Saturday, April 23, 2011

Teenagers, School, and Patience

Dear Ask Dad Today,

My name is Sally, and I am writing you today for advice on dealing with a teenager and school. My 14 yr old son is failing multiple classes, When I review the school print that shows were he is failing at it states he does A+ work in class but does not complete his homework. I have had the talk numerous times with now luck. I am a single mom in need of your help.

Wow Sally!
First off I want to commend you on the single parent job alone. It is more than enough work as combined parenting role within a home, most people will never understand the stress and added patience that comes with being a single parent, GOOD JOB MOM!!!

I came across a similar situation in the recent past. A family member had a problem with her son. The situation turned out to be easier than we thought to deal with. She contacted the school principal to and scheduled a sit down meeting between the 2 of them. The principal notified mom that the school already provided her son with daily “Binder Reminder” that the student fills out in each class. The principal came up with a great idea. She agreed to make it look like her idea for the following 30 day game plan to pull her son out of this hole and help him learn some responsibility for his actions.

The principals 30 day game plan:

      1. The student is now required to get get a signature from each teacher throughout the day showing if class work is complete and homework was assigned or not.
      2. The student is required to attend a lunch study lab during lunch break for 30 min to work on past due assignments, a time in/out stamp is to be stamped in the binder reminder as well for each of the 5 days.
      3. After school tutoring is now set to help complete past/future homework assignments this is scheduled Tues, Weds, Thurs, after school from 2pm-3pm, and again a time in/out is to be stamp in the binder reminder for each of these 3 days.
      4. Then Friday after school, the student has a set appointment with the principal to review each of the 33 signatures that were required throughout the week along with review of any comments his teacher might have.

This idea turned out to be a wonderful help for mom due to the fact she has now placed the entire responsibility on her sons shoulders without him even knowing! You will find most school principals will be this helpful for any parent that is willing to go to the school and ask for help.

The big ticket for something like this to work is “Not To Threaten” the idea at your child in regards to their academics, but to stay calm, be very patient, and mention nonchalantly keeping your cool no matter what is said back to you during this conversation. (I'm Italian so trust me, I know how hard it is to keep my mouth shut and respond back to their comments in a calm manner, lol.)Try to discuss the topic of responsibility, "just as you have a job to pay bills , school is your child’s job". Your child needs to start realizing the importance of assuming some responsibility for their actions now, because as they grow deeper into this teenage realm things will only get worst to the point, the hole will be to big to climb out off and their friends will have advanced past them no longer wishing to be friends with a lazy person.

It is my opinion to set a school appointment with the principal on a Friday early afternoon (ask the principal to have her meeting with your child Monday morning), have your talk with your child Friday evening (be sure not to let on of the meeting you had with the principal). After all this your child will have the seeds you planted into them time to grow over the weekend, this way when the principal calls them into the office Monday morning and sets up a similar plan as above, it your child will now start to think, “Holy Crap, my parent was onto something” and at that point will realize that the lack of responsibility taken on their part in the past has now come back to bite them in the butt!

On a side note most people will tell you to set up a counseling session for your child, this is not a bad idea because most teenagers find it easier to vent with a complete stranger, rather than their parent.
I’m not saying anything about your parenting skills, but being able to find 1 little thing new on how to handle a situation with less stress is worth a million bucks! If you can set aside a couple hours a week for yourself to go to some classes I feel you will benefit tremendously!
One of the greatest programs I have come across is called: “Love and Logic”. If you Google “Love and Logic” ( ) you can find many communities that offer this program within walking distance to your home. Don't take my word on this, I am just making the suggestion to visit only 1 class, then from that point on you can make your own decisions on this program.

One last thing, don’t let your child now you are attending these classes as they will not knowingly try and push your buttons trying to make you believe you are not a good parent for seeking new parenting ideas. As time goes on you will see the change from were you were to were you are now.

Keep you chin up and remember patience is starts from within!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Backyard BBQ, Please Help!

Dear Ask Dad,

I'm planning a backyard BBQ get together for a few friends and co-workers (about 20 adults, no kids). We have a propane BBQ setup, and looking for ideas on how to be creative with something different than the normal hotdogs and hamburgers. What should we do?

Well Backyard BBQ,

Planning a memorable BBQ is always frustrating. You have to think about who is coming, how many people, are they healthy eaters or will a good ole fashion Rib-Eye steak work. Then you have to make sure you have all the snack stuff everyone will enjoy, drinks for the drinkers, and non-alcoholic drinks for the non drinker. Don't worry here is your menu, its easy and will get you the “WOW” factor, you be the talk around the office for weeks!


12 pack Sam Adams Summer Ale
12 pack Hefenwiezen (Orange slices on side)
12 pack Coronas (Limes on side)
2 bottles of Beringer White Zinfandel

Non-alcoholic Drinks:
Home brew Sun Tea
bottles of water
12 pack Coke
12 pack Diet Coke
Non-alcoholic blender drinks
Banana Orange cocktail: 1 cup french Vanilla Coffee creamer
2 banana cut up
1 orange cut up
1 ¾ cup ice
1 ½ cup milk
Blend until it turns into a smoothie

Snack menu:
Bag of pretzels in a big bowl
Bag of white corn tortilla chips
Bag of Ruffles
Bag of baby carrots
Fresh made Onion dip (sour cream and a pack of onion dip mix)
Fresh mild salsa from the deli (add a block of cream cheese in the bowl)

Food Menu:
2lbs macaroni salad fresh from deli
2lbs potato salad fresh from deli
15 Bacon wrapped Asparagus (not everyone will have one):
Just wrap bundles of Asparagus with strips of Bacon.  I usually wrap one slice of Bacon around 3-4 Asparagus.  I’ll add a well placed toothpick to each bundle, so not to worry about the Bacon unraveling on the grill – That’s a bad thing.  Bacon Wrapped Asparagus is an easy tasty appetizer or side dish.  Everyone loves them. 

