31/5/18 – Dad Joke of the Day

dad joke

Money isn’t everything

Four brothers left home for college, and they became successful doctors and lawyers and prospered. Some years later, they chatted after having dinner together. They discussed the gifts they were able to give their elderly mother
who lived far away in another city.
The first said, “I had a big house built for Mum.”
The second said, “I had a hundred thousand pound theater built in the house.”
The third said “I had my Mercedes dealer deliver an SL600 to her.”
The fourth said, “You know how Mama loved reading the Bible and you know she can’t read anymore because she can’t see very well. I met this preacher who told me about a parrot that can recite the entire Bible. It took twenty preachers 12 years to teach him. I had to pledge to contribute £100,000 a year for twenty years to the church, but it was worth it. Mama just has to name the chapter and verse and the parrot will recite it.”

The other brothers were impressed. After the holidays Mum sent out her thank you notes.
She wrote: “Milton, the house you built is so huge. I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house. Thanks anyway.”
“Marvin, I am too old to travel. I stay home, I have my shopping delivered, so I never use the Mercedes. The thought was good. Thanks.”
“Michael, you gave me an expensive theater with Dolby sound, it could hold 50 people, but all my friends are dead, I’ve lost my hearing and I’m nearly blind. I’ll never use it. Thank you for the gesture just the same.”
“Dearest Melvin, you were the only son to have the good sense to give little thought to your gift. The chicken was delicious. Thank you.”

 

More Daily Dad Jokes available at:

http://downunderdad.blog/category/dad-jokes/

Top 3 Proud Parenting Moments of the Week 27/5/18

TOP 3

Another week draws to a close which means its time for another Top 3 moments of the week. Last week we highlighted the Top 3 Tantrums, this week we have something different for you.

Down Under Dad’s

Top 3 Parenting Moments of the Week

As a parent you will often experience moments where your child does something you are really proud of, whether its playing nicely with other kids, cleaning up after themselves, or finally saying that word you have been trying to teach them.

So in no particular order, here are the Top 3 from this week;

1. Helping with the Laundry

Once you become a parent the amount of dirty laundry you have increases dramatically. It starts off with dedicated loads for baby clothes, but even older kids go through more clothes then you think.

While doing the washing earlier this week, I let my wife know and my son overheard. He then proceeded to collect the dirty clothes (well most of them were dirty), and take them into the laundry, put them in the machine, shut the door, and push the start button. Sure I couldn’t leave him to do it all by himself, but its definitely a step in the right direction.

proud parenting laundry

2. Putting away his toys by himself, in the correct location

While toys are a great way to keep your child entertained, they can also be a thorn in any parent’s side. No matter how many times you put them away, they will always find a way back out. You will also spend many days finding different ways to store them that stops them taking over your house.

This week we achieved something we have been aiming for a very long time. We asked our child to put his toys away. Without argument he simply picked them up and carried them into his toy room. Once there he not only proceeded to put them back in their designated homes, but he got them all right! even if it meant trying multiple angles before succeeding. Keeping the house tidy is about to become so much easier.

3. Sleeping through the night in his big boy bed

Sleeping arrangements for children has always been a heavily debated topic. What cot/bed to use? When to transition? Do you co-sleep? While Ill save that discussion for another day, each to their own, my advice is simply do what works for you.

We bought our son a big boy bed (and yes, that is a race car bed) a few months ago now as he was starting to grow out of his cot. Since then he has been having his daily naps in the bed, but still sleeping overnight has always been in his cot, until now. This week we attempted to sleep all night in our big bed, and succeeded!

proud parenting bedtime

Every day as a parent you witness moments that make you smile. You can be having a rough day when your child does something that makes you realise you are actually doing a better job of this parenting gig then you give yourself credit. Make the most of these moments.

