Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stymied Summer Adventures.

This summer has not been awesome so far as adventures go.

Let me re-phrase that.

This summer has not been awesome so far as kid-type adventures go. As far as grown-up adventures go, it's been pretty epic. It's not every day you buy a house, move your family, have to find new routes to work, transfer services, take care of your yard, pay property taxes...

Other than the moving part, though, most of that is grown-up stuff. Not even so much "adventure" as much as just... new.

It's one of those things where I feel like I let them down, but they seem fine.

I have this vision (the dreaded, un-live-up-to-able vision) of what summer should be for my kids, and this was not it. There was no camping. There were no day trips. We didn't explore any woods or caves. Heck, we didn't even get out much. 

This time, I'm going to feel bad for five minutes, tell myself that they're perfectly happy playing in their new playroom, and then just let it go.  The move highjacked the summer*. End of story. Hopefully, next summer's story will be a bit more interesting.

While we've been sitting around being boring (aka: unpacking and setting up our house), I've been letting the kids share in the adventures of some of these guys. 

1. The Adventures of Tintin
2. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
3. Tad: The Lost Explorer
4. The Adventures of Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Treasure
5. National Treasure
6. Labou and the Quest for the Lost Treasure

The number of pirate maps, scavenger hunts, and secret codes I've been asked to assist with has dramatically increased.

How about you? Any big summer adventures this year? Tell me all about it, so I can live vicariously through you.

*Although we did get to take a couple of weekends off from the work to watch some of our people get married. Congrats again, Juls! You too, Mack!

Friday, August 15, 2014

I Think I'll Name It Chuck.

Let's not talk about boxes today. Oh, okay, one quick whine about the boxes. This is my view from here:

Alright. That's out of the way.

So. I haven't mentioned it, because I've been too busy whining about the boxes, but I have a new love in my life.

I have always preferred a paper book, so much that I've resisted getting an e-reader. There's something about physically turning pages that I appreciate. I am an enormous fan of the public library and always have been. At our old place, the library was a quick walk away, and I was there at least twice a week.

Here, the library is a not so quick walk away; and while I know my kids could totally do it, whether they could do it without whining and arguing is another matter. Suddenly e-readers are looking more appealing.

So I was thrilled when my friends at Staples asked me if we'd like to test out a Kindle Fire HD.

It was fairly easy to set up, once I realised I needed to set up an Amazon account (even if you only ever plan to use it for free apps...), and I'm about as tech savvy as a pencil.

You'll also need an app for downloading books. I went with Overdrive, which thankfully has many step by step instruction pages out there (here's one). I also had to set up an Adobe account so that I could read the books once I had them. Phew.

Once I had all of that set up, I went straight to the library website and managed to download three copies of the same book because I couldn't find it on my "bookshelf". (I've gotten better since then.)

It's not entirely intuitive, especially the book borrowing, but once you've got it, it really is pretty easy. I've found there is quite an extensive collection of both e-books and audio books to choose from, and you can even place holds on downloads. 

I also put Netflix on it. The screen is amazing. I've watched movies on my iPad, and I'll tell you, the Kindle (while smaller) was much clearer. The sound on this thing is fabulous too, not the least bit tinny.

So I've found my new best friend. I was sick in bed for a couple of days, and I was not bored once. I read a book, played some games (Temple Run 2 is super fun) and chewed through season three of Downton Abbey (Waiting for season five is going to kill me).

I love the idea of having it loaded up with books for everyone. We're the type of people who like to have a nice variety of things to read at any given time, and having one small item rather than a bag of heavy books is so nice that I'm wondering why I resisted for so long.

I've even let the kids use it.

Of course, now there's a new problem. Whose turn is it to use the Kindle?

*Staples Canada provided me with a Kindle Fire HD for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Totally Called It.

He caved.

(Of course, it's been raining for two days, so our lawn still looks like wilderness; but soon, neighbours. I promise.)