ENR_EcoAdvanced_Logo

What Do You Mean The Batteries Are Dead?!

As parents, we’ve all been there. You’ve thought of everything for your family outing. Everything except batteries, that is, and now you’re dealing with the sinking feeling you get when you see that last bar mocking you as it flashes its final countdown.

We recently had such an experience at my son’s class performance when our camera ran out of batteries just minutes after the show began. I can still remember the sweat pouring down my face as I was faced with having to report my error to my wife as she beamed with excitement at the thought of having these memories forever.

There was a small part of me that wanted to pretend to take the pictures anyway but I knew I would eventually be found out, so I fessed up to my crime. My wife took the news well but I figure it could be years before she gets her revenge, as I would do to her. Maybe the half opened sugar lid or flushing the toilet while she showers. What, that’s totally normal, right?

The point here is that we go through a lot of batteries, as I’m sure most families do, and with March Break on the horizon, we are starting to stock up now so I don’t make the same mistake twice. This year we are trying out the new Energizer® EcoAdvanced batteries in hopes of getting a longer life out of our various devices.

FYI – The Energizer® EcoAdvanced batteries are the world’s first battery made with 4% recycled batteries and are Energizer’s longest lasting alkaline battery.

Double FYI – When you purchase Energizer® EcoAdvanced batteries at *participating stores between February 1st –March 16th, 2015 and go to energizerwinsmart.com to enter your product UPC, you will be entered for your chance to win a smart fortwo ($26,000 value!). There are also 10 secondary prizes of $100 President’s Choice Gift Cards are also available to be won!

Yeah, I know. Makes you want to snag some batteries next time you’re enjoying some quiet grocery time at Loblaws, doesn’t it?

Reader Giveaway!

Oh, that wasn’t enough for you? Okay, how about a giveaway just for you guys? Simply participate in any of the tasks in the Rafflecopter form below and I’ll pick a winner on … who will take home the following:
– Energizer® EcoAdvanced,
– Energizer® flashlight
– Loblaw’s gift card valued at $25
(Insert Giveaway Form)
* Participating stores: Loblaws, Maxi, Maxi & Cie, Atlantic Superstore, Real Canadian Superstore, Zehrs and Dominion.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, however my fear described above was very real…

Kinder Surprise Tea Party

What Happens When You Bring Kinder Surprise Eggs To A Fictional Tea Party

You can call it unmanly if you’d like but I love playing dolls with my daughter. We get a chance to laugh together and it’s one of the few times where she gets to be the boss as she lets me know all the mistakes I’m making.

We recently had a big event in the house when it was one of the dolls birthdays! I decided not to ask why this specific doll got to have 4 birthdays in one month because I’m sure there was a perfectly rational explanation. Anyway, because of the special occasion, I volunteered to bring dessert for all of the guests in attendance.

The Kinder Surprise eggs were a huge hit and the video below hints at what happened to the eggs that the dolls obviously couldn’t eat… Enjoy!

Kinder News & Notes

If you and your children love Kinder Surprise Eggs, don’t forget to tag them on Instagram @KinderCanada when sharing your pictures.

Make sure to pop in to the Kinder Surprise Facebook Page for fun and activities, especially on #KinderPlayWednesday!

I was compensated for my participation in the #KinderDad program. All the chocolate eating was 100% real…

Just OneTap

Help Stop Distracted Driving With OneTap

Let me tell you a story from this past summer. I was driving on the highway when I noticed that the pickup truck in front of me was weaving in and out of the lane. My first thought was that the person may have been drinking, so I pulled two lanes over just to stay out of harms way. The next thing I saw was the truck smash into the cement median, fishtail and continue driving.

At this point curiosity got the best of me and I caught up to the truck to see what was going on. As I glanced over I was shocked to see that not only had the driver smashed into the wall because he was typing something on his phone, but also that he was STILL doing something on his phone and not looking at the road! Needless to say, I got as far away from this guy as possible.

This is not to say that I am perfect by any means. We’ve all glanced down at a text or answered the phone while driving, mostly because it’s so accessible to do so. In fact, according to a 2014 RCMP Traffic Services report, the leading cause of fatal crashes in Canada over the past five years is distracted driving, contributing to 33% of these accidents. Well, Canadian owned company, App Colony, wanted to help change that, so they developed OneTap, a breakthrough new app for Android phones (IOS version coming soon), proudly supported by The Co-operators Group, that will stop distracted driving in its tracks. Now, driving safely takes #JustOneTap.

    How It Works

Acting as your ‘personal assistant’ on the go, OneTap uses the built-in GPS on your phone to know when you’re in a vehicle and driving. Once you get going, OneTap is automatically enabled, blocking out pings, rings and other notifications that pull our attention away the road. Unlike other solutions on the market though, when a text comes in, OneTap doesn’t just block the alert. Instead, its Auto-Reply function replies to calls and texts immediately, letting people know that you’re driving and when you expect to be finished. One2One™ urgent connect technology notifies you when there’s an urgent message, allowing you to pull over and safely respond.

Another cool feature is that when you connect to friends and family through OneTap, you will be able to see where your loved ones are and if they are driving. And don’t worry, privacy settings within the app can be adjusted to ensure information is only shared with individuals selected by the user.

I can’t think of a good reason to not at least try out the OneTap app. If you are interested in more information, you can go to the OneTap Website or you can install the app from the Google Play Shop!

OneTap

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in the #JustOneTap campaign, but seriously people, put your phones down.

H&R Block Family Tax Cut

I Admit It! I Don’t Know How To Do Taxes

As I’m sure you can attest, nobody likes to admit their weaknesses. Don’t get me wrong, we all have them. There’s something about saying them out loud, however, that is unsettling to me. Today’s admission comes at the hands of a yearly event that I dread, tax season!

I know a lot of people who do their own taxes and have no issues whatsoever. I, however, am NOT one of those people. As soon as I get the forms and log in to figure it out, my brain decides that it’s time for a nap and completely abandons me.

Truth be told, I have actually muddled through it a few times and no matter how right I think I am, we would always end up getting an adjustment letter, letting me know how wrong I was. It always felt like the teacher bringing back your test with a big “F” on it and a “Come see me” note. Embarrassing…

With the implementation of the Family Tax Cut this year, I am not going to be taking any chances. Families with children under the age of 18 will be able to claim a non-refundable tax credit equal to the amount of tax savings that would be realized by transferring up to $50,000 worth of income from the higher-earning to the lower-earning spouse or common-law partner.

With my wife being a stay at home mom, the family tax cut is geared specifically for families like mine and there is no way I am touching this one. Thankfully, the fine folks at H&R Block are completely up to speed on the new rules and promised me that they are going to take care of me and my family so I don’t mess it up. Again. For the price they are charging to do basic returns, I honestly don’t know why anyone would waste their time trying to figure it out on their own.

I’ll tell you what, because I like you all, I am going to give away a gift certificate good for one regular return (T4) that can be used at a retail H&R Block location. Sound good? Just fill out the form below and have a great day!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, however I really am terrible at doing my own taxes…

Air Miles Dream Rewards

The AIR MILES Dream Rewards Have Never Been Better

Last week I showed you Four Easy Ways to Earn More AIR MILES, with the fastest way being the combining of your AIR MILES Collector Card with your American Express AIR MILES Credit Card. This week I am going to talk about my favourite part of being an AIR MILES Collector. Redeeming for rewards!

Here is a fun fact. For the past three years, we have used AIR MILES to pay for most of our Christmas shopping. I don’t even consider myself to be a big shopper but when you combine your AIR MILES Collector Card with something like the American Express AIR MILES Credit Card on things such as groceries and gas, the miles pile up very fast.

This year we decided that instead of using our miles for presents, we would treat ourselves to a few items and I am so excited with the order I just placed! Here is what we decided on:

1. Beats by Dr Dre StudioTM 2.0 Over-Ear Headphone

Beats By Dre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something a lot of people know about me by now is that I have an obsession with headphones. I listen to a lot of music, podcasts and videos, and have gone through a ton of different brands. Some good, some not so good, but I have always wanted a pair of Beats by Dre and now, thanks to AIR MILES, my wish has come true!

2. Gordon Ramsay Maze 10-Piece Cookware Set with Glass Lids

Gordon Ramsay Maze 10-Piece Cookware Set

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My wife and I had a bit of a panic moment a few weeks ago when we had our favourite pot and pan set bite the dust in the span of two weeks. I’m not sure when the last time you shopped for cookware was but it is not a cheap purchase. While browsing the AIR MILES Dream Rewards catalogue, I was excited to see over 10 different cookware sets available for redemption. With my family being avid MasterChef Junior watchers, the decision to go with the Gordon Ramsey set was easy! We’ll be back up and cooking in no time!

