October 24th, 2006

Reality and Preschoolers

Ariel always makes me laugh. At 4 years of age, the line between reality and fantasy really is thin.

Today she demanded that I pay attention as she watched Leap Frog’s Letter Factory. “See??” she demanded. “THAT’s how you get to the letter factory. You drive straight and then turn and then turn and drive straight.”

Yes, I had a very hard time not laughing.

She’s been after me to take her there, and my excuse has always been that I don’t know how to get to the Letter Factory. She doesn’t buy that I don’t know how to get to the Frogs’ house to start.

We had a little talk about television not being real. She is not ready to believe that yet. It’s sure sweet at times, though. Other times… well, I’ll be glad when she gets it.

[tags]kids,children,family,television,reality,preschoolers,letter factory[/tags]

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

October 4th, 2006

Figuring Out Media Center

I’ve been using Media Center on my computer for some time. I’ve had problems with it here and there, and I definitely think TiVo creams it so far as being user friendly, but it came with my computer, so why complain about what’s so readily available.

I’ve been having trouble downloading the guide for some reason lately. This is supposed to happen automatically, but lately it hasn’t been working. Today it had no data for any channel, and I had noticed the other day that only about 3 days’ worth of data was available. It’s supposed to have about 14 days.

In sheer annoyance, I went in and completely started over on telling it which guide I needed. That did it. Hopefully it will stick, but I have what appears to be the full guide for my channels now, and it’s recording the shows I want again. I don’t think I made any changes, so I don’t know why this should have been any different from telling it before to download the guide. Read the rest of this entry »

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

July 18th, 2006

Summer Vacations on a Budget

We’re getting ready to take our summer vacation soon. It’s in part a celebration of my 5th wedding anniversary, but also because we want to visit family up in Oregon and Washington. It looks to be a great trip, but with money being tight, it’s going to be a bit challenging to not overspend.

We are taking several steps to limit our expenses. Even though gas is expensive, it’s going to be cheaper to drive up than it would be to fly then rent a car. We’ll have some basic snacks and water in the car.

With two small children, there will be a lot of potty breaks. No avoiding that, especially since they’ll also be ways to tire the kids out so they won’t get too cranky in the car.

We are fortunate enough to have relatives live at reasonable stopping points for each leg of the trip. The drive is about 1000 miles, so it would be extremely difficult to do in a single day. However, with relatives in Sacramento, we have a very nice stopping point to get a few hours’ rest out of the car without getting a hotel room.

Visiting family is a great way to make a family vacation inexpensive. With most families it’s lots of fun too. But what if you don’t want to visit family this year? Read the rest of this entry »

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

July 10th, 2006

Summer Night Activities

Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy the night. Summer nights are generally warm, and it’s just such a relief after the heat of the day to get outside and do something!

Take a look and see if there are any places in your area that have special summer night activities. For example, here in San Diego the zoo and Wild Animal Park are open after dark, so you get to see many of the animals be more active than they are in the heat of the day. Many cities also have summer outdoor concerts in the evenings.

Camp out in your back yard. Many nights it can be more comfortable to sleep outside in the tent than in the house, which is still retaining heat from the day.

Alternatively, try a one night camping trip at a local campground. Roast marshmallows around the campfire, tell stories, and just relax. Don’t forget to leave a little time for a family hike during the day.

Go stargazing. Whether you look at the stars from your own back yard or drive out to someplace a little darker, children love to look at the stars. Try looking at the moon through binoculars if you don’t have a telescope. Get a chart that identifies the constellations. Watch for shooting stars. You could also check with your local planetarium or amateur astronomers’ club for nights that they do stargazing.

You don’t have to go outside to have fun. Stay indoors, open all the windows to let in the breeze, and start making cookies! You can let each child pick a recipe or so, depending on how many cookies you want to make.

[tags]summer,summer nights,activities,family, children,kids,fun[/tags]

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

July 2nd, 2006

Keeping the Kids Busy When It’s Miserably Hot

Summer is a great time for children. School is out for most of them and it’s time to play. Running, climbing, building sand castles, swimming….

Sweating, sunburns, complaining.

It isn’t necessarily all that easy to keep the kids busy all summer long, especially on particularly hot days, the days when the kids come into the house five minutes after you send them out, complaining “it’s too hot outside!” What can you do to keep them busy, short of turning the AC on full blast, driving up your electrical bill and letting them watch television or play video games all day? Plenty!

First of all, have some cheap, cool treats on hand. Otter Pops or homemade popsicles don’t cost much, and you just have to enforce the rule that they are eaten outside to limit the mess. These may only keep the kids out for a short time or they might find something fun to do outside anyhow.

Try getting the kids outside to play in the earlier and later parts of the day, when it’s cooler outside. Then you won’t feel so bad if they’re watching television in the hottest part of the day. Try to keep television watching/video game playing under two hours a day total.

Have fun things ready for them to do indoors. Board games work very well, depending on the ages of your kids. My daughter loves doing “projects,” that is, arts and crafts. She has a box of supplies she can use, or we look at our copy of Little Kid Crafts for All Seasons to get ideas.

Many parents choose to enroll their kids in activities for the summer. This is good if not taken to extremes – kids need time to just be kids. My daughter is taking swimming lessons for two different sessions this summer, as well as a one day a week drama class. The drama class suits her style (it starts next week), so I expect she will enjoy it, yet it won’t take much out of her summer fun. The swimming lessons are a necessity since she has regular access to a pool at her grandparents’ house.

Of course, just because the kids are complaining that it’s too hot outside doesn’t mean you have to give in and let them play inside. If you have a yard, get those kids into swimsuits and sunscreen (if they aren’t wearing it already) and turn on those sprinklers. You know you loved running through the sprinkler as a kid. You don’t even need to buy the ones designed for kids to play with, jut make sure yours is fairly kid friendly – low to the ground, no sharp edges and so forth.

Ride bicycles, go hiking, get some of their friends to come over to play one sort of tag or another, all the stuff you enjoyed as a kid. In many cases it isn’t that it’s too hot to play outside, it’s that your kids are bored.

[tags]kids,summer,activities,family,hot weather[/tags]

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Pinterest Feedly
Home With the Kids on LinkedIn



Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.