Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Pumpkin Inferno

A few weeks ago, as I was reading the latest Facebook threads, I came across an advertisement for Pumpkin Inferno, an event hosted by Upper Canada Village. As a child, I often frequented this historical village with my family and on school trips. Fond memories of the schoolhouse, the bakery, sleigh rides and of course the train, are still cherished and a very important part of my childhood. When I read about this latest attraction, I knew I had to take my own children and create new memories.
Below are a few pictures from our Pumpkin Inferno experience- enjoy! Although I'm happy we captured this experience on film, these images simply don't do the exhibit justice.
A dragon made out of pumpkins.


Sea creatures, including a giant octopus
The wait was long to gain access to the park, I believe we were on Highway #2 for about an hour and then we waited in the line to buy tickets for an hour. Note: There was an option to buy tickets online,  which yours truly missed seeing!

From the moment we stepped through the gates and saw our first display, I had completely forgotten any time spent waiting. In front of us were thousands of pumpkins, carved in many forms and lit up in the dark of night. It was truly awe-inspiring. 
Our good friend Katie and her super adorable (and incredibly well-behaved) children came with us, along with our three girls. The children took a moment to understand what they were seeing, but quickly got into the spirit and enjoyed the art work. It was an incredible display of local talent, as some of the designs were painstakingly intricate, making these displays even more impressive.
From regular spooky faces, to chinese lanterns, dragons and even a giant wordsearch, the themes were expansive. At one point we walked past a giant moose and a beaver damn and beavers, made entirely out of the pumpkins. I had never seen anything like it before.
Thank you Upper Canada Village for holding such a unique and inspiring celebration of Halloween! I can only hope this will become an annual event so we can continue to create memories.
Please visit for upcomming attractions.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The perfect pumpkins

Have you gotten into the Halloween spirit yet? Tis' the season to bundle up, haul on out to the pumpkin patch and pick that perfect pumpkin. Over the weekend, we did just that!

As you know, my family tries to support local whenever possible. This holds true for pumpkin shopping as well. A long-time family friend and her family own a pumpkin patch just north-east of Brockville. When it came time, it was a no-brainer that we would be headed out to the Lavigne Farm. Our girls were very excited to pick their own pumpkin. The Lavigne's had a huge selection, different sizes, price points and the perfect country setting. They are located at 9525 Branch Road and if you haven't gotten your pumkin yet, head out now or save the address for next year!

Now we are all set to carve and decorate for the Halloween season! Get out and support your local farmers, you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Getting back to basics

What does getting back to basics mean to you? For my family, it's about unplugging from time-to-time and enjoying time focused on each other.

Wait! Don't close this page.....I'm still a fan of all things social media and connecting via the web. I just want my children to be children and know how to kick a soccer ball around the yard as well as navigate their way around Twitter.

This past weekend, we headed out to the Mac Johnson Wildlife Area to take in the Fall Festival. The sun was shining and although a cold wind was blowing, it was a great day to bundle up and take part. This was my first festival at the conservation area and I can now say it is one of my favorite spots in Brockville. I fell in love the moment we parked the car and got out. I was greeted by sled dogs barking and what looked like dozens of teams setting up to race. Being fall, and having no snow, I was interested as to how this dog-sled activity would work out. It was then I realized, they were attached to scooter-like bikes and about to take off down a sectioned-off trail. When they started, it looked like so much fun, I'm now trying to convince Nick that this should be our new hobby!

We spotted the pumpkin carving and headed over to take part. After taking our time and finding the very best pumpkin, we set up shop and started carving a Jack O'Lantern. My oldest has since renamed our pumpkin to Lucy, for reasons only known to a three year old.

We headed down to the Nature Centre, where chili, hotdogs, coffee and other goodies were being served. There was fantastic music being played and a lot of families in attendance. Even our oldest got into the spirit and danced away.
Alas, it was time to head out for some other weekend fun. Our time at Mac Johnson was eye-opening for me. Here, right in our backyard, is a stunning oasis of natural beauty and this was the first time I had ever visited!  We will be headed back soon and if you haven't been, the autumn colours make it the perfect season to take in the gorgeous scenery

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The Fabulous Nanny Franny!

It was a Wednesday night,you know -  right in the middle of that mid-week slump. What's for dinner? I have been trying my hand at cooking lately and it hasn't turned out too badly....everyone has survived so far. The night before, my five month old sweet Baby R wouldn't give in and sleep , my two toddlers were up with the sun and frankly, I was exhausted.

About a month ago, we attended the Athen's Cornfest - a huge local success - and won a gift card for a local resturaunt, The Peacock. I had heard great things about their pizza from friends and have been told to try the Chinese food, as there is nothing better around! The lightbulb went off in my head and I decided I would convince Nick that we must go. I think after being my guinea pig for the last few nights, he may have welcomed the change.

Off we went, to the charming village of Athens, which stole my heart previously at the Cornfest,which had provided a welcoming and fun family environment. We unpacked the children and walked into the Peacock, hoping they wouldn't decide to close, seeing us with three small children. I was once a waitress after all, trust me - the sight of my brood would have sent me flying to take a break! Instead, we were welcomed by a lovely woman, who introduced herself to us as "Nanny Franny". Right off the bat, I could tell she had the type of personality that made you swear you were at her kitchen table having dinner. Never in my life have I felt such a warm reception at a resturaunt.

As we looked over the menu, my children were captivated. Looking around and then asking "Where's Franny? What is Franny doing?" They couldnt stop talking with her, and she was just as delighted and captivated with them! I'm not always welcoming of strangers invading my children's space, but I didn't once question Franny or think she was too overbearing. It just seemed natural. She told us tales of her own fabulous grandchildren and her family, took our orders with ease and brought our food so quickly, I was almost sure it was magic.

Once we were done eating, Franny asked if the girls could have jello as a treat for dessert. She brought them out lovely dessert cups topped with whipped cream and pink umbrellas! My kids were putting us up for adoption and moving in. As if that weren't enough first-class service, they were allowed a mini-tour of the kitchen and met the owner and chef, who was just as charming. On our way out, they sent us with a bag of their amazing eggrolls and homemade sauce.

As I go on and on about Nanny Franny and the exceptional service at the Peacock, I should also mention that this restaurant is everything we had heard about and more. It's a small place, not fancy but the food is comforting and delicious. If my waistline was more forgiving, I'd go weekly. With three small children, dining out is sometimes chaotic and not always in the budget , but we enjoyed our experience so much and will absolutely be back! If you are in Athens, or even if you aren't- take the small drive out there, it is worth the trip.