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Beaches Boscobel, Jamaica: A Tween’s Perspective (Day 2)

Sandals Golf & Country Club, Jamaica

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...]

Beaches Boscobel, Jamaica: A Tween’s Perspective (Day 1)

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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...]

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...]

Reader Review of Great Wolf Lodge (Part 2 of 2)

Photo credit: Sarah McCormack

This is post is a continuation of this one here if you'd like to catch up. Coffee with Julie reader Sarah McCormack of Photos with Sarah is sharing her recent experience at Great Wolf Lodge with us! ************************* The water park itself was incredible, lots of slides for all age groups. I would recommend it for children ages 3-13.   Although there are some big, thrilling slides, they may not be as thrilling for … [Read more...]

Reader Review of Great Wolf Lodge (Part 1 of 2)

Photo credit: Sarah McCormack

This week, I am so happy to introduce you to one of Coffee with Julie's regular readers and commentors (bloggers love their comments!). I first met Sarah when long-time friends were proudly sharing their professionally taken family photos. I immediately asked for the photographer's contact info, because the photos were just that good! (Warning, one look at Sarah's newborn portfolio makes me clucky and might do the same to you!) I booked Sarah for … [Read more...]

Cool Cafes: The Sunrise Cafe, Jeffersonville, Vermont

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Just outside of Smuggler's Notch, a bright yellow building beckons you in for a coffee. Naturally, we accepted! We walked in the door and entered into a hallway. To our right, we could peer into a window and see a yoga class taking place in a lovely looking studio. To our left, we could see a homey cafe to grab some brunch. As we opened the door, three children's faces glanced up at us. All three faces then returned back to the laptop they … [Read more...]

On Children, Travel, and Inclusion

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In our North American society, children are often considered to be annoyances in air travel, restaurants, grocery stores, and even when they are quietly feeding. I think that as a parent, now used to life with young children, I have far more tolerance than I might have had when I was child-less. In fact, it barely even registers with me that a child is making loud crying noises unless it is the specific crying that I recognize as one of my … [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 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...]

A Visit to The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto

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For our family, a museum visit is often a highlight when we're travelling. In fact, I think Hubby and I have taken in at least one museum in every large city we've ever visited. And last weekend we were in Toronto to farewell our out-of-town guests before they hopped on a cross-Canada train trip. So before driving home on Sunday, we decided to squeeze in a tour of The Royal Ontario Museum, or "the ROM." We debated whether we should bother or … [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...]

Geocaching: All Who Wander Are Not Lost

This is a guest post by Julie Henning, Feed Me Editor, Road Trips for Families. You can check out yesterday's post for an intro to Julie and the other travel bloggers I met at BlogHer. Please join in me giving her a warm welcome to our little coffee spot! ********************* All Who Wander Are Not Lost! Kids today are “high tech.” Gaming, cell phones, and texting (OMG, LOL).  Heck, sometimes we use email to communicate, even though we’re … [Read more...]

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