Category Archives: Family Time

Raise your hand if you think child obesity is #kindofabigdeal

I work two jobs in two different schools every day. Monday through Friday. A junior high and a elementary school. September is “fight child obesity month” and everyday I see 7-year old children and 13-year old teens dealing with body sizes that are simply not healthy for them. Child obesity is not just kind of a big deal, it is probably the  issue that will keep this country from raising their health standards in the future.

But there are some simple ways to avoid and to get our kids back on track.And please, no excuses.

A quick google search brought me some cool ideas for exercises for kids of ANY age. Simple drills that can be made into fun challenges and games.

  • animal walking: pretend you’re in the jungle. Tell your kid you’re BOTH are going to pretend to be animals and you have to walk like them. Be creative. Lion, bear, snake, kangaroo, spider, tiger, elephant, giraffe, etc… all these animal types of walks (crawling, hopping, stretching…) can provide a simple, fun and efficient workout.
  • dancing hour: we do this one quite often here at home and it’s a blast. Some old school hip hop on the “gheto blaster” and Lucas all of a sudden becomes a breakdancer. Country music, rock and roll, classical… mix it up and have your child try different styles of dancing. It’s not only fun but it’s also a way to bring music in their lives.
  • sports: a game of catch, kicking the soccer ball around, shooting some hoops. Take your child to a park and enjoy some dad and son (or dad and daughter) time playing their favorite sport. If they don’t have a favorite sport yet maybe it’s a good time to introduce them to different ones. Try one each day and see what they like. But don’t force them to perform like super athletes. It’s more about getting them moving and having a good time.
  • the playground: there are some good parks all over the country. It’s really cool to see your child interact with other children and run around, jump over stuff, climb. Don’t be afraid to see them take a few tumbles, just make sure they’re relatively safe and let them enjoy.

I mean, there are a lot of options to get them off the TV or the video-games. Even those can provide some help. Today there are TV shows and some video-games that either motivate our children to exercise or actually make them do it. For the little ones you can try Yo-Gabba-Gabba. A TV shows that gets them off the couch and tells them to dance and get their wiggles out. And the Wii was a pioneer of interactive games and went even father by creating the Wii Fit. But now there are also other options out there.

Whatever you choose to do just keep this in mind: active kids make healthy adults.

Have a wonderful weekend,

~Gil

What about turning the TV and the video-game off for 45 minutes and playing outside

Do you still remember your kid’s first birthday? #nowordsneeded

Somebody is not too happy (thank god it's not Lucas)

 

Here comes the cake

 

Sugar stoned!

 

Happiness is made of great single moments

The 10 Best Songs About Dads (via The Rolling Stone) #songsaboutdads

I have to be very honest with you guys… I’m exhausted. It’s Tuesday night and I’m trying to get my brain to work and come up with a cool and creative idea for a blog post and nothing. AAAARRRGGGHHHH… This whole thing about going from no regular job in two years to 10 hours working with children in two different jobs all of a sudden makes me very happy and extremely tired.

The day was really rough today and I decided to go for an easy way out and guide you guys to a cool top 10 list published at the Rolling Stone site a couple of months ago. It’s a Top 10 Songs About Dads list celebrating this year’s father’s day. If you saw it already I’ll let you just stop reading now and I’ll try my best to come up with a real post for Friday, but you haven’t seen the list it’s worth checking it out.

There are some classics from Eric Clapton (who actually appears twice on the list), Bruce Springsteen, Cat Stevens and John Lennon among others. You should also read the comments on the article because as most top 10 ten lists, readers disagreed with the selection and added their own choices in the comments section. Check it out for yourself here: Rolling Stone Top 10 Songs About Dads.

Cheers,

~Gil

Cooking is easy and it helps your kids eat better

Some of know you may have noticed that I frequently post recipes here. My wife thinks I’m a good cook and so far Lucas hasn’t really complained about the taste of anything I served him. Cooking is easy and fun. It might have been harder in the past when some of the best recipes were passed from mothers to daughters by word of mouth or written in old secret notebooks. Nowadays it takes about 30 seconds of a simple Google search to find out the ingredients and the preparation of that grandma style meatloaf you loved so much.

What I’ve heard from some of my fellow dads is that they don’t cook because they don’t have time. I can’t argue with that. It does take some time to look up a recipe, get the ingredients together, prep them and them cook the dish. I’d say the total time to cook a good dinner for three takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour if you already have all the ingredients you need. However it’s not a waste of time. You’ll be doing something to your family, something to put a smile on their faces and if your kids are old enough you can get them involved in the process and that is a great opportunity for bonding.

If time is reeeeealy a big issue maybe you could choose one day of the week to be “dad’s cooking day”. Pick a day that you’re lees stressed, you can also ask the family to choose from  pre-determined menu options the day before so that you have time to check the recipe and if you have everything you need.

I also suggest you to be creative. Pizza, burgers, hot dogs, fries,… yes, these are all kids’ favorites but why not introduce new flavors, colors and give your family some healthier and tastier. I suggest visiting AllRecipes.comif you want to find some easy recipes. I find a

Lucas's lunch = Gil's lunch: if you eat they'll eat it too.

lot of stuff there.

Once you feel comfortable in the kitchen it’s time to think outside the box. Add or change the ingredients of a recipe to make it healthier or even tastier. Replacing sugar for stevia in a cupcake or muffin recipe, for example, won’t change the flavor but it will substantially drop the amount of calories.

