Friday, July 31, 2015

The Letter of the Day is D for Driving - Day 2 & 3

We left Riviere du Loup at noon and headed began our trek to North Sydney. This was an error in judgement on our part. With time not on our side we decided to bypass the Bay of Fundy and opt for a quick stop at Grand Falls. 

In the queue for the ferry, lucky lane 24. 

It was suggested by one expat Nova Scotian friends, that we stop at the Irving Big Spot to fill up the vehicle and find healthy snacks for the road. This place was not what I expected. There was fresh fruit, veggies and dip, homemade muffins, whoopie pies and beverages galore. We were back on the road, with drivers rotated, within 20 minutes. 

We pressed on through the night and arrived in North Sydney at 1:30 am. We didn't even bring in the luggage, we literally fell into bed and passed out from overexposure to the Trans Canada Highway. We spent the night at the North Star Hotel, located three blocks from the ferry terminal. The next morning, we quickly made our way to over to the ferry terminal for 9:30 am, after 2 hours we were finally on the ferry and heading to our four berth cabin. 

My view from the bottom bunk. 

A four berth cabin on the Blue Puttees was our home base. Our  DD’s enjoyed feeling grown up with their own key to the cabin. We felt very comfortable letting the girls step out on their own while aboard the ferry. According to DD9, she found the best kiosk on the ship. This kiosk severed huge ice cream cones and homemade waffles served with chocolate sauce and whip cream. 

During the 7 hour tour we took advantage of the bunks and napped for various amounts of time. Beckett needed the most sleep and had a three hour nap. The cabin cost approximately $65.00, it was well worth the money for our family’s needs. 

While the kids slept I took a tour around the Blue Putteer.  

We arrived in Port aux Basque at 6:15 pm. It was raining, wet and I am sure we saw snow when we departed the the boat. We drove around Port aux Basque and listen to DH chat about the places he climbed and explored. When we arrived at Uncle Eric and Aunt Edna's we were greeted by a huge pot of bubbling moose stew, homemade bread and soda cracker squares. 

The view from our window and our lonely boat in the moonlight. 

The kids fell asleep to the sound of the ocean lapping against the rugged rocks in the bay and the fog horn echoing in the distance. I don't think the kids noticed when we left the room. Our three quickly fell asleep as the adults caught up, laughed and reconnected into the small hours of the night. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The First Day of our Eastern Canadian Adventure

The morning started out later than expected. We had hoped to be on the road for 5 am, that was not going to happen. We left once our house sitter and pet sitters arrived, when you have as many pets as humans in your family you need a team to take care of them in your absence.

Approximately 4.2 kilometers from our home, a small voice from that backseat called out to me, "Mommy, I am sorry I spilled a little bit of my drink on your purse". It turns out that Beckett's entire iced lemonaide had been mercilessly dumped into my large, packed to the top, silver coach purse. My hands, feet and shoes were sticky with frozen lemonade and the heat of the day began to make me smell like rotten produce and sugar. Our first lesson had been discovered, no sugary beverages in the car!

We are driving a diesel  Mercedes SUV. It fits 5 comfortably including camping gear, suitcases, a power generator and air mattress. We do not travel light, but being comfortable is important to all of us.

Our first stop was at the Quebec Tourism and Visitor Centre approximately 300 kilometers from Ottawa. As our vehicle is a diesel, we do not have to stop as often meaning we need to build in activity breaks for ourselves. Luckily, our first stop had built in activities for the kids to burn off some energy.
Beckett conquering the bug! 

Active spinning play at the Tourism rest stop for all three 

Later that rainy afternoon we arrived just outside of Quebec City. We wanted to make this stop in Quebec City memorable and active. On the advice of family friends, we decided to park the car in Levis and take the ferry across. It cost approximately $30.00 for return tickets on ferry and $6.00 to park for the day. We put on our running shoes, grabbed some water for the trip and in 15 minutes we were standing in Lower Town. From an educational standpoint, everything I would need to teach Grade 7 & 8 Geography is here, this place brings the Ontario Intermediate Geography curriculum to life. 

It was humid, hot and busy on the street when we exited the ferry station. Turning left as you exit the ferry station and walking past several restaurants brings you to Lower Town

The girls and DH decided to do some shopping while Beckett and I explored the cobblestone streets and people watched. 

We then began the trek to Upper Town using the Frommer's Guide. This walk is not difficult but steep. I saw many strollers bumping along the streets, and the babies laughing out loud in happiness. The streets were busy with people and occasionally cars, DD11 mentioned how lovely it would be with no cars at all. 

DH & AndiePandie brought up the back of the Guthrie Pack as we ascended the street to Upper Town. We soon arrived at the massive steps leading the offical top of Upper Town. The graded steps made thwacking sound each time the kids feet touched the steps. AndiePandie had energy to burn so she ran these steps twice. 

