Wednesday, February 29, 2012

5 By 5: 5 Movies You Need To Share With Your Kids By The Time They Turn 5

It's that time of the year again. The Oscars have everybody talking about "the best" this and "the best" that. This got us thinking about the list of the top 5 movies our children should know by the time they turn 5... hence Five by 5. As many of our loyal readers will attest, we Stunt Dads have very different views of the world. So here are the rules we setup to make it a fair debate:

  1. No Disney Classics or Pixar movies allowed. This is way too easy and you are better than that.
  2. There must be a moral or life lesson to the story. 
  3. Ratings be damned. You are their parent. Are you really going to be bossed around by the MPAA?

Stunt Chad
I love movies. If you name it, I probably have seen it. I wouldn't be the amazing man that I am today if it were not for movies. My parents were very liberal with what they let us watch as kids. I can remember going to the drive-in movie theatre every weekend. I am probably the only kid in my kindergarten class that saw a double feature of Hotel Hell and Poltergeist. Now before you start judging my parents, they were quick to do the "turn around" when it came to nudity, sex, or extreme violence (what they didn't know is that the movie screen behind us was usually playing something just as filthy). This exposure to all things movie continued through my life. We were the first house on the block with a VCR. We were the first house with something called OnTV (cable before cable). My dad would even setup a movie projector on summer nights and play old reel-to-reels. It was fantastic. And more importantly, it helped form my worldview. What I mostly learned from movies was all of the stuff that nobody else was willing to teach me. The things that my parents wouldn't be able to say. The way that the world really works. When picking my movies, I wanted to select movies that exposed my kids to "anti-role models" that they could learn from (good and bad) and life lessons that I don't think they would ever be able to accept if I told them (quite frankly, most of these are lessons that might end up resulting in a call to the Department of Children Family Services or at least Super Nanny if I were to actually share them with my matter how true they are).

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) 
Cliff's Notes: Poor kid eats candy, gets to go on a factory tour with swinger grandparent, gets slipped some acid and ends up as the owner of a candy company.
Anti-role Model: Veruca Salt - Don't be a greedy pig or you are going to end up falling to your death and nobody will care.
Life Lesson: When invited somewhere, listen to instructions and don't be an a'hole... you will be rewarded.

The Goonies (1985) 
Cliff's Notes: A fat kid, an Asian kid, a couple of white kids, an ugly girl and a pretty girl are all going to lose their respective homes to a corporate housing development company, they find an old map in the greatest attic ever, break a penis off a statue, meet up with criminals, escape down tunnels, somehow avoid elaborate traps set by Captain M. C. Escher, team up with a mutant that enjoys his sweets, almost die, escape again, watch a pirate boat float away and end up finding a couple of rubies that are worth enough to save all of their homes. 
Anti-role Model: Chunk - Be nice to everybody regardless of what they look never know when you are going to need their crazy ape like strength to get out of a jam. 
Life Lesson: Stick with your friends and you will go far. You might might not be the fastest, smartest, or the most attractive, but combined, you and your friends will be unstoppable.

The Princess Bride (1987)
Cliff's Notes: A sick kid has to listen to a dopey story from his grandpa, but it ends up being the most awesome tale ever told. It includes a love story, an adventure tale, pirates, a giant, a Sicilian, revenge, Billy Crystal playing an old jewish guy, and some awesome swordplay.
Anti-role Model: The Dread Pirate Roberts - Chicks dig bad boys
Life Lesson:  If you find something you really want, go after it with all of your heart. No matter what gets in your way, find a way around it. If the woman you love is out of your league, get in her league. If the woman you love is in a relationship already, make her see that you are the better man. If somebody kills your father, track them down and make declarative statements about who you are and your intent to end their life. And finally... the fastest way to a woman's heart is no matter what she says, always reply with "As you wish...". 

