Thursday, December 18, 2014

Nibblr Snack Box Giveaway!

Nibblr Snack Giveaway

You know how you have those moments where you have that feeling like you must eat a snack, but you don't want to devour those run-of-the-mill cookies or candy? You just want something different. For me, sometimes I need a boost at work because my eyes are glazing over and i have the energy level of a sloth on Nyquil. It also happens when the ravenous animals, I mean my kids, need a quick bite while at the park. After all, it's already been 15 minutes since the last time they ate. I might have found something that can help. I came across this cool snack service called Nibblr.


Nibblr Snack Giveaway
You know I like introducing my readers to products that can help parents out. This is one of those products. Nibblr is a subscription service that sends you a box of snacks weekly, every other week, or monthly. The nice thing is that they are only $6.99 a box but if you pay for more at once, you get a discount. Shipping is free. You can rate the snacks you get and Nibblr adjusts what's shipped to you next, based on your ratings. If you have food allergies, they take that into account as well.

Nibblr offered to send me a few boxes to try out and I immediately tested them on my family. One feature that I loved was that each box comes with four individually packaged snacks. This is great if you only want to quickly grab one and go. My kids' favorite was Gorilla-A-Go-Go but I liked the Sweet Chili Pistachios. It was refreshing to have a snack that wasn't your typical boring food that you can find in every big box store.

Besides being able to try it with my family, I get to pass on the fun to you readers. This isn't a full review, an ad, or a sponsored post. This is just me saying that my family enjoyed these snacks, and now thanks to Nibblr, yours can too. One of you lucky people can win a shipment of four Nibblr snack boxes sent to your house. 

Enter now using the Rafflecopter widget below. You just might be able to discover your family's new favorite snack!

Nibblr Snack Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lunchbox Dad named one of the "14 Parents to Take the Internet by Storm"



It is pretty cool to be included on this list by The Huffington Post! I was placed alongside viral hits like Jimmy Fallon, the couple who lip synced to Frozen's Love is an Open Door, and the guy who turned videos of his toddler into action movies. This is has been a breakout year for my blog and I couldn't have done it without all of you. Thanks for the support and sharing of everything that goes on here! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

5 Tips to Help Guys Clean Floors Fast

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EurekaPower #CollectiveBias
5 Steps to Help Guys Clean Floors Fast

I'll be honest, keeping floors clean is not one of my favorite household tasks. However, it is a necessary part of being a dad. I would much rather be playing with my kids, hanging out with my wife, or doing pretty much anything else. Because I know many guys feel the same way, I wanted to pass on 5 tips I have found to help guys clean floors fast. After all, the quicker you clean the floors, the sooner you can get back to doing other awesome guy things like saving the world from zombies, tracking down Bigfoot, or constructing that 4,000 square foot tree house in your backyard.

1. Make Sure You Have the Right Tools
You won't get anywhere without the right tools. Just like a mechanic or a construction worker, your tools make all the difference. For this job you will need a few special items. Get yourself some rags, an iron, a rake, vinegar, water, a great vacuum, and your favorite drink to congratulate yourself when you are done. My vacuum of choice is one that has useful attachments, can clean any surface you put it up against, and doesn't have a cord to slow you down. I'm talking about the Electrolux ErgorapidoRealtree Xtra. The great thing about this is it does equally well with camping or using it to clean your kid's carpet. It is limited edition, but it's available right now at Walmart.com. Oh, and If anyone asks why you need all of these random items, just tell them, “Don't worry about it, I’m like the MacGyver of cleaning.”

5 Steps to Help Guys Clean Floors Fast #EurekaPower

2. Rake Those Toys Up
Don't quit reading now, this tip is an awesome parenting hack! You may think I'm joking but the fastest way to get ready to clean the floors is to rake up all the toys lying around. Keep a small, clean rake on hand to quickly gather all the toys into a storage bin. Don't worry, you can sort them out later. As soon as you have all the larger items picked up go back and check for smaller things. Just make sure you put the rake away before your wife gets home. If she does ask about it, just mumble something about how MacGyver never had to answer questions like this and walk away. She will be left speechless by your response and at the same time amazed by the spotless floors.

5 Steps to Help Guys Clean Floors Fast #EurekaPower

3. Use a Hand Vacuum to Clean Higher Places First
It's a good idea to first clean tabletops, high chairs, stairs, and other places where kids and pets have been. You know kids somehow create a hurricane of food particles around them. So use that hand vacuum to get in the tight spaces and if some lands on the floor, you can clean it up after. One of the reasons I like the Ergorapido is because it comes with a built in hand vac that it is fast and simple to get out and use in the places where dirt loves to hide.

