February 3, 2017

Ch, Ch, Ch, Changes...

My kids used to be such slobs.

I can't tell you how many times I instituted a "no food in the car" rule only to be over-ruled by two hungry little boys.  When you have a minivan, it's not only a car, it's like a moving dumpster full of half eaten french fries and Cheerios.  CHEERIOS EVERYWHERE.  Since we've had kids we've always leased our minivan and every time that I have returned our vehicle, I'm reminded about the hundreds of times I told the kids to stop eating in the car. Apparently they never listened.

We used to have one of those little snack cups that you would fill up with Cheerios or other small snacks where you could get your hand in, but none of the snacks would ever fall out. It went with us everywhere, but eventually we stopped using it. I was actually looking for it the other day, but like a lot of things from when they were little, it's nowhere to be found.

I used to lament the fact that my kids are getting older.

The boys when I first started this blog
I struggled everyday as my kids became more and more independent. No longer were they my little babies, they were now fully functioning little men.  When I first started here, my oldest Tyler was six years old and scared of spiders. He used to watch Scooby Doo and had this cute little stutter as he tried to find the words he was trying to say.  He's now 12 and has a girlfriend. He's as sharp as a tack and no longer has arachnophobia.  He watches more adult shows like Modern Family and The Office. His face is starting to break out and he smells.  Puberty is starting to set in.

My youngest Carter was just a baby at the time. When he slept he would curl up into a little ball.  He had this raspy voice from screaming so much and he was obsessed with Star Wars.  He's now almost 10 and quite possibly the best little athlete I have ever seen.  He doesn't curl up when he sleeps anymore but for some reason he's started to sleep with a whole bunch of stuffed animals.  His voice isn't as raspy as it used to be, but he still throws tantrums like you wouldn't believe. While Tyler is my little man, Carter is still very much my little boy.

The boys now... big difference.
As much as things have changed over the years, there is one thing that hasn't... breakfast.  Everyday it's the same thing.  I ask the kids what they want and in turn they ask me what do we have. I don't know why they do that, because it's always been the same few choices for the past six years.  With everything that we have in our pantry and refrigerator more often than not it comes down to some variety of Cheerios. My kids are creatures of habit and I should know that because I am the same way. I mean who doesn't LOVE a big bowl of Cheerios?

A photo posted by John Willey (@jdubs44) on

While my kids have changed so has Cheerios.  They now have a Very Berry Cheerios variety that have a taste of real berries in every bite.  Like everything else it seems nowadays, they are also gluten free and contain no artificial flavors or colors.  Follow Cheerios on Social Media and share your #berrieseverywhere moment with them.

**I have partnered with Life of Dad and Cheerios on this campaign... all opinions are my own unless my wife tells me otherwise.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


January 23, 2017

Eating Out While Eating In

We've never been the type of family that was afraid to take our kids out to eat. Since my oldest could hold himself up, he has sat at the table with us. My wife and I figured that the sooner he learned how to act while out at a restaurant, the better we all would be in the long run.

We were perfect parents... then my second son came along.

He was a nightmare wherever we went. You never knew when he was going to have a meltdown, you never knew what kind of food he wanted to eat, and (back before tablets and iPods) you never knew if we had the right color crayons. Eating out with him was an adventure.  In fact, we went to France when he was three and he was so terrible that we vowed to never travel with him again.  Even now at nine, he still has his moments.

We really do like to eat out. I'm not the most adventurous cook and if we want to live on the wild side  at least food wise, we have to let someone else do the cooking.  Of course eating out too much can get expensive and most of the time the kids don't eat what you put in front of them.  Like most parents having a restaurant quality experience at home is something that we would love to do. So we thought that we would bring a steakhouse to OUR house... at least once anyway.

We have all the fancy linens, candles, and fine(er) china; we just never use them outside of MAYBE Christmas and the odd Valentine's Day when I turn into Bobby Flay for a day.  Then I'll spend all day making some romantic meal for my wife and of course the kids end up hating everything.

The hardest part about all of this is that my kids are getting to the age where when they want food, they want it five minutes ago.  They don't want to wait the hour (or two) it might take for the food to cook. Normally I would ply them with goldfish crackers or popcorn to get them through until dinner.  But since we were having a fancy dining experience I thought soup would be in order.

Now normally soup is one of those all day things, but when you have kids, who has all day?  Fortunately Idahoan® Premium Steakhouse® Potato Soups makes the whole soup making process VERY easy. All I had to do was pour the contents of the package into water, heat it up, and stir.  Within five minutes we had a nice creamy delicious potato soup. You wouldn't think that something that comes out a bag would taste so good, but the soups are made with 100% real Idaho® potatoes and they deliver the flavorful, slow-cooked taste of restaurant quality potato soup.

All I had to do was dish out the soup and sit down and eat it.

Unfortunately this was the moment that my wife told me that she was going out to dinner with her sister and that my son was having a sleepover with a friend.  So our fancy family night eating in, turned into anything but that.

A photo posted by John Willey (@jdubs44) on

At least I tried and didn't waste all day making soup.

Life of Dad and Idahoan® Premium Steakhouse® Potato Soups are looking to crown the #KingOfSoup.  If you think I have what it takes to wear that crown, please follow the hashtag on social media.  Also follow Idahoan® Foods on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to show your support.

**This was a sponsored post for Life of Dad and Idahoan® Foods.  I was compensated, but all opinions are my own, unless my wife tells me otherwise.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?