Hot Wheels Ultimate Track - Front 2

Win Big in the Hot Wheels® Canada Track Builder Challenge!

I’m not going to lie, I geeked out a little bit when I was asked to become a Hot Wheels® Connector Club Ambassador. I didn’t even really know what that meant but saw the words Hot Wheels® and flashed back in time to my days as a young car collector. With my kids entering their creative years, the Hot Wheels® track builder sets are a perfect addition to our household.

In an effort to encourage learning and creativity among young children, Hot Wheels® Canada has launched the Track Builder Challenge.

The Hot Wheels® Track Builder Challenge is a cross-national competition, designed to inspire creativity through play based learning, and educate children on how to build exciting, original and creative tracks. With the emergence of so many new electronic devices these days, the ability to get hands on with something like this is extremely exciting for me and the kids. 

To launch the six month program, an interactive track exhibit featuring Canada’s first Ultimate Track will be live at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) from March 8 to 16, 2014 during the Gallery’s March Break drop-in program. The Ultimate Track is comprised of over 1000 pieces of track and connector and stretches over 625 feet in the 25×25 exhibit space. If you can’t make it out to the exhibit, you can still watch all of the action by checking out either of the live feeds on the Hot Wheels® Canada website!

In addition to the exhibit, a new Hot Wheels® Track Builder Challenge nationwide contest will be housed on hotwheels.ca. Kids can learn from the Track Experts in the Tips and Tricks section, and then have the opportunity to submit their best Hot Wheels tracks for a chance to win a custom built track in their home, and a Track Party hosted by Hot Wheels®.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my kids and I have a Hot Wheels® Track Builder Challenge to win! You can head over to the Hot Wheels® website to enter to win but you’d better bring your “A” Game because we are ready! Most importantly, just have a great time building and watching your children excel beyond your wildest dreams!

Hot Wheels Ultimate Track - FrontHot Wheels Play Tables

Edge Gel Itchy

How To Look Good and Impress People

Remember that big job interview you just went to? You know, the one you didn’t get. Do you want to know why you didn’t get that job? It’s most likely because you spent 75% of it, scratching the itchy mess that you call a beard. If, like me, you suffer from Itchy Beard Syndrome, I have a solution that is going to change your life! The best part? It only takes five minutes to implement. That’s right, folks. In just five simple minutes, you can go from an itchy bearded mess that no one wants to hang out with, to a smooth operator that can’t be stopped!

This is a secret that could go for $199.00 elsewhere, but not here! No, here you won’t pay $199.00, $99.00, $49.95 or even $5.00! Today only, as a special gift to my readers, I am sharing the secret to a happy life for FREE! All you have to do to have a more fulfilling existence is follow these two simple steps:

Step 1: Grab a bottle of Edge(R) Sensitive Pro Relief shave gel and lather up those whiskers!

Edge Gel Creamed

Step 2: Shave off the peach fuzz and enjoy the benefits of a smooth living!

Edge Gel Finished Look

That’s all there is to it! Edge® Sensitive Pro Relief shave gel has helped me go from itchy faced to silky smooth and it can do the same for you!

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this campaign. I also sent out 25 bottles of Edge® Sensitive Pro Relief shave to some of my readers and will be sharing their thoughts very soon.

Days Inn Dad Ad

Days Inn Canada Falls Short With New Dad Ad

I have been a part of the online dad community for a little over two years now. In that time, I have learned to value my contributions to my family and have become a far better and more attentive father because of it. I have also become more aware of the way fathers tend to be portrayed in the media and have even been fortunate enough to be a part of a community that is striving to, and has succeeded in, changing the dumb dad stereotype. In fact, according to a recent extensive study by 8 Bit Dad’s, Zach Rosenberg, fathers are being portrayed in a more engaged and positive light, more and more every year.

Unlike my American counterparts, however, it is extremely rare for me to see a commercial where the dad is being portrayed in a negative light. That changed this week after I saw the new commercial from Days Inn Canada. The commercial shows a sad child sitting alone in his room, wishing his father was there with him to read his bedtime story. It then cuts to the father, who is excitedly lounging alone in his hotel room, and sings the line, “And on the brighter side, dad’s watching mixed martial arts”. It gets worse from there but this is about the point in the commercial where I checked out and thought of a million different scenarios they could have gone with that would have made this commercial a viral sensation. First and foremost, why not have the dad reading to the kid over the internet and showing the love that I know most dads feel for their children. That would have been something I would have been proud to get behind and shared immediately. It would have even been enough to get my future business, at least once. And look, I’m all for Me-Time, as we all need it, but mixing it in with the sad child just made it look like the dad was happier outside the house than in it.

Not that fatherhood has ever been the way that the Al Bundy’s of the world would have you believe, but things are different now than they used to be. For a father to be a more engaged member of the overall household and child raising duties is not the exception anymore, it’s the norm. I’m sure Days Inn Canada thought this was harmless fun and others may see this as me being a whiny dad, but I think it’s important for them to know that it’s okay to go against the stereotype and to create a new mold.

What are thoughts on the commercial? I know we all see things differently, so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

All this said, I would love to invite Days Inn Canada to have a conversation with us dads, so we can talk about what our version of fatherhood looks like for future commercials. In the meantime, I invite you to take a look at how the face of fatherhood has changed in just the last 1000 days. Video is courtesy of the folks at the Dad 2.0 Summit.

I’m not the only one who feels this way. Check out these posts from Buzz Bishop from DadCamp and Justin Connors from Life in 140.

Hank Azaria Fatherhood

A Glimpse Into The World Of Celebrity Fatherhood

Let’s get this out of the way, I was paid to post the trailer for Hank Azaria’s web series, “Fatherhood“. I’ve always had a fascination with celebrity culture and thought this would be a fun glimpse into what being a celebrity dad was like for Hank. What I wasn’t prepared for was that I would watch one episode and then immediately plow through the whole series in one sitting.

I watched intently as Azaria interviewed other celebrity fathers, such as Mike Myers, Kevin Bacon, Rainn Wilson, Tim Robbins, Jim Gaffigan and many more, and listened as they talked about what fatherhood meant to them and shared the lessons they have learned to date. I don’t know why I was surprised to hear that their version of parenting sounded a lot like mine, I guess the money throws me off, but it was definitely refreshing to hear.

My favourite parts of the series are the interactions with Azaria’a parents, and more specifically when his father talks about the difference in the household priorities from his generation to ours. My takeaway from this web series was less about the lessons and more about the importance of the celebrity dads sharing their experiences and showing others that it is okay to talk about your feelings and experiences as a father.

I was only paid to share the trailer and not to talk about the show, but it struck me as something that a lot of people, especially dads, would enjoy. You can catch all the episodes over at AOL.

Disney On Ice Finale

Disney On Ice Delivers Again!

Let’s face it, having children can get pretty expensive, which means that we have to choose our activities and events wisely. After attending Disney on Ice’s “100 Years of Magic” event at the Canadian Tire Centre last night, I can say with complete certainty that it is worth the price of admission for my family. It sounds cliche to praise Disney but between the light displays and the non stop action in their stories, they really know how to put on an amazing show that a whole family can enjoy.

From my son screaming, “Stitch, Stitch!!!”, in my ear, to my daughter’s excited squeals at seeing all of her favourite princesses, there was never a dull moment for the entire two hours of the show. Admittedly, I spent more time watching the wonder in my children’s eyes than I did the show, but seeing their joy alone was completely worth it. On the adult front, my wife and I both agreed that the production of Mulan’s story completely stole the show and had me drawn in as if I were watching a Broadway play. It’s really tough to explain how good the quality of the production is without you watching it yourself but I promise you that you will be amazed.

One of the other cool things about these shows is that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know a few of the cast members and have come to find out that they are all fascinating people in their own unique ways. You may remember a few weeks ago, I interviewed cast member, Matthew McLean, and this week I had the chance to chat with Kirstie Nelson, who also taught me how to do the ever popular, “Twizzle”, of Olympic fame. Kirstie’s bio blew me away by how diverse she is and because we had major audio issues with the audio during filming, I just wanted to point out a few of her many talents. She is a surfer, hair stylist, figure skating champion, yoga instructor, who also happened to graduate University with a degree in chemical engineering. Yes, I felt like an incredibly lazy human being after reading all of that. Anyway, I have attached our interview below and even though you may not be able to hear the whole thing, you can always skip to the end to watch my incredible Twizzles!!!

Thanks to Feld Entertainment and Canadian Tire Centre for facilitating the interview and I offer my sincere apologies for the technical issues with our sound. On the bright side, guess who just purchased a bunch of new sound equipment… Also, the Ottawa show runs until Sunday Feb 23rd, so there’s still time to see the show! You can buy tickets RIGHT HERE!

