Thursday, June 30, 2016

Visiting Jacques-Cartier National Park

Good Morning Luvs,


On our way up...Hello Puppy!
What do you see? Comment below.
Had a time trying to go through pictures last night to add to this blog. When so much beauty surrounds you you not only feel it in your heart and soul, but you feel the need to document all of it in some way. At leasr that is how this boggled mind works. I have decided to add some in collage form in order to share more with you. If you would ever like to see something individually please comment below.
The view when coming up to
the visitor's center.

For as long as the Hubster and I have been together we have enjoyed visiting National Parks. We've continued visiting them after both kiddos came along. Most of the time we stick to a budget so it is important that we really get a bang for our buck when we pay. I can tell you wholeheartedly that this park was worth it! Since we were not doing the specialized activites we were able to enter with a pass for adults at $8 each (Canadian vs. $6.16 U.S.). Children under 17 are allowed in for free. This enabled us to take advantage of the trails and river access. To save yourself some money I suggest bringing lunch/dinner/snack with you. There are lots of picnic tables available to use. The best ones that worked visually for us were the ones on the bridge that lead to the trail we hiked. Oh, and going on an off day will allow you to feel as if the trail belongs only to YOU!
Bridge goodness!


Signs of life were all around!
The name of the park we visited is the Jacques-Cartier National Park. It is located about an hour from our airbnb. The landscape we found all around us made the travel time fly by. The park is named after the explorer who claimed what is now Canada for France by following the Saint Lawrence River in search of The New World. If you would like to know more about him visit:

https://www.google.ca/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=who%20is%20jacques%20cartier



Water, mountains, and trees...
Bliss!!!!
Once we entered the park we drove another 10 kilometers (just over 6 miles) to the visitor's area. Here you could learn a little more about the area, sit and take a gander at the river, pick up anything from hummus to turkey sandwiches (and crazy looking Sponge Bob ice creams). It is also a gift shop where you can grab a walking stick that starts off in three pieces that you put together. One thing we have noticed at all of the places we've been that offer souvenirs are wooden spoon instruments. They had them at most places in Quebec City. When I find out why I will share with you. Anyone from Canada reading this please comment below if you know the reason why. I am sure other readers would appreciate it. Last but not least, they had maple products (syrup, candy, soap, etc.)!

Headed back down with kiddos.
Picture courtesy of Hubster.
With beams of light I am
recharged.
We asked the gentleman at the entrance what he suggested in regard to trails with our time allotment. one of the ones he mentioned was The Cascades. It was about 3 miles and had some challenging climbing areas. I managed this time to keep a consistent pace that did not wind myself. The trail was in pretty good condition. If I had to rate it against the places we have been thus far...I would say that it is in the top 3. The trail starts off with the view of the Jacques-Cartier River to your right. About midway through you start to hear the water cascading down. The trail runs in a loop (or slight horseshoe) shape. When we reached the top there was a wonderful bridge that crosses the water which at the time was running strong and fast. If you have difficulty viewing the video of the cascading water below please pop onto instagram/twitter (@katsmeoww11) and facebook (www.facebook.com/katsmeoww11). While there please consider following. I would appreciate your support. 
The rush of water cascading down...

Now...about the bugs!!! If there was any downside to the trail it was the bugs. The gnats, mesquitoes, and flies were an issue. On the trail they were in abundance. Going into our ears, nose, (with multiple attempts) our mouths. If you do not like bugs consider taking precautions like bug spray, a net hat, or dryer sheets (rub them on exposed areas and keep in pockets...for mesquitoes especially). You will be glad you did.

One option you might consider (especially if you have someone who cannot hike) is driving around then across the river (there is a bridge to do so. A small road on the rivier side of the center allows you to do so. We drove it and witnessed a river so still that it looked like a lake. Tried to get out and hike further down but decided to run back to the car when the swarms of bugs surrounded us! Once we were in the car they hovered around....it was hilariously similar to the bug equivalent of the 'Birds' movie!
Something was DEFINITELY
wrong with him!

The preview to the sunset's
majesty

We then went back to the center and picked up ice creams for the kids. Check out the picture of a malformed Sponge Bob! He ended up falling off right away because he was lopsided. The Hubster went back in, and they replaced it without question.


