Dear Jack: What Do You Do On Your Day Off?

8 years, 2 months.

Monday, you and your sister were off from school for Martin Luther King Day, so Mommy took the day off too.

While I was at work, the three of you had a fun breakfast at Daylight Donuts; a place you and your sister ask to every time we pass it on the way back from church.

But the big event was that Mommy took you both to Target to spend some gift cards you got at Christmas.

When I got home from work, you both showed me the toys you bought. You were both so excited.

What does an 8 year-old boy do on his day off?

That’s what.

Dear Jack,

Love,

Daddy

Father and Son Road Trip to Target to Buy Board Games for Thanksgiving in a 2019 Chevy Traverse

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, my wife suggested we pick up the classic board game Monopoly for when we visit my side of the family in Alabama. That gave me the green light to carry out my own related agenda: to also buy the classic game Crossfire, from my own childhood.

Speaking of agendas, my son had one of his own, as well. He still had a few bucks leftover from his birthday, on a gift card to Target that he was eager to spend.

So he and I hopped in the 2019 Chevy Traverse that our family still has from our trip to Destin, FL. (More on that in the days to come…) Exactly 3.8 miles later, we had arrived.

I couldn’t have known this, but it just so happened that Target had just started a special 20% sale on family board games.

I feel really good about this. My wife’s idea was spot on.

Classic board games are a great way to unplug for the holidays while the family is together.

It’s easy to forget how great it is to break out some board games after the meal and have some mandatory fun.

My son ended going with a Squish-Dee-Lish. It’s funny how big he is into those “don’t know what you’ve got until you’ve opened it” toys.

I think it ended up being a sleep-deprived alien jet pilot?

Once we got home, I admit it took my longer than it should have to assemble Crossfire while my wife finished preparing dinner.

To my surprise, my daughter actually seemed more into the game than my son.

Good call, though. Stock up on board games for Thanksgiving, especially while they’re on sale this week at Target!

Breaking News: “Manliest Vegan on the Internet” Rides Skateboard to Target for Carrot Juice; Refuses to See Himself as a Hero

It was a lazy Saturday afternoon in Spring Hill, Tennessee when Nick Shell, 36, drove his family in a 2017 Toyota 4Runner to the local “weigh and pay” frozen yogurt shop, Sweet Cece’s; after his wife suggested it would be fun.

Joined by his parents who were visiting for the weekend, he carried in his 1 year-old daughter as his 6 and a half year-old son ran ahead. As the Shell family walked to the back of the shop, deciding which flavor they each were in the mood for, Nick noticed that unlike any other time he had ever been to Sweet Cece’s, the dairy-free option was temporarily unavailable.

He kept this information to himself, though his wife soon took notice, asking him, “Oh no, are they out of the watermelon sorbet for you?”

Allowing his entire family to get their own frozen treats, he waited until after everyone was settled in at the table before he whispered to his wife, “I’ll be right back. I’ll just go pick up something at Super Target across the street.”

He pulled open the hatch door of the 4Runner, where he had been keeping his skateboard for just an event such as this. Within minutes, he found himself at the Super Target entrance.

His family, back at Sweet Cece’s, were not even halfway through their treats, when he returned with a bottle of Bolthouse Farms 100% carrot juice in hand.

“My name in Greek means victorious. I find a way to be victorious in everything I do. I will not allow myself to be a victim. So when I saw that Sweet Cece’s was temporarily out of my vegan option, it did not affect me emotionally. Instead, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to use my skateboard and catch up on some Vitamin A from carrot juice. Some might even refer to me as a hero, but I refuse to see myself that way. I’m just a regular guy who did what any decent manly vegan would do in that instance,” Shell strangely explained.

After clarifying to him that no one was referring to him as a hero, Nick Shell then continued to speak about the incident, but I had to sort of tune him out. He kept referring to himself as “the manliest vegan on the Internet,” even though in the same breath, he admitted no one has ever questioned him on that title.

If you see him in public, it’s best you just smile and nod, while slowly walking away, backwards.

