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…]

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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Need Help With A Science Fair Project? S.O.S. Your Science Fair Helper

Have you ever helped your child with a science fair project? One of my friends with kids in 6th, 7th, and 10th grades posted just this morning on facebook about how science fair projects create major tension between parents and the kids doing the project. So, that scares me a bit to know that I have three school/pre-school aged children heading toward the innevitable vortex of science fair projects. 

If you're a bit scared of the above scenario unfolding at your house, check out my friends over at Science Fair S.O.S. Here's the gist of what they do:

"Starting around 4th grade, most kids enter the world of Science Fair projects, which can often lead to last minute scrambles and frustrations, and stress. To combat this, ArtSkills has launched Science Fair S.O.S. ™, an on-demand helpline launching today and featuring a wealth of tools, inspiration, and solutions to support families every step of the way as they create next-level poster project displays that will get noticed.


Consumers in need of poster project assistance, inspiration, and guidance can reach out to ArtSkills’ expert team of Poster Pros directly via phone, email, and social media in addition to the informative and access to simple tips, tricks, and guidance available on website.

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Are Smart Mobile Devices Raising Our Children?


Everywhere I look these days I see kids with more and more smart mobile devices. In fact, today if a kid doesn't know how to use a smart mobile device thay would probably be teased. I know I probably have more than a dozen mobile devices in my home alone. I've always been a techie nerd. My parents are techies, and all my friends and family are techies. My wife's a techie, my kids are techies.  Technology is just part of everyday life for me as a father, youth minster, and consumer. I'm sure if you're reading this, you are a bit of a techie yourself. Whether you're a teen, a parents, or a grandparent, you have, to probably a great extent, been impacted by technology.

The problem I find myself in, is that technology, particularly smart mobile devices, have become a bit of an idol in my home. My kids 7, 5, and 2, all know how to unlock my smart mobile devices, choose whatever app they want to open, and play with it. My 7 year old can even navigate apps in the same way I can, and in some ways better than I can. Can you relate to me?  It's just so easy to let kids figure out the latest gagets, only to spend endless amounts of time "out of your grill." If you're like me, you have to be careful not to let your mobile devices spend more time with your kids than you do.  

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1st Day Of School – Its Ok To Not Be Ok.


1st Day Of School - Its Ok To Not Be Ok.

Today, my older two sons went off to their first day of kindergarten and 2nd grade. My wife went with them.  She came back from dropping them off, but a piece of her was missing. It was still with them at school. You see, our sons are both dealing with anxiety in different ways. My oldest son, internalizes it and lets a few tears drop, but he doesn't want to seem vulnerable. My second son just doesn't care. He tells you straight up he's not going, ahead of time. And then he makes you rip him from his car seat, and carry him in while crying those horizontal tears you see in the cartoons. This is the reason Gena didn't return in one piece. She couldn't fathom their suffering without suffering some herself. I commend my wife for taking on such a dreaded task, and seeing it through. 

Tomorrow, I get to take a stab at it. I'm one of those guys, where (for the most part) it's out of sight out of mind. So, pray for me between 7:50 am-8:00 am. That's when I'll endure whatever my boys throw my way with assertiveness. I'll do what it takes. After that, I should be ok. But, I have to remember to be more like her when I'm dealing with my children. Gentle, empathetic, and compassionate.  No matter how the boys leave my care, tears and all, they should feel loved. "Carry each others' burdens," takes on a whole new meaning when you watch a mother send her two sons off to the first day of school.

What's your back to school story?

A Message To Graduates


I was asked to give a message to the graduates for the MHS Baccalaureate this year. Yesterday I delivered that message. I had an adult female stranger come up to me afterward, and tell me that my message was spot on, and that I should publish it. I've never been asked to publish any of my sermons, so here it is. I omitted a few lines that only pertained to the live audience, but this version gets my entire point across:

All of you are on a journey that has intersected at the end of high school.
I’m so glad God has brought you to this point. Have you given him the credit?
Let’s do that right now. (prayer)

Every one of you have walked different paths with different choices and different people alongside you. Can you remember every choice and every person from your first 18 years? No, you can’t.

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Save Money Today with Groupon Coupons

Save Money With Groupon Coupons

Our family has been using Groupon for many years now.  We have saved big on vacations, recreation, concerts, sports events, and more.  Until recently, though, I did not know that Groupon Coupons existed.  Besides having a cool name, these things really can save you big on stuff you are already purchasing.

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A Threat To Virility: Time Is Not On Our Side

A Threat To Virility:  Time Is Not On Our Side

Just a week ago, Time® magazine published an online article entitled Porn, A Threat To Virility.  Today, their magazine has the article as the cover story, on this week's edition. Kudos to them for speaking openly on it to the masses. There are others who are not afraid to address porn directly for the calamity that it is. Those voices are few and far between. What I've noticed in America is that most preachers don't want to preach on it, and educators don't want to teach on it. Scientists don't want to speculate without enough evidence that pornography is hurtful to a consumer. And parents don't want to talk about it to their children. I won't be quiet about this. I've researched it, I've consumed it, I've taught on it, and I will be speaking about it with my children and my youth group and their parents. The evidence is crystal clear in my experience, knowledge, and in other's stories that I have heard.

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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