New Music: Key Wilde and Mr Clarke Release ‘Animal Tales’ October 21

New Music: Key Wilde and Mr Clarke Release ‘Animal Tales’ October 21

As you may have noticed, I haven’t written a kindie music review in quite some time. I’ve had a lot of things going on in my life as of late and I haven’t made the time for listening to new music much less writing about any.

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I’m excited to tell you about a great new album called ‘Animal Tales’ being released by Parents’ Choice GOLD Award-winning duo Key Wilde and Mr Clarke tomorrow, October 21. ‘Animal Tales,’ the fourth album by Key Wilde and Mr Clarke, includes 13 unbelievably creative and entertaining tracks. The songs are always funny, factual and sometimes allegorical. “Platypus” is informative, with a little wackiness thrown in to reflect the character of this odd creature. “Katy Caterpillar” captures the mystery of the marvelous metamorphosis of a butterfly. My favorite track on the album is “The Bear Song” which introduces all eight species of bears and was created for an international conference at The Woodlands wildlife refuge last fall. The way these guys can put such great facts about animals into a fun song delivery is what I like so much about their music. Animals have been a dominant theme in Key Wilde and Mr Clarke’s music all along and this album takes it to another level.

Track Listing:

  1. Animal Kingdom – 2:41
  2. Frog Fiesta – 3:19
  3. The Buck Stops Here – 1:51
  4. Bear Song – 3:46
  5. Platypus – 2:08
  6. Katy Caterpillar – 1:57
  7. Bombardier Beetle – 2:17
  8. Armando Armadillo – 3:15
  9. Alligator Get-Together – 3:13
  10.  Beastapuss – 3:35
  11. Larry the Lobster – 4:03
  12. Hippo Dance – 2:24
  13. Animal Island – 4:45

You can preview 3 tracks from ‘Animal Tales’ here.

Key Wilde and Mr Clarke’s kid friendly and sophisticatedly funny songs get regular rotation on SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live and WXPN FM’s Kids Corner radio, among many other shows nationwide. The duo began their musical collaboration in the 1990’s in New York, honing their anti-folk repertoire and tight harmonies. Wilde, now a father of two children, grew up in Texas and has built a reputation not only for his music but also for his illustrations, which have appeared in newspapers, magazines, greeting cards and children’s books. Mr Clarke was born in the U.K., grew up in France and has lived in New York since the 1980’s. He is currently a high school science and special education teacher.

For more information, visit http://keywildeandmrclarke.com

 

Why I want to be a #HealthyDad

Why I want to be a #HealthyDad

When you’re young, your health is often something you don’t give much consideration to. You’re young, active and indestructible. When you’re young, you change jobs for any reason and your benefits are not a top priority in making a decision about where to work.

Fast forward 20 years….

You are now married and have a spouse, a dog, a cat, a mini van with goofy stickers on the back window and one or more kids in your life. Now you’re supposed to be RESPONSIBLE. Yep, that’s right. You – the guy with the beer can indent in his forehead, you are supposed to think about your and your family’s future.

As we age, whether we like it or NOT we get sick, we get sore, we get hurt. Often times these incidents are preceded by a small voice saying “Hey daddy, try this.” Of course we’re going to try what they are asking of us. Otherwise we could be labeled a scaredy cat, a chicken – balk balk balk, or even the worst thing possible – a whiny baby who needs his diaper changed. Those toddlers can be ba-ru-tull.

Now that I’m older and wiser; I would love to give you one piece of advice. Pay attention to your health. If you have heart disease in your family, get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked on a regular basis. If you have any feelings of depression, talk to someone. Don’t just talk to them once, talk to them as often as you need to. Basically…love your mind and body the way you want it to love you back. Dads are notoriously bad at getting their annual physicals. It takes less than 30 minutes to get a physical, so you have no excuse.

As you navigate this new “older” life of yours, be sure to consider health insurance. Health insurance is an important way to protect you and your family in the event of injury or illness and serves as a channel for getting you connected with your health care providers. Open enrollment is the perfect time to reevaluate your health insurance needs. Anthem and its sister plans are working hard to make sure that Americans are aware of their health care options and how to make the most of them.

Sometimes it’s tough to get to a doctor. You may be under the weather, live far away from a doctor’s office or be pressed for time. Wouldn’t it be nice to get expert advice right from your home computer or mobile device? Anthem’s telehealth options are bringing back the old-fashioned house call – but in real time and with today’s finger-tip ease. Apps like LiveHealth Online let families easily access quality health care through video conversations with board-certified physicians, without the hefty cost that can come with office visits. It’s clinical facetime for when your doctor’s office is closed.

With LiveHealth Online, you can connect with U.S.-based, board certified doctors within minutes by two-way video chat in the privacy of your own home. Available 24/7, 365 days a year wherever telehealth is allowed in the U.S., it’s as easy as downloading an app on your phone or tablet.