What were your Proud parenting moments this week? Share with me below! Same place Same time next week for another Top 3 moments of the week

 

Previous Top 3

Top 3 Tantrums of the Week 20/5/18

TOP 3

27/5/18 – Dad Joke of the Day

dad joke of the day

How to Summon a Dad

  • Make a circle out of power tools – screwdrivers and wrenches will do if you don’t have enough
  • Place a pair of socks inside sandals in the middle of the summoning circle
  • Touch the Thermostat
  • Chant “Hi Hungry, I’m Dad” over and over

Newcastle’s ‘Blackbutt Reserve’ Review – A Family Outing

blackbutt reserve

A Beautiful Day

Today was an unseasonably warm day with perfect weather, the perfect opportunity for an outdoors adventure. Following my own advice from Go To Tricks For Entertaining Kids, we decided to head outdoors, beyond the limits of our backyard. Living in the city generally means we need to travel a little bit further to enjoy nature, this is the one exception.

What better way to enjoy the beautiful day and spend time as a family then to go wandering through the bush and exploring the different wildlife that live in our country. To make the day even better some of my wider family joined us as well!

Today’s destination – Blackbutt Reserve!

Disclaimer, while this might read like a paid review, that couldn’t be further from the truth. My family enjoyed a great day out here and I am simply letting you as the reader know what an amazing place we found it to be.

Black What Reserve?

So what is Blackbutt Reserve? if your a local reader then feel free to skip onto the next section (unless you feel like possibly learning something). For the wider audience I’ll elaborate.

blackbutt reserve

Blackbutt Reserve is a nature reservation a short 15-minute drive from the centre of Newcastle. It is situated on over 182 hectares of bushland, including a dedicated area with wildlife exhibits. They are setup in such a way that allow visitors (free of charge) to watch the animals in their native habitat and learn more about them. What better way to learn more about the animals then attending one of the scheduled animal feeding sessions on throughout the day.

Of the 93 things listed on TripAdvisor to do in Newcastle, it is ranked 4th, with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5.

Aside from the wildlife, Blackbutt is also a great location for other outdoor recreational activities. The reserve boasts 10 kilometers of tracks that will suit a range of fitness levels.

Or for those looking for something a bit quieter, there is ample BBQ and picnic facilities with a sizable kids playground as well

Combine all this together and you have the making of a wonderful family outing. Which is exactly what we did today.

Our Adventure

We started our visit by heading straight to one of the many picnic tables. We brought our lunch with us (see my advice section later on) as it was already the afternoon and none of us had eaten yet (rookie error). While sitting down eating we took turns enjoying the open area to kick a ball around with the little guy.

ball kicking

Once lunch was finished it was time to check out the wildlife. The reserve has a set walking path through the various enclosures allowing you to see (almost!) all the animals in one go.

Blackbutt koalas

On our way we got to see a couple of Wombats snacking away, and various species of birds. One of the more popular enclosures would have been the Koalas. You could get pretty close to them, even if the majority of them were passed out.

Blackbutt Lizards

As we moved further through the reserve we were led through a couple of darkened enclosures highlighting the various nocturnal animals native to the area. Hot Tip! if you are taking younger kids through here, it can be hard to point out the smaller animals in the exhibits, try and bring them before they get too tired and their patience wears out.

After completing our adventure through the first section, we wondered why we had purchased ’emu food’ ($2) when we hadn’t seen any. We then realised that on the other side of the clearing was another large enclosure, highlighting the larger animals. This is where our little guy really became interested.

Emus

He was fascinated. That is until Grandma almost lost a finger feeding the Emus, then he wanted to move on pretty quickly. Whether it was the Emus or Grandmas reaction that spooked him is still up for debate.

By this stage our man was getting very tired, to the point where he refused to walk by himself and didn’t want anyone holding him except mum. That is until he saw the wallabies.

blackbutt wallaby

Honestly I think he would have stayed their all afternoon if we were with him. He wasn’t just staring at them, he was waving and saying hello!

By the time we got back to our cars the entire family was a bit worn out. The little guy because he didn’t have his usual nap before we went. The rest of us because I think we underestimated how much walking would be involved (see advice later on for shoes).

