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Pampers targets Dad with a cool Brees

Pampers spends millions on marketing and promotion every year, and just about every cent of that has gone toward making ads that specifically target, Mom. But it appears the Mommy-centric world of diaper buying and subsequent advertising is finally showing signs of shifting focus. Pampers earlier this year unveiled a 'Performance' web ad campaign that for the first time aimed squarely at the 'other' player on the family team....

“The role of dads is expanding and we salute that and we want to make dads a bigger part of the brand,” said Bryan McCleary, a Pampers spokesman. “Dads are playing an increasingly large role in parenting and diapering.”

In a recent survey of parents by Pampers, 69 percent of men responded that they changed diapers as often their wives, while 11 percent said they did so even more often. Although men’s perceptions differ from women’s (only 31 percent of mothers said fathers split diaper duties equally, and just 4 percent said fathers did more), the findings are consistent with other reports about men’s growing involvement in the home.

When Pampers starts advertising during NFL games, we'll know we've truly arrived!

via Getting Dad to Do Diaper (Buying) Duty

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Top 5 Valentine's Day gifts for Dads

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I'm talking FOR men, not from men--specifically fathers. There are so many more things that are out there that are the typical gifts, but I am going to explore the gifts that wives can give to Dads as not only a sign of their love but also in appreciation for their love of them as a father.

5) Favorite Magazine Subscription--yes, it's not flashy, but if a man has a certain magazine that maybe he doesn't get a lot but he reads in the grocery store or bookstore on occasion, get him a year subscription. It will certainly be something that will be looked at as a special gift and it's something that isn't just a "one and done" gift.

4) MP3 Players--There isn't a man alive who doesn't like some type of music, and getting an MP3 player--iPod, Zune, you name it--will be something that again will be used over and over and a "toy for a big boy".

3) Ebay Certificate--since many Dads are frugal in nature because of the amount of money that our children eat up from time to time, getting an Ebay gift certificate/card will allow him to maybe spend a little dough on something a little cheaper than normal or even spread it out among things.

2) Video Camera--Since we are in such a digital age when it comes to anything technological, and since we are all addicted to the memorializing of our children's events--along with the fact that video cams are much more affordable, get a video camera which will again be something that lasts and be re-used over and over again.

1) Event tickets--it doesn't have to be sports, but get something that you know he loves--and it doesn't even have to be with mom or the kids--heck, it can even be with friends! Just get something that will be an event that he will remember and is special to him--WWE tickets, concert tickets, whatever!

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Top 5 Worst TV Dads

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Well, I already put something out about the best dads, so of COURSE I have to put something for the worst ones, right? Actually, this is quite harder than the best ones, maybe because there are so few and far in between of "good" ones (gotta love our television society). However, I have done some scouting and believe that I have come up with a decent list of my own choosing. Again, this is modern TV shows--post 1980...Here goes...

5) Homer Simpson--sure he's lovable at times, but let's face it, the guy basically tried to gain weight to qualify for disability. Not exactly the best role model in the world, and while I won't get all high and mighty, the constant choking of Bart is obviously not a trait we fathers want to have.

4) Tony Soprano--Not that this is a surprise, the guy was a complete jerk to everyone, including his kids, including strong arming his son, smacking around his daughter's boyfriend, just to name a few. His kids will never fuhgeddaboutit.

3) Al Bundy--Sure, we all loved the shock factor when it came to Al, but he was a terrible husband and father. He was truly the first "tasteless" dad it seemed for that era.

Tie for 1st....

Drum roll please...

1) Anthony Cooper and Arthur Spooner. Cooper was the father of John Locke on Lost who basically conned his own son out of his kidney and continually made his life awful, including throwing him out of a building, which caused John to be in a wheelchair. He however met his end on the island, much to the delight of watchers. Or is he in fact gone? :) Spooner is the hapless mooch of a father from King of Queens, and his interference and selfishness constantly had Doug and Carrie on the ropes. Manipulativeness, thy name is Arthur.

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Top 5 TV Dads

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I did a "top" list a while ago of movie dads, so I thought I would take a shot at naming who I think play the top 5 TV dads. Now--one disclaimer here--this is of the MODERN variety--basically any shows that are from the 80s or beyond...so here goes

5) Eric Camden--7th Heaven. Eric was a father to seven children and a minister at a local church where he spent time helping churchgoers and troubled teens. Each episode took on some moral lesson that Eric’s family had to deal with directly or indirectly. Issues like alcoholism, pre-marital sex, and self injury were dealt with on a regular basis. While some times the stories seemed a bit too "After School Special"ish, Camden's willingness to always do the right thing as a parent is something to take note of.

