Parenting

Budgeting Breakfast – Cereal or Bacon and Eggs or Oatmeal?

by admin

Hey!  If you’re new here and you like what you read, you can subscribe to the blog with an RSS reader, or for even more fun, go like our Facebook page!  I drop little tidbits and tips on there more regularly than even here (but I save my long form goodness for this page!)

Around 2 years ago, we reached a crossroads in our family’s life.  Things were getting a little out of control (okay, more than a little) and we decided it was time to make changes and ask questions about everything we did.

Holy Sugar Bombs, Batman!

Holy Sugar Bombs, Batman!

One of the questions we asked was related to our kids.  It seemed that they were all struggling, to a greater or lesser degree with school and noise levels.  They just seemed wound up, all the time, and it was interfering with their ability to both get along with each other and at school.  I recalled a few years ago watching “Super Size Me” and one particular segment they filmed highlighting a school in Wisconsin which took the revolutionary step of serving only food from scratch in their cafeteria.  The results were astonishing: widespread behavioural problems disappeared.

So, hm.  My kids at the time ate sugary cereals almost every day out of convenience.  It was just easier – they could make it themselves, cleanup was simple, the only annoying part was we would literally go through almost a box a day – family sized.  They’d still be hungry so some kids would have two bowls.  Hm.

I made a decision to set up a new breakfast routine.  It would prove to be costly to my time, and more mess, but I think it has made a difference.   Read the rest of this entry »


3 Tips on Teaching Kids About Personal Finance

by admin

Hey!  If you’re new here and you like what you read, you can subscribe to the blog with an RSS reader, or for even more fun, go like our Facebook page!  I drop little tidbits and tips on there more regularly than even here (but I save my long form goodness for this page!)

Finances.  We are going through a major revamp of our family’s finances right now.

Who invented these things anyway?

Who invented these things anyway?

Running a family of 9 (we have an extra relative living with us right now too) is something beyond the ordinary today.  There isn’t a ton of wisdom out there on how this is supposed to work, because there aren’t a ton of families left in North America anyways, that have this many kids.  But as we walk down this time of change together, I find I have a renewed passion to teach my kids how to handle money.  I don’t want them to have to wait until they are 40 to figure out what I know now.  I hope neither do you.

Here are some ideas you can use that I have come across that can really help with trying to educate your children to manage their money well.  Honestly, I think this may be a skill more important than anything any of them will learn past the age of 12.  Because it affects everything about their lives – from marriage prospects, to comfort, to freedom to pursue their dreams, to being able to be the kind of generous, helpful person they want to be. Read the rest of this entry »


Wanna Be A Better Dad and/or Person? Two Tips

by admin

In my journey towards being a better Dad and a better person, one battle I have fought is figuring out how to squeeze in time for personal development.  When I look hard at how I spend my day, I recognize that huge swaths of it are wasted, from a lack of self-discipline.  But then the question is, how do I become more self-disciplined, so I can achieve those two goals?

PS.  If you’re new here and you like what you read, you can subscribe to the blog with an RSS reader, or for even more fun, go like our Facebook page!  I drop little tidbits and tips on there more regularly than even here (but I save my long form goodness for this page!)

Read the rest of this entry »


2 Beefs with Valentine’s Day and Children

by admin

I am not the greatest father.  Or the most diligent blogger.  Truth is, I am not quite as delinquent at updating this blog as you might think – I have about 5 drafts sitting unpublished in the background.  But it’s harder sometimes that you might think to get something out on paper (or on screen) that constitutes something to say, something that is worth talking about.

With Valentine’s Day upon us, fathers often get wrapped up in trying to express their feelings for their wives, the mother of their children.  My wife apparently got her gift early, in the form of jealous co-workers when she told them that I always say I dislike Valentine’s Day because it’s a cop-out for people to trim romance back to one day a year instead of celebrating their love for their significant other all year long.  No woman would care about Valentine’s Day if she was getting regular flowers, chocolates, back massages and daily passionate kisses. (Not that I achieve such lofty goals, but it’s the thought that counts… right?)

You give what in my name?

You give what in my name?

But all that is aside from the point I wanted to talk about today.  I want to talk about Valentine’s Day for children.  Because a long time ago it was decided that children need to celebrate this day too.  Early indoctrination to one of the foremost Hallmark holidays of the year?  I don’t know.  What I do know is at least as long as I have been alive, schools have encouraged and supported the idea of kids bringing Valentine’s Day cards to school and distributing them. Kids as young as 5.  I never went to preschool so maybe preschoolers do it too… but I know even as a very young child I would make out little cards with each student’s name on them, and hand them out at school on or about Valentine’s Day.

