Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hooray for Independence!

This post is an addendum to Monday's entry. I gave my son the option of attending Freshman Registration by himself or with me at his side. He opted to try it for himself, knowing I was just a phone call and a five minute drive away. He did just fine by himself, and he said it made him feel more responsible handling everything on his own.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Give Your Teen the Chance to Prove Himself

I volunteered to help at High School registration this year. I had worked the Senior Registration last year, and it had gone pretty smoothly. So this year I decided to be brave and work two days, registering first Seniors and then Juniors.

To my utter amazement, almost half of the kids showed up with their parents. One would expect to see a lot of parents with the Freshman class, maybe even the Sophomores, but sixteen and seventeen year olds?

A lot of these kids can drive themselves, and most live within walking distance. The registration process is simple. The parents and children complete the forms at home, so all they have to do when they come to school is hand in the correct forms at the correct station. There are plenty of parent volunteers to steer them in the right direction, and the student should be able to handle any problems that arise.

It's great to see parents involved in their children's education, but what will these kids do when they have to choose classes and complete registration for college without help from mom and dad? Parents are not included in that process, so going through high school registration is good practice for their kids and helps them build confidence in their ability to take care of themselves. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A New Focus on Tweens, Teens and Young Adults

Because there is already a lot of information out there about newborns, toddlers and younger children, I'm going to focus more on tweens, teens and young adults. It represents where I am in my life, with two in college and my youngest in high school. It's also a time when the kinds of problems you might encounter with your kids become more serious too.

Whether it's teaching your child to drive a car, helping your kids prepare for college entrance exams or going to bed while they're still out with friends, there are many adjustments we parents must make. As we shift from the caregivers of our young children to the advisors of our teens to the companions of our adult children, we go through many changes. I want you to come to this site to find help in making those necessary adjustments. That said, I will do my best to provide you with meaningful resources and I welcome any comments and suggestions on how to make this site better.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Clothes for Back to School

A new school year often brings a big investment in new clothes. Last year's fashions simply will not do, and, chances are, your kids have outgrown them anyway. So how do you keep the costs down come September? Here are a few ideas.

1) Buy clothes that can be mixed and matched. If all your child's tops can go with all his/her jeans, shorts, skirts, etc., you're in business. Pick neutral jackets and shoes that will go with everything.

2) Go through your child's closet before you go shopping. Give away any items that are too small or have never been worn. Try to find clothes that are a perfect fit and that your child really likes, so they don't end up gathering dust in the closet.

3) Give your child a clothing allowance. It will help them decide between clothes they really want and stuff they'd just like to have, but don't really love. It's also good for them to learn to work within a budget.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Money-Saving Tips for Back-to-School Supplies

Here are more tips for saving money on school supplies this year.

1) Stock up - If you find a great sale (either before school starts or as the year goes on), stock up. Sometimes you can get a great deal in the clearance section in late Sept. Keep your eyes open. You know you'll need these items throughout the school year and in years to come too.

2) Buy in bulk - Why not shop with a friend or two? If their children need the same items, you may be able to save a lot of money by buying items in bulk, then dividing them up. Plus, it can make the shopping trip way more fun.

3) Don't buy big ticket items until you know what is needed/allowed - Contact your child's school for a list of needed supplies before classes begin, and find out whether or not rolling backpacks are allowed. I know several classrooms where there is no room for backpacks that cannot be hung up on pegs on the wall. It would be a shame to waste money on something that expensive that cannot be used.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Recycle, Re-use, Reduce

Yesterday I blogged about school supplies and how many things have changed since I was a kid. Parents today are asked to come up with all the supplies needed to get the school year started, and it can really add up fast. Here are some tips to help keep costs down.

1) Recycle - Check to see what you already have at home. If you're like us, you have assorted crayons, markers, colored pencils, etc. lying around the house. Put these together in a pencil box and that will save you a few bucks.

2) Re-use - Kids think that last year's backpack has to go, but a quick trip through the washing machine may give it new life.

3) Reduce - Does your child have a notebook from last year that has three pages of written material in it and 77 blank pages left? Did you find this notebook in the recycle bin - or worse - the trash? Now is a good time to discuss waste and keeping it to a minimum by getting the most use possible out of every item.

More tips tomorrow. In the meantime, check out Lisa Kirby's blog for more insight on kids and their need for new stuff at

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Back to School Craze

Remember when going back to school meant buying a few notebooks, a new box of crayons, and new shoes? If you wore a uniform to school, you probably got one of those too; if not, you got one or two new outfits. That was it.

Well, times have changed. The supply list now contains items that used to be provided by the schools - like scissors, glue and tissues. Every child needs a new backpack, notebooks, paper, pens (red, blue and black), glusticks, ruler, tape, scissors, markers, folders and a calculator. If you have two children and you shop the sales, you can still end up paying out more than $100.00 in supplies alone. And that doesn't even count the new clothes your child "has to have" or the fees that are required for art projects, lab costs, etc.

Don't even get me started on the supplies, including furniture and appliances, your child needs for college. Does it ever end?

This week on the blog, read my ideas for keeping the costs down and bringing a bit of sanity back to the back-to-school craze.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Vacation - Part 2

We're on vacation in a cabin at Big Bear Lake. The weather is beautiful and the village is walking distance away, so I'm getting some exercise. Also, the cabin is three stories, so I'm getting a new kind of workout going up and down all those stairs.

In addition to this blog and my other freelance writing, I also have a blog at Check out the following entry, then check back here in a few days for a progress report.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Don't Forget the Camera!

We went camping this week. We arrived on Sunday afternoon to find that the spot we had reserved was tiny and sloped at about a 30 degree angle. I was just sure that we would slide down the hill and into the ravine below. Luckily, the camp was not crowded, and we were able to find a lovely, shady and spacious spot in a loop all by ourselves. I love camping during the week!

Our final morning, my husband and I hiked up to the nature center, a beautiful and somewhat challenging hike that ended at a big, flat-rocked vista point, which would have been a perfect spot for a picnic. On a Tuesday morning, we had the place all to ourselves. The only problem - we forgot to bring the camera!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Vacation Time

It's August, so the baseball camps are all done, and it's officially vacation time. We leave tomorrow for a camping adventure in Idyllwild. I've only been there once before. My friend Pam took us to her mom's house for the weekend when we were still in college, so it's been....a really long time!

It's always fun to check out a new camping spot. This one has "partial shade," so we're bringing a shade structure with just in case. We borrowed a dutch oven from friends, so we're going to try to bake cinnamom rolls at the campsite. Should be an adventure!

No time to camp this summer? Just set up that tent in the backyard, blow up those air mattresses, set out the sleeping bags and go for it. You don't have to go far from home to have a great time outdoors.