Tales From A Chelsea Hotel Toronto First Timer

After hearing everyone rave about how great the Chelsea Hotel in Toronto is for families, we finally had the chance to stay there this past weekend and it definitely did not disappoint! Here is a brief recap of our stay at the Chelsea and why we will absolutely stay with them again in the future.

Right off the bat, I was excited that they had their own underground parking. I know that is a classic dad thing to be excited about but we were there for 3 days and I had no interest in driving anywhere during that span and was glad I could park the van and forget about it while we enjoyed Toronto.

The fun for the kids started right at the Check-In desk as the Chelsea Hotel has a separate check-in area for kids, where they get to sound the gong and choose a prize out of the toy chest. My daughter scored the pink fidget spinner, which made her very happy to start off the vacation! Here’s a taste of what it looked like. The dancing portion is optional…

There was a nice little surprise waiting for us when we got to our room, courtesy of the Chelsea Hotel. Luckily for dad, my son isn’t into desserts that much so I had to eat the cookie to make sure we didn’t waste it. Seriously though, it was a nice touch and the fruit platter was perfect after living on beef jerky and Gatorade on the drive in from Ottawa.

Chelsea Toronto Surprise

Now, while there is no proof of it ever happening, we did have an amazing breakfast at T Bar, where they even modified their menu a bit to make sure the kids both had something they would love. After that, we spent the day doing what we did for the majority of our stay, swimming!! The pool at the Chelsea Hotel is amazing! A lot of hotels we’ve stayed at have a water slide but the slide hours are usually limited. Not at the Chelsea! The water slide here was open no matter what time we decided to head down and on top of that, it was fast and amazing! My attempts at getting a good “kids going down the water slide” picture failed miserably but I did manage to snag this one towards the end.

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On the way out of the pool, you will also find the Teen Lounge, with a pool table and different video games, including Xbox systems! We managed to drag the kids out of there and across the hallway to the Kid Centre, where they had a chance to interact with the Chelsea’s furry rabbit friends. This was a highlight for my daughter, whose career choices currently fluctuate between professional gymnast and veterinarian…

Chelsea Toronto Kids Zone

All in all, we absolutely loved our stay at the Chelsea Hotel in Toronto and can’t wait to visit again! I also really appreciated that it was basically a 10 minute ride from anywhere we wanted to go in Toronto throughout our stay. It made the decision to keep the van in the underground parking that much easier and more convenient. Thank you so much to the Chelsea Hotel for keeping the kids occupied while mom and dad took some much needed relax time after some busy days in Toronto!

Chelsea Toronto Pool

Disclosure: The Chelsea Hotel invited for a 1 night stay, although we stretched it out to a couple nights because we had so much fun!

Dyson Canada Love

My Torrid Love Affair Revealed!

I’m going to start this post by addressing the news of my love affair. The rumours are all true. Ever since the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute cord-free vacuum cleaner has entered my life, I’m actually enjoying cleaning. I know what you’re thinking, “but, we are supposed to despise cleaning!”. I used to think that, too, but then I found myself watching the clock at work so I could excitedly get home to vacuum the stairs!

My wife allowed this to continue for a few weeks without saying anything, until we had family over for dinner and I wouldn’t stop showing them all the cool features on my new Dyson V10. We had a good talk that night and although I had to make some concessions, such as not bringing the Dyson Cyclone out during dinner parties, my wife is still going to let me do all the vacuuming for the foreseeable future!

I know you’re probably wondering what makes the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute better than every other vacuum cleaner on the market. Well, even if you’re not wondering that, I’m going to tell you anyway! Here are a few of my favourite features:

Dyson Canada Familyyson

It’s Cordless! – That’s right, no more tripping over cords or accidentally pulling it out of the socket and bending the ends. The Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute holds a fade-free charge for up to 60 minutes, so you can get the whole house done in one session. Oh, that also means that you can clean your car with ease, which makes life so much easier. (Of note: James Dyson has announced that he will stop investing in the development of new corded vacuums, so you’d be in on the ground floor! Pun intended…)

It Converts To a Handheld – Yeah, I said it! Remember all those times you tried to balance your bulky vacuum on the stairs like a Jenga piece, only to have it crash down the steps? You don’t have to worry about that anymore because now you can simply walk up your stairs, vacuum in hand, and get the job done with ease! Also, see above note about cleaning your car. The handheld option is amazing for that!

Dyson V10 Handheld

Multiple Cleaner Heads – The Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute comes with multiple cleaning head options. There is a crevice tool for tight spaces, which is great for the stairs or the car. There are also 2 larger cleaning heads. One is a new torque-drive cleaner head that removes 25% more dust from carpets and digs deep to remove ground-in dirt and pet hair. The other is a soft-roller cleaner head designed for hard floors to pick up large debris and fine dust simultaneously.

There is so much more to love about the Cyclone V10 and the more I dig in to its capabilities, the more I will share with you, so keep an eye on my social channels!! In the meantime, if you’re looking for more info on this vacuum or any other Dyson products, you should definitely visit the DysonCanada.ca!

Disclosure: I was provided a Dyson Cyclone V10 to test in advance of this blog post.

The Mobile Shop 1

Reasons Why Dad Needs A Mobile Device For Father’s Day

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Mobile Shop . All opinions are 100% mine.

I can’t be the only person who frequently visits The Mobile Shop while doing groceries, to play with all the display phones and dream of getting that next beautiful upgrade, right?? Next to my house and car, my mobile device is the next most important item I own, especially as a content creator. The Mobile Shop has asked me to share some of the ways that I use my device on a daily basis to help capture my experience as a father. Without further ado, here are just a few reasons why dad needs a new mobile device for Father’s Day this year!

Video/Facetime Chats – While talking to your family on the phone is more than adequate when you are out of town or working late, there is nothing quite like the excitement on your kids faces when they get to see you while they talk to you. The funny faces and laughs that we have are also a nice boost for this dad when I start to get a little home sick.

General Everyday Use – I realize this sounds a little vague but there are so many little things that my mobile device can do to help me throughout the day. I have used it to quickly find answers to life’s important questions, such as “What can I do about the smell in my child’s soccer cleats?”. I use my mobile device almost daily for the Maps feature and often bring it outside to reference recipes while BBQing. My favourite use, however, is the ability to immediately and stealthily purchase an item when my wife casually mentions that she sees something she would like while we are shopping. No more forgetting what that thing was when it comes to time to shop for her 3 months later!

Capturing Memories – While it is true that I print only about 1% of all the photos I take with my mobile devices, the photos and videos we have stored online get looked at often and I am a firm believer that we are living in an amazing time to be able to capture so much of our children’s lives without having to worry about getting that perfect shot or running out of film. We will often sit down as a family and watch hours of funny video from when the kids were younger and mom and dad had hilarious hairdos/glasses/clothing!

Dad’s Hideaway… – Look, it’s no secret what dad is up to when he disappears for an hour. Well, maybe it is, but here you go anyway. Hiding in the bathroom and playing video games on a mobile device is a staple of fatherhood and may be the #1 reason why dad needs a new high performance mobile device from The Mobile Shop this Father’s Day. Hey, we all unwind in different ways and this just happens to be one of our go to places, okay?

Prices and promotions shown in photo may no longer be valid.

I had the chance to speak with Tammy at The Mobile Shop in my hometown Real Canadian Superstore this week and was blown away by her knowledge of each product and accessory. When I told her that I was a blogger who needed solid video, photography and audio capabilities, she immediately had a short list of devices that would suit my needs and explained why each would be a great fit. The Mobile Shop also allows you to choose from numerous wireless providers, so you have a ton of options, and you may also earn hundreds of PC Optimum points on each purchase!

With Father’s Day right around the corner, I highly recommend stopping in to The Mobile Shop nearest you and talking to one of their representatives about how you can make this the best Father’s Day ever!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Mobile Shop . All opinions are 100% mine.

Dad Daughter Superhero

What It Means To Be A Superhero Dad

I was asked by my friends at Mark’s Canada, who are running an amazing Father’s Day contest that we’ll get into later, to talk about what it means to be a superhero dad to my kids. Now, for the record, I have never considered myself to be a superhero dad. I do what needs to be done for my kids to the best of my abilities and hope that they end up with as good an upbringing as I had. That said, for the purposes of this exercise I decided to ask my kids what they thought were my best traits and have compiled them for you here. Soooo, let’s do this!

