Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Together Tales – Let’s make reading fun

Disclosure:  Although these items were provided to me, all comments and photos (unless otherwise indicated) are strictly mine.  This post does contain affiliate links.

Books

If your child is anything like mine, they would much rather have a tablet in their hands than an actual book.  He just hasn’t found that real love of reading yet.  But I am working on it.  I have always loved to read but admittedly picking up a book to read in the past few years has been low on my priority list.  I am hoping that my son will find that love of reading and I can push my reading higher up on my list of things to do as an activity that we can do together.   That is why I was thrilled with I was asked by the people at Together Tales asked me if I would take a look at their interactive reading adventure kit.

The kit that we received was called Capes in the Family.  The premise of the kit is that after each chapter is read the child gets to use an app on a tablet/smartphone to play additional games incorporated with the theme of the book.  At the beginning the child receives a telegram to get them started using the app.

Photo provided by Together Tales
Photo provided by Together Tales

My son loved the idea that he could use the app in between chapters and made him actually want to read.  This was a huge plus for me.  Aside from the standard app style games, there is also a scavenger hunt where the child looks for puzzle pieces around your home or wherever you chose based on clues that you input into the app as to where you hid the puzzle pieces.  This was a lot of fun for both my son and myself.  It was something we both got to be involved in.   There was also another activity that was very similar to Pokemon GO.  I had to set 3 local coordinates and then my son had to use the tablet to find said coordinates.  The tablet would indicate if we was getting warmer when he was getting close or colder if he was moving away from the set coordinate.  There are some other great parts included but I don’t want to spoil it for your own adventure.

At the end of the adventure my son gave it the 2 thumbs up and want to try out more of these adventures.  Capes In the Family is currently the only adventure that Together Tales has available but others currently in the works.  I can’t wait to see what kinds of adventures they are.

Jack reading

This is definitely something that I would recommend to anyone who has a reader between the ages of 8-12, especially a reluctant reader.  Incorporating the app is definitely a plus in my mind to help get your child engaged.  If you would like to order your own copy for to Together Tales and enter the discount code ABAHM to get a 15% discount.

You can learn more about Together Tales on their website, Facebook , Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Enjoy!

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Our social media free cottage weekend and what I learned in the process.

When we booked our summer cottage weekend many months ago, it seemed like it would be forever until it would arrive.  But this past weekend, it finally arrived.  It was a bit bittersweet though.  We couldn’t wait for it to arrive but we knew once it did arrive, summer would soon be over.  This summer we’ve been in practically drought like conditions and what was the forecast for this weekend????  Rain and lots of it.  We weren’t going to let Mother Nature ruin our much anticipated weekend away.

One thing that I decided I would do as part of weekend was turn the data off of my phone for the weekend.  Facebook, Instagram and Twitter could survive without me for a few days.  I was still able to receive phone calls and text message in case of an emergency.  I am just too paranoid to completely unplug for a weekend but I am sure you get what I mean.  Enjoying my weekend and our beautiful surroundings were the only thing on our agenda!

Cottage

On Friday morning, we packed up the car and hit the road.  It was a sweltering hot day and so far the forecast seemed to be wrong as the sun was shining so my son was itching to get there so he could swim in the lake.  Luckily when we arrived the sun was still shining and we hit the lake the minute we got our suits on.

Beach

My son has improved his swimming skills significantly in the past year so he was thrilled at the thought of being able to swim in the lake without his life jacket.  At first I was a little skeptical, but he proved me wrong when he swam out to the floating dock without hesitation.  All weekend he kept saying that I should never underestimate him!!  LOL

woods

We had friends staying in the adjacent cottage so that evening we got together for a rousing game of Monopoly.  I swear my son is either going to be a high finance banker or a real estate mogul when he grows up.  He was a total shark!

And as the weather man predicted, Saturday morning we awoke to rain and lots of it.  I was not going to let that get me down.  My son and I had brought our fishing rods and I  had gotten a fishing license for that day and we were going fishing.  I grew up fishing in the creek on our country property with a stick, fishing line and a hook.  If we were really lucky, we’d get a bobber.  My son actually had to show me how to cast.   It was sooooooo much fun.  My inner tomboy came out and I was putting worms on the hooks and pulling fish off the hooks without hesitation.  In the end I only caught 1 little sunfish.  My son caught 5!   Fishing is something I plan to do a lot more of now that I know how much we both enjoy it.  I am a nature girl at heart!

