Monday, 31 July 2017

Santa Baby: Our Trip To Santa's Village

Along with their report cards the minions got little coupon books, as did all Ontario children, to help them enjoy some summer attractions at a discount.  One of the coupons in the booklet was for Muskoka attraction, Santa's Village in Bracebridge Ontario.  Since I'd been to Santa's Village as a kid, as had Chris, we decided it was high time for Molly and Jack to visit Santa in his "Summer Home".

This park is a great place for kids age three to ten to dip their toes into the water to theme park attractions. We ended up spending a good five to six hours there (including a stop for lunch) and there were only tears once (Jack's) when I wouldn't carry him back from a ride - it got a little brutal with the time outs but we made it through.  Just like regular Christmas, admission to Santa's Village comes with a fairly hefty cost. General admission is $34.95 per person, so even with our $5 per person coupon, admission alone was $120 for a family of four (special thanks to grandma and grandpa for covering the cost of a ticket to help us with this rather pricey day).

Santa's Splash Pad

While the grown-ups were a little nervous, the kids had so much fun on the Christmas Balls Ferris Wheel

Growing up I remember riding on the swans with my parents, so I really enjoyed my "girl time" with Molly on the swan

Molly loved that the swans looked as if they were about to kiss

While we paddled around on the swan, Jack, Dad, Grandma & Grandpa paddled this boat around the pond 

An introduction to kiddy coasters was a success

Riding Santa's Summer Sleigh (a boat) on the river, complete with great tunes and donuts was one of the highlights of our day!

Santa's Village was fun enough to go back to again, but pricey enough that it won't be on our "every year" summer bucket list.  The favourite ride of the day from the kids perspective was Santa's Sleigh roller coaster which was led by Rudolph. I regret not being better prepared with snacks for the kids since food lines were lengthy, but the price for lunch at the park wasn't that bad.  It was great to travel back to memory lane from our own childhoods, and watch Molly stress about not knowing what she wanted for Christmas when meeting Santa.  At Grandpa's suggestion we simply encouraged her to thank him for last year's Christmas gifts.

Kids get complimentary elf hats when they meet Santa, who routinely walks around the park for photo opportunities and high fives.

We were happy to cross this off the summer bucket list and enjoy a balmy day in the early 20's at Santa's Village.

To read about a previous summer trip to Storybook Gardens click here.

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Multiple Momstrosity on Twitter @Sarabethbug

Monday, 24 July 2017

Funky Donkey - Our Visit To The Donkey Sanctuary

Since I first met my husband he and his entire family have been talking about The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada as a fantastic place to spend a couple of hours.  Since Chris and I met in 2003, it's even more surprising that I'd never visited this wonderful place until this summer when the family decided to go out for an overdue visit.

Molly Brushing

So What's The Donkey Sanctuary?

Located near Guelph, The Donkey Sanctuary opened their doors in 1992 as a refuge for donkeys, mules and hinnies who were abused, neglected, or had owners who could no longer take care of them. At the sanctuary these donkeys are cared for, which can often save their lives, and can enjoy the rest of their lives in peace.  There are nearly 100 acres of space and 100 donkeys currently called The Donkey Sanctuary their home.

When Can I Go?

Visitors can stop by The Donkey Sanctuary on Sundays from 10AM-3PM in May to October, as well as Wednesdays 10AM-3PM in July and August.  It was about a 45-60 minute drive from Toronto for us

Donkeys Can Be Quite Social Animals & A Number of Them Even Have Best Friends

How Much Does It Cost?

Suggested donations are $10 per person.  All donations go towards caring for the donkeys.  Donations over $25 qualify for charitable tax receipts.

What Can I Do There?

After a donkey safety and etiquette lesson at the gate you can go and visit the donkeys, hinnies and mules and learn more about them and their story.  For those inclined, you can watch a donkey care demonstration or attend on of the two 'Donkey Talks' at 11AM and 1PM.  There are some light hiking trails and a picnic area nearby so you can enjoy a bite to eat (just don't eat near the donkeys).  Bring your own food, there is none for sale at the sanctuary.

