Life in the Fishbowl

Living by the Todd Family Motto: "It behooves us to live." I want to change the world.

Life in the Fishbowl - Living by the Todd Family Motto: "It behooves us to live." I want to change the world.

Breakfast in bed. So simple. So amazing.

Breakfast in Bed

They’ve always said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Although some are saying that this might not necessarily be the case anymore, breakfast is still awesome. And you know what makes breakfast even more awesome? That’s right. Breakfast in bed! It’s a great way to show the person you love how much you care. And if your schedules don’t allow for you to serve breakfast in bed in the morning, you could always make this breakfast in bed for a late-evening snack. Right?

The thought of preparing breakfast in bed can be a little intimidating. But it really doesn’t have be. What I’m about to share is pretty simple to make but it’s oh-so-tasty. I’d say that it’s so simple it’s manproof. But when I’d be worried that you’d misunderstand what I was saying. And then I’d have to point you to this post and wait until you read it so you’d understand that it was a tongue-in-cheek reference to a stereotype that I’d like to see go away.

Believe me. It’s easy.

The menu:

Cinnamon Roll Waffles and Syrup
Yogurt Parfait
Orange Juice (or you could upgrade to a mimosa)

What you’ll need:
Breakfast in bed ingredients

1 Can Cinnamon Rolls
1 Cup Vanilla Yogurt
3 Strawberries
Orange Juice

Waffle Maker
Knife & Cutting Board
Drinking Glass
Fork & Spoon
Serving Tray (you can learn how to make one here if you don’t have one)

What you’ll do:

Begin by making the yogurt parfait.

chopped strawberries

1. Dice the strawberries into bite-sized pieces.
2. Spoon a thin layer of yogurt onto the bottom of the bowl.
3. Cover the yogurt with a thin layer of strawberries.
4. Continue alternating yogurt and strawberry layers, ending with strawberries as the topping.
5. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.


Now, grab the cinnamon rolls and get to work on your waffles! That’s right. I said cinnamon rolls. In your waffle maker. You’re welcome to try one of these recipes instead. I’m sure it’ll taste fabulous. But I doubt it’ll be as easy as this super-simple recipe.

These cinnamon roll waffles are going to blow your mind (much like this kid’s description of his first kiss). Here’s how you make them:

1. Place a cinnamon roll in a preheated waffle maker.

cinnamon roll in waffle maker

2. Close the waffle maker.
3. Cook in waffle maker for about 75 seconds.
4. Open waffle maker and remove the cinnamon roll waffle.

cinnamon roll waffle

That’s it! I promise. It’s that easy. Don’t be too worried if the waffles have a few dark areas. They might look burnt. They aren’t. It’s just the cinnamon and sugar goodness creating an awesome texture to these simple waffles.

Now your waffle has some deep pockets to hold pools of the icing that comes with your cinnamon rolls. It’s awesome.

We’re also pretty big fans of Hoosier Sugar Daddy syrup. And let me tell you, if you ever have the chance to have these cinnamon roll waffles with either their Pumpkin Spice or Persimmon syrups, I highly recommend it. It could, in fact, be life-changing.

Put everything on a tray and get ready to serve. If you happen to keep a stash of cards (like I do), it would be a nice touch to bring the whole meal together.

Like I said. It’s so simple. And so amazing. Go ahead. Give it a try! I’m sure you’ll agree.

Breakfast in bed on a tray


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I’m no Casanova. But we can do better, fellas.


You might remember the series of  guest posts that I published a year or so ago. They were written in response to this question: “What’s the most romantic thing someone has done for you?” You, Dear Reader, responded . Some pretty awesome posts were written. Here they are, in case you’ve forgotten…


See? Pretty awesome stuff.

You know what wasn’t so awesome? The amount of times I was told, “I don’t think I can write thing. [Insert Name Here] isn’t into doing anything romantic. I’m lucky if I get a card for Valentine’s Day.”

Unfortunately, there have been several seasons in our relationship where Christy would say that about me. I have had a lot of great ideas for romantic gestures. I just…well…I haven’t been very good at following through and carrying them out.

I have always struggled with forgetfulness. And I’ve had a perpetual inability to follow through on things throughout my life. That kinda comes with the ADD territory.

Case in point:

That book in the photo? I bought it for Christy as part of a “12 Days of Christmas” series of gifts that I gave her last year. My thinking was that I’d fill in a page each day for the next 50 days (because there’s 50 pages in the book). Pretty neat idea. Right?

It’s still blank.

Not because I can’t think of anything to write. I can think of tons of things to write. I can come up with countless words to talk about what I love about my wife. She’s pretty amazing. But I still haven’t sat down and filled in the blank spaces on that book.

I need to fix that.

I’ve managed to discover all kinds of tips, tricks, and methods to help manage my ADD and get things accomplished. I’ll probably share some of those at a later date.

Things like this book and dozens of date nights I’ve conjured up in my head? They still suffer from poor execution. Throw in our busy schedules, three kids, and a limited budget, date nights and other romantic efforts have been put on the back burner. It’s easy to do. Unfortunately.

I’m not making excuses here. I’m merely sharing my struggle. Because there really isn’t any excuse. So I’m preaching to myself as much as anyone when I say this. There’s a reason hotels come up with a Man Proof Package  where everything’s taken care of and a guy just simply can’t screw it up. There’s a reason a co-worker of mine, who used to work at a pharmacy, has already reminded me that Valentine’s Day is approximately one month away (she was always amazed at how many guys were in a panic searching for last-minute gifts on Valentine’s Day evening). There’s this stereotype that is floating around that most guys wouldn’t know romance if it slapped them in the face. Unfortunately, many of us have unintentionally reinforced that preconceived notion.

We can do better, fellas.

Simple Date Night IdeasLet’s do better. Let’s start working at making this stereotype obsolete. We can’t wait until the evening of Valentine’s Day to start dating our spouses. Because practice makes better.

As you know, I’m no Casanova, but I’ve recently come to realize that it doesn’t require a giant production with enough candles to burn the house down and enough roses to awaken the entire neighborhood’s allergies to have a memorable time with your significant other.  I’ve also discovered some simple date night suggestions that I’d like to share on this blog.  And I hope to share some fun ways to say “I love you” along the way, too.

I’d like to build a nice resource here. One that will be helpful throughout the year. So keep checking back as we work to shatter this stereotype.

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Too many Selfies?

To Selfie or not to Selfie

A few days ago, Aly saw me post this picture…

Oh, you know…Just whipping up a grilled cheese and pulled pork sandwich. #metoday #fmsphotoaday

A photo posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

The following conversation ensued:

Aly: You’re probably the only person I know who gets paid for posting Selfies.
Me: What do you mean?
Aly: You know. You get paid for posting Selfies.
Me: Uh…No. I don’t. I don’t get paid for posting Selfies.
Aly: Yeah. You do. Isn’t that why you post so many of them on Instagram? 

While I do jokingly claim that I helped create the Selfie trend (I’ve been taking them for almost 20 years), I haven’t posted that many pictures of myself. And I certainly haven’t been paid for any of them.

I mean, I did create this video as part of a larger post. I was compensated for that post. It includes a Selfie.

I ambushed @cgfootballboy25 with some Avalauncher snowballs. #NorthpoleFun A video posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

I was also compensated for this post. It also has a video.

A smooth face for a #SmoothSummer. #shop A video posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

I’m sure she’s thinking about this video that was part of a Father’s Day campaign. She knew I got paid for it:

What makes me smile? #powerofdad @lifeofdad @oralb

A video posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on


But other than that? There really aren’t that many selfies I’ve posted Instagram this year. At least, I don’t think there are. Let’s see… Continue reading

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It’s 2015. Welcome to the Future.

2015 fireworks

This is it. It’s finally the year we find out if any of the 2015 that Marty McFly experienced actually comes true. With Back to the Future Day, The Avengers: Age of Ultron and the awakening of the Force on the big screen, 2015 promises to be a HUGE year for geeks like me who are into such things.

Whether you’re excited about these things or not, I hope 2015 is an amazing year for you, dear reader. I hope that the worst day of this year is better than the best day of 2014. I pray that the Divine reveals Himself to all of us in ways we can’t possibly imagine. Let’s change the world this year.

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

The Future is NOW. Let’s make 2015 a year for the record books!

Happy New Year!

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The 2014 Matty Awards

The ballots have been cast. The votes have been tallied. They winners are about to be revealed.

That’s right, friends! It’s time for the annual release of the Matty Awards! I know you’ve been on the edge of your seat in anticipation of this year’s announcement. This is, after all, a highly coveted award. It’s right up there with The Old Man’s fragile Leg Lamp.

So here’s this years winners in all their glory. But before I announce them, please note that the links included are affiliate links. If you happen to buy any of these fine products, a small portion of the profits will go back to me. And that helps keep this blog up and running. Thank you for your continued support!

