Weekend Review June 30, 2014

Utility Belt

The LEGO (R) Moviethe-lego-movie-title-banner

We had our first movie night of the summer on Friday night and invited some friends and families over to have dinner and watch it outside on our movie screen (I will be doing a three part review on our set-up over the next few weeks). But first lets talk about the most important part. THE MOVIE!

Description

I am a LEGO (R) nerd, so I had been waiting for this movie for a long time. The movie is the first LEGO (R) movie to be in theatres. Now, it is out for home viewing as well. The story follows our hero (Emmet) who is just an ordinary LEGO (R) citizen (living an ordinary LEGO (R) citizen life) but is mistaken for someone much more remarkable who is supposed to save the world from the evil Lord Business. He is recruited by a group of “Master Builders” and the antics that follow due to him being extraordinarily ill-prepared is hilarious for both kids and adults.

The movie is filled with lots of humor some inside LEGO (R) jokes and info, such as the parts numbers that are present on every LEGO (R) set when the characters build something amazing, or in Emmet’s case, not so amazing. I won’t ruin the story-line for you by going into too much detail.

 Verdict

The movie has a great story line, is fun, entertaining, and won’t be easily dated so it will be fun for years to come. So, do yourself and your family a favor and at least rent the movie, but I suggest that you dish out the extra money and add it to your collection of family movies.

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Foto Fridays

Foto FridayI am sad. Truly sad. I am going to put Foto Friday back into the utility belt for the time being. I was hoping that it would generate some involvement in the site, but it hasn’t. I understand that everyone is out raising “Super Kids” so will not send out the search parties. But for now I will wait. Wait for my readership to increase and interaction to start. Once it does, I will bring it back. So for now, I say goodbye Foto Friday. You were a great friend.

Summer Vacation

Super Adventures

Best Friends

Best Friends

When I was a kid I lived in a neighborhood with lots of kids on our street and a public golf course as our back yards. I loved summer vacation as a kid. We would stay all get together and play with GI Joes, Transformers, and Matchbox cars. We would build blanket forts. Best of all we would play outside. We would play hide-and-seek, tag, monkey-on-the-middle, ride bikes, and run through the sprinklers on the golf course (between dodging golfers). We would stay outside all day until dinner time, then meet back up afterwards for more fun, until it got too dark to see. We didn’t have a worry in the world. Neither did our parents. (but that is for another time).

As I watch my kids playing video games on my phone while sitting on the porch, I hope for them to have that too. I want them to have friends that will come over and jump on our trampoline, play on our play set, play tag, other games that we invented, play make believe…just play…outside. A child’s imagination is truly amazing to watch in action and I don’t want them to be crippled by the technology that we use so prevalently as parents and society. I want them to be able to have fun with what is around them. I want them to be able to figure out something to do when the power goes out. I want them to just be kids for as long as possible.

So lets get out there, have some fun and show our kids how to be kids. After all, children learn by example.

 

Weekend Review June 23, 2014

Utility Belt

I have been concentrating on adult stuff for a while so after this, I hope to do some more reviews on some kid and family related review. But this one is all about a nice treat for the super parents since we do need to treat ourselves every once in a while.

Talenti Gelato

talenti.com

talenti.com

I bought a pint of this gelato for dessert for the anniversary dinner I made for my wife and I a couple weeks ago. Now, talenti has a ton of flavors of gelato and sorbet, but I went with a pint of the Sea Salt Caramel.

Description

Gelato is basically ice cream made in the traditional Italian style (according to wikipidia). The three differences between the two are fat, air, and temperature. Ice cream is made with cream and has to have a certain amount of butterfat. Gelato on the other hand is made mostly with milk. Also the amount of air makes the texture of gelato a lot thicker and heavier. This means it takes longer to melt. Great on those hot summer days.

I found that the talenti Sea Salt Caramel Gelato was absolutely delicious. it was smooth and creamy with little chunks of “chocolate covered sea salt caramel truffles”. They don’t skimp on the amount they put in either as I got at least one with every amazing spoonful. The gelato is truly magnificent. The mix of the Fleur De Sel sea salt and the Argentine caramel is divine. While we could have eaten the pint in one sitting, we didn’t.

Ingredients from talenti.com

Ingredients from talenti.com

The thing I liked most though, I didn’t notice until I was looking at the empty container.There are only fourteen ingredients, all of which I can pronounce. Also great is that it is vegetarian, gluten free, HFCS free, hormone free, and kosher!

The only thing I can say negative about it is that costs about $4.50 per pint. A little pricey for me.

