Hands on with Master Shave

Wow, it has been a while since I last posted. So, here it goes.

It is getting awfully close to Father’s Day and Graduations so I thought I would give you all some ideas for the guy in your life who has everything accept an impeccably shaved face. MS-0624X5_edit2

I recently received a starter set from Master Shave and was highly impressed. It is similar to other subscription services where you get a starter kit of a handle and some blades and then every month you get sent  4 more. The handle is light and comfortable, the blades cut well, even on my sensitive skin. It is also similar in price to the other companies out there.

The thing that sets Master Shave apart is the fact that they have teamed up with Medical Research Charities. A portion of each purchase goes to Medical Research Charities and the 30 or so charities they support. Charities such as The Jimmy V Foundation and the Leukemia Research Foundation. bathroom_razor_slide

So get off your butt, order a starter set for your loved one and help some great charities.

Go to Master Shave to order and Medical Research Charities to check out the charities they are involved with.

*As part of this post I received a free starter set from Master Shave.

10 Years! 10 Things I Have Learned from Being Married

Ten years ago today I found myself standing in front of a church full of people staring down the aisle at the woman who was to soon become my wife. I remember looking at her and laughing to myself (mostly to keep myself from crying like a baby) and thinking I am not good enough for her. Honestly, there are many days now that I still think that. But, here I am ten years later and she still loves me, still puts up with my quirks, and broken parts.

Our Wedding

So, as I start my eleventh year with her as my wife, I have been thinking about what being married has taught me. These are the ten things I have learned (in no particular order) from being married to this amazing woman.

1. Marriage is Hard Work

Being married is hard work. It’s more then a career, it is your life. To get the most out of it, you need to put work into it. You really do get out of it as much as you put into it. If you put nothing into it, you will get nothing out of it. If you work and cultivate your marriage, you will grow it into something you never thought you could.

2. You Lose a Part of Who You Are

Which isn’t always a bad thing. You lose part of who you were, but you become something so much more. I can honestly say, I lost some of my worst traits and am a better person because of my wife.

3. You Have a Built in Best Friend

This is the best part about being married. I don’t have to go very far to find the person I can share my problems with, to joke with, to wish with. It is amazing and you can’t beat it.

4. You Don’t Need to Spend a Lot of Money to Show Someone You Love Them

I often make the mistake of thinking I need to spend money to show my love. However, you don’t. It is the small things every day that show it (like making my wife’s lunch for her every day). It is the little surprises here or there. The little note left in her car, the mention of something that reminds you of her, the random text that says I miss seeing you. These all show your love and don’t cost a thing.

5. You Need Time For Your Own Interests

While it is great to have interests together, it is also essential to have your own. You do need some time away. To me that is the weekly game of Ultimate Frisbee. Don’t worry, your significant other will still be there when you get back.

6. Sex is Essential to a Happy Marriage

It is. Do I need to say more? Okay, I will. While life often gets in the way of this, you need to make time for it. Sure snuggling is fine on the couch, but you need this intimacy to reconnect with your spouse. But, it isn’t just the sex. It is the flirting, the playfulness that helps you connect. Enjoy it. Enjoy it often.

7. Listening is More Important Than You Ever Thought It Could Be

Communication is key here. You can’t communicate if you don’t listen. This doesn’t mean thinking about the next thing you are going to say. It means actively listening to what the other person is saying. Some silence is okay in any good conversation to digest what was said before you speak. I had a great teacher who taught me this back in high school and I still use it to this day. Remember, what your partner says is important so pay attention to it.

8. Date Nights Are Important

Time away from the kids, the home, the job. It is important. Have fun, do something. We are lucky enough to have grandma to watch the kids so that we can have a date night every week. I couldn’t stress how much it is needed. You don’t have to do it every week, but do it. And it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Often times we will just go for walks and come home and watch a movie on the couch without interruption. That is often all you need.

