Category Archives: sponsored

Creeping Out At Monster High

 

It didn’t take very long to realize that my daughter shares my interest in things that others might consider weird, a bit macabre. The first movie that she sat through entirely was a black and white cartoon about a kid who resurrects his dead dog, she wanted something with zombies for her first video game and Halloween has always been her favorite time of the year.  Many of her dolls have been drawn on or otherwise modified to look like escapees from some sort of haunted toy store. When other children were trying to decide which Dr Seuss character to dress up as for World Book Day, celebrated on the deceased children’s author’s birthday, mine was asking if we could go visit him at the cemetery.  She wanted to see if his bones were having a party.

 

Monster High
just another Saturday

 

Unfortunately, she isn’t quite as fearless as she would like to be. Wednesday night I had a nocturnal bed invader who had been dreaming about “skeletons chasing me around my room” and she always skips the snake displays at the pet store.  She’s “big girl” enough to be allowed downstairs to watch television for a little while on weekend mornings without waking me up, not big enough to handle a slasher flick when the remote wasn’t working and a premium channel was inadvertently left on.

Mattel’s Monster High makes a great compromise.  Set in the town of New Salem, the books, toys, TV specials and direct to video movies feature the offspring of all of the great Universal Studios monsters that I grew up loving.  The daughters of Count Dracula, The Mummy Ramses de Nile, Gill-Man ( The Creature From The Black Lagoon ) and Frankenstein’s monster are all here, among others.

 

On March 28 a new movie, Monster High: Electrified will be released on DVD, Blu Ray, and Digital HD and we’re excited enough about it to team up with our buddies at FandadsDaddy’s Grounded, CuteMonster, and the Poppin Bottles Dad Cast to give away ten copies.  I received no compensation other than a copy for ourselves. Just follow the instructions, take a minute to visit some of the guys, and you’re entered. Good luck!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Very Berry Bonding

 

As I prepare this site for renewal and think about the two years that have passed since I started blogging, one of the surprise benefits that have come of this endeavor are the different groups of people that it has brought me into contact with.  New opportunities for discussion and the exchange of ideas that I’ve really come to enjoy being a part of.

Several of these groups are dad related of course, including the fine gentlemen at Life of Dad, who, along with Cheerios, I have partnered with for this post.

One of the things that I have noticed is that whenever a new father or father-to-be asks for community advice on how to be a “good dad”, the overwhelming constant in the responses is the idea of “being there.”  That the single most important thing that we can do is also the simplest, to give them our time.

I’ve written about a lot of different things in the past two years, but one thing I notice when scrolling through my old posts is that there is never more than a week or so that goes by without publishing something about time spent either with my wife or one of the girls. Whether it’s a date night, an afternoon movie with the teenager or simply running around the woods with the mini, these are the moments that mean the most.

 

berry bonding
my little navigator

 

It’s not always easy.  If there is one thing we all long for as parents, it’s more hours in the day.  I took the day off for Martin Luther King Jr Day and we had a great time at the Connecticut Children’s Museum, but more often than not an hour or so in the basement playing Wii or a few trips down the backyard slide are all that I can fit in.

 

Backyard Bonding
backyard bonding

 

The one time that we can always count on is mornings.  I work nights so I need to make sure I’m there for breakfast and the daily school run.  With the all new Very Berry Cheerios, the first part is easy. With real berry taste in each bite, I’m no longer searching for ways to dress up a simple bowl of cold cereal.  No matter how much of a hassle getting dressed and out the door may be, this is something that I know that the five year old will always eat, anywhere, anytime. They are gluten free and contain no artificial flavors or colors from artificial sources. It’s also helpful to not have to wash mashed strawberries or blueberries off of her face when we are done.

 

how does this happen?

 

Have your own picture like this?  Cheerios wants to see it!  Share to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #berrieseverywhere and be sure to tag @cheerios.

 

There are lots of different ways that we can choose to spend time with our kids.

Maybe it’s a trip to the movies

 

Maybe it’s bath time

 

Whatever you choose, do it together and do it often.  If you can find a great snack to eat while you’re at it, all the better.

 

berry bonding
even teenagers like it!

 

 

I was provided product and compensation for this post.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

From Kitchen to Steakhouse, Commoner to #kingofsoup

 

We spent a lot of time over winter break cleaning the house. Cleaning might actually not be the best word for it, complete purge and reorganization might be more accurate.  I’m a pretty organized person, believing strongly ( too strongly according to my wife ) that everything needs to have it’s own “place”.  The youngest seems to share this trait but it doesn’t stop the accumulation of “stuff” all over the house.  Several times a year I reach the ends of my tolerance. Purge and reorganization.

 

Dining room, or disaster area?

 

This time around I decided to go a step further.

With two kids, a dog, a bunny, and jobs that have my wife and I working different shifts, dinners out have become increasingly rare. I’m still grilling whenever possible, but all too often family dinners are a slab of meat and potatoes quickly consumed in front of the television.  A recent survey conducted by Idahoan® Foods found that 79% of Americans, including 92% of parents, wish it were easier to recreate a steakhouse experience at home.  I wasn’t just going to clean up the kitchen and dining room, I was going to turn this place into a true steakhouse.

 

the staff is ready

 

Finding good help proved easy enough, both girls eager to earn a few extra dollars.  I had the location cleared and the propane full, but there was still one more thing that was needed to make the experience complete.  An easy, convenient side dish that also tasted delicious.

This is where Idahoan® Premium Steakhouse® Potato Soups came to the rescue.  Unlike other dry soups that take more than fifteen minutes to prepare by stove,  by just adding water Idahoan® Premium Steakhouse® Potato Soups deliver the flavorful, slow cooked taste of restaurant quality potato soup within five minutes.

