August 3, 2012

Oh Canada!

Heeeeellllllllllooooooo People!

It is so good to be back! Sorry I have neglected you for so long. I didn't mean to, it's just we got back from vacation and, well, I needed a vacation!  We are the type of vacationers that are like an army of ants.... we see, we conquer, and most natives are left dazed by the maelstrom of activity that was accomplished! We had 6 stops in 8 days, but what a fun 8 days.  There were a few moments when you realized that you had turned into your parents and started saying things like  "if you three don't stop fighting, I am gonna turn this car around so fast it will make your head spin!"

Now if I was a kid hearing that statement, I might just keep it up to see how well my dad could do doughnuts in an SUV. But that's just kids at least were smart enough to stay quiet, at least for 2 minutes.

As I was regaling my mom with our vacation stories, I was informed by her that the reason we had taken the auto train home from Florida when I was 7 was NOT because it was a cool way to travel, but alas, us girls had pushed our parents to the edge with our "she's touching me!" routine (my mom had to sit between us at one point!) and my Dad wasn't spending the next three days traveling like that.  Paybacks are a, well, you know what they are......

I thought I share some great photos of the vacation (you will be so proud of me, I took almost all of these in manual mode!) so this is a little heavy on the pics but it just might make you want to explore Canada! Just give it a few weeks to recover.....

Here is the run down of stops:

Friday: day 1: head north and stop in Buffalo at the Anchor Bar to eat THE original buffalo wings! 

 Stop on the way to the Marine War Ship museum and see the Prudential Guaranty Building. The exterior  is entirely covered in hand carved Terra cotta tile. Absolutely beautiful.

 I was grousing a bit about why aren't we heading up to Niagara, like right now.......but my sweet man knows I love a good architectural building. I spent about 10 minutes inside taking pics of the tiling and Terra cotta elevators and amazing staircases. He is so good to me. I really need to remember not to question him when he makes these stops....

They still use the old style light bulbs.

One more stop in Buffalo for a few hours at the Ship Museum. Really cool bit of nostalgia.

 On to the US side of Niagara Falls, and yes, it is still Friday!  Then headed over to the Canadian side. Had a great room where we could see the Falls from our Balcony and the fireworks!

 Saturday: Woke up and toured the Canadian side of the Falls

  Then on to Toronto to visit family and go to their cottage on Lake Simcoe. This land is owned by the Chippewa Indians of Georgina and it is beautiful. The lake is the next largest lake below the great lakes so it is BIG!

 IzzyB only left the water to sleep I think.

Sunday: Lake Simcoe
Jake was thoroughly enjoying the temperature of Canadian waters I think!

 Tessa just wanted to collect rocks.....

 oh, and more rocks....

 yes, more rocks. 

palacinke (serbian for crepes) Big hit with my kids. Thanks Margaurite!

 Fun with cousins and sand!

Where did my little boy go? Not happy about this at all.....back to Rosemary and Richard's house to get ready for Monday and touring  in Toronto. 

CN you see the little dark line on the right of the ring?

YES, those are PEOPLE, people! We took a double decker bus around town to see some really cool sights. Toronto reminds me of most United States cities. That was about to change.....

 Tuesday: Woke up and drove to Ottawa for the day. It is on the way to Montreal and so worth a stop over. This is the Parliament Building and the Peace Tower. It is modeled after Kensington Palace. We decided to just visit the Peace Tower and then go see some other things. All the signs in Ottawa were in English and french.  I did have 3 years of french in high school so I can read it but can't speak it very well. Well, except maybe "pass the crepes"....

 Arches inside Parliament

 Marble floors

Peace Tower clock

Looking out of one of the windows of the tower, at Quebec

Beautiful sidewalk chalk drawings all over the city. You can't see this very well but it had gold, silver, and bronze chalk, eerily like the Olympics

A sweet guard discovered we weren't from around here.....and recommended we try some beaver tails. I wish I had a photo of the kids faces when he suggested this. Amazing fried dough with cinnamon or nutella spread on it. Gone in 60 seconds!

We continued our tour of Ottawa by visiting the Canadian War Museum. This is the actual Canadian copy of the Treaty of Versailles from WWI, which, if you are a history buff like our family, is what basically caused the Germans to start WWII. I found this so astonishing to see in person. You read about these things in textbooks but I always assumed it was one long piece of paper, not a book 2 inches thick. 

Thought provoking. 

This museum was so full of artifacts and amazing displays. So many interactive stops that Tessa loved it as well. I found it interesting to see how another country was affected by the wars it participated in, willingly or not. It is similar to what we experienced but yet, not. Go see it if you can.

On to Montreal in two hours.....ahhh, sleep.

