Locked Outside by a Three-Year Old Kid

Have you ever been locked out of your own house before? I have, and it wasn’t a nice experience! Luckily, I can look back on the whole ordeal and laugh, but it wasn’t funny at the time.

Squirrel Shenanigans

One morning last July, I was busy in the kitchen preparing a snack for my youngest boy, Brendan. His brothers were already at school, and my husband at work, so we had the house to ourselves.

Our kitchen looks out onto the front lawn, so while I was mashing a banana, I could see the little squirrel my two older sons had been trying to tame scurrying here and there under the trees.

As I watched, the squirrel decided to conquer the mailbox. He climbed up it easily enough and sat on the top for a while, and then attempted the journey down. Unfortunately, he caught hold of the handle and the door swung open, and the poor little squirrel went crashing to the floor!

The Squirrel Whisperer

Once he’d recovered from the shock, the squirrel saw this as the perfect opportunity to climb inside the mailbox. I didn’t want him making a mess in there, so I raced out the front door, leaving it open, and ran down to the mail box. I began talking softly and gently tapping on the back of the box to coax him out.

Just as I thought my tactics were working, I heard a slam. The front door was shut – the wind must have blown it closed! Now, when our front door shuts, that’s it – you need a key to open it from the outside.

Devil Child

I ran back up to the door and banged loudly. Brendan was only three at the time, but I figured it was worth a try to get him to open it. That’s when I heard him giggling. It turns out we should have named him Damien – it hadn’t been the wind at all; he’d pushed the door closed!

I tried to shout instructions to him through the door, and I could hear him trying, but he couldn’t turn the latch.

There I was, stuck outside in my old gray T-shirt and leggings, with no way of getting back inside! bitcoin leverage trading platform

Back Inside at Last

My first thought was to try next door, because they have a spare key for emergencies, but no one was home. I then went round the back of our house and tapped on the glass sliding door to get Brendan’s attention. I managed to persuade him to unlock that door and finally got back inside. He found the whole thing hilarious!

You’d think I’d have learnt my lesson after that, but a few days later Brendan managed to lock himself in the bathroom. I managed to open the lock by poking it with a screwdriver and luckily he hadn’t done any damage.

The lesson I’ve learnt is to always take my keys with me. You never know when you’re going to need them!

Bad Day in Barcelona

My father was always something of a Clark Griswold when it came to family vacations. He used to plan each trip down to the very last detail, but each time, something went horribly wrong.

For example, one time our luggage got unloaded from the airport bus outside the wrong hotel in Greece, and we had to spend hours driving around in a taxi searching for it. Or how about when he decided we would all go camping – my mother was in charge of map reading, but after a few hours we’d become horribly lost, and it was getting dark. Soon we realized the problem – with every road turn, my mom had turned the map.

A La Rambla Stroll Turns Bad

By far the most hilarious mishap happened in Barcelona. We’d only been there a day, and after an amazing lunch of traditional Catalonian tapas, the family –my mother, father, older sister, and I – was enjoying a stroll down La Rambla, the main tourist street in the city. Outside one of the little tourist shops, my mom stopped to look at some postcards, and just then, a man snatched her bag and ran off down the street. Unfortunately for the thief, he’d picked the wrong man’s wife.

My dad, a cop, pelted after him – and he is nothing if not relentless. The great thing about La Rambla is that it slopes downwards towards the sea, so we could see the majority of what happened as we tried to keep up. bitcoin leverage trading

Catching the Thief – But Which One?

My dad caught up with the thief easily enough a hundred yards or so away, and the pair of them went crashing into a table outside a restaurant. This attracted the attention of a small crowd, who all witnessed my father beat the crap out of this little guy and snatch the bag back.

Unfortunately, that’s when the police decided to show up. La Rambla is a notorious hangout for pickpockets and muggers, so there are usually a few officers snooping around.

As the rest of us arrived on the scene, Dad was being brutally handcuffed and dragged away. The onlookers, it transpired, had made my dad out as the villain in the ordeal, and one look at the little guy with the bloody nose and cut lip seemed to confirm this.

It Gets Worse

Unbelievably, the police then proceeded to give my mother’s bag back to the thief. With that, my mother started screaming at the cops – who now looked as though they wanted to arrest her too – and my sister, the only one in the family who could speak a little Spanish, confronted the police and tried to explain what had happened.

Thankfully, my sister’s pidgin Spanish seemed to work on the cops, and with lots of gesturing and pointing, an inkling of what had happened started to dawn on them, so they decided to search the bag.

