Barilla Share The Table

How Often Do You Eat Dinner Together As A Family?

Let me tell you about my week. I had to work overnight on Monday, then my daughter had dance rehearsal on Tuesday, followed by my son’s ball hockey on Wednesday, two more dance rehearsals on Thursday and Friday, and finally, a hockey tournament and dance recitals on the weekend. Please understand that this is not a regular week for us but it is at least half representative of our busy lives.

When I think about not only what but how we are going to fit dinner into that schedule I kind of want to curl up into a ball and sob. It is especially important to me that we eat at the dinner table as a family as much as possible. Obviously this week was going to be tough but we still managed to squeeze in two family dinners, which made me happy. As far back as I can remember, my family ate dinner together at our kitchen table and our family was closer because of it. It wasn’t a huge table but it fit us and the food, which is all you really need, right?

The reason I enjoy having dinner together so much is because when you really think about all the activities and distractions life has to offer, this is the one time in the day where everyone can just sit down, relax and talk. For us, we have a framed list of 20 questions that hangs on the wall next to the dinner table and the kids get to pick 3 numbers to answer each night. This exercise is quick and painless and also opens the door to some great dinnertime conversation.

20 Dinner Table Questions

One other thing to note is that we do not allow electronics of any kind at the table. That means no tweeting for daddy, no clash of clans for my son and no Facebook for mommy. A recent study by pasta company, Barilla® Canada, revealed that while 74% of families have dinner together 1-4 times a week, 43% of those families do so with either the TV on or an electronic device at the table.

This all leads me to my question, how often do you eat together as a family and do you do so without electronics?

#ShareTheTable And Win A Trip To Italy With Barilla®!

Barilla® created the Share The Table® initiative to help inspire, empower and support all families to enjoy more meaningful meals. They believe that while mealtime may not be a panacea for building strong children and families, it is still one of the most important things we can do to instill a sense of courage, confidence, and character in our children today, so that they, in turn, can make the world a better place.

That said, Barilla® wants to know what dinner time looks like with your family. Share your family experience by uploading a picture or a written description, and you’ll be entered to win 1 of 3 trips to Italy. You can ENTER HERE!

Barilla Family Dinner Share The Table

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in the Share The Table campaign but we really do eat dinner together 🙂

18 More Sleeps

“18 more sleeps until Disney!”, the kids shouted with glee. That’s how early the countdown began. That’s how soon the magic starts to flow through your veins. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling it too, even though I worked hard at containing my excitement. At 35 years old, 18 days of uncontrolled excitement can cause burnout.

The trip didn’t get off to the magical start we had anticipated but a stranger on a plane helped restore our faith that all would be fine. Upon landing in Disney, because explaining the difference between Disney and Florida to a three year old is almost impossible, the kids loaded up on pixie dust while the grown ups focused on grown up things. Magical bags needed to be collected from the magical conveyor belt and children needed to be reigned in so they wouldn’t fly away in the busy airport.

The planning for this trip had been meticulously drawn out by the missus, down to the very last ride. Rain, however, was not on the agenda. In any other place on earth, rain would be a deal breaker. But not at Disney World. Not on this trip. Our smiles were as bright as ever as we crossed through the gates and into paradise, ponchos and all. The kids gripped their autograph books tight as the first character, Jake the Pirate, approached our breakfast table. Overwhelmed with excitement, my normally reserved young boy leaped from his seat and hugged Jake as tightly as he had ever hugged one of us. That was the magic of Disney.

There were many more hugs and smiles throughout the weekend. Some for us, but the most enthusiastic ones reserved for the characters they have grown up watching, which was more than fine by me. The magic was there for me too, just in a different place. Instead of the exhilaration of meeting the characters, my joy came in the form of watching the excitement on my children’s faces as they discovered a world they had only dreamed about. They were my Disney and I cherished every excited squeal they belted out.

There were more magical moments than I could count, from tears during Fantasmic to our emotional meeting with Mickey Mouse. The one that stands out to me, though, is when my three year old daughter snuggled up to me on our last day and said, “I love you more than Disney”. Impossible, but I’ll take it.

Buzz Woody

Three Words for 2014

Last year I was introduced to Chris Brogan’s “Three Words” exercise and for whatever reason, I didn’t create a list of my own. Oddly, it mostly had to do with the fact that I felt I was too busy to fit it in. I would now like to visit last year’s version of myself to quickly say, “Hahahahahaha!!”

