Boston Pizza Heart-Shaped Pizza

What Do Valentine’s Day, Heart-Shaped Pizzas & Bright Futures Have In Common?

Ah, Valentine’s Day, that special time of year where we pull out all the stops in order to prove how much we love our significant others. Before we had children, my wife and I would do spontaneous things like hitting the road for a last minute Valentine’s Day trip or booking a staycation with a fancy room service meal, with dessert!

These days, however, between finding a sitter and trying to be as frugal as possible, we are finding that Valentine’s Day has taken on a different shape. That’s not to say it is a bad thing. Just, different. Instead of it being just the two of us, we like to find things that we can do as a family. So, when I told the kids that Boston Pizza offers a heart-shaped pizza which will only be served on Valentine’s Day, our dinner plans were covered.

The best part about spending Valentine’s Day at Boston Pizza is that $1 from every heart-shaped pizza sold will support Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects, which is committed to connecting kids with role models in their communities to ensure they have a bright future. Boston Pizza hopes to raise at least $520,000 for Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects with the 2016 Valentine’s Day heart-shaped pizza program and we are excited to be one of the families contributing to the goal.

Now, while we will be ordering the largest heart-shaped pizza that Boston Pizza will make us, they will also be available in small and medium size (excluding thin crust), with classic or multigrain dough, and can be ordered for dine-in, take-out or delivery in any of Boston Pizza’s gourmet and create-your-own pizza varieties.

Oh, also, from now to February 14, guests can also purchase a Boston Pizza Peel and Win Heart for a minimum donation of $2 where everyone will have the chance to win either $2 off dessert, $5 off $25 on Takeout and Delivery, a free starter, Panookie or Flatbread Pizzatizer. PS – I asked Boston Pizza and they assured me that the Flatbread Pizzatizer is an appetizer and NOT a gun that shoots flatbread pizzas to your table, although I am still hoping for the latter.

So if you are still trying to figure out what to do with your family this Valentine’s Day, why not head to Boston Pizza to treat yourself to a heart-shaped pizza and support a good cause while you’re at it? Maybe they’ll even let you use the pizzatizer!

About Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects

Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects was established in 2014 to raise funds and awareness for organizations that provide kids in Canada with role models and mentoring programs. BPF Future Prospects is proud to partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Kids Help Phone, Live Different, JDRF and the Rick Hansen Foundation.

Since its inception in 1990, the Boston Pizza Foundation has raised and donated more than $20 million to directly improve the health and well-being of children and families. This year marks the 26th anniversary of Boston Pizza Foundation Future which raises funds and awareness for organizations that provide kids in Canada with role models and mentoring programs.

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

Osteoporosis Shoppers Drug Mart

How Much Do You Know About Osteoporosis?

I’ll go first. Prior to working on this campaign, I knew absolutely nothing about osteoporosis. That’s not entirely true, I guess, because I had always assumed that it was a disease that only affected older people. While I was technically correct in my assumption that osteoporosis has a stronger effect on the 50+ crowd, I was unaware that taking small preventative measures in my 30’s could help me avoid this disease down the road.

Why Should You Care?

Did you know that one in three Canadian women and one in five Canadian men will break a bone because of osteoporosis? Each year in Canada, broken bones caused by osteoporosis are more common than heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined for women over the age of 50 years of age. Despite the severity and prevalence of osteoporosis, a recent survey from Osteoporosis Canada, in partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart, reveals startling gaps in Canadians’ knowledge and understanding of the disease. The survey results show that half of those in their 30s don’t know the facts about osteoporosis and how to reduce their risk of developing this disease.

Additional results and statistics include:
• By 2035, it is estimated that almost 42,000 individuals will experience a broken hip per year, meaning that those in their 30s and 40s now are at risk
• 1.4 million Canadians have osteoporosis however, only five per cent of respondents rated themselves as knowledgeable about the disease.
• When asked about key facts of the disease, the majority of Canadians admitted they are not aware of seven of the eight key facts about osteoporosis and complications that are related to the disease
• Although guidelines recommend consumption of 1000-1200 mg of calcium per day, most women fail to reach this level with their dietary intake – many only getting 300 mg/day.
• In Canada, among people over 50 years old, 80 per cent of broken bones are caused by osteoporosis, while 80 per cent of Canadians who break a bone as a result of osteoporosis are never diagnosed with osteoporosis.
• As of 2010, the overall yearly cost to the Canadian healthcare system for treating osteoporosis and the fractures it causes was over $2.3 billion.

