They’re Back From Quebec!

They’re back from Quebec!!! Thankfully, their early departure from Quebec City got them out before the snowfall started. I figured the big storm that hit the Midwest earlier this weekend would hit the Quebec area today. Luckily, we booked super early flights. Even so they were delayed an hour getting out of Montreal.

The later arrival gave me more time at the gym this morning. I feel like I’m fighting a sinus infection. Since I had no fever and no symptoms below the chest, I opted to hit the gym. I put in thirty minutes on the elliptical and was able to do 4.5 miles in that time. Happily, I can report my knees have improved dramatically week over week. Yay!!!!

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After finishing my run on the elliptical, I made it leg day at the gym. My knees feel much better, but I was careful to pick exercises that did not hurt my knee. I would usually do single leg cable kicks on leg day, but that brought too much discomfort to the knees. Consequently, I skipped the exercise.

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After my workout, I headed to the airport to pick up my boys. It was exciting to watch them land and taxi as I was driving down Southern towards the airport. I quickly parked, as quickly as one can when snow birds are involved, in the short term parking and headed into the terminal.  Fortunately, they were quickly off the plane and so were their bags. Yay! The Mayor wanted Wendy’s, but that was a hard no from both of us. Everyone was exited to see them back home especially the puppies.

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Unfortunately, my hubby had the distinct pleasure of getting to work on the broken items list right away. He immediately tackled the garbage disposal and was able to fix it quickly. Thank goodness! Next up was the air condition. I was pretty sure it was the capacitor that crapped out. Turns out I was right!! Thank you YouTube. He’ll pick up the part tomorrow, so by tomorrow night we should be in the business. Woohoo! It’s great to have him home!

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The rest of the afternoon we spent relaxing and baking. I made my first attempt at an “easy Kouign-Amann” recipe. I’ll be devoting a whole post to it tomorrow. I absolutely loved Quebec City. Moreover, I loved Brittany and Saint Malo. In 2011, we spent some time in Brittany and saw where Cartier sailed from when he discovered Quebec and the Saint Lawrence Seaway. The Breton influence on Quebec is unmistakable.

Speaking of French, I just finished volume one of Proust’s In Search Of Lost Time. While I wait for Amazon to deliver volume two, I’ve started Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. At this point, I’m only ten chapters into the book, but I’m finding it quite enjoyable. I’m off the read, good night my friends!

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Last Day in Quebec

It’s the last day in Quebec for our Florida Bulldogs. They spent the morning at the Ice Hotel right outside the city. When we went in 2016, we were lucky enough to get some snow and see a wedding. From the looks of the pictures, it seems they got some snow this year.

If you’ve never been to an ice hotel or ice bar, it’s definitely worth experiencing once. The beauty of drinks at the ice bar/hotel is they’re always perfectly chilled in their glasses made of ice. As for the kids, they love the hotel’s ice slide. Unlike the Ice Bar in Sweden, the Ice Hotel doesn’t require special gear. Rather you simply enjoy the venue in your regular winter wear.

After the Ice Hotel, they headed to the Patro for lunch before heading back to the hotel. They spent their afternoon at a beautiful park up the hill from the hotel Old Quebec. The rink and surrounding area are absolutely beautiful and the ice is pretty nice. Based on the pictures, it looks like they had a great time.

Afterwards they headed to the rink for the other team’s semi-final game. My Mayor did play by play for the first period, but spent the rest of the game hanging with friends. I couldn’t watch the rest of the broadcast since I was driving to pick up Goalielocks from volunteering.

Unfortunately, the Bulldogs lost the game.  It was a tough one.  Consequently, they were knocked out of the tournament. Post game they went out for pizza. I have so many question about pizza in Quebec based on the restaurant’s sign. I guess it’s not surprise my hubby opted for a calzone instead of pizza.

Meanwhile, we’re still down an A/C unit, freezer and no garbage disposal. I’m sure my hubby can’t wait to get home tomorrow to fix it all. Needless to say, I can’t wait to have my guys back home!

