Giving Your Kids (and Yourself) a Balanced Summer

Children dream of summer -- swimming holes, picnics, lazy days, cool movie theaters, outdoor concerts in the park, catching fireflies. One of the casualties of today's increased demands by employers -- coupled with our trend toward overscheduling kids with year-round activities -- is the relaxed pace of summertime. How do you keep summer's magic alive, without driving yourself crazy?

Here are my and readers Top Ten Tips for a serene summer:

1. Plan in advance. It seems paradoxical, but one prime ingredient in an easy-going summer is organizing ... in January. Some camps fill up quickly, plane tickets cost less in advance, beach rentals book early. So as soon as you've finished paying for Christmas presents, start thinking summer.

2. Work with other parents from school, daycare, or your neighborhood. Imagine a team approach for a group of working parents. Each leaves work early one day every two weeks to take kids to a local pool, park or picnic. Fun for kids, minimal hassle for parents.

3. Negotiate a temporary arrangement with your employer. Companies that oppose part-time or flex-time scheduling on a permanent basis may approve a three-month summer plan for you to come in early or stay late to accommodate your family responsibilities while school's out. You have nothing to lose by asking -- but ask early to avoid the appearance of poor planning or manipulation.

4. Send your kids to summer camps -- but not too much. Find local, low-tech, week-by-week day camps that offer flexibility without too much expense or long-term commitment. But don't overdo the camp angle. Last summer, I felt like UberMom for researching and booking several local week-long day camps, perfect for each of my three kids' interests and personalities. But three different daily drop offs and pickups -- and a change in routine every week -- took a lot of the fun out of my brilliant summer plans. I was grateful (too much so) when school started in September and predictability replaced constant change.

5. Take a weekend or week-long vacation to the beach or summer spot as soon as school lets out to celebrate summer's arrival and set a fun tone for the rest of summer.

6. Make a family rule: no laptops or Blackberries or Nintendo, etc. on family vacations.

7. Brainstorm on special summer projects. Teach each kid to cook a meal of their choosing. Help them make it once; older kids can try making a family meal all by themselves. Pick up special (easy) art projects for each kid. Put together a lemonade stand kit. Have a book-reading contest with a fun prize at summer's end. Spend Friday nights at an air-conditioned movie theater.

8. Summerize your routine. During one of my best summers we joined an inexpensive neighborhood pool that had a snack bar. Our babysitter took the kids there every afternoon, and I joined them at 5:30. We'd have a hot dog and hamburger dinner with popsicles for dessert, and change the kids into pajamas at the pool (they were all under six). A simple, low-cost change in our daily routine that made the summer festive and celebratory.

9. A special summer challenge: kids too old for babysitters or daycamp, but old enough to get in serious trouble if unsupervised. Many day camps have unpaid counselor-in-training programs for kids too old for the camp but not old enough for counselor jobs. Another good option: Send your oldest child to visit relatives or family friends for a week or so. Both teaches older kids responsibility and independence while lightening your child-care and scheduling load.

10. Chill your attitude. Although the thought of wearing pantyhose in summer is enough to make me cranky, I try to treat summer as a true break in the rush-rush chaos of working parenthood. It's a time to relax, to leave work early, reflect, sip iced tea and let the sweat drip. Over-scheduling and cramming work, quality kid time, vacations and relatives into one summer ruins the simple joy of summer.

What are your tricks and tips for finding summertime balance?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  June 9, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Top Ten Tips
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First!

Posted by: Leslie | June 9, 2008 7:23 AM

Actually this is my last week before I start my 3 month maternity leave. So I will be for the first (and probably my last) summer break with my kids. After I recover from my surgery (approximately 3-4 weeks), I plan on doing some fun things with my daughter.

My daughter will attend 6 weeks of a summer school program. It seems more like a half a day day camp. They will have water days on Friday.

After I recover, I plan on picking her up after school. When her brother naps (hopefully), we can enjoy our back yard kiddie pool. When Dad comes home from work, he can take her to the "big" pool or for after dinner walk. She loves both of those things. Maybe we will take full family walks with baby in stroller.

On the two weeks that my husband is home after the birth of the baby, we will pick our daughter up early from day care and take her to the big pool before lunch. Then enjoy a late lunch followed by a nap.

We are going to Great Wolfe Lodge in late August (after summer school ends and before we need to head back to work). It is an indoor water park in Williamsburg. We wanted to give our daughter some fun and not expose our newborn son to the sun. We will go for five days. I am hoping to slip away for at least one morning to colonial williamsburg which is my passion but not my husbands cup of tea.

We have a slew of family coming to visit the new baby plus our son's baptism in August. So my daughter will get to see all four grand parents and a bunch of older cousins.

We will have my niece down for three days (she is 11) and hope to take her to the national acquarium in Baltimore.

So sort of relaxing (as relaxing as it can be with a newborn). We will miss our one week beach vacation but we are planning to go to Walt Disney world next spring. So we will just have to hang in there.

Hope everyone has a nice summer.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 9, 2008 7:40 AM

Fred's Top Ten Suggestions for a Fun Summer!


10. Buy a used police cruiser, you know, the one with the prisoner partition.
9. Stinkin' summer? I don't have no stinkin' summer! I don't have to give you a stinkin' summer! (Whoops, wrong movie!)
8. Bribe the grandparents during the winter, enjoy your childfree summer!
7. Summer Insanity? Think Monty Python marathon!
6.OK is easier to spell than copasetic.
5. Valium for them, Prozac for you!
4. Take separate vacations, hubby and kiddies go one way, and you go the other.
3. Build a swimming pool, in your neighbor's yard!
2. Sign up for that Alien Abduction, the summer will fly by!
1. Trade places with your kids; all summer you get to say, "I'm bored!"