Pros (+)

+ Delicious
+ 14 ingredients that I can pronounce

Cons (-)

– Price (~$4.50)

Verdict

The saying on the container is “better ingredients make happy spoons” and I would agree with that and add that it also makes for happy mouths too. I love this gelato and would buy it again in a heart beat. You should too.

Foto Friday 6/20/14

Wild Beasts

Well, nobody sent in any pictures this week so  I am crying a little bit inside. I was looking forward to seeing a lot of funny faces to make me laugh, but I will just be left with my tears. But I digress, so onto the good stuff.

This weeks challenge is: Wild Beasts

Remember, I sent  a tweet out on Twitter (@4daddyhood) and posted on Facebook (facebook.com/adventuresindaddyhood) the weekly photo chanllenge. So make sure you follow me, or else!

Tag me on Facebook and Twitter (make sure to use #fotofriday) or email me your photos with that weeks family related theme. Make them entertaining, because my family will pick some of our favorites to put up on next weeks Foto Friday.

 

Being Dad

With Great PowerWith Father’s Day being just the past weekend it got me thinking of what it means to be a dad. Having been raised by a single mother my entire life we never really celebrated Father’s Day, so I never really thought about what a dad was until I became one.

Happy Dad

Happy Dad

To me there is a difference between being a father and being a dad. A father is just someone who helped make a baby but had no real input on the child’s life. A dad doesn’t have to be the one who helped create you. He is someone who raises you, loves you, is there for the important moments of life. There are father’s who are still in a child’s life that I wouldn’t consider a dad as they don’t participate.

A dad is someone who comes to the hospital everyday and rocks you in a chair because you can’t yet come home. A dad is someone who plays all the silly games you want to play. A dad is someone who watches you get on the school bus for the first time and holds back the tears because he doesn’t remember when you got so big and smart. A dad worries about the day you realize that people can be cruel and hurtful and hopes that day is far down the road.

A tough start

A tough start

A dad gives you advice on what it means to be a man. A dad gives you advice whether you want it or not. A dad will give up his favorite things so that you can have yours. A dad will sit through plays and recitals and concerts because you work so hard. A dad will teach you to drive a stick (probably before you are old enough to do so legally). A dad will sit with you when your first girlfriend dumps you. A dad will embarrass you (a lot). A dad will give you a lot of advice. A dad is wrong (a lot). A dad is right (a lot). A dad will lose is temper (a lot). A dad will worry about everything he does (a lot). A dad will worry about everything you do (a lot). A dad will hurt your feelings (sometimes). A dad will always think of you as his baby no matter how old you get.

Most importantly a dad will love you no matter what you do (always).

Weekend Review June 16, 2014

Utility Belt

Since I recently wrote about the Fitbit Flex. I figured waiting to write about the Aria now would be more beneficial for you.

The Fitbit Aria Scale

Amazon.com

Amazon.com

We got the Fitbit Aria soon after we got the FItbit Flex to help us track more info. Our scale was old, not very accurate and we had to put our weight in manually whenever we weighed ourselves. Also, our old scale didn’t measure body fat percentage or body mass index (BMI). The Aria does all this easily.

Description

The Aria comes in two different colors. You can get a black or a white one (we went with black). It is modern and sleek. I really like the way that it looks. It has rechargeable batteries which last a very long time. It is wifi ready and sets up just as easy as the Fitbit Flex. All this comes with a price though. $130.00 to be exact.

Amazon.com

Amazon.com

Like I said. Set up was very easy and it syncs with your account quickly. I did however have to redo my wife’s account to get it to sync properly when she weighed herself (it kept showing her as a guest). I just had to go into the dashboard on the computer and change the weights from guest to her name and from that point on there were no issues.

The Aria works like any other scale that tracks body fat or BMI. You step on it in your bare feet weight a few seconds and it shows you your weight and body fat percentage. It then works as it uploads automatically to your account via the built in wifi. You can then view graphs and charts to check your progress on your dashboard on your computer or smart phone app. The best thing about this is that the weights are password protected so you can show as much or as little info as you want to others who use the scale with you. For instance. I can check into my dashboard and see my weights and all the weights of any guest who weighs themselves on our scale. However, I cannot see my wife’s and she cannot see mine as we do not share the info with each other. Great for privacy. Bad for snooping on others progress (like I try to do–sorry wife).

And that’s it. After all it is a scale. Not much to it. Step on, weigh yourself, step off, check stats, cry to yourself.

Pros (+)

+ Quick Easy Setup
+ Really long battery life
+ Wifi transmitting of data to your Fitbit account
+ Tracks weight, body fat percentage and BMI
+ Password protected for privacy from other users.

Cons (-)

– Price ($130.00)
– Setting up two accounts took a little ingenuity
– The glass surface does get dirty very easy.

