Sunny Weather Ramblings: Bonus Family-Free Weekend

Last weekend I got a bonus family-free weekend!  Brian took the kidlets camping nearby with friends and I stayed home.Looks like they enjoyed their swimming and treats I wouldn't normally let them have!

I cleaned bedroom walls, put up kid artwork that’s been waiting for a while, rearranged the furniture in the boys’ room, changed my mind and rearranged it again, changed my mind again and decided to put it all back almost exactly the same way it started, vacuumed, washed laundry, washed dishes, cleaned walls, and basically crossed about 20 or more things off my to-do list.  You know, those things that never seem to get done because it’s just too hard to do them with kids in the house.  Yeah.  Tons of that stuff done.

I also made time to watch tv, sew, read a book, watch a movie, crochet, and I went to the movie theatre to see a zombie movie.  Definitely can’t do that with kids in tow…  ;)

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Sunny Weather Ramblings: My Annual Family-Free Vacation

Pretty!A few years ago, Brian started taking the kidlets camping for a weekend with his brother, their “Uncle Meatball.”  Yes, that is his nickname.  Yes, he likes it.  And yes, even other people now use that nickname for him.

Hanging with Uncle MeatballThis year’s trip took them to Algonquin Park for the first time.

Time for a hikeIt was also the first time the Small Fry was able to tag along.

200 year old tree -- Uncle Meatball is on the other side and they still can't reac all the way around!They enjoyed their weekend of swimming, hiking, and eating foods they aren’t otherwise allowed to eat (like chips, pop, “kinder-coffee,” and marshmallows).

Love their time with DaddyAnd I enjoyed my annual family-free vacation.  Sort of.  See, I went to hang out at my mom’s place.  But as it turns out, vacationing at her house can be a lot of hard work.  The first day, I worked on her flower gardens but got interrupted by a freakishly huge storm (a tornado touched down less than an hour away).

The kidlets have figured out how to make the picnic table work for themThis, of course, was followed by a mad dash to save as many of the clothes, antiques, and other yard sale items that were set out in the driveway and the yard.  And the next day was spent mainly in cleaning up the mess and working in her thrift shop.

Camping here also involved learning about loggingFortunately, I did also get to spend some time in the pool.  So it turned out to be an okay weekend, even though it was busy.  Learning about the logging history in Algonquin Park

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Sunny Weather Ramblings: Art Show

Just a quick peek at some of Anna’s art from her Art Camp show…

Practice with tiling, blending, painting, drawing, cutting, gluing, papier mache, and more!

Practice with tiling, blending, painting, drawing, cutting, gluing, papier mache, and more!

Clay sculptures based on the cute little singer creatures from Flushed Away.

Clay sculptures based on the cute little singing creatures from Flushed Away.

Oh!  And some of last year's creations, too!

Oh! And some of last year’s creations, too!

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Sunny Weather Ramblings: Canada Day and Art Camp

I know, I know…..  I’m only about a month late to the party!  I swear, I’m working hard on catching up.  Really, I am…

We added our red finger prints to this artwork last year.  Fun to see it displayed this year!Anna was at art camp the first week of July this year so we spent Canada Day with just the boys.  It was a little weird not having Anna there but we really enjoyed ourselves at Major’s Hill Park, taking in some of the more kid-friendly activities.

It was kind of a crazy week — everything was going well until Thursday.  I dropped Anna off at camp for the day (about 25 minutes drive out of town) and on my way back into Ottawa, the brakes fell off my van!  Okay, that’s a little over dramatic.  There was a loud thunk and then a “chunk, chunk, chunk” sound as I pulled off to the side of the highway.  Turns out that one of the bolts that hold the brakes in place broke or something (it was completely gone) on one wheel and the entire brake caliper had fallen off.  After over an hour, I started to walk up the ramp with the boys in tow and a stranger finally stopped to offer help (thank goodness!  and thank you stranger Julie!).  I suppose it’s time I finally go back to carrying a cell phone…  :(  Thankfully, my brother-in-law was able to come and give us a ride home and take Brian back to the van to wait for the tow truck.  I hate to wake him during the day (night work can be brutal when you live with kids) but I think this time it was warranted.  We ended up with a relatively inexpensive repair (wahoo!) and a nice little rental car for a couple of days.  Thankfully, since Anna just turned 8 she no longer needs a booster seat and we can once again fit the whole family into a car!

After all that craziness it was really relaxing to go to Anna’s first art show at the end of the week.  It was really great!  All the kids had hung and displayed all the art work they’d done all week and all the parents came and had tea and treats and oohed and ahhed all their hard work.

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Sunny Weather Ramblings: RCMP Sunset Ceremonies

Wow!  I have wanted to go to this for years and have always seemed to miss the dates somehow.  I am SO GLAD we went this year!First time at the Sunset Ceremonies

The RCMP Sunset Ceremonies is an event you should not miss!  There’s free admission and parking but come early because there will be thousands of people crowding in!  It’s held at the RCMP stables at the Canadian Police College in Ottawa (the home of the Musical Ride).

When we arrived, I thought we were going to see just a show of the musical ride so I was surprised at how much was included in the show!  There was an Equestrian Abilities Show, Mounted Arms Display (think shooting pistols at balloons while jumping over obstacles), the Central Band of the Canadian Forces, pipes and drums and highland dancers, Ottawa Valley Search and Rescue Dogs, and ….  and…  and …

Tactical Unit demonstrationThis dramatic demonstration of the tactical unit.  There were gunshots and a mock car chase, then some flash-bangs and a before you know it the criminals have been pulled through the windows and arrested!  At first, Noah was a little worried that it might all be real but after we explained to him that it was just a demonstration he was pretty excited.

And of course, the night ends with the amazing talents of the RCMP Musical Ride!Musical Ride

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Sunny Weather Ramblings: 8th Birthday

In June our not-so-little-any-more girl turned eight!

Birthday cake and roses from dadShe deliberated on birthday pie or birthday cherry cobbler but eventually settled on a chocolate cake.  As long as it had pink and purple icing.  She was also very happy with the roses from Daddy…

Anna got this game (Story Smash-Up) for her birthday.  If you’re looking for good resources for a beginner reader this is a lot of fun.  Each card has different pictures and words or phrases from Disney movies.  Kids have to collect the cards and use them in the correct order to make sentences.  Lots of nonsense.  Lots of laughter.  Lots of reading practice for little brother.Perfect game for beginner readers:  Story Smash-Up

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Sunny Weather Ramblings: Vacation Fun

In June we had a great little family vacation.  We started off learning a valuable lesson:  introducing Small Fry to Reid’s Dairy milk shakes may have been a bad idea.

He loved the strawberry milkshake!  (Who doesn’t?)  BUT after he finished his drink, we had to listen to him beg, plead, cry, and beg some more for “mo milkshaaaaaaaakkke!” all the way to Toronto.  And after a nearly sleepless night in a hotel (kidlets get way too excited about sleeping in a strange room!) we had to go over the whole thing again at breakfast the next morning.  That kid just won’t give up!  Loves his milkshakes.  Apparently.

We ended our little vacation on a much more relaxed note by camping with the youth group Brian had been leading for the past year.  It was a great way to end the year with all the teens and their families.  And there were no milkshakes.So excited for the first camping trip of the season!

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