Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Greek Custom: Celebrate Your Name Day | World Cup for Kids Project


This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs World Cup for Kids Project. Each time Greece plays, I will be posting about something you can do with your kids to get to know the Greek culture. You can follow along with each country playing in the World Cup herefind our introduction and schedule here.

In Greece, name days are an important celebration - they are as festively celebrated as birthdays for kids, and they are generally celebrated rather than birthdays, particularly after the age of 12. 

Based on the Greek Orthodox tradition, nearly every day of the year is dedicated to a saint or martyr. Those born into Greek Orthodox families (95% of the Greek population) are named after a saint, and their name day is celebrated on the saint's day. 

Name days are celebrated with gifts and sweets, much like a birthday. Family and friends drop by to celebrate with wishes of Kronia Pola! (meaning "many happy years") bearing gifts, and the celebrating host offers food and entertainment. 

Our World Cup posts about Greece include interesting facts about the country as well as a recipe for a popular drink kids enjoy, here, a list of books kids will enjoy here, and a craft making Greek worry beads here.

Celebrate Your Name Day


A fun way to get to know the Greek culture is by taking part in Greek celebrations. Why not celebrate your name day, inspired by Greek traditions.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cote d'Ivoire Activity: Senufo Animal Art | World Cup for Kids Project


This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs World Cup for Kids Project. Each time Cote d'Ivoire plays, I will be posting about something you can do with your kids to get to know the Ivorian culture. You can follow along with each country playing in the World Cup herefind our introduction and schedule here.

Korhogo Cloth - Senufo art, Cote d'Ivoire
Photo Credit: Sinewy Polyp
Our World Cup posts about Cote d'Ivoire include interesting facts about the country as well as a recipe for a popular drink kids enjoy, here, and books kids will enjoy, here.

Korhogo cloth is hand woven cotton cloth handpainted with stylized drawings by the Senufo people of Cote d'Ivoire. These drawings are of masked figures and animals, with many designs having symbolic meanings. The traditional drawings used to be made into dancing and hunting clothes, since the Senufo believed the drawings had the power to keep hunters safe. Commonly drawn animals include birds, turtles, snakes, fish, crocodiles, goats and antelopes. These days korhogo cloth is mostly a sold textile used for decorative purposes. The dye is made from mud gathered from the roots of trees in a swampy area. You can find many examples of Korhogo cloth here, and a selection of Senufo animal designs and their meanings here

Inspired by this cloth and the Senufo animal paintings, Elle created Senufo animal art. 


With black cardstock, crayola crayons for construction paper, background paper and the photos mentioned above, Elle created her own art. You could also use paint markers or acrylic paint - something that stands out on black. She started by drawing a turtle, then filing it in with designs like stripes and swirls. She then cut out the turtle, leaving a bit of black, then glued in onto brown paper with hand drawn pattern. 

What animal are you inspired to draw?

Don't forget to find out about what other bloggers and families are doing to follow along with the World Cup and learning about different cultures. I've outlined how it works in my introduction and will be featuring other posts on our Facebook page.


You can find more cultural and historical activities at the following linkups:

Greece Activity: Making Greek Worry Beads | World Cup for Kids Project


This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs World Cup for Kids Project. Each time Greece plays, I will be posting about something you can do with your kids to get to know the Greek culture. You can follow along with each country playing in the World Cup herefind our introduction and schedule here.

Man holding Komboloi
Photo Credit: Begemot
Our World Cup posts about Greece include some interesting facts about the country as well as a recipe for a popular drink kids enjoy, here, and a list of books kids will enjoy here.

I have heard it said that upon entering a rural town in Greece, the streets hum with the sound of clicking beads. Komboloi, or Greek worry beads, are strands of beads used to relieve stress or pass the time. Until recently, they were only used by men, but now they're used by anyone.


Worry Beads
Photo Credit: Torsten Huckert
Though they resemble prayer beads, Komboloi have no religious significance. You can buy them made of any number of materials, but traditionally they were made out of organic materials like amber, bone or coral. They are generally made out of an odd number of beads, and there must be room to slide the beads along, for that satisfying clink.

There is a special way of using Komboloi, moving one bead to the other, flipping the strand, and it's this action and resulting clicking noise that is reported to help relieve tension. You can watch them being used here and instruction on how to use them here.

