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Forts, Farms, and Fun

When I woke up this morning and saw that it was raining, I immediately went to my phone to check the weather report for the day. The results of that search basically informed me that summer is over. With temperatures in the single digits all day, I immediately resolved to take the girls to an indoor play place. These play places are perfect for parents with young children who need to get out of the house, especially on days like today, when the park is just not happening. There are a good handful of indoor play places close by, but last year, I found one little gem that is perfect for us.

Kids Fort is a café with a play area geared towards young children 0-6. There are tables and chairs that are organized in such a way that every parent can keep an eye on their kids from their seats. If you are lucky enough to get there early, or if it's not busy, they also have a few 'comfy' chairs which are perfect for getting cozy with your coffee while you watch your little ones play (this didn't work out for us today, which is fine, because I spent a lot of our time there on the floor with my youngest princess). They have a climbing structure with a small slide, a trampoline, a couple of play houses, and lots of toys to go around. My eldest loves all of it, I honestly couldn't tell you her favorite part, but I would guess it is a toss up between the climbing structure and the trampoline. There is an enclosed area for smaller babies too, which I thought my youngest little munchkin would love, but every time I sat her in it, she would climb right out. So, she spent much of her time watching her big sister, and some of her time playing with other babies, and walking around with the assistance of bigger toys. Kids Fort has a really great café with delicious drinks, and a wide variety of snacks geared towards toddlers and parents. I have found most of these play places will have pre-baked goods, or packaged foods, but because Kids Fort is a small, family owned shop, they always have fresh veggies and food in the fridge, and today they must have been baking muffins or something too because it smelt delicious! I enjoyed an Almond Milk Latte and shared a plate of veggies, naan, and hummus with my biggest munchkin.

I love the atmosphere of these play places, because everybody there is in the same (or similar boat). Most of the moms there in the middle of the week, are stay at home moms like me, and today, it seemed like most of the children were under 3 years old, which made it easy for all the kids to play together without feeling overwhelmed by lots of 'bigger kids'. It's usually pretty easy to make new friends here too, because we all have a common interest (the kids) and while a few moms will show up together in groups or with another 'mom date', lots of moms also come on their own and are usually pretty open to chatting with other moms too!

On our way home from Kids Fort, I stopped by 2BK, a local vegetable farm, to pick up some fresh veggies. I just went shopping for groceries yesterday, but you can never have too many veggies to snack on (and the farm by our house is actually very reasonably priced - also family owned and operated). We were greeted by their two German Shepherds which my eldest adored - she was laughing while the puppy kept trying to give her kisses all the way until we got to the store entrance. My munchkin loves dogs and is used to our German Shepherd at home, and our Pomeranian who is finally starting to warm up to having kids around the house. (It only took two years...), but the owner at the farm today was so careful to stay close by just in case and make sure the puppy didn't jump up on my daughter. We chose a few veggies to bring home, and the woman in the store gave my toddler a couple small carrots to snack on, which she loved. Every time we have been to the farm to buy veggies, they have been so great with the kids, and always offer my toddler veggies which is awesome - I love the warm, "you are family" feel I get when we shop here. My youngest was getting fussy after a long day of playing, and not enough napping, and even though our "shopping trip" was short, she just wanted to get home to sleep. Her big sister did her best to calm her down, and even offered to share her carrots (even though she can't eat raw carrots yet, it was a kind gesture).

Once we got home and settled, I started thinking about dinner and figured I should do something with the copious amounts of squash I have on the counter. I have been seeing a lot of recipes for Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese which peaked my interest, and I recall my sister making Butternut Squash Ravioli a few years back, so for dinner tonight, I thought I would whip up a butternut squash pasta dish. I came up with a pretty simple recipe, but you can find it here if you'd like to try it yourself. I loved it and my youngest loved it, but I think my toddler was upset that it didn't taste like cheese.

We all had dinner together as a family, with my husband on video chat at the table. I love that even while he is away, he is able to "sit down for dinner" with us. We usually catch him just after he has eaten, but the girls love seeing their daddy, and it's nice to sit at the table as a family. It's hard to have a conversation with the laptop open, partially because my eldest often wants to 'work' when she see's the laptop (which is a simple game of pretend that involves hitting all the keys on the keyboard and pretending to be at work), and partially because I am distracted while trying to get the girls fed and still shovel some food into my face while I'm at it, but it is one time each day that we all get to sit together as a family, and just seeing how my youngest's face completely lights up every time her daddy shows up on the laptop is priceless.

Once I got the girls to bed, I called my husband, and in a part of our conversation that started by my mentioning my whopping five push-ups today that my toddler helped me do, he asked about my back which has been hurting since May. I am feeling much better lately, but I still do feel the soreness and pain some days, so he challenged me to stretch for five minutes every night. With that being said, I currently have the kettle on, and ready to make a cup of tea. I have my yoga mat rolled out and plan on doing my stretches while my tea steeps, and then I'll be enjoying a warm cup of tea on the couch while I mentally prepare myself for another crazy, wonderful day tomorrow.



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