The active getaway - Laurentides (Tremblant) & Charlevoix

Are you planning your annual family vacation yet? Every spring I make plans and look for vacations that are easy, fun and fit a wide range of tastes for everyone in our family. The destination of Laurentides, (Tremblant), Quebec fits all my family fun requirements. 

Located in Quebec, close to Ottawa is the resort area of Tremblant in the Laurentides. Most people think of Tremblant for skiing but I think the best deals for a getaway can be found here in the Spring and Summer. 

There are a lot of accommodations to choose from and many active pursuits to explore. What I love about this area is that you can bike through the rails to trails and then soak away at a nearby spa. Quebec is actually listed in National Geographic's best places to cycle - world wide.

It is rustic but comfortable. Fun but peaceful and quiet.. all the elements you need for a great getaway. 

There are so many hotel choices and packages to consider that travel agencies which understand Quebec best and will be most helpful for planning your vacations to places like remote Charlevoix. 

Years ago my husband and I took in Quebec City and then headed further east to the beautiful scenery of Charlevoix. It was so quaint. Biking here is also a great option as you ride through the winding open roads and stop to see art galleries and small cafes. I was totally blown away by the scenery here. 

Tips for an active trip to Quebec:

  • Bring good shoes and socks. Be prepared to walk and bike for hours. The weather changes frequently and without a lot of notice so make sure you have warm clothes as well as lighter summer options for May through to the Summer.
  • Get recommendations from your travel agency as to where the best deals are to rent bikes in order to save money and time. Some accommodations might have bikes on site at no additional cost.
  • Bring a french/english dictionary (or smart phone application).  The further away you are from the main tourist areas the less likely people are to speak english. Be prepared by knowing key french phrases to help make your communication more enjoyable. The locals will appreciate that you are trying to speak french. 
Active trips with your family are a great way to keep everyone happy and sleeping well each night. It will make your rest time even more luxurious.  Start planning your trip today!

Photo credit: Government of Quebec (Bonjour Quebec)

Exploring Golfing Communities

When given the chance to go on vacation a great way to check out the local beauty of the a new community is to get out and golf. The bonus is that is also a healthy way to spend your vacation. My family and I are looking to head to Ottawa soon to explore and will likely throw in a round of golf at a gorgeous Ottawa golf club  called Loch March. 

The Ottawa area is so beautiful at this time of year and I can't wait to get away from it all with a fantastic adventure on the golf course. I love golfing because it gives me  a chance to unwind, relax and not get too crazy in my pursuit to see "everything" when I go away on a trip. It is peaceful and a nice time to connect with family while we are away. It is quiet and the atmosphere helps to promote a feeling of well being.

I love to walk the courses that I golf on (the few times I have actually gone) as I find I get to really take in the golf course better that way and it is a perfect way to actual make it a calorie burning adventure. I am not very good at golfing but do find that with each game I improve. Practice does make perfect.

It is also a great activity to do with your children. They get to appreciate the natural setting and learn the fine art of patience as they learn to play and also it is good quality time together.

So I hope you get a chance to enjoy this fall season and plan a fun family getaway if you can.

The Easiest Way to Get Travelling

Downtown Vancouver
I love to travel. It has been a life long passion of mine and it is now a passion that I have passed onto my kids. My husband and I have been traveling for years. First without kids to places like the Caribbean and then on our honeymoon we went to France and Italy. I was officially hooked and have had the travel bug ever since. Given that my husband frequently travels on business we would often cash in our areoplan points and hop on a Air Canada flight to Hawaii with our little one in tow. The best Areoplan Card for traveling is the American Express Aeroplan Card. This credit card allows you to get up to 1.25 areoplan points for every $1.00 spent. It is a great way to start building your mileage by just using your card for everyday purchases!

Some other cool perks include access to the Front Of The Line® which allows you to purchase tickets for some of the best seats in the house at many sought-after concerts, theatre shows and special events before tickets go on sale to the general public.

You can also use your Aeroplan Miles to redeem other rewards. Choose from car rentals, hotel stays, fashion, home, dining, spa, and entertainment gift cards, or brand name small appliances and home décor.

So what are you waiting for? Get out exploring the world and all it has to offer now! I can't wait to get away for my next getaway which happens to Vancouver in November. I am flying on Areoplan points and I can't wait!

My new natural cleaning products!

My cleaning lady has up and left me! Well not exactly - but she gone on vacation for 8 weeks to see her family in Poland.  In her absence I have decided that I better get my act together and start cleaning my house before things get out of control.

I hate using harsh cleaners because of the smells and I also fear breathing in the fumes so I have have decided that I need to find gentler alternatives. 

By chance I found a great article in Reader's Digest about homemade cleaning products and thought I would share one I am going to use. It is really easy to make kitchen cleaner. 

The ingredients are:
2 tbsp phosphate-free
Dishwashing liquid
1 tbsp cornflour
1 cup (250ml) water
1 cup (250ml) distilled white vinegar
A few drops of eucalyptus essential oil or tea-tree essential oil

The Directions are:
Put the ingredients in a plastic spray bottle and shake gently to combine.
Spray a fine film of the mixture over the grubby surface and wipe clean with a soft cloth.

Presto!  I have an easy cleaner to use that I know is not toxic or hard for me or my family to use.

I also found out that you can use eucalyptus oil to help removing stainsparticularly grease and perspiration—from clothing and other fabrics. Moisten a clean rag with a little oil and dab the stain from the edge to the middle, then launder as usual. 

I can't say that I  am super pumped about cleaning my house for another 4 weeks but at least I have some help to make it nicer along the way! 

The ESL Community

The best way to learn a new language or country is to do with other people who know the challenges you are experiencing.

If english is your second language and you want to explore opportunities to learn through a variety of different programs then you must check out the ESL Classes at Conestoga College. They are located in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada’s largest and most diverse province, and provide an unparalleled educational experience.

Conestoga has consistently been ranked among Ontario’s top colleges. The College is well-recognized for its career-oriented Degree programs in Applied Technology, Applied Health Sciences and International Business Management. We also offer Diploma and Certificate programs in Business Administration, Engineering Technology, Information Technology, Health Sciences and Community Services.

The Conestoga Language Institute offers an English for Academic Studies program designed for students who want to acquire English language skills for entry into post-secondary programs at Conestoga College. English for Academic Studies program is an ESL program with an academic focus. It provides an opportunity for students to acquire the listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills needed for post-secondary studies.

Conestoga College has strengthened its commitment to international students and is proud to offer IELTS International Student Entrance Scholarships!

• 3 IELTS International Student Entrance Scholarships ($3,000 CDN) for eligible applicants applying to a full time College post-secondary program.

• 4 International Student Scholarships for existing students enrolled at Conestoga College in full time studies.

There are working opportunities as well.

On Campus – International students can seek part time employment on campus Off Campus – Once you have completed six months of study in your post-sec-
ondary program at Conestoga, you may be eligible to work off campus!

Co-op Work terms – After completing your first year in a post-secondary program you can apply to enter into the co-op program and participate in work placements

Post Graduation – Once you graduate from your post-secondary program at Conestoga you can apply for a post graduate work permit and may be eligible to work for up to 3 years in Canada!

For more information visit the Conestoga web site. 


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