Delaying gratification

Delaying gratification basically means:  Tell yourself you can have some later.

Say you have a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight.  How do you keep yourself from eating junk food at work or from eating more calories than you really need?

Studies discussed in Willpower by Baumeister show that the most successful method of, for example, not eating MnMs is to tell yourself that you can have some later.

People who said they could not have any wore down their willpower and eventually gave in.  People who said sure, they could have some, but not now, didn’t wear down their willpower and in the end, often didn’t have the candy later either.

Dave Ramsey talks about this:  Live like no-one else so that you can live like no-one else.  But by the time you’re financially free, you may not want all the stuff you craved when you were in debt.   However, telling yourself you could have it later helps with the gazelle intense part.

I find I do this a lot with ice cream.  I tell myself I can have some later that night only to forget about it until after I’ve brushed my teeth.  (Eventually the ice cream does get eaten, but when I’m actually hungry!)

Do you ever use this delaying gratification trick?  Does it work?


link love

Much more interesting than my 1st lecture this semester (a review of ttests and normal curves), from delagar.

NW edible tells us how to pick vegetable seeds (from a catalogue).

Where’s my trust fund has a nifty manifesto.

I want to be a wizard!  yes, I do!

We were in this week’s carnival of personal finance.

Dr. Jen Gunter discusses whether or not it’s healthier to be a few pounds overweight.  An excellent discussion of selection bias and other research problems ignored by the media.

If you wondered about the life and death of the sun

Oil and garlic asks, who plans and takes the mental load of those anchor events on those weekends you’re not wasting at home.

Money magazine talks about the top 529 plans.  We have Utah.

Google questions and answers

Q:  will i be better than my parenta

A:  How could we not?  Grammar (or spelling) makes the world go round.

Q:  what are the qualities of life for a super skinny person?

A:  very low BMI

Q:  why called pieces of eight

A:  Because they used to be cut into eighths.

Q:  what do i need to know to be a helper in a school

A:  It depends on the school.  Some will make you do a background check.  Contact your school or check out their webpage to see.

Q:  why parents should pay for children’s licenses

A:  Why should they?

Q:  are you living a better life than your father

A:  Yes.

Q:  fun things to do if students sleep in your lecture room

A:  I’m a fan of having the entire class leave (I haven’t done this, but one of my undergrad professors did).  My partner tends to just stand there in front of their desks.  I tend to wake the person up and suggest they get more coffee.  Here’s a suggestion from our google searchers: “a student fell asleep in class and i couldn’t help but snap a photo”

Q:  creative, funny sexual positions?

A:  Wrong blog!  Try the sexademic link over there on the side bar.

Q:  something funny to say to your best friend

A:  Q1:  Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?  A1:  Because it was dead.  hahahaha

Q:  what is the metal band that did “i like to eat apples and bananas”


Cookbooks we have loved

My maternal grandma got a copy of The Old Fashioned Cookbook by Jan Carleton McBride for my father as a wedding present.  It’s full of wonderful American recipes from appetizer to dessert.  The cake section is especially amazing– I did not like cake at all before trying this book.  When my mom went to a low-fat diet, I was able to obtain ownership for our copy.

Another favorite from my parents’ is The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash. This fantastic book goes in and out of print all the time and has gone through a few editions and updates (now with microwave technology!). My parents would not part with theirs so we bought our own copy. If you belong to a CSA or have a garden of your own, you must get a copy of this book. It answers the question of, “What on earth are we going to do with all this X?” from basic preparation to elaborate recipes. And the recipes are delicious.

The New Laurel’s Kitchen book is fantastic if you’re trying to eat healthily and/or vegetarian. The recipes in it are creative and tasty, even though they only contain healthy stuff.  It’s a fun read too.  But very hippy-dippy.  What else would you expect from a cookbook coming out of a commune in the Berkeley area?  Additionally, if you want to bake with only whole grains, their bread book is not to be missed.  There are different techniques for baking with whole grain flour (which is “thirstier”) and The Laurel’s Bread Book covers them.

We’ve already talked about this duo of cookbooks from son Kevin and mother Nancy Mills. These are fantastic quick recipes for weeknights. We love them all.

The Cake Bible.  It is as advertised.

Baking with Julia. This cookbook encourages you to master a few basic recipes and use them with an array of different recipes. The weeks my partner spent mastering pie dough were wonderful indeed.

A new favorite that we’ve been going through, Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick and Easy Indian Cooking.  It should be called, Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick, Easy, and Delicious Indian Cooking.  Also:  pretty sure it’s healthier than the stuff we get for take-out.

We have a few Best Recipe books, which are good go-to books when something isn’t in the Old-Fashioned Cookbook.  Our favorite is the Best Recipe Make-Ahead cookbook. It is great for making food in advance whether for a party, for someone with a new baby, or for yourself in the future.

What are your favorite cookbooks?

RBOChild (bragging about)

Because if you can’t brag on an anonymous blog, all that’s left is the grandparents…

  • Recently took DC2 on a trip.  Everywhere we went ze charmed folks.  Walking across/down the street we’d hear drivers or other pedestrians tell each other that babies like ours make them want one.
  • DC2 has bright eyes.  Everyone says so.
  • Lots of people guessed at how old DC2 was on our latest trip.  Most were shocked that they were off by 2-4 months.
  • We got a lot of comments about how amazingly advanced it was that DC2 was doing assisted walking at this age… but ze has been doing it for at least two months now.  More if you count the time it was just newborn reflex walking.
  • DC1 didn’t start solids until 8+ months.  DC2 started at 4 months.  Apparently this is ok because there was a pediatrics rule change, but we’ve just been going with the signs of readiness (baby wants food and doesn’t tongue thrust it out, baby can have food).  Whenever we eat food ze is totally demanding.  Especially ice cream.
  • DC2 has been practicing the pincer grasp.  We’re a bit blown away by that.  But we hope it will decrease meal-time fussiness.
  • DC2 recently realized that rolling over is a legit form of locomotion.  Ze can now travel a plane with a combination of rolling and turning in circles.  Ze still prefers assisted walking.
  • DC2 can stand on hir own.
  • DC2 has no fear.  But ze has recently been getting a little stranger anxiety.
  • On the plane ride back DC2 discovered squealing and squeaking.  We really hope this phase passes quickly.