With the options currently available in the marketplace, including the offerings from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, there has never been a better time to take steps to protect your family.

I know it’s terribly important to me to be a #HealthyDad, because I want to have as much time with my son as possible. And I’m not just talking about time for the sake of time. I’m talking about good, quality time doing the things that matter most. The video below lets you know why I want to be a #HealthyDad.


CONTEST

Here’s where being a #HealthDad can literally pay off. There’s a contest currently running on the Healthy Dad Facebook page. Between October 1, 2014 and October 23, 2014 you can submit your own #HealthyDad video to the Healthy Dad Facebook page. Be creative, be outrageous and above all else – be Healthy.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Shoot your video (Vine, Instagram or YouTube), explaining why you are or want to be a #HealthyDad (include the hashtag)
  2. Upload your video to the Healthy Dad Facebook page.

It really is that simple.  And for your effort you could have a chance to win one of five, $100 Amazon Gift Certificates.

All of the Official #HealthyDad contest rules can be found here.

 

Disclosure:

Thanks to Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield who compensated me for this post, for including dads in this important discussion about family health care. My views are based solely on my experience as a parent, and not as a medical professional. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is not affiliated with the #HealthyDad video contest.

 

Mushroom Wild Rice Burgers with Garlic Aoli

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Normally the month of September is reserved to celebrate mine and my dad’s birthday. This year I’m doing more than just celebrate birthdays in September.  This September I’m honored to have been asked to join my friends at Life of Dad  , The Mushroom Council and a cast of fantastic dad bloggers in celebrating #Shroomtember Mushroom Month.

Thanks to mushrooms’ hearty taste and meaty texture, your family’s favorite meals can be made healthier without complicated techniques to create better-for-you versions. Mushrooms are the one ingredient that you can easily use in virtually any dish to bring flavor and nutrition to the plate.

Health Class is in Session:

Here are some interesting tidbits about mushrooms that I didn’t even know.

  1. Finely chopped mushrooms look similar and blend seamlessly with meat, so classics can be made healthier without losing taste or satisfying texture. Simply substitute flavorful mushrooms for some of the meat in a traditional dish to reduce calories and fat.
  2. Increasing intake of low-energy density-foods (meaning few calories given the volume of food), specifically mushrooms, in place of high-energy-density foods, like lean ground beef, can be an effective method for reducing daily energy and fat intake while still feeling full and satiated after the meal.
  3. Research conducted at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests substituting mushrooms for lean ground beef in an entrée just once every week would save almost 20,000 calories or more than 5 pounds of body weight in one year.
  4. Mushrooms bring important nutrients like vitamin D, potassium, B vitamins and antioxidants to the plate without adding significant calories, fat and cholesterol.

As an ambassador for the fungus amongus, I’ve been asked to come up with the best mushroom burger I can think of, and that’s exactly what I’ve done for you.

When trying to decide on a recipe to create, I first thought about what dish I absolutely love putting mushrooms in, and then it was just a matter of whether or not I could effectively turn that dish into a burger. The dish that came to mind immediately was wild rice. I don’t know if you’ve ever made wild rice before or not, but it is an absolute must to put mushrooms in your wild rice. Now when I talk about making wild rice, I am talking about the true, nutty type of wild rice in particular, not the boxed blended variety.

The recipe I created was for Mushroom Wild Rice Burgers topped with asparagus, spinach and garlic aoli.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups chopped mushrooms of your choice – I use baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 cup Wild Rice – I use natural, hand harvested wild rice.
    • I use hand harvested wild rice because, in my experience, it tends to cook faster than machine harvested wild rice. And honestly, I think the rice has a slightly better texture when hand picked.
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus tips
  • 2 tsp. Course grind black pepper
  • 6 Cloves minced garlic (use more or less for your own preference)
  • Wild rice seasoning of your choice – I use Christmas Point Wild Rice Seasoning
  • 1 cup chopped onion – I use red onions
  • Low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-3 Egg whites – I used liquid egg whites
  • 20 Saltine crackers
  • Provolone Cheese
  • Mayo with Olive Oil
  • Spinach – as much as you want on your finished burgers.

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Rice Preparation:

  • In a pot, combine water, mushrooms, wild rice, onion, 1 clove minced garlic, black pepper and wild rice seasoning. Follow the cooking time for your particular wild rice since cooking times may vary. My rice takes about 30 minutes to cook.
  • Once the wild rice is done cooking, add the butter and soy sauce.
  • Let the rice cool completely

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Asparagus Preparation:

  • Cut the asparagus tips into about 4 inch sections (cut them to a good size to fit on a burger)
  • Lay the asparagus tips on aluminum foil
  • Drizzle the asparagus tips with olive oil
  • Sprinkle 2-3 cloves minced garlic over the asparagus
  • Salt and Pepper the asparagus lightly (for less sodium just use pepper)
  • Lay the foil on a medium heat preheated grill and cook for approximately 10 minutes. (check often as asparagus cooking times vary and it will get soft if over cooked)

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Garlic Aoli

  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon course grind black pepper

In a dish, add mayo, garlic, lemon juice and pepper. Mix ingredients thoroughly and then let sit while preparing the burgers.

