So when my daughter made me aware that she misses my undivided attention, I thought that I must make some quality time for all of us, especially for me and the hubby.
When I found out that we would have the opportunity to do a paranormal investigation with a real team of investigators, I knew that was our next date night!
Whenever we are on a road trip I always pick up brochures at hotels and stops, and scan the highway for those blue or brown signs that announce attractions and landmarks to visit in that area. If you're following along to our family's journey, I'm constantly on the lookout for fun new things to do. Not everything I find for our family to do is online.
Only by driving by the Lost Villages Museum near Cornwall, Ontario, and freaking out over their sign that said "Ghost Hunt", did I find out about Bytown Paranormal.
My husband and I are fans of ghost hunting shows. In the past, we have visited many sites that we have seen investigated on shows like Ghosthunters like the Cornwall Jail and Fort Henry. But this...THIS was even better. Bytown Paranormal allows you to join in on their investigation!
We got there in the evening and while meeting some of the guests and members, and listening to them talk about their experiences... I got the impression that everyone (including myself) was here because they experienced something in their past that they can't explain. I believe in the power of energy, but can the dead be a part of the energy around us? For this activity, it's not about believing or not believing in ghosts, it's about investigating things to see if they can be explained scientifically, which Bytown Paranormal taught very well.
If you're wondering if this is an activity for your FAMILY: I'd really recommend it for older kids. I don't think ours would have been able to stay awake past the time it started at, let alone stay still during the 4 hour investigation. There was a family that attended with us and the children were older, really well behaved and asked really great questions. Ghost hunters seem to love when children participate in investigations because of that belief that children have that "6th sense", and hope that they'd be able to capture more data when they are around.
The Lost Villages
A little background of the Lost Villages: they are a series of villages that disappeared with the growth of the Saint-Lawrence-Seaway. Business buildings and homes were able to be salvaged from this area, and moved to the site of the Lost Village Museum:
That night, the attendees were split into two groups and we took turns going into three buildings that were moved to the Lost Villages Museum site, with an investigator from the team: the Sandtown Church with Sandra, the Stuart house which had a Freemason lodge in the upstairs with Eric, and the McLeod log cabin with Cindy.
Some of the rooms in the buildings we investigated.
The entire team that was there that night were so nice and very professional. When they conducted the investigations, they encouraged everyone to ask questions themselves. They allowed everyone to hold their equipment to experience it themselves too which was really interesting.
I brought my camera along, more hoping to get some cool, eerie shots than expecting to capture a ghost, and they were open to that as well.
I wish I could say that we "saw something" that night, but we didn't. I heard that the other group had more happenings, but the only thing that happened in our three investigations happened in the church when a piece of equipment that another attendee brought went off a few times - one of those times was a split second after I snapped a photo with my flash on!
It was however very interesting to learn more about the history of the buildings and the stories of the people who lived there.
After the three sessions, they played some videos in the school house and displayed a very large collection of ghost hunting tools and gadgets.
An activity for the parents without little ones? CHECK!
Spending quality time together doing something new and fun? CHECK!
Crossing off an item off that proverbial bucket list? CHECK!
If you want to try this out for yourselves, be sure to follow Bytown Paranormal on Facebook and Instagram to find out about their public events.
Everyone that knows us, knows that I like to plan, and that I love products and hacks that will facilitate any trip we are taking - even if it's just a day trip to the local beach.
I took the kids for a day of swimming last week and on this trip more than any other, people kept coming up to us to tell us they were admiring our beach set up and asked where we got our stuff. I thought it would be fun to compile a list of our everything we bring with us, along with a wish list of items that I want to purchase next.
While accumulating these items, I made sure (as always) to find a deal. That's why a lot of the things I bought came from Varage Sale or were on liquidation at the end of the season.
And fun fact, our beach kit is small: everything fits in our car (I drive a compact) and is small enough to store in our mess of a garage.
