14 Drink-Inspired Gifts for Dad

14 Drink-Inspired Gifts for Dad

A seemingly benign item, the mug, glass, flask, stein, bottle that a man chooses to hold his beverage of choice is actually an opportunity to make a subtle, (or not so subtle), statement about what he believes and loves. And so, a choice drink-inspired gift can be just the solution you’re looking for for the dad you’re looking to please this Father’s Day. Here are 14 ideas based on whatever kind of dad you’re in the market for:

MUGS
1. For the Geeky Guy who’s not a morning person: The Battery Changing Mug will show his battery recharging as he fills up his morning coffee (based on temperature change!).

2. For the Basketball Fan: You can’t really go wrong with a mug with a hoop for dunking marshmallows and the like.

3. For the Friendly Father: A “Hello My Name is…” mug will make friends as he sips his morning cup a joe.

4. For the Know-it-All Commuter: A Never-Wrong travel mug can comfort his smugness as he rides to work.

5. For the Superhero Dad: this Superdad mug needs no explanation.

6. For the Dinosaur Dork or Pun-loving guy: this dino joke mug might just do the trick.

WATERBOTTLES

7. For the Indoor Dad: An “I will never take this camping” Nalgene will keep him hydrated throughout the house.

8. For the Feel-Good Father’s Day gift, check out the MIZU Watter Bottle for which proceeds go toward providing clean and safe drinking water to those around the world without access – as he drinks, so do others.

LIQUOR Lovers

9. For the Whiskey Connoisseur try these Whiskey Stones to cool down the whiskey to the ideal drinking temperature without diluting it. Or if that wasn’t enough to demonstrate his hardcore-ness:

10. The Personalized Whiskey Barrel will do the trick.

BEER Boys
11. For the Lounger who Loves Beer, this beer glass doubles as a bottle-opener.

12. For the Do-it-Yourself Dad, he will love getting his hands dirty with this Beer-making kit.

WINE Drinkers
13. For the Wino, why not make him his own Custom Wine Labels? You can even include a photo of him to make this special edition extra special.

14. For the Cork Collector: this classy cork cage will keep track of his corks while also serving as a conversation piece.

Whether his drink of choice is coffee, tea, beer, wine, whiskey, or the classic glass of water, a fun vessel to drink it out of will be an almost daily reminder of the thought you put in this Father’s Day. So cheers! Here’s to dad, and Happy Father’s Day!

3 Technology Hacks to Celebrate a Birthday From Afar

3 Technology Hacks to Celebrate a Birthday From Afar

One of the hardest things about living far from someone you love, is not being able to spend their birthday with them. The most obvious way of making someone’s day extra special it would seem, is by being there to organize parties and deliver gifts and affection, but with a few creative uses of simple technology, we are here to claim that you can definitely make their birthday a day to remember even if you can’t be physically there with them. We’ve come up with three ways to use every-day technology like email, texting, and websites you use daily to make them feel extra special this year.