5 Steps to Help Guys Clean Floors Fast #EurekaPower

4.  Vinegar and Water Make Quick and Easy Work of Dirt
For your hard surfaces first vacuum then use this “Your Wife Will Call You a Superhero” floor cleaning solution. Mix 1/2 cup white vinegar with 1 gallon of water. This won't leave residue or streaks. You can dispense it easily, and keep it for later, by putting it in a spray bottle. As always, I recommend testing this on a small area of the floor first.


5 Steps to Help Guys Clean Floors Fast #EurekaPower

5. Remove Crayons with an Iron
Sometimes crayons, candles (seriously guys, what are you doing with these on the carpet anyway), or other waxy things can get stuck in your precious rug. Kids mash them in and it is tough to get out. Heat up your iron and throw a rag over the wax. Gently iron the rag and the wax will transfer to the rag from the carpet. After you get up as much as you can, use your favorite carpet cleaner to clean the rest. Guys, this MacGyver tip will help wipe away any evidence that you were lighting candles and listening to Celine Dion in the living room.

5 Steps to Help Guys Clean Floors Fast #EurekaPower

I hope these tips help you the next time you need to quickly clean your floors. Obviously this isn't necessary when the guys come over for the big game, but it just might save you the next time your wife calls to say she is bringing her mother over! Remember to pick up the Electrolux Ergorapido Realtree at Walmart before it's gone and let me know what other tips you have in the comments below.


Rudolph Lunch and Big Magical Holiday Giveaway

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Bento Lunch

I hope you are getting ready to have an awesome holiday season and winter break. Hopefully today's post can help you with a fun idea for a lunch and give you an opportunity to win a big prize pack. It's the 50th anniversary of the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer movie so my friend Designer Daddy and I thought it would be fun to team up for another giveaway. 


Lunchbox Dad Holiday Giveaway

You can enter the contest using the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway includes hand drawn lunch notes from Designer DaddyRudolph Blu-RayRudolph collector's book, a set of Easy Lunch Boxesa set of metallic Sharpies, and a package of Post-It Notes! Be sure and enter now because the contest ends on December 18th at 11:59 PM.
Designer Daddy Lunch Notes
I created the Rudolph lunch and Designer Daddy drew some amazing lunch notes to go with it. To see the lunch notes and his post click HERE. I hop eyou have the chance to make this lunch for your kids and you have a wonderful holiday season! Be sure and follow me on all my social media channels to get even more fun resources.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Lunch
Ingredients
Whole wheat bread
Tortilla
Peanut butter
Jam
Pretzels
Strawberries
Lettuce
Yogurt covered raisins
Nonfat plain yogurt
Christmas themed sprinkles
Babybel cheese
Christmas themed Wheat Thins
Black food coloring marker

Directions
1. Cut simple reindeer head shape out of bread. Repeat. Spread peanut butter and jam on one piece and press together to make a sandwich. I used nut free Wowbutter. Insert Pretzel pieces in between slices to make the antlers.
2. Cut white facial features from a tortilla. Draw on black part with food coloring marker and
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Lunch
"paste" tortilla pieces to bread with peanut butter. Cut tip off strawberry and use a toothpick to hold it in place as Rudolph's nose.
3. In main dish place lettuce, strawberries, and Rudolph sandwich. Sprinkle yogurt covered raisins all around for snow.
4. In side dish place plain nonfat yogurt. I put fresh fruit and a little honey at the bottom so it could be all mixed up. Drop Christmas sprinkles on the top.
5. Cut two red wax strips off of Babybel cheese. Cut a ribbon shape from another piece of white cheese and place on top for a present. Arrange Wheat Thins in side dish and place cheese present on top.

Have a great Christmas and remember to enter the giveaway and check out Designer Daddy's site


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Bento Lunch

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Review: Is the elo Pillow a Miracle Sleep Tool For Kids or Just a Fun Gadget?


Every parent has been through it. A kid who won't sleep. No matter how much you strategize, negotiate, stand firm, give in, or beg, nothing seems to work. Sometimes it's the child's personality and sometimes it's just a season they go through. Sometimes it's a problem that not even a rocket scientist can figure out. Parents are always looking for a way to get their kids to go to sleep. The maker of the elo My Storytime Pillow thinks she has found a solution.