A Donkey Playing By Rolling In The Dirt

The White Hinny is Molly, beside her BFF Miss J who is a Mule (Father a Donkey, Mother A Horse)

What The Kids Loved

Molly was much more into the experience than Jack who was more fascinated by the turtle shells on display by the barn.  Molly had a blast visiting Molly the Hinny (an animal with a horse for a father and a donkey for a mother) and brushing a number of donkeys.  Molly even bought a stuffed donkey from the store with some of her summer vacation money and has slept with it nearly every night since our visit.

More Brushing and Donkey Care

How Much Time Will I Spend Here?

Budget for an hour and a half to two hours, depending on the attention span of your children, and whether or not you'll want to attend a 'Donkey Talk" or have a picnic by the pond.

Will We Go Back?

Totally!  I can see this becoming something we regularly do every two or three summers!  This visit also let us cross 'Visit a farm' off of our Summer Bucket List.

To get access to the newest posts from Multiple Momstrosity and more on Facebook click here and follow today

Multiple Momstrosity on Twitter @Sarabethbug

Thursday, 20 July 2017

My Kids in 140 Characters (or Less)

We spend a lot of time with the minions and I'm fortunate enough to record the things that they say and do so I can look back on it and laugh. Some of it makes the blog and other smaller moments don't. One of the brilliant things about Twitter is how it's the ultimate parenting "elevator speech", because you have to keep it short. Below are Tweets, conversations, parental musings and things that the minions have done or said over the past month, for your reading pleasure that haven't made it to the blog.

taco tuesday
Image Courtesy of College Humor

  1. J: My taco is 2 spicy..I'm going 2 need u 2 blow into my mouth 2 cool it down (opens up taco filled mouth)

  2. M: I have an important question to ask you (dramatic pause). How do mermaids brush their teeth?

  3. M: Mom were u alive at the same time as ? Me: How old do you think I am? M: Like 30-something?

  4. Me: Dad can you put your cell phone away? J: Daddy Magneto is so disappointed in you right now

  5. M: I'm never going to be silly ever again! 5 minutes later: Mommy help! I got by bum stuck in a bucket of

  6. Me: Why r u putting ketchup on a soda cracker? J: U won't let me eat it right out of the packet Me: touché

    Image Courtesy of Tenor

  7. My twins at park: both sit on one end of different see-saws & then complain no one will see-saw with them

  8. M: Mommy did you know that your boobs look like a giant bum on your chest? Me: Thanks?

  9. J: Mommy can you turn off the radio? I am so sick of hearing about

  10. M: I sure hope dad doesn't forget to wear pants to work today.

To read more blogs featuring the wacky things my kids say as featured on twitter, follow me @Sarabethbug & click hereclick hereherehereherehereherehere, here, &here.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Paperback Writer: Sharing My Writing From Other Sites

It's that time of the month again when I share some of the writing I've been completing for other publications.  This past month I was lucky to have two different articles trend, each earning close to or well beyond one million views (you can check them out in the trending section below).

My favourite articles to work on this month were the inappropriate things found in kid's books (because as a parent I just love those Easter Eggs) as well as my exploration of how streaming sites like Netflix influence our children and their relationships with advertisements, and anything nature related.

Nowadays as my full-time job I write and ghostwrite articles for online publications, organizations and blogs, in addition to providing public relations services.  While I can't really share my ghostwritten articles on this platform, cause then I wouldn't really be a ghostwriter would I, I can share some of the other stuff I have been working on.

You'll notice a lot more blog content from me over the summer since I've trimmed my work load to spend more time with the minions. It's been a lot of fun playing hookie with them!

Click on the links for the topics that interest you most, and if you enjoy what I wrote please share, like, and follow, and keep parenting and reading on!  If you have any ideas for a story, a playground review, or article on any front, feel free to share it with me!  I'm always looking for new sources of inspiration!

