Ah, spring is in the air! It means the kids are out-of-school on spring break… and that means I need to take my stay-at-home-dad duties a lot more seriously.
While many families choose to travel somewhere warm or exotic during spring break, we’re just hanging-out at home. Both of our boys can have a great time even if we don’t travel somewhere, and as I mentioned in a recent post, they don’t fly particularly well yet.
That’s OK. There will be plenty of time for traveling when they’re older. For now, we’re content to stay home, cook our own meals, …and play a lot of board games together.
The Myth Of Extra FI Time
During this spring break, I need to be chief entertainer, personal chef, and bottle washer for two young boys. Two rambunctious boys. Wish me luck! Maybe they’ll ‘break’ me!
Unfortunately, this is new gig is going to consume a HUGE amount of my time this week, and I won’t be cranking out a second weekly post here like I usually do.
Finding time to do everything is always a challenge (even for financially independent folks like me). The difference is, I just happen to have more flexible free-time than your average working-stiff.
For anyone who thinks your ‘time difficulties’ disappear when you reach financial independence, think again. That’s a total myth. In fact, one of the most common statements I hear from early retirees after-the-fact is “How the hell did I ever have time for a job?”
I wonder that myself! Time simply isn’t infinite and money won’t change that… even if you have a gigantic investment portfolio. Something’s gotta give occasionally. In this case it’s going to be the blog that “gives” this week. I’ll be taking the rest of the week-off from blogging while I shift my “blogging time” to “time with the kids” time.
Sorry folks! Family takes priority, but this links back to one of the biggest reasons why I wanted financial independence in the first place — time with the family.
Family Activities On the Cheap
It’s worth repeating if I haven’t said it already — keeping two energetic kids entertained for a full week is no easy task. Normally if we had nice spring weather, I’d take them to the park or go hiking. Unfortunately the weather forecast for the week is kinda shitty…
Rain, rain, and even more rain. Ugh! Well, that’s Seattle weather for you. Now you understand why people from the PNW often travel to someplace warm for spring break.
Fortunately we Seattlites know how to have fun while standing knee deep in rain…
Board games are one of our favorite family activities when the weather is bad outside. Board games provide plenty of mental stimulation for the kids, and even for adults like myself.
For example, I started teaching Tako Jr. #1 how to play chess this week, and already with just a couple days under his belt, he’s doing great! He already knows how all the pieces move, basic openings, and how to end a game with ‘checkmate’. I think he’s doing great for a 6-year old.
Of course, chess is a two-player game, not a family game. I need to involve the whole family, and the latest addition to our stable of games is Tokyo Highway. It’s a game about building the crazy-complicated highways in Tokyo.
As usual, I tend to DIY games that don’t require thousands of pieces… so our version of the game (pictured above) is 100% homemade. If you’re not interested in building your own board games, you can certainly pick up your own copy online.
We’re going camping this summer, and we currently don’t own a tent. Last year we borrowed at tent from friends, but we can’t do that every year. So, I think it’s time we bought a tent. If the boys help me out, I think they’ll feel like they have more ownership over the camping trip and enjoy it that much more. So, I’m taking them shopping with me.
I tried to find some good tents online, but finding a good tent on the internet is easier said than done. It’s really hard to tell what quality is like on the internet these days. Paid reviews, and fake reviews really make it hard to accurately judge a product.
We’ll also be camping near the ocean this summer, so it makes sense to find a tent with plenty of waterproofing. You never know when a little ocean squall is going to come through.
This week, the plan is to head over to REI (a popular outdoor co-op) to check-out tents. REI tends to have good quality outdoor gear, and it’s the kind of store that has tents already setup, so we can browse the different models.
I always worry about quality when I buy stuff these days. You just can’t trust brand names anymore. Quality has gone down because they outsourcing everything. Even some of the former ‘top’ brands have gotten pretty terrible as they outsource more.
For me, if I’m actually going to spend money on a product, I’d much rather have a quality product that lasts for years instead of a “disposable one” that only last for a couple uses.
I’ll definitely pay extra for quality if I have to.
Library & Books
Later this week, I’ll be taking the kids to the library. We absolutely love going to the library. There’s always plenty of kid-friendly entertainment, and they’ll hang-out for hours playing games on the library computers.
We’ll borrow a bunch of story books for the kids while we’re there too. That should help keep the little rascals entertained for awhile.
For myself, I just got my hands on a shiny new novel called Tiamat’s Wrath. It’s Book 8 in the Expanse Series, and I’ve been just waiting to sync my teeth into it. Never mind the “just OK” TV-series, the books are exceptionally well written science fiction.
There’s also going to be plenty of delicious food cooked this week. I plan to make a bunch of stuff the kids enjoy. Spaghetti, grilled cheese sandwiches, tamago-gohan, cheeseburgers… and all the rest of the food my kids known and love!
I kicked things off on Sunday with some home-made pizza…
I know I haven’t been publishing many food recipes recently — I’ve been too busy with investing posts. That said, I recently had a few readers asking for my Mapo Tofu recipe. Should I cook-up some Japanese Mapo Tofu on the blog next week? Anyone interested?
To Be Continued… Next Week
Well, that wraps-up this ‘slice of
pizza life’ post! This will be my final post for the week, but I’ll be returning when spring break ends.
This week my time focus is all about family time. If all goes well, I should be back to my regular writing schedule next week after the kids go back to school. I’ll see you then!
[Image Credit: Flickr]