Family Road Trip

Aug 11

Prince Edward Island: Part I

Mid August? Really? How’d we get here already? Weren’t we just doing the countdown to the end of school? Now, as far as the eye can see, signs are screaming “back to school”!

Old Navy has jeans on sale, Wal-Mart is stocked to the gills with back-to-school supplies, and Bentley’s is spilling over with backpacks, pencil cases, and lunchboxes available in every color of the rainbow!

Signs of back-to-school days are everywhere!

Oh, and there’s the teeny fact that our yearly family road trip to Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) has come to an end.

Crossing Confederation Bridge to get back to the mainland

The car is stuffed with two weeks’ worth of dirty laundry, stale food, worn pillows, sandy beach towels, and buckets of seashells as we make our way back home. All signs of another banger year on the Island.

Packing a car is an art in itself!

We’re heading west, somewhere in New Brunswick, at the moment. It’s 9:10 am and we’ve been travelling for four—yes, four—hours already. My husband is accustomed to getting up in the wee hours of the morning for work, so he likes to get on the road at the crack of stupid. Ok, now I’m sounding whiny… Back to it… Back to it…

How tired am I? This image pretty much sums it up.

Despite the worst vacation weather we’ve experienced over the past four summers, we managed to enjoy the Island and all it has to offer—without having to resort to the use of TV and video games.

This tranquil photo of French River Fishing Village was taken on one of the few sunny days we experienced while on the Island this summer.

We toured the Cows Ice Cream Factory where we savoured the best ice cream on the Island, dined at Carr’s Oyster Bar and Restaurant for our usual hearty dose of all things seafood, took in a Ceilidh for the first time, and passed through picturesque Charlottetown on our way to visit with great Island friends (cheers to the whole Wheeler family and Figgy too!). We also walked the Cavendish Boardwalk and made a stop at the one-and-only Toy Factory to get our shopping fix.

Ian and the kids at the Toy Factory in Murrar River.

We enjoyed tons of laughs with friends who visited from Halifax (thanks for making the trek Brendan, Linda, Samantha, and Biscuit!), had an unforgettable couple of days in Darnley with Grand Poppies and Jill (my Dad and his lovely partner) who flew in from Montreal to tour Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and spent a great—but all too short—visit with Grandpa Creel and Ann (my father-in-law and his wife from Windsor, Nova Scotia).

Grandpa Creel with Ann and the kids

We discovered a few pluses to the lack of sunshine on the Island. On the days lacking sunshine, we morphed into beachcombers. We combed the Cumberland area beaches (south shore of the Island) for hours at a stretch searching for sea glass.

Typical spot where we'd find sea glass. Ya gotta have eagle eyes to spot these little treasures!

Talk about a great family pastime! We found sea glass in practically every colour imaginable. We found shades of green, yellow, white, pink, purple, amber, and even a few very-hard-to-find shades of blue (cobalt and cornflower).

Just a sampling of the sea glass treasure we found in the Cumberland area.

The kids squealed with delight each time they found a colour or shape they hadn’t seen before. Ok, I did some of the squealing too. Hunting for sea glass is really fun!

One day, we scoured the red sands for three hours searching for sea glass. Fun for the whole family.

Another plus to the lack of sunshine while on the Island? The amount of reading that fit nicely into our days. Ava read up to page 150 of her Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. And, I am proud to say that I managed to finish reading a book—a huge accomplishment for me these days.

As a wife and mother of three who writes books, crafts blogs, and works a regular day job, there is very little time left in the day for reading. Reading always was and always will be a guilty pleasure of mine. No matter how busy life gets.

Thanks for stopping by,



Jan 11

Gumballs and Voodoo Dolls

Hello and Happy New Year,

I was lucky enough to spend a little mommy-daughter time with Ava this afternoon. Nothing fancy. We simply headed to Blockbuster to rent some movies. As the mother of three, it isn’t very often that the opportunity arises where I am able to spend one-on-one time with any of my kiddies. Most of the time, I feel like mother goose with my gaggle of goslings trailing behind.

