Monday, July 22, 2019

Toronto Summer Tour Guide

Here are some things I think you should check out if you are in Toronto this summer (not an exhaustive list of course):

Toronto Islands - This place has a variety of activities and it is worth the ferry ride for the views of Toronto alone.  If you have small children, the Centreville Amusement Park is fun (what I like is that the rides are by tickets or bracelets so the whole family doesn't have to pay an admission fee if only the kids are going on the rides, with a parent going every once in awhile).  There is also beach, biking trails, boats to rent, restaurants, and a playground.

Canada's Wonderland - We hadn't been to Canada's Wonderland for a few years but when we went last year I was impressed.  The rollercoasters are really thrilling (some so thrilling in fact that I will not go on them), there is a lot of rides for little kids, a water park, a some great food and drink options.

St. Lawrence Market - I always enjoy a market and this is definitely a popular tourist destination.  The peameal bacon sandwich is slightly cliché but is really good.  I prefer to get mine with the egg and cheese too.  The surrounding streets have some good stuff too - including Balzac's Coffee and a fish place.

Union Summer Market - I know, I know, I can't stop talking about this place, but I think it is a perfect place for people to pop by right in the centre of the city with a view of the CN Tower, it's very "Toronto".

Blue Jays Game - Even when the Jays aren't the best team, an afternoon or evening at the ballgame is always a good time.  Try the vegan nachos if you want something a little different, but the foot long hot dog is always popular too.

Distillery District - I will admit this isn't the greatest place for kids, but it is nearby the Corktown Common so you can pop by there for a playground/splash pad experience.  There are some neat shops, art galleries, and places to eat.  My particular favourite place to eat is El Catrin.

Sunnyside Pavillion - If you're staying at an AirBnb or a hotel without a pool, don't be afraid to check out the public pools, especially the Gus Ryder Outdoor Pool.  It's not fancy, but it is a refreshing place to cool off and it's free! (well aside from the quarter it costs to use the locker) We also like to head around to the Cafe that is on the lakeside of the Pavilion for something to eat and drink where you can watch the beach volleyball and the kids can play in the sand (full disclosure, the water here is not always safe to swim in).  I'm sure there is an equivalent on the East side of the city, but we are West siders so this is what I'm recommending.

I'm sure there are things I am missing that I would normally recommend but these are my top choices for sure.

Check out my downtown restaurant recommendations here.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Friday Favourites

I wore this new dress this week.  It is so comfortable and light.  I have a white sweater to wear with it now and then in the winter, I can wear it with a blazer too.  I got it at the Banana Republic Factory Store at the Stockyards.

Q was on the sidelines at E's soccer game this week. E's team had a great game too.

We don't have a basketball hoop and we have a sloped driveway so it wouldn't work anyway, but E likes to practice dribbling. 

E played a few different positions at his t-ball game this week but I caught him in left field.

Little brother waited around for snack after the game.

We are enjoying the Amazing Race Canada this season - it is a great show to watch with E.

Check out my posts from earlier this week:
On Monday I wrote about three things going on with each of us at the moment.
On Tuesday I shared our weekend camping trip to Arrowhead.
On Wednesday I gave you my top three of a random assortment of things. 
On Thursday I told you about my favourite places for take out food. 

Also looking for tips for a road trip to New Hampshire.  We are going there at the end of August for a few days to meet up with some family and friends but want to stop in Upstate New York or Vermont for a night too.  Has anyone been around there and can recommend some good places for a (kid-friendly) hike and/or restaurants?

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Favourite Take Out

When we order food, every couple of weeks, we tend to order from the same few places, even though there are multiple choices on UberEats.

We get our delivery pizza from Pizza Nova.  The secret is to order the crust well done. We don't have a standard order, but E likes Hawaiian so we always get that, and then some combination of the classic pepperoni, mushroom and green pepper, meat lovers, or Mediterranean.

There is an Indian restaurant just up the street where we get our Indian food, Durbar Indian Cuisine  I walk by it on my way home from the subway and it always smells so good, I really have to retrain myself from getting it more. We usually get Onion Bhaji, Okra, a chicken curry, and a lamb curry, and of course naan.

We get our Chinese from Westwood Grill.  Our order is probably pretty typical - spring rolls, fried rice, sweet and sour pork, lemon chicken, beef and broccoli, and maybe a noodle item.  We often order this when our parents are visiting as a treat for everyone.

My favourite thing to order is jerk chicken and patties from Annie's.  It is a great price, and the kids love it too.  Usually I get them the friend chicken, but last time Q was even eating up the jerk and spicy rice.  I don't have a lot of patty experience but I've tried a couple of different ones and Annie's are so far the best.

And of course another reliable choice is Swiss Chalet.  It is a good price, quick, and popular.  Quarter chicken dinner with dark meat and french fries has been my go to order at Swiss Chalet since I was a child.

