Gluten Free Jordan, Niagara and Buffalo

Where to start because posts about our trip would not be complete without news of the food and WHAT food!


1. On the Twenty (located right across the road from the inn)

Everymorning I was able to enjoy gluten free bread and jam as well as fresh fruit, bacon and eggs.  Now I don’t eat eggs (allergy) but they did offer to make them up for me.  They actually had two types of bread a gluten free multi grain and a delicious sesame seed bread.  A great start to each day.

We had our actual anniversary dinner here too and I basically had my pick of the menu.  Our waitress informed me that they could make a gluten free version of most anything on the menu.  My mouth was instantly watering and I was not disappointed.

Warm gluten free bread served at the same time as Glenn’s plate of sour dough.

The “Amuse-Bouche”.  Cheese, wine jelly, apple slices with balsamic vinegar. 

I chose the boneless Prime Rib.  It was HUGE and juicy and tender.  The potatoes were done to perfection.

There were multiple options for my dessert but I settled on the blueberry coconut cheesecake.  I have never had a cheesecake made with a toasted coconut base before.  I didn’t miss the cookies at all.

2. For lunch on our anniversary we decided to try the little cafe beside the hotel. The Zooma Zooma resto and wine bar. It was hopping but we were able to get a table tucked in a nice cozy corner.  There was a smaller selection, but then it is a smaller place.  I settled on a salad and their fresh fries with sea salt, curry mayo and smoked ketchup.  I was a bit worried at the size of the serving when it arrived but there were none left by the end.  They were delightfully salty.

Niagara on the Lake:

1. We stopped in at the Irish Tea Room and picked up some desserts to enjoy in our little courtyard.  Unfortunately we ate them before I thought to take any pictures.  🙁  Ooops.

2. We walked about 15 minutes off of the main street to a small restaurant called Stone Road Grille (yes, on Stone Road).  It didn’t look like much on the outside and I must admit that I was a bit worried.  My worries fled once we walked inside and smellt the air.  Mmmm.  You just knew that the food was going to be good.  Multiple choices and a well versed staff were the icing on the cake.  They even had desserts but we had passed an ice cream parlour en route that we wanted to try.  I don’t think that I would take the girls here but if we ever go back on a couple’s outing I will be keeping them in mind.

Roasted sweet corn soup served chilled.  Very refereshing.

This is pork tenderloin cooked in a sous-vide.  Man was it tender; melt in your mouth tender.  The beans were super fresh as well and the sauce, well it was like eating essence of porky goodness.

3.Il Gelato Di Carlota – Latteria is the ice cream parlour that we passed while walking to the restaurant.  Now we were stuffed from dinner but I can’t pass up a chance to try a gluten free waffle cone imported from Italy.  Neither the gelato or cone disappointed.  I must point out how awesome my hubby is.  He got his gelato in a GF cone as well so that I could sample his too.

The sign in the bottom left corner was advertising the gluten free cones.

They had a really nice selection of flavours. The flavour board clearly showed which flavours were not gluten free so it was easy to order.

Strawberry (it tasted like fresh picked berries) and Dark Chocolate.

Niagara Falls:

There are a surprising number of options available for celiac dinners along Clifton Hill – Boston Pizza, Outback are two.  We spotted a restaurant at the bottom of the hill with a sign out front advertising that they had gluten free options.  How could we pass up the chance to try a new restaurant?  So in we went to Ruby Tuesdays for lunch.  They had a reasonable menu and I settled on the children’s burger.  I think that if I had gone with the adult burger it would have been a bit juicier ( in all fairness the waiter did mention that but I wasn’t super hungry) but the burger bun was almost normal so I enjoyed it.


We went to PF Changs (which I have been wanting to try for ages) while at the Walden Galleria Mall.  Looking at their GF options on the menu brought a huge smile to my face.  Great selection.  They brought me gluten free sauces and made sure that I was aware not to use the ones in the middle of the table.  Once again Glenn showed just how super he is.  He chose to get his dish done with the gluten free soy sauce so that we could sample each others meals.  Authentic chinese it is not but it is a really nice North American version of Chinese food.  I could easily see myself taking the girls here.

An Anniversary Trip for Two

After 15 years married and 21 together, Glenn still knows how to make me feel special.  One way is to plan a trip for two without the girls.  He put a lot of thought into it and it turned out to be a wonderful grown-up version of our honeymoon (aka nice jacuzzi tub as opposed to heart shaped jacuzzi tub).  We spent three nights at the Inn on the Twenty in peaceful Jordan, Ontario where we got to sleep in EVERy morning (no 5:30 bathroom wake up calls!).  We also drank copious amounts of locally produced Cave Springs wine…mmmm.  Most importantly we smiled, relaxed in the little courtyard garden and talked.

