Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dads Who Do Chores Bolster Daughters' Aspirations - I'm Proud To Be A Swiffer Dad




As the father of a bright and curious six year old daughter, I want to do what I can to make sure there are no ceilings to whatever personal and professional dreams she may want to pursue in life.  If she wants to be an astronaut, doctor, lawyer, scientist, teacher or stay at home mom, I want my daughter's decisions in life based on her own interests, passions and desires rather than dictated by stereotypes and biases of what a woman's role in society should be.  So I try to lead by example and demonstrate that men and women can have equal roles when it comes to family responsibilities.  I help with the laundry, washing the dishes and all the other chores around the house to show her that these are family responsibilities rather than a mother's burden.



A recent study in Psychological Science, the journal of the Association for Psychological Science, supports the premise that dads who help with household chores are more likely to raise daughters who aspire to less traditional jobs and pursue more advanced, higher paying careers.  The study demonstrated that how parents share responsibilities like washing the dishes, folding the laundry, and  other household chores plays a key role in shaping gender attitudes and aspirations of their children.  By my actively participating in helping out around the house, I'm setting an example for my daughter that girls aren't the only ones responsible for housework and teaching my son that men shouldn't expect women to take care of them. Now some guys may say that attitude is not being very manly or macho, but my response to that is being an outstanding man involves ensuring that your family is healthy, safe, happy, and well-cared for so if you are not helping out at home you really are slacking as a modern day dad.



It's surprising that today, dads are still often portrayed as guys who don't really know how to run their home or manage their kids because that simply is just not the case.  According to the Swiffer Cleaning Index, Dads today are pitching in nearly two times more than their dads did.  In fact, the roles have really shifted as half of dads today say they do the lion's share of the cleaning in their home, dividing chores with significant others.  So its appreciated that Swiffer has teamed up with bloggers like me to speak out about the role of the modern dad and challenge societal stereotypes that mock or diminish men's role in helping out around the house.



As part of its  #SwifferDad  campaign I was asked to help spread the word about the positive role of modern dads by sharing Swiffer's "A Clean House With Swiffer Dads" video with A Geek Daddy Blog's readers and provided a Swiffer Wet Jet care pack to review. 


A big green Swiffer box arrived on our doorstep at just the right time.  We live in a hundred year old house and while it is a charming place, our home is unfortunately starting to show its age with numerous cracks and creaks.  To rejuvenate the place we just wrapped up tearing out some of the walls and ceilings throughout the house and having them re-plastered.  When our Swiffer package arrived the whole house was covered in dust, debris, plaster, and paint. Ugh! the place really was a mess!


We received a Swiffer Wet Jet along with a box of pad refills and a bottle of Wet Jet antibacterial cleaner.  It really came in handy!  Instead of dealing with a mop and bucket, which sometimes leads to just as much of a mucky mess as what we're trying to clean up, the Swiffer Wet Jet locked up all the dirt and grime quickly and easily. It was easy enough to use that my six year old son was able to help me out in cleaning our kitchen and dining room hard wood floors so that they were spick and span.  When we were done it was just a matter of ripping off the Wet Jet's cleaning pad, throwing it away and replacing it with one of the refills we were provided. Quick-Simple-Easy = I like that.


This Swiffer product was really great because it let us clean up a really messy situation quickly and effectively so that my kids and I could spend time on something a little more interesting to do -  watching the Detroit Tigers baseball game on TV of course!  The Swiffer Wet Jet helped us have more time to soak in making family memories rather than cleaning up messes around the house. That's the #SwifferEffect.


     

    Since the Swiffer Wet Jet made such a positive impact on our old house, I was glad they gave me two big green boxes so I could share one with one of my best buddies as he and his family moved into a brand new house last weekend.  He was thrilled because he knows it is not easy to keep a house looking as nice and clean as when you first move in so this Swiffer Wet Jet should really help him out.




    I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015

    LEGO Expands Play To A New Dimension

    My kids always enjoy playing with either LEGO building blocks or one of the various video games they have that are inspired by the toys like LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes. Hey I'll admit it I love playing with all things LEGO too!  So we were excited to hear the news that LEGO is introducing a new video game that will merge virtual and physical play this September.  Called LEGO Dimensions, the toy company promises to break the rules of traditional gaming to merge physical LEGO brick building with interactive console gameplay in a manner only imaginable in the universe of LEGO entertainment.

    Taking a cue from the popular blockbuster hit THE LEGO MOVIE, this new gaming system has a story that merges our real life world with the fantastic LEGO worlds of our imagination.  LEGO announced its new gaming system through releasing a humorous video that portrays the creation of a magical vortex that connects real life to a dimension of LEGO worlds.

    When a mysterious and powerful vortex suddenly appears in various LEGO worlds, different characters from DC Comics, The Lord of the Rings and The LEGO Movie are swept away. To save their friends, Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle bravely jump into the vortex and quickly find themselves fighting to save all of LEGO humanity.

    Let creativity be the guide to a building and gaming adventure – journey through unexpected worlds and team-up with unlikely allies on the quest to defeat the evil Lord Vortech. Play with different minifigures from different worlds together in one LEGO videogame, and use each other’s vehicles and gadgets in a way never before possible. LEGO Bad Cop driving the DeLorean Time Machine…why not?! The LEGO Ninjago Masters of Spinjitsu fighting alongside Wonder Woman...yes, please! Get ready to break the rules, because the only rule with LEGO Dimensions is that there are no rules. #BreakTheRules


    The concept for this new game isn't entirely new though, it is essentially following in the footsteps of ACTIVISION's popular ground-breaking SKYLANDERS which allows players to purchase physical action figures and than immerse the toys they've collected into their video game play.  DISNEY recently followed the Skylanders model with the release of their own Infinity video gaming platform.  Based upon the popularity, and profitability, of combining physical and virtual play elements, LEGO has now joined in on this video game trend.  It will be interesting to see how LEGO puts its own spin on this trend and the quality of its product versus that of Disney Infinity and Activision's Skylanders.

    LEGO Dimensions is being developed by TT Games and published by Warner Bros. Interactive.  It will be available for Xbox One and Xbox 360 from Microsoft, Sony's Playstation 4 and Playstation 3, and Nintendo's Wii U entertainment systems and will combine many of the LEGO licensed properties together including DC Comics, The Lord of the Rings, The LEGO Movie, The Wizard of Oz, LEGO Ninjago, and Back to the Future.  Characters from additional fan-favorite LEGO worlds will be introduced in future upgrades and editions of the game.



    Beginning September 27, 2015 the LEGO Dimensions  video game will be available in a Starter Pack along with the LEGO Toy Pad, which allows players to transport special LEGO minifigures and other LEGO vehicles and objects into the games, bricks to build the LEGO Gateway, three LEGO minifigures (Batman from DC Comics / Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings / Wyldstyle from The LEGO Movie) plus the LEGO Batmobile.  Additional expansion packs can than be purchased to provide new buildable characters, vehicles, tools, gadgets, mission-based levels and unique in-game content.  Expansion packs that will be available at the release of LEGO Dimensions or later on within 2015 include a Back to the Future Level Pack with a LEGO Marty McFly minifigure, a LEGO Ninjago Team Pack with Kai and Cole minifigures, DC Comics Fun Packs with Wonder Woman and Cyborg minifigures, The LEGO Movie fun packs with Emmet, Bad Cop, Benny and Unikitty characters, and a The Wizard of Oz Fun Pack with a Wicked Witch of the West minifigure.  LEGO plans on having further waves or expansion packs released regularly following the launch of LEGO Dimensions.


    "When kids play with LEGO bricks, they build beyond the singular brands, intermixing all of their favorite characters and universes, and we have come up with a way for players to experience that in games," said Jon Burton, Founder and Creative Director, TT Games in a press release sent to A Geek Daddy Blog.  "Now for the first time in a video game, LEGO fans can play in the virtual world and in the real world -- combining everything without restrictions.  Imagine putting LEGO Gollum from The Lord of the Rings behind the wheel of the LEGO Delorean in New Ninjago City - the creative play is endless."



