10 Kid Snacks You’ll Eat Like A Rodent Scavenger

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Move over Guy Fieri, it’s me: a parent willing to devour any chunk of processed garbage I find in the crevices of the backseat of my minivan. Okay, I wouldn’t eat Crevice Snacks (at least not without a Food Network contract), but I have sampled – even enjoyed – a cornucopia of snacks a more sophisticated (aka, lame) adult would miss out on. Sometimes parenting is a tough gig, but if we’re being honest, the always-available snacks are a perk.

1 Fruit Snacks: Fruit's Very Distant Cousin

Here’s one of life’s great mysteries: Why are gummies in a plastic pouch a healthy snack, but once they take bear-form, they become candy? Who cares?! Give me all the red ones or you’re grounded.

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2 Lunchables, For When You're Lunch-unable.

Me at the grocery store: Why would I spend $3 on some weird meat and crackers and a heap of plastic when I could make this myself so easily.

Me at home, reaching for my kid’s Lunchable at midnight: It would ruin my life to cut up meat and cheese and open a sleeve of crackers right now.

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3 Liquid Sugar In A Pouch

I don’t know why sugar water tastes so much better sucked through a straw out of a foil pouch, but I’ll slam a whole box of these at your summer barbecue. 12 come in a box, 1 for each of my kids and 10 for me.

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4 Granola Bars AKA Hanger Stavers

Granola bars are one of those snacks we buy for kids because the word granola is healthy, and we’re happy to ignore that the granola is held together with what is essentially glue made out of high fructose corn syrup. Anyway, these babies come in CLUTCH when you’re on a family outing and the Hanger kicks in.

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5 I love the fishes because they're so readily available.

Let’s be real, these are not so delicious. If you enjoy chewing on cardboard with a vaguely cheesy aftertaste that lingers for hours, good for you. For the rest of us, we eat goldfish crackers because, if we don’t, they’ll end up ground up in the carpet.

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6 NUGGETS

As an adult with high cholesterol, I try not to eat fast food; but as a parent, it is my privilege, NAY, MY RIGHT, to freely take from my kids’ kid’s meals. We’ve been ordering the 6-piece McNugget Happy Meal for awhile but my son still thinks it’s 4-piece. Please do not tell him. Honorable mention to the french fries at the bottom of the bag which are all for me and whose calories stop counting once they fall out of their little fry bag.

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7 Gimme Some Of Your Tots

My kids won’t laugh at my Napoleon Dynamite tots voice, and as punishment I eat all their tots. I don’t know why potatoes in other shapes are grown up and these thick potato cylinders are just for kids, but I’m thankful I’m a parent so I have tot access (and someone to carry on my legacy or whatever – but mostly the tots).

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8 Hunks Of Cheese

When I’m tired of processed pantry snacks I reach into the cheese drawer for one or two or three of these. More often though, I’m mindlessly devouring a half-eaten string cheese I find on the corner of the coffee table, sweaty and warm from the hours its spent abandoned there.

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9 My Daily Dose Of Calcium And Vitamin D

Drinking a children’s drink out of a tiny cup doesn’t make you any less of a man. You can keep your whiskey neat, give me a damn glass of ice cold chocolate milk and I will drink that shit until I get a belly ache.

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10 Kid Cereal? More Like Late Night Cereal

I can’t eat my kid’s cereal in the morning. I’m not diabetic but that amount of sugar early in the day will put me in a diabetic coma. But you know late at night I’m up in the pantry pouring Coco Puffs, Lucky Charms, or Cinnamon Toast Crunch into the largest mixing bowl I can find, only to play dumb in the morning when my kid asks why there’s only bottom-of-the-box cereal powder left.

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Before you side eye me, remember: Judge not, lest ye be judged. Let he who has not scooped a bite of cold mac ‘n’ cheese with hot dogs out of a plastic bowl left out on the counter for a few hours after dinner cast the first stone. Admit it, you’ve had all these snacks and sometimes you even liked them. One day our kids will move out and we’ll be faced with the dilemma of whether we buy this shit for ourselves or not. Until then, we’ll just have to keep sampling all of our kid’s snacks to… uhh… make sure it’s not poisonous.

