Posted in Daddy, disaster, family, Life, Parenting, The Urban Daddy, Toronto, travel

Trying to Save my Plant!


I’m trying to save my plant that was given to me when my father passed away in 2002. I left it in “good hands” with my sister, while our family travelled in Asia this past summer (Vietnam, Cambodia and Taiwan).

I even gave her a tip as to how to take care of this plant – nothing can really kill it – and to watch when the leaves droop, then water it…

She didn’t.

I think for the month we were away, she “missed” it when watering plants. Needless to say it was in really bad shape when we returned.

Now, its a shell of it’s former self. I’ve been taking the pieces out of it and re-planting it trying to keep it alive.

I realized today what she must have been thinking… Like her favourite politician Justin Trudeau who once coined the phrase, “The budget will balance itself”, she clearly felt that, “The plant will water itself.”

In actual fact, sis, and JT, neither of those were going to happen…

Fact.

Posted in Canada, disaster, family, health, Parenting, Recommends, school, Toronto, urbandaddyblog

March Break / COVID-19 / CoronaVirus Self-Isolation To Do List


March Break plans ruined? Travel plans cancelled? Activities for the kids also cancelled? COVID-19 has you in self-isolation? Keeping your “Social Distance”? Tired of hearing the “Corona-Time” song from Tik Tok?

If you, like everyone else, are running out of ideas for things to be because everything is closed until mid-April… What could you possibly do with the kids during an extended March Break?

Here at The Urban Daddy, we have some practical suggestions to not only keep your kids entertained, but keep you engaged, while allowing the kids to get a jump on their return to school without them knowing.

Here are our suggestions:

Reconnect with the great outdoors!

Walks, bike-riding, practicing sports, and helping around the house, digging the garden, planting flowers and raking the lawn. Get to know (Reconnect with) your neighbours. Have BBQ’s, do yoga, pick up some garbage in the community… All with lots of soap, hand sanitizer and without electronics.

Electronics – More than just for games!

While I feel that my kids are already in quarantine – they come home from school, head up to their rooms, hit the electronics and show up only for dinner. While Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Tik Tok, YouTube and Snapchat are fun, there is only such much you can do in a day, week, month, so let’s expand the use of computers beyond entertainment, and use it for educational purposes too. Have your kids learn about SEO, how to make websites, teach them to code, while you learn to code too.

The possibilities are endless.

Computers for Education

While the teacher unions here in Ontario might think that online classes are a REALLY bad idea, thankfully they’re not teaching our children, because with schools closing for anywhere from 3-5 weeks, or for the rest of the school year, we are suddenly seeing school boards heading to online classes to salvage the rest of the school year.

It only makes sense, and from what I’ve seen, some schools just needed a couple of days to move to online classes, while other schools were already ramping up.

I’m a huge fan of online classes and courses – I did my MBA online, and in this day and age, all kids should be familiar with online classes and courses not only in case of a global pandemic, but also in case they wanted to advance themselves and take extra or additional courses.

Get a jump on the eLearning train and sign yourself and your kids up for courses. My 13-year-old is currently in grade 8, but is working on his grade 9 math credit at the same time.

I’m working on some courses towards my Google certification and my Quickbooks certification.

Catch up on Family Time – Movies & Board Games

I strongly recommend family movies – stay away from movies called Outbreak, or that deal with the end of the world. Common Sense Media, is a website that rates most TV shows, movies and video games according to age appropriateness to help parents figure out what their kids should be watching.

Some of the games that we’ve played include; Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Monopoly, Cards Against Humanity (not with the kids!!), Rummicube, Exploding Kittens, Risk, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Carcassonne, Sushi Go, Chess, Boggle, Yatzee, just to name some more recently played.

Read Books

Nothing says getting a start on learning like developing a love of reading. Reading uses our imagination, helps us to learn new words, see proper punctuation, and spend hours doing something alone.

More importantly, in the event public libraries get shut down, there are plenty of resources available in digital format too.  eBooks, eAudioBooks, Movies, Comics, Music, Magazines and Videos. All you need is a library card!

A few years ago I introduced my eldest to the series of Dan Brown books – The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, Origin, The Lost Symbol, Inferno, Digital Fortress (This one you can skip, Sorry Dan), and Deception Point. I read through those books in records time and so has he. We’re looking forward to reading the newest Dan Brown book Wild Symphony.

In addition to those books, any Star Wars book has also been a wildly popular with my readers – not just the books that the movies are based off of, but all the little series and sub-series.

