- see the big canada goose at the general store in wawa
- visit the terry fox memorial in thunder bay
- eat lots of smores
- watch the sunset over lake superior
visit science north in sudbury
- go canoeing
- collect rocks
- have sauna in thunder bay at kanga’s
- dance at the pow wow on manitoulin island
- collect feathers
- swim like fishes
- send post cards
- go on many hikes
- climb a tree
- go to beaches
- read books
- visit the bushplane museum
- eat viili at hoito
i love using items from the natural world for our craft projects. it’s a wonderful opportunity to get out for a hike or explore some hidden corner in our backyard, but mostly it’s a great way to connect my boys with their outside environment.
which one is your favourite?
do you think you’ll be painting any rocks soon?
can’t wait to share what we make on the road!
i am scared of bears.
we’ve been at the cottage and i have seen several on the property on a couple of different occasions in the last 5 years. once, when bear was about 9 months old, he and i were playing in front of the cottage when i felt like someone was staring at us, and bam, when i turned around i made eye contact with a black bear up a hill, in and among the forest about 50 metres away!
|this is my sweet little guy moments before i saw the bear.|
immediately i grabbed my wee baby, ran inside, ran to the window and saw the bear sniffing the ground we had just been standing on. with my adrenalin kicking i tried to find my camera to get a picture, but my hands were shaking so much and my heart was pounding in my chest… it was hard and scary…
this was the picture i got of the bear making it’s way up the driveway. my dad gave a s#it for even trying to get a photo of a bear. you see, i stepped out of the cottage, just a little to snap this photo.
i have always been slightly nervous about bears.
at treeplanting we had bears visit our camp all the time. some people even had their tents ripped open by bears, but luckily this happened when they themselves were out in the clearcut working! ha! at treeplanting there are lots of rules about how and where to keep your items with scent, because shampoo’s and even a tiny lip balm container can attract bears. their noses are so incredibly efficient and curious!
a black bear.
|[ source : government of yukon pages ]|
this summer the boys, dear hubby and i are driving north in ontario for our summer road trip. we are heading up to thunder bay to where dear hubby and i met and fell in love! we plan on camping a bit, and i can honestly say that i am already a little worried. so, i did a little bit of research on google about bears.
i found this map.
|[ source ]|
it’s pretty good i think, doesn’t really make me feel better, but at least it’s a clear visual of what i should expect. and, i should expect bears.
dear hubby bought be a book “bear attacks; their causes and avoidance” after one of my bear sightings at the cottage. i read the book cover to cover, and really came to the conclusion that there isn’t much you can do to avoid a bear, or a black bear specifically. if they are hungry, or feel threatened they may attack. bears do not typically eat people, but again, if they are hungry enough they sure will. what really worries me is the realization that it is difficult to get away from a bear, especially when with kids; bears are fast runners and excellent climbers. where do we go to get away?
plus that whole making noise to deter bears, well, it doesn’t necessarily work either. it can make the bears curious and draw them TO YOU, instead of scaring them and deterring them AWAY FROM YOU. that day at the cottage when bear was a babe and we saw the bear, i was actually singing super loudly and clapping in the hopes of scaring the furry beasts, as a few months earlier i had seen another bear sniffing the baby stroller we left outside!
clearly i have not shared my concerns with the kids. they know there are bears in the woods, because it comes up in conversation, the way the habitats of all sorts of animals do. but, i will not share my fears with them either, especially since my 5YO bear, is quite anxious at times already. hopefully we will not see any bears or evidence of them, but that being said… any night we sleep in a tent i will be laying there eyes wide open listening closely to each creak and tweet in the forest.
wish me luck!!!
keeping kids content, quite and busy is an important part of the SANITY piece for parents road tripping with kids. it is super important to plan ahead a bit and to know what kinds of activities will keep your kids happy, especially for those long hauls!
we don’t have DVD players in our car (by choice) and don’t have tablets, so we rely on the kids to entertain themselves and each other.