One Week in Quebec

One week in Quebec for the hubby and Mayor. Meanwhile in Florida, the freezer and an AC unit have gone done. I definitely picked the sort straw in this equation. Truly, I’m just happy it’s Friday. It’s been a long week.

As for my Mayor, he and his team had a scrimmage against the Flyers AAA team. It was a completely one-sided game. Until the coaches decided to do mix the teams and do a split squad game. Honestly, these are some of the best game experiences. It’s super cool to have the opportunity to play with new kids in this environment. Also, instead of a blowout game, you get a more even and entertaining game for everyone involved. The kids loved it!  Plus, my boy got a nice goal.

Between the games and in the small amount of downtime the kids have, they spend it hanging out in the hotel. Apparently, my boy even does wake up calls. You can see how the kids are getting progressively more tired as the week has progressed. They follow a pretty rigorous schedule day in and day out. Needless to say, I think they’re sleeping pretty soundly.

My Mayor was so excited today to try sushi for the first time. Consequently, post game my Hubby took him to pick up sushi to go. He grabbed his sushi and headed to the Patro with the rest of his team for dinner. The Hubby meanwhile went out for Mongolian with some of the dads. We can only hope there was no Canadian Whiskey involved.

Here at the homestead, I attempted to flush the AC line. It didn’t work and I got water everywhere. Clearly, I’ll be waiting for my Hubby to fix it upon his return to Florida. Goalielocks set up Doordash, so we had Sushi Yama delivered. I’m far too tired to cook. This weekend I’ll be doing nothing, but relaxing.

Thursday in Quebec

It’s Thursday in Quebec and that meant game two of the tournament. Unfortunately, the squad didn’t have a good morning and was knocked out of the tournament. Fortunately that doesn’t mean the hockey is done for them as they’ll likely have more exhibition games tomorrow and maybe Saturday.

It’s incredibly hard not to be there because it’s such an amazing experience for the kids. Tonight they went out to the skate park in Shannon, Quebec. This place is magnificent. It has hockey rinks, a skating trail and a ice slide. The trail through the woods is beautiful. It could hardly get more picturesque.

As for the hockey, there’s nothing better than watching these Florida kids enjoy hockey as it’s supposed to be. Outside and without all the equipment just like The Hubby and I grew up playing in Minnesota. Incidentally, neither of us had played hockey inside or in full gear until we moved to Florida.

When Goalielocks and I went in 2016, we got some snow. They, however, have mountains of snow. I’m watching the winter storms carefully in case they’re delayed in getting out Sunday. Although I’m sure none of the kids would mind spending more time in Quebec. Lastly, I’m happy to report that the hockey dads have survived the Canadian whiskey and the bromance continues!

Meanwhile in Florida, our AC unit died!

Peewee Quebec Day 4

Peewee Quebec Day 4 was full of hockey and Canadian whiskey. Officially, our boys went 1-1 today in their exhibition games. In their first game versus LSA France, they lost a tough one. It wasn’t even close.

The second game, they played a French team and won handily. It really was the first time this trip, they were able to get their offense going. Of course, my updates ceased in the second period, but that’s a whole different story my Hubby probably doesn’t remember. I love the team picture from the second game. My Mayor has his arm around one of the French players like they’ve been friends for years. This is why Peewee Quebec is the best experience for these kids.

Now back to my Hubby and the lack of updates in game two. One of the beauties of Peewee Quebec is that the kids are with the coach from morning tonight, so the parents are free to do as they please. This is even true if it includes drinking copious amounts of Canadian whiskey early in the morning.

Today has been bizarre. The moon is full and the weirdos have come out of the woodwork. I should have know how the day would track when leaving Dunkin’ this morning there was a man out of his gourd high. I mean, high! He was talking to himself like he was in the midst of a video game and acting it out. It was surreal. It reminded me of my childhood neighbor, who when he was five would pretend to be Yoshi from Mario Kart. Only difference is about 30 years and total lack of sobriety. This man was so out of it, he didn’t even notice me or the other customers leaving the store.

The day’s trajectory continued upon this bizarro path. When I didn’t think anything else could go sideways, I got a call from my friend in Quebec. My first reaction was panicked as I thought maybe one of my boys got hurt. Alas, my Mayor was fine and my Hubby has passed out after a tangle with Canadian whiskey. Oh boy….. In case you’re wondering the final score on that fight: Canadian Whiskey 1 Hockey Dads 0

To be clear, the caller was also far from sober. My friend was insistent that I give him the hubby’s phone code, so he could update his lock screen to gay porn. At 5:30 in the afternoon, this was just the call I needed. I asked if Hubby was okay and positioned, so he wouldn’t aspirate his vomit. To which my friend responded, I put him face down, you’re missing the point I need to update his lock screen. When I suggested he used My Hubby’s finger to open up the phone, I could literally hear the lightbulb going off in his head.

Shortly thereafter, I ended up speaking with his wife and my dear friend. She’s clearly a saint for a number of reasons (including last night’s recreation photo,) it today for checking in on my hubby while babysitting her’s. I’m pretty sure that’s not how she envisioned her Peewee Quebec trip. Nonetheless, she kept a watchful eye on my hubby and got some golden pictures. As for me, I was laughing so hard I was crying and that was exactly what I needed today.

Tonight My Mayor is taking in the QMJHL Ramparts game with his team at the Videotron Center. Meanwhile, back at the hotel my Hubby is “undrinking” the whiskey. Once my Mayor is back to the hotel, he’ll call home. He’ll tell me he had a fun day, but wants to go to bed and I’m preventing him from doing that. Tomorrow brings the second game of the tournament and a must win game. Perhaps I’ll even get updates through all three periods tomorrow.

Day One Chicago

Day one in Chicago has been fun. We beat the storm in, which was fabulous. In fact, it really didn’t start to snow until nighttime. After leaving the airport in my sexy Buick rental car, we hit Target to pick up some snacks and drinks for the room.

For Goalielocks, Target was just one more delay in eating a nice, hot slice of Giordano’s pizza. We checked out and quickly headed to Giordano’s thinking the storm would stay at anytime. Fortunately, we could leave our groceries in the car as we ate. I definitely miss that ability in Florida where we have to race home so our freezer items don’t melt!

Giordano’s was the perfect anecdote to a long day of travel. Our short layover in Detroit afforded us no time to eat. Consequently, we were quite hungry. The beauty of deep dish pizza, at least for me, is that one piece will leave you satiated for the rest of the day. In fact, neither Colin nor myself ate the rest of the day. Our late lunch at Giordano’s was enough to tide us over for the rest of the day.

The snow was absolutely beautiful this morning. We got about five inches at the hotel. The major roads appear to be relatively clean with some of the side roads still quite slippery and snow covered. I’m truly not looking forward to driving forty minutes southwest for tonight’s game. As for the temperature, it’s still pretty comfortable. The wind, however has picked up quite a bit, which is blowing snow everywhere. Meanwhile in Minnesota, my Mayor and hubby were enjoying sub zero weather.

Our hotel is nice enough and centrally located to the mall and Dunkin’. I dropped Goalielocks and his friends at the mall this morning, so they could do something other than look for ponds near the hotel. While they canvassed the mall, I headed to Ikea. I love that the store reminds me of my Scandinavian travels and the AirBnB’s we stayed in that were filled with IKEA items.

After the mall, Goalielocks and his boys headed back outside to cause trouble. They found some nice snowballs. The majority of which seemed to end up on Goalielocks’ pants and hoodie. He’s now down to one pair of pants that isn’t soaked or muddy. His nice Adidas joggers got a bit muddy after he broke the ice at the edge of the pond. You can only imagine how happy I was upon hearing that story.

While Goalielocks wrecked yet another pair of pants, I decided to do some yoga. I took a risk and did a vinyasa video from Fightmaster Yoga. It felt incredible, but it definitely got my heart rate pumping. I did modify some of the exercises to bring my heart rate back down. I’m not sure if it was the fact I’d only drank coffee today or Graves’ disease, but it was annoying either way.

