Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Weekend getaways for them and you

You need a break from looking at the same four walls and that patch of dry grass leading up to that same front door in need of a paint job. But, packing up the kids and trying to entertain them 24/7 in a new environment with the added challenge of keeping to nap schedules is far from relaxing. Wally World will have to wait. But wait! Oh no it doesn't. Since blogs are cheap and easy to make there are some kick ass people looking to make your next trip with kids a little bit easier. Enter http://www.hotelswithbabysitting.com. They do the hard work of Google searching for hotels that will watch your little ones for you while you enjoy a little downtime sans the little ones.

SO check out http://www.hotelswithbabysitting.com and then check in.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Top 5 Kick Ass Summer Camps for Stunt Kids

Summer camp is about 2 things, giving the parents a break from their kids and giving kids a break from their patents boring ideas of fun (eg, how about we play a family game of checkers tonight?)  Ok, it's also about exposing your children to new stuff (your kid builds the first neon checker game that features exploding pieces when one jumps an opponent),  memories to last a lifetime (your kid organizing a gambling-inspired checkers tournament that ends up netting said kid $500) and chances to make new friends (your kid playing strip checkers with the cute member of the opposite sex resulting in your kid's first kiss [or more]).

But let's face it, the local YMCA summer camp just doesn't cut it anymore. In the age of spin and innovation (spinovation) we need a new kind of summer camp. Fortunately, entrepreneurs are meeting the call and willing to take your money to give your kid an experience you wish you could have had when you were a kid. And with 6 weeks of summer left, its not going to be easy to pawn your kid off to someone for 5 days. Fear not, the fathers of StuntDad have done some research on what's left to do this summer and below are the Top 5 Kick Ass Summer Camps that still have openings before it's time your little one heads back to school.

ALL-PURPOSE CAMP: Pali Adventures in California runs a series of camps for kids ages 9 to 16 based on subjects that range from artsy fartsy like Rock Camp to James Bond stunt double. Its Extreme Action Adventure camp includes rock climbing, go-karts, dirt-bikes, sand buggies, obstacle courses and skateboarding. 

LEGO ROBOTICS CAMP: Thanks to numerous Hollywood films that clearly identify what's in store for our civilization in the next 50 years, we all know that our species is destined to become extinct by robots. So, instead of fighting our destiny, here is your (and your children's) opportunity to fulfill it. The team over at Learning Fun 101 has found a way to combine the 3 basic principles of world domination: engineering, programming and LEGOs. For ~$400, you can send your kid (K-7th) down to Austin, Texas for 5 days in the middle of August where they will learn how to build and design robots using LEGOs. Should your child not come back having designed a futuristic fighting machine, hopefully he or she built an automatic waffle maker. No prior LEGO experience is required.

SPY CAMP: If you want your child to become the next Jason Bourne, then pack up your hidden camera pen, spy camera sunglasses and exploding cufflinks, and send your kid to Diefenbunker's Spy Camp in Ontario, Canada. Since we all know that our neighbors to the North is nothing more than a breeding ground for the next great international assassin, children will go undercover for a week at the Diefenbunker and return home having mastered the skills of a real secret agent. Open to children ages 7-12, kids will get to spend 7 days during the last week of August learning how to come up with the perfect alias, creating disguises and break codes for just $225. Remember dads, there is no greater gift than teaching a son or daughter the art of espionage.

BUSINESS CAMP: To the parents who dream of their kids leading blockbuster merger and acquisition deals, identifying the next great hedge fund or conducting an IPO, than look no further than Camp BizGym. From August 14-19, kids will get to learn the true meaning of work hard, play hard as they hone their skills in the boardroom during the day and learn new skills with a surfboard at night as this session's camp takes place in Hawaii. At BizCamp, your son or daughter will learn how to be as tough as Donald Trump and as smooth as Kelly Slater while taking part in island traditions. Do you buy low or sell high on this year's pineapple harvest? Is it economically beneficial to keep the local rain forest or replace it with a shopping mall? How do you market a pig roast to the vegetarian tourist group? These challenges and more await you at BizGym 2012.

