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Questionable Wisdom from a Stay-At-Home Parent.

A Good & Honest Easter

A Good & Honest Easter

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!

happy-easter

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.

Mott's Good & Honest

Any dad worth his salt will gladly rock a tutu to make his kid smile.

 

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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Mott’s and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

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Amazon Mom? Still? It’s time for #AmazonFamilyUS

Amazon Mom? Still? It’s time for #AmazonFamilyUS

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.

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My Friend Oren

My Friend Oren

Today, my friend Oren Miller was laid to rest.

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Where Similac And “The Mother ‘Hood” Go Wrong, and Why It Matters

Where Similac And “The Mother ‘Hood” Go Wrong, and Why It Matters

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!

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Adorable Cartoons Help Explain Rosetta, Philae, and Comet 67P to My Future Astronaut

Adorable Cartoons Help Explain Rosetta, Philae, and Comet 67P to My Future Astronaut

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. :-)

Part 1: Fabulous Fables and Tales of Tails

 

Part 2: Once Upon a Time…

 

Part 3: Are We There Yet?

 

Part 4: Preparing for Comet Landing

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!

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How Canadians Vote:  A 100% Accurate & True Representation of Voting Ballots in Canada.

How Canadians Vote: A 100% Accurate & True Representation of Voting Ballots in Canada.

This is a 100% accurate and true representation of voting ballots in Canada.

Sorry.

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Sometimes You Need a Jellyfish

Sometimes You Need a Jellyfish

jellyfish-coverYesterday 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 tell him the news. The book was his idea, after all.

I’m so very, very proud of this book. In all honesty, I have been for ages, but the more people who I showed it to, the more people I heard asking me when I was going to get it published so that they could have a copy.

In the past, my books have been self-published through print-on-demand services, such as Lulu and Amazon’s CreateSpace. Those services work great, for what they are, but there were two consistent issues that I had with each book: 1) because my books are in full-color, the price point on the books — printed to order — was simply too high, and 2) hardcover book printing is not available.

The solution?

I am going to do it myself.

To find out more and to pledge support, go here!

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Wow, The Book of Life looks amazing! [#BookofLife Prize Pack #Giveaway]

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.

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by in / Commercials
Vick’s Releases NyQuil and DayQuil Ads Featuring Dads

Vick’s Releases NyQuil and DayQuil Ads Featuring Dads

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!

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Baking Dad: Space Shuttle Birthday Cake

Baking Dad: Space Shuttle Birthday Cake

As I mentioned previously, for his 6th Birthday last week my son requested a Space Shuttle cake to go along with the general, ongoing “I want to be an astronaut!” theme to his life.

Not gonna lie, I’m really pleased with how this one turned out.

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by in / Daddy Stuff
5 Lessons from the At-Home Dad Convention

5 Lessons from the At-Home Dad Convention

Last week, I flew to Denver for my third year attending the At-Home Dad Convention, an annual event (this was its 19th year!) put on by the National At-Home Dad Network.

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.

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Foodie Friday #ShroomTember: Mushroom-Stuffed Ricotta Gnocchi w/ Mushroom-Herb Browned Butter

Foodie Friday #ShroomTember: Mushroom-Stuffed Ricotta Gnocchi w/ Mushroom-Herb Browned Butter

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?

A few weeks ago, my friends at Life of Dad approached me about joining them as they help the Mushroom Council celebrate Mushroom month this September. Or as they are calling it: #ShroomTember.

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!

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The 3 Toddler Words I Need to Stop Saying. Like, Right Now.

The 3 Toddler Words I Need to Stop Saying. Like, Right Now.

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.

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by in / Daddy Stuff
Am I a Helicopter Parent, after All?

Am I a Helicopter Parent, after All?

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.

