Lovevery Reviews: The Play Gym

Lovevery Reviews: The Play Gym

Lovevery is an American company producing play-kit subscription boxes for babies and children. The award-winning, Montessori-inspired toys and subscription boxes have really exploded in popularity and you can now find them in Target stores as well. However the products themselves are certainly not cheap so are they worth it? We will be doing a series of Lovevery Reviews as we make our way through their kits.

Lets take a closer look at one of the first Lovevery products you might consider, The Play Gym, and give it an honest review. As a dad, I’ve been on the lookout for products that not only keep my little one engaged while I’m working from home but also promote their development in a fun and interactive way. While The Lovevery Play Gym did not make my top 5 Nursery Essentials list, it has turned out to be a fantastic addition to our baby’s daily routine.

The Lovevery play gym with a baby laying upon it
A great place for baby to explore!

Quality and Durability – 5/5

Right out of the box, I was impressed by the quality of the Play Gym. It’s sturdy, well-constructed, and built to withstand the rigors of baby play. As a dad I always welcome a product that is easy to assemble with clear instructions and this was no exception. I appreciate that it’s made from sustainable materials, and it feels like it’s going to last for years to come should our family end up growing!

Developmental Features – 5/5

The Lovevery Play Gym isn’t just a place for your baby to lay down; it’s an entire developmental playground. The various play mats, toys, and activities are designed to support different stages of baby’s growth. From the high-contrast visuals for newborns to the learning cards that help with cognitive development, it’s a full package. I especially appreciated the guide that came with the Play Gym on how and when to utilize certain features and how they will contribute to baby’s development.

Ability to Clean – 5/5

Let’s face it; babies can be gross. So on that note I’m very grateful that the Lovevery Play Gym has been easy to clean. There will be spit up, throw up, and probably the odd blow out or two. The materials are machine washable, and any spills or accidents can be quickly wiped away. I haven’t found myself worrying how I’m going to get the Play Gym clean after a mishap.

Portability – 4/5

This Play Gym has been relatively easy for me to set up and take down, making it convenient for travel or moving it around the house. While it’s not as portable as some other baby products, it strikes a good balance between stability and flexibility. I haven’t had trouble at all relocating this from the home office to the nursery to the living room and even over to Grandma’s house.

Customer Support – 5/5

It’s worth noting that Lovevery’s customer support has been outstanding. They provide detailed information on how to use the Play Gym and promptly respond to any questions or concerns, which is reassuring for first-time parents like us. Thankfully I haven’t had to use it much but as a long time customer support professional, I can recognize some game!

Affordability – 4/5

While the Lovevery Play Gym isn’t the cheapest option on the market, its quality, developmental value, and versatility make it a sound investment for baby’s growth and entertainment. As a dad, I’d rather spend a bit more on something that will genuinely benefit our child’s development and that will last for a growing family. If you don’t want to spring for the cost of a new one I would keep an eye out on resale stores and Facebook marketplace as you can always snag a used Play Gym.

Lovevery Play Gym In Review

In summary, the Lovevery Play Gym has been a game-changer for our family. It’s not just a piece of baby gear; it’s a tool for early learning, sensory development, and interactive play. If you’re looking for a thoughtful, well-designed product that both you and your baby will love, I wholeheartedly recommend the Lovevery Play Gym. While there are cheaper options out there you could always look for a used version but at the end of the day this is your child’s development we’re talking about and I think this is well worth the investment – no regrets on our purchase!

Do you have any Lovevery products? Do you think they are worth the price?


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How to Build a Kayak: Part 2

In our last episode of Building a Kayak we chose our kit from Chesapeake Light Craft, unpacked our components, and started some Stitch and Glue construction on the side panels. Join me here in Part 2 to check in on our puzzle joints and get started on the sheer clamps! Mistakes will be made as we figure out how to build a kayak!

The First Problem

The first issue to tackle this week is a puzzle joint that arrived broken. However this should be easily fixable by just gluing in the puzzle joint as normal and popping in the broken piece.

A broken piece of puzzle joint wood

Moving on!

No matter, first we’ll get to work on today’s primary project, the sheer clamps. First, what is the sheer clamp?  It’s a longitudinal piece to which the deck and side panels are clamped to make the hull-deck joint.  As the name would imply, it’s position is at the sheer line of the boat. Due to shipping via USPS we’ll need to first get them attached so they are the full length of the boat. This is done through a scarf joint.

The scarf joint should yield a barely visible glue line and lend strength to the sheer clamps once dried. However we shall see how it goes!

Lining up the scarf joint and it looks good. We will mix some epoxy to glue together and clamp into position like so:

Fixing our puzzle joint

Now we can return to our broken puzzle joint and see about getting the panels glued together. Here is what it looked like once glued into position and dried:

Looks good! It looked even better once it had been sanded smooth, you can’t even tell there had been an issue!

We’ll let the scarf joints dry for now but join me next time as I start to get them glued to the side panels and begin the Stitch and Glue construction!

What projects are you working on these days?

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5 Nursery Essentials

There are so many different products out there marketed as essentials for new parents and their newborns but what are the things you actually need beyond the obvious? Here are five things that we have found to be nursery essentials for when you are ready to set up your nursery:

Diaper Pail

There are many different diaper pail options out there but so many of them require their own proprietary bags which of course are not cheap and typically only found online for sale. Additionally, many of these diaper pails are made of plastic which will slowly absorb smells and will never smell the same! However there is an alternative and we cannot recommend enough the Ubbi diaper pail. There are two main factors here to consider and the first is that is primarily made with steel which will not absorb odors like plastic will. The second is that it can be used with any garbage bag – no need for expensive proprietary bag systems. We simply used the same 13 gallon garbage bags we use in the kitchen! This diaper pail isn’t going to eliminate smell entirely – nothing will manage that, trust me – but it will certainly be an advantage over plastic.


For a quiet noise machine to help drown out noise from outside the house as well as my wife and I watching our shows we went with the Hatch Rest 2nd gen. With different white noise options and colors to pick from, it makes a nice addition to baby’s bedtime routine. The light and sound also help let baby know it is time for nap and is a key component of nap time routine as well. This has been a really nice addition that I wasn’t completely sold on at the start but has quickly become a nursery essential.

Hatch rest night light and sound machine
Hatch white noise and nightlight – a nursery essential!


Winters in the midwest can be brutally dry and rough on your skin and so we knew we would want a humidifier for baby’s room. It has the added benefit of being at the ready for when baby inevitably contracts a cold or any sort of respiratory illness. And they certainly got their fair share of colds! I have discovered that a baby with a cold is just the worst as there is not a whole lot you can do for them aside from make them as comfortable as you can – and a humidifier running in their room at night is one easy way to do this. We went with the Pore MistAire for its looks and more compact size.

Label Maker

If your partner is anything like my wife then you know that organization isn’t something you do occasionally – it is a way of life. Additionally this baby already has more clothes than I do and between my wife and some over-the-moon grandmothers that is unlikely to change anytime soon. To that end, a label maker has come in surprisingly handy. Bins, totes, drawers, extra supplies, everything can have its own label so when you’re exhausted from total lack of sleep and baby needs a fresh outfit or you can’t find the spare wipes, labels will save the day! We have found the Brother P-Touch not only affordable but incredibly easy to use to the point where I’ve gone a bit label crazy.


When it came time to select a baby monitor I was overwhelmed by the amount of choices – and the cost! There are so many baby monitors out there with cameras and touch screens and apps on your phone that in the end we just went with a very basic, and affordable, VTech audio-only monitor. This has turned out to be a great choice as they are so simple to set up and use and we have found we do not really need a video option. We will occasionally sneak into baby’s room to check on them but have not found ourselves wishing we had video. Once you’ve got your feet under you parenting-wise you’ll not even really need the audio monitor unless you’re outside or out of earshot. Baby will let you know if they actually need you that much I can confirm!


I hope you found our list of the top 5 nursery essentials helpful! There are so many products out there that you just do not need from wipe warmers (its a cold world kid, get used to it!) to specialized baby bottle sterilizers. If you find yourself wanting some of those ‘extras’ that might not be essential then I recommend hitting up a resale store and getting them second hand to save your wallet!

What are some nursery essentials that you have?

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How to Build a Kayak

When you combine working from home with a midwest winter you end up sitting (or laying) down a lot. While there are a lot of winter activities to keep oneself busy, unfortunately none of them are for me. Ice fishing, snowmobiling, skiing, and snowboarding – they are all too cold for me.

So I’ve been in search of a winter activity, a winter project, to keep myself busy and I’ve settled on building a kayak! I really have no idea what I’m doing so rather than starting from scratch – I’ll be building a kit from Chesapeake Light Craft. I have long admired their boat kits and despite feeling a bit clueless, I’m excited to undertake the challenge.

build your own kayak convention booth

Kit Selection

CLC Boats have a number of intriguing kits including canoes, sailboats, and even a teardrop camper! My dad has been working on a Chesapeake 17 but I’ve settled on the lightweight version, the Chesapeake 17LT. This kayak combines good looks with functionality while not appearing to be too difficult to build! For my first adventure with boat construction this kit seems like the best fit.

beautiful wooden kayak beached on the rocks

A Chesapeake 17LT

Unpacking the components

As a dad, it is now customary to start any project with a proper beer and building a kayak over winter calls for something fun. In this case, an English dark ale from Goose Island. Toffee with hints of dark bread, caramel, and rye. But I digress, we have a boat to build!

a project beer

Our Chesapeake 17LT has arrived in two packages – one primarily with the wood components and the other containing the epoxy mixes and wood flour.

components arrived in the mail

unpacking a large box of components

Next we start to get organized and confirm all the pieces we need have arrived safely. The beer is gone and it is time to start consulting the instruction manual. If you want to follow along on the process there is a great video on YouTube that I’ll be referencing as I go as well!

assembling the kit components

Stitch and Glue Construction

The method of construction we are using for this kayak kit is called stitch and glue. Essentially, the stitch and glue is a simple boat building method which uses plywood panels temporarily stitched together, typically with wire or zip-ties, and glued together permanently with epoxy resin. This type of construction eliminates much of the need for frames or ribs. The plywood side panels only come in 8ft sheets so we need to do some gluing together as a first step. Thankfully these puzzle joints make connecting them quite easy and I think they will look quite nice when finished!

two panels connect by a puzzle joint

Next we mix up some epoxy resin and hardener in a 2:1 ratio and add a splash of some silica powder to help give it a bit of thickness and ensure a strong joint.

a glued puzzle joint

And here are three sections glued together on my trusty sawhorses that will surely see quite a bit of work in the near future.

three panels glued together

Join me next time when we will tackle the sheer clamps, some scarf joints, and review how our puzzle joints turned out!



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How to Set Up a Nursery

A sage green baby nursery

With the impending arrival of baby its only natural for the wife to go into nesting mode and it can be fun to participate! It can also be a time of high anxiety when hearing the words “So I saw this thing on Pinterest…” and wondering if you have enough beer to tackle the upcoming project you’ll be assigned…

Armed with requirements from the wife and a host of Pinterest pins, setting up a baby nursery can seem daunting at first, but with some planning and preparation (and beer), it can be a fun and rewarding experience. Here’s my guide to help you set up a baby nursery from start to finish.

Choose a Room first

You need to decide which room you want to use as the nursery. Ideally it should be a quiet and peaceful room away from high traffic areas. Other considerations should include good ventilation, lighting, and storage.

Choose a Color Scheme

Once you have your room, it’s time to decide on a color scheme for the nursery. Many parents choose soft and calming colors, such as pastel blues, pinks, or yellows. You can also choose a theme, such as animals or sports, to add some fun and personality to the room. We had Sage Green as one of our primary wedding colors and we thought it would work great for a babies room as well so that is what we decided on as a primary color.

Address the Wife’s Assignments

One of the primary assignments the wife provided me was the creation of a ‘wood wall’ as seen on Pinterest. I searched for a few different sources of reclaimed barn wood to accomplish this from Home Depot to Craigslist to Facebook Marketplace but couldn’t find anything I liked. Thanks to Google stalking me, I kept receiving ads for Stikwood as a peel-and-stick option. This was certainly not a cheap alternative but I snagged some on a Black Friday deal to save some money. Despite the cost this was well worth it in time, effort, and desired effect. In just a couple afternoons (2 beers each, a 4 beer assignment total) I had completed the project and delighted the wife.

Wood wall – 4 beer project

Pick Essential Furniture

We made a list of what we thought the most important furniture pieces for a baby nursery are and came up with a crib, a changing table, and a dresser. There are a myriad of places to acquire these items from Facebook and Craigslist to friends and family to high end brands but just make sure that you choose safe, sturdy, and well-made furniture. Additional furniture may include a rocking chair, nightstand, and bookshelf.

The crib we selected from Storkcraft

Get the Right Bedding

When it comes to bedding, you’ll need a fitted sheet, a waterproof mattress pad, and a crib mattress. Make sure to choose bedding that is comfortable, safe, and easy to clean. I recommend at least three different fitted sheets so that one can be in use, one can be ready to be used, and one will inevitably be soiled with some sort of bodily fluid and in the wash.

Decorate the Walls

Once you have the furniture and bedding in place, it’s time to decorate the walls. You can hang pictures, artwork, or decals to add some color and personality to the room. Just make sure that everything is securely fastened and out of reach of your little one. Name signs from Etsy are very common but please ensure they are not hung over your crib. In fact nothing should be installed over the crib! We ended up hanging some floating shelves, a mirror, and hanging plant.

Install Window Treatments

To help regulate the amount of light that enters the room, install window treatments such as curtains or blinds. Make sure to choose a fabric that is easy to clean and won’t pose a safety hazard. We grabbed some metal window shades from Home Depot made to measure and they were a breeze to install.

Add Storage

You’ll need storage for all of your baby’s clothes, diapers, toys, and other items. God help you if you have a girl as your wife will go even harder on the clothes and good storage will be critical. A dresser with drawers and a changing table with shelves or baskets can provide plenty of storage space for primary items. You can also add storage bins or baskets to keep things organized. We added some shelving in the closet along with some totes that we got from Target to increase storage.

Consider Lighting

You’ll want to have enough lighting in the nursery for nighttime feedings and diaper changes. A ceiling light with a dimmer switch can help create a calming atmosphere, and a nightlight can provide just enough light for those late-night tasks. We utilized two different lamps along with a Hatch night light + sound machine.

Hatch Rest - Smart Sleep Device DEFAULT PDP

Safety First

Make sure to take safety precautions when setting up your nursery. Install safety gates, outlet covers, and baby-proof locks on drawers and cabinets. Also, make sure that all furniture is securely fastened to the wall to prevent tipping. Play around with the floor plan as well to ensure that you can avoid banging knees and stubbing toes during 3am diaper changes.

Setting up a baby nursery can be a fun and exciting experience, but it’s important to take your time and plan carefully. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a safe and comfortable space for your little one to grow and thrive.

A sage green baby nursery
The completed nursery
Crib and changing table in a nursery
The completed wood wall

What else would you add?

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Losing Weight and Shedding the Dad Bod in 2023: A Journey to Better Health

Starting Weight: 223.1

One (of many) things that surprised me upon becoming a dad is a drive to become healthier for my family. I want to ensure that I set healthy examples for the kiddo both when it comes to food and exercise. Not only that but as I rapidly approach my 40s I want to ensure that I’m as healthy and active as I can be as Peanut grows up.

It’s a new year and a perfect time to set new goals and make positive changes in our lives. For many men, one common resolution is to lose weight and get rid of that dreaded “dad bod.” But losing weight can be challenging, especially if you’re anything like me and have been carrying around extra pounds for a while. I’m sure I’m not alone in being able to say I’ve tried it all. From keto to cardio, from lifting to fasting, and everything in between. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find anything I’ve been able to consistently stick with.

However with the arrival of Peanut last year I’ve decided to slowly make some long term changes and use this blog as an accountability partner! I’m ready to take this challenge and I imagine I’m not alone. Here are some things I’ll be working on to achieve a healthier and stronger body in 2023 and I’ll be posting about my journey along the way. I hope you’ll follow along with me whether you feel inspired to lose weight or not!

Start with a Plan:

Set specific, achievable goals for yourself, and create a plan to reach them. Consider factors such as diet, exercise, and stress management to create a comprehensive approach to weight loss. My plan includes the following:

  • 30 minute Peloton ride every day
  • Not drinking my calories – focusing on water, black coffee, and tea
  • Reduce snacking
  • Lose 1lb of weight / week

Get Moving!

Exercise is essential for weight loss, and there are many ways to incorporate it into your daily routine. I’ll be aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as walking, cycling, or swimming, every day. I’ll be riding my Peloton for 30 minutes every day, increasing my steps walked, and mixing in some weight lifting as well.

Watch what you Eat:

A balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein is essential for weight loss. Avoid sugary drinks, processed foods, and excessive amounts of salt and fat. Unfortunately this is all easier said than done especially when time is a factor when cooking for the family and watching a baby. However our family will be adjusting to a few core dinner recipes that utilize whole grains, vegetables, and lean protein that are also time efficient and will expand on this as time goes by. Stay tuned for recipes I recommend!


Drinking plenty of water is important for maintaining good health, and it can also help you feel full so you eat less. I’ll be aiming for at least 8 glasses of water per day. To accomplish this I’ll be working through a water bottle at my desk and drinking a glass of water before every meal. I’ve also cut out all soda from my diet and will be drinking almost exclusively water, black coffee, and tea.


Adequate sleep is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to help your body recover and recharge. Unfortunately having a baby in the house that is teething is making this goal quite a difficult challenge! However we’ll keep working on this one!

Find Support:

Having friends, family, or a support group can make a big difference in your weight loss journey. Consider joining a fitness group, working with a personal trainer, or reaching out to others who are working towards similar goals. For me, my wife has been my biggest advocate and I’ll be depending on her support throughout this process.

Join me!

Losing weight can be a long and difficult journey, but it’s worth it for the benefits it brings to our health and well-being not to mention setting an example for the kids. By following these tips and staying committed to your goals, you can shed the dad bod and embrace a healthier, happier life in 2023. I hope you follow along my journey and we’ll lose the dad bod together!

What are your fitness goals this year? Leave a comment below!



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Going on a Dadventure!

My mum has an old saying that I’ve found myself referencing more often as I get older: “research is never wasted.” So upon finding out my wife was pregnant I embarked on a research binge. I searched for everything from what to expect throughout pregnancy to reviews of burp clothes, to top ten diapers and everything in between. However, what I found was that so many of the internet resources were targeted towards mums or parents in general and I had to really scrummage to find content that was specifically for dads and, ideally, written by other dads.

I wanted to hear from other dads what they found helpful or not, what they had learned or been surprised by. Unfortunately that content felt too scarce to me.

As the kiddo has gotten a bit older I continue to look for new resources and suddenly it dawned on me – why not document my own findings? If my trials and tribulations can even help one dad out there I’ll consider it worth it.

And so on that note…

I’m going on a Dadventure! Join me as I blog my way through balancing working from home, family, and personal responsibilities. We’ll struggle together as I try to find time for myself as well as time to bond with my kid and stay in shape!

As a Dadventurer I’ve come to understand that being a dad means constantly juggling a million different tasks. That is why I’m dedicated to providing practical and fun ideas for activities that the whole family can enjoy as well as helpful tips and tricks for making the most of your time and resources as a busy dad.

From hobbies and fitness tips to gear reviews and tasty recipes, I’ve got you covered. We’ll also share our favorite budget-friendly vacation ideas and weekend getaways for quality family time.

But Dadventures isn’t just about the kids! I also understand the importance of self-care for dads and will share my resources for maintaining a healthy work-life balance, including mindfulness and stress management techniques.

When it comes to your career I can help here as well! I’ve been working remotely for over 10 years and am a proud remote work advocate. I’ll be sharing my tips and tricks on not only how to land a remote first job but also how to succeed in a remote role and how to balance working from home with your parenting duties.

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