INSTEAD OF MULTIPLES?
-Alicia
A: Hi Alicia – CWS was SUPER fun! I realized just how scheduled my life HAS to be because I have many kids and with “just” one, I was able to relax a bit, still instilling important guidelines and structure but I didn’t have to divide my time… Which I’ve never experienced as a mom! It was refreshing for sure but I did miss the “busy-ness” of my house with my eight kids! :)

2. Q: What does your workout schedule look like during a typical week? And what part of the day do you prefer to do your workouts?
- Cynthia
A: My workout schedule looks like it always has: I run when I have time and as much as I have time for. I squeeze it in and make it a priority because it IS one of my priorities. A healthy happy mom is a better mom! :)

3. Q: What is your favorite healthy (possibly energizing) on the go snack for Mom & kids? Like most Moms I am rushing here & there with my kids a lot! It’s really difficult to decide on a healthy snack for  crazy busy days. (Kind words)
-Jess
A: Hi Jess. Good question. I plan ahead for snacking because its really easy to grab something quick when I’m on the go and usually quick means unhealthy. I pack veges and hummus and also pre-prepare my “K8 salads” in reusable restaurant containers so I can grab them to eat on the run if I miss a meal! Otherwise a protein bar works or a handful of almonds is yummy too!

4. Q: IF YOU WERE OFFERED TO HAVE ANOTHER REALITY SHOW, WHAT WOULD YOU NAME YOUR REALITY SHOW, AND WHAT THE PLAN WOULD POSSIBLY BE IN YOUR REALITY SHOW?
-A
A: Hi! Just know that I’m always working on fun stuff behind the scenes… You’ll just have to wait and see! Very exciting…

5. Q:
So as a single divorced parent. Sometimes the dating world seems very overwhelming. What are the top 3 qualities you look for in a prospective date?
-Mark
A: Hi Mark. If I had time to think about it, I’d let you know. Unfortunately, all my time and energy goes to my kids..and still there’s not enough of me! If I ever meet the man with the perfect qualities, I’m sure I’ll know it when our noise and chaos doesn’t scare him off instantly! Lol!

6. Q: Did you and your kids watch your show while it was on?
-Kaitlyn
A: Hi Kaitlyn – Sometimes we watched our show, yes. Mainly the kids have always watched it on DVD and still do… Almost daily! Fun times! Great memories!

7. Q: My 5 1/2 year old son has severe food issues and will not try anything new – do you have any tips on how to get him to eat?
-Michelle
A: Hi Michelle – Be creative and don’t give up! Just because he doesn’t like something, keep putting it on his plate and encouraging him to try it. Make meals fun, for example, make a face lunch using a banana sliced length wise for the smile, two peanutbutter cracker sandwiches for the eyes and a baby carrot or two for the nose! Can make raisin eyebrows etc. Fun and flavorful and persistence are the keys! Hope this helps!

8a. Q:  Did any of the sextuplets turn out left handed? I know you are and Mady too.
A: Hi Rebecca. No. Only “lefties” are Mady and me!
8b. Q:  Are you ever coming back to TV (other than Wife Swap)? Can’t you do kind of like you did with “Surviving Sextuplets and Twins”, a little recap for us whom miss you guys!?
-Rebecca from Sweden
A: I’m sure we will “come back to tv” at some point when we can fit it into our schedule, lol! :) I know you miss us. We miss sharing our lives with you too! We are still here doing what we’ve always done, minus the cameras, at the moment! Thanks for your support!

9. Q. How do you raise eight children to be confident and believe in themselves while growing up in a society, where children especially, are constantly being judged by their peers and sometimes in a negative way. I know many children have a difficult time to be confident in themselves because even at the age of 9, can be affected by the negative tone of other children.
-Courtney
A: Hi Courtney. Being a parent is hard work in every way but I find it especially difficult in the “emotional/relating to peers and others” department! Sounds like you do too! I don’t think we are alone. Focus on the positive:  It IS difficult to help kids grow up confidently. I try to build my kids up, discuss their unique strengths and positive qualities. I constantly stress being KIND to others, being a friend and building others up  no matter what.

