candy-colored

Happy Halloweenie!

October 31, 2012 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

This photo was sent to me by awesome moms Holly and Carrie of their boys Zeke and David, sporting their Halloweenie tee shirts in front of a pumpkin patch. Way to get into the spirit, and thanks for being such great fans!

And oh yeah, you can get these shirts (plus a bushel more styles) at the Designer Daddy Store. Have a Happy, Happenin’ Halloween everyone!

Back-to-School Giveaway!

August 18, 2012 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

Just in time for back to school — or, for my non-parent / math nerd readers — I’m giving away a pair of numerically awesome goodies! The prize includes magnetic numbers from Mudpuppy and a tin of Fox Run mini number cookie cutters.

The varnished wooden numbers (that come in this awesome storage carton) are exponentially cooler than your run-of-the-mill fridge magnets! They’re bright, bold and funky, and the 40-piece set includes numerals 0 to 9, plus symbols for adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing and equaling. Among their many other gorgeous and creative products, Mudpuppy also makes a matching set of letter magnets.

I also own a tin of these cute-as-pie cookie cutters, and have put them to good use in many attempts to lure my toddler to eat. I haven’t yet used them to make cookies, (And really, who wants a cookie that small? Seems pointless.) but they’re great for using cheese to turn dinosaurs into cars or cars into racecars or whatever shapes these nuggets were supposed to originally be.

In any event, magnets + cookies x numbers = MATH FUN! And anything that helps make math less torturous is tops in my book.

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TO ENTER:
In the comments, share an idea for how you’d use the cookie cutters
OR
Share a word or phrase you can spell upside down with numbers (like on a calculator).
Sorry, “BOOBIES” is already taken — see above.

EXTRA ENTRIES can be earned by posting/liking/sharing on Facebook or retweeting/favoriting/DM’ing on Twitter. I can’t make it any easier for you, sorry.

Winner chosen at random. Contest closes midnight (EST) on TUESDAY, AUGUST 22.

Gold Medal Gabba

August 13, 2012 | By Brent Almond | THINGS DAD DIGS

Are you already having Olympics withdrawal? Wishing Cut Copy would release some new music? Wondering what funky-ass clubs Stefan has been frequenting this summer? Completely befuddled as to when (if ever) there will be new episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba!?

If you answered “yes” to more than one of these questions, you are my new SUPER BEST FRIEND!

As our first SUPER BEST FRIEND activity together, let’s watch a brand new Yo Gabba Gabba! called “Olympics!” It features musical guest Cut Copy and SNL’s Bill Hader doing “The Rainbow Drop” with the Dancey-Dance bunch. I imagine there’s going to be some Olympics-related weirdness as well.

It airs Sunday, August 19th at 8:30pm on Nick Jr. See you there!

Cut Copy On Yo Gabba Gabba! from stereogum on Vimeo.

Whatchoo-choo doing for National Train Day?

May 5, 2012 | By Brent Almond | THINGS DAD DIGS, THINGS MY KID DIGS

National Train Day is Coming Down the Tracks! Hook up with Amtrak & B. Toys for National Train Day! National Train Day: C’mon & Ride It!

(So many train puns, so little time…)


 

Saturday May 12 is the 5th annual National Train Day, a nationwide celebration of all things locomotive. Marking the 143rd anniversary of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad, National Train Day will be especially tootriffic for the kiddos!

There will be four big-time, whistle-blowing events* held in iconic train stations in NY, Chicago, LA and Philly. In addition to tours of real live freight and commuter train cars (as if that isn’t enough to make any little kid’s head explode) the events will also include:

  • Interactive/educational activities teaching kids how trains work through crafts and demonstrations
  • Radio Disney serving as emcee/DJ of the festivities
  • Dora (you know, the Explora) making appearances at select locations — meeting and greeting and probably pulling  things out of her backpack. Check out her feisty cover of Little Eva’s “Locomotion”!
  • Giveaways from Amtrak (the creators of National Train Day, btw) including t-shirts and other train-related swag

Can’t make it one of the larger parties? Not to worry! There will be 100+ smaller — but still fun — events all over the US. Chug on over to National Train Day’s web site to find the one closest to you, and check out what unique festivities your local train station or other family-friendly venue has planned!

The National Train Day site is also a great way to get all connected and interactive: visit the Gallery to share your photos, videos and stories about your train adventures for a chance to win prizes!

And speaking of prizes…

B.ONUS! (free stuff giveaway!)

One of JJ’s (and Daddy’s) favorite toy companies, B. Toys, is the official toy partner of National Train Day, and will have activity stations at each of the four main festivals, showcasing their awesome building block toys Elemenosqueeze (ages 6 mos – 3 yrs) and Stackadoos (ages 2 – 6 yrs). And because Designer Daddy is such a B. Toys fan, they’ve given me an Elemenosqueeze and Stackadoos set to give away to my wonderfully loyal and style-conscious readers!

