Our Summer Bucket List #2

The countdown until the end of school is on – with mere days left. The children are getting restless and excited and us parents are getting panicked and a smidge excited. I mean, what on earth are we to do to occupy our children ALL summer while the teachers get their much deserved break. Our kiddos have two full-time working parents which means there is no end to making lunches or morning rushes. They still need to get out the door to day camps with the exception of the days their teenage sitters come or the bit of time we take off work, but there is still plenty of time for us to check items off our new bucket list. This years bucket list is complete and it’s here for you below – add these items to your list too, or let me know of some of the items on yours, we are always looking for new adventures and experiences to take on as a family.

1.Play-A-Latte Cafe – Kitchener, ON

This cafe has been all the hype with Moms in the KW area and we need to make a trip back to our old stomping grounds to check it out. It’s a cafe with an indoor play structure – such a brilliant idea and a more likely way to enjoy a hot coffee with a friend or spouse.

2. Frankenmuth – Michigan, USA

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve been to this town but the only time we took our children they were too young to remember. This quaint German town in Michigan keeps us coming back for more with it’s charm and character. This trip we are going with another family and are staying at Zehnder’s Splash Village. Can’t wait for our return!

3. Elora Quarry – Elora, ON

The Quarry draws thousands of tourists every year – and maybe that’s why we have yet to check out an attraction less than 10 minutes away but it is on our list this year. It’s about time we head to the place that everyone is talking about.

4. Park Crawl – Anywhere, ON

This summer I’ve decided we are going to do a Park Crawl (sorry, no alcohol involved). We will hit up several parks in a day and pack a picnic lunch. No idea where we will end up yet but I will post about it once we’ve done it. Such a fun, inexpensive summer activity – and our kids go bananas for any park so it should prove a good time.

5. Grand River Raceway – Elora, ON

If this looks familiar, it was on our list last year. We went on a date night last year and this year at the Raceway but didn’t bring the children. So, it’s back on our list so we can finally check it off with them. We are hoping to check out one of the Community Derby Nights but they have a children’s tent every Friday so they should be entertained regardless of when we make it here.

6. Ontario Science Centre – Toronto, ON

Also on our list from last summer, we became too busy to squeeze this one in. We can’t wait to finally make it to this Science themed Museum for a fun and secretly educational trip (shhh – don’t tell the kids).

7. Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games – Fergus, ON

The largest event in our town by far is the Fergus Scottish Festival. We went as a family a couple of years ago but the kids were a little too young to take it in and last longer than a couple hours. We are going to make a return this year with hopes of watching more of the actual games.

8. The Children’s Art Factory – Guelph, ON

The Art Factory is all things Art. Kids are able to explore their creative outlets in a fun environment. It’s a drop-in studio for children and a great activity for those rainy or too humid summer days.

9. Canada Day Soap Box Derby – Elora, ON

Last year, we went to Elora for a couple hours in the morning to celebrate Canada Day. When our children (and my husband) saw the Soap Box Derby they decided instantly we had to do it next year. Well, next year is here and they’ve been hard at work (only our daughter is racing since you have to be 6). This will be our summer kick off event and we can’t wait!

We wish you all a fun and safe summer!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go Bananas

A few weeks ago, we ended our March Break with a bang. After a couple of us went down with the norovirus (which is running rampant in our area) and our daughter deemed it “the worst March Break ever” – we decided we had to do something fun when we were finally all on the mend. So, to help salvage the remaining two days of their school holiday we made our first trip to Go Bananas in Kitchener.

We booked our climb online the morning we were going. Climb passes are for 1 hour and were $16.95 each ($11.95 if under age 4). From time to time there may be a Groupon or promotion available but at the time of our visit it was regular price. We also signed all of our waivers online – which helped with less chaos once we arrived at Go Bananas.

The first step when we arrived was for the kiddos to get harnessed up. There are two different sizes of harnesses depending on the size of your child – this process is fairly fast and started about 10 minutes prior to our climb.

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Once all the children were harnessed they just had to wait for their climb time – there was a clock that they watched to help with the wait. Then they open the gates and the children flood in.

All of the walls were geared toward children and had the difficulty level posted. It was our kiddos first time climbing so we started off on some easier walls.

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They climbed for the entire hour and by the end of their climb time had attempted most of the walls/structures at Go Bananas. I would recommend comfy/active wear type clothes, decent running shoes and a water bottle (they will for sure break a sweat).

