Chill, 2017

August happenings - 1. I never take for granted the feeling I get experiencing the views from our dock on the Trent / 2. Setting up the sweet corn stand on the farm brought out that entrepreneurial spirit in me similar to the lemonade stand / 3. Opening our doors to the public and our agricultural community to celebrate our new robotic dairy barn was such an awesome experience / 4. The #Canada150 (free!) National Park initiative prompted us to visit Point Peelee National Park, Canada's most southernmost point while we were visiting southwestern Ontario.

When September rolls around, I feel like the new year is sneaking around the corner, ready to make its appearance sooner than we'd like. This year is no different. Where is 2017 going.. I feel like it just started?!

As I've blogged about before, September also feels like a second chance to (finally) get around to accomplishing your new years goals because it feels like another fresh start to the year. And because there is a looming deadline fast approaching. September is like New Years 2.0.

Summer is typically a quieter time for me professionally. Fall is when things amp up since harvest time is a staple in the agricultural calendar, the industry I work in. But this year, it appears that due to side business hustles, lots of life happenings... and oh, a little thing called motherhood, this summer has ushered in a new sense of busyness that I've never experienced before.

Thanks to this busyness, I've learned to be OK with slacking on my #blog452 commitment in the month of August. But, to make up for this, I'm doing something I've never done before on the blog... I'm going to blog everyday this week!

Look forward to reading about my whereabouts lately, some goings on and the latest on my #passionatevoice adventures.

Check back on the blog this week, lots of good stuff coming at ya! 

Things I Love About Our Country #Canada150

Happy belated Canada day, friends!

Now that I am (somewhat) caught up on sleep from what was an epic Canada day long weekend, which included celebrating my little brother's wedding, I wanted to share 6 of the things I love about our country to commemorate #Canada150. Hope you got to celebrate what was uniquely yours on Canada day!

[1. Food and wine]  - strawberry picking, pumpkin patches, cherries, maple syrup, lentils, there are so many amazing things I've been surprised to learn we grow, produce and harvest within our very own country. We truly have one of the safest, most sustainable food systems in the world with the abundance and variety of yummy foods we produce. We should also be proud of our emerging wine industry - we may be a few hundred years behind Europe in our wine production but our wines from BC and Ontario are still incredibly tasty too! The photo of the cherries above is actually our neighbour's cherry tree. Talk about eating and enjoying local?! #HowCoolIsThat

[2. The views and our 4 seasons] - I think it is fair to say we may have some of the most diverse, vast landscapes of any country in the world in part because of the 4 seasons we get to experience. From the mountain views, to the prairie flats, our waterways to the red dirt on the east coast, you can experience so much in just one country (even though it takes a far distance to get from one end to the other and 4 changes of clothing for each season!). I feel fortunate to have visited almost all Canadian provinces - the only two provinces I have yet to visit are Newfoundland and Saskatchewan which I have added to my travel bucket list! Some of my favourite views (of so many in our country) that I've been able to personally savour include mountains views from Sidney, BC and Banff/Lake Louise, AB; rocky shores in Lake-of-the-Woods/Kenora, ON; watching the northern lights in the prairie, Manitoba skies; harbour ocean-front views in North Rustico, PEI and one of my absolute favorite views, the calming, scenic views from my family's cottage on the Trent River in ON. Oh and fall is still my favourite season of them all :)

[3. Innovations and creations] - I didn't realize how many incredible innovations our country and Canadians are responsible. Some of them are life changing and some are the simple pleasures we and so many millions enjoy - things like insulin, peanut butter (one of my absolute favs!), the life vest, the electric wheelchair, backup lights on modern cars, garbage bags and the paint roller. You can read more awesome inventions here. Who knew how truly awesome we are?!

[4. The Great Lakes] - Being raised on the water, I've always been attached to the water and love a good deep breathe of fresh, water air (it could also be the fact that I am the water sign Cancer). Being from Ontario, I love how close we are to the Great Lakes, all 5 of which are just a drive a way to enjoy. I'll never forget learning in grade school how to remember the names of our 5 Great Lakes - remember the acronym HOMES (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior!) You are welcome :) Side note, my girlfriends and I thought the Great Lakes are so awesome that we got the sweatshirt I'm pictured in above, made last summer when we were all in Grand Bend #BestIdeaEver

[5. The Canadian game of Hockey] - The photo above of the goalie is of my very own husband Andrew in his glory days as a goalie for the University of Guelph. He has since hung up his pads, but I love how much we enjoy the game of hockey together. I've always been a huge fan (of not only him) but the game of hockey itself. I have loved being a fan in the stands since a young age and understand the game enough to rock our family hockey pool which I won this year ;)

[6. Our 'Canadianisms'] - There are so many awesome things that make us known as Canadians that I'm calling these our 'Canadianism's. Things like the iconic Hudsons Bay brand of colourful stripes (I have the paddle above!), maple syrup, poutine, Tim Hortons, the red maple leaf, our manners/politeness - these are just a few of the things that make us so uniquely known around the world as Canadians.

