An Evening With The Cake Boss!

Last night I had the pleasure of being invited by Canadian Tire to hang out with the one and only Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro, as he launched his new line of bakeware, which will be exclusively available at Canadian Tire. The new line is designed to give people at home the chance to bake like boss and create their own masterpieces! The night was amazing and I even had the chance to sit down one on one with Buddy to ask him a few questions.

At the event, Buddy teamed up with Ottawa Senators head coach, Paul MacLean and Paul’s daughter, Erin, to show off some basic techniques that can be done by the every day non-baker. It was a light event with a lot of laughs, especially when Buddy offered to hire Paul MacLean if the Sens ever decided to let him go.

cake boss paul maclean











Interview With The Cake Boss

I was also excited to have the opportunity to sit down with Buddy before the show started, to ask him a few questions. Here is what he had to say.

Q: What advice do you have for kids who dream of someday opening their own bakery?

Buddy: Definitely go work in a bakery first, just to make sure that you love it and get as much experience as you can. If you decide that this is the life for you, go to culinary school and aim for your dreams. The business part of this is covered by working at a bakery. They don’t teach you about the business side in culinary school, what it’s like to live and work in a bakery and really see the ins and outs of the real environment.

Q: Any advice for dads who want to be more hands on in the kitchen, to show their kids that it’s cool to try new things?

Buddy: Part of the reason I decided to do this product line with Canadian Tire is to make it easy for anybody to get in to the kitchen and get baking. It’s actually not that hard to do and I’m hoping to give you things that are achievable. We want people to go cake decorating and feel excited about it. For you, I’ll say that fondant is a lot easier than butter cream, especially when you are starting out, and that’s why we did videos with it.

Q: I saw your hockey cake you made for the draft and wondered what is your favourite/hardest project that you’ve worked on?

Buddy: Yeah, the hockey cake was a cool one and, you know, Canada! But definitely the coolest one I have done is the transformer cake. From a challenge standpoint, out of everything I’ve done, the transformer sets the bar on how far you can take a cake.

Q: You are a part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, but you also founded the Momma Mary Foundation and I was wondering if you would talk a bit about what that’s all about?

Buddy: The Momma Mary Foundation is something I started in lieu of my mom having ALS. What we do is we take donations and do fundraisers, to give money for research and to people that can’t afford treatments. We’ve worked with Mass General in Boston, ALS Worldwide and different things. We take the money and give it to organizations that we feel are really trying to make strives in it. It’s especially important to pass that down to my kids and the charity is close to my heart because of my mom having it.

Q: How often does a cake need repairs upon delivery?

Buddy: Oh man, I can remember last year, we got a call that a cake that was sent out to Louisiana had tipped over. We had to spring in to action and get down there to fix it. But, for the most part we only have a few incidents a year and have been pretty lucky in that regard.


Buddy couldn’t have been any nicer and he even recorded a video greeting for my mom, who is a huge fan of him and his family. His speech about how cake decorating gave him the confidence to go after his dreams really resonated with me as I am currently chasing a dream of my own. He also hopes to open up his own shop in Canada sometime in the next year or so, which is exciting. I had a great time meeting Buddy and want to thank Canadian Tire for the invite and for the very cool samples of some of Buddy’s new products. If you guys don’t a cake post from me in the next 3 months, feel free to call me out as a failure!

Buddy Cake Boss SensCake Boss Canadian Tire

Fun Summertime Ideas For Dad!

My latest appearance on the CTV Ottawa Morning Show was all about things for Dad to do with the kids this summer. While most things can be combined as a family activity, these are just a few of the things I do with the kids while Mommy does her thing.

* Build Forts, Spaceships, Lightsabers, etc… – Everything you need is available online, and it doesn’t matter if it ends up perfect, as long as you do it together. For some awesome craft ideas, you should also check out Mike Adamick’s book, ‘Dad’s Book of Awesome Projects‘.

* Go on Adventures Together – We go to the dollar store, buy some $1 foam swords and other hunting gear, then hit the forest and hunt for bears and dragons. (Note: If you see a real bear, RUN!)

