Daddylibrium Tool Kit

Anything that makes Daddylibrium’s life a little easier is a good thing. And I suspect the same holds true for my fellow fathers.

In that vein, here are some readily available products, web sites and services that help me balance my duties as a father, husband and Man Cave denizen.

TECH ESSENTIALS:

  • Kindle Fire HD: Tablet gurus contend this isn’t the best model in town, but as an Amazon devotee the connection between tablet and marketplace makes it an essential purchase. Anyone subscribing to Amazon Prime will lunge at this tablet. Update: The Kindle Fire HDX is superior in every way – smaller, better picture and the ability to connect with Amazon’s service desk in just a few seconds.
  • Netflix (streaming): My one fear regarding this streaming content service is that they’ll jack their prices up any moment. A lot. Until then, paying $8 a month for a deluge of content, not to mention more kiddie-friendly programming than a frazzled father could ever need, is the biggest bargain you’ll find. The company’s app is a winner, too. Bonus points for the service’s ability to remember where you stopped watching a particular program so you can pick up where you left off anytime you choose. Amazon Prime is a worthy second-place option, with crystal clear streams and a heady variety of TV show options. Amazon’s movie selection, alas, is a work in progress.
  • Roku 2 Streaming Player: Yes, I received one for free in order to review the device for the site. Still, it’s quickly become our essential tool for watching cartoons with my children. It’s small, super-easy to install and works much faster than my streaming  Blu-ray player.
  • ighome.com: I used to rely on iGoogle.com to link up all my favorite web sites on one handy page. The Google Gods banished that feature, so now I use a comparable site called ighome.com. It won’t take long to load the site with all your must-read web pages, and each day you can visit it and scan all the headlines rather than visit each individual site to see all the new material.
  • Picmonkey.com: It’s the easiest, and most comprehensive, free site for tweaking your family photos. Sharpen an image, give it a border, add a special effect or three – it’s a breeze with this powerful web site. I used it to create the header image you see at the top of the screen. Other solid options are Canva.com and fotor.com.
  • Bluehost: There are many companies that help you host your blog or web site, but I’ve found Bluehost to have terrific live customer service and many layers of service that fits my needs perfectly. For non-techies, the online help chats are critical to success and sanity. Note: Daddylibrium is an affiliate for Bluehost. I receive compensation when visitors click on links and ads for Bluehost and purchase one of the company’s hosting options.
  • HTC One: I’m not an expert on smart phones, but the moment I saw all the photo and video options available on this device I knew I had to own it. The phone does all the basics, including a home page-style device that combines the best of Twitter, Facebook and your favorite news sites. The oversized screen is perfect for dads whose eyesight isn’t what it used to be. Best of all, a variety of photography options means you can take six or so shots at a time. That means you’ve got a better than average chance of capturing your son’s perfect smile.

CHILDREN’S TOYS:

  • The Plasma Car: My sons get bored with toys in a week, a day or even an hour. It’s ghastly to behold, thinking about the money and time it took to select and buy ‘em in the first place. We’re still using our two Plasma Cars even though they are the oldest toys in our collection. These mini-cars stand up to abuse, can be used on a variety of surfaces (indoors and outdoors) and are a constant source of amusement for my sons. They even help young children burn off energy if they power them with their feet and legs.

AROUND THE HOME:

  • Kirkland Baby Wipes: Available at Costco stores, these wipes proved superior to the competition when we were in our baby butt wiping stage. Now, the wipes are great for taking care of small spills, cleaning up the bathroom and leaving our car’s steering wheel and dashboard sparkling.

FOOD/COOKING:

  • Boboli Pizza Crusts: It’s my favorite “fast food” helper in house. Pre-made crusts — I prefer the Whole Wheat version — that make a meal for you and/or the kids a breeze. Throw on some pizza sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, some extra virgin olive oil and some oregano and you’ve got a quick meal.

CAREER/BLOGGING HELP:

  • SmartPassiveIncome.com: Anyone curious about making a few bucks from blogging must check out Pat Flynn’s signature site. Flynn offers so much quality content, from writing tips to how to stand out in an ever-crowded marketplace, that it may take you weeks to absorb it all. His can-do spirit is infectious, but he isn’t selling empty promises. Flynn’s podcast may be the best part of his online kingdom. Flynn’s new web site service, AskPat.com, offers mini-podcasts addressing your urgent blogging questions.
  • ProBlogger.net: Another can’t miss site for those serious about their blogging. Tons of credible tips, inspirational posts and information free of that get rich quick mentality that plagues too many corners of the web.
  • Entrepreneur on Fire: John Lee Dumas’ enthusiasm lights the spark, but the real bonus here is listening to podcasts featuring men and women who faced their fears and started their own businesses.
  • SocialMediaExaminer.com: A great site/podcast outlet for those seeking to better understand Facebook, Twitter, etc.