As we drove home we ended up receiving a speacial treat. The sunset was like one I have only seen in someone else's photos or in a movie. It looked as if the sky was on fire. The red and orange (with small areas of pinkand purple) were awe inspiring....and of course...I share them with you!

Got brighter and brighter...
Til next time,

Kat

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At last....at full glory!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Hi Ho...Hi Ho...It's hiking we will go!

The information sign at the
beginning of the trail...which

is transcanadian and allows
you to hike across Canada.
Hello Luvs,

The sign announcing the
turn in to the trail.
Today finds us with a breeze coming in through the windows we have open. Mostly grey sky, but the sun is making a valiant effort to win them over. I thought I would share another hiking experience we had as a family. This one took place yesterday. There were frogs, snails, slugs, butterflies, moss, bouncy terrain, a lookout to die for, several waterfalls (of varying sizes), and to top it off a scary asthma attack on my end. Yay!

The name of the trail was the Sentier Louise Gasnier . We came across it while taking a leisurely drive north of our airbnb. I had explored Le Massif last week but had not ventured the additional ten minutes to reach this divine trail. The location looks as if there is snoaboarding nearby in the winter season. There was an actual metal statue at the beginning that emphasized this.
On the lookout for a moose
and found this adorable
little thing...

The trail we took had us going by a logging location....complete with a sign warning you of the possibility of being shot if you wandered into the wrong spot. Luckily the rest of the trail was well marked so there was no chance of us doing that. As we ventured about a 1.5 miles in we crossed at least eight bridges of all sizes. My favorites were the ones with caramel brown wood posts and metal lines. They were all solid while at the same time gorgeous....as a nature bridge can be when done right.
These were my favorite bridges
we came across...

Of course the kiddos managed to find the most adorable frog. As you can wee...he was hanging on to Baby Boy's finger for dear life. Many of the snails were perfectly camouflauged in color. The slugs did an even better job. We were fortunate not wander onto the path of a moose or bear (which are in the area). 
An example of a well made
bridge/walkway.

As we climbed further and further down (knew it would be a challenge climbing back up) it became even more beautiful. The sound of cars we heard toward the beginning were now gone and all we could hear were the sounds of nature as it surrounded us like a comfortable blanket. We came across a look out spot with a nice bench and railing which both appeared well looked after. You can see a picture of both (along with the adorable graphic announcing it's location) below.
Kiddos klimbing!!!

Since the Hubster need to be back at a certain time to train someone we looked for a perfect place to stop, take in waterfall/nature goodness and head back. At this location I recorded the waterfall for your enjoyment. I will upload it to instagram/twitter (@katsmeoww11) and facebook (www.facebook.com/katsmeoww11).

Beautiful from all sides...
Now for the really fun part. I should first say that we had smelled something burning the night before on a walk around the rivers edge (pictures on instagram, facebook, and twitter-@katsmeoww11). There has also been something floating in the air that I am more than likely allergic to. Well, about fifteen minutes into the trip back I started to have breathing problems. My heart wanted to jump out of my chest, could barely catch my breath, and my head was heavy. Not wanting to scare Baby Girl (Hubster and Baby Boy were further along racing) I let her know when I needed to stop. The further I went...the more I couldn't breathe. Luckily we caught up with the boys and Hubster immediately knew something was wrong. He could hear it as I tried to manage it. I stopped and tried to get a grasp on my breathing. He walked behind me, and I took my time. Of course I did not have my inhaler with me (lesson learned!) because I had not experienced an episode in several months. When we got back to where we entered the trail we saw in the distance that something was being burned. So, I believe it was a combination of air quality, allergies, and exertion. Pretty sure that you would not make the same mistake if you have this affliction. When you do, take your inhaler with you. Better to have and not need it than find yourself in need and not have it.
Some of the gorgeous spirit candy
we saw along the way.

All in all I would say it was a great outing. We discovered a wonderful trail around thirty minutes away. If you are ever in the vicinity we highly recommend taking advantage of this FREE trail.

