As a guy who rarely cooks, I’m guessing that God’s having none of that and making sure I can actually provide for my family.
Some time ago, I shared the story of my hatred for cooking, sure I’d avoid the kitchen for the rest of my earthbound years. But with daycare nipping hot at the heels of the East York Palmers, and with it the scheduling unpredictability that comes from a family with two working parents, I had to bite the bullet sometime!
So whaddya know — despite being loath for anything finding me in front of a stove, brands like Samuel Adams put their money where their mouth is (and product where mine is), challenging me to grab an apron and see what I can do to feed myself without calling the number for the local pizzeria — and yes, it is on my speed dial.
Everyone, for your viewing pleasure, I present — Cooking With Beer: Because it’s Not Just Good for Drinking!
These past months with the SodaStream Source have been fun — with summer afoot, I’ve thought up other places I could include the ultra-portable carbonation machine — days out at the park, trips down to the Toronto Islands, parties, hydrating garage sale customers, or even just on more nights out on the patio. Since it doesn’t need to plug in, uses no batteries, is fairly lightweight and pretty compact, there’re many places I can get my Bubbles My Way — I just need to use a little imagination!
There’s only one Casey who could fill these very big shoes without tripping — Domestic Casey.
Last summer, that very same Casey bought his very first vehicle with his wife, knowing despite living in a city whose transit system connects everything, a baby on the way changed the game, and we weren’t about to brave the rush hour sardine can subway rides with a stroller. G2 in my wallet and a 2011 Ford Edge on the driveway, those wheels came with a new sense of freedom, giving me access to experiences I’d never have otherwise.
But that freedom comes with a price.
Vehicle ownership comes with general upkeep, annual maintenance, hidden costs, mistakes that make you wish you’d read the manual, and mechanics that make you wish you’d got a second opinion. If you want your wheels to last, you’ve gotta take care of them, and that’s where Armor All reached out to lend me a hand!
Because Spring Cleaning
In the 10 months since our purchase, not once did we wash the Edge — in fact, Sarah said that washing the car is husband work! (Though, she also says that changing the baby, taking the trash out; doing the dishes, mowing, mopping, sewing, vacuuming, dusting, grocery shopping, cooking, ironing and gardening, so….)
We kept it clean all that time, initially refusing to eat inside; with no indoor parking, we let the rain do its work; and when we suffered through The Endless Winter, all the salt and sleet and slush and snow made for considerable foes against a freshly-washed ride and its glistening exterior. If Armor All hadn’t reached out, who knows when I would’ve gotten to it!
But get to it I finally did, with the help of Armor All’s Spring Cleaning Kit as part of the Armor All Spring Kick Off Challenge. The tools they sent included:
An ArmorAll Wash Bucket
An ArmorAll Car Vacuum Cleaner
A Microfiber Towel Pack
A Car Wash Mitt
An ArmorAll Soft Storage Caddy
A Multi-function Emergency Tool (to keep in your car)
These ArmorAll Products:
Trim & Plastic Restorer
Premium Wash & Wax + Protect
Clean-up Mini Can Wipes
Auto Glass Cleaner
Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner
Pure Linen Protectant
I’d forgotten to mention that my ride’s got leather seats, though, so I hit up Canadian Tire and added these to the mix:
Armor All Leather Wipes
Armor All Leather Care Gel
No doubt, though, I had quite the job on my hands! 10 months of everything Toronto weather had to offer and driving the Edge all the way to northern Quebec and back, it was time to give it a little TLC as a sign of thanks!
So without further ado, here’s “How My Ford Edge Got its Groove Back”, a short film presented by Casey Palmer and Armor All Canada!
How My Ford Edge Got its Groove Back
Hose car down to rid yourself of all that icky dirt and grime that’s built up for almost a year
Fill Armor All Wash Bucket with water (water not included by Armor All, obviously)
Put some Armor All Premium Wash & Wax + Protect in the water to make a smooth mixture for scrubbing the car down
Wash the car using a car wash mitt, applying the soapy mixture in smooth, circular motions worthy of Mister Miyagi’s teachings (Cobra Kai’s got nothing on my Edge!)
