Friday, April 18, 2014

Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments

Have you ever been sidelined by a sickness that just never seemed to go away? Have you found yourself trapped inside because of inclement weather with the kids and they are bugging you every second? Have your kids ever said "I'm bored there is NOTHING to do!"? Well, I am here to save you with an amazing book called Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments by Mike Adamick.

A recent bout of pink eye in my youngest daughter over Spring Break had us sidelined from public activities. While my older kids were washing their hands every three minutes and I was attending to the little one, we were on house arrest with not much to do.  All I had to say was "Hey kids, want to do some science experiments?" and they were all over it.

The great thing about the book is that the materials are mostly household things that you may already have. Just scrolling through the pages, I had about six activities that I could do in an afternoon without the need to go out and buy anything.

Each project comes with an explanation, a list of materials, and the background behind the project. It explains in details the concepts behind the experiments so that you can teach your children just why something happened and impart real facts that they can use at school. Just imagine your child dropping some knowledge about propulsion on her 1st grade teacher and how well your next parent-teacher conference is going to be because of it.

Each kid picked an experiment to try and we focused on Shiny Pennies, Balloon Rocket, and their favorite, Rock Candy!

SHINY PENNIES


My daughter was all about shiny pennies because she had LOTS of them in her piggy bank and it was a safe and easy thing for her to do.

BALLOON ROCKET

My son was all about the rocket propulsion that was about to happen in our living room and the fact that it only took me four basic materials to set up made it easy for me too.

ROCK CANDY


Not only is science cool, but it can also be delicious. Any experiment that ends in creating candy is a winner in my book and the science of cooking is one I try to pass on to my kids normally, so this experiment was doubly exciting. I even had adults reacting to my posts on Instagram during the process, so you know it must be fun!




You can learn more about Mike Adamick and Dad's Book of Awesome Science Experiments on his blog and you can purchase the book from Amazon now. Buy it today!



Friday, April 11, 2014

Philly Dads Group Is Off and Running With HKRS

Now that the weather here in Pennsylvania is much warmer, my kids have been itching to be outside and active, not cooped up in a house shut in by the weather. Kids need exercise to stay healthy and to keep their bodies in good shape and The Healthy Kids Running Series does just that.

The Healthy Kids Running Series (HKRS) is a five week running program in the spring and fall for kids ages 3-14. Founded in the Greater Philadelphia region, HKRS has grown to a national program hosting 50 race series in 17 states.

To combat the increasing rates of child obesity in America, HKRS provides kids with a positive, educational, and fun experience in the world of running, motivates kids to be healthy and adopt a “Get Up and Go” attitude.

My dad's group, Philly Dads Group which is part of the #CityDads group and my own kids have been given an opportunity from HKRS to participate in this event. The first (10 kids) dads to RSVP to this event will receive FREE entry into the event, a $35 value!

My kids, ages 3, 6, and 9 will all be participating in this race in Wayne, PA. The series run five weeks offering age appropriate running events including the 50 yard dash, the 1/4 mile, the 1/2 mile and the one mile run. Alternate dates for running in the series are Sundays in April on the 13th and 27th and May 4th and 11th and run from 4pm - 530pm. I will be posting pictures of their progress throughout the series and their times to see how they have improved.

The age groups run their respective races by distance with 3-4 yr olds running the 50 yard dash, the K & 1st Graders run the 1/4 mile, 2nd & 3rd grades run the 1/2 mile, and 4th-8th grades will run the mile.

It doesn’t matter how fast or slow kids run. Each and every participant receives a medal and gift bag for his or her achievement. Kids compete each week for a chance to earn points with the top boy and girl with the most points in their respective age divisions receive a trophy.

We look forward to being a part of this event here in Wayne, PA. If you know a great dad in the Philadelphia area that would like to be a part of this event, please join our Meetup group and RSVP. If you would like more information on the Healthy Kids Running Series or would like to bring this event to your town visit their website and contribute to making kids in America healthier and happier.


FTC Disclaimer: As an ambassador of this program I was supplied with three free entries to this event and a gift card from HKRS and Philadelphia Runner (@PhillyRun).

