International Cook With Your Kids Day

Celebrate International Cook With Your Kids Day & Win Big!

I have to admit that I am not a master chef in the kitchen. Far from it, really. Based on a research study done by Uncle Ben’s that showed less than half of Canadian parents feel confident in their own ability to cook, it seems I am not alone in my struggle. With that being said, I am one of the 98% of parents who feel it’s important that children learn how to cook and bake at as early an age as possible so they can develop healthy eating habits from a young age.

Cooking With Kids

To help get you off the couch and into the kitchen, Uncle Ben’s has launched International Cook With Your Kids Day, which takes place this Saturday, October 15th! In case you needed a little more incentive to get your butt in gear, snap a photo of you and your kids cooking a rice based dish and submit it on the Uncle Ben’s Beginners website and three lucky Canadians are going to win a $10,000 grand prize which may be used towards a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)!

I know what you’re thinking. “But, Chris, I still don’t know how to cook, so how am I going to cook with my kids?!” Don’t fret, my friends, as Uncle Ben’s has you covered there as well! Simply visit the Ben’s Beginners website and choose from the many family-friendly recipes available to not only get step by step instructions but also hands on, interactive tutorials that the kids can use to practice before moving on to the real thing.

Cook With Kids Days Uncle Ben's

Hopefully you will all take some time to grab some Uncle Ben’s and hit the kitchen for International Cook With Your Kids Day this Saturday, October 15th! If you do, don’t forget to enter the draw and also share your creations on social media using the #LookWhatWeMade hashtag! You can visit the Ben’s Beginners page for all the rules and regulations on the contest. Happy Cooking!!!

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, however I really do think it’s important to get our kids cooking from as early an age as possible.


Confession: I Didn’t Know You Had To Clean A Dishwasher

This post is brought to you by Finish® and JONES VOICE

That’s right, I admit it! Being that the purpose of a dishwasher is to clean dirty dishes, I assumed that it was always in a state of perpetual clean. Only recently did I find out that this was not the case and that limescale and grease builds up in its hidden and vital parts: the filters, the spray arms and the pipes. To this end, I am officially apologizing to my children and anyone who has ever eaten dinner at my house…

With Thanksgiving and Christmas fast approaching, you know your dishwasher is about to get a heavy workout, so now seems like a good time to give it a good cleaning. After doing some research I am happy to bring you my Do’s and Don’ts list for deep cleaning your dishwasher!

Do: Purchase Finish® Dishwasher Cleaner

finish dishwasher cleaner

Do Not: Hand scrub your dishwasher with a toothbrush


Do: Peel off the sticker and place Finish bottle upside down in the bottom rack

finish dishwasher label

Do Not: Peel off sticker and feed your curiosity by tasting the product


Do: Run the dishwasher on the hottest cycle

finish dishwasher run

Do Not: Accidentally drop your kid’s tablet into the dishwasher before running it


Do: Marvel at how clean and shiny Finish has made your dishwasher look

finish dishwasher clean

Do Not: Try to impress your wife and kids by eating out of your newly cleaned dishwasher


There you have it! Using Finish® Dishwasher Cleaner every 4 months can help prolong the life of your dishwasher while also helping to keep your dishes cleaner than ever. What are you waiting for? Head out to your local grocery store or Canadian Tire and Walmart stores to get your hands on some Finish® Dishwasher Cleaner today! Besides, now that you know you there are hidden germs in your dishwasher, you won’t be able to bring yourself to use those dishes again until you have given it a solid deep clean!

This post has been sponsored by Finish®. All opinions are my own.

Motts Fruitsations Kids

In Their Own Words: Kids Review Mott’s Fruitsations +Veggie Snacks

I thought I’d try something new on the blog today so instead of writing a review about something my kids will be consuming, I figured I’d ask them to take care of the actual review themselves. This week we are working with Mott’s and trying out their Mott’s Fruitsations +Veggie fruit flavoured snacks.

We sent a package of Fruitsations with the kids each day for their first week of school and now that we have all emerged from that week without any bruises, the kids are ready to share their thoughts on the 80 calorie snack pouches that are Mott’s Fruitsations +Veggie!

We’ll start with my 8 year old, whose testimonial interview went exactly like this:

Me: “Okay buddy, how did you like the Mott’s Fruitsations +Veggie snacks that we put in your lunch this week?”
Son: *Staring down at his tablet* “Good”
Me: “Hey, could you put the tablet away for a few minutes so we can talk about these snacks?”
Son: *Glances up for a split second before looking back at tablet* “Ok”
Me: *Takes tablet away* “So, how did you like the Mott’s Fruitsations +Veggie snacks and do you want us to keep putting them in your lunch?”
Son: *Staring at tablet in my hand* “Good”
Me: “Great, thanks for the amazing attention to detail in that review”

To be fair to my son, he has always had a short attention span so I wasn’t expecting a novel here. He is also a very picky eater so the fact that he said they were good is a major victory in the lunch snacks department!

Next up is my 6 year old daughter, who I have no doubt will win an Oscar or an Emmy someday. Her reaction to the Mott’s Fruitsations +Veggie snacks was exactly as I had expected from her and our conversation went a little bit like this:

Me: “Honey, now that the first week of school is over, how did you like the fruit snacks that we were putting in your lunches?”
Daughter: *Doing jumping jacks and cartwheels* “They were the BEST SNACKS EVER!!!!!”
Me: “Wow, what did you love most about them?”
Daughter: *Grabs my ears and pulls our faces together* “EVERYTHING!!”
Me: “Then I’ll assume you would like us to continue putting them in your lunch?”
Daughter: “I want twenty one hundred packages in my lunch!!” (Hey, it’s a number in her world)

Well, there you have it, folks. Both of my picky eaters were impressed with the Mott’s Fruitsations +Veggie snacks and we now have a new staple for their lunch bags that we know will come home eaten. Mott’s Fruitsations +Veggie snacks contain fruit and vegetable juice from concentrate from apples, pears and carrots, plus strawberry puree and can be picked up at your local grocery store.

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program but these are the actual conversations I had with my children because there’s no way I could have come up with that on my own.


Help Put An End To Classroom Hunger This Fall #FeedingBetterDays

I’m happy to be teaming up with Kellogg’s Canada on their #FeedingBetterDays program to help in the fight against kids going to school hungry. As you will see in the video I have created below, trying to focus and learn while dealing with an empty stomach is extremely difficult. Kellogg Canada, in partnership with Breakfast Clubs of Canada, will be donating a portion of the proceeds from every box of cereal sold to their breakfast club partners.

Please take a look at my video below and I’d love it if you would considering sharing it with your friends! You can be the difference maker in a child’s life by providing them with a much needed breakfast to start their day. Whether you buy a box of cereal or donate to the breakfast clubs, hungry children will benefit.

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program. We received a box filled with various cereals that my daughter and I dropped off to the local food bank.

Bees Matter Honey Bee

If You Love Food, You Should Thank A Honey Bee

A few weeks ago, I talked about why bees are more important than we think and now I’m going to talk a little bit about just how much of the food we eat is pollinated by honey bees. I just want to pre-warn you that it is a lot more food than I could have imagined when I started doing the research.

Before we get to that list, let’s talk about what you can do to make sure that the honey bee population continues to live productive lives. The good news is that despite what you may have heard, there is no decline in the population of the honey bee in Canada. In fact, according to Statistics Canada, their population is at an all-time high! That said, it is still up to us to help them thrive and we can do so by planting pollinator-friendly gardens. Check out this short YouTube video which describes the life cycle of a honey bee.

How To Get Your Free Seed Kit!

The Bees Matter ‘Buzzing Gardens’ program allows you to order a free seed kit to start a buzzing garden of your own. Simply head over to, sign up for your free seed kit and get planting! I used this as a learning experience for my daughter and we’ve loved watching the bees come and go, knowing that we’ve had a small hand in pollinating the food that we eat.

Speaking of food… I promised that I would give you a list of some of the crops that are pollinated by the bees. The following is just a small sample of some of the foods we love but you’ll get the picture. If you love any of these foods, go ahead and give a big hug and kiss to the next honey bee you see!


Please head over to for way more information on the honey bee than I could ever provide in a single blog post, and also to sign up for your free Buzzing Garden seed kit! Happy planting!!!

Disclosure: This blog post is sponsored by Bees Matter and compensation was received. I am responsible for the contents of, views and opinions expressed on this blog and not the sponsor mentioned above. Also, you probably shouldn’t hug or kiss a honey bee…

BP Kids Card

Save Money & Help Others In Need With The Boston Pizza Kids Card!

It’s no secret that my family has a love affair with Boston Pizza. It is our kitchen away from home, mostly because it’s the one place where the kids will eat their full meals, but also because it has a little bit of everything for everyone. We go to BP so frequently that my son and I instinctively know which section we want to sit in because it has the best view of all the televisions, which play a variety of sports at all times.

I am excited to announce that the Boston Pizza Kids Card campaign is back and that you should really take advantage of it! This is one of my favourite restaurant promotions for a number of reasons and for those of you who haven’t heard of it, here is the deal. Anytime between now and October 2nd, you can purchase a BP Kids Card for a minimum $5 donation, which will get you five free kids meals, valued at $35! Pretty cool, right? That’s not all! If you register your Kids Card at with your MyBP account, you’ll get a 6th kids meal for free!

All donations go to the Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects program and every $5 raised will provide 1 hour with a role model for a child in need, so they can realize their full potential. We purchased 5 kids cards last year and had no problem going through them all, so I can’t wait to get my hands on this year’s edition and neither should you!! Head to your local Boston Pizza today and feed your kids for free while also helping children in need.

More About Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects

Boston Pizza Future Prospects

For more than 25 years, Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects has worked with partner organizations to help give kids in need the role models they require to inspire them to realize their full potential and build a brighter future.

* Every year, the foundation provides more than 200,000 hours of mentorship to kids in need.
* Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects has raised more than $22 million since its inception.
* Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects partners include: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Kids Help Phone, Live Different, JDRF and The Rick Hansen Foundation.


To further celebrate the return of the Boston Pizza Kids Card, I am giving away a $50 gift card to Boston Pizza! All you have to do to enter is complete as many of the entry methods as you want on the Rafflecopter form below and I’ll notify the winner in two weeks! Good Luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kids Spartan Race

With Kids, The Adventure Never Ends! #FeedYourAdventure

This post was sponsored by CLIF Bar & Company after they noticed how active our lives were and that our kids were big fans of their CLIF Kid ZBar.

It would be a grave understatement to say that we are a family on-the-go. There were many times this summer where I had no idea what day it was but knew that we had to get from activity A to activity B and on some occasions from there to activity C, and all this before lunch. Did we bring this on ourselves? Definitely, but we want to encourage our kids to be active and think it’s especially important to start doing so at a young age.

I’m going to assume that we aren’t the only busy parents out there who have trouble finding time for breakfast, lunch & dinner while shuttling their kids around from sport to sport. As I’ve written about a number of times on the blog, our kids have developed some pretty strong picky eating habits and we have struggled to find foods for them to eat on the go, often falling back on fast food, which I think we can all agree is not the best way to get the most out of your young athletes… As you can see from the picture below, our kids seem to have caught the athlete bug. Not picture here are ice hockey, ballet and karate.

clif bar canadian dad

One of the bright spots throughout all of this has been our discovery of the CLIF Kid Organic ZBar. I was already a big fan of CLIF bars (chocolate chip, if you wanted to get me some), but had no idea that they had a bar for busy kids. Luckily for us I am a stubborn dad and still force my kids to try new foods even though I assume they won’t enjoy them. Imagine my surprise when both my kids loved the CLIF Kid ZBar and begged me to buy more! The best part is that on top of the fact that they are made with organic oats from Canada, the ZBar also provides the following:

* Source of fibre
* 8-10 grams whole grains
* No trans-fat, partially-hydrogenated oils or synthetic preservatives
* No high fructose corn syrup
* No artificial flavours
* CLIF Kid offers lower levels of fat and sugar than many kids’ snacks available today

We certainly don’t use these bars as meal replacements but they are an excellent source of energy for between and before events. Plus, I feel better knowing that my kids are putting something good into their bodies instead of more junk or in a lot of previous cases, nothing at all. You can check out all the products that the CLIF Bar Company has available by visiting their website at


Motts Fruitsations Lunch

How To Convince Your Picky Eaters To Finish Their Lunch

As hard as we’ve tried as parents, our children still act as if we are trying to poison them when we serve them mom-and-dad-approved meals. I have no idea where we went wrong but it has been an uphill climb trying to get them to start eating foods we can feel good about, and I wanted to share a few of the ways we have managed to get them back on track.

1. Hiding Fruits & Veggies in Their Meals

That’s right, the oldest trick in the book is exactly that for a reason. We weren’t exactly experts at it right off the bat but we have learned from our early errors and now our hiding skills would make Harry Houdini proud.

Motts Fruitsations Pizza

2. Pay Them Money

This strategy worked like a charm at the beginning. Unfortunately the kids were eating so many fruits and veggies that we had to either re-mortgage the house or cut this wonderful trick from our list.

Motts Fruitsations Cash

3. Cover Everything in Peanut Butter

What kid doesn’t like a huge slab of peanut butter, am I right?! We found that if you threw enough of it on their food, they wouldn’t even recognize what it is that they are eating. Genius! Also, for the nut free crowd, you can try alternatives such as strawberry jam or melted cheese.

Motts Fruitsations PB

4. Start Them With Something They Love, Like Mott’s Fruitsations +Veggie!

Motts Fruitsations Kids

One thing we haven’t had to force on the kids are Mott’s Fruitsations +Veggie fruit flavoured snacks. They are made with no artificial flavours or colours and the kids love them! Mott’s Fruitsations +Veggie snacks contain fruit and vegetable juice from concentrate from apples, pears and carrots, plus strawberry puree.

Each pouch is only 80 calories and they are perfect as lunch or after school snacks for our busy kidsIt’s worked well in our household and it makes mom and dad happy campers! You can grab Mott’s Fruitsations at your local grocery store and I’ll leave you with a quick word of advice to put them up high in your cupboard or you’ll be staring at an empty box the same day you buy them…

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program. I would definitely never pay my children to make wise food choices…

The Tragically Hip

No Dress Rehearsal, This Is Our Life

I spent last night doing the same thing most of Canada was doing, gluing myself to the television to watch Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip play the biggest show of their lives. As with many of my fellow Canadians, The Hip are a staple of our upbringing in this country. They represent every cottage or camping trip we’ve ever been on, they helped us get through break-ups and for those of us who struggled through our English classes, they introduced us to poetry that we would have otherwise never known. In short, they were ours as Canadians and we loved them.

When the band announced that they would tour one last time, the rush for tickets was unlike anything I had ever seen before. The fact that Gord Downie was going to tour after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer was inspiring but I couldn’t have imagined the overwhelming array of emotions I was about to go through. I was fortunate enough to get tickets to the show in Ottawa and can honestly say that I have never heard a louder crowd in my entire life. You could tell by watching Gord in the moments when he wasn’t singing that he was truly humbled by the response from the fans and we were in turn humbled by his passion for his craft. By the way, if you’d like to donate to Gord Downie’s Fund For Brain Cancer Research, as I have already done, you can do so by visiting the Sunnybrook Foundation Page right here!

During their final show in Kingston last night, I told myself that I would be cool in front of the kids while we watched together. As I answered my son’s question about why the concert and the band were so important to me, I uncharacteristically started to choke up and realized that this was not going to be easy to get through. I can’t really explain the emotions I was feeling but I assumed that most others were having the same reaction. I was definitely sad to be losing a Canadian music legend in Gord Downie, but that wasn’t what was hitting me. I think part of it was seeing him up there doing the thing he was most passionate about and giving it everything he had left, knowing it would likely be the last time. It would have been easy to fold up shop when he got the diagnosis but he instead chose to make sure that every ounce of life went lived.