Suffice to say it was definitely worth heading out for

tired child

 

Advice for Families

As parents you may think you can prepare for every situation, but can you ensure you make the most of every adventure. Here’s a quick list if you plan on visiting Blackbutt, or any similar location

  • Choose your Time of Day Carefully – Some will say go earlier in the day to try and beat the crowds. With the reserve being open all day, you can miss the crowds by going later on too. I would also work this around your kids. If they are still young, work it around nap time etc.
  • Pack Well – The car park is only a short walk from the main recreational area so don’t be afraid to over pack. Bringing your own lunch is a good idea with onsite food options very limited. BBQ’s are an option but this place does get busy. Don’t forget to pack your esky with drinks for the family too.
  • Dress Appropriately – Sure some parts are in the sun, others are well shaded, so if its a cooler day don’t underestimate the temperature dropping. Also I wouldn’t attend without wearing good footwear. If you want to experience the wildlife you will need to do some walking, and its not flat.
  • Respect the environment – this should be a given. It is rare to find such a large reserve of bushland so close to the city. The only way it will last is if its looked after. Don’t litter, look after the facilities, and follow the advice listed for feeding the wildlife.

blackbutt reserve

 

As I said earlier, the Down Under Family had a great afternoon at Blackbutt. I would highly recommend it to any families, as well as those who have never experienced the wildlife of our country. I know we are already planning our next visit.

Links

Blackbutt Reserve Website

http://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/Blackbutt-Reserve/Home

Blackbutt Reserve on TripAdvisor

https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g255325-d953695-Reviews-Blackbutt_Reserve-Newcastle_Greater_Newcastle_New_South_Wales.html

Visit Newcastle – Blackbutt Reserve

https://www.visitnewcastle.com.au/blackbutt-reserve

Go To Tricks For Entertaining Kids

kids entertained

Kids will use up all of your energy as a parent, not just physically but mentally as well. No matter how much attention you give them it is never enough. At least until they are teenagers, then they don’t want any (or so I’m told, tell you what, if this blog is still going in another 10 years or so I’ll let you know).

You can spend all day with your child playing game after game, but as soon as you try to put your feet up, they will come running.

The exception to this is nap time (for toddlers anyway). I won’t go into too much detail here as it’s a well known urban legend amoung parents that if you say the word nap too many times your child will refuse to sleep that day. Try it out if you dare.

down under dad

So how can you keep your day entertaining for you and your children? Try out the following

Common Ways to

keep your Children Entertained

  • Play some games – Simple peekaboo games, like hiding around the corner from each other will always get a laugh from a toddler, as they grow up you can change this to a hide and seek style game.
  • Play with their toys – If you are trying to get them to play with their own toys, why not play with them, show them how fun they can be. Chances are you have spent some decent money of the toys so you may as well make the most of them. Try rolling cars along with them, or building their wooden train set. They are more likely to go back to the toys later if they have enjoyed the time spent playing with them.
  • Go Outside – If your kids are anything like mine then they love being outside, sure they don’t understand that in winter they need to wear extra clothes, or in summer they need sunscreen, but they love being outdoors. Have a backyard? Great! maintain it and acquire some outdoor play equipment. Don’t have that luxury? find a nearby park.
  • Get Active with them – Not only will this clear your head but it helps to build healthy habits. Sure this is easier as they get older, but if your child is young enough to be in a pram, then take them for a walk/run. Go kick a ball around a park. Go for a bike ride. The good thing about them being active is that it will tire them out, and all parents know a tired child sleeps better then one full of energy.

kids entertained

So what happens when normal just doesn’t cut it anymore. Parents are often guilty as believing they know best. More specifically, parents whose kids are older always think they know better then those with younger kids, they call it experience.

In my almost 2 years of experience being a parent I have learnt a few tricks. Now I know this parenting gig ain’t always easy, so I’m more then happy to share them. Some might be surprising, others more obvious.

So here it is. . .