We toured the Fairmount Chateau Frontenac which seems to be the centre and cultural heart of the city. We walked the long boardwalk, watched street performers and learned about the historical Fort Saint-Louis. It was at that point that DD11 decided she wanted to come back to this beautiful place. She thought a long weekend here would be a perfect way to spend a winter weekend, coupled with skiing of course. DD11 also wants to stay at the Chateau Frontenac and promises to speak french the entire time. 

Beckett enjoyed one last climb as we returned to the ferry to start the next leg of our journey. The ferry ride back was a little quieter as the kids were tired from the Quebec City Adventure.

A note of caution, be flexible in your planning! I booked a hotel in Trois Riviere for our first night. After feeling the vibe in the vehicle, meaning the high decibel of AndiePandie's voice and the total number of OMG HE IS TOUCHING ME screams coming from the back seat I knew I need a quick change in plan. We decided to stay in Riviere Du Loup at Hotel Universel.

We were pleasantly surprised by the size of the room, pool and water slide. As tired as the kids were after our 9 pm arrival they decided to swim & slide till the pool closed at 10 pm. The posted rate wat 149.00 however upon check in we were again happy with the 129.00 room rate.

Alexander checked us in and humoured me at my broken southern Ontario french. He was very helpful and patient as my three ran around the lobby. Check in was fast and efficient and within 10 minutes the kids were in the pool, tormenting each other.

We slept soundly in Queen sized beds, 2 in one bed and three in the other with no complaints. DH even mentioned how comfortable the beds were. I headed down for breakfast early as  and I was not disappointed.

My three love fruit for breakfast and I knew that this would make them very happy and full for the second day of our adventure. The breakfast buffet had fruit, sausages, bacon, toast, cereal and of course coffee, pots of coffee. The breakfast was not included with the room, however the 6 and under set eat for free, DD9 & DD11 each cost $5.95 and for adults the cost was $14.95. In my opinion well worth the cost for a healthy buffet that the entire family could enjoy.  Marie-Helen took care of us in the hotel restaurant, I asked her what she enjoyed the most about working at Hotel Riviere du Loup. Marie-Helen said that the people here are like her family and every day she sees the most beautiful sunsets. This hotel is family friendly and is close to shopping & gas stations. We were very pleased with our stay. Now, on to day two! 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Do you Wanna Play?

My children have an abundance of energy. Each beautiful summer day we spend hours in the pool, playing outside with friends and biking around the neighbourhood.  Some days are lazier than others, but for the most part we are very active.

Contemplating the first swim of the season! #wannaplay 

Swimming happens to be our "go to" activity. The ability to cool off during the hot summer days and splashing around with friends is consistently at the top of my three children's list. We share our time between swimming at our local pool, in our own pool and at the lake. Each location offers something the others do not.

It is never too cold! #WannaPlay 

At home, we have the ability to be a little sillier, at the local pool the kids can have fun with a larger group of kids and at the lake the kids share the water with fishy friends and turtles.

A leaping good time! #wannaplay 

Swimming not only keeps the children active it also has many health benefits, however my favourite it the fact that the exit the water clean & tired. However, some days it's all about just throwing a baseball around! 
Canadian Tire  launched a really fun contest to get all of us moving this summer. 

My summer loving kids! #wannaplay 

The 30 Day #WannaPlay Photo Challenge Contest will challenge us every day on Twitter until August 4th, 2015. To enter the contest, simply upload your playing/active themed photo or video to Twitter or Instagram and tag @CanadianTire and #WannaPlay.. You will have a chance to win $100 Canadian Tire gift card every day and you will be entered for the $1000 Canadian Tire gift card grand prize. You can enter every day! 

Swimmer #3 #WannaPlay 

Just think of all the fun stuff you can play with for $100 or $1000 from Canadian Tire. Personally, I would buy a Stand Up Paddle Board. We love kayaking at the cottage and I think a SUP would be a perfect new addition.  Do you need some ideas for play time? 

Here are my top 5 #WannaPlay tips:  

1. Walk away from the laptop and turn off your phone. I call my phone my electronic leash, leaving it in my purse on on the charger in the house lets my inner kid come come out to play. 

2. Knock on your neighbour's door. I know, it sounds scary but games are better with more kids. Playing tag with 7 little boys will burn more energy and elongate the fun. Start knocking! 

3. Just add water. Water balloon tag, water shooters and even just turning on the sprinkler can create a the perfect playtime for kids and adults. 

4. Role playing is fun! Pretend to be Gru or a Minion, run around the yard like you are chasing after bananas. You will be surprised how creative your kids can be. 

