Snowshoeing is one of those Canadian winter past times that we all, as Canadians need to experience. Why? Because it snows in this country for at least 3 months of the year in southern Ontario. Longer periods of time in other parts of the country and it’s no fun to be inside all winter. We all need fresh air! Where better than a winter wonderland in February like MacGregor Point Provincial Park to snowshoe at?
Here are 20 Photos To Inspire You to Snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park With Your Kids This Winter:
MacGregor Point Provincial Park is located on the eastern shores of Lake Huron in Western Ontario. The closest towns are Port Elgin to the north and Kincardine to the south.
Snowshoeing is essentially hiking in deep snow. If you can walk, you can snowshoe.
I remember being on snowshoes as a child in Waupoos in Prince Edward County. Good memories of my time with the Girl Guides and Pathfinder units I was a part of. As with all of my fun childhood memories, I do my best to introduce my own children to the activity as well.
It might have been my little man’s first time on his snowshoes, but he took it on like an old pro.
MacGregor Point Provincial Park is open year round, but not all campsites are open. The campsites and yurts in the Algonquin campground are open through the winter. The sites in the Nipissing campground are closed, making that area perfect for snowshoeing because it’s not being used at all.
Due to the snowstorm we had for a couple days straight while we were there, there were some high snow drifts and a few unplowed roads that were awesome to take advantage of! The only competition my son and I had for breaking in the fresh snow was with cross-country ski enthusiasts.
The Old Fringe Trail is also good for snowshoeing if you can get over there.
If you do get to Old Fringe Trail, stay off the ice of Lake Huron! Stay off of all ice actually.
Spending a couple days with my son on snowshoes (and him being pulled around intermittently in his sled), at MacGregor Point Provincial Park was a great bonding experience for us.
Little Man, being a city kid, doesn’t always get a lot of space to run and play.
At MacGregor Point Provincial Park, we had all the space in the world for him to play to his heart’s content. Everywhere was his playground!
If ever you are given the chance to spend a couple days in a winter wonderland with time to snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park, take it.
Hope these 20 photos have inspired you to snowshoe at MacGregor Point Provincial Park with your kids this winter!
Have you ever felt a lingering sadness after returning home from a vacation? Maybe it feels like a lack of purpose? It’s an odd feeling because you should be refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to tackle the world, but you aren’t able to and feel like you lack the motivation to do anything. This is called post vacation blues and they are feel.
I am feeling the post vacation blues right now. Just over a week ago, I returned with my family from Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos and it was one of the best family vacations we have ever had. Without that sun, sand, water and Pina colada in hand, it’s hard to be motivated to do anything. I’m unfocused and scattered. And while this isn’t the first time I have had this feeling, I think this is the worst I’ve ever gone through. I got home and had to dive back into a full work plate.
When our plane was taking off on the runway to come home, there were tears streaming down my son’s cheeks because he didn’t want to leave. It was a sweet moment to know what an amazing vacation we had put together for him to be feeling that way when we left. He kept saying before we left for the airport that he didn’t want to leave and asked if we could stay just one more day.
I felt what my son did too, I did not want to leave. I could have used another week away from work and my computer. It took me a couple days after being home, but I was soon into this thick fog of being fairly dissatisfied with my life.
How Do I Know If I Have
Post Vacation Blues?
If you are recently back from a trip or a vacation and you are feeling anxious or depressed, that’s likely the cause. You could also be irritable, feeling tired, have a headache or want to be left alone. It is honestly difficult to acclimatize back into regular, daily life of work and responsibility after getting used to lying on the beach or not having a set agenda every day or falling in love with a new place that you did not want to leave.
Sometimes we are also dealing with two other factors – reverse culture shock, which is getting used to being at home again after being used to “living” another way. The other is financial shock. That’s the shock of checking your credit card statements and balances once you’re home and realizing how much you have spent if you were buying extra experiences, food, drink, accommodations and all.
My son is now happily running around with his friends at school. I, on the other card do not even have enough focus to plan my next vacation with my daughter.