Disney on Ice cast

Ninja Turtles Kids

The Geekiest Art That All Geeks Will Love! Especially Geek Parents!

I have no idea how I stumbled upon this website or specific artist but it only took me about 30 seconds to have my order placed for the artwork pictured above and it took great restraint to only order one. The artist’s name is Andry “Shango” Rajoelina and his Super Families series takes all of your favourite characters and transforms them into children.

You can choose from a ton of different options, from Batman as the father of Robin and Batgirl, to Nick Fury as father to the Avengers crew. I am normally pretty picky about spending money but for whatever reason, possibly the incredible images of fatherhood, my wallet jumped out of my pocket and onto my keyboard before I could stop myself. The stripped down images of the heroes from my favourite movies brought back a nostalgia and somehow made them seem more real to me than they ever had.

I don’t know Mr. Rajoelina and didn’t get anything for any of this, but I couldn’t resist sharing this awesomeness with all of you. If you are looking to geek up your house a little or even find a cool gift for your kids (I am getting one for my son’s birthday), you should definitely check out the full listing at the Geek Art Store! You can also follow Andry on his Facebook page and see more of his work on Tumblr.

I mean, seriously, the Goonies!

Goonies Art

HP Split x2 Front

HP Split x2 Hybrid Notebook ~ Review

Ever since reviewing the HP Envy x2 earlier this year, I have been excited to see what HP was going to come up with next. This past month, I have been testing out the HP Split x2 notebook/tablet hybrid and have included my thoughts below.

The Split x2 is a larger and more powerful version of the Envy x2, that acts more like a standard laptop but also has the functionality of a tablet. My first impression was that, based on the 13.3″ screen, the tablet option was going to be wasted. That was until I removed it for the first time during a presentation I was giving. It was nice to be able to hold the screen up in the board room, knowing that everyone would be able to see the message I was trying to get across. Since that time, I have found the tablet portion excellent for watching movies at home and while travelling, as well as using the touchscreen as a learning tool for the kids, by visiting educational and puzzle websites.

With a dual battery system, HP claims a 10 hour battery life and I was averaging between 8  and 9 hours, which works for me. I’m guessing that battery life is also dependent on frequency of use and being in social media, I am on there almost all day long. The power of the Intel® Core™ processor is also very noticeable over it’s Envy x2 counterpart and with a price point of around $749.99, the Split x2 definitely delivers a lot of bang for your buck.

I have heard mixed reviews on Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system but I have become accustomed to it and couldn’t imagine using anything else at this point. As a Windows phone and XBox360 owner, I like being able to access all of my data from one device. The live tiles are easy to manage and with Beats Audio™ and dual speakers, the sound quality is amazing.

One of the few knocks I had on the Split x2 is that it is a fairly heavy device. As someone who tends to bring my laptop everywhere with me, it took a couple days to get used to, but the functionality it offers for the price makes that flaw easy to overlook. So if you are looking for an affordable alternative to a full sized laptop this holiday season, whether as a gift or for yourself, I would definitely recommend the HP Split x2 as a device that gets the job done.

You can check out more HP devices by visiting Their Online Shop and you can stay up to date by visiting the HP Canada Facebook Page.

Disclosure: I received compensation in exchange for my work on this program.

 

ShopWise Logo

Why Simply Shop When You Could ShopWise?

In case you hadn’t noticed, I am a guy, and as such I am held to a certain standard of cluelessness when it comes to holiday shopping. Well it just so happens that I am smarter than the average bear and located the ShopWise app on my iPhone last week. I am always a little skeptical about apps that are supposed to make shopping easier but I knew from the first featured special that we were a match!

ShopWise Chips

For some background, the ShopWise app, which is offered for free by the Yellow Pages Group, was designed as an everyday shopping app to save you time and money. The app is free to download and ShopWise also just launched their new version 2.0 here in Canada. I figured the app would be good for Christmas shopping only but I have been using it all over the place for everything from restaurants to kid’s clothes. My favourite feature has to be the interactive map that shows you all the deals in the area you are actually in at that moment. It’s genius, and also a little dangerous in the sense that there always seems to be a Dairy Queen in there…

ShopWise Map

On to the shopping portion of the app! We had decided to get our son a scooter for Christmas this year but hadn’t found the right deal yet. Low and behold, two days into my new app adventure, I saw this amazing 40% deal on scooters at Toys R Us! I had never felt more like a bargain hunter and it got me itching to see what else I could save on.