PS.  If you’re new here and you like what you read, you can subscribe to the blog with an RSS reader, or for even more fun, go like our Facebook page!  I drop little tidbits and tips on there more regularly than even here (but I save my long form goodness for this page!)

Read the rest of this entry »


Product Review: Skydog Parental Controls

by admin

When I used to work in IT I had the chance to marvel at some state-of-the-art server based monitoring and blocking software for coporations.  I was impressed with the level of control offered and the way the service was constantly updated with classifications relevant to the control of inappropriate content at the office or jobsite.

At the time, family was still in my imagination.  But I thought to myself, “Is there anything like this out there for home use?”  At the time, I was disappointed.

Since then, I have been watching and waiting for a solution to come out that is not PC based.  We have always had multiple computers in our home, from the day we got married.  Those computers have always shared an internet connection through some kind of hub.  But I had never been able to filter internet content upstream of everyone until I finally discovered Skydog.

Image Courtesy of Skydog

Here is the short form of this review: Skydog is nothing less than a must-have for every family which seeks to keep their children from inappropriate and/or dangerous content on any platform from iPads and tablets to PCs to laptops to any other internet-connected device.  It is ridiculously easy to set up, and affords unheard of control to parents over the use of the internet on all devices connected to the network.  FURTHER: it enables you to completely stymie unauthorized connections to your home network unless you SPECIFICALLY approve of them.  This control can even be operated remotely via your smartphone or any internet-connected device, anywhere in the world.  Read the rest of this entry »


Leftovers: Friend or Foe?

by admin

So I set out to make lunch for my preschool aged twins and I (the rest are at school).  The first stop was the fridge – what’s there for leftovers?  I discovered enough mac and cheese for the little guys, but not enough for me.  What to do?

Of the leftovers I saw the two that stood out to me were spaghetti noodles from the weekend and about 8 oz of roast beef from last night.  I first pondered making a coconut curry sauce and using the chipped beef, but that seemed a little weird.  Then I remembered this thing called beef stroganoff.  A creamy alfredo type sauce with beef and mushrooms usually.

I tried googling some recipes but ended up winging it.  Here’s what I did:

  • Creamy chipped beef on noodles8 oz cooked roast beef, chipped
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup leftover beef gravy
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp flaked dried onions
  • a shot of worchestershire sauce

 

Mix it all up in a pot and heat.  Serve over noodles.

Win!

 


6 Kids: You Know What Causes That?

by admin

Since pretty much our 3rd kid, when someone discovers how many children we have, a good chunk of the time the question gets asked, “Why?”  Often it is presented in a more joky fashion – like, “Do you know what causes that?” or “They have solutions for that, you know.”  I haven’t always had the best answer for it.. my answer tends to be on the long-winded side – we both love kids, and we both love each other, and we don’t like watching TV much so…

The biggest and the smallestBut seriously, it never crossed our minds to have an abortion, and hormonal birth control was messing with my wife’s body too much to stick with.  Nerfing sex drives kind of defeats the purpose of birth control doesn’t it?  So, other methods were employed.  Twice those methods failed us – resulting in 3 of our 6.  Three times, we chose to set them aside.  And to be perfectly clear, the two times they didn’t work, we weren’t upset – things just happened sooner than we expected or planned for.  Our last were twins, but we were thinking of having another 2 or 3 years down the road anyway, so it just bumped up our plans.

But you came here for something amusing – and I want to share it!  I ran across a blog with 5 kids, and there was this post about why they have as many as they do.  The Dad had a great perspective – “I don’t have to convince you of my politics or religion.  I just have to outnumber you.”  I love that – it speaks of deliberation, and thinking of the future.  I can’t say we stepped into having 6 with such forethought.

But the comments – oh the comments!  They were rich with pithy one liners to respond with!  If you need an answer to some snide, “You know what causes that?” – here you go!

  • (female response) “Well behaved children and an irresistible husband!”
  • (male response) “Good kids and a HOTT wife!”
  • “We’re pretty sure, but more testing is required.”
  • “We’ve narrowed it down to water or sex, and we aren’t giving up either one!”
  • “I handle my business, and God handles his.”
  • “Yep, and we’ve got the trophies to prove it right here!”

If you’ve got a good response to that question, please add it in the comments!  I’d love to grow the list!


Recipe Time! Gluten Free Perogy Lasagna

by admin

So here’s the thing: casseroles are almost universally made with wheat.  If they aren’t thickened with flour then they include things like the classic standby, “Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup” which while ridiculously savoury and cheap, it is thickened by, you guessed it, flour.  So what’s a poor man to do when he is craving something creamy and baked?

Make it from scratch?  Ha!  Fat chance with 6 kids!  Nope, we need something simpler.

