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Tech Savvy Parents ’ Category
Monday, June 10th, 2013
These days parenting blogs are written by moms and dads with one to suit every mood and parenting style but Adrian Kulp’s Dad or Alive provides a humorous slant about the ins and outs of raising kids that those who have been in the child-rearing trenches can easily identify with. The popular blogger recently published his first book, a comedic memoir titled Dad or Alive: Confessions of an Unexpected Stay-at-home Dad. In honor of Father’s Day, we had a chance to talk to Adrian about parenting, his former career in comedy, and life as a full time stay at home dad.
Tech Savvy Parents (TSP): Your background is in the entertainment industry. Who is funnier? The A listers you’ve worked with or your kids?
Adrian Kulp (AK): After spending the better part of 12 years in the back corners of the Hollywood Improv, Laugh Factory and Comedy Store on Sunset, I’ve always thought that it takes several years for comics to build the confidence, timing and delivery that it takes to destroy an audience. Their life experience serves as the foundation to make you laugh.
Funny how my two toddlers have literally NO life experience, yet still have me doing a spit-take over one-liners like ‘Daddy, you have a wenis!’ or ‘Charlie has a crack in his hiney.’
TSP: Do you find that you use comedy in daily parenting situations?
AK: I don’t know that I use comedy per se, but humor has certainly helped me navigate survival as a full-time stay-at-home dad. I’ve always known comedy as the easiest way to disarm someone, to make them drop their guard. The same has been true with my kids. I can usually shut down a tantrum pretty quickly by using some chopsticks as buckteeth or wearing a bra over my eyes and pretending to be a bug.
TSP: Who in your home appreciates your humor the most and why?
AK: My wife is pretty much over it. I can push the envelope and say the most inappropriate thing you could imagine (even in front of company) and it wouldn’t even faze her. My youngest, Charlie, is only two so he’s not quite there yet. I’d say my biggest fan is Ava, who is 3½. I can have her crying on the floor for an hour. Sometimes that’s my tactic to tire her out if I’m looking for an early bedtime.
TSP: My husband loves that our kids laugh at his jokes but know that there will be a time when they roll their eyes at him rather than laughing. Is this something you think about?
AK: I hope I never lose my edge, said probably every comedian or writer, ever. I’d like to think that I’ll always be able to make them laugh, but I’m sure there will inevitably be a time when even the funniest shtick will send them slamming their bedroom door in my face.
TSP: You’re an LA transplant now living in the DC area. Which teams do you root for?
AK: I’m an LA transplant by way of Philadelphia, but yes, now living in the DC area. I’ve always remained loyal to my Eagles and Phillies. I’ve never waivered. It’s certainly wasn’t easy walking into Dodger Stadium wearing a Chase Utley jersey, but so long as I kept an eye out for the flying Corona bottle and occasional butt end of a Dodger dog, I did just fine. And if my guys eat it before the end of the season, I’ll always root for the underdog in the playoffs. Something about it that just makes you feel good.
Adrian Kulp contributes to The Huffington Post and was recently named one of Kids in the House top 15 social influencers of 2013. His first book, a comedic memoir titled Dad or Alive: Confessions of an Unexpected Stay-at-home Dad and published by Penguin, is on sale now. Keep up with Adrian’s adventures in parenting by following him on Facebook and Twitter.
Image courtesy of Penguin Group
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Wednesday, June 5th, 2013
This Father’s Day splurge on the gadget loving man in your life with a gift that aligns with his interests. Whether an adventurer, traveler, photographer or music lover, these six gifts are sure to delight any man.
Adventurers will appreciate the GoPro Hero 3. Some of the most incredible footage from GoPros come from extreme athletes who like to catch their best moments on the slopes, water, and air but they’re just as incredible for capturing everyday moments. The compact GoPro Hero 3 is a camera that can be worn, held, or mounted to your sporting equipment for ultimate versatility. Exceptional video quality, waterproof housing, and ability to operate it through an app makes it a fun gadget for dads who want to preserve all of life’s important moments. This incredible camera is available in-store at Target Electronics for $199 for immediate gratification.
Dads on the go will relish having a Mophie Juice Pack, Nothing is worse than being incapacitated by a dead cell phone. Make sure dad can stay in touch constantly thanks to extra juice from the Mophie Juice Pack Helium. This battery fits on Dad’s smartphone and functions like a case but fits like a glove to provide an extra charge when needed. With one cable, users can charge their smartphone and Mophie at the same time but know that your phone’s synch cable will be needed to transfer any photos on to your computer. Mophie Juice Pack is available for many model of Android phones and also iPhones. iPhone users will find a good selection at their local Apple Store while Android users can shop in store at Best Buy.
