Kids, Tablets, Phones and Staying Safe Online

I don’t know about you but whenever I see a little kid playing with a tablet, I flash back to the beginning of Orson Scott Card’s Enders Game and think, “how did he know?!” It’s amazing how quickly tablets (and, to a lesser degree, smartphones) have gone from things we were pretty sure we didn’t want our kids using at young ages to things that are now almost common school supplies.

Seriously: some schools actually supply tablets to their students. Even when those kids are still in elementary school. I don’t know about you, but my second grader has a hard time remembering her lunchbox when she gets off the bus. I’m terrified over the idea of having to replace a lost tablet.
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Submissions Now Open for “Mr. Dad Seal of Approval”

Mr. Dad Seal of ApprovalWe’ve finally recovered from Toy Fair and are now accepting submissions for the Mr. Dad Seal of Approval‘s Spring 2014 and Father’s Day 2014 seasons. There is no fee to apply. If you have (or someone you know has) a toy, game, app, service, or anything else that gets dads and kids engaging together, we encourage you to visit and fill out the simple application in the sidebar. Submission deadlines and announcement dates are below.

Season Submission Deadline Winners Announced
Spring 2014 March 31, 2014 Week of April 14, 2014
Father’s Day 2014 May 26, 2014 Week of June 2, 2014
Back to School 2014 August 25, 2014 Week of  September 7, 2014
Winter Holidays ’14 November 16, 2014 Week of December 1, 2014

Talking about Death + Teen Drivers

Joseph Primo, author of What Do We Tell the Children?
Talking to kids about death and dying.
Issues: Learning to help kids deal with the “how” and “why” of death and loss; the importance of honest communication; giving kids coping skills they’ll be able to use throughout their lives.

Tim Hollister, author of Not So Fast.
Parenting your teen through the dangers of driving
Issues: How brain development affects driving; what driver’s ed doesn’t produce safe drivers; how and why to prepare a “flight plan” for each drive before handing over the keys; how an when to say no.

Smart Parenting in a Toxic Sports Environment

[amazon asin=0762786655&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Luis Fernando Llosa, co-author of Beyond Winning.
Smart parenting in a toxic sports environment
Issues: Why kids shouldn’t do organized sports until about age 11; the importance of not trying to live your sports fantasies through your children; avoiding bullying, trash talk, and elitism; picking sports based on your child’s developmental stage; suggestions for how to revamp the youth sports industry.

Ending Daily Battles with Your Kids + Single Mothers Dating + Like the Child You Love

[amazon asin=0142196924&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Noel Janis-Norton, author of Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting.
Five strategies that end daily battles and get kids to listen the first time.
Issues: A step-by-step plan that will help you raise a child who is cooperative, considerate, confident, and self-reliant. The five strategies are: descriptive praise, preparing for success, reflective listening, never ask twice, and rewards and consequences.

[amazon asin=0465018947&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Rachel Lehmann-Haupt, author of In Her Own Sweet Time.
Finding love, commitment, and motherhood as a single woman
Issues: Testing your fertility and what the results show about your ability to conceive; what it’s really like to search for a sperm donor; how to date while still thinking about motherhood; the joys and challenges of becoming a single mother by choice.

[amazon asin=B002F082A8&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Jeffrey Bernstein, author of Liking the Child You Love.
Build a better relationship with your kids even when they’re driving you crazy.
Issues: Taming the most common toxic thought patterns that stop us from parenting effectively, including the “always” or “never” trap, seething sarcasm; emotional overheating; “should” slamming, and dooming conclusions.

Dad-Daughter Bonding with @MasterCard #FuelFamilyFun and #MC

the checkout lane at lucky @MasterCard #FuelFamilyFun and #MC















Just before Father’s Day, as part of a sponsored post for Collective Bias®, my youngest and I decided to do a little dad-daughter bonding by checking out the @FuelRewards program from @MasterCard. (But sponsored or not, the views and opinions in this post are entirely my own.)

The first thing we did was get online and sign up for a Fuel Rewards Network card and then link it with my #MC MasterCard. You can also do this by downloading the FRN iPhone app. The way the FRN program works is that you earn discounts on Shell fuel for just about any purchases you make with your MasterCard. Given that fuel in California is consistently 10-20 cents/gallon more expensive than the rest of the country, I’m looking for all the help I can get.

The mobile app has some nice features, including a map function that shows eligible grocery stores and other participating businesses (like Home Depot) as well as nearby Shell stations.




Lucky Rewards card for use with #FuelFamilyFun #MCOnce all the downloading, linking, menu planning, and list making were done, we set out for a nearby Lucky Supermarket. We signed up for a new #Lucky Rewards card and got one on the spot.

If you’re interested in the Fuel Rewards Network–and you really should be since it’ll cost you exactly zero to join and you get discounts on fuel for buying stuff you’re already buying anyway–I suggest that you watch the short instructional video below. You can also get more info on the FRN on the Network’s Facebook page.



From a marketing point of view, one of the smartest things the FRN website does is show the lowest prices FRN members have paid for fuel within the previous 24 hours. There are tons of people who paid as little as one cent per gallon. That certainly motivated me to whip out my MasterCard just about everywhere (on our first grocery run I earned an 18 cents/gallon (for a max of 20 gallons) credit.

The way I figure it, if I can manage to fill up my tank three or four times for a penny a gallon, I’ll have saved enough to take my roller-coaster addicted daughter to Disneyland.





I’ve always considered food shopping to be a highly underrated for fathers to spend time with their kids. You can check out our entire shopping adventure in our Google+ album.