    One brand that probably won't appear in LEGO Dimensions that was included in The LEGO Movie unfortunately is Star Wars as this video game system is a direct competitor to Disney Infinity.  One of my kids favorite video games is Disney Infinity but it does have some weaknesses that it appears LEGO is looking to exploit.  While offering numerous characters to expand into its game, Disney Infinity really limits the structured game play and uses for add-on characters (for example Anna from FROZEN can't play in the Marvel Avengers levels or Sorcerer Mickey can only play in the build it yourself Toy Box worlds) while LEGO Dimensions promises that gamers will be able to use everything interchangeably, anywhere through the game - with no limitations.  Another Disney Infinity limitation has been its difficulties with backwards compatibility as consumers needed to buy a new a new figure platform to access its second edition updated game and lost the ability to access content from its first edition offerings.  LEGO Dimensions has also promised that the LEGO Toy Pad, LEGO Gateway, and the video game found in its initial Starter Pack will offer endless opportunities to customize player's experiences for year's to come and in a dig at Disney proclaims "future expansion pack purchases will continue to work with the Starter Pack, even in the fall of next year -- no compatibility chart necessary."


    Now my kids have really enjoyed the Disney Infinity video games and we have purchased characters to play on it ranging from Baymax to The Incredible Hulk to Woody from Toy Story which have resulted in some great hours of family fun.  We're actually planning on buying the next expansion of Disney Infinity when it arrives presumably in the Fall of 2015 and hopefully with a Star Wars theme based on our satisfaction with it.  That being said, we've also been somewhat under-whelmed by Disney Infinity as it has failed to fully live up to its potential by lacking in providing greater detail in its backgrounds and environments, the ability to fully interchange all of its characters in any aspect of game play, and to provide more structured and enhanced developer provided levels for players to use all their characters in rather than making people DIY through the Toy Box features. Note the Toy Box feature is a lot of fun and very good but most people can't produce the same level of quality through it as that provided by professional video game developers - sort of like youtube is fun to watch but I wouldn't replace viewing television networks for it. It will be interesting to see how LEGO Dimensions lives up to its promises and how it actually plays once it is available in September. 

    Hopefully continued competition between Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and LEGO Dimensions will prompt improvements in each game to the benefit of their players.  I know my kids are looking forward to playing ALL these video games - and yes once again I'll admit I am too!


    #breaktherules

    Sunday, April 12, 2015

    A SciFi Book Review: STAR WARS - HEIR TO THE JEDI


    I recently read Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne which was an ok read probably more suited for teens and young adults than 40 something adults like me; but still worth flipping through by "more mature" readers looking for a book to amuse themselves with on a plane ride, while being lazy on a vacation or maybe stuck in bed after a medical procedure.  It's not that it is a bad book just that the main character is a wild and bit reckless teen who tells his story in first person perspective which is probably much more relatable to people closer to the age of the nineteen year old hero - Luke Skywalker - portrayed in it than me.

    Heir to the Jedi is an adventure novel that takes place in the Star Wars timeline between the movies Episode IV A New Hope ( aka "Original Star Wars" ) and Episode V The Empire Strikes Back ( aka the best of the Star Wars movies made so far - we'll see how Episode VII The Force Awakens pans out in December ).  The premise of this story is that a brilliant cryptographer named Drusil who is renowned for her ability to breach advanced communications and security systems is being detained by the Empire and it is up to the Rebel Alliance's number one asset to come to the rescue before her skills can be corrupted by Imperial agents.  Luke Skywalker races to Drusil's aid with the help of a team that consists of his ever-resourceful droid R2-D2 and a new Rebel recruit named Nakari Kelen, who has a personal score to settle with the Empire after Darth Vader killed her mother for writing and performing a hit song that mocked him to a galactic audience of music lovers.  Nakari, with the support of her biotech mogul father who found his riches couldn't save his wife from the power of the Empire, provide much needed assistance to the Rebellion and a really nice space yacht which transports the team on their mission to rescue Drusil.

    What really stands out in this novel is just how alone Luke Skywalker is after the Battle of Yavin.  In A New Hope, his only family that he knows of Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen Lars were murdered by Imperial storm troopers on Tatooine; Ben Kenobi was cut down by the light saber blade of Darth Vader, and childhood best buddy Biggs Darklighter was shot down attacking the Death Star.  As Heir to the Jedi begins Luke finds himself known by everyone as the hero who destroyed the Death Star but himself hardly knowing anyone.  In this novel, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and even C3P0, are off on other assignments leaving Luke with just R2D2 to keep him company and watch out for him.  Nakari steps in to fill that void and we see both characters develop and grow throughout the story as they work together to rescue Drusil from the clutches of the Empire.