* Set Up A PlasmaCar Race Track! – Back to the Dollar Store, you can get some really cool racing banners, along with some small orange cones and you can set up your very own PlasmaCar (or other riding toy) race track. It’s all fun and games until Daddy breaks the car…

* Splash Pads, Water Gun Battles or Water Parks – This is pretty self explanatory; Water = Awesome! We like to visit the splash pad down the street and bring our buckets to chase each other with. We’ve also been known to have some pretty epic street-wide water gun fights. This is one of my favourites!

I also polled a few other Dad Bloggers about their favourite summertime activities and here is what they had to say:

Chris Nichols from Rated4AndUp ~ “I took my 4 yr old son camping for the first time over the 4th of July holiday. Just me and him. It was a great time. We also go mini golfing and go cart riding just the two of us.”

Carter Gaddis from DadScribe ~ “Yard work with the 7-year-old for the first time. He picks up shrub trimmings and puts them into a trash bag. He discovered a beautiful, full spider web in our front yard one morning while we worked.”

Jeff Bogle from Out With The Kids ~ “My girls are I just had a baking morning on Thurs. played great kindie rock and made cinnamon swirl muffins with icing from scratch. Then ate some, of course!”

James Hudyma from Dads Round Table ~ “We live at Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National Park for the summer. I take the kids fishing and hiking as much as possible.”

Michael Moebes from The Muskrat ~ “We like to geocache. Today, we found ourselves in a graveyard looking for hidden treasures.”

Creed Anthony from The Captain’s Log ~ “We visited different parks, water parks, the zoo, jumped matchbox cars, colored, watched movies, made pancakes, got donuts, made our own sprinkler system (2 xs because the first one sucked), free events around the city, chased the ice cream truck, Disney, zoo, museum, chuck e cheese, movie theater and we still have 5 weeks left. And I went to my first dad meet up. This is the part of teaching I like the most.”

Lee Bodenmiller from Souvenirs of Fatherhood ~ “Skipping rocks. Camping in the backyard. Build a shelter in the woods. Wash the car. Water balloons. Build a birdhouse.”

A big thanks to all the guys for contributing their ideas. For those of you who are interested, here is the clip from my CTV Morning Show appearance, which also happens to be my son’s TV debut! Have a Great Summer!!

I Love You 200

Love You 200

My wife asked my son how much he loved her the other day, and he answered, I Love You 200! We both looked at each other, and then he followed it up with, “That’s a lot”. I spent the last couple of days wondering what that 200 could possibly represent, and these are my best guesses.

* 200 Skylanders. (This is his favourite game and 200 new characters would certainly translate into plenty of love.)

* 200 episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (His favourite TV show. We are both getting tired of watching the same episodes, so 200 new ones would be amazing!)

* 200 cookies. (Should be pretty self explanatory, no? This is something we can get get behind.)

* 200 play dates. (What can I say, this kid loves playing with his friends.)

* $200. (To a 5 year old, $200 probably seems like a million. That’s a lot of love!)

* 200 straight hours of Game of Thrones! (Okay, that one’s for me, but still, amazing!)

* 200 extra days of vacation from work. (**Drool**)

* 200 Pizzas. (This is both my son’s and my favourite food. Just the thought of this gives me the excited goosebumps)

* 200 X’s and O’s. (This is what I hope it stands for. There is no amount of pizza in the world that I would trade in exchange for this one.)

And, there you have it. I really have no clue what he was talking about, but in the end it doesn’t really matter because if he says “I Love You 200” is a lot of love, I have to take his word for it. In all honesty, I think he is smarter than I give him credit for, and this whole thing was an elaborate subliminal plan to get kid points, so he can work his way to actually obtaining the 200 Skylanders he covets. Well, guess what? I will totally take that!

How To Make Awesome Crafts With Your Kids: Dad Edition

Dad's Book of Awesome Projects

I am not handy. There, I said it. I don’t know how to build a deck or a planter. I can’t fix a car or figure out how to fix a leaky pipe. Heck, I am not even confident in my ability to paint a room properly. That’s not to say I don’t try these things. I’m just not good at them.