Join me… brag about your kid(s) and/or cat(s) here!  Say that stuff you complain about other people posting on facebook.  We promise we will only celebrate and not judge.  :D

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: , . 33 Comments »

Consumption value of chores?

This another reminder that people have different preferences and different budget constraints and that’s ok.  Just like how some people enjoy Brussels sprouts, blech.  We may not understand but we do not hold it against them so long as they don’t make us eat them (or otherwise force their preferences on us).


Planning FUN events to do every weekend is in right now because Laura Vanderkam has a new book out about what successful people do on the weekend.  Some supporters note that if they don’t plan a fun event, then the weekend ends up getting subsumed in Chores and Projects and they never have any fun.  Better to outsource the projects and as many chores as you can afford, or else stuff the chores into after work time on the weekends, keeping the weekends sacred.  God forbid your anchor event be cleaning out the garage, for that is a weekend wasted.

Mr. Money Moustache, otoh, goes the other route.  He enjoys (gets consumption value from) chores and projects so much that he’s doing them as an early retirement job even though he doesn’t have to.  Not only does he seriously enjoy fixing up houses, but he also notes that it’s ridiculous to pay someone to do chores that give you exercise while also paying to exercise at the gym.  (Although he doesn’t seem to be a jerk about his wife belonging to a gym.)  There’s time for other stuff too, but no weekly, “if we don’t do something that’s not a chore we’re not being productive” stress.  For him, there’s just as much, if not more, value in producing something good with his labor.

These are examples of different preferences.  We have them too.  #1 enjoys folding laundry with her family– it’s fun together time.  #2 hates that part the most and wishes she could just keep her clothing in piles.  Some people spend time doing crafts, which seems to us a type of chore– for FUN.  We don’t understand but we do not accuse them of wasting their time.

Consumption value from chores isn’t a new thing, though it may be going out of fashion.  It wasn’t so many centuries ago that big projects were also social events.  Any Little House readers can remember corn shucking, quilting, or barn raising parties.

In addition to differing preferences, there are also differing budget constraints.  If you have more money, it’s easier to go out and do things.  If you live in some parts of the country, there’s a lot more stuff to do than in other parts.

The year we lived in a beautiful city in CA, we went out every single weekend, usually something small one day and something major another.  We could walk to playgrounds and ice cream and sushi and Trader Joe’s and a farmer’s market and the library and a fantastic South American place and all sorts of things.  Small events were neither onerous or time consuming.  Meanwhile, an easy drive away (at least on weekends) we were surrounded with big parks, museums, zoos, restaurants, theater, and much more.   We took advantage.

Now we live in a small rural town.  There’s nothing to walk to except a church and a dentist office (and the dentist isn’t open on weekends, also she’s crazy).  The weather sucks a good portion of the year, and the nearest enjoyable “nature” is a couple hours away.  We’ve been to all the restaurants many times over.  Theater productions come in the middle of the week as they travel between real cities.  The little local festivities are repetitious and I’m not as saintly as my parents were in terms of taking the DCs to every one.  Also the local branch of the library sucks (we go anyway) and it’s 30 min to get to either the good branch or the farmer’s market.  To get to the really fun stuff in the city, it’s a 1-3 hour drive there and 1-3 hours back.  That can get pretty tiring, so we do it about once a month.

Our choice set, or budget constraint, is different now.  It’s harder to have fun event weekends.  But we can still enjoy homely things– cooking, chores, puttering, and so on.  Does that mean we’re wasting our weekends when we could be going to yet another local town festival… probably not.  Does it mean we’re wasting our lives when we could be living someplace with more cultural amenities?  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  That depends on our preferences.

The thing about preferences is that they’re ours.  Bloggers can tell you that you that there’s something wrong with you if you enjoy chores or if you don’t enjoy chores.  (If you’re super-malleable, you may even believe them.)  But for most of us, either we like doing something or we don’t.  Either we have opportunities or we don’t.  Don’t feel like you have to stress yourself out to have fun events every weekend if you’d rather stay at home and fix that thing in your house that’s been bothering you.  Don’t feel like you have to fix that thing in your house if you can afford to pay someone else to do it and you’d rather be out enjoying what your city has to offer.  There’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t do what the “in” thing is among whatever circle you (virtually) hang with.

And really, that’s all basic economics.  We maximize our individual utility subject to our budget constraints.  Which basically means, we do what makes us happy based on the opportunities we have available.  So long as you’re in tune with what makes you happy and what you can afford, you’ll be doing fine.

Of course, as Cloud recently pointed out to me, knowing what makes you happy is often the hard part.

And as personal finance blogs note, what you can afford varies wildly.

Where do your individual utility functions and budget constraints take you most weekends?  Are you in tune with what makes you happy?

link love

Historiann notes more patriarchal bullshit from jealous losers.

Molvray looks at the implications of corporations as people.

We wish good luck to the What Now unit.

Donna Freedman explains why it is so important to teach your kids autonomy.  We can’t wait until DC1 is tall enough to reach the stove.

Donate to a science fiction author with cancer.  Also, from that page, “bracing” is definitely a good word to describe Mary Robinette Kowal’s reading of the classics.  Check out Moby Dick!

That baby pic that’s been on the interwebs and news.

How much more tax you’ll pay.