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.

#KinderDad

What Exactly Does It Mean To Be A Kinder Dad?

Hi, my name is Chris, and I am a Kinder Dad. What is a Kinder Dad, you ask? Well you see, as a Kinder Dad it is my responsibility to make sure that my kids enjoy their Kinder Surprise Egg experience to the fullest. As part of that job, I am required to wear a number of different hats. Here are a few of the duties that my kids count on me to complete.

1. Quality Assurance Tester:

Sure, it’s easy to just give your kids a pile of chocolate and allow them to eat it without a second thought. I, however, believe that it is important to make sure that they don’t eat anything that I would eat myself, so I take my role as quality assurance tester very seriously.

Kinder Eggs QA
2. Toy Assembly Technician:

As I assembled an IKEA dresser, my daughter once said to me, “Daddy, you are the best builder ever!”. I took that title to heart and make it a top priority to assemble all Kinder Surprise toys for my children. They are always so appreciative!
Kinder Dad Toy Assembly

3. CRA (Chocolate Revenue Agency):

Much like paychecks at work, eating chocolate does come at a small cost. I made sure to teach my children about chocolate tax early so that they understand why they only receive 3/4’s of every Kinder Egg they open. I highly encourage all parents to do the same.

As you can clearly see, this is one of the toughest jobs on the planet but I do it because I love my children that much. For more information on how you can become a Kinder Mom or Dad, check out #KinderMom or #KinderDad on twitter. You should also visit the KINDER® Smile Booth on Facebook to create your very own photo strip!

Also, keep your eyes peeled as Transformers and Disney Fairies are coming soon to KINDER® SURPRISE® eggs near you!

Kinder Kids

Disclosure: I received compensation for my participation in the Kinder Dad program. I get to eat chocolate and play with toys, so it’s basically my dream job.

Fellowes Canada AeraMax 300

Fellowes Canada AeraMax 300 Air Purifier {Review & Giveaway}

This week I had the opportunity to try out the Fellowes Canada AeraMax 300 Air Purifier and wanted to share a few thoughts about my experience with it. If I’m being perfectly honest, I had never considered purchasing an air purifier in the past, mostly due to the fact that I didn’t really know what the benefits were.

That said, it was definitely encouraging to read this statement from the President & CEO of the Asthma Society of Canada, Robert Oliphant, who said, “The new AeraMax air purifiers are the only such devices in Canada which have been scientifically tested and proven to be Asthma & Allergy Friendly. Investing in a quality air purifier is an essential tool for reducing allergens in your home, helping to minimize asthma and allergy symptoms.

My wife has a pretty bad hay fever allergy that affects her quality of sleep (which in turn affects my sleep), so we were excited to get the AeraMax 300 hooked up and running. Having never used an air purifier before, I was skeptical about whether it would do anything to help, but after only a couple nights we both noticed a dramatic decrease in the amount of times we were woken due to coughing. In fact, when we put the AeraMax 300 on our main floor, the one that houses our guinea pigs, we noticed not only that our family’s noses were less stuffy but also that those dust particles you see floating around were almost completely gone. I’m no air purifier expert, but I do know change when I see it and there has been a clear improvement in the air quality in our house.

I just wanted to share a couple more quick notes about the AeraMax 300. Much like Baby, air purifiers do not like to be put in the corner, so make sure you find a fairly open space, in the room that needs it most, so that it can do its job. Also, although the AeraMax 300 looks a lot like a slim R2D2, it will not interact with you no matter how many Star Wars reference you make to it. On the other hand, its Four-Stage Purification System captures 99.7% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns, which is way more useful to your family. Without trying it out for myself, I had no idea that there were so many benefits to purifying my air and now I don’t know how we managed without it!

Now, who wants to win one of these amazing Fellowes Canada AeraMax 300 Air Purifiers?! Check out the form below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PurifyYourAir Twitter Party Graphic

RSVP & Win Big At The @FellowesCanada #PurifyYourAir Twitter Party – Sept 15th!

