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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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…
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.*
*Thank you to Onlia.ca for sponsoring this blog post. Read on to find out how you can win $1,000 just for getting your car ready for winter!*
I’ve been sitting on this post for a while, wondering if I should wade into these waters, but the more I see it, the more frustrated I get and want to get it off my chest. So, here it is. What is happening on the roads these days?! I’m serious. At least three times a day I see someone either blowing through a stop sign in our residential school zone, driving while staring at their phones, not clearing the snow off their car, flying passed stopped city and school buses, and 100 other dangerous maneuvers. In an effort to what? Save 3 minutes off your trip? Is that really worth the possibility of hitting another car, or worse, a child on their way to school?
The truth is that I don’t like waiting at lights or behind buses either but guess what? That is a part of the deal when you get behind the wheel! I know what you’re thinking and the answer is, yes, I did just create a catchy new rhyming slogan for drivers everywhere, and yes, you have my permission to spread it far and wide!
Look, my point here is that we need to take a step back and evaluate if we are doing the best and safest job we can while we are behind the wheel of our cars. I’m certainly no exception and am constantly striving to better my driving skills, especially when the kids are in the car with me as they have grown accustomed to pointing out every tiny flaw in my game.
With December 1st to the 7th being Safe Driving Week here in Canada, Onlia, a brand new and innovative digital insurance company, is changing the game when it comes to promoting and rewarding safe driving habits. Onlia’s safe-driving mobile app, Onlia Sense, rewards users for being a safe and distraction-free driver by providing gift cards and other incentives! The Onlia Sense app uses telematics and GPS to assess your driving habits and gives you a report after each trip. You can get all the details and get your free online quote by visiting Onlia.ca today!
Onlia is also calling on all Canadian drivers to ensure their vehicle is properly maintained and prepared for safe winter driving this season so that together we can help ensure our roads and communities are a safer place. Share your tips and suggestions for how you have prepared for safe winter driving by uploading a photo or video to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, tagging Onlia and using the hashtags #OnliaCA & #SafeDrivingWeek for your chance to win a $1,000 shopping spree!! That’ll get you a very nice new set of winter tires!!
Don’t forget to visit Onlia.ca to get a free quote and to read more about how Onlia is changing the way insurance is done by giving you all the tools you need to be as safe as possible while you are on the roads!
It’s one of those things that you never forget. Well on our way to the warmer temperatures and sunshine that comes with spring, we happily drove to the hospital for a check-up on our soon to be born first child. Being informed that we would not be leaving the hospital that day was a bit of a surprise but a happy one, knowing that we would soon be meeting our son.
Three days in the hospital felt like 20 minutes and as they shooed us out on our own, I couldn’t help but think that I wasn’t even close to being ready to handle the responsibility of raising another human being. That’s when it hit. The odds of one of the worst blizzards of winter hitting at the end of April, and more specifically, on the day that I had to drive our newborn son home, were not great. Yet, there it was!
My knuckles were as white as the snow I was fighting to see through as we made our way home that day. The snow pounded the window, making it feel like we were moving at warp speed, although based on the honking, I was definitely driving at least 20, fine, 40, kilometres under the posted speed limit. Luckily, we managed to make it home in one piece as we began our journey into parenthood.
It definitely took having children to realize that there were some areas of my life that I needed to tighten up a bit more. For instance, I had never purchased winter tires prior to having children, which definitely would have been helpful on that trip home from the hospital. I had also not given much thought to the type of vehicle I was driving, generally opting for the “whatever is cheapest” approach. This method left us with some fairly undesirable and frankly, impractical vehicles.
When we were looking to purchase our next car, I was a wise, veteran parent at this point and I had a way larger check list of things I needed from a vehicle to keep my family safe in any kind of weather. So, I did a ton of research on autoTRADER.ca before purchasing our last vehicle (yes, it’s a minivan), which led us to a great deal at Metro Dodge here in Ottawa. autoTRADER.ca was amazing in helping me compare prices between both dealer and private sellers, plus it allowed me to get a feel for what my current vehicle was worth as a sale or trade-in. It was a huge resource of information – from car comparisons, to reviews, I learned a lot about what I needed to know to make sure I was confident in my final decision. And, even after I bought my van, I found myself coming back to the site – the News & Features section was a great way to get expert opinions on all the burning questions I had, including what my warning lights mean, how to figure out insurance, cruise control tips and more.
Before I leave you, I’d like to take a moment to just say that minivans get a bad rap, but our minivan is the single greatest purchase we have ever made. We are able to shuttle the kids to all their sports without worrying about fitting the equipment in. We can pack the van full of their friends and head off on amazing adventures. Plus, now that I’m a big boy who buys winter tires, I am never afraid of being on the road in the winter anymore because a minivan is essentially a small tank. It’s one of those “don’t knock it ‘til you try it” kind of deals. Much like having children…
*Thanks autoTRADER.ca for partnering with me on this article*
I’m just going to go ahead and admit it. I take for granted that my family is fortunate enough to have the means to stay warm throughout the winter. I also often take for granted that we have enough food on our plates, among other luxuries. That’s not to say I don’t try to do my part to help those in need, but simply that I sometimes get stuck in my cocoon and maybe don’t do as much as I should to give back.
According to the Angus Reid Institute, for one in five Canadian families, proper winter clothing has been a luxury they can’t afford This means that your child that your child may have friends at school who are suffering silently, while playing it off like they are “too cool” for winter clothes or that they just don’t like playing outside in the winter.
Last week I was approached by Quaker® to see if I’d like to partner with them on their #JoyOfWarmth initiative and after reading about it, I couldn’t have been happier to say yes! The Quaker® brand has been warming Canadian families with hot oatmeal since 1902. This year, they want to help Canadian families in-need feel the #JoyOfWarmth by providing their children with winter coats to help stay warm during our cold Canadian winter.
On top of Quaker® working with Boys and Girls Clubs in Canada to provide new winter coats to children from families inneed, during the month of November, when you share the hashtag #JoyOfWarmth and tag @QuakerCanada on your public Facebook, Twitter or Instagram profile, Quaker will provide a bowl of warm oatmeal to a child in need at Boys and Girls Club locations across the country, to a maximum of 100,000 bowls! Now that’s a lot of oatmeal!!
I think we can all agree that tweeting, posting a photo or a Facebook post are all very easy things to do to create such a huge impact. I would also like to challenge those of you with the means to do so to pick up an extra snowsuit this year while you are out shopping for your kids and donate it somewhere you know that it will go to a child in-need this winter. Imagine not being able to play outside because your parents couldn’t afford warm clothes. Every single piece of warm clothing makes a huge difference in a child’s life!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Quaker® but this is a very important cause that we can all contribute to that will make a huge difference!
Fall is a special time of year for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer and all the amazing weather it brings, but Fall is when I can finally crush the neighbourhood kids at a handful of sports without overheating. What? Don’t act like you don’t enjoy dunking on a trash-talking 10-year-old!
If there’s one area of Fall that I have slacked on in recent years, it is lawn maintenance. Two years ago, I actually bought everything I needed to get my lawn ready for winter, but then got caught up in a month-long game of road hockey and totally blanked on it. Last year’s excuse was that I got lost in the mess that was my garage and just never got around to it.
This year, however, I was challenged by Greener World to take my lawn maintenance seriously and to actually get things done. And…..I DID!!! They provided an amazing list of tips & tricks, as well as the reasons why each step was important, which really helped this novice lawn keeper. I realized I did even know basic things like the fact that a healthy lawn produces more oxygen, naturally crowds out weeds, and helps prevent disease and insects. While I feel shame for not knowing more about maintaining my own property, it’s never too late to learn, right? Even just videos like the one below are extremely helpful for those just starting out with lawn maintenance.
I’m not going to get into the science behind fertilizing your lawn because, let’s be honest, you don’t come here for science lessons! You can get all that amazing info on the Fertilizer Canada website. What I am going to do is share a couple of the tips that helped me understand the process a bit better.
1. Plants need food (fertilizer) 3-4 times a year and a good way to remember when to feed is by using the following Canadian holidays: Easter, Victoria Day, Labour Day and Thanksgiving.
2. It’s important to get right fertilizer for the season you are in. You can also grab a soil test kit at your local hardware store, so you can narrow down your fertilizer choices. (Make sure to grab a spreader while you’re there!)
3. Make sure to follow the instructions very closely. You don’t want to dump the whole bag of fertilizer on your lawn as it will do more harm than good. Most bags of fertilizer will have very detailed instructions about exactly how and when to feed your lawn, including important but easy to miss details like which spreader setting to use. I suggest studying them closely before you begin.
4. Sweep up the excess fertilizer from your driveway and walkways so it doesn’t run off into the storm drains.
5. Store the remainder of the fertilizer for future feedings. Make sure to keep the package sealed and the fertilizer dry. In case you are not interested in keeping it lying around in your garage all year, ask a neighbour if they’d like to use some. The woman that helped me at the hardware store mentioned that 1 bag can last a fairly long time if you have a smaller sized yard.
The most important things I have learned from this experience are that it is never too late to learn something new, taking care of your lawn is way easier than I thought it was going to be, and feeding your lawn is far more important that I had previously believed it to be. I’ve already got my next lawn feeding alert set on my phone and hope you’ll join my challenge to take better care of our lawns moving forward!
For more information on lawn care and proper fertilization, visit GreenerWorld.ca!
