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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5 Steps to Entertaining Kids on a Road Trip

How do you do it?

No seriously. HOW do you do it?!?!

I am a planner, so before we head out anywhere, I’ve got a trunk full of supplies that we might need if someone spills something, pees something, gets cold, gets A cold, is hungry, bored, and so forth. Even with that extra tonnage in my poor little trunk, a Mom’s plan doesn’t always stick. #rude. Also, don’t get me wrong. I am NOT (I repeat, NOT) one of those lovely patient Mom’s who walks into a situation like this looking like it’s a breeze. I’m worked up and constantly telling myself it’s not ok to jump out of a moving vehicle when things get crazy.

So here’s the trick, in my opinion of course:

1. I really feel like kids don’t need a lot of STUFF, but COLOURING can keep them busy forever. Crayola seems to be my new best friend these days because you can print off a thousand colouring pages from their website and continue passing them into the back seat. (A THOUSANDDDD? Really…Ok, I’m dramatic, but let’s not forget that I’m TRAVELLING WITH KIDS FOR GOODNESS SAKES!!)

2. Snacks!! Yes, I know, my trunk is already filled with my trusty cooler in tow, but there is more fun to be had than just eating snacks. It takes a little bit of imagination and time, but it’s worth it for the 17 minutes of sanity you get in the car. Pack a a sandwich container (also used to display the little snack men and women) with edible items that can be put together to make a person. We’ve used a few straight pretzels, large and small marshmallows, licorice strings, Cheerios, berries, chocolate chips (those never seem to last), berries, shredded coconut and popcorn. I will not lie to you…I have no plan for these items, and there are often other randoms thrown in, but it’s the imagination part that is so entertaining for them.

3. Seat back DVD players. I’m no Saint. Mama needs some quiet time.

4. Depending on the length of the trip, wrap different toys they already own with newspaper (do those still exist?) Each hour they get to open a new package that will excite them for another 6 minutes until you’re yelling that they need to “FIGURE IT OUT” for another 54 minutes. It’s like that age old trick where you tell them to clean their room and they spend the entire time playing with toys they found. #winning

5. Pool Noodles. No, this isn’t a joke. You’ll likely have to cut them into thirds, and your kids need to be good sports about it, but these soft little swords can make for endless entertainment. First – hit each other with them. Then, when everyone is crying, pull out the pipecleaners and turn it into another craft. There is no doubt in my mind that your car will be an absolute disaster when you arrive at your destination but guess what….

Everyone arrives alive.

If you’ve got some brilliant ideas of your own, do not hoard them like you do with chocolate or wine. This is about sharing and we want to hear it! Send to diaryofdates@gmail.com

Exploring Our Backyard

Exploring is by far one of our favourite family dates. We head out with what we’ve got on, a few snacks for these little gremlins (because, Heaven forbid we end up 6 minutes from home and someone is suddenly mere seconds from “Hangry”), a couple changes of clothes (because we NEVER know what could happen) and a camera. This picture was taken while exploring our backyard and where it led to from the property line, where we discovered whimsical trees, the most beautiful Fall colours, a “secret” pond, colourful berries (which we didn’t eat) and the quiet of just the wind blowing, leaves crunching under our feet, and the occasional toddler tantrum (seems there’s no escaping that one!).

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To add to the lessons of life and love into our day date, we talk about how the animals raise their young within these trees, what their names are, and what they are having for dinner. Our kids are just 5 years old, and 18 months, and the power of their imagination is so important for us to embrace. Plus, sometimes it’s hilarious enough to keep a straight face when you’re told that Mr. Bird’s real name is Leenis, and he has a …well, you know.

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As Nova gathered ingredients for her magic potion, she would stop along the way to mash them together with a heart-shaped rock. Smearing the colours of nature across her rocks, she left them to the side to feed any stray animals who might be making their way down the path. Luna…well, we had to keep Luna from eating the magic potion – a challenge.