Did you know that September is Asthma Awareness Month? As someone living in a house with a wife and child who suffer from varying degrees of asthma/allergies, I am happy to be teaming up with Fellowes Canada to help spread the word about their line of AeraMax air purifiers.

The new Fellowes Canada AeraMax air purifiers are the only such devices in Canada which have been scientifically tested and proven to be Asthma and Allergy friendly. That said, I will be trying out the Fellowes Canada AeraMax 300 Air Purifier over the next couple weeks and will tell you all about it very soon.

In the meantime, I will be helping out with the Fellowes Canada #PurifyYourAir Twitter Party on September 15th at 8pm EST and here are some of the amazing prizes that you can win by attending:

2 x $100 Staples Gift Cards
2 x AeraMax 100 Air Purifier (value $189.99)
2 x AeraMax 200 Air Purifier (value $290.99)
1 x AeraMax 300 Air Purifier (value $349.99)

Don’t forget to RSVP below and then join us on September 15th at 8:00pm EST for the Fellowes Canada #PurifyYourAir Twitter Party! Oh, and also make sure to follow:

Sponsor: @FellowesCanada

Host: @Listen2Lena

Moderators: @MommyOutside, @Kidsumers, @CanadianDadBlog

RSVP BELOW!



2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Dad Kids

Our 5 Favourite Things About The 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe

My family was recently invited by Chevrolet Canada to go on a weekend getaway to Severn Lodge in order to try out the all-new 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe. We had an amazing weekend and afterward I asked my wife and children to tell me what their favourite things about the Tahoe were. Here are their answers, along with mine, of our 5 favourite things about the vehicle.

5. Magic Steps! –  Okay, so maybe they aren’t entirely “magic” but to my daughter, the fact that a step drops down when you open the doors was a magical experience. No, seriously, the loudest giggles I have ever heard, every, single, time! On top of her love for the drop down steps, they are actually quite practical for people with small children who don’t want to have to lift them into the vehicle every time you want to leave the house.

4. Back Seat 3-Prong Outlet – Seeing as how we were embarking on a long journey, my son’s favourite feature in the 2015 Chevy Tahoe was the 3-prong outlet in the back seat, because it meant he could plug in his Nintendo DS charger.  This may seem trivial to some but any gamer who has lost a game due to a low battery will tell you how devastating that experience is!

3. Size and Space – This was my wife’s choice, for obvious reasons. The 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe is a 7 passenger vehicle and with a growing family, that has multiple advantages, with more leg room for everyone, the ability to let the kids bring a friend on excursions and extra storage space rating near the top of that list. Unfortunately it also means that my wife and daughter can pack more things, which means that my son and I have to carry more things from the car to our destination…

2. Forward Collision Alert – Driving with kids can be…let’s say, challenging at times. I want to tell you that I have my eyes on the road at all times but the truth is that distractions happen to the best of us. Kids cry, deer run out in the road, things fall on the ground. You never know what is going to happen and I am thankful that Chevrolet has included the forward collision alert feature to give me that extra notice that something’s about to go down.

1. Vibrating Seats! – From the moment my tire hit the yellow lane marker and I felt the seat gently massage my gluteus maximus, I knew that this was going to be my favourite thing about the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe. In all seriousness, the Lane Departure Warning is a very cool feature that sends a small vibration to your seat cushion if you start to veer off the road or into a different lane without signalling. The best part is that it only vibrates on the side of the seat of the lane you are encroaching on.

That’ll do it for our family review of the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe. I was sad to have to give it back but as a family who will soon be in the market for a new vehicle (4 more months, baby!), this one will definitely be at the top of my wish list. To stay connected with everything that is going on with Chevrolet Canada, you can follow them on Twitter and/or Facebook.

Kid Reviews Nerd Block

Kid Reviews – Episode 1: Nerd Block

Welcome to Kid Reviews! After a long negotiation with my kids, we have agreed on a contract that works for both sides in order to facilitate this new feature. Basically, they get the toys, I get the video… Anyway, our first episode of Kid Reviews features a mystery box from Nerd Block*! I came into contact with Nerd Block when they agreed to provide some prizes for my twitter party for #UnicornChat and they also offered to send me a mystery box.

