Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

This year’s ornament is a mini lobster trap to commemorate our amazing trip to the Maritimes this past summer.


This is our 8th year doing this tradition and it’s always fun to unwrap all our “tradition” ornaments and giggle or oooh and aaah at the memories they bring back. 🙂


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I just realized that I hadn’t posted our traditional Xmas ornament pic from last year! Here it is – we did a lot of hiking last year and when we found this little guy, figured it was fitting. 🙂


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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:




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.


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


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 :)).


The reindeer flight academy…


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




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


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


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.


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




We took some pics with the town props too…




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





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

Well done Mountsberg!!

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As we do every year, we purchase an ornament that reflects a key event that we really enjoyed in the past year, whether it’s a trip, activity, experience or interest, and hang it at the top of our tree. we’ve been doing this since 2008 and it’s fun to see all the past years’ ornaments on the tree (we have other traditional ornaments as well…or else the tree would be pretty bare lol). Our past ornaments include:

  • 2009: Mini washing machine (after we moved to Toronto, our washing machine door latch broke and we went without a machine for 40 days. we can laugh now but it was quite the ordeal at the time – worth remembering with a giggle when we see our ornament)
  • 2010: Wine bottle for our numerous winery tours and visits in Niagara on the Lake
  • 2011: A margarita glass with a little worm (named Alonzo) sunbathing in it for our Caribbean cruise
  • 2012: We went to Alaska in May and purchased a little mask ornament made with beaver and reindeer fur.
  • 2013: We went to Paris in the spring and loved every minute of it. We got a Paris-themed ornament made of metal showing landmarks that we visited.

Last February we went to Hawaii and had a great time so we picked up our annual ornament while we were there.

Meet our hula girl, Hana (named for the road to Hana scenic drive). Isn’t she lovely? 🙂


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My sister and her two daughters came down to visit (Dec 26 to 30) and as usual, we prepared ourselves for the whirlwind they bring with them. 🙂 We had lots of outings and activities planned and although traditional winter activities weren’t in the cards (we don’t have any snow!), we still enjoyed the outdoors.

We watched holiday movies as well as Harry Potter 3, listened to lots of music (both Christmas and pop songs the girls were into these days), had an “Austrian-themed” dinner (for the Sound of Music) with kerchiefs in our hair. Chris didn’t want to wear any lederhosen. 🙂 We did lots of holiday crafts including painting tree ornaments, making snowflakes and ballerina snowflake skirts, painting nutcracker figures, and more.

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The tree:

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We went to the ROM where the girls enjoyed the dinosaurs and animal exhibits. We visited the Canadian wing as well and the girls got to make origami figures at one of the workshop tables as well. We got to hold snakes (Life List item crossed off – woohoo!). The one I held was a black rat snake from Ontario. He was heavier than I expected:

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Then we brought the girls skating at the Harbourfront Natrel rink (great view of Lake Ontario here and very festive with lights and music):


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We had a holiday turkey lunch followed by more skating at Bronte Creek Provincial Park. This rink was much less crowded and a good size.


On Monday we went to the Metro Toronto Zoo to see the winter animals. It was much less crowded than our summer visits so in a way, it was more enjoyable. We visited the giant panda exhibit (here from 2013 to 2018), reindeer, a very playful polar bear, a snow leopard, red pandas, an adorable arctic fox, arctic wolves, and many more!

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After the zoo, we went to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre which was pretty awesome for Lego fans. There are a couple of rides, 4D movies (4 movies that play in rotation), different games and play areas themed for the various types of legos. They had cool displays of Toronto landmarks in Miniland:




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The girls in the Lego Friends area:




The whole area is probably a parent’s worst nightmare with lego pieces all over the floor hehehe but it was fun. Of course we got to build some stuff ourselves. Go Habs Go!! 🙂

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Another great visit!

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I realized that I neglected to post what our annual ornament was this year. Since our trip to Paris was quite the highlight, we opted to find something that would remind us of that trip:


It’s made of metal and has four popular Paris monuments on it including the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame and the pyramid of the Louvre. It has red, white and blue beads dangling from it as well as the word Paris. 🙂

I also wanted to include an honorable mention for this adorable ornament received as a gift (thanks Olga!!) that now has a proud spot on our tree as well. I have named her Clarice (my reindeer counterpart). She is super cute and that looks a lot like cookie batter in her bowl. 🙂


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Since my husband was scheduled to work over the holidays this year, we were unable to make the trip to Montreal to spend the holidays with family. BUT – my sister came down to visit with her two daughters from the 21st to the 24th so at least we got to see some of the fam at Christmas. 🙂 It was a fun-filled few days – they arrived Thursday night – here’s a recap.

Friday we did some grocery shopping since I hadn’t had time to go before their arrival. We stayed close to home on Friday and worked on snowglobe molds, opened presents and had fun at a “Paris Night” themed dinner.



Funniest part of this is Chris struggling to free a doll from the box. 🙂





After dinner we watched the Michael Buble Christmas special and enjoyed some Aramula & Egg Nog cocktails. 🙂

Saturday we headed out to the Black Creek Pioneer Village which was amazing at this time of year – they even had a bit of snow up there – first snow we’ve seen all winter! Black Creek is an actual village set in pioneer times (approx 1861) that you walk through and visit all the different buildings (doctor’s office, schoolhouse, blacksmith, town hall, halfway house and inn, cooper, saddlery, etc.). It was so much fun and all the Christmas decorations made it a very magical experience.

Sue and the girls at the entrance:



The Town Hall where the kids got to decorate cookies:




Learning how to weave on a mini loom:


The doctor’s office:


The printing office:


That’s a lot of wood. 🙂


At Santa’s Cottage:







The wagon in front of the Halfway House and Inn




Sue and I LOVED this village – it was so much fun visiting the different buildings and hearing all about how they did things in those days. Super fun – highly recommended!

We had a late lunch at Red Lobster and we went to see the movie Rise of the Guardians – great holiday film.

Sunday morning was Cookie Mania and I had elves to help me.





We watched the Smurfs Christmas movie, enjoyed our turkey dinner, then watched the Sound of Music – classic! Everyone was pooped by the end.

Angry Birds was a hit on the iPad…they’re addicted…




Drove the troops back to the airport this morning – glad that we had such a festive and fun past few days!!

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