My best friend whom I mentioned in a previous post came to visit for the weekend and of course we had an awesome time. We always plan to go for random adventures and this time I wanted to do something she’d enjoy. On a previous visit she had mentioned that she really enjoyed culinary trips which gave me an idea. Toronto is known for it’s food trucks and what a better surprise than to take her on a food truck extravaganza.
On Saturday, we got ready and headed downtown. Most of Toronto’s food trucks were at Echo Beach for the CBC Music Festival but Hogtown Smoke was at Leon’s in front of the Roundhouse. Her and I both enjoy BBQ so this truck was a great choice. Hogtown Smoke is Toronto’s mobile BBQ Smoke House and it far more than delivered on taste. I ordered the Beef Brisket on a Bun and slathered it in the Hogtown Smoke Original Mild BBQ Sauce. I instantly regretted my decision to wear a white top as the chances of making a mess grew exponentially. The beef was tender, tasty and cooked to perfection.
After we let the food settle, we walked over to the Roundhouse which houses the Steam Whistle Brewery. While I don’t drink beer even when not pregnant, my friend loves it. They were handing our complementary beer which only added to the delicious BBQ we just finished. We checked out the model train displays they had in the front and then were off to the Harbourfront.
It was Doors Open Toronto and the water front was busy with boats. Captain Flinders and his Pirates had invaded Toronto and I thought that her and I could enjoy a boat tour of Lake Ontario. For only $15, we were able to check out the Toronto Islands, enjoy some quality time and chat. Overall it was a wonderful afternoon downtown. Later that evening, we went to the movies and saw The Hangover 3, which wasn’t as good as the previous two.
It was an awesome weekend with a more awesome friend.
One of the best things about the holidays are the movies that play all the time on TV. I’ve compiled a list of some of my personal favourites, and maybe there are some of yours on this list too!
- A Charlie Brown Christmas. A TV Special based on the Peanuts comic strip by Charles Schultz aired on CBS in 1965. Follow Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus and the gang as Charlie finds the true meaning of Christmas.
- Frosty the Snowman. “Happy Birthday!” Frosty exclaims as Professor Hinkle’s magic hat is placed on his head. Based on the popular song, this movie was first aired in 1969.
- How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966). Based on Dr. Seuss’ book and narrated by Boris Karlof, this movie is a personal fave. Dr. Seuss first wrote the book about the over commercialization of Christmas and getting back to the true meaning of Christmas.
- Twas The Night Before Christmas. Based on the poem, this TV special first aired on CBS in 1974. This is a story about a mouse and a clockmaker who try to appease Santa when he is offended by a letter sent stating that the writer does not believe he exists.
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Based on the Johnny Marks song of the same title, this classic was first aired in 1964 and teaches us all that we may be different but that’s what makes us all special.
- Home Alone. Kevin McAllister is accidentally left alone when his family leaves for France, he is left to defend his home from burglars. Macauly Culkin and Joe Pesci make this film a holiday treat!
- Mrs. Santa Claus. Starring Angela Lansbury, this is a story of how an ignored Mrs Claus takes the sleigh out and becomes stranded in New York when Cupid is injured. There she poses as Mrs North who befriends the Jewish family she boards with and becomes involved in the women’s suffrage movement as well as child labour issues.
- Christmas Vacation. The Griswold family’s plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster.
- The Santa Clause. Starring Tim Allen as as Scott Calvin, an ordinary man who accidentally causes Santa Claus to fall to his death from his roof on Christmas Eve. When he and his young son, Charlie, finish the late, legendary St. Nick’s trip and deliveries, they go to the North Pole where Scott learns he must become the new Santa.
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). A live action remake of the 1966 cartoon, Ron Howard and Jim Carrey bring this classic tale to life.
