Eat your bloody vegetables

I have vivid memories from when I was a kid, sitting at the dinner table and my sister balling her eyes out because she didn’t want to eat her pumpkin. I used to have chuckle because I wasn’t being yelled at for a change.

Fast forward 15 years and I am fighting the same battle with my own kids! 

Eddie Murphy in a broccoli suit.

A scene from one of my favourite movies, Daddy Day Care.

I’ll admit it, I love a pizza….. or two…. okay and some chicken wings. Food is my weakness, shut up!

But I also love eating healthy, when I can be bothered cooking and it’s not stinking bloody hot here in Canberra. My kids just love sticking it to me when it comes to eating healthy!

“I don’t like vegetables”

They’ll make you big and strong…

“I don’t like carrots!” 

You ate them yesterday…

“This tastes funny”

You ate the same thing last week and loved it…

“I wanted red rooster”

So did I but my metabolism isn’t as fast as yours and I’ll stack on 3 kilos thinking about it, thanks kids.

But I have to admit, I have had a win with apples. I cut the apples into “apple chips”. They love it but maybe it’s not the best idea naming something healthy after a food that will block their arteries and make them look like Honey Boo Boo. (If you don’t know who Honey Boo Boo is, save yourself and do not click this link!)

I just don’t know what else I can do, short of making them sit there all night and eating them. Sure I could hide the vegetables in their food but I will guarantee that they will sniff it out quicker than the drug dog that busted Schapelle Corby. I could make vegetable juice. They love juice but again I reckon they’ll figure out it is good for them and spit it back in my face. (Also check check the best folding table for picnic and family meals)

What’s next?

Do I give in? Do I let the little buggers win this round whilst I retreat licking my wounds and begin planning the next round? I don’t know. I guess I’ll just tough it out, shove a few pureed veges in here and there and hope for the best, well either that or I’ll turn into a vego and they’ll have to eat vegetables. I can’t back that up, I’ll never give up meat.

How do you get your kids to eat their vegetables? Share your magic formula and I’ll send you a lettuce. Only kidding, I don’t buy lettuce. My kids don’t eat it!

HA HA Bar

“I’d like to interview you for the blog” Elias said as he was talking about his newest venture, CBR Foodie. In this blog he is interviewing local bloggers in Canberra about where to find the best dishes under $15!

My choice, HA HA Bar in Belconnen.

Full disclosure, my wife works at HAHA Bar and she has been raving on about how good the food is for a while now so I thought I would use this opportunity to give it a go. But don’t think I will go easy on them just because she works there!

First off, the venue. HAHA Bar is located on Lake Ginninderra giving the outdoor area a nice atmosphere on a warmer day. Inside, there is an “artsy” theme with lots of custom paintings and designs. Word has it that a designer was flown in from New Zealand to do the work. The venue is small though, which makes it a little hard if you were going to bring in a pram for your kids. Also the lack of high chairs means that the little ones will need to sit on your lap or leave them at home.

This morning we took all of our kids, combined made 8 and the staff at HAHA were more than accommodating. There is no kids menu but we asked if pancakes could be arranged and the kitchen again was kind enough to accommodate our requests. The kids enjoyed the pancakes, a large single pancake with fresh fruit and cream on the side.

Haha Bar new breakfast menu

Haha Bar new breakfast menu

HAHA Bar recently launched a new breakfast menu and it didn’t disappoint. I tried the Goats Cheese Breaky Pizza.

Goat Cheese Breaky Pizza

Goat Cheese Breaky Pizza

It was delicious. The egg in the middle was cooked perfectly and it filled me up which in my books is considered a win! My guests had the following.

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict

 

big breaky

The food coming out the kitchen looked great and it was backed up by these wonderful dishes. HAHA boasts a wide variety of freshly made ‘mocktails’ as well as beautiful juice to accompany your breakfast. However, I needed a coffee.

Coffee Art from HAHA Bar

Coffee Art from HAHA Bar

The coffee was so delicious I had two in the space of 30 minutes!

All in all, HAHA Bar puts on a nice spread for breakfast. Would I eat there again? Sure, I am eager to try the new dinner and lunch menus.

You can follow HAHA Bar on Facebook or on Twitter for updates.

Changing careers

Changing careers can be difficult but can also be very rewarding

[source: www.business2community.com]

Finding a new job can be hard for some people. A while ago, I tried to change careers but I found it impossible to land a decent paying job that would support my family. Unfortunately, the ramblings of a little Australian Dad Blogger doesn’t make enough money to fill my car let alone support a family of 5!

Jobs in Australia  have been hard to come by in some particular fields. In my case, I didn’t have enough experience for an employer to hire me. I wanted to jump across the desk and tap them on the forehead, “how am I going to get experience if you don’t give me a chance mate!!”. Instead, I walked out, demoralised and wondering what I should do next.

Career changes are hard. It can be demoralising if your applications are constantly rejected but it can also be a very exciting time. One thing I found when I was considering a career change, I was scared. I had spent a decent amount of time in the military and that was all I knew.

“What if I get fired? How am I going to look after my family?”