DUDE RANCH CAMP: This summer, have your child learn what it takes to become a Dude (or Dudette) at the Circle F Dude Ranch Camp in Lake Wales, FL. Space is limited for their final session of the summer, running August 5th—14th for just $1,695. From dodging paintball bullets to horseback riding manure, the activities at Circle F will turn even the dorkiest of dorks into one badass little kid. Your kid's afraid of the water? Not after the Terrifying Tube Toss ride. Your kid always picked last in sports? Not after scaling the Wrath-Inducing Rock Wall. Your kid addicted to TV & Video games? Not after being exposed to Wild, Wild, West Wilderness Program. This camp is great for kids of all ages, but is perfect for the kids whose parents are convinced their little ones were destined for bully-fodder.

What other camps do you think are interesting for kids? StumbleUpon Pin It Now!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

2.0 Nostalgic Summer Ideas For Your Kids


We've come a long way since the mid-80s. Gone are the metal hair bands, jelly bracelets and bandannas—tied on anywhere (hopefully). While we all have our personal embarrassing moments from childhood, we also have the memories we want our kids to experience. The kind of memories that as the move into the toddler years, you start sharing stories that start out a lot like this, "Kid, back in my day, we used to... blah, blah, blah." Your kid proceeds to roll his eyes, tell you how lame that sounds and continue pretending that you don't exist. Just past the mid-point of Summer, it's time to think back to those favorite things you did as a kid and put a 2012 twist on them. To help get you started, below are a few of StuntDad's favorite childhood memories and how we have stunt-ified them for our little ones this summer.

A Drive-In Movie Theater in the 80s is a Lay-Out Movie Theater in 2012: Last week, we posted a Drive-In Movie Theater (DIMT) database as a way to avoid the post-4th of July blues for your little ones. If you checked out which DIMTs are in your neighborhood, you likely were disappointed as to how many were still open. I live in the Chicago suburbs and only 1 of 20 theaters within 30 miles were still functioning. However, not is lost. While DIMTs are out, Lay-Out Movie Theaters (LMOTs) are in.  Instead of exposing your children to the nearest DIMT where your nerves will be tested by the local rift-raft using illicit drugs by the water fountain, the 50 year old man in the windowless van behind you and the high school couple groping each other in the pick-up truck next to you, you have the opportunity to recreate the magic of outdoor movies in your own backyard. Thanks to the fine folks at Backyard Theater you can easily build a LOMT in the back or on the side of your house. Need a projector screen? Grab a white bed sheet. Need a projector? Buy one from Best Buy and return it within 7 days*. Need some extra cash? Spread the word to your neighbors and charge for admission, popcorn and soda.  

A Treehouse in the 80s is a Treehouse Waterpark in 2012: The cool kids on our block all had tree houses. Nearly all resembled something closer to The Simpsons fort instead of Popular Mechanics, however, none of the kids fort's featured what is needed most in the summer: WATER. We've had more days with temperatures over a 100 this summer than the past decade combined. And, it's no wonder that children don't want to cramp themselves into a 10 sq foot box of wood, 10 feet above the ground. But—what if that box of wood had an overhead sprinkler system? What if the tire swing below splashed through a waterfall? What if the slide from said box of wood had running water down it? Who needs to drive to the local pool or waterpark, when you turn on your hose (or neighbor's, if they are out of town) and turn your kids loose? First step is the treehouse. If you don't have one, visit our friends at Instructables, who have some great examples of How to Build a Treehouse. Once your box of wood is ready to go, head over to Home Depot. You will need to purchase various amounts of PVC pipes & T-connectors depending on how ambitious you want to get. If you are Bob Villa-challenged, the Depot will help ya out after you explain your vision to them. Once you've identified how many pipes you need, use a 1/16" drill bit to put holes every couple inches.  The more holes, the wetter your kids will get. Regardless of the number of soakage spots your fort contains, its guaranteed to have more than the next kid. PS: To make the $20-$50 back on the pipe-related purchases, take a cue from tip #1 and charge admission.  

