Monday, July 26, 2010

Fun in your backyard

This year has been a thrifty year for us as a family. With hubby's hours at work cut back for most of the summer and us fixing up our money pit, uh,, property up north, money has been tight. And while we both like to travel, with two small children, it not only gets expensive very quickly, it is also a lot of work.

Our solution? Playing in the great backyard of Ontario. There are so many local places that we hit for little or no money that have greatly entertained the kids and us. These are the places that we hit pretty much every week, on the way up to the cabin.

Oshawa Zoo:
What an amazing place. The family that runs this farm/zoo has such dedication, and you can tell around every fence post. The whole place totally caters to the family. At admission you can buy bags of popcorn to feed to the animals, who take it from your hand so gently it makes you want to climb the fence and hug them (but don't, I'm pretty sure that would be frowned upon). While you can pet and feed the animals, as the sign says, please remember that all animals can bite, so fingers enter at their own risk. But the animals are so friendly and want the popcorn so much, most of them stick their head through the fence to say hello! Alexander could stand with the sheep for HOURS. Last time we were there, he asked if there were chairs, lol.
To find out more about the zoo visit their website:

Port Perry:
Small town just north east of Toronto, family friendly with lots of fairs and festivals and hoopla to fill a summer of free fun. There is always something going on, and when there isn't there is the great waterfront park for the kids to play.

Linton's Farm Market:
This is the market that I hit most often, as it is on the way to the cabin. They have yummy fresh veggies and a great play area for Alexander. We haven't done the U-pick yet, but plan to in the fall. They pick fresh each day so everything that is pre picked is soooooooo yummy.

Toronto/Mississauga Parks:
Toronto has some great parks, and the fact that we live a 10 minute walk away from High Park is wonderful. For $5, Alexander is in seventh heaven on the trackless train ride, totally mesmerized the entire time. Thirty five minutes well spent in our book. We have so many local smaller parks that we have problems deciding in the morning which one to hit, but most often end up at the one with the most shade.
The city parks in Mississauga are a new discovery for me and look AMAZING! We have yet to get there, but are going tonight and have a big picnic planned at one this long weekend. Many offer picnic areas with BBQs and water sources (great for washing off dirty little children), and this weekend we are hitting one that has a beach as well. Alexander is super excited about that!

That is the short list. While I really envy the people who travel further, I am really happy that we can feel like every weekend is a mini vacation. I think we put more thought in to our weekends because we don't go anywhere else. We make an effort to make every weekend special, which makes the weekends where we can just sit with our feet up and read a book that much more special.

Unfortunately, and I have to bring this up, all this weekend fun is wreaking havoc with my clean and tidy house. Typically, the house looks like a bomb hit it when we leave because while I'm busy getting everything packed the kids are busy taking out every toy imaginable. My husband usually goes up a day before us so he isn't there to watch the kids. And when we come back we are so wiped that we just leave everything lying in the dining room. I obviously need to get a different system going because this one is NOT working.

And that is what I'll be doing tonight. My New Summer Schedule! I was hoping that capitalization would make it sound more fun. Nope.

1 comment:

  1. There is a really great Conservation Area within 10 minutes of me. There is an awesome splash pad that costs $2.75 for each kid. The park itself does charge a $6.50 per adult admission. But if we wanted to go, I could borrow my Dad's free pass. Maybe next week if the weather is good we can go have a picnic there? I know this says Blair posted, but it's actually Holly. lol