A new venture for the family

 My wife and I recently embarked on a new venture with Arbonne International. One of the reasons we really wanted to get involved is because we (my wife) wanted to be able to work from home and spend more time with our family.

Yes, to the outside eye this may seem like a pyramid scheme and that it would be impossible to build a business. To be honest, the selling of products is the side of the business that my wife will be taking care off, I just want to try my hand at building another business and applying tools I’ve learnt from Tweet Canberra and The Social Media Revolution.

One other thing that really highlighted this business compared to the others on the market, is the fact that you can qualify for a Mercedes Benz.

I have a thing for luxury cars, something that kids tend to ruin. Cars like Volvo Cars Australia, Mercedes Benz, BMW and of course the dream car, Lamborghini.

Reality is a b*tch and it takes hold when you begin to day dream about having a luxury car but I tell you what, even if there is a faint chance that I can be rewarded a car for building a business, I’ll give it a red hot crack!

I’ve been building a couple of businesses to try and build an income that allows me to have a lifestyle to spend more time with my kids. What about you? The question is what do you want in life and how are you going to get it?

Our family tradition of watching movies together sees Frozen knocked off as number one

I’ve got mixed emotions. I can’t decide whether it’s a sad day or a happy one.

Frozen has been knocked off it’s throne as number watched movie. It’s replacement is:

We had a movie night on Saturday night, it was great. We threw a mattress on the floor, the kids brought out their blankets and we put on a movie that wasn’t Frozen! To say I was happy that Frozen wasn’t going to be on the TV would be an understatement. Popcorn was allocated, pop rocks distributed evenly and juice boxes were opened.

We all enjoyed it as we lay there and watched a stripe less Zebra on his quest for stripes. I think the kids enjoyed having Mum home at night for a change, normally a Saturday night is a work night for Christine. But that’s hospitality right?

These are the moments that count and they won’t last forever. We are lucky that at the moment, Miss 7 and Miss 2 like the same movies (most of the time) which means we can still have nights like last night. I don’t imagine it will last for too much longer as Miss 7 might want to start swapping animated movies for movies that fall in the Tween category (god help me if I have to watch Zac Efron tell me that we are all in this together).

No Zac, we’re not in this together.

I wrote a while ago about Family Traditions. This is one tradition that we love and man, we do it well.  I just wish my kids would stop fighting over who is going to be the bloody Zebra!

What are some of your most treasured family traditions? Christmas dinner, thanksgiving or maybe a simple Sunday roast with the family. Let me know in the comments below.

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.

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!

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?

Sometimes you need a break

I’ve been flat out recently. Today is one of those days where I just don’t stop! When I came home I just wanted to lay on the couch and close my eyes. The kids had other ideas.

Kids climbing on their dad

Our couches aren’t good enough for the kids to sit on

Up at 5:30am, off to university, in classes all day, rush home in peak hour traffic, kiss my wife, swap car seats, say bye to wife, put kids in car, drive to dancing, pick up Miss 7, rush home and serve dinner.

that’s not to mention bed time routines and the fight I have with Miss 3 over bed time!

Sometimes we need a break.

A while ago, I tried to change careers. I don’t have a bachelors degree and with no experience in any other field but the Australian military, no one wanted to hire me. So I told myself that I was going to make my own experience.

This was reinforced the other night when I went a careers expo (I like to keep my eyes open). When I was talking to some of the exhibitors and I told them that I was stilling studying at the undergraduate level, I was dismissed instantly.

It’s incredibly demoralising.

But since I have chosen to make my own experience, I’m that busy it is ridiculous. Today it just boiled over and I was going through the motions. You know how it gets, you’re tired, fed up, other things on your mind and you just go through the paces.

I was in auto mode whilst picking up Miss 7 from dancing and when I got in the car, I forgot to put the car in reverse and drove over the curb! Luckily I realised what was happening before I did any damage to my car.

Although, that would have given me an excuse to call Get Approved Finance and buy a new car!

