Browsing: Food & Travel

Mesa Arizona Wedding

January30

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The wedding festivities that we traveled to Mesa, Arizona for, commenced the evening before the wedding at the rehearsal party. The location was the common space/party room of the couple’s condo development. The space was lovely with comfortable seating around a fireplace and plenty of serving space where an Italian dinner was set out for guests. There was also an enormous patio that became enclosed as the evening cooled off. It was the perfect occasion for D’s siblings to assemble and get caught up.

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The wedding day venue was called Villa Sienna and was where both the ceremony and the reception were to take place. The outdoor courtyard was a gorgeous setting.

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Here are the beautiful Grisim women waiting for the ceremony to begin: Daughter #1, J2  (of J1 and J2), Boo and the eldest Wee One. The Frenchman and my Bro-in Law with the cheesy smile make up the back ground.

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The setting was so beautiful that we took next year’s Christmas card picture after the ceremony.

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The courtyard was so romantic that the Wee Ones danced and swayed pretending that they were princesses I am sure.

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We lingered in the outdoor space as the weather was so pleasant and a drastic extreme from the temperatures back home. When we joined everyone else in another reception room, we were treated to appetizers and libations.

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The foodservice at the venue was top drawer. The kid’s table enjoyed mac and cheese, potato skins and chicken fingers.

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We loved the short ribs, chicken breasts, beans almandine and butternut squash ravioli with pecans.

Dancing commenced right after dinner and the music was so good that almost everyone sprang to the dance floor at the same time. I had volunteered to go back to our house when the Wee Ones were tiring out, so I was pleased to have joined in on the festivities early on.

If you know of anyone looking for a wedding venue to the Mesa/Scottsdale area, I would highly recommend Villa Sienna.

Kath’s quote: “Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale”.-Unknown

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

Our 4 Generation Air BnB Experience-Mesa, AZ Part 2

January29

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Once we were given the keys to our home away from home we were thrilled with the space and all the thoughtful touches.

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Since we left home on December 28th, I had spent the 27th packing up all of our Christmas things. I was really touched that the Air BnB owners had a Christmas tree that graced the living room.

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The house was well stocked with movies that we enjoyed intermittently over the week. It was also equipped with puzzles and games and the Wee Ones had a great time perched at the kitchen table. There were air mattresses and inner tubes in the garage for the pool as well as other pool toys like Frisbees, footballs and squirt guns in a basket by the washer and dryer. The latter was on the second floor outside of the room that my mother-in-law slept in. She has to take a flight of stairs to do her laundry at home so she did it all before she left Phoenix.

Designating the sleeping space was a breeze: our youngest and her husband had a queen bed in a double room, my mother-in-law and my brother-in-law shared a room with twin beds. Our son and his wife and 2 kids had the Master Bedroom with a King bed so the kids could Mom and Dad if they needed too. They also had their own en suite which made mornings quieter.

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Our eldest slept on the pull out in the living room (she also had use of the main floor powder room), leaving my husband and I with the last double room.

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This one had bunk beds which was kind a fun!

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Each bedroom had a theme and you can likely determine what ours was. There was a small balcony off of our room and an enormous walk in closet.

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The kitchen, oh the kitchen! It was furbished with every single small appliance you could think of including a movie theatre style popcorn maker, George Foreman grill, crockpot and waffle maker! There were at least 12 place settings and even more cocktail and wine glasses. Every kitchen shelf was labelled so you always knew where things were put when you unloaded the dishwasher. The major appliances were brand new and the fridge was huge. We made good use of it and the pantry by stocking up on food and libations at a Winco up the street. This way the kids could have cereal in the mornings and snacks throughout the day. My brother-in-law got to make his smoothies and specialty omelettes. We took turns cooking for each other which was great fun and made good use of the barbeque right out the sliding doors.

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But the best benefit of the house was the additional space it offered up. One evening all the cousins got together, ordered pizza and played foosball. A small group of us celebrated New Year’s Eve together and one evening we hosted my husband’s sister, our niece, our nephew, his new wife and relations we had not met before.