A Car-cation in the 80s is a Train-cations in 2012: The lovely drives through the rolling countryside. Dad and Mom arguing endlessly on how to get back to the main county highway. Lunches of beef jerkey, Doritors and fountain sodas from gas station Kwiki Marts. Those were the days, when we'd pile into the station wagon and pick out random cities to visit, such as Springfield, Illinois' state capital. Historic? Check. Fun? Check Minus. Not only was the city itself completely uninteresting and bleak, the 3.5 hour drive was equally dismal. And back then, the car ride south would cost about $50 in gas to get there and back. Nowadays, it would be closer to $200. Instead of spending your hard earned money on less-than-interesting vacation spots, take advantage of your local Amtrak train station. You can plan out a scenic trip, without the hassles of gas or directional arguments, to a city that you've already researched, which won't bore your children to death. And, it will likely cost you less than if you would have drove. Case in point: you can take an 8-hour train ride from Chicago to the Canadian border in Michigan. International travel for less than $50 a person, with a duty free shop containing all the maple sugar and syrup a kid could ask for.

A Lemonade Stand in the 80s is a Vodka Lemonade Stand in 2012: Why should kids have all the fun? Here is an idea to make the entire family happy. Tell wifey you will be spending the afternoon in the garage constructing a homemade lemonade stand for the kiddies. She will think you are incredibly thoughtful and you will get to spend a few hours with power tools, beer and solitude. The result: by day, the kids get to spend the afternoon in front of your house selling dixie cups of lemonade for 25 cents. By night, the dixie cups are replaced with shotglasses and you get to spend the evening in front of your house selling shots of vodka lemonade for $2 to the local parents. Your kids will think you are the best dad in the world by selling their lemonade after they've gone to sleep, your neighborhood parents will appreciate a quick summer evening buzz and even your wife will think more of you than just the guys who sleeps in the same bed as her. Hell, you might even get a little nookie out of this.

*Successful attempt by Stunt Pete on July 4th of this year. Projector returned to Best Buy in its original packaging on July 8th, no questions asked!

How do you take your childhood memories and 2.0 them for your kid? StumbleUpon Pin It Now!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How do avoid the post 4th of July depression

4th of July is the climax of summer. You've gone to the beach, BBQ'd, seen some good movies, caught fireflies, spit watermelon seeds, stayed at the lake house — or wished you owned a lake house — or wish your friend would invite you to his lake house and don't know why he hasn't yet; maybe he's not that good of a friend after all, maybe he's just not that into you, or maybe he doesn't even have a lake house, maybe it's just a tent and he's too embarrassed to admit it! Anyway, come July 4th you are ready to top it all off by blowing shit up. You snuck across State lines 3 or 4 times to purchase the illegal wares, have hidden stuff in the attic, your car trunk, your golf clubs, and even in the office. Then you blow it all. You light punks, then sparklers, then smoke bombs, then firecrackers, then bottle rockets, then roman candles then you move onto the stuff that you are supposed to have a permit for until finally your wife talks you down from lighting a can of gas and shooting it into the air with a home made slingshot made from an inner tube tied between two trees. Man that was fun! But come the 5th, you have a hangover and the post 4th blues. Buck up camper! We got some sure fire (yes we said fire) ways to keep the spark in summer till the leaves fall off the trees.

Bon Fire! Treat the family to life as a caveman and make yourself a big-ass fire in the middle of a field. Make smores, sing songs, and tell spooky stories. Of course, you can't make a bon fire unless you are far from civilization, so it is the perfect excuse to get the family outside and do some camping. It's different than staying at the lake house because when you camp you either shit outside or go in a stinky out house, which makes camping the perfect teachable moment for your kids. It teaches them to do well in school so they can afford to buy themselves a lake house and never have to go without indoor plumbing again.