Right now, my wife and I are trying to figure out why my 11 month old has decided he is allergic to sleep. I know this is a common problem but when you have three kids in a small house, and one has trouble sleeping, the others do as well. We decided to try the elo pillow to see if it would help our older kids (who also could write a book on excuses to get out of bed) sleep better. NOTE: Please check back soon for a video review of my kids' opinion on the elo pillow.

The elo pillow premise is pretty simple. It quietly reads stories off a playlist while your child's head lays on the pillow. If they lift it off, the story pauses. A playlist last around 30 minutes and you can buy more in the elo store for $6.99 each. An on/off button on the back controls the power and it also comes with a washable pillowcase. The pillowcase is a nice feature because although kids are sweet, their vile puddles of snot and drool are not. The power button is easy to find and use, and doesn't turn off accidently (don't forget to pull the plastic tab from the battery compartment the first time you try and turn on the pillow). A light indicates when it is on and when it is in wifi mode. Wifi mode lets you load more playlists on the pillow. So yes, now even your pillow is connected to the internet. 


The pillow is very easy to set up. In fact, when you first take it out of the box, it already has a playlist loaded onto it. The instructions were simple and easy to follow. You can just turn the pillow on and give it to your kids. I know what you are thinking, "Great, another gadget so parents don't have to spend time with their kids reading." For us, reading together is a huge part of our lives, and an important part of our bedtime routine. The makers of the elo pillow make it clear that this DOES NOT replace spending time with your child reading. This adds to their nighttime ritual.

We first tested this while away on a trip. An unexpected benefit was that even though we were traveling, this pillow helped calm our kids while they were sleeping in a strange place. They even asked to go to bed early to listen to it. When we arrived home, the pillow worked as well. For our kids, we have found that if it doesn't help them go to sleep, it at least calms them down and they fall asleep soon after the playlist is over.

We have a few concerns with the elo pillow. First, we don't want our kids getting dependent on white noise to go to sleep. It hasn't happened yet, but we are watching to make sure it doesn't. Also, the pillow itself costs $150 from elopillow.com. To some this will be a steep price. Also, my kids got bored of the first playlist after a week or so. I wanted to go through the process of buying a new playlist from the store and loading it on so we did. It was very easy once you setup an account, but I can see kids constantly asking for different books. The nice thing is if you own multiple pillows, you can buy a playlist once and load it on each of them. Last, the pillow runs on batteries. They will last anywhere from 15-30 days with normal use, but you will probably have to replace them every month.


For some parents they are desperate to have their kids get a little more of that elusive sleep. If this is you, the elo pillow is definitely worth trying. They have helped calm our kids at bedtime and nap times as well. It is recommended for ages 2 and up but I might pay 1 Million dollars right now for an elo that works for an 11 month old. You can find out more and buy your own pillow on elopillow.com

Disclosure: I received these products for free from elo Pillow. I have received no other compensation for this post and the opinions I’m expressing here are solely my own.

#parentproductreviews

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

5 Tips for Successfully Volunteering as a Family

Disclosure: I have partnered and was compensated by Life of Dad, LLC and Lee for this promotion.
5 Tips to For Volunteering as a Family

The holidays are terrific opportunity to spend time together as a family, but so often that can mean stress, arguments, and spending tons of money. For my family, we decided to skip that and have some fun by serving others together this past weekend. For some families, this can seem like a huge ordeal. However, I want to encourage you that even those of us with young families can find a way make a big difference in our communities. We even heard that Lee Jeans was encouraging people to find a way to do a #LeeGoodDeed in their local neighborhoods during the holidays. Below is the story of our Lee Good Deed and also 5 tips that my family has found to make it easier to volunteer together successfully.


#LeeGoodDeed
Our community puts on an annual Tow Truck Toy Run, so I thought this was a perfect chance to get my family involved in serving others together. This event is a partnership between my city's Compassion Network and Bridges Community Church. The Tow Truck Toy Run is great because people from all over our city come and donate toys for local kids in need. There is also a silent auction and you can buy raffle tickets to help out financially. An amazing breakfast is also served. Plus, tow truck drivers bring their trucks for a parade and even the local police bring their SWAT vehicle for kids to climb in. With everything going on there was plenty of places to help out. When all was said and done, there were over 600 toys collected!

