Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Adventures’ Category

We finally picked up our new kitten. His name is Dante and he’s an Abyssinian, the same breed as our late pet Gizmo who passed last November. After several days without a little furry life in the house, we decided we wanted another cat, and we found this little guy. We picked him up this past weekend and had an uneventful (thankfully) 6 hour drive back to the GTA. We had brought everything (food, water, litter, etc) and it went well. We were eager to get him settled in and the last couple of days have been super fun.

20180217_10110120180217_10243220180217_10300320180217_10595320180217_15371820180217_15403520180217_15113120180218_13085420180218_121511

We closed off the door to the basement until he gets settled with the main floor and the upstairs. He already knows where everything is (his litter, food, water, etc.). He already knew how to navigate stairs and is pretty gung ho when running up/down them. He loves food, playing, his kitty condo and is curious about everything. He has bursts of energy then conks out and basks in the sun. 🙂 He is still a wee thing (2.5 pounds) and cuteness overload is rampant in our house at the moment.

He slept with us both nights we’ve had him so far and didn’t wake up in the night to get into mischief (that we know of). Maybe we’ve been lucky so far. lol

We’re looking forward to more adventures with our new addition. 🙂

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Now that I’ve recuperated from the whirlwind that is my sister and her two daughters, I can write a blog post about all the fun we had during their holiday visit.

They arrived on the 21st on an empty flight and landed at Billy Bishop airport. With the news showing a jam-packed Pearson airport (busiest day of the year apparently), it made sense to fly to the island airport. Traffic was actually light due to many already being off work.

We got back home and everyone settled in. We made lunch (rigatoni with cherry tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella) then had fun playing a rousing game of Christmas charades. The girls are getting old enough to play games that adult enjoy playing too. 🙂 Fun!! We then headed out to Michael’s to get some holiday craft materials that we wanted to tackle during their stay (more on these later!).

We were also cat-sitting for my sister-in-law’s cat Dusty and after a nervous first day, he adjusted quickly and joined in some of the activities. 🙂

25994921_10159740136120082_2674872485438241547_n

The following day we were planning to go to the Distillery District to see the Christmas Market. During the day, we made the first batch of treats: Smore’s Cookies. They were really yummy and my kitchen helpers were awesome!

25552173_10159729003740082_4886421759083856823_n25994550_10159729003755082_8961101618819293651_n25551971_10159729004170082_4814719030946075649_n

The girls also wrote their letters to Santa for Jingles the Elf to bring them to him. This is a kit that comes with magical paper (and a storybook explaining it all) that shrinks when you bake it (with the help of an adult) so they’re small enough for the elf to carry back to Santa. It was really neat! You can see the large letter in the first pic. Then, the shrunken versions in the 2nd and 3rd pic:

25994810_10159729004360082_2360801266256066955_n26055591_10159729005180082_5525341971280833591_n25994944_10159729044755082_6695385453692820194_n

We also played 5 Second Rule, a fun and simple game where a player has to name 3 things that fit the category in 5 seconds. This was a lot of fun!

25594210_10159731870225082_2410792068495860632_n

Next was our visit to the Christmas Market. We all hopped on the GO train, played a Christmas-themed version of the alphabet game all the way downtown and got to the market just as the sun was setting and the lights sparkled. 🙂

25659691_10159724830305082_4808182105023800181_n (1)

25550289_10159724830800082_1373925847426444329_n25550648_10159724830775082_1604733040646879095_n25551835_10159724831095082_3446460481756072216_n25552002_10159724830785082_3833508101370206279_n25592144_10159724830985082_9082034383342170797_n25593856_10159724841830082_5387231866352405304_n25594023_10159724830965082_6163972100042742828_n25594037_10159724831080082_7511584573336325078_n (1)25659649_10159724831495082_7873404915311920183_n

On the way back to Union Station, we stopped for dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory and it was warm and cozy. Their Christmas decor was fantastic – just what we needed to warm up!

25659574_10159724842835082_7998783250341813911_n

The next day we made the next batch of cookies; these were mainly for Uncle Chris: Maple Bacon Cookies. Holy moly were they ever good!

25593841_10159731870045082_8276445302570604034_n.jpg

We made the first craft which was a 3d puzzle-like train made out of foam which was harder than it looked. On the box, they provide a suggested time to finish it (an hour I believe) and we did it in that amount of time:

25994628_10159731869775082_1994539335719723805_n26001192_10159731869925082_6365520026478242654_n

We played a bit more charades then got ready for our “Christmas by Lamplight” evening at Black Creek Village. We drove: Drove to the village and drove Uncle Chris crazy with our carol-singing in the car. 🙂 Ha! The village itself was beautifully decorated for the holidays and most of the buildings had something festive going on – see a more complete post here. In short, it was amazing. I’d go back in a heartbeat – highly recommended!!

The next day we made cinnamon-baked doughnuts. Oh my.

