SDM Flu Fighters

5 Ways To Avoid Getting The Flu This Season (Plus A Giveaway!)

It’s cold and flu season, Hooray!!!! Nobody likes to be sick and no one likes to miss out on everything the holidays have to bring, so I have put together a quick list of things that you can do to avoid getting the flu this year. You’re welcome!

1. Follow Your Children Around With Disinfectant Wipes

That’s right, as long as you never let your child get dirty or touch anything, they can’t possibly get sick! The key is to follow them around with a package of disinfectant wipes (available at Shoppers Drug Mart) and clean their hands and face at every turn. It’s important to use the wipes even if they haven’t touched anything as there are still particles in the air that could cling to their hands and face!

2. Cover Your Mouth When You Sneeze

This lesson is one of the hardest for kids to wrap their heads around. In their minds, the proper way to sneeze is the exact moment when mom or dad are sitting next to them and least expecting it. In rare cases the sneeze will happen while you are playing airplane with their nose directly above your open mouth. When this happens, the best way to proceed is to gently land the plane and immediately hop in the shower for 3 hours.

3. Don’t Reuse Tissues!!!

I still have nightmares about watching my grandmother pull that dirty old tissue out of her pocket to use on my face and nose. Seriously though, how expensive is facial tissue that we even consider reusing it multiple times, let alone licking it first?! Think of the germs that are being spread with each use!! You know what? The thought of this is so gross that I actually need a moment to collect myself before moving on to the next item…

4. Wear a Medical Mask At All Times

This one is obvious and should be followed by everyone. With so many germs floating around out there, this is the only surefire way to keep from accidentally ingesting them. Worried about looking silly? Don’t! All you have to do is either find masks with cool images, like mine, or decorate them yourselves and voila! Welcome to Coolville!

5. Visit Shoppers Drug Mart And Get Your Flu Shot!

The easiest way to avoid getting the flu and ensuring that you don’t miss out this holiday season is to visit your local Shoppers Drug Mart and getting the flu shot. I mean, c’mon, who wants to walk around with a Mickey Mouse medical mask on all the time, am I right? What are you still reading this for? Scoop up your family, head to your local Shoppers Drug Mart and protect yourself against this year’s flu. Actually, wait and enter my giveaway first, THEN go get your flu shot!

Cold & Flu Prize Pack Giveaway!

SDM Cold and Flu Prize Pack

Because you are all so amazing, I am going to be giving away a Cold & Flu Prize Pack which includes a $100 gift card from Shoppers Drug Mart! This should get you through any sniffles you may come across during flu season and prevent you from having to reuse tissues… This giveaway is open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec.

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Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in the #SDMFluFighters program but truly am haunted by the image of my grandmother reusing tissues.

Sport Chek

Win a $100 Sport Chek Gift Card!

I’ve been talking a lot about getting back into my exercise routines lately and how Sport Chek has been helping me to achieve that goal. Now I want to help you get moving by giving away a $100 Sport Chek gift card! Just think of the possibilities! New running shoes maybe? How about a FitBit Charge? Tell you what, why don’t you just go to the Sport Chek website and dream for yourself?

In the meantime, please feel free to enter the giveaway below and I’ll choose a winner on October 28th. Sorry Quebec, as usual you are not eligible to win the prize. Good luck everyone!!

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Sport Chek Bauer Vapor

Hockey, Hockey, Hockey, Hockey. Hockey All The Time!

I’m not exactly sure when it happened but my son went from lukewarm about playing hockey to being an absolute monster who eats, sleeps and breathes the hockey life. I made a promise to myself that I would not push him to do anything he doesn’t want to do as far as hobbies go but if I’m being completely honest, I am so excited that he loves hockey so much.

I’m not just talking about playing ice hockey, either. This kid loves watching it on TV, playing road hockey in our free moments, mini sticks in the basement, practicing his shooting and possibly my favourite of his addictions, collecting hockey cards and stickers! No, seriously, I have a collecting problem that might actually need professional help…

There’s something about the fraternity of hockey that I can’t help but love. I love the smells associated with hockey. Yes, even the stinky hockey bag smell. I love that I get to lace up my skates next to my son and take to the ice with him. I love watching the kids grow and develop their skills. I love knowing that I may have had a small part in their development. I love watching the little puffs of breath in the air after a hard fought shift. I love hockey so much that I don’t even mind getting up at 4:30 in the morning for the 6am practices. You know, within reason.

