Midlife Mixtape

http://midlifemixtape.com

For the years between being hip and breaking one. It's a humor and music blog, which would be weird if it weren't so right.

Nancy is a winner of Top 25 NorCal Moms - 2013

What's the best part of raising a family in NorCal?

I'd say it's a toss-up between the fabulous weather with year-round outdoor access, the great food, and the relatively laid-back lifestyle. We moved here from the East Coast when I was pregnant with our first daughter, and every time I travel away from the Bay I come back with a renewed sense of appreciation for all that we are accustomed to taking for granted.

Living in Oakland as we do, I also like that my kids are growing up in a seriously diverse world, going to school with kids of all races and socioeconomic situations, which seems to be baking in empathy to people who are different from them.

And of course, music lover that I am, I'm also grateful for the plethora of live music opportunities and venues that we have here in the Bay. My kids have been to shows at the Warfield and Slim's in San Francisco, the Greek in Berkeley, the Paramount and the Fox in Oakland, and I look forward to taking them with me to even more of the theaters, auditoriums, and clubs that make the Bay Area such a mecca for great live music performances.

What's the biggest misconception about living in NorCal?

That because it's California, it must be warm all the time! We have a fleet of extra fleeces and bathrobes for our under dressed house guests from other parts of the country.

What do your kids love most about living in NorCal?

EVERYTHING. Their dad and I sometimes tease then about moving back East to where we were raised, and it sends them into paroxysms of protest. They have wonderful friends here, never wear anything but flip flops, and think Oakland is the coolest city anyone could ever live in.

They love the California Academy of Sciences, the de Young, the Asian Art Museum; they love Homeroom, the mac and cheese restaurant in Oakland; they love taking our dog down to Point Isabel in Richmond to let him run off leash in the big dog park by the Bay.

What can I say? Mama didn't raise no fools.

What's the best playground in San Francisco or the Bay Area?

Nancy Davis Kho

I've always liked Frog Park in the Rockridge section of Oakland - tucked away off of Claremont Ave, it's a sunny little triangle with lots of benches, climbing structures, and a nearby dog run to wander over to when the little ones need a change of pace. And it's on a greenbelt path, which makes it easy to walk to and from nearby streets.
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What's your go-to snack for your kids?

Nancy Davis Kho

Popcorn and Ovaltine around the kitchen table before homework starts. Perfect combination of salty/sweet, the milk and the vitamins in the Ovaltine cancel out the chocolate, and our dog goes insane with joy over discarded popcorn kernels so I have minimum cleanup.
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Can you recommend a stylish bag that is big enough for all the stuff moms tote around? Please share a link if you can.

Nancy Davis Kho

I love my messenger "Valiant" bag from King Bag Company - made in Oakland, and all from upcycled car seat covers and seat belts. Super sturdy and always an ice breaker - http://kingbagcompany.com/
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What are the secrets of a smoothly-running carpool?

Nancy Davis Kho

I'm a double carpool veteran and I'll say they've saved my bacon: even with two kids at two different schools, I only drive 2 weeks out of every month, which has saved both gas and sanity. In both cases: 1.) One family drives to and from school, for a whole week. 2.) Be on time, both as a passenger and a driver. It's a good opportunity to teach a lesson in courtesy to your child. It is much, much harder than it sounds. We fail, frequently and repeatedly, but this is our goal. 3.) For middle school girls, for the morning pick up - I recommend a 5 minute warning telephone call. "They''re on their way to get you" seems to work better than repeated parental nagging at coaxing a girl out of the bathroom where she is fixing her hair.
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How much help should parents give their kids with homework?

Nancy Davis Kho

I remember the science fair when my eldest daughter was in first grade - she had classmates whose projects incorporated mechanical engines and die-cut wood shapes. My kid had glued some rocks to a piece of cardboard or something, but it was HER work. That really hardened my stance; as I like to say to the girls, "I finished middle school already. It's your turn." I don't know how else kids will learn to be responsible and take ownership of their educational journey, and if they haven't done that by the time they leave for college they're screwed. That said, I do try to be in a room nearby or to just do a check in as they're doing homework - right now my 5th grader really wants me to check her math homework every day, but I'll only do it after she's done it herself. It's important, because everything I learned in 6th grade math and beyond has vanished into the ether and she's on her own next year...
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What are your tips for throwing a party that both adults and kids will enjoy?

Nancy Davis Kho

I like XLMIC's tip and have done that myself...a godsend for a particularly memorable New Year's Eve party. I definitely try to lard the lower floor of my house with things to keep the little ones entertained - movies, art supplies, a ping pong table - and reserve the upstairs for the grownups. I also try to appoint the oldest kids in the group to keep some semblance of order with the younger ones - good practice for future babysitting gigs and what eight year old doesn't like to suddenly be vested with power? Feed the kids first, and have lots of easy-to-eat non-messy finger foods in the rooms where the kids will be gravitating. We leave a marker near the cups so kids can write their names on their one cup and not have to get a new one each time they're thirsty (or have set the cup down who knows where.) And relax. It's not really a party until someone breaks a glass.
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