By Jamie Butow
The kids are back in school! Take a moment to reflect on that. Yes, the kids are back in school and life is returning to normal after weeks -- nay, months -- of holiday happiness and chaos.
Most Kern County schools are off for just two weeks in winter, but many have moved to a three-week break. We recently asked local moms on Facebook (www.facebook.com/BakersfieldMom) if they wanted a three-week winter break. Here are some of the replies:
"Since we stay local, two is enough (after a week the kids cry all day they are bored). If we had the money to travel, I would say three to spend more time with family we never get to see." -- Adina Clarke
"I wish we got one a week in the fall also. So many people travel over Thanksgiving that many kids miss school anyway." -- Michelle Lynam
"Two is enough. Kids don't need to be out of school for so long." -- April Yeager
As we have embarked on a new year, it's time to get organized and probably make a bunch of resolutions we may or may not keep.
But we all know getting organized is key to getting our families back into routine.
On Monday we posted a link on BakersfieldMom.com for a free "Organize Me" calendar from Office Depot. Check it out and print your coupon.
And for most of us, part of getting organized means finding room for all the new toys and games that arrived over the holidays.
How do you accomplish this? In the weekly Parent'Hood column, parents and experts answered the question, "Is it OK to sneak your kids' old toys away to charity when they're not looking?"
Some interesting points were made all around in the article, including how children might feel like their belongings were stolen if they don't have a say in the matter.
We asked our readers on Facebook how they accomplish this task, and Bakersfield Mom Erika Bracamonte said, "I put my daughter's stuff in plastic bins and store them in her closet. If she hasn't opened a bin or asked me to open a bin in a month or two, I move it to the garage so I can donate it."
As a parent, we all know that each child is unique, reacting to situations differently from all other children. Each Saturday, we run the Child Sense column on BakersfieldMom.com, noting how children will respond to certain things.
On Saturday we posted the column explaining how to define which category your child falls into.
The weekly column features lots of good tips on how to help your child through situations like the first day of school, the loss of a pet and daily homework battles.
Here's hoping those battles are far and few between in 2013!
Best of Kern voting
It's here! Now is the time to vote in the 2013 Best of Kern contest. Nominations were accepted in December and the top nominees are out there to be voted on.
As we did last year, voting is broken up over four weeks. This makes voting less cumbersome as there are so many categories. The 26 categories open now will only be open until Jan. 13, then the next set will be released.
Vote each week and see complete rules at BestofKern.com. Results will appear in Bakersfield Life magazine on April 27.
I will add that many of you signed up to be notified when voting opens. As those email notifications went out Monday, we got dozens upon dozens of bounce-backs, particularly from Earthlink email addresses, noting that our email was not accepted due to spam concerns. Be sure to get these reminders by adding firstname.lastname@example.org to your list of approved addresses.
Every January we get to go on technology overload as the annual Consumer Electronics Show hits Las Vegas.
I love technology, but always find myself needing a break this time of year. What's come out of CES this year is fascinating: GPS for your luggage, an ultra-HD TV and a slew of web-connected home appliances.
Everything looks to be smarter, faster, smaller and clearer.
One thing that piqued my interest is how AT&T is doing more with apps and U-verse.
The company announced Monday that two new apps, Twonky Beam and Pix & Flix, will allow U-verse customers to share photos and videos from smartphones on to their U-verse connected televisions.
That's neat, especially for the video feature.
For more new from the CES, search for the #CES and #2013CES hashtags on Twitter.