LEGO Boost 1

Building Just Got A Lot More Fun With LEGO Boost! {Giveaway!}

Like almost every kid out there, my children love building with LEGO! Over the years, our building habits have evolved from simply putting together the sets from the instructions, to creating whatever pops in to our heads, but the constant is that LEGO keeps us busy and creative for hours at a time.

With my son taking part in the Coding Club at his school, something I am constantly jealous of, I was excited to hear about LEGO’s newest product, LEGO Boost! Boost is a 5-in-1 model that introduces building and coding in one super-charged LEGO set, letting children add sound, movement and personality to their LEGO creations, bringing to life anything they can imagine! The LEGO BOOST Toolkit recently arrived on our doorstep and the kids were very excited to start their #BUILDwithBOOST adventure!

LEGO Boost 3

You can choose to build any of the 5 models, including Frankie the Cat, Guitar4000 and the M.T.R.4. We choose to start with Vernie the Robot as he seemed like a ton of fun! The kids and I had different ideas about how to start our new project, with them wanting to dump all 11 bags out at once, while I wanted a more level-headed and dadly approach. Needless to say, dad won that round!

LEGO Boost 2

After that, we downloaded the free LEGO Boost app and got started on building Vernie! Before we continue, please note that a tablet running iOS 10.3 and newer/Android 5.0 or above is required to build and play with LEGO® Boost™, so make sure your device is compatible by visiting LEGO.com/DeviceCheck before purchasing.

The app was amazing and very easy for the kids to follow along with. Full disclosure here, with 832 pieces, dad helped a little with the building as the kids were so excited to start giving commands to their creation. Plus, I am a giant child, so the opportunity to build with LEGO is still an exciting prospect for me…

LEGO Boost 4

Once Vernie the Robot was complete, the real full began! First things first, the kids absolutely fought over who would get to test him out first, which was ultimately decided by a rousing game of rock, paper, scissors. I was amazed watching as my kids used the LEGO Boost app to learn how to code on the spot and they had Vernie doing all sorts of tricks within a matter of minutes.

LEGO Boost 5

For the last week now, the first thing the kids want to do when they wake up and then get home from school is to play with their new robot friend. I’m usually careful about how much screen time they are getting but I can’t complain about it when they are teaching themselves how to code while also having a blast with their LEGO. Next up for us will be checking out the incredible BOOST BOTS series on YouTube, where we’ll be able to see what is possible with LEGO BOOST for those of us who like to put away the instruction manuals!

LEGO Boost 6

I honestly can’t say enough good things about LEGO Boost and if your kids are into LEGO, or coding, this would make the perfect gift for them! And because I believe in this product so much, I want to put a LEGO Boost in your home this holiday season! Feel free to fill out as many Rafflecopter entries below as you’d like and I’ll be giving away a LEGO Boost kit to one lucky reader!! Giveaway is open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: We received a LEGO Boost kit to facilitate this post, however it really is one of the best toys we’ve ever played with!

Kamik Boots 1

How Will You Enjoy The Outdoors This Season?

Finally, we’re right in the middle of my favourite time of year! Fall! That’s right, I said it! As much as I love the Summertime, sometimes it can get a little too hot for my liking, whereas Fall is exactly where I want to be. I like to think of myself as Goldilocks and Fall as the perfect bowl of porridge.

Sure, the end of summer means that baseball season is over and the swimming pool has to close, but there are plenty of indoor facilities available in case we need to get our fix of baseball and swimming. What I love most about fall is the ability to get outside and active with my kids, without feeling like I’m going to pass out from the heat.

With that said, my friends at Kamik, a Canadian family-owned company, sent us some new boots to test while we take part in a few of our favourite fall activities, which I have chronicled below.

Without further ado, here are our favourite fall activities. Please feel free to share some of yours in the comments section!

Sports – The one constant in our lives, outside of taxes, is sports. In fact, I’m not sure a day has gone by in the last 2-3 years where we didn’t take part in at least one sporting activity, whether it be organized or otherwise. There’s something inherently Canadian about dragging the hockey nets down to the road on a chilly Fall day, and hearing the shouts of, “CAR!”, as we lose track of time in a big game of road hockey.

