2015 Canadian Dad Holiday Gift Guide

Canadian Dad’s 2015 Holiday Gift Guide ~ Kids Edition!

Welcome to the 2015 edition of the Canadian Dad Holiday Gift Guide! This guide is all things that my kids have put on their Christmas lists and I’m excited to share them with you! Please take a look at what’s hot in their eyes this year and feel free to leave your child’s wish list in the comments section. Happy Holidays!!

Furreal Friends Daisy Plays With Me Kitty Hasbro



Furreal Friends Daisy Plays-With-Me Kitty

My daughter is obsessed with Hasbro’s Furreal Friends at the moment. She walks her Furreal dog more than most people walk real dogs and I’m guessing the Daisy Plays With Me Kitty will be no different.

You can grab your very own Furreal Friend by visiting Toys R Us!

Hasbro Playmation Marvel Avengers Starter Pack Gamma Gear

Playmation Marvel Avengers Starter Pack

It would be a lie to say that I am not as excited as my son is about Disney’s Playmation. This is the closest we will ever get to becoming actual superheroes and that’s more than good for us! Power Activators bring missions to life with over 20 different enemies so you can fight along side your favourite Avengers!

For more information on the Playmation Marvel Avengers Starter Pack, visit Hasbro’s Website!

LEGO Creator Toy & Grocery Shop LEGO Creator Toy & Grocery Shop

LEGO just feels like a childhood rite of passage, doesn’t it? Both of my kids spend hours creating the most amazing things and take special pride in the creations they come up with in their own heads. That said, it’s always nice to start with a fresh set and my daughter has asked us for this LEGO Creator Toy & Grocery Shop so her LEGO Friends have somewhere to buy food…
LEGO Ninjago Ronin R.E.X.

LEGO Ninjago Ronin R.E.X.

Back to LEGO for a minute, my son and his friends love LEGO Ninjago so much that they’ve even started to play it outside with the actual LEGO. They each pretend to be a character and run around the yard completing missions. My son’s favourite character, Kai, is a part of this very cool LEGO Ninjago Ronin R.E.X. set he has asked for this Christmas.
Maplelea Sparkling Ice Taryn

Maplelea Sparkling Ice Taryn

My daughter’s Maplelea doll, Taryn, may just be her favourite thing on the planet right now. She brings it everywhere she goes and treats it as if it is her own child, which is really fun to watch. This year she has asked us for some new outfits and seeing as how she is just learning to skate, we got her the Sparkling Ice outfit, which comes with the dress, tights, scrunchie, skates, skating bag and more. She is seriously going to flip out when she opens it!

Visit Maplelea’s Website for more information
My Amazing Penpal

My Amazing Penpal

This one is one of the more unique things you will find this year and my kids have loved it so far! Your kids get a new package every month and it leads them on adventures through various countries where they’ll learn about its traditions, foods, animals and much more! My kids also love the online games available with their memberships. 

Visit the My Amazing Penpal Website for details!
Mattel Monster High 17 Inch Tall Freak Du Chic Gooliope Jellington Doll

Monster High 17 Inch Tall Freak Du Chic Gooliope Jellington

Where was Monster High when I was a kid? This is my daughter’s newest love and I can’t say I’m upset about it. Just look at Goolliope Jellington for instance. She is a circus orphan that oozes, literally, chic! The best part is that my daughter lets me be more creative with Monster High than she does with her less undead doll collections…

Check out the entire collection over on Mattel’s Website!
Kidizoom Action Cam

Kidizoom Action Cam

Probably the gift I am most excited to give my kids this year is the Kidizoom Action Cam from Vtech. My kids love making videos and while my old digital camera has been great for them, this action cam is going to open so many possibilities for them and I can’t wait to see what they come up with. Just picture seeing what your kid sees while playing hockey or even just playing outside with their friends. It’s going to be a blast!

For more info on the Kidizoom Action Cam visit the Vtech Canada Website
New PLAYMOBIL NHL Hockey Theme

New PLAYMOBIL NHL Hockey Theme

We are officially a hockey crazy house so anytime I can get my hands on NHL licensed toys that will actually get played with, I jump at the chance. Playmobil’s new hockey themed arena lets my son imagine that he is in the NHL and winning the Stanley Cup as the Montreal Canadiens! What? It’s going to happen eventually! Anyway, this promises to provide hours and hours of hockey fun!