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Time To Do The #Ickies Shuffle


Kids are disgusting. Even worse are the messes they leave behind. My least favorite thing in the entire world, even worse than going to the grocery store, is cleaning the house. I would think that if Dante cleaned his own toilets, that area between the seat and the tank would have been included as one of the rings of hell.

Thankfully, there are products from the folks at Clorox who do most of the heavy lifting for us, taking care of those #ickies that linger, threatening to sideline our kids and ourselves from certain fun.

I bet you have a disgusting story to tell about cleaning up after them or some epic cleaning fiasco. Everyone does. Here's your chance to share and score some awesome prizes!

How To Be A Dad and Mom Spark have teamed up for the craziest Twitter Party giveaway EVER and it is happening on Wednesday, April 9th at 3PM PT/ 6PM ET and follow #Ickies on Twitter.

HERE'S THE DIRT ON THE EVENT:

  • $2,500 in Twitter prizes
  • $100 Good anywhere gift cards given out every 10 minutes!
  • $100 and GRAND PRIZE ARTWORK a Custom Movie Poster Prize featuring YOU and your chosen genre
  • Audience driven improv done by Rachel Dratch of SNL fame and Second City Communications!

How is that going to work via Twitter you say?



Sounds Awesome! So What Do I Do To Participate?

Here is what you need to participate:

1. A Twitter account and an internet connection.

2. The ability to spend money, should you win.
3. You’ll also need to RSVP. Use the Rafflecopter entry form below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was compensated by Life of Dad, LLC for this partnership

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

9 Ways You Can Help Your Stay At Home Husband

If you are a stay at home parent then you know there are things that you and your working spouse handle things differently.

But, you both work long hours, your day doesn't just come to an end at night, and you have to get up the next day and do it all over again and again, and again.

Through observations in a stay at home dad group I help admin, I have noticed some issues between SAHDs and their spouses. Luckily, my wife and I have learned some things along the way during these past six years of being at home. If your husband is staying at home or thinking about it, you may want to keep these suggestions in mind.

1) Let it Go.

Sorry if you are now singing that Frozen song. You are going to need to let your at home dad do things his way. I know it is hard and there are things that are going to bug you, like that he wipes the counter counterclockwise instead of clockwise but we are hoping you can let that slide. He is going to have to find out on his own what his schedule on his terms will be. Suggestions on how to make things more efficient are fine but in the end, we will want to do things our own way. Imposing your will on us may just shut us down more. Let us figure it out and come up with a schedule that fits with our parenting style.

2) Don't Nag.

Nothing is going to get us motivated less than when you are constantly asking us to do something. We are aware of our shortcomings and in most cases, we are trying to find that balance between caring for the kids and managing the household duties. Give us some time. Sometimes, things go by the wayside because we get overwhelmed.

3) Set Clear Expectations

Sit down together and communicate about the things you expect to be accomplished each day. Some couples think that just managing to keep the kids alive and healthy is enough but others may have other expectations about cleanliness, meal preparation, etc. Make sure, in the end that you are on the same page. This will help cut down on problems later.

4) Cleaning House

If we were anal retentive when you met us with things needing to be clean, this is probably carrying over into our lives with the kids, maybe even more so. But, if you remember a time when you met us where we maintained our apartment but it didn't meet your standards, this is more than likely what is going to continue in the home especially when you add the kids into the mix.

Cleaning sucks and there are lots of things we would rather do than clean that space between the toilet seat and the tank, like play with the kids. Do a floor check. Get down on the ground and play with the kids. See things from their level. If you are disgusted and would rather but a blanket down before lying in that filth then it is time to put on your Mr. Clean hat.

5) Help Out When You Can

This is a big issue with most SAHDs. We know you have been working all day and you probably have to work into the night as well but any assistance you give us is going to be much appreciated. Men tend to internalize issues until they build up and are afraid to ask for help because we know you are doing so much already and don't want to start a fight. This is where clear expectations come into play.(See #3) Tag team the nighttime routine. Ask your husband how he usually does things so you can stay consistent.  That is really going to help us into the next day with the kids. Deviation is going to cause problems with our routine.

