These days, it’s very normal for families to be dotted across the world. This means that when it comes to birthdays and Christmas, it can be tricky to think of gift ideas that won’t cost a fortune to send. Last year, my sister and her children moved from Hull to Florida, and recently my niece celebrated her first ever birthday in America when she turned eight.
All children love multimedia gifts, but when you’re sending a present to America, there are some other things you need to consider before you pick something up mindlessly. For a start, the DVD players fall into Region 1, whereas UK DVD players are Region 2, so make sure any DVDs you buy work either universally or work specifically in Region 1 players. Other electrical equipment will also require a different plug connection, so include a UK to US plug adapter if you’re thinking about sending anything they’ll need to plug in.
If you’re buying a toy, try not to go for anything too fragile if you can help it. A china doll, for example, might not survive the journey, whereas something sturdy and plastic or something packaged in its own box should be fine. Ideas for lighter games and toys include jigsaws, soft toys and sets of art and craft materials if they’re very creative. The lighter your package, the less it will cost to send it.
It is probably the case that they’re missing some of their favourite British food. You could send over their favourite sweets or chocolate bars, though it might be a good idea to place these in a cool bag or a container which will keep them cool on the journey so that they don’t unwrap a melted mess. Alternatively, their favourite packaged cake mix will give them a taste of home without any risk of melting, and they can enjoy their favourite sweet treats from around the world.
Children love having a ‘proper’ present to open, so to make sure they open their present with all their others on their birthday, it might be a good idea to address to parcel itself to their parents. I addressed mine to my sister and let her know in advance that it would be arriving. Then, inside the box was the wrapped up present ready for my niece to open so it would feel like a normal gift. Children love presents, so make it look really special!
Hey everyone. Can you believe it – it’s almost almost April, 2013 already? Where does the time go?
Life has just been whizzing by at the speed of…well, life lately and I admit I haven’t been around as much as I’d like to be. I try to post my Dear Son posts when I get a chance. They’re among my own personal favorites around here because they’re written to my son(s). But other than that, I’ve been sorta MIA.
Well, let me first say that it’s not you, it’s me. Really, it is.
I started Memoirs of a Single Dad back in 2010 on a whim and I’ve had a lot of fun with it and I’ve met some really great people along the way as well. It’s time to open a whole new chapter in my story, because “my” story is becoming “our” story. If you hadn’t heard the news, I got engaged last year. You should read the story – I think it’s pretty cute. The time has come to tie the knot. JenB and I will be getting married on Wednesday, April 3rd after nearly a year and a half of being engaged and over three years together.
What’s it mean for this site? Well, I’ve actually had some pretty huge changes in the works for a while. I think you’ll like the changes because I’m going to be showcasing a lot of great blogs and content in one location. That’s still a lot to do before I get the new site up and running (yep, a whole new site) because I want to make sure I do it right the first time.
In the meantime, it would mean a lot to me if you could leave some encouraging words in the comments or on my Facebook page. Have you gotten married recently? Are you in a blended family, too? I’d love to hear your story.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my update. I wish you and your families the best in 2013.
The Not-So-Single Dad
P.S. - Don’t send gifts – if you’d like to show your support, why not order my book? It’s a pretty decent read and shares some insight into dating after 30 – the two dozen or so funny stories may even make you laugh, too.
My personal philosophy concerning Valentine’s Day gifts is the best ones are both romantic and utilitarian. I mean, as great as flowers are, they have a pretty short shelf life. Instead, give her something that she’ll use over and over again. And guess what? Every time she uses your gift? She’ll think of you.
Since Valentine’s Day comes in the middle of winter, the best gifts might just be the ones that keep her warm. Following are seven cute ideas that will keep her cozy in body and spirit.
Nothing can quite equal the comfort and warmth of a down comforter on those cold, cold winter nights. Not only are down comforters soft and cuddly, but down’s insulating property is great at trapping in body heat. Imagine, every time she snuggles up in her cozy bed she’ll be reminded of you, and in my book that isn’t a bad thing at all!
Look, the go-to gift on Valentine’s Day is a box of chocolates, and for good reason. Chocolate is amazing. However, your standard chocolates aren’t going to get you very many creativity points with your lady. Instead, think outside of the (heart-shaped) box. What’s better on cold winter’s day then a nice steaming mug of hot chocolate? I love this gift set by Flying Bird Botanicals that offers five different varieties of delicious, organic, and even-sort-of-healthy natural hot cocoa. No, really, check it out.
