Archive for February, 2011

School Vacations

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

It is interesting to me that my career involves me working in front of a laptop screen for the majority of my day.  I am not the sort of person that enjoys “screen time”.  When I’m home alone, it’s not likely that the television is on.  I have no interest in video games and watch few movies, whether it be in the theater or renting a DVD.  For me, the idea of watching a screen just doesn’t interest me.

As a mom, I feel that same way about kids and screens.  With this week being winter vacation in my state, I know there are many children spending the day watching television, playing video games, or using computers for hours on end.  Yes, technology has changed so that these activities involve human interaction via instant messaging or chat, but it still means that kids are sitting and staring at a screen.  Aren’t there better ways to spend your day?

To spark your imagination, here are a few suggestions:

  • Read.  Whether you have a set time in which all family members read or you read to your children, what better way is there to awaken imaginations?  Try a classic children’s author, such as Shel Silverstein.
  • Cook.  Not only is this a fun activity that will deliver tasty results, it also is a good life skill for children to gain.  Plus, cooking teaches children about measuring, fractions, and more.  For a simple starter recipe, try making some Peanut Butter Pretzel Balls.
  • Exercise.  Instead of trying to find 20 minutes to workout while the kids are occupied, why not include them?  While you may not want to include them in a full aerobic workout, they definitely can attempt some simpler exercises.  Using an exercise ball may be a good option.

Don’t limit yourself to this list; rather, use it as a springboard for ideas that work best for your family.

If you think all teens would rather sit in front of a screen, check out this article about the pitfalls of technology, written from the perspective of a freshman in high school.

Memorable People

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

As I was checking email last night, my almost 13 year old daughter came and sat next to me.  As she skimmed the names in my inbox, she gasped and asked how I knew a certain superstar.  I reviewed my emails and realized she had misread the name in her anticipation of excitement.  No, I wasn’t communicating with a superstar, but the person still was someone of interest to me.

Thinking about fame and my daughter’s reaction, I understand how intriguing it would be for her if I knew someone who was wildly famous.  However, while I may not work with superstars, I do work with an assortment of people who are amazing in their own rights:  esteemed doctors, award-winning chefs, innovative entrepreneurs.  For me, what makes a person intriguing is who he or she is and his or her projects or careers.  Although some of the people I meet may be famous only within their community or their company, it isn’t their popularity that makes the person worth interviewing.  The talents and personality that this person possess are what I find of interest.

This week some of our articles highlight individuals, each of whom has a different degree of fame.  Starting with the most famous of the four is a remembrance of Dale Earnhardt.  The second is a review of the new book co-written by Captain Sullenberger.  The third is a cookie recipe that honors one of the presidents of lesser fame, Zachary Taylor.  The fourth is someone who fits into my the intriguing but not necessarily famous category, Margaret Hammill, creator of To Die For Dips. Each of these four people is known for different reasons, but each is interesting in his or her own way, as I’m sure you’ll discover when you read the articles.

Technology’s Benefits

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Technology is a necessary part of my professional and personal lives.  The professional part should be fairly obvious, as you are reading my ramblings either on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or cell phone.  In addition to having a career that is based around my trusty laptop, there are other pieces of technology that make my job manageable.  From the workspace which is used to coordinate assignments for my team of writers to the instant messaging service that allows me to “chat” simultaneously with colleagues in Europe, Maryland, and California, technology is my lifeline.

Technology also is an essential part of my personal life.  With three teenagers, texting is perfect for both practical matters (such as scheduling a pick-up after a sporting event) and kind gestures (a quick “I’m proud of you” when a child is having a bad day).  When I need to drive to a new location, it is simplified both by Internet maps, which give a helpful time estimate, and a GPS unit, which will help me navigate from door to door.  Never mind all of the entertainment value that technology offers via  iPods, DVRs, and more.

Technology is always changing, creating new devices or pieces of software that simplify our lives.  While some may say that technology has made us less self-reliant, it also has made aspects of our lives easier, allowing us to focus on other things.  If my GPS device can create the best route to a meeting, that eliminates the ten minutes I would have spent pouring over a paper map, trying to determine that on my own.  With those ten minutes, I can speak with my 14 year old about his plans for the day or fold a load of laundry, or maybe even do both.

What are some of the new pieces of technology that make our lives more interesting and fun?  If you’re a bride-to-be (or know one), here is an article about great wedding planning apps.  Planning a vacation?  We’ve found hotels that offer interesting pieces of technology to their guests.

With technology being such a prevalent part of our lives, it seems pertinent that we embrace it and use it in a manner that maximizes its benefits.

Bout Home

Monday, February 7th, 2011