6) Communicate Effectively

If there is something that needs to get done and we aren't doing it, tell us in a way that is not attacking. Men tend to get defensive when our shortcomings are pointed out. I often have difficulty with criticism because I respond better to praise.  Sandwich the request with some compliments on what we are doing right. That softens the blow and makes us more willing to work on our weaknesses than just pointing out what we aren't doing right.

7) Pencil Us In

We know you are tired and so are we but please, work us into your schedule because WE want to be in your inbox. Plough through that work together. See what I did there? It relieves stress and helps you reconnect with each other despite all the stuff you have to do. Instead, do each other.

8) Give Us Some Space

We need guy time as much as you need girl's night out. Offer to watch the kids so we can go to that action movie you would never watch with us, or suggest that we get together with the guys at a restaurant or bar to blow off some steam. You know how it is at bedtime and on weekends. Imagine your incompetent co-workers hassling you all day. Same deal. Sometimes we just want to drive to Target to walk around aimlessly without someone asking us for something.


9) Take Time For Yourself

We want you to be as rested and sharp as possible because you are providing for our family and you deserve it. If you need some time alone or away from the kids, just ask. We can plan to have them away for a bit while you nap, need to catch up on work, or head out to the store by yourself. Just know that eventually, we are coming back.


Friday, March 21, 2014

I Get To Do This

A post on Forbes ranked the nine toughest leadership roles that someone can hold. Stay at home parent was number one.

It beat out Corporate CEO, United States Congressperson, Editor for Daily Newspaper (whatever that is), Mayor, Rabbi, Pastor, Mullah, or other Holy Leader, Football Coach, Second In Command of any Organization, and University President. I'm calling bullshit.

I'll be the first guy to celebrate all the things we do as stay at home parents. It is a tough job and it has it's ups and downs no less than any other job.  Being a stay at home parent is tough and it takes sacrifice but, it also takes a willing partnership to really make it work.

It takes trust and confidence in each other's abilities. One supports the other in a partnership of epic proportions.

There is a saying in boy scouts that we don't "have" to do anything, that we "get" do it instead. The same thing holds true for my job as a stay at home dad. Without my wife, I wouldn't be here. If she wasn't successful at providing for our family I would be teaching and most likely, missing out on all these moments with my kids. I get to stay at home because of her.

It is because of my wife, a working mom, that any of this even happens. It is the working parent that has it tough. It is the working parent who gets dumped on too often when unfortunately, money is what makes the world go round and not kisses on boo-boos or making the kid's lunches.

She is the one that has to leave the teary eyed kids in the morning. Our three year old often says "You're going to work AGAIN?" to which she replies "Yes honey, I love going to work"

 She deals with the kids with such grace though let's face it, she LOVES to work. Not because she wants to leave us for the day but because she really excels at what she does. We remind the kids that she does love it. It's not all about money because we don't want our kids to think that is the reason behind work. Love what you do and the fact that you get paid for it will make it even sweeter.

Working parents sacrifice everything for the good of their family. They go in early, they work late and they miss out on things that they wish they didn't have to watch from a previously recorded program. I love seeing my son's play or my daughter's concert in person but honestly I wish my wife could be there with me to see it too.

My wife's work doesn't begin and end at the office. It is a constant struggle to fight through emails and make the meetings and to deliver all these things on time because people need things NOW, NOW. NOW. Dealing with the kids is sort of the same but the difference is they can wait. Or rather, that you can teach them how to wait for their constant need for Goldfish. Businesses don't take timeouts. If you want to get anywhere, you need to deliver and that is what she does for us.

It's stressful to be the the primary breadwinner. So much is riding on your success. The family is depending on you to bring home the bacon. I can only imagine the number of times where she has just wanted to walk out or scream only to look up in her office and see a picture of our family and know that she has to forge ahead. Thank you honey, we literally owe everything to you.

We know that you sacrifice your time and energy into everything you do. The fact that you have anything left in the tank to deal with me and the kids during your "down time" is a testament to your strength.

Thank you for having faith in me to take care of the children. Thank you for supporting me when I'm down and picking me up when I most need it. Thank you for taking care of us and providing for the things we need. Thank you for letting me "get to" do this.






Friday, March 14, 2014

11 Ways St. Patrick's Day is Different With Kids


I have been to enough Irish pubs in my time to know two things about Ireland.  First, there is no such thing as happy hour unless you count the hour when the pub opens. Secondly, the end of the night is always going to end up with you eating some kind of chips to soak up the Guinness fermenting inside.

