iPad Shortcuts Automation: Kids iPad Timer

We have five kids and they have an iPad that they share. We want to limit the amount of time they’re each on the iPad when they get a turn and until now we’ve had an informal process of setting a timer with Alexa or on the microwave or mom or dad’s iPhone or Watch or on the iPad itself. This has sometimes resulted in less than satisfactory outcomes. Recently the number of times they’ve “forgotten” to set a timer has become a little frequent. And the necessity of having to police them has gotten a little much.

Now, if you’re familiar with iOS/iPad OS, you’re probably already saying, “That’s what Screen Time” is for.1 You’d think so, but there’s a flaw in Screen Time in that it only envisions on user per device. If we set a limit on how long, let’s say, game apps could be used, then once the 20 minutes is up, then no other children can have a turn today. so until Apple gives us multiuser support on iPads, we need to look elsewhere.

Read More and Comment

Raising the Betts #50: The JohnPauls

In this episode, the Betts had a parade for their nephew JohnPaul, who once embraced his namesake saint in Rome and has now become a US Army officer. Plus a daughter’s birthday, a Mother’s Day out, movies recommended and shows not recommended, and remembering to give a reason for your hope with gentleness.

How Can You Afford Family Vacations?

Melanie posted a link on her Facebook page to Amy Welborn’s post on how she’s traveled with her sons in recent years all over the world. That sparked a question from one of her friends how so many of her friends manage to afford all the travel they do while she never seems to have the money or time for travel.

Many of the answers were instructive. Some simply said they were for all intents independently wealthy. Others pointed out that they were the recipient of largesse from family members or they lived in proximity to vacation destinations or that they didn’t go on big interesting vacations. (There could be an interesting, separate discussion, by the way, on how social media can distort our perception of what is normal or what “most” people we’re connected with are able to do.)

That got me to thinking about our own opportunities for travel. Certainly, in the past couple of decades I’ve been to Europe a handful of times, but all of them for work, for World Youth Day events. Melanie went to Europe several times years ago, during college and just after, either for semester abroad or backpacking from hostel to hostel. But other than that, we’ve spent our time here in the US.

Together, we’ve visited her family in Texas many times. When we were dating and first married, we traveled to Texas every year around Christmas, but once we had more than a couple of kids that became prohibitive, even with financial help from her parents. Since 2012, we’ve only been back twice, once for Melanie’s brother’s wedding that year and then last year for her parents’ 50th anniversary.

In 2014, we drove to northern Virginia for a vacation, visiting my mom and sister who were living there at the time, sleeping in my sister’s basement. We’ve also stayed in a lakeside cabin a couple of times, a beautiful house that we couldn’t afford normally, but which was made available both times through the generosity of a friend. We’ve also camped in Maine several times, a few days at a time. And last year we took a long, two-week road trip through 10 states, where we stayed with friends, stayed in a cabin paid for by Melanie’s parents, at an AirBNB partially paid for by her parents, and camping out several nights.1 Read More and Comment

Next Page →