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Baking Dad: My Kid’s Cakes, Volume I

Baking Dad: My Kid’s Cakes, Volume I

One of my friends recently asked me why I had never collected together in one place all of the birthday cakes I have made for my sons, and it occurred to me that it was high time I rectified that oversight. Sure, I’ve posted pictures of them on here, or on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram (are you following me in those places? You really should be following me in those places…) but I’d never put together a post to send to people and say “Look! Set your eyes upon my mighty works of flour, and sugar, and fondant!”

So… here we go.

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by in / Video

Coltrane & Tucker’s #IceBucketChallenge to #StrikeOutALS

My boys wanted to do the #IceBucketChallenge to #StrikeOutALS. Stick around for some surprise guests!

Thanks to Auntie Melodie for the challenge!

Be sure to visit http://ALSA.org and DONATE!

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by in / Giveaway / Video
In Portland and want to see a Sneak Preview of Richard Linklater’s #Boyhood?

In Portland and want to see a Sneak Preview of Richard Linklater’s #Boyhood?

Are you in Portland, Oregon and love great movies? Well, I have something special for you.

Richard Linklater is a director who loves to make unothodox movies that try to do something you might not have ever seen before. In each of his “Before Trilogy” films (Before SunriseBefore Sunset, and Before Midnight) he told a story contained in a single day, with the same characters aging 9 years with each film, along with the same actors playing them.

His newest film is called Boyhood, and it takes this even further. Shot over a twelve year period, starting in 2002, Boyhood is a coming of age film that features the same actor (Ellar Coltrane) playing the same character as he grows up from age 6 to 18, and Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as his parents over those 12 years.

Boyhood is already getting serious accolades as one of the best, most original movies of the year. Seriously, it currently has 100% Freshness on Rotten Tomatoes. 100%!

Check out the trailer here:

So, about those Portland, OR screenings…

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The Summer #EarthtoEcho Movie Prize Pack Giveaway!

The Summer #EarthtoEcho Movie Prize Pack Giveaway!

When I think back to when I was a kid, science-fiction movies were my fertile imagination’s bread-and-butter.

Sure, there was Star Wars, which of course I loved. But it was about grown-ups who lived far, far away, a long time ago. What I really loved were those great standalone movies where kids (like me!) got thrust into the adventure: The Last Starfighter, Flight of the Navigator, Explorers, and of course, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.  As I’ve grown up, new movies that play on the same theme have rocked my socks off, like The Iron Giant, and Super 8.

When I started seeing trailers for Earth to Echo I could tell it was exactly the sort of movie I would have gone gaga over when I was a kid. I’m so looking forward to watching it with my boys when they are old enough. Tucker has been enamored ever since he discovered that one of the characters is also named Tuck. :-)

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Helping Oren: Break the Bystander Effect

Helping Oren: Break the Bystander Effect

I first met Oren Miller in October 2012 at the At-Home Dad Convention, meeting that year in Washington, DC.

Prior to DC, he was someone I only knew online, mostly through his writing on his blog A Blogger and A Father. There he tackles a lot of the same things I do here on Daddy Doctrines — a healthy mix of personal parenting anecdotes, both sweet and funny, and commentary on modern fatherhood through the eyes of a stay-at-home dad. He was also one of the guys I learned to rely on to play Devil’s Advocate for me, after he took a contrarian’s view on the whole Huggies Thing both before and after. I grew to respect him a lot.

Meeting him in person, like meeting anyone you have previously only known online, was a little bit shocking. Yes, there was the wholly unexpected strong Israeili accent, but more than that was his quiet, unassuming demeanor that held sway right up until a razor wit or ridiculously profound observance burst forth. Anyone who knows him will know what I mean.

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Why Are My Kids Fighting NOW?

Why Are My Kids Fighting NOW?

Sometimes the things that my boys end up fighting about are astounding.

“He told me to put in PANTS!”

“He’s not SAVORING his cookie!”

“He keeps singing ALONG with me!”

“He said I’m NOT a NINJA!”

“He ALWAYS gets to hold the Costco receipt!”

“But I wanted to finish lunch FIRST!”

And of course

“HE HIT ME BACK!”

What crazy things do your kids fight about most?

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