Posted by: Fred | June 9, 2008 7:53 AM

Fred's joking aside, a little bit of "split vacations" can go a long way, especially if you have a large family. For three summers, in addition to taking a week or two together as a family, I would take the younger kids to New Hampshire to visit my mom and Perry would take our son to father and son b-ball camp. We both got a break from the craziness of wrangling three kids and it was fun for everyone.

Posted by: Leslie | June 9, 2008 8:00 AM

Who said I was joking???

Posted by: Fred | June 9, 2008 8:01 AM

Foamgnome: I'm so excited for you. It sounds like you've all thought about this summer! When are you due? I'm sure you already said, but I can't remember. Only one more week of work until maternity leave...woo hoo!

Leslie: no nintendo/wii on family outings? What? We substituted board games for wii game (and nintendo before that) years ago. This year, during Memorial day weekend, was the big wii Guitar Hero rock-off. I lost. Anything can be fun if you make it fun. Go ahead and try that game your kids are into...you may find it just as much fun (I was a Pokemon GameBoy fiend at one time about 7 years ago).

Posted by: dotted | June 9, 2008 8:11 AM

I have only a three day this week and am spending a long weekend with DD at the pool.

We are going to beach in July and am off a couple of extra days in August because camp is closing for a week. We are going to summer concerts (we can walk to Strathmore Concerts in Maryland).

The only major thing will be more birthday parties. She went to one Saturday which was great because we lost power Saturday afternoon. By the time we got home we had power back but no television until 9:30 pm.

Posted by: shdd | June 9, 2008 8:14 AM

Foamgnome, I can't believe 9+ months have passed so quickly. Seems like just yesterday you were telling us! Best of luck to you, and stay cool in that heat.

My summer tips: I get up early -- 5:00 -- to get a run or other exercise in, because otherwise it's too bloody hot. Exercise helps me find balance for me and my kids and is non-negotiable. It's like sleep. If I don't do it, I'm pretty cranky.

We try to get to the pool early in the day, like as soon as it opens and we leave by 11:00. We might go back around dinner time and either eat at the pool or have a big snack and late supper.

When we grill during the week, we cook lots of extra so we can have salads with meat the next day or so. Easy dinner.

All shades and blinds are closed until I get home from work. We have a two-story living room which brings decent light to the rest of the house. It's just not worth paying extra for more a/c.

Speaking of which, at a dinner with some girlfriends last week, we were talking about where we set the a/c in our houses. People were floored that we keep ours at 79, up to 81 at night. One of my friends keeps hers at 65-68. They spend more than double what we do on a/c, though. I'm cheap. Too hot? Put your suit on and run through the sprinkler!! I was wondering if I'm really abnormal. Is subjecting my family to these tropical temperatures really that unusual? Where do others keep their a/c?

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 9, 2008 8:25 AM

WorkingMomX - we set our AC to 76 during the day when we're home and 78 at night; it goes up to 80 during the day when we are at work. If we set it any higher for our at work time we find it does not cool down sufficiently for sleeping. Our house's cooling system is not great (old house) so what happens is the downstairs is very cool and the upstairs hot. We use ceiling fans up there and keep the blinds drawn. It's fine for sleeping but not super comfortable otherwise.

As far as summer plans, my kids are each doing camps for a big part of the summer. We've got a family trip planned for late July and then a free week the week before school starts where they will just hang out with friends and maybe we will do a day trip. We usually have dinner a little later in the summer, often do baths before dinner because the kids are dirty from camp. And, weekends are low key, lots of pool time. Because I work my summer is not that different than any other time of year. I changed my schedule one summer to be home one morning when my son was out of camp but am not doing that this year. I think the suggestion about trying to use flextime is a good one. It's nice to be able to enjoy the time with the kids when they are not in school.

Posted by: Pt Fed Mof2 | June 9, 2008 8:37 AM

I'd love to hear about balance ideas for those of us that are at home all day with the kids. Finding the time for myself to get my things done is always a challenge, esp. when its this hot. There are only so many times i can say - go play outside. My neighborhood is lame, so there are few kids to play with. Guess I'll figure it out.

WorkingmomX - funny topic, we too keep our house shut up like crazy people in the summer - blinds closed etc.. to help beat the heat. That said, my Swedish self cannot stand heat so we keep the thermostat set at 74 during the day and 68 at night. I must, must, must be cold at night. Now in the winter we keep it at 64 during the day and 56 at night (ahhhh, the blessed cold of my people) - so I think the average is something reasonable. I'd really enjoy hearing what others do.

Posted by: Moxiemom | June 9, 2008 8:51 AM

Oh, and Foam - good luck. I was wondering if you had the baby since we hadn't heard from you in awhile. Go back and read Friday's blog to see what people think of each other - funny. I'll keep you in my thoughts.

Posted by: moxiemom | June 9, 2008 8:52 AM

Summer is always an interesting balance between the mental image of what I want for my kids and the reality of parental logistics. Last year, we went with what was easiest for us (keeping them in camps at their regular schools/daycare), and I was disappointed that I didn't put more effort into making things special for them. So this year, my girl is going to a real camp, where they play outdoors and swim twice a day and drink bug juice and all that. The logistics are more difficult -- we're used to doing dropoff and pickup whenever, so revamping our schedules around meeting the bus is going to be an adjustment. But hey, if there's a time to go in a little later and leave a little earlier, summer's it, right? :-) And it's a small price to pay to give my girl a fun summer running around in the woods.

