Stuff for Dads

Hanging Solo with the Kids - New Post on Man of the House

This Veterans Day my kids had no school and their Mom was at work, leaving the three of us alone to our own devices all day. Trying to come up with something fun to do with the kids can sometimes be a challenge, and leaving them alone with the television all day isn't really a good option.


Here are some suggestions for things to do with the kids - without their Mom. Included is my super (not so secret) go-to place when you can't think of anything else.

Oh, and that picture they put up clearly isn't my kids and I. (We're way better looking).

New Blog Posts Up at

I've  recently started writing for a website for fathers called Man of the House. Unlike the product stuff I was writing about at Babble, at the new site I'll be writing more about my experiences, tips and other stuff I can share with fathers. It's a really great site with a lot of really thoughtful men writing thoughtful posts, so you should definitely check it out.

I'll still be writing here periodically too, but it will likely be more for more short-form blog stuff as well as more personal junk I used to put over at my Posterous account.

The first two Man of the House posts are:

5 Cool New Baby Products for Dads
This one is a recap of the five best things I saw at the ABC Expo (the baby and children's product convention)  in Las Vegas.

Being a Stay-At-Home Dad is Good For the Brain
A conversation I had with a friend of mine got me thinking about whether staying at home was "intellectually stimulating" or not.

So leave a comment if you want and let me know what you think.

Modern Day Dad At CES 2010. Oh. And Lady Gaga Too.


Well, I did the quick calculation this morning, and this is officially the 7th CES I've been to, and while some were fun (the first few) and some were really underwhelming (last year), this year's is proving to be a little better, if only for the fact that I pretty much kicked it off by going to a Lady Gaga press conference at the Polaroid Booth.

You see, she's now a Creative Director at Polaroid for a special line of New Imaging Products or something. In the conference she made it very clear (while she tried her best to hide her face with her bizarre hair-hat), that this wasn't a typical endorsement deal, and that she and "The Haus of Gaga" (I couldn't make that up if I tried) were going to be very involved with new products.

Hey, that's great I suppose, and I know that Polaroid who haven't had anything exciting going on with them in about, oh, twenty years or so, are probably thrilled with the association. But all that stuck out to me during the whole thing was, there's a guy who works for Polaroid, one of the last great brands in photography, up on a platform saying "Lady Gaga" as if it were the most normal thing anyone ever uttered. Maybe I'm old or something, but it was kind of funny to me.

So anyway, if you're interested in my posts about stuff I'm seeing at CES this year, check out my posts over at's product blog, Droolicious.

FakeTV Burglar Deterrant Keeps The Fake TV Glowing


I've bought a lot of hair-brained electronic crap in my life, and so when I told my wife about FakeTV, she just assumed this was another one of those things. And while I can't say for sure that this thing fulfilled it's purpose (and I'm happy about that, believe me), even my wife had to agree that it's a pretty cool little device.

The basic premise behind FakeTV is that burglars won't bother to break into a house that they know is occupied, and the number one way they can tell a house is occupied is the faint glow of a television being watched in the dark. The problem is, if you go away on vacation, most all televisions don't work on traditional power-timers. And leaving a television on for 24 hours while you're away on vacation is not only expensive, it's bad for the TV. That's where FakeTV comes in.

FakeTV is this little box (very little box actually) that you plug in and leave behind a closed curtain or the opposite end of a room from a window. When it gets dark in the room, FakeTV pops on and starts emitting random light patterns that, when viewed through the window from outside your house, makes it look like there's a TV on. It has three settings (on, dusk plus four hours and dusk plus seven hours) and works with low-power LED lights.

I've had one in my house for a month now, and while I can't say it's actually deterred a real life criminal, it turns on and off just like it's supposed to. And from outside my front door, it really does look like someone is watching TV.

Now I just have to hope criminals aren't reading my blog.

Check it out at

Blogging at ABC 2009 - The All Baby & Child Product Expo

ABC Show Floor. This image only shows about a quarter of everything at the show.

2009 is year-two for me at the ABC Expo, and even though the economy is not what it was last year, you'd hardly know it from attending the show. There seems to be just as many booths and products as last year, and once again I'm trying to blog about all of them.

