Thanks Baby; We’ve Come A Long Way

Father’s Day – it is difficult to imagine, but the reality is, this is my 8th Father’s Day as a dad and I have been thinking about what it means to be a dad. So many wonderful  memories. So many wonderful feelings.

Thanks Baby

Although I was pretty mature, well, maybe not mature, but older than the average dude in the maternity ward, I figured I would have an advantage over the other, younger guys as we all became dads.

The reality is, nothing could have prepared me for twin daughters who were born 6 weeks early and weighing in a couple of ounces over four pounds each.

Thanks Baby

Take a good long look at the picture above.

I have pretty regular sized hands so you can imagine how tiny my daughter’s little hand really was. For obvious reasons, one of the first lessons that my daughters taught me was how to be gentle. #ThanksBaby.

Thanks Baby

But they grew. My daughters did grow. And they found their voices. Oh have they ever found their voices. And you know, I grew too because the reality is, when a baby is born, a dad is born.

When my daughters were born, I began to better understand my own dad. I began to understand the difficult choices my dad had to make around balancing being a supportive dad to me and at the same time be able to respect his paid work responsibilities.

I guess I have my daughters to thank for helping me better understand my dad. #ThanksBaby

Thanks Baby

And just like my dad did, I had to learn to balance being a dad with my work responsibilities. So I was often sitting at my desk doing work while holding my daughters in my arms.

Even now, when I am at home sitting at my desk doing my work, and my daughters call me to join them for a tea party or to visit and “shop” in the store that they have built in our living room, I inwardly grimace knowing that leaving my work will mean a longer evening of work after they go to sleep, but I get up out of my chair and I go to “shop” in their stores. And their smiles. Yes. Those smiles. #ThanksBaby.

Thanks Baby

My daughters are a blessing in so many ways. Yep, there have been days when I go to sleep knowing that I may never win the “dad of the year” award, but there are far more days when I am tucking my daughters in to sleep and they reach up with their little arms to hug me and I hear their sleepy little voice say, “I love you papa”. Those are the times that make everything worthwhile. #ThanksBaby.

Thanks Baby

And while my daughters no longer need diapers, I think back to the times when we did use diapers and how for more than 50 years, moms and dads, like my wife and I did, we all trusted Pampers complete range of diapers, wipes, and training pants to help us care for our babies as they grew from infants to toddlers.

To learn more about Pampers products, to join the Pampers Rewards program, and to find ideas and information to help your baby get the most out of love, sleep, and play, you can visit www.pampers.com.

Disclosure: Although I have partnered with Life of Dad and Pampers for this promotion, my thoughts on parenthood and all the warm fuzzy memories I have discussed in this blog post are my own. As always, editorial control remains under my control.

 

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Folgers® Coffeehouse Blend and Life’s Intersections

When Folgers® Coffeehouse Blend asked me to think about what role coffee has played in the important “intersections” in my life, I went on a very pleasant trip down memory lane.

The fact is, coffee has been a constant and supporting player in my life; it has been one of constant constants in my life.

Folgers Coffeehouse Blend
One of my earliest memories of how wonderful and refreshing coffee can be was from when I was just 8 or 9 years old and my father took me on a very late night drive from our family farm down to the city, a couple of hours away.

After my dad had put in a full day of work on the farm and an afternoon shift of paid work off the farm, my dad and I got in the family farm truck with a thermos full of coffee and headed to the city to pick up some necessary and now long-forgotten part for some finicky piece of farm  machinery.

Folgers Coffeehouse Blend

I will always remember the smell of the hot coffee my father sipped as we drove for those hours and miles.

Fast forward some years and no matter which end of the day I was working, coffee played a supporting role in my life.

Folgers Coffeehouse Blend

When I was in university and I was up late reading, writing or studying for an exam, there was always a cup coffee on my desk.

If I was up and on the road for a 6am shift or working the night shift, there was a coffee in my hand. If I was on a long road trip headed back home to the family farm, I would have a cup of coffee with me in my car or truck.

Even now, coffee continues play a significant role in my life – as the father of twin daughters who didn’t sleep for the first two years of their life, how could coffee not have a significant supporting role in my life?

