Thursday, April 17, 2014

There Goes Easter

As you can see from the number of eggs in the Boy's basket, there are advantages to being an only child.
Okay, Easter morning was a bit of a thrill ride around here, kids (*Spoiler Alert* If you still believe in the Easter Bunny, read no further. If you are the Easter Bunny, this is for you). Here's the thing: the Boy is unusual in the fact that he is six-years-old and sleeps until his normal wakeup time on major holidays. Christmas morning? We have to wake him up. Easter last year? We had to wake him up. With that in mind, the plan has always been for me to get up and hide the eggs before anyone else is awake. This plan makes even more sense when you know that one of our dogs will eat anything she has access to (some of you might remember what she did  to a birthday cake) so the eggs can't be hidden the night before. The plan was well laid, my friends, but went horribly wrong. At approximately 5:33 a.m., the Boy was excitedly up to go to the bathroom (and check to see if the Easter Bunny had arrived yet). The problem with that is the part where the Easter Bunny was still asleep and hadn't hidden a single egg. Ever quick on her feet, the Missus climbed into bed with the Boy in an attempt to get him to go back to "sleep" (and to stall to give me some time).
With visions of Easter being ruined for my son, I was at DEFCON 5. I had to hide those eggs and hide them quick. I also had to be silent as the grave as I knew the Boy was only pretending to be asleep and would hear anything over a church whisper coming from the rest of the house. Have you ever noticed how loud plastic eggs filled with jelly beans are? Me either, but I'm here to tell you they're loud, especially when you're tiptoeing around a darkened house trying to hide them. The eggs weren't the only things trying to give me away. Doorknobs that usually turn silently, popped and yelped in ways I didn't know were possible. Doors that typically open silently, creaked and complained when I opened them. Cushions on the couch made a "whooshing" sound that I am positive the neighbors could hear. As they often do, the Shih Tzus added their own drama to the mix. Their claws going across the floor made more noise than I have ever heard as they stubbornly refused to stop following me on my silent quest to hide the eggs. The skinny one (you might remember her from our smoke detector incident) kept running into and out of our "sleeping" child's room, the tags around her neck making more noise than the bells in Saint Peter's Square heralding the resurrection of Christ. It wasn't music to my ears.

As I breathlessly hid the last egg and placed the Boy's Easter basket in its place, I held my breath hoping the Boy hadn't heard the racket I had been making. In the end , I think we pulled it off. All the eggs got hidden, the Boy's belief in the Easter Bunny was preserved, and all was well in the Knight House.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

P.J.'s Design Laboratory Blog Design Giveaway!!!

Disclosure: Writing Pad Dad and Teacher to the Core did not receive compensation to help promote this post and are not responsible for prize delivery.

Want to start a blog, but don't know how to design your page? Have a blog and want to redesign it? Have we got a giveaway for you! The Missus and I have teamed up with Parker of PJ's Design Laboratory to give one lucky winner a free blog design!

Aside from designing my blog (doesn't it look great?), here are some of the AMAZING blogs that Parker has designed!

Here's what the winner will receive:
  • custom header
  • matching button
  • button grab box
  • custom background
  • custom sidebar titles
  • custom signature
  • custom blog post dividers
  • custom page links/navigation
  • custom social network buttons
  • installation
  • it's the Full Design Package valued at $99!!!
Enter to win below:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Birds Of A Feather: All Thumbs And None Of Them Green Part 2


Spring has sprung in our neck of the woods and suddenly I'm a poet. I quote A.A. Milne and say, "She turned to the sunlight and shook her yellow head, and whispered to her neighbor: 'Winter is dead"'. I'm full of song too. Flowers are blooming. Birds are singing. You get the picture. Speaking of birds, I always want birds to nest here, but they never do. Until this year. I don't know why they haven't before now. We don't have a cat. I've planted lots of trees. What's the problem? Anyway, excitement was running high around here in anticipation of the babies finally hatching. So, spring is here and I'm really happy to go with it.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"9,000 Miles Of Fatherhood" By Kirk Millson: Book Review

Disclosure: I received a copy of the unpublished manuscript of this book to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

Sometimes you read a book and the author's writing skills are outstanding, but the story does nothing for you. Sometimes you read a book and the plot comes apart at the seams in the clumsy hands of the writer. Sometimes you read a book and the author's point seems to be lost in a flurry of words. Every once in a while, you're lucky enough to read a book in which the story speaks to you, the plot is crafted by an author with a firm grip, and message soars off the pages and hits you right between the eyes. Such is the case with this book!