The Embarrassing Proof

They pulled out the only things my mother kept in there – lipstick, a purse, a clean change of underwear, and enough tampons to fuel a menstruating army.  Of course, that was embarrassing, but you never know what is in a bag or backpack from my family I’ve learned!

With a lot of ‘Gracias!’ from the whole family, the police gave my Mom (now sporting a very red face) her bag back, and uncuffed my dad. The little thief (who had tried to sneak away but was caught by one of the cops) was cuffed, and was dragged away, while screaming and pointing at my dad.

Believe it or not, my dad still hasn’t given up the habit of charging after thieves when he sees them, but fortunately, his Barcelona experience was the only time it ended up badly for him! bitcoin trading with leverage

Will I Grow Beard or Not?

This guy looks like he loves his beard…

I’ve heard that growing beard is one of the trends for men nowadays but I just can’t think of what is keeping me to grow this facial hair. I’m wondering if my wife will approve of this or what will my kids think of the new look that I am planning to work on.

I have a lot of thoughts about growing facial hair. I feel skeptical that in doing this I can improve my masculinity as way back when my wife and I were in college, she strongly disapproves about growing beards. Well, if I really want to look that appealing to others, I should look appealing to my wife first, right?

Another concern about growing facial hair is its effect on my kids. I’ve seen them scramming out the door when they saw their Uncle Tony who has a long beard as long as that of Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. Of course I don’t want them to feel the same way for me, so I’m really not growing my beard that long at all.

However, there is no way that we can stop the trend in men nowadays and there is no way that I will not have hair grown on my face even for the first and last time in my life. I have researched on various ways how to go about growing facial hair fast as well as techniques on how to properly trim your beard to make you look like your favorite Hollywood star. I know these things will help in make me improve my looks.

No matter what happens I will do my best to make my family accept my new look.

I remember my wife saying that beards look dirty and this is my chance to prove her wrong. I’ve read about beard grooming which includes tips on how to keep your beard neat and clean all the time so I’ve got all the help I need. I know that everything will turn out fine once I’ve seen the results after growing facial hair. It’s just a matter of having my family accept the new me. Hoping that my wife think of me as her handsome Hollywood star kinda’ guy and my kids’ think of me as their neat daddy.

I never knew that growing beard can be this challenging for anybody. However, I am never losing hope. I know one day I can shift my look from a clean looking office guy to a neat bearded hunk.  Maybe one day, it can be something my son and I bond over!

Knife Skills Transcend Gender

Men and women are different, just as boys and girls are different.  One viewpoint of feminism is that “women are exactly the same as men,” but that’s simply not true, and it is our very differences that make us special.  We have different levels of hormones in our bodies (testosterone and estrogen to name two), and that is just one factor that causes us to behave differently, have different interests, etc.

I see this difference every day with my children.  My wife and I try to be very conscious about not putting gender stereotypes onto our children.  My children get in trouble equally if they go out and play in the mud on a rainy day; my daughter does not get in trouble more because it is “unlady like” to be dirty.  When my daughter signed up for dance lessons, I had my son take one season of dance as well.

The differences between boys and girls can be a challenge when you want to do things together and find an activity that interests everyone somewhat equally.  My children are getting old enough that it is time to start teaching them about knives and knife skills.  I think everyone should have some knowledge of kitchen knives (not just women), and I also think everyone should have some knowledge of survival knives (not just men).  This was a great learning experience that we could all share together.  Here are some resources that I used.

  1. This article gives a good high overview of all the steps that go into making a knife.  I used this for a general appreciation of the tool.  Like money, knives do not “grow on trees.”
  2. There are different things you would look for in a survival vs a kitchen knife, and this site is a good start for an overview on survival knives.
  3. Zack Knives has great documentation on custom knives, including how to sharpen your knife.
  4. There are websites that focus on the artistry that goes along with custom knives, like the ones on LA knife maker.  This site discusses whether or not you should even use your knives or whether you should display them!
  5. Knives can also be used for self-defense, and there are pros and cons to trying to use them in this manner instead of as a tool.

Learning about knives together, as a family, allowed us to undertake lots of different activities, from cooking in the kitchen, to whittling, to camping.  It was a fun experience, and also taught my kids responsibility.

Read this post to see what other activities I do with my family!

Sugar Cookies…Disaster

Using a food processor for Sugar CookiesMy kids and I love cooking together. My girls especially love to bake, and we often spend time together baking cakes, cookies, cupcakes and other sweet treats. Recently we decided to try baking some sugar cookies for Christmas, and we planned on decorating them in with Christmas colours and decorations and give them as little homemade gifts from the girls. Unfortunately they didn’t turn out exactly as planned, and they weren’t really suitable to give the family and our friends as gifts.

