9-11 – Honoring the past. Where were you 13 years ago? #dadchat



9-11 – Honoring the past. Where were you 13 years ago?

I think that for most of us we can all remember the moments that surrounded the 9/11 tragedy that struck our nation 13 years ago.


I remember where I was… I was in the my office at the university that I was working at as a Student Affairs Professional. I believe it was J-Mom who called me and told me to turn on the radio because it looked like a plane had collided with one of the twin towers. Unbeknownst to us was all the malice that was behind the first attack, let alone the subsequent attacks within New York City as well as the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.


I remember hearing this and calling my colleagues to fins a television that we could turn on and we watched in our main office as the tragedy revealed itself. I was numb, dumbstruck. Only once before had I felt this way, and that was when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. I simply had never witnessed such hatred, such a loss of life and later that week we found out how close to home this hit our family.


The Saturday before 9/11  J-Mom and I celebrated the wedding of a high school friend of J-Mom. The wedding was a wonderful event full of love and laughter. At that event I was able to meet a friend of the bride named Kelly Ann Booms who sat in front of us during the wedding. She made a comment that she had to get back to Boston on Sunday because she had a business trip that she had to fly out for (to Los Angeles) early on Tuesday morning (9/11). Later that week we found out that Kelly was a passenger on the first plane that hit Tower 1 (Flight 11). We were shocked that someone we just spoke with could be gone in an instant and it brought the national tragedy to a whole new level of meaning. We now felt a part of this tragedy and not as far removed.


The images of the first few hours of 9-11, the first few days afterward still are burned into my memory and I think they will never leave. For my generation, I think that this even will be the event that truly defines our generation as it may have been Pearl Harbor for my grandparents of the JFK assassination of JFK for my own parents.


So today, 12 years later I take a moment to remember Kelly and the other victims of the 9/11 attacks. May we never again live through such an event.

When my daughters get old enough to understand the significance of this day I will help them understand, but it will not be easy for the to grasp the severity of the events and what it did to the American Spirit that followed. I can only hope that I will be ready for this discussion when the time comes.

So my question for the day?


    • What are your memories of this event in our collective history?


    • How will you tell your children about this event in the future?


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Love between & bday girl #imagelogger #nx300


Ideas for Making #Summer 2014 the Best One Yet

Summer toes

Summer is the best time of the year (IMHO). It’s the time when you and your kids can get outside, enjoy the weather, and do some fun activities (unlike during the winter when you’re pretty much snowed in). It’s also a time when you can start in on new home and yard projects to make some improvements and have some good family fun.

Not sure where to start? Well, here are some ideas to get those creative juices flowing:

18th Engineers Build Deck

Illuminated & Comfortable

The back yard deck will probably become the focal point for your summer nights. It gives you the ideal location to lounge and spend time with family and friends.

There are many guides to building a deck that are easy to follow and won’t cost an arm and a leg. They are well worth their investment since it’ll increase your property value and give you this focal point of activity as mentioned.

But let’s jump forward and list some ways to add some special touches to this area:

  • Consider going out of the ordinary and painting the deck with colors. There are many brands of paint that can handle the weather conditions. This splash of color (even if it’s just the railing) can be a nice addition and even more so if you use glow in the dark paint to give it a neat illuminated look after a bright, sunny day.
  • Consider the lighting and ambiance of your deck and try adding a little flair to it by picking out patio lights online with your family. Have a vote on which ones would go perfectly with the deck. There is a lot to choose from. You could even theme the deck to have a Tiki feel or give it a bit of a mystical look with flameless candles and such.
  • Consider doing a few DIY projects for the deck to add to its fun. You could install small compartments on the side to house yard games. Add a dart board on one end. Build a picnic table for a corner. Make your own hammock. All these projects would be great for spending time with your kids, teaching them a few skills, and having something neat to show at the end of the day.

These little additions can make for a truly enjoyable night. You all had fun setting things up during the day and can now relax. Not a bad idea for the summer (and spending time with the kids), eh?