Check out the Playmobil Website for products, colouring sheets and online games!
Sphero Darkside Ollie

Sphero Darkside Ollie

If you haven’t seen a Sphero toy in action yet you should go check it out right now. These tiny machines are controlled by you on your smartphone or tablet and have a ton of tricks that you can make them do. I like to call toys like these “friend-makers” because all the kids will gather around when your child plays with Ollie. 

For more info and demo videos, check out the Sphero Website
Skylanders SuperChargers Starter Pack

Skylanders SuperChargers Starter Pack

We’ve been huge Skylanders fans in this house since before Skylanders was cool! Adding vehicles into the mix has brought the game to a new level for my son and he hasn’t stopped playing it since getting it for his birthday. Now if only someone could explain to me how Kaos keeps getting away…

Check out the Skylanders SuperChargers Website for more info!

That’s it for this year’s edition of the holiday gift guide! Please feel free to share in the comments what your kids are asking for this year. It never hurts to have a few more ideas under your cap!

Disclosure: I received a few of the items in this gift guide but all items included are things my children have actually asked for this year.

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Chris Life Lessons

37 Things I’ve Learned In 37 Years

1. Talking about religion and politics on the internet is almost the same as screaming at a brick wall.

2. Being nice to people simply for the sake of being nice will pay far more dividends than being nice with alterior motives.

3. “I’ll do it later” actually means “I will forget to do this”. This is especially a problem when you suddenly need the one suit you own and find it crumpled in the laundry hamper.

4. Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. You know what to do.

5. Kindness can defuse a bad situation more often than anger. This I learned from the late Rev. Rick Marples who coached some of the roughest hockey teams I’ve ever been a part of and did so with a smile.

6. Karaoke is cool no matter what anyone else says.

7. Music isn’t just background noise. Music has carried me through some very dark times and made great times even greater.

8. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. No, I didn’t invent this saying and it is a worn out cliché but even the best of us get burned occasionally.

9. In business, saying no can often lead to an even bigger yes.

10. Exercising is hard when you try to catch up for years of inactivity. Don’t believe me? Here’s my story that I shared with GoodLife Fitness and I’m still struggling along.

11. You are never too old to wear a Halloween costume.

12. There is always room for personal growth. Mistakes happen. Learn and move on.

13. I can’t be bothered to tie a pair of shoes. Thank goodness for slip-ons!

14. The ability to say “I’m sorry” when you are wrong is not a weakness.

15. Take time to stop and appreciate moments as they happen, even if that moment is as simple as taking in a breath of fresh morning air.

16. I wish I had learned how to do things like change a tire, build a deck and do basic handyman tasks. You can only ask for so many favours before you start feeling bad about yourself.

17. Always ask for customer retention when trying to renegotiate your cable, internet and phone plans. I have saved hours of waiting on hold with this one.

18. Don’t bottle up your emotions, especially when it comes to grief. Acting tough only works for so long before your mind catches on.

19. Don’t be the angry parent at a children’s sporting event. You look ridiculous and your child will end up being the one who pays for your actions. No, seriously, don’t be this person. It’s bad enough that all parents have to take an hour long course on respect in sport because of you.

20. Having children is a great way to justify buying the toys you never got to play with as a child.

21. Do things you are afraid of doing. It will make you less afraid of everything else.

22. At a sporting event or concert, use the valet parking every now and then. It’s a little bit more expensive but it makes you feel like a VIP at the event.

23. Smile. A lot.

24. There isn’t a much better feeling than watching your child excel at something and seeing the pride in their faces as they do.

25. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is a silly concept. Being tired stinks. Get some sleep, man!

26. The “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for Dat” video is one of the funniest things on YouTube.

27. It is possible to love and hate snow at the exact same time.

28. Debt can crush your soul. If you really don’t need that shiny new thing, leave it on the shelf. Also, start saving some money right now!

29. Cabbage and lettuce are not the same thing. Only one of them tastes good in a Caesar salad. Yes, this is something I learned the hard way. No, my family hasn’t let me forget it.

30. If you think you smell gas in your house, call someone in immediately because you probably have a gas leak. Do not procrastinate for hours until you drive yourself mad and call the gas company at 2am.

31. I could watch Netflix for 4 hours a day and still never run out of things to watch on Netflix.

32. If your child asks you to hold onto a rock because it is special to them, you hold that rock until the day they ask for it back. That day could be twenty years later but they WILL ask for it back!

33. Failing at something doesn’t make you a failure, it simply gives you the knowledge to get it right the next time.

34. Making even a small difference in the world is still making a difference in the world. Volunteer your time, donate food or money, pay for someone’s coffee, anything that does something good for someone else and you will be making the world a better place.

35. Dance like no one is watching, even if they are definitely watching.

36. Say “I Love You” to the people you love. It sounds simple but we often take it for granted.

37. Everyone has an opinion on how you should dress, behave, raise your kids and feel but in the end yours is the only opinion that matters when it comes to you.

Movember NHL Duncan Keith

Movember + NHL + VISA Checkout = More Money For The Cause

As you all know, the Movember movement is one that is close to my heart and something that I genuinely enjoy raising money for each year. This year I had the special opportunity to team up with the NHL, Movember and VISA Checkout to promote some great new tools that make the Movember season a lot more fun!

Throughout the month of November the NHL has added some very cool MoBro Tools to the Movember website. First you get to choose your NHL star from names like Duncan Keith, James Van Riemsdyk, Jonathan Bernier and Patrice Bergeron, and then you can select from creating a meme, video or voice message where the NHL star will promote your Mo! I was hooked from the moment I created my Duncan Keith Mo Commercial. Yes, he called me an awesome dude, and yes, I ate it up!

Further to the awesome MoBro Tools that are now available, if you use the VISA Checkout option when making your donation, VISA will donate an extra $10 to Movember! You don’t even need a VISA card to do this as it also accepts Mastercard and just note that you will be charged an extra 0.30 but it’s worth it for the extra $10! If that wasn’t enough, every time you donate using Visa Checkout you’re eligible to win a trip for 4 to the 2016 NHL Winter Classic in Boston!

Well, what are you waiting for? If you feel inclined to give, please visit my Movember page and I will be grateful for whatever amount you can spare. If you just want to go have some fun and make NHL commercials, you can head to the MoBro Tools page to do that and don’t forget to share with your friends!

Duncan Keith Movember

Bayer #BeRemarkable

#BeRemarkable And Join The World Diabetes Day Thunderclap!

What makes someone remarkable? Is it the ability to overcome adversity? Carrying a positive attitude even in the toughest situations? Raising more that three children? Seriously, how do those parents do it?? In an effort to help promote World Diabetes Day and Bayer Diabetes Care’s #BeRemarkable campaign, I was asked to talk about a remarkable Canadian and how they have inspired me.

The problem with that task is that there are so many remarkable people who have inspired me in various ways that I didn’t know who to choose. There’s my wonderful wife, who has effortlessly taken care of our children and our home for the last few years while also going back to school to complete her Early Childhood Education program. She is only a few steps away from the finish line and I couldn’t be prouder of her.

There are so many others who have inspired me from Hannah Alper and Drew Dudley to Chris Hadfield, Molly Burke and most importantly my own mom and dad. Everywhere you turn there are remarkable people, yourself included, who aren’t waiting around for their turn to be great but who are making it happen each and every day.

The following video features real Canadians with diabetes like Pan Am Games 400m Hurdler Gregory MacNeill, Mixed Martial Artist Dessi Zaharieva, bi-athlete Bruce Kelly, gospel musician David Seale, elite level boxer JD Firth, power lifter Alex Naccarato and many more. These remarkable role models hope to inspire the diabetes community and help more people realize their own remarkable potential.


That’s right, a little surprise for you! We want to get the word out to as many people as possible for World Diabetes Day this November 14th, so to help inspire you to join the Bayer #BeRemarkable Thunderclap scheduled for that day, I am giving away a Fitbit Flex to one lucky reader.

For those of you who are new to the term, a Thunderclap schedules social media updates to be posted simultaneously across accounts for maximum impact. It is a very cool sight and only takes a minute to sign up for. Thank you for your support of this very worthy cause!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

PK Subban Rice Krispies Treats for Toys

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies #TreatsForToys Is Back!

As a blogger I occasionally get the opportunity to do some good with my platform. I am especially grateful to once again have been asked to take part in the Treats for Toys program from Kellogg’s, which benefits the Salvation Army. This campaign has a little bit of something for everyone with the big payoff being that the money raised will help purchase gifts for children in need.

For me, this is an opportunity to not only flex my baking muscles, which are sorely neglected, but also to teach my children about giving back. For the kids, well, on top of the important lessons involved they also get to play with their food and not get in trouble for it.

Before we get to our first Treats for Toys creation I just wanted to give a quick plug for the Salvation Army because I actually spend a lot of time at our local shop. I’m not sure if you’ve ever donated or visited a Salvation Army location but the hard work that goes into making them a success is second to none. My local branch has a really cool auction section set up where they run monthly auctions on items that are deemed to be on the more valuable side. I have won old toys, sports cards and more from these auctions and love that the money is also going to do some good.

Treats For Toys

The Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats for Toys campaign is easy to do, just follow these steps:

1) First, choose your favourite variety of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal to use as the base and add some snap, crackle and pop to your creation:
• For a limited time, Holiday Rice Krispies cereal adds a burst of festive colour to your toy-shaped treat;
• Rice Krispies Original cereal is the classic choice for traditionalists;
• Rice Krispies with Vanilla Flavour adds a hint of sweetness to the original wholesomeness of rice;
• Rice Krispies Multi-Grain Shapes boosts the fun factor with whole grain, funky shapes and no artificial flavours or colours; and
• Rice Krispies Brown Rice Gluten-Free cereal is made with whole grain brown rice.

2) Create your toy-shaped treat using one of five Kellogg’s Rice Krispies recipes available on RiceKrispies.ca or design your own!

3) Take a picture of your treat and upload the photo to RiceKrispies.ca. You can also share your work of art on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using #TreatsforToys.

4) For every photo received on the website, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies will donate $20 to The Salvation Army to buy a real toy for a child in need.

As you can see from the above cover photo, my son took the first crack at creating a treat and decided to go with a very life like replica of PK Subban of the Montreal Canadiens. We’ll be coming up with a few more wacky creations throughout the campaign and I hope you will join in the fun as well!

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program and also made a donation to my local Salvation Army.

Marriott Rewards NBA Canada Series

Basketballs, Billups and Bat Flips!

Our lives are defined by the accumulation of our experiences, both good and bad. This past weekend I had the opportunity to add a notch to the “good” column as far as experiences go! It was one of those moments that will be the answer to a “where were you when?” question. Last week I told you that the Marriott & NBA teamed up to bring us the 2015-2016 NBA Global Games and as part of that promotion, I was going to attend the Toronto Raptors game against the Minnesota Timberwolves here in Ottawa. This promotion was just one example of the benefits of being a Marriott Rewards member.

Let me set the scene. We drove to the arena with the radio dialed on to the Toronto Blue Jays game and listened in the car as they went down 3-2 to Texas. We assumed that we would miss the last couple innings but were pleasantly surprised to find out that the Marriott had gone all out and reserved a luxury suite for us to watch the Raptors game from. With the game tied and two men on base in the bottom of the 7th inning, Jose Bautista walked up to the plate.

Batista Bat Flip Marriott NBA

Watching Joey Bats At The NBA Game In The Sens Suite

Everyone in the suite gathered around the TV while in the background a woman began to sing the US National Anthem before the start of the basketball game. As if it were scripted, Bautista then hit one of the biggest home runs in Canadian baseball history, which included the greatest bat flip of all time, and the suite went wild! Silently wild, that is. Wanting to respect the anthem singer we all jumped up and down, high fiving each other but not making a sound. As soon as the anthem finished, the suite and all of those around the building let out our bottled up emotion in what must have been the loudest cheers for an American anthem in a Canadian arena in the history of anthems!

All of this happened within 20 minutes of us arriving at the arena! I still had the excitement of seeing my first NBA game ahead of me and although the Raptors lost it right at the end, the atmosphere in the arena was electric from start to finish and it was nothing like what I expected it to be, in the best possible way. If that weren’t enough, we also got the opportunity to meet NBA legend Chauncey Billups, who came up to the suite for photos and to sign autographs for us. Check it out!

NBA Marriott Global Games Chauney Billups

NBA Legend Chauney Billups

You’d think that would be a great way to end the night but we were also invited to the post game reception where we had the chance to pose with the NBA’s Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy and I had the incredible opportunity to meet Canadian basketball star Andrew Wiggins, who posed (with permission) for this very awkward but still awesome photo!

Wiggins NBA Larry O'Brien Marriott

The Larry O’Brien Trophy and Andrew Wiggins

It was truly an amazing night and one that this sports fan will never forget. If this is what you can expect out of being a Marriott Rewards member, I’m not sure what you all are waiting for… Montreal is the next date on the NBA Canada Series and if you are interested you can get tickets here! It probably wouldn’t hurt to stop by Twitter to say hello to @MarriottRewards and their newest member, @DeltaHotelsLTD!

Hazelnut Pear Chocolate Chip Waffles PC

I Don’t Cook, Except When I Do

I don’t live in some magical dream world where I think am a world class chef. Actually, I don’t even have the confidence in the kitchen to attempt the most basic of meals outside of scrambled eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches. Now that my kids are getting older and developing their own identities, life has begun to get increasingly busier with school, activities and shuttling them around everywhere. That said, we don’t have as much time as we used to for procrastinating over what to make for breakfast and dinner.

In fact, according to a recent survey from the Loblaws and President’s Choice® teams, 68 per cent of Canadian parents have less than 10 minutes to make their child’s breakfast on a weekday. In an effort to be more useful in the kitchen for my family, I accepted the challenge of teaming up with Loblaws and President’s Choice® to attempt one of their recipes that they say even I can cook in the time I actually have. While I could have gone with the easier choices of Applesauce Greek Yogurt Parfait or Strawberry Cashew Breakfast Shake, I decided to challenge myself by selecting the Hazelnut Pear Chocolate Chip Waffles.

The ingredients included peeled BOSC pears, brown sugar, roasted pecans, PC® Belgian Chocolate Chip Waffles & PC® Chocolate Hazelnut Spread. Not wanting to be one of the thirty per cent of Canadian parents who opt to skip feeding themselves in order to make sure their kids have a proper meal, I made sure to grab enough ingredients for my wife and myself as well. Plus, who could pass up the opportunity to bite into this finished result?!

Hazelnut Pear Chocolate Chip Waffles

Hazelnut Pear Chocolate Chip Waffles

I honestly can’t believe how quick and easy it was to create the above masterpiece and am proud to announce that it tasted as good as it looks! Now that I have the confidence to try new things in the kitchen, the next item on my list is to tackle the dinner rush, which is usually even more crazy than breakfast. I know that I’m not the only one who struggles with this. Just look at these staggering survey results from the Loblaws and President’s Choice® teams:

• Fifty-one per cent of parents wish they had more dinners together as a family
• Forty per cent of Canadians said they ate more dinners as a family when they were growing up than their children eat with them
• Thirty-eight per cent of Canadian parents find it difficult to be creative with dinner meals
• Fifty-one per cent of Canadian children don’t pack their own school lunches, and less than half (41 per cent) of Canadian children help their parents prepare dinner

Let’s take back meal time and get creative while we’re at it! I know my kids were excited to see something other than scrambled eggs and toast on the table. You can visit the President’s Choice® website for more great quick and easy recipes for all meals!

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program, however I made that meal all by myself and am very proud about it! And it really was delicious!

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!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Netflix Popples

The Popples Are Coming To Netflix!

I have a confession to make. When I was a little boy I loved the Popples! I can’t confirm this 100% but I’m pretty sure I made my parents stop at every single department store we ever passed so that we could go in to see if they had any new Popples in stock. I know for a fact that I brought my blue & purple Popple everywhere I went and didn’t care what anyone thought about it.

That said, the news that Netflix has developed an original Popples series has me genuinely excited as it means that I get to push more of my youth on my children! For the rest of my Popple-loving friends, mark October 30th on your calendar as that’s when Netflix will debut 26 half-hour episodes for your Poppling enjoyment!

Assuming this reboot also means that we’ll be seeing new Popples in the toy stores, I’m not sure who is going to be more excited about this between my kids and I. I will also neither confirm, nor deny that I have been on eBay all morning trying to find my old blue & purple Popple friend. For the kids, of course… Here’s a clip of the new show!