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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...]

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...]

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: 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...]

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...]

Spectacular Northwest Territories: Seeing Stars and Lucky Stars

aurora

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...]

Ottawa Staycation: Cross-country skiing in Gatineau Park

Fluffy snow!

For a second outing during our Ottawa staycation (you can read about our first outing here), we decided to head up to the Gatineau Hills for a cross-country ski. It would have actually been a sin not to go cross-country skiing with all of the snow we had over the Christmas season here in Ottawa! Everywhere around us, as far as one could see, the world had a bit of a magical gleam to it with mounds of fluffy snow hanging upon the tree … [Read more...]

Guest Post: Advice for Parents if Your Child is Volunteering Abroad

Hello loverlies! I am back from my vacation out to Eastern Canada and will collect photos and notes to share with you soon. In the meantime, I was contacted a while back about a guest post sponsored by Projects Abroad, an international volunteer organization. Many young people take "gap years" these days -- I know I certainly did! In fact, in my family, three out of four of the kids chose to travel overseas after graduation: I left with a … [Read more...]

Beaches Boscobel, Jamaica: A Tween’s Perspective (Day 4)

At the entrance to Mystic Mountain

Stella, who is almost 10 years old, and I have just returned from Beaches Boscobel in Jamaica, where we were invited to experience the resort. If you’re a parent and you travel to the Carribean during winter, then you’ve likely heard of Beaches Resorts. This chain of resorts is known for providing an above-and-beyond experience to families and their young children. But what about the “tween”? When your child is not a “little kid” nor are they a … [Read more...]

Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy

Hello my lovely bloggy friends, Stella and I are now in Jamaica (my Jamaica 101 post)! We were invited to come and visit the Beaches Boscobel resort in Jamaica and it's actually our first "girls' trip" together. Beaches Resorts cater specifically to families, so we are here to experience the resort and its activities to the fullest. I will be telling you all about it ... but first, I want to tell you about the trip to get here. To fully … [Read more...]

Jamaica 101

Stella, my 9-year-old daughter, and I are going to Jamaica next week. I know ... awesome, right?! We are really excited, despite the realization that we actually know very little about this country. So, won't you join us as we teach ourselves a touch of geography, history, and social studies? Where in the world? First of all, the WHERE! Below is map showing the island of Jamaica in red. From our home town of Ottawa, if you were to catch … [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...]

Day 1 at Smuggler’s Notch Resort, Vermont

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This past weekend, we were hosted at Smuggler's Notch Resort in Vermont. The whole family had been eagerly looking forward to this trip -- some family time is always welcome, and Hubby and I were very keen to share some great outdoor winter experiences with the kids. Since Smugg's is known for its award-winning children's programs, we thought this would prove to be the perfect place to be able to do so. Below, I've tried to note down as many … [Read more...]

Smuggs — here we come!

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Our family didn't downhill when I was growing up, nor did Hubby's. We'd like to introduce the kids to downhill while they're still young. You know ... before that fear factor sets in. Fear stops a lot of people from doing a lot of things. But when you start young, or at least have a little introduction to something when you're young, it always seems to make a difference. Like learning to swim as a kid versus an adult, or a new language, or sport … [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...]

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