Do you remember your first car? Of course you do. It’s one of those things you never forget, right? I always hear about kids being given their first car as a gift, like these teens meeting this milestone in this new ad from Michelin USA: That’s sweet. It… totally wasn’t
If there’s one thing people know about me, it’s that along with being a dad, singing, and drawing, one of the things I love most is cooking. I write here and on my Facebook page often about the recipes I love, and the new foods I’ve discovered and want to
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my six years as a stay-at-home dad, it’s that establishing — and honoring — routine can save your sanity. Whether it’s a scarily complex bedtime routine, a daily walk, or a weekly family movie night, kids do really well when they feel like
Yeah, you heard me. I’m “raging” against Amazon Mom again. It’s been a while. It was August of 2012 when I last wrote about how nonsensical it is for Amazon to continue to insist that they have to use “Amazon Mom” for their program — aimed at busy parents who would
This week, Similac released a new campaign video that has been getting a lot of attention, and with good reason. It’s funny, it’s touching, and it sends a fantastic message about parenting: that we’re all in this together, and judging one another helps no one. It’s really quite fantastic… right
I may have mentioned on here once or twice about that my 6 year-old Tucker has, for some time now, had his sights set on a future career as an astronaut. The dream lives on, and so I was really excited to be able to share with him yesterday in the
This is a 100% accurate and true representation of voting ballots in Canada. Sorry.
Yesterday afternoon, I finally hit the launch button on a project that has been in the works for a very, very long time: the Kickstarter campaign for my kid’s book Sometimes You Need a Jellyfish. Then I immediately ran out the door to pick up my son from kindergarten and
Do you remember your first car? Of course you do. It’s one of those things you never forget, right?
I always hear about kids being given their first car as a gift, like these teens meeting this milestone in this new ad from Michelin USA:
It… totally wasn’t my experience though. No, I had actually to pay for my first car with my own hard-earned money.
I know what you’re thinking: “That’s less than the cost of a car in 100 years ago! Are you a time traveller? Are you!?”
For the record, I’m not. I’m just super cheap. I was in the middle of pounding the pavement looking for a post-high-school job, and really needed a car to get me to interviews and then hopefully to work. My $50 (Canadian!) was added to the same amount from my brother, and together we purchased the most ugly, run down piece of junk I’ve ever had the privilege to drive. Our $100 got us a brown 1985 Subaru sedan, with a rusty, crumbling muffler that was more hole than metal, and was attached by an old wire hanger. It was loud, and ugly… but it ran, usually, and the price was right.
I learned to drive standard on that car, and when I found a job I was able to use it for a whole 3 months… before the rear axle snapped in half on me, in the middle of a tight highway on-ramp, on my way to work one day.
It was finished, but it has served its final days nobly.
I still needed to get to work though, which is why I took the Very Adult Step of then buying my first “real car,” (a.k.a. Not Junk) which involved contracts and a cosigner and locking myself into years of car payments that I still think about and say a prayer of thanks are long past.
Car #2 was a cherry red 1991 Toyota Corolla, and there are two things I distinctly remember about the day I got it: 1) for reasons I don’t know, we got it from a Ford dealership, and 2) I remember my dad telling me that if I took good care of it, it would last me a decade.
Dad was right. In fact, it lasted me even longer than that, but I have to admit that, well, I actually didn’t take very good care of it at all.
Getting a first car is an unforgettable milestone in any person’s life. It bestows freedom and independence, but with that comes a great responsibility to stay safe on the road. And I learned that lesson the hard way.
It was September, and my older brother was getting married. I was still living in Canada, but the wedding was happening down in Washington State, and as the Best Man, it was my responsibility to drive myself, two other groomsmen, and a fourth friend the 3 hours or so south to the camp where the festivities were to take place.
We were “four strapping lads” as my friend Piet declared us, which was our justification for deciding (poorly) to stop along the way at Arby’s for lunch, and take advantage of their “5 for $5” deal and feed the whole car more roast beef sandwiches than we could manage for a mere $10. This isn’t related at all to my point, but it is a fond memory despite the stomach cramps that followed, so I include it here.