Now that we have that disclaimer out of the way, I’m pleased to present the 2014 Matty Award recipients.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

2014 Matty Awards

Best Movie

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
I think the second Captain America is my favorite installment in the Marvel series so far. Of course, I haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet. Some say it’s even better than Winter Soldier. That’s a pretty tall order. I plan on finding out soon if this is a valid claim or not.

Best Album

Andrew Peterson, “After All These Years: A Collection

Andrew Peterson is no stranger to this award. In fact, his album, Behold the Lamb, won the award for Best Album in the inaugural appearance of this award (back when it was called the Ralphies).

This is not your typical “best of” or “greatest hits” album. There are some new songs mixed in with the old ones. And the old ones have been redone. It’s like Andrew Peterson is covering Andrew Peterson on this album (or something like that). While I love every song on this album, I’m especially fond of the second half.

Best Song

I think this category is going to be handed over to my kids. Permanently.

Here are their choices…


Lecrae, ”Nuthin”
from the album, Anomaly


One Direction, “Girl Almighty”
from the album, Four


“Let it Go”
from the Frozen soundtrack

I know. Mihret’s choice is a shock. Isn’t it?

A #Frozen #selfie with Olaf. #Christmas2014

A photo posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

Best Book (nonfiction)

Creativity, Inc.
by Ed Catmul

Not only is this the story of the creation of Pixar and the resurrection of Disney Animation, but it also talks about how to be a creative organization. This is a must-read for any fan of Pixar, Disney, or Steve Jobs. It might even be a must-read for fans of Industrial Light and Magic. It’s also a must-read for anyone remotely concerned about leadership, management, creativity, teamwork, or storytelling.

The chapter about failure is worth the price of admission alone. It’s completely contrary to what I’ve experienced in the corporate world.

Best Book (fiction)

The Warden and the Wolf King
by Andrew Peterson

No, this hasn’t become the Andrew Peterson Awards Show or anything like that. I managed to read some good works fiction this year. The Warden and the Wolf King is the best work of fiction I’ve read in a long time. I laughed. I cheered. I cried. I couldn’t put the book down. It is a fitting end to the Wingfeather Saga.

Best TV Show

Still retired. I have one show that I’d like to name, but I don’t want to jinx it. It seems like every show that wins this award is canceled shortly afterward. So I’ll keep my choice to myself because I kind of like watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.


Best Sports Moment

Aiden Todd, North Middle School

I didn’t write about this when it happened. And it was one of the few times I didn’t have the camera ready when Aiden was on the football field this season, but the best sports moment, by far, has to be the interception he got during one of his games. Hopefully it’s only the first of many in his career. Although I don’t have a video or a photo of his interception, here’s a little video I put together while playing around with flipagram.


Best Blog

Dork Daddy
I mean, the guy is raising his kids in the ways of the Geek. And he and his family dressed up like characters from The Princess Bride this Halloween. And he even took his kids to meet Wesley himself. That makes for an awesome dad. And an awesome blog.

I could probably also give the award to Indy with Kids and Geeking in Indiana, too. But they’d be repeat winners. And we’ve already had repeat winners this year. Besides, they’ll probably win next year, too. Because they’re pretty awesome people with some pretty cool blogs, too.

Now it’s your turn! What books, movies, etc. are on YOUR list for 2014?

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The Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser is REALLY here!

Well, here it is, kids! After several fan-made versions faked out legions of fans this week (I’m sure Admiral Ackbar is shouting about how it was a trap), the official version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released about an hour ago.

I have to admit that I was so excited about the release that I hooked the laptop to our big TV so I could watch it in as close to theatre as possible. I should’ve popped popcorn, but I didn’t. I’ll remember to do that next time, though.

I’m still not happy that they’re releasing the film in December instead of the traditional May (it is Star Wars month, after all), but after seeing this teaser, I’m also not happy that I’ll have to wait a whole ‘nother year before this film’s released!

And that lightsaber seems kind of strange. But I’m sure I’ll grow to love it.

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I’ve become a walking cliché


A few weeks ago, I wrote a little bit about my new job with an elementary school in the area. Even though it’s a tough job and can be emotionally exhausting at times, I really do love the job. There was one day not too long ago that the whole day was one meltdown after another, followed by one blowout after another. And all I could do was smile. I just couldn’t help myself.

I know.

Predictable, right? It’s like I’m saying this because I’m supposed to say it. Much like an award nominee says “It’s an honor just to be nominated.” It’s so…cliché.