25659846_10159731870675082_2868094154380381947_n

Baking is hard work:

26055625_10159731870230082_315427070886495072_n

Had Cadbury hot chocolate (best ever – all others have now been ruined):

25659884_10159724829880082_7083240912511011298_n

We had an impromptu coloring session:

26001166_10159731870200082_7006412714452984061_n.jpg

We finished up some wrapping to make sure we were all ready for the big day. We all dressed up and had a nice charcuterie, cheese, cracker and fruit dinner with cranberry orange punch (cranberry cocktail, orange juice, sparkling water, cinnamon stick and couple of cloves). I could eat it every day. 🙂  But then I’d end up looking like Santa, so, no.

25659995_10159731871965082_4065385175689011190_n

25591632_10159731871270082_8431644797703420061_n25592159_10159731871065082_4065447311285945566_n

We watched a holiday movie (I lost track of which one!!) then the kids were off to bed to try to get some sleep before Santa’s arrival tomorrow morning.  We left out some cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer.

25552411_10159731873630082_7342076153317934188_n

Maddie read Twas the night Before Christmas to us. 🙂

25594203_10159731873620082_4389929444755460106_n

We managed to take a pic of the tree after Santa came 🙂

25659475_10159731895865082_8804887983758041666_n25994504_10159731884990082_1737746113721905580_n26112244_10159731895500082_8185744772636775841_n

Dec 25th – Christmas Morning!!!! Sue, Chris and I grabbed our coffees, cookies and doughnuts and the kids opened their stockings. They joined us for cookies, then tackled the gifts. 🙂  Everyone was very happy. I loved what I received from kitchen goodies from Chris (a beautiful pan, cutting boards and tools that I needed) to an awesome winter scarf and Harry Potter slippers from Sue. It was a great success!

25591992_10159733425285082_7845713605907881745_n26047222_10159734543620082_3431512334759203381_n25594189_10159734544240082_2000613808570010702_n25594242_10159734545130082_801744610601829551_n

The girls spent most of the day playing; we took a break for lunch (leftover meats and cheeses), then we started on dinner! The adults kicked off the festivities with a bit of brandy. 🙂

25994602_10159735290285082_7536073408368966789_n

25994665_10159915077840245_2481590352058613363_n26047260_10159915077575245_5414193900597319602_n

Then we watched The Sound of Music – it’s tradition! And off to bed!

25594102_10159736836725082_3110095018487825997_n

On the 26th, after having eaten a load of treats and lord knows what else, we headed out to Crawford Lake to enjoy the outdoors and hiked the boardwalk around the lake. It was a cold one but we were all bundled up and pretty much the only ones there! Even the drive up was quiet and scenic.

26165169_10159740144100082_3551673955640247568_n26047052_10159740143505082_6764696606275177484_n26055905_10159918226390245_8347130059840623877_n26111969_10159740143630082_7087969767516959791_n26047151_10159740143705082_5156841278975496094_n25660117_10159918226340245_6837759604618664008_n26166787_10159918226275245_4652192296204654439_n25994596_10159918226920245_5426287786215624054_n25994713_10159918226545245_764213131021337758_n

We stopped for lunch at Boston Pizza on the way back home and made Christmas ornaments – we got the makings of this from Michael’s as well and these turned out great!
25994955_10159740151495082_8087328986270696205_n

We braved the cold again the following day and walked the trails near our house on our way to Starbucks to warm up. We came across a dad and his son tobogganing in the area (we heard the dad screaming from a couple of blocks away) and he asked Sienna and Maddie if they would like a ride (to spare him from having to go again teehee). The girls were super excited to have a run. 🙂

26047433_10159742710225082_922254116962781663_n26165879_10159742710685082_8742626036155124505_n

We had fun playing follow the leader on the way back to warm up. There was hopping and jumping involved. Luckily, no video. 🙂

26169513_10159743127415082_7461510814692179662_n

And that’s it! We survived another family visit, packed as many holiday activities as we could and from what I hear, the girls are already interested in coming back to Aunt Val’s next Christmas. 🙂 A year to recover should be enough. I think.

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

Colosseum

We’ve been planning our trip to Italy for a couple of months or so now and will be visiting Rome and Florence in the fall, with day trips to Naples/Pompei (from Rome) and Siena/San Gimignano/Chianti/Monteriggioni (from Florence).

We’ll be in Italy for 11 days, which is the sweet spot for Chris and I – we start getting antsy for home at around the ten-day mark – don’t ask me why.

Below is our itinerary and as most Europe flights from North America, we’ll be taking an overnight flight which has us landing in Rome midday local time. I’m unable to sleep on a plane but try to stay awake until night-time (local time) to adjust to local time as quickly as possible.

We’ve booked our hotels, as well as the tours linked below. We’ll be buying the Roma Pass (unlimited public transportation and free entry to 2 museums) and the Firenze card (free entry to museums).

