Fatherly Stuff: June 2014

Jun 30, 2014

Crafty Dad: Make your Own Paint

Painting is the universal tool that children have used for years to set their imaginations free on paper and unfortunately on the occasional wall. I love doing all sorts of projects with my kids involving paints, so when I noticed that were running low; we decided to do something a little different by actually making homemade paint from scratch.

Sure you can go to the nearest store and pick up your own paint, but where’s the fun in that? Making it with your kids is not only eco-friendly; it's cheaper and it’s a great hands-on project that your kids will love. 

Here's what you'll need:

Some flour 
Some water
Some food coloring

For every 2 tablespoons of flour, add 4 tablespoons of water, along with 15 drops of the food coloring of your choice.

Encourage your children to get involved and be helpers by allowing them to mix the solution. Just make sure that it's mixed well.

And that's basically it. Of course, make sure that the proportions are equal to the quantity of paint that you're making. Once you're complete, you'll have your very own paint that you can do all sorts of fun things with.

Here's a fun little project that we did with our homemade paint using coffee filters and a salad spinner.

If you tried this recipe yourself, I'd love to hear how it turned out!

Jun 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

2014 marks not only my 5th father's day that I get to celebrate, but it is also my first as a father of two. I could go on to write about how wonderful/challenging/stressful it's been, but instead, I've decided to compile a few of my most popular posts that were inspired from all of the moments that I've been privileged to share with my boys.

Please feel free to read and share with any dads you think might enjoy them.

Happy Father's Day, from my family to yours!

5 Ways Fatherhood Will Make you a Better Man

16 Ways you Know you're a Dad

3 Roadblocks to Fatherhood (and How to Overcome Them)
Stress Management Tips for New Dads
Awesome Fathers in the Animal Kingdom

3 Things Moms Need to Know about New Dads

Jun 13, 2014

Dad Bonding at Bathtime with Aveeno Baby

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Dad Central Consulting for AVEENO. I received product samples to facilitate my review a promotional item to thank me for participating.”

As a working dad, sometimes I feel as though I don’t get enough time with my boys. The hardest part of my day is kissing my kids goodbye as I leave in the morning because I know that all the time that I am spending in the office means that I’m missing out on a lot of their special day to day moments. Also, since my wife became a stay at home mom last summer, she has naturally taken over a lot of the caretaker responsibilities that we used to split down the middle. 

 Because of this, I try to make the most of the time that I am home by doing as much as possible with my family. This includes eating our meals together, playing games and even being apart of their bedtime routine. Of all of the activities that we do together, I’d have to say one of my absolute favorite is when I give them their bath. Both of my kids have always taken to water like little fish, and during bath time it’s so much fun to watch their creativity run wild as they splash, make shapes out of the bubbles, and compose silly songs as their voices echo off of the bathroom walls.

Since our oldest was an infant, my wife and I have always been a fan of Aveeno Baby products. We are very conscious of the products that we use on our kids, and it’s great to know that Aveeno  Baby’s Wash & Shampoo is  tear free and made with all natural oat extract.  During bathtime, I like to use it to make bubbles and it keeps the kids' skin feeling and smelling great. We also love the Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion. Hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, it is the perfect lotion for my little ones' delicate skin.

Balancing work and family life is certainly a challenge. Over the years, I have found that the most important thing is being able to not worry so much about  the time that you cannot spend with your children, but rather appreciate all of life's little moments that we do get to share with them. This includes splashing around with baby during bath time. And of all the things that I have to worry about as a parent, my mind is at ease knowing that when using Aveeno Baby, I am providing them with one of the best products out there.

Jun 10, 2014

A Dad's Guide to Bonding with a Breastfeeding Baby

The following is a guest post that I originally wrote for Our Parenting Spot.

For me, becoming a dad for the first time was an amazing experience. Nine months of planning, anxiety, and excitement reached its climax during labor and delivery. The next thing I knew, I was holding a beautiful, mini human being I helped create. As I was sitting there, high on parental euphoria, I felt like there’s nothing in the world that could ruin such a perfect moment… until the moment was quickly shattered by the baby’s piercing hunger cry. If a baby is breastfeeding, it will probably be mom - not dad - who will swoop in to save the day.

As a new father, you may struggle to find your place in the life of your newborn if your baby is breastfeeding exclusively because much of an infant's time is dedicated to sleeping and eating.[1] For a breastfeeding baby, it is the mother who is the primary source of nourishment. This can be a frustrating and isolating experience for dads. It can sometimes lead to the perception that fatherhood does not play a key role during the early stages of development - a perception which couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are numerous ways that men can make unique and meaningful connections with their babies.

Creating a Routine
Did you know that routines - especially bed time routines - can help your baby?[2][3] There are many facets of daily care which dads can use to create opportunities for bonding. Give mom a break and establish a few things you can do with your baby regularly. Some ideas:
  • bathing
  • dressing
  • diaper changes
While you are doing these things, you can also talk and sing to your baby. Your child will begin to associate these activities with you. As a result, you will be identified as someone who they can look to for care and it will deepen your connection with your baby even further.

