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The Winter Resolution: A Weekend Away in Ontario’s Highlands

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In my last "Winter Resolution" post, I shared that I had bought myself ski gear for the first time. Yep, at age 42, I am now the newbie owner of downhill ski gear! It's my way of committing to this "love like the winter" kick I've been on since I first posted about my struggles with winter back in December of 2009. Downhill ski gear is the most recent in a list of commitments I've made since 2009. The others include: A warm down-filled … [Read more...]

Taking the Kids to NYC: Our Top 5 Highlights

museum

NYC with kids? Yes, it's do-able and we did it! We are fortunate enough to have friends in NYC, so it makes taking a last minute trip a whole lot easier. Usually, however, it is either Hubby or I taking a solo trip. This time, we took the kids. With Max now 5 years old and Stella now 11, travel is also a whole lot easier. So we felt that the Christmas school holiday break was a window we couldn't resist. We left on December 30th and drove … [Read more...]

Remember how you used to scrapbook? Yeah, me too …

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This time last week, I was madly searching throughout my basement for my scrapbooking supplies. My poor scrapbooks have been terribly neglected and ignored for years. But somehow I had gotten myself signed up for a weekend scrapbooking retreat with my long-lost scrapbooking buddies and now I needed to resurrect the stuff. … [Read more...]

Historic Hotels: The King Edward, Toronto

the king edward hotel, toronto

The King Edward Hotel opened its doors in 1903. One hundred years later, I had my first stay here. I can't believe I hadn't stayed in this hotel before! The place is magic. It has hosted dignitaries, celebrities, and artists the world over. From Mark Twain to Margaret Thatcher, the Beatles to Britney Spears -- this hotel has stories to tell. And I suspect many of these stories are rolling around in the Crystal Ballroom. Closed down in the late … [Read more...]

Cool Cafes: Wildcat Cafe, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

@coffeewithjulie at Wildcat Cafe

It was late in the afternoon when we arrived into Yellowknife. Our day had started in Ottawa and had included a four-hour layover in Iqaluit and a one-hour one in Rankin Inlet. We were a bit tired, but wanted to make the most of every minute we had on our trip. So after unloading all of our gear into our room at our hotel, we decided to walk around the town and see if perhaps we could find a spot to eat. We walked out the front of our hotel … [Read more...]

Northwest Territories: Five Spectacular Things I Will Never Forget

Happy hour on Great Bear River

Our recent trip to Canada's Northwest Territories is now seared into my soul. It was an amazing experience that is but a memory as I've returned to a life of unloading the dishwasher, getting laundry done, and keeping kids busy during these last days of summer. Regardless of how "real life" has taken over, here are five spectacular things I will never forget. #1.  Midnight Sunsets During the summer months, days are so long in the … [Read more...]

Great Bear River Canoe Trip: I Opened That Door Again

Greyling fish, Great Bear River, NWT

In yesterday's post, I told you about my hardest day on the trip. Today, I can tell you with a smile on my face that that day is but a distant memory. In fact, at one point in that post, I had compared a panic attack to labour. And like labour, where once you see that beautiful little face it's hard to remember much else, so too is an adventure trek. I needed to experience that feeling again. The discomfort that comes from doing something … [Read more...]

Great Bear River Canoe Trip: The First Day was Hard. Real Hard.

Fly fishing at the mouth of Great Bear River, NWT

This post will be one a several that will share my experiences on a recent trip to the Northwest Territories. In this post, I answer readers who asked questions such as: "I want to know the low-lights, in addition to the highlights"; "Could I do this trip?"; "How hard was it?" Contrary to many trip reports that I read, there is no such thing as a trip that is all rainbows and unicorns. Usually, I don't get too personal in my blog posts. I'm going … [Read more...]

Back from Great Bear River Canoe Trip!

Canoeing on Great Bear River

We're back! And what an experience it was! So, first of all, where in the world were we? Our canoe trek with Canoe North Adventures started on Great Bear Lake, at the mouth of Great Bear River. You can see where Great Bear Lake is on the map below. … [Read more...]

Downtown New York City with Kids (Part 2 of 2 of NYC with Kids)

Chelsea Highline park in NYC.

In Part 1, Sarah shared so many awesome things to do with kids in Midtown New York City with kids that I'm not sure I'd ever even make it out to Downtown! But all that means is that I would need to schedule another trip to NYC ... darn, I would hate that. ;) Here, she share her favourite spots for kids in the Downtown region of New York City.  DIGGING DOWNTOWN NYC WITH THE KIDS (by guest poster: Sarah McCormack) Depending on what part of … [Read more...]

Midtown New York City with Kids (Part 1 of 2 on NYC with Kids)

Herckscher park in NYC

I really admire people who not only manage to travel with their kids but to do it on a reasonable budget (because let's be real, it's easy to do amazing vacations if money is no option!). Sarah is just such a person. She just amazes me with how she is able to plan fabulous trips for her family. This year, she went to New York City with her husband and her two boys. But it wasn't the first time she'd done this -- it was the 5th time she and her … [Read more...]

Top 5 Strange Facts about Ants (+ Ottawa Giveaway to see “The Hidden Life of Ants” at the Canadian Museum of Nature)

Weaver ants

Most of us have heard of some strange facts about ants. They are a curious species, with their queens and workers. But you can learn some of the lesser known facts about ants at an exhibit opening in Ottawa TODAY, July 26th, at the Canadian Museum of Nature. For the first-ever stop in Canada, an exhibit on loan from the Smithsonian that features 39 captivating large-format images from Mark W. Moffet's body of work. So, if at this point in the … [Read more...]

Ready, Set …

Great Bear River, NWT

You know how the Super Bowl half-time show is actually more fun than the football game? Well, that's kinda how it's going to be around here while Hubby and I are off in no-internet-land on a canoe trek in the Northwest Territories. I've ensured that everything special to me is in excellent hands while we're away, and that includes my little space here on Coffee with Julie. Some fabulous online friends are pitching in to keep you entertained, … [Read more...]

What to Pack for a White Water Canoe Course: At the Campsite

what to wear at the campsite

Okay, we already covered what to pack for the water in this post. And now that the course is over, I can say with certainty that the gear for water worked out very well. The only thing I didn't enjoy were the "dork straps" for my sunglasses because they hurt my ears. (I have very delicate and petite ears. They're like butterflies really. Precious, special butterflies.) Here's what I packed and wore at the campsite:  1. Hat for sun … [Read more...]

What to Pack for a White Water Canoe Course: On the Water Gear

Gear and Clothing for On the Water

Tomorrow morning, Kerry is picking me up bright and early for our Introduction to White Water Canoeing Course (called Groovy Moves! with Pure Life Adventures). Two bloggers, white water, one night in a tent ... we should have some good tales to tell when we get back! I am teaching myself, with a great deal of help from Hubby, how to pack independently for camping. When we go family camping, he is the "gear guy." I really don't touch a thing. … [Read more...]

Cute vs. Practical Clothing for Camping and Canoeing

The Cute Outfit

I might not be ready for my canoe trek yet. But I will be! I am now diligently cramming for my introduction to white water canoeing course this weekend and the big trek to come in the Northwest Territories. After going out for a canoe via Britannia Bay on Monday night with Hubby and the kids, I swooped into Bushtukah, a local outdoors and sports store in our neighbourhood, one hour before closing. I wanted to find some clothing for camping and … [Read more...]

No, I’m Not Ready for My Canoe Trek.

Groovy Moves course, Pure Life Adventures

These days, the most common question I've been getting from colleagues and friends and a few strangers is: So, are you ready for your big trip up to Northwest Territories? Well, it's on my list. And to be fair a lot important things don't get done on my list. I run out of time. Or energy. Or a combination of both. Plus, I've been really busy getting work done so that I can actually take a holiday. Oh, and there were the birthday parties, … [Read more...]

The One Thing I Never Travel Without

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  What would you guess is the one thing I have never traveled without … My cell phone? Well, no. I was a backpacking gal long before people carried cellphones. I have an addiction problem now, but it hasn't always been this way. My passport? Not always. It’s only recently that Canadians need to carry a passport to enter into the United States. A companion? Nope. I travel alone all the time. … [Read more...]

When One Door Closes …

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Lately, I've been thinking about this expression: "When One Door Closes, Another One Opens." The full saying actually goes like this: “When one door closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”~ Alexander Graham Bell I've also heard other variations, like "When one door closes, use the window," reinforcing the notion that there is more than one way … [Read more...]

Canoe Trip in the Northwest Territories: It’s Happening!

I told you how I won a trip, but I also promised to tell you all about our upcoming trip to spectacular Northwest Territories. And you know me, I like to keep my promises! (You know, mostly.) All up, our Northwest Territory adventure will end up being 9 days in total. One day for travel there and one day for travel back via First Air, which is one of the only air carriers with regular connections to 30 northern communities. We'll be flying … [Read more...]

Now It’s Your Chance to Win a Trip! How does Sandals Jamaica Sound to You?

CTS #FeelGoodMovies Contest

Yesterday, I told you I won a trip. So, it's true, people actually win these things!  Today, I was going to tell you all about my trip to Northwest Territories. But since we (in Ottawa) just got a massive dump of snow, I thought you all might want to know about this contest as soon as possible! Remember how much I loved going to Beaches Boscobel in Jamaica? Well, Sandals is the cousin to Beaches. Where Beaches if ultra-family, Sandals is … [Read more...]

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