Star Wars (The Original Trilogy—1977, 1980, 1983) 
Cliff's Notes: Orphan kid buys old robots with a message for a desert hermit that ends up being a former knight. The knight reveals that he was friends with the the orphan's dad and that he wants to train the boy to be a knight. They meet up with a rouge and his hairy sidekick to rescue the princess. In the process of rescuing the princess, the old man gets killed by the bad guy. The team escapes. They meet up with the rebellion and move to a snow planet where one guy puts another guy in a snow cow. The bad guys show up and the rebels have to escape. The orphan decides he needs to continue his education so he goes to meet with a muppet in a swamp. In the middle of his training he learns that his friends are in danger, prompting him to leave early. He shows up to a cool space station to find out his rouge friend has been frozen and that the bad guy is after him. He fights the bad guy. He gets his hand cut off. The bad guy reveals that he is the orphan's father. They all escape. Rouge guy gets sold to a big earth worm. The team saves him. They all go after the bad guy. The orphan tracks down his wayward father, the bad guy, and meets an even badder guy that want him to take his dad's job. The others go to a planet of teddy bears where they need to blow up a shield so that all the rebels can attack the badder guys big ship. They succeed. The orphan almost kills his dad and then stops. The badder guy decides to kill the orphan. The bad guy kills the badder guy and reconnects with his son right before he dies. The orphan meets back up with his friends and the teddy bears for a party. The bad guy that is now a good guy, the old knight and the muppet all appear as ghosts and smile.
Anti-role Model: Han Solo - Shoot first... and chicks dig bad boys... also it doesn't hurt to have a ship that can do the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs.
Life Lesson: Sometimes your parents make bad decisions and you can't follow them down that road. Be your own person and follow your dreams. You will be a better person for it.
Fight Club (1999)
Cliff's Notes: If you don't know Fight Club, please close your computer, head to Blockbuster (are they still around?), and then ask the person working there to punch you as hard as they can... and then rent the movie.
Anti-role Model: Tyler Durden - Sit-ups are important, be your own man (or somebody else if your own man isn't working out for you), date whomever you like, don't let the trappings of life trap you, people respect honesty, and never get too far away from the primal appreciation of being alive... or understanding just how meaningless most things in this life truly are.
Life Lesson: This is your life. Good to the last drop. It doesn't get any better than this.This is your life and its ending one minute at a time. This isn't a seminar. This isn't a weekend retreat. Where you are now, you can't even imagine what the bottom will be like. Only after disaster can we be resurrected. Its only after you've lost everything that you are free to do anything. Nothing is static. Everything is evolving. Everything is falling apart. This is your life. It doesn't get any better than this. This is your life. And its ending one minute at a time. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We are all part of the same compost heap. We are the all singing, all dancing crap of the world. You are not your bank account. You are not the clothes you wear. You are not the contents of your wallet. You are not your bowel cancer. You are not your grand latte. You are not the car you drive. You are not your f'ing khakis.You have to give up. You have to realise that someday you will die. Until you know that, you are useless. I say never let me be complete. I say may I never be content. I say deliver me from Swedish furniture. I say deliver me from clever art. I say deliver me from clear skin and perfect teeth. I say you have to give up. I say evolve, and let the chips fall where they may.Welcome to Fight Club. If this is your first night, you have to fight.

Stunt Pete
The are certain things my son Munch will need to learn by the time he's 5 years old that can only be truly conveyed by watching sports films: 1) if a bully picks on you, kick his ass, 2) if you can save a coach's job, he'll reward you with a state championship, 3) even alcoholic fathers get second chances in life, 4) grades really don't matter, playing football does, and 5) man up, face your fears, and hit a god&!@ homerun. Each of these takeaways can be learned by watching the 5 films below. Each of the films are rated no higher than PG to ensure the Sex, Language, and Violence (SLV) is kept to a minimum (Munch isn't going to be a Bible banger, so a little taste of action at the age 5 is good for his personal development).  Each have won or been nominated for awards to ensure the credibility of the film (Munch deserves the best, so I will show him the best). Each has to have a good guy and a good message for Munch to relate to (I'm raising a hero in this kid, so he needs to know that heroes win and villains lose).

The Karate Kid (PG, 1984)

Sport: Karate
Awards: Nominated for 1 Oscar (Best Supporting Actor)
Role model: Daniel Larusso is a level headed kid and tenacious for learning, while Mr. Miyagi is the all-knowing, clever, subtle teacher
Message to Munch: stand up for yourself, fight out of need, work hard, patience
SLV: no sex, minor language (sh*t), and mild violence (karate fights throughout)

Hoosiers (PG, 1986)
Sport: Basketball 
Awards: Regarded by many as the best sports movie of all-time, nominated for 2 Oscars (supporting actor and score) 
Role model: Jimmy Chitwood is honorable, saves a coaches job and leads his team to victory 
Message to Munch: Teamwork, overcome big challenges, passion and commitment to a sport 
SLV: No sex, minor language, no violence 

The Mighty Ducks (PG, 1992) 
Sport: Hockey 
Awards: Nominated for 2 Young Artist Awards (YAA): Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture, Best Young Actress Co-starring in a Motion Picture 
Role model: Charlie Conway is a good kid, wins under pressure 
Message to Munch: teamwork wins out in the end, accept others, how to deal with losing 
SLV:  no sex, minor language (damn, bastard), and plenty of violence, after all, it's hockey for godsake!

