Monday, July 29, 2013

Toronto Week on Trekaroo!

A family travel site near and dear to my heart is featuring a Canadian city this week that's near and dear to my heart- Toronto! With so many family-friendly activities and places, Toronto is a must see city for travelers in Canada! Here's the scoop from Trekaroo!

Big news! Family review site Trekaroothe largest independent community of travel savvy parents in the nation, has expanded into Canada! Families are now be able to search Trekaroo's database for the inside scoop on Canadian attractions, lodging, restaurants, and tours. To celebrate, Trekaroo is kicking off their Canada launch with week-longcoverage of four major Canadian cities: VancouverCalgaryToronto, and MontrealVancouver launched in May, and Calgary followed suit in June. This week marks Toronto Week! Head on over for a week-longcelebration of the city, including travel advice, lodging reviews, and afabulous Toronto vacation giveaway!

Are you an expert on a Canadian destination?

Trekaroo understands family travel, and knows that parents depend on expert advice from those in the know. The Trekaroo Canada Founders group is hard at work providing up-to-date, relevant family travel information for the following provinces: 

British Columbia




If you have experience traveling in these Canadian provinces, or if you're a Canadian expert on your home city, we need your reviews!Signing up as a Trekaroo member is easy and free, and once you do so, you can leave reviews to destinations, hotels, restaurants, and attractions you've visited. Reviews need only be a few lines long, but they assist fellow family travelers forever.

Earn Canada Rewards!

Because Trekaroo values the traveling community, and knows that noTrekaroo landing page would be complete without the inside scoop from experts, they're offering Trekaroo Canada Rewards. From now until funds run out, existing and new members can write 10 Canada reviews and get a $10 Amazon gift card. Think of this as a way to share useful information with fellow traveling parents while reaping a reward to boot!

Hurry though, because once the budget runs out, the offer ends. Learn more about Canada Rewards at Trekaroo!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Meet Trey!

Trey, our youngest kitty, is aptly named because she is the third black cat that we own. She is another rescue and was found in the middle of the street near my parent's home. When we found her she was dirty, extremely skinny, and in pain. A too-small collar around her neck was digging into the skin causing the hair in the area to be worn off and sores from the constriction. Sadly, the previous owners simply left their residence and she was left behind. After months of care she is now happy, healthy- and lazy!

She makes a fine addition to our family and we couldn't be happier to have her in our home!

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Welcome Summer Friend

For the past several summers we have had the pleasure of butterfly visits in our yard each night after dinner. The same species of butterfly comes to play with us. I know this sounds odd, so let me explain. When I say "play" I truly mean it. These butterflies are very friendly and will land on our face and body. Many times we are able to gently touch them. They will chase the washers we throw into our washer pits. They circle around our heads, playfully teasing and taunting. 

This is one of my favorite photos of my daughter with Rico, her favorite of the butterflies that have visited us in summer. 

A short video of Rico playing with The Kid

She truly looks forward to the nightly visits.

I'm not sure if it's pure luck that we have these nightly and even yearly visits, or something much greater. Either way, the time we get to spend outside with each other and the butterflies is special. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Trip to The Strip

Yesterday The Kid and I took my father to The Strip in Pittsburgh, PA. The Strip is one of our favorite areas of Pittsburgh as it never disappoints. During the week it is an area for wholesale vendors to sell their produce, meat, and seafood to local stores and restaurants. On Saturdays, however, The Strip really comes to  life! Outdoor vendors selling their homemade wares and goods fill the sidewalks. Food stands are everywhere and make everything from chicken kebabs to French crepes. The area is filled with eclectic and ethnic grandeur and natives as well as visitors to the city delight in just that. 

The Kid standing on the corner of Smallman ST. in The Strip. Wholey's, famous for its large selection of fresh meat and seafood is behind her with the red and white awnings.

Primanti Bros. A must see, must eat at diner. They are famous for their all-inclusive sandwiches!

Speaking of which......Turkey and cheese, anyone?

Grandpa Joe's Candy Shop. The owner is a HUGE fan of Willy Wonka!

Inside Grandpa Joe's. Your family can sit in one of the theater seats and watch the famous children's classic. Although, I must admit, it was and continues to be my favorite movie still!

The Strip is a fun way to spend a few hours, or entire day for that matter, in Pittsburgh! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Wedding in Toronto

Recently we took yet another trip up north to Toronto, ONT. Normally, our visits center around family get togethers and visiting Toronto proper. Not this time. We were on the road for a special occasion. My elder brother was getting married! A special occasion, indeed. On a golf course in Milton, he and his beautiful bride said "I do" in front of a hundred or so of their closest friends and relatives. 