3. Fotopro MS-7 Kit for iPhone 5/5S

Fotopro MS7 Kit for iPhone 5 5S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not going to lie, I was probably most excited about this reward. I have been planning on shooting more video for my blog but always felt like I didn’t have the proper tools for it. With this kit I get a few different lenses for my iPhone, a mini tripod, which is the major selling point for me, and a monopod, aka – the selfie stick. Yes, I understand that people who use the selfie stick can look kind of silly, but I have bigger plans that just taking a couple pictures. For that, you will have to keep checking in!

From event tickets to signed sports memorabilia, there were so many more Dream Rewards I wanted to claim but I am really excited about what we have coming in. Plus it saves my wife and I from having to buy each other Christmas presents, which means more for family and friends! Because I am now an AIR MILES Gold Collector, we’ve even got enough points left over to claim a flight for my wife to visit her family in Florida later this year.

As you can see, I have been able to claim a lot of really cool rewards and most of my miles were collected because I was aware of the different ways to earn them. I can’t say it enough, when you combine your AIR MILES Collector Card with something like the American Express AIR MILES Credit Card, the miles you collect will skyrocket and you’ll be amazed at how much you can claim!

From now until December 28th you can win AIR MILES in the American Express #MoreAIRMILES contest! All you need to do is answer the question, “what would you do with more AIRMILES?”, for your chance to win the weekly prize! Additionally, for every friend who enters the contest you get an additional bonus entry. Visit to enter!

This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.

Mattel Holiday Barbie Hot Wheels

Don’t Panic, Here’s A One Stop Shop For Your Kids Christmas Needs

If your family is anything like mine, your children are sort of an enigma come holiday season, specifically as it relates to their Christmas lists. This is mostly due to the fact that they literally want EVERYTHING IN EVERY STORE EVER and can’t seem to decide on a theme. We have recently resorted to just taking pictures of the things they ask for with our smartphones and just yesterday I ran out of storage…

The truth is that regardless of how many things they ask for, we know what they actually play with and I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mattel had created a new website for the holidays, appropriately called, Mattel Holiday, to help us narrow down the kids lists. With everything from Frozen and Hot Wheels to Monster High and Barbie, the Mattel Holiday site had us covered and even provided to links to the products at a variety of different stores so you don’t have to do any of the work.

We were able to select a couple items for the kids and a couple more for our local Toy Mountain initiative. I love watching the pride in their faces as they drop off the toys for those less fortunate because I know that they are starting to understand that concept and that in turn brings me great pride.

Alright, here’s what’s going to happen next. I am going to give you a sneak peek at what I got for my kids but if you tell them what I got them or if you let them read this blog, we are going to have to sit down and have a little chat. Capiche? Okay, here we go!

Barbie Glam Camper Mattel


The Barbie® Glam Camper™

When I think about the pure excitement that will be coursing through my daughter’s veins when she opens up this Barbie Camper, I get a few goosebumps. You never plan to have a Barbie girl but my daughter latched on to dolls pretty early and here we are. We bought an old used camper a few years back but it was pretty beat up, so I can’t wait to see her face when she tears the wrapping paper off of this one!

Hot Wheels Super Loop Chase Race Mattel


Hot Wheels® Super Loop Chase Race™

I have to say that Hot Wheels have come a long way from my days as a kid. Never did I imagine a time where I would be fastening entire race tracks to the wall to watch creativity and imagination in action. My son is fascinated with throwing all the pieces in a pile and coming up with his own track creations, which is why Hot Wheels is always near the top of my list.

*************************************************

There you have it! You’ve seen what I have to show you, so if you are looking to make Christmas shopping a little easier this year, I highly encourage you to check out the Mattel Holiday site. Parenting Pro-Tip: Maybe wait until the kids are in bed before doing this or you WILL lose total control of your own computer…

Disclosure: I was allowed to choose a couple Mattel toys in exchange for my participation in this program but I promise not to keep them for myself. I am a grown man and do not play with my children’s toys after they have gone to bed…

Air Miles AMEX Post

Four Easy Ways To Earn More AIR MILES

Anyone who has seen my wallet knows that I am a points card junkie. I have points cards for places that I have only visited once or twice, mostly because if they offer it, I’ll take it. Without a doubt, the most useful of all my cards is my AIR MILES Collector Card. I swipe my AIR MILES card so much that I have actually had to have it replaced a couple times due to overuse.