Meanwhile in Minny, my Mayor is having a blast with his team and has already hit White Castle twice. Like I’ve shared before, he’s got an iron gut. At present, he and his team are playing at outdoor game not far from my Aunt and Uncle’s house. Tonight they’ll head down to the Excel Energy Center to see the Wild attempt to play. Last night, the Mayor got to see one of our favorite coaches and his mite coach, Coach Ryan. It’s awesome how hockey introduces you to great paths and how your paths keep crossing through the game we all love.

Exploring Stockholm

We spent today exploring Stockholm, its history, its food and its drink.  Our day started with a wonderful and real authentic continental breakfast.  It wasn’t the paltry continental breakfast every hotel at a hockey tournament tries to sell you.  This breakfast was legit.  There were no watery eggs or overcooked bacon to be had.  The only similarity is that this breakfast also had a waffle maker, which we definitely enjoyed.

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Our time here in Stockholm is short, so we wanted to maximize our time and see as much of the city as possible.  The best way to do this, especially in the winter, is the hop on and hop off buses.  They run continuously throughout the day with several stops and a narrated tour to boot.  If the weather were a bit warmer and my ankle/foot completely healed, this would be a perfect walking city.  Truly, if my foot was better, we’d probably have walked most of the city.

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We grabbed the bus at Stockholm’s Central nation, which is super nice.  We somehow managed to missed it twice.  Once it was our fault, the second time it just drove by.  When the third bus came by, we were sure to be first in line.  We sat atop the bus and rode for about half the tour before realizing we should have grabbed the headphones downstairs.   The bus takes you through all the major neighborhoods in Sweden and provides a lot of great information about the sites.

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We rode the thing throughout the complete loop before deciding to hop off at Gamle Stan near the Royal Palace.  As soon as I exited the bus, I was cold.  We were dropped off right across from the palace and not far from the water.  The wind was whipping off the water with no buildings to slow it.  I was getting cold fast!  We made our way up the palace stairs to check it out.   Our timing was sublime as we entered the courtyard right before they started the changing of the guard.   I filmed it in its entirety, but I almost froze my fingers off!

As soon as the ceremony ended, we made our way into the Palace to check out the Royal Apartments, the museum and find a bathroom.  The Palace is stunning and a beautiful example of the baroque design style.  Throughout the palace, the artwork was sublime.  At every turn, every room there were a myriad of paintings, sculptures and tapestries.   There was one drawing room in particular that was full of portraits of the royal family.  It reminded me of Harry Potter and a couple of other movies where the eyes in the portraits follow you as you move through the room.

After exploring the palace grounds, we headed to find food.  We explored the palace while past the lunch hour, so we decided to go for dinner.   At the recommendation of our bartender last night, we headed to Aifur.  It was an adventure through Gamle Stan to find it with two pit stops at Stortoget, the oldest square in Stockholm, to get coffee and mittens.  Finally, we headed down the hill to Västerlånggatan, the main thoroughfare, to find Aifur.   I tried to behave, but couldn’t help perusing a few of the stores along the way.  Humorously, when we finally found the restaurant it wasn’t opened yet.  Naturally, we killed the half hour at Corner Bar enjoyed  a few drinks.

Dinner at Aifur was quite the experience.  The restaurant is an homage to Scandinavia’s Viking heritage in its decor, its food, and its staff.  Consequently, the dining room was set up with several long tables with benches on both sides.   On the tables, there were candelabra, silverware and glassware in keeping with the theme.  Each of the dishes on the menu were inspired by the Vikings.

We started our meal with a charcuterie board inspired by Ragnor himself.  Largely, it was compiled of different types of sausages, including reindeer heart.  Surprisingly, the reindeer heart sausage was tasty.  I enjoyed the reindeer sausage with some cheddar chess on a cracker.  While I had the elk sausage on bread with cheddar and boiled apples. It was a nice exploration of the different types of sausages from the region.