After the wedding, we all stood outside and waited for tons of photos to be taken.

Mr. Locke and I. Note the playoff beard, a must for hockey fans!

My brother and I after the wedding

The Wedding Party!

After multiple courses, dessert, wedding cake, and all the liquor you could possibly drink, we headed back to his house for the night. I have never seen him so happy. 

Congratulations, Bro. Bliss and happiness abound!

Monday, July 8, 2013

My Daughter's Hero

At the end of last school year, my daughter had to make a newspaper with personal details. She was required to write about her favorite book, favorite tv show, and draw a photo of her favorite cartoon. Along with these instructions she had to fill out a section titled "My Hero". When I finally got to see the newspaper, this is what I found:

She chose me! Of all the people in the world, I got picked. Now, if I can only live up to it............everyday. I am certainly trying. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fireworks Fun!

Chester City Park in Chester, WV, is my family's annual Fourth of July fireworks spot. Just across the river from Ohio, Chester Park is a pretty little park, spanning 4 acres, and their fireworks display never disappoints. Here are a few pics we took on my iPhone while we listened to The Clarks and sipped slushies.

Mr. Locke in red, white, and, blue. 

The kid doing her best Statue of Liberty Impersonation!

She's a fantastic photographer!

My favorite photo of the night. can you guess what this is?

We had such a great time waiting! Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Let Freedom Ring!

Last week my family and I visited Historic Philadelphia. We took a few tours, including the Liberty Bell Museum and Independence Park which is the home of Independence Hall. 

The temps were near 100 degrees on our chosen travel day, yet we were very excited and honored to visit these awesome sites. Our tour guide put a few things into perspective for me during the Independence Hall tour. She said the men who sat in Independence Hall suffered the same blistering temps for 2 months that we were dealing with that day. They had no air conditioning. Our clothing options now are way cooler than what theres were. But they certainly had one thing: PASSION. Great men like George Washington and Ben Franklin put their lives on the line for a new country. If we would have lost the war, every man that signed The Declaration of Independence would have been considered a traitor and hanged without question. 

It makes me consider my passions. Family first, of course. Writing, dancing, baking. Travel, yes. Happiness. I shall strive for happiness everyday of my life. I will make every attempt to make my family happy as well. The great men that We, as Americans, honor today made huge sacrifices for all of us. So, I will make sacrifices for my family for their happiness. Even the smallest of them add up. I will cook and clean, do laundry and dishes, and make everyday a happy one!

On that note, I wish you all a Happy Fourth of July!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Meet Vex!

Vex, aged 9, is our oldest kitty. She is a rescue, as is the story with all of our cats. Vex is absolutely my husband's cat. She follows him around like a sweet, little puppy and sleeps at his feet at night. I've lived with cats my entire life and have come to realize that each of my furry babies definitely has a favorite person in the house. Do my fellow cat lovers out there agree?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

First one Up!

I'm certain there are tons of night hawks out there, but I am not one of them. I love to wake up early and be the first one awake in the house on summer mornings. I can head out on the front porch without the constant buzzing of mosquitoes, and I can listen to the birds in our yard without the traffic noises. Have I mentioned how much I love my yard? Ahhhh..........

The first morning hour to myself gives me enough time to realize how much I miss the chatter of my family in our house, how I miss my husband plucking his guitar strings. How I miss my daughter's giggles from a Youtube video she found on her iPod. 

Time to go back inside and hope they are awake. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Meet Pickle Buddy!

Our of our 4 kitties, Pickle is one of 3 black cats that we have, and the only boy. My husband found him when he was only 2 weeks old abandoned by his mother. Since he was bottle fed and "hand raised", he is the calmest, sweetest cat that we have.

Pickle, or Pook as we call him, will be 5 years old this coming August.  How could you not adore this sweet face!

Photo Session!

I absolutely LOVE to take photos of my family! I am not a pro photographer in any way, so I have been using iphone apps to help with my success. 

Last autumn I took my daughter to a local mansion that was under renovation and received permission to take on-site photos while it is still in disarray. 

I just love how this one turned out. I used an instagram filter to soften the area around her. 

This is a great shot as well. An antique filter on with instagram really brought out the shining sun. 

Instagram filter as well. I chose to keep the light post in focus and soften all the other areas. 

We had so much fun! Since then I have blown up a few shots and framed them. They look great in the dining room. Now, if I could only get Mr. Locke to sit for some photos..........