1. Making Lunches – It’s funny to think something as simple as lunch making can be remembered by your kids, especially considering how mindless it becomes by the end of the school year. When I pressed the kids further on the answer, they said it was because I ask them what they want and also have them try new things before putting it in their lunches. Kids can be very easy to please at times!

2. Coaching Sports – This is something that is in my blood. My dad coached all my sports teams and a lot of my extended family have also coached different sports. The truth is, I love the idea that I get to help mold these young kids into what they will become later in life. We talk a lot of about respect and hard work, which will no doubt pay off down the road.

Father Son Baseball

3. Playing With Us – A lot of hardcore parenting “experts” will say that you shouldn’t be your child’s friend because your job is solely to discipline them. I completely disagree with this sentiment and believe there can be a balance between the two. That said, I love playing games with my kids. Anytime they want to shoot hoops or jump on the trampoline, I am almost always game. It’s also a great way for me to make sure I step away from work every now then to get some much needed exercise!

4. Driving To Gymnastics and Sleeping Less So We Can Sleep In – This one was from my daughter. She is a competitive gymnast and I am a shift worker, so there are plenty of times that I come home from my shift and stay awake a few extra hours so the kids don’t have to wake up at 5:30am to go to daycare. It’s a small sacrifice on my part to make sure that the kids can be alert at school and their after school activities but it’s nice that they noticed it.

5. Being Funny With Them – This one casts a wide net as I often feel like I haven’t quite shaken my inner child, so I am often volunteering to put myself in embarrassing situations. Take, for instance, last year’s Gymnastics Christmas Showcase, where my daughter and I performed an unforgettable (for me) gymnastics routine. I love doing things that will make my children smile, and it seems pretty obvious that I will occasionally crave some spotlight.

While I was hesitant to write about myself as being a superhero, it actually ended up being a pretty fun exercise to hear it from my kids. The truth is, superheroes come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds, and if you out there doing your best to be an involved parent, you are the exact superhero that your child needs!

If you’re looking for something fun to do, I highly recommend trying this exercise with your kids, and Mark’s wants to reward you for doing so! Simply ask your kids to draw a picture of their dad as a superhero and share it on social media, tagging Mark’s and including the hashtag #superheroDad and you could win some amazing prizes, including a trip to this year’s Grey Cup! You can visit the Mark’s Contest Page for more details. Have fun and Happy Father’s Day!!

Superhero Dad Marks

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

Chris Read STIHL 3

Get Your Yard Ready For Summer With A Little Help From STIHL!

It’s no secret that winter can be rough on Canadian properties. From ruined lawns to downed tree branches, there is a lot of work to do once spring finally rolls around. This year’s spring clean was a lot easier for me as I teamed up with STIHL to put one of their Lithium-Ion Chainsaws to the test against the mess of flailing branches around my property.

Chris Read STIHL 5

Before we get to STIHL’s chainsaw’s performance, there were plenty of other tasks that needed to be completed to get the house ready for summer. I don’t know about you guys but once that nice weather hits, I get a sudden boost of energy and dare I say, I actually enjoy doing the clean up! Here are a few spring cleaning tips that will help your house shine this summer!

1. Clean Your Windows – We’ve all cleaned windows before, right? Wax on, wax off, simple! I’m talking about DEEP cleaning those windows, though. You can start by removing your screens and gently washing them with soap and a garden hose. Then wash the windows from the outside in and you’ll be ready to catch that cool breeze on the hottest of summer days.

2. Declutter The Garage – There’s something funny that happens when you have kids. Stuff begins to simply pile up in places all throughout the house. For us, the majority of that stuff ends up in the garage. What was once a beautiful, open space with so much potential, has become a wasteland of toys and random items that we have never been used before. I’m not sure anything makes me feel as good during spring cleaning than emptying the garage and only putting half of the stuff back into it. Fun tip, go into it with an open mind and the will to say that you don’t need 7 different types of broken lawn chair, and you’ll feel great by the end of it!

3. Lawn Maintenance – Full disclosure, this is the area that I have the most learning to do. For the first couple years in our new house, I was out there picking all the weeds and really trying to make the lawn work. After a few unsuccessful years, however, I slowly stopped trying and eventually gave up. This is going to be the year that things turn around though! We already have the frame for a really nice garden and I think with a little elbow grease, we can make it beautiful again! Quick Tip: Mow at least once per week. This will help with healthy growth for a lusher, more dense lawn. STIHL’s Lithium-Ion mowers are not only powerful, they’re also lighter than the average mower so that you can breeze through the task.

