Right upfront – this is a story about how Mabel’s Labels has shown me they have labels for everything, including my video gear.
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
A couple of months ago, I ran into a bit of a problem. I was in a medium sized room with other content creators, elbow space was tight. We had come running in with cameras, memory sticks, USB keys and rugged hard drives full of video footage. Once we all had edited our content and sent to all of our media centres, we packed up our gear and left. Except I left without a couple things. I was missing a USB stick and a USB 3 cable from my Lacie Rugged hard drive.
Once upon a time, I was very responsible and took care of all my stuff. Then I had kids and now I take care of their stuff, including getting a label on everything with their name on it and I work and clean the house and lose my own sh!t all the time. What I didn’t realize is that you could get labels for everything from the same company I get Little Man and Miss M’s clothing labels from.
This picture below was literally how I was working.
Carrying around a couple rugged LaCie drives with painter and gaffer tape wrapped around it and my name written on it with sharpie or pen. It’s not attractive or professional looking! And I did it for years.
To the rescue? Mabel’s Labels! Krista, their community manager (and I), had a good laugh at my gaffer and painter tape hard drive labelling system.
It took me awhile to accept that I needed to change my labelling system. I also had to be shown that Mabels Labels was more than labels for kid’s clothing and lunch containers. I have been a loyal costumer of Mabel’s Labels for all kid related labels for close to nine years. It was my go-to for daycare and school tags, shoe identifier and name stickers.
Krista showed me all the different uses for Mabel’s Labels products and that they can be customized to have names, email addresses and phone numbers on them in a variety of colour palettes and without the cute icons or characters that kids can choose from.
So now I’m going label crazy putting them on everything so I won’t lose any more of my cables, hard drives or USB sticks. The one I have on my cable above, my portable battery for my cell phone and on my GoPro below? It’s a Tag Mate. My first name and cell phone number is on it.
Sorry, number blurred for my safety.
You can customize ones for yourself or your gear by clicking on the Tag Mate link here. Want a discount for your Mabel’s Labels purchases? Keep reading! I have one for you.
All of the sticker tags from Mabel’s Labels are also waterproof so I have no fear of them coming off my GoPro while underwater or in a waterpark. I’ve learned this from the countless times I’ve put my kid’s clothing in the washing machine and the labels were still attached when I took them out. Or the amount of times the Tupperware Miss M and Little Man use for school lunches went into the dishwasher and the the labels stayed put.
I’ve even put it on my floatation device for my GoPro, as seen above. Next time I go snorkeling or diving with my GoPro and I set the camera down in the dive shop or on the boat, everyone will know it’s mine.
The Bruce Trail is a hiking trail in southern and central Ontario, stretching 890 kilometres. The Bruce extends from the Niagara River in the south, to the tip of Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula in the north. As far as epic hikes with kids, the entire Bruce Trail is great. But, there are parts here and there that are so worth seeking out to show your kids. For information purposes and to convey a subsection – I’m going to focus here on the Dundas Peak Trail and Tew’s Falls in Dundas, Ontario.
This has been the year of hiking for my children and much of it has taken place on the Bruce Trail. The Dundas Peak Trail and Tew’s Waterfalls is the third amazingly epic hike Miss M and Z Man had in 2018. To be fair, we’ve been on quite a few great hikes this year. The Cyprus Lake Trail to the Grotto, just outside Tobermory comes to mind, but it didn’t reach “epic” status. The Grotto itself is magnificent and there is a separate post on that found here. To reach epic status for me, there has to be magnificent waterfalls and spectacular look outs with an element of danger and a life learning lesson.
The day we visited the Dundas Peak Trail was a really busy and popular day. We attempted to do things by the book and park in the designated parking lot. If we had done that, we could enter through the proper entrance. However, the parking lot was full, cars were parking up and down the highway, people were making the pilgrimage on foot and there were line ups of people just to enter. Me being me, I always look for alternative locations or alternative ways to get to where we want to be. We drove all the way from downtown Toronto, so I wanted to see something! Since Webster’s Falls parking lot and entrance was the exact same situation, we drove into the town of Dundas and parked in a residential neighbourhood. We entered the conservatory from a trail in the south end. Please note that increased parking in the residential neighbourhoods is dangerous and can impede emergency vehicles. This should not be your go-to parking destination.