4) Danny Tanner--Full House. The show that launched the mind-boggling careers of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen as well as several other actors and characters, Bob Saget's portrayal of Danny Tanner, a single father with four girls touched on the perils of single fatherhood, and not necessarily doing it in a serious way, but he always was there for his girls. A bit awkward at times, Tanner's character portrayed the "Average Joe" that drew so many fans to the show.

3) Steven Keaton--Family Ties. Let's face it--he had to be a father to Alex P. Keaton, and that in itself deserves a reward. With four different kids that were so far apart personality-wise and still making the home that it was on the sitcom, Michael Gross' acting was great for this--and yeah, he was a bit beatnik at times, but still a wonderful father.

2) Dr. Jason Seavers--Growing Pains. He didn't have kids that were stereotypes through-and-through, and his profession as a psychologist gave him several chances to relate to his nerdy daughter, aloof oldest son, and entertaining youngest. He always gave his kids a chance to learn and live life, and parented as he needed to.

1) Dr. Cliff Huxtable--The Cosby Show. Bill Cosby's character was certainly an extension of himself, but every kid wanted to have him as a dad--a tremendously fun dad, but he was tough when he needed to be. With such diverse characters as his kids as well as in-laws that married into the family, he was always a class act.

4)

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Hot Christmas Toys 2008: Smart Bounce and Spin Pony

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The folks at Fisher-Price have done it again. While there are obvious technological advances for kids every single, well, day, one of the things that hasn't really been a niche has been video games for the very young set. Well, just like it's been said that McDonald's "hooks em early", this Smart Bounce and Spin Pony now breaks in kids as young as 1 year old into interactive video games. Here's the specs:

* The Bounce and Learn Pony is an active learning toy that interacts with the television
* The Pony uses a wireless device to connect with the TV delivering animated content
* Baby interacts by bouncing up and down and spinning a roller on the handle bars
* Dad can choose the level of play and audio options
* Without being connected to the TV, baby can play on the pony and be rewarded by songs and sound effects from the pony itself

There are pros and cons to this--one as a pro is that it develops immediate feedback and positive reinforcement to your baby and secondly it starts hand eye coordination at a very young age. However, it also has been reviewed that the pony is bigger than normal 12 month old children so the label is a bit misleading, and it also may suddenly just reinforce the idea of couch potato-ing our kids even more than we already do. At almost 70 bucks a pop, it's not cheap, but you certainly can't underscore the notion of technology in today's day and age, and that's why it's one of the more popular toys this year.


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Hot Christmas Toys 2008: LeapFrog-The Tag Reading System

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LeapFrog has always been a family favorite of mine. Even as far back as almost 7 or 8 years ago, my oldest son Caleb used to get out his LeapFrog and want to learn, learn, learn. It was passed along to Jonathan and he really enjoyed not only learning different ways of reading and phonics, but also with games and being "fooled" into educational things :)

And now the LeapFrog "Tag" system takes the system to the next level--here's the information on it:

Introducing Tag - the amazing touch reading system that brings reading to life reading like never before. The Tag Reading System engages children's senses to make reading a rich, fulfilling experience. With each touch of the Tag reader to the book's pages, words talk, characters sing and stories live out loud. With over 20 books and games including favorite TV, movie and classic tales, each Tag book allows children to learn at their own pace, building confidence.

Reviers on this have been extremely favorable, and with the price tag being decently reasonable--at about 50 bucks--it's well worth the investment. Labeled as one of the "hottest" toys of 2008, you may be hard pressed to get it this late, but if you can get to it--buy it! :)

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Hot Christmas Toys 2008: Monopoly H&N World Tin

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Is there anyone in the capitalist world that has not played a round of Monopoly? I mean, sure--the game takes like 7 hours to finish and usually by the time it is said and done you feel like you have sat in the war room for an NFL draft for 2 days, but everyone generally has good memories of being able to "collect 200 as you pass go" and rolling a number that makes you avoid landing on a hotel for Boardwalk!

So now comes the Boardwalk World Tin version where you can not only play with the same type of game style that you've grown up with, but now you get to journey around the world where your properties are, etc. Here's the info:

The world's number one game has gone global! This world-class Monopoly gameboard has you traveling to cities across the globe. You'll cross six continents before you pass GO! Get ready to wheel and deal in the millions of dollars with your own Monopoly credit card and a digital banking device that keeps track of your balance. Each game includes thirty movers based on items that are iconic to the continents. Perhaps you'll travel as a Thai Tuk-Tuk, an African Safari hat, or a North American baseball glove - the choice is yours! Once you've gained international attention as a real estate tycoon, why not build a skyscraper on your North American property, or a pyramid on your land in Africa? The world has voted, so find out which cities made the board - and join in to the biggest Monopoly game yet!