Elemenosqueeze A-Z architectural blocks are great for squeezing, splashing or chewing (BPA free)!

Stackadoos are a big ole’ bucket of 68 connectable blocks that bristle with fun and color!

To enter, just post your toy preference in the comments section here! You can also be entered by commenting/sharing via Facebook, Tweeting and retweeting, or by becoming a follower (on Twitter) or liker (on Facebook). Enough options for ya? 🙂

The contest opens NOW and closes at midnight on Friday, May 11th (National Train Day Eve). I’ll draw one winner at random for each toy.

But what if I’m too old for B. Toys, you ask? Well, then I feel sorry for you. But if that’s the case, I’ll have a National Train Day goody (exact item TBD) to give away as well! Just indicate that in your comment, tweet, post, whatever, and I’ll draw a third winner from that pool.

Happy National Train Day everyone — all aboard for fun!

(Sorry, couldn’t resist one last pun)

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(PS: Anyone who attends an event, please send me a pic or two and I’ll post them on Facebook or in a follow up here. If you can snap a photo of your kiddo playing at the B. Toys station, I’ll forward it to them and it might show up on their site as well!)

*What?!? No event at DC’s Union Station? Unfortunately the station’s gorgeous ceiling is undergoing restoration due to damage caused by last fall’s earthquake, so they’re unable to host an event. Maybe next year…

Fit to be tied

April 16, 2012 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES, THINGS DAD DIGS

This is a follow up to my post on the über-dapper Trendy Ties. Just wanted to show off a few photos of us in our matching ties we wore Easter Sunday. It was a very difficult choice to pick just one design, but having ordered them pretty last minute, my decision was dictated mostly by what matched shirts we already had. What do you think? Cute enough for ya?

Looking chic and cheeky betwixt Papa & Daddy

JJ strikes a casual pose in the church nursery, contemplating the vintage toy collection

Showing off our Easter duds

These are also the first photos I’ve posted taken with my new camera. I’m still re-learning how to take SLR photos, and you can tell we had a hard time finding the right spot that lit us up without either blinding us or drowning our faces in cherry blossom shadows. Hopefully better shots are yet to come!

Got any cute Easter pics of your kiddo (or dog or yourself) to share? Post them on our Facebook page, or on your own page and post the link here.

Tying one on for Easter

March 28, 2012 | By Brent Almond | THINGS DAD DIGS

I was going to make this post a DooDad of the Day, but I love everything this company makes so thought it deserved a little bigger shout out.

There was a time I wore ties with relative frequency. Like when I worked in an office and regularly met with clients. But with a home-based studio and the interwebs, there’s just not as much call for Man’s Best Accessory. Even Papa — a fancypants DC attorney — only ties one on for big meetings anymore. So when we wear ties, they really gotta pop.

Yes, Trendy Ties specializes in adorable/handsome/trendy ties for little kids (girls can wear ties, too y’all) but they also make ties for Daddies* and Papas. So… until JJ is old enough to protest (which is kind of already here) I’m starting an Easter/Father’s Day tradition of buying us a set of matching ties. Gag on the cutesiness all you want, I don’t care.

The ties (and bow ties!) come in gorgeous patterns that are colorful enough not to be stuffy, but thankfully not a dinosaur or Spongebob among them. This is some seriously delicious stuff. Take a gander at some of my favorites, poke around their site, and please give them your business. NOTE: these are all hand-made, so if you want ties in time for Easter, you gotta order soon!

I’ve already made our Easter purchase — bonus points to whoever guesses which one!

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*Daddy is a big guy, and thankfully TT makes their adult ties in regular and extra-long!

DooDad of the Day: Symphony in B.

March 11, 2012 | By Brent Almond | THINGS MY KID DIGS

B. Toys is at it again, unveiling the next most awesomest toy you your kid just has to have! (It’s at the top of JJ’s list for birthday #3…)

Check out this cute video — proof B. Toys’ latest musical wonder was both kid tested and approved…

JJ’s been a fan of their creations for a while, thanks in large part to the fact that Dad digs their non-primary color palettes and clever toy names. Like the Meowsic keyboard. The B. Zany Zoo activity box. Alphaberry. Parum Pum Pum. Times Square. Toulouse LapTrec. Take It Easel. Wheeee-mote Control. You get the idea.

Learn more about Symphony in B. here, where you can view it in 3-D, and even test out some of the music.