Our Favorite Beach Supplies
Sun Shelter Tent
Mesh Laundry Basket For Sand Toys
Stearns Puddle Jumpers
Cooler Shopping Bag Tote
My Beach Supply Wish List
Here are the items that I want to eventually add to our beach convoy:
What are your must haves and tips for a trip to the beach? Leave me a comment below - maybe I can add what you've got to our next trip!
There are so many things we "fangirl" to as a family, and I totally think that this is when we have some of our best family time together.
This is a little sad for me to write about today because tonight, Taylor Swift will be bringing her Reputation Tour to Toronto, and we AREN'T. GOING.
I've spent countless amounts of time tracking ticket sales and resale sites, trying to make it work for our budget this summer, but I just can't justify it. So... it is with a sad heart that I share this little detail about our family. We are huge Swifties: my husband and I since 2006, and our kids' joining of the fandom might just have occured in the womb - each one was born during one of Taylor's album eras so her music was always playing, with us singing along. I think we as parents are fans of Taylor's parents, Scott and Andrea, too. I mean; they've raised two children in the entertainment industry who are both extremely talented, down to earth and care about the world and about giving back.
When the 1989 tour was announced and Ottawa was a stop, I bought tickets the moment they went on sale as we had fan club access. (Yes, the fan status goes that deep for us.) and that was our Christmas present to each other that year. It was also our last big family outing as a party of three: our second child enjoyed the concert in utero, and was born a month later.
Our 1989 seats were amazing: second row reds in tiny Canadian Tire Centre - so we were really close to the stage.
I saw this coming from the moment it was announced that Reputation was a stadium tour. Tickets went on sale with a "Verified Fan" deal (which I participated in), and when I got access, if I wanted to pay the same price as our 1989 tickets, we'd be sitting in the nosebleeds. And paying extra money to sit closer (in that large of a venue) wasn't an option either. It was either spend all that money on one night with Taylor, or spend it on lots of days off together as a family this summer. Plus we still have a lot of renovation work on our house and property to finish.
Sorry, now I'm just rambling about my disappointment... and I wanted to share about the fun we had last tour:
How To Be A Fan Family:
I can attest that supporting and joining in on your child's favourites (be it TV show, movie, artist, band, etc.) will bring you closer together as a family, and these kinds of events will be cherished memories. Our daughter still talks about the 1989 concert which was three years ago when she was 4. Besides listening to Taylor, watching her videos, singing and dancing along, here's what we do as a Swiftie Fam:
If you happen to be going to the shows tonight and/or tomorrow, leave us a comment below or tag us on social media so we can see you at the show:
Are you a Swiftie too? Give us a follow on the Swift Life: @SwiftyFam. You will find our photo and Taylor's comment on her feed and if you click "Taylor Likes" on our page.
The Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art
Remember when I was called out to spend some more one-on-one time by my daughter? It didn't take me long to figure out what we were going to do together: our personalities are quite similar and we are enthralled with learning and experiencing weird and beyond-the-norm things.
I'm not sure of the exact moment that I fell in love with the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, (MAC) but I know that it was around the time I was in college and taking art history classes. Most of the art we were studying were paintings and sculptures... don't hate on me, but I was sometimes bored in those classes. It became more interesting as the history class started to catch up with the present.
What I can always anticipate about going to the MAC, is that often the art work being shown there invites the viewers to become a part of the pieces. I knew that installation art and interactive art would interest my 7 year old specifically, but really I know many children that would be in awe of it.
Right now, until the August 9th 2018, the Mac is hosting a collection by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. He is a Mexican-Canadian artist that incorporates technology in his participatory installations. He has exhibits around the world! The two of us found a lot of his work showcased in this particular exhibit had to do with us in correlation to technology as our being there made the artwork come alive.
While you may be looking at my post after this exhibit has moved on, the MAC always has amazing touring exhibits stopping by. Be sure to check out the MAC website to find out about current and upcoming exhibits.
Our MAC Tips:
Melissa is a mom, wife, and early childhood educator who blogs about her journey looking for new experiences for family time.