If you are a family looking for an economical way to travel together, an Air BnB house might well be the answer.

Kath’s quote: “Home is not a place…it’s a feeling.” Author unknown

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Love never fails.

 

 

My 2017 Christmas Letter

December19

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The Wee One at Lester Beach

We kicked off 2017 in one of our favourite places-Lester Beach Manitoba. Our little beach house is exactly that-a house to use when it is beach weather. For New Year’s, we were all invited to join Sister #2 and her husband at their Lester Beach home which we teasingly call Reschmajal.

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In February Sister #3 and I arranged a cyber-wedding shower for our niece and my Goddaughter in Australia. Sister #2 did all the shopping on line, had it delivered to the Mother of the Groom, who then wrapped it all up. We watched via Skype as the bride opened her gifts.

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We also celebrated a couple of special birthdays in February. The first birthday of the youngest of the Wee Ones. Pictured here with her beloved Poppa. It was one of the last events that was held in the big old character house that we had purchased in Wolseley. J1, J2, D and I decided to sell it soon after and the process occupied a great deal of time in the late winter and early spring but it did sell in 27 days and we were very pleased with the venture.

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Three of our brood turned 30 this year, commencing with the Frenchman. We used the occasion to have our yearly feed of ribs which D labours over for a couple of days.

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In March before we headed south for our annual sojourn to Isla Mujeres, we attended another family shower. This one was for the fiancé of our nephew. They also have a place at Lester beach, almost across the road from us. She was introduced to our nephew by our son J1, so it was particularly special for all of us.

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The wedding of Danielle and Dylan was special in so many ways: 85 of us assembled on Isla Mujeres from China, Australia, Europe and North America. There were numerous events planned and we got to know friends and family of the couple in a deeper and lovely way.

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The time was also very special for Sisters #2 & #3 and Brother #3 as we got to share our precious place with others we love. Here are most of us in our family picture.

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Our little sugar plum ferry awaiting the wedding procession.

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I was particular blessed that the couple asked me to officiate. It was my first time; I loved every moment and I want the world to know that I am available to officiate at other destination weddings as well!

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We stayed on the island for 10 days after the wedding and spent a lovely time of rejuvenation.

Upon our arrival home J1 J2 and the Wee Ones had moved in with us while the house referred to above was staged, sold, emptied and they went through the stressful process of finding a new home. It was lovely co-inhabiting for that while. Poppa has always been the girls’ favourite but Glamma made some in roads too and it was a time I will cherish.

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In May, J2 turned 30 too. We had a dinner for her at the lake.

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The Wee Ones gave me lots of motivation to recuperate as quickly as possible.

At the end of June I was scheduled to have my gall bladder removed but the morning of the surgery (in fact after they had started my iv) they sent me home due to a cold that I could not shake. They rescheduled me in early July and I remembered being relieved that I was going to have all of this behind me. Little did I know that the routine elective laparoscopic surgery would turn out to be such an ordeal in deed. After needing a blood transfusion (perhaps my liver had been nipped) and having a collapsed lung (perhaps my lung had been nipped) and spending almost 3 weeks in hospital, my recuperation took the rest of the summer. I started the journey by walking past one house in each direction on our block. I am happy to say that by the end of the summer, I could walk the 5 kms to East Grand Beach from Lester Beach.

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By the end of August D joined me for a week at the lake. We slipped into our old routines of tennis (D), movies, books, crosswords, coffee, tea, happy hours and suppers on the deck. The lake gets pretty quiet at that time and we love having the beach to ourselves.

September brought J1’s 30th birthday. (I hope we did something nice for him because I can’t find a picture of it). It was also time to get back on track as far as my work was concerned and my wellness routine by returning to the gym 3-4 days per week.

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In October we divided Thanksgiving weekend between a wedding at Hecla Island

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and dinner at Reschmajal.

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In October I got to attend the Food Bloggers Canada Conference in Ottawa- a city I hadn’t visited since I was 17.

November and December we have snuggled up to watch the Jets (in person and on TV), Netflix and get ready for Christmas and the time ahead. One week tomorrow we leave for a family wedding in Phoenix and the day after I return home we leave again, this time for Portugal with good friends.

