I Can’t Believe She Ate the Whole Thing

….it seems that my granddaughter is going through a growth spurt

I was blessed this weekend to have my daughter and granddaughter stay with us for the weekend. On Friday they will be moving to the summer camp that my son-in-law is in charge of and unless I go up there during the summer there’s little chance of seeing them  for the next two months.  Hopefully I will find the time to drive up and spend a day or two, here and there over the summer months.

So this weekend was very special to me. We started the day with lunch on the deck and Winnie enjoyed a sandwich, juice and strawberries. She discovered that dipping strawberries into almond butter made for a tasty treat.IMG-2613
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After lunch Mommy left to visit a friend for a couple of hours so Winnie and I walked up to the Lakeshore where a grilled cheese festival was taking place. Before we got there she was already declaring that she was hungry again so the first thing we did was purchase a grilled cheese sandwich. She didn’t eat it all but she did want to take it home (which she finished later). Then we went to the yarn store and the owner kindly offered both of us a drink of juice with ‘strawberries’ in it. Of course Winnie loved it.

When we left the yarn store Winnie once again said she was hungry so we headed towards the ice-cream store. She ordered a ‘strawberry’ cone and I had a cup of ‘sweet cream’. Her cone had a very generous scoop of ice-cream for a kiddie cone but she had no problem finishing the whole thing.IMG-2624
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In between all the treats Winnie bounced around in the Bouncy Castle and played several games where she earned some coupons for a few small prizes. All in all it was a wonderful afternoon that I will always cherish.

A Sweltering Saturday

….what can I say but “it’s hot”

My plan was to drive to the cottage today to finally open it up but my husband made a deal with me and promised that we would go up together next week and stay for at least four days.

So instead of being stuck on the highway this long weekend I decided to attend the annual Canada Day BBQ at the Lawn Bowling Club. I’m glad I did.

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It’s a very short walk from my house to the club and as I got closer I could see that the place was already decked out in red and white. Canada Day is actually tomorrow but the club decided to host the festivities today.

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Even though I hadn’t signed up for the lunch because I thought I’d be away the organizers happily took my money and ensured me that there would be plenty of food. There were about 50 players today and we were divided into 16 teams of 3 players or more. The rules were a little different today and the four closest bowls to the jack were scored, 4,3,2 and 1.

I love this group because everyone is so friendly and supportive. It’s my year playing but I’m quickly learning names and picking up lots of good tips each time I play.

After everyone played we went inside and were treated to some delicious food. Hamburgers, sausages and hot dogs were cooked on the BBQ and the table was overflowing with salads, fruit, cheese and desserts, all donated by the members.

Tickets were sold for a 50/50 draw and Gail who sat with me had to leave early so I held onto her tickets. Didn’t she win the whole thing. It was fun shouting out that I held the winning ticket but I made sure everyone knew it wasn’t mine.

Before the festivities ended the top three scoring teams were announced and each member was given a small prize. My team came in third place and we each went home with $4.00.

The heat today was pretty oppressive for many of the members but we were all encouraged to stay hydrated and the occasional breeze off the lake brought some relief. To all my Canadian friends:

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

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New Baby, an Anniversary, a Book Launch and a Pedicure with Dad

….what an exciting week

My middle sister became a grandmother for the first time. Her daughter had a little baby boy on August 15th. Mom, Dad and Baby Jale (pronounce Jah-lay) are all doing well. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we’ll make the four hour drive to the farm to welcome the new little guy into our family.

On the 16th my husband and I celebrated our 42nd anniversary. We opted to celebrate with a special lunch. Being on a Wednesday we didn’t think that we’d need reservations but when we got to our first choice we couldn’t even find a place to park. We quickly decided to go to our second pick which was closer to home and luckily it wasn’t busy. We love this restaurant, Pulcinella, and the only reason it wasn’t our first choice was because we wanted something other than Italian food. In the end we decided that it was the perfect choice. We had wonderful service and the food was amazing.

The next day, quite by accident I discovered that a friend from long ago had written a book about the CNE and she was having a book launch in a bar just up the street from where I live. I was walking the dog at the time so I couldn’t go inside but I went home, dropped off the dog, grabbed my wallet and walked back up the street to support Lee. It was nice meeting some people that I had lost contact with and meeting some new people. One of the people that I met was a former editor of Canadian Living magazine. I knew of her and where she lived which surprised her. In the end we exchanged phone numbers and addresses and I should be getting a call in November to help with make-up for the Lakeshore Santa Claus parade. I guess this is how it starts. When people know you’re retired they quickly recruit you to do volunteer work.