9,000 Of Fatherhood by Kirk Millson is an engrossing and entertaining read. I missed reading about Kirk and his son long after finishing the pages in this book. Kirk's writing shines throughout. It's vivid and affecting and he does an amazing job of always moving the story along at an engaging clip.

The backdrop of the story is a father and son road trip through Mexico and Central America and the adventures and misadventures they encounter. But the centerpiece of this story is the relationship between father and son. Over the course of the trip, Kirk's son is transformed before his very eyes. Kirk comes to realize and teaches all of us that kids don't need perfect fathers. What they need is for their dads to be present in their lives. Kirk says, "If our trip taught me anything it's that a father doesn't have to be smart or talented or otherwise remarkable to have a huge impact on a kid's life; he just has to stay involved." Can I get an AMEN?

I can't recommend this book highly enough. I loved it.  This is a book to share with the fathers and sons in your life. All of them. I would gladly have gone another 9,000 miles with Kirk and his son. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Creating Easter Memories With Chasing Fireflies

Have you heard about Chasing Fireflies? If not, you're missing out! My family had a ton of fun making Christmas memories with Chasing Fireflies and now we're having fun creating Easter memories.

It all started when these personalized pajamas arrived at our house. My son was so excited. How great will these be on Easter morning when he's hunting for eggs?

After my son was done posing and running around the house in his new pajamas, we snuggled up on the couch to read The Night Before Easter by Natasha Wing. We read it every year, only this year was a little different because my son read the book to me!

After we read, it was time for dessert, of course (I'll start my diet tomorrow or the day after). We found this ready-made sheet of Rice Krispy Treats and the Missus had a brilliant idea. 

We used an egg-shaped cookie cutter to make cutouts from the Rice Krispy sheet and then dipped them in Easter-colored melted white chocolate. It was a ton of fun and very messy! It's hard to make memories that last without making a bit of a mess. Thanks for the memories, Chasing Fireflies!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: "Max Makes A Cake" By Michelle Edwards

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to facilitate this review.  All opinions stated are genuine and my own.
Any time I come across a children's book about cooking, I'm all in. I enjoy cooking and love it when my son wants to help me. So, I jumped at the chance to review Max Makes A Cake by Michelle Edwards. This is a tale of Max who, along with his dad, is trying to make a birthday cake for his mom. Not just any birthday cake, a Passover birthday cake. However, Max's little sister has other plans, as little sisters do, and keeps dad from being able to help Max. Max takes matters into his own hands and the results are adorable.

My son loved this book. We've read it several times already. It also was an unexpected opportunity to teach my boy about Passover and, being a teacher, I value those teachable moments that come along. Your young kiddo will love this book too! Enter to win a copy below:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Grillware Griddle Review and Giveaway

Disclosure: I received a Grillware Griddle to facilitate this review.  All opinions stated are genuine and my own.

There are products you buy and then don't use. There are products you buy, use, and then wish you'd never bought. Then there are products that you bring home, try out, and love. I'm happy to report that my Grillware Griddle is a product I love. It can be used on the grill (yes, spring is coming!), on the stove top, and in the oven. Amazing! 

My son wanted to make pancakes this past weekend and we gave our new Grillware Griddle a test run. The results were fantastic as you can see.

We made Ina Garten's Banana Sour Cream Pancakes, minus the bananas, just like the Missus likes them. 

I am looking forward to trying this awesome griddle in the oven and, when summer comes, on the grill! Now, here's the really awesome part: you can enter my giveaway to win a Grillware Griddle of your very own! Enter below: