6 ways to be the Dad your kids will appreciate in 20 years

by Leon Scott Baxter
When I was growing up, I thought my dad was a freak. 
He wore strange clothes, said weird things, and listened to horrible music. In fact, he used to sit on the living room floor wearing giant headphones listening to his vinyls.
Every now and then he’d unplug the headphones and let his music fill the house (I didn’t like these moments): Elton John, Simon & Garfunkle, and Cat Stevens.
I couldn’t stand this music…because it was his music. I boycotted any songs, all artists that my father enjoyed, because I wanted to disassociate myself with his out-of-date, old hat, lyricists.
Twenty years later, when I was all about getting those eleven CDs for a penny (remember those promos?), I’d choose my Sugar Ray and Lenny Kravitz, but I’d find myself always throwing in some kind of out-of-date, old hat Elton John or Cat Stevens-like artists. Why? Because although my dad really was a freak, he did have good taste in music.
Sometimes it takes time for kids to appreciate their fathers and what they do. I guess it’s a form of delayed gratification.
If you want to be the dad that your adult children will appreciate, here are six easy ways to get ‘er done.
1. Avoid Courtesy Smiles
If your kid just ain’t cutting it, don’t pretend he is. My daughter loves basketball, but she’s not great yet (saying she’s good might even be a stretch, but I love the girl). One day she asked, “Papa, do you think I’ll ever play in the WNBA?”
Sure, I could have smiled and fibbed, “Of course, you’ll definitely play pro basketball,” but it’s crucial we keep our children grounded…without breaking their hearts. So, I replied, “If you want to be in the WNBA, you’ll have to practice a lot more.”
Keeping it real, while offering a way to keep the door open to their dream is ideal. And, kids know when we’re buttering them up, anyway. Young people perform better when adults express sincere expectations for them.
2. Beat ‘Em At Checkers
Too many dads let their kids beat them at checkers, Chutes and Ladders or tennis. They feel it would break their little one’s heart if she lost to Dear Old Dad. Wrong! She will be so thankful one day that you didn’t.
Because I was a fast runner in school, I would challenge my mom to races, and she never let me win. She’d always beat me by a stride or two. It didn’t damage my psyche. On the contrary, it gave me something to shoot for. As I got swifter, Mom would run faster, still barely beating me.
I still remember the day. I was twelve-years old, and I beat my mom in a foot race. Ecstatic, I asked her, “Did you let me win?”
“No, you won fair and square.” That triumph meant something to me. By my mom not letting me win, I learned resilience. I learned how to lose, and I learned to appreciate a true victory.

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Our eBook ‘How To Look Like Old Money’ is NOW available for DOWNLOAD!

Hey Friends! 
I’m so excited to announce that my latest eBook, “How to Look Like ‘Old Money'” is complete and on digital shelves NOW! 
This is the eBook version of a popular blog post I wrote years ago that I’ve seen other authors, websites and bloggers borrow and use as an inspiration for their own version and literary projects on the topic.
I know the title may sound a bit superficial and shallow. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But trust me, if it’s not for you, it is for someone you know and others out there. I know because I’ve studied the analytics of the number of search queries for this insight and it’s up there! 
So I aim to give the people what they want in an easy to digest, visually stimulating format.
It’s that quick little guide for that gal or guy who aspires to give off the appearance of being from the upper echelon, blue-blood class without breaking the bank! It’s the ultimate how-to for that snob or bourgeoisie wanna-be! Alternatively, if your interest is piqued by the topic, this book offers you that insight to quench your curiosity. 
And at $5.99, that’s a steal! It’s less than the cost of a venti latte and a scone at Starbucks and you’ll be edified for life! You can even weave it in social conversations later, maybe. 
How do you like my pitch?! (smile)
This is my 4th ebook in a series of about 12 fashion and business blogging ebooks I’ll be publishing over the next few weeks. This time, rather than publish on the lesser-known platform Gumroad or the business presentation platform Slideshare, I’m offering the last series on Kindle! 
They will be available on iBooks and Google Books in coming days too!
Woot! Woot!

Download “How to Look Like Old Money” for just $5.99 on Amazon.com TODAY!

Here is a Sneak Peek!


THANKS FOR READING AND CONSIDERING THE PURCHASE!
AND SPREAD THE WORD OR SHARE WITH THAT SNOBBY BOURGEOISIE WANNABE IN YOUR LIFE! (SMILE)
DOWNLOAD IT FOR KINDLE HERE!

