kids + travel = learning .. no matter how short or far the distance

I think the past year we’ve been here we’ve run out of places to go within driving distances of coming back home within a reasonable amount of time for school/work.  Which is really hard for a family that likes to travel and view the world … as much as they can on a very limited limited non-existent budget 🙂 I think that’s the biggest culture shock living in the middle of the country.  Before we had an abundance of places to go and people to see.  Here…well here not so much.

I remember last year a couple kids told me they hadn’t been out of Saskatchewan…ever.  While socio-economic and life factors may play a part for some – it still bowled me over.  Manitoba is literally an hour away.  Trust me – the sidekick and I do not have money.  However, the sidekick and I have always believed that the kid is learning things about life when we travel.  It took years and years to come up with the money to go to Australia, but the perspectives she gained from being in a new culture – priceless.  And I got to hold a koala – AWESOMENESS FOR ME!!!  Walking downtown Toronto and watching her give her own coins to a homeless man – priceless.  (Hopefully she continues to know she isn’t the center of the universe).  Even going through different neighbourhoods in different provinces she is learning about different standards of living.  We went to the Buffalo Zoo for $34 .. for the three of us .. and that included parking.  So many opportunities to learn.  Traveling is an education in itself. I think my dream would be if someone bankrolled me to travel for a year with the kid documenting everything.  We would both be in heaven … though the kid might not pass school if I home-schooled her.  …..  That could be a problem.

After staying near to the house since we’ve been back, the need to view the world was intense.  So we had an adventure, the kid and I.  The sidekick was not able to come.  We decided to head back to Minot, North Dakota.  We haven’t been there since last October.  Both of us love love love finding those cool items we don’t have in Canada.

The following pictures are not good for your health at all – but I imagine when it’s time for a treat I’m going to be very happy 🙂  Though walking the stuff off is gonna be a drag 😉

photo 4

I think I drooled in the aisle.

photo 3

The kid asked for a treat for dinner. We picked up Nacho Cheese and Cheese Pizza Gold fish Mac and Cheese.

photo 2

Drooling … We have healthy stuff too as you can tell by the walnut cranberry salad topper next to it 🙂

photo 1

Because who doesn’t want their mouth popping in the morning?

 

We window shopped.

photo 5

Wishing for cool expensive toys 😦 One day I told her – when she becomes a doctor or something 🙂

 

We went to an amazing restaurant called Mi Mexicana.

photo 3(1)

I wanted to steal the chairs. How totally cute?

photo 2(1)

Even the table was cool. I had my first chimichanga.  It was DELICIOUS!!  From the service to the decor – go.  It was superb.

 

We took a drive through the city, exploring places we hadn’t been.  We relaxed at the hotel.  A waterpark was attached to the hotel.  The waterpark was a little worn in.   No life guard was present, (a fact written on the wall), so it was a little chaotic with all the people not following my rules for safety.  But deep breaths to keep the anxiety down helped to make it a great time for us.

photo 4(1)

 

And when it was time to leave …. we got lost.  I thought it was a straight road from the border to Minot as I remembered going there.  Apparently not – there’s a road that breaks off somewhere to go back to the border.  I had no clue where we were.  A fact which had the kid laughing and taking out the GPS.  I am amused it didn’t rate highly on her take of the weekend.

A 4 hour drive enabled us to talk about things we hadn’t been able to in the rush of life.

We made it home.  The sidekick was waiting.

Travel – even if it’s to a new town by you.  Travel with your kids.  The time together is amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

My first flood

The past couple of days has been grey, cold, wet and depressing.  Heavy rain was non-stop for a little while.  Sadly we’re under heavy rainfall warnings until Tuesday last I looked.  This morning the mayor of Yorkton declared a state of emergency.  I’ve never been in a state of emergency zone before.  Thankfully we live on a ‘hill’, so our basement is fine.  A lot of people in the province though have been hit pretty hard though.  I was reading on one facebook site, that due to the heavy rains that have been falling the past couple of years, the deductible on basements is something like $25 000………I am thankful to live on my ‘hill’ right now 🙂

image

Road by our house that has become a lake.

image

Ford Dealership waterlogged

image

Road closed off by downtown Yorkton.

image

Jubilee Park underwater.

image

Worms have been left homeless as well. Massive amounts of them in the water the kid said.

image

To the baseball diamond ….. nope … canoe there.

image

image

No way my little Yaris could have gone down the road to home.

image

Grass should be there. It’s like a lake.

image

Just outside of Yorkton.

image

The Regina Leader Post found my picture on instagram 🙂

For a better view of my now ‘famous’ picture on the Regina Leader Post, please click this link.  I was quite surprised and thrilled to see my picture in the paper 🙂 Can I put this on my works listed page?  I wonder if they would hire me to be a photographer out here.  My  delusions of grandeur now have visual confirmation.  One day soon I think…one day soon 😉

In the meantime, I will continue wearing my sexy rainboots and building my boat….you know – in case my ‘hill’ is breached.  Sunshine on Wednesday can’t come soon enough.

