Staycation at Sherkston Shores Resorts

This is a sponsored post and all opinions are 100% mine. 

Canadian summers are short in Canada, so during these months we love quick getaways without fussing over all the packing and planning. We were recently hosted by Sherkston Shores Resorts to stay several nights and to explore and enjoy their facilities and beaches. Sharing with you what we loved and throwing in a few tips!

ACCOMMODATIONS

The resort has various accommodations available to suit any family. Camp site, RV sites, cabins and cottage rentals. We stayed in a 2-bedroom premium cottage with a large patio, fully equipped kitchen, airconditioned and WiFi strictly for the unit we were staying at.

It was the perfect size cottage for our family of four as it was modern, clean and very cozy. It had everything you needed to prep and cook all three meals, linens were included along with travel size shampoo, conditioner and body lotion which was a nice touch.

TIPS

  • The unit has a shared BBQ Grill available, however you must bring your own charcoal
  • If you don’t want to fire up the grill, there is a Boston Pizza on-site as well as a Super Mart on the facility
  • Super Mart carries high quality foods and products that I was surprised they even had and I’m hella picky! But because we weren’t prepared at all, I still went the next day to a local super market outside the resort. Expect to drive for 15-20 minutes to a grocery store.
  • There is a fire pit in the back which we did not use, but it’s great for those evenings to chill and eat s’mores.
  • The cottage rentals are close to each other and if you look out the window, you can look right into your neighbour’s deck. I didn’t mind it and the neighbours were cool.
  • Our cottage did not have a dishwasher and although it’s not a showstopper, it’s worth mentioning
  • Laundry Mat is also available on-site

Cottage

BEACHES

There are so many beaches on the resort and the easiest way to get to them is with the golf cart. You can drive and park your cart right on the beach. My recommendation is to secure your spot early. We arrived early afternoon one day and it was packed. Still managed to snag a spot, but I always like having first dibs.

We didn’t get a chance to hang out on all the beaches (because so much to do). Rather, we drove to each one to check them out.

Our fav is Elco Beach. Good vibes, soft sand and the lake was perfect. Quarry Beach is equally beautiful and we had a great time, however the shoreline is covered in rocks and walking into the water was uncomfortable and sometimes painful. The boys loved it either way, but I would highly recommend the whole family wears water shoes if they’re’ going into the lake. Staying on the beach to chill, then you’re good without them.

TIPS

  • Quarry Beach – beach sport rentals for kayaks, paddleboats and canoes

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GOLF CARTS

Riding the carts from Birdie Golf Carts. The best form of transportation on the resort and the most memorable according to Maxwell and Brandon. Gets you to your destination and being able to pull up and park on the beach is a win-win. I hate lugging all the beach gear with me, and this was a lifesaver!

TIPS

  • Reserve the golf carts ahead of time. They had sold out when I came to pick mine up and when I wanted to extend my rental for an additional day, they couldn’t because they had rented all carts out.
  • Anytime you can, charge the golf carts. Their battery life is 1.5 to 2 hours riding time.

Golf Cart

ACTIVITIES & ENTERTAINMENT

If you want to switch up the pace and scenery from the beaches, there are other activities to keep the family busy and entertained at any point in the day. Mini putt, skate park and basketball court to name a few.

We had the chance to also chill at the waterpark where the kids played at the splash pads and the big kids (hubby, brother, nephew and sister-in-law) took advantage of the water slides.

In the evening, there was live music for the whole family, we missed out on Chocolate Bar Bingo because the boys were too busy playing at the arcade.

TIPS

  • We went to the water park at 6:00pm because the weather was still hot, and the sun was up. It was perfect because no crowds and barely any lineups. We were told by staff either come first thing in the morning or come around dinner time to avoid the rush.
  • Every Saturday evening over the summer, there is fireworks by Quarry Beach around 9:30pm. We were too tired to head out, but from our cottage we had a great view.

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It was a great stay at Sherkston Shores Resort and we’d definitely come back! Our family has a huge appreciation for what Ontario offers and I’m looking forward to more staycations and more travel. Stay tuned!

xoxo

Sunshine

 

Farmer’s Market Season



 

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Hey peeps! Do you love a good farmer’s market? Well I do, and I want to share one of my favs. I discovered Centro Farmer’s Market four summers ago on one of my Sunday visits to a cute home décor and plant shop Centro Garden in Burlington (40 minutes west of Toronto). The market is located in the back parking lot and the hours run from 9:00am – 12:00pm rain or shine. There are approximately 12-15 vendors, so while it’s not a huge market, it’s perfect for our family.

