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Blog Parenting Technology

Son Buys First Apple TV Show

Teaching kids about money

A few months back, I had a heart to heart with my son about how iTunes works on the Apple TV. This came after he had purchased a couple of $2.99 shows on the Apple TV without my permission. Apple does not make it easy to set parental controls on the Apple TV. If you enable parental controls, you have to use a four digit passcode for just about everything, even launching Netflix. We often let our kids select their own shows on Netflix because we have a kid-safe profile set up for them. I would have to give them the four digit passcode so they could get into their Netflix shows, but that would be the same passcode that would allow them to purchase shows. Kind of a lost cause.

Tonight, my son came across a show he really wanted to see. It was a Paw Patrol Christmas Episode. I explained to him that the show had a cost of $2.99. I said to him, “The show you want to watch is not free. It will cost us two dollars and ninety-nine cents to watch that show.” After explaining to him what I meant by “cents” by using play money in the toy room, he expressed an interest in paying for the show himself. I took the opportunity to turn this into a teachable moment.

My kids each have a piggy bank. It’s not in the shape of a piggy, it’s in the shape of R2D2, but we still call it that. When they earn money for going over and above what they are asked to do, or a task outside of their regular responsibilities was completed, we occasionally give them some change. We don’t compensate them for everything, we actually don’t compensate them very often at all. However, my son wanted to buy this show and was prepared to pay for it with his own money.

Teaching kids about money

He brought out his piggy bank and we counted the money he had. He had enough for the $2.99 show. I took some time to discuss what spending money on a show would leave him with. I explained that if he spent $2.99 on a show, the next time he was at a store with us, he might not have enough money to get something that he really wanted. His response was, “I don’t need anything, I just got a lot of new toys for Christmas. I can wait until my Birthday.” I explained to him that his birthday was six months away and that he would need to save up again if he wanted to buy something before his birthday. He was ok with it. He really wanted to buy that show.

We counted our $2.99 and set that aside. We then counted what was left. He had $2.08 remaining. I explained to him that he was about to use more than half of what he had in his piggy bank. He was still ok with his decision. I also explained that he would only get to buy one show, because he did not have enough to buy two shows and that this show was only 24 minutes long. He said, “It’s ok, I can watch it twice.” Smart kid.

I looked over at my wife, who had been listening to our conversation and confirmed that she was ok with the transaction that was about to take place. She nodded yes. I explained to him that I was going to buy the show for him and that I would take his $2.99 to pay for it. I explained to him that when we buy shows that cost money, that money is taken from Daddy and Mommy’s bank account just like we took money from his piggy bank to pay for the show.

We purchased the show and it started to load. I asked him if he wanted to play the show now and share it with his brother and sister, or save it for later when he could watch it alone. He said that he wanted his brother and sister to be able to watch it with him. I then told his brother and sister that they were going to get to watch a show that their brother paid for. They both said, “Thank you brother,” and they watched the show together.

After the show was over I asked my son if he thought the show was worth $2.99. He said that it was and that he would like to watch it again tomorrow.

It’s hard to teach kids about money these days. We live in a world where we just swipe a card to get immediate gratification. I want my children to grow up knowing that money is real and it’s a limited resource. It takes hard work to get it and even harder work to save it.

What are some money saving teaching moments you have had with your children? If you have a moment, please share them in the comment section below.

Blog Family Adventures Parenting Projects

3 Gun Nerf Battle Birthday Party for Liam


Liam’s 5th birthday was quickly approaching and we had no plans. I remember my wife and I sitting on the couch about 2 weeks ago contemplating just having some close family over for pizza or something. Something about that didn’t sit right. I mean it was my first born son’s 5th birthday. That’s kind of a big deal. The idea of getting a bounce house for our backyard sounded horrible. There’s a time and a place for easy entertainment, I kind of wanted to do something fun.

I remembered watching some 3-Gun Competitions on Youtube. 3-Gun Competitions have become really popular over the last few years. This form of shooting sport requires you to go through a course hitting targets while switching between three different types of guns. I began imagining how cool that would be to do in our backyard with Nerf Guns. It was decided that Liam would have an Epic 3 Gun Nerf Battle Birthday Party.


With little actual time to plan this between work and traveling to Seattle for 3 days, I took to Amazon to load up on Nerf arsenal. We didn’t have much, to begin with. Our kids have very few gun-related toys. A year ago I bought four small Nerf guns to my wife and I could battle with the kids, but some of them are too hard to shoot. Today, some of the six-year-old kids even had a hard time with them.

I wanted the backyard to be fun. My wife took to Pinterest and I worked on some ideas of my own. I had a bunch of moving boxes from when we last moved and some wood. We went to Home Depot to buy the wood stakes we used to hold everything up. It took more time to gather and buy everything I needed than it did to set it up. I set up the entire backyard in about 3 hours including painting things camouflage and cutting the wood stakes to size.

List of Nerf Guns & Darts:

The kids had such a great time. Most of my son’s friends are his age with a few of them a year or two older so this was a hit for everybody. My younger son enjoyed it just as much as the bigger kids.

As you can see, the set up was pretty simple. I used a bunch of yard marker sticks I got in a bundle from Home Depot and crossed twine over and around them to simulate razor wire.

The real bottleneck was reloading guns with Nerf darts. I purchased a few extra clips, but the main gun had to be reloaded each time. A couple of parents helped in that process which kept things moving along quickly.

Pool noodles worked great. I just stuck sticks in the ground and slipped the pool noddles over them. I bought these pool noodles.