It all started off great. The kids found some cute cookies that they wanted to make here which were the shapes of stockings, stars, Christmas trees and presents. They found a sugar cookie recipe and we set out to the store to find the ingredients. We took our list of ingredients, decorations, materials to wrap the cookies as gift and utensils that we didn’t have at home that we needed, and started making our way around the store. Everything went well, and I even got a few gifts for the family, and even a food processor that I saw recently and I couldn’t resist. All went well at the store, so home we went.

Food Processor - for making cookiesAfter getting everything inside and into the kitchen, we decided to start baking. My girls, aged 8 and 10, are quite independent, and really my role was supervisor. They meticulously measured out their ingredients, mixed everything thoroughly. The rolled out their beautiful dough and really enjoyed using their new cookie cutters that we bought at the store. They enjoyed it so much, that they took their time with it, and even sometimes rerolled the dough just so they could cut some more cookies. Finally, they got their cookies into the oven (with my help) and sat in front of it for the entire time that they were inside until they were a beautiful, golden brown colour. I took them out of the oven for them, and they sat by as the cookies cooled.

Next they made different colour icings for the cookies (red, green and white of course) and when the cookies had cooled, they got their creative juices flowing and decorated them, just like the beautiful designs that that they had found online earlier. We waited for them to cool and set, and the girls made some Christmas cards to attach their little packages. The packages were the wrapped with care, and they even tied little bows around them and attached the cards that they made. They next day which was Christmas Eve, we drove around to friends and family members homes and the girls hand-delivered their gifts.

The next day, my parents came over for Christmas Day lunch. The girls were occupied with their gifts that they had been spoilt with. I asked my mother if they had tried the cookies that the girls had made. My mother seemed a bit apprehensive to answer. With a bit of pushing, I finally found out what they thought. She told me how they had given them to the dogs because they didn’t really like savoury cookies. I said to them that they hadn’t been savoury, that they were sugar cookies. Later that evening when I was cleaning the kitchen after another busy Christmas, I checked the ingredients we’d bought the day before. Turns out we bought a big bag of salt… not sugar. Our sugar cookies were in fact salty cookies. Definitely not what we had planned for, but I didn’t have the heart to tell the girls.

His first bike! Bonding with my son over a shared passion

This week has been an especially exciting one for the family. Mostly for Jimmy, but for the rest of us too.

Now, getting your first bike is a milestone in any kid’s life and sort of the beginning of a new era in childhood. It’s actually just as exciting for parents too! At least I had a really fun time teaching my son! Teaching him how to pedal with training wheels, balancing, kissing cuts and scrapes, encouraging him after multiple crashes and wobbles, and in the end, seeing the look on his face when he was ripping down the sidewalk all on his own. It was like learning to ride my own bike all over again! Of course, this sounds a bit like a fairytale and happened a few years ago and Jimmy’s been riding his bike pretty much daily since then.

Jimmy often comes for rides with me on my motorbike around town or on a little father-son bonding road trip. We do a lot of fun activities together, but he has really taken a shining to motorcycles. He painted model cars and bikes which are just littering his dresser top and bookcase now. There is no doubt in my mind he’s going to end up a lot like me!

Anyways, back to the good part of the story. Last weekend my wife and I were talking and decided to look into motor bikes for kids (don’t worry, these aren’t bikes to be ridden on the road by children – mostly just dirt bikes with cool bodies). It’s summer, spirits are high and kids should be spending more time outdoors (I’ve also taught my kids how to fish, which is great in the summer)! This just seemed like a no-brainer for Jimmy after having shared so much of my passion with him, and seeing it become a passion of his own.

So we broke the news to him, mentioning that it will be an early birthday present (his birthday is a few months away). He had absolutely no problem with this and was just so excited that he’ll be able to ride it around all summer and fall. The look on his face was something I’ll never forget!

Before I took him out to pick one up, I was very clear with him about the rules he has to accept when riding it. He has to stay either on our property (back or front yard and driveway), within eyesight if we go for a walk or bicycle ride as a family, and he must wear a helmet. I trust him, I really do. I just don’t trust other people riding or driving nearby. Anything can happen at any given time and I’m a firm believer in prevention of accidents. He agreed, and wanted to pick out the coolest motorbike helmet he could find. With so many options, I think we spent more time looking at helmets than we did looking at bikes! He was ecstatic, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to be bonding with him like this. Once we picked out a helmet and a bike, the first thing we did when we got home was get it running and grab a camera. He was the one who wanted a cool-guy photo with his new bike!