How to Make Komboloi - Greek Worry Beads


Cameroon Activity: Making a Replica of Traditional Toghu Cloth | World Cup for Kids Project


This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs World Cup for Kids Project. Each time Cameroon plays, I will be posting about something you can do with your kids to get to know the Cameroonian culture. You can follow along with each country playing in the World Cup herefind our introduction and schedule here.

Village council wearing Toghu
Photo Credit: 
© Manon van der Lit (Used with permission)
Our World Cup posts about Cameroon include interesting facts about the country as well as a recipe for a popular drink kids enjoy, here, and a list of books kids will enjoy here.

Toghu cloth is the traditional cloth worn in the Northwest region of Cameroon. Traditionally it was only worn by royalty (both men and women), and is now worn by all for formal occasions, feasts and festivals. It's a heavy black cloth, with bold, colorful embroidery. You can see a few more photos of beautiful toghu worn here.

Dr. Clement Njiti in full traditional Toghu
Photo Credit: © Nathanael Eagle  (Used with permission)
The patterns are so bold over the black, we decided to do a bit of an art project as a "replica" of the traditional pattern. We took inspiration from the patterns and used red, white, yellow and orange yarn glued over black cardstock.

Traditional Toghu
Photo Credit: © HostetterMinistries (Used with permission)

Making Art Inspired by Cameroonian Toghu Cloth

Our Weekend in a Nutshell

There was lots happening this past weekend, and luckily the nasty cold that hit me mid week had started tapering off in time for the weekend (though came back with a flu like vengeance yesterday!). So with a little less energy, but no less enthusiasm (overall), we enjoyed a busy weekend. 


My nephew "graduated" daycare, and they put on the cutest performance. Pea's grade 9 graduation is coming up, and with it a semi formal dance and after months of on and off shopping, we finally, finally found a beautiful dress she loves, is comfortable wearing and within budget. 

There were a couple of events I didn't want to miss happening as well: Aboriginal Day Live and the Multicultural festival. Saturday we wandered tents and teepees, learning about various aspects of East Coast Canadian aboriginal culture - we tasted traditional breads, tried our hands with "basket" weaving, learned about the intricacies of porcupine quillwork, stood in awe of amazing artwork, and enjoyed Mi'kmaq folktales. 




Sunday we headed to the tents of the Multicultural festival, where wandered those tents and played with Chinese puppets, learned about Iran, and bought a beautiful Oware game board - having made one months ago, the game has quickly become a family favorite. We enjoyed great performances, and had a lunch that between the four of us included Chinese, Vietnamese, West African, Lebanese and Indian food. 

Celebrating a dear friend's birthday with the amazing women in our lives
It was a fun, busy, and rather educational weekend. My favorite :) Now I need to rest because it's about to be a busy, busy couple of months!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ghanaian Coming of Age Story | Read Around the World Summer Reading Series


I'm taking part in a great collaboration with bloggers from around the world: The Read Around the World Summer Reading series. Multiple times a week for the remainder of summer, someone recommends a multicultural themed book, for various different age ranges.

The novel, Between Sisters by Adwoa Badoe, is a coming of age story set in Ghana. It explores universal themes such as friendship, trust, love, and betrayal within a Ghanaian cultural context  - a great way for older kids to learn about a culture. It truly gives a glimpse of modern day city living in Ghana and pointed us in the direction of making kelewele and listening to Highlife music in our exploration. 

You can find the details and schedule of this project at Multicultural Kid Blogs . You can also follow along with our Pinterest Board filled with great books!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Children's Books about Greece | World Cup for Kids Project


This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs World Cup for Kids Project. Each time Greece plays, I will be posting about something you can do with your kids to get to know the Greek culture. You can follow along with each country playing in the World Cup herefind our introduction and schedule here.

(I may have mentioned this before...) One of our favorite ways of learning about a culture is through books. Picture books appeal to a wide range of ages, and are great for reading together.

This is a list of books we read when virtually exploring Greece two years ago and includes fiction, non fiction and folktales. It is difficult finding children's literature related to Greece that isn't about mythology or ancient Greece, and I hope the selection will grow. Some of these books are no longer in print, but you might be able to find them at your local library (like we did) and I've linked those to Better World Books, a sites that sells them second hand (I am not affiliated with them).