I went to Ireland twice, thankfully during a time when digital cameras were not prevalent and disposable cameras were the way to go. So many embarrassing pictures were avoided because of my 24 shot limit. Taking pictures of yourself and in a bar just wasn't done unless you were with some girls. 

There weren't selfies or photobombs, just the plastic click and the grating wind of the Walgreens special.  Which, if you were lucky enough, for a few extra bucks could get one with a flash and another third of your pictures might come out. 

The adventures over there started immediately. The Emerald Isle was more mysterious than the one we saw Jack Shepard on though there were no literal smoke monsters. I lost my best friend in Dublin the very first night and somehow staggered to my hostel though I had no recollection of where I was actually staying.  We never made it to the Guinness brewery though our rental car smelled like one for days.

I climbed Croagh Patrick, the third highest mountain in County Mayo despite my feeble American “conditioning” and was passed by a 90 year old man with a shillelagh who told me to “Pick it up or get the fuck off the mountain”.

I stayed in a bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere surrounded by pictures of Jesus and crucifixion crosses over my bed while our travelling companion in the next room woke the entire house because of his night terrors.  Because of that the owner thought we were demons and I slept in a tiny European car, trying to fold my legs like a circus clown.

I've paid for two nights at a B&B in Cork but never actually slept in the room where my luggage was. I hit numerous golf balls into the ocean and was even chased by some townies with pitchforks and brooms after a crazy night at a pub on the west coast.

I’ve seen the majesty of the Cliffs of Moher and dangled my legs over the side despite any guardrails whatsoever. I am guessing that anyone stupid enough to go over deserves it and anyone who doesn't truly has the Luck O’ The Irish. 

I have visited Blarney Castle and have tipped a shifty Irishman for spotting me while I hung upside down to kiss the stone.  Luckily for me, he was there to tell me to “mind my nut” which is something I had to do a lot of over there as I was dubbed “The Two Meter Man”. Sometimes I felt like Hagrid.

While there was no pot of gold, there were many containers of liquid gold consumed and even run ins with the Garda while I tossed traffic pylons around Trinity College. Harp and Guinness are good for you but can also have some influence on your behavior.

You truly haven’t seen green until you have been to Ireland. Not even the Chicago River comes close even on the day that they dye it greener than it usually is.

Clearly,a lot has changed since then. A LOT. I had hair back then and lots of it. Every St. Patrick’s Day makes me think about those days in Ireland and my time with my Irish friends in Chicago.

So here's my list of St. Patrick's Day comparisons between BEFORE kids and NOW

  • Before, I thought leprechauns were chasing me. Now I am the one chasing little leprechauns.
  • Before, I was bar hopping in Chicago without a coat. Now, I tell my kids if their heads aren't covered, they are going to get sick.
  • Before I was drinking until the wee hours of the morning. Now I have to get up in the middle of the night to go wee.
  • Before I started the night going out at 11. Now, I am ready to get in bed at 11.
  • Before, I was drunkenly dancing a jig. Now, I am trying to teach my kids how to get jiggy with it.
  • Before I was interested in causing mischief. Now I am trying to maintain the mischief.
  • Before, I used to start drinking at 10 am and go until 4 am the next day. Now, I can hardly get through the day without daddy's quiet time.
  • Before, we were Paddy training. Now, we are Potty training.
  • Before I was spending lots of time with pints. Now I am spending time with pint sized children.
  •  Before I sang a rousing rendition of Whiskey In The Jar. Now, I am singing Let It Go.
  •  Before, my favorite sounds were Slainte! and Black 47. Now, I look forward to “Time for  Bed!” and lullabies. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Superhero

When I became a stay at home dad almost five years ago I had most of the concerns that most of us have starting out. How was I going to run the household successfully and take care of all the kids at the same time without going crazy?

As a former teacher in a K-8 school for three years, and in a high school for seven years, I felt that I had the necessary training for dealing with everything a kid could throw at you. I was excited and nervous at the same time. I was looking forward to focusing on teaching only my kids instead of everyone else’s kids.

