A Child’s Guide to Vegetables

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My kids have always loved their veggies. But only under certain conditions. Long ago, when they were younger, I developed this simple Child’s Guide to Vegetables to help me avoid mealtime rebellion.

1. Carrots must be raw, not cooked.

2. Broccoli must be cooked, not raw.

3. Celery must be 2 inches or longer, never chopped into small pieces.

4. Corn must be on the cob, never loose on the plate.

5. Tomatoes are evil, but ketchup is heavenly.

6. Beans are gross, while refried beans are delicious.

7. Green beans are tolerable by themselves, but disgusting when mixed with macaroni and cheese.

8. Peas are fun to eat, but if one gets smashed, the party’s over.

9. Mixing different vegetables together is forbidden, as it’s simply too much work sorting them out to eat individually.

10. Brussels sprouts. Are you insane?

None of these rules made much sense to me at the time, except for the one about brussels sprouts (yuck), but at least the kids ate their veggies in one form or another.

These days, as my son and daughter have grown into maturing teens, only a few of the rules still ring true.

I’ll just stay quiet on which ones.

Calling Dr Cocoa

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“I can’t wait to get sick again!”

That’s what I expected my kids to say once I showed them Dr. Cocoa, a new children’s cough and cold medicine made with real chocolate.

I grew up with the usual cherry-flavored cough syrup. To this day, anything with a strong cherry flavoring brings back unpleasant memories of childhood illness. Cherry Coke is the worst. It might as well be a glass full of Robitussin in my mind.

So, I was immediately intrigued by Dr. Cocoa when they sent me a few samples. Who doesn’t like chocolate? And why was it never added to cough medicine before?! Continue reading

Hang Time

I’ve thought about this for a long time, and I’m sorry to have to say it.

It’s time for me to hang it up.

There are various reasons, but number one is I’m tired.

Very tired.

I’ve been tip-toeing around the issue for weeks now.

It’s just getting harder and harder to come up with the right words to express myself.

Sometimes I feel like nobody is even listening!

So, that’s it. I am decided.

There’s no talking me out of it.

I’m going to hang it up.

Kids, next time why don’t you just do it yourself so your dad doesn’t have to constantly be hanging it up for you!

Okay? Thanks.

Oh, and if it smells funny, please DO NOT hang it up. Toss it in the laundry room and I’ll wash it.

Top 6 “I Have A Bad Feeling About This” for Parents

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As parents, it seems like not a day goes by when we don’t get some sense of dread or disappointment involving or surrounding our children. Thankfully, these feelings are usually minor. We get over them quickly, or at least with very little pain and suffering.

With apologies to George Lucas, here are my
Top 6 “I Have A Bad Feeling About This” For Parents

1. The most common one occurs while sitting on the toilet, usually after you’ve concluded your business, when you look over to see that there is no toilet paper on the roll. How many times do we have to tell our kids to replace the paper after they’ve used it up?
Continue reading

10 Cool Things For Kids In North Idaho

It’s that time of year to start thinking about road trips and family travels for the coming spring and summer. There are few better places to find fun with your kids than North Idaho.

The northern panhandle of Idaho is my family’s stomping ground. Over the years, we’ve discovered a great number of cool and exciting places to take the kids. So, when people ask what there is to do around here, I always have a ready list of sights and activities that will make any family vacation a memorable one.

Ten Cool Things For Kids In North Idaho

1. World’s Longest Gondola Ride

Silver Mountain Gondola

In the town of Kellogg, you can board the longest gondola in the world for a 20 minute ride to the Mountain Haus terminal at the top of Silver Mountain, a climb of 3400 vertical feet. In the winter, you’ll find some of the best ski runs around, but in the summer you can hike the nature trails, go mountain biking, or ride the chair lifts for more scenic beauty even higher up the mountain. Continue reading

Let’s Hear It For the Dads!

1927610_43638708793_7776_nAfter seventeen years of being a stay-at-home dad in a stay-at-home mom world, I’m used to it now.

Back when I first adopted this role, I would easily get flustered and angry.

But now I just laugh about it.

We were at an end-of-the-year homeschool picnic when one of the organizers started calling up the kids by grade so we could give them a round of applause.

After she finished up with the high schoolers and we clapped, she looked around and said, “And now, let’s hear it for the moms who worked tirelessly all year to teach these wonderful children. Yay moms!”

And that was it. She thanked everyone for coming and told us all to have a good time.

I looked around to see if any other dads were thinking what I was thinking, but then I realized there weren’t any other dads at the picnic.

And rather than get upset, I simply shook my head and smiled. Continue reading

My Son Won’t Talk to Me!

My son didn’t talk until he was almost three years old.

It kind of runs in the genes. I didn’t talk until I was four.

By the time he was eight, he wouldn’t stop talking. His vocabulary was huge, and the ideas coming out of his head were sometimes stunning. But the problem back then was the speed of his words. He spoke slowly and carefully, a by-product of years of speech therapy with Miss Erica encouraging him to “Sound. Out. The Words.”

Most adults had the patience to hear him out, but many kids his age did not. They would interrupt or talk over him, which would cause frustration and increasing shyness on his part. Continue reading

I Want To Be My Kids’ Hero

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I noticed my four-year-old with her thumb in her mouth. I said, “Aren’t you a little old to be sucking your thumb?” She replied, “I not sucking my thumb. I cleaning my face like a cat.” And then she proceeded to wipe spit all over her nose, cheeks, and forehead. Well, okay… Just as long as she doesn’t start using the litterbox.

I write things like this down so that we can have a good laugh about it when she’s grown up. Sharing good memories is one of my favorite pastimes. If only I had more people to do it with. Most of my friends and family profess to having Swiss-cheese memories, but I think that’s just an excuse to avoid dredging up any bad times they may have had. In my life I’ve had pain, disappointment and plain bad luck, and I’m not afraid of letting those ghosts out for some fresh air. Remembering the past can sometimes be the best way of figuring out the future for myself and my family. Continue reading

When Good Things Go Bad

It’s a Throwback Thursday blog post, going all the way back to 2005 when my son was 7 years old and everything was different.

narniaI totally blew my son’s mind tonight.

We’ve been reading the seven Chronicles of Narnia books and thoroughly enjoyed each story. Until the final book, The Last Battle, in which Aslan wipes out Narnia and brings all the good creatures to “the real Narnia” (aka heaven). The last few pages of the book are mostly description, as C.S. Lewis paints a picture of an afterlife where everything is as perfect as you can imagine.

My son was bitterly disappointed that Narnia was destroyed, and he didn’t quite understand why the characters were running through the new land. I could see the wheels churning away in his mind as he tried to figure it out. When I finished reading it, he looked confused and said, “What happened?”

His brain hadn’t caught up yet. Continue reading