Car rides are a great way for parents to bond with their children. Both parents and children are strapped in their seats with no outside distractions. Wait. That didn’t come out right. But, I digress…

Since school had only been back in session for a week, I took this opportunity to ask Ava how things were going—in class and with her friends. Gift-of-the-gab Ava’s response? Suffice it to say that my eight-year old did not disappoint. She was in top form! For the rest of the drive to the video store, my vocal chords were at rest except for the occasional oh, ah, wow, or really?

When we got to Blockbuster, we wove our way through the aisles, chose our movie rentals, and paid for them. On our way out, we passed a gumball machine that was taller than Ava.

Ok, this isn't Ava, but it was a very tall gumball machine.

Next to the gumball machine was another money trap that housed tiny dolls made out of tightly wound string. What were these tiny dolls made out of tightly wound string? Voodoo dolls. Yup. Voodoo dolls. Apparently these dolls can be used on key chains and are a hit with teeny boppers. But, like, seriously, what twisted soul would create these dolls and sell them to kids?

Is this a joke? Why would anyone call a kid's toy a voodoo doll? Seriously!

I gave Ava a quarter. She collected a gumball and we headed back to the car. I could practically see the wheels turning in Ava’s head. We had barely closed the car doors when the questioning began.

Ava: What is a voodoo doll?
Me: Hmmm…, well, a long, long time ago, a person would try to hurt someone by sticking a pin into a doll. The hope was that this action would cause pain to the person represented by the doll.
Ava: Why would someone want to hurt someone else?
Me: Well, there are some nice people and some not-so-nice people who sometimes get jealous of the nice people. These not-so-nice people sometimes go on to do bad things to the nice people.

Ah, the innocence of a child. Ya gotta love it.

Naturally, all this voodoo talk led to a barrage of Ava questioning. Each question felt like a ball being shot out of a canon. I was definitely in the line of fire. Would I survive to tell the tale? I won’t bore you with my responses but, here are Ava’s questions on the drive home from the video store:

Ava: Why do people celebrate Halloween?
Ava: Why do people dress up in costumes for Halloween and pretend to be something they’re not?
Ava: Why do other people give out candies?
Ava: Are there real witches and zombies? Or, are they all fake?

I tried to answer each question to the best of my knowledge. I have to admit, I was pretty relieved to see our street sign. Ava’s questions were getting increasingly difficult to answer. We pulled into the driveway. I hit the brake and put the car in park mode. I reached for the key and shut off the engine. Phew! This cannonball run had left me parched and exhausted.

Just as I placed my hand on the door handle to open the car door, I heard Ava suck in some air. I exhaled. One… final… Ava question to end our little outing shared only by mother and daughter.

Ava: Can I have my gumball now?

Ava’s stream-of-consciousness questioning never ceases to amaze me.

Ah, the innocence of a child. Ya gotta love it.

Thanks for stopping by,



Oct 10

Shades of Fall

Red, yellow, green, orange. I’m gazing out at every variation and combination of these colours as we slowly wind our way through stretches of the 401. Traffic is getting heavier and heavier. Thanksgiving weekend is drawing to a close.  Cars, vans, trucks, and SUVs are spilling from cottage country roads onto the busiest roadway in North America. Everyone is trying to make their way back home.

As the sun streams in through the car windows, I think of newly created memories that are as fresh as just baked bread. Over the past three days, my two sisters and I reunited with parents, spouses, children, and close friends by our side. All at arm’s reach. All under one roof. The same roof that sheltered us as we grew through our childhood, youth, and early adult years.

We hadn’t all been together like this, under this particular roof, in close to 10 years. Where did the time go?  Don’t get me wrong. We’ve all been together many, many times over the years that make up the past decade, but never under this particular roof. As we stretched our wings and grew our families, our parents made the effort to drive this roadway so we could all be together. But since our father got sick last month (see September’s blog entry), it is our turn to make the drive and reunite under the roof that gave us shelter all those years ago.

I glance up from the computer as I write this entry. As our car meanders through this slow patch of highway traffic, my eye catches a street sign that reads Shelter Valley Road. Huh. Interesting that I chose to use the word shelter and here it is. Every letter spelled out crystal clear before me. On the street sign straight ahead.

Red, yellow, green, orange. Thanksgiving weekend is drawing to a close. 

Thanks for stopping by,