snacks

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Power Lunch Back-to-School Giveaway

September 8, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

That title’s a mouthful, ain’t it? Yet it’s certainly befitting my epic team-up with fellow Dad Blogger and Lunchtime Super Power, Lunchbox Dad! We’re serving up some fun and creative ways to prepare school lunches — plus a ginormous giveaway to help you make lunchtime awesome!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Back-to-school Giveaway

One of the unexpected perks of blogging has been all of the interesting, talented and just downright nice people I’ve met. Whether online or hanging out in real life, I’ve found support and inspiration from so many of my dad blogging bros. One whose creativity I’ve admired for a while is Beau Coffron, AKA Lunchbox Dad. Check out his web site or Instagram to see what I mean — he puts so much fun and imagination into the meals he makes for his kids. It’s a scrumptious sight to behold!

I had the pleasure of meeting Beau in person at a conference in July. While we were there, we did some brainstorming over beer and Happy Meals for ways to combine our lunch-related passions into a cool giveaway for our readers.

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Halloween Treats: Spooky S’mores

September 3, 2014 | By Brent Almond | THINGS MY KID DIGS

For my son’s very first class party, I made the rookie mistake of not pouncing on the snack sign-up sheet. It was for his preschool Halloween party, and by the time I got around to volunteering, all that remained was the dreaded “other” category.

But I’m always up for a creative challenge. So I retreated to my laboratory, pulled together some randomly yummy ingredients, and SPOOKY S’MORES were born! Mwaaa-ha-ha-haaaa!

Halloween Treat: Spooky S'mores

I got weird & wacky with the snacks for my very first class party

But wait — aren’t s’mores supposed to be toasted? Technically, yes. But I wasn’t about to bring an open flame into a classroom full of three- and four-year olds. At least not at my very first party. Trust me — they’re plenty yummy without being heated, and certainly messy enough in this form. However, I may try them another time with pre-toasted marshmallows. That could make for some very cool melted eyes/zombie effects…

They’re super simple to make, and you can even employ the help of your kids. Just make sure they (and you) have a healthy snack beforehand, or be prepared to lose quite a few ingredients in the process of putting them together.

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SuperLunchNotes: SPACE WEEK!

July 14, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

Last week was “Space Week” on SuperLunchNotes, because Jon was also learning about space at his preschool summer program. Space Dress Up Day, Build A Rocket Day, Space Moon Bounce Day… capped off on Friday with a display of a “real rocket!” I’m not sure exactly what that entailed, but he sure was excited to tell me about it!

I even snuck in an extra surprise on Build A Rocket Day…
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banana rocket

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WEEK 48: July 7 – July 11, 2014

Buzz Lightyear  |  Nova  |  Silver Surfer  |   Miss Piggy  |  Han Solo

superlunchnotes Buzz Lightyear

Serendipitously, on Wednesday I accompanied Jon’s class on a field tripand Toy Story was the in-bus film!
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Honey Maid Combats Trash Talk with #WholesomeQuotes

May 12, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

The Internet isn’t known for its wholesomeness. Sure, there are bright spots here and there — but it’s also ground zero for crazy people to hurl their unfiltered opinions. These come in all flavors, with the most popular being racism, homophobia, misogyny and the always-popular hatred.

Recently I praised Honey Maid’s “This Is Wholesome” campaign for including same-sex parents in their TV ad. While I had many positive comments, I also received more negative, hateful and idiotic responses than any other time prior. Who knew graham crackers were such a hot button issue?

Here are just a few of the “greatest hits”…

honeymaid - comments - homophobia

honeymaid - comments - homophobia

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My Big Gay Wedding, Part 1: The Designer Album

May 7, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF, LGBT STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Narrowing down the photos I wanted to share from our big gay wedding was a daunting task — too many wonderful images and memories to choose from! So I’ve divided them into two albums representing my Gemini-esque personae: Designer and Daddy.

This one — the Designer Album — features details, graphics, colors and all the minutia I obsessed over to make our special day a little special-er. You can see the Daddy Album here. And thanks for your patience — I had to wait nearly 17 years to legally marry the man I love, so I figured folks could wait a few days to see more pics of my adorable kid.

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GAY WEDDING - INVITATION

YOU’RE INVITED. From early in the planning stages, it was obvious to Papa and I that a marriage between two people that had been together for 16+ years should get some props for longevity. There weren’t going to be doves descending from the heavens and whisking us away to a magical happily ever after. This was about commitment and family and roots and the journey it took to get here.

So I came up with a stylized brick motif. Bricks may not conjure romantic imagery, but they are vitally important in that they build roads for life’s travels and the foundation for a home. They fit and work together to guide, protect and stabilize.

GAY WEDDING - INVITATION OPEN

The front of the invitation unfolds to reveal a “road” leading us home.* I wanted to not only communicate the ceremony would be at our house, but also emphasize the importance of home to our relationship and our family. It also set the tone for the celebration — warm, informal and all about the love.
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So let’s get to the photos of the actual day, shall we? By the way, the fabulous Piper Watson shot all of the wedding day photos. Please hire her — she is a sweet photographer and an even sweeter spirit.

