Supporting a Responsible Fatherhood Initiative

True responsible fatherhood initiative is something we have in common. We all want to be better fathers. This website is dedicated to help fathers achieve this goal by sharing advice for fathers from real fathers, relating real-life fatherhood experiences, and presenting product reviews from a father’s perspective.

Real-life Fatherhood Experiences and Lessons Learned

Our feature article writers and bloggers have been hands-on dads from the beginning of his son’s inceptions. They openly share their experiences in fatherhood as they strike the balance each day between full-time jobs/studies and the divine stewardship of true fatherhood.

Tips, Tricks, and Advice for Fathers

By the time most of us reach fatherhood we have learned that most truly amazing accomplishments are never realized by “re-inventing the wheel”. Realizing true responsible fatherhood is no different. Building on the experience of others we share tips, ticks, and general father advice that we have picked up along the way from true fathers. We strive to provide father/dad help however possible.

Product Reviews Written by Fathers

Without the correct gear Batman is just a vigilante gymnast with awesome fighting skills. We will review the best products that will help you succeed as a father. Some will be for your little one(s) and others are for their hero (hint: great father’s day gifts).

Quotes on Fatherhood

By sharing some of our favorite fatherhood quotes we hope to reinforce your responsible fatherhood initiative with quotes sourced from diverse sources that entertain, validate, uplift, and hopefully inspire you as they do us.

Advice for Fathers Tips for Dads Responsible Fatherhood Giving Father Dad Help

Smart Tips to Help Parents Tackle Their Finances

Smart Tips to Help Parents Tackle Their Finances

 

Keeping track of money is always important, but the pressure goes up once you start your family. If you haven’t been focusing on your finances before now, this is absolutely the time to start. Even if you’ve had an eye on your budget prior to parenthood, it’s still an ideal time to reevaluate your goals. Here’s a look at a few things parents can do to make sure their families have the financial security they need to live comfortably.

 

Consider Your Investments

 

Many young people become parents well before they figure out their investment portfolios. There are several techniques for investing, but generally speaking, the ideal portfolio has plenty of capital spread out over many different forms of investing. This means you’ll have money set aside in retirement accounts, bonds, stocks, and others.

 

Real estate is often a great investment for parents. Owning your own property means you can take control of your living space and circumstances. Moreover, often your total monthly payments between rent, taxes, and insurance still comes out as less than you’d pay in rent (however, this does depend highly on the market and how much house you’re considering).

 

Before you rush into buying a home, make sure you’ve given thought to the proper steps. Your first move should be figuring out how much house you can afford. You can use online calculators to get a general sense of what kind of payments you can expect at different price points and a guideline for your budget. Once you know what type of price point you’re looking for, reach out to your bank to get pre-approved for a mortgage. A trustworthy real estate agent can help you find a great home at your price point and make sense of the buying process.

 

Build and Stick to a Budget

 

When you’re a parent, your money has to go a long way. Children are expensive, and keeping up with their needs is a never-ending process, whether it’s diapers or field trip fees or sending them to college. That’s why it’s so important to make a budget and stick to it.

 

Too many of us are spending money without truly paying attention to where it’s really going. If you spend mindlessly, resolve to get your budget together. This will allow you to make sure you’re using your money in ways that push your family’s finances forward, not backward. Start by simply tracking your spending. Don’t try to make any big changes yet — you can’t fix what you don’t understand. Moreover, this will get you into the habit of tracking your spending so that you can stick to a budget once you’ve made it.

 

After a month or two of keeping an eye on how you spend, figure out what you can change. Most people find they’re spending more on restaurants and incidental purchases than they’d like to. The good news is: These are great categories to cut back on since they’re nice, but not necessary. Focus on cooking more at home and making use of the things you already have, and you’ll find it’s relatively easy to cut back on excess spending.

 

Find Ways to Cut ‘Necessary’ Costs

 

You may think that some aspects of your budget are unchangeable when they’re actually more malleable than you think. For example, you may see how much you spend on clothing for your children as a required expense; after all, your kids need clothing. But do you buy everything new? Second-hand shops are a great option for kids since they grow out of their clothes so quickly that very few things have time to get truly worn out. Moreover, you can sell clothes once your kids grow out of them, meaning you make something back, as well.

 

Collecting coupons, searching for sales, and keeping your eye on discount shops and resell options are great ways to keep costs low. By shopping smart, sticking to your budget, and investing wisely, you can give your family a strong financial foundation for the future.

 Author: Sara Bailey

 Photo Credit: Pexels

 

Back-to-School Basics to Get Kids Ready for a Healthy and Happy Year

If you want your kids to have a successful year in school, you may need to begin preparing for it during the summer. Making sure that your children have the structure and routines they need to begin the new school year with health and positivity can be even more important during the age of Coronavirus. So here are some resources that you can use to help your family prepare for a safe, healthy, and productive school year, even before the summer is over.

