Parents, you need to learn how to play Pokémon. It is way more than a trading card game for kids.

Why I Play Pokémon

A confession.

I love playing Pokémon with my son, Aiden. The Pokémon trading card game may have been created with kids like Aiden in mind, but it’s roped me into his world too and that’s a good thing.  Because my second confession is that even though I am a stay-at-home mom and homeschooled Aiden for his first 4 grades, this also made me a reluctant multitasker. And if I am honest with myself about being a multitasker, it can mean that I am not giving my full attention to any one person or activity exclusively, including being with my son. Continue reading “Parents, you need to learn how to play Pokémon. It is way more than a trading card game for kids.”

Navigating smooth arrivals at the MGA Airport in Managua, Nicaragua with kids

MGA Airport Arrivals with Kids 2
Arriving by Nicaragua by air to Managua with kids is an easy, safe, transparent process that should go quite smoothly for you and your family. Read on for some tips for what to expect for your air arrival into the land of lakes and volcanoes.

When you land at Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (MGA) you will quickly surmise that Nicaragua’s main international airport is not very big at all. In fact, MGA only has 7 gates which are rarely all in use at the same time. So when you arrive to the airport know that each area you need to finish your arrival process is easily within reach. Continue reading “Navigating smooth arrivals at the MGA Airport in Managua, Nicaragua with kids”

This digital reader life hack gets you free library books anywhere you travel.

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We bought this great book before we knew we could borrow it instead.

One of the problems that I faced in my first year of living in Nicaragua was that I acutely felt the loss of not living near a world-class library system. We had brought our own physical library of books but as you know with kids, they consume books like paper towels when they love to read and we found that ordering books from organizations like Better World Books didn’t work for Nicaragua, they were simply stolen from out of the mail.

We began to rely more heavily on our Kindle Paperwhite digital reader for purchasing new titles. Aiden was at that time just starting to read chapter books but he could get through them so quickly! Books were becoming a frequent purchase and there was always a need for more titles- not only for Aiden but for me, too. Continue reading “This digital reader life hack gets you free library books anywhere you travel.”

Mom, here is what you need to pack for your new life in Granada, Nicaragua.

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As moms, we prioritize securing all the important articles to pack for the kids to make sure they have everything they need away from home and sometimes we can leave our own necessities to the last minute.

However, because of the limited shopping here in Nicaragua, I encourage you to plan ahead and bring what you will need from home, so that you are also at your best in your new life here in Granada.  It is worth it to pay $25-40 for an extra piece of luggage on your flight over to shop for what you need in your own country at leisure, with a greater variety of choices at more competitive prices.

What to bring in your suitcase

Continue reading “Mom, here is what you need to pack for your new life in Granada, Nicaragua.”

Disconnecting from busy life in Granada and reconnecting with Aiden at Selva Negra in Matagalpa, Nicaragua.

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Have you ever had that feeling like you are missing your child even though they are right there under the same roof?  That time was slipping through your fingers and with it a thousand chances to reconnect with your family? Sometimes we can bridge the divide in a moment, a shared joke, game or activity and sometimes you want to do something drastic and just grab a chance to get away from it all.

Even here in Nicaragua where life moves more slowly for many and there should be more time to spend with our kids, it’s easy to slip into old distances. Projects, work, school, social networks; you can fill up a schedule anywhere if you are inclined to doing it.  And let’s face it, I know that for us, we’re kind of trained to design our lives that way.

Even here in Granada, you might sense after awhile the busyness creeping back into your lifestyle, that habit of pushing out to the edges of your daily itinerary. The rush and the stress that you wanted to leave behind can get recreated in the land of lakes and volcanoes, too.  

Continue reading “Disconnecting from busy life in Granada and reconnecting with Aiden at Selva Negra in Matagalpa, Nicaragua.”

Aiden digs the boy’s boot camp basketball training in Granada, Nicaragua

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Friendship. Health. Immersion.

Sports programs in Granada, Nicaragua are a great way for young newcomers to meet other kids and have a Spanish language immersion experience.  The experience of playing sports is somewhat universal, but it’s also bound to be different based on geography, culture and economics.  Granada supports mostly youth soccer and baseball teams, but there is a growing interest in organizing a basketball league for tween boys, as well. Continue reading “Aiden digs the boy’s boot camp basketball training in Granada, Nicaragua”

Touring Las Isletas de Granada with kids.

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Touring the islands of Granada, Nicaragua is a fun adventure that is easy and inexpensive to do on any given day. Enjoy the fresh breezes that blow over Lake Cocibolca as you remember how awesome it is to live in the land of lakes and volcanoes.

Put your feet up while you motor through the 365 tropical islands (one for each day of the year they quip) that were born thousands of years ago out of the last eruption from the ever vigilant Mombacho Volcano that gives grandeur to Granada’s skyline.

Check out a quick video to see what it is like to tour the islands!

You are in charge of your tour…

Continue reading “Touring Las Isletas de Granada with kids.”

Kids love an air-conditioned crafts spree at Gonper in tropical Granada

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Activities for rain or too much shine…

I write about weather a lot, but when you live in Granada weather is something that you will notice and you will have to form your strategies of how to keep your family comfortable and entertained despite extreme heat or a rainy day.

Many homes in Granada do not have air conditioning or residents are hesitant to use air conditioners because of exorbitant electricity costs in Nicaragua.  There are also very few businesses in Granada that use air conditioning for the same reason.

So trust me, we know each business that does keep the air flowing and on a sweltering day, I can make up a good excuse to head to one of them.

A great air-conditioned destination for kids in Granada is our local crafts and school supplies store called Gonper.  It’s not a huge store but it does have a lot for kids to check out.   Continue reading “Kids love an air-conditioned crafts spree at Gonper in tropical Granada”

Hiking Mombacho Volcano with kids in Nicaragua

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Staying cool in the hottest months

When Semana Santa (otherwise known as Spring Break) hit Granada, Nicaragua this year, I decided we needed a plan to give ourselves a rest from the constant heat. Ironically, this led us to visit a volcano.  Mombacho Volcano Natural Reserve was a great solution for getting outside and recreating in nature without feeling the burn.

When you arrive to the top of Mombacho Volcano which has several craters you will appreciate that you are now in a cool, breezy, cloud forest full of tropical canopy and exotic critters. It’s like someone has suddenly turned on the air conditioning. This leads to a boost of physical productivity! Watch your kids take off down the trail….

Check out more fun on the Mombacho trail in this quick video.  We did this trek with Martha and Sam of Nicaragua Immersion Tours and the boys did great hiking together the whole 1 1/2 hours around one of the craters.

Definitely bring lots of water and a lunch.  There are benches along the way where you can stage a picnic on your journey. Continue reading “Hiking Mombacho Volcano with kids in Nicaragua”

The Cocibolca Jockey Club: the best green space in town for kids.

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Visiting families that reside inside the city of Granada often seek a recreational green space similar to something on offer at a public park back home. Publicly in Granada, the Cocibolca lakefront area called the Malecón is the most similar to that sort of recreational environment, although it really is only a strip of land that follows the lake with no wide open lawn area.  The Malecón includes playground equipment, restaurants and some basketball courts.  It is safe to use during the day and the city is doing a lot to make it a more attractive, maintained destination.  On Sundays, it is a very popular hangout for Nicaraguan families.

Personally, we venture down to the Malecón maybe once a month to catch a fresh breeze and see the lake.  For recreating, we much prefer the Cocibolca Jockey Club located at the rotunda at the entrance of the city proper.  The CJC is where we go to when we need a break from the intensity of the city and especially the heat. Continue reading “The Cocibolca Jockey Club: the best green space in town for kids.”