Browsing Tag

kids

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.

 

Active Play, Family Life

Stuck indoors with kids? 5 ways to stay sane (when you literally can’t go outside)

January 24, 2016

So. If you are a follower of this blog, you are likely somewhat more inclined than the average person to gamely put on your snow pants, bundle up the kids and build a snowman on cold winter days. Kids need to burn off energy, whether it’s a warm summer day in July or -8 in January. I’ll assume I’m preaching to the choir about this. But what about those days when you literally can’t get outside and still need to occupy the kids? Let’s face it, those days do exist and they suck. Severe, dangerous weather conditions, one sick child in bed while his healthy sibling is bouncing off the walls, or a time-sensitive work project that you need to get done from home?

I’ve certainly BTDT. Here are my 5 tips on How Not to Go Stir-Crazy When You Literally Can’t Go Outside (With Kids).

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Events, Family Life, Outdoor Adventures, Reviews

Victorian Christmas- a family tradition in Halton Region

December 7, 2015

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that Bronte Creek Provincial Park is one of our family’s favourite outdoor spots in Halton Region. I was super excited to check out their Victorian Christmas event this year. We hadn’t been since 2012 (see my post from that time), and had never been with Em. The marketing specialist, Andrew, assured me that the event this year’s event was the best yet, with even more games, activities and decorations, and we couldn’t wait to check it out.

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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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Active Play, Family Life, Outdoor Adventures

The lull between seasons

November 7, 2015

It’s November, which means the excitement of Halloween is over but Christmas seems very far away (even more so when you’re only 4 and 2 years old!). We don’t start holiday decorating until after Remembrance Day, so it’s a bit of a gap in terms of seasonal activities to do with the kids.

We do however, have lots of leaves to rake, gardens to pull out, and nature trails to explore. The air is getting chilly (though we’ve had some gorgeous mild temps in Halton Region this week) and the trees bare. With a few more layers added on or off, the kids are still happy to take part in all their usual outdoor fun.

Here’s Em riding her bike through a giant pile of leaves on a neighbourhood sidewalk. She loved the “crunching” sounds they made under her pedals and delighted in riding through as many piles as possible.

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How are you spending the in-between season? As I look at my calendar, I see it filling up in the weeks ahead with dinner parties (some hosted by us- honestly hoping this goes well as fancy cooking and kids underfoot somehow doesn’t mix), brunches, get-togethers and concerts. All of which are fun, and we are certainly looking forward to catching up with friends and family and going to different events. But for now, with a brief quiet spell until I am swept up in entertaining, shopping and cooking, I’ll enjoy the quiet days riding through the leaves.

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