Before anyone else in the house is awake, I go to the kitchen and make the first pot of coffee of the day.

Folgers Coffeehouse Blend

Folgers Coffeehouse Blend is perfect to prepare with all the new and trendy brewing methods like Pour Over, French Press, Cold Brew OR your faithful automatic drip coffee maker and Keurig® brewing system.

Truth be told, when I am at home I love making coffee in a French Press and when I am visiting the family cabin I prefer to use the Pour Over method to make my coffee. The Folgers Coffeehouse Blend works beautifully with either method.

Folgers Coffeehouse Blend

No matter how people make or drink their coffee, with Folgers Coffeehouse Blend you can drink it black, add anything to it, and brew it any way, and you can still taste the coffee.

Folgers Coffeehouse Blend is a medium-dark roast designed to produce a unique coffee experience that starts off smooth and ends with a bold, distinct flavor.

Here is a tip – for Father’s Day, treat the coffee-loving dad in your family to the Folgers Coffeehouse Blend coffee suite, complete with Folgers Coffeehouse Blend, and some favorite ways to enjoy it with a French press and an array of creamers and sweeteners.

With a blend this versatile, coffee fans alike can create – and explore – their favorite brewing traditions and discover something new right at home. To learn more, visit www.folgerscoffee.com/coffeehouse-blendswww.folgerscoffee.com/coffeehouse-blends.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of J. M. Smucker Company. I received compensation for this post; however, as in all my blog posts, all my opinions are my own.”

 

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Cleveland’s West Side Market 

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit the city of Cleveland Ohio. While I was in Cleveland I visited the West Side Market an amazing market. The following are some of my pictures from my visit to the market. 

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Grilling Season Has Begun

I’m a little late to join the grilling season this year but what the hey, I’m doing it now.


The fact that I’m eating more of a plant-based diet isn’t going to keep me from grilling this summer. So last night, I flattened out some peppers and sliced up a couple onions. I put the peppers straight on the grill and let them soften up while the onions cooked in a shallow foil pan.


While I’m eating more of a plant-based diet, not everyone in the house is doing the same. For them I added a few smokies to the grill. Once they were done, I piled them on the pan of onions and peppers so I could warm up a pan of rice, veggies, and tofu.

Grilling season has begun.

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Food Pics From the Victoria Day Weekend 

Just a selection of food pics from my Victoria Day long weekend.

Romer's Burgers

To begin, a little ribeye steak from Romer’s Burgers in Port Moody. Very good.

Romer's Burgers

And you can’t have a steak without dessert. Drunken Donuts and a very lovely, very light cheesecake from Romer’s Burgers. And no, those are not ants on the cheesecake, they are chocolate flecks.

293 Wallace

On Friday night I headed up the Fraser Canyon to install a new countertop and a new-to-me range in the cabin. Of course dinner was at 293 Wallace St. Smoked salmon on risotto with a little chard greens. Rich, rich, rich flavours.

293 Wallace

And the new stove. Yep, it needs to be dusted off before I start running the test kitchen.

Trattoria

And then Saturday afternoon was spent at Trattoria on Kingsway, in Burnaby. I had the breakfast pizza which was pretty good. The service was pretty disappointing.

Free Bird Chicken

Sunday I went to New Westminster’s Rivermarket where I had a bowl of pho made with dark chicken broth. It was a fabulous bowl of soup.

Free Bird Chicken

To go with the pho, I had a small plate of fried brussel sprouts and cauliflower. Wowzer. Flavour-flavour. Salty, sweet, sour, and spicy in every bite.

That’s it. Just some food pics.

 

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The DIYZ app: A Kind and Confident Guiding Hand

Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with the DIYZ® app. As always, all opinions of apps and companies that help me complete DIY projects are my own.

In the past, if I needed to do a home repair, I would turn to my grandfather for the how-to on any DIY issues I may have run into. Unfortunately, my grandfather has now passed away and I can no longer turn to him for DIY advice.

And there is a saying,

“If they don’t find you handsome, at least they can find you handy.”