Music lovers who want to be able to listen to their favorite songs throughout the house need Sonos Play 3. Sonos Play 3 is a streaming audio player that provides instant access to your digital music library and streaming internet audio settings from anywhere in your house. Sonos pulls music from your home computers (PCs and Macs) and has the ability to stream internet radio and music from many of the popular online music services such as Pandora, Rhapsody, SiriusXM, Spotify, and iheartradio. The real beauty of this system is the ability to expand by adding as many speakers as you want, being able to control the music you want to listen to through the free mobile app for Android and iOS, but also the exceptional sound quality that emanates from the speakers. Sonos Play 3 is available in-store at Target Electronics for $299 where it comes with a free Sonos Bridge and 90 days of Rhapsody with purchase.
Foodie Dads who love to be involved with meal prep will love the addition of a BlendTec Designer Series Blender into the kitchen. Made popular by the Will it Blend YouTube videos depicting BlendTec blenders blending anything from a pool cue, iPhones, glow sticks, and more, this series demonstrates the at-home power that can be unleashed as BlendTech’s dual blades spin, crushing anything that may get in the way. It’s the perfect appliance for whipping up a cold beverage as refreshment on a hot summer day, tasty marinades for whatever may be on the grill, and pulverizing summer’s fresh fruits into ice cream. Available through www.BlendTec.com or at some Costco Warehouse Stores.
Photo happy dads who are constantly sharing artsy pictures via Instagram will enjoy the effects from the Olloclip Lens System for iPhone 5. Simply snap the fish-eye lens over the camera of your iPhone and begin capturing panoramic-like photos with the wide angle, close ups with the macro lens, and putting a new spin on favorite subjects thanks to the fish eye. Target Electronics sells Olloclips for iPhone 4 and 5 for $69.99 each.
Frequent fliers will love the efficiency of SkyRoll On Wheels, an innovative carry-on size rolling suitcase that allows travelers to lie suits and dress clothes flat before rolling them around the outside of the bag. Not only will clothes arrive less wrinkled, but this packing system is designed to hold everything Dad needs for a short business trip. Available online through Skyroll.com.
Asian father receiving a gift from his son via Shutterstock
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Monday, June 3rd, 2013
There’s no doubt that technology has the power to keep us connected while providing a wealth of interactive learning experiences but with our kids spending more time in front of screens of all kinds, there’s an increased risk of digital eye strain. According to The Vision Council, digital eye strain is “caused by the overuse of digital devices.” Since devices such as tablets, smartphones, and other hand-products are designed to be held at close range, our eyes are always refocusing to process the graphics and text on the screen.
Research conducted by The Vision Council determined that over time, extensive time spent on devices causes our eyes to become fatigued, irritated, dry, and more likely to be subjected to vision problems. In their recent report, Screens, Phones, Tablets and More: Keeping Your Eyes Safe in a Digital Age, The Vision Council found that 70% of Americans are experiencing a form of eye strain but less than half do anything to remedy the problem.
In order to keep your eyes healthy, The Vision Council suggests following the rule of 20-20-20 that suggests for every 20 minutes you spend on your computer, take 20 seconds to look away at something 20 feet away. Since it’s easy to forget, set the timer on your smartphone to sound every 20 minutes as a reminder to take a break. Segmenting device usage into 20 minute segments is also beneficial to children especially since it’s too early to tell how time spent on devices could impact their vision in the future.
It’s also a good idea to invest in a pair of specialized computer eyewear. Sunglasses protect our eyes from the harsh rays of the sun and computer eyewear is designed to provide clearer near and intermediate viewing thanks to specialized lenses and an anti-reflective coating that softens the glare of harsh overhead lights.
Prescription computer eyewear is available through eye care professionals in your area to fit favorite frames. Another great source is Gunnar. Gunnar provides single vision prescription and non-prescription lenses in a wide selection of fashionable choices most of which are between $79-99.
In addition to the 20-20-20 rule and prescription and non-prescription computer eyewear, The Vision Council also suggests the following solutions for healthier eyes:
- Create ergonomic computer workstations and at-home gaming stations
- Enlarge the fonts on your web browser, frequently used applications, eReader, and smartphone
- Use ambient lighting. The American Lighting Association defines ambient lighting as “an area with overall illumination” with a “comfortable level of brightness without glare” that generally comes from indoor light sources such as chandeliers, ceiling or wall mounted light fixtures, and recessed or track lights.
Girl sitting behind a desk and working at a computer via Shutterstock
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Thursday, May 30th, 2013
Funbrain Jr. — Just launched in time for summer, FunbrainJr.com is a free site that provides parents and young of learners with a fun, safe environment to play games, read stories and find printables. Content for preschoolers and kindergartners focuses on online games that help little ones build early math, literacy, problem solving, and computer skills. Games such as Mushroom Bounce and Bubble Up provide exposure to math through numeracy while A-Mazing Words and Rhyme Time focus on early literacy and beginning reading skills. Funbrain Jr. also provides online books based on well-known and beloved characters such as Olivia, Katy Duck, the Robin Hill School Series, and Stuart J. Murphy’s I See I Learn® Series through a partnership with Simon & Schuster Children’s Division and Charlesbridge Publishing.
