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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.

LEGO Boost 1

Building Just Got A Lot More Fun With LEGO Boost! {Giveaway!}

Like almost every kid out there, my children love building with LEGO! Over the years, our building habits have evolved from simply putting together the sets from the instructions, to creating whatever pops in to our heads, but the constant is that LEGO keeps us busy and creative for hours at a time.

With my son taking part in the Coding Club at his school, something I am constantly jealous of, I was excited to hear about LEGO’s newest product, LEGO Boost! Boost is a 5-in-1 model that introduces building and coding in one super-charged LEGO set, letting children add sound, movement and personality to their LEGO creations, bringing to life anything they can imagine! The LEGO BOOST Toolkit recently arrived on our doorstep and the kids were very excited to start their #BUILDwithBOOST adventure!

LEGO Boost 3

You can choose to build any of the 5 models, including Frankie the Cat, Guitar4000 and the M.T.R.4. We choose to start with Vernie the Robot as he seemed like a ton of fun! The kids and I had different ideas about how to start our new project, with them wanting to dump all 11 bags out at once, while I wanted a more level-headed and dadly approach. Needless to say, dad won that round!

LEGO Boost 2

After that, we downloaded the free LEGO Boost app and got started on building Vernie! Before we continue, please note that a tablet running iOS 10.3 and newer/Android 5.0 or above is required to build and play with LEGO® Boost™, so make sure your device is compatible by visiting LEGO.com/DeviceCheck before purchasing.

The app was amazing and very easy for the kids to follow along with. Full disclosure here, with 832 pieces, dad helped a little with the building as the kids were so excited to start giving commands to their creation. Plus, I am a giant child, so the opportunity to build with LEGO is still an exciting prospect for me…

LEGO Boost 4

Once Vernie the Robot was complete, the real full began! First things first, the kids absolutely fought over who would get to test him out first, which was ultimately decided by a rousing game of rock, paper, scissors. I was amazed watching as my kids used the LEGO Boost app to learn how to code on the spot and they had Vernie doing all sorts of tricks within a matter of minutes.

LEGO Boost 5

For the last week now, the first thing the kids want to do when they wake up and then get home from school is to play with their new robot friend. I’m usually careful about how much screen time they are getting but I can’t complain about it when they are teaching themselves how to code while also having a blast with their LEGO. Next up for us will be checking out the incredible BOOST BOTS series on YouTube, where we’ll be able to see what is possible with LEGO BOOST for those of us who like to put away the instruction manuals!

LEGO Boost 6

I honestly can’t say enough good things about LEGO Boost and if your kids are into LEGO, or coding, this would make the perfect gift for them! And because I believe in this product so much, I want to put a LEGO Boost in your home this holiday season! Feel free to fill out as many Rafflecopter entries below as you’d like and I’ll be giving away a LEGO Boost kit to one lucky reader!! Giveaway is open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: We received a LEGO Boost kit to facilitate this post, however it really is one of the best toys we’ve ever played with!

Children Art Class

In Dreams

Once the sheep have returned to their pen and the sand starts to form, that’s when the real fun begins. This is the land where imagination becomes reality and anything is possible. Often peaceful, occasionally scary, but always an adventure. In dreams there are no mountains too high or tasks too tall. If you want to fly, you can fly to the moon. If you want to run, you can run faster than the speed of light, and, if you feel like saving the world, well, you can do that too.

Every night, before I go to sleep, I check in on my children for no reason but to see their peaceful faces as they drift off to their own imaginary worlds. I wonder if they are dreaming happy dreams and sometimes secretly hope I’ve made a cameo, even if it is as a dragon or a princess. It’s always nice to be thought of after all.

It’s rare that we take the time to capture our dreams, or even remember them at all, but maybe we should try more often. My daughter took a shot at it recently and what she came up with both captured my imagination and filled me with pride. She described the painting with such reality that you didn’t need to ask why there were upside down trees and flowers in the ocean. The answer, of course, was simply because there are.