That brings me to today’s topic. I picked up Mike Adamick’s, “Dad’s Book of Awesome Projects”, mostly because I was tired of making the same old crafts with the kids and I thought it might help me with my aversion to crafts and general unhandiness (it’s a word, get over it).

Where most “How To” books fail due to lack of information on the “How To” part, Mike’s step by step instructions make it so that even “accidentally glue gunned my fingers together” old me can complete any project with ease. Case and point, this weekend my children and I took to the dollar store to complete our latest Awesome project: Canvas Art!

Dollar Store Craft Materials

You’ll notice I mentioned the Dollar Store. That’s because this entire project, with all the supplies you see above, cost us a whopping $11! I used to make fun of my wife for keeping the old egg cartons but as it turns out, they are pretty good for holding multiple paint colours. So…sorry, hunny. I simply turned to page 139 in the book and went to work on everything we needed to create our very own Jackson Pollock. As you can see, while my son chose to stick to the book’s task of flinging the paint at the canvas, my daughter had a different idea about what Mike should have written about.

Dad Awesome Paint Project Completed

In the end, the best part is the quality time we got to spend, flinging paint, laughing and creating incredible works of art for my “half man garage, half day care toy pile”. So if you are looking for something to get for your husband this Father’s Day and beyond, I highly recommend Dad’s Book of Awesome Projects. If I can take this book and create something amazing, anybody can! On top of that, it has inspired me to take on a few more projects I have been thinking about. Stick around and I’ll be posting them once they are done.

Just Call Me Coach

“Coach Chris”. That’s what the kids are calling me these days and I have to say that it feels pretty good. I guess you could say that I was destined to take on this role. You see, I was raised by one of the greatest coaches to ever step on a field. That man was my father and also my hero.

Truth is, I didn’t even sign up to be my son’s coach for his first year of T-Ball. It was only after we received an email from the league telling us they were short that I decided to throw my name in. I don’t have an official reason for why I didn’t sign up in the first place. I rationalized it by telling myself and my wife that it was because I was way too busy to take on coaching two nights a week, but I knew what the real reason was.

It’s been almost 6 years since I lost my father and while a lot of things have become easier, this is the one that I have been dreading most. He had coached me in multiple sports for as long as I can remember. We traveled a lot. We won championships together. He helped me develop my skills, not only as an athlete, but also as a man. Sports were the major reason for our great relationship. It was our bond.

It’s not that I didn’t want to coach and share that bond with my son, I just wasn’t sure I was ready for the emotional overload that was going to come with it. As it turns out, I couldn’t be happier with my decision. As I grew older, I often wondered what had compelled my father to put so much effort into something that seemed to come with nothing but high costs, upset parents and the stresses of dealing with a team full of kids. I found the answer.

It has only been half a season so far and I already love every one of the kids on my team. They all have different skills and quirks and smiles that make each one of them unique and amazing. The innocent joy on their faces when they catch the ball or win the game of freeze tag, is something that changes you. It changes your whole outlook on what is important and I like to think that this was a secret that my Dad would have shared with me had he still been round to see this.

As for my son, I try not to be too hard on him. I know exactly what it feels like to be the coach’s son and it’s something that he is going to have to get used to because I’m not going anywhere.

A Huge Father’s Day Giveaway, Courtesy Of Terra20


I’m so excited to be partnering up with North America’s largest eco store, terra20, to bring you an amazing Father’s Day giveaway! They just recently launched their new Tech Zone, which features some amazing products from House of Marley. I have your opportunity to come home a hero this Father’s Day by offering you a chance to win a prize pack valued at $350, which includes the following:

House of Marley Chant Portable Audio System
House of Marley Chant System


Take your music with you wherever you go with the Chant portable audio system with Bluetooth. The built-in rechargeable battery and convenient 3.5mm input and included cable make it simple and easy to connect hundreds of devices and fire up your tunes whenever and wherever you need them. Designed and built with natural bamboo wood and durable canvas, recycled plastic, earth friendly metal plating and printing inks.


