Category: Leisure & Recreation

Family Games for When Stuck at Home

family games

When my kids were kids and I was simply a parent, not a grandparent, our favorite family games were Uno, Monopoly and a ridiculously fun game called Pig Pong. If sheltering in place finds you running out of ways to entertain the family, here are some ideas. If you have some favorite family games, please share them in the Comments section at the end of the post. Family games to play while sheltering in place Whether you’re tired of playing the same old board games,  or looking for games you can play play using items you already have in the house, see this article at Best Life Online. Most of their suggestions are for families with small children. For game ideas for all ages see HabiLinks’ Leisure and Recreation category under “Games.” Looking for the best family friendly video games? See suggestions from the discerning editors at CNET. Lost the instructions or pieces that came with your board game? Forgot the rules for Canasta or Charades? No worries. Find links to instructions and sources of replacement parts for many games at HabiLinks. Find more links you can use at HabiLinks Curated Guide The internet is full of great resources, but page […]

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A Gift of Holiday Songs

A gift of song

  Music, especially singing, is a big part of my life. For twenty years, I’ve sung with a small vocal jazz ensemble, The High Seas. We haven’t rehearsed or performed since March, but we recorded some of our favorite holiday songs last year. I hope you enjoy this gift of holiday songs from The High Seas.   Three new recordings for your holiday music library Let it Snow   Jingle Bells   Sing Dinga Dong The High Seas This picture was taken last year at one of many holiday gigs. Behind us, lit for the season, is San Francisco City Hall. Left to right: Jamie Collette, Jennifer Ekman, Nancy Svendsen, Janet Mansinne, Michelle Alessandria, Bill Keck (Director), Sarah McDonald, Karin Hern, Jackie Pettus, Karen Saghi   Lyrics, A Gift of Song, by Mason Williams Mason Williams, guitarist extraordinaire, may be best known for his hit Classical Gas, but A Gift of Song is another favorite.  Here are the heartfelt lyrics. I found the recording on iTunes. You can probably find it on other online music resources as well. A gift of song is a gift of love Though how this is I cannot say But who receives a gift of love Must send […]

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How to Find the Best Podcasts for You

Find the best podcasts

      Building a library of the best podcasts for you can be a daunting task. There are lots of podcast player apps to help you find, download and organize shows. And there are hundreds of thousands of podcast episodes. They cover every topic you can imagine and some you can’t. Unlike radio, podcasts aren’t regulated by the FCC. Almost anyone can create one. As a result, content can be good, bad or even offensive. Explore various podcast player apps before making a choice Not all podcast apps are created equal. Although many offer the same popular shows, the rest of the content can differ widely. Some apps are user friendly, others seem complicated. Some are free, like Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts, while others are paid. Also, many podcast apps only work with certain operating systems. So it’s important to explore the options. Once you start building your library, switching apps can be a big nuisance. To help decide which podcast player is best for you see the reviews at PC Magazine’s 10 Best Podcast Player Apps and Tom’s Guide Best Podcast Apps. Tom’s Guide reviews most of the same players as PC Magazine, plus at least ten more worthy of your consideration. Find […]

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Beat the Boredom of Sheltering in Place

Family bored while sheltering in place

Let’s face it, sheltering in place is getting very old. I’ve got plenty of work to do, but at the end of the day I like to relax. Just when I thought I’d go nuts with boredom, my friend Candy came to the rescue. She forwarded a great list of “Things to Do While Sheltering in Place” from Marin Villages, a local non-profit that supports aging in place. Some of their ideas are included below. See the World from the Best Seat in the House. Your Couch. If you’ve ever used ZOOM, don’t miss the last link. Scroll down to “Olive and Mabel.” It’s not very useful. It’s not educational. It’s not music to your ears. In fact, I don’t know how to describe it. But it offers something we can all use these days, a good laugh! Art Art Online Art and more art, curated by Google Arts & Culture. Music Live with Carnegie Hall A new series of performances you can watch live streamed or on demand. Bolero Julliard Created by over 100 students and alumni. You’ll Never Walk Alone Singers and musicians from around the world. Sent chills up my spine even on a hot day. How […]

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The Real ID: Do You Really Need it?