In other news, I did not win the guaranteed million in any of the Lotto 649 for the month of June.

god

 

 

 

Even in captivity only the strong survive #lifelessons

I wasn’t going to write about mother’s day.  I figured there are so many bloggers posting about it, the world didn’t need another one.  Plus the fact, the bloggers I follow have said it all more eloquently then I ever could.  But then today happened.  And it was good.

I did not receive any material goods today.  Best present EVER!!  (Diamond store trying to market to me on my tv – we don’t have the money for it anyway 😉 )   The morning saw homemade cards from both the sidekick and kid.  We then drove over to my parents.  My mom has lived in Saskatchewan since 2007.  She hasn’t had any of her 7 (yes, that’s right I typed 7!! not a typo!!) children with her here to celebrate in that time.  She was beyond happy that she was able to spend time with us.

IMG_20140511_110849

That was what today was about.  Just spending time with each other.  We drove to Fort Qu’appelle to explore more of what Saskatchewan has to offer.

IMG_20140511_123516

Our adventure begins.

We found a ‘fort’ of sorts to pose in front of.

IMG_20140511_141026

Actually the entrance to a camp ground which is pretty cool.

I realized the kid will be driving in 2 1/2 years.  #mindnumbing

IMG_20140511_141353

Where does the time go?

We found hills!!  There are hills in Saskatchewan.  You just have to look for them!!
IMG_20140511_142040

I was able to watch my family and give thanks for what I have.

IMG_20140511_143225

And come on??? WHO doesn’t want to visit a fish hatchery?

IMG_20140511_151302

Fort Qu’Appelle Fish Culture Station. Opened for 100 years this year !!!

We had a lovely tour guide whose name was Ben.  He was 12, and was extremely knowledgeable about the whole process.  I was quite impressed by him.

IMG_20140511_152151

Feeding the big fish

I honestly had no idea who much work went into making sure that fisher's have enough stock in our lakes.  Even though it was disgusting  at some points, it was actually a really good stop.  And best - FREE!!!

I honestly had no idea who much work went into making sure that fisher’s have enough stock in our lakes. Even though it was disgusting at some points, it was actually a really good stop. And best – FREE!!!

The other fishies bit off his tail.  Bad fishies :(He went down the drain :(

The other fishies bit off his tail. He went down the drain 😦

This one actually had me thinking.  Even in captivity, only the strong survive.  Which today sadly is also the human race today.  We have everything we could desire, but it’s starting to look like only the powerful have the resources to survive.  That revelation I had made me a little sad.

The day ended with ice cream.

Be Jealous.  This stuff is good.

Be Jealous. This stuff is good.

For me it was a reiteration of how much you don’t need gifts to show a person how much you love them.  The time my family and my parents spent together – that’s something I will treasure more then any flowers, diamonds, or massages….well maybe not the massage.  I’ll save up some more money for that one myself though 🙂

Memories

People may scoff at my reality tv viewing habits, (the sidekick notes obsession), but Mama June from Honey Boo Boo has it right.   “It’s all about having fun and making memories”.  We may not understand everything they say, but they have a core understanding of what makes life worth living that people should take note of.  They’re not the perfect family – but who of us are?

While I would love to make memories like them, I don’t have a tv reality show or a sponsorship to afford all the cool things they do.  I would love to go on an air boat or do an RV trip.  I would have loved the opportunity to be on Family Feud – I was a little bummed when I found out Steve Harvey wasn’t impressed with the Honey Boo Boo Crew.  Though check out the link cuz he had me in stitches with his thoughts on the family.

Here – here it’s a little harder to find things to do all the time.  Back home you have so many options.  My favourite was driving to Oakville/Burlington and walking the boardwalk.  Going into Toronto and just people watching is another family favourite.  There is so much to see.  Here, you can walk but a tree is a tree no matter how many times you pass it.  But we looked – we found – we didn’t spend to much money.  Always a plus in my book.