How Do You Cope With
Post Vacation Blues?
Book Another Trip!
One of the first things I typically do to beat the depression after vacation is to book another trip. If I don’t have the financial means to book it immediately, and let’s be honest, the vast majority of us save our money for a year before we can take that vacation, I at least start to plan it. I look at where I want to go next, what experiences can I have, who will I travel with?
Look On the Bright Side
I’ll try to turn the post vacation blues into a benefit to think about how fortunate I am to have had this experience. I’ll frame it to myself as how amazing it was to have shown this to my kids, not what a bummer it is to be home.
Give Yourself Time To Adjust
If you can give yourself a day or two buffer between your arrival home and having to re-enter the workforce, do it. Organize your photos, do your laundry, get back into your time zone if you have jet lag.
Book Social Events
Don’t sit around at home. Make plans to see friends or colleague socially so you’re not siting at home and work all the time.
Get Back Into Routine
Get back into the gym on a regular basis if that is something you do. If it’s not something you do regularly, consider doing so. The good endorphins that emerge after physical activity are mood stimulators.I’ve never heard anyone regret a workout. And you’ll be healthier.
Decorate Your Work Space and/or Home With A Souvenir
Whether you frame a picture (or two), or have brought back a memento, display it. It’s inspiration for the next trip!
The depression after travel helps us all to look at what we are happy with in our life and what we are not happy with. Really hits home when you want to change the direction of your sails. We are all responsible for our own happiness, right?
Do Not Do The Following:
That said, when you are in post vacation depression, do not make massive life changes. Do not sell your house, ask for a divorce or liquidate assets. Really think about what you are doing and why. This is not the time to make rash changes.
I do want to add, as an ending note, if you find yourself feeling the post vacation blues for longer than a couple weeks and you find yourself in a severe depression or having thoughts of harming yourself, please seek help immediately. There are something that jumping back on a plane cannot cure.
Have you ever suffered post vacation blues? How long did they last? What did you do to shake them? Comment with your suggestions below.
Unless you live under a rock up there in the Great White North, you’ve noticed that it is winter around these parts. Sub-zero temperatures, snow, slush, ice, lack of sunshine, people suffering from seasonal affected disorder (SAD), it’s all quite awful to many Canadians. Some families can only endure so much and book themselves on a trip south to the warmth and sunshine. YAY! But wait, they arrive at the airport and find out… GULP – that their family is seated all over the airplane, the kids ALONE, seated beside a stranger. Here’s what you need to know about flying with kids from a Canadian airport to the sunny south!
Flying With Kids From Canada?
1.) At this point in time, airlines are not obligated to seat your children with you UNLESS you have pre-purchased your seats on the airplane. Yes, as in pay money for your seat on top of the fare you already paid. Many airlines, including Air Canada and Sunwing have published tariffs on their website that state a parent will be seated with a child under 12 at no cost. It’s not an option that comes up when you book your flights online. You will need to call in after booking to select seats. If you opt to select your seats through their online system, you will have to pay.
Please ensure you check the airline’s policy before you book the tickets. It’s best to be prepared rather than surprised when you arrive at the airport. In the future, there will (hopefully) be a passenger’s bill of rights in Canada that will state across the board that airlines will not be allowed to charge passengers to be seated with their children. This bill of rights is long overdue and is currently in the consultation process.
2.) Weather delays happen. One of the most unfortunate realities of departing from a Canadian city is that there could be a major snowstorm. And that could mean that you and your children will be hanging at the airport for a few hours. Or you’re in the plane, but seated on the tarmac for awhile. Or the flight is cancelled and you have to rebook. You can check in for your flight 24 hours in advance on most airlines, but at that time, the flight coming and going on time is not guaranteed. Check your flight status before you leave your house.
Having insurance on your vacation is the best gift you can give yourself. Being out hundreds or even thousands of dollars due to a weather delay is a terrible situation to be in. It’s one of those things where sure, you could spend a couple extra dollars to upgrade your room view at the resort, or you could spend that couple hundred dollars on insurance. Personally, I buy the insurance and could care less about my room view as I’ll be at the swim up bar or on the beach.