Woke up Wednesday. First stop: Old Montreal. I had a lovely reader Suzan, who lives in Montreal and blogs over at Simply Vintageous, contact me and she was kind enough to give me so many suggestions on where to go and what to see. She has a great post on her blog about Montreal so please head over there to see even more alluring photos of this  little bit of Paris in North America.

Just one of the many buildings that caught my eye

Notre Dame Basilica
These pictures don't even do this justice

my favorite photo

poutine- another local favorite food. This is  French Canadian dish, made with french fries, topped with brown gravy and curd cheese. Addicting to say the least.

Then on to the Botanical Gardens of Montreal. I took 168 photos here! Aren't you glad I didn't post all of those!

Izzy fell in a ground level fountain and got completely soaked. It doesn't look like she minded a bit.

Hibiscus the size of dinner plates

so many different ways to garden, made me feel very inadequate.....

Christmas card anyone? 
This is called a vertical rock garden and is the largest in North America.

When Tess and I came around the corner and saw this she said "We are in China? Seriously?!?"

Trying to take a photo of a monk without him noticing is not as easy as you might think. 

If these photos don't make you think God is creative.....wait till you see what we did the next day.
Amazing is His handiwork.

Thursday: Insectarium and the Science Center/Star Wars Identities Exhibit

WARNING!: The following photos are not for the faint of heart or those who have a squirrely aversion to bugs......

Can you tell what this is?

Here is an up close

and even more up close! I just could not believe how many gorgeous colors beetles come in! From far away it looked like a case filled with various jewels.  

Giant Stick bugs..can you see them?

False eyelashes in nature. He also has a sense of humor I think

Letting a stick bug crawl on them. 

Tessie being so brave, who is missing from his chance to touch a bug? yes, the males of our family!

They had so many cool structures about town.

On to some Sci-Fi FUN!

Jake was super excited to see that his hands were now bigger than mine. 
I love this pic.

George Lucas was originally going to call this guy "Minch"  Just not feelin' it.

Can you guess who had the camera at this point?

us being natural....

Bioshere as we left Montreal on Friday on our way to Corning NY. Our last stop was Saturday, at the Corning Glass Museum. The kids are free and they got to make a sand-blasted glass piece of their choosing for $10. This was a home run!

I even got to make a glass pendant ($19 for the 40  minute session) that got mailed to me the next day for free. I loved this because not only did you get to design your pendant but you also made it yourself with some supervision. They had other glass items you could design but the employee actually made the whole thing. Still very cool.

Here are the kids covering their glass with stickers.

Jake sand-blasting his cup

Izzy helping. There are no pictures of Tessa doing this because it was a man who would be helping her and she was most definitely not having it.

You can really make almost anything out of glass......

Jake found these next pictures, in his words...."AWESOME!"

Or as Jimmy Walker likes to say.... Dy-no-mite!

Does any one in the blogosphere have one of these chandys? I foresee  a new trend in knock-off decor....

These nesting cake plates were more gorgeous in person

And just because I found these hilarious that someone would make these out of glass...

red and white blood cells

your brain

lungs and heart

stomach, kidneys, and your short and long intestines. I thought, Why stop here? Why no colon? I'd love to see their interpretation. Poor taste that I even asked huh?

And yes these were GIANT eyeballs!! But they had each of our colors so we all felt special.

Thought I'd finish with a Chihuly. 

We got home at 7pm on Saturday and THAT is why I haven't blogged for a whole week after returning! I had to remember how to wash clothes, unload a dishwasher and cook a few meals instead of just paying someone to feed me.

 I am super excited about a table re-purpose that I will show you in a few days. So stay tuned....
Thanks for sticking with me!
Always being renewed,


  1. I loved Montreal the one time I went. So many gorgeous places to visit and experience! Looks like you all had a wonderful vacation :0

  2. WOW WOW WOW - you guys must be exhausted, lol
    What a fabulous vacation it looks like you had.
    Thanks so much for the shout out!!! Your photos are magazine worthy, truly! Get them published right away! Hope you didn't have too many problems with the french language issues here in Montreal.
    Big big hugs,

  3. Hi Kim I just love posts like this I feel like I went right along with y'all it looks like y'all had a fantastic time Thanks so much for taking the time to share it with us. RaNae

  4. Canada is so beautiful. I have only made it as far east as Ottawa. That was just for a few days. I really enjoyed your post and seeing all the pictures. Loved the gardens, and the glass museum. Fun. I would love to go to Montreal some day! My husband is French and I speak French as well, so that would be fun too. I want to have poutine and beaver tail. Never thought I say that...

  5. Cool family vacation! Lots of nice photos, Kim. CUTE kids, too.


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