Earlier that day Dad and I went to my favourite salon for nails and we both had pedicures done. It’s very interesting sitting next to your ninety year old father while having your feet worked on.  The owner of the salon worked on Dad and she was wonderful with him but we couldn’t convince him to paint his nails purple. Of course we were only teasing him. He laughed but firmly said no to colour.

A Day at the Spa, Two Days at the Cottage and Cleaning the House

….a busy week

Last Friday my good friend, Arlene and I went to the Elmwood Spa for our birthday lunches, water therapy and facials. My birthday isn’t until the end of August but we decided to have our birthday lunches at the same time. We enjoyed salads, a main course and dessert. The only thing we had to pay for was our wine and coffee.

When you have  a treatment for more than a $100 you can also do the water therapy at no extra charge. This includes the steam room, the whirlpool tub and the salt water pool. We did it all. After 30 laps of the pool I showered and then proceeded to to the rooms where the facials are done. What a relaxing afternoon. We left the spa feeling renewed and refreshed.

On Saturday my husband and I left for the cottage. This was Kevin’s first trip and my fourth. The weather wasn’t great but it was nice to get out of the city and just chill. Sunday was overcast but for the most part the rain held off and Kevin and the dog were able to go for a long walk through the woods. Frances loved the freedom to run and roll in every mud puddle she could find.

 

On Monday morning we left but not before Kevin made us a delicious breakfast that we affectionately call hopple popple. It’s a fry up of bacon, vegetables (usually onions, potatoes, mushrooms, etc.) and scrambled eggs.

For the rest of the week I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning and reorganizing some of my art supplies and paintings. Our son and his wife are vacationing in Toronto and will be staying with us for a several days. I spent most of my time cleaning the spare room and framing and hanging some of my art work around the house. It gave me a great deal of satisfaction to see some of my work hanging on the walls.

On Wednesday Kevin and I went out for dinner at Nodo on Dundas St. W.. The meal was so good that I didn’t get a photo of our meal until it was completely gone. IMG_2737

Our daughter-in-law and daughter were at the baseball game for Josie’s birthday and we agreed to stop by their house to check up on the dog, Olive. After our meal we made the short trip to their house and spent some time playing with the dog and catching the baseball game on their TV. The Blue Jays were behind 2-0 and in the top of the ninth they pulled it off and scored three runs.

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More Snow, Cuban Food, Cheese, Tarts and Jazz

….despite the snow it was a very full and delightful day

On Saturday we woke up to more snow. Lots of snow. We had made plans earlier in the week to meet up with friends for lunch and because we had already cancelled the last get together because of illness we didn’t want to cancel again. Luckily the drive wasn’t too long.IMG_4009

We had lunch at a very popular restaurant on Roncesvalles in the west end of Toronto. The weather certainly didn’t keep people from going out for a meal. The place was packed but our wait was relatively short. La Cubana specializes in Cuban delights and because we were there on a Saturday the brunch menu was being served.

The food was very tasty and the service very friendly. I would definitely go back. We hadn’t seen our friends, D & D, since New Year’s Day so we had a lot of catching up to do. They talked about their recent trip to Singapore and shared some beautiful photographs of this island country. We brought them up to date on K’s recent surgery and his even more recent accident. You can see from the photograph that he’s healing nicely.

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After lunch we said our good-byes, scraped off more snow from the car and then carefully drove off. On the way home we decided to stop at one of our favourite cheese stores in town, The Cheese Boutique. It was a good day to go. We sampled some delicious organic olive oil from Turkey, were served some hot turkish tea and met a lovely lady who was promoting her homemade lemon curd tarts and butter tarts. I asked her if she lived close by and she told us about her store and bakery on the Queensway called the The Tartistry. She also told us about the live jazz band that played there every Saturday, all day long. Seeing it was on the way home we decided to stop in and check the place out. Before we left we picked up some great cheese that was on sale, a free range chicken and a nice big steak to share for dinner.

The Tartistry is a small store, crammed with beautiful antiques, jewellery, art work and of course tarts. We sat at a small table and ordered two pots of tea and because we hadn’t had dessert with lunch we also indulged in the best tarts I’ve ever eaten. The jazz band was very good. The place was pretty quiet, probably due to the bad weather, but I can see how on a nicer day the place could be very busy. I would definitely go back here again as well.