Otherwise, it's a fairly low-key summer. We're kicking it off this weekend at the beach with my folks, so we can cheer for my mom in the Rehoboth Fathers' Day 5K. Then my daughter is going to my dad's in July for a week with her cousin, and we all go back the week before school starts for another week. I'm actually really looking forward to NOT having a lot of stuff scheduled -- we've dropped gymnastics and swimming for the time being, and it's SO nice to have unplanned weekend time.

Posted by: Laura | June 9, 2008 8:59 AM

Sounds like a theme going on here - we all live like moles in the summer. The sun beats into my living room from noon until after 6pm so I have to keep the blinds closed. I find it helps to use an oscillating fan with a breeze function (and a remote of course).
It sucks when you are stickier and sweatier AFTER your shower than before.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | June 9, 2008 9:02 AM

I keep my air around 74-76. I want to be better for the environment but I can't bring myself to stay in the heat! For the summer I want to be able to take some alone time to recharge but since I'm just starting out, I can't afford too much of that! My mom stayed home when I was a kid and we never went to any kind of camps (except Girl Scout/Boy Scout camp). Summer was always about sleeping in, playing outside and staying out late. We had a kickball "league" in our neighborhood and did that nearly every night. I never really heard about camps and scheduling every minute of your kid's waking moments until I moved up to DC. Sometimes the best thing is to do nothing! Your kids will thank you for it!

Posted by: FloridaChick | June 9, 2008 9:04 AM

I am set to deliver next week. I am waiting for the doctor to call me back on my scheduled C-section date. Hopefully next Tuesday or Wednesday. She already told me that Mondays are not good days. Evidently more people go into labor on Mondays then any other day.

I glanced at Fridays blog. BTW, currently I do look like a knocked up smurfette! But normally, I do sort of resemble what some of you thought. But right now, I look like I could burst at any moment!

Posted by: foamgnome | June 9, 2008 9:35 AM

My son's still preschool aged and in daycare that converts to "camp" over the summer so our routine isn't changing that much. We're taking a week off at the end of the summer and doing a few field trips on weekends.

We do shift our cooking around and have picnics for dinner a couple times a week, so that's relaxing. Sort of. Potty training throws a wrench into it, at least right now. :)

Moxiemom - I can't remember what age your kids are but my suggestion as a former camp counsellor is to come up with some fun projects to work on in a relaxed way. Hopefully some of the time on their own. :)

Something like:

- start a summer collection of something (pressing leaves and flowers; bird sightings; collecting one penny from every year) - go to related museums and so on

-popsicle stick forts + finger puppets + spray painting them outside and play war games! err, something

- one I'm doing with my preschooler is that we are picking a letter every week and we make an album page with drawings and stickers and glued in pictures of things that start with that letter. This involves trips to the dollar store from time to time

- create your own... world (make a globe, atlas, etc.), book, movie (get out the digital video camera), model cars, marble run, etc.

My mum also used the summers to put my sister and I in charge of shopping (we could walk to the grocery store) and cooking a lot of the meals. I'm not sure this was a total timesaver in the end but it definitely set us up with some skills.

Also volunteering, if you are available to coordinate, can be a great way to structure some time in, sorting at a food bank or whatever.

It does depend on your kids' interests and yours though. I think that's really the key - try to help them find what will really capture their imaginations and then let them do that.

Posted by: Shandra | June 9, 2008 9:48 AM

I've given up on my central air. The house was retrofitted with a/c and it just doesn't cool the upstairs very well -- in addition to costing a fortune. We bought small window units and put them in the bedroom and turn the central off at night. That way the rooms I want cool are cool without turning the rest of the house into a freezer.

I like summer evenings at the pool too.

All musical instruments go in their case until September!

Posted by: RoseG | June 9, 2008 9:57 AM

As usual, it will be no hotter than 70 in San Diego - snicker, snicker, snicker. I seldom turn on the AC until it gets above 80 in September!

One summer, my dad decided that my mom should go on vacation. We 4 kids were responsible for the meals, cleaning, laundry, and all the rest of her jobs for 2 weeks. We were allowed to ask her questions, but she was not to lift a finger. What an eye-opener! I suspect that's when I decided that a housekeeper lay in my future!

Posted by: babsy1 | June 9, 2008 10:08 AM

WorkingMomX - 74 at night, 76 during the day. My roof will be replaced and a ridge vent added in another 2 weeks and I am hoping I can change it to 76 at night, 77/8 during the day (upstairs is a finished attic, there is easily a 10 degree difference between first and second floors). I'd use a wider gap with programmable thermostat but was advised that with a/c it's not efficient.

Posted by: Kate | June 9, 2008 10:08 AM

I grew up in DC before air conditioning, so I actually like the heat. We rarely use AC and just have a bunch of ceiling fans. It doesn't feel like summer if you are cold all the time. And the frigid office buildings, movie theatres and restaurants drive me crazy...seems like such an ecological waste to refrigerate so much air.