Our World Cup posts about Greece include some interesting facts about the country as well as a recipe for a popular drink kids enjoy, here, and a tutorial to make Greek worry beads here.


Greece (We're From . . .) by Victoria Parker is seen from the perspective of kids. Learn how to say hello, read and see what it's like at home and at school for kids in Greece. When we read this two years ago, the kids were appalled when they read kids have 3 hours of homework every night - now they can relate a little :) Just as with the book below, kids love to read about other kids, and it's a great way to introduce them to another country and culture.







Children's Books about Cote d'Ivoire | World Cup for Kids Project

This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs World Cup for Kids Project. Each time Cote d'Ivoire plays, I will be posting about something you can do with your kids to get to know the Ivorian culture. You can follow along with each country playing in the World Cup herefind our introduction and schedule here.

One of our favorite ways of learning about a culture is through books. Picture books appeal to a wide range of ages, and are great for reading together.

This list of books is short - I could only find two children's fiction books specifically about Cote d'Ivoire, though there are more about general West African folktales (for a later post). Some of these books are no longer in print, but you might be able to find them at your local library (like we did) and I've linked those to Better World Books, a site that sells second hand books (I am not affiliated with them).

Our World Cup posts about Cote d'Ivoire include interesting facts about the country as well as a recipe for a popular drink kids enjoy, here, and a craft making Senufo animal art here.


I Come From Ivory Coast by Valerie Weber is told from the view point of a child who has immigrated from Cote d'Ivoire to the United States. The child describes aspects of life in Cote d'Ivoire and how they differ from life in the US, including school, food and fun. It's interesting to read the differences, and a great way to get kids to relate. 









Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Children's Books about Cameroon | World Cup for Kids Project



This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs World Cup for Kids Project. Each time Cameroon plays, I will be posting about something you can do with your kids to get to know the Cameroonian culture. You can follow along with each country playing in the World Cup herefind our introduction and schedule here.

If you follow this blog, then you know one of our favorite ways of learning about a culture is through books. Picture books appeal to a wide range of ages, and are great for reading together.This list includes traditional and modern day folktales, as well as a true story. I have to admit, it hasn't been easy finding stories and folktales set in or about African countries. Some of these books are no longer in print, but you might be able to find them at your local library (like we did) and I've linked those to Better World Books, a site that sells second hand books (I am not affiliated with them).

Our World Cup posts about Cameroon include interesting facts about the country as well as a recipe for a popular drink kids enjoy, here, and a tutorial for an art project inspired by traditional toghu cloth here.

The King and The Tortoise by Tololwa M. Mollel is a traditional Cameroonian folktale. The king, who considers himself more clever than any other being, sets an impossible task. One after the other, the nimble rabbit, sly fox, fierce leopard and mighty elephant fail. In the end it's the clever tortoise who show's up the king. The task is indeed impossible, and while reading we were curious as to how the tortoise would meet this challenge!



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Our Weekend in a Nutshell


We didn't get out much this weekend - the girls, especially Pea, were laden with homework and Hubby had to work on Saturday. It feels like this past school year has seen a real increase in homework, and decrease in family time - I am very much looking forward to summer vacation! The girls did have a fair few options of beverages to enjoy while working away :)

Saturday night, Elle headed to a friends house for a sleepover (that took her the entire next day to recuperate from) while Pea and I went to a choral concert my mother participates in. This is her second concert, and I have absolutely loved them both - this is such an energetic, fun, heartfelt choir that sings such a variety of songs, from local, to aboriginal, to multicultural. The energy and loving-kindness radiates as they sing and the audience is encouraged to join in with some songs. I love that these concerts bring Pea out of her shell, even if just a little. Halfway through, she reached over and held my hand, with strangers seated next to her. This is a rare public display of affection and anyone with a teen can attest to the need to cherish any form of affection from a teenager! Shunning, blank stares and eye rolling are more of the norm :)

Sunday was father's day, and after a very long week at work, Hubby just wanted to stay in with his family and watch tv. Despite the big breakfast, bbq tool and cards, I think my best gift to him was the rare occasion of acceptance on my part: not complaining of having the tv on, not asking to turn the volume down during the commercials, and most importantly, not insisting he change the channel to something more interesting! I guess I can pull that off, if only for one day a year :)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Cote d'Ivoire: Fun Facts & Recipe for Popular Drink Bissap | World Cup for Kids Project


This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs World Cup for Kids Project. Each time Cote d'Ivoire plays, I will be posting about something you can do with your kids to get to know the Ivorian culture. You can follow along with each country here, and find our introduction and schedule here

With Cote d'Ivoire playing against Japan today, here are a few interesting facts about the country:

Cote d'Ivoire is on the coast of West Africa, and is the home to more than 60 ethnic groups. The official language is french, though there are many indigenous local languages. There is even a trade language spoken throughout by Muslim traders, and in the commercial capital of Abidjan, pidgin French is commonly used. Over half the labor force in Ivory Coast are in commercial agriculture, and many of these farm cocoa as Cote d'Ivoire is the largest producer of cocoa in the world.

Ivory Coast had a very profitable trade in ivory during the 17th century, which is how it came about its name. The land in the area was once called the "teeth coast" due to this trade. This trade died out by the beginning of the 18th century because of the serious decline in elephants it brought about.

The most popular sport without a doubt in Cote d'Ivoire is football/soccer. It is played across the country, with a soccer field in almost every town and village, and at least one soccer club in every city. It's also played at the beach, in streets, and at school. There is a match to watch every Sunday in major cities. In fact kids, especially boys, are strongly encouraged to take up the sport from an early age, not just because of the national football fervor, but as a way to build their bodies, increase their stamina and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

After school game of football.
Photo Credit: Nestle
Their national team is nicknamed Les Elephants (The Elephants). This is their third time in the Fifa World Cup. In fact, they are widely regarded as Africa's strongest national team in recent years. Their qualification in 2006 helped bring about a truce during Cote d'Ivoire's first civil war and convinced their president at the time to restart peace talks. It was also a match played by The Elephants in the rebel capital in 2007 that brought bought the government army and rebel forces together peacefully for the first time.

Ivorians commonly snack on fresh fruit, a wide range of which is grown there, such as mangos, bananas, pineapples, passion fruit and coconuts. A popular snack is aloko, which are fried plantains served with onions and chilies, very similar to the recipe for kelewele we tried a few months ago.

Our World Cup posts about Cote d'Ivoire include books kids will enjoy, here, and a craft making Senufo animal art here.

Greece: Fun Facts & Recipe for Popular Drink "The Greek Lantern" | World Cup for Kids Project


This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs World Cup for Kids Project. Each time Greece plays, I will be posting about something you can do with your kids to get to know the Greek culture. You can follow along with each country here, and find our introduction and schedule here.

With Greece playing against Columbia today, here are a few interesting facts about the country:

Greece is located in southeast Europe, and has over 3000 islands, though only 227 are inhabited. The official name is the Hellenic Republic, and the capital is Athens. Greece is one the most mountainous countries in Europe with 80% of the landscape covered in mountains, and its highest mountain is Mount Olympus. The language is Greek, the oldest language spoken in Europe, and has its own 24 letter alphabet.                                                                                                                                         Greece is considered the cradle of all Western civilization and is the birthplace of democracy, major mathematical principles and Western drama.

Yo-yos, one of the oldest known toys in the world, originated in ancient Greece, about 3000 years ago.

Greece is also the birthplace of the Olympic Games, which were first recorded in 776 BC. The first modern Olympics were also hosted in Athens, Greece in 1896. These days, the most popular sport is the Greek national sport: football. During the football season, professional soccer matches take place nearly every Sunday afternoon. 

The Greek national football team, nicknamed The Pirate Ship, ranked 14th in the world in 2012. This year is the fourth time they have qualified in the World Cup.

Our World Cup posts about Greece include  a list of books kids will enjoy, here, and a tutorial to make Greek worry beads, here.

