Having Fun Right Now

Another Family Planning to Travel the World!

Category: Kids Page 1 of 2

16 Months To Go

April has sped by like a Shinkansen. Let’s check-in, shall we?

  • We had our initial meeting with our new lawyer. We’re finalizing our new wills later this week.
  • We got our new credit card in the mail (1.5% cash-back on international purchases).
  • Sadly removed Sri Lanka from our wish list due to the Easter bombings.
  • We talked with the oldest kid’s school about the school board’s “Reach Ahead” program so that he can start grade 9 online courses in grade 8. We really liked the sound of the online courses TVO / ILC provides. The first talk with the guidance counselor ended with a “no.” We’re hoping to meet with the principal later? If it doesn’t work out we may just homeschool over the grade 8 year and do it ourselves. Hack your education!
  • I really enjoyed this video from Max Joseph about how to read more books in your lifetime. Lots of sweet bookstore eye candy here!
  • I am also very excited about this Fug Girl’s Guide to London.
 Livraria Lello, bookstore in Portugal.
Livraria Lello in Portugal. One of the “top bookstores” in the world and a famous writing location / inspiration for JK Rowling.

Around the World with the Richter De Medeiros Family

The podcast, “This Must be the Place” had a great interview with Rodrigo De Medeiros in 2016 concerning his family traveling to 13 countries in 11 months. There are some great tidbits in this interview that make it worth the listen (it’s 45 minutes). There are some very familiar things for our family’s planning as well — like buying a map at the start of it all and simply marking off all of the places we’d like to go (and potentially needing Scotch to handle anxiety during the travel!). They mainly stayed in the Americas, Africa and Europe, while my family will be making Asia as a priority.

The Richter de Medeiros family also has their own website if you want to get a bit more about this family. what they saw and what they’ve learned: Learn. Live. Travel.

Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid

atlas-obscura-kids

Wow! This one looks great! (Available in the fall)

This is How We Do It (Matt Lamothe)

A lovely new children’s book about the similarities and differences between a typical day in seven different countries. The video ad makes me hungry! ^_^

Disney Parks

Check out this great Disney mash-up made by Lindsay McCutcheon!

We have a family vacation to Disney World coming up soon and I wanted to blog about some the helpful hints for planning for trips like this:

  • During Disney World’s slow season they offer special incentives to attract people to the parks. For example, with the package that we bought, we have 7-Day “Park Hopper” tickets, our hotel room, and FREE “Quick Service” Dining Plans to use the week that we are there. G-Man is turning 10 a few days before we go and qualifies for the adult meal plan which will work out great. His tastes have moved beyond the “hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and pizza” that seems to fill most of the kid’s menu options at the majority of the restaurants.
  • We had a lot of success booking with a travel agent rather than through Disney Park itself. Once those annual free dining plans vacations are available,  travel agencies buy a large number of rooms during that season. Trying to book directly through Disney didn’t work for us but going through Small World Vacations worked great!
  • Finding your way around Disneyland in California or Paris is relatively easy. These parks are a reasonable size to get a grip on. However, Disney World in Florida is massive and you really need to do some homework before you go. It feels sort of counter-intuitive to have so much research to do before a relaxing family vacation but, if you are like us, being prepared and feeling like you are making educated decisions really helps with our family’s economy and enjoyment.
  • Disney’s website is a good start for reading about attractions, special occasions, hotels, and dining. It is also where you will make all of your reservations for Fast Passes (basically a reservation for major rides), dining, and buying any of the other extra bells and whistles you want. Example – Disney has a photo service, they deliver special presents to your room or dining table, etc.
  • There are many excellent resources to help you wrap your head around Fast Passes, dining plans, restaurants, whether to stay on-site or not, which hotel to chose, how early you need to make all of the all-important reservations. My favourites are Touring Plans, Disney Food Blog, and Mouse Savers. Touring Plans publishes guidebooks of course but one of their major assets is their planning software on their website that helps you to create itineraries that minimize your wait times. If you are thinking about taking a trip to Disney World, try planning at least a 6 months (or more) in advance so that you can pick the best time period for you. Restaurant reservations begin 180 days before your date and they fill up VERY QUICKLY. There are different levels of dining plans. If you chose the “Quick Service” option like us there is only ONE “table service” restaurant that you can make a reservation at – “Be Our Guest” it takes a dedicated plan of attack to score those seats.
  • We chose to take advantage of the sale on dining plans but we are also super excited to go during Disney’s Halloween season so that we can go to the “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.” This is the only time that you can enter the park in costume. Plus, Halloween is awesome. And trick-or-treating at Disney sounds super awesome!

