Tag Archives: outdoor fun

Summer As it Should Be

IMG 0613IMG 0620IMG 0625JUMPThis is pretty much how we spent our entire day today…  Basking in the Okanagan sun and soaking in as much of the mountains and green grass as possible.  Oh, and there was a whole lot of watching our little fish jump full force into her pool too. 

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A Day at Davison’s

Today we spent another lovely day at our Okanagan favourite, Davison Orchards.  If you know me well, you know that my love of Davison’s has been around since I moved to the Okanagan when I was 11 years old.  It was a place I loved visiting as a kid, a place I took the kids I babysat and nannied during high school and university, and it’s now a place I love bringing my own daughter.  Delicious produce, beautiful views, and endless family-fun aside, I love Davison Orchards because it’s constantly growing and improving while staying true to it’s family-run farm roots – not an easy feat.

IMG 9911Grandma Sue and Rorie joined us today and despite our {very} regular visits, we tried two completely new-to-Gracen things this time around. First off, we jumped aboard the hourly tractor train ride and took a tour of the orchard while learning about its history and different fruits and veggies that are grown there.  It’s been a few years since I last took the tour, and I have to say that I love hearing how passionate Grandpa Davison is about his orchard, even after all of these years.  While the sitting quietly during the chatting part wasn’t Grae’s favourite part, she did love the ride and hearing about each of the plants/trees as we passed by.

IMG 9929IMG 9931IMG 9933IMG 9938Afterwards, while playing in the Crazy Cow Kid’s Corral, Gracen got to experience her first ever duck race after Grandma Sue gave her a toonie to buy a little rubber duckie.  She’d plunk him into the tube, start pumping water, and as soon as he started moving, race to the end of the track to retrieve him.  Such fun!

IMG 9919After a good long play, a visit to the animals, and some lunch at Auntie May’s Deep Dish Cafe, we picked up a big jug of Davison’s famous apple juice and headed home with our happy and tired girl.  Another great day at Davison Orchards!

♥ 

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Farm Life {Through my New Lens}

One of the things I was spoiled with on my recent birthday was a camera lens I’ve been lusting after for a long while now.  Though I’ve only had it a few hours, I must say – I think I’m already in love!  I took it along on a walk of the family farm tonight and here are some of the images I was able to snap…

IMG 9789IMG 9815IMG 9796IMG 9798IMG 9808IMG 9806IMG 9821IMG 9818IMG 9830IMG 9836IMG 9848As far as my new challenge goes, I have to say I’m loving it!  My camera has remained in manual mode since the day of our workshop and every single photo I’ve taken since this post has been shot manually.  They certainly haven’t all been good (in fact many have been pitch black), but after two months of practice, I can say without a doubt that I’m so glad I took the leap.  My photos are slowly getting better, shooting in manual is much more natural now, and I have a ton more control on what my photos actually turn out like.  And I can almost guarantee that this new lens will make the transition that much more fun.

♥ 

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Second Beach Outdoor Pool

IMG 9512Gracen has been very anxiously awaiting this day since we first visited the Second Beach playground back in February.  From the opposite side of the park, she immediately spotted the seal-shaped water slide in the outdoor pool enclosure and has asked when we’d be able to visit ever since.  Sadly, when it opened at the end of May, we had a long bout of rainy, dreary weather, so that prolonged our visit even further…  But when we woke up to a gorgeous, sunny day this morning and asked the little lady what she wanted to do, the first thing out of her mouth was “Go to the pool with the seal slide – WOOHOO!”  Her fist shot into the air in celebration and our adventure for the day was set.

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IMG 9523Surprisingly, the much talked about seal slide was not the hit of the day today…  Instead, she was all about this much larger, much faster turtle slide over in the deeper end of the pool. The truth of the matter is that she loved this slide so much that very little swimming actually took place – it was simply slide after slide after slide for pretty much our entire visit, which was totally fine with me.  Watching the anticipation as she climbed the steps and the absolute joy as she sped down and splashed into the water melted my heart and filled me with pride.  I’m so, so glad our little lady loves water as much as she does.

IMG 9542IMG 9543IMG 9528The only slight downside to our morning was that it was chilly.  Very chilly, in fact.  Despite the fact that the pool is heated and it truly was a beautiful day, the wind off of the ocean sucked away the warmth and made you shiver the moment your shoulders left the water. And while Grae didn’t seem bothered in the least by it, at a certain point we knew it was time to get out, dry off, and warm up.

IMG 9530But that won’t stop us from returning very soon – Miss G’s already asking when that’ll be!

Second Beach {Outdoor} Pool is located on the west side of Stanley Park.  For more information, including schedules and rates, click here.

