Thinking of travelling to Eastern Ontario? You must read about:

Thinking of travelling to Eastern Ontario? You must read about:

Dinosaurs, Jesus, Pizza
travel to Eastern Ontario from Toronto and or Ottawa
Image By Matthew Lightstorm

What do dinosaurs, Jesus and pizza have in common? All three were part of my great staycation during a one day trip to Eastern Ontario. During these pandemic times, who says you can’t find excitement, spirituality and good food all in one day? The idea of this adventure stemmed from an old bookmark of an apparition of Mother Mary which was reported to have occurred sometime in the 90’s on the Greensides’ Farm in Marmora, Ontario. I had always found the phenomena of apparitions interesting, not only for their spiritual value but also because of their intrigue of the unknown. School aged family members loved the idea of visiting a drive-thru dinosaur park along the way, but people of all ages can also enjoy the indoor reptile zoo.

This is a great day trip for anyone travelling from Toronto or Ottawa and can also be incorporated into a longer vacation as there are many fascinating things to explore in this area. Driving from Toronto, our first main attraction within the first 90 minutes was the drive-thru Dinosaur park located in the small town of Indian River.

Indian River Reptile & Dinosaur Park

Indian River, Ontario, https://reptileanddinosaurpark.org
Indian River Reptile & Dinosaur Park
Vacation
Image By Matthew Lightstorm

The Indian River Reptile & Dinosaur Park is the best drive-thru park adventure I have ever experienced anywhere in Ontario. It took about 30 minutes to drive through the whole park with over 50 life-like dinosaur exhibits on display. The kids and adults loved the self-guided tour where there were many opportunities to take close up pictures of our favourite dinosaurs. There are plenty of things to do at this place including shopping in the gift shop for reptile memorabilia, checking out the enormous collection of live reptiles, and also outdoor mini golf.

Greensides’ Farm

We continued to travel east along Highway 7 for about 30 minutes to reach our next destination of Greensides’ Farm located in Marmora, Ontario, but not before we took note of the wonderful scenic towns of Norwood and Havelock–where we stopped for a quick Tim Horton’s coffee. We eventually reached Greensides’ Farm and were greeted by a few patrons who directed us along a path, which led us through a beautiful walk with the Stations of the Cross honouring Jesus; which eventually led us to the top of a hill where a shrine had been built to honour the appearance of Mother Mary. At the shrine we said a few prayers for our family member who had recently passed away and paid tribute to the message of Jesus with the hope that world peace could be achieved one day.

Greensides' Farm, Marmora, Ontario, 
Religious Retreat, Mother Mary, Stations of the Cross, Jesus, Christian, Spiritual, Vacation
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Greensides+Farm/@44.4941182,-77.6320185,16z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x0:0xea6ae73844b3bafe!2sGreensides+Farm!8m2!3d44.4938886!4d-77.633027!3m4!1s0x0:0xea6ae73844b3bafe!8m2!3d44.4938886!4d-77.633027
Image By Matthew Lightstorm

Theo’s Pizzeria

Of course, after all the walking and hiking at Greensides’ Farm, we were ready to devour just about anything, but we were also very careful not to just settle for a mediocre meal. We had made the long journey and rightfully so, we thought that we should make an effort to find a most suitable establishment to eat great food. Our 10 minute online search led us to Theo’s Pizzeria which was conveniently located 4 minutes from the farm in the centre of the town of Marmora. (We also made a note that there is a scenic Marmora Mine to visit next time we are travelling to the area.) We arrived at Theo’s Pizzeria with great enthusiasm and were thrilled with all of the unique menu items. We ordered burgers, Hawaiian pizza, sweet potato fries, gourmet dipping sauces and the rest was a food extravaganza of flavour and delight. Best of all, looking through the large glass window into this quiet little town, made the food experience that much cozier and pleasurable.