Data Expert Beautifully Charts Top Selling Video Games of Last 30 Years

Top Selling Video Game Data
(YouTube / Data Is Beautiful)

Video games hold a special place in our hearts. The virtual worlds and competitions we’ve explored on consoles and computers have shaped who we are and occupied tons of our headspace over the decades. Hell, dads love video games so much, we created a whole group just for them.

But just because a certain game means a lot to you doesn’t mean it necessarily does to everyone else.

YouTuber and first-year PhD student Data Is Beautiful dove into the history of video games to do what he does best: take us on “a fun trip down memory lane together so we can relive the colorful events we all experienced.”

Specifically, he charts video game sales worldwide over the last 30 years. These are measured by cumulative units on both PC and game consoles excludes both mobile app sales and free-to-play games (e.g., Fortnite).

Talk about some serious twists and turns! The video perfectly illustrates the radical changes that swept through the industry over the decades – some you surely expected and others you probably didn’t.

Frogger held the top spot for 3 years before finally being toppled in 1992 by everyone’s favorite Italian plumber in Super Mario Land. Soon after, though, Tetris saw an impressive rise to the top of the charts where it remained for two decades, despite several popular franchises like Pokemon and The Sims experiencing cult-like popularity in the ’90s and 2000s.

 

Tetris and its iconic falling blocks remained king of video game sales for what felt like an eternity until another block-centric title came seemingly out of nowhere to take the title spot in 2013: Minecraft. The sandbox video game saw a meteoric explosion of popularity, essentially leaving all the other titles and franchises in its dust.

So, for all of those who dream of designing a video game of their own one day, learn from history: Make a game with some damn blocks.

Malls Open Early So Kids With Autism Can Meet Santa In a Calm Setting

Santa Lays on Floor For Child With Autism
(Autism Speaks)

Taking your kids to meet Santa is a wholesome family tradition. You get to drive to an always-crowded suburban mall, spend 10 minutes circling for a parking spot, wait in a long line to meet Santa, and then take a picture of your kid crying when he comes face to face with the most magical person in their world. It really is pretty special.

And for some parents, especially those who have children with special needs, participating in these routine traditions can be a much tougher hurdle to clear. This is why Autism Speaks is hosting “Santa Cares” events at malls across the country, where kids with special needs can visit with Santa in a less frenetic setting.

On those days, the malls open early to help facilitate a smaller crowd, the music plays a little quieter, and the lights are a little lower. Santa also has training for children with special needs. Often times they’ll stand behind their chairs or lay on the ground to make sure the children are comfortable. All of this combines to create a much more accessible experience for kids who need it.

 

Autism Speaks partnered with Cherry Hill Programs to produce the events, which include special training for the Santas so they can better interact with special needs children.

“Our goal is to create a more inclusive world for people with autism, and events like this make such a meaningful impact in helping families feel comfortable, understood and accepted,” said a spokesperson at Autism Speaks.

There are hundreds of events planned around the country, to find a sensory-friendly Santa experience near you, check out the Autism Speaks website.

Parody Adds Ice Skates to Die Hard to Make Even More Christmassy

Die Hard on Ice Parody
(YouTube/NOW TV)

The holidays can be stressful. What with the shopping and the crowds and the long Christmas lists and the family interactions; things are fraught. Sometimes you need a break, and often the best way to get one is to sit down by the fire and the tree, grab a glass of egg nog, and watch a Christmas movie.

Like Die Hard.

Oh, I’m sorry, you don’t consider Die Hard a Christmas movie? Well, it takes place during the Christmas season, at a Christmas party, on Christmas eve, and there’s a tree and a Santa and Christmas songs, and someone even says “Ho. Ho. Ho.” So maybe it’t not about Christmas but it is surrounding by the trappings of Christmas, which is a good enough reason for me to put it on this weekend!

If you’re still not convinced, maybe this new version of the classic action movie will turn the tide.

A new ad for NOW TV in England, promoting the streaming service – and its airing of Die Hard this month – features a parody of Die Hard – featuring ice skaters. It has to be seen to be believed.

McClane is played by Hollywood stunt artist Tom Boney, but the real show-stopper here is Hans, as portrayed by four-time British silver medalist figure skater Thomas Paulson.

The ad, which is better than it has any right to be, is clearly meant with affection, as confirmed by NOW TV’s Managing Director, Marina Storti. “Die Hard is arguably the greatest action movie of all time – an iconic and festive blend of action, intelligence, drama and comedy,” Storti said. “And we’re sure our ‘on ice’ recreation will be loved by Die Hard enthusiasts and NOW TV fans alike.”

