Saturday, January 29, 2011

Product Spotlight and Giveaway: The Wean Machine

This may be one of the coolest little devices I have ever been able to hold in one hand. Used for making baby food at home or on the go, The Wean Machine is an excellent tool for using fresh fruits and veggies to make your own baby food. Stage one and two foods are a squeeze to make with the two fittings provided. For those who want the freshest and healthiest for their growing young ones, The Wean Machine is for you!

But wait that's not all! The Wean Machine is also great for normal household food preparation. Use it with fresh fruits such as blueberries and strawberries to make toppings for ice cream and yogurt or fillings for pies and cakes. Great for all ages, fun to use, easy to clean, and a great concept. Two thumbs up from The Dude. Here is a little more about the product from creator Tilly Beazely

The Wean Machine makes fresh healthy baby food wherever you are.  Fully self contained, easy to use, simply fill, squeeze and feed.  No need to ever compromise what you feed your baby again. Straight from the table or fruit bowl, making baby food just got EASIER, HEALTHIER and CHEAPER!

Now you can make fresh healthy baby food in seconds without having to use large noisy liquidisers and blenders or worry about whether there are hidden additives or preservatives.  Simply fill squeeze and feed.  NO FUSS NO MESS NO NOISE! Teaching your baby what they are eating at the point of preparation and encouraging families to eat together.  Fully self contained, so can be used at home or out and about.  Ideal for holidays and travel. Saves time and money as no need to make separate meals.

Tilly Beazeley, mum and business woman, passionate about helping and educating mums.  Who herself had been frustrated that there wasn’t an easy way to prepare fresh healthy baby food when out and about that she just felt that there must be a simple solution.  A product that you would be a good investment, fulfil all the Department of Health recommendations but still be practical.

The Wean Machine was born!
Helps through each stage of weaning.
Saves time & money.
Easy to use.
Easy to clean, dishwasher safe and easily sterilised.
Contains no BPA’s, Phthalates or PVC.

Thanks to Tilly Beazely for the chance to give this product a whirl. Now here's a chance for one lucky person to win their very own Wean Machine! The contest will run until midnight EST on Thursday, February 10th, at which time I will select a winner at random. Here's how you can enter:

1 - Comment on This Post: What kind of delicious baby foods and goodies would you make with The Wean Machine?

2 - Tweet about The Giveaway: "Just entered to win The Wean Machine from @TillyBeaz and The DaddyYo Blog #WinWean" including a link back to the post .. tweet as many times as you like, each tweet is an entry.

3 - Follow @TillyBeaz on Twitter: Leave notice in your comment here so we can add your name to the pot.

4 - Like The Wean Machine on Facebook: Once again, let me know so I can add your name.

That's it! Good luck and enter to win today!

**Disclaimer: Yes, the disclaimer again. I was provided a free product to try out at home. HOWEVER I was not compensated to provide positive feedback. All opinions expressed herein are those of my own and not influenced by any outside source. Thank you to Tilly Beazely for the chance to give this a try and give one away to a lucky reader!**

Friday, January 28, 2011

Q&A with Tony Havelka: Founder and CEO of Ameba TV

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to The DaddyYo Blog! I hope today finds you all well and ready for the weekend! At the end of this post I will be announcing the winner of the Ameba TV giveaway that has been running the last week. But first, it is my honor to introduce you to founder and CEO of Ameba TV, Tony Havelka. Tony is a dad of two, a thinker, and a visionary. Tony agreed to answer 10 questions about being a dad and about Ameba TV for the day I announce the winner of the Ameba TV set top box. Thank you so much Tony! It has been a pleasure reading your responses in preparation for this post, and learning a little more about the man behind Ameba TV. Without further delay, I give you Tony Havelka, in his own words.
Thursday, January 27, 2011

This Blog is For You

On many occasions, and in many posts, I have said a quick thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to read a post. One thing I have not done though is take the time to just use this space to tell you thank you in a more personal matter. True, I would still be writing this whether I had 1000 readers or just one. However, because of all of you, there is a community. There are friends, acquaintances, fellow bloggers, readers, and critics. All of whom make the community what it is, and make the whole experience worth while.