Verdict

I find the Aria a little pricey for what it is. I would rather have a scale that did all the same measurements without the wifi connectivity and connections to your Fitbit account. I can take a little time to upload the info myself. I also don’t like the fact that it gets dirty so easily. If I had it to do over again, I probably would have saved some money on the Aria and gotten a cheaper scale and some new bands for the Fitbit Flex. I say skip the Aria unless the price drops a little bit.

Foto Friday

Funny Face

Funny Face

This blog isn’t just about me and my family. I hope that it becomes more and more about yours as well. So to get you all more involved I decided to start something new.

Welcome to our first Foto Friday. Each Friday, I will send a tweet out on Twitter (@4daddyhood) and post on Facebook (facebook.com/adventuresindaddyhood) the weekly photo chanllenge. So make sure you follow me, or else!

You can then tag me on Facebook and Twitter (make sure to use #fotofriday) or email me your photos with that weeks family related theme. Make them entertaining, because my family will pick some of our favorites to put up on next weeks Foto Friday.

So without further ado, this weeks challenge is: Funny Faces.

My Beautiful Wife

 

Once Upon a Time

Our Wedding

Our Wedding

there was a boy and a girl. The boy loved the girl very much. So he asked her to marry him. She of course said yes, because he was such a dashing, loving, strong, intelligent, prince. Wait! What? That isn’t right. So, let’s go back to the beginning. Well, not all the way back, but back to the day that she made him feel very, very happy to be him.

It was March in 2004 and he took her on a trip to the happiest place on earth. That is right…Disney World. While the trip was no surprise, he had been sneaking and emailing and covertly planning a secret surprise just for her.

You see, the boy did love this girl very much so he had been planning to make this the most memorable of memorable days. He barely slept a wink the night before, thinking about where he needed to be and when, and how he was going to make sure there were no mistakes without her even knowing. When he got up early in the morning in their hotel room at the All Star Movie Resort he offered to go and get them some drinks for the morning while she finished getting ready. When he left he made phone calls to her parents and let them know that he would be asking her to marry him this day. He didn’t do this in advance because he knew if he had the secret would have been spilled long before this day. The parents were so thrilled with the news and couldn’t wait to hear from her later. Step one was done with no issues and without the girl knowing anything was amiss.

The boy got back to his room and made sure everything was in order. After a quick bite to eat, they were off to the Magic Kingdom for the day. It was definitely a magical day. The sky was crystal blue, the clouds fluffy like big pillows. The boy did his best to act like everything was normal, although his heart was about to burst from his chest in anticipation.

The boy and girl spent time walking around the park, seeing the sites, riding some rides, meeting some characters. After a while they came upon a wishing well hidden behind Cinderella’s Castle. They stood for a while, enjoying the view, the flowers, and talking about the vacation so far. This is when a young woman approached. Is she the villain of the story like in so many of Disney’s movies? Is she the good fairy that will help our young maiden on her quest? We will soon find out.

The young women approaches our young couple and asks if they would like to take part in something truly magical. The girl, being in the happiest place on earth says yes without hesitation. The young woman hands each of them a penny and tells them to toss them into the wishing well and close their eyes. Then she wants each of them to make a wish. She would like one of us to count backward from The Count Down100 down to 1 as both of us counting is kind of silly. The girl agrees to count and they both toss their coin into the fountain, close their eyes, and silently make their wish. As the girl starts counting the boy looks to see that her eyes are closed and slinks down the walkway to a store so he can watch in hiding what transpires with another fairy who is helping make all of his dreams a reality.

Girl being led by the fairy

Girl being led by the fairy

Card 1When the girl opens her eyes she turns to the fairy and she tells her to follow her down the path. At this point the girl notices that the boy is missing. The fairy tells her not to worry as she is sure that he is safe on his own adventure. As the girl and the fairy walk toward the Carrousel she gives her a card which reads “You have made my life a living fantasy-come-true! Now take a ride on Cinderella’s Carrousel”. At this point the fairy which was with the boy leaves and gets in line  for the carrousel right behind the girl.

Card 2

The girl gets on the carrousel and as the carrousel starts to spin the newest fairy hands her a new card which reads “No matter what the ups and downs, even wild horses will not take me away from you! Now go to It’s a Small World!”

When the girl gets off of Cinderella’s Carrousel she heads toward “It’s a Small World”. Her smile widening as she wonders what is next on this wonderful adventure.

Girl Reading card in front of It's a Small World

Girl Reading card in front of It’s a Small World

As she approaches another fairy swoops in and hands her another card telling the girl not to fret as she doesn’t have to ride “It’s a Small World”. The girl breathed a sigh of relief as she wasn’t sure if she could sit through the song as she wondered what was next. She looked down, remembering the card and read it. “You have given me a better appreciation for the Small World we live on but without you, my world would be empty. Now return to the well”. So she did just that with a new spring in her step.

