PlasmaCar Review & Giveaway from @PlaSmart (US/CAN)

One of the things the amazing people at PlaSmart said when they agreed to let me do a review and giveaway of one of their PlasmaCars, was that I should only use photos or videos that I took myself.

As you can see from the image above, it looks as though I didn’t follow their instructions very closely….

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I can assure you that those 4 PlasmaCars all belong to me! You see, my wife runs a daycare in her spare time (LOL, kidding honey!) and we have 6 kids in the house at any given time.

Even with the 4 PlasmaCars, we still have fights over who gets to use them! The point is, these are probably the greatest toys ever made! Seriously, the kids (and Daddy) love them and use them literally everyday. On top of that, they are perfect for all ages!

My son even took his out in the snow this year because he was tired of waiting for winter to end. True story!

I’m so proud to be able to bring you this amazing giveaway, where PlaSmart will send the winner a PlasmaCar of their very own! All you have to do is use the RaffleCopter form below and I’ll notify the winner by email. Please read the Terms & Conditions before entering so we don’t have to do the awkward rules dance later!

With that, I leave you with this short video of my 1 year old daughter enjoying her PlasmaCar! Proof that they are suitable for all ages, lol. Good Luck!!

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Super Mario For A Day Courtesy Of Costume Discounters

I was thrilled to be contacted by the fine people from CostumeDiscounters.com to see if I’d like to review one of their products.

Clearly, as a Dad blogger and the owner of adorably cute children, they knew that my kids would look great in any of their costumes.

Unfortunately, they didn’t know that I am also a lover of wearing costumes, so I threw them a curve ball and ordered one for myself! Here’s the proof:

I have to say, the costume showed up in record time and all in one piece. My dealings with the fine folks at Costume Discounters were nothing but spectacular and I absolutely recommend them for all your costume needs!

Back to me for a minute though….I wanted to really test out the costume so that my review reflected the product and wasn’t just lip service to a client. I decided to test it out to see how it worked in real life situations.

You know, things like pretending to drive while playing MarioKart on the Nintendo Wii:

I also put it to the ultimate test by making dinner for my family. Spaghetti, a Mario specialty! From scratch too!

The costume passed all other tests it was given and is still in tip top shape and ready for my son’s Mario party next weekend. Seriously, I’m using it to entertain all the children at my son’s birthday party. Don’t worry, I’ll post videos!

In all seriousness, everything at CostumeDiscounters.com is of the highest quality and I dare you to find a place to get your costumes for a cheaper price (making your own doesn’t count!). For real, if you find an identical costume for less on the net, they will match the price AND give you an additional 20% off!!

Make sure to check out their Facebook Page for more great deals and information.

Thanks to the staff at CostumeDiscounters.com for providing me with the costume in order to facilitate this review.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have a long day of plumbing ahead of me and I’m out of here! (I think that’s still Mario’s profession…)

Cheers!!

Win A #RogersSmartHome Monitoring System Valued at Over $1500 (Ontario Only)

With a young family and hectic work schedule, it’s important for me to know that my family is safe while I’m not there. I came across a commercial for the new Smart Home Monitoring Systems from Rogers and was very impressed with the attention to detail they’ve included. The Rogers Smart Home Monitoring System allows you to see who’s at your door, even when you’re not there, just by checking your smart phone or tablet*.

From now until May 16th, you can enter to WIN 1 of 5 Smart Home Monitoring Systems from Rogers. Each prize is valued at over $1500 and the contest is open to Ontario Residents Only. Enter Here Today!

The best part about this contest is that you can earn Extra Ballots simply by sharing with your friends and family so be sure to SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!!

