Learning to give back during the holidays: the empirical edition

Two years ago now, I took my oldest and one of her friends camping to this mountain lake I love. It’s a rugged area, the campsites all primitive, steeped in nature. Steeped in beauty. We stayed for three nights. As you can imagine, there’s a lot to bring on such a trip. So much, in fact, that I didn’t have room to take any wood.

“What are we gonna do?” she asked.

“I know a place — don’t worry.” And I did. Just before the road that twists and turns to our campsite, there’s a 180-degree, right-hand turn you can make that takes you away from the water and straight up what is essentially the side of a mountain. After a quarter mile or so, the road dips down and offers a gravel drive on the left — one that cuts through a valley of sorts.

It’s here you’ll find a collection of dilapidated trailers, a few broken down cars resting upon cinderblock pillars, a mangy-looking dog or two and this:

To continue reading, click HERE.

Some Thoughts From our Car Seats

Dear John and Caroline:

Get over yourselves.

OH, I know. Having triplets has been kinda tough. Good Lord do I ever know. It’s pretty much all y’all ever talk about.  And I get it — to an extent at least. I mean, a lot of people think buckling and unbuckling one infant multiple times throughout the day is a pain. So buckling and unbuckling three is obviously three times the hassle.

But while you strain your back to securely click in Little Darlings 1, 2 and 3, I’m not exactly whistling Dixie over here. I mean, HELLO? I’m the one who’s actually keeping your kids safe, for crying out loud. Oh, sure, you keep your trio safe, too, but in that safekeeping process at least you don’t get ABUSED like I do.

To read more, head over to Babble by CLICKING HERE

The Secret to My Toothbrushing Coercion

And there were three primary ways I accomplished that: (a) under-promising but over-delivering, (b) illustrating the benefits to be gained from the use of my products and services and (c) finding win-win situations.

Oddly, it’s those same three principals I find myself using over and over as I try to sell my kids on things that are ultimately for their own good. And last night was a perfect example.

To read more of this sponsored post, please click HERE.

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8 Tips for Making Great Home Movies

I love making videos. Some of my favorites are the ones I do with Caroline — like this quirky little number that we called Valentine’s Day: According to the Osbornes. In it, I may or may not have criticized her driving. It’s so hard for me to recall petty little details such as that.

Anyway, two big developments on the video front — first, starting soon, I’ll be doing them for hire and embedding them on another site. These efforts will also be uploaded to a YouTube channel, but not my own — instead, one belonging to a brand name we all know and love. But second, and equally as exciting — I get to do them with Caroline which means these videos will showcase that feisty, banter thing we do. You know, kinda like Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser albeit with a southern twist.

More on that soon, but for now, I wanted point you to a post I just wrote for Babble that you might find useful if you’re (a) interested in making home movies or (b) interested in making even better home movies than you’re already making. If that sounds like you, click on THIS LINK to read 8 Tips for Making Great Home Movies.

Instant Classic: Triplets Learn to Ride a Bike [30 second Video]

So two things. First, I caught a magic moment on video and have uploaded it to YouTube and embedded it below. And though the picture above would suggest that it’s a video of Kirby, it’s actually a video of my fearless little Sammy. And it’s only 30 seconds, so wear it out.

But second, it’s a snippet from a longer video (3 minutes) I made for Sony over at Babble. It’s about how a feature of their Handycam actually helped me teach my trio how to ride their bikes.

I’ve long used the Sony Handycam for all my home movies and their newest model is top flight. If you’d like to win one, go over to my Babble piece and watch the video (or don’t, but you should) then leave a comment detailing your favorite video and you’ll be entered to win. Sound good? Then click HERE.

But not before you watch this. You’ll be so happy you did — it’s an instant classic:

World Harbors Marinades Make Me Look Good (Again)

Two quick things: First, this post is sponsored by World Harbors which makes a lineup of marinades ideal for grilling. And second, thanks to World Harbors, I’ve added a coupla new grilling dishes to the repertoire that are so easy and delicious. If you or your significant other love grilling, you should check this post out. 

I’ve already bragged on World Harbors before. I mean, they helped me make the best chicken wings I’ve ever made, so I was happy to do it. (Psst: World Harbors — you need to make the Australian Bar-B marinade available in Knoxville! Seriously!) And today I’m gonna brag on them again because I’ve been consistently using their marinades for the past several weeks, and have been thrilled with the results.

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Nature’s Own Thrill of the Grill Challenge: We Have a Winner

True story: this picture was taken while C and I and the kids were on vacation and I took it to prove one simple point — Caroline and I are down with Nature’s Own. Even when we’re away. We buy their bread products all the time at Butler and Bailey in Rocky Hill. Really like their multi-grain sandwich rounds and use them for (get this) sandwiches, but also as buns for burgers.

But now there’s another reason why I love Nature’s Own. They invited me to be a part of a very cool contest — the Nature’s Own Thrill of the Grill Challenge where six (I think it was six) bloggers squared off to see who would be named Nature’s Own Grill Master. The winner was to receive a large Big Green Egg® + starter kit.

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Nature’s Own Thrill of the Gill Challenge: And the Winner Is…

Okay, y’all, sorry for not getting this to you sooner, but I’ve gotten a few emails / FB messages asking me what was up with the Nature’s Own Thrill of the Grill Challenge and the answer is…

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Nature’s Own Thrill of the Grill Challenge: How to Grill the Perfect Steak or Win a Big Green Egg® for Free. Possibly Both.

Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? See that picture of my Big Green Egg® up there? Wanna win one? (Well, actually, you’d be winning one nicer. Mine’s a medium and you could win a large which retails for around $800 …UPDATE — A friend of mine just told me that I actually have a large Big Green Egg®, which shows you how dumb I am. So, anyway, you can win one just like mine! — END UPDATE) Well, I want you to win one, too. And what’s more, you could do just that by leaving a comment on this post with your favorite grilling tip.

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Camping is Dirty Work

Alli and I approaching our campsite.

Most of y’all know that our family likes to camp. In fact, we just took the first triplets on their first camping trip a few weeks ago. And it went great. But it went dirty. And Caroline’s a stickler for sanity (I am, too, for that matter) which means that we rely on plenty of sanitizing agents to keep our act as germ-free as possible. Which is exactly what Clorox asked me to write about over at there blog. To check it out, click HERE.

I was happy to take Clorox up on their invitation to write for their blog in part because we do, indeed, use a ton of their products. That said, they did compensate me for my time, but the opinions stated are all mine


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