Why I Made The Corona Chronicles A Series

Casey's Corona Chronicles — How to Outlast Your Kids in the Midst of a Global Pandemic — Empty Grocery Store Shelves
Is this what the world’s end looks like? Credit to André Proulx.

What do you even write about when the whole world’s burning down? Multibillion-dollar sports empires ended their seasons early. The travel industry shut down in one fell swoop. I didn’t start talking about COVID-19 right away because it was all anyone could talk about, but as soon as we closed schools down for three weeks across Ontario, how could I not?

When I first published The Corona Chronicles on March 13th, though, I was so short-sighted. I called the three-week quarantine “March Br3ak”, thinking this would all somehow resolve itself by April. I didn’t jump on long-term prep right away, figuring I could do some catch-up once things calmed down a bit.

But then our businesses shut down on the 16th. Travel another four days later. We learned that this was no small thing—we needed to learn a “new normal” with a very uncertain future ahead. This was no three-week ordeal.

And as the days dragged on and I kept writing about the experience, it only grew clearer there was more going on than a single post could contain. I needed a full series.

So here, in week eight of The Great Quarantine, I’d like to welcome you to The Corona Chronicles: The Series, where we talk about life as a family in Toronto, trying to stay sane each day as we find new ways to adjust.

I, for one, look forward to returning to some semblance of normal soon, but until we do, you can expect me to keep writing about it.

Be well, everyone, and keep doing what you need to to make it in these times!

Until the next, I remain,

cep wrap-up logo

For the Love of Camping, Part One — An Intergenerational Tale of Transformation

You only need to travel a few hours outside of the city to remember that very little of Canada is like Toronto.

For the Love of Camping, Part One — An Intergenerational Tale of Transformation — Driving Around in Smalltown Ontario

For last summer’s annual #PalmersGoWild camping trip, we hit up Port Burwell, Ontario, a small community of just over a thousand people and home to a lighthouse; the Simply Scoops ice cream parlour, and Port Burwell Provincial Park—the place we’d call home for a week in late August. Found just under three hours west of Toronto on the north shores of Lake Erie, it’s the perfect place to go if you want to slow things down a little—the kind of place you can let your kids roam free sans worry.

But I’m starting to understand that it’s not for everyone.

For the Love of Camping, Part One — An Intergenerational Tale of Transformation — The Boys Hanging Out in the Tent

Whenever anyone hears we’re going camping, we generally get one of two responses—nostalgic memories from the people who’ve done it, or good luck wishes from the ones who haven’t. And others fall somewhere in the middle, whether scarred from a bad experience or had a nice time, but too intimidated to go out and try it again on their own.

But let me tell you this as someone who didn’t take a shining to camping at first—if you’re unwilling to get out of your comfort zone and take the world as it comes, you’re missing out on so much of what it has to offer.

Chatting with Casey 0015 — I’m Where I Need to be Right Now

‘Tis the season for holiday parties, holiday traffic, and a whole gaggle of germs with cold and flu season upon us… just in time for the holidays.

Chatting with Casey 0015 — I'm Where I Need to be Right Now — Christmas — Must Buy All The Things

With our youngest hit by a pretty nasty cough over the weekend, productivity ground to a halt. You can easily take for granted how much you’re doing until something more important comes along and forces you to reprioritise. I learned over time to feel the pressure a little less and accept that my family doesn’t need me to be the best creator in the game—they need me to be present.

And so as I lay down in the bottom bunk of my sons’ bed with a kid who woke up for maybe the twelfth time that night, I put all thoughts of podcasting aside and took care of home as Dave Hollister aptly put it back in 2000.

But now that he’s up and running again, so am I, and it’s time to continue our storytelling journey with Chatting with Casey, Episode 15—I’m Where I Need to be Right Now.

Insurance Done Right — How to Protect the People You Care About WITHOUT Selling the Farm!

Change the Way you Insure with Esurance Insurance! — Winter in TorontoIt finally happened, Toronto. We thought we could dodge it and the good times would last forever. People strolled around in the middle of December with their coats wide open, not caring that the calendar marked toboggan season. I saw people still mowing their lawns in late November—a time of the year where everyone’s usually salting their walkways so they don’t slip and break their necks. No—snow’s hit Toronto, and it’s here with a vengeance.

But it could be worse—at least we have some idea of what to do when the world freezes over. Bundle up. Get winter tires on your car. Stock up on groceries just in case the weather gets bad. We do all we can to make it through winter, but is anyone making winter easier for you?

Let’s be real—winter takes its toll. Salt and snow do a number on your car, you need extra nutrition so you don’t catch cold… there are extra costs we need to pay to make it through this season, and it’s not like anyone’s paying us more to help out.

Good thing there are ways for us to pay less.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Esurance, an online insurance provider that can protect your interests and save you money!

The 2017 100 Wrap-Up — 31 Successes.

Several weeks, a few dozen photos and four thousand words later, we’ve finally made it—the Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad 2017 wrap-up, filled with stories aplenty of 365 days spent in my not-so-orthodox life.

The 2017 100 — 31 Successes. — Leather 2017 Planner
Kelly Jean

After wrapping the year up on a quiet note (because two sick children under five will do that to you), I still felt it necessary to do this. These year-to-year changeovers offer a lot of perspective for me—with so much happening all the time, I often forget what I had for breakfast, so I write everything down. And if the height of the pile on my desk is any sign, 2017 was quite the year. But it’s also the time where I’m the most transparent, looking back objectively at everything I’ve done and celebrating successes, owning up to failures, hoping all the while that I’m somehow growing from the process.

But yeah—let’s do this as we did in 2016: look at the year in excruciating detail, figuring out what’s worth taking with me into 2018 versus what just don’t feel part of my world anymore.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me present—the 31 things I did well in 2017! Let’s get it!

The Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad Christmas Gift Guide… for Grown-Ups!

Grown-ups need love, too!

The Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad Christmas Gift Guide... for Grown-Ups! — Gift Basket

As we close in on Christmas, it becomes blindingly obvious there’re two classes of shoppers during the holiday season—the ones who know exactly what they’re getting for every person on their list… and the ones who keep it all ’til the last minute, ‘cuz they’ve no idea what they’re getting!

You might think it too late in the season to be looking at gift guides, but I know we’ve all been the victim of a poorly planned gift at least once. The kind of gift where it’s clear the giver didn’t really think about you—merely crossing another name off their list so they can pat themselves on the back.

But if you’re not putting any effort into it, why give a gift at all? Christmas isn’t about presents, right? It’s about family. Quality time. Going to church one of the few times many of y’all make it there. (I see you!)

I think you get the picture.

All that said, there’ll always be some grown-ups in your life to shower with gifts. Parents. Spouses. Maybe some teachers or a chiropractor. (They might be really good at what they do!) No matter who’s on your list, here are a few gifts I hand-picked for the occasion!

(And with it being so close to Christmas, here are the direct links so you can get what you need with the quickness!)

Google Home & Google Home Mini
The Google Pixel 2/Google Pixel 2 XL
Google Chromecast
The Brewscovery Box
Philips Sonicare 9300 DiamondClean Smart
Altec Lansing Mini H2O 3
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom
GoPro Hero 6
Küssi Stampede Classic 6-Piece Knife Set
Ice Evo Tweezers — Elegance
Ice Glass Foot File — Foot Care Pedicure — Lavender
Nespresso Vertuo Single-Serve Coffee Maker

A DAD ABROAD — It’s a Ford. #FordSummer. (Checking out Ford Canada’s SUVs in Muskoka!)

If I learned anything from a recent trip to the Muskokas, it’s that Ford is great at making SUVs!

It's a Ford. #FordSummer. (Checking out the Ford Canada SUV Line in Muskoka!) — The Ford Escape
The 2017 Ford Edge in full effect!

Sure, the Sport/Suburban Utility Vehicle might not be everyone’s first choice when shopping for a new ride, but if they’re not, they are missing out! SUVs are growing in popularity worldwide as drivers seek more flexibility and utility from their vehicles, no longer content with options that do the bare minimum. We don’t just want to get from A to B anymore—we’re doing it with our groceries. Our furniture. Our ski gear. And our babies. We need vehicles that grow with us—not ones left behind as our circumstances change.

And perhaps that’s why SUVs stand as the top-selling vehicle segment in Canada and the US—heck; Ford sold 1.7 million of them in 2016 alone! As the #1 SUV brand for seven years running (with an eighth hot on their heels), I’d say Ford knows what it’s doing—which is why they’re introducing five new SUVs by 2020, including the Ford EcoScport compact utility and the all-new Ford Expedition! With Ford’s global SUV sales growing a staggering 80% these past five years, ain’t no stoppin’ ’em now!

It's a Ford. #FordSummer. (Checking out the Ford Canada SUV Line in Muskoka!) — Casey Palmer Chillin' in a Muskoka ChairBut that’s only part of the story—I could go blue in the face telling you about the thousands of features that go into making Ford’s SUVs top-notch, but you don’t want stuff you could lift from a spec sheet… you want to see how they work in the real world.

And that’s exactly what Ford Canada challenged us to discover this past summer!

Getting Your Grown Self On with Sheets from Merchant Sons!

Part of being a grown-up is investing in things that help you lead a better life. Better food that keeps you healthy. Better clothes lasting more than a few washes. But it also means investing in things we often don’t think about. Getting better appliances to save you time and effort. Better tools to do the job right when you need to. Or in one of the most neglected areas of our lives, better sheets so we can have ourselves the sleep we deserve.

And with that, I welcome you to Merchant Sons!

Getting Your Grown Self On with Sheets from Merchant Sons! — 273 Richmond St West Storefront

Launched earlier this year aiming to design products for your home that look great and work better, Merchant Sons has an entire line of housewares that’ll help you upgrade your idea of what you call “home.”

Offering cushions, candles, towels and more, I recently got my hands on Merchant Sons’ Sheet Set, a 300 thread count Tencel-Egyptian cotton blend specially crafted to keep you comfy no matter how you sleep!

Let me tell you what makes them so great!

A DAD ABROAD — Make Vacay Matter More with Stays at Sherkston Shores!

As a family influencer, the issue I have with a number of my pitches is that they require time away from my family! It sounds nice in theory to explore different cities and celebrate in festivals across the globe, but taking care of two boys under four as a solo parent ain’t easy, and it’s a fate I wouldn’t wish on any parent—least of all my wife!

So it was great when Port Colborne’s Sherkston Shores invited the entire family for a weekend stay at their Lake Erie resort, letting our boys experience something different from what they’re used to in downtown Toronto!

Sherkston Shores Day 1 — A Time to Learn

Make Vacay Matter More with Stays at Sherkston Shores! — The Sherkston Shores Sign

While the commute to Sherkston wasn’t the greatest (rookie mistake leaving Toronto at 4 PM on a Friday), the accommodations were impressive! The three-bedroom Premium Rental Cottage proved plenty for a young family of four! It had a living room flush with furniture and a cable TV with far more channels than we had to offer at home; a spacious deck where the boys could run around once they felt too penned up; and of course, high-speed Wi-Fi for someone like me who never wants to be too far from the interwebs! It didn’t hurt that the team at Sherkston put a nice care package together of fruit, snacks, and local wine to welcome us to our vacation!

Summer is Coming — Refresh Yourself with The Brew Box Co. + the Nelson 2016 Sauvignon Blanc!

“Summer is comin’, know you could feel it…”

— Drake, “Connect”, Nothing was the Same (2013)

With temperatures in the 20s all week, I think we can finally say that summer’s on its way, and it’s high time Toronto get ready! We only get a few months of this sunshine and heat, so this summer—which we know and love as patio season—let’s make sure we make the right choices to make it one for the books!

Summer is Coming — Refresh Yourself with The Brew Box Co. + the Nelson 2016 Sauvignon Blanc! — The May 2017 Brewscovery Box

Knowing how much I love exploring the world of craft beers and fine wines, On Q Communications sent some summer bevvie options that’d be up my alley! New Zealand’s Te Awa winery presented the Nelson 2016 Sauvignon Blanc from their Left Field line, full of tropical flavours and scents, and the Brew Box Co. is a home delivery service offering some of the newest and rarest craft beers in Ontario!

So let me show you why they’re strong contenders for the libations on your summer menu!