Here are some of the amazing features of the Rogers Smart Home Monitoring System :

    * Real-Time 24/7 Monitoring,
    * Instant Customizable Alerts,
    * View & Control Your Home Remotely,
    * Ability to Automate Sensors, Thermostat, Lights & Appliances,
    * Save Energy & Money,
    * Much, Much More.**

***********************************************************************

It’s so easy to enter. All you have to do is visit the Contest Page and complete these 4 easy steps:

Page 1: Enter the contest by providing your contact information
Page 2: Answer a “what’s important to you” question (Don’t worry, there’s only 3 boxes to click)
Page 3: Check the boxes that apply to you (4 survey questions)
Page 4: Share & Share some more! Increase your chances of winning by sharing via social channels & email (there are simple share buttons for Facebook, Twitter & Email) but you can share it other places as long as you use your PURL (Personal URL).

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Each Prize is valued at $1,518.83 and includes:

* 1 Touchpad
* 3 Door/Window Sensors
* 1 Motion Detector
* 1 Key fob
* 1 Security Camera
* 1 Thermostat
* 1 Lamp Dimmer Module (including professional installation)
* Monitoring Service for one year

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If you’re still not excited about the Rogers Smart Home Monitoring System, have a look at this video and I promise you’ll change your mind!

*Works with any smart phone/tablet, please visit the Rogers website for more details.
**System connected by wires and via cellular.

Disclaimer: Canadian Dad or those affiliated with this blog are not responsible for any changes Rogers may make, choosing the winner or shipping this prize. I have been hired by a marketing company on behalf of Rogers Smart Home to share this contest with you.

Win 1 of 5 #RogersSmartHome Monitoring Systems – Value $1500+ (Ontario Only)

As a shift worker, it’s important to me to be able to make sure my family is safe while I’m not there. That’s why I’m so excited to be working with Rogers on their innovative new Smart Home Monitoring Systems. The comfort I get knowing my family is safe helps me rest easy while I’m at work. The Rogers Smart Home Monitoring System allows you to see who’s at your door, even when you’re not there, just by checking your smart phone or tablet*.

Staring March 1st, you can enter to WIN 1 of 5 Smart Home Monitoring Systems from Rogers. The prize is valued just over $1,500 {for Ontario residents only} and ends May 16, 2012. Enter Here Today!

You can earn Extra Ballots for this contest by sharing with your friends and family so be sure to SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!!

The Rogers Smart Home Monitoring System features:

    * Real time 24/7 monitoring,
    * Instant customizable alerts,
    * View and control your home remotely,
    * Ability to automate sensors, thermostat, lights and appliances,
    * Save energy and save money,
    * Much, much more.**

***********************************************************************

When you go to the Contest Page,there are just 4 easy steps needed to enter:

Page 1: Enter the contest by providing your contact information
Page 2: Answer a “what’s important to you” question (Don’t worry, there’s only 3 boxes to click)
Page 3: Check the boxes that apply to you (4 survey questions)
Page 4: Share! Increase your chances of winning by sharing via social channels/email (there are simple share buttons for Facebook, Twitter & Email) but you can share it other places as long as you use your PURL.

************************************************************************

Prize valued at $1,518.83 each and includes:

* 1 Touchpad
* 3 Door/Window Sensors
* 1 Motion Detector
* 1 Key fob
* 1 Security Camera
* 1 Thermostat
* 1 Lamp Dimmer Module (including professional installation)
* Monitoring Service for one year

**************************************************************************

For more info on how the Rogers Smart Home Monitoring System works, check out this video!

*Works with any smart phone/tablet, please visit the Rogers website for more details.
**System connected by wires and via cellular.

Disclaimer: Canadian Dad or those affiliated with this blog are not responsible for any changes Rogers may make, choosing the winner or shipping this prize. I have been hired by a marketing company on behalf of Rogers Smart Home to share this contest with you.

Review: FunHaven in Ottawa

I took my son to this new kids place in Ottawa called FunHaven. Anyone who knows me is aware that I like going to these types of places about as much as the kids do, so my excitement level was pretty high.

Before we left the house, my son gave me some more material for my “Sh*t My Kids Say” section. Strange kid for sure, lol.

On to the show, we arrived at our destination and we were both giddy with anticipation at what lay ahead.

We got to the counter and paid for the package that included jungle gym time + the mini bowling experience. It was about $24 after taxes, which seemed reasonable, plus I didn’t have to pay to supervise my son, which is a plus for me.

I was excited to play the bumper cars but they were all broken so it was a No-Go. Disappointed to say the least.

Ah well, at least we had the mini bowling to look forward to. Or at least we thought we did.

There were 4 lanes for mini bowling, however 3 of them were broken and the line of people waiting for the single open lane was staggering. We opted for the jungle area with ball pit.

The first thing I noticed about the jungle area is that they had employees standing at the gates but they didn’t seem to be doing anything. My son and I walked right in and then right out again with no questions. I’m not really sure what their role was but I’m hoping it wasn’t to make sure kids didn’t leave unattended because they were not paying attention at all.

The Jungle/Ball Pit is neat. It has these cool cannons that fire harmless foam balls around the open area in the middle of it all. We went to try it but once again a couple of them were broken, leaving only a couple other cannons for like 40 kids. My son is only three and I’m not a parent that can approach other people’s kids to tell them to share. It just doesn’t feel right.

The other issue I had with the jungle area was that there was no one enforcing any sort of order in there. There were kids climbing up the slides and others throwing balls at kids coming down the slides (including my son). I agree that it is the parents responsibility to discipline their kids but from looking around, I could tell that most of the parent’s there had no interest in discipline and were there for the rest on the couches.

Once we left the jungle area, we decided to try out the bowling again. It looked like one of the broken lanes was fixed but upon closer inspection, it was zapping in and out of consciousness. I asked an employee about it but he just shrugged and walked away with no explanation. We threw a couple balls while it worked but my son was getting frustrated at the fact that it kept breaking dow so we moved on.

The gaming area was alright, we played some spin the wheel game and sat in the racing car game seats. My son thought he was driving the car, which was probably the highlight for me, lol. “I won, I won” he exclaimed at one point.

We got a swipe card when we got in (standard procedure at these types of places now) and when I decided it was time to go, we went to see how many points he had on it. 59 points was the total and the girl at the counter was very nice and bumped us up to 60 so my son could get what he wanted.

Overall, I was disappointed with our trip to FunHaven and thought it was going to be a lot more fun than it turned out to be. A lot of stuff was broken, Mini bowling, bumper cars, 2 cannons and a couple of the toddler games. There were some pluses such as price and prizes but it definitely wasn’t an experience to write home about.

I was also disappointed at the lack of stuff for anyone under 3-4 years old to do. They have one play structure but that’s about it. For people with young families, this is not somewhere to bring your very young kids.

I think from now on we’ll stick to Cosmic Adventures. They are a little more expensive but you get way more for your money in my opinion. I hate doing negative reviews but I can only call it the way we saw it. Too much broken equipment for such a new place.

Have you been to FunHaven? Let me know what you thought, who knows, you might even change my mind about it!

Cheers!

PlaSmart Perplexus Review and Giveaway

Remember the game Labryinth? Yeah, me neither. At least not since I played the amazing 3D maze that is the Perplexus Original.

The fine folks at PlaSmart Inc were kind enough to help out a new blogger by providing me with one of their most popular toys, a Perplexus Original, to do a review and giveaway.

The first thing that happened when I first took the Perplexus out of the box, was that my 1 year old daughter grabbed it and wouldn’t let anyone touch it for the rest of the night. To avoid a tantrum, we obliged.

So the first night didn’t go as planned. On to Day 2!

My son is 3 years old and with the recommended age being 6+, I figured the best person to review this toy would be me and my work friends. I did let my son try it out and he did surprisingly well, getting all the way to 23 by himself before dropping the ball.

The point of the Perplexus is to get the little ball from levels 1 to 100 while navigating through the incredibly challenging 3D maze. To say this game has it all, would be an understatement.

I brought it to work to try it out and I rarely got to touch it. I placed it on my desk and before I knew it, people I rarely see, were popping in to say hi and to try out the new gadget propped up on my desk. It was actually nice because I got to see first hand, what this game can do.

I saw joy, excitement, sadness, anger, greed, anticipation, concentration and finally, I saw pure child like elation as the first person managed to finish all the levels.

Who was that person you ask?

Why it was me, of course! Who else could possibly tame this beast on the first day but the self proclaimed “Puzzle Master”?

On of my favorite features about this game is that it is broken down into levels, sort of like the show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”. Once you get past level 26, you get to start at the second starting point for each subsequent crack at it. The same goes for level 59, where you then get to start at the third position. From 59 to 100 though, it’s all you.

I thought after finishing all the levels, that I would lose interest in the game but that could not have been further from what happened. We actually began running time trials to see who could beat it the fastest and the game took on a new life.

The best news of the day came while I was browsing the Perplexus website and I noticed that there were two other versions of this game, The Perplexus Rookie (75 levels) and the Perplexus Epic (125 levels). Needless to say, we were playing the Perplexus Epic at work the next day….

This game is perfect for kids and adults alike, whether you are a puzzle nerd or not, the Perplexus will have you coming back for more. It’s an excellent centerpiece for a coffee table and guarantees to have your company talking about it and laughing with each other as you battle to be the first to the finish line.

PlaSmart does not sell direct from their website but they do provide a handy “Where 2 Buy” section on their website.

Please feel free to Like PlaSmart Perplexus on Facebook and don’t forget to Follow them on Twitter.

I wanted to leave you with one final glimpse inside the Perplexus world by providing you with a short video entitled the “Faces Of Perplexus”. It is on my “YouTube channel” and I hope it shines a light on exactly how badly you need to get one or all of these toys. I mean like now! Go Get One!

Thanks to the fine people at PlaSmart for taking a chance on a new blogger, it was very much appreciated!

Now on to the good stuff!! If you would like a Perplexus Original of your very own, all you have to do is enter the contest below and PlaSmart will send one to our lucky winner!!

Cheers!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Majestic Colonial Punta Cana Resort

My wife and I went to Punta Cana (sans kids) for a friends wedding last year and our stay at the Majestic Colonial was excellent, and only got hampered by an injury that had nothing to do with the resort. Here is my review, in case you are planning a vacation to Punta Cana.

 

Flight: I hate flying and the descent into Punta Cana was the scariest of my life but we landed fine and it was probably the most normal turbulance/air pocket most people encounter. This has nothing to do with the resort but I thought I’d give the entire picture. I’ve also heard that most descents into the Dominican can be rough ones.
Upon landing, 1000 guys try to take your bags for you and utter incoherent gibberish to try to confuse you as they are looking for tips. For you first timers, a firm “No Thanks” is what you have to do or they will keep trying to grab your stuff.

Arrival at Resort: A pleasant crew unload your bags and ask you to check in but before you get to the front desk, you are met with a nice cold towel and a drink, which is a very nice touch. Once you get to the desk, we were met with a pleasant “Hola” and then immediately offered a room upgrade:)) We passed and found that , throughout the week, the more times you say no to the upgrade, the cheaper the rate gets:)

Our Room: We were at the far end of the resort, which is a long walk from the front desk but it also helped me to maintain my original weight throughout the week. Plus we were the only ones in our group with a balcony that offered a great view of the beach. It ended up working out as our group was either at the beach or the swim up pool bar for most of the week and our room was right next to each.

The room was tidy and the shower was amazing, great water pressure and 2 shower heads. Was tough to remember no to drink the water while brushing my teeth but I managed to get through the week without forgetting. The only complaint I had was that our room was at the end of the cleaning route so our room wouldn’t get turned over until late in the afternoon.

Restaurants: This was my favorite part of the trip as I love my food. We tried all the restaurants except the Seafood Place (because I hate Seafood) and the Mexican place, as it got bad reviews by a bunch of people we were with and others we had met. Here is my experience:

Main Buffet: Clean, Stocked and Delicious. There was so much food to choose from that it was hard not to be happy with your selections. If you don’t like pre-cooked food, there were about 4 stations you could go to in order to get food made right in front of you. The bacon was out of this world and I made sure to take full advantage:)) For breakfast, the French Toast was great but my daily routine was visiting the sandwich press operator and getting an amazing Ham, Bacon, Cheese & Mayo sandwich which they put together for you and grilled to perfection.

The lunch selection was fantastic as well but most of our lunches were had at the beach buffet.

Beach Buffet: Less selection than the main but an outdoor buffet that overlooks the beach is too good to pass up. Daily favorite was the Panini station, which is similar to my breakfast sandwich but different ingredients. The cook always made the same joke everyday about putting sardines on the panini and always faked putting some on it but it never got old and he ended up with some pretty good tips from our group:)

Fast Food Place: Hidden down the marketplace alleyway is a divey fast food place which opened from 11pm to 4am and offered all your favorites like hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, fries, onion rings and of course, lots of beer. We ended up there on a few occasions and were never disappointed in our orders.

Steakhouse: In the same place as the Beach Buffet, we ate at the Steakhouse twice and had varying results. The first night there, I got the sirloin and was underwhelmed by the taste and texture. The battered pinneapple/chicken skewer appetizer was amazing though. The second trip was much better as I ordered the Chateaubriand andit lived up to it’s billing. I tiped one of the waiters $5 at the beginning of the meal and he basically sat with us the whole dinner, making sure we had everything we needed. Good Dude.

Japanese Experience: The most fun I had at a dinner, make sure you make a reservation for the demonstration and not just a walk in meal. Our cook, Raphael, was great at entertaining and had a sixth sense about when a photo was about to be taken, as he posed perfectly at a secondsd notice. He also looked exactly like Kobe Bryant, which was cool to this sports fan. The food was great and I even tried shrimp and Sushi for the first time. Don’t worry though, they also serve beef and chicken, which is also delicious.

French Gourmet: Saving the best for last, my experience at the Gourmet was the best food I’ve ever had. I ordered the lobster bisk (again a first) and it was good but the Churasco wrapped around asparagus, on top of the best mashed potatoes in the world, made me want to take 5 minutes for every bite. Follow all that up with Red Wine and Creme Brule and it was a food night to remember.

The Beach: The beach was pristine, the servers were prompt and the fish were everywhere for a great underwater experience. We did the Banana Boat Ride for $12 which was worth every penny as the boat driver did everything in his power to throw us from the narrow raft. I did get offered some “good stuff” one of the days but it was more funny than disturbing. No complaints about the beach, I can’t think of anything that could have been improved with it. The sunrise/sunsets are to die for, don’t be afraid to wake up early a couple of days, you won’t be sorry.

The Pool/Swim Up Bar: My crew set up shop daily right across from the swim up bar in the pool. We staked our claim to a particular spot every day and spent a good 4 hours there, playing football and soaking the days away. The staff were good but at certain times seemed disinterested, which was fine by me as they kept up with the drink demands. We met some cool people and befriended some cool British kids, who we shared our football with and in exchange, they taught us some funny slang words:))

The Entertainment: We didn’t go to the resort for the entertainment so it wasn’t a problem for any of us that it was subpar in general. The “Pump Up Crew” they have are kind of cheesy but still fun in general and you can tell they work long, hard hours, even though it seems like their job is just partying. Daily pool side dance lessons and funny drinking contests are all part of the fun.

As for the night time stuff, the Michael Jackson experience lived up to it’s billing and is a must see. The Karaoke nights were a lot of fun and people seemed to really enjoy watching others get up there but they only lasted 1 hour, which was waaaaay too short for such a crowd pleasing event. And the 70/80/90’s dance night was fun for anyone who loves to dance the night away. I didn’t make it to the discoteque but I heard from a lot of people that the guy to girl ratio was like 40 to 1 so for all you single men out there, not the best odds.

The Casino was small and had only a few slot machines and tables. The slot machines couldn’t handle a large volume and often broke down. I wasn’t there to gamble so no big deal.

