Masthead header

Kettle River

We did it! Three nights in the wilderness! There were showers and bathrooms, so it wasn’t unbearable, but it was definitely out of my comfort zone and SO MUCH WORK! I think camping is great if you’re the kid in the equation, but as the parent, the work begins days before you leave: cleaning the trailer, shopping for food, prepping the meals, packing the gear, then you get to the site and have to set up and cook and then clean up and when you come home you get to unload all the crap and do laundry for 48 hours. Seriously.

Was it worth it, though? Yep. Awesome family time, great memories.


I am kind of glad I get a year off before we even think about doing it again, though.

Hillary - You are a braver woman than I. I briefly pondered taking Grady camping this year and then I realized how much work would be involved, plus keeping Grady safe without the constraints of a house, and I shut that idea down hard. I’m glad you guys had fun!

Lisa - You look sooo beautiful and relaxed in that photo! Hurrah for family memories! So much fun for the kids, and I agree it is SO. MUCH. WORK. as parents!

Jolene ( - Looks like a fun time with family :-)

We Are Going Camping. Again.

When Steve tried to teach me how to downhill ski he took me to the top of a challenging intermediate blue run and as I stood with the tips of my skis hanging over the cliff, I said, “THIS IS TOO HARD FOR ME! I AM A BEGINNER! WHY DID YOU BRING ME HERE?!” and he tried to tell me I could do it, so I tried, but it took us two hours to get down the hill and it sucked and I cried and yeah. We should have started on a green run.

This is like our camping experience. Mizzezula Lake was the DOUBLE BLACK DIAMOND of camping. Way too much for a beginner.


(Image by Gemma Correll)

So next week are heading to Kettle River, a provincial campground with toilets and showers and hope for my future.

We have our little 70s trailer all cleaned up and ready to roll and I also have a box of wine, so I think I’ll be OK.

Any tips? Tricks? Food ideas aside from hot dogs and s’mores?


Stacey - Use foil packets to cook everything on the BBQ/fire. Potatoes in one, veg in another. Or all in one. No clean up. Easy cooking.

Kristin - Awww, can I come? Camping is the best!

BBQ is definitely the way to go. Costco makes some killer chiptole veggie burgers. You can also grill corn, veggies (skewered or halved), pineapple (with bacon!), and I’ve heard grilled peaches are amazing but haven’t tried them. Pack lots of fruit, a bag of trail mix, some candy, and bring something from the bakery for your breakfasts/ desserts.

Half the effort for camping is in the planning. We keep a bin of camping stuff all together to avoid the scrambly roundup where inevitably matches, or garbage bags, or flashlights are forgotten.

Have fun my dear!

Jolene ( - I like doing ribs – you can pre-cook them before you go, and freeze them in the sauce, then just warm up on the grill. I like to do potatoes and onions in tinfoil. Egg in a hole for breakfast …

Crappy Hamper. I Mean, Happy Camper.

I am not a camper. Growing up, our family holidays consisted of short day trips to local attractions where my brother and I would fight and my mom would lock herself in a bathroom at TGIFriday’s and cry. And we stayed in hotels because THAT’S WHAT PEOPLE DO.

Anyhoozers. We have wanted to try camping as a family, and a big part of why Steve quit his job and is solely farming is for the flexibility in his hours over the summer…so, CAMPING!


We went to my brother-in-law’s property at Mizzezula Lake where he has a small one-room cabin and a couple old trailers…no running water, no shower, no indoor plumbing. That’s ok! That’s cool! That’s CAMPING!

The thing is, when it’s 40 degrees out and your cabin is filled with blood-thirsty mosquitoes and it’s 2 am and the kids are still awake and crying and sweaty and itchy from bug bites…yeah, that’s when you call it. What was supposed to be a 2 day trip turned into a 30 hour excursion wherein we came home a night early so we didn’t have another terrible sleep.

In between the chaos, we did make some great memories though. So, it WAS worth it.


Brinley spinning donuts on the aluminum boat that leaked.


Steve isn’t on Facebook, but if he were, I think this would be his profile pic. 


Family shot at the beach!


I just need a week to recover, that’s all.

Angella - This is why I don’t camp. I cabin. (It’s SO a verb.)

Jolene ( - I love camping! I like to tent it, and go somewhere like Waskesiu or Clear Lake. They are both gorgeous, have running water, nice washrooms and showers, and power, so that we can have music playing while we sit around the campfire. The problem is … my husband doesn’t like camping. He doesn’t see the appeal of paying to “pretend we’re homeless”.

Plan To Fail


I’m kind of a free-style girl. I have never been great at orchestrating structure in the home for our girls and usually just kind of take the days as they come. I have to be flexible with the nature of my career so we all just have to go with the flow.

The thing is, eight weeks of upcoming summer “holidays” is little too much FLOW. Like third-day of the menstrual cycle, triple-super-plus tampon, cramps-until-you-cry kind of flow. Not into it.

So, I have a (kind of) plan:

1. No TV until 3 pm. SO DON’T EVEN ASK.

2. There will be two set snack times in the day: 10:00 am and 3:00 pm. No all-day grazing.

3. You can play outside: ride bikes, jump on the trampoline, run through the sprinkler, make mud pies, don’t even think about setting foot indoors.

4. When you arre inside, counting down the hours until you can finally watch TV, you can: colour, do puzzles, clean up your room (hahaa!), play with your 67 dozen toys and don’t bug me.

5. No fighting. Seriously. If you fight I will LOSE IT.

And, that’s all I got for now.

Summer is beautiful and magical and I don’t want it to be a season I view as something to be endured. Even though when I shared that with my mom she said, “Why not? I DID!” and then I felt better because she’s awesome and if even she feels like two months is too long to try to keep kids happy…well then, I’m OK.

How are you planning to make it through savour every moment this summer with your kids?

Shannon popowich - Haaa- I just love you!
PS I am stealing your list! Let me know if you come up with any other brilliant ideas! :)

Erin McKenzie - you should have that list framed and put on Etsy! Pure art!

Toothless Is As Toothless Does

The kids love to hear me tell the story about how once, during a long and terrible family road trip, my little brother was taunting me by jamming my favourite blanket in his mouth (gross) and swinging it around in wild circles so I grabbed it and yanked it as hard as I could and not only retrieved my blanket but also one of his teeth…that wasn’t even loose. Turds get what they deserve, what can I say?

Well, today, Karenna was at a playdate and had her cowgirl lasso in her mouth and her big sister and friend tugged on it (just for fun? kids are weird) and out was wrenched her previously un-loose top tooth. She screamed, cried, and then when she got home we took pirate pictures.



The tooth fairy shall be reporting for duty tonight.