ribs

Father’s Day Barbecue Ideas

Father’s day is coming up and many women and kids are wondering just how to make the day special for the dad’s in their lives. Tacky ties and soap on a rope (anyone else remember soap on a rope?) aside, the best gift that we can give to the dad’s is a great day spent together doing things that they love – whatever that is! Golf, fishing, cycling, camping, movies… it doesn’t matter as long as you do it together.

Wondering what food to serve when you are all done playing? Guys typically like barbecue, and it is a good time of year to do just that! After all, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, right?

Here are a couple of recipes to try – the beauty of these is that it can all be prepared ahead of time and cooked on the barbeque together. Add your favourite salad, buns or garlic bread, and your meal will be complete.

Barbecue Beer Pork Ribs Recipe

Marinade Ingredients

  • ½ cup beer
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 cup beer (use whatever you like, but the darker the beer, the more flavor)
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4  tsp pepper
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste or ketchup
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Directions

Trim excess fat and remove membrane from ribs. Marinate ribs in ½ cup of the beer and 1 of the minced garlic cloves for anywhere from 4 to 24 hours. Pour off excess liquid before the next step.

Mix remaining ingredients for sauce (or, use your favourite barbecue sauce). Place the ribs in foil with ½ of the sauce. Place on the barbecue on low heat (if you have 2 burners, light one side and place ribs on the other) for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Remove ribs from foil and place on rack for 10 minutes at medium heat. Brush with remaining sauce and cook for another 10 – 15 minutes, turning once.

Barbecue Potatoes

  • 6 potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion (sliced so you have rings)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • ½ tsp basil
  • 1 tbsp parsley

Directions

Cut potatoes into slices about ¼ inch thick or into 1 inch cubes. Mix other ingredients in a bowl. Add potatoes and stir until they are coated.

Coat a large piece of aluminum foil with olive oil or spray with cooking spray. Place potatoes on foil and bake in the barbeque on low or medium heat for about 1 hour.

You can also add other root vegetables if you like (carrots, squash, beets).

Super Easy Baked Pineapple Beans Recipe

People often ask for my recipe when I serve these – don’t let the simplicity fool you! They are really good.

  • 2 cans of beans (just good old regular pork and beans or beans with molasses or tomato)
  • 1 can pineapple tidbits

Mix beans and pineapple in a barbecue safe cooking dish. Bake in the barbecue on low heat for about ½ hour, or until hot throughout, stirring occasionally.

Also, try a great grilled caesar salad!

Wishing you and the men in your lives a happy father’s day! Bon Appetite!

 

dad-christmas

Fathers and Holidays

This year, it’s going to be different. Like many fathers, I’ve felt a bit disconnected from the holiday season. It’s not that I don’t buy my presents and help with decorations. And it’s not that I don’t spend some wonderful time with my kids. It’s something deeper than that.

My eight-year-old daughter ran up to me the other day with great excitement and anticipation. “This Christmas is going to be the best ever!’ she shouted. I marvelled at her excitement, and I wished I could match her enthusiasm. She’d already found the spirit of the holidays, while I was mired in “things that I must to do.” The list was long. This holiday season, I’d be buying presents, coordinating family visits, updating lists and writing cards, doing decorations outside the house and in, volunteering, running a business, etc. etc.

There are times when it all seems like too much.

Fathers (and males in general) have a tendency to focus on goals. Rather than looking at the “big picture” of the holidays, we break things down into “what tasks need to be accomplished.” When one task is done, we move on to the next. And while this style does get some things accomplished, it reduces our capacity to capture the “spirit” of the holidays. The result is that many fathers have a sense of being on the periphery” of their families during the holidays. The tasks are done, but the spirit isn’t captured.

This scenario mirrors what happens to many fathers in their families-they feel outside of the “emotional core” of the family, and aren’t able to experience the depth of warmth, closeness, and love they want. They don’t have the skills of “emotional intelligence” that women have been learning from a very early age. And this dilemma is further complicated by the fact that fathers are working longer hours than ever before. According to the International Labor Organization, Americans work 1,978 hours per year, or a full nine weeks more that the average Western European. Thirty-eight percent of fathers reported that they usually worked fifty or more hours per week.

It’s easy to see why fathers can have a difficult time capturing the spirit of the holidays.