Theo's Pizza, Marmora, Ontario, Pizza, Pizzeria, Food, Vacation, Cozy, Casual Dining, Take-Out
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Theos+Pizzeria/@44.4823661,-77.6831537,17z/data=!4m22!1m16!4m15!1m6!1m2!1s0x4cd35b34ceb69bdd:0x7b0393d97c237532!2sTheos+Pizzeria,+20+Forsyth+St,+Marmora,+ON+K0K+2M0!2m2!1d-77.6826149!2d44.4834966!1m6!1m2!1s0x4cd34574e32f496f:0xea6ae73844b3bafe!2sGreensides+Farm,+15+Greenside+Ln,+Marmora,+ON+K0K+2M0!2m2!1d-77.633027!2d44.4938886!3e0!3m4!1s0x4cd35b34ceb69bdd:0x7b0393d97c237532!8m2!3d44.4834966!4d-77.6826149
Image By Matthew Lightstorm

Next time you’re looking to do something closer to home and off the beaten track, think about taking the ultimate day tour in Eastern Ontario–Dinosaurs, Jesus and Pizza. Sometimes we can be pleasantly surprised by the hidden gems we find along the journey and the vacation begins to unfold in ways unexpected. Let us know what you think about our travel stories and how you can relate with your new discoveries while travelling?

Thinking of travelling to Eastern Ontario? You must read about:

Thinking of travelling to Eastern Ontario? You must read about:

Dinosaurs, Jesus, Pizza
travel to Eastern Ontario from Toronto and or Ottawa
Image By Matthew Lightstorm

What do dinosaurs, Jesus and pizza have in common? All three were part of my great staycation during a one day trip to Eastern Ontario. During these pandemic times, who says you can’t find excitement, spirituality and good food all in one day? The idea of this adventure stemmed from an old bookmark of an apparition of Mother Mary which was reported to have occurred sometime in the 90’s on the Greensides’ Farm in Marmora, Ontario. I had always found the phenomena of apparitions interesting, not only for their spiritual value but also because of their intrigue of the unknown. School aged family members loved the idea of visiting a drive-thru dinosaur park along the way, but people of all ages can also enjoy the indoor reptile zoo.

This is a great day trip for anyone travelling from Toronto or Ottawa and can also be incorporated into a longer vacation as there are many fascinating things to explore in this area. Driving from Toronto, our first main attraction within the first 90 minutes was the drive-thru Dinosaur park located in the small town of Indian River.

Indian River Reptile & Dinosaur Park

Indian River, Ontario, https://reptileanddinosaurpark.org
Indian River Reptile & Dinosaur Park
Vacation
Image By Matthew Lightstorm

The Indian River Reptile & Dinosaur Park is the best drive-thru park adventure I have ever experienced anywhere in Ontario. It took about 30 minutes to drive through the whole park with over 50 life-like dinosaur exhibits on display. The kids and adults loved the self-guided tour where there were many opportunities to take close up pictures of our favourite dinosaurs. There are plenty of things to do at this place including shopping in the gift shop for reptile memorabilia, checking out the enormous collection of live reptiles, and also outdoor mini golf.

Greensides’ Farm

We continued to travel east along Highway 7 for about 30 minutes to reach our next destination of Greensides’ Farm located in Marmora, Ontario, but not before we took note of the wonderful scenic towns of Norwood and Havelock–where we stopped for a quick Tim Horton’s coffee. We eventually reached Greensides’ Farm and were greeted by a few patrons who directed us along a path, which led us through a beautiful walk with the Stations of the Cross honouring Jesus; which eventually led us to the top of a hill where a shrine had been built to honour the appearance of Mother Mary. At the shrine we said a few prayers for our family member who had recently passed away and paid tribute to the message of Jesus with the hope that world peace could be achieved one day.

Greensides' Farm, Marmora, Ontario, 
Religious Retreat, Mother Mary, Stations of the Cross, Jesus, Christian, Spiritual, Vacation
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Greensides+Farm/@44.4941182,-77.6320185,16z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x0:0xea6ae73844b3bafe!2sGreensides+Farm!8m2!3d44.4938886!4d-77.633027!3m4!1s0x0:0xea6ae73844b3bafe!8m2!3d44.4938886!4d-77.633027
Image By Matthew Lightstorm

Theo’s Pizzeria

Of course, after all the walking and hiking at Greensides’ Farm, we were ready to devour just about anything, but we were also very careful not to just settle for a mediocre meal. We had made the long journey and rightfully so, we thought that we should make an effort to find a most suitable establishment to eat great food. Our 10 minute online search led us to Theo’s Pizzeria which was conveniently located 4 minutes from the farm in the centre of the town of Marmora. (We also made a note that there is a scenic Marmora Mine to visit next time we are travelling to the area.) We arrived at Theo’s Pizzeria with great enthusiasm and were thrilled with all of the unique menu items. We ordered burgers, Hawaiian pizza, sweet potato fries, gourmet dipping sauces and the rest was a food extravaganza of flavour and delight. Best of all, looking through the large glass window into this quiet little town, made the food experience that much cozier and pleasurable.

Theo's Pizza, Marmora, Ontario, Pizza, Pizzeria, Food, Vacation, Cozy, Casual Dining, Take-Out
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Theos+Pizzeria/@44.4823661,-77.6831537,17z/data=!4m22!1m16!4m15!1m6!1m2!1s0x4cd35b34ceb69bdd:0x7b0393d97c237532!2sTheos+Pizzeria,+20+Forsyth+St,+Marmora,+ON+K0K+2M0!2m2!1d-77.6826149!2d44.4834966!1m6!1m2!1s0x4cd34574e32f496f:0xea6ae73844b3bafe!2sGreensides+Farm,+15+Greenside+Ln,+Marmora,+ON+K0K+2M0!2m2!1d-77.633027!2d44.4938886!3e0!3m4!1s0x4cd35b34ceb69bdd:0x7b0393d97c237532!8m2!3d44.4834966!4d-77.6826149
Image By Matthew Lightstorm

Next time you’re looking to do something closer to home and off the beaten track, think about taking the ultimate day tour in Eastern Ontario–Dinosaurs, Jesus and Pizza. Sometimes we can be pleasantly surprised by the hidden gems we find along the journey and the vacation begins to unfold in ways unexpected. Let us know what you think about our travel stories and how you can relate with your new discoveries while travelling?

Mini-One-Day-Museum-Staycations, For When You Can’t Vacation

In the past few years I’ve been busy, concentrating on my post-secondary studies. As a result, not only have I not had the time for a vacation, but also had a lack of funds. Vacations are expensive! Then, of course, after I’ve received my degree last year there still wasn’t any time for travelling. I had to find a job, which is a full-time job in itself. So today I’d like to talk to you about my mini-staycations! A staycation (or holistay) is like a vacation but where you stay home and participate in leisure activities within walking/biking/driving distance of your home and which do not require overnight accommodation. I’ve added mini because my staycations where small one-day affairs which I’ve planned ahead of time. A day with no essays to write and no studying, or readings to do. A day where I can refresh my mind so that the next day I can hop back into my studies with renewed vigour. 

So, what do I enjoy doing on these days? Visiting a museum! I know, I know. As a student I’ve been spending so much time absorbing and analyzing information, so why would I want to continue to do that at a museum? What can I say? I enjoy learning! Also, being able to learn without the pressure of having to remember all the details for class is relaxing. I’ve been studying in Vancouver, BC and they have lovely museums. It has also been nice to be able to take advantage of student discount Tuesdays or free evening Thursdays. The Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC has been the best one so far and is the one I’d like to tell you about today. 

Museum of Anthropology at UBC, image from smtresearch.ca

MOA is known for its support of the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which includes First Nations’ rights to “maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expression” (United Nations, March 2008). This means that MOA is committed to develop close working relationships with Indigenous peoples, groups and organizations. This close relationship MOA has developed with Indigenous peoples has also allowed them to learn about, categorize and name the objects within the museum correctly and with respect. This partnership means that the museum exhibits the objects. However, the object is still the property of the Indigenous people. If an Indigenous person, group or organization revokes their permission (or rescinds the partnership), that item is given back. Moreover, they have access to these items at all times, if they need the items for a traditional ceremony or teachings there are multiple way to access the collection. I’ve been to many museums, such as the Canadian Museum of History (it used to be called the Museum of Civilization) in Ottawa, the British Museum, and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, where it was clear that the items showcased were stolen, and they have also been mislabeled. For example, traditional ceremonial regalia was tagged as “Indian costume” or “costume for Pow wow.” 😳 Every time I’ve seen this, it has been disappointing on so many levels. Especially when traditional regalia from other cultures are labelled correctly.

