Leisurely Day Out At Jack Darling and Rattray Marsh.


During the summer months, I stay at home with my children and make a point of visiting my mom once a week. She is getting on in years but thoroughly enjoys a good walk and some fresh air. The kids like going for hikes or nature walks too. They do enjoy them more when there is a playground or splash pad or both to provide them with some extra fun.


This time we decided to venture a bit south to the Lake, Lake Ontario and the Lakeshore in Mississauga's Jack Darling Memorial Park. 


Jack Darling is a great city park meant for family fun and relaxing. It is a great picnic area whether with you spouse and children or extended family areas for up to 150 people equipped with BBQ's and water. There is an off leash park there for the family dog as well and lots of trails along the lake.


There is also a splash pad, washroom with change area by splash pad and playgrounds. 


If you walk along the lake trail to the west you will come to Rattray Marsh Conservation area. There is no cost to go through the marsh. There is a boardwalk trail all along and it is bustling with nature noises. 


It is a comfortable stroll around the marsh and it's quite popular. You can catch some great nature pictures too. 


The marsh was a bit low, but when it flows the ducks and frogs are around to be seen plenty.


It's a great frugal way to spend the day out and enjoy the summer. Of course there is tons of rocks to be skipped as well! 

Weekly #Giveaway Linky Aug 12


Hello folks, I am going to try and keep a log of current giveaways offered on other blogs that I am aware of. I hope to have some of my own in future. All are Canadian giveaways, a couple are open to US as well and noted in description. If you have any contests to share feel free to add in comments. Good Luck!



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Camping and Day Trips in South Western Ontario

We finally got to go camping this past long weekend in Ontario. It has been a crazy busy summer as far as weekends go but luckily, although I left a little late, I was able to locate a great conservation area that we were able to enjoy in the lovely Southwest Ontario! 


Lake Whittaker was where we ended up and it is a great weekend spot. It is only 30-40 minutes away from the lovely Port Stanley that sits on Lake Erie and about 10 min away from the town Aylmer. Not too far from another cute town St Thomas. All these areas have nice spots for day trips. We only managed to to visit a few as we took in and enjoyed some of the offerings at the conservation area itself.
 

For example, at Lake Whittaker Conservation Area in Southwest Ontario I was quite surprised to see all the events and extras they do every weekend in the summer. When you pull in after registration, there is a board posted with all the different activities going on all summer.


While we were camping there we were lucky enough to partake in the carnival they had set up in the pavilion area right beside our campsite. The had a bunch of games (including a dunk tank!) where if you won you would receive raffle tickets for some great prizes! We were lucky to win a couple.


There is all sorts of camping sites available, no hook ups off the lake, 15 amp in woods or 30 amps are by pool. They also have seasonal sites and a pool there which isn't as common with conservation areas. Playground, basket ball court and volley nets. There was great fishing in the lake  for both kids and adults. Kevin caught a couple of Large mouth bass of decent size and the kids were happy to catch decent size sunfish! Liam caught 7 one morning!


Of course every night there was a camp fire and out came the marshmallows and my favourite for s'mores is the chocolate covered cookie (Leclerc Celebration cookie for easy version). The kids loved them and are a necessary part of every camping trip now.


When I found this campground and saw how close it was to Port Stanley, I knew we would be having a beach day and would spend the day in this lovely town in Southwest Ontario. We once stopped through on our way to Michigan and love this beach and proximity. It is much easier for us to navigate the traffic on the West then from the North or East being off the west side of Toronto. It is a doable day trip. In fact one great thing about the camping at Lake Whittaker is that it's under 90 min away! 


Since Port Stanley was only around 30 min away from our camping site, we were able to hit the beach right after breakfast. We got to the parking lot at about 10am and though we found great parking with ease people were all arriving at the same time. It got busy quick for the super hot day that brought humidex to over 40'C! Great beach day!


The beach is sandy and shallow. The best feature for the kids though was the waves! They were having a blast diving into the waves. It got windier towards the afternoon. The beach isn't huge but it is very nice and there is at least 4 life guard posts with 2 on each plus ones patrolling ground. 
 

If waves aren't your thing, there is a quiet beach on the other side of the breaker called the family beach. There is a boardwalk from main beach through to town along water and a lift bridge as well which is kind of neat for the kids. The smaller beach is on the other side of town and if you get there early enough there is free parking up by it in the grassy knolls. 


We had an amazing lunch at GT's on The Beach restaurant that is on the beach by the Volleyball nets, up from rest/change rooms. They have local fresh perch and walleye served there and my perch salad was amazing. Kids menu was pretty unique, Logan had a taco which was chicken and served with hard and soft shells held together with re fried beans and the prices were fair. It is all patio set up but with lots of shade. If you want to eat here though, I suggest you get there early if a busy day at beach because it gets busy quick too. 


After lunch we went to beach for a bit more and then decided to try some ice cream in town. We took a stroll over the bridge and headed to Broderick's Ice Cream Parlour. There was tons of flavours of ice cream to choose from. I had some pistachio, my favourite. Niagara Peach was a winner too but the biggest draw was there in house made waffle cones and rightfully so. The best thing was they had toddler size of the cones which is my size of ice cream. Just the right amount and I got to enjoy the cone and ice cream, win win!


Did I mention how hot it was! It was a parching walk and on the way back we passed another location that is hard to miss. Mackie's is another restaurant off the beach. Quite another popular place and I had heard of these Orangeade drinks. Well we just had to stop dying of thirst as is, it was a perfect opportunity to try one. Boy, we were glad we did! It was like a refreshing creamsicle. 


There were other things of interest there. There was a train tour right across the lift bridge and it as about hour long tour. We were walking past around last run and didn't get a chance to do this trip. Another place of interest with kids is the Honey Farm in Aylmer, called Clovermead Adventure Farm. It looked amazing from the road. It would be a good half day visit, there seemed lots to do and the parking lots were full. I would like to make a trip back in the area to take kids to this farm. Speaking of farms, there is a lot of markets, stands and farms you can pick your own or ready picked. We stopped at Berry Hill Fruit farm before heading home and there was amazing assortment all grown there and picked that day! 





Weekly #Giveaway Linky Aug 6


Hello folks, I am going to try and keep a log of current giveaways offered on other blogs that I am aware of. I hope to have some of my own in future. All are Canadian giveaways, a couple are open to US as well and noted in description. If you have any contests to share feel free to add in comments. Good Luck!



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A Day Trip To Wasaga Beach Provincial Park

Wasaga Beach is a great day trip out of the city. It can be a scenic ride if you take the back roads too. Some beautiful hills and views from atop them. 


There is a nice main strip with different beach shops and some spots to eat or get a treat. Great for a leisure stroll. Though we didn't venture there on this trip. We stuck to the Wasaga Beach Provincal Park.   


The park is a great spot just beside the main strip. At the park it is a bit quieter and there is picnic uses. Plus it's patrolled by rangers. More family oriented. We wound up here this time because we were unaware of the Biker Festival taking place and we were just looking for some family time at the beach for this trip. It was perfect for this. 


It was an overcast day but it was very busy along the other areas and not too bad at the park. It is $20 a vehicle to the park which isn't too bad helping conservation and having to pay to park in the area anyway. 


Now we are lucky enough to have a pool in our yard and swimming is something the kids get to do daily in the summer months but there is still something about the beach the kids enjoy. 


The great thing about Wasaga Beach is that the waters are so shallow, calm and sandy, not rocky making it perfect for the kids to have fun without having too stress too much about them going to far.


At the end of the day, the kids were so happy with the visit. We have had many busy days and tons of day trips but they by far loved being at the beach. They enjoyed trying to catch fish in buckets, building sand castles, playing Frisbee in the water and having water gun fights whats not to love! 

Weekly #Giveaway Linky July 29


Hello folks, I am going to try and keep a log of current giveaways offered on other blogs that I am aware of. I hope to have some of my own in future. All are Canadian giveaways, a couple are open to US as well and noted in description. If you have any contests to share feel free to add in comments. Good Luck!



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Farm Fresh Peach Crisp Using Ground Oat Flour

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Peaches have become one of our favourite fruits in our house, at least when they are in season from the local farms in Niagara Region. I don't know if its just me, but they are always so juicy and full of flavour when I get them at the market.



At this time of year there is so many of natures treasures to be found at the farmers market or pick your own farm. I feel I need to make at least weekly! I am so happy my kids enjoy all the harvest too because buying at the market is great but when you buy more you save more and you get a ton! I can't help myself but to buy a lot when the season is so short. Like a large 4 L basket for $10! Can't go wrong with price though it's a lot of peaches. 


Peaches aren't the only thing in season and well local cherries, plums and apricots found their way home with us as well. We are a family of four fruit lovers but eating all this fruit fresh before spoil is a bit much sometimes. A peach crisp or two or three can be a great use for some of the peaches and extend their life for a tad longer. Of course you can make a few and toss in the freezer.


This recipe isn't too far off the average crisp. It has you oats, butter and flour but I am an avoider of refined wheat flour after having some issues. Though I did use brown sugar and butter so this is very much a dessert. I use steel oats and grind in my bullet style blender whenever I need a flour that I think oats can compensate for. If you are looking for one, Amazon has a few to choice from.


I also have this recipe scaled down to a serving of four. It's about half the size of a average crisp. You can easily double, triple or multiply as much as you like, make batches for freezing. I like this size because it's just enough for after dinner treat but not so much lingering in fridge and then you feel you have to eat some after ever meal.


What goes best with any crisp? A nice scoop of vanilla ice cream. Just a dollop of course. Enjoy!


Oat Flour Peach Crisp 


2 cups of sliced peaches (about 4 or 5 depending on size)
1/3 cup steel oats or any oat grind into flour
2/3 cup of rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
pinch of salt
1/4 cup cold butter

Preheat oven to 350'F

Arrange peaches in baking dish. 

Combine all ingredients except butter in bowl.

Cut butter into chunks and crumble butter into oat mixture.

Pat on top of peaches covering.

Bake for 30 min or until browns slightly. 

Leisurely Day Out At Jack Darling and Rattray Marsh.

During the summer months, I stay at home with my children and make a point of visiting my mom once a week. She is getting on in years but...