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Time spent with the people we love so deeply is our #1 priority, and something that is only a few years new to us. We had never recognized the opportunity to create more time together when we were giving all of it to our jobs, but thankfully, we figured it out and now we MAKE the time. Even when it’s a full moon (or, is it? All I know is that no one slept last night), getting outside to breathe in the fresh air, and to feel so small in a world so big…it just seems to ground us. We are reminded of what time together does for our spirit. Life can be so busy, and though we promote time freedom, we are also busy raising kids, and working our own businesses too, so these date reminders are not just for you, but for us too! It’s funny, but I always have to remind myself to take pictures with my husband and I, instead of just the kids, and when the sun is so bright you are blinded, you still take it and remember the good times! I sort of love these types anyway…I might save them to embarass the girls with when they’re older *slides file into “Teenage Years” folder*

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Parenting can be tough thought, right? My husband is the most patient man on the face of the planet, and I strive to learn more about patience each day, so even when a date is spontaneously planned, or has been planned for a while, we can’t always expect it to be flawless. Even the simplest dates, like a gorgeous stroll through Mother Nature’s creations, someone can end up face first in a burr bush within the first two minutes.

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We can’t possibly go another day having missed moments due to the hustle of life, because those of us who have kids, or plan to expand their family in the future, or are working on the process right now (we’ll post some dates for that another time *meow*), we don’t welcome these sweet spirits into our life to miss moments.

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It truly is time for freedom, isn’t it? While raising these little ones, the days can sometimes seem so long, but the years seem so short. Already today, after putting Luna down for a nap, I asked Nova to talk to me…about life, school, even Christmas, and guess what, she wanted to read instead, and at that very moment I felt pride but also a little bit of sadness. It was one of those nudges from the Universe that reminded me that she won’t be little forever.

Whoa, did this just turn into a Mom blog? No. Well, sort of.

It always will be a part of these dates because that’s my #1 job – Mom. Here’s the thing though, these free dates, this time spent being blessed by simple moments, they’re memories. I want my kids to grow up remembering that Mom and Dad didn’t spend money filling their toy room, or buying them the newest clothing or gadgets, but instead, moments were made, and sometimes those moments required money, but ultimately the goal was the same: to be together.

Forever.

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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.

Rockton World’s Fair

The Rockton World’s Fair is a family tradition many hold close to their hearts each Thanksgiving weekend as we remember how grateful we are for fair food (Panzerolli’s, Poutine and Mini Donuts – to name a few of my faves), the Demolition Derby, the largest pumpkins, pie eating contests, and carnival rides. Oh, and family. Also grateful for family.rockton fair games.png

I’ve been going to the Rockton Fair for as long as I can remember. Neither my husband or I have missed a year, and now that we’ve got two kids ourselves, we continue the tradition each Thanksgiving weekend. First stop – The Panzerolli Wagon. This might just be a personal choice here, but that place is a staple at the Rockton Fair and everyone knows about it, and boasts about it. Thursday nights are Toonie Thursdays where each Midway ride is only $2 but the best part about it (for you families with kids), there are no lines! You basically get the place to yourself which is ideal when you’ve got an 18 month old who would rather touch the ketchup dispensers, and steal the rubber ducks from the carnival games than go on rides. This makes it easier for our 5 year old who loves them!rockton fair carosel.png

Friday nights the Midway starts at 4pm and you can get yourself an “All You Can Ride” bracelet and enjoy being tossed around the rides that I used to love as a kid and now get nauseous looking at as I walk by. If you’re smart, you’ll stand under the really scary ones and catch the cell phones and wallets that fall off the passengers. At night, bring your blankets and your ear plugs to the Demolition Derby and watch the drivers immitate mall parking lots a week before Christmas. It’s loud, and smokey, and another must see at the fair.

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Throughout the days and nights, there are showcases for some beautiful animals which many have been raised by and cared for by kids. The exhibition buildings are also open to showcase artwork by school aged children, crafts from the young and old, baby shows, spelling bee, talent show, karaoke, and the famous pie eating contest (aka: me at Thanksgiving dinner)

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It’s entirely worth coming out to enjoy the weekend with your family, but first, stop by participating Scotiabank locations to get a deal on your fair tickets, then bring your camera and have a great time! I’ll definitely see you there!

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Pictures taken from http://www.rocktonworldsfair.com 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!