Back to School (Day 1)

Hello Friends,

Today is the first day of school for St. Viator students, first through eighth grade. Sweetie is now a first grader, so here we go!

Cricket stops in for a welcome tea today, then her full days start tomorrow. She’ll have to wear real clothes tomorrow, no throw blankets as outfits!

I know we are heading back earlier than CPS. Are your little ones heading back yet? Whenever it happens, I hope your back-to-school is happy and tear free…for your kids too!

Advertisements

Zoo Camp

Hello Friends,

Man, how the summer has flown! I hope you can forgive my absence. We have been both travelling and entertaining family here at home. The girls have enjoyed all kinds of summer adventures so far. They’ve travelled, had beach visits, sampled children’s museums and my favorite, attended camps!

We are wrapping up our summer at the Lincoln Park Zoo Conservation Camp. I wrote last summer about Sweetie’s adventures at LPZ Camp, and now Cricket is old enough too.

Gettin’ comfortable with the group

The girls enjoy the crafts and games, and especially love the daily trips into the zoo to check out the animals and their behaviors.

Very comfortable!

The zoo and camp are located in the very accessible Lincoln park neighborhood, so kids come from all over the city. We randomly reconnected with some friends from swim lessons. One of those wonderful coincidences where both the older and younger siblings are the same age. Good times!

I hope your summer is wrapping up well. Travels? Camps? Whatever your adventures are I hope your kids are loving it. Next week…school!

Car Ride Karaoke: “Sister Time”

Hello Friends,

we all know the situation: you’re driving along from point A to point B when all of a sudden it comes on. Your song…your jam. Before you can check the traffic around you, you break out into song. Full bore, all out beltin’ it. Maybe perfectly, maybe pitchy, maybe flat – doesn’t matter. In the car you always nail it.

Sweetie often breaks out into song in the car and I find myself thinking, “Aww, I wish I was filming.” The other day I had some assistance from Wife so here  we are. I’m not sure what to say about Cricket’s freak out (you’ll see). So move over James Corden; watch out Elena (of Avalor); Sweetie’s on. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into our car rides.

We’ll see you out there!

 

Chia Pudding for Life

Hello Friends,

I don’t share as many recipes and food ideas as as I should. Partly because I don’t like taking food photos – I’m just not good at it and they look funny. But I do struggle with meal ideas, particularly breakfast, so I figured I’d get over myself and share.

To be completely honest, Wife brought the idea for chia pudding home. Not one of my originals but I have fully embraced it.

Here’s a brand from Costco you could try

The recipe that we use is easy to follow and multiply. The end result depends on your taste. I am sharing chia pudding because it is easy, versatile, and our girls eat it.

Start with three tablespoons of chia seed.

Looks a little funny, I know. And the girls thought so too, until they ate the final product. Next add one cup of soy milk.

And stir.

Cover that and throw that in the fridge overnight. The next morning you should have a thick mixture.

From here you thin with your choice of liquid. More soy milk is fine, we’ve used both plain and vanilla flavored. Pineapple juice is good too, and I imagine any juice would work. You are looking for a pudding-like consistency, but really thin to your liking.

Serve up you pudding into bowls and add whatever you like. Some of our fav ingredients are strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, honey, and coconut flakes. But add what you would like.

There is no way around the overnight wait, which is why we use chia pudding for breakfast. Its easy though, and your kids can make it how they like it.

There it is friends, our version of chia puddding. There are protein benefits here, and fiber too, but the girls are sold on the taste. I hope this helps with your breakfast menu. We’ll see you out there!

Summer Camp Fun

Hello Friends,

I hope you are enjoying your summer adventures. Some of my best summertime memories are from summer camp days. Whole days spent running around, playing games like kickball and capture the flag, art and crafting, and swimming. There were the years when Sister-Younger-Older was a camp counselor, a very cool “in” for my young, four-eyed chubby self. There were my early teen years as a “junior” counselor, keeping the younger campers organized. Our summer camp was a bike ride away from home. No overnight camp for me, but still good memories.

We first signed Sweetie up for camp sessions at Lincoln Park Zoo two summers ago. While that was fun, it was only half days because of her age. Last year we added on two weeks of St. Viator camp. The Cricket was too young last year so she was in D³ Day Camp all day, every day. But this summer everyone is old enough for some sort of camp!

Sweetie gets a full summer; two weeks at St. Viator camp, five weeks at Kilbourn Park camp (through the Chicago Park District). and three weeks at Lincoln Park Zoo! The Cricket is in a “play” camp three half-days a week for six weeks and two weeks at LPZ camp (that birthday cut-off almost got us again!).