Now that I am a grown man with a job and his own money, there is something else I love about hockey season. Shopping for hockey stuff! With last season being my son’s first in hockey, we opted to go with used skates in case he decided that he didn’t like it. In retrospect, that was probably a bad idea because the skates were fitted to someone else’s feet and he never really grew into them. This year we went all out and grabbed him some brand new form fitted Bauer Vapor X900’s from Sport Chek and the difference has already been night and day from last year. Just look at his concentration above!

A funny thing happened that day at Sport Chek. The goal was get in, get skates and get out, but that is not exactly how it ended up going down… You see, my wife saw the FitBit Charge and snuck it into the shopping cart. I can’t claim innocence either as I used my new found title of assistant coach as reason to purchase a brand new coaches tracksuit. But I mean, c’mon, it was worth it, right? My scratch and save card says yes!

Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful hockey season!! Don’t forget to pop in to Sport Chek to check out their awesome hockey selection! You can also visit them on Facebook and Twitter for more contests and great deals!

Sport Chek Coach Gear

Looking all coach like with my new Under Armour threads from Sport Chek.

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program, however I did in fact spend it all in a single trip to Sport Chek. But man do I look good now!

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 Sport Chek 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

Skechers Twinkle Toes Sport Chek

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 Sport Chek 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 Sport Chek 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.

Are We There Yet

Are We There Yet??

You know, I used to think it was a myth. Something our parents joked about in the same way that they had walked to school barefoot and uphill, both ways, in the snow! After a summer of road tripping with the kids I can now confirm that, “Are We There Yet?”, is not only a real thing but it seems to be my children’s favourite question.

I’m never really sure how I’m supposed to answer this question in a way that stops it from being asked again so I decided to ask you, the reader, what you say to your kids when they inevitably spit it out. I have compiled your responses and this is what you came up with. For those of you with more thoughts on the subject, please feel free to leave them in the comments section!

I say “Yes, we’re there. We’ve been there for 10 minutes. See Grandma right there? Why are you still in the car?” ~ Gina

We did a lot of driving this summer. At one point I truthfully replied “we will be there in 14 hours”…the honesty didn’t go over super well. ~ Jennifer K

I find myself responding like Papa Smurf “Not far now” “Not to much farther” and then “It’s far, very far” ~ Chantal

When you and your brother were little..we would say 3 hours! Seemed to work for you ~ My Mom…

We like to put on the gps and they can see the arrival time therefore it has quieted the are there yet questions ~ Teresa

“We literally just left the house fourteen seconds ago.” ~Lori Anne

“No.” ~ Jennifer P

I want to thank everyone who took the time to contribute an answer to my conundrum. I will likely slip back into my smart alec ways but it’s good to know that there are other options out there!

In an effort to ease the stress of the never ending “Are We There Yet” chant, I wanted to give you the opportunity to have your vehicle’s gas, maintenance and insurance all paid for a full year by entering the Schick “Drive Free For A Year” contest!! All you need to do to enter is click on the previously mentioned link, follow the easy steps and Schick could be paying your gas, insurance and depreciation for a whole year! You can also visit the @FreeYourSkinCA Twitter handle for more specials and details about the contest. *Drops Mic*

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in the Drive Free program.

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…

Quaker The Recital Giveaway

Win A Quaker Prize Pack Including $250 In Gift Cards!

To celebrate my participation in Quaker’s campaign for their “The Recital” video, they are letting me give away this amazing prize pack to one lucky reader! This campaign has been really eye opening for me in that it has got me thinking about how easy it is to fall into a routine with our kids. Don’t get me wrong, routines are great and all but I think we still need to step outside the box every now and then to show our kids that it is okay to take risks.

I hope you enjoy this giveaway, picture above, and also take a minute to watch and share The Recital video again. I really love the new trend of emotional marketing, especially when it involves dads! This giveaway is not open to residents of Quebec and I’ll select a winner on September 24th.

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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.