Anyhow, one element to the drive that the other guys were definitely not expecting was the bumpiness. As we sped south along I-5, the car vibrated. My steering wheel shook wildly, and it wasn’t because of the road. “Ah, it happens sometimes,” I explained, figuring it was probably simply due to the extra weight of having four large guys on board. “No biggie.”
No biggie, that was, until my front driver-side tire exploded.
I was able to pull over, and we were all fine, but it was a hard lesson in not ignoring the wear and the bulges on my tires. They were in terrible, terrible shape. Thankfully, we were able to put on the spare and get to a tire shop to get a replacement, and then make it to the camp in time for the rehearsal. (Okay, so we were late for the rehearsal, but I THINK my brother and sister-in-law have forgiven me for that by now, 15+ years later).
So you’re probably wondering why I am sharing all of this stuff about my first cars, and my dangerous car maintenance. In a nutshell, it’s because with the arrival of summer we enter the period the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Safety Council refer to as the “100 deadliest days for teen drivers.”
Michelin USA asked me to help them with their #FirstCarMoment campaign, designed to create a conversation about that milestone, and connect it to the importance of safe tires on that first car—or any car. The goal is to remind drivers that whether or not your first (or current!) car is in the best condition, your tires should be. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what kind of car you (or your teen) drive. What matters most is that your tires are safe.
It’s scary, but true. Also true is that 12% of the 2.2 million accidents that occur each year with inexperienced drivers are due to tire-related issues, roughly 264,000 crashes. 26% of those are attributed to low tread depth, and 32% are attributed to improper tire pressure. That’s a whole lot of lives that could be saved, and injury avoided, with one small focus on handling tires properly.
Checking your tire pressure with a pressure gauge monthly, and learning the proper way to check tread depth, are two easy tasks that can help you correctly maintain your tires and contribute to overall vehicle safety. Please be sure to check yours!
And be sure to join me, @MichelinUSA, and @LifeofDadShow for the #FirstCarMoment Twitter Party on Wednesday, June 24th 8PM ET!
If there’s one thing people know about me, it’s that along with being a dad, singing, and drawing, one of the things I love most is cooking. I write here and on my Facebook page often about the recipes I love, and the new foods I’ve discovered and want to try making at home. One of the “perks” of being an at-home dad is that I am responsible for most meals, which means I often get to cook the things that I want to cook for the family.
But the truth is, cooking for a family day in and day out can be exhausting. Some days I’m just too tired, too busy, too uninspired, or simply don’t have the time. Some days I look through the fridge, freezer and pantry, and just can’t figure out what I am going to do to get a healthy meal on the table that won’t keep everyone waiting, and will satisfy both with flavor and in providing the healthy meals my kids need.
That’s one of the reasons I jumped at the chance when I was asked recently if I would be interested in trying out STOUFFER’S® brand new line of Fit Kitchen meals to fuel my family for our summer activities. This new line includes contemporary flavors like:
I was easily sold on the convenience factor, having complete frozen meals ready to go and on the table in minutes. But I live in the land of food carts. If I’m going to feed my family a frozen prepared meal, it had better deliver on nutrition, ingredients, and taste.
Nutritionally the STOUFFER’S® Fit Kitchen meals were right on target. I love how each one has a simple breakdown on the front of the box showing the percentage of calories coming from protein, carbs, and fat. Every entree contains at least 25 grams of protein, and includes complex carbs and vegetables, clearly designed to be hearty meals that would leave your hunger satisfied. Next I looked through the ingredients lists, and I was pleasantly surprised with what I found. These meals are made of real food! No HFCS or palm oil, and I was shocked to see that the Bourbon Steak contains actual bourbon. Quality ingredients, simply prepared for me already and frozen at the peak of freshness. Nice.
So next up was taking four of their offerings on a test drive with my family. We selected the Steak Fajita, Rotisserie Turkey, Monterey Chicken, and Bourbon Steak, and got to preparing. Each one only took a few minutes in the microwave. Being married to an engineer and being father to at least one future astronaut, we decided to tackle this taste test scientifically, taking notes about what we liked, and then ranking our favorites.