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The staff ensured the experience ran smoothly and safely and we were impressed with the service. Our kiddos had such a great time and keep asking when they can go back. If you’re close to the Kitchener area – give Go Bananas a try – your children will have a blast while being active and you’ll have a blast watching…with a coffee! .

Until next time….

 

 

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Disney – Magic Kingdom

At the risk of being unbelievably cheesy  – Magic Kingdom was nothing short of magical. Magic Kingdom is known as the “it” park – “it’s” the park you must visit if you only have one day, “it’s” the park with Cinderella’s castle, “it’s” the park that you can’t miss. Listen to our experience there and decide if you think it’s the “it” park too.

Our day started off with breakfast at Be Our Guest. The night before our first Magic Kingdom day, we were lucky enough to snag an earlier reservation then we had originally booked (check the night before because there are usually dining reservation times that open up due to cancellations). Our new dining reservation was for 8:00 am – which meant we were able to get into the park at about 7:50 am. The best thing about this was that the park wasn’t set to open until 9 am that day – meaning, the only people allowed to enter were the ones with dining reservations. The park was just about deserted, so it was a nice calm start to our day.

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Be Our Guest was everything I dreamed it would be! It looked just like the ballroom from the movie and the theming was done perfectly. One great thing to note is that Be Our Guest for breakfast is only a quick service dining credit. We had a standard bacon and egg breakfast with pastries and coffee, of course – it was decent and what you would expect from a standard breakfast. We were done eating with about 15 minutes to spare before the park opened for everyone else. Another great bonus of being in the park prior to opening is that we were able to go to 3 attractions before line ups even started. If you have little ones I would highly recommend trying to snag a dining reservation before park opening – it has way too many pros not to. We went on The Little Mermaid ride, met Ariel at her grotto and went to Belle’s Enchanted tales – all of these attractions were relatively close to the Be Our Guest Restaurant as well.  Belle’s Enchanted tales was very interactive – have your child volunteer if they aren’t too shy, it will make the experience even more special.

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Our next stop was MICKEY ICE CREAM BARS – I mean, you can’t go to Disney and not have these at least once! Since we were on holidays – ice cream in the morning was deemed more than acceptable and totally worth it. We then headed over to Pete’s Silly Slideshow where we met Donald Duck (who both children adored) and Goofy – as per our other character experiences these interactions were great as well. Next, it was time for some more rides – this brought us to the Mad Tea Party (a Disney Classic) and Tomorrowland Speedway. Our little speedsters loved Tomorrowland Speedway and driving the cars themselves – their parent passengers thought maybe they weren’t quite ready for their licenses yet but we all had fun regardless of their driving skills.

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At this point, it was time to head to Cinderella’s Royal Table for our lunch reservation. The children both got to meet Cinderella while we waited in line which helped pass the time until our table was ready. The food at Cinderella’s Royal Table was spectacular, definitely worth the two dining credits to eat there – and there were 5 princesses that day who came around to our table throughout the lunch. Dining reservations at The Royal Table can be hard to get – but try everything you can to get one(within reason) – this ranked really high on our dining and character experiences – and it’s the only way you can get inside of the castle.MK_CRTLOBBYCHAR_20181203_414808874162After we left the castle, we spotted Cinderella’s step sisters, Drizella and Anastasia, and were lucky enough to be the last ones in line to meet them before a character switch. They were by far the most “in character” Disney characters we met while we were at Disney. They were witty, evil, and didn’t stumble on a single question. If you see them while you’re there – get in line – you’ll be glad you did.

 

 

This wrapped up our first day at Magic Kingdom as we had an early start and we were all becoming quite exhausted. We didn’t want to push our luck so we headed back to our hotel for some down time and re-energized for our night-time plans. Sorry – you’ll have to wait until the next post to find out what we did later that day.

Magic Kingdom was everything any of us hoped it would be and lived up to all its hype. It most definitely deserves the “It” park status and we would love to return one day.

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Road Trip Must Haves

So, you’re going to be stuck in a car for an extended period of time with your kiddos,  – who’s idea was that? Even though you may instantly regret the once brilliant idea of a family road trip – I’ve got you covered with some must-haves to save your sanity. In no particular order I give you:

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1. A portable dvd player : The cons of letting your children watch too much tv should be thrown out the window. This device will save your sanity. It may give you zoned out kids that don’t want to pay attention to the scenic views out their window (that was bound to happen anyway) but the silence will be heavenly. If you’re really concerned, find some educational dvds – but, don’t leave home without one.

