The NASCAR Acceleration Nation app makes races even more exciting!

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post about the new NASCAR Acceleration Nation app. Learn more in my Disclosure Policy. As always, thank you for your support.

Me and Aiden at Bristol Motor Speedway NASCAR Acceleration Nation

I have a lot of fond memories from our time living in Upper East Tennessee. One of the best memories is the opportunities we had to attend NASCAR related festivities and races. Needless to say, living in the shadow of Bristol, the fastest half mile in the world, we had a pretty big NASCAR fan while we lived there.

Aiden in front of Bristol Motor Speedway NASCAR Acceleration Nation

Now NASCAR has created something I wish was around when we lived in the Tri-Cities: NASCAR Acceleration Nation! Available on Android, iPhone (click here to download), and the web, NASCAR Acceleration Nation has all kinds of great stuff for kids, including information about upcoming races, driver details, fun games, and learning materials about the science of racing!  Continue reading “The NASCAR Acceleration Nation app makes races even more exciting!”

March Madness with my Boys

Dove Men+Care sent me complimentary tickets to the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games in Louisville, KY. All thoughts and opinions expressed are 100% mine. You can learn more in my Disclosure Policy

Did you catch that? You might not have. And that’s OK. But it sticks out for me like a KY fan in a sea of Cream and Crimson. In case you did miss it, I’ll share it for you again…

” ‘I believe in you and I’m proud of you.’ …that’s the only thing you wanted your dad and your mom to say to you.” – Kevin Ollie

“What greater gift can you give someone than to legitimately care?” – Jim Calhoun

I love the way sports can bring people together. I love how being on a team and having a caring coach or teacher can make all the difference in the world. It’s no secret that my band director had a lasting impact on me. But I don’t want my kids to have to wait until a coach says “I’m proud of you” in order to hear someone say that. They need to hear it from me. Every day. And as we’re navigating the teenage years with three teenagers, I need to make sure I’m intentional about telling them how proud of them I am and how much I legitimately care. I need to keep working every day to improve the bond I have with my kids. I believe the bond between a dad and his kids is a display of real strength.

Real strength between father and son(s)

It’s a strange thing, the teenage years. And I’m not sure I would’ve successfully navigated them without the guidance of a great friend: my Dad. Growing up, we had many shared experiences. We even climbed a mountain together And although it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, I love going fishing with my dad. Our shared experiences only strengthen the friendship we already have.

I only hope to have similar memories and bonds with my kids. So I knew exactly who I was going to take when I was offered tickets to see the men’s Regional action in Louisville.

Me and Aiden - March Madness 2016

I knew Aiden would be excited. He loves all things sports and is a big college basketball fan like his dad. We had a great time on Thursday, watching Villanova dismantle Miami and Kansas take over their game against Maryland in the second half. Aiden had been to a Division I men’s basketball game before, but that was 10 years ago. And I’m not even sure if he remembers it. So he was pretty excited to get to see not one, but two basketball games in one night. We had a fabulous time.

With Weldu at Elite Eight game

Weldu is a big soccer fan. Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement. He’s a huge soccer fan. So he was a little unsure about going to a basketball game because he had never really watched many basketball games. But I was  pretty sure he would enjoy the sights and sounds of the greatest tournament in all of college sports. Just in case, I decided to take him to the Elite Eight game instead of Thursday’s Sweet Sixteen games so he’d only have to tolerate one game if he was bored.

Since we were surrounded by Villanova fans, he quickly became a fan of Villanova, the “black” (I know they’re really “Navy,” but you try explaining that to a guy who’s only been in the US for a month and a half and you’re surrounded by screaming fans yelling “Let’s go, Nova!” clap, clap, clap-clap-clap. So we stuck with “black”) team. It was pretty exciting to be among the fans as they cheered their teem to victory and a trip to Houston.

Villanova fans at the 2016 Elite Eight game

I had a a great time with Weldu. And I’m pretty sure he had a good time, too. Actually, I know he had a good time because he talked my ear off during the whole 90+ minute ride home. It was an experience I’ll never forget and I hope he’ll always remember, too.

A weekend of firsts.

Not only was it Weldu’s first game and probably the first game that Aiden, but there were other firsts that happened during these two games.

  • It was our first time visiting the Yum! Center. Wow! What a facility! While it doesn’t ooze tradition like a Hinkle or Assembly Hall, it is a pretty impressive place.
  • It was my first time at an NCAA Tournament game. We’ve participated in events around the tournament, but these were my first games.
  • I met Nick and Creed for the first time. I’m not sure why we had to drive all the way to Louisville to finally meet in person since we live in the same region, but it was nice to finally put names and faces together in real life.
  • I finally got to hear the world-famous “Rock. Chalk. Jayhawk.” chant. I imagine it would sound pretty cool echoing through the halls of Phog Allen.

Rock…chalk. ..Jayhawk…K…U! #MarchMadness

A video posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

It was an amazing experience. One that I won’t soon forget. And it’s one that has strengthened the bond between me and my boys. How could I ask for more?

40 for 40

Lordy! Lordy!
Look who’s forty!

That’s what you’re supposed to say. Right? Well, whether that’s really the case or not, I’ve come to accept the fact that I’m now a forty year old.

In recognition of this landmark achievement, Dad encouraged me to take a few minutes and think back on my story – where I’ve been, who I’ve met, what I’ve done – and reflect on that. I took it to heart. And I’ve been thinking about it a lot, honestly.

During my reflection, I thought, “You know, I should write these down.” So I did. And now I’m sharing them with you. Some are serious. Some are less than serious. I hope you can tell the difference. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be challenged a little bit along the way.

40 thoughts for 40 years  Continue reading “40 for 40”

6 Unique Christmas Gift Ideas

This post may use affiliate links. Learn more in my Disclosure Policy.

Christmas Gifts 2015

The clock is ticking. Christmas will be here before you know it. And if your home is anything like ours, your calendar is filling up rather quickly. You’ve got school concerts to attend, ugly sweater parties to go to, and decked-out houses to admire. You barely have time to breathe. And you definitely don’t have time to fight the crowds at your local mall.

I feel your pain.

That’s usually me each Christmas. So I know what you’re going through. I also know the pressure (whether real or imagined) to give the perfect gift to your loved ones. I get it. It can be stressful.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Here are some great places to find some unique Christmas gift ideas this holiday season.

Canvas on Demand

What’s more personal than getting a photo printed on canvas so it can be displayed for the world to see? Your loved one can be reminded of a special event or a shared memory every day.  A photo on canvas is a great keepsake that will be treasured for years.

Gold Medal Wine Club
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Wine delivered to your front porch every month? This is the gift that keeps giving all year long, folks!

Ozone Socks

I love me some socks. There’s nothing like putting a new pair of socks on your feet. It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world. Great socks are great for your feet. I know from experience how a day can be completely ruined if you’re not wearing comfortable socks. And they’re a great way to share your personality! Ozone Socks have a great variety of socks with some pretty cool designs.

And if you want to give something truly unique, you can sign your loved one up for the Sock of the Month Club. They’ll ship the first pair out within 48 hours of your order. The Club is available in six- and twelve-month memberships and you receive one pair of socks a month, plus a bonus pair of socks to welcome you to the club.

NFL Shop
Get Free US Shipping on NFLShop.com through 12/8 with code DEC15

I think we could just buy all of Aiden’s Christmas gifts here if we wanted to. He’s that big of a football fan. From gear to clothing to collectibles to tailgating equipment to jewelry, the NFL Shop has something for even the most extreme football fan.

Tackle Direct
TackleDirect.com

I’ve been fishing on occasion. And although I haven’t been able to go as often as I’d like, I look forward to the times when I can spend the weekend with my Dad on one of his fishing trips. I still consider myself a novice fisherman. But I know quite a few fishermen and would love to give them something fishing-related for Christmas. So I asked my Dad if he and his fishing buddies would ever shop at Tacke Direct. When they said they would, I knew this was a place I should check out for myself. So I did. Let’s just say that my fishing friends and family shouldn’t be surprised if they receive something from me from Tackle Direct.

Venue Kings
VenueKings.com

We’re big fans of giving experiences as gifts, not just “stuff” that eventually wears out or is outgrown and thrown away. We’ve given visits to movie exhibits, college football tickets, and concerts for birthdays and Christmas in the past. Now that I know about Venue Kings, we just might be giving even more once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

I hope these ideas help you create a memorable Christmas with your friends and family. I hope you’re able to maximize the time you have with them as you share this wonderful time together.

Oh, and one more suggestion….

If you’re still looking for some great, high-quality Christmas decorations – or if you’re still looking for an artificial Christmas tree that’ll last for years – be sure to check out Tree Classics.
World's Finest Artificial Christmas Trees

They have trees, wreaths, lights, and all kinds of Christmas decorations for your home!

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope your holiday is full of love, laughter, and a few magical surprises along the way!