Rudy (PG, 1993) 
Sport: Football 
Awards: Nominated for 1 YAA: Outstanding Family Motion Picture - Action/Adventure 
Role model: Rudy is a loveable underdog, who's not the brightest kid in school, but will do anything and work harder than anyone to follow his dream 
Message to Munch: keep your head up kid, hard work wins out in the end

SLV: no sex, minor language (GDs, BSs) and, it's not technically violence when it's football

The Sandlot (PG, 2002)
Sport: Baseball 
Awards: Nominated for 1 YAA: Outstanding Youth Ensemble in a Motion Picture 
Role model:  Scotty Smalls and the rest of the gang are typical kids from the 60s 
Message to Munch: stay loyal to your friends, experience new things, remember the good old days

SLV: no sex, minor language (sh*t), and no violence, unless you consider "The Beast" violent

Stunt Ben
Movies are awesome, but movies centered around music are awesomer—especially for little ones that like to dance, sing, and rock! While there are many worthwhile movies not about music (my fellow Stunt Dads will surely detail those), the 5 films I want my boys to see and hear before their 5th birthday. 

The Blues Brothers (R, 1980)
Role Model: Elwood Blues takes on the Nazi party, the Chicago police, The Good Ol' Boys Country Band, and a pissed off princess Leia with a machine gun all to help the children. 
Life Lesson: Keep your eye on the next gig, don't get distracted.
Commentary: Nothing gives more street cred to a 4 old then when they start a field trip with "It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses." or when they start snack time off by ordering "Four fried chickens and a Coke." Add to that the pleasure and excitement of performances by Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Cab Calloway, and John Lee Hooker not to mention the Blues Brothers themselves. It's fun for the whole family and when made at a time when adult movies could be shared with little ones with just a few moments of ear muffs and a few simple conversations. 

The Music Man (1962)
Role Model: Harold Hill starts with the intention of scamming kids and families into buying band equipment, and in the end he turns a new leaf and gives these town the greatest show they ever had.
Life Lesson:  Music can turn a con around.
Commentary: "Oh ya got trouble, and that starts with T which rhymes with P and that stands for pool".

School of Rock (2003)
Role Model: Dewey Finn
Life Lesson: Don't get kicked out of your band or you will be forced to become a substitute teacher.
Commentary: Great soundtrack chocked full of iconic classic rock such as "Sunshine of Your Love," "Highway to Hell," "Back in Black," and "Touch Me" and it has a small cameo by the now defunct The Mooney Suzuki.

Amadeus (1984)
Role Model: n/a
Life Lesson: Opera kills
Commentary: No list of music movies is complete without mention of Amadeus. It's a look inside the twisted world of Mozart, but the characters depict such passionate love for music that it is truly infectious. It also reaffirms the importance and enjoyment of a music that is far too scarce in the world today and shows that musicians have not changed much in the last few hundred years.

Wayne's World (1992)
Role Model: Wayne brought back Bach into the future to rock a shopping mall.
Life Lesson: Do your homework and something good will come of it.
Commentary: Cameo solo by Eddie Van Halen, and the second best performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody" ever.

Uncle Terry
Alright... yet another Stunt Dad 5 By 5 list. I love these because you get a peak inside each of our Stunt Dads' parenting philosophies. Stunt Chad revealed that he embraces the wonderment and joyousness of being a kid... and recognizes the troubles that come later in life. Stunt Pete goes all in on sports movies as a teaching tool. And Stunt Ben hits it 5 times like James Brown for music. Well... now it's time for the Uncle's perspective on things. Sure, we all want kids to believe that life is all gumdrops and rainbows. But it's not. It's heartbreak and disappointment. And the sooner this younger generation understands that the better. You're not gonna beat the Chinese if you spend your youth watching cartoons—and you're sure as heck gonna be screwed by those aliens when we're living on that recently-promised space colony on the moon. So how better to prep the kids of today for the problems of tomorrow than with the movies of yesterday. Now the Stunt Dads already touched upon a few solid topics: kiddie classics are covered (so no E.T. or The Wizard of Oz or The Muppet Movie for me), sports is gone (so I won't mention Brian's Song at this point), and music is solid (so I'll not touch upon Oklahoma and The Song Remains The Same). So let's toughen up these 5 year olds, shall we! Get ready to take your medicine and learn life's hard lessons (sans the spoonful of sugar).

