The Camping Gear Gift Guide : 2018 Edition

Our Second and Final List for 2018: The 2018 Edition of the Camping Gift Guide!


Struggling to find a gift for that dad, soon to be dad, wife, mom, husband, grandfather, friend, or pretty much anyone else in your life?  Do they have hobbies that cause your eyes to glaze over when brought up in regular conversation?  Do they spend more time outside than inside?  Well then, do I have the gift ideas for you! 

Yes, these lists arrived later than everyone else’s wish list.  Why you may ask?  I don’t like it when the Christmas decorations go up after back to school shopping or Halloween.  I guess I’m a December 1st is the start of the holiday season, whichever holiday or days you may celebrate, kind of guy.  I’m a Christmas guy myself and you won’t catch me putting up decorations until the first or second week of December.  I need to let all of the tryptophan work its way out of my system from Thanksgiving.  Yep, that is still a thing you greedy retailers!

Take a look below at the different categories with several ideas in each and wrap up that cumbersome shopping list!  I’ll include a few links too. Those links will take you to some of our favorites in each category (psst..we might receive small percentage of the purchase if you click through the website.  We appreciate it greatly!).

Safety First!

First Aid Kits and Supplies:

If your gift is for someone camping with the kiddos, or an immature adult, you will need this eventually, but hopefully for nothing more than a splinter or bee sting.  I am far from a doctor or EMT, so perhaps an expert could chime in in the comments with suggestions, please.

Help Them Shed Some Light on the Situation:

When out in the woods, especially if you haven’t camped much before, things get surprisingly dark. As in, I can’t see my hand in front of my face kind of dark.  If you forgot some lights, it is a bit unnerving.  Bring along a couple flashlights and head lamps.  Also, don’t just bring/buy the rechargeable types, having replaceable batteries is a good thing since we all forget to charge things before a trip. Also, bright colors (except greens) are nice when you drop your flashlight or headlamp in the woods, think yellows, oranges, etcetera.

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp, Octane
Black Diamond Equipment LTD

Help Them Help Smokey:

A fire extinguisher, yes, I know, a bit overkill, but I do keep at least one in the Jeep.  Even if you never need it, you may have the chance to help someone else who is having car troubles (electrical fire?) or their campfire got a little out of hand.  Trust me, it’ll feel pretty cool to show up as the prepared dude or gal that saves the day! If it will be used for their car, I highly recommend a Halguard fire extinguisher. It performs better and won’t corrode all electrical components like a typical fire extinguisher which might end up totaling the car anyways. Keep in mind that the Halguard extinguisher is MUCH more expensive.

the Short and Sweet Budget Friendly List

A quick list of cheap, but useful, ideas:

Fire Starters:

Magnesium flint strikers, Esbit tablets, compressed saw dust and many more options to help any type of camper from the novice weekender to the person who only owns flannel and books on survival and bushcraft.

Thermocell or Thermocell Refills:

These things really do work great as long as there is little to no wind, but honestly if there is a decent breeze bugs usually aren’t a problem.

Starbucks Via Packs:

Check Costco as they usually have great deals on packs.

Starbucks (or ANY other local coffee house) Gift Cards:

A great gift for anyone, the mailman, school bus driver, your local bike shop, etcetera.

For the Caffeinated Camper

Coffee Makers


A Cult favorite, but I still haven’t mastered it.  One day...

Stanley or Snow Peak Percolator:

Old school, but the coffee tastes great.

Snow Peak Titanium French Press:  

A very cool option that makes great coffee, but then again, what is made of titanium that isn’t great? Be sure to use a coarsely ground coffee or you may get some grinds in your cup. No big deal, but some people HATE when that happens. I’m ok with any coffee, even cowboy coffee, as long as there is coffee! Which reminds me, I need a cup of coffee…

GSI, Snow Peak, Chemex, etc. Pour Over Style Coffee:

So many choices for this slow, yet traditional and tasty way to make a cup or more and no, it doesn’t make you a hipster unless you want it to.

A Starbucks Gift Card:

Pressed for time?  As previously mentioned, a gift card from a favorite coffee shop always works for those thank you gifts for neighbors, the school bus driver, mailman, etc.

Give Them the Beans!

A Coffee Club Subscription will expand their coffee horizons

A Bag of Beans:

Encourage them try something new!  You can always also buy a bag of their favorite beans, or a coffee grinder, or both!