If we didn't have all of the boys' gifts done, I would certainly think this would be at the top of the list for things I would want to get!! And at the typical price for board games (around 25-35.00) this is definitely within price ranges that people should be happy with!

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2008 Hot Christmas Toys: Fisher-Price Tumble Time Tigger

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Kids love plush toys. But kids also love plush toys that "do things". So it's no surprise that one of the more popular toys is the tumble time Tigger from Fisher-Price, as it combines the wacky energy of Winnie the Pooh's cohort and puts it into a fun toy for kids abound!

Here's notes from an editorial review from Amazon:

Fortunately, this tumbling version of Tigger provides plenty of bounce performing cartwheels and headstands in response to clapping or cheering. While he expresses himself, Tigger also belts out songs to add to the fun. We found Tigger to be impressively precise in his tumbling and capable of doing everything the box boasts. We also liked how he kept a nice steady pace as too much rapid gymnastics might frighten younger children.

With a price tag that can be over 50 dollars, however, some consumers haven't voiced the same love for Tigger--as they say that the tumbling and cartwheels can actually bore kids that are over 4 or 5 very easily, and the song that Tigger sings can get quite annoying. Still, the set of kids below this age seem to absolutely love it and it brings hours of fun. If you are a fan of Winnie, this is definitely a keeper!

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2008 Hot Christmas Toys: 36-inch Acoustic Guitar from First Act

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With the overwhelming response to the Rock Band and Guitar Hero craze around the globe, one of the hotter items for the tween set is this acoustic Guitar from First Act. Priced at around 70 bucks, it's actually not a bad deal for those budding superstars that want to take their gaming experience to the next level--reality :)

Here's a synopsis:

Calling all future pop-stars -- this white, acoustic guitar, exclusive to Toys"R"Us, comes complete with stickers to decorate this instrument to suit any budding artist's style. The classic, parlor-size guitar features a spruce top, rosewood bridge, and steel-reinforced hardwood neck and provides full, rich sound and easy playing for musicians of any experience level. No batteries required. Ages 9 and up.

Reviews for this item have been very favorable, as parents enjoy the price and the results--it's not too overwhelming in terms of the size of the instrument which can be daunting for those wanting to learn the guitar in terms of coordination, etc. The bad thing about it is that this really is a starter guitar, and therefore they may grow out of it very quickly, meaning another investment on your part. Either way, it's definitely an option for your Rocker! :)


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Hot Christmas Toys 2008: 50s Diner from Step 2

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Remember the whole EZ-Bake oven set ups that kids used to have and were so popular? Ummm...I mean, I never PLAYED with one, of course...errr...uh...who am I kidding? Those things really worked and you could make some pretty great things from there! Yes, I did partake in some "testing" of food from there (I never did don an apron though). Anyways, I digress. In the same mode as the EZ-Bake, the 50s Diner from Step 2 brings the elements of "Happy Days" and while it doesn't cook food like the EZ-Bake (Darnit!) it still is a very cool item. The specs:

* Kitchen includes oven, grill, fryer, icebox for storage and sink for cooking and cleaning
* Patron side features attached booth-style seating for dining and can also watch the cook
* Electronic service bell lets the server know when kitchen orders are ready for serving
* Silver-metallic divider window gives the diner a classic retro feel
* Retro style tabletop features a jukebox that plays three 50s-style tunes
* Special griddle pan and coffee pot activate electronic sizzling and bubbling sounds on the stove's front burner
* Accessories include: coffee pot, griddle pan, dishes, silverware, cups, spatula, ice cream scoop, sundae dishes, deep fryer, and ketchup & mustard bottles
* Play food includes: burgers, fries, hot dogs, ice cream, cones, sundae fixings and pie
* Made in USA of US and imported parts (accessories, jukebox, burner, service bell electronics, ice cream door, faucet and oven door made in China)
* Requires 4 "AA" and 2 "AAA" batteries, not included
* Adult assembly required


I am impressed by the detail on this, and while it's on sale--it is still about 120 bucks to purchase, so it would definitely have to be a "crown jewel" for a child this Christmas. But believe me, they'll get hours and hours of fun with this!!

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