Old Yeller (1957)
Category: Grow up fast, youngster, movie
Awards: Best boy-and-his-dog film
Role Model: 1) The son, Young Travis Coates, steps up and runs the ranch and tends to the family while his father is on a cattle drive (dad's away on business... again...) 2) The dog, Old Yeller (proof, yet again, that dogs are way cooler than cats).
Lessons For Kids: Alright. I'm breaking Rule #1: No Disney movies. When we wrote that, we were trying to steer clear of the obvious disney animated features. Old Yeller is far from that. Move over Lassie, enter one big "yeller" dog. Travis adopts dog. Dog protects Travis from snakes, 'coons, bears, and wild boars. Travis loves dog. Dog gets sick after animal fight. Dog turns on Travis. Travis shoots dog. Key lessons: 1) Your best friend will always save your life, but even your best friend will eventually turn on you and you'll have to shoot him. So learn how to shoot. 2) If you open your heart to love something, it will eventually contract rabies and try to kill you. So don't get attached. 3) Dogs are cooler than cats. So don't buy a cat. Next...

The Dark Crystal (1982)
Category: The Dark Side of Jim Henson movie
Awards: Best puppet movie
Role Model: 1) Jen and Kira, the last Gelflings 2) The Mystics (UrRu), peace-loving wizards who can sing bass like Richard Sterban of the Oak Ridge Boys
Lessons For Kids: 1) Better to be UrSkeks than either Mystics or Skeksis... basically, there is good and evil within us all, so let's all try to be aware of that and work together... oh, and don't break the crystal. 2) Always be present for a Great Conjunction if you hear of one going on. 3) Girls can fly. Who knew.

Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Category: Awesomest dude in a movie
Awards: Best carwashing scene in a movie
Role Model: Lucas Jackson (Paul Newman), taking on The Man
Lessons For Kids: The world is a rough place. And the only one who really cares about you is your mama. So learn how to find your way. And don't let no one break your spirit. 1) Stand up to The Man, kids. 2) But if you stand up to The Man, you will spend a night in the box. Same goes for losing your spoon, fighting, or not being in bed on time. You will spend a night in the box. 3) Curry powder can throw off scent-tracking bloodhounds (you may need this... you never know). 4) Yeah, well sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand. Learn how to read a situation, fool others, and keep the upper hand.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966)

Category: Classic loner movie

Awards: Best poncho action

Role Model: The Man With No Name

Lessons For kids: Dude... it's Clint Eastwood. Come on, now. 1) Don't get stuck in the desert without any water. 2) Life is full of cons and cross-ups... just make sure you're the one doing the conning and crossing-up. 'Nuf said.

The Dirty Dozen (1967)

Category: War and life lessons movie

Awards: The award of respect for ending World War II

Role Model: Lee Marvin and Jim Brown. No wonder the Nazis got scared—Jim Brown?! Are you kidding me?

Lessons For Kids: It was nearly impossible to pick just one movie. As a kid, I spent my weekend afternoons watching classic movies on the local tv station—and half of the time, they seemed to broadcast war movies. I could have gone with The Great Escape and the awesomeness of Steve McQueen, Kelly's Heros and the magic of Clint Eastwood and Donald Sutherland, or Old Blood and Guts, Patton, with an amazing portrayal of the 4-Star General by George C Scott. But I think The Dirty Dozen is the best of all worlds. In it, you have the Band of Misfits working together on a seemingly suicide mission to achieve a common goal (just like in The Great Escape and Kelly's Heros), you have a focus on teamwork and determination, and you've got a great leader running the show (just like in Patton). And this thing has it all. You've got a bunch of miscreants who, over time, turn into a lean, mean, fighting machine. You've got acts of heroism and selflessness. And you have troubled and flawed characters too. Life ain't perfect and neither are people—and those guys will get killed off before the final scene. 1) Work hard and be there for your brother. 2) Mnemonic devices are great tricks for memorizing complicated information for tests (ONE! Down at the roadblocks, we've just begun. TWO! Guards are through. THREE! The Major's men are on a spree...). 3) Life is full of second chances and redemption.

So what do you think? What are your top 5 movies to share with kids? Let us know in the comments below.

- Not a parenting blog, not a daddy blog, not a mommy blog — it's a Stunt Dad blog. 
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stunt Dad Work Out: Toddler Required

After countless hours researching Heidi Klum for my Nanny Dress Code post, I learned that Heidi attributes her healthy shape to chasing after her kids. This inspired me to create the following Stunt Dad workout exercises, that also serves as a decent back peddle when you call your kids dumb bell in public.

1. Zurbert curls. Stretch our your arms out with palms facing up and have dumb bell (child) lay perpendicular across them facing up. Secure dumb bell by holding onto leg farthest from your body and wrap your other hand in between their arm and body and hold tightly. Slowly curl arms lifting giggling child up towards your chest. Then give unsuspecting child a zurbert. Child will relentlessly ask you to do it again like a highly paid trainer.

