They’re Heeere! Brand New Editions of “The Expectant Father” and “The New Father” Are Out

The brand-spankin’-new, updaed, revised, improved editions of The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide for Dads-to-Be (Fourth Edition) and The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year (Third Edition) are here!

With more than a million copies sold, both are considered the classics in the field. They’ve been completely revamped for the modern dad and feature the very latest research and discussions for today’s fathers.

Halloween: More Than Just a Box of Chocolates

In the grand scheme of things, Halloween is a pretty minor holiday. No question, kids love it because they can get dressed up, knock on strangers’ doors, and bring back their weight in candy. And plenty of adults love it too, in part because they get to wear costumes to work and put bowls of candy on their desk. But fun as it is, Halloween isn’t a holiday that many families celebrate together, and on November 1, it’s all over but the chocolate. This week we take a look at a few items that your whole family can enjoy for longer than a day, and that can also help make Halloween more of a family experience.


blue orange spot it!Spot It! (Blue Orange Games)

Spot It! is a Halloween-themed matching game for the whole family. Like some of Blue Orange’s other games, this one consists of a deck of cards (in this case, they’re round), each of which has a number of images (in this case, they’re kind of spooky: ghosts, goblins, witches, frogs, bones, voodoo dolls, zombies, etc.). Using some mathematical hocus-pocus, any two cards in the deck will have one—and only one—matching image. There are five game variations that involve matching and either getting rid of all your cards or collecting more than anyone else does. All you need is a sharp eye and quick reflexes. Be warned: kids are better at these games than adults. A fun game that you’ll enjoy long after all your candy is gone. For 2-8 players, ages 7+.


krusteaz mixesKrusteaz baking mixes (Krusteaz)

Krusteaz has a huge line of cookie-, muffin-, and cake mixes. For Halloween, they’ve added one for Pumpkin Spice cookies. But there are plenty of others, including yum-inducing blueberry muffins, triple chocolate chip cookies, and delicious pancake batter. Some are even gluten free. Whichever one(s) you choose, they’re very easy to prepare–in most cases, all you’ll need to provide is an egg, some oil, and some water—which makes them a great family activity. For kids 3 and up (with your supervision, of course).


sprouts farmer marketDelicious foods (Sprouts Farmers Market)

Sprouts has a dizzying array of foods that goes way beyond what you’d expect from a company with “farmers market” in its name. These include seafood, dairy, meat, and more. Many of their selections also offer healthy alternatives such as vegan, organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, and whole grains. We had a chance to sample some of their cereals, cookies, granola, soup, and kale chips. All had a Halloween-y, pumpkin-y feel and taste, and all were delicious. A nice way to add some non-candy items to your Halloween meals.


rockport walk 360Rockport shoes (Rockport)

Chances are, you’re going to be doing a lot of trick-or-treat walking, which means you’ll need comfortable shoes. You can’t do better than Rockport. We put a pair of Walk 360s through their paces (literally) for a month, and they’ve been wonderful since their first moment out of the box. Rockport has a huge selection of dress and/or casual shoes for men and women. Whichever ones you pick, they’ll get you where you need to go in comfort and style.


teeth fairiesTeeth Fairies book and doll set (Teeth Fairies)

This book-doll combo offers a new twist on the age-old family tradition. Turns out, there are too many lost teeth for one fairy to handle. So she rounded up some help. The rhyming story is cute and kids of baby-tooth-losing age will love it. For parents (and the reason we’re mentioning it here), there’s some nice, subtle messaging about brushing teeth and dental hygiene.


Supporting Mr. New Guy

Dear Mr. Dad: I just heard that my ex-wife is moving in with her boyfriend. We’ve been divorced for nearly two years and she wasn’t cheating on me, but I’m furious. Plus, I’m worried about how this is going to affect my kids and my relationship with them. Why am I so upset, and what do you suggest that I do?

 A: Discovering that your former wife is having sex with someone else brings up a whole flurry of strong and sometimes-unexpected emotions, regardless of how long ago your marriage ended. Here’s what’s going on:

You’re confronting reality. When your ex moves in with someone else (or even starts actively dating), it’s hard to deny that your relationship with her has ended. It also ends any fantasies you may have had that the two of you will reconcile.

