Becoming A New Homeowner and Making a House a Home

This post has been brought to you by All opinions are mine. Becoming a New Homeowner and Making a House a Home

It has been about nine and a half years since my wife and I owned a home. We have been blessed to be able to live rent free as part of our compensation package both with the children’s home we worked at and also my last job as a youth minister. There are pros and cons to owning a home, but we are so excited to have a place that can truly be ours.

We completed moving in all the things this week, but we started a few weeks ago. The first step in unpacking was to find a home for our most recent family picture. At Thanksgiving, a family friend graciously took pictures of my wife’s entire family. We were able to have a few pictures of just our family taken, and we easily uploaded it and turned it into a canvas that makes our house truly a home.


The process of uploading and selecting the perfect canvas style and frame was really easy on There are so many choices, but you can look at them quickly and decide what you would like best.

The picture we chose to use did not have a large enough area to create a wrap around border, so we opted for the plain black border. You can choose any color, a wrap around border, or a mirrored border.

Along with not owning a home, we also have never owned a fireplace, so having one with a mantel that is the centerpiece of our home is very nice. My wife added a clock that I gave her in our first year of marriage, a crystal cross that was given to us when we married, a potted plant, and one of our favorite song lyrics. I think it is a nice touch to our home!

While we are not quite finished, the house is coming along very nicely. I especially love working outside and making the trees, bushes, and grass look nice. What a privilege to have a house that we can call our very own!

Canvas Factory wants to give one DFWDad reader their very own canvas! Just enter below for your chance to win!

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The new diet of 2019

When it comes to my appearance, I’m a predictable guy. I’ve weighed anywhere between 199-220 pounds for the last 15 years. I only drop close to the low 200’s when I do a diet. For a man my age (35), and height (6′), and body type (medium-large build), I should be in the 190’s according to the experts. For years my mom and my wife have told me I need to eat healthier because I carry much of my weight in my torso. The risk for heart disease scares them. Heart disease is the number one killer of adults. 1 in 6 American adults die of heart disease. So every December we talk about if we are going to diet. I am always up for starting the year on a new diet.

Me and another pizza lover split a 26″ pie at Atomic Pizza in Co. Springs, Colorado on Jan. 9

Deciding which diet to try

When Gena and I try diets, we usually just do low-carb, and she may read a book or two to help us not make mistakes. This time I told her, “lets try something different.” I remember a guy at church having success with Whole30, and he’s about my size, and build. Little did I know what I was signing up for. Gena, checked out the book from the library, and started reading it. She said, “I think we should really do this.” So I said to myself, “what’s 30 days?” So on Jan. 14, 2019, we started hard-core Whole30.

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Simple Storage Solutions for ALL of Your Little Athletes’ Sports Gear

I was always into sports growing up. I played soccer, basketball, and that brief time playing football before my broken finger derailed my career. My sisters were always into sports, as well, but I never really thought about the clutter that our sports equipment probably caused around our house. Now that we have three boys who love sports, we have seen exactly what it looks like to have three boys playing sports. Right now, all three boys are playing soccer and basketball season will start soon.  That means multiple balls, shinguards, jerseys, socks, soccer cleats, and basketball shoes. The shoes alone are enough to make any parent go mad. Those things have to stay organized or else you risk being late for practice or the game, not to mention tripping on all of them on a day to day basis. My wife recently wrote about what we keep in the car during soccer season at Ginger Casa, and I am going to give you a few ideas for storing all of that sports gear in your house or garage! [Read more…]

Mama’s Chili: Easy and Healthy Chili Recipe

Easy and Healthy Chili Recipe

Easy and Healthy Chili Recipe

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Fall is just upon us and it’s warm dinners are paramount. There are so many chili recipes out there, and everyone thinks their mother or father makes the best.  Rather than claim that my chili is better than yours, I’m going to claim something else. My easy and healthy chili recipe is easier, and most likely, healthier and cheaper than what you’ll find online. Not only that, it tastes great and kids love it.  With my Mama’s chili, you can cook and eat in as quick as 20 minutes, depending on the amount you’re serving.

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Fire Roasted Game Day Salsa


Fire Roasted Game Day Salsa

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One of the things my boys and I love to do is eat chips and salsa. Add to that the fall football season, soccer season, or basketball season and we’ve got a great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.  It just so happens that my wife loves salsa too. We’ve researched Texican restaurants our whole lives and never found the perfect salsa.  Thankfully for me, Gena concocted her own genius recipe that is great for me, and my boys.  It’s got a kick, but it’s not too spicy to enjoy.  I’m going to give you the secret to this game-day masterpiece. If your family likes salsa like mine, make sure you make a lot.

This game day salsa is a staple in our house. We use it on our cheese enchiladas, breakfast burritos, and alongside any Mexican food meal. This stuff goes quick!

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How to Wow the Wife with a Home Cooked Meal (That’s Easy To Prepare!)

brought to you by Kroger – all opinions are mine.

My wife and I don’t get to go on many dates. Like most parents our age, our lives are busy and the stress of getting a baby-sitter and carving out a huge chunk of the day for just us is hard. I do love to cook for her and want to be able to surprise her with a delicious home cook meal that she does not have to prepare from time to time. That is why I am thankful for Kroger‘s new Prep+Pared meal kits. [Read more…]

How To Buy A Vehicle Online!

This post was brought to you by  All opinions are mine.

How To Buy A Vehicle Online

Don’t you love finding your perfect match vehicle? I just found mine online… a 2017 Nissan Titan SV. Here she is.

buy vehicle online

My neighbor walked up to my new truck and said, “Well, now I’ve got the bug again!”