2. Smell my butt tricep press. Stand against a bed or couch facing away with the backs of your calves touching the couch or bed. Pick up kid and throw over your shoulder like a sack of potatoes, facing down head over your shoulder. Call child a sack of potatoes. Grab child's ankles and slowly let child slide down your back. Command child to smell your butt. Then straighten arms to the ceiling lifting laughing child's face above your butt. Child will ask hysterically to repeat exercise. Do no more than 5 repetitions at a time, making sure not to leave child upside down or by your butt too long.

3. Gitty up horsey push ups. Let child sit on back while doing push ups. Start while they are young so you don't embarrass yourself.

4. Dust the top shelf squats/lat press. Give child a duster. Bend knees, grab child under the arms and lift by straightening legs, making sure not to lock your knees. Then extend arms up to the ceiling lifting child in position to clean the top shelf. Slowly lower child with arms then legs while whispering expletives under your breath.

5. Chase child. Find a reason to chase child. Their squirmy, winding, twisting will workout more muscles in your ankles, knees and legs than any professional trainer can do and you will have way more fun in the process.

Any other creative ways to use a child as workout equipment? Please let us know in the comments.

- Stunt Ben  

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Nanny Dress Code, by Stunt Dad

Pic from
An article on Baby Center recently caught my attention, asking if nannies should have a dress code. It was inspired by a mother feeling insecure and wondering if it was ok for her to ask her hot nanny to dress down. The responses to the post are awesome. From the realist declaring you can't keep a hot woman down..."hot women will be just as hot in a T-Shirt and jeans" to the pragmatic offering suggestions of "no skirts so they can play at the child's level". And the subject seems to be a hot one (pun intended). Mom Logic wrote about the subject of hot nannies in 2010. There are lots of opinions... but none from a Stunt Dad. And while it would be easy to tackle the subject of "If" you should a hire a hot nanny, I would rather just end the controversy altogether and deliver the official nanny dress code that will end the debate once and for all.
  1. Nothing expensive. My kids are going to ruin it anyway and I'm not going to pay to have it cleaned or replaced. Cashmere smashmere, it looks like a puke mat to a 3 year old. 
  2. Look as hot as you want (in inexpensive clothes). Look hot when you show up, but if you look good at the end of the day, then something is rotten in Denmark (where models are manufactured). While it is true that some women have the gift of looking just as hot in a T-Shirt as in a couture gown (my wife being one of them), lets not forget the impact of toddlers on fashion. If a nanny can look hot after taking care of your kids for a day... guess what—they didn't take care of 'em. Even Heidi Klum looks like Princess Fiona after a day with the kids. So your average hot nanny (can we just refer to them as hanny's from now on?) should have Cheerios in their tangled hair, snot (snot theirs) on their sleeve, yogurt stains on the shoulder, a shooting pain in their back and an eye tick. 
  3. No heels. If your nanny shows up in heels, then they have never chased a kid about to run into the street and they ain't no nanny. Pros show up in Puma Cell Turin Running Shoes. Yes, that was a shameless plug for PUMA, but hey, you will get 30% off select styles if you use the link and Stunt Dad will get beer money. 
  4. No dangly earings. My 8 month year old almost ripped a pair off his aunts ears today. Foolish aunty. 
  5. Jeans that make your ass look fat. You know the ones, from Walmart that came free with a frozen turkey. The kids don't care and it will make mommy so happy. 
  6. X Boyfriend's favorite shirt. Nannying is the proper way to destroy his favorite hockey jersey, especially on finger paint day. And when he asks for it back, say you threw it out after the kids had a diaper explosion.
Final advice: Dress like you're going painballing for the first time. Being a nanny is pretty much the same thing without the rules and ref. You will be shot at, you will chase and be chased, you will fall, you will dive, you will shed blood. You will be tempted to crawl behind a bush and curl up in the fetal position, but you will resist...not because you are strong, but because you know hiding is futile. StumbleUpon Pin It Now!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

100 Days for My Baby Girl: Day 100

Day 100
I don't know what's more difficult to believe: this project is coming to an end or that my daughter is almost 4 months old.

Time has certainly flown by, and while I've done some great things to remember this special time, such as her Time Capsule and Monthly Photo Journal, I haven't really been able to capture her movements or her sounds. This is the stage in life where she is full of giggles, smiles, and coos, just because she can.

This is also a stage that she will never remember, no matter how you try to explain it to her when she's older. When she's 5, she'll be able to remember what life was like at 3. But when's she 3, she won't be able to remember a thing. So, as much as this is for Wifey and I to capture, it's also to prove to her visually that she really was this tiny. And when she is throwing a tantrum, it would be nice to play the video and remind her that she was actually a sweet little happy bunny of a girl once up a time.

