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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

 

Crap'n Crunch

Jefito's latest Great Gross-Off takes a close look at a new Cap'n Crunch cereal that changes colors. Which isn't necessarily a good thing.

I used to eat regular old Cap'n Crunch when I was a kid. I also liked Trix, Cocoa Puffs, and Booberry cereals. If my mom hadn't made such excellent lunches and dinners, I'd probably have succumbed to malnutrition by the age of twelve.

I can still remember the songs and slogans from those cereal ads on TV, like "I'm cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs" and "Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids." The advertisers really danced a jig on my impressionable young mind. One reason why I keep my own kids away from commercial television. And away from blue-powdered cereal.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

 

Zoom!

It went by so fast, I totally missed it...

This blog was two years old on May 18th.

I'm still having fun with it, so I predict another healthy year of blogging about family, parenting, stay-at-home dads, and living in North Idaho. Hope you'll all be there for birthday number three. I'm sure I'll forget that one too.


 

Weekend Tag

Hannelie tagged me a few days ago. Normally I don't like doing these because they get too personal, but I've changed a few things around on her list to make it less so...

Four places I want to take my kids on vacation:
1. London, England
2. Kauai
3. Washington, DC
4. Denali National Park, Alaska

Four movies I could watch over and over with my kids:
1. The Adventures of Milo and Otis
2. Finding Nemo
3. Star Wars
4. The Apple Dumpling Gang

Four TV shows I love to watch with my kids:
1. The Andy Griffith Show
2. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?
3. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
4. The Berenstain Bears

Four restaurants I like to go to with my kids:
1. Qdoba
2. Pita Pit
3. Schlotzsky's
4. McDonalds (I'm not ashamed to admit it)

Four things I want my kids to be good at:
1. Reading
2. Communicating
3. Outdoor activities
4. Creating

Four websites I visit daily:
1. DadTalk
2. Huckleberries
3. (Sm)all Ages
4. Flickr

Four people I'll tag with this:
1. Bumblebee Sweet Potato
2. Darth Daddy
3. Total Depravity
4. Milkweed Hill


Thursday, May 25, 2006

 

Discover Music

Every time I asked my son for "Dance Around the Room with your Kids" song recommendations, he kept telling me about tunes that were decidedly not very danceable. I realized that he is discovering all kinds of music and developing a wide array of tastes beyond the happy, poppy songs of his younger years.

So, to keep up with him, no more DARK songs. Now I'll call these posts Discover Music... Listening to music is something you should all be doing with your children. The more variety the better. Pop, rock, classical, folk, reggae, movie score, big band, electronica. There's so much out there, and you'll be surprised what your kids will start asking to hear. Or as my son says, "I like that song, Daddy, let's hear it again!"

Today, discover a band from Los Angeles called The Sugarplastic. They've been making quirky and inventive music for over sixteen years, and have often been compared to XTC and Talking Heads. My son picked this song off their 1996 major label debut as one of his favorites...

Listen: The Sugarplastic - "Little Teeth" MP3

Click here to buy The Sugarplastic's Bang, The Earth Is Round CD at Amazon. A couple of their more recent albums are available on iTunes.



Wednesday, May 24, 2006

 

Roof!


Click on the picture for a larger version


"Where do you wanna go today, boy?"
"Roof!"
"Whatcha wanna build today, boy?"
"Roof!"

Speaking of dogs, we found a little Pomeranian at our back door last night. She had dug under the fence to explore our backyard and couldn't find her way out.

My two kids, who profess their dislike of dogs on a daily basis, were clearly smitten by this intruder. They actually enjoyed playing with the dog, and they took turns walking her around the neighborhood as we figured out which of the homes behind us was hers.

When they had to give her up, after about 30 minutes of dog-sitting, both kids were kind of sad. They wanted to keep her longer. I was perplexed. These are the children who say, "Cats rule, dogs drool" and "Dogs are stupid!" Later that night I said to my son, "See, dogs aren't so bad." The day before he would've said "Dogs, yuck!" and rushed to defend the honor of cats everywhere. But last night he could only shrug and grudgingly admit that maybe, just maybe, some dogs are kinda fun.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

 

Starstruck

I was poking peaches at the grocery store today when an arm brushed by me and a strangely familiar voice said, "Excuse me." I glanced up and came face to face with a celebrity!

What is it about celebrities that make us go ga-ga? And when I say "us" I mean most folks... Their reactions to famous people can range from giggly to starstruck, but very few of us act non-chalant when meeting up with an actor or singer or other face that we've seen on TV or in the movies.

Of course, I did not get all giggly. I went blank, as I usually do around people of fame. I turned and shuffled back to my wife and whispered in a conspiratorial tone, "Look. Over there. Don't stare. The guy in the green shirt. That's Dennis Franz."

"Who?" replied my wife, not having been raised on nearly as much primetime TV as I was.

"Dennis Franz," I said. "He was in one of my all-time favorite TV shows. Bay City Blues. 1983. Canceled after just a few episodes. A real shame, as I think the world needs more baseball dramas on TV."

