Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Real Von Trapps

If you love the Sound of Music, then you probably will want to read this - but you probably shouldn't. It turns out, the story of the real Von Trapps has very little in common with the movie.

Still. It's fascinating.

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Family Activities

My daughter is finally old enough to want to do things as a family - or, really, she's finally capable enough to do some really fun things.

And recently, she's been requesting a family night - her idea was to make bead bracelets, which, unfortunately, was a disaster because the cheap plastic string in the kiddie kit kept breaking. She was in tears when her bracelet fell apart and all the beads went dancing across the floor.

I'm going to look into better materials, but now I'm on a roll, trying to think of things for us to do. I probably don't need to say that my husband wouldn't join - he was less than thrilled with the venture of a bead bracelet. Can't say I blame him, although, really, he was a bit of a spoil sport.

The problem is, it's winter and cold here. We seldom get snow - which is, by the way, a serious impediment to most of the 'family winter activity' suggestions you find online - but we get a lot of cold and rain and gray. So, finding things that are fun and warm is a bit of a challenge. For instance, we could go to the Y and swim every Friday night, but it is a huge hassle trying to dry off before the Y closes. Plus, it's just miserable, being wet and then going out in the cold.

I'm agin' it.

So, here's a list of ideas I've found thus far:
  • About.com published a list for fathers and kids, which is silly, because everybody could do anything on this list. It's got tons of snow-stuff - snowboarding, etc. The ideas I like are: Baking cookies (you could do bread, too), make a bird feeder, learn chess - complete with a link to a site that shows how parents can teach chess to kids - and the ever-popular build an indoor fort.
  • There are the usuals, too, like playing games, or painting, or some such. I do scrapbook, and I suppose I could share that - but, again, the husband is the problem. He'd probably do it, but he'd be looking for an exit as soon as he could find it. Perhaps I'll just switch this concept to mother/daughter night.
  • This family decided to learn how to fish and spent a whole day doing it - another great idea for spring or summer, but not the dead of winter. (Unless you live somewhere you can ice fish.)
  • This family did indoor putt-putt - nice fun, if you can get it. But I don't think they offer that around here. Bowling, maybe. (Assuming you can squeeze in past the leagues!)
  • Here's an idea from 365 Unplugged Family Activities: Set up a small town, dress your child up as a monster and make your own Godzilla film. We are totally doing this, just as soon as I can netflix Godzilla so she'll understand the concept.
  • Apparently, some families enjoy beer chugging.

Not a lot to choose from. I mean, really - it takes, what, an hour to bake some cookies? And then you've got nothing to do but eat them, and I so do not need the sugar.

It's just difficult to find something that's engaging for a five year old and two adults in their late 30s. Everything is either too kid-centric or too adult-focused and boring for the child. Plus, we only have the one child, so lots of otherwise fun things loose their joy when you're dealing with just one child and two adults.

Maybe we'll just work our way through a hobby list.

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