The Urban Daddy: Back from family vacation. Europe V4.0.


So we have returned from our annual family vacation – I’m back at work, the kids have one week left before school starts, and my wife has the absolute pleasure of coordinating the back to school festivities.  Dentist appointments, vaccinations, clothes, shoes, school supplies, and most importantly, scheduling!

Forget the programming of extra-curricular activities and sports programs, because that is just going to have to wait… So many commitments, and such little precious time.

You get it!

But normally, I do not like to speak publicly about personal matters, however this summer’s vacation is worth sharing not because of what we did, but because of how we did it.

This was our 4th summer in Europe.  As a family.  We plan the trips in October / November and in the summer we pack as little as possible into backpacks, and we go and explore the world.

Since we are a family of 5, staying in a hotel is not a viable option, so we resort to using Air BnB’s so we have choice of location, a kitchen and sometimes other exciting amenities, such as a pool.

With the kitchen we avoid the costly dinners out and instead hit up local grocery stores and eat breakfast and dinner we’ve made ourselves and if we decide not to pack lunch, we can eat out before heading back for a siesta.

This summer took us to Dublin, Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Seville, and London with many stops along the way via the train, or the car we rented for a week.

We don’t have a home base for the entire trip, instead we stay in places for anywhere from 2-5 days before moving on.  Each new country, city, town bring a new experience and the excitement of a new place which might be better (or worse) than the previous one.

We’ve yet to be disappointed.

I’d say after 5-years of family travels, the one disappointing place we stayed at was in Rome 2-years ago which was in a fabulous location, but the Air Conditioning didn’t work and it was during a hot spell, where the average temperature was 45 degrees Celsius.

This year also represented the first year that our bags were lost during a transfer at airports, and our bags were lost twice, the final time, only 3 of our 5 bags made it home.  The final bag arrived 3 days after us.

Kudos to my wife for planting the seed of travel into our kids.  Imagine taking a 4-year-old back-packing as we did 3-years ago, through Paris, the south of France, Amsterdam and Belgium.  She was an absolute trooper.  No strollers, just walking, looking at art, and enjoying ourselves.

Now at the ripe age of 7, she’s a pro.

I encourage parents to explore travel with their children to introduce them to how the rest of the world lives.  Sure, we had gone on a family cruise before, and we took the kids to Disney, but before we headed overseas, we explored the East coast of Canada – New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI – to see if we would do driving trips overseas and after that success, we took the plunge.

I love that my oldest can easily navigate the Paris Metro, or the London Underground.  Even the Seville Metro and Brussels subway pose no issues with him.  Our middle child has found an appreciation for art, museums, and the food and drink that other places have to offer.  He’s in his element wherever he is, and that warms my heart.

Our youngest, my daughter… Such a trooper, and with a strength in languages, she enjoys what we all enjoy… the sites, the food, the language… the experience.

As someone who had to find ways to cope with some significant undiagnosed anxiety in my life, the travel bug has bitten me and I look forward to the flights, train rides, and bus, tram and subway rides because of what they bring.  New experiences, new adventures and quality family time!

For those who knew of our travels, we appreciated the texts and messages as we were in Barcelona one week before that horrible murderous act by a group of criminals.  We were on the exact stop where the van came to rest.  We also were at Buckingham Palace in London a day before some mentally unstable resident showed up with a 4-foot sword there.

But it’s great to be back home, back in Canada, back to the greatest country in the world.

 

 

 

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Oh My! Woman Sues Jelly Belly. Didn’t Know They Contained Sugar…


The link to the original article is below, but I had to post this news item about a woman in California suing Jelly belly because she had bought a package of Jelly Belly Sport jelly beans and the product did NOT state that there was sugar in the product.

Evaporated Cane juice, yes, but sugar no.

Apparently, the marketing team at Jelly Belly really confused her by using  “fancy words” to mislead her into thinking that she was eating a sugar-free product.

Oh my.

She was so mad / embarrassed / that she decided to sue, and is bringing a class action suit against the makers of Jelly Belly just in case anyone else was duped too…

Stay tuned!

 

http://www.msn.com/en-ca/foodanddrink/restaurantsandnews/woman-sues-jelly-belly-claiming-she-didnt-know-jelly-beans-contain-sugar/ar-BBBwnm7?li=BBjdJrH&ocid=spartanntp

 

Sometimes You Just Want To Help… NSFW


I’m sitting at Tim Horton’s enjoying an XL double-double thanks to Roll up the Rim to win, and the, ahem, gentleman beside me has literally blown a gasket.

He’s said;

“Fuck.”swear

“FUCK”

“For Fuck sakes”

“Jesus Fucking Christ”

SIGH

Bigger Sigh

“Jesus Christ”

“Fuck”

“Fuck”

Toss in a couple more “Fucks”, no “shits” but lots of “fucks”…

and SO much more colourful language, quietly, mostly under his breath, but considering that I’m sitting next to him, it’s all I can hear.

All the while he’s on his cell phone, pounding away on the keys (they click).

I just want to ask him what’s wrong…

It’s not that I think I can help him, that is unless his question is about parenting or taxes, but I just feel like he needs a friend right now to vent to.

If I were a bartender, he’s be talking up a storm, but he’s just pounding away on his device, either frustrated or upset at something he has either read, saw, or because he doesn’t know how to stop his phone from clicking.

What would you do?

 

Note: I actually thought he was cussing up a storm because he was trying to set his ringtone.  I kept hearing all these beeps, whirls and whistles.  One would think that R2D2 was beside me, but then the sounds stopped and the cursing didn’t.