"I have no idea what you're talking about," my wife insisted (she says this a lot to me). She squinted at Franz, then recognized him. "Oh, I've seen him on Jay Leno. Why on earth is he in a North Idaho grocery store?"

I reminded her that he has a home on the lake, and isn't it sweet that he's buying a cabernet for his mother to have with dinner tonight (I eavesdropped).

As we walked away to leave Franz and his wife to their shopping, I had to ask myself two things: First, as I asked above, why do famous people make us behave strangely? Maybe it's because we get so used to seeing them on a regular basis on TV and in movies that they almost seem like friends or family and when we see them in real-life our first instinct is to greet them in a familiar way, but then our brains are telling us "Hold up there, you're a stranger to them," and the internal tug-of-war manifests itself in goofy or odd behavior. Or maybe it's because we've come to think of actors on the screen as not real because of all the characters they've played and when we see them in real-life our mind cannot wrap itself around the conundrum of a fictional character breathing the same air as us.

I don't know what it is, but I do know that every celebrity I've ever met in person, from Ray Davies to Muhammad Ali, probably thought I was an idiot because of my stupid stare and stammering statements. So I've learned to just look from afar and not talk if I can help it.

Which leads me to the second question I asked myself as we walked away from the produce aisle, "I wonder when Bay City Blues is coming out on DVD?"

Oh man, I should've asked Franz!


Monday, May 22, 2006

 

Parent Party

One morning my son sat down on the couch in the family room and spotted a bowl of leftover popcorn on the coffee table.

He looked at me and my wife accusingly, "Hey, did you eat popcorn last night?"

"Yes, son, we ate popcorn."

"Without me?"

"Yes, without you. Sometimes mommies and daddies eat popcorn after their kids are asleep."

"I think you must have a party and eat popcorn every night after I go to bed!"


Sunday, May 21, 2006

 

Strolling By The Lake


Click on the picture for a larger version

A Sunday stroll by the lake. It won't be long before we're swimming in that lake, all summer long. I can't wait.

We're also going to be on the lake soon... I'm shopping for a couple of tandem kayaks to hold our family of four.

Anyone out there experienced with kayaks and would like to recommend a mid-priced model?


Thursday, May 18, 2006

 

Fisherman's Blues


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This fisherman perched himself on a sharp little rock in Lake Coeur d'Alene for about twenty minutes, but didn't catch anything.

My son watched him and said, "Let's go fishing!" I told him to add it to his list of Things He Wants To Do This Summer. So far he's thought of: playing in the park; watching movies; reading Hardy Boys books; swimming in the lake; and riding rollercoasters. I'm encouraging him to think of some personal projects he can work on over the summer.

Before we do any fishing, I'll have to give myself a refresher course. It's been about thirty years since I baited a hook.

What will you be doing with your kids this summer?


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

 

Hot Hot Heat


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These kayakers had the right idea to get out onto the cool waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene last Sunday. You see, we've had a record-breaking heat wave the past few days. Temperatures 20 degrees above normal. Wednesday it's supposed to hit 91.

I know I shouldn't complain, what with the cold wet winter we had this year, but to jump from 60's to 90's in just a day is a real shock to the system!

The sudden warmth makes me tired at night, the very time I usually sit down to read the mom and dad blogs and to create my own compelling posts. So, short stuff on here for awhile. Until I acclimate myself or the temperatures drop.


Monday, May 15, 2006

 

Helping Hands



A new "helping hands" fountain in downtown Coeur d'Alene. The kids loved it. I got splashed. A lot.

Click the picture to see a larger version


Saturday, May 13, 2006

 

Good Sports



My daughter made it through her first soccer season. And I survived my first stint as soccer coach. It was a great experience for both of us. I tried to make it as much fun as possible for these 4-year-olds so they will want to continue with the sport in the future. It's clear to me that kids need to be active throughout their formative years to develop the kind of healthy habits they'll need as teens and young adults to cope with the changes those years bring.

Not that young children have much trouble being active. My team was actually more energetic before their games. I had to calm them down and make them sit so they wouldn't be worn out by the end of the first quarter. But in addition to just running around in circles and screaming their heads off, I think it's equally important for the kids to know how to be part of a team and to work together to reach a common goal.

My own kids get a balance of individual and group activities. They're good at playing by themselves, but I also want them to play well with others. You can't go through life being a loner. Well, I guess you could, but it's probably not much fun.

So what did I learn from being a soccer coach?

  • Just like with my own kids, I have to say everything three times to other kids too!
  • Some parents expect the coach to take over all of their responsibilities during practices and games.
  • The best way to perk up a tired kid is to remind them about the after-game snack.
  • Even the toughest 4-year-old boy cries like a baby when he gets kicked in the leg.
  • 4-year-old girls are tougher than 4-year-old boys.
  • Scoring a goal is fun, even if it's in the wrong net.