The parody only lasts as long as the trailer, and while I certainly don’t need ice skates added to the movie to make it an acceptable watch during the holiday season, my wife might.

I just hope Holly doesn’t yell “toe pick!”

Grandma and Grandson Are Best Friends and Viral Photoshoot Veterans

Ross Smith and Pauline "Granny" Kana
(Instagram/smoothsmith8)

Family photos are notorious for being cheesy, poorly staged, and just bad overall. Fortunately, a special grandmother-grandson duo is redefining the game and kicking out some unforgettable family pics to their now millions of fans.

Ross Smith, 27, and his 93-year-old grandma, Pauline “Granny” Kana, began posting short videos on Vine over 6 years ago. One particular vid featured Ross getting savagely blocked by Granny while playing basketball, which went subsequently went insanely viral and launched the duo into internet stardom.

Even with the decline of Vine, the duo has continued making videos and doing hilarious photoshoots, which has earned them an astounding 2.7 million followers on Instagram and 900k subscribers on YouTube.

We’ve compiled a number of our favorite parody costume shoots from Ross and Granny for your viewing pleasure. We promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Clearly, family holidays are even more special for this pair who plan something costumed and ridiculous for nearly every single one of them. It’s also hard to tell who’s enjoying it more.

In addition to posting amazing photographic content like this, Ross and Granny also film comedy sketches, mini-documentaries, Granny’s words of wisdom, and sometimes just typical updates to let us know Granny hasn’t kicked it yet.

Sometimes, they’ll even visit conventions to heckle folks walking around. Check out Granny’s shenanigans at this bodybuilding event:

If you need more quality content from this iconic pair, check out their posts on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

‘Vacation’ TV Reboot ‘The Griswolds’ in the Works at HBO Max

The Griswolds TV Reboot
(Warner Bros)

It’s December, inching towards Christmas, and this time of year means one thing in my house: holiday movies.

In October we watch horror flicks, in December it’s Santa stuff. All month long. My wife indulges in the proud schlock of the Lifetime and Hallmark channels, my kids eat up all the animated stuff, I get thrown the occasional Die Hard or Bad Santa bone, and sprinkled throughout the month are the classics. The movies get more legitimate as we get closer to the big day, and the two biggest are the classic It’s a Wonderful Life and my wife’s all-time favorite National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Christmas Vacation is the third movie to feature the lovably dysfunctional Griswold family, featuring doofus dad Clark, his remarkably tolerant wife, Ellen, and their two teenagers, Rusty and Claire. There have been 4 movies (if you count Vegas Vacation) featuring Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo as Clark and Ellen, with their kids being played by a variety of different actors (including Anthony Michael Hall).

Johnny Galecki, who grew up to star in Roseanne and The Big Bang Theory, appeared as Rusty in the Christmas edition, and apparently he has fond memories because he’s bringing the family back. In TV form!

With his blockbuster sitcom coming to an end, Galecki is shifting attention away from Sheldon and company and back to the Griswold family with a new series for HBO Max.

The Hollywood Reporter describes the “The Griswolds” as “a single-camera comedy about what happens when the disaster-prone family returns home from vacation. The Griswolds, which currently has a script development deal, will follow the family and explore their daily lives in the suburbs of modern-day Chicago.”

Whether the dad will be Clark, or Rusty (Ed Helms portrayed a grown-up Rusty in 2017’s Vacation reboot that nobody saw), or someone else is yet to be seen, as is any potential involvement of Chevy Chase in one of his most iconic roles. The notoriously prickly actor has burned many a bridge over the years, but people still love Clark, so we’ll see.

Unfortunately, something tells me Randy Quaid won’t be reprising his role as Cousin Eddie anytime soon.

Father Figures: How Much I Lost

“My mother sent me a box of pictures from my childhood and included was the note I wrote my father the night he left. I was nine, and I can still remember him telling my mother he’d been having an affair. He packed some things as my mother cried in another room.

As he put his boots on to leave, I handed it to him. I remember feeling pretty confident that I’d be able to change his mind, but of course it didn’t work. He read it. Then he let out a forced breath, and then tossed the note onto the kitchen table. He didn’t say anything. He just finished putting on his boots, slung the duffle bag over his shoulder, and left.