Through her art I got a glimpse into her creative mind and longed for the days when my own mind was filled with such vibrant scenery. I certainly don’t think I’m too old to get it back. I think I just misplaced it somewhere along the way and I intend on searching for it. In the meantime, I wish you all the wildest of dreams.

Chris Blissdom Canada Ward Al

Almost Famous

Almost Famous. This is what I think of when I look back at my Blissdom Canada experience, and really, my blogging journey as a whole. And it’s not that I am chasing fame in any way or think that I am, in fact, famous, but more that I feel like William Miller, the main character in the movie of the same title. In the movie, Miller spends his time chasing his dream of being a music reporter but always seems to be two steps behind.

When I started blogging, I really had no writing skills to speak of. I had never written anything, anywhere, but thought the prospect of it was interesting. I had no hobbies, unless being depressed about my father’s death and playing video games until three o’clock in the morning counts as a hobby. Blogging has been my escape from all of the anxiety I had built up inside my brain.

In the two and a half years that I have been doing this, I have had my share of ups and downs. I have done things I am proud of and some other things that I am not so proud of, but have continued to grow as a writer, father and human every day. Lately, however, I have been feeling like I am chasing my own tail. It feels like great things are happening but I’m struggling to figure out what they all mean and why it hasn’t translated into something bigger. I share this with you because after talking to a bunch of the attendees at Blissdom Canada, I know that I am not alone in this struggle.

The question is, what do we do about this? When you have that feeling that your big break is just around the corner, even if you don’t know what it is, what do you do to reach for it? For me, the answer became a little clearer after Blissdom Canada. In speaking to people like Ward and Al, Drew Dudley, Derreck Kayongo and Neil Hedley, I realized that in order to achieve the type of success I want, I need to put my head down and continue to explore and create the things that I find most interesting. Who knew that the answer would be that passion and hard work pay off?

Things don’t just happen because you’ve written a few blog posts or recorded a podcast or two. They happen when you make the decision to take chances, dedicate yourself to your craft and put in the hours in order to make it a success. If you had asked me a couple weeks ago, I would have told you that I was slightly disappointed with the direction I was headed, but now I realize that I need to spend more time celebrating and building on all the small victories. Get out there and create, people, and good things will happen!

Canadian Dad Podcast - Mike Reynolds

Canadian Dad Podcast – Ep. 5 – Children’s Author, Mike Reynolds

This week I spoke to father, children’s book author, podcaster and writer, Mike Reynolds from PuzzlingPosts.com. We discuss Mike’s weekend at Beau’s Oktoberfest and I give plenty of love to the organizers of the Blissdom Canada conference, where I was a panellist during a podcasting session this past weekend.

Mike talks about his children’s books, “Daddy, Fly” and “The One Green Dinosaur”, that he co-wrote with his young daughter. He also talks about other ways to be creative with your kids and how great their little minds truly can be.

Don’t forget to say hi to Mike on Twitter,@PuzzlingPostDad

Enjoy the Show!

Quaker Chewy for Charity

I Cannot Be Trusted Around Children’s Snacks

“Did you seriously eat all of the granola bars?”, my wife asked the question even though she already knew the answer.
“Pffwhuuht?”, I replied, mouth full of granola.

This is a regular conversation in our house and while I know that I am not supposed to eat the kid’s school snacks, I just can’t help myself. One turns into three and the next thing I know the whole package is gone. I mean, sure, my new #DadFit routine has helped me curb my appetite a bit but I still get that itch from time to time and when it happens, you can kiss the snacks goodbye!

Just when I thought I was starting to shake this habit, I found out about the Quaker “Chewy for Charity” initiative and got sucked right back in! Quaker is asking families across Canada to get creative for charity. Parents and children can get involved by creating a Canadian-inspired artwork, take a picture and turn it into a unique and personal lunch bag design at ChewyForCharity.ca.

For every lunch bag design submitted and approved, Quaker Canada will donate the equivalent of 10 pounds of food to Food Banks Canada. Food Banks Canada reports that 36 per cent of the estimated 1.7 million Canadians who turned to food banks in 2013 were children and youth.