Christine was just about to stop work and have our third daughter. I was scared that we would be stuck not able to pay rent, feed the kids and have to live in our cars. I had the comfort of a fortnightly pay check, a roof over our head and food on the table (also check the reviews on best folding table for picnic, meal and coffee). 

As a father and a husband, I feel it is my responsibility to look after my family and this added to the internal confusion that I was having. Should I go, should I stay, it was a battle in my head that was driving me insane.

What did I do?

I stayed. It wasn’t the right time for me to leave the military. I do have big dreams, some involve my current employment, others don’t. However, the experience has taught me a lot about looking for a new career. For example, in my search I discovered that 83% of jobs are never advertised online! I guess this is why everyone always says “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.

Are you thinking about a career change? Have you recently changed careers? Let me know about it in the comments below.

Shopping with kids

Normally, we try to avoid doing food shopping with kids at all costs. It’s a predictable routine:

“I need lollies!”

“I need the toilet”

“Can I have this?”

“You never buy me anything!”

“Miss 2 got something yesterday!”

“Are we done yet?”

“I don’t want vegetables for dinner!”

Today started off a little different. We picked Miss 2 up from 3 year old kindy and headed to Coles to get some food shopping done. She was tired which lead me into a false sense of security. “She won’t be an issue” I told myself and in the beginning when she wanted to sit in the trolley, I thought I was on to a winner.

Then this happened.

shopping with kids edited

Add a new item to the trolley, she’d lay on it. Using the toilet paper as a solid bed base, she actually looked quite comfortable.

When asked “do you want to get out and walk now?” “Not yet. 2 minutes okay?”. That the favourite response this month.

But then we met up with a family member who is in Canberra for work at the moment and decided to get a coffee. All well and good until “I need the toilet”. Okay, trip number one. 5 minutes later, “I need the toilet!”. Again? Okay let’s go.

You know what they say about three’s

“I need the toilet!”. No you don’t but by that stage she was off and running down the hall to the parent room. I think it was the fact that she got to press the green button to open the door because her bladder sure as hell isn’t that small.

Moral of the story.

No matter how good you think your shopping experience will be with kids, it will never be as good as being by yourself! I’ll be avoiding shopping with kids from this day forth. (Also check my reviews on best kids outdoor playhouse).

An Australian Dad Blogger’s Day Dream List

Since Christmas, I’ve been really lucky to spend a lot of time at home. An incredibly welcomed change for my family in comparison to spending a lot of time working away from home. But one problem I’ve been facing lately is that I tend to day dream a bit. Whether it be about things I want to do or things I want to buy in the future. My wife is getting sick of it and often tells me to just stick to doing a couple of things and not get ahead of myself. Today, whilst day dreaming I thought, why not put a dream list down in a blog post so that at some point in the future I could look back on it and either laugh at myself or kick myself for not working hard enough towards it? So without further ado, here is ‘an Australian Dad Blogger’s day dream list’.

A Car.

A picture of the Jaguar XJ premium

The Jaguar XJ Premium model

I recently wrote a few posts about buying a new car and financing a new car but this is a dream, not sensibility. Before the other day, I had never really taken much interest in the Jaguar range, until I saw this bad boy.

Now I am not a man for a sports car, I’d prefer luxurious car, but when I drove past this car, it took my breath away. It screams luxury and coming in at over $210,000, you would expect nothing less.

A picture of the new 2014 Ford F250. An Aussie Daddy Bloggers dream car

The 2014 Ford F250

If you twisted my arm and forced me to choose another car (truck), give me an F250 any day! Why you ask? Why the hell not?! It’s big, unique and not many people in Australia have them! Either way, I won’t own either of these cars for a long long time.

A New Computer.

Attainable? Yes but can I afford it right now? No. I don’t want your regular run of the mill off the shelf computer. Oh no, I want a tricked out computer loaded full of software, maxed out with RAM and loaded with the best graphics card known to man kind. Again, why you ask? Because I can! Anyway, this is my party and I’ll dream if I want to! Before you pay at the checkout on Amazon, don’t forget to add this to your cart for me..

A Camera.

I don’t know what it is about filming but I have always wanted to be able to make a film that some one wants to watch (other than my family). So in my day dream, I own one of these, maybe even two for sh*ts and giggles.

Canon EOS-1D – Daddy’s day dreaming camera

 

Sure, I can just have a basic entry level camera but what is the point of dreaming if I don’t have the best. Don’t forget to add all the best accessories to accompany it! So in my dream, I want everything that I need to make a great short film. I don’t even know what I want to film yet, just that I enjoy doing it and would love to give it the good ol’ college try!

A House.

This is probably the first thing on most peoples dream list. For my dream house I’d like a big porch wrapped all around it and it to be on some decent land so when I feel like sitting outside naked, I can without being arrested.

An online career.

This is certainly attainable but in my dream, I am already incredibly successful online. Why? Having spent a fair bit of time at home recently, I know that I miss out on a fair bit when I am working away from home. My wife will probably say that working from home is a bad idea for me because the kids tend to gee me up when I am trying to work on the computer now. I’ll admit it, they do. But I’ve managed to work out a time when I can be on the computer and get some work done. Mainly at night when they are in bunk beds.

A full head of hair.

