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Aug 312011
 

Who knew that eBay was hooking up with parents? Well I didn’t know until they reached out to me not too long ago. Lo and behold these guys know our houses are filled with things just waiting to be hooked up with eBay.

If you’re a parent like me it doesn’t take but a quick glance to your left or right to realize you’re surrounded. You’re not just surrounded, you’re overpowered, dethroned, buried, and over taken by stuff. Now look, I’m not talking about being a hoarder I’m just talking about having kids. My wife and I live in a very small house.

I like to call it a cottage.

So in this cottage we have always agreed that less is more and we shan’t (yes, I said, “shan’t”) have too much stuff.  Well apparently these kids decided that they were going to make their own rules. It doesn’t take long to look around and see the scooters, bouncing balls, those jumpy things, the push car things, games, puzzles, books, dolls, toy cars, the home phone…

Wait!! There’s the home phone!

Sorry, anyway the point is they accumulate so much stuff it’s hard to see where their beds start and the living room couch ends! The other day my wife and I were thinking it was probably time to figure out what toys they’re still playing with and which toys they’ve just outgrown. We (and when I say, “we” I mean she) sat down and started going through all of them. What a chore! Of course, O was a bit resistant at first warning us we better not take her toys! It wasn’t long before she was on board too though.

There are quite a few options for unloading those unused toys. One great option to consider which can actually help to fund that piggy bank or even the college fund is to list it on eBay. I have used eBay many times over the years but to be honest didn’t even think of doing this until I teamed up with them. What a brilliant idea! I’m so glad I invented this amazing idea that nobody has ever thought of. Nobody has ever thought of this. Wait, this means I’m amazing! Wow!! I’m going to make money and esteem myself at the same time?

Wait, I think I just totally had a caffeine sparked insane tangent there.

Okay, let me come back.

I’m back.

Okay, so anyway as I was saying. I think this is certainly an option to consider when going through all those unused toys and books. You’ll make it easier to clear out some space for the next set of toys to be able to walk and you’ll be adding a few bucks back in to the old budget.

To get started check out this quick and easy 3 step process!

I am a member of the eBay Parent Panel which is a paid sponsorship between eBay and DadStreet. The views and opinions expressed on this site are mine and cannot be bought. However, I may want to buy yours if I run out of my own.

Aug 312011
 

Thank you to Crocs for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about Crocs’ new Back to School line. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

 

“Back to School Shopping” is something that is really foreign to me. Actually, my memories of back to school shopping were the days of buying a new 3-ring binder, backpack, clothes, and shoes. It’s been quite some time now since those days were a reality but it brings me back.

I’m on the other side of the fence now with O and Jake. Perhaps I’m still a few years away from the real back to school shopping but I’m getting there. O and Jake both start Pre-School tomorrow. I suppose this is technically just “To School Shopping” since in theory there isn’t any “Back” but I digress.

Even with Pre-School starting tomorrow O and Jake still need new clothes, backpacks, and of course shoes. We’re lucky in that they wear uniforms to Pre-School. Okay, the “uniforms” are actually just overalls with a shirt underneath but you get the point. If you have kids that are O and Jake’s age you know how quickly they go through shoes. This past weekend we were visiting family in Southern California for Jake’s 2nd birthday. We took advantage of their huge malls and of course had to take them shopping for school.

At 3 years of age, O has an opinion about shoes and really enjoyed picking them out. Jake? Not so much…He was busy trying to steal my dad’s cane away from him (he had hip surgery recently). Anyway, shopping for these little guys can be a challenge.

All in all our first official “Back To School” shopping experience was fun and I’m sure there’s going to be plenty of follow up shopping to do too! I’ve learned a valuable technique though for the rest of you dads out there. If you’re tired of shopping just try the “Yes Approach”. Basically when your wife asks you if you like something you just say, “Yes”. You will be amazed how fast you leave the store when you say, “Yes” to everything! It works like magic and before you know it, you’re out of the store.

*Warning: The “Yes Approach” may be hazardous to your financial health.

To help get your “Back To School” shopping underway I wanted to mention my friends over at Crocs.

The Crocs Back to School kids’ line are school-approved on the outside (because they’re close-toed and close-heeled), but have the same comfort in the inside.

They have 13 new styles for boys and girls from K-8.

Check out all these great styles and colors on their site! While you’re there check out their giveaway for a chance to win a family trip to San Diego (no purchase necessary).