Otherwise, he may offer to let you take a selfie with him for your Instagram account, as he pressures you into tagging it:

#themanliestveganontheinternet

Dear Holly: Your New Animal Party Bouncer by Fisher Price

5 months.

Dear Holly: Your New Animal Party Bouncer by Fisher Price

Dear Holly,

We ended up with some money still left on our baby registry for you at Target, so this weekend Mommy and I took you and your brother to figure out what exactly to spend the money on; as we knew we would like some sort of device to keep you occupied each night while we eat dinner at the big table.

It didn’t take long at all before Mommy and I found exactly what you needed: The Animal Party Bouncer by Fisher Price. At about $30, the price was right on budget, by the time we also accounted for the $7.50 for the required size D battery; which I couldn’t find in anything less than a 4-pack.

Dear Holly: Your New Animal Party Bouncer by Fisher Price

(Though once we got home, we realized we already that size battery upstairs in the supply closet.)

I assembled your new bouncer while Mommy made lunch. By the time our vegan quesadillas were ready, I had finished putting it all together.

And yes, it was a success!

Mommy and I were able to actually eat lunch without having to get up. You were entertained by the “fun bouncy action and removable toy bar” as well as the “gentle calming vibrations”. I like how your own body movements cause the bouncer to softly bounce.

Dear Holly: Your New Animal Party Bouncer by Fisher Price

Though we haven’t had the Animal Party Bouncer long enough to try this part out, it apparently is also “soft and comfy for soothing and snoozing”. I look forward to you being able to fall asleep in it easily while in your bouncer, which would seem to be an easier and more natural way for your to nap instead of Mommy or me picking you up and going through all the motions of getting to fall asleep for naps.

Dear Holly: Your New Animal Party Bouncer by Fisher Price

And since the Animal Party Bouncer can hold up to 25 pounds, I know you’ll be able to use it for a while before you outgrow it. (You’re still in the 25th percentile for your weight; yet the 82nd percentile for your height.)

I’m not sure who’s going to like your new seat more: you and your parents.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Your New Animal Party Bouncer by Fisher Price

@FisherPrice

Ghostbusters Reboot Movie Toys: Boys Aren’t Buying Them?

Ghostbusters Reboot Actions Figures Already on 30% Clearance at Target, 2 Weeks before Movie’s Release

This week while perusing through Target during my lunch break, because apparently that’s what I do for fun, I discovered a curious thing:

The action figures for the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot movie are already on 30% clearance, even though the movie doesn’t come out for another 2 weeks, on July 15th.

(This took place at the Franklin, TN, location.)

It presents a theory about the free market:

Could it be that boys aren’t interested in buying action figures

in which females are the protagonists?

I invite you to watch the video I shot, on the scene, which clearly shows that the Ghostbusters reboot movie is clearly being marketed to boys, as these toys are in the same isle as Star Wars and Ninja Turtles, which primarily consist of male characters.

Even though the new Ninja Turtles movie has been out for a month already, none of those toys are on clearance, which implies boys are still asking their parents for them.

ghostbusters-2016-movie-cast

Obviously, there has been a lot of skepticism about the upcoming movie by Ghostbusters fans; especially to make the four Ghostbusters female; as opposed to male, which is the gender they been identified as since 1984.

Ghostbusters Reboot Actions Figures Already on 30% Clearance at Target, 2 Weeks before Movie’s Release

Sure, I admit: If they couldn’t get the original cast to do an actual sequel (especially since Harold Ramis passed away two years ago in 2014), I would have at least liked to have seen brand-new characters to carry on the torch, in the likeness of the original cast:

Maybe Paul Rudd, Steve Carrel, Seth Rogen, and Donald Glover. I think that would have been awesome to see!

Ghostbusters Reboot Actions Figures Already on 30% Clearance at Target, 2 Weeks before Movie’s Release

In that version of reality, I could imagine that much more action figures would have been sold and prevented this 30% clearance situation at Target. Not to mention, I think fans would be much more excited about going out and seeing the new movie.

Again, these toys are purposely placed in the boys’ aisle, not with Barbies. The Ghostbusters toys are clearly intended to be purchased mainly by boys, not girls; which is why they are stocked on the shelves the way they are.

Yet boys aren’t buying them.

This is the free market at work; in which politically correctness is evidently being ignored by very young consumers.

With all that being said, I will be seeing the Ghostbusters reboot movie in a few weeks and will be doing a movie review on it; comparing it to the original, from a family friendly perspective.

So if you if this post has entertained you, check back in a few weeks for more on the Ghostbusters reboot.

Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Ideas from Target

Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Ideas at Target

A month ago during Mother’s Day, I told the story of how my son and I took the short drive to Target to purchase Mother’s Day gifts. My wife was perfectly delighted with what we picked out for her there.

Undeniably and by default, we are a Target family. We are there all throughout the week. Just a few days ago, I did an Instragram on how I finally spent some of my birthday money there on some good music:

nickshellwritesFinally getting around to spending some birthday money. #target

nickshellwrites Finally getting around to spending some birthday money. #target

Right now I’m thinking of the lyrics from the song “Spend Your $$$”, from Walk the Moon’s CD that I bought: “What do you spend your money on?”

With my wife and I being Dave Ramsey followers, we live by the concept of having designated “blow money”. Everything else goes to pay bills or it goes into our savings, which is how we recently bought a new car and already had the money in the bank.

When I think about it, though, when I do spend my money, I spend a good amount of my “blow money” at Target.

Well, the folks at Target had no idea about any of this; nor were they aware of my Mother’s Day post or about my birthday money Instagram. So it is a complete coincidence that Target reached out to me a few days ago and asked me to do a “Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Idea” post, simply based on the fact I am one of America’s most popular daddy bloggers.

Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Ideas at Target

Merona Men’s Sleep Pants in Black, $14.99

Men’s Accessories Surf Sunglasses in Black, $14.99

Bevel Shave System Starter Kit, $89.95

Nate Berkus Cross Hatch Ceramic Photo Frame, $12.99

Bose® SoundSport® In-Ear Headphone, $99.99

Threshold Wall Mount Bear Bottle Opener, $7.99

A+ Men’s Eddie Sneakers in Tan, $34.99

Merona Men’s Weekender Bag in Navy, $29.99

S’ip by S’well Blue Raspberry Gummy Stainless Steel Water Bottle 15oz, $24.99

Merona Men’s Dopp Kit in Black, $12.99

Merona Men’s Five Link Bracelet Watch in Gunmetal, $19.99

Merona Men’s Bi-Fold Wallet in Black, $12.99

Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Ideas at Target

C9 Champion® – Men’s Softshell Jacket Ebony Heather, $49.99

Men’s Dad/Kid Sock Sets Pair of Thieves, $9.99

Merona Men’s Pique Polo in Grey, $12.99

Merona Men’s Belt in Cognac, $14.99

Merona Men’s Tie in Navy Pindot, $19.99

‘Dad’ Copper Mug, $39.99

Fitbit Alta Activity and Sleep Tracker, $129.99

Room Essentials 3 Piece BBQ Tool Set with Colored Handles, $10.00

iDevices iGrill Mini Thermometer, $35.99

Threshold Bryant Faux Wood Patio Bar Cart, $90.99

Threshold Beer Pint Decal 6-Piece Glass Set, $11.99

They sent me a nice new, classy belt (I desperately needed one!) as well as some leather sneakers (okay, I admit- I own more shoes than my wife, but I can always handle more!).

I say dads are easy to pick gifts for. As for me, I like practical stuff. So if you’re still trying to figure out what to get Dad for Father’s Day weekend, I suggest just go by Target.

As a husband and a dad, I can tell you for a fact that Target is always one of the easiest places for me to spend gift cards. (It’s the main place my wife and I were registered for our newborn daughter.) It really is one of my favorite stores. I consider it an honor they reached out to me to help people figure out what to get Dad for Father’s Day.

Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Ideas at Target

People Want You To Gossip And Judge Others

Disclaimer: While I do make a strong effort to keep my material family friendly, as the name implies, this post serves as social commentary, citing issues which are not particularly family friendly or G-rated.

It’s funny how no one wants to be judged or to be gossiped about, but in good conscience we are able to read “news” stories and watch reality TV shows that ultimately entice us to judge and gossip about the people involved.

In case no one has yet pointed it out to you yet, allow me to be the first: We as Americans live in the midst of a vibrant culture war.

Polarizing ideas are constantly being reinforced that A) liberals are all socialist idiots whose gay marriage is turning America into the perfect place for God’s fiery judgment; meanwhile B) conservatives are all close-minded, homophobic, racist holy rolling bigots.

It’s an ongoing debate between CNN versus Fox News that we allow to live out all around us. To me, it’s become a parody of itself, like both country and rap music have become.

But what about those of us who are in the middle if these two unforgiving extremes? Well, I believe we are the outsiders of our culture.

Because if you’re not taking the bait to either be offended, or to judge others for their lifestyle, you begin realizing there’s really not that much real “news” going on.

For example, check out yesterday’s “Trending Topics” that were featured yesterday on Facebook:

·

Target: Ohio Mother Says ‘Girls’ Building Sets’ Sign in Store’s Toy Aisle Shows Gender Bias

·

Miley Cyrus: Singer Discusses Coming Out as Bisexual to Her Mother as a Teen in Paper Interview

·

The X-Files: Fox Releases Image From Set of Revival of Sci-Fi Series

·

Glassdoor: Jobs Site Names Highest-Rated CEOs in 3rd Annual Employees’ Choice Awards

·

Joyce Carol Oates: Author Appears to Condemn Photo From ‘Jurassic Park’ Showing Dead Dinosaur

·

Bob Costas: Sports Broadcaster Calls Caitlyn Jenner’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award ‘Exploitation Play’

·

Robert Gibbs: Former White House Press Secretary Appointed as McDonald’s Executive Vice President

·

Holly Madison: Hugh Hefner’s Former Girlfriend Details Life at the Playboy Mansion in New Book

·

Librarian of Congress: James Billington Announces Retirement After Nearly 3 Decades in Position

·

#WWDC15: Apple Announces Product Updates at Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco

It’s very clear that in the midst of a few non-sexual headlines, we are being prompted and provoked to make a judgment call on what constitutes as gender bias, as well as to either support or be shocked by Miley Cyrus’s sexuality, then an accept an invitation to either agree or disagree with Bob Costas’ comments on Bruce Jenner’s gender reveal, and then to finish it off with learning some juicy details about life in a house that celebrates pornography.

If nothing else, you can at least judge the author who condemns the “dead dinosaur” photo, right?

Yes, that’s supposed to be “the news.”

That’s not the news.

People want you to gossip and judge others. It’s abundantly evident in the headlines, TV shows, and reality shows in our culture. And we do; that’s how they make money off us.

The Kardashians wouldn’t be famous if we ourselves didn’t keep them famous.

Imagine how many people tune in each week for The Bachelorette/Bachelor; a show that is presented to us under the guise of romantic people trying to find love and marriage, via a polygamy style game show in which the bachelorette/bachelor and the final few contestants have the option of staying overnight in a “fantasy suite” to sexually “try out” each of the people before they marry them.

In other words, by supporting that show, we are contributing to the fact that the bachelor or bachelorette is being pressured to have sex with 3 people they only recently met. We laugh it off as silly, which it is. It’s also people’s actual real lives involving real decisions with actual consequences.

I say it’s impossible to watch shows like this without judging other people for their actions and lifestyles.

Ultimately, it seems virtually impossible to avoid all forms of gossip. But if I can be more aware of it in media, I can make a deliberate effort to step out.

And I can only hope what I just said doesn’t sound like I’m being judgmental of others.