Our family #FitKitchen score card, because yay charts! #ad A photo posted by Chris Routly (@chrisroutly) on
As you can see, we were a house divided. My wife Anna and youngest son Coltrane ranked the Fajita Steak as their number one favorite, while for myself and our oldest son Tucker it came in fourth. To all of our surprise the early predicted favorite, Bourbon Steak, was well liked but ended up ranking last overall. I liked the Monterey Chicken the best. Tucker loved loved loved the Rotisserie Turkey.
And he wasn’t alone! Being the second choice for everyone else, the overall winner was definitely the ROTISSERIE SEASONED TURKEY with a mix of diced red skin sweet potatoes and green beans. I’ve eaten a lot of overcooked turkey over the years, and was very surprised how moist this was. We all agreed it was something we wanted to dig into again soon.
I found my wingman. Seriously good stuff, this. #FitKitchen @lifeofdad
A photo posted by Chris Routly (@chrisroutly) on
Now, all fueled up and feeling health-conscious, time for a walk!.
Got a spring in my step thanks to #FitKitchen! A photo posted by Chris Routly (@chrisroutly) on
You can find STOUFFER’S® Fit Kitchen in the frozen aisle at your local Walmart, Target or grocery store or visit www.stouffers.com to find a store near you that carries them.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my six years as a stay-at-home dad, it’s that establishing — and honoring — routine can save your sanity. Whether it’s a scarily complex bedtime routine, a daily walk, or a weekly family movie night, kids do really well when they feel like they have some comfort in knowing what’s in store.
One of the most important routines in our house is breakfast, especially now that both of my boys are in school for at least part of the day, a couple of days a week. After our morning snuggle together and getting dressed, it’s our chance to get fueled up for the day.
Breakfast can come in many forms around here. Some days, this means I whip them up some pancakes, or my famous “puffins.” Other days my eldest shows off his burgeoning chef skills as he cooks us all his scrambled “cheesy eggs.” And on many days, especially those where snuggle time went long, we simply choose from our rotating selection of cereals.
The common denominator in all of these is, of course, milk — almost always both in/on the food, and always in a glass to drink with it as well. Milk is a powerhouse of nutrients and protein, that I know my rapidly growing boys need as a part of their diet. It also happens to be delicious.
I know that my boys are lucky. We’re able to keep our fridge stocked with fresh milk at all times. But not all kids are as fortunate.
Food banks report that milk is one of their most requested items, but one of the least often donated, because Americans are more likely to donate non-perishable canned and dried items. In fact, every day 22 million kids rely totally on the free or reduced-price milk programs at their school in order to get this boost of protein and nutrients. When schools close during the summer months, those 22 million of these kids are at risk for having no access to milk for breakfast or lunch.
That’s why I am proud to partner with Milk Life, Life of Dad, and many of my fellow dad bloggers for “The Great American Milk Drive,” helping to raise money for Feeding America this month. Us Dad Bloggers have divided into geographic fundraising teams, and Team West and I are ready to rep the Best Side well. My teammates are John Kinnear (Ask Your Dad Blog) from Salt Lake, UT; Seth Burleigh (Forty Weeks Later) from Los Angeles, CA; Daniel De Guia (Fit To Be Dad) from Santa Rosa, CA; and Don Jackson (Daddy Newbie) from Albuquerque, NM. Please be sure to go give them some love.
A donation of as little as $5 will deliver a gallon of milk to a local family through the Feeding America nationwide network of food banks. America’s milk companies and dairy farmers will make gallons multiply across the country by matching up to $10,000 in donations.
So as we get closer to Father’s Day, and more people ask me what I want, here’s my answer: I want you to help support the Great American Milk Drive.
And don’t forget to join me for the #MilkDrive Twitter Party on Tuesday, June 16th at 8PM ET, hosted by @LifeofDadBlog. Just hop on twitter and follow the hashtag of#MilkDrive for information, fun and surprises.
As parents we like to have a plan, but a huge part of being a parent is thinking on your feet. Sometimes it’s how to answer a difficult question posed by a kid. Sometimes it’s figuring out how to clean up a major diaper blow-out with no wipes on hand. Sometimes it’s explaining to your curious toddler why that nice police officer just pulled you over. Sometimes it’s navigating the unspoken social contracts on playground. Sometimes it’s just doing whatever you possibly can to get your baby to sleep.