As an AIR MILES Gold Collector (yeah, I said it!), I felt it was my duty to throw some tips your way to help you maximize the amount of miles you can collect. Below you will find my top 5 tips for AIR MILES Collectors.

1. Find Bonuses at Participating Sponsor Stores

It would be easy for me to tell you just to find the places that offer AIR MILES and use them but there is so much more you can do. At any given time you can find great bonus offers at Sponsor stores. The photo above is from a Toys “R” Us flyer and offers great AIR MILES value on a product that a lot of people are stocking up on for Christmas. You can visit resources such as Smart Canucks and Red Flag Deals to find all the flyers from participating AIR MILES Sponsors.

This simple tactic can easily triple the amount of miles you earn in a year. It also helps to research which stores offer AIR MILES to see if they are a fit for you. I now frequent places such as Rexall, Shell, Toys “R” Us and Staples instead of their competitors because they all offer AIR MILES rewards. AIR MILES have become such a staple in my life that they have even influenced what hotels I stay at when we go on trips. I also just found out that you can even earn AIR MILES when buying a house!

2. Shop Online With airmilesshops.ca

Online shopping is growing at an unbelievable rate, with a lot of people preferring the comfort of their own home over heading out to the busy stores. With airmilesshops.ca, you have access to hundreds of online stores right at your fingertips and there are hundreds of bonus offers at any given time. They have everything from the Disney Store and Apple to clothing companies such as Sears, Under Armour, Old Navy and Victoria’s Secret. There is something for everybody.

3. Collect on Everyday Purchases With the American Express AIR MILES Credit Card

This has been the single most effective way that I have found to collect AIR MILES. When you use a card like the American Express AIR MILES Credit Card you not only earn AIR MILES when you shop at non-Sponsor stores but you can also double up the miles by using both the AIR MILES Collector Card and the Credit Card when shopping at Sponsors. Just think of all the places you could earn twice the miles at by combining the power of your American Express and AIR MILES Cards! If you are tired of only earning half of the rewards you could be earning, head over to American Express to find out more about their suite of AIR MILES Credit Cards.

4. Bonus AIR MILES Coupons

This is something I have only recently started taking advantage of and it has produced immediate dividends for me. If you head to the AIR MILES website and visit their Earn Miles: Offers and Promotions section, you will find a large selection of online coupons that you can redeem on in-store purchases. As I write this there are offers from Staples, LCBO, Rexall and Shell that I have redeemed for bonus miles. If you are going to be shopping at these stores anyway, why would you not want to pop in to see if there are any deals for you? Also, if you sign up for the AIR MILES Newsletter, you will receive all of these deals right to your inbox.

I’ve shared my tips, now it’s your turn. What are your tricks for earning more AIR MILES?

This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.

Disaster Wall Art Gallery

How To Create A Beautiful Wall Art Gallery

Ah, the disaster wall. That’s what I call the dedicated space in the picture shown above. For years my wife and I have been adding to it with no rhyme or reason behind the placement of the photos. I keep saying that I am going to fix it but then Game of Thrones comes on or my son wants to play Pokemon and I completely forget about “the wall”…

This past week I received an email from Canon, asking if I would like to take part in their campaign for the Canon PIXMA PRO printer. While watching their promo video I was excited to see that my blogging friend, Alex, from I Don’t Blog was featured, as her husband had surprised her by using the Canon PIXMA PRO to fix up their disaster wall! Fun Fact: Alex calls me Emmet because she thinks I look like “the Special” from the LEGO Movie…

After watching the video, I got excited about surprising my wife by fixing up our disaster wall. Don’t tell her, okay? Canon was kind enough to create a webpage that gives step by step instructions on how to create a beautiful wall art gallery with help from the Canon PIXMA PRO printer. I leave you with the video that got my mind turning, featuring my friends, Alex and Ryan!

*Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program, however Alex really does call me Emmet and I promise that I am going to fix my disaster wall.