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Our main courses were just as yummy.  Jon and I enjoyed venison with hash browns on root vegetables served on a creamy mushroom sauce.  Jake had the porcini risotto, which he thought was okay.  I really enjoyed it!  Brandi had the dwarf chicken also served with the risotto, which was also quite tasty.  We accompanied our dinner with Mead from Poland.

The best part of dinner, aside from the company and the food, was the atmosphere.  Every time new guests would arrive, the host/hostess would announce them to the dining room sharing both their party name and where they’re from. It was fun to guess where our other dinners guests hailed from.  I’d be lying if I said we were good at that game.  Nonetheless, it made for a fun night.  Lastly, as we ate, we enjoyed live traditional Scandinavian music keeping with the restaurant’s theme.

Post dinner we walked back to the hotel and then headed up to The Capitol Bar at the Scandic for the first of two night caps.  I ended my night out at the bar downstairs with a great apple beer from Belgium.  While I got ready for bed, the rest of the party closed down the bar and went on a fast food run.  Sadly, there were no Doritos burgers tonight only zombie burgers from Burger King.

Tomorrow we’re off to Helsinki for several days.  Stockholm has been a blast and we’ll definitely be back!

If you go:

Sightseeing bus: Hop On Hop Off Bus

The Palace: Royal Palace Complex: 

The Dinner: Aifur

We Made It

After nearly nine hours aboard a Boeing 787-900, we made it safely to Stockholm. The 789 was quite comfortable and I actually managed to get some sleep!  Yay!  If I had to guess, our bartender Laura’s heavy pour at the airport helped this mission.  Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough, so I’m totally exhausted now and its only 10:00 PM in Stockholm and 5:00 pm back home.  Once we got through customs and got our luggage, which was quite quick, we grabbed a snack and drink (coffee please) at 7-11 before hopping on the express train into the sitting.

Much like my initial impressions of Norway, Sweden reminds me a lot of Minnesota.  Speaking of Norway, we flew over Fjord Norway on our approach into Stockholm’s Arlanda airport.  The region looked absolutely beautiful from 40,000 ft with the mountains covered in snow.  As for the train, we arrived at central station in a brisk 20 minutes.  Fortunately, our hotel is mere half of block from the station.

Our hotel is adorable.  We have four bed and a beautiful patio overlooking Stockholm.  It’s the perfect place to store our beverages and stinky shoes.  The view is pretty fabulous as well.  Once we got situated in the hotel room, we got ready to head out and about to find dinner.

We started our exodus looking for a meatball place, but found the maps and google searches aren’t too successful here unless we’re on wi-fi.  We walked for several blocks in the brisk evening air until we happened upon a place called Polpette – combination of Italian and Swedish cuisine.  The restaurant was beautiful inside with friendly waitresses and hostesses.

Our dinner started with drinks, my bro and I enjoyed a lingonberry margarita, while B enjoyed a glass of wine and Jake stuck with water.  We started our dinner with an appetizer order of sourdough cheese bread and fresh caprese.  They were amazing.  Unfortunately, we ate them so fast we didn’t even stop to take a picture.

For the main course, I enjoyed a flank steak on a bed of gratinized mashed potatoes.  Jake had Swedish meatballs, Brandi has pasta Bolognese and Jon had fettucine with steak.  Our main courses were beautiful and delicious. My meal came with the bonus of an asparagus spear wrapped in bacon- yum.  Honestly, the food absolutely hit the spot.  We enjoyed our meal and the hospitality of the staff at Polpette.  If you’re ever in downtown Stockholm, I recommend you pay them a visit.

Post dinner we headed back towards the hotel in hopes of finding pastries, but alas all the cafes were already closed for the night.  Since we couldn’t find pastries, we headed to the Ice Bar in Stockholm.  I’ve been to the Ice Hotel in Quebec City, but this was my first time at a year round ice bar.

