Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, family, government, Parenting, Toronto, travel, urbandaddyblog, US

It’s All My Fault!


canadian iglooIt’s all my fault.

Not the fault of the many who removed their snow tires, or put away their shovels, but my fault that it’s snowing in Toronto on April 4th.

And for that, I’m sorry.

You see we have family just south of the border in The United States of Donald Trump, and for what seems like the past couple of weeks, that area has been pounded by snow.

Snow.

I know, crazy, eh?

Since it is my long-lasting belief that most Americans believe that north of the boarder Canada is always covered in snow, I mockingly sent a Facebook message to said relatives telling them that they needed to move to Toronto, not the Southern US because it was plus 8 here and we hadn’t seen snow in quite a while.

I mean really…

Spring weather in Toronto.

Snow in the US…

In April.

 

Clearly Trump saw my message and commended Mother Nature to sick light snow flakes on the City along with 90 km/h winds.

 

Heck… I’ll take the little bit of snow and I’m okay that Americans generally think we live in igloos in exchange for not having to arm our school teachers with guns, and not electing incompetent leaders…

Wait.

Disregard the leader comment, and let’s stick with no guns!

Brrrrrr.

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Posted in Canada, Daddy, family, Food, health, money, Parenting, The Urban Daddy, Toronto, travel

Travel With Kids! Yeah! As Much As Possible, Please!


I opened my Twitter feed this morning (I’m @urbandaddyblog if you’re not following me yet – and if you’re not… SHAME!) and the first tweet that greeted me was this one;

“Up next with on Travel Edition. Are healthy eating and traveling even possible with hotel stays and security restrictions? Tune in to hear more…

Then I thought about all of the travel we have done over the years with the kids and food, make that nutritious food, has never been an issue… anywhere!

By “travel”, I’m not just referring to East York, Mississauga, or GASP, Richmond Hill – which if you live in or near the Greater Toronto Area, you will know take 40 minutes to an hour no matter what time of day, and literally used to take “5-minutes” when I was younger…

Here are some of the places we’ve taken the kids (current ages are 8-13);

  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • PEI
  • England
  • France
    • Paris 3 times
    • Drove the country heading south
  • Spain
    • Barcelona
    • Madrid
    • Seville
    • Drove the country / took trains
  • Italy
    • Venice
    • Rome
    • Amalfi Coast
    • Florence
    • Drove the country / took trains
    • Tuscany
  • Ecuador
  • Galapagos Islands
  • Ireland
  • Switzerland
  • Belgium
  • Holland
    • Amsterdam
    • Ghent
    • Edam
  • Florida

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some…

We’re big into the experience, so I’m not including cruises, but we backpack – take the least amount possible, and when we look for places to stay, there are no hotels.  We want to experience our destination as the locals would, which is why Air BnB is great for us.

With Air BnB not only do we save on accommodations because 5 people at hotels require an extra room, or extra charge, but we ensure we have WiFi, Air Conditioning and most importantly a kitchen!

With a kitchen, the food, especially healthy food, never becomes an issue.   We are so lucky to have a spouse who is almost certified as a nutritionist, and who is so incredibly organized that when we (read: she) plans our accommodations and itinerary around grocery stores so we can gather the food we need for breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

Without having to rely on eating out all the time, we save money, and eat much better and much healthier, plus we have snacks available for taking with us on our excursions / day-trips.

That’s how we get to experience the world with children, while eating healthy, and having a ton of fun.

 

 

Posted in Canada, news, urbandaddyblog

My Favourite Time of Year: Top US and Canadian Google Searches for 2016.


This is my favourite time of the year, where all of the year-end lists begin rolling in.  Below you will find the top 10 US Google searches, and what is likely the top 10 Canadian Google searches.  Enjoy, and please do not hesitate to comment.

Google’s top trending searches of 2016 (US).

  1. Powerball – The lottery handed out $1.6 billion dollars in prizes in January 2016 alone.
  2. Pokemon Go – either for tips or to read stories of people who walked into holes, or traffic while playing this game
  3. Rio 2016 – Olympics were a popular search item because of many sub-stories such as the polution in Rio, the Russian athletes being banned for doping or bad sportsmanship on behalf an Egyptian “athlete” who was kicked out of the games for refusing to shake hands with his Israeli opponent.
  4. Election 2016 – US presidential election had so many sub-stories including everything Donald Trump and everything Hilary Clinton and the email scandal. The CIA got involved as did the Russians and Anthony(s) Weiner all played part.
  5. David Bowie who died in January.
  6. Prince, who died in April.
  7. Hurricane Matthew, which barrelled through the Caribbean and made landfall in the US in October.
  8. Brad Pitt was Google’s top trending actor searched in 2016 for “abusing” his child on an airplane while intoxicated and then being divorced from Angelina Jolie.
  9. Prince Harry’s girlfriend, Megan Markle, trended most among actresses as the American actress currently residing in Toronto as hounded by paparazzi forcing the Prince to step in and berate those in the media who are harassing her.
  10. Beyonce topped musical searches, and her song “Formation” was the top trending song in Google searches for 2016