 

Ready in 5 minutes

 

This soup is the real deal, filled with real Idaho®  red potatoes and red potato skins.  Available in four flavor varieties : Creamy Potato, Loaded Potato, Cheddar Broccoli, and Three Cheese Chipotle, these are hearty soups, perfectly suited to complement any steakhouse meal.

I have partnered with Life of Dad and Idahoan®Foods for this campaign, receiving product and compensation for my involvement, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.  Along with a bunch of other great dad bloggers, I was challenged to turn my home into a genuine steakhouse, to prove to the world that I was the once and future #kingofsoup.  I think you’ll agree that these other poor guys never stood a chance, that they should all now kneel before me.

 

king of soup
The True #kingofsoup

 

The dinner was great.  After banishing the wait staff to the living room to watch television, the queen and I enjoyed our first night “out” in a long time.  We streamed music loud enough to drown out the cartoons, sipped our drinks, and went back for seconds.  The conversation was so pleasant, I decided to wait until a later time to show her the new decoration that I had picked up to really capture that true steakhouse ambiance.

 

now its a steakhouse..

 

For more information about these great soups and other products from Idahoan®Foods you can visit their website or follow @Idahoan®Foods on  FacebookTwitterInstagram, Pinterest and YouTube

 

Easy Sharing With Amazon Prime Photos Family Vault

 

 

Anyone who does a lot of online shopping already knows the multitude of benefits that come along with an Amazon Prime membership, from early access to Lightning deals to free two day shipping. If you are a media streamer, you probably already know about the instant access to thousands of movies and television shows, the ad free music selection, and the unlimited reading of books, magazines, and even comic books.

Add to that list the all new Prime Photos experience with Family Vault, a way for Prime members to safely store and share unlimited photos, plus another 5GB for videos and other files. It’s not only free and easy enough for even me to figure out, but up to five family members or friends can share the benefit at no additional cost.

 

 

I’ve made no secret of some of my technological shortcomings. Up until about a year ago I was still printing out all of my photographs and placing them in albums, destined to do nothing but collect dust in a closet. I have several old phones that I keep in a drawer just to have access to the pictures on them, and only started transferring things to flash drives as a way to free up storage space. I paid for a year of cloud storage once and never figured out how to use it.

The problem with this is that I never know where to start if I’m looking for something in particular. Even the photos saved on my PC are grouped together in folders and categories that are almost completely incomprehensible.

Prime Photos takes care of that problem as well, with new search technology that makes it easy to find specific pictures using basic keywords. You can search and filter by location, date, or even specific individuals.  If you want to go back and create a photo book, cards, prints or even calendars, they can be ordered directly and have free delivery.

The biggest benefit to this service, in my opinion, is how easy it all is to use. Pictures and videos can either be added individually with a quick swipe or click, or accounts can be set to automatically add to the Family Vault.

Amazon Prime Photos is available on computers, iOS and Android phones, laptops or tablets. You can download the app here:
Amazon Prime Photos App

If all of that wasn’t incentive enough, there is an opportunity to win a $500 gift card provided by Amazon.com with five $100 dollar second prizes.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Thanks to Amazon for sponsoring this post and providing prizes for the giveaway!

Amazon, Fire and the Amazon Fire TV logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

This is a sponsored post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. It is unrelated to any previous affiliate marketing. For further information, please feel free to  visit the Disclaimers Page

 

 

 

The Ones That Change Us

 

baby A

 

There are lots of things that change after bringing that baby home. Finances, free time, sleep patterns. No amount of warning or preparation can make the real degree of change and transition any less surprising.

It’s been five years since my daughter was born, and ten since my step-daughter entered my life. The biggest surprise, the one I was least expecting, was something I didn’t even realize at first. All that time spent stumbling around bleary eyed, washing, feeding, and changing this little person that is now completely dependent on you. These early days obscure the biggest change of all.

The change to you.

That change is being celebrated by Pampers, this Fathers’s Day and every day. That feeling of unconditional love that turns a man into much more than he was before. That turns him into a Father. Honoring dads for the amazing things, big and small, that they do to help our little ones have a better, loving, more fulfilling life.

The campaign is called #ThanksBaby, and it’s all about that incredible feeling that our children bring into our lives. Thanking our kids for making us feel exceptionally special and empowering us to discover new roles in life through fatherhood.

 

017

 

It’s not just that they make us better people, although that’s certainly a part of it. I’m acutely aware of the tremendous responsibility I have to be a good role model, the example I need to set regarding how I want them to be. My words, my deeds, my reactions to both disappointment and success, the way I interact with those around me; all these are being watched and processed. It should be a difficult burden, overwhelming even, but somehow it’s not.

Harder to articulate is the way they make me want to be a better person for ME. The thirst for knowledge, endless enthusiasm, and naturally optimistic nature. The empathy and compassion that I see in young children that causes me to look around and wonder “what happens to us?” I want these things back, and to some small extent they have helped me succeed.

Being a father has also completely changed the way I view the world around me, no longer simply something that I inhabit and adapt to. I now need this world to be safer, cleaner, more tolerant and understanding. I need it to be better and I need to be invested in making that happen for them.

I’d like to think that I was a pretty good guy to start with. I’m better now. I’m better and it’s not even close.

 

devon's pics 046

 

Come share your stories with us. Tweet a picture or short story about how having children has changed you. Tell us about how Father’s Day makes you thankful for the ones that keep changing us long after we are done changing those diapers using #ThanksBaby. Take a minute for yourself this Sunday and remember the guy that you were before. Embrace those feelings of pride for the Dad you’ve become. Thank those that made that happen.

 

I have partnered with Life of Dad and Pampers for this promotion, but as always, all thoughts and opinions  are my own.

 

J