    With having seen Return of the Jedi and taking consideration all of the Expanded Universe materials that have been published it can be easy to skip over the fact that Ben Kenobi really abandoned Luke Skywalker at the end of A New Hope with no understanding or training on how to be a Jedi.  Without any knowledge of Yoda or any other Jedi to teach him, Luke finds himself frustrated in Heir to the Jedi as to whether or not he'll ever be able to master the Force.  He ponders if destroying the Death Star may have been his one and only encounter with utilizing the Force.  Having this book written in first person narrative really highlights the frustration of this young adult who has accomplished a great feat but now finds himself alone and unsure of himself.

    Heir to the Jedi also shows off the young and reckless side of Luke Skywalker similar to the scene in A New Hope where the teen arrogantly challenges Han Solo about the quality of the Millennium Falcon and pilot's skills as they attempt to escape the Imperial blockade over Tatooine.  In this new adventure you witness Luke as the 19 year old kid who sometimes doesn't really think out things as much as he could or should.  During his escapades in Heir to the Jedi, Skywalker finds the tomb of a Jedi that was killed in Order 66 and is able to recover a light saber.  Curious about how light sabers work, he takes it apart to "study it" and accidentally breaks it which shows how the character can be impulsive and further highlights his lack of knowledge when it comes to the ways of the Force.  In another scene, Luke puts his mission at risk when he engages Imperial war ships that don't have any obvious connection to his assigned goals and objectives because he's in the mood to pick a fight.  As you read through this book, you join Luke Skywalker in wondering if maybe there won't be any heir to the Jedi after all.  And that's the rub...this story really delves into whether or not Ben Kenobi was the last of the Jedi or if Luke Skywalker is the heir to the Jedi.  Of course any Star Wars fan knows the answer to that, but this story is told from Luke's perspective and he has no clue what the future holds for him.  Joining him on this journey is what makes this novel an interesting read.

    If you are looking for a literary masterpiece this isn't the book you are looking for; but if you are just searching for an amusing way to pass the time I believe readers (especially teens and young adults) will like Heir to the Jedi as an easy to flip through, fast paced SciFi adventure that takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. 

    DISCLAIMER:  I received limited access to a digital edition of  HEIR TO THE JEDI for this review from its publisher. The views and opinions in this review are my own.  I was not required to post a positive review for access to this book.

    Thursday, April 9, 2015

    Create the Ultimate Slurpee: Saturday, April 11 is BYO Cup Day @ 7-Eleven


    Slurpee's from 7-Eleven are one of our family's favorite treats so you know if the convenience store is hosting a special event featuring these slushies we'll be there.  With that in mind, my kids and I are looking forward to this Saturday's "Bring Your Own Cup" Day event at 7-Eleven where you can bring the container of your choosing and  regardless of the size of the cup create your own ultimate Slurpee for a $1.49, the average national price of a medium Slurpee in the United States.  Be creative and have some fun when bringing your own cup.  Have a plastic party hat left over from St. Patrick's Day or New Year's Eve? or maybe a sand bucket from last year's beach vacation.  Bring in a tea pot or mixing bowl from the kitchen pantry.  Anything is on the table as long as it meets a few limited restrictions.

    The "cup" most be able to must be able to fit upright through an in-store display with a 10-inch diameter hole so no filling up inflatable swimming pools or garbage cans to slurp out of.  If you are creative enough you could potentially get a gallon (128 oz) worth of Slurpee for what you would normally pay to get a 16 oz cup of this frosty delight.  A few other requirements include your "cup" must be clean, sanitary and food safe; it must be watertight and not leak; and just one cup per person for the day.

    photo courtesy of 7-Eleven

    With the #BYOCUPDAY rules in mind, my kids and I started rummaging through the house for the best containers to bring with us on Saturday, April 11th to get our #Slurpees in that we could squeeze through that 10-inch diameter hole.  I vetoed my son's Detroit Tigers batting helmet and my daughter's gold fish bowl so that left us with a batter mixer, water pitcher and my cherished pirate skeleton glass beer mug as some of our best options.


    Search your house for your best cup to make your ultimate #Slurpee than stop by your local 7-Eleven from 11am to 7pm on Saturday, April 11, 2015 to filler up.  Sorry foreign readers this particular event is just in the USA this time though 7-Eleven has previously already held similar BYO Cup events in other countries in the past including Canada and Australia.  So what cup are you going to bring and more importantly what flavor or mix of flavors are you going to fill it up with?!  My favorite Slurpee flavor is Faygo Red Pop while my kids like to mix Coca-Cola with Fanta Wild Cherry.

