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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This Wee Space – Bucket List #2

The summer always goes by way too fast and this summer is no exception. A couple weeks ago, we made our first visit to This Wee Space in Fergus Ontario. I was too preoccupied with kiddos to post about it until now – sorry for leaving you in the dark! There are a lot more posts coming your way soon, as we have a lot of bucket list items planned in the next couple weeks.

This Wee Space is located downtown Fergus – and is a great place for your young ones to create and explore. The space is divided into three sections. The first section is the art section.

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In this space, your child can create one piece to take home with them. The items, when we were there, ranged from wooden animals, birdhouses and masks. There are a variety of paints, glitter, stickers etc. for them to make their masterpieces and also rocks and paper (at no extra cost) to create on as well. And there is even a space for their creations to dry while they explore the other spaces.

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The next section was both of my children’s favourite area. This space has a tree house – such a great idea and so much fun for them to play and explore. There are also toy trucks, dinosaurs, dollhouses, a kitchen and a wide selection of books in this area.
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The third space is great for imaginative little minds. It contains two stages – one very large and one smaller. The smaller stage has two drum sets, guitars, a keyboard and other musical instruments for your child to perform a mini concert or just to play.

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The larger stage is great for dress up and/or performing plays. With the wide array of costumes available, your little ones imagination will soar!

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This Wee Space is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (hours on their website) and Tuesday and Wednesday by appointment. Admission is $12 per child. There are also couches for parents to sit and enjoy a coffee while your children explore and create. I would recommend calling ahead or checking their Facebook page to ensure they are open when you want to check it out. All in all – a create addition to a small community and a fun way to spend some time on a rainy day or meet up with friends.

Have a great Tuesday!

 

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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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Laid Off – A Blessing…

It happens a lot – budget cuts, restructuring, mergers, technological advancements – all resulting in lay offs  – sometimes just a few people, sometimes hundreds. You may be lucky and receive a severance, or you may be left to find work immediately with no compensation and no direction.

The day you receive the news that they are letting you go can be a roller coaster of emotions – how you take the news, process the news and move on really depends on your individual situation. For me, it was the people – they made it the hardest to say goodbye. Leaving behind the security was a struggle. The uncertainty about what was to come next was and still is frightening some days. But I was lucky – 10+ years at a corporate company gave me the opportunity to take some time off – I know others might not receive the same opportunity – so I was determined to make the best of it.

Regardless if you receive financial assistance or not – being laid off can be a blessing for many – especially once the shock wears off. For me, it was exactly that – a blessing in the best possible way. Though I held many positions in my 10 years at one company (it was my first “full-time” job out of university) –  it was the job I took “until I found what I really wanted to do” and 10 years later I was still there. The excuses ran deep, the compensation, the benefits, the vacation, the flexibility when we started our family, the vast knowledge of the industry. But they were just that – excuses – I had become comfortable, too comfortable – happy to do the day to day to pay the bills and not take any risks. But was I fulfilled? Not really.

Being forced out was a blessing for me – it was the push I needed and probably wouldn’t have taken otherwise. It gave me this wonderful opportunity, it gave me a chance to soul search, to spend time with myself, to rediscover old interests, to be passionate again – to bring a bit of sparkle back into my life. Don’t get me wrong – being a mom is my life, the best job I’ve ever had and ever will and I would never trade it for anything – but I lost myself a little in the last 6 years. I stopped doing the things I once enjoyed, the things that made me smile, I stopped making time for myself and dedicated it all to my children –  because they are my priority. I’ve been off 3 months (with a bit of time left to go) and I’ve learned that I can be a priority too – and so can you. The stress that has been lifted, the sparkle that is returning, it all transfers to my children. If you are happier – so is everyone around you. Don’t ever regret taking some time for yourself – I never realized how important it was until I was given this opportunity.

If you get laid off and are able to take some time to yourself – do it! If you aren’t able – embrace the change of pace, a new company and/or a new role can bring so many amazing and unexpected things. I know it is very cliché but when one door closes another one most definitely opens. Make the best of it – it can be scary but the results could be earth-shattering.

Being laid off has been a blessing for me – it came at a time when I was worn thin, when I begged for a break, for something to give – it came – and I’ve taken full advantage of it. Do the best with what you are given – try to see the beauty through the darkness.

Until next time…

 

 

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Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberry Rhubarb – the iconic start to summer treat that many people love. This was always one of my favourite pies – and one of my Nana’s best recipes. Then, I began having to eat gluten free. I don’t always have gluten free pie crusts on hand (or don’t want to go through the effort to make one from scratch) -so,  I merged my Nana’s Pie recipe with my Mom’s Rhubarb crisp recipe, made a few adjustments and have a delicious recipe that is easy to make and sure to make you want seconds.

Let’s get started! First you need rhubarb, it is in season right now, so it should be relatively easy to find – I purchased mine from the St.Jacob’s Farmer’s market and there was a wide selection of availability at various stands. The rhubarb season is shorter – so make sure you get out soon if you are hoping to find some.

The first thing to do is preheat your oven to 350 F and grease an 8×8 pan – I used cooking spray. Then, I washed my rhubarb and cut it into 1 inch pieces and put it directly in the pan (you could also put it in a bowl with the next few ingredients).

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Next, wash and slice your strawberries and add them to the rhubarb. Sprinkle with the sugar and orange juice and mix well. If you were using a bowl, this is the point where you should add it to the greased pan.

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Now onto the topping, this is the part that really makes the crisp. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, rolled oats, flour (I used gluten free flour) and softened margarine (or butter) to a small bowl. Using a fork, incorporate the margarine until the mixture forms large crumbs – and sprinkle the topping onto the rhubarb and strawberries.