Well, the truth is, I’m much more handsome than I am handy, so I still need a steady and confident guiding hand when I try to DIY. I don’t mean someone who will grab the tools out of my hand, but someone who will offer a kind word of advice or demonstrate a technique who is then willing to step back, hand me the tools, and let my DIY skills develop.

I decided that since May is National Home Improvement Month, I would complete a DIY project that I’ve been putting off for quite a while – replacing the stainless steel sink in my kitchen.

Since my grandfather is no longer available as a mentor for developing my DIY skills, what’s the next best thing? Well, I figured there’s probably an app that could guide me through my DIY project. And there is!

It is the free DIYZ app.

The DIYZ app is free from the Apple App Store for iPhone and Google Play for Android and for a limited time, the video-chat feature is also FREE!

The DIYZ app features a large library of DIY projects – providing DIYers of all skill levels with step-by-step guides and segmented videos to tackle home improvement projects – even the installation of a stainless steel sink.

Yes, segmented videos. This is brilliant because when your hands are covered in grim, gunk or glue, you don’t want to have to fumble around to pause or rewind a tutorial. Pure brilliance.

Also, if you find yourself getting in over your head and you want (need?) a kind, non-judgmental word of advice, the DIYZ app allows users to speak directly with a Pro Advisor at the touch of a button via the video-chat feature.

However, users also have the option to disable video if they feel more comfortable. You can engage with a Pro Advisor over the phone, or send them photos in real-time, which the advisors can send back with their added notes or helpful hints to help keep your projects moving along.

#DIYZGuys

And similar to my grandfather, the DIYZ App can recommend the proper tools and materials to complete each project.

Seeing as I can no longer just borrow tools from my grandfather, I appreciate how the DIYZ app provides the option to easily purchase tools or additional materials directly in the app via Amazon.

Of course, perhaps the most important benefit of doing your own home repair, other than the feeling of empowerment you get from being able to do things yourself, is the savings you get from doing your own home improvement.

The DIYZ app demonstrates the value of rolling up your sleeves by comparing the cost to do-it-yourself, versus hiring a professional. And if you can save money by doing something yourself, with the support of a thoroughly vetted and experienced professional, why not?!

So I dove in, with the help of the step-by-step instructions provided in the DIYZ app and did it – I successfully replaced the stainless steel sink!

#DIYZGuys

Of course the first step, a step even I knew to do, was to shut off the water, disconnected the water supply tubes and then disconnect the drain.

#DIYZGuys

As I continued through the steps, once I got to step four I was grateful to be able to watch the short video of how to find the clips and screws that hold the sink in place. That made it easier when I when I climbed under our sink.

Once the sink was out, I then cleaned up the edge of the countertop where the old sink had been. I prepped the sink and counter for installation with the caulking.

I tend to hurry things along more than I should, so the reminder to use painter’s tape around the opening was a helpful tip and kept me from making a mess. Being proactive and eliminating the need for a major clean up later is the smarter way to work – a helpful reminder from the #DIYZGuys.

#DIYZGuys

Lower the sink into place, apply the little clips (supplied with the sink) to tighten the sink into place, wipe up any caulking that oozed out from the line between the sink and the countertop and, there I was, with a new sink in place!

Honestly, the clear and concise instructions outlined for each step on the DIYZ app – in a font even I can read – along with the short instructional videos for each step of the process, made my DIY project a snap.

Best of all, everyone is happy in our home, because we have a new, leak-free kitchen sink installed.

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The Soft Opening of Pepper Lunch Canada

I saw a note on Instagram about a new location of the Pepper Lunch restaurant having a “soft opening” event on Saturday and knowing that I was going to be dropping my family off at YVR that morning, I added a comment to say that I would attend the soft opening.

When I walked in, the woman behind the till (one of the owners) recognized me from my Instagram account on her feed and thanked me for commenting on her Instagram post and for coming to visit their new restaurant location.

Pepper Lunch

The concept behind Pepper Lunch is pretty cool. Or rather, it is pretty hot because what they do is bring you a tray with a smoking hot cast iron dish on it with your food – almost raw. And then you let it cook as long, or as short as you like. I ordered the Kobe burger and sliced Angus steak so I didn’t want it over done.

Pepper Lunch

I like beef on the rare side of medium rare so I barely had to turn over the slices of Angus steak and they were done. Once they are cooked to the level you want, you take the tongs that come on the tray and move the beef off the heat by placing it on the side of sprouts and veggies on the cast iron dish.

Pepper Lunch

I chose to add an egg to my lunch – you know steak and eggs. But back to the ordering procedure. When you come in, you go up to the cashier and tell them what you want. Then you pay, they give you a receipt, and on the receipt is your table number where you go and wait. On the day of my visit they were bringing out trays very quickly. I don’t think I waited more than 5 minutes before my tray was on my table. Admittedly, they don’t have to cook the food –  that’s the customer’s job!

As for taste, the Kobe burger was outrageous. Such a flavour explosion; a perfect balance of salty and fatty beef. I would definitely return to have their Kobe beef again. The slices of Angus steak were also very tasty, and I might add, cooked perfectly.

My only complaint was that I paid for green tea and I got a mug of hot water and a green tea bag. I would prefer if they had a pot of tea to fill my mug from. Also, for the soft opening they didn’t yet have their fountain drink or coffee machine installed. That’ll be done very soon. Same as the sign for out front – hopefully before their official grand opening this Tuesday.

  • My lunch order of Kobe beef and sliced Angus steak with an egg, miso soup, and a green tea was just under $20
  • The bottom line, I have no hesitation recommending Pepper Lunch and I will definitely be returning. 
  • The newest location of Pepper Lunch is located in unit 1625-4791 McClelland Rd in Richmond – right near the massive new Walmart located on Alderbridge.
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Port Moody’s Sushi & Roll

Sushi & Roll

We needed a quick snack to tide us over until we got home for dinner so we stopped at Sushi & Roll.

Yep. A sushi joint sandwiched between a hookah shop and a McDonald’s and right across the road from a motorcycle and boat sales shop on the non-descript strip of St Johns between Moody and Thermal.

Sushi & Roll

Decent food. The rolled sushi was tight and smoothly cut while the nigiri sushi had an attractive flair to the presentation but …. the rice had a bit of a crunch to it and you know that feeling when you bite into sushi and when you pull it away from your teeth all that stringy stuff holds on? Yeah.

Sushi & Roll

And even though there was only one other table with people, the server didn’t once offer to refill my tea or check in to see if we needed anything like napkins and chopsticks.

Overall, I rate Sushi & Roll a 3/5. The food was decent enough quality with friendly enough service that I would return to try them again.

  • Two California Rolls and a Salmon-Tuna Combo all for just under $20.
  • I’m not going to recommend yet but I will be returning to try them again.
  • Sushi & Roll is located at 3017 St Johns Street, Port Moody.

 

 

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Happy Hour at Vancouver Fish Company

I was in Vancouver near Granville Island the other day for a meeting so I took the opportunity to drive down onto Granville Island and … gasp … I got A PARKING SPOT!!

After my meeting, my daughter and I wandered around the market a little and visited The Lobsterman. Daughter was intrigued by the scallops they had for sale there so we asked where we could go to try eating them. They recommended The Vancouver Fish Company, which is located right near the entrance to Granville Island.

Vancouver Fish Company

I have to admit that I had a pretty solid case of sticker shock when I saw their menu. All we wanted to do was try scallops but everything on the menu was in the $25-35 range – and not what I would call “kid friendly”.

Did I want to buy an entree for thirty bucks and have a kid not like it? Yikes. Fortunately the server said, “Do you know it is happy hour here between 3 and 6pm?” And then she presented me with the menu (as pictured above).

Vancouver Fish Company

We started with the Rock Fish Fritters. Six bucks? What a steal of a deal!! They were light and flavourful and not greasy at all. Great balance of fish to batter. Daughter and I both loved these and would definitely order these again.

Vancouver Fish Company

And the scallops. They only have them as a side “add-on” dish on the main menu for $19 so that is what we got. The server said they come on a skewer but they didn’t. And I was glad they didn’t. They had a beautiful presentation on a bed of braised kale.

