Chris Read Plan Canada GOAT

Be The G.O.A.T. By Giving The Gift Of … A Goat!

It occurred to me recently, that with the hectic schedule we have been keeping, I hadn’t been budgeting in time to continue teaching the kids about the importance of giving back. We are so blessed with the ability to put our kids in the sports they want and to not worry about things like not having food on the table, that it’s easy to forget that not everyone is so fortunate.

After learning about Plan International Canada’s Gifts of Hope program and looking through the various gifts with my kids, I decided that this would be my ask for Father’s Day this year. My ultimate hope is to set an example for my kids in showing them that providing a gift for someone else can be a gift in itself.

Plan International Canada is a global children’s rights and gender equality organization, and the Gifts of Hope are not symbolic, they make a real difference. The gift you choose is the gift someone will physically receive. For instance, the $75 for a goat goes directly to a goat program that purchases goats and provides training in raising and breeding goats in countries like Cameroon. Not surprisingly, the gift of a goat was my kids’ favourite option.

While there are more than 50 gifts to choose from in the Gifts of Hope catalogue, there was one that stood out above the rest for me. Strong Dad, Strong Family helps facilitate community fathers’ groups, where men can meet to learn and talk about such topics as maternal, newborn and child health, sexual and reproductive health including family planning, and men’s roles in these areas. There could be no better gift this Father’s Day than to help other dads around the globe!

It doesn’t take much to have a huge impact and with gifts starting at just $10, there’s something for every type of budget. Please take a moment to check out the Gifts of Hope catalogue and take a minute to be the GOAT (Greatest Of All-Time) for someone who truly needs it!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Plan Canada.

Blank Wall BestCanvas

A Naked Wall Is A Boring Wall

We have lived in our current house for almost 10 years and for some reason I only just recently started noticing that we had a lot of empty wall space. I think a large part of the problem is that we use social media so much to share pictures these days, that I rarely get anything physically printed to put up around the house.

It was perfect timing when I received a message from BestCanvas.ca asking if I wanted to collaborate with them, because a wonderful account on Instagram had just created a beautiful artwork of my daughter from her last gymnastics event and I knew we had to do something with it.

I browsed the BestCanvas.ca website and found the perfect Canvas Print almost immediately! Having never ordered a canvas print online before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I can now tell you with 100% certainty that not only did my daughter love the print, which we gave her for her 9th birthday, but it’s going to look amazing next to her trophy case!

You didn’t think I was going to leave you empty-handed, did you?? If you use the code CANADIANDAD when checking out at BestCanvas.ca, you will get 15% off your order! I’d love to take all the credit for this but really it was BestCanvas.ca’s doing. If you do end up ordering something, please feel free to share it on social media and tag me so I can see how great your canvas print looks!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary canvas print in exchange for this post and yes, I will be using my own discount code to order more prints in the future.

Funny Parenting Tweets 5

Funniest Parenting Tweets of the Week!

It’s time to laugh with some of the funniest parents from around the internet! Each week we’ll share what we deem to be the funniest tweets about parenting, so you can spend you Monday mornings laughing out loud for strangers on the bus!

Canadian Dad Funniest Tweets 4

Funniest Parenting Tweets of the Week!

We’re starting a new feature on the blog to showcase some of the funniest parents from around the internet! Each week we’ll share what we deem to be the funniest tweets about parenting, so you can spend you Monday mornings laughing out loud for strangers on the bus!

Canadian Dad Funniest Parenting Tweets 3

Funniest Parenting Tweets of the Week!

We’re starting a new feature on the blog to showcase some of the funniest parents from around the internet! Each week we’ll share what we deem to be the funniest tweets about parenting, so you can spend you Monday mornings laughing out loud for strangers on the bus!

Canadian Dad Funniest Parenting Tweets 2

Funniest Parenting Tweets of the Week!

We’re starting a new feature on the blog to showcase some of the funniest parents from around the internet! Each week we’ll share what we deem to be the funniest tweets about parenting, so you can spend you Monday mornings laughing out loud for strangers on the bus!

Canadian Dad Funniest Parenting Tweets 1

Funniest Parenting Tweets of the Week!

We’re starting a new feature on the blog to showcase some of the funniest parents from around the internet! Each week we’ll share what we deem to be the funniest tweets about parenting, so you can spend you Monday mornings laughing out loud for strangers on the bus!

Simone Biles 1

Searching For Simone

If there’s one thing I have learned about parenting, it’s that you never truly know just how far you will go to make your kids happy. For instance, let’s say that you were going to be spending a week in the same hotel as your child’s sports hero. While there is definitely the option of ignoring that fact and moving on with your day, one must also consider the look of sheer joy on your child’s face when they see that hero from across the room.

Simone Biles 1

This was the dilemma I found myself in as we spent the past week in Houston, Texas at the Simone Biles International Invitational Gymnastics Meet. For those of you who don’t know who Simone Biles is, I think it’s fair to say that by the time she retires, she will be one of the most decorated gymnasts ever. So, in my daughter’s world, she’s kind of a big deal. In the weeks leading up to the event, I tried to woo Simone into taking a team photo with our girls by promising to embarrass myself in front of large crowds of people (you’ve all seen this orange leotard by now). While I got a like or two from her on Twitter, no dialogue took place.

Simone Biles Leotard

I know you may be thinking “Why do something embarrassing when you could simply approach her at the event?” That’s an excellent question, and I’ll tell you a couple reasons why. There were approximately 1600 gymnasts registered for this event, meaning it was unlikely that Simone would dare walk through the lobby of the hotel. Also, I have seen these girls in action as they try to get photos with their favourite gymnasts and knowing how badly my 8 year old wanted to meet Simone, I knew she’d need a photographer to tag along with her…

It was my son, of all people, who spotted her first, and as I watched the swarm of girls running up the stairwell Simone has just vanished into, I realized that the game had just begun. My father introduced me to Sherlock Holmes when I was young, and I had always believed that he was the smartest detective on the planet. That was until I saw this group of young gymnasts piecing together the clues of where Simone would turn up next. If I’m being completely honest, there were times where I felt uncomfortable about the whole thing, but seeing my daughter’s tears of joy after simply being in the same room as Simone Biles, I pressed on.

Simone Biles

By the 3rd day, the girls figured they had enough information to make their dream of a photo with Simone come true. They had the hotel layout down, they knew who the security guard to watch was, and they knew that Simone was handing out the medals for some of the events. Frankly, if they don’t get jobs in law enforcement, I’d be shocked. And then it finally happened. We were sitting in the lobby late that night, possibly even later than we should have, sorry coaches, when Simone popped up right behind us. I flagged my little one and as the others stared in awe, she bravely approached her hero to ask for a photo.

There was one part of their plan the kids hadn’t taken into account. This was a busy weekend for their gymnastics icon as she worked long hours to hand out as many medals as possible, and by the end of the day she was tired. I completely understood when she answered my daughter with “hi sweetie, I’m not taking any pictures tonight”, but I knew that I would need to act quickly to do some damage control. As my little turned back towards me and the tears began to fill her eyes, my wife and I reminded her that while it wasn’t the result she was hoping for, she had just had a conversation with the reigning Olympic gold medalist! And you know what? It worked! Her tears quickly turned into a smile and we celebrated a small victory.

Simone Biles Smiles

If that was how this story ended, we would have been more than happy. The girls had a great time chasing Simone Biles around the hotel, often shouting “We love you, Simone”, and often getting a wave back from her. They’d giggle and run down to tell the parents what had just happened and we’d laugh to each other about how excited they were. Fate, it would seem, was on our side this weekend and not surprisingly, this story ends with me excusing myself from a room due to overwhelming tears of joy.

I mentioned earlier that Simone was handing out the awards for some of the events, however, due to the fact that there were 3 venues, no one knew which ones she would be attending. As we sat in the awards room, watching the girls collect their medals, I kept peeking at the secret door in the back of the room, willing her to bust through. I’m glad I took a video because most of what happened next was a blur. I remember the moment my daughter saw her. I remember hearing her name get called. And I remember the biggest smile I’ve ever seen as the medal got placed around her neck.

Simone Biles Excitement

As I moved to the back of the room and began talking to another parent about my daughter’s excitement, I started to feel the familiar sting of tears that has become common since becoming a parent. I left the room for a moment to gather myself and made it back in time for the cherry on top of the weekend. A team photo with Simone. It was perfect.

Simone Biles Team Picture

We came home with some new hardware, better friendships and some amazing memories. Not to be outdone, as the final award ceremony concluded, the parents decided that after all our hard work, we wanted a photo with Simone as well… I hope she knows that the younger kids really do look up to her and that all the intrusions were done out of love and admiration.

Simone Biles Parent Picture

Gymnastics Triumph

Resilience, Determination And Making Your Parents Cry

It was almost 1 year ago today that we drove our daughter to go watch her friends compete in their 1st gymnastics meet of the season. Unfortunately for her, she wouldn’t be competing as an injury forced her to miss her first full season of competition. While this could have been a devastating setback for some, we were amazed when she was back training in the gym only a couple days after getting her cast put on her arm.

Gymnast Cast Stretches

It probably shouldn’t have shocked us that much as our daughter has been amazing us since she was born, but still, this level of determination and love for her sport is something I’m not sure ever I had as a child and I loved sports. I remember dropping her off at training and watching as she worked just as hard as she ever has, cast and all. I’d wonder if she felt any pain or discomfort. I’d ask leading questions, so not to make it seem like I was making a big deal out of it. “Nope, I’m fine, practice was really fun”, she would answer.

Gymnastics Cast

She trained and trained all year long, all while her friends competed and showed off their medals with pride, and there were a LOT of medals! Yet, she never complained. She never seemed jealous. She’d hug them and watch their competitions online when it was available and congratulate them on all their achievements. Now I’m going to be perfectly honest here. While we try our best to teach our kids good sportsmanship, I’m not sure I would have handled her situation even close to the way she did if I were put in her shoes. To say that we were proud of her would be a severe understatement.

As we geared up for this year’s competition season, I’m not going to lie, I have been extra cautious with my little jelly bean. She likes to wrestle with daddy, but I’ve had to cut back on it, just in case. There has been extra hand holding while out in public and I may be cutting the grapes a little smaller than I normally do. You can call it helicopter parenting if you’d like but selfishly, I want to see her do the thing she’s been training to do for almost 2 years now!

Gymnastics Dad Twitter

We were finally able to see her perform at her first ever competition this past weekend and as you can imagine, there were a lot of emotions for everyone involved, especially mom and dad. I had mentioned to someone the other day that it seems to take way less to make me cry these days as it used to, and this was no exception. I had so many favourite parts that I’d need a whole other story to cover them all. That said, at one point during her floor warm-up, she took a hard fall while attempting a move she had just recently learned. Everyone in the crowd gasped as she hit the floor, but not only did she get up smiling, she absolutely nailed the move when it mattered most and everyone gave her a huge cheer. Full disclosure, I’m tearing up again right now while writing about it.

Gymnastics Competition

The thing I love most about her gym is that they don’t focus on how many medals you win. They are more concerned with working hard and improving on your personal bests each time out. This was one competition none of us will soon forget. I have watched the videos of her routines over and over again, getting equally emotional every single time. We couldn’t be more proud of our little girl and the hard work she has put in to get to this point. The sky is the limit for her and we can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next, even though I may have suffered a mild heart attack during every single event last weekend…

STIHL Canada Flag

The Do’s and Don’ts of Chainsaw Use!

Over the past few months, I have been talking to you about how I like to use my STIHL Lithium-Ion Chainsaw to get things done. We have talked about getting your yard ready for summer and gone over tips on how to be a helpful neighbour, but now is time for the most important lesson of all! Here is my definitive list on the Do’s and Don’ts of owning a chainsaw.

STIHL Post 3 Bubble Wrap

Do NOT – Protect yourself by wrapping yourself in bubble wrap. Bubble wrap is excellent for shipping fragile items in the mail. I use it all the time and, in fact, this may not be the only time I have wrapped myself in it… That said, bubble wrap is a terrible choice when it comes to protecting yourself while using your STIHL chainsaw.

DO – Use tested and approved protective chaps. As you will see in this video, STIHL’s protective chaps were made with specific fibers to withstand an accidental touch on your leg. You definitely don’t want to leave anything to chance when thinking about safety while using a chainsaw. Along with protective chaps, STIHL recommends also wearing safety gloves, a protective helmet, protective gloves, safety shoes, and protective eyewear.

STIHL Canada Juggling

Do NOT – Attempt to juggle chainsaws at your child’s birthday party. As awesome as your kids may think you are for doing this, that will take a very quick turn when they realize that you do not even know how to juggle balls yet, let alone chainsaws!

DO – Use your chainsaw to clean up your yard before attempting to juggle balls at your child’s birthday party. On second thought, just don’t do any juggling at your child’s birthday. Nobody wants to see that; however, all the kids will be excited to have a nice clean yard to play in before the cake comes out!

STIHL Canada Careless

Do NOT – Leave your chainsaw lying around when you are finished with it. I get it, yard work can be tiring, but the job isn’t completely finished until everything is put away properly.

DO – Store your chainsaw in a dry, ventilated and safe place, away from kids’ curious hands. I’m not sure what more needs to be said here. Keep your chainsaw away from your kids’ toys and make sure it’s in a safe place where it won’t get ruined.

STIHL Canada Scare Kids

Do NOT – Scare your children by jumping out from behind the shower curtain while wearing a hilarious mask and carrying your chainsaw… Hilarious? Definitely! Safe in any way whatsoever for anyone involved?? Definitely NOT! I can’t stress enough that you should never, ever do this under any circumstances!

DO – Teach your children that you are a responsible adult who takes the appropriate safety precautions when getting ready to use your STIHL Lithium-Ion Chainsaw on the tasks that it was designed for.

And that wraps up my definitive list of Do’s and Don’ts for proper chainsaw use. I hope you found it helpful, along with my other posts this year, and I highly encourage you to look into STIHL’s line of lithium-ion chainsaws as mine has absolutely cut my yard work time in half this year. Yep, I closed with a chainsaw pun. Deal with it!

*Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this campaign.*