Fun at the Military Museum

….who knew?

Last Friday when we went to Dundurn Castle in Hamilton we never dreamt that the Military Museum would hold the attention of our almost two year old granddaughter.

The staff at the ticket office encouraged us to go to the museum because there were a lot of hands-on artefacts that Winnie would enjoy. We were somewhat sceptical but admission was very reasonable so I bought the tickets and we started to walk towards our destination. Unfortunately we ended up going in a circle and I went back inside to get directions again. We went right when we should have gone left.

When we got to the small museum we were greeted by a very nice young woman who reassured us that the museum was definitely hands-on. In the first room there were military costumes and hats to try on. I think the adults had more fun in this room.

The second floor definitely was a big hit with Winnie. In fact my daughter, Gaelan thought that this floor was better than the Children’s Museum (also in Hamilton). Winnie immediately went to the musical instruments and then entertained herself by emptying the cook pot of it artificial food and then filling it up again. She also enjoyed exploring the tent with her Papa.

When we had exhausted the novelty of this interesting place the rain had stopped and we headed back outside where Winnie headed for her favourite part of the park, the ‘dinosaur’ playground. More about that in a day or so.

Cheers!

New Trends – Hallowe’en Inflatables and Flaming Pumpkins

Walking around the neighbourhood before Hallowe’en night I noticed that more and more people are decorating their homes using inflatable monsters, pumpkins and ghosts.

But the best inflatables were the costumes. This one taken at school was the best.img_0383

On Hallowe’en Day we had our traditional parade at school. Students and teachers dressed up for the occasion and parents watched from the sidelines.

On Hallowe’en evening the conditions were perfect. There were lots of children and parents on the street but very few crossed the intersection to make their way to our block. We even walked out to the sidewalk and hailed people to walk a little further. It was tough competing with the flaming pumpkins up the road. Three pumpkins were hollowed out, carved and then doused with kerosene. Someone said that there were toilet paper rolls inside the pumpkins.

WPC – Transmogrify

…..this week’s WPC theme is transmogrify which literally means “to change in appearance or form, especially strangely or grotesquely; transform.”

What a perfect theme for Hallowe’en week when young and old change their appearances for a few hours to collect treats and attend parties. On Friday, the parents at our school hosted a Hallowe’en party for the children and all last week the library was transformed into a book store for the annual book fair.

The strangest and probably creepiest transformation had to be achieved by this mask:

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Happy Hallowe’en

….a fun day at school but not so nice this evening for the trick or treaters

Day 5 of my Book Fair had to end on Hallowe’en. Getting dressed up, lots of candy, sick children and very excited children and last minute purchases made for a very exhausting day. Pretty much every child dresses up for Hallowe’en and so do most of the staff at our school. At the end of the day we have our parade where the entire student body walks through the school and then outside around the the property. Unfortunately it rained all day so we had indoor recesses and we tried to keep the children calm with a movie during lunch. The rain had let up a little bit towards the end of the day so we decided to brave it and take the parade outside.

My friend L and I led the school throughout the halls and then around the school. Every year we try to come up with  new costumes and when I saw this idea on Pinterest I knew that it was the costume for us. It was also extremely easy to put together and we had fun making the kids and parents try to figure out what we were. We dressed up as the Black Eyed Peas. IMG_3104 IMG_3105

Here are a some pictures that I can share with you. The parents do an amazing job decorating the school and many classes took the  time to decorate pumpkins.

It’s almost 8:00 and I’ve only had one knock on the door. Even my husband’s fabulous pumpkin isn’t attracting children to come up our walkway. Too much rain. I guess I’ll  be taking a lot of candy back to school.

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My First Ever Caribbean Carnival Experience

…..or as it is more commonly known, Caribana Toronto 

Today my husband and I got on our bikes and headed east toward the city. Trust me when I say that there was no better way to get around today than on your bike. The Gardiner is still under construction and Lakeshore Blvd. was closed for the Caribana Parade.

We decided to make a number of stops on our journey today. First, we parked our bikes at the Humber Bay Farmers’ Market and picked up some kale, flowers for my aunt and the best samosas in the city.

We continued along the bike path, heading east and turned north on Windemere and then east again along the Queensway. Traffic was already backing up and we passed numerous cars as we sailed through on the bike lanes. When the bike lanes ended we were at our destination anyway so our trip to the hospital was smooth sailing all the way.

Our second stop was at St. Joe’s to visit my aunt. We gave her the small bouquet of flowers that we picked up at the market and we spent about an hour with her. I’ve really been enjoying these chats with her. Outside the hospital the sounds from the Carnival were bouncing off the walls but inside, especially in her room it was very quiet.

When we returned to our bikes after the visit my husband was having second thoughts about going to the parade. I convinced him to humour me for at least a 30 minute stay down by the parade. We headed west and then south towards Sunnyside Park. Lakeshore Blvd. was like a parking lot as people waited to get onto the Queensway.

As soon as we hit the park I suggested that we sit in the shade and eat our lunch of samosas and mango chutney. They were delicious. After cleaning up we got back on the bikes but now even moving on the bikes was slowed down by the pedestrian traffic heading toward the parade. To my husband’s credit (he hates crowds) he offered to park the bikes and sit with them while I made my way to the parade so that I could get some photographs.

I didn’t have to walk far but I do think that most of the parade had already passed by but there were still some interesting floats and sights to be seen. At one point I found myself on the other side of the fence where most people were standing. There were other people there as well and I was able to get pretty close to the floats. On my way back I realized that I had walked into a secure area, which the police were barring people from entering. Like I said earlier I wasn’t the only one and no one said anything to me or for that matter anyone else about being where I was.

The place was jumping and the music was so loud that when I stood in front of the speakers I could feel the sound bouncing off my chest. It was a party and the women of all ages, shapes and sizes were scantily dressed in feathery, glittery and shiny bits of fabric. The colours were amazing.

Along the parade route people were selling souvenirs, consisting of Caribbean flags, umbrellas with flag motifs, and t-shirts. Vendors were also selling island food and a couple of men were peeling stalks of sugar cane with large knives for people to purchase and eat.

The parade is only one of many events that happen this weekend. The real party starts later today. As for me I’m happy to have finally experienced a little bit of Caribana and I won’t be fighting my way through traffic to participate in any of the remaining festivities. According to Strava, we rode for 20k today and supposedly I burned off 2300 calories. Is that even possible?????

Caribbean Bike Ride

 

 

Hallowe’en Night at the Book Fair

….the one I stay open late so that the parents can shop while the children play

Last Friday the halls were decorated with cobwebs, zombies, witches, skeletons and ghosts and several classrooms were set up with interesting and engaging activities for the kids. The party started at 6:30 and 150 children and their parents came dressed in costume. There were scary masks, long wigs, bushy beards, and store bought and handmade costumes.

I took a few pictures of some of the children when they came to the book fair. Posting them is always somewhat tricky but a number of the parents gave me permission to include them in this blog and others are so covered up that no one would know who’s behind the mask or the beard.

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Some of the kids are former students who came back to celebrate with their younger siblings. It always amazes me how much some of them grow over the summer. The book fair has been a big success so far and it was definitely worthwhile having it open during the party. Our goal this year is to sell $7000 worth of merchandise. So far, after 3 days we’ve brought in over $4800. Four more days to go. The library will get about 60% of the total sales back in books when all is said and done. Not bad for a week’s work.

Here I am with my talking witch’s hat and my number one ‘go to guy’ at this year’s book fair. Thank you M all your help.Image