Nike Running SportChek

Back To School Also Means Back To Fitness

This is a tough thing to admit but I tend to make a lot of excuses when it comes to my health and well being. No matter how often I think about being active, I always seem to have an excellent reason to do the exact opposite of that. Take this past year, for instance. I was working out at my local GoodLife Fitness at least 4 times a week and started training for my first 5K in the Canada Army Run. How many times do you think I’ve gone running from that day to about a week ago, almost a full year later? Zero! That’s right, in some twisted trick that my brain played on me, I had completed my goal and therefore had nothing left to prove. Even my time at GoodLife has been reduced to once a week, which is completed unacceptable.

Now that the kids are back in school and I have realized just how many hours there are in the day, I have decided to pick myself up off the couch and get my butt moving again. I figure one of these days it’s going to click, so as many times as I get off track I think it’s equally as important to keep fighting for consistency in my exercise regimen. I also decided that I couldn’t keep running in the discount running shoes I had been using, so I turned to SportChek for some assistance and decided on the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32 running shoes. Between the sole support and the mesh uppers, these shoes make it feel like I am running on top of clouds. Look at them up there in all their orange glory!

Just so you don’t think I’m a selfish monster, I also let my wife and kids pick out some new shoes. Besides, back to school seems like a special enough occasion to warrant some shiny new kicks, right? That and the fact that my kids have been running with me to keep me motivated. My wife, who has also been joining me on this exercising adventure, went with the Nike LunarGlide 7 women’s running shoes and I could tell by the spring in her step that she made the right decision. The kids? Well, my daughter saw the Skechers Twinkle Toes shoes, glittery with light up ability, and practically started shaking with excitement. My son chose the Under Armour Micro-G Velocity shoes because of the colour… Kids, am I right? I told both children that they could pose any way they would like to show off their new shoes and, go figure, they both decided to wear the shoes on their hands instead of their feet. Again, kids.

Under Armor SportChek

Under Armour Mirco-G Velocity Kids’ Grade-School Running Shoes

Skechers Twinkle Toes SportChek

And there you have it. I have now successfully run 5 times in the last two weeks and I am starting to get that confidence back in my stride. Here’s hoping it sticks around but as you all know, I won’t be afraid to admit it if I get knocked down again. I would also like to say thanks to SportChek for helping me select my awesome new running shoes. I expected the price to be obscene and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was going to cost me an arm and a leg for excellent quality equipment. You can find out more about what’s happening at SportChek by checking out their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program, however I did in fact fall off the health wagon again and the shoes really do feel like what I imagine clouds to feel like.

SCENE Debit Card Scotibank

It’s Movie Night! And It’s On The House!

Last week I told you all about the Scotiabank SCENE debit rewards card and this week I am going to demonstrate the value it brings by taking you through our latest family trip to the movies. I’ll be calculating how many SCENE points we earned in just one night, which includes dinner at a restaurant, the actual movie tickets and some snacks.

For the benefit of this exercise we chose to go see Disney’s Inside Out for a second time because we all thought it was amazing. Our evening began with a trip to our favourite restaurant, Boston Pizza, where the kids love the handouts because they are more than just a simple sheet of paper with some crayons. Seriously, at one point last year they were giving out these amazing Velcro mini pizzas and the kids played with them for months! When all was said and done, and because I like to have an adult beverage when we go out, our meal came to approximately $70. At 1 point for every $5 purchased with the SCENE debit card, we earned 14 SCENE points.

Next up it was movie time! I’d say it was hard to get excited to see a movie for a 2nd time but Inside Out was so good that I was actually excited to go again. I’m not entirely sure my kids grasped the full concept of the movie but they love the angry guy and that’s good enough for me! Now, let’s talk tickets! The total cost of the tickets was $46 for the four of us and because we get 1 point for every $1 spent at a Cineplex theatre, we got 46 SCENE points. I am a firm believer that you can’t watch a movie without popcorn and also that you can’t eat popcorn without a drink, so we spent another $40 on snacks which gave us another 40 SCENE points!