For the Camp Chef

(or at least for the person who wants to graduate from hot dogs and backed beans (not that there is anything wrong with that)).

A Good Knife (pocket, fixed blade or chef knife):

Check out offerings from Benchmade, Spyderco, MSR, etc., the choices are endless.  A few of our favorites that we still currently use are linked below.  Use them for cooking, shaving kindling from a log, opening dehydrated food packets or as a toothpick after a tasty meal (we don’t actually recommend that last one).

MSR Alpine Kitchen Knife, Green
Cascade Designs Inc.

A Spice Holder:

Spices, an easy way to make any meal tastier with little effort.  Try a purpose made container and avoid having chili powder everywhere when the ziplock 'spice bag' breaks. FYI, it looks much larger on the inter-webs, in real life it is perfect even for the backpacking chef.

Cooking Utensils:

If you’re backpacking you may want to watch the weight and size on this one.  GSI makes a great, compact all in one kit.  For car camping, all bets are off and the choices are endless.

Cooking Pots and Pans Set:

Many choices here, but Stanley makes a great kit if you happen to be car camping and check out cool titanium and lightweight sets from Snowpeak, MSR, etcetera.

Dishes/Eating Utensils:

Check out a few options we like, listed below, that would make great gifts.

Camp Stove (Car or Backpacking):

Car camping?  Go with the tried and true Coleman stove, simple, no gadgets or wizardry and cheap!  Backpacking or Bikepacking?  Check out offerings from Primus, MSR, Snow Peak, Esbit, JetBoil and more.  

Coleman Stove Ppn 2 BRN Ml Triton
The Coleman Company, Inc.

Dehydrated Meals (for the anti-chef or hiker):

Trust me on this one, if your camper is going on a trip soon, pick up some mountain house meals.  They are far and away the best dehydrated meal option.  They are tasty and come in large portions.  I am quite partial to the breakfast skillet, biscuits and gravy, and the chili mac with beef, yummo!

Water Bottles:

Don’t forget to hydrate regularly with some high quality H2O.  The tried and true Nalgene bottles make a great stocking stuffer.  Camelbak has some nice options as well.

Nalgene WM 1 QT Pomegranate Bottle, 32 oz
Liberty Mountain Sports LLC

The Gift of Relaxation


Two words (or one word and one acronym, and the one word isn’t technically a word, but I digress…) ENO DOUBLENEST, trust me, so comfortable and even more so when solo.  ENO also offers mosquito nets, rain flys, hammock comforters, pillows and more.  If they already have a hammock there are plenty of accessories for you to choose from!

Camp Chairs:

Bag chairs are great to keep in the car for camping, tailgating, school events and more.  Take it one step further on the cool scale and check out camp chair offerings from Helinox (Big Agnes) that are light weight and might even fit in your glove box.

Insulated Cups:

Those stainless, insulated cups and bottles you always see the cool kids drinking from are useful for everyone, in the summer, winter or any other time you want to keep drinks hot or cold for hours.  A quick tip:  Buy the stainless, unpainted options from Hydroflask and others so you can still wash them in the dishwasher.  We have a few powder coated bottles that are starting to bubble and peel.


From a simple Coleman to high end models from Yeti and Pelican.  You can even get a 12V powered cooler that will keep drinks and more cold as long as your battery lasts from ARB, Dometic, Smittybilt and more.

LED Light Strings: 

We’re currently using the light strings below.  They work great and will light up your campsite or patio perfectly.

Camping Games:

Endless options here, maybe a fancy set of cards, board games or outdoor games like Bocce Ball and Ladder Toss.

Bluetooth Speaker:

The market for bluetooth speakers has exploded in recent years.  We really like the speakers we have from Anker and Ultimate Ears, but other companies like Bose, JBL and more are jumping on the modern day boom box trend as well.

A Really Nice Hatchet: 

I know, if you’re not into camping this seems a bit sketchy, but hear me out.  A good hatchet can become an irreplaceable tool to a regular camper.  With a hatchet, one can cut smaller branches for firewood, split kindling off a larger log, pound in tent stakes, shave and more!  The option below is currently on my Amazon wish list, wink wink, nod nod...