House of Marley Stir It Up Harvest On-Ear Headphones
House of Marley Headphones


The Stir It Up Noise-Isolating Headphones offer a real uninterrupted experience. You can hear the bass, the drumbeat and every colourful melody the way they should be heard. They have an on-ear design for exceptional comfort, with a frequency response of 15Hz – 22kHz and a 40-millimeter dynamic moving coil speaker drive for sound reinforcement. Designed and built with recyclable aluminum, FSC certified Beech wood, responsibly tanned leather and canvas. Fabric cord.


House of Marley Smile Jamaica Fire In-Ear Headphones with Microphone
House of Marley Ear Buds

With the Smile Jamaica noise-isolating earbuds, what you see is what you get. They have stripped the in-ear headphones down to their essence and built them back up using natural materials and recycled plastics. They have an in-ear design for deep bass, with a frequency response of 18Hz – 20kHz for authentic sound and a 8-millimeter driver, 16 ohms impedance and a dynamic micro speaker with neodymium magnet for sound reinforcement. Designed and built with FSC certified sapele and beech wood and recyclable aluminum. Fabric cord.


I know, I’m making uncharacteristic grunting noises right now. Ladies, as a husband, father and owner of these three items, all I can say is “Please win this for the husband or father in your life!” And, fellas, I won’t blame you for entering this one yourselves.


Here’s how it works. All you have to do is pop on over to terra20’s amazing online shop, find one thing you would love for yourself and leave a comment with the item and the link from the shop page. That’s it. I will draw a winner at 3pm on Friday, June 14th.


This contest is open to residents of Ottawa and surrounding area (If you can pick up the prize in store, you can enter). The winner must be able to pick up the prize pack at the terra20 store at 2685 Iris St. Ottawa, Ontario K2C 3S4. One entry per household. Good Luck!

You can also visit terra20 on Facebook and Twitter for more great deals and information on their product line.

My Summertime Reading List and Subliminal Father’s Day Wish List


As a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community, I was asked to pick out a few of my favourite Summer reads from Chapters and share them with you as part of a #cbias campaign. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client, Chapters.

Only in the past few years have I become more interested in the joys of reading. I realize that sounds weird coming from a grown man but I was so into sports and video games that I never really had time for it. Now with kids, age and gravity all changing the way I looked at the world, I decided to try it out and couldn’t believe what I had been missing out on.

I still remember the exact book that dragged me back from my Hardy Boys days and into and new era of appreciation for books. It was Mo Hayder’s “Birdman” and it is a gruesomely amazing detective thriller. The kind that you never want to put down and that wakes you with nightmares so realistic that you’d swear you were living it. I have read all of her books since and was excited to snag one of her newer ones, “Hanging Hill”, on my latest trip to Chapters.


Since that first Mo Hayder book, I have been sampling every genre I can think of in order to find a few that fit. As it turns out, I haven’t been able to narrow down the field too much because there are so many incredible titles throughout all genres. If pressured, I could probably cut it down to murder mysteries and biographies but it would be painful to leave the others behind. The biographies have really been growing on me lately, especially after reading “Always Looking Up” by Michael J. Fox and “Home Game” by Michael Lewis.

With Father’s Day just around the corner, I was excited to see that Chapters had dedicated three separate displays to books for Dad. On one of the displays I found what I believe to be a jewel in the rough, so to speak, in Mike Adamick’s “Dad’s Book of Awesome Projects”. I consider myself to be a novice crafter but this book looks to challenge me to step outside of my home made light sabers and to step up my game to the next level of Fatherhood!


Not to be outdone, the kids love a good trip to Chapters as well because on top of the incredible play areas they have set up, they know that a book store is the one place where Daddy can’t say no to a new purchase. I’m not saying I bribe them but the promise of new reading material is an excellent way to get them to behave while Daddy shops for his literary needs.