It gets hot in Greece, and refreshing drinks are important. A tall glass of water is always appreciated. Iced coffee is very popular, as is vissinada (sour cherry syrup in water) and ayrani (yogurt blended until frothy with water). Having virtually explored Greece two years ago, we wanted to try a new popular drink, so we made the Greek Lantern, a parsley and lime fizzy drink. As for snacks when watching the match, a simple mezze platter with hummus, tzatziki, pita and olives is always popular here.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Cameroon: Fun Facts & Recipe for Popular Drink Ginger Beer | World Cup for Kids Project


This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs World Cup for Kids Project. Each time Cameroon plays, I will be posting about something you can do with your kids to get to know the Cameroonian culture. You can follow along with each country here, and find our introduction and schedule here.

With Cameroon playing against Mexico today, here are a few interesting facts about the country:

Cameroon is in the West Central Africa region. Because of its natural and cultural diversity, it's often referred to as 'miniature Africa'. There are beaches, deserts, rainforests, mountains & savannahs. The official languages are French & English (having formerly been under French & British rule) but there are over 200 linguistic groups!                                                                                The name "Cameroon" is derived from the Portuguese word Camaroes which means shrimps. A Portuguese sailor in 1472 arrived at a river in Cameroon and discovered so many shrimp that he called the place Rio Dos Camaroes: River of Shrimps.

Traditional sports, like canoe racing and wresting, are an important part of Cameroonian life. Wrestling is particularly popular, found in almost every village. Canoe racing is enjoyed along the coast, with villages competing against each other. As people increasingly move to the cities, traditional sports are losing their popularity.

The most popular sport in Cameroon is football/soccer, played across the country. Their national team, Les Lions Indomptables (The Indomitable Lions) is a source of great national pride. It has qualified seven times for the Fifa World Cup, more than any other African team. They have also won four Africa Cup of Nations titles. 

Our World Cup posts about Cameroon include a list of books for kids, here, and a tutorial for an art project inspired by traditional toghu cloth here.

Ginger beer is a popular, refreshing drink very much enjoyed in Cameroon, and throughout West Africa. It would be perfect after a game of football! It's a non alcoholic drink kids and adults love. If you're interested in more Cameroonian recipes that would be tasty while enjoying the World Cup, try out these snack foods from Afro Fusion Cuisine: Cameroon croquettes and cassava beignets.

Our appreciation for ginger varies in our family, and we all enjoyed this recipe. The ginger is less pronounced than what we've tasted from Jamaican ginger beer, which appealed to the kids. Of course, if you like a stronger ginger flavor, just add more. Ginger is also very healthy, and if you reduce the sugar, this is quite a healthy drink. Some recipes include yeast and fermentation, but we chose this simple recipe where all the ingredients are blended and then poured through a sieve. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

World Cup 2014 - A Great Learning Opportunity | Multicultural Kid Blogs World Cup for Kids


Today, billions around the world will be glued to their tv screens to watch the opening ceremonies of the Fifa World Cup hosted in Brazil. This sporting event is the most watched in the world because it's all about futbol.

Known to most of the world as football, the world's most popular sport is known to Canadians and Americans as soccer. So why the sudden interest on our blog?

It certainly isn't because we are particularly athletic, or interested in competitive sports, though Elle has recently joined a team and is enjoying it. Our interest lies in this one fact:


soccer is a global game that brings people together

Soccer in the streets of Cuba
Photo credit: Renee Bastiaanssen
Many a jaw may drop when I admit I had never even heard of the World Cup until several months ago when Multicultural Kid Blogs brought it to my attention. I was naturally excited about a proposed project related to the World Cup that would include learning about different cultures. And then I started learning about this global tournament.


The New York Times has an incredible slideshow of football being played around the world, in various circumstances.

Ambivalence quickly set in. The Fifa World Cup is hosted in Brazil this year and has been the subject of numerous controversies and bearer of social ills. Brazilians have brought to media attention the enormous cost to the country, while healthcare and education lag. Laws have been changed to meet Fifa's demands, and residents have been evicted from their homes (sometimes brutally) for commercial development. Fifa itself is rife with corruption. In all honesty, this seemed like just the sort of event I am inclined to boycott.

Photo credit: Jean-Marc Liotier
An important focus in our household is of global awareness, of becoming world citizens. It is a priority for us to immerse ourselves in various cultures as best we can in order to open our hearts and minds. This is why we will be following the World Cup, along with its protesters and dissidents. 