We suited up and headed into the ice.  Much like the Ice Hotel in Quebec, the Ice Bar had several elaborate ice carvings.  This bar is done in a Viking theme, which makes for an impressive experience.  It should come as no surprise that we spent tons of time hanging out on the Viking ship and throne while enjoying our drinks.  Our bartender was fantastic and gave us a list of places to try before leaving Stockholm After several rounds of drinks, we headed back to the hotel for a night-cap and to get ready for tomorrow.

If you go:

Our restaurant tonight: PolPette

The Ice Bar: Ice Bar by IceHotel Stockholm

Hotel:  https://www.freyshotels.com/

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TMinus Seven

It’s tminus seven until Jake, and my brother and his wife head to Scandinavia for an epic adventure.  Jake and I spent our morning picking up a few last-minute items from Kohl’s. It’s going to be in the 40s-50s, so a light jacket should suffice.  Since we live in Florida our fall wardrobe for Scandinavian weather isn’t quite up to par.

After Kohl’s we headed to Barnes and Noble.  I’ve been reading book after book as I work my way through the top 500 fiction and non-fiction books.  I’m currently reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, but should finish it in the coming days.  It’s delightful this far, quite the departures from Tolstoy’s Resurrection.  I’d highly recommend both novels.  For the trip, I bought Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Since paperbacks were 3 for $30, I was seriously tempted to by several books.  I behaved and walked out with only two.

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In addition to Larsson’s novel, I picked up a book on Swedish grammar.  I love DuoLingo, but I needed to read through the grammatical rules.  Every night I try to spend at least 30 minutes practicing Swedish before reading for the last hour before bed.  I don’t expect to be fluent, but I hope to at least be able to communicate in Swedish while in Stockholm.  As an aside, there isn’t DuoLingo for Finnish or Finnish grammar books at our Barnes and Noble.    Please see video below for what I imagine I’ll sound like.

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I am super excited, not just for the trip, but for November’s Purple Stride.  This year I’m unable to run due to my left ankle, so I’m taking on a different role.  For this year’s event, I’m happy to announce that I am the Team Chair.  I’ll be in charge to driving team results and recruitment.  Those of you on the fence of joining team Deb Force Five – now it the time to join.   If you’re not in Florida that’s okay!  You can join us as a virtual strider.   Join by clicking here.  I’ll leave you with one of Freddy Mercury’s iconic live performances.  I, for one, cannot wait to see the Queen movie coming out next week.

 

Exploring The World

There’s nothing I enjoy more than exploring the world with my family and friends.  Last month, we were in the Bahamas for a fun and relaxing trip with family.  This weekend the Hubby is headed West for an adult hockey tournament with Goalielocks, while the Mayor will head to Epcot with school.  Jake will be working, which means I’ll have an entire Saturday to myself!  (Say what!?!?!)  If I didn’t have all these blisters on my feet from starting to run again, I’d probably go get a long over due pedicure.  I’m just a little concerned about picking up an infection with the blisters, so I’ll probably go shoe shopping instead.

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Before I get to my super Saturday, I have a 5K on Thursday night.  It’s all about the preparation with these races, which means I’m facing an uphill battle.   I’ve trained pretty steadily for the past two weeks, but it isn’t going to be sufficient to yield favorable results.  My goal is to get back under 30 minutes, but I don’t think this will be that race.  Nevertheless, it feels great to be running again.  To be clear, it feels good after I’m done running not while I’m running.

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Next weekend I’m headed to the islands for a well deserved momcation.  I can’t wait to be on a beautiful island with incredible women and incredible beaches.  Its been a hell of a first quarter and this is the perfect way to recharge my battery for the second quarter.   Honestly, I cannot wait to disconnect for a few days while in the company of great people.   Plus, you cannot beat the beaches in Turks and Caicos!

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One of my goals has always been to travel more and see different places.  The trips don’t have to be long, but just enough to get away for a bit and explore a new city.  Consequently, I’ve been thinking that for the boys’ birthdays, it would be better to take them on a weekend getaway than buy them something.   I love the idea of shared experiences over material goods.  I’ll let you know how that goes.  Lastly, Goalielocks hit the ice for the first time in earnest since his injury almost two months ago!