Aug 19

A Spoonful of Seasoning Helps the Yucky Soup Go Down

I couldn't find a picture of Alex making a "yuck" face, so this will have to do.

I couldn’t find a picture of Alex making a “yuck” face, so this will have to do.

Alex is a very picky eater. He operates on a dietary version of the closed world assumption. If he doesn’t know for sure that he likes something, he believes and firmly states that he doesn’t like it – even if he’s never tried it. Stubborn as he is (just like his parents), he’ll willingly sit through dinner without eating anything. (And since we don’t do special requests when kids don’t like what we serve, that’s just what he does.) I managed to outwit him recently, though, and get him to eat most of a dinner he said he didn’t want.

About a week ago, we had tortellini soup. Alex likes tortellini (What’s not to like?), but he doesn’t like the zucchini, tomatoes, spices, etc. We usually make dinner meals fairly bland, ...

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Aug 18

A Prayer for Spouses and Parents

Mother Teresa was a big fan of this prayer [Photo © 1986 Túrelio (via Wikimedia-Commons), 1986 / Lizenz: Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-2.0]

I was recently absorbed in some selfish introspection (“Why do my kids seem to go out of their way to drive me nuts?!”) when my conscience reminded me of a better direction to channel my thoughts. I suddenly recalled a famous prayer that had more personal relevance than I’d considered. Called “Make Me an Instrument of your Peace“, it is often incorrectly attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi. I know not all of my readers are of a religious persuasion, but I think the second half of this prayer has broad application to spouses and parents.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in ...

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Aug 13

Are You a Prepper Parent? Can You Help Me Get Started?

1950s fallout shelter (public domain photo by Fastfission at en.wikipedia, from Wikimedia Commons)

Do any of you do any prepping? If so, how the heck do you find the time, money, and energy to do it with young children?!

I really want to do whatever I can to be prepared for possible disaster. I’m not talking about the stuff of tin foil conspiracy theories involving martial law, FEMA camps, or the total collapse of the economy. I’m thinking more along the lines of natural disasters likes hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and blizzards. (On the extreme end of the spectrum, I’d like to be prepared for EMP effects of a CME.) In addition to wanting to have enough food to handle my family of six trapped in our house for a few days, I’d like to be prepared to have no electrical power or running water for an extended period (such as happened to ...

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Aug 01

Calling All Flabby Daddies!

Let’s lose some weight together. Misery loves company! :) (photo source: Wikimedia Commons)

Greetings, fellow fathers! :)

I don’t know about you, but I could stand to lose a few pounds. About 30, in fact. Losing weight is hard, though, especially when attempted alone.

So, let’s stop trying to do it alone!

We already have several great gathering places in social media, such as Dad Bloggers on Facebook. We already poke, prod, tease, taunt, and challenge each other. Let’s put those resources to good use and do what guys do best – turn something into a contest and embarrass the losers. ;)

Seriously, though, putting your wallet or your pride on the line can really help with motivation. Skeptical? Read these articles. Or these.

Interested? Great! I’ve chosen a 3-month time frame for this fat bet. If it works out well, we can easily do another. To join, follow this ...

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Jul 29

No More Time-Outs!

Image shamelessly horked from

Fellow dad blogger Chris Bernholdt (of DadNCharge) recently went viral with a post suggesting that parents put an end to play dates. Heck, he even got interviewed on national morning shows. I don’t think I’ve ever written anything good enough to get that kind of attention, but thinking about challenging modern middle class parenting conventions did remind me of a post I wrote three years ago (presented below, with minor edits). Chris wants to banish the playdate, and I’d like to stop talking about putting kids in time-outs.

Every parent in the Western world is familiar with time-outs. Used properly (e.g., as prescribed by 1-2-3 Magic), they can be an effective and useful tool for disciplining children (in the punitive sense).

Why do we call them time-outs, though? Does this sound like how we use them or how we ought to use them?

“In ...

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