The Streetchild World Cup is a competition that was also held in Brazil recently, with the aim of trying to ensure better treatment for street children around the world

We will use the World Cup as an opportunity to learn about citizen response and the importance of social responsibility. We will follow the global game of soccer, a sport that to so many is a chance to escape daily struggles, and that continues to bring people together. We will cheer the spirit of global cooperation and the celebration of achievement. We will support the aim that sporting tournaments bring together diverse people and are an opportunity to reach out in friendship. 


Photo credit: Pedro Guzman
And so, with my continued aim to teach kids about geography, global cooperation and cultural diversity, we are joining a great, diverse group of bloggers and taking part in the Multicultural Kid Blogs World Cup for Kids Project. As the 32 nations compete in the World Cup, this project will help you (and us) explore each and everyone of these countries. 



Starting today, and for the next month during the tournament, each team is represented by a blogger, and when their team plays, there will be a post with kid friendly information and activities about that country. This means you can expect 2 to 8 great posts each day! You can follow along with all 32 countries at Multicultural Kid Blogs, and I'll be featuring some on our Facebook page (follow us!) You can also find the Fifa schedule here.

Since we are exploring West Africa this year, I will be posting about Cote d'Ivoire and Cameroon. I will also be posting about Greece, having explored it two years ago. There will be some information about each of these countries, and something for you to try. For the first round of games, I will be posting about a popular drink children enjoy in each of these countries. The second round will be popular games, and the third a book with a related craft or activity. I hope you follow along with us!

Here's our schedule: 


Cameroon
June 13th - Popular kids drink: Ginger beer (its non alcoholic)

June 18th - Children's books

June 23rd - Art/Craft



Cote d'Ivoire
June 14th - Popular kids drink: Bissap 

June 19th - Children's books

June 24th - Art/Craft




Greece
June 14th - Popular kids drink: Greek Lantern

June 19th - Children's books

June 24th - Art/Craft




In the meantime, get to know a little bit about Brazil and enjoy some Brazilian treats. There are also plenty of ideas to celebrate the world cup on the Multicultural Kid Blogs Pinterest board and a great printable activity pack created especially for this project here.

Photo credit for photograph in introductory image: Presentation College

Our (Belated) Weekend in a Nutshell

It's just been the sound of crickets here on the blog for over a week - I've been having issues with the computer and had to ration and prioritize use in between crashes. I may have solved the issue - my fingers are crossed. Now it's catch up time!



Elle had a friend sleepover and very much wanted to show her around the waterfront. So we started off our Saturday at the farmers market and being (wind) swept along the waterfront, as they ran ahead, played on the giant wave (the "Do Not Climb" sign ignored by all kids in the region) and relished a classic Canadian dessert: the Beavertail. One of these days, we may need to learn how to cook one of these up at home. 


Sunday, Pea emerged from her room and homework and the girls and I headed back into the city. This past weekend Open Doors Halifax was being held, in which a variety of buildings were opening their doors to the general public, many with informative volunteers. As a historic city (by Canadian standards), we had a few architectural gems to see, including the City Hall (that had the first elevator in the city) and the Province House (the oldest assembly in Canada) - the girls were much more interested in the elevator's history than the governments :) We even had a tour of a theater, going backstage, and props and costume departments.

Being World Ocean Day, we also snuck into the science center to watch a squid dissection- disgusting but interesting. Did you know squids have 3 hearts? I bet you also don't know what a squid's eyeball feels like - Pea now does. Elle and I were a bit more squirmish :) It was a great day, with all of us tuckered out in the end. We are already looking forward to checking out more buildings next year. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Our Weekend in a Nutshell


We enthusiastically enjoyed the summer sunshine this weekend. We took a road trip Saturday afternoon and had our first picnic of the season - rather late for us, but the setting certainly made it worth the wait. Under a willow tree, with ponds, ducks and geese nearby, on heritage land. So serene and beautiful. Hubby and Elle particularly enjoyed disrupting that peace by making loud honking sounds from blades of grass - my ears were rather grateful Elle didn't get the hang of it :) It was a great afternoon, with apple orchards in full apple blossom bloom, cones of gelato, and spotting a huge eagle's nest. 


On Sunday, the girls and I headed for a hike and local monument visit. It was so much fun to see the girls horsing around, thoroughly enjoying each other and their surroundings. 
 
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