my kind of day

What a crazy week it was with all the back to school thing both for me and for the boys and the back to old (and many new) routines.  Friday night isn’t coming fast enough this week for me.  At least it’s all starting with a long weekend; I’ll take that, thank you!

Here’s a little recap of our last weekend.  Hopefully it will inspire you for this next one!

So there’s this small village, about 45 minutes from Ottawa called Vankleek Hill.  Small place, old charming houses, cute little boutiques, with an awesome friendly community where it seems like every weekend is being celebrated.  My kind of place!  So I was having lunch with the boys in Brian’s hometown as we had planned to visit the local fair when my nephew burst out of nowhere saying they were going to the maze in Vankleek Hill; a giant corn maze!  Right there and then, we changed our plans and made our way to Ouimet Farm Adventure.

I had seen their FB page, heard a lot about it, seen ads and drove in front of it a few times, while never taking the time so stop.  I was impressed the minute I got out of the car.  There was a project in Prescott Russell to paint masterpieces into farm silos.  Ouimet has one and it’s awesome; it’s so beautiful.  I now want to check them all out.  Fall bucket list I guess.  So once we got inside the gates, the boys went crazy with the gigantic bouncer.  So much fun.  They just love bouncers.  Then they pumped water to race rubber duckies.  Another win.

Once it was time for the maze, we teamed up with my sister-in-law and her family, got a few maps and got ready, or kinda ready, cause we were not!  We had no clue what to do, where to go and how to find stuff.  Finally, we managed (or were lucky enough) to find the first clue within minutes, so that helped us.  But man, this maze was hard.  You can choose to do the easy route, medium or hard.  We did the hard route, and it’s really hard… but, after a mere 1 hour and 2 minutes, we finally made it out!  Now I can’t wait to do it again this fall with other people, and do a race, and win because I’ve already did it!  They boys LOVED it, I thought they would be bored but they couldn’t wait to find the next clue and they loved to fill out their maps.  It’s really a great family activity.

We will for sure be going back.  We had a family diner to attend that day so we had to cut our trip short, but we will make sure to spend more time next time we visit.  I think maybe we should buy a house and move there… we were there last weekend for the maze, we’re going back next weekend for the Festival of Flavours, and then two weeks later we’re spending the entire weekend there as there’s no way Brian would miss a minute of Beau’s Oktoberfest!

Yeah, if there was a place I’d move to, I’d say it would be in Vankleek Hill, it’s just so pretty.  But for now, as a tourist visiting this cute little town many times a year, I got to say ‘keep up the good work VKH people, and Ouimet Farm, and other businesses, we will see you soon!’.

 

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o christmas tree

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Christmas tree, hot cocoa and reindeer’s… all favorites of mine!  All found at one of my favorite places: Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park.

I always wanted to see real reindeer’s, you know like the one Mariah Carey pets in her Christmas album… well I found them at this beautiful Christmas Tree Farm!

When Liam was one and Logan only a few months old, I started to search for Christmas Tree Farms in our region. We always had real Christmas Trees that we bought from a local merchant, but that year I wanted to go out and cut our own tree and take pictures with the kids. So I found many places where you could cut your own tree, but the most interesting one of them all was definitely that cute place I found in Beckwith, ‘just outside of Ottawa’ I told Brian.

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I remember Brian not being really enthusiastic about going there the first time.  He did complain for most of the drive there, saying he couldn’t believe we were driving 2 hours to get a tree… but last weekend marked the 5th year in a row that we go there on the first Saturday of December to get our Christmas Tree, and now it has become a family tradition that he wouldn’t miss. Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park is not that far, it’s about 30 minutes from downtown Ottawa, so one hour from home.  But I would easily drive 3 hours to get there, I just love this place!

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The family that owns the farm is the best.  They make you feel like old friends. Remembering you, remembering your kids, and remembering that you want the biggest tree you can find!

The farm is huge, you can visit Santa workshop, you can skate, go through candy cane lane or a hay maze, tubing, warm up in a cabin or by the outside bonfire, all while sipping your hot cocoa.  Tractor wagon rides take you to one of the trees lots, where you will find your perfect tree, cut it, and then bring it home.  It’s never an easy job, these things are sturdy… and it’s quite a workout… well that’s what Brian tells me!

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We have a corny tradition… we look for the tree we want, and once we found it, we put little surprises under it for the boys to find.  We walk away for a minute or two, and then we bring them back closer to it so they can find the surprises and our tree by themselves… and that’s how they pick our tree every year!  They love it!  One year they found Rudolph and Clarice stuffed animals, then some Elf on the shelf ornaments.  They know they’ll find something for them when they spot our magic tree!  Last year, the magic even brought me some chocolate… I just loved it! (Thanks Mom)a4

The first couple times, we went with the boys, then the 3rd time we brought my Mom and Frank, last year Mom and Frank and Jojo and Lulu came; and this year Brian’s dad Joe was added to the group.  Just like Brian the first year, he couldn’t believe we were driving that far to get our tree, but I’m pretty sure he’ll be back next year!  We love to have our family with us.  It’s the perfect early December/holiday activity.

The best part for me are the reindeers.  They are gorgeous.  I could spend hours just looking at them.  The horns are spectacular.  We even got to bring 3 horns home in the last few years… perfect Christmas decorations!  We take a LOTS of picture, we laugh and we smile all day long!a23

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Once we get home, we put the tree up, then Brian spends at least 20 minutes making sure it’s going to stay up (something we forgot do the first couple year!!!), and then while I prepare a big pasta diner for everyone, they all decorate our beautiful tree. Family is the best, Christmas is the best and Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park helps make the perfect memories.

You should definitely visit… the holidays aren’t even started yet and I can’t wait to go back to that place next year!

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