The Marketplace: There are a number of stores along the walkway and each have varying prices. I got a vibe that they were not the bartering type of shops but found out that everyone has their price so don’t be afraid to try to lower the price a bit.

Once a week, the flea market shops come and set up booths down the walkway and that’s where the real deals are made. I hate haggling but found it easy with the pushy nature of some of these guys. Always trying to give you free stuff to lure you in, don’t take it unless you are going to buy something else. We ended up getting some very good deals and found that an opening price of $95 can easily end at paying $20. Walking away is a strong tactic here, so is changing the game a bit. If they want $25, you say that you’ll give $20 and $2-3 for the seller and their attitude quickly changes to your side. That $2-3 is more than the commission they’ll get for the $5 on the actual price. I don’t know if I’m supposed to be writing this stuff but I wish I had had this info before hand.

Off Resort Flea Market: We went off the resort about a 5-10 minute walk to the local flea market and had an interesting experience. A lot of people were hesitant about us going off the resort but I checked with our tour rep and the ffront desk and both said it was safe. I never felt uncomfortable at any point and recommend the experience to others.
The first booth I went into, I bartered down a price and even though I paid more than I should have, the seller said to me (after I paid) that he didn’t believe I was Canadian because I was too cheap….and then had the nerve to ask for a $1 commission. Yeah Right! After that, we met a nice Haitian (second shop on the left) who lured us into his shop by telling us he wouldn’t bother us like the other shop owners. He kept his word and his prices were so good, the need to barter was minimal. He also threw in a bunch of extra stuff (shot glasses, bracelets) after I had already paid. Good Salesmanship!!

Overall, good market experience but very tiring to barter for over an hour…

The Medical Center: I wish I hadn’t had to go here but my wife got a very bad sunburn and her ankles & feet got really swollen. I got a feeling like there wasn’t much the Doc was going to be able to do and I was right. He recommended that we go the hospital and we started panicking. Luckily I had travel insurance so the whole ordeal was covered but it was anything but enjoyable. For the record, this was not the resort’s problem and I wouldn’t hold this against my experience with them.

The Doc called an ambulance and we began our 4 hour journey off the resort at midnight in the middle of the DR. Any driving is scary in this place but the ambulance ride with my wife and no seatbelts was the scariest of my life. Flying around cars and crazy turns made my stomach turn. At the hospital, there was very little english and we could only have faith in their medical system as the plugged the IV into my wife’s arm and gave us a bunch of prescription medication for her to bring back to the resort. Scary times for sure but long story short, we got back safely at about 3am, went for fast food and we are now back home and have a new prescription for an allergic reaction. Was a little surprised at the lack of english speaking staff at the hospital though, very scary ordeal, I recommed not getting injured while visiting here:))

Odds & Ends: My friend and I are in a band back home and he brought his guitar. We set up shop in the lower lobby bar one night with about 10 of our friends and played music til about 2 am. No one complained and in fact, people started coming over to sing with us, even the bartender came over, requested La Bamba and then danced on the sofa when we obliged.

Most of the staff were courteous and eager to help out but there were some that seemed disinterested in smiling or putting forth any effort. I always tried to reward the really friendly ones with generous tips but not fully understanding the economic climate there, it was hard to tell if my tips really helped.

I had an issue with the Coffee providers being called “Coffee Boy” and wondered if Coffee Guy or Coffee Man would be a better title but that was just my quirky brain working overtime.

We brought children’s items with us (colouring books, crayons, pens, pencils, etc..) and left them for the cleaning crew and other staff throughout the week. They really seemed to appreciate that and always thanked us daily.

There was a guy on the beach who painted T Shirts and he was really cool and accomodating to any request. I got myself a Montreal Canadiens shirt with a beach scene and “Punta Cana” painted on it. Very Cool.

I can’t think of much else to write about but would like to thank the entire staff at the Majestic Colonial for a wonderful week and an amazing experience. We will definitely be back and are already trying to convince some of our friends to get married so we have an excuse:))

PS – DO NOT lose your towel….$25 is a hefty replacement fee:))