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A Taste of Wedding Cake

April 28, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF

I’m back from a weekend of weddedness, and wanted to pop in to say how truly blessed I am… with a wonderful (LEGAL!) husband, a precious son, devoted family & friends — and an awesome outpouring of love and well-wishes from all of YOU out in Internet-land! Seeing your myriad of comments, likes, tweets and all-around cyber-support contributed to what was pretty much a perfect day.


The Story of the Three Bears

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There are photos and details and heartfelt reflections to come, however today I shut my brain and body off to reboot. But I wanted to at least give you a little taste — of our wedding cake!* The Daddy & Papa bears (which are salt & pepper shakers) topped the cake at our commitment ceremony 10 years ago. As it was in a church and more of a formal affair, they were dressed in white top hats and bow ties. Our wedding this past Saturday was more about home and family. We had it in our backyard and were a little more casual, so after hunting down a small bear to represent JJ (and painting on some eyes, ears & nose) I made them all neckties out of ribbon and felt to match the actual colors we wore.

And oh yeah, the bottom layer of the cake was vanilla, the top layer was pumpkin, and it was ALL delicious.

More to come…

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Hungry for additional fun and feels? Follow Designer Daddy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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*Cake created by Fancy Cakes by Leslie, Bethesda, MD

Honey Maid Redefines “Wholesome” to Include Gay Dads

March 13, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, THINGS DAD DIGS

Looks like the gay agenda is continuing to blaze its flaming path into more and more homes, this time via a commercial for…DAH DAH DUM!!! graham crackers.

But seriously, this is a seriously sweet ad. Not only does it depict doting, gay dads, but also a mixed race family, a single father, and a tattooed dad banging the drums as his little girl dances around the living room. The ad, the campaign and the company have gotten quite a bit of coverage, but I wanted to get the scoop on some of the thought behind the spot.

A representative from Honey Maid was kind enough to answer a few questions in the midst of what I’m sure is an extremely busy time for them.

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Piechart: My Preschooler’s Well-Balanced Diet

January 17, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

This rotund chart pretty much says it all. I have no wisdom nor special powers nor secret sauce with which to get my kiddo to eat anything other than what he knows — beyond the shadow of a doubt — to be not yucky. His is a well-balanced diet, only in that it’s consistently frustrating and all-around annoying.

well-balanced diet pizza bagels waffles preschooler diet

So please feel free to submit your tips, tricks and tales of success. Or join me in my malnourished misery. Just don’t judge. If you do, I’m pretty sure you’ve never had a kid.

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Won’t you join me on Facebook for even more fun and shenanigans? I’ll bring the pizza bagels!

Saving the Day with Superhero Lunch Notes

November 14, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, THINGS MY KID DIGS
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click to super-size!

My son started preschool this year, and I wanted to do something special for his first day. I’m no master chef (and he’s a notoriously picky eater) so a super fancy/fun/creative lunch was out of the question. And he already had his Spider-Man backpack and Superman lunch bag and Batman t-shirt — so he was set accessory-wise. Yet I wanted to do something truly, uniquely* Designer Daddy-ish to celebrate this milestone.

That first morning was pretty hectic, as it was a new schedule for all of us. Between making breakfast and getting JJ dressed and brushed and toothbrushed and backpacked, all I ended up having time to do was write “Daddy Hearts U,” on a Post-It note, added a quick doodle of The Flash and snuck it into his lunch bag. I pictured him discovering it at school, being reminded of his dear, old Dad, and bragging to all his new toddler pals how cool I am. Or more likely how cool The Flash is.

the first note

the first note

He loved it. And so the next day I did another, thinking I would do one each day of his first week and leave it at that. However, if you’ve ever had a preschooler, you know how THAT turned out. Toddlers are not known for their flexibility with a routine.

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So here we are… 68 or so days later, and I’m still getting up a few minutes early each day to make JJ a note. But I gotta admit, I’m having a blast. It’s a great way for me to hone both my doodling and pun-making skills. It’s also been pretty cool having JJ’s teachers tell me how thoughtful and creative I am. But really — and not to get too heavy here — it’s all about my legacy. I’m never going to be my son’s sports idol. I don’t have vast carpentry or mechanical or bronco-busting skills to pass down to him. What I have is my love of superheroes and my talent for doodling. This is my way to instill in him a love of those things, and to keep being his superhero for as long as possible. Or until all my Sharpies run out.

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You can view all 68 (and counting) superhero lunch notes on Instagram. I’ll also be mixing them in on Facebook and Twitter, so be sure and let me know where you see them, and which are your favorites!

*While I haven’t found anyone else doing this particular thing, I would be remiss if I didn’t give props to David Laferriere, whose awesome series of sandwich bag doodles definitely inspired me.

Halloween Highlights: Creepy & Creative

November 8, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Halloween is quickly becoming my favorite holiday. All the decorating, crafts, food and fun of Christmas crammed into a shorter period of time and without having to log all that extra church time. PLUS COSTUMES!

We had multiple events, all of which were an opportunity to put on my Designer Daddy hat (or horn, as it were) and we had a blast! Here are a few Halloween highlights…

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The first event was the Saturday before Halloween – a fundraiser/fair at JJ’s preschool, the “TODDLER BOOOOGIE!” For this occasion, JJ went as Batman. Yes, there were multiple costumes. You were expecting different from a super-hero obsessed toddler with two gay dads?
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batman

Batman’s still figuring out the fit of his new costume.

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