From me to you, I thank you for being a part of this experience. Through discussions here and elsewhere on the web, I have gotten to know a lot of you on a more personal level. We have shared what makes us proud and happy, and what brings us down, makes us scared, or makes us cry.  It has really been an honor to get to know all of you and to be able to call you friends.

Blogging has become a strong passion for me. The ability to sign on, write whatever I am thinking about, publish it, and see a discussion start is quite an amazing thing. I thank you for all of the comments, the sharing of the posts, the discussions, praises and criticisms. To me, a blogger has nothing without a community surrounding them. I have to say, this community of dads, moms, grandparents, tech geeks, blogging professionals, marketing professionals, and more, is an eclectic, diverse community, that has opened my eyes to many things. Through the connections I have made with all of you I have a gained a wealth of knowledge on many subjects, and that wealth is irreplaceable.

So to all of you, this blog post is for you! A toast to all of you, my friends and colleagues:  May all your troubles be little ones.May the most you ever wish for Be the least you ever receive. May the roof above us never fall in. And may the friends gathered below it never fall out.


The Dude

Changes In Attitude, Changes in Latitude

Ah yes, the great Jimmy Buffet. I grew up listening to a lot of Jimmy's music, especially with my Dad. Fins, One Particular Harbor, Volcano, and of course the song reference  in the post title. Yes, I know I said it backwards from the original title, but I did it like that for a reason. Change is inevitable. Life is going to take us in many directions as we cruise along, and eventually we will have to change lanes. So what does this have to do with anything?

I have found out that social media moves at an insane pace. Getting posts up, remembering where and when to post, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn connections, and self-promotion. It can get your mind warped sometimes. In my recent attempts to simplify what I do online and get on an even track I have found myself asking more questions than producing more results. When I first started blogging last year I had no clue that it could lead to some of the places it has, and that maintaining would take so much effort. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about blogging. I love it. Writing is a passion for me, and writing what I am passionate about, or whatever pops into my head comes fairly easy. It has proven to be a great outlet for me and a great way to connect with so many people across the world.

Though  enjoy what I do, my attitudes towards how I do it and where I do it have changed quite a bit recently. Maintaining two separate blogs has become a chore. I have a lot to write about and trying to keep it separate is becoming exhausting. In recent discussions and with the help of some friends' suggestions, I have decided that I am just going to fuse the two blogs together. Soon I will be moving this blog over to WordPress thanks to the help of Japster, Inc. With this transition comes the transition of The DaddyYo Blog and it's overall feel. I am still a dad. Nothing can change that fact. I am also a human, a man, a music nut, social media geek, and techy. I have opinions on a lot more than just parenting.

So if you see the content start to change a little, posts that are not parenting related, never fear, The Dude is still here. I just think at this point it would be better for me to centralize it all and build upon a community as a whole, not just of a certain type. As always I hope you will continue to visit, continue to comment, and continue to enjoy. "I wear my heart on my dot com" and I am not afraid to do so. The Dude Still Abides.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Fear of Failure

This post is inspired by a post from Sex and The Single Dad, written by a good friend, JR. Please go the post linked as it is real, authentic, and powerful. Wonderfully written piece JR! The fear of failure is something that bites us all. The fear of not succeeding in the eyes of anyone but ourselves can drive us to the brink of insanity. Why is this? Why do we let the outside influence our insides so much? I find myself asking these questions a lot of myself. There has to be some definable something inside of us that controls how much the fear of failure affects us.

As a dad, this fear is omnipresent. I worry all of the time about whether or not I am failing as a dad and what my children think. I know they are young (3 and 1) but they have their own idea of me in their little brains. I just know they do. What does this image look like though? Do they see me as a great dad? A fun dad? A loving dad? There are many things I could sit here and think about until the point my heart is four feet below my left foot. There are many fears, worries, and concerns for every dad. Fears for the health and safety of our kids, fear of the object behind the smell of that diaper, and the fear of losing a child. The worst of these, and perhaps the most prominent is the fear of failure.