Rinse the body off for a nice sheen, using some microfiber towels to dry it off
Take that Armor All Auto Glass Cleaner to clean those mirrors and windows, so you can see how filthy the interior is
To correct this, plug that Armor All Vacuum Cleaner into one of your DC outlets (my 2011 Edge has four) and revel in how much suction power it has! Vacuum all interior carpets and mats liberally — they really need it!
Take those mats out and spray them down! We’re trying to be thorough here, people!
Use the Armor All Trim and Plastic Restorer on both the inside and outside to bring some lustre back to all those parts that aren’t chromed out
Scrub the heck out of your carpet and upholstery with the Armor All Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner to get at the dirt that’s soaked deep into the fabrics
Spray some of that Armor All Pure Linen Protectant on your dashboard to get rid of all the dust that’s making it look ages
Hey look, you did a great job with all that cleaning! Take a victory selfie!
Keep your Clean-Up Mini Can Wipes, Air Fresheners, Disinfecting Wipes and Multi-Function Emergency Tool (and Armor All Leather Wipes) in the car just in case you need ’em (because sprills, thrills and all sorts of other accidents can go down in a moving vehicle!)
Put everything else away in your Armor All Soft Storage Caddy to clean again another day!
Or if you’re more of a visual learner, here. I put a little animation together for you…
What a workout!
You Too Can Armor All it Up!
It took 3 hours, 700 photos and at least 30 plays of Drake’s “Worst Behavior” to keep me going, but I eventually got ‘er done and it was quite the sight to behold!
If you’re lucky enough to own a set of wheels, you’ve gotta take care of them. I was already smart enough to change my oil regularly and fill the tires when the air was lacking, but quickly discovered that its exterior is just as important to its well-being!
There’s no off-roading on the mean Toronto streets, but the potholes, speed bumps, debris and inclement weather definitely add up!
If you want to keep your ride looking brand new, Armor All’s a good solution to keep you covered.
But that’s not all — they’ve put together a Spring Cleaning Prize Pack that you could win, which includes:
You too can look like this after getting your Armor All on!
The contest runs until Sunday, June 8th at 11:59 PM EST, so enter soon and enter often!
The Point of it All
Just as mo’ money yields mo’ problems as paraphrased from the eternal words of the late, great Notorious B.I.G., mo’ age only leads to mo’ responsibility. As you strike out on your own into the world, away from anyone who once did things for you like keep a room over your head or do your laundry, you’ll soon discover that your time’s devoured by all these little tasks to keep your life in order.
Though they’re rarely fun, and at times may even overwhelm you, the more you do them, the more you learn to work smarter, not harder.
And that’s what the Armor All’s for — helping you clean your ride right the first time, making it far easier the next time you go at it.
Because if you don’t take care of the stuff you’ve worked so hard to get, who will?
Good luck out there in the real world — I hope you’re all giving your chariots the TLC they deserve!
Until the next,
Disclaimer: Armor All reached out to have me join their Spring Kick Off Challenge, sending me the merchandise listed above in exchange for a blog post. My car definitely came out shinier than I’d started, and you can feel free to check Armor All out at their website or Facebook page!
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands:
For this month’s post, SodaStream asked: “What empowers you?”
What keeps me going more than anything else is knowing I’m making a positive difference in the world. Whether through covering things people wouldn’t consider otherwise; raising a son that’ll know the key to a successful life is the balance between being respected, respecting others and respecting oneself; or even little things like holding doors, giving up seats, or donating my loose change to someone needing it more than me… I long for a world better than the one we have today.
But much of that positive change has to start from within, and that’s what I hope to show my family this May.
Mother’s Day the Palmer Way
You see it around Christmastime: when people look at the lengthy lists of gifts to buy, wondering how they’ll afford it all. Dinners to plan and parties to attend — you have countless competing priorities crashing together, and only one you to pull it all together!
In some ways, that’s how I feel about May.