The Real ID or a passport will be required to fly in the U.S. starting October 1, 2020

The government has changed the deadline for obtaining a Real ID from October 2020 to October 2021. Due to the Corona crisis, some states’ DMV offices are closed. Check with your Department of Motor Vehicles to make sure your local office is open. Meanwhile, you may have questions. What is The Real ID? Do I really need it? By when? How and when can I get it? If so, you’ve come to the right place for answers. What’s The Real ID? The Real ID is a state-issued driver’s license or identification card that meets increased federal security standards. Real ID’s have a star on the upper right corner. Starting October 1, 2021, travelers must provide a Real ID or other approved form of identification such as a valid passport to board domestic airlines, enter Federal buildings or visit military installations. Who needs it? If you have a valid U.S. passport you don’t really need a Real ID, but I highly recommend having both. If you depend on your passport and accidentally let it expire or lose it, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise next time you try to board a commercial airline. Tip: If you plan to use your passport, make sure […]

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A Vacation Pack List to Customize and Print

Vacation Pack Lists make sure you're good to go.

All vacation pack lists are not created equal. If you search online you’ll get 171,000 results! You can’t customize most of them. And when you click a link you often end up on a site that wants you to pay for a list or buy something else like luggage. Everyone’s packing list will be different. And it’s likely to change over the years. Just ask any new parent. The pack list below is a good start. You’ll want to customize it (does anyone need phone cards or travelers checks anymore?) but once you do, you’re good to go. Download, customize and print the list. It’s free. You can download the pack list at I print several and keep them in my suitcase so I’m always ready for a quick trip. The list will come in especially handy in September when I expect news that my daughter is in labor with her second child. Fortunately, she’s just an hour’s plane ride away. One of the smartest things on the pack list is a plastic poncho. It takes hardly any room in your suitcase. In case of a downpour, you may not be the best dressed person on the street, but […]

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A Vacation Checklist Makes Sure Things Are OK at Home

vacation checklist

Have you ever left for vacation and worried that you forgot to turn the sprinklers off, the alarm system on, or something else you meant to do before leaving home? Once I forgot to leave the key for the cat sitter. It’s a good thing my neighbor and I keep each other’s house keys. I called and asked her to put the key under the mat.   This list helps you remember important details before rushing out the door. Here’s a good vacation checklist from Real Simple Magazine. You can use it for starters, then add things that are unique to your household. I keep mine in my suitcase. That way I can’t even start packing without reminders of what I need to do before I leave! A few additions from my personal vacation checklist. Leave keys, payment, instructions and your vacation contact info for pet and house sitters or cleaners. Water houseplants. Turn alarm system on or off. Turn home phone answering system on or off. Put away private papers if others will be in your home. Make sure there’s an updated copy of your Emergency Information  in your suitcase. Password protect and shut down computers. Discover more links […]

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This Packing List Gets You There With What You Need

packing list, suitcase, travel

Without a packing list it’s hard to remember what to pack for a trip. If you’re a parent, you’ll want to make sure the kids pack what they need, too. When raising my family I kept several pack lists. One for summer camps. Another for back packing trips. Still another for road trips and eventually one for going off to college. These days I only pack for myself, but still keep a list. I keep the list in the suitcase so I can add things when they occur to me. Everyone has different needs, but at the very least you should be able to customize, update and print your packing list easily. Click here for a packing list you can really use. This link will get your list off to a good start. It’s much more usable than others I found online. I suggest downloading the .doc version, not the PDF. The .doc version is easier to edit. Downloadable Comprehensive yet fits on one page Editable Printable Checkboxes to help you pack Other things to consider adding to the list: A reminder to take liquids and sharp objects out of carry-ons if flying A reminder to keep medications and valuable […]

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