I have to admit that I may have gone a little overboard on my latest shopping trip but it’s a long summer and once I’m in the beach chair it’s really hard to convince me to get back out of it. Yeah, I’m kind of lazy, wanna fight about it? Sorry about that. Anyway, here is what my shopping bag full of summer reading looks like. Do you recognize any of these titles?


Finally, I imagine that we all have a favourite place to read, whether it be in bed, on a park bench or on the beach, and I am no exception to that rule. There is nothing I love more than heading up to the cottage, grabbing a copy of Barbie’s Princess and the Popstar and curling up on a deck chair with my best gal.


We had a great time on our shopping trip to Chapters and you can see everything I checked out, which includes my subliminal Father’s Day Wish List, over on my Google+ page! Also, I’d like to know, do you have a favourite genre, author or book? Give me your suggestions in the comments so I can expand my summer library. Happy Reading, My Friends!

My Way Overdue P90X Review! (Sort Of)


There are a million reasons for why I took so long to write about the P90X. I received the package from Beachbody back in February, just as I was crashing down from the inspiration that was the Dad 2.0 Summit. The truth is, I was afraid. I am overweight, out of shape and I was petrified to try out the system for fear of dropping dead. That probably sounds ridiculous but it’s what was going through my head.

I have always prided myself on providing the work I promised in a timely manner and this one has been hanging over my head for a couple months now, taunting me like the ghost of reviews past. I even thought about returning it a couple times but have since decided to face my fear and give it a go.

Due to prior commitments, I will be starting the program next week but promise to make amends to Beachbody by posting an update on how everything is going at a later date. I’m still scared of passing out but I feel like this is something I need to do for myself and my health.

While I gear up to get started, I’m looking for some tips and tricks from all you fitnessy people on things I should be doing to get through this unharmed. Please leave them in the comments for me and maybe others. Thanks!

A Letter To My 5 Year Old Son

Happy Birthday

You just turned five.

Every day that passes makes it harder and harder for me to admit that you are growing up. You rode a bike for the first time the other day and I expected that you would need me to follow along side of you, but you just pedaled ahead like a seasoned pro. Luckily for me, the pride over powered the thoughts of not being needed.

Even with your newfound independence, there are still reminders that you are my little boy. Someday you will understand how much it means to your Dad when we are just snuggling on the couch together, watching TV. I would never wish an injury upon you but having the power to make your pain go away just by kissing it better makes me feel like Superman. I also realize that my superhero time is running short.

The way you love your sister makes my heart hurt in a totally amazing kind of way. I had no idea that a child of only five years old could be that much in love with anything, but you prove it more with each passing day.

I wanted to share a few things with you about life, our relationship and the way that you probably perceive me to be, as your father. They aren’t form fitting for everyone but it is the way I feel and I think it’s important for you to know about. I’m sure I will be adding to this list as the years pass but this is what I have for now.

• When I say no to you, I really want to say yes a lot of the time. It hurts my feelings to know that I am hurting yours, but my job as your father is to do what I feel is best for you. So when I say that you can’t play Skylanders after dinner, it’s not because you did anything wrong, it’s just that I want to spend more quality time with you before bed time.

• I may act all cool, collected and sometimes even nonchalant when you fall off your bike, or the time you cut your eye on the dinner table, but inside I am a raging ball of emotional wreckage. I want you to learn about toughness but it takes every bit of my energy to stay calm myself.

• I cried to myself after dropping you off at your first day of school. The message here is that it is okay to cry, whether it is for happy or sad reasons. Being vulnerable does not make you less of a man, it just makes you human.

• No matter what age you are when you read this, do not bottle up depression or anxiety. I did this and it cost me the first year of your life. Please promise me you will talk to someone, whether it be myself, your mother, a friend or professional. You’ll be happy you did.

• I may not always say it but I am always proud of you, no matter what you do. I’m not supposed to over praise you so you’ll learn to want more from yourself but I am happy with you just the way you are.