By mid-February, we’re hitting the homestretch of winter. It’s also the time when cabin fever starts making the final month of dreariness feel hard to conquer. It’s difficult to even open your eyes some mornings. Brighten up her day, and guarantee that she gets up on the right side of the bed, with a sunrise simulation alarm clock. Remember, when she’s happier, you’re both happier.
There’s no better escape from the cold of winter than a nice, long soak in the tub. Give her the gift of the most luxurious bath she’s ever experienced with this Spa Sister Relaxation Basket. Full of scrubs, bubbles, bath salts, an eye mask, slippers, and much, much more, she’s guaranteed to get a lot of use out of it and to love you just a little bit more every time.
Lately, the ’80s and been having a resurgence. Get in on the trend and buy your sweetheart a fondue pot of her very own. Melt up some chocolate and serve her a plate of strawberries, or melt some brie and dip in some bread. Either way, a fondue pot is a creative idea that will be fun to use night after night.
The worst part of waking up on a winter morning has got to be the thought stepping out of a warm bed and facing the cold morning air. Make the transition a little easier for her with a snug pair of PJs. For the warmest ones, think flannel, velour, or fleece.
Herbal slippers? Yes, herbal slippers. These adorable slippers by Warm Whiskers come in a variety of animal shapes, and are fuzzy enough to keep her toes warm. But that’s not the best part! Hidden inside each slipper is a lavender herbal pouch that can be heated up in the microwave. Not only does it double their warming power, but the aromatherapy will help her fell calm and relaxed. Did I mention how cute they are?
About the Author:
Rebecca Bridge is a writer and painter who lives in Seattle. When she’s not creating things she hope are pretty, you can find her hanging out with her main squeeze, her dog named Charlie. To read more of her work, follow her here.
The holidays are a time of joyous occasions, building traditions and enjoying family time with the children and maybe even the extended family. So what happens when there is a break in the family such as a divorce? What is one to do in such an occasion where the kids are caught in the middle?
The truth is it really depends on how bad the divorce or split was and how the parents are handling the breakup more so than the children. If the parents are amicable or if there was bloodshed (figuratively hopefully) can make a world of difference in life after a split. Here are some tips to surviving the holidays to keep in mind if you are a divorced dad (or mom).
Tip #1: (Try to) Play Nice
There is nothing worse than two parents fighting. It can take a day that was supposed to be an enjoyable annual tradition and destroy it.
Tip #2: Set Up a Schedule In Advance
Even if the divorce was amicable chances are mom and dad do not want to be with each other. Exchanging holiday schedule requests is important to avoiding conflict in what should be a happy time of year.
Tip #3: Be Flexible
If trading holidays doesn’t work out then try half days; the morning with mom and the evening with dad or vice versa. It benefits no one when either party is unreasonable in their requests or approving the other party’s requests.
Tip #4: Bury the Hatchet?
If the divorce was a mutual understanding and there are no bad feelings towards each other perhaps you could even try to enjoy the holiday in the same house. Families being together during the holidays can help all parties involved. Just be careful to set expectations of your children to make sure they know mommy and daddy are just getting along, not getting back together. You may want to have a contingency plan if that isn’t working.
Tip #5: Keep Your Cool
Do not, under any circumstances, ever, take out your frustration of mom’s new partner on your children. In a way, he (or she) may be your child’s new partner as well. Taking the high road any time of the year is definitely the way to go – especially during the holidays.
Tip #6: Don’t Try to Compete
The holidays can bring up many old feelings from the past and they can be good or bad. It’s not a competition and shouldn’t be used as one to see who can get the better presents. It’s about showing the kids that even divorced parents can still show the kids love and support.
Tip #7: Collaborate on Gift-Giving
Again, assuming the divorce was clean and you’re at least somewhat amicable, why not try planning a big present that can be shared at both homes? Something like a video game system, tablet device or bicycle make for a few suggestions.
Tip #8: Family AND Friends
Divorces can drive wedges in between the children and parents for obvious reasons. It can help the child if a friend is over to keep them company. Older children (especially teens) look to their social circles more and more. Why not include friends in the holidays at times as well?
Tip #9: Have Empathy
If the divorce was nasty, dirty and didn’t go well, try to see it not only from the kid’s point of view but from your ex as well. The holidays are a time for understanding and compassion. It’s the perfect time to set aside some of your anomosity and put you It can be difficult to see what they can see.
Tip #10: Place Nice!
This point can’t be over-emphasized or stressed enough. Think back over past holidays that have been stressful. What was the source of that stress? Did you contribute to your own stress by being unreasonable?
Tip #11: Agree to Disagree
Obviously many of these tips are not unique to the holidays – they apply year-round. There are some things that just can’t be agreed on and that’s ok; agree to disagree without making a mountain out of a mole hill.
