Kids Dad Video Games

Am I Making The Most Of My Time As A Father?

Where does the time go? I’m serious, what just happened here? I blinked and my children were another year older. It leaves me reflecting on whether I’m making the most of this time with them or if I’m letting it slip by too quickly. I had been asked to write something about the new video from Quaker, The Recital, and quickly planned out what I wanted to talk about. That changed instantly after I watched the video, however. There as a line in there that really resonated with me and it’s when the dad in the video says,


“And I hope she doesn’t think I work too much or don’t pay enough attention to her because I really do value the time we spend together”

That’s exactly it, isn’t it? This line just kept ringing in my ears afterward because it is exactly how I feel about my kids. I have a full time job and also freelance on the side so that my wife can stay home to raise the kids. This means that while most parents are chastised for having their phones out around their kids, I occasionally need to have mine out in order to pay the bills. Still, I wonder if the kids remember all the fun events they got to go to or will they only remember that daddy was on his phone (fulfilling social media obligations for that event) during them?

I worry everyday that my children won’t understand this and I do my very best to explain it to them and to keep my work to the times when we are not together, but I’m certainly not perfect. I actually considered leaving blogging earlier this year because I felt like it was taking away too much of my family time. I got to a point where there seemed to be so much going on that I just shut down to avoid it all. As it turns out, I just needed to implement some structure to what I do. Yes, after 4 years of this I am still learning how to manage it. Laugh away.

Daughter Globetrotter

This is the path we have chosen and I am grateful for every opportunity I have received and for every Harlem Globetrotter who has visited my house to play basketball with my kids… I just hope that my children will look back someday and remember that above all else their daddy loved them and did everything in his power to give them the best life possible. Now, grab some tissues and watch this very cool video from Quaker. PS – I’m already planning something special for my daughter and I to do together after watching this!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Quaker to showcase their new father/daughter video and hit me harder that I had expected. Do all the things you want to do with your kids before you blink and they have families of their own.

*Photo Credit: The cover photo was taken by David Redding Photography.

Dodge Grand Caravan

It’s Official, I’m A Minivan Man!

We’ve all heard the jokes about buying a minivan. Having never actually been inside one I was led to believe that they were simply a boring box on wheels and that I should never ever consider owning one for fear of being voted off the cool people island. When we went car shopping recently we didn’t have a minivan on our short list, but now that the dust has settled I can confirm that there is definitely one sitting in my driveway right now.

Shameless plug here but it was my work on the Schick “Drive Free” campaign that got me thinking about how much money we were pumping into our current vehicle because it was older and needed a constant stream of maintenance. We figured we’d at least check out some new vehicles that would have warranty plans we could rely on. After looking at a couple different option the salesman cautiously asked us if we had ever considered a minivan. We both kind of laughed it off but next thing we knew we were sitting in the back seats checking out all the cool features it offered.

After some hard negotiations… Wait, let me try that again. After cowering under the sales table we finally agreed to purchase a brand new, fully loaded, Dodge Grand Caravan and I have to say that this is the happiest I’ve been with a new car purchase. It has given us the freedom to allow each of our children to choose a friend to take places with us and that has really taken summer to a new level! We’ve done museums, beaches, parks and pool parties all with a van full of kids and room to spare. Seriously, minivans are the exact opposite of everything I’ve heard about them. Up next is our minivan’s first camping trip and I can’t wait to see how much stuff we can cram into it!

In closing, you should definitely buy a minivan so you can be cool like me. On top of that if you think gas, maintenance and insurance are all too expensive, you still have a lot of time left to enter 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. That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program, however I did actually buy a minivan and I really do love it! I also actually feel cool while driving around in it. It’s like punching an achievement on my dad card!

Barilla Easy Spaghetti Prep

Easy Barilla Spaghetti For Your Picky Eaters

I’m always surprised by the number of families who make two totally different meals at dinner time. This is usually because the kids won’t eat the food the parents are eating and, not wanting them to starve, a second meal is created. I don’t say this to judge, as I have been in this boat myself. I mention it because instead of creating a completely different meal we simply started finding meals where we could individually tweak the ingredients to make everyone happy.

One of the first meals we tried this with was with our famous Spaghetti Sunday! What? Don’t pretend you don’t name your days after the food you will be eating! Where was I?? Oh yeah, the spaghetti! You see, my wife and I love spaghetti but the kids have never liked spaghetti sauce. This has left us either avoiding making it altogether or with two empty bowls and two full bowls when we do prepare it. Instead of going the two dinner route, my wife came up with a brilliant plan.

Barilla Spaghetti

Looks Plain; Tastes Delicious!

Instead of putting the sauce on the kids Barilla spaghetti noodles, she simply added a little bit of butter/margarine and some parmesan cheese. I have never seen children eat a meal faster than my kids did that day. They even asked for seconds! Seconds I tell you! Just so you don’t think, “that’s all?!”, I should also mention that we included a salad and garlic bread to round out the meal. I realize this may not sound like much, especially to you wizards whose children eat everything you put in front of them, but this was a big breakthrough for us because it changed our mindset about dinner time. We had been stuck in a spot where it was either two separate dinners or make the kids starve to make a point, neither of which were good options.

On top of this new development, we have really been encouraging the kids to help out with the meal preparation and they are both really starting to love it. The great thing about the spaghetti meal is that they can pretty much do all the work aside from lifting the heavy pot, so they really feel like they are making their own meals. So, what are you waiting for? Stop slaving over two meals and get your kids involved experimenting with different combinations. At the very least you’ll end up creating some really fun family memories!

Barilla Easy Spaghetti

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in the Barilla Share The Table campaign. Barilla was kind enough to send us some pasta for our experiments and I couldn’t be happier that they did!

Marvel Universe Live

My Workout With The Cast Of Marvel Universe Live

Blogging is such a funny thing. There are so many times that I am left pinching myself at some of the cool opportunities that have come my way and there were plenty of new pinch marks on my arms after this past weekend.

I had the opportunity to meet Hayley and Josh Murillo, who are cast members of the Marvel Universe Live show that is touring North America right now. Not only did I get a chance to meet them but they also took me through one of the workouts the cast uses to keep fit for the show. I’m not going to lie, it was a physically humbling experience and something I definitely felt the next day. Luckily for all of you I recorded the whole humiliating exercise and you can now watch it below…

Later that same night I took my family to the actual Marvel Universe live show and have to say that it was absolutely outstanding! Seriously, the motorcycle stunts alone would have been worth the price of admission but to see all of my favourite superheroes standing right in front of me sent me into a full on geek attack. I don’t want to spoil the show for anyone so I will simply say that when the Hulk appears for the first time we were all in awe of his costume and performance.

If you have children who love comics or if you are a huge fan of the Marvel Universe you need to go see this show. The production value was second to none and you are left shaking your head at some of the stunts the performers pull off during the show. They is flying, explosions, people on fire and Xmen. What more could you ask for??

Alright, I’ve talked enough. Please take a couple minutes to check out my interview and workout with the cast of Marvel Universe Live! Also, thank you so much to Feld Entertainment and the Canadian Tire Centre for allowing me to continuing doing my thing!

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

Schick #DriveFree Twitter Party

Join The #DriveFree Twitter Party on July 30th!

If you want to learn more about how you can Drive Free For A Year, you’ll want to join us for the #DriveFree Twitter Party on July 30th at 9pm ET! We’ll be talking about everything from family road trips to vehicle maintenance and you won’t want to miss out on the conversation or the amazing prizes we have in store for you.

Here are the party details and you can RSVP below!

Date: Thursday, July 30, 2015
Time: 9 to 10 pm EST
Hashtag: #DriveFree
Host: @CanadianDadBlog
Sponsor: @FreeYourSkinCA
Panelists: @PuzzlingPostDad, @ChancesMommy, @MMPerspectives, @CaseP
Prizes: Five(5) Schick Prize Packs ($100 Value)
Grand Prize: Schick Prize Pack incl. $150 Gift Card
Official Rules and Regulations

RSVP Here:

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.

Schick Drive Free

How Would You Like To Drive Free For A Year?

I bet you thought I was joking with a title like that, didn’t you? In case you hadn’t realized it before, owning a vehicle can get pretty expensive. Between rising gas prices, insurance and depreciation, I often think I’m going to need a second job just to afford staying on the road. The folks over at Schick® understand this reality as well and decided to launch the Schick® Drive Free For A Year giveaway so that one lucky driver could stop worrying about car bills for a whole year! Seeing as how that person cannot be me, I wanted to share this news with all of you in hopes that one of you are named the winner. Imagine how great it would be to drive me all over the place as a thank you for sharing this amazing contest with you? I know I can’t wait!!

I can feel how excited you are getting right now so I’m just going to cut right to the chase. Here are the steps you need to complete in order to win:

Step 1 – Look for participating products in your favourite stores. Then, check for a yellow “Drive Free for a Year” sticker. Also, you can win without making a purchase by writing a 50 word essay on “Why Schick® is my Preferred Brand” and mail it to: The Schick Drive Free for a Year Grand Prize Draw and Instant Win Promotion (Request for No Purchase unique PIN number), Dept 3112, Box 9500 Lakeshore West PO, Oakville ON, L6K 0G4. Let’s be honest though, it’s much easier to stock up on razors, am I right??

Step 2 – Visit the Schick® We Set You Free website, click on the Drive Free tab and register for the contest. It’s quick and easy – takes only 5 minutes. Or, if you’re already registered, just sign in.

Step 3 – Now it’s time to enter your PIN. Be sure to check that it’s a yellow “Drive Free for a Year” sticker. You could win great prizes instantly (over 2400 of them) – plus every PIN is an entry into the Grand Prize draw to Drive Free for a Year!

To sum that all up, buy the product, enter the code, win stuff! You can visit the Schick® We Set You Free website for more details and don’t forget to follow the @FreeYourSkinCA Twitter handle for more info and giveaways during the Drive Free campaign!

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program, however I seriously considered turning it down after realizing that this blocked me from entering. I also seriously expect one of you to drive me around if you win…

TropicanaBottledSummer Prize Pack

Win A Tropicana Summer Prize Pack! #TropicanaBottledSummer

The summer of winning continues here at Canadian Dad HQ and next on the list is the sweet prize pack above from Tropicana! On top of the fun summer toys in the prize pack, Tropicana have even thrown in a $50 PC gift card to get your next BBQ off on the right foot! Also, while I have you here I would like to admit that I singlehandedly drank all the Tangerine Lemonade that Tropicana sent me to share with my family. No, I am not proud of myself. Yes, it was so good that I would probably do it again. Go buy some for yourself and you’ll see what I’m talking about. While your out, you should definitely also try Tropicana’s new Watermelon Fruit Drink because it is the perfect compliment to any summer outing.

Back to the business at hand, all you have to do to enter is fill out as many of the entry methods as you feel like in the Rafflecopter form below and I’ll draw a winner on July 17th. Giveaway is open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec (I’m so sorry, Quebec, I am a huge Montreal Canadiens fan and this stings every time). Go get it, folks!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received compensation for my participation in Tropicana’s campaign. That said, I actually hid in the garage at one point and drank the Tangerine Lemonade straight out of the bottle so my wife and kids wouldn’t see me…

Merrell Socks Sandals

The Hypocrisy Of The Foot Pic

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

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

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

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

Merrell Sandals Feet Pics

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

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