7 Intriguing Science Experiments for Your Kids (By Guest Blogger, Sandra Cobain, of Best for the Kids)

As we all know, getting our kids to take an interest in school and lessons and homework and all the rest is a complete nightmare. Going through my kid’s textbooks, dated from at least five years ago, all I could see was boring diagrams, tedious equations and faded pictures. It’s no wonder that kid’s these days play up in school because they find it so hard to engage in lessons.
One of biggest subjects my kids find it hard to get into is science. Whether it’s biology, physics or chemistry, the long words, meanings and just the overall concepts can be extremely difficult to explain, especially to a child. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case.

By putting the infographic below from BestForTheKids.com to good use, you will be able to stimulate your children’s minds, showing them how fun and exciting science can be with these seven simple experiments:


• The Fire-Proof Balloon
• The Straw Through the Potato Experiment
• The Water Defying Gravity Experiment
• The Egg & Toothpaste Experiment
• The Tea Bag Rocket Experiment
• The Turning Pennies Green Experiment
• The Making Fake Snow Experiment
These are all incredibly easy experiments that you can conduct in the comfort of your own home and they’re sure to leave your kids stunned and excited. Who knew science could be so fun? All these experiments are incredibly fun and will help you introduce your child to the wonderful world of science!

Infographic by BestForTheKids.com

Meet the Shells: The Plant-Based, Road Tripping Nashville Family

Gluten-Free Vegan Road Trip to Atlanta, Georgia in a 2016 Toyota Highlander Limited

In case you’re just now tuning in to Family Friendly Daddy Blog, I figured it would be a good idea to present a synopsis of what our family is all about.

While in many ways we are just the average all-American nuclear family, we have our quirks as well.

The most obvious one is that we are a plant-based family: I am a vegan while my wife and kids are vegetarians. And this is no hipster phase… We have lived this way for years now.

On top of that, we are a road tripping family. That is our thing.

Based out of Spring Hill, Tennessee (a bedroom community south of Nashville), we find ourselves travelling throughout the year to places like Asheville, NC; Destin, FL; Pensacola, FL; and Atlanta, GA.

Dear Jack: Our Trip to the Atlanta Aquarium

Not to mention, since my wife is from Sacramento, California, we head out there once a year as well; though this year, we’ll be making our way to San Diego instead.


Because of my volume of viewership, and based on the fact I am a daddy blogger (which is a unique demographic), I have the privilege of being able to “review” brand-new vehicles on these road trips.

Gluten-Free Vegan Road Trip to Atlanta, Georgia in a 2016 Toyota Highlander Limited

And while we’re on location, I often am able to score complimentary tickets to events in exchange for exposure here on my blog.

Not to mention, I regularly cover events that come here to Nashville.

When we’re not travelling or going to big events, sometimes my son and I like to make videos. In one series, my son is a super hero and I am the villain; that’s Jack-Man.

I also do a series where I am the host, sort of like an outdoors version of Mr. Rogers, in Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest. Both shows contain all original songs and music.

We have been approached multiple times about being on reality TV shows, but in the end, it has never worked out- I think mainly because I was very straight forward to the casting directors that we are into having fun, but not into getting into arguments for the world to see.

Ultimately, my agenda as a daddy blogger is to positively demonstrate fatherhood and married life, as both are often negatively portrayed in pop culture.

Dear Jack: Our Trip to the Atlanta Aquarium

Thanks for choosing to visit our corner of the world today. If you like what you’ve read today and would like more positive family vibes coming your way, I invite you to subscribe to my blog (see the button above) or follow me on Facebook.

We are the plant-based, road-tripping family of Nashville.

We are the Shells.

Meet the Shells: The Plant-Based, Road Tripping Nashville Family

We’re Going to Nashville Monster Jam on June 18, 2016 (Father’s Day Ticket Giveaway)

We’re Going to Nashville Monster Jam on June 18, 2016 (Father’s Day Ticket Giveaway)

It’s no secret that our family enjoys going to see the monster trucks whenever Monster Jam comes to town. I’ve written about our Monster Jam experiences each and every time we’ve gone. Fortunately for us Nashvillians, next month will make the 2nd time within the year that Monster Jam has graced our city.

