Take Your Kids to the Auto Show

With a bit of planning you can survive and have a great time

Take Your Kids to the Auto Show

Going to the auto show is an annual tradition for Mr. Org and the Kid. For the Kid who has been fascinated with cars since infancy (see a fraction of his Hot Wheels collection here), it really is second only to Christmas morning! So his Dad has been taking him since he was 3 and it is a great bonding time for the "Dudes." So I asked my DH to write about going to the show and what he does to make it a terrific experience for the two of them. Here's what he had to say...

It’s Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto time again (Feb 18-27). And around our car-crazy house, this annual car show is one of the highlights of the year. And like any “holiday,” it has its great moments and not-so-hot moments.

As our son has a long-lasting fascination with any and all vehicles, the auto show is a particular highlight because it allows us to see, climb in, and climb on pretty much every regular vehicle out there (we haven’t hit the motorcycle, boat or RV shows yet, but I’m sure that’ll happen one day soon). To put it bluntly, we go twice, and spend a minimum of 10 hours at the show every year. And I know we’re not alone on this one. So, here are some tips we’ve picked up over the years that make this sort of thing work smoothly.

 Travel Light
Spend the extra money to park close to the show so you can wear shoes (instead of warm winter boots) and leave the winter coats in the car. This way we don’t overheat as we climb into yet another variation of the Dodge Ram pick-up to pretend to drive to an imaginary construction site. And leave the backpacks full of extra clothes and snacks in the car, too. Suck it up and eat the bad pizza—it’s part of the trade show experience!

The auto show is a busy place filled with objects (uh, cars) that are great at blocking views of kids as they walk around to the driver’s seat to climb in. And while I’m no expert on child safety, one thing we make sure we do as we walk in is talk about sticking together, and talk about what to do if we get separated.

Most of this excursion is about fun, and ‘driving’ as many cars as possible. But, because of the nature of the event, it’s also pretty easy to sneak in a few lessons about taking turns, using manners, and how to properly have conversations with people (the salespeople, other show-goers, etc.).

 Auto Show vs. Indoor Playground
The Toronto show takes up several levels in a couple of different buildings. Getting around involves a lot of walking (and yes, sometimes running); and checking out the vehicles (especially the bigger trucks) requires a lot of climbing. It’s a work-out for the kids, for sure. There’s no need to hit the indoor playground that day.

 Take Frequent Breaks
Make sure to stop for the occasional rest to recharge, re-focus, and check the map to make sure you’re not missing anything. This is a good time for the three-dollar water and bad pizza.

If things are getting out of control, or if you need to check out a vehicle or two solo, the Toronto auto show offers a free childcare centre. Using a registration process that involves pictures, passwords and computer-generated coded wristbands, you can be certain your kids are safe there. Plus, they promise lots of crafts, costumes, quiet areas and movies. Plus, they even give every kid a tree-in-a-box kit—a red maple to plant at home. Very cool.

Have fun, and see you there!

Nathan Farr (aka Mr. Org)


3 Tips to Tame your Wallet

If you can’t close your wallet, this is for you

3 Tips to Tame your Wallet

I have distinct childhood memories of my mother’s wallet. She always has—and always will—sorted her cash by denomination. Fives, then tens, then twenties. Always grouped in the proper order and neatly stacked together. With the fronts facing out and all of the heads on the bills aligned. As a kid, I remember waiting patiently for her as she carefully put her change away after paying for our groceries. It was all in place before she set foot outside the store.

Then there’s the wallet that belongs to one of my dearest friends. It is huge and sits like a rock in the poor gal’s purse. It is full of stuff that she’s had in there for god only knows how long and she cannot for the life of her, zip that thing up! Totally Costanza! I’m always razzing her about it.

I’m not as particular as my mother about my wallet but have been known to sort my bills just like my mum from time to time. However, I religiously collect receipts and they can quickly build up­­–depending upon how much spending I’m doing. ;) So I try to keep on top of emptying them out on a semi-regular basis.

Whether you can close your wallet or not, here are a few things that you can do to be better organized about your wallet and the stuff in it:

1. Get rid of all of that extra stuff
All of the organizers out there will tell you to limit the amount of stuff you keep in your wallet. Only the needed credit cards, not too much cash, stash the gift cards at home. I probably keep more in my wallet than I should, so it could use a purging. And if you’re like my BFF and overflowing, take a half-hour to go through it and remove at least some of non-essential items.

2. Have a place for everything
If you take some time to create some order to the stuff in your wallet, make sure you always put things back in their proper place after using them. You’ll always be able to find what you’re looking for. On occasion I accidentally slip one credit card behind another. When I glance in my wallet and don’t see the card on the top that I expect to see, I always get a sinking feeling in my stomach for fear that I’ve lost it! I’m so used to seeing everything in its place.

3. Make copies of anything important
Taking 15 minutes to photocopy all of the important stuff in your wallet will be a lifesaver if your wallet is ever lost or stolen. Get copies of both the front and the back of your driver’s license, your health card, your kids’ health cards, credit cards, bank cards—anything in your wallet that has any identifying info on it. Then keep the copies in a safe place at home. If you ever need it, you’ll have all of your account numbers and the phone numbers to call to cancel the cards in one spot. This has been on my mental to do list for a while but I haven’t done it yet. I’m going to make it a priority to do it this week and I’m going to make Mr. Org do it, too.

Oh and speaking of Mr. Org reminds me of one more tip: Keep a little note in your wallet with an emergency contact’s name and phone number. When, God forbid, a crisis occurs; it will make it easy for emergency workers to be able to quickly locate your family.

So, I wonder if folks generally fall into one “wallet” camp or the other…

I wonder what the way you keep your wallet says about your personality…

Could keeping your wallet organized help you be better with organizing your finances?

What do you think? What state is your wallet in?