 I have had many rewarding moments as a teacher. I have had students that have been very successful and who have come back to share their success with me as they grew up into adults. However, there is no feeling greater than your own kids making you proud of the people they are becoming, when you know that you had a part in making that happen.

There is one such moment as my tenure as DadNCharge. Being a stay at home dad means that you are constantly going to be around moms. While we are a growing breed there is still that contingent of stay at home moms that make everything happen and being around them intimidated me. I didn’t understand how they could so easily make friends with chit-chat; they seemed so at ease with each other. Meanwhile, I picked up my kids from pre-school, waved to the teacher and made a bee-line for the minivan.

When it came time for my son to go to elementary school I really felt the added pressure. Parents were volunteering left and right and getting so involved in their kids’ schoolwork. I thought “How am I going to add this to the million things I already do?” 

 Long story short, I found a way. I became a classroom volunteer and talked to other moms. I even became a part of a group that called themselves the Y Mommies whom were the moms of the pre-school kids at our local YMCA. 

After some time it didn’t matter that I was the only dad among these great moms. All of them loved that I was a stay at home dad. Many of their kids had fathers that were not positive role models and they used to tell me that it gave them hope that there were good dads out there.

The ultimate compliment however, came from my 7 year old son when he was in first grade. The teacher asked the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  Asking a kid what he wants to do when he grows up is constantly in flux. Heck, I wanted to be an archaeologist when I “grew up” but I think that had to do more with getting chased by a giant ball and a certain fedora wearing professor than anyone. 

Kids in his class were seated in a circle and sharing what they wanted to be. Many of the kids said typical things like baseball players, doctors, firefighters, and police officers. I was watching my son with great anticipation. He seemed very excited about what he was going to share.

The time came for my son to take his turn and to be honest I was super intrigued about what he would say. For the longest time he wanted to be a superhero and that changed to a toy-maker. He shocked everyone including myself when he said “I want to be a stay at home dad.” 

That moment solidified my faith in what I was doing at home was making a difference. My son had become a loving, thoughtful, and polite young man to his younger sisters and I know it is because he sees the way that I love them and emulates it.

When I get discouraged about not doing enough or feeling like I don’t make a difference in the world I remember this day the most.


I have since then treated every day as an opportunity to be the best dad I can be for my kids. Hey, if I beat out the superhero job for future consideration I must have some super powers of my own.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tocomail : The Email App For Kids

Tocomail is the new app for iOS. It has created an app for kids with multiple platforms for kids ages 5 to 8 and another for kids 8+. Parents will like the safety features like control over the contact list, while kids love all the fun features, like an extensive drawing board.

You use the app by setting up the account under your own name which informs you of your child's activity with the app via email. Any time the child tries to add a contact, you are sent a notification of the change. Also, children can't access the app without first accessing the parent page which helps you control them using it without you being present. For this reason, this app is ideal because it relies on your supervision to make it work. 

However, you must think about what you want your children to be exposed to. Does a five year old really need email? If you want your children to send something to Grandma or Grandpa, aren't your going to send it for them anyway? With my son being eight, I decided that with my supervision, this would be a good introduction to what email is about. He knows that we send and receive emails but the concept is still foreign to him. However, he does know what a text is. Then I tried to explain that emails were electronic letters that you send via the internet and he had his confused face look. 

Tocomail's new mobile app is now available for download in the iTunes App Store and will be available soon in the Google Play Store. Tocomail is also available on the web at www.tocomail.com. You can see how Tocomail works first hand by checking out the demo video on YouTube. 

If you do decide that this is a good fit for your family you can add multiple children to the account as well and as you can see below, you can shift from one user to the other without much of a hassle. You can use this app to teach your children about how to use email, kids can draw pictures and send them directly to Nana or Grandpa right from your phone.

Tocomail is free on the web and in the App Store, with a $2.99/month or $29.99 annual premium service option. But if you enter below in the giveaway, you have a chance to win a code for the $29.99 premium service for one year.  I will be giving away 10 codes until March 24th.
 

FTC Disclaimer: I was given a free code for Tocomail Premium service for one year ($29.99 value) in exchange for this review and provided 10 codes for the giveaway of this service. All opinions expressed are solely the thoughts of DadNCharge.