This will be the first time we’ve ever been to an outdoor Monster Jam show, as the event will be taking place at the Nissan Stadium in downtown Nashville.

The show is on Saturday, June 18th, 2016 and begins at 7 PM.

We’re Going to Nashville Monster Jam on June 18, 2016 (Father’s Day Ticket Giveaway)

You know me- I love to celebrate fatherhood and masculinity. Both themes seem to mesh naturally well with monster trucks. My wife and a month-old daughter will be sitting this one out, but I’ll be taking my son and my own dad. After all, the show is on Father’s Day weekend.

So, thanks to the folks at Monster Jam, I was able to give away 4 tickets to giveaway away for the show! I held a giveaway and here was the winning entry:

My daughter is 7 years old. her daddy passed away a few months Shy of her second birthday. She’s in to big trucks and mud. I think this would really brighten her spirit up around this tough time of the year. Although I’m a momma I’d definitely LOVE to treat my kids to a fun night out. We have never been to anything like this and it would be a dream come true.

On Memorial Day, I’ll announced her as the winner on my Facebook page for Family Friendly Daddy Blog.

And even for those who didn’t win, you still can save $5 on tickets. The discount code is: MJAM.

I wonder who will join us there?

We’re Going to Nashville Monster Jam on June 18, 2016 (Father’s Day Ticket Giveaway)

MONSTER JAM® To Make Debut 
at Nissan Stadium This Summer 
Tickets On Sale Now                     
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It’s official, MONSTER JAM® will make its debut at Nissan Stadium on June 18, 2016. Tickets are on sale now. The action takes place Father’s Day weekend, making it the perfect outing to celebrate Dad. The Party in the Pits will bring loads of family fun, all leading up to the main event. Fans will be treated to aggressive, head-to-head racing action with more than a dozen of Monster Jam’s fiercest athletes competing in a stadium in Nashville for the first time. 
Party in the Pits:      1:30 p.m.–5 p.m. outside Nissan Stadium (Lot H) 
Show Time:              Saturday, June 18, 2016
Gates Open at 5 p.m. 
Opening Ceremonies at 6:30 p.m.
Racing Starts at 7 p.m.
Location:                   Nissan Stadium, 1 Titans Way, Nashville, TN 37213
Tickets:                     Tickets start at only $15*
           Pit Passes are $10
*Subject to facility, convenience and handling charges 
Tickets are available at https://www.monsterjam.com/tickets or by calling 800-745-3000
Trucks:                     Grave Digger®
Son-Uva Digger®
Soldier Fortune 
Metal Mulisha 
                                   Plus many more!
Approximately 12 feet tall and about 12 feet wide, Monster Jam trucks are custom-designed machines that sit atop 66-inch-tall tires and weigh a minimum of 10,000 pounds. Built for short, high-powered bursts of speed, Monster Jam trucks generate 1,500 to 2,000 horsepower and are capable of speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. Monster Jam trucks can fly up to 125 to 130 feet (a distance greater than 14 cars side by side) and up to 35 feet in the air.
For more information on the Monster Jam, log onto www.MonsterJam.com.  To follow Monster Jam on Facebook at Twitter, log on to Facebook.com/MJOnline and Twitter.com/MonsterJam.

Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest, Webisodes 1-27: The Complete Series… So Far

Uncle Nick Official Title Card

After filming 22 webisodes of Jack-Man from May through October of 2015, I decided to take a break from that and create a new web series; one that is specifically designed as a kids’ show, as opposed to the sci-fi super hero sitcom format of Jack-Man.

My idea was to create a show in which my niece could watch and be entertained by on YouTube. So I began combining elements of entertainment I thought would be appreciated by a 4 year-old.

Think of my new show, Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest, sort of as an updated version of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, but that is more outdoors based.

In Webisode 1: Annie the Anteater, Uncle Nick helps consult an anteater who has been bullied by Freddie the Fox.

The show always begins with me introducing the audience to an old trinket that I just found. In the first webisode, it’s a harmonica.

I taught myself a few riffs the day before I filmed, and decided to record the theme song based off of my experimentation.

Another ritual is that I remind the viewers how to do my “enchanted animal call” before I put on my puffy vest.

Once we arrive outside in the Enchanted Forest, I lead the viewers in officially doing the enchanted animal call, which then invites an enchanted animal to the scene.

These first couple of webisodes feature the theme of bullying.

My plan is to continue featuring my son’s stuffed animal collection as the characters in the forest.

Webisode 2: Rocky the Raccoon introduces another forest creature who Freddie the Fox has teased.

My dream is to one day host my own kids’ show on a television network. This is me building my dream.

In Webisode 3: Freddie the Fox, Uncle Nick confronts the culprit.

For the next batch of webisodes, 4 through 6, I added not only a new song (“Animal Hat”) but also a segment where I try to guess which color the viewer is thinking of, while I play the drums. (I also play the guitar on camera now, in addition to just the harmonica as I did before.)

After the indoors portion of each show, I then take the viewer outdoors to my Enchanted Forest (the woods of Fort Payne and Mentone, Alabama) for a magical adventure, featuring talking animals.

I filmed 8 webisodes during my 3 day Christmas vacation last week, with help from my dad and brother-in-law serving as camera men. (That means I soon will be releasing even 5 more.)

During that time, I took advantage of the fact that the area was experiencing a flash flood. I based these 3 (of the newest 8) webisodes around that, making that the overall story arc for them.

In Webisode 4: Betsy the Bunny, I must rush to the rescue as Betsy the Bunny gets trapped in a tree alongside a rushing waterfall (Little River Falls in Fort Payne, AL).

Next in Webisode 5: Tiny the Turtle, I must save Tiny the Turtle before his home is swept away by the flood (DeSoto Falls in Mentone, AL).

And in the final segment of this “flood” story arc, in Webisode 6: Scuttles the Skunk, I must help Scuttles the Skunk move forward in his life as he deals with the aftermath of losing his home in the flood as well.

I designed the outdoors segment of each webisode to be a good mix of action, adventure, and psychology. However, the first (indoors) part of each webisode is designed to engage the viewer in creative thinking.

Sure, right now, Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest is just getting off the ground. But I am committing to this show. I am not giving up until I reach my goal of taking my show to the big screen: the TV screen, via a major network.

I believe that I have the talent, skills, creativity, charisma, and personality to host my own TV show on a major children’s network. This web series is my way of proving it to the world.

Webisode 7: Paulie the Puppy– When Uncle Nick decides to hike a new trail, it leads him to an empty old building and a mysterious barking sound.

Webisode 8: Pokey the Pot-Bellied Pig– Uncle Nick must figure out a way to cross the river to save the little pot-bellied pig who is stuck on the other side.

Webisode 9: Ralph the Red Panda– While hiking later in the evening, Uncle Nick discovers a rare animal as it begins getting dark outside.

Webisode 10: Slither the Snake– Freddie the Fox gets trapped by a hungry snake at the top of a large rock. It’s Uncle Nick to the rescue!

Webisode 11: Barry the Bear– When a scary-looking bear is soon in the Enchanted Forest, Uncle Nick decides to investigate; leading to a lesson about not judging a bear by his cover.

Barry the Bear was first introduced 4 months ago in my other series, Jack-Man:

Kids Show: Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest- Webisodes 4-6; the Flood Story Arc

I’ve made it no secret that I am legitimately attempting to become the next Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood/Blue’s Clues.

My main hobby right now is to crank out as many webisodes I can of my new web series, Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest.

It is my hope that eventually my show will catch on and that I can get enough traffic to gain the attention of the talent scouts for major networks like PBS, Nickelodeon, Disney, Animal Planet, and the Discovery Channel.

My agenda with each webisode is to provide innocent and engaging entertainment for children who are watching YouTube on their parents’ smartphones.

Kids’ Show: Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest- Webisodes 12 & 13: Beanie the Bat and Petey the Possum

As part of my plan to quickly build the library of my newest web series, Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Kingdom, I am now shooting new webisodes during my lunch breaks at work.

One of my coworkers just happens to be one of my most faithful watchers, so I didn’t really have to twist his arm in order to convince him to be my camera man/assistant director on these “during our lunch break at work” video shoots.

He and I shot two webisodes; during one 60 minute period.

