Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kohl's Back to School $100 Giveaway

Not every picture turned out great.....

Reader's, if you read my most recent post about the back to school haul we received from Kohl's, you'll remember I promised that I would also do a special giveaway.

Okay, so I am a little late, but I've been on vacation, mostly unplugged, and spending some terrific quality time with the kids.  But as they say (and 'They' are really all of us, right?) "Better late than never!"

So, here's the deal.  Leave a comment on this post, and also on one other post of mine and I will enter you for a chance to win your own Kohl's back to school haul with a $100 gift card!

That's right, easy as that.  To receive additional entries, you can also become a new Google Follower of this blog (see the right hand column), newly follow me on Twitter @Seattledad, Tweet about this giveaway (leaving the URL, and mentioning @Seattledad), or mention the giveaway and link on Facebook.  This contest is open only to residents of the US or Canada, and I must have a valid way to contact you.

I'll draw a winner on Labor Day.  Hopefully it's you!!

Disclaimer:  Kohl's provided me with the gift card as part of a promotion and giveaway.  I received product to review as detailed in the previous post.

Enjoy the last remnants of your Summer all!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Back to School Haul

Push me Brutha!  We're off to school!

Wow, summer is speeding by here like a 7-year-old chasing his little sister around a dead lawn.

And that is fast, readers!!  We don't have a dog, but the dog days of summer are certainly upon us now, with August in full swing.

August used to only mean dog days, hot weather, water fights, and stay-cations in the LIAYF household.  But in the past couple of years August has taken on a whole new, not so fun meaning.  Back to school shopping. You can tell how I feel about shopping, can't you?

In fact, a mall or department store is the last place I, or Mrs. LIAYF for that matter, want to be spending our time during the summer stretch run that is August.

Enter Kohl's.  Sure Kohl's has a brick and mortar store near you, but what you may not know is that Kohl's also has an awesome back-to-school online site where you can do all your back to school shopping from the comfort of your back deck while the kids are in bed and the sun is finally setting on a sun drenched summer day.

And that is exactly what we (and by 'we', I mostly mean Mrs. LIAYF) did recently as we used some timely deals from Kohls, who is teaming up with Office Max, to net a great haul for back to school.  Through their collaboration with Office Max,  Kohl's is now offering all the supplies you will need from folders to notebooks and pens to pencil cases.  (Note to readers - stop by next week and I will be giving away a Kohl's gift card perfect for your back-to-school shopping).

Lukas' school uses uniforms, so we were happy to find that Kohl's has a school uniform shop.  We choose several practical uniform pieces, but also selected a few fun items that he could wear on weekends and after school.  We didn't want to leave out Annabelle, so we got her some cute clothes for "back to daycare" (well, she never really left, but now she looks stylin').  And, because every family with kids is cash-strapped, we went for clothing that could mix and match with items we already owned.  For example, Lukas already has several pairs of Converse high-tops, so we didn't purchase any extras, but Kohl's has an awesome selection of Converse if you want to check it out.

Here are just a few of the looks we were able to winnow from the vast online selection:

Lukas: Pique polo navy uniform shirt,  khaki canvas shorts,
cool hipster hat and blue high-tops (already owned),
Annabelle: Striped tunic in navy,
Levi's jeggings (awww), Hello Kitty blue hairclip.

Lukas: Striped blue hoodie,  Levi's 511 slim fit,
blue hightops (already owned)

Lukas: Bicycle "7" Tee,  navy canvas shorts,
Keen sandles (already owned), steely grimace
(from taking too many pictures)
Annabelle: Bicycle Tee,  Hello Kitty hairclip,
blue check shorts (already owned)

Lukas: Whale Tee,  Levi's 511 slim-fit,
 check shirt and blue hightops (already owned)

Finally, back on the topic of school supplies, we also got these amazing water bottles we used last year in his lunch box.  We love their size, packability (is that a word?), and that they held up to heavy, heavy abuse.  Lukas also likes their bright graphics.

Juuuust right for lunchboxes!

As for the rest of the supplies, Lukas' school supply list has not been provided yet.  So, we are putting in an order this weekend for all his school supplies, using the Kohl's cash we earned online with our back-to-school purchases.  In addition to the water bottles, we anticipate we would likely be ordering one of the basic school packs offered by Kohl's, which includes pencils, paper, glue, markers, scissors, etc.  And, of course, the ubiquitous box of Kleenex (why does every teacher ask for these - oh, that's right, 7 year-old-boys and runny noses).

Disclaimer: The fine people at Kohl's provided me with compensation in order to purchase these fine products and to write here about all the great stuff we received.  It's worth noting though, that our experience was terrific throughout.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Free Hugs

Lukas and I stopped in to pick up Annabelle a yesterday at her day care center.  Once we had punched in the secret code to the front door, signed her out, navigated the hallway, and entered the main room where the toddlers are usually congregating, we didn't immediately see her.