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It’s now time to put the crisp into the oven for 40 minutes – the top should start to brown and bubble around the edges – the rhubarb should be tender. It will smell heavenly and you will want to devour it right away – make sure you let it cool a little before you do that – no need to burn your taste buds – you will want them for this.

You can always double the recipe if you feel like sharing or want more for yourself. It is best enjoyed warm but delicious cold too. Enjoy!

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strawberry rhubarb crisp

Lost and Found

Nestled away off West Mill Street in Elora, you will find The Lost and Found Café. Whether you are in town for the day, meeting a friend or just need a quick escape – it is definitely a stop you will want to make.

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Upon entering the quaint café you will notice the décor. It is rustic and vintage and full of “lost” treasures.

The atmosphere is cozy and relaxed – an ideal place to settle down with a good book or catch up with a friend.

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The selection for drinks and food is vast and the prices were reasonable and comparable with other cafes. It was difficult to decide on what to try with so many unique and delicious choices. After much contemplating – I placed my order and waited.

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The latte arrived first – it was everything you would expect from a latte and the caffeine boost I needed.

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While waiting for my food – I took a few minutes to take in my surroundings.  There are so many things to look at – all interesting, all unique.  The item I was most drawn to was a vintage mirror and not just because of the intricate details but because of the quote found on the mirror – “These smiling eyes are just a mirror for the sun” – RHCP.

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The wait wasn’t long and my lunch arrived. I ordered the Cheddar and Brie Grilled Cheese with caramelized onions and house made apple and pear chutney on gluten free bread. There were several gluten free and vegan options – for those with dietary restrictions (although maybe not an exclusive gluten free kitchen – so you would have to ask if that’s a concern). When the grilled cheese arrived I was anxious to give it a try – it was perfection. Good gluten free options can be difficult, they can be dry or lack flavour but this did neither. It was full of flavour and even better then a grilled cheese full of gluten 😉 Definitely an item I would order again – comfort food at its finest with a  delectable twist.

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There are a few seating options – there is a “loft” type area upstairs which was occupied while I was there, some window seats and this quaint little writing spot I chose which was perfect.

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If you are in the area or plan to be – give this café a try – you won’t be disappointed, you will be glad you found it.

Go out and explore, find something new and enjoy the day!

https://www.thelostandfoundcafe.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Fear

Fear. It can cripple you. It can make your whole world stand still while everyone else’s keeps going. For some, it’s constant. For others it’s rare. But fear, is there for all of us – at some point, in some capacity. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of snakes. Fear of judgement. Fear of death. Fear of heights. Fear of being alone. Fear of losing control.

Fear varies from individual to individual. You could have one fear, you could have many. It could have formed from a past experience or be developed over time. It could blind side you and come out of no where, with no explanation. Fear has some good. In small doses it can be life saving – it can pull us away from danger. It’s the continuous doses that are harmful – they can be disabling, challenging, life-altering.

Fear does not discriminate. It is not kind. It does not judge. It is not selective. It is unpleasant and unwanted. It causes distress and panic, anxiety and worry.

Fear can come and go – but it can often be controlled. It can be profound but only if you let it. It can be overcome or at least minimized. Fear is what you make it – acknowledge it, but don’t let it define you, don’t let it dictate your life.  Regain the control – live your life to its fullest and find the beauty in every day.

 

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Easy Granola

If you’re anything like me, the best recipes are the ones that are both quick and easy. This recipe is both of those and my kids love it – which is always an added bonus.

Granola makes for an easy and delicious breakfast or snack – mixed with your preference of yogurt and fruit if you choose.

Let’s get started! (recipe will be at the end).

First you will need to gather all of your ingredients, oats, coconut, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar, vanilla extract, oil, and sunflower seeds (optional).

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Use a large bowl and mix all of the ingredients together. Make sure you mix them very well – you want to ensure the wet ingredients are very well incorporated.

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Next, you will line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make sure you spread the mixture evenly on the pan. Now you are ready to bake!

Bake at 350°F for approximately 30 minutes. Stir/flip around the 15 minute mark. Keep an eye on the granola as you near 30 minutes – as all ovens are a little different and you don’t want to over bake or burn the granola.

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Once your granola is baked, remove from the oven and add the cranberries – let the granola cool on the pan for about 20 minutes. I’ve added the cranberries at the beginning but find when they bake they become rock hard – which my family does not enjoy but feel free to bake them for a few minutes if that is your preference.

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When the granola is cooled add to an airtight container. It should keep for a week and makes about 5 cups.

And now the best part – taste test your granola with some yogurt! It will be worth the effort! Enjoy!

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The Pantry

The Pantry…the oversized kitchen cupboard that houses anything and everything. Over time more items get added, old items get pushed to the back and you lose track of what you even have in that abyss. My pantry had become out of control, and with a little extra time on my hands it was time it had an overhaul.

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My first stop was the dollar store to buy some more containers and spice jars to help organize the mess. I also used what I already had – containers, wire shelves – all previously purchased at the dollar store as well.

Next, I took everything (and I mean everything), out of the pantry and wiped the shelves down with disinfecting wipes. Once the much needed cleaning was completed – it was time to go through all of the emptied contents. Any items with past due expiry dates were tossed. Any empty, or close to empty boxes were thrown in the recycling. Everything remaining was sorted into groups – tea, baking supplies, spices, vitamins, etc.

Once everything was sorted, I labelled each bin with a black label and chalk pen and filled with the appropriate contents. Any bulky packaging was removed for less clutter.

Lastly, it was time to put everything back into the pantry – this was the most rewarding part and it felt so good to finally have it all organized. Give it a try – find a cupboard, declutter and organize – it will feel great when it’s done.

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Organizing my life – one space at a time!

 

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