Don’t worry, not that kind of bug! He said he had just gotten over the new truck envy he had for my neighbors new truck, until he saw mine. Harvey told me, “I want a truck just like yours! Where did you get it? Waxahachie, Arlington?” He continued to think of local dealerships he could drive to to find one. I said, I found it online, and picked the exact one that I wanted, then I went and picked it up in North Dallas. When I brought it home, my family loved it!

buy vehicle online

2 days later, my neighbor came back to me and said he went to about 5 dealerships and couldn’t find one like mine that he wanted. I felt bad for him because he didn’t know how to search things online and he wasn’t interested in trying it. He ended up calling a local dealership and asked them to find the one he wanted. Where do you think they went to find it? Online! They had to have it brought in from east Texas, and he finally got what he wanted.

So, now we both have new trucks.  The difference? I found multiple local options with the truck I wanted by using online search engines, like   He drove all around DFW, and couldn’t find any options that matched what he wanted. When searching selecting new, used, or certified, covers every type of vehicle you could want. Next, you can type in the exact make, model, price range, and location range you want to define.  Then voila! You’ve got multiple local sellers with many options in those ranges.

On, once you find the vehicle you want, you can contact the dealer in multiple ways; through the phone number listed, email form (provided on the same page), or online live chat! If you know you want it, you can click the “check availability” button, and find out if it’s ready for you today! There’s even a built in map to the location of the vehicle. Finding the right vehicle for you is so much easier online, than trying to shop each dealership in person. Letting a car salesman tell you what you want benefits him, but shopping online puts you in the driver-seat of your search. Of course, when you find the right one, it’s best to test drive it, and purchase it in person. To start your search for your perfect match, head over to:



Our Kids’ Back-To-School Routines

This post was brought to you by Jefferson Dental. All opinions are mine.

Parenting small children in the summer is tough! But there are moments when you feel like you're winning. And I love it when those moments happen! My favorite parenting win moments are when you see a child adopt a routine that you've been trying to get them to take on. When your child does something you remind them to do every day, without you haven't to remind them, you just swell up with pride. One of the hardest routines to get a child to do, is to establish a back-to-school routine after summer. Eating breakfast, is one of those routines.  Sleeping 9 hours a night is another one. But those routines pay immediate dividends in the mind of a child, beacuse they can feel the results, from good food, and good sleep.

One thing kids don't typically do daily without reminders, is brushing their teeth. Why? Because it's can be a boring task, that doesn't give immediate results. In fact, sometimes the results can be temporary discomfort if your gums aren't healthy, or you're brushing too hard. But, brushing teeth twice daily offers incredible long term results! Unfortunately kids won't acknowledge these results until they start feeling tooth pain, or see the dentist for reasons they could have avoided. I remember the pains of tooth cavities as a kid. But now, we do our best to try and instill in our kids a daily routine of teeth-brushing. My friends over at Jefferson Dental put together this great info. graphic that helps parents realize just how easy and crucial establishing a back-to-school routine is:


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Parenting: “It Takes A Village”…Should It?

Have you ever been told that parenting a child, “takes a village” to raise them? Stop and think…who is in your village? Do you want your village raising your child? Are you willing to take the bad with the good? I struggle with this regularly.

We raise our young boys, 3 of them, in a bedroom community full of other young families.  I work in a church full of young families, with many children. I would be hard pressed to count how many times I’ve heard the phrase “it takes a village” when referring to raising a child. The old adage “it takes a village” assumes your child is being raised by a large number of people, that have your child’s best interest in mind.  I’m fortunate to have neighbors in their 70’s who raised kids 45 years ago. They look out for our kids when they are playing outside, and they even watch out for my wife and chickens when I’m not around. I hear story after story, from my Vietnam veteran neighbor, of the days of old, when kids acted right, because everyone held everyone else’s kids accountable. I can see where the village-raising mentality came from.  It’s a nice theory. With the “it takes a village approach” raising another child is just as important as raising your own. “Things have changed,” he says.

He’s right. Things have changed. Even in my community, a pretty close-knit one, I have a hard time relying on anyone else to help raise my children. My generation of parents really confuses me. It seems that the overwhelming majority are very protective of their child’s spirit, which is a good thing. But that comes with a heavy price-tag; the spirit of the other children they are around.  I’ve noticed that I’m living in a dog-eat-dog world of competitive child-rearing. This type of parenting isn’t conducive to the “it takes a village” approach. The conflict takes place when there’s an incident between two kids from two different families, and both sets of parents don’t witness it first hand. Since they aren’t both there to witness the “incident” all they have to go by is a one-sided, 2nd hand account, from their own child and maybe a sibling. Most parents aren’t interested in getting an unbiased, neutral witnesses’ version of the story, so they take their child’s account as a flawless one. This is why it’s so common to see disagreements break out between kids, parents, and other authorities.

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Disney Movies Make Dads Cry

A plague on both your houses, Disney! I'm a hot mess with your "kids cartoon movies." You've been pumping out the tear jerkers for the last 5 years.  I mean there's Frozen, Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, The (new) Jungle Book, Moana, and now, Cars 3. My kids compare me to Iron Man, Superman, and Batman, while you break me down into a puddle of tears veiled behind machismo.  How long can I hide this? I've got 3 sons for crying out loud! Well, not out loud….I can't actually do that. laugh

Disney movies

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The owner of this blog, Ben, and his wife, Gena, are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to