- felt boards are super fun and a wonderful way to get the kids’ imaginations going. they are basically story boards for kids to create worlds with, where all sorts of adventures can take place.
- last year i used cookie sheets as the board, this year i stumbled upon these adorable magnet boards at chapters. they come with magnets, but we will bring along our super, awesome 3D dinosaur magnets, which you can learn how to make HERE.
- i also found a bag of magnet letters at value village for 99 cents.
|these are the magnets i made last year for a road trip. kids LOVED them and they are still in circulation!
we made other magnets as well, which are still in use on our fridge! CLICK HERE and it will take you to how to make these awesome toys!
- i love the idea of pictorial scavenger hunts. since my kids will be 3 and 5 years old, they won’t be able to read a long list of words. but, one with pictures is right up their alley! here’s one by the bird feed NYC, which is great, so i will use their concept, but will gear the lists towards our trip more, using specific road signs i know we will see, wildlife, sites and things. the kids can work together, which i love!
|[ source ]|
- what’s a road trip without family sing-a-longs? here’s a few very fun songs that my boys really love, “old mcdonald had a farm“, “ABC“, “the wheels on the bus“, “the ants go marching “, “
- we do also have a stack of CD’s, MP3’s and sirius radio to choose from for when we need to give our vocal chords a rest. i love to mix it up as well, playing classical, bluegrass or top 40, but sometimes it’s also good to just drive in silence.
- my kids, especially bear, loves to play eye-spy when in the car. we still play the colour instead of the spelling version of the game! counting games are also great! sometimes we just count all the red cars we see, or all the transport trucks and so on.
- other classic faves are (found HERE at MSN): 20 questions, license plate bingo, word chain and more!
- older kids may like mad-libs.
TOYS TO PACK:
- each boy brings his fave stuffed animal.
- we bring about 10 books and just cycle through them. sometimes along the way i will buy a new book as a souvenir for the kids.
- markers, paper, colouring books, activity books and a few stickers.
- small toys like cars, animals, people so the kids can create little imaginary worlds.
- buckets n’ shovels.
- deck of cards, UNO, other small travel sized games.
here’s what our dudes looked like last summer on our trip to the canadian maritimes. each had a plastic basket for toys at arms reach, a bin of books in the middle and it worked great.
- and parents, don’t forget to pack some extra creativity, flexibility and patience. keeping kids peaceful in the back can be tricky at times, and sometimes when the volume of the screaming increases, it’s worth it to stop and get out for a bit. i realize this makes the trip longer, but that’s where being flexible comes into play.
- on our longer stretches of driving, we actually would start after dinner. kids would play, have stories and would eventually fall asleep and we would drive until midnight or so. until we found a motel. it was a great way to make good time!
- before getting in the car to drive we made sure the kids had a chance to run some beans out. whether at a motel or camp site. and we made sure the first leg of driving was short, as it’s not a very fun way to start the day. but, truth be told, maintaining any real schedule was impossible. all bedtimes and nap times flew out the window and we just had to let the kids sleep when they were tired!
PART 1 : ROAD TRIP SERIES!
as with any adventure, i walked away from our summer road trip last year with twenty/twenty hindsight. (read here, PART 1, PART 2) we camped and motelled our way from southern ontario to the eastern coast of canada. there we drove through quebec, new brunswick, prince edward island and nova scotia! from that big trip i learned what we should have packed, what we needed and i thought i would share my insights now that road trip season is almost here! Writing this actually reminded me of the plumber we recently had come and do some work to our bathroom. He had actually traveled quite far to get to us, but don’t worry he didn’t seem bothered in the slightest as he had just picked up his newly leased van. The price that he got it for really put a spring in his step, so I guess that shows the value of having a shop around for deals.