Well, not all of them exactly. Just the products and companies that have something new or interesting to show. And even then there's absolutely no way I'm going to be able to get to everything. So if you're interested in what I'm writing about, go over to this page at's gear blog Droolicious (where I blog about products for parents and children).

And fair warning to companies showing stuff at the show

- if your product has "Mom" or "Mommy" in it's name and it isn't something that ONLY someone female could use, then chances are I'm going to pass you by.

The highlights so far:

A fairly big write up of the new Orbit G2 stroller.
The Bugaboo & (RED) promotion and brand new (RED) Cameleon in black denim.
Jennifer Garner's favorite stroller, the Maclaren Grand LX Custom.
New Paul Frank designs for Clek Olli car booster seats.
An awesome infant bath tub called the Puj Tub.
A genius camera accessory designed to get infants to look up at the camera - the Shutter Buddy.

Modern Day Dad at CES 2009: The Consumer Electronics Showcase.


So tomorrow I'm heading out to my sixth (can it really be six?) CES - the consumer electronics gadget extravaganza here in Las Vegas. And like last year I'll be blogging about a lot of what I see over at In fact this year I even got a special "Blogger" pass which, as far as I can tell, gets me free lunch in the blogger lounge (while supplies last), extra attention from exhibitors, and the slightly condescending looks from those holding orange "Press" badges.

Oh, and I got a free bag which, even though it says "CES" all over it, is pretty sweet.

I'll be looking mostly for anything related to children, parents, parenting or (of course) dads. If you've heard about anything that I should check out, please leave a comment and let me know. This show is so massive, it's going to be hard to even get to the stuff I'm planning, let alone find stuff I never even thought of before.

Wish me luck.

[Check out my posts from CES 2009 over at Droolicious on]

Modern Day Dad at the ABC Kids Expo 2008 in Las Vegas

This year I'm attending for the first time the ABC Kids Expo convention here in Las Vegas. Basically, imagine every baby/toddler/child/parent related product you've ever seen in your whole life, and then imagine all of them in two giant convention hall floors. Today was my first day, and I have to say that after the first few hours it was all a little overwhelming.

I'm there primarily on assignment from, where I blog about products and other cool stuff for kids and parents. If you're interested in what I'm writing about, check out my Babble feed (upper right hand corner) or click this link to see all the posts.

Babble Live at the ABC Kids Expo.

Top Ten iPhone Apps to Distract Your Kids With


[UPDATE: Looking for my favorite iPhone Apps for children and parents? Check out this new feature on Modern Day Dad - iPhone App of the Week. I'll be reviewing and sharing my favorite iPhone and iPad Apps for children and parents.

iPhone App of the Week on Modern Day Dad]


Over at I just posted something that I want to promote here too - Ten Best iPhone Apps for Distracting Young Children. Throwing my keys or random pieces of paper in my pocket to quiet a toddler in a shopping cart is nothing new to anyone, but with the new iPhone there are a lot of new and interesting diversions to throw at them. Provided of course you make sure they don't actually throw your phone back at you.

Read it over on Droolicious at

Five Father's Day Gift Ideas from Modern Day Dad

Looking for some very last minute gift ideas for Father's Day? Here is a quick list of the top things I think that will be perfect for the dad in your life.

  1. Flipvideo_mino Flip Video Camera - The Flip Video Camera is ultra-portable, ultra compact, takes great looking 640x480 resolution video and is under $200. Way under $200 actually. Check out what I wrote about the newest version (the Flip Video Mino) over at, or buy the Mino (for $179.99) or the Flip Video Ultra (for $118) at
  2. Xbox360The XBOX 360 is a perfect Father's Day gift. Because not only will Dad love to play video games on it, but you can also stream photos, music and videos to it as well. Check out my post about it here, and buy one at