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Is Your State among the Best or Worst for Working Moms?

Women making up roughly half of the American labor force and many of them are also working moms. To help working moms (and other women) assess how attractive the state they are living in is for women, WalletHub, the leading personal finance social network conducted an in-depth analysis of 2015’s Best & Worst States for Working Moms.
Using 12 key metrics such as median women’s salary, female unemployment rate and day care quality rankings, WalletHub analyzed the attractiveness of each of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia to a working mother.
Here is a summary of the rankings:
  Best States for Working Moms Worst States for Working Moms
  1 Vermont                                  42 Oklahoma
  2 Minnesota                          43 North Carolina
  3 Wisconsin                          44 West Virginia
  4 New Hampshire                  45 Georgia
  5 Massachusetts                          46 Arkansas
  6 Washington                          47 Nevada
  7 North Dakota                          48 Alabama
  8 Maine                                  49 Mississippi
  9 Virginia                                  50 South Carolina
  10 Ohio                                   51 Louisiana
Here are some other key stats and some interesting comparisons:
  • Day care quality is five times better in New York than in Idaho. 
  • Child care costs (adjusted for the median woman’s salary) are two times higher in the District of Columbia than in Tennessee.
  • Pediatric services are 12 times more accessible in Vermont than in New Mexico.
  • The ratio of female to male executives is three times higher in Alabama than in Utah.
  • The percentage of single-mom families in poverty is two times higher in Mississippi than in Alaska.
  • The median women’s salary (adjusted for cost of living) is two times higher in Virginia than in Hawaii.
  • The female unemployment rate is four times higher in Nevada than in North Dakota.

For the full report and to see where your state ranks, check out the report HEREpost signature

Chicago teen overcomes teen pregnancy, homelessness to become Valedictorian (VIDEO)

A Chicago teen overcame a pregnancy in the 8th grade, homelessness and hearing a teacher tell her she “was a waste of time” to become the valedictorian of her high school class.
Trameka Pope began her freshman year at the Wendell Phillips Academy High School  in Chicago, Illinois within days of giving birth to a baby girl, WFLD-TV reported.
Despite having to deal with the trials of being a teen mom, being homeless at one point during grade school and being told by one of her teachers that she wouldn’t “amount to anything,” Pope worked hard to eventually become a member of the National Honor Society and graduate first in her class.
On top of that accomplishment, Pope is a cheerleader and took college classes at Kennedy-King College while still in high school. She also works two part time jobs, and is an inspiration to many.
The hard-working and head strong young lady comes from an area where the unemployment rate is 25 percent yet managed to succeed above all odds.
She will attend Western Illinois University in Macomb on a scholarship next fall, after getting accepted in nearly 27 different colleges.

Kudos to her!

Hear from Pope in her own words:

FOX 32 News Chicago


h/t Inquisitr
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5 Budget-Friendly Activities for Families with Kids

With warmer weather finally upon us, everyone has the outdoors in mind. You don’t need to spend a fortune to make memorable memories for the entire family. Below are five fun budget-friendly activities from Ashely Spicer, co-founder of FLYAROO Fitness, a fitness program designed for toddlers and preschoolers.
·         Hula – Hula Hoops are just a few dollars, but can create hours of fun and can be a lifesaver on rainy days when you’re stuck inside. You can use it just like a jump rope, create a human ring toss game, play hula hoop pass or host a friendly competition to see who can hold the classic spin the longest.
·         Mini Yoga – Growing can be stressful on the body and mind and yoga has been proven to improve balance, focus and emotional well-being. Not a yoga expert, no worries, the Butterfly, Tree, Bridge, and Child’s pose are moves any child and parent can do together.
·         Build A Dance Studio – Move furniture and tables out of the way if needed and stick to songs that are 2-3 minutes long. Dancing is not only great for the soul, but just 20 minutes of dancing is great exercise and most importantly fun for the whole family. The best part, you can create your own signature move. Some of my favorite songs to dance to are “Roar” by Katy Perry, “Waka Waka” by Shakira and who doesn’t love the “Cha Cha Slide.”
·       Unstructured Fun – Pack a healthy picnic basket full of fresh fruit and whole grain sandwiches and head to your local park for some unstructured fun. Help your child use their imagination as they swing, slide and climb to victory while you channel your inner kid and fly through the air on the swing set.
·         Just Bike It – If you don’t know how to ride a bicycle, make it your mission this summer to learn. Not only is it great exercise, but can be great for family bonding. If you don’t own your own bike, no worries, many towns have affordable bike rentals. Just make sure your family is wearing proper protective head gear and pads for the junior riders. For babies and toddlers, there are seats that attach to your bike.

