Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, family, money, Parenting, Recommends, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Essay Writing Contest (Closing October 16th, 2018). Grade 12 Canadian Students – You can win $500-$5,000.


The Urban Daddy is a HUGE fan of teaching Canadians about finances, taxes and debt, and finding solutions to get out of debt and stay out of debt.

I came across an essay writing competition for Grade 12 Students, sponsored by an organization that I have worked with in the past and strongly respect.

Details:

Grade 12 students across Canada are invited to confess their financial misfortune story by submitting an essay to the Credit Education Week 2018 Essay Contest.

Prizes range from $500 to $5000, with over 20 prizes to be won.

Entries must be written in English or French and must not exceed 1000 words.  Essays must be submitted between now and Oct. 9, 2018. EXTENDED: October 16th, 2018.

For full contest rules, see the essay submission page.

Credit-Canada-Essay-Contest-Flyer-V2

Here is a note from a winner last year (name redacted)

“As it has almost been a year since I participated I thought I should give Credit Canada an update. I was able to accept a position at my first choice school in the Law and Society program (minoring in Criminology). I was accepted into a residence community that allows me to participate, volunteer and plan community events to better the quality of life in town. I’ve also been accepted into numerous campus leadership positions. Overall, I’m working hard as a student and as a citizen here in university. Now, this email may seem random but I wanted to sincerely thank everyone involved with Credit Education Week. Though a scholarship in this amount may not seem like a lot of money to a large company, it makes a gigantic difference to students like me. Rather than spending my nights picking up extra shifts at work, I am participating in my school and studying hard with a chance to thrive. I cannot thank you and everyone else who participates in this program enough.”

Credit Canada, the sponsor of this competition, is a non-profit and charitable organization providing free and confidential credit counselling, personal debt consolidation and resolutions, as well as preventative counselling, educational seminars, and tips and tools in the areas of budgeting, money management, and financial goal-setting.

Credit Canada is Canada’s longest-standing credit counselling agency, helping Canadians manage their debt since 1966.

For more information, please visit www.creditcanada.com.

You can also interact with others on Twitter using this hashtag, #CEWC2018

Posted in Life, news, urbandaddyblog

What’s in a name? Boaty McBoatFace? ScoobyDoo?


I came across an entertaining story this morning surrounding the Natural Environment Research Council’s decision to crowd-search for a name for its new £200m polar research vessel, set to head to Antarctica in 2019.

The leading name, thus far, with over 18,000 votes, is “RRS Boaty McBoatface.”

LOL.

RRS, stands for Royal Research Ship.

As of right now, the name which comes in a distant second place, is “Henry Worsley” who was the well know British explorer who died in January 2016 near the end of his attempt to become the first person to cross the Antarctic unaided.

Unlike the National Hockey League (NHL) and it’s All-Star fan voting, the NERC gave themselves and out, by asking for suggestions for names, and clearly indicating that they would choose a name after discussions with an expert panel.

The NERC website, nameourship.nerc.ac.uk, is currently offline due to the amount of traffic it has received, and with the recent publicity, and its only going to get worse.

Suggestions can be sent via Twitter, up to April 16th, 2016, using the hashtag #NameOurShip

Other popular names from the website include; Sir David Attenborough, or names such as Polar Dream, Its Bloody Cold Here, What Iceberg, Captain Haddock, Big Shipinnit, Science!!! and Big Metal Floaty Thingy-thing.

All of this reminds me of a conversation that an 8-year-old Urban Daddy had with his Aunt who was expecting her second child. She asked me to give her a name suggestion for her child, and perplexed, I said; “Scooby Doo”.

She said, “You can call him/her Scooby Doo. I’ll likely go with another name.”

I never did call him that.

Poor John Scott…

Posted in Daddy, family, Recommends, urbandaddyblog

How Awesome is This! Win Safari Niagara Passes here!


Safari Niagar_Logo  As a father of 3 young children, we are always looking for fun, exciting things to do on the weekends with them which are hopefully mentally and physically stimulating, educational and hopefully interesting for us as well.  After 8 years of being a dad, we’ve been just about everywhere here in Toronto and surrounding area and I thought we had visited, heard of, or knew of all the great places to visit until I came across Safari Niagara.

Have you heard about Safari Niagara before?  Have you been there?  Did you know it is only 10 minutes from Niagara Falls in Stevensville, Ontario, and did you know that Safari Niagara is for visitors of all ages and all abilities and not only are there animals on a 150-acre, privately owned and operated nature park, which is home to more than 750 animals of native and exotic mammals, reptiles and birds.