Card 3

As she approached the well she saw the boy, and the boy saw the girl. His heart was beating faster, his mouth dry. As she approached she smiled and asked the boy what was going on. The boy, unable to speak or say the words he had so wanted to say, handed her a glass slipper. On the slipper was engraved the words he so wanted to be able to say out loud. “Will You Marry Me?”. Looking at the slipper the girl began to tear up. Looking back at the boy her response would stay with him for ever. “Are you kidding me?”

Are you kidding me?

Are you kidding me?

 

The ringUnwaveringYes the boy pressed on. He shook his head and said “No”. Pulling a circular object from his pocket, the boy knelt before the girl and looked up to her as he said in a steady voice (although he is not sure how he managed to) “will you marry me?” as he slipped the circle of white gold and diamond around her finger. She pulled him to his feet as she cried and buried her face in his shirt. She kissed him again and again, laughing through tears of joy.

The boy, not hearing the words he so needed to hear told her she never said yes. She hit him playfully in the chest telling him “of course yes”! They kissed again and the was happy indeed.

While today is officially my ninth wedding anniversary, this is the story of how I got to that day with my lovely wife. She definitely makes me a better person, and I am glad that she said yes to me on that March day ten years ago. So to  you my dear wife, I say thank you for putting up with everything that makes me who I am. I know it takes dedication to make it through some of the days. I can’t wait to see what adventures we will have next.

She Said YES!

She Said YES!

If you are looking for some help making an event memorable while at Disney World or any other Central Florida Theme Park, I suggest you check out Gifts of a Lifetime. They helped me make that day everything it was, and I am sure they will make yours memorable as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Review

To Infinity

Photo courtesy of D23.com

Photo courtesy of D23.com

Now that Disney is coming out with version 2.0 of the game featuring Marvel characters I though I would give a review of the original. It has been out for some time and “A” and “N” have been playing it with various degrees of success.

Description

Disney launched it’s biggest game to date on all the major game consoles. The starter pack comes with the game, the Infinity Base where the characters enter the game, and 3 characters (Mr. Incredible, Jack Sparrow, and Sully) for around $75.00. You can then by additional characters separately for around $13.00 each. You can also buy power discs for around $4.00 each to give your characters additional powers, vehicles or weapons.

You put your character on the game base and they enter the game on your screen. The game has two portions. The Toy Box is where YOU get to use your imagination and create your own world for the characters to play in. It is all set up so that the player can use their imagination and just do what they want. This portion of the game is great for anyone. My 4 year old loves to do this with his older brother and I love to as well. It is great to make believe and not be told how you need to play a game. This is what has been missing from video games for years. My kids love to play in the Toy Box, and so do I.

The other part of the game is the Play Sets. This is where your characters go, to go on actual adventures. This is more of your typical video game where you have certain tasks you need to do to move forward. Each of these Play Sets take place in a Disney Movie setting. For instance Sully and Mike will play in the world of Monster’s University. However, you will not see Mater drive by. The characters are not allowed to enter the others Play Sets. If you want to use characters from different movies together, you can only do it in the Toy Box. To me, this is a big let down, as I think it would be fun to see Mr. Incredible captain a pirate ship a he takes on Davie Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean Play Set. Each Play Set really is unique and draws from the style and setting of each movie. I love seeing what a new one will look like for the first time.

The toys themselves are well-made plastic figures, perfect for displaying or even playing with in (GASP) the real world! Each figure really captures the personality of the character. They simply are amazing to look at. To me the remind me of why I love everything Disney does. Something as simple as a toy statue used for a video game has such great detail. They do not do anything half-way.

Sully and Mike

Sully and Mike

The sad part to me as both a Disney fan and a video game fan is that there are no classic characters. No Goofy, Donald, or Pluto. There is Sorcerer Mickey, but that is it. They are definitely sticking to the ones that kids from my Little Super’s generation will be into.

Pros (+)

+ Never-ending game play in Toy Box mode
+ Starter set is not overly priced
+ Nicely made toy figures
+ Fun for many ages
+ Tons of variety in the different Play Sets

Cons (-)

– Cannot use characters from different movies in the same Play Set
– Additional Characters and Power-ups can get pricey
– Characters will not be compatible with Disney Infinity 2.0 (although the base will be)

Verdict

With Disney Infinity, Disney does what Disney has always done great: tell a great story. However, here, they let the player help create that story and use their imagination to do so. They actually translate the childlike imagination into a great game at a good price. Disney has taken their vast universe and let the gamer become a part of it and also create it. Good job Disney, good job.