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2. A Boogie Board: This was by far the hottest item during our road trip. Our children played with them just about non-stop and we may or may not have played with them too! The stencils add to the use of this drawing board and it was a big hit and still is post trip. Also your kids will get a real hoot out of saying “boogie” every time they are using or talking about it – enjoy!

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3. Snacks, a lot of snacks : You are asking for torture if you don’t pack a variety of snacks in a quantity large enough to feed a small horse for a week . Your children are bound to use the dreaded “S” word about every 10 minutes and if you don’t deliver, well, we all know what will happen. Just be prepared.

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4. A new toy : Keyword here is “new”. The novelty and interest of having something new to play with will last about 30 minutes longer than an “old” toy (if you’re lucky) and trust me – you need all the 30 minutes you can get. Pick something you’re confident your kids will enjoy and it should occupy them for a few minutes.

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5. Colouring : Pack a lot of colouring books and/or paper but do not –  I repeat, do not –  bring markers,  unless of course your favourite past-time is cleaning it off your children and everything in arms reach in your car. Stick with crayons or else add magic erasers to your packing list.

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6. Books: Bring your favourites and maybe a couple of new ones. Look and find books occupy them a little longer – so bring one if you can. Also, if you have a child that can read – bring books at their level so they can read to the younger children, leaving you to save your voice for yelling at your kids to look at the skyline to their left to have them look to the right way too late and say “what?!?” You know what I mean.

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7. Games: Travel games, travel bingo – if your kids are old enough to play these then pack away. If your kids are too little, stick  with games like I SPY. Your neck is going to be sore from turning around every time they say “Mom”, so you don’t need to strain it more by directing them in a game they aren’t old enough to play. Age appropriate is best.

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8. Magnets: Magnets are always fun – whether the classic letters or characters, this will occupy them for at least part of the trip. We brought metal tins for them to stick to and also to contain them when they were ready to move onto the next thing. Check out your local dollar store (or $40 store) for some great options.

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9. Medicine: And by “medicine” I mean your entire medicine cabinet. You might think I’m joking but you will thank me when you’re in the middle of nowhere and your child starts complaining their tummy hurts and you are able to save them from vomiting all over your car. Or when your head is pounding from a change in elevation or backseat bickering and you need some relief. Save yourself the headache and over pack.

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10. Ear Plugs or a Car Divider: This item is for the parents only. When you are at your wits end consider ear plugs or a privacy divider (like they have in limos), it could save the entire trip from disaster. Joking! Or am I? But seriously, if someone invents a privacy divider for everyday cars – I want shares!

There you have it! I hope at least a few of these items help you in preparing for your family road trip, save your children from boredom, and give you some sanity! Safe travels!

 

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*Note: This is not an ad and I am not sponsored in any way by any of these products. These opinions are my own and you should always use your own discretion and follow the directions, warnings, age suggestions, etc. on the product packaging.

 

 

Disney – Epcot

Epcot or Apricot (as our daughter kept calling it) was the first park we visited on our Disney vacation. Epcot has a stereotype of being an “adult” park – and that is how I remembered it (from 25 years ago when I was there last – gosh, that makes me feel old). Our experience at this park with young kids somewhat still fit that label – I would love to enjoy food and wine from around the World and leisurely wander the park with no children – but Epcot has come a long way in 25 years and there is still plenty to fill your day with young kids.

We arrived at Epcot approximately 40 minutes before the park was to open at 9 am. There were a lot of people already there waiting and the line ups were long – but Disney runs like a well oiled machine and they moved everyone a long really quickly.

As Epcot was our first park, meeting Mickey was top on our list to start off our magical trip. Our first stop was the Epcot Character Spot – here we met Mickey, Goofy and Minnie. All of the characters were exceptional with their interactions and our kiddos were in complete awe. There are also restaurants in all of the parks and select hotels where you can meet characters while eating – regardless of how you choose to meet characters during your experience – if you have little ones this is a must!