  1. Create a Birthday Email Address. – This one works best with at least a little bit of advanced planning. Whether you have a few weeks leading up to the birthday of your long-distance bestie, boyfriend, brother, etc., or a few months, this can be a winning option which can cause both extreme surprise and joy.  All you have to do it create a unique birthday email address, say for example happybirthdayjason@gmail.com (or, you know smushiesbday@gmail.com). Create the account and start emailing love notes, birthday wishes, photos, videos, songs, scanned old photos, forward old email exchanges, anything that you think will make them happy.  While waiting in line at the supermarket you can send an email about how you’re thinking about them and what you might buy for them if they were here. You can even give out the address to other friends and family to send wishes too. Then, on their birthday, give them the password! They will be blown away by the thought you put in and be able to sit down and go through the emails feeling how much you thought of them in honor of their birthday.
  2. Call in Reinforcements! Often people feel that just a call or email to the special person on their big day is just not enough to express everything they want to say. So imagine tens of people calling and emailing to tell them how much you are wishing them all the wonderful things in the world on their birthday. We spoke to Guy who told us he’s been doing this for the past six years on his mom’s birthday. He sends a mass email to all of his friends asking them to call or email his mom on her birthday to wish her the happiest of birthdays. He told us, “I never liked giving gifts which were bought from a store. Mainly because I usually prefer getting gifts which are custom-made to fit the relationship between myself and the person giving the gift. So with my mom, I felt I had to do the same and she is so down to earth, so appreciative of every small thing but most of all she loves people more than anything. So sending people who she did or did not know to wish her happy birthday was the perfect gift.”
  3. Make a Birthday Playlist. There is something magical about music that creates an atmosphere and a flavor for the day, it can bring back memories and change your mood. Having a soundtrack for their big day can add that extra something in between the lines for the day to feel that much more personalized. They can listen to your custom playlist while getting ready for the day, riding between stops or just chilling before going out that night. You can come up with songs that will remind them of special times you’ve had together and just general feel-good music according to their taste. Denise told us that her sister did this for her on her birthday two years ago and it’s still her go-to playlist when she’s thinking of her sister or just needs a pick-me-up.  She told us, “it was a really nice birthday but I was sorry my sister wasn’t there to spend it with me, and when she sent me the playlist in the morning I listened throughout the day and felt like she was there with me in a different way and haven’t stopped listening to it since!”  You can listen to the mix all day as well and even post it on social media for others to celebrate with them too by listening in.  A few birthday-themed songs to consider including are, The Beatles’ “Happy Birthday”, “It’s My Party (and I’ll cry if I want to)” by Lesley Gore, Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday”, for the Bob Dylan lovers there’s “Forever Young” (and for a softer interpretation try Audra Mae’s version). Of course there’s the eternal rendition of “Happy Birthday Mr. President” sung by Marilyn Monroe. And not to leave out the pop fans, you might like “Birthday” by Katy Perry or “Young Forever” by Jay Z featuring Mr. Hudson. Two easy and free ways to create a playlist are on YouTube or 8tracks.com. This too is something you can build over time leading up to their birthday as you think of songs they’ll love.

Don’t let the distance make you think that you can’t be there in virtual ways, make this a birthday to remember. With one or two or all three of these ideas, you can be the one to add that extra something to your loved one’s birthday this year. So go on, start thinking of songs for the playlist!

6 Father’s Day Family Photo Ideas

6 Father’s Day Family Photo Ideas

With Father’s Day coming up, you might be just a wee bit stressed about what thoughtful things you can do to make him feel extra special this year. Well, it’s at moments like this where we would like to remind you about the amazing power of your own children’s cuteness. Let’s face it, your kids are down right adorable. And that signature adorableness can go a long way and can be harnessed with a few quick and easy photo opps that will undoubtedly make his day and also serve as a unique souvenir from Father’s Day 2015.

We’ve collected 6 of our favorite photo ideas from around web that just might bring a tear to Dad’s eye. Ideas #1-3 are in the theme of photo gifts to prepare before Father’s Day and present to him. Ideas #4-6 however, are ideas for clever ways to document dad together with the kids on Father’s Day! If you’re already spending a day celebrating Dad, why not make a point to take a few memorable shots to keep around the house or as the new background on your various devices.

1) The feet photo. Easy, quick, sure-fire smile maker for Dad.

For you if: you think your kids’ feet are delicious.

Supplies: washable marker.

The Father's Day Feet Photo!

Top image from: funholidaycrafts.com, Bottom image from: asimpleplanner.com

2) We <3 Dad! The classic sign photo never fails.

For you if: you don’t have a lot of time.

Supplies: paper and marker/ chalk and chalkboard/ card stock and scissors

 WE        DAD (1)

Top image from: burycute.blogspot.co.uk, Bottom image from: tipjunkie.com

3) Here’s Looking at You, Kid…

For you if: you’re feeling a little artistic and sentimental.

Supplies: reflective sunglasses / basic photo editing program to plug a different photo into the spot where the mirror is. (we like Canva!)

Alternate options: son looking in mirror and Dad looking back at him / Dad wearing the sunglasses with kids in reflection. If you don’t have sunglasses you can use the side or rear-view mirror of your car for a nice reflection too!

Here's looking at you, kid...

Top image from: petapixel.com Bottom image from: Luna Bella Photos

4) The Multigenerational Shot can be a keepsake for many years to come.

For you if: you’re planning a brunch with the grandparents.