For 30 years, I’ve spent Mother’s Day in Mississauga celebrating my mother and everything she’s done for me. But now, with a family of my own it feels… different. I still got my Mom a card (and my grandmother too, as she was up visiting from Jamaica) and braved our rotten Toronto traffic to stop by and say “Hi”, but after years trying to top the gifts from those before, I don’t think anyone can beat what we gave her last year….
This May, we’re celebrating Sarah’s 1st Mother’s Day, our 3rd wedding anniversary, and her birthday (I’d tell you the number, but sometimes you need to value your life more than you do accuracy!) With so many milestones afoot in the span of mere weeks, I want to give her the world without the disposable income or time that we used to have. Parenthood is by no means a light undertaking, and I want to use this month to remind Sarah that not only is she a great Mom, but also a great wife and great woman as well. We’re both trying to figure parenting out daily, but she bears the brunt of both great experiences and bad as she spends her days with the little guy, so I wanted to do something to really show how much I appreciate it. With cards from myself and the little guy, a few little gifts and some time to relax on our patio while I kept him entertained, I think we were off to a good start.
So with a foot in your old life and another in the new, what do you do? Celebrate the woman who gifted you with life or the one who blessed you with a child of your own? Obviously, the answer is both, but it’s not an easy balance to keep. Though you’ve got a kid, you’ll never stop being someone else’s — a reality you’ll need to constantly revisit through your entire parental journey. Though reconciling this is my battle to face, Sarah has a journey as well — and not only her own, but that with all the other mothers she’s befriended in such a short time!
What REALLY Empowers Me?
This past weekend marked six months since we became parents. Over that time, Sarah’s not only excelled as a mother, she’s also been honing her innate community manager skills as the admin of a self-created Facebook group 150+ members strong for Moms with kids born in November 2013! Those bonds have translated over to our lives as well in our East York baby boomtown, with plenty of new Mom friends in our neighbourhood to share walks, parenting programs, coffee visits and dinners.
Through this group, we discovered that some of the other Moms use SodaStreams, too, using their machines to customize the drinks they have daily, which is important, because as new parents, we need to model better choices for our children, whether it’s what we put in our bodies, how we treat the environment or how we spend our money. I’ve gotten many questions about the SodaStream since the first blog post came out, so it’s good to know that I’ve got some real-life examples to point out if anyone ever needs to discuss how it can affect their life.
So thank you, Sarah — my other half, my BFF and mother of my child. I’ll try to make this month — and this life — as special as I can for you. It’s a long road ahead, but I think we’ve got what it takes to make it work. You and our son are what empower me, and I hope I never forget that.
Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with SodaStream Canada and I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own. You can connect with SodaStream Canada on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their website!
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands:
This month’s Dempster’s sandwich gave me a little lesson in supply, demand, and the art of improvisation.
Originally, we wanted to rock some mean burgers. Sarah and I are part of a crew that does semi-regular Danforth Dinners, a dinner party for 8-10 where we take turns hosting to give everyone a taste of what the group has to offer. Though not everyone lives in East York anymore (rumours of a St. Clair Supper are in the air…), we still try to keep up, regardless of the newest — and likely most difficult — member sometimes wanting us to do otherwise.
So, knowing that time’s often limited for parents, our friends give us the easy job — “just bring the buns”. Well — everyone in town must’ve had the exact same idea now that our weather’s more promising than the horror we dealt with for 6 months, because no matter where we looked, we couldn’t find Dempster’s Deluxe Hamburger Bunsanywhere! We checked six stores, and everyone must’ve been out barbecuing in 10° weather, because they were out of stock like the hot toy at Christmas!
So that didn’t work out — I mean, obviously we still had burgers, we’d be stupid not to — but with some other bread we’d never heard of before to encase the deliciousness we knew we were to get.
With my delicious burger dream reduced to crumbs and the buns to hold them mysteriously absent wherever I looked, I needed a new sandwich idea and fast; a freelancer’s deadlines wait for no man! So it was off to Plan B — thinking back to my childhood and the stuff my Mom whipped up when she was in a hurry — SLOPPY JOES.
This may very well be The Art of Marketing I’ve always been waiting for. With two speakers who’ve very much shaped and influenced my life, I feel honoured as a forerunner blogger promoting the event, writing my way to a chance to shake their hands and tell them a bit about myself!
A Complex Read for a Complex Man
You may not know it, but I was a bit of a magazine junkie! Through the 2000s, I managed to collect enough of them to fill an armoire with all sorts of glossy covers, covering everything from street art and hip-hop to men’s fashion and interior design. I’d spend time at Chapters on the way home from school to spend time leafing through the newest issues before my bus came along, invariably snagging a few to soak in through the night.
One magazine that I collected near-religiously from 2003 until almost the end of the decade was Complex — a Marc Ecko publication.
I know, I know it’s been a bit, but when you’re balancing three competing yet utterly important parts of your life, they don’t always play well together!
But while I’m weeks behind for my monthly wrap-up, there’re tales to be told before I get there, starting with a celebration for my (not-so-) little guy and how we quenches the thirst of dozens with as little fuss and muss as possible!
Baby Dedications: Because Little Guys Don’t Stay Little FOREVER
You know who had his baby dedication this past weekend?
It’s kind of ironic that Baptist Christians do baby dedications instead of child baptisms, but with a Dad who slipped and splashed into the baptismal tank back when he did his in ’09, I’ll take what I can get.
If one thing unifies my friends and I, it’s food. Sarah’s always said that I merely eat to live — I don’t salivate at the thought of delicious meals, but let’s get one thing straight — I know delicious food when I taste it!
Since becoming a parent, I don’t get out much. Save a birthday party, I spent March largely as a shut-in, wavering from my routine of work, home and church only for trips to the parents and the dentist. While the days of luxurious ice cream and dining at 350 metres are behind me for now, it doesn’t mean I can’t eat tasty food at home!
This year, Dempster’s challenged me to change my thinking on the sandwich, seeing whether I could eat them for dinner instead of lunch! Though it’s the last thing I’d expect on a plate to finish a long day, what is a sandwich really, but a stack of deliciousness between two slices of bread?
So with my limited culinary skills, there was only one place to find a recipe that would make for amazing sandwich fare — the Internet. More specifically, Epicurious, the one-stop shop for leaving your taste buds senseless! Without further ado, let’s drive into a pork sandwich that’ll knock your socks off!!!
I haven’t been out to the Detroit-Windsor corridor since late 2008, when my brother-in-law got married there and only 9 months into dating, Sarah led me into an ambush, seating me at a table with many of her paternal uncles and cousins who I’d meet for the very first time. (Quite the feat to make a good impression while hungover, but that, my friends, is a story for another time!)
This year, they kicked it up a notch by invited me as one of a dozen Canadian bloggers as their guest at Putting You In The Driver’s Seat: the NAIAS Blogger Experience, which revolved aroundthe 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.
Sadly, I had to miss The Art of Small Business due to some scheduling conflicts with work, but I’m tempting the fates (and Sarah’s due date) by hoping to make it to The Art of Leadership!
They say that some people are born natural leaders. While true, it shouldn’t discourage others from striving to lead if they feel so inclined. We’re all innately good at something (whether we know it or not), but many of the things we do in life need to be learned. In fact, it’s a common belief that power best suits those who didn’t seek it in the first place. Just look at George Washington, who didn’t even want the position in the first place, refusing to be made king of the new country; LOST‘s Jack Shepard who becomes the de facto leader after the other characters begin seeking his advice on all matters and treating him as such; or even Prince Albert, Duke of York, as popularized by The King’s Speech, who would have liked nothing more than to live quietly with his nice family, but came into power after his brother Edward VIII turned out to be a complete screwup. (For more examples, feel free to visit http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ReluctantRuler.)
Sure, not everyone is meant to lead, but much like the lessons we take from other areas of discipline (which The Art Of presents with events such as The Art of Marketing and last year’s The Art of Leadership), it doesn’t mean we can’t learn from other leaders.
A fact that The Art Of thoroughly supports with their next instalment of The Art of Leadership!