The draw for us and for everyone else coming was the changing of the leaves colour wise. We went on Thanksgiving Monday and the leaves were still quite green, but they were definitely on their way to being changed into a gorgeous autumn hues of red, orange and yellow.
The Dundas Peak and Tew’s Falls Trail is a 3.9 kilometre total hike
The milage is according to information I got from the All Trails app I use on my iPhone when hiking. Much of the route we did was uphill and the Miss M and Z Man handled it like champions. I like getting the hard part out of the way right off the bat. For an idea on the height, Dundas Peak is twice as high as the American side of Niagara Falls. Tew’s Falls are 41 metres high.
First, we headed towards the peak lookout, which has become one of the most popular and coveted – must have – Instagram photos of this year. I got the other insta-worthy destinations, Barron Canyon Trail and Skinner’s Bluff earlier this year. Selfishly, I wanted one or two of those Instagram photos too. I wasn’t alone in my desire that day and I guess at that time – it was early afternoon. There were more people there than I could have imagined, but I still got what I wanted.
Total side note, yes I take my kids to cliffs and grottos and caves. If this is your first time checking out my stuff, please don’t send me a note about my irresponsible parenting. I do not and will not put my kids in a bubble. They are learning about nature and boundaries and consequences, which in my eyes are great life lessons.
This was not a strenuous hike for the kids, nor was there any point that they wanted to quit. As per usual, I carried Z Man on my back for the majority of the distance between Tew’s Falls and the look out point on Dundas Peak Trail.
There are some area where railings/barriers are in place so that visitors do not fall.
Due to the popularity of the location on the day we visited, instead of taking the main trail to Tew’s Falls from the look out, we took a side trail for 0.8km. Then, we joined up with the main trail for the remainder of the hike to Tew’s Falls.
Tew’s Falls are stunning!
If I wasn’t with my kids I would have traversed down into the crevice to get a ground or a POV shot. Safety first! It is advised that visitors stay on the marked trail at all times. The shots from the top of the falls level are still pretty good!
Worth noting, there are no washrooms or garbage receptacles along the trail. What you hike in with, you leave with. Please don’t leave garbage behind, stuffed into a tree or discarded into the bushes, it’s not nice to nature.
The parking lot for the Spenser Gorge Conservation Area is open from the end of May until the end of October. The parking fee for each vehicle is $10. There is also a per person admission fee of $5 for each visitor aged 5 and up.
If you are looking to get to Webster Falls, be aware that there is not a hiking trail between Tew’s Falls and Webster’s Falls. Access from the parking lots and highway only.
I ran into a bit of an issue and I will forever dub the summer of 2018 as one of the most fun I had with my kids and also one where I made some serious unprepared mistakes. I blew a tire and didn’t know how to change it. And then… this. The Great Parenting Fail of Summer 2018.
The Great Parenting Fail of Summer 2018 came in the last week of August. I was on a media trip to a somewhat remote (non-urban) location and brought my children with me. On the second night of our stay, around 10:00pm, I noticed that Miss M, who had passed out a couple hours prior, had a fever and it was getting higher. I spent an hour applying cold facecloths to her forehead and having her drink cold water. Despite that, her body was getting warmer. And then the vomiting started. I had nothing in our bags that could combat this fever. When we left Toronto the previous morning, there was no indication either of my children were feeling unwell at all.
I made the decision at 11:00pm to pick up a sleeping four year old and a very unhappy nine year old and strap them into the car so I could drive the 30 minutes into Simcoe, Ontario. I had about an hour window to get to the drug store that would be open until midnight in order to get something to relieve my daughter’s fever and hope that we could carry on with the rest of the media trip.
What would you have done if you were in my shoes?
I know that I won’t ever make the mistake of being unprepared again and I feel so guilty about it. Big parenting and expert traveller fail on my part and it’s why I will call it The Great Parenting Fail of Summer 2018.
I’m telling you this story, not to make myself look bad, but for the reason that you’ll think of this next time you are packing for a trip. I hope that you’ll remember provisions for those highly unlikely, but just-in-case moments.
The good news? Z Man didn’t wake up for the entire car ride into town and back and was none the wiser. Miss M’s fever was gone by sun up and we had a nice couple days.
When it comes to epic hikes with kids, the Barron Canyon Trail in Algonquin Provincial Park is the second amazingly epic hike my kids experienced in 2018. Located on the east end of Algonquin Provincial Park, in Ontario, close to Petawawa, it’s most convenient to access from the Sand Lake Gates.