    Enjoy yourselves everyone and drink responsibly on Saturday...don't get brain freeze! So bring out those plastic party hats, cooking pots, hollow coconuts and whatever else you can find as 7-Eleven welcomes the return of warm weather and the beginning of Slurpee season with its Bring Your Own Cup Day promotion.

    photo courtesy of 7-Eleven

    Tuesday, April 7, 2015

    Granite City Food & Brewery Rocks!


    Alcohol and children aren't a combination that tend to go together when many parents think of taking the family to dine out, but Granite City Food & Brewery proves to be an exception.  To promote the April 8th grand opening of its new Northville, Michigan location, Granite City invited my family to have lunch for free while participating in its mock service staff training the weekend before its opening so that it could put an emphasis on highlighting its food offerings and showcase itself as a kid-friendly destination to eat out.   Our experience showed that just because its a brewery doesn't mean you should leave your kids at home.



    Granite City Food & Brewery is a casual restaurant with a comfortable atmosphere that pays homage to its Midwestern roots with its decor of dark wood and stone accents that provide both a modern and an "up north" vibe to the place.  Granite City began as a local brewery in the granite mining city of St. Cloud, Minnesota and has expanded over the last 15 years to 33 locations in 13 states.  The 10,200 square foot restaurant in Northville can seat approximately 300 guests and features an open kitchen with a central wood-fried pizza oven and an on-site brewery.



    Granite City has developed a reputation for the brew-pub's handcrafted beers which are moderately priced and offer unique styles and flavors not typically produced by major breweries.  It has patented a brewing process, known as Fermentus Interruptus , which allows it to replicate its signature beers with the exact same taste throughout all the Granite City Food & Brewery restaurants.  Granite City's are The Duke, an India Pale Ale; The Bennie, a German Bock; The Northern, an American Lager; and The Broad Axe, an Oatmeal Stout.  Plus in addition to creating their signature beers onsite, special seasonal brews are featured through the year also.   If none of these wet your whistle, the Northville location's large three-sided, full-service bar also has a selection of other locally-produced Michigan beers available and an extensive wine list.

    Broad Axe Stout - a thick creamy head sits atop the opaque blackness of this oatmeal stout.  Roasted chocolate and coffee notes make this beer a great treat!

    The Bennie - carries a brownish color, a medium body, and a mouthwatering smoothness from the wonderful malt and sweet caramel flavors.

    The Duke - the rich color of this pale ale hints at the bold malt character used to balance the huge hoppy flavors and defining bitterness of this classic English style beer.

    The Northern is a classic American lager with a creamy, smooth taste.

    Granite City isn't just about the beer though.  It also features a great menu of made-from-scratch recipes that make it a great destination for a family meal.  Granite City Food & Brewery's menu has selections that will please everyone from the most sophisticated palate to the child who is the pickiest eater.  My daughter has a very severe peanut allergy and we were very impressed that the staff was very educated and concerned about food allergies. Without prompting the knowledge that not just ingredients but allergen contamination is an issue to be alert to when preparing and serving food was communicated to us which gave us peace of mind that this restaurant knows what they are doing when it comes to dealing with this issue rather than just trying to provide lip service to appease a customer.  Also for those readers that may be interested, Granite City has a special gluten free menu.



    The restaurant really went all out to demonstrate how kid-friendly the establishment can be for families.  The waitress noted that they just didn't have a nice selection of beers but also plenty of chocolate milk on tap as she provided our children with activity placemats and crayons.  Our twins were than served an appetizer of these huge carrot slices that were cut to appear like potato chips or waffle fries with ranch dressing to dip them in.  They were pretty impressive.  The kids menu contains the four staple items that every parent with a picky eating child looks for Grilled Cheese (Golden Grill), Chicken Nuggets (Chicken Bites), Mac-N-Cheese, and Pizza (Pepperoni Flatbread).  We've been to plenty of restaurants in the past where we've looked at the adult selections and been thrilled than perused the kids meals and frowned knowing our kids won't eat anything on it.  That won't be the case at Granite City Food & Brewery.