9. Don’t Sweat the Small Things

There are so many small things that are meaningless. Don’t worry about them. Shrug it off and move on. It is stress that you don’t need and it just builds. Trust me you have so many more big things to worry about that the small things should filter through.

10. Don’t Go to Bed Mad…

Or to work, or anywhere. Apologize (even if you don’t mean it). Often you need to lose the battle to win the war. And the war here, is a happy marriage. Get over yourself, and truly think about the situation. Is it worth your partner going through the entire day mad? Is it worth tossing and turning all night over? Not usually. If you start it, finish it, but finish it with a hug and a kiss.

Here’s to my beautiful wife Alicia. Thank you for choosing me and giving me the life we have. I could not do any of this without you. You are truly the most amazing person I have ever met.

us 2

The Solitude of Being a Stay-At-Home Dad



My Fortress of Solitude is a two-story home on a dead end street. Sorry, “no outlet” street for the pc police. I enjoy my children. I enjoy what I do as a stay-at-home dad. I enjoy being able to get things (not everything, but some things) done around the house during the week so that the weekends can be enjoyed with my family instead of spending them cleaning, organizing, fixing. Although big projects are usually saved for the weekends so I have an extra set of hands and eyes for in case I truly mess up.

Play Ground FunI also get to enjoy play video games with my oldest, help my youngest with his alphabet. I get to bring them to the play ground to play (during the week while other dads are working). I get to go on field trips with my kids. I get to take part in class activities. Best of all I actually get to laugh, play, bond and watch and help them grow into the little men they are becoming. I do not have to let someone else raise them while I work a job I do not enjoy. Being a dad is the greatest job in the world. Luckily, that will never change, because I will always be their dad.

Often times, dads are on the sideline as mom does the majority of the work with the house and the kids. They have a back seat role in parenting. As a stay-at-home dad, I have the wheel most of the time. Although, I will admit that there are times when I need to let my wife into the driver seat because there are things that mommy just does better. Let’s just admit it, moms and dads parent different.

FieldtripThe thing is not that we as dads parent different; it’s that being a stay-at-home parent can be a solitary endeavor. As an introvert it only makes it that much more difficult when you do want the social interaction. I am sure that being a stay-home-mom can be solitary as well, but a search of my local meet-up groups shows numerous ones geared toward moms, one geared toward parents, and none for dads only. Here’s the thing, dads parent different, so I want to get together with other dads who stay home and do the majority of the care-giving to their families. I want to hear about their achievements, their failures, their fears. As a dad, I want to feel like I belong. I do not need a fortress of solitude, I need a League of Extraordinary Gentleman.

Fortunately, there is that. It is called National At-Home Dad Network and there are many great dads who are members. Every year they have a convention and a bunch of dads get together, bond, learn, laugh and find out that they are not alone. I have never been. This year is their 20th convention. Yes, Twenty Years! I would like to go. However, because I am a stay-at-home, it means we are mostly a single income family. I do work 2 days a week. So, money is a major concern when it comes to that. Every year, these great guys give out scholarships for dads in need to help cover the cost of entrance into the convention. I have applied for that. But that also leaves the cost of travel, hotel, and food for the time I am there. Which is why I set up a gofundme page. I am looking to break out of my fortress of solitude, connect with other dads, share, and learn a thing or fifty. Please help me get there.

I am a good dad. I want to be a great dad. The best way to get better is to learn from others what works, and what doesn’t. It also helps to teach others. I did not have anyone to learn from growing up. I get better every day because being a parent is learned on the job. There is no manual. I just hope that when my kids look back at their life they think great things of the time they got to spend with their dad as they were growing up.

Being a Parent is Like Being a Homeowner

I love being a parent more then anything in the world. I hate being a homeowner more then anything in the world. Are you are really confused now? So, “how is being a parent like being a home owner?” you are asking yourself. Ah, more then you know young padawan, more then you know.

fatherhoodWhen I first became a dad, like all of you dads (and moms), I had no idea how to be a dad because I have never been a dad. I have never held a baby as I was scared of dropping it or even worse, making it cry! Which I guess would come with dropping it as well. What I am trying to say is, I really didn’t know anything about caring for a little person. I didn’t know how to change it, clean it, make sure it was safe and healthy, and how to make sure it stayed that way.

The WallWhen I first became a homeowner I had no idea how to be a homeowner. I have always lived somewhere where someone else took care of the property. Growing up I mowed the lawn and things like that, but I have never really worked with my hands and built anything. I never worked on cars, power tools or anything that needs maintenance.

The finished wallSo I came into both with the same amount of knowledge. None. Zip. Zero. Being a parent is like being a homeowner because you learn as you go. With my two boys I am learning every day what it means to be a dad and how to care for them. It felt natural to hold “A” for the first time. I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t worried. Changing that first diaper and all the ones after that wasn’t a challenge. Don’t get me wrong. There are lots of challenges. I don’t always know the right ways to do things. I do make many mistakes. Figuring out what to make a very picky eater every day is a challenge. Figuring out how to keep a four year old entertained when he always wants to be doing something, is a challenge.

It is the same with owning a home. Mowing the lawn is easy. Cleaning the bathrooms is easy. Vacuuming and doing laundry  is easy. Fixing things and building things when you have never done so, is challenging. Putting in new light fixtures, and changing outlets, is difficult. Building a new coat rack is difficult.

But, above all else you have to be willing to give up things to be a parent or a homeowner. I don’t remember the last time I bought something for myself just because. But if the boys ask for something or need something I will go out of my way to figure out how to get it for them. If the house needs a new bath tub because there is a crack in the 6 year old one I have, I will give up my savings to fix it.  Kids and house come before my needs and wants.

So, hold on tight, they are both going to take everything you have, but they are both worth it. I wouldn’t change either for anything. Oh, and remember, they both cost you a lot. Always more then you think. But both are worth everything you put into them.The Joys

Let Us Not Forget

Let us not forget why we are parents and why we love being parents so much. I have found myself more times then I care to admit, lately, frustrated and short on patience. I get frustrated with the kids, I get frustrated with the wife and I get frustrated with myself.

Aiden2So I sit here and think “why did I become a dad again”? That is when something truly amazing happens. The universe steps in (or in this case “A”) and reminds me why I love my job of being a dad more than anything in the world. In this case, it is a lost tooth (the third in as many weeks), and a goofy smile that reminds me why I love this kid, why I love his brother, and why I love being a dad.

It is the simple things, like a goofy smile that reminds me why my life is truly great and why I wouldn’t change it for anything. I may not have a lot of money (one of the disadvantages of being the primary caregiver). But what I lack in money I make up for in love, experiences, and memories.

So why am I a dad again? This is why…Aiden

Why do you love being a parent? I would love to hear your thoughts.

The Field Trip

FieldtripMy youngest, who is in Pre-K had his first fieldtrip a few weeks back. I am lucky enough because I get to go on these field trips with him. One of the perks of being a Stay-at-home dad. One of his classmates parents owns a farm so the kids got to visit the farm and see cows, pigs, chickens, go on a hay ride, and all the kids got to pick out a pumpkin.

Fieldtrip 2The thing that stuck out to me most was the amount of dads who chaperoned the fieldtrip. I would say almost half the adults there were of the dad or grand-dad persuasion. I am so happy to see so many dads, especially working dads involved in their children’s lives.

It got me thinking because I drop off and pick up my kids everyday at school. I am at the building three times every day. I have been looking around, and I am not the anomaly there. There are lots of dads picking up and dropping their kids off. Lots of hugs, and kisses. Lots of comforting. Lots of dads not being the typical macho guy who doesn’t do anything besides earn for the family.