Down Under Dad’s

Trick-book for entertaining Toddlers

Disclaimer, these tricks were current at the time of writing. It doesn’t take a genius to tell you they won’t last forever. By the time you read this they might already be outdated. I also can’t be held liable if they don’t work for you. Every child is different.

  • The Wiggles – This one might be a bit outdated, but for the first 12 months of so of our child’s life he was obsessed. Whether it was books, movies, songs, or even merchandise, he would always have a smile on his face. You can imagine the look on his face when he saw them live in concert.
  • Watermelon – Yes I know its a food. If he is playing up or not eating much, Watermelon is the key! He loves it, and by just saying the name, he will instantly stop what he is doing and go to the kitchen.
  • Outside – Our son would spend all day outside if we let him. While not necessarily a bad thing, it can be tough when the weather doesn’t cooperate. However 9 times out of 10 if he is getting stir crazy inside, taking him outside will solve the problem (at least temporarily).
  • Disney Movies – At the moment its 2 in particular. ‘Moana’ and ‘Cars 3’ – both available on Netflix (thank god). The first one is played at least once daily in our house, and yes I can recite the words to most of the songs. The second was an obvious one for us. Our child is obsessed with Cars as objects, so it didn’t take much to put 2 and 2 together and show him the movies.
  • Trucks! – so this last one is related to the previous (cars and trucks both have wheels?). Its also one of those ones that almost makes you feel a little guilty as a parent. You can see the road from the front room of our house, which the occasional truck drives along. Our son loves watching these trucks, doesn’t matter what he is in the middle of, if he thinks he has heard a truck out the front then he will go to try and watch it.

 

As a reader you are probably having 1 of 2 different reactions to the above

  1. There is no way that would work with my kids – I say “fair enough”, I’ve made this list based upon my 2 year old so if your kids are of a different age they might not be effective. I also say “Have you tried?”, if you are currently raising toddlers then I encourage you to try something off my list, any change in routine can be for the better.
  2. Wow you couldn’t be anymore true – I say “thanks, but i’m only showing you what works”. A big part of parenting is trial and error, sometimes you have to try multiple options before you find one that works, and even then it won’t work forever.

 

Ultimately its up to you as a parent to find the best way to keep your kids entertained, but if you can do it successfully, the eventual outcome will look something like the below

tired child

 

What works for you? How do you keep your children entertained? Got a hot tip to add to my list? I’d love to hear it. If I get enough Ill publish a reader submitted edition.

Top 3 Tantrums of the Week 20/5/18

TOP 3

Its the End of the week which means its time for another Top 3 Moments of the week gone by. This week has been what parents would know as a ‘long’ week so to finish it off, in no particular order, here are the Top 3 Tantrums from this week.

We only just arrived, I don’t want to leave yet

After a 2 and a half hour car ride I wouldn’t want to hop straight back in the car either, thankfully that’s not what we were doing.

We had arrived at a park for a friends birthday and wandered over to where they had set up. Once we placed our things down we all needed a toilet trip and someone needed a nappy change, unfortunately the toilets were in a similar direction to the car. By similar I mean away from where we were.

The standout was when our child decided

to hop off his little ride on car and proceed to flip it over in outrage.

I know the sun is up but I still want the light on

The unfortunate nature of toddler sleeping patterns is that they are forever changing. The unfortunate nature of living in Australia means twice a year we change our clocks by 1 hour. As an adult this doesn’t mean much, as a toddler when you wake up at a similar time most days, that time has now changed.

How does this relate to our tantrum? well when our child decided to wake us up this morning it was still dark enough to put the light on. As the morning passed the light was then turned off.

How Dare We! In response our toddler stood in front of the light switch pointing at it, demanding it be turned back on. Trying to save money on our power bill we tried not to give in. I say tried, because sometimes the easiest way to avoid another tantrum is to give in.

No I will not let you try and wipe the chocolate off my forehead

Now I’ll start this off by saying we don’t consume a lot of sugar in our household, and neither does our child. However the occasional chocolate biscuit is enjoyed, and our child is never far away.