Of course, we wondered where she was.

It was at that time that both he and I heard emphatic crying from another room.  "Is that Annabelle?" Lukas asked.  "Maybe, but there are a lot of babies in here bud, so it could be anyone." I responded.

At that point we opened, door #3 (really, it was the third door we had to open to that point) and there, in front of us, was a small fry crying his eyes out.  Now, that wouldn't have normally been anything to blog home about, but you see that wasn't all that we witnessed upon entering that room readers.  Not at all.

That's because, although that boy was crying, he was getting comforted, and not by the staff member on duty mind you.

No, Lukas and I witnessed our Annabelle, all 21 months of her wrap that slightly taller boy in her arms in a big ol' bear hug and start patting him on the back with one of her hands.  Not at all un-similar to how we comfort the kids when they are in need of some love.

"Ahhhhhh, that is sooooo cute." another Mom nearby let everyone know.  I agreed.

Apparently, the two of them had run smack into each other while playing.  And like a tailback running into a solidly built linebacker, this boy had taken the worst of it.  Annabelle was unfazed.  She has a big brother after all.

But simply the fact that she notices when a friend is hurting, and is there with open arms to offer comfort and support, is just another sign that she's developing a strong sense of empathy.

And that she's tough as nails.

I'm just glad she didn't give him the stiff arm.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Red Bike Specials

Yowzers readers, it's been a looooong time since I posted here!  Sorry about that.  Life has been......busy.

Yeah, busy. 

A lot has happened since my last entry here too.  It's Summer after all, and we are already thinking about back to school shopping.  But the last time I wrote anything here Lukas was still a first grader.  Not anymore though, as our little guy will be in a 2/3 split class this coming fall.  Hard to believe when I look back through my archives here.

Oh, and he also turned 7 during my absence.   Happy birthday Buddy! (In case you were wondering, Yes I did wish him a happy birthday a few weeks ago when it actually happened.)  I guess I really should have posted about that.   I should have posted about a lot of things, but hey we are moving on here. 

And growing up too.  

Mrs. LIAYF and I got Lukas a new 20" red Specialized Hotrock Bicycle for his birthday. He has been riding this color and brand of bike since he was 3 when he began riding the 12" without training wheels.  Given it's light weight, low stand over height, and quality workmanship it was the perfect bike to transition from his Sun Cycle Lil Rocket balance bike.

Then, when he was 5 we moved him to the 16" Hotrock, and there was no question we would also move to the 20" as well.

Tonight I sold the 12" bike to a dad of a 4 year old, after I listed it on Craigslist as the perfect bike to transition from balance to pedals.  

It was a bit sad to see it go (although Lukas didn't seem to mind that much), so we corralled him and made him pose for the picture above. We're nostalgic like that.

And now that we have it we can also sell the 16" version.  That same dad is interested, I just have to price it, which is difficult because the memories it gave were priceless.

Perhaps, if that dad does purchase the 16" as well  he can make his son pose for a similar picture some day. By that time we will have probably moved on to the 24" Specialized Hotrock.

Maybe I'll be able to photo shop a picture of that bike onto this one.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Father's Day Gift Guide + Giveaway

Yay! Father's Day is almost here readers.

I love Father's Day for multiple reasons, including all those extra hugs and kisses I get from the kids, and also getting the chance to spend the day with them doing something fun.  I'm not sure yet what Mrs. LIAYF has planned, but honestly it doesn't matter as long as I am spending the day with my family.

Another reason I love Father's day is the fact that I get a chance to try out some cool gifts, as a part of my Father's Day Gift guide.   Below are 5 products which were sent to me,  and which I think are pretty cool and would recommend you check out if you are looking for a last minute Father's Day gift for your own Dad.

Plus, as a bonus, I have a couple of giveaways I'll detail at the end.

1.  Vibram FiveFingers V-Classic shoes.   I had seen these shoes before and thought they looked a bit odd.  But once I got my pair and tried them on, I realized how comfortable and durable they are, and have been wearing them quite a bit as I go about my business around the house, with plans to employ them during several hikes and treks around Seattle this Summer. 

2. Pelican ProGear Protector Series Smart phone case for Galaxy S4 -  This Protector Series phone case is pretty tough (being Military Drop tested from 6 ft), and was just what I needed to protect my new Galaxy S4 phone and all the valuable data I have saved on it.  So far, I have found this case to be very durable, as well as stylish and convenient.

3. Duracell Powermat Portable Charger Set for electronic devices.  One thing I noticed about my new Galaxy S4 phone was that, although the camera was a whopping 13 megapixels, whenever I use it the power in my phone is drained pretty quickly.  That's where the Powermat system comes in handy.  I can take it with me and have an instant source of power for my phone, even when I'm nowhere near an outlet.  How cool is that?

