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.

 

Zinc Chozen Scooter 2

The Day A Grown Man Got A Scooter And Ruled The World!

Naturally, the first thing I did when my shiny new Zinc Chozen scooter arrived in the mail was to scour the neighbourhood for other grown men to join my scooter gang. I actually thought it would be easy to find some other dads to join my crew but when it proved more difficult than expected, I went with Plan B and recruited my children.

Now, before we go any further, I promise that my original plan was to give the scooter to my kids, but after my initial test run on the beautifully smooth Zinc Chozen, I knew that this was going to become one of daddy’s toys. You see, I never had a real scooter as a child and seeing as how I don’t own any other method of transportation other than a car, I figured I was due.

My initial goal with the scooter gang was to use our super speed to fight crime in my city. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, there is a severe lack of crime in my city, which thwarted that plan. On the bright side, I have been able to use the scooter as a way to bond with my children. We’ve gone on rides to the park, to school and had some amazing adventures in general that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to have without it. I think my favourite thing about the new Zinc scooter is that my four year old daughter has been asking if we could go on a scooter ride, “just the two of us”. Fathers of daughters will understand the heart tug on that one.

I know the Zinc Chozen scooter is designed to be a trick scooter (I promise I am working on my tricks) but it actually ended up providing me with something that I hadn’t expected in the form of a tighter bond with my kids. Also, for the record, this thing is the smoothest ride I have ever had. Even on the gravel pathway it exceeded my expectations, which is the main reason why I will be keeping this baby all to myself!

For more information on Zinc scooters, you can visit them on their Website, ZincHQ.com, and also on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Now, check out my awesome scooter gang!

Zinc Chozen Scooter

Disclosure: I received a Zinc Chozen scooter for review. Everything I stated above happened and the scooter is extra rad and makes me feel like a kid again.

Terra20

Father’s Day Gift Ideas, Plus Enter To Win a $100 Gift Card From Terra20!

After the Super Bowl and the release of any super hero movie, Father’s Day is the day that dads everywhere look forward to most each year. Because it’s not customary for dad to get flowers and chocolate, like our motherly counterparts, we usually have to dig deep in order to find something that we really want. Something that says, I did a good job as a dad this year and now I am going to accept this award in exchange for that job well done.

Of course, I am kidding about the award. In my house, I am more than happy to completely disconnect from the digital world and spend the entire day enjoying the company of my wife and children. We usually find a cool local trail and spend the day outdoors, which is all I really need. Inevitably, my wife will ask if there is anything I want, I will say no, then she will tell me that they are getting something anyway, so I’d better pick something.

I mentioned recently that I am a big fan of supporting local businesses, so I decided to check out what terra20 had to offer and have listed my top 3 picks below. Just as a side note, I could have listed the entire House of Marley line but decided to cut it down to three things…

House of Marley Lively Up Harvest Messenger

House of Marley Lively Up Harvest Messenger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As someone who suddenly finds himself doing a lot of travelling, I realized that carrying my computer and notepad in an old softball duffel bag is probably not the best idea. This House of Marley Messenger Bag is at the very top of my list, so if my wife is reading this, you know, me likey!

House of Marley Chant Portable Audio System

House of Marley Chant Portable Audio System

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had a chance to play around with the House of Marley Chant Player when I visited terra20 last summer and fell in love with it. It stows away anywhere and connects to your mobile device with amazing sound quality. This is the perfect gift for the dad who does a lot of work outside.

Barefoot Books Kid’s Kitchen

Barefoot Books Kid's Kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While this may seem like an unorthodox choice, learning to cook is something that I have had on my list for a while now. The thought of being able to learn to do so with my kids is something that brings me a lot of joy. I can’t promise that I won’t burn the pancakes but I’m willing and ready to give it a try!

WIN A $100 TERRA20 GIFT CARD!

That’s right, terra20 is building a father’s day gift guide and are offering a $100 gift card for your assistance in putting it together. How do you enter, you ask?

Men, you need to browse the terra20 website for a few of your favourite items that you think would make perfect Father’s Day gifts. Ladies, either ask your man to do this or pick something you think he would love from the terra20 site.

Once you find your favourite item, leave a comment below with a link to that particular item and you will be entered in the draw! It’s that easy!

Giveaway closes Sunday, May 18th at 6pm and is open to residents of the Ottawa area, excluding Quebec. One winner will be drawn at random from eligible comments and will win a $100 terra20 gift card to be picked up at one of the two store locations. *In addition, if terra20 is chooses your gift suggestion to be in the gift guide, you may be contacted by Canadian Dad about your comment being included. By entering you recognize that: there is no guarantee that your suggestion will be in the gift guide, and in the case of more than one person suggesting the same item, no specific attribution will be required on the part of terra20.

Men Get Pregnant Too

Books For Parents: Men Get Pregnant, Too by Kenny Bodanis

It occurred to me while I was reading “Men Get Pregnant, Too”, by Kenny Bodanis, that there aren’t a lot of books out there for dads. I noticed this as I nodded my head along with the stories Kenny tells in the book and found myself wishing that there had been something out there like this prior to my having children. Kenny Bodanis is an award winning, Canadian blogger and radio & television parenting columnist, who lives with his wife and two children in Montreal.

