Thanks Smb and Scot,
I may pick-up some cheap FRS radios to experiment with...
That said "mission creep" is starting to set in and I'm thinking about going the Baofeng/Ham route. None of my adult kids have landline phones. In the day, the landline system seemed more durable than the cell network is now. Overseas, I experienced times when after an incident, it was impossible to get a cell call through. Natural disasters seem hard on cell towers.
So...in addition to backpacking, around the property, road trip convoy use, a Baofeng would seem to allow comms with kids that live relatively near but far out of line of sight or GMRS range. Now just have to get them to take and pass the HAM test (along with me).
HIGHLY recommend www.hamstudy.org for practice tests and preparation. It's online, free, and does a great job of giving not just the feedback on your practice, but explaining the "why".
For most people, I've been able to recommend about 20-30 minutes of practice a day on the site and then when you consistently score in the 90%+ range go take your "real" test - depending on your focus and interest, it can be accomplished in anywhere from a week to less than two months.
There are formal courses out there in most areas as well if you prefer instructor-led learning, but I don't have the experience to recommend any one over the other.