4. Baker's Small Batch Bourbon  I'm not normally a Hard alcohol drinker, but was was duly impressed with smoothness and flavor of this 7 year aged offering from the Grand Nephew of Jim Beam, Baker Beam.  I cracked open the bottle when some friends, who do fancy themselves bourbon connoisseurs, were over for a dinner party recently, and after we all toasted and took our initial taste, we all let out a collective 'That's nice'.  This bourbon is perfect for a special occasion, or just for sipping.

5. Small Talk: How to Develop Your Child's Language Skills from Birth to Age Four - This book has a wealth of information about your child's verbal development, and is smartly divided into chapters dedicated to developmental stages such as 0-3 months, 3-6 months, and so on.  The perfect gift for the new (and involved) Dad in your life.

As I mentioned above, I also have a couple of items to giveaway as well.  I have one Pelican Protector series case in black, for a Samsung Galaxy S5, as well as a Duracell Power Mat Portable Charger Set.  Please leave a comment on this post telling me which you would like, and also comment on another (non-giveaway) post here at Luke, I am Your Father and I will enter you into the drawing to be held on Father's Day.

If you'd like more chances to win, you can also tweet or leave a Facebook post directing people here, or become a new follower of this blog on Google Friends Connect (link on the right navigation bar here).

Please leave one comment per entry, along with a valid way to contact you.  Open only to residents of the US and Canada.

Happy Father's Day all.

Full Disclosure:  I was provided each of the above products for free in exchange for mentioning them here. However, I my opinions are not for sale.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

To Her, Daddy is the Sun

There are certain times when all the late night wakings, diaper changes, and cleaning food off the floor, in a instant, all seem worthwhile.

Of course, having kids you always know it's worthwhile, but it's often stuck in the back of your head while you are dealing with the above mentioned 'dirty jobs'.

On Sunday morning I was doing another of those unsavory jobs, loading the dishwasher, when Mrs. LIAYF called from the other room "Go show Daddy, Annabelle".   I then looked over at our dining room, and around the corner pattered my 18mo girl, followed closely by her mother.

She was holding a picture of me, from a few years ago, framed in a sunshine frame.  

I was apparently giving the sun it's glow too, because she was holding it closely to her chest.   "She looked at it and said 'Daddy!' with a smile" Mrs. LIAYF let me know.   I smiled at that too, as she reached me with the picture standing there next to the dishwasher.

And if her happily recognizing a picture of me wasn't heartwarming enough, my little girl then bent her head over, pulled the picture up to her mouth, and kissed it! It was one of those toddler kisses where there is not real puckering, just an open mouth gently placed onto the picture.

 Mrs. LIAYF and I both let out an "Ahhhhhhhh".   Yes, it was that cute.

Annabelle has been very affectionate of late.  Not that she wasn't before, but lately she is much more likely to hug back when held close, snuggle (just this morning she stopped before we left for daycare to make sure she snuggled up with her mother for several minutes before we left), and generally show off her tender side.

Of course, she still has her trademark sense of humor too.  After kissing my photo yesterday, she proceeded to toddle over and place it in the dishwasher next to the dirty plates.  She looked proud of that.

I guess it was time for daddy to have a bath.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Power of Dad


Happy Friday readers.  It's hard to believe, but Father's Day is just over a week away now.  I mean, wasn't it just Father's Day 2013?  

And it really seems only a short time ago that I was taking my first bicycle ride with Lukas. After all, it was such a happy day, and one that I certainly will never, ever forget.

Amazingly, that was on Father's Day back in 2008.  Lukas not only had his first bike ride, strapped into his Wee Ride bike seat that day, as I mentioned in the post, he also had his very first Ice Cream as well! Every once in a while I love to take a nostalgic tour back through the archives here, remembering many of the countless laughter and smiles that has been my experience in raising both Lukas and Annabelle.  

All of these little moments make up my own Power of Dad.

True, I'm getting more and more forgetful as I head towards the downhill side of 40 (I don't remember being forgetful, but at least Mrs. LIAYF keeps telling me I am), but the happy memories of being a dad to these kids will  never fade.

Still, it's nice to be able to open my laptop and browse through the old posts here.  As I said, it always brings a smile to my face.  When it comes to being a dad, it's the little moments that power the biggest smiles.

This Father's Day, Oral-B is also celebrating fatherhood's little moments and the dads that bring smiles to their families every day.  Watch the video below (I loved it), and your own favorite fatherhood moment and photo/video using #powerofdad.

