A trip to the zoo, and other stories.

We have been busy as always since the last time I was able to check in. We made a family trip to the Toronto Zoo with my mom and dad. Going back as a guest was kind of strange after having spent many summers working with the pony ride, that appears to no longer be there. It was also so much fun watching the kids see all the animals for the first time.We packed a large picnic lunch and spent the whole day and saw pretty much everything. I forgot how big the zoo really was.  Leah’s favourite animal turned out be the flamingos. She also really liked seeing the giraffes and the tigers. Ava’s favourite was the gorillas. It was a cool wet day and many of the animals were very close and active.  I am looking forward to taking the kids again maybe in the summer when it is a bit warmer.

a visit with the Giant Pandas
Leah having a bite to eat, the Komodo dragon was watching closely.
A gorilla, contemplating the meaning of an opposable thumb…
Leah, Ava and Granny checking out a pigmy hippo.
Zebras up close and personal.
Giraffe! Leah asked the see these first.
Sumatran tiger.
A pile of baby snow leopards. One of my favourites.
Leah, Ava and Granny reading some signs.
We found Dory!

Halloween was also a a bunch of fun. The girls enjoyed dressing up, Leah was Elsa again and Ava was a genie.

Elsa and Shimmer. They couldn’t stand still. Thus, this is the best photo we got.

Nick and I finally got most of the fall clean up done in the last week or so. It seems just in time to get the yard waste bags out for the last pick up. Also just in time as the first snow was upon us that evening. The girls were so excited about the snow they woke up early so that they could play outside before Leah went to school. Ava enjoyed the first sled run of the season.

On a mission!
The first run is always the best!

Christmas is coming! Having kids of a certain age has really made me enjoy celebrating the season a bit earlier. We got the lights up on the house outside and my dad came and built our winter planter. It is looking very festive. Our Christmas tree has also made an appearance. It will have to wait a few days until we can put any decorations on it and with that, the Christmas season is upon us. I have been busy making lists and planning various Christmas cooking expeditions for dad and I to embark on. The LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine always has so many fun and different recipes to try and play with. It is time to stock up on things before the mad rush at the end.  I got some beautiful alpaca wool today, I have some projects in mind for that. Well, off to check out some cyber Monday deals. I’m sure it will be just as successful as black Friday i.e. nothing purchased.

October in our house

Thanksgiving has come and gone, so has Halloween. I have been very busy  the last few weeks with Thanksgiving prep, costumes to make, and candy to gather. In the last bit of nice weather I got all the spring bulbs in the ground, and started tucking in the plants for the winter. There are a few things left to do, so I hope the warmish weather holds out just a little bit longer.

We had our usual Thanksgiving traditions this year with a visit to The Rockton Worlds Fair, followed by a very hearty meal prepared by my father and Nick.

My mom and I take the kids to the fair for the day while the men stay home to cook. Leah and Ava take in as much as possible, however the rides still seem to be the biggest hit. I have been going to the fair for as long as I can remember. My mom and I have volunteered in the Ag Alive tent for many years helping with the Cambridge Spinners and Weavers booth. Ava loves the horses and chicks the best and Leah seems to be more fond of the cows.

Ava and the chick
Playing the corn pit in the Ag alive tent at the Rockton Fair

Leah built up the courage to pet a ball python, turns out she really likes snakes as well.

Leah and the Ball Python

After our busy day we headed home. I made three different desserts this year. A sweet potato pound cake, an apple pie and a pumpkin pie.

Apple pie, Pumpkin pie and Sweet potato pound cake

Then it was time to get ready for Halloween.  It all started with a visit to Shantz Family Farm in Mannheim, http://shantzfarm.ca  We picked up some pumpkins and gourds for decorations.

Pumpkin picking at Shantz Family Farm

Thanks to Pinterest, I have discovered that there are so many different ways to carve a pumpkin. I tend to use a drill as my primary tool in carving now. We created two fun pumpkins and two scary faces.

Pumpkin Carving

The kids were too excited to take a nice picture of costumes together. Leah was Elsa and Ava was a ladybug.

All dressed up and ready to go

Nick was able to get a few days off the first week of November, so we headed to one of our favourite travel spots, Kingston ON. We stay with Nick’s Aunt, and visit with his grandfather.

Playing the organ at their great grandfather’s house

We spent a fair bit of time there over the years and have developed many favourite places to eat and see. It is wonderful to head back year after year and have it stay mostly the same. We had perfect weather for the time of year we were there, and enjoyed walking along the waterfront and playing in one of the lovely large parks that is there.

All the girls playing at the park
Leah at the park
Ava playing at the park
Walk home through the warm fall day, surrounded by beautiful fall colour
Arie den Otter surrounded by Nick and his great granddaughters.
Leah and I sitting by the lake on a stunning November day.

We had dinner at one of our favourite places, The Kingston Brew pub (http://www.kingstonbrewing.ca), and lunch at another, Atomica(http://www.atomica.ca). As well as a stop at Pan Chancho’s(http://www.panchancho.com) Nick and I have been eating at these places for 10 years now and they never really change. The food is always fantastic, the atmosphere is charming, with a mix of “did I really just overhear that?” and above all it brings back so many happy memories.

 

Well here it is November already! I suppose that Christmas will come sooner than I am ready for it. My closet is slowly filling with little gifts and crafts to finish assembling.  I have already heard a little bit of Christmas music and seen some windows in some shops preparing for the rush of holiday shoppers. I always hope to avoid the last minute rush, but there is always one thing or another that gets forgotten until the last moment.