Jack fishing

My itty bitty fish

We took advantage of getting outdoors when there was a break in the rain, taking a hike and swimming again and more fishing as much as we could.  The rest of that day we colored, did some reading and even enjoyed a lovely afternoon nap.  I don’t think we’ve done that in years!  That evening it was storming quite a bit so we did cuddle into bed early and watched a movie on our tablet (ok, so not completely unplugged but given the circumstances of the storm, I don’t really think it counts.)

Sunday came so quickly and unfortunately we had to pack up and head back home.  We will surely be looking forward to returning for another great weekend next summer!  A big thank you to Mary and Tim at Woodland Park for such a great weekend!

Us on the dock

I learned a lot from my little social media break.  I learned that I have way too many email subscriptions that I don’t actually read.  When I turned my data back on my email box got flooded with tons of emails that I literally deleted without a need to read.  Time to do some Unsubscribing.

But most importantly I learned how much time I was taking away from my son.  I learned that I don’t need to be checking my social media constantly during the day.  When I have my son, I can turn the data off and devote my time strictly to him.  We will enjoy what little time we get to spend together totally focused on each other.  I can scroll thru Facebook when he goes to bed and catch up on everyone else’s lives then.  I can make memories with him in the moment and share these moment on Instagram when he’s gone to school or back to his Dad’s.  I need to live in the now and not in everyone else’s now.  It was a huge eye opener and making changes going forward  My son is so much more important to me!

Travel

Our visit to Clovermead Adventure Farm & contest

Disclosure:  Although tickets for myself and my family were graciously provided to us by Clovermead, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

Clovermead Bee Farm

Earlier this summer, we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit Clovermead Adventure Farm located in Alymer, just south west of London, Ontario.  We are always looking for local family friendly places to visit and this definitely fits the bill!

You start your adventure in The Honey Shop, where they have a wonderful selection of honey related products.

Inside Clovermead

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If you head to the back of the shop, you will find they have a tasting bar with samples of different kinds of honey from their own bees and other Ontario bee producers.  I love that you can try before you buy.  There is one called the Sweet Heat that contains chili powder and has become my favorite.  If I hadn’t been able to try it first, I would have probably passed it by.

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I could have spent most of my trip just in the Honey Shop checking out all the amazing products but my little guy was itching to keep going.  Upon entering, you have to make a choice; to head to the “Bee” area of the farm where you can learn all about the Clovermead bees and honey making process from a Bee Keeper or head directly into the Fun Farm.

We chose to hit the Fun Farm firsts.  There are so many different things for kids of all ages (even the adult kids) to explore.  From zip lines, to jumping pillows, to pedal cards, to the playground.

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Scattered throughout the farm you will find all kinds of different animals.  Our favorite, hands down, were the mini goats.  They had some up on the roof of a building where you could use a pulley system to send food up to them.  My son absolutely loved this. He wanted to bring one home with us. Be sure to bring some quarters with you to get some feed for them.

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Goats at Clovermead

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There are also wagon rides available where they take you around the farm and show you all that is available for you to see and do.  We did this quite early and it helped us decide what we wanted to see and do.

After quite a long time playing, we headed over to the Bee area and one of the Bee keepers taught about bees and the honey process.  We even got to let one of the bees crawl on our hands.

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It was such a great day and there is so much for everyone of all ages to enjoy.  We are looking to come back this fall for another visit to partake in their Pumpkin Festival which will include picking your own pumpkins, a corn maze, the apple sling shot and a kid favorite – the Pumpkin Cannon.  To learn more about Clovermead you can visit their Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

There are so many great things I could say about Clovermead, but you really need to experience it for yourself to see what I mean.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Why we just can’t get enough of the beach.

toes in the sand

Toes in the sand, warm all over, the sound of the waves, what isn’t there to love about the beach?  Correct me if I am wrong, but you don’t often hear people wanting to take cold, arctic vacations do you?

On a whim, we decided to take advantage of the warm weather and head to our local sand and surf.  We’re almost (sadly) halfway through the summer and we haven’t had nearly as many visits I would have liked.  There is just something about enjoying the day at the beach that never gets old with me.

Our essentials:

  • Sunscreen (our beach trip won’t even start without a SPF 60)
  • Sunglasses
  • Bathing suits
  • Towels
  • Hats
  • Blanket
  • Foldable chair
  • Water bottles
  • Buckets, shovels and other sandcastle/water toys
  • Snacks

We learned the hard way that if you want to purchase any snacks, be sure to have cash on you.  None of the on site vendors had debit (and I never seem to carry cash).  And if there has been significant rain recently, be sure to check to see that there aren’t any water quality issues.  Nothing worse than going to the beach and not being able to swim.

