GOING ON VACATION – IS YOUR HOUSE SAFE?

School’s Out For Summer, what a great song by Alice Cooper. It also marks the beginning of summer vacation. I thought I would give you a few tips on keeping your home safe while on vacation.

The best way to safeguard your house while you’re away is having a friend and family member stay in your home. Make sure they follow your routine putting out the trash and cutting the grass etc.

If you can’t arrange for a house sitter then be sure to take some of the following steps:

  •  Have the post office hold your mail. If your mail box is overflowing this is a dead giveaway that you are not home. And don’t forget to stop the newspaper delivery.
  • Get a neighbour or family member to check on your house every couple of days to pick up any flyers and water the plants.
  • If you are diligent about your landscaping and cut your grass weekly make sure you continue that routine. Hire a service to take care of that as an unkempt yard is a definite sign of an owner’s absence.
  • Try to make your home look lived in. Put interior and exterior lighting on timers. Also get a neighbour to put out your garbage cans and bring them in after they are emptied. This will make everything appear as normal.
  • Make sure all doors and windows are securely locked. You should also disconnect the auto garage door opener so it can’t be opened with a universal remote control.
  • In the age of modern technology many home owners tell the world they are going on vacation on facebook etc. You never know who is reading your posts so be careful about what you say.
  • You could always have a security system installed to protect your home which is a good investment at any time.

I hope these tips were helpful. Please take the time to secure your home while on vacation as this will greatly reduce the opportunity for someone to break into your home. Happy vacation everyone!

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE COMMUNITY?

Every once in a while Ann and I talk about what’s going on in our community. Well, this weekend we have one of the great summer festivals happening. The Locke Street Festival takes place this Saturday, September 7th from 10AM until 9PM.

Something that I find interesting this year is the festival is featuring the music of Westdale High School. If you didn’t already know, Westdale High has a great history when it comes to Rock and Roll music. Groups such as Teenage Head and Harlan Pepper had their roots at Westdale.

While you are exploring at the Locke Street Festival be sure visit all the unique shops on the street. They range from antiques to gifts to spas and more. You won’t be disappointed.

One more thing I would like to remind you about is the FOOD!! It is impossible to go hungry on Locke Street. There are great places to eat on both sides of the street from end to end. There is fine dining, pub and diner style food, gourmet burgers and pizza, just to name a few.

So if you have never been to the Locke Street Festival before and you don’t have anything planned for Saturday then I highly recommend you check it out. You won’t be disappointed!!

 

Summer is Coming! Summer is Coming!

Just trying to be positive here… Our Spring weather isn’t giving us much hope for summer, but it is time to start thinking about what to do when those warm summer days finally arrive.

I think there is nothing better to do than spend as much time as possible outdoors once the weather gets nice. It doesn’t need to be steaming hot, just pleasant. My favourite summer pastime is golf, and we are lucky enough to be surrounded by more courses than we could play in a summer. (I do have a job you know, for those that think they could get to them all).

If you are planning family outings, keep in mind all the local attractions, such as Wild Water Works, African Lion Safari, Christie and Valens Conservation areas, and more, that I don’t have room to name.

Now is also the time to be planning summer getaways, whether it’s the kids to camp, or the family off to the cottage. Don’t miss out by waiting to see what the weather is going to do… There are lots of things to do regardless of the temperature or precipitation.

Other summer pastimes for me include trips to Stratford and to the Shaw Festival. I enjoy turning them into day trips so we can sample what the areas have to offer, in addition to some fine entertainment.

I also enjoy going with friends on the wine tours in Niagara. Yes, pick the one who will be the DD that day, and go enjoy some of the fine wines Ontario has become so well known for. Drop in to one of the winery restaurants and enjoy local cuisine prepared by some of the best chefs around.

Looking for something more local? Spend a day walking through our abundant conservation areas, and then stop in to one of our local restaurants. Enjoy your beverage of choice on the patio…

Relax… Refresh. That’s what summer is all about.

If you have any favourite things to do, please share. We are always looking for great ideas to enjoy summer.

SUMMER FESTIVALS ARE JUST AROUND THE CORNER!

Yes I know summer isn’t here yet, but its’ coming, I think. After the mild winter and early summer we had last year people seem to be a little impatient this year with the slow arrival of the warmer weather. You should take this time and start to plan which of the great summer festivals in our area you would like to attend this year.