Comedian Rhys Darby

Are you a punk rocker? No just a stegosaurus..

Thanks Dad. This one is pretty self explanatory. I want to bring back the grass on these car parks and have a head full of luscious locks! Not only would I be the complete package but I could also save on sunscreen as I don’t need to lather my forehead in the stuff.

There you have it folks, a few things that I have been dreaming about lately. Sure, I could dream about having a billion dollars but where is the fun in having cash money? Want to buy any of this for me? I also accept donations if you pity me enough!

What have you been dreaming about? Tell me all about it in the comments!

[This was a sponsored post]

I’m Married! Our Margaret River Wedding

This is a sponsored post by:

Xanadu Winery logo

So the date of 23rd of November 2013 will forever be my anniversary. It was a magical day, something both Christine and I had been looking forward to for so long, 3 years to be exact! Getting married is something that I never thought I would do. Why? I don’t know, it is just something that had never crossed my mind before I met Christine.

A picture of Xanadu Winery in Margaret River Western Australia

The view of Xanadu restaurant [source: Xanadu Winery]

Our Margaret River wedding was held at the beautiful Xanadu Winery. The winery boasts a list of awards that would rival your weekly shopping list, amongst them, Australia’s Best Wine for 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon in the category of Best Mature Dry Red. Not into award winning reds? Not to panic as their Chardonnay also is award winning!

(Make sure you read on to find out how you can win a bottle of Xanadu Chardonnay)

To accompany the wine, the restaurant is also an award winning dining experience which has a focus on local and fresh produce from the Margaret River region.

We didn’t know of Xanadu’s successes before we showed up to meet the function manager. We instantly fell in love with the place, the stone walls, the green grass and the trees overlapping the walk way makes it an unbelievable location for any wedding.

 

My beautiful bride in the picturesque Xanadu Winery walk way [source: Raw Nature Photography]

The day couldn’t have gone any better. They say if it rains on your wedding day that it is good luck, well to a bride it isn’t and thankfully the rain held off long enough for us to be married in front of our closest family and friends. But I can say, I have never been that nervous in my entire life.Sure I was marrying the woman I had been engaged to for the last 3 years but it was the build up! 3 years waiting for one day can do that to the bravest of men! Not to worry, a few glasses of white will cure those nerves or at least I thought they would.

We wanted to involve our daughters as much as possible, as you probably know, they mean more than the world itself to us! They looked stunning as Christine’s little flower girls, throwing flowers from a local florist.

It was important for us to try and organise as much as possible from local suppliers as we were travelling from Canberra. Christine did a great job of finding the best products and everything looked beautiful. My favourite part though, the lawn games!

 

Our family set this game of scrabble up before we arrived [source: Raw Nature Photography]

Accompanying the giant scrabble board, we also hired a giant game of Jenga, totem tennis and bocce balls to entertain our guests whilst we departed for photos with the bridal party. This was one of the many highlights of our wedding according to our guests who were entertained by the fabulous Xanadu staff in their pristine gardens. How many times have you been to a wedding where you are standing around waiting for the bridal party to finish photos?!?Finishing our photos, it was time to party. Everyone was seated and waiting for us and our great friend, who was MC, was keeping everyone entertained along with our DJ. The atmosphere was electric and everyone was buzzing (probably because of the quality of booze!). The quality of the food was that of an award winning restaurant and it exceeded our, and our guests, expectations. The wait staff were exceptional with keeping the drinks full all night and bringing the food out in a timely manner so we could all relax and enjoy the rest of the night.

All in all, it was the time of our lives but it wouldn’t have been the same without our wonderful friends and family. A special mention to all of the wonderful people who helped us with their products/services (you can find a detailed list at the bottom of this post). Would I recommend Xanadu winery for your wedding? HELL YES!!! Want to know more about getting married at Xanadu? You can contact Sarah (Hospitality and Tourism Manager) here!

 

Most of all thanks to our wonderful bridal party! [source: Raw Nature Photography]

Want to win a bottle of Xanadu Chardonnay? Simply enter below!

By entering this competition you are confirming that you are above 18 years old. Competition open to Australian Residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Who did we use:

Xanadu Winery: Sarah Beresford

Raw Nature Photography: Claire Walker

Bespoke Flowers: Tracey Finney

Vintage Dreams: Katie (Lawn Games)

DJ Damo: Damien

How did you get those bruises?

“I don’t know how I got this one!”

I think it’s time I put a stop to watching Arrow.

My wife is constantly covered in bruises and she claims she doesn’t know how it happens. I think she’s out on the mean streets of Canberra fighting crime. But a more likely story is that she’s just clumsy.

Normally when she starts acting ditzy, she’s pregnant but lucky this time she isn’t. I don’t think I could handle having 4 daughters in this house!

It’s a fun game really, “Where’d ya get that bruise?”

christine bruises

Because I care for my wife, I googled “how can I stop being so clumsy” in the hope that I can put an end to this madness.

Yahoo answers (like always) provided an ‘interesting’ answer. According to “Paul”, my wife could be clumsy because she can not see well. Paul, you might be on to something there mate because she struggles to see at night.

Now don’t go thinking, “James is so mean, he’s picking on his wife”, she told me to write about her bruises! Maybe she wanted me to write a post about her being clumsy to throw the police off her crime fighting vigilante scent.

I’m on to you Mrs Tew.

Either way, maybe it is time I start accepting the fact she might be making a few compensation claims against our insurance some time in the future.

 

Hey you! Want to join the Raising 3 Daughters family? Pop your email in here to receive weekly updates on posts and competitions!

 

Max Brenner Belconnen

What do you do when you need to go to Coles after dinner?

Take the whole family to Max Brenner in Belconnen and fill them full of chocolate of course!

The family at Max Brenner

Now I hear you saying, why so silly James? I know, I know, but we thought it was time for a treat with our girls. So we loaded on up and headed out to the shops and up to Max Brenner for a spot of dessert.

However.

cookie masterpiece At 7:22 pm I ordered a toffee choctail, two make your own cookies and waffle sundae. I reckon there was 5 tables and 4 staff members on and yet we had to wait over 30 minutes to receive our order! For a long time, the make your own cookies were sitting on the serving bench with the drink waiting for the sundae to be finished.

After a while (yeah I’m that guy), I went to the bench and asked if the kids can have their dessert. You know how kids get, the excitement overcomes them and we struggle to keep them under control.

Finally, old mate brings the cookies and drink, slaps them willy nilly on the table, not in front of the kids who were waiting for them and storms off. Shortly after, a repeat when it comes to the sundae, she slapped it on the table love and ran off. (Also check check the reviews on best folding picnic table)

kids and their cookiesTo say I was pissed off would be an accurate assumption.

Struggling to contain my temper, the manager must have picked up on the vibes. He came over, apologised profusely about the wait and the staff then he offered some extra decorations (more chocolate) for the kids cookies.

Well played Sir. tahnee cookie

The sundae, my choice of dessert was delicious. Banana, waffle, caramel, chocolate and some nut like chocolate balls. It was rich and sickly but delicious at the same time.

What would I give Max Brennen in Belconnen out of 3 sugar high kids? If the manager hadn’t of taken the time out of his day to apologise and offer some compensation? I’d give them a 1 out of 3 sugar high kids but the fact that he cared and apologised, I’ll give them a 2 out of 3.

Would I go back? Expensive, long waits and with impolite staff members, I don’t think I would go out of my way.

 

Parenting Fail

I did something horrible.

Parents accidentally hurting their kids is a nightmare.

Bored? Play with your kids! [source: loldailyfun.com]

As parents, we never imagine hurting our children. The other day, I did it. I hurt our youngest daughter, Miss 1.

Miss 1 has been teething of late, poor girl. Between smacking her head on the coffee table whilst trying to walk and having a large amount of teeth coming through, she can’t seem to catch a break. When I was putting her in the high chair for dinner, she was wriggling, I pinched her with the clip (Also check the best foldable table for picnic and coffee).

Parenting Fail.

I don’t like hearing my daughters in pain on the best of days, let alone because I caused it!

In my opinion, having seen two children go through it, teething is up there on the pain scale. Some days it seems there is nothing that you can do that provides them relief. Enter Nurofen, which is exceptionally good for those teething symptoms, especially when a fever is present. No Nurofen? I’ve used a pack of frozen peas for relief before, that’s how much I hate seeing them in pain.

It must be hell (like watching the Young and the Restless) for our kids when their teeth are coming through. Let alone when their mean Daddy pinches them with a high chair clip.

I’m sorry.

I see it as sort of a right of passage for new parents. Obviously we do not intentionally hurt our kids, but there are times when it just happens and then we spend the next 30 minutes wondering why anyone let us leave the hospital with a human being.

I wonder all the time, “How did someone ever trust me to be a parent?”

Even though I have a 7, 2 and almost 1 year old, I still look for practical parenting tips on a regular basis. Not only does that give me inspiration for this blog, but makes me feel less like an idiot.

But the good thing, or the bad thing depending on which way you look at it, is that parents, mother-in-laws, grandparents and everyone else who has ever had kids, seem to have a never ending supply of advice when it comes to parenting.

Perks of parenting, eh?

While you are here, why not join the Raising3daughters family? I’ll send you a weekly update of posts and when I run a competition, you’ll be the first to know about it. 

Why I blog with Mike Cbay of YDad

Keeping up with the weekly Why I Blog post, this week Mike from YDad joins me. Mike is an 80s-born dad with two young sons based in Sydney, Australia. A massive fan of turntablism, family wagons and coffee, Mike is also a fellow Aussie Daddy Blogger and an all round top guy. Let’s get into the interview!

How long have you been blogging?

I’ve been dabbling in blogging for a few years, starting with a music-related blog (I was somewhat of a DJ in my past). However, I changed my blogging focus from music to my experiences as a dad just before the birth of my second son.

How and why did you start your blog?

I was mentally preparing myself for my second son’s birth, and wrote down what I was thinking and feeling at the time. What I came up was a little piece that turned out to be self-reflective: I gave advice to my past self, about becoming a dad. I saw value in sharing it for those who may be going through the same thing.

Have you learnt anything specific from blogging? 

I’ve learnt that blogging requires a higher level of planning and strategy – not just to grow but also to maintain your readership. It’s also something that can push you and keep you on your toes, mentally speaking.

A great piece of blogging advice that was passed down to me in terms of dealing with brands is to never compromise your personal ‘voice’; if a brand wants to work with you, then they already know what they’re in for.

List 2 benefits you can see from starting a blog?

– I believe a blog is a great self reflection tool, and there’s a certain freedom that it brings.

– Blogging is an excellent way to exercise your creative brain-muscles as it doesn’t only have to be based solely on written work. You can incorporate graphic design, photography and video to tell your story.

Do you have any specific tools that you use for blogging? i.e. plugins?

This is an area I’m currently exploring to try get the most out of blogging. WordPress SEO by Yoast is what I can recommend from my experience. I recently stumbled upon a web service called Dashfolio that connects to your Google Analytics account which I’m in the process of sussing out.

Where can readers find you blog and how can they get in contact with you?

You can find YDad at ydad.com.au and facebook.com/YDadAU, and also on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as @mikecbay.

Back into it | Kids homework

I’ve been absent from this blog for a while but things are starting to get serious here at home regarding homework and I thought it would be a good time to jump back on the daddy blogging band wagon!

Miss 7 has her first assignment from school. The task, create a report about a water creature and present it how you want

Well, something like that. My first thoughts, interpretative dance and as she wants to do the report on Dolphins, all I can think of doing is this.

So what do you put in a 7 year old’s first school project? I haven’t done a cut and paste project since year 11 where I needed to build a board game and to be perfectly honest, I don’t remember handing it in (must have been good!).

My wife seems to think that having a project where the parents need to help is a bit off the mark. Personally, I think it is okay because sometimes (myself included) time spent with the kids seems to be less and less because of work schedules, after school sports and professional development.

Sitting down together and cutting and pasting sounds like a good way to learn about dolphins. What do you think? Do you help your kids with their homework?

My top ten reasons why I love being a parent…

Babe, if you get up, I’ll let you sleep in”

1:30 am

I roll out of the bunk beds (1st floor of course) because apparantely a cat nap is all our youngest daughter needs tonight, plus who can resist a sleep in?

I get her up, 10 minutes and she’ll be ready to go back to sleep.

2:07 am

I put her down, tantrum. Bugger.

2:30 am

Why don’t I write a sarcastic blog post about the top 10 things I love about being a parent?

1. As a parent, I can play games with my kids at 2 am.

2. No matter how hungover I am, my kids love me enough to wake me up at 6 am.

3. If my kids shit their pants, I am privileged enough to clean it up.

4. Even if the best football game in the world is on TV, I don’t get to watch it. Instead, I watch Peppa Pig.

5. I no longer have to take a dump alone.

6. When I buy an ice cream, I no longer get to eat it all by myself, I get to share it. With three other people, who have already eaten their ice creams.

7. I can no longer spend any more time than it takes to eat a meal at any restaurant or pub. Upon completion of said meal, we get to leave, ASAP.

8. I know every word of the following movies:

– Despicable Me 2,

– Despicable Me,

– Finding Nemo,

– Frozen,

– Smurfs 2,

– Smurfs 1,

– The Lion King, and

– Tangled.

9. I get to buy a loaf of bread and 3 litres of milk at least 4 times a week, and last but certainly not least,

10. I no longer have any time or money to spend on a hobby such as golf. Instead, I blog about how much I love my kids at 2:30 am.

So there is 10 reasons why I love being a parent. What’s yours? Leave a comment below!

We’re doomed

As the title suggests, we’re doomed. No not everyone, just everyone in my house.

Why?

Taking some of her first steps towards independence!

Taking some of her first steps towards independence!

Our youngest daughter officially took her first steps yesterday. I thought I had learnt with Miss 2, don’t push them to be fast learners, you’ll only regret it, I told myself. So I took a back seat and didn’t encourage her that much. But like any competitive parent, I want her to be the best and the fastest. It will be my downfall I swear!

But yesterday she did it, all by herself, a couple of steps.

What I am not looking forward to is the following;

– Opening kitchen cupboards and pulling everything out,

– Throwing a tantrum at the shops because she is now an independent girl and needs to walk every where,

– Running away from me at the shops after said tantrum,

– Scaring me at parks and other public places by running towards dangerous situations (e.g. behind swings), and,

– Climbing out of her cot and running around her room, periodically banging on the door keeping her two sisters awake.

Having just said all that, I am really excited that she is beginning the next stage of her development. I would just prefer it if she chooses to sit still, not run away and not test my patience in any of the scenarios I mentioned before.

Did you push your kids to walk as soon as possible? Did you regret it? Leave a comment below! 

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Get off your phones (my goal for 2015)

source: http://uvamagazine.org/images/uploads/2011/winter/feature_essays_2015.gif

I am the worst for this. I admit it.

As I looked around the park this morning, 6 out of 7 parents were on a smart device.

Like I said in the first line, I’m pretty bad for this but today I made an effort to keep my phone in my pocket except for snapping a pic or two.

We’re not the most active family, I blame that on both the wife and I working full time, the fact we have a one year old that goes to bed at 18:30 every night and also, when I do take my kids out, they never bloody listen to me and I end up coming home pissed off.

But today, I’m making a promise.

A promise to my kids that this coming year, I am going to make more of an effort to be present when we’re at home and at the park.

Being present in their lives is one of my goals in life. I’m trying to start an online business so that I can spend more time with them however in the process, I’m spending less time with them.

What’s the answer?

I don’t know. I honestly don’t however, I do know this, moving forward, I’m making a goal to be on my smart device less when the kids are awake. I’m making an effort to get them outside every day for at least 60 minutes of play. I’m going to cook healthier meals, tastier meals that makes them want to eat better and finally, I’ll keep taking them to the gym with me. Taking them to the gym, they see me working out, being healthy and as a role model to them, that’s something I need to keep doing.

So screw new years resolutions, nobody sticks to them anyway.

This is my parenting goal for 2015, what’s yours?

My Life of Dad experience

If you haven’t listened to it yet, shame on you! But here is the link!

 Listen to me!

aftershow I was recently on the Life of Dad After Show podcast with Art and Ryan from Life of Dad. Man was it cool.

It all started a while ago when I had heard about the after show on a live Google Hangout that Tommy Riles (another amazing guy) hosted (which I can’t find anywhere!!). I immediately opened iTunes and had a listen.

I was hooked and I let them know about it.

Art and Ryan have this chemistry that just kept me wanting more. Another episode down and after a while I decided, hey! I’ll join the Life of Dad network.

I did exactly that.

The first post I wrote on Life of Dad was called “Dadstruck”. I wrote it because it was almost like I had been welcomed into a long lost brotherhood. I could relate to what most people were saying, enjoy the jokes and even join in on the conversations.

But the reason I called it “Dadstruck” was because I had been listening and reading all this content from these great guys and then all of a sudden it was like I was one of them. It was and still is a great honour.

So I told Art and Ryan how much I loved their podcast and Art invited me on the show! I was stoked. I couldn’t tell my wife enough about it.

The day came. I f**ked up the time. Little did I know when we arranged the time, EST was not on daylight savings. Fast forward a month, it’s day light savings in the states.

So here I am, eagerly waiting for 11:30 to come. “Art should call me any minute now…”. 11:34 “Surely he hasn’t forgotten, we spoke this morning…”. 11:40 I send Art a message after figuring out that they had just kicked over to daylight savings, “Hey mate, is it 8:40pm there”. “Yep, still good for 9:30?” which was 12:30pm our time..

Idiot.

I was okay with it, but it was going to be tight. I had an Information systems lecture to get to at 1:40 and the podcast usually goes for 30-45 minutes plus I needed to add on 25 minutes travel time.

I’ll be right, I told myself.

12:30 on the dot, Skype calls. It’s always awkward when you speak with someone you don’t know for the first time. Especially when you sort of “know” them from having read a lot of posts and listened to them on podcasts.

But to me, it felt like we had known each other for a long time. Art, Ryan and myself chatted for a bit, went through some details and it was on to the podcast.

The rest they say is history.

I’ve written before how many great opportunities Dad blogging has given me. I’ve met a huge amount of great people, some I’ve been lucky enough to interview in my “Why I Blog” series. But it’s also given me the confidence to strike up conversations with random people about anything.

Don’t ask me how but it has.

So if you haven’t listened to the podcast yet, do it now! Plus while your at it, go and show the guys at Life of Dad a bit of love especially Art and Ryan. Those are two top blokes and guys, if you’re ever in Australia, my house is your house!

MH370 and explaining real world problems

For kids, life must be so black and white.

[Photo by flickr user Moritz Petersen]

You’re either good or bad. Naughty or nice.This morning, when I was getting ready for work, I had the TV on and watching the news. Miss 7 decided to get up and join me, a common morning ritual. As I was pouring the milk into my nutri-grain, the MH370 story came on.

They showed a clearly distraught woman being carried away by security. Miss 7 asks “what’s wrong with that lady Daddy?”. Now I normally would have gone with, “she’s sad darling” I had a feeling that explanation wouldn’t have cut the mustard.

“Well baby, a plane went missing and no one knows where it is and that lady must have had family on it”. The puzzled look I received in return spoke for itself. “The police think that a bad man turned the plane around and made it crash darling” to which I received “why?” “well, that is what they are trying to figure out”.

I’ve never really tried to explain a real world problem to her before, other than the old “he/she was a bad person and that is why the police take them to jail”. But there was something in the tone of her voice that told me she wouldn’t have accepted the standard answer.

Back to my original point. Life is so black and white for our kids. When is it a good time to start explaining real world problems to them? I guess there would be a lot of people who object to telling their kids the truth about the world and I agree to some circumstances.

When the ad break comes on the TV and the news is about the Daniel Morcom case in Queensland, I mute the TV. No kid needs to hear about the murder of other kids but for something like the MH370 story, I’ll let them listen in.

Is that wrong of me to do? I spoke recently on the Life of Dad After Show about letting kids be kids so is them listening to the news complicating their lives or is it just feeding their curiosity?

I don’t have the answer, maybe you do? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please leave a comment below and tell me your thoughts on explaining real world problems to your children.

I need Daddy

“I need Daddy!”