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After spending about an hour listening to jazz we finally drove home, stopped to pick up some fresh vegetable to go with the steak and quickly shovelled more snow and took the dog for a walk before preparing dinner. Actually, we were pretty full from our mid afternoon snack so we waited quite a while before making dinner. The steak was amazing and even though one steak is normally enough meat for both of us my husband did wish he had an entire steak to himself (only because it was so good). We laughed when he said that because when we have in the past eaten a steak each he usually complains that it’s too much meat.

All in all it was a wonderful day. Full of new and unexpected and spontaneous adventures.

Happy Father’s Day to my Dear Old Dad

…..87 years old and going strong

Today my husband and I packed a lunch for four and got into the car and drove over an hour to visit with my Dad and his wife, G. Knowing that he would be cheering for Germany during the World Cup I bought him FIFA World Cup shirt.

When we arrived I was surprised to see my Dad sporting a Germany soccer jersey that he had bought for himself earlier in the week. I was glad that I chose a white shirt and one with a slightly different design. We set up the table in the dining room for lunch and enjoyed some cold cuts and salads and for dessert G had baked a lovely apple cake. We ate the later part of the meal outside on the patio. It was nice and warm and we were sheltered from the wind and the sun. photo 4-159

We spent a few hours with my Dad before we had to depart. In a few more hours my sister from Chatham will be knocking on his door and I know that she has plans to take him out for dinner.

My father is in pretty good health for his age. Despite carrying a bit too much weight and not hearing as well as he used to he is remarkably fit. Having a dog has helped as it gets him out of the house two or three times a day for walks. Toby, unfortunately, is also aging and is starting to resist going on walks but despite Toby’s reluctance to walk more than 10 feet, Dad has started leaving the him at home and goes for walks on his own. He also golfs and does about nine holes at least once a week. He still sings in a choir and he gets out and plays cards with his friends at the German Club. His other hobby is gardening and he loves to tend to his flowering shrubs and plants. He keeps his mind sharp by playing a lot of word games on his iPad and filling in the crossword puzzles in his German magazines.

The last couple of times that I’ve spent time with my Dad he’s talked about moving into a senior’s residence. I’m glad that he’s thinking about his options for the future but after today’s discussion I’m not so sure that he’s quite ready for that for at least another year.

Apparently there’s a nice place not too far from where they live and they go there for some social events now. They both highly praise the place but I’m not sure that’s where they’ll end up.

I’m happy that they are managing quite well in their little split level house but sometimes the stairs get to be a little difficult. At the same time the stairs have probably also helped keep them in shape.

In an hour from now K and I will be heading for a pub where we’ll meet up with our daughters to watch the Italy vs England game and celebrate Father’s Day some more. We’ll treat my husband to a some brews and dinner and shhhh…don’t tell him but I’ve also bought him a soccer jersey. Today I’ll be cheering for Italy and on other days……the Netherlands, Germany, Iran and Argentina. I can’t just pick one team. Go World!!!!!!!

 

Spirit Tree Estate Cidery

…. a great little gem north of Toronto

Yesterday I told you about our road trip to the Caledon Hills north of Toronto. The highlight of our trip was our visit to Spirit Tree where we had a wonderful lunch. The first time we heard about this cidery, about three years ago, we were purchasing a bottle of their sparkling cider recommended to us by the proprietor of a local gourmet shop. The same week the Toronto Star did a feature article about Spirit Tree, highlighting all the wonderful features of the store/bakery/restaurant. The next day was Good Friday and it just so happened that they were open to the public. It’s rare for anything to be open on Good Friday in Ontario so we decided to check it out and so did hundreds of other people. It was crazy busy. It’s a weekend that the workers at Spirit Tree wouldn’t soon forget.

Anyway we have made trips since that day and the store hasn’t been nearly as crowded and yesterday was no exception. The restaurant was busy but the atmosphere was relaxed and the staff was extremely friendly and helpful.

One of the many features of the estate is how eco-friendly and green it is. The main building was constructed using straw bales. You can see from the photo with the window how thick the walls are. The breads and pizzas are all baked in the wood burning oven and the place is heated and cooled using geothermal energy. For more interesting information check the link:

Spirit Tree Cidery

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If you’re ever in the Caledon Hills, check this place out. It’s well worth the trip.

Cheers!