The texture and the flavour? 100% on point. Out of this world amazingly delicious. They melted between my teeth with a minimal bite.

Perhaps the best part? Although these were the scallops my daughter really wanted to try, she admitted that they weren’t to her liking – so I got to eat them all. My lucky day.

Vancouver Fish Company

To finish off our happy hour meal, we had a $9 bowl of mussels cooked in a chipotle coconut lime sauce. We opted for the side of fries and not the garlic bread.

The mussels were excellent. Plump and juicy. I particularly enjoyed the chipotle coconut lime sauce/broth that they were cooked in. I was almost ready to lick the bowl to get the last drops of it.

The fries were also very nice.

I am not sure I can afford to take my family to The Vancouver Fish Company and order off the regular menu but I will certainly be returning to eat from their happy hour menu again.

  • Our bill was around $40 for the two of us with a glass of fresh lemonade and no alcohol.
  • Definitely recommended and we will be returning – between 3 and 6 pm during their Happy Hour. 
  • The Vancouver Fish Company is located at; 1517 Anderson Street, Granville Island, Vancouver, BC
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Email Phishing Scam

**I am reposting this blog because there is another pretty effective phishing scam going around.

The bottom line is…if you are already logged into your account, Google, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace (just kidding)…DO NOT log in again if you click on a link that asks you to do so again. It is probably a scam.

There is a pretty effective phishing scam going on over the last little while that primarily targets Gmail users. However, in this blog post there is advice that can be applied to basically any of the Internet tools we use, including Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace (just kidding).

In case you don’t know, phishing is a way for nefarious characters (people up to bad things) to try and get access and control of your email or Internet tool without you knowing. Once they have access and control, they can send out more scammy-spammy-phishing emails under your name.

In the phishing scam that I have recently heard about, essentially what happens is that you receive an email from somebody in your contact list. Totally normal looking email from someone you know. In that email is an attachment, typically a picture or what looks like a PDF.

As Google mail normally does, the attachment is a small image in the bottom left hand corner of the email. When you se the attachment, you can choose to download the attachment, view it, or save to Google Drive. The key to this phishing scam is that the photo/attachment looks absolutely realistic.

Because the photo/attachment looks VERY legit, you click on it. The next thing that happens is that a new screen or tab will open up saying that in order to view the photo you need to log into your Google account.

This is where the problems begin because if you do as the new page suggests and you log into your account the second time, then your account is virtually immediately compromised. Or as we say, you’ve been hacked.

As a rule of thumb, whenever you see a screen asking you to log into a tool like Gmail or Facebook when you are already logged into your account, that is typically when bad things begin to happen.

With the phishing scam that’s going around Gmail right now it is often within minutes that your account is compromised. And then once your account is compromised, the hackers are able to send out more phishing scam emails from your account to all the people on your contact list.

The best way to protect yourself from these sort of scams is to realize that if you were already logged into your account whether it’s your Google account your Facebook account or your MySpace account, it is extremely unlikely that you need to log into your account again.

phishing scam

The Green HTTPS

Another thing to keep in mind is that in the address bar at the top of the page, the text should say something like “https://…” and that text will be in green letters. And, just in case you didn’t know, the “s” at the end of “https” means “secure”.

If it is some nefarious character who is sent out the phishing scam email then it may be that the “http” text is in black. Or worst-case it is red.

Red means stop.

phishing scams

phishing scams

Another thing you might notice is that the address on the second screeen, the scam-phishing screen, the web address or the URL is preceded by the prefix “data:text/html.” That is NEVER the case with the authentic Google login page.

These are all pretty small things that you have to be aware of. But that is how you can protect yourself online – pay attention to the details!!

So, in conclusion, there are three things you can do to prevent your email account from getting hacked:

  1. Don’t log into your account if you already logged into your account.
  2. If you see red or black font in the address bar stop and check; ask yourself if this seems safe.
  3. If you see odd looking text between the https:// and the words “account, pause and double check. It may be a phishing scam.

Paying attention to the details is the best protection to keep you from being hacked.

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