Father's Day three pack book giveaway

3pack

And so it all begins.

Again.

I'm incredibly proud to bring you my third book: Dad's Awesome Book of Recipes -- everything you need to put the kids in charge of cooking.

As a special promo, I'll be giving away a signed three-pack of books every week until Father's Day.

Simply share this post on Facebook or leave a comment below by Thursday at noon PST and I'll randomly select a winner of the cook book, the craft book, and the science book -- everything you need for a summer of fun with the kids.

But now back to the cook book.

It's designed to read together and then let the kids have their turn at the stove, or microwave, or blender -- whatever you're comfortable letting them use for the moment. Jam packed with dozens of recipes, it's got everything you need for a quick snack or a family meal.

But even better ... it has guests!

Special guests!

I reached out to a few of my favorite dads I know are handy in the kitchen and asked them to contribute some recipes that they like to make with the kiddos, so a big hats off to Jason Sperber, Whit Honea, Doyin Richards, Chris Routly. Their recipes are delicious and fun to make, and I'm just pleased to have my name attached anywhere near theirs.

I'll be writing about more recipes in the book, but here is one of my favorites to get you started: the 5-minute microwave chocolate chip cookie.

It's easy, delicious, and incredibly fun to make. I have kids over for a play date and almost as soon as they walk in the door, they say, "Can we make the cookie?!"

It's a family hit. Enjoy.

Fuel up for more play!

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My cousin jokes about his method for getting his kids outside to play.

"Give them a rope. Toss them all outside. Lock the door. Kids can play with rope for hours."

Indeed.

No matter your method for getting them outside, it's incredibly important for kids to play -- for the body, the brain, and, not to be too touchy feely, but for the soul.

Who doesn't well remember a childhood playing outside with friends after school until the streetlight hours? Or roaming the countryside, poaching pears and apples from orchards? Or pick-up games with kids on the crowded streets?

All that wild, free play time is part of what made me the person I am today, and I look back upon those years with fondness.

In the big city, it often feels difficult to re-create those endless hours of free time for my own child. Yet, we are big believers in massive doses of physical activity, so I'm incredibly delighted to work with Fuel Up to Play 60 -- a program designed to get kids eating better and playing a lot more in school. It's a partnership between Real California Milk, the National Dairy Council and the NFL to encourage healthy eating and tons of play.

Count me in.

With an incredibly bouncy, active kid, it was easy to make the decision to join this movement.

Emme is on a travel soccer team, loves to run and bike, and is a Grand Champion horse jumper (seriously, you're never going to hear the end of this brag; she's so proud of herself and I'm so proud of her as well), and one of the things I'm keenly aware of is her risk for injury. Extra play time -- and some good training and eating -- can help minimize the risks of injury, so we've been tossing her outside more and more as she grows older.

It's going to become a lot more important in the years to come. I remember reading this New York Times article about the book "Warrior Girls," which looks at high incidents of knee injuries in girl athletes, and seeing just how difficult it is to maintain play time as kids get older. At 9, they get three or so hours a day; at 15, it's under one hour.

Yikes.

It's important to set this base early, to make play time a natural part of kid's lives. It seems like a no brainer, right? But I'm keenly aware that for a lot of kids, including ours, everything is hyper-scheduled nowadays. Add in computer and social media time, and all of a sudden, the day is gone, and that wild, free play time suffers. I'm hopeful that programs like this can reverse that trend and provide those fond memories we well remember as adults, while also laying the groundwork for a life of health and fitness.

Visit fueluptoplay60.com to find out more about the program and what you can do at home and at school to keep kids active, healthy, and happy.

I'm proud to partner with Real California Milk for this post and social media campaign. The money will probably go toward a stronger lock and a solid rope. Watch out: Play time ahead!

Champ

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Two years ago, during her last show, she fell off her horse five or six times.

We lost count.

She swore off shows.

"I just want to ride," she said.

They say if you fall off a horse, you need to get back on.

They don't say anything about a long, slow two years of regaining your confidence, of putting in the work day after day, year after year -- until, one day, suddenly, she says she wants to try again.

Before the big jump

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Coming this May!

Dad's Books collection

Dad's Book of Awesome Recipes debuts on May 1!

The advance copies arrived the other day, and I have to admit that when the kid pulled one aside and said, "Whoa. Just ... whoa. We have to make this!" I was all at once elated and surprised.

After all, we already did make that!

But whatever, there's always room for more rainbow pancakes.

Can't wait to share more in the coming weeks and months. I know this feeling is trite and overdone and cloying, but we really do spend most of our time in the kitchen. We cook together, eat together, come up with crazy experiments and just fiddle around with new combinations just for fun. The kitchen is our lab and our gathering place. And I'm incredibly excited to share some of the amazing things we've done over the years together.