Spring Cleaning

Nothing says time to re-do the bedroom – change over winter clothes to spring clothes, check sizing, and re-do parts of the house than having the time to do so. If there is a pantry that you wanted to tear apart and re-organize alphabetically, this is your chance! How about cleaning up the kids playroom and donating toys they don’t use anymore? Again, now is the time.

We’re in this for the long haul, folks, so make sure you wash your hands often, keep your hands off of your face and stay away from people if you’re under the weather. Protect yourself and that will protect others.

Posted in Canada, Community, events, health, news, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

2020 Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival Cancelled


Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), in partnership with Credit
Valley Conservation (CVC), regrettably announce the cancellation of its upcoming 2020 Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival and TRCA March Break activities at Black Creek Pioneer Village to proactively protect its staff, visitors, and all who would be in attendance, from the potential risk of contracting COVID-19.

The cancellation is in line with the recent announcement from Ontario’s chief medical officer of health recommending the immediate suspension of all large events and public gatherings of more than 250 people, and the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic, as well as recommendations by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

TRCA and CVC conducted a risk assessment and decided to cancel its upcoming 2020 Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival and TRCA March Break activities at Black Creek Pioneer Village to ensure the public safety of all involved.

The 2020 Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival and TRCA Black Creek Pioneer Village March Break activities cancellation effects the following locations and dates:
Kortright Centre for Conservation – from March 14 – April 12
Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area – from March 14 – April 12, including March Break (March 16 – 20) and Good Friday (April 10)
Terra Cotta Conservation Area – weekends (March 14 – April 5) and March Break (March 16 – 20)
Island Lake Conservation Area – March 20, 21 & 28
Black Creek Pioneer Village March Break – March 16 – 22

For further information, please visit maplesyrupfest.com and blackcreek.ca.

Posted in Canada, Coffee, Community, Daddy, disaster, events, family, Food, health, Life, money, Parenting, politics, sleep, Toronto, travel

The Sound That a Record Makes When the Needle is Dragged Across it…


If you are of a certain vintage, you know what a record is, and you have hopefully seen a record player and would then know that sound a record makes when the needle is dragged across the record.

Sccccrrreeeeccchhhhhhhh.

Then silence, as the needle is lifted off the record.

That’s the sound that the sporting world make late last night with the word that the National Basketball Association (NBA) has cancelled the rest of their season effective last night after a player from the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19.

At the moment the news broke, I have to admit, I sat up and took notice. It made me realize that this Pandemic was real and that we, as global citizens, need to step up and take notice.

Shortly after that cancellation, the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Lacrosse League (NLL) both followed suit and cancelled their seasons, although postponed is more likely the intended outcome.

Major League Soccer (MLS) is putting off games for a month.

By mid-afternoon on March 12th, 2020, the Major League Baseball (MLB) announced that they were postponing the start of the 2020 baseball season for at least a couple of weeks.

I hope that in the upcoming weeks, we can get more details about the virus, keep local people safe and keep travelers from spreading the virus. I’d make a comment about the severity of the virus but if our Prime Minister might have it (sigh) it just goes to show you that you have to be smart with your health and be careful of travelers.

I understand the fear – sort of – especially to those who are vulnerable due to age, health or underlying issues, but I don’t understand the stocking up on toilet paper. Just this afternoon, for example, I went to our local Loblaws location only to find hundreds of people in line buying toilet paper, canned soup, soda pop, and food items which do not quickly spoil such as onion.

I struck up a conversation with a couple in the line-up who had purchased 150 rolls of toilet paper, plus paper towels, cases of canned soup and a case of anti-bacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, soaps, and other such medical items.

I found out that they anticipated being quarantined into their home for a few weeks and thus needed to stock up.

I asked about the case of wipes, and sanitizer – thinking that if you’re self-quarantining in your own home and not letting people come and go, what exactly are you sanitizing?!?

With that realization, they removed the case from their cart and within seconds, it was grabbed by another family who already had a cart full of long-term supplies.

I don’t know.

I’m all for keeping my distance from people and not shaking hands, and I hope that others do the same. No more repeats of the guy sitting in the corner of McDonald’s coughing up a storm while everyone looks at him half in terror and half in wonder why he would come to a public place while sick.

He wasn’t sick.

He was choking.

I can’t wait until we can look back at this and move on back to life as we used to know it.

Posted in boo, Canada, Daddy, family, Life, Parenting, Stewie, The Urban Daddy, Toronto, urbandaddyblog

There are no words… Things that Make me Mad


I found this gem in my drawer. It was written by my middle child when he was probably 4 or 5 years old, maybe 6-years-old.

On the one hand, I’m glad that he only had 4 complaints and his mother was not one of them, but on the other hand… water?!?