Tag Archive | Canada

Lighter Moments

April 15-19, 2010

Warning: This post is not to be read on an empty stomach. Also, this post is heavily laden with images. It’ll take some patience, but it’s worth the wait.

It was emotional weekend, but it was also filled with moments of levity. It should be no surprise that these lighter moments involved food.

Our first full day in Canada was spent at Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls. My cousin GeeVee, his wife Rachel and their daughter Kammi frequently go on short jaunts in the areas surrounding Toronto. They were ready to take us all on a culinary expedition. No one was left hungry or disappointed.

Our first stop was Kurtz Orchards and Country Market.

Grilled Southwest Turkey Sandwich

World-renowned Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup that was $22 a bottle

Turkish Delight

Myles hangs out while we have lunch

Our next stop was Picard’s Peanuts.

Of course, we had to stop for dessert. We stopped by  Pie Plate Bakery and Cafe.

The desserts are as divine as they look. We ordered several slices of pie so that we could sample a bit of everything. I am glad we did. Every pie is tantalizing. Each had its own nuance. The crust was flaky without being too dry. The pie fillings were sweet without being overbearing. Their reputation of being the best dessert shop in Ontario is justified.

Cherry Pie

Lemon Meringue

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Apple Pie

After having dessert, we headed over to see Niagara Falls, which I had never seen before. It is definitely worth seeing.

Cousins GeeVee, Marnie, Rachel and niece Kammi

Myles and I at Niagara Falls

While I was Canada, I had to try Tim Horton’s coffee, the Canadian equivalent of Starbucks. Tim Horton’s is far superior to Starbucks.

Perfect duo for the damp cold weather - Tim Horton's Coffee & Timbits

Timbits!

Nate and Myles

For dinner, we stopped to get some Phở

Phở

Spring Rolls

Fried Spring Rolls

My absolute favorite - Vietnamese iced coffee

On Saturday night, we went out for burgers.  Per Khurram’s suggestion, we went to Harvey’s burger.

I had to try Poutine. It is a dish consisting of French fries topped with fresh cheese curd, covered with brown gravy and sometimes additional ingredients. The verdict? It’s a meal unto itself.

On the night after Melanie’s Memorial Mass, we decided to go to Hooter’s. Sounds like an odd choice, but it wasn’t. Melanie and Khurram had this tradition of going to Hooters in whichever city they were visiting. When I first heard about it, I thought it was quirky, but funny. Going to Hooter’s seemed like a perfect choice.

GeeVee and Rachel

Marnie and Me

Nate aka Mr. Personality

Because we were out so late and had such a good time reminiscing, I had to grab a few of these while on the road home.

Although we were only in Canada for 4 days, I’m fairly certain I left 5 lbs heavier 😉

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A Year Later

April 15-19, 2010

The Birthday Girl - Aalia Sabine is 1

One Year. 365 days. There are points in life when a year seems to pass slowly and other times when a year passes so quickly. In this instance, it feels like both. It is hard to believe that it’s been a year since Aalia’s birth and her mother Melanie’s passing. In the past year, I have had the pleasure of watching Aalia (via Skype and Facebook) reach her baby milestones – babbling, smiling, eating solid foods, etc. There have been fleeting moments where I forget that Melanie is gone. I have caught myself thinking, “I wonder if Mel would like this..” or “I bet Mel loves that Aalia does {insert random thing}”. This is not to say Melanie is forgotten, but that the loss is still hard for me to accept and acknowledge.  Of course, the loss is more acute and difficult for Melanie’s immediate family. After the funeral last year, my brother Nate and I promised to be at Aalia’s First Birthday to help celebrate. Being at the funeral forged an inexplicable bond.

When it was decided that Aalia’s Birthday was going to be celebrated in Toronto, Canada (Khurram’s hometown), there was no doubt that we were going to be there. We’re always looking for an excuse to get out-of-town. Initially, we were going to fly to Toronto. Upon researching plane tickets, we discovered that perhaps that wasn’t the most cost-efficient way to go. We decided to drive… 12 hours with our mom and Myles!

Myles is clicked in and ready to go

Nate behind the wheel - iPhone pic

There was a lot of apprehension over bringing Myles on the trip. There were concerns over how well he would travel and what to do with him once we got to Canada. The trip went smoother than expected. I suspect it’s because I dosed Myles with Rescue Remedy and he slept most of the way.  It was a good thing we brought him. Myles’ presence created a lot of lightness and fun to the trip.

iPhone picture

A highlight of this trip is that it was my first time in Canada! Woohoo! Stamp in my passport…. not quite. Although they now require a passport to travel between the U.S. and Canada, no stamps are given.  {My new passport still has no stamps.}

We arrived at our hotel without incident. Exhaustion hit us and we were asleep within minutes.

Our first full day in Canada was spent sightseeing around Niagara Falls, which will be covered in a separate post.

The birthday extravaganza for Aalia was on Saturday. There was not one, but TWO birthday parties.

The first party was a kids’ party, which we attended towards the end. The party was held in the morning at indoor playground.

Khurram (daddy) and Aalia - photo by Rachel

photo by Rachel

photo by Rachel

Kammi gets in on the fun

Aalia and Khurram

The second party was held for family and close friends and was hosted by Khurram’s sister Seema and his brother-in-law Harry.

Delicious birthday cake

Party favors and Memory Box for Aalia

More Party Favors

Mom and Auntie Lilly

Cousin GeeVee, Nate, Mom, and Auntie Lilly - photo by Rachel

Rachel, Kammi, and Geevee - Photo by Marnie

photo by Khurram

The following day, there was a Memorial Service for Melanie and a reception at a local Filipino restaurant.

photo by Rachel

Melanie's Immediate Family - GeeVee (brother), Marnie (sister), Kammi (niece), Aalia, Khurram (husband), Aunt Lilly (mom), and Rachel (sister-in-law)

It was somber weekend with moments of levity sprinkled and lots of noshing in-between. It was good to spend time with family and to celebrate Aalia’s birthday. Despite the circumstances following her birth, Aalia’s birthday is still a happy occasion. After all, she is Mel’s greatest legacy.