So I was puzzling and puzzing over this quandry, when  I happened upon an idea: what if I made a lasagna with frozen perogies? Hmm.  All the classic ingredients of a wonderful perogy meal, layered and baked?  The question is, how would I pull this off?

Gluten Free Perogy Lasagna

Gluten Free Perogy Lasagna

This may be the first recipe I have ever come up with completely by myself, that I have written down.  (I’ve made up recipes before, but never bothered to write down what I was doing,,, probably because it was so random I had no idea how it would turn out.)  I am writing it down because there might be other big families, like mine, that want to cook gluten free, but don’t have the gumption or the time to do things from scratch.  So here’s a quick and dirty idea for you. Read the rest of this entry »


9 Fantasy Films My Kids Need To See

by admin
Where imagination began!

Look at that friggin dragon! Isn’t it awesome?

I have been a nut for stories of swords and sorcery since I was oh, about 8 or 9 and a friend of mind introduced me to the boardgame, “Dungeon!” which quickly transitioned (much like a gateway drug leads to greater flights of fancy… I mean greater highs and addictions) into Dungeons & Dragons.  We’re talking the first edition with Larry Elmore’s magnificent red dragon on the front – the one after the REAL first edition that had such crappy artwork it looked like it was drawn by one of my schoolmates.

It was a beautiful time, the 80’s and 90’s.  Special effects had taken a quantum leap with Star Wars, and things were beginning to evolve with computer effects.  But script and acting were still king, and some really fun movies came out back then.  Some of them I have shown to my kids, some we haven’t gotten to yet.  But here are my top 9 (I couldn’t find a 10th, sorry) Fantasy films my kids MUST see, if not appreciate. (Note, I didn’t include sci-fi in this list, that is a whole nother ball of wax.)

1. The Princess Bride (1987)

"I am not left-handed!"

“I am not left-handed!”

There was never a more perfect mix of fantasy, action, parody, spot on script, self-awareness, quotability, memorability, and classic storytelling than this film.  I cannot imagine parenting without being able to share giggles with my kids by referencing the dozens of moments this story provides, let alone the great messages it conveys.  And yes, I mean messages – there are tons of lessons in this film that don’t get preachy, but nonetheless are important.  This can’t not be #1. Read the rest of this entry »


My View on Fatherhood Part 3: Father of 6

by admin

Here’s more on the unique perspective you will get here at Fathering From Home.  Not only am I a stay-at-home Dad and a father of exclusively boys, but I am the father of 6.

And we took them all to Disney... once.

And we took them all to Disney… once.

Honestly, in North America in 2013, being the father of 6 is practically a scarlet letter.  To the granola crowd I am personally contributing to the overpopulation of the earth.   To the childless-by-choice crowd (which seems to be growing all the time) I am a breeder, lacking the self-control or intelligence to limit my brood to a size that enables me to be self-actualized through 80 hour work weeks or through gobs of travel and expensive experiences.  To those who actually choose to have kids I am clinically insane, because “I can barely handle my 1 (or 2 at the most)”.  I get stared at when I take them all out – shopping or otherwise.  My family’s chariot, a 2005 Chevy Express 15 passenger van got labelled an “Indian van” while we were in Surrey (not by us – sadly there is racism in Canada too), because only the Punjabi population, where extended families all live together and work together use them.  Then we moved to Southern Alberta, where our van was relabelled the “Hutterite Van” because only the communally farming Hutterites used them for personal transport in this area.  To think of such a vehicle as a “family van” is beyond the imaginings of most people in this day and age.

How did we wind up with 6 kids?  By the way, when we had our fourth, the “Are you trying to be the Duggars” comments started, so you can imagine the comments and backhanded compliments we get now.  Firstly, no, we are not Mormon or Catholic.  And no, we don’t have religious reasons for having so many kids… unless you consider it a religious reason that we would NEVER EVER consider an abortion for an unplanned pregnancy.

We love our kids.  From the moment we discovered we were pregnant with each one (or two) we have celebrated.  I LOVE infants.  I LOVE my wife when she is pregnant – she is beautiful and incredibly hot when she is in full bloom.  I don’t know what it is – maybe part of it is how secure it makes me feel in her heart that she is bearing another child for me.  Maybe it is the shot of testosterone that my virility is once more proven.  I don’t know.  But I love everyone’s infants too.  Holding infants is one of the most peaceful experiences in life, and I am glad I have gotten to do it as much as I have.

We never set out to have 6.  In fact, after we got married and began discussing seriously how many kids we would have, she wanted 2 and I wanted 3.  We never thought that we would add them together (and throw in a pair of twins)! Read the rest of this entry »


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