3.) A lot of kids do not sit still very well for very long. Shocking bit of information right there! You will have to devote some of your carry on baggage space to small games and activities. As a side bit of information – not all airplanes have TV’s on the seat back. It’s acceptable to walk with your children up and down the airplane aisle as long as you don’t do it during the food and drink service times.
4.) Speaking of carry on baggage, on most Canadian airlines, passengers are allowed on small carry on bag and a personal item such as a purse or laptop. Check each airline’s website for size restrictions on carry on as it varies. This means that you cannot have bag upon bag of kid’s toys in your hand when you come to board. If your little one can bring their own backpack, make sure whatever they are bringing fits into that backpack.
I recommend that you do be sure to pack extra underwear, a t-shirt and a pair of shorts in there. Bathing suit is a bonus and doesn’t take up much room.
I cannot stress to you how fast the overhead compartments fill up when boarding. The space under the seat in front of you to tuck in bags is small too, so don’t overpack.
5.) You cannot bring bottles of water and drink boxes from home in your purse. Due to security measures, all fluids have to either be packed in checked baggage or purchased after you go through security. If your child is insisting to bring it on the way to the airport, have them finish it either in the car, when in line to drop baggage off or in line to go through security. Once they hit the check point though, they have to discard it. Security does not care about your child’s wants.
Same goes for sunscreen by the way! Pack that in checked baggage or purchase it at a much higher price once through security or at your destination.
Exception to the rule: If you are travelling with a baby under two years of age (0-24 months), you can bring baby food, formula, medications, milk, water and juice, in reasonable amounts that will be required during your flight(s) and any connections. These are exempted from the liquids, aerosols and gels restrictions only if you are travelling with a baby under two years of age (0-24 months), however they must be presented to a screening officer for separate inspection.
6.) Travelling as a single parent or without your spouse? Get a letter signed by the other parent stating you are allowed to travel across international boundaries with the children. I’ve personally never been asked for the letter at customs, but I would rather have it and have it signed by a lawyer or notary public than be stopped at the border and have the trip ruined. You can get a sample one from the Government of Canada here: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/children/consent-letter
7.) Passport! Don’t forget your passports. Yes, children require a passport. And many countries stipulate that the passport has to be valid for 6 months after travel, just in case you get stuck, stranded, whatever in their country. A parent’s valid passport is not good enough for children to fly on.
I do a flight south to the Caribbean with my children every year. Often once or twice during the year to other destinations. My kids are now 9 and 4, so that means I’ve been flying with kids from Canada for almost ten years. I’ve been there and done that! Maybe even seen it too, so if you ever have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask!
When I was a child, I would sit, cross legged in my parent’s basement flipping through their collection of National Geographic magazines from the 1970’s and 1980’s. I was mesmerized by the photography and the wild exploration that I held in my hands. It seemed like every part of the world was showcased and it was all at my finger tips. The journalism or photos were not necessarily geared towards children at all and maybe I didn’t get the context of what I was looking at, but it did fuel a fire of curiosity in me that’s been insatiable ever since. For that reason, I’m so glad that National Geographic Kids reading materials exists.
A lot of reading materials have changed in the thirty (or so…) years since I was a kid. The things I used to read have been re-written, rebranded or taken out of circulation, meaning, there isn’t a lot of the same books I can nostalgically bond over with my children unless I held on to them. I did keep some books from high school and college, but my kids and I are not about to fan girl over The Catcher And The Rye by J.D. Salinger or Thomas Moore’s Utopia right now. We can bond over National Geographic Kids magazines and books.
We’ve partnered with Moms Meet to bring you our review of Nat Geo Kids Weird But True books. Thanks to our now over postal strike, we received our package right before Christmas. As soon as it arrived, my daughter broke into it and grabbed the Weird But True Christmas edition. I wouldn’t normally post such a low quality picture, but I caught it in a hurry.
For the kids that can’t get enough of the NatGeo Kid’s magazine, they might be interested to know that there is also a Weird But True volume of books for kids to devour!