You’re curious. I think it’s basic human nature in these situations to wonder about the new guy. Love your ex or hate her, you’ll probably be curious about where the two of them go and what they do.

She may be moving in with the world’s biggest moron, and she may dump him and start dating moron number two next week, but none of that is any of your business and you can’t do anything about it anyway. (If she does start dating and the two of you are able to communicate civilly, gently encourage her not to introduce the kids and the boyfriend for a long while.)

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Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life

Jason Hanson, author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life.
Safety and survival techniques to keep your family protected
Issues: Picking locks; essential items to carry at all times; know when you’re being followed and how to lose your tail; preventing home invasions, carjackings, and kidnappings; traveling safely no matter where you are.

Real-World Self Defense + Spy Secrets to Save Your Life

Damian Ross Self Defense CompanyDamian Ross, creator of the Self Defense Training System.
Real-world self-defense strategies
Issues: Why traditional martial arts don’t work on the street; getting comfortable with the idea of doing violence to someone who’s trying to harm you or a loved one; how to create distance and diffuse potentially violent situations; devastating strategies even beginners can use to improve their chances of survival.

Jason Hanson, author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life.
Safety and survival techniques to keep your family protected
Issues: Picking locks; essential items to carry at all times; know when you’re being followed and how to lose your tail; preventing home invasions, carjackings, and kidnappings; traveling safely no matter where you are.

Build Me a Story

Play is supposed to be fun, right? But these days, there are a lot of toys and games that take away some (or most) of the fun by having so many elaborate rules that any hope of creativity is stifled. At the same time, having no rules at all can be so overwhelming that it’s impossible to start. The best games—the ones you want to play over and over—include some basic rules but also give the players plenty of space to improvise. This week we take a look at several family games that do exactly that: give you some guidelines but then get out of the way and let you do things your own way.

how to tell a storyHow to Tell a Story (book by Daniel Nayeri)
The best stories are the ones that have a basic structure and some familiar elements, such as action, conflict, and the characters’ motivation. But putting those elements together isn’t always easy. How to Tell a Story is like a creative writing workshop in a box. The 140+-page book includes some excellent insights into how to write (or just tell) a story. But the best part is the 20 story blocks, which have unique illustrations on each side. They fall into six color-coded categories: red (people or animals), blue (things), orange (places), yellow (descriptions or emotions), green (actions), and purple (relationships). The idea is to roll the blocks like dice and use what’s on each face to create your stories. You can make up your own or follow some of the prompts the author provides (“I found it,” said the [person or animal], lifting the [thing] into the air.) An absolutely wonderful way to stimulate creativity while learning how to be a better storyteller. Ages 3 and up.


magicademyDisney Magicademy (Wonderforge)
Another clever way to make learning fun. Magicademy Animals takes kids on a tour of the animal kingdom, learning about what each species eats, where they live, how they protect themselves, and what we as humans can do to protect them and their environment. Kids and parents will love the huge variety of clever-yet-educational activities and games, such as word scrambles, crossword puzzles, animal bingo, matching games, drawing challenges, and vocabulary (did you know that a group of mice is called a “mischief”?). Magicademy Science brings a similar approach to the world of science. Guided by the beloved characters from the movie Frozen, kids will learn about weather, physics, color, light, our five senses, and more. Both kits come with a 60-page activity book, colored pencils, stickers, a storage pouch, and more. Ages 4 and up.

dohdlesDohdles (Kosmos)
Like most board games, the goal of Dohdles is for players to be the first to move their pawn from a starting space to an ending space. And like many board games, players can move their own pawn forward or do something to keep their opponents from advancing. Unlike most other board games, though, players don’t have to roll dice or pick cards or answer questions to move. Instead, they use modeling dough to create a small sculpture that other players will have to identify (the word doghdle, by the way, combines the words dough and riddle). The trick is to make your dohdles hard—but not impossible—to guess. The sculptor (called Dohdle Master) can score points when opponents guess correctly. Comes with plenty of modeling dough that doesn’t dry out, stain, or smear. Takes about 40 minutes to play. For 3-6 players 10 and up.