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Next we headed to Norway to meet Anna and Elsa and go on Frozen Ever After. While waiting for the characters the kids enjoyed a Berry Cream Puff from Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe – they enjoyed it so much that I had one upset kiddo when I took just one strawberry off the top – lesson learned. The characters were lovely and we had one completely mesmerized with Elsa. We had a fast pass for the Frozen ride and I would recommend snagging one if you can because the ride has extremely long wait times. The Frozen ride was well themed and a lot of fun – if the wait wasn’t so long we would have rode it again.

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After visiting Norway, we did a little exploring as we headed to Japan for our 12:00 lunch reservation. One thing I would like to point out – if you are hoping to explore tastes from Around the World at the kiosks in every country – most of them don’t open until 11 and some 11:30. We were a little disappointed and wish we knew this sooner as our lunch dining didn’t leave our bellies much room to try other things in Epcot.
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For lunch we had reservations at Teppan Edo, a Japanese table service restaurant where the chef cooks on the grill right in front of you (Teppanyaki style). The kids loved that they could watch the chef cook and were amazed by the onion volcano. I ordered the Julienne Beef (we all tried a different type of protein) it was so tender and flavorful – I would highly recommend it. The kids used chopsticks and were very entertained while waiting for their food. The portions were large (especially for the children) we left with very full bellies and food still on our plates. I would definitely eat here again but not before I try a few other places at Epcot first – I hear there are many that are out of this world!

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After lunch, we picked up some caramel corn at Karamell Kuche for a snack for later and explored other countries in Epcot as well. Our daughter picked a pearl from Japan for her souvenir – a really neat (and a little pricey) experience – but a souvenir that she will cherish for a long time. In China, they had their names written in Chinese at the Kidcot Fun Stop. Our next stop was Test Track. We knew this was one we couldn’t miss for the sake of our 4 year old, so we all embraced the 70 min  wait. The line (like most in Disney) was very interactive so they weren’t too bored. My son is still talking about that ride and that he loves Epcot the most because of Test Track – so I would endure the long wait again if we ever return.

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At this point the kids were pretty tired (remember, we drove for two whole days prior and this was our first day there) – so we started to head out around 4 and met Pluto close to the exit (one of the highlights of their day).  One of the Cast Member’s informed us that Epcot is the biggest park (size wise) so it made sense that we were all exhausted from the walking. There is so much to do in Epcot and I know we didn’t even see a quarter of it but we adored it nonetheless. It was a lovely, yet not overwhelming, first park day at Disney to ease them into the rides and the magic and we have memories that will last for years to come.

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Disney – Port Orleans Riverside

So, you’ve decided to spend a fortune and go to Disney instead of buying a small car. We did too, at the beginning of December with our two kiddos. It was a trip I had dreamed about and planned for several years – and a trip I’m still dreaming about since we’ve returned.  It took a lot of saving because I’m not a millionaire…yet – but it was worth every penny. I’m hopeful that some of our experiences will help you dream, plan and have an unforgettable vacation. Keep in mind – I am by no means a travel agent. And yet still – prepare yourself to be bombarded with Disney posts over the next couple weeks – starting with accommodations.

The accommodations were a tough one for us. We debated renting a house for a week – but that meant more work while on vacation – pass. We debated staying at a hotel off of Disney property to save a few dollars – but that meant less conveniences – pass.  We decided staying on Disney property was best so we could take advantage of Disney transportation, the dining plan, earlier dining reservations and fast passes and it ended up being a great decision for us. Disney has over 25 hotels – the competition was fierce but the winner was Port Orleans Riverside. We knew a few friends who had stayed at Port Orleans and it also came highly recommended by our travel agent and online reviews…and I read a lot of reviews.

The property for Port Orleans Riverside is very large – Disney spares no detail when trying to immerse you into an experience. Although I’ve never been to New Orleans – it sure felt like I was transported there for a week. We chose an upgraded Royal Room and our room was located in the Magnolia Bend section of the resort. Our location was pretty ideal, we were one building down from the “quiet pool” and the main building (front desk, dining etc.) and main pool was just across the bridge.

Here is what our building looked like – we were on the second floor – it felt like we were in a room inside of a mansion.

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Our room itself was a traditional hotel room – with some fun added royal theming. The picture on the headboard had a button that when pushed would light up fireworks on the scene. Our kids gave that button a workout – I don’t blame them though – it was really neat. The kids also both received letters from Princess Tiana – a nice extra touch. The room was clean, comfortable and really all the space we needed for our stay.

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There really aren’t words to describe the grounds, I could try but I wouldn’t do it justice, so I will just share some pictures instead and let you add the words.

One of our favourite features was the boat transportation that you could take via the river to Disney Springs – we used the boat quite a few times and it never once disappointed – it was also a nice alternative to always taking the bus. If you stay here – make sure you take advantage of the boat!

The river really added to the ambiance of Riverside and we enjoyed many walks along it. The quiet pool and main pool were never too busy during our stay – we were told by some Americans that it was because it was too cold to swim – but I promise you it felt like a Canadian summer most days and we were most definitely not doing a polar bear dip. I suspect that most people spend the majority of their time at the parks which is why the pools were mostly deserted but that was okay by us. The main pool had a great water slide which our children enjoyed non stop and the quiet pool had laundry facilities which also came in handy.

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The quick service dining location at our resort was the Riverside Mill Food Court. We had dinner here twice and also grabbed breakfast once and some snacks here and there. The food is pretty standard but we had no complaints. The children enjoyed the pizza and my husband loved the pasta. My favourite was the gluten free mickey waffles they made for me (I will have an entire post about food coming soon). This is also where we were able to get our refillable Disney resort cups (which I filled with coffee every single day – a necessity).

The cast members at our resort were truly exceptional. They went above and beyond with their customer service and ensured that every thing ran smoothly and if it wasn’t they would correct it immediately. The Disney staff blew us away wherever we went and I thank them for their part in making our vacation so magical.

Lastly….Christmas! We went to Disney during their Christmas season – the decorations were gorgeous and have set my expectations extremely high for how I would like my house to look next year – think National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and then some.

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I would definitely recommend this moderate resort to anyone planning a Disney vacation and would love to stay there again one day….one can always dream, right?

Port Orleans Riverside was more than just a resort – it was our home for a week that we will always remember.

 

Storybook Gardens – Bucket List #5

Storybook Gardens is not the same as Storybook Park – and there is an ongoing debate about which one is the “best”. We have yet to go to Storybook Park (it is on our list for next year) so I can’t really comment on its greatness. But…I can tell you what our family loves about Storybook Gardens – we’ve been 3 times!

IMG_8082Storybook Gardens is located in London, Ontario. It is a park aimed at young children. I would say it is most suitable for 6 and under but children a little older could find fun there too. The park focuses on classic nursery rhymes/fairy tales and is a decent size for little legs to walk (it’s not too small or too large).

core-1534724535082762-30One of the best things about this park is cost. Admission is totally reasonable – $27.00 for a family of 4 – or if you have a coupon like we did it was only $20.00. Rides are extra and parking is free. Storybook Gardens also lets you bring in your own food – so you can save money by packing a picnic lunch – and there are a lot of beautiful park locations to enjoy your lunch. They also do have little food kiosks, if you prefer, with your typical type food – fries, burgers etc.

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The rides are limited. They have a Ferris wheel, carousel, large slide, flying elephants, swings and train. We don’t go on many of the rides but our children have to go on the train every time!

IMG_8101The playgrounds – there are so many! They have a playground just for toddlers, they have a pirate ship and several large climbing structures and slides. There is also a giant “jumping pillow” (name likely not accurate), that our children have consistently loved and is a must! This was definitely the year my children enjoyed the playground area the most (aged 4 and 6). If your children love their neighbourhood park – this will blow their minds :).

IMG_8105The splash pad area is large (there were a lot of kids there so I didn’t want to take pictures to post of that area) and there is a water slide – which is a lot of fun. For your convenience, there are washrooms and changerooms right at the splash pad. It is a great place to cool off if you are there on a hot day. Make sure to pack bathing suits and towels!

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The village is an area of the park that looks like a little town – where children can play and explore. Our children are slowly outgrowing this area but it is a big hit with the younger children and even has a large shoe they can play in (“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe”). Definitely check it out!

The park also puts on daily plays/musicals and shows themed around fairy tales. We skipped them this time but have sat and watched them on our past two visits. When you enter the park they will give you a schedule of show times and what is going on that day. Make sure to check their website as they also have themed days in the summer (Princesses, Star Wars etc.).

core-1534724536847140-38This park has been around for a long time – I went several times as a child. In the words of my daughter “and it’s still here??”. It’s still there for a reason – it’s a fun day trip with your family without breaking the bank. Check out their website for hours this year or add it to your summer list for next year – it is definitely a classic!

