September means back to school. For me this year, for the first time ever, this means both kids in school all day. Leaving me with six glorious hours to myself to work and clean house. At least in theory. The reality is our school has a delayed start for Kindergarten. Which means my S.K. kid started a week after her big sister. And then once she started, she was there for all of four days before she caught her first cold.
Now I wasn’t exactly shocked that she brought home some germy souvenirs to share with the family, as this kid has a hard time keeping her fingers (or hair, or various other inanimate objects) the heck out of her mouth. But it was still disappointing. Of course within a day big sister had caught it as well, and I had two little snot-covered balls of misery on my hands.
I always find it hard when they’re home sick from school because I don’t want it to be too fun, you know? It’s a real balancing act, walking the fine line between keeping two sick, whiny, kids somewhat distracted, but not providing them with so much fun that they would much rather stay home versus go to school. I end up compromising. I tell the kids they need to stay in their rooms and do calm quiet activities, like read a book, or colour. And if they make it through the morning without driving me completely insane, I reward them with screen time in the afternoon.
Our TV is down in the basement, and the kids aren’t allowed down there without a chaperon. Which means 90% of the time I watch whatever they watch, even if sometimes I watch parts of it with my eyes closed, or while multi-tasking on my laptop. In an effort to change things up (read distract my miserable little snot monsters) we occasionally will watch Netflix on the tablet while cuddled up in bed. The sound quality on my tablet is so-so though, and the kids have a bad habit of inching closer and closer until they are literally shoving their noses right up against the screen (and occasionally shoving each other out of the way for the privilege).
A few weeks back I got a Dell Inspiron 2-in-1 from Intel to test out, and one of the cool things it does is flip 360 so you can lay it out flat and use it like a tablet. Or, even better, you can put it in tent mode, which is what I ended up doing this afternoon. We built a pillow fort on the big kids bed, I put the Dell carefully in tent mode at one end, and the girls snuggled down with a few boxes of tissue to watch a My Little Pony marathon on Netflix.
I stuck around for the first bit, and was impressed with the sound quality on the Inspiron 3147, and with how sturdy and stable it was in tent mode, even when quite literally in a bed-pillow-tent. With the girls safely in the big kids room I was free to work and clean house. When I checked in on them I was happily shocked to find they were at one end of the bed and the 2-in-1 was at the other, no little noses pressed against the screen. The big kid said it was because it sounded better even from far away. So basically this Intel 2in1 makes a really fantastic portable TV.
It also makes a pretty darn good laptop. It is thin and light, weighing in at just over three pounds, making it my current device of choice for taking out and about. It also has a decent amount of ports; 3 USB slots, plus HDMI and a media card reader.
I love that it’s touch screen. Touch screen capability is a feature which once upon a time I thought was merely gimmicky, but I’ve grown used to it, and now when I use my old netbook I find myself constantly jabbing uselessly at the screen and getting frustrated. For my kids touch screen is a must. It’s what they’ve grown up with, it’s what they are used to, and they are quite literally lost without it. For them touch screen means I can leave the room and they can click around to start their next Netflix episode without having to wait for Mom to come back.
One of the other things I love about the Dell Inspiron is the power cord. I know, that’s a weird one right? But the cord is really long, which allows me to plug it in across the room and plop down on the couch. However, even though the cord is extra long it’s not annoying or in the way, because they included a little velcro strap on it to wrap up any extra length you might not be using. Of course I’m not using the Inspiron plugged in that often because it has a fantastic battery life, giving me up to 11 hours of use on one charge.
Overall I’m enjoying the Dell Inspiron 3147 2-in-1. On top of being a decent laptop, thanks to the HD display plus tent mode, it doubles nicely as a portable TV. (Seriously, something that allows me to give the kids access to Netflix without being chained to the couch/TV area is kind of a big deal).
How are you folks faring with Back to School season? Did your kids almost immediately come down sick, like mine did? Have any of you had a chance to try out an Intel 2in1?
Disclosure: I’m required to disclose a relationship between my site and Intel. This could include Intel providing me with content, product, access or other forms of payment. As always my words and opinions are my own.