Tuesday, May 27, 2014

7 Father's Day gifts for the Blue Collar Dad

 My dad is not the dad that I can buy a tie for...or golfing stuff...or most of the things that are suggested for Father's Day. My dad wears a uniform to work everyday, so ties, tie pins or cufflinks are out of the question.  I've put together a little list of things that I can buy my "hard to shop for dad" that he will actually enjoy.

1.) Growler of beer. Seriously, this is what I got my brother for Christmas and a great gift for anyone who enjoys having a good brewski. You can get it filled with a good beer and once it's gone, he can get it refilled for cheap. Plus, there are so many out there that you can get a personalized one with his name, papa, dad, etc...or you can paint it with chalkboard paint and write something clever on it. There are a wide variety of growlers on Etsy, but it may be cheaper to get one locally and get it filled all in one shot. Check out your local breweries to see what is the best fit for your pop.

2.) Garage decor. Sounds fancier than it is. I made my dad a sign, from old corrugated tin and spray paint. It says Papa's garage and he loved it. Also, my dad hangs license plates in his garage so that is another easy gift for us to get him. Check out your local thrift shops for license plates, beer related lights, mirrors or whatever it is he likes. My dad is in his garage everyday and will actually see it everyday as opposed to something he will put on a shelf and forget about.

3.) Fishing equipment. My dad is not in to sports, but he loves to hunt and fish. Of course, I think these fishing lures are an essential part of every tackle box!  When I was little I know my dad would've loved a card and a can of worms, because it would mean we wanted  to go fishing with him. There are a lot of fun fishing accessories out there, or you can even get him a new fishing pole! I have a lot of requests for soda bottle cap lures around Father's Day because of childhood traditions. My dad used to buy us candy before we went out fishing, he says he was bribing us, but I think he just liked to spoil us a little. Is there a certain beer or soda that your pops always takes when he's fishing?

4.)Hats. My dad always wears a hat and it's never a sports cap, unless it's for the local high school team. Did I mention my dad doesn't like sports much? He does however love wearing hats. He has hats for National Parks he's visited, for hunting and fishing shops, and various camo ones. I bet he's got over 20 hats, does he need a new one? No, but he'd love one just the same. Plus, it's fun for me to pick one out and then see him wearing it the next time I see him.

This is my dad, my dad in a hat...sounds like a Dr. Seuss book.

5.) Okay, I'll admit this is not the typical gift for the blue collar dad, but I know my Pop would like it...personalized coffee mug with grandchildrens' pictures on it. My sis made us all one for Christmas a few years ago and then I made Cass a travel coffee mug with Mr. A's pictures for her birthday. If your Pop drinks coffee then he will proudly show off hisgrand kids. You can easily order them online from Walmart, Walgreens or Snapfish.
As you can see, we have a few of these mugs.

6.) My dad drinks iced tea every day. He also eats cookies every single day. My easy to please dad would love a gift that has his favorite cookies, a box of tea and some other misc. things like a wrench, pressure gauge for tires, new gloves, perhaps some kind of accessory for his quad...there is so much room for creativity.

7.) A good Card. If you have kids you already know that being a grandpa is one of his favorite things in the world. Have the kids make him a homemade card and put it in the mail to him, or even better deliver it in person. I'm not sentimental with my Pops very often, but I like to tell him I adore him on occasion, and this is the perfect time! Find or make a good card for him and tell him how you admire his hat collection. ;)

I hope this post has been helpful. Is there anything else you can think of that your dad would love?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Love is an action verb

*Mushy Alert*

I love, love. Yep, I'm one of those mushy people who loves to watch romantic comedies even though I know they're unrealistic. I love to watch those videos where soldiers are reunited with their families and I cry every time...even if they're being reunited with their dog. I am fully aware of how ridiculous I am, so at least I'm not delusional.

In the past I have hesitated to write about my relationship on this blog, mostly because I  fear judgement of other bloggers, but that's no way to live or blog. So, I'm giving a shout out (blog out?) to my lady! I am so proud of the person I get to call my girlfriend, the woman I get to build a home and a family with, my best friend.

This girl, right here:

You see, Cass is not only beautiful, she is strong. Shes emotionally and physically strong. No joke, she is pouring cement as I type! Her strength has inspired me to try things I wouldn't normally do, like tackle the oleanders in our backyard. 
She is extremely patient...when it counts. A little over a year ago, I would've said she needed more patience. However, having a kid has helped me see that she may not have the most patience for little things, like waiting for a gas pump, but she has tons of patience with Albert & me and that's where it counts. She is patient when I'm grumpy or frazzled and she has tons of patience when Albert does things at his own pace. She's a wonderful mom and Albert is crazy about her! 

Last, but not least, she is one of the hardest workers I know. This is the second week in a row that she has picked up side jobs on her days off. Remember how I said she's pouring cement; yeah it's her day off and its hot outside. She works hard for her money! Check out this sidewalk art (okay she just painted it) that she did last week! 

She shows us she loves us everyday. She doesn't just say it or talk about it, she shows us. She works hard and on top of that she shows us patience, while inspiring and encouraging me to be better. I couldn't ask for more. My wine-stein runneth over.

I warned you this would be mushy.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

5 Tips for Camping Fun!

We go camping every year for Cassandra's birthday and Mexican Mother's Day. I believe the tradition started when Cass was little and that was what her mom wanted for Mother's Day, so off they would go every year to the same camp grounds and spend about 4 days. This is only my 3rd year being of part of this tradition, and I love it! When her family camps, they camp in style, with a Cabelas set up kitchen, shower/bathroom tent, pop up ramada over the picnic table and 2 people per 8-10 man tent.  Seriously, we have people stop by and comment on how nice the set up is and ask how long we've been camping. We always have a blast and sit by the creek and fish as much as possible. So, here are the few camping tips I've  learned in the past three years.

1.) Styrofoam will keep your buns toasty. Cassandra's dad always takes rectangular Styrofoam pieces that he cuts in half long ways and duct tapes to the concrete picnic tables. This is GENIUS...not only does it add a bit of comfort, it also keeps your bottom really warm when it is super cold and the concrete is even colder. Seriously, I would highly encourage you to give it a try. You can get Styrofoam at Lowes or The Home Depot for $5.00, you may need 2 to cover the benches, but it will be worth the $10.00!

2.) When you camp, everybody pitches in. Cassandras parents said it a few times, "when we camp, everybody works." Truth be told, I napped the first 2 days, and they were glorious naps...however, I also helped cook, wash the dishes and put food away at night. Let's face it, there's not a lot of cleaning to do when camping, but nobody should have to do all of the cooking or washing. Also, this makes set up and take down go by much faster. I was not looking forward to packing up at the end of our trip, but it went by quickly and smoothly because we all pitched in. Even Albert packed up his toys.

3.)Socks. You cannot take too many pairs of socks camping. Even if it's hot they may get wet in the creek, or full of sand or whatever else can happen to socks. We happened to camp during a cold front and we doubled up on socks while Mr. A usually had 3 pair on. I'm a desert rat so I don't like being cold as it is, but when my feet are freezing it's just horrible. 

4.) Don't forget the games. We did. We still had a lot of fun, but I was really looking forward to playing dominoes. I guess I was too focused on packing enough socks, that I forgot the dominoes.

5.) Smores are a must! Here's my secret. I like to place the chocolate on the graham crackers and place them near the fire (usually there's a ledge or a little grill) and let the chocolate get melty while I toast the mallows. So yum. 

We love to fish and Cass makes her own bait by mixing cheddar cheese with garlic powder and little bit of flour to bind it. The trout loved it. We were also told by a little boy that he uses corn and tosses a hand full in right after he casts. We saw a guy doing it and he was reeling them in! We had fresh trout for lunch one of the days and mmm mmm it was delish!

Summer is here and it is always good to reconnect with nature, so get out there and enjoy the great outdoors. Remember to clean up after yourselves and give your left over firewood and Styrofoam padding to your camping neighbors.

Time for my shameless plug: 

These fishing lures are handmade and flat out awesome! They make a great addition to your tackle box or a great gift for Father's Day which is just around the corner. You can order them here.
I take special orders and try to accommodate your bottle cap requests.