Til next time,

Kat

Monday, June 27, 2016

St-Jean-Baptiste Day in Quebec City

Happy Monday Luvs,


Quebec City off in the distance...
This blog is a few days overdue, and coming to you at last! I am finding it challenging to keep up to date because there are so many beautiful places and experiences we have had choosing one is not easy. I like the idea of writing blogs about our experiences just as much as reading another's blog. It is a way to feel supportive and be exposed to something you may not be able to do. It might be because it is happening in another country or it could be because of funds. We try to find things to do as a family that are low or no cost. This trip happened to have two costs....gas and food. So, if you ever have questions about expense please ask. Now on to the good stuff.


Steeples are all around us.

As it turns out we are in Canada for two major holidays. The first is St.-Jean-Baptiste Day (La fête nationale) and the other is Canada Day. I will be sure to blog about the latter after it happens. For today I wanted to share with you our time spent in Quebec City for SJB Day. It is a day to celebrate the Jewish preacher who baptised Jesus in the River Jordan, and celebrated by French Canadians.



Are they going to the city? Hummm
While watching tv (which most channels are in French so it provides a chance to learn new words!) the news channel was promoting the Inauguration of the Quebec National Arts Museum's (https://www.mnbaq.org/en) new addition named Pavillion of Pierre Lassonde. It was a lofty build that had an underground walkway and glass as it's primary means to experience both the inside and outside simultaneously. The film shown in the auditorium informed us that a New York firm was chosen to design the structure. Boy did they hit the nail on the head!


Time to go in...
Dreams take flight!
The crowd was large and hard to navigate especially while Raôul Duguay à Webster was performing accompanied by a pianist. The crowd was singing along and the area was gleeful. The Hubster commented that it felt like a movie scene. He was so right....when he concluded his call and repeat the thunder of clapping was electric. He is a well known artist and it showed. There were others who performed before, but we were unable to catch them.

One thing that did happen that we were extremely bummed about missing was the speech given by the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He is a wonder, and we are big fans of his. Since Quebec is in the French speaking part of Canada the crowd briefly booed him for speaking in English for some of it. In many ways I understand....even though there were people who traveled to Quebec from other areas (like us) and are trying to learn French being able to understand part of it was probably appreciated. That said....this is the biggest day in Quebec and they take it seriously. One cool thing was that this is the only day where metered parking is free...yay!
The kids were like...creepy!


Look closely now!
Let's talk art. I have included pictures of some. Unfortunately most of the curated pieces did not speak to me. As they say, art is in the eye of the beholder. In all honesty, it was the new building that stole the show. Oh, there was an installation that filled one room. The artist has a piece in the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham, North Carolina. He is Canadian, and it was good to see that he had such a large piece here in his home country, The piece was on the dark side but forced you to explore each section and keep looking. 
This was located on the back side.



It was quite large.
After a couple of hours the kids were ready to eat. We slowly made our way to the food area. While doing so we came across bands, performance artists, and painters producing pieces. One of the bands performing on the street had a singer who had a voice that was a mixture of blues and jazz. While they played two couples were swing dancing. When we arrived to the main street I was immediately struck by the design of the street lights. They were bright, big, and very artistic. The city had placed seating areas with circular astroturf and chairs. Businesses were hopping! After checking out menus of different places we settled on finding something at a place which seemed to be in a small mall. We grabbed sandwiches on baguettes. They hit the spot for sure. YUM! Between yummms and sharing we people watched and talked about our favorite part(s) of the day up til then.
Aren't they perrrty!

We decided to go back to the museum and checking out the area that existed previously. This part was also beautiful. There was a lot of wood in a medium brown (is there such a thing?) and the stairs were grand.
Baby Girl and I heading back to
the car. In front of us? The new
building. Yes! Have parasol will travel!

All in all it was a wonderful trip. Just beings in Canada for this special day was amazing. The building's beauty will grace our minds for a long time.

Til next time,

Kat

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The architecture is to die for!

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Our Visit to Beaupré, Québec

Hello Luvs,

Isn't she grand!
Saint Anne....
Sorry I was unable to post this yesterday. I was not only zonked but had some tech issues. I wanted to show you a few snap shots of our visit not only to the Basilica of Saint-Anna-de-Beaupré but the adorable streets and buildings that surround it.




The view of the eastern side
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Beautiful murals on the east side of
the Basilica's museum.
We drove past the Basilica many times while traveling back and forth to Québec and/or the local shops for groceries. It is tremendous in stature and even grander when stepping closer to her. They tell the story of the first hotel and pilgrims who settled here. Because I find that adding several pictures causing a glitch I decided to add most of them as collages. They tell the story in muted colors. If you would like any of them posted individually let me know.
Pics of the interior...



