• Family,  Fun,  Kids,  Travel

    Apple-Picking at Applewood Farm and Winery

    Those hot, sticky summer days have been replaced by an unmistakable and not-at-all unwelcome crispness in the air. The kids are back in school. Swimsuits and Crocs have been replaced with sweaters and boots. The leaves are slowly turning. Yes! It’s that time of year again! And while I am sad to see summer go, one of my all-time favorite family activities in the fall is to go apple-picking. This is a tradition that started before my eldest daughter could walk and, since moving to Ontario in 2005, we have continued the tradition at Applewood Farm and Winery. A family-run business for over 30 years, Applewood Farm and Winery‘s 87-acre…

  • Family,  Kids,  Travel

    Kids, Calendars and (Free) Summer Fun

    I looked at my calendar this morning. You know the one. The one that takes up half of the refrigerator? The (insert air quotations) family calendar. You know…this one: And it wasn’t so much the craziness of June that caught my eye, rather it was the thought, “What in Hell’s Bells am I going to do with four kids all summer??” On a budget. Like, you know…FREE. A quick search right away yielded The Aurora Public Library. I have to say, I have never been disappointed with the library. It offers a variety of activities for preschoolers and school-aged children for FREE! Last summer my eldest daughter, now eight, participated…

  • Family,  Kids,  Travel

    My LMMH Montessori Kids or ‘Why I Can Afford NOT to Take a Vacation’

    Never in a million years did I think I would be sending my kids to [insert air quotes] private school. Never mind four kids. Never mind that I never thought I’d have more than two kids to begin with. And yet, it happened. The kids and the school. Quite by happenstance, as it turns out. I have a vague recollection of the term ‘Montessori’ being tossed around when we lived in Montreal, though I had no idea what it meant. (For a history of the roots of Maria Montessori’s principles, click here.) At the time, a government-subsidized, bilingual daycare close to home for $7/day was groovy enough for us and…

  • Family,  Fun,  Kids,  Travel

    Niagara Falls: The kids crash the party!

    Have kids?  WILL travel!  With four young children and no immediate family within a two-province radius, there are not many options for us in the way of long-term child care; both in terms of feasibility and cost.  So, wherever we go, the kids come with.  Which sounds totally cool and exciting, except for the fact that WE don’t GO anywhere.  Really. So when my husband and I toyed with the idea of going away for a few days to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, there was no doubt the kids would be joining us on the romantic get-away.  Just the six of us.  *sigh*  Destination:  Niagara Falls.  Back where it…

  • Family,  Fun,  Kids,  Travel

    Cottage Vacay ~ Day 4: Is There a Plumber in the House?!

    We were supposed to leave Thursday, but today (Wednesday) turned out to be our last official day at the cottage.  Our water woes just got worse.  About the time the lake in the dining room seemed to have dried up, so, apparently, did all the pipes in the house.  We first noticed something was amiss last night but were hoping it would fix itself by morning. It didn’t. And so now we have no running water in the house. Which means you have to get creative. Cue the big stock pot and water reserves from the hot tub!  This would fill the toilet’s reservoir tank so that we could still…

  • Family,  Fun,  Kids,  Travel

    Cottage Vacay ~ Day 3: Things that go ‘Bump!’ in the night

    It would appear a certain someone is not thrilled about my retelling of our vacation antics.  I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, because I appreciated getting away with my family, even if it was just a few days.  It’s just that … SMACK! Oh, that? THAT is the sound of my brow bone connecting headlong into the edge of the open door some time after 3am on our second night.  Now, just to clarify, it’s not like I was sprinting into the door, though, when a kid calls out he has to pee, I don’t dawdle.  It was more of sleepy saunter, but still:  oh. my. gawd!  You would have…