 

 

Canadian 2016 Top Trending searches must have included the following;

  1. Justin Trudeau
  2. Justin Trudeau’s hair
  3. Justin Trudeau is so cute
  4. Justin Trudeau is so pretty
  5. Justin Trudeau stylish
  6. Who is Justin Trudeau
  7. Gord Downy
  8. Tragically Hip
  9. Kathleen Wynne is killing Ontario
  10. Which JT is cuter, Justin Timberlake or Justin Trudeau
Posted in Canada, Coffee, news, urbandaddyblog

Starbucks For Life Sweepstakes is Back!


For members of the Starbucks Rewards™ loyalty program (like me!), it’s time for the annual return of the Starbucks for Life sweepstakes.

For the third consecutive year, Starbucks has featured this popular game of chance, which launched December 6th, 2016 here in Canada (also in the US).  Starbucks Rewards™ members have an opportunity to win prizes, including Starbucks for Life, Starbucks for a Year, Starbucks for a Month, Starbucks for a Week* and millions of Bonus Stars.

The Way to Play

From now through January 16th, 2017, eligible Starbucks Rewards™ members can earn game plays when they make a purchase* using either their registered Starbucks Card or the Starbucks® Mobile App in participating U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec) stores.

Members can redeem their game plays and collect digital game pieces by logging on to www.starbucksforlife.com in the U.S. or www.starbucksforlife.ca in Canada. Starbucks Rewards™ members may earn up to two game plays per day by making an eligible purchase transaction with a registered Starbuck Card or App.

What’s New This Holiday?

Members can complete challenges found within the game to earn extra game plays. Examples of challenges include “Jump the Line,” which rewards customers for making a purchase via mobile order, and “Hot Streak,” which provides three extra plays if a purchase is made five days in a row. Also new this year is the ability to trade three duplicate game pieces for one new game play.

Exclusive Prizes

Starbucks Rewards™ members can win prizes by collecting all of the game pieces in a given row on their digital game board. Only seven lucky customers (five in the U.S. and two in Canada) will win the grand prize of Starbucks for Life. 45 customers (25 in the U.S. and 20 in Canada) will win Starbucks for a Year. 250 customers (125 in the U.S. and 125 in Canada) will win Starbucks for a Month. 800 customers (500 in the U.S. and 300 in Canada) will win Starbucks for a Week.

Customers can also collect game pieces to win Bonus Stars in increments of 125 and 50 Stars. Instant-win prizes with Bonus Stars in increments of 5 Stars will be awarded as well. When Starbucks Rewards™ Gold Members collect 125 Stars, they earn a Reward, which they can redeem for a food or beverage item of their choice at participating stores.


*“Starbucks for Life” means the winner will receive a daily credit for 30 years for one free food or beverage item redeemable at participating Starbucks® stores in the U.S. Alcoholic beverages excluded. Winner must present a registered Starbucks Card. Credits are non-transferable and expire within 24 hours.

“Starbucks for a Year” means the winner will receive a daily credit to his/her Account for one year (three hundred sixty-five days) for one free food or standard menu beverage item (excluding alcoholic beverages) redeemable at participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. (and likely Canada although not mentioned in their blurby). Food and beverage credits expire daily.

“Starbucks for a Month” means the winner will receive a daily credit to his/her Account for one month (thirty-one days) for one free food or standard menu beverage (excluding alcoholic beverages) item redeemable at participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. Food and beverage credits expire daily.

“Starbucks for a Week” means the winner will receive a daily credit to his/her Account for one week (seven days) for one free food or standard menu beverage item (excluding alcoholic beverages) redeemable at participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. Food and beverage credits expire daily.