What Predicts Children’s Fixed and Growth Intelligence Mind-Sets?

I just read an interesting paper in the journal Psychological Science that shows a parent’s view of failure is more important to a child’s growth than the parent’s views on intelligence.  Specifically, the paper concludes that, “Overall, parents who see failure as debilitating focus on their children’s performance and ability rather than on their children’s learning, and their children, in turn, tend to believe that intelligence is fixed rather than malleable.”

In other words, it’s important that parents don’t let kids think that their minds are fixed (i.e., they can’t do better simply because of who they are), but rather can always grow and overcome their failures if they keep trying.

If you’re visual, like me, you should click on the following image from Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.  It does a great job showing the difference between the two mind sets.

From Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Which one are you?

It’s Breakfast Time!

Lego Sisyphus – JK Brickworks

We watched in amazement as Adam Savage built this amazing JK Brickworks Lego Sisyphus build:

I highly recommend checking out JK Brickworks if you a) enjoy Lego, b) enjoy having your mind blown, or c) all of the above!

Scratch – How to Make Your Own Video Games

JBot and I have played the long game on this one, and this week – success!

G-Man has had a burning passion for video games for almost five years now. We have done our best to help educate him while making it fun. JBot has gone above and beyond to teach him about the history of video games, by introducing him to older styles, playing with him, and even adapting modern games to his younger sensibilities.

I was visiting the bigger downtown library last week, looking for ideas and extra reading material to have around the house for March Break and found two new books about Scratch. Added them to the pile, didn’t think too much of it. I have brought other books home before, but they were sort of dense and, well, boring. Like a “For Dummies” kind of reading experience.

Coding for Beginners

Coding for Beginners Using Scratch” by Rosie Dickens, Jonathan Melmoth & Lousie Stowell

How to Code

Super Skills: How to Code in 10 Easy Lessons” by Sean McManus

These two new books really grabbed G-Man’s attention. He read them voraciously in one night. He woke up absolutely vibrating with excitement to try programming out for himself two days in a row. I mean, hey, if you would rather wake up at 6 a.m. on your holidays to make cool stuff, go for it!

You can use this site run by MIT to try out the Scratch software.

G-Man had a lot of fun. Great stuff!

Niagara in the Springtime

We got hit by the last blast of winter last night, I hope! There was enough ice that the school board declared it a “snow day.” Only the second one of the season, not bad!

We did enjoy enough Spring-like days so far this winter that a lot of our family talk has drifted to our plans for the Spring and Summer.

I found a great CSA via Tiffany Mayer and her blog Eating Niagara. Tiffany has a great book about the Niagara region and, my personal favourite topic, food! Check it out!

We also followed a suggestion from one of her St. Catharines Standard articles and tried a local restaurant – Don Wong Mexican Asian Food Mart. They make really fantastic dim sum and burritos. Really fantastic stuff. And you can stock up on Pocky!

We debated a lot about summer camps and threw around some ideas for family vacations… Man, things sure have changed since we were kids. Summer camps seem a lot like resorts now, right? G-Man isn’t really all that interested in water sports or mountain biking so we decided to go with the Brock University Summer Camps. They have great day camps that are more like an “enrichment” idea. Find one that jives with your child’s interests, be it the arts, engineering, robotics, gaming, etc.

We are also planning on building an epic fort in our backyard this summer as well. This fantastic book by David Stiles has a lot of inspiring ideas. We think we may be able to build something like this.

We are a wee bit past the 6 month mark of living in the Niagara region. I think I can safely say that everyone really likes it. The school has been a great match for the kids which, really, was the only thing that really mattered. We have found a few restaurants that we love so far, like Diner House 29 and Rise Above. The new Preforming Arts Centre just started a Film House, which is very exciting, and Mindbomb Records is well stocked, save what I bring home for my own collection!

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