Why I Don't Like Squirrels

Photo credit- Flickr : Doug Wheller

Back in high school when I still lived with my parents in their basement, my younger brother and I fought an epic battle against the deadliest of foes.


We came home after school one day and headed down to my room which was in the basement next to my father's office. Walking by his office I noticed something was wrong. It was trashed beyond belief. Tiles in the drop ceiling were down, papers strewn about everywhere, and shredded paper covered the floor.

We thought that someone had broken in but noticed that nothing was gone anywhere else in the house. Once before, we had trouble with animals gaining entry to our house when a mother raccoon decided to have her babies inside our chimney. When my parents came home,  we told them what we saw and they called our local animal trapper. Trapper Dan.

Trapper Dan surmised that a raccoon had somehow gained access to the attic and somehow was getting into the house. My room and my dad's office were located towards the back of the basement near the laundry room and could be isolated by closing a door between that space and the rest of the house. We kept that door closed and Trapper Dan put animal traps with cat food bait in the laundry room and attic to catch the critter.

Of course, I still slept in my own room but kept the door closed although I didn't sleep that much because at night I would hear the scratching in the walls. It seemed like it was everywhere!

The next morning, I got up to use the bathroom and was sitting on the throne when I heard the scratching right behind me. It was in the walls! I finished up and cautiously entered the laundry room. The cage was there but the cat food was gone, the culprit made a clean getaway!

We couldn't figure out why the trap hadn't caught them. These raccoons were really smart, so we re-baited the traps.

We went about our business as usual. My brother and I went to school and we returned later in the day, I was frankly sick of having to open the isolated door everyday and make sure nothing got past me into the rest of the house. I needed to do laundry and had to be in that room to get it done.

I loaded up my basket and snuck into the back room. As a turned the corner I came face to face with the culprit. THE SQUIRREL. It froze. I froze. I stared at it and it's little beady eyes stared back and me.
The Beast

Having watched Christmas Vacation a billion times in my life I knew that catching this squirrel was not going to be easy. Catching it in a coat and smacking it with a hammer was not ideal. Clark Griswold taught me that.

I had to keep him from going back up through the wall and escaping and I needed to end this now.
I slowly backed out of the room quietly, letting him proceed with the cat food, hoping that he would be there when I got back.

I rushed upstairs to find my brother "Brett! I found the animal, it's a SQUIRREL!" Brett looked at me, narrowed his eyes and said "The only good varmint, is a dead varmint."

We went into the garage looking for anything to suit up with. Imagine the scene where Rambo prepares for battle. We certainly didn't want this thing to attach itself to our face. We didn't know what it was capable of and my mind kept going back to the Monty Python rabbit scene.

My brother decided on a catcher's mask and and umbrella. I grabbed my BB gun, a hockey glove for the exposed hand, and my helmet. I really wanted that catcher's mask as I envisioned it's little paws gouging out my eyeballs out but I had the gun, not to mention I was 6'7"! How difficult could it be?

We crept slowly downstairs and acting like a movie SEAL team trying to communicate with hand signals. I pumped the BB gun an insane amount of times. "WHAT?" my brother said too loudly. "Shhhh! We don't want to scare it. It's go time." I said and we went in.

The squirrel was there, still eating. It stopped when it saw us and reared up on his hind legs. I thought it was going to jump at us. It looked toward the wall at the escape route. I took aim and shot it before it had a chance to disappear.

Photo by http://pensivesquirrel.wordpress.com/
It went down immediately and we celebrated. But both my brother and I were hesitant to make sure it was really dead.  We had seen enough horror movies to know that this moment was exactly when Chucky popped up and claimed his victim. Cautiously, I walked up to it and poked it with the BB rifle.

That's when it popped up and made a run at us. I tried to kick it and Brett took a mighty swing like Frank Thomas trying to put The Big Hurt on the retreating squirrel. He connected and in the process hit the side of the washing machine, the umbrella shattering into pieces as he lost his only weapon. "I'm out!" he exclaimed and peeled away from the tiny invader.

