Sunday, July 30, 2017

5 Ways to Sneak Me Time


It's eventual when you have children who rely on you for everything that they will never leave you alone. They will no longer see boundaries between what you are doing and your expectation that at some point they will tire of asking you for things whether they be play, food, or things.

So, as parents, we have to get crafty in the ways we find me time. We know as adults that a locked bathroom door means STAY OUT I'M BUSY IN HERE while a toddler sees it as an obstruction between them and your attention. Mommy always says that I can talk to her anytime, so why would she lock this door?

That's why fingers under the door or prying eyeballs and mouths pressed against wood, trying to sneak a whisper through the cracks in the door jamb occur. There are times when meeting every demand will make you feel like a negotiator in a hostage situation.

That's why moms everywhere are sneaking time away while they can, fitting in their favorite shows on Netflix. According to Netflix, 71% of moms are sneaking "me time" into some unusual places. Here are five suggestions that this stay at home dad have tried that you may not have used yet.

1. Play Hide and Seek and hide in a place that you deem out of bounds for them.




2. Most kids don't like spiders. Tell them you are going to pull weeds and set up a chair in the shed instead.




3. Hide in their messy room. Camouflage yourself with the thousands of stuffed animals they have.



4. Get out your old toys from your childhood, explain how awesome they are, and fade into the background.




5. Turn on the sprinklers and sit back and relax




Disclaimer : This post was brought to you by Netflix and my relationship with them as a #StreamTeam influencer. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Meaningful Connections

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post with Verizon FiOS in Philadelphia. All opinions expressed are my own. #FiOSPhilly #ad 


Before I was a stay at home dad, I was an art teacher in a high school that I really loved. The interview I had for that job was by far the strangest I have ever had. I was invited back for a second interview and told to bring my portfolio. I was excited because to me, that meant that they were interested in me enough to want to see my own work as well as the work that my students had completed. 

What I didn't realize when I walked through the front doors was that all the other candidates for the same position were also going to be there! It felt weird. I didn't want to see their faces. Before they were just an idea; the competition lurking in the background. But, here they were against the wall waiting to meet with the entire art department just like me. 

We all walked into the room, met with each teacher at the school, and proceeded to put all of our work out on tables so that we could circulate around and look at each other's work. It was very nerve-wracking and I kept averting their gazes. We all felt super awkward that this was happening. 

But, I decided halfway into the process that I should just relax and enjoy it. I needed to be myself and let the chips fall where they may. As mentioned above, I eventually got that job and stayed there for a very meaningful seven years of my life. 

In 2008, I resigned as my wife's job had us moving away from Chicago to Rochester, New York. For the next ten years, I was a stay at home dad to three kids adjusting to being at home full-time, taking care of babies, cleaning the house, and taking them wherever they needed to be. Those years spent with them are more precious than anyone could imagine and while I felt sometimes like time seemed to drag on, those years flew by right before my eyes. 


When we moved to an unfamiliar city, I tried to find connections in dad's groups near me and that's when I discovered the National At Home Dad Network and attended the NAHDN Annual Convention. Attending my first one in 2012 was life changing for me as I became the blog editor and eventually ran and was elected as a board member.  My blog helped one guy find us and attend, thus changing his life as well. Being a voice for SAHDs everywhere was super important to me.

In 2011, we moved again, this time to Pennsylvania and I began another chapter of staying at home, this time with no family in the area. This was a tough adjustment for me. I felt very alone. That's when I started the Philly Dads Group in an effort to connect with other dads in Philadelphia. The dads I met in Philly have made friendships that started as casual get togethers that have turned into reunions of old friends. 


Being online was an essential connection for me while at home. My network of dads and dad friends increased, my blog started to grow and I attended my first Dad 2.0 Summit in an effort to further network with other dad bloggers. My experiences at Dad 2.0 but more importantly the people I have met through these opportunities have filled a place in my heart. 

I can honestly say that the experiences I have had meeting people first online and then in person has exceeded my expectations. I have met a good friend in Jeff Bogle of Out With the Kids, dad bloggers like Brent Almond of Designer Daddy, Aaron Gouveia of The Daddy Files, and Carter Gaddis, writer and karaoke singer extraordinaire. Without these connections online and in person, I don't know where I would be today. 


They all helped to shape me in some meaningful way. Before I started staying at home, I never travelled. I literally never went anywhere. Without these connections online which turned into friendships in person there would be a hole there that would make me feel so empty. The human connections I have found through miles of wires is as infinite as outer space. 