Your divorce is something that was caused by mom and dad not the kids. Surviving this holiday isn’t hard if you have some help and hopefully these steps will be that help you need!
Hey everyone! First of all, happy birthday – to me! Yep, today is my birthday and I’m planning on celebrating by giving away complimentary copies of my eBook, Memoirs of a Dating Dad in exchange for just your Email address.
If you’re interested in getting a free copy of my eBook (PDF), the process is super simple:
Step 1: Fill out the form in the left sidebar under the ‘Subscribe’ title. See it? <——–over there, near the bottom. Simply provide me with your name (first is fine) and Email address and click ‘Sign Up’. You’ll be taken to a page with a very large Memoirs “M” logo on it.
Step 2: Check your Email. You should see a confirmation Email from me (Daniel Ruyter) with a link in it. You have to click that link to verify that you want to subscribe. Once you confirm, you’ll be taken to the ‘Success’ page of my site and provided with the download password in a new Email to get your free copy of my book.
Step 3: At the bottom of the ‘Success’ page is a password field and a download button. Enter your password and click the download button and voila! The book is yours.
I promise I’ll never send you any spam or sell, rent or otherwise give away your Email address. So, seriously – if you want a free copy of my book, Memoirs of a Dating Dad then all you have to do is sign up for my newsletter below and your free copy will be sent to you by Email!
If you’re looking for eBook copies other than PDF (like ePub or Kindle MOBI) or for a paperback copy of the book, be sure to visit the book’s dedicated website: www.datingrulesbook.com for more information on where to purchase. Likewise, if you really enjoy the book I’d love to hear about it!
Well, ladies and gentlemen – it’s official. I’m a Rebel now.
Maybe not in the traditional sense of the word – you know, the Fonzie looking dude in the leather jacket or the James Dean character without a care in the world, flipping the bird to society. But I’m most definitely a Rebel.
In high school I was the quiet kid. I didn’t have a ton of close friends but the ones I did have were awesome and I got along with just about everyone. The Rebels were the outcasts of my school. They were the motor-heads, skater punks, band geeks and, yes, even the science club nerds. They did what they wanted to do, not because they thought it was cool or ‘in’ but because it was authentically them. I’ve always admired Rebels and their ability to go distinctly against the grain, even if it wasn’t what everyone else was doing at the time. I hoped that one day I’d be a rebel too and finally that time as come.
Well, that time has come for me and it’s time to make the all-call to men out there as well.
To me, the term Rebel no longer just symbolizes the Fonzie or James Dean character in a leather jacket. The Rebel without a cause was so last century. The new Rebel is much more refined and focused than that. The new Rebel stands up for what he believes in and makes an attempt to kick the current social trends because he knows they don’t represent him the way he deserves to be represented. The new Rebel is a Rebel WITH a cause, whatever that cause may be.
At least that’s how I picture a Rebel in more modern times and apparently, I’m not the only one…
Enter: Rebel Magazine
Not all that long ago I received a Tweet from the editor of a fairly new up-start magazine called Rebel Magazine. Something (although, I’m still not sure what exactly) he saw on this site caught his attention and he thought I’d make a nice fit with the message and theme of their magazine. I think Rebel puts it best in their ‘About Rebel‘ section.
SO WHO IS A REBEL?
Rebel Magazine Website
Rebel represents our antithetical position on popular culture and the message it has been selling men for generations. Culture says a rebel is a man defined by independence, personal achievement, sexual conquests and/or economic success. Our definition of a Rebel is slightly different. We believe a Rebel is a man of character, defined by humility, dedicated to service and wholly committed to a cause greater than himself.
Rebel features one man each month – a “Rebel With a Cause” – that is doing something extraordinary to impact the lives of others. Our featured Rebel’s can come from the world of philanthropy, business, sports, politics, entertainment and more.
We hope through our publication, online community and outreach initiatives to in some small way help men become “better” men; better husbands, fathers, friends and/or leaders in their community. We hope by showcasing “Rebels” who are making a difference – that others will recognize they too have the power to instill change.
I like their definition – no, I love it and I’d like more men to live by their definition as well. That’s why, when Editor in Chief Ron Matjeko asked me if I’d contribute a piece for their latest issue I jumped at the chance. Rebel Magazine isn’t a traditional men’s lifestyle magazine and it makes no apologies, either.
Rebel tends to focus on stories with a little more cognitive, philanthropic or sensitive side. They make you think a little longer, feel a little deeper and engage you a little differently than a normal “men’s” magazine would and I like that.