ShopWise Scooter

For my next trick, I got a little fancy and decided to search the word, Disney, to see what would happen. I never got past the first featured item because it was an incredible deal on overstock Halloween decorations, and because that holiday happens every year, the decorations are pretty much always good, in my mind at least. Not to mention that smaller things are great stocking stuffers because the kids love everything Disney!

ShopWise Disney

Last but not least, the toughest person to shop for on my Christmas list, my wife. She is not the best at getting me a detailed list, so I am usually in charge of picking out my own gifts for her. With the ShopWise app, I simply went to the Find button, hit Apparel, and voila, I had two options right in front of me. The one I think she needs and the one she probably wants. I’ll let you figure out which is which.

ShopWise Clothes

Did I mention that the ShopWise app is free?? There’s really no reason for you to NOT check this out and I’m telling you that you will find it incredibly useful. The ShopWise app is available in the iTunes store, on Android and also for Blackberry.

If all that wasn’t enough, if you own an iPhone or an iPad, ShopWise is giving away a $100 prepaid shopping card to one of you just before the holidays! Simply download the ShopWise app and fill out the form with your email address in the “Help” section of the app. Then you can enter the giveaway using the form below. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This post was
and I received compensation for my opinions on this product.

Santa20for20-Front- pic

Win a $20 Fine Silver Santa Collector Coin From The Royal Canadian Mint

It will come as no surprise to anyone who has read this blog for any length of time, that I am a complete geek at heart. I love comics and super heroes, but my real love is in collecting. I have had collections of everything from sports cards and stamps to bar coasters and match packs. I also have a love for coins. I mean, we all like money, but I am talking more about the kind of money that you look at as opposed to spend.

I was excited to hear that the Royal Canadian Mint had a new $20 for $20 collection, and even more excited that it included a Santa Claus coin, designed by Canadian artist Jesse Koreck. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce both of my children to one of my passions and it did not disappoint! The minute the kids say the Santa coin, they screamed “Money!!!” and immediately began plotting how they would spend their new fortunes. Okay, so it didn’t go exactly as I planned but they really loved seeing Santa on their money.

I am equally as excited to provide you, my amazing readers, with an opportunity to win one of these limited edition, fine silver, Santa collector coins. All you need to do is enter using the rafflecopter form below! These coins are limited to only three per household and they will sell out fast, so if you want to pick up a couple as gifts, you can do so buy visiting the Royal Canadian Mint’s Website.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a Santa coin for my participation in this giveaway.

Sailun Tires

The Thing About Tires

I had never really thought about the tires I was putting on my vehicle. I’d go in to the shop, take whatever they recommended and then be on my way. That was until the last set we purchased went completely bonkers on us. Yes, I just used the term “bonkers”. I paid for top of the line and ended up with tires that barely made it through a year and a half without almost completely wearing out.

The other problem I had was that I never felt completely safe on them. Twice I had issues with flats and was told that it was due to the tires and not because of anything puncturing them. That was about the time that I was introduced to Sailun Tires at a blog event. It seemed like perfect timing and it was the first time I had ever really learned about what I was driving my family around on.

After the Sailun Track Event, I decided to give Sailun Tires a shot. Their promise of providing safety and performance for an amazing value seemed to good to be true but I can tell you that, so far, I am loving my new AtrezzoTouring LS All Season tires. They have already been through rain, snow and even some hail, and they have performed perfectly in every situation. The most important thing to me is the safety of my family and now that I quite literally understand what safe tires feel like, I am happy with my decision to go with Sailun.

I am about to take my Sailun’s for the winter but I am going to do a follow up report in the spring to see how they are holding up. Seriously, I was actually a little upset to find that I was paying almost twice the price for inferior tires just based on brand name alone. Then again, I’m pretty sure this happens with a lot of products on a daily basis. I am trusting my family’s safety to Sailun Tires and am comfortable recommending that you do the same. Have a safe and happy winter! You can check out Sailun’s winter tire lineup at SailunTires.Ca.

*Disclosure: I received compensation for my participation in this program, however I am still trusting my family’s safety on Sailun Tires and that is really all you need to know.