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get the kids outside

Simple Ideas To Get the Kids Outside More

FAM, kids By July 10, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Nature Bucket ListUsually I’m not preachy, but watching this video of three generations talking about summer ‘fun’ filmed by Nature Valley jarred me to my roots. Our relationship to nature is changing and with technology at our fingertips, it’s easy to forget about what’s important, like being outside and enjoying nature. With each passing generation, children seem to be playing outside less and less.

Rediscover NatureWhat if our connection to nature is lost for good? I want my grandchildren to develop skills and knowledge that can be acquired only in nature. Learning to fish, to camp, swim, built forts and plant seeds are part of childhood – play is necessary for development. Not only are motor skills developed, but creativity, reasoning, logic and life skills are honed. Can you imagine having no access to food other than fish, but the only time you’ve held a rod was during a fishing video game? So let’s make a pact to get the kids outside this summer, K?

The time is now to rediscover the joy of nature.

Get the Kids OutsideThe kids and I have completed our ‘Summer Bucket List’ and pasted it to the fridge, where we can check off the items as we complete them. I’m giddy. Too often the summer slips away from us and I regret not having slept in a tent or taking the kayak out. This will be the best summer ever.

I challenge you to complete your own Bucket List (click to get your own printable)! I’d also love to hear your ideas in the comments below. Happy summer!

Watermark Beach Resort

Watermark Beach Resort

Canada, ROAM By July 8, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

The first thing my kids do when checking into a new hotel (after saying hello to everyone in the lobby, fighting over who presses the inside button in the elevator and insisting on opening the door themselves) is jump on the beds. We not only do we have lift-off, but we have 150% approval for Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos, British Columbia.
Amenities range from fully equipped gourmet kitchens (the grocery and liquor stores are right next door) and washer and dryer in the suites, to poolside grilling stations for easy dinners (if you can pass up the restaurant.)
This Okanagan lakefront resort offers huge tapas plates in the Watermark Restaurant, wine tastings in the lobby, a waterslide in the outdoor pool, two hot tubs, yoga and pilates classes and the Illumination Spa and Salon.

Lake View at Watermark ResortIf the kids tire of the waterslide (funny joke), the lake is adjacent to the property and features a three-sided dock to keep little ones safe yet allows the older ones to practice their cannonball form in deeper water. The Osoyoos Yacht Club is a short walk down the beach and we were able to hitch a catamaran ride and then test our salmon fishing skills, which were excellent incidentally. (Even though it was a banner year for salmon and the government actually increased the limits…).

When the boys and I were by the pool, we ordered to-die-for grilled cheese and homemade mac and cheese for lunch. I actually managed to tear them away from the waterslide for 6 minutes in order to eat!

Watermark Resort Patio Dinner For dinner, the family went to Watermark’s tapas-style restaurant run by terroir-inspired Chef Adair Scott. It also boasts it’s own wine label and to-die-for views.
They have made the small kitchen into an advantage by creating grilled dishes such as arctic char, chicken confit, local steaks and tapas-style fare (spicy prawns, tenderloin carpaccio or quinoa cauliflower salad, anyone?) presented artfully and cooked skillfully.

Watermark FoodIt really shouldn’t be called tapas. The dishes are huge – and you will want to finish it all. Much of the organic produce comes from Covert Farms, and the herbs are all grown a few feet away in the resort’s garden.

Watermark Resort WeddingMy son was transfixed one day watching a wedding underneath our balcony and it was all I could do not to ‘shhh’ loudly when he asked questions about the ceremony. There are learning opportunities even while on a beach vacation!

Rattlesnake CanyonHome Hardware OsoyoosWhile in Osoyoos we made many a kid-friendly excursion, including the Miniature Train Museum and Rattlesnake Canyon Amusement Park – you can see our Osoyoos Top 10 list HERE). But one of the best ‘excursions’? Home Hardware. Just up the street from Watermark is an amusement park in itself. You will want to set aside about an hour. We picked up swim goggles, a cooler for the 75 pounds of salmon we were bringing home and garden décor.


From now on, Osoyoos will be on my summer hitlist – not only for the fresh salmon and organic fruit, but as an excuse to make memories with my family at Watermark Beach Resort.

Disclosure: Watermark Beach Resort has been awarded the Tripadvisor Hall of Fame for the past five years. We were hosted for a weekend and loved it so much we stayed an extra night. All opinions are my own.


Teaching Kids the Art of Fishing

LIVE, play By August 15, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Have you ever thought about teaching your kids the art of fishing? Of course there’s the romance of little Huckleberry Finns sitting on a dock with a string and a stick.  And then there’s the possibility of catching dinner.  And teaching kids that all food doesn’t necessarily come from a supermarket.  But the photos you’ll get?  Priceless.

We spent a week this summer in the New York Finger Lakes swimming, casting and paddling.  But the best memories were on the dock.  When ‘Uncle Brad’ gave a fishing rod and tackle to my eldest son, the eyes lit up and hours were spent learning about sinkers, hooks and worms.  Taking them all out and organizing.  Sleeping with them.  Uncle Brad is quite the accomplished fisherman, and I convinced him to share his tips for teaching kids the art of fishing.

1.  Rule #1: Size does not matter.  Any fish is a good fish.  And catching one and handing them the rod can get them ‘hooked’ for life.
2.  Start the teaching of casting using foam fish and a foam hook.  When attached to a line, the foam hook can be used to retrieve the floating fish form in the water.
3.  A kid’s rod  is shorter with an internal reel and button.  (Bait casting reel as opposed to a spinning reel).  Shakespeare makes great ones for boys and girls and they are readily available at Target and Walmart.  (You can even get Disney, Star Wars, Spiderman and princess themes).
4.  A dock on a calm lake from 6-8am is usually the best time to nab the critters.
5.  Use pliers to flatten the barbs on your hooks.  It’s nicer for the fish.
6.  Always remove hooks from the lines when you are done so as not to invite any injuries.
7.  Make the kids look around prior to casting.  My son caught a 5-foot-eleven man named ‘Uncle Brad’.
8.  Encouraging the kids to drop the fish back into the water will excite them.  (And then you don’t have to touch them).
9.  Live worms are an easy and plentiful bait.
10.  Try to teach about the species of fish as you catch.
11.  Patience can be a challenge for kids.  But having quiet conversations as you set your lines can form the best memories and bonds between parent and child.
12.  Make sure at least one adult isn’t squeamish about baiting the hooks or taking fish off the line.
13.  Rod and reel are not necessary.  A string tied to a bamboo pole with a hook works just fine.
14.  Fish under a certain number of pounds must be tossed back.  Check in the jurisdiction you are in.  And keeping anything as a pet is just a bad idea.
15.  Hats, sunscreen, fishing license, water, band-aids and snacks should never be far away.

Next step?  Tying their own flies and mastering the art of planking a salmon.  Oh – and never make the mistake of asking first if they caught anything.  As a good friend once said, “I’m going fishing.  Not fish-catching.”