Supplies: an empty frame and easy photo editing software (see recommendation in #3)

generationsfinal

Left image from: blog.gallerydirect.com, Right image from: weheartpics.com

5) Frame the Kids (no, we don’t mean you should pin a crime on them!)

For you if: you’re looking to spice up your standard family photo.

Supplies: a large empty frame / strong arms

Alternate options: kids frame the parents (anniversary coming up?!)

Frame the Kids!Left image from: indulgy.com, Right image from: blog.tonyabeaverphotography.com

6) Wanna be, Wanna Be Like Dad…

For you if: Dad has a favorite hobby or activity.

Supplies: Whatever supplies he uses for that hobby or activity.

belikedad

Top image from: izismile.com, Bottom image from: breakfastatyurmans.tumblr.com

There is something here for everyone, including those who don’t have time but who want to go a tiny bit beyond the usual pics to make something special either for or with Dad this Father’s Day.

How to Stop Feeling Distant from Nearby Family

How to Stop Feeling Distant from Nearby Family

When you were deciding where to buy your house, a big part of the reason that you chose your current location was because it was close to family. And yet, you see those nearby family members much less often than you had hoped and you find yourself feeling rather distant from them even though they’re just a short drive away. You are not alone, and in many ways it is only natural that despite your best intentions to be close with family, that it actually takes effort to maintain those relationships – geography alone is not enough, especially when everyone is so busy. So we’ve come up with five simple and fun ideas to help you feel closer to those close-by family members without clearing your weekly schedule. Try choosing just one or two and let us know how it goes!

  1. Listen to an audiobook together. This option is great for families with kids and teens who have cousins around their age. Choose a book to listen to simultaneously and choose a reasonable date to finish by. Audiobooks can be listened to in the car on the way to school and other activities and so it doesn’t have to impact your schedule too much. On the date you set, get together for a Family Book Talk. You can even choose the menu and do some light decorations inspired by the book. This way, when you get together you can jump right in talking about the book without any awkward time lost on warming up again.  You might be surprised at the wonders of bonding that experiencing a book together can create.  Two good resources we found for audiobooks are: Loyal Books which has a decent selection of young adult classics for free, with no registration required. Also, the Random House Listening Library has a large, nicely categorized, and very up-to-date selection of audiobooks for kids and young adults. And if you’ve got 8-12 year olds, we have heard excellent reviews of the brand-new Ratscalibur by Josh Lieb, for a funny and charming read, or rather, listen :).
  2. Create an EverMinder group. One of the more frustrating moments is when you miss a family member’s birthday, especially when they live near by and you could’ve done something nice for them or just called them up, but you forgot and you’re kicking yourself for this small missed opportunity for connection – big fat forehead slap on this one. But keeping up with all those dates is nearly impossible with a growing family and hectic schedules. But if you set up your EverMinder group just once, you’ll get those reminders straight to your email with a link to send a message or even a gift. It’s free to use forever, and if you add in your family members’ email addresses, they too will get those reminders from you straight to their inbox. Then, all thanks to you there will be many more birthday wishes flowing in the family – just the kind of thing that helps people feel more connected to their family even if they don’t see them all the time.
  3. Set up an Absentee Potluck. We just made up this term but we absolutely love the idea. Choose a time – ideally Sunday night either once or twice a month – where you meet up with family members to exchange ready-made dinners for the week. Here’s how it works: each family makes a double batch of the dinner item of their choice – say lasagna or chili – and then exchange one with each other that Sunday night. That way each family has an extra ready-made dinner, and a night during the week where they’re eating the dinner that the other family made for them, a really nice way to show you’re thinking of each other and also help them out a bit with their week. To add extra cuteness, drop in a note from your family to theirs!
  4. Video chat with them. I know what you’re thinking, “I didn’t need a blog post about keeping in touch with family to tell me to video chat.” However! People often treat video chat as an amazing tool for keeping in touch with relatives who live far from them, and underestimate the value of video chatting with those nearby. Since you can actually see each other while talking, video chat has that special effect that makes it seem as if you’re hanging out together, and not just talking. So take advantage, even for a short chat while you’re doing the dishes or to show them the artwork your kid brought home that day. There’s a special intimacy about those little chats that provide a window into each others’ daily lives so don’t be afraid to fit them in where you can.
  5. Be spontaneous! Most of us tend to think that the best way to make sure you see someone is to schedule, schedule, schedule. But when you know it’s on the calendar for three weeks from now, it can actually make you less likely to just stop by, see if they’re free for a quick coffee, or randomly go for a late movie together. Spontaneous get-togethers don’t have to include everyone – it can be one-on-one or two-on-two, whoever is available right then. This is one of the major pluses of having family who live close by – you’re close enough that with even short notice you might be able to squeeze in an informal meetup. These can be short and sweet but they keep the connection going with a sense of closeness rather than waiting for special occasions. Go ahead, try it, you just might like it.