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The Wee Ones as you can likely see are happy and growing smarter and more beautiful with each day. Boo seen here, (our youngest-married to the Frenchman) has diverted from International Development Studies to her new job of General Manager of Little Brown Jug- a new craft Brewery in the Exchange area of Winnipeg. The Frenchman continues with his work on the front lines at Siloam Mission.

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J1 pictured here with J2 also works at Little Brown Jug as a Brewer. He is so happy to have turned an interest and hobby into his life’s work. (I personally am amazed at how well they get on together). J1 and J2 have had their hands full with the house move but are happy as larks in their new Wolseley home. They are walking distance to the Wee One’s school, parks and good friends.

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Daughter #1 is just about to present her final thesis for her Masters Degree in Disability Studies as well as working on a research project this past fall. She is uncertain which direction her career will go next. She is considering her options as she wraps her university studies up.

D is a busy guy between being the world’s #1 Poppa, heading up the procurement department of an enormous flower business and serving as the People’s Warden at church. He is happiest on the tennis court, travelling with me or when our family is all assembled either for Sunday dinners in the city or on the deck up at the lake.

I continue to plug along with the Media Chef (my media buying company) and have just the right number of clients to keep me busy and some cash flowing. I am grateful that my food and travel blogging continues to parlay into other opportunities. I am happiest near a body of water with my camera and a journal to record my thoughts.

If you are reading this, you are dear to me in some way. I do wish you peace, love and joy over Christmas and always.

Kath’s quote:  “Christmas is a bridge. We need bridges as the river of time flows past. Today’s Christmas should mean creating happy hours for tomorrow and reliving those of yesterday.”–Gladys Taber

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Love never fails.

 

 

Duluth 2017

November14

There have been years when we have travelled to Europe in September/October. In the years that we have not, my husband gets itchy feet. He feels the need to get away in the fall even if it is for a long weekend. On Remembrance Day 2016 we “discovered” Duluth Minnesota, enjoyed ourselves so much, that we decided on an encore trip this past weekend.

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We were accompanied by our son-in-law (known in this space as the Frenchman) and our youngest daughter Boo.

Since Boo (and her brother) works in the local craft beer business, our family is very beer oriented. Along with the Frenchman’s objective of hitting up all of the trading companies, my wanting to get started on Christmas shopping and D and Boo wanting to check out as many tasting rooms and brew pubs as possible, we were in for a full weekend. What we did have consensus on, was that it was the last weekend of Restaurant Week for the Downtown Duluth Restaurants and we were determined to visit as many of these on that list too.

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We were delighted with our Air B n B, a two bedroom house perched high on Observation Hill in Duluth. We did have a tricky time finding it and accessed the home from a back lane that was not in the greatest shape. D and the Frenchman headed out for some breakfast supplies while Boo and I got ready for the evening. Once the fellas returned home we made the decision to let someone else do the driving.

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There was snow in the forecast and taking on the vertical streets was no easy fete even on bare concrete. Besides fare to downtown was only $10!

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I zoomed in on the drawbridge that is the symbol of the city from our bedroom window (hence the grid of the screen).

We started with some shopping in the Canal Park area and then scooched over for dinner at Bellisio Restaurant & Wine Bar.

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Since the majority of the weekend was to be devoted to beer, we decided to try Bellisio’s wine flights. D chose a Tuscan flight and I a Merlot one.

Last year the Downtown Restaurant offers included soup, salad and an entrée at Bellisio’s. This year it was limited to the entrée and a dessert.

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D chose the pan-fried pickerel (called walleye in Minnesota)

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and I the chicken pancetta which was lovely and light with a broth sauce.

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I had a taste of the delicious tiramisu but knew that it would put me over the top.

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We stopped first at the Hoops Brewery, but the service was lacking and no one ever greeted us or took our order so we meandered instead to the Canal Park Brewery. They had a restaurant license and the food being delivered to surrounding tables looked exceptional. There were some interesting beer tastes, particularly the IPAs which were very distinctive.

