Fatherly Stuff

Sep 8, 2014

Make Every Birthday Special with Hallmark Poster Cards for Kids

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. #KidsCards #CollectiveBias

Although my oldest is only 5, he has somehow managed to create quite the social life for himself. Between classmates at school, the kids in the neighborhood, and his peers from his extra curricular activities such as karate and swim class, he has gained a mini network of friends with whom we do our best to help him stay connected with.  While he does enjoy a steady flow of healthy, social interaction, an unforeseen consequence of this is he tends to get invited to quite a few birthday parties. To my 5 year old, this is an awesome way to live your life, since he gets to eat cake and play games to his heart’s content. For parents however, it not as enjoyable for us as it is for them. The burden of finding the right gift that is both tasteful, yet not too expensive falls squarely on our shoulders. Our already busy, exhausted shoulders.  On top of that, since we’re crazy enough to actually attempt to keep up with all of these birthdays, the number of gifts that we end up buying over the year can get pretty expensive. My frustrations were soon alleviated during a fateful trip to Walmart. I was searching for a card for yet another birthday party, when I came across an intricate display for Hallmark PosterCards for Kids.

At the Hallmark display, there was a wide array of cards that share positive, encouraging messages meant to uplift and child’s spirts high. The characters ranged from The Avengers, to Mikey Mouse, to even Tinkerbell. What sets Hallmark Poster Cards apart of the average, run of the mill birthday card is the surprise inside. Each card can be unfolded into an awesome poster that is over 4 feet tall! It’s a card and the gift in one fell swoop. It’s pretty ingenious if you ask me.

I grabbed a few Hallmark Poster Cards because I knew that there were a couple of birthdays coming up this fall. And although his birthday already passed a couple of months ago, I decided to grab an extra special Planes Poster Card for my 5 year old because I know how much he loves Dusty Crophopper.  When I handed him his card, his reaction was that of slight confusion to sheer elation. It was priceless. Well, it was actually $4.97 plus tax, but you get the picture.

To take advantage of even bigger savings, check you the Hallmark Card Rewards Program. For every 4 cards that you buy at Walmart, you earn a reward!

Make sure you check out Connections from Hallmark to sign up for Hallmark Rewards, and to see great content from other bloggers. Join in the #kidscards conversation on Twitter!  

Aug 4, 2014

Your Kids Will Learn about STEM (and Love It!) with Amazon Studio's Annedroids

How much thought have you given to the amount of STEM education that your child is receiving? As our world advances further into the 21st century, possessing knowledge in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is becoming increasingly important in order to actively compete on the world stage. Children tend to be precocious, curious and creative by nature. These qualities tend to go hand in hand with the fundamental concepts of STEM, so it is not a far-fetched idea to conclude that in order to get them interested at an early age, those innate qualities must somehow be tapped into. 

Amazon Studios seems to have found the perfect formula to accomplish this with their third original kids series, Annedroids, which is now available on Prime Instant Video.

Created by Emmy-nominated JJ Johnson (Dino Dan) and Sinking Ship Entertainment, and aimed at children aged four through seven, Annedroids is a live-action adventure series following a young female genius, her human friends, android assistants and the amazing scientific discoveries they make while undertaking the biggest experiment of them all: growing up.  Addison Holley (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood) stars as “Anne,” Adrianna Di Liello (Stage Fright) plays her friend “Shania,” and Jadiel Dowlin plays “Nick.”

I was recently given the opportunity to review this show with my 5 year old and we found it to be an enjoyable experience. Annedroids centers around four primary characters:

Nick- The first character to be introduced in the show, not only was he very unhappy to be moving away from his best friend, he was less than thrilled at the prospect of living across the street from an old junkyard.  He soon discovers however, that the so called junkyard holds the key to more adventures and excitement than he could ever imagine. Something that I appreciated about this character is that he was cast as a person of color; a demographic that I feel is not represented on TV as much as it should be. Furthermore, while it is obvious that Nick’s mother is a single mom, her loving and caring presence is a subtle undertone that further adds to the show’s realism. 

Shania- She is Nick’s neighbor. The two words that best describe Shania would be: “comedic relief”. She is fun loving, enjoys rhythmic gymnastics, is allergic to rabbits (“booger central”) and is often getting herself and her friends into- and out of-and back into trouble. Her unapologetic, eccentric personality makes her a favorite of mine. Shania and her younger brother live with their grandmother, and that again is a reflection of the show’s efforts to recognize that families come in all shapes and sizes aside from the traditional, nuclear model. 

Anne- A young scientist, Anne is the creator of all of the androids on the show. She lives in the junkyard and once she is discovered by Nick and Shania, they all become fast friends as well as her assistants. As a scientist, Anne it always on the lookout for new and exciting discoveries and encourages her friends to do the same. As a female, this character has the potential to inspire an entire generation of girls to get interested in the STEM fields.

Pal- Created by Anne, Pal is an android (not a robot, there IS a difference!) who can walk, talk and think for itself. Almost infant-like in its thinking, Pal continuously develops from listening to others’ speech as well as from its surroundings. Pal is introduced as being neither male nor female and it is programmed to decide on its own which gender it will eventually lean to. This may be a stretch on my part, but that may be a veiled message about gender bias. If that is the case, I think that is pretty awesome!

Throughout the show, the characters (and viewers) learn about various scientific principals such as developing a hypothesis, observation/note taking, chemistry, mechanics, physics and critical thinking. They use all of these skills to turn problems into what Anne likes to call an, “engineering solution”.

As a parent, this show receives high marks from me due to its originality, diversity and its educational value. My 5 year old is definitely a fan too because lets face it; a walking talking android is just plain cool. 

Be sure to catch Annedroids exclusively on Amazon Prime.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Jul 17, 2014

Stuart Scott Discusses Fatherhood in an Emotional Speeh at the ESPYS

Last night's ESPY awards ceremony was a star studded event  that celebrated some of the greatest individual and team athletic achievements for the year. There were many great moments and many awards were handed out to the most deserving people, but the one that stood out to me the most was the speech that Stuart Scott delivered after winning the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.

Scott, a long time anchor for ESPN, has been battling a rare form of cancer since 2007. Instead of making excuses and allowing his illness hold him back, he has made the commitment to continue to live life to the fullest. During his speech, he credits his desire to be there for his two daughters for giving him the strength to fight on and endure rounds of surgeries and treatment.

The courage and humility that Mr. Scott has displayed throughout his ordeal is truly inspirational. It is a reminder to celebrate life and the people that are in it, each and every day.

The entire clip is approx. 15 minutes, but it is well worth your time. I can almost guarantee that anyone who watches this video cannot help but become a better human being afterward.