With that, thanks for reading and stopping by We hope this article gave you some holiday, or any other occasion, gift ideas. As always, if you don’t see something listed that should be, or even a mistake, please let us know. Also, check back for our Amazon Store coming soon!


The Cycling Gift Guide : 2018 Edition

First up on our 2018 gift guide: The 2018 Edition Cyclist Gift Guide Most Wanted List!


Struggling to find a gift for that dad, soon to be dad, wife, mom, husband, grandfather, friend, or pretty much anyone else in your life?  Do they have hobbies that cause your eyes to glaze over when brought up in regular conversation?  Do they spend more time outside than inside?  Well then, do I have the gift ideas for you! 

Yes, these lists arrived later than everyone else’s wish list.  Why you may ask?  I don’t like it when the Christmas decorations go up in stores after back to school shopping or Halloween.  I guess I’m a December 1st is the start of the holiday season, for whichever holiday you may celebrate, type of guy.  I’m a Christmas guy myself and you won’t catch me putting up decorations until the first or second week of December.  I need to let all of the tryptophan work its way out of my system from Thanksgiving.  Yep, that is still a thing greedy retailers!

Take a look below at the different categories with several ideas in each and wrap up that cumbersome shopping list!  I’ll include a few links too that will take you to some of our favorites (psst..we might receive small percentage of the purchase if you click through the website.  We appreciate it greatly!)

Safety First!

Blinky Lights

Everyone loves a blinky light AND they make you much easier to see at all times of day (blinky during the day, solid at night).  Don’t forget to think big lumens, I always feel the brighter the better. Be obnoxiously bright on the road! If you truly love your gift recipient, check out the new lights by Bontrager, Cateye, Lezyne, Lupine, Specialized and more.  Newer lights are also smaller and brighter than ever before for the aesthetically motivated rider.

While you’re thinking about lighting, don’t forget the headlight. Help your cyclist to see at night and be seen at any point during the day!

Brightly Colored (and Warm) Riding Gear        

This time of the year, or any time of year for that matter, is not the time to perfect your ninja outfit when cycling on the road.  When buying cycling clothes for your loved ones, think 80’s ski slope.  For you youngins, that means fluorescent EVERYTHING! 

Also, don’t forget that while it may not feel that chilly outside when jogging, everything feels a lot colder at 20+ miles per hour.  Look for gear that blocks wind, or a nice soft balaclava.  You can never go wrong with a nice set of warm gloves (I like the lobster style) or one of those wool hats with the ear flaps that hang down.

The Quick and easy or budget friendly list

Please see below for a quick list of cheap, kinda boring to the non-cyclist, but useful, ideas. At the end of this blog post I will include links to many of these items. If they’re listed, rest assured we’ve tried them and like them.

  • New tire levers: Or just tire levers period, carbon wheel users need not apply.

  • CO2 Air Pump: If they don’t have one already, make sure they practice, otherwise they’ll end up with cold hands and a flat tire on the side of the road, ask me how I know.

  • Spare CO2 Air Canisters: As long as they have one on their ride they’ll never need it, true story!

  • Extra Stan’s Tubeless Fluid: Your special someone hasn’t checked theirs in over a year…

  • Tire Patch Kit: Because humans…

  • Spoke Wrench: Because pot holes…

  • Bar Tape: Contrast or matchy matchy, how bold is your cyclist?

  • A Cool, and or Funny, Stem Cap: You can get all kinds, some that look like a donut to my favorite from Niner Bikes (YAWYD Stem Cap) that allows you to stick a cap from your favorite beer on it.

  • New Brake Pads?: If they still use brakes that is(I kid).

  • Cycling Caps: From cool to bizarre, take your pic

  • Stickers!: More HP and Watts instantly!

Cycling Accessories

A Cycling Computer:

These days a cyclist is spoiled for choice compared to just 5 years ago.  Is your special someone an around the neighborhood type of bike rider or a 150+ miles per week data hungry cyclist?  There are many options at many price points, but here are the top three options to get you going (We’ve tried them all and think they are all quality cycling computers).

Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Bike Computer
Wahoo Fitness (Sports & Outdoors)

Water Bottles:

Self explanatory, but I like the insulated bottles for summer and winter, usually by Camelbak.  Buying for a funny guy or gal?  They make bottles that look like siracha, ketchup, mustard, relish, etc. too. 