  • Day 1: Arrive in Rome: Walk/Explore, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps.
  • Day 2:
    • AM: Vatican tour (skip the line)  for Vatican museums, St. Peter’s and Sistine Chapel
    • PM: Castel Sant’Angelo
    • 5:30pm: Roman Food Tour – progressive tour that stops in various spots in Rome for food and wine tastings.
  • Day 3: Day trip to Naples and Pompei – tour
  • Day 4:
    • AM: Ancient Rome and Colosseum tour (skip the line/beat the crowds)
    • PM: Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini (with all the “old” stuff planned, this looked like a cool option for something different – it combines ruins with virtual recreation to show what a roman villa would have looked like, as well as a basilica and WW2 bunker).
  • Day 5:
    • Rome to Florence by train
    • AM: Accademia museum
    • PM: Santa Maria Novella church and museum
  • Day 6:
    • AM: Duomo, Baptistery, Campanile (Bell Tower)
    • PM: Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens (probably have lunch in the gardens)
  • Day 7: Day trip to Siena, San Gimignano, Chianti (lunch at Tuscan winery), Monteriggioni midieval fortress
  • Day 8:
    • AM: UIffizi Gallery
    • PM: Palazzo Vecchio, Mercato del Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio, Santa Trinita, Loggia del Lanzi, Santa Croce
  • Day 9: Free time in Florence for shopping, exploring, and visiting anything we ran out of time (or energy) to visit previously.
  • Day 10: Free time in Florence
  • Day 11: Depart

So excited to see the art and ruins, eat amazing food, drink fabulous wine and get lost in the side streets of Roma and Firenze. Ciao!! 🙂

 

 

Read Full Post »

I’ve updated my Life List and now that we’ve decided what our trip will be for 2017 (Italia, here we come!), that helped identify which Life List items I’ll be crossing off the list this year – see below:

  • Travel to Italy
  • See the Sistine Chapel (Rome, Italy)
  • See the Colosseum (Rome, Italy)
  • Tour Tuscany (planning on San Gimignano, Siena)
  • Train ride in Europe (we’re planning on taking a train between Rome and Florence)
  • Have gelato in Italy
  • Enjoy pasta and wine in Italy
  • Eat pizza in Naples (planning a day trip from Rome to Pompeii, Naples, Mt Vesuvius)

And the non-travel related items to tackle in 2017 are:

  • Grow a fruit tree
  • Picnic in a vineyard
  • Have a proper English tea
  • Make a craft for every season/holiday for 1 year
  • Cook a whole fish
  • Have a home emergency kit
  • Learn 5 homestead skills (in progress – will continue)
  • Read 30 books
  • Cook 30 new recipes
  • Watch 50 movies

Not too shabby 🙂 I better get moving!

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

A couple of months ago, I had submitted our entry for the Christmas Town Lottery and received our date/time for our visit to Christmas Town at the Mountsberg Conservation Area. Every year, Mountsberg puts on a Santa’s Village type Christmas Town with related activities and it’s awesome. And today was the day! Which was perfect since the forecast was calling for snow and there had been some flurries in the past coupe of days in the area.

Chris and I met up with his sister (also my bestie) and her family and we headed to the park. We arrived and checked into the Visitor’s Centre, where they confirmed the names of the kids attending. We still had a little under an hour before our wagon ride to Christmas Town so we explored the play barn, animal farm (in the new barn), a visit with a local owl Octavius and the Elf Academy where the kids (both big and small) enjoyed some fun activities. The owl was a beautiful bird:

img_6346

img_6348

img_6349

When it was time for our wagon ride, our guide Christine gathered the troops from the Elf Academy and led us to the wagon ride where we got to sing Jingle Bells on our way to Santa.

img_6350

Right before our arrival, we passed the “Temporary North Pole”. 🙂

img_6352

In the town were Santa’s Workshop where you could hear the elves working on toys. (When you can’t hear anything it means they’re likely working on stuffed animals :)).

img_6353

The reindeer flight academy…

img_6354

And Parcel Pickup where the elves drop off the toys for the naughty and nice lists.

img_6355

img_6356

img_6357

There were nice touches everywhere to add to the festive ambiance:

img_6358

We were greeted by Mrs. Claus and invited into Santa’s cabin:

img_6359

Our niece and nephew got to tell Santa what they would like for Christmas and received candy canes from Santa and an ornament from Mrs. Claus.

img_6360

We got to sample Mrs. Claus’ cookies and hot chocolate too. The kids got to decorate their cookie. 🙂

img_6361

img_6362

img_6364

We took some pics with the town props too…

img_6367

img_6365

img_6372

Then headed over for a closer look at the Reindeer Flight Academy – which was equipped with flight simulator and all!

img_6368

img_6369

img_6370

img_6371

It was a great day and the occasional flurry just added to the magic of the holidays. 🙂

Well done Mountsberg!!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »