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Wanna Fanta?

No thank you ma’am, I do not.  Some flavors are better left alone.  Especially Pina Colada Fanta!  I have fond memories drinking one of these wine coolers as a kid playing in my friend’s kiddy pool with some action figures.  Yes, back in the day when everything was not so politically correct, and kids could ride their bikes around the neighborhoods by themselves.  I also remember drinking a virgin Pina Colada on the Ferry ride at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas when I proposed to my wife.  I guess I got it kind of backwards with the alcoholic one as a kid and the virgin as an adult.  You would have to be drunk though to “Wanna Fanta” with this soda.

What does it taste like?  Absolutely nothing!  The closest flavor I can use to describe this beverage is Alka Seltzer.  You literally cannot tell what they are going for and then the carbonation hits your taste buds.  Now I have an entire two liter and do not know what to do with it.  A normal person might simply just throw it away, but I am cheap and spent $2.00 on this.  So, what would a dad of three boys do with this dilemma?

Science experiment time!  I am not talking about making something with it.  Making stuff is a mom thing. “To infinity and beyond” with this newly acquired rocket it is.  I wonder if Mentos works with all soda or just diet Coke?  Now all the moms who have read this are about to move on but the dads…your about to Google the Mentos with other soda thing.  Am I right?

Cleaning With Kids (5 Easy steps)

Loss of breath, legs giving out, and you need to go to the restroom.  The side effects of hearing those godawful words “time to clean up!”  Fortunately for you, the parent, that incantation only works on children, and you are free to tidy up till your heart’s desire.  What if there was a way to break the curse?  If you could somehow breath life back into their tiny little lungs, mend their lower extremities and give them the focus to use the toilet without running into a side quest?  Here are five easy steps to picking up even kids will admit makes it simpler. 

Sweep

The floor is lava!  It might as well be because most likely there has been an eruption of fun at some point and now getting across the room is a game of getting from one safe point to another.  Where to start is the first question?  To a child, this is a massive operation that they lack the experience to manage.  Make it simple for them.  Just sweep.

My kids love this show

Everything, and I repeat, everything gets swept into the center of the floor.  It does not matter what it is.  If it can be stepped on it can be swept on.  Freeing up real estate will allow the work process to gain a starting point.  Now a walkable square perimeter, or circle if you live in a tee pee, has been established.  Objects can now start getting returned to their proper locations.  What do you have though?

Categorize

Defining the categories of the pile is the next step.  Most households with kids will probably have close to the same basic items depending on how adventurous your kids are at going through your stuff.  Six classes come to mind.  Toys, clothes, dishes, stationery supplies, trash, and big stuff. 

Where to start?

Get your children to help identify what is what also.  Chances are that what you consider to be trash is a toy to them.  For instance, my kids love pipe cleaners.  They get a whole pack of them, twist them all up and create guns, swords, and monsters.  It never is lost to them though until you find it for them.

Eliminate the Big Stuff

The mound may be massive, so we need to remember from step one that we need real estate.  The big stuff needs to be the first to get put away as it gives us the freest space in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of effort.  If you have younger kids this stuff is going to be like big wheels, ridable Thomas the trains and play tables.  Older kids may have binders full of Pokemon cards or a basketball.  Now that everything is more visible, it is time to really get to work.

Big Wheel takes up big space

Tackle the Bulk

Here is where categories come into play.  Ask your kids what is the one group that they see the most of.  The answer to that is usually toys.  What kinds of toys?  Go ahead and categorize those now.  Legos, action figures, cars?  Whatever there is the most of focus on putting only that where it goes.  Let your little helper know it is perfectly fine to ignore everything else and push anything to the side so that only, Legos for example, are being picked up.

Now that all Legos are put away turn to the next toy taking up the most space.  Repeat this process until a good portion is taken care of.  For better efficiency, have a laundry basket available for clothes, trash can for garbage, and tote for any stray dishes discovered.  This way a separate trip does not need to be made every time one of those item needs to go back. 

Sweep and Repeat

“Are we almost done yet,” your kids may be asking by this point?  The answer is yes!  I guarantee the room is at least halfway done now and is nowhere near the eye sore it started out as.  Sweep the pile closer together to free up more real estate.  At this stage it is not really about the space but more to be eye pleasing and allows your kids to see how much they have already accomplished.  The remainder may be more tedious but take it one category at a time. 

Bulldozer broom for kids!

I have implemented these strategies with my kids in our playroom and noticed a significant attitude change towards cleaning.  Distractions still occur but the time it takes to pick up has greatly reduced also.  It does not take as much mental energy trying to figure out what to do next.  To make it less of a chore, I have added in music as well.  For parents with multiple children, adding in an assembly line for passing things from one point to another is another great way to reduce time and energy used to complete the job.  My three kids want to use that exclusively now and are upset when there is not much left to utilize this method.

Pigs are actually clean animals

I enjoy cleaning with my kids now.

THE JELLY-PUS

Don’t touch the Jelly-pus!  It will tickle you.

Why is it called a jellyfish when it obviously more closely resembles an octopus?

An octopus’ body is more like a bag and has eight tentacles.  Jellyfish have the same body structure with numerous tentacles.  Their swimming mannerisms are similar as well.  The octopus has more power because it utilizes its tentacles to swim.  Jellyfish squirt water to help propel them.  Getting away from a jellyfish is much easier.

Octopus are classified as invertebrates meaning animals with no backbone, the same as jellyfish.  They are the smartest invertebrates alive.  Even though you may be able to see the jellyfish’s huge brain, their intelligence is in question.  Nobody has ever been attacked by a jellyfish.  They literally score all their points by accident.  We capture these creatures’ way more than they catch us.

I AIN’T NO PUS

Many cultures eat octopus on a more regular basis than in the United States. 

Portugal actually has a dish named Polvo a’ Lagareiro which looks delicious.  Maybe if they were made into nuggets kids would eat them?  I’m not sure the easiest way to catch an octopus but I am pretty sure it in not from a tug and war contest. 

Can you eat jellyfish though?  Yes and no.  Only certain types of jellyfish are edible.  The toxic part must be cleaned thoroughly though.  Ever step on a dead jellyfish on the beach and still get stung?  You don’t want that feeling on your tongue! 

Peanut butter and jellyfish sandwiches are not a thing.  Jellyfish are probably not the most kid friendly food.  For the most part they are pickled or dried out and used on salads etc. Not sure how to make it more kid friendly.

NO BONE APPE’TIT (Polvo a’ Lagareiro)

Re-naming it the Jelly-pus is kid friendly from a marketing standpoint but will do your kids no favors. 

Just try telling your children to watch out for jelly-pus at the beach.  Next thing you know they will be petting one.  The name just sounds adorable.  Remember, it is not even a fish. 

This leads me to believe that the jellyfish was purposely titled fish and not pus by scientists to prevent injuries. 

Here is an experiment for parents.  Just try saying the word jelly-pus to your children.  Nine times out of ten they will laugh. 

Jelly-pus!

CAN’T TOUCH THIS

Resources for article:

https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/facts/jellyfish

https://www.tasteatlas.com/most-popular-octopus-dishes-in-the-world

CAVEMAN COLLISION

“Did cave men run into each other,” asked my four-year-old? 

   “Of course not, that would be stupid,” I replied.  But were cave dwellers really that dumb?  Other animals do it.  Could they, do it?  Is this why they had short life spans?

We watch creatures head butt each other all the time on discovery channel.  Mountain goats, antler locking deer, and hippos all use this as a dominance tactic.  Rams are the hardest hitting with up to 800 psi per hit!  Imagine the different reasons cave men could have run headfirst to be the winner of an argument.

   “Hey Fred, you want a Pa-kawn?”

   “It’s actually called a Pee-can.”

   “No, it’s not!” 

   And know we end up with Vulture bait.  But would this kill them?

“Ramses is the best.” (-Nacho Libre)

Cave men’s skulls were not necessarily thicker.  They had bigger brains but utilized it less.  I’m pretty sure running head-to-head was not their form of resolving conflicts.  If it was, it probably ended in a no contest.  Their last contest.

Homo Sapien vs Homo Erectus

Cartoons depict old, wise cave men that know about revolutionary things like fire and wheels.  How old though was the oldest cave man?  I found that their average life expectancy was about eighteen!  Not sure about the data on this but if cave men indeed ran into each other, this supports their early deaths.

I’m Too Young to Die

   So now that I have done some research into cave men, my answer has changed.  I am going to renege my previous answer.  Cave men did run into each other.

HOODWINKED ON HALLOWEEN

Do you have any lollipops?  A special request on Halloween?  I am thirty-six years old and have never heard a kid, much less a Werewolf, request a certain candy when trick or treating on Halloween.  At least six houses in a row got that question from my four-year old last night and had to disappoint.  He was still very excited about the generosity of our neighborhood though. 

Werewolves like lollipops

His eight-year-old brother was a Werewolf as well.  The whole neighborhood learned that early as their howling riled all the dogs up on the block before heading out door to door with our friends.  The two-year-old was Paul Bunyan and my wife was Little Red Riding Hood.  He must have had super strength and endurance like him too because he refused to have anyone else carry his heavy haul of candy back home.

Axing for candy

My wife looked amazing as Little Red and stole the show appearance wise.  I may have got more second looks though.  Granny wolf was not my proudest moment.  My kids got a kick out of it though.  Especially with my Ric Flair socks on.  Woo! 

Worst dressed VS Best dressed

I want to know what your kids and you dressed up for as Halloween.  Please leave a comment below and don’t forget to click like and share this post with your friends.

Hogwarts Legacy Release!

Delayed until 2022, Hogwarts Legacy has Harry Potter fans enthusiasm in the palm of its hand.  This set back may have a lot of you upset at first but before you raise your wands ready to cast Avada Kedavra, remember rushing a quality game could cause it to go diagonally.

Cyberpunk 2077, hyped to become game of the year.  The graphics were impressive however without quality game play even the most stunning visuals couldn’t save it.  I might even dub Cyberpunk “the game that lived” because it still ended up on the market broken.  Honestly, this became a novelty and I personally wanted to purchase the defective version just for a laugh.

Past great games have been delayed before.  Resident Evil 4, Half Life 2, Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain and the highly anticipated Final Fantasy VII Remake, that I am currently showcasing to my kids right now.  Hopefully the delay is not years like Kingdom Hearts 3 was with an announcement in 2013 but release in 2019!  “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad,” said Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo.

Choose Good or Evil

The PS5 is going to be the optimal system to experience Hogwarts on with its new Dual Sense capabilities.  Imagine feeling the tension in your fingertips and the controller relaying that back to the game.  The sounds feel so close as they enter your personal space.  I do not own a next gen console yet but have friends that do.  The controller seems to be the difference maker from PS4.

Getting the full experience for this game with the PS5 comes with a heavy price.  Just getting the newer console alone will set you back around $498, with tax.  That by the way is the used price of the disc version on Gamestop’s website.  Gamestop does not even list the brand-new version at all!  That is how rare these consoles are right now. If you want it bad enough, Amazon and Ebay have them going anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500 depending on the bundle!

Next gen is all about 4K as well.  Just like you had to upgrade from your grandma’s old box television to a flat screen 1080p for PS3, you will need higher quality for the full experience.  Most people prefer bigger T.V.’s but I think everyone agrees that at least a 32” is preferred.  So, you’re looking at around another $400.  Brand new A title games go for $75 now as well. 

Get sorted into your house

Portkey Games and Avalanche Studios will be teaming up to deliver this Hogwarts adventure to you which I feel is a good pairing.

Portkey currently offers Harry Potter: Magic Awakened, Puzzles Spells, Wizards Unite and Hogwarts Mystery.  Legacy however will be their most ambitious project yet.  Good to see a company already familiar with the magical universe giving all the Harry Potter fans what they have wanted forever.

Avalanche Studios will be the fans Hedwig as it will be delivering the experience to us all.  Probably best known for its Just Cause series, Avalanche has also put out Rage 2 and Mad Max to name a few more.

Open world games seem to be their forte.  Exploring Hogwarts is a dream come true for true fans of the J.K. Rowling series.

Distancing from controversial author

J.K. Rowling is not directly involved with the game.  The great author seems to have been pushed out of her own works due to her controversial views and comments regarding the LGBTQ community. 

So, what will be the fate of Hogwarts Legacy upon its official release in 2022? 

It could be totally buggy to the point where it is broken.  Basically, another Cyberpunk.  Worst case scenario which probably won’t happen. 

A decent game with a few glitches.  Enjoyable with some replay ability but overall, not revolutionary.

Game of the Year and by far the best gaming Harry Potter related experience ever!  Either case, I will purchase this game day one.  I have already lost my Playstation time to my eight-year-old and now he may be losing his to his mom.

CIDERCADE IS TOO SWEET!

275 Arcade games, unlimited play, and $10 entry!  Cidercade is a fathers dream for showing their kids the games they grew up on.  Kids also are exposed to the old school nostalgia of being in an arcade, which is rare nowadays.

At first, I was just chasing my kids around making sure nobody abducted them and wasted their gas money returning them after an hour.  This isn’t Chucky Cheese where you get black light stamps on your hands with a door greeter ready to verify who you are chauffeuring around.  The counter at the front is basically to pay to get in and purchase drinks.

They do not sell snacks or food, but you are allowed to bring food in.  My wife got some Little Cesar’s pizza door dashed in and I bought drinks there.  The small cups are like $4.00 a piece but it is unlimited re-fills.  Out of all the drinks we tried Mexican Cola and lemon-lime.  Do not get lemon-lime!  Straight sugar!  It was so sweet that not even my eight-year-old could stand to drink it. 

After lunch I got on WWE Superstars and broke a table over Macho Man’s head.  Then using Ultimate Warrior, I Gorilla Press Slammed Big Boss Man out of the ring.  My two-year-old and I then got on Tekken 7.  I finally got to play as Negan from the Walking Dead.  I own the game at home but spending money on DLC is few and far between. 

Talk about a challenge.  Try holding a two-year-old and play with a joystick on a fighting game at the same time.  That should be difficulty “Daddy.”  I do like the way they took a flat screen T.V. and hooked it up in front of an arcade box and connected it to use the arcade stick controls.  Tekken 7 is not an old school game but is so popular that while other games like Mortal Kombat X have come out with predecessors like MK11, Tekken is going strong in the fighting game community.  Quality over quantity, even though Mortal Kombat has the best fighting engine. 

I did get to game with my four-year-old as well.  A good chunk of time was spent on this Walking Dead game where you use a bow gun to shoot zombies in the head.  We beat the first part and I had 137 kills!  He had 1.  Maybe I got carried away, but I felt like I was protecting him from the zombies.  We played a shark game too and we pretended to try to save Captain Barnacles from a shark…he didn’t make it.  Also, I found out that your kids heads are perfect for balancing your gun on to get better shots. 

My eight-year-old thinks he has a world record now too.  He was playing ski ball and got the ball stuck in the upper left corner, right next to the big 10,000-point hole.  I told him to just roll a ball up there and knock it out.  Well, when he did, he scored the 10,000 and knocked the other one losing adding another 1,000.  So, he basically thinks he managed an 11,000-point shot when only 10,000 is the highest you can get.

He was so excited telling his mother about it on the way home.  I didn’t want to ruin it by letting her know I hit the 10,000 three times out of my nine balls and two were back-to-back. 

I always wanted to give my kids the full arcade experience and Cidercade is the closest thing around.  The only thing that would make it more authentic is having to use quarters, ending up paying more than $10, and having some teenager whose mom drops him off at the arcade everyday come up to you on Mortal Kombat, beat you and basically take over your game.

The Last Weltzbarker

The night was dark, and the wind blew at an unforgiving negative thirty degrees Fahrenheit.  Icicles formed over his cheeks where the tears of loneliness fell from his blood covered face.  His body was not cold, as it was covered in the warm blood of his fellow comrade who gave his life by falling onto the grenade that had landed into their bunker.  Only his heart grew colder with thoughts of revenge and vengeance. 

Now the entire brigade was dead and only one man stood in the way of the enemy winning World War III in Antarctica.  That man was Micheal Welztbarker, the “Last Weltzbarker.”

With no ammo left and no explosives, making a stand in the trench was not an option.  He had to take the fight to them, the Eskimos. 

He scavenged his surrounds for anything that might be of use to him in his final attempt at victory.  Most of the artillery had been damaged in the explosions so he was going to have to get creative.  As he shuffled through the bodies his foot bumped into an open sack of potatoes, and then it hit him.  I will make a potato gun!

