Family Archives - Dadstractions

Halloween Is Here, Time To Scare The Kids

Oct 16, 13 Halloween Is Here, Time To Scare The Kids

Posted by in Halloween

My wife and I love Halloween. We sometimes fall behind with decorating the house, and we don’t always dress up, but we love ghosts, ghouls, monsters and zombies – all the things that go bump in the night and provide the small little rush of anxiety, exhilaration and excitement. Naturally, we want to pass that love of Halloween along to our kids because, scaring kids out of their minds is fun! We recently took a family trip to the Lorain County Metroparks Halloween Fair. Our original intention was to arrive at 5pm, walk the Haunted Trail during “family friendly” hours, eat some carnival food, play a few games and call it a night before the trail turned “scary” after 7pm. After we went down the “family friendly” trail during daylight hours, my wife and I decided to see if the kids would like to try it when it changed to “scary”. Both kids insisted that they would not be scared and that we could stay and do the trail again later. We proceeded to eat a super-healthy meal of hamburgers, corn dogs, Italian sausage and french fries from many a questionable food stand. Afterward, the kids danced around to the jams of DJ Starship Joe and we got a few carnival games in before getting in the huge line for the Haunted Trail. The trail was pitch black except for rope lights along the edges so you could see where the trail ended and the forest began. Along the trail were miniature haunted houses which were absolutely pitch black at night. There was a lot of screaming from scared teenagers and the staff of the haunted trail; a lot of popping out of dark corners and screaming to startle guests.  For the most part the staff would see the younger kids and take it easy on them, not giving them the full treatment but still enough startle and scream to get a jump out of them. Miraculously, we made it through the trail without any...

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What Are Your Kids Watching When You’re Not Watching?

Aug 20, 13 What Are Your Kids Watching When You’re Not Watching?

Posted by in Parenting

I try to monitor what my kids watch and I assume most other parents do too. Since we don’t have cable, monitoring what my kids watch is probably a little easier than it was when I was growing up (I’ve spoken before about the types of things I watched when I was younger because I had access to 24/7 cable TV, a TV in my room and a lot of time on my hands.) Thankfully(?) my kids watch most of their TV via Netflix via XBox. Netflix has added some useful filters to their system over the past year to help better monitor exactly what it is your children are consuming when you’re not around. Netflix Kids: Netflix Kids is a special area of Netflix Streaming that is designed for the “12 and under” crowd. It has easy to navigate menus (what they call a “Character Navigation Bar”) and will only show family friendly titles in the search results. It’s a safe zone. Personalized Profiles Netflix finally launched Personalized Profiles for every member of the family who is watching Netflix Streaming under the same account. Not only is this useful at keeping “Wild Kratts” and “Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman” out of my own personal “Recently Watched” queue, it also helps to tailor the user’s personal experience by using algorithms to suggest similar content to what has already been watched on that profile. Plus, each account can have separate parental controls assigned to it so if the kids happen to not log into the “Netflix Kids” section, at least their own accounts are also set up to allow them to only view content that is suitable for “12 & Under”. Recently Watched Each profile has a “Recently Watched” queue to show the user what their past viewing habits have been. This is a really helpful tool to check to see what the kids have watched and whether or not it’s something you need to discuss with them. Prior to the individual profiles and Netflix Kids...

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Is ‘My Little Pony’ Setting A Bad Example For Children?

Jun 20, 13 Is ‘My Little Pony’ Setting A Bad Example For Children?

Posted by in Movies, Parenting, Television

On episode two of the Dadstractions podcast, I briefly discuss the upcoming “My Little Pony: Equestria Girls” movie that is creeping me coming out this summer. I question why they felt it was necessary to have the ponies turn into humans in an alternate universe and WHY THE HELL ARE THEY SO CREEPY!?! Seriously, look at this picture: Pinky Pie looks like a Grey! Well, The Daily News recently published an article where they asked “Gen-X” moms in New York City what they thought of the pony-to-human metamorphosis the girls go through in the upcoming film. Beside the ham-fisted dozen or so equestrian-related jokes throughout the article, The Daily News offered up the typical fair I’ve come to expect whenever any iconic female character goes through a re-imagining. Comparisons to Barbie, complaints of the ponies-turned-human looking anorexic, dressing in mini-skirts and hooker boots and setting a bad example for young girls everywhere all sound very similar to the complaints about other major iconic female characters that have undergone changes in recent years. The 2009 confusing change to Dora The Explorer and the Minnie Mouse super model makeover in 2012 both garnered similar outrage from the public. Is this really an issue? Do kids really try to model themselves after the cartoons they watch? Are they really trying to compare themselves to Dora, or Minnie, Barbie or Ponies? I grew up watching He-Man, G.I. Joe and Transformers and I never felt I needed to get all crazy muscular, run around shooting guns and, I don’t know… transform? There was that time the Decepticons got wasted on Energon though… These characters are the property of their owners and they will do with them as they wish. They’re nothing but a giant marketing ploy designed to sell toys to kids anyway. And, if your kids look up to these characters as role models, help your kids to know the difference between emulating the behavior these characters portray versus trying to model themselves after the characters’ clothing or physical appearance. I’m against the...

