200 Ways to Amuse Children during Summer Vacation

June 9th, 2011

Okay, that title’s a joke.  And a way to pull people in off the search engines.  I’m going to start playing the system–everyone else does, why not me?

I can’t believe it’s summer vacation as of noon today.  (One of my kids still has one more final tomorrow but he’s not stressing about it and everyone else is done today so I’m officially declaring Thursday the First Day of Summer Vacation.)  Mostly I can’t believe that the last time I posted was spring break.  Man, I’ve neglected this blog.  All the action’s on my FB page.  If you haven’t visited yet, COME ON OVER.  We’re all hanging out in the hot tub sipping champagne over there.  Figuratively speaking.  Well, it could be literal for some of us.  That’s the great thing about the internet.  You DON’T KNOW.

I’m giddy.  I love summer vacation.  Some things are admittedly harder during the summer–like I can never find any time to write because there’s always a kid around.  And my teenaged son is going to be gone seven weeks, which is such a depressingly long time that I can’t even bear to think about it.  (At least I’ll be seeing him a couple of times during those seven weeks.)  And there’s always more driving during the summer, which I hate.  Especially since they’re shutting down major parts of the freeway in L.A. this summer to make some changes, which is kind of like saying they’re cutting off major parts of your body for a little while.  It’s not going to be fun.

Where was I?  Oh, I love summer because THERE’S NO HOMEWORK.  I hate making my kids do homework almost as much as my kids hate doing homework.  Here’s what the teachers say: “Homework is between your kids and us.  You don’t have to tell them to do it.  If they don’t get it done, they’ll have to answer to us.  So you can stay out of it.”  And then you know what happens?  You don’t nag your kids, they don’t do their homework, and the teachers instantly email you to say, “Your kids aren’t doing their homework.  You’re going to need to make sure they do.”  And you sit there wondering what happened to, “It’s between them and us.”

But that wasn’t what I wanted to talk about.  I wanted to talk about how it’s summer and I have two books coming out this summer!  Well, summer and the beginning of September which is sort of like summer if you squint sideways at it.  EPIC FAIL’s out August 2, which is a lot closer than it used to be.  I’m really excited for this book to be out there–my first YA novel!   And FAMILIES AND OTHER NONRETURNABLE GIFTS is out September 2.  That one’s already sold in translation, but I don’t know if I’m allowed to brag about that yet so let’s just say it’s in a language I can’t speak in a country far far away.

I hope you’ll check out both books when the time comes.

Meanwhile, about those 200 ways to amuse kids . . . ?

There are at least that many channels on DirectTV.

You’re welcome.

Another way to keep children amused: let them play with the cat.

  • Sally says:

    Nice try Claire (re: FB). I stay as FB free as possible (while still being on FB – I’m as hidden as can be, have no details in the info section, etc. I “like” very little on FB – as my friends & family don’t want to hear a damn thing about science/health/pollution, as they hear it enough from me as it is). I try to keep my FB sharing to a minimum; however, I did “share” your book club short film http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7560829/book-club on facebook and members of both of my book clubs got a kick out of it as well. I try to only go on FB once a week or so to see if anyone said something truly funny (rare) or posted a cute pic of their kids (getting rarer, as we all realize how unsafe FB is).

    Where are you in my internet experience? You have TOP billing on my iGoogle page (top left corner gadget box). I eagerly look forward to your short essays and I cannot wait to read your books this summer.

    So, ALL FANS of Claire LaZebnik who are NOT FB fans: get a gmail account and customize your iGoogle homepage with all sort of “gadgets” that are interesting only to you. Saving you from google-ing anything, as all of your favorite topics are displayed in a neat and tidy format, one topic in per box, three boxes across the page, three articles per box. So, at a glance, I see 15 topics (three articles each). I’m sure I could add more, but only 5 rows fit in my browser (so why add more?).

    My other iGoogle gadgets? Environmental Health News, etc., etc.. When an organization doesn’t have an iGoogle gadget, I’m stuck with their email newsletters. There is only one health/science/pollution organization I had to “like” on FB (which in and of itself ticked me off), as they do not have an iGoogle gadget, nor do they have a email newsletter.

    The one and only “fun” thing (to anyone other than me) I have on my iGoogle homepage is your iGoogle gadget. So, please keep your blog posts coming.

    Re: the internet in general: I do miss the Cronkite days (actually, my parents were republican-Harry Reasoner types). Those were the days where EVERY child watched Happy Days (and discussed the show at school the next day). Where everyone on earth watched the moon landing (I was very young and even I remember this). EVERY child was tortured by the Nixon trials (cut into my Match Game ’74 addiction). EVERY parent saw the same, unbiased news – where the only real choice was anchor style with the slightest “version” towards one party or the other (see Thom Haartman essay http://www.democratunity.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2190%3Aan-informed-and-educated-electorate&catid=86%3Ageneral&Itemid=73). The universal, shared information experience all fell apart when we got cable (lucky for me – I grew up in a third-tier major-city-for-its-state and didn’t get cable until the early 80’s and only had ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and the one and only local station).

    These days, we are all having our own, private news/information experience. Take my iGoogle page that caters to my interests alone. I barely have a clue what is going on outside of my information bubble. Thank god, for our newspapers subscriptions, which are keeping me somewhat in the loop.

    Anyway, I’m rambling… so, FB? No way (my ADD tendencies are scary enough as it is – see Match Game ’74 addiction above). Your blog? I’m there.

  • Claire says:

    All right, Sally, I’ll try to keep posting. Thanks for letting me know someone actually CARES if I do or not! And thanks also for the Match Game ’74 reference. Haven’t thought about that in AGES. Remember Jack Klugman’s wife–what was her name? Brett something. I thought she was hysterical.

  • Sally says:

    She was my favorite (and probably shaped my wise-ass personality more than anyone – besides, of course, Jack Klugman). My other very early addictions were “To tell the Truth” and “The Odd Couple”. Funny, when working a fundraiser in NYC many years later (my first few months in NYC), I met Tony Randall and Kitty Carlisle Hart. I had already sat next to a celebrity on the subway (who cares), noticed others in my neighborhood (ever so coolly, nonchalantly ignoring them). Then, I met these two in immediate succession and I ever so graciously/ever so coolly had a fit/was practically speechless. They are my very, very early definition of celebrities (especially Kitty Carlisle Hart). I remember at two/three? years old thinking that celebrities were very witty, wore ball gowns and dramatic feather boas at all times. One cannot be cool when faced with very early braincells/imprinting.

    Anyway, sorry to blabber on… I really do enjoy your writing.

  • Claire says:

    No, please blabber on! I love these reminiscences. I’ve wondered whether Kristin Wiig’s game show actress character on SNL is based on KCH–do you know that character?

  • Sally says:

    No! But, I’ll have to check Kristen Wiig’s character out. On that note, shamed to admit, I haven’t watched “Bridesmaids” yet either, despite Rebecca Traister’s urging on Salon.com.

  • Claire says:

    I really enjoyed BRIDESMAIDS. I don’t want to oversell it, but it’s a fun movie.

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