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  • Winding Down 2015: What do you want to see in 2016?

    Winding Down 2015 | Chief Family Officer

    As a mom whose schedule revolves almost entirely around the school calendar, I feel like winding down as school winds down. Tomorrow is the last school day of this calendar year, and so I feel like 2015 is really coming to a close. That sense has been reflected in the slowing down of new articles here at Chief Family Officer, and will continue until the New Year. (But not to worry! At a minimum, you’ll get your daily dose of Morning Coffee, weekly store match ups, and at least one more giveaway before year’s end.)

    While I’ve been quiet on the outside, I’ve been ruminating at lot on the inside. The last month or two have been a time of inner growth for me, and I will share some of those discoveries with you next month.

    In the meantime, I’m looking forward to spending some time with my family, enjoying old traditions and starting new ones (one of my favorite new things this year has been the Lego Advent Calendar*), and cleaning (out) my house.

    I am also going to spend some time doing some serious thinking about next year, and what I want in 2016. That’s where you come in – I would love to know what kinds of articles you would like to see here next year. Do you want Chief Family Officer to post more deals, specifically deals broken down by transaction? Do you want more articles on topics like housekeeping, cooking, parenting, making and saving money, or some other topic? Do you prefer roundups like Morning Coffee, in-depth articles, or a mix of the two?

    Your feedback will help me make Chief Family Officer more useful to you, and help me figure out where to take things from here. So thank you!

    *Affiliate link – thank you for supporting Chief Family Officer! Read CFO’s full disclosure here.

    Image via FreeDigitalPhotos.net by fotographic1980.

    Big 5 Sporting Goods Black Friday Deals 2015

    Thank you to those who served

    It’s Veterans’ Day here in the U.S., and while for many of us, it’s a day off from school and work, a holiday to get things done and catch up with family and friends, it’s also a day that reminds us of the sacrifices that the members of our armed forces make every day, along with their families.

    My dad was active duty military when I was growing up, and at the time, I accepted it as our way of life. Many wonderful things came from all of the moving around, including the chance to live in different places, meet lots of different people, and do lots of sight-seeing (I’d been to most of the states, and seen more national treasures that I can remember, by the time I started high school).

    But now, as an adult with more self-awareness of my personality and traits, I also know what I missed out on, and often when I’m struggling, I wish that I’d had the benefits of growing up in one place, with lifelong friends and a greater sense of security.

    While I have no regrets (after all, I am who I am today because of the experiences I had growing up), I know that serving our country involves genuine sacrifices – not just the most obvious, terrible ones involving physical and psychological injury, but smaller ones like not being home for the holidays and regularly changing schools, often in the middle of the school year.

    So from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU to the members of our armed forces as well as their families!

    Image via FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Michael Elliott.

    Funeral Etiquette

    Funeral Etiquette - ChiefFamilyOfficer.com

    A friend’s father passed away recently, and on the day of the funeral, it suddenly occurred to me that I had no idea about funeral protocol. I’d attended two, maybe three funerals before my friend’s dad’s, and always with my parents. So I found myself wondering, Is it appropriate to bring something, and if so, what? Fortunately, my friend had included instructions on how to dress, so I was clear on that.

    But it got me thinking that this is part of growing up – getting to the age where you start attending funerals, much the way there was an age where you attended a lot of weddings. I’m probably not the only one doing this kind of growing up, so I wanted to share what I’ve learned:

    Funeral etiquette depends on the type of service – This may be stating the obvious, but a lot of what’s appropriate for a funeral is dependent on the type of service, such as Catholic, Jewish or Buddhist. If you’re not familiar with the type of service, a quick internet search can give you the basic information you need. It can also be helpful to find out where the service is being held, such as graveside or in a church or temple, as the location might affect your choice of attire or shoes.

    Dress respectfully – Black and gray are generally the most appropriate colors for funerals, but some families ask attendees to dress more colorfully. Whatever you’re wearing, make sure your clothes are clean and neat.

    You don’t need to bring anything – Unless you’ve been informed that it’s appropriate, you don’t have to bring flowers or anything else to the service. (In some cases, flowers are actually not appropriate.) Do be sure to sign the guest book, if there is one. If you’ve been invited to a post-service reception, you can bring a dish to be served but you are not obligated to do so.

    Participate in the service when appropriate – If you are able to do so, fully participate in the service by standing, kneeling, singing, reciting verses, or responding as requested. Words to songs and responsive phrases are usually included in the funeral service program.

    Share a warm memory of the deceased – In my case, I had never met my friend’s father and went just to show my support. But if you have any fond memories of the deceased, share them when you express your condolences.

    Call the location – If you’re still wondering about what’s appropriate, call the location where the service is being held. The staff there should be happy to help you.

    Image via FreeDigitalPhotos.net by khunaspix.

    T-Mobile’s Simple Choice Plan (Sponsored Post)

    This post is sponsored by Savings.com and contains affiliate links (thank you for using them!). You can read CFO’s full disclosure here.

    T-Mobile Simple Choice Plan | chieffamilyofficer.com

    Have I mentioned that my oldest is going into fifth grade this year? And that I’m a little freaked out about finding him a good middle school placement? And about middle school in general?

    I’ve watched his older friends and their parents navigate that road this past year, and one thing I’ve noticed is that this is the time when most kids get their own cell phone. It makes sense, because as your child becomes more independent, it’s reassuring to be able to reach them at any time, and for them to be able to reach you. It’s such an easy way to let them know you’re running late, or for them to tell you that they’re ready to be picked up. Plus, they’re at the age when they want to be in constant contact with their friends.

    Knowing that this is on the horizon for us, I’ve started scoping out options. We might add a phone to our existing plan, but it’s a grandfathered plan that’s great for me (unlimited data!) and not for new lines. So it’s nice to know that there are alternatives like the T-Mobile Simple Choice plan, which starts at $50 for unlimited talk, text, and 1GB of 4G LTE data (and there are no overages or annual service contracts).

    Here are the highlights, which makes this a great plan not just for kids but for adults too:

    • Unlimited calls and text to and from any number, including mobile phones, in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. You can also use your monthly 4G LTE data in Mexico and Canada (like in the U.S.) at no extra charge!
    • Music Freedom™ with unlimited music streaming on the T-Mobile network from top services such as Pandora and iHeart Radio without using your data (this is huge for kids!)
    • Unlimited data and texting when you travel to any of 120+ countries and destinations so you can stay connected when you’re abroad (I wish I’d had this when I was in Japan!)
    • Wi-Fi Calling makes every Wi-Fi connection work like a T-Mobile tower
    • Smartphone mobile hotspot lets you use your device as a Wi-Fi hotspot
    • Add a tablet or hotspot to existing plans for $10 per month
    • Upgrade to the latest devices earlier and more often while also protecting your investment with Premium Handset Protection® and Lookout Mobile Security® Premium ($10 per month)
    • Data Stash™ rolls your unused 4G LTE data forward to the next month, for domestic use in the next 12 months (available with 3GB and 5GB data options)

    Get the Simple Choice Plan here for just $50 per month!

    Have you given your child his or her own phone yet? How old were they, and what kind of plan did you get?