Within just minutes the gun was assembled and the “Last Weltzbarker” was ready to take the enemy head on. 

“How can I defeat an entire army with just a sack of potatoes,” he asked himself? 

Just then a rocket exploded in the air and revealed a hot water tower in the center of their camp. 

“That’s it,” he exclaimed!  If I can take out that tower, it will destroy their base and end the war. 

It was time.  He bolted out of the bunker with the sack over one shoulder and gun in hand.  About halfway to the base a snow sled spotted him.  The dogs quickly swerved towards his location. 

As the sled closed in on him, he loaded his potato gun with the largest potato he could find.  He turned back and fired blindly into the night towards the barking snow dogs.  Suddenly he heard the sled stop. 

Instinctively he sprinted to it to finish the job, but the potato had already succeeded.  A perfect headshot.  The Eskimo laid there spread out like a headless snow angel.  Now Micheal had a sled.  He frisked the soldier for anything of use and found nothing.  He would just have to improvise. 

He boarded the sled and mushed the dogs towards the tower.  The enemy open fired on him as he approached with great speed.  As he got closer, he realized they had an electric fence barrier.  He was going to have to use a heavy projectile to take it down. 

The potatoes where not heavy enough and nor was the sled.  He was going to have to use himself.  He barked at the dogs to go faster.  As he built up speed, he poised himself on the rails of the sled. 

Thirty feet, twenty feet, ten feet, and the dogs stopped!  Weltzbarker leapt from the sled into the fence with such velocity it caved under the momentum.  Sparks flew as the lethal voltage consumed his body.  A lesser man would have died instantly but he was a Weltzbarker. 

A voice in his head said, “On your feet soldier!” 

Struggling to his feet, surrounded by smoke and gunfire, the war-torn hero could only make out a small round object heading his way.  It was a grenade!  This was what he needed, however.  He dove into the air like a cheetah and caught the explosive with his teeth.  He struggled to remove it from his mouth as he knew he only had a few seconds before detonation.  He loaded it into the potato gun with hast, aimed, and fired at the water tower.

It was a direct hit!  The tower exploded and instantly turned into a fountain of hail raining down on the enemy.  The frigid air turned the water into a shower of death.  The base was being destroyed and the war was over. 

The “Last Weltzbarker” laid there in the blood covered snow with a deep burning in his chest.  He ripped his shirt with his bare hands to inspect the damage the electric fence had done to his body. 

The fence had burned his chest permanently with what appeared to be an “M” and “W” on his chest.  “Micheal Weltzbarker,” he thought to himself.  The “Last Weltzbarker.”

[In dedication to the real-life Micheal Weltzbarker.  A man who was truly one of a kind.  Known to most simply as Shag, he fortunately got to read this story before he passed on.  Your stories continue to bring us laughter at work when the days feel so long.]

Army of the Dead

(non-spoiler)

Zombie tiger, Bautista, and the “City That Never Dies!”  Released on May 21, 2021 on Netflix of all places, Army of the Dead looks entertaining and creative.  Bautista was dominating in WWE but left the company for the same reasons I quit watching the product, it felt weak and lacked attitude.  I have become even a bigger fan of him since his role in Guardians of the Galaxy as that is one of my kids and I favorite movies.  A Bautista Bomb is not going to be enough though to take out this hoard as director Zack Snyder has evolved the undead with abilities to organize, learn, and grossly enough have relationships judging by the trailer. 

Would I recommend allowing my kids to watch?  If your kids are normalized to zombies and gore, then yes.  I have not seen the movie yet and it got an R rating mainly for gore but that is probably it.  Do not let your children watch before bed though as you will be the one feeling like a zombie the next day after no sleep from your kids under your covers with you due to nightmares.

When will I review the movie?  Probably never.  My kids have not only got my PS4 put away for bad behavior but the T.V. as well.  My oldest is upset that he has been grounded from games for a week.  I have not been able to play for 11 weeks!  I guess we are just going to have to act out the movie.  Time for cheap guns and swords from Dollar Tree.  Inexpensive ghouls make up is easy also.  Just rub Elmer’s glue on the skin, let it dry, peal it a bit and add ketchup underneath to give your flesh a raw, bloody appearance.  Scare your kids and the Door Dash delivery person at the same time.

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