And while this may be a challenging dilemma for fathers, there are a number of things that fathers can do to enrich their experience this holiday season:

  • Shift your thinking away from a “things to do” mentality to a “what does the family need this holiday” mentality. See things with a wider lens. Give this approach a week and see what happens.
  • Volunteer to help someone in need this holiday. Take the kids and spend time enriching the life of someone who needs it. There’s no greater way to capture the spirit of the holidays than being of service to others. And your kids will experience something they’ll never forget.
  • Do something this holiday that you haven’t done before. Bake some holiday cookies or create your own cards to send out. Expanding your creative skills can help you to “receive” the spirit of the holidays.
  • Simply choose to have more joy, openness, and spirit this holiday. After all, most of it is choice! And, your kids are watching you very closely!

I crept up behind my daughter and tackled her, pinning her down onto the couch. “We’re going to have an amazing Christmas this year, you’re right!’ I told her. “What do you want your Christmas to be like?” She sat up and began to tell me all the things she wanted to do for Christmas, and about all the presents she wanted. I sat there with her and listened, forgetting all of the work and the errands that had been on my mind most of the day. She could sense that I was right there with her as she spoke.

And as I sat there listening to her, I felt like a spark of the holiday spirit was already on its way.
Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, is a relationship coach. He is the author of “25 Secrets of Emotionally Intelligent Fathers” http://www.markbrandenburg.com/father.htm For a FREE ecourse for fathers, articles, and a FREE bi-weekly newsletter, “Dads, Don’t Fix Your Kids,” go to http://www.markbrandenburg.com.

men-in-labour

When Men Experience Labour Pain

If you had the chance to have your husband or boyfriend experience what it was like to give birth, would you? Sure, many women who have given birth will tell you it is a pain like no other. And, I am sure there are many men who think it can’t be as bad as we make it out to be and that they would endure it better than the women. The screams and cries of a woman in labour have elicited fear and have been the topic of movies,comedy routines, and more.

Well, here are a couple of men who thought women exaggerate the pain. They were up for the challenge – with their wives are by their side.

Me? I think my husband has a solid appreciation for the pain of childbirth, and why would I want to inflict that pain on him (he’s a pretty darn good guy, after all)? What do you think?

baby1

The Importance of the Father/Child Bond

One of the most magical moments of my life was being at the birth of my child. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I remember watching him squirm and cry as he met the world. I remember how he paused to listen to my voice as I whispered my love for him and commitment to him. To this day, spending time with my kids continues to be one of my favorite activities. To not spend time with my children is unfathomable.

For many fathers, this isn’t the case. They sit in hospital waiting rooms, clapping each other on the back and congratulating one another on a job well done, while their child enters the world without their father next to them. The day after the delivery and every day after are filled with missed opportunities to bond with their child and influence the directions they will take in life. They rationalize that they are sacrificing for their family by working long hours and justify their emotional distance as modeling how to survive in the “cold, cruel world.” Food on the table and a roof over head is nice but nothing makes up for loving, nurturing relationships with one’s father.

How do fathers build this bond? What barriers stand in the way? And, what are some practical tools to help fathers strengthen their children intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and physically? To help me answer these questions, I asked for advice from dad’s who have a close bond with their children. How do I know they have a close bond? I asked their wives!

How do you bond with your child?

In response to this question, all of the fathers answered alike. They stated that the best way to bond was simply to spend time with a child. What you do is not as important as doing something.

They divided activities up into four main areas: Physical, Intellectual, Social, and Spiritual. A balance of these four areas would result in a child having a happier, healthier life. Physical activities are the most familiar to fathers and include working around the house together, sharing a hobby, coaching an athletic team, exercising together, and going places together. Intellectual activities focus on being involved in a child’s academics, participating in school related activities, encouraging hard work, and modeling yourself as a their primary teacher of life. Social activities centered on talking with children, sharing feelings and thoughts, demonstrating appropriate affection and manners, and getting to know your child’s friends. Spiritual activities are used the least by dad’s but have the most power to influence a child. These activities incorporate reading spiritual stories together, going to church or the synagogue, praying with children, establishing rules and order, being consistent and available, and exploring the mysteries of nature.

What is difference between the father/child bond and the mother/child bond?

It was quickly apparent from the surveys that dad’s have a different approach or style to bonding than mom’s. Dad’s have a more rough and tumble approach to physical interaction or may spend time in more physical activities such as play or working on a project together. Competition was also seen more in father/child bonding and was considered healthy if used in small doses and with sensitivity to a child’s temperament and abilities. Sportsmanship, but not necessary sports activities, was regarded as an essential ingredient in the development of a child’s characters. While the approach may differ, the need for bonding with mom and dad is equally significant. One dad joked that other than a couple of biological differences (e.g., giving birth or breastfeeding) he couldn’t see one as more important than the other.

