Category Archives: Parenting

Playing Hard is my #PowerOfDad

DIxie Cup Tower

I admit, I’ve been acting very childishly these last few years. I’ve spent a lot of time engaging in really silly, pointless stuff, like stacking Dixie Cups as high as the laws of physics will allow. I hide in the shadows with my Nerf Arsenal, sweating through the inevitable charley horses, yet remaining silent and motionless until my next victim strolls by.

My television diet consists almost entirely of cartoons, while my actual diet has recently featured ice cream after every dinner. Don’t worry though, I’ve been spending a lot of time on breakfast, the healthiest meal of the day, because it does take a really long time to make pancakes into the shapes of animals, comic book characters, and my kid’s names. Speaking of comic books, I’ve started collecting them again for the first time since I was a teen. The kids and I never miss our weekly Wednesday pilgrimage to the local comic book store. Some comics we read together, others are just for daddy. I haven’t just been wasting time though. I’ve become a master at many of life’s most useful skills, like papier-mâché, kite-flying, and all things bubble.

Yeah, so that’s what I’ve been busy doing. Playing. I’ve been playing harder than ever. Having been an only child who was trying way too hard to act like a grown-up, it’s nice to have a second chance to play like a kid again. I have a great excuse, too, because these priceless, everyday opportunities to bond with my children belong just as much to them as they do me. I’m teaching my kids that it’s important for everyone, not just kids, to make time for play. I want them to smile wide and often. This is my #powerofdad.

The folks at P&G Oral Care get that it’s the day-to-day little moments in fatherhood that bring the biggest smiles.  That’s why they are teaming up with both the March of Dimes as well as “Football’s First Family,” New York Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning, his father Archie, and his daughter Ava, to encourage healthy and happy families and to celebrate wonderful fatherhood moments with their #powerofdad campaign. Check out their video that celebrates just that, and join in by sharing your own favorite fatherhood moments using the hashtag #powerofdad.

As Father’s Day approaches, I can’t think of a better way to keep the special father in your life smiling brightly than with the Oral-B 7000 BLACK toothbrush. This toothbrush is packed with industry leading technology that features 8,800 oscillations per minute, signaling for switching quadrants, a SmartGuide wireless display that lets you know you when have brushed thoroughly for the suggested amount of time, and Indicator® bristles that lets you know when to replace the brush heads. Did I mention that this baby accelerates to its top speed faster than an actual race car?

I’ve been supremely happy with my own Oral-B toothbrush (an older model), and was proudly surprised when my last two dentists asked what my secret was to super clean teeth. I’ve put it through the ringer for the last several years, but now it’s time for an upgrade and I’m stoked about the Oral-B 7000 BLACK. Fortunately, I can scoop up the #powerofdad coupon (and you can too!) for a fast $7 off the Oral-B 7000 BLACK toothbrush!  Pick one up for the special father in your life, and don’t forget to keep playing, smiling, and making those precious fatherhood memories!

Disclosure: I partnered with Oral-B and Life of Dad, LLC for the #PowerofDad Father’s Day promotion and was compensated for my involvement.

Christmas is Already Here at Bass Pro Shops

IMG_4193This past weekend we stopped by Bass Pro Shops (the kids call it the “fishy store”) on a whim and were pleasantly surprised to find Santa’s Wonderland open for business. This seasonal event wasn’t on our radar when we decided to stop in, so it was a bonus for the kids. Santa’s Wonderland is an activity-packed event located inside Bass Pro Shops. It’s open now through December 24th, AND, it’s free!

Some of the activities featured at our location included:

  • Carousel ridesIMG_4185
  • Daisy air rifle shooting gallery (don’t worry parents, it’s electronic, so your kids can’t shoot their eyes out).IMG_4233
  • Model trains
  • R/C truck obstacle courseIMG_4200
  • Crafts and carnival games
  • Letter to Santa station (One of the nice things about the letter to Santa station is that we finally learned what my daughter wants for Christmas)IMG_4198
  • Free studio-quality photo with Santa!

The only thing we didn’t have time for was the photo with Santa. The line was long, and we felt it a bit early in the season for a Santa photo, and most importantly, it gives us a reason to come back again soon.

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For more information and participating locations, visit the Bass Pro Santa’s Wonderland online.

Renaissance Faires: Merryment for the Whole Family

Photo Nov 06, 9 31 10 PM

With so many Renaissance Faires scattered throughout the country, there is a good chance that one may be in driving distance to you. If so, I highly recommend making the trek with the whole family.

Photo Nov 06, 9 33 24 PM

We went in costume this year and had a blast. Throughout the day we participated  in a peasant dance, feasted like kings and queens, enjoyed amazing shows, rode an elephant, wandered into magical shops of all shapes and sizes, and so much more. The Pirate Queen herself even caught sight of our own little scalawags and awarded them loot!