Sometimes, I drive past someone doing a job like landscaping or delivering packages. I am sure people in those jobs work really hard, but sometimes I wish I had a job that required simple tasks.

That or go camping for an extended period of time and leave my phone at home!

[This post was in collaboration with Get Approved]

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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I hate doing the dishes

There I said it.

Show me one person that enjoys doing the washing up and I’ll stop whinging.

Get a dishwasher!

We had a dish washer and we didn’t like it. I always found that the dishes wouldn’t come out washed as well as doing it by hand.

Maybe I just needed to use some better detergent? Maybe I needed a better quality dishwasher? Maybe I was loading it wrong? Maybe I should just throw out the china and replace it with paper plates (every parents dream!)

But I am looking at dishwashers on the Good Guys website. They range from $399 to $2,167 so what level do I go for?

One thing I found with our last dishwasher was that we always had to use dishwasher cleaner other wise it started to stink! We came to the conclusion that this was because we weren’t rinsing our dishes first.

So having said all this, when Finish Australia wanted to work with me on this post, I jumped at the opportunity to see if it was really worth buying a dish washer and using their products.

I guess I am just hoping to can free up more time to blog.. or make the dishes easier so my kids can take over!

To help me write this post, I borrowed a friends dishwasher. But before we washed any of the dishes, we had to make a mess, enter Mexican Night. We all brought plates, covered in Mexican style food goodness, cheese melted on to plates, salsa sauce everywhere.

So we made our mess and loaded the dish washer. Quantum dishwasher tablets, the ones with the little red balls in the middle, are designed to give you an amazing clean and shine every time you use it.

They worked well, in fact, really well. The sticky cheese and salsa was gone, without rinsing! That’s what I like to see. But what about all the left over food that is sitting at the bottom of the dishwasher?

No need to worry about manually cleaning, Finish has a product for that!

As the product page says, just because it looks clean, doesn’t mean it is clean. The dishwasher cleaner targets those places that are hidden from view. So how often do you run the cleaner?

I guess that depends on your usage. We are a family of 5 so we have lots of dishes meaning that we probably need to clean it more often that a family of 2 or 3. So I believe it is situational and how often you use it.

Do you use a dishwasher? or do you prefer to wash your dishes by hand? or maybe you make your kids do the dishes?

Want to win a packet of Quantum Dishwasher tablets? Simply leave a comment below telling me how much you hate doing the dishes and the funniest one will win! Competition is open to Australian residents only and will be drawn one week from date of publishing.

(This was a sponsored post)

Financing your family car

You may have seen the last couple of posts I have written about buying a new family car. In this post, I am going to look at financing your family car.

A new car loan application form for financing you new family car

Financing your family car can be a mixed experience. [source: http://mannerlaw.com/2012/07/ftc-warns-of-car-loan-modification-scams/]

The next step for most people is finding a good finance deal that isn’t going to leave you flat broke. Some people may not be in the position to finance a new car, after all you don’t want to live on two minute noodles for the next 3 to 7 years!There are heaps of options when it comes to financing a car, car loan, secured personal loan, unsecured personal loan or you could even borrow off your mortgage.

I don’t want to be in debt forever (although with three daughters that means three weddings. I’m already broke forever), so I am going to have a look at a few different loan types and try and do my best at putting it in simple Dad language. Not that our language is different to any one else’s, just no bull crap finance terms!

Firstly, I’ll take look at car loans. At the moment, I am looking at Westralian Auto Finance. On the plus side, not only do they do offer car loans, they also offer business truck finance solutions for those business owners looking for a new vehicle. A car loan can be used for just that, a car,but there are a couple of different options when to comes to the car loan. You can either have a secured or unsecured car loan and I’ll try my best to explain those next.

A secured car loan is when you put the car up for collateral against the loan. This means if you can’t repay the loan because you’ve gone out and bought the newest iPad,well kiss that car bye bye. A plus side to this type of loan though, is that the interest rate tends to be a little lower. This is because the bank can take away your shiny new car if you fail to pay them. So just triple check that budget and make sure you can afford the repayments for the entirety of the loan.