Trending Articles

15 Shocking Ways You Didn’t Know Women Can Get Pregnant

12 Insane Parent Punishments These Kids Will Never Forget

Parenting Humour & Myth

15 Most Inappropriate Things Found In Children’s Books

15 Disturbing AF Things Kids Actually Said To Their Parents

Nature & Survival Themed

15 Myths About Animal Attacks That Might End Up Killing You

An Animal Lover? 21 Baby Names That Will Steal Anyone’s Heart

Kids & Education

Is Netflix Really Saving Our Kids From Advertisers?

Summer Learning That Isn't A Drag

Twin Life

15 Freaky Things About Twins Most People Don’t Know About

Celebrity Gossip

15 Most Awkward Celebrity Father-Daughter Photos

15 Of Hollywood’s Steamiest Scenes Performed By A Body Double

To get access to the newest posts from Multiple Momstrosity and more on Facebook click here and follow today

Multiple Momstrosity on Twitter @Sarabethbug

Monday, 17 July 2017

The Whole World Is Our Playground: Grange Park Playground Review

We've managed to make our summer more about play and kid focused, which means I'll be posting a lot more content in the next few weeks.

One of our summer bucket list items was to explore at least three new parks.  When we heard about the brand spanking new Grange Park we just knew we had to check it out!

My park review disclaimer: If you don't live in the area I hope you enjoy the pics and can use some of the ideas to inspire and explore in your own city. If you have any recommendations for great playgrounds (or new criteria I haven't thought of) please post a comment on this post or email me at multiplemomstrosity @ .

Park Name:
Grange Park
In the heart of downtown Toronto, beside the Art Gallery of Ontario & OCAD
(Spanning the space between the intersections of Beverly Street & McCaul Street and Dundas Street and Queen Street)

There is some pay parking available on the street, or you can walk over from St. Patrick Subway station or arrive via the Dundas or Queen Street car).

Theme of Park:
Innovative, artistic, modernly designed playground meant to inspire within the local art community.

Ground Coverage:
The playground has ample shade coverage and has soft wood chips to cushion any kid related falls.

Variety of Equipment for different ages:
Most equipment is designed for kids between 5-12 years old, but younger kids were happy to toddle, slide, and swing with the assistance of their caregivers.

Best Parts of the Park:
This park was amazingly innovative and accessible.  Even the benches have spaces for a person in a wheelchair to enjoy a snack.  The slides were some of the highest I've seen in a long time.  Both Molly and Jack agreed that their favourite part was climbing the giant barrel structure.

Jackie Climbs

The splash pad sprinkler system either isn't working yet, or wasn't activated the day that we were there.  This was a major disappointment to Jack who wants all of our summer playground outings to involve water.

Overall Rating:
I would rate this playground a 4.5 out of 5.  The kids loved all the different structures to play on, and the shade of the trees was perfect for picnicking together.  There was a craft market very close by, so those attending on weekends may get to enjoy a little shopping with their play.

To view my playground review of the playground with the boat (Vermont Square) click here.

To view my playground review of Pricefield Road Playground click here.

To get access to the newest posts from Multiple Momstrosity and more on Facebook click here and follow today

Multiple Momstrosity on Twitter @Sarabethbug

Monday, 10 July 2017

Despicable Me 3 - Movie Review

Going to a sequel for a movie you love is one thing, but by the time you get to the third movie in a series things can fall apart pretty easily.  I would have been content to wait until Despicable Me 3 came to Netflix, but the minions had other ideas, and even put seeing the movie on their summer bucket list, so we went to the film on the opening weekend with their grandparents.

Image Courtesy of Wikia

Despicable Me 3

What's in it for the Kids?
The same old characters they've fallen in love with over the past two movies, and a handful of new ones.  Some slapstick laughs kept my kids, and all of the other kids in the theatre in regular laughter

What's in it for the Adults?
This movie is geared at children, period, so don't go in expecting anything directed at the parents or you'll be disappointed.  There's a Star Wars reference to explain Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand's) absence in the movie that wasn't lost on me.  Voices are reprised by Steve Carrell, Julie Andrews, and Kristen Wiig. Trey Parker has been added as the latest villain.