The 10 volume series (it’s also their 10th anniversary), plus a few special editions are perfect for the kids who love to know EVERYTHING. You know the children in your lives that like to impress adults with all the information they know? The kids that want to tell you that once police arrested a goat for loitering outside a donut shop in Saskatchewan?I have kids like that and you can find that last fact on page 192 of Weird But True, Canada. National Geographic Kids Weird But True is excellent for children to fill their brains with.
Speaking of brains, did you know that messages from your brain travel along your nerves at up to 431 kilometres an hour? Yes, I’ve now been told that fact by both my kids a couple times. They found that one on page 21 of Weird But True, volume 1.
Weird But True Canada Blew Our Minds
Reading before bed is part of our nighttime ritual. I’ve said this a million times before, literacy is so important to me and reading to and with my children is paramount. We did a lot of reading together of Weird But True Canada. The books are geared towards kids ages 6-14, but my four year old son soaked it all up with us. I kid you not, we would read some of the facts and then I would immediately google it. One, because I didn’t know that was true or two, because we started to plan new road trip travel routes from some of these facts.
Starting at page 14 – we learned that the Athabasca Sand dunes in Saskatchewan can be nine storeys tall. I’m ashamed to say I did not know we had sand dunes in Canada. I’ve been to sand dunes in Namibia to ATV and watch the sunrise! Looks like I’ll be travelling to Saskatchewan for more than just business in the future. And the kids will be joining me!
When the kids saw that there is a hotel in Banff that is haunted, guess what happened? They started making plans for us to travel there. And actually stay there. They want me to sleep in a haunted hotel? I’m not sure it’s going to happen like that, but we can go ride the elevator and see if it stops on floors no one has requested. I will sleep somewhere else. Preferable in a hotel that is not inhabited by ghosts.
We also now have to go see the Della Falls in British Columbia to see if it’s really is almost as high as the CN Tower because… well, we just must. Since I waterfall chase anyway, I suppose we can put this on our “must see” list of places!
Miss M and Z Man really enjoyed reading all the Ontario and especially Toronto based facts as it gave them a sense of connection. We go through Toronto’s PATH system frequently for dentist, banking and orthodontists appointments and it’s very familiar to them. To explain to them the volume of 200,000 people passing through there daily and they are part of that was really cool!
As for the Toronto restaurant that once made an ice cream cake that weighted as much as five rhinos? Turns out that made the kids love Dairy Queen *that* much more. There will be an ice cream cake present now for Z Man’s upcoming 5th birthday.
There are 300 tidbits and strange facts out Canada in the book to entertain your kids with. Guaranteed there will be facts that make you groan, laugh, google and raise an eyebrow at.
National Geographic Kids Weird But True books are available to purchase at natgeokids.com/wbtbooks, National Geographic Kids Weird But True! Canada is available to purchase at Indigo, Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores, Target, Walmart, Amazon, and wherever books are sold.
I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.
It took me 6 whole days into the year of 2019, but I finally got out for my first hike! Said like a hiking junkie, but really it’s been a mere ten days since my one hour jaunt at Sager Conservation Area and before that was an embarrassingly long couple month stretch. It got cold here, okay?!
I joined the Hamilton and Toronto chapter of Women Who Explore for the first adventure of the new year at Silver Creek Conservation Area. Fresh air and fresh trails for me as this was a spot I have not hiked before.
Don’t let this boardwalk fool you as it did me. It lulled me into complacency.
I Didn’t Know Anyone!
This was also me jumping into a crew of women – none of them I have ever met before, but being with people who hold similar interests, enjoying an afternoon together. I really need to do this more. Sometimes parenting is really insular and while I have met many other parents, we don’t always share the same interests just because we had children around the same time.
Being a parent is part of who I am, but it’s not all of who I am. I completely appreciated getting into the outdoors without my littles running behind me and having adult conversations that did not include poop consistency or sleep regression once! Score!