So, this day is going to be all about authentication. And here is what I’m planning to do:

Videotape my Daughter
God, that sounds horrible doesn't it? Or, do I just have that jaded of a mind? Well maybe a little, but the real idea here is to get a solid recording, not through an iPhone video, which ends up sucking when you try watching it on anything except your 2 inch phone screen, but a quality recording from a real video recorder. Something that will play nicely on a plasma screen and withstand the test of time. After all, these kind of things are pulled out for weddings and baby showers, right? Or, dare I pull a Google commercial and email it to a personal email address that I set up for her? It's not original, but its still pretty damn cute. Either way, I need K2's butt wiggling and mouth giggling at 1080p, the highest of the high definition.

For the last thing I do for the 100 Day project, I wanted to do something that would show her off now and 20 years from now. Something that is timeless. Something that would last forever. And, with this video I couldn't think of a better idea to wrap up my 100 Day project.

Thank you for following along with me on this journey. It's been a wild ride so far, and I'll check in from time to time with the latest and greatest thing I'm doing for K2.
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Friday, February 24, 2012

New Drink: Fun for Mom & Dad after the kids go to bed

I am not a fan of mixed drinks that go further than waiving a bottle of vermouth over a martini glass while pouring vodka into a tumbler. But Smirnoff® has come out with a new vodka called Whipped Cream, and being that I'm whipped, it seemed like a good purchase. Mix it with Baileys® Original Irish Cream and it makes a sweet after-dinner drink for you and the misses. It goes down real easy, if you know what I mean...real easy, wink, wink ;-)

It's 2 parts Smirnoff Whipped Cream to 1 part Baileys, shaken with ice, and strained into a port or cordial glass. It's a nice way to sweeten up an evening and end a stressful day of wiping butts and noses.

-Stunt Ben

- Not a parenting blog, not a daddy blog, not a mommy blog — it's a Stunt Dad blog. StumbleUpon Pin It Now!

100 Days for My Baby Girl: Day 99

Day 99
I didn't realize how much K2 grew until we took her monthly photos this week. 

Gone was her sleepy-eyed expression. Gone was the fist clenching and toe curling. Gone was our curled up little ball of wrinkles. Here is this wide-eyed, long and lean little girl. She definitely has her mommy's looks and figure, which is a very, very good thing. But selfishly, what I noticed most were the two characteristics she picked up from Daddy: big hands and even bigger feet. 

Now I could worry that she will grow up to be an Amazon woman or a female sasquatch, but that's not very Stunt Dadish. Rather, I'm concerned she's gonna have a big ol' schwanz like her Daddy. All kidding aside, I'm going to do the exact opposite and show off her hand and feet. I'm going to highlight these adorably large features and put them on a pedestal for all to see.
So, this day is going to be all about presentation. And here is what I’m planning to do:

Baby Print Artwork of My Daughter
I love the idea of creatively capturing K2's paw prints. And the most unique way to do that is to make canvas posters of them. While this is similar to the Black and White Canvas Posters I made of her baby photos, there is something extra special about artistically capturing them as well. Whether its the color, the unique shapes, or just the simplicity of it, they will bring a great splash of color and freshness.

And, here's how I'm going to do it: I'm going to grab some paint, grab those feet, dip 'em, and stick 'em onto a piece of white canvas. After the paint dries, I'm going to grab a marker and draw the design of a butterfly body in between each of the footprints. I'm going to do that 3x times on 3 different pieces of canvas, hang them in her bedroom, and call it a day.

What am I forgetting? Have any other ideas or suggestions? Check out the previous weeks below...
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

100 Days for My Baby Girl: Day 98

Day 98
One of the best experiences of my life occurred three months after I graduated college. I boarded a plane, flew half-way 'round the world to Melbourne, Australia, and backpacked up and down the eastern coastline for the next year. I saw a part of the world that most people only read about in magazines. I met people from more countries than I can remember. And left Australia as a completely different person than when I entered... a person for the better.

Do I think it should be a law that young adults spend time outside of our country, meeting people from around the world, and experiencing different cultures? In fact, I do. I think it should be written in stone that life is too short to spend it in the state of Illinois or whatever state one lives in. The United States totals 3,794,083 square miles, accounting for just 2% of the Earth's total surface. We are a blip on a map. So do yourself and/or your children a favor, and get the hell out of our country and experience another part of this Big Blue Marble, if you haven't already. 