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Everybody Loves A Parade, Right?

Jun 18, 13 Everybody Loves A Parade, Right?

Posted by in Father's Day, Kids

Well, maybe some more than others. I’ve never really been a big parade person (or a circus person for that matter). There’s just something about standing around, sometimes for hours, just to see a few lame floats go by.  I could be spending that time doing something more impressive, like watching paint dry or grass grow. I don’t even attend St. Patrick’s Day parades, and there is usually a promise of inebriation after that parade! I grew up in a town that boasts the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country, and still I didn’t go. The only parade that I ever felt halfway paid off for waiting/anticipation vs. spectacle would be the Wald Disney Electric Light Parade in the Magic Kingdom, and even THAT wasn’t super impressive to me. Still, apparently, kids LOVE parades. There is a parade our town has every Father’s Day weekend. The Avon Heritage Duct Tape Parade and Festival – sponsored by Duck brand duct tape (yes, this is as odd as it sounds). I moved here about seven years ago and have yet to go to parade. My wife and the kids have been to it a few times but I always just waved goodbye to them as they left for the parade and relished the two or more hours I had to myself. But this year I turned over a new leaf and, in an attempt being more involved with my kids, I purposefully attended a parade. This was the tenth anniversary of the Duct Tape parade and the theme was “Decades of Duct Tape”. One would assume that to participate in a duct tape parade, one would have to have a float made of duct tape, or clothing made of duct tape… or maybe just carry a roll of duct tape, but one would be mistaken. True, most groups participating in the parade had floats or clothes decorated in duct tape, but there were more than a few that didn’t. Seriously, IF YOU ARE GOING...

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The Last Thing I Ever Said To My Father

Jun 15, 13 The Last Thing I Ever Said To My Father

Posted by in My Life, Parenting

With Father’s Day coming this Sunday I’ve been thinking about the relationship I had with my father, and how my kids will think back on the relationship they had with me. This was also part of the impetus behind my post on yelling. I don’t want the prominent memory of my kids’ childhood to be about how miserable they were because there was constant negativity and yelling going on in the house. Yes, yes, I know a lot of my recent posts have been “next time, on a very special episode…” type posts, but I’m really not that much of a downer – I swear. I’ve just been doing a lot of introspection lately; trying to get a better understanding of who I am as a man, a husband and a father. I had this post written for a few days and almost shelved it until my friend wrote a post about how the Saturday before Father’s Day should be “Bad Father’s Day“, for those people who survived living with Bad Dad’s and are trying to break the cycle. His post encouraged me to publish mine. My father was definitely not the best role model. He was, from what I’ve come to understand, a functioning alcoholic. In my teenage years, it was just my father and I in the house. My older brother had moved out and my younger brother lived with his mother (my ex-stepmother). There would be times where he would be gone for one or two days, or he would come home for a little while, we would grab dinner at McDonald’s or the local Mexican restaurant, and then he would go back out. There would be other times where he would come home drunk and talk to me for hours on end about nonsense. And then there were times when he would come home and yell at me for no reason and accuse me of being on drugs. If I did the slightest thing wrong it would lead to an...

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Found Around The House – Doughnuts With Dad

Jun 06, 13 Found Around The House – Doughnuts With Dad

Posted by in Found Around The House

So, as promised during the Muffins With Mom review, here is Chris’s Doughnuts With Dad write-up for his dear ol’ Dad.  You may have heard something about this already. So, I got to attend Doughnuts With Dad with Chris and we had a good time. We walked into school together and he showed me around. They had coffee and juice out for dads and kids and we sat down at his desk and had some doughnuts. The teacher showed a video and then read a book about a dad and his kid on a camping trip. Afterward, we got to make paper airplanes and fly them around outside. I enjoyed spending my time with Chris and I think he enjoyed having me visit his school and spending some time with him. Then he showed me what he had written for me… My dad’s name is: “Brian”  – Not “Hey” so that’s a start My dad’s favorite food is: “Chicken Wings” – I do love me some Buffalo Wings. +1 His favorite restaurant is: “KFC” – Never mind. -1 In his free time, my dad likes to: “Talk with my mom” – Kids DO say the darndest things! When I am at school, my dad is: “working” – Tru dat! My dad likes the color: “Blue” – Good going Chris! When he was my age, my Dad liked to: “Play with Legos” – Again, Chris seems to know me. Dad’s job is: “to be a dad” – Existentially, sure. He likes his job because: “He likes being a dad” – The pay could be better though… My dad’s favorite holiday is: “Christmas” – I would have also accepted “Halloween” He likes that holiday because: “he is off of work” – OK, well, I don’t get Halloween off, so kudos Chris! My dad likes it when I: “am creative” – I would have also accepted “quiet”. What my dad likes best about being a father is: “He can yell at me” – Um, wut?  His favorite sport...

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