My favourite thing about “Men Get Pregnant, Too”, which shares the same name as Bodanis’ blog, is that he doesn’t hold back in the stories he tells. Another thing I enjoyed was how he added pet peeves and tips for men who are about to enter into fatherhood, such as

“Plug in. Have answers. Be interested. Not for everyone else but as a reminder to your spouse that her husband is excited to be a dad.”

Reading this, I wished I had a time machine so I could go back and do it better.

Kenny also talks at length about the different emotions and stresses that fathers face and tries to help encourage dad to own those emotions. This is also something that I failed miserably at with my first child and didn’t figure out until I started writing about my experiences as a father. It’s important that dad doesn’t completely take a back seat during the pregnancy and Bodanis does a great job of explaining why that is so important.

With Father’s Day right around the corner, I can’t think of a better gift for dad than this book. It really covers almost everything you are going to come up against and does so in a light-hearted and very relatable voice. Men Get Pregnant, Too is available in both paperback and kindle versions on Amazon. You can also check out Kenny Bodanis on his Twitter and Facebook pages.

Tag Along Toys Lego Movie

Win LEGO From ‘The LEGO Movie’ Courtesy Of Tag Along Toys!

Since I began blogging two years ago, I have developed a new appreciation for the term “Shop Local”. There is something really special about the small businesses that make my city great and I have been able to find this out first hand. I have had the pleasure of meeting many of Ottawa’s small business owners and am constantly amazed by their kindness and hospitality.

My first experience with this was when I stumbled into Tag Along Toys for a wine and cheese event that they were running. That night I met the owner, Patti, and we have been good friends ever since. My favourite part about going in to Tag Along Toys is that it always feels like I am at home while I shop there. Everyone is greeted with a smile as they walk in and now my kids even ask if we can go see Patti, even though they know they won’t always get a toy.

It’s through local businesses and owners like Patti that I have learned the true value of supporting local companies and I highly encourage you to do the same. To thank YOU and all of her customers, Patti from Tag Along Toys has asked me to help her in giving away some very cool LEGO sets from the recent hit, The LEGO Movie!

We will be selecting two winners and each will get one of the sets in the image above. The only catch is that you have to be able to pick them up in store at 499 Terry Fox Dr in Kanata. Deal? Alright, just head down to the form below and get yourself entered so you can scream “Everything Is Awesome” when you win! After you enter, you should pop in to the Tag Along Toys Facebook and Twitter pages to say hi to Patti for me!

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Novica Logo

Win A NOVICA Gift Card Just In Time For Mother’s Day!

I recently came across a website called, Novica.Com, that had some fantastic hand crafted items and knew immediately that I was going to get sucked in. NOVICA gives Artisans from around the world, many living in rural communities, the means to sell their work on the international market by providing them a free platform to reach a global audience.

With my wife’s birthday fast approaching, I was excited to dig in to find something special. The website is perfectly laid out to find a gift for any occasion and when I spotted the spirituality section, I knew the gift would be in there. My wife has undergone an inspirational life transformation and yoga has been a big part of that, so I was really excited when I saw this Handmade Chakra Energy pendant necklace, pictured below. I was a little nervous because it was shipping from India but it showed up on time and even had a thank you postcard from the artisan who created it, which I thought was an excellent touch. PS – My wife LOVED the necklace!

Chakra Necklace

I wanted to give you a chance to take NOVICA out for a test drive, so I’m giving away a $25 gift card to one lucky reader just in time for Mother’s Day! All you have to do to enter is check out the Rafflecopter form below and I will select a winner on May 1st! Good Luck! In the meantime, you can also check out NOVICA on Facebook and Twitter.

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Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this campaign.

Hot Wheels Ultimate Track - Front 2

Win A Hot Wheels® Prize Pack & Join The Track Builder Challenge

Part of my duties as a Hot Wheels® Connector Club Ambassador is to demonstrate how easy it is to grab some random pieces of track and turn them into a masterpiece. I recently teamed up with my children in order to create our entry into the Hot Wheels® Track Builder Challenge! PS, you should totally enter because the Grand Prize includes Hot Wheels® coming to your house and building a giant indoor track! 

Check out this video to see we managed to come up with and keep reading to see how you could win a Hot Wheels® Prize Pack!

Pretty awesome, right?! We had a blast building and the kids have changed it up a bunch of times since then. I want to give you the opportunity to spend some time building with your children and have managed to get my hands on a really cool Hot Wheels® Prize Pack that includes:

  • Hot Wheels Playset
  • Basic Cars
  • Colour Shifter Car
  • Monster Jam Truck
  • Curve & Launch Track Building Set
  • The Quick Kick Loop
  • Digital Speedometer

All you have to do to enter is follow the steps below and I will hook up a winner on April 30th! You must be a resident of Canada to enter and I wish you the best of luck! And, don’t forget to enter the Hot Wheels® Track Builder Challenge for your chance at more great prizes!

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