Happy Labor Day!

by Grace aka costofcollege

I hope everyone is enjoying the last gasp of (unofficial) summer today.  If you’re around, let us know what you’re doing today, or talk about anything else on your mind.  BUT, tomorrow we’ll have a post on “what I did on my summer vacation”, so save any of those stories until then.

(BTW, I have a backlog of emails that I need to respond to, so please be patient.)

Friday Fun: Retirement Reality

by Grace aka costofcollege

How do you imagine spending a typical day in your retirement?  A few of us are living the retired life, but for most of us it is a distant fantasy.

A CollegeConfidential discussion on this topic started with the original poster sharing how she realistically imagines her retirement.

7:00-8:00 wake up, shower, coffee, catch up with news ,etc on computer, breakfast
8-9 bike ride along the bay
9-1pm write
1-2 lunch with H, home or out at local place sometimes
2-5 weather permitting, kayak trip. Wintertime—long walk on beach, if time left, some reading.
5-6 dinner prep. wine.
6-7 dinner
7—11ish—chatting, a little computering, lots of reading.
11. bed. etc.

This sounds realistic, and not extravagant at all.

What would be a typical day in your imagined retirement?  Or, if you are retired, what the heck do you do all day?  For those who foresee themselves continuing to work long after age 65, give us your typical “semi-retired” day.

Coffee Talk: Family Dinners

by Honolulu Mother

In a recent article, The Atlantic discussed the importance of eating communally, particularly in the case of family dinner, in the face of evidence that Americans are eating most meals alone.  Jezebel also wrote about that phenomenon.

I think we’re all aware that family dinners are a Good Thing, but also aware that between the demands of parents’ jobs and kids’ school and extracurricular schedules, it can be difficult to make them a regular feature of family life.  Keeping a pantry amenable to throwing together quick meals helps with the cooking side of things, as in the tips given by this article from The Week.  And the Washington Post has some suggestions for getting your children to talk about something other than sibling grievances and complaints about having to have family dinner.

Totebaggers, what are your tips for making family dinners a regular part of family life?  Any weeknight meal specialties to add to the ones already listed in the Juggle Cookbook?  Any good ways to spark brilliant conversation among small semi-civilized people?

Ask The Totebag: What are your money-saving habits?

by Grace aka costofcollege

MarketWatch warns us about “11 money-saving habits that can cost you”.  Some of these are no-brainers, like “buying something just because it’s on sale”.  But others are habits that I think actually save me money.

I disagree that “opening a store credit card to get a discount” is a bad idea, unless you are tempted to overspend and end up paying the store cards’ exorbitant interest rates.  But I’ve found that for stores like Lord & Taylor and The Gap, a store credit card unlocks “special” discounts for almost every purchase.  For example, I recently saved 50% off a Gap purchase by combining their sale price with my credit card discount.

Do you agree that the MarketWatch list of habits actually cost you money?  What are your money-saving shopping tips?  And are you willing to confess about your money-losing shopping habits?

 

Coffee Talk: Droning On

by saacnmama

In recent years, drones have gone from sci-fi to war machines dropping explosives in Pakistan and conducting surveillance in Libya regularly to a cool geek hobby to… what? Mass use? Public nuisance? Whereas the first close encounter between a drone and a passenger airplane was newsworthy, today such things are dealt with much more routinely. High-tech drones are available for purchase at prices an individual consumer can afford. My son’s Lego robotics/Hacker group has been building one, using a combination of Lego and Arduino parts and their own pieces made on the 3-D printer. Geographers I know are experimenting with drones’ mapping capabilities and grappling with the security implications of this technology. One central issue of debate is the line between public and private, as when beach-goers complained that a drone was invading their privacy in a public space, and when people are concerned about photos taken by drones.

Tourist reportedly crashes drone into Yellowstone National Park’s largest hot spring

What close encounters of the drone kind have you had? Do you have hopes and fears around this technology? How do you think they should be used and regulated?

Afterschooling

by Honolulu Mother

One of Rhett’s former incarnations commented last year, “So….I get the sense that many Totebag folks are in favor of working to keep their kids one (or more) step(s) ahead of what’s going on in class and then complaining that their kids are bored. Well, maybe they wouldn’t be bored if you didn’t work so hard to keep them one step ahead of the curriculum.”

We’re among the afterschoolers, but our focus has been more on enrichment type activities than the three Rs.  Trying to develop a broader knowledge base, trying to have exposure to arts and theater — but then again, we do use Khan Academy.  I’ve mentioned my recent efforts to get the kids some basic familiarity with WWI on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of its outbreak, which is made easier by the 20 million history books we have lying around the house (number is approximate).  With the kids getting older, we’ve found the Great Courses lectures increasingly useful; my oldest was working his way through courses on nanotechnology, geometry, art history, and the Dead Sea Scrolls last summer.  Free Rice has also been a good resource.  For the most part, our afterschooling focuses on exposure, not on quizzing them or assigning work to be completed (although the recent WWI quizzes have been an exception to that rule).

How do others approach this?  Do you afterschool — i.e., do you consciously try to supplement the education provided by your local school?  If so, in what areas do you do so, how rigorous are you about it, and what are your favored resources?

Friday Fun – What’s For Breakfast

by Louise

As Cereal Slips, a New Battle Over Breakfast Dollars

Breakfast – Is it your heaviest or lightest meal of the day? Do you prefer cereal or go for a hot breakfast?

What beverage do you drink – tea or coffee or juice?

Some days I want a hot breakfast but most of the breakfast offerings are too heavy for me. I liked the breakfast buffets in the UK with not only bacon and eggs but baked beans or sautéed mushrooms or grilled tomatoes with toast.

What do you have for breakfast? Any light breakfast ideas?