What barriers prevent fathers from achieving a bond with their child?

All of the fathers agreed that work and the mismanagement of time were the biggest robbers of relationships with children. No one discounted a father’s responsibility to provide for his family, but all of them maintained that a healthy balance is needed between work and family. They felt that society makes it easy to use one’s career as an escape. Social influences tend to value the bond a child has with mom to be more important than with dad. But none of the dad’s questioned felt this barrier to be insurmountable. Eliminating barriers in society begins in the home. Dads must demonstrate that being involved in the home is important to them before society will start treating dads as important to the home. Dads need to take the initiative to change a diaper, clean up after dinner, give the kids their bath, and do the laundry. The collective effect of these “small” acts will ripple out into society to create “bigger” change.

Can a father bond with a child if they did not have a father growing up?

The entire group affirmed that not having a father would make it more difficult but not impossible to bond with a child. According to one dad, bonding is more of an innate need or spiritual drive, than simply a learned behavior. Therefore, fatherless fathers are not doomed to repeat their own childhood experiences. Another dad suggested “getting excited” by the little things that make a child excited or happy. Getting down on the child’s level, regressing to those early moments in life when you were a child, and sharing simple pleasures with your child will foster the bonding missed the first time around.

In summary, it is clear that the bond between a father and a child is an important one. Barriers, such as social values and absent fathers make bonding with children difficult but not impossible. Children need the unique style of bonding that fathers can provide and fathers can build that bond by spending time engaging in physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual activities.

Ron Huxley is a licensed family therapist, author, speaker, and father of four! Get more power tools for dad to build up your family relationships today at http://parentingtoolbox.com or http://angertoolbox.com

“Real” Fathers Day Gifts for Dads

by Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC

Fathers are becoming more involved in their families today. They have a deep desire to connect emotionally with their families. However, they often lack the skills to do so. Here are ten “gift ideas” for Father’s Day to help the father in your life to relax, enjoy, and to connect with other loved ones:

1. Admire what they do
Fathers do need to have their ego stroked and to have their families notice the quality of their work or other accomplishments. Letting them know will have their spirits soar.

2. Encourage them to share their life with their families.
Fathers often don’t easily share their everyday life within their families. It may seem “boring” to them to share the events of the day. Encouraging Dad to share will help others feel closer to him. And, it will be more likely they’ll share their lives with him!

3. Give him the gift of food
Are their Dads out there who don’t love to eat? Cook him a great meal, or take him out to dinner. A father with good food in front of him is a happy father.

4. Talk to him using a “bottom line” approach
Fathers like to get to the point. It’s harder for them to follow long, detailed stories. At least for one day, get right to the point concerning what you’re telling him. He’ll appreciate it, and he won’t stress about missing the details!

5. Be patient with him as he learns to raise his kids
Fathers aren’t always the most skilled at effective parenting, especially during the early stages. Be patient with him as he makes mistakes. If he feels criticized, he may lose hope and give up an opportunity to learn and grow. Gentle encouragement helps.

6. Ask him to get involved in an activity
Fathers love to be active, and they often connect with others by “doing something.” Ask the Dad in your family to go on a bike ride or go to a game. As long as their active, Dads are pretty happy.

7. Provide him with “vegetable time”
We don’t mean gardening here! Yes, dads like to be active, but they also like to vegetate sometimes. Give Dad some time to do nothing, and he’ll curl up and do nothing with the best of them!

8. Give him a romantic evening.
Fathers feel like handymen in their homes at times. Nothing will snap them out of that as quickly as a romantic evening. And, this isn’t over when the dinner or movie ends. It ends when he has permission to follow his biological urge after making love—sleeping!

9. Touch him
Dads love to be hugged and touched by their family members. And even if they don’t act like they do, hug them anyway! It helps them to leave their heads and enter their hearts.

10. Give him new power tools
OK, this one doesn’t really help him connect with others, but it does satisfy some deep urge within him. And if it makes him feel good, why not?

Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, coaches busy parents by phone to balance their life and improve their family relationships. For a FREE twenty minute sample session by phone; ebooks, courses, articles, and a FREE newsletter, go to http://www.markbrandenburg.com. or email him at mark@markbrandenburg.com.