And sometimes, as is often the case for me, it’s improvising at meal times. Usually that means working with what you have in the fridge and pantry, and coming up with something that everyone will enjoy (or at least eat without complaining). Other times it means finding a way to make mealtimes fun or interesting.
I like to think that I’ve gotten pretty good at improvising. And if we’re honest, really, that’s half of parenting, isn’t it?
Take Easter, for instance. It’s late on Easter Sunday Eve, and everyone except me is in bed, fast asleep. That’s when I realize that I (and, in my defense, my lovely and brilliant wife) have completely forgotten to put together anything for the boys to find from the Easter Bunny in the morning. I had the foresight to pick up some treats, but have no baskets or anything else to put them in.
So I do what any good parent would do: I raid the boys’ art supplies and have a late-night craft session. I come up with a plan, say a little prayer that this will work, and then after much cutting, folding, gluing, and coloring, I had myself two custom-made Easter paper baskets. I feel like they need a little bit something special, so out to the yard I creep (at 1AM) with scissors in hand, to trim some grass to fill them out. Then a little bit of cartooning, to create an adorable bunny face to adorn the side of each. Add the candy, and BOOM! Easter is saved!
We do what we have to do to make our kids smile.
Have a great story of a time you had to improvise as a parent?
The fine people at Mott’s are running a Good & Honest campaign, to celebrate that parents everywhere are just doing the best they can for their kids. They sent me some products to try (the boys in particular are big fans of their applesauce) and asked me to share about a moment of having to make things up as I go.
And now it’s time for you to share yours! Leave a comment below, on the Daddy Doctrines Facebook page, or on Twitter (tagging me @ChrisRoutly and use the hashtags #Motts and #GoodAndHonest) to be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card and some tasty Mott’s products! Be sure to use the widget below to make certain your entries are in! Good luck!
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Mott’s and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.
Yeah, you heard me. I’m “raging” against Amazon Mom again.
It’s been a while. It was August of 2012 when I last wrote about how nonsensical it is for Amazon to continue to insist that they have to use “Amazon Mom” for their program — aimed at busy parents who would like diapers delivered to their door at a discount — because their only other option is apparently “Amazon Primary Caregiver.” What’s wrong with “Amazon Family?” I asked. I never got an answer. I encouraged people to sign a petition, put together by my friend Jeffrey, asking for Amazon to consider the change. But it never took off.
I wasn’t the only one writing about the issue though. Almost two years ago today, my friend Oren wrote about the issue as well. It meant something to him. A lot, actually. And it’s in his honor that I (and others) have decided to take up the issue again.
Because it’s time for this to finally change.
This week, Similac released a new campaign video that has been getting a lot of attention, and with good reason. It’s funny, it’s touching, and it sends a fantastic message about parenting: that we’re all in this together, and judging one another helps no one.
It’s really quite fantastic… right up until the last second, when they drop the ball. At least, if the idea is actually to support all parents.
You’ve probably seen it show up on your Facebook feed, but if not, here it is:
Yep. Once again, it’s all about the moms. More specifically, the “Sisterhood of Motherhood.”
So close. So close!
I may have mentioned on here once or twice about that my 6 year-old Tucker has, for some time now, had his sights set on a future career as an astronaut. The dream lives on, and so I was really excited to be able to share with him yesterday in the excitement over the successful landing of the Philae lander on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
Part of the reason Tucker was excited about this mission is because the ESA (European Space Agency) created a fantastic animated series about it, that we have watched together a few times.
I don’t know why it just occurred to me to share this here, but if you have a kid who is curious what all the excitement is about, give these a watch together. You just might learn something too.
Now that Philae has landed on the surface, hopefully they put together some adorable animation about that too soon. If they do, I’ll be sure to add it here!
