Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Sun is New Each Day

We have returned home from our epic road trip to New Brunswick. Driving across the country with two young kids in tow was quite the adventure. My Forest School Practitioner's Course was held at the warm and magical Tir na nog Forest School in Sussex. Every morning, we would retreat to our own "sit spots" in the woods to quietly reflect. All we had to do was sit. This daily meditation in nature was just what I needed to feed my spirit.

Tree Weaving
One afternoon, an Aboriginal Elder taught our class and I had the honour of participating in a beautiful smudging ceremony. Aboriginal pedagogy of storytelling is a subject I have previously studied at performing arts college and I hope to continue to grow and learn in this art form.

I learned a number of outdoor skills including; how to tie knots, make fire without matches and how to use a variety of tools. I even made my own mallet out of a log I found in the forest.

The program covered the Forest School philosophy, a variety of play-based learning theories, risk assessments and more. Taking the Forest School Practitioner's Course was the opportunity of a lifetime and truly a life changing experience for me. I have a year of course work ahead of me, but my Forest School adventure has officially begun!

More to come on that later...

While I was at Forest School every day, Mike and the kids were busy exploring Fundy National Park. We camped in an oTENTik, which is a cross between a tent and a cabin. Henry and Rosie hiked the Dickson Falls and Caribou trails, found hermit crabs and sea glass during low tide, discovered a zip line park to play in and enjoyed picnics and ice cream on the beach.

Rosie fell asleep in my arms by the warmth of the campfire almost every night. I soaked in the extra baby snuggles.

We enjoyed a lobster dinner on a picnic table with an ocean view. For dessert we ate a bag of local salt water taffy while we watched the tide rise under a full moon.

Our babies went swimming in the ocean for the first time, made new friends and built a dragon in the sand with seashell teeth.

I am so thankful for the experience we had out East. It was beautiful-all of it. Ok. Most of it. We did have that one incident where Mike ended up in the hospital due to food poisoning, but I'll spare you the details. He was as good as new after getting fluids and anti nausea medication through an IV. I told you, it was an unforgettable trip! I learned a lot, felt a lot and met so many inspiring people that share the same passion as me. 

More summer adventures await!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Day Trip

We've been hittin' the road a lot this summer. I love climbing into a packed car and heading out for a day trip with my favourite people. This past weekend, we decided to search for Westmeath Provincial Park. The secluded sandy beach is open to the public, free and only an hour and a half drive from Ottawa. The park is located on Westmeath Road, but you have to watch carefully for the entrance because there aren't any visible signs from the road.

Getting to the beach involved quite a hike with two young children. I wore Rosemary in the baby carrier, Mike carried all our picnic gear and Henry was in charge of sunscreen and bug spray. The trail is wide and the terrain is easy, but I wouldn't consider it stroller friendly. It took us fifty minutes (each way) to hike the trail at a brisk pace.

We saw a lot of frogs, birds and chipmunks along the way. Thankfully, I didn't forget the bug spray!

We finally emerged from the forest to find this beautiful beach.

The water was nice too. The river bottom was sandy and Henry had the time of his life collecting clam shells. Meanwhile, Rosie was happy to fill her pink pail with the warm soft sand.

If you're looking for an active adventure this summer, I definitely recommend Westmeath Provincial Park. Keep in mind there are no bathrooms, lifeguards or even trash cans on site. This was a perfect outing for our family and we enjoyed having our own private beach for a day.

Ah! Summer love!

Summer Bucketlist 2016 Update:

Visit Westmeath Provincial Park. Check.

Take the kids to a chip truck. Check. We took a wrong turn on the way home, but stumbled across a cute and clean chip wagon in the middle of nowhere. Who knew getting lost could be so fun and delicious!?!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have more summer adventures to organize!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

It's Not Always Sunny

We decided we weren't going to wait for the storm to pass. We were going to dance in the rain! Rosie's first camping experience was a wet one.

Thunderstorms were followed by more thunderstorms. The mosquitoes were awful and everything was drenched, but our kids never complained. Not once. They were happy to jump in puddles and run through the forest at Bon Echo Provincial Park. This mama had a busy weekend making sure everyone stayed warm (I packed extra sweaters and wool socks for the weekend.) Bellies were warmed with a hot supper cooked on our Coleman camping stove.