Silvercreek Conservation Area is part of the Bruce Trail. I’ve been slowly ticking off a handful of kilometres at a time on the trail over the past couple years. Anyone want to place bets on how long it will take me to get through it? Anyone got 12 years on the betting card?
Where Is Silver Creek Conservation Area?
This lovely place full of many kilometres of trails is only one hour by car from my front door and even better, I could use the Toronto Premium Outlet Mall as a half way stop to shop! You can find this conservation area northwest of Mississauga and Brampton. In terms of driving route, I took Trafalgar Road north from the 401.
As this is part of the Bruce Trail Conservancy, everything is clearly marked. Main trail and side trails are clearly well maintained throughout the year. We could see the paint parkings on trees everywhere, at no time were we lost. Anytime we had a question about where we might be or which way we should go, we referred to the Alltrails.com application many of us had on our phones.
On the topic of mobile phones, my service was often in the 3G level. Only at the road where we parked did I have LTE strength. I tried to post a short video to my Instagram stories at one point during the hike and did not have enough signal to do so.
Just over 20 women in our group alone invaded the Silver Creek Conservation Area and hiked approximately 4.5 kilometres over some fairly icy terrain. The first trail we did was the approximately 3.5 kilometre Roberts Side Trail, that loops into the main Bruce trail back to the trail head and it took the group almost 80 minutes to complete. It was slow going in many areas. As I type this, my muscles have pretty much recovered from screaming after an epsom salt bath.
I fell on my ass
I have a bit of a bruised ass from a wipe out at the bottom of a set of icy stairs.
Everybody falls! Doesn’t matter your experience or fitness level, how awesome your boots are or how careful you’re being. You’re no match for the ice! Just get up and keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t quit. Mother nature will have your ass if you do!
Quite a few of us took a misstep somewhere on the trail. The ice is a tricky little sucker that way. Without crampons, it was difficult. Some areas were full of mud as there had been a thaw the day before. I didn’t even think I would need crampons given the non-snow or winter type weather we have been having in Toronto. So even though I had packed more snacks than necessary and 3 pairs of socks into the car, I didn’t bring crampons. Lesson learned.
Do you have crampons? If you’re doing some winter hiking that might see you traversing some ice, I highly recommend you look into getting a set for your own safety as they aren’t expensive and can be shared with others when you’re not using them because they are adjustable to your shoes/boots:
The second trail we did was the Irwin Quarry Side Trail and that was approximately 0.9 kilometres. I’d really like to head back to this area in the spring or summer with my kids and check it out again. As the conditions were fairly icy, I spent a lot of time looking down, at placing one foot in front of the other opposed to looking up and actually taking in and enjoying the scenery. Okay, I did see some gorgeous scenery….
I found myself trying to jump from rock peak to rock peak, looking for something that wasn’t frozen as a lot of the ice was in between everywhere. This normally would not be a difficult hike at all. I’d rate the trails we visited as easy to moderate under normal circumstances. With the ice, it was a highly level of difficult. Although, oddly enough, there were a couple men on a run who just zoomed past us.
Here’s to a new year and to new adventures! What a great hike to reconnect with mother nature after the craziness of the holiday season and to reassess my own outdoor goals for 2019. More time outside = a happier me.
2018 seems to have sacked everyone in some way, shape or form.
I am glad to have said farewell to 2018. Last year tested me in a lot of ways. I typically do not bear emotions or “air my dirty laundry” online, but in the interest of actually being transparent or somewhat authentic, I feel like my personal life is the equivalent of a dumpster fire.
Some massive stress in my TV work life made me question whether or not I could even continue in my current capacity. My creativity has been sacked, micro-managed and ground down. Over the years of 2014-2018, on various projects, extremely long hours were demanded of me to the point of my getting only 2-4 hours of sleep of night, while raising young children. I suffered emotional abuse at the hands of “visionaries”.
I can’t even begin to describe how much that sucked and it’s an uphill battle to get my creative mojo back. Lots of time away from the edit suite over the past couple weeks has been helpful.
I’ve also learned the word no. It’s an incredibly valuable phrase.
