Archive for June, 2013

Milk and Cookies

with Kristen

I'm a mother of five, a bargain hunter, a recreational comparison shopper, and always trying to make more time - for me and for you, too. On this blog I'm sharing my favorite tools and finds to help make your work-life juggle a bit easier.

You can find my personal blog at Swistle.com.

Tips for Surviving the Work/Summer Combination

Categories: Life balance, Managing stress, organization

No Comments

It’s too soon to call it, but I think summer is going to finish me off. Every day I think, “Here are the projects that need to be worked on today.” Every day, I fail: either I put in an insufficient amount of time, or I don’t get to any of them at all. I’m getting that “the water is rising” feeling.

This is WITH my usual techniques: signing up the most difficult child for day-camp; buying a few fun new things; breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.

(Bananagrams ((photo from Amazon.com)) is the biggest hit so far. )

I think there’s a feeling that everyone (especially kids) DESERVES to have a 3-month vacation with tons of fun things every day: beaches! amusement parks! camping! And so it’s easy for parents to feel really bad that they’re not delivering on that—and maybe resentful, too, since they’re not getting it for themselves, either. But sometimes it doesn’t work out to spend a quarter of the year that way, and that’s okay too. School is out for the summer; work is still in session. And “Sleeping in, then playing outside as long as you want, then coming in and having lemonade, then reading comic books and playing video games all afternoon” IS a wonderful fun-fun-fun kind of summer, as is “Going to day-camp.”

Still, so far my work is not getting done, even after dropping the feeling that every day should be packed with summer fun. One trick I’ve had success with lately is imagining if someone else came to me with the same problem I’m having—what would I suggest they try?
Read the rest of this entry

Summer sleep-away camp supplies

Categories: Elementary school kids, Health and Safety, Managing stress, Travel

No Comments

I am in a TIZZ about Elizabeth going to Girl Scouts camp this summer. I’m GLAD she’s going, and I’m glad she WANTS to go, but it’s a week and this is the first time and ack.

I HAVE been having fun buying things, though. She’s supposed to bring old grubby clothes, but she went up a size this year so all her clothes are new. So I went to Goodwill and bought a bunch of things for $1-2 each: shorts, long pants, t-shirts, a sweatshirt. And Target had a bunch of t-shirts and leggings at 70% off, so I bought some of those, too.

Other fun purchases:

Each girl needs her own mess kit. The Girl Scouts shop has a mess kit with a logo on it (photo from GirlScoutShop.com) for $25, but that felt a little high. I found the SAME mess kit without the logo (same brand, same color, same items even though the dunk bag isn’t in the picture) on Amazon for $15.84 (photo from Amazon.com).

When I was little, my grandmother gave me a pad of fold-and-mail stationery (photo from Amazon.com), and I remember thinking it was a mind-blowing concept. This sort of thing rarely has the same impact for the next generation (”I remember when we got COLOR TELEVISION!!”), but I found a pad of it at Marshalls and got it for her for writing letters home. She does like it, though the wow factor is, as expected, not quite as wowish.
Read the rest of this entry

Shopping ideas for summer fun

Categories: Books, Crafts and activities, Elementary school kids, Managing stress, On the web, Toys, games

No Comments

Normally this time of year I’m buying a batch of Summer Survival Gear Treats. I like to buy a new CD for the driving back and forth to lessons and camp; a new outdoor toy or two; a new board game; some craft supplies; maybe a new video game.

This year, we seem to be all set. We’ve bought all the CDs, and/or the kids are too old for them now. (I’d like to get The Book of Mormon soundtrack because they’ve loved the few songs I’ve shown them on YouTube, but the lyrics to a lot of them are…not ones I want them singing absentmindedly next year in school.) We already own a Stomp Rocket and a plasma car and a hula hoop and some jump ropes and a scooter. We’ve got Skip-bo and Wits & Wagers and Scrambled States. Our video game shelf and craft bin overfloweth, and I just got a big bag of kid books from the library book sale.

I did buy one thing:

Webkinz Deluxe Membership (screen shot from GanzEStore.com), which gives access to a bunch of otherwise-locked games and merchandise and so forth on the Webkinz site. The tipping point for me was a sale: normally it’s $45 for a year’s membership, but June 10th-13th it’s on sale for $33.74. (If you want to get the 3-month one so it’s just a summer thing, it’s $11.24.) The year-long one comes with the ability to add other accounts for $5 each, so I got it for myself (*embarrassed cough*) and added the three kids who play Webkinz. It’s hard for me to explain how thrilling this has been for us, and in fact I find I’m reluctant to try to persuade you that this isn’t a very foolish thing to spend money on, and maybe we should just change the subject. But it was Very Exciting for four of us at my house, and the year-long subscription also comes with a free Webkinz pet (online version only, no plush version), a fawn I kept for myself. It also comes with a monthly batch of virtual money, so I am saving up for a Sun Fox. …Okay, NOW I’m too embarrassed to discuss it anymore. (SUN FOX FOR ME!)
Read the rest of this entry

11 Gift ideas for Father’s Day

Categories: Crafts and activities, Electronics, Fashion, Fun stuff for grown-ups, Gifts, Guys, Holiday, Toys

No Comments

Last year I suggested we get together a list of what we’d resorted to for Father’s Day presents, so that THIS year we’d have more ideas to consider.

I continue to recommend the Click ‘n’ Dig Wireless Remote Finder (photo from Amazon.com). We’ve had it a year, and Paul still says “Best. gift. ever.” about twice a week. One of the four sensor thingies broke after being dropped one (1) million times, but we still had a spare so we just replaced it. We keep the remote itself nailed to the wall so it can’t get lost. If we broke another of the little sensor thingies, I would buy another set without even thinking about it.

Last year, Alicia mentioned getting a travel coffee press/mug (photo from Amazon.com) with fancy coffee, for good coffee at the office or on business trips.
Read the rest of this entry

Subscribe to blog via RSS

Search Blog