Quaker Chewy for Charity Art Party Kit Giveaway!

While my kids and I create our submissions for charity, here is a fun giveaway for some great art supplies from Quaker Chewy! The winner will receive: Chewy Product – 2x Chocolate Chip, 2x Yogurt, Markers, Paints and brushes, Pipe Cleaners, Pencil crayons, Glue, 5 Canvases, Popsicle Sticks, Basket for storage. There is also a picture of the kit below. Good Luck and don’t forget to send in a drawing to help Food Banks Canada!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Quaker Chewy for Charity Art Kit

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

TMNT Craft

The Ninja Turtle Heard Round The World

Well, now you’ve all gone and done it, internet. My poor, innocent young boy, who knew nothing of the internet is now a raging attention seeker looking for his next fix. Every night before bed time, my kids get between 30 minutes to an hour of creative time in their rooms. This can include doing crafts, colouring, dancing, singing or whatever, as long it is something creative. The other night, my son decided to practice his scissor skills and made this very cool Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Leonardo craft.

He told me it was for my desk at work, an offer which he has since rescinded, and I was so impressed that I shared it on all my social networks. In passing, I mentioned to him that you guys liked it too and told him it had garnered 30 “Likes” in under a half an hour, plus read him a few of the comments. Had I known what his reaction to this was going to be, I probably would have just left it alone. In the next thirty minutes, he asked me how many people liked it over 3,000 times (numbers may be exaggerated) and like a rookie I checked every time.

Canadian Dad TMNT

When the picture reached 70 likes I jokingly told him he was internet famous, to which he replied, “I know, it’s because I make great stuff”… Monster. Created. Not one to make his living off one work of art, my son then proceeded to create the rest of the ninja turtle team, and then quickly asked me to take a picture of it so he could see how many people would like it on the computer. I took the picture but told him we needed to wait a couple days to avoid turtle burnout.

That brings us to today. His newest work is shown in the header of this post and seeing as how you are the ones who created this monster by liking his original work, I figured that you should probably leave a comment here telling him what you think of his complete collection of ninja turtles. I mean, do you really want to break his little heart?

How Tim Hortons Gave One Classroom The Gift Of Creativity

The list of traits I want to pass on to my children is extremely long. Near the top of that list, however, is that I want my kids to be able to express themselves creatively. That said, I was excited to find out that my son’s kindergarten class had decided to re-arrange their play area, and was even more excited to find out that they had voted to turn it into a Tim Hortons drive-thru station. If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you will know about my love for everything Tim Hortons.

In essence, what this did was combine two of my favourite things, in creativity and Tim Hortons coffee! I decided to reach out to my local Tim’s restaurant to see if there was anything they could do to help out and I was pleasantly surprised with not only how quickly they said yes, but also with the amount of stuff they contributed to the kids’ new play station. There were hats, toques, balloons, Tim cards, cups, carry trays and even name tags that read “Owner”, which my kids loved.

The kids all had a blast with their new Tim Hortons drive-thru and one of the parents even told me that it was her son’s favourite part of the whole year so far because of all the cool stuff in there. With that, I would like to extend a huge thank you to the management and staff at the Tim Hortons on Carling Avenue for making these kids’ lives a little more exciting and a lot more creative!

Tims1

Tim Hortons Drive Thru

Children Telling Stories #1 – The Princess and the Underpants

 Something I have noticed about my children is that they love performing for a camera. Whether it’s dancing, singing, telling stories or making up new languages, they always ask to be taped and then come running to watch and laugh at the playback. I’m guessing they get their narcissism from their dad and I think it’s great! I’m always happy to let my kids express their creative sides and these stories have become an important part of our bonding process. That said, I have decided to publish some of them in a segment called, Children Telling Stories, and will hopefully be posting one story a week.

In this week’s story, my daughter tells the story of the magical princess, who ends up in a waterpark after taking a magic carpet ride and needs to clean some underpants. Enjoy!

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 hotwheels.ca. 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