My First Tree Fort

Forts, Fires, and Smores

I think it’s safe to assume that each one of us wanted a tree fort when we were younger. Building a tree fort isn’t all too difficult actually, as long as you can follow some plans, stay patient during the process, and remember to measure twice, cut once.

This also makes for a great activity to work on a big project with your children. You can do the heavy lifting and the dangerous stuff but then hand it over to them when it comes to decorating the fort, painting, and adding onto the fun.

Once that’s been built you can have nights where you’re all up there telling ghost stories or down in the yard cooking smores over a small fire. It’s really fun!

Fish Fries & BBQ’s

Some chicken, pork and corn in the barbeque

Food brings the family and friends together but it can also be a great opportunity to spend time with your children. Make a day out of gathering up the supplies for the fish fry or BBQ.

You could:

  • Go to the beach or lake and spend the day fishing, then bring it back to cook
  • Go to ethnic or farmer’s markets to find new ingredients and take a vote
  • Go as far as raising your own animals (if you have the property) for food
  • Invest in a nice grill or deep fryer and your next food party will create quite a buzz.
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Great Video W/ Dad Blogger Dan Anderson @dananderson #dadchat

This was a touching commercial that Dell put together with fellow dad and blogger Dad Anderson – watch and let me know your thoughts!

Get ready for cold weather with Kidde Fire Safety (@KiddeSafety)

Kidde  photo disclaimer_zpsaa1cb05b.jpg The National Fire Protection Association reports most home fires and CO poisonings occur in winter. Besides heating appliances, seasonal activities such as increased cooking, using candles and decorating Christmas trees all add to the risk.


With that in mind I took the below quiz to see how my family held up. Unfortunately or fortunately I learned that I have a long way to go in regards to getting my home ready for the future.


Right from the beginning I see that I need to replace my smoke alarms as my home was set up in 1999… so I am actually beyond the date where they needed to be replaced. I also need some more fire extinguishers for my home and monoxide detectors too. We have an escape plan in place but I know that we need to practice this more often.


This was a great test to see where we are in our home safety. I encourage all of you to test it out yourself and share where your family is in the comments below. Fire alarm notification appliance


One in four older homes needs to update fire safety equipment. How old are your alarms?

  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years. Replace CO alarms every five to 10 years, based on the model.
  • Purchase an alarm with a 10-year sealed lithium battery, such as Kidde Worry-Free smoke and CO alarms, to receive hassle-free protection for a decade –no need to change a battery or hear a low battery chirp. Available nationwide at retailers like The Home Depot and Walmart, each alarm installed will save you $40 over its life in battery costs.

Seventy-five percent of homeowners don’t know where to install smoke alarms. Do you have one on every floor, and inside/outside all bedrooms?

  • Choose alarms with room-specific features, such as an LED light in the hallway, or a voice notification for the bedroom.
  • Place a CO alarm near sleeping areas and on each floor. Keep them 10 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.

Do your alarms incorporate the newest features and technology?

  • A sealed-in 10-year lithium battery continuously powers the alarm for 10 years.  It’s tamper-proof and can’t be removed.
  • A digital display shows the level of CO in the air and updates the reading every 15 seconds.
  • An intelligent multi-sensor responds faster to real fires and CO, plus it reduces nuisance alarms like those commonly caused by cooking.
  • An end-of-life warning lets you know when to replace your alarms.

Do you need other safety products?

  • Fire extinguisher – place one within reach in rooms where fires often begin: kitchen, garage, bedroom, living area
  • Escape ladder – place in second and third-floor rooms as an alternative escape route

Have you developed a family escape plan?

  • Practice it regularly. Know two ways out of every room and who will assist children and loved ones with mobility/health issues.

Fire in Dumpster Do your children know their address and how to dial 911?

  • Post your home address and emergency phone numbers on the refrigerator.

Are your appliances and chimney winter-ready?