Posted by: Leslie | June 9, 2008 10:14 AM

I plan my summer baseball trip in the winter every year. A friend and I meet at an AL ballpark and watch the Os. We get to tour a new city, shop, and catch up on our lives. Last year we went to Cooperstown and the Finger Lakes, which was wonderful. I heartily recommend the Corning Musuem of Glass - the kids will love the glassblowing demonstration, and you will love the huge variety of glass (multiple buildings). This year, we're going to Anaheim, which isn't far, but we're also going to see the Padres play here, since I have season tickets. Fred, did you see the walk-off HR yesterday against the Mets? I was there - oh, it was 68 degrees and breezy, BTW.

Posted by: babsy1 | June 9, 2008 10:17 AM

YIkes, do all of you sleep in the all together? 78 at night! Wow. I don't like it freezing, but I refuse to sweat inside.

Shandra, thanks for the tips. Acutally, we are using the Day in Pictures Gallery in the post to see how other people live, talk about issues and find the places mentioned on the maps. It is one of my favorite things on the web. Today is a learning day, tomorrow will be fun.

Posted by: Moxiemom | June 9, 2008 10:20 AM

Working MomX: we are cheap and our budget can't abide power bills in excess of $300, so it's 79 degrees 24-7 at our house. We also use our ceiling fans to help with the psychology of moving air. Of course, our golden retriever moves from vent to vent for 3 months.

I agree with dotted: we don't ban laptops, nintendo or any games from our vacations. No one in the family isolates behind electronics, though, or misses out on the beach because of prioritizing electronics over enjoying the outdoors. Vacations are our time to enjoy things together that we might now otherwise have a chance to enjoy. That means the grown-ups learn new video games and the kids develop new outdoor interests.

Plus, if we barred laptops, there would be two negative consequences. One, our access to Internet-only coupons for last-minute vacation fun, like discount putt-putt golf, or two-for-one dinner deals would be unavailable. Perish the thought. Second, either DH or I might have to cancel out of the vacation entirely at the list minute and that, for us, makes no sense. We'd rather be together for 98% of a week, then separated for 100% of the week.

Posted by: MN | June 9, 2008 10:21 AM

OT to babsy1: 3 straight 2-1 wins....who would have thought?

coupons! The way to save money on vacations! We do the coupon thing to save last minute $$, plan ahead to save on big items. So we're planning winter vacation right now, while it is going to be over 100 here in Chapel Hill.

Posted by: dotted | June 9, 2008 10:30 AM

foamie: you mean you're not Lucy Liu with those cute freckles?

Posted by: dotted | June 9, 2008 10:31 AM

I remember growing up in a house with central air. My cheapskate parents voted for Jimmy Carter and felt compelled to follow his stupid energy conservation plan which was - kset the thermostat at 55 during the winter, 85 (?) during the summer. Of course, my parentss had a downstairs room with a window unit, while us kids slept upstairs where we froze in the winter and baked in the summer.

Except for Dad, nobody was allowed to touch the thermostat. Nobody.

But I figured out a little trick. If I breathed my hot breath on the thermostat I could get it to heat up enough so it would turn the air conditioner on. It took me about 30 seconds to get it to work, and technically, I never had to touch the thermostat. Ha!

Then I figured out another trick. If I closed all the registers around the thermostat (hallway, living room, kitchen), and leave the one to my room wide open, the air conditioner would blow a nice chilly stream of cold air right next to my bed for quite some time before turning off.

I think it took my dad about 3 years before he figured it out. After that, nobody was allowed to touch the registers. Nobody!

Posted by: DandyLion | June 9, 2008 10:38 AM

dotted: I don't have freckles or LL's figure! But when I am not pregnant, I do have a petite figure but not quite LL. At least not since graduate school!

Posted by: foamgnome | June 9, 2008 10:38 AM

"I remember growing up in a house with central air. My cheapskate parents voted for Jimmy Carter and felt compelled to follow his stupid energy conservation plan which was - kset the thermostat at 55 during the winter, 85 (?) during the summer."

If your parents like Jimmy Carter, they will love Obama, get ready to freeze in the winter and bake in the summer. It's 1976 all over again.

Posted by: Obama is a fraud | June 9, 2008 10:41 AM

"YIkes, do all of you sleep in the all together? 78 at night! Wow. I don't like it freezing, but I refuse to sweat inside."

68 at night, 72 all the time. Sweating for a few bucks is stupid.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 10:42 AM

There is nothing worse than going into a stuffy hot home. I refuse to visit people who keep their homes unbearably hot. You can tell me how much you are saving on bills and the environment while I peel out of your driveway.......

Posted by: Get a grip | June 9, 2008 10:45 AM

If your parents like Jimmy Carter, they will love Obama, get ready to freeze in the winter and bake in the summer. It's 1976 all over again.

Posted by: Obama is a fraud | June 9, 2008 10:41 AM

I'll second that, he already told us we can't expect to drive our SUV's or keep our house at 72. I expect the fed's to have nannystate inspectors checking my thermostat and gas tank after that Socialist is elected. Good times for all americans, the misery index will be at an all time high in 2011. Enjoy your last summer of AC folks.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 10:49 AM

I grew up in DC before air conditioning, so I actually like the heat. We rarely use AC and just have a bunch of ceiling fans

This is a bunch of BS. You don't use AC during the hot humid months? 90-100 degrees, What a load of crap, but it sounds so environmentally friendly at Perry's parties rght?

Posted by: BS Leslie | June 9, 2008 10:52 AM

Next Obama the fraud will tell us to wear a sweater if we are cold......

Posted by: Obama is a fraud | June 9, 2008 10:53 AM

Good luck Foam. Nothing really changes for me in the summer time. I guess my kids are still to little.

Fred building a pool in my sub division may get you shot. Really, a couple of the neigbors had a huge fight over it just before we moved here. Lucky for us, we are friends with the peopel with the pool!

Posted by: Irishgirl | June 9, 2008 10:55 AM

True story: I did live in GA during Grad school and did not have AC. I can tell you now, I love my central air and ceiling fans. It stinks to be hot!

On another note, I don't think McCain will do much about energy prices either. I think the current prediction is 7$/gallon gas by summer 2009. That is true for either candidate.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 9, 2008 10:56 AM

We keep the house on the warm side: 78 at night. However, we keep the ceiling fans on. The room gets downright chilly with the breeze.

Posted by: dotted | June 9, 2008 11:02 AM

"On another note, I don't think McCain will do much about energy prices either"

True, presidents have very little control over oil prices. Congress on the other hand has enormous control. Encourage the building of refineries, nuclear power plants, open up alaska, encourage alternative energy. The worst idea though is a windfall profit tax. Sounds good, feels good, terrible in reality. When you need all the oil you can get the last thing to do is heavily tax companies and make it LESS profitable to deliver oil.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 11:03 AM

Moxiemom what a cool idea! All my ideas are pre-net it seems.

When I think back over my summers the learning part was FUN. Mostly 'cause it was what I wanted to learn. I built rockets all one summer.

Posted by: Shandra | June 9, 2008 11:04 AM

"Next Obama the fraud will tell us to wear a sweater if we are cold......"

yeah, with the fabric imported from Pakistan.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 11:14 AM

I moved to SD from Charleston, SC, and went from humidity and heat to bliss. I don't miss those days and temps at all. Dotted, the Pads won 4 games in-a-row by a score of 2-1, and it was wonderful. Yes, I know it's very "Inside Baseball," but some of us like that stuff. Besides, between the Dodgers and their fans being in town this week and the US Open (next door to my office, thanks for the parking hassles), it was a terrific boost.

Posted by: babsy1 | June 9, 2008 11:19 AM

or you could knit your own cardigan...

Posted by: babsy1 | June 9, 2008 11:20 AM

Posted by: | June 9, 2008 11:03 AM

Your comments are all correct, esp on drilling. I will add conservation, not to appease the libs on this board, but because everything should be on the table.

True, McCain can't control oil/gas prices. No President can, but their policies can eleviate the problems created by the environmental lobby and do nothing congress. Sadly, McCain fancies himself an environmentalist and will do nothing but head left on this issue.

Basically, we are screwed on this issue, regardless of who is elected.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 11:22 AM

or you could knit your own cardigan...

or perhaps a nice shawl? ;)

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 11:23 AM

OT to babsy1: your office is near black's beach too. The song went: blacks beach, everybody goes, blacks beach, a lot of people without any clothes. Why Torrey Pines during June Gloom is beyond me... I was at UCSD before the sun god went up.

Posted by: dotted | June 9, 2008 11:26 AM

They are now enforcing no nudity laws on the beaches! I'm not sure they will be successful at Black's though. I wondered about choosing Torrey Pines for the Open during June Gloom as well. For those of you who haven't been here, we have two months every year of overcast skies every day: May Grey, and June Gloom. It looks like rain each and every day, but of course we get no drops. Still, it might convince people not to move here...

Posted by: babsy1 | June 9, 2008 11:32 AM

link to a simple stole, for those chilly AC nights...

Posted by: babsy1 | June 9, 2008 11:34 AM

http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/70337AD.html?noImages=

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 11:35 AM

I have to second the Corning Glass Museum even if it's been almost 15 years since I was last there!

And I am trying to keep my condo temp at 82 while I'm not home, 80 while I am, but I don't think my AC is working (timing IS everything of course) as it just runs and runs. With the place closed up (blinds and curtains shut) for two days, the temperature barely moved down, in fact it went up one degree at one point. I also have two fans to keep the air moving. I'm not looking forward to the next bill needless to say!

Posted by: WDC 21113 | June 9, 2008 11:39 AM

Your comments are all correct, esp on drilling. I will add conservation, not to appease the libs on this board, but because everything should be on the table.

Thanks, that is true too, being more efficient is a big piece of the puzzle too.
I think solar is a great energy source. Just think of all the buildings that solar panels could be added to and produce energy.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 11:52 AM

OT to babsy1

The HBP gamer winner is hilarious! I watched the Cubs beat the Dodgers last night. I generally don't see much bball news from the West Coast as I am in bed way before the games end. Hey, I can barely make it to Baseball Tonight which comes on at 9 p.m. here. And the sports pages down here barely cover the standings on a daily basis.

Posted by: Fred | June 9, 2008 11:53 AM

Good Luck Foamgnome.

Nice trick Lion, I still do the register shuffle to get cool air upstairs, as I sleep on top of all the covers and DW is under a duvet.

Oil price does irritate, but I do find it HILLARIOUS that the media is screaming about speculators driving the price up, when all the spec I saw last week were SHORT and were forced to cover on Friday.

HAHA cry cry cry.

Posted by: Fo3 | June 9, 2008 12:01 PM

WDC, the most common problem with the AC not running eficiently is a clogged air filter. Try removing it for a few hours while the AC is on. If your condo gets cooler, you'll know what the problem is and you can save yourself $120 from not having to call the technician.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 12:04 PM

"I moved to SD from Charleston, SC, and went from humidity and heat to bliss"

I first read this as moving to South Dakota from Charleston, SC and didn't get why there was "bliss".

Posted by: huh? | June 9, 2008 12:07 PM

I refuse to visit people who keep their homes unbearably hot. You can tell me how much you are saving on bills and the environment while I peel out of your driveway.......

Posted by: Get a grip | June 9, 2008 10:45 AM

I see this as a win-win solution, believe me.

Go waste your own money by your lonesome while I chill with my friends. A little bit sticky produces a great excuse for consuming more chilled alcoholic beverages of our choice.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 12:16 PM

Sweating for a few bucks is stupid.

Posted by: | June 9, 2008 10:42 AM

Submitted by someone with more money than brains.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 12:19 PM

@ 12:16 PM

Amen! By adding super block-out shades to my apartment, and keeping the AC running warmer, I can always use the excuse to make up a pitcher of margaritas!

Posted by: canary28 | June 9, 2008 12:21 PM

Posted by: | June 9, 2008 12:19 PM

Hi I saved money, but I am sticky and sweaty, want to come over?

Posted by: Got the money,got the brains and I my house is cool and inviting | June 9, 2008 12:49 PM

Just be careful in the heat with your drinks! The alcohol dehydrates you while you feel cooler drinking it so you continue drinking. Keep it in mind!

Posted by: Alcohol Dehydrates | June 9, 2008 12:49 PM

AC? Bwaa ha ha ha ha!! We have no AC. Actually, even when I lived on the east coast I never lived anywhere with central air.

Here, our climate is more moderate and also nice and dry so it usually cools off significantly at night. When it gets hot, we keep all windown open at night, and close everything down in the daytime. It is fine on weekends when we are mostly lounging around. It's kind of a bummer when working from home though, as it's a lot harder to sit and concentrate at the computer when it's roasting. Thank goodness for air conditioned coffee shops with free wi-fi.

Posted by: LizaBean | June 9, 2008 12:59 PM

Hot and sweaty will lower a man's sperm count.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 1:00 PM

I laugh when I hear of a 'heatwave' up north. Like 92-95 for few days. We call that fall down here in the south.

Posted by: Georgia rules | June 9, 2008 1:05 PM

I imagine our summer will be a continuation of our regular schedule. So far the only bonus that I have seen is that StepSon loves the pool so his meltdowns have been kept in check knowing that bad behaviour will result in no pool time.

Now that the husband is making a living wage, I no longer need to be working 60 hours a week. I am going to be talking to the boss of my second job about reducing my hours significantly. They have been slow so I can't imagine that they would complain too hard about not paying me when they are not busy if I am willing to work more hours when they have a sale.

The kids will not be heading to summer camp (other than perhaps a free camp that is sponsored by the country for ESL students). My husband doesn't get vacation since he just started his new job. We have just started to recover from the prior financial burdens of lots of child support and not much salary so I don't see us spending money on any extras this summer. Perhaps we will be able to do something next summer. I sure hope so because I feel like the kids are missing out on things that I was able to enjoy as a child.

Posted by: Billie_R | June 9, 2008 1:13 PM

we have our kids signed up for several sports camps, science camps and regular camp. It is a great time for them, nothing worse than being bored watching tv all summer.

Posted by: Summer time and the livin's good.. | June 9, 2008 1:16 PM

I actually like my kids to get a bit bored in the summer...then they actually want to go back to school in September.

Posted by: Leslie | June 9, 2008 1:31 PM

Just be careful in the heat with your drinks! The alcohol dehydrates you while you feel cooler drinking it so you continue drinking. Keep it in mind!

Posted by: Alcohol Dehydrates | June 9, 2008 12:49 PM

knock knock. Who's there? It's mehitabel.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 1:37 PM

Hi I saved money, but I am sticky and sweaty, want to come over?

Posted by: Got the money,got the brains and I my house is cool and inviting | June 9, 2008 12:49 PM

Your house may be cool but your attitude is not inviting. You won't have to worry about any sticky invitations. I'm certain.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 1:38 PM

Hot and sweaty will lower a man's sperm count.

Posted by: | June 9, 2008 1:00 PM

Explain why this is a bad thing.

Re: fun camps: my kids want to go back to school to see their friends. Not because they've been twidding their thumbs all summer. We are starting their third week at the house with a fun sitter and my youngest is dying for me to register her at her favorite summer camp instead. Why? So she can hang out with all her little chatterbox friends. Everyone's definition of a great summer is different. By the way, she only thinks camp is her idea. This was our plan all along.

Posted by: MN | June 9, 2008 1:41 PM

MN: your kids are on their 3rd week already? Let me guess: year round school? My middle schooler still has one more day to go. High schooler had last exam this morning.

Posted by: dotted | June 9, 2008 1:49 PM

I've never milked a cow. Maybe it'll be the high point of the summer this year. Mooooo!

And if you want your kids to get lost for a few hours, taking them to a corn maze provides the perfect opportunity for them to do so.

Posted by: DandyLion | June 9, 2008 2:06 PM

Shandra, - the kids really liked the photogallery and were trying to wrap their little heads around all the different things happening in one day. I think its important for them to know that not everyone is spending every day at the pool and Target. We spent 20 mins. today on the Sandsation web page because they loved the sand sculpture from the June 6th gallery. So its good fun for all of us. Now they are playing the Wii, so by the end of the day they should be back to intellectual equilibrium. Which really is my goal. hee hee

Posted by: Moxiemom | June 9, 2008 2:11 PM

Re the AC issue, when my daughter was born and my wife decided to stay home with her I never realized the impact on the electric (summer) and gas (winter) bills. No more adjusting the thermostat to conserve energy during the day - the house has to be kept at a livable temperature all day long. Add to that the inefficiency of having only one zone for the whole place - yikes. I haven't compared the bills, but I'm sure there is a significant difference.

