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Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Treasure Hunts of the Future

When I was a kid, we'd make treasure maps with pencil and paper. Now it's all done with computers and GPS units.

Friday, August 27, 2004


Money Jar Bank

This Money Jar Bank from the Discovery Channel Store is one of those simple, but effective, gifts that kids will love. Hey, even I want one!

Now if I could just figure out how to get my kids to leave their coins in their banks, then I'd be happy. Last week I finally told them that if I see money laying around on the floor then it belongs to me! So far, that seems to be working.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


The Princess Syndrome

Popular culture is drowning in princesses. Call it The Princess Syndrome.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Delaying Kindergarten

A recent Seattle Times column points out the trend of delaying kindergarten for some kids. Parents believe their children will be better prepared if they're older and bigger. However, research has shown that there aren't any long-term academic advantages, and the drawbacks can be considerable.

Sunday, August 22, 2004


Digging the Baby Carrot

My kids eat these things like candy, and all these years I thought baby carrots were, um, baby carrots! But there's more to this story than you might think, and it's actually kind of interesting.

If you need to know even more about the carrot, visit The World Carrot Museum.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


Super Dads

Time Magazine serves up an article about today's fathers and the various roles they play.

As a stay-at-home dad, I appreciated this quote from the article:

"There's a push-pull," says Kevin Lee, 40, a photographer in Salt Lake City, Utah, with two small children and a wife who works part time. "I feel like when I'm with the kids, it's great, and I enjoy that time. But in the back of my mind, I'm always thinking that I've got all these other things to do, like work around the house or job-related work."

For me, the "other things to do" include laundry, dishes, toys, yard-work, and vacuuming, not to mention my "hobby" of listing items on eBay for friends and family. There seems to be no end to it all (especially the laundry), and it's a real chore (pun intended) to separate my mind from those domestic responsibilities while I'm playing and learning with my kids.

Friday, August 13, 2004


Definition of Family

I just finished reading the wonderful book, No Ordinary Lives: One Man's Surprising Journey into the Heart of America. The author, David Johnson, is a reporter with the Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune. For the past twenty years, he has written a weekly column called "Everyone Has A Story" for which he selects his subjects at random from the phone book.

One of his columns told of a young couple, Eric and Kim Engle, and their four children. Johnson asked the family if they could define the concept of family. This is what they composed:

A family is the people who will love and be there for you no matter what. They are there to pick you up in hard times and to share your joy. You never give up on them and you'll do whatever it takes to stay together; such as compromise, communicate, sacrifice and most of all, love one another. A family is your heart and soul next to God.

Thursday, August 12, 2004


Kids and Coins

A sobering reminder about keeping coins safely out of children's hands and mouths.


No More Toys 'R' Us?

I try not to take my kids in there too often, to avoid the "I want that, I want that" chorus, but still, it will be kind of sad if Toys 'R' Us goes under.

Monday, August 09, 2004


Silver Mine Tour

The Sierra Silver Mine Tour in Wallace, Idaho, is a fun and educational excursion for everyone (over the age of three). A retired miner guides you through the narrow tunnels for a 90-minute lesson on hard-rock mining. Easily accessible on I-90 in North Idaho, the tour costs $9 for adults and $7 for kids (4-12).

Friday, August 06, 2004


Rockefeller's Rules For Raising Responsible Children

In a letter dated May 1, 1920, 46-year-old John D. Rockefeller Jr. lays out the financial expectations for 14-year-old John D. Rockefeller III, who went on to become chairman of the board of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Memorandum between PAPA and JOHN. Regarding an Allowance.

1. Beginning with May 1st, John's allowance is to be at the rate of One dollar and fifty cents ($1.50) per week.

2. At the end of each week during which John has kept his accounts accurately and to Papa's satisfaction, the allowance for the succeeding week will be increased ten cents (10�) over the week just ended, up to but not beyond a total per week of two dollars ($2.00).

3. At the end of each week during which John has not kept his accounts accurately and to Papa's satisfaction, the allowance for the succeeding week shall be reduced ten cents (10�) from the week just ended.

4. During any week when there have been no receipts or expenditures to record the allowance shall continue at the same rate as in the preceding week.

5. During any week when the account has been correctly kept but the writing and figuring are not satisfactory the allowance shall continue at the same rate as in the preceding week.

6. Papa shall be the sole judge as to whether an increase or a decrease is to be made.

7. It is understood that at least Twenty Per cent (20%) of the allowance shall be used for benevolences.

8. It is understood that at least Twenty Per cent (20%) of the allowance shall be saved.

9. It is understood that every purchase or expenditure made is to be put down definitely and clearly.

10. It is understood that John will make no purchases, charging the same to Mama or Papa, without the special consent of Mama, Papa or Miss Scales [a family governess].

11. It is understood that when John desires to make any purchases which the allowance does not cover, he will first gain the consent of either Mama, Papa, or Miss Scales, who will give him sufficient money with which to pay for the specific purchases, the change from which, together with a memorandum showing what items have been bought and at what cost and what amount is returned, is to be given to the person advancing the money, before night of the day on which the purchases are made.

12. It is understood that no governess, companion or other person in the household is to be asked by John to pay for any items for him, other than carfare.

13. To any savings from the date in this account which John may from time to time deposit in his bank account, in excess of the twenty per cent (20%) referred to in Item No. 8, Papa will add an equal sum for deposit.

14. The allowance above set forth and the agreement under which it shall be arrived at are to continue in force until changed by mutual consent.

The above agreement approved and entered into by

John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
John D. Rockefeller 3rd

From the book Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to their Children by Dorie McCullough Lawson

Thursday, August 05, 2004


Family Hike: Mount Rainier National Park

Here's a good hike for beginners and kids, the three-mile Pinnacle Saddle Trail at Mount Rainier National Park. It offers spectacular views of Mount Rainier and surrounding peaks.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


Growing up is taking longer

New research finds that it's taking longer for young people to make the transition from adolescence to adulthood today than it did a few decades back.

Sunday, August 01, 2004


Wildlife Safari

Wildlife Safari is the only drive-through wild animal park in the Pacific Northwest. The park is located in Winston, Oregon, just 6 miles south of Roseburg off I-5. It takes close to two hours to transit the entire park, and you'll see just about every wild animal you can think of, including giraffes, rhinos, brown bears, elephants, camels, cheetahs, and lions.

The price is a bit steep, $17.50 for adults, $11.50 for kids 4-12. But it's worth it to see these animals roaming freely over the 600 acres of grasslands and woods. The animals can get very close to your car. The kids will love it.