    Granite City actually has a pretty extensive kids menu that also includes Quesadilla, Saucy Pasta, Grilled Salmon, Steak Burgers and Grilled Chicken Breasts.  They also provide a variety of sides to select from to go along with the meal that include apple sauce, french fries, mashed potatoes, and broccolini to choose from.  Our kids kept it simple with my son asking for a Golden Grill and my daughter wanting Mac-N-Cheese with both ordering apple sauce for a side.  They must have enjoyed what they got because both children devoured their meals.




    My wife ordered the pulled pork waffle sandwich which she said was "delicious." It was made up of slow roasted hand-pulled pork topped with BBQ sauce and crispy onion strings sandwiched on waffle buns.  She herself can be a very picky eater at times so "delicious" can be considered a rave review.



    I tried out the Bison Burger and it was a decent meal though in the future I'll probably stick with a traditional hamburger just based on my own individual taste.  the burger consisted of a buffalo meat patty topped with Pepper Jack cheese and tarragon mayo on a pretzel bun.  It also included lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles.


    What will really keep me coming back to Granite City Food & Brewery though is its Cheddar Ale Soup.  Simply put ... it's AWESOME!!!  If you enjoy creamy cheese with a hint of pale ale flavoring you will really enjoy this great soup.  It's worth a trip to Granite City just to get a cup or bowl of their Cheddar Ale soup. The soup is on the daily menu but they really don't tout it so make sure to ask for it.  I enjoyed a bowl of it myself before digging into my bison burger.



    The atmosphere of Granite City really is all about enjoying a beer with a meal so you won't find a rowdy or obnoxious crowd at this establishment that would make families want to steer clear of the place.  In addition to a decent kids menu, the establishment also caters to people with children by offering a family rest room, you don't see that very often at a restaurant, and kids 6 and under eat FREE at their Sunday brunches.  We really enjoyed our experience at Granite City and appreciated the opportunity to help their staff get up to speed and ready to go for their newest Metro Detroit location's grand opening.

    To allow one of our readers to also enjoy a great free meal too, Granite City Food & Brewery has also provided a $25 gift card to award to one lucky person from A GEEK DADDY blog.  For your chance to win just follow the instructions below to submit up to 2 entries before 11:50pm EST on Sunday, April 12, 2015.  You must be over 18 years old and a Michigan resident to participate.

    EMAIL (1 ENTRY) - Email thegeekdaddy [at] yahoo [dot] com with your name and mailing address with the subject line GRANITE CITY.

    FACEBOOK (1 ENTRY) - Leave a comment on this Facebook post sharing which of Granite City's four signature beers you believe you'd enjoy the most and using the hash tag #GCnorthville

    The brand new Northville restaurant is located at 39603 Traditions Drive.  There is also a Metro Detroit location in Troy, Michigan at 699 W. Big Beaver Road plus another upcoming opening is planned in the near future for Detroit's GM Renaissance Center.

    Granite City gets A GEEK DADDY nod of approval because I really love their Cheddar Ale soup and because we found it to be a nice family-friendly establishment where we enjoyed a good meal with our kids.  For a list of all of Granite City's locations or more information about it, visit www.gcfb.net



    Disclaimer & Rules:

    You must be a Michigan resident to enter the gift card contest over the age of 18. A Geek Daddy Blog will select a random winner on  Monday, April 13, 2015 ( 1 winner will be selected from a random draw of all eligible entries - each submitted entry will be assigned a number and a random number will be drawn to select a winner based upon total entries ).  By participating in this contest you waive any liability towards A Geek Daddy Blog or its publisher that may arise from your involvement with this promotion. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.  A Geek Daddy Blog is hosting this giveaway as a benefit to our readers.  Information for this post was provided by Granite City Food & Brewery.  A Geek Daddy Blog did receive items and services of value in exchange for writing this blog post and review.  A positive review was not required of this blog and the views and opinions expressed are my own.

    Monday, April 6, 2015

    Return to Middle Earth with THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES on Blu-ray


    The epic conclusion to Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson movie trilogy adaption of J.R.R. Tolkien's enduringly popular novel masterpiece #TheHobbit is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.  "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" wraps up the quest of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. The dwarves have reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, but the Company has also unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world.


    Are you Brave like Bilbo? One lucky A GEEK DADDY Blog reader who completes The Hobbit quiz below and shares with us how they are Brave like Bilbo will win "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" on Blu-ray courtesy of Warner Home Videos.
    Complete the Middle Earth "Brave like Bilbo" Quiz and follow the instructions below before 11:59 pm EST Sunday, April 12, 2015  to earn up to 2 entries (Must be a US resident 18 years and older):

    UPDATE: Congrats to Stephan from Studio City, California who won the BRAVE LIKE BILBO contest.

    EMAIL (1 ENTRY) - Email thegeekdaddy [at] yahoo [dot] com with your name, mailing address, and sharing why you are Brave Like Bilbo with subject line BRAVE LIKE BILBO.

    FACEBOOK (1 ENTRY) - Leave a comment on this giveaway post sharing why you are Brave like Bilbo and using the hash tag #TheHobbit

    In addition to the movie, the Blu-Ray includes lots of special features you'll want to check out:
    • New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth Part 3
    • Recruiting the Five Armies
    • Completing Middle-earth: A Six-Part Saga
    • Completing Middle-earth: A Seventeen-Year Journey
    • The Last Goodbye: Behind the Scenes
    • Music Video
    • Trailers

     Disclaimer & Rules:

    You must be a US resident to enter over the age of 18. A Geek Daddy Blog will select a random winner on  Monday, April 13, 2015 ( 1 winner will be selected from a random draw of all eligible entries - each submitted entry will be assigned a number and a random number will be drawn to select a winner based upon total entries ).  A Geek Daddy Blog will be responsible for selecting the winner of this contest, but Warner Home Video  is responsible for fulfillment and delivery of the prize. By participating in this contest you waive any liability towards A Geek Daddy Blog or its publisher that may arise from your involvement with this promotion. A Geek Daddy Blog hosted this contest and blog post based upon  Warner Home Video providing the prize to the selected winner.  Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Prize will be delivered by UPS or FedEx so no P.O. Boxes are allowed as mailing addresses. A Geek Daddy Blog is hosting this giveaway as a benefit to our readers.  Information for this post was provided by Warner Home Video.  A Geek Daddy Blog did not receive any financial compensation for publishing this post.

    Friday, April 3, 2015

    Our Annual Hop Over To Bunnyville Egg-stravaganza @ The Detroit Zoo



    This year was the third year in a row that we've hopped over the the Detroit Zoo to participate in its annual Bunnyville activities. Taking place the Friday and Saturday before Easter, the zoo provides fun activities, games and entertainment for children that are FREE with paid admission to the zoo. Being that we live a fifteen minute drive from the zoo and have an annual family pass this egg-stravaganza is always a nice extra benefit of having a zoo membership that my kids really enjoy. We started off our visit to Bunnyville with a stop at the Jelly Bean Jamboree where the kids rubbed on some temporary tattoos, built custom bracelets, and made bunny faces from paper plates and cotton balls while enjoying live music performed by Mr. Seley and the Troublemakers that put a rock spin on some popular children's songs like "Old McDonald Had A Zoo."


    Next was a stop at the Ford Education Center for a sp-egg-tacular magic show by the Amazing Clark followed by a stroll around to view some of the animals and a zookeeper talk at the grizzly bears exhibit. Than it was off to the Children's Hospital of Michigan Whisker Painting Station so the kids could get their bunny faces on.


    The Funny Bunny Games are always a hit.  This year's activities included a hoop toss, floating duck contest, beanbag throw, and don't drop the egg walk for prizes that included dinosaur masks, a handheld pinball maze game, pencils, and some fruit gummy snacks.  All of which thrilled and excited my kids.



    Every year we've attended this egg-stravaganza my kids favorite part has been the Bunny Follies live play, especially when they get everybody in the audience to do the chicken dance. 


    The theme of the skit is on how Elmer the Bear wants to replace the Easter Bunny with the Big Brown Easter Bear.  The show has some humorous gags and musical numbers that get the audience engaged and my kids talk about it for days afterwards.



    The Bunny Follies really are egg-cellent!


    Our family has really enjoyed the Detroit Zoo's Bunnyville activities during our kids preschool and kindergarten years.  Based upon the activities though the event probably peaks out as being suitable for children in first or second grade so while Bunnyville has become somewhat of a family tradition it might not be that much longer lived as the twins move on to first grade this Fall.  If you are a parent of a preschooler or kindergarten aged child that lives in the Metro Detroit area, Bunnyville at the Detroit Zoo gets A Geek Daddy Nod of Approval and I highly recommend hopping by to enjoy the festivities.


    Spring is here, the sun is out and it is time to get your Vitamin Z!