Tag: travel

#TakeFlight and Soar with the Mini Pop Kids!

Get ready for an incredible live singing and dancing performance from an outstanding group of young children, the Mini Pop Kids!

We were first introduced to the Mini Pop Kids when my eldest was quite a bit younger. They did an amazing job of covering popular songs and making them age appropriate yet still being enjoyable for adults and kids. They originally launched in the 1980s (yes you heard that right) and went on to sell millions of albums worldwide. They relaunched in 2004 and their popularity has continued to soar.

The Mini Pop Kids landed in Hamilton on February 23rd at FirstOntario Concert Hall and they set the place on fire with their energy, fantastic vocals and dance moves. The atmosphere was electric the moment you walked into the hall. Children were dressed up to match their favourite Mini Pop Kids and I have to admit some of those children were quite the little fashionistas! We took several photos in front of the signs marking our very first concert and made sure to pick up a light up microphone. Once we entered the hall roughly thirty minutes before the concert started, we were treated to recordings of the group that had us dancing and singing long before the show started.

Once the group made their entrance on stage, the audience went wild with excitement. Kids were singing, dancing and screaming. I was embarrassing my youngest with my off tune vocals! The group covered many of the current top hits as well as two of their own original songs, Take Flight and Get Loud. Their Get Loud song is a song that you may have heard before and is associated with the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto (a place close to my own heart) and a portion of the proceeds from this song goes right back to the Hospital.

The show was engaging, the vocals were amazing – this group of kids are beyond talented. While the songs were from the top hits, parents will love how well they covered the songs that had a few words that may not have been age appropriate. They also had the words to each song running live on the main screen behind them to help encourage you to sing along, I have to admit I had been singing quite a few of these songs wrong for quite a while! It was so special and heart warming to watch the children dance in their seats, run up to the stage and how warm and responsive the Mini Pop Kids were in coming down to give the kids high fives.

Not only is the group vocally incredible but they are also very talented in dancing. Our son loved the way Kalan danced (he made me record several of his dance moves) and follow him on Instagram so that he could practice his moves. For an extra bit of local love, the group was joined on stage by a local dance group, which I found out later is something they do in each stop. What an special moment for those children and parents – watching them dance along side the group.

Make sure to check to see if the Mini Pop Kids are stopping at a location near you (they have stops until the end of April) here.

Don’t forget to give the Mini Pop Kids some love on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Disclosure: We received tickets to see the Mini Pop Kids live. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Chobe River Cruise

Last week I shared our adventure through Chobe National Park in Botswana (if you missed our adventure – check it out here). While staying at the Chobe Marina Lodge, our family surprised us with a river boat cruise.

This was a truly breathtaking way to explore the area around us. It gave us such an appreciation of the environment, the animals and the people that work hard to protect them. While I was nervous at times, as our boat cruise brought us pretty close up to some unpredictable animals, we were definitely in great hands. We also experienced a wide range of weather while on the river – it was sunny at parts, then rain would come down but after the rain came the most beautiful rainbows, shown below, that made getting wet worth every moment.

Enjoy some of our favourite shots from the Chobe River Cruise, run through Chobe Marina Lodge in Botswana.

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Chobe National Park

We were blessed to have visited Chobe National Park located in the Northern region of Botswana. The country of Botswana is an incredible place to visit with it’s laid back lifestyle, focus on the environment and the protection of animals. We spent two weeks enjoying time with family, the culture and the natural beauty of this country.

During our visit, our family took us to stay at Chobe Marina Lodge and surprised us with a safari tour of Chobe National Park. This was an incredible, hard to put into words experience for us. Chobe National Park, which takes its name from the Chobe River, is Botswana’s first national park. Our youngest was so excited – he loves animals and this was a dream come true for him (I can see him returning home to live with family in Botswana!).

Each of us wanted to spot a specific animal on our safari ride – the top ones were elephants, a giraffe and a hippo. We spotted some of these and so much more. While the park is home and famous for its elephant population, we did not see one on our safari ride (although we did see many when we were leaving the Lodge to drive home on the highway!). The giraffe surprised us when we stopped for a bathroom break during the middle of the ride, it was so close! It was completely breathtaking and majestic to see this beautiful animal, can you tell it is my favourite animal?

Enjoy my collection of photos during our safari drive through Chobe National Park. Next week I will share our Chobe river boat ride!

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Fun Family Activities at Blue Mountain Village #WinterWarrior

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After wrapping up three days at Blue Mountain (staying at the gorgeous Westin Blue Mountain) we were amazed at how much the village has to offer. Blue Mountain Village has something to offer for every member of the family, from the youngest to the eldest.

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

We started off our stay at Westin Blue Mountain by dropping off our bags early and hitting the Hike and Tube. It was a short walk (less than five minutes) to the location and easy to locate as it was right on the main road.

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

I haven’t had that much fun in a long time! The staff were fantastic and hilarious as they spun us down the hill. I honestly don’t know how they don’t go home sore from twirling people all day but it looked like they were having a fantastic time! Our youngest was terrifying me as he was laughing and telling them to spin him more. The ‘hike’ up the hill was short and easy to do for most individuals. Our youngest kept getting free rides up the hill by staying in his tube and getting us to drag him up (oh the joys of being young and lightweight!).

