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Camping lesson #1: If there’s no nature, it’s not worth it

rsz_willmington

In an attempt to bring ourselves back into the camping spirit now that we have children, we bought a pop-up tent trailer this spring. I admit that we swallowed our pride when we parked it in our driveway. It really put a damper on our camping "street-cred." Just as we defiantly swore we'd never buy a minivan just because we had children (and, for the record, we still have not succumbed ... yet), we also swore to never "car camp." Our first … [Read more...]

A trip to Achray Campground in Algonquin Park, Ontario

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I suspect that many camping families get themselves in a bit of a rut now and then. I think we find a magical campsite and then just keep going back and back. Sure, there's nothing wrong with returning to the tried and true. Let's a lot of advantages actually: kids often feel happy when they're in familiar surroundings and mothers often feel happy when they now how to navigate themselves through the forest to the toilets in the middle of the … [Read more...]

8 Tips for Camping with Kids

Good Monday morning! My daughter Stella has shared her top tips for successfully camping with kids in a post that is now live on the Kids in the Capital blog. If you are ever in the care of children in Ottawa, this is the blog to hit for ideas! It covers activities, playgroups, books, crafts, cooking -- you name it! -- all neatly organized under the "Categories" listing on the right-hand menu. Definitely worth a visit. Hope everyone has a … [Read more...]

Are we there yet? (or why the heck do people go camping with their kids)

I've been more of a scattered mom than usual lately. The kind that forgets doctor's appointments and perpetually arrives late or unprepared for the kids' extra-curricular activities? Yeah, er, that's me. This life with young children, and work, and household maintenance ... it really does feel like a hamster wheel sometimes, doesn't it? Everyone TALKS about how to achieve balance, but I'm pretty sceptical about it being even possible. So, for … [Read more...]

Tom Thomson knew a good thing when he found it

Jack Pine by Tom Thomson (1916), from National Gallery of Canada

The celebrated artist Tom Thomson and his comtemporaries in The Group of Seven spent a great deal of time in Algonquin Park. The Park was more rugged then, and more quiet I'm sure. But despite the changes over the years, this Park remains as inspiring as ever. Hubby and I have had a long-lasting love affair with this Park. So much so that I wanted to name our son or daughter Quin (short for Algonquin). We've spent countless hours alone in … [Read more...]

“Month of Me” post #11: Time with My Hubby

When this whole crazy "Month of Me" concept started to solidify, I started to consider "what exactly would I want to do if there was no one else influencing the decision?" At first, it was easy: I would accept an invitation to She's Connected even though that would mean booking time off work that I wouldn't be spending with my family and even though my only real reason for wanted to go was curiosity and a bit of "fun factor." Same for the … [Read more...]

Stuff that happened this week

I didn’t get around to posting anything on my blog this week because my husband has taken to making these beautiful after-work drinks called Brandy Lime & Soda. Mmmm… they are such a refreshing summer drink. But trust me that you will lose any desire to be productive after having one (which isn’t such a bad thing of course, but just be warned). I’ve been missing you though and even though I’ve already consumed said drink, I’ll attempt to … [Read more...]

Personal style: Sacrificed at the altar of family

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Most of the folks in our circle started out strong. We wouldn't sacrifice our personal style just because we were starting a family. Hell no! Just because we'd be parents didn't mean we'd have to give up our sense of "cool." But, one by one, we've all slipped into family-dom. Some jumped in whole-heartedly, while others -- like my husband and I -- tried to hold on stubbornly to as much as we could. Here are some flashing signals that you … [Read more...]

I survived Brownie camp

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You know how after all the participants on the Survivor television come together and reunite for the final show and you can barely recognize them because they have showered, brushed their hair and gained the weight back from the lack of food on the island? That's how I feel right now. Except for the brushed hair. Oh, and the losing and gaining weight thing. Other than that, I look exactly like a Survivor finalist. And that's because this … [Read more...]

Day 2 at Smuggler’s Notch Resort, Vermont

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This is a post is a continuation of a short series on Smuggler's Notch. To catch up, you can find the first post in this series here, and the second one is here. Our family's accommodation and activities were provided by Smugg's, while extras like food and whatnot were paid for ourselves. (Image below, credit: Smuggler's Notch, Vermont.) Gooooood morning Smuggler's Notch! In contrast to the first morning, when the kids had been up early and … [Read more...]

2011: The Year That Was (Part 2 of 2)

In continuation from yesterday .... July 2011: By this time, our family had moved into a new home while simultaneously welcoming overseas family to Canada for the first time. It was busy, but we had fun! We shared as much of our area with them as possible, including Canada Day in downtown Ottawa and a visit to Toronto. A sense of relief was also felt by Hubby and I as we settled into our new neighbourhood and adjusted to the change. In total, … [Read more...]

Impractical Purchasing: The Bicycle Edition

I can stick to a budget, sure. But what I choose to spend my money on? Well, sometimes it ends up with me coming home with a bag of cereal that cost more than $10 bucks, while other times it has resulted in more than $100 spent on blue suede boots. Not so practical, I know. In this edition, however, the stakes are higher. I had a budget for a bicycle. This was last autumn. As the cold weather approached, Hubby and I figured that the stores … [Read more...]

“Month of Me” post #09: It’s my party, so I’ll wear sweats if I want to

“Month of Me” is a little ol’ wild and crazy concept: In October, the month I celebrate my 40th birthday, I will do a whole slew of things that I love. Just because. You can read the kick-off post here. Hubby: Sweetheart, it's your 40th. You should have a party. How about I organize a party for you. Me: Uh, remember, I don't do fun. Hubby: But, it's your 40th. Me: I'm having an entire "Month of Me," so it's not like I'm depriving … [Read more...]

Spectacular Northwest Territories: Seeing Stars and Lucky Stars

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Seeing the Aurora Borealis up in Canada's Great North has always been a dream of mine. (And Hubby's ... but his also includes winter camping, whitewater canoeing, and a whole bunch of other adventurous deeds.) So when I received an invitation from MJW Communications to a kick-off event for the Spectacular Northwest Territories Days at Ottawa's Winterlude in February, I immediately accepted. Normally, I go to these travel-writing/blogging events … [Read more...]

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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No, I'm not talking about the Christmas decor slowly seeping into the malls ... I'm talking NOW. Autumn. Fall. And more specifically, October. It is THE most wonderful time of the year. I've always loved the Fall. As a child, this was easy to explain -- it is my birthday after all. As I got older, there was a birthday plus the family gathering of Canadian Thanksgiving. But there's also the crispness that comes in the air. That feeling of … [Read more...]

Impractical Purchasing: The Bicycle Edition (Part 2 of 2)

"Julie's Bicycle," by Andrew King

Okay, so where were we? Ah, yes, I had rudely let the season three finale of Glee interrupt my story about my (lack of) bicycle. And since then I also let two children with fevers, a work project, and countless other errands get in the way too. Geez - where are my priorities?? Let's get back at this, shall we? I had walked away from the oh-so-cute retro bike with custom painting so that I could choose something more practical that fit … [Read more...]

Caffeinated MacGyver to the Rescue!

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If you're of my vintage, you'll likely remember the MacGyver television series. If you've never heard of him or if your memory would simply like a little jog, each episode went like this: Cute-guy lead character (i.e. MacGyver) would face a huge crisis without breaking a sweat. He'd calmly concoct a solution such as a bomb de-fuser from a paperclip and a piece of gum stuck on the bottom of his shoe. In our family, we like to refer to my … [Read more...]

SIGG: not so super, afterall?

We've been using Sigg bottles for ages. And that really says something, since we don't spend our money lightly on fads. We're talking $30 for a water bottle to put in a child's lunch box. When there's a plastic alternative that's less than $5, we've clearly drawn a line in the sand. Why? It's enviro-friendly not to be constantly purchasing plastic water bottles all the time. Sigg bottles are also extremely tough and survive even the worst … [Read more...]

Robson Rambling: A Recap

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  My "baby" brother Adam (he's 26) saved me from some expensive life insurance after I posted "His Next Great Adventure." The four of them were not, in fact, climbing Mount Robson, but instead were hiking Berg Lake Trail. They are all back safe & sound now, and thrilled with their adventure-filled time together. Even though Adam is supposed to be sweating it out on some kind of graduate computer-y thesis-y thing, I badgered him into … [Read more...]

The Back-to-School Outfit

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Back-to-school is here! As usual, summer has whizzed right by and we're back into the busy fall season (both at work and at home). This summer was a milestone for us -- we moved houses for the first time in 14 years and we enjoyed a special visit from overseas relatives. But we're ready for routines again, I think. That's one bonus of school-aged children; it helps the whole family get into consistent routines. Not to be outdone by Valentine's … [Read more...]

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