Bill Reid’s The Raven and the First Men (1980; MOA Collection: Nb1.481), image from dailyhive.com

I have great admiration for UBC’s Museum of Anthropology. Every time I’ve been for a visit, part of my one-day staycations, has been educational, interesting, and fun. They have so much to see and offer, from their permanent collection or new exhibitions. I hope that one day, other museums will follow MOA’s lead, and develop better relationships with the communities of which they have objects displayed. Even if the museum demonstrate an ethical responsibility towards the communities it represents, it doesn’t remove the fun, educational, touristy aspect. It is possible for a museum to be both fun and ethically responsible. I’d encourage anyone who is in or visiting Vancouver to take the time to see the Museum of Anthropology, it truly is one of a kind in the best way possible. 

As a closing thought about museums, I’d like to leave you with a clip of one of my favourite comedians, James Acaster, while he talks about the British Museum, it definitely also applies to museums in Canada. 

Do you enjoy visiting museums during your vacation or staycation? Why? How do you think museums should reconcile with the communities of which they showcase stolen items? 

COM0014 Blog #1: Visiting Cuba made me uncomfortable

By Cindy Macdonald

Just prior to the coronavirus shutdown of global travel, my husband and I took our first vacation to a Caribbean all-inclusive resort. We have taken Caribbean cruises a few times, but decided this was the year to try a beach vacay.

I was worried about being bored, with seven days at the beach and by the pool, so we chose Varadero, Cuba because if offered the possibility of some cultural learning in addition to beach time. We took a day trip into Havana and another venture off-resort to hear a local band. Boredom averted.

The architecture and ambiance of Old Havana was a little less colorful than I had hoped, but still enjoyable. The spectacular stonework, wrought-iron balconies and awe-inspiring churches definitely had a tropical, colonial feel.

Check out the video (here) and photos of Old Havana.

Old Havana, February 2020
Old Havana, February 2020

The quality of service, food and accommodations at our resort in Varadero was well below what we are accustomed to on cruises, but then, so was the price.

When choosing our vacation destination, one of my concerns was how we would deal with the dramatic lifestyle gap between us as middle-class North Americans and the poor local Cuban population. There’s a brief history of Cuba here, which states:

“Life in contemporary Cuba is thus challenging, given the limited access to food, transportation, electrical power, and other necessities.

brittanica.com

The problem is, life is not challenging for the tourists who flock to the island’s resorts. They get the best the island has to offer, and that has to create resentment, doesn’t it?

Pool at a Sandals resort. By Ashley Burton, Wikimedia Commons

I have been part of the working class in a town dependent on rich summer residents. During that time, I did not have favorable feelings toward my upper-class employers. In my imagination, the feelings of working-class Cubans toward vacationers must be similar, or even stronger, given Cuba’s socialist/communist roots. Therefore, it struck me as false when the servers and cleaners were overly friendly toward their clients. Servers would give some vacationers hugs each morning at breakfast. My husband took it as genuine friendliness. I perceived it as currying favor for tips. It made me uncomfortable.

One of our servers even gave us cheap little souvenirs, and that made me uncomfortable, because I felt an implied expectation to give her something in return.

When I caved to popular protocol and left “gifts” of cosmetics and toiletries for our cleaner, she was not overly thankful, and seemed to want to avoid conversation about it. It made both of us uncomfortable.

I’m curious. Has anybody else experienced that discomfort when visiting a poorer nation? Let me know in the comments.