Epic Hikes With Kids – Barron Canyon Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park
The parking lot for the trail is only 11km past the Sand Lake Gate. Driving distance from Toronto is roughly 5 hours. The road leading into Algonquin at this point is a dirt road and you kind of wonder if you are going the right way. It’s the only road to the park in the area, so yes you are.
The Barron Canyon Trail in Algonquin itself is short, only 1.5 kilometres and is a loop up to the amazing north rim of the Barron Canyon. It’s uphill for the most part here, about 200-300 metres, but not difficult at all. This trail is moderately trafficked and my four year old basically ran up this hill. Once you reach the canyon, it’s fairly level, few ups and downs.
The canyon is part of the Canadian Shield and the Barron Canyon began as a fault in the earth’s crust and eroded into it’s present form over millions of years. The result is what we see now, it is a spectacular view and river for canoe enthusiasts.
One of the first things to note about this trail is that you are visiting an unfenced cliff.
There are no barriers at all. A fall off the ledge would prove to be fatal. Bringing children or anyone for that matter on this hike is a risk, but one that is manageable. I would never advocating leashing your children in any way, shape or form, so they also need to understand the risk of their environment. Z Man, who is 4, was within arms reach of me at all times on the cliff area. Most times, I would not let go of his hand.
So is this safe? Only if you behave in a safe and cautious manner.
There is a bench there that people can sit on for a rest. I recommend asking your children to sit and wait there when you are taking pictures. Because you will be taking pictures, lots of pictures. I cannot guarantee your kids will stay seated, but it’s an option.
From the canyon, you return to the parking lot, downhill through a heavily forested trail. It’s a very easy exit. Don’t forget to sign the guest book on the way out!
A valid park permit is required to hike on the Barron Canyon Trail. You can obtain one at the Sand Lake Gate office. In 2018, this permit office was open from May 22 to October 8th.
Worth noting – I had pretty much no cell phone service here with my carrier (Telus). Only at the gate, did I have 3G service.
There is no snow removal of the roads in this area in the winter, so please consider this a seasonal activity.
We were guests of Ontario Parks while staying at Bonnechere Provincial Park. We were not coerced into saying this was a great trail with great look outs, the opinions and photographs expressed our mine.
Earlier in the summer, I took my kids on a “glamping adventure” in a rustic cabin. Personally, I thought it was wonderful due to the luxury of electricity, mini fridge and microwave. While those were definitely bonus features, for my pampered kids, the lack of an on site toilet or running water was a shock. Okay, let’s be real, Z Man doesn’t care, he’s 4.
For Miss M, it was more like camping, while I considered this experience to be glamping. Since my daughter really likes the higher end of accommodations and I’m more like a back country camper, I needed to find a compromise for us for our end of summer adventure. Something to please us both (note, Z Man is happy everywhere). I went on the hunt for a luxury family glamping experience and I found it at Long Point Eco Adventures, in Norfolk County, Ontario.
What is Glamping?
Glamping is glamorous camping. Simply put, it’s not roughing it in the wild in a tent on the rocks and sand. Glamping consists of sleeping off the ground on an actual bed under a roofer accommodation. There may or may not be electricity or water or a washroom at your disposal. Whether or not the toilet is attached, the restroom facility will likely be a toilet as opposed to a self-dug hole in the ground, with a make shift stand that acts as a toilet if you are camping.
What Is Long Point Eco Adventures?
Long Point Eco Adventures is a truly unique experience! It’s a luxury glamping experience with onsite adrenaline rush activities from zip-lining to axe throwing to a night sky observatory.
Where is Long Point Eco Adventures?
Long Point Eco Adventures is across the road from Burning Kiln Winery, this is an important fact. It is 3-5 minutes north of the village of Turkey Point on Lake Erie in Norfolk County.
What Are The Luxury Family Glamping Accommodations Like?
We stayed in a Wilderness Suite that is a large tent on a platform that had two queen size beds, a mini fridge, a fan, electricity and outlets, private toilet that flushed, an outdoor shower, hardwood floors, sliding glass door that locked and a private verandah. There are wilderness suites that come with a king size bed too.
Other roofed accommodations include camping and wilderness pods. The camping pods come with either a queen bed or two double beds do not have electricity or a washroom attached. Guests there must utilize an outhouse. The wilderness pods have a queen bed, flush toilets and electricity, but shared outdoor showers.