[Photo Source]
[Photo Source]

Savouring Summer 2016

Savouring Summre 2016

Happy belated Victoria Day, my Canadian friends!

The weather to kick off our first (unofficial summer) long weekend of the year was a beauty! I enjoyed a weekend with both friends and family in cottage country and at home on the farm... what could be better than that?!

I always look forward to the summer-like weather that finally embraces us come May 2-4 weekend. But I know that this weekend also means that I won't have the same focus and energy on weekends relating to my side business as I do in Fall/Winter/Spring. Once summer weather is here and the outdoors are to be enjoyed, I just don't have the same drive. Is anyone else with me on this?!

Summer also means wedding season, patio drinks, late-night warm weather walks, reading on the deck, cattle show season for my family and travelling/enjoying the outdoors - there really is so much to look forward too. Oh, and did I mention work in there too?!

Because my family lives along the Trent River in Hastings, we are fortunate that in the summer, the views on the water are so beautiful and calming (the photo above was actually taken yesterday by moi, enjoying a day on the Trent). It makes it hard to explore other places when you know you have access to views like this, but I'm always up for exploring new places across our province because there really are so many untouched jems Andrew and I want to visit and need to see.

Makes sense, after seeing views like these in Banff, that to want to #exploreOntario and whats in our own backyard. Thinking of heading out this summer to savour summer 2016 in Ontario like we will be?

Here are some ideas to help plan your trips and getaways for summer 2016 from our #ExploreOntario Travel Bucket List:

  • The emerging wine country of Ontario, Prince Edward County (just enjoyed a weekend there with my girls recently, such an awesome area of the province!)
  • It would be remiss of me not to mention my own hometown of Hastings - a quaint town that is home to 1,200 + people with some awesome views, a well-known local coffee shop and Kawartha Dairy icecream shop, some great eats and of course, fishing (voted the Ultimate Fishing Town in 2012). Because the Trent River runs through the town (the same river my family lives on) there is also a great lock system which boats use to cruise through in the summer time!
  • We've visited Elora Gorge Conservation area for a day before, but we really want to camp there and do the lazy river tub ride
  • Right down the road from beachfront Grand Bend, there is Pinery Provincial Park which made for awesome camping for Andrew and I. I'll be heading back to GB in June for a weekend away with my girls, can't wait!
  • On Sunday's in the summer, you can find me here at the Aberfoyle Antique Market, so many amazing finds each time I visit!
  • The 3+ hour drive from Toronto to Tobermory is one of the best kept secrets of the province. The Bruce Penninsula has so much to offer, it was one of the best trips we've taken!
  • Another touristy spot that uses the phrase, "One of Canada's Best Kept Secret" is Canada's southernmost populated point,  Peelee Island, which requires a ferry ride to get there. Maybe you recognize the name because of the well-known Peelee Island Winery? Haven't been there before but would love to make it there this summer and enjoy a glass of Peelee Island ON Peelee Island.
  • While I haven't spent that much time in the Muskoka's, I've always wanted to re-visit Deerhurst Resort after visiting as a child and I've also heard awesome things about the J.W. Marriott 'The Rosseau in northern cottage country.
  • Algonquin Park has always been on my bucket list but I can't seem to find a weekend to make a camping trip there. Maybe a visit one weekend to Adventure Lodge Cabins this fall would make for some awesome hiking, camp fires and and smores.
  • Two places close to home that Andrew and I often take a drive too when we're visiting my family and the farm close to Peterborough are Elmhirt Resort, located on Rice Lake which funnels from Trent River and Viamede Resort on the picturesque Stoney Lake.
  • An earlier trip this year to Mont Tremblant made for the perfect winter ski getaway that we needed but we both said while we were there that we would love to come back in the summertime to enjoy the awesome activities available when the snow has disappeared.
  • One place I actually had never visited with Andrew before was downtown Niagara-On-The-Lake which we recently crossed off on our travel bucket list! We brought our own bikes with us and did a tour of the town before heading out into the countryside to see the many well-known wineries.

Photos from our recent trip in early May to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

NOTL