Walk Off The Earth, Shores of Erie International Wine Festival 2014

So I definitely pulled off Operation #BestMomEver!

Delphine read the note in her lunchbox and cried – and on the 3 hour drive she said “You spoil me”.  It has been so wonderful to provide a Summer of memories with very little cost thanks to all of the many ‘wins’. Those words were great to hear, and she is one of the kindest souls I’ve ever known – she deserves a little spoiling every now and again.WOTE

We arrived at the shuttle bus parking lot around 5:30pm and we were the first car to park. The bus driver (Joyce!) was so lovely!  I hope she wasn’t working the next night in that freak storm that shut down the festival
On the Bus
Off to the Festival, T-shirt purchased and changed, ready to see the AMAZING Crissi Cochrane.  She was FABULOUS and of course we picked up her new CD “Little Sway” 🙂 

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Then we purchased some yummy food!  Sobeys was selling a fantastic fruit/cheese/cracker spread to go along with the wine I did not get to drink!  Mom duty called. The festival had their big 10th Anniversary official opening with “Oh Canada” and “The Star Spangled Banner” (see photos in the Flickr photostream of everyone standing at attention)!  They released balloons and it was all very lovely. The team behind the festival have done a great job of growing this into a “MUST VISIT” event.
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Then who do we see getting out of a van to the right of the stage?  Walk Off The Earth!!  I grab Delphine and we run over to snap some pics. Pretty soon after, we notice that Sarah and Taylor are meeting fans at the security gate so we run over for a quick meet-and-greet.  I am now able to RELAX as the main mission of the night has been accomplished! My little girl got to meet her heroes! 🙂 @SarahBlackwood1 and @WalkOffTaylor. Sarah loved her T-shirt, and “Beard Guy” loved her fuchsia highlights. 😉

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Now my next mission is securing a front and centre standing spot for the main event!  I encourage Delphine to sit in our lawn chairs and rest – she is going to need all of her energy to make it to the end 🙂
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Finally, it is time for the second opener, Vancouver’s Bed of Stars. Beautiful singing reminiscent of Rufus Wainwright and Thom Yorke!  We loved it.  But the Stars turned into rain and we were getting lightly rained on during the show…  I remembered my hat and my Agnes Scott College blanket.  Delphine stayed dry wrapped up and I kept my glasses from getting wet with my sun hat. 🙂

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The rain meant an extra long delay before Walk Off The Earth could safely start the show, but at least the rain ended.  We enjoyed watching @WOTECrew set up – having no idea we were watching some very talented performers!  Walk Off The Earth put on an astoundingly brilliant show. Rock ‘n Roll posing, mosh pit jumping, circus style tossing of instruments across the stage, beautiful harmonies and stellar musicianship – and @WOTECrew played and sang beautifully, too (more pics of the whole event and the @WOTECrew in this Walk Off The Earth Flickr Album)!  What an incredible gift to give my daughter – seeing these masters at work!
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Definitely won the title of #BestMomEver!

Thank you so much to the Shores of Erie International Wine Festival!  You gave us a once in a lifetime experience!

Love, 

Jennpup

 

Bingemans Big Splash

On my Summer “Big Bucket” List was a trip to Bingemans Big Splash.  Earlier in the Summer my daughter and I visited King’s Island Amusement Park and enjoyed their wave pool so much that I started looking for local wave pools to try out!
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Local radio station Country 106.7 had a contest to win tickets to their Bingemans Big Splash “Country Splash Down” event day in July and we won a family four pass!

That day was rainy and just as the kids were in their suits and ready to swim, the skies opened up and the pool was closed! We got dressed and headed inside to watch the kids play on the climber and slides. My son with Autism did not understand why we couldn’t swim and he was very upset, but the climber and slides calmed him down and he had  a lot of fun.  

Soon, the rain ended and the sun peeked through, but we still didn’t get to do too much swimming that day.

Later in the Summer, I won 4 passes from 91.5 The Beat radio (they have a fantastic call in contest tied to their Top 9 at Noon). I tried for about 2 weeks and finally got through and won the 4 splash park passes  and a family pass to African Lion Safari (stay tuned for that review in a few weeks). 

We picked one of the forecasted hot and sunny days in August to return to Bingemans Big Splash.

No rain this time, and the day was just beautiful. My daughter is timid about rides, so we didn’t go on any of the big slides, but by the end of the day she was happy to slide in the Bucket area.

Both kids had the best time. My son really enjoyed the bubble pool to the side of the wave pool.  Later in the afternoon it started to get super crowded and we headed home with lots of happy memories!

For more information, visit Bingemans Big Splash!

Please check out my Bingemans Big Splash Flickr album.

-Jennpup

Santa’s Village

Reposting my 2014 Review – check out the links at the bottom of this post for details on how to WIN tickets to Santa’s Village for use during the 2015 Season!

We are very lucky to have access to a family Cottage near Muskoka, which allows us take a vacation on a beautiful lake with minimal expenses. We have been going for years, but had never been to Santa’s Village. Thanks to a WIN from a contest run by “Help, We’ve Got Kids: Toronto” we received a Family Four Pass to use any day this Summer!

This Summer has had a lot of cool days, so we decided on one of those days in July when it was not exactly swimming weather, it would be the perfect day to keep the kids occupied at Santa’s Village!