Burger Preparation and Assembly:

  • Add crushed saltine crackers to the burger mixture in the desired amount. This is a binding ingredient to help hold the patties together.
  • Add liquid egg whites in the desired amount. This is a binding ingredient to help hold the patties together. I used 2 egg whites
    • You can sub additional saltines or oats in place of egg whites to keep the recipe more vegetarian.
  • Form the mushroom wild rice mixture into patties of your desired size.
  • Place patties on oiled aluminum foil.
  • Cook the mushroom burgers on a medium heat preheated grill for roughly 5 minutes per side, making sure the egg whites cook completely.
  • Toward the end of cooking; top the patties with asparagus tips and provolone cheese.
  • Cook an additional couple minutes to melt the cheese.
  • Spread garlic aoli on the top and bottom of the bun.
  • Place burger on the bun.
  • Add spinach
  • Enjoy

Prep Time: Approximately 45 minutes

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Enter your recipe and have a chance to win $500.

Thanks to The Mushroom Council and Life of Dad, you have an opportunity to share your recipes and have a chance to win a $500 Visa Gift Card. You can read all of the official details and enter your recipe over on the Contest Page at Life of Dad. Also watch the #ShroomTember hashtag on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to see even more mushroom recipes.

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad, LLC for the #ShroomTember promotion. Sponsored by The Mushroom Council, the #ShroomTember promotion gives anybody the chance to win a $500 Visa gift card.

Kindergarten was the Start of Something Beautiful

First Day of Kindergarten As you may have already been aware; PJ started Kindergarten this year. This was the first “official” school age milestone for him and was a BIG deal for PJ. I have been wanting to write this post for a couple weeks, but have had trouble finding the words to describe this life event. I’ve become a very emotional and sappy man since the birth of my son. Him starting Kindergarten has caused many emotions in me that I can’t even explain. I’ve been sad that he is growing up before my eyes and I feel like I have limited time with him. I honestly feel like it was just last week that I was sitting on his floor in the middle of the night holding him while he fell back asleep. I remember doing the tiptoe dance out of his room after placing him back in his crib sleeping soundly. Those moments, the ones that caused such sleep deprivation, are the moments that I will always cherish and would do all over again in a heartbeat. You never think you will miss those moments in time until you no longer have them.

PJ has been in daycare and preschool for 5 years in preparation for Kindergarten. At his most recent preschool he had spent a lot of time with the kids referred to as the “school agers,” and I could tell he looked up to them. There were some very sweet moments with the school agers that made one’s heart melt. One such moment involved one of the older girls who would sit with PJ and read books to him while they waited for parents to pick up. He always seemed so happy sitting with her, admiring her ability to tell a tale, and listening to her read. Now that PJ is a school ager himself, I can’t help but think that will be him someday reading to another friend who can’t yet read for themselves. Whether or not I was ready; PJ was definitely ready for kindergarten. PJ_At_School

The first day of kindergarten came and went in a flash, leaving only photos behind to remember it by. One moment I was standing with him in the parking lot before school and the next moment he was explaining how he couldn’t remember what he did at school. Some things never change little buddy.

Two weeks into the school year was “Back to School” night at his school. This was the evening set aside for parents to come to the school and attend a presentation by the principal and then be guided around the school by our kids. PJ was super excited to show me around his school and quite honestly I was thrilled to be there with him. I felt such a huge sense of pride as I watched him introduce me to each one of his teachers, even ones whose names he hadn’t memorized yet. He took my hand and guided my down the halls of his school with a huge grin on his face and happy hop in his step. As we navigated the large crowd of students and parents; I would hear everything from “Daddy, look at this art project we did. Isn’t it awesome” to “Hi Spanish Teacher!” and then her returning the greeting with a “Hello, kindergarten student!” I could tell he belongs there – he is ready – he has arrived.

“As I followed him down those hallways at school that evening; I saw him age from birth all the way through High School, and I was happy with what I see for him in his future.” -Me

Any sad feelings that I’ve experienced lately have an equally happy counterpart. I’ve been so unbelievably happy that he’s grown up before my eyes to be such a wonderful young man. He truly is the most remarkable person I have ever known. He lives in the moment, has an edgy competitiveness, soaks up knowledge like a sponge and has such compassion and unconditional love for others. He embodies everything I’d wished he’d be. With so much room for growth and development in his future, I can only imagine what a wonderful man, husband and father he will become one day. For me; Kindergarten was the Start of Something Beautiful!

Thank you for reading, 

-Chris

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New Music: Hullabaloo to Release “Shy Kid Blues” May 27th

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