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New Myanmar law requires Women space babies three years apart

Based on fears the minority Muslim population with a high birth rate may become the majority in the future, the president of Myanmar signed a controversial bill requiring mothers to space their children three years apart.
Hard-line Buddhist monks are said to have put pressure on lawmakers to draft the bill, which president Thein Sein signed on Saturday, May16.  It passed in parliament last month, even as human rights activists and a United States diplomat objected.
The nation is predominantly Buddhist, while Muslims make up just 10 percent of the population. However, that group’s high birth rate sparked fear among monks that the Muslims will eventually overtake the country.
“The legislation contains provisions that can be enforced in a manner that would undermine reproductive rights, women’s rights and religious freedom,”U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said of a private meeting with Sein before the bill passed. “We shared the concerns that these bills can exacerbate ethic and religious divisions and undermine the country’s efforts to promote tolerance and diversity.”
Activists also say the law would be used to repress religious and ethnic minorities.

h/t Al Jazeera

photo: Getty 


17 Father’s Day Meals to Make for Dad

Bellyitch Rewind

This Father’s Day why not go brave and try to make your dad or your kids’ dad a meal and surprise him. Breakfast in Bed, or a special griller or a nice snack before the big game would make an excellent option and alternative to going out to eat, waiting a long time to get seated and spending a lot of money. 
We’ve assembled 17 recipes including options for various ethnic dishes, deserts, side dishes and main options to pick from and we tried to get recipes that are fairly easy to make or require not too many ingredients or complicated steps. 
Check out the collection and feel free to share! Enjoy!

Check out 17 Easy to Make Father’s Day Dinner Recipes
by JJ Ghatt at Foodie.com

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Happy Memorial Day from Bellyitch

Because life is more than a Barbecue or an Internet Meme, today we salute those who gave the ultimate sacrifice defending freedom and the flag for their country. 
And to those who lost their lives before getting a chance to meet their child, like:
Lt. James J. Cathey whose pregnant wife, Katherine Cathey, is depicted in a photo taken by Pultitzer Prize Winning photojournalist Todd Heisler.  Her baby was due Jan 1, 2006 but her husband died in an explosion in Iraq on August 21, 2005.–Todd Heisler/Rocky Mountain News
In Memory and In Memoriam today, and always.
-From Bellyitch Blog

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Memorial Day: 20 Green Grilling Tips

It’s Memorial Day weekend and many families around the US may be hosting barbecues and cook-outs in celebration of the holiday remembering fallen soldiers of war or military servicemen who have passed away. As you prepare to host an event in your home, consider implementing some of these simple suggestions for having a Green, Eco-Friendly and Environmentally-friendly event.

  1. Plan ahead so you don’t have too much food.
  2. Use natural charcoal or better yet natural gas or propane grill which are more environmentally friendly. 
  3. Buy local produce from local farmer’s markets
  4. Buy organic foods
  5. Consider vegan or vegetarian options which are better for the digestive system
  6. Use all natural insect repellent and bug sprays which are better on the skin, especially for small children
  7. Bring home the goods in a recyclable or paper not plastic bags
  8. Serve food on reusable plates and utensils or biodegradable or recyclable flat and tableware
  9. Start your fire with a chimney starter instead of lighter fluid
  10. Cook with pans and items made of recyclable materials
  11. Spread the energy consumed cooking around by having guests bring a dish
  12. Grill as much as you can, and even cook the foods in the burners on the grill because it saves energy
  13. Cover pans while cooking to reduce cooking time or energy bill if you are cooking on the stove in the kitchen
  14. Cut up the food into smaller pieces to let them cook faster and save energy
  15. Consider using a water-filter pitcher or a faucet mounted filter for water instead of bottle water
  16. Mix up a batch of lemonade or iced tea and serve in a large pitcher or punch bowl to cut down on cans and plastic bottles
  17. Figure out creative ways to “remix” the leftovers rather than dump them out. 
  18. Compost the veggies or grill scraps. 
  19. Clean up using non-toxic cleansers and Green cleaning products
  20. Recycle when you’re done!

Even if you can institute a few of these suggestions, you would have done at least something to reduce your carbon footprint, and give back to Mother Earth. Happy Grilling!