Abbreviated Canada Rules

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. LEGAL RESIDENTS OF CANADA, 18 AND OLDER AND WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE STARBUCKS REWARDS™ LOYALTY PROGRAM AT THE TIME OF ENTRY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Starbucks Partners are not eligible to win prizes. Participating stores only. Promotion ends 1/16/17. For Official Rules, how to enter without purchase, prizes, and odds, visit https://www.starbucksforlife.ca. Limit for earning Game Plays:  2 transactions per day or up to 2 requests without purchase per day. Mathematical skill-testing question must be correctly answered to win. 300,000 instant win prizes (approximate retail values of $0.20 available to be won. 14,947 collect and win game prizes (approximate retail values from $2.00 to $51,574.50 available to be won.  Sponsor: Starbucks Coffee Canada, Inc., 5140 Yonge Street, Suite 1205, Toronto, ON M2N 6 L7, Canada.

Limit of one instant-win-game prize per day. “Starbucks for Life” means the winner will receive a daily credit for 30 years for one free food or beverage item redeemable at participating Starbucks® stores in Canada. Alcoholic beverages excluded. Winner must present a registered Starbucks Card. Credits are non-transferable and expire within 24 hours.

Posted in Community, government, news, Parenting, politics, urbandaddyblog

US Politics: Can You Hear it? Locker-Room Talk All About Trump’s Campaign Implosion


As a Canadian who has been besieged by US Presidential election coverage for over a year and a half I have to say it was Donald Trump who actually made me by attention for the better part of that year-and-a-half.  Heck, I even watched half of one of the debates.

If this were Canadian politics, I would have watch both debates in their entirety and would be bitching and whining on my blog.

But how could I not maintain interest in this election?  The 1st woman President was only going to be held back by her husbands wandering genitals until Trump, always the entertainer, told us she was dying, unfit, stupid, and that she would continue to do nothing for the US public…

He made her package of Hilary Clinton as confusing as his comb-up, comb-over, comb-across hair style, or the colour of his skin.

Sure, we have a Trump Tower here in downtown Toronto which, if I recall correctly, has been dropping panes of glass for a couple of year, but it’s Donald Trump!  He’s rich, he’s owned parts of Vegas, and he’s been bankrupt before once or twice.  Heck, he’s the host of the Apprentice!

You’re fired!

While everyone was discounting his chance of winning, Trump kept zinging left, right and centre at anyone and everyone in his way.  Sure, there was talk of a wall between Mexico and the US (Mexico is paying for it!), or the talk of a wall between Canada and the US (can’t trust those friendly Canadians, eh?  Might want to come to the US because our health system sucks).  Trump made noise which resonated with more and more people for all the wrong reasons, and he was gaining momentum.

Attacks on US soil by Americans who may or may not have had ties to Islam prompted Trump to propose a ban on “Muslims” coming to the US, which morphed into a “loyalty” test for Muslims travelling to the US, or applying for citizenship.

Call it crazy, insane, stupid, or impossible but it got people talking Trump.  The bigots bought into it, while the tree huggers called him a fascist.  He was in the news for all the right reasons.

The campaign progressed and out came comments praising China, Russia, Putin, etc., and Trumps popularity grew as he became the unpolitician.  Everyone knew these countries were huge violators of human rights, but boy were their leaders ever popular!

Trump campaigned as being different than the rest.  He was going to make America great again, and save citizens from the same “politicking” that goes on day in and day out.

He said Hilary Clinton has Parkinsons disease and his legend grew along with his approval ratings.

He deflected negative talk, had answers for everything except for his policies, and he was great to watch for his entertainment value…

He WAS entertaining.

Now he’s not.

Trump is in deep trouble because someone left the closet door open and there are a LOT of skeletons in his closet!

He sexually assaults women.

And he’s okay with it.

No, he brags about it.

He bragged about grabbing a woman by the “pussy” and kissing them if he feels like it.

He’s gross, vile, and a criminal who just admitted to sexually assaulting woman.

“Just locker room talk” he said.

Rob Ford said he wasn’t addicted to crack cocaine.

If that isn’t enough reason to not vote for him, I don’t know what it.

Say what you will about Trump now… It really doesn’t matter.  He’s tainted himself and the American public.  If he gets elected, he’s the US President who grabs woman by the crotch.  If he wins, the American people voted in a leader with extremely poor ethics.

While voting for him doesn’t mean that you’re condoning sexual assault in the same way that supporting the Conservative party here in Canada doesn’t make you anti-abortion, pro-guns and anti-immigration, it does mean a man who admits to sexually assaulting women becomes the US President over a woman and that just seems wrong.

As a parent, of a girl and boys, do we really need to send the message to our youth that even if you sexually assault, or admit to / brag about sexual assault, it’s all okay and you can be anything you want.  I don’t think so!

Sideshow aside, Ronald Reagan was US President, and if Bobo can go to college, anything is possible…