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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...]

A Day in the Land O’ Lakes

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While I was on vacation a couple of weeks ago, an e-vite into my BlackBerry titled "Girls and Kids Day at the Beach." Without reading the details, I just replied that I would be happy to partake. And that day was yesterday. All up, there were six girlfriends and seven children invited up to a friend's cottage for the day. Located in an area referred to as the Land O' Lakes, the cottage was an easy drive from Ottawa. Just over an hour. Lucky … [Read more...]

#Blog4NZ: New Zealand never leaves you

Blog4NZ is a grass-roots effort on the part of the international travel blogging community to promote all that is good about travel in New Zealand from the 21st to 23nd of March — the one-month anniversary of the quake. Tourism makes up approximately 10% of New Zealand’s GDP and it is essential for the world to know that New Zealand is open for business. So ... New Zealand! Where to start? Well, it was 1993, I had a one-way ticket and a one-year … [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...]

Saguenay series, part 6: Underwater mysteries that still remain

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I caught up with a girlfriend the other day and as we were having coffee and agreeing that it had been too long since we'd chatted, she exclaimed: "I haven't even heard about your Saguenay trip yet!"  I responded, "Oh, well, you have to keep up with my blog if you want to know my life. I don't actually speak to people in real-life anymore." To this, she did not even react to my silly tone, and said, "But I have been reading your blog!" So, I … [Read more...]

Saguenay series, Part 5: How I learned to let go and love my hiking boots

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In Part 2 of my Saguenay series, I lamented spending my hard earned money on hiking boots instead of super-cute shoes. I also wondered aloud: "...what age the other women would be on the trip? And what level of fitness would they be? Or if maybe I am over-estimating how “rough” the trip will be and they will all be wearing cute yoga pants and flip flops while I stand there like a dork all outfitted up. And mostly, if I looked this ridiculous in … [Read more...]

Glamping?

In the tradition of Bradgelina (the nickname given to the celebrity couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie), jeggings (a pant that combines the fit of leggings with the look of a jeans) and tweeps (your “peeps” on twitter), we now have “glamping.” Glamping, or glamorous camping, is where one pays the equivalent of a 5-star hotel rate to sleep in a tent. Are these people mad? Maybe ... but I'm one of the converted! Find out why I'm willing to pay … [Read more...]

Winter: If you can’t beat’em, join’em!

Photo credit: Jean Tanguay

Photo credit: Jean Tanguay I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but winter is just around the corner. My husband thinks this is fantastic news indeed and has already equipped the kids with snowsuits and good hats and mitts. You might recall that I, on the other hand, am not quite as fond of winter. In fact, I spent most of last winter trying not to hate it. And although I still don't love it, to say the least, I did find that joining in … [Read more...]

Saguenay Series, Part 4: Vive le Québec! Vive le Saguenay!

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Okay, so! My trip to Northern Quebec! There is a lot to tell; I almost don't know where to start. But I guess the beginning is always a good place ... I was invited by Quebec's Ministry of Tourism to attend a press trip which would share with me six different family travel ideas from the Saguenay--Lac-Saint-Jean area. But in reality, the trip was so well-organized and the area has so much to offer that I've come home with countless things that … [Read more...]

Saguenay Series, Part 3: The Trip Just Got A Whole Lot Less “Rough”

I've pretty much done everything possible to avoid packing for my Saguenay trip. I really don't know why I do this. I just do. Once, I left Canada for a whole year and didn't get around to packing until the night before. With school coming up it's been really easy to procrastinate. There are hundreds of thousands of other things to distract myself with. Like labelling. Oh, how I have labelled today! You name it, I've labelled it. Hubby was … [Read more...]

Saguenay Series, Part 2: Getting ready for my adventure

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I'm the kind of girl who packs the night before. Okay, sometimes even the morning of. So hubby reviewed the itinerary for my upcoming adventure to Saguenay, Quebec on my behalf and suggested that I'd better buy some hiking boots. And also, some waterproof pants and proper rain jacket. Seeing as how I don't think I'll be heading out on lots of adventures involving lots of rain over the next few years, I told him I'd buy some boots, but that … [Read more...]

Saguenay Series, Part 1: It seemed like a good idea at the time

Mountain climbing. July 2010.

Once upon a time, I was an adventurous girl. I travelled with a backpack, I slept in forests unknown, and brought big souvenirs home from countries that I loved (my hubby!). I look back at photos from those times and I don't recognize that girl at all. Not one bit. If I look around, I can see that most of my fellow adventure seekers from that era have also mellowed out considerably too. I guess it's simply the passing of time, I suppose. But a … [Read more...]

Postcard from Bar Harbor, Maine: Humans and the creatures they love

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While in Bar Harbor, I took in a tourist attraction to see a much-loved creature. "I stood shuffling nervously. Nervous because I really wanted a lucky glimpse of the creature and also, because I hoped that the motion-sickness pills I had gulped down would work." The experience left me wondering about the finicky nature of human love ... Please click here to read the full piece as featured in the e-zine Life As A Human. … [Read more...]

Snapshots from Jonesport, Maine

Early morning fog on Jonesport Beach

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

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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...]

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...]

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