Obviously, not everyone shares my reservations about Cuba. More than one million Canadians visited Cuba in 2018. For good reason: It is cheap, accessible, beautiful and safe. The cultural differences just made me uneasy and put a damper on a sunny, tropical get-away.

About me: After more than 25 years as an editor of trade publications, I’m now learning social media techniques. I’ll be writing about news, communication, social media and travel as I go through this career transition. Please join me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or my blog, and we’ll chat.

COM0014 – Blog#1: Never too old to be a kid again

I was 26-years old on my first visit to Florida, but I knew the moment I got off the plane that I would return again and again.  Something about the warm sunshine, the lush green palms, and the soothing breezes that I found both comforting and inspiring.  I would return fourteen times over the years; the last visit was in 2018 to celebrate my daughter’s Grade 8 graduation.

My daughter pictured with Pooh and Tigger

If you like tranquil beaches, I suggest a daytrip to the Canaveral National Seashore.   This east coast national park is comprised of 58,000 acres of unspoiled white sand coastline and is what Florida used to look like before the beachside condominiums took over.  We packed a picnic lunch and enjoyed an afternoon playing in the surf and the sand at Playalinda Beach, located north of the Kennedy Space Centre.  It was so relaxing that I fell asleep while listening to the ocean.

Map of Canaveral National Seashore (www.nps.gov/cana/)

My family are big fans of AMC’s The Walking Dead, so we lunged at the chance to experience Zombie Outbreak located on International Drive in Orlando.

Courtesy http://www.giphy.com #The Walking Dead #Zombies

via GIPHY

It’s a real-life video game in which you shoot ‘zombies’ with a laser rifle.  These actors wear headbands which register your ‘shots’ however they can ‘bite’ you if they get within 3 feet.  We were placed in a group with a couple on their first, and most likely their last, date (He was shooting everything before his date could even get off a single shot).  A bit of an adrenaline rush but it was over way too soon.   

One cannot talk about Florida without addressing the elephant in the room – which in this case is a mouse.  DisneyWorld had an attendance of 58 million that year and I swear each one of them were standing in the concession line ahead of me.  The FastPass+ App was useful for several attractions, however, it did not help us for Pandora: The World of Avatar , where we waited in line over 2 hours for a 3-D simulation ride on a banshee.  Based on the feature film by James Cameron, Disney is ‘banking’ that this attraction will lure huge crowds.  The Disney Imagineers have re-created a 12-acre experience complete with sights, sounds and smells of this imaginary far off world with floating rock formations, waterfalls, and bioluminescent vegetation.  An amazing experience, even if you are not a fan of the movie.

Pandora: The World of Avatar (River Journey)

I cannot wait to return to Florida to see Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the re-vamped Carousel of Progress (set to re-open in 2023), and new coasters at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.  I’m always looking for new and unique experiences and welcome your suggestions for the Florida Panhandle and Daytona areas.   

Never too old to be a kid again. 

-30-

COM0014- Post 1: Dinosaur ROAR! (or What I Did On My Vacation)

Ah, winter! Cold, snowy, dark, did I mention cold? Makes me remember of warmer weather and past times. I reminisce of the last time I went on vacation. It was last summer. I did not visit somewhere tropical (Canada get’s rather hot in the summer) but we took a drive down to Drumheller and Calgary, Alberta. Don’t worry; we lived in Edmonton at the time, so it was not a cross-country affair. (We did THAT trip when we moved back to the national capital region a few weeks later… but I digress…)

If you have never had a chance to visit Drumheller I strongly suggest it. I loved seeing the history behind it not only as an adult but also through the imagination and mind of my three-year-old son. My one-year-old daughter was not as impressed.

We visited the giant T-Rex and climbed up to the very top. It was pretty impressive.

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Quite the climb up!

After that, we drove over to the Royal Tyrell Museum. This contains so many dinosaurs that my son did not know where to go! They had a live demo where they had a paleontologist explain how they found, removed, and then treated the fossils. Then they have a great display of fossils through the ages; quite fascinating!