What I love about Centro Farmer’s Market compared to others is the true sense of community. While I don’t live in Burlington, I do love the community feel and with this being my fourth summer heading to the market, we’ve now become regulars to the vendors, other families and the owner of Centro Garden.

In the middle of the market, they have picnic benches for customers to have their breakfast and coffee, a little play kitchen and chalk to keep the littles busy and live music setting the tone.

All the vendors have great produce/products but I want to share my favs with you.

Foundry Ice Cream – Enough said…Ice Cream! Made in Hamilton making small batch pints with in-season fruits. I try my hardest not to have ice cream for breakfast and will wait until closer to noon to grab my cone. I highly recommend Lavender, it’s my fav!

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Dez’s Flower Stand of Justice – I’m a sucker for flowers and they’ve got a great selection. But I would recommend coming early, because they do go fast. They also sell Strawberry Lemonade by the glass and in concentrate so you can take some home to make.

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Vandenbroek Family Farm – since the boys could walk, I would have them come with me to any Farmer’s Market and help me pick produce. It takes a little bit longer to get what you need, but having them as my shopping buddies they pick what they want and they’ll eat it. This family farm has plenty of fresh selection right up until the end of market. Our staples at every visit are tomatoes, kale and peppers.

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So, you’re now thinking it’s 12noon and what do I do after the Farmer’s Market. Well, keep your car parked and you can visit the following within a few steps.

Centro Garden – steps away from the market is the home, lifestyle and garden store. I always walk away with some type of plant that I can’t seem to maintain (black thumb). And Centro Garden is amazing all year round with their home décor and plants.

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Kelly’s Bake – sells baked goods that are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan and peanut free. They’ve got their soft serve ice cream going on, take home goods available and a great selection of beverages.

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I’m not done yet as there are still more things to do in the downtown Burlington area. A short drive to the following spots is worth visiting. However, I’ve walked with the family from the market to the waterfront. (note: this area is paid parking, however residential streets offer 3 hours free parking, click on link for parking locations and rates).

Spencer Smith Park – downtown waterfront park allowing for bike rides, roller blading, picnics, splash pad and a kids playground.

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Sunshine Doughnuts – a short walk from the park. Donuts are fabulous and they’ve got the cutest backdrop in store and out. There are days where donuts are sold out, so I would make that a priority to visit before heading to the park.

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Hoping you’ll make your way out one Sunday. Some spend the day, while others may use it as a pit stop from Toronto to hang out before heading to Niagara Falls or Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Any questions, please feel to contact me!

xo

Sunshine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Experience at Charmin’s Testing Lab

This is a sponsored post and all opinions are 100% mine. #ad, #EnjoyTheGo with @Charmin

“When I grow up, I want to be a Scientist, no make that a Senior Scientist, better yet a Senior Sensory Scientist.  Or maybe I’ll be a corporate Storyteller or Group Head in Family Care.”

That’s how I felt after meeting with the Charmin Team a couple of weeks ago at the Proctor & Gamble Headquarters and the Charmin Testing Lab in Cincinnati. This group of passionate individuals seriously made me want to make a career change! We (myself along with two other influencers) spent a full day learning, participating in demonstrations, sharing stories and enjoying each other’s company.

BELOW: The Charmin and the Great Lengths Influencer Team

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Ok, I know what you’re thinking … it’s toilet paper (TP) and there are so many brands out there that can do the job. This, I have to say also crossed my mind but that’s what lured me into wanting to find out more. Also, having worked in a manufacturing and lab environment, I have a genuine curiosity for the development and the story telling behind any type of product. So, this visit was educational, and I’m not kidding when I say I’m still geeking out.

Our morning started off with the history of P&G products and then focused on the history of Charmin

Charmin was first manufactured in 1928 and over the years their brand and packaging evolved and became a household name. Check out the TP packages they’ve had over the last few decades!

Want further history details, I’ve provided the link to their website. Click here.

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The Poop Test

Yes, it’s legit. Not real poop, but they created the next best thing. Of all the demonstrations I participated in that day, the Poop test was my favourite. Why? I know it’s not the most comfortable topic to chat and share about, but the Charmin team’s commitment to providing a quality product and constantly looking for ways to improve, made it easy to participate. Not to mention, my fellow Great Lengths Influencers were so fun to be around.

Below: Poop test using Charmin

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Charmin Ultra Soft or Ultra Strong?

While I can honestly use either with no complaints, I’m going to have to say I am Team Charmin Ultra Soft, which means by default (because I do most of the shopping) my household is also on the same team. P&G prides itself on quality and delivering the best product to customers and this was evident in every interaction I had with the Charmin Team. Who can say no to 2-ply TP, with super softness you can see and feel (along with its absorbency!). Charmin Ultra Soft also comes in Mega Rolls, so you get more value and you can change the roll less often!