Home life is not tranquil either and since I work from home mainly, there’s no “escape” unless I take this laptop to a coffee shop (coming to you from Starbucks right now!). And if I’m in the thick of editing a documentary or episode of reality TV, it’s not exactly possible.
Some of you know, I made the decision to take a self imposed sabbatical from working in television over the summer and spending time with my children instead. I’m so glad I did. It did wonders for my mental health.
I am welcoming 2019 with open arms
Honestly, I did enjoy many aspects of this past year! First and foremost, I re-discovered my love of pink hair. Specifically, my pink hair. I experimented with a lot of different hair colours at a younger age and I know I liked pink.
Change your life, change your hair colour. Right? Right.
I also spent a lot of time in the gym and taking my health more seriously then just taking my hypothyroid meds and bouncing off on my way. I’m paying attention to what I eat.
I’m not into doing before and after shots in my underwear to post on Instagram for the world to see. Despite my intense love of beer and blue corn nachos with sour cream, the results are in my jaw line and my hella sexy rear end.
The highlights of 2018
To kick off 2018, my family traveled with friends for our annual Caribbean vacation and this time we visited Beaches Negril Resort. We can honestly say that we are completely blown away by the atmosphere, the service, the staff, the experience. Truthfully, it’s EVERYTHING that the Beaches Resorts have to offer!
We didn’t feel crowded anywhere. We went at the end of January into the first week of February. There was ample space on the beach, lot of pool loungers at both Pirate Island and the main pool. It seemed that we never had to wait long to be seated for meals. Nothing ever felt crowded and you never felt like you didn’t have your own space to enjoy yourself.
Winter Camping in Algonquin
From the sunny beaches to the frozen ground, I then partnered with Ontario Parks to bring you the exciting highlights of yurt camping in Mew Lake. I almost thought I was crazy. Almost. Then I had THE BEST TIME.
The air was crisp, but so fresh. My photographer friend, Brian who kindly accompanied me and planned out all the meals and I got to do some hiking, cooking and sightseeing. I loved it so much, I’m partnering with Ontario Parks again next month to do it all over again in a different location.
Little Man has discovered a love of downhill skiing and has taken a couple lessons now at Blue Mountain Resort.
His Dad has said many times that he used to downhill ski himself, so hopefully he takes it up as well and helps foster Little Man’s love. Lessons will be continuing at Ski Dagmar this winter.
I’m only skilled in cross country skiing and that’s what Miss M would like to try.
At the beginning of May, I attended the Mom 2.0 Summit in Pasadena, California. It was second time attending the conference and my second time in California. I’ve been reflecting a lot on where to send my time and energy this year and I’ve said I wasn’t going to attend Mom 2.0 this year but I am. It’s such a reunion of friends from all over North America, with a small side of education. I need that time with the women who really get me. And I need solo travel without my children. Boy do I ever. No disrespect to my flesh and blood, but I am truly a better mother and person when I have had that time away.
Also I met Taye Diggs and he grabbed my UNFLEXED bicep. It was epically embarrassing. There’s also a string hanging out of the shoulder of my dress. I was a super hot, drunk mess that night that involved getting kicked out of an outside hot tub at the hotel around 3:00am. A lot of poor judgement was made that night that resulted in a super hung over and terrible plane ride home.
I’m going to let you in on a secret: I’m cursed with foggy weather. As much as I love sunshine, it doesn’t follow me. And I chase after it too. Simply put, I’l have to travel to California again for a real experience.
Miss M Took Up Rugby
If I could picture a sport that my daughter would have taken a liking too, it would have been something like tennis. She’s doing really well with swimming and she could have a competitive future there one day. I was really hoping for her to excel in karate, which was my sport growing up. It wasn’t to be her destiny however. She gravitated to rugby somehow and fell in love.
This is her, escorting Toronto Wolfpack player Richard Whiting onto the field before a game.
I’m so proud of her, the little person she has become and what she is going to accomplish in this world.