9 Shrimp kabobs (jumbo shrimp, green,red,yellow bell peppers)
9 chicken kabobs (cubed chicken breast, green,red,yellow bell peppers,mushrooms,onion,pineapple)
9 Steak kabobs (cubed steak,green,red,yellow bell peppers,mushrooms,onion,pineapple)
8 BBQ Brats soaked in beer: (Prepare the night before)

BBQ Brats soaked in beer Recipe:
1-12 oz. can beer
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
Several drops hot pepper sauce
8 brats
Combine beer, brown sugar, soy sauce, mustard, chili powder, garlic and hot pepper sauce. Place brats in shallow baking dish; pour marinade over. Cover, refrigerate several hours or overnight, spooning marinade occasionally. Remove brats, reserve marinade. Grill over medium hot coals about 4 minutes. Turn and grill until done, about 3 to 4 minutes more.  

Dont forget the sauces: Ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, salt and pepper, etc.

The main concern should be setting the mood!!!!!

  1. turn on a few t.v.'s in the house, at least 1 on sports for the sports junkies like me and 1 on the news for the stories to help give topics of conversation.
  2. Turn on radio lightly in the background, you don't wont to make people scream to talk with each other
    pic a neutral station that fits the crown.
  3. Last but not least don't forget to send dad a plate!!!!

Enjoy your weekend and let me know how it all turned out!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Dear Ask Dad!,

I am a recent single parent of 2 living in the L.A. area. I have only lived in CA for about 2 years now. Due to the economy being what it im in dire need of things to due that cost very little to entertain my kids. Please help! Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Well Recent Single Parent, 

I do understand the need for budgeting with today’s economy being what it is. Having kids myself  I feel I must stress the importance of continuing on day to day operations at home not letting the children feel the tightness that surrounds the most of today’s wallets.

As I was thinking a a good response my daughter came to me saying “ Lets go have fun outside today”!
I grabbed my laptop and immediately went on a search for things to do in LA that cost little to nothing. With an extravagant end that would leave two nuclear power plants drained at the end. It is truly amazing what I found:       " Griffith Park "

Griffith Park offers so many amazing attractions for a cost that is very appealing to any parent living in today’s economy, FREE! So I grabbed my keys and headed out the door.

Griffith Park

Griffith Observatory
A spectacular place for kids as well as adults to visit, with displays and attractions that include Stars, planets, pictures, and things you can touch and of course things you cannot. This is a must for any person wanting to spend the day dreaming in the sky.

Open Tuesday-Friday 12:00 noon to 10:00 p.m.
Open Saturday-Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Closed on Mondays

Griffith Observatory 
The fun started as we headed to the observatory were we walked for hours looking at stuff I never even knew existed, as I walked out the front door I caught myself staring to the sky with that child hood thought  of what it must be   like to be an Astronaut. I felt a tingle inside as I held my daughters close and walked to the car.

Picnicking at Griffith Park
At Griffith Park you get your choice of 5 separate picnic locations; I cannot choose which one I had more fun at. Between the BBQ's, the kids playground areas, hiking (we went for a walk), they offer swimming, this is just an amazing place!

We then drove down to the picnic area where I pulled out some BBQ supplies from the trunk and had lunch. The girls were too busy playing at the playground to even notice I had put out cookies and juice boxes for them.

Griffith Park Travel Town
After lunch we drove down the road a little further and stopped at Travel Town. Man what a place!!! From the time we entered the gates the kids made sure I knew just how excited they really were. From the screams to the jumping up and down they were happy to be here. After riding the cool miniature train, around the entire park of Travel Town,
We walked around the park, (actually I walked they ran), climbed on top, in, and out of many full size trains. I could not help but notice the many birthday parties surrounding the trains. I could only imagine what is going through the mind of a child when they find out they get to have a birthday party here, wow!

All this in one great place, all for under a dollar? That's right I spent $0.00 from 8am until 4:30pm it's all free. From Parking to entrance, it's FREE!

Until our next trip,

Ask dad

Loved and Lost

Who ever said
"it's better to have Loved and Lost, than to never Loved at all" 
 is an idiot!

"When the pain inside just seems to last, 
and the memories fill your eyes, with shadows of your past.
The children remind you of what you once had,  
The love you lost afraid to be sad,
I loved my wife for all that she made me, 
and when she left it made me crazy. 
As these days keep passing I start to think back,
of the love I once had, GOD how I miss that.
It's not the face or that person within, 
buts the warm touch I long to be with. 
The embrace of a women holding you close, 
makes a man feel like a man when your down the most.
I look in the eyes of my 2 precious girls,
and fall to my knees with shivers and chills.
The sensation of parenthood blinds me the most, 
I just can't wait to tickle their toes. 
As the girls get older will they understand, 
there's daddy and mommy and some other man.
I try each day not to let them see,
the pain behind my eyes, man I'm lonely.
January has gone it made 3years, 
since the whisper of a women rang in my ears.
The summer is here and now I can see, 
looking back on my life "GOD has blessed me"!
I have only 1 wish for the man up above,
please send me a girl to fill me with love.