A Cycling Wallet, Saddle bag, or Jersey Wallet:

Keep your cyclist's phone, wallet and repair tools dry.  Trust me, they will thank you for it the first time they are caught in foul weather.  Check out options from brands like Silca, Topeak, Waterfield, Rapha and many more!

A New Air Pump:

Is someone you know still rocking a Huffy air pump from the 80s?  Consider an upgrade to a pump made by Silca, Specialized, Bontrager, Topeak, Lezyne or any number of other brands.  Floor, frame mount or Jersey pocket sized, their arms, and sanity, will thank you.

A New Multitool:

Get your special someone a multitool that has all of the tools they actually need.  Having the right tools can be the difference between riding or walking back to the trail head. If they have a multitool from the early 90s, chances are half of the tools won’t work on their shiny new rig.  They have tools in stainless, steel, titanium and (drool) carbon fiber.  One can never have too much tool bling.

Flat pedals

Great for the casual ice cream or coffee shop ride.  Also great for mountain biking and snow biking because frozen cleats and pedals stink, ask me how I know…

The Money is No Object List

Smart Trainers:

Different from the old 70s trainers that sound like a turbine engine when in use.  The new trainers can be controlled by cycling specific apps for your phone, laptop, smartwatch and even some cycling computers.  Programs like Zwift connect to your trainer and combine training with a video game/racing atmosphere.  This can help with the massive boredom encountered on the trainer., but I found winter fatbike riding to be much more satisfying.  Your results may vary.  If you’re down south where you can ride all year in short sleeves and shorts, well, I will practice restraint and just say...lucky you…

A Fat Tire or Plus Sized Tire Bike

First and foremost, yes, there are Fat AND Plus Size Tire Bikes, I am not making chubby jokes.

Again, a bit northern climate oriented, but awesome fun anywhere in the world.  These bikes take on sand, snow, rocks, jumps and more with ease.  No they aren’t as fast as a road or mountain bike, but man are they fun!  Ditch the trainer, get bundled up and go for a winter fatbike ride.  Be sure to throw in a gift certificate to the local coffee shop for a complete gift any winter cyclist would love. For this category, we have to recommend your local bike shop. They can help you with the right size and features for that lucky gift recipient, or you?

Hitch or Roof Mounted Bike Rack - Is he or she still using duct tape and rope to get their bike to the trail head?  Get them an awesome bike rack from Yakima, 1UpUSA or Thule and save the duct tape for plumbing repairs...

Carbon Wheels - Not Pro?  No problem! Everyone loves carbon bits, even if you’re slow as molasses like I am!  Carbon wheels are super stiff, super light, they look cool and they make a cool whooshing sound when going fast on pavement, need I say more?  Be sure not to skimp here as a cheap carbon wheel might night hold up to regular abuse and you wouldn’t want your loved one to end up drinking holiday leftovers through a straw for a few weeks, would you? Also, as with any major cycling purchase, make sure they will work for your particular bike setup. There are hundreds of standards for wheel sizes, spacing, gearing, etcetera. Again, this is a time when your local bike shop can help you make the perfect selection.

Last, but certainly not least, a gift certificate to your local bike shop or LBS.  Is the cyclist in your life ultra picky?  Do they follow the rules religiously (they’ll know what that means)?  Allow them to go to the bike shop and drool over the latest carbon and titanium bits before making their gift selection. That is, of course, if you can trust them to stick to the gift card limit.  My wife will not be getting me a gift card for Christmas...

The Wrap Up

With that, thanks for reading and stopping by I hope you found this article helpful and check out the Short and Sweet list below for last minute stocking stuffers, Secret Santa at work, or just because. As always, if you don’t see something listed that should be, or even a mistake, let us know. Also, check back for our Amazon Store coming soon!

Bringing 2017 to a Close


As 2017 wraps up, I thought it might be prudent to think about what I want for 2018 and beyond so bear with me and my ramblings. I hope my goals are more than a silly New Years resolution and more like a continuation of a lifestyle change towards being more active.  I've cycled more miles this year than any previous year.  I hope to double that mileage for 2018.

So far, this winter season is the most fun I've had with a fat bike in the 5 or so years I've owned one.  Could it be the placebo effect of a awesome new fat bike or maybe the realization of the awesome single track less than a minutes worth of pedaling away from my doorstep?  I'm sure it's both of those and more.  

