Browsing Tag

family

Family Life, Outdoor Adventures

LiveOutThere.com Exclusive: How Not to Be a Fair-Weathered Outdoor Enthusiast

February 12, 2016

Preface: I’m thrilled to announce that I have joined the LiveOutThere.com team as a guest blogger! LiveOutThere.com is a Canadian online store selling high-quality outdoor clothing and gear from leading brands. Be sure to check them out!

Let’s face it, depending on your climate, it’s really easy to love being outdoors when it’s temperate, pleasant and dry. That’s when the playgrounds are filled with kids, bike paths are hazardous and your Facebook feed includes nothing but selfies taken at the beach or outdoor patio. But the second the weather turns gloomy or frosty? It’s a ghost town out there.

Living in Oakville, Ontario, just outside of Toronto on the shores of Lake Ontario, winters can range from howling blizzards to green Christmases, flash freezes and all points in between. But as a busy working mom to two young kids, who craves fresh air and outdoor activity not just as a means of stimulation but also for my own mental and physical well-being, I’ve learned to adapt to anything the other mother (nature, that is), throws my way. How? Read on.

 

Events, Family Life

Fun at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair!

November 13, 2015

Now that the kids are 2 and 4.5 years old, it’s easier and more fun to take them on daytrips and special outings. They have longer attention spans and can really engage in activities. It’s also special stage in our family life in that we are now building traditions and memories with them. One of our favourite activities is exploring nature and getting up close and personal with animals- so for the second time in their lives, we went to the Royal Agricultural Fair in Toronto!

“The Royal” as its known, brings country to the city. Hundreds of exhibitor and farmers from across the province all converge at the Exhibition grounds in Toronto to display their sheep, cattle, horses, pigs, goats, llamas, rabbits, etc. (basically, any animal you can imagine being raised on a farm), compete in shows and interact with the public. There’s a petting zoo, kids area with toy tractors, slides and other activities to engage little ones. The kids really enjoyed the Superdogs presentation (dog agility races and tricks) and got a huge kick out of milking a pretend cow and watching a horse competition (they were thrilled when their favourite horse won the 1st place ribbon).

It was funny to see 2-year old Em’s reaction to the loud baa-ing of the sheep (when there are about 20 of them in nearby pens all loudly clamouring for food it can be quite a scene). She was quite shocked and covered her ears, but when we visited the petting zoo and she saw her sister getting to feed the goats some pellets, she bravely wanted to try too. She loved it! So fun to see them interacting with such beautiful creatures and learning through play.

We definitely had a great time at the Royal and will be back in the future for sure. Thinking about going? Here’s what you need to know:

  • Kids 3 and under get in free. Adults are $25 each. You can purchase tickets online in advance, or at the ticket booth. There is a self-serve kiosk as well- which we used with no issues.
  • Get there early. They open at 9 and we were there by 9:15. It gets crowded quickly but it was quite busy at noon when we left. We went on a Friday when there are lots of school groups. Never been on a weekend but I imagine its busy then too.
  • You may be tempted to leave the stroller at home, but don’t. Yes, there’s lots of other people pushing strollers and wheelchairs but there is a lot of walking involved so it’s great to have a place to put tired kids. Plus, you’ll need a place to put coats, sippy cups, etc. Safety wise, be aware that there are animals being led around in main thoroughfares and its entirely possible a runaway toddler could crash into a startled cow.
  • Bring baby wipes! There are tons of hand sanitizer stations and handwash stations throughout the fair (there’s a lot of manure around and high touch surfaces…no one wants e.coli at the end of the day) but be prepared to wipe down little hands often.
  • Aaand on that note, don’t wear your best shoes. Rubber boots are great for adults and well-loved runners are good for kids (unless they can walk easily in their boots). You may very well step in something.
  • There is a food court with tons of yummy options but to avoid meltdowns and empty wallets, bring snacks if you can (even just juice boxes, veggies and crackers to tide them over during long waits). Try to avoid peak mealtimes so you can be sure you get a seat, but there are other less crowded spots in the venue that have shorter lines and spots to sit (near the horse paddocks and the Marlies hockey rink especially).
  • There are some awesome vendors in the main hall. Bring cash to get the best deals! You could easily spend hours shopping there (er, if you didn’t have kids in tow).

Check out www.royalfair.org for more info. Say hi to the goats for us!

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Family Life, The More You Know

Remembrance Day with Kids

November 1, 2015

It’s the first week of November, which means that Remembrance Day is just around the corner. As a granddaughter of a World War II veteran, I was brought up in a very patriotic family and Remembrance Day was always a sacred day. Of course, we had assemblies at school and did poppy-themed crafts. But, I had real-life stories to listen to and actual memorabilia to finger, which made history come alive for me and ingrained in me a deep respect, understanding and appreciation for the sacrifices of our armed forces and peacekeepers at home and abroad.

I now have children of my own, and I am saddened that they never got to meet their great-grandfather, who passed away three years before Cat was born. My girls won’t get to have that part of living history in their lives, the way I did. But I am determined that I raise them to be proud Canadians with a global understanding and empathy towards others. The challenge of course, is, how much do you teach them, and when? With topics as complex as war and peace, what is age-appropriate?

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Family Life, Resources, Reviews

Kids Spa Day (the natural way!)

October 16, 2015

My kids are at the age (2 and 4.5 years) where they love to copy me and follow me like a shadow. Sometimes, this is flattering, and other times, it’s annoying. Sorry, kids. I’ll move and unexpectedly bump into one. Or trip over a toddler who beelines out of nowhere. But the other day was one of those times when it was heart-meltingly adorable.

I was in the bathroom getting ready for the day, applying moisturizer to my face. Em stood on her stepstool, seriously watching my reflection in the mirror. Next time I glanced at her,  she was carefully smoothing onto her face (and hair) the closest available product: a tub of her dad’s Vaseline that he uses for lip balm. I couldn’t help but laugh as I cleaned her up and promised her we’d play “beauty spa” when Grandma came next weekend for an overnight visit. My only dilemma: where to find natural “beauty” products that would be suitable for my kids to use (and let’s face it, probably lick).

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The More You Know

Welcome!

September 14, 2015

Stay Outdoors Halton Mommy is a blog that celebrates finding joy in nature and living a healthy and active outdoor lifestyle, with a special focus on activities, events and resources available to families with kids living in Halton Region, Ontario, Canada.

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