The squirrel, stunned but still not out, popped up again and started to go towards the space in the wall from whence he came. My brother is not a person of blazing speed but in that moment, he rose to the occasion. I felt like I was watching it in slo mo.  In one deft movement, he grabbed my basket, dumped the laundry, and tried to pin the squirrel to the ground with his new implement.

Unfortunately, there was the pipe from the A/C unit running to the drain in the floor impeding the contact with the ground, giving the squirrel an inch of space to work with. It flipped and writhed towards that space knowing that if it got out it was free to eat more cat food. "Not today squirrel!" he yelled imposing all the force physics would allow.

The epic battle between my brother and the squirrel raged on. I reloaded in slow motion and pumped the BB gun until my arms ached. It was time to end it. I finally stood over the squirrel and said "Hasta la vista squirrel" and bagged the little rodent.

Since that day, squirrels have acted differently around me and the squirrels in other states have taken notice like there is a secret society that has me marked. I have no love for squirrels. I own a Yankee Flipper bird feeder for this reason. My dad has battled with squirrels. He even had to extract one that crawled inside the cage of the squirrel proof feeder and got stuck.

I don't even like the cartoon squirrel from Ice Age. And while some other bloggers like Dadscribe enjoy squirrels, I do not. There are Facebook pages like Squirrels are Evil and Are Taking Over the World and there are groups like N.A.D.S dedicated to an anti-squirrel movement. All I know is that ever since that day, the deal with me and squirrels was off. I wouldn't want it any other way. Game on squirrels, game on.

Only one squirrel was harmed in the making of this post and if you think they are cute and innocent, check out the below video.




Monday, March 3, 2014

Run A Fast Break on Cooking


When it comes to cooking I am looking for the fast break option. I don't have time to run a play or set a screen on the screaming toddler. I need to score quickly and I need it to be delicious and nutritious. I need it to be something fun that my kids will love eating and I need to get it on the table before the clock winds down.

The perfect way to make this happen is with frozen foods. Frozen foods provide delicious produce, perfectly-portioned meals, and a variety of ethnic cuisines and dishes to meet strict dietary needs. Not only that but fruits and vegetables are captured at the peak of their ripeness and frozen to lock in all their natural vitamins and it has been done naturally for centuries.


You might think that looking at some of these frozen foods that there is no room to create.  Just like on the basketball court, there is always room to create. With the help of EasyHomeMeals.com, you can find recipes that are quick and easy to make for your family while catering to your personal needs and likes, most of which can be met right there in the frozen food aisle.  Talk about a SLAM DUNK!

As a stay at home dad who does most of the shopping, I regularly purchase from the freezer aisle because they are a better value and with perfect portion sizes, there is no waste and no danger of overeating.  But most of all, because of the speed and easy preparation making it more convenient. The freezer aisle includes options that cover snack-time, lunch, dinner, entertaining, and specialty food occasions like The madness of March basketball. These foods help me break some ankles in the kitchen.



Life of Dad and The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association has teamed up and have asked me to participate in the #FrozenChefMadness promotion.  

Fifteen other dad bloggers and I will be competing for the title of Frozen Chef during the #FrozenChefMadness promotion.

I am going to take three frozen food items and turn them into the greatest recipe you have ever seen. Or in other words, just another day as a stay at home parent. 

I call my recipe the Pick and Roll which is featured to the right.  Can you believe that three of the ingredients featured came from frozen food?


Now, I am going to put you in the game. Because I want YOU to win also. 

HERE'S WHAT YOU DO:

YOU COULD WIN: 

  • Grand prize: $800
  • Second place: $250
  • Third place: $150
  • Fourth place: $100

Easy Home Meals judging criteria:

  • Creativity of recipe (30%)
  • How hungry the photo makes us/enticing factor (30%) and
  • Utilization of frozen food products (40%)

Visit the Life of Dad page for official rules and more details. 


Be sure to join us for the #FrozenChefMadness Twitter party on March 19th at 9pm (EST) to learn all about the great recipes and to win some cool prizes.

Let's make this Bracket Challenge a Cinderella story and bring a win home!



FTC DisclaimerI have partnered with Life of Dad, LLC for the#FrozenChefMadness promotion.  Sponsored by NFRA ( https://www.nfraweb.org/), the #FrozenChefMadness promotion gives anybody the chance to win a $800 Visa gift card.