An unsecured car loan doesn’t require you to use the car as security against the loan unlike the secured loan. You can expect, seeing as the bank can’t repossess your newest purchase, that the interest rate on this loan will typically be higher than a secured loan. Also, expect that the lender will ask for evidence that you can afford a new car. They will use this evidence to assess the risk of lending you money.

When I have purchased a car in the past, I have financed it using an unsecured personal loan. This allowed me to use a bit of extra money for some things, like furniture. Looking back on it, probably not the best move but everyone needs to learn a lesson at some point, don’t they?

Okay, we’ve figured out the different types of car loans, what’s next?

Well when we purchase our new car, we will be financing it. Yes, this is not an ideal situation however in order to pay it off quicker and get back on track with our goal of saving for a house, I wanted to look at ways to pay the loan out quicker.

(Please do not consider anything in this blog post as financial advice and it is important that you consider your own circumstances before making any decisions. Also, speak to your lender about any penalties that may be applied for paying off your loan early.)

A great way of paying your loan out quicker is to pay your loan repayments more frequently. By this I mean, paying repayments weekly or fortnightly instead of monthly. This will lower the amount of interested that is accumulated on the loan because your payment frequency is higher.

Pay extra. Duhhh James, I hear you saying, but how many of us practice what we preach? Especially when we could be out enjoying life! I try to pay an extra $10 each fortnight and when we can spare it, we will make an additional payment. Every little bit counts and you have to think long term here. Sure you are sacrificing play money but in the long run, you’ll most likely be better off financially.

Use additional money to make extra payments. Kids out grown some of their toys? Sell them on eBay! Got at a hobby? Maybe you like taking photos? Why not offer your services on the weekend for money towards the loan! What about that tax refund? Instead of spending it on a new TV or computer (like I do) pay extra on your car loan. You could shave months, if not a year, off your loan. Putting you that one step closer to debt free living!

Finance can be good and bad but as long as you don’t let money rule your life you should be okay! From our perspective, living debt free is a goal that we are striving to achieve! Well apart from owning a house…and paying for 3 university degrees…and 3 weddings…and 3 of everything else…

Have you had a bad experience with financing a car? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below. Also if you have any other good tips on debt free living, share those too!

[This was a sponsored post]

What’s your New Years Resolution?

Set SMART Goals this New Years to ensure your success

Set SMART Goals this New Years to ensure your success

Set SMART Goals this New Years to ensure your success

2014 is just around the corner and it’s that time to make that dreaded New Years resolution. But how are you going to ensure you make a New Years resolution that is achievable in 2014?

Set a S.M.A.R.T Goal!

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound. (Tweet this!)

(As featured in my Essential Holiday Survival Guide)

Using this formula will help you develop a series of goals or a goal that will allow you to be successful this year.

Specific – It’s no good making non-specific goals this New Years as it won’t give you a goal post. By making your goals specific (I’m going to run a marathon in 2014, follow me on Operation MOVE) it allows you to know exactly what you aiming to achieve.

Measurable – Is your goal measurable? “I’m going to get fitter this year” isn’t measurable. “I’m going to run a full marathon in November 2014″ is. This goal tells me exactly what I am aiming to achieve and by when I am going to achieve it.

Attainable – Are you going to be able to achieve your goal or is it wishful thinking? I hate running but I enjoy the challenge that it gives me. Having said that, I run 3 to 4 times a week and I try to push my distances each time. Having an attainable goal means that you can visualise yourself creeping closer to achieving that goal/s.

Realistic – Is your goal to make a million dollars this year when you have a career that pays $40,000? I wish you all the best and I hope sincerely that you achieve that goal but that isn’t very realistic. Your goal needs to be realistic so that you can work harder every day to achieve it. Some one wanting to loose 10 kilos is realistic if they work hard and diet!

