Category Archives: sponsored

Customize Your Memories With Amazon Prints

 

When you’re a kid there is nothing better than receiving a package in the mail, seeing your name printed on that plain brown box. In the late 80’s that was a three times a month treat for me. My father belonged to a book of the month club, military thrillers featuring Mack Bolan, Able Team, and other cheesy escapist titles that I devoured when he was done.  Most of my allowance and odd job money was spent on music cassettes and later CDs, music clubs promising me twelve for a penny if I agreed to spend the next three years paying exorbitant shipping fees until my obligation was fulfilled. The end of the month meant my favorite package of all, a box full of new comic books.

Those days are long gone now, an Amazon Prime membership offering instant access to thousands of movies and television shows, ad free music and the unlimited reading of books, magazines and even my comic books.

Fantastic services that I confess to not taking full  advantage of. I’m an old timer who still likes to have things that he can hold, pages to turn, shelves to browse. I still like seeing my name on a label, having a brown box full of goodies to open.

 

 

I also like having albums full of pictures to flip through, something that I have been desperately trying to keep up with as the amount of pictures that I take continues to increase dramatically.

Amazon is helping me with that too, having launched a photo printing service that allows all customers to print their memories. Prime members can upload images to their Prime Photos account, print the product of their choice and receive free delivery. If you’re not a Prime member you’ll still receive 5 GB of storage free on Prime Photos and be able to print your favorite pictures. Prints start at $0.09.  You can create custom photo books, cards, canvases and large prints right from your computer, customizing your theme, paper types and print sizes. Mugs, mouse pads and wall calendars are all available.

 

 

It’s the perfect way to keep yesterday’s habits using today’s technology and add some personal touches to that shelf full of old movies.

 

 

Amazon Prime Photos is available on computers, iOS and Android phones, laptops or tablets. You can download the app here: Amazon Prime Photos APP and be sure to visit the Amazon Prints Page

Thanks to Amazon for sponsoring this post and providing prizes for the giveaway. Enter below for your chance at a $500.00 Amazon gift card.

 

 

a Rafflecopter 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. For further information, please feel free to  visit the Disclaimers Page

 

 

 

#ISleepTo Be Better

                                               

Within the next few weeks my daughter will be celebrating her sixth birthday, her transition to “big girl” pretty much complete.  They’ve been six of the happiest of my forty two years. They’ve been six of the most exhausting of my forty two years.

It’s better than it used to be, obviously.  Restless nights on the living room floor as her motorized swing finally rocked her asleep and semi-conscious diaper changes aided by fine motor memory and moonlight are far in the past now.  A slight discoloration of the carpet the only remaining evidence of the path I traveled so many nights between crib and wife in a feeble attempt at lightening her burden.

That nocturnal nightmare has been replaced with an insanely independent  “big girl” who is asleep by eight and is often found dressed for school and enjoying a bowl of cereal when my alarm goes off in the morning. Weekend wake ups no longer occur as soon as the first ray of sunshine hits her window, but when this sixty five pound bucket of energy can no longer contain her enthusiasm to get our adventures started.

 

sleeptracker review

 

It’s energy that I wish I could borrow, because one thing that hasn’t changed much is how tired I always feel.

My day starts around 6:30, giving myself a half an hour for a quiet coffee and quick shower before preparing the kindergartner for school, and ends around 11:00, a few hours spent with my wife after the girls are shipped off to nod.  This seems like it should be plenty of sleep, yet I never feel rested.  I know that I wake almost every night around 3:30 to tinkle and my wife claims that my snoring is loud enough to keep any animals from the surrounding woods away from her vegetable garden. Maybe I just wasn’t getting the right kind of sleep?

I teamed up with Life of Dad and Beautyrest to find out, using their new Sleeptracker monitor to turn my bed into a “smart bed”, monitor my sleep habits, and try and find some actionable information I could use to improve my energy levels throughout the day.

 

 

Set up was remarkably easy. There is a powerful processor that plugs into any wall outlet, a sensor that is placed under the mattress, and an intuitive app that is downloaded onto any device to translate the data. There is nothing to be worn, no wires attached to your brain, nothing that ever needs charging.

The amount of information that it records is amazing. Like most things technological, I have no idea how it works, but it monitors your average breath rate, average heart rate, time spent in each of the three sleep cycles, how many times you were awakened, and even how long it took to initially fall asleep.  From this you are assigned a daily sleep score and insights are given as to how that can be improved and sleep efficiency enhanced.

 

 

One of the biggest advantages I found was simple awareness,  a new appreciation for the effects that sleep had on mood, work, and overall performance as a dad.  The amount and quality of my sleep had a lot more variance to it than I had thought, my bedtime and after work habits not as regimented as I believed.

I’ve talked before about how important mornings are here. I’m often not home from work until after bedtime so it’s an important hour for us.  I can’t be groggy and impatient. Can’t have this time be spent drinking coffee and arguing over outfits.  It can be a hectic time, but I need to be better than that.

Part of this campaign was a prompt to talk about my passions or interests and about how I’m working to improve my sleep to enhance my performance.  For me it’s simply about being better.  A better dad, a better husband, better person and a even a better employee. Better every day.  Feeling well rested is an important step towards achieving that goal.

#ISleepTo be better.

 

sleeptracker

 

I have partnered with Life of Dad and Beautyrest for this campaign. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

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