My kids are leaving ME for a week at Ontario Pioneer Camp

Ontario Pioneer Camp

Ontario Pioneer Camp

Three years ago we dropped our then 7 year old off at Ontario Pioneer Camp for a week and it was SO hard. Despite my worries, his week was full of fun, friends and adventures and he didn’t want to leave.  You can read about that adventure here. Fast forward to now and we are sending our daughter who is 7 for her first sleep away camp experience and I’m finding it even harder.

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My girlfriends are all asking what I’ll do without the kids for a full week and I am honestly at a loss.  Clean my house? Read a book?  Miss them the like crazy… Check!

In theory it sounds blissful to have a quiet house but call me crazy because I love the sound of them being home, messing up the house and them talking my ear off.

Like I did with my son 3 years ago, I worry that my daughter will get homesick and feel like we abandoned her even though her big brother is there if she needs him. And then I found this amongst her drawings today…
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“I am so excited to go to camp this year.  I have never been before.  

I am excited because I get to meet new friends and try new things.

I am scared that I’m going to miss my family.  

But I know i’m going to have a great time.”

What this tells me is that she is more mature than I give her credit for. She is okay with acknowledging that she will will miss her parents but also knows that there is a ton of fun to be had. Thankfully her big brother will be there as a friendly face and there to give her a big hug if she needs one.  To help alleviate the homesickness we will have ourselves and friends email letters to her, send a picture book with little messages and send along comforts from home like her giant panda stuffie, a fave book and really whatever else she wants.  Look out OPC we may be bringing her with 4 suitcases!  lol

In the end I know that as a Mommy I worry more than she does and I know in my heart of hearts that she is going to have a fantastic time because Ontario Pioneer Camp ROCKS.  I can’t wait for all the chitter chatter on the way home when I hear all about the fun memories that were made.

Ontario Pioneer Camp

 

Ho Ho Ho Santa’s Village is the Place to go!

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When I was a little girl one of my favourite memories is when we would go to Santa’s Village in Bracebridge, Ontario.  Last weekend we had the chance to take our kids for the day and let me tell you, I was giddy with excitement.  I love when I can share what I enjoyed as a kid with my own children.

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I will be honest, with a 5, 7 and 11 year old in tow I wasn’t too sure how long we would be there as it’s hard to keep them all interested with such an age gap.  Well our time there was so much fun for all of us … all 7 hours of it!!  It truly is fun for all ages and a great place to make family memories.

After moving through a very quick line-up at the gates we entered into Santa’s Village where the kids were given their elf hats so they could feel like Santa’s helper for the day.  It’s these little touches that make this place great.  It was funny to see hundreds of little elves running all over the place!

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Does it get any cuter than this?

Right off the bat I loved the cozy warm feeling of Santa’s Village.  There were Christmas tunes floating through the air, you could smell the yummy goodness coming from Mrs. Claus’ Bake Shop and you felt like you were in a little forest of fun with all the trees surrounding you.

Let the fun begin….

The kids were quickly drawn to the wooden cutouts where you stick your face through the hole and have your picture taken.

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So cute you could just eat up these little gingerbread people!

Next they ran over to the “old school” playground with tunnel slides and swings.  They could have spent a ton of time here but we had to drag them away so we could move more than 20 ft past the front gate.

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Dress up anyone?  This was more fun for my hubby and I probably as we dressed the kids up to have their “Christmas Card” picture taken.  There are racks of christmassy clothes you can dress up in and take pictures with some Christmas backgrounds.  Too fun!

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Say Cheese!

And we’re off to the rides!  The Red Baron Airplane Ride, Jumpin’ Star Dropper and Air Bouncers were all a hit with the kids!  But out of the rides, I think hands down their favourite was Santa’s Roller Coaster.  The best thing about the rides, as opposed to other theme parks, is that the lines are short and move quickly which as a parent is fantastic because there’s no whining!!

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“Hungry and time for lunch” as my 5 yr old declared.  Food is all reasonably priced and there are lots of kid (and parent) friendly options from pizza, sandwiches, fries, hot dogs and chicken nuggets.  For dessert have an ice cream or Beavertail.  What we loved was the souvenir cup you can buy for $5.99 and refill for only $1.  This came in handy as it was really hot when we were there.  Another great option is that you can pack a picnic to save on costs.