A Clean Home Can Keep Kids from Getting Sick 
As your kids prepare to get back into the classroom, you need to be prepared to prevent the spread of bacteria, viruses, and other germs within your home. 

Healthy Habits Can Also Prevent COVID-19 Spread 
You’re putting a lot of work into keeping your home clean and coronavirus-free. The last thing you need is for your children to drag more germs back with them from school. 

A Consistent Routine Can Make BTS Less Stressful 
There’s no doubt about it: preventing the spread of COVID-19 is critical. But it can also be important to find ways to minimize stress and anxiety as your kids get ready for school again. 

You should definitely enjoy the rest of summer with your kids, but keep in mind that it’s never too early to begin preparing for a successful school year. After all, providing a little bit of structure and learning during the summer can make the classroom transition a lot less stressful for you and your children. Plus, you may need some extra time to teach your kids about COVID safety. So enjoy your summer but keep this guide handy to keep BTS effortless! 

Author: Jenna Sherman
Photo Credit: Rawpixel

 

Tips for Planning a Magnificent Trip with Your Kids

dad and son in stroller

Traveling with kids in tow is completely different than traveling solo, with a partner, or even with a group of adults. The emotional inconsistencies your children experience in the day to day can be heightened by the change in routine and environment that comes with traveling. And, of course, you have to employ different strategies when it comes to planning, booking, and packing for your trip.

But here’s the thing: Traveling with your kids can make for the most enjoyable and rewarding trip ever if you plan well. Here are some tips to help you prepare for an awesome family trip.

Protect Your Property

Keeping your stress levels down during travel begins with securing your home. Look into smart home products such as a doorbell camera, programmable lights, and automated locks to protect your property while you’re out of town. You also might want to consider getting a home security system that includes surveillance cameras and sensors that you can monitor and control remotely.

Decide Where to Go

Any destination that is safe and allows you to take care of your kids is fair game if you have a baby or toddler. If your kids are older and more independent, however, you will need to make sure your vacation spot has plenty of activities for them to engage in. Hold a family meeting to discuss what kinds of things they would like to do on vacation so that you can choose a spot that pleases everyone.

Decide When to Go

You can save yourself a lot of stress by traveling during the off-season, when crowds are much smaller. Plus, everything from lodging to airfare to food is cheaper during the off-season. However, if you have adolescents who thrive on big crowds and outdoor events, peak season might be the best option.

Pack Snacks and Entertainment

Along with clothing, toiletries, diapers, wipes, and other basic necessities, you will want to make sure you pack plenty of snacks. Opt for your child’s favorite healthy snacks like fruit, grains, and nuts, and avoid bringing a bunch of sugary snacks. This will help to keep your child from getting too grumpy or antsy.

Entertainment is also essential when it comes to trips in the car or on the plane. Invest in a tablet so that your child can stream their favorite music, movies, games, and other media. And to safeguard against slow internet speeds and constant buffering, consider getting a car wifi hotspot if you’re traveling by car.

Weigh Your Transportation Options

Yes, flying can be stressful when you have young children, and there’s a lot more planning involved than when you drive. But you have to consider that you will have more time at your destination if you fly, and if you book well in advance, you can save money and select travel times that correspond with your kids’ sleep times.

Nonetheless, it’s hard to go wrong with a good family road trip. Not only can you save money on transportation, but you can come and go as you choose and take as many breaks as necessary to keep everyone happy.

Rent a House

Hotels come with their perks, but vacation rentals tend to come with more perks for families. Along with more space and privacy, renting a house typically means that you have a full kitchen in which you can cook meals, as well as a washer, dryer, and many other important appliances. Plus, it’s usually cheaper per night than a hotel room. However, if you’re planning on visiting a few different cities or areas on your trip, it might be easier to book hotel rooms.

By doing a little planning, your next family trip can be the best yet. Look into home security options to protect your property while you’re away, pick a good destination for the whole family, and determine whether to go in the off-season or peak season. Also, be sure to pack snacks and entertainment, figure out whether you should fly or drive, and consider renting a vacation home instead of a hotel room. And remember to go with the flow when things don’t go as planned!

Article written by Daniel Sherwin
Image via Pexels

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World travelers Ilse and Yannick offer their suggestions for traveling safely in pandemic times

 

Properly Caring for Your Kefir Grains

When Kefir Grains are treated properly they thrive and produce the best tasting and the health beneficial Milk Kefir.  Additionally healthy Kefir Grains are happy Kefir Grains which happily produce their maximum amount of Milk Kefir.  This article will teach you the essentials of caring for your Kefir Grains.  When you take care of your Kefir Grains they will take care of you. Continue reading…

 

What is Milk Kefir? What are Kefir Grains? Why Should I Care?

