Friday Follow-Up: Family Cars, Phone Interviews, and Holiday Crafts — Abby Off the Record

Friday Follow-Up: Family Cars, Phone Interviews, and Holiday Crafts

by Abby on November 30, 2012

You all know how I hate loose ends, right? So today I’m tying up a few. Lucky you!

Finding a family truckster. So remember how we were shopping for a car with third-row seating? Well, we ended up getting a great deal on a 2008 Nissan Pathfinder. I showed up at the dealership with 2 kids, 4 car seats, and I thought about bringing the dog. Hey, the whole point was to get a car that would fit our lifestyle, right?

I’m happy to report that the car fits 5 kids WITH car seats/booster seats, and I don’t even get bloody knuckles trying to buckle them all in.

5 kids in 1 car

On a family roadtrip, our 2 kids are able to sit in separate rows, avoiding all the “he’s touching me!” fights. (Though not the “he’s kicking my seat!” fights.) When the grandparents came to visit, we could all go places together without taking 2 cars. The seats all fold down so we can haul furniture and other big stuff, avoiding delivery fees. (Though not back injuries and marital squabbles.) Also? Built-in DVD player. And? Back-up camera. AND? Heated seats and steering wheel. I LOVE this car, people.

Work-at-home mom woes. Remember when I was struggling to find a new way to record phone interviews? Thanks to the many helpful suggestions I got from readers, I ended up going with Skype plus a piece of free software called MP3 Skype Recorder.

For reasons I still don’t fully understand, I have to pay Skype $2.99 a month to be able to call cell phones and landlines. (These are just voice calls, BTW, not video. I was afraid I’d have to start doing my hair and makeup for phone interviews — HORRORS!) In my opinion, though, it’s totally worth it. Skype has gotten so much better than when I used to use it a few years ago, especially the video calls. And the MP3 recorder is ridiculously easy to use. The quality’s not bad, either. Not as good as a digital voice recorder over a landline, but as good if not better than the average cell phone call.

She’s crafty. (Kind of.) And lastly — this isn’t really a loose end, but humor me – remember when Pinterest made me take on a DIY project? Well, this time FamilyFun magazine made me do it. I saw these cute tabletop trees in the new issue that you make out of old magazines. (Here’s a video tutorial.)

paper Christmas trees made out of old magazinesSince we have bazillions of holiday catalogs jamming our mailbox daily, I thought this might be a fun way to recycle them. (Up-cycle? What IS that, even? I’m an eco-dunce.) Predictably, the kids lost interest after we folded about 3 pages. So I sat there for the next 40 min. and did the rest myself. But I used to be really into origami so I enjoyed it. I would recommend using, say, a 75-page Lands End catalog rather than a 200-page O magazine or you’ll be at it all night. But they turned out pretty cute, don’t you think? We might add some stars on top.

So that’s it, people. Now you can all rest easy knowing how a bunch of miscellaneous issues turned out in some random blogger’s life. You can’t put a price on that kind of peace of mind! Happy weekend, all!

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Vaidehi November 30, 2012 at 6:57 am

Hello Abby

I have been a regular reader of your blog for quite some time, but never really posted a comment so far – for unknown reasons :) I love your writing. You are so simple & genuine and that’s what makes me connect with your writing.. I loved the tabletop trees..Here is wishing you & your family Merry Christmas! Happy decorating :)

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Abby December 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Thank you so much for your comment! Happy holidays to you, too. :)

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Kris-Ann November 30, 2012 at 8:44 am

My sister and I were just talking about these!! We used to make them out of TV Guides before they went to the larger magazine style. We’d spray paint and decorate them and those were always our teacher gifts (back when we could still give Christmas gifts). Thank you so much for this!

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Abby December 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm

The trees are a big hit. I never thought about spray painting them – good idea! I saw some very similar ones at Homegoods for $20.

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Lou Mello December 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm

The Pathfinder is definitely a good find for the kids, we had one and then they sorta downsized it a bit and not as good to use for boating, etc.

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Angie December 2, 2012 at 11:09 pm

So my question about the pathfinder… how do the kids get in the third row if you’re using carseats on the second row? Right now, in my Honda Pilot, all three kids sit on the second row (and like it) but if we need to put Dillon in the third row, he has to climb over the seat or enter through the trunk. That’s because Cate’s infant carseat is on the seat that folds up, and Blake is still in a car seat, too. It’s a temporary thing, but I was just wondering if the Pathfinder was any different.

I finally got my MacBook Pro. So I have a webcam and need to check out Skype. I did a podcast interview (no video) via Blog Talk Radio but the quality wasn’t good because we both called in on our cell phones.

Thanks for the post. I love random bits of information!!

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Abby December 3, 2012 at 9:54 am

Well, my kids love climbing in and out through the trunk, but the second-row seat DOES fold down. I put the baby carseat on the other side so I don’t have to mess with that. Then I can easily lift up the booster seat with one hand to fold the seat down. But like I said, the boys prefer the more challenging way. :)

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