Inspired by a climbing trip to Kilimanjaro in Africa, the accommodations are very hotel like and not so much camping. Now, I never had a luxury glamping experience back in 2006 when I camped my way around the south west part of that continent. It was more like tents with openings for scorpions and snakes, but I digress… these beds at Long Point Eco Adventures were comfortable, the tents were spacious and the vibe was relaxed.
Here’s what I liked about our Wilderness Suite:
I liked that I wasn’t sweeping pine combs out of the tent, I liked that I could go to the washroom in the middle of the night and not leave my kids alone in the tent. I liked that this was a tent with a sliding glass door that locked so I could feel safe about leaving belongings in the tent and not locking them in the car. We had electricity, a mini fridge to store the kids snacks and left over food and wifi and I could work or entertain myself with my laptop after the kids had gone to bed. Even though we had lighting, it wasn’t bright lighting, it was soft and kind of romantic. I liked the fan we had in the tent because summer in Ontario is hella hot and I liked that I wasn’t sharing a sleeping bag with sweaty, sticky bodies on an air mattress. I liked that I did not have to cook breakfast or clean up after myself so it felt a little more relaxed.
Although these are essentially tents, they feel do private because of the canvas over top. Unless someone walks right up to your window, they cannot see in.
I LOVED the private front deck that faced the trees. It was nice to drink coffee on while my kids slept in. I also loved the outdoor shower, especially at night, imagine having a starlight shower. Too bad I was alone… okay, I’m with my kids, but you know what I mean, no one to share that shower with at night. However, I would caution this – if you were sharing that private, outdoor shower under the stars with someone else, the noise you could potentially be making could be carried throughout the entire tented wilderness suite area. The moral of this story is to be quiet.
Here’s what my daughter liked about our Wilderness Suite:
She liked the the comfort and amenities of the suites. There was nothing lacking for her. She liked that it was clean and that nature was right outside the door.
Here’s what I would caution about: You don’t get to pull your car up to the tent, there is a central parking lot. Don’t get too comfortable and overpack clothes, shoes and food, there is no closet to hang them in, just a couple hooks in the washroom. Although there is a golf cart that will arrive at your car and assist you with getting your luggage to your tent, if you have too many bags and too much stuff, it will be difficult to manage or expect to do back and forth to your car.
Also, Norfolk County mosquitos are hearty and plentiful. The accommodations might be luxury, but the bugs still exist. Bring and use your best bug repellent.
Can We Eat There?
You bet! You won’t starve for breakfast or lunch. A hot, buffet breakfast is included in your stay and you will find that in the central food hall. While we were there, the breakfast menu consisted of rotating between sausage and bacon, there was also scrambled eggs, toast, bagels, juice, coffee, potatoes. And coffee, good coffee.
For lunch, there is a food truck that is open until 2:00pm. The menu does change and the food is locally sourced. This is not included in your accommodations, it costs extra. We did eat lunch there one day and between the three of us, we split 2 mains. For the size portion of the lunch, we actually had some leftover.
For dinners and other snacks or meals, you can cook your own if you bring a propane camp stove. Be sure to also bring your own utensils and cooking gear. Or you can walk across the street to Burning Kiln Winery and sample some of the best wine I’ve had in North America. Also, the village of Turkey Point is a five minute drive away and there are a few options there at very reasonable prices.
What is the Price Point For Staying At Long Point Eco Adventures?
Luxury family glamping in Ontario does come at a price. Based on the 2018 pricing advertised on the website, the camping pods are prices at:
$95 / night low season weekdays
$115 / night low season weekends and high season weekdays
$135 / night high season weekends
The Wilderness pods are priced at:
$185 / night low season weekdays
$235 / night low season weekends and high season weekdays
$285 / night high season weekends
The Wilderness Suites (like what we stayed in) are priced at:
$199 / night low season weekdays
$249 / night low season weekends and high season weekdays
$299 / night high season weekends
Prices are based on double occupancy; additional guest fee is $30
There is a 2 night minimum on weekends (Friday & Saturday) in the High Season.
Long Point Eco Adventures typically opens for the year at the end of April and remains open until the end of October. The high season is end of June until Labour Day.
BOOK YOUR GLAMPING ADVENTURES HERE:
What Activities and Amenities Are at Long Point Eco Adventures?