I have to thank Verizon for always being there for me through all of this. Without a reliable connection online, I wouldn't be able to Google chat with fellow NAHDN board members, I wouldn't have been able to reach out to others dads when I struggled at home or been able to ask for help when I felt lost. 

Without the online connection, my kids wouldn't have been happy to watch their shows and stream movies as a family. Without a reliable network, they wouldn't be able to successfully get their homework done or effectively complete research and science projects. 



With eleven devices that stay connected to our Wi-Fi, we've never had issues with buffering or slow connections. With the Verizon FiOS Quantum Gateway router, I can even stream music to my phone while mowing the lawn fifty feet into my front yard! 

With the dual band router, I can get a signal anywhere in my house and with the FiOS Network Extender there are no dead zones in my house. And when I am feeling like privacy is important, my guests can use the Guest specific Wi-Fi with a separate password. 

If you are with another provider, consider making the switch. You can even get a $500 credit if you make the change. Make meaningful connections with the people you have met along the way with help from Verizon FiOS. Find out if FiOS is available in your area and get busy making memories with the people that mean the most to you. 


Friday, July 28, 2017

The Road Less Traveled


This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Navdy and DadNCharge for which I was compensated. All opinions expressed are my own.

I was standing in the rental car building waiting for directions from our fearless leader. I was about to take six kids I really didn't know that well on a six-hour car ride from Denver, Colorado to Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and the van didn't have a DVD player.

We loaded up the luggage, unceremoniously stuffing the backseat with rollaways and duffle bags with wheels like a grown-up's game of Tetris, trying to ensure that I would at least have a foot of clearance to see out of the back window. We did the same with their bodies, taking every available inkling of legroom and headroom the van would allow.


We had five vans full of leaders and high school students following each other via highways and side country roads that no one had ever heard of to arrive at our destination. In my van, I had a front seat passenger who was supposed to be my navigator, but an hour into the trip, she succumbed to the smooth sounds of the pavement rushing past us and fell into a deep sleep.

At six foot six, I marvelled at her ability to curl up into a ball in what I thought might be the most uncomfortable Philly pretzel I had ever seen. I was amazed at the rest of the passengers' willingness to fall where they may, with heads pitched forward or sometimes against the interior window of the car, mouths agape, drool dampening pillows they brought with them. Suddenly, I was quite alone with my thoughts.


As rowdy as teenagers are supposed to be, they sure do sleep a lot. So there I was in a car with nothing but the radio and my cellphone, following the GPS to our destination. The cars did not have in-dash navigation, so I had to rely on my phone, sitting in the cupholder for directions. Boy, I missed my Navdy. Why didn't I bring it with me?

I could have easily taken it from my home minivan and installed it in seconds on the rental car's dash. I thought about that every time I had to look down at my phone for directions while keeping an eye on the road. I did have some printed out maps just in case GPS failed me but I wasn't about to try and pry them out of the manila folder I had carelessly placed between the console and the front seats. So much for my human front seat navigator!


I kept my eyes on the caravan in front of me instead and furtively glanced at my phone from time to time, but the distractions were always present. The most difficult distraction was that we had a group text happening around bathroom breaks and GPS alterations to the original route. With my Navdy, its head up display would have projected my texts right in my line of sight, so I could stay focused on driving. Navdy eliminates the need to by setting up Glances to rely on someone else to keep checking my phone and read my messages - which is quite impossible when they are asleep.

We travelled through Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and eventually reached the border of South Dakota. We miraculously discovered a gas station in Nebraska as the teens bravely held in any liquids despite the rolling Nebraska hills and abundant cows. Sour gummies make you super thirsty and our gas tanks were getting low.

My advice when you pass a gas station in Nebraska: ALWAYS STOP, because the next one may be in the next state. We did manage to find one rest area in Nebraska, but the Wi-Fi was spotty and they only had one restroom. However, they did have a great area for relaxing from the rigors of the road.


Directions through the west are much different than the east. The kids started playing a game of That's My Cow, and we wondered if we should change it to That's My Human because we stopped seeing them for many miles.

Instead, I kept thinking to myself, "How did people who moved out to the west survive the terrain?" and then I remembered The Oregon Trail and it all made sense. Driving a horse and wagon across the plains with mountains in the distance never seeming to get any closer must have been difficult to process.

