Paintball Moms

When a group of moms plan a night out together, the simpler the process the better! Check out our Paintball experience with WagJag and Paintball Nation here!

 

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FREE Home Date Ideas for Couples

“What? That’s boring!”

Those above words came right out of my own mouth when someone suggested I have a weekly date with my husband at home in order to better balance my life with family and a home based business.

Let’s back up a little bit here. Anyone who has a job or kids, knows that time can fly by in the blink of an eye, and before we know it, weeks and sometimes months have passed without a date night. That was us. Our excuse was that since we both ran our own businesses, mine from home, and his with flexible hours, we saw more of each other than the average couple. True…BUT…what kind of quality time were we spending together?

Our date nights consisted of going grocery shopping together (a real treat without kids, let me tell you), followed by dinner. I can’t tell you how many times we planned for a movie on top of that (a real triple whammy), but when the clock said 8:45, we were just too tired to go.

At one point in my business, I had realized that the time I was putting into my work was taking away from the time I was spending with my husband. I told myself that because he was so understanding about what I did, that he didn’t mind, and he didn’t for the first few months. But, there’s a point where husbands and wives can become roommates if you don’t put in the time, and that’s what was happening to us.

When thinking about going on a date, the idea that a night out is expensive can cross the mind a few times. Add a babysitter on top of that, and this good ol’ Dutch girl starts averaging out what we might spend and what we could do with that money instead, so it gets kiboshed pretty quickly.

What we recognized though, was that dates don’t have to be expensive to be good dates. It’s not about where we go, how fancy our dinner is, what we wear or who we see. Dates are about spending time together and completely unplugging from the world, so we committed to making a weekly date night. Every Thursday night we put the girls to bed, close the laptop, put the phones away, and just spend time together to reconnect.

Here are a few of our date ideas that can be enjoyed at home, and just about at zero added cost:

  • Make a late dinner together and enjoy it with a glass of wine and REAL conversation (without the children throwing noodles or suddenly needing to have something wiped – every.single.time).
  • Watch a movie and hold hands while sitting next to each other instead of lounging on two different sides of the sectional.
  • Play a board game (and bet a few bucks on it if you’re willing). The friendly wager makes for hilarious competition. I’ve won a foot rub or two in my lifetime.
  • Make a vision board together and set goals for the future. Chatting about your ideas for the future, where you want to travel to, what you want to accomplish personally and as a family can be a really powerful tool for connection. This is a great way to know you’re both on a solid path for the future, plus, it usually adds to another level of understanding about what your partner wants in life and how you can support them.
  • Ask “first date questions”. I bet you’ll be surprised to realize how many things you didn’t know about your partner, or had forgotten about. What did they want to be when they grew up? If they could sit with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
  • Dance. Slow, or fast, but I bet you haven’t danced together in a while.
  • Draw pictures of each other. This can be just downright hilarious, or insulting.
  • Have a picnic in your living room, TV off, enjoying the level of cuteness you just reached as a couple.
  • Have a bubble bath.
  • Do the “5 Love Languages” test online. This test did WONDERS for us, took 10 minutes (tops) but gave us the answers for a lifetime of happiness in marriage!
  • Bake. Wear an apron. Chosen attire underneath is up to you.
  • Take pictures of each other. As you commit to your weekly dates, keep these pictures each week to remember the moments you’ve created together, and look back at how young you once were together, and look ahead at the beautiful laugh lines you will showcase because of the life you’ve built.

Here’s the real dinger, my friends.

We do these things. We cook, bake, eat, watch TV, dream, and play, but the #1 thing that has helped our relationship grow to higher levels is adding communication to whatever we are doing. In a world filled with stimulation, the art of communication is easily lost. Compliment each other. Tell your spouse what you admire most about them. What makes them a great parent? What is their greatest quality? What made you fall in love with them?Dating at home is easy, affordable, and the most beautiful way to be without makeup, in the glow of the life you’ve built, dreaming of the next chapters you will write together.

The picture above is one we took together at home, girls napping, an hour to ourselves. Raw, real, together. Chairs on the table because our toddler is a climber. Laundry piled high. Dust bunnies in corners. Together. Forever.

 

 

 

Westfield Heritage Village

We spent Friday morning at Westfield Heritage Village as a family, which offered us a great balance of education while also being fun, and of course entertaining for kids to see what life was like 200 years ago! Walking through the gorgeous village, there are over 30 historical buildings which have all been carefully restored, and throughout our self guided tour we were met by costumed interpreters, making our experience that much better (almost makes you feel bad whipping out your cell phone to take a selfie…but we did it anyway).

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Westfield Heritage Village is now owned and maintained by the Hamilton Conservation Authority so their Conservation Pass is entirely worth the investment to visit places like Westfield in all seasons, as well as for events surrounding the Ice Cream Festival, Maple Syrup season, Hallowe’en and Christmas. Whether you’re walking through the coloured leaves of Fall, or through a light dusting of snow in December, the pictures you take will be frame-worthy, and the memories made are priceless.