Crocs has also shared this cool little video, “They’ve Got Summer Inside”, with us. The music video is interactive and you can click on the shoes in the video to go directly to the shoes’ corresponding pages on the Crocs official site.

Bonus Fun! Try to find the hidden Easter Egg within the video. Click on it and see what happens! Here’s a photo hint!

Aug 312011
 

So the other day my wife and I agreed we’d be taking O and Jake to Disneyland to celebrate Jake’s 2nd birthday. Well the actual celebration wouldn’t be taking place at Disneyland but we’d be celebrating. Somehow that seemed much less confusing to think about before putting it in writing.

Hopefully, you haven’t totally lost me and you’re still following along.

Okay, so I wrote a post the other day talking about how I’ll be using the app to get me to and from Disneyland. There were a couple of twists and turns and this post actually turned out to be something much more than I originally thought.

We actually live about 400 miles north of the LA area in Monterey, California. Although I know exactly how to get where I’m going when we drive down south I still find myself using the TeleNav app. In fact, it seems the majority of the time I’m using the app it’s actually when I know where I’m going and not somewhere new. This is the opposite thinking most people have when it comes to Navigation apps but let me explain.

Of course the app does an awesome job of getting you from Point A to Point B. What it does equally as well, if not better is telling you what’s in between Point A and Point B. I’ll give you an example:

We’re several hours into our drive and we decided that we needed some caffeine and the kids both told us they wanted milk. So our standby for these types of stops is Starbucks. I actually have a Starbucks app on my iPhone which does a great job of telling you where the closest stores are to you. The problem with that app is that as soon as you click on directions it opens up the phones Map application. There’s nothing wrong with this if you like looking at a map while you’re driving, having to click to the next page for each turn while you’re driving, and overall not get exactly where you’re trying to go. Yeah, that was my experience with the Starbucks app. With the TeleNav app I pressed the little Mic button and said, “Take me to the nearest Starbucks” and guess what happened? It actually told me how to get to the nearest Starbucks! And you know what? I didn’t have to look at my phone once, I didn’t have to push any other buttons, and best of all? We actually got there!!

A similar thing happens when it comes to finding gas stations near us on our route. What’s even better is that it will tell us the nearest gas station with the cheapest gas! If that isn’t awesome enough it will actually tell us the cheapest gas per octane! Our car takes premium gas so every little penny helps when we’re filling up that tank.

So before I tell you about our trip to Disneyland I will say that we were actually following my Sister-In-Law. TeleNav gave us slightly different directions to get to Disneyland than the way she was taking us. When we got to the exit my Sister-In-Law wanted us to take TeleNav quickly re-routed and guided us the rest of the way turn-by-turn. Again, we knew where we were going and even though TeleNav had us going a slightly different way it quickly adapted to our new route without much of a blink.

I wasn’t able to use the app in the park itself but there is a “pedestrian” feature which will take you where you want to go with the assumption that you’re on foot and not in a car. It converts everything to feet for you so you can easily determine how much longer you have to walk before your next turn. Of course, it will speak the turns to you as well even in “pedestrian” mode.

Disneyland was so fun as usual! We went on quite a few rides and the kids had a blast! My parents were visiting from the east coast and it was their first time to Disneyland. The kids lasted until the park closed which was a complete shock! I would’ve bet money that they would’ve been done in the early evening but they lasted all the way. We even got to stay for what O calls “the fireworkers”.

At the end of the evening my Sister-In-Law gave me special directions to turn on a particular street so as to avoid a highway that was near the park. I wasn’t worried at all since I knew I had TeleNav. Not only did it guide me right out of the parking garage but it took me the exact way she wanted me to go which either means she talks to TeleNav when I’m not around or they’re both pretty good with directions. I’m guessing it’s the latter.

On our 400 mile ride back home TeleNav past the ultimate test in my book. The kids were both asleep and the wife and I were starving. I clicked the mic icon on the app and said, “Take me to the nearest In-N-Out”. In less than 4 minutes we were in the drive thru of In-N-Out Burger. If you’re not familiar with this fast food chain then you’re definitely missing out. They are hands down the best fast food burger joint anywhere. Now would be a good time to go download the TeleNav app and say, “Take me to the nearest In-N-Out“. You may have a bit of a drive depending on where you live but you’ll never have to worry about finding what you need in between Point A and Point B.

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