Nerd Block is a subscription service that delivers a mystery box full of nerd themed gear to your door every month. They have packages for adults, horror fans and also children that start from $13.95/month. Check out the video to see how we enjoyed opening up our mystery box together as a family!

Go to NerdBlock.com* for more info and to order your mystery block today!

Disclosure: I received this mystery box free of charge from Nerd Block. We truly did love the box and can’t wait to see what September brings!

*Denotes Affiliate Link

Brookstreet Hotel Family Buzz

A Weekend To Remember At The Brookstreet Hotel. See Also: How To Tire Out Your Kids!

Last weekend my family and I stayed at the Brookstreet Hotel in Kanata, Ontario. Being from the area, I had always attributed the Brookstreet to being on the fancier side and as such, it had never occurred to me to take the kids there for one of our local mini vacations. Well, this weekend definitely changed my mind about that, over and over again. PS – Before I get started, you can check out all our photos from the weekend by heading over to this Google+ Album.

Before the kids arrived to stay with us, however, my wife and I had the luxury of spending the first night at the hotel on our own. We started off our stay with a couples massage in the serene Au Naturel Spa that set the tone for the rest of the weekend. Relaxed and sans children, we took a long stroll around the hotel and the attached Marshes golf course, before heading to the Options Jazz Lounge for dinner and entertainment. The dinner was incredible and the Pram Trio Jazz Band was even better as we enjoyed grown up drinks next to the amazing red piano that acts as the centerpiece of the lounge.

Brookstreet Options Jazz Piano

Seriously, with the number of amazing packages that the Brookstreet Hotel offers, from couples and golfers to families and rejuvenation, there is literally something for everybody. Refreshed and relaxed, my wife and I picked up the kids for day two of our adventure and the rest, as they say, is history!

When we arrived back at the hotel the kids were greeted with loot bags that were filled with colouring books, crayons, games room token and a new water bottle that could be refilled for free at the Options Jazz Lounge with water, milk, juices or soft drinks throughout our entire stay. Needless to say, this alone would have been enough for our kids but the fun was just beginning! When we read through this list of weekend activities for the kids to do, we knew they were in for an amazing time.

Kids Activities Brookstreet

We started with the Brookstreet’s “B Crafty” session, where we coloured and then made butterflies and Despicable Me minions out of toilet paper rolls. There were staff running the activities and helping all the kids with their crafts, which was perfect. The kids had a blast and are still playing with their toilet paper toys a week later! After about an hour of fun with the activities, we decided to check out both the indoor and outdoor pools. Both pools have a dedicated kids section, which is a nice touch for everyone who wants to enjoy the facilities. I try not to take too many pictures in public pools because, you know, “weird guy with a camera”, but believe me when I say that I had to drag the kids out of those pools…

Brookstreet Kids Crafts Activity

After swimming we attended the “Kids Kulinary Mini Pizzas” session, where the kids got to design, decorate and then eat their own mini pizzas. Lucky for me, my daughter wasn’t hungry so I got to eat her pizza. Win! Right after the pizza fun was finished, we were joined by the Brookstreet’s new mascot, Buzz (pictured above), who brought freezies for the kids and then posed for some pictures. This was followed by an hour or so in the massive games room, where I showed my wife what it looks like when you win at mini basketball ;) The kids loved the games room, which had a little movie theater, video games and other games for all ages.

By now, you can probably see where this story is going. There seemed to be a never ending supply of things for the family to do together and we weren’t even close to being done yet. We had a wonderful dinner on the patio at Perspectives Restaurant, which has a full kids menu, and then made our way to the fire pit, where the hotel had set up a s’mores station for the kids. We roasted marshmallows, smashed them together with chocolate inside a graham cracker and stuffed our faces! Again, in the lucky department, my son only wanted to roast marshmallows, so I got to enjoy his delicious s’mores.

Brookstreet Pizza Smores

Then something happened that has never happened before. My kids were so tired from all the fun they’d had that day, that they asked to go to bed. Seriously, they’ve never done this before. Miracle! Unfortunately (no, really, very fortunately) the Brookstreet had one more surprise for the kids when they got back to the room…

MILK & COOKIES!!!!!

Brookstreet Milk Cookies

I can’t think of a better way to cap off a great weekend than with milk & cookies for all kids that stay at the hotel! Oh wait, we actually capped it off with the giant brunch in the Perspectives Restaurant before we left on Sunday. I went into our stay thinking that the kids would be bored, and came out of it with our new “Go-To” local destination. The staff were all amazing to the kids as well and made them feel like part of the family. I highly encourage you to check out the Brookstreet’s Family Package, along with all the other great and affordable packages they have to offer. This was definitely a weekend to remember and we will be back for sure!

Disclosure: We stayed as guests of the Brookstreet Hotel in order to see how much they have changed to accommodate children and we were thoroughly impressed at every turn. None of the staff knew who we were and we were treated with nothing but respect and gratitude by every employee we encountered. Also, I ate some of the kids’ cookies when they weren’t looking. So what?

Canadian Dad Bissell Vacuum

Canadian Dad & Agent Bissell in The Attack of the Evil Dirt Twins

I was asked by the fine folks at Bissell Canada to review their Multi-Surface Expert™ canister vacuum cleaner. So, instead of the usual sponsored post you are used to, my family and I decided to mix it up by creating a trailer for a new movie, “Canadian Dad & Agent Bissell in The Attack of the Evil Dirt Twins”!

For the record, the vacuum was incredible, and especially for a family that has been searching for something that works for years. I’m a huge fan of the canister system and it actually picks up dirt off my floor! It was also perfect for hardwood, tile and carpet, which is a huge bonus for me. For more information on the Bissell Multi-Surface Expert™, you can visit the information page on the Bissell Canada Website.

So, without further ado, here is my family’s big screen debut!

Disclosure: Bissell Canada provided us with the vacuum cleaner to facilitate this “review”. I really do love it and love even more that my kids got to have fun with it.

YP App

Finding My Way Around With The Yellow Pages App

I don’t do a lot of app reviews, mostly because I don’t tend to use a lot of apps outside of my social media accounts. So when I got the pitch from Yellow Pages to check out their new YP App, I was all set to politely decline. That was until I saw all the features they were promising to deliver on, at which time I decided to give this thing a go, and am I ever glad I did.

I hadn’t had the YP App downloaded for 24 hours before I needed to use it in an emergency. I have been having some car troubles lately and on my way to the shop to drop it off, someone blew under the hood and forced me off to the side of the road in rush hour traffic. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had to pull over on a highway but it can be a very stressful experience. I froze for a minute, thinking of what to do, when I remembered that the YP App had specific pre-sets, with one of them being Towing Info. I quickly turned to the app, clicked on towing and it immediately populated towing companies in my area, with their phone numbers and even a rating for them. All I had to do was pick the closest company, hit call, and I was on my way in 15 minutes.

YP App Towing

After the towing experience, I couldn’t wait to see what else the YP App could do, so I went exploring. One of the first things I noticed was that it had a Reverse Phone Number Lookup section, which is something I use often on my cell phone. Normally, however, I’d have to go to my phone browser, head to the yellow pages site and find the reverse section in order to begin. With the app, I just hit Reverse, enter the number and voila! I am done. Now, in a flash, I will be able to tell if I missed a call from a friend or just another foreign prince in need of my help.

Reverse Phone YP App

Finally, there is the deals section. I kind of assumed that this would be filled with a lot of random stuff that I wouldn’t be interested in but was pleasantly surprised to see great deals from places like Toys R Us, Cineplex, Absolute Comedy and the Canadian Children’s Museum. These are all things we do on a regular basis and the savings will definitely come in handy!

YP App Deals

I’m not sure what more I can say to convince you to check out the YP App. There are so many more features, from directions and photos to GPS and sharing options, that at the low, low price of FREE, you really have no reason not to give it a shot! You can download the YP App on iTunes or on Android and you can find more information over at the Yellow Pages Website.

Disclosure: I received compensation for my participation in this campaign.