Enjoy your last “summer” weekend before the start of school.

Until next time….

 

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Sauble Beach Sandfest and Speedway – Bucket List #3 & 4

Sauble Ontario is a place near and dear to my husband’s heart, the home of his family trailer and a place our family visits at least once every summer. So, it was only natural that our summer bucket list brought us to Sandfest (which we’ve been to once before) and the Sauble Speedway (a first time experience).

Let’s start with Sandfest. Sandfest usually is the second weekend of August and this year fell on Saturday August 11. We arrived at the beach around 10 am – it was just starting to get busy but not too crowded yet. We first walked by the sand building – we were a little early, so all of the participants were early on in the building process – but it was still fun to watch.

IMG_7858We did go back on Sunday to see the finished products. Talent does not begin to describe the master pieces that were created with sand – by adults and children alike! We were very impressed with the skill and detail that went into the sand sculptures. IMG_7862Another part of Sandfest is a Classic Car show – something both the little and big man in our family were very excited to check out. Their love for old cars made this portion of the day a big success. There were classic cars parked all over the beach – it was so cool to see – even if you aren’t a car enthusiast.

IMG_7836Both of my children thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the cars. And there was a very kind lady that was handing out hotwheels cars to all of the kiddos – such a sweet gesture that made the experience even more special for the children.

IMG_7831If you can check out Sandfest next year – I would highly recommend it! Plus, when you are done you can spend the day at the beach – and nothing beats a beach day with the family!

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Later in the evening – the same day – we headed over to Sauble Speedway. Our little guy is obsessed with cars (to put it lightly), the Disney Cars movies, and racing of any sort. We were excited to take him to a much smaller scale car race than a Nascar or Indy race – but still have him be able to experience it. The grandstands opened at 5:00 pm and racing started at 6:00. The cost was reasonable – $20 per adult, $5 for kids aged 6 – 11 and kids under 5 were free.  The costs and start times can differ – but the schedule on their website will give you all the details – so make sure to check it out before planning your trip.

IMG_7876The track is small and there is plenty of seating available. We were lucky enough to snag some red chairs – which definitely helped with comfort. Bringing a blanket to sit on in the stands isn’t a bad idea – and sunscreen is a must as the grandstands are not covered or shaded. One other must have for us were noise minimizing ear muffs – we wanted the children to enjoy the race without hurting or damaging their ears – you can pick these up at a local hardware store or online. The races varied in number of laps and ages (there were even 10 year olds racing!) but the excitement of watching the races really had the children in awe – and the shorter number of laps kept their interest.

IMG_7929We made many trips to the concession stands and washrooms – and were there for close to 3 hours. The kids met up with some of their friends from back home – and had such a great time that this is definitely a must do again next year! If you have a little one that loves cars, or are looking for something a little different then definitely check this out!

IMG_7903There are so many things to do in Sauble Beach and the surrounding areas. If you have never been – you should – even if it’s just a day trip!

Until next time….

 

 

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Belwood Lake – Bucket List #1

Last weekend, we decided to cross one place off our summer bucket list – we spent Sunday morning at Belwood Lake Park (Beach). The cost of admission for the day was $7 per adult (15-64) and children 5 and under are free – so it cost us $14 total because both of our children are under 6. Children aged 6-14 are only $3 – so it won’t break the bank. Hours on the weekend indicate “dawn to dusk” which I think were specifically 6 am to 9 pm on the day we were there. Through the week, I believe they are open at 8 am – but don’t quote me on that. Their website will give you the details you need or you can always call to be sure. We arrived around 8:30 am to begin our adventure.

It was our first time at Belwood Lake Park and we had heard a lot about the Beach, so we ventured in that direction – next time we plan to explore the other side of the park where the actual lake is. The drive to the beach area is beautiful – a ton of trees and picnic tables – plenty of places to sit and enjoy lunch or a snack and take in your surroundings.

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There is parking right in front of the beach – if it’s not too crowded when you arrive. This was a perk we weren’t expecting and we loved that we didn’t have to lug all our beach gear far. When we arrived there was only one other family there – it was very quiet and peaceful – we ate breakfast right on the beach and then got right into the fun.