Anyone who knows chocolate, knows it can melt quickly and become sticky. Anyone who knows toddlers, knows they can make a mess out of just about anything. The other thing about toddlers is they generally don’t like being cleaned up. Mix the 3 together and you get chocolate on your child’s face.

The unfortunate thing about chocolate is it looks a lot like your child has dirt all over their face (parent of the year). Depending on the location and severity it can also look like a bad scratch. Both of these were the first things I asked when my wife showed me the picture.

 

Just to clarify, by no means are these the only tantrums that occurred this week. I would be writing all night if I listed them all, but after careful deliberation between my wife and I, these were the best. To narrow it down we used the criteria that they needed to be a classic toddler tantrum, that is, they needed to be for a ridiculous excuse that no amount of reasoning would have helped the situation.

Enjoyed this list? Got some stories of your own to share? Tune in this time next week for another Top 3

TOP 3

19/5/18 – Dad Joke of the Day

dad joke

Like Father Like Son. . .

A proud new dad sits down to have a drink with his father.

“Well son, now you have a kid of your own, I think its time to give you this”

“Dad, you don’t mean-”

“Yes son, I do”, Dad pulls out a copy of 1001 Dad Jokes, 5th edition

“Dad, I’m honored” he says, tears sparkling in his eyes.

“Hi Honored”, replies his father. “I’m Dad”

dad joke

Swimming Lessons Part 2

Swimming Lessons should be a fun experience for your child. While they might stress out at first, this is part of the learning and isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You want your child to not only be able to enjoy the water, but also understand its dangers.

If you have been following for awhile you will know why we chose to teach our child to swim and how it has created a bonding experience for both of us, if not see Swimming Lessons. If you have then welcome to Part 2 – current situation.

swimming lessons

Slowly Getting Better

It has been a slow process I feel like we are finally getting somewhere. Our son is starting to pick up on the actions and match them to the instructions we give him. He is learning something! If I’m honest for awhile there I thought he was never going to get any better.

Do we kick our legs every time we are asked? No, but we do kick them from time to time which means we are getting used to the action.

Do we hold our breath when we go under the water? Sometimes yes, others we forget and come up coughing and spluttering.

Can we lie still and float on our back? Yes, actually we do this every time we need to (take the little wins where you can).

While he won’t win any races anytime soon, it is nice to see progress. As a Dad you want your child to be the best and you try everything you can to get the most out of them. Weeks and Weeks of following the same routine did work out in the end! I think the main part of it boiled down to your child being comfortable in the water, which leads me to. . .

Gaining Confidence

No one told me this at the start but this needs to come before any real skill development. If your child is stressed out even just being near the water then there is no way they are going to focus enough to learn anything from you. The old ‘Sink or Swim’  (Dad Joke!) piece isn’t going to work here. As a toddler your child still looks towards you as a parent for comfort, especially when distraught. This is where you need to spend the time building that confidence in the water.

swimming lessons

Now no doubt some of you are going to argue that isn’t it better that your child is at least a little afraid of the pool, if they’re afraid then they won’t go near it which reduces the chance of drowning. While there is some logic to your response, one day your child is going to be curious enough to go near the pool, if something happens and they fall in, wouldn’t it be best if they have some sort of skills in the water?

Ultimately you need to think back to why are we trying to build this confidence, that’s right as part of swimming lessons. Its not like we are just going to get them interested in the water and then take it away without giving them the skills to survive.

Moving Forward

Are the lessons going to continue? absolutely! now that we are seeing progress we know he is learning in this environment so its not a complete waste. While we aren’t going to push him into becoming an elite swimmer (although we would be pretty damn proud), we do want his confidence to continue to build and his skills grow so not only can he survive in the water but can enjoy it as well.

What about outside the pool? we have enjoyed the beach on multiple occasions. The water is a lot colder then we are used to (that goes for both of us). Living Down Under means the beach is going to be in the majority of our lives so we will definitely return, but for now we are almost in winter so that’s a few months away.

Until then the lessons must go on

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