The fun thing was that my whole family got to be involved. My kids and wife went shopping for toys while I was at work. On the day of the event, my daughter and I got up early to take the toys in and help serve breakfast to the community. My wife and younger kids joined us later.

I was so thankful Lee Jeans sent me a pair of their pants to wear at the event, because they looked fantastic and were so comfortable. When you are walking around all day with pants that don't fit well, it really can put a damper on the day. Apparently these are made with Active Comfort Denim so they easily moved with me whether I was serving breakfast, or picking up my kids so they could see the tow truck parade better. I have to admit, I haven't worn Lee Jeans for a long time, but I am now a fan. 

Since we had such a good time, I thought I would share our tips for making a day of family volunteering fun. For us it is not only a worthwhile time to spend as a family, but also for terrific for teaching kids to think about the needs of others.
5 Tips to For Volunteering as a Family
5 Tips For Successful Family Volunteering

1. Plan Ahead. Make sure you know what you will be doing and that it is age appropriate for your kids.
2. Prepare Your Kids. Sometimes when you volunteer there are situations that might be new or scary for children. Make sure you talk to them about what to expect before and how they felt about the situations after the day is over. Also discuss why you are volunteering. Serve alongside them during the day to give guidance where needed.
3. Arrive Early. You want to make sure to leave plenty of time to get instructions and get your family in place before the event starts.
4. Dress Comfortably. Make sure you look nice but also be comfortable doing whatever you are called on to do. My Lee Jeans were perfect for this. Wear clothes you don't mind getting dirty and good shoes are a must!
5. Be Flexible. You might have to do something you weren't planning on doing. Just roll with it, because if they are changing your job, it is for a good reason. No matter what the task is, put your all into it!

After the event my whole family agreed that it was so fun to do things together for the good of others. So what #LeeGoodDeed can you do in your community? Will you volunteer at an event like we did? Will you volunteer at a retirement home? Maybe you can make a meal for a sick friend. Whatever you choose to do, I encourage you to involve your kids and have fun serving others as together. These will be the Christmas memories that last and are talked about for years to come!

5 Tips to For Volunteering as a Family

Another cool thing is that you can join in the fun with Life of Dad and Lee Jeans in their Twitter party on December 15th at 10am. You can win some Lee jeans of your own or maybe even $250! I bet you will also get some helpful ideas for ways you can volunteer where you live. All the details are below and remember that you can also get your own pair of Lee Jeans at your local Kohl's, JCPenney, Sears, or online at Lee.com
#LeeGoodDeed Twitter Party Life of Dad

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Christmas Snowflake Lunch

Christmas Snowflake Bento Lunch

Sometimes you need a fun lunch but also something that is simple. My family had a really busy weekend. Between work stuff, helping with a community event, and family, it didn't leave much time or energy to figure out a complicated lunch. I'm sure many of you can relate. Since it is almost Christmas, I figured why not do a snowflake lunch? All you need are two different sizes of snowflake cookie cutters to make it work. 

I made this lunch in a Planetbox lunchbox with a Lunchbox Love Note for a finishing touch. Please make sure and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube! I share so much more stuff on there that you won't want to miss.


Christmas Snowflake Sandwich
Ingredients
Sourdough bread
Peanut Butter (I used nut free WowButter)
Jam
Dried Cranberries
White Cheese
Babybel Cheese
Shredded coconut
Red apple
Snowflake shaped yogurt covered pretzels
Assorted Christmas sprinkles


Directions
1. Use larger cookie cutter to cut out two snowflakes. Spread peanut butter and jam to make a sandwich. Cut out smaller snowflake and paste on top using a dab of peanut butter. Place in main dish.

2. Decorate snowflakes with a few silver sprinkles. I used a toothpick and honey to glue them on. It only takes a minute. Surround snowflake with dried cranberries.

3. Use small snowflake cutter on white cheese to make several cutouts. It also works to cut the wax on Babybel cheese rounds. Use a small amount of pressure to press down on red top to cut through wax. Carefully peel the wax piece out. Arrange cheese cutouts in side dish and place Babybel on top.

4. In another side dish sprinkle shredded coconut. Cut a few more snowflakes out, this time make them out of apple. Place apples on top of coconut. In another dish put yogurt covered pretzels.

5. Drop Christmas themed sprinkles around where desired. Finish off with a Lunchbox Love Note if you have them.


Christmas Snowflake Bento Lunch