Within moments of unpacking and getting somewhat settled, my son was heading to the water.  No matter how cold that water was, he was going in.  Sounds good, but if it’s just the two of us, if he goes in I am going in too.  This time luckily the water was quite enjoyable.  We waded out to the sandbar where the water was a bit warmer too.  I think he could have spent hours out there if I’d let him.

When I decided to head out of the water, he was more than happy to start creating his sandcastle masterpiece.  Within a few moments, he had made acquaintances with a little boy from nearby and they had a blast with their creation.

Sandcastle

And I could sit back and relax and just enjoy my surroundings.  Aside from the photos I took, my phone was on silent and put away.  Purely unplugged and enjoying the time together.   My favorite part of the day was when I told my son it was time to reapply the sunscreen, he ran into the water to get himself wet and then rolled in the sand.  That was his version of sunscreen.

Sandy boy

The long, miserable Canadian winters have us taking every advantage of the few summer days we get to enjoy.  At the end of the day, it was hard for either of us to drag ourselves away.  It was only the promise that we would return the next possible day that made it better.

Beach life

If you need to reach me this summer, you might just find me at the beach.

 

Travel

Our Treewalk Village Adventure

Have a little one that loves adventure?  Love getting out into nature and enjoying the warm weather and fresh air?  Head on over to TreeWalk Village located Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area in Stouffville.

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TreeWalk Village is an amazing playground of tree-houses connected by rope bridges and hammock net pathways.

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My son is a bit of adventurer and can’t wait until he is old enough to do the Treetop Trekking and zip lining, which is also available at this location.  But until then, this is a great option.

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I am sure some parents are thinking this isn’t a great option if there children are of the younger crowd.  Let me reassure you, when I was there, there were children as young as 2 years old there and they were having a ton of fun too.  In addition to the rope bridges, there is a group of tunnels for the kids to the walk/crawl through which would be ideal for the younger crowd.

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There is also a small rock wall for the kids to take a turn climbing on.

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Reservations are required and are for 2 hours at a time.  This is a perfect amount of time to enjoy the entire park area.

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There are picnic tables located throughout the park, so be sure to bring along snacks and lots of water.  Even though the area is shaded, it is a bit of a workout maneuvering the bridges between each of the tree-houses.

We both thoroughly enjoyed our adventure and will be returning soon.  It is a great day out for families of all ages.

You can get more information about TreeWalk Village but visiting their website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

**Although admission was provided to me, all comments, opinions and pictures are mine.**

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

What I learned being a boy Mom.

Growing up, I always envisioned myself with 2 children – a boy, and a girl.  I would play Barbie and dress up with the girl and the boy would play cars and Lego with his Dad.  Obviously, my vision didn’t quite end up that way.

Being a single Mom to an amazing little boy, I have definitely learned a lot of things that I probably would have never known.  And there are things that I sort of knew, but my son has definitely confirmed them for me.   And I am thankful for this.

I would have never known……

  1. Pokemon is not just a bunch of trading cards; it is actually a card game. The rules are somewhat complex and this is an entire community of adults out there that take it very seriously. 20160320_152741_HDR
  2. Lego isn’t just a bunch of blocks you make random things out of. There are many different box sets and series to collect. Eg. Ninjago, Chima, Nexo Knights.  And the minifigures themselves come in series and range in common to rare.
  3. Not all little boys are obsessed with sports. My son loves arts and being crafty.  He’d much rather be creating things than throwing a ball around. 20160320_153441_HDR
  4. Stuffed animals aren’t just a girl thing. Boys love them too. My son has way too many and is always wanting to add to his collection.
  5. Jumping in puddles and getting dirty in the mud isn’t all that bad. It’s actually kind of fun. 20160320_153226_HDR
  6. The older they get, the more they want to look “cool” in front of their friends. But get them home and behind closed doors, a Mommy’s hug and kiss are always wanted.
  7. Boys actually do sleepovers. I thought it was just a girl thing.
  8. Over the age of 5, the knees in pants last about 2 weeks tops. I swear they walk around on their knees all day.
  9. The slimier, the dirtier, the grosser, the better!
  10. No male will ever love you as much as your son will!

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Having a boy and only a boy has shown me a complete different side of life that I never really knew existed.   I am sure other Moms’ of boys will agree with me and love it as much as I do!

**This post was originally featured as a guest post on #Lifewithboys **