Time bound – Under Measurable I specifically said, I am going to run a full marathon in November 2014. This gives my goal a time frame and it allows me to plan how I am going to achieve it i.e. training plans. Ensure that every goal you set is time bound, not only does this give you a measuring tool to see whether you’ve achieved it or not, it allows you to map your plan of attack.

So what goals are you setting in 2014? S.M.A.R.T Goals! Whether you want to improve your business, fitness or any other aspect in your live, follow these principles to maximise your chance for success.

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

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!

DIY? More like HSE

It’s no secret to friends and family that I am the worlds worst DIY specialist. I consider myself to be more of a HSE (hire someone else) kind of guy.

Recently, my wife has found herself in an incredibly demanding role at work. So while she’s off slaving away, lining peoples pockets with extra cash, I’m the stay at home Dad.

While I am studying full time, my work load is considerably less than hers so majority of the time I’m responsible for the day-to-day cleaning and finding a fix for anything that is broken.

We’re in a rental so we’re always having things go wrong. But all I can say is, thank god for Google.

Leaking showers in Sydney? No worries call Megasealed.

Hole in the wall in Perth? Call a friend who knows how to fix it.

Stains on carpet in Canberra? Call the carpet cleaners.

Google can help everyone and anyone who is a HSE no matter where you are.

Yeah alright, I know that I should know how to fix all of this stuff, but I don’t. Sure I could go forth and learn how to but at the moment, I don’t have the time and I don’t want to break this house even more!

Anyway, how does one become good at DIY?

Is it something that you’re brought up with? My Dad wasn’t the most handy of handy men either. Sure he taught me how to mow the lawn, change a tyre and check the oil, but we were lucky enough to be able to afford to hire people.

Being the Dad to three girls, I’m sure I should teach them a basic level of handy-ness. How to change a tyre, check the oil in your car, etc etc. Luckily, I still have a few years up my sleeve before my eldest starts driving.

Until then, give me HSE any day.

(This post was sponsored by Megasealed.)

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.

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?

Back to School

Back to school post

I am a little excited for this year when 2 of my three daughters head to school. What excites me more is saving money! So I am on the look out for some great back to school savings!

This year my “wonderful” almost three year old will be heading to three year old Kindy. I am really excited for her to start learning as she is a really smart kid (sometimes to smart for her own good!).

Miss 7 will be heading back to her new school that she started last year, Saint John the Apostle here in Canberra. We recently changed from being a public school family to a private school family but that is a whole other post, one that will be extremely long!

Not only are two of our daughters heading back to school but so am I! That’s right kids, Daddy is heading back to school as well. I’ll be heading to university full time for the next three years to read for my Bachelors degree.

But wait there’s more!

Christine is also heading back to school! I can just picture it now, massive homework sessions at the cheap vanity table! So out of the 5 people in our household, 4 will be students this year! So with 4 students in our household, our stationery bill is going to be through the roof. I’ve been looking through the back to school specials and one of them caught my eye, eBay’s up to 50% off Back to School sale! Also check the reviews on best folding picnic table, which is very portable and can be used for picnic, meal and coffee.

I’m not a huge eBay shopper, apart from a few things that I can’t find anywhere else, but with 108 ball point pens for only $19.49, who can refuse that! That spells bargain in any language!

Some other great savings I found on eBay:

– Faber Castell 48 classic pencils only $22.39 (Free postage) Save $7.60!

– Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Tablet only $519 (Free postage) Save $410!

– ROC Leather Shoes only $74.90 (Free postage) Save $25.05

So as you can see there are some deals to be had in some unconventional places when purchasing your back to school supplies!

(Links in this post are affiliate links)

Got any money saving tips when buying back to school supplies? Please share them below in the comments section! 

Have I taken on too much?

Taking on too many tasks for the good of my family.

