Fathers on Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day, as implied by the name of this holiday, isn’t for dads, but somehow, they always get roped in. My dad is usually coerced into driving my brother and me to the Hallmark store for a card and some kind of useless knick-knack. One year, we decided to plant flowers for her, and that idea became a dirty, fun adventure with my dad being the most productive. No matter the circumstances, be prepared for your kids to come running for ideas and help, money-wise or other.

College Visits: Be There to Show You Care

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Oh, the joys of college visits. Parents drive for hours while their teenager snores in the backseat until they reach the campus. Then they attend an informational meeting led by a peppy college student who is employed by the admissions office, and this person cleverly highlights the college’s bright spots and manages to answer any question thrown his or her way, even if the answer has little to do with what was asked. Parents listen intently, especially when tuition is mentioned, and the potential students yawn and glance at cell phones. After a half hour or so, everyone is whisked away to tour the campus, which, they are assured, is the most picturesque, the most accessible, the safest, the greenest, etc. Tour guides point to buildings and give them apparently meaningful names and present a recently cleaned dorm room to the group’s inspection.

Blue Ribbons and Good Times

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Shiny blue ribbons, mooing cows, and sweaty summer days seem to epitomize 4-H for many. 4-Hers haul their animals off the family farm and drag them to the county fair where the animals are spiffed up and shown for bragging rights… right? Well, 4-H entails much more; it requires hard work and dedication and provides a time for kids and their parents to work together towards a common goal, whether that is first place for a pig or grand champion on a poster. For a busy dad, 4-H may seem daunting. Surprisingly, it’s not only manageable but truly rewarding.

Graduation Gift Giving

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April showers bring May flowers, but there will be more than flowers popping up in May. A pile of graduation invitations will grow faster than the daffodils in your backyard. They flood mailboxes and might include snapshots of that niece, cousin, or distant relative. As this young person innocently smiles up at you, you might nostalgically reflect on how quickly time passes or might be wondering who on earth this person is. In either case, a dark cloud will begin to threaten your blue skies in the form of a graduation gift.

Help for Helping with Homework

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Dads might have left their calculus problems and English papers behind, but now their kids must endure the same torture. From kindergarten to senior year, kids are given homework assignments, and they are going to need help, even if they don’t ask for it, during all those years.

So, how does a busy dad help his befuddled first grader with very simple worksheets?

The Fundamentals of “Patty-Cake”

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Patty-cake, patty-cake, baker’s man. Bake me a cake as fast as you can. There I am, sitting in my dad’s lap with legs crossed, rolling and patting the dough. I wriggle with excitement as my favorite part gets closer when Dad will “mark it with a ‘K,’ just for me.” As he traces the first letter of my name into the imaginary cake, I grab his finger and imagine the letter on its surface in bright pink frosting, which I always tell him to use. Now put it in the oven for Daddy and me.

Meditation

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Welcome to our quick guide to meditation. You may be wondering how meditation can help you as a busy dad. Meditation can help you get focused and centered and will make it easier for you to handle anything life throws at you.  It is both energizing and relaxing.  We hope this will help you find a comfortable easy way to begin meditation as a way to improve your life and health.

It probably seems hard to imagine sitting still for 30-45 minutes or more doing nothing and thinking nothing. Surprisingly enough once you start meditating you won’t notice the time. But even if you just have 5-10 minutes to meditate in it will help you feel less stressed and much more peaceful.

Quick & Easy Salisbury Steak

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This quick & easy recipe for Salisbury Steak will make even finicky eaters happy. My family requests this for birthdays and other special days. I serve it with mashed potatoes & green beans.

Beginner’s Kitchen Favorites

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Much like a car without a steering wheel, a budding cook without the right kitchen tools has the potential to go nowhere.  I’m convinced many a carry-out-on-speed-dial fanatic could become culinary connoisseurs with a little help.
 
One of the greatest and most unique gifts I ever received was a Beginner’s Kitchen.  The gift came with love from two friends who stand squarely in opposite corners of the love-to-cook camp.  I received the box in celebration of my first college apartment.  Thirteen years, a marriage, two children, and a solid recipe repertoire under my belt later, I still use several of these quality pieces in my home today.

Kids and Camping v1.0

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So, when I was young, my father's idea of "vacation" meant loading up an Army surplus tent and a cooler of bacon and heading to the great white north which, in this case, was always the same place, Port Austin, Michigan. Not that Port Austin wasn't nice. It was. It had trails, and trees, and a Great Lake. Pretty much an idea spot. For CAR CAMPING. Not really my thing. I'm more of a "middle of nowhere, leave me alone" kind of person.

Fast forward 30 (or so) years in the future. I have my own kids and I want to introduce them to the wonders of the outdoors. Still, it would be nice if they actually enjoyed themselves. I want them to appreciate the wilderness that doesn't include pump stations, electrical outlets and owl shaped string lights. I want them to know the pride of carrying their gear, food and water in and leaving to traces while they are there.

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