Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Joy of Gardening with Your Kids

Anybody who has followed Renaissance Dad for any amount of time knows that I love gardening. I have regular articles about best practices that I've followed, mishaps in my garden, things that I love to grow, and lots and lots of mentions of manure (it's like gold for the garden!). And for the past 13 years, as long as I've had kids, I have enjoyed my kids joining me in the garden. Sometimes it feels like a chore, and sometimes it is a chore, but I love spending time in the garden with my entire family. But I'm not always sure that they share my enthusiasm. 

This past year, things seemed to have turned a corner. My oldest joins me every week with yard work, where she routinely mows the lawn. Not many teenagers will mow, much less want to mow, and yet she is out there with me in the 100 degree weather, working away. 

My ten-year-old middle daughter was very excited to help build a raised garden bed for melons this past winter. She helped measure, cut, carry, place,

Monday, June 7, 2021

Three Healthy, Easy, Frozen Treats for Kids

As a dad, I sometimes feel like the Batman character Two Face. He's the guy who got burned with acid on one side of his face only, conveniently forming a straight line down the middle. The natural side of Two Face is logical. The acid-burned side of Two Face is impulsive. That's the way I feel as a father, with the smooth-skinned side of my fatherly soul wanting to give my kids only good things, and the purple, acid-burned side wanting to spoil my kids with all kinds of treats.

That's why I love treats that can appease both sides of my battling soul by being both nutritious while also seeming like a treat. Parenthetically, I recently convinced myself that ice cream does not count as a nutritious, calcium-filled serving of dairy.

So here are three of my kids' favorite nutritious treats.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

One Man's Trash Is a Great Project for Another Man and His Daughter

Everybody knows the saying One man's trash is another man's treasure. That is why garage sales, Goodwill, and the tv series Storage Wars exist. People love finding hidden gems in the things that they pull out of the garbage. And some people have garages full of these finds, just waiting for time to fix it, repaint it, salvage it, and make it a great treasure. I know because I have several of these projects in my garage. 

I have a whole side of my house full of logs from cut down trees, just waiting to be chopped into firewood. I have tools just waiting to be rebuilt or refinished. Tables needing to be resurfaced. So many projects (and after I finish this post and my wife reads it I will probably spend some time listing some of these things on Freecycle to get rid of them). 

A few months ago somebody posted on Freecycle that they were getting rid of a tandem bike that was a project bike that they lost interest in. My ten-year-old loves projects, she loves spending time with daddy, and she loves bike riding. So this sounded like a perfect pickup. I arrived home that evening with a beat up, ready for the recycle bin tandem bike with two flat tires, shredded seats, and no hand grips. And my daughter was thrilled. 

We spent the next several weeks, and countless trips to the bike shop, fixing the bike. Replacing seats, tires, tubes, handle grips, chains. If there was something that could be replaced, we replaced it. And let me tell you, that first ride with her was terrifying. 

Seriously, if you have never been on a tandem bike before with somebody who is EXTREMELY excited and bouncy and you're the one trying to keep the balance and steer the thing, then you don't know what fear is. 

But seriously, this was a really fun project to work on with my daughter. And while I probably could have purchased a used tandem bike for what I spent in parts, the time that we spent working together will always be a great memory. 



Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Arizona Staycation: Ten Great Things in Tombstone and Bisbee

I have a terrible confession to make. I spent half of my childhood in Arizona, and I moved back to Arizona 18 years ago. And in almost 30 years of living in this state, I had never been to Tombstone, Arizona. One of the most famous Arizona towns, made popular by one of the most famous lawmen in U.S. history, in my own backyard, and I had never taken the time to go there. 

To make matters worse, Tombstone is my favorite western movie of all time. 

So when my wife and I decided that we needed to get around to see more of this state with our kids, it was time for me to brush off the cowboy hat, saddle up the old truck, and take the family down to one of the most famous western towns in the Southwest. 

Let me start by saying that we felt the need to prep the kids by showing them a western, and while they're not quite old enough (ages 8, 10, 12) to handle Tombstone, we felt that they could handle Silverado. And for two weeks after that, leading up to the trip, my son (8) wore jeans, boots, a vest, a hat, and his cap gun everywhere. The ten year old donned her hat (cur fight over who had the best cowboy hat), and the tween was just ready to get a break. So we knew it was time to go. 

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The Most Amazing Artisan Bread You Will Ever Make

Spoiler alert - the finished product
I'm all about superlatives. But seriously, this is the best bread recipe ever, and it only requires four ingredients. It takes all of five minutes of actual prep time, about three hours of rise time, and 30 minutes of bake time. It tastes like you spent a long time in the kitchen. Guys, this is a great way to impress your lady. Ladies, this is a great way to impress your guy. Kids, this is a great way to impress your parents. We originally found this recipe on www.italianfoodforever.com. I have made some modifications. Regardless, I would like to kiss that woman on the lips.

Let's get started.

Ingredients