Today, we are lucky enough to have the convenience of navigation and GPS, but there is still an ever-increasing amount of distractions that can make driving just as hazardous as driving as travel by horse and wagon. Americans are spending an average of 45 billion hours driving per year, and one way to make this time safer is finding a better way to integrate the use of our phones while on the road. This is where Navdy can step in and make travelling in the car so much easier, as well as safer.



Imagine the applications during travel with the family or if you have a teen driver in the family who is easily distracted by his phone. With simple gestures, drivers control their phone's functions from the Navdy display while keep their eyes on the road. Access texts, app notification, receive a phone call, or play music by moving your hand or using the steering wheel mounted dial.  Keeping our kids safe while travelling in automobiles is a top priority, especially when the call for technology connectedness is so strong. Navdy is available for $499 or $28/month for 18 months at 0% financing.

The investment in our family's safety is well worth it with the piece of mind that Navdy provides by insuring your drivers will be paying attention to the road instead of on their phones. And when you finally get there, that's when you can take it all in, and safely use your phone to share with the world where you have been and where you are going next.






Friday, July 21, 2017

Staying as Cool as a Cucumber


This is a sponsored post created in collaboration with Russell Athletic and DadNCharge. All opinions expressed are my own. 

As a dad, I've put myself into compromising situations. I've made a fool of myself on numerous occasions for a laugh, stood out in a crowd when I was supposed to be in the background, and generally acted, mostly because of my size, like a bull in a china shop.

You could liken my dad style to Chris Farley in awkward situations; facing adversity by telling a joke or trying to slip into the shadows like an overgrown ninja with zero stealth. In the same way your out of state license plate excuses you from bad driving choices in visiting states, I stay cool in tough situations because I own them. I'm a dad and I make no apologies for my behavior.

I used to look at my dad and wonder, why does he always wear dress socks and loafers? Why does he still rock the same jeans from the 1990s? What motivates a man to hike his belt up to such heights that he needs inches added to his inseam?  My dad is not worried about his style. Take it or leave it, his look is unapologetically him.


I think that we all say to ourselves at some point: When I'm a dad, I'm going to be cool. I'm going to listen to the latest music, be on top of the fashion trends, and not become the dad that shows up with pens in his front pocket of his polo shirt. I'm going to be the dad that every kid's friends are going to sit back and admire because they are so cool.

What we should be saying instead is that we are going to be unapologetically cool in our own ways. The way I look at it, I need to be me and if kids like me, they do because of me not because of what I wear. Of course, it does help when your T-shirt game is strong and you stay cool because you're on top of the latest thing. Ask any high schooler who has travelled with me, my mixed CD's are legendary, mostly because no one puts music on CDs anymore.

I recently spent one week in South Dakota on a mission trip with twenty-three high school kids headed to Pine Ridge Reservation to do construction projects while the thermometers reached the century marks. On the way there, we flew to Denver and then spent six hours driving through four states to arrive in South Dakota. We discovered at the car rental place that the minivans didn't have DVD players. So much for my plan to wow them with movies from my childhood.

One hour into the drive and all of the kids in my van were asleep. It felt like I had young kids back in the car again. When they woke up, they asked how close we were. "Just five more hours to go kids!" I said with much enthusiasm. How would we pass the time and why was I starting to sweat already?

As with any road trip with kids, you have to think on your feet. Having had experience on long car rides I began a game of Grandma's Attic as an icebreaker, a round of Rainbow Cars, and finished strong with That's My Cow. I successfully kept six teenagers occupied without technology, now that is keeping your cool!


In South Dakota, the temperatures for the week were 100 degrees and we worked mostly outside. Our site had two young trees and not a whole lot of shade. Inside, out of the glaring sunshine and into the stifling stuffiness, I hung drywall with a crew which I advised on taping and mudding and provided encouragement for those who had little to no experience with manual labor.  Through all of this, there was lots of crouching, bending over and sweat. Lots and lots of sweat. This is what being a Dadlete is all about to me; being a team player for the greater good.

While summertime is the best time to go swimming, what you don't want is for that swimming to be happening in your cargo shorts. I sure wish I had my Russell Athletic FreshForce underwear with me on that trip because FreshForce performance underwear isn't our dad's whitey-tighty underwear of old.


