Dear Mr. Kellogg

Greetings from Canada, Mr. Kellogg!

You have some fans up here in the chilly north. Big fans. We really like your cereal. Not Corn Flakes. Yes, I realize that is the flagship cereal, but come on, it’s pretty bland. And Mini-Wheats is a bit of a toss-up for taste, but you get credit for trying to keep us all healthy.

I would also like to give you credit for correcting some of your questionable choices. My research indicates that at one point you produced Bart Simpson No Problem-Os and they are no longer on store shelves. Wise move. And while you do get points for trying, I commend you for discontinuing the Mr. Ts Muscle Crunch.

Lest you think my motivation is only to criticize, I will reveal my true purpose for writing to you.

Cracklin’ Oat Bran.

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Three simple words (one slightly abbreviated I presume for the sake of whimsy – good one, marketing team) that would make Canadians so happy.

This sweet, crunchy deliciousness in a bowl can only be procured in the United States of America. It has now been added to the ever-growing list of food selections denied tax-paying, free-health-care-loving, apologetic Canadians.

Why, Dr. Kellogg, why? Are we not worthy of oats with a hint of coconut? Do our colons not deserve the 25% of our daily fibre? We would like the option of starting our day with the joy of eating distinctly shaped ‘O’s. WE WANT OUR TOUCH OF CINNAMON.

I long to see your crunchy, sweet, oven-baked product on our shelves, complete with both French and English languages. I will even help with the translation. Please, Dr. Kellogg, for the children. Si vous plait.

Listen, if you don’t feel that marketing COB to the Great White North is a viable option, I can support that – we are a very easy-going people. I can send you my mailing information and you can send me a private supply. No one else needs to know. Canadians are also very non-judgemental and can keep a secret.

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You’d like to make my morning better? Great. End this lock-out and start selling COB to cereal-loving Canadians.
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“Sorry, kids this is the last bowl from the box we got in the USA.”  “But Mommy, I like it, too.” “I know baby, I know.” *
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Not to exaggerate, but this might be the saddest picture on the internet.

You have the reputation of being both an industrialist and a philanthropist giving me hope that the lack of COB in our country is just an oversight soon to be corrected. Thank you for your consideration. I have faith in you.

_______

*if you are wondering why there is no milk in the bowl, all will explained here.

 

 

My 5 Rules for Canadian Kids in Winter

It’s January in Canada, so it’s cold. Really cold. However, it’s nothing we can’t handle. We may be overly polite and apologetic, but we are a hearty people. If your snot doesn’t freeze inside your nostrils, it’s cold but not really cold. If your breath doesn’t crystalize on your scarf when you exit your house, toughen up – you are Canadian.

Travelling anywhere in winter with small children in tow requires a minimum of 12 extra minutes prep time (I’ve done extensive research on this, trust me). If you are running late, it will take them 27 minutes because science. And so, I present to you…

My Five Rules for Canadian Kids in Winter

1. Layer. Two pairs of socks, extra mittens. We all know it feels bunchy, just do it.

Fashionable AND warm
Fashionable AND warm

2. Wet mitts won’t dry in a bin. They go on the dryer – every time. Remember? The dryer? Any good Canadian household will have the standard minimum of two such contraptions.

The house will still smell like wet dog, but for a shorter duration.
The house will still smell like wet dog, but for a shorter duration.

3. Shut the door. All the way. Right away. JUST SHUT THE DOOR.

4. Tiny mittens that stretch when you put them on are not really mittens. Real mittens impede all fine motor skills. They also prevent frost bite. Hold still while I tie your scarf tighter to muffle your complaints.

5. Put on your snow pants. Forget that, just put on any snow pants. No argument, no excuses. We all agree that they hinder movement, but they also prevent your skin from burning on the walk to school. And snow pants always go on first, it’s the law.

Yes, it’s cold out there, but we can get through it together. As long as you SHUT THE DOOR.

O Canada, Part Deux

 

Contrary to popular opinion, we DO have money
Contrary to popular opinion, we DO have money

Last year I interviewed three of our boys about Canada. Here’s an addendum since one more son can speak in sentences and the other had a bit to add.

I asked one of the Littles, “Who is the boss of Canada?” to which he promptly replied, “God.” His younger brother added, “Jesus”. So, there’s that.

When I inquired of the 3 year old where Canada is, he informed me, “in the garage.” He also told me that Canada doesn’t use money, so he’s a questionable source.