  3. Canon Digital Rebel XSi Canon Digital Rebel XSi - Let me guess. The new baby has arrived (or is arriving soon) and you've been considering a new digital camera, but you're unsure if you need a full-on Digital SLR camera. Well, trust me, you do. The images you'll get out of a great camera, even with little knowledge of what you're doing, will be way better than most point and shoots. Plus, your baby is only going to be a baby for a short time, so invest in a good camera. The Canon Rebel XSi is 12 mega-pixels of awesomeness, and should last you for a while. And trust me, after getting your first few good images from it by accident, you're going to want to learn more about your camera. It's well worth the investment.
  4. 50MM Canon Lens 50MM Lens for your Digital SLR Camera - OK. So you've taken my advice and bought a DSLR camera, or you've already bought one, then the next thing you absolutely need is a 50mm lens. Called a "prime" lens because it has no zoom, the 50mm lens is considered the closest lens to what the human eye sees. And on a DSLR camera it's perfect for portraits. All of this adds up to a lens that is great for taking pictures of kids because it's great in low light situations (because of the wide aperture) and it takes pictures very quickly (again, because of the wide aperture). You can get a great one with auto focus for a Canon camera for $325 (my recommendation, pictured) but you can get a really good one with manual focus for just $89.74. Either way, you'll be happy you did. (And if you shoot Nikon instead of Canon, check out this 50MM lens).
  5. Diaper_dude Diaper Bag just for Dad - Back when I was a new dad, there were almost no choices for good diaper bags for dads. These days, there are tons of options. You can choose from the Diaper Dude (pictured), a Dad Backpack from Dadgear and even a wearable Diaper Vest from Dadgear. All will probably work just fine and when picking, a lot of it comes down to personal taste.
  6. Giftcard A gift card for Father's Day - I know, I know. I promised five. But this sixth one is kind of a cheat anyway. If you can't think of the perfect gift for your Dad (or your kid's dad) this Father's Day, you can always get him a gift card from your favorite store. And if you get him from an online store like Amazon, you can literally get it at the last second and print it out. The card however you'll have to run down to the grocery store for.

Matt Damon's Diaper Bag Up for Auction

PhotodamonIn case you haven't heard, the Johnson & Johnson's Celebrity Hand-Me-Down auction is going on. They're selling "used" baby items from celebrities, all to raise money for charity. There are eight items in the auction, all from celebrity moms except Matt Damon, who is offering a diaper bag.

Here's where the "Celebrity Auction" starts to piss me off.

Apparently it's not good enough that Matt Damon is a dad. Unlike the celebrity moms, someone decided they needed to include his wife Lucy's name in the auction too. I'm sure she's a lovely woman, but she's not the celebrity. Where's Julianne Moore's husband, or Poppy Montgomery's? Hell, Elisabeth Hasselbeck's NFL quarterback husband is a minor celebrity in his own right. But I guess it's not OK to associate men with baby stuff.

I'm probably overreacting, but it's the subtle things like this that wear me down after a while.

Check out the Johnson's Celebrity Hand-Me-Down Auction at eBay.

Jennifer Lopez's Nursery and Other Recent Posts On Babble

Casablanca Cribs in Jennifer Lopez's Nursery
Jennifer Lopez has a (typically) ostentatious nursery and published pictures of them in People Magazine. But the crib is actually quite nice if that kind of decor is up your alley.

Audible Launches New Kids Site
Download audio books for your kids and stop putting Spongebob on their iPods.

7 Days of BPA-Free Plastics: CamelBak Water Bottles
Something to check out when you reach post-sippy cup nirvana.

Jessica Alba Gives Tastybaby
Jessica Alba gives baby food as a party favor for her shower. Seriously.

Mariah Carey Has a Hello Kitty Boo-Boo on American Idol
Mariah Carey is obsessed with Helo Kitty apparently. And she wears the same Band-Aids on American Idol that my kids wear.

Big Deal: FLOR Carpet Tiles for Kids On Sale
FLOR has a couple of child themed carpets on sale now.

Nintendo's Wii - probably the best video game system for families.

Wii It's no secret I'm a big fan of the XBOX 360, but after playing with my new Nintendo Wii for a week or so, I have to say that it is much better suited for families. Although it's missing some features in my opinion, it's got the other systems beat in a few key areas.

First is the price. If you can find one in the stores, it's only going to cost you $250, which is $100 cheaper than the standard XBOX 360 and $250 cheaper than the standard Playstation 3. Sure it's not going to play BlueRay DVDs (or even regular DVDs) but for a next generation video game system (that plays great games) it's a bargain.

Next is the interface or "usability" of the system itself. Everything is based around using a remote control (or "Wiimote") and everyone that's tried to use it in my house - from my 3 year old daughter to my parents - understand how to use it immediately. Not only does the game know you're pointing it at the television, it also knows if you're rotating, tilting or moving it around anywhere. Personally I think it's easier to use than an XBOX 360 controller and way more approachable to kids and novice video game players.

And let's be honest, the biggest reason it's probably best for families is - it's Nintendo. Nintendo did something smart and didn't try to create a system that would be all things to all people. Instead they created a great little console that plays games (that are challenging but easy to play) with some of the most classic names in video game history like Mario, Zelda, Metroid and all the rest. One of my personal favorite things is that you can download via an internet connection old-school Nintendo games like Temco Bowl, Super Mario Brothers, Punch Out, and Wave Race 64 right to your Wii.

There are a few things I wish were different. You can view pictures on your Wii, but unfortunately you can't connect it to another computer in your house to view photos or listen to music like you can with an XBOX 360. I was able to download a web browser and view pictures on my flickr page, so it's kind of possible, but not as simple. The web browser (which the 360 doesn't have) is pretty useful - my aunt uses the web browser to listen to her Sirius Satellite Radio online through her home stereo, which works out well.

So if you're starting to think about a video game system for the family for Christmas this year, I'd definitely give the Wii some serious consideration. If you can find one.

Shop for Nintendo Wii stuff on

Best baby monitor.

BabymonitorWIth the second baby there are a lot of things we are re-using, but some things we had to double-up on, like a new monitor. Creature of habit that I am, at first I wanted one just like the old one, because it seemed to work pretty well at long distances and it operated in the 900 MHz band (between the cordless phones and WiFi the 2.4 GHz band was getting pretty crowded). But the old one wasn't available any more, so I had to settle on the new model, and I'm really glad I did.

There are a couple of enhancements to it, first and foremost being the fact that the receivers are rechargeable. With all the AAAs I was feeding into the old one, this new feature is great. Plus, it's got an LED screen telling how much battery life is left, the signal strength and what channel you're on. It will even beep at you if it isn't receiving any signal at all, or if the battery is dying.

It doesn't rumble like the old one did, but I'll gladly trade that in for a battery that recharges. It's not like I've got a lawn to mow while the baby is sleeping.

Get the Fisher Price "Private Connection" Monitor with Dual Receivers (one for upstairs, one for down) for $38.72 from Amazon via the Modern Day Dad Store.

Wheeled board update.


[UPDATE: Looking for info on the Bugaboo Wheeled Board? Check out the updated post on all wheeled boards for strollers:

The Best Wheeled Boards for Bugaboo and Other Strollers |]

Now that my six month old is almost out of "the bucket" and in a normal car seat, I figured I should give an update as to how Madame (my two year old) is doing with the Bugaboo Wheeled Board. At first I wasn't too sure it would be that useful, but I'm happy to report that it's working great. As she's fully in her two-year-old "I do myself" phase, it can be hard wrangling her sometimes, but that wheeled board has come in really handy. Mostly we use it for moments when we know that they'll be a long walk ahead of us, like from the car to the mall or to the doctor's office or the park. It's hard keeping her standing on it in a store or somewhere else there is a lot of distraction, but if she was sitting in a stroller I don't think it would be much easier.


As for safety, it's really not too bad - she stands up and holds on to the arms of the stroller and stays steady without a problem. And her sister really loves looking at her face to face when she's in it. The best part from my perspective is it doesn't take up any extra width (like a double-wide stroller would) and keeps the whole operation pretty compact. Which, when you're navigating a crowded mall or sidewalk, is pretty great.

Get the Bugaboo Wheeled Board for $79.95 from Amazon at the new Modern Day Dad Store.

New holiday card ideas.