I have some goals this winter on the cycling and fitness side of things.  I'd love to lose weight, but who doesn't (that's what I tell myself to feel better)?  The big goal is to enter the spring season in better shape than ever before and be ready to start some serious road riding including more charity rides and races in 2018.  I'd like to participate in the first running of a 200 mile gravel race in Michigan happening in late spring as well as the ODRAM (one day ride across Michigan) which benefits the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Ride to Cure Program.  I think that one is about 150 miles.  Perhaps I could ride back the next day just for fun?  Who knows.

Of course I'll be doing the usual charity rides, races and other events that I try to do each year (Make A Wish, Tour De Taylor, etc.).  I'll also be supporting my wife in her efforts to do three triathlons in 2018, a pretty huge, and awesome, commitment.  

Many would ask, why are you doing this?  Honestly, the reasons are as varied as they are many, even between my wife and I we have different motivators.  Speaking for myself, I love cycling and I want to get better (faster) at it, but more importantly, I want the fitness to keep up with my kids as they grow older.  I want to be healthy so I can annoy them well into their adult years.  I also want to set the example now that staying active is important and of course fun, rewarding and a important part of the day to day routine.  I don't want them to see me on my phone 24/7, or playing video games when the sun is shining outside (or even when it's raining).  They will never find me watching TV on a Sunday afternoon (or Monday or Thursday or Saturday evening...) when there is work to be done around the house, a city to build in the sand box, a new trail to explore or a bonfire to sit around.  I never could sit still as a kid and always wanted to be outside.  So far, they are following in those footsteps and would always rather be outside.  I plan to nurture that desire for fresh air as much as possible and in any way that I can.

Anyways, off my soap box and back to the end of year thoughts.  I have a number of goals for 2018 and I'm sure some are a bit lofty, but why not think big? 

In addition to the fitness/activity/cycling goals, I hope to grow the website and provide regular content updates, including reviews of products, events and places.  Content has been pretty sporadic so far, but I'm working on that.  Who would have thought having two young children would take up virtually all of your free time (heavy, heavy sarcasm there)?  Lately, I prefer to read or write in the evenings after the kids go to bed instead of watching TV.  I find it much more fulfilling. Stay tuned for more updates as we head into 2018.

With that, if you're still here, thank you so much for checking out the website and reading some of the posts.  I hope you gleaned something useful from them.  I hope that you, your family and your friends have an awesome holiday season and a happy, healthy and safe 2018 that's even better than 2017.  Happy New Year!


Weekend Adventure Roundup

This week I'm trying something new to keep me honest and updating the blog/website regularly.  During the week we are often inundated with adulting and other commitments that don't allow for activities or adventures that might take some time to see through until the end.  The weekend however is the perfect time to plan for or have spontaneous adventures.  We try to make a point to do at least a couple of special fun things with our minions each weekend.

Going forward, I will do my best to recap the past weekend of adventures along with any photographic or video proof we collect along the way.

On that note, this past weekend:

1. Our oldest minion ran his first fun run

Our oldest minion was entered into a fun run around a local park.  Considering this was for children of up to ten years of age, it was all about the fun.  He did great (ran the course 1.5 times even) and had a great time.  Plus, there were icies at the end!

The next day the CFO competed in the adult version of the fun run in the form of a 5K and did awesome as well.

2. Camping Attempt - Part 2

Last summer I tried camping outside in the back yard with our son when he was 3 years old.  I don't think he was quite ready at that point.  Due to the excitement of something new, he could not sit still at the tent and we ended up coming inside at about 10pm. 

This time however, he was ready for camping (and marshmallows).  Fun was hand, many marshmallows were eaten, bedtime stories were read aloud and the flashlight got a workout, mostly in dad's eyes.  At the end of all that, he fell asleep within a few minutes of getting in his sleeping bag.  The next morning we both woke up and went out for a special breakfast to celebrate a successful camping adventure!

3. Astrophotography Attempt (keyword: attempt)

I've always been fascinated by those long exposure shots of the Milky Way galaxy and thought it would be fun to include that in our camping adventure.  I think it was a combination of my sub-par photography skills and an excess of ambient light that led to the sub-par results, but it was fun trying it.  We'll just have to have many more camping trips to practice.