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Royal Tyrrell Museum Drumheller, Alberta

They also have quite a few hiking trails in the badlands and in through some of the quarries where you can find dinosaur remains. Seeing that our kiddos were still young and how hot it was (well about 30C and sunny!) it was not the best activity for us, however, I am very much hoping to return in the future when they children are older and can partake in some of those activities.  (I know, it feels wrong complaining about the heat in the middle of January)

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Triceratops Royal Tyrrell Museum Drumheller, Alberta

 

After our busy day, we drove over to Calgary, where the next day we visited the Calgary Zoo!

Now this activity had the kiddos of all ages happy. It was another hot day but the delights of seeing the animals distracted us from the heat.  They had many exhibits from animals big and small. From the hippos and giraffes to the butterflies and fishes, many experiences and sights were to be enjoyed, big and small. (Of course, my son preferred the dinosaur exhibit there, yes another one!)

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Hippo and Giraffes Calgary Zoo

A great family weekend getaway that I would LOVE to repeat. Had we remained in Alberta that trip would have become a yearly event. Have you ever visited Drumheller or the Calgary Zoo? Do you have weekend family getaways you enjoy? I am always looking for great experiences to have with my minis so please share!

COMM14 – Blog Post #1 / What I Did On My Vacation: Exchange 101

 

“Take a big chunk of our hard-earned money and thrust yourself into the geographic definition of culture”
-Mom, date unknown.

I can’t imagine these are words that many middle class children have heard frequently in their inspired, escapist-centric teenage years; and I have to admit that, in all honesty, that might be a bit of a misquote.

In my third year of post-secondary studies at Queen’s University, I decided that it was 100% necessary that I embark on the ethnographic spirit quest known as Academic Exchange. I rallied what few funds I hadn’t spent on textbooks I barely opened, alcohol I had barely omitted from my diet, and luxurious 2am visits to McDonald’s I could barely remember.

Alas, it wasn’t enough, but with the help and unconditional – although possibly irrational – support from my parents, six months later I was off to Cardiff University, in the capital of the nation within a country (“not-England, UK”), Wales.

My time in Cardiff wasn’t long by any means, however four and a half months living in a foreign country is more than enough time to learn a few things not only about a different culture (a Big Mac in the UK has nothing on it’s North American brother) but about myself as well.

Here are a few things I learned while on exchange:

  1. Research The University – Not Just The City

Cardiff, the capital of Wales, has a population of roughly 450,000 and a long history in coal mining. There is a significant sporting culture there and the bars and clubs available to the youthfully reckless sprites of the city are endless. I knew plenty of facts about the city of Cardiff before arriving, but not much about the actual university I was attending.

What I didn’t know was that Cardiff University was popular for its status as a “party school” for posh Londoners who cared not for the expensive flats they grew up in with their parents. I also was unaware of how far the university (and the university residence) was from the city centre, and that I was only allowed taking three courses in my academic program.

Do a bit of extra research. It certainly won’t hurt.

  1. Money – Save It So You Can Spend It

I came to Cardiff with parent-allocated money for a flight and for rent, but that’s it (the fact that they were willing to pay for that much is incredibly humbling and I’m forever grateful.) However, the rest of my trip was up to my own wallet, and sadly I completely misjudged how expensive it is not only for personal upkeep in the UK over the course of several months, but how expensive it is to travel to all the places I eventually wanted to travel to.

I worked for two months the summer prior at a restaurant. $2,000 Canadian was not enough for that quintessential student Eurotrip that everyone on exchange is supposed to have – at least according to Facebook.

  1. On That Note – Regret Nothing

When I realized that my high expectations for the perfect exchange trip might not be met, it was a bit of a downer. Several of my other friends on exchange had asked me to meet up with them in their various host countries (Istanbul? Is that too far for an Uber?), and I had to decline – I only scraped together enough ca$h for a few weeks in Portugal and Belgium.

But then I realized – I’m here, I’m in a foreign country, and there’s a large chance that this experience will not be replicated any time soon. Don’t let the idea of the perfect exchange bog you down, take the bull by the horns (if you’re in Spain, particularly), and make your exchange experience exactly what you want it to be with the cards you have been dealt.