Empathy: Figuring yourself out and how you fit in with others is very difficult (I remember being young and how hard it was). I try to remember how I felt and give good solid advice on how to handle a peer situation.

Support and Listening and Love: We discuss scenarios at length at home and the bottom line to my kids is always: be kind to others no matter what. I also remind them that I am here to work through issues with them and that NOTHING they tell me will ever change my love for them. This helps them to feel safe to discuss any and every issue. I also stress our “team family approach” to problems. We are a unit and one of our struggles is ALL of our struggles. We listen and help each other. They know that home and Mommy is their safe haven to be themselves and I’m here. Together, we will figure life out for the best results for everyone. Remember too, that kids aren’t always asking for a solution to their every problem. Sometimes they just need an empathetic, kind and loving listening ear (I have learned this the hard way, lol.).

Final Thought: Doing our best as parents is the most important thing: modeling a  good example, our presence and validation for their thoughts, feelings and fears makes all the difference! Just my thoughts. Hope this helps!

10. Q: What is your favorite Starbucks splurge?
How do you like your coffee? Sugar and creme?
-Brooke
A: Hello, Brooke! Oh how I LOVE talking about coffee…in fact, just reading your question made me yearn for a cup! My favorite (and only) Starbucks drink is: a tall skinny vanilla latte with two Splenda sweeteners. The only thing I really change is that during the warmer weather, I’ll order it cold versus hot. But what a treat! I only allow it once a week or two!

11. Q: Hi Kate my question is:
I would love to see you do a cooking show. With your new (preordered for Mothers day) cookbook coming out in September, have you thought about doing a cooking show? Or even just making and selling a DVD ? You are amazing and have changed my life. Thank you!
-Andrea
A: Hmmm.. A cooking show? Like a real one, not just me cooking dinner and my kids calling it a cooking show? I’ll never rule out anything and maybe at some point…. I love to cook and cameras clearly don’t bother me (lol) so I can see why you’d wonder about that :)! Sounds fun!

12. Q: Can you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell us if we have something to look forward to….like seeing you all back on TV SOON??????!!!!!!!!!!  We MISS y’all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ; )
-Jaymee
A: Hi Jaymee – seems like I answer this question a lot. Stay tuned. I’ll tell you what’s coming as soon as I can….. :) Thanks for watching and following and caring! XO

13. Q:  I try so hard to eat healthy and feed the kids healthy also. We’re out on the road a lot between dance, cheer, church, etc.. And have to go thru drive thru often. There never seems to be healthy options. When u are out and about, and have to grab a bite, what type of drive thru do you go in and what options do u choose?
-Sarah
A: Hi Sarah – We don’t do fast food. I pack fresh home made snacks and meals if I have to. We DO do Chipotle (if that is considered fast food) because its all local organic and fresh ingredients and is pretty healthy. Otherwise, I pack ahead for all of us. With a little practice, I am betting you’d find packing even faster than fast food! A challenge for you!:) Good luck!

14. Q: Can you tell us how the chickens are doing?  Do you still use your little chicken coop?  About how many eggs do you/ kiddos collect in a day?  Oh – And how many chickens do you have? Do you feed them all organic?
-Yvonne
A: Great question, Yvonne! The chickens are doing wonderfully! We have about 45-50 chickens and we get 2-3 dozen eggs daily! We eat lots of eggs and give (would love to start selling some too) lots away… We feed our chickens strictly organically and even the table scraps (chickens LOVE them) we feed them are only organic! Chickens are great “pets,” great source of food, and teach life lessons in responsibility so they get the total thumbs up from me (except when I have to haul 300 pounds of chicken feed down to the barn about every 5 weeks or so!)!

There you have it! Sorry it took me so long to get these answered! I was inundated with email questions! I’ll let you know when I’m taking more questions so you can flood my inbox again!
XO
K8