Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

For your enjoyment, I present this, the best idea I have ever had in my entire life.


grocery shopping, kids, families, teaching responsibility

Problem 1: My kids (Theresa and Paul) always complain about the dinners I cook.

Problem 2: My kids have a poorly formed understanding of money.

Problem 3: My kids are looking for ways to assert their independence.

Problem 4: Our bank claims that we need to be better about budgeting — and eat out less.

Enter the best idea I’ve ever had in my entire life:

Solution, Part 1: Give the kids an allowance. Not like a huge allowance or anything. Let’s say $5/week.

Solution, Part 2: Take the kids grocery shopping every week. Go with a shopping list and a meal plan that takes every night of the week into account. Have the kids help find all the items on the list.

Solution, Part 3: Have the kids decide whether they want to use their allowance to buy food to replace any meals that they don’t want to eat. For example, if I’m making eggplant parmesan (which they’ve decided is awful for some reason, in spite of it being one of Wendy’s and my favorites) and they decide they don’t want it, they can get a box of mac and cheese or whatever they want — as long as they can buy it themselves. They can even have their own grocery cart and go through the line on their own. The catch, of course, is that $5 won’t buy meals for every night of the week.

After the novelty of buying their own meals wears off, they might even decide they want to use their allowance for something other than avoiding eggplant parmesan! Maybe they’ll decide they want to save up for a new game or something … and just buckle down and eat the eggplant parm, thus learning an important life lesson about making tough choices now for a future benefit.

So, what am I missing? What have I forgotten that makes this a bad plan?

Image: climbingcrystal/Flickr


The Blogologist Pieces Together a Winner of a LEGO System

Lego, Lego table, Blogologist, A Family in the City

The Blogologist has officially inspired me! He just put up a really cool post on building a simple, homemade LEGO table for his kids. Take a look for yourself here! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go build one!

Image: Puck777/Flickr

The New England Aquarium’s Fish, Fun, & Fright Night (or, how museum-type memberships are a way better investment than some crappy old IRA)

Fish Fun and Fright Sign

Whenever we visit the New England Aquarium, I always tell Wendy and the kids that my favorite fish are the ugliest, scariest looking ones.  I know I say this every time because every time we go to the aquarium Wendy sighs and says, “I know.  You say that every time we’re here.”  Now that I think about it, she says that in more places than just the aquarium… Continue reading The New England Aquarium’s Fish, Fun, & Fright Night (or, how museum-type memberships are a way better investment than some crappy old IRA)

A review for you about Boo at the Zoo

The Stone Zoo, in Stoneham, is small.  That’s probably why we hadn’t visited it in a few years – it didn’t seem like enough bang for our buck.  The last time we visited, we were still living 60 miles away, so a trip to the zoo needed to make itself seem worthwhile.  I’m too conscious of my mortality to spend over 2 hours driving to have fun for only an hour and a half.  I have aches and pains.  My eyesight is poor.  I’m not a young man anymore is what I’m trying to say. So when I spend two hours in the car I want it to see two hours worth of animals and the big hissing cockroaches don’t count. Continue reading A review for you about Boo at the Zoo

Beating the Boredom Battle

“Daddy, I’m bored.”

“You’re bored?  Here.  I’ll tell you a story.  When I was a kid, my dad had a set of 1963 World Book Encyclopedias.  An encyclopedia was a set of books.  There were about 27 of them in all and they were supposed to give you an ‘encyclopedic’ amount of information, which means they tried to include all the information you could ever hope to ask.  So you’d look things up like you would in a dictionary, but instead of just telling you what a word meant, it would tell you all about that thing or place or person.

I called my dad up to ask him to send me a picture of his encyclopedia set, but he gave away our set!  Now how am I going to keep from being bored?!?  Anyway, I got this image off and eBay classified ad.  If you live near Oak Park, IL give this ad a look and then buy the set! http://chicago.ebayclassifieds.com/books-magazines/oak-forest/world-book-encyclopedia-1963/?ad=19880255
I called my dad up to ask him to send me a picture of his encyclopedia set, but he apparently gave it away years ago! Now how am I going to keep from being bored?!?  Anyway, I got this image off an eBay classified ad. If you live near Oak Park, IL give this ad a look and then buy the set for yourself!  Here’s a link to it for you:

http://ebayc.us/19880255

Continue reading Beating the Boredom Battle

Thai Curry: Cooking with Kids from Start to Finish

I really love Thai curries with all their sweet/spicy, coconutty, vaguely fishy splendor.  I didn’t grow up eating Thai food though.  Like many confused, young college students, I went through an experimental phase.  My experimentation involved revisiting the foods I’d tasted and turned down as a kid as well as the foods I never would’ve even given a chance.

My quest to expand my palate led me to a table at the only Thai restaurant that existed in Jackson, Mississippi at the time. Continue reading Thai Curry: Cooking with Kids from Start to Finish

Kid Powered Adventures

 

Kid powered adventures can help kids get to know new places and feel more involved in family choices.  They can also find fun that parents wouldn't necessarily find themselves.
Kid powered adventures can help kids get to know new places and feel more involved in family choices. They can also find fun that parents wouldn’t necessarily find themselves.

How do you get kids to learn more about the things to see and do in a new place?  How do you familiarize them with public transportation?  How do you get them oriented? Continue reading Kid Powered Adventures