Fall Farm Fun at Great Lakes Farms!

Great Lakes Farms

When I found out I was pregnant with my second baby and that his birthday would be sometime in October, I knew right away that when I planned his first birthday party it would be an autumn theme. Fall is my favourite season so I am thrilled to have a reason to plan an autumn party!

When I think of fall, I always think of going to pick apples in an apple orchard, wagon rides, warm apple cider and fresh-baked apple pie! Similarly, these are also all fun things to do for a fall birthday party.

We have some great orchards in London however, with unpredictable fall weather, I needed to find a place with an indoor space that could accommodate all of our guests. Luckily, I came across Great Lakes Farms in Port Stanley, Ontario, which is only a short (and beautiful) drive from London.


Great Lakes Farms
Great Lakes Farms is a family run orchard with over a sixty-year history in the Port Stanley area. Farmer Joe and his wife Mary Anne run the farm and orchard. They also expanded in 2014 to include four acres of peach trees, along with the apples, pumpkins, pears and strawberries that are also available seasonally. They are open for pick-your-own, baked goods and farm fun!

Great Lakes Farms


When arriving at the orchard, it is such a picturesque setting as you drive up the long driveway toward the cornfields, orchard and barn that you just want to spend all of your time strolling around the beautiful grounds picking your own fruit. Yet, the aromas emanating from the barn lure you inside where fresh-baked apple pies are baking!


When you step inside the barn where the bakery and café are located, you are instantly consumed by the scrumptious smell of fresh baked apple-y goodness! Here they make their famous fresh baked apple pie where they use their own freshly picked apples. The pastry is made from scratch on site as well. They also offer apple crisp, apple strudel, apple muffins, and apple cookies along with apple cider and ice cream! They have a rustic covered porch area that overlooks the sprawling orchard where you can sip on a beverage and indulge in a freshly baked treat.



Great Lakes Farms Fun Farm

Great Lakes Farms has created an “agri-destination” by including attractions such as their corn maze, and fun farm area for children and parents alike. The fun farm is a child’s dream playground! They have a “sand box” for the kids to play in, but instead of it being filled with sand, it is filled with kernels of corn! My one-year-old son loved feeling the texture of the corn.

Another bonus, they don’t get all sandy after! They also have sand diggers that the kids can operate themselves which proved to be a big hit among our crowd. They even offer a pumpkin launcher in October! The corn maze is not only a fun activity for both parents and kids but it is also currently supporting a great cause as well by promoting anti-bullying messages that can be found throughout the maze.

Kids will also love their pirate ship play structure with a slide, lookouts, ropes and ladders, as well as “straw mountain” where kids can climb on, crawl through and swing from barrels of hay. Strollers are welcome but they offer cute little green wagons that parents can pull their children around in as well.

Entrance fee into the fun farm play area is $5/person and children under 2 are free. Parents are also free Monday-Friday. They even offer a season pass for only $10, which gives you unlimited access to their play area!


There is so much to do at Great Lakes Farms; they host different events throughout the summer and fall season like Peachfest, Applefest and Pumpkinfest, which is coming up at the end of October. They also host weddings, school tours and birthday parties.


Great Lakes Farms Birthday Party

As mentioned, I was drawn to Great Lakes Farms because it was the only orchard experience I could find in the local surrounding area that also offered an indoor space to host the party in case the weather decided not cooperate with us that day.

When I walked into the barn and in the café area where the parties are held, I was extremely pleased with our choice of location to host our son’s apple-themed birthday party! The exposed barn board walls, wooden tables with the quintessential red and white checkered orchard table cloths and aroma of fresh apple pie and cider in the air gave me the instant farmhouse.

We had about 35 people with 18 kids and there was more than enough room for us to sit. They have a beautiful, long wooden harvest table that could accommodate all of our food and lots of extra tables for desserts, apple cider station and gifts.


They have a rustic high chair as well for the birthday boy to sit in and have his first taste of birthday cake! Then, when our group was finished opening presents, Farmer Joe took us on our private wagon ride around the orchard. This was a highlight for me. Having our family and friends all together on our son’s first birthday, being taken around a beautiful orchard on a beautiful day on our private wagon ride was just the cherry on top of the whole experience for me! I am so thankful to Great Lakes Farms for creating such a wonderful day for us.

Great Lakes Farms will work with you to design the exact type of birthday party you are looking for. They offer packages as minimal as simply renting out the room with no staff intervention, to a package that includes a fully guided experience with one of their staff who will entertain and lead your group through the various activities around the orchard.


I would like to thank Great Lakes Farms for hosting our group for my son’s first birthday party and making it such a special and truly unforgettable experience.


And you should…their fall season runs from September 12-November 1 and they currently have apples, pears, and pumpkins available. They are open daily (including Thanksgiving) from 10am to 5pm and Sundays from 11am to 5pm. Pick-your-own admission is free and prices for apple varieties are available on their website at www.greatlakesfarms.ca.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful fall weather the best way possible at Great Lakes Farms…you won’t regret it!

Disclaimer: we received complimentary services in exchange for our feature. These opinions our completely our own and really, it speaks for itself!

Village Mom


My First Chalk Paint Project


So now that you are caught up on my life as of late (we moved in case you missed it) I can start to share all the exciting, new, fun and sad things we are experiencing since relocating.

