Chapter Books

Written by Justin posted on May 11, 2014 in Family

Reading chapter books to the kids is nothing new. Recently though, it’s all we have been reading to the older boys. We still break for the occasional Berenstein Bear story for Kayce. He’s obsessed with them. It’s great to see him pick them up on his own and read now. I don’t know what they put in the water in 1st grade, but it’s made a huge difference on his reading ability.

We have been digging in to a lot of “chapter books” recently. It has been non-stop Roald Dahl (I might have something to do with that). See, I unearthed a bunch of old keepsakes from Mom & Dad’s and in loot were some of my classics. We started with The BFG. Just finished Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Now we are deep into James and the Giant Peach. What chapter books have you read with your kids? Any recommendations? I was thinking Charlotte’s Web is next on the hit list. What’s next??

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Apple Photostreaming Setup Glory

Written by Justin posted on May 9, 2014 in Tech

I may be a bit (years) behind on the trends, but I just discovered the shared PhotoStreaming ability which Apple offers. I mean, I knew you could share photos but I never thought to use it as a mini-Instagram between family members. I’m sure Android offers the same, but the bulk of our family and extended own Apple products.

If you are like me and never knew of this approach, let me indulge you. It is a great way of sharing photos to family, friends, co-workers, farming buddies, you name it. Anything you want to keep exclusive to a certain group of people. You invite who you want and only they can see the stream. It’s incredibly more efficient than group text messages of the latest milestone your young one has met. And it’s more visible and personal than social network blasting.

If you are looking to set this up, here is how I did it.

  1. Go into your iPhone, iPad or iPhoto  Photos application.
  2. Click on the ‘Shared’ icon.
  3. Select ‘New Shared Stream’

  4. Give your PhotoStream a name and the rest is fairly self-explanatory. You’ll be prompted to add contacts which integrates directly with your address book for convenience.

You can always go back in later and add/remove people from the distribution list. So if Aunt Edna has cleaned up her act, go ahead and give her an invite to the club.

I ran into some issues with users running a dated OS version. Others did not having Photo Sharing turned on in their Settings.

We have been blasting around photos of the kids and throwbacks for a week now. I tend to shy away from blasting lots of personal pics for all to see on public social networks. So I’m really digging this. Not just for pimping our own kids but seeing our nieces, nephews, siblings and parents photos. We are all busy off living our lives and don’t always make enough time for each other. This is certainly not an acceptable replacement, but it helps with the distance. I only wish we had thought of this sooner.

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Overdue Easter Eggs

Written by Justin posted on Apr 29, 2014 in Family, Holidays

I don’t know how you guys do Easter, but our guys wake up before first light to hunt for their baskets. Then as soon as everyone is up they go hunting throughout the yard for about 50 or so hidden eggs. The weather this Easter turned out to be a gem of a day. We even had to breakout the sunblock around mid-day. Here are some shots of the festivities.


Hrmmmm, not so sure about this…

Definitely sure about this!


Leaving no stone unturned on this Easter Egg hunt



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An Unwelcome House Guest

Written by Justin posted on Apr 11, 2014 in Home

This week we (99% Dawn – 1% Me) started potty training the twins. A task which has gone stunningly well and one we thought would be tougher than treading quicksand. Somehow though, this turned out to be the least of our problems. If you have not been following along on Twitter, here’s the skinny.

Twitter is my coping mechanism.

This has been a real eye-opening experience for our family. I never knew raccoons were capable of such determination. I could understand if there was a preexisting hole in the roof or entry into the attic. The way this animal tore back the flashing and then chewed/clawed through the shingles and plywood is baffling.

When it was caught in the trap, I moved it from our upper-deck to the ground. It was completely docile. I expected it to hiss and cry and slash at me, but it was quite the opposite. In fact, I found it pretty adorable. Alas, now becomes the battle with insurance to see what they will cover. Because if the first estimate to fix the damages is any indication we won’t be able to fix the damages out-of-pocket.

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Young Entrepenuers

Written by Justin posted on Mar 7, 2014 in Conor, Family, Kayce

I uncovered this old friend while searching through some of my belongings still stored in my parent’s basement. This (along with many other distractions) got me through some long road trips as a youngin’.¬†Assuming the bonkers level is manageable, from time to time we’ll sit down and do a game night with the boys. I thought this travel Monopoly Junior would be a big hit with the older two.

They are loving it! I think we have played 3 of the last 7 nights. There may have been a fight or two over who gets to be the banker.

The game is almost 25 years old but still holds up well. Magically, all the pieces are still there and the kids are “getting” it. It’s a good segway into the real Monopoly. It’s just great to turn off the TV sometimes and break out the board games. Am I right?!

I also learned Dawn’s family had quite a few game nights of their own as did mine growing up.

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