My Life as a Mom

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With 6 happy kids, life can be really fun around here! This blog is dedicated to the joys and sometimes chaos of having a large family. Okay, so it's always chaos around here, but fortunately, it's almost always fun, too!

Saturday, October 18, 2003

My kids have been involved with the group Youth for Human Rights International.

This group has done lots of great things to help children understand the importance of human rights. You can see a photo of one of my sons at a conference held in the mayor of Los Angeles' Hollywood office. Youth for Human Rights International.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Saving Money

We've found that getting family memberships to museums and the zoo often is cheaper than visiting twice and paying for daily admission. So what we'll do is get an annual membership to a few of these places, then visit them often during the year. The next year we'll renew, or get memberships to different places.

This gives us plenty to do for family outings, without having to worry about whether it's in the budget that week or not.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Saving Money

I think it's really important that kids have lots and lots of books. Lots of toys are great, lots of clothes are nice, but lots of books are essential.

I prefer not to use the library very often, because if each child checks out 3 books - and you have 6 children - you're looking at having to keep track of 18 books. It's just not always workable with a large family. Too many late fees!

We have found a better alternative. We go to second-hand stores and get books there. The Salvation Army in our town sells paperback books for 50 cents - and hardcover books for $1.75. And some days they have 50% off sale on all books!!

We come home with stacks of books for just $15.

One really nice thing about owning the books with so many kids in the house, is that we will all get read. You're never "finished" with The Cat in the Hat. There's always someone who will be reading it in a year or two!

And no late fees to worry about.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Here's a handy tip for large families:

When going out for the day, particularly to the park or a museum, or someplace where the kids tend to move about a bit, and you want to keep a close eye on them, it helps to wear matching shirts.

It's so much easier to spot your own 5 or 6 or 10 children (yes, there are families who have 10 children still around!), if they are wearing the same color. The eye can spot the colors really quickly. It's an amazing help to me when we're out.

Some points and advantages to the matching t-shirts.

1. Cost.
In the Los Angeles area, we have a number of shops around that sell "5 t-shirts for $10". When you've got 6 kids, that's really helpful! We always buy more than the number of kids, so we have some spares. We'll buy 10 shirts (for 6 kids), or 15 shirts, in a single color.

2. Convenience.
We just keep a stack of them - no worrying if the 3 year old's shirt is dirty, or has gotten torn or stained. We just have a stack of them in a few sizes, and the kids grab one and put it on.

3. Laundry is Easy.
Just wash them all together. It's really simple!

4. Colors
You can choose colors that will help you locate your children in different settings.

We wear yellow if we'll be out at dusk. Yellow stands out, even during twilight. And, it's a rare shirt color, so it's not like looking for white t-shirts in a crowd of people wearing white.

Blue is nice because it goes so well with lots of things. It's a more common color, though - sometimes there will be a handful of other kids at the park in blue shirts. It's still easier than not wearing the matching t-shirts, though.

Red stands out really well during the day, and it's not as common as blue or white.

More rare colors make it easier to spot kids, however they can be harder to replace. If you've got 8 kids and only 7 t-shirts left, because the rest have been stained or outgrown, you may find it impossible to locate replacements in the same shade of orange or purple, or whatever.

5. Acceptance.
When the kids are in matching shirts, the reactions we get from people when we are out are kinder. This isn't much of an issue now that my kids are older, but when we had a pile of really young kids, it was a big thing for me. I found that people were just more appreciative of our large family when the kids' shirts matched! Don't ask me why this is -- I have never figured it out, except that perhaps it looks less confusing when they are all wearing the same solid color shirt.

Go figure!

Here's a list of some fun sites for kids:

Nick's Links

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Here's a fun site for finding the words to your favorite Christmas Carols.

Be sure to use a dictionary for any words you don't know. I love looking up all the words with my kids -- "don" and "boughs" and words like that.

A good resource for this is the book, How to Use a Dictionary by L. Ron Hubbard.

Monday, October 13, 2003

I think it's really important for kids to contribute to their families and society. Kids really love to help - they like knowing they can help make things better.

Here are some cool websites about this:

Nick's Volunteer Page

Scientology Handbook Scientology Books for Parents / Helping Children with Scientology

More thoughts on stuff to do in California:

visiting the California Science center

The Science Center is free to visit. However, the IMAX theatre does charge, and for a large family, $4 each really adds up, especially if you visit often.

We usually get a family membership. It's about $40 a year, and includes some free IMAX tickets, free parking passes, and free tickets for some of the few features of the science center that has a charge. (Like the high-wire bicycle.)

The value of the free tickets more than covers the cost of the family membership.

Additionally, people with family memberships can see IMAX movies free! (On Tuesday, I think... perhaps it has changed, though.)

It's really a good investment, I think.

When you have a lot of kids, you discover that a few family memberships is actually cheaper than going out to the movies once a month, or even just renting a movie and getting pizza! (3 or 4 pizzas really add up...)

Here's a good course on money that has really helped me a lot:
Church of Scientology: Dynamics of Money Course

Sunday, October 12, 2003

With lots of kids, it's always great to find inexpensive things to do.

Here's a good list of free (or cheap) activities:

Stuff to do in California