Right away we were greeted by a giant bear!  The kids posed for a quick picture! 🙂

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Then we headed up the path and my daughter HAD to get her face painted (I was concerned about the picture with Santa, so I insisted on a ‘cheek paint’ only). The face paint artist created exactly the symbol my daughter requested!

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My son and partner headed up to the hill to “RING THE BELL” at the little Chapel 061

We arrived just as RONNO was performing (every Summer, Santa’s Village attracts some of the most talented children’s performers in Canada). Everybody was dancing (and I got to remember when my 10 year old was little and I’d take her to see Ronno at the Kitchener Market’s Kids Hop). 072

NOTE: Any children left unattended will be put to work as Elves! 083

We found SANTA – the kids posed with Santa for what will have to be our Christmas card this year! My son loved Santa’s BEARD! 091

Now that the kids met Santa, they were ELVES. There is nothing more adorable than watching your two little elves running around all day, playing and smiling at Santa’s Village.  They loved feeding Santa’s reindeer. 329

They have carnival games that are FANTASTIC. For one low price, your child can play until they win – a prize is guaranteed and it is no ‘booby prize’ – it is a full size, choose whatever you like prize!

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The RIDES!  My kids are 10 and 4. My 10 year old daughter is terrified of roller coasters (they have one at Santa’s Village, but there was no way she was going to go on it). My 4 year old son has autism and is pretty good about going on rides, but we worry about losing him and don’t always know what he ‘wants’. At Santa’s Village, there were lots of opportunities for my son to climb and slide and burn up any energy he had. The park is big enough, but not so big that we ever worried about losing him. He let us know quite clearly what rides he wanted to go on, and after one turn on the carousel with his sister, he was able to go on and off the ride independently.

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We took a ride on Santa’s Summer Sleigh (a river cruise) – it was so much fun! Beautiful waterway. Fun music played like the Gilligan’s Island Theme Song.
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We also went for a ride on the Train.

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Santa often comes out to watch the children on the rides! He waves at them and jingles his jingle bells, sometimes he gets on and goes for a ride, too!

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They have a JUMPING star ride, that looks a lot scarier than it is. The motion is much more of a gentle bounce and not a feeling of plummeting.  My TIMID 10 year old decided to get brave and try it after watching her brother and I survive and laugh a lot!  Great memories!

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When my son saw the Ferris Wheel, he had to go on it immediately!  You sit in a big Christmas ornament and enjoy the beautiful wooded views!

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I sent my family onto a paddle boat swan while I took pictures!  I love these swans!

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We followed the signs to Elves Island, where the kids bounced, climbed, coloured and went down slides. So much fun, and definitely helped them burn energy on a day when we’d have been hearing lots of “I’m BORED” from my daugher at the cottage!

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The Staff were so friendly!  The operator of the Ferris Wheel offered to take a picture of my son and I.

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Santa’s Village is so CLEAN! It seemed like every 20 minutes we were passed yet again by the two teen girls on garbage duty – they always had a friendly smile and greeting, and they were constantly keeping the park pristine! I was very impressed!

The kids were hungry and tired of all of the healthy eating we were doing at the cottage. Luckily, Santa’s Village has Pizza Pizza!  We enjoyed a family meal deal (a large pizza, 2 pops and 2 juice boxes)! The pizza was so huge we couldn’t eat it all.

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Later my daughter decorated a Gingerbread Man at Mrs. Claus’ Bake Shop and I enjoyed COMPLIMENTARY COFFEE!  This is not a park where you leave feeling overcharged and used – they treat you like family and give everyone the best experience!

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We will definitely be returning again!  Perhaps this month (in August 2014, there’s 2-for-1 admission every Friday and Monday). Thank you so much to “Help, We’ve Got Kids: Toronto” and to Santa’s Village! When they heard we were headed to the Muskoka area, they offered to hold our prize win at the front gates rather than make us wait for it to arrive in the mail.  That kind of exceptional customer service was evident the entire day!

Thank you Santa’s Village!
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Check out all of the pictures from our July 2014 visit at my Flickr Album 🙂

Ho-Ho-Ho Merry Christmas in July!

-Jennpup

Updates!  We returned again in August. During August, Santa’s Village offered 1/2 price admission (or Buy One Get One) ticketing on certain days.  We headed out on a cloudy, overcast ‘iffy’ day.  We had a great time, but it did rain – not enough to shut everything down, but enough to get the kids wet.  Later, we went to see Erick Traplin perform (a local Kitchener-Waterloo legend) and the skies opened – it poured and poured for over an hour (but we were nice and dry in the covered theatre enjoying the show)…  But don’t worry! Santa’s Village has a rainy day policy and our entire family received a ‘rain check’ so we can visit again in the following season!  We will definitely be returning in 2015!

Want to win a family pass?

Check out this contest (ends July 1st) and coupon from “SnyMed”: http://www.snymed.com/2015/06/santas-village-turns-60-5-off-coupon.html

Check out this contest (ends July 5th) from “Frugal Mom Eh”: http://www.frugalmomeh.com/2015/06/win-a-familys-pass-to-santas-village-giveaway.html

Check out this contest (ends July 11th) from Maple Mouse Mama: http://maplemousemama.com/win-a-family-pass-to-santas-village-in-bracebridge-on-open-to-canus-ends-711/

Stay tuned! Adventures with Jennpup is excited to be hosting a giveaway in July 2015!