Three sweet little words that make my heart skip a beat. I love hearing them. Especially at bed time, when she is sleepy and all cute.

I used to spend so much time away from home, my relationship with my daughters were strong back then but no where as strong as they currently are. When we found out that Christine was having our second daughter, and our third daughter, naturally I began researching about raising girls. I had read that my influence in my daughters life will help shape her self-esteem, self-image, her confidence and her opinions of men.

I hope she dislikes all of you who seek to date her.

Apparently, the relationship we have with our daughters shapes their self-esteem, self image, confidence and opinions of men. I hope she is disgusted by them!

According to an article on the Australian, “A man’s best and worst traits will be represented in his daughter’s taste in men”. Well I’m up the creek without a paddle, mainly because I am perfect, just ask my mother-in-law.

In the same article, Annie Gurton, a counselling psychologist, claims that “women whose fathers have told them that they love them, that they are beautiful and wonderful, will have stronger, more robust self-esteem”.

I tell my girls that I love them and that they are beautiful, but when they fart like a miner, I tell them they stink! Does that mean I have ruined them?

It’s no mystery that men have been trying to understand women for many decades. Hell, I can never remember what Christine likes from Subway! When she orders something that doesn’t ring a bell, I need to stop in at woolies for a piss test to make sure number 4 isn’t on the way. If all this information is true, maybe we need to understand ourselves before we can understand our daughters. Again, I’m up the creek without a paddle because I’m a bloody basket case.

[Part One] Buying the perfect family car

This is a two part series, the first of which I will have a look at factors affecting purchasing a car for your family and the second will examine several options that fit the bill.

A picture of a family buying a new car

Buying a new family car is a big task. Lots of different factors to consider. [source: dreamstime.com]

In Australia, there are currently 6 million families with school aged children. Families need to get to places therefore, they need a car. At the moment, we are a two car family however Christine’s car has been riddled with problems and it’s worth two fifths of stuff all, so there isn’t any reason to fix it.

As some people would put it, I drive a woman’s car.  I bought my Ford from John Hughes in Perth, (second hand, which would normally mean it would be a horrible experience) however, it was actually an amazing buying experience. Not only was the buying experience awesome, but so is the Focus. It is small and with three growing girls, it won’t be long before we need a larger car.

Picture this.

You decide to not once, not twice, but three times drive across the country in a car that is made for midgets. Not only is it tiny and when you have 5 people in it, it’s insanely tight and the close proximity of three girls who love to have a whinge (more than the English cricket team), it well…  it drives you up the wall.

So why not sell “Fanny Focus” and buy a bigger car? Good point, except I still owe money on it and we are not in the position to borrow money for a car just yet. Why doesn’t Christine drive it then? Well good citizen, she is as stubborn as a rock and refuses to learn how to drive a manual. Many an argument has been had over this topic. She always wins.

Okay, so what makes a perfect family car then James?

Well first off, it needs to be practical. Practical enough that I can take a sleeping bag and sleep in it if the kids drive me up the wall, or if I’m in the doghouse! I’ve never wanted a family van before, until recently when we hired a Kia Grand Carnival. We had 5 adults and three kids in it and we still had enough room to kick the footy. It’s huge! Drives like a bus but it sat beautifully on the road and was comfortable.

So we’ve got practical as the first requirement. Next in my list of requirements is, budget friendly. Like a lot of families, we are a one income family so we can’t afford to spend $90,000 on a Land Cruiser. I’m not talking just budget friendly in the price tag, but in fuel consumption and service costs as well. Last thing we need is to have a beautiful new car and no money to fill the bugger up!

Practical, budget friendly are the first two requirements in my list and for the third I am going to say, future proof. By future proof I mean that if you choose to/accidentally have more kids in the future, there is room or if you are playing car pool, you can fit other brats in the car. Also, if your kids are getting close to that age where you’ll have the lovely experience of teaching them how to drive, you want a car that is going to be good for them to learn in.

– Practical,

– Budget friendly, and

– Future proof.

As a family man, safety is top priority. So when looking for a suitable family car, a good safety rating is a must. Here in Australia, we use the ANCAP (Australiasian New Car Assessment Program) ratingwhich is determined by an independent vehicle safety advocate. Boldly on their website, ANCAP states “ANCAP recommends 5 star rated vehicles. Accept nothing less”. So I’m going to add the ANCAP safety rating as one of my requirements because when it comes to those little devils, you can never be too safe.

– Practical,

– Budget friendly,

– Future proof, and,

– 5 star ANCAP safety rating.

With these four requirements I am going to begin my search! But before I do, these are a few nice ‘must haves’ in my opinion.

– Cruise control,

– Tow ball,

– Bluetooth, and,

– A proper spare tyre not a space saver.

Now, I also asked my Twitter followers the following question to see if they had similar views when buying a car as me.

 

A couple of my wonderful followers took some time out to answer the question, some seriously and some not so much. Amongst their answers were, bullet proof panels (never know when you’ll find yourself in the hood having a shoot out), boot size (for stuffing bodies in from said shoot out), how easy it is to get the kids in/out and how easy it is getting a double pram in and out (won’t need this when you’re in a shoot out). All relevant answers in my opinion, especially the bullet proof panels! You never know what’ll happen in the future or in the hood.