As it turns out, I wasn’t busy at all, just disorganized. That said, my first step in 2014 is going to be taking the time to share my “Three Words” with all seven of you reading this. Each word comes with an explanation as to why I chose it, that will make complete sense to me but perhaps not as much sense to you. Without further dudes, here are my “Three Words” for 2014:

1. Push – I need to stop telling myself that something is going to fail before I try it. I have a lot of goals for this coming year that were also on my list from last year. The closer I would get to seeing them through, the busier I would pretend to be. This vicious cycle continued all year to the point where I feel like I accomplished very few of the goals I had set for myself.

This year is hopefully going to be different. I am going to push myself to, at the very least, attempt the things on my list, even if they result in failure. I have been so afraid to make a mistake or fail at something that I have been talking myself out of trying them and that needs to stop this year.

2. Learn – Part of my lack of self-confidence is that I don’t spend enough time familiarizing myself with the projects I want to complete. For instance, I have wanted to start a podcast from Day 1 of this blog but I always give myself a pass because I don’t know the first thing about podcasting. This is despite the fact that I have had more than one person tell me that they would be happy to walk me through the steps and that it would be easier than I thought. I want to take more time to hone my craft, which includes becoming a better writer, speaker and to gain a greater understanding of the social media space.

I would also like to start reading books again. The first half of last year was my most creative by far, and I feel like it is no coincidence that my creativity started to wane around the beginning of summer, when I convinced myself that I was “too busy” to read anymore. I’m proud to announce that I have already started to rectify this situation when I started reading Brett Wilson’s “Redefining Success”.

3. Family – This was an adjustment year for my family. With my wife running a home daycare, I had a hard time figuring out how to balance family and a full time job, along with my writing, speaking, social media work and various other hobbies and part time gigs. I felt completely disorganized most of the time and ended up wasting a lot of time back tracking and staring at blank screens, when I could have been spending time with my family.

Sadly, it took a death in my family this holiday season to really open my eyes to what I was missing, and I have vowed to make some serious changes. What kind of dad blogger would I be if I let this website take away from the very thing it is based on? This goal can be easily achieved by simply being more organized in my day to day life and I am confident that I can do it.

That’s it for my list. I actually got a lot out of doing this exercise and encourage you to do the same whether you intend on sharing it or not. I probably could have listed about 10 words for things I want to accomplish or improve about myself for this year, but one thing I’ve learned is that the more I add, the less I achieve. I hope you have an amazing 2014, filled with happiness, love and dreams coming true!

Putting Sailun Tires To The Ultimate Test

PTPA Sailun Tires Event

I recently had the opportunity to participate as a PTPA Ambassador for Sailun Tires. Part of that program was the chance to test out the tires at an event on a closed track at the Powerade Centre in Brampton. Not being a tire expert, I was skeptical about whether or not I would be able to tell the difference between the Sailun’s and the competing tires, but I surprised even myself.

The day started with a presentation from the Sailun team, where they explained that their goal is to provide a product for families that combines Safety and Performance for an amazing Value to them. As someone who is very interested in keeping his family safe, especially on the road, I was impressed to hear the lengths Sailun Tires were going to, to ensure that safety.

Next we were off to the closed course, with our race car drivers, Travis and Matt. There were two cars with Sailun Tires and two with competitor tires and we weren’t told which was which before we took our test drives. After each round, we would fill out a survey about how we felt the tires handled. In my opinion, there was a massive difference in the two different tire sets, and as I found out at the end, I chose the Sailun tires as the better of the two after each of my 4 runs. After finding this out, I was impressed at how well the Sailun’s handled the course, while making very little noise on the hard turns around the pylons.

In the end, after my experience on the closed course and judging by my test results, I would definitely trust Sailun Tires with my family’s safety. And if my endorsement isn’t enough, we managed to flag down an ice cream truck as the event was coming to a close and you can imagine my surprise to see that the truck was sporting, what else, but Sailun Tires. There you have it, Canadian Dad and Ice Cream Trucks both trust Sailun Tires.

Just a couple more items to get to. I’ll get to the amazing giveaway, but first, I decided to shoot a video of race car driver, Matt Pritiko, as he took a couple of us on a very fast test drive of the closed course. I am the one giggling like Beavis and Butthead for the entire ride. Not. Scared.