Since the spring of 2010 I have probably consumed hundreds of gallons of Milk Kefir. When you drink that much Kefir you either like it a lot and/or you think its good for your health. In my case both are true. Therefore when having casual conversations with folks I find that Kefir is an interesting topic that finds a way of coming up. I like talking about Kefir and I think it is so great that everyone should at least give it a try. Some people are very curious and for those I would like to provide an article that clearly answers the common questions of Milk Kefir. Continue reading…

 

How to Sync the Outlook Calendar with My Android/Google Calendar

Google Calendar Sync Still Works

Despite the deprecated status of the Google Calendar Sync tool, the tool still works fine with Outlook 2013/2010/2007.

Requirement: Sync My Outlook Calendar with my Android Phone

I am no stranger to Android; I’ve been running it on my HP Touchpad since Winter 2011. Back them I played around with many features including the utility that could sync my Outlook calendar with my Google account. Since that Android tablet can show the Google account’s calendar, this sync meant that I could easily put all of my Outlook appointments on my Android phone. After the novelty wore off and my computer got replaced I forgot about this tool.

I recently purchased a nice phone running Google Android (Motorola’s Moto X) and I got tired of adding my Google account to every meeting (as an attendee) just so that the event could appear on my phone. I remembered that I had once used a simple tool from Google which kept my Outlook calendar in sync with my Google/Android calendar. I tried searching for the utility and soon discovered that Google stopped supporting and distributing the tool in 2012. Google does offer a different utility called “Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Office (GASMO)”; however, you have to be a real paying Google Apps customer in order to use it. Also, many report that it messes up your Outlook profile. I learned both of these limitations the hard way: I installed it and was told that it wouldn’t work with my free Google account and simultaneously my Outlook profile got messed with.
Google Calendar Sync Options for Microsoft Outlook Synchronization

Solution: Install Google Calendar Sync where Outlook Runs

After investigating how I could possibly synchronize my Outlook calendar with the calendar on my Android phone I was shocked at the gaping functionality whole that I found. It seems that Google and Microsoft’s disdain for each other has resulted in Google pulling support for the old Google Calendar Sync tool. It seems that they do provide a tool for synchronizing Apple’s calendar with Google’s calendar, but support for Outlook is blatantly missing.

Further research showed that a lot of people were still having luck with using the old Google Calendar Sync tool. I was afraid to download the copy that others were sharing, fearing someone might have embedded a virus or spyware in the installer, so I dug through my old backups and found the original file which I downloaded from Google directly many years ago. I installed it and it got straight to work with Outlook 2013. Now my calendar is completely in Sync. I let it sync about every 2 hours and only from Google to Outlook, but I am considering allowing Google calendar appointments to write themselves to Google. I highly recommend this tool to anyone wanting to get their Outlook appointments in their Google Calendar and/or on their Android Phone.

***************************
UPDATE July 8, 2014
I receive an email from Google today explaining that the party will be over on this starting August 1, 2014. Here is what they said:

Important Announcement about Google Calendar Sync
Almost two years ago, we announced that we ended support for Google Calendar Sync. Starting on August 1, 2014, this app will no longer sync events between your Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook Calendar.

You can continue to access all of your Google Calendar events at calendar.google.com or on your mobile devices. Follow these instructions to uninstall Google Calendar Sync from your computer.

– The Calendar Team

 

From Rome to Pisa to Florence and Back to Rome Again!

As the father of a 5-year-old boy who just HAD to go and see the Leaning Tower of Pisa while were were in Rome, I thought I should write down some notes for any one else who might attempt a similar trip. Searching the web provided lots of insights, but some information was missing, wrong, or incomplete.

From Rome to Pisa by Train

There are a quite a few options. Your search should start at the Tren Italia website which has an English version available (link: www.trenitalia.com/. There you will find that you can take trains from Roma Termini to Pisa Centrale via Firenze (Florence). There are some fast ones available between Firenze and Roma (named “FECCIA”-something). Do be aware that these are quite comfortable/nice, quiet, and obviously quick; however, they cause more motion sickness then the slower trains and they also cause many more pressure changes (you will feel it in your ears) when you go through the many tunnels along the way. Additonally you will still have to change in Firenze SMN to another train.

Another very acceptable option is go to the Roma San Pietro station near the Vatican (bus 64 takes you there as of April 2012). From this small station there are many options for regional trains. Some are direct with no transfers and some transfer in Civitavecchia to Pisa. Either way, these can be desirable because they tracks run along the western coast, showing you sites you might not otherwise see. Please note that total travel time may be about the same as it would be through Firenze and it will cost you less. Therefore, all things considered, this might the best option.

