Bug Week

I am without my kids for several weeks this summer. While I waste these gorgeous summer days inside, writing like a madman, Grace and Tater are in Colorado with their cousin, Amelia. To keep order, their Aunt Nikki scheduled daily outings and even went so far as to give each week a theme. Rock on!…

Backyard Cool

This started as a post on a cool way to make bubbles. Tater still hasn’t mastered the art of blowing bubbles through that small wand, so we found a way to use old 20-ounce pop bottles and socks to make bubble snakes. But then I realized that the bubble solution (6 parts water, 2 parts…

The Mom 100 Cookbook: A Book Report

As a dad who is the primary caregiver at least two days a week, who cooks a huge portion of our meals, and does a lot of stuff that we were all raised to think of as “women’s work,” I raise an eyebrow when the mom label gets used on stuff that doesn’t need it….

Balance

Okay, I’ll say it: When it comes to teaching my kids to ride a bike, I am a better parent than you are. You might have nailed down nutritious snack habits, taught your kids how to save their allowance, and had them prepped for the SATs by the time they were in first grade. But…

Road Map to the Stars

Seeing stars is no longer as easy as it once was. Light pollution is a pervasive bummer. It’s tragic to consider that my generation is likely the first in all of human history to grow up without a constant nighttime backdrop of stars. I was in my teens before I saw the Milky Way.(See the…

The Slingshot: Taking Aim Outdoors

In preparing your children for the coming apocalypse, you must realize that your month-long stores of canned goods will eventually run out. At some point they will need to emerge from the bomb shelter and hunt radioactive chipmunks if they hope to survive. To that end, they will need some proficiency with the making and…

Snow Day Montage

Winter is the time for montages. Time outside can be difficult, so our memories are summarized in mental snapshots. Flick. Flick. Flick. We tick through the best parts, ignoring the snow that sneaked under our gloves and froze our wrists. Wet socks? Frozen nose and ears? No way! We made a snowman. We made snow…

Pining for the Hills

The word pining comes from the Latin, poena, which means “to suffer.” And even though it seems natural to us this time of year that the word should be related somehow to the name of the conifer, pine and to pine come from very different sources. In either case, we’re pining for the pines, so…

My “Grown-Up” Christmas List

I have this suspicion that very little of human communication is original. There seem to be “scripts” for a huge variety of situations, and they are odd individuals who deviate from the lines we know that are expected of us. No one really answers the passing “How are you?” Chatting with a stranger almost always…

Our Holiday Shopping Guide to Great Books

Hello, and Merry Christmas! The two of us writing this site both have undergraduate degrees in English Literature, so when it comes to great gift ideas, we often turn to books. We love ’em, and books like Last Child in the Woods and Lenore Skenazy’s Free-Range Kids have provided the philosophical ground and inspiration for…