On our actual anniversary we went for a small hike, as I had broken my toe the previous week, at the Balls Falls Conservation Area.  It was beautiful.  I only wish that my toe had been healed so that we could have gone on a longer hike.  We did manage to fill the extra time with a tour of the Cave Springs winery and a wine tasting.  Did I mention…mmmm.  It was wonderful.

They had a really nice display of needlework.

We met this little guy along the way.  Thought he was a rabbit at first.

The day before Glenn took me gluten free shopping in the States which might not sound that romantic but really it is.  Over the course of our marriage he has seen me grown into my food issues and knows first hand how much food means to me.  So, he took me to buy GF Bisquick, cereal and cake mix.  While there I discovered that Pillsbury is now making tubs of GF pizza dough, pastry and cookie dough but I couldn’t buy those as we were not heading directly home.  We did stop in Niagara on the Lake for dinner and I got a really pretty new hat.

The hatty couple (but only mine is new)

We did the Falls themselves on our last day as that is when we actually arrived 15 years ago.  It was kinda neat to be there stolling around as we had done years before.  That said, by the end of the day we were really missing our girls (who had spent the time with my parents – thank you mom and dad) so off we headed up north to have a family dinner and pick them up.

Believe it or not this little oasis is at the foot of Clifton Hill.

A little Prince and a weekend adventure

Okay, I had a hat for the royal wedding so why would the birth of our newest prince be any different?  Well, a little different in that I got them for the girls too!  Tomorrow I will do our nails blue in honour of it being a boy.  Hey, if you don’t make a celebration out of the small things it will all get lost in translation.  Besides, aren’t they adorable in their fascinators?

We all look a bit tired as we had just gotten home from quite the girls’ weekend in Ottawa.  Had tons of fun but missed Baba like crazy. (Everything is just that bit more fun with him around.)  Where was he?  Taking some needed time alone to recharge and simultaneously finishing a to-do list from me.  🙂

We started the weekend with an ice show at skating camp.  It was a bit beyond Elspeth this year so she had the day off and got to watch the show.  Katrine was beyond excited to perform and Elspeth was equally excited for two reasons: 1. She got to frantically wave at Katrine and 2. Santa was out on the ice skating because the show’s theme was Christmas in July (She was very surprised that he knew how to skate and kept trying to get him to wave at her.).    After the show we drove way too long through the rain before arriving safe and sound at our hotel.

Saturday was spent with some of Katrine’s China family.  Katrine got to spend time with three of her “sisters” while Elspeth met her birthday twin and twin’s younger brother.  There was swimming, swinging, toad finding, sparklers and the stuff that summer memories are made of.  Katrine even slept over that night and she left wearing a huge smile the next morning declaring “I have the best China family EVER!”  Everytime that we get together with her extended family I am reminded of how blessed we are to have been bound to them by the invisible red thread of adoption.

Sunday I braved driving in to downtown Ottawa to take the girls to the Museum of Civilization in the morning.  We only did the Children’s Museum section, on purpose.  I figured that two kids and one of me would equal all of us being done sooner rather than later and I was correct.  By the time we were finished exploring just the one section of the museum they were DONE and so was I.  That said, it was awesome.  They played with shadow puppets and a theater style sound system.  The created potatoe sack puppets and ran a clothing store.  Play, play, play.  There can never be too much of that.

Next we headed back across the river to Byward Market where we met Glenn’s uncle and cousin for lunch.  Poor duo were covered in Hello Kitty stickers by the end of lunch but they were really good sports (thanks).  After lunch it was time to explore downtown on foot.  A highlight was walking along the Ottawa River and the lock system.  Elspeth really enjoyed the simple pleasure of throwing stones into the river.  She would grin each time one actually hit the water.  Katrine was absolutely fascinated by the loch system.  Thank goodnes Uncle Darren was there to explain how it worked.  His explanations cleared alot up whereas mine would have left many gaps in understanding.

Of course it was a hot day so we had to get some refreshments as we walked.  This fresh squeezed lemonade with ice did the trick and we were able to climb up to the top of the hill to the parliment buildings.  Our pair love fountains and the eternal flame was no different.  Katrine once again had her uncle explaining how it worked while her sister was staring at the various coins in the fountain.

After a much needed quiet evening at the hotel, we spent our final day in Ottawa with a university chum of mine and her daughter.  I was able to spend quality time getting caught up while the girls drew, played and ate giant ice cream cones.

The icing on the cake was the arrival of our little prince and the cherry was coming back home to Baba hugs.  The one thing we missed doing was visiting Glenn’s cousin and their new baby boy.  This didn’t happen because I got lost too many times this weekend.  I think that fate was trying to tell me that it is time I get a phone with GPS.  Maybe next time though…when I have my phone!


Some Summer Skating

Now normally, one doesn’t associate summer and skating but this is our family so it goes without saying that there is still skating.  Summer camps infact for both girls.  While Katrine is going full time, Elspeth only goes for the last hour.  That way she doesn’t bother me with a zillion questions about why her sister is skating and she is not.  Both girls are having a lot of fun and with our recent heat wave even I have been enjoying the frosty arena.

Skatey Katrine:

She continues to work towards her double toe, loop and flip as well as her solo (which she loves).  This week at camp they are putting on a show.  The theme is Christmas in July so we had to dig around tonight to find a suitably red top.  Poor thing will have to ride to skating in black skating pants in the heat.  The sacrifices of a performer.  🙂

We managed to get the dress issue sorted out.  We first ordered the dress in May and it arrived in June.  There was a problem though.  It was HUGE.  Turns out that a Ladies dress was shipped instead of Katrine’s.  The store sorted it all out right quick and we picked up the proper size this past weekend.  It fits like a dream and looks good when she is skating.  Now it is time for me to work my magic and bling it.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that I am up to the challenge as well as able to get it done on time.

Yes, pink and orange.  Not two colours I would have thought to buy for her but Katrine’s coach was right and they look great.


That’s our girl in the black sweater.  She is too fast the rest of the time so this is about the only photo I have.

Skatey Elspeth:

Okay she may be skating everyday but her goal is having fun and she is.  (She is also learning but really it is about the fun.)  Today she got so hot that she ditched her sweater in favour of short sleeves.


Y stand…with some help

If she continues to skate I do think that she will end up in pairs.

A Rainy Summer’s Day

Well, what is a family to do on a rainy summer’s day?  Why go out for a walk of course.  Luckily for us it was only drizzling.


The girls had a lot of fun watching the various types of birds swimming on the lake.  They also watched snails Those you see in the hand were actually picked up by one of my girl friend’s sons.  Neither girl is particularly fond of bugs.  Katrine enjoys reading books about them and Elspeth is no longer totally terrified but that said, they could easily do without seeing them…with the exception of snails apparently.  They also had fun getting dirty climbing the tree.

Me?  Well, I got the chance to get some fresh air while getting caught up with an old friend.  A great morning outing topped off with a slushie on the way to skating camp.

Another weekend, Another Reunion

This seems to be the summer of reunions.  Thankfully, both have been a lot of fun and neither was rained on.  The reunion this past weekend was for Elspeth’s China family.  Both girls have been blessed with families who want to try and foster strong connections between the children.  They have also been blessed with truly great China sisters and brothers.  These kids are so much fun to be around and we are honoured to watch them grow up.  Luckily the grownups that go along with said children are equally as fun.

Altogether this made for a Saturday full of smiles and laughter….oh and a slew of balloons being taken to my backyard for the heck of it.

Canada Day and a Family Reunion

What a weekend! We began by driving up to my parents bright and early on Saturday morning so that we could get things set up before the parade.  We got done just in time and enjoyed the parade with family.  My dad and his group the Loyal Order of the Pumpkin were back in the parade.  The girls were super pleased to cheer on their grandpa.  And as you can see in the photo, he was thrilled to have so much family support for his efforts.  Oh, and did you notice my nails?

This is the second time that Elspeth has celebrated Canada Day but the first time that she has done so as a citizen.  We went all out to celebrate these two occassions at once.

As the parade and community barbeque were over, we headed back to my parents’ house to welcome even more family.  The last time that we got together as a group was about 7 years ago and that was without our family from Florida.  This weekend, however, saw all of us (minus 3 second cousins and spouses and their 4 children) together.  I love my family.  We are an entertaining bunch.  When I think back on my childhood, Christmas eve comes to mind.  Driving in a car squished between my Nana and brother driving to a family party.  As soon as we walked in there was my great aunt and uncle to greet us along with the rest of the family.  I remember visiting another great uncle and dancing for him while being scared of his yapping dog.  I remember funerals, weddings, birthdays and showers.  At each one I felt safe, loved and happy.  I wanted that to gift that sense of belonging to my two so when my cousin suggested a reunion I jumped on the band wagon (Thank you Gil).  I am so very glad I did.

While I visited and organized (because no reunion is without it’s hiccups), the girls ran around with family.  They played fight the zombies, tag, frisbie, bury our cousin in the sand…pretty much, you name it and it was played.  Most importantly they smiled and laughed.  This afternoon after we got home and had unpacked Elspeth asked where her friends were.

Elspeth was lucky enough to find people who were willing to let her “tie” their shoes.  She never got it quite right but boy was she focused.   

Today? Actual Canada Day? After a bit more playtime and some clean up we headed home amidst the traffic. Neither girl wanted to leave. However, their sadness was short lived as once we had unpacked there was a knock on the door. The girls were invited to go just down the street to a friend’s house to pick cherries. Even though we didn’t make it to the fireworks tonight, cherry picking ended the day on a high note.