  • Have a professional inspect fuel-burning appliances to ensure they function properly and that they vent outside.
  • Have a professional clean or inspect fireplaces annually. Birds and small animals can make nests and leaves can build up on top of the chimney, preventing carbon monoxide from venting properly.
  • Have you created a 3-foot clutter free zone around fireplaces, space heaters or wood stoves?

For a downloadable winter home project checklist and other information, visit www.worryfreealarm.com.     ——————————————————————————————- New to the Divadom or to Dad of Divas Reviews? Please Subscribe to my RSS Feed! Subscribe in a reader Questions?Drop me a line at dadofdivas@gmail.com

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Living with kids and cats – tips by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM, better known as Dr. V, is a proud and accomplished veterinarian, working parent and author of PawCurious (www.PawCurious.com). One of her leading passions is pets and their place in the family, especially pets and parents battling litter box issues – the leading reason people give up their cats. And now, Dr. V is partnering with Swheat Scoop® to give my readers tips on how to better live in harmony with your cat.

Dr. V’s Litter Box Tips for Families:

  • Keep your cat happy and properly using the box by keeping it nice and tidy. Think of the box as your cat’s outhouse experience: No one likes a gross, stinky outhouse! Scoop once a day and clean the box entirely once a week.
  • If you have multiple cats, use the N +1 rule to determine the ideal number of boxes in your house. A two cat household should have three boxes. This reduces competition and inappropriate elimination (going outside the box, in your shoe, etc.).
  • Stick to unscented or lightly scented litters such as Swheat Scoop. This litter does not use harsh chemicals, and since it’s made from wheat, it’s all-natural.
  • Cats are very individual and each cat has different preferences for litter box types. Some like covered, others like uncovered. Setting two up side-by-side can help you determine your cat’s preference.
  • Involve the kids! As soon as your toddler is old enough to show interest in the cat, teach him or her how to interact – like with gentle pets on the chest. Teach them from the get-go to avoid pulling tails and that “when kitty walks away, that means he needs a break,” will help ensure a lifelong positive relationship. As the kids get older, you can involve them in daily feeding, grooming and litter box scooping. All of these activities should be monitored, especially in the beginning.
  • If you are expecting, there’s no need to get rid of your cat! Talk to your veterinarian and your OB/GYN about what you can do to stay healthy and consider investing in an automatic litter box.

For more tips or details on Swheat Scoop’s family of natural, eco-friendly cat litter, visit www.SwheatScoop.com.


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What Can You Do With a Criminal Justice Degree

Many students may wonder what can you do with a criminal justice degree. This often comes from the different career trajectories that are considered criminal justice careers. For example, many schools may state that professions ranging from a district attorney to a Homeland Security officer to a state police officer are criminal justice professions. In addition, the academic study of criminal justice is an interdisciplinary field that may include methodologies from sociology, legal studies, political science, and history. Because of this, many students may feel hesitant choosing from such an amorphous form of study. However, understanding how the major interconnects ideas, concepts, and methodologies for the purposes of law enforcement will help any student realize the potential career prospects of a criminal justice degree.

Criminal justice is ultimately the study of criminal behavior and how to prevent it in society. Professions that enforce law, like police officers, work with those who prosecute law, attorneys and judges, while researchers and academics study trends in crime that help aid the work of law enforcers. These careers in criminal justice are usually dependent on different degrees in criminal justice. For example, when a student enrolls at a community college for an associate’s degree in criminal justice, potential career choices may include paralegal work or law enforcement officer positions. In contrast, a doctorate in criminal justice can help the student become an academic or researcher in the field of criminology. One of the more common degrees come from a four-year college where students will attain a baccalaureate degree in criminal justice. With this degree, security and defense-associated jobs may be open to graduates. The Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) post job openings that usually require a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Students who wish to prosecute criminals or defend suspects must attain a Juris Doctor (JD). Law schools offer JD programs and applicants will need to hold a bachelor’s degree and pass an entrance examination known as a LSAT. Once a law school graduate pass the bar examination for a state, they are able to practice law in that state. Defense attorneys will help defend those suspected of crimes, while district attorneys, who are politically appointed or hired, will prosecute criminals in the name of the state. Several years of law experience is usually needed before being considered for such district attorney jobs. Judge positions are also available for JD holders, but these positions will require years of legal work and the notice of executive officers, like governors, to appoint a person to a judge position.

