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Archive for the ‘Toys’ Category
By Daddy Clay Friday, August 9th, 2013
Headlamp illuminating a gruesome scene of bloody knuckles and scattered tools, I had a recurring thought, he better use this damn thing. Every day. That kid may get his meals on this playscape.
I’m not handy, but I am single minded, so in about 36 almost unbroken hours of torquing bolts and tweaking screws, the thing was complete: A little wooden fortress on stilts, accessed by ladder or climbing wall, a sand pit below, a two-person porch swing on one side, individual swings on the other.
He did use it, my oldest. So did his younger sister. Then his little brother. And dozens, maybe a hundred or more other kids. Guests and strangers alike. Countless hours of playtime.
Over the years, the playscape came to be a kind of family emblem and a gathering place for our funky little community (we live on a boarding school campus), always a feature, if not the centerpiece of birthday parties, work celebrations, and our annual Egg Hunt. We’d like to think our house has been a social crossroads, our yard a natural gathering place. My kids grew up on the playscape, but others too. I have the pictures to prove it. Read the rest of this entry »
By Daddy Clay Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
Some last-minute Father’s Day ideas inspired by BlogHer Food, recently held here in Austin, Texas.
Add to that list the people from BlogHer.
So when they contacted me about the possibility of leading an excursion for the attendees of BlogHer Food here in Austin, my response was instantaneous. I’m in. What could be more fun than leading a group of mom bloggers through South Boston’s funkiest eateries?
I also thought of the conference would be a perfect place to test out my leading candidates for the ultimate Father’s Day gift: a Korchmar Marshall backpack and briefcase combo. It will be a tough sell. I have loved my North Face backpack. Its numerous slots compartments and pockets are perfect for a gadget toting geek. The question is is it really suitable for a man of 46 to be hauling around a shapeless black backpack to professional events?
The Korchmar is a grown-up’s alternative to the collegiate knapsack. With its canvas material and leather trim, the craftsmanship is as sturdy as it is gorgeous to look at. With the straps stowed in their dedicated pocket the bag is a squarish briefcase. With pockets for laptop gadgets and gizmos, the commodious main pocket, and two large side pockets this bag easily swallowed all the gear that I transferred from my North Face.
With the straps deployed, this nifty little pack fits neatly on your upper back. You feel ready to move through an urban environment with the knowledge that you look spiffy while doing so. This is a rugged, handmade, leather-trimmed product lovingly made here in the USA and the price reflects that ($522). It’s a premium bag for a premium price. But you’ve been a good dad right? And you’ll probably never need another one.
If you’re expecting more new dad looking for something slightly lower down the price chain have a look at the Diaper Dude. Always dependable for creating thoughtful well-made bags at a reasonable price point ($78). And now they’ve made licensing deals with some of your favorite sports teams. The Boston Red Sox logo emblazoned on the front this bag dispels any notion that taking care of the baby is exclusively a mom’s responsibility. You can call it a diaper bag, but this piece can clearly outlast infancy.
It won’t be here in time for Father’s Day, but if the guy in your life is a fitness nut, a data guy, or somebody interested in living up to their health and fitness resolutions, I suggest a fitbit Flex ($99). This item is certainly on the top of my list this year. I feel like this unit would complement my Nike+ running applications to give me a complete picture of the activity I’m doing when not running and also help me improve my sleeping habits. The units are currently backordered on fitbit’s website, but I think it would be worth the wait.
And I will say this again this year — there is no better gift than a gift certificate to a high end barbershop. A straight razor shave is an indulgence that many guys are hesitant to shell out for, but once you’ve had one, look out. A full man-spa haircut/shave/treatment is an awesome gift, and something dad isn’t likely to do for himself. These services will cost somewhere from $30-$75.
Have a great Father’s Day everyone.
Disclosure: I was provided test samples of the Korchmar and Diaper Dude bags, but was not otherwise compensated for the post. Opinions are my own.
By Daddy Clay Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
Having teens makes you lazy. On the weekends, you don’t have to play with your teens. You don’t have to come up with activities, plan playdates, do crafts, engage in tickle fights. Although it’s fun to suggest that and watch them go pale.
You have to drive them places. Hang out sometimes. Help them with homework when asked. The other stuff, not so much.
Problem is, not all my kids are teens. I am sometimes reminded that I have a third child, a nine-year-old, and while he has the contact cool of a kid with teen sibs, he’s still a third grader and plenty interested in dad activities.
I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’ve been pretty content to let the XBOX do most of the activity planning for him lately, but the buzz around Mike Adamick’s Dads Book of Awesome Projects snapped me out of it. Or guilted me out of it. Read the rest of this entry »
By Daddy Clay Monday, May 13th, 2013
Note: I was recently invited by The Motherhood Team to be part of a group of bloggers invited to learn more about the Microsoft Store. We received a briefing from company execs, were encouraged to visit a store and to write up a post on our impressions. Mine follow.
To describe my experience at the Microsoft Store at the Domain in Austin, Texas, it might be easier to start by outlining what I didn’t feel.
I didn’t feel like I was imposing on anyone.
I didn’t feel like my playlists were lame.
I didn’t feel like there was a clock ticking in the background.
I didn’t feel like my tattoos weren’t ironic enough.
I didn’t feel like it was a problem that my jeans are “relaxed fit.”
I didn’t feel like an idiot with an insatiable desire for expensive products so unquenchable that I would take any attitude that service personnel dished out, endure lines or waits or whatever herd management was on offer, or need to wander around desperately trying to make eye contact with someone wearing the latest in square rimmed spectacles in order to get my questions answered. Read the rest of this entry »