Yesterday saw our adventures take us 2 hours into Regina.  We had lunch at Wasabi.

image_111

So many bowls, so many choices. Apparently, the middle green bowl is wasabi. Which is meant to be used sparingly. My friend commented on this two hours after I had posted the picture on facebook. My friend could have posted this two hours sooner and saved my mouth from fire. Lesson learned, people don’t pay enough attention to me on social media when I post….. 😉

Next was the movie theater.  The kid had a coupon for a free movie, and I had a free movie from my scene card after I think 5 years of saving points.  Which tells you how often we go out.  The movie theater in our town is literally A movie theater.  One screen – from 1980.  My new twitter friend @MtnHolly, another Ontario transplant but to Alberta, told me her small towns burnt down … in 2008.  We consider ourselves lucky to have the one 🙂 Nonetheless, a modern cineplex was a treat.  After we wandered, tried not to spend money and let the memories set 🙂

 

image_2

WE WANTED AGNES SO BAD!!  The kid was willing to selflessly write a review on her blog in order to get her hands on one.  Our town only has a small Walmart. When in the big city, you take opportunities to see things when you can. We wandered Toys R Rus, Walmart, and Target 🙂 We purchased the white chocolate M&M’s only available at Target. When living far away from major urban cities, you must stock up on supplies as you never know when a freak July blizzard will isolate you in your house.

image_2

Downtown Regina traffic!! Much different then Toronto.

image_3

Memory makers – On the 2 hour ride back home we stopped to take our picture over looking Qu’Appelle Valley. A beautiful spot. Snow outside and wearing just shirts. Ice fishing in the background.

 

image_4

Ever the photobomber … check the middle 🙂

image_5

Even though we’ve been here almost a year, sights like this still make me stop the car on the side of the highway to look.  As soon as we stopped, they bolted The locals think we’re weird about finding ‘everyday occurrences’ neat. LOL.

Today’s adventure to make memories had us shooting.  When the Apocalypse comes, you’re all invited to my house.  She’s almost a crack shot.  #food 🙂

image_1111

image_1

What about you?  Tell me how you make family memories without breaking the bank?

A Hair-rising Experience

Being a winter newbie in the prairies, I’m little hesitant in highway driving.  We’ve all seen the news segment how a freak prairie blizzard makes a family huddle under their silver thermal car emergency blanket waiting for 3 days before the professionals can come and get them and they lost 10 pounds each because they had no food.  I like living, so we haven’t really been exploring this winter season.

The kid had this week off.  Not an illness/family imposed week off.  Here, we don’t get March break.  We get a February and and April break.  The February break is kinda cool as it’s around Family Day.  We didn’t go anywhere for Christmas, and I really wanted to do something special for our first year here.  The kid asked to go to the Science Centre in Regina.  How could I say no to wanted learning?  Just the week before I got an email from the Delta with a promotion for great winter rates. Sometimes it comes when you need it!! 🙂

Wednesday night saw snow fall.  I’ll be honest with you, a little anxiety was sitting in.  All I could see was us huddle together in our tiny Yaris shivering.  And you know being the one with more meat on my bones, they’d sacrifice me to whatever Saskatchewan abominable snowman that came around.  Give them more time to run into the white abyss and get lost.  Thursday afternoon hit though, and the sun was shining!!  Off we went on our 2 hour drive to Regina.  The highways were amazing!!!

IMG_20140220_160520

Meditating in the tranquil ambiance

IMG_20140220_160712

IMG_20140220_162527

Old meets new. We headed to the mall – attached to the hotel 🙂 Cornwall Centre.

IMG_20140220_180410

After the mall, which was free, was our outing to the hotel pool!!  Which was free.  The pool at the hotel 🙂 The water slide was amazing. The pool was also warm. Just my type of temperature!!! We had the whole place to ourselves, and the kid absolutely loved it!!

IMG_20140221_084510

Morning comes way to soon!! The city of Regina. It was neat to see all the smoke from the houses.

The kid actually had heard that there was a butterfly exhibit at the Science Centre and wanted to go see it. We set off early in the morning to make the most of the day. The admissions rate are actually very good.  $9.00 for adults.  We added the IMAX movie and it came to $16.  I have to admit, we did compare between here in Saskatchewan and back home.  Ontario Science Centre it’s $22 for an adult and $28 if you include the IMAX movie.  It’s still a fantastic deal here.  2 1/2 stories of interaction.  I think there are 6 levels in Ontario.

The one thing we did not like was that there was no where to eat.  They had a concession stand near the IMAX theatre.  We asked for a hotdog, but they did not serve hot dogs on weekdays.  We then asked for the pizza, but it wasn’t there yet and they weren’t sure when it would be.  A bit of a pain especially because to go out for lunch you have to drive.  You can’t just cross a street to a fast food joint.  And it’s cold here.  I was willing to starve then go back out into the cold to eat.   Remembering the huge fast food court at the Ontario Science Centre we were a little taken a back.   It’s times like these I get extremely home sick for the conveniences.

Nonetheless, we had a fantastic time wandering the Science Centre for another twenty minutes before the pizza arrived.    We saw Kenya: Animal Kingdom.  Breathtaking and made me want to travel even more.

IMG_20140221_111429

She enjoyed the show and said it felt funny feeling her hair up!

IMG_20140221_115659

I found the AWESOME mirror!!