Ah, but there’s a twist here! By pairing my SCENE debit card with my regular SCENE membership card, we were able to collect an additional 700 SCENE points through the bonuses offered! In one family outing we earned a total of 800 SCENE points just by pairing our SCENE debit card with our regular SCENE points card. By the time Disney’s The Good Dinosaur comes out this winter, we’ll be leaving our wallets in our pockets!

This is just a small example of what you can expect from the SCENE debit card. Once you add groceries, gas and morning coffee to the mix, you are going to have so many free movies and popcorn waiting for you that the movie theatre staff are going to think you work there! You’re using your card anyway, right? Why not get something out of it?

PS – I’d also like to say a huge congratulations to Mark Hoffberg, who was the winner of the Cineplex movie passes from the previous post!

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this campaign. That said, I am actually a giant nerd who needs to see every single superhero movie coming out in the next 5 years, so I kind of need these points…

Scotibanks SCENE Debit

Enjoy More Movies With The Scotiabank SCENE Debit Card

“Would you like to use your SCENE points to pay for your snacks, sir?”

I looked at the cashier, slightly baffled, wondering if she was talking to me. My family loves going to the movies and I have always handed over my SCENE card without really thinking about it, until this visit. I marched confidently back to our seats with my FREE snacks, proudly explained to my wife what had happened and waited for her to proclaim me a hero!

“That’s nice, honey. Did you get the straws??”

You can’t win ‘em all, I guess… Either way, I was excited at the prospect of spending less money at the movies, which is a concept I’m sure we can all get behind. While scoping out the SCENE website, I noticed that Scotiabank had a SCENE debit card and I immediately got that tingly feeling that is usually reserved for special holidays such as Christmas and Back to School.

With the SCENE debit card you can earn SCENE points on all your purchases which means that you will be enjoying free movies and more throughout the year! Just check out some of these benefits!

• Earn 1 SCENE point for every $5 you spend on debit purchases
• Earn 1 SCENE point for every $1 you spend at Cineplex theatres or online at
• Redeem points for free movies and more!
• Earn 1 point for every $5 you spend at Sport Chek

Look, I’m not one to tell you what to do but if you love movies as much as we do, this card is a no brainer! Not convinced yet? Check out this handy Scotiabank SCENE Rewards Calculator to see exactly how many free movies you could see by opening an account and getting the SCENE Debit Card! All I’m saying is that there are a LOT of superhero movies coming out next year and this would definitely help lighten the load on your wallet.

To send you off on an even happier note, I am going to give away a pair of Cineplex movies passes so you can feel for yourself how great it would be to pay for your tickets with SCENE reward points!

To enter, simply leave a comment below and let me know either what your favourite movie was this year or which movie you are most looking forward to seeing in the theatre! I’ll choose a winner next week!

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this campaign. That said, I am actually a giant nerd who needs to see every single superhero movie coming out in the next 5 years, so I kind of need these points…

KOA Family Cabin Camping

You Can Glamp If You Want To

I have a lot of great memories of camping with my family when I was young. We used to go camping at least twice year but often times more. Heck, my parents even drove us all the way to Walt Disney World and we camped instead of staying at one of the resorts. It occurred to me this summer that my young family had yet to embark on our first family camping trip, until now!

We decided to book at the 1000 Islands/Ivy Lea KOA for a number of reasons. First, it’s just over an hour from our house in case things went horribly wrong. Second, they rent cabins with bunk beds for the kids and we thought that sounded fun (and it was). I actually wrestled with the idea of tenting because staying in a cabin felt like we were breaking the rules of camping. That, and the fact that the price difference between tenting and cabin certainly isn’t negligible. In the end I have no regrets as this was one of our best family trips yet!