On to the good stuff! One lucky reader is going to win a Grand Prize of a set of Sailun Tires. There are also 3 runner up prizes of a $100 gift card to Petro Canada. You can enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Please read rules and regs prior to entering.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received compensation for my participation in the Trust Sailun Ambassador program.

Sailun Tires ~ With You Through Every Turn


I’m happy to be partnering up with Sailun Tires on a new program to put their tires to the test. When shopping for tires, there are three things that I look for above all others; Quality, Safety & Value, and Sailun Tires promises to deliver all three.

As someone who has been let down by his previous tire manufacturer, I am really excited to put the Sailun brand to the test. Just last year a faulty tire left me and my children stranded at the side of the road and it was an extremely unpleasant and helpless experience. There is nothing I would love more than to know that my family is completely safe while we are out on the road.


Sailun Tires manufactures and distributes various types of passenger and light truck, medium radial truck, and off-the-road tires in all major markets throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. Sailun’s international teams have the ability, knowledge and long term strategies to expand in the tire industry.

Building on real world testing and continuing to develop a motorsports proven product, Sailun will continue to build the most advanced and cost-efficient platform for tire manufacturing and distribution, while utilizing its information technology and substantial research platform to help establish new tire enterprises.


PTPA Winner Seal

I think it’s also important to note that Sailun Tires are also the recipients of the PTPA Award. The PTPA’s seal is one of the most publicized and highly recognized award seals in North America, and whenever I see it, I know that I am getting a high quality product.

I will also be joining the PTPA and Sailun Tires in Brampton on June 12th for the Sailun Tires Summer Track Event, where I will get a chance to test out the tires first hand. I hope you’ll check back in to read about my experience and to check out the great giveaway we have planned for you!


That’s all for now. Please take a minute to follow Sailun Tires on Twitter and Facebook, and don’t forget to check back in for the big giveaway coming this June!

Coming Home

Family Photo

It didn’t take long to miss the little things after leaving on my recent journey to the land known as America. There was no hug goodbye, no “we’ll miss you Daddy”, really, there was nothing but silence as I slipped out the door at 5am on a cold Thursday morning.

As I hit the road that morning, I had a nervous excitement about where I was headed and the experiences I would have. Still, there were constant reminders of what I was leaving behind. A miniature hockey bag on the floor made me think about how great my son’s first year of skating was going and of how proud I was of him. He wasn’t floating on air like Gretzky but maybe Wayne himself got off to a slow start.

There were warning signs to turn around as well. The first was the eerie squeal of the tires as they tore across the metal of the International Bridge. This was followed by 65 mile per hour winds that did everything but knock me right off the road. The two blizzards that followed served as a reminder of the fact that I was not in charge. No, SHE was in charge and it wouldn’t be the last time on this trip that I would be reminded of this.

I was not even three hours in and I was already wondering if my family missed me as much as I missed them. As I sat in the terminal, staring at the giant hunk of aluminum that would soon propel me 38,000 feet above land, I thought only of them. Airplanes. My arch nemesis. My kryptonite.

The flights were surprisingly easy; aside from the constant thoughts of us colliding with another aircraft, that is. I quietly read about Neil Young’s life story and his inspiration was enough to keep my nervous twitch subdued just long enough for the wheels to hit the tarmac. I love Neil. He has helped me through many tough times even though we have never met, and most likely never will.

Airports, Hotel, Conference, Karaoke, Cabbies with Guns; All of it wonderful and exciting and new in its own way, but something was still missing. I got a preview of that something at the midway point of my adventure courtesy of my wife. Here it is:

Yeah… I don’t think I need to explain what happened next, do I? By the end of the video, my room resembled the falls in Niagara as I instinctively clicked play, again, and again, and again. Each time noticing something familiar and wishing I was back there, in that moment, with my family. I knew I couldn’t leave just yet. I came here with a purpose, after all, and wouldn’t leave until I had proved to myself that I could face my fear and conquer it, which I am proud to say I did.

The long trip home was filled with road blocks. Airport confusion, flight delays, freezing rain, darkness, sleet, snow, aliens, gremlins, Super Bowl black outs & even the Stay Puff marshmallow man! You name it, I saw it, but nothing was going to stop me from getting home to those three smiling faces from the video. The kids were dreaming of princesses and Skylanders by the time I got home but I enjoyed the quiet catch up with my wife, whom I missed dearly.

Then, as if she could read my mind, my daughter popped her head around the stairwell and smiled. It was one of those smiles that make you realize how important someone is in your life. It was love. And I was wearing the exact same smile.