From Pisa Centrale to the Leaning Tower

As of April 2012, you can take the LAM ROSSA bus from the station to the tower. Cross the street in front of the station and the bus will pick you up there at the bus stop. Look for other clueless tourists to reassure yourself you are in the correct location. You will need a bus ticket which you can buy at the “newstand” in the terminal. The ride takes a while, but keep looking left or you might miss your stop. A good indicator is that many people will get off there.

From Pisa Centrale to Stazione di Firenze Santa Maria Novella (Florence)

This was a “Regionale” train, it took only about 1 hour and seemed virtually non-stop. The ticket was cheap enough that we thought we ought to take it and stop by and see Florence for the afternoon. Exiting the station to the right (west) will take you too the trams (street cars) and exiting to the left or south will get you headed in the direction of the Montefiascone Cathedral (after a 10 – 15 minute walk). It was a pleasant stop.

Returning Home to Rome (Firenze to Roma)

We took the “FECCIA” train heading back so that we could be “home” before midnight. It was a quick trip, but not comfortable enough to sleep for us (see notes below). The train did get us back quickly, but of course left us at Roma Termini. The bus ride “home” was exciting due to the driver’s lead-footed dangerous flight through Roma’s busy nightlife. When we arrived at our wonderful bed & breakfast apartment near the Vatican we literally felt as though we had come home. It was a busy day and the comfortable apartment was so welcoming after all of our sites and travels.

Notes

More on trains

Some trains are just faster than others and some trains just stop more frequently than others. This is really true throughout the world. For this trip I think the slowest train is called “Regionale”. A step above this is “Regionale Veloc”. Then I think the next one up is “Intercity”, followed by the bullet trains called “FECCIA-something”. The “FECCIA” trains will have the cleanest coaches and bathrooms, but I found the coaches on the “Regionale” trains passable. We also felt motionsickness and too many pressure changes in the “FECCIA”; the “Regionale” trains were much easier to sleep on as a result.

Leaning Tower of Pisa Age Restriction / Limitation

In the spring of 2012 in order to climb up the tower you needed to be at least 8 years old. This was a big surprise to us and to many others who wanted to climb with their kids. You won’t be told this until you find the ticket booth in the back and you are told the bad news by the folks selling the expensive tickets.

Our Preferred Rome Bed & Breakfast Apartment

We were so lucky to have found Rosa Maria’s “Al Colonnato di San Pietro“. We stayed in her “Moon” apartment and loved it. The location was wonderful, right next to the Vatican and right on a bus line. TripAdvisor brought it to our attention, but the reviews and email exchanges with Miss Rosa Maria sold us. In person she was even better. She looked out for us as if we were her family. It was she that pointed us to use the Roma San Pietro station to get to Pisa. She knows so much about the city and outlaying areas. She even went the extra mile helping us to load up on San Marzano tomatoes and seeds. We would stay with her again in a heart beat. If you have any questions about her B & B or apartments please contact me.

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World travelers Ilse and Yannick have lived in several countries and found that cultures come with a variety of habits. They explain the differences in every country when it comes to taking shoes off.

 

Who Was Your Hero?

Did you have a swing set when you were young? What do you remember most about your swings?

When someone tells me they are looking at swing sets for their children, one thing pops instantly into my mind. My Dad.

As a young child my father was my idol. My Dad could fix anything, he could do everything; he was larger than life. My Dad took me camping and taught me how to fish, he took me to the ocean and taught me how to body surf and he took me on walks and taught me to enjoy nature. When I got hurt, my Dad comforted me.

What I actually remember most was going to look for swing sets with my father. We picked one out and took it home – in a box. I was so excited; I couldn’t wait to use my swing! My Dad worked on that swing set the rest of that day and half the next day – with me there ‘Is it done yet?’ ‘When will it be done?’ Through all of that, my father never lost his temper or sent me away.

He finally got the swing set together and I got to swing on it. My Dad would go out with me every evening after work, and push me on my swing. That’s what I remember.

Around the time I turned 15, my Dad turned totally stupid – didn’t know anything and couldn’t do anything; He stayed that way for several years. Then I got married and had my own daughter. It was a miracle – my Dad returned to Hero status.

The real truth is that I got my head on straight. After the birth of my daughter I realized that my father had never once even come close to falling off that pedestal I had put him on when I was a child.

As my daughter was growing up, I watched my Dad take her to the park to feed the ducks, and push her on the swings. I watched my Dad take her into the garage so they could paint the toy box they made together.

Fathers, if you are looking at swing sets for your son or daughter, make sure you push them when it’s done. And NEVER, EVER forget who you are to your children. You are their Hero.

author: anonymous