But, yesterday, I heard two moms talking and laughing at their husbands expense. I had to do everything to hold my tongue as they bashed their husbands about everything they do around the house and how they can’t seem to figure out how to do things the way that they (the women) like it done. Just because it isn’t your way doesn’t mean it is wrong. My wife and I do things much different around the house. But yet, here I am the primary caregiver of my children and not one kid has been scarred for life under my watch and I am sure not one of their children or households has been seriously injured under their husbands either.

I remember when I was in school, not many dads were involved in anything besides attending their son’s athletics. It is great to see how some things change, but it is obvious that there are still so many things that need to change, even just in that perception of what it means to be a dad.

Brothers; Why Having a Brother Rules

BrothersAs a kid, I never really thought about what having a brother meant. My relationships with my brothers were (and still are) strained for various reasons. Partly due to distance, age difference growing up, and resentment. There isn’t really anything I can do to fix these situations as I have tried and failed…miserably.

But now that I am going through my adventures in daddyhood I look at my two boys and think about what it means to have a brother and how awesome it truly is.

These are my 4 Reasons Why Having a Brother Rules! (in no particular order)

1. Built in playmate. When you have a brother, you always have someone to play with. No single player mode for you. He is always there to help you take on the bad guys so you don’t have to go it alone. He always has your back in that first person shooter. He is there to play action figures, build empires out of bricks, cushions and whatever else you can  think of. He is there to fight zombies in the back yard with you. He is always there.

2. Teacher/Student. Ever get in trouble as the first child? Ever get away with it as a second child? As a first child you often got caught doing things the second always seems to get away with. Why? Because as the first child you have become the sensei and have (unfortunately) learned all the ways to get caught. You have passed that knowledge onto your younger brother and he is now a ninja warrior. Cunning, sneaky, able to get away with things you could have only dreamed of. Thanks big brother for taking one for the team.

3. Built in Best Friend. When you are younger, you will probably not realize it, however, as you get older you will. Know one can know you as well as your brother. You get in trouble together, you play together, you argue, laugh, fight. He is someone you can and should share all of your joy and pain with. Because he has grown up knowing who you are and no one can understand you and what you go through like your brother. So enjoy it.State Fair

4. Built in Mortal Enemy. With a brother, you also have your biggest enemy. He competes with you in everything. He is the competition in sports, video games., board games, attention from your parents, attention from girls. You will learn the art of self defense from your bother. As the younger brother you will learn the art of taking a serious beating at the hands of a larger opponent. You will take this beating and keep on coming back for more. As the older brother you will learn speed and dodging are your friend as as your younger brother has learned the art of the projectile to keep you at bay.

So enjoy having a brother. He is everything you need all rolled up in one. So go out enjoy life together.Playing

Apple Pie Oatmeal

Apple Pie Oatmeal

Apple Pie Oatmeal

Since I have decided to get in better shape, part of it has been eating (a little bit) better. Also, because I run in the morning I am almost always starving after, so I knew I needed a good hardy breakfast. Because I am not a chef and do not claim to be one on t.v. I am fairly limited on what I make and what I make well. But beyond that, I am not one who likes to follow recipes. This makes it challenging to cook well sometimes, especially when I was brought up with a grandmother who’s philosophy on cooking was 2 fold. First, if it comes in a can or a box and can be cooked quickly it is great. Second, overcook everything! Needless to say, this made for some rather, lets just say, bad results for an extremely picky eater (me).

20140914_170240_HDRSo, while I have been trying to eat well and also get rid of the plethora of apples in our house Pinterest has become my go to site. I knew what I wanted to do, but I couldn’t find one recipe that I liked all of for the Apple Pie Oatmeal. So, I closed down Pinterest, remembering bits and pieces of what I saw and decided to make up my own recipe. Now, I will unleash it on you guys. Now, don’t worry, this will turn out amazing, and it actually isn’t too much work.


Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours on low, 6-8 hours on high

Servings: A Lot!