Drive In! Remember the last time you went to the drive in? Oh ya, that's what got you in this parenting predicament in the first place... how about your first drive in? How cool was it that you could growl like a wookie in the car and no one threw gum drops at you? How fun was it to jump off the swings when ET made the bikes fly across the moon? How sweet was it to steal a pack of cigarettes and smoke them in back of the concessions stand and then threw up in the back of your mom's Country Squire station wagon. Yeah! That was fuckin' awesome! How can you deny your children that kind of joy? Unfortunately, the invasion of cable, VHS, and super doucheplex's have all but killed that old Americana. But the Interwebs and Stunt Dad is here to help. http://www.drive-ins.com/database.htm will tell you where the nearest dying drive in is and just how much gas you have to burn and seals you have to club to give your kids the same twisted experiences you barely survived yourself. Check it out!
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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

4th Fun Free of Finger Fatalities

It's not uncommon to celebrate birthdays with barbecuing hotdogs, chicken, and hamburgers. In fact, tomorrow, on our country’s birthday, 150 million hot dogs will be consumed.  Agreed, that is a lot of lips and assholes, but I digress. What’s even more unique about America’s birthday is that it’s celebrated with fireworks, nearly a billion dollars worth, annually. That is a lot of blown up shit across our nation. And here at StuntDad, we are no strangers to 4th of July mishaps — after all, we are men, we are in our 30s, and we love fire. So when the flames go out in the grill, our passion for burning things actually intensifies and we start grabbing everything in sight to set on fire and throw. At times, we can (and have been) overzealous in our attempt to strike a match without thinking through the consequences.

