Friday, June 26, 2015

Fathers, Fun, and the Fourth

Next week this time most of us dads will be gearing up for a weekend of intense grilling as the 4th of July approaches. The smoky smell of ribs and burgers will soon be pouring out of backyards all across the country. It's the one time a year that most of the ladies can look forward to some consecutive days of not cooking. I've already got my grilling gameplan in place. In addition to working the "barbie,"  I look forward to getting our girls in on the Independence Day fun. Each year they look forward to making a patriotic themed dish or two with mom and dad.
My all time favorite is our Patriotic Dessert Pizza (dad-friendly recipe listed below). Last year, we helped them make Independence Day cupcakes to hand out to our neighbors. I think more icing got in their hair than on the cupcakes. We thought about charging money, but we went with the "freedom" theme and just gave them away for nothing. The girls really enjoyed screaming, "Free Cupcakes," at every car that drove by.
Several neighbors stopped by our table for a free treat with a few of them insisting on donating anyway. The whole point of all this is to find a way to engage your kids even at young ages with family holidays and get togethers. It is easy to get tunnel vision when it comes to doing life. Over the years, I've learned how much my kids need to have ownership as members of our family. Many times as a parent we're so focused on perfect well-behaved kids that never make  a mess. Some of the things that frustrate me as a parent are cries for help from kids who just want to do something constructive with me. My wife and I had to look past the vanilla frosting that will take hours to clean up (from their hair and the countertops) in order to focus on the bonding time we're creating. As someone reminded me the other day, "When it comes to kids, the days are long, but the years are quick." So, to all my dads out there, make sure you look for intentional ways to connect with your kids by making some good memories as often as you can. Happy Independence Day!

                                                 Patriotic Pizza (Dessert) Recipe

Apprx 42 Strawberry Halves
20-40 Fresh Blueberries
Sugar Cookie Mix
1 Can of Vanilla Frosting

1. Mix up the sugar cookie batter according to the directions on the box.
2. Let your kid(s) shape the cookie mix into a rectangle on a cookie sheet or baking tin.
3. Place in the oven and bake according to directions on box.
4.  Remove cookie from oven and let it cool to room temperature.
5. Let your kid(s) open the vanilla frosting and spread evenly across room temperature sugar cookie.
6. Cut the strawberries in half (approx 42 halfs)
7. Arrange strawberry halves in rows leaving a 1 inch row of  frosting between rows of berries leaving room for the stars area in the top left of sugar cookie.
8. Add blueberries to create the star area in the top left of sugar cookie.
9. Take pictures of you and your kid(s) creation
10. Enjoy your dessert.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Top Father's Day Gifts 2015

For Father's Day 2015 most of us fathers can't get stoked about getting another "#1 Dad" tie. Today's dad has far too many interests that don't include neckwear. So, if you're trying to find a last minute gift that dad will get excited about -here are the top 6 for this season. The best part is that most of these will only set you back a few hundred bucks. The good thing is they are readily available and most likely on sale at your local Best Buy or Home Depot.

Top Father's Day Gifts

1. FitBit "Smart Watch" technology is showing up everywhere these days. Dad can monitor his heart rate, listen to music, check his time, and even respond to a few text messages. Not only are they functional, but they also look a manly kind of way course. FitBits are the "gateway technology" into Smart Watches and have a relatively inexpensive price tag ($79-$129 USD).

2. Power Tools Whether dad is handy or not every man needs to have a reliable drill that can tackle any project that might walk on to his "honey do" list.

3. Go Pro HD  Video cameras have gotten a lot smaller over the past few years. No camera has capitalized on this trend more than the Go Pro. The Hero 4 is the latest in a line of little rugged cameras that capture some amazing shots by land, sea, and air.

4. Quadcopter I don't care what anyone says, there is something about a radio controlled vehicle that will turn a grown man into an ecstatic 9 year old. Not only are these fun to fly in and of themselves, but  if dad is fortunate enough to have a Go Pro the skies the limit!

5. Weber Grill Nothing makes dad get excited about cooking quite like a new grill. Listen up ladies, the secret to getting him to cook more meals is as simple as hooking him up with a nice propane grill.

6. Gift Cards Unlike ladies, we dads are perfectly ok with getting a "thoughtless" gift card. Any card that has to do with Buffalo Wild Wings, Bass Pro Shop, Best Buy, or Home Depot are ALWAYS a good idea. To a guy this shows that you truly did put a lot of thought into it. So, what are you waiting for? You are already late with getting him something-go out and hook the guy up!