Leave it to Guillermo del Toro to produce an animated movie that looks unlike anything I’ve ever seen before in a major production. I just love the look of this movie, foregoing the recent “as photo realistic as possible” trend in animation and instead drawing deeply on the rich mythology and visual style of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) to make something truly unique and beautiful.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what director Jorge Gutierrez has put together. Word is that when he started work on this film, he said to his designers and animators that his goal was to have the final movie live up to the incredible conceptual art that he so often saw in “The Art of…” books for many movies, but never seemed to make it to the final screen. From the looks of things, he has succeeded.
I’ve had this new NyQuil ad mentioned to me a few times recently, and finally managed to track it down. It’s short and basic, but I love it and really wanted to share it with you all.
Then I did a little bit more digging and found this DayQuil ad too (I’m unclear on how old it is)…
These both really rings true for me. As a stay-at-home dad I don’t really get sick days. I’ve had times I plead with my kids to go easy on me, but they can only promise so much. I just have had to power through hoping my wife gets home early and can tag me out and send me to bed. Until then, my kids need their dad, be it to drive them where they need to go, fix them meals, or just play with them with everything I’ve got.
Vick’s is a Proctor & Gamble company, and we all remember some issues I’ve had with them in the past regarding their omission of dads from the parenting picture. Additionally, Vicks NyQuil has had a campaign about “Moms can’t take sick days” which has gotten some flack for leaving out dads. So it’s great to see some follow-through on their promises that they had some about dads in store as well.
Really nicely done!
If you would like to see more ads like this, be sure to pop over to the NyQuil & DayQuil Facebook page and drop them a note saying thanks for remembering that dads struggle with this too!
After my first, in Washington, DC, back in 2012, I was determined to get more involved with the organization and double-down my work on getting my own local dad group in the Lehigh Valley, PA area, where I lived at the time, off of the ground. I did that, and then shortly after, I helped the NAHDN redesign their website. Last year at the convention in Denver I was elected to the Board of Directors.
So you could say that when it comes to the NAHDN and the At-Home Dad Convention, I’m a big believer in what we’re doing.
All of my life, I have hated mushrooms.
My memories of mushroom-aversion run deep and wide, all the way back to that traumatic time as a kid when my gag-reflex over being forced to eat the mushrooms on my plate got me into what I thought was some terribly unjust trouble.
Over the years though, I came to start appreciating mushrooms’ culinary uses. Contrary to my long-standing belief that it was their ability to “absorb” flavors that was supposed to make them great — a claim I always found dubious — I found instead that they were actually an excellent source of flavor themselves.
Eventually I would find out why, when I came to be familiar with the concept of umami, the so-called “fifth taste” beyond those of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Sometimes it’s explained as “savory,” but the Japanese word actually translates to give a meaning more like “deliciousness.” Umami is something found in foods which are high in glutamates, and one of the highest glutamate foods is, as it turns out, mushrooms. With this knowledge — and frankly, having married a woman who loves mushrooms — I was happy to begin experimenting with using mushrooms in my cooking. As it turns out, they’re actually really good when given a chance. Who knew?
Their request? Come up with a quick and easy mushroom recipe, and encourage others to do the same, for a chance at winning $500 for the best recipe.
I’m more than happy to oblige!
Unless you’re one of those people who commits to never, ever using anything except the Queen’s English and proper scientific terminology with their kids — and actually follows through — as parents we all end up using our own lexicon with our kids after a while.
With a 5 and 3 year old, I long ago stopped with any semblance of real “baby-talk,” with the exception of when I am doing a funny character voice for a book or to bring a toy or puppet to life. But there are still a few “toddler words,” as I call them, that I use so often with my kids, that I am having a hard time breaking the habit of using when talking to adults.
A few hours ago I dropped off my oldest child for his first day at Kindergarten.
I know, I know, the last thing the internet needs right now is another verklempt parent writing about sending their kid off to school, wistfully mourning that their little baby is all grown up now and practically out of the nest. I actually thought I did pretty well, truth be told. No tears from either of us.
But dang. I had no idea it was going to hit me like this, hours later, sitting there at the park playing with his little brother (who starts preschool next week!), and wishing we could be playing right outside a certain kindergarten classroom window instead of down the street.
My boys wanted to do the #IceBucketChallenge to #StrikeOutALS. Stick around for some surprise guests!
Thanks to Auntie Melodie for the challenge!