• Your Mother is the best thing to happen to all of us. I know you don’t like the day care because you have to share your toys, time and family but she is doing it with your best interests in mind and I know someday you will understand how lucky you were. Without your Mom, we would be a lot less clothed, fed and taken care of. So after you read this, give her a big hug for me and then do the same for your wife.

• Family always comes first. I don’t care what happens between now and whatever point you are at while reading this, nothing is more important than family. Write this down somewhere and keep it with you always.

The point of this letter is that I love you and your sister more than I ever thought I was capable of loving anything. There are no words to describe how proud I am of you and everything you have and will continue to accomplish. You may be another year older and you may not need me as much as you did last year, but I will never stop being there for you.

Your Dad had to fight off a few tears while writing this one and I have never felt like more of a man. Happy Birthday, kid. Here’s to many more!

Funny Faces


The Ultimate Mother’s Day Gift Guide! What Mom Really Wants


I know, it’s strange for a Dad to post a list of what Mom’s really want for Mother’s Day but I promise you that I have done my research. I thought instead of creating an actual list, I would just directly quote the answers I got from the Moms out there and create the Ultimate Mother’s Day Gift Guide!

Dads, it’s time to pay attention. I asked Moms what they really wanted for Mother’s Day and here is what they had to say!

“To be left alone for the whole day. No “Moooommy so and so smacked me”. No diaper changes. No cooking (I really hate cooking). I don’t care about the whole breakfast in bed thing. Just cook dinner so I don’t have to! And I like to spend the day playing Scrabble and cribbage with my mom.”

“Honestly? Just a day “off!!” I spend my day at home with my kids, and I also run a home daycare. I love what I do, but the break from the noise and the physical demands of working with the little ones would be really nice. Sometimes I just need some me time! That being said, it wouldn’t feel right to spend Mother’s Day without my own kids, so after a day of just doing my own thing (shopping? mani/pedi?) I want to come home to an ordered in dinner and hang out with my husband and my 1 and 4 year olds, watch a couple of family friendly movies and just chill.”

“That’s easy…an extra 30 minutes of sleep followed by an uninterrupted shower…out to brunch with the family…them being sent away to meet a few girlfriends for a light lunch & pedicure.”

“Let me sleep in till 10 am. Bring me a coffee and something delicious to eat (involving bacon) then we go for a nature walk together. I am at a movie or cafee relaxing and when I come home the house is clean.”


“No kids.. peace, take out, a good book, candles, and all phones, electronics, and any other way anyone on earth can get a hold of me turned off. ( Can you tell I am craving a break?)”

“For the house to be dog one asking me for food or snacks…not having to cook any meals…sleeping in for 1 hr…really..i just want a peaceful home…”

“Waking up and spending some time with my boys; then heading out to a movie with MY mom, and back home for a BBQ (cooked by hubby) As for a gift, anything the boys make is great for me.”

“Anything that I don’t have to plan myself.”

“A sleep in, breakfast in bed, flowers and then an outdoors outing with my family-like a hike and a picnic. Togetherness”.

“A pandora charm, breakfast in bed, spa day, lots of crafts from the kids. I don’t want to lift a finger.”

“Cleaning Service!”

“Someone who does the things that they tell me not to do that day. Rather than everything just waiting for me anyway, ie, dinner cooked, kitchen cleaned, laundry done and put away etc. A ‘day off’ only nice if work is actually done.”

“Afternoon tea with my mom and daughter. We did it last year and it was great. We later came home to supper cooked by DH and DS. I’m hoping for a repeat!!”

There you have it, fellas! While 1 in 10 Moms wants a flashy Pandora bracelet, most just want to have some time to themselves to unwind, without having to worry about cooking and cleaning. So do your wife a favour and send her to the spa or to the movies with some of her friends, clean the house, make some crafty gifts with the kids, then fire up the BBQ and cook a nice dinner. THEN let her enjoy an after dinner coffee while you put the kids to bed. Let’s give Mom the perfect day that she deserves.

Hey Moms, did I miss anything? Leave your list in the comments and help us Dads get it right!