Rebel Magazine – March/April Issue
Speaking Without Saying a Word Article - Rebel Magazine
As I mentioned, I contributed a piece to the March/April issue titled, “Speaking Without Saying a Word – Talking with your child is only the first step“. Each issue of the magazine focuses on a central topic. The topic for this issue was ‘Communication’ with a focus on technology.
My piece centers around the challenges of being a modern-day dad with a young son and how technology can both inhibit and help the communication channels available to us. I have to say, the article turned out even better than I expected and I hope you get a chance to take a look. If you’re up for a different type of men’s lifestyle magazine you may want to consider subscribing as well.
It’s only $19.95 for the year. Yeah, I subscribed.
Calling All Dad Bloggers!
I believe in this magazine, its message and its content and I’d like others to help grow it as well. Rebel is poised for a break-out year after a huge redesign of their website was just completed and their print magazine starts to gain traction in the market and recognition in the industry.
Rebel is looking for content, for both their in-print and online magazines so if you’re a dad blogger, you’re a rebel and you’d like to contribute, drop me a line using my contact form and I’ll send you their contact information.
February 13, 2012, Orlando, FL - Memoirs of a Single Dad has launched its new WordPress-based website, http://www.DatingRulesBook.com. The new site, created by designers at Alpha Tree Marketing, is the official site for the book, Memoirs of a Dating Dad – a “Dating Rules” Book for Single Parents. The site’s homepage welcomes visitors with a clean, uncluttered design and easy navigation. Features of the site include:
Complete Book Table of Contents
Updated Event Calendar for Book Signings and Charitable Events
Dating & Relationship Blog
Exclusive Access to Signed Copies
Book Chapter Excerpts (coming soon)
Periodic Free Book Offerings (coming soon)
About Memoirs of a Dating Dad
Memoirs of a Dating Dad is no how-to guide for the dating inept or one of those cheesy pick-up artist books that guarantees you go on a hundred dates after you finish reading. Memoirs of a Dating Dad is a ‘dating rules book’ of sorts, written for single parents from the perspective of a single dad. After the failure of his marriage and subsequent divorce, author Daniel Ruyter found himself thrown back into the intimidating and rather shallow dating sea. The book offers personal accounts, insights and observations about what really goes on in the dating world.
Sometimes crazy, sometimes meaningful, always insightful – all of Daniel’s experiences in dating as a single dad taught him some very valuable life lessons. Part dating memoir, part how (not) to guide, Memoirs of a Dating Dad is ten chapters of hilarity, sadness, anticipation and disappointment – all of the feelings and emotions that are inevitable when dating in today’s jungle.
Calling all eligible single men! NBC has begun it’s casting for a new dating reality show called “The One”!
I’m sure as you can imagine, I receive some very interesting emails because of my site. Sometimes, by ‘interesting’ I mean crazy, but in this case I genuinely mean INTERESTING. I checked my email late last week and I had an inquiry from a casting agent from Los Angeles by the name of Sara. At first glance, I figured, “Yeah right, a casting agent…emailing me?” We all receive so much spam these days, I almost didn’t expect the message to be legitimate.
Oh, it’s legitimate.
Sara and casting agency, Kassting, Inc. have been tasked by NBC (yes, I mean THE network) to find America’s most eligible bachelor to star in their new series. I can’t “name names”, but the people behind this show are – well – super awesome and HOT. I’ll leave it at that.
I agreed to help Sara and Kassting find the perfect man for the job. If you’re single and between the ages of 28 – 38, a professional, successful man with only one thing missing (the ONE) then we want to hear from you! Please contact Sara and Kassting, Inc directly using the contact information on their flyer.
You can click the image of the casting call for a larger version. Be sure to tell ‘em Memoirs of a Single Dad sent ya!
Tis the season! The season of New Year’s resolutions, of course. Now, I’m not typically a resolution kinda guy. I’m more of the mindset that anything worth doing shouldn’t require a start date, however, I do see the value of using January 1st as a fresh start date. Some people choose dieting or their finances or work and career goals but this post is all about my New Year’s Resolutions for the Co-Parent. Let’s get started (please be sure to share your resolutions – even if they’re not co-parenting related) in the comments below!).
#1 Maximize Our Quality Time
One of the single most difficult aspects of being in a co-parenting situation (for everyone involved) is that contact is limited. If you’re a full-time parent, you may sometimes struggle with the notion of needing a break from your children. When you’re in a co-parent relationship, it’s quite the opposite. I miss my son on almost a daily basis – sometimes even when he’s here with me I’m already thinking ahead to when he has to leave. I know that’s not very healthy, but I sometimes think ahead when it’s time for him to go. My resolution is to live more in the ‘now’ and to maximize the moments I have with him and build memories that will last me though those times when he’s gone.
#2 Maximize My Cooperation
This resolution is actually one that’s dependent on another party, obviously. I’ve always said that I wished we cooperated more, but sometimes emotions can get in the way of logic – even when it comes to what’s best for our children. Our relationship didn’t work out but we’re ‘stuck’ with each other until my son turns 18 (and beyond, really). I think I’m usually a fairly agreeable person, but I resolve to try even harder to cooperate with my ex in 2012. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to stand up for myself and my son when necessary, but our cooperation is essential to raise a happy, well-adjusted son.
#3 Maximize My Presence
Parental presence isn’t just a problem with single or co-parent situations. I’ve known full-time parents that aren’t REALLY present in their children’s lives. There was a great DadChat discussion on Twitter (#DadChat is Thursday nights at 9pm Eastern) last night that talked about online safety and one of the key points of the discussion is having a presence in your child’s life. Know what they’re up to. Listen to what they have to say. Observe their behaviors and pick up on some of the ‘clues’ that might get missed by not being truly present.
Those are my three New Year’s Resolutions as a co-parent. What are yours?
Daniel Ruyter Dives Into Dating as a Single Parent in New Book
There is life after dating and Daniel Ruyter is proof of that! Part dating memoir and part how (not) to guide for dating parents, Memoirs of a Dating Dad is a dating book that chronicles one single parent’s experiences over the course of nearly five years.
Orlando, Florida – December 26th, 2011 - Just in time for the busiest time of year for dating, Daniel Ruyter’s book, Memoirs of a Dating Dad is now available for purchase on paperback and ebook formats. Drawing from his personal dating experiences through hundreds of first dates, he explores the unique and often challenging dynamic of dating as a single parent.
Daniel had a number of eye-opening experiences along the way. When asked what his favorite dating experiences were he replied, “Oh, definitely the mom that tried to give me a strip tease in the trendy martini bar or the time that the dental hygienist I was dating confessed to me she was an actual exotic dancer. It’s a close call.”
Sometimes enlightening, sometimes funny and every once in a while just plain crazy, Daniel attempts to both inform and entertain stating, “I hope my readers can see the silver lining in their own dating experiences through my stories, but more importantly, I hope they can learn something from my perspectives and avoid some of the mistakes I made along the way.”
Memoirs of a Dating Dad is Daniel’s first book in a planned three-book series. Daniel lives in Orlando, Florida with his two sons and fiancée, Jen.
Those in the press, media, dating/relationships and publishing industries (including bloggers) interested in a review copy of the book can use the contact form on this website to request a complimentary copy of the book.
‘Tis the season – the season of making New Year’s Resolutions! This isn’t a post about eating less or working out more, though. This is my Social Media New Year’s Resolution post. What am I going to (try to) do more (or less) of in the new year to make my social media efforts both more enjoyable and more fruitful? I’d love to hear your new year’s resolutions as well! Please share them in the comments section or with me on Twitter!
Entrepreneur’s Resolution #1 – Interact More
All work and no play is no fun.
I’ve fully invested myself into social media for my business, but am I getting the most out of it? Well, the root of social media is the word ‘social’, after all, right?. Part of being successful online is interacting with your ‘customers’ and constituents. If you don’t interact with them, you take the social out of social media. I admit that I don’t always make the time to properly interact with those that I follow and those that follow me online. I’m going to make an effort to do better at both in 2012.
Entrepreneur’s Resolution #2 – Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Like you, I have a lot on my plate – between a full-time job (I’m blessed, not complaining), four websites, a newly-published book and a number of side projects on the burners, I spend way too much time worrying about the ‘small stuff’ – the stuff that does me no good to worry about. The stuff that doesn’t get me any closer to my goals. The stuff that just makes me sit and spin my wheels. How do I go about worrying less about the small stuff? Goals! Entrepreneurs, by nature are often a very goal-oriented group. I resolve to write down what tasks mean the most to me and my goals and (to do my best at) stick to them.
Entrepreneur’s Resolution #3 – Work Less
A few months ago I read Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Work Week on a recommendation from a friend and colleague and it really struck a chord with me. Without spoiling it, I really like the ideas he presents and want to work my way toward more freedom, or, as he terms it – the NR. All work and no play is no fun. I figure if I’m successful with resolution #2 above I’ll have more time to do what I enjoy and have to spend less time working. I enjoy work, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t want to spend all of 2012 huddled in front of my laptop.