Image source: http://stanfordflipside.com/images/153rolloutPTSD.jpg

This post is in collaboration with Yes Loans. Their ease and speed when it comes to personal loans is unmatched and that is the sort of support that any busy person needs

In my quest to become location and financially independent so that our family can do what we want, when we want, I think I may have taken on too much and it’s piling up.

At the moment, I’m studying for exams at university, trying to building a training program, managing social media for two clients, writing in blogs, recording a podcast, being a husband and being a father.

It’s a lot.

Sometimes I just find myself needed to sit there and watch the TV, listening to the random advertisements like the latest Voice update, wondering, is it all too much?

I know that the reward for all of this will pay off in the end. I just need to keep my focus and keep the reasons why I am doing all of it at the forefront of my mind.

This is for my family and my kids so that I can spend every day with them and watch them grow up.

There are lots of people who miss out on this. I wasn’t one of those children and I was truly blessed to have my parents at all my big sporting events or school functions. I want to be able to give that to my kids also. I want to be the dad who is there on sports day, who is there for every birthday. I’m gonna buy the Skyward Summit, an outdoor playhouse for kids, which has shape of mountain. You can check review about it at here!

I have missed the last 3 birthdays of my 7 year old because of work. 

I don’t want that anymore. I also want to help people who are in the same boat and I am sure there is a lot of us.

Why I Blog with Jim from busydadblog.com

Why I Blog continues this week with Jim from Busy Dad Blog. Jim has been blogging for over five years and is one of the most experienced Dad Bloggers kicking around the internet. Let’s get going with the interview, but first, a little about Jim.

Jim Lin is a digital strategist by day and a dad blogger by whenever-he-finds-the-time. To the outside world, his blog is a repository of lighthearted parenting adventures; to Jim, it is a roadmap that helps him piece together where he’s been the past few days, when he suddenly wakes up drooling and disoriented in the office. He enjoys parenting, Scotch and training Muay Thai, all of which explain the above.

Jim, how long have you been blogging?

I’ve been blogging 5 and a half years. Like Yoda in internet years, equivalent that is.

How did you learn to blog and why did you start your blog?

I started my blog because I had a 4 hour round trip train commute to and from work. I tend to fall asleep when I read, which isn’t the best state of being when you’re riding the LA Metro, so I blogged to stay awake and alive. I chose to blog about my adventures as a dad because social media didn’t really exist back then and I needed an outlet to share 500,000 pictures of my kid and me building Legos. Prior to starting my blog, I had never read one, so I really learned by doing. When your only reader is your mom, anything you put out there about her cute grandson will of course be awesome.

Have you learnt anything specific from blogging?

I’ve learned that the internet is at once wonderful and horrible, so it’s best to stay open to opportunities but grow a thick skin. Remember folks, when you close that laptop, the internet stops existing. That’s the best part about it.

List 2 benefits you can see from starting a blog?

1) Connections: the best thing about the internet is that you can find all kinds of people on it (in fact, I met my girlfriend because of blogging – that’s kind of like the mother of all connections). I was the only guy in my social group with kids, so I didn’t have a peer network of people who could relate to that part of my life. Blogging enabled me to meet other folks who could relate to the day to day challenges, chuckles and triumphs that can only be had when you are physically, fiscally and emotionally responsible for other miniature human beings.

2) Voice: When you make connections, you find your voice. Having a voice and being able to “field test” it with an audience is one of the most satisfying things in the world. Face it, we ALL want to be heard. Having a blog gave me an avenue through which to achieve that. Of course there’s social media now, so you kids have it easy.

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

None whatsoever. I’m a very freestyle (read: lazy) blogger. I write what I feel like, when I feel like it… unless it’s part of a sponsored campaign or series, in which case I do some of my best and most timely work (hey, it’s beer money and I take it dead serious).  I use Evernote to organize absolutely everything in my life, but I actually use it very little for blogging.

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

My blog is at: www.BusyDadBlog.com, you can email me at jim@busydadblog.com, and I’m most accessible via tweet at @busydadblog

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]

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.