5. Pull out the hockey sticks. Hockey is just not for summer, road hockey in the driveway is an excellent, yet non competitive way, to play our national sport. This would be a great teachable opportunity to tell them about Paul Henderson and his game winning goal. 

Balls, Balls, Balls #WannaPlay 

So, do you #WannaPlay ? 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Note From Hiccup

This morning, the sky looked a little ominous as we ran a few errands. By the time we got home the skies had opened up and it was suddenly an indoor afternoon activity day. Just as the first coat of paint started to dry on our craft of the day, the doorbell rang. All three kids ran for the door and found our very friendly UPS guy standing there with a huge box.

To say Beckett was happy would be an understatement.

There was a note from Hiccup, talking about what life was like on the Island of Berk, his best friend toothless and their new upcoming adventures. Their new adventure from DreamWorks Animation is called Dragons: Race to the Edge launched exclusively on Netflix on June 26th, just in time for the summer. 

This summer, Hiccup and Toothless, from the critically acclaimed How to Train Your Dragon films are embarking on unparalleled adventures in the all-new Netflix original series Dragons: Race to the Edge -and inviting you along for the dragon ride.Soaring beyond their home on the island of Berk in search of new dragons, Dragons: Race to the Edge introduces some of the most exciting dragons yet, each with its own amazing abilities -- shock waves, cannon balls and fire blasts, just to name a few. With the magical Dragon Eye, an artifact Hiccup finds aboard an abandoned ship, Hiccup learns there is more outside the confines of Berk, and that a little curiosity and determination can make every day an exciting journey. In Hiccup’s own words, “this changes everything.”

Beckett and I decided to have an indoor adventure of our own. We started with the map of Berk and found our route to adventure. 

We made sure to pack some snacks for the humans and dragons,   

we brought along a few friends from Berk, 

and a few of our own. 

A photo posted by Sherrie Guthrie (@sherrieguthrie) on

Before the afternoon was over we snuggled up on the couch with our new Dragon blanket and watched Hiccup in action. Thank you to Netflix Canada & Hiccup for the wonderful surprises. Becket & I enjoyed our rainy day adventures. 

Free Apple Camps Across Canada!

Last year  KT and Andie attended a free, three day camp at the Apple Store located in Bayshore Mall. The learned how to make movies using the iMovies app and Music using the GarageBand app. 
There were approximately 12 children in each group and the girls were proud to show off their end products. 

This summer Apple Canada is offering Apple Camps to youth across Canada. We are unable to attend this year, however I hope some of my Good Karma Baby readers will be able to have an educational and fun experience this summer. 

A little bit about Apple Camp: 

Join us at Apple Camp for three-day workshops where kids ages 8 to 12 bring their imaginations to life. They'll learn to make movies or create interactive books complete with their own illustrations and sound effects. And each workshop ends with the Apple Camp Showcase so campers can share their finished projects.

There are two different camp themes to choose from this summer: Stories in Motion with iMovie and Interactive Storytelling with iBooks. The camps in Ottawa run from July 20th - August 7th, 2015. 

During Apple Camp I decided to take advantage of my the free Apple Workshops while Beckett played with the huge iMac's located in the store. 

Sign up ASAP, as space is limited! Each child is only able to participate in one camp each summer. 


A Shopkins Takeover!

"Mrs. Guthrie, Mrs. Guthrie look what I got this weekend at my birthday party!"

"Oh my, Bailey, what is that ....a roll of toilet paper?"

"Yes, Mrs. Guthrie! It is the cutest toilet paper ever!"

Cue student skipping down the hall in happiness.......

This was my first experience with Shopkins. Many students would gleefully tell me about their Shopkins adventures each morning during our walking meetings or just in passing in the hall. On the yard I would see expressive and creative play on the yard with the small grocery items held in individual shopping bags. They would often be carrying checklists to keep track of which Shopkins they had and compare with other students. 

Shopkins is a collectible line of characters inspired by items found in the grocery store. They spark
imaginations and are fun to collect with unique characters, such as Apple Blossom, Pa' Pizza
and the Limited Edition, Cupcake Queen. The line also offers themed playsets such as the Small Mart, Fruits & Vegetables and Bakery Stand.

I asked my own children what they thought about Shopkins.  My pre-teen daughter made a sound that only dolphins could hear when I mentioned Shopkins. We receive  several packages a week from brands and PR companies that the kids love to dive into, however most are focused on the under 10 set. This was the first time in a long time that there was something for my soon-to-be teenager to review.

Of course KT, who is an avid Youtube viewer, decided we needed to create unboxing videos to post similar to other Shopkins fans that are glued to the brand’s YouTube series of webisodes,
which have been viewed more than 13 million times and have spurred over 400 million views of
online fan videos. So we did!