Whether it is at bedtime, in the morning, or anytime in between - reading to your child provides an entire array of benefits, even at the newborn stage. In fact, the first year of life is particularly crucial because this is the time that a child’s brain is making millions of neurological connections while learning about the world around them. Reading to your child will encourage the progress of those connections, increase their comprehension of language, and help them develop a love of books which will last a lifetime.[4][5] One of the most important things about reading to your baby, are the special bonding moments you are creating by holding them close and having them hear your voice.

Skin to Skin Contact
Skin to skin contact[6] is an activity that is highly correlated with the breastfeeding mother and their newborns[7][8]; however, as a father, you can enjoy the benefits of this practice too.[9] The warmth radiated from your body will keep the baby’s temperature regulated and the sound of your heartbeat is soothing to your baby.[10] Just like breastfeeding, skin to skin contact gives the baby the opportunity to get acquainted with your scent and make eye contact with you more often, which will build the foundations of what can evolve into a lifetime bond.[11]

Babywearing seems to be becoming popular amongst men. Fathers can use babywearing to feel a genuine closeness with their baby. Furthermore, if the baby is fussy, wearing them may help in providing relief for both the baby and for your arms.

I've found that baby wearing also provides a level of mobility that you don’t necessarily have while holding your baby or pushing your baby in a stroller. Another plus - I can multi-task when I am wearing my baby.

Check out this babywearing demo video by a dad who seems to have the hang of it:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/1buZcNAOepI?rel=0" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/1buZcNAOepI?rel=0</a>

Get Physical (Within Reason)
Which are you more comfortable with - soft touch or physical play with your infant? Of course, the utmost care and attention must be given when dealing with a baby.[12] Try swaying while dancing to music, or reciting a poem or childhood song, while gently pinching their toes. As your baby gets older and their neck becomes stronger, you can start doing other things. From tummy tickling, to knee bouncing to blowing raspberries, a little gentle play can go a long way towards the giggles that you’ll share with your baby.

A Few Do’s and Don’ts
There's a saying: Experience is the best teacher. I think that this saying definitely applies to being a father. There will be amazing highs which are punctuated with utter (and sometimes messy) lows. While most of them are unavoidable, here are a few Do's and Don'ts that will help keep you ahead of the learning curve:

DO be patient
Bonding with a newborn is something that doesn’t necessarily occur overnight. So do not be discouraged if despite your efforts, your baby continues to cry for their mom. Be persistent and with enough practice, your confidence in your abilities will increase and the baby will be sure to come around eventually.

DO Create Bonding Opportunities
When it comes to creating opportunities to bond with your baby, the following 6 words might be the most crucial you could ever utter to a mom: “What can I do to help?” These words may seem small, but they hold a lot of weight in the eyes of an exhausted mom. Take the baby any and every chance you get. Again, the more you practice, the more your skills will increase and so will the level of comfort you and your baby will have around each other. It might be difficult to help with night time duty if the baby is breastfeeding, but you can provide support by changing their clothes and/or diaper if needed. You can also offer to wake up early in the morning with baby so mom can get some sleep.

DON’T see parenting as a competition
Parenthood is neither a one-sided obligation nor is it a competition; it’s a partnership! There are going to be things that the mother will simply be more adept at; however, that doesn’t necessarily make them a better parent. As you move forward in your fatherhood journey, you may learn that you possess unique skills that your baby can benefit from. It’s all about open communication with your partner to determine how you can best care for the baby as a team.

You ARE Capable
There seems to be a misconception that fathers are inept when it comes to connecting with their kids when they are babies; however, I believe that dads are capable of providing a great amount of care and affection. Do you? A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control concluded that dads are just as hands-on as moms when it comes to raising their kids.[13]

Whether a baby is breastfeeding or not, any man who wishes to create and maintain a bond with their baby must put in the time and effort in doing so. This, along with adequate support from their partner, will ensure that the foundation of their relationship with their child is strengthened early on, and it will continue to progress for years to come.

 1. Stanford Children's Health: Newborn-Sleep Patterns, 2014
 2. Ask Dr. Sears: 8 Infant Sleep Facts Every Parent Should Know, 2013
 3. Science Daily: Bedtime Routine Improves Sleep In Infants And Toddlers, Maternal Mood, 2009
 4. The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC): Talking points/Born to Read, 2014
 5. Infant Toddler Specialists of Indiana - ITSI Research Briefs: Effects of shared parent-infant book reading on early language acquisition, 2007
 6. Skin to Skin Contact is also known as SCC.
 7. Sturdy Memorial Hospital: The Comfort of Contact, 2014
 8. OB.Gyn.News: Early skin-to-skin contact promotes breastfeeding, benefits baby, 2013
 9. WebMD.com: Skin-to-skin care with the father after cesarean birth and its effect on newborn crying and prefeeding behavior., 2014
 10. Fathers can effectively achieve heat conservation in healthy newborn infants., 1996
 11. The International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA): ICEA Position Paper Skin-to-Skin Contact, 2014
 12. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: NINDS Shaken Baby Syndrome Information Page, 2014
 13. Centers for Disease Control: Fathers’ Involvement With Their Children: United States, 2006–2010, 2013

