Canadian Dad Podcast - Blogger Mike Reynolds

Canadian Dad Podcast: Ep. 10 – Parenting Writer, Mike Reynolds

Today on the podcast I welcome Huffington Post contributor, children’s author and Puzzling Posts blogger, Mike Reynolds.

We took some time to discuss the different standards between men and women in sport, specifically speaking about Eugenie Bouchard and the Women’s World Cup of Soccer/Football.

This being Bell Let’s Talk day, we also get into a discussion about mental illness and share our personal stories. I believe that the stigma is slowly lifting and will only continue to fade as more people take a stand. The more we talk, the more we help.

As always, if you enjoyed the show, please take a minute to visit iTunes and leave a rating and review. That is how you get the show out to the world and I would be forever grateful! Have a great day!

Children Art Class

In Dreams

Once the sheep have returned to their pen and the sand starts to form, that’s when the real fun begins. This is the land where imagination becomes reality and anything is possible. Often peaceful, occasionally scary, but always an adventure. In dreams there are no mountains too high or tasks too tall. If you want to fly, you can fly to the moon. If you want to run, you can run faster than the speed of light, and, if you feel like saving the world, well, you can do that too.

Every night, before I go to sleep, I check in on my children for no reason but to see their peaceful faces as they drift off to their own imaginary worlds. I wonder if they are dreaming happy dreams and sometimes secretly hope I’ve made a cameo, even if it is as a dragon or a princess. It’s always nice to be thought of after all.

It’s rare that we take the time to capture our dreams, or even remember them at all, but maybe we should try more often. My daughter took a shot at it recently and what she came up with both captured my imagination and filled me with pride. She described the painting with such reality that you didn’t need to ask why there were upside down trees and flowers in the ocean. The answer, of course, was simply because there are.

Through her art I got a glimpse into her creative mind and longed for the days when my own mind was filled with such vibrant scenery. I certainly don’t think I’m too old to get it back. I think I just misplaced it somewhere along the way and I intend on searching for it. In the meantime, I wish you all the wildest of dreams.

H&R Block Family Tax Cut

I Admit It! I Don’t Know How To Do Taxes

As I’m sure you can attest, nobody likes to admit their weaknesses. Don’t get me wrong, we all have them. There’s something about saying them out loud, however, that is unsettling to me. Today’s admission comes at the hands of a yearly event that I dread, tax season!

I know a lot of people who do their own taxes and have no issues whatsoever. I, however, am NOT one of those people. As soon as I get the forms and log in to figure it out, my brain decides that it’s time for a nap and completely abandons me.

Truth be told, I have actually muddled through it a few times and no matter how right I think I am, we would always end up getting an adjustment letter, letting me know how wrong I was. It always felt like the teacher bringing back your test with a big “F” on it and a “Come see me” note. Embarrassing…

With the implementation of the Family Tax Cut this year, I am not going to be taking any chances. Families with children under the age of 18 will be able to claim a non-refundable tax credit equal to the amount of tax savings that would be realized by transferring up to $50,000 worth of income from the higher-earning to the lower-earning spouse or common-law partner.

With my wife being a stay at home mom, the family tax cut is geared specifically for families like mine and there is no way I am touching this one. Thankfully, the fine folks at H&R Block are completely up to speed on the new rules and promised me that they are going to take care of me and my family so I don’t mess it up. Again. For the price they are charging to do basic returns, I honestly don’t know why anyone would waste their time trying to figure it out on their own.

I’ll tell you what, because I like you all, I am going to give away a gift certificate good for one regular return (T4) that can be used at a retail H&R Block location. Sound good? Just fill out the form below and have a great day!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, however I really am terrible at doing my own taxes…

Parenting Roulette

The Game of Parenting Roulette

First off, Happy New Year! It’s nice to see you again and I hope you had an amazing holiday season. Speaking of holidays, my family had its share of traveling to do this season and it gave me the chance to notice an interesting game we play as parents.

It’s a game I like to call, Parenting Roulette. The concept is simple, you attend a party with a bunch of other parents and you all herd your children into one room to play together while you enjoy some adult time. The ages of your children don’t matter because they are children and adapt to all situations, right?

Winning the game takes zero skill and a lot of luck. About five to seven times throughout the party, one of the children will come out of the play area either crying or to fetch the parent of a crying child. Now for the roulette portion of the game. The parents all listen intently, with fingers crossed, as the crying child reveals the name of the offending child and then breathe a very loud sigh of relief if their child’s name isn’t called.

We had a pretty good run this season, only losing the game a couple times, but the odds change by the second in parenting roulette so you never feel like you have a sure bet. A quick pro-tip, this game is normally an unspoken thing between parents so if you are planning on gloating out loud, you may want to make sure you are around close friends and not simply acquaintances. You don’t want to be “that parent”, am I right?

I wish you the best of luck in future games of parenting roulette and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Nabob Respect The Bean

The Cure For Spice-ititis

The crisp air hits my face like a dump truck at full speed and the snow crunches under my boots while the kids laugh and make as many snowmen as the sprinkle of snow will allow. Winter is here, my friends, and there are a lot of happy faces around here.

One of my favourite things about Christmas are all the lights and decorations that brighten up our homes and our streets. It seems no matter what kind of mood you are in, you can’t help but hum along when you are surrounded by the holiday music and Christmas cheer!

I do my fair share of decorating during the holiday season, too. Lights inside and outside of the house, the Christmas tree and more. My wife, bless her heart, replaces all the cups, plates, blankets, couch pillows, fridge magnets and basically anything else you can Christmas-ticize. We are a festive family and we go all out over here, but there is one thing we will not decorate this holiday season and that thing is our coffee.

In this day of the Super Santa Spice Frappuccino and the Triple Swirl Mocha Whipped Latte, we prefer to keep things simple by sticking to the bean that got us hooked in the first place. There’s something comforting to me about brewing a nice strong cup of coffee, huddling up in front of the fireplace and watching the snow fall through the branches of our Christmas tree, that no amount of whipped cream or chocolate sauce can duplicate.

This holiday season, I urge you to try this. Grab some Nabob Coffee, brew yourself a pot and take some time to sit, relax and enjoy the quiet. Respect the bean and enjoy your coffee as it was intended to be enjoyed. After all, decorating is for trees, not coffee.

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program. The ideas and opinions in this post are my own. Don’t act so surprised that I know how to work a video camera!

Sens Experience Hockey

He Shoots, He Scores!

I watched in awe as a child 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…