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I recognize how challenging it can be to find a wedding venue that offers a beautiful place to say your vows, followed by a reception area that suits everyone from kids to your Great Aunt Mildred (who disapproves of almost everything/everyone), with the most scenic backgrounds for your forever photos, but THIS is the place. I’ve been to a wedding at the Victorian Church myself, and look forward to a few of you readers getting hitched here with the hopes you invite me so I can experience it again! Plus, if you need a bridesmaid, I am available…*checks calendar*…yup. Wide open.

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Another great family date idea is to visit their annual Telling Tales event, where thousands of kids are entertained by 25 of Canada’s best children’s authors, illustrators, storytellers and musicians. Now, before I lose you, the grounds here are so large that “thousands of kids” are widely spread out among the village, so it’s always a comfortable crowd. Mine are usually tugging me in the direction of the gift shop which offers melt-in-your-mouth maple treats, plus some sweet memories of toys and trinkets from before iPad’s were a thing.

All in all, Westfield Heritage Village is a stunning place for a day date. I visit with my husband on weekdays when it’s quiet so we can walk around slowly, admiring the buildings and the stillness of the village, and with the kids we attend all their big events on weekends! Visit their website or Facebook page to show off your pictures and review of this beautiful collection of heritage buildings, meadows and trails!

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Pictures used from westfieldheritage.ca and personal iPhone pictures.

Canada’s Wonderland – Hallowe’en Haunt!

wonderland.pngNow that we are into October, that means Canada’s Wonderland is ready to scare the life out of us every Saturday and Sunday with Halloween Haunt up until Oct 31, and what better way to get to know someone you’ve just started dating than by seeing what a sissy they really are! Or, if you’re really into them, this is a cute way to get close!

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You don’t even have to be new to dating! I mean, with 20 haunted attractions and 700 monsters, my husband is already embarrassed to be seen with me. Something about a grown woman screaming that she’s about to pee herself in public might have something to do with it, but then again I’ve had two kids so this won’t be the first (or the last) time it happens. I might just surprise these characters with what my face looks like after being up 3 times in the night with a toddler. Let’s just change that to 701 monsters.haunt_attractionsIf you’re not into being scared, visit during the day and have a blast with the other sissies in the daylight (me). The rides are always the most thrilling (I swear I thought Leviathan was as scary as childbirth, I just wasn’t sure we’d make it out alive) but there is definitely something for everyone. Make sure you grab your FunPix for the rides that do take your picture. There is nothing more entertaining than making fun of your friends and family for being scared, and storing it away for important moments like wedding slide shows and Christmas cards.leviath.png

If you’re bringing smaller kids, Planet Snoopy and Kidzville will be just as thrilling with their own rides, games and restaurants, and each day you’ll find characters walking around the grounds ready for a perfect photo opportunity! Every Saturday and Sunday in October there are shows to entertain your kidlets, like Charlie Brown’s Trick-Or-Treat Show, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Spooky Tales with Snoopy and Lucy Van Pelt’s Costume Contest!camp_spooky.png

Ultimately, Canada’s Wonderland is a hoot and a half any time of year, but October has got to be the most fun, in my opinion anyway. It’s at the top of our Bucket List and we’ll be headed there in the next few weeks to be sure we catch it all before it’s gone for another year. While you’re there, grab your 2017 Season’s Pass so you can save (you know I love a deal) and experience the park in all seasons of the year!

A Perfect Fall Day in Niagara On The Lake

Girls Day at Niagara On The Lake, with great ideas for couples and families, too!

With Fall being my favourite season of all, yesterday’s perfect day was full of sunshine, while still allowing us to wear a light jacket (enter me singing “These are a few of my favourite things”). Being a Girls Day Out with my Mum, we cruised down to Niagara On The Lake taking the beautiful back roads through the vineyards to the downtown area where we parked in front of Zees patio. After a rushed and slightly uneasy escape from the house in the morning due to a screaming child who wanted cheese, the first thing we did was grab a local glass of Pinot Grigio from our friendly waiter, Trevor. We sat on the patio watching locals and tourists enjoying the day, too, as it really didn’t matter if you were from near or far, this town had everything from delicious to luxurious.

imagehttp://www.niagarasfinest.com/restaurants/zees/

After lunch, we crossed the street to the Shaw Festival for their production of “Alice In Wonderland” which included my favourite parts of the children’s classic, while adding in beautiful story telling and music. Alice herself was easy to fall in love with.

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http://www.shawfest.com

As we left the Shaw Festival with promises of many more Girls Days like this, we met up with a handsome man (my Dad) who waited patiently to take us to one of his favourite NOTL restaurants, The Epicurean, for dinner. On our way there we visited beautiful shops, the bakery, and even did a little dream shopping at the local real estate windows. This place made me want to use words like “succulent” and “rich in flavour” when all I really came out with were grunts of happiness and a wish that I had worn elastic waist pants.

Though this day date went by quickly, we were surrounded by the beauty of the town, the perfect gardens and the vibration of the happy visitors in that short time.

On my list for the next visit:
A stay at the Prince of Wales hotel.
Horse and buggy ride through town.
More butter tarts and wine.
Rent bicycles.
Winery tour.

imagehttp://www.vintage-hotels.com/princeofwales/

As always, I’m open to your suggestions for some of your must-see attractions, events, restaurants and more! Girls day was a success, and we will see you again soon, Niagara On The Lake!

All photos sourced from http://www.niagaraonthelake.com and my personal iPhone.