♥ 

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Super Simple 5 Minute Backyard Teepee

First off, I have to say that my Baba is hands down one of the most amazing, wonderful women I know.  She’s one of those ladies who can truly do anything…  From sewing to cooking to running a farm, fixing things, painting, gardening, building things, and entertaining – she excels at all.  Oh, and at 70 something years old, having never used a computer or the internet, she bought herself an iPad and taught herself how to use it too.  Amazing, right? (Hi Baba!  Love you!)  ☺

Growing up, my little brother and I would spend a week or two at my Baba’s house each summer.  Our days out at the farm were wonderful.  We spent nearly all of our time outdoors…  We herded cattle, carried huge buckets of grain out each morning, and watched calves being born.  We roamed through massive gardens with freedom to pick and eat as much as we pleased.  We devoured fresh peas off the vine, ate up buckets of raspberries, and wandered around with long stalks of rhubarb with little glass bowls of dipping sugar.  Baba taught us how to use the ride-on mower, make pedaheh from scratch, and draw with artists’ pencils and shading sticks – all of the things childhoods should be made of.  

But above all other adventures and activities that took place on that farm, the one that stands out most in my mind – the one that was most anticipated each year – was building a backyard teepee.  Baba would take us out into the forest, small saw in hand, and we’d cut down the trees that would form the structure of our new home.  We’d drag them back, position them and tie them up, then drape them in sheets until our teepee was fully enclosed.  Perhaps the very best part was furnishing it afterwards.  We’d carefully separate the space in half, position our mattresses and end tables (Baba doesn’t mess around), then stock it up with blankets, flashlights, snacks, books, and activities.  I can’t even describe how cool it all seemed as a child.

Super Simple 5 Minute Backyard Teepee | Mama Papa BubbaRecently, I introduced the magic of backyard teepees to Miss G.  Nothing that could rival one of the ones my Baba used to make, but a teepee none the less.  Our first one was a completely impromptu build, but it was so quick and easy that we’ve made them the same way each time since.  Here’s how we put together our super simple backyard teepee in no longer than five minutes…

Super Simple 5 Minute Teepee Materials | Mama Papa BubbaFirst up, the materials…  We use 6 6-foot tall bamboo stakes (purchased at any store that has a decent gardening section), a king-sized sheet, some jute, and 10 – 12 clothespins. 

IMG 8594To start out, I push the stakes into the ground just an inch or two to form a circle with an open front.  (As you can see, G likes to stand in the middle and have me build around her. ☺)

IMG 8604Next, I gather up the top of the stakes in one hand (there really isn’t a right way to do this – I just grab them and how they come together is how they come together) and use the other hand to wrap the jute around.  One thing I try to do while wrapping the jute is to weave it in and out of the stakes  – this gives it some better holding power.  When the jute seems secure, I tie it off in a bow so it’s easy to undo later.

IMG 8605IMG 8607With the structure built, it’s time to enclose it with the sheet.  To do this, I simply drape the sheet around the stakes horizontally with the ends being at the front opening.  To hold it in place temporarily, I bring the two sides of the sheet together at the top and secure it using a clothespin and add another two at the base of the two front stakes. 

TeepeeIMG 8611Next up, it’s time fix the positioning a little, smooth everything out, tuck in the extra fabric, and secure it all. I like to start at the front, making sure that both of the front stakes are fully covered and each side has a flap of extra fabric that can be used to close up the teepee completely if desired.  To do this, I just tug and adjust until it’s the way I want it.  With the sheet positioned properly, I move to the top and add several clothes pins to secure the sheet to the stakes.  I usually use four, but you could put one on each of the 6 stakes if you wanted to.  Then I go to the bottom and add a pin to each of the stakes, tucking under the extra fabric along the way if needed.

And that’s it – the basic teepee is complete.  Super simple, right?

IMG 8617To make ours extra cozy, we always add a blanket in the bottom and a few throw cushions along the sides.

IMG 8623IMG 8628One of Gracen’s favourite parts is selecting an activity to bring into her teepee with her.  Most often, it’s a stack of books to read, but today it was a stack of puzzles instead.