We have occasionally dabbled into sushi for Dave and E (I'm not a fan so I will get my own order of SC, see above), Burrito Boyz, or some Thai food, but for the most part the choices I've named above are what we get.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Top Three

I did a fun post of my Top Three things in various categories here and I thought I'd do it again!

Places to eat lunch during the week
Kupfert and Kim (Oaxaca Bowl)
Roywoods in the Union Food Court (jerk chicken)
Pumpernickels (always a reliable sandwich)

Memories from childhood
Swimming in the Roseway River
Riding bikes to Islands Park
Shelburne County Exhibition

Meals to cook when we have guests
Lasagna, Caesar salad, garlic bread
Grilled chicken, rice, Greek salad, pitas, tzatziki sauce
Hamburgers and Salad

Place to buy workout clothes
Nordstrom (Zella)
Nike Store

Armchair Expert with Dax Shepherd
This American Life
The Daily 

Disney movies
The Lion King
Beauty and the Beat
Mary Poppins

Cleaning supplies
Lysol wipes
Scrubbing Bubbles toilet fresh brush pads
Lysol Disinfectant Spray

Things that drive me crazy (as a mom)
Saying "mom?" before every sentence/question. Just talk to me, I'm right here!!
Wanting just one more thing before going to bed.
Cleaning up the floor after dinner (rice is impossible!)

Ways to beat the heat
Fans everywhere
Closing curtains
Embracing it! It's only hot for a couple of months of the year.

Things we always have in the fridge
Cashew milk
Plain yoghurt
Eggs the freezer
Frozen berries
Peas and corn
Old bananas the cupboard
Canned tomatoes

Emojis used
Laughing with tears
Thumbs up
Heart (any colour)

Guilty pleasures
Brie and Triscuits
Diet Pepsi
Mid-afternoon pastry 

Powerful women
Serena Williams
Chrystia Freeland (Next Prime Minister?)
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (I know that's two but they themselves will tell you they are a team)

Sport to watch on TV

Drug Store items I always have
Bendryl cream

Things I like about our house
Location - neighbourhood and parks are fabulous
Open kitchen/dining/TV room
Potential of space in the basement

Things I like about living in Toronto
No shortage of things to do

Instagram accounts

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Weekend Recap

Another successful weekend of camping in the books for this family.  Here is the car all packed up ready go.  After the trunk is closed, the bikes go on the back.  

Since we were going north, the obligatory first stop is Weber's on Highway 11.  It is such a good stop, even when it is busy, there are lots of things to keep the kids entertained while you wait for your food. 

He said he was sleeping. 

We hung out for a bit longer since our camping friends (and neighbours) were stopping there too and we all left together to drive onto the campsite.

This time we camped at Arrowhead Provincial Park which is just north of Huntsville.  Usually we go to Algonquin if we are heading up to this area, but will definitely go back to htis place.  It is a shorter drive and all of the sites are huge (at least at Roe Campground where we were).  Site 448.

We were in a cul-de-sac which meant the kids could ride around on their own with very few cars.

Dave and Q went to get ice and firewood.

After we got set up we went on a short bike ride to see the lookout. 

And then to check out the beach.

Back to the site for supper - we had chili and campfire nachos (that ended up being smoked nachos and not that great this time) and then had our campfire.  It was Nicole's birthday so we had a cake for her.

We didn't have a great night's sleep but we managed.  We put both boys on one air mattress which was fine for sleeping but I was worried about them all night if they were warm enough or if Q was stuck somewhere.  And plus I'm always worried about the bears too. But despite a rough sleep for me, we all slept in until 8:00 which was great.  The next night Dave slept with Q and I slept with E so that meant less worrying and it was warmer so a better night's sleep for everyone.

On Saturday morning we got up and had eggs and sausages on english muffins and fruit for breakfast. 

Then we packed up for the beach.  It was not super sunny day but still nice to be out and the kids had fun playing in the sand.  Q even had a nap for about 45 minutes.  The other family we were camping with joined us about halfway through the day.

We packed up around 3:30 to head back to the sites.  

A few of us went for a bike ride to the camp store and this big field with hill was the highlight of the trips for the boys to ride down on their bikes. 

Ice cream treats before dinner - sure!

We had chicken skewers, potatoes and green beans for supper.  Someone was a little cranky after that and was almost put to bed right away, but he negotiated his way into some fire time.

The next morning was another beautiful day. We went for a short hike.  It was challenging in parts for those with little legs but they all did great and only had to be carried a couple of times. 


Back to our site for lunch.

Making grilled cheese sandwiches over the fire.

One of the families rented kayaks.  This is them coming over to meet us at the beach.

We spent the afternoon at the beach with Dave and I packing up our site in shifts.  We left around 5:30, grabbed some A and W in Huntsville and hit the road.  The other families were staying another night and leaving on Monday.