The field of criminal justice and criminology is an expanding field. Students who are interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement, legal work, homeland security, or forensics can find what they are looking for in a criminal justice degree program


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Talk to Your Teen about Winter Driving #dadchat

teen driving

Here is a very cool Teen Driving PSA that a friend of mine made a while back. As we start getting ready for winter weather this is so important to share with our kids:


How do you talk to your own kids about this topic?


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This Morning Was One That Required Starbucks #Via #LifeofDad

Starbucks Via

 photo disclaimer_zpsaa1cb05b.jpg

I was paid by Life of Dad, LLC to be an entrant in a contest with Stabucks #Via

This Morning Was One That Required Starbucks #Via #LifeofDad
This was one of those mornings that you just have to have caffeine. My youngest had awoke at around 3AM and J-Mom and I heard her calling for us. J-Mom took first stab, but Diva-PJ was having none of it, and would not fall back asleep… so my 4:00 J-Mom came back down. By 4:45 Diva-PJ still had not fallen asleep and I was up (even though I had been up the whole time) to try my hand at getting her back to sleep. After an hour of laying with her she still was not asleep and I threw in the towel saying – I have to get ready for work, and in my mind I was saying – I need caffeine to get through the day.  Thus for me starting with the ease of using a Starbucks Via made perfect sense.

I even made a video about it here – http://instagram.com/p/cyiKhZBzcA/

Do you ever have these moments yourself? If so, share one and you can win some cool prizes thanks to Life of Dad and Starbucks. Go to the following link for all of the information on this great contest: starbucksvia.lifeofdad.com


Starbucks Via

Starbucks Via was so easy to make as all you need is hot water and you are golden. You can doll up your coffee any way you want it and then go from there. What’s even better is that with this Starbucks product I don’t have to leave home to get it!

My thanks to Life of Dad for setting up a great contest to share the moments when as Dads we need a Starbucks – for me this morning was a perfect example!



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Romantic Marriage or Losing Your Mojo? #dadchat

J-Mom and Dad of DivasAre You In A Romantic Marriage or Have You Lost Your Romantic Mojo?

This year my wife and I will be celebrating 15 years of marriage. Anyone who is married knows, any marriage takes hard work and commitment throughout entirety of the marriage itself and maintaining romantic marriages can take even more effort as the years go on.

With our anniversary coming up I wanted to reflect back myself on some of the romantic gestures that I have done for my wife over the years. I know that prior to being married I was much more of a romantic that I am after 15 years of marriage. This is not to say that I love my wife in less than I did when I was dating and engaged to her, however I think that over the years I have simply lost my romantic mojo, and now it is time for me to get it back.

Romantic Marriages

So how does this happen? I think for many husbands do we get complacent and we start taking advantage and taking for granted the things that are wives do for us on a daily basis. I think this is especially true once you have kids and your wives start taking on the responsibility of working with the children. Also, if your wife stays at home or does not work outside of the home, we become even more complacent as she takes up more of the things that have to occur on a daily and weekly basis.

This by no way justifies this behavior, but I think it does help individuals in understanding why this phenomenon occurs. I know that I definitely do not want to take advantage of my wife or what she does, but sometimes I forget to acknowledge this.  So my question for all of you is: How do each of you deal with this issue and have a romantic marriage in your own life?

As I move forward in my marriage I know that I have to be more inventive with my romantic gestures and not be as complacent in these and the roles that I take on in the home so that I too can say that I am in a romantic marriage for most of the time. I definitely have some ideas for how this can happen for us and luckily I still have some time to work on some plans for my anniversary as well!

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