Learning from the mistakes we've made in the past, here are 5 tips to stay in the game and stay out of the ER on the 4th of July.
  1. Don't stick the bottle rocket in your butt to impress your kid. It leaves a painful burn mark and we know your wife won't feel sorry for you and apply zinc oxide before bedtime. In fact, it will make her feel sorry for herself for falling for you and your childish antics. How do you Stuntify this situation and still impress your kid? Aim 'em and flame 'em! For the aspiring innovative award winners, don't start with a bottle, they're called BOTTLE rockets. You can, however, swing for the fences and use your kid's whiffle ball bat. Additional items you need: razorblade (to cut off the top of the bat), duct tape (required for any idea, regardless the situation, but in this case you will tape up the grip to prevent third degree burns) and safety glasses (our wives made us include this). If you feel like etching "Suck My Smoke or 5 Finger Freddy" as a monicker on the bat for sentiments sake, feel free. Once you're ready to torch the sky, drop the lit bottle rocket (or 'rockets" if you want to scare the shit out of your neighbors) down the wiffle bat. It offers aim (you could knock that stinking cigarette out of Uncle Larry's mouth if you really wanted to), superiority (none of your neighborhood Dads will  want to try to one up the bazooka bottle rocket launching guy) and separation (instant firewall between your skin and compressed black powder burning at one million degrees Fahrenheit (ya, our Google search for bottle rocket flame temp came up empty). Plus, you avoid exposing your hairy ass to the lovely ladies in your hood.
  2. Don't use hands or teeth to hold firecrackers in order to prove you are The Man of the party. Dishing out dares or being the sucker who accepts the bets that involve holding BlackCat firecrackers the longest with your hands or teeth will prove nothing more than you are an idiot, and you will end up looking like the three-fingered, six-tooth legend known as Billy Bob Joe Dirt. How do you Stuntify this situation and still be The Man of the party? Light 'em and flight 'em! Convince the party pyros that the fun isn't in the danger. Moreover, it's in the height, volume and size of the explosion. You're wife can attest to that, right? Wink, wink. To accurately gauge when they will explode, be sure to check the length of each wick prior to tossing them into the air, as each firecracker has a different wick length. Remember, optimal explosion height is at least 15 feet high up. It would really suck for one of those packs to land on top of someone's head, especially Uncle Moe's newest hairpiece.
  3. Don't light off roman candles in the middle of a dry corn field next to a wooden barn serving as a artisan paper factory to show-off that you are still cool. Admittedly a roaring, 25-acre bonfire is visually spectacular, however, it really blows when you find yourself in the middle of it. Despite being hotter than the Earth's molten core, you're likely to be on the hook for property damages.  How do you Stuntify this situation and still show-off that you are still cool? Sack 'em and React 'em! Our good friends at Instructables.com offer the biggest and baddest How To and Do-It-Yourself community where people make and share inspiring, entertaining, and useful projects, recipes, and hacks. Before your big night out with the boys, check out the Wolf Pack Popper (WPP). The WPP consists of a large amount of snappers wrapped tightly in tissue paper. Side note: this takes patience and caution as wrapping it too tight and it will explode in your face. Once you are ready to unleash the beast, light the WPP on fire and chuck it. Side note: according to the person who posted the WPP, "throw them into houses, parties, toilet stalls, etc." Needless to say, we recommend sticking to the dry corn field, where you will still get the bang!, pow!, ka-boom!, only in the opposite direction of the wooden barn.
  4. Do not create the Bucket of Bang or Firework Goolash to finish your plate.  There will be a point in the night when you've gone through the majority of your fireworks and, in looking around the lighting area, you will notice random, unused fireworks. A half dozen firecrackers here, some roman candles there, random bottle rockets laying about and you might even have several box of M-80s you forgot about in the trunk of your car. Like your momma probably reminded you, "Always finish your plate." This mantra will rise to the forefront of your pea-sized brain and you will be hungry to rid everything in one fell swoop—or match, in this case—by gathering all leftover fireworks, dumping them into a bucket or box, and setting it on fire. The potential for disaster climaxes at this very moment, where everything from your house, car or dog could be reduced to ash. How do you Stuntify this situation and still finish your plate? Load 'em and Explode 'em! Conduct your personal execution by lighting squad. Organize all of the leftover fireworks and line them in a row, preferably pointing in a direction that does not involve anything that requires insurance or a pulse. If you're the meticulous type, you can tie a string to each of the wicks and light one end. Or, if you are the lazy type, recruit enough family and friends to each grab a punk and light the assigned firework. Either way, it should set-off a dancing display of fountain fireworks that would rival the Bellagio's watershow.
  5. Do not use animals of any kind as part of your firework display to get a laugh from your friends. Whether you think no one cares about a bluegill fish or the stray cat you came across, injuring or maming a helpless animal is so far beyond morally acceptable. 350 videos appear on YouTube when you search for animal + firecracker and none of them are remotely funny, unless you think its hysterical to see the right side of a German Shepard's face blown off. How do you Stuntify this situation and still get a laugh from your friends? Scare 'em and flare 'em! If one of your buddies brings out a snake, a mouse, or anything else that is breathing, tell him you have a better idea (note: this will take a group effort and potential violence to said buddy). Do what you have to do in order to get this animal-hater duct taped to a tree. Insert fireworks into his pockets and tie a long wick that is approximately five feet long. Have the entire party come watch as you light the wick and said animal-hater wets himself and pleads for mercy. When the tears roll down his cheeks or when there is a foot left of wick let, whichever comes first, everyone sprays pre-shook up beers cans in the animal-hater's direction. Hopefully, this puts out the wick in time. Worse-case scenario, you've taught animal-hater a much needed life lesson.
Actually, since we are on the subject of mistakes, perhaps our Top 5 list of things not do to with fireworks should actually be the Top 4, since one of us StuntDads lost a thumb in 1984?

P.S. Sparklers are for chicks

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