We all want our kids to grow healthy and strong and food play a huge role in doing that. It truly saddens me when I see an obese family eating at a fast food place. I have nothing to do with anybody’s lives or decisions but I can’t help thinking that those parents are showing their kids that eating junk food is normal even if it makes them sick. Well let me stop here before I get too worked up.

People like to say that their kids are picky eaters and that no matter what they do they can’t get them to eat veggies, or fruits, or this or that. I’ll tell you this: if you cook flavorful food they will eat. Don’t just steam some broccoli and give it plain to a child. A little bit of soy sauce makes a lot of difference.

This is something you can start doing as soon as they start eating solids but if you already have a picky eater in your house what you can do is work together on a list of foods (fruits, vegetables, meats, carbs, juices, etc…) that they would like to add to their menu. Give them options but tell them that they have to come up with a certain number of vegetables and fruits that they like and in different colors as well.

I know this might be a tough task (not to say annoying at times) but it will bring joy to you and your family in the end.

Cheers,

 

Gil

(PS.: I just got a new job after more than 2 years of unemployment and sub-jobs and intense fruitless searching. I’ll start tomorrow from 7:45am to 2:00pm as an Instructional Aide for emotionally disturbed children.  Not the easiest jobs on the planet but it’s fit for me. I’m looking forward to making a difference in those kids lives. The blog will continue but the posts might be up later in the day from now on. Thank you)

 

 

Great movies about Dads, Super Dads, and their kids

Watching movies with your kids can become memorable experiences. I already a few ones – some awesome, some not so much. But even when I took Lucas to the movies to watch Kung Fu Panda 2 and within 30 minutes he was restless and freaking out to leave the theater I could later say that he enjoyed it and that’s what matters.

Here’s a list of movies worthwhile sharing with your kids. This is not a ranking and not all the movies are appropriate for all kids. It’s up to you to decide which ones will be enjoyable and suitable for you and your little (or not so little) ones. Get the popcorn ready.

The Incredibles (2004)

The Incredibles (2004)

Directed by Brad Bird

Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter

I constantly say here that being a Super Dad is not easy. I myself fail in being one many times. I just believe that the secret is that you should try to excel as a dad all the time knowing that you will slip once in a while. The Incredibles is a great kid’s movie about the struggles of raising a family when you’re a superhero. Perfect for Super Dads.

Liar, Liar (1997)

Liar, Liar (1997)

Directed by Tom Shadyak

Starring: Jim Carey

Children lie, adults lie too. But this movie shows how disastrous the effects of frequently lying to our children can be. Not that we have to perfect and blatantly honest 100% of the time but it’s just that using lies just to make our life easier and avoid commitments will only pile up frustrations for an eminent and bigger problem down the road.

Frquency (2000)

Frequency (2000)

Directed by Gregory Holbilt

Starring: Dennis Quaid, James Caviezel

This is one of the two movies of this list that I haven’t watched yet. I read great things about it and the trailer shows a very interesting plot. It’s basically a thriller movie (mixed with some sci-fi and time travel) about a son that, while messing around with a ham radio, gets connected with his dad who died 30 years earlier. It has great reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

Daddy Day Care (2003)

Daddy Day Care (2003)

Directed by Steve Carr

Starring: Eddie Murphy

I haven’t seen this one yet either. Seems like one of those silly, popcorn comedies that your 7-year old would laugh his/her pants off watching it. It might be worthy just as a reason to spend some quality time with your kids and laugh together about a father trying to run a day care.

Finding Nemo (2003)

Finding Nemo (2003)

Directed by Andrew Stanton

Starring: Albert Brooks
Marlin, the clownfish who can’t tell a joke, is perhaps the greatest example of the overprotective father who has to recognize that maybe he’s projecting his own weaknesses onto his son; and that he has to let Nemo attempt something that he, Nemo, might fail at, if Nemo’s ever going to succeed at anything. This lesson is of course learned over the length of an extremely hazardous journey as Marlin displays his absolute dedication, to the point of self-sacrifice, to saving his only child. Very powerful message for an animation and Dori the blue fish will make you laugh for sure.

Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Directed by Gabriele Muccino

Starring: Will Smith

The best movie about a father and son and about the perseverance of the human spirit ever made. This is based on the true story of Chris Gardner who went from rags to riches to make a life for his son. I have to say that just remembering this movie brings tears to my eyes. I would love to see every father having the same unconditional love for their kids.

HONORABLE MENTION

Modern Family (TV Series-ABC)

Modern Family  (TV Series / 2009-present)

Created by: Christopher Lloyd, Steven Levitan

Modern Family features not one, but four different dads, each heading their own family — with varying degrees of success. Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell), Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill), Cam Tucker (Eric Stonestreet) Mitchell Pritchett (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) all struggle with their own relationship problems, and each other. From an intense fear of birds to an overwhelmingly competitive spirit, no father is perfect, but they all share a desire to navigate their loved ones down the correct path. Strangely, they all suffer from recurring flashbacks as well. What’s really cool about Modern Family is that you have dads of different ages, lifestyles and backgrounds and also five different kids spread through the three households: babies, pre-teens, teenagers… they have it all.

Wanna add a movie to the list? Leave your suggestions in the comments section bellow or send an email to superdad247@gmail.com.

Cheers,

~Gil