A Return to Saskatoon
In late 2017, I needed to escape for a long weekend and I did to Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Edmonton. Why? To start with, those are places I’ve never spent time. Also I was Northern Light chasing. I tried and sadly failed despite having a northern guide. And then I spent a night with a cousin and that was long overdue.
On that initial plane from Toronto to Saskatoon, a guy sat down next to me who chatted my ear off, but he had a story and I love a good story. His story was so good that we have been developing a documentary with a western Canadian documentary production company. Fingers crossed we get our funding and move forward on this.
Shenandoah is Special
Checking off another hiking milestone in my life is hiking a few trails in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. This park is on every hiker’s bucket list.
I hiked far and long over a 3 day weekend and came back blissfully sore and fulfilled from nature. Maybe saw 1% of the park and that’s because of driving south to north on Skyline drive. As always, I feel like I didn’t see enough and I want to go back. Common theme in my life!
We found a beautiful beach, learned that the second week of July is high season for mosquitos, ate Beaver Tails in the town of Killahoe while waiting for a replacement tire for my SUV, hiked the amazing Barron Canyon Trail in Algonquin, paddled the Bonnechere River, slept well, ate well and spent time off the grid as there was very limited cellular service and definitely no wifi.
Family Road Trips Can Bring Out The Absolute Worst In Me
Every summer, my cousins and spouses from my Dad’s side of the family, along with my sister and all our children get together for the annual “Cousins Weekend”. This summer we met for a couple nights in Blue Mountain. The kids have a blast, it’s a special bond to have with your cousins and we love it. After that, my kids, their father and I decided to head up to Tobermory, Ontario for a couple days – it’s a place we spent time there together as a family in the past and really enjoyed it. We agreed that there was much more to explore.
On the drive from Blue Mountain to Tobermory, we detoured to Skinner’s Bluff, chasing some epic look outs I had heard of through the hiker’s grapevine. We were not disappointed in the view, but the route to find the secret entrance to the loop to the look outs stirred up some tension. I don’t like getting lost, I also don’t like not being in control. More on that another time.
We made it to Tobermory in one piece and the next day, scratched off another goal on the “to-see” list and that was The Grotto at Bruce Peninsula National Park. Wow! So glad we took the kids to experience that and I hope they remember it.
Getting back to Toronto from Tobermory took an excruciating long time. If memory serves, we drove from Tobermory to Lion’s Head. Went out for a hike there and when we left there I think it went off the rails. I went squirley sitting in the passenger seat. Stuck my face into my phone playing mindless games so that I wouldn’t look up and criticize the driver for the next 3 hours. I’m sure it was appreciated.
Foo Fighters Again and Again
Dave Grohl is god. Always has been in my eyes and always will be. My top 10 favourite live music shows include the handful of times I’ve seen the Foo Fighters play – starting all the way back to 1997. I missed out on seeing them in 2015 when they last rolled through Toronto and it broke my heart. Another story for another time. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to be able to see them this year in Toronto either so I arranged to meet an old friend from out west in Chicago to see them perform at Wrigley Field.
Here’s a great and happy ending to the above sob story… I did see them in Toronto in July as well. To make up for missing out on seeing them in 2015, I saw them twice in July! First in Toronto and then in Chicago.
Yes, I am living my best life.
Recuperating in Norfolk County
To close out the summer, the kids and I had the most amazing glamping experience at Long Point Eco Adventures. Tucked away just outside of Port Dover, in Norfolk County, Ontario, with access to great local wine, beer and cuisine. We were hosted by the fabulous Ted with Norfolk Tourism and it was like a red carpet got rolled out everywhere we went. This is a little dangerous for my kids as they are being raised a lot differently than I was!
First of all, I grew up roughing it in a tent, on the ground, without electricity.
Norfolk County is relaxing, quiet and it was a nice calm way to wind the kids down after a “go-go-go” summer. We were busy this week, no doubt about it, but there was “down time” built into the schedule, which was appreciated greatly.
My First Official Travel Blogger’s Conference
It’s taken me a couple years of testing the waters, contributing to other sites and pages, hustling and learning but I definitely know where in the writing and influencer world where my strength lies. I’ve had a few posts in the parenting realm that have taken off and gained a lot of traction, but the posts that time after time have the most readers, the most engagement, the most shares are all travel related.