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So that’s it! I had such an amazing experience! I left P&G headquarters that day inspired by their employees, their values and their commitment to providing top products.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Stay at Home Mom, Working Mom, Mom-to-Be … Just Support One Another

I didn’t have the courage to post this on my Instagram Page and I almost deleted it completely.  However, I feel safe putting it here, I don’t get a lot of visitors to my blog and maybe it will resonate with a reader.

So here it goes …

In 2015, I made the decision to stay home with my twin boys. questions like “are you sure that’s the right thing to do?” or comments like, “that’s not really putting your degree to use”

In 2017, I made the decision to re-enter the workforce full time … questions like “are you sure that’s what you want to go back into?” or comments like “oh wow, the kids are still young and the first 4 to 5 years are so important”

Last week, I resigned for an opportunity outside the industry where I spent 10+ years of my career in and questions like, “are you sure that’s the right move?” or comments like “your kids are so young to make a move” came up.

Just wow … there were so many well wishes in all three scenarios above, but all I remembered and harped on were the comments that were not so positive and what blows my mind … the comments were from women WITH kids.

Today (2019) stats show that there is still a wage gap between men and women (a bigger gap for women of colour) … stay at home moms are not given the recognition for managing a household and working moms are still going home and taking on the larger share of household duties.

We all have reasons for the paths we choose with or without kids, and everyone questions themselves, they write a pros and cons list and they lean on others for advice.  No decision is made overnight, but whatever path a woman chooses, we should be supportive of it.

So the next time you come across a post or hear news of a woman’s doubt, success or struggle … lift them up … don’t pull them down.

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Give Me All the Membership Perks with the PC Insiders™ Subscription Program

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of President’s Choice Services Inc. All opinions are 100% mine.

The juggle is real and every day I’m trying to find ways to be efficient, to save time and to stress less. And if I can find and give myself the gift of time, I’ve got to document it and share my wins. That’s where PC Insiders subscription comes in. Sign up and become a PC Insiders member – Try one month free at pcinsiders.ca. Offer excludes Quebec residents; terms and conditions apply.

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Let me break it down for you.  We were a busy family to begin with. Now, we’re even busier with the boys in JK, sprinkle in some extracurricular activities throughout the week and then suddenly the family calendar explodes.

How do I do it all you ask?  I don’t … and I will never claim to.  However, I will take credit for being diligent and always looking to find services/products that will make running the household and making family life more manageable.  I’m ready to fill you in.

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By becoming a PC Insiders subscription member, you benefit in the following ways:

  • Grocery shopping online at Loblaw banner stores with no PC Express™ pick-up fees! They have a great selection of fresh fruits, meats, veggies and other goodies. I’ve never been disappointed!
  • Joe Fresh®– how times have changed with kids.  I used to love grocery shopping and buying loungewear in the same store.  But, having a membership gives me free shipping from joefresh.com with no minimum purchase. **insert happy dance**
  • Beauty Boutique at shoppersdrugmart.ca– I’m habitual when it comes to buying makeup, so being able to just buy eyeliner (you read it right) and get it shipped to my home for free is a great perk.  No more trying to fill that cart up to just get free shipping.
  • Points for the Win– if there is a way to collect points which will earn me a little something, I’m in. And getting 20% back in PC Optimum points on select brands is huge.  And trust me, it quickly accumulates. The extra points help us with the grocery bill. Hello, mom of boys!
  • Other perks that sweeten the deal: for annual members, a PC® travel services credit towards eligible travel bookings and a yearly surprise gift.

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Still on the fence?  Well, when grocery pickup became a thing, we jumped on it because it saved us time.  We shop online 4 times a month and that does not even count unexpected grocery runs because the boys are eating us out of house and home.  The cost of 1 month’s subscription is $9.99 and with no PC Express™ pick-up fees, our subscription pays for itself.

So, what have we been doing with all this extra time because of the membership?  Filling it in with family time and sometimes making that pit stop to the park to snack on the groceries we just picked up.

Ready to save yourself time?  Sign up and become a PC Insiders member – Try one month free at pcinsiders.ca. Offer excludes Quebec residents; terms and conditions apply.

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Travel Tips with Kids

Travelling with kids … you either love it or hate it. It’s a lot of work and it probably doesn’t help that I’m a planner and I feel the need to do right research to get the best bang for my buck. So I blame some of that on me.  I dislike the time spent on finding flights at a reasonable price, accommodations at a reasonable price, packing, car rentals, car seats, strollers and the list goes on. But at the end of the day, the vacation is sooooooo worth all the time invested.