So, this day is going to be all about destination. And here is what I’m planning to do:

A Plane Ticket Out of the Country for my Daughter
No, I'm not sending my 3-month-old daughter to Australia. But for the next 22 years, I will be putting away $10 a month for my daughter to use towards a plane ticket out of the country when she graduates college. Will +$2,500 cover her plane ticket come 20 years? Not sure—but it should will help. And thanks to banking's automated transfer service, I can set this up tomorrow and completely forget about it. One of the biggest barriers about leaving our country is the money it costs to go somewhere else. On her graduation day, when other kids are going to be getting career advice, framed diplomas, or a stuffed teddybear in a graduation gown, K2 will receive a plane ticket to the destination of her choice. Where she goes and how soon she returns is something I can't predict, but I will guarantee one thing—she will have the time of her life, and as you can see below, just like her daddy did...

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

100 Days for My Baby Girl: Day 97

Day 97
In a perfect world, my kids would see much, much more of our family than they currently do. One set of relatives lives in Canada, another group lives in California, and we live in Chicago. Aside from my parents and brother's family, the majority of our family does not live close.

Since we hold family in high regard in the Stunt Pete household, I want our relatives to be known by our little ones. I want our children to recognize an uncle when they walk in the door or get excited to see their cousin that they haven't seen a year. So instead of relying on sporadic visits to or from family, I'm going to bring family to us. While I'm not thinking about taking on permanent live-ins or building cardboard cut-outs of everyone, I do like the idea of keeping their images in constant view.

So, this day is going to be all about lineage. And here is what I’m planning to do:

Family Photo Poster for my Daughter
I am going to take pictures of 26 family members (luckily, I have a big family) and make a poster of them. This won't, however, be your typical family collage. Oh no. Since K2 is only 3 months old, and based upon our experience with her older brother at that age, she is probably going to respond more to cartoons than real-looking images. So I'm going to take those 26 pictures and create photo caricatures of them, using the Cartoon Photo website. I am then going to assign a letter of the alphabet to each one of the cartooned images based upon the individual's name. As much as I would love it if each family member's name started with a different letter, there will, in fact, be overlap. So I'm going to have to be creative. Additionally, K2's room is themed with the following colors: Chocolate Brown, Green, and Pink (we were inspired by the poopy diapers and vomit). So I'm going to incorporate those colors into the poster. Eventually, this poster will be somewhere in the 11" x 17" range. Below is a work-in-progress snapshot (you can tell I'm not the one who makes all of our Stunt Dad art).

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

100 Push Challenge: Day 3

Ok, so here is the weird thing about the 100 Push Up App. It counts the days that you work out as a day, but it recommends you take a rest in between days. So even though I started on Feb 16, I am only on Day 3. I would prefer if the app actually counted your days off. For example Day 1 would tell you to do your 5 sets of push ups and Day 2 would tell you to rest. Day 3 would tell you to do your 5 sets, Day 4 would tell you to rest. Anyway, that is my user experience feedback ;-) now onto my studification (note to self, register

After taking an extra day of rest while I conquered a cold I pumped out 57 push ups to complete my wekk1. The sets have gotten harder now demanding that I do 11, 15, 9, 9 and 13 push ups. I also noticed a little + sign at the end of the last set. I assume that is encouragement to do a few more if you can. I'm always up for a challenge so I threw in a few more to balance out the few extra beverages I had last weekend.

So far I notice that I am able to do a few more push ups, but I don't see much difference in the way I look. Perhaps the transformation from flab to fab requires a good night sleep? Anyway, I'm having fun with it and the gamification element is keeping me engaged and focused on breaking through to the lext level.

Next up is 63 push ups to start Week 2. Wish me luck.

- Stunt Ben StumbleUpon Pin It Now!

An App to Fill Your Appetite...In 30 Minutes or Less

So, all you Stunt Dads out there. I recently embarked upon the use of a new app—an app that really impressed me (now granted, I was more than a few beers deep into the night, so let's keep that in mind).

It was another typical night—several hours spent on a bar stool, the consumption of quite a few adult beverages, and a sudden craving for some good ol' greasy American food. But where could I go in my neighborhood seeing how most restaurants' kitchens close by 11.00pm and I was leaving the bar early at 12.30am? Well luckily for me there was the Dominos Pizza app.

From the moment I pulled it up on my iPhone, it was as seamless and easy to use as could be. Now before I continue, for those of you who don't have iPhones (Android, CrackBerry, etc.) I have no idea if this app works for you. I assume it does, but I really try not to worry myself with the experience of non-iPhone users. Quite frankly, if you don't have an iPhone, then you have other problems to tend to rather than worrying about ordering a pizza at 12.30am (I think that was one of Apple's tv commercials, right?). But I digress.