So, I went to TBEX – a travel blogger’s conference in September in Corning New York. This was also my first time visiting the Finger Lakes region of New York in my life and that’s crazy because I live so close to there. I spend so much of my life traveling far and wide while some of the coolest places I have been are within a 4-5 hour drive of my front door. That is mind-blowing.
What was more mind blowing was learning from some of the top in the industry their methods and tricks and making friends with those I could only admire online before. We brainstormed together, discussed trends, the business, tips and tricks, laughed over meals, drinks and cab rides. It was incredibly inspirational!
One of my most favourite family vacations has been taken at a Beaches Resorts location. Did you read above? Not to beat you over the head with it, but I’ve been to Beaches Turks and Caicos and Beaches Negril. There’s going to be a fourth location breaking ground soon and I simply cannot wait to take my children there when it does.
Aside from loving the environment I was in, I was at Social Media On The Sand – an invitational only conference for the top influencers in the family travel world. It was like I hit the jackpot when I was invited, couldn’t believe it! I had so many friends there that I had met in both the online and offline worlds and it was THE BEST WEEK. Huh, it sounds like every trip I went on, I had the best week. Yep, I did.
It was such a blast hanging out with friends and the experience of spending a morning helping to rebuild an elementary school that was ravaged by Hurricane Irma was one of the most impactful experiences I have ever had.
I was spoiled by the brands who sponsored the conference, I ate well, I drank a lot, I got the right amount of vitamin D, I relaxed, I spent time with my sister who came with me to look after Little Man and brought her two boys as well. Also, I experienced SNUBA which is a hybrid between snorkeling and scuba diving, sailed into the sunset on a catamaran and got sand everywhere. Time well spent!
As I look back on the last almost 3,000 words, I realize I didn’t even get to all the amazing hikes, music festivals and outside excursions we had around Ontario! There’s still a few hikes I have yet to write up about for this site.
I don’t set or make resolutions for the year to come. Reason being is I have done so in the past and have let myself down many, many times. Instead, I try to focus on intentions and what I can try to do better this year over last year. How can I work smarter and not harder?
One of the things I am going to aim to do is try to be more timely with my videos and posts. I need to write my assignments or edit the videos while I am still on a “high” from the destination. Those posts and videos will be way fresher, better and have more excitement to them!
I have posts lingering in my drafts and are half written in my brain from 2018… not the best place for them. Either I’m going to produce a helluva lot of content over January and February of this year to make up for it or I’m going to scrap them and start brand new.
And I got a drone for Christmas. Hopefully I don’t fly it into a tree my first time out!
Where am I going this year?
If you know me, you know I simply cannot function in life unless I have a trip planned and booked in the future. This is the exciting part – I have a few things lined up already and it’s only January 4th!
I’m taking my annual vacation with family and friends at Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos at the end of this month.
I’ll be yurt camping again – in MacGregor Provincial Park next month.
Then, jetting off on very special 10th birthday trip for my daughter that will see us visit Lisbon, Barcelona, Marseilles, Cannes, Milan and of course, Paris.
I will be in Montana for TBEX and I look forward to hiking (surprise!), hopefully hoping on a horse again and learning so much more about the travel writing business.
What else does 2019 hold for me?
Before anything, more fun time with my kids. Not scheduled or dictated time. Free spirited, led by them, fun time. Less of allowing ego-maniacs to monopolize my time. Yes, I’ll be back to working in the TV industry as of next week, but on my terms now. I will not ever work until 2:00 am again unless it’s on my stuff.
For the first time ever in my life, I am truly in control of my time and energy. I have an couple exciting business prospects in front of me that I didn’t foresee this time last year. I’m really jazzed about this!
I’ll be focusing on the content I am creating, not what someone else wants me to create for them. It’s liberating and I can’t wait to share it all with you! With that, I am welcoming 2019 and bidding a fond farewell to 2018. Don’t let the door hit you in the way out.