Right now they are both fully into their Chicago Park District camps. We heard good things about the Kilbourn Park camp, and that was cool because it’s our go-to park. Cricket does claim that she doesn’t want to go pretty much every day, but it seems like every junior counselor knows her name. Given all the hugs that she gives and gets, something good is going on. They dig all the theme days and love the field trips.

Is camp part of your summer adventures? Day camp or overnight? Whichever, I hope you and your kids are making great memories this summer. Remember the sunblock and water bottles, maybe some bug spray too. We’ll see you out there.

Between a Self and a Village

Hello Friends,

I started this post back in January with, “Been thinking a lot about gratitude lately, and just how many things I am thankful for these days.” Today I’m coming off a good week with three posts uploaded, some new followers and many new comments. So I’m right there again, feeling grateful. High time I said something.

Each one of you, my readers, is included in these thoughts, and I try to tell you that each year. A blog without readers is a journal, and that’s personal and doesn’t contribute to the tribe’s knowledge base. Your presence on the blog moves us out of the personal and into the public space.

Thank you.

That’s thanks for clicking on a post, reading, commenting, liking us on Facebook, following, telling your friends, asking about the blog, and all the other things you do in support of Dad’s Diaper Detour – thank you.

When I was mulling over the blog-gratitude dynamic I was reminded of two phrases that get thrown around lot, dare I say, two “cliches”?

The first is the notion of “self-made”. Often brandished by successful business owners, I find this concept falls apart when you hear the back story about the starter-loan from a grandparent or the free room and board from family. I get the idea behind the phrase, but we don’t live in a vacuum, so there is always some part of our current situation that is “made” by another. Parenting, no matter how successful, always involves an “other”; a spouse, someone for advice, a helping hand, getting some work done, etc..

The second phrase is “it takes village”. This is pretty easy to dissect. Nobody knows everything about anything. Getting specific to at-home parenting, no parent, especially a new parent, knows what the detour has in store for them. I didn’t. I have relied on Wife, my parents, siblings, in-laws, friends, and fellow parents for guidance and an extra set of hands. I turn to the internet community for help. I look to parents who have published books. I definitely benefit from a village.

So I repeat: thank you. To all of you who have guided and followed, and made the space for me to do the same. You have been the “other” who has helped to make this blog, and the village that supports us. Of course, you should tell your friends and families about about Dad’s Diaper Detour and keep liking, commenting and following, either through WordPress or Facebook.

The summer is in full effect here in Chicago. We’ll be on the detour and I hope we see you out there.

Time for the House

Hello Friends,

This is the last update on our yard work. After the playhouse goes in, my focus shifts to yard maintenence. Rest assured, there won’t be any posts about edging and mowing. Although maybe I will do a “carbon-neutral” post in the future to highlight human powered lawncare. Anyway, playhouse.

After a bunch of shopping and comparisons we went with the Greystone Cottage from Costco (it’s part of the Cedar Summit line by Kid Craft). We tried to balance look, playability, value, and price, and for us, this house won out.

What you’re seeing in these messy photos are the parts of the house laid out by number (all parts are numbered for easy building). This was one of the first steps in the manual, and was a helpful hint from the company. I tried to clear out half the garage for work space, but you can see how easily the parts filled up the space.

Tio Long-Arm-of-the-Law came by for the first night of building. His help made that night productive. The cottage uses a lot of screws to fasten the pieces. So while I was fastening a part, he was reading the next step, and bringing me the next parts and fasteners. If you buy this house I recommend getting a second person at least until the base is assembled and the roof is on.

And…POOF! Playhouse. I said this wasn’t going to be a tutorial, just some sharing. Photos after build night #1 would’ve been nice, but oh well. Anyway, fits nice, right?

So, let’s sum up this experience. The box is big enough and heavy enough to be a hassle, but not impossible to get home. One person can get it from the store, two is ideal. There are a lot of parts, but they are numbered. Organize the parts and the hardware (use a plastic Costco apple crate for hardware) to facilitate assembly. One person can handle most of the assembly, but a second person can dramatically improve productivity. And two sets of eyes is better than one , especially for the few steps that aren’t completely clear (and really, there are only a few). Build night #1 was 2 hours with two adults, build night #2 was 2 hours just me. So 6 total Dad hours. Once assembled the house can be moved by 3 adults easily, 2 with a bit of caution. The light weight of this house is deceptive though, as it is sturdy. The wood is lightweight, so charge the battery for the driver but use a light trigger. It is easy to bury the screws and split boards.

Overall, Wife and I are pleased with the Greystone Cottage. I did leave off a flag accessory which is just a big piece of plastic. The wood is treated, but we did spray it with a waterproof paint to be safe,and I tarp it if we’reexpecting storms. So far it is all fun at the cottage. The girls have no complaints, except when I call them for dinner!