Sens Experience Hockey

He Shoots, He Scores!

I watched in awe as he skated, untouched, through an entire team of 5 and 6 year olds. With one kid to beat the puck slid off his stick and into the corner. He chased after it along with every other child on the ice, as 6 year old hockey players do. Every child, that is, but one. There, standing in front of the net with his stick dutifully on the ice, was my son.

It’s his first year in hockey and the learning curve has been steep. Because of his age, most of the kids he is playing with have already played for a season or two, so he has some catching up to do. I volunteered to be an on-ice helper so that I could encourage him to keep at it, and also because coaching seems to be in my blood.

On this particular day, his team was playing in their first game of the year. This wasn’t any regular game, though. They were playing on the same ice as the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, taking part in a special program the team runs for minor hockey players. The stands were filled with excited parents, grandparents and friends. We had a referee, scorekeeper and announcer to give the game a very real feel to it. They even played the national anthem before we started, which was one of my favourite parts of the experience.

It’s tough to teach a 6 year old how to play hockey, especially when he has never played before. There is only so much information they can take in at one time so you have to pick a couple things and focus on them. The one thing I tried to explain to my son before the game was that if he saw a flock of kids all chasing after the puck, that he should get into the open and put his stick on the ice. Much to my surprise, he actually listened to me.

There he stood, in front of the net, puck on his stick, and a flock of puck hungry 6 year olds skating right at him. He lifted his head and fired the puck as the crowd crashed into each other in front of the net. The next few seconds were a blur. I wasn’t sure what had happened until I heard the announcer call out my son’s name as the goal scorer and it literally took everything in my fatherly heart to react like a normal human being, as opposed to jumping on to the ice like my brain was suggesting.

I am not telling this story to brag about how my son scored a goal. Okay, maybe a little. I think I was surprised at how proud I was in that moment. I’m always proud of my kids but in this case he was rewarded because he listened to my advice and that felt good. His first words upon returning to the bench were, “Dad, did you see my goal? I did what you said and just shot it!”. It was one of the first times I truly felt like I had earned credibility as a father in his eyes.

I have no delusions of my son being a superstar hockey player. Frankly, I fear I have blessed him with my lack of height, which is usually a deal breaker for a lot of sports. I am just really proud of how hard he tries when he is out on the ice. I haven’t seen him invest in something like this before and it gives me a lot of joy to see him smiling even while he learns.

Canadian Dad Podcast The Trews

Canadian Dad Podcast; Ep. 9 – John-Angus MacDonald from The Trews

I had the very cool opportunity to chat with John-Angus MacDonald, who is the guitarist for one of my favourite Canadian rock bands, The Trews. John-Angus is a new father and I was curious to hear how his rock star life had changed after his son’s birth.

Before we talked father, John-Angus was gracious enough to answer a bunch of my rock and roll questions. I’ve always been fascinated by rock stars and everything that goes on behind the scenes in the rock world. John-Angus shares his mindset before and after a show and talks about The Trews’ new self-titled album.

One of my favourite parts of the interview is when J-A talks about how they treat each new album as if they are re-applying for their jobs. I also get the back story behind the band’s name and how they started out as a band named, Trouser.

We close out the interview by talking about fatherhood and John-Angus shares his hopes for himself as a father and talks about whether he’ll encourage his children to pursue a musical career. I had a blast talking music and fatherhood with John-Angus MacDonald and highly recommend their new album to anyone who loves rock and roll!

For more info on The Trews, their tour and their music, you can visit www.thetrewsmusic.com.

Air Miles Dream Rewards

The AIR MILES Dream Rewards Have Never Been Better

Last week I showed you Four Easy Ways to Earn More AIR MILES, with the fastest way being the combining of your AIR MILES Collector Card with your American Express AIR MILES Credit Card. This week I am going to talk about my favourite part of being an AIR MILES Collector. Redeeming for rewards!

Here is a fun fact. For the past three years, we have used AIR MILES to pay for most of our Christmas shopping. I don’t even consider myself to be a big shopper but when you combine your AIR MILES Collector Card with something like the American Express AIR MILES Credit Card on things such as groceries and gas, the miles pile up very fast.

This year we decided that instead of using our miles for presents, we would treat ourselves to a few items and I am so excited with the order I just placed! Here is what we decided on:

1. Beats by Dr Dre StudioTM 2.0 Over-Ear Headphone

Beats By Dre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something a lot of people know about me by now is that I have an obsession with headphones. I listen to a lot of music, podcasts and videos, and have gone through a ton of different brands. Some good, some not so good, but I have always wanted a pair of Beats by Dre and now, thanks to AIR MILES, my wish has come true!

2. Gordon Ramsay Maze 10-Piece Cookware Set with Glass Lids

Gordon Ramsay Maze 10-Piece Cookware Set

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My wife and I had a bit of a panic moment a few weeks ago when we had our favourite pot and pan set bite the dust in the span of two weeks. I’m not sure when the last time you shopped for cookware was but it is not a cheap purchase. While browsing the AIR MILES Dream Rewards catalogue, I was excited to see over 10 different cookware sets available for redemption. With my family being avid MasterChef Junior watchers, the decision to go with the Gordon Ramsey set was easy! We’ll be back up and cooking in no time!

3. Fotopro MS-7 Kit for iPhone 5/5S

Fotopro MS7 Kit for iPhone 5 5S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not going to lie, I was probably most excited about this reward. I have been planning on shooting more video for my blog but always felt like I didn’t have the proper tools for it. With this kit I get a few different lenses for my iPhone, a mini tripod, which is the major selling point for me, and a monopod, aka – the selfie stick. Yes, I understand that people who use the selfie stick can look kind of silly, but I have bigger plans that just taking a couple pictures. For that, you will have to keep checking in!

From event tickets to signed sports memorabilia, there were so many more Dream Rewards I wanted to claim but I am really excited about what we have coming in. Plus it saves my wife and I from having to buy each other Christmas presents, which means more for family and friends! Because I am now an AIR MILES Gold Collector, we’ve even got enough points left over to claim a flight for my wife to visit her family in Florida later this year.

As you can see, I have been able to claim a lot of really cool rewards and most of my miles were collected because I was aware of the different ways to earn them. I can’t say it enough, when you combine your AIR MILES Collector Card with something like the American Express AIR MILES Credit Card, the miles you collect will skyrocket and you’ll be amazed at how much you can claim!

From now until December 28th you can win AIR MILES in the American Express #MoreAIRMILES contest! All you need to do is answer the question, “what would you do with more AIRMILES?”, for your chance to win the weekly prize! Additionally, for every friend who enters the contest you get an additional bonus entry. Visit to enter!

This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.

Recycle Your Electronics

To Re-Gift Or Not To Re-Gift, That Is The Question

I think we’ve all debated this at one time or another. You just got a new iPad, gaming system or TV and now your old one is sitting in a closet, collecting dust, and you’re not sure if you should offer an old model to someone else. Re-gifting has gotten a bad rap over the years but when it comes to electronics, there are so many great reasons to pass them on.

Let me share a story with you. My children are now old enough to work a computer/tablet on their own. Frankly, I think children are equipped to do this straight from the womb but that’s a story for another time. Because my wife and I both use our computer for work, there isn’t a lot of time to share it between the four of us and we can’t afford to go out and get a brand new iPad.

Enter, Nana. My wife’s mom had an older model iPad she wasn’t using and asked if we wanted it. Because it was an original model, Apple stopped making updates for it which essentially made it useless for an adult’s needs. For a child, however, there are still a ton of educational apps that could be accessed without needing the new updates, making that old, useless iPad and brand new toy for the kids.

The point is, just because an old device or gaming system seems outdated or useless to you, it may be an amazing addition to someone else’s house. I say all this because a study presented to the Ontario Electronic Stewardship in 2011 claimed that 90% of Ontarians have unwanted electronic devices to dispose of. That just seems like a big waste to me when there are so many families in need. If you don’t have someone to give them to, you can look for a local Free-cycle group, find a charity, or go to RecycleYourElectronics.ca to find a drop off location close to your home.

Don’t wait until your gadgets are obsolete and unusable. Get them out of your house and into the hands of someone that can use them. Remember, electronics have no value when they are hiding under your bed! Add in the fact that re-gifting them helps ensure that fewer valuable materials such as gold, copper and other rare metals are taken out of the earth, and you have no reason not to pass them on.

Do you have any old electronics lying around your house that could maybe help a less fortunate family? Why are you holding on to them?

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in the #ok2regift program from the Ontario Electronic Stewardship, but this message is really important and I am 100% committed to helping the cause.

Mattel Holiday Barbie Hot Wheels

Don’t Panic, Here’s A One Stop Shop For Your Kids Christmas Needs

If your family is anything like mine, your children are sort of an enigma come holiday season, specifically as it relates to their Christmas lists. This is mostly due to the fact that they literally want EVERYTHING IN EVERY STORE EVER and can’t seem to decide on a theme. We have recently resorted to just taking pictures of the things they ask for with our smartphones and just yesterday I ran out of storage…

The truth is that regardless of how many things they ask for, we know what they actually play with and I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mattel had created a new website for the holidays, appropriately called, Mattel Holiday, to help us narrow down the kids lists. With everything from Frozen and Hot Wheels to Monster High and Barbie, the Mattel Holiday site had us covered and even provided to links to the products at a variety of different stores so you don’t have to do any of the work.

We were able to select a couple items for the kids and a couple more for our local Toy Mountain initiative. I love watching the pride in their faces as they drop off the toys for those less fortunate because I know that they are starting to understand that concept and that in turn brings me great pride.

Alright, here’s what’s going to happen next. I am going to give you a sneak peek at what I got for my kids but if you tell them what I got them or if you let them read this blog, we are going to have to sit down and have a little chat. Capiche? Okay, here we go!

Barbie Glam Camper Mattel


The Barbie® Glam Camper™

When I think about the pure excitement that will be coursing through my daughter’s veins when she opens up this Barbie Camper, I get a few goosebumps. You never plan to have a Barbie girl but my daughter latched on to dolls pretty early and here we are. We bought an old used camper a few years back but it was pretty beat up, so I can’t wait to see her face when she tears the wrapping paper off of this one!

Hot Wheels Super Loop Chase Race Mattel


Hot Wheels® Super Loop Chase Race™

I have to say that Hot Wheels have come a long way from my days as a kid. Never did I imagine a time where I would be fastening entire race tracks to the wall to watch creativity and imagination in action. My son is fascinated with throwing all the pieces in a pile and coming up with his own track creations, which is why Hot Wheels is always near the top of my list.

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There you have it! You’ve seen what I have to show you, so if you are looking to make Christmas shopping a little easier this year, I highly encourage you to check out the Mattel Holiday site. Parenting Pro-Tip: Maybe wait until the kids are in bed before doing this or you WILL lose total control of your own computer…

Disclosure: I was allowed to choose a couple Mattel toys in exchange for my participation in this program but I promise not to keep them for myself. I am a grown man and do not play with my children’s toys after they have gone to bed…

Canadian Dad Podcast - Bobs LoLo

Canadian Dad Podcast: Ep. 8 – Canadian Children’s Recording Artists, Bobs and LoLo

I was so excited to have the opportunity to speak to Canadian children’s recording artists, Bobs and LoLo. My kids have been huge B&L fans for a long time and I still get their songs stuck in my head all the time.

In this episode we talk a lot about Bobs & LoLo’s new Christmas album, Wave Your Antlers, and the process behind the recording and filming of the album. Just as a side note, the album is really great and my kids have really enjoyed listening to the first single Chris Moose, mostly because at one point he “shakes his caboose”, which the kids find hilarious.

We also talk about B&L’s numerous Juno Nominations, what it was like meeting and sharing a stage with the likes of Fred Penner and Sharon, Lois & Bram and we also spend a few minutes comparing notes on how little we all know about using Pinterest.

It was great talking to Robyn and Lorraine and you can easily see why they are a great fit for the children’s music scene in the joyful and passionate way they discuss their music.

Keurig 2.0 K400 Brewing System

Win A Keurig 2.0 K400 Brewing System!

I thought there would no better way to spread some holiday cheer than to give away a brand new Keurig 2.0 K400 Brewing System! We have been using the Keurig 2.0 since it came out and have been loving the ability to brew a full pot of coffee with it. We also just picked up the new heated carafe and I’ve been highly caffeinated ever since.

Now it’s your turn to try out the new Keurig 2.0 K400 Brewing System! All you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter form below and I’ll notify the winner via email. Giveaway is open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec. Good luck and have an amazing holidays!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list so you don’t miss out on subscriber only contests and promotions!

Air Miles AMEX Post

Four Easy Ways To Earn More AIR MILES

Anyone who has seen my wallet knows that I am a points card junkie. I have points cards for places that I have only visited once or twice, mostly because if they offer it, I’ll take it. Without a doubt, the most useful of all my cards is my AIR MILES Collector Card. I swipe my AIR MILES card so much that I have actually had to have it replaced a couple times due to overuse.

As an AIR MILES Gold Collector (yeah, I said it!), I felt it was my duty to throw some tips your way to help you maximize the amount of miles you can collect. Below you will find my top 5 tips for AIR MILES Collectors.

1. Find Bonuses at Participating Sponsor Stores

It would be easy for me to tell you just to find the places that offer AIR MILES and use them but there is so much more you can do. At any given time you can find great bonus offers at Sponsor stores. The photo above is from a Toys “R” Us flyer and offers great AIR MILES value on a product that a lot of people are stocking up on for Christmas. You can visit resources such as Smart Canucks and Red Flag Deals to find all the flyers from participating AIR MILES Sponsors.