Photo Nov 06, 9 37 15 PM

If you should get bored meandering the land and taking in all of the sites (unlikely), there are often many scheduled events going on simultaneously throughout the day, like peasant dances, hypnotists, jousting, parades, costume contests, and more. And if you’re really lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of a celebrity, like Gumby!

Photo Nov 06, 9 35 05 PM

Then again, simply sitting on a bench with a turkey leg, gawking at the wide variety of stunning costumes, is  plenty entertainment for me.  We’ll see you there come next fall!

Photo Nov 06, 9 34 16 PM Photo Nov 06, 9 38 38 PM

In 900 years of time and space, I’ve never met a renaissance TARDIS dress!

In 900 years of time and space, I’ve never met a renaissance TARDIS dress!

Magazine Inserts Make Great Mini Paper Airplanes!

Magazine inserts

I had previously thought that grasping for a fallen magazine insert at the local bookstore to use as a makeshift tissue as my two-year-old unearths a massive boogie from his left nostril and begins to flail it about towards my face was the best possible use for such magazine debris, but  I’ve since found another great use. Out of boredom, I folded one into a simple airplane and gave it a toss. To my surprise, the little bugger (not booger) shot across the room like a missile, and with great accuracy, too.

Of course, now I’m thinking I should research some paper airplane videos on YouTube so I can test out some better designs. You might as well try folding these suckers up and launching them at your own trash cans, too. It’s kind of fun, and besides, they’ll end up there anyway.

Disclaimer: Just watch you don’t poke an eye out!

The Adventures of Sprowkey #2

Sprowkey and Polly

Stop the presses! Sprowkey has made his first move!  After several weeks in the wild, our favorite geocache adventurer finally began his quest, traveling almost six miles west. He is now taking cover in a new hideout, awaiting his next move.

So far, the only danger that Sprowkey has encountered has been bitter temperatures and persistent, blustery winds that slowed his pace to crawl. At first, the howling winds played at his fears of traveling alone, but they soon became such a familiar part of the landscape that he no longer even noticed they were there. In fact, he had gotten so used to fierce winds, that he didn’t even take notice of the stirring sounds of mysterious local creatures around which he was selecting his new camp location. He had stumbled right smack in the middle of their village!

What’s in store for Sprowkey? Will the strange creatures detect his presence, or will he confront them first? Will he take off and make a run for it? Will he slip by unnoticed? Anything can happen. Be sure to stay tuned for the next chapter in Sprowkey’s Adventure!

Special thanks to SCPA Backpackers for facilitating Sprowkey’s maiden voyage.

Sprowkey 1 Sprowkey 2 Sprowkey 3

Special thanks to SCPA Backpackers for facilitating Sprowkey’s maiden voyage.

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The Adventures of Sprowkey

Sprowkey and PollyAllow me to introduce you to Sprowkey (my daughter named him), a geocaching trackable figurine that we customized and unleashed into the wild last week. He is made of polymer clay that was sculpted around an official geocaching identification tag called a travel bug. If you have never heard of geocaching, it is a growing hobby akin to a treasure hunt, that uses smartphones or other GPS devices, as well as online clues, to track down and find hidden geocaches. Although modern technology can help get you in the vicinity of caches, you’ll probably still have to do some serious old-school hunting as well as some problem-solving to find the prize.

Sprowkey Rear

There are many types of caches, ranging in size from large Tupperware containers to micro-containers the size of a pen cap. Then there are virtual caches, where the goal is to find a specific location as opposed to a container. Inside the cache there is typically a log book for geocachers to sign, trinkets and other swag available for trade, and if you are lucky, you may even find collectible or trackable items, like Sprowkey, that have specific goals. Geocachers may remove trackable items, log them online at geocaching.com, and move them to other geocaches.

Sprowkey’s insanely ambitious goal is to travel all the way to California, or as far west as possible, and for his adventures to be recorded along the way. Surely his travels will be chock-full of suspense, mystery, and all kinds of mayhem, and I’m hoping that fellow geocachers will play along and send me their own stories of Sprowkey’s exploits so I may highlight them here on this blog. Will he meet new friends and confront old foes, traverse difficult terrain, perhaps even fall in love? Time will tell.

As spring approaches and you yearn for some outdoor family fun, give geocaching a shot. Still not sure? Try looking at a map of your area on geocaching.com. You’ll be surprised at the number of caches quietly hiding right under your nose that you never even knew existed. There could be fantastic treasures hiding just around the corner….and maybe, just maybe, you’ll even stumble upon Sprowkey.