What Can You Do About It?

I promise that I’m not trying to scare you. I was just as surprised as anyone else to know how common osteoporosis becomes later in life and as someone who already lives with back and hip pain; this is something I am taking very seriously. It is highly recommended that everyone over 30 speak to a health care professional about osteoporosis and the steps they can take to protect themselves.

If you don’t feel like making a doctor’s appointment, as part of an effort to promote better bone health for Canadians, Osteoporosis Canada has partnered with Shoppers Drug Mart/PharmaPrix, whose pharmacists are equipped to provide education and advice to patients about osteoporosis management and reducing the risk. All you have to do is stop by your local Shoppers Drug Mart and ask any questions you may have.

I’m telling you, it’s never too early to start thinking about bone health and there are easy steps that you can take, at every age, to help prevent osteoporosis. Ensuring your diet is rich with calcium and vitamin D and adding regular exercise to your daily or weekly routine will help build bone strength and can make a difference in prevention of osteoporosis and fractures. I mean, if something this bad can be prevented, don’t you think we should put in the work?

Visit your Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist today or visit www.osteoporosis.ca for more information about osteoporosis prevention and maintenance for better bone health!

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program but that doesn’t change the fact that osteoporosis is a very real and very dangerous disease that you should take seriously.

Outdoor Hockey Rink

Sticks In The Middle

Hockey players come in all shapes, sizes and skill levels. Some are naturally talented while others have to scratch and claw for every inch. We sort them by age and skill level, throw them on teams and shuttle them off to their 6am practices while we sip coffee or lace up with them and breathe the unmistakable arena air. In most cases, the children will stay in their comfort zones and play at the same skill level for the majority of their hockey lives and become friends with other similarly skilled players. While we may want to believe that there isn’t separation among friends based on your athletic abilities, for those of us who grew up in sports, we know that it definitely exists.

There exists, however, an alternate hockey universe; a glitch in the matrix, if you will, and it takes place in the dead of winter at the outdoor rink. As far back as I can remember the outdoor rink was a neutral playground for anyone who has ever laced up their skates and picked up a stick. As the outdoor rink there are no levels, no jersey numbers and definitely no egos. It’s always been a place where people from all walks of life meet up to simply have some fun.

Just the other day my 7 year old son, his friend and I went to the rink and within minutes of arriving had been thrust into an ongoing game. In that game there were two dads, three 7/8 year olds, a handful of teenage boys, two teenage girls and a couple guys who I’d guess we’re in their mid-20’s. Some of the players were obviously in competitive programs, others were less so and the young guys are still trying to find their place. None of us knew each other when we arrived at the rink but we threw our sticks in the middle, blindly selected teams and formed immediate bonds with the players in the game.

You’d think with all the different ages and skill levels that the game would be controlled by only a few skaters but something funny happens once you step onto the outdoor ice. Maybe it’s the lack of pressure to succeed or simply kindness taking over but a silent agreement is made between all players that everyone gets the chance to shine. This is my favourite part. There is a renewed faith in humanity in watching a 13 year old kid with all the talent in the world stop himself from scoring a goal in order to feed passes to a 6 year old kid who is still learning to shoot without falling down. Although the 13 year old isn’t my child I still feel a sense of pride as a parent, knowing how much awareness and maturity it took to share the glory with someone else.

Being involved in organized hockey can be tough, as a player and a parent, but the minute you step onto that outdoor ice you remember why you love this game so much. So don’t be afraid to jump into the game and throw your stick in the middle when asked. The game never really ends, it’s just waiting for the next player to get there.

GoodLife iHeartExercise Healthy Heart Challenge

Join The #iHeartExercise Challenge With GoodLife Fitness!

Around this time last year is when I decided that I was tired of feeling sore, tired and lazy all the time and decided to something about it. I teamed up with GoodLife Fitness to give myself the jumpstart I needed and while there are still days where I don’t feel like picking my butt up off the couch, overall I am much more active than I was. I definitely feel a lot better than I did 365 days ago.

Well, February is Heart Month all across Canada and GoodLife, in partnership with the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, will be running a 29 Day Healthy Heart Challenge on Facebook throughout the month. This will consist of a daily challenge, along with exercise tips, recipe ideas, suggestions for reducing stress and getting better sleep, and advice for preventing heart disease and stroke.

If you are looking for a boost to get you started and don’t want to jump all in right away, GoodLife’s Healthy Heart Challenge could be exactly what you are looking for. Simply head over to the GoodLife Facebook Page and get started! I promise you that you will feel better about yourself after only a few challenges. You really have nothing to lose and everything to gain by taking small steps towards a healthier you.

You can share these daily tips with your social network through Facebook and Twitter all month long using the #iHeartExercise hashtag. And, if you have a friend whose heart you care for, bring them in during GoodLife’s Open House. From February 15 – 19 every Canadian has the opportunity to work on their heart health in their local GoodLife club!

PS – It’s going to be hard but that’s what makes it worth doing!!

Disney on Ice Ottawa Frozen

Disney on Ice Brings Frozen to Ottawa! {Plus Giveaway!}

Disney on Ice Ottawa Frozen

Over the years I have been fortunate enough to get a first-hand look at what goes on behind the scenes at Disney on Ice and those experiences have given me a new appreciation for the show. Hearing from the skaters how much work they put in and how much they love making the kids smile is exactly the reason why we continue to attend the show year after year.

Admittedly, we are a bit more excited for this year’s Disney on Ice show because for the first time, Ottawa will get the chance to see Anna, Elsa and Olaf from Frozen take to the ice at Canadian Tire Centre! We haven’t actually told the kids yet because we think it’ll be a cool surprise when they come flying out from behind the curtain. And yes, I am probably just as excited as the kids will be. So what?!

Well, what are you waiting for? Grab your Mickey ears and get ready for the ultimate Disney experience as Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic! Besides seeing their favourite Frozen characters, your kids will also get to enjoy a cast of more than 50 characters, with Mouse-ter of Ceremonies Mickey Mouse, sweetheart Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Disney Princesses including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Ariel, Snow White and Tiana!

Show Dates and Times

Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic will perform nine shows at Canadian Tire Centre over the course of five days from Wednesday, Feb. 24, to Sunday, Feb. 28, as follows:

Wednesday, Feb. 24 – 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 25 – 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 26 – 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 27 – 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 28 – 11 a.m. and a 3 p.m. French performance

Ticket information

Tickets for Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic can be purchased by visiting www.CapitalTickets.ca, by phone at 613-599-FANS (3267) or 1-877-788-FANS (3267); in person at each of the 10 participating Canadian Tire stores in Ottawa as well as the store in Perth, The Sens Store at Carlingwood Mall and Place d’Orléans, any Ottawa Sports Experts location, Les Galeries de Hull and at the Canadian Tire Centre box office.

Tickets are $15, $23, $32, $52 and $72 (rinkside seats) for all shows. All children’s tickets (age 2-12; limit of four per full-price adult ticket) for the 7 p.m. show on Wednesday, Feb. 24, Thursday, Feb. 25, and Saturday, Feb. 27, are only $12 (excluding rinkside and VIP seats; additional restrictions may apply).

Giveaway

Okay Ottawa, I’m going to send one lucky reader off to the show by giving away four (4) 100-level tickets for the Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. show! All you have to do to win is leave a comment on this post letting me know which character you or your child is most excited to see at Disney on Ice and I’ll select a winner on February 14th. Good Luck!!

SDM Flu Shot

Did You Get Caught By The Flu This Season? {Plus A Giveaway!}

Well, we’re almost at the finish line and, knock on wood, we haven’t had any major sickness in our house to date this flu season. Is it just around the corner? Maybe, but I’m staying confident in my belief that this year’s flu shot is going to do its job and keep us from missing out on hockey, ballet, skating, sledding, baseball and everything else in between.

The truth is that I got so sick last year that I completely changed my lackadaisical behaviour when it comes to flu prevention. Getting the shot was one step but I have become obsessive about things such as hand washing, cleaning my workstation and germs in general. Besides, it’s hard to teach your children the importance of clean living when you yourself don’t follow your own advice. One thing I will caution you against, however, is using google to look up how many germs are out there and where they like to hang out the most… No, seriously, don’t do it!

Throughout this Shoppers Drug Mart flu shot campaign, I have received a number of comments on both sides of the fence about whether or not you should get the flu shot for you and your family but there is only one fact that matters to me. As I discussed in the post about Flu Shot Myths, getting the flu shot will not make you sick and even if it only gives you a slight advantage of not getting sick this winter, I am going to take any advantage I can get.

That said, there is still time to get out to your local Shoppers Drug Mart to get your flu vaccination. If you think reaching February means you are safe, you need to think again!

GIVEAWAY

Now, 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

Hockey Dad Fitbit

Fitbitting: It’s All The Rage

Seriously, if I had to hear one more thing about Fitbit and how everyone has one of these things, I was going to lose it! As if I had the time to wear a clunky man bracelet all day long so I can care about how many steps I was taking. If I wanted to count steps I could just guesstimate based on what I had accomplished that day.

This was me about 2 months ago before I got my first Fitbit Activity Tracker. I started with the Fitbit Charge and, well, you guys know what happened there… What I didn’t share in my last story is that I only lasted 2 days without a Fitbit before I went back to Best Buy and purchased the more expensive Fitbit Charge HR, which comes with a watch wristband that makes it practically unlosable.

For anyone who doesn’t understand the fuss over the Fitbit, let me try to explain it. Imagine everywhere you go there is a giant scoreboard in the sky with all your friends listed on it and the scores posted are how many steps you have taken that day. Even the least competitive person will have a hard time looking at the scores without feeling the need to move around a little, so you can imagine what it does to someone like me who has played competitive sports his whole life.

As my wife will corroborate I have gone from lazy, sleeping in all the time couch potato, to annoying “Let’s go for a walk!” guy. Where I used to lie on the couch to play video games, now I stand and march while I play, which is tough at first but you get the hang of it. The funny thing about it is that while I love competing in the weekly challenges against my friends, the need to do physical activity has actually overtaken my desire to win, which is just the best. That said, I still get miserable when I forget my Fitbit on the charger for the day… Baby steps, people.

Being open to, and loving, the Fitbit hype has allowed me to open my mind to the other fitness aid options out there. When Best Buy reached out to me about their fitness options, I was surprised at how much they had to offer in both tech and non-tech gear. They have asked me to go through their online fitness catalogue and share a few items that caught my eye, so here are just a few things I would love to work with.

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Fitbit Charge HR Fitness Tracker

1. Fitbit Charge HR Fitness Tracker

I had to lead off with the star of today’s show, the Fitbit Charge HR. I have now tried the Flex and the Charge and recommend this particular Fitbit solely for the watch band that it comes with. I found the other versions easy to knock off my wrist and feel safer knowing this one is staying put.

Check out the Fitbit Charge HR for yourself on the Best Buy website.
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Breville Juice Fountain Plus Centrifugal Juicer 2. Breville Juice Fountain Plus Centrifugal Juicer

Ever since I discovered Booster Juice a few weeks ago I have been fascinated with the idea of creating my own healthy concoctions from the comfort of my own home. While I haven’t tried this juicer yet, Breville is a company I trust to make a quality product.

Here is a link to check out the Breville Juice Fountain Plus Centrifugal Juicer over at Best Buy.
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JayBird X2 In-Ear Sound Isolating Bluetooth Headphones

3. JayBird X2 In-Ear Bluetooth Headphones

If you’ve been reading my blog for any reasonable amount of time you will know that I am a headphones junkie. Seriously, I love headphones, mostly because they provide my ears with the gift of music, but also because I love the different feel and designs they offer. These look like they would be perfect for running with.

Here is more info on the JayBird X2 In-Ear Bluetooth Headphones!
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Weider Pro Power Cage

4. Weider Pro Power Cage

While this purchase seems a little out of character for me, I have recebtly started weight training and I love how compact this system is. That and the fact that compared to some others I have seen, this one is way more affordable for the average person.

Here is a little more info on the Weider Pro Power Cage.

Netflix Logo

5 Reasons Why Netflix Is Crushing It Right Now {Plus a Giveaway!}

As I have recently come to find out, there are many things to love about Netflix. So many, in fact, that I had to narrow down my list to the top 5 or run the risk of writing a 300 page novel.

1. Netflix Kids – We love the Netflix Kids option in our house because while my kids are old enough to turn on the TV and set up Netflix by themselves, I feel a lot better knowing that they are going to be selecting shows that are appropriate for their ages. Some favourites in our house are H2O Mermaid Adventures, LEGO Ninjago, LEGO Friends and Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse. Also, once Fuller House is released I can promise you that my daughter will have it playing on a loop!

2. Documentaries – Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have heard about the polarizing Netflix original documentary ‘Making a Murderer’, which follows the murder investigation of Steven Avery, who had recently been exonerated for a crime that he spent 18 years in jail for. Hopefully the popularity of this documentary will lead people to explore what else Netflix has to offer. I have already watched Happy, Forensic Files and Cosmos, and have Trophy Kids, I Am Ali and Best of TED Talks on tap!