If that is not enough to do in a day, then there is also these activities:Safari Niagara Rainbow (giraffe)

  • educational guided walking tours (free)
  • an educational, narrated tram ride/tour
  • interactive, educational demonstrations including birds of prey and threatened species presentations
  • petting farm-yard
  • catch-and-release fishing

If that is not enough fun, there is also other activities including ropes course*, bungee*, Safari Rides*, paddle boating, kite-flying and playing at the large playgrounds, sandbox and animal-themed splash pad. (* June 1st to labour day).  Forget visiting for one day, we could live here!

Here is what you might not know about Safari Niagara is that their vision;

Safari Niagara’s vision is to provide people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to meet animals and birds up close. It is hoped that such interaction with nature will inspire future conservationists and naturalists. In a world where children experience fewer exchanges with nature, Safari Niagara provides an unprecedented opportunity for kids to view, experience and learn about many animal and bird species that share our planet while engaging in a fun and rewarding adventure.

Safari Niagara is also home to one of Canada’s largest steel sculpture exhibits, on loan by artist Rod Dowling and the park includes an outdoor 90,000 square-foot outdoor amphitheatre which hosts the annual Safari Niagara Summer Concert Series of live concerts (check out the current list of concerts here), and the park also offers plenty of shaded picnic areas, a counter-service restaurant and gift shop.

Safari Niagara is open to the public on May 11, 2013 and closes October 14, 2013 (It is closed August 14th for a private event).

From June 1st to Labour Day, your 2013 Season Passes and Day Admissions included unlimited use of the Adventure Zone Activities: Ropes Course, Bungee, Safari Rides, and our newly expanded Gator Tram Ride*!

Read about Safari Niagara’s amazing history here.White Lions_Safari Niagara photo

The Contest!

The kind folks at Safari Niagara have given me 2 family day passes – good for 2 adults and 2 children  – to give away, for the 2013 season.

How to win:  Get the word out!  Share this post, like the link, and post a comment on this blog, through Twitter, or Facebook.  The more social media places you share this post on, the better are the chances of winning!

It’s that easy.

How will you know if you won?

Well starting today, July 24th, I will be taking down the names of everyone who posts, likes and shares this article and at the end of 2 weeks, I will put all those names into a hat and let my kids pick the 2 winners.  I will then arrange and mail out the passes to the winners ASAP so the winners can get out and enjoy the park with their family.

Needless to say, it’s the perfect way to wind up a summer!

So check out their website, and get posting / sharing and linking Safari Niagara and get ready to win with The Urban Daddy.  Who knows, we might even see you there!

Posted in family, Life

St. Patrick’s Day, Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and a Contest from the Egg Farmers of Ontario


St. Patrick’s Day is always a ton of fun even for those of us who are not Irish, or who do not drink anything green during the day and this St. Paddy’s Day was no different. Who doesn’t love things being painted / dyed green, or wearing green-clothes…

Tying it all in together, Dr. Seuss’ classic book, Green Eggs and Ham, was published more than 50 years ago and is still a favourite among Canadian families. With St. Patrick’s Day here this weekend, did you prepare any “Green Eggs and Ham” for the kids (or for yourself) for Sunday brunch?

The Egg Farmers of Ontario sent across a recipe for Green Eggs and Ham (or Green Eggs and Tofu-Ham in our home, including directions on how to make your eggs shamrock green (which would be a great family activity!)

The Egg Farmers of Ontario are also hosting “The Eggs Factor”, an online egg-decorating contest in support of Breakfast Clubs of Canada, which is happening right now! For every entry, the Egg Farmers of Ontario will donate a dozen eggs to Breakfast Clubs of Canada, and entrants have the chance to win one of 12 iPad minis.

A link to the contest can be found here.

Here is the recipe for Green Eggs and Ham from the Egg Farmers of Ontario:

green eggs

The kid-friendly part:  Get the kids to dye their hard-cooked eggs green! 

In a bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) water with 1 tsp (5 mL) liquid green food colouring.  Dip each peeled, hard-cooked egg into the green water (the eggs should be completely covered with green water).  Using a spoon, turn to coat, until egg is green in colour, about 4 minutes.  Remove and let dry on paper towel. Cut in half and add to gratin dishes, (green facing up yolk facing down) with pasta, ham and green onions.  Continue with recipe.

Casserole

8 oz dried pasta, about 2 cups (500 mL)
1 head broccoli
6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and halved
1 cup (250 mL) cubed black forest ham, about 8 oz.
4 green onions, thinly sliced, white and light green parts

Cheese Sauce
2 tbsp (25 mL) butter
2 tbsp (25 mL) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) milk
1 cup (250 mL) shredded old Cheddar cheese
½ tsp (2 mL) dried mustard powder
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper

Topping
½ cup (125 mL) shredded old Cheddar cheese
2 tbsp (25 mL) minced fresh parsley (optional)

Directions:
Casserole

In large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until tender but firm, about 8 minutes.