IMG_20140221_115806

Then I found the not awesome mirror!!

IMG_20140221_115908

You know, the normal mirror wasn’t so bad 🙂

IMG_20140221_141052

Who in God’s green earth would buy a pimple???? The sidekick and the kid totally enjoyed saying not so witty lines about all the micro-organisms. For example, the kid found the red blood cell plush and laughed in delight “Look, my red blood cell count is falling” as she zoomed it to the floor :/

For a not exxpensive couple of days away from home, it was just what we needed.  Make no mistake, it’s not like home.  But there are fun things to do here.  And when you have a whole post of micro-organisms you can make up even more fun 🙂

Should be interesting to see where we can go once the weather is better.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated at all for anything in this post.  These are just my opinions.  I blog for family and friends, letting them know how much fun it is here so they will come and visit me 🙂

Saskatchewanderer = ME

I’m nothing if not optimistic about life 🙂  I look at opportunities, apply and hope for the best.

I found out about an opportunity that I thought would be awesome for me.  Problem being, about 500 000 people in Saskatchewan probably feel the same way LOL.

Saskatchewanderer is asking for applications to become the next wanderer .. not for just a summer but for a full year!!!  You go around the province exploring. I would love this opportunity.  Sadly, they are asking for film degrees, English degrees, marketing degrees, and communication degrees.  My friend on facebook posted, “There are some things that formal education can’t provide & you’ve got it my dear”.  Hopefully the hiring committee sees the same thing.

I did mess up though, so it is a big scratch against my name.  I had two files named the same thing with only one character difference.  One was a 2 page resume.  One was a 1 page resume.  Saskatchewanderer asked for a one page resume.  Guess which one I sent?  But of course – what would life be like without the glitches ? 🙂

Whoever wins, have fun.  Enjoy what is obviously a great wonderful opportunity.

In the meantime, take a look at what I submitted.  I think I sum up quite nicely what I could offer.  Hopefully they see the potential!!

Mommy won’t find me – in North Dakota

Our adventures continue south of the border today. We drove about 4 1/2 hours to Minot, North Dakota. I saw a gorgeous scene of cows in a field during the morning drive. The shadows from the morning sun was just breathtaking. I had excitedly told the imp to look out the window to which she deadpanned “it’s not like I’ve seen my last cow here”. Prairie living hasn’t totally agreed with her yet.

The border crossing was a small building and there was one car in front of us…my parents. Quite different from crossing in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

The scenery in North Dakota was alright….kinda flat like Saskatchewan. The imp from the back seat took some lovely photos. With our sightseeing I would love to have an amazing camera. One day maybe :). It would be so cool to show you the beauty in what we see on our adventures.

20131019-211532.jpg

20131019-211556.jpg

We used to go to Buffalo all the time when we lived in Ontario. We are a family that likes to travel and experience new things. We have seen a lot of Saskatchewan, so it was brilliant to be able to go to somewhere we’ve never been.

We got to do some shopping, but I’ll be honest – it’s nothing at all like Buffalo. There was no Ollie’s or Big Lots. We found a couple of stores that had some good deals. Sadly with no cell phone coverage I didn’t take my mobile with me so no funny pics of the things we saw. Like the sign that said ‘scream until daddy stops for ice cream DQ’ . Thank gosh mom was driving cuz that didn’t happen.

Saw some fun things I would have loved to share with that phone. Like Pizza Ranch. A buffet of pizza. There was also chicken, potatoes, and salad – so you feel better about putting yourself into a carb induced euphoria. Definitely a different kind of experience. Dessert pizza for dessert.

We did find a cool place called Cherry Blossom where you make your own frozen yogurt. They had different kinds and then you put all your fixings on. Both the imp and I were in heaven.

20131019-221726.jpg

We then went back to our hotel. Where the imp told the sidekick “I bet mommy can’t find me.” And for a couple of seconds when I walked into the room I didn’t.

20131019-213712.jpg

20131019-213743.jpg

We then went to the hotels pool and water slide. Where we had a lovely time. I don’t get paid anything for my blogs when I write about stuff. These are just places we’ve been that we’ve had lovely times at. I highly recommend Sleep Inn in Minot. The water was a little to cold for me in one pool – but look at this!!! When’s the last time you were at a hotel with slides like this?

20131019-214044.jpg

20131019-214109.jpg

And then I caught the imp photo bombing us …. Sigh….Tweens….lol

20131019-214215.jpg

I watched oxygen. I know I don’t have this channel in Canada.

20131019-214315.jpg

Afterwards the imp watched nick and Disney. She likes American tv 🙂

Tomorrow is a continental breakfast and a stop over to walmart. Weekends like this are what life is all about. Family and enjoying this earth we all occupy. I can’t wait to save money for our next far away adventure 🙂