I can’t wait to teach him more as he grows up into a smart and talented young man. I’m beyond thrilled that he’s taken such a liking to motor bikes, and I hope I can teach him how to drive a real one someday!

Family That Plays Together

A Family That Plays Together Stays Together

We’re a firm believers that the more activities you do with your kids the better off your relationship is going to be. We also believe that activities are important to expose your kids to so they stay fit and healthy.

I work out!

My wife originally started taking our daughter to Yoga classes with her. She bought her, her own yoga mat, an adorable little yoga towel and they’ve been Yoga pals ever since. My little buddy was jealous that his baby sister got to go to the grown up class and so we decided we could try and take Jimmy along as well. Jimmy was extremely disruptive (think loud farting noises) and since then we haven’t been able to bring him back. So what did I do? Jimmy wanted to do something “adult” which meant not running around at the playground. So me and Jimmy started pumping iron together (don’t worry I don’t load him up with the bench press and let him have at it).

We created a workout program that we do together every time the ladies go to yoga. It includes back exercises such as pull ups, pushups, core work, jumping jacks and a lot of silliness. Jimmy loves mountain climbers which is strange for a little kid.

He’s also hysterical when I give him small weights to work with. He does bicep curls with one eye closed and his tongue sticking out grunting along with me as I work out. At the end of each session we get a little tape measure and make sure the boys biceps are growing with each pump.

It’s pretty great, because as a result of our sessions I’ve actually gotten in better shape. I no longer dread going to the gym because I know my little buddy will be there to amuse me every step of the way.

I’m extremely glad I was able to find something “grown up” for me and Jimmy to do. We go fishing and we’ve gone to the rifle range and sometimes we go for a cruise on the lake with our inflatable paddle boards but we’ve really bonded over this activity. I’m sure as we look back when he’s older and we’re sharing a pint of beer this is something that we will laugh about. He doesn’t know this, but Sunday afternoon in the gym pumping the iron with him is one of the things I look forward to most during my week. I hope he continues to enjoy doing it with me.

60th Family Birthday Party

18th. 21st. 30th. 40th. 50th – all these are just important birthday milestone rehearsals for the real big one: the 60th birthday.

And if milestone birthdays are often associated with poking fun at the guest of honour’s age and making a big deal of the fact they are getting older, that gets a little bit insensitive when they hit ripe old 6-0. So when it comes to 60th birthday parties, you should definitely avoid poking fun at the guest of honour’s age.

Not offending everyone and the guest of honour is one thing, but how do you go about planning a party for people of this age? Here’s how I planned mine.

Invitations

Along with the where, when, and RSVP details, use appropriate greetings for the front cover of the invitation indicating the specific party theme and consider some of the classic headlines, such as: “Aged to Perfection”, “Sexy Sixty” or “Sweet 60″. I personally went with “The Big 6 – Oh!” to add a bit of personal humor. But remember, sixty is the beginning of retirement stage, and most people consider turning sixty a significant turning point. So the idea is to be respectful and help them look forward to their senior years in a positive way. This can be done by focusing on their vitality and celebrating their accomplishments in life. So be sensitive of appearing too rude.

Themes

The obvious and popular theme is to take a trip down memory lane and style the party in a particular decade, like the 50s, 60s or 70s. One thing I will say is that if the sixty-year old/s were born towards the end of a certain decade, it might be best to theme the party in the following decade, as it’s likely the guest of honor has better memories of that time period.

I personally went with a sports theme. My dad has always been a massive football fan so we started with a good bit of food, with my new smoker as the centre of early festivities. We then all congregated inside to watch Saturday’s big game, before rounding off the night with music and drink. Which leads me on to the next point…

Music

What’s a party without good music? Think of the special person turning sixty and you’re sure to come up with a good playlist. But remember, don’t stress the age aspect. The last thing most women want to hear when turning 60 is that they are turning 60.

If anything, take the focus off of age. Play upbeat music and dance. Have fun. Put the focus on something that the person is looking forward to or on things they enjoy. Maybe something like Donny Osmond. Everybody loves Mr Osmond, don’t they?

Gift ideas

Gift-giving at a 60th birthday party doesn’t take a lot of imagination – whether it be 10 six-packs of beer, 5 dozen roses, or 60 lottery tickets.

If you want to be a little more creative, why not do something more personal by arranging a memory book or scrapbook filled with favourite photos and keepsakes. Ask friends and loved ones to e-mail special birthday wishes well in advance to be included with the photos, or print-out the e-mails and pin them up separately on a decorated bulletin board.

And of course…food!  I wouldn’t recommend teaching your kids how to make cake or cookies for an important party – my sugar cookie disaster says it all!