In my experience, the road of life and the road of uncertainty are the same roads. One name for each side of the street in my opinion. We cannot predict the future and cannot change the past. We can only walk the line that is directly in front of us. We can expect the world out of ourselves. We can expect the perfect responses at the perfect times in the perfect places. Yet, if that is all we expect of ourselves, then we can surely expect failure. The fear of failure is overcome when one realizes that failure is a part of life. The only failure to be scared of is failure to use our shortcomings as a lesson and teaching tool.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" may be the truest words ever spoken by FDR. The biggest thing we have to fear as dads, men, and people, is having fear. It is going to come to us by nature. We cannot hide ourselves from fear. We can, however, work together to overcome our fears one at a time and better ourselves. Our fears will bring us down and in turn prevent us from being the best dads, husbands, and men we can be. We should not fear the kind of dad we are; instead we should be proud of the dads we are and make a promise to our children and our own selves that we will always strive to be the best dads we can be without fear of failure, and fear of fear.

-The Dude-

Now it's your turn! We have all had fears as dads and as people in general. What are your biggest fears about being a dad? What are your fears about life in general? And what do you do to face and overcome your fears? Please share below and together we can learn, understand, and overcome the worst of our fears!
Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Craft Time with The Dude: Making Sock Puppets

It is once again time for "Craft Time with The Dude". This is my second of such posts and I hope to have many more to come just like it. Most of you already know (if you are a regular reader of the blog) that Tuesday night here is Daddy/Kiddo night while The Wifey is at her weekly college classes. This week was one of the greatest nights we have had during Daddy/Kiddo night as we made sock puppets and a theater to perform in. It was uber fun and ultra awesome to play when everything was finished.

How to Make Sock Puppets and a Theater

The Requirements: You will need a toddler size sock for each child participating in the craft. Toddler sizes work best for little hands and probably a lot cleaner than using your own! Next you need markers. One red for drawing on the mouth and tongue, and another color of your choice for the nose and to dot where you will put the eyes. Fabric markers are probably the best choice. I didn't have any so I went with a good old Sharpie. *Note: Do NOT let children use a Sharpie. Fumes can be strong for such little noses and there is a reason it is called a PERMANENT marker!* Finally, you will need buttons for the eyes, and glue to glue them onto the socks. 

Next you will need to construct a "theater" for the puppets to perform in. A cardboard box broken down is your best option. In our case it was the box that my electric guitar came in. Break the box down and flatten it out. You will need to fold the flaps backwards to give the theater some balance to stand upright. Next draw a box for how large of a window you want to cut out. Obviously, placement of the window will depend on the height of your children, or if they know how to kneel down to do it. The Kiddos are hyper all of the time so getting them to kneel or sit is a job in itself! Next, cut out the window. Be sure to remove loose pieces of cardboard that may have the chance to be pulled off and pose a choking hazard if inserted into the mouth. 

Next it is time to decorate the theater! Get the crayons, the stickers and the glitter paint ready! The kids had a blast with this. I admit, I helped some. It was just too much fun not to get into! Let them go crazy and put whatever they want to on it. We drew with crayons and decorated it with letters and numbers since both of The Kiddos are really into counting and the ABC's. 

Once again, let them be creative, but be watchful when using glue, paint, markers, or anything that may require the supervision of an adult. It's cool to snap some pictures of the great time you are having but always keep that parental eye watching. 

Next it is time for the puppets! Find out where the mouth will fold on your child's hand to know where to draw the mouth and tongue. Next, make two dots where the eyes will go. Using just a little bit of glue, let the kids attach the button eyes to their puppets. The Kiddos enjoyed telling me about the eyes, nose, and mouth of their puppets and pointing them out while we let the glue dry. Make certain you do not lay anything on top of the puppets are let them fold over while the glue dries. Would hate to see a kid frown because the puppet's mouth is now glued shut!

Finally: IT'S SHOW TIME!!! Your puppets and theater are complete and it is time to put on a show! Encourage their imagination and explore all of the wonderful places the puppets can go and people they can meet. Be interactive as the puppets are sure to address you directly at some point. 

This was a great activity and one that hopefully will have a lasting effect as a playtime favorite. Great for dad, mom, son, daughter, niece, nephew, cousins, and so on. Everyone is sure to have a good time. 


And of course, make sure you make one for yourself! What fun would it be to just sit back and watch! Of course, you don't have to just take my word for it. Give it a try yourself. Create puppets with big eyes, small eyes, red mouth, blue mouth, clothes, hair, and the works. The room for creativity in this one is endless. Let their minds go free and let the energy go nuts.