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.

LITERARY LIFE HACK # 1: Connect your digital reader to your local library back home.

A year into our move, I remembered a pamphlet I had picked up at the library as we were leaving Charlotte, North Carolina (USA) that mentioned connecting digital readers like Kindle to our Charlotte Public Library account.

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Thank goodness we borrowed these books because there are 11 in the series!

So I sat down and read through the directions and minutes later I was selecting books online at the Charlotte Library website and Amazon was delivering the books to my Kindle for free!  In fact, I connected each member of our household who held a library card and for each person we could check out 10 e-books or audio books. Good deal!

A year later, when our Charlotte library cards expired, I called a Charlotte library branch from Nicaragua to get the memberships extended. The library requested when I called that we come into one of the branches in person, but they were able to handle the extension over the phone when I explained that we weren’t able to come in (by the way, this is another reason why I love having a Magicjack Go device that gives me a USA phone number just for these kind of calls that do come up when you live abroad).

So know before you go, if you have not joined your local library yet, please do it before you start your world travels!  But if you didn’t, there is still hope…

LITERARY LIFE HACK # 2:

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.

Granada, Selva Negra, travel, things to do, kids, hiking, forest, recreation, trails, familyHave 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.”

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.”

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.”

Kid’s Pottery Classes With Pro-Potter Misael Torres in Granada, Nicaragua.

World Schooling, Granada, Nicaragua, Art, classes, family, kids, travel, things to do, recreation, wok & Roll,A private kid’s pottery lesson with a professional Nicaraguan potter is another awesome activity that your children can enjoy in Granada. Misael Torres is an enthusiastic and patient teacher who gives lessons in Granada and at Laguna de Apoyo. Your child takes the wheel for $5 an hour while Misael gives gentle suggestions on how to manipulate the clay into form. Continue reading “Kid’s Pottery Classes With Pro-Potter Misael Torres in Granada, Nicaragua.”

Keeping the kids cool in a Nicaragua heatwave @ Laguna de Apoyo

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If you have read my 7 Key Ways to Help Your Kids Enjoy Granada, you already know that I advise visiting families to avoid introducing Granada to their kids during the hot summer months of March and April.

These months are hard on both parents and kids.   You’ll find that the heat limits outdoor physical activities and can raise stress levels.  However, if you are planning on coming this April or are already here, you are going to need some savvy local ways to stay cool during the Nicaraguan summer.

One highly recommended excursion is hanging out at Laguna de Apoyo. The laguna is a short 20 minutes drive from Granada where you can submerge yourself in some healing mineral waters that fill the crater of a 23,000 year old volcano! Continue reading “Keeping the kids cool in a Nicaragua heatwave @ Laguna de Apoyo”

Chocolate-making class in Granada

A fun thing for kids to do in Granada is spend an hour and a half making chocolate at Chocomuseo that they actually get to eat at the end.  This is a fun class for families and kids and a great venue for play dates.

Aiden had a blast with his good buddy and although the taste of the cacao toasted over fire produced a chocolate that wasn’t what he was used to, he obviously still ate it.

Packing for the kids to head to Granada, Nicaragua!

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Moms and dads are always pondering about what to pack for a long term stay in Granada.  It’s hard to know what can be easily picked up when you arrive and what really requires some preplanning to have ready to go in the suitcase.

Most everything can be purchased in Nicaragua in some form or another.  However, it is often not at the price you wanted to pay or the quality that you hoped to find.  Shopping is also not the enjoyable experience that it is at home and there is no online retail to be had in Nicaragua.

For those reasons, I highly recommend doing any necessary shopping before you leave home and pay the extra luggage costs for additional baggage.  Those fees will seem cheap in comparison to the time and money you will fork out if you wait to find it when you arrive to Nicaragua.

Here is my list of helpful items to purchase before you leave home:

Toys

What to Bring Toys
Legos are super expensive in Nicaragua so bring a few bags with you. And don’t forget your Pokémon cards if you are a fan!

No matter how many days you are staying in Nicaragua, please bring some favorite familiar toys for your kids.  The same toys they like back home, they will like here, if not more.

When in doubt and it could reasonably go along with you, bring it.  Pack your trading cards games, bags of Legos, dolls and action figures, water toys, and anything else that you feel would help them relax and engage playing on their own or with other kids they meet.

Daily clothes, shoes and school uniforms

Stock up on your kid’s daily wear before you leave. Clothes wear out quickly in Nicaragua and are not easily replaced.  Continue reading “Packing for the kids to head to Granada, Nicaragua!”