Angry Birds Furious Forces— If you just did a double take about Angry Birds making my list, believe it or not, the most popular app can actually teach kids about physics while they fling their birds with a swipe of a finger. The new National Geographic Angry Birds Furious Forces!: The Physics at Play in the World’s Most Popular Game describes has Angry Birds gamers experiment with physics every time they pull back the slingshot. It’s a great read for elementary ages and anyone who is obsessed with Angry Birds because it provides an entry point to tackle serious science. The book discusses simple ideas of force and motion as well as complex notions of relativity and dark matter while offering simple experiments to illuminate the physics at work in the game and in the world around us.
eBooks through Scholastic’s Storia— One of the challenges that parents face is getting their kids to read during the summer. eReaders have been proven to be great motivational tools since one in five says he or she would read more books for fun if they had access to an eReader. To keep kids reading over the summer, Scholastic Summer Challenge is offering parents a free ebook from Storia®. Storia works on PCs, iPads, Android tablets, and Kindle Fires and if you don’t already have an account set up, you can download 5 free books when you sign up.
Happy teenager student boy working laptop computer in garden outdoor via Shutterstock
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Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
Not all headphones are created equally. What might fit you won’t necessarily be the right fit for your spouse or your kids based on size but also due to need. While traditionally used for just listening to music, the headphones of today do so much more. Child-friendly ones are the right fit for smaller heads and also protect young ears thanks to volume control. Adult headphones come in a variety of styles including in-ear earbuds and over the head styles and have different functions depending on what you choose.
Finding durable headphones that fit well without squeezing a child’s head or sliding off can be a challenge especially if you want to control the volume to protect their young ears. Animatone’s iFrogz Headphones feature fun child-friendly designs as blue snail, green turtle, or red ladybug patterns. They’re lightweight and low profile without being cheap and are incredibly comfortable. My young testers reported that the volume was plenty loud for them and I appreciate that it’s not so loud that it risks damaging their hearing at a young age.
If your kids are fashionistas who want to pair of large cushiony headphones, Kidz Gear Volume Limit Headphones for Kids are probably more similar to a style they’re looking for. Nicely priced at $19.99, these are a budget friendly option that will last well beyond your child outgrows them.
Tweens with their own devices need headphones as cool as they are. Earbuds are much cooler than over the ear headphones but parents are still smart to protect their young ears. iFrogz Animatone Earbuds are attractive low profile ear buds that come with 4 differently sized tips to fit ears perfectly that limit volume to 85 decibels so you can rest assured that your kids can hear without blasting out their eardrums.
Wireless Bluetooth headsets are great for taking and making hands-free calls but if you’ve ever had problems with your battery running out mid-call or not being able to connect in time as that important phone call is coming in, make sure you have a wired headset handy just in case. 808 EQ Earbuds deliver exceptional sound quality at a budget friendly price. Another great choice is NuForce NE-600 M/X Earbuds. Recently selected as part of the WIRED Magazine Editors’ Picks for Target thanks to the budget friendly price that delivers big sound and features noise isolation along with a microphone. An assortment of extra tips with each of these pairs allows you to find exactly the right fit so they’re comfortable while you’re plugged in and taking calls.
For the mom who loves to workout Yurbuds Inspire In-Ear Headphones are earbuds that actually stay in while exercising. There’s nothing worse than being mid-workout and having headphones fall out. Unlike standard earbuds, Yurbuds are designed to fit smaller ears and feature FlexSoft™ and TwistLock™ technologies that help them stay in your ears even during the most rigorous workouts. The soft silicone that goes in your ear is water and sweat resistant and easy to clean with just a wipe post-workout.
Frequent fliers who want to block out the hum of the jet’s engine or conversation occurring in seats around them need Soul SL300 Noise Cancelling Headphones by Ludacris. These luxurious headphones are a traveler’s dream! Not only are they sleek and stylish but I love that they fold up into a hardshell case that makes them even more compact in your carry-on. The padding is plush and is exceptionally comfortable on the ears. Details in these headphones make all the difference. Clean lines and the ear cups feature a diamond quilted pattern. These headphones are a splurge but they are worth every penny thanks to the comfort and the fact that they truly block out annoying noises that interfere with sleep and work while traveling.
The next time you happen to be in the airport, take a look around because these days it seems that everyone is wearing a pair of Beats by Dr. Dre. Perfect for summer, the Beats Mixr line comes in an assortment of 5 neon colors paired with bright white for contrast. Whether wearing orange, blue, green, yellow, or the neon pink ones that are exclusive to Target Electronics through June 17, the cushy swiveling ear cups are like pillows that surround your ears with incredible sound. These light, durable headphones are perfect for upcoming summer travel or make a great graduation or Father’s Day gift.
Kids sharing earphones listening to music laying on the floor via Shutterstock
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