One of the things that I had longed for when living downtown, was a little more space. Not necessarily more square footage (in our new house, we actually only have about 400 sq. ft. more space) but a different kind of space.

Our downtown home was one level with two bedrooms, a main kitchen/dining area, a living room, two bathrooms and a small office room. Our new home has three levels, three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms and a finished basement.

What this means is that we all have more places to spread out to, including an entire room (with windows yay!) devoted to crafting, sewing and office work. It’s really my dream come true. We also have a garage and driveway and an unfinished part of the basement that all help to contribute to my first chalk paint project.


Now that I have a few spaces to work on “dirty” projects, I have taken full advantage. One of my first and favourite projects was refinishing a console table, that funny enough, I tried to sell but couldn’t. It really is true when “they” say it can be a blessing to not get what you want.

Not Getting What You Want Is a Blessing

This table is made of really high quality and was purchased in one of Toronto’s trendy furniture stores on King West, so I hesitated to let it go, but alas, it was the completely wrong colour for our new home so up for sale it went.

When I just was wasn’t getting the price I felt it (the table) deserved, I decided I was going to keep it, and use it to fulfill a dream, and that was to refinish a piece of furniture all on my own.


City Mom Chalk Paint

While I realize that I am not the first (nor the last) to share a chalk paint project, I do hope that this post will provide inspiration for you to refinish that table/chair/dresser etc. that you’ve been hanging onto to do just that. It was a fun and rewarding project.

Steps to Chalk Painting

Thankfully chalk painting is a fairly easy and straight-forward project to complete. Here is how I did it and what I used:

  • Decide upon your piece of furniture/item that you are going to refinish
  • Select your brand and colour of chalk paint that you’d like to use
  • Measure the square footage of the piece you are painting and buy the corresponding amount
  • Note: if you plan to distress your piece, you may want to put one colour on the bottom and another on the top
  • You do not need to sand your piece first…just begin painting
  • I used a small paint brush because I liked the look of brush strokes as I felt it helped make my piece look more weathered
  • Let the first coat dry, and decide if you will do another coat (I ended up doing three)
  • After you have applied all of your coats, let it dry overnight
  • Move your piece to a well ventilated area and begin sanding – sand the entire project with a very fine grain sandpaper
  • If you are going for a weathered/distressed look, you will also want to use a heavier grain sandpaper and really use some elbow grease – focus on the edges and corners of your piece
  • After you have completed all of your sanding, it is time to apply a generous layer of wax – this will help to keep your surface protected

Here is a great video that you can use for more inspiration and more detailed instructions: Refinished Night Stands with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint by iamlikehearted.

Chalk Paint Before and After

Chalk paint is easy to work with and is water soluble which makes clean up a breeze. It is also an incredible product specifically designed for furniture that can be used on almost any surface. You also get a nice shabby-chic look or a weathered beachy look which what I was going for to fit into our new home. It’s an easy project with a dramatic outcome.

I got my paint at Benjamin Moore but there are many places that you can find it. If you have any questions about my project, please feel free to ask.

Have you chalk painted before? Do you have a piece of furniture that you’re itching to refinish?

City Mom


We Moved!

You may have noticed that I was pretty quiet for the past few months…I apologize for that but it’s for good reason; we moved!

If you’ve moved before, you know how time consuming and stressful it can be. Not only did we move, but we sold almost all of our “stuff” and that took up a ton of time too.

You see, we bought a model home and chose the option to buy everything in it; from the furniture to the books to the candles, if it was in the home when we bought it, we kept it! Not only did we get all new things, but the colour scheme is completely different than our old home so almost everything had to go!


If you follow along with City Mom, you know that we absolutely loved our downtown home and loved being a part of the hustle and bustle the city centre offers. However, it did start to show a few downsides…don’t get me wrong…I still totally support urban living with children, but for our particular family, in our particular situation, it was the best decision at this time in our lives.

As Little S is an only child, she is constantly craving playmates; while I love a good American Girl doll session, I have my limits. Since she was the only child in the building downtown, playmates didn’t really exist. Furthermore, she didn’t have access to freely come and go, to ride her bike along the sidewalk and to play outside with other kids because of our high-rise location.


Once we decided that we wanted to make the move, we began our search. We browsed on and off without finding anything that we really loved. It either came down to price, location or size; none of which seemed to suit us.

We had come to love the ease of condo-life too much. It meant no outside maintenance, grass cutting, snow shoveling etc. but we were done with the high-rise lifestyle (for now). Nothing grabbed our attention enough to convince us that it was time to go.

One Sunday afternoon early last spring, we happened to drive by some signs that stated an Open House so we decided to check it out and we quickly fell in love with what we saw. Fast forward a few months and we were living in our new home.

And the best part? It’s still in London and it’s still a condo so we get the best of both worlds (in our opinion); we get the things we were missing like a driveway for playing, neighbours with young children and a yard but, we also  keep our low-maintenance lifestyle.

Before we actually moved but had sealed the deal, I kept telling others that we would be back downtown by the time Little S was ready to go to high school…and while I can’t predict the future, I’m not so sure that is true anymore. We love our new home so much. But that is why life is such an adventure; you never know what the next chapter is going to bring!

Stay tuned for my next post where I will share the other floors of our new home and some fun details about buying a furnished model home.

When is the last time that you moved?

City Mom




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