First is Webisode 12: Beanie the Bat, where Uncle Nick serves as a real estate agent to a bat who likes to live in trees; with a sort of “House Hunters: Animal Edition” style of plot line.

During the shoot, I sliced my hand on the tree I was climbing. I just wrote it into the script.

The other webisode we filmed is Webisode 13: Petey the Possum. There is no doubt this is one of the most stand-out webisodes of Uncle Nick.

Very close to where I work, there is a drain tunnel the same height as me. I decided it would make the perfect setting. I am so pleased with how it turned out.

Not only do I feel the plot line is captivating, but the tunnel itself is intriguing because it’s a rare event to get a tour down into something so mysterious.

I’ll say this; I wouldn’t be willing to walk in there alone.

I feel my Uncle Nick series has so much potential and that kids would really like it if they watched it. But for now, it remains undiscovered in the corner of YouTube.

But that doesn’t stop me from continuing to grow my collection.

Uncle Nick has plenty more up his sleeve!

Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest 14 through 19: The Blizzard Webisodes

From January 22nd to the 24th, I filmed 6 webisodes of Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest. Similar to the way I filmed 4 webisodes after the Christmas 2015 flash flood, I took advantage of the weather condition, making it the plot line of these half a dozen webisodes.

And starting with Webisode 18, I introduce a fun new theme song as well as a new animal hat…

I got to the point where I pretty much just keep my camera, tripod, and Uncle Nick costume in my car with me; in order that I can always be prepared to shoot an episode on the spot.

Good thing I was ready on Friday, January 22nd, when the blizzard kicked in. I have a coworker, Shane Moore, who is quick and faithful to help me out with some of the shoots.

So he served as my camera man and assistant director for the first 2 webisodes of the blizzard story arc.

In Webisode 14: Baby Bear, family members get separated during the beginning of the blizzard. It’s up to Uncle Nick to reunite them!

In Webisode 15: Haley the Husky, we are introduced to a poor little homeless Husky who is stranded out in the middle of the snow storm. Uncle Nick must find her a new home to get her warm.

The remaining 4 webisodes of the blizzard story arc were filmed Saturday and Sunday morning; just me and my tripod.

Webisode 16: Piper the Penguin shows a poor penguin who is frozen to the ice. Uncle Nick must find a place to keep her safe until the other penguins return.

In Webisode 17: Lenny the Lizard, Uncle Nick must resuscitate a lizard he finds who is literally freezing in the river.

Then in Webisode 18: Pinky the Pig, Uncle Nick encounters a sleepwalking pig, who is headed towards a frozen lake.

And finally, in Webisode 19: Fluffy the Frog, Uncle Nick must discover, and uncover, a frozen frog on a log.

February was a big and busy month for filming new webisodes of my children’s adventure/fantasy series, Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest.

After December’s flood story arc, and then January’s blizzard story arc, February presents a new story line, beginning with Ground Hog Day in Webisode 20: Gordon the Groundhog; where it is revealed a villain will be arriving in the Enchanted Forest.

Next in Webisode 21: Bruno the Blue Jay, the predicted villain, Demetrius the Shadow Caster, turns 5 of the animals of the Enchanted Forest into pennies.

From there, Bruno and Uncle Nick continue to team up as they discover other mischief that the Shadow Caster caused, while trying to find a way to turn the pennies back into animals.

They encounter in Webisode 22: Bernie the Bear, they meet a bear who is trapped underneath a tree that the Shadow Caster pushed down.

After that in Webisode 23: David the Doggie, Bruno and Uncle Nick find the defenseless little doggie who is separated from his Mommy, also because of the Shadow Caster.

So in addition to turning animals into pennies, the Shadow Caster is also pushing trees over in the Enchanted Forest.

In Webisode 24: Benji the Blue Cheetah, Bruno and Uncle Nick finally get some answers at the top of the Enchanted Mountain when they encounter the legendary blue cheetah.

From there, Uncle Nick and Bruno journey closer to saving their friends, but first pi

ck up two new friends…

In Webisode 25: Baby Bunny, they discover a tiny animal who decides to hitch a ride with them.

Then in Webisode 26: Sylvester the Snake, they must rescue a shivering snake from a mountain top, on the way down to the Enchanted Pond.