Peace_cardFor those of you who've read this blog before, you know I'm a pretty big fan of the greeting card ideas over at 2peas1pod, and I noticed today they have some new holiday card ideas ("Peace" pictured). There are lots of other design ideas too, and not just for the holidays. In addition to the great birth announcements, there are some really cool foreign adoption announcements which I'd never seen before.

Anyway, if you still haven't dealt with your card list (like me), this might be something you'll want to check out.

Family photos and music with the XBOX 360.

Xbox360Father's Day is, as I'm sure you know, right around the corner. And if you've been trying to convince your family that an XBOX 360 would make the perfect father's day gift, I might have some more ammunition for you.

One of the features of the 360 is that it can act as a conduit for other computers in your house, streaming music, photos and, if you have a Windows Media Center PC, movies. As a Mac user I figured this wasn't available to me, until I discovered Connect360. This little genius piece of software lets your 360 recognize your Mac, and stream everything you have in iTunes and iPhoto to your 360. My daughter loves looking at pictures, so now in the late afternoon instead of watching the 3,000th episode of Jack's Big Music Show off of Tivo, I'll start a play-list off of iTunes and a slide show of family photos. And the music player even has a visualizer that might calm down your screaming infant.

You see moms? That new 360 isn't just a time-suck for the dad in your life. It's really a gift for the whole family.

Get the father of your children an XBOX 360 for $350 at
And if you've got a 360 and a Mac, you absolutely need Connect360 from Nullriver Software.

Also on MDD: Nintendo's Wii - probably the best video game system for families.


StrollometerHasn't anyone thought of this before? The Strollometer is a new gadget that attaches to your stroller and gives you your trip distance, time and speed. It seems obvious, but I haven't heard of one before. It seems like a good idea for avid jogging stroller dads and moms, but it seems kind of useless for everyone else. Knowing how far it is from the car to the drugstore or from Macy's to Gap Kids isn't going to make you loose weight any quicker.

The Strollometer will apparently be available for $45.95 this September. [via Sean via Gizmodo]

A trick I never thought of.

EarplugsThe new addition to our family is fast approaching, and I'm starting to realize that I've completely forgotten what it's like to have a newborn. What I should really say is that I've completely forgotten all of the sleepless nights, bodily fluids and that time between 6 and 9 we called "the witching hour." This selective amnesia is something that has to be hard-wired into all of us, because really, why would somone who's been through it once want to go through it all over again? (And I'm not even mentioning the trauma of the actual childbirth, the memory of which keeps me eternally grateful that I'm a man.)

A friend of mine who's a brand new dad was telling me how the other day he took his inconsolable daughter from her beleaguered mother and tried to calm her down. Nothing was working, but instead of passing her back he decided to tough it out, and just to take the edge off he put in some ear plugs. Eventually she calmed down, and he avoided tinnitus.

I'm sure he's not the only dad who's done this, but he's the first one whom I've ever talked to. And I have to say I was pretty impressed with the simple practicality of the solution. So maybe as I'm getting ready this summer for our new bundle of joy, I'll splurge and get some with a cord.

Bugaboo wheeled board.


[UPDATE: Looking for info on the Bugaboo Wheeled Board? Check out the updated post on all wheeled boards for strollers:

The Best Wheeled Boards for Bugaboo and Other Strollers |]

Even though we've already got a ton of baby/kid gear, this new baby we're having in July does present some twists to the kid-gear needs. The first and foremost in my mind is (of course) - how will this affect my Bugaboo?

So the Bugaboo only will stroll one kid at a time (obviously), and by the time the new baby arrives Madame will be barely two years old. Short of getting a new double-wide stroller there aren't many options.

Bugaboo does offer this "wheeled board" attachment (pictured).

The idea is the kid stands on it, in front of you and facing forward; and kind of rides while holding on. I've never seen one used, and right now it's pretty hard to imagine Madame standing still on the back of a stroller while it's moving.

Has anyone used this attachment (or even seen someone who was using it)? Please leave a comment if you have. I'd be really interested to know.

Get the Bugaboo Wheeled Board for $79.95 from Amazon at the new Modern Day Dad Store.

Next on MDD - if the older kid is being strolled around in the normal non-bassinet seat, where is the new baby going to sleep?...