  1. McDonald’s In Europe Just Isn’t As Great

With the exception of the Chicken Legend®, the sodium content of their burgers and fries just isn’t where I need it to be at 3am on a Saturday.

Yum.

The Chicken Legend itself.

Lived in Europe or know someone who is about to? Sound off in the comments!

What I did on my vacation (COM0014 – Blog Post #1)

va·ca·tion
noun
an extended period of recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling.

Like most people who work on a farm, time off is a rare commodity and this summer I spent most of that time as a 4-H ambassador.  As an ambassador, I had the privilege of promoting the 4-H program, by attending 4-H and community events across the province.
For more info about 4-H check out my blog post Head, Heart, Hand, Health.

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The 2015 4-H Ambassadors

One of my favorite events that I attended as an ambassador was the The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. While at the Royal, I was able to assist with the 4-H Go For The Gold competition (a trivia competition about 4-H and 4-H projects) as a scorekeeper.

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Region 3 vs region 5 in the championship game

Other events I have attended so far this year are:

  • Three fairs (Embro, Welland and Sutton)
  • Discovery days, a day of hands-on learning about the different parts of 4-H for kids ages 9-12
  • A special 100th anniversary of 4-H event at Canada’s Wonderland with a Leah Daniels concert.
  • A tour put on by the sponsors of the ambassador program GROWMARK FS and UPI Energy LP, with stops at the UPI Bulk Plant (Guelph), GROWMARK Ontario Distribution Centre (Kitchener), FS PARTNERS (Ayr), North Wellington Co-operative Services (Harriston), and a FAST STOP® remotely monitored gas bar (east of Alma)

 

Working on a farm, being a student and being active in my community, has kept me busy, but if I were to take a vacation I would love to go to the Netherlands.

Where would you go on vacation if you could go anywhere?

COM0014 – Post #1 – Vacation? What Vacation?

It has been way too long since I have had a vacation, and let’s be honest, everyone needs a vacation. This is not a complaint….merely an observation. I can feel the vacation itch coming on, and eventually I will not be able to fight it any longer!

Majdel Balhis, Lebanon

My last vacation was in October 2012, when my eldest daughter was a year and a half years old. Most of my husband’s family lives in a small village in Lebanon, and his parents could not come to Canada to be here when my daughter was born. She was their first grandchild, so it was a pretty big deal.  (I am sure it was thrilling for my parents, but they already had another granddaughter – my niece – so understandably, it may have been less exciting for them).

A small village indeed.

A small village indeed.

This was actually our second trip to Lebanon with my daughter, as we went down when she was just five months old, so that she could meet her grandparents. I suppose, at that age, it was more for them to meet her. Since she was still the only grandchild a year after our first trip, it made sense for us to visit them again. Not to mention, she was still at a cute age  (before her “terrible twos”). To be honest, we probably just used our daughter as a good enough justification for us to go on a trip.

So, all that to say that it has been over two years since I have had a vacation. Of course, during these two years, I managed to have another baby and get pregnant with a third (due this upcoming February). Some may think that my maternity leave is a “vacation” and I that I am lucky I have another one coming up. On the other hand, most mothers/caregivers will tell you, particularly those at home with a newborn and a toddler…it is no vacation.

So, I sigh, as I say, oh when, oh when will my vacation time come….oh when oh when will that be?

Travelling with young ones is quite difficult, but enough is enough, I must have a vacation.

I am planning to try and go down to Lebanon this upcoming summer, but that will all be dependent on if Foreign Affairs removes its recommendation to stay away from that region due to political pressures. Until then, I will also need to consider being a tourist in my own town – or relatively close to town – since long car rides are probably out of the picture for the next little while too. I am sure there is plenty to do with my kids in Ottawa, but in keeping them busy, I hope I find time for myself to wind down. Otherwise, is that really a vacation?

I would gladly take any vacation recommendations for a mother of three kids under the age of four. Luckily, my husband can also be around to help. Any suggestions?