I had some boxes and boards laying around so I used spray paint to add camo to the boxes and targets to the wood panels. It’s nothing fancy, but for a moment, the boys thought they were in a war zone. I even bought a couple of inflatable tire tubes pool floats that I turned up on their side and made into targets.

The party kept my wife and I pretty busy. I don’t remember standing still for even a moment. I wanted to get more photos of the action taking place, but the sun was kind of at a weird angle and made it hard. With so many kids running around and my focus on them having a good time, I ended up just putting my camera away.

After the somewhat organized portion of the event was over, we handed out little single shooter Nerf Guns that were part of the party favor for each of the kids and they went to battle in the backyard. With plenty of Nerf darts all over the place, there was endless fun to be had.

I have attended a lot of little kid birthday parties and at each one, the Pinata gives after the first few kids. My wife picked out this Avengers Pinata and filled it up with tons of candy. The problem is that this thing would not break. Each kid hit it and then we let Liam at it again, it would not break. I had to hit it as hard as I could with the plastic bat 3-4 times. Next time I will make sure we have a metal bat.

Of course, Liam fell this morning on the playground at church and gave himself a nice goose egg on the forehead. Either he or his brother does that often the morning before a day where many photos will be taken.

Liam’s 5th birthday party was a huge success. After all of the friends left, it was time for baths and the boys fell right asleep. They played hard today, and that is what it’s all about.

Blog Parenting

I Have a 5 Year Old

Today marked a milestone. From what I understand, it is his “Golden Birthday.” Not sure what that means. I would think your golden birthday is when you turn 100. Regardless, my son is now five years old and I am sitting here trying to figure out just how I got here.

The last five years of my life have gone by pretty fast. In those five years, I have had three children and grown my business about 500%. I have also grown a lot as a person, but this post isn’t about me, it’s about my beautiful boy who is growing up rather fast.

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Blog Reviews

Review: Razor Ground Force Drifter Kart

Razor Ground Force Drifter Kart

Very excited to review the Razor Ground Force Drifter Kart, an excellent buy. These electric karts are a lot of fun. My kids love them.

My kids love speed. They get it from me. I grew up racing and enjoy driving. It must be in our blood but my kids took to cars and racing without any prompting from me. At age three, I bought my oldest his first motorized go-kart and when my second son turned three, he got to start driving as well. Prior to that we had a few small Power Wheels units that did not last long.

The problem with the gas powered go-karts that were my first purchase for my kids is that we can’t drive them anywhere near our home. It’s a lot of work to get them ready as well; making sure they have fuel and at times they are hard to start.

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Blog Parenting

Parenting Tip: Properly store the potty training toilet

Here is a tip for you parents who are currently going through or have recently finished potty training your child. When you are finished with the potty training toilet, make sure that you properly store it somewhere that is not easily accessible to your child. Failure to do so will result in you randomly happening across said potty training toilet full of urine spanning back to who knows when. In our case, we had started behind the rocking chair in our baby’s room. Our oldest had discovered it was there and unbeknownst to us had recently been relieving himself there. Luckily for us I only think this has been going on for a week.


I Have a Two Year Old

Today is a cool day. My oldest boy Liam turned two. The last two years has been pretty amazing and quite a challenge. Liam had a rough trip into this world with a some what traumatic delivery. Everything was fine after that until he broke his leg earlier this year. All of that aside, he is one amazing little boy. I really have no idea how I got so lucky. I guess I figured that after marrying the best possible woman for me in this world that my luck would have ran out. Now I have two fantastic boys and I am the most content person on earth. Liam has bounced back from the broken leg like I could have never imagined. It’s pretty crazy how kids are through situations like this. I grew so much as a person and as a father through that situation.

Lately I have been thinking about the fact that I am a husband and a father of two and that I have a home, two cars, health insurance, a gym membership and a business. Growing up I used to sit with my family at dinner and wonder if I would ever be able to afford to take my family out to dinner. The concept seemed so out of reach. I used to wonder where the money I had went. Priorities change and the way we spend money changes.

Aside from all of the self reflection over the past couple of days, I have enjoyed celebrating my son’s existence with him. I enjoy telling him stories about when he was born and about memorable moments I have with him. I enjoy sitting on the couch with him under my arm while we read a book. I can not wait until he is old enough to go on short adventures with me. I want nothing more than to show my boys this amazing world God created for us.

If you ask Liam how old he is, he will tell you. “Two, Dada!” His little vocabulary is growing by the minute. Watching him grow is the most amazing experience I have had yet.

We had a small family birthday party for his this last weekend, which was a lot of fun. Here are a couple of photos from his birthday.

Excitement over his new Bubble Lawnmower.

Digging into a Birthday Bag.

Pushing his new Bubble Mower.

Blowing out the candle on his cake.

Coming after me with his new battery powered squirt gun.

Serious business with his squirt gun.


Little Tikes Gymkhana – Baby Drifting

This is what Liam, my 14 month old son and I do on a regular evening. Circle tracking the house is our favorite past time.

This video is best at Full Screen with the Volume Up!

Shot with 1 GoPro camera mounted in various places. The lighting in the house was less than desirable being that it was 8pm when we started recording. I just turned on the lights that were available to us. This was kind of a last minute idea.

Edited in Final Cut Pro X.

Racing sounds borrowed from Ken Block’s Gymkhana video on Youtube.

Background music by Killswitch Engage.

Here is a Youtube link if you want to leave a comment or give it a thumbs up!

In case you are wondering what Gymkhana is, it is a motor sport based off of drifting your vehicle around corners. See this video which is also the video I borrowed the race car sounds from.

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