- depending on your departure time, pre-packing your car as much as possible the night before is always a good thing, such a HUGE time saver, plus so much easier without the kids hanging around “helping”. If you’re particularly pushed for space, you might want to consider leasing a bigger vehicle such as this Wichita Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD for the duration of your trip. That way you can pack as many clothes and supplies as you want without having to compromise on comfort!
- clean your house before leaving. that includes cleaning out your fridge and changing the sheets on your bed. when we came home exhausted from our trips i was quite pleased with myself for cleaning the day of our departure.
- clean your car too. yes it gets super yucky on a big trip, but there’s something nice about starting out clean, inside and out.
- don’t forget to write down your odometer pre/ post trip so you can see how many kilometres you actually clocked!
- don’t forget to really psyche yourself up for being flexible and bring some extra patience too!
- when travelling with kids always have food accessible, and not just crackers and chips, but also fruits. i had little tupperware containers for the kids that i would make snacks for them in and then pass them back. it prevented some messes, but unfortunately not all!
- keep wipes, hand cleaner, toilet paper or paper towels handy too! spills happen, as do boogers, pee accidents or puke!
- always have toys, activity books, markers, and books available and accessible for the kids. i had a bin of books in between the two boys (propped on top of sleeping bags) and then each boy had their own basket of cars or animals or whatever.
- have a flashlight accessible up front in the car.
- have a fully stocked first aid kit. make sure nothing is expired!
- jars for collecting treasures is helpful. this tip was given by another mama, and boy am i glad i listened. for all the crab legs and stones and cones we collected the jars ensured safe travels for the treasures!
- a toy/ treat stash that you can pull new books or activities from, to help keep the kids happy during the long drives.
- laundry soap. on nice mornings, i always washed a few pieces of clothing and hung them to dry on our camp site for the day.
- access to a variety of music to fit all kinds of moods and times of day. books on CD are fun too!
- pack clothes by person and by need. i had the kids clothes in one bag, but each kid had a side, so when i needed a clean t-shirt for lion, i knew exactly where to look.
- do not over pack clothes. remember, it is easy to wash items by hand, and on a summer road trip kids end up spending a lot of time in their bathing suits!
- for things like rain gear, coats, sneakers and clothes that were not as needed, we kept in a bin with other items that we only needed so often. having things in bins makes it easy to see what’s inside and also easier to pack, at least in a minivan.
- i had a “kitchen” box with all of our plates, cutlery, cups, cooking pans, mini cutting board, matches, olive oil, dish soap (i brought some from home and just put it in a jar) in it. so when it was time to prepare a meal, i just pulled the kitchen box out and set to work.
- we had another big rubbermaid bin with all the camping stuff; tent, air matters & pump, rope, and tarps. this way when it was time to set up camp everything was together, or when it was time to take camp down, the kids were able to help by putting everything in the right bin.
- go easy on towels. you don’t actually need one for everyone. they are big, take up an enormous amount of space in the bag and take forever to dry! sarongs work great and the kids love ’em! they dry quickly, are tiny when folded up and can used for a variety of reasons, as towels, blankets, scarves, skirts, toga’s, sunshade… you get the idea.
- i had an administrative basket that sat in between the front seats, which contained important items like phone and camera chargers, pens, paper, adult pain killers, extra change, vitamins, extra hair ties, and other important odds and ends.
what did i miss?
what are some of your road trip tips or tricks?
where are you heading to this summer?
this summer is in fact our third major road trip. we will be driving north to thunder bay, the city where dear hubby and i fell in love! we also drove to NYC with the boys that fateful halloween weekend when the nor-easter landed full steam in 2011! you can read about that trip here PART 1, PART 2, PART 3.