5-6 Large Apples (Pealed if you like)
3 Tbs Cinnamon (or to taste)
1/2 Tbs Ground Nutmeg
1 Tbs white Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Cups Steal Cut Oats
2 Cups Milk (I use 2%)
2 Eggs (Optional)
! cup Water


Wisk milk, eggs, and water in a large bowl until frothy (is that even a word?). Peal apples and cut into large chunks. I pealed half the apples and left half the apples with the peal on. Coat the inside of the slow cooker liberally with cooking spray. Layer the first 6 ingredients in the order listed. Pour the milk and egg mixture over the top to make it all nice and gooey. Turn the slow cooker on low before bed and when you wake up you will have a gooey, yummy, caramelized treat.


The reason why I layered it is to get the apples all nice and crispy and caramelized. So, if you do it this way, resist the urge to stir. I repeat, RESIST THE URGE TO STIR! If you like your apples a little softer and less sweet put all the ingredients into a bowl and pour the milk and egg mixture over the top and stir thoroughly to coat everything before adding to the crockpot. You can stir away until your hearts content then. This will keep in your refrigerator for up to 5 days. I like to heat mine up in the microwave with milk and frozen blueberries then add some sliced banana. Mmmm Good.

So try the recipe and please, tell me what you think. This is my first go at this and your feedback would be appreciated. If you load me up with your comments I will load you up with more recipes.

Apple Pie Oatmeal

Apple Pie Oatmeal


No More Weekend Reviews.

So, I am going to hold off on Weekend reviews until I have some new things for the boys or I to talk about. I think I am going to change up the format too to make it a little more entertaining on my limited knowledge and budget.

I am also going to take the time I would normally take to write the weekend reviews and put it toward writing better content for the site. So if any of you have ideas or things you want to know, just leave a comment. I love to read them (the few that I get).

So look for more posts, more often on the site.

Why Fall is the Best Time of Year

Autumn20140914_125814The best thing about living in New York State (yes New York is a whole state and not just a city) is that we get to experience four uniquely different seasons. Mother Nature must really like us to because we don’t have any real bad weather or natural events(aside from the occasional big snow storm) to worry about. We don’t have major earthquakes, tornados or hurricanes to worry about. We only have to worry about people who don’t know how to drive in snow.

But, to me, the best time of year is Fall. Fall wasn’t always my favorite. Obviously, as a kid I loved summer. But now that I am older and wiser (yeah right), I know that fall is the best time of year. So much happens in the fall (or near fall) that I enjoy so much.

First Day of School

First Day of School

The first thing that happens is my kids go to school. I know, technically it is still summer when they start, but to me, it is the beginning of fall. I love having my kids around, and I do miss them when they aren’t at home, but that 3 hours when they are both not here, makes it possible to get so much done around the house.

I also love the look and smell of fall. I love the color changes that you don’t get in the southern part of the country. I love the fall leaves while they are on the trees. Although, I do loath them when they are on the ground and I have to rake them for what seems to be eternity. I love the cool, crisp air. The fact that you can layer your clothes so that you are warm on the cool morning and then peal off layers as the day warms up.

But the thing that has really grown on me over the years, and especially now that I am attempting to garden, is that it is harvest season. I love the fact that all these great foods are being picked fresh and you can get so much good local fruits and vegetables. The best part is going to the orchard and picking apples with the family. We all enjoy it so much and have a ball going through the orchard picking all the different varieties of apples. The boys love finding the biggest, brightest apples they can find. They love running up and down the rows and rows of trees. I love the fact that I can get so much for so little. I am sure we will go back again and get more.

Apples from the Orchard

Apples from the Orchard

There is so much that can be made with them and I am just starting to scratch the surface of what I am able to make. I have made, Apple Pie Oatmeal, Apple Salsa, BBQ Chicken with Apples, BBQ Chicken, Apple, and Tomato Pizza, and Apple & Blueberry Butter. I also frozen some that I chopped and coated with Cinnamon and Sugar so that I can make a pie or apple sauce quickly. All this has been done and I still have a ton on the counter waiting to be used. What else will I make? Who knows. I am still learning as I go here.