Cliché: A phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought…A very predictable or unoriginal thing or person. – Oxford Dictionary (emphasis mine)

Oh, but that’s not all…

I didn’t mention that I also have another job. It’s at a Christian bookstore. I know, right? Where else would you expect a former pastor to eventually wind up? Of course!

Oh, I’m still not done…

Guess what this Christian bookstore does with all of its earnings. All proceeds from their sales go to support ministries that primarily focus on caring for orphans and widows. Earlier this year, there was a stirring in my heart. I started to think that maybe I needed to spend more of my time and talents in a career that was about actually helping other people instead of merely helping other people make money. I realize that’s a bit of a false dichotomy, but that’s how I felt.

So, of course I’m working with kids with special needs. And of course I’m working at a store that’s giving away all of its profits.

It’s just so…cliché.

But I’m OK with that.

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Looking back: 10 posts for 10 years!

10 posts for 10 years

It seems this has been a week of significant milestones for this humble little blog. I published my 2000th post a few days ago. And then this weekend marked the 10th anniversary…or “blogiversary”…of this blog. I want to thank you again for sticking with me. It’s been quite a ride, hasn’t it?

Over this ten year span, I’ve written about a lot of different life experiences. Some were great. Some were awful. Horribly awful. Here are some highlights from the past decade…

  1. I shared my seminary experience.
  2. We said goodbye to my nephew.
  3. I discussed my most memorable travel experiences. This list was written in 2006. There are several more memories I can add (like two trips to Florida and a life-changing trip to Ethiopia to bring Mihret home). I’m all about making memories with my family!
  4. When we left Tennessee and returned to Indiana, I shared a few more memorable goodbyes I’ve had along the way.
  5. I’ve shared quite a bit about coaching instructional baseball.
  6. For the second time in less than a year, I had to say goodbye to colleagues at work thanks to layoffs. The day after the second layoff, my father in law died. Man, I still miss him.
  7. Philmont Scout Ranch always manages  to show up in a post or two a year. I think this one about leadership lessons is my favorite.
  8. I’ve shared some fun stories, too. Like the time I had to break into my parents’ house. And how I proposed to Christy.
  9. Of course, our lives were changed when we brought Mihret home. I wrote about that. A lot.
  10. And there’s always Star Wars. Give me that Star Wars. Nothing but Star Wars.

OK. That was actually more than 10 posts. But how can you pick just ten out of two thousand? I’ll tell you how…

You can’t.

Thanks for looking back at the last 10 years with me. I can’t wait to discover what happens next!

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Just in time for Christmas: An Auction for our Adoption.

Family of Six
Christy has been hard at work putting together an online auction to help cover some of our adoption fees. Generous friends, family, and businesses have donated some great items for this event. You should head on over to the auction’s facebook page and check it out.

Here’s how it works. Once you find something you’d like to bid on, write your bid in a comment under that specific picture. Please include your name and email address . If you would like to bid over a current bid, simply comment under the original bid with your name and email address! The highest bid at the close of the auction on November 24th wins! IF THERE IS SHIPPING LISTED, PLEASE COMMENT WITH YOUR BID IF YOU WILL NEED SHIPPING. We will gladly deliver in the Indianapolis area (if you’d like to ask about other arrangements, let me know).

Here are a few highlights from this auction. Hurry! The auction closes November 24th!

One of a kind elephant painting

Elephant painting
Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! We’re excited to present this one of a kind gift to the winning bidder: FOUR (4) tickets to the Indianapolis installment of the Ringling Bros. Circus plus a Certified Pachyderm Painting – what an awesome keepsake!
You can place your bid here.

Hand made paper necklace

Paper necklace
This paper necklace was hand made in Uganda. If you’d like to place a bid, you can do so here.

Silk scarf from Ethiopia

Ethiopian scarf
We bought this scarf from a small shop in Addis during our trip to bring Mihret home. Click here to place your bid.

Premier Designs Autism Awareness Spectrum Necklace, bracelet, and earrings

Autism necklace Autism bracelet
This beautiful necklace, bracelet, and earring set from Premier Designs can be bid on here.

Family Photo Session

Lantern Tree Photography

A one-hour photo session from Lantern Tree Photography ($150 value). Shannon took our first Family of Five portraits. It’s so cool that she’s part of our journey to become a family of six! You can bid on this session here. Please note that this photo session must take place within the Indianapolis area.

But wait! There’s more!

There’s so much more available in this auction. Please go check it out and bid to your heart’s content!

Thank you for your ongoing support!

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