Kamik Boots 2

We may throw our coats on top of the net because we get so hot from all the running around but there’s no replacement for a solid pair of warm boots to keep us moving comfortably. My son’s Drizzly boots were lightweight while the soft fleece lining kept him warm. On top of that, if you’ve ever taken a slap shot in the foot with one of those frozen orange balls, you’d know why I loved playing little roads in my new Griffon Kamik’s.

Nature Walks – As mentioned in the previous list item, I’m not a huge fan of the heat that comes with summer. The minute the weather starts to turn is when I break out my warm clothes and start wanting to go for more family walks. We are lucky enough to live in an area with some great trails and even in the tougher terrain, my daughter’s Takoda boots lived up to the hype of being warm and comfortable enough for our little adventure, but not too clunky, translating effortlessly from nature walk to city stroll.

Kamik Boots 3

Geocaching – This one is a newer fad for us. After hearing about it for a year or so, I decided to look up exactly what geocaching was and man, do I wish I had discovered it sooner. For those of you who have never done it, geocaching is like a giant treasure hunt in your own city! We downloaded the app and it leads you to different areas to look for a hidden treasure. Along the way, it gives you different clues to help you find it and it is so much fun to do as a family.

Kamik Boots 4

Now, some of the caches were harder than others and we weren’t always successful, but the thrill of the hunt and the excitement on the kids’ faces was totally worth the time investment. Also, don’t go into it expecting to strike it rich or anything, as most of the treasures were small things such as stickers or pencils, but it was still a blast!

Kamik Boots 5

There are so many more activities we take part in throughout the fall and winter, and I will be working with Kamik over the course of the next few months to prove that their boots are up to the test that our long, cold winter season brings. So far, they have easily passed every test we have thrown their way and I can’t wait to start seeing that snow on the ground! I know, I’m a monster.

Disclosure: My family members were provided Kamik boots for participating in this campaign. To discover Kamik’s latest collection for yourself, visit www.kamik.com.

Pulling Hair

Life Is Complicated Enough. Why Stress Over This, Too?

Let me tell you a little story. Two summers ago, while picking my kids up during the last week of school, we decided to stay at the school park for a bit. When I returned to my vehicle I noticed a huge dent in my van door and scratches all the way down the side of it. In the school parking lot! There was no note left on the windshield and no witnesses, so I spent the last few days of the school year acting like Sherlock Holmes at each day’s pick-up, to no avail.

I then spent months dealing with multiple people from my insurance company over the phone and through email to try and get everything resolved, which was frustrating and archaic. Only recently did I find out that steps were missed in the process, causing more headaches for my family in the form of a collections notice for something that should have already been dealt with. Needless to say, we are moving on from that group because everything always seemed so complicated.

After doing our research, we landed on Esurance as the best option for us moving forward and were excited to see that they now offer home and auto insurance in Ontario! I was impressed with the way Esurance leverages technology to create a more streamlined and simple experience. I’m also a huge fan of the fact that you can manage your policy and claims right on their website, which is something I couldn’t do, you know, before.

It’s not even that I don’t like talking on the phone, it’s just nice to have the option to take care of the little things to do with my policy on my own time. For instance, Esurance offers a DIY Home Inspection app that enables me to self-inspect my home for further discounts. We’re all just looking for the best value for our money and the way Esurance uses technology seems to be the way of the future when it comes to creating savings.

We’re definitely going to try it out for a bit and I’ll report back with my experience. That said, an insurance review is tricky because my hope is that I won’t have to report anything to you, other than the extra dollars in my bank account! You can head over to Esurance.ca for more information and also to get some great tips and tricks on the Esurance blog!

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program, however I am looking forward to seeing what Esurance can do for my family.

Win A Maplelea Girls Doll Just In Time For The Holidays!

Our daughter has never really been interested in toys. Of course, we still bought her all the toys and then watched as they mostly went ignored and un-played with. It makes sense considering she spends 20 hours a week in competitive gymnastics, which leaves little time for toys. The one exception to this rule, however, is when it comes to her Maplelea Girls dolls.

She takes her Maplelea dolls, Taryn and Alexi, everywhere she goes and I often wonder whether she is a better parent to them than we are to her and her brother… I kid, of course, but she really, really loves playing with her dolls and I absolutely love hearing the imaginative things she comes up with for them. We even held a big birthday party for Taryn last year, with restaurant singing and all! Check it out!

Honestly, how great was Lonestar for playing along and making our daughter’s night there? Just awesome! As you can see, the love for her Maplelea Girls is very real and we couldn’t be happier that she has something in her life that fosters this kind of creativity. I do have to admit being a little bit jealous though, as Taryn and Alexi have way more clothes than I do…but that’s a story for another time!

Maplelea Girls Doll

I’m so excited to have the opportunity to give the gift of a Maplegirls Girls doll to one of you, to help make your child’s day a little brighter! All you have to do to enter is fill out as many of the Rafflecopter entries you feel like and I’ll choose a winner in a couple weeks. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Maplelea sent my daughter a new doll (Alexi) in exchange for our participation in this giveaway, which scored me a huge amount of dad cred!

Psoriasis Happiness Report

When Being The 5th Happiest Country Isn’t Necessarily A Good Thing

An unexpected, but welcome, effect of my post about cancer is that I am being asked more to speak about the process and encouraging more people to get checked out. Leading up to the day that I finally went to get my skin checked, I had spent months in physical pain and spent an equal amount of time hiding my skin patches with bulky clothes and avoiding pools, even in the hottest weather.

Thinking I had psoriasis, I was growing more miserable by the day and definitely wish I had sought out treatment sooner. I also wish I had a good reason why I lived with this for so long without mentioning it to a doctor, but I do not. While it turns out I didn’t have psoriasis myself, those living with the disease will tell you it is no walk in the park.

Psoriasis affects about one million people in Canada and a recent World Psoriasis Happiness Report conducted by the LEO Innovation Lab and LEO Pharma, in partnership with the Happiness Research Institute, shows that while Canada ranks fifth on the world psoriasis happiness scale, that doesn’t mean those people are actually happy. While psoriasis is a condition of the skin, it has a huge impact on people’s emotional, mental health and well-being.

Imagine not being able to enjoy the summer weather or being too self-conscious to go play with your kids in the pool. It’s no wonder that while the average Canadian rated their happiness at 7.3/10, psoriasis sufferers in Canada rated their overall happiness at 6.1/10, a full 17% lower! I can’t stress enough that you go to your family doctor or dermatologist if you think you may have psoriasis.

Trust me, it’s not worth the stress and lack of self-confidence to continue ignoring your symptoms, whether it’s psoriasis or any other illness. With psoriasis, specifically, it’s a chronic condition that requires continuous treatment, not just attention when there’s a flare-up as I did for over a year.

Take your happiness back and talk to your doctor about the different treatment options out there. Psoriasis is highly treatable by topical treatments applied directly on the skin, such as creams, lotions, ointments, gels and foams and some may advance to oral systemic or biologic therapy, which may also be used in combination with topicals.

If you’re interested, you can read the first-ever World Psoriasis Happiness Report here: https://psoriasishappiness.report/. It provides analysis of findings from online surveys completed by more than 120,000 people in more than 100 countries who live with psoriasis, including more than 2,250 Canadians.

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, however the message remains the same. Get yourself checked if you feel something is off. You’ll be thankful that you did.

Fall Leaves Stihl

Preparing Your Property For The Harsh Canadian Winter

You’ve worked hard on your lawn and garden this year, haven’t you? You built beautiful garden boxes, planted vegetables, cut your lawn with precision and spent hours making sure everything looked just right! With winter on the way, you don’t want all that hard work to go to waste, so it’s time to start preparing for the long winter ahead and STIHL has everything you need to get the job done!

Here are some tips for you on how to protect your property from the harsh Canadian winter and to make sure that you have a #RealSTIHLYard!

STIHL LOGO

1. Let Your Lawn Breathe: Why wait for those two guys to come door-to-door with their aerator when you can do the job yourself with the STIHL RL- MM Lawn Aerator?
Aerating your lawn prevents rainfall from pooling on the grass, ensuring water and nutrients can reach the roots.

2. Lawns Have To Eat, Too!: Winter in Canada can be tough on lawns and we have always struggled to come out of winter unscathed. That said, using a fall lawn fertilizer with high phosphorous content to encourage root growth will definitely get your lawn off on the right foot come spring.

3. Blast That Slime: Maybe it’s just me, but has anyone else’s kids been obsessed with slime this summer? Now that I am doing an assessment of my property, I am noticing slime all over the brick walls outside my house. Of course, the slime will be no match for my STIHL RB 600 Pressure Washer! See you later, slime!

4. Huff & Puff & Blow It All Away: Leaving leaves all over your lawn during winter has the same effect as throwing a tarp over it for the winter, effectively killing the grass you spent so much time working on, so you want to make sure you get them all picked up. We let our kids try the leaf-blower at the cottage last fall and we weren’t sure they were going to give it back. By arming yourself with the STIHL BGA 56, leaf collection can be a breeze and it’s especially great for cleaning small outdoor areas.

5. Trim, Trim, Cheroo: Make sure your bushes and shrubs are talked about for all the right reasons by trimming them with the STIHL HSA 25 Shrub Shears. The shears also include a grass trimmer blade for trimming lawn edges, as well as around patios and flower beds.

6. Find Lost Treasure In The Gutter: This is one of those tasks that can easily get forgotten, but it is so important because water build-up causes things like mould and rot, which compromise the entire structural integrity of your house. For us, cleaning the gutters is also a great chance to find all the toys and hockey balls that were lost in there over the summer!

7. TIMBEEERRRRR!: Okay, maybe not as dramatic as that, but you really want to consider cutting back shrubs and tree limbs in your yard that could possibly snap off and damage your house or car in one of the many ice storms that are sure to come! With the lightweight, but powerful STIHL MSA 120 C-BQ cordless chain saw, you can cut any hazardous shrubbery or tree branches.

8. Tune Up: It takes the proper tools to get your yard ready for winter and you want to treat those tools with the love they deserve. That said, make sure you clean and store tools properly to ensure they start up with ease the following season. Products like the STIHL HomeScaper Lithium-Ion series make tool care a lot easier, but when in doubt, don’t be afraid to head to your nearest STIHL dealer for a tune up!

As you can see, STIHL has a product for every occasion when it comes to winterizing your home and lawn, so I encourage you to pop into your local STIHL dealer to see what they have in store for you!

I’d also love to hear your best tips for winterizing your home, so please feel free to share them here or on any of my social media channels! You can never be too prepared for winter, especially when it comes to your lawn and garden, so make sure that you are STIHL prepared this fall! You can find out more about STIHL’s products and promotions by visiting STIHL Canada on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, however you really do need to make sure your home is ready for winter and STIHL can definitely help get the job done!

Canadian Dad McCain Potato

More Than Just A Potato

I will freely admit that, prior to this year, on the list of things I am fascinated by, potatoes would have had a fairly low ranking. That has all changed, however, after spending the majority of the past year with McCain Canada, learning the ins and outs of their business. Not only am I now up to my ears in potato knowledge, I have gained a tremendous amount of respect for the farming community and everything they do to ensure my food goes from farm to fork in the safest and healthiest way possible.

My final adventure with McCain Canada for the year took place a couple weeks ago as we visited the beautiful town of Florenceville-Bristol, New Brunswick, which is not only the home of McCain Canada Headquarters but is also known as the French Fry Capital of the World! The purpose of our trip was to tour the McCain plant and also to visit a local McCain grower to see how the potatoes were harvested.

Before we visited the McCain plant, we made a quick stop for lunch at the Potato World Café and Museum, where I had the greatest sandwich I have ever eaten in my life. I don’t really need to say more than Apple, Bacon, Caramel, Grilled Cheese sandwich, do I? It sounded strange to me at first but that sandwich, paired with the crispiest sweet potato fries I’ve ever had, were an amazing start to the trip.

Potato World

Our tour guide, Tammy, knew more about potatoes than I know about anything and I loved seeing all the awesome artifacts in the museum. My favourite fact from the museum tour is that the potato was discovered by Spanish explorers in the 1500’s and became a common food at sea for their sailors when it was discovered that potatoes prevented scurvy. Of course we now know that potatoes are a huge source of potassium and fiber, and I’m thankful they have fended off the scurvy all these years later!

Our next stop was the McCain plant and while we were not permitted to take any photos inside the plant, I can assure you that I looked amazing in my hair and beard nets, along with my hardhat, goggles and jumpsuit. All jokes aside, I was very impressed with how serious McCain is about keeping a clean environment, free of contaminations, and thoroughly enjoyed my visit.

Having a chance to watch the potatoes go from the truck to the conveyor belt and then following them through the washing, peeling, cutting, cooking, freezing and bagging process was really interesting. I was definitely impressed with how little amount of the potatoes get wasted as they have incredible procedures in place to get every bit of goodness out of each potato. There were so many other amazing parts to the tour, however the batter waterfall and steam peeler were definitely two of my favourites.

The following morning we headed off to visit the farm of Eugene Antworth to watch the harvesting process in action. Side note, my son’s favourite toy as a child was a small harvester tractor and I was unprepared for the delight I would have in finally seeing one in person. The little things. We had the chance to talk to Eugene about the challenges of potato farming, one of them being the fact that it was late September and the weather was pushing 40 degrees at 10 in the morning, which meant they would have to shut down the tractors before lunch time to avoid spoiling the potatoes.

McCain Antworth

I noted a hint of pride as Eugene introduced his son, Ethan, who works on the farm and would be driving the harvester for the first time in his young career. Eugene’s other son is currently in school and will join the family business upon completion of his studies. It was a story similar to that of Stan Wiebe’s, who I had the chance to meet during our planting trip in Manitoba during the spring. In talking to Ethan later on I could tell that he was happy to be a part of the family business, as opposed to feeling pressure to follow in his dad’s footsteps.

It was overwhelming to hear Eugene and Ethan talk about everything that goes into growing a well-nurtured crop. Even with the advancements in technology in the industry, growers like the Antworth’s have spent countless hours developing a value-based program in order to maximize the potential of their investment and use modern cultivating practices, follow crop scouting reports and modify their weekly schedules so they can provide the maximum benefit to the crop. The Antworth’s and their crew were absolutely amazing and the views from their farm were second to none.

McCain Antworth View

My takeaway from this year-long partnership was far different than I had expected from the outset. I came away from these experiences with a new appreciation for the food I have the privilege of enjoying and for the growers who help put it on my plate. I was unaware of the role technology played in the farming process and I believe it was Eugene Antworth who told me that the advances of technology in the agriculture field are greater than that of any other field. It was fascinating to watch as tractors guided themselves across fields and drones were used to check on the status of the crops.

Learning about the McCain products by touring the actual factory and seeing the step by step quality assurances in place was extremely reassuring. Also, knowing that McCain frozen grocery potato products are trans-fat-free and many are low in saturated fat and sodium is equally as reassuring as my kids love their potato products.

The biggest takeaway for me, however, is that no matter where we went, the common theme was family. From the Antworth and Wiebe farms to Potato World and from Grama’s restaurant to the McCain factory, it always felt like we were part of a big family. Everyone treated us with the utmost kindness and seemed genuinely happy to have us visiting their place of business. Having been around and still growing after 60 years, it would seem that having a strong, caring family is the true secret to McCain’s success.

Canadian Dad Hold McCain Potato

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in the McCain Farm to Fork campaign, however I wish everyone could take the tours we had the chance to take as they would be guaranteed McCain fans for life.

Workplace Health Month

Do You Celebrate Healthy Workplace Month? Here’s Why You Should!

This post is sponsored by Bayer. To make sure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label.

A lot of you may not have known this but on top of being the month where we get to dress up as our favourite childhood cartoon characters, October is also Healthy Workplace Month! You do want to contribute to a healthy work environment, right? We’re not monsters! Healthy Workplace Month in Canada is about making an effort to create a healthy work environment and I wanted to share some ideas to get you started! I am also giving away a sweet Cold & Flu Essentials kit from Bayer!

The Rule of 20’s

For many of us, a day at work means long hours in front of a computer. According to the Ontario Association of Optometrists, excessive screen time can lead to blurred vision,headaches, tearing or dry and irritated eyes. If you’re feeling the strain, try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break from your screen and focus on something at least 20 feet away from you. To treat the symptoms of dry eye, keep eye drops handy. hydraSense® introduced three new products for dry eyes this year that are worth a second look. The eye drops are preservative free and give you long-lasting relief that’s also gentle on the eyes.

No Play For Mr. Grey

The colours and images around us can affect how we think and feel. Try adding some colour or some family photos to your workspace to spruce up your mood and get away from that grey, dreary feeling that can often take over. Dressing up your surroundings can help your mind gear up for work, de-stress or bring joy to your day.

Move Your Butt!

Breaking up your routine is a great way to clear your head and relieve stress. You may be stuck at work for 8 hours, but you don’t have to take it sitting down! Get up during the day to bounce ideas off of a coworker, take a walking meeting with your team or even get up and do a little dance if you’re feeling brave. If you work from home, a change of scenery may give you new perspective on a tough project. Try hitting a coffee shop or even renting a shared workspace for a few days a week.

C’mon, Get Comfy!

Do you spend a lot of time in an office chair? A few simple tweaks to your workspace can help you cut down on back pain. Keep your spine straight by raising your monitor up to eye level and positioning your knees at a 90-degree angle. If you need fast relief to get back to work, ALEVE® lasts up to 12 hours with just one caplet or liquid gel capsule. It’s no fun trying to get work done when your back hurts, so keep some ALEVE® on hand.

Step Away From That Pizza Pocket!

Proper nutrition is an important part of staying alert and energized at work. If you’re finding it difficult to pack healthy food and snacks throughout the week, share the burden with a few close friends by starting a healthy lunch club. Take turns putting together the next day’s lunch for your group. It’s a great way to share your positive new habits with your coworkers.

GIVEAWAY!!

As mentioned, I am giving away a Cold & Flu Essentials kit from Bayer and all you have to do to enter is fill out as many of the Rafflecopter entries you’d like and I’ll choose a winner in 2 weeks! Good luck and stay healthy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is sponsored by Bayer. To make sure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label.

Screaming Fans, An Historic Result & What Not To Do In Montreal

We recently took a whirlwind 24 hour trip to Montreal to see the World Gymnastics Championships and I had no idea so much could happen in that short an amount of time. Allow me to explain.

As mentioned, a large portion of the gymnasts at our daughter’s gym decided to make the 2-hour trip to Montreal for the weekend to watch the World Gymnastics Championships. While we were excited to see all the gymnasts perform and to cheer on our Canadian team, the girls were most excited to see Canadian Olympian Ellie Black perform and she did not disappoint!

With the girls decked out in their ‘Team Ellie’ shirts, they watched as Ellie Black became the first Canadian gymnast ever to win a medal in the all-around competition at the World Championships! I’ll save my rant for why this didn’t get more mainstream sports media coverage for another time…

Daddy Daughter Gymnastics

Watching the girls, each decked out with their own waving Canadian flag, cheer for their favourite gymnasts was my favourite part of the event as you could see the love of the sport in their eyes throughout the entire competition. I actually found myself getting a bit jealous as I’m not sure I’ve ever been as passionate for anything, outside of poutine, than these girls are about gymnastics. Side note: having been to see the Montreal Canadiens live in Montreal, I have to say that the crowd noise for Ellie and Brooklyn Moors would have given the Habs a run for their money!

We actually arrived in Montreal extra early on Friday so we could check in to our amazing hotel, the Residence Inn Montreal Downtown, and then head over to the Montreal Biodome! Tickets to the Biodome were kindly provided to us by the incredible people at Montreal Tourism, and while we had visited once before with the kids, they were too young to remember, making this a special visit.

Kids Montreal Biodome

I can’t say enough about how great the Montreal Biodome is and it was so much cooler than I remembered it from our previous visit. I’m sure that has nothing to do with the fact that we were lugging a stroller and a toddler with us at the time… My daughter was fascinated with the penguins and my son, who is close to that age where nothing is cool anymore, actually admitted that it was pretty cool and then spent a ton of my money on minerals in the gift shop. For me, the highlight was definitely getting to see 2 parrots having a very loud disagreement about whose branch belonged to whom.

