I love the concept of the Kindle - to be able to have so many books at your fingertips at one time is especially great for traveling.  Between traveling for work and traveling with my kids, I can use all the space savers I can get!  But there is one big reason holding me back from jumping on it: the library

It's not that I'm afraid of the downfall of the library, it's that if I read via Kindle, I'd have to actually purchase all the books that I read rather than borrow them from the library.  I'm a bit too cheap right now for a Kindle.  It totally works for me to borrow from the library, so why would I change that?  It's not like buying the book supports the medium of e-books - you have to buy the Kindle to begin with, so Amazon's getting their money.

I think one of my biggest arguments against getting a Kindle is that most of the books I'd want on the Kindle, because I read and re-read them, I already own a hardcopy of.  I'd have to re-purchase them to get the e-reader version and that's another knock against my frugal side.  Too bad Amazon doesn't provide a discount on books for Kindle that were originally purchased through them.  It's not like they don't have all of our purchases in a database somewhere anyway.

I did have to laugh at an article I read recently about how the Kindles are quite popular with the Romance Novel reading crowd - you can be reading it without displaying to the world the covers that aren't always what you want people to see you holding.  Since I'm not in that category of readers, I don't have a lot of added incentive to get one.

I'm quite interested in the technology though, and how they can create the reading screen that doesn't have the usual glare issues.  Technology is so much fun!

I guess for now I have to settle for my iPhone and just keep waiting for the right time to get a Kindle (or iPad!).
I’ve been a bit quiet on here lately – first I was out of town for work most of last week and this week my computer has decided to not allow me to access the weebly site!  I’m going to have to look into why it’s forever loading on sites with the Google analytics.  The other main reason I haven’t written is that I haven’t felt inspired by a topic and since this isn’t my paying day job, I feel okay with not forcing myself to write.

I decided to start my holiday brainstorming and shopping early this year, so I’m almost done at this point.  I threw my oldest for a loop last night when I told her that she’d better get her list to me soon since I’m almost at my budget – she was amazed that she’d have to do it before Thanksgiving.  The biggest reason I’m almost done is that we did cave in and get the Wii console that I pondered about here.  I started the wonderful Craigslist slog through various listings and finally found one priced a bit higher than the typical console, but better for my family since there was four of every controller and the Wii Fit for me.  I’m fairly confident my oldest doesn’t read this blog, so I can post this surprise family gift; otherwise, her surprise will come sooner rather than later!  We’ve got quite a few games already that the twins can play, but I’m still hoping to track down the Disney DDR for us.  I have a feeling my oldest is still operating on the presumption that we will never have a video game console in our house since we’ve been telling her that for years.  Any good ideas out there for limiting/monitoring video game usage?  I have a feeling it will just be integrated into any TV time that they already get, but I have a feeling the demand will be a bit higher - at least to start.

My husband and I also broke down and bought iPhone 4’s.  Our last phones were really frustrating to use with turning themselves off all the time, so we got ourselves our own birthday gifts and went for it.  The twins love playing with Daddy’s – I don’t let them near mine much.  I’m only getting free apps so far since I’m sure I can spend way too much getting 99-cent apps all over the place.

Between the Wii, iPhones, Ninjabread Men Cookie Cutters, and a shirt from Woot, we’re pretty well done with big stuff for my family.  Now I just need to figure out my mom and I’m all set!  The grandmas are getting pre-made meals for their freezers again which I did last year and it worked out well.  Of course, that really only works if we make it down to my mom’s house for the holidays which is the plan, but you can’t assume anything with air travel these days.

My in-laws are a different story, so we’ll see what we figure out for them this year.  They also typically get some sort of food from us.  We’ve done (all homemade) canned pears, applesauce, pancake mix, bread mix, and I don’t even remember what else.

The other technology that I discussed in my last post on the topic was regarding our computers.  We’re still down one desktop computer, but now that we have the iPhones, the laptop and netbook are enough for us.  I still have to get around to clearing out the old desk so we can get a laptop station there to hook into the existing monitor, keyboard, and mouse, but that’s not a huge deal at this point.

We’re also back in firewood season, so if you know anyone in King, Pierce, or Snohomish Counties that needs some dry, split firewood – let me know so I can pass along his prices.  Do you have a working fireplace?  Up until a couple months ago we didn’t, but our insert is now the primary source of heat for us.
Sunday marked a turning point for our little family: my oldest daughter got her first cell phone.  We’d been debating the issue for quite some time, but finally gave in after she spent the summer in our good graces and got a job helping out with a friend’s dogs everyday that gave her enough income to chip in for the monthly phone costs.  Since we already had a family plan for my husband and I, it was only another $10 per month to add her.  We also decided to add texting which we never had before, so she’s chipping in $10 of the $30 for that monthly cost.  Luckily she was desperate enough that she immediately agreed to the terms: parental controls that turn it off during school and after 8:30p, spot checks on texts just like emails, and notice to any friend that she gives the number out to that they can and will be blocked if they send her inappropriate material.  We’ll see how that last item goes since I know full well that she’ll be deleting a lot before I get to it, but she’s on the honor system for now.

Of course, it didn’t hurt her cause to have her mother really needing a new phone and lusting after a smart phone.  I’m ready to chuck my old flip phone out the window for how many times it’s decided to not be a phone for a little while until I can pull the battery and get it restarted again.  I still haven’t gotten a new phone yet, but now that I’ve taken The Kid in to get hers, I can just order mine online and save some money and time.

How’s the experiment going so far?  Well, she’s averaging about 65 texts per day which occur in the one hour before school starts and the 6 hours after school gets out that she’s not doing homework, riding her bike to her “job”, playing soccer, or going to tae kwon do.  She pumped out almost 35 texts this morning just while waiting at the bus stop.  Not the ideal scenario, but I’m hoping she calms down a little next week.  And so far other than her parents and other relatives, she’s really only texting with 3 or 4 of her classmates, most of which we know and are nice kids.  Phew!  Good start.

And what of my search for a new phone?  I still want that iPhone 4, but may go with a cheaper android phone that doesn’t require a data plan.  The whole reason we got cell phones in the first place back in 2001 was because we’d gotten jobs and were commuting across Lake Washington to work.  Now I’m not commuting across the Lake, but I am driving almost 45 minutes each way now – about 10 times longer than I’d prefer my commute to be.  This morning there was a tanker that fell over and blocked all lanes of the major highway I take to get to work – it certainly would have been nice to have a smart phone with traffic maps, but at the same time, it wouldn’t have been safe for me to use the phone while I was driving to find the best alternate route since speeds never got slow enough for me to pull out my phone.  Plus, I can check traffic before I leave home or the office on the way to the other.

I titled this blog post the technology in my family’s life because I was also going to mention that my desktop computer finally dinosaured out and will be used no more.  We’re down to one laptop and one netbook for the family.  I’m tempted to get a docking station so I can hook up the netbook to the bigger monitor that we had been using on the desktop computer, but we’ll see when I can find the time to research that!

Also of note is the fact that my husband and I might finally be caving in on getting a gaming console in the house.  I’ve been wanting a Wii since they were first released a few years ago and now we’re thinking it might be a good “family” gift for Christmas this year – much like the digital piano we got last year has been fun for everyone.  We’ll see if that one actually happens, but it’s in motion.

Anyone have any great words of wisdom for me in my quest to find just enough phone for my needs and not go over my (small) budget?  And where’s the best place to get a Wii when I know I’ve got months before I need it to actually arrive on my doorstep?