I might have gotten more information and trivia out of them, but the 5 year old suddenly left to go potty. Priorities, guys.

Happy Birthday, Canada! 

*For more on this topic, click here to view Bast and Moyer talk about Canadian money.

South Meets North

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Okay, fella, time to head back.

Just a second. I need to process this. THIS outpost is on the Canadian side of the border, right?

Yup, it sure is.

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So that means they have unlimited maple syrup?

Yes.

Ketchup chips?

I guess so.

Bacon?

Well, Canadian bacon – yes.

Grrrrr

Settle down, settle down – we need to go now, come on.

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I’ll leave when I’m ready, Wrangler. I need to hear more.

Maybe just tone it down a little, no need to get so excited.

What about poutine? 

I think that’s more of an East Coast thing.

Toques? Hockey? Smarties? Overly apologetic patrons?

Yes, yes, yes, and I guess so?

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But I’m tired of salmon. Every night it’s salmon, salmon, salmon. I could even settle for the cherub-looking forest ranger – he looks tasty.

He is not on the menu. Let’s go.

In a minute. So let me get this straight: this outpost has all those things plus they get free health care, Don Cherry, and ketchup chips? I don’t know what to with all these feelings!

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It’s true, they do have all those things.

Do they have running water? Heat? Drive-thru Starbucks? Cable TV?

They aren’t savages. Yes, of course.

If they have all of that, why would I bother going back? What does the US have to offer that I couldn’t possibly get in Canada?

Special edition Oreos. And M&Ms.

Start the Jeep, let’s go home.

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__________

All photos are property of Burrill Strong photography. This is the second collaboration Burrill and I have done.  You can check out this talented, bearded photographer at his blog and on twitter @sgtwolverine

Bast & Moyer Eat Chips

Chips.

So delicious you can’t eat just one – even if the flavour is questionable.

Bast and I decided to try out a very Canadian flavour. Much giggling ensued. You can see it all for yourself here, in our third vlog.

What is the strangest/best/surprisingly good flavour of chip you’ve tried? Which one filled you with regret?

Oh, Canada!

The Maple Leaf forever
The Maple Leaf forever

July 1 is Canada Day and I thought it would be good to test the boys on their Canadian facts.

According to the 8 year old:

Canada Day is Canada’s birthday which means it got alive that day. It’s 100 years old and before that it was a whole bunch of different cities. The boss of Canada is Prime Minister Bob Kevin (he’s very clear that Bob is his first name, Kevin is his last name). Canada is the second biggest country in the world. We speak French and English. The only difference between the US and Canada is that the US is more famous.

As most countries do, Canada has it’s share of ethnic foods, including ice cream, yogurt, lemonade, olives, pickles, and pickled corn (coincidentally, all of the 8 year old’s favourites).

Canada’s national animal is the beaver, but it is also famous for polar bears, squirrels, spiders, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. Canadian money has a beaver, a loonie, a caribou, a maple leaf, and a boat. Our money also has the Queen of England on it. The Queen is the boss of the Prime Minister, in case you were wondering how that all worked.

As far as famous Canadians go, we’ve got the Toronto Maple Leafs people*.

In Canada you can do anything, like swimming.

A little geography lesson: Ontario is a province, there are ten in total. There are three territories. Territories are cold, provinces are not.

If you’d like to double check any of these facts, click here for verification.

*The six year old chimed in that we also have Don Cherry, you know, “The hockey guy that does stuff, just talks. He’s

Our most famous Canadian
Our most famous Canadian

old and that’s it.” I was saddened that they did not know about Megan Follows or Anne of Greengables. Also disappointing was that David Suzuki was overlooked. When questioned further, eight year old said, “he’s the guy that’s on Daddy’s shirt.” (See “So, I Married David Suzuki” for more on this famous Canadian and his connection to our family.)

The four year old’s session was more question and answer.

What is Canada Day? I do not know.

What should we do on Canada Day? I do not know.

What is Canada? I do not know.

Where is Canada? I do not know.

That's Anne with an "e"
That’s Anne with an “e”

Where do you live? With you

Where do I live? With me!

What can you find in Canada? Don’t know

Who is Don Cherry? I do not know.

Who is Megan Follows? I do not know.

What is the Littlest Hobo? I do not know already.

What’s the Canada song? Waving Flag.

Do you like Canada? NO ONE likes Canada.

Do you have any interesting Canadian trivia to share? Any questions about Canada? Ask away, we’re pretty polite.

*Click here for the follow up interview