IMG 8634When we’re done playing for the day, we normally take down the sheet and bring everything inside, but leave the bamboo stake structure up, which makes for an even faster set up the next time and the time after that and the time after that…

♥ 

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Fast Friends

This little blog has led to so many wonderful opportunities, the best of which is undoubtedly being part of Vancouvermom.ca’s Top 30 Bloggers of 2012.  These ladies started out as being people I chatted with online with, and very quickly became people I considered ‘blogging friends’, then just regular ‘friends’.  I’m so lucky to have them in my life and even sweeter is that Miss G now has a whole new set of friends also.  Today we spent the day with Tairalyn, Amy, and their little ladies, and had a blast.  There was dancing, bubbles, a sprinkler, a water slide, strawberry picking, sidewalk painting, and yummy treats… Who could ask for more?  Here is our morning in photos…

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Showered in Attention

IMG 8445IMG 8432Though we had plans to go to Stanley Park this morning for a big pop-up play date, Brad called as we were headed out the door to let us know the ultimate frisbee tournament he was coaching at was just a few blocks from our house.  Not having time to do both, I let Miss G make the decision… Her choice? The tournament.  I’m willing to guess that Papa + his students + live sports would beat out a playground visit any day.  While we were there, the girls absolutely showered her with attention.  She got hugs, secret handshake lessons, flower crowns, bubbles blown for her, and plenty of in unison ‘Awwwwwww!’s.  It was a good morning.

♥ 

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Rainy Day Splatter Painting

Rainy Day Splatter Painting | Mama Papa BubbaWhile living in a city that gets as much rain as Vancouver does can be a little deflating some days, I know that we’ll miss it dearly once we’re back in the sandy desert.  So instead of letting the past week of rain keep us indoors today, we decided to get out and enjoy it.  After a morning walk and a long play at the park before lunch, we decided to head back outside this afternoon.  We brought along with us a baking sheet, some liquid food colouring (the neon kind), and some white construction paper to do an easy and fun art activity… Rain splatter painting!

IMG 8367To get started, Gracen laid a piece of construction paper down on the baking sheet and fully enjoyed dropping splots of food colouring all over it.

IMG 8370Once she had the food colouring exactly how she wanted it, we simply let the rain do its job.  At this point, it was raining quite hard, so the splatter effect happened quickly.  Grae loved watching the colours pop up off the page and land back down on the page in little dots.  At some point during the process, she’d say “This one is done!” and we’d pop it inside the house to dry and grab another sheet of paper to splatter.

IMG 8376The end result is beautiful, splotchy, watercolour-esque paintings, just like this one.  Fun, right?

♥ 

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Simple Outdoor Fun: Painting Sidewalk Chalk Shapes With Water

Painting Sidewalk Chalk Shapes With Water | Mama Papa BubbaWhile we’ve done plenty of regular mess-free painting on our sidewalks and fence, today Gracen asked if I’d draw her something to paint.  While maybe not as open-ended as I’d usually aim for, I do find that sometimes she prefers having a jumping off point, so I drew an assortment of shapes on the ground using sidewalk chalk.  The activity was actually perfect for her new found interest of colouring in the lines, and when the water dried, it left our cement pad covered in beautiful, watercolour-esque shapes.  So simple, but she enjoyed so much that she’s already asked to do it again.

♥ 

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Exploring with Magic Potions

Exploring Magic Potions | Mama Papa BubbaThis afternoon the sun was out and I decided to set up something really fun for Grae to explore and experiment with in the backyard.

IMG 9234The set up was pretty simple…  Several differently shaped jars and medicine bottles filled with coloured vinegar (we used gel food colouring), a couple of small jars of baking soda, a couple of spoons, and a few empty mixing containers all on a tray.  Oh, and some safety goggles.  Because in Gracen’s world, science equals goggles. ☺

IMG 9246After helping her with her goggles, Grae set off to work.

IMG 9236As I usually do with this kind of activity, I didn’t give her any instructions.  I simply said, “Do you want to play?”

IMG 9237The answer was an excited ‘yes’, and after a few questions about whether or not she could dump/mix/pour things (of course the answer to all was yes), she got started.

IMG 9249While she’s seen the reaction baking soda and vinegar have while moon painting, this was on a much bigger scale.

IMG 9258And she loved it.  Mixing a little bit of this with a little bit of that in order to cause colour changes and fizzy foam eruptions was right up her alley.

IMG 9252My little scientist made reaction after reaction, delighting each time she caused foam to spew out of the top of her jar.

IMG 9259One thing that was interesting is how the colour of the vinegar seemed to change with the addition of baking soda.  In the case of the orange and the pink, the colours seemed to explode with brightness as the reactions occurred.

IMG 9270With almost all of her baking soda resources used up and her largest  jar of vinegar left, we fetched just a little more baking soda from in the house.

IMG 9274It started off slowly, but the reaction did not disappoint.  After scrounging leftover baking soda from wherever she could, she managed to create enough fizzing foam to have it flow generously out of the top of the jar.  Success!

After she’d depleted her resources, what was left was a beautiful rainbow-y mess.  For a little bit of added fun, we filled up a bin with warm soap water, grabbed a cloth, a scrubber brush, and a couple of towels, and had a little dishwashing station right there in the backyard.

♥ 

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