Available at your local Wal-Mart, this underwear is soft, supportive, and features Intellifresh which guards against moisture causing bacteria that usually cause odor. Russell Athletic FreshForce underwear uses moisture wicking material to keep you cool and collected in the hottest of situations. There's nothing that gives you confidence more than being fly and fresh.  Head to Wal-Mart and scoop up a pair and follow Russell Athletic for all your activewear needs.

Dads, own your look and be unapologetically you and stay fresh with Russell FreshForce during the dog days of summer. Whether you are grilling up hot dogs in the excessive heat, hitting tennis balls at the club, or trying to show the next generation how to do The Sprinkler, you too can stay cool even if your own kids don't think so.




Friday, June 30, 2017

9 Steps to Anniversary Present Success


I'm not one for stereotypes. I don't  like the ones that paint the dad as a doofus who can't do anything right. I roll my eyes at the ones that are hands off from their children or who don't know their kids at all when it comes to gifts. The same could be said for the men who can't seem to remember the day that they asked one person to spend the rest of their life with them.

Men, it's your anniversary. If there is only one thing you remember that you did with your wife, make sure the anniversary date never passes you by without doing SOMETHING special. The reason your partner is making such a big deal right now is because you can memorize Wade Boggs' batting average in 1987 but out of 365 days every year, this one day escapes your memory.

All it takes is a little creativity and some research. In other words. Effort.

Dinner and a movie has been done before. Most likely in many years of you dating each other you've supped together and caught a flick. As your love is growing and time passes, your game needs to change.

If you are a truly lost cause, follow my nine steps to a successful anniversary experience.

Step 1 - Follow Tradition

My wife is a traditional person but I'm an unconventional gift giver. I like to start with tradition and then put my own spin on it. If you look up "traditional wedding anniversary" as a search, you will find sites that list,  materials that were traditionally given to the bride for each consecutive year. This is also listed in my wife's favorite book to give to new couples, Emily Post's Etiquette Book. It's not because you are an uncouth heathen but we all forget time to time which fork is for salad and which one is for dinner.


Step 2 - Living in a Material World 

The first year of marriage is traditionally marked by the groom gifting something made out of paper. Suggestions for this type of gift can mean note cards that feature both of your names, framing your wedding announcement, or having everyone sign a frame who attended your wedding and getting a picture mounted. While those are nice, I chose to draw a portrait of the both of us from our wedding and had it framed. Not Jack from Titanic? There are plenty of artists on Instagram, Etsy, and Google who would love to draw one for you.

Step 3 - Get Creative

Not every year is as easy as paper. By the time you reach cotton, you'll wonder if giving Q-Tips is an acceptable present. It isn't, but for this year I put a spin on cotton, pun intended. Cotton could mean a lot of things. For us, we knew that by April of the following year, we would be having a son. So, I packed a baby doll in a tiny polo shirt and put a cotton diaper on him. Inside the diaper, I hid a ring that had his birthstone in it. See, there are no rules!



Step 4 - But I Have No Ideas! 

By the third year, I ran into leather and my mind went to some crazy places. This year, I challenged her to come up with a gift for me with the traditional material in mind. I gave her a purse and she gave me a baseball glove. Best Anniversary Ever! There is bound to be a gift somewhere on the internet that is made out of leather. But, be discreet. Google searches for leather gifts may start to make her wonder if you've been reading Fifty Shades of Gray behind her back.

Step 5 - Big Box Stores Are Not A One Stop Shop 

Year seven had me scratching my head. Copper? I already have lots of that in my house which supplies her drinking water. That's good enough right? Here's a little tip: ETSY. Enter the word copper jewelry and you'll discover handmade one of a kind pieces that show you are putting some thought into this. Crafty? Make it yourself from supplies from a craft or art store. This year, I found a necklace with a swallow and three birds eggs which represented our kids. The nest was made entirely out of copper! I'm a genius!


Step 6 - Keep Your Mind Out of the Gutter 
(Unless She Likes That)

Year five had me chuckling. Wood. I have the perfect present for her. Ha ha ha. Erm. Sorry, got sidetracked there. Wood frames, a raised garden bed, that fence she has wanted to keep the neighbor's dog from making your grass it's bathroom. Lots of things are made of wood. This should be easy.


Step 7 - I'm Modern, Not Traditional 

Okay, so you're not interested in giving paper dolls or a cotton spun 300 thread sheets for your new house. Luckily, there are modern spins on traditional gifts. When I got to this year I realized that giving her ivory was not going to happen. Instead, I found a way to support the animals that were hunted for their ivory by donating to an elephant sanctuary instead. As a symbol of the 14 years together and never forgetting, I bought an elephant made by an organization called Ornaments for Orphans and purchased matching his and her Tiles so we'd never forget our keys or wallets.


Step 8 - Don't Always Go For Gifts

The older we get the more we realize that gifts are good stuff but experiences together are harder to come by. Plan a weekend alone close to your house, or like my wife organized, do a giant zipline together from the top of a mountain and if you survive, you can go to dinner with each other later. Spending time away from the kids (if you have them) is a gift in itself and the time spent together can help you reconnect with each other. You know, how it was when you were dating each other. That was fun wasn't it?

Step 9 - Staycation

Don't want to spend a bunch of money on a trip away? Have the grandparents take the kids for a weekend and stay home to watch what you want to watch on TV, surf the internet to your heart's delight, and stream movies and order food online. With Verizon FiOS' Gigabit Connection you can use the 300 mbps to use all the devices without any interruption. Now, if only FiOS could help you keep the kids out of the bathroom while you are using it!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post with Verizon FiOS in Philadelphia. All opinions expressed are my own. #FiOSPhilly

Friday, June 16, 2017

My Daughters Changed Me for the Better

I have partnered with Life of Dad and Pampers for this promotion.

My wife is someone who can't wait. She reads the end of the book before diving into the front. She will research a movie and it's entire synopsis with spoilers just so she knows what to expect. If a movie is too stressful, she fast forwards past the tense parts and if she is watching with me, will physically leave the room and return to the rest of the movie after my cliff notes version of what actually happened.

It can be no surprise then, that when our first child's due date was rapidly approaching that we tried multiple times to get a sneak peek of what was between those baby's legs in a 3-D ultrasound. In our first attempt, he blocked it from view with a crossing of the legs but the second time he was ready to let his mom know what was about to happen. We were about to have a boy.

I remember the feeling when the technician turned and said "It's a boy"I literally jumped off the ground and probably did a fist pump while my wife shook her head and said something practical like, "We will just be grateful that he is born healthy" I probably nodded my head and tentatively lowered my fist.

It didn't REALLY matter whether we were having a boy or girl, did it?

I felt a certain amount of comfort with my son. I grew up with three brothers and was familiar with the equipment. Our son was a joy. He was so well behaved and did so many cute things that soon, we had the baby bug again. We quickly got to work and in no time were expecting our second child.

This time on the 3-D ultrasound, our daughter revealed herself quite clearly. My wife had tears in her eyes as the tech told us "It's going to be a girl". The utterance of that phrase is the first time I doubted my ability as a father.


Being around all boys made me more wary. I knew how they thought and the dumb things they did. I was one of them! I knew their secrets.

How would I raise my daughter in this world? Would I know how to answer her questions? Would I say the right things? Would she talk to me about important things and trust in my advice?

What my first and second daughter (yes, I'm that lucky!) taught me was that raising daughters is no different from raising my son. I tried to instill the same values, gave the same snuggles, sang the same songs.

The girls slept in the same bassinet and crib. I changed their diapers on the same changing station. They both called me Dada and ran to me for comfort just like my son. The only thing different about them were their emerging personalities.


My girls taught me that confidence and strength are not defined by gender. They taught me that it takes an equally strong father to realize that his daughters, while precious and beautiful don't have to be delicate porcelain dolls that we put upon a shelf.

We can raise them to be strong and intelligent, sensitive and assertive. We can teach them that it is okay to cry and that anger shows that we have passion. We, as dads, can help shape the next generation of women to believe that anything is possible for them as long as we stop thinking that because they are girls, we need to raise them differently.

Does it matter whether you are having a boy or a girl? The answer is, no. What truly matters is that you believe there is no difference.

I'm thankful that they showed me the way. Over the years I have changed their diapers. Over time they have grown up and changed into individuals. But, what has changed more is me and it is because of them, I need to say #ThanksBaby for changing my life for the better. You have both helped me become a better dad for all of you.







For more information on Pampers and to follow them on social, visit below:

Pampers Twitter: https://twitter.com/pampers


Check in on Twitter at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 17, for a one-hour #ThanksBaby chat with Pampers and Life of Dad, with a chance to win a $250 Visa gift card.






Monday, June 12, 2017

Do I Stack Up as a Dad?