DooDad(s) of the Day: The Red One, The Yellow One, The Green One & The Purple One

March 5, 2012 | By Brent Almond | THINGS MY KID DIGS

I’m a sucker for cool packaging and clever copy, a combo that Ella’s Kitchen serves up with savory style. While on the hunt for creative ways to sneak fruits and veggies into JJ’s diet, I came across these cute, little smoothie packets, awesomely named…

and

Lest you think these are run-of-the-mill banana, strawberry, apple or grape flavored sugarbombs, take a closer look at the fruit icon codes at the bottom of each. They include such unique (all organic and no added sugar) combos as mangoes, bananas, apricots + apples (The Yellow One) and blueberries, apples, black currants + bananas (The Purple One).

In addition to the adorable simplicity of the packaging and the smoothies’ nutritional value, the pithy copy peppering the pouches gave me a giggle. First off they’re called “squished smoothie fruits.” And the info on the back reads like the packaging on a child’s doll: “Hello, I’m 100% bananas, mangoes, apricots + apples with a dash of lemon juice.” and “I’m produced for and distributed by Ella’s daddy’s company…” I just love it when the same amount of detail put into a quality product also carries over into its presentation.

And do yourself a favor and check out Ella’s Kitchen’s web site, which features tons of other cool/cute/presumably healthy vittles for kids — things like “Chick-chick Chicken Casserole” and “Mangoes Mangoes Mangoes.” Plus the site is animated with buzzing bees, popping flowers, floating clouds and the occasional mole.

Oh yeah, and JJ LOVES them.

Today’s post brought to you by the letters “O” and “K”

February 22, 2012 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED, THINGS DAD DIGS

The genius of Sesame Street meets the genius of OK Go and gives birth to an equal parts simple and sophisticated lesson on primary and secondary colors. So much awesomeness!

Advent In An Hour: Dec 24

December 24, 2011 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, THINGS MY KID DIGS

Every year for the last ten or so, I’ve made a mix of Christmas music for the drive to my parents’ house. This is JJ’s third Christmas — and he’s become quite the verbal and musical sponge — so this year’s mix is geared mainly towards him. A Christmas Mix 101, as it were.

Track list:

1. Jingle Bells – Frank Sinatra (Bonus points for Old Blue Eyes teaching JJ how to spell “Jingle Bells.” And sorry Babs, but your version’s too frenetic for a toddler. And don’t watch the link if you’re prone to seizures…)
2. Welcome Christmas – from How The Grinch Stole Christmas (starts at 5:30 on the clip)
3. The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) – Alvin & The Chipmunks
4. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer – Burl Ives
5. Little Drummer Boy – Peggy Lee
6. Frosty the Snowman – Dan Tyminski
7. Here Comes Santa Claus – The Puppini Sisters
8. The Friendly Beasts – Sufjan Stevens (If you don’t have Sufjan’s Christmas box set, you must. I’d buy it again for the packaging and sheet of stickers alone.)
9. Linus And LucyVince Guaraldi Trio (“Christmastime Is Here” is probably more recognizable, but it’s a little depressing. And nothing beats the Peanuts gang’s wacky dance party.)
10. Santa Claus Is Coming To TownFred Astaire
11. All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth) – The Nat “King” Cole Trio
12. Feliz NavidadJosé Feliciano (part of JJ’s unofficial Spanish immersion program)
13. Mele Kalikimaka – Bing Crosby with The Andrews Sisters (…and his Hawaiian immersion. I wonder if the Obamas sing this at Christmas?)
14. Over the River and Through the WoodsThe Chipmunks (Grandma literally lives over a river and through some woods. Just wish I could find a less annoying version of this ditty, which by the way was originally a Thanksgiving song.)
15. Carol of the Bells – The Bird and The Bee
16. Dominick The Donkey – Lou Monte (In honor of JJ’s Nonno Dominick, whose birthday is today!)
17. Christmas Is ComingJohn Denver & The Muppets (Can’t wait to teach JJ to sing in a round!)
18. Joy To The World – Nat King Cole
19. You’re A Mean One Mr. GrinchThurl Ravenscroft
20. Dance of the Sugar Plum FairyLondon Symphony Orchestra (In honor of Daddy’s favorite Christmas character)
21. The First Nöel – Annie Lennox
22. Sleigh Ride Relient K
23. Let It SnowMichael Bublé
24. Hark The Herald Angels SingVince Guaraldi Trio (Everybody now, “Loo, loo, loo…”)
25. Jingle BellsThe Singing Dogs (Cordi perked up for this one)
26. Silent Night – Sixpence None The Richer
27. Twelve Days Of Christmas – John Denver & The Muppets (It wouldn’t be a Christmas road trip without something from this CD. JJ applauds at the end of this classic gem every time.)

What songs did your family grow up on? Any others you’d recommend?

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