A video posted by Sherrie Guthrie (@sherrieguthrie) on

A video posted by Sherrie Guthrie (@sherrieguthrie) on

A video posted by Sherrie Guthrie (@sherrieguthrie) on

A video posted by Sherrie Guthrie (@sherrieguthrie) on

This summer, as we embark on one of our #GuthrieFamilyAdventure we will be making a stop at Showcase. As the home for Shopkins in Canada, Showcase boasts more than 100 items with more arriving daily, including characters, playsets, books and board games — offering greater selection and stock than any other retailer in the country. And while other retailers only sell mystery packs, Showcase is the only retailer in the world to offer individual Shopkins characters at to help kids complete their collection.  

I love that Showcase is a Canadian success story, Showcase employs a unique combination of trend identification technology, an agile supply chain, and a fun and interactive retail shopping experience. The result is the hottest trends first, fast, and often exclusively, making Showcase the leading destination for trending products and gifts.

All three Guthrie's enjoyed reviewing the Shopkins mini figures. They have decided to work cooperatively to collect all the Shopkins. This past weekend all three mini-me's  pooled their allowances to  buy a Shopkins guide and are excited to start collecting Season 3! 

Happy Shopkins Shopping! 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Our Calypso Adventure!

Summer is finally here. The kids and I have started our summer routine of swimming lessons, swim team, day trips and weekends at the cottage. To kick off the summer of 2015,  we decided to head over to Calypso water park. Calypso is North America's biggest water park and has something for every age group. When you arrive at Calypso the parking fee is $8, are many turnstiles to pay the fee, I suggest bringing cash to make the transaction faster. 

We have arrived. 
We entered the park with high hopes of water adventure, speedy slides and a welcoming lazy river. Renting a VIP Cabana was first step in the right direction. The Cabana was our home base and meeting place. The Cabana's come with a fridge, free wifi and most importantly a quiet spot to rest and reconnect with all of our group members. On this trip we had two preteens, a nine year old and a 6 year old.

Checking out the slides. 

The park actually opens an hour before the slides open. This is a wonderful tidbit of information for families looking to claim a picnic table as a home base for the day. We arrived at 9:30 am and had the opportunity to look around the park area, change into our swimsuits, find the water fountains and look in the gift shops. 

Our team loaded up for a day of adventure. 

By the time the gates to the slides opened the kids were already running to be the first on the water slides. Check out the calendar on the Calypso site to plan your day of fun at the park.

Our VIP Cabana staff. 

I am trying to "let it go" a bit more as a parent, meaning I'm trying to be less of a helicopter parent. KT brought her BFF with her to Calypso. The two girls spend the day running from slide to slide independently. They would come back to the Cabana to check in periodically or when they were hungry. With close to 600 staff members, 120 lifeguards and 55 slide attendants I felt that KT and her friend would be safe and their well-being was a priority for the staff. Calypso also has a nurse on site at all times at the first aid station if medical attention was ever necessary. It was not easy to just let her go, but by showing KT I trust her and have confidence in her ability to take care of herself, I am helping shape the person she will become. 

I feel the need for speed! 
Beckett, AndiePandie and I spent most of our time in the  Jungle Run (lazy river) just outside our cabana and in the Pirate's AquaPlay area. There were many primary aged participants on the pirate ship during our visit with older siblings and parents trailing along. One of the best parts of the magnificent ship is the huge bucket that completely soaks the participants with hundreds of liters of water.  Zoo Lagoon is a preschoolers paradise. There are perfectly sized slides, water sprayers and splashy pools for the under 5 set. This area was filled with running toddlers and happy parents the day we visited. 

Just my speed, the Jungle Run. 

There are many options for lunches and snacks at Calypso, there is more than the regular park fare. We found the chicken Caesar salad to be the perfect side dish for the sandwiches and fruit tray we brought from home. You are able to bring in coolers of food and drinks to the park. However, there are no glass containers or alcohol allowed in the park for obvious safety reasons. Each bag and cooler is inspected upon entry so be ready to show what you have brought with you. 

Are we tall enough Mom? 
The five of us decided to complete the Jungle Challenge together. There are ropes of all sizes, abilities and strengths. We walked over alligators, logs, huge leaves and made our way across the obstacle course laughing at each. It was not an easy feat to cross the more challenging ropes course, I may need more time in the gym before I go again. 

Beckett relaxing with his Minions! 

Safety is the number one concern for the staff at Calypso. If you are interested in learning more about the rides and how to ride them safely, I strongly suggest watching the videos on the website before you go. One final money saving tip, when you enter the park and pick up your tickets for the day, you will be asked if you would like a $10 return ticket. The return ticket can be used up to 6 days after your first visit. 

Front office staff!

My family and I were compensated for our visit, however the opinions are our own.