4. Supporting our local fire department

We all attended a local fundraiser for our fire department.  There were tons of games and face painting for the kids along with food (ice cream!) for everyone.  It was a lot of fun to watch the minions playing all kinds of different games.  Our youngest was hailed a hero after putting out a 5-alarm fire all on her own (well, maybe a little help from a fireman)!


Thats all for this post.  Thanks for reading and be sure to check out the rest of the site!

The Elusive Work/Life Balance...


The Elusive Work/Life Balance

(and coffee, lots and lots of coffee)

It feels like it has been ages since I last added any content to this website.  Outside of the regularly uploaded social media posts, most of my free time (which isn't much these days) has been spent riding to prepare myself for the charity events and races I've signed up for. 

You can take all of the parenting classes imaginable prior to having kids, but nothing will prepare you for the life changing event that it is.  In an instant, your priorities shift from evening and weekend plans with friends to doctor visits, birthday parties and Costco runs.  Don't get me wrong, it is amazing, but you do learn that it is crucial to make time for yourself and your marriage as well.  Finding that work/life/personal time balance is key, and the personal time shrinks dramatically with kids, as it should.  

I couldn't imagine my life without our kids anymore and at their current age (2 and 4), I want to soak up all the fun that I can before they don't like me anymore.  I'm hoping I have a good 10-12 years before that happens.

Before the minions wake up or after they go to bed is when I've found it important to do some adulting.  Whether we watch a movie, read a book, head out for a bike ride or a walk, making time for adulting is key.  Making time for such activity seems to help recharge my mental batteries so that I'm ready for the next day of work and adventures with the kids.

Where am I going with this babbling that most likely no one will read?  Basically, I'm typing a long winded excuse for why the website receives so little attention these days.  

My hope is to drop the TV watching in the evenings even further down the priority list than we already have to make more time for more constructive hobbies (this website, cycling, RC helicopters, photography or whatever brain utilizing activity I may want to try in the future - which definitely does not include TV). I'd like to create more content and posts for the website and maybe grow it into something people will find useful, or at least mildly entertaining.  If no one reads it that's ok too. 

I find typing out my thoughts to be very therapeutic, and that's not a bad reason to keep this site going either, is it?

A few items in the works for the website:

  • The 2016 Specialized Diverge vs. 2017 Roubaix - My thoughts on how they compare
  • The Garmin Edge 520 vs. the new Wahoo Bolt - Pros and Cons - a novel
  • Shimano Di2 - A cycling gadget lovers dream, if you remember to charge the battery
  • We've tried many tires and tire setups (tubeless) - Our thoughts and findings
  • The best Father's Day gift ever - reviewed
  • And so much more!


Until next time, which will be sooner than later, get outside and have fun!


I almost forgot to mention the coffee.  Yes, coffee definitely goes with and helps with everything I mentioned above. It really is fantastic...

And so it begins...

I had previously started a website/blog to test and review outdoor gear.  It is mostly bike-centric, but outdoor gear none the less.  What I realized over the last few months is that I'm a desk jockey husband and father of two with a house to take care of, a mortgage and a car payment.  

I don't have time to tour the Himalayas or find the source of the Nile River.  What I do know is I'm on one of the most extreme adventures known to man, parenthood.  So why not write about that?  No, not another website that goes through the steps of how to make a popsicle from an over ripe avocado or a fruit bowl made out of twigs from that dead bush in the front yard.

My goal for this site is to relay some good anecdotes from life as parents who are trying to cultivate your children's love of the outdoors.  I want them to experience these things first hand and not just click a mouse to "like" something.  

I hope to give you some ideas for fun activities you can do with your kids.  Yes, many will be bike related since I am a fan of the bicycle, but many will be the day to day ways of engaging with the kids through projects, games, etcetera.

In the little spare time I have (usually the early morning or after the kids are in bed), I work at getting back into (and staying in) shape.  I feel that not only is it important to have a little quiet time and physical exertion to decompress, but have you tried to keep up with a two and a half year old lately?  They are really fast and they never get tired!  Chasing my son around the house, yard, Home Depot, etc. is a workout in itself. My plan is to review and post some of the gear I've found useful for getting in shape, parenting, adventuring and decompressing.

I hope you check back often, enjoy the articles and photography and send in some comments and ideas of your own.  We parents have to stick together.