Great stuff, right?  Not only has Oral-B partnered with March of Dimes to celebrate mother's and father's every day, they are also joining force with Eli Manning (NY Giants quarterback), his father Archie and his daughter Ava, to celebrate fatherhood's little moments.  They are obviously very supportive of Dad's.

Since I am also partnering with them on this campaign, I'm going to tell you about their latest cool power toothbrush.  The new 7000 Black is their most technologically advanced bush yet, featuring over 8000 oscillations & 40000 pulsations a minute.  I'm pretty sure that only my kids can match that kind of movement!

It even has a 'Tongue Cleaner Mode', as well as Daily clean,Deep clean, Sensitive,Whitening, and Massage modes. I short, this is a pretty cool brush.

If you do decide, with Father's Day approaching, you wan to get your dad one of these cool new brushes, your in luck.  You can click here for a coupon entitling you to $7 off your purchase.  You can't beat that.

Whatever you decide to do for Father's Day, just have fun with Dad.  And most of all, remember the Power of Dad, and all the smiles you have shared over the years together.

Have a great one readers.  And hug your dad, we love that stuff.

Disclosure:  I partnered with Oral-B and Life of Dad, LLC for the #PowerofDad Father's Day promotion and was compensated for my involvement. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Now Both of My Kids Suck

Yep, Annabelle has now reached that toddler milestone of sucking liquid through a straw!

What? You thought I meant something else?  Not a chance.  My kids are awesome!!

Annabelle has been attempting to drink from a straw for quite some time now, but just hadn't quite put it all together.  We knew she was overdue to do so, being 18 months old now, but we weren't too concerned knowing that all kids reach milestones at their own pace.

You could tell she knew what the concept was, but just couldn't quite figure it out.  It wasn't until we ordered a little flavored milk for her from one of our favorite local coffee houses that she had the incentive to draw the liquid out of the cup.

Since then, she has also took draws off of an apple granita from our local farmers market, which she also loved. I actually wrote about this same subject early in the life of this blog, when Lukas was a toddler himself.  I called that post The First Straw.

This all just serves to prove that even the smallest milestones can be a lot of fun.

Happy Memorial Day weekend all.  Be safe and enjoy yourselves.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014

Sol Republic Tracks Air Review + Giveaway

Happy Monday all!  With Father's Day now just a few weeks away, I have a screaming opportunity for you all to give the gift of mobile sound to a deserving dad in your life.

Or you could just keep it for yourself.

That's because the fine folks at Sol Republic, who I teamed up with over the holiday's to give away a Deck wireless speaker system, have also now provided me with a pair of Tracks Air wireless headphones to review.  And as a bonus, they have also agreed to send a pair to one of my lucky readers.

I have an Ice-White pair, like these.

That might be you!

I have to admit that I am in love with my pair of Tracks Air headphones, which have noise cancelling sound that is light years better than the wired 'in ear' phones which I had been using before I received them.  In fact, once I put them on, and turn on my choice of audio media, I can't hear any of the screaming going on from my kids, who are pretty loud.  I could literally tune them out!

Okay, I don't do this.  I'm a good Dad after all.  But the point is, that I could if I wanted to!  No, I mostly use my new headphones after they go to bed when I am cleaning dishes or doing laundry or taking out the garbage,  or any number of the other household tasks that I wait to conquer until they are snuggled safely in bed.

At that time, I am usually listening to a baseball game, or some riff heavy garage rock music that Mrs. LIAYF can only stand so much of.   My Tracks Air headphones are perfect for this because I am no longer wired to my music source, getting tangled up in them as I try to get things done.  And best of all they keep a charge for a very long time, so I'm not constantly having to plug them in.

In short, they have been liberating to me as a busy parent.  And that is no exaggeration.

So, now that you know how sweet these wireless headphones are, perhaps you may want to score yourself a pair to give to the Dad in your life for Father's Day?  Or, as I mentioned, you may just want to keep them for yourself.  Don't worry, I won't judge.

In order to be entered to win the pair of Sol Republic Tracks Air wireless headphone all you have to do is leave a comment here telling me what's on your personal playlist when no one else is listening.

For bonus chances to win, you can also tweet about this contest with a link (re-tweets don't count),  or mention it on G +, Facebook, or Instagram.  Follow me for the first time on any of those sites, and I'll add another entry.  Join Luke, I am Your Father through Google Freinds Connect (available on the Right Nav bar of this page) and I'll add two more.

If you do any of those, just make sure you link back to me and also comment here telling me you did so. And while your at it, you might as well check out some of my other content.  I'd appreciate it if you did.

This contest is open residents of the US and Canada only, and a winner will be drawn  on June 1st.  You must also provide a valid way for me to contact you or else your entry won't count.

Full Disclosure.  As I mentioned, Sol Republic provided me with free product to review for this post, but as always, my opinions are not for sale.  I really do love these headphones.