Batman, Superman, Spiderman and Iron Man are the stuff of legend. So are dads. Their rug wrestling, lawn mowing, laundry folding, power jobbing, car pooling, open fire cooking, peace-keeping, do-gooding ways deserve a little shoutout, at least for one day each year.
Cosmotot is here to save the day with a comprehensive list of goodies and gadgets ranging from cheap to steep and campy to fancy that will go great with that macaroni art and kid-made breakfast dad loves.
Dads and gadgets go together like newborns and cute, making Zoom Album a perfect fit for all involved. The company's kits contain the tools necessary for making a 3"x 3" professional looking photo album at home. Simply use the included ZoomAlbum Software CD, a computer, digital camera, camera phone or scanner, and a color Inkjet printer to create a customized brag book in minutes.
We all know dad can cook just as well as mom, but when a string of all-nighters calls for a daytime meal whipped up in someone else's kitchen, Tatutina offers an original hand-painted Take Out Menu Box to keep the family's favorites handy. Founded by a mother-daughter team that creates around the idea that fun and function go together, Tatutina's collection is designed and tested to meet the requirements of the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM). Better yet, every box is painted using certified non-toxic, lead free paints.
It takes two to tango, so why not let dads-to-be in on the action associated with the nine month bump watch? 2 chix, created by a pair of designers turned best gal pals via "arranged friendship" after their respective boyfriends set them up, not only specializes in hilarious maternity tops for haute mamas but also offers a range of fresh, irreverent Daddy tees that say everything from "I'm the Milkman" to "Bullseye."
Dads get short changed when it comes to diaper bags. And, though the position of cheif haul monitor is most often given to mom, it's only because dad wouldn't be caught dead schlepping a bag covered in pinky precious patterns more suited for a crib sheet than a carryall. Diaper Dude agrees, and created a casual yet contemporary portable changing station turned Dude Pack for discerning dads on the go. An adjustable, ergonomic wearing design is king, and features like an iPod pouch, padded changing pad, and edgy graphics (think Chinese dragons, skulls, and retro-rock guitars) won't scare the manliest of men away.
The phrase "born to be wild," doesn't exactly carry the same weight it once did once the term "parents" enters the picture. However, with Baby Bjorn's collection of Original Spirit carriers, what you can sling is your baby, without compromising style or comfort in the process. In honor of its 35th anniversary, Baby Bjorn revamped, reworked and reissued its award-winning line of namesake baby carriers.Instead of changing its user-friendly, ergonimically correct design, the company introduced a range of eye-popping candy colors like Orange Flame, Green Energy, Black Diamond, Red Heart, White Angel and Grey Pearl instead, letting the creativity and comfort of the bestselling original stand on its own.
If the world is your oyster, you need a place to shuck it. Keep dad sharp with the Romeo & Julienne cutting board from Fred & Friends, inspired by a bard and an all-time classic that was certainly on the cutting edge. The high quality, wooden, book-look board is crafted from solid beechwood, pre-seasoned with a light dressing of mineral oil, and is ideal for slicing and dicing whether you're feeling star-crossed or cursed in the kitchen. After all, it's better to have chopped and tossed than never to have chopped at all.
No one likes a cheater, but when it comes to the diet foods that dominate the marketplace, every now and then you need a treat sneak. Look no further than Casue Sweets for indulgent, 100% unadulterated goodness, with a collection of "plus size" cookies, shortbread bars, crumb-topped brownies, iced creations and sour cream swirled cookies that push the term delicious to delectable proportions. Note: Although highly addictive, Casue Sweets are not free of allergens.
If a man is going to cook in the great outdoors, charring hunks of meat over a tall, open flame, you might as well treat him to a little table-appropriate style with "choice cut" salt and pepper shakers from Brooklyn Rehab. Made from upcycled restaurant grade ceramic with rubber stopper bottoms and decals, each is a BBQ master's dream.
During the week, dads on the go slurp their joe straight from a travel cup without much time to savor the sweet jolt of caffeine that takes the edge off that 2 a.m. wake up call courtesy of a cranky kid. But, on the weekends when things slow down, treat dad to a cup of something delicious in a fantastically detailed, subtlely refined Belle & Boo bone china mug, even if it's just hot chocolate with extra marshmallows.
Add to the teetering stack on his nightstand with themed reads from Chronicle Books, like Dear Dad, a tribute to the grandfathers, fathers, and kiddos who love them, with photos compiled from the M.I.L.K. Project, a global photographic competition that started in 1999. More than 17,000 professional and amateur photographers across 164 countries participated.
Handy Dad, packed with skate ramps, zip lines, go-carts, and 25 other awesome projects for dads to build with their kids is another good choice, since busy dads can choose projects that range from simple to challenging and take anywhere from five minutes to a full weekend. Readers get all the directions they need to grab materials that can be found around the house or at the local hardware store and get to work banging up a sweet BMX ramp or half-pipe, building a tree house or tire swing, or throwing together a slip-and-slide or tie-dye station.
Memento: My Life in Stories might
inspire even the most reluctant dad to take up journaling.
After the unexpected death of his father, author Michael
the daunting task of sorting through his father's
papers and belongings. At the bottom of a desk drawer, he found a
notebook, a gift he'd given his father the previous year. He had
hoped, but not expected, that his father would use the questions to
write about his life. When McQueen opened the book, he discovered
pages filled with his father's handwriting. Stories, advice,
memories that had never come up in family conversation filled page
after page - truly the gift of a lifetime. From this experience,
Memento was born to give to the
people you love. The simple, thought-provoking questions are easy
to fill in, and might be something special to page turn in years to
While there's always room for a homemade card, turn to The Fine Art of Family for something more keepsakey that combines the best of fine art and kid crafts in one. Their sterling silver Bespoke Image Case includes an engraved note written in the gift-giver's own hand (think scrambly, loopy, little kid writing), plus room for two favorite photos. Designed by photographer Monica Rich Kosann, the case is inspired by a love of all things vintage and heirlooms from generations gone by. Either way, the end result is inimitable and something to be cherished, kind of like the big guy himself.
An old adage says they might break your bones, but personalized keepsake name creations from Sticks and Stones make a much more exciting gift than the same old tie and hankie combination. Their large Letters Gallery features amazing, photographic A to Z images taken from real structures and nature, and their newest addition, the letter "i" hails from Chicago. A range of frame and matte options allow for classic, timeless choices, for an end result that's as sophisticated yet original as your other half.
Maria Pilar Clark is a mom times two and Windy City-based writer.
See more of Pilar's stories here.