Speaking of hot day, be sure to pack your bathing suits and towels to enjoy their fun splash pad and beach area.  Who doesn’t love running through candy canes that dump water on you?

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Nope, unfortunately if you lick the candy canes they don’t taste minty

Taking a break from the sun, we were happy to find the little 3D cinema where we could watch “Sleigh Ride”.  This was a short film but it was in a nice little cool building and we all got to wear big 3D glasses!

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Looking good!

Well of course while we’re at Santa’s Village there is a place where you can meet the jolly man himself.  This was definitely  at the top of our kid’s list because how often do you get to stop in for a visit with Santa in the middle of the summer.  As you stroll through his house you can see where he writes his letters, see his gift list, and maybe even find a gift already wrapped under the tree for you.  Bring your camera as you can get a pic of the kids with Santa.  And don’t forget that a  little eavesdropping from the parents and you can start your Christmas shopping early!  😉

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After seeing Santa, be sure and go visit his trusty reindeer that help him get the presents delivered on Christmas Eve.  They are super friendly and you can touch them and feed them.  Rudolph is that you?

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All Aboard the Miniature train!  This was a fun little train ride that takes you through a good portion of the village and gives you a different viewpoint of the grounds.  When we on here our kids spotted Elves Island and that was our next stop…

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Be sure to cross the bridge into Elves Island when you go for some fun on the playground, test your courage as your climb up the rope cargo net and let your inner Picasso out on the colouring wall.  This area was full of kids running around and having fun but I must admit that many adults (myself included) were loving the cargo net!

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Ready for a ride on Santa’s Sleigh?  Well, seeing as it’s summer and there’s no snow, this is really the next best thing!  Decorated to look like a sleigh, with the reindeer leading the way, this 50 ft. jet boat is super fun.  Captain Ricky, who has “steered” the sleigh for the past 32 years will entertain you with his personality, music and boat manoeuvres as you tour down the beautiful Muskoka River.

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Well our day has come to an end and we are ready to leave the park…but wait…Santa is hanging out at the exit saying good bye to all the guests.  Okay one more picture …

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What a great Santa!

As we pulled out of the parking lot, our very sleeping kids were already asking “When can we come back”?  See you soon Santa’s Village and thanks for all the memories :-)

On top of all of this, there is Sportsland which is geared to the older kids (ahem or your husband). This area is free to enter and is pay-as-you-go so be sure to check it out! Here you can find Go Karting, batting cages, an arcade and a Bungee Trampoline which our kids loved.  Pics not included as I had so much fun taking pictures the rest of the day that my battery died 😉  Fact of life when you’re having fun I suppose.

Want to get on Santa’s “Nice List”?

Sign up here to receive their news, contests and special offers from Santa’s Village.

Be sure to follow Santa’s Village on Twitter, Facebook and visit their website to plan your visit as you are sure to have a blast!

Has your family been to Santa’s Village?  What were your favourite parts?

Rent a Cottage for a FUN Summer Getaway

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Some of your best summer memories can be made by renting a cottage for a summer getaway.  Imagine how much fun it can be swimming in the lake, building sand castles and sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows and telling stories.  Oh the fun possibilities are endless!

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Not sure where to start when looking for a cottage rental?  Our friends at Online Cottage Rental have some great tips for you to get started.  They also have an awesome website where you can search an abundance of rental cottage listings from across Canada.

Communication is Key

Ask lots of questions

  • How much is the security deposit and when do you get it back?
  • What form of payment do they accept?
  • Confirm rental dates.
  • When can you arrive?
  • How many visitors are allowed at one time?
  • Ask if you can go look at the property before renting it (this is dependent on your proximity to the rental property).
  • Who should you call if there is a problem with the rental?
  • Confirm all amenities included.
  • What is the cancellation policy?
  • Confirm how much the cottages rent is.

Start Early

As most people plan both their summer and winter vacations in advanced so make sure you don’t miss out. If you happen to be late in your vacation plans check out their Last Minute Specials, you are bound to find an ideal rental spot there.
If you see a property you like with the right date’s available contact the owner right away. Most rentals tend to get booked up quickly for high season.
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Online Cottage Rental focuses on Canadian Cottage Rentals and Canadian vacation homes sales, allowing us to specifically target those searching for a cottage rental or sale in Canada. Whether you are looking for weekend cottage rentals, summer cottage rentals, beach cottages rentals or winter cabin getaways you’ve come to the right site.