It’s funny, in that moment I felt like I’d done something wrong. Like my note failed to keep my parents together. But when I saw it mixed in with those photos 28 years later, I felt anger, and I’ll tell you why.

After he left, he was in and out of my life until he died 10 years later from drug addiction. The most consist relationship we had was when he was in jail. I always knew where to find him then. But I don’t think I fully realized what we’d missed until I became a father myself.

That night he not only walked out on my mother, but he also walked out on years of bedtime stories, family movie nights, parent teacher conference, warm hugs, vacations, arguments over homework, Christmas mornings, camping trips, playing catch, and every other heartwarming, frustrating, and rewarding part of being a father.

I can remember him saying ‘you’ll understand someday. ‘He said that a lot. And he was right. It’s only now that I know exactly what he and I lost.

Divorce happens, but that fatherhood gig never stops. The moment I saw that note, a realization hit me in a hot angry wave. I finally understood how much I lost the night my father left, and I don’t know if I’ve ever felt more committed to my role as a father than I do right now.”

– Clint Edwards, Author of Silence is a Scary Sound [amazon.com/Silence-Scary-Sound-Stories-Terrible/dp/1624148530/]

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

Baby Confused By His Father’s Twin

NFL Star Pays off $80k in Holiday Layaway Accounts at Hometown Walmart

Khalil Mack Pays off Layaway Debt
(Getty/Quinn Harris)

Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack recently played hometown Santa when he paid off all the layaway items at a Walmart in Florida. Hundreds of families will have a happier Christmas as the Pro Bowler’s gift totaled nearly $80,000. The store tweeted about the heartwarming gesture.

“We have some wonderful News! If you have an active Holiday Layaway account at your local Ft. Pierce Wal-Mart, your account has been paid off! We here at Walmart would like to thank the Khalil Mack Foundation for your generosity, and for making so many families happy for the holidays!”

The Khalil Mack foundation approached the Walmart with interest in brightening the holidays for the community as a “secret santa”, which, admittedly, lost a lot of its secrecy when the store openly tweeted about it. Still, it’s a baller move to bring some Christmas joy to his community.

Mack, a former defensive player of the year and Pro Bowl regular, is a terrifying presence on the field, as he destroys offensive lines on the reg.

But it’s his big heart that’s earning him praise now. Mack has always been a big supporter of his community, as just earlier this year he donated cleats to everyone on the football team at his former high school.

Tis the season for heartwarming gestures from pro athletes, as this move comes just weeks after one star paid thousands to clear a middle school’s lunch debt.

Keanu Day: The Matrix 4 and John Wick 4 Share Same Release Date

Keanu Sequel Day
(Warner Bros./Lionsgate)

Keanu Reeves is having a resurgence over the past few years, and his apex is on the horizon, as we finally have a release date for the much-awaited Matrix sequel: May 21, 2021. Oh, and we also have a release date for the next installment of his beloved John Wick franchise and it is…May 21, 2021.

That’s right, the spring weekend will feature an epic Keanu v. Keanu box office showdown. Many have already started to call it “Keanu Day”, as the two mammoth titles will hit theaters at the exact same time.


In fairness, Keanu Reeves is the only actor who could compete with a Keanu Reeves opening. And while opening against a huge movie may be seen as a deterrent, it could actually help both films in this case as folks go out of their way to hit both.

It’s not yet clear which film would garner the bigger opening weekend. The Matrix 4 is a sequel to a beloved franchise, and there’s bound to be more than a healthy dose of nostalgia involved. And while some of the enthusiasm for the film may be tempered by the first lackluster sequels (2 and 3 both left fans dissatisfied), it’s hard to see how this could go wrong.

And you can’t sleep on John Wick 4 either, as that franchise doesn’t have any nostalgia factor, but does have a strong ass-kicking factor, one that has propelled it to strong box office openings. Case in point, John Wick 3 was the film that finally knocked Avengers Endgame out of the top spot at the box office.

It is possible that one of the films may change their release date, but for now, maybe block off the entire weekend for one giant Keanu celebration.

If you can’t wait for some Keanu content, check out how one artist worked him into the lives of every Disney Princess or check him out in the SpongeBob trailer.