*This post was sponsored by Greener World*
*Disclosure: This post is sponsored by autoTRADER.ca*
I can still remember my first car. It was a white Jeep Cherokee with slightly worn leather seats, a couple small rust spots, a butt warmer for winter and automatic windows (which were cool at the time). I was one of the last of my friends to take the plunge into car ownership, but it was such a proud day when it finally happened. I had spent months pouring through vehicle ads in various editions of the AutoTrader magazine and when I saw that glorious beast of a vehicle, I knew it had to be mine!
Unfortunately for me, the only thing I got right in that process was that I used AutoTrader to find some options. The truth is that I didn’t know anything about the vehicle purchasing process and because of that, I missed some key things that had me regretting the purchase less than a year into it. Luckily for you, not only have I learned a few lessons along the way, but now I go right to autoTRADER.ca’s News and Features section, which is an incredibly valuable resource as you begin your journey with vehicle ownership! That being said, here are some tips for first time car buyers to help make that very exciting purchase a great experience!
1. Set a Budget. A Realistic One!
I can’t state enough how important it is to know what your realistic budget is going into this process. I spent way too much money on my first car for several reasons but the big one was that I didn’t set a budget in advance and just bought the first cool thing I liked. Also, when thinking of your budget, keep in mind that there are other expenses such as gas, insurance and vehicle maintenance that can add up quickly.
2. Do Your Research!
As stated above, don’t just buy the first shiny thing you see, even if it falls within your budget. In fact, autoTRADER.ca offers the largest inventory of new and used cars in Canada, available online and through the autoTRADER.ca mobile app, so there’s no reason not to at least look up a few different options even if you are set on a specific brand of vehicle. You can search based on vehicle model, make, colour and geographic location to find the deal that is right for you. Speaking from experience, if you are too shy to negotiate a better price with a seller, try to bring someone with car buying experience with you to help out. Remember, you are the car buyer and you have nothing to lose by walking away and looking for a better deal elsewhere.
3. New vs. Used Car
This might be the toughest decision you are going to make when buying your first car. The benefits of buying new include predictable monthly payments with a traditionally lower interest rate than used, repairs covered under warranty (with roadside assistance usually included), the latest technology, added safety features, higher fuel efficiency, and not to mention that new car smell… The downside of course is the higher cost. New cars often come with a new-car price tag, and quicker depreciation.
With a used car, there’s more variety because you’re not just dealing with the newest models and used usually leads to bigger savings. Some benefits of buying used include the fact that it’s easier on your wallet as you get most of the car’s life and most of the warranty for a fraction of the new car price and you can avoid new car fees. There’s also more choice among age, make, model and trim and insurance rates tend to be lower. The downside of course is that the vehicle is slightly older depending on which route you go and generally requires more maintenance/repairs, etc.
A couple notes here before we move on. You can buy a bottle of “new car smell” nowadays, so if you want a used car that smells new, it’s only $6.99 more! You really can’t go wrong here as long as you stick to the previous points of budget and research. Think about what your needs are and that will help you find something that checks all the boxes. By using Canada’s number one automotive marketplace in autoTRADER.ca, I guarantee you will find something that you will love, whether it be new or used.
4. Leasing vs. Financing
This is another big one when it comes to purchasing your first vehicle. Both options have their pros and cons and it’s important to weigh factors such as vehicle usage and monthly budget when making your decision. Here are just a few points to help you make the best decision for you.
Pros: Monthly payments can be flexible, influenced by interest rates, payment terms and the length of time chosen to pay off the cost of the vehicle. The cost of the vehicle is spread over a period of time and at the end, the vehicle is owned outright. As someone shuttling around a busy family of 4 plus friends, financing was really the only option for us as we put a LOT of miles (and dirt/dents) on our van.
Cons: The fact that the vehicle will be paid off in full by the end of the borrowing term means that financing payments may be higher than leasing rates. It is possible that a vehicle could depreciate faster than it is paid off, meaning the value could be less than is owed.
Pros: Leasing can be an attractive solution due to the accessible payments and vehicle warranty, which allow for predictable monthly budgeting. Leasing is appealing for people who like to trade in for a new vehicle every few years, enjoying the latest designs and technology updates. This is an especially appealing option if you are simply driving to work and back, with no heavy wear and tear on the vehicle.
Cons: Leasing is essentially a long-term rental unless you choose to buy out the vehicle at the end of the lease. You are therefore responsible for excessive mileage and any damage that may occur.
Hopefully this was a good starting point for you if you are in the market for your first vehicle. I can’t stress enough how wonderful of a resource autoTRADER.ca is, with innovative tools like autoTRADER.ca I.Q. and the autoTRADER.ca mobile app, there is quite literally all the information you will ever need and more when it comes to buying your first car.