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Friday, August 28, 2009


The Sweetest Giveaway

We've always encouraged our kids to eat healthy snacks. My son has been a carrot muncher from his first days of solid food. My daughter can devour an entire bag of dried mangoes in one sitting.

Oh, sure, sometimes we get a craving for Pringle's potato chips or Snyder's pretzels, but we don't let those products have a permanent place in our pantry.

One snack we've been enjoying for a few years is Sunsweet's Antioxidant Blend, a mix of cherries, blueberries, cranberries, and plums. It's a favorite with everyone, although if you're eating it in the car you'll need to keep some wet wipes handy for sticky fingers.

When the people at Sunsweet asked me if I'd like to sample their new Philippine Pineapple dried fruit, I was confident it would have the same quality, taste, and nutritional value of their Antioxidant Blend.

They sent it, we all sampled it, and the verdict is... It's not only delicious, but I'm seeing pineapple in a different light now. The sweetest pineapple I've ever had was fresh off the plantation in Hawaii. It's hard to find that kind of flavor after the fruit has been canned, boxed, and shipped to the mainland.

This dried pineapple is much closer to the sweet taste of fresh. And I shouldn't even call it "dried" because it's extremely moist and juicy when you bite into a piece.

Bottom line, you can't go wrong with a tasty snack that helps kids choose healthy fruit over the empty calories of chips and candy.

You be the judge. I have ten prize packs from Sunsweet to give away! Winners will receive a Sunsweet reusable shopping bag, and a VIP coupon good for any Sunsweet product, up to a value of $5.50. You can use the coupon to try the Philippine Pineapple, or any other Sunsweet product (I also recommend the Antioxidant Blend).

Simply leave a comment on this post, telling me what healthy snack is your child's favorite. I'll announce winners at the end of next week.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Hello, Seattle!

We just returned from a spontaneous mini-vacation to Seattle. More about that later. For now, enjoy a few photos from our trip. Come back on Friday for a big "fruity" giveaway.

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Friday, August 21, 2009


Soak Up The Summer

Excuse me while I ignore my blog for a few days. We've been a little busy enjoying the last of summer.

Yesterday we went boating on Lake Pend O'Reille with a friend. While the kids had a blast playing "pirate" on a giant floating tube, I kicked back and relaxed, hypnotized by the slow swaying of the boat on the water.

This was one of those carefree summer days I know my kids will always remember. As the sun began to set, and the boat headed back to shore, my son said, "That was the most fun I've ever had."

I wish I could slow things down for us all, so we could have more days like that. Alas, school starts up in two weeks, and we will soon be soaking up Algebra and Geography instead of sun and waves.

Until then, we have a little more summer to soak up. See you next week!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Wordless Wednesday

Yes! My son is old enough to mow the lawn by himself.

And that means I finally have some free time... work in the yard on all the other things that need to be done.

The fantasy was that I could just stretch out on the hammock, sipping ice cold lemonade, while my kids weeded, watered, trimmed, and mowed.

I'll keep dreaming.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Three Cool Kids CDs

We've been listening to quite a few new kids CDs this summer. Some good, some not so good. Here are three of the better ones. You can't go wrong buying these discs for your children:

Mariana Iranzi - Aventura Collage

Iranzi's style of music can be best described as Argentinian Folk Rock for children. Most of the songs are in Spanish, which is ideal for my own kids as they begin to learn that language. But it's the music that transcends cultures. Iranzi moves from acoustic folk to blues to reggae, creating quite a collage of sounds as she sings about simple things like food, animals, and playing games. This disc is a joy for all ages. Unless you speak Spanish, you won't even realize it's a children's album.

Song samples from Aventura Collage can be found here.

The Sippy Cups - The Time Machine

If I had to choose one style of music as a favorite, I'd say "Beatlesque Power Pop," which basically means clever lyrics, twisty melodies, jangly guitars, and bouncy bass lines. That's what The Sippy Cups bring to their latest release, a concept album about growing up ("The time machine is you!"). Songs like "One Day Soon" and "My Angry Voice" deliver a message without getting preachy. Coupled with several fun skits, this is a disc your kids, maybe even your teens, will be asking to hear again.

Song samples from The Time Machine can be found here.

Mr. Leebot - Robot Dance

If Devo made an album of children's music, this is what it might sound like. Mr. Leebot does his best Mark Mothersbaugh impression and, with quirky lyrics over synthesized dance beats, actually makes the whole thing work. A good sense of humor runs through these songs, like the kid in "It Wasn't Me" who compiles a list of all the various offenses he swears he didn't do. This album is just pure fun, perfect for everyone from toddlers to pre-teens. Parents will also get a kick out of the new wave 80's sound.

Song samples from Robot Dance can be found here.

You can also purchase all of these discs at iTunes, or from the artists' websites:

Mariana Iranzi
The Sippy Cups
Mr. Leebot


Thursday, August 13, 2009


Puffball the Hamster, RIP

Puffball T. Hamster
August 2007 - August 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Wordless Wednesday

My son, and friends, crash the waves at the Boulder Beach wave pool.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


Only In The Movies

Back when I was an impressionable pre-teen, my mother foolishly took my sister and me to see this brand-new movie that everyone was talking about.

I vividly remember that magical afternoon as Star Wars unfolded on the big screen, and my eyes were suddenly opened up to the wonderful possibilities of movie-making.

From that moment on, I wanted to be George Lucas.

Well, at least for a few months, until I saw Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and then I just knew I wanted to be Steven Spielberg.

That actually lasted a couple of years, until my mother took us to see the Los Angeles opening of Beatlemania in 1979, and then I wanted to be John Lennon. But that's another story.

During that last part of the 70's, I was enamored with films and Hollywood and directing.

The first Christmas after the epiphany of Star Wars, I only wanted one thing: a Super 8 movie camera. Once in hand, I was free to create my masterful visions, which I was sure would attract the attentions of Lucas and Spielberg, to be followed by studio bidding wars for my talents.

Only, I discovered I wasn't so free. A 3-minute reel of Super 8 film was expensive. And then you had to pay even more to develop the thing!

Not to mention, editing those tiny little strips of celluloid was tedious and frustrating. One wrong move with the slicer, and that was that.

You young people with your fancy Flip video cameras and computer editing software have no idea how good you have it.

Another problem was finding talent. I had to do some real sweet-talking to get people to appear in my movies. It became easier to make a star out of the cat, or some inanimate object.

Most of my little movies never quite got off the ground, and I ended up with a collection of bits and pieces. Ideas that went nowhere.

However, I did manage to make one decent little film with a couple of friends. It has a plot and everything! And it even won an award at a junior high film festival. I still have the trophy to prove it. Second place in the Comedy category. Never mind that there were only two entrants... I'm an award-winning filmmaker!

Here, after 31 years stored away in a box, is the world premiere of my epic saga about one man's courageous journey to hell and back.

Or something like that.

Go easy on me. I was 14 years old, and everything was filmed in one take to save on costs. The music was added recently, as the original was silent. Titles and credits are also new additions.


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Thursday, August 06, 2009


Ten Cool Things For Kids In North Idaho

I've been writing over at the Uptake travel blog again.

Check out my latest post:

Ten Cool Things For Kids In North Idaho

Grown-ups will enjoy them too.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Watching The River Run

Summer fun continues... We spent today playing in the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River. We have to squeeze all we can out of these warm days. Temperatures are supposed to drop 30 degrees by the end of the week!

Watching the river run

Shooting the rapids

Here fishy, fishy

Building a dam

It's a beautiful day