Image Courtesy of Flickering Myth

Best Parts of the Movie
The slapstick comedy is king for kids watching this movie.  When I asked Molly and Jack for their favourite parts, both mentioned the slapstick filled scenes.  The latest villain who is trapped in his 1980's heyday provides some fashion and pop culture nostalgia to parents who lived through the 1980's, along with a decent retro soundtrack.

Worst Parts of the Movie
There were so many subplots in this movie that felt like they'd already been beaten to death in the first two movies.  Lucy is struggling with being a mom, Agnes loves unicorns, the minions want to be bad again, we get it! I get that it could be fun watching Steve Carrell play twins, but the whole long lost twin brother thing jumped the shark for me. This movie feels like someone drew ten ideas out of a hat and decided to roll, poorly, with all of them.  The movie focuses at a very shallow level on "real" family issues instead of the cool heroes fighting crime or bad guys being bad aspects. I fell asleep for a few minutes, twice. The minions were barely in the film, and when they were there was a plot hole that left Molly crying at the end of the movie.  In one scene, minion Bob is left behind by the other minions and it's never addressed again.  Perhaps that scene was cut? Either way Molly noticed and was quite upset.

Overall Rating
I would rate this movie 2.5/5, it wasn't terrible, but it was forgettable and blends with the other two movies too much, all while leaving bad aftertaste.  The kids enjoyed it, but at the same time, if they ask to watch it again when it comes out on Netflix, I'm going to opt to do something else.

To read my review of Captain Underpants click here

To read my review of Boss Baby click here

To read my review of the Lego Batman movie click here

To get access to the newest posts from Multiple Momstrosity and more on Facebook click here and follow today

Multiple Momstrosity on Twitter @Sarabethbug

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Happy Wanderer - Hiking Algonquin Park Booth Rock Trail

Every once in a while I think I forget that the minions are only five (almost six) years old.  Because I'm so excited for them to be big kids, I'll push their boundaries.  Sometimes it totally blows up in my face.  Other times, like the case of the hike we embarked on in Algonquin park this past week, I find myself incredibly proud at the abilities, patience, and positivity of our nature loving billy goats.

The Booth Rock Trail is deemed a difficult trail, but it's only 5.1 KM long, and when I read the reviews on Trip Advisor I knew this was the hike we wanted to take.  Besides, we'd been even given coupons for day pass parking at Ontario parks in Molly and Jack's report cards, so what could go wrong?

We had forgotten exactly how much rainfall Ontario had seen this spring.  This meant what was normally dry conditions sometimes mirrored a swamp for kms on end.  This meant climbing around bogs, black flies, and more than a couple of soakers.  We ran into a family around KM 1 who were turning back and suggested we do the same.

We asked the kids if they wanted to earn their adventure badges for the day, and it turns out they were up for the challenge, just like their stubborn mom and dad.

Beauty & the Bog 
The Rock With A View

By the time our hike was complete Molly and I both had to take off our shoes for the car ride home because they were so caked in mud, and I'm not going to lie, everyone was getting a little cranky towards the end.  It was hard to stop and take a breather, other than enjoying the beautiful view from the top of the hike, because otherwise the bugs wouldn't stop gnawing at you.  But the kids didn't really complain, which meant it would be unfair for the adults to.

The climb

The Mossy Rock That Chris claimed used to be an ogre 

The only creatures we saw, other than a few other hikers, were bugs, birds, frogs, and chipmunks, although we did come across a big pile of bear droppings that made us pay extra close attention to our surroundings.

When the minions got tired and were on the verge of complaining Chris told them fairy tales, that he impressively made up on the spot, and I had Molly talk about what type of treat she wanted to reward herself for completing such a grown-up hike.  She eventually landed on freezies

Even in the heat long sleeves were a necessity.

With the current muddy condition of this trail I wouldn't recommend it to anyone under about 10 years old, that being said I'm glad we did it, and I'm so incredibly proud of Molly and Jack who stopped us complaining for two and a half hours through the wilderness.  Added bonus, we got to check one of our three summer hikes off of our summer bucket list.

The stuff postcards are made of

So proud of my little ones enjoying a snack at the top of our climb

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Multiple Momstrosity on Twitter @Sarabethbug