After 15 years of marriage, we finally ventured back to my homeland for a vacation with the whole family. It was one I’d been looking forward to for a very long time and it didn’t disappoint. It was very busy and the kids didn’t love driving all over the place constantly, but they were troopers and had a great time along the way.
Layover in Chicago meant melt in your mouth “chicago-mix” popcorn (read: cheddar and caramel mix
It’s an old cottage with old stuff and it smells funny, but I adore it because it’s charming somehow and holds so many memories for me. You can imagine my joy when the kids walked through door and exclaimed “It smells so old! I LOVE IT!” They fell in love with it just as I have and even now, talk of how they long to go back.
It made me so happy that a lot of the decorative things that are there are the same as when I was growing up!
When we arrived, it was cloudy and cool and sprinkling. That didn’t stop us from getting on our swimsuits and jumping in the cool water to play. We swam and floated around until we were cold. Kevin & I played catch.
After two fun-filled days of sand and “sea” (bay), we headed to my Grandparents house for a visit.
Nana took the opportunity right away to have some “girl” time. She gave each of us girls some special pieces of jewelry that were hers. I have her pearl necklace and earrings that Papa had made for her. I also have her charm bracelet that I always remember her wearing as I was growing up.
Papa had seen Kevin making pancakes on the blog and decided he and Kev would make some together. We had yummy pancakes, drowning in fresh Canadian maple syrup 😉
Time for the ladies to go shopping!
Nana and Papa treated us to the Mandarin for Annika’s birthday lunch. We ate ourselves silly and enjoyed every minute of this fabulous chinese buffet. It’s also been a favorite of mine since I was young. Annika got the special treatment of wearing this fabulous chinese hat and having a sundae.
I love these two so much!!!!
As if the Mandarin wasn’t enough, Nana also bought Annika a birthday cake. The kids were spoiled rotten the entire time…Papa offered to put cream on Kevin’s cereal, Nana slathered Tasha’s toast in butter and we ate until we looked like Oompa Loompa’s!
We were driving to our next stop, when we happened to pass this convenience store. I couldn’t believe it was still there! I used to ride my bike there as a child and spend all of my coins on their 5 and 10-cent candy! Ammon pulled a u-turn and made sure we stopped to take a photo…and buy a bunch of candy 😉
Next stop was to my old riding teacher, Frank Grelo at Grelo Farms.
It was a dream fulfilled for me because I had quit riding with Frank far too soon and always regretted it.
After leaving Franks place and grabbing lunch, we headed to meet my Mom’s side of the family in a park. We were about halfway there, when Annika realized she’d left her purse at the restaurant. Luckily, it was still there and we were able to retrieve it. Thankfully, my sweet extended family was kind enough to wait for us!
My Aun Marilyn picked up some things for the kids. So thoughtful!
My cousin Rebecca
The whole gang
My cousin Maureen and her friend Cheryl.
My cousin Reena
My cousin Ron and his wife Lisa
My Uncle Steve and Aunt Eileen
This place has been here since the 50’s I guess. Cute little hot dog place. My hot dog wasn’t great, but I guess its more about the experience =)