Everyone is going to have their own requirements when buying a car and that is dependent on their family situation. Obviously a single bloke like Justin Bieber could drive a lambo, hopefully whilst not hyped up on cough syrup.Where as a the Brady bunch would probably need a 12 seater bus. So don’t take my requirements as gospel, adjust them as you see fit to your family’s situation.

But come back next week, where I’ll examine a few cars that I think will fit the bill (for my family) and tick all my boxes . In the mean time, I’d love it if you would sign up to join the Raising3daughters.com family where you’ll receive emails from me each week detailing my top posts and in the future, I’ll work to bring you exclusive content and giveaways.

You can sign up here!

What is something you look for when buying a new car? Let me know in the comments below!

Why I Blog with Tom from ideas4dads.net

Here comes another instalment of the “Why I Blog” series where each week I sit down with a different Dad Blogger to find out how they got started, what they’ve learnt from blogging and whether they have any special tools that can help you become a better blogger. This week, I sit down with Tom from ideas4dads.net, but I won’t take up any more of your time, here is a little bit about Tom!

I am a 35 year old chap whose life just over three and a half years ago changed forever – I became a Dad!

Parenting for me is the final frontier in terms of the life challenges and the one that I really want to succeed at above all others. I am married to my beautiful, supportive (and very patient) wife High Command, and together with our 6 year old chocolate labrador called Millie who is as mad as a box of frogs, I am also the proud owner of two daughters No 1 aka Trumpet (aged 3 and a half) and No 3 aka Digger (aged 1 and a half) with the final addition, No3 aka Tilly, due in March of next year……….so to say I have my hands full would be an understatement.

Tom, how long have you been blogging?

I first set up my blog 2 years ago after my second daughter was born on wordpress.com. I got it up and running and wrote a couple of posts but at the time my heart wasnt in it.

Fast forward 18-months and I revisited and thought I’m going to give this another go and set up a self hosted wordpress blog last September and the rest as they say is history.

How (i.e a friend showed you how) and why did you start your blog?

I set up the blog myself and with the great telephone support from GoDaddy hosting.

I decided to start the blog to share some of the helpful hints and tips I had picked over the past couple of years on my quest to be the best parent I can be.

In doing this I hope that it will provide dads with lots of ideas and tips on how to make the most of their time with their kids. Because as we hear time and again ‘they grow up quick’ and parenting, just like life, isnt a dress rehearsal.

Have you learnt anything specific from blogging?

Its been great fun.

Very cathartic. Have learnt lots of geeky stuff about websites (not that I have to need to know it but rather I find exploring that sort of thing fun).

But by far and away the best thing I have learnt are lots of useful tips from other bloggers on how to be a better parent.

List 2 benefits you can see from starting a blog?

– a hobby to help you switch off from work and benefit your family

– embracing something that encourages you to reflect on yourself as a parent and steps you can take to improve

Do you have any specific tools that you use for blogging? i.e. plugins?

– I would be lost without my Android WordPress app which allows me to write posts and manage my blog using my Smart Phone or Tablet

Justunfollow is a great app for managing and expanding my twitter followers

– Would be lost without my Hootsuite app to schedule and manage my social posts.

Where can readers find you blog and how can they get in contact with you?

Come on over and have a look at my blog at www.ideas4dads.net and if you like it please leave a comment

You can also find me on twitter @Ideas4Dads

Dining out with kids

The other day, after we dropped Miss 7 off at school, we headed over to a local cafe that I’ve been wanting to try for some time now, Chatterbox espresso bar.

Breakfast and coffee at Chatterbox Espresso Bar

Breakfast and coffee at Chatterbox Espresso Bar

It’s an exceptional spot and if you ever visit Canberra you have to get a latte from here!

When we decide to go out, a little bit of fear starts to appear in my stomach. When we walk past a new Range Rover Sport, that little bit of fear increases to an overwhelming amount of fear.

I almost start crying.

My kids are generally good kids, generally. This morning was a good day but further into our dining experience, we encountered a problem. Miss 1 loves to squeal.

I apologise to the public of Canberra.

Miss 1 wasn’t the problem this morning although she did contribute to the noise of the cafe. Miss 2 (almost 3) needed “tuddle” (that’s a cuddle for those of you who don’t speak 2 year old english) when I was half way through my breakfast. All I wanted was to enjoy my beautiful breakfast but instead I had a two year old that insisted on having a cuddle with her head tucked right into my neck.

I love that my daughters love me. I’ve certainly not always been the favourite but for a while now “I need Daddy” has been the phrase of the day. I never want it to change except for when there is a delicious large breakfast in front of me.

But it’s not just when we are out and about with kids. Tonight whilst watching My Kitchen Rules, Miss 2 insisted on have a cuddle whilst I finished my dinner. What is it with these kids?

It’s almost like they sense that we are enjoying something and feel the need to ruin it.

I should probably add “Dining out with kids: A way to make everyone hate you” to my “10 reasons why I love parenting” post. But for now, I just want to eat a meal in peace without a 2 year old on my lap.

Do your kids annoy you at the wrong time? Let me know in the comments below.