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Life of Dad and Cheerios. I received compensation for this post; however, all opinions stated are my own.

It started a long time ago when you were first born

and I held you for the first time that early spring morn.

I came to realize that day that your arrival finally made me a new dad.

I looked at your tiny fingers and I held them close not comprehending fully what it was I had.

I had a chance to show you everything in the world that was good

and I vowed with your mom by my side that I'd teach you all I could.


I watched you grow each and every day and recorded every milestone

and I knew what we were building as a family was more than just a home.

The way you smiled or looked at me would make my heart just race.

I even enjoyed the way you grabbed Cheerios and threw them in my face.

The books we read, the songs we sang, the times you slept upon my chest

were times we will always cherish though we did it without much rest.


Have Cheerios, will travel was a core belief

so I'd pack up some O's to give your hunger some relief.

Everything that I did, I thought of you first

even though sometimes your diapers were the worst.

But all the while I wondered, was I stacking up as a dad?

Was I doing everything I could to ensure that you weren't sad?

As you grew, I did too, and your sisters came along

Our trio turned from a few notes to catchy, full blown song.


Every step along the way was one that made us proud.

You learned how to crawl, walk, and run, your accomplishments abound.

At a certain point along the way you started to become aware,

that those hands you used to jam in your mouth were handy in that highchair.

You jammed in those Cheerios like they'd go out of style

and you'd gnaw on them gleefully with that semi-toothless smile.



You'd stack your blocks and knock them down to repetitive delight,

and you grew you chose to focus on the things that defined you as upright.

But one thing you should never worry about is how you stack up to another

because each child I have is unique and different from any other.

I try as a dad to be the example you need so you can shine so bright

and beam proudly when your rays reach others who need that guiding light.

While my stacks may be built up over time, I know this now is true

that even if you stack up the highest, it's okay to fall down too.



Looking back on memories with my kids as been awesome while taking part in the #CheeriosChallenge. You can get in on the fun too! Create a stack on top of your baby's head or when the teenager is napping. Snap a photo of a stack of Cheerios you put on that guy that fell asleep on you on the train. Stack them on vacation in cool places or just around your house. It will be a fun activity that your kids can get involved in and it works on their fine motor skills too!






















Tuesday, June 6, 2017

What Dad Really Wants for Father's Day 2017


I've received all sorts of gifts for Father's Day from Daddy O scrubbing pads to a rock painted by my children that say "Dad, You Rock". I have a drawer full of things my kids have made for me from oddly shaped paper ties to portraits that if they were yellow, I might resemble a Minion. 

I struggled as a boy, trying to figure out what my dad would want for Father's Day. And every year, probably to his horror or amusement, I bought him a 5 ounce bottle of English Leather. It wasn't until I was older and I shared his bathroom with him that I discovered, under the sink bottles twelve deep of the manly scent tucked under the sink like a doomsday prepper waiting for the scentpocalypse. He must have thought every time he opened one "What the hell am I going to do with this one?" 

Dads come in all varieties from the working dad to the stay at home dad but there is one common thread we all have, we want cool stuff. Heck, I'd take Green Bay Packer toilet paper as a sign that my kids really understood me. So if you're stuck, here is a list of things dads would actually want for Father's Day.

Nintendo Switch - $299

Believe it or not, you aren't the only ones that like to have screen time and video games are the perfect way to blow off some steam and have some fun all at the same time. And with a game like Breath of the Wild Zelda bringing back our iconic partnership with Link that began when we were just kids.

Nintendo now has ARMS from the team behind the hit game Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Choose a unique fighting champion, equip your own combination of extendable arms and then battle it out with friends and family! Using a mix of button presses and quick hand motions, ARMS allows you to throw tactical punches or avoid incoming attacks. Unleash your inner fighter in this unbelievable sporting event!







Motorola Moto Z Force with Moto Mods - $720

This is by far the coolest phone I have owned and it makes me feel like James Bond (moment of silence for Sir Roger Moore please) with all the attachments that come with it your dad will feel like a spy too. Available at Verizon, the Motorola MotoZForce has Moto Mods that expand its capability beyond just a smartphone. The JBL speaker Moto Mod, turns your phone into a portable sound system, the Hasselblad Moto Mod turns it into a high functioning camera, and the Moto InstaShare Projector lets you share all your content without needing to connect to another device.