Here is the good news for those in the family or travel party who like to be constantly on the go or entertained: There is a lot to do. Other activities onsite consist of apiary tours, night sky observatory, ziplining and axe throwing.
For me, flying solo and taking my kids here, it was an easy experience in nature. I can honestly say I’ve never camped anywhere that’s across the street from a vineyard and has a food truck on site. And I’ve never really glamped aside from pop up trailer, parking lot camping. This was my third glamping experience this year. In 2018, I’ve done a yurt in Mew Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park, a rustic cabin in Bonnechere Provincial Park and now this luxury family glamping at Long Point Eco Adventures in Norfolk County, Ontario.
I’m a bit of a convert as this is so much easier on my back when sleeping and my kids enjoy this experience in the outdoors so much more. Win, win.
We were guests of Norfolk County Tourism while visiting the area and we received all accommodations and activities in exchange our opinion. We were not swayed into having a good time, but we did.
I’m a downtown, Toronto mom with urban kids who walk to school and extracurricular activities. Because of our pedestrian lifestyle, I am always on the hunt for active wear for my kids that will allow them to play hard and be seen.
In our busy neighbourhood, safety is always at the forefront of my mind. I always let my kids know how important it is for them to watch out for vehicle traffic, cyclists and other pedestrians because not everyone can see them. Now that the sun is going down earlier in the evening and we’re walking home from after school care in the dusk, SAFETY is paramount.
I WORRY A LOT. I WANT MY KIDS TO PLAY HARD AND BE SEEN.
When we head out to the country to visit my folks, I get worried sick about walking across the highway to get to the corner store or park. Even though it’s something kids have been doing for many years and they know to look both ways before they cross. I know that I am not the only parent who feels that way.
Fellow Canadian Mom, Scarlet Kux-Kardos is the founder of Zapped Outfitters. Zapped Outfitters has been inspired by our dark, Canadian winters to manufacture items that make kids SAFE without making them look uncool to their peers. And Scarlet has the chops to prove it. She’s the founder of sk2design.com, which is a performance sportswear design studio. Some of their clients include Under Armour, Marmot and Columbia. I’m willing to place my bets that she knows what’s up on the durable and reflective kid’s clothing spectrum.
Zapped Outfitters has created a collection of outerwear products that are REFLECTIVE and WATERPROOF.
Let me explain – each article of active wear – baseball caps, slip on shoes, high top shoes or jacket is embedded with glass beads that reflect light. When the light hits the reflective material, mimicking a headlight from a car, they reflect back. Let me show you:
I put the slip on shoes and baseball hat that Zapped Outfitters sent my daughter to the test. We headed out to a busy, downtown street after dark. First photo, on the left was taken withOUT the flash. The second photo on the right is WITH FLASH, mimicking headlights from a car. The proof is on the picture! The reflective clothing brings more visibility to her.
The slip on shoes Miss M is wearing have a rugged rubber toe cap and a reinforced heel for durability. We parents all know that we don’t want to be buying new kids shoes and clothing ALL THE TIME, so durable is key here. And because they are slip ons, she can get them on fast and be out the door, hanging with her friends before I can sing a cheesy song to her. They retail for $75.00 Canadian. And they’re cool looking. She will legit wear these.
The ball cap have a meshed back (good for sweaty kids… like mine) and can fit any head because of it’s back snap adjustment. Retails for $30.00 Canadian.
Zapped Outfitters has our kid’s back, literally. One of Zapped Outfitter’s products is a backpack. It retails for $80.00 Canadian.
But heads up Moms – before we order the vodka, red bull and sit down with our iPads to get some of these fancy high visibility shoes, hats, backpacks and jackets… and glow sticks… I have to tell you, these are just for kids. There will be no rave in my garage for the neighbourhood Moms. Well, there won’t be one with us wearing our kid’s Zapped Outfitter outerwear at least.
Winter is coming.
Earlier dusk is coming. Don’t delay on checking these products out for your children.
And for rainy days? Their products are WATERPROOF too. Yep, the jacket ($110.00) will keep you dry.
This might be the first line of products like this for kids.
Interested in checking these out for yourself? Click this link to visit Zapped Outfitter’s website and use the code KATHRYNANYWHERE20 for 20% off your online order so your kids can play hard and be seen!
Zapped Outfitters sent my daughter the slip on shoes and hat to test out in exchange for an honest opinion of the products. Our thoughts are all our own.