Ontario Electronic Stewardship

What’s Hiding Under Your Bed?

Hey, you, what’s hiding under your bed? It’s not something that you get asked every day, is it? I can’t imagine how I would react if someone actually said it to me, although I’m sure I’d laugh it off awkwardly before rushing home to take a peek at what treasures lie underneath my double mattresses.

I decided to lift up the curtain and would have never guessed what I actually found under there. First, there is the lovely, if not completely beat up, Acer laptop picture above. That beauty gave up 5 solid years of internetting and I guess it chose to hide under the bed as its final resting place. Here is a short list of some of the other items I found under the bed.

- 3001 socks
– 1 Smartie
– 4 Pokemon cards (No EX’s)
– 1 used concert ticket (Foo Fighters)
– 6 miscellaneous things I didn’t recognize (See: wife)
– 1 random remote control (Device not found)
– 0 children (Phew!)
– $3.15 in change (WooHoo!)

As you can see, the haul was very random and in some cases very profitable. In the case of the Acer laptop and the random remote control, I knew exactly what to do. A couple weeks ago I talked about all of the old electronics I had found lying around my house, as part of a campaign with the Ontario Electronic Stewardship.

The goal of their #WhereAreYoursHiding campaign is to encourage everyone to go on a scavenger hunt in their houses and to dig up all the old, unused electronic devices they can find. Once you’ve collected everything, you can visit RecycleYourElectronics.ca and find out where your closest drop off point is.

Recycling your old electronics has many benefits. Not only do they contain valuable materials such as gold, copper and other rare metals, but by recycling them you ensure that fewer TV’s, computers, phones and other devices end up in our landfills. Plus, the electronics that are still deemed useful can go to families who can’t afford the newest technology.

If that hasn’t convinced you, I don’t know what will. That said, I have a challenge for you! Rummage through your house or have some fun and create a scavenger hunt list for you and the kids, and find as many old electronics as you can. Then head to RecycleYourElectronics.ca and drop them off at your nearest Drop-Off location. It’s as easy as that! I leave you with the new campaign video from the Ontario Electronic Stewardship.

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in the #WhereAreYoursHiding campaign. The message is important and you should all get off your butts and into action!

Learn How To Read

How I’m Helping My Children Learn To Read

Just when you think this parenting is getting a little easier, you hit another road block. That was the case for us recently as we embarked on the wonderful journey that is teaching our kids how to read. My first mistake was assuming that reading to the kids every night before bed was enough to make it happen. I was incorrect.

Now that I am all grown up, I tend to take a lot of things for granted. I seem to forget that there was once a time where I didn’t know how to tie my shoe, or play hockey, or read a book, and that those things didn’t just happen miraculously overnight. When my son recently struggled with his reading progression, I blamed myself for not pushing him hard enough. The reality of it, however, was that it wasn’t the level of effort that was holding him back, but it was a combination of a few different things.

First, all children learn differently and at different paces. That is probably the hardest thing to grasp as a parent because there is a secret voice inside all of us that pits us against other parents. Just admit it, it’s okay. Second, the method I was using was not effective. I was getting him to try to read his easy reader bedtime books to me, not realizing that he was exhausted from a long day and had little to no interest in trying to get the words right.

I decided to take to the trusty internet to look for some resources to help us with our reading adventure and came across a site called Reading Eggs. It offered online lessons for reading and math that were full of interactive animations, fun games, great songs and lots of rewards, so we signed up for the free trial and got to work. We usually give our son a little bit of screen time for video games but once he started working on the Reading Eggs activities, he began choosing that over his video game time, which, PS, is totally amazing!

Once our trial was done, we noticed a big improvement in both our children’s abilities and decided to sign them both up for the 6 month subscription package, which we are about half way through. Because the kids love it so much, this was one of the few times I have reached out to a company to see if they wanted to partner together to offer something for my readers and they love they idea!

How about you? What has been your biggest struggle or success with helping teach your children to read?

Extended Free Trial Of Reading Eggs!

4 Week Trial - Reading Eggs

From now until Nov 30th, if you Visit This Link, you will be able to sign up for an extended 4 week free trial to Reading Eggs! If you do sign up, make sure to let me know how you like it. You can also follow the folks at Reading Eggs on Facebook and Twitter.