The one thing we did notice was that no one else was taking a moment to admire them. Most went straight to the Basilica or souvenir shop. The tour bus guides did not either. It was an interesting thing to note.

We stepped into the Basilica and were blown away by it's beauty. The colors, murals, and ceiling were all tremendously beautiful. Though I follow a spiritual path versus religious I still had to nod my head at the amazing work that went into it.


When leaving we decided to take a stroll past the water fountain and down the street that was parallel. When doing so we came across the Museum of the Edison Phonograph and insane architecture. We could imagine the first settlers/pilgrims wandering down the small street and climbing the spiral staircases. That is what dumbfounded us....the murals were our guide in connecting to that past. Still...it was a wonderful couple of hours and we are glad we did it.
Steeples reaching toward the sky
through the trees.

Til next time,

Kat

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Oh the colors!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Blog Mantra "If I can do it so can YOU!"

Hello Luvs,


Had to make sure the
lattee was at the ready!
I hope that your weekend has started off on a good note. Also, may the weather cool down and your dreams ignite. Now....I will have two blogs coming your way tonight. So please make sure to check back later to read all about our trip to the Basilica of Saint Anne de Beaupre located in Beaupre, Quebec!

On the weekends I typically prepare a brunch meal. Today I made a fritatta. It turned out perfectly with all of it thoroughly devoured. Since I am novice and learning with each meal I thought I would share how I prepared it step by step. It follows the mantra "If I can do it...so can you!" After reading be sure to bookmark the blog so it is ready when you take a stab at preparing it. I would love feedback and/or comments that will let me know how it went for you. HAPPY COOKING!



Ingredients needed:

meat (optional)- I used bacon, you can use salmon or another that suits your taste.
olive oil
potatoes- any kind will do/ I used 3 medium sized but up to 6 would work 
veggies- today I added locally grown white mushrooms and spinach
eggs- I typically use 6 for a family of four
3 tbsps milk
salt
pepper- I use a pepper grinder
garlic- freshly minced or powder
cheese- I used brie, a cheddar mix, and a local stringed variety
large skillet
small bowl
Smoked bacon today...
medium bowl
whisk
spatula
chopping knife
spoon for stirring

Chopped, oiled, and seasoned
Directions in steps: If preparing vegetarian version skip to step 2.

1- Cook bacon at medium heat. Once cooked place the bacon on a paper towel to catch any grease left after cooking. Make sure to drain the grease between each batch if you have more than one. Today I cooked 6 strips.

Ready for cookin'
2- While meat is cooking cut up the potatoes into cubes, place in medium bowl and drizzle enough olive oil to coat all the cubes. Season with a thin layer of salt, pepper, and garlic. Set it to the side.

Veggies cleaned and ready!
3- Once meat is all finished drain out remaining bacon grease. Pour prepared potatoes into skillet and arrange in a flat layer to ensure even cooking. Turn every 3-4 minutes until browned.

4- While potatoes are cooking cut up mushrooms (or whatever veggies you have chosen). Set aside.

Eggs purchased from a neighbor.
5- Crack eggs into small bowl. Add salt, pepper, garlic, and milk. Whisk until blended.
Browned and ready!


Eggs poured over potatoes.
Cheese...YYYuuummm!




Fritatta after placed in the oven.
6- When the potatoes have browned arrange them back into a layer and pour egg mixture on top. Using the handle tip the pan slightly in a small circle to allow an even distribution.

7- Top egg and potato with meat and veggies.

8- Set your oven to broil setting (make sure the rack is on the top rail).

Side view....
         9- Top the fritatta with cheese(s).

Table all set!
10- Once it looks as if the edges of the egg layer is close to solid place the skillet in the oven with the door slightly open. When the top has started to brown remove from oven. You should notice that the fritatta has risen.



11- Cool for 3-4 minutes, slice like a pizza, and ENJOY!


Would not be the same without fruit!
*It would mean so much to me if you would leave a comment about your experience with the recipe. I will be doing additional recipe posts in the future so be sure to subscribe!

Till next time,

Kat

Update! Had tech difficulty so my St. Anne blog will be posted tomorrow.