One of my long time favourites is the Festival of Friends held in August each year. They have great artisans selling their creations, many different food vendors to satisfy any appetite, and let’s not forget the stellar line-up of entertainment. Over the years I have enjoyed the likes of David Clayton Thomas, Lighthouse, Randy Bachman, Eric Burden and the Animals (they we fantastic), to name but a few. And don’t forget, IT’S FREE.

Another favourite is the Dundas International Buskerfest in June. The wide range of entertainment is astounding. And we must not forget the Dundas Cactus Festival in August. Again, there is great entertainment, crafts, food, and more.

I have not been to the Winona Peach Festival or the Oh Canada Ribfest in Waterdown but I have heard great things about them so I am adding them to my summer to-do-list.

So, if you’re looking for some great family fun this summer, go to one of the many summer festivals in the Greater Hamilton Area.

For a list of festivals, dates and places, go to

http://tourismhamilton.com/events/events.php?sub=*Festivals&offset=10

I invite you to share your favourite festivals with our readers, so they too, can enjoy a great festival experience.

More Bright Ideas…

Still need some ideas what to do this summer?

We have been focusing this month on all the great things our area has to offer, especially now that summer is upon us.

Gary and I were recently discussing places to visit in the area, and we were surprised to find that we suffered from a common ailment… lack of enjoyment of what we know is here! Oddly enough, we have both toured Dundurn Castle only once. I did it during the Christmas season about 6 or 7 years ago. Considering I have lived in the area all my life, I am somewhat ashamed to admit that. Considering the history of our area, and the history surrounding Dundurn Castle, we should all make multiple trips to fully appreciate what we are taking for granted. In comparing other local sites, we were amazed at how little we have taken in of what is right here on our doorstep..

Here are a few more, and I am sorry to admit I have visited only a few

• Battlefield House Museum in Stoney Creek
• Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museum in Ancaster
• Whitehern Historic House and Garden in downtown Hamilton
• Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Heritage Museum in Downtown Hamilton
• HMCS Haida Hational Historic Site at the harbour
• Erland Lee Museum in Stoney Creek
• And the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Mount Hope.

Considering we are celebrating the bicentennial of the War of 1812 this year, perhaps this is a good time to plan to visit a few of these historical sites, and perhaps participate in some of the events taking place.

If you are looking for some outside fun, how about the African Lion Safari in Flamborough? Since it seems to be time for true confessions, I have yet to visit the Safari. Perhaps Westfield Pioneer Village should be on your list.

If you are looking for a bit of culture or just a few laughs, how about attending a play or show? Have you been to the Player’s Guild, or Hamilton Place, or Theatre Aquarius…? The list goes on.

We are truly lucky to live in an area that has so much to offer. I hope that Gary and I have perhaps highlighted some ideas you hadn’t considered and places you haven’t visited, or perhaps have always meant to do, but just haven’t got around to. You never know, maybe you’ll see me at the Lion Safari this summer…

FAMILY SUMMER FUN – WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS!

Since today is the first full day of summer I thought I would share some ideas of WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS! Fortunately my children are older now and all have summer jobs to keep them busy. But, it wasn’t that long ago when my kids would get up in the morning and say, “Hey Mom, what are we doing today?” It was a challenge to keep the kids busy during their summer vacation, and doing it without going broke.

I must give all the credit to my wife, Karen, who was always on the go with our children all summer long. On hot days like today she would take the kids to one of the many splash pads in the city, or when they got older it was the Wild Waterworks at Confederation Park. Other activities would be to pack a picnic lunch and go to one of the many conservation areas and go for a hike, or go to the Children’s Museum at Gage Park, they always liked going there.

Another popular outing was Bronte Creek Provincial Park. The kids enjoyed the farm setting as well as the very large jungle gym apparatus in the barn.

Summer day camps was another thing our children liked to do as they were always different and the kids all had different interests such as horseback riding, the arts, and basketball, etc. The following are links to the City of Hamilton Summer Camp programs as well as the City of Hamilton outdoor pools:

http://www.hamilton.ca/CultureandRecreation/Recreation/Camp/

http://www.hamilton.ca/CultureandRecreation/Recreation/CentresPoolsArenas/OutdoorPools.htm

What parents need to remember is, the children just want to be active and the activities can be as simple as going for a walk or bike ride. Be creative, look up different children’s crafts on the internet, plant a small vegetable garden or ask your children to come up with ideas of their own.

Here is another website that has a great list of things to do in the Hamilton Area:

http://attractions.uptake.com/ontario/hamilton/cheap_vacations/601764558.html

So get out there, be active, have some fun, and don’t let your kids drive you crazy!!