The next morning the guys walked down the hill to fetch Starbucks coffee. We could hear them when they arrived back as they were really huffing and puffing from the exertion of the vertical terrain.

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We split up to do more shopping on Saturday morning but reconvened at lunch time taking in another featured restaurant-Toasty’s. The restaurant space was kind of dark and not terribly inspiring but the food was terrific. We started with French onion soup made with one of the local beers and then moved onto cheesy BLTs.

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For dessert we enjoyed an interesting take on bread pudding.

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Bent Paddle was our afternoon destination. D had taking their beer tour the year prior. If recollected accurately, Bent Paddle was the brewery that kick started the craft beer industry in Duluth.  The rather large facility was absolutely packed on a Saturday afternoon with many tables playing board games. The number of craft breweries matched Winnipeg’s number but remember that Duluth is 1/10th the size of our fair city!

We took a breather over snacks at our Air B n B, deciding that a house instead of a hotel room was the way to go, especially at a time when you want to gather together. The living room was so comfortable and preferable to sitting on beds in a hotel.

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We had one last brewery to check out so we determined our supper destination based on walking distance to The Blacklist, as we were cabbing it again. The Black Water Lounge was dark and cozy but we thought that the servers wearing bustiers deserved a change in uniforms. The low lighting made photographs impossible. We were quite delighted with lobster bites, blue cheese stuffed shrimp and a huge filet of smoked salmon. These we complemented by signature martinis.

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The Blacklist is Duluth’s newest brewery and was also packed. Unfortunately the live band was not conducive to visiting, so we stayed long enough for another couple of flights and headed “home”. In spite of tasting some very distinctive beer, we concluded that Winnipeg’s local brews were just as fine, if not more so.

Back at the house, D watched the Phoenix vs Jets game and filled me in on the score in the morning. After another jaunt to Starbucks on foot, we completed another round of shopping.

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Since we were no longer downtown we were just looking for a spot with wholesome food. Grandma’s Saloon and Grill  on Miller Hill did the trick.

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D selected the chicken pot pie that was so huge, he requested a to go container and we finished it later in the car.

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I decided to get back to my regular eating habits and chose this chicken and wild rice salad (besides I knew that there would be kettle chips in the car for the journey home). D was able to catch the first 1/4 of the Vikings game on TV and then the rest of it on the radio in the car home. Duluth was such a distance though that we also had the time to listen to the Bomber play off game too. Calculating the tally of our favourite teams: Jets win, Vikings win and Bomber lost. Two out of three ain’t bad.

Kath’s quote: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy“. -Benjamin Franklin

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

Food Bloggers Canada Conference 2017-Part Three

November8

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Our final morning started off with a nutritious breakfast of a spinach egg and red pepper patty and pretty fruit.

The morning was filled with general sessions and then Meliisa and Ethan the founders of Food Bloggers Canada took the stage. Although this may sound ridiculous to some (including my fellow food bloggers), the highlight of every conference for me is the location announcement of the next year’s conference. During Melissa and Ethan’s concluding comments, they announced that 2018’s conference would be a cross country road trip! Since the logistics are not yet work out, dates and locations will determine where and if I can travel to the conference. The good news though is that there will be a stop in Winnipeg and I am excited about helping where I can with the planning and showing off our fabulous city.

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By this time it was our final lunch sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Canada. Satiated, I decided that it was time to get out for a walk to see Ottawa again. I had only visited once before when I was a part of a government sponsored student exchange program.

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You can likely see how struck I was by the beauty of the city.

I didn’t have a plane to catch until supper time Monday so good friend and fellow blogger Marlene and I became roomies and decided on supper. See El Camino link here.

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The next day we did even more eating, starting with Good Eats and Wilfred’s at the Chateau Laurier. in addition to more chatting and more walking around the city including By Ward Market.

The learning and networking that I get to do on these conferences is motivation enough to attend. But in truth, it is the friendships that keep me coming back year after year. Carol, Kim, Joanne and Marlene, we met because of a mutual love of food but it is simply love that bonds us now.

Kath’s quote: “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” ― George Bernard Shaw

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Love never fails.

 

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