 

Check the Backpacks!

My oldest sons’ favorite part of elementary school is show and tell. He rants and raves about it every time a it’s one of the other kids in the class turn to show off something and always looks forward to the day it’s his turn. As parents we are also extremely busy and one particular week, we weren’t up to speed with what our boy was bringing to school for show and tell until we received a call from the principal!

comical-PBNA little bit of a back story first. I am an avid outdoorsman and appreciate a variety of outdoor activities. I like to go on extended backpacking trips that take me through the mountains. I like to camp under the stars in the middle of nowhere and enjoy the peace and quiet of the great outdoors. To do this I need a variety of tactical gear including tactical flashlights, and knives so that I can be well prepared for my outdoor adventures. Obviously, depending on the adventure, the gear I need changes which is what led me to purchase an extremely gnarly USMC tactical Knife for skinning animals in the field. It’s design is quite aggressive looking too and has a blade which measures of 6 inches long. Definitely something you don’t want to take to show and tell! Back to the phone call from the Principal.

I guess this particular week my wife and I were a bit too busy and missed out assisting our son with selecting an appropriate show and tell item to take to school. My boy has always been fascinated by much of my gear and loves playing with my high lumen powered flashlights. I knew he also always enjoyed my tactical knives but I never let him play with them as he is much too young. However on this occasion, he decided to take it upon himself to take one of my knives to school with him to show off to his friends in class. 

The Principal explained the situation and obviously understood that my boy intended no harm in bringing the knife to school. He did however take the time to explain to me that I should keep these types of things locked up to avoid any injury at my own home. I agreed with the Principal despite my embarrassment and assured him that I would be taking better care of this type of gear in the future. The Principal also commented as to what I would need a knife so big for but clearly he had never hunted Buffalo before!

That night around the Dinner table we took the opportunity to teach the entire family a lesson. Our boy was extremely embarrassed about having to spend the day in the Principals office and admitted that he shouldn’t have taken the knife and that he would ask in the future.  

It was a good lesson for us all.  My kids are often teaching me lessons – like when I got locked out of the house.

Simple Steps To Teach Your Kids Fishing

People always ask what the secret behind fishing is. The answer to this might be tricky – that’s because for one, to be good at fishing you need experience and consistency. It is good to start learning some about this skill while still young, though, because the mind is young and it becomes faster to learn some of the basics of fishing. Below are some ways through which you can teach your children how to fish.

The first thing you should do is get a boat for the kids while still young. Make sure that you pay more attention to your kids’ safety and be there to answer to their questions. This means that you should take them to the waters when the water is calm just to avoid any accidents from happening during the fishing trip. Have it in mind that your aim is to teach them how to fish, so it is good to keep encouraging them and slowly but surely, they will learn how to fish.

Another tip for beginners is to take your kids to a fishing point where there is more fish to catch. One way to do this is to get used to using a fish finder. You can have a look for the right choice over at www.ajbaitandtackle.com. If you’re doing more than just fishing with your kids (we assume you are, if fishing is important enough to teach them!), then we’ve had some good luck with Garmin’s 550c. You can pick a place such that they are able to catch something within ten minutes or so (OK, maybe not ten minutes, or else the place would be packed with fishermen…but within the first day hopefully!). Note that kids do not have patience if they stay for a long time and with no results they might just give up. Note that quality does not matter at this point…quantity is the important things when getting kids started.

Try to make the activity more exciting. You could take a picture or video as they catch the fish. The kids will enjoy such moments more than anything. After a catch, teach them how to clean the fish using a knife (safely supervise them, of course). Once they have that experience of catching, cleaning, and cooking the fish they will be attached to the activity. Kids need to feel the excitement of everything that they do.  As they grow older, they will learn to enjoy the quiet time, where you can contemplate things…like whether or not to grow that beard!

Once the kids get used to the activity, you could take them with you as you go fishing. There is need to teach the child to be patient when it comes to fishing. Involve them in every activity that you undertake during this time.

Fishing during summer can be tough if it’s way too hot. Aim to go in spring or fall, depending on your location and what type of fish you’re catching. Weather conditions also affect the fish in the water. When the weather is extremely hot, the fish tends to go deep down the water for cool temperatures. In addition, if it is extremely cold the water is cold and the fish will tend to stay near the surface. When you are planning to take the kids out for fishing make sure that the weather is fairly neutral.

The moment your kids are familiar with fishing it is time to present him or her with their very own fishing rod, tackle box, reel and a fishing hat. Your kids can learn fast if you’re patient with them, act as a good teacher, and let them observe you for a few trips.