Sunday, August 14, 2016

30 Things I Love About Canada #29: Maple everything.

I was never a huge maple flavor fan before. Suddenly though, I can't get enough of it. I made a special trip to the store just to get these for this photo shoot and to pack with our kitchen stuff and smuggle some syrup up back to the states.

Something about Canadian maple syrup just tastes better than the lady-shaped caramel-colored corn syrup I grew up pouring on my waffles. I also got this:

Which I've never had before but I'm sure is delicious.

Also, I'm bringing back some of these little maple leaf shaped candies.

Other current flavors I'm obsessed with are anything: 

maple infused
maple glazed
maple marinated
maple smoked
maple coated
and maple encrusted.

I will gladly wash them down with a maple porter...

Or a maple milkshake or maple latte or just a full glass of pure maple syrup. Okay, maybe not that last one. Too rich.

I also love this giant maple tree in our backyard and the squirrels who live in it. 

In the fall, I loved the multi-colored maple leaves it dropped onto our deck.

I even love seeing Maple Leafs like this all over town...

And this maple leaf too will always have a special place in my heart. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

30 Things I Love About Canada #28: Olympic pride

Watching the Olympics on Canadian television I get to see national pride from another side, and it's just as inspiring. So when Simone Manuel and Penny Oleksiak tied for the gold in the 100 meter freestyle, I was thrilled for both of them. Simone Manuel is the first African-American to win an individual swimming gold medal in the Olympics and Penny Oleksiak is a 16 year old athlete from Toronto. Way to go ladies!

Getty Images

30 Things I Love About Canada #27: The map.

I bet a lot of Americans wouldn't be able to identify this country out of context.

By sheer land mass it's the 2nd largest country in the world (after Russia). Give up? It's Canada!

Growing up, this is the map I studied:

Canada and Mexico were invisible and Alaska was out in the ocean with Hawaii, not bigger than Texas or attached to the country above us. In social studies class we had to learn 50! states and capitals. This year my kids studied Canadian history and only had to learn 10 provinces and 3 territories. I bet most Americans couldn't name them all. Here's a quick lesson:

The provinces (from left to right) are British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The territories are Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. What's the difference, you ask? Wikipedia says:

In modern Canadian constitutional theory, the provinces are considered to be co-sovereign divisions and each province has its own "Crown" represented by the lieutenant governor. The territories are not sovereign, but simply part of the federal realm, and have a commissioner who represents the federal government.

I don't pretend to fully understand that but hopefully I've helped some people know a little more about Canadian geography.

Finally, an interesting cultural note: When someone in Canada says "Down South" they mean the vacation spots below America like Mexico and the Bahamas. When Americans say "Down South" They mean the southern U.S. states like Georgia, Mississippi, etc.  When Canadians say "South of the Border" they mean America. When Americans say "South of the Border" they mean Mexico, or if you're from the east coast they mean this weird rest stop along I-95 in South Carolina.  

from pinterest

Nevertheless, we share this big continent of North America and despite the border between us, we're really very similar. Some people think of our relationship like this:

And others see it like this.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

30 Things I Love About Canada #26: Milk Bags

I had heard about Canada's bagged milk before, so when we first got here and I saw it in stores I was excited to buy it. Not because I like milk though (I don't) but because my kids do and milk is required for cereal and certain recipes.

When I got home though I was like, now what?

I failed to realize this floppy bag required a container. It felt like those weird watersnake toys they sold at Spencers in the 80s.

I thought it might fit in our skinny lemonade pitcher but it got stuck halfway down. Plus there was the added question, How do you open it?  

Suffice it to say we had several messy mishaps with milkbags until we found this container in the grocery store nowhere near the milk aisle.

I was surprised to see it wasn't more interesting looking. There is a definitely a decorative milk pitcher niche that hasn't been filled yet in Canada. Or maybe it has, I just haven't found it.

Anyway, Milk Bags: Yay! I'm going to miss them when we move. I still think milk is gross though.