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5 Last Minute Memorial Day Cook out Salad Recipes

If you’re heading out to a cook out for Memorial Day and still scratching your head on what to take over to the host’s home or what salad to make if you are hosing a barbecue or cookout, here are 5 easy and simple salad recipes from the FoodNetwork to consider. Above is the Roman Salad


Ingredients

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1 cup pitted green and black olives, halved
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
3 anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
8 fresh basil leaves, shredded
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound vine-ripened tomatoes (about 3 tomatoes)
Directions
Cook the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over low heat until thick, syrupy, and measuring 1/4 cup, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Combine the olives, parsley, anchovies, capers, garlic, basil, pepper, and olive oil in a small bowl and toss to combine.
To serve, slice the tomatoes into 1/4-inch thick rounds and place, slightly overlapping, on a serving plate. Spoon the olive and parsley mixture over the tomatoes. Drizzle the reduced balsamic over the salad and serve.
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/cda/recipe_print/0,1946,FOOD_9936_36960_RECIPE-PRINT-FULL-PAGE-FORMATTER,00.html?oc=linkback

BLT Pasta Salad

Ingredients

12 ounces corkscrew-shaped pasta

1/2 cup milk
12 ounces lean bacon
3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons chopped chives or scallion greens
5 heads Bibb lettuce, quartered, or 5 cups chopped romaine hearts
Directions
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water as the label directs. Drain and toss with the milk in a large bowl; set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Discard all but 3 tablespoons drippings from the pan. Add the tomatoes, thyme and garlic to the pan and toss until warmed through; season with salt and pepper. Crumble the bacon into bite-size pieces; set aside 1/4 cup for garnish. Toss the remaining bacon and the tomato mixture with the pasta.
Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream and 3 tablespoons chives with the pasta until evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lettuce; toss again to coat. Garnish with the reserved bacon and the remaining 1 tablespoon chives. Serve at room temperature.
Per serving: Calories 960; Fat 56 g (Sat. 20 g; Mono. 30 g; Poly. 18 g); Cholesterol 125 mg; Sodium 2,114 mg; Carbohydrate 73 g; Fiber 5 g; Protein 44 g

Black Bean and Corn Salad

4 ears corn, husks removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup diced red bell pepper
3/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup snow peas, julienned
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Directions
Preheat the grill to medium.
Grill the corn until lightly charred, about 2 minutes, turning frequently. Transfer the corn to a cutting board and using a serrated knife remove the kernels. Set aside.
In a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, then the red bell pepper and the red onion. Saute for 3 minutes, then add the vinegar, beans and corn and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the snow peas and saute for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat to a serving bowl and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or cold.


Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Black Olives

Ingredients

Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Quinoa Salad:
4 cups salted water or vegetable stock
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 cups quinoa
16 spears asparagus, trimmed
Olive oil, for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup pitted nicoise olives
4 ounces aged goat cheese, shaved
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
Directions
For the vinaigrette: Combine the vinegar, honey and mustard in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and blend until emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste and pulse a few times to incorporate.
For the quinoa salad: Bring the salted water or vegetable stock to a boil and add the thyme. Stir in the quinoa, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Preheat the grill. Brush the asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on all sides until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the grill and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl, fold in the asparagus, olives, goat cheese, basil and parsley. Add just enough vinaigrette to moisten the salad; don’t make it too wet. Transfer to a platter and drizzle with more of the vinaigrette.
Serves: 6; Calories: 477; Total Fat: 29 grams; Saturated Fat: 6 grams; Protein: 13 grams; Total carbohydrates: 43 grams; Sugar: 6 grams; Fiber: 5 grams; Cholesterol: 9 milligrams; Sodium: 446 milligrams

Orzo Salad With Shrimp and Feta

Ingredients

Kosher salt

8 ounces orzo pasta (about 2 cups)
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails removed), coarsely chopped
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Freshly ground pepper
Grated zest of 2 lemons, plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup diced English cucumber
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons halved kalamata olives
Directions
Preheat the broiler. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (about 2 minutes less than the label directs). Drain and rinse under cool water; shake off the excess. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside while you make the shrimp, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping.
Toss the shrimp on a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil, the garlic, and salt and pepper to taste; arrange in a single layer. Broil the shrimp, turning once, until opaque and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the shrimp, lemon zest and juice, scallions, mint, dill, cucumber, feta, olives and the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil to the bowl with the pasta; toss. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, up to 6 hours. (Bring to room temperature before serving.)

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