Note2: He grumbled his way to the bathroom, then left.  He’s known here.  From this day forth I shall refer to him (silently) as the inept-smartphone-twit, or FIST, for short.

Fucking Inept Smartphone Twit, to more accurate.

The Amazing South Street Burger Co. Experience


My kids and I were invited to attend a local South Street Burger Co., for the launch of their “Dinner Just got Better” campaign, which was fantastic and quite informative.

Back on October 28th, South St. Burger launched a new creative campaign that distinguished the brand as the ‘better’ dinner choice, focusing on their commitment to best-in class burger customization, fresh, high-quality ingredients and top-notch sides as essential differentiators in a highly competitive market.

This event proved that to be true, and then some…

We learned that South St. Burger’s core philosophy is “Better Burgers. Fries. Shakes.”  We also learned that there is no need to compromise for ‘fast,’ when it comes to eating well.  We learned that the toppings are fresh, the food so tasty and the shakes get both adult and children’s approvals.

Jay Gould, the founder and President of South Street Burger Co., said “We know our target is strapped for time at the end of their day, but keen to find ‘better’ meal options for their families that include fresh ingredients and don’t compromise on taste.”

The campaign highlighted all the ways South St. Burger makes dinner ‘better’ – from its fresh, 100% Angus beef, additive-free burger raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics, to its gourmet topping combinations and use of garden-fresh ingredients, to fresh-cut fries and hand-scooped milkshakes.

Does it make a difference?  Hell, yes.

Can you taste the difference?  See above.

Is it worth visiting again, and again and again.  Yup.  So very worth it.

I’m sure you have seen their eye-catching product photography and cheeky headlines, such as ‘A burger a day keeps the Kale away’ and ‘Like Frozen Burgers? Keep Walking’ on their Facebook, or Instagram pages.

So, I took my middle child to the event because, well, he LOVES his food, and not just in that – he’ll eat large quantities of anything, kind of way – and for a week prior to the event he kept checking in to ensure we were still going, and the night of the event, when it was time to create our own burger, he already knew how many toppings were available and what was good on the menu to eat with the burger because he “researched” that.

So we made burgers, had professional pictures taken of them, and then ate, ate, ate.

My son’s has a knack for building the perfect burger – he called it the “Boss 2.0” and it photographed well, but tasted even better.  The food was incredible and we learned what differentiates South Street Burger Co. from all the rest, and that is the quality of the products they serve.

Our experience was so pleasant that we’ve been back every week since then for a burger and have not been disappointed in the quality of the burgers or the quality of the toppings.  It really opened our eyes to what we should expect in a burger and gave us a few locations to visit and eat well.

ABOUT SOUTH ST. BURGER
South St. Burger serves premium food in a contemporary, loft environment. The menu features fresh 4oz and 6oz beef patties made with 100 % Angus beef, are additive free, and raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics. Grilled chicken breasts, veggie burgers as well as Oktoberfest sausages and all-beef hot dogs are also on the menu. Sides include hand-cut french fries and poutine, and hand-scooped milkshakes made from real, premium ice cream. With 30 traditional and gourmet condiments, from dill pickles to dijon horseradish, guacamole and mango chutney, customers can personalize their orders at no extra charge.

Premium toppings include a selection of five real cheeses, grilled ginger glazed pineapple, Applewood smoked bacon, and sautéed mushrooms.

There are 35+ restaurants in Canada including six franchised restaurants in Alberta; plus a location in Dubai. South St. Burger was recently named one of Canada’s Best Managed Private companies for their fourth year in a row.

For more information on South St. Burger, please visit http://www.southstburger.com.

With great food, healthy food and great press like that, how can you not give SSBC a try.  You won’t be disappointed.

Disclaimer: Along with the pleasure of being introduced to SSBC, we ate like royalty and were give a gift card to return to the restaurant.  My son, has a new favourite place to eat and he lights up whenever he sees a restaurant because he knows he might have the opportunity to eat a delicious meal / snack.

 

Cap-and-trade will cost Ontarians $8B in first years with minimal greenhouse gas reductions: auditor.


TORONTO — Ontario’s cap-and-trade program will cost the province’s consumers and businesses $8 billion dollars in its first years of operation to get minimal greenhouse gas reductions, the auditor general said Wednesday. In her annual report, Bonnie Lysyk said households will pay an average of $156 next year in added costs on gasoline and natural…

via Cap-and-trade will cost Ontarians $8B in first years with minimal greenhouse gas reductions: auditor — National Post – Top Stories

 

I can’t just pick one part of the Auditor General’s report on the way the Ontario Liberal Government has been slowly destroying this province but I think this is the main one we’ll be talking about for years to come…

When will Ontarians wake up to the deceit and lies being fed to us by this government and care enough to not vote them back in power.

I’ll translate the headline further: The Ontario Liberal government will be getting $8 billion dollars from you, and me, from taxpayers, from businesses, from seniors… from everyone in Ontario for nothing.

This $8 billion dollar tax windfall will pay for broken contracts, wasteful spending, overruns on transit projects, union contract negotiation payouts disguised as pizza, and other perks.  It will result in businesses being forced to close, families going hungry and unemployment.

Much like the high hydro rates have resulted in people using less hydro, which then resulted in hydro having to increase rates to make more money.  It just doesn’t pass the smell test.

If it doesn’t look good, and it doesn’t smell good, it isn’t going to taste good and that’s because it’s rotten.

The Auditor General said it…