life Planners

Nights & Tech Splurge

March 24, 2021

Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts yesterday!

I didn’t do much better last night (TIRED), but I think I have identified some strategies that may help in the future. Of note, we do already read together currently as part of the nightly routine. The kids — all 3 — usually go to bed between 8:30 – 9pm, and around 8 pm we all head upstairs together for reading. We start with G’s picks and then move on to a big kid book. We finished Harry Potter #1, but then took a detour to Diary of a Wimpy Kid and some spinoffs (these are a Cameron fan favorite) and are currently reading the graphic novel of Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy. This probably would not be my pick, but both A&C are into it.

So, 8pm to bedtime is usually okay. It’s the 60-90 minutes before that need help. I am going to try some things and also accept screen time as the answer sometimes, especially when everyone is very tired. (To those of you who watch shows WITH your kids, I am impressed. I am so uninterested in most of what they like. BUT, I could work on that — we did enjoy the kids baking challenge, for example! — and also could sit on the couch with a book and could at least be kid-adjacent).

iPhone 12 Mini, Green. First major 2021 splurge. Josh and I use our “allowances” for personal tech. Luckily I had been saving up.

IN OTHER NEWS: I ordered an iPhone 12 Mini this very morning to replace my aging iPhone 8 which has stopped reliably charging and has become very very slow. These things happened rather suddenly (? planned obsolescence) but I guess it’s whatever.

When it comes, instead of just dumping everything on I may attempt to manually install things. (I recognize this may be painful). This is in part because I still have an issue related to a missing Health app and I don’t want to carry that problem forward!

My allowance fund is now hurting but I am still considering a Day Designer (note: affiliate link). Academic launch is today! I was thinking about the original size but am actually finding the mini to have enough space. HOWEVER, I am not as in-love with the mini covers. Dilemmas . . .

this one is pretty but I prefer the cloth or gingham!


  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns March 24, 2021 at 8:34 am

    Would your kids enjoy the great British bake off? It’s a competition that is so warm hearted! Other friends have said their kids enjoyed it. I watched all the seasons during this maternity leave and LOVED it!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 24, 2021 at 9:22 am

      They might! They did like the kids baking challenge on food network (and I did too!)

      • Reply Alyce March 24, 2021 at 10:28 am

        If they like cooking shows, they may like Waffles and Mochi – Michelle Obama’s new cooking show for kids. I haven’t seen it yet, but parents in my circle (of kids from 1-6 years old) are raving about it. Kid and parent approved!

        • Reply Katie March 24, 2021 at 7:07 pm

          I was going to recommend this, it’s actually the only show I can get my daughter to watch, and I actually find it really relaxing too!

  • Reply Sarah K March 24, 2021 at 9:31 am

    If your kids are into dragon books – check out the Dragon Masters series! There are a million books in the series and your oldest would probably be able to read it herself. Maybe she could read to the others? Another cooking show rec – Master Chef Junior! My son watches it at school (not sure why???) but he talks about it all the time.

  • Reply Jessica March 24, 2021 at 10:11 am

    Some ideas for tv time that you might be able to tolerate- Animaniacs, Phineas and Ferb, Avatar, Inbestigators, Gortimer Gibbons Life on Normal Steeet, Annedroids.

    We have watched one episode of a show most nights together for several years. The above are some that we did. My kids are older now and the shows are getting more enjoyable. We recently finished The Good Place and Speechless and just started Young Sheldon.

    I also think it is fine for kids to watch tv while you get a break.

  • Reply sbc March 24, 2021 at 10:33 am

    A few more TV suggestions: Amazing Race, American Ninja Warrior (I like it a lot more than Floor is Lava), Nadiya Bakes/Nadiya’s Time to Eat, Waffles & Mochi, Troll Hunters, Blown Away (maybe watch an episode or two yourself first…I forget if the artists ever swear when their creations break), Nailed It, Holey Moley, Making it, Magic School Bus (both the ones with Lily Tomlin and the ones with Kate McKinnon as Ms. Frizzle), Be Our Chef, Lego Masters.

    • Reply Jessica March 24, 2021 at 11:19 am

      I second American Ninja Warrior!

    • Reply KS March 24, 2021 at 1:11 pm

      I second Lego Masters and Making It. Not sure if they would appeal to G, but these were both a hit for our 1st and 3rd graders (and parents!).

  • Reply Gillian March 24, 2021 at 10:36 am

    My kids love the Wings of Fire series. It is a read aloud on Epic books so I use it as a reward for excellent behavior. It is really just like listening to an audio book and they think being able to listen to 10 minutes of Wings of Fire on Epic Books is the best reward ever!

    Also got an iPhone 12 mini about 2 months ago and LOVE it!

  • Reply Gillian March 24, 2021 at 10:37 am

    Also my kids and Husband loved the TV series of Lemony Snickets Series of Unfortunate Events. Lots of cameos for adults.

  • Reply Amanda March 24, 2021 at 10:54 am

    I second Waffles & Mochi! It is okay to watch Michelle Obama and nice to feel like the kids are learning something at the same time.

  • Reply Jenn March 24, 2021 at 11:32 am

    Do you have a backyard situation? I had been reallllly struggling with evenings myself (I am a morning person!) and I only have one toddler, but ever since the days got longer and warmer we have been spending that time in the backyard. I generally just sit and hang out with him and have some music on while he digs around in the dirt…I kick a soccer ball with him and he rolls it around…haha. Something about being outside just makes things easier for me.

  • Reply Diane C March 24, 2021 at 1:02 pm

    My nine year old has really gotten into the Wings of Fire audiobooks! For my money the How to Train Your Dragon audiobooks are better, but I’m trying to be less judgmental about what my kid wants to read since she’s never been a great reader.
    I do a lot of kid adjacent things in the evening too… they kind of run wild while I read or putter or, yes, look at my phone.
    Another thing we do is we clean up after dinner together- this can easily take 45 mins because the kids clean slooooow. But I let them listen to an audiobook while we do it so there isn’t too much whining – also probably a reason they clean slowly. And really, by “cleaning” I mean the nine year old clears/wipes the table and sweeps the floor and the four year old takes the compost and laundry to the basement and “watches” the toddler- ie he tells me when the toddler is getting into something she shouldn’t. If there is time leftover before bedtime we will often pick up other rooms, or sometimes have dance parties or we’ll sit at the piano and have singalongs. Or we will have the above mentioned “adjacent time”- and maybe that’s okay? Like we don’t have to be 100% engaged the whole time? I do think it helps for us that the TV is in another level of the house so we don’t neccessarily gravitate towards it.

  • Reply gwinne March 24, 2021 at 3:39 pm

    I often “watch” TV with my third grader. My brain is elsewhere. Sometimes I do email. The important thing is sitting next to him. We have meaningful interaction at other times! (i.e. we invented a game we do for about 5-10 minutes in the morning before school involving a tennis ball and a cat bed called “Feed the Cat”).

  • Reply Sam March 25, 2021 at 10:21 am

    I’m definitely following along here because I also find that time of day tricky. Reading this post helps me think of more ideas. Plus as the weather warms up, being outside will help.

  • Reply Jen March 25, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    I really dislike watching shows with my kids (I find the shows boring and also I like that time to do MY thing) so if they are watching a show that’s when I am catching up on work, cleaning up, or zoning out on my phone or with a book. I feel a lot of guilt about it too but have also accepted that I need it (and they probably do too, but maybe not as much). My kids have recently enjoyed making obstacle courses and I find that I can low level participate (encourage them along) so it’s easy for me when I’m tired.

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