We went to bed early to escape the bugs, but the kids were so excited to sleep in a tent. We read books in our tent and made shadow puppets with a flashlight.

Thankfully, we did see some sunshine! We rented a big red canoe and paddled out into the lake in search of the pictographs on the massive Mazinaw Rock. Our canoeing adventure was my favourite part of our camping trip, but I don't have any pictures to share because I decided to leave our camera in the car where it would be safe and dry. The high cliff is 330 ft and its beauty is breathtaking.

Writing this post reminded me of another experience where Mike and I had to learn to dance in the rain.

We went to the library this week and picked up a pile of books to prepare us for our next big camping adventure. I can't wait!

Summer Bucket List 2016 Update:

Ice cream on a hot summer night. Check!

Read, read, read! Check!

Health and Fitness Update:

I quit Jillian Michael's 90 Day Body Revolution after one week because I just wasn't feeling it. I also missed the BBG community. So, I decided to plunge right into BBG 2.0 and I am loving it! It's the hardest program I've come across and I recommend it to all my friends.

Food lately:

Our first CSA box is going to be delivered this week too. I'm looking forward to experimenting with some new recipes and vegetables.

More sunny days to come!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Summer Getaway

On our drive up to the cottage, Mike said he had a feeling Henry would catch a pike over the long weekend. And he did! Our three-year-old reeled it in all by himself too. Oh, he was proud!

Our Canada Day began with an adventure in our green canoe in search of my spirit animal, the loon and ended with a firework display off the end of our dock. We wore our red and white with pride.

More summer happiness in my favourite place with my favourite people:

Nature walks with my forest pixie in search of wildflowers. She pauses to smell daisies.

Hunting for frogs with my nature boy.

Playing peekaboo while we paddle.

Our summer getaways continue this weekend with a camping trip to Bon Echo Provincial Park. When I was twelve, my best friend's parents took me on my first camping trip to Bon Echo. We slept under the stars, cooked our meals over bonfires and traveled in kayaks to investigate the famous pictographs. I don't know if her parents know this, but the experience was life changing because it opened a new window to the outdoors for me. Life will come full circle as Rosie's first camping experience will also be at Bon Echo.

Gone Camping!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Summer Bucket List

Our summer bucket list is posted on our refrigerator and we've been busy putting check marks in tiny boxes. There is zero pressure to complete every activity on the list, but I enjoy writing the list every year because it gets everyone's creative ideas in one place. The next activity to cross off our list is Henry's last Forest School class. To celebrate Henry's preschool graduation, I am going to take him to the movie theatre to watch Finding Dory. When I was little, my mom always took us to East Side Mario's and the latest Disney movie to celebrate our good report cards and I'm excited to continue the tradition with my kids.

A little thank-you for Henry's incredible Forest School teachers.
Our summer bucket list also includes; strawberry picking. Check!

Trips to the museum on rainy days. Check!

And trips to the cottage. Check!

Plant a balcony garden. Check!

Eat healthy. Check! I recently wrapped up my third round of Whole30 and I am down over 25lbs since I started this healthy lifestyle in February. I have since reintroduced quinoa, beans, oats etc and I still feel great. My thyroid levels are perfect and Mike hasn't had indigestion since we cut gluten, dairy and refined sugar from our diets. I know I've said this before, but I would recommend this program to anyone looking for a healthy reset button.

Meal prep: Oh She Glows Quinoa Cakes.
Exercise. Check! Since my last blog post, I completed the BBG 1.0 program and I will wrap up the 21 Day Fix exercise program tomorrow. I'm not a creature of habit. I always need to switch things up or I get bored. I've decided my next fitness goal is to be able to do a pull-up. I'm hoping Jillian Michael's 90 Day Body Revolution will get me there. I start her program on Monday. Wish me luck!

Other items on our summer bucket list include; pool parties, barbecues, Canada Day fireworks, picnics, camping and our big road trip to the east coast. I love creating meaningful memories for my babies and I'm happy to say we are officially in the groove of summer 2016!

Happy weekend, friends!