Posted by: DCD | June 9, 2008 2:13 PM

Two trips planned.

First, my parents' 50th anniversary celebration. In two weeks, the whole extended family will be cruising to Mexico together. Well, except the sister I don't get along with - she just moved and changed jobs, and can't go. Boo hoo - not!

Then in July, there's the 40th anniversary gathering of our Wiccan Tradition.

Older son will continue music lessons over the summer, but younger son's music teacher is taking the summer off. We're not sure if he's coming back next fall, so we might be looking for a new teacher.

Older son will also be doing his driver education this summer.

Other than that, I let DH and the boys take responsibility for their summer. It's not my fault if they're bored.

OT - A/C is desirable for only about 2-3 weeks here, so we don't have it. DH got a free-cycle window unit a few years ago. I think we ran it one time, just to see if it worked. If the house gets too warm, the back yard is shaded in the mornings, and the front is shaded in the afternoons, and we just follow the cats' example and move to the next shady place.

Posted by: Sue | June 9, 2008 2:24 PM

@Billie_R: as I recall you are in greater DC area - try the weekend section in Friday's Post for free/near free ideas.

In the not free but fun category - the wave pool at Cameron Run. My cousin's twin 6 year old boys love it.

Posted by: Kate | June 9, 2008 2:33 PM

dotted,

Not year-round. Different traditional calendar. We were out the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.

Posted by: MN | June 9, 2008 3:12 PM

Your house may be cool but your attitude is not inviting. You won't have to worry about any sticky invitations. I'm certain.

Don't worry about my invitations, just worry about yours sweaty...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 3:28 PM

To ATB

saw your "Friday Comments"

bad dresser indeed!

Posted by: Fred | June 9, 2008 3:38 PM

Then in July, there's the 40th anniversary gathering of our Wiccan Tradition.


Getting your broom washed, witches outfit sent to the cleaner and animals ready for sacrifice?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 3:38 PM

Just when I think how nice it would be to move BE (Back East) to the free museums, fun politics, and great mass transit, I read all these comments about the weather. Yes, it is bliss out here in SD (NOT South Dakota, very funny!) where it will be 68 on the coast today, and 75 inland. Seriously, I think about moving back often, especially since I'm a red voter in a blue state, but somehow the weather seduces me to stay. Come to think of it, the weather out here is more faithful than the last man I dated...

Posted by: babsy1 | June 9, 2008 3:46 PM

Come to think of it, the weather out here is more faithful than the last man I dated...

Posted by: babsy1 | June 9, 2008 3:46 PM

If only Fred were still awarding the QOTD, . . .

Posted by: MN | June 9, 2008 3:49 PM

Hey Fred, one of the best parts of living out here is the time difference. The East Coast games start at 4, so you can watch one and still make it to bed on time. Sadly, I do think about making it to bed on time these days. It is a bit disconcerting to be invited to watch a Sunday game at 10am though, even with the promise of alcohol before the sun has crossed the yardarm.

Posted by: babsy1 | June 9, 2008 3:49 PM

You all are on a roll today...Maybe Fred will bring back QOTD...

Posted by: Leslie | June 9, 2008 3:51 PM

MN, if you only knew...I always say that baseball is good practice for romance, since both involve disappointment from men who think .300 is a great batting average!

Posted by: babsy1 | June 9, 2008 3:52 PM

I feel shortchanged on summer this year. School will run an extra six days to make up for snow days this winter. My biggest challenge is in my own head. When work continues, it's hard to get into a summertime groove and relax. I'll get a bit of break at least on the parenting front when they go to overnight camp for two weeks. We also spend some time each summer at an organic farm/Quaker boarding school where we pick blueberries and work in the gardens and visit with the animals. Now that says summertime to me!

Posted by: anne | June 9, 2008 4:08 PM

WDC, the most common problem with the AC not running eficiently is a clogged air filter. Try removing it for a few hours while the AC is on. If your condo gets cooler, you'll know what the problem is and you can save yourself $120 from not having to call the technician.

Posted by: | June 9, 2008 12:04 PM

Thanks, it's a new fliter, but I'll try it anyway.

Posted by: WDC 21113 | June 9, 2008 4:09 PM

my a/c is never set below 76 and goes up to 78 at night. Back to the subject at hand, I LOVE the idea of arranging a TEMPORARY part time gig at my job. I wish I thought about it before I hired a summer babysitter.

Posted by: dc reader | June 9, 2008 4:30 PM

Added incentive about getting your employer to okay temp PT or flex schedule...if it works you can use the success of the trial period to do it again in the future.

Also I've found that employers like a temporary arrangement, because then it doesn't set a precedent for other employees.

Don't understand why they are so worried about a successful precedent but go figure.

Posted by: Leslie | June 9, 2008 4:34 PM

@ anon 3:30
"Getting your broom washed, witches outfit sent to the cleaner and animals ready for sacrifice?"

Do you wash your broom after sweeping your floors?

Our "trad" is skyclad, and the event is camping at a clothing-optional private location, so no outfits. When we do events in venues where clothing is needed, we generally prefer things that are easily laundered at home, not dry cleaned. Much easier to remove herbs, candle wax, wine, etc.