There’s really no need to be down on yourself about not being in as great of touch as you would like with those you love, this happens to everyone. Just choose something from the list and give it a try, or use one of the suggestions on the list as a conversation starter with those nearby family members to decide together how to make sure you stay close the way you want to and that the kids do too.

Hope you found this helpful, we’d love to hear your thoughts and additional ideas in the comments!

True Stories: I Forgot My Mom’s Birthday

True Stories: I Forgot My Mom’s Birthday

In honor of Mother’s Day in one week from today – we dedicate this post to all the well-meaning children out there (who may even be moms themselves) who would like to make sure they never forget their own mother’s birthday. Now, you might be thinking – Me?! Forget my mom’s birthday? Never! In fact, I never have in all my [fill in the blank] years of life! Well, friends, all it takes is one time to cause an unfortunate forgotten birthday situation. In fact, it is more common than you might think. In our busy lives, it’s not so simple to keep track of all those dates and with people geographically spread out over various time zones, we wouldn’t blame you if this happened to you. We talked to three women with forgotten mom birthday stories to hear how it happened and how they tried to prevent it from ever happening again.

Ally told us that it happened about two years ago. “I was super crazy and busy and barely knew what day of the week it was,” not to mention what the date was. “I was waiting at the bus stop to get to work, and took out my planner, and realized that it was November 15th, and that I had totally forgotten to call my mom two days earlier on her birthday.” Flabbergasted at the fact that she had forgotten even though it was right there, clearly written in her planner, she realized she simply hadn’t looked at it in a few days. She couldn’t call her mom right at that moment because she knew she was at work with her phone off. She called and emailed later and apologized profusely. Her mom was understanding and she admits, “I think I felt worse than she did.” Ever since then she hasn’t figured out just how to remember, but just tries to be more aware of the date on a regular basis.

For Shauna, the episode happened over twenty years ago, but she remembers it like it was yesterday. She was only ten at the time, and yet somehow everyone in the family forgot her mom’s birthday that year. “My dad called the house to tell me my mom’s on her way home and she’s upset and crying.” Everyone scrambled to have a little birthday toast ready for her when she arrived home as they made their group apology.  Of course she says that “needless to say that since then that date has been etched in our memories.” Although, just to be safe they also made every password in the house related to mom’s birthday just to make sure that all family members would know it by heart from then on.

Our final story, comes from Joan, who simultaneously had her own birthday and anniversary forgotten by her husband. In this case Joan’s husband’s good intentions were met with a little technical mishap. He knew he wasn’t so great at remembering dates and so he made sure to plug them into his electronic calendar on his iPad. Truth be told, it was actually a case of a little human error which was then magnified by his trusty iPad calendar. Here’s how it happened: Joan’s birthday is on January 25th. Her’s and her husband’s wedding anniversary is on May 28th. Her husband saved their anniversary in his iPad calendar as January 28th – taking the month of her birthday and the day of their anniversary. So on January 28th, while she was bundled up in a blanket during a snowstorm, her husband burst into the living room exclaiming “I’m so sorry! I forgot our anniversary!” “What are you talking about?” Joan asked. “It’s our anniversary today…!” he said, to which she replied “Honey, we were married in May.” “But my iPad says it’s our anniversary today…” he said confused. “Turns out,” she told us, “technology can only help you remember dates if you enter them into the device correctly the first place.”

Although it turns out that forgetting your mom’s birthday once can do wonders for making sure you don’t forget it ever again, Ally, Shauna and Joan all recommend slightly more elegant solutions for the future.

Has this happened to you? We’d love to hear more stories in the comments! Happy Mother’s Day y’all!