I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that trying to find a family-friendly activity that pleases everyone in the house was a bit of a challenge. With fourteen and three-quarters years between son number one and son number three, the age difference makes it nearly impossible to execute an outing that’s of equal interest to everyone involved. For example, we can take Matthew to a neighbourhood park or local splash pad and he responds with a level of enthusiasm that is unmatched by anyone else in our house, most especially the teenagers. Can you blame them? The older boys are thrilled to try a new restaurant (when in doubt just promise them food and they’ll find enjoyment in going almost anywhere), watch a movie, play basketball, pool, or tennis, all of which aren’t exactly toddler-friendly fun. So, what’s a family to do? Fortunately, the answer is simple: eat ice cream.
Six weeks ago we started a new summer vacation ritual that just might be one of our most favourite to date. Every week, we scour local blogs and online articles for reviews and insider info on the best ice cream in the city, and on Saturday or Sunday we set off in search of a new-to-us scoop shop. So far we’ve tried Asian gelato, Italian gelato, ice cream tacos, soft serve dipped in maple hard shell and a nostalgic favourite from my own childhood. We’ve had ice cream in Toronto, Kingston, and Mont-Tremblant this month, and all five of us, baby included, have delighted in the experience.
Our weekend ritual turned into a daily one last week when we left town for a short getaway. We wanted to see how Matthew would hold up in the car on a road trip, and he passed the seven-hour ride with flying colours. We won’t be making the trek to the Carolina coast this year, one of our favourite summer destinations, but feel confident he might be up for the drive next year, once he gets a little more road tripping mileage under his belt. Last week we went to Quebec instead, and on the day we arrived we established a new rule: immediately set out to find the sweetest ice cream shop in town and visit it each afternoon between afternoon siestas and swimming at the pool. Again, we found an activity that everyone from toddler to teen to tired parent could agree on. Actually, make it three activities: afternoon naps, cold ice cream cones, and poolside fun.