Jun 3, 2014

Save Time and Money with Purex® No Sort™ Dye Transfer Inhibitor

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

If I had to post my relationship status with my household laundry on Facebook it would be listed as, “It’s complicated” 

On one hand, I enjoy wearing clean, fresh smelling clothes that do not smell like an old hamper. On the other hand, the dislike that I have for this particular chore burns deep within my soul. If you think that I am exaggerating, consider this: Each and every week, the routine is the same: I go through the various hampers around the house and dump them all in the center of the living room for sorting in order to prevent color bleeding accidents. The end result is an unrelenting, massive heap of laundry which has been accumulated due in major part to the collective efforts of a hyper-active 4 year old and a 10 month old whose favorite hobby seems to be getting as many different body fluids on as many changes of clothing as possible in one day. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the fact that I do not own a washer/dryer makes things even more challenging. Once the clothes are sorted and packed, I have to carry them down the stairs, out of the house, into the car and I make the trip to our local Laundromat. This is not only expensive, it is also time consuming. Are you getting the picture on why laundry and I aren’t exactly on the best of terms now?

If your laundry routine is even an iota as arduous as mine, then you’re probably out there looking for ways to cut back on both the time and money that you’re spending. I was thrilled to discover that I was able to easily accomplish both with one bottle of Purex® NoSort™ for Colors laundry detergent.

One of the most essential yet time consuming jobs that need to be done is sorting based on color. If not done properly, you face the risk of color bleeding accidents. However, Purex® No Sort™ literally changed the game, by creating a special formula that contains a dye transfer inhibitor, which is basically science talk that means the color from your darker clothes will not run into your light clothes. With this breakthrough, “no bleed through” technology, not only do you save time by not having to spend so much time tediously sorting piles, combining your colors allows you to wash more clothes in less loads, therefore saving you money.. 

Since using Purex® No Sort™, my laundry experience has significantly improved. Instead of wasting time needlessly sorting through our clothes, all I have to do is throw all my colors in one hamper and go.

With all of the free time we have, our family has decided to use it to finally complete all of the items on our summertime bucket list. The first item on the list? Going to the zoo!

Purex® No Sort™ can be found at your local Walmart in the Paper and Cleaning aisle.


So remember, stop sorting and start enjoying life! 

Learn more about Purex by connecting with them via Social Media:

Jun 1, 2014

Enjoy a Chafe-Free Summer with Coastal Dog Apparel

“I participated in a Blogger Activation on behalf of Dad Central Consulting for Coastal Dog. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and to thank me for participating.”

 If you’re a New Englander like me, you have been anxiously waiting for Mother Nature to make up her mind, put an end to those chilly mornings and finally bestow some consistent sunshine and warm weather upon us. Well, now that we’re beginning to see high temps remain steady throughout the week, it looks like that time has come at last. For my family, this means that it’s time to dust off the air conditioners, clean the grill, find my 4 year old’s bug-catching equipment, and most importantly, replace the swim gear that both of my boys grew out of in the prior year. Since we have family in both New Jersey and Maine, it is not uncommon to find us during the summer in any one of the many pools, ponds, lakes or beaches from Atlantic City, to Old Orchard Beach and anywhere in between. This is why when my wife and I are shopping for swim clothing; we are always looking for something that is comfortable, but also easy on the wallet. Luckily, I was recently tapped by Dad Central to test out a pair of Coastal Dog swim trunks for my 4 year old and I was very impressed with what they had to offer.

What is Coastal Dog and What Makes them so Awesome?
Coastal Dog Apparel is a Massachusetts-based company that manufactures swim trunks for boys and men. Their colors and designs are great, but what makes this company special is what’s on the inside of them. Instead of the uncomfortable, chafe-inducing mesh that runs rampant inside of most swimsuits, Costal Dog has literally solved the Rubik’s Cube that has plagued every male that has ever donned a pair of trunks.

Instead of the mesh underwear, there is a soft and comfortable compression short material that (though some sort of wizardry I’m assuming) completely removes any possibility of itching and chafing. That means playtime at the pool can last a lot longer than it used to.


As if you needed another reason to love Costal Dog, there’s something else you should know. 100% of their profits go towards charities that help children such as Horizons for Homeless Children, Youth Villages and Big Brothers Big Sisters. That way, you can walk away feeling all warm and fuzzing knowing that your purchase is actually making a positive impact on the lives of children. I know what you’re thinking, “A company with a revolutionary product, takes said product and is using it to make the word a better place with no strings attached?” Sounds too good to be true, but that's exactly what they're trying to do.

So to recap, Coastal Dog swim trunks are:
  • Made in the USA
  • Gets rid of that itchy, chafing feeling
  • 100%  of profits go to charity

 Before you and your kids decide to hit the beach this summer, consider Coastal Dog Apparel for all of you anti-chafing needs; You certainly will not regret it!