3. Original Programming – What was once solely a streaming service has quickly turned into one of my favourite sources for television shows. In just the last year I have loved Daredevil, Bloodline, Narcos, The Last Kingdom, Jessica Jones and Wet Hot American Summer. That’s only 6 of the many shows that Netflix has produced and the list of shows for 2016, including Marvel’s Luke Cage, looks even more incredible!

4. Great TV Shows – Here is a short list of shows that my wife and I have binged watched on Netflix. Breaking Bad, Pretty Little Liars, How To Get Away With Murder, House of Lies, Dexter, Friday Night Lights, Suits and Gotham. Oh yeah, there’s also the cancelled shows they’ve revived such as The Killing and Arrested Development, which were both fantastic! You will literally never run out of great shows to watch on Netflix and it is definitely worth the investment!

5. Kung Fury – I’m not sure what to say about Kung Fury other than that it is a must watch for anyone who loved 80’s martial arts and police movies. The 30 minute short film is the closest thing you will experience to being on drugs without actually being on drugs and will blow your mind. Please go watch this, urgently!!

GIVEAWAY!

Now, who wants to win a 6 month Netflix membership so you can test out the service for yourself? Winning is easy, simply leave a comment below and let me know what your favourite television series of all-time is and I’ll pick a winner next week. Good Luck!!!

The Winner is #76, Hannah!

Random Netflix Winner

Snowman Fun

Don’t Miss Out This Winter!

It’s that time of year again where small germs seem to morph into super germs and spread through people’s homes like wildfire. For those of us lucky enough to have children in school, the flu seems to be an inevitability more than a possibility. So far this flu season I have seen friends cancel Christmas dinner with their families, watched a child get sick in the middle of his hockey game and seen my workplace decimated by people suffering from the flu.

I’m knocking on wood as I write this because to date my family has managed to escape any prolonged bouts of the flu and I’m hoping we manage to keep it that way. One of the ways I am protecting myself was by getting this year’s flu vaccine. It takes almost no time at all and if it offers any extra protection than I don’t see any reason to hesitate in getting it. In fact, you can walk into any Shoppers Drug Mart and get your flu immunization administered by an injection-certified pharmacist, no appointment necessary.

Think about all of the things you miss out on while dealing with the flu. Children’s activities, sick days from work, your own hobbies, good food! A recent Shoppers Drug Mart survey found that 54% of people admit that they are unlikely to get the flu shot this year, while 81% of people believe that washing their hands was the best way to protect against the flu. I covered some of the common myths about flu shots last month, which leaves only a fear of needles as a reason not to get the shot.

I’ll leave you with one last bit of information. Getting the flu shot doesn’t just protect you but it also helps protect those who are more susceptible to complications from getting the flu, such as young children and those aged 65 and over. Think about this, a single sneeze can travel at about 100 miles per hour and send 100,000 germs into the air! Wouldn’t you feel better knowing you have protected yourself as much as possible?

Don’t miss out on the things that are the most important to you this winter. If you’re nervous, you can always stop in to Shoppers Drug Mart for a consultation with a pharmacist before committing to the shot. I wish you all a happy and healthy 2016!

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

Rice Krispies Prize Pack

40,000 More Reasons Why 2015 Was A Great Year!

First things first. Happy New Year!!! I hope everyone had a chance to reflect on 2015 and spend some time with friends and family as we rang in 2016 last night. I didn’t have to look far into my reflection to find a happy memory, as I was told late yesterday afternoon that the Treats For Toys campaign I had been working on helped raise $40,000 for children in need this holiday season!

My family and I had a blast working with Kellogg’s Rice Krispies and the Salvation Army, creating and sharing our toy shaped treats, and I am so glad that we were able to have a small part in raising so much money for such a great cause. It is also possibly that I ate a few too many of the leftover chunks of Rice Krispies treats…

This campaign leads nicely into 2016 where my goal is going to be attempting to make the world a better place than I found it in. As much fun as I had in 2015, I still feel like it got away from me a little bit and I strayed from the original goals I had set when I started this blog. I am hoping this year to focus more on telling your inspiring stories in between sharing my own thoughts and experiences.

None of us truly know what will come with a new year but I always found having a game plan is better than having no plan at all! I wish you all the very best this year and thank you for continuing to join me on this ride!

Treats For Toys

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