As I watched the tweets and facebook posts stream by, I was overcome with a strong sense of pride in my Canadian heritage and realized that we were taking part in one of the greatest send-offs of all-time. I was proud that Gord decided to unselfishly use his platform to speak for our indigenous community, who have been overlooked for far too long. I laughed as Gord talked about how hard he worked to finally get women to come to the shows, I cried as he let out all of his pain and anger in a stirring rendition of “Grace, Too”, I went through some deep self reflection and I became more inspired than I’ve been in a long time. All this in a span of 3 hours and all thanks to a band. Who knew?

I’d like to say a special thank you to the CBC for setting aside the Olympics and the commercials and the money you could have otherwise made to air this concert for the people and for a band that brought this country together for a night of love and reflection.

And, of course, Thank You to Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip for the music, the years of hard work, for teaching me about perseverance and the importance of nurturing your passion.

Hellmann's Craft 1

Do Your Kids Know Where Their Food Comes From? Plus, A Fun Family Craft!

Disclosure: This blog post was created with Hellmann’s® and JONES Voice

We had the hardest time getting our kids to eat well when they were little. I’m not sure exactly where we went wrong but it seems unfair to put the blame on the kids since they were so little and impressionable. Even up until just recently it feels like all they would want to eat was pizza and cooked spaghetti with butter. Not ideal, to say the least.

A lot of the problem has stemmed from our fast paced lifestyle. With my work hours and the kids’ multiple weekly activities, there hasn’t been a ton of time for meal preparation and we’ve found ourselves eating out a lot more than we’d like. With that has also come a complacency when it comes to the food we buy. We sometimes make the assumption that the food we purchase contains ingredients that we feel good about feeding to our children, without actually checking the ingredients out for ourselves.

After finally swallowing our pride and admitting that we were not, in fact, perfect parents, my wife and I sat down and had a long discussion about ways we could turn our eating habits around. We decided to start by purchasing small vegetable plants that the kids would be responsible for. They have to water them each day and take care of them as they are their own. So far it has been going really well as the kids love being responsible for their own plants. The hope is that once the vegetables start to grow, the kids will eat them with the pride of knowing that they grew them themselves. Time will tell but we are hopeful!

The other great thing about the vegetable plants is that it is getting the kids outside to interact with nature instead of being locked onto a computer or staring at the TV all the time. It’s tough raising kids in the digital age because it’s all new to us and there always seems to be something distracting us from slowing down and enjoying nature, and each other.

After watching the Hellmann’s #RealFoodMovement Facebook live stream, I was happy to learn that I could at least rely on what goes into the mayonnaise we have been serving the kids. Check out this great video from the #RealFoodMovement campaign that features three families visiting a canola farm in Saskatchewan. They not only got to watch what goes into making a perfect jar of mayonnaise, but they also go to eat a super delicious meal.

As part of the program, Hellmann’s challenged me to try a simple craft with the kids. What I loved about the activity is that it taught them about patience and the joys of slowing down and enjoying family time. We created our very own microwavable heating pad out of material and rice. Not being a crafting wizard myself, I was happy that the whole family got involved and I think we did a pretty fantastic job! When I say we, I of course mean that my wife and children really knocked it out of the park with very little help from their butterfingered father…

Hellmann's Craft 3

The best part about our home made pad is that it can be used as a heating pad and also put in the freezer as an ice pack! Anyone who either has children or has aching bones knows how often the heating/freezing pads come in handy and now we don’t have to waste more money on the electric versions! It was easier than I expected it to be to create them and you can make your own microwavable bags in just 3 easy steps:

Step 1 – No pattern necessary, simply cut two pieces of fabric in a square/rectangle of your desired size.
Step 2 – Sew three of the 4 sides together to make a pouch.
Step 3 – Fill pouch with the seed/grain of your choice: canola seed, rice, wheat, barley, oatmeal, beans, flax.
Step 4 – Sew up the open side and enjoy!

Hellmann's Craft 4

Piece of cake!! Best of luck with your activity and don’t forget to check out Hellmann’s on Facebook and @HellmannsCanada on Twitter! You can also check out more about Hellmann’s and “Where does your food come from” by visiting Hellmann’s on Facebook.