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

On our second day we were ready to hit the slopes (or in our case the novice course!). Blue Mountain has an incredible novice area with excellent and patient instructors. I would highly recommend if this is your first time trying out the sport to meet with an instructor and have them go over the basics with you – honestly this is so important both for your own enjoyment and for personal safety.

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

My eldest son took to snowboarding like it was nothing! He was doing his second turn across the open area while I was still navigating how to push the snowboard with one leg and pull my leg across without falling. I could not believe how much work it was – these guys make it look super easy.

It was truly amazing to see the amount of young children on the course. They took to the skiing and snowboarding like it was second nature to them. They were fearless in getting up the mini hills and gliding back down the hill. My son had tried snowboarding before in the past but I was so grateful for all the time and energy our instructor spent on teaching my son the basics. It truly made a big difference.

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

The Kids at Blue Mountain located out of South Base Lodge is the perfect opportunity for your youngest members (ages 3-5) to learn in a quieter environment with the focus solely on children. A short walk (roughly ten minutes) or you can take the shuttle from the Westin hotel lands you at South Base Lodge and the Kids at Blue Mountain area. The children were adorable as they stepped out on the skiis and up the ‘carpet’. The instructors were fabulous as they came down the hill behind the children holding on to the jacket and guiding them through each stage.

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

The Plunge Aquatic Centre is located just adjacent to the Westin Blue Mountain. It took us under five minutes to walk there from the hotel. The Plunge Aquatic Centre contains both an indoor and outdoor pool (with access through the pools), indoor water playground, hot tub, rope swings, slides and basketball nets. Swimming outdoors in the cold temperatures (-26C) was an experience to remember. Your face could barely feel the cold but your eyelashes would have frost on them! The steam from the pool would become thick at times and you could sometimes only see a couple of feet in front of you which was pretty awesome! There were plenty of lifejackets and the pool space was quite spacious. Each pool is kept quite warm so you never felt cold.

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

The Ridge Runner Coaster is an exciting single person (or you can go with your children) that runs through the mountain. The coaster takes you on a 1,085 metres down the mountain. It was fun, scary and exhilarating all at the same time! At times you felt like you were going to fly over the side of the mountain. While I screamed the whole way down the mountain both of my children laughed the whole way!

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

We also spent an afternoon at Crock A Doodle painting our own ceramic creations. There was a wide variety of ceramic options to choose from and which you can settle in right away. Your creations are left over night and can be picked up the next day after four or for a small fee can be mailed to your home. We just received our creations in the mail today!

Blue Mountain Crock A Doodle

Here is a collection of some of my favourite photos around Blue Mountain village:

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

Family Fun at Blue Mountain

What are your favourite winter activities? What activity would you love to do at Blue Mountain?

Come back again tomorrow for more Blue Mountain fun!

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Fun For the Entire Family at Westin Blue Mountain #WinterWarrior

Winter vacations are some of the most fun and thrilling experiences you can have as a family. They are a time for new adventures and venturing out of your comfort zone. Just North of Toronto you can find all this and more at Blue Mountain! And the perfect place to stay while you play? The Westin Blue Mountain.

Westin-Blue-Mountain

Last week, my family and I ventured the two hours North of Toronto to Collingwood (talk about a beautiful drive up there) to test the hills and see the beauty of Blue Mountain during the winter months. We had always been hesitant of a winter family ski vacation because of our children being so young but I was pleasantly surprised to see so many young children on the hills and in the village (putting my skills to shame that is for sure!).

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We checked in at Westin Blue Mountain and what a beautiful sight it was! Standing tall and prominent against the hills and village of Blue Mountain, Westin Blue Mountain made us feel like we had escaped to another country.

We stayed in a large two bedroom suite that came with a complete kitchen, two bathrooms, balcony and stunning views from each room overlooking the pond and village. It became habit for me to open the curtains wide right around the living room so that we could enjoy the panoramic view of the village, hills, pool and pond.

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The interior of our room was stunning. The suite had a dining room table and the kitchen came with all the utensils and appliances you would need to cook during your stay. The large windows give a light and airy feel to the rooms while instantly connecting you with the outdoors and Blue Mountain village. It was awesome to stand at the window and watch the village wake up as well as watch the night life!

westin-blue-mountain

One of the best features of the room? The bathroom! I could have lived in the shower alone – the shower head was incredible and felt like you were standing outside in a light rain shower. It was calming and soothing – the perfect way to relax both in the morning and evening.

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The Westin Blue Mountain features:

  • outdoor pool and hot tub (an incredible, must experience activity!)
  • fitness studio
  • Kids Club (with mini arcade and play room)
  • New Balance gear lending
  • Westin Well Being
  • In Room Spa services
  • Dining in the hotel at Oliver and Bonacini
  • pet friendly hotel
  • valet services
  • ski concierge

The hotel also has close access to Plunge Aquatic Centre and Le Scandinave Spa.

And the staff? Incredible! I have never been to a hotel where the staff were so helpful and happy. If we became lost or unsure there was always a staff member to help us out. Several staff members that greeted us on our first day were around for our last day and remembered us which was such a nice surprise. The amazing staff really helped make our stay perfect.

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The Westin Blue Mountain hotel is the perfect place to spend your Blue Mountain family vacation. Watch out this week on the blog for more Blue Mountain fun including: Family Activities, Dining at Blue and Le Scandinave Spa.

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