This simple tactic can easily triple the amount of miles you earn in a year. It also helps to research which stores offer AIR MILES to see if they are a fit for you. I now frequent places such as Rexall, Shell, Toys “R” Us and Staples instead of their competitors because they all offer AIR MILES rewards. AIR MILES have become such a staple in my life that they have even influenced what hotels I stay at when we go on trips. I also just found out that you can even earn AIR MILES when buying a house!

2. Shop Online With airmilesshops.ca

Online shopping is growing at an unbelievable rate, with a lot of people preferring the comfort of their own home over heading out to the busy stores. With airmilesshops.ca, you have access to hundreds of online stores right at your fingertips and there are hundreds of bonus offers at any given time. They have everything from the Disney Store and Apple to clothing companies such as Sears, Under Armour, Old Navy and Victoria’s Secret. There is something for everybody.

3. Collect on Everyday Purchases With the American Express AIR MILES Credit Card

This has been the single most effective way that I have found to collect AIR MILES. When you use a card like the American Express AIR MILES Credit Card you not only earn AIR MILES when you shop at non-Sponsor stores but you can also double up the miles by using both the AIR MILES Collector Card and the Credit Card when shopping at Sponsors. Just think of all the places you could earn twice the miles at by combining the power of your American Express and AIR MILES Cards! If you are tired of only earning half of the rewards you could be earning, head over to American Express to find out more about their suite of AIR MILES Credit Cards.

4. Bonus AIR MILES Coupons

This is something I have only recently started taking advantage of and it has produced immediate dividends for me. If you head to the AIR MILES website and visit their Earn Miles: Offers and Promotions section, you will find a large selection of online coupons that you can redeem on in-store purchases. As I write this there are offers from Staples, LCBO, Rexall and Shell that I have redeemed for bonus miles. If you are going to be shopping at these stores anyway, why would you not want to pop in to see if there are any deals for you? Also, if you sign up for the AIR MILES Newsletter, you will receive all of these deals right to your inbox.

I’ve shared my tips, now it’s your turn. What are your tricks for earning more AIR MILES?

This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.

Kinder Surprise Advent Pack

How Would You Like A Kinder Surprise For The Holidays?

You may remember back in September that I talked about my role as a Kinder Dad. In that post I talked about how much I enjoyed “borrowing” my children’s Kinder Surprise Eggs. Well, now instead of borrowing their chocolate, I am passing it on to you guys!

That’s right, after my children fell asleep last night, I stole all of their Kinder Surprise Eggs, their Kinder Advent Calendar and some other goodies, packaged them up and got them ready to be shipped to one of you! Here is a detailed list of the things you will be receiving from my children if you are chosen as the winner.

The prize pack (ARV $34) includes:

One KINDER® Advent Calendar
One KINDER® Hollow Santa with SURPRISE®
One KINDER® SURPRISE® 100g Christmas egg
One KINDER® SURPRISE® MAXI 150g egg

Shazam! That’s a lot of awesome all rolled into one! All you have to do to enter is fill out the Rafflecopter form below and promise that you will not tell my children that I gave you all their chocolate! Good Luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in the #KinderDad program. Also, I did not steal my children’s KINDER eggs because I am not a monster. Okay, I have maybe ate some of their chocolate in the past but only because I felt they had too much and that it could upset their tummies. Otherwise, I do not make a habit of stealing from my kids. Often.

McDonalds Cinnamon Melts

Project #DadFit – The McDonald’s Conundrum

DISASTER!

Just as I was getting back on track after a horrendous Halloween nightmare, a brand new McDonald’s pops up quite literally around the corner from my house. I have two major detractors to my DadFit plan and they are pizza and McDonald’s.

If I am being completely honest, while I have still been working out, I have also been to the new McDonald’s for one reason or another on four of the seven days it has been opened so far. As you can imagine, this type of behaviour is NOT conducive to a healthier me… To be fair, three of those trips were only supposed to be coffee runs that somehow ended up with breakfast attached to them.

Also, cinnamon melts. C’mon, man!

Anyway, I need to figure out what I am going to do with this new wrinkle. It’s easy to say, “have some self control, man”, but people who suffer from junk food addiction will understand what I am talking about. My first course of action is going to be driving a different way to work and I’ll go from there.

In the good news department, the excellent people at New Balance read about my journey and hooked me up with some sweet new kicks (is it cool to call them kicks?) to help with my running. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this yet but I signed up for next year’s Ottawa Race Weekend 10K and I’m a little frightened by it. We’ll dive in to more about the race and the shoes in a later post but for now, I’ll leave you with this question.

How about you? Do you have a health kryptonite? What is it and how do you deal with it?

New Balance Running Shoes