We were able to do this whole set up in a manner of minutes. The set up is not as scary as some people might think. Excepting one glitch (the fix is documented), this was a a piece of cake to set up. You might want to visit a security store to get some hidden cameras to make the system even more secure and hidden. We just used some inexpensive web cams from a local electronic store. Also have an ip camera (networkable camera) so you do not have to directly connect the camera to the host computer. I will add our set up of it later. The video at the end of the instructable should for how to set one of those up.
Notice: this instructable requires knowledge of linux via the command line. But do not let the command line scare you. I set the whole thing up in minutes very easily.
Note: You could certainly use an internet enabled touch pad to keep an eye on things. On the last panel is a little blurb about motion which is another video capture program. It is perfect for low end machines. It had no problem with the webcam I hooked up.
Not my video, but worth looking at: