Barilla Cooking With Kids

Let Me Tell You A Secret About Picky Eaters

My kids hate food. Alright, that seems a little drastic. It seems as though my children dislike more food than they like. Any parent with a picky eater understands the frustration of slaving over a healthy family meal, only to have 50% of the people at the dinner table refuse to eat any of it. Stories such as, “It has green things in it” or “I like it but don’t want to eat it right now”, are mainstays in our house and it seemed as though all was lost, until recently, that is.

I think I may have discovered a loophole in the system and it happened while I was working on my last blog post for Barilla pasta’s Share The Table campaign. I had the kids help me cook the meal that night, which included things that they normally would decline to eat. You know, things like whole grain pasta, tomatoes, all other vegetables… When I mentioned to the kids that food always tastes better when you make it yourself, they couldn’t wait to finish their plates!

Ever since then I have tried to make an effort to get the kids involved in the meal preparation and I have to say that I am running at about a 75% success rate, which is outstanding! No more whining about spaghetti or lasagna having too many vegetables in them because the kids are controlling which and how many veggies are going in. They are also beaming with pride as they help serve the food to the table for family and friends. Win-Win!

Speaking of winning… You still have time to enter Barilla’s Share The Table contest where you can win 1 of 3 trips for four to Italy!! My bags are already packed in case you win and can’t think of anyone else to bring with you. My Italian is quite weak, in fact non-existent, but I smile a lot and don’t sleep walk, so there’s that! Please also check out the Barilla Share The Table website for some great tips and tricks on how to make mealtime a meaningful experience in your house.

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in the Barilla Share The Table campaign.

Win Big in the Hot Wheels® Canada Track Builder Challenge!

I’m not going to lie, I geeked out a little bit when I was asked to become a Hot Wheels® Connector Club Ambassador. I didn’t even really know what that meant but saw the words Hot Wheels® and flashed back in time to my days as a young car collector. With my kids entering their creative years, the Hot Wheels® track builder sets are a perfect addition to our household.

In an effort to encourage learning and creativity among young children, Hot Wheels® Canada has launched the Track Builder Challenge.

The Hot Wheels® Track Builder Challenge is a cross-national competition, designed to inspire creativity through play based learning, and educate children on how to build exciting, original and creative tracks. With the emergence of so many new electronic devices these days, the ability to get hands on with something like this is extremely exciting for me and the kids. 

To launch the six month program, an interactive track exhibit featuring Canada’s first Ultimate Track will be live at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) from March 8 to 16, 2014 during the Gallery’s March Break drop-in program. The Ultimate Track is comprised of over 1000 pieces of track and connector and stretches over 625 feet in the 25×25 exhibit space. If you can’t make it out to the exhibit, you can still watch all of the action by checking out either of the live feeds on the Hot Wheels® Canada website!

In addition to the exhibit, a new Hot Wheels® Track Builder Challenge nationwide contest will be housed on Kids can learn from the Track Experts in the Tips and Tricks section, and then have the opportunity to submit their best Hot Wheels tracks for a chance to win a custom built track in their home, and a Track Party hosted by Hot Wheels®.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my kids and I have a Hot Wheels® Track Builder Challenge to win! You can head over to the Hot Wheels® website to enter to win but you’d better bring your “A” Game because we are ready! Most importantly, just have a great time building and watching your children excel beyond your wildest dreams!

Hot Wheels Ultimate Track - FrontHot Wheels Play Tables

A Dad’s Guide To Being Completely Unstylish

Sherriff Woody

This post is part of the and Philips “Win a $1,600 Makeover for the Man in Your Life” program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.

To say that I am not stylish may just be the understatement of the century. Every time I flip through my old high school yearbook’s, I am reminded of why I didn’t have as many dates as some of the other fellas did. I was the guy that wore black track pants and a t-shirt, every single day. I had/have amazing parents, who gave me pretty much everything I could ask for, but if I have to pick one criticism about my youth, it’s that I wasn’t forced encouraged to dress a little hipper.

Until I met my wife, at age 20, I didn’t even own a single pair of jeans. It even took her about 3 years to convince me that jeans were kind of cool. It was weird going from a closet filled with way to bright khaki’s, to a closet filled with way to bright khaki’s and one pair of jeans. I’m happy to report that I now have an entire arsenal of different fits of jeans and wear them with pride.

Nice Watch!

Nice Watch!

I wish I could say that it was just clothes that I had an issue with, but, you know…

Is She Really Going Out With Hiiiim?

Is She Really Going Out With Hiiiim?

I know, I know, she’s beautiful, right? What was she doing with this guy? For the record, I knew HOW to shave; I just didn’t necessarily do it all that often. You’ll also note the way too bright khaki pants again. And the hilarious glasses. And the crazy hair cut… Alright, enough laughing!

It’s not all bad news though. I got a little wiser about my choices as I grew older and can now say that I at least look presentable in most situations. I still have a long way to go before I could ever be considered “cool”, but I’m learning more every day and I have no doubt that I will be the sharpest dressed cat in my retirement complex someday.

I guess you’re probably wondering why I am humiliating myself on purpose like this. The simple answer is that I have no idea. The real answer, however, is that this is my story after reading about’s Philips Father’s Day Makeover contest! One lucky Dad is going to win a $1600 makeover courtesy of Philips and their new SensoTouch 3D Wet and Dry electric razor. Details on entering are below and I wish you the best of luck in topping my style disaster. How about one more picture for good measure?

Why Am I Sharing These?!

Why Am I Sharing These?!

Live in the Toronto area and think you’re in dire need of a makeover? YMC and Philips are giving away a $1,600 makeover that includes being whisked away via private car service to a spa day for you and your partner! Plus you’ll dine at Morton’s Steakhouse and receive a Philips SensoTouch 3D Wet and Dry electric razor. The Philips SensoTouch 3D is the first 3D, wet and dry electric shaver that minimizes pressure and skin irritation. It’s one tool that does it all! Go to YMC’s Facebook Page to enter.

Win An HP Envy x2 With Printer In The “HP Loves Dads” Giveaway!

HP Envy X2 Laptop Tablet

This Father’s Day, HP Canada would like to give one of my readers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to think outside the box and win a brand-new HP ENVY x2 and HP ENVY 120 e-All-in-One printer. You are invited to participate in the “HP Loves Dads” Father’s Day Gift Challenge. To enter, you must complete ONE of the following THREE TASKS:

1. HP Loves Dads: Nominate a special father in your life and share why they should receive a new HP ENVY x2 and HP ENVY 120 printer for Father’s Day. Please explain how your father would use the new PC and printer in their everyday life, to balance being productive and staying connected with their loved ones. You can express your nomination through words, photos and captions, or video.

2. Dad’s First Gadget: Nominate a special father in your life and share what his first tech gadget was and what it meant to him.

3. Think It! Make It! Build It!: Create a unique, personalized Father’s Day gift and share it with me. It could be an old, cherished jersey, niftily framed for dad’s “man cave”, a recipe book of dad’s favourite dishes, or a video of the kids doing a choreographed dance created especially for dad. You will be required to share step-by-step instructions on how you created the project and will need to provide a photo or video of the finished Father’s Day gift once complete.

The winning entry, as chosen by me and a panel of great Dads in my life, will be featured on the blog, along with step-by-step instructions on how to recreate it at home, a couple of days before Father’s Day. Sound good?

How To Enter

Entering the giveaway is easy. Simply choose one of the three choices above and email your entry to [email protected], with “HP Loves Dads” as the subject. I will gather all the entries and the winning entry will be posted on the blog by June 14th.

Rules and Regulations

Contest is open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec. Winner will have 48 hours to respond after being notified and will have to answer a skill testing question. Prizes will be supplied by HP Canada. Contest closes Tuesday, June 12th at 11:59pm.

Disclosure: I received compensation for my participation in this program.

National Geographic’s Passport to Explore Sweepstakes

National Geographic Banner 2

I’m excited to be partnering up with National Geographic, one of my favourite reads, to promote their new Passport to Explore sweepstakes. What is the grand prize you ask?

One lucky explorer will win a dream getaway to any North American destination that is serviced by Air Canada and Loews Hotel & Resorts, including:

* Economy airfare for two, and;
* 7 days and 6 nights at the Loews Hotel & Resorts destination of your choice.

I don’t know about you guys but with the busy schedule that comes along with raising kids, I could certainly use some husband/wife time away to help recharge the batteries.