You're confusing Wicca with Santeria, I think. Animal sacrifice is part of their practices, but not ours. Wiccans "harm none".


With my apologies to the regulars for this public education moment. You guys already know better, or at least you have better manners.

Posted by: Sue | June 9, 2008 4:43 PM

Well I get huffy at #3- would the parents be willing to trade off so that one day I get to chuck out early and enjoy a movie premiere without kids or crowds or go to the pool with my sweetie, and the next day they get to go do whatever fulfills them?

And to add- SERIOUSLY do not overschedule. What is really so wrong about 9+ yo hanging out at the house alone? I didn't have a truly free summer after 7th grade because of school projects and assignments, and before you know it, your whole last "free summer" is all college visits, AP prep, internships and hardly any fun at all.

Posted by: Liz D | June 9, 2008 4:44 PM

We also spend some time each summer at an organic farm/Quaker boarding school where we pick blueberries and work in the gardens and visit with the animals

Ann - that sounds brilliant!! I'm green with envy.

Posted by: moxiemom | June 9, 2008 4:49 PM

"Your house may be cool but your attitude is not inviting. You won't have to worry about any sticky invitations. I'm certain.

Don't worry about my invitations, just worry about yours sweaty..."

Excellent. Those who are so inclined can be sanctimonious in whatever temperature range they prefer, with nobody to quibble with.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 5:29 PM

Hot? Hot?

Our a/c has been running the last 3 months!

Speaking of A/C filters, 2 more things to consider A) if you have more than 1 air return--you know where the air is sucked out of the house and back into the a/c unit--check both of them and B)The type of filter, those "ultra" filters can restrict the volume of air going back to the unit, reducing the cooling efficiency.

And no, FQOTD will not come back as a permanent fixture. Only special occasions. Altho, there were 2 if not 3 worthy quotes today!

Posted by: Fred | June 9, 2008 6:41 PM

MN, if you only knew...I always say that baseball is good practice for romance, since both involve disappointment from men who think .300 is a great batting average!

Posted by: babsy1 | June 9, 2008 3:52 PM

babsy1, I hear you, sister. Believe me. There are only so many guessing games one has time to play, and break-up conversations in which one has time to participate.

Posted by: MN | June 9, 2008 7:33 PM

btw, Sue, thanks for taking the time to educate all of us - the regulars and the trolls alike - with grace. I've learned alot from you on a variety of topics. Your Mexican cruise with the family (sans difficult sibling) sounds wonderful.

Posted by: MN | June 9, 2008 7:35 PM

Posted by: WDC 21113 | June 9, 2008 4:09 PM

In case you're still checking WDC - if you haven't had your unit serviced this year you might call for an appt. I had a similar issue to what you described when I first bought my condo. The filter was fine but the coils were dirty causing the unit to not blow cool enough air. The other thing could be wrong is you might be low on freon - and if it has been charged recently you might have a leak.

Anyways just my two cents :)

Posted by: AC issues | June 9, 2008 8:00 PM

What is really so wrong about 9+ yo hanging out at the house alone? I didn't have a truly free summer after 7th grade because of school projects and assignments, and before you know it, your whole last "free summer" is all college visits, AP prep, internships and hardly any fun at all.

Posted by: Liz D | June 9, 2008 4:44 PM

It's not always a blessing to be the 9 year old if all of his friends know no one is at home. We tell our son that part of why someone's around is so he can always roll his eyes as he tells his friend, mom, dad, Uncle Bill, or the sitter is home. It means he doesn't have to say, I don't want to get drunk and I don't want to have a party at my house. We are glad to be the bad guys for a few more years until he has the character to stand up to his friends on his own.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 8:42 PM

A/C: I try to keep the house as warm as possible (79 ish) but it IS difficult - I've been turning it down a little bit every once in a while. --Winter is 65 ish to 68.

Re overscheduling: Trying not to do it - but then the kids get bored. We have a horrid pool situation, or I'd just take them every day. It's open from 10:30 to 5, but not so close by, and a pain in the neck, really. Hopefully, next year the pool will open down the street and it won't be too crowded.

I HATE HATE HATE the 'week here, week there' camps. Like, what's the deal. I mean, I have DS in drama camp for a WEEK. A WEEK!!! How can anything get done - how can friends be made, it's all so new and different. I went to day camp for 6-8 weeks (no choices, full summer or no camp). And don't get me started that there are NO busses for camps down here...

We're trying to put together playdates, etc, but many of the kids nearby have both parents working, so it makes it tough.

*sigh*

Posted by: atlmom | June 9, 2008 10:04 PM

Oh, and we're into week three of summer.

We're going to the north GA mtns (courtesy of my in law's cabin) for a week in a couple of weeks. Should be fun, we haven't been in a while.

So school goes back something like Aug 9 or so. And I spoke with DH about maybe going away the first week school is out next year - as many other schools are not out yet, so perhaps maybe it would be less expensive.

Posted by: atlmom | June 9, 2008 10:09 PM

Gee, I don't know. Try only two cases, rather than three, during the summer? Perform only eight, rather than ten, major operations a week? Spend only seventy, rather than eighty hours, in your biochemical lab? What planet do you live on??

Posted by: lydgate | June 10, 2008 12:32 PM

What's wrong with bored? Isn't that how most new hobbies get started? Reading? Collecting? Models?

Some big chunks of boredom can be the best gift to a young kid I think.

Posted by: Liz D | June 10, 2008 4:03 PM

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