To start, you pop in your address, find your nearest location, enter coupons and specials—you can do it all. The large buttons makes selecting your food items easy—especially when you're staggering down the sidewalk. But the best part of all is yet to come.

When this baby truly kicks into gear is once you place your order. The Domino's Pizza Tracker screen takes you through a continuously updating interface—a red bar at the top is sectioned into 5 areas. It tracks the status of your order down to the most specific details. In fact, it even tells you the names of the people at your local location who are working on your order! This is when I had my Bill and Ted moment—I literally said, "DUDE!"

So while I stood there, I saw that Randy was starting to make my pizza. I followed the process along as he put it in the oven to bake. But the best part was Step 4: Delicious Check Complete. It's the step where Randy checked on my pizza to ensure that it would be at its most delicious when cooked and delivered! Are you kidding me?! Too cool. Thanks, Randy.

And finally, it told me that Mohamed was packing up my pie and was on his way to my place. And wouldn't you know it, 10 minutes later, I had me a big ol' pizza pie in my hot little hands. It was on time. And it was fantastic.

So the next time you need a quick and easy way to order some midnight munchies, try out the Domino's Pizza USA app. It's a good way to avoid both a slurred phone conversation as well as The Noid.

So you have any other food apps? Or easy ways to make food magically appear at my doorstep by clicking my phone? Let us know in the comments below.
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100 Days for My Baby Girl: Day 96

Day 96
With just 4 days left until 100 days, I just had an epiphany. Its funny how all great ideas always seem to come at the last minute, after you spent so much time thinking, planning, and doing. You get to the end of a project, and BOOM!, the light shines down upon you. 

Wifey's parents live in Canada, they are out of the question. However, my parents live just 20 minutes away. And, I have not taken advantage of that nearly as much as I should. So, in order to bring them closer to their grandchild, now would be an excellent time for that to happen. And, it would give Wifey and I some much needed one-to-one time.

So, this day is going to be all about vacation. And here is what I’m planning to do:

Grandparents Day with My Daughter
Yes, I realize that there is probably a Hallmark holiday established for this, but this is a different kind of Grandparents Day. This day won't actually be celebrating Grandma and Grandpa (Sorry, Mom). This day will be celebrating a day away from K2. Sounds horrible, doesn't it? I mean, who would want to spend the day away from their beautiful, adorable, baby girl? She's only this age once in her life, you should never want to be away from her. And just what would one do without her?
  • Grab coffee and breakfast at a real, old-school diner?
  • Come home and sleep until noon?
  • Eat grilled cheese sandwiches and Doritos for lunch while you sit in your Snuggie on the couch and watch an uninterrupted the daytime?
  • Read a book? An actual book that doesn't contain cartoon animals, three sentences on a page, or rhymes?
  • Cook a dinner that doesn't involve a microwave, and be able to actually eat a warm meal for the first time in three months?
  • Go to sleep at 8pm and not be woken up until 8am the following morning?
Yes, this horrible. How could we even think about doing such a thing. Very, very selfish on our part. Enough of that talk, that is just too irresponsible. We'll have plenty of time for those things in 2032. So, anyways...Mom, what day works best for you guys?

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Monday, February 20, 2012

100 Days for My Baby Girl: Day 95

Day 95
Since K2 is our second child, Wifey and I know recycling all too well. Even though our first child was a boy, we were able to re-use alot of the same clothes, equipment, and necessities that we used with Munch. 
One of the more valuable things I've learned as a parent is thriftiness, which is a nice word for being cheap. Money seems to go quicker than it comes in, so I am always looking to save a buck, re-use things, or generally spend less whenever I can. So, building off that idea, I thought back to Week 2's theme of Connection and am re-using some of the photos from our Professional Photo Shoot. 

So, this day is going to be all about reutilization. And here is what I’m planning to do:

Black and White Canvas Photos of My Daughter
Our 1 hour photoshoot in Week 2 resulted in over 200 photos. About 10 of have been put into frames around our house and/or offices, the rest were posted to Facebook. Other than that, they appear on our Apple TV whenever we listen to music and look at photos (which has happened twice since she was born). Needless to say, we haven't got the mileage out of the cough, $$$$!#?#, cough, that we spent on the photoshoot.That is, until now.

I'm going to select three of those pictures, probably a close-up of her profile (because she had, err has, the cutest little chubby cheeks), a hand (because her fingers are so long and dainty), and a foot (because they were just downright gigantic). Through Canvas Discount, I'm then going to have those pictures printed out in Black and White at 8" x 8" on canvas and stretched & mounted to a wood frame backing. It's simple, it's artistic, and we have a great spot on the stairway wall leading into her bedroom to showcase them.

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