– games and activities for while driving, camping and at the beach
– quick, easy and fun snacks and foods to make while on the road and camping
– tips for camping with kids
– what to stock in your first aid kit
*my computer is still being repaired and i am desperately trying to complete my entries on an ancient macbook that is lacking any basic photo editing software. i have attached a few rough pics, but once my computer is back with me, i will edit and post more pictures.
we left canada on a roadtrip to the USA to visit family and attend a joyous wedding. details can be seen here PART 1.
our limits were tested on saturday during the noreaster storm. here is what happened in all of that snow PART 2.
when we woke up on sunday morning and peeked through the curtains to see blue skies and sunshine, i will admit i felt like crying. i was just so relieved! no snow, no storm, no weather issues to be seen anywhere. so, quickly we packed up our room, checked out and hit the streets of new york for our last day there.
we felt optimistic and hopeful of our day and upcoming visit with dear hubby’s sister and her mister. we tromped up 7th street and headed for times square. once there, i was a bit confused why this obscene show of advertising and flashing lights was a tourist attraction, but there we were snapping away with the camera. bear was immediately over stimulated by the whole place and hid in the stroller with the sunshade pulled all the way down, while lion slept in the ergo. our mission was to see the zoo at central park, as promised to the kids. we were also meeting up with dear hubby’s sister for some quality time.
we arrived at the park to open gates and streams of people walking in. we had grabbed a lunch to go and were looking for a spot for a picnic. as we walked along the paths, the reality of the trauma the trees in the park had suffered from the previous day’s storm was devastating.
we were all shocked at the amount of damage to individual trees, but also to the park as a whole. bear and lion walked and ran freely as we explored the wonder that is central park. once dear hubby’s sister joined us we ate lunch on some rocks and then headed to the zoo.
|a hilarious picnic in central park.|
we got a bit lost on the paths and asked a park employee for directions, who surprisingly told us the park was officially closed, therefore the zoo was closed as well. we looked around at the hundreds of people walking, jogging, biking through the park, confused as there were no signs that the park was closed. so, we decided to just walk and go see the alice in wonderland statue.
from there we walked up to the guggenheim, across to lexington and there we hopped on the subway. i was a bit uncertain of getting on with our stroller, but dear hubby forced his way on!
by dinner time it was time to bid farewell to the city that never sleeps and head an hour north to dear hubby’s sister’s place. we took one last look at grand central station and its beauty and glory and then boarded our train north. the kids were tired, we were tired and we just wanted to get to the apartment.
|train ride home.|
well, as the train rolled into our station around 7pm the conductor warned people getting off the train to be careful as the town was still out of power. it was pitch black, slippery and cold. they had lost power saturday afternoon and there was still no sign of it returning. the town was eerie as we made our way up main street, guided only by passing car lights. the local pizza joint was open for business as they had an emergency generator. up in the apartment, there were candles lit and the ambiance was cozy, even though we were all frustrated with the situation.
apparently many of the surrounding communities were all out power and there was talk that it may take until wednesday to have it all up and running again!!! we hunkered down for the night and slept under many blankets, in toques and the kids wore their finnish woolly suits. i had bear to snuggle close with, while dear hubby and lion kept warm in the other room together as the outside temperatures kept dropping to close to -10c.
|homesteader L crushing coffee beans with his handy mortar and pestal.|
on monday morning we still electricity free, so dear hubby’s sister’s mister the ingenious homesteader crushed coffee beans with his mortar and pestle for a hot cuppa coffee in the morning! luckily they had a gas stove so we were also able to make warm porridge and boil water.
we visited a farm dear hubby’s sister worked at in the summer, which bear was so happy to experience.
|walking through the farm.|
it gave him the opportunity to run and play in the snow, which he has been waiting for since, well, forever. we saw pigs, sheep, goats and cows and a donkey. some beautiful chickens and horses. driving to and fro from the glynnwood farm we were again witness to the devastation from the storm; trees down everywhere.
that afternoon it was time to say our good byes and start driving back home to canada. we drove over half way and stopped in the town of bath for a sleep.
|a sleepy lion with muumi mamma.|
|studious bear working on his activity book.|
all in all our trip was an adventure that could only happen once in a lifetime. sure, NYC will be there, but the combinations of weather, no power and the wonderful joys we shared with our friends and family were unforgettable.