4. Clean Up Your Trees – This is where STIHL comes in! I have never owned a chainsaw before, instead opting for the hand saw route in previous years. The truth is, I was never very handy growing up and the thought of using a chainsaw frightened me a bit. Well, I’m happy to report that my fear was unfounded and after using the STIHL Lithium-Ion Cordless Chainsaw to clean up all the stray branches around my property, I started offering to help other folks with their yards because I loved it so much.

Chris Read STIHL 6

The cuts were so smooth and powerful that I easily finished in a quarter of the time it usually takes to do it by hand. The chainsaw is also very lightweight, so I was able to move it easily from branch to branch without having to constantly shift while on the ladder. The other thing that struck was how quiet the chainsaw is. I expected this big, lumbering noise but you could barely hear it doing its thing.

5. Bath Time! – People are the only ones who need a bath from time to time. When you think about everything the outside of your house goes through in a year, I’m sure it would appreciate a good washing from time to time as well. You can borrow a pressure washer, or you know, visit your local STIHL dealer and pick up one of their models, and get to work cleaning all the dirt and grime off your house. It’s a good time to spray off and stain your deck while you’re out there, too!

6. Party On, Wayne! – I can’t think better way to celebrate all your hard work then by inviting a few friends over, firing up the BBQ and showing off your new STIHL Chainsaw!

Canadian Dad STIHL 2

I hope your spring cleaning adventure is as smooth as mine was and please feel free to share your spring cleaning tips in the comments below! And, if you are looking to make things a little smoother this spring, I highly recommend checking out STIHL’s line of Lithium-Ion Chainsaws. They have made my job easier and way more fun!

Disclosure: I was provided a STIHL chainsaw to facilitate this blog post.

Disney Dream Cruise Ship

My Completely Biased, Non-Objective Review Of Our Disney Cruise

Yep, you read the title correctly. As I sat here and framed out this blog post, I realized that I didn’t have a single bad thing to say about our recent trip aboard the Disney Dream cruise ship. We were there as part of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration conference but my opinion of the cruise has nothing to do with that either. It was just a really, really fun experience and is something we are absolutely going to do again!

Let me walk through it from start to finish as best I can remember it all. I’ll try to throw in some tips along the way but seeing as how it was my first Disney cruise, what the heck do I know about tips and tricks? That said, tip #1 is to try to get an early boarding time if possible. Boarding was quick and easy, with the added touch of having your family announced on the loud speakers as you walk onto the ship as the staff are all lined up clapping for you. It felt like we were walking the red carpet! I say to try to board early because we walked by the main lobby a couple hours later and people were still being announced! All I could think of was how sore the staff members’ hands would be from all the clapping.

Disney Dream Sail Away Party

Tip #2, which probably should have been tip #1, is to download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app. You will get an itinerary left in your room each day but the app was a far better resource in finding out what was happening on the ship at any given time. It’s also handy for its chat feature in case you get split up on the ship. We mostly used it to find out when the character meetings would be so we could get there early to avoid lines.

Disney Dream Cinderella

Speaking of Disney characters, they were everywhere! There was definitely no shortage of character meetings and we never saw a line that was excessively long. On the last night of the cruise, you are treated to a long list of characters and it was amazing to see both children and adults alike, myself included, smiling for pictures with Mickey, Minnie and the gang. You can’t help but relive a bit of your childhood while surrounded by so much joy.

Disney Dream Mickey and Dad

Oh, Tip #3, which should actually be tip #1, then bumping the last tip that should have been #1 to #2… Anyway, you should definitely pre-plan your vacation in advance by reading reviews of the ship and even joining a Disney cruise group or two on Facebook. They are incredibly helpful and will have you feeling like a cruise veteran from the minute you get on the ship. Knowing about things like door magnets, fish extenders, pirate night and where the best seats are for the shows can really enhance your experience.

Speaking of the shows, every single one of them was amazing! I’m not just talking about the shows in the beautiful Walt Disney Theatre either. The sail away party, fireworks display and pirate party were all really fun for the kids as well. Tip #4, we grabbed the same spot on the upper deck, right next to the stage for each show and it was a great view for the kids. There isn’t tiered viewing from the main deck so it made it seem like if you weren’t in the front row, you wouldn’t get the best view of the fun. Also, we spent the extra money on pirate makeovers at the Pirates League in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and the kids ended up looking amazing and loving their new pirate looks. I have to admit I was skeptical about spending the money, as it wasn’t cheap, but it was totally worth it.

Disney Dream Pirate Night

I forgot to mention the big production shows! Not being a big theatre guy, I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy the shows on board the Disney Dream but they absolutely blew my mind! The first night we were treated to the Golden Mickeys, which was an award show with some amazing performances. Tip #5, maybe, if your kids like to be a part of the shows, you’ll want to sit in the front row for this one as Snow White needs a few extra dwarves and that’s where we saw them pick the kids from. The next night we were treated to a Beauty and the Beast show that easily could have been on Broadway, not that I’ve ever been to Broadway, but in my mind it was Broadway-worthy! Finally, the show I was least interested in attending prior to attending was called Disney’s Believe. As it turns out, it ended up being my favourite of the trip and not just because it was the story of a workaholic father and a daughter who wants him to find his imagination again. So what if I cried during the show, it’s totally acceptable in today’s society!

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Where was I? Ah yes, the shows were great and the popcorn was even better, which brings us to Tip #6. Not everything is covered on the trip. Popcorn is one of those things but you can cut the cost considerably by purchasing the refillable container on your first day aboard the Disney Dream. Refills are only about $1 after that so you and your kids can enjoy as much as you want without breaking the bank!

Since I mentioned food, we might as well talk about it. This might be the single greatest reason why I would choose a Disney Cruise over almost any other vacation from now on. Every meal I ate became the greatest meal I have ever had and while that sounds like an exaggeration, I promise you I was melting into my seat with each bite. I’m a terrible food photographer but I am excellent at eating food, so I mostly stuck to that skill.

Disney Dream Family Dinner

We had a couple meals at the Enchanted Palace, including (tip #7) lunch immediately after boarding the ship, which I highly recommend doing as it is not very busy at this time. We also ate dinner at the Royal Palace and Animator’s Palate, both of which were excellent. Animator’s Palate was neat because there were video screens on the walls and characters were pop up from time to time and talk to them. I’d also love to give a shout-out to our dinner crew, Ravindra and I Made, who made our dining experience a magical one. From making Mickey Mouse out of ketchup blobs to performing magic tricks for the kids throughout our stay, they were the best duo we could have asked for. Side note and tip #8, there are 2 dinner service times, so make sure you sign up for the one you want way before your trip. Our kids are better suited for the 8pm time slot, so it worked out that I screwed up and didn’t pick one in time. You have no excuse now!

Hands down, the coolest feature on the Disney Dream cruise ship has to be the Kids Club. What is Kids Club, you ask? Well, Kids Club is a magical section of the ship where you simply drop your kids off and then go up to your room for a nap, errr, I mean, you go off and explore all the fun places on the ship that kids aren’t allowed to go, such as the adults only swimming area, packed with a pool, hot tub, lounge chairs and bar service.

Disney Dream Games Room Kids Club

Back to Kids Club, it is a place for kids to hang out any time throughout the day or night to not only give parents some time alone but also for the kids to have a blast and meet other kids. We were allowed to tour the club during the open house on the first day but it was no parents allowed from that point on. Kids Club has a video game room, a movie room, a craft room and a ton of activities planned throughout the cruise such as baking and slime making. There is also an amazing mock-up of the Millennium Falcon that you can sit in and control. Yes, I was jealous. The security is extremely tight when picking the kids up and you get to create a secret password that you have to tell the counsellor before taking your kids out of the club. Tip #9, don’t pick a stupid password like I did because you will be forced to continue saying it throughout the weekend and it never starts to sound less dumb.

Disney Dream Milennium Falcon Kids Club

Also, of note, you know how you go out for dinner and your kids finish their meals before you’ve even taken your first bite of food and then they pepper you with questions and hang off your arms talking about how bored they are for the rest of the meal? Yeah, not on the Disney Dream! One hour after you have been seated, counsellors from the Kids Club come into the restaurant and take your kids to the club with them so you and your significant other can enjoy the rest of your meal, and possibly a fancy drink, and possibly dessert, and maybe a 2nd dessert…

I talked about the adult’s only pool area but there were also a bunch of bars/clubs on the ship for the after-hours crowd. While I’m not much of an after-hours person these days, I did spend a couple nights in the very fancy, Pink, bar. While it is technically a champagne bar, our server, Pen, was more than happy to grab us our favourite IPAs from the bar next door. Tip #10, the next time you cruise on the Disney Dream, please go in and say hi to Pen for me. She was a great host and loves entertaining people!

Disney Dream Kids Ship

Look, even I’m tired of writing at this point but this stuff is important, so stay with me here another couple minutes, okay? I only have a couple more things and then I’ll finish with a flurry of extra short form notes.

The Disney Dream 3-night cruise docks at Nassau, Bahamas and again at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, which is pronounced Castaway “Key” for some reason I never bothered to ask about. When I found out that there was a Castaway 5K run, that also came with a fancy medal, I decided to register myself and the kids. It was a lot tougher than I expected and the kids embarrassed me by lapping me and laughing while they did it… Still, I finished, got the medal and then ate some delicious BBQ on the beach!

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Castaway Cay was definitely one of the bigger highlights of the trip for us. Even with her cast on, my daughter had an amazing time in the water, which, by the way, was ice cold, as I pulled her around in an inner tube. We shared fancy, age appropriate drinks, ate amazing BBQ food and lounged like we never have before. There are plenty of excursions you can book for your day on the island but we choose to make it as relaxing a day as possible, which was absolutely the right call for us.

Disney Dream Castaway Cay

Okay, I promised to end with a flurry, so here are a few other notes from our time on the Disney Dream!

1. I was very impressed with the emphasis put on cleanliness aboard the Disney Dream. Not that I expected it to be gross but the ship was immaculate. Every restaurant, event and especially the Kids Club required you to either wash your hands or use a sanitizing wipe before entering and it was great to see how seriously they treated those pesky germs!

2. Our cruise director, Mike, was amazing. We met him on day 1 and he told my daughter he’d have to sign her cast later in the trip. Well, true to his word, we found him on our last night and he not only signed her cast but spent some time asking her about herself. What a great guy!

3. We found out that you can order milk & cookies before bed through room service. Consider this Tip #11.

4. Finally, a huge shout out to Shilpa in Guest Services, who definitely had the biggest positive impact on the trip for us. I can’t really get into it because I’m not sure if she was supposed to do what she did for the kids, but rest assured, they will never forget her kindness, and neither will we. Disney has a great one in her and if you happen to be aboard the Disney Dream, you should definitely go down and give her a high five for us!

Disney Dream Family

I’m sure there are a million things I forgot to talk about but this should cover all your basic needs when it comes to climbing aboard a Disney cruise for the first time! It quite literally was a dream come true to sail aboard the Disney Dream and we will absolutely return for a future cruise! That said, if you do have questions, feel free to ask them in the comments or shoot me an email chris@canadiandad.com! Cheers!

Cirque Du Soleil Corteo

Win A Family 4-Pack To Opening Night Of Cirque Du Soleil’s Corteo!

Disclosure, I was provided with tickets to the show in exchange for this post.

It wasn’t until my daughter started gymnastics a few years ago that I could truly appreciate the beauty and difficulty of a Cirque Du Soleil show. I’m sure that sounds ridiculous because of course it’s difficult to do what they do, but after seeing my daughter break her arm on a relatively common gymnastics move, I can’t imagine the skill and concentration it must take to fly through the air, gripping only a piece of metal or cloth the way the Cirque performers do!

In fact, up until recently, I thought there were open tryouts for Cirque Du Soleil and had even started putting together my audition portfolio. As it turns out, being really good at softball and a decent all around athlete in your youth does not qualify you for Cirque fame… Oh well, I’m sure I’ll be able to use these photos for something else down the road.

Canadian Dad Cirque Du Soleil Audition

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While a career in acrobatics may not be in my future, I will certainly be attending the upcoming Cirque Du Soleil show, Corteo, with my family when it comes to my hometown of Ottawa from June 27 to July 1 at the Canadian Tire Centre this summer. To celebrate it’s arrival, I want you to be able to enjoy the show, too!! If you’d like to win a Family 4-Pack of tickets to opening night of the show in Ottawa, simply fill out as many entries as you’d like on the Rafflecopter form below and I’ll choose a winner in a couple weeks!

“Join the parade and get carried away with life!”

CORTEO brings together the passion of the actor with the grace and power of the acrobat to plunge the audience into a theatrical world of fun, comedy and spontaneity situated in a mysterious space between heaven and earth. You can get a sneak peek of the show by checking out this Cirque Du Soleil’s Corteo Trailer!

If this is your first time attending a Cirque Du Soleil show, I am so excited for you and promise you will be counting the minutes until they return again! Hope to see you there!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gymnastics Dad

The Rewards Of Being A Gymnastics Dad

I probably should have written this story sooner but life is busy sometimes, okay, so back off!! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that. You guys are great! I’ve told the story before of how my daughter was the first girl born into my dad’s side of the family in over 70 years, so my entire journey of fathering a daughter to date has been new, challenging, rewarding and amazing.

One of the many differences has been with my daughter’s choice of extra-curricular activities. I played hockey and baseball for as long as I can remember and my son followed in those same footsteps, even though I tried to get him to try other sports. My daughter, however, found her love in gymnastics, and man is she ever good at it! Every time I see her do a new move, it feels like the most incredible feat I have ever seen.

Although I know nothing about gymnastics, I still like being a part of the gym and help out whenever I can. My daughter’s coach, knowing that I try to be a team player, had asked me if I would do a little performance with my daughter for the Christmas showcase and naturally, I agreed. The idea was simply that my daughter would do a move and I would then try to replicate that move in front of all the parents and children in attendance. Easy enough, right?

Well, what actually ended up happening was that my daughter and I ended up choreographing an entire routine to surprised everyone in attendance. A couple notes about this. First, I was waaaay more nervous than I expected I would be, which then caused my foot to cramp up minutes before we went on. Second, the video below was posted to Facebook and now has over 2 million views, which is crazy! Finally, no, I don’t know how I nailed that first cartwheel and failed so badly on the other. I’m guessing it was a combination of age and lack of grace…

Luckily for me, there wasn’t too much pain the next day, although I’m guessing the shock of the video going viral probably helped. We never expected so many people to love the routine but I am so grateful that everyone got to see just how talented my little girl is! I wasn’t sure about this gymnastics thing when she started in it but it has ended up being an extremely important and rewarding part of our lives.

So, without further ado, and if you haven’t seen it, please enjoy what was one of the best nights of my life!

CD Podcast 15 - Mike Reynolds

Canadian Dad Podcast: Ep. 15 – Father, Speaker, Cross-Stitcher, Mike Reynolds

Today on the podcast I speak to Mike Reynolds from EverydayGirlDad.com. On the show we cover topics such as:

– Body Image for Men

– Mike’s switch from PuzzlingPosts.com to EverydayGirlDad.com

– Mike’s new found love of Cross-Stitching

– Speaking in New York on the Changing Face of Maculinity

– Mike’s t-shirts for Charity Venture

– The hopeful revival of our Creative Minds Podcast

You can visit Mike’s Everyday Girl Dad Project on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

I hope you enjoy the show and please feel free to leave a very kind review if you see fit! 😀

Canadian Dad Podcast 14 - Casey Palmer

Canadian Dad Podcast: Ep. 14 – Fatherhood Writer, Casey Palmer

Today on the podcast I speak to Fatherhood writer, Casey Palmer, from CaseyPalmer.com. On the show we cover topics such as:

– Finally meeting in person at the Dad 2.0 Summit

– Casey’s Live From the 3.5 Project, which began as a Black History Month feature but grew into a something much bigger

– Our thoughts on the dad blogging space in Canada and if blogs are on the way out

– What we hope our platforms will do to inspire our kids creatively.

– Casey’s time at the Parenting 101 Conference in Kelowna, BC

You can catch Casey on his blog CaseyPalmer.com, Twitter @CaseP, Facebook MrCaseyPalmer and Instagram CaseyPalmer

I hope you enjoy the show and please feel free to leave a very kind review if you see fit! 😀