Drain and rinse with cold water; set aside.

Remove florets from broccoli and set aside.

Using knife, remove any hard knobs from broccoli stems.

Chop stem to produce 1 cup (250 mL) of stem bits.

In boiling salted water, add stem bits and cook for 4 minutes, add broccoli florets and continue cooking 2 minutes longer, drain all broccoli and rinse with cold water.

Scatter pasta, eggs, broccoli, ham and green onions evenly into a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.

Cheese Sauce

In saucepan, heat butter over medium-low heat, add flour and cook, stirring to make a roux or paste, about 2 minutes.

Whisk in milk and cook, continue whisking until thickened, about 6 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in cheese, mustard powder, salt and pepper.

Continue whisking until cheese is melted, about 4 minutes.

Pour cheese sauce over casserole.

Sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese and parsley over casserole.

Bake in 375ºF (190ºC ) oven until heated through and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.

(Make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.  Increase cooking time by 10 minutes.)

Servings:  6 (2 cup servings)
Prep. Time:  10 minutes
Cooking Time:  20 minutes

Nutrients Per Serving: Calories: 478 Fat: 22 grams Sodium: 822 grams Carbohydrates: 40 grams Fibre: 4 grams Protein: 30 grams

Posted in Coffee, Community, urbandaddyblog

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Facts About Starbucks’ Canada and Naming Starbucks’ New Blonde Roast Contest


Map of the countries with Starbucks Coffee Shops
Map of the countries with Starbucks Coffee Shops (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Starbucks is the world’s top coffee retailer with over 19,500 stores in 58 countries.  Canada ranks second to the US in the number of stores (over 12,800 in the United States compared to over 1,245 locations in Canada).  Japan, Great Britain, China and South Korea round out the top 6, all under 1000 locations.  But you cannot really trust these numbers because Starbucks are opening nearly 5 new stores everyday.  Starbucks recently held a contest for Canadians to help name their new Starbucks Blonde Roast coffees, which are best described as their lighter roast with a subtle, mellow, lighter-bodied, full of flavor, and delicious.  I liken it to a roast which gently awakens the senses – the more you enjoy your cup, the more flavour you detect.When they first launched the Starbucks Blonde Roast, I immediately picked up the VIA instant packets and was shocked by the lack of flavour from the first sip.  Used to strong coffee I had added way too much cream and sugar and it drowned out the mellow flavour of this mild roast and once I learned to be gentle with this Blonde, I began to notice the subtle flavours and it has become my go to roast.

So of course I wanted to enter the contest to create the name for the Blonde Roast and in doing so, I found some interesting facts about Starbucks I felt compelled to share.

So, here are the 13 Most Interesting Facts About Starbucks, then the details about the contest …

13.  Starbucks currently employs over 137,000 employees, which may not seem like a lot, however this is twice the population of Greenland.

11.  There are currently over 87,000 drink possibilities – a free drink to anyone who can name all 87,000.

10.  There is a size called the “Trenta” which is 30oz / 916 ml or slightly bigger than the capacity of your stomach which on average has a capacity of 900 ml.

9.   A Starbucks grande coffee has 320 mg of caffeine which surprisingly contains over four times more caffeine than found in a Red Bull energy drink.

8.   The Starbucks cinnamon chip scone has more calories than a McDonald’s quarter pounder with 480 calories.

7.   Starbucks uses 2.3 billion paper cups per year.

6.   They currently serve 40 million customers a week.

5.   The owners almost went with the name Pequod, the name of the boat in Moby Dick, instead of the character Starbucks’ name

4.   After tasting the Clover at a small café in New York and claiming it the best cup of brewed coffee he has ever tasted, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz decided to buy the company that made Clover in 2008 and began introducing the dream machine at select stores around the country

3.   Most Starbucks stores have been equipped Swiss-made Mastrena, which was created to make “the highest-quality, consistent shot of espresso”. The machine also allows baristas to interact with customers due to it’s size and shape.

2.   My first choices for the new name were “Mellow Yellow”, “Platinum Blonde” named after the great Canadian band, “Ambition”, “Natural Blonde” and the “Have More Fun” Roast.  These have all been entered in the contest.

1.   The first Starbucks location to open in Canada was at the Seabus Skytrain Station in Vancouver on March 1, 1987. This humble store was Starbucks Coffee’s first international location.  My last suggestion was to honour that location with the “Seabus Light Roast Blend.”

On February 20th, Starbucks Canada will announce the 3 finalists and open up the voting.  What was your name for the Blonde Roast?