Friday, May 12, 2006

 

Poetry Time

My 7-year-old son likes to write poems, some of which I've posted here previously. Here's his latest ode:

That Little Creep

That little creep
Stole my money
Stole my house
Stole my mail out of the mailbox.

That little creep
Stole my shampoo
Stole my clothes
Stole my mat off the kitchen floor.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

 

DARK Song: Lovely!

Dance Around the Room with your Kids

This week's DARK song is a delicious slice of power pop from 2002 by Cincinnati native Brian Lovely.

The title is a mouthful, but have fun watching your kids try to wrap their tongues around the chorus. This is happy, sunny, feel-good pop music! Perfect for dancing around with your kids.

Listen: "JustaboutasIdon'tknowwhatasIthinkyoucanget" MP3

Start dancing!

Click here to buy Brian Lovely's Superimpose CD at Amazon. It's also available on iTunes.



Tuesday, May 09, 2006

 

Blockfoot



My son took this picture of his foot. I never know what he's going to come up with when I hand him the camera. He's almost ready to have a camera of his own. Now if he would just remember not to take 76 pictures of the cat and 142 pictures of his Star Wars figures!


Monday, May 08, 2006

 

Around The Dial

Stuff and fluff from around the web...

  • Kristi O'Harran really hates pacifiers!
  • Introduce your children to the glamorous world of drug-mixing with this new product from Tylenol. Pretty soon they'll be asking Santa for the Acme Meth-Lab-In-A-Box.
  • This gave me goosebumps too. Fred Rogers was the real deal. I wish our society rewarded people like him more. Thanks Nikkirae!
  • Daddy Detective figures that you have to tell your kids to do things about 700 times and then maybe they'll actually do it.
  • John Watson, of the Flagrant Disregard blog, has created a great new "all about photography" blog, Photodoto. I'd recommend it even if he hadn't featured one of my photos last week.
  • Daddychip's backyard is a battlezone. I'll have to remember this as I obsess over landscaping our own yard.
  • Marketers love moms in May.
  • New York Magazine has labeled grown-ups who won't grow up as Grups. And Grups love to be parents because "Grups find kids to be perfect little Mr. Potato Head versions of themselves."


Sunday, May 07, 2006

 

Sharing Meals

Supermarkets across the country will soon begin a campaign to encourage families to share meals together at home.

Sitting down to dinner as a family can have a huge positive impact on children, resulting in decreased risk of obesity and abuse of drugs and alcohol.

My wife and I have never missed a dinner with our kids. Even during a busy spring, when soccer and school activities have us double-checking our calendars, we still don't eat dinner apart. If there came a time when kids and parents were regularly going their separate ways for the evening meal then I'd have to say that a change in the schedule was required. I don't ever want us to be so busy that we can't wind down together in the evening with some good food and conversation.


Friday, May 05, 2006

 

Take My Children

Help! They want to take my children away from me!

Last week one of the soccer moms on my daughter's team pestered me almost daily to take my daughter away with her for a playdate. She told me, "You can run errands while our kids play." Uhhh... First, I barely even know your last name, ma'am, what makes you think I'm going to hand over my 4-year-old daughter to a semi-complete stranger? Second, I run errands just fine with my kids because I actually enjoy having them with me. They are a help, not a hindrance.

This week, a different mom from school started bugging me about picking up my daughter along with hers after class and taking them away to her house for the afternoon, "So you can get things done at home." What, do I look like I'm overwhelmed with chores and errands? And why do these women think I'm going to trust people I don't know the first thing about? Is this what they do with their young children? Shuttle them off to one stranger after another?

I finally put them off with the explanation that my daughter doesn't like being apart from us outside of school, which is only half the truth. I've learned over the years that complete honesty with other parents is not such a good thing. Some moms and dads can be very touchy about their parenting attitudes, especially if there are some guilt issues... such as, "It's probably not a good idea to be leaving my kids with strangers, but I do so enjoy the two hours of me-time at Starbucks."


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

 

DARK: House Of Mouse

Dance Around the Room with your Kids

This week's DARK song is the extended theme from Disney's House of Mouse TV show. It's performed by The Brian Setzer Orchestra. You might remember Setzer from the early 80's two-hit wonders The Stray Cats. He's taken that sound to a whole new level with his swingin' big band.

Listen: Brian Setzer - "Rockin' At The House of Mouse" MP3

Start dancing!

Click here to buy The Best of Brian Setzer Orchestra CD at Amazon.



 

The Mountain King

I've mentioned before about my love for Flickr, the online photo-sharing community. The site has rekindled my passion for photography and made me view the world in a different way. Plus, I've made a few friends who have helped me to become a better photographer. In turn, I'm teaching my kids how to use a camera to take great pictures.

One of my favorite Flickr friends is a man named Michael Edminster, also known as Mountain Mike. He shoots amazing landscape and portrait photos, mostly around the Sun Valley area of Southern Idaho. Witness just a few of his stunning pictures below. Click on each image to see the large version, and then take some time to browse through the more than 850 photos that Mike has posted for the world to see.