National Ice Cream Day!

July 20th was National Ice Cream day, and the Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum celebrated appropriately with the Ice Cream Festival!

We arrived early, and thank goodness, because the parking lot was jammed by the time we left at 11:30 am. As museum members, we got to bypass the HUGE lineup, and headed inside to see the cows and horses. My daughters were worried about all the noise the animals were making, so we made our way over to a demonstration of ice cream making with an old manual ice cream maker. Nearby the girls could play with hoola hoops and make giant bubbles.

Of course, the highlight of the day was free ice cream, which the girls gobbled up (and I do have to comment that normally our family tries to avoid Nestle products for these reasons, but I made an exception in the interest of toddler meltdowns). There were also ice cream sandwiches being made in the kitchen, and the girls enjoyed watching the bees working away in the beehive.

Ice Cream Festival

A visit to the Canadian Agriculture museum never disappoints, and you definitely want to add this event to you calendar for next summer!

I said “no” and the world didn’t end

I’m a Yes Person. How awesome are we? Ask us anything – anything at all – and we will most likely say Yes.

Can you give me a lift to my appointment?  YES!

Are you free to babysit my dog? YES!

Do you have $20 to donate to my charity? YES!

We need extra volunteers in the classroom – can you do it? YES!

Never mind that the appointment is across town. Never mind that I have my own dog and two young children to take care of. Never mind that I’ve already donated hundreds of dollars to other charities this year. And never mind that I work three jobs and just don’t have the hours to volunteer in the classroom. The answer is always – YES!

But here’s the problem with Yes People. We say YES so often that we actually end up saying NO. But we say NO by cancelling at the last minute, forgetting appointments and social dates, or doing a half-assed job. The “no” doesn’t come from an authentic place of self-knowledge and plain old common sense; it comes from a place of fear – fear of failure, fear that people will be disappointed in me, and fear that I will never be good enough.

And I’ve realized that by being a YES person, I also miss out on a lot of opportunities to give back in meaningful ways, because I tell myself I just don’t have the time. For example, I’ve never donated blood. Can you believe it? Something so simple, and yet I give myself permission to be “too busy” for this life-saving gesture that takes very little time to do.

The lesson I’m teaching my kids when I say YES all the time is simple:

I don’t have boundaries. I can’t recognize when I’ve stretched myself so thin that I’ll soon snap like a rubber band.

It’s time for a NO revolution. Or – maybe a more conscious and mindful use of the word YES. Because although YES can be generous, loving and kind, NO deserves a whole lotta respect.

Have you practiced saying NO lately?

5 Things To Do Before Summer Ends

Summer is just flying by. Given that my daughter is in the French-Catholic Board, she’ll be back to school on August 26th! Which means I’m starting to think about what we still need to do before summer ends, so that I don’t wake up in October kicking myself for letting the sun and sand pass me by:

1) BEACH DAY. I just can’t bring myself to go to a city beach for “beach day.” I love Petrie Island (given that I live in Orleans), and support my city as much as I can, but until the Province and City of Ottawa clean up our water, I’m totally grossed out. Instead, we will be enjoying the clean and sandy waters out in Bon Echo provincial park!

2) FAIR. There are so many great Ottawa-area fairs, and we are definitely going to check out the Navan Fair on August 9/10th! Although my girls don’t really enjoy crowds, I love that there are many different activities that don’t involve the noisy midway :)

3) FARM. Although our vegetable garden is huge, it certainly doesn’t compare to the greenery at Eco Honey Bee Spa and Gardens. It’s my favourite eco-spa in the Ottawa area, and Deborah welcomes families to come check out her beautiful gardens, doves, chickens and rabbits. And as a bonus, we can take a walk through Kemptville and stop at The Branch for lunch!

4) MOSAIKA. We still need to get my oldest out for the evening sound and light show on Parliament Hill. I think she’ll love it!!

5) POOL. I grew up with a pool, so it’s slightly sad that my kids don’t get to experience daily swimming in the backyard (although I’m not regretting the incredible costs and work associated with a pool!!). So before the summer is over, we plan to crash my friend’s backyard and use their pool to cool off :)

What do you hope to do before summer ends?