So with that, I’m sharing with you my top five tips when it comes to travelling with kids.  Am I an expert?  Nahhhhh, but we’ve taken the boys on thirteen trips (air and road) and with each trip, it got easier because you learn and then incorporate what worked well to the next trip.

Direct Flights

With the boys, we’ve never flown with a connecting flight and we’ve never passed the five hour mark for a destination on purpose.  So, if there is a flight that offers direct only, we’re booking it.  Why?  From my experience pre kids, connecting flights have stressed me out, have had delays and I just don’t like getting up out of my seat and hauling my stuff to board on to another plane.  I can’t even imagine having to do it with kids.  One day I probably will, but right now, I’m booking direct.

Pic Below – Air Canada: direct flight to San Francisco (Brandon was just under 2 so he flew free)

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Accommodations

Book accommodations where you want to hang.  We love the west coast (Cali) with kids in tow.  And as you know, getting the day started, packing up and loading the car just to get out takes time.  And on top of that, if you’re heading to the beach, you’re going to have to drive, park, unload and get settled.  Booking an airbnb, within a block or two from the beach, saves time, arguments and less items to carry.

BONUS: if you want to just hang out at the beach to watch the sunset after a day out and about, it’s amazing to just park the car walk to the beach and hang.

NOTE: booking anywhere near a beach is pricier.  But this is important to us and to avoid paying a lot of money, plan ahead, call ahead or try to negotiate. I always throw in the  “so do you offer a twin discount?”.  And sometimes, it works!  So, it’s worth the time to plan.

Pic Below – Air BnB booked two blocks from Ocean Beach in San Francisco

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Plan but Don’t Over Plan

Make plans but don’t get bummed out if they don’t work out entirely.  I’m a planner and I invest a lot of time researching.  So when you invest time, you want to make sure it pays off.  Now throwing kids in the mix, plans go out the window.  Okay not entirely, but make loose plans with A LOT of room for delays, naps and mood swings. One trip that comes to mind, we were enroute from San Diego to LA and my little one had to use the bathroom.  We were already running late and I wanted to get to LA.  Made a pit stop at a coffee shop in Encinitas and of course, while in the shop the rest of the gang said that they were hungry.  So we grabbed our food to go and hubby decided to drive around the neighbourhood to check it out.  We ended up finding a beach where locals hung out and pulled up, parked in a residential area and made our way down.  We spent 2.5 hours there and didn’t want to leave.  Why didn’t we want to leave?  It wasn’t busy, everyone was so cool and we had no expectations which made the experience a heck of a lot more memorable.

Pic Below – Encinitas, California (best planned but unplanned experience)

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Packing

Toys, Books and Dolls– pack favourites and familiar items from home to make the trips and adjusting to accommodations a little bit easier.  I’ve found that my boys love having a piece of home with them.  They don’t bring the whole gang of dolls but they’re involved in the packing process.

Snacks – fav snacks too should be packed.  And if I could bring my whole pantry of snacks, I would and I may have once or twice.  Saves money, easy to take along  and can be packed in your luggage.  PS – we always pack oatmeal – crack open the pack in a thermos, add some hot water and voila!!!!

Containers and Thermoses – we bring all of that!  It’s familiar to them as they know how to open and close it and keeps us organized and avoids spills.  Thermoses are amazing because you can feed them a hearty meal!

Pic Below – Baby and Baby Baby had to come along

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So that’s it.  Thanks for coming by and reading ’til the end.  This blog post just gave me the kick start that I needed for our upcoming trip in May.

If you have any other tips, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Happy travels!

XOXO

Sunshine Lily

 

 

Women’s International Day and sharing the celebration of Women with my boys

March 8th is Women’s International Day and while I’m not raising the next generation of empowered women, I play an important role in raising the next generation of men supporting empowered women.

My boys are 4.5 years old and so their attention span is minimal. I’ll be honest, I don’t go all out and put together a list of things to do with them.  But leading up to March and specifically leading up to March 8th, I bring out items such as books and puzzles that recognizes the accomplishments of women.

All week I’ve shared with the boys and my husband, the various work events and how great it was seeing men in attendance.   My husband took a picture of what they did at his work recognizing the female employees at all levels within the company.

So Happy International Women’s Day!  Whether you are celebrating big or small, I hope that you are surrounded by loved ones who embrace this special day, because I know I’ll be.

Link to puzzles and books that I’ve shared with the boys.

Book: Pink is for Boys

Puzzle: Little Feminist