January 4, 2012

Anyone caucus with their teens?

(Migrated from WordPress)

I moved here as a journalist, and was a born-and-raised Westerner before that, so caucusing was something I only saw in photos. But I know some people here caucus with their kids like people back home drag them to Burning Man.

Anyone caucus with their teens? Tips? Stories?

January 3, 2012

Things to do with teens: Channel your inner Willy Wonka

(Migrated from WordPress)

Full disclosure: I run teen programs at the East Side Library, so I know lots about what teens can do every Tuesday at 4 p.m. (and at other branches at other times). Today, we're making candy.

You can easily do this activity at home, and it's great in that you can make it as easy or complicated as you want. We have specialty molds and candy discs for our activity, but melted chocolate, wax paper and a kid's paint brush would work at home.

If you are interested in the after-school programs at East Side Library, we generally follow a schedule: first Tuesday is a food program, second Tuesday is a craft, third is book club, and the fourth Tuesday is Wii games. If you are in another part of town, all the other branches have teen programs too and you can search for them at dmpl.org.

I've been participating in some amazing national teen programming calls with other libraries as well, so I know these sorts of programs are taking place all over the country; just check your local library!

January 2, 2012


(Migrated from WordPress, with what I hope are all the typos fixed. Good grief.)

Welcome! I meant to welcome you yesterday, but my pre-New Year's resolution was to get absolutely everything crossed off that perpetual to-do list, most of which had been lingering all last year, and I wasn't quite done. So welcome to the second day of 2012. I can already tell this year is going to be better because this year is so much easier to say.

I'm starting this blog for moms with teenaged kids, who need things to do with them. If you're like me, you're a little frustrated at all the blogs/forum/sites/magazines/excited chat for moms with babies/toddlers/kids, and you feel a little left out. The accepted wisdom is teens don't want to hang out with their parents anymore, so why bother?

Being blessed with two teens -- The Girl is 18, The Boy is 13 -- who still like to hang with mom*, I know there's plenty out there to do, it's just a little harder to find, and since I've never had a lot of money to spend, I also have to get a little creative.

Admittedly, it's difficult to get any of us off the couch, especially if Glee is in the DVD player, but once we're going, I've found my kids to be go anywhere, try anything (except maybe The Boy with food, but that's changing -- see Cooking) types who are more than happy to try something new. That's the great thing about more grown-up kids.

Giving back to the community has always been exceedingly important to me, and my kids will testify to being dragged on all kinds of volunteering outings over the years. But now they both see the rewards, and seek out opportunities on their own. The praise they receive for their efforts doesn't hurt either. Many of our "things to do" will involve volunteer opportunities; they're cheap, fun and incredibly important in myriad ways.

And many of these "things to do" won't be DSM (or surrounding areas -- we LOVE Road Trips) specific. If you're not in the Des Moines area, and are looking for something like I mention here, but aren't having any luck, leave a comment.

*I was excited the other day when I heard The Boy say from the back seat "Uh, mom, this is a little embarrassing." What? I'd finally managed to embarrass one of my kids? I'd actually TRIED before; I mean, isn't that the fun of being a parent? But how to accomplish when they listen to the same music, wear the same clothes as I did in high school? "What's embarrassing?" I asked. "The windows down and you blasting the 80s music," (ok, admittedly "the other day" must have been months ago). I immediately turned the music up and added loud singing as he scrunched down in his seat. When I relayed the story to a friend, I couldn't remember the exact song, but The Boy seemed to think it was The Warrior, which is perhaps one of the most awful/hilarious examples of the genre.