Now, I did mention in the title of this post something you should NOT do while you are in Montreal and that thing occurred as we left Olympic Stadium after the gymnastics competition. I went to check the time and directions to the nearest metro station when I realized that I no longer had my phone on me. It turns out that I dropped it sometime in the final minutes before we left and it was nowhere to be found. To say I handled this situation well would be grossly incorrect but my entire life is on that device, which is kind of sad, and I was worried about whose hands it could end up in.

Kids Montreal Metro

We rushed back to the hotel, plugged in my wife’s phone to charge it to 1% and then I called my phone to see if it would be answered. “Olympic Stadium Security”, the man answered as my stress disappeared in an instant. The good news, bad news of this situation was that stadium security had my phone, but it was back at the stadium and 11pm at night. Luckily for me, and being from the archaic Ottawa system, I cannot stress this enough, the metro system in Montreal is incredible! A $6 return trip and I was back in the hotel with my phone in less than an hour. I’m serious, it would have been a minimum 40 drive each way with traffic and parking to contend with. The metro system was my one of my favourite things about our trip.

Montreal Canadiens Store

When we woke up the next morning, we hit the “make your own waffles” machine at the Residence Inn restaurant, always a hit with the kids, and then we walked to my favourite place in Montreal, the Bell Centre, to visit the Montreal Canadiens landmarks and store! I promised my son we’d get out to his first Canadiens game this year and I intend on keeping that promise!

Montreal Canadiens Dab

Being Thanksgiving weekend and with a full sports slate, we had to rush out of Montreal before lunch but it was an amazing trip with plenty of ups and one self-inflicted down that we will never forget! Thank you to Montreal Tourism for the hospitality and to the organizing committee of the Gymnastics World Championships for the amazing event!!

Cards For Kids Planet Fitness

The Benefits of Kindness & How Planet Fitness Is Paying It Forward

One of the things I am always conscious about is the fact that, because of this blog, my children get to experience things that a lot of other children do not. They have had toys sent to them, met their favourite major league baseball players and been treated like VIP’s at numerous events we have attended. My concern has always been that the kids will become entitled and think that everything in life will be handed to them, when we all know that this isn’t the case.

That’s why my wife and I have been having some really great conversations with kids lately about the importance of kindness and giving back to those less fortunate, and the kids have responded in amazing fashion. They have both agreed to create a giving jar, where they will put away a portion of any money they earn, to be given to the cause of their choice each month. Further to that, my son recently decided that he would set up a driveway booth where he would sell some of his hockey cards, with all the proceeds going to charity.

Cards For Kids Planet Fitness

This month, their earnings will be going to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada! We are also happy to be teaming up with Planet Fitness, the innovative health club franchise known for its Judgement Free Zone® and affordable prices. Planet Fitness will be inviting Canadians to join their clubs for $5 down and as low as $10 a month, which includes donating 100% of the enrollment fees to Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada as part of their Judgement Free Generation™ initiative! This incredible campaign runs October 2-13.

Give Jars Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness has also challenged my kids, and children everywhere, to display what a bullying-free world looks like to them, or to show an act of kindness. If you feel like sharing your child’s vision or act, you can do so by tagging Planet Fitness Canada on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and by using the hashtag #JudgementFreeGen! Furthermore, if you have been debating that gym membership, there’s no better time than now to head into of Planet Fitness’s 15 locations across Canada!

Planet Fitness Canada Picture

Here’s more information on Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada:

Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada is dedicated to supporting and encouraging children and youth as they discover, develop and achieve great futures. They are a national charity serving 96 member Clubs that provide services to 200,000 young people in 625 locations across Canada. For 116 years, They have welcomed children, youth and their families into Clubs that reflect the diversity of Canada in small and large cities, and rural and Indigenous communities. Visit www.bgccan.com and follow them at www.facebook.com/bgccan and www.twitter.com/bgccan.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Planet Fitness. The opinions on this blog are my own.