There are three ways to enter this contest:

1. Visit a National Geographic Explorer luggage retailer and identify the mystery animal that appears on The Passport to Explore hangtag; enter the animal in the contest form. You can find participating locations Right Here!

2. Enter an associated blogger code. I’ve got you covered there folks! Your bonus entry code is 497.

3. By “sharing” the link to the Contest Website on your Facebook page.

It’s as easy as that! The sweepstakes closes on March 31, 2013 and is open to Canada only. Good Luck and don’t forget to see the official contest Rules and Regulations for complete prize details.


About National Geographic Luggage
National Geographic brand is synonymous with exploration, adventure and high quality.

* National Geographic’s net proceeds support vital exploration, conservation, research and education programs.
* The product line covers a wide range of use, including:
– Leisure travel – lightweight with wide range of models for vacation travel
– Adventure travel – rugged and functional for adventure travelling
– Business travel – lightweight and stylish for travel to meeting with business cases and computer to tablet cases.

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post. The opinions are strictly my own.

It’s Time to Vote in the Starbucks Canada “Name Your Blend” Contest

Starbucks Finalists

You may remember back in January, I had asked you to submit your entries in Starbucks Canada’s “Name Your Blend” contest. Well, the entries have been tabulated and the 3 finalists (shown in above photo) are waiting to find out if they will be crowned the winner!

That’s where YOU come in! Starbucks Canada needs your help in selecting the winner. That person will have their winning name featured on the packaging and will also receive a trip for two anywhere in Canada that has a Starbucks location. You can VOTE HERE until February 27th!

Don’t forget to stop in to say hi to Starbucks Canada on Twitter and Facebook as well! Have a great day!!!

Starbucks Blonde Roast

Introducing Starbucks Canada’s “Name Your Blend” Contest

Starbucks Blonde Roast

I have kids = I love coffee.

I write a blog = I love coffee.

I am a shift worker = I love coffee.

If you were to do the math on those equations, which I won’t bore you with, you would realize that I am a big fan of drinking coffee. Admittedly, I am not a fancy coffee kind of guy. I like my large Medium Roast with 2 milk and 1 sugar (you know, in case you’re in the neighbourhood) and I don’t sway too far from that formula. My wife on the other hand, she likes the fancy stuff!

That brings us to the reason for this post. My friends at Starbucks Canada have asked me to let you know about a new contest they have going on. For the first time ever, Starbucks Canada is asking You to Name Your Blend of their popular Blonde Roast coffee. One lucky entrant is going to win a trip anywhere in Canada to meet a friend for coffee AND have their winning blend displayed on every pack of Canada’s favourite Blonde Roast. You can Enter Here!

About Starbucks® Blonde Roast

Starbucks® Blonde Roast is a lighter roast option. From their research, Starbucks found that 60 per cent of Canadian coffee drinkers prefer a lighter roast coffee (light/medium). They also know that a significant majority of Canadian brewed coffee drinkers add milk and/or sugar to their coffee. Starbucks® Blonde Roast is an easy drinking coffee with a subtle, mellow flavour that is perfectly suited to the Canadian palate, and specially crafted to compliment milk, sugar and flavours.

The “Name Your Blend” Contest

From Monday, January 28th at 12:00:00 a.m. EST to February 10 at 11:59:59 p.m., Canadians are invited to visit to participate in the Starbucks Name Your Blend Contest to help re-name Verdana Blend™. Contest participants are required to submit their name suggestion along with an essay, between 25 and 1,000 characters, describing why they chose the name and how it relates to the Starbucks image/brand. From February 11 – 17, the judging panel, made up of a council of Starbucks partners, will narrow down the entries to three finalists. On Monday, February 18 at 12:00:00 a.m. EST, the top three finalists will be revealed and Canadians will have the opportunity to vote on their favourite name. Voting closes on Monday, February 25 at 11:59:59 a.m. EST. All contest entries including name suggestions and essays must be submitted in English.

Well, what are you waiting for? Head on over to Starbucks, grab your blonde roast for inspiration and get your entry in today! Also, I know a lot of you will probably want to choose me as the friend you would like to meet for coffee and I’d just like to say that I am totally okay with that!