Finally, in Webisode 27: Steinbeck the Stegosaurus, the animal reunion occurs as the coins return to their animal state!

Coming up in Spring 2016, a new sidekick will be introduced when Magellan the Mouse finally catches up to Uncle Nick.

I’m really looking forward to that because it will mark the beginning of me using an actual puppet instead of a stuffed animal.

The funny thing is, I purchased the puppet using a gift card I received from Ben Wilder, the person playing Demetrius the Shadow Caster!

Stay tuned…

Laughing, Looking Back on Our Wedding Album: 3 Things I Noticed

Laughing, Looking through on Our Wedding Album: 3 Things I Noticed

After 7 and a half years of marriage, my wife took it upon herself to go through our hundreds of wedding photos and put the best of them in a new album for us to enjoy.

So we sat down a couple of weeks ago, before continuing our binge watching of Making a Murderer on Netflix, to look through our newly compiled wedding album.

I soon realized that I had probably seen most of those pictures only once before, about 7 and a half years ago when we first received the photos from the photographer we hired.

Laughing, Looking through on Our Wedding Album: 3 Things I Noticed

The first thing I immediately noticed was how different I looked. Those were what I refer to as my “bloated Elvis days”.

That was back when I ate whatever I wanted. Those were the days I would secretly sneak in trips to McDonald’s without my then soon-to-be bride knowing about it; she herself hadn’t been there since 1999, when she simply got an ice cream cone from the drive-through.

Granted, my wife’s health conscious-mindset rubbed off on me, and as we all know, now years into my faithfully vegan lifestyle, I now live a life free of pet allergies, sinus infections, headaches, eczema (dishydrosis), and somewhere around 30 pounds extra that I was carrying around in these old pictures.

Laughing, Looking through on Our Wedding Album: 3 Things I Noticed

The second thing I noticed was my beautiful bride at our wedding (age 26) looks just as beautiful today (age 34).

And the third thing I couldn’t help but notice was that, clearly, everyone there was having a truly wonderful time.

Laughing, Looking through on Our Wedding Album: 3 Things I Noticed

When you’re in the middle of your own wedding and reception, you can only take in and remember so much; especially 7 and a half years later.

Seeing these pictures showed me that not simply did our guests have fun, but they had a remarkably entertaining night out in the legendary little big town of Nashville.

That’s a good thing, considering the financial investment that a wedding is.

Laughing, Looking through on Our Wedding Album: 3 Things I Noticed

We had what I would consider a big wedding and big reception. I feel it was the kind of wedding you see in movies.

Even I myself had only been to a few weddings of that caliber.

It was a party. It was a feast.

Laughing, Looking through on Our Wedding Album: 3 Things I Noticed

It was a wedding of Biblical proportions, where Jesus could have performed His first miracle; when He turned the water into wine.

Not to mention, it was the perfect opportunity for all the Baptists on my side to be able to get away with drinking alcohol; as it serves as a “special occasion” to keep their consciences from bothering them as badly; an unwritten rule in the by-laws of Baptist culture.

Meanwhile, my wife’s guests had no hesitation. (They come from a Catholic background… enough said.)

Laughing, Looking through on Our Wedding Album: 3 Things I Noticed

Not one person in any of these pictures look like they’re just standing there, bored. People are smiling, laughing, and dancing.

There’s this one funny picture where one of my soon-to-be brothers-in-law is dancing with one of my soon-to-be nephews, like they are at a prom. I laugh every time I see it.

Laughing, Looking through on Our Wedding Album: 3 Things I Noticed

One of my favorite pictures of all these is one from the father-daughter dance.

My father-in-law passed away just a couple of months after our wedding. Knowing he was sick, my wife’s many siblings (she has 9) gathered around my wife and my father-in-law while Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Cinderella” played.

Laughing, Looking through on Our Wedding Album: 3 Things I Noticed

I am so grateful for this candid shot of my father-in-law in that historic moment.

So while our wedding cost more than a decent car, looking back on it, it was one amazing wedding.

On my own, I wouldn’t have sat down and looked through our wedding pictures. But thanks to my wife taking the time to put together this new album, it was a blessing to revisit that special day.Laughing, Looking through on Our Wedding Album: 3 Things I Noticed