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The shallow area (in front of the roped off buoys) is perfect for little ones to roam. There are warning signs that indicate the water is deep beyond that point – we weren’t sure exactly how deep – but another beach goer advised us that at the deepest point it is 226 ft. – way deeper than we would have guessed. We always bring the kids life jackets when around water, so they already had those on – and I would recommend this tip for all of you. Accidents happen way too fast and better have them with their life jackets on then take the risk – not worth it. We were safe around the water and the kids both had so much fun.

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If you are uncomfortable with the depth, the area to the right of the fence is very shallow and your children can touch the entire way across. Also, along the fence is a great place to spot minnows (we saw a ton), and tadpoles earlier in the summer.

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There are also washrooms close by and a playground – we were having too much fun in the water to check out the playground, but there is one if your children enjoy a good playground.

We also saw a few Monarch butterflies – my son’s favourite activity was chasing the butterflies and collecting rocks 🙂

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By the time we left (around 12), it was starting to become busier. If that doesn’t bother you, then you can go whenever. If you prefer a quieter experience then I would recommend going first thing in the morning. All in all, we had such a fun day and will definitely be back to revisit Belwood Lake Park beach and to explore other areas of the park. We are lucky to live so close – but definitely worth checking out this area this summer if you don’t live close. Happy Monday!

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Our Summer Bucket List

*Note: This is not a sponsored post or an ad of any sort.

We have officially survived the first week of summer holidays! Keeping young kids busy and having fun (without spending a fortune) is always a challenge. I’ve put together a bucket list of places we hope to visit this summer, in Ontario, and am looking forward to crossing most if not all of them off our list. Follow along this summer and I will post about these places as we end up visiting them. Take a peek below and maybe you’ll see something fun to try with your family too! Happy Summer!

1. Ontario Science Centre – Toronto, ON

As its name indicates – this is a science museum. When I was a child we went here a couple of times but we have yet to take our children. Our daughter has taken quite a liking to science since starting school 2 years ago, so we can’t wait to explore this museum and have a fun and secretly educational day trip.

2. Storybook Gardens – London, ON

This is one of our favourite places to go in the summer. We have been twice and the kids have loved it both times. A perfect place for young children, it has rides, a large splashpad, great playgrounds and entertainment! We can’t wait to go again this summer.

3. This Wee Space – Fergus, ON

This is a new place that just opened in our town and we can’t wait to check it out. It is a space where kids can create and explore their creativity. It has a craft space, a treehouse and a stage – sounds like the perfect place for a day when you can’t be outside.

4. Sauble Beach Sandfest – Sauble Beach, ON

Taking place August 11 & 12, 2018 is an annual fun-filled event at Sauble Beach. There is a sandcastle competition and a classic car show. The event takes place right on the beach and should be a blast for our car loving, dirt loving children.

5. Sauble Speedway – Sauble Beach, ON

Sauble Speedway is a race track in Sauble Beach, ON. To say our son has become very fond of cars over the last year is to put it lightly. He is too young to attend a large race like Nascar, so we thought a much smaller race would be a fun summer experience for him.

6. Truck & Tractor Pull– Elora, ON

This is a must attend summer event for our family since moving to Fergus. We initially checked it out when we first moved here and our son instantly fell in love. We can’t drive by the Grand River Raceway without him talking about the Truck & Tractor Pull. This year it is happening August 24 & August 25.

7. Belwood Lake Park – Belwood, ON

Despite living extremely close, we have yet to check out this conservation park. It has been recommended to us by a lot of locals and we can’t wait to check out the “beach”, which is said to be great for young kids.

8. Mapleton’s Organic Dairy Farm – Mapleton, ON

This is a family owned and operated dairy farm that crafts all of their own ice cream. You can explore the farm facilities and activities (including a cedar hedge maze). I think our kids will love visiting a dairy farm especially if ice cream is involved.

9. Centre Wellington Derby Nights – Elora, ON

The Grand River Raceway is presenting Derby Nights this summer with events for children including : driving a racehorse, a barn tour, and other kids’ activities. My husband and I went here on a date night at the beginning of June and think our children would enjoy watching the horses so this event sounds perfect for our family!

10. Go Bananas – Kitchener, ON

This is a kid-friendly indoor climbing gym. It was created by the founders of Grand River Rocks and comes highly recommended by several of our friends. All of the photos we’ve seen look like so much fun and make this a summer must for us this year!

 

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