Due to my superior planning skills and attention to detail, I did little to no research on the Ivy Lea KOA prior to us arriving on site. You can imagine my surprise and excitement as the first thing we saw as we pulled into the park was a gigantic jumping pillow! While I understand that the jumping pillow was put there for the children, I also noticed there was no rules posted against the older campers taking part in the fun…

Dad Jumping Pillow KOA

Here are a few other things I didn’t know about the Ivy Lea KOA. They have heated pools with a water slide. There is an adults only jacuzzi, which I frequented often. There is an arcade. The bathrooms are in immaculate condition, which was important because our cabin didn’t have a bathroom in it. Most importantly, they have a full time activities director whose job it is to keep your children busy and having fun. Every morning we would walk up to the main office and check out all the cool activities planned for that day. As you can see for yourself, there was never a shortage of things for the kids to do.

Ivy Lea KOA Activities

I think my favourite activity was the wet ‘n wild wagon ride in which all the kids grab water gun and load onto a tractor pulled wagon. The tractor then weaves through the campground as an epic water battle takes place between the young riders and the campers who choose to take part. It was so much fun trying to sneak up on the kids and it was great to see how many people took part in the fun.

KOA Ivy Lea Wet Wagon Ride

This was such an amazing family getaway that we actually booked another KOA adventure before the end of summer! I should also note that the staff at the 1000 Islands/Ivy Lea were absolutely incredible and really go out of their way to make sure that everyone has an incredible experience. If you are looking to go camping with your family but don’t feel ready for tent life, I can’t recommend the cabin experience enough as it was a great intro to the outdoors.

Finally I’d love to give a shout out to GMC Canada for allowing us to test the GMC Acadia on our KOA adventure! It was great timing, too, as I’m not sure how we would have done it without all that extra space. We packed that thing to the max and it still drove like it was on the clouds. My kids were actually quite upset when I told them we had to take it back because they loved the 7 seats and the fact that I didn’t have to pack stuff on top of them like the rest of our road trips… I kind of miss it, too.

I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of our KOA experience and strongly encourage you to check one out for yourself.

KOA Ivy Lea Water Slide

KOA Tie Dye

GMC Acadia

Barilla Cooking With Kids

Let Me Tell You A Secret About Picky Eaters

My kids hate food. Alright, that seems a little drastic. It seems as though my children dislike more food than they like. Any parent with a picky eater understands the frustration of slaving over a healthy family meal, only to have 50% of the people at the dinner table refuse to eat any of it. Stories such as, “It has green things in it” or “I like it but don’t want to eat it right now”, are mainstays in our house and it seemed as though all was lost, until recently, that is.

I think I may have discovered a loophole in the system and it happened while I was working on my last blog post for Barilla pasta’s Share The Table campaign. I had the kids help me cook the meal that night, which included things that they normally would decline to eat. You know, things like whole grain pasta, tomatoes, all other vegetables… When I mentioned to the kids that food always tastes better when you make it yourself, they couldn’t wait to finish their plates!

Ever since then I have tried to make an effort to get the kids involved in the meal preparation and I have to say that I am running at about a 75% success rate, which is outstanding! No more whining about spaghetti or lasagna having too many vegetables in them because the kids are controlling which and how many veggies are going in. They are also beaming with pride as they help serve the food to the table for family and friends. Win-Win!

Speaking of winning… You still have time to enter Barilla’s Share The Table contest where you can win 1 of 3 trips for four to Italy!! My bags are already packed in case you win and can’t think of anyone else to bring with you. My Italian is quite weak, in fact non-existent, but I smile a lot and don’t sleep walk, so there’s that! Please also check out the Barilla Share The Table website for some great tips and tricks on how to make mealtime a meaningful experience in your house.

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in the Barilla Share The Table campaign.

Merrell Socks Sandals

The Hypocrisy Of The Foot Pic

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I am not a huge fan of the pictures of other people’s feet that seem to invade my internet feed on a daily basis. I could never figure out what it was about a picture of a foot that made anyone think, “I need to share this amazing foot picture for all the world to see!”. For the longest time I was beating on the #NoFeetPics drum…until now.

You see, I recently agreed to work with one of my favourite stores in Mark’s on their #ForAllWalks campaign, which required me to try out some shoes from their new line. Being someone who has never owned a really nice pair of sandals I was excited that Mark’s had their Merrell Kahuna III Sandal on the availability list. Once the sandals arrived my wife correctly pointed out that in order to properly discuss them, I was going to have to take a picture of me wearing them… A FOOT PIC, NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

I quickly started running through alternative options in my head. I got away with it in my first post by pretending to use them to swat at wasps, which I did actually do. Then I thought, socks and sandals, but I think we can all agree from the cover photo that this is a way worse option. I came to the conclusion that the only way I can come out of this with my head held high is to do the thing that I have been railing against for years.

The bright side to this conclusion is that I really love the Merrell Kahuna III Sandal so if I have to post a picture of my feet, I’m happy to do it while wearing them. Side note before we get to the finished product, these are truly the most comfortable and versatile sandals I have ever owned and have become my go to footwear whenever we are running out of the house to go play outside. Alright, without further ado, I present to you a picture of my feet!

Merrell Sandals Feet Pics

I’d like to thank Mark’s for including me in their #ForAllWalks campaign. All of the shoes I had the chance to try out have been amazing and have really opened my eyes to the importance of investing in good shoes. I highly encourage you all to head on over to the Mark’s website and check out what they have to offer. You can also interact with the Mark’s social channels by visiting them at their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages!

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program but I truly dislike all of the feet pics that have infiltrated the internet. I mean, they’re feet, people! Feet!!!!

Sprinkler Summer

What To Do Now That Summer Is Finally Here!

We don’t live in one of those fancy cities where it is sunny and hot all year long. No, first we must make it through a mostly fun but always way too long winter season. Well, none of that matters now because summer is officially here and we are already off to a blazing start! I want to know what your favourite summer activities, events and destinations are so that I can steal them and make them my own, so please feel free to share them in the comments section below. That said, I figured I’d get the ball rolling by sharing some of my family’s favourite summertime activities!

Fairs/Community BBQs

After attending our community’s summer kick-off BBQ this past weekend I remembered how much I love the warm weather and the ability to ditch the sweater and grab some shorts and a t-shirt. The warm weather definitely affects my mood in the best possible way, as witness by the fact that I climbed into a bubble suit and let a bunch of 7 years take running shots at me.

Summer Fairs Carnival

Pool Parties

Now that the DadBod is the coolest thing going, I have even more reason to take the family to as many pool parties as I can this year. On top of that, I love watching the pride in my children’s eyes as they learn to swim without their floaties. As with every other aspect of parenting, these are moments that I hope I can hold on to forever.

Summer Canonball

Road Hockey

Let me tell you something about the girl in this picture. Anything you can do, she will try to do it better. Road hockey is a daily event at our place (yes, we’re Canadian) and even though she’s the smallest of the bunch, she is also the most tenacious. You can get by her once but don’t you dare try the same move twice!

Road Hockey Summer

Bike Rides

I am proud to say that we have seen our last set of training wheels as both kids are now rocking the two wheelers. Sure, they still have the Avengers and Elsa plastered all over them but that isn’t going to hold us back from taking long rides to the ice cream shop this summer.

Biking Summer

The Greatest Lemonade Stand Ever!

A Lemonade Stand is a staple in any childhood, and do you know what can take your stand from good to great this summer?? Stocking your stand with the NEW! Tropicana Watermelon and Tropicana Lemonade with Tangerine, that’s what! Throw in the traditional Tropicana Lemonade to the mix and you will have the most diverse Lemonade Stand than anyone on the block. Furthermore, all three delicious varieties are made with real fruit and without any artificial ingredients. I’m not sure what you are still waiting for, the new Tropicana line is available at major grocery retailers across Canada, so get moving!

New Tropicana Flavours Lemonade

That brings me back to my original question. What are your favourite summertime activities?

Disclosure: I received compensation for my participation in Tropicana’s campaign, however my Lemonade stand brings all the boys to the yard and they’re like, it’s better than yours.

Mark's Work Warehouse Far West

Four Reasons Why You Need A Good Pair Of Shoes

Something occurred to me the other day as I browsed the clearance bin for new shoes. While I may not spend a lot on my shoes, I feel like I am constantly buying new ones because of the wear and tear of a busy life. When I really think about it, I am spending the same amount on multiple pairs of low end shoes that I could be investing in one or two high quality pairs.

This spring, Mark’s has graciously offered to allow me to test out what real footwear feels like as part of their #ForAllWalks campaign. To kick things off I have created a list of “Four Reasons Why You Need A Good Pair Of Shoes” and here it is!

4. Protection From Toy Pain

Mark's Work Warehouse Merrell Chameleon

Every parent in the world understands toy pain. It’s the incredible pain that shoots up your leg and straight to your brain after stepping on one of your children’s toys. This is most commonly associated with LEGO but as I have recently discovered, Beyblades are just as painful to step on if you are not wearing the appropriate footwear. To defend against the psychological long term damaged often caused by toy pain, may I recommend the Merrell Chameleon Prime Stretch Shoes. These shoes are designed for life out in the wild, which let’s face it, is exactly what parenting is.

3. Your Are Not A Child Anymore And Old Bones Need Support

Mark's Work Warehouse Old Bones

I’m not going to lie, this realization is a painful one to deal with. Gone are the days where I could quickly grab a pair of sandals from the dollar store and be on my way. After about one hour in those things today, I would need to lie down with my legs iced for the rest of the day. Since I have been wandering around in the Merrell Kahuna III Sandals that Mark’s sent me, I haven’t felt an ounce of pain! Well, not counting the bruises on my shins from my son’s hockey stick… The point is, as we get older and at all ages, really, we need to outfit our feet with footwear that provides proper support.

2. Running From Wasps

Mark's Work Warehouse Merrell Kahuna

I am a man. I am also a man who does not like wasps and my house always seems to be infested with them. Do you know how hard it is to outrun a wasp? Now picture trying to outrun a wasp while wearing cheap shoes and you’ll see my point. Better yet, with the Merrell hiking shoes I mentioned earlier I might not even need to run. I could simply take off the shoe and swing it as if it were Thor’s hammer and the wasps would be running from me!

1. Versatility of Dad Life

Mark's Work Warehouse Merrell Kahuna Dad

I saved the most important reason for last. Being a parent is a lot of work and we have to wear may different hats, or shoes as it were. Up until recently I owned only two pairs of shoes, one for work and one for everything else. I’ve since realized that a cheap skate shoe provides little to no support when hiking in the woods, hanging out on the beach and many other scenarios we are faced as parents. Shoes might seem like something that you can flake on but once your feet get a taste of a good quality shoe, they will never let you forget it.

I have a challenge for you. Think about how often we use our feet and then look at your shoe collection and decide whether you are taking care of one of your most valuable resources. If you decide that you could use a tune up, head on over to the Mark’s website and check out what they have to offer. If you’re really feeling ambitious, you should snap a photo of your Mark’s kicks and share it on Mark’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page with the #ForAllWalks tag.

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program, however my bones are indeed feeling old and I am afraid of wasps. Stop giggling.

Barilla Share The Table

How Often Do You Eat Dinner Together As A Family?

Let me tell you about my week. I had to work overnight on Monday, then my daughter had dance rehearsal on Tuesday, followed by my son’s ball hockey on Wednesday, two more dance rehearsals on Thursday and Friday, and finally, a hockey tournament and dance recitals on the weekend. Please understand that this is not a regular week for us but it is at least half representative of our busy lives.

When I think about not only what but how we are going to fit dinner into that schedule I kind of want to curl up into a ball and sob. It is especially important to me that we eat at the dinner table as a family as much as possible. Obviously this week was going to be tough but we still managed to squeeze in two family dinners, which made me happy. As far back as I can remember, my family ate dinner together at our kitchen table and our family was closer because of it. It wasn’t a huge table but it fit us and the food, which is all you really need, right?

The reason I enjoy having dinner together so much is because when you really think about all the activities and distractions life has to offer, this is the one time in the day where everyone can just sit down, relax and talk. For us, we have a framed list of 20 questions that hangs on the wall next to the dinner table and the kids get to pick 3 numbers to answer each night. This exercise is quick and painless and also opens the door to some great dinnertime conversation.

20 Dinner Table Questions

One other thing to note is that we do not allow electronics of any kind at the table. That means no tweeting for daddy, no clash of clans for my son and no Facebook for mommy. A recent study by pasta company, Barilla® Canada, revealed that while 74% of families have dinner together 1-4 times a week, 43% of those families do so with either the TV on or an electronic device at the table.

This all leads me to my question, how often do you eat together as a family and do you do so without electronics?

#ShareTheTable And Win A Trip To Italy With Barilla®!

Barilla® created the Share The Table® initiative to help inspire, empower and support all families to enjoy more meaningful meals. They believe that while mealtime may not be a panacea for building strong children and families, it is still one of the most important things we can do to instill a sense of courage, confidence, and character in our children today, so that they, in turn, can make the world a better place.

That said, Barilla® wants to know what dinner time looks like with your family. Share your family experience by uploading a picture or a written description, and you’ll be entered to win 1 of 3 trips to Italy. You can ENTER HERE!

Barilla Family Dinner Share The Table

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in the Share The Table campaign but we really do eat dinner together :)

Full House Netflix

My Family’s Netflix Streaming List – June Edition

So this Netflix thing is growing on me. As odd as it sounds, I think I was using it incorrectly when we first signed up a year ago. I’d watch the odd movie here or there but never really dug in and explored everything it had to offer. In the last few months my family has been going through the list of titles and picking out things we’d like to watch at some point. Slowly but surely we trying out new shows and I wanted to share what each of us are enjoying right now. Besides, the family that Netflixes together, stays together. Right??

Dad (That’s Me!) – Daredevil

It should be noted that I am a full on superhero/comic nerd, so I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this new Netflix original version of Daredevil. Man, did it ever blow my mind! I rarely feel like a show is perfectly executed but this is the closest thing I have ever seen to that. Vincent D’Onofrio’s, Wilson Fisk character, will leave you with chills running down your spine!

Daredevil Netflix

Mom – Bloodline

This is one that I started without my wife and then felt guilty about it because it was so good. After we rewatched the first episode, she was hooked and we finished the whole season in less than two weeks. This show takes family disfunction to a new and exciting level! I have no idea how they are going to top what they did in Season 1 but I am really looking forward to it.

Bloodline Netflix

7 Year Old Son – Beyblade (All of them!)

My son doesn’t watch a lot of TV but he is addicted to these Beyblade shows on Netflix. If you have a young boy you will no doubt be feeling the Beyblade craze right now. I have no idea what happened as Beyblades had all but disappeared from existence, only to come back with a vengeance and take over our whole street! I’ve sat with him and watched the Beyblade shows and I have to admit that they are pretty cool.

Beyblade Netflix

5 Year Old Daughter – LEGO Friends

We started my daughter with Barbie’s Life in the Dreamhouse but as soon as she saw the LEGO Friends show, she was hooked. True to 5 year old fashion, we have watched the same episodes multiple times in a row and she never seems to tire of it. It’s almost like she thinks there is going to be a different outcome one of these times…

LEGO Friends Netflix

Bonus Show! – Full House

Last but not least, the original episodes of Full House have graced the Netfix platform and we have it slated to show the kids in the next week or so. I have no idea how it is going to hold up but the kids are starting to enjoy more than just cartoons, so I’m hopeful that we can share a bit of our youth with them!

Full House Netflix

That’s what we are streaming this month. How about you? Are you a Netflix subscriber? If so, what are you binging on at the moment?!