My Princess loves monsters! Vampires, Zombies (Mommy’s personal favourite), Witches, Wizards, you name it, she is fascinated. It never really dawned on me how much she loved them until last year. She was always into Dinosaurs. She has a three-foot high dinosaur she sleeps with, a dinosaur t-shirt, an 90 piece dino set, a 2 foot long dinosaur that has to be in the shower when she is and Jurassic Park Trilogy is her all time favourite movie collection, not mention all the books on dinosaurs she has. Loves them. But when we were visiting her Dziadek (Polish for Grandpa) that the monster fascination finally hit home. Dziadek was laid up in bed with a bad leg and he was watching “8 Legged Freaks” on TV. It’s a super cheesy movie with David Arquette about spiders that have been exposed to nuclear toxins and have grown massive and take over a town. She was glued! Unfortunately for me, Hubby had the movie and she would watch it on repeat. I almost knew the script line by line.
The Princess’ Goosebumps Collection
After that, all types of monsters began to capture her imagination. I am a firm believer that if your child shows an interest in something, encourage it and we did. We bought her the “Monstrous Book of Monsters” that teaches the reader how to notice, capture and eradicate such evil creatures. She also has quite the collection of Goosebump Books. At first there was some hesitation as to whether or not they would give her nightmares or frighten her, but thus far we have been without incident. In fact, many times Hubby and I are referred to Mommy and Daddy Monster and she is Baby Monster and the imaginative game continues. We have to hide, eat the Daddy Monster, and chase the Mommy Monster. She enjoys these fictitious monsters and she loves reading about them. We don’t buy her monster movies but we buy her books about them which keeps her reading, so I’m happy.
Monstrous Book of Monsters
Hubby and I had a date night last week where we went to see “Ted”. While waiting in line, we saw a cardboard cut out for “ParaNorman“. By the producers of Coraline, Focus Features brings “ParaNorman” to the big screen. The premise is that a misunderstood boy named Norman helps save his town from a Zombie invasion brought on by a witches curse, using his ability to speak to the Dead. When we saw it, we knew we had to bring the Princess. We showed her the Official Trailer to gauge her response whether or not she would like it and her first response was “Daddy, I want to see the Zombies!” I’m sure this movie would scare most children, but I have a little Princess who prefers scary monster movies to the Cat in the Hat. I will be sure to post my review of it after we see it. It’s making its international release August 17th!
Yesterday, we took our daughter saw her first movie on the “Big Screen” Ever since we saw the previews for Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, we had really wanted to take her to see it and since she loves Dr. Seuss, we thought this would be the best movie to take her to. We had been talking all week, imagining how her face would light up when she saw the theatre and then be bouncing off the wall once she first saw the arcade. I was more anticipating the exression of awe when she saw how big the screen was. We told her 2 days prior that we were going to the movie theatre and she was going to see a movie on a screen bigger than our entire home. We explained that a lot of people sat in a big dark room on chairs and ate popcorn and snacks and watched movies together. She begin to giggle and jump around everytime we mentioned it. When we arrived, her reaction was a little less than anticipated, but nonetheless adorable. She was so excited to hold her own snacks, pick out seats and repeatedly jumped out of her seat and looked at me and said, “Look how big the movie is Mom!”
Now while I’ve never read the book, and have been informed by many that the book is better, I have to say I really quite enjoyed what I saw. The Lorax is definitely a movie for the entire family with jokes for adults and children alike. The movie put forth a lot of great values such as sticking up for what you believe in, family, friends and taking care of the environment that are great for children to learn, but it also had some subtle undertones that adults could understand such as greed, capitalism, economy, and the pressure to succeed. These undertones for adults kept me glued to the screen unlike some children’s movies that leave me reaching for the Tylenol. Danny DeVito and Ed Helms do a great job as the Lorax and the Once-Ler and Betty White is a comedic genius as always.
Going to see the Lorax with my daughter and husband, was more than simply going to see a movie. I got to spend a lovely day on the weekend with my family. I got to experience first hand what is what like to go to the movies for the first time as a child. While I don’t remember my first movie theatre experience, and my daughter is unlikely to remember hers, I got to witness her excitement, anticipation, apprehension and pure joy and innocence. I was fortunate to see that day for what it remarkably was; a day I will never forget.