Canary - Home Monitoring System - $169

There isn't anything more gratifying as a dad knowing that you're doing everything you can to keep your family safe. With the Canary, it connects to your home Wi-Fi system and provides a real-time look at what is happening at home when you can't be there. The Canary will send notifications when you are away of any activity it senses 180 degrees in front of the camera. Watch live video from your smartphone when you receive a notification and you can sound an alarm if you don't recognize the intruder. The app will also allow you to immediately call 911 in case the intrusion is unwarranted. Keep track of the person feeding your pets as Canary records activity in video which can be archived.





JORD - Wood Watch - $295

We may like to wear cargo shorts most of the time or socks with sandals on the regular. But, for those times when we need to look respectable, we want to get noticed for all the right reasons. JORD Wood Watches are the accent pieces to a night out with your mother or a fancy soiree where we are wearing pants that don't have a drawstring. Made with a variety of wood grains and materials, there is a JORD watch for every style.





Navdy - Navigation System - $499

Yep, we are too proud to sometimes ask for directions and looking at our phone is going to be a dead giveaway that this country road with a dead end wasn't part of the "scenic tour" . With Navdy, we can keep our eyes on the road and play our questionably embarrassing music right from our phone in front of your friends. Better yet, we can control directions, respond to texts, and make phone calls with a simple gesture. What better way to set a good example for the tweens and teens learning how to drive than to show them that knowing what is up ahead and paying attention to the road are the most important aspects of driving safely.







Beautyrest Sleeptracker Monitor - $199

We don't know it yet, but this little gadget just may save our lives. Too many people have some sort of sleep disorder and it all stems from bad sleeping habits. We all know that without proper sleep, we aren't bright-eyed and bushy tailed in the morning. What was it that our own dads used to say? The early bird gets the worm?  The Sleeptracker Monitor from Beautyrest keeps track of our sleep habits and coaches us towards a goal for better rest.







Nest Learning Thermostat - $249 

We know that you're pretty adept at the latest gadgets and gizmos of the time but when it comes to technology in the house don't you ever, EVER touch the thermostat! End the battle of hot and cold by getting dad a thermostat that learns what the family's patterns are all about. Nest looks out for you by sending safety alerts, filter reminders, and a heads up when the furnace is acting up before it becomes a problem. Use Nest for a week and it will actually program itself. When your system is running efficiently, Nest will award you with a leaf to let you know that you're saving energy and money. There's literally nothing dads love more than saving money.





Retroviewer - $29.99

The tough thing about taking great photographs is to do with all of those old pictures of you and your dad that turn out so well? Retroviewer is the answer. He probably had one of these when he was a kid and it probably cost a nickel. Now, you can bring back a little nostalgia and when he's done viewing old pics of you two together, he can complain about getting something in his eye. Build your own reel that he can view over and over again. Then he can regale you with stories about seeing his first "moving pictures" when he snuck into a theater with the other newsboys.






Tile - $70 - Mate and Slim Combo Pack



Always losing your keys and wallet? I am. But since I've had a Tile Slim and Tile Mate, I don't have to worry about that anymore. I attach the Mate to my keys and the Slim stays in my wallet. If I can't find either, I use an app on my phone that locates it via GPS tracking and I retrace my steps until I find it. Can't see very well? All Tiles emit a very loud sound to help you discover its location even if it is inside a pants pocket or inside a zipped bag. The cool thing is if you have the reverse problem and you lose your phone, you can depress the "E" on the Tile and it will ring your phone even when it is on silent! With Tile, I can't lose anything. Now if only they made one for my mind!




Samsung NX300 DSLR Mirrorless Camera - $400


Everywhere I go, people ask me about this camera. Probably because they have never seen a white camera before so it is unique, but the Samsung NX300 is a camera I was sold on from the very first picture I took. The speed is amazing and it shoots under low light better than any other camera I have owned.  It's so small and lightweight, I can put it in my cargo pants pocket and when I am on vacation, I don't need a huge outfit to get excellent quality pictures. The 20.3 megapixel camera gives you amazing detail and it captures with ease. Built in functionality with your smartphone can sync images directly using its own Wi-Fi to transfer. It makes it much easier to share